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Firefox

Mozilla Unleashes JaegerMonkey Enabled Firefox 4 279

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla has published the first Firefox 4 build that integrates a new JavaScript engine that aims to match the performance in IE9 and reduces the gap to Safari, Opera and Chrome. This is really the big news we have been waiting for all along with Firefox 4 and it appears that the JavaScript performance is pretty dramatic and seems to beat IE9 at least as far as ConceivablyTech shows. Good to see Mozilla back in the game." The Mozilla blog gives a good overview of the improvements this brings; Tom's Hardware also covers the release.
Media (Apple)

Open Source VLC Media Player Coming To iPad 232

Stoobalou writes "The people behind VLC, quite probably the most useful media player available right now, have submitted an iPod version to the Apple software police. VLC — which is rightfully famous for having a go at playing just about any kind of audio or video file you care to throw at it — should appear some time next week, if it makes it through the often unfathomable approval process implemented by Apple. The Open Source Video Lan Client has been tweaked to run on the iPod by software developer Applidium."
The Military

DARPA Wants Extreme Wireless Interference Buster 105

coondoggie writes "This month the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will begin looking for technology that will let wireless communications work through the most extreme interference. From the article: 'The CommEx program will assess next generation and beyond jamming threats and then develop advanced interference suppression and avoidance technologies to successfully communicate in the presence of severe, traditional, and novel types of interference that are orders-of-magnitude more severe than what are currently addressed by the most advanced systems, DARPA stated.'"
Social Networks

Facebook Kills Dataset of Crawled Public Profiles 158

holy_calamity writes "Internet entrepreneur Pete Warden wrote a crawler that collated the public profiles of 210 million Facebook profiles and was set to release an anonymised version to researchers. The pages crawled can be read by any web user, and the robots.txt did not forbid crawling. However, Facebook claimed he had violated its terms of service and threatened legal action. Fearing costs, Warden has now destroyed his dataset. For a snapshot of the insights that data could have allowed, see Warden's post on how the friend networks of the 120 million US users in his data segregated into seven clusters." Of course, if he had it, this means anyone who wants it made their own version of this.
Google

Lawmakers Ask For FTC Investigation of Google Buzz 131

angry tapir writes "Eleven US lawmakers have asked the FTC to investigate Google's launch of its Buzz social-networking product for breaches of consumer privacy. The representatives — six Democrats and five Republicans from the House Energy and Commerce Committee — noted in their letter that Google's roll-out of Buzz exposed private information of users to Google's Gmail service to outsiders. In one case, a 9-year-old girl accidentally shared her contact list in Gmail with a person who has a 'sexually charged' username, the lawmakers said in the letter."
Programming

Open Source Languages Rumble At OSCON 197

blackbearnh writes "Everybody knows what the best programming language is, it's whatever one you like the most. But is there a best language overall? Or even a best language for a given purpose? This question has been debated since the first time there were two languages to choose from. The argument is still going on, of course, but maybe a little light will be shed on the issue this week at OSCON. On Wednesday night at 7PM Pacific, representatives of the 5 major open source languages (perl, PHP, Python, Java and Ruby), as arbitrarily decided by O'Reilly, will meet to debate the merits of their various languages. If you're not going to be at OSCON, you can watch it live on a webcast and pose questions or comments to the participants. The representatives are: Python: Alex Martelli, Google; Ruby: Brian Ford, Engine Yard; PHP: Laura Thomson, Mozilla; Perl: Jim Brandt, Perl Foundation; Java: Rod Johnson, SpringSource."
Biotech

Using Sound Waves For Outpatient Neurosurgery 152

eldavojohn writes "Got a piece of malfunctioning brain tissue in your head? Want to avoid messy lobotomies and skull saws? Well, you're in luck; a study shows that acoustic waves can do the trick and will hopefully treat patients with disorders like Parkinson's disease. A specialist said, 'The groundbreaking finding here is that you can make lesions deep in the brain — through the intact skull and skin — with extreme precision and accuracy and safety.' They focus beams on the part of the brain needing treatment and it absorbs the energy, which turns to heat. The temperature hits about 130 F, and they can burn 10 cubic millimeters at a time. Using an MRI to see areas of heat, they can watch the whole time and target only what needs to be burned. The study consisted of nine subjects suffering from chronic pain that did not subside with medication (normally they need to go in and destroy a small part of the thalamus on these patients). After the outpatient procedure, all nine reported immediate pain relief and none experienced neurological problems or other side effects after surgery."
Biotech

Training Bacteria To Deliver Drugs? 29

Hugh Pickens writes "While it may seem unlikely that single-celled organisms could be trained to salivate like Pavlov's dog at the sound of a bell, researchers say that bacteria can 'learn' to associate one stimulus with another by employing molecular circuits. This raises the possibility that bioengineers could teach bacteria to act as sentinels for the human body, ready to spot and respond to signs of danger. As with Pavlov's dog, the bacteria in the model learn to build stronger associations between the two stimuli the more they occur together. Now called Hebbian learning, it's often expressed as a situation in which 'neurons that fire together wire together.'" (More below.)
Classic Games (Games)

16th World Computer Chess Championship In Progress 183

vmartell writes "The 16th World Computer Chess Championship is now in progress in Beijing, as part of the Computer Games Championship. Currently in the lead are Rybka 3.0, recognized as the world's strongest chess engine and Hiarcs, another commercial engine. Another curiosity is a Java ME based engine running on a Nokia phone, which is currently being trounced by the other engines. A very interesting sideline: before the computer tournament, a Women's Grandmaster played two games against Rybka. The result? Rybka won both games!"
Upgrades

Cell Chip Coming To the PC Via a PCI Express Card 164

arcticstoat writes with an excerpt from Custom PC: "After developing a brand new CPU architecture from the ground-up, you'd expect that Toshiba, Sony and IBM would have more uses for the Cell architecture than the PlayStation 3, and Toshiba has been quick to make use of the architecture's HD video transcoding abilities in its new Qosimo laptops. However, Leadtek is now taking Toshiba's efforts a step further by putting the chip onto a PCI-E card for desktop PCs. The WinFast PxVC1100 is based on Toshiba's SpursEngine SE1000 processor, which is a cut-down version of the Cell chip. The SpursEngine chip features four SPEs (synergistic processing elements) based on 128-bit RISC cores, along with H.264 and MPEG-2 codecs, but it doesn't contain its own CPU as the chip in the PS3 does. The chip is capable of encoding and decoding H.264, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 video streams in hardware."
Games

Server Structure in EVE Online 141

Massively takes an interesting look at the server model used by EVE Online. It's unusual for a MMOG because it doesn't divide the player load among different servers or "shards." Instead, the same cluster handles the entire EVE universe and all 300,000 subscribers (total; record concurrent load is around 40,000). The EVE Dev Blog recently announced some upgrades to keep things running smoothly and allow for battles involving over 1,000 ships. They call the technology StacklessIO.
Wii

Nintendo's Wii Storage Solution — SD Cards 79

Lucas123 writes "After gamers complained for the better part of a year, Nintendo finally came out with a solution to the Wii's lack of storage capacity — a 2GB SD card from which users can execute games, adding to the console's measly 512MB of onboard storage. The card is expected out in the Spring. With the ability to download, the card should allow users to store up to 60 games." This news came out of the same press conference that announced the Nintendo DSi we discussed earlier today. They made a number of other announcements as well, including Gamecube remakes for the Wii, updated to make use of the Wiimote, Club Nintendo coming to North America this year, and the Wii Speak Channel, an online voice chat utility.
Operating Systems

How Kernel Hackers Boosted the Speed of Desktop Linux 380

chromatic writes "Kernel hackers Arjan van de Ven and Auke Kok showed off Linux booting in five seconds at last month's Linux Plumbers Conference. Arjan and other hackers have already improved the Linux user experience by reducing power consumption and latency. O'Reilly News interviewed him about his work on improving the Linux experience with PowerTOP, LatencyTOP, and Five-Second Boot."

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