Nothing to Fear... ?

Monday, February 12, 2007

What are you afraid of? What causes you real
fear, the kind that causes your heart to beat faster involuntarily,
your stomach to sag like you've eaten lead, and your mind to lose its
reason and revert to the primitive reactions of fight and flight?
Spiders? Snakes? Serial killers? Speaking in public? Or the worst, the
thing that freaks out almost everyone: scary clowns?

Those are what I what I would call primal fears, those that
exist deep down in our subconscious. Other fears, however, are
manufactured by politicians and the media (heck, some so-called "news"
channels base their whole business on this practice) in order to
manipulate us. John Twelve Hawks, in his perceptive essay "How We Live Now," discusses this exact state of affairs:...

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Enable Hidden BootScreen in Windows Vista

The Windows Vista BootScreen is pointless, but Microsoft decided to
hide a more visually appealing boot screen that can easily be enabled
with very little trouble. I’m not sure why they didn’t make the boot
screen better.

If you really want a better boot screen, you can check out my article on creating a custom boot logo....

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Intel shows off 80-core processor

Chief Technical Officer Justin Rattner demonstrated the processor in San Francisco last week for a group of reporters, and the company will present a paper on the project during the International Solid State Circuits Conference in the city this week.

The chip is capable of producing 1 trillion floating-point operations per second, known as a teraflop. That's a level of performance that required 2,500 square feet of large computers a decade ago.

Intel first disclosed it had built a prototype 80-core processor during last fall's Intel Developer Forum, when CEO Paul Otellini promised to deliver the chip within five years. The company's researchers have several hurdles to overcome before PCs and servers come with 80-core processors--such as how to connect the chip to memory and how to teach software developers to write programs for it--but the research chip is an important step, Rattner said....

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MySpace to Launch Video Filtering System

The popular online hangout MySpace said Monday it
will experiment with a video-filtering system designed to block clips
containing copyright materials.

MySpace is licensing technology
from Audible Magic Corp., which late last year obtained rights to a
system for scanning video clips and looking for signature vectors —
such as a unique digital fingerprint — to compare with vectors stored
in a database. Video can be blocked from appearing on MySpace when
there is a match.

The video system supplements audio filtering MySpace already has in place to block unauthorized music uploads....

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Internet users transformed into news reporters

As picture-taking mobile telephones and digital movie cameras grow ubiquitous, Internet users worldwide are being recruited as citizen news reporters.

In December Yahoo launched YouWitnessNews, a website that posts offerings from users after the submissions pass muster with professional editors.

Founded almost two years ago, news website taps into legions of people that post pictures, videos, or commentary online.

NowPublic boasts more than 60,000 contributing "reporters" in more than 140 countries and promises to quickly locate potential witnesses or news gatherers close to breaking events from natural disasters to terrorist attacks...

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RIM to Introduce Newest BlackBerry

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. on Monday will unveil a new version of its top-end e-mail phone for business users, replacing the signature side navigation wheel with a front trackball that first appeared last year on the consumer-oriented BlackBerry Pearl.

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Yahoo to Unveil Mobile Marketing Platform

Yahoo Inc. will sell branded advertising aimed at
mobile phone customers outside the United States as part of the
Internet powerhouse's efforts to build other revenue sources beyond the

The new mobile marketing platform to be unveiled Monday will
deliver image-based ads to mobile phones in Mexico, Canada and 16 other
countries in Europe, Asia and parts of South America.

The Sunnyvale-based company launched a similar advertising push in the United States in November.

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More US states mull OpenDocument move

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Minnesota and Texas may become the next US states to adopt the OpenDocument Format (ODF) as the required standard for their agencies, thanks to two state bills currently up for vote.

The Minnesota Preservation of State Documents Act, if passed,
would require that all documents "including text, spreadsheets
and presentations" of the state be created in ODF. The XML-based
document format is a rival to Microsoft's Office technology.

The one-page bill, HF0176, was introduced to the state's
legislative Committee on Governmental Operations, Reform,
Technology and Elections on January 17 by Representative Paul Thissen.
Representatives Melissa Hortman and Steve Simon, later joined as co-authors
of the bill.

If it passes the vote, Minnesota Preservation of State
Documents Act will go into effect on July 1, 2008.

The Texas bill SB 446, authored by state Senator Juan Hinojosa,
was filed with the state Senate on February 5. That act, if
passed, would take effect on December 1, 2007, but agencies would
be given until September 1, 2008 to comply.

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Microsoft: Vista follow-up likely in 2009

With Vista just out the door, Microsoft is now drawing up plans to deliver its follow-up client operating system by the end of 2009, according to the executive in charge of building the product's core components.

That would be a much faster turn-around than Vista, which shipped more than five years after Windows XP, but Vista was exceptional, said Ben Fathi, corporate vice president of development with Microsoft's Windows Core Operating System Division this week at the RSA Conference in San Francisco.

Microsoft originally planned for its XP follow-up to include a number of radical changes to Windows, including a new file system and a reinvented user interface, but after the company's products were hit by widespread worm outbreaks in 2003, Microsoft redirected almost its entire engineering effort to locking down Windows with the XP Service Pack 2 release.

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YouTube has to move fast to prove it has a future

With 35 million regular users and a reputation at the cutting- edge
of cool, the video-sharing site was the happening new media
company of 2006. It won Time magazine's award for Invention of the
Year. Savvy media commentators joked: "The revolution will not be
televised. It will be YouTubed."

Established giants of the digital era seemed to agree. Google paid
$1.76bn (£840m) last September to buy YouTube from its founders, the
former PayPal employees Jawed Karim, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. Then
trouble started. Old media companies, whose content make it a
compelling online destination, began to demand payback.

Before Google, YouTube's image as a democratic, non-commercial
entity shielded it from lawsuits. But once in the behemoth's embrace,
music, television and film companies asserted their copyright. YouTube
signed short-term licensing deals with the likes of CBS, Vivendi,
Warner, Sony-BMG and Universal Music, but the daddy of all new media
questions is hanging over it: how to monetise an anarchic user-uploaded
business model.

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