whitefox writes "The scoop from CNet is that 'The US House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a resolution introduced two days earlier that designates March 14, 2009 (3/14, get it?) as National Pi Day. It urges schools to take the opportunity to teach their students about Pi and "engage them about the study of mathematics."' The resolution is available online. I doubt it'll ever become a national holiday, but the Pi string in the article is pretty cool in a nerdy sort of way."
GamesIndustry is running an interview with Theodore Bergquist, CEO of GamersGate, in which he forecasts the death of physical game distribution in favor of digital methods, perhaps in only a few years. He says, "Look at the music industry, look at 2006 when iTunes went from not being in the top six of sellers — in the same year in December it was top three, and the following year number one. I think digital distribution is absolutely the biggest threat [traditional retailers] can ever have." Rock, Paper, Shotgun spoke with Capcom's Christian Svensson, who insists that developing digital distribution is one of their top priorities, saying Capcom will already "probably do as much digital selling as retail in the current climate." How many of the games you acquire come on physical media these days? At what point will the ease of immediate downloads outweigh a manual and a box to stick on your shelf (if it doesn't already)?
touretzky writes "Two ex-employees have sued Diskeeper Corporation in Los Angeles Superior Court after being fired, alleging that the company makes Scientology training a mandatory condition of employment (complaint, PDF). Diskeeper founder and CEO Craig Jensen is a high-level, publicly avowed Scientologist who has given millions to his Church. Diskeeper's surprising response to the lawsuit (PDF) appears to be that religious instruction in a place of employment is protected by the First Amendment." The blogger at RealityBasedCommunity.net believes that the legal mechanism that Diskeeper is using to advance this argument ("motion to strike") is inappropriate and will be disallowed, but that the company will eventually be permitted to present its novel legal theory.
Startled Hippo writes "Japan's Tsubame supercomputer was ranked 29th-fastest in the world in the latest Top 500 ranking with a speed of 77.48T Flops (floating point operations per second) on the industry-standard Linpack benchmark. Why is it so special? It uses NVIDIA GPUs. Tsubame includes hundreds of graphics processors of the same type used in consumer PCs, working alongside CPUs in a mixed environment that some say is a model for future supercomputers serving disciplines like material chemistry." Unlike the GPU-based Tesla, Tsubame definitely won't be mistaken for a personal computer.
Barence writes "The Windows 7 unveiling garnered largely positive coverage, with many hands-on testers praising it for being faster than Vista. But is it actually? To find out, this blogger ran a suite of benchmarks to see just how much quicker Windows 7 really is — and the results weren't quite what he expected. 'The actual performance gap between Vista and Windows 7 is ... nada. Absolutely nothing. Our Office benchmarks and video encoding tests complete in precisely the same time regardless of which OS is installed. [...] It's tempting to see this as a bit of a con. They've sped up the front end so it feels like you're getting more done, but in terms of real productivity it's no better than Vista."
Sockatume writes "A coalition of seven UK digital music stores have created a logo for DRM-free, MP3 music. The 'MP3: 100% Compatible' logo allows the stores to emphasize the advantages of the format, namely that MP3 files will run on any device and won't keel over and die as DRM-laden files are wont to. The BPI — the UK equivalent of the RIAA — is backing the scheme, emphasizing that it will also allow users to identify legitimate stores."
An anonymous reader asks "What information sources and social networking sites will you be using to supplement the election coverage on TV next Tuesday? I am ready with a big HDTV with Comcast, a Mac mini, and and an Xbox 360. I also have two laptops (one good for websites and one for streaming video), an old-school Blackberry, a 'regular' cell phone, a Nokia N810, a Squeezebox, and finally Sirius Satellite Radio. Which websites should I watch for live county results? I already know about the Twitter Vote Report for tracking and reporting voting issues and I already watch 'CNN Reporters' on Friendfeed for the national flair. What other Twitter accounts should I follow? Which urgent ones should I send to my phones? Which YouTube accounts or keywords I should subscribe to in Miro? What are the most popular sites for posting 'on-scene' videos — iReport, Flickr, something else? I know most local Fox affiliates are great about streaming, but is there a page that lists all of the streams, in case I need to quickly focus on one city or area? Basically, how would you configure all those gadgets?" This reader might find some guidance in what to focus on from a video produced by reader (and data modeler) Bruce Nash that lays out a predicted timeline for when the media will call each state, depending on when the polls close and how tight each race is expected to be.
tsm_sf writes "A recent Slashdot article got me thinking about dead and dying media. I'd like to build a cheap PC with the goal of being able to read as many old formats as possible. Size and power consumption would be design considerations; priority of media formats would be primary. How would you approach such a project?"
AnonCow sends in a peculiar story from TorrentFreak, which describes the plight of a free-download music site that has been summarily evicted from the Internet for violating its own copyright. The problem seems to revolve around the host's insistence that proof of copyright be snail-mailed to them. Kind of difficult when your copyright takes the form of a Creative Commons license that cannot be verified unless its site is up. "The website of an Internet-based record label which offers completely free music downloads has been taken down by its host for copyright infringement, even though it only offers its own music. Quote Unquote Records calls itself 'The First Ever Donation Based Record Label,' but is currently homeless after its host pulled the plug."
bhhenry sends in an InformationWeek report on a recent unannounced change in the iGoogle portal. Quoting: "Google insists that its revised iGoogle personalized home page generates better 'happiness metrics' than the old design, but a vocal group of users isn't happy about the changes." The recent change introduces what Google refers to as "canvas view," which the Official Google Blog claims "... makes iGoogle a more useful homepage and a better platform for developers." Unlike the last major change made to Gmail, there is no option to revert to the old version of iGoogle. iGoogle users are reporting that widgets and themes are broken, Gmail attachments don't work, and valuable screen space is wasted. The Personalizing Google section of Google Groups is full of thousands of complaints about this sudden and unannounced change. Many posters have have stated that they are using the Canadian or UK version of iGoogle or even moving to NetVibes.com to get their preferred layout back. It seems that Google and Yahoo are moving in lockstep in springing forced changes that users hate.
cmunic8r99 writes in with an email he received from walmart.com yesterday evening about the pending shutdown of their DRM services (which we discussed a while back). Walmart has reconsidered and won't be shutting off its DRM servers after all. They are still moving to an all-MP3 store, but won't break all the DRMed music its customers have already downloaded; this because of "feedback from the customers."
mallumax writes "Hans Reiser was today handed a prison sentence of 15-to-life for murdering his wife. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty and led police to his wife's body. His jury trial concluded in April with Reiser's first-degree murder conviction. That carries a 25-to-life term, but the authorities, in a backroom deal, later offered him 15-to-life if he produced his wife's body and waived any rights to appeal his conviction." Several other readers contributed coverage at SFGate.
In this week's Disagree Mail, I try to show the range of messages I get. It's not all angry or insane, sometimes it's sent to us for no apparent reason. We start off a little mad, slip into a whole bunch of crazy and finish with someone who has a complaint about racism at his favorite restaurant. Read below to get started.
Not to undermine your prophecy, but yeah okay we've got that from your previous comment !