jfruh writes "When the iPhone was first released in 2007, the blind community assessed it and determined it was essentially useless for them. Today it's the number one phone used by blind people, largely because of the efforts of the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM). NCAM is part of WGBH, Boston's public television station, which broadcast the first captioned TV show in 1972. Since then NCAM has been a lifeline that makes sure that people with disabilities aren't left out of the technological revolution."
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An anonymous reader writes "Boxee has announced the game-changing Boxee TV, offering live streaming TV via two on-board tuners and an industry-first 'No Limit' DVR service that allows users to record as much TV content as they want, and access it from virtually anywhere. The problem is that the unit, which records directly to the cloud, does not allow recording to a local drive, meaning users are stuck with Boxee for as long as they want to access their stored content — potentially hundreds or thousands of hours – to the tune of $14.99 per month until Boxee ups the ante. CEPro.com suggests, 'I suspect Boxee is offering unlimited storage to make users especially beholden to them. The more content you have, the less likely you are to drop the service.'"
Back in 2006, we discussed Jonathan Coulton's 'Code Monkey,' a song about the plight of under-appreciated developers. In the years since, Coulton's efforts to produce geek-oriented songs have propelled him to a successful music career. To mark Slashdot's 15th anniversary, he was kind enough to do a brand new recording of 'Code Monkey' for us. The video is embedded below, and here's a description from the email he sent to CmdrTaco: "It seemed fitting to do a new version of that song. I have all these gadgets that I buy and barely learn how to play, and when I heard you guys were looking for videos and things, it inspired me to sit down and actually try to get some of them working. What you see is me doing a version of Code Monkey performed live on electric guitar and laptop. The grid with lights is a monome running Pages, Polygomé and mlrv on my mac. You're also hearing some loops and noises from Ableton Live, controlled by footswitches, the monome, and the little keyboard, which is an OP-1. Back in 2006 I didn't know what I was doing, and with all these gizmos, I still don't. So that's a relief." Thanks, Jonathan.
sciencehabit writes "Science Magazine has crowned the winner of its annual 'Dance Your Ph.D.' contest. Scientists from around the globe are invited to submit videos of themselves interpreting their graduate theses in dance form. The results are often hilarious--and highly entertaining--and this year is no exception. This year's winner is Peter Liddicoat, a materials scientist at the University of Sydney in Australia, whose 'Evolution of nanostructural architecture in 7000 series aluminum alloys during strengthening by age-hardening and severe plastic deformation' is interpreted as a performance that employs juggling, clowning, and a big dance number—representing the crystal lattices that he studies with atomic microscopy."
alen writes "The FCC is now allowing cable companies to encrypt free OTA channels that they also rebroadcast over their networks. 'The days of plugging a TV into the wall and getting cable are coming to an end. After a lengthy review process, the FCC has granted cable operators permission to encrypt their most basic cable programming.' Soon the only way to receive free OTA channels via your cable company will involve renting yet another box or buying something like Boxee."
olsmeister writes "Ever wonder if the universe is really a simulation? Well, physicists do too. Recently, a group of physicists have devised a way that could conceivably figure out one way or the other whether that is the case. There is a paper describing their work on arXiv. Some other physicists propose that the universe is actually a giant hologram with all the action actually occurring on a two-dimensional boundary region."
concealment writes "Dotcom confirmed to the Associated Press in a telephone interview that he has completed 90% the work on "new Mega" and "Megabox", a music site that he announced in June. Megabox will allow users to download music for free in exchange for accepting some advertisements, and 90% of the revenue will go to the artists."
Curseyoukhan writes "With its economy struggling, New Zealand hopes to cash in on 'The Hobbit' by turning it into actual cash. The nation is releasing special commemorative coins depicting characters from J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved book. The coin release coincides with the premiere of the first installment in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of the book. It is also part of a publicity campaign aimed to rebrand the country '100 percent Middle Earth.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Today in a blog post, Pandora has shared some details of the fees they pay to musical artists for playing songs over their music streaming service. Over 2,000 different artists will pull in $10,000 or more in the next year, and 800 will get paid over $50,000. They provided a few specific examples as well. Grupo Bryndis, who has a sales rank on Amazon of 183,187 (in other words, who is not at all a household name), is on track to receive $114,192. A few earners are getting over $1 million annually, such as Coldplay and Adele. 'Drake and Lil Wayne are fast approaching a $3 million annual rate each.' The post segues into a broader point about the age of internet radio: 'It's hard to look at these numbers and not see that internet radio presents an incredible opportunity to build a better future for artists. Not only is it bringing tens of millions of listeners back to music, across hundreds of genres, but it is also enabling musicians to earn a living. It's also hard to look at these numbers, knowing Pandora accounts for just 6.5% of radio listening in the U.S., and not come away thinking something is wrong. ... Congress must stop the discrimination against internet radio and allow it to operate on a level playing field, under the same rules as other forms of digital radio.'"
An anonymous reader sends this quote from The Guardian: "Doctors and government health officials should set limits, as they do for alcohol, on the amount of time children spend watching screens – and under-threes should be kept away from the television altogether, according to a paper in an influential medical journal published on Tuesday. A review of the evidence in the Archives Of Disease in Childhood says children's obsession with TV, computers and screen games is causing developmental damage as well as long-term physical harm. Doctors at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which co-owns the journal with the British Medical Journal group, say they are concerned."
First time accepted submitter dsjodin writes "There are only 19% females in Tolkien's works and the life expectancy of a Hobbit is 96.24 years. In January 2012 chemical engineering student Emil Johansson published a website with the hope for it to become a complete Middle-Earth genealogy. Now, ten months later, he has published some interesting numbers derived from the database of 923 characters. The site features a set of unique graphs helping us understand the world Tolkien described. Perhaps the most interesting ones are showing the decrease of the longevity of Men and the change in population of Middle-Earth throughout history. The latter was also recently published in the September edition of Wired Magazine."
brumgrunt writes "Not every sci-fi film released in 2013 will be a sequel or franchise movie. Den Of Geek has highlighted the ten sci-fi movies that might just offer something a little different from the PG-13, family-centric norm." The list includes Elysium, from the writer/director of District 9. It's "set in 2159, where Earth has become so hopelessly overcrowded that the richest members of society live on a luxurious orbiting space station." There's also After Earth, directed (but not written) by M. Night Shyamalan, which stars Will Smith and his son Jaden. They "crash land on Earth at some point in the future, by which time it's become a dangerous place devoid of human life." And, of course, there's Ender's Game.
jfruh writes "Klout is a new social media service that attempts to quantify how much 'influence' you have, based on your social media profile. Their metrics are bizarre — privacy blogger Dan Tynan has been rated as highly influential on the topic of cigars, despite having only smoked one, decades ago. Nevertheless, Klout scores have real-world consequences, with people deemed influential getting discounts on concert tickets or free access to airport VIP lounges (in hopes that they'll tweet about it, presumably)."
justelite writes "It is an old trend to build "The World's largest..." something. One of the latest somethings is a 630-foot tall Ferris wheel planned for Staten Island. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said 'The New York Wheel will be an attraction unlike any other in New York City even unlike any other on the planet.' Designed to carry 1,440 passengers at a time, it's expected to draw 4.5 million people a year to a setting that also would include a 100-shop outlet mall and a 200-room hotel."
eldavojohn writes "Although downloading songs without paying for them in Japan used to be a civil offense starting in 2010, it is now a crime with new penalties of up to two years in prison or fines of up to two million yen ($25,700). The lobbying group behind this push for more extreme penalties is none other than the RIAJ (the Japanese RIAA). The BBC notes this applies to both music and video downloads which may put anime studios in a particularly uncomfortable position."