The taskbar is the biggest reason I use windows over OS X. If there's not an option for one in 7 I'll probably switch to OS X or Ubuntu.
Friend-of-David writes "A little-known alternative to trees for the production of paper is kenaf, a leafy, fast-growing annual related to the cotton plant. Professor Roni Aloni and graduate student Jonathon Dayan of Tel Aviv University have recently made a break through in Kenaf paper. They have succeeded at silencing a gene in the kenaf plant, which causes the kenaf to produce 50% more fibers per crop — and those fibers are longer and of higher quality than before. Brazilian and Italian companies have suggested using the kenaf's core fiber to produce ethanol and outer layers to produce paper and fabric. Kenaf has also gained the support of United States Department of Agriculture."
So I have been using the new "firehose" feature here on Slashdot. I like it; it's a great way to see where the trends in news stories originate. It's a view port to the integral form of the content presented.
While many people jumped all over presidential hopeful John McCain's wrong-headed view on network neutrality, few noticed his infuriating love for Microsoft. "[T]he 70 year old presidential hopeful also said that he would ask Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to serve on his cabinet to deal with technology issues if elected. He did not however say what position Ballmer might be hired in, but did joke that he might consider him for a diplomatic position, such as ambassador to China."
ppadala writes "Google today unveiled its uber search which allows you to search for text, images, news etc. together. This is the result of unifying various search engines that Google developed for web, images, news etc. Google's main page and the results page are also sporting a polished look with a top menu bar sporting various search items."
David Shiga writes "The smallest planet ever seen passing in front of its parent star is a strange world of scorching hot ice, astronomers say. The 22-Earth-mass planet has been known since 2004, but recent observations of it passing in front of its parent star have allowed them to learn much more about it. It appears to be made mostly of water, but not in liquid form. The planet orbits so close to its parent star that its surface is a broiling 300 C, keeping any water there in vapor form. Beneath the atmosphere, the water is even hotter, but is at such high pressure because of the planet's large mass that it stays in a solid, "hot ice" form."
mrneutron2004 writes "Tweaktown seems to have the first review out of the gate on AMD's flagship R600 core. 'Our focus today is solely on the HD 2900 XT 512MB GDDR-3 graphics card – it is the first GPU with a fast 512-bit memory interface but what does this mean for performance? ... After taking a look at the GPU and the card from PowerColor as well as some new Ruby DX10 screenshots, we will move onto the benchmarks and compare the red hot flaming Radeon monster against Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GTX along with the former ATI GPU king, the Radeon X1950 XTX."
netbuzz writes "The state of Washington yesterday became the first in the nation to ban text-messaging while driving. The law could use sharper teeth, but it's a natural and necessary progression of the movement to clamp down on those who find the need to constantly communicate more important than the safety of their fellow travelers."
fieryprophet writes "An astonishing number of stories related to HD-DVD encryption keys have gone missing in action from digg.com, in many cases along with the account of the diggers who submitted them. Diggers are in open revolt against the moderators and are retaliating in clever and inventive ways. At one point, the entire front page comprised only stories that in one way or another were related to the hex number. Digg users quickly pointed to the HD DVD sponsorship of Diggnation, the Digg podcast show. Search digg for HD-DVD song lyrics, coffee mugs, shirts, and more for a small taste of the rebellion." Search Google for a broader picture; at this writing, about 283,000 pages contain the number with hyphens, and just under 10,000 without hyphens. There's a song. Several domain names including variations of the number have been reserved. Update: 05/02 05:44 GMT by J : New blog post from Kevin Rose of Digg to its users: "We hear you."
Theaetetus writes "In an interview with USA Today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed there is no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. The article also deals with Microsoft's friction with the Justice Department, friction with Google, and the profitability of MSN. 'No chance. It's a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get. In the case of music, Apple got out early. They were the first to really recognize that you couldn't just think about the device and all the pieces separately. Bravo. Credit that to Steve (Jobs) and Apple. They did a nice job. But it's not like we're at the end of the line of innovation that's going to come in the way people listen to music, watch videos, etc. I'll bet our ads will be less edgy. But my 85-year-old uncle probably will never own an iPod, and I hope we'll get him to own a Zune.'"
An anonymous reader writes "'Yesterday Nicholas Negroponte, former director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab and current head of the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child project, gave analysts and journalists an update on the OLPC project. Two big changes were announced — the $100 OLPC is now the $175 OLPC, and it will be able to run Windows. Even in a market where there are alternatives to using Windows and Office, there's a huge demand for Microsoft software. The OLPC was seen as a way for open source Linux distributions to achieve massive exposure in developing countries, but now Negroponte says that the OLPC machine will be able to run Windows as well as Linux. Details are sketchy but Negroponte did confirm that the XO's developers have been working with Microsoft to get the OLPC up to spec for Windows.' We also find out that the OLPC gets a price hike and will officially come to the US. Could this be tied into Microsoft's new $3 Windows XP Starter and Office 2007 bundle? Now that the OLPC and Intel's Classmate PC can both run Windows, is Linux in the developing world in trouble?"
Coryoth writes "The BBC is reporting that students in the UK are being encouraged to drop math at the senior levels. It seems that schools are seeking to boost their standing on league tables by encouraging students not to take 'hard' subjects like mathematics, in favor of easier subjects in which they are assured good grades. The result is Universities being forced to provide remedial math classes for science students who haven't done math for two years. The BBC provides a comparison between Chinese and UK university entrance tests — a comparison that makes the UK look woefully behind."
DrFlounder writes "The city of Boston has apparently blocked access to Boing Boing on the municipal Wi-Fi. This is possibly due to the popular blog's known Mooninite sympathies." Update: 4/22 13:11 GMT by KD : Seth Finkelstein did some research and posted an explanation of the blockage to his blog. "'Arbitrary and capricious' seems the relevant characterization."
nursegirl writes "Ontario announced today a proposal to change their education act to add both physical bullying and cyber-bullying to the list of behaviors that can get a student suspended or expelled. Posting comments, pictures, or videos attacking other students or teachers outside of school hours will carry the risk of school punishment, if the incident is believed to have an 'impact on school climate.'"
geddes writes "World chess champion turned opposition leader Gary Kasparov was arrested this morning while leading an march through Moscow in opposition to Russian President Vladamir Putin. Kasporov is a leader of the 'Other Russia' coalition which has been banned by the government from appearing on TV, and had been denied a marching permit. From the New York Times: 'Essentially barred from access to television, members of Other Russia have embraced street protests as the only platform to voice their opposition ahead of parliamentary elections in December and presidential elections next March. Early this month, Mr. Kasyanov's and Mr. Kasparov's Web sites were blocked, though it was unclear by whom.' Kasparov was later released from detention, though he was still fined for participating in the event."