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Windows

+ - Vista not as ready for modern desktop as Linux? 1

Submitted by
Pr0xY
Pr0xY writes "Recently I purchased my new "gaming rig." So I decided to just go for and loaded up a new Dell XPS 720 with the works. Among other things, I got 4GB of RAM. To my (and many others according to google) surprise, x86 Vista only reports 3 and change GB of RAM.
I do some systems programming, so I had a clue as to what was going on, my first reaction was "PAE must not be enabled." Here's what's going on. With traditional paging, there is 4GB of physical address space available to a 32-bit x86 processor. This includes memory mapped devices, for example, your shiny new video card with 768 Megs of RAM takes up that much space of physical RAM your system can use. The solution is to use either PAE or PSE36, both provide up to 64GB of physical memory to a 32-bit x86 system. The limit of what you can map into memory at a time is still 4GB, but this allows motherboards to relocate the RAM that got displaced by hardware above the 4GB and still be usable.
However, it turns out that first of all, Vista automatically enables PAE if you want DEP since it is necessary for the NX bit. And in addition to that, Microsoft deliberately doesn't use RAM above the 4GB mark even with PAE for "compatibility reasons." The main issue being that DMA can't touch RAM higher than 4GB on x86. Microsoft could have easily had a special pool for this "high memory" in order to make some use of it when you know it's safe. This isn't impractical as the server editions of Windows are in fact able to use upwards of 4GB on 32-bit systems as well.
Linux has no issue using all 4GB of my RAM once I build my kernel with PAE support. Microsoft also claims that they support 4GB of RAM in their documentation. All in all, I find this whole thing to be a bit deceptive on Microsoft's part. Microsoft's solution: "Get Vista x86-64""
Upgrades

+ - First Commercial Quantum Computer Demonstrated

Submitted by
emw2012
emw2012 writes "As of February 13, D-Wave Systems Inc. of Burnaby, British Columbia has shown a proof of concept of its 16-qubit quantum system, dubbed "Orion". The system was showcased, audaciously enough, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, where D-Wave displayed Orion's power in a drug molecule matching test, followed by such worthy enterprises as solving a party seating arrangement seeking to pair like-minded guests, and deducing a Sudoku puzzle to completion. While time will tell whether Orion is remembered as merely a curious misadventure or the harbinger of revolution in the processing industry, D-Wave has assured us of the later, promising systems able to model molecular dynamics, complex NP-complete optimization problems, and simulate nanoscale behavior in fractions of second, compared to years (or simply not at all) on BlueGene/L and its digital kin.

dwavesys.com, Press Release"
Software

+ - Enso Humanizes Windows

Submitted by
illuminatedwax
illuminatedwax writes "The Wall Street Journal's Walter S. Mossberg's latest column is a writeup on a new software system called Enso. Enso is from a small software startup called Humanized, led by Aza Raskin. The software allows Windows users to do common tasks, like launching programs, spellchecking, or Googling for search terms, but what's interesting is that it allows you to do these tasks from within any program in Windows by use of the keyboard. From the article:
There are two initial Enso products, which can be downloaded at humanized.com. One, called Enso Launcher, allows you to launch programs and switch among windows via typed commands. The other, called Enso Words, allows you to do spell-checking, even when the program you're using doesn't include that capability, and to look up the meaning of words. Both products also include a simple calculator and the ability to launch Google searches.
Humanized says that users will be able to program their own commands for Enso in future versions."
Security

+ - Hotel WiFi Tracks You as You Surf

Submitted by
saccade.com
saccade.com writes "During my last hotel stay, I thought it was a pretty strange that it took two browser re-directs before the hotel's Wi-Fi would show me the web page I browsed to. Picasa developer Michael Herf noticed the same the thing and dug a little deeper. He discovered: "...their page does some tracking of each new page you visit in your browser, outside what a normal proxy (which would have access to all your cookies and other information it shouldn't have, anyway) would do. This "adlog" hit appears to also track a "hotel ID" and some other data that identifies you more directly. Notably, I've observed these guys tracking HTTPS URLs, and of course you can't track those through a proxy.". Herf notes the WiFi service provider, SuperClick, advertises that it "allows hoteliers and conference center managers to leverage the investment they have made in their IP infrastructure to create advertising revenue, deliver targeted marketing and brand messages to guests and users on their network...""

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