Weekend tech reading: DOE funds 3.2-gigapixel camera, 10 ad blockers tested, RIP James Flanagan

By Matthew
Sep 6, 2015
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  1. World's most powerful digital camera sees construction green light The Department of Energy has approved the start of construction for a 3.2-gigapixel digital camera -- the world's largest -- at the heart of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). Assembled at the DOE's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the camera will be the eye of LSST, revealing unprecedented details of the universe and helping unravel some of its greatest mysteries. SLAC

    How GOG rescued 13 Forgotten Realms games from licensing hell In the 1980s and '90s, the roleplay system Dungeons and Dragons was huge, and so were the spin-off video games set in the Forgotten Realms -- titles like Pool of Radiance, Eye of the Beholder, Dungeon Hack and the awesomely-named Menzoberranzan. Why have you never played them? Because, like Planescape: Torment and Baldur's Gate, they've spent twenty years lost in licensing hell. And Good Old Games has finally tracked them down. PC Gamer

    CERT warns of slew of bugs in Belkin N600 routers The CERT/CC is warning users that some Belkin home routers contain a number of vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to spoof DNS responses, intercept credentials sent in cleartext, access the web management interface, and take other actions on vulnerable routers. Threatpost

    In Memoriam: James L. Flanagan IEEE Life Fellow James L. Flanagan was a pioneer in the field of acoustics, envisioning and providing the technical foundation for speech recognition, teleconferencing, MP3 music files, and the more efficient digital transmission of human conversation. He died on 25 August, just one day shy of his 90th birthday. IEEE

    Transplant surgeons revive hearts after death Transplant surgeons have started using a device that allows them to "reanimate" hearts from people who have recently died, and use the organs to save others. The "heart in a box" is a wheeled cart with an oxygen supply, a sterile chamber, and tubing to clamp onto a donor heart and keep it fed with blood and nutrients. Doctors say it may extend the time a heart can last outside the body and is letting them recover hearts from donors who haven't been eligible before. MIT

    It's (still) Windows 95's world. We just live in it. In October of 2012, Microsoft released Windows 8, which promised to transform Redmond's storied operating system into one that would run across platforms, from desktop PCs to tablets to phones. It was a huge bet on the company's part, and it largely foundered in a user revolt against user interface changes. Perhaps nothing symbolized the big, unpopular shifts more than Microsoft's decision to get rid of the beloved Start button. ITworld

    Computer science: Enchantress of abstraction The bicentenary of Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, heralds the critical reassessment of a remarkable figure in the history of Victorian science. Ada Lovelace (as she is now known) was 27 years old and married with 3 children when she published the first account of a prototype computer and its possible applications in 1843. Her 20,000-word paper was appended as seven Notes to a translation of a descriptive article, Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage, Esq. Nature.com

    The mobile CPU core-count debate: Analyzing the real world Over the last 5 years the mobile space has seen a dramatic change in terms of performance of smartphone and tablet SoCs. The industry has seen a move from single-core to dual-core to quad-core processors to today’s heterogeneous 6-10 core designs. This was a natural evolution similar to what the PC space has seen in the last decade, but only in a much more accelerated pace. AnandTech

    New cellphone surveillance safeguards imposed on federal law enforcement The Justice Department says it will beef up legal requirements for using cell-site simulators, an increasingly controversial form of surveillance technology that secretly gathers data about mobile devices. Under the new policy, federal investigators will be required to get a warrant from a judge demonstrating probable cause, in most domestic criminal probes. NPR

    Mark Pollock defeats paralysis with the 'Ekso Suit' Irish motivational speaker, Mark Pollock, has regained his ability to walk using a Robotic Exoskeleton and Electrical Spinal Cord Stimulation, developed by UCLA. Pollock, who lost sight 16 years ago, has won the battle over his paralysis after he fell down from a second story window in 2010. After the accident in 2010, physicians told Pollock that it will be hard, if not impossible, to recover the sensation of function below the waist... Pulse Headlines

    10 ad blocking extensions tested for best performance Blocking website adverts in web browsers has been a hot topic in recent years and there are merits to both sides of the argument. Many sites out there bombard you with tons of ads, and quite often you will feel that you have no choice but to use an ad blocker because either the ads slow down the site loading too much, or they are incredibly annoying and get in the way or distract from your browsing. Raymond.cc

    A history of World of Warcraft's gold economy When I started playing World of Warcraft in 2004, it was the heyday of the Chinese gold farmer. Figuring out who was a gold farmer, and discussion over whether (and if so, exactly how) they were ruining the game, was parlour chatter in guilds across the game, from server to server. In an odd precursor to the kind of received wisdom surrounding the Great Recession, inflation was the oft-cited reason the "server economy sucked". Silverstring Media

    Water heals a bioplastic A drop of water self-heals a multiphase polymer derived from the genetic code of squid ring teeth, which may someday extend the life of medical implants, fiber-optic cables and other hard to repair in place objects, according to an international team of researchers. "What's unique about this plastic is the ability to stick itself back together with a drop of water," said Melik Demirel, professor of engineering science and mechanics, Penn State. "There are other materials that are self healing, but not with water." Penn State

    The AMD Radeon R9 Fury is currently a disaster on Linux When AMD announced the Radeon R9 Fury line-up powered by the "Fiji" GPU with High Bandwidth Memory, I was genuinely very excited to get my hands on this graphics card. The tech sounded great and offered up a lot of potential, and once finally finding an R9 Fury in stock, shelled out nearly $600 for this graphics card. Unfortunately though, thanks to the current state of the Catalyst Linux driver, the R9 Fury on Linux is a gigantic waste for OpenGL workloads. Phoronix

    China nears launch of hack-proof 'quantum communications' link This may be a quantum-leap year for an initiative that accelerates data transfers close to the speed of light with no hacking threats through so-called "quantum communications" technology. Within months, China plans to open the world's longest quantum-communications network, a 2,000-kilometer (1,240-mile) electronic highway linking government offices in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai. MarketWatch

    Don't worry, smart machines will take us with them When it comes to artificial intelligence, we may all be suffering from the fallacy of availability: thinking that creating intelligence is much easier than it is, because we see examples all around us. In a recent poll, machine intelligence experts predicted that computers would gain human-level ability around the year 2050, and superhuman ability less than 30 years after. Nautilus

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  2. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,373   +69

    Was a member of ieee. Wonder if it was the same ieee.l
  3. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,664   +1,949

    I heard that Chuck Norris already got a higher resolution on his mobile phone camera.
    I'm guessing that building the machine costs TransMedics a small fraction from the $250,000 they want for it. It doesn't look very complicated to cost that much.

    This is funny, as I remember, not so long ago, Linus Torvalds giving a flamed comment on nVidia's support of Linux, compared to AMD's:
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
    mosu likes this.
  4. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    That heart-reviving article is insane! Thanks for sharing.

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