Stoobalou writes "Rumours of a cut-down Apple iPad are ramping up as Taiwanese news outlet Economic Daily News names names. The often-reliable Chinese language newspaper — which correctly predicted the first coming of the iPad when everyone else on the planet was carping on about a sub-$500 netbook from the Cupertino company — has been digging about in the skips behind a number of Chinese factories and reckons it knows who will be making which bit of the much-predicted iPad 2."
Slashdot regular Bennett Haselton writes in with an essay on a subject we've dealt with internally at Slashdot for years: user abuses of social news... this time at Digg. He starts "Alternet uncovers evidence of a 'bury brigade' coordinating efforts to 'bury' left-leaning stories on Digg. Digg had previously announced that the 'bury' button will be removed from the next version of their site, to prevent these types of abuses, but that won't fix the real underlying issue — you can show mathematically that artificially promoting stories is just as harmful in the long run. Here's a simple fix that would address the real problem."
Low Ranked Craig writes "Senior space agency scientists believe the Earth will be hit with unprecedented levels of magnetic energy from solar flares after the Sun wakes 'from a deep slumber' sometime around 2013. In a new warning, NASA said the super storm could hit like 'a bolt of lightning' and could cause catastrophic consequences for the world's health, emergency services, and national security — unless precautions are taken. Scientists believe damage could extend to everyday items such as home computers, iPods, and sat navs. 'We know it is coming but we don't know how bad it is going to be,' said Dr. Richard Fisher, the director of NASA's Heliophysics division. 'I believe we're on the threshold of a new era in which space weather can be as influential in our daily lives as ordinary terrestrial weather.' Fisher concludes. 'We take this very seriously indeed.'"
CWmike sends in this excerpt from Computerworld: "Free unlimited Wi-Fi is coming to nearly 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the US beginning July 1, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said on Monday. Schultz also said that Starbucks is partnering with Yahoo! to debut the Starbucks Digital Network this fall. Starbucks customers will have free unrestricted access to various paid sites and services, such as wsj.com, as well as other free downloads Starbucks didn't detail. A spokeswoman said the access will be 'unlimited' and 'simplified, one-click.' By comparison, first-time Wi-Fi users in Starbucks stores now get up to two hours free after registering, but then must purchase additional time at the rate of $3.99 for two consecutive hours. That Wi-Fi access is already free to AT&T DSL home customers and AT&T mobile customers, according to the Starbucks website, but the connection process requires up to nine steps. McDonald's added free Wi-Fi to 11,500 locations earlier this year."
courteaudotbiz writes "In a court battle in the province of Quebec, Canada, initiated more than two years ago, free software activists Savoir Faire Linux (translated 'Linux know-how') won the right to submit offers (Google translation; original French version) when the government takes public requests for submissions to replace its desktop operating systems and office suites. This opens the possibility in the future of replacing Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office in favor of Linux and OpenOffice.org, or any other operating system and office productivity suite. In his judgment, the magistrate said that the government acted illegally when it discarded the proposal of Savoir Faire Linux for replacing Windows XP with a Linux distribution."
eldavojohn writes "Oh if only we could identify the bubble markets as they appear, but with all the random variables, it would take some sort of econophysicist to build predictions for that! Well, a team has released a definition of a 'bubble index' that led them to make predictions of bubbles six months ago that would pop between then and now. The four bubbles they selected were the IBOVESPA Index of 50 Brazilian stocks, a Merrill Lynch Corporate Bond Index, the spot price of gold, and cotton futures. Two out of the four were bubbles, with Merrill Lynch being a bubble already popping and cotton continuing to soar into even bubblier status. Still, for your first try, 50% isn't bad. The team learned a lot of new things from the first run, revised their method, selected their predictions for the next six months, and sealed them. Only time will tell if they are truly onto predicting crashes."
Seriously, Adobe, why do I have to reboot after updating your damn user-land software? I can even install some OS patches without rebooting!
Trailrunner7 writes "Adobe, which has been under fire for the security of its flagship products, Flash and Reader, for some time now, may be on the verge of changing its patching process to push fixes out on a monthly schedule, which would coincide with Microsoft's monthly Patch Tuesday releases. The change would be the second major adjustment to Adobe's patching process in the last year or so. In 2009 the company moved to a scheduled quarterly patch release process in an effort to give its customers a better chance to plan for testing and deployment. That change was generally well-received. Now Adobe may change the schedule again in order to get patches out more quickly. The company is considering releasing its security fixes for Reader on a monthly schedule, the same day that Microsoft releases its patches."
Adobe's Flash Player is not yet integrated into the stable branch of Chrome; however, the Google Product Manager Brian Rakowski says that it will be enabled when the final version of Flash Player 10.1 is released.
tonyfugere writes "After a year of testing by invitation only, Google Wave has been opened to the public. From what I have seen, it looks like it could be beneficial for documenting brainstorming sessions beyond simple instant messaging protocols." (Google Wave is "also great for entertaining the masses," says tonyfugere, who links to the slightly NSFW demonstration below.)
vleky writes "This is thinking outside the box ... or head. Dr. Matthew Bromwich of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario has written an iPhone app to help doctors with the Epley maneuver to cure some forms of vertigo. The patient places the iPhone against his or her forehead and the app leads the doctor through the maneuver. Bromwich's first attempt at the app sounded even more fun. With that version, the iPhone hung from the front of a baseball cap the patient wore, and the patient tried to keep a ball centered in a twisting tube by moving their head. Winning the game meant the maneuver had been successfully completed and the vertigo cured."
CWmike writes "Imagine a team of robots — some rolling on wheels, some walking on two legs — working alongside astronauts on the surface of Mars, scouting previously unseen locations, measuring the parameters of a new base or constructing a building. Now picture astronauts driving across the Martian surface in a vehicle. When the astronauts get out and begin their work, they can flip a switch to turn the vehicle into an autonomous robot that goes off to undertake projects on the planet. Whatever work the next generation of NASA-developed space robots does, it will be done in conjunction with their human counterparts. Terry Fong, director of NASA's intelligent robotics group, said that's the image that a lot of the US space agency's engineers have in mind as they work on the new robotic rovers. In comparison, the Mars rovers on the Red Planet have been working alone for years. 'We're working on a new use of these robots — robots to support human exploration,' Fong said. 'NASA is now thinking, "How do you go about sending humans to the moon or Mars or elsewhere? How can you use the combination of humans and robots to do exploration better?" I think it's a really, really fundamentally different approach.' Fong said he's hopeful that the next-generation robotic rovers will arrive on the moon or on an asteroid within five to 10 years."
Trailrunner7 writes in with a Threatpost.com article that begins: "For years, security experts, analysts and even users have been lamenting the state of desktop security. Viruses, spam, Trojans and rootkits have added up to create an ugly picture. But, the good news is that the desktop security battle may be over. The less-than-good news, however, is that we may have lost it. Jeremiah Grossman, CTO of WhiteHat Security, said Thursday that many organizations, particularly in the financial services industry, have gotten to the point of assuming that their customers' desktops are compromised. And moving forward from that assumption, things don't get much prettier." It goes on to speculate about home routers being targeted and infected.
qvatch writes with this from CBC News: "The CRTC has approved Bell Canada's request to bill Internet customers, both retail and wholesale, based on how much they download each month. The plan, known as usage-based billing, will apply to people who buy their Internet connection from Bell, or from smaller service providers that rent lines from the company, such as Teksavvy or Acanac. ... Customers using the fastest connections of five megabits per second, for example, will have a monthly allotment of 60 gigabytes, beyond which Bell will charge $1.12 per GB to a maximum of $22.50. If a customer uses more than 300 GB a month, Bell will also be able to implement an additional charge of 75 cents per gigabyte."