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Archive for September, 2012

RockBox + Refurbished MP3 Players = Crowdsourced Audio Capture

September 30th, 2012 09:59 admin View Comments

Image

An anonymous reader writes “Looking for an inexpensive means to capture audio from a dynamically moving crowd, I sampled many MP3 players’ recording capabilities. Ultimately the best bang-for-the-buck was refurbished SanDisk Sansa Clip+ devices ($26/ea) loaded with (open source) RockBox firmware. The most massively multi-track event was a thorium conference in Chicago where many attendees wore a Clip+. Volunteers worked the room with cameras, and audio capture was decoupled from video capture. It looked like this. Despite having (higher quality) ZOOM H1n and wireless mics, I’ve continued to use the RockBox-ified Clip+ devices … even if the H1n is running, the Clip+ serves as backup. There’s no worry about interference or staying within wireless mic range. The devices have 4GB capacity, and RockBox allows WAV capture. They’ll run at least 5 hours before the battery is depleted (with lots of storage left over). I would suggest sticking with 44kHz (mono) capture, as 48kHz is unreliable. To get an idea of their sound quality, here is a 10-person dinner conversation (about thorium molten salt nuclear reactors) in a very busy restaurant. I don’t know how else I could have isolated everyone’s dialog for so little money. (And I would NOT recommend Clip+ with factory firmware… they only support 22kHz and levels are too high for clipping on people’s collars.)” This video incorporating much of that captured audio is worth watching for its content as well as the interesting repurposing.

Source: RockBox + Refurbished MP3 Players = Crowdsourced Audio Capture

How Noah Kagan Got Fired From Facebook and Lost $100 Million

September 30th, 2012 09:48 admin View Comments

Facebook

First time accepted submitter abhi2012 writes “Noah Kagan, a former Facebook product manager, has written a brutally honest article about how and why he got fired from Facebook in 2006 and what he learned from it.
The experience must be particularly painful, given that it eventually cost Kagan a $100 million fortune.”

Source: How Noah Kagan Got Fired From Facebook and Lost $100 Million

BitCoin Gets a Futures Market

September 30th, 2012 09:48 admin View Comments

Bitcoin

fireballrus writes “There is one more way to use your BitCoins rather than buying weed or socks. Recently, a Bitcoin Exchange called ICBIT quietly introduced a futures market, obviously using Bitcoins as its main currency. Gold futures trade roughly at 137 BTC/tr.oz and Sweet Crude Oil at 7.3 BTC/bbl. This may play a positive role in the Bitcoin economy which needs more ways to actually use coins instead of mining them.” While this sounds intriguing, I’d like to hear a good case for why BitCoin makes sense in this context.

Source: BitCoin Gets a Futures Market

CyanogenMod Drops ROM Manager In Favor of OTA Updates

September 30th, 2012 09:49 admin View Comments

Android

sfcrazy writes “There’s some great news for CyanogenMod fans. The CM team has decided to drop ROM manager, which was the de facto standard of getting CyanogenMod updates.” Instead, the CM team is building its own updating method, explained (with screenshots) at Android Police.

Source: CyanogenMod Drops ROM Manager In Favor of OTA Updates

WTFM: Write the Freaking Manual

September 30th, 2012 09:13 admin View Comments

Books

theodp writes “Blogger Floopsy complains that he would love to RTFM, but can’t do so if no one will WTFM. ‘You spend hours, days, months, perhaps years refining your masterpiece,’ Floopsy laments to creators of otherwise excellent programming language, framework, and projects. ‘It is an expression of your life’s work, heart and soul. Why, then, would you shortchange yourself by providing poor or no documentation for the rest of us?‘ One problem with new program languages, a wise CS instructor of mine noted in the early look-Ma-no-documentation days of C++, is that their creators are not typically professional writers and shy away from the effort it takes to produce even less-than-satisfactory manuals. But without these early efforts, he explained, the language or technology may never gain enough traction for the Big Dogs like O’Reilly to come in and write the professional-caliber books that are necessary for truly widespread adoption. So, how important is quality documentation to you as a creator or potential user of new technologies? And how useful do you find the documentation that tech giants like Google (Go), Twitter (Bootstrap), Facebook (iOS 6 Facebook Integration), Microsoft (Windows Store apps), and Apple (Create Apps for IOS 6) produce to promote their nascent technologies? Is it useful on its own, or do you have to turn to other ‘store-bought’ documentation to really understand how to get things done?”

Source: WTFM: Write the Freaking Manual

LightSquared Wants To Share Weather-Balloon Frequencies for LTE

September 30th, 2012 09:08 admin View Comments

Communications

IDG News Service reports (as carried by PC World) that LightSquared, having lost some of the spectrum they’d hoped to use for a nationwide LTE network because of worries it would interfere with GPS service, has a new plan: to use some of the spectrum currently reserved by the federal government for uses like weather-balloon communications. From the article: “The new plan would give the carrier 30MHz of frequencies on which to operate the LTE network. That’s 10MHz less than it had wanted but still comparable to the amount of spectrum Verizon Wireless and AT&T are using for their LTE systems, which in most areas use just 20MHz. Wireless network speeds are determined partly by how much spectrum the network uses, so LightSquared might be able to deliver a competitive service for its planned coverage area of 260 million U.S. residents.”

Source: LightSquared Wants To Share Weather-Balloon Frequencies for LTE

Ask Slashdot: Best Incentives For IT Workers?

September 30th, 2012 09:06 admin View Comments

The Almighty Buck

New submitter Guru Jim writes “Our company is currently looking at our incentives program and are wondering what is out there that helps motivate IT workers. We have engineers/sys admins as well as developers. With both teams, we have guns who are great and really engaged in looking after the customers, but some of the team struggle. Sometimes it is easy to say that there isn’t too much work on and goof off and read Slashdot all day. This puts more pressure on some of the team. Management is being more proactive in making sure the work is shared equally, but we are wondering what can be out there that is more carrot than stick? We already have cake day, corporate massage day, bonuses for exams and profit share, but what is out there that is innovative and helps build a great workplace?” If you’re reading this, the odds are good that you work in or around IT (or hope to); what would you most like to see your workplace implement?

Source: Ask Slashdot: Best Incentives For IT Workers?

African Robotics Network Challenge Spurs Rash of $10 Robots

September 30th, 2012 09:57 admin View Comments

Education

An anonymous reader writes with this story from Wired: “When the African Robotics Network announced their $10 robot design challenge this summer, co-founder Ken Goldberg was careful not to share too many expectations, lest he influence contestants’ designs. But he never imagined one of the winning entries would prominently feature a pair of Spanish lollipops. The challenge, hosted by AFRON co-founders Goldberg and Ayorkor Korsah, emphasized inexpensive designs to help bring robotics education to African classrooms.” Winners include “the lollipop-laden Suckerbot and traditional (roaming) category first prize winner Kilobot, a Harvard-spawned three-legged, vibrating, swarming robot.”

Source: African Robotics Network Challenge Spurs Rash of $10 Robots

EU Privacy Watchdog To ICANN: Law Enforcement WHOIS Demands “Unlawful”

September 30th, 2012 09:49 admin View Comments

EU

First time accepted submitter benyacrick writes “WHOIS was invented as an address book for sysadmins. These days, it’s more likely to be used by Law Enforcement to identify a perpetrator or victim of an online crime. With ICANN’s own study showing that 29% of WHOIS data is junk, it’s no surprise that Law Enforcement have been lobbying ICANN hard to improve WHOIS accuracy. The EU’s privacy watchdog, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, has stepped into the fray with a letter claiming that two of Law Enforcement’s twelve asks are “unlawful” (PDF). The problem proposals are data retention — where registrant details will be kept for up to two years after a domain has expired — and re-verification, where a registrant’s phone number and e-mail will be checked annually and published in the WHOIS database. The community consultation takes place at ICANN 45 in Toronto on October 15th.”

Source: EU Privacy Watchdog To ICANN: Law Enforcement WHOIS Demands “Unlawful”

Indian Minister Says Telecom Companies Should Only Charge For Data

September 30th, 2012 09:39 admin View Comments

Businesses

bhagwad writes “In the US, telecom carriers are trying their best to hold on to depleting voice revenues. Over in India, the telecom minister urged carriers to stop charging for voice calls and derive all their revenues only from data plans. Is this kind of model sustainable, where voice becomes an outmoded and free technology, and carriers turn entirely into dumb pipes which have no control over what passes over them? This is a step forward and hopefully will make Internet service more like a utility.”

Source: Indian Minister Says Telecom Companies Should Only Charge For Data