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The Presidential Portrait Goes Digital 295

alphadogg writes "Barack Obama's election to US president has already brought a string of firsts, and on Wednesday there came another. The official presidential portrait was shot on a digital camera for the first time. The picture was taken by the White House's new official photographer, Pete Souza, and issued by The Office of the President Elect through its Web site. It was taken on Tuesday evening at 5:38 p.m. using a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, according to the metadata embedded in the image file."

Earth's Radio Telescopes Combining Forces 119

Slatterz writes "I own a basic 70mm telescope, which I'm sure Galileo would have given his right arm for in 1609. In fact, this year marks exactly 400 years since Galileo first pointed a telescope at the skies — discovering the moons of Jupiter and helping to prove that the universe doesn't revolve around us. As a mark of respect, the United Nations has declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. Official festivities kick off this week in Paris and, to help start the celebrations, 17 radio telescopes in Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas will track three quasars using something called "real-time Very Long Baseline Interferometry" — basically creating hi-res images by combining their data to simulate a telescope as large as the Earth. Sounds cool."

Chrome Complicates Mozilla/Google Love-In 307

Barence writes "Mozilla CEO John Lilly has admitted the Firefox maker's relationship with Google has become 'more complicated' since the company launched its own browser. Mozilla is dependent on Google for the vast majority of its revenue and has previously worked closely with the search king's engineers on the development of Firefox. But that relationship appears to have cooled since Google released Chrome in the summer. 'We have a fine and reasonable relationship, but I'd be lying if I said that things weren't more complicated than they used to be.'"

New Game Download Site Offers Play-As-You-Download Service 104

arcticstoat writes to tell us that despite the many game download sites already available, another one has decided to give it a go; only this time, with a twist. UK-based Game Domain International is launching their AWOMO service that will allow you to play the game before it's done downloading. As an added incentive to get people to sign up, you can try out the beta now and get Rome: Total War for free. "The trick, according to GDI, is its 'unique technology' that 'lets you start playing before the game has finished downloading, meaning you can be up and running, jumping and fragging in minutes rather than hours.' Although some other download services allow you to start playing a game before it's fully downloaded, you usually still have to download a big chunk of data before you can start, and GDI reckons that it's cracked this problem. According to GDI, AWOMO takes a look at your PC's spec and connection speed, and then hooks you up with a sufficient buffer to stop your game stalling during gameplay. The company is confident that 'the delivery system accurately predicts the data you require next and ensures it's already there waiting before you need it.'"
Internet Explorer

A Cheat Sheet To All the Browser Betas 188

Harry writes "I can't remember another time when there were so many Web browsers in prerelease form — 2009 should be a really, really good year for final browser versions. I have posted a quick recap of the state of the upcoming versions of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari." It is nice to see a healthy market of competition driving innovation in a market that has been largely stagnant in recent history. What do other folks see on the scorecard?

Ray Bradbury Turns 88 194

Lawrence Person writes "Legendary science fiction writer Ray Bradbury turned 88 years old on August 22. Happy Birthday Ray! 'The Illustrated Man' was one of the first science fiction books I ever read, and I've been hooked ever since. I'm sure that's true of a lot of science fiction writers and readers, be it that, or 'The Martian Chronicles,' or 'Fahrenheit 451.' There are also several videos of Ray on that page, including one where he doesn't endorse Sunsweet Prunes." I remember when another student on the bus loaned me "Fahrenheit 451," and my middle-school English teacher Mrs. Young was smart enough to include "All Summer in a Day" in her curriculum.

Batman Discussion 967

I won't be reading it because I haven't been able to go yet, but I suspect a goodly number of you have already partaken in the latest Batman flick that taunts me. Mocks me. And knows that I don't have time today or probably any time this week (unless there is a movie theater near the OSCON venue?) Anyway -- here is the official place to talk about the biggest geek movie out until the X-Files comes out next week, and I have similar frustrations.

Cloverfield Discussion 511

I don't get to see many movies with a 4 month old in the house, but I managed to escape to see Cloverfield. Stop reading immediately if you don't want spoilers. It's Blair Witch's first person camera work, applied to a small (for the genre) budget monster movie. The monster is cool. The little monsters are cool. The acting is sometimes good, sometimes awkward. The action is often great and very intense. And it will undoubtedly be the most hyped movie of 2008 until the spring blockbusters arrive. I really enjoyed the movie, but I'm posting this so you guys can have a place to talk amongst yourselves about this movie. Groundbreaking movie-making or just hype-making? I'm not sure. I'm also not sure my skull can handle watching it again- that jerky camera action gave me a headache. (Also, there was a Star Trek teaser trailer attached, and I'm almost ashamed to admit that I want it so badly it made me hurt. Please Abrams, don't screw it up)

What is an Open Source Company Really Worth? 82

CNet has an interesting profile of MySQL, JBoss, and Zimbra, exploring what an open source company is actually worth. "Given how slowly revenue accumulates in an open-source company--assuming it is recognizing subscriptions over 12 months--bookings is probably the valuation metric being used or at least strongly considered. It surely is the metric by which the start-up wishes to be measured. So while Savio suggests we open-source entrepreneurs may be "sleeping with dollar signs in (our) eyes," there's clearly a lot of work to do before most open-source companies are worth selling. It's not worth selling out for $100 million. Not for the venture-backed companies, anyway."

Rails Bigwig Rails on Rails Community 616

Zed Shaw, creator of the popular Mongrel HTTP daemon / library, has decided it was high time to tear into the Ruby/Rails community for many different complaints that he has been collecting over the last few years. "Rails is a Ghetto" is Shaw's self-proclaimed exit strategy from the Rails community. "This is that rant. It is part of my grand exit strategy from the Ruby and Rails community. I don't want to be a 'Ruby guy' anymore, and will probably start getting into more Python, Factor, and Lua in the coming months. I've got about three or four more projects in the works that will use all of those and not much Ruby planned. This rant is full of stories about companies and people who've either pissed in my cheerios somehow or screwed over friends. I can back all of them up from emails, IRC chat logs, or with witnesses. Nothing in here is a lie unless it's really obviously a lie through exaggeration, and there's a lot of my opinion as well."

Convert NSF Files to MP3s 69

indecks writes "This tutorial shows an easy way to convert NSF (NES Sound Format) files to mp3s so they can be played in normal media players, or even used as ringtones. Now I have the Super Mario Bros '1Up' sound for my text message notification, and I have Mega Man 3's 'Snakeman' stage music as my ringer. Sah-weet!" (The method demonstrated does require Windows, note.)
It's funny.  Laugh.

Student Given Detention For Using Firefox [UPDATED] 818

An anonymous reader writes "Several sites are reporting that a student has been given detention for using Firefox to do his classwork. No, really. The student was in class, working on an assignment that necessitated using a browser. The teacher instructed him to stop using Firefox and to do his classwork, to which the student responded that he was doing his classwork using a 'better' browser (it is unclear whether the computer was the student's own computer or not). The clueless teacher (who called the rogue program 'Firefox.exe') ordered him to detention." Update: 12/17 20:09 by SM One of the school officials was nice enough to contact us and let us know this is a hoax. If you are planning on calling the school please refrain from doing so, I'm sure they have had enough excitement for one day.

Postal Service Surcharge Could Slash Netflix Profit 268

mikesd81 writes " reports that Netflix Inc., the largest US mail-order movie-rental service, may suffer a cut in profits if the US Postal Service starts charging extra to manually sort the envelopes that carry its DVDs. An audit prepared by the Postal Service's Inspector General last month recommended charging one unidentified company 17 cents per envelope for labor costs. Citigroup analyst Tony Wible, who said in a note to investors Tuesday that the company is Netflix, estimated the charge might reduce profit per subscriber to $0.35 from $1.05. Wible advises investors to buy Blockbusters shares because their DVD envelopes don't have the problem (floppy edges that jam the USPS's automated sorting machinery). Netflix says the whole thing is no big deal and they will change their envelopes if necessary."

Every little picofarad has a nanohenry all its own. -- Don Vonada