cylonlover writes "A trip on public transport or to the local coffee shop might give the impression that touchscreens are everywhere, but scientists at Autodesk Research of the University of Alberta and the University of Toronto are looking to take the ubiquity of touch interfaces to the next level. They are developing a 'Magic Finger' that allows any surface to detect touch input by shifting the touch technology from the surface to the wearer's finger. It's a proof-of-concept prototype made up of a little Velcro ring that straps to the wearer's fingertip with a trail of wires leading to a box of electronics. On the ring there are a pair of optical sensors. One is a low resolution, high-speed sensor for tracking movement, the other a high-resolution camera, which is able to detect 32 different surface textures with 98 percent accuracy."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
First time accepted submitter kfsone writes "I've experienced, first-hand, some of the ways in which spindle disks die, but either I've yet to see an SSD die or I'm not looking in the right places. Most of my admin-type friends have theories on how an SSD dies but admit none of them has actually seen commercial grade drives die or deteriorate. In particular, the failure process seems like it should be more clinical than spindle drives. If you have X many of the same SSD drive and none of them suffer manufacturing defects, if you repeat the same series of operations on them they should all die around the same time. If that's correct, then what happens to SSDs in RAID? Either all your drives will start to fail together or at some point, your drives will become out of sync in-terms of volume sizing. So, have you had to deliberately EOL corporate grade SSDs? Do they die with dignity or go out with a bang?"
An anonymous reader writes "Reiser4 still hasn't been merged into the mainline Linux kernel, but it's still being worked on by a small group of developers following Hans Reiser being convicted for murdering his wife. Reiser4 was updated in September on SourceForge to work with the Linux 3.5 kernel and has been benchmarked against EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and ReiserFS. Reiser4 loses out in most of the Linux file-system performance tests, has much stigma due to Hans Reiser, and Btrfs is surpassing it feature-wise, so does it have any future in Linux ahead?"
mikejuk writes "Long before the current crop of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Course) there was a course that taught you all you needed to know about computers by starting from the NAND gate and working its way up through the logic circuits needed for a computer, on to an assembler, a compiler, an operating system, and finally Tetris. Recently one of the creators of the course, Shimon Schocken, gave a TED talk explaining how it all happened and why it is still relevant today. Once you have seen what is on offer at http://www.nand2tetris.org/ you will probably decide that it is not only still relevant but the only way to really understand what computers are all about."
Nerval's Lobster writes "A team of researchers from Microsoft and Cornell University has concluded that, in some cases, a totally wireless data center makes logistical sense. In a new paper, a team of researchers from Cornell and Microsoft concluded that a data-center operator could replace hundreds of feet of cable with 60-GHz wireless connections—assuming that the servers themselves are redesigned in cylindrical racks, shaped like prisms, with blade servers addressing both intra- and inter-rack connections. The so-called 'Cayley' data centers, so named because of the network connectivity subgraphs are modeled using Cayley graphs, could be cheaper than traditional wired data centers if the cost of a 60-GHz transceiver drops under $90 apiece, and would likely consume about one-tenth to one-twelfth the power of a wired data center."
sfcrazy writes "Good (and bad) news for Raspberry Pi lovers, the Model B has been upgraded to 512MB RAM from 256MB. Bad news is for those who already got their Model B shipments because all those who have outstanding orders with either distributors will get the *upgraded* version of the device, means with 512MB RAM instead of 256MB. The upgraded devices should be arriving to customers from today onwards. Raspberry Pi team will be pushing a firmware upgrade soon so these news devices can detect and use the additional RAM."
another random user writes "Apple is planning to shift production of its ARM-based microprocessors from Samsung to the Taiwanese chip-baking giant TSMC as early as next year, according to a report by the China Economic News Service (CENS). The report cites CitiGroup Global Markets analyst J.T. Hsu as saying that TSMC will be Apple's sole supplier of 20nm quad-core processors, with volume production to begin in the fourth quarter of 2013. He also noted that Apple began its 20nm chip-verfication process at TSMC in August of this year. Hsu told CENS that the future quad-core chips were intended for Apple's 'iPad, iTV and even Macbook,' turning up the heat on two rumors that have been simmering for months: that Apple is planning a move into the television market, and that an ARM-based MacBook is in the works."
New submitter Ibhuk writes "I leave my email stored online, as do many modern email users, particularly for services like Gmail with its ever-expanding storage limit. I don't bother downloading every email I receive. According to the South Carolina Supreme Court, this doesn't qualify as electronic storage. This means most email users are not protected by the Stored Communications Act. All your emails are fair game, so be careful what you write. From the article: 'This new decision creates a split with existing case law (Theofel v. Farey-Jones) as decided in a 2004 case decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That decision found that an e-mail message that was received, read, and left on a server (rather than being deleted) did constitute storage "for purposes of backup protection," and therefore was also defined as being kept in "electronic storage." Legal scholars point to this judicial split as yet another reason why the Supreme Court (and/or Congress) should take up the issue of the Stored Communications Act.'"
another random user sends this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "Downloading a car – or a pair of sneakers – will be entirely possible, although Ford and Nike won't be particularly happy if people use their designs to do so. A new patent, issued this week by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and titled 'Manufacturing control system', describes a system whereby 3D printer-like machines (the patent actually covers additive, subtractive, extrusion, melting, solidification, and other types of manufacturing) will have to obtain authorization before they are allowed to print items requested by the user. In a nutshell, a digital fingerprint of 'restricted items' will be held externally and printers will be required to compare the plans of the item they're being asked to print against those in a database. If there's a match, printing will be disallowed or restricted."
angry tapir writes "Lenovo has taken the crown from Hewlett-Packard to become the world's top seller of PCs, research firm Gartner said in a study released this week. Lenovo took the top spot during a quarter in which PC shipments dropped overall due to a weak economy and pressure from mobile devices. Of the top four PC vendors, only Lenovo was able to grow its shipments. Its PC sales increased by almost 10 percent to 13.77 million units, giving it 15.7 percent of the market, Gartner said." Not so fast, says analysis firm IDC. They say that HP is still in the lead but Lenovo is very close.
An anonymous reader writes "The details of a Canadian spying case are coming to light, including the method of copying the sensitive data from the 'secured' computer linking five countries and the Russian handlers: Copy Data into Notepad; Save File to Floppy Drive; USB Key; ???; Profit! For $3000/mo in prepaid credit cards and wire transfers."
An anonymous reader writes with this bit from geek.com: "One of the big complaints surrounding the Nexus 7 launch was the lack of customer support when dealing with the device. Google was not initially prepared to handle the volume of users that required support, which led to an increase in wait time for callers who needed solutions. However, we've recently received word from a source that now Google is using a third party company to staff a call center for the release of the next Nexus devices." Maybe Google needs to out itself as a "devices and services company," too.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Futurist and author Ray Kurzweil predicts the cloud will eventually do more than store our emails or feed us streaming movies on demand: it's going to help expand our brain capacity beyond its current limits. In a question-and-answer session following a speech to the DEMO technology conference in Santa Clara, California last week, Kurzweil described the human brain as impressive but limited in its capacity to hold information. 'By the time we're even 20, we've filled it up,' he said, adding that the only way to add information after that point is to 'repurpose our neocortex to learn something new.' (Computerworld has posted up the full video of the talk.) The solution to overcoming the brain's limitations, he added, involves 'basically expanding our brains into the cloud.'"
another random user writes "A US team aims to build a robot that can work out how to use nearby objects to solve problems or escape threats. The machine has been dubbed a 'MacGyver Bot,' after the TV character who cobbled together devices to escape life-threatening situations. The challenge is to develop software that 'understands' what objects are in order to deduce how they can be used. The US Navy is funding the project and says the machines might ultimately be deployed alongside humans. It is providing $900,000 to robotics researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology to carry out the work."
Earlier this year, the Free Software Foundation announced a hardware endorsement campaign for hardware that respects the rights of its owner (no DRM, runs Free Software, support for open formats, no or freely licensed patents, etc.). Now, they've announced that the Lulzbot AO-100 3D Printer is the first device to pass certification and be endorsed by the FSF. Source code to both the hardware and software is available, naturally.