Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Is Your Electricity Meter Spying On You?

Posted by samzenpus  

from the unseen-mechanized-eye dept.
lee1 writes"If you have a 'smart meter,' it is collecting data that can reveal when you wake up, when you leave for work and come home, when you go on vacation and when you take a shower. This data is commercially valuable and, if sold to third parties, can lead to privacy invasion on a massive scale. The California Public Utility Commission is reacting to the gas and electric company's mass installation of these meters with new proposals for strong privacy protections."

Do Geeks Make Better Adults?

Posted by CmdrTaco  

from the well-not-you-exactly dept.
mcgrew writes"What makes people unpopular in the hallways of high school, mainly an unwillingness to conform, tends to translate into success as an adult. Robbins lists several companies—including Yahoo!—that prioritize hiring quirky individuals who shun conventional thinking. She also name-checks historical and current celebrities, including director Steven Spielberg (who was taunted for being Jewish in high school) and Lady Gaga (a self-described former theater 'freak'), whose weirdness led to later fame. (Other now-validated former outsiders she touts: Steve Jobs, Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen and Angelina Jolie.)"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Tiny Apartment in Hong Kong Transforms into 24 Rooms

By Eric - Categories: ApartmentsInterior DesignVideo   7 comments

Gary Chang, an architect, designed his 344 square foot apartment in Hong Kong to be able to change into 24 different designs, all by just sliding panels and walls.
He calls this the “Domestic Transformer.” Check out the video of Chang in his apartment below.

23,000 File Sharers Targeted In Latest Lawsuit

Posted by Soulskill  

from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
wiedzmin writes"Subpoenas are expected to go out to ISPs this week in what could be the biggest BitTorrent downloading case in US history. At least 23,000 file sharers are being targeted by the US Copyright Group for downloading The Expendables. The Copyright Group appears to have adopted Righthaven's strategy in blanket-suing large numbers of defendants and offering an option to quickly settle online for a moderate payment. The IP addresses of defendants have allegedly been collected by paid snoops capturing lists of all peers who were downloading or seeding Sylvester Stallone's flick last year. I am curious to see how this will tie into the BitTorrent case ruling made earlier this month indicating that an IP address does not uniquely identify the person behind it."

Portal turret replica has real laser, insatiable bloodlust

By Vlad Savov  posted May 10th 2011 3:22AM

You might not remember Ryan Palser by name, but you'll surely recall the good gent's homemadeFallout 3 plasma rifle. He has since stepped his game up to bigger and badder video game weapon replicas, and has just completed the construction of the first of his forthcoming army of Portal laser turrets. Thankfully, Ryan has been sporting enough to build the older version of these human eviscerators (not the upgraded Portal 2 turrets, phew!), giving us at least a small chance of survival -- provided we have the right gear, of course. See the laser-equipped, GLaDOS-approved, 38-inch tall turret next to its maker after the break, or hit up the source link for some gorgeous photos of its construction.

The Psychology of Steam Wallet & Microsoft Points

Posted by Soulskill  

from the nickels-and-dimes dept.
Hugh Pickens writes"Ever bought something from Xbox Live Arcade? The first time, you may have been a bit bamboozled by the process because Microsoft doesn't just let you put $15 on your credit card to buy a new game; purchases are done in 'Microsoft Points' that you deposit into a virtual wallet and you use the points to buy stuff. 'Gamers possessed of equal parts suspicion and curiosity may wonder why our gaming overlords adopted such a strange system instead of just letting us pay real money for our purchases,' writes game psychologist James Madigan. He says the real reason for Microsoft Points is that sometimes you are going to have some points left over in your account. Leaving money on the table or in your Xbox Live account makes most of us a bit uncomfortable (PDF) because it feels wasteful. 'It's similar to overeating at a buffet or doubling your paper towel use after buying the 124 roll jumbo pack,' says Madigan. 'Even though you could just let those paper towels or Nintendo Points sit there until you have a good reason to use them, spending real money on something else seems wasteful.' And Microsoft isn't the only one – Sony and Nintendo have similar systems, and Valve has even rolled out a 'Steam Wallet' for in-game microtransactions."