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Submission + - BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0: Closer But No Cigar (

GMGruman writes: "It's the basis of the forthcoming reboot of the venerable but declining BlackBerry: the PlayBook OS. Last April, the QNX-derived OS fell flat in its debut on the PlayBook tablet. Now, 10 months later, the retooled PlayBook 2.0 OS has arrived, allowing direct access to email (before you had to tether to a BlackBerry). It's a marked improvement, but as this review shows, its simple UI and basic capabilities has limited appeal compared to iOS and Android. And if this is the basis of the BlackBerry's comeback, don't hold your breath."

Submission + - Physicists raid Tevatron for parts ( 1

ananyo writes: It is a 4,000-tonne edifice that stands three stories high, chock full of particle detectors, power supplies, electronics and photomultiplier tubes, all layered like a giant onion around a cylindrical magnet. During 26 years of operation at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, this behemoth, the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF), helped to find the top quark and chased the Higgs boson. But since the lab's flagship particle collider, the Tevatron, was switched off in September 2011, the detector has been surplus stock — and it is now slowly being cannibalized for parts.

Submission + - Microsoft's Anti-Google Propaganda Campaign ( 1

eldavojohn writes: As the presidential race heats up, the smear ads on TV are also increasing. But Microsoft isn't going to site idly by and let the politicians engage in all that song and dance — and Microsoft really does employ both song and dance. Their Youtube channel appears to be slowly transforming from trade show videos and launches into a marketing attack or propaganda campaign that only targets Google (both videos I've watched seemed to have nothing positive about Microsoft in them). Under a month ago, they launched a spoof called GMail man, a creepy guy that flips through all your GMail and serves up super personal ads that are wrong (although they never say if Hotmail engages in targeted marketing). And a few days ago Googlighting shows up to spread fear and uncertainty about Google Docs. Most amusing to this viewer was that I found no such trace of 'Googlighting' on Bing's video service.

Submission + - ACTA referred to Europe's top court for analysis (

superglaze writes: "The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is to get an extra level of scrutiny in the EU after the European Commission said it would refer it to the European Court of Justice, to check it really does comply with fundamental freedoms in the union. This obviously follows mass protests over ACTA, and it seems justice commissioner Viviane Reding was the one who pushed for ECJ scrutiny. It's not currently clear if this will delay the European Parliament ratification process, but it is hard to imagine the parliament voting on ACTA (scheduled for June at the moment) before the ECJ has had its say — and no-one can say right now how long that will take to happen."

Submission + - Adobe to Abandon Flash Player on Linux ( 1

ekimd writes: Adobe has anounced their plans to abandon future updates of their Flash player for Linux. Partnering with Google, after the release of 11.2, "the Flash Player browser plugin for Linux will only be available via the 'Pepper' API as part of the Google Chrome browser distribution and will no longer be available as a direct download from Adobe." Viva la HTML 5!

Submission + - Web Browser Grand Prix 9: Chrome 17, Firefox 10, And Ubuntu (

An anonymous reader writes: The latest Web browser benchmarks from Tom's Hardware are out. Last month TH ran these tests in OS X on a MacBook, this time they ran the top five Windows 7 browsers against the top three for Linux (on Ubuntu 11.10). Testing includes page load time, start time, memory, reliability, JavaScript, CSS, DOM, Flash, HTML5, hardware acceleration, WebGL, Java, and standards conformance. The Windows 7 standings are pretty much the same as last month, but now have IE9 solidly in last place, and Chrome almost stealing first. Chrome did manage to steal the show on Ubuntu, while Firefox actually performs the worst of the three Linux browsers. In contrast to a recent cross-platform benchmarks of Ubuntu 11.10 and Windows 7 (where Ubuntu actually wins a majority of the tests), the Linux browsers just didn't stand up to their Windows versions. The author calls the combo "a meaningless victory and a defeat" for Linux.

Submission + - Obayashi to Build Space Elevator by 2050 ( 3

mattr writes: "Japan's Obayashi Construction announced plans to build a space elevator by 2050. They are famous for wrecking skylines with the stupidly too big bullet train station in Kyoto, world's tallest self-supporting tower Tokyo Sky Tree and just starting now, Taipei Dome. It will take a week at 200 kph for your party of 30 to reach the 36 km high terminal station, while the counterweight sails by at 96 km, a quarter of the way to the Moon."

Submission + - Privacy-Centric Search Engine Scroogle Shuts Down (

An anonymous reader writes: Daniel Brandt started his 'Scroogle' search engine because he wanted to provide privacy to people who searched online through Google. Unfortunately, while Google tolerated this for a while, they began throttling Scroogle queries. This, in combination with extensive DDoS attacks on Brandt's servers, has caused him to take Scroogle offline, along with his other domains. He said, 'I no longer have any domains online. I also took all my domains out of DNS because I want to signal to the criminal element that I have no more servers to trash. This hopefully will ward off further attacks on my previous providers. is gone forever. Even if all my DDoS problems had never started in December, Scroogle was already getting squeezed from Google’s throttling, and was already dying. It might have lasted another six months if I hadn’t lost seven servers from DDoS, but that’s about all.' Internet users who made use of the services will now need to investigate other options.

Submission + - Google heads up display (

kodiaktau writes: Google working to deliver a heads up display allowing users access to email, maps and other tools through a wearable interface.

Submission + - NRC releases audio of Fukushima disaster (

mdsolar writes: ""The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today released transcripts and audio recordings made at the NRC Operations Center during last year’s meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. The release of these audio recordings comes at the request of the public radio program "BURN: An Energy Journal," and its host Alex Chadwick.

The recordings show the inside workings of the U.S. government’s highest level efforts to understand and deal with the unfolding nuclear crisis as the reactors meltdown. In the course of a week, the NRC is repeatedly alarmed that the situation may turn even more catastrophic. The NRC emergency staff discusses what to do — and what the consequences may be — as it learns that reactor containment safeguards are failing, and that spent fuel pools are boiling away their cooling water, and in one case perhaps catching fire.""

Open Source

Submission + - Please Steal These webOS Features ( 1

egparedes writes: webOS isn’t quite dead yet. It’s just being open-sourced, which, when it happens to commercial software, often turns out to be the digital equivalent of being reanimated as a walking corpse in a George Romero movie. You’re still shuffling around a bit, and occasionally making some (mostly incomprehensible) noises, but you probably won’t make it too far anymore.

Of course, it’s not assured that this is the end of webOS. Maybe open-sourcing it will be the best thing that ever happened to webOS. But maybe it just means that HP doesn’t care anymore, and that webOS won’t receive much attention anymore. This would be unfortunate, because webOS is one of the few current mobile operating systems that are actually a joy to use. It’s been hurt by HP’s incompetent management, rather than any egregious faults of its own.

The least we can do now is to keep its best ideas alive, even if webOS itself won’t make it.


Submission + - Have Bad Cars Gone Extinct? 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "AP reports that global competition is squeezing lemons out of the market and forcing automakers to improve the quality and reliability of their vehicles so with few exceptions, cars are so close on reliability that it's getting harder for companies to charge a premium. "We don't have total clunkers like we used to," says Dave Sargent, automotive vice president with J.D. Power. In 1998, J.D. Power and Associates found an industry average of 278 problems per 100 vehicles but this year, the number fell to 132. In 1998, the most reliable car had 92 problems per 100 vehicles, while the least reliable had 517, a gap of 425 but this year the gap closed to 284 problems. It wasn't always like this. In the 1990s, Honda and Toyota dominated in quality, especially in the key American market for small and midsize cars. Around 2006, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler were heading into financial trouble and shifted research dollars from trucks to cars after years of neglect and spent more on engineering and parts to close the gap. Meanwhile Toyota's reputation was tarnished by a series of safety recalls, and Honda played conservative with new models that looked similar to the old ones. Now it's "very hard to find products that aren't good anymore," says Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of the automotive website. "In safety, performance and quality, the differences just don't have material impact.""

Submission + - DHS Budget Includes No New Airport Body Scanners (

OverTheGeicoE writes: The Electronic Privacy Information Center has been examining the White House's proposed budget for Department of Homeland Security for 2013, and they point out that it doesn't include any money for additional airport body scanners for TSA. Did the recent scandal involving TSA workers targeting women for scans make the White House realize that TSA is a national embarrassment? Does the executive branch finally understand the questionable safety and effectiveness of these devices? Or does DHS just think it has enough scanners once TSA installs the 250 new scanners in this year's budget?

Submission + - Pico Projector That Adapts to Surface, Can Use Random Objects as Input Devices (

jpwilliams writes: This tiny projector can use random surfaces to project an image. Using a webcam, it adapts to the surface, not just by adjusting keystone, but also following that surface and displaying different amounts of information (in certain cases). The guy in the video also uses a coffee mug as an app changer.