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Microsoft

+ - Debian Founder visits MicroSoft to Talk Shop

Submitted by wellingj
wellingj (1030460) writes "As reported on ZDNet, Debian founder and chief technology officer of the Linux Foundation, Ian Murdock will be giving a 'Power Lunch' presentation at MicroSoft. On the table for discussion is the origins of Debian and it's community development model. The talk is being put on by Bill Hilf, former director of the Linux Lab at Microsoft. Microsoft Employee Rocky Heckman's blog might bring an cynical insider look of the talk. Stay tuned."
Software

Lightroom Vs. Aperture 192

Posted by kdawson
from the snapshootout dept.
Nonu writes "Adobe has officially released its Aperture killer, Lightroom, and the reviews are starting to come in. Ars looks at Lightroom and concludes that it's a better choice for those without bleeding-edge hardware. 'Aperture's main drawback is still performance as it was designed for bleeding-edge machines. On a quad Core 2 Duo Xeon, it is very usable but Lightroom just feels faster for everything regardless of hardware. Since Aperture relies on Core Image and a fast video card to do its adjustments (RAW decoding is done by the CPU), it's limited to what the single 3-D card can do. Lightroom does everything with the CPU and so it is likely to gain more speed as multicore systems get faster.'"
Privacy

+ - UK's Blair Responds to Car Tracking Petition

Submitted by Garrett Fox
Garrett Fox (970174) writes "The response by British PM Tony Blair to the online petition against universal surveillance of every car in Britain has been released. Slashdot covered the tracking proposal itself here, and recently covered Blair's rejection of a petition against national biometric ID cards. The anti-tracking petition gathered over 1.7 million supporters before its pre-arranged deadline Tuesday. Blair's reaction? This is purely about "road pricing" and fighting congestion, not surveillance... "But there may also be opportunities presented by developments in new technology." This claim is inconsistent with old reports like this that the system was designed to fight crime."
Announcements

+ - Tony Blair (UK) Charges you to Drive on Roads

Submitted by
Frank Smith
Frank Smith writes "Tony Blair ( UK Prime minister for now!) has sent us an email for all who sent in a petition re road pricing.

It seems he feels that we need to increase costs to keep the great unwashed from certain roads in the UK.
This is tied in with the congestion charge which will help keep the same people out of the London Area.

So if you can afford some of the highest prices in the world for your house/Flat you get to enjoy
cheap travel in a capital city paid for by Taxes from the rest of the UK, and no poor people to have to queue behind!

So the South east of the UK will become the play ground of the Rich, which must be nice.
The congestion charge will keep going up steadily and increasing in size as it has this year taking in Chelsea and Kensington.
Must be galling sat in a £35,000 car behind a white van!

In about 5 years the charge will be about £25.00 a day in today's money as they know this will stop most people using London.
Of course the wealthy will be complaining that they cant get any trades/servants and the cost of hiring them is expensive.
All in the name of helping keep us on the road

************************************************** *******
Here is the mail in full

************************************************** ********

The e-petition asking the Prime Minister to "Scrap the planned vehicle tracking and road pricing policy" has now closed. This is a response from the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Thank you for taking the time to register your views about road pricing on the Downing Street website.

This petition was posted shortly before we published the Eddington Study, an independent review of Britain's transport network. This study set out long-term challenges and options for our transport network.

It made clear that congestion is a major problem to which there is no easy answer. One aspect of the study was highlighting how road pricing could provide a solution to these problems and that advances in technology put these plans within our reach. Of course it would be ten years or more before any national scheme was technologically, never mind politically, feasible.

That is the backdrop to this issue. As my response makes clear, this is not about imposing "stealth taxes" or introducing "Big Brother" surveillance. This is a complex subject, which cannot be resolved without a thorough investigation of all the options, combined with a full and frank debate about the choices we face at a local and national level. That's why I hope this detailed response will address your concerns and set out how we intend to take this issue forward. I see this email as the beginning, not the end of the debate, and the links below provide an opportunity for you to take it further.

But let me be clear straight away: we have not made any decision about national road pricing. Indeed we are simply not yet in a position to do so. We are, for now, working with some local authorities that are interested in establishing local schemes to help address local congestion problems. Pricing is not being forced on any area, but any schemes would teach us more about how road pricing would work and inform decisions on a national scheme. And funds raised from these local schemes will be used to improve transport in those areas.

One thing I suspect we can all agree is that congestion is bad. It's bad for business because it disrupts the delivery of goods and services. It affects people's quality of life. And it is bad for the environment. That is why tackling congestion is a key priority for any Government.

Congestion is predicted to increase by 25% by 2015. This is being driven by economic prosperity. There are 6 million more vehicles on the road now than in 1997, and predictions are that this trend will continue.

Part of the solution is to improve public transport, and to make the most of the existing road network. We have more than doubled investment since 1997, spending £2.5 billion this year on buses and over £4 billion on trains — helping to explain why more people are using them than for decades. And we're committed to sustaining this investment, with over £140 billion of investment planned between now and 2015. We're also putting a great deal of effort into improving traffic flows — for example, over 1000 Highways Agency Traffic Officers now help to keep motorway traffic moving.

But all the evidence shows that improving public transport and tackling traffic bottlenecks will not by themselves prevent congestion getting worse. So we have a difficult choice to make about how we tackle the expected increase in congestion. This is a challenge that all political leaders have to face up to, and not just in the UK. For example, road pricing schemes are already in operation in Italy, Norway and Singapore, and others, such as the Netherlands, are developing schemes. Towns and cities across the world are looking at road pricing as a means of addressing congestion.

One option would be to allow congestion to grow unchecked. Given the forecast growth in traffic, doing nothing would mean that journeys within and between cities would take longer, and be less reliable. I think that would be bad for businesses, individuals and the environment. And the costs on us all will be real — congestion could cost an extra £22 billion in wasted time in England by 2025, of which £10-12 billion would be the direct cost on businesses.

A second option would be to try to build our way out of congestion. We could, of course, add new lanes to our motorways, widen roads in our congested city centres, and build new routes across the countryside. Certainly in some places new capacity will be part of the story. That is why we are widening the M25, M1 and M62. But I think people agree that we cannot simply build more and more roads, particularly when the evidence suggests that traffic quickly grows to fill any new capacity.

Tackling congestion in this way would also be extremely costly, requiring substantial sums to be diverted from other services such as education and health, or increases in taxes. If I tell you that one mile of new motorway costs as much as £30m, you'll have an idea of the sums this approach would entail.

That is why I believe that at least we need to explore the contribution road pricing can make to tackling congestion. It would not be in anyone's interests, especially those of motorists, to slam the door shut on road pricing without exploring it further.

It has been calculated that a national scheme — as part of a wider package of measures — could cut congestion significantly through small changes in our overall travel patterns. But any technology used would have to give definite guarantees about privacy being protected — as it should be. Existing technologies, such as mobile phones and pay-as-you-drive insurance schemes, may well be able to play a role here, by ensuring that the Government doesn't hold information about where vehicles have been. But there may also be opportunities presented by developments in new technology. Just as new medical technology is changing the NHS, so there will be changes in the transport sector. Our aim is to relieve traffic jams, not create a "Big Brother" society.

I know many people's biggest worry about road pricing is that it will be a "stealth tax" on motorists. It won't. Road pricing is about tackling congestion.

Clearly if we decided to move towards a system of national road pricing, there could be a case for moving away from the current system of motoring taxation. This could mean that those who use their car less, or can travel at less congested times, in less congested areas, for example in rural areas, would benefit from lower motoring costs overall. Those who travel longer distances at peak times and in more congested areas would pay more. But those are decisions for the future. At this stage, when no firm decision has been taken as to whether we will move towards a national scheme, stories about possible costs are simply not credible, since they depend on so many variables yet to be investigated, never mind decided.
Before we take any decisions about a national pricing scheme, we know that we have to have a system that works. A system that respects our privacy as individuals. A system that is fair. I fully accept that we don't have all the answers yet. That is why we are not rushing headlong into a national road pricing scheme. Before we take any decisions there would be further consultations. The public will, of course, have their say, as will Parliament.

We want to continue this debate, so that we can build a consensus around the best way to reduce congestion, protect the environment and support our businesses. If you want to find out more, please visit the attached links to more detailed information, and which also give opportunities to engage in further debate.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Blair"
The Media

+ - Jobs and Gates to appear at the WSJ 'D' conference

Submitted by Verunks
Verunks (1000826) writes "Apple chief executive Steve Jobs and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates have committed to a rare joint appearance at the fifth anniversary of the The Wall Street Journal's 'D: All Things Digital' conference later this year.
The two men, both seminal figures in the development of the personal computer, will jointly discuss the history and future of the digital revolution in an unrehearsed, unscripted, onstage conversation on May 30 with D co-producers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher."
Microsoft

+ - Why Microsoft always overrates itself?

Submitted by
M Alani
M Alani writes "Microsoft earlier this month have announced a new certification exam; "Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Hosted Environments, Configuring and Managing". Nancy Phillips, chief operating officer and co-founder, ViaWest and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, said "As a participant in the development stages of the Windows Server 2003 Hosted Environments, Configuring and Managing certification, we are confident this certification will not only strengthen ViaWest customer offerings but strengthen the hosting industry as a whole." I think this is way overrating this certification. This certification might improve Microsoft's stand in the hosting market, as I have mentioned earlier, but I do not believe that its will strengthen the hosting industry. It is nice to be enthusiastic about what you do, but it is nicer to be realistic. The full article here: http://www.certificationist.com/content/view/66/43 /"
Wii

+ - Console War Continues: Power Consumption Report

Submitted by
BlackBeltNinja
BlackBeltNinja writes "The console war takes a new twist, as all three of the new consoles are tested to discover the power consumption levels of the PS3, XBOX 360, and Wii. It's doubtful that the results will sway your opinion of which one to buy unless you happen to be an environmentalist, in which case the choice is clearly Wii. Also included are results from a mid-to-high end gaming PC, and a dedicated upscaling DVD player to put the power usage of each console into perspective."
The Courts

+ - Second Life Child Pornography Uncovered

Submitted by kaysan
kaysan (972266) writes "The Dutch Public Prosecutor (OM) has argued for a need to conduct test trials in order to develop case law concerning Second Life Child Pornography. FTA: "..Second life has about 3 million members. In some 'sections' of the game, members can engage their virtuel self in sexual conduct with others, posing as children."

Link in Dutch, however Babelfish 'works' & you get the idea. For video streaming with images of how this stuff looks, go here(Dutch 'CNN') and click "bekijk uitzending" (bottom left — in orange field) it's the first item on the show, so fight your way through the incomprehensive language until you get to the concerned-face-people + footage."
Privacy

+ - Bill Would Require Isps To Track Users

Submitted by
Dan
Dan writes ""A Republican congressman has introduced legislation that would require Internet service providers (ISPs) to keep information about their users' identities and, possibly, their actions online."

"Earlier this month, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced a bill (H.R. 837) with a stated purpose of combating child pornography but the legislation also includes a measure that would force ISPs to monitor their users, an item that has long been on law enforcement's wish list. The bill mandates that the U.S. Attorney General determine the exact regulations, but the rules should "at a minimum, require retention of records, such as the name and address of the subscriber or registered user to whom an Internet Protocol address, user identification or telephone number was assigned, in order to permit compliance with court orders.""

Clicky:
http://www.governmentsecurity.org/forum/index.php? showtopic=24884"
Space

+ - Theory for Expansion of Universe

Submitted by
LethargicParasite
LethargicParasite writes "In a recent astronomy class, my professor was talking about the expansion of the universe. He mentioned three key things:
1. The universe is likely expanding.
2. The velocity of the expansion of the universe is likely increasing.
3. Whatever causes the expansion of the universe is likely the cause of the bubble structure of the universe.
I came up with a theory that the professor could not refute outright: The expansion of the universe is the result of black holes converting matter (which takes up space) into a singularity (which does not take up space). This theory could explain the bubble-like structure of the universe, the expansion of the universe, and perhaps even the acceleration of the universe. So. Is this theory even falsifiable without looking for black holes at the centre of the voids?"
PC Games (Games)

+ - Which Is Better for Vista Gaming, ATI or Nvidia?

Submitted by
mikemuch
mikemuch writes "It's fairly well known that PC games run a bit slower in Vista than in XP, but by how much exactly? And to what degree should the graphics drivers be held responsible? Jason Cross compares game performance under Vista using Nvidia and ATI hardware. He ran 3DMark and five popular games at three different resolutions first on XP, then on Vista, and reports the difference. Surprisingly, in a couple of cases games actually ran faster under Vista."

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