ryanvm alerts us to Amazon's beta announcement this morning for what it is calling Spot Instances, which represent a name-your-own-price way of using the elastic compute service. Here is Amazon's documentation on the feature. "For customers with flexibility in when their applications can run, Spot Instances can significantly lower their Amazon EC2 costs. Additionally, Spot Instances can provide access to large amounts of additional capacity for applications with urgent needs." Customers can use the EC2 API to see recent spot prices.
likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."
No charge for 42 days? That's 1008 hours!
The iPhone's paltry 300 hours without a charge looks pretty lame now.
anthemaniac writes "Computerized projections in sports are nothing new, but Bruce Bukiet of the New Jersey Institute of Technology has developed a model that seems to work pretty well. He projects how many games a Major League Baseball team will win by factoring in how each hitter ought to do against each pitcher in every game. His crystal ball says the Yankees will win 110 games this year, a pretty safe bet, many might agree. But he also projects all the divisional winners. He claims to be right more than wrong in five of the past six years."
thefickler writes "A recent Harris Poll has found that while most online computers users are aware of Microsoft's Windows Vista, few are intending to switch over to the new operating system anytime soon. The Harris Poll of 2223 US online adults in early March found that 87% were aware of Vista. Unfortunately for Microsoft, only 12% of Vista-aware respondents were intending to upgrade to Vista in the next 12 months."
eldavojohn writes "After yet another contentious vote on the .xxx concept, ICANN has finally rejected the pornography TLD. The debate has gone on for quite some time, and the 9-5 decision was the third time a decision was reached on the subject. This is the second time the body has ruled against the idea, and is likely the last time we'll see it come up for vote any time soon. One member abstained from voting. From the article: 'Many of the board members said they were concerned about the possibility that ICANN could find itself in the content regulation business if the domain name was approved. Others criticized that, saying ICANN should not block new domains over fears like that, noting that local, state and national laws could be used to decide what is pornographic and what is not. Other board members said they believed that opposition to the domain by the adult industry, including Web masters, content providers and others, was proof that the issue was divisive and that .xxx was not a welcome domain.'"
jcatcw writes "Microsoft Corp. will submit a new photo format to an international standards organization. The format, HD Photo (formerly known as Windows Media Photo), can accommodate lossless and lossy compression. Microsoft claims that adjustments can be made to color balance and exposure settings that won't discard or truncate data that occurs with other bit-map formats."
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist reports that the Canadian government has introduced new legislation that grants Vancouver Olympic organizers broad powers to police the use of any commercial use of the words associated with the Olympics. These incredibly include 'winter, Vancouver, and games.' As Geist notes, the government 'has no time to deal with spam, spyware, privacy, or net neutrality, but commits to legislation on behalf of the organizers of a sporting event?'"
Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "The start-up Lightfleet has developed an unusual way to use lasers to speed the flow of data inside a computer, hoping to break a bottleneck that can hamper machines using many microprocessors, the Wall Street Journal reports. The company plans to sell servers it predicts will be much more efficient than existing systems in tackling tough computing problems. Tasks could include automatically recognizing a face in a video image or sifting through billions of financial transactions for signs of illegal activity. These machines will attempt to sidestep some of the problems associated with parallel computation by ensuring all processors are connected, all the time."
Conrad Mazian points us to an article in Forbes reporting that the SCO Group is trying to subpoena Pamela Jones of Groklaw. Except they can't find her. A few days ago PJ posted a note on Groklaw saying that she is taking some time away from the blog for health reasons; she didn't mention any SCO deposition. SCO's lawyers apparently believe that "Pamela Jones" does not exist and that Groklaw is penned by a team of IBM lawyers.
PetManimal writes "If a pandemic were to occur, many companies and organizations would ask their staffs to work from home. The impact of millions of additional people using the Internet from home might require individuals and companies to voluntarily restrain themselves from surfing to high-bandwidth sites, such as YouTube. If people didn't comply, the government might step in and limit Net usage. The scenario is not far-fetched: last year at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, a group of telecom and government officials conducted a pandemic exercise based on a hypothetical breakout of bird flu in central Europe. The results weren't pretty." From the latter article: "'We assumed total absentees of 30% to 60% trying to work from home, which would have overwhelmed the Internet,' said [one] participant. 'We did not assume that the backbone would be gone, but that the edge of the network... would be overwhelmed... The conclusion [of imminent collapse] was not absolute, and the situation was not digitally simulated, but the idea of everyone working from home appears untenable,' [he] said."
An anonymous reader writes "Citing the recent sales numbers, Sony exec David Bishop is claiming that the high-def format war can officially be declared over. With a movie sale ratio of almost 2:1 Blu-ray discs are being declared the victor over rival HD-DVD by Blu-ray supporter Sony. 'And yet while all agree that it was a strong month for Blu-ray, opinion is split on whether the surge in sales is an indicator of stronger user adaption of Blu-ray compared to HD DVD, or simply a reflection of the larger number of new Blu-ray titles that hit the market over the month -- 25 new Blu-ray titles were released in January, compared to just 11 titles on HD DVD for the same period.'"
babooo404 writes "Last week, Walmart launched their online video download service. Immediately there were posts that the service did not work with the Firefox or Safari browsers. There was a collective, "WTF" when this happened as this is 2007, not 1997. Now it appears that reports are out that Walmart has completely turned off the ability to get into the application at all by Firefox, Safari or any other browser it does not like."