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LambAndMint writes "In what can only be described as an act of utter desperation to overcome Vista's mostly negative public perception issues, Microsoft has put together an online "Fact or Fiction" quiz about Windows Vista. Every person who submits themselves to Microsoft indoctrination gets a free shirt and the chance to win a $15,000 prize. Some of the supposed "fact" will make you feel dirty and ready to get a job as a computer salesman for a mass-market retailer as you go through the quiz."
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Link to Original Source
Amazon sends a confirmation notice when you place an order. No email = no transaction.
Tech.Luver notes an AP story on tainted pills that have arrived in the US from — not China this time — Puerto Rico. The article details a disturbing number of incidents of contamination investigated by the FDA over the last few years. "The first warning sign came when a sharp-eyed worker sorting pills noticed that the odd blue flecks dotting the finished drug capsules matched the paint on the factory doors. After the flecks were spotted again on the capsules, a blood-pressure medication called Diltiazem, the plant began placing covers over drugs in carts in its manufacturing areas. But the factory owner, Canadian drug maker Biovail Corp., never tried to find out whether past shipments of the drug were contaminated — or prevent future contamination, according to US regulators... FDA officials say the problems in Puerto Rico are proportionate with the large number of pharmaceutical plants here and generally no worse than those on the US mainland."
DesScorp sends a link to a TechCrunch interview in which GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney answers questions of interest to techies. Included are questions on H-1B visas, Internet taxation, venture capital taxation, alternative energy, and carbon emissions. Finally, we learn that Romney is a PC guy, and get a summary of what's on his iPod.
Reservoir Hill writes "Pope Benedict XVI canceled a speech at Rome's La Sapienza university in the face of protests led by scientists opposed to a high-profile visit to a secular setting by the head of the Catholic Church. Sixty-seven professors and researchers of the university's physics department joined in the call for the pope to stay away protesting the planned visit recalled a 1990 speech in which the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, seemed to justify the Inquisition's verdict against Galileo in 1633. In the speech, Ratzinger quoted an Austrian philosopher who said the ruling was 'rational and just' and concluded with the remark: 'The faith does not grow from resentment and the rejection of rationality, but from its fundamental affirmation, and from being rooted in a still greater form of reason.' The protest against the visit was spearheaded by physicist Marcello Cini who wrote the rector complaining of an 'incredible violation" of the university's autonomy. Cini said of Benedict's cancellation: 'By canceling, he is playing the victim, which is very intelligent. It will be a pretext for accusing us of refusing dialogue.'"
Roland Piquepaille writes "A new report from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) looks at the future of the military's unmanned systems over the next 25 years. This 188-page report covers air-, land- and sea-based unmanned technology from 2007 to 2032. The long document notes that drone aircraft and ground-based robots have already proved they could be useful in Iraq and Afghanistan by saving soldiers' lives. The report also integrates contributions of combat commanders pointing out possible improvements to today's systems, such as 'better sensor technology for use on unmanned systems to identify underwater mines and land-based improvised explosive devices.' This report also looks at how developments in artificial intelligence and robotics might lead to 'autonomous, 'thinking' unmanned systems that could, for example, be used in aerial platforms to suppress enemy air defenses.'"
squidinkcalligraphy writes "While everyone is going on about wireless network security, it seems few have considered that increasingly common wireless keyboards can be vulnerable to eavesdropping. Particularly when the encryption is pitifully weak. All that's needed is a simple radio receiver, sound card, and a brute-force attack on the 8-bit encryption used. Passwords galore! Bluetooth, it seems, is safe for the moment."
DoroSurfer writes "ZDNet is reporting that 23andme.com will open its doors on Monday, allowing you to send them a cheek swab and have your DNA analyzed for $999 (plus shipping, of course... ;)). So what's a thousand bucks buy you? They can tell you your ancient ancestry, They can tell you what diseases you're predisposed to, They give you a "Gene Explorer" that allows you to do a search in your genome to find out if you have a certain gene (e.g., you just heard on the news that Gene XYZ has been linked to Alzheimer's Disease)."
Placid writes to alert us to a new channel opening up between advertisers and our eyeballs: PDFs with context-sensitive text ads. The service is called "Ads for Adobe PDF Powered by Yahoo" and it goes into public beta today. The "ad-enabled" PDFs are served off of Adobe's servers. The article mentions viewing them in Acrobat or Reader but doesn't mention what happens when a non-Adobe PDF reader is used. The ads don't appear if the PDF is printed.
boaz112358 writes "Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner, HDNet CEO, and noted gadfly is publishing on his blog that Comcast and other ISPs should block all P2P traffic, because as he says, "As a consumer, I want my internet experience to be as fast as possible. The last thing I want slowing my internet service down are P2P freeloaders." He complains that commercial content distributors instead of paying for their own bandwidth, are leeching off consumers who are paying for the bandwidth. As an alternative distribution method (at least for audio and video), he suggests Google video."
Vigile writes "Sure the AMD Phenom is getting a lot of attention today but Intel wasn't going to let AMD's parade run without raining on it. In a response that seems more than a little strange, Intel brought in the release of performance data on the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 processor which runs at 3.20 GHz on a 1600 MHz front-side bus. What makes this release odd is that AMD's parts don't even come close to competing with the existing Intel high-end CPUs and that there is no chipset from Intel or elsewhere that actually supports a 1600 MHz FSB! Using current motherboards that were overclocked to run the QX9770, the performance of the new processor is simply the fastest desktop processor we have seen."
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Link to Original Source
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist posts to his site about a study commissioned by the Canadian government intended to look into the buying habits of music fans. What the study found is that 'there is a positive correlation between peer-to-peer downloading and CD purchasing.' The report is entitled The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music: A Study For Industry Canada, and it was 'conducted collaboratively by two professors from the University of London, Industry Canada, and Decima Research, who surveyed over 2,000 Canadians on their music downloading and purchasing habits. The authors believe this is the first ever empirical study to employ representative microeconomic data.'"
eldavojohn writes "There's an article up on Physorg about Russian space launch city Baikonur, rented by Russia from Kazakhstan. Although it is essentially the same as it was in the 60's and 70's, it is amazingly efficient and still operational. 'Even the technology hasn't changed much. The Soyuz spacecraft designed in the mid-1960s is still in service, somewhat modified. It can only be used once, but costs just $25 million. The newest Endeavor space shuttle cost $2 billion, but is reusable. Life and work in Baikonur and its cosmodrome are also pretty much what they were in the Soviet era. The town of 70,000 - unbearably hot in summer, freezing cold in winter and dusty year round - is isolated by hundreds of miles of scrubland.'" We last discussed Baikonur back in 2005.
Genocaust writes "A stellar black hole much more massive than theory predicts is possible has astronomers puzzled. Stellar black holes form when stars with masses around 20 times that of the sun collapse under the weight of their own gravity at the ends of their lives. Most stellar black holes weigh in at around 10 solar masses when the smoke blows away, and computer models of star evolution have difficulty producing black holes more massive than this. The newly weighed black hole is 16 solar masses. It orbits a companion star in the spiral galaxy Messier 33, located 2.7 million light-years from Earth. Together they make up the system known as M33 X-7."
Geoffrey.landis writes "It was only a small news item four months ago: all three of the Russian computers that control the International Space Station failed shortly after the Space Shuttle brought up a new solar array. But why did they fail? James Oberg, writing in IEEE Spectrum, details the detective work that led to a diagnosis." The article has good insights into the role the ISS plays as a laboratory for US-Russian technology cooperation — something that is likely to be crucial in any manned Mars mission.