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Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Hacking Canon point-and-shoot cameras ( 1

Pig Hogger writes: "If you're stuck with a cheap Canon point-and-shoot camera who has feature envy over the neighbour's sophisticated latest-model, fret not! According to this LifeHacker article, the CHDK project allows nearly complete programmatic control of cheap Canon point-and-shoot cameras that allows users to add features, up to BASIC scripting."

Milky Way Black Hole Could Reignite 117

sciencehabit sends us to for an account of a survey of nearby galaxies that points to the possibility that once-quiescent galactic nuclei could wake up and become active again. If the Milky Way's dormant black hole should become active, it could be bad news for life on Earth (and elsewhere in the neighborhood). The paper (PDF) is up on the arXiv.

Submission + - IBM Ships fastest CPU on earth. (

HockeyPuck writes: The 5-billion-instructions-per second Power6 processor from IBM would beat such rivals as the 3.73 gigahertz Pentium Extreme and the 2.4 gigahertz UltraSparc T2 from Sun. "Hold your index finger out in front of your face," Meyerson said in a telephone interview from IBM headquarters in New York. In less time than it would take a beam of light to travel from your knuckle to your fingertip, the new IBM chip would complete one task and start looking for the next, he said.

Submission + - Open-source, Web-based Statistical Computing Tools

Peter Pan writes: "A group of statisticians at UCLA, and other universities, has developed the first completely integrated, portable, Internet-based and interactive resource for statistical computing and statistics education. This is the latest incarnation in the open-source/open-access efforts of academicians to provide free software counterparts to standard license-based resources like (Mathematica, SAS, Maple, SPSS, etc.) Other examples of such free-for-all (contributors or users) efforts include VTK, R-project, SAGE, SimTK, etc. The Statistics Online Computational Resource (SOCR) provides three types of materials that will be useful for learners, instructors, statisticians and tool developers:

1. Interactive Java applets including a number of different applets, simulations, demonstrations, virtual experiments, tools for data visualization and analysis, etc. All applets require a Java-enabled browser.
2. Instructional Resources comprised of data, electronic textbooks, tutorials, etc.
3. Learning Activities including various interactive hands-on learning modules."

Feed Engadget: Microsoft lowered Vista requirements to help Intel sell incompatible chipsets (

Filed under: Desktops, Laptops

So now that the "Vista Capable" lawsuit is a full-blown class action, the judge has unsealed all 158 pages of emails between Microsoft execs trying to sort out what went wrong with the sticker program. While bits and pieces have been blacked out, what remains is still fairly incredible -- although Intel's 915 chipset was initially rejected as compatible with Vista, MS execs flatly admit that "In the end, we lowered the requirements to help Intel make their quarterly earnings so they could continue to sell motherboards with the 915 graphics embedded" and "We are caving to Intel. We worked the last 18 months to drive the UI experience and we are giving this up." On top of that, it seems that the company was getting direct feedback from retailers that the stickers were confusing, with Wal-Mart appealing directly to HP to pull Vista Capable stickers from low end machines, and an MS exec saying that "I was in Best Buy listening to people and can tell you this did not come clear to customers. We set ourselves up." That's pretty damning, if you ask us -- and the complete emails, linked below, are full of similar bombshells. Looks like this case may have some serious legs after all.

Disclaimer: Nilay's a lawyer, but he's not your lawyer, and none of this is legal advice or analysis.

Read - Seattle Post-Intelligencer coverage of the case
Read - PDF of all the emails

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Submission + - Lessig decides not to run for Congress

Kringle writes: After some careful consideration, Larry Lessig has decided not to run for Congress in California's 12 district, but will continue his activities with the Change Congress movement. According to the Lessig '08 web site, he feels that 30 days is not enough time to win support in his district, and that the publicity from the resulting loss might harm the Change Congress movement.

Submission + - Lessig for Congress(?!) (

luge writes: "With the unfortunate passing of Congressman Tom Lantos parts of Silicon Valley and San Francisco will be having a special election in June to send a replacement to Congress. Given the area, it would be great to have someone who is both tech and policy-aware fill the seat- and it looks like that just might happen, with a 'Draft Lessig' group forming on facebook, featuring some of Lessig's old co-workers at Harvard and Jimmy Wales, among others, and Lessig apparently buying ''. No word from the man himself yet, but he's been increasingly vocal about politics of late. If it happens, it would be a huge step forward for the representation of technology in Washington."

Feed Engadget: Marvell announces "industry's first" 450 Mbps 802.11n chip (

Filed under: Wireless

Chipmaker Marvell looks to have gone into full-on bragging mode today, with it announcing what it claims to be the "industry's first" 802.11n chip that operates at 450 Megabits-per-second. Dubbed the Marvell TopDog 11n-450, the chip is a 90-nanometer, 3x3 WLAN solution with three spatial streams, which the company helpfully informs us is more than eight times faster than plain old 802.11g 54 Mbps offerings, and 1.5 times faster than current 802.11n 300 Mbps options -- in theory, at least. What's more, the TopDog chip also promises a 500% range increase over 802.11g, and a still decent 160% increased range over other 802.11n solutions. While those numbers have obviously yet to be put to the test (by someone other than Marvell, that is), that detail should be able to be taken care of soon enough, as the chips are set to begin shipping in volume sometime next quarter -- and, of course, they'll be on display at CES as well.

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Submission + - Samba aquires licence to MS Server protocols

MCSEBear writes: Reuters is reporting that Microsoft signed a rare deal with an open source software group on Thursday, taking a step towards meeting sanctions imposed by the European Commission for antitrust violations.

"The agreement allows us to keep Samba up to date with recent changes in Microsoft Windows, and also helps other Free Software projects that need to interoperate with Windows," said Andrew Tridgell, creator of Samba.

"We are pleased that the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation has chosen to take a (license) ... which will provide Samba with access to our specifications for the Windows protocols...," Microsoft said in a statement.

Not yet known is the number of chairs Microsoft's CEO threw about his office in celebration. ;o)

Submission + - MS Agrees to Release Work Group Protocols

UnknowingFool writes: "Groklaw is reporting that the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation (PFIF) has signed an agreement with Microsoft to release their protocols relating to Windows Work Group Server. The Foundation agrees to pay MS $10,000, and the agreement does not cover patents. This agreement apparently was made to somewhat satisfy the EU Commission complaints. With PFIF's objective to aid open source, this agreement means that the Samba Team may finally get the information they need to fully interoperate with Windows AD servers."
User Journal

Journal Journal: TrollTech's GreenPhone discontinued...

Nothing emotional or rhetorical in this story submission. But, I did not see this coming. However, according to the article:

"Despite the announcement of the discontinuation of its flagship mobile phone development platform, the company also announced that the mobile phone would be superceded by a number of new devices, including that of portable media devices and additional mobile phones, although the new models are to be distributed by third-parties."

More at:


Submission + - Microsoft Pledges Not To Sue Turbolinux Users (

mytrip writes: "Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) said it will not pursue any legal action against Linux users who use a server distribution of the open-source operating system offered by Turbolinux.

The pledge is part of a "broad collaboration agreement" that Microsoft on Monday said it has struck with Turbolinux, which specializes in distributing open-source software in emerging markets like China, Japan, and India.

"The agreement will provide intellectual property assurance for Turbolinux customers who purchase Turbolinux Server," Microsoft said in a statement."


Submission + - LC2000 Series Ubuntu Linux Laptops (

LinuxCertified writes: "LinuxCertified Announces Ubuntu Laptops Optimized for Engineering and Scientific use
27th September 2007 , San Francisco

LinuxCertified Inc, a leading provider of Linux laptops, today announced its next generation laptops optimised for engineering and scientific community. Powered with Ubuntu 7.04, these laptops focus on high performance and scalability. The laptops come pre-configured with many of the common tools used by technical users.

"We are delighted by LinuxCertified's latest Ubuntu-based laptops," said Malcolm Yates, Partner Manager at Canonical , the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu. "This is a great choice for the technical user community who will strongly benefit from the power of the Ubuntu operating system offered with the convenience of an optimised laptop environment."

The two new laptop models are: LC2464DC, a 64 bit (based on dual-core Turion 64X2) laptop, and LC2520DC, sporting a 17" screen with accelerated 3D Graphics based on nVidia GeForce Go 7700.

"Ubuntu has rapidly become Linux distribution of choice for majority of our customers", said Rajesh Goyal, VP of Marketing at LinuxCertified, "Our new laptops represent a potent combination of ease-of-use of Ubuntu with state-of-art high-performance laptop hardware."

The LC2464DC laptop starts at $999, and detailed specifications are at:

The LC2520DC laptop starts at $1599, and detailed specifications are at:

The laptops have gone through a rigorous certification process at LinuxCertified labs and has also successfully passed beta tests by end users.

More on Ubuntu laptops at:

About LinuxCertified, Inc.

The mission of LinuxCertified, Inc is to help our clients benefit from significant savings of effectively using Linux and Open-Source software in their IT and development infrastructure. Our core offerings are:
- Pre-configured and fully supported Linux Laptops
- Linux trained and certified professionals
- Implementation and development services using Open-Source software

To learn more contact us at 1-877-800-6873 or info (at) linuxcertified (dot) com"

Feed The Register: Sun crams four sockets worth of Xeons into 2U box (

How's about 32 DIMMs?

Sun Microsystems today announced a pair of new four-core Xeon-based boxes that give customers just about the most performance and choice out of any low-end servers from a Tier 1 vendor. The fresh X4450, for example, packs four of Intel's 7300 series Xeon chips into a 2U system. All of the other major vendors require at least 4U for their four-socket units. The system also has a mouth-watering 32 DIMM slots with support for up to 128GB of memory. That should be enough to run your virtualization software.

Space is to place as eternity is to time. -- Joseph Joubert