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Communications

High-Altitude Balloon Tweets Earth 49

celsomartinho writes "Spacebits is yet another low-cost High-Altitude Balloon (HAB) with a computer probe being launched to near space on 30 May, this time in Portugal. The twist with this project, besides the cool electronics, cameras, and sensors on board, is the fact that the team provided the online community with a real-time web dashboard so that everyone can follow the two-hour journey up to 100,000 feet and back to earth. Real-time data includes measurements from all its sensors, including temperature, pressure, humidity and air quality, altitude, acceleration, and GPS coordinates and a live Twitter feed. The team is also using a public GSM network to send SMS lat/lon/alt coordinates to anyone willing to go on launch site and participate in the probe hunt." The balloon goes off Memorial Day weekend, so bookmark the page if you're on call.
Apple

Opera For iPhone To Test Apple's Resolve 292

Barence writes "Opera is launching a version of its Mini browser for the iPhone in what could prove a landmark decision for Apple's app gatekeepers. Apple has been traditionally hostile to rival browsers, with Mozilla claiming that Apple made it 'too hard' for its rivals to develop a browser for the iPhone. However, Opera remains bullishly confident that its app will be approved. 'We have not submitted Opera Mini to the Apple App store,' an Opera spokesperson told PC Pro. 'However, we hope that Apple will not deny their users a choice in web browsing experience.'" I can't imagine what would motivate them to do that.
Space

The Night Sky In 800 Million Pixels 120

An anonymous reader recommends a project carried out recently by Serge Brunier and Frédéric Tapissier. Brunier traveled to the top of a volcano in the Canary Islands and to the Chilean desert to capture 1,200 images — each one a 6-minute exposure — of the night sky. The photos were taken between August 2008 and February 2009 and required more than 30 full nights under the stars. Tapissier then processed the images together into a single zoomable, 800-megapixel, 360-degree image of the sky in which the Earth is embedded. "It is the sky that everyone can relate to that I wanted to show — it's constellations... whose names have nourished all childhoods, it's myths and stories of gods, titans, and heroes shared by all civilisations since Homo became sapiens. The image was therefore made as man sees it, with a regular digital camera." The image is the first of three portraits produced by the European Southern Observatory's GigaGalaxy Zoom project.
Programming

Desktop Environment for Proprietary Applications? 146

nushoin writes "Gnome and KDE are the two major desktop environments used on Linux today. However, Gnome is growing more and more affiliated with Microsoft's proprietary technologies (Mono, OOXML). Targeting the Gnome desktop environment could prove dangerous in the long run, assuming that one would like its applications to run on distributions other than SuSE. On the other hand, TrollTech is being bought by Nokia, whose commitment to the desktop world remains to be proven. Assuming that one would like to develop a desktop application (either free or closed source), which desktop environment would you target, and what widget tool kit would you use?"
Microsoft

Olympic Committee Chooses XP Over Vista 283

Vinit writes "The popularity of Windows XP is still making things difficult for Vista. Now Vista has again suffered a major setback, with Lenovo (Olympic 2008' official sponsor) installing XP on it's machines to run the Olympic Games' vital PC-related tasks. Vista will only be used in internet lounges set up for athletes to use during the games."
Communications

Google May Close Gmail Germany Over Privacy Law 368

Matt writes "Google is threatening to shut down the German version of its Gmail service if the German Bundestag passes it's new Internet surveillance law. Peter Fleischer, Google's German privacy representative says the new law would be a severe blow against privacy and would go against Google's practice of also offering anonymous e-mail accounts. If the law is passed then starting 2008, any connection data concerning the internet, phone calls (With position data when cell phones are used), SMS etc. of any German citizen will be saved for 6 months, anonymizing services like Tor will be made illegal."
Movies

Blockbuster Chooses Blu-ray 351

s31523 writes "The format war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray has posted another battle, this time the victor seems to be the Blu-ray side. Blockbuster has announced it has chosen Blu-ray as the HD format to rent out in the majority of its stores. This decision comes after rental data was looked at for the 250 stores that carry both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray with the majority of rentals being Blu-Ray. Blockbuster now plans to stock Blu-ray only in 1450 of it's stores, but says the 250 stores with the HD-DVD movies will be kept on the shelf."
Movies

Twenty Five Years of Tron 156

the_quiet_angeleno writes "I have an article in today's Summer Film Preview issue of Los Angeles CityBeat on Disney's sci-fi classic Tron, which is celebrating it's 25th anniversary this year. The piece includes a discussion with Richard Taylor, one of Tron's visual effects supervisors on the film's groundbreaking effects, as well as director Steven Lisberger, on how the narrative incorporates the Jungian concept of individuation. Here's a sample: 'Visual Effects Society member Gene Kozicki, of the L.A.-based visual effects house Rhythm & Hues, believes Tron's legacy was in moving computer-generated visuals into the realm of storytelling. "Research into this type of imagery had been going on for over 15 years, but it was more scientific in nature," Kozicki says, "Once artists began to share their ideas and treat the computer as a tool, it moved away from strict research and towards an art form."

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