derekmead writes "3D-printing gun parts has taken off, thanks to the likes of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed. While the technology adds a rather interesting wrinkle to the gun control debate, the ATF currently is pretty hands-off, ... 'We are aware of all the 3D printing of firearms and have been tracking it for quite a while,' Earl Woodham, spokesperson for the ATF field office in Charlotte, said. 'Our firearms technology people have looked at it, and we have not yet seen a consistently reliable firearm made with 3D printing.' A reporter called the ATF's Washington headquarters to get a better idea of what it took to make a gun 'consistently reliable,' and program manager George Semonick said the guns should be 'made to last years or generations.' In other words, because 3D-printed guns aren't yet as durable as their metal counterparts, the ATF doesn't yet consider them as much of a concern."
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gramophone records (the black vinyl discs in Grandma's attic) were made by cutting grooves directly into an acetate disc, then making a mold from that "master" and "pressing records." Nowadays, of course, we use digital recording software on our computers or even on our mobile phones. Vinyl? Strictly for fogies and maybe a few audiophiles who think analog recordings have a depth and warmth that CDs and MP3s lack. Naturally, SXSW is a haven for these folks, and among them Tim Lord found Wesley Wolfe and two German compatriots from vinylrecording.com, busily demonstrating their vinyl recording system, which is sort of the gramophone record equivalent of print on demand. Lots of background music in the video makes the voices a bit hard to hear; some might prefer the transcription -- although those who do will lose out on watching the vinyl recording machine in action. Either way. Or both. Up to you.
Nerval's Lobster writes "French oil conglomerate Total has inaugurated the world's ninth-most-powerful supercomputer, Panega. Its purpose: seek out new reservoirs of oil and gas. The supercomputer's total output is 2.3 petaflops, which should place it about ninth on today's TOP500 list, last updated in November. The announcement came as Dell and others prepare to inaugurate a new supercomputer, Stampede, in Texas on March 27. What's noteworthy about Pangea, however, is that it will be the most powerful supercomputer owned and used by private industry; the vast majority of such systems are in use by government agencies and academic institutions. Right now, the most powerful private supercomputer for commercial use is the Hermit supercomputer in Stuttgart; ranked 27th in the world, the 831.4 Tflop machine is a public-private partnership between the University of Stuttgart and hww GmbH. Panega, which will cost 60 million Euro ($77.8 million) over four years, will assist decision-making in the exploration of complex geological areas and to increase the efficiency of hydrocarbon production in compliance with the safety standards and with respect for the environment, Total said. Pangea will be will be stored at Total's research center in the southwestern French city of Pau."
An anonymous reader writes "Archos have finally released their much anticipated touchscreen gamepad in the USA. The console boasts a Arm Cortex Dual-core A9 1.6GHz cpu, 1024MB Ram, 8GB internal storage and uses the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS. The Gamepad has 14 physical buttons and dual analog thumb-sticks as well as a touchscreen which means the latest 3D Android games should work great and for fans of emulation the traditional gamepad design and buttons will make N64/PS1 emulators work great on the gamepad." CNET UK was unimpressed, calling it "a bitter disappointment"; IGN was more optimistic, especially at its sub-$200 price.
hypnosec writes "UEFI guru Matthew Garrett, who cleared the Linux kernel in Samsung laptop bricking issues, has come to rescue beleaguered users by offering a survival guide enabling them to avoid similar issues. According to Garrett, storage space constraints in UEFI storage variables is the reason Samsung laptops end up bricking themselves. Garrett said that if the storage space utilized by the UEFI firmware is more than 50 percent full, the laptop will refuse to start and ends up being bricked. To prevent this from happening, he has provided a Kernel patch."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Gosia Wonzniacka reports that farmers in Fresno County, California, supported by university experts and a $5 million state grant, are set to start construction of the nation's first commercial-scale bio-refinery to turn beets into biofuel with farmers saying the so-called 'energy beets' can deliver ethanol yields more than twice those of corn per acre because beets have a higher sugar content per ton than corn. 'We're trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to shift our transportation fuels to a lower carbon content,' says Robert Weisenmiller. 'The beets have the potential to provide that.' Europe already has more than a dozen such plants, so the bio-refinery would resurrect a crop that has nearly vanished. The birthplace of the sugar beet industry, California once grew over 330,000 acres of the gnarly root vegetable (PDF), with 11 sugar mills processing the beets but as sugar prices collapsed, the mills shut down. So what's the difference between sugar beets and energy beets? To produce table sugar, producers are looking for sucrose, sucrose and more sucrose. Energy beets, on the other hand, contain multiple sugars, meaning sucrose as well as glucose, fructose and other minor sugars, called invert sugars. To create energy beet hybrids, plant breeders select for traits such as high sugar yield, not just sucrose production. America's first commercial energy beet bio-refinery will be capable of producing 40 million gallons of ethanol annually but the bio-refinery will also bring jobs and investment, putting about 80 beet growers and 35,000 acres back into production."
New submitter FuzzNugget writes "A recent catastrophic hard drive failure has caused me to ponder whether the trade-off between security and convenience with software-based OTFE is worthwhile. My setup involves an encrypted Windows installation with TrueCrypt's pre-boot authentication, in addition to having data stored in a number of TrueCrypt file containers. While it is nice to have some amount of confidence that my data is safe from prying eyes in the case of loss or theft of my laptop, this setup poses a number of significant inconveniences." Read on below; FuzzNugget lists some problems with this set-up, and seeks advice on a simpler system for backing up while keeping things locked down.
An anonymous reader writes "You see those stories popping up every now and then — new Dreamcast game released, first SNES game in 15 years etc — but an in-depth feature published today takes a look at the teams behind the retro revival, and looks at why they do what they do. Surprisingly, there seems to be a viable audience for new releases — one developer says his games sell better on Dreamcast than they do on Nintendo Wii. Even if the buyers vanished, the retro games would still keep coming though: 'I wager I'd have to be dead, or suffering from a severe case of amnesia, to ever give this up completely,' says one developer." Update: 03/23 18:28 GMT by T : If you want to play original classic games on new hardware, instead of the other way around, check out Hyperkin's RetroN 3, which can play cartridges from 5 classic consoles.
Nerval's Lobster writes "IBM announced this week that it has developed a way to manufacture both logic and memory that relies on a small drop of 'ionic liquid' to flip oxides back and forth between an insulating and conductive state without the need to constantly draw power. In theory, that means both memory and logic built using those techniques could dramatically save power. IBM described the advance in the journal Science, and also published a summary of its results to its Website. The central idea is to eliminate as much power as possible as it moves through a semiconductor. IBM's solution is to use a bit of 'ionic liquid' to flip the state. IBM researchers applied a positively charged ionic liquid electrolyte to an insulating oxide material — vanadium dioxide — and successfully converted the material to a metallic state. The material held its metallic state until a negatively charged ionic liquid electrolyte was applied in order to convert it back to its original, insulating state. A loose analogy would be to compare IBM's technology to the sort of electronic ink used in the black-and-white versions of the Kindle and other e-readers. There, an electrical charge can be applied to the tiny microcapsules that contain the 'ink,' hiding or displaying them to render a page of text. Like IBM's solution, the e-ink doesn't require a constant charge; power only needs to be applied to re-render or 'flip' the page. In any event, IBM's technique could conceivably be applied to both mobile devices as well as power-hungry data centers."
Nate the greatest writes "Bloomberg is reporting early this morning that Liquavista, Samsung's cutting edge electrowetting screen tech research firm, is up for sale. Details are still thin but Bloomberg's unnamed source indicates Amazon is looking to buy Liquavista for somewhere under $100 million. This rumor confirms earlier reports that Amazon had launched a new holding company in the Netherlands and was going to use it to buy Liquavista. There have also been rumors circulating screen tech conferences for the past 5 or 6 months that Samsung was interested in selling the company. No one in the industry really understands why Samsung would want to do that, but I think the latest demo video from Liquavista explains it. This screen tech simply isn't as good as current LCD or OLED screens, and Samsung might be looking to cut their losses."
New submitter rwise2112 writes "German engineering company Bosch said Friday that it is abandoning its solar energy business, because there is no way to make it economically viable.'We have considered the latest technological advances, cost-reduction potential and strategic alignment, and there have also been talks with potential partners,' Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner said. 'However, none of these possibilities resulted in a solution for the solar energy division that would be economically viable over the long term.'"
girlmad writes "Intel's Pentium processor was launched 20 years ago today, a move that led to the firm becoming the dominant supplier of computer chips across the globe. This article has some original iComp benchmark scores, rating the 66MHz Pentium at a heady 565, compared with 297 for the 66MHz 486DX2, which was the fastest chip available prior to the Pentium launch."
judgecorp writes "With Samsung and (reportedly) Apple already making smartwatches, Google has now joined the party, according to a (paywalled) report in the Financial Times. The Google Watch is apparently being made by the Android group, and could have some synergy with Google's other wearable tech — the Glass spectacles. The distinctive thing in Google's patent seems to be having two displays — one for public data and a flip-up one for more private stuff."
skade88 writes "Apple now owns and runs enough renewable energy power plants that 75% of their world wide power needs come from renewable sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydro. From the Apple Blog Post: 'Our investments are paying off. We've already achieved 100 percent renewable energy at all of our data centers, at our facilities in Austin, Elk Grove, Cork, and Munich, and at our Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino. And for all of Apple's corporate facilities worldwide, we're at 75 percent, and we expect that number to grow as the amount of renewable energy available to us increases. We won't stop working until we achieve 100 percent throughout Apple.'"
judgecorp writes "The first Raspberry Pi Awards have picked the best projects built by schoolchildren using the Raspberry Pi. The winners included a team of 8 to 11 year olds, who built a door-answering machine for elderly or disabled people, and a team of 12 to 16 year olds, who made an automated pill dispenser for forgetful patients. Other categories included adults, who built a wireless home power consumption system."
interval1066 writes "I've generally made it a practice to blow the dust out of my devices 1) when I remember to do so 2) after about 3 or so years of use 3) when I can get inside the case. My monitor is very thin and difficult to open. When I did finally crack it open I didn't really notice a whole lot of dust, but I blew the thing out anyway and put it back together, and it's doing ok, as far as I can tell. I'd be interested in knowing other Slashdotters' experiences with maintaining their devices in this way and where possible. And I actually extending the life of my devices, or am I just wasting my time?"
sciencehabit writes "If you've pondered whether to sink a cool couple of grand into a fancy new three-dimensional TV but didn't want to mess around with those dorky glasses, you may want to sit tight for a few more years. Researchers at Hewlett Packard Laboratories in Palo Alto, California, report that they've come up with a new 3D technology that not only doesn't require viewers to wear special glasses, but it also can be viewed from a wide variety of angles. The advance could propel the development of mobile 3D devices as well as TVs."
necro81 writes "The cooling system at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, responsible for keeping the spent fuel pools at an appropriate temperature, lost power early on March 18th. During the blackout, the temperature in the spent fuel pools gradually increased, although TEPCO officials indicated the pools could warm for four days without risking radiation release. Power was restored earlier this morning, and the pools should be back to normal temperature in a few days. During the repairs, the charred remains of a rat were found in a critical area of wiring, leading some to believe that this rodent was the cause of this latest problem. At least it wasn't a mynock — then we'd really be in trouble."
judgecorp writes "The first Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, worth £1 million, has been shared by five founders of the Internet and the World Wide Web. In addition to Sir Tim Berners Lee and Vint Cerf, the other recipients are Cerf's colleague Bob Kahn, creator of the Mosaic browser Marc Andreessen, and a much less well known Frenchman, Louis Pouzin, aged 82. Working at Bell Labs, Pouzin invented the datagram protocols on which Cerf and Kahn based the TCP/IP protocols. The judges originally planned the prize for a maximum of three winners, but that had to change, thanks to the collaborative nature of the Internet. All the recipients praised their colleagues and pointed out that engineering is always a team effort: 'Fortunately we are still alive,' joked Pouzin. 'It is forty years since we did the things for which we are being honoured.' Awarded in the U.K., the prize is an international effort to create an engineering counterpart to the Nobels. The judges considered entries from 65 countries."