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Showing posts from April, 2006

8 things Microsoft can do in 2006 to better compete against Google search and Adsense

MakeYouGoHmmBeing the end of the year is list time, it’s my turn to weigh in. The following are 8 things Microsoft could do in 2006 to better compete against Google in the advertising and search space:Launch Adcenter for websites worldwide ASAP (no beta invite only garbage). Why can’t I sign up for this and add to our websites now? Why is Adcenter still in pilot status? If this isn’t done in Q1-2006, they can pretty much forget about this doing anything unless their pay structure blows away all competitors. Adsense and YPN are gaining market share that MSN loses every day. Also, please make sure Adcenter works in competing browsers! The newest version of Opera says: “Please Upgrade Your Browser” when navigating here.Make Adcenter a one click install to any and every MSN Spaces blogger who wants it. Google made it painless adding Adsense to every Blogger blog — yes, even splogs sadly — and add they did.Offer how-to guides on how to add Adcenter to every other popular blog software. Goo…

Engineers Unveil Futuristic Unmanned 'Crusher' Vehicle

Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) in the School of Computer Science's Robotics Institute is unveiling a unique unmanned ground vehicle that offers new strength, mobility and autonomy features for the Army's effort to keep its troops out of harm's way.The 6.5-ton "Crusher" combines the strength and mobility of a predecessor known as Spinner with NREC-developed autonomy capabilities to create an extremely robust, unmanned vehicle that can function on its own in challenging off-road terrain. The project is known by the acronym UPI, which stands for Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle (UGCV) PerceptOR Integration. The UPI project, which includes extensive autonomy development, payload integration and field-testing, is funded by the U.S. Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at an expenditure of $35 million to date. Experts say UPI incorporates technologies six to 10 years ahead of its time and provides an…

Russia's atomic proposal still on table - Iran

Iran on Sunday said it would be willing to discuss Moscow's proposal to move uranium enrichment to Russia if the U.N. Security Council were to send its case back to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."The Russian proposal is still on the table," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a news conference."Within this framework it is normal that we will review different proposals on when it is carried out and under what conditions," he added.Iran, which says its nuclear programme is for energy not weapons, could face a new resolution at the U.N. Security Council after the IAEA reported on Friday Iran has hampered its checks and rebuffed requests to stop making nuclear fuel.U.N. ambassadors from the United States, Britain and France were expected to begin drafting a resolution on Monday they hope to introduce within a week which would obligate Iran to comply with the council's demands.With the clock ticking towards possible Security …

Google Offers Free 3D Modeling Software

InformationWeekGoogle SketchUp helps create models of a variety of items--including houses, sheds, decks, home additions, and woodworking projects. Google Inc. on Thursday launched a free version of the 3D modeling software the search engine acquired when it bought @Last Software last month. Google SketchUp, which is free for personal use, includes simple tools for creating 3D models of a variety of items, including houses, sheds, decks, home additions and woodworking projects. The software comes with a plug in for Google Earth, so items can be posted on the service, which provides satellite views of geographical locations. In addition, Google launched 3D Warehouse, online storage for work created in SketchUp. The service also enables users to search and share models. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., plans to continue selling SketchUp Pro 5 for professional designers. The software costs $495. Google bought @Last Software, based in Boulder, Colo., in March for an undisclosed…

Worst USB Gadget Yet: Water-Based Air Purifier

Here's another way to abuse your USB port: Brando is selling a USB water-based AIR PURIFIER that sucks in air and processes it through the water in its tiny tank.

Iran: A Rummy Guide

To borrow a phrase used for Iraq, there are 'things we now know we don't know.'Back in June 2002, as the Bush administration started pushing hard for war with Iraq by focusing on fears of the unknown—terrorists and weapons of mass destruction—Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld explained that when it came to gathering intelligence on such threats, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Elaborating, Rumsfeld told a news conference: "There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know."Now there's a crisis brewing with Iran. And the same basic problem applies: what is known, what is suspected, what can be only guessed or imagined? Is danger clear and present or vague and distant? Washington is abuzz now, as it was four years ago, with "sources" talking of sanctions…

Soldier uses MySpace to tell friends goodbye

chron.comBefore signing off his Web page on MySpace.com Monday, Army Pvt. Dylan Meyer typed a farewell note to the world."Jesus, I don't know if any of you have heard what has happened to me yet, but I just want to remind you not to be sad. Laugh, that's what lifes about," Meyer wrote. "When it is all said and done ... it is the ones you love who you will remember."The next morning, Meyer was found dead in the Army barracks at Fort Gordon in Georgia. He was 20.Because the Army is still investigating, officials would not release the cause of Meyer's death or say if he committed suicide. But the note on Meyer's MySpace page seemed to indicate that he had taken his own life.

The Web Mob

According to this article on eWeek , organized crime on the internet is rising, with a dramatic increase in rootkits, Trojans and botnets. Evidence gathered over the last two years shows that well-organized mobsters have taken control of billion-dollar crime networks, powered by skilled hackers and money mules targeting known software security weakneses.It appears that much of the activity is connected to the Russian mafia and loosley linked groups around the world. In Russia there have been documented cases where physical torture has been used to recruit hackers, as they state: If you become a known hacker and you start to cut into their profits, they'll come to your house, take you away and beat you to a pulp until you back off or join them. There have been documented cases of this. They also discuss spyware that is being used that has not been detected by anti-virus, some like “MetaFisher” which spread to thousands of computers went undetected for more than a year. Black hat ha…

AMD gaining more of the server's share

cnet NewsIBM's top server executive is warming to Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron, eyeing the processor's business advantages and the successes Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems have had with it. Bill Zeitler, senior vice president of IBM's systems and technology group, wouldn't comment on whether Big Blue plans to offer mainstream Opteron chips, but he indicated in an interview this week that the move would make sense. "I don't want to speculate when and if we would expand our activities here, but there's no question HP and Sun have benefited by having a broader Opteron portfolio than we've had," Zeitler said. "There are a whole bunch of business considerations that would say we would have done better had we had a four-(processor) Opteron product." Big Blue was the first of the four top-tier server makers to sell Opteron servers, but its models were geared only for the technical-computing niche. Later, it added blade servers tha…

Major Firefox 2.0 Feature Dropped

While Microsoft has become a favorite target of critics who say the company has dramatically scaled back expectations for Windows Vista, Mozilla's Firefox Web browser is about to join that crowd.Mozilla has decided to strip out a major new feature from Firefox 2.0 in order to ensure that the update meets a Q3 2006 release target, a post in the browser's developer forum indicated earlier this week. "Places," a complete rewrite of the browser's bookmarking system, will no longer be included in the release.While Places had made it into the first public alpha release of Firefox 2.0, codenamed "Bon Echo," it had been pulled previously. In announcing the decision, Mozilla's director of engineering Mike Schroepfer said the company wanted to ensure a quality release."Rather than rush it to market - we'd prefer to spend the time it takes to get it right," he wrote. Schroepfer said that it was a difficult decision, but it would ensure that when …

Software lets neighbors securely share WiFi bandwidth

Instead of fighting about property lines and whose dog is keeping everyone up at night, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign want you and your neighbors to get together and share your WiFi signal in a method that supposedly delivers better performance to each individual user. Assistant computer science professor Haiyan Luo and graduate student Nathanael Thompson of the school's Systems, Wireless, and Networking Group have released a free download that analyzes local airwaves and exploits unused bandwidth from one network to complement ones experiencing heavy usage, but always gives users priority access to their own signal. Part of the two-year-old PERM project, the application uses flow-scheduling algorithms to determine bandwidth allocation, and has so-far undergone testing on Linux clients and with Linksys routers. Security is obviously a key concern in such a sharing setup, so PERM developed the software to both "preserve a user's privacy an…

Iran 'will allow nuclear checks'

Iran will allow snap inspections of its nuclear facilities if the UN Security Council returns the case to its nuclear watchdog, an Iranian official has said. But Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, said uranium enrichment will continue. Iran halted snap inspections after the UN's atomic agency, the IAEA, decided to report Iran to the council. On Friday the IAEA said Iran had failed to meet a council deadline to suspend its uranium enrichment programme. "If the issue is returned to the International Atomic Energy Agency, we will be ready to allow intrusive inspections," Mr Saeedi told state television on Saturday. "The enrichment will continue. But regarding the Additional Protocol, we will continue implementing the Additional Protocol as a voluntary measure." The Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allows inspections to be carried out at short notice. Iran halted implementation of the protoc…

Microsoft blows Live Shopping Launch - No Firefox

Live.com Shopping launched today (official blog post), and all I see is a big message saying they don�t support Firefox. It doesn�t work with Safari or Opera either (same Firefox error message for all non IE browsers). The entire Mac audience has been shut out of Live Shopping. I�ll fire up my Windows machine to test it out later.

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Sri Lankan suicide bomber 'was pregnant'

TheAustralian.News.com.auA female suicide bomber who blew herself up in a bid to kill Sri Lanka's top general was pregnant at the time. The bomber, identified as 21-year-old Anoja Kugenthirasah, had attended a maternity clinic held inside army headquarters in Colombo for the past three weeks, an investigator said last night. It was initially reported the woman faked her pregnancy to get inside the heavily guarded compound but the investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said hospital records showed she was actually expecting a child. The meticulously planned attack on Tuesday triggered military action by both government troops and the Tamil Tiger rebels, pushing Sri Lanka close to civil war after a tense four-year ceasefire. Kugenthirasah is believed to have been a member of the rebels' Black Tigers suicide squad, the investigator said. She targeted the car of Sri Lanka's army commander, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, inside the military headquarters.

Poultry worker gets eye infection from contact with bird flu

Gaurdian.co.ukA poultry worker has contracted the H7 strain of bird flu in the form of conjunctivitis, the Health Protection Agency confirmed last night. The affected person is thought to have contracted the infection via close contact on a Norfolk farm.An HPA spokeswoman said the worker's symptoms were limited to an eye infection. She would not release any further details about the age of the sufferer.The worker reported his illness on Thursday. A sample was sent to a local laboratory, where the H7 virus was confirmed. He did not need hospital treatment, and, along with colleagues, was offered anti-viral drugs as a precautionary measure. He was also offered a flu vaccine to prevent the H7 flu mixing with any human viruses.

Al-Qaeda number two in new video

Al-Qaeda's number two Ayman al-Zawahiri has appeared in a video saying that Iraqi insurgents have "broken the back" of the US military.He praised "martyrdom operations" carried out by al-Qaeda in Iraq in the video, posted on an Islamist website. And he called on the people and army of Pakistan to fight against President Musharraf's administration. This is the third message from prominent al-Qaeda leaders to emerge within a week. A tape from Osama Bin Laden was broadcast on 23 April, followed two days later by a message from Iraqi insurgent Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Pakistan focusZawahiri, who wore a black turban and a white robe in the video, described the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq as traitors, and urged Muslims to "confront them". He praised Iraqi militants, saying that the US, Britain and allies had "achieved nothing but losses, disasters and misfortunes" in Iraq. "Al-Qaeda in Iraq alone has carried out 800 marty…

Microsoft's EU appeal case ends

The week-long anti-competition hearing involving Microsoft and the European Commission has finished - with neither side willing to predict the outcome.Microsoft is appealing against a 2004 ruling when Brussels told it to change how it sells its Media Player software and fined it 497m euros ($613m; £344m). The Court of First Instance may not deliver a verdict until early 2007. Defeat could damage the Commission's authority as a competition regulator or Microsoft's future business model. Microsoft lawyers spent much of the hearing arguing that its fine should be rescinded and that it should not have to produce a version of its Windows operating system without the Media Player software. They also argued against the 2004 ruling's stipulation that Microsoft should share information about Windows with rival software companies. The Commission's advocates told the court that the fine was needed as a deterrent and that Microsoft was abusing its market leading position in the de…

New physics chip aims to shake up video games

A Silicon Valley start-up hopes to introduce a lot of bounce, rattle and roll into the video game industry with a new microchip that makes virtual worlds behave as realistically as they look.For years, video games have been getting prettier thanks to increasingly sophisticated graphics processors. But crates that don't budge, planks that don't splinter and windows that don't break are a constant complaint of gamers who crave more than just skin-deep realism. Ageia Technologies Inc. wants to change that with its new PhysX processor, which simulates the physical properties of everything from smoke to rocks. "What we are offering to the game industry is the ability to make physics and interactivity reach the same level of importance that graphics has," said Manju Hegde, AgeHia's chief executive. "Physics makes games feel real the way graphics makes games look real," Hegde told Reuters in a recent interview. Ageia faces a number of obstacles, however, f…

Web 2.0 Goes To Work

Slashdot.org"News.com is reporting on analyst predictions that Web 2.0 has begun meeting up with enterprise software in the business world." From the article: "Buttoned-down IBM, which mainly sells to businesses, on Wednesday detailed QEDwiki, for example. The project is meant to let people assemble Web applications using wikis, really simple syndication (RSS) and simple Web scripting. Similarly, the grassroots direct-marketing techniques of the consumer world are starting to be used to tout enterprise software, analysts said. The enterprise software market, once the hotbed of innovation, is starting to catch up to the consumer Web, where people are becoming used to melding data from their desktop with services online. It's a shift that could shake up the traditional enterprise-software model, experts predicted. "

Chirac calls for Palestinian aid

French President Jacques Chirac has called for international aid to the Palestinians to continue, despite the recent election victory of Hamas. Mr Chirac said the World Bank should set up a fund to pay the salaries of Palestinian officials. It comes after the US and EU cut off direct aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, which is struggling to pay the wages of more than 100,000 workers. Mr Chirac was speaking after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Washington and the EU define Hamas as a terrorist organisation and say they will not consider relations with a PA under its control unless it renounces violence and recognises Israel. Escrow account Following talks with Mr Abbas in Paris, Mr Chirac suggested the World Bank could pay PA officials directly, thereby bypassing Hamas. The creation of a special account to receive funds intended to pay the salaries could be studied urgently, Mr Chirac's office quoted the president as saying. Mr Chirac said he would…

US war costs 'could hit $811bn'

The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has soared and may now reach $811bn (£445bn), says a report by the Congressional Research Service. It estimates that Congress has appropriated $368bn for the global war on terror, including both conflicts. It says that if the current spending bill is approved, US war costs will reach $439bn, and it estimates that an extra $371bn may be needed by 2016. On that basis, the two wars would cost more than the $579bn spent in Vietnam. The future costing assumes that US troop levels will drop from the 258,000 currently engaged in all operations to 74,000 by 2010. Budget gap The rising cost of the war is leading to growing concerns in Congress, where attempts to control the budget deficit have been hindered by the "supplementary" requests received each year for war spending. The CRS estimates that the US Department of Defense's annual war funding has risen from $73bn in 2004 to $120bn in 2006, with an increase of 17% this year alo…

Big holes in net's heart revealed

Simple attacks could let malicious hackers take over more than one-third of the net's sites, reveals research. The finding was uncovered by researchers who analysed how the net's addressing system works. They also found that if the simple attacks were combined with so-called denial-of-service attacks, 85% of the net becomes vulnerable to take-over. The researchers recommended big changes to the net's addressing system to tackle the vulnerability at its heart.Site seizing When you visit a website, such as news.bbc.co.uk, your computer often asks one of the net's address books, or domain name servers, for information about where that site resides. But the number of computers that have to be consulted to find the computers where that site is located often makes sites vulnerable to attack by vandals and criminals, found Assistant Professor Emin Gun Sirer and Venugopalan Ramasubramanian from the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University. Professor Sirer told …

Cell Phones Responsible For Next Internet Worm?

Slashdot.org"The mobile devices you know and love are great for productivity, but they have completely changed the vulnerability state of our networks. Norm Laudermilch tells you why you should be afraid, very afraid." From the article: "The new and largely unexplored propagation vector for malicious code distribution is mobile devices. With 802.11, Bluetooth, WiFI, WiMAX, MMS, Infrared, and cellular data capabilities on almost all new models, these devices provide a wealth of opportunity for the transmission of data. With no notion of user access levels in the compact mobile operating systems, a lack of effective authentication, and no data encryption, these environments are prime targets for the incubation of malicious code."

US says world safer, despite 11,000 attacks in '05

The U.S. war on terrorism has made the world safer, the State Department's counterterrorism chief said on Friday, despite more than 11,000 terrorist attacks worldwide last year that killed 14,600 people.The U.S. State Department said the numbers, listed in its annual Country Reports on Terrorism released on Friday, were based on a broader definition of terrorism and could not be compared to the 3,129 international attacks listed the previous year.But the new 2005 figures, which showed attacks in Iraq jumped and accounted for about a third of the world's total, may fuel criticism of the Bush administration's assertion that it is winning the fight against terrorism.Asked if the world was safer than the previous year, U.S. State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator Henry Crumpton told a news conference, "I think so. But I think that (if) you look at the ups and downs of this battle, it's going to take us a long time to win this. You can't measure this month by…

IAEA: Iran Defying UN Demands

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran is continuing its nuclear fuel enrichment in defiance of the U.N Security Council. The United States and European members of the Council are urgently preparing a legally binding resolution demanding a halt to the enrichment program.The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has concluded that Iran has successfully enriched uranium, and is ignoring international calls to stop it. That is the main finding of an eight-page report sent to the Security Council Friday by IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei. The report says more than three years of studying Iran's nuclear program have failed to determine whether it is aimed at producing weapons, and called on Tehran to be more cooperative.American and European members of the Security Council seized on the report to push their case for an immediate and unified diplomatic response, while China and Russia urged caution.

Iran rejects UN nuclear pressure

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his country "does not give a damn" about UN resolutions seeking to curb Tehran's nuclear programme. He was speaking as the UN nuclear watchdog prepared to report to the Security Council on whether Iran had met demands to halt uranium enrichment. Iran insists it will not abandon its right to enrich nuclear fuel for what it says are wholly peaceful purposes. The US says the UN must take action if Iran is found not to have complied. The US secretary of state says the Security Council's credibility is on the line over its handling of the issue. The US fears Iran will use the fuel to build a nuclear bomb and has not ruled out armed action against Iran. 'Unity and firmness' President Ahmadinejad told a rally in north-west Iran on Friday: "Those who want to prevent Iranians from obtaining their right, should know that we do not give a damn about such resolutions."

Spacecraft seek climate clarity

Some of the gaping holes that exist in our understanding of the Earth's atmosphere will be answered by two new satellites launched on Friday. The Cloudsat and Calipso missions will study how clouds and aerosols (fine particles) form, evolve and affect our climate, the weather and air quality. Scientists say knowledge gaps in such areas severely hamper their ability to forecast future climate change. Different types of cloud, for example, can help cool or warm the planet. "We will be making the key observations that address this problem," said Dr Graeme Stephens, the Cloudsat principal investigator from Colorado State University, US. The US space agency (Nasa) satellites were launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1002 GMT, after a week of delays due to technical problems and unfavourable wind conditions. They have been put in a 705km (438 miles) circular, sun-synchronous polar orbit, where they will fly in formation just 15 seconds apart.The spa…

Mystery armed men arrive in CAR

A plane carrying around 50 armed men has landed illegally in northern Central African Republic, the foreign minister has told the BBC. Jean Paul Ngoupande said the plane had arrived from Sudan and was suspected of being linked to the rebellion in Chad. Earlier this month, UN chief Kofi Annan said he was concerned that the fighting in Chad could further destabilise both Sudan's war-torn Darfur region and CAR. Mr Ngoupande said he was lodging a complaint with the African Union. Analysts say CAR is being used by Sudanese rebels as a crossing point to Chad. Tension is rising in Chad ahead of elections due next week. Rebel accusations President Idriss Deby insists that the polls will go ahead despite a rebel attack on the capital N'Djamena earlier this month. Sudan and Chad accuse each other of backing rebel groups. Mr Ngoupande said his government was going to talk to the Sudanese authorities about the plane. Earlier reports said that two planes had landed in CAR. Preside…

Musharraf 'not poodle of the US'

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has denied he is fighting terrorism on behalf of the US and Britain.In an interview with the UK's Guardian newspaper, Gen Musharraf said he was "nobody's poodle". Gen Musharraf condemned a US air strike targeting militants in Pakistan in January in which 18 people died as an "infringement of our sovereignty". The president has faced increasing domestic criticism over his relationship with Washington. There were widespread anti-US protests during a visit to Pakistan last month by US President George W Bush, while opposition leaders have accused Gen Musharraf of being too closely allied to the United States. 'Democratic belief' Gen Musharraf, who is fighting militants in Baluchistan and along the Afghan border, said stamping out terrorism was in Pakistan's interests. "When you are talking about fighting terrorism of extremism, I'm not doing that for the US or Britain. I'm doing it for Pakistan…

Apple to Begin Recycling Customers' Old Macs

FoxNewsApple Computer Inc. (AAPL) will soon adopt an environmentally friendly twist for buyers of new Macintosh computers by offering to recycle their old computers for free.The Cupertino-based company said its expanded take-back offer will begin in June. U.S. customers who buy a new Mac through the Apple store online or any Apple retail store will receive free shipping and recycling of their old machines. Currently, Apple retail stores accept old iPod music players for free recycling. In addition, Cupertino residents may drop off old Macs at company headquarters, while others pay a $30 recycling fee to drop off or ship their computers. Environmental advocacy organizations that have criticized Apple's recycling initiatives in the past applauded the computer maker's expanded program, saying it is now closer in line with those of other major PC makers, notably Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) and Dell Inc. (DELL). But the environmental groups contend Apple still needs to do more and wi…

Vonage Offers VoIP Mobile-Phone Calls in the UK

You've gotten rid of the wire that connects your phone to the world. Perhaps you're also paying a flat monthly fee for unlimited VoIP calls from your home or office. Now, if a move by Vonage UK becomes popular, you'll be able to make unlimited calls from your mobile phone as well. U.S.-based Internet-phone company Vonage announced Wednesday that it is teaming up with The Cloud, a provider of wireless broadband, to offer a mobile-phone service that will rely on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to let users make calls through Wi-Fi hotspots in the UK. According to Vonage, there will be no cumbersome log-on to connect through a VoIP hotspot. Users near a hotspot will simply make their calls. But if those using the service move outside a hotspot's range, the call will be cut off and the user will have to revert to a conventional cellular network to make and receive calls -- complete with traditional per-minute rates.

Google Puts Money Behind Firefox Movement

sci-tech-todayGoogle has unveiled a new plan to spread the open-source Firefox Internet browser, starting off a new phase in the browser wars with Microsoft. An offer from the Internet search giant enables Web sites to run small ads promoting Firefox and gain a referral fee of one dollar for every downloaded version of Firefox that has a Google toolbar.Google launched the new program Wednesday evening by running an ad for the first time on its usually ad-free home page. The campaign also represents the first time Google has offered a financial incentive for the adoption of Firefox. Even without such help, the open source browser has steadily been gnawing away at the dominance of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser since 2004. From a market share high of 95 percent, Internet Explorer is now down to 85 percent, as web surfers discover the smooth delights of Firefox, which offers better security and powerful features, including tabbed browsing, which allow you to open multiple wind…

UN nuclear body to report on Iran

The UN's nuclear watchdog is to report to the Security Council on Friday on whether Iran has complied with demands to suspend uranium enrichment.Iran insists it will not abandon its right to enrich nuclear fuel for what it says are wholly peaceful purposes. But the US has urged the UN to take action if Iran is found not to have complied with its demands. The US secretary of state says the Security Council credibility is on the line over its handling of the issue. The US fears Iran will be use the fuel to build a nuclear bomb and has not ruled out armed action against Iran. Washington is trying to rally support from the Security Council for tougher action against the Tehran government, including sanctions. 'Worrying situation' Speaking at a meeting of Nato foreign ministers in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Security Council's credibility will be tested over how it dealt with Iran. "The Security Council is the pri…

Windows Vista To Make Dual-Boot A Challenge?

"UK tech site The Register is reporting on security guru Bruce Schneier's observation that the disk encryption system to be shipped with Vista, BitLocker, will make dual booting other OSs difficult - you will no longer be able to share data between the two." From the article: "This encryption technology also has the effect of frustrating the exchange of data needed in a dual boot system. 'You could look at BitLocker as anti-Linux because it frustrates dual boot,' Schneier told El Reg. Schneier said Vista will bring forward security improvements, but cautioned that technical advances are less important than improvements in how technology is presented to users."

Software Lets Programmers Code Hands-free

New Scientist is reporting about a new speech recognition tool that promises to let programmers write clean code without ever having to lay a finger on their keyboard. 'The tool, called VoiceCode, has been developed to help programmers with repetitive strain injury (RSI). This is a common affliction for people who spend a lot of time using a keyboard or mouse and causes pain in muscles, tendons and nerves in a sufferer's arms and back. Some estimates suggest 22% of all US computer programmers, or 100,000 people, suffer from the condition.'

AT&T, Yahoo Team Up for VoIP Offering

CIO.comAT&T and Yahoo have joined forces to offer subscribers of their high speed Internet service an integrated voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) application, United Press International (UPI) reports.The two companies will release a dual-branded edition of the Yahoo messenger service with voice capabilities, according to UPI. AT&T firms will now be Yahoo’s network termination providers of choice for the VoIP services, UPI reports. AT&T Yahoo messenger with voice enhances and adds value to our broadband service, said Scott Helbing, chief marketing officer with AT&T’s consumer unit, according to UPI. It also underscores our commitment to lead the industry in delivering the next generation of integrated communications and entertainment services.

Most Web Users Unable to Spot Spyware

According to a Spyware Quiz conducted by McAfee SiteAdvisor , a staggering 97% of Internet users are just one click away from infecting their PCs with spyware. One interesting conclusion from this study showed that even users with a high "Spyware IQ" have a nearly 100% chance of visiting a dangerous site during 30 days of typical online searching and browsing activity

Visa, Nokia Launch Phone Payment Project

Visa International and Finnish cell phone maker Nokia Corp. jointly released the world's first credit card payment pilot system in Malaysia, allowing consumers to shop and pay using their mobile phones.The "Mobile Visa Wave Payment Pilot" project marks the first step in plans to turn mobile phones into electronic wallets for consumers, officials said. It builds on the Visa Wave smart card technology that uses radio frequencies to eliminate the need to swipe credit card into a reader. Customers wave cards in front of the reader to make payments, similar to "touch and go" cards used in transport systems. During the four-month trial period, 200 Visa Wave cardholders in Malaysia will be given a specially designed Nokia phone that can be used to make payments in 2,500 outlets nationwide that have Visa Wave readers, officials said. "It's a natural progression. There are more mobile phones in the world today than plastic cards. We see this as a good marriage,…

Opinion: Why Linux May Never Be a True Desktop OS

By Rob Enderle
TechNewsWorldWith Linux, the customer often expects to get the product for free and wants the retail price of Windows deducted from his/her purchase price. There are no funds passed back to the vendor and, because Linux is different, customers tend to place more service calls -- at $85 a call. As a result, the vendor generally ends up losing money.This week I'm speaking at the Desktop Linux Summit in San Diego on why the PC OEMs don't, and probably never will, fully support Linux on the desktop. This is somewhat of a deja vu for me since a decade ago my team made a similar presentation at IBM (NYSE: IBM) Latest News about IBM on OS/2 and why it wouldn't beat Windows in its time. For the purpose of this piece I'm using the word "Linux" as an open source OS catch-all so I don't have to call out every distribution or variant. Now, as it was then, the core of the argument wasn't the technology, the strength of Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Latest…

Yahoo Launches DVR Service: Yahoo Go

TechCrunchYahoo launched Yahoo Go today, a DVR and general Microsoft Media Center competitor based on the recently acquired Meedio technology. The feature list is comprehensive: Use Yahoo Go to manage photos, search Yahoo videos, watch stored movies on your hard drive, listen to music and manage television shows via a full DVR (like Tivo or Microsoft Media Center). Yahoo Go is only available for Windows machines.It’s going to be hard for Yahoo Go to compete with Microsoft’s Media Center for the simple reason that it won’t be built into millions of PCs like Media Center is. But at least they are now in the game. More from GigaOm (my head still hurts from drinking scotch with you last night, Om) and Dave Zatz. Screen shots below.

Valve Announces 360 Development

AdvanceDMN.comThe developer will be throwing their weight behind Microsoft's next-gen console it appears.Valve, one of the most revered development houses around with titles such as the Half Life series under their belts, and the maker of the Source engine has announced today that they are developing several unannounced games for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console. No details were given regarding what these titles are or if they are ports of existing games. Whatever they are, they will be made on the 360 using a customized version of the Source engine specifically tailored to the 360's graphical powers and its engineering design. Valve President and co-founder Gabe Newell gave comment on this latest announcement. "The combination of Source and the 360 provides game designers the chance to create powerful entertainment experiences. Whether developing a traditional FPS, RTS, RPG or delving into new genres, the Xbox 360 is a great platform for expanding Source and our game exp…

Google Video to include outside content

vnunet.comGoogle is to expand its video service to include content hosted outside its server network, director of Google Video Jennifer Feikin said during a roundtable discussion about online video at the Churchill Club in San Francisco. "We do not want to aggregate [online video content]," Feikin said in response to a question as to whether Google is seeking to become the online equivalent of a television network. "We started it in that way to help people who have no means to have their content online to bring it online. We are now at a point where we'd love to link to other people's sites. It's all about helping people find that content." Google Video currently indexes and searches content hosted on the search engine's servers, but does not allow users to find content hosted on individual websites or from video hosting services such as YouTube or Revver. An expansion of Google Video with outside content would be in line with the search giant's…

Robot Runs Over Water

Discovery.comA robot that can speed across the surface of water like a lizard could open the door for multi-legged amphibious robots. The Water Runner, being developed by assistant professor Metin Sitti at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, could search for victims in flooded disaster areas, be equipped with biochemical sensors to monitor water quality, or use tiny cameras to survey coastline security zones or ports. Sitti, who also heads the university's NanoRobotics Lab, regularly takes inspiration from bugs, beetles, and bacteria to build his robots. Ultimately, he'd like to create a machine that can move over land, water, fly and perhaps even climb. "My dream is to make all-terrain robots," said Sitti. That way, "the same robot can reach a much wider range of environments for searching."

Microsoft Office users ready to jump ship: poll

itwire.com.auMicrosoft may want to rethink its intention to inundate users of pirated versions of Office with unwanted alerts. A recent poll shows most users are likely to defect to the free open source equivalent, Open Office.org, rather than pay for Office 2003. An iTWire poll taken in the past day asked the question: Would you try Open Office.org instead of buying MS Office 2003?” Of the 441 respondents which voted in the space of 18 hours, 381 (86.4%) voted yes while just 60 (13.6%) voted no. Microsoft believes it will be able to convince pirate Office users to pay to upgrade to legitimate versions through its proposed Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) program. OGA, modelled on the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program, which Microsoft claims has been a success over past months, identifies users of pirate copies of Microsoft software when they download the necessary critical security updates. Once identified, Microsoft sends continual alerts nagging users to chuck their illicit so…

Look, no hard drive: flash only

Samsung has developed a higher-capacity version of its solid-state disk (SSD), a flash-memory based replacement for hard-disk drives, and is showing it at the CeBIT trade show in Hanover, Germany, this week. The drive packs 32Gb of flash memory into a case the same size as a 1.8in, hard-disk drive. That capacity is double the 16Gb of a prototype device announced by Samsung last year and was made possible by the continuing miniaturization of flash-memory chip technology.At CeBIT the solid-state disk is being demonstrated inside a Samsung laptop computer. Because the SSD is the same size and shape as the computer's hard drive it was relatively easy to replace the hard drive with the SSD, said Yun Mini, a spokeswoman for Samsung.The SSD technology has three major benefits over hard drives, said Yun. The first is that data access is faster. This could be seen when the SSD-based laptop was booted up alongside the same model machine with a standard hard drive. The desktop appeared on t…

Microsoft fights to keep secrets

Microsoft lawyers have argued that the European Commission is forcing the firm to give up valuable trade secrets, a move that would handicap its future. The claims were made during the third day of an anti-competition hearing where the software giant is appealing against a landmark ruling from 2004. Brussels fined Microsoft 497m euros ($613m; £344m) and ordered it to change how it sells its Media Player software. Microsoft argues that adhering to the ruling will hurt its business. The Commission wants Microsoft to provide rivals with enough information to develop software that could run as smoothly as its own on Microsoft's Windows operating system. Changing tack?Microsoft's lawyer Ian Forrester claimed on Wednesday that the ruling would handicap the market leader "in perpetuity". "The Windows source code is copyright. It is valuable, the fruit of lots of effort," he said. Microsoft has come out fighting and wants to protect its secrets Thomas Vinje, one of…

Robotic Legs Instead of Wheelchairs

Slashdot.org"Atsuo Takanishi, an engineering professor at Tokyo's Waseda University, has demonstrated a pair of robotic legs that may one day eliminate the need for wheelchairs. At the demonstration in Tokyo, one of Takanishi's students rode the robot -- which bears some resemblance to the mechanical "Wrong Trousers" of Wallace and Gromit fame -- up and down a staircase and along a pebbly path outdoors. A picture of the demonstration may be found here " Still waiting for my Gundam but that's a good start.

Study: India, China closing digital gap

The digital divide is narrowing as citizens in emerging markets get online via computers and mobile phones, with some regions now on a par with developed nations, a ranking of Web-savvy nations showed on Wednesday."Encouraging is the apparent narrowing of the digital divide," said the annual study published by U.S. computer company International Business Machines Corp. and the intelligence unit of British magazine The Economist."This is particularly evident in basic connectivity: emerging markets are providing the vast majority of the world's new phone and Internet connections," the study found.Within China and India, regions such as Shanghai and Bangalore have almost the same level of Internet and mobile phone connections as developed nations, said Peter Korsten, European director at IBM's Institute for Business Value."This is the first time we see a level playing field between developed and developing nations in terms of connectivity. It's up to …

EU and Microsoft agree: EU remedy is a dud

IHT.comIn the antitrust dispute between Microsoft and the European Commission, they have agreed on at least one thing: The commission's remedy for restoring competition in the market for software that plays music and videos has failed. Microsoft was ordered two years ago to create a second version of its Windows system without Media Player. On Tuesday, the two sides took turns denouncing each other's interpretation of events that resulted in the 2004 antitrust ruling against Microsoft. The company's appeal of that ruling and its penalties is being heard this week at the European Court of First Instance. The product minus Media Player, called Windows XP Edition N, has been on sale since last summer, but no personal computer manufacturers have installed it on the machines they sell, Microsoft told the court, and retailers ordered fewer than 2,000 copies. On Monday, the commission's top lawyer, Per Hellstrom, said a reason for the small number could be that the commission…

TransMedia Puts File Sharing On Phones

InformationWeekSun claims, "The network is the computer." For social computing company TransMedia, the computer is the phone. On Wednesday, TransMedia plans to open its secure file sharing environment Glide Effortless to mobile phones. Glide Mobile turns mobile handsets into what amounts to a limited portable desktop. Subscribers will be able to access and share the same files available to them through their Glide accounts and their PCs. Glide is a hosted file storage and social networking service that lets users store, edit, and share media files -- contacts, documents, E-mail, images, music, video -- through a Flash-capable Web browser. Consequently, it works equally well on Macs and PCs, and now on mobile phones. "There's nothing even remotely close to this out there," says TransMedia CEO Donald Leka. "This is revolutionary in the sense that what we've done is basically removed the borders between platforms." TransMedia's transcoding tec…

"Is it worth abiding by atomic rules?" Iran asks UN

Iran has asked the U.N. nuclear watchdog to explain why Tehran should abide by international atomic protocols when it gets so little in return, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday. Iran is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but often grumbles that it does not benefit from the treaty's entitlement to shared technology. "We have asked them (the U.N. watchdog), and we are waiting for an answer: what have they given us in reward for doing our duty? What sort of help have they given us?" he told reporters after meeting Sudan's president in Tehran. The president's remarks come two days before Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will deliver a report on Iran's nuclear activities to the U.N. Security Council. Tehran faces possible sanctions in the council after failing to persuade the international community it is enriching uranium for power stations and not for warheads. Western diplomats argue…