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Penny for your thoughts...

EmotivAre you ready to be freaked out?

Then read this article from Wired magazine.

It reports findings of a study that showed researchers could read the thoughts of subjects who wore certain EEG headsets. The headsets, which read brainwaves, are already readily available and help people with disabilities manipulate computers and games hands free.

A team of security researchers from Oxford, UC Berkeley, and the University of Geneva say that they were able to deduce digits of PIN numbers, birth months, areas of residence and other personal information by presenting 30 headset-wearing subjects with images of ATM machines, debit cards, maps, people, and random numbers in a series of experiments. The paper, titled “On the Feasibility of Side-Channel Attacks with Brain Computer Interfaces,” represents the first major attempt to uncover potential security risks in the use of the headsets.

“The correct answer was found by the first guess in 20% of the cases for the experiment with the PIN, the debit cards, people, and the ATM machine,” write the researchers. “The location was exactly guessed for 30% of users, month of birth for almost 60% and the bank based on the ATM machines for almost 30%.”

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Who invented it?

FranklinCheck out this interesting article in the New York Times.

Inventor Mark Stadnyk is suing the U.S. government to try to overturn recent legislation in patent law that he says bows to corporate lobbyists and strangles American innovation:

The present system, one of the nation’s oldest patent principles and called “first to invent,” relies on lab notebooks, e-mails and early prototypes to establish the date of invention. The impending law would overturn that by awarding patents to the inventors who are “first to file” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office . . . .

Opponents say it will give big companies a huge advantage over start-ups and small inventors. Large corporations have deep pockets and armies of lawyers to write up and file patents, they say, and the new law will touch off a paper chase to the patent office instead of a race to innovate. Yet the opponents are in the minority. And there is genuine debate about how much garage inventors and fledgling companies contribute to innovation and economic growth these days.

Proponents of the legislation says it will cut red tape and prevent long legal battles that tend to arise over intellectual property.

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Microsoft Surface reviews...

Surface1Is it the beginning of the end for the personal computer?

Microsoft unveiled its line of tablet computers Monday, called Surface.

The light, compact devices, described as a "tablet that's a great PC--a PC that's a great tablet," is intended to compete with Apple's game-changing iPad.

Surface2The Washington Post pits the iPad and the Surface head to head, doing a side-by-side comparison. But perhaps the most important criterion of the Surface isn't available yet.

"One key point that will help determine how the tablet does in the market has yet to be determined — the price," writes Hayley Tsukayama. 

The Surface's real competition may not be the iPad after all, but Microsoft's own PCs.

CEOBallmerAshlee Vance elaborates in Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

As it does with the Xbox, Microsoft has opted to make the Surface tablets—both hardware and software—on its own. This stands as a huge affront to Microsoft’s longtime PC partners. Making matters worse, the Surface products look far better than anything else the PC makers have shown to date on the tablet front . . . . The keyboard/cover combo is a fantastic idea that immediately makes you question future laptop purchases. That’s yet a further blow against Microsoft’s PC buddies.

 Here's Microsoft's first ad for the device. What do you think?


Movie and a cocktail, anyone?


How would you like to order dinner and a martini next time you're out at the movies?

In an attempt to win back theater-goers who have abandoned outings to the movie theater in favor of watching newly released films on their giant flat screen TVs at home, AMC Theatres is trying out a new concept that gives patrons a luxury dinner-and-a-movie experience.

The movie theater chain has started construction on the first of the new-concept theaters in Marina Del Rey, Calif. which is slated to open in November.

Here's more from AMC:


AMC Marina 6 will offer six Cinema Suites auditoriums, which combine restaurant cuisine and cocktails, the ultimate comfort of luxury recliners, and AMC’s noted immersive theatre experience.

Guests will enjoy restaurant-style dining combined with the most current movies, presented in the immersive, big-screen viewing environment of an AMC theatre. Moviegoers will have the opportunity to order from an extensive menu of appetizers, sandwiches, entrees, desserts, beer, wine and cocktails, as well as traditional theatre concessions. The renovated auditoriums will also feature spacious, comfortable seating and service at the push of a button.

The AMC Dine-In Theatres Cinema Suites concept will be available in all six auditoriums:

Cinema Suites®

  • Premium, upscale dining
  • Reserved seating in power recliners
  • 7.5 feet of row spacing
  • A personal call button that discreetly alerts a server
  • A wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic specialty drinks, beer and wine
  • Guests must be at least 21 years old

For more information about the AMC Dine-In Theatres experience, visit