An anonymous reader points out a fun robot project from Japan, writing: "The robot pedals with its feet at variable speed. The steering is done by the robot hands as with a normal bike, and remote controlled by a human. Stability is achieved by relying on the inertial centrifugal effect of the front wheel and on a gyro aided by a PID controller that takes over steering when driving in a straight line. Seems like when the robot steers his arms he also bends the waist leaning a bit into the turn. Braking is achieved by taking the feet off the pedals and pointing them down to the ground using the metal feet as friction breaks."
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Of all the upgrades that distinguish the new iPhone 4S from its predecessors, probably the feature that's gotten the most attention is the voice-based personal assistant app called Siri, which allows a user to accomplish certain tasks almost entirely by voice. A few days ago, as reported by TechCrunch, a team of Android developers came up with an Android equivalent to Siri called Iris (spell that backwards). It took them only 8 hours to have a working, if imperfect, app to play with and submit to the Android Market. This quick video review of Iris says the app is unpolished, but shows promise. For now, it generates some accurate results, and some amusing ones.
First time accepted submitter howzit writes "German paleontologists have discovered what they believe is the best-preserved dinosaur skeleton ever found. The flesh-eating member of the theropod subgroup, which walked on its hind legs, is about 98 percent complete, and also includes preserved bits of skin. 'The around 135-million-year-old fossil is of outstanding scientific importance.'"
First time accepted submitter Alt-kun writes "Like Amazon last month, Kobo is now making the jump to an Android-based tablet e-reader. Priced at $200 and available on October 28th, the Kobo Vox is set to complete with the Kindle Fire rather than the iPad. While Kobo can't match up with Amazon's sheer mass of available content, it is partnered with various major book sellers and has a good-sized base of existing customers. Also, previous Kobo products have made a point of supporting open standards for media, and that will presumably continue with the Vox. For those who aren't familiar with Kobo: they have little presence in the US, but their e-readers are fairly popular in Canada, Australia, and a number of other countries."
First time accepted submitter koper writes "The new programming language Opa makes web programming easier by providing a one-tier one-language-for-everything approach. Now it goes one step further by providing a (very-minimalistic for now) web-based IDE that allows users to compile & deploy Opa programs in one click in your web browser. Give it a spin!"
suraj.sun writes "ZDNet's Ed Bott warns small businesses that if you sign up with Microsoft's Office 365, make sure you read the fine print carefully as an obscure clause in the terms of service limits the number of recipients you're allowed to contact in a day, which could affect the business very badly. Office 365's small business accounts (P1 plan) are limited to 500 recipients per 24 hours and enterprise accounts are limited to 1500. That's a limitation of 500 recipients during a single day. And the limitation doesn't apply to unique recipients. It's not hard to imagine scenarios in which a small business can bump up against that number."
adharma writes "According to Robert Cringely, in 1995 he was granted an hour long interview with Steve Jobs at NeXT headquarters for Triumph of the Nerds and promptly lost. Two weeks ago, a 'PAL-VHS, dubbed on professional equipment from a D1 master' copy of the interview was found and is in the process of being restored." Cringely writes there: "What we’ll do with the 64-minute video depends on how good it looks this week. Maybe we’ll put it up on the Net, maybe we’ll do something more. I’m open to your ideas."
BBC News reports that a German satellite is soon to fall from sky. According to the article: "The Roentgen Satellite (Rosat) is due to come back to Earth at some stage over the weekend - possibly Sunday. Just as for NASA's UARS satellite, which plunged into the atmosphere in September, no one can say precisely when and where Rosat will come in. What makes the redundant German craft's return interesting is that much more debris this time is likely to survive all the way to the Earth's surface. Experts calculate that perhaps as much as 1.6 tonnes of wreckage - more than half the spacecraft's launch mass - could ride out the destructive forces of re-entry and hit the planet."
First time accepted submitter trombonehero writes "Prominent Computer Science researchers from Google, Microsoft and UC Berkeley are starting to sign the 'Research Without Walls' pledge, promising to never be involved in peer review for a venue that does not make publications available to the public for free. Others have made similar pledges in isolation; could this be the start of something big?"
chrb writes "According to Security News Daily, Anonymous has taken down more than 40 darknet-based child porn websites over the last week. Details of some of the hacks have been released via pastebin #OpDarknet, including personal details of some users of a site named 'Lolita City,' and DDoS tools that target Hidden Wiki and Freedom Hosting — alleged to be two of the biggest darknet sites hosting child porn."
Hugh Pickens writes "DARPA reports that more than $300 billion worth of satellites are in the geosynchronous orbit, many retired due to failure of one component even if 90% of the satellite works just as well as the day it was launched. DARPA's Phoenix program seeks to develop technologies to cooperatively harvest and re-use valuable components such as antennas or solar arrays from retired, nonworking satellites in GEO and demonstrate the ability to create new space systems at greatly reduced cost. However, satellites in GEO are not designed to be disassembled or repaired, so it's not a matter of simply removing some nuts and bolts, says David Barnhart. 'This requires new remote imaging and robotics technology and special tools to grip, cut, and modify complex systems.' For a person operating such robotics, the complexity is similar to trying to assemble via remote control multiple Legos at the same time while looking through a telescope."
waderoush writes "Virtually overnight, Siri, the personal assistant technology in Apple's new iPhone 4S, has brought state-of-the-art AI to the consumer mainstream. Well, it turns out there's more where that came from. Trapit, a second spinoff of SRI International's groundbreaking CALO project (Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes), is preparing for a public beta launch this fall. The Web-based news aggregator lets users set up persistent 'traps' or filters on specific topics. Over time, the traps learn to include more articles that match users' interests and exclude those that don't. Philosophically, it's the exact opposite of social-curation news apps like Flipboard or Pulse, since it uses adaptive learning and sense-making technologies to learn what users like, not what their friends like. 'Just as Siri is revolutionizing the human-computer interaction on the mobile device, Trapit will revolutionize Web search as we know it today,' the company asserts."
gzipped_tar writes "Researchers from Ruhr University Bochum demonstrated the insecurity of XML encryption standard at ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Chicago this week. 'Everything is insecure,' is the uncomfortable message from Bochum. As pointed out by the Ars Technica article, XML Encryption is used widely as part of server-to-server Web services connections to transmit secure information mixed with non-sensitive data, based on cipher-block chaining. But it is apparently too weak, as demonstrated by Juraj Somorovsky and Tibor Jager. They were able to decrypt data by sending modified ciphertexts to the server by gathering information from the received error messages. The attack was tested against a popular open source implementation of XML Encryption, and against the implementations of companies that responded to the responsible disclosure — in all cases the result was the same: the attack worked. Fixing the vulnerability will require a revision of the W3C XML encryption standard, Somorovsky said. The researchers informed all possibly affected companies through the mailing list of W3C, following a clear responsible disclosure process."
Nate the greatest writes "It looks like Amazon won't be adopting Epub after all. [Thursday] Amazon released some technical details on the new Kindle ebook format, which they are calling Kindle 8. There are a lot of interesting changes to the file, including new formatting and SVG images. The new tags are going to open up a whole lot of new possibilities for making Kindle ebooks."