INDEPENDENT TD MATTIE McGrath is not necessarily advocating a ‘No’ vote in the upcoming Court of Appeal referendum but has expressed concern about possible political influence on the court system as a result of its acceptance.McGrath has said that there is a debate needed on the make-up of the court system if the referendum is successful. He says that the increase in judges and scheduled retirements could lead to the court being ‘stacked by the political allies of this Government’.“I would have serious reservations that we are at the same time allowing for the creation of an institution which would be stacked by the political allies of this Government,” he said.It has already been pointed out, but not highlighted very much that the two new appointments which would be created – in addition to the retirements of two current judges, over the next two years – will give the Government the chance to significantly alter the profile of the institution.The Court of Appeal is planned to sit in between the High Court and the Supreme Court and was proposed as a way of reducing the backlog of cases in the Supreme Court.All four main political parties are seeking a ‘Yes’ vote in the Court of Appeal referendum and McGrath himself is “not explicitly advocating a ‘No’ vote”.Despite this he says that, in the context of the vote on the Seanad’s abolition on the same day, a debate is neccessary to ensure that the country does not ‘sleepwalk into a position where we may unwittingly be giving this Government more unaccountable power’.Read: Alan Shatter and The Supremes: New judges to deal with courts backlog >Column: ‘The current situation of the Supreme Court is unsustainable’ >
Committees: Banks – All eyes will be on the Finance Committee at 2pm in Committee Room 4 as it discusses all matters banking with Patrick Honohan, the governor of the Central Bank. Expect mortgage arrears and the Anglo Tapes to top the agenda.Committees: Taxis – Expect plenty of stories, good and bad, about taxis as some members of the Transport Committee debate amendments to the Taxi Regulation Bill from 9.30am with Public Transport Alan Kelly due to address members at 4pm in Committee Room 4.Everything else that’s happening in the DáilAfter Leaders’ Questions, TDs get down to the Order of Business at 10.51am or a little after that.Then there is debate on the Public Services Management Recruitment and Appointments Amendment Bill which is aimed at reducing barriers to redeployment of public sector workers.After that the second stage of the Fines Payment and Recovery Bill is debated. This law aims to reduce the number of people who are imprisoned for the non-payment of fines by getting attachment orders to their earnings instead.After lunch the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter will answer questions on his portfolio at 2.30pm. WHAT’S GOING ON in Leinster House?Every day the Dáil and Seanad are sitting, TheJournal.ie brings you the most comprehensive guide to what our lawmakers are getting up to in the Houses of the Oireachtas.So, here is what we can expect to be happening in the Dáil, Seanad and Committee rooms today…3 things we’ll be keeping an eye on Dáil: Leaders’ Questions – As ever the questioning of Enda Kenny by opposition leaders will be the potentially agenda-setting event of the day at 10.30am. Fianna Fáil senators will bring forward their as yet undecided Private Members Business at 7pm before Matters on Adjournment are discussed.Everything else that’s happening in the CommitteesThe Justice Committee has a busy day. Starting at 9.30am it will scrutinise a number of EU legislative proposals in Committee Room 2 before it hears from UCD law lecturer Dr Gavin Barrett on the implications for Ireland of the UK opt-out on EU Justice and Home Affairs measures. There is also a motion on the fourth programme of law reform put forward by the Law Reform Commission.The Education Committee will hear pre-Budget submissions from St Vincent de Paul and the Union of Students in Ireland in Committee Room 3 at 1pm.The EU Affairs Committee will have an ‘exchange of views’ with Turkish parliamentarians at 2pm in Committee Room 1 before they elect their new vice-chairman.The Foreign Affairs Committee will hold what looks like an interesting discussion about the Bahá’í Faith in Iran at 3.30pm in Committee Room 1.Here’s how to watch what’s going on Leinster House todayDáil ÉireannSeanad ÉireannCommittee Room 1Committee Room 2Committee Room 3Committee Room 4To access streams on iOS, click here Topical Issues get under way at 3.45pm before Sinn Féin’s motion on education gets further discussion at 7.30pm and is voted on before the Dáil adjourns at 9pm.Everything else that’s happening in the SeanadAt 10.30am the Order of Business begins where Senators have their say on anything and everything.Then the general secretary of ICTU, David Begg, will address the chamber’s Committee on Procedures and Provileges on ‘The 1913 Lockout and its relevance to modern Ireland’At 2pm the second stage of the Protected Disclosures Bill is debated with Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin in attendance on legislation aimed at protecting whistleblowers. Social Protection Minister Joan Burton will listen to statements on the Pathways to Work scheme at 5pm. Explainer: How does a Bill become a law?
THOUSANDS OF OBSOLETE regulations and laws are to be cut from the Irish statute book as part of major overhaul.It’s part of an ongoing programme to cut the dead wood from Irish law and ensure the stock of legislation is simplified.Amongst the passages destined for the chop is a 1764 proclamation “seeking the apprehension of a Kilkenny-based gang known as the ‘White Boys’”.The group were convicted of “committing ‘the most violent outrages” only to be freed by an angry mob “while en route to the county gaol”.Also in the firing line for officials is an order from King George III proclaiming that “‘a general fast and humiliation’ be observed throughout Great Britain and Ireland to celebrate the coming of the Union in 1801, so that his subjects may avoid ‘[God’s] wrath and indignation’ for their sins”.Announced by Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin today, the overhaul aims to build on the improved clarity brought by the Statute Law Revision Acts of 2007 and 2012 which reviewed all primary legislation enacted prior to independence and repealed sections which were spent or obsolete.The ongoing simplification process has been praised by independent observers like the OECD.Read: A pint in the Stag’s Head listed in top 50 ‘must eat experiences’ >Read: Samsung to launch smartphone with curved display >
THE PROBLEMS KEEP coming for Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni.The Italian saw his side hammered 6-1 against Germany on Friday night. And as he prepares for the must-win clash against minnows the Faroe Islands tomorrow night, he’s now facing a ‘player revolt’.Stephen Kelly had a training ground row with Trap’s assistant Marco Tardelli and the Fulham defender had to be persuaded to board the flight to Vagar later on yesterday afternoon, according to the Irish Daily Mail. Kelly has been consistently ignored by the management team and has recently talked about his Euro 2012 experience, in which he saw no game time.Toronto FC player Darren O’Dea was preferred to Kelly on Friday night, as he partnered John O’Shea in the record-breaking defeat. Yesterday, skipper Robbie Keane was declared fit to start tomorrow while Andy Keogh has been ruled out.How do you think tomorrow’s game will go?Opinion: It’s Trap, and not the players, who is to blame for Ireland’s problems
Phased payment throughout the year through deductions in salary, pension or Government payment.Phased payments throughout 2014 at service providers.Payment in full by Single Debit Authority (like an electronic cheque) which will be debited by Revenue on 21 March 2014.This final option of a a full payment on a specified date next year should also be available to those paying by card according to McGrath:I believe the simplest thing to do would be to have a single payment date in 2014 for all those who wish to pay the LPT in one payment. Ideally, that payment date should be in the middle of the calendar year to which the liability relates.Labour TD John Lyons also says that card payments should be made on a specified date next year and that people should be given more time to decide what payment option best suits them.“It’s also the first year they are being asked to pay the property tax for a full calendar year so I believe there should be more time to inform Revenue how they want to pay the tax, ” he added.Read: Administrative issues stop some welfare recipients paying property tax >Read: Over 75 per cent valued homes at less than €200,000 in property tax return > THE REVENUE COMMISSIONERS are facing calls give people more time to pay as people wishing to make next year’s property tax payment in a lump sum by card will have to do so next month.Over the past number of days almost one million people who paid the 2013 half-year Local Property Tax in a single lump sum payment were sent letters asking them how they intend to make next year’s full-year payment.Recipients were told to respond by 7 November if replying by post or 30 November if replying online.In either case if people wanted to make payment by credit or debit they are required to make the payment immediately. Revenue does not explain exactly why this is the case except by saying that: “This is the nature of the banking and credit card systems.”This immediate payment in November 2013 is unfair according to Fianna Fáil and some backbench Government TDs.Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesperson Michael McGrath described the situation as “simply not acceptable”.“The bottom line is that the LPT charge for 2014 should not be collected until an agreed payment date in 2014, ” he said.Payment methods According to Revenue there are a number of alternative methods of payment for those who received the letter. These include:
THE NUMBER OF cancer patients being treated in St James’s Hospital for lung, oesophageal, malignant melanoma, prostate, head and neck cancers has increased 100 per cent over the past ten years, according to a new report.The figure was revealed in the hospital’s first ten year audit of cancer treatments between 2002 and 2012.In a statement, the hospital said the audit showed “cancer outcomes across the spectrum of cancer at St. James’s Hospital compares favourably with international benchmarks”.The most common kind of cancer treated by the hospital is lung, in which it handles 27 per cent of the national workload.Their research among these patients show that there is a similar level of occurrence of the disease between current and former smokers. 10 per cent of the patients had never smoked.The average of age of those treated or diagnosed with cancer in the hospital was 60, with slightly more men than women.CEO of the Hospital Brian Fitzgerald says the report is “essential element in driving quality improvement in cancer”.“The results of this audit will inform cancer care at St. James’s Hospital, and our known outcomes and what it takes to achieve the best results internationally will remain a core objective and will inform strategy.”The data compiled in this audit across the cancer spectrum demonstrates that the treatment programme at St. James’s Hospital has achieved stage-for-stage cure rates that benchmark favourably with outcomes from the best international standards.Head of Surgery at the hospital Professor John Reynolds said that “these audit data enable us to provide actual rather than inferred outcome data to our patients – they will know stage for stage what the actual cure rate is in this Centre”.Read the full report hereRead: Ireland falls 10% behind Europe in some cancer survival rates >More: New rapid response prostate clinic launches in Cork >
THE NATIONAL TRANSPORT Authority has been called on to rectify issues with some Irish Rail ticket prices.Rail Users Ireland (RUI) said today that there were “serious errors” in the fare changes which came into force in December 2013.It alleged that the changes made by the National Transport Authority (NTA) were incomplete and as a result “created a series of serious inconsistencies”, resulting in fare increases for many journeys.According to RUI, it is now cheaper to travel from Rush & Lusk to Grand Canal Dock than the shorter distance from Rush & Lusk to Dublin Pearse.RUI spokesman Mark Gleeson said: “The only way to resolve the inconsistencies in Irish Rail’s fare structure is to start with a clean sheet, ensuring that there is a direct relationship between the distance traveled and the fare charged”.RUI is calling on the National Transport Authority to resolve this issue within one week, with a comprehensive revision undertaken to eliminate all inconsistencies by the end of 2014.It also asks that all future changes to fare zone and bands be subject to public consultation.Bye lawsRUI added:Under Irish Rail’s bye laws (SI 109 1984, section 6) it is deemed to be an act of fare evasion if a passenger purchases a ticket, but leaves the train at an earlier station where the fare is greater.It wants Irish Rail to issue a formal statement that it will not prosecute passengers under this bye law.In addition, it wants both Irish Rail and Leap Card to retrospectively refund all passengers where they were overcharged as a result of this issue.ResponseThe National Transport Authority (NTA) said that it inherited a fare and zone structure which was not distance-based, and “which contained major structural inequalities for users”.We are moving towards a fairer structure of distance-based zonal fares, but are doing this over a number of years, in order to phase-in any significant fare increases for those users who have historically benefitted disproportionately compared to other rail users from the anomalies.Over the last two years the NTA has been introducing improvements across Iarnród Éireann’s Short Hop Zone fares structure, including removing numerous fares anomalies and better alignment of zone fares to distance travelled.In this recent determination, the NTA reclassified a number of origin-destination pairings.However, it pointed out that rectifying historical anomalies “can result in some fares going up and some going down”.It said it has tried to avoid making changes that will result in large increases in order to mitigate the impact on passengers, or decreases for significant numbers of passengers in order to protect revenues to ensure the amount of services available can be maintained.It has limited the changes to pairings that have demonstrated very low levels of patronage. The NTA will continue to remove fare anomalies on a phased basis over the coming years.Naturally, as we began to make changes to implement a more distance-based fare scheme and then left particular origin-destination pairings for the reasons above, then has led, in the interim, to some station-to-station pockets that don’t follow the natural progression of the zones. In no case has the Authority raised fares beyond the distance-based formula.These anomalies exist “because we could not move in one step to rectify everything – without either putting undue hardship on users, or damaging the revenue base”, said the NTA.It is looking at that small number of cases where a longer trip by single ticket costs less than a shorter journey along the same corridor, with a view to possibly bringing forward sooner the required fare reclassification.Fares examplesNTA said that if you examine the fares from Rush & Lusk prior to it making any amendment:rail customers from that station were only travelling four stations before they were paying the highest zonal fare, ie the fare from Rush & Lusk to all stations south of Portmarnock were at Zone E, the highest fare. Comparatively, if you look at Greystones, however, a customer from that station starts paying the Zone E fare north of Landsdowne Road.It gave the example of the Rush & Lusk to Pearse Zone E single adult fare of €5.70, which has not changed zone in 2014 but received the general fares increase.In the implementation of the distance-based zonal structure, this trip needs to change zone, which will result in a fare reduction for customers. However the NTA recommended that this reduction not take place at this time due to the impact on Iarnród Éireann fare revenue.Read: Irish Rail cash fares increase from today>
WHEN MUSICIANS IN New Orleans learned that a proposed new noise ordinance could impact on live music, they held a protest.That protest took the form that only a protest by New Orleans musicians can, particularly when they reached the city council’s chambers:(LiveMusicNola/YouTube)There was due to be a meeting on Friday of the Housing and Human Needs Committee, at which the proposed ordinance on noise restrictions would be discussed, but that was cancelled, as The Gambit reported.A public rally against the ordinance went ahead on the day despite the cancellation.A statement from NOLA City Council said that they had been working to improve the city’s sound ordinances, and that “the lack of enforcement over time and of enforceable laws negatively impacts the quality of life in neighborhoods citywide and the health of musicians and employees, and also stymies development.”A study of New Orleans sound ordinances resulted in a report released in August 2013, and the plan is to turn this into law.However, the committee noted “there has been much public consternation over the perceived intent and impact of the ordinance”.A new meeting will be held on the issue on 27 January.The Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans group is asking that any changes to the city’s noise ordinance “meet the needs of musicians and culture bearers”.It says that “a noise ordinance that threatens the culture of New Orleans not only damages the ability of thousands of people to make a living, lowers property values and endangers quality of life, but it puts the very identity and uniqueness of the City in danger”.Its petition has almost 7,400 signatures.Read: The New Orleans Rose has planned her wedding after THAT on-stage proposal>
Murphy reads from the DDDA credit card statements [Image: Oireachtas.ie]“He did have a credit card, and he signed for it every month, and the notes are kept in quite some detail,” Murphy said.“I was wondering if we could write to him to request information about certain things.“If you go down through the detail of the credit card statements what you see is a lot of travel, a lot of hotel expenses certainly.“But you also see food being expensed as well as entertainment and things like that. For example, you can see significant amounts being spent in places like Lillie’s Bordello and the Town Bar and Grill for their Christmas parties: that was around €3,600 in total— that was in 2005.“In fairness when you come to 2008, you see €331 being spent instead. “It had been a long meeting. But he subsequently wrote back to us to say that he did have one — that he had forgotten that at the meeting, but he’d be happy to write to us regarding what was in those statements. Murphy also referred to a second board member’s credit card which had been used to expense thousands more in drinks bills, including €1,4000 for one staff occasion in ‘Ely’.“What we see is a lot of expenses and I was surprised because Mr Moloney couldn’t recall whether he had a credit card,” Murphy said.The committee was later informed by by the PAC clerk that the former chief executive had been forwarded the statements and was currently going through them.Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell, who chaired today’s meeting, said they would wait to hear back from Moloney before pursuing the matter further. QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN raised over the level of expenses charged to DDDA credit cards during the tenure of former chief executive Paul Moloney.Credit card bills racked up by the former boss of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority and other staff members during the mid 2000s were discussed by the Dáil Public Accounts Committee as it met this morning.Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy raised the issue, noting that committee chairman John McGuinness had raised the matter with Moloney during his last appearance before the panel, but that “Mr. Moloney said he did’t recall having a credit card”.Murphy continued: Ex-DDDA boss Paul Moloney pictured in 2007. [Photocall Ireland] PAC Chairman John McGuinness asked Moloney several times to explain the bills during his last appearance at the committee in December.Details of the statements were originally released to the Irish Independent under Freedom of Information legislation.Moloney had told the committee that he was “shocked” at the details contained in the statements, and said that he would reply to the members in due course.Read: Former Dublin docklands boss defends record and slams ‘grievous accusations’Docklands chair: Governments had 14 years to close Glass Bottle loophole
Updated 19:31GARDAÍ IN TALLAGHT have said Martin McDonagh, who had been missing since Monday, has now been located.The 31-year-old had been missing from his home in Jobstown, Tallaght and today gardaí issued a public appeal for help in tracing him.This evening they said he has been located “safe and well”.- Additional reporting by Michelle Hennessy.
PARADES IN HONOUR of St Patrick’s Day took place across the country today – and further afield too.Over 500,000 people turned out to enjoy the largest of the parades in the capital Dublin; here are just a few of them …
THERE ARE PLANS to bring in cashless welfare transactions at Post Offices – but postmasters want them suspended until a plan for the future of post offices is in place.The Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) is set to meet tomorrow with the Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte on this and other issues.They want the Government to suspend the current move from cash welfare payments to electronic transfer until a plan for the future of post offices is in place.They also want to talk to Rabbitte about a number of other issues: The possibility of providing insurance advice services through Post Offices now that An Post has acquired the Aviva branch network, The Minister to instruct An Post to pull back from discussions with Tesco and other multiples regarding services which is “totally unacceptable to Postmasters” Establishing a mechanism to resolve issues between An Post and postmasters.Cash At the moment, around half of the welfare transactions involve cash payment in post offices, making up 30 per cent of post office business.The Department of Social Protection is moving towards eliminating cash payment by 2017 and replacing it with direct electronic transfer.However, a recent independent report by Grant Thornton concluded that this move would result in 550 of the 1,100 Post Offices closing, said IPU.IPU General Secretary Brian McGann said the union recognises that electronic transfer is a modern medium of choice for many people.But he said a specific plan needs to be developed which “modernises how welfare payments are paid and in parallel modernises how Post Offices provide services”.We are calling on the Government to suspend the migration of cash welfare payments to electronic transfer to allow time to develop alternative payment mechanisms.McGann said a solution could be “a full banking service through the Post Office which would facilitate electronic payments and also expand services provided”.The IPU has recommended the establishment of a working group, under the Chairmanship of UCD-based Professor Ray Kinsella, to report on the issue.It also wants the Government to give priority to its proposal to provide Motor Tax renewal through post offices, and that this move be speeded up.Read: Postmasters distance themselves from campaign to ‘Name and Shame’ TDs>
THE EUROZONE SUNK further into recession in the last three months of 2012 as the debt crisis continued to exact a heavy price according to new data released today.The eurozone economy shrank 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the third quarter when it contracted 0.1 per cent, the Eurostat data agency said, confirming initial estimates given in February.For the full 27-member European Union, the economy was 0.5 per cent smaller in the fourth quarter after a marginal gain of 0.1 per cent in the third, Eurostat said.A recession is counted as two consecutive quarterly economic contractions. Compared with fourth quarter 2011, the eurozone economy was down 0.9 per cent and the EU bloc of 27 off 0.6 per cent.Among the major economies, European powerhouse Germany shrank 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter after a gain of 0.2 percent in the third and France slipped 0.3 per cent after growth of 0.1 per cent.There was no data supplied for Ireland which will not confirm its fourth quarter figures until the end of this month.Non-euro Britain lost 0.3 per cent after sharp growth of 1.0 percent in the third quarter, boosted by the London Olympics.Among the fourth quarter best performers were Estonia, which grew 0.9 percent and Lithuania, up 0.7 percent, while bailed-out Portugal was the weakest, with its economy shrinking 1.8 percent.Eurostat said that for 2012 as a whole, the eurozone economy contracted 0.6 percent and the EU 0.3 percent.Data so far for 2013 suggests the European economy is stabilising after a very bad 2012 but the outlook remains weak and uncertain.- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell – © AFP 2013Read: Davy revises projections for growth in Irish economy… upward
SHOCKING TROLLEY WATCH figures have revealed today that there has been a significant increase in hospital overcrowding since last year with a rise of 187% in patients on trolleys in one hospital.Dublin’s Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and St James’ Hospital both also saw an increase of 154% since last year. Just last month, more than 5,500 patients admitted found themselves on a trolley or in an emergency department.With this in mind, we want to hear about your experiences with overcrowding in hospitals. Have you or a loved one spent a night on a trolley? Were you left waiting for treatment in an emergency department for hours?Share your stories in the comments below…
Verizon Wireless may not have the iPhone yet, but at least the door to Apple products has been opened with the carrier now offering the iPad in conjunction with a wireless data service plan. That doesn’t mean that Verizon is offering the 3G version of the iPad, though. The company has instead paired a Wi-Fi version of the iPad with a MiFi 2200 hotspot.The MiFi 2200 hotspot provides an Internet connection to the iPad or up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices. Verizon’s 3G solution for the iPad is different than the solution offered by AT&T which includes the 3G version of the iPad and therefore doesn’t require a device like MiFi to utilize a wireless data plan. Given that some may view AT&T as having a competitive advantage Verizon has embarked upon a television campaign to tout the marriage between the Wi-Fi iPad and MiFi.The MiFi 2200 is bundled with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions of the Wi-Fi iPad priced at $629.99, $729.99 and $829.99 respectively. Subscribers will be able to choose data plans with monthly allowances of 1GB ($20), 3GB ($35), 5GB ($50) and 10GB ($80). The 3G versions of the iPad are offered at the same price by AT&T as Verizon’s combo price which includes the MiFi. The major difference between Verizon and AT&T, besides the MiFi, is that AT&T only offers two data plans with monthly allowances at 250MB ($14.99) and 2GB ($25).Read more at Verizon Wireless and AT&TBrian’s OpinionWhen I first heard that Verizon would offer the iPad, but in conjunction with a MiFi hotspot, I kind of thought it was a silly idea. Yet, when you compare the data plans between the two carriers and you think about the fact that the MiFi is not only good for the iPad, but other Wi-Fi devices, the decision regarding which way to go is a head scratcher.Personally, I would go the Verizon route simply because of the flexibility the solution offers for possible needs that may arise with other Wi-Fi devices. I would admit that carrying a separate device for use with the iPad would be a pain though. That’s probably a big reason why many people choose the 3G version of the iPad as a solution.Still, the genius about the MiFi offering is that it is not necessarily just being marketed to folks looking for a new iPad. It is also being marketed to those who already have one. For some iPad customers who own a Wi-Fi model, but wish they bought a 3G one, they now have a way to take their current investment and use it the way they want. Considering the amount of Wi-Fi iPads out there the campaign to get people to pair a MiFi with a Wi-Fi iPad is a smart one.
T-Mobile G2 with Google Android Phone (T-Mobile) $49.99 (With Plan)Medal of Honor $34.99 (Down from $59.99)Spoon Transference $1.99 Amazon continues its week of pre-holiday savings by giving customers a jump one some bandwidth-clogging Cyber Monday deals. To be perfectly honest, some of the deals look awfully familiar (we’ve been seeing some since the site kicked off its promotion, last Monday), but some do seem too good to pass up.Check out some of the best deals, after the jump.BOQARI Q1 Metal Earbuds Headphones $49.95 (Down from $299.95)Toshiba BDX1100 1080p Blu-ray Player $79.99 (Down from $99.99)Pentax Optio RS1000 14 MP Digital Camera $99.00 (Down from $129.95Plantronics Voyager PRO Bluetooth Headset $49.99 (Down from $99.99)
If you have a device capable of displaying 3D video, and you’ve been hurting for a place to put it to good use, look no further than YouTube. YouTube and Nvidia have partnered to start posting and hosting 3D videos that can be viewed on any 3D capable device, like the Nintendo 3DS, the T-Mobile G-Slate 3D, the LG Optimus 3D, and others.Of course, in order to view 3D videos, you’ll need the right browser, the right graphics hardware, and a pair of 3D glasses, all of which Nvidia is more than happy to provide you with if you’re interested. For example, if you want to watch the 3D videos on your desktop computer, if you’re not already 3D-equipped you’ll have to buy an Nvidia GeForce GPU, a 3D Vision capable monitor or projector, 3D Vision glasses, and a 3D Vision IR emitter. You’ll also have to use Firefox 4 or higher, and have up-to-date Nvidia graphics drivers.AdChoices广告If that seems like a lot of gear just to watch 3D videos on YouTube, you’d be absolutely correct. Nvidia makes the case that more and more 3D video is making its way on the Web, and if you want to watch any of it, you’ll need the right equipment. 3D video and 3D devices aren’t just a passing fad, they say. Plus, even if you don’t always use the 3D gear, if you have an Nvidia GPU in your system and the equipment on standby, you can enjoy it when you want it.Most analysts have already said that 3D TV and Blu-Ray will probably stick around, even if they turn into “checkbox” features that no manufacturer would come to market without. The jury is still out on whether the 3D trend will carry to PCs and stick, especially since there aren’t terribly many major supporters of the technology aside from Nvidia. YouTube, for its part, knows it has the capability to stream 3D videos, and is likely looking at it as a way to offer streaming video to even more customers on more devices, nothing more.Read more at Nvidia
Learning a language is no easy feat. If you can manage to speak it in real world situations, you’re better off than most. Yet, there are times when knowledge of another language is necessary, but the parties involved are both at a loss. One of those times is war. Translation is an invaluable service, and Lockheed Martin is looking to facilitate that process.The service is called LinGO Link. Essentially, troops call an offsite location where the interpreters are based. By removing the translator from the battlefield, Lockheed is helping to make interpreters more accessible. The risk to a translator’s life is minimized while the translator’s reach is maximized.The exchange requires a customized smartphone, and it can work on cellular, Wi-Fi, or a tactical communications network. The soldier would also be able to send audio, photo, video, and text files to the interpreter during the call. Beyond the standard translation, interpreters can also offer soldiers what’s known as a “whisper-in-the-ear” which is information about the local culture, economy, laws, and other essential data.This can prove troublesome, however, when the network is compromised. Should the connection go out, then all translation is lost. On-site translators are expensive, but infinitely more reliable than a call center relying on network strength and security.While it is a good option, the call center cannot provide any help with body language. Language encompasses more than just spoken words, and body language varies nearly as much as spoken language does. Facial expressions provide invaluable insight to what’s really being said, because facial expressions, however subtle, often betray the words being spoken.I hope LinGO link won’t permanently replace onsite translators–no matter how good they are nuances can be missed and we know how crucial local understanding is. Do you think this should become the norm?See more at Lockheed Martin, via Wired
It’s been a busy few days for the Firefox development team at Mozilla. On October 9th, Firefox 16 made the jump from beta to stable and started rolling out to users via the browser’s automatic update mechanism. Just a day later, a serious security flaw was identified — serious enough that Mozilla pulled the Firefox 16 downloads from its website and put the brakes on updates as well. Late yesterday, however, the Foundation announced that Firefox 16.0.1 was ready for delivery and it was back to business as usual.Now that the exploit has been neutralized, you’re safe to move back to the stable Firefox build from your backup browser. Firefox for Android has been patched as well, so you can return to being a Mozillan on your mobile devices, too, without fear that an attacker is going abscond with your private cache of URLs and their associated parameters.It’s certainly nice to see Mozilla respond so quickly. The speed with which Firefox 16.0.1 was pushed out is positively mind-blowing when you compare it to Microsoft’s most recent browser security patch.A new vulnerability was identified in Adobe Flash last month, which in itself isn’t surprising. What was surprising was that it took Microsoft and Adobe more than two weeks to get together and patch the hole in Internet Explorer 10’s Windows 8 mode. It was their first kick at the can, however, so hopefully lessons were learned and future updates to IE10’s built-in Flash player will be much more timely.Microsoft has tough acts to follow from both Google and Mozilla when it comes to keeping its browser users safe, and it can’t afford to drop the ball if it wants IE10 to be a hit.via Mozilla
According to the Israeli publication Calcalist, Jeff Bezos and his cohorts at Amazon may be planning a bold move to help bolster the company’s future tablet ambitions. Amazon, it’s said, is currently in negotiations to acquire Texas Instruments’ mobile SoC unit.News of the talks comes just shortly after TI announced that it was going to be shifting focus from mobile processors to embedded systems — specifically in-vehicle systems. It’s a segment where Texas Instruments sees a stable, profitable future. The system-on-a-chip business itself, however, it clearly feels is a bit of a risky proposition moving forward.Enter Amazon. The retail giant has leaned on the TI OMAP chip in all of its tablet offerings. The same OMAP 4430 processor that powered the BlackBerry PlayBook was selected for the originally Kindle Fire Best Price at Amazon , and now the 4460 and 4470 are driving the next generation of Fire tablets.Picking up TI’s smartphone and tablet chip division would give Amazon greater control over its own design and manufacturing processes, and could also help reduce expenses. Bezos recently reiterated that the company sells Kindle devices at cost and depends on future Amazon purchases from its tablet users to turn a profit.Some in the industry are speculating that the acquisition could put other manufacturers who currently use TI chips in a tight spot. But if TI thinks it’s time to move on anyway, those OEMs would likely have had to start looking elsewhere — and they already have. Motorola has branched out beyond OMAP, and others could certainly find willing providers in Samsung, Qualcomm, Intel, and Nvidia, too.More at TNW