mallumax sends word from the NYTimes that US government officials today declared a public health emergency over increasing cases of the swine flu first seen in Mexico. Here is additional coverage from CNN. From the Times: "American health officials [say]... that they had confirmed 20 cases of the disease in the United States and expected to see more as investigators fan out to track down the path of the outbreak. Other governments around the world stepped up their response to the incipient outbreak, racing to contain the infection amid reports of potential new cases from New Zealand to Hong Kong to Spain, raising concerns about the potential for a global pandemic. The cases in US looked to be similar to the deadly strain of swine flu that has killed more than 80 people in Mexico and infected 1,300 more." Reader "The man who walks in the woods" sends a link to accounts emailed to the BBC from readers in Mexico. While these are anecdotal, they do paint a picture of a more serious situation than government announcements have indicated so far.
bsharma is amongst the hordes of people wanting us to share the news that long beleaguered retailer Circuit City has finally decided to close for good, asking for court approval to close the remaining 567 US stores. "Whalin said management mistakes over the past few years combined with the recession brought down Circuit City. 'This company made massive mistakes,' he said, citing a decision to get rid of sales people and other mismanagement. What's more, given the credit market freeze, Whalin added that no manufacturer wants to sell to any retailer who doesn't have money to pay for the merchandise. At the same time, Whalin said there's still a very slim chance that one or more firms that have expressed an interest in buying Circuit City could still buy it out of bankruptcy over the next few days."
I quite enjoy using twitter as an easy way to keeping in touch with people and making contacts, but they need to develop a trust and rating system of some kind. Trying to follow a busy "channel" is impossible when it's being bombarded with crap. Because channels are effectively filtered tweets grepped via a search engine, there's no uniform way of rating down a user who insists on trolling or spamming. Have a look at #gaza - i bet about 3 out of 10 tweets are worth reading.
It's an interesting idea, but there are some notification that I will want to click on. Amarok popping up that I have a new song playing is fine, that's something I don't need to interact with, but Pidgin telling me I have a new message is something I need to respond to. Having to click into Pidgin sounds like a cumbersome option, rather than just being able to click the IM notification when it first appears.
JP writes "Andrew Bartlett of Samba fame has written a document describing their recent collaboration with Microsoft's Active Directory team. In brief, it would seem that the sky is falling, as Microsoft's engineers seem to be really committed to making Samba fully interoperable with AD. They have organized interoperability fests and have knowledgeable engineers answering technical questions without legal or marketing drones getting in the way. However according to Andrew the Samba AD team is currently very short on manpower, so if you have network experience, now is the time to get coding."
The MTV Multiplayer Blog interviewed John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment, about the future of MMOs. He discusses some of SOE's current projects and comments that they'll be focusing on consoles for all of their upcoming MMOs. "I would say that we would be one of the early adopters on [bringing MMOs to consoles], and we plan on becoming one of the dominant players in the MMO space on consoles." Sony's plans may include games for their hand-held console, the PSP. Smedley goes on to talk about bringing existing, popular franchises into MMO development, and remarks, "It's pretty safe to say that 'EverQuest' has not seen its last game."
Say, your iPod isn't working well - the battery is worn out and you're having to recharge every two hours. If you go to an Apple store, you will have to book an appointment at the 'genius bar' to sort it out. It's their tech support.
willdavid writes to tell us that Sam Ramji over at Port25 has a nice succinct list of the major open source principles that have been used while developing Windows Server 2008. "Overall, we've learned and continue to learn from open source development principles. These are making their way into the mindset, development practices, and ultimately into the products we bring to market. I've focused here on 'what Microsoft has learned from Open Source' - and ironically, I've agreed to do a panel at OSBC on 3/25 with Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation on 'what Open Source can learn from Microsoft'. As all of the different organizations in IT continue to evolve, we'll learn from each others' best practices and make increasingly better software. As in science, this incremental improvement will move all of us forward."
SpinelessJelly writes: "It appears that Google's Android, criticised by Microsoft as vaporware, has sprung to life. Prototype devices are circulating, software developers are experimenting with the SDK and PC-based Android emulator, and there are rumours of a show-stopping debut at February's Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. Numerous examples of the Android GUI are also starting to leak out."
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC has up an article chatting with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Wales views the Wikipedia site as an educational resource, and apparently thinks teachers who downplay the site are 'bad educators'. '[A] perceived lack of authority ... has drawn criticism from other information sources. Ian Allgar of Encyclopedia Britannica maintains that, with 239 years of history and rigorous fact-checking procedures, Britannica should remain a leader in authoritative, politically-neutral information. Mr Allgar pointed out the trustworthy nature of paid-for, thoroughly-reviewed content, and noted that Wikipedia is still prone to vandalism.'"
An anonymous reader writes: Alisher Usmanov, who is trying to buy Arsenal football club, has managed to shut down several blogs, including the site of a Tory London mayoral candidate, by threatening web hosting company Fasthosts. The firm was home to the blog of Craig Murray, who has accused Usmanov of being a gangster, a racketeer and a rapist. The original is no longer available but it just keeps popping up. Others shut down, including Boris Johnson MP and Labour councillor Bob Piper (who is now backup), were not involved in the action by legal firm Schillings, but were caught up in the cross fire. Mr Johnson said the action was a "serious erosion of freedom of speech" and added: "This is London, not Uzbekistan... It is unbelievable that a website can be wiped out on the say-so of some tycoon. We live in a world where internet communication is increasingly vital, and this is a serious erosion of free speech." As things stand, any Russian oligarch can come to the UK and build a wall of silence around them, if they have enough money. Time to get around to that libel law review, hmm?
Tabernaque86 writes "What started as joke among gamers Sony is now using as a Christmas advertising campaign. Kaz Hirai, president of the games unit, has been quoted as saying that the PlayStation 3 'makes a great Blu-Ray player'. That theme will be central to a wave of ads in North America and Europe. From the article: 'Sony on Thursday disappointed analysts by failing to cut the PS3's price, but Mr Hirai did not rule out a future price cut. "Going aggressive only on price without being able to back it up with content doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me," he said. A price cut would have a "real impact" on sales only if there were enough software titles to support the PS3. But analysts were skeptical and said Sony could miss its shipment targets for the year. "Without a price cut close to Christmas, reaching 11m shipments is going to be very tough," said David Gibson, analyst at Macquarie in Tokyo.'" This is regrettable, too, because there really are a number of strong titles coming out for the console this year.
An anonymous reader writes "Following up on reports that DVDs for some Sony titles were causing problems, Video Business is reporting that Sony has fixed the copy-protection problem on recent DVD releases, and will provide replacement discs to customers. The problem was with the ARccOS DRM system. The company issued the following statement: 'Recently, an update that was installed on approximately 20 titles was found to cause an incompatibility issue with a very small number of DVD players (Sony has received complaints on less than one thousandth of one percent of affected discs shipped)... Since then, the ARccOS system has once again been updated, and there are no longer any playability problems.' Customers can call 800-860-2878 to inquire about replacement discs."
koregaonpark writes "Via the TorrentFreak site, an article in the latest issue of Vanity Fair about BitTorrent, movie piracy and The Pirate Bay. The Vanity Fair piece is lengthy, and covers the MPAA's struggle to stamp out piracy, Hollywood's increasing losses, and how the 'heartfelt testimony of Ben Affleck, a man who was paid $12.5 million to star in Gigli,' didn't help one bit. 'Pirates of the Multiplex' covers the saga of Pirate Bay in a very high-level, mass-market fashion. Did you ever think you'd be reading about TPB in Vanity Fair?"