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Posted by on in CNET

xdsc01727.jpgFinding a Commodore 64 computer wasn't difficult for exhibit curator Kimon Keramidas. The challenge was finding a monitor. Initially, he bought a 1985 RCA television for $5 to use as a monitor and paid $85 to ship it. Joan E. Solsman/CNET Technology, even equipment that's long outdated and shunted aside, can still strike an emotional chord.

Just ask Kimon Keramidas, curator of "The Interface Experience," an exhibit that rounded up tech milestones from 40 years of personal computing for visitors to see and touch. He said almost everyone has a favorite item they make a beeline to and greet like an old friend.

"It's either 'Oh my God, it was so great!' or 'Oh my God, that was so hard to use,'" Keramidas said. "It's an emotional thing. People are connecting at more than just an intellectual level."

The show, which opens Friday at the Focus Gallery of the Bard Graduate Center in New York City, offers visitors a trip through history with what is essentially a gadgety greatest hits. On display are more than 25 different devices, as well as a wall of more than a hundred mobile phones (what Keramidas calls his cell phone "petting zoo") -- all of which can be touched and, in some cases, played with.

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Is there a significant antigen left in this foam?

I know people can be allergic to almost anything, but this looks to me like only relatively simple innocuous compounds remain in the foam.

The point being on the battlefield, what proportion of people would be killed by this from anaphylaxis (say) rather than saved by it?


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angry tapir writes: The Australian government has revealed its (previously mooted) proposed legislation that will allow copyright holders to apply for court orders that will force ISPs to block access to pirate websites. It forms part of a broader Australian crackdown on online copyright infringement, which also includes a warning notice scheme for alleged infringers. They're not the only ones getting on board with website blocking — a judge in Spain ruled that local ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay.
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Posted by on in Slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: A light bulb made from graphene — said by its UK developers to be the first commercially viable consumer product using the super-strong carbon — is to go on sale later this year. The dimmable LED bulb with a graphene-coated filament was designed at Manchester University, where the material was discovered in 2004. It is said to cut energy use by 10% and last longer owing to its conductivity. It is expected to be priced lower than current LED bulbs, which cost about £15 (~$22) each.
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Here's something: Ben Stiller probably listened to a lot noisy proto-punk in high school. You know how I know? Because A-list actor, Meet the Parents star, and plucky goofball Ben Stiller was in a band back in his teen days. He played the drums. He played the drums like a wild, pubescent kid who thought The Stooges were dad rock but totally worshipped Arto Lindsay.

Ben Stiller, rock star

In a classic angry-teen-with-limited-vocabulary move, the band was called Capital Punishment and their only album was 1982's Road Kill. It's actually not bad. It's very esoteric, industrial noise music, but the song above has a weird squawking thing going on that keeps it interesting. And, dream of all dreams, NYC label Captured Tracks is reissuing the whole thing sometime this fall.

Stars: they're just like us.

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With "Becoming Steve Jobs," coauthors Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli seek to dismantle perceptions of Jobs the egomaniacal, callous autocrat, replacing accepted opinion with a retelling of the life of a man who they describe — for better or worse — as being "half genius, half asshole."


"Becoming Steve Jobs" is far from being primer on the late Apple cofounder. Background, when it is offered, is scarce and in many cases superficial, produced mainly as expository evidence bolstering the authors' thesis.

That being said, readers who have at least some semblance of Jobs' personal history will greatly appreciate the book's cache of previously unknown details. Indeed, if someone has heard of Jobs, they are also likely to have been exposed to the cliché that he was an impassive, uncaring dictator.

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Angie’s List has joined a growing number of companies to protest a new law in Indiana that critics say could open the door to discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Indianapolis company said it would put a planned expansion of its campus on hold in the wake of passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The business ratings service said it needs to evaluate the implications of the law for its current and future employees.

“Angie’s List is open to all and discriminates against none and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents,” Chief Executive Bill Oesterle said in a statement Saturday.

Angie’s List is one of several companies criticizing the new law, which allows companies or individuals to refuse actions that impose a “substantial burden” on their religious beliefs. Thousands of people gathered Saturday to protest the law’s passage.

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It's been over a month since Llama 1 and Llama 2 stole our hearts during a glorious high-speed chase through Sun City, Arizona. Now it looks like the furry celebs — whose names are Kahkneeta and Laney — have had their last taste of sweet, sweet fame. The USDA contacted the llamas' owners soon after the chase, saying they needed a license to showcase the animals at public events, The Guardian reports. And the owners, Bub Bullis and Karen Freund, are not happy about it.

Bye llamas

"They just totally destroyed everything I had planned for my retirement," Freund told The Guardian. "We’ve taken [the llamas] to schools before. Now they’re telling me I can’t do anything, even like a photo shoot."

The USDA requires any warmblooded animals being displayed in public or used in educational presentations to be licensed with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Certain animal exhibitors, like those in state fairs or animal preserves, are exempt. Kahkneeta and Laney, however, are not. Bullis and Freund have since attempted to contact the USDA, but because all correspondence must be done in writing, they've given up, The Guardian reports.

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Curb Overspending by Establishing a x201c;No Return Policyx201d;

Generous return policies make shopping easy. After all, if you don't like it, you can return it. That could lead to overspending. If you're prone to this type of thinking, establish a personal "no return policy" to keep your spending in check.

Of course, if your purchase is defective, broken, or doesn't perform properly, return it—no need to be that strict. The goal is to avoid the "eh, I can always return it" attitude—especially if you know you probably won't. You have to be willing to be stuck with an item though before you buy it. This internal policy makes you think hard if you need something now rather than buy-and-return-it-later. Check out the link for other ways stores manipulate our buying behavior.

How to Avoid Impulse Buying: The Deep Down Psychology That Retailers Use Against You, and How to Create a Rock Solid Emotional Fortress Against It | Academy Success

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Pin-Sized Book Reminds Us of Life's Little Pleasures

If you're feeling down, this pin-sized book may be just the thing to cheer you up. Just don't put it in your pocket, or it'll be lost forever.

"Life's Lil Pleasures" was created by illustrator and designer Evan Lorenzen. Lorenzen has spent the last year building a library of "micro books" with diverse themes, including one that details major events in Earth's history, a tiny book of big words, and a field guide to cereal. Armed with nothing but paper, thread, a sewing needle and a pen, Lorenzen says his goal has been to scale down the book-making process as much as he can without using any sort of magnifying instrument.

With Lorenzen's blessing, Gizmodo readers can now enjoy a sneak peek beneath the tiny book's cover. Remember: It's the little things that count, like eating cereal out of your enemy's skull.

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In a bit of accidental perfect timing, Forbes just published its Midas List of top tech investors.

GGV Capital partner Jenny Lee is the first woman to crack its list of Top 10 investors, which is led by such well-known figures as Sequoia Capital’s Jim Goetz, who backed WhatsApp, the mobile messaging company acquired by Facebook for $22 billion, and Lowercase Capital founder Chris Sacca, an early investor in Twitter.

In the wake of the Ellen Pao gender discrimination trial, which shed a harsh light on the clubby world of venture capital, we decided to see how many women made it to the hot 100 of tech investors. The answer? Five (including Lee). That’s worse than the national average of 6 percent of female partners, according to research from Babson College.

Internet trends guru Mary Meeker, a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers — the firm at the center of Pao’s  suit — came in at No. 15 on the Forbes’ list. Biotech investor Beth Seidenberg, another partner at Kleiner, also made the cut.

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DashCast Streams Dashboard-Style Web Pages to Your Chromecast

Chrome: Google Chrome can send any web page to your Chromecast. If you want to close the tab on your computer, though, the content won't refresh. DashCast updates the page so you'll have the latest content.

After you plug in the link to DashCast, you can set how often you want the page to refresh. Then, just close Chrome. It's perfect for constantly changing content like news, weather, or sports, and it won't bog down your computer like casting a Chrome tab would.

DashCast | Github

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Turning Styrofoam Into Aluminum is Surprisingly Easy

If you're looking for a fun, high-risk weekend project, look no further: Grant Thompson, the self-styled "King of Random", has decided to shared his method for transforming styrofoam into metal. (Spoiler: don't try this one around your kids.)

To start, you'll need to cut a model of your soon-t0-be metal creation out of foam. Thompson suggests using foam board from the dollar store, but foam housing insulation or craft blocks will work just as well. Once assembled, attach a thick foam riser to the top of your model, and bury it in a 5-gallon bucket filled with sand.

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Maybe not so smart. Sounds kinda blurry, like a Gen I night vision scope. I think I'd wait a little bit to make sure he doesn't grow things in inappropriate places or start photosynthesizing. But they do have the benefit of previous research as some form of chemotherapy so I guess it won't kill you right off.

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Somebody Found the Most Appropriate Use For the Nintendo Virtual Boy

Remember the Virtual Boy, Nintendo's early, failed foray into virtual reality gaming? Twenty years after its release, somebody's finally figured out the best use for the unwieldily console: Giving all of your friends a handlebar moustache.

According to Hackaday, coder and designer Joe Grand bought a broken Virtual Boy several years back at Portland Retro Gaming Expo. Unsure what else to do with it, he took it upon himself to learn about facial recognition and image processing using OpenCV. He retrofitted the console with a BeagleBone Black Linux computer and created "Mustache Mayhem," a game where you score "mojo" by holding staches over your friends' faces, until those friends can't stand being around you anymore.

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Use x201c;Collection Management Policiesx201d; to Curate Your Collectibles

Whether you have a formal collection or just a bunch of things, all that stuff can overwhelm you. Even if you don't have museum quality items, setting some policies might keep it all in check.

Unclutterer explains why you might be able to get rid of a few things if you take a curation approach:

Museums sometimes remove items if they are redundant with others in the collection or if they are "of lesser quality than other objects of the same type in the collection." They may also remove items that are "unduly difficult or impossible to care for or store properly." Items may also get damaged to a degree where they no longer fit within the scope of the collection, and those items would be removed.

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This week marked the close of the historic Ellen Pao-Kleiner Perkins gender discrimination trial, and a re-launch of Facebook’s commerce ambitions at its F8 developers’ conference in San Francisco. Here’s what went down:

On Friday, the jury in the Ellen Pao-Kleiner Perkins trial found against Ellen Pao on all of her claims. Re/code’s Liz Gannes explained how the trial’s real impact is outside the courtroom (and how what happened outside affected the trial’s key players). Two prominent female tech executives — ex-Yahoo Sue Decker and ex-Palm Donna Dubinsky — penned guest columns representing differing perspectives of the case. And for those who missed the details, we made a “Who’s Who?” of the trial, timeline and guide to VC jargon to help get you up to speed. The big announcement at Facebook’s F8 conference earlier this week: Developers can now build services into Messenger and Facebook has shiny new mobile ad technology to compete with Google and Twitter. The Messenger news is especially big for shopping and payments. In response to Indiana’s new law legalizing discrimination against LGBT people for religious reasons, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said his company won’t be holding any events in Indiana until the law changes. Salesforce employs a couple thousand people in the state, and a Salesforce event in Indianapolis last year drew 10,000 attendees. Tech companies that make products for babies face some serious challenges: Their users age out, the customers have specialized needs and so on. Here’s how these businesses adapt. The unlikely Blackberry turnaround is chugging along, as the company reported another surprise quarterly profit of 4 cents per share. A recent Wall Street Journal report says the Federal Trade Commission’s leadership ignored a staff recommendation to pursue antitrust charges against Google. FTC members have vociferously denied the allegations. A new feature from Re/code: Re/boxing. We send back the stuff that we don’t like, and we explain why. (We actually send everything back as a policy but we’ll write about the stinkers.) First up, the Nike+ FuelBand fitness tracker. Is Meerkat’s reign over? Twitter launched its livestreaming app Periscope, and if you actually plan on streaming video to Twitter then you should probably switch over to Periscope. If you’ve ever had any questions about Apple TV, here’s your chance to learn all about it with our new installment of “Too Embarrassed to Ask.” Google is working on a service that will let you pay all your bills within Gmail, code-named “Pony Express.” The company also hired a new CFO, Morgan Stanley’s Ruth Porat.
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Posted by on in Slashdot

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Uber is no stranger to legal battles, but the tough-negotiating startup appears to be making a rare concession in Germany. The ride-sharing company will pay the government fees for its drivers in the country to obtain commercial driver's licenses, according to a report in German business magazine Wirtschafts Woche. Uber's German chief, Fabien Nestmann, was quoted saying that the company will pay the €100 to €200 cost for a license. He added, "We will also pay the €150 to €200 it would cost our partners to have the Chamber of Commerce license them as taxi companies."

The news comes just over a week after a Frankfurt district court banned the company's low-cost Uberpop service across the country. The court ruled that, per German law, Uber's drivers were required to obtain commercial licenses. In Nestmann's comments to Wirtschafts Woche, the executive explained that Uber would start a new low-cost service in Germany this summer, likely called Uber X, that would comply with the commercial license regulations.

Uber has fought hard to avoid costly commercial licenses

Uber has long maintained that drivers for its low-cost programs like Uber X and Uberpop don't require commercial licenses. These drivers typically use their own vehicles, unlike drivers in the standard Uber (or "Uber Black") service, who are professionals connected with taxi firms and commission-approved vehicles. Commercial licenses can be costly and difficult to obtain, and since Uber X drivers don't work for licensed taxi operators on the side, in regions like Germany they can also be required to register themselves as a private taxi company. Such companies have a whole host of complications, like expensive insurance obligations and complex regulations — that's why Uber has always called itself a technology company, not a taxi operation.

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Canned Emails Suggests Templates for Common Email Responses

Web: Even a simple email can be annoying to write—especially if you aren't quite sure how to put your delicate matter. Canned Emails takes common problems and makes an email template for you.

These emails aren't complex, but get the point across politely. Customer service agents use templates like this all the time to offer apologies and refunds, and most of these templates follow that professional format (like following up on a phone call or cancelling a service). Some are personal, though, like asking someone to pay you back. If you stress over wording of basic emails, import some of these into your favorite text-expanding program and tweak them to your liking. They won't be perfect for everyone, but they're a good starting point.

Canned Emails

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Ellen Pao leaves the courthouse after losing her sexual-discrimination case against Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. The case wrapped up on a chaotic note as jurors were asked to resume their deliberations after the initial verdict announcement.Ellen Pao leaves the courthouse after losing her sexual-discrimination case against Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. The case wrapped up on a chaotic note as jurors were asked to resume their deliberations after the initial verdict announcement. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Talk about a cliff-hanger.

The San Francisco Superior Court on Friday turned into a scene that matched anything Hollywood screenwriters could dream up.

And that's just the jury verdict.

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Ellen Pao, right, with attorney Therese Lawless after the verdict was delivered. In a series of post-trial tweets Pao said, Ellen Pao, right, with attorney Therese Lawless after the verdict was delivered. In a series of post-trial tweets, Pao said, "If we do not share our stories and shine a light on inequities, things will not change." Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Ellen Pao, who on Friday lost her gender-discrimination suit against one of the most powerful venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, took to Twitter after the verdict was announced to elaborate on the trial.

What's amazing is how few Twitter followers the woman at the center of what some are calling a watershed moment in tech history has.

Pao put out a short tweet storm to her 5,834 followers on the Twitter account she set up in 2007, two years after joining Kleiner Perkins Cauflield & Byers as a junior partner. She thanked her supporters, family and legal team and reaffirmed her decision to challenge the firm for what she had claimed was bias against her, during her seven-year tenure, for being a woman.

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We knew Pebble's recent Kickstarter endeavor was doing well. Earlier this month the Pebble Time became the most successful Kickstarter product ever when it passed the $13.4 million mark. Now, the funding period is over and Pebble Time has raised a total of $20,338,986 from 78,471 backers. The initial goal was $500,000.

A hard record to beat

The original Pebble smartwatch was also launched through Kickstarter in 2012, and it remains the third most-funded project in Kickstarter's history. But because Pebble now has more than 100 employees and almost $26 million in outside funding, the Time's Kickstarter always seemed to be more about hype than money. Almost as soon as it launched, the Pebble Time had already broken a Kickstarter record by surpassing the $1 million mark in just 49 minutes.

So, $20 million isn't really a surprise, but it sure is a lot of money. The watches are scheduled to begin shipping in May.

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Five Years Ago

This week in 2010, as is so often the case, there were lots of stupid and/or troublesome moves in the entertainment world. Hollywood was still making up statistics about piracy for the AP to parrot, Warner Bros. was working on a confusing release strategy that favored Blockbuster Video, Universal Music was funding another propaganda campaign against file sharing, and Sony Music somehow managed to take down Beyonce's official videos for piracy. Viacom's true intent in its YouTube lawsuit became clear — pretending that the DMCA requires filtering — and the band MGMT, following a leak of its album, was blocked by its label from releasing the official version for free. Additionally, FIFA was attacking an airline over an ad that didn't even mention FIFA, and the Olympics was trying to block ICANN from offering a .sports TLD. Amidst all this, we also wondered why the government can use the term "music piracy" in court.

This week also saw the full ACTA draft leaked to the public, raising serious constitutional questions. The UK was still grappling with the Digital Economy Bill, making extremely weak concessions to due process while some noted that it sets up a China-like censorship system. And while pushing for this bill that would enable kicking people offline, the government was also looking at moving all public services online.

Ten Years Ago

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Ellen Pao, right, leaves the courthouse with attorney Therese Lawless after the jury ruled against Pao in a sexual-discrimination suit against storied venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.Ellen Pao, right, leaves the courthouse with attorney Therese Lawless after the jury ruled against Pao in a sexual-discrimination suit against storied venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO -- Did Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers retaliate against Ellen Pao when it fired her? Ultimately, a jury said "no."

But it took two rounds of deliberations over two days to come to that decision. A jury of six men and six women returned to San Francisco Superior Court on Friday and by the afternoon was ready to render its verdict. Its initial findings: Ellen Pao had substantially lost her case against the prestigious Silicon Valley venture capital firm.

People in the courtroom audibly gasped, and Kleiner Perkins lawyer Lynne Hermle hugged her team while Pao feverishly took notes.

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Ancient, Predatory

More than 250 million years before the first dinosaur, the most fearsome killers on Earth may have been lobsters. Yawunik kootenayi, a common ancestor to spiders, shrimp and butterflies, was a predatory "lobster-like" creature that ruled the seas half a billion years ago.

As reported this week in the journal Paleontology, fossils of Yawunik were recently unearthed from Marble Canyon, part of the renowned Burgess Shale rock formation of British Columbia. This massive fossil bed holds specimens of many sea creatures that lived during the Cambrian period, the geologic era that saw a rapid diversification of marine life forms.

This particular creature was named after a mythical marine monster that played a central role in the creation story of the Ktunaxa people. The name seems befitting because, according to study co-author Jean-Bernard Carbon, the lobster Yawunik was probably one of the most important predators of its time. "Yawunik is the most abundant of the large new species of the Marble Canyon site, and so, as a predator, it held a key position in the food network and had an important impact on this past ecosystem," Caron said in a statement.

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Posted by on in Techdirt

For this week's awesome stuff, we've got some technology focused on improving your mobile music listening experience in a variety of ways.


For people with Apple laptops, the days of destroying your power cable by tripping on it are over thanks to the MagSafe connector. Unfortunately, the days of destroying your audio jacks and headphone connectors persist, and everyone knows the pain of having to jostle a broken plug around to get its weak connection to kick in. MAGZET aims to fix that by letting you turn any audio jack into a magnetic connector by connecting the small, two-piece device. As they point out, the standard audio jack hasn't been updated in a long time, and this could be just the smart revolution it needs.


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Posted by on in Slashdot

They're getting cracked because they're not paying attention to their security.

But start-ups are all about the most buzz you can generate in the shortest time. You need to get that product out the door ASAP because your competitors aren't going to wait for you to build your secure system first. After all, you're not in the business of security, you're in the business of connecting up the most people and building your community./sacasm*

*Added because even I thought I was starting to sound like a lean-startup advocate

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“Is this the trial of the century?” asked Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal each time I went on his radio show to discuss Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against her former employer Kleiner Perkins.

I wasn’t sure how to answer that. In a sense it’s a ridiculous question (no offense to Kai). It is not hard to think of cases that have set more important legal precedents in the fields of both employment and technology. This was a trial at a San Francisco city courthouse. It wasn’t even a federal case.

But then why were Nellie Bowles and I covering it so closely for Re/code?

Ultimately, it’s because the Pao/Kleiner Perkins trial was not setting a legal precedent, but a public discussion precedent. While we didn’t know that would be the case going in, we dug in and committed to daily reports when we realized what was going on.

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Posted by on in Lifehacker

Top 10 Ways to Break Bad Habits

We all have a bad habit or two we could stand to lose, but habits are hard to break. Whether your bad habit is procrastinating, overspending, swearing, or any other one you want to change, here are ten tips to break free of negative behavior patterns.

10. Fine Yourself for Each Offense

Top 10 Ways to Break Bad Habits

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