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Comment: Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 65

by Vlad_Drak (#31365514) Attached to: How MySpace Generates Enough Load To Test Itself

This is testing just one part of the site (streaming video in NZ no less!), so you can't make wild generalizations based on those numbers if you expect any accuracy at all. You're not even going to get a 'rough' estimation.

For example, viewmorepics.myspace.com might do X req/s duting peak and home.myspace.com, www.myspace.com or music.myspace.com might do something wildly different because they have completely different traffic patterns.

User Journal

SPAM: Homeland Security Website Hacked by Phishers

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

Wired says:

A new link on the TSA's Our Travelers page directs people who "were told you are on a Federal Government Watch List" to click on a link taking them to this site, which, by all accounts, fits the profile of an attempt to harvest personal information and identity document details.

Google

+ - Vunerability fixed in Google Desktop

Submitted by Vacardo
Vacardo (1048640) writes "Google has issued a statement last Monday that a security vunerability in Google Desktop that may have allowed hackers access to your personal files has been resolved.

The flaw was discovered last November by a Rice University computer scientist and his two students.

"We were made aware of this vulnerability with the Google Desktop Search software and have since fixed the problem so that all current and future users are secure."

It has been nearly 3 months between the discovery of the exploit and its resolution. Do you think this is an adequate turn-around?"
GNUStep

Journal: Lose weight while you work 20

Journal by nizo

At the Mayo Clinic in Rochester they have developed "The Office of the Future". From the article:

Most visitors think they've walked into a gym.

The creator of the "Office of the Future" is quick to correct them.

Businesses

+ - Apple's failed Mac Clones

Submitted by Gammu
Gammu (1004474) writes "Apple's most recent attempt to enter the cut-throat low-cost PC market, the Mac mini, was not its first. In the early-nineties, Apple was looking to license the Mac OS to a major PC manufacturer like Gateway 2000 or Dell. The big PC manufacturers declined, so Apple turned to Power Computing, which ultimately released computers faster and cheaper than Apple's own lineup. Instead of winning new customers, Power merely siphoned off some of Apple's."
Books

+ - The Principles of Beautiful Web Design

Submitted by
Trent Lucier
Trent Lucier writes "NOTE TO EDITORS: Hello, my name is Trent Lucier. I've reviewed several books for you in the past. This is a review of a new book that would probably be of interest to some of your readers. If you need to reach me, my email is spacerook@gmail.com. Thanks!

Fellow programmers, beware! Graphic designers have been invading our territory. A flood of books have been released aimed at artists who want to learn web development skills. Oh, it starts innocently enough, usually with CSS and XHTML. But soon they are learning JavaScript, PHP, and even SQL! What have we techies fought back with? What material is there for us to boost our artistic right-brain power? Sadly, our motley collection of Gimp tutorials alone will not win this battle. We need something stronger. We need to understand the principles of graphic design. But the shelves have been empty of books that make this topic accessible to tech-minded people. Well, empty until now, that is.

The Principles of Beautiful Web Design by Jason Beaird is aimed at developers who want to learn how to make websites look more attractive. The 5 chapters each cover one of the pillars of graphic design theory: Layout, Color, Texture, Typography, and Imagery. Full-color and packed with lots of great examples, the book contains screenshots from dozens of modern websites to illustrate graphic design principles. A cumulative case-study ends each chapter, where the author shows you how the theories he just explained can be applied to a real site he is developing for a client.

Except for some CSS sprinkled here and there, the book contains no code. Don't look for tips on creating 3-column layouts or other stylesheet wizardry, because you won't find it here. The author assumes that you know how to take an image mock-up and convert it into an HTML/CSS document. This is a strong point of the book, since the focus can remain on graphic design techniques and not unnecessary code listings Additionally, there isn't much discussion of tool usage. A few examples use Photoshop, but the book focuses mostly on theory and case studies, not step-by-step program tutorials.

The book starts with Layout and Composition. If you have ever wondered why some websites just look better organized than others, this chapter will explain why. Beaird discusses the concepts of grid theory, and how using the golden ratio to divide page elements can improve the visual appeal. Plenty of examples are given that illustrate the principles of balance, unity, and emphasis.

The Color chapter contains my favorite example, where Beaird uses different versions of the same drawing to describe monochromatic, analogous, and complementary colors. As with the previous chapter on layout, this part of the book does an excellent job of teaching you how to learn from attractive websites, instead of mindlessly imitating them. Color is a hard topic to understand, but there are some good tips here that teach readers how to create an appealing palette for a website.

Relying solely on solid colors and grid layouts can make a website look flat. The Texture chapter discusses ways to use style and make your designs much more eye catching. This chapter is probably the most "Web 2.0" chapter in the book. Gel buttons, gradients, and backgrounds are all discussed.

To the dismay of typophiles everywhere, font support on the web is very poor. There are very few "web safe" fonts that designers can safely assume are on all computers. The Typography section shows readers how to make the most out of this situation by understanding letter spacing, justification, and font usage. Beaird also discusses the sIFR technique (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement), which uses Flash and Javascript to display fonts that may not be on the user's computer. The sIFR method is accessible and degrades gracefully. While the book does not discuss the specific implementation details of this method, just bringing it to my attention taught me something new.

Imagery is the subject of the final chapter, and the book ends on a disappointing note. Very little of this section is about the graphic design principles behind imagery. Rather, precious pages are dedicated to discussing various license agreements and tips on finding stock photos. This is useful information, but it should have been relegated to a sidebar at the most. The chapter focuses almost entirely on images as content and not as design elements. If you want to know how to make images in a blog post look pretty, there are some ideas here (drop-shadows, borders). But there is no information about how to work images into a page header or navigation menu. How do I determine if an image matches my color scheme? How can images spice up a design without going overboard? These were just some of the questions I had going into this chapter that were left unanswered. The Texture chapter hinted at these ideas with examples, but I wanted to see a deeper explanation of the underlying principles.

The book is a little short at 180 pages, but that's not as bad as it may seem. Those of us accustomed to reading 800-page tomes on programming tend to forget how much content can be packed into a book when the author doesn't have to waste 300 pages listing code, 200 pages on the API, and 150 pages on an index.

The Principles of Beautiful Web Design is a good book to kick start your graphic-design journey. The biggest benefit that I got from this book is the knowledge to learn from great designs as opposed to just admiring them in a state of awe. The book could have been a little longer, and some of the topics could have been discussed in more detail. This book won't teach you everything, but it's a good place to start and it will leave you excited about learning more.

Trent Lucier is a software engineer. He is the creator of ChessUp, a tool for creating chess diagrams online."
Space

+ - 'Dead' Rocket Explodes In Orbit

Submitted by
Jacob
Jacob writes "A rocket which malfunctioned during launch a year ago recently exploded in orbit over Australia, and a number of amateur astronomers, including Rob McNaught (discoverer of Comet McNaught) were able to photograph the explosion and the resulting debris. NASA are now tracking over 1000 fragments, meaning that this has produced more space junk than China's recent ASAT test, it's possible that the fire and explosion were triggered by an encounter with space junk in orbit, and it's also possible the new junk cloud could impact other satellites in the future."
Security

+ - Colorado prison turns to inmates to run Help Desk

Submitted by
PetManimal
PetManimal writes "A Colorado prison system has an unusual solution to handle help desk support issues in the face of antcipated budget cuts: Assigning inmates to handle telephone support, PC tracking, and PC imaging and repairs. Besides training the inmates to take over help desk duties, one of the main challenges was convincing staff to trust the help desk:

The transition wasn't entirely smooth, noted Kim Withers, a help desk supervisor for the agency. "It was a big obstacle in the beginning for the staff to call [the inmates] and ask for help," said Withers. Some corrections workers were also concerned about how much information inmates would be allowed to see on their screens during a help desk call.
The article says the agency used a software tool to limit some of the information that the inmate workers could see. No word on how much the inmates are paid, though."
Power

+ - Inflatable mirrors could cut solar cost to $0.29/w

Submitted by Damien1972
Damien1972 (878814) writes "A new technology using inflatable mirrors could dramatically cut the price of solar power to around $0.29 per watt, making the renewable energy source cost competitive with coal and other fossil fuels. The tensegrity-based concentrated photovoltaic system could open up vast areas of the United States for solar farming, whereby farmers could produce both agricultural products and clean energy. The technology has been developed by CoolEarth Solar, based in Livermore, CA."
Media

A Statistical Comparison of HD DVD & Blu-Ray Reviews 179

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the on-the-fence dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Gizmodo today posted a statistical comparison of over 300 HD DVD and Blu-ray reviews published at High-Def Digest since the start of the high-def format wars last Spring. Their findings? Overall video quality between the two formats is nearly identical, however Blu-ray titles were slightly, but definitely superior in audio playback, while HD DVD titles had far superior standard def features and moderately superior high-def features."

Everything that can be invented has been invented. -- Charles Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899

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