owlgorithm writes "Apple's new store in Montreal has three parking meters on the street in front of it. The city is in the middle of a campaign to reduce downtown parking. In Apple's ever-conscientious attempt to improve design, they offered to reimburse the city for the parking meters and their revenue if the city would remove them. Answer: Non — because 'We've never done it before, so we can't.'"
eldavojohn writes "Engineers at the University of California, San Diego have built a 220 million pixel display across 55 high-resolution tiled screens. Linked via optical fiber to Calit2's building at UC Irvine, the display can deliver real-time rendered graphics simultaneously across 420 million pixels to audiences in Irvine and San Diego."
jamie sends us to a blog post about the worthlessness of some download sites' "5-star" awards. Andy Brice, a UK-based software developer, packaged up a little text file full of the words "This software does nothing" as an EXE and named it "awardmestars." So far his self-proclaiming useless program has garnered sixteen 5-star awards from download sites he submitted it to. Brice concludes that many of the download sites are "just electronic dung heaps, using fake awards, dubious SEO and content misappropriated from PAD files in a pathetic attempt to make a few dollars from Google Adwords."
eldavojohn writes to advise us to stop buying antibacterial soap, as it's no more effective than the regular stuff. And, using it introduces a risk of mutation of bacteria. From the article: "The team looked at 27 studies conducted between 1980 and 2006, and found that soaps containing triclosan within the range of concentrations commonly used in the community setting (0.1 to 0.45 percent wt./vol.) were no more effective than plain soaps. Triclosan is used in higher concentrations in hospitals and other clinical settings, and may be more effective at reducing illness and bacteria. Triclosan works by targeting a biochemical pathway in the bacteria that allows the bacteria to keep its cell wall intact. Because of the way triclosan kills the bacteria, mutations can happen at the targeted site... a mutation could mean that the triclosan can no longer get to the target site to kill the bacteria because the bacteria and the pathway have changed form."
SonicSpike writes " NASA has discovered a chunk missing from the underside of the space shuttle Endeavour. It was discovered after the shuttle docked with the ISS earlier today. Technicians theorize it may have been caused by ice ripping free of a fuel take during takeoff. From the article:'The gouge — about 3 inches square — was spotted in zoom-in photography taken by the space station crew shortly before Endeavour delivered teacher-astronaut Barbara Morgan and her six crewmates to the orbiting outpost ... On Sunday, the astronauts will inspect the area, using Endeavour's 100-foot robot arm and extension beam. Lasers on the end of the beam will gauge the exact size and depth of the gouge, Shannon said, and then engineering analyses will determine whether the damage is severe enough to warrant repairs. Radar images show a white spray or streak coming off Endeavour 58 seconds after liftoff. Engineers theorize that if the debris was ice, it pierced the tile and then broke up, scraping the area downwind. Pictures from Friday's photo inspection show downwind scrapes."
6 writes "Cory Doctorow has an interesting article over at Information Week about Hollywood's strategy of suing sites such as YouTube. Says Doctorow: 'It's been eight years since Sean Fanning created Napster in his college dorm room. Eight years later, there isn't a single authorized music service that can compete with the original Napster. Record sales are down every year, and digital music sales aren't filling in the crater. The record industry has contracted to four companies, and it may soon be three if EMI can get regulatory permission to put itself on the block. The sue-'em-all-and-let-God-sort-'em-out plan was a flop in the box office, a flop in home video, and a flop overseas. So why is Hollywood shooting a remake?'"
i_like_spam writes "Recent commentary at Nature Climate Change describes an on-going debate about the energy savings associated with the background colors used by high-traffic websites such as Google and the NYTimes. A back of the envelope calculation has suggested energy savings of 750 Megawatt hours per year if Google switched their background from white to black. In response, a new version of Google called Blackle was created. However, other calculations by the Wall Street Journal suggest minimal energy savings."
bigkahunafish writes "It seems Apple is planning a cheaper version of the iPhone possibly based on the iPod Nano. This phone would be priced below $300 making it more affordable than the $500-600 iPhone. This should bring Apple phone technology into the hands of more users, though this cheaper phone could have more limited functionality. From the article: 'Sales of the [original] iPhone are expected to be limited to a small percentage of the market due to its high price tag, particularly in the United States where 85 percent of consumers tend to spend $100 or less on cell phones. But analysts forecast that a cheaper phone from Apple, which leads the digital music player market, could pose a much bigger threat to long-established phone makers such as Nokia, Motorola Inc, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Sony Ericsson, owned by Sony Corp and Ericsson.' I just hope they don't make a phone based on the iPod Shuffle."
epidemic99 writes "Apple has released what it will cost to replace the battery in the iPhone, and consumers might be a bit put off. Replacement is a tricky ordeal, as the battery is apparently soldered into the device. The service will cost $79, plus $6.95 for shipping, plus an optional $29 'loaner iPhone' rental. A consumer advocacy group sent a letter to Apple complaining that this information was not made public before iPhone's release since the cost of the battery replacement is so high. Even reviewer Harvey Rosenfield, who is usually very kind to Apple, was quoted as saying 'some of them might be waking up now, wondering who they got in bed with.'" Update: 07/06 21:06 GMT by Z : Fixed incorrect attribution of quote to Mossberg.
Rudd-O writes "Months after successful discovery of the HD-DVD processing key, an unprecedented campaign of censorship, in the form of DMCA takedown notices by the MPAA, has hit the Net. For example Spooky Action at a Distance was killed. More disturbingly, my story got Dugg twice, with the second wave hitting 15,500 votes, and today I found out it had simply disappeared from Digg. How long until the long arm of the MPAA gets to my own site (run in Ecuador) and the rest of them holding the processing key? How long will we let rampant censorship go on, in the name of economic interest?" How long before the magic 16-hex-pairs number shows up in a comment here?
An anonymous reader writes "A Microsoft exec has turned attack dog, lashing out at Apple's iPhone by saying the device isn't good for business. Why? Because the iPhone is 'a closed device that you cannot install applications on.' Specifically, he's talking about Microsoft Office. 'While the entry of the iPhone (with its cut-down version of Mac OS X) into this market offers new options for consumers, Sorenson believes user familiarity with the Windows Mobile interface — and the ease with which companies can buy and develop applications for the platform — will sustain its increasing popularity and help keep the iPhone out of the lucrative corporate market.'"
I imagine it's been a hard week for a lot of people; gamers in particular have been jumping to defend their hobby from the likes of Dr. Phil and Jack Thompson, both of whom were quick to link gaming and the tragedy in Virginia. Despite their vigor, it seems like game enthusiasts can breathe easily this week. As far as most people can tell, gaming was in no way involved. Even the mainstream media is coming to realize that gaming isn't always the right place to turn when youth violence grabs the headlines. Just the same, some activist gamers are still trying to make sure their hobby comes out of this unscathed, and at least some folks think they may be overdoing things: "While I'm all for activism for one's beliefs, I really think this may do more harm then good. As gamers, we feel a need to defend our passion, but we run the risk of ending up looking no better than those seeking to shift blame, while further disrupting the already-mourning. I say that the thing to focus on at this point is simply remembering those lost and cherishing what we still have. Now's not the time for political vendettas, and gamers need to step down and just humbly accept the fact that blame will always be shifted to the popular youth activities: be it a KISS concert, a video game, or something else."
bprime writes "The BBC reports that officials in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, have bought three airship UAVs to keep tabs on the local populace. From the article: 'The 15 metre (49 foot) long air ships are emblazoned with government slogans. Written in bright red are the words, We watch over you for your security.' They're not exactly black helicopters, but how long do you think until we see similar measures in high-crime American cities?"
An anonymous reader writes "The Mozilla Corporation has released Thunderbird 2.0.0. Among the improvements are Message Tagging, updated UI, Advanced Folder Views, Better New Mail Notification and Full Support for Windows Vista and 64-bit versions of Windows."
fusconed writes "Bloomberg reports that the Russian government is proposing to build an underground tunnel between Russia and Alaska for transporting goods, electricity and natural resources. The tunnel would be twice as long as that between the UK and France. The $10 — $12b cost is not something to be overlooked, but Russia claims the benefits would pay it off in 20 years. It would take 10 to 15 years to build, but being an Alaskan, it sounds good to me!"