The Hobbit Will Use Dolby’s Crazy 64-Speaker Atmos Sound

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is shaping up to be a groundbreaking event for film technology. First, we heard that Director Peter Jackson shot the film at 48 frames-per-second , and now he's telling us that the film's sound will be mixed for Dolby's ultra-intense new Atmos system. More »

Boeing’s New Missile Remotely Disables Computers as It Flies By

This is CHAMP: Boeing's new missile otherwise known as the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project. It automatically disables PCs and other electronic devices as it soars through the skies, using a burst of powerful radio waves—and it was successfully tested last week . More »

Increasing Wireless Network Speed By 1000% By Replacing Packets With Algebra

MrSeb writes "A team of researchers from MIT, Caltech, Harvard, and other universities in Europe, have devised a way of boosting the performance of wireless networks by up to 10 times — without increasing transmission power, adding more base stations, or using more wireless spectrum. The researchers' creation, coded TCP, is a novel way of transmitting data so that lost packets don't result in higher latency or re-sent data. With coded TCP, blocks of packets are clumped together and then transformed into algebraic equations (PDF) that describe the packets. If part of the message is lost, the receiver can solve the equation to derive the missing data. The process of solving the equations is simple and linear, meaning it doesn't require much processing on behalf of the router/smartphone/laptop. In testing, the coded TCP resulted in some dramatic improvements. MIT found that campus WiFi (2% packet loss) jumped from 1Mbps to 16Mbps. On a fast-moving train (5% packet loss), the connection speed jumped from 0.5Mbps to 13.5Mbps. Moving forward, coded TCP is expected to have huge repercussions on the performance of LTE and WiFi networks — and the technology has already been commercially licensed to several hardware makers." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple updates iPad with Lightning, A6X, “global” LTE support

At a special media event on Tuesday, Apple announced that it would begin shipping a new fourth-generation iPad on November 2. The updated device features Apple's new Lightning connector introduced on the iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod touch. In addition, it will also include a custom-designed A6X processer and a newer Qualcomm 4G LTE baseband chip that is compatible with more LTE networks around the globe. The revision comes just six months before Apple typically launches new iPad hardware around late March or early April. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple was "putting its foot on the gas" and revising the iPad even faster than before. Jacqui Cheng The new A6X processor is built around the custom ARM core Apple designed for the iPhone 5, which offers twice the processing performance of the A5X. However, it has apparently included some changes to the graphics cores used, as Apple claims it also has double the graphics performance as well. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

There’s a New Version of iBooks with Synced Pages and Continuous Scrolling

Apple just announced a new version of iBooks. It's got a continuous scrolling reading option, which is pretty great. It's also got its own iCloud-enabled version of Whispersync, that will sync your current page across any device you're reading on—iPhone, iPad, etc. You've also got more sharing options, like copying and sharing quotes. More »

Is Non-Prescription ADHD Medication Use Ever Ethical?

derekmead writes "College students' voracious appetite for study drugs like Adderall is widespread enough that it was one of the main topics of a marquee lecture on neuroethics at Society for Neuroscience's 2012 conference called 'The Impact of Neuroscience on Society: The Neuroethics of "Smart Drugs."' It was excellent stuff by Barbara Sahakian, faculty at Department of Psychicatry at the University of Cambridge. Her focus is on prescription drugs for diseases and conditions like Alzheimer's, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and depression, with the fundamental goal of understanding the neural basis of dysfunction to develop better drugs. Specifically, she wants to create drugs with no risk for substance abuse which means drugs that have no effect on dopamine. The true goal then of her research, fundamentally and briefly, is to repair the impaired. But doing so brings us to the discussion of how much repair is ethical when the repair can be disseminated to people who don't actually need it. Divisions abound on what is to be done. Some experts say that if people can boost their abilities to make up for what mother nature didn't give them, what's wrong with that? Others say that people shouldn't be using these drugs because they're designed for people with serious problems who really need help. So another question for the ethicists is whether cognitive enhancers will ultimately level the playing field or juice the opposing team." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

US federal agency dropping 17,000 BlackBerrys in favor of iPhones

It’s no secret that Research In Motion, the maker of the fabled BlackBerry, is on the decline . If falling subscriber numbers last month weren’t bad enough, last week, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) said that it will end its contract with RIM , replacing over 17,000 employees devices with iPhones in a deal worth $2.1 million. “The RIM technology, however, can no longer meet the mobile technology needs of the agency,” the agency wrote in a 10-page document , adding that “no other company’s products can meet the agency’s needs.” Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Pirate Bay Co-Founder In Solitary Confinement

pigrabbitbear writes "Things aren't looking awesome for Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm, who's currently under lock and key in a newly built jail about 15 minutes north of Stockholm. Svartholm's mother Kristina says that her 28-year-old son is being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day without any human contact other than his interactions with the guards. It's been nearly two months since Svartholm was arrested in Cambodia, where he'd been living for years, and extradited back to Sweden, where he's due to spend a year behind bars and pay a $1.1 million fine for copyright offenses related to his role at the Pirate Bay. But that's not why Sweden's being so tough on him in prison. Authorities believe he may have played a role in the hacking of Logica, a Swedish technology company with ties to the country's tax authorities. They haven't charged him with any crimes yet in that case, however." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon EBS Failure Brings Down Reddit, Imgur, Others

Several readers have sent word of a significant Amazon EBS outage. Quoting: "Amazon Web Services has confirmed that its Elastic Block Storage (EBS) service is experiencing degraded service, leading sites across the Internet to experience downtime, including Reddit, Imgur and many others. AWS confirmed on its status page at 2:11 p.m. ET that it is experiencing 'degraded performance for a small number of EBS volumes.' It says the issue is restricted to a single Availability Zone within the US-East-1 Region, which is in Northern Virginia. AWS later reported that its Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) and its Elastic Beanstalk application plaform also experienced failures on Monday afternoon." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Master Modder Makes Xbox 360 Into A Surprisingly Sleek and Slim Laptop

Benjamin J. Heckendorn, more easily known as Ben Heck, makes a lot of cool stuff. More »