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Submission + - Has Microsoft Patented A Successor To Clippy?

An anonymous reader writes: IWeek blogger Alex Wolfe theorizes that Microsoft might be searching for a successor to 'Clippy, the iconic paperclip which was featured in Office from 1997 until the folks at Redmond got tired of the ridicule and retired it in 2004. The most promising candidate may be an eye with a rotating iris. What's equally notable is that Microsoft seems to be taking a page from its attempt to trademark the English word "Windows," and has patented the icon for a camcorder. Do you think this is the typical patent work of a big company, or has Microsoft got something up its sleeve here?

Submission + - How much storage do you "control"?

linkedlinked writes: While looking for some old backups with a friend, we started talking about storage space, and how so many of our random files wind up in obscure places. We realized that each of us has "access" to a pretty sizable heap of storage (for college kids). I would guess that, between ftp accounts on friends' servers, random school storage space, root access to a few work servers, and my own half-dozen computers and servers, I probably have near 5-6 TB of usable storage. Out of curiosity, we decided to ask Slashdot- legality aside, how much storage space could you feasibly dominate on a whim?

Submission + - NASA May have inadvertently killed Martian life

Nezer writes: "CNN is reporting that NASA may have killed, Martian microbes. From the article, "The Viking space probes of 1976-77 were looking for the wrong kind of life, so they didn't recognize it, a geology professor at Washington State University said." Could this be the beginnings of War of the Worlds?"

Submission + - IEEE's Winners & Losers of 2006

eldavojohn writes: "As far as technologies go, there are clear winners and clear losers. This month's IEEE Spectrum issue contains (in my opinion) an interesting list of winners and losers from 2006. Among the winners are a new radio technology, IP phone networks & memory technologies along with ethanol from sugarcane. Among the losers are tongue vision, LEDs in clothes, a flying car and (interestingly enough) ethanol from corn. I've seen some (if not all) of these technologies covered on Slashdot with some pretty heated debate on the amount of energy used versus the amount of energy consumed in biofuel production. Well, there's always 2007."

NYT Security Tip - Choose Non-Microsoft Products 298

Giorgio Maone writes "The New York Times article 'Tips for Protecting the Home Computer' follows a story we recently discussed about the proliferation of botnets, and contains some statements which may sound quite unusual from mainstream press, especially if targeted to home users: 'Using a non-Windows-based PC may be one defense against these programs, known as malware ... Alternative browsers, like Firefox and Opera, may insulate users ... NoScript, a plug-in utility, can limit the ability of remote programs to run potentially damaging programs on your PC'."

Submission + - Custom PHP.ini tips and tricks

produke writes: "Using a custom php.ini file

Describes in exhaustive detail how to configure and implement a custom php.ini file for use with the Apache Web Server.

Includes: When php run as Apache Module (mod_php), When php run as CGI, When cgi'd php is run with wrapper (for FastCGI)"

Submission + - 3D map of the dark matter in the Universe

HarveyTheWonderBug writes: An international team of astronomers has created the first three-dimensional map of the large-scale distribution of dark matter in the universe [Nature]. Using 575 orbits of Hubble Space Telescope time, they have observed a 2 square degree region of the sky and determined the shape of half a millon of galaxies [NASA] [ESA]. Using weak lensing techniques [Wikipedia], they have determined the distribution of dark matter in this patch of the universe. From the press release:
This new map provides the best evidence to date that normal matter, largely in the form of galaxies, accumulates along the densest concentrations of dark matter. The map reveals a loose network of filaments that grew over time and intersect in massive structures at the locations of clusters of galaxies... Researchers created the map using the Hubble's largest survey to date of the universe, the Cosmic Evolution Survey, otherwise known as COSMOS. The survey covers an area of sky nine times the area of the Earth's moon. This allows for the large-scale filamentary structure of dark matter to be evident. To add 3-D distance information, the Hubble observations were combined with multicolor data from powerful ground-based telescopes, Europe's Very Large Telescope in Chile, Japan's Subaru telescope in Hawaii, the U.S.'s Very Large Array radio telescope, New Mexico, as well as the European Space Agency's orbiting XMM-Newton X-ray telescope.

GM Working on Feasible Electric Car 673

WindBourne writes "While Ford wants to simply offer cosmetic changes to automobiles interiors and exteriors, General Motors has finally gotten the message about electric autos. They are about to introduce the Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid which gets 40 Miles on a charge, but has a generator that can keep the auto going up to 640 miles range. From a styling POV, it is not a tesla, but it is also not a focus or a pinto. From the Rocky article: 'GM did not release cost estimates but said they recognize the Volt's price will have to be competitive. Company Vice Chairman Robert Lutz said in a statement that more than half of Americans live less than 20 miles from their workplace and could go to work and back on a single charge.'"

"Lead us in a few words of silent prayer." -- Bill Peterson, former Houston Oiler football coach