hypnosec writes "A specially designed smartphone for the visually impaired or partially sighted has been launched in the UK. The device, dubbed Georgie, has many special features including a voice-assisted touch screen and apps that will allow for easy completion of day-to-day tasks like catching a bus, reading printed text and pinpointing a location. Designed by a blind couple, Roger and Margaret Wilson-Hinds, and named after Mrs Wilson-Hind's guide dog, the smartphone is powered by the Android operating system and uses handsets like Samsung XCover and Galaxy Ace 2, notes the BBC. The main reason for developing such a phone, according to the couple, was that they wanted to get the technology across to people with very little or no sight. 'It's exactly the type of digital experience we want to make easily available to people with little or no sight,' said Roger."
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Hugh Pickens writes "According to Alan D. Mutter, after a 50% drop in newspaper advertising since 2005, the old ways of running a newspaper can no longer succeed, so most publishers are faced with choosing the best possible strategy going-forward for their mature but declining businesses: farm it, feed it, or milk it. Warren Buffett is farming it, and recently bucked the widespread pessimism about the future of newspapers by buying 63 titles from Media General. He is concentrating on small and medium papers in defensible markets, while steering clear of metro markets, where costs are high and competition is fierce. 'I do not have any secret sauce,' says Buffett. 'There are still 1,400 daily papers in the United States. The nice thing about it is that somebody can think about the best answer and we can copy him. Two or three years from now, you'll see a much better-defined pattern of operations online and in print by papers.' Advance Publications is milking it by cutting staff and reducing print publication to three days a week at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, thus making the Crescent City the largest American metropolis to be deprived of a daily dose of wood fiber in its news diet. Once dismantled, the local reporting infrastructure in communities like New Orleans will almost certainly never be rebuilt. 'By cutting staff to a bare minimum and printing only on the days it is profitable to do so, publishers can milk considerable sums from their franchises until the day these once-indomitable cash cows go dry.' Rupert Murdoch is feeding it as he spins his newspapers out of News Corp. and into a separate company empowered to innovate the traditional publishing businesses into the future. In various interviews after announcing the planned spinoff, Murdoch promised to launch the new company with no debt and ample cash to aggressively pursue digital publishing opportunities across a variety of platforms. 'If the spinoff materializes in anywhere near the way Murdoch is spinning it, however, it could turn out to be a model for iterating the way forward for newspapers.'"
First time accepted submitter cjsm writes "James and Janet Baker were the inventors of Dragon Systems' speech recognition software, and after years of work, they created a multimillion dollar company. At the height of the tech boom, with investment offers rolling in, they turned to Goldman Sachs for financial advice. For a five million dollar fee, Goldman hooked them up with Lernout & Hauspie, the Belgium speech recognition company. After consultations with Goldman Sachs, the Bakers traded their company for $580 million in Lernout & Hauspie stock. But it turned out Lernout & Hauspie was involved in cooking their books and went bankrupt. Dragon was sold in a bankruptcy auction to Scansoft, and the Bakers lost everything. Goldman and Sachs itself had decided against investing in Lernout & Hauspie two years previous to this because they were lying about their Asian sales. The Bakers are suing for one billion dollars."
First time accepted submitter transporter_ii writes "A compressed air energy storage (CAES) plant was first built in Germany in 1978, but East Texas will be the site of one of the world's first modern CAES plants. How does it work? A CAES power generation facility uses electric motor-driven compressors (generated by natural gas generators) to inject air into an underground storage cavern and later releases the compressed air to turn turbines and generate electricity back onto the grid, according to the plants owner. The location near Palestine, Texas was selected because of its large salt dome, which will be used to store the compressed air. The plant is estimated to cost $350 million-plus, and will create about 20 to 25 permanent jobs."
Harperdog writes "Paul N. Edwards has a great paper about the links between nuclear weapons testing and climate science. From the abstract: 'Tracing radioactive carbon as it cycles through the atmosphere, the oceans, and the biosphere has been crucial to understanding anthropogenic climate change. The earliest global climate models relied on numerical methods very similar to those developed by nuclear weapons designers for solving the fluid dynamics equations needed to analyze shock waves produced in nuclear explosions. The climatic consequences of nuclear war also represent a major historical intersection between climate science and nuclear affairs. Without the work done by nuclear weapons designers and testers, scientists would know much less than they now do about the atmosphere. In particular, this research has contributed enormously to knowledge about both carbon dioxide, which raises Earth's temperature, and aerosols, which lower it.'"
theodp writes "Last July, Slashdot reported on Kyle McDonald, the artist who had the Secret Service raid his home at the behest of Apple, who was miffed with Kyle's surreptitious capture of people's expressions as they stared at computers in Apple Stores. A year later, Wired is running McDonald's first-person account of the preparation for and fallout from his People Staring at Computers project. 'I really wasn't expecting the Secret Service,' McDonald begins. 'Maybe an email, or a phone call from Apple. Instead, my first indication that something was "wrong" was a real-life visit from the organization best known for protecting the President of the United States of America.'"
Phoghat writes "A top defense and cybersecurity expert says the U.S. should stop trying to take aim at expert hackers and start doing a better job of recruiting them. 'Let's just say that in some places you find guys with body piercings and nonregulation haircuts,' says U.S. Naval Postgraduate School professor John Arquilla . 'But most of these sorts of guys can't be vetted in the traditional way. We need a new institutional culture that allows us to reach out to them.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Dr. Robert Zubrin has some interesting ideas about what it costs to have an astronaut on the payroll. He says if you’re going to 'give up four billion dollars to avoid a one in seven chance of killing an astronaut, you’re basically saying an astronaut’s life is worth twenty-eight billion dollars.' He wrote about the same subject earlier this year for Reason magazine, saying, 'Keeping astronauts safe merits significant expenditure. But how much? There is a potentially unlimited set of testing procedures, precursor missions, technological improvements, and other protective measures that could be implemented before allowing human beings to once again try flying to other worlds. Were we to adopt all of them, we would wind up with a human spaceflight program of infinite cost and zero accomplishment. In recent years, the trend has moved in precisely that direction, with NASA’s manned spaceflight effort spending more and more to accomplish less and less. If we are to achieve anything going forward, we have to find some way to strike a balance between human life and mission accomplishment.'"
Justus writes "Posts at NeoGAF and IGN show that a quickly-removed Origin advertisement for Medal of Honor: Warfighter reveals plans for Battlefield 4 and a new-game cost of $70. With Battlefield 3 DLC promised through 2013 and PC games cheaper than ever with things like the Steam Summer Sale, are gamers ready to buy Battlefield 4 at next-gen pricing?"
retroworks writes "The New York Times has an interesting article about efforts by the Food and Drug Administration to locate a source of 'leaks' within the agency. The search became a slippery slope involving trojans, keyloggers, screenshot captures, and an investigation that eventually became an allegory for management overkill. The article describes how the investigation of one employee expanded to five, and how the investigation of five led to other staff (including the interception of correspondence to President Obama). The Agency struggled with the gray area between protecting trade secrets of drug companies (which had applied for FDA approval) and censoring researchers with legitimate questions about the Agency's approval process."
An anonymous reader writes "A former Pentagon analyst reports the Chinese government has 'pervasive access' to about 80 percent of the world's communications, and it is looking currently to nail down the remaining 20 percent. Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE Corporation are reportedly to blame for the industrial espionage. 'Not only do Huawei and ZTE power telecom infrastructure all around the world, but they're still growing. The two firms are the main beneficiaries for telecommunication projects taking place in Malaysia with DiGi, Globe in the Philippines, Megafon in Russia, Etisalat in the United Arab Emirates, America Movil in a number of countries, Tele Norte in Brazil, and Reliance in India.'"
wiredmikey writes "Following a shutdown of its 'NVIDIA Developer Zone,' earlier this week after the online community for developers had been hacked, the graphics chip maker on Friday also shut down its online store. The group of hackers behind the attack, going by the handle of 'The Apollo Project,' made mention of the claimed compromise in its original post exhibiting its successful attack against the NVIDIA Developer Zone site. While the company has shut down the online store, it has not acknowledged that a successful attack has taken place. 'NVIDIA has suspended operation of the NVIDIA Gear Store (store.nvidia.com) as a precaution, following confirmed attacks on several of our other sites,' read a statement posted on the site posted. The claimed attackers wrote, 'We aren't acting extremely maliciously, we've used this database to target disgusting corporations who deserve to be brought to justice.. and we are getting there, slowly but surely.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Reuters reports that beleaguered wireless device maker Research In Motion is on the losing end of a patent suit that will cost them $147.2 million. The jury arrived at that number by assigning an $8 royalty for every BlackBerry connected to RIM's enterprise server software. Unsurprisingly, RIM intends to appeal the decision. 'Mformation sued RIM in 2008, bringing claims on a patent for a process that remotely manages a wireless device over a wireless network, a court filing says. According to its web site, Mformation helps corporations manage their smart phone inventory. The company also says it helps telecoms operators, such as AT&T and Sprint, with remote fixes and upgrades for users' gadgets. RIM argued that Mformation's patent claims are invalid because the processes were already being used when Mformation filed its patent application.'"
New submitter TheUni writes with news that XBMC has been announced for Android. Quoting: "Not a remote, not a thin client; the real deal. No root or jailbreak required. XBMC can be launched as an application on your set-top-box, tablet, phone, or wherever else Android may be found. The feature-set on Android is the same that you have come to expect from XBMC, no different from its cousin on the desktop. Running your favorite media-center software on small, cheap, embedded hardware is about to become a hassle-free reality. And as Android-based set-top-boxes are becoming more and more ubiquitous, it couldn't be a better time. ... We will begin releasing apks for interested beta testers in the coming weeks. But for those who are up to the task, as you would expect from XBMC, the source code is available. We have decided not to push to Google Play until we are satisfied that users with all kinds of devices get the same great XBMC experience."
Hugh Pickens writes "Megan Garber writes in the Atlantic that aesthetically, Wikipedia is remarkably unattractive. 'The gridded layout! The disregard for mind-calming images! The vaguely Geocities-esque environment! Whether it's ironic or fitting, it is undeniable: The Sum of All Human Knowledge, when actually summed up, is pretty ugly.' But Wikipedians consider the site's homeliness as a feature rather than a bug. 'Wikipedia has always been kind of a homely, awkward, handcrafted-looking site,' says Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, adding that the homeliness 'is part of its awkward charm.' Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr have built followings in part because of their exceedingly simple interfaces. Everything about their design says, 'Come on, guys. Participate. It's easy,' while Wikipedia, so far, has been pretty much the opposite of that. 'The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit' might more properly be nicknamed 'the free encyclopedia that any geek can edit.' This is particularly problematic because one of the Wikimedia Foundation's broad strategic goals is to expand its base of editors. While the editing interface is friendly to the site's super-users who tend to be so committed to Wikipedia's mission that they're willing to do a lot to contribute to it, if Wikipedia wants to make itself more attractive to users, a superficial makeover may be just the thing Wikipedia needs to begin growing in a more meaningful way."