Adobe Releases Cool Light -Weight PDF Reader

Adobe Digital Editions is built on the Flash platform. Adobe's solution will work on Windows, Mac OS/X and Linux. Perhaps the biggest difference though is the range of content the Adobe product supports - PDF (obviously), XHTML, and Flask SWF for rich content.

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Be careful what you write online

Be careful what you write on the Internet. According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, one in four managers now 'Google' potential employees and 51% of applications were rejected because of what was found.

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Army monitors soldiers' blogs, Web sites

From the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan to here at home, soldiers blogging about military life are under the watchful eye of some of their own.

A Virginia-based operation, the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell, monitors official and unofficial blogs and other Web sites for anything that may compromise security. The team scans for official documents, personal contact information and pictures of weapons or entrances to camps.

In some cases, that information can be detrimental, said Lt. Col. Stephen Warnock, team leader and battalion commander of a Manassas-based Virginia National Guard unit working on the operation.

In one incident, a blogger was describing his duties as a guard, providing pictures of his post and discussing how to exploit its vulnerabilities. Other soldiers posted photos of an Army weapons system that was damaged by enemy attack, and another showed personal information that could have endangered his family.

"We are a nation at war," Warnock said by e-mail. "The less the enemy knows, the better it is for our soldiers."

Free speech online 'under threat'

Bloggers are being asked to show their support for freedom of expression by Amnesty International.

The human rights group also wants web log writers to highlight the plight of fellow bloggers jailed for what they wrote in their online journals.

The organisation said fundamental rights such as free speech faced graver threats than ever before.

Hacker unlocks Apple music download protection - Yahoo! News

A hacker who as a teen cracked the encryption on DVDs has found a way to unlock the code that prevents iPod users from playing songs from download music stores other than Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes, his company said on Tuesday.

Jon Lech Johansen, a 22-year-old Norway native who lives in San Francisco, cracked Apple's FairPlay copy-protection technology, said Monique Farantzos, managing director at DoubleTwist, the company that plans to license the code to businesses.

'What he did was basically reverse-engineer FairPlay,' she said. 'This allows other companies to offer content for the iPod.'

At the moment, Apple aims to keep music bought from its iTunes online music store only available for Apple products, while songs bought from other online stores typically do not work on iPods.

But Johansen's technology could help rivals sell competing products that play music from iTunes and offer songs for download that work on iPods as they seek to take a bite out of Apple's dominance of digital music.

ITunes commands an 88 percent share of legal song downloads in the United States, while the iPod dominates digital music player sales with more than 60 percent of the market.

Cupertino, California-based Apple, whose profits have soared in recent years on the strength of the iPod, declined to comment.

Johansen, known as DVD Jon, gained fame when at the age of 15 he wrote and distributed a program that cracked the encryption codes on DVDs. This allowed DVDs to be copied and played back on any device.

His latest feat could help companies such as Microsoft Corp., Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which have all announced plans over the past few months for music download services combined with new devices to challenge Apple.

IE7 From a Firefox User's Perspective

A week with IE takes a look at IE7 from the perspective of a long-time Firefox user. The verdict? Microsoft has come a long way but still has some way to go before taking on Firefox and Opera.

64-Bit Vista Kernel Will Be a "Black Box"

Microsoft will operate 64-bit versions of Windows Vista as a tabernacle, with the kernel as the holy of holies, where only its own high priests of security may venture.

There's going to be a kybosh on naughty developers mucking about with the 64-bit kernel; patching will be banned. McAfee and others seem to have already learned of the new deal at Microsoft. Speaking at the RSA Europe conference in Nice, Microsoft security technology unit corporate VP Ben Fathi said the 64-bit kernel will be a "black box".

He compared developers insisting on the ability to patch the code to a Sony Walkman user invalidating their warranty by opening up the device. He said: "It's just not the way the box was designed...we're putting a stop to that."

Fathi conceeded for 32-bit systems the firm will never have the amount of control over security. He said: "That train has left the station."

For 32-bit versions of Vista, it'll be mostly as you were on security. Developers will be able to patch the kernel, only now they'll have to compete with Microsoft's own brand anti-spyware, encryption, and anti-spam offerings. Fathi lamented Microsoft had "missed a great opportunity" last time round.

Whether Microsoft top brass see that "great opportunity" as one to secure systems or to swallow the security market whole remains to be seen. The final version of the Windows Defender free anti-spyware program went live today. Fathi said Defender has already become the most popular download ever from Microsoft, though he was obviously choosing to omit patches from his reckoning.

Fathi trumpeted the firm's plan to make its database of malware more readily available to security developers. "We believe it is important for them [vendors] to have early access," he said, a statement that will doubtless have McAfee wondering why they're splurging so much on legal fees chasing access to Vista APIs. ®

Microsoft Promotes Interoperability for E-Mail Safety Solutions With Sender ID Framework

Microsoft Corp. today announced that its Sender ID Framework specification for e-mail authentication is now available under the company's Open Specification Promise (OSP), an irrevocable promise to every individual in the world that they can make use of the covered Microsoft® technology easily and for free. This is another step forward in the company's commitment to delivering interoperability by design.

Microsoft is committed to working with the IT industry to help protect users and businesses from the blight of online threats. Sender ID, the leading e-mail authentication protocol, aims to help stop the spread of spam, phishing scams, malware and other online exploits in e-mail by helping address domain spoofing, a tactic used in over 95 percent of all exploits where the name in the "To:" line of the e-mail is forged.* Approved by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as an experimental Request for Comment (RFC) this past April, Sender ID gives customers greater certainty about the origin of an e-mail message and enables legitimate senders to more clearly distinguish themselves from spammers and online criminals.

After nearly two years of worldwide deployment to more than 600 million users, Sender ID already enjoys broad industry support. The application of the OSP will promote further industry interoperability by making the e-mail authentication framework more clearly available to the entire Internet ecosystem, including customers, partners, Internet service providers, registrars and the developer community, no matter what model they use -- commercial, open source or academic.

"Great progress has already been made on e-mail authentication worldwide, with more than 5 million** domain holders adopting Sender ID as a best practice today to help protect brands and counter spam and e-mail exploits," said Brian Arbogast, corporate vice president of the Windows Live Platform Development Group at Microsoft. "There have been lingering questions from some members of the development community about the licensing terms from Microsoft and how those terms may affect their ability to implement Sender ID. By putting Sender ID under the Open Specification Promise, our goal is to put those questions to rest and advance interoperable efforts for online safety worldwide."

Google tells it's engineers to slow down

Over the past few years, Google has been pumping out product after product, most of which are still in "Beta" stage at the time they are released. Eric Schmidt admits that Google has been so aggressive in introducing "a blizzard" of new products that "it's confusing to almost everyone."

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Olbermann: "Rumsfeld Gave North Korea Nukes"

Keith Does it again.

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Slashdot | AMD 4x4 Quad Father, Quad Core CPU Details Emerge

AMD recently revealed a few more details of their upcoming quad-core platform architecture called 4X4.

With CPU bundles affectionately dubbed 'Quad Father,' AMD is taking advantage of the inherent benefits of their HyperTransport interconnect technology to directly connect a pair of dual Athlon 64 desktop chips together with system memory. Details here show a dual socket motherboard that support a whopping 12 SATA connections, four X16 PCI Express slots (x16,x8,x16,x8 configuration) and few other bells and whistles. Supposedly Quad Father kits will come with matched CPUs from 2.6GHz up to 3GHz.

100 MPG Available Now! - Popular Mechanics

Why can't the world's car companies make a vehicle that gets 100 mpg? Automotive technology keeps improving and people keep asking the question, but--as with fusion reactors and comprehensible phone bills--the reality always seems to be just a few years away. Sure, student engineers have achieved 2000 mpg in design contests, but those vehicles have been exercises in automotive minimalism, not practical everyday cars.

Steve Lapp, a professor from Ontario, says the moment has nearly arrived. "I've actually gotten over 100 mpg on some trips in my 2001 Toyota Prius," he says. The secret? He mounted solar panels on the car's roof to keep the batteries charged when the sun is shining. If Lapp, a backyard big thinker, can get triple-digit mileage occasionally, why can't the world's carmakers hit the mark on every drive?

PDF version of PM's 100-mpg car design

MIT student hacks his dorm room door lock

A crafty MIT student, has just completed the latest iteration in a series of upgrades to his dorm room door lock. Now because MIT's administration doesn't like it if you hack the door locks or the strike plates, Dheera needed an innovative way to enter his own room without using a key. He's gone through a series of various door-opening mechanisms over the last couple of years -- our favorite one required scanning a barcode on a box of EZ Mac to gain entry -- but he's finally settled on the simplest design, a computer-less setup that involves a microcontroller, a motor, and a PS/2 (waterproof) keyboard. (He's got a much more technical explanation, including a circuit diagram and drivers on his website, in case your SO / parents / kids also have rules about messing with your house). We're now taking bets on how long it takes his MIT classmates to crack his password.

University to teach students to implement BitTorrent and Web 2.0 in business at Torrentfreak

With the help of IBM, the University of Arizona will put together a course designed to essentially teach people how to apply Web 2.0 services like BitTorrent, blogs, wiki’s and social networks in a business setting.

Most of America’s youth already know about and make use of blogs, wikis, BitTorrent sites and podcasts. IBM and the University of Arizona are teaming up to help them put their knowledge to use in the business world by teaching them how to actually create and run businesses around these “social technologies.”

Apparently, the interest in information technology among students has significantly decreased. The Association for Computer Machinery has reported that the number of students choosing to study computer science has dropped by an average of 32 percent over the last 4 years. IBM’s aim is to encourage more of today’s students to pursue a degree in information technology.

Gina Poole, IBM’s head of university relations said that “by gaining skills on Web 2.0 and online communities, students can help businesses and employers better market and sell themselves using powerful online mediums.”

Trojan Installs Anti-Virus, Removes Other Malware

SpamThru takes the game to a new level.

The new virus uses an anti-virus engine to remove potential 'rival' infectious code." From the article: "At start-up, the Trojan requests and loads a DLL from the author's command-and-control server. This then downloads a pirated copy of Kaspersky AntiVirus for WinGate into a concealed directory on the infected system. It patches the license signature check in-memory in the Kaspersky DLL to avoid having Kaspersky refuse to run due to an invalid or expired license, Stewart said. Ten minutes after the download of the DLL, it begins to scan the system for malware, skipping files which it detects are part of its own installation.

NASA Announces Record Ozone Hole

NASA has announced that the ozone hole over the Antarctic has broken all records. From the story: 'From September 21 to 30, the average area of the ozone hole was the largest ever observed, at 10.6 million square miles,' said Paul Newman, atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. If the stratospheric weather conditions had been normal, the ozone hole would be expected to reach a size of about 8.9 to 9.3 million square miles, about the surface area of North America.

Iran vows to respond to any Western sanctions over nuclear program

An Iranian Foreign Ministry official warned Sunday that Tehran would not remain passive if the West imposes sanctions on over Iran's disputed nuclear program, but did not say how it would respond.

Mohammed Ali Hosseini, spokesman for the ministry, made the comments days before a draft resolution is expected to be submitted to the United Nations Security Council calling for limited sanctions against Tehran.

'Sanctions will have an impact on both sides and will have regional and international repercussions. If they choose sanctions we will decide accordingly,' Hosseini told journalists in a weekly briefing.

He did not elaborate on actions that Iran might choose in response to sanctions, however when he was asked if they could have an impact on the movement of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, through which some 20 percent of the world's supply passes every day, he replied, that 'depends on the kind of sanctions.'

Welcome to the world of botnets

It's dress-down Friday at Sunbelt Software's Clearwater, Fla., headquarters. In a bland cubicle on the 12th floor, Eric Sites stares at the screen of a "dirty box," a Microsoft Windows machine infected with the self-replicating Wootbot network worm. Within seconds, there is a significant spike in CPU usage as the infected computer starts scanning the network, looking for vulnerable hosts. In a cubicle across the hall, Patrick Jordan's unpatched test machine is hit by the worm, prompting a chuckle from the veteran spyware researcher. Almost simultaneously, the contaminated machine connects to an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server and joins a channel to receive commands, which resemble strings of gibberish, from an unknown attacker. "Welcome to the world of botnets," said Sites, vice president of research and development at Sunbelt, a company that sells anti-spam and anti-spyware software. "Basically, this machine is now owned by a criminal. It's now sitting there in the channel, saying 'I'm here, ready to accept commands,'" Sites explained. A botnet is a collection of broadband-enabled PCs, hijacked during virus and worm attacks and seeded with software that connects back to a server to receive communications from a remote attacker. And these botnets are everywhere. According to statistics released by Symantec, an average of 57,000 active bots was observed per day over the first six months of 2006.

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Adapter Lets Any Car Use Ethanol

The AutoFFV works with the vehicle's existing sensors to detect the ethanol/gasoline ratio and instructs the engine to operate accordingly. The company has developed adapters for Ford, GM, Honda, Mazda, Volvo and Toyota vehicles.

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YouTube purges 30,000 copyright files

The popular video-sharing site YouTube deleted nearly 30,000 files after a Japanese entertainment group complained of copyright infringement.

The Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers, found 29,549 video clips such as television shows, music videos and movies posted on YouTube's site without permission, an official from the group, Fumiyuki Asakura, said Friday.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company quickly complied with the request to remove the copyright materials, made on behalf of 23 Japanese TV stations and entertainment companies, Asakura said.

Microsoft Looks Within to Design and Test Chips

For more than two decades, Microsoft’s software and Intel’s processors were so wedded that the pairing came to be known as Wintel. But as that computing era wanes, Microsoft is turning to a new source of chip design: its own labs.

The design effort will initially be split between research labs at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash., and its Silicon Valley campus here. Tentatively named the Computer Architecture Group, the project underscores sweeping changes in the industry.

One reason for the effort is that Microsoft needs to begin thinking about the next-generation design of its Xbox game console, said Charles P. Thacker, a veteran engineer and Microsoft engineer who will head the Silicon Valley group. Voice recognition may also be an area where the research could play a significant role.

“Voice is big,” Mr. Thacker said. “You can throw as much technology at it as you want to.”

Microsoft is exploring hardware design now in part because of a new set of tools that will make it possible to test ideas quickly, he said. The researchers will employ a system designed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, that makes it possible to reconfigure computer designs without the cost of making finished chips.

“We are at an inflection point in the industry,” he said. “Our friends say computers are not going to get faster, we’re just going to get more of them.”

Microsoft Prepares Legal Action Over Sony Propaganda

Sony has been showing off the following chart, which supposedly shows a price comparison between the PS3 and Xbox 360. Microsoft seems to have had enough.

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British Troops will be out of Iraq in 16 months : Tony Blair

Tony Blair set a 16-month limit for keeping British troops in Iraq yesterday as he admitted for the first time that they would be a "provocation" if they stayed too long.

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Worlds Fastest Street Legal Car - 2200BHP

One guy in england decided to slowly overhaul his 1972 Voxel Vectra, not what most people would think as a mean machine. What he ended up with was a 9.3 liter v8, 2200 horsepower beast that can go from 0-60 in ONE second. And its street legal!

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Google Announces Website Optimizer

Google AdWords advertisers will now have access to a self-service site optimization tool that helps them determine what content works best to sell their products.

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Fifteen Exercises for Learning a new Programming Language

1. Display series of numbers (1,2,3,4, 5....etc) in an infinite loop. The program should quit if someone hits a specific key (Say ESCAPE key).

2. Fibonacci series, swapping two variables, finding maximum/minimum among a list of numbers.

3. Accepting series of numbers, strings from keyboard and sorting them ascending, descending order.

4. Reynolds number is calculated using formula (D*v*rho)/mu Where D = Diameter, V= velocity, rho = density mu = viscosity
Write a program that will accept all values in appropriate units (Don't worry about unit conversion)
If number is < 2100, display Laminar flow,
If it’s between 2100 and 4000 display 'Transient flow' and
if more than '4000', display 'Turbulent Flow' (If, else, then...)

5. Modify the above program such that it will ask for 'Do you want to calculate again (y/n), if you say 'y', it'll again ask the parameters. If 'n', it'll exit. (Do while loop)

While running the program give value mu = 0. See what happens. Does it give 'DIVIDE BY ZERO' error?
Does it give 'Segmentation fault..core dump?'. How to handle this situation. Is there something built in the language itself? (Exception Handling)

6. Scientific calculator supporting addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, square-root, square, cube, sin, cos, tan, Factorial, inverse, modulus

7. Printing output in different formats (say rounding up to 5 decimal places, truncating after 4 decimal places, padding zeros to the right and left, right and left justification)(Input output operations)

8. Open a text file and convert it into HTML file. (File operations/Strings)

9. Time and Date : Get system time and convert it in different formats 'DD-MON-YYYY', 'mm-dd-yyyy', 'dd/mm/yy' etc.

10. Create files with date and time stamp appended to the name

11. Input is HTML table, Remove all tags and put data in a comma/tab separated file.

12. Extract uppercase words from a file, extract unique words

13. Implement word wrapping feature (Observe how word wrap works in windows 'notepad')

14. Adding/removing items in the beginning, middle and end of the array.

15. Are these features supported by your language: Operator overloading, virtual functions, references, pointers etc.

Is there something called 'namespace / package / module' supported by your language? (Name mangling) - Read More on this.

Article written by Prashant N Mhatre.

US shows signs of net addiction

More than one in eight adults in the US show signs of being addicted to the internet, a study has shown.

"Addicts" showed signs of compulsive internet use, habitually checking e-mail, websites and chat rooms.

More than 8% of the 2,513 respondents to the Stanford University phone survey said they hid their use from partners.

A typical addict is a single, white college-educated male in his 30s, who spends more than 30 hours a week on "non-essential" computer use, it found.

"We often focus on how wonderful the internet is; how simple and efficient it can make things," said Dr Elias Aboujaoude of the Stanford University School of Medicine and one of the researchers behind the study.

"But we need to consider the fact that it creates real problems for a subset of people."

No Ice on the Moon

In 1994, there was speculation that there might be a southern ice cap on the moon — something our exploration of it could take advantage of. Unfortunately, recent evidence has come to light revealing that this probably isn't true.

If there is any ice at the South Pole, it probably comes from tiny, scattered grains that probably account for only one or two percent of the local dust, the authors suggest. "Any planning for future exploitation of hydrogen at the Moon's South Pole should be constrained by this low average abundance rather than by the expectation of localized deposits at higher concentrations," the paper says soberly. The research involved sending a radar signal from the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico. The signal hit the southern lunar region and the reflection was picked up by the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia." Well, it looks like we're going to have to hit Hoth before we hold that kegger on the moon.

Google: Security Mishaps and User Trust

From TechCrunch

Google is pushing full steam ahead with their office strategy, and their hope is to convince a lot of individuals and businesses to trust Google enough to store their documents on Google’s servers instead of their own computers, or servers under their control.

The fact that unauthorized document access is a simple password guess or government “request” away already works against them. But the steady stream of minor security incidents we’ve seen (many very recently) can also hurt Google in the long run. Running applications for businesses is serious stuff, and Google needs to be diligent about security.

Another minor incident came up this evening - a Google employee intended to post on her personal blog and wrote on the official Google blog covering Blogger instead.

Earlier security incidents:

July 2004: Gmail secuity issue allows unauthorized access to others’ registration information.

January 2005: Gmail security flaw allows unathorized viewing of others’ emails.

November 2005: Gmail bug allowed hackers to take complete control of a victim’s Gmail account.

March 2006: Google accidentally deletes its main official blog. They write “We’ve determined the cause of tonight’s outage. The blog was mistakenly deleted by us (d’oh!)”

July 2006: Writely document appears that seems to show internal confidential Google information on the Platypus project.

October 2006: Google blog hacked and fake post published, quickly taken down.

October 2006: User complains that blog posts through the Blogger API are being published on someone else’s blog.

October 2006: Google accidentally releases Google Platypus software.

Google product teams work in cells, which allows them to quickly launch and iterate products. However, there could be a disadvantage to this as well with regard to security, as their does not seem to be one central policy or security group ensuring strict compliance across the entire company. Every security incident damages Google’s credibility and reputation. Microsoft has been dealing with security issues forever - Google may need to start fighting the same war.

Microsoft researcher wants to back up your brain.

"The quest is to essentially build a surrogate memory. Something that's as good as my own memory, that I can use it as a supplement, and will remember everything that I should have remembered, that came to my ears, eyes, whatever," Microsoft's Bell said of his experiment.

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Italy Adopts Microsoft Anti-Child-Porn Technology

The Child Exploitation Tracking System is a database to help investigators sift through suspect Web site and electronic communications. Several other European nations are expected to adopt the system in the coming months. Microsoft has spent $7 million developing the system and is giving it free-of-charge to governments.

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Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 to run on PS3

Sony's Kutaragi gave the rumor mill plenty of fodder by speculating that multiple operating systems were being mulled over for use in the PlayStation 3, and eventually Sony posted an article confirming its interest in both OS X and Linux options. Now it appears that we just might have a winner. Terra Soft's website proudly displays that the forthcoming version of Yellow Dog Linux "supports the PlayStation 3 console," and leaves hints that we might see a few sweet video demonstrations in the near future. While intricate details about the the OS's compatibility with the sure-to-be-scarce console are still few and far between, we're expecting it to drop "in mid-November" to presumably coincide with the November PS3 launch dates -- but at least pulling strings to get your name on a less-than-assuring pre-order list probably won't be necessary here.

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PLAYSTATION 3 to use Firefox as browser

Under basic agreement with SCEI, Terra Soft was granted a unique opportunity to develop and bring to market a complete Linux OS for the Sony PLAYSTATION 3. In development of Yellow Dog Linux v5.0, Terra Soft integrated and enhanced code from Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Sony Group, and Fedora in order to offer the following:

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Microsoft U-turns on Vista data

Microsoft has agreed to provide code so that software companies can provide their own security add-ons to its Vista operating system.

Rivals had previously complained they were locked out from the security system for Vista.

Experts warned the lack of access increased the risk of malicious hacks and viruses.

"While we are encouraged by their statements and are hopeful their actions will indeed lead to customers being allowed to use whatever security solutions they would like on the Vista operating system, the operative question is exactly when will the final detailed information be made available to security providers?" read a statement from Symantec.

It is concerned that, with Vista due to ship to businesses within the next few weeks, time is running out.

Earlier this month, security firm McAfee took out a full-page advert in the Financial Times to alert readers to its worries about the way Microsoft was handling the release of its new operating system.

Apple selling iPods with viruses infecting Windows

Apple Computer warned on Tuesday that some of its latest iPods have shipped with a Windows virus.

The company said that a small number of video iPods made after Sept. 12 included the RavMonE virus. It said it has seen fewer than 25 reports of the problem, which it said does not affect other models of the media player, nor does it affect Macs.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company apologized on its Web site for the problem, but also used the opportunity to jab at Microsoft, its operating system rival.

"As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it," Apple said on its site.

Human species 'may split in two'

Humanity may split into two sub-species in 100,000 years' time as predicted by HG Wells, an expert has said.

Evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics expects a genetic upper class and a dim-witted underclass to emerge.

The human race would peak in the year 3000, he said - before a decline due to dependence on technology.

People would become choosier about their sexual partners, causing humanity to divide into sub-species, he added.

The descendants of the genetic upper class would be tall, slim, healthy, attractive, intelligent, and creative and a far cry from the "underclass" humans who would have evolved into dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like creatures.

Apple and Microsoft: a tale of two piracy fighters

A recent interview between Apple founding CEO Steven Jobs and Newsweek editor Steven Levy was most instructive with respect to the differences between Apple and Microsoft when it comes to fighting piracy of music and software.

To be clear on what we are talking about, both Microsoft and Apple have been wildly successful in creating dominant - in Microsoft's case monopolistic - market shares in their respective areas of desktop software and portable music players.

In the case of both companies they have had to contend with the thorny issue of piracy. In many ways, their successful approach has been exactly the same - to turn a blind eye to it.

The Jobs interview, which marked the fifth anniversary of iPod, revealed that the Apple co-founder claims that if you charge the market a price it will accept for music, users will forgo illegal downloads and pay iTunes to download tracks. Jobs is indeed correct when he says this strategy has worked - iTunes has had something like 1.5 billion downloads.

What Jobs didn't say, however, is that the strategy only works up to a point. Of the hundreds and sometimes thousands of tracks that each iPod owner has on his or her player, on average only 20 to 25 were bought through iTunes.

Where did the rest come from? They were ripped from CDs, downloaded from other legal music sites, burned to CDs and then ripped from CDs, downloaded from illegal file sharing music sites - well you get the picture.

The fact is that iTunes is the most convenient way to get music onto your iPod but it is certainly not the only way. Apple knows this all too well.

Yet, with 80% market share or so, Apple has no intention of checking the contents of their iPods for illegal downloads each time they download a new iTunes track. A good way to reduce piracy for Apple would be to stop users from being able to rip tracks off CDs. Apple could reduce it even further by preventing users from burning tracks to CDs. After all, with an iPod that can be plugged into a home or car sound system, who needs CDs?

However, Apple has not done any of these things because the reality is that doing any one of them would put a damper on iPod sales and reduce its market share.

For many years, the situation has been somewhat similar with Microsoft and its Windows operating system. There are some differences however.

One key difference is that Microsoft has more than a dominant marketshare - it's a virtual monopoly. Thus, Microsoft charges what many believe is too much for their product, knowing that most users have no real choice but to pay or to illegally pirate the software.

Unlike the case with Apple, the majority of Microsoft software sitting on users' machines is legitimate. There is, however, a significant minority of pirated Windows copies - particularly in economically challenged regions of the world.

Until recently, Microsoft has turned a blind eye to this piracy, knowing like Apple that sooner or later many pirate users will convert to legitimate users - like for instance the first time they buy a brand name computer. In fact there is a strong argument to say that turning a blind eye to piracy has helped the proliferation of Windows.

We have now reached a point where the strategy of Microsoft is about to deviate from the path that has served it so well. With the release of Vista, Microsoft is about to do two things that could be deemed to be risky plays.

First, Microsoft is going to raise prices to a level that many would consider unacceptable. Second, using its Software Protection Program (SPP), Microsoft is going to scrutinize every single user as if they were a potential pirate and, if it deems that they are, it will disable their machines unless they pay up.

Why are these risky plays?

As far as prices are concerned, Apple CEO Jobs hit the nail on the head when he said, "If you want to stop piracy, the way to stop it is by competing with it, by offering a better product at a fair price." Many would argue that raising Windows to prices as high as hardware in some cases is not a fair price. In the affluent West, most people will pay it but in the second and third worlds, this will be an issue.

One of the reasons Microsoft grew into the most successful IT company of all time, and in the process nearly put Apple out of business, is that it originally offered users a reasonably priced product and the freedom to choose their hardware supplier. As the cost of hardware has dropped, Microsoft has increased its prices to the point where it is no longer reasonably priced.

As far as SPP is concerned, it will certainly stop the pirate users but it will also stop many of them from buying legitimate copies of Windows some time in the future because it will force them to look for free alternatives in the present such as Linux. It will also create bad feeling amongst legitimate users.

We have in the past been criticised by some readers for occasionally basing stories on our own polls. However, we decided to let a poll run for about one week asking the question: Is the Vista Software Protection Program fair to users? Of the 1312 responses, 1033 answered no (78.7%) and 279 answered yes (21.3%).

Admittedly it's hard to tell from polls like this whether the feeling is really that strong among users. However, it goes without saying that many people do not like the prospect of being constantly policed by a vendor to which they've already paid good money.

Maybe Microsoft believes that all this will not matter. If so, it may find that it has lost touch with its users.

Google Campus to Become Solar-powered

Reuters is reporting that Google is equipping its headquarters with a solar panel 'capable of generating 1.6 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 1,000 California homes.' This will make Google's Mountain View campus the largest solar-powered office complex in the United States.

attractive face evolved on basis of scientific research

Google helps you hack any computer.

Security professionals warned developers on Thursday that they need to be aware that their open-source repositories can now be easily mined, allowing attackers to target programs that are likely to be flawed. While Google could previously be used to look for specific strings, now the search engine riffles through code that much better. "It is going deeper into places where code is publicly available, and it's clearly picking up stuff really well," said Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer of security startup Veracode. "This makes it easier and faster for attackers to find vulnerabilities--not for people that want to attack a (specific) Web site, but for people that want to attack any Web site."

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List of acquisitions by Yahoo

This is a listing of corporate acquisitions made by Yahoo!, since 1997. (wikipedia)

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Element # 118 has been created

The heaviest element yet, Element 118, has been created in Dubna, Russia by a collaboration of researchers from Russia's Joint Institute for Nuclear Research and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the US. They created the new element by fusing together Californium (element 98) and Calcium atoms. The achievement comes five years after the scandal-plagued retraction of an earlier claim, which was based on fabricated data, that three atoms of element 118 had been produced at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. The achievement was reported on October 9 in the journal Physical Review C (subscription needed to read more than the abstract)."

Floating Nuclear power plant

In 'A Floating Chernobyl?,' Popular Science reports that two Russian companies plan to build the world's first floating nuclear power plant to deliver cheap electricity to northern territories. The construction should start next year for a deployment in 2010. The huge barge will be home for two 60-megawatt nuclear reactors which will work until 2050... if everything works fine. It looks like a frightening idea, don't you think? But read more for additional details and pictures of this floating nuclear power plant.

Google Office To Get an API

Google's new office applications, Docs & Spreadsheets, will provide APIs for custom apps. Johnathan Rochelle, project manager: 'We definitely want to build out APIs, especially for the spreadsheets side, as spreadsheets are more data-oriented, but maybe also for the word processor. People will be able to do mashups with our tools for other things, and not be stuck behind our dev cycle for everything they want. If I've already got data somewhere you can't really rely on manual cut-and-paste to make it collaborative. Imagine pulling data from any application you've already got in use... you get that data over to the hosted app, make it collaborative, then bring it back... that's what we'd like to enable at some point. [via Slashdot.org]

As The Arabs See The Jews

This fascinating essay, written by King Hussein's grandfather King Abdullah, appeared in the United States six months before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.Excerpt:I was puzzled for a long time about the odd belief which apparently persists in America that Palestine has somehow "always been a Jewish land." Recently an American I talked to cleared up this mystery. He pointed out that the only things most Americans know about Palestine are what they read in the Bible. It was a Jewish land in those days, they reason, and they assume it has always remained so.Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is absurd to reach so far back into the mists of history to argue about who should have Palestine today, and I apologise for it. Yet the Jews do this, and I must reply to their "historic claim." I wonder if the world has ever seen a stranger sight than a group of people seriously pretending to claim a land because their ancestors lived there some 2,000 years ago!

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Big Screens Make Employees More Productive

If your company uses 17" or 19" monitors, 30" monitors will make the employees more productive, Apple-sponsored research says. MacWorld reports: 'Pfeiffer's testing showed time savings of 13.63 seconds when moving files between folders using the larger screen — 15.7 seconds compared to 29.3 seconds on the 17-in. monitor — for a productivity gain of 46.45 percent. The testing showed a 65.09 percent productivity gain when dragging and dropping between images — a task that took 6.4 seconds on the larger monitor compared to 18.3 seconds using the smaller screen. And cutting and pasting cells from Excel spreadsheets resulted in a 51.31 percent productivity gain — a task that took 20.7 seconds on the larger monitor versus 42.6 seconds on the smaller screen.

Calling such task-specific speed jolts 'productivity gains' seems optimistic unless some measure of overall producivity backs up that claim, but don't mention that on the purchase order request.

EU Rejects Spam Maker's Trademark Bid

The producer of the canned pork product Spam has lost a bid to claim the word as a trademark for unsolicited e-mails. EU trademark officials rejected Hormel Foods Corp.'s appeal, dealing the company another setback in its struggle to prevent software companies from using the word 'spam' in their products, a practice it argued was diluting its brand name. The European Office of Trade Marks and Designs, noting that the vast majority of the hits yielded by a Google search for the word made no reference to the food, said that 'the most evident meaning of the term SPAM for the consumers ... will certainly be unsolicited, usually commercial e-mail, rather than a designation for canned spicy ham.

PCI Express 2.0 Due By Year's End

Taking center stage among the other enhancements planned for PCI Express 2.0 is a doubling of the bit rate to from 2.5 gigabits per second to 5 Gbit/s. That is 32x acceleration note that normal AGP has maximum 8x acceleration. But there are also a number of planned improvements in the works for both the protocol and software layers of the architecture as well.

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America has now killed more Iraqi civilians than Saddam

A new study asserts that roughly 600,000 Iraqis have died from violence since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, a figure many times higher than any previous estimate. Human Rights Watch has estimated Saddam Hussein's regime killed 250,000 to 290,000 people over 20 years.

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Digital sun

Olle Essvik’s Sunclock is a lamp that tracks the sun's movement in the sky and follows it. When the sun rises in the morning the light bulb starts with nearly no light at all, intensifying every second, shining brightest in middle of the day. After this the light begins to fade with the sun, appearing dimmest at sunset.


0pwerth1.jpg

Now what's interesting is that the work has also an internet and a mobile phone version.

The net one is coded specific for a geographical location. A yellow field moves on the computer screen, reflecting the sun movements in the sky. Of course the movement can hardly be seen. When the sun rises a yellow field starts to move. At mid-day the whole screen is yellow.

0perth22.jpg

The mobile version functions like the net version, only on a phone screen. Download it.

Being exposed to so many Wam bam installation you have to punch, kick, slap or stroke to interact with, i'm more and more drawn to quiet works that have a life of their own. The mobile version and the net version of the Sunclock will be exhibited at Threshold in Perth, October 2006. (via spectre mailing list)

See also one of my favourite installations ever: Perpetual (tropical) Sunshine, a screen made of 300 150W infrared light bulbs that transposes the real-time state of the summer sun on the 23rd South parallel.

White terrorists don't make news in the UK

If this was a muslim man, half of Burnley would have been cordoned off, and it would have been all over our media for days. But in this case... silence.

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Adobe Creative Suite 3.0 due in first quarter of 2007

People familiar with the software maker's plans say the suite is currently tracking for a release towards the end of March, ahead of the 2007 Photoshop World conference scheduled for April 4-6 at the John B. Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Mass.

The rumblings are contrary to comments from Adobe chief executive Bruce Chizen, who in a March 2006 interview with Forbes magazine said the San Jose-based company would not launch the next generation suite until the second quarter of 2007.

Mixing the best of both worlds

Code-named Banana Split, Creative Suite 3.0 will offer the first versions of popular applications like Photoshop and Illustrator that will run natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macintosh systems from Apple Computer.

It will also mark the first formal integration of products Adobe acquired from rival Macromedia in its $3.4 billion acquisition of the company last year."

del.icio.us Plans To Become A Social Network

del.icio.us founder Joshua Schachter revealed to Read/WriteWeb that del.icio.us aims to add features that "help people connect with others within the system, either to people they already know or discovering new people and communities based on interest."

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How Ray Ozzie is Changing Microsoft

The October issue of Wired magazine takes a look at Ray Ozzie's work with Microsoft. To hear the article describe it, he's rebuilding the company from the ground up. A 70,000-employee company is quietly changing its ways by thinking of software as deliverable services that perhaps could be rented on a monthly subscription basis.

There are, of course, two major reasons for Ozzie's ascendancy at Microsoft: Gates and Ballmer. Ozzie is one of the few technologists anywhere whom they respect; they'd been trying for years to get him to join the company. Now he's carrying their hopes for the future, and it's a heavy load. Ozzie needs to move Microsoft from selling software in a box to selling lightning-fast, powerful online applications ranging from gaming to spreadsheets. The risks are enormous. The mission is to radically alter the way the company sells its most profitable software and to pursue the great unknown of so-called Web services - trading an old cash cow for an as-yet-to-be-determined cash cow. No, Microsoft doesn't think its customers will stop using PCs with hard drives and work entirely online, but the desktop era is drawing to a close, and that promises to force some painful trade-offs.

Use google gadgets on your own site

From GoogleBlog

It's crazy over here -- in the last few months, we've had thousands of gadgets submitted for the Google Personalized Homepage5. If you've used it, you've seen them -- those useful little units you can add, remove, and move around on your page. We have old-school games, clocks, calendars, and horoscopes. We've got a VAT calculator6. We've got a pony7.

8We've extended these gadgets to work on Google Desktop9 and Google Pages10, but it occurred to us that these would be slick on other people's web pages, too.

Today we're opening up our gadget inventory for your viewing and cloning pleasure. In other words, now you can copy and paste some simple HTML to add the Google Gadgets you like to your own webpage. Check out our directory of Google Gadgets for your webpage11 to see all the options. And as always, if you can't find one like the one you had in mind, you can always write a gadget12 yourself.

One third of the planet will be desert by the year 2100

Drought threatening the lives of millions will spread across half the land surface of the Earth in the coming century because of global warming, according to new predictions from Britain's leading climate scientists. Extreme drought, in which agriculture is in effect impossible, will affect about a third of the planet, according to the study

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Google Allowing Gadget Inventory To Be Used In Your Website

Today we're opening up our gadget inventory for your viewing and cloning pleasure. In other words, now you can copy and paste some simple HTML to add the Google Gadgets you like to your own webpage.

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Robot cars will race in real traffic

The first teams are announced for DARPA'S Urban Grand Challenge, in which robot cars will jostle with real ones along mocked-up city streets.

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Game file sizes could soon be 70% smaller

A French company has designed a tool which will allow games developers to design textures that are 70% smaller in file size. Shocked? I couldn't believe it either... until I read this.

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The other Google

"Google has created a search site without any Google branding to test new features. The site, SearchMash, has a simple blue and white interface with a search bar and an option to click on "popular searches." Once keywords are entered, the results page features links to results running down the left side of the page...."

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The OpenDNS guys launch PhishTank

David Ulevitch et al launched PhishTank this morning. PhishTank is an open community and database of known phishing sites, accessible via kickass API. Users can verify submitted phishing sites and grin as they slowly kill off every last phisher...

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500,000 RPM matchbox-sized gas turbine produces 100 watts

October 1, 2006 Researchers at the ETH Chair for Power Electronics have developed an electrical generator that spins at a world record 500,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) and scientists are hopeful they can achieve twice this speed to touch the magical million rpm. The matchbox-sized motor generates the equivalent of 100 watts, including the power electronics interface, and has an efficiency of close to 95 percent. Powered by a gas turbine, one tankful of fuel drives the generator for about 10 hours at peak 100 watt performance. These ultra small gas turbines could replace conventional batteries as a mobile power source and have a range of potential applications, from dentistry where ever smaller holes could be drilled with ever higher rotation speed through to energy supply for mobile applications, such as portable heart-lung machines or artificial hearts. The little motors could also be used in turbo compressors, which condense gas mixtures or air.

Top 126 Ajax Tutorials

Heres a list of the top 126 Ajax tutorials out there. They are organized into a wide range of categories from Getting Started to Shopping Carts. Everything you need regarding Ajax is right here.

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A Laptop Powered by a Jet Engine

With a micro-engine about the same size and weight (as a laptop battery), you could end up with somewhere between 15 and 30 hours of battery life. Epstein and a team of about 20 colleagues and students have already created and tested wafers that would make up the miniature compressor, combustion chamber, turbine, generator and the like.

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Where airplanes go to die

The life span of most commercial airplanes is said to be around 30 years; and so, just as there was a 1970s explosion in aircraft production. What's to be done with them? Aircraft contain toxic materials, so dumping them at a far-off airfield or throwing them in the sea is clearly unacceptable.


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MacBook Egg Frying

This MacBook Pro gets hot enough to fry an egg.

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