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Communications

GOOG-411's "Biddy-Biddy-Boop" Sound Backstory 194

Posted by kdawson
from the party-to-whom-i'm-speaking dept.
Chris Albrecht writes "The bippedy-bippedy-bippedy sound you hear when using 1-800-GOOG-411 is actually a senior voice designer at Google. (Here's the sound.) The technical term for that noise is the 'fetch audio,' and it's more complicated to design than you'd think. For the first time, the voice of GOOG-411 talks about how he came up with it, how important that sound is, and how people now ask him to 'perform' it."
Microsoft

Ballmer Calls Android a "Press Release" 270

Posted by kdawson
from the laugha-while-you-can dept.
Bergkamp10 writes "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tried to shoot down Google's new mobile platform at a press conference in Tokyo. Ballmer called Android a mere 'press release' at present, and said the mobile platform market is 'Microsoft's world.' Ballmer dodged requests to comment on specifics of the Android software platform, preferring instead to highlight the successes of the Windows Mobile platform which he said is on 150 different handsets and is available from over 100 different mobile operators. 'Well of course their efforts are just some words on paper right now, it's hard to do a very clear comparison [with Windows Mobile],' Ballmer said. 'Right now they have a press release, we have many, many millions of customers, great software, many hardware devices and they're welcome in our world,' he added."
PC Games (Games)

Another Man Dies After Marathon Gaming Session 486

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the need-wearable-computing-to-multitask dept.
loserMcloser writes "Another Chinese man has died after spending three days in an internet cafe for an online gaming marathon session. He apparently fainted and died at the cafe from exhaustion. 'The report did not say what the man, whose name was not given, was playing. The report said that about 100 other Web surfers "left the cafe in fear after witnessing the man's death."'"
Science

Scientists Create Di-positronium Molecules 160

Posted by samzenpus
from the super-laser dept.
doxology writes "The BBC reports that scientists have been able to create di-positronium molecules. A di-positronium molecule consists of two positronium atoms, exotic atoms which are made from an electron and a positron (the anti-particle of the electron). A potential use of these molecules is to make extremely powerful gamma-ray lasers, possibly on sharks."
Businesses

Bill Gates Drops To Number 2 388

Posted by kdawson
from the still-got-a-few-to-rub-together dept.
A number of readers made sure we know that Bill Gates is apparently no longer the world's richest person. His wealth, estimated currently at $59.2 billion, has been surpassed by that of Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim. Slim, the son of a Lebanese immigrant, runs businesses in a number of industries from Mexico City. Stock in his wireless company, American Movil, recently surged in price by 27%, boosting his net worth to $67.8 billion. Last April Slim passed Warren Buffet, who had long held down the number 2 spot. In this audio Bill Gates says he won't care when he is no longer number 1.
Space

What Happened Before the Big Bang? 394

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the why-not-just-invent-a-time-machine dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes to tell us that a recent advance in Loop Quantum Gravity theory appears to allow the mathematics of cosmology to be extended to the time before the Universe underwent the Big Bang. Bad Astronomer also attempts to simplify things a bit with his own explanation of the new discovery.
Sci-Fi

Deathbed Confession Says Aliens Were at Roswell 1267

Posted by Zonk
from the here-comes-the-super-copter-here-comes-the-noise-it-makes dept.
xnuandax writes "The army's explanation of weather balloons in the Roswell, New Mexico incident 60 years ago has been dealt a serious public relations blow. Late Army Lt. Walter Haut had signed a sealed affidavit prior to his death last year asserting that he had witnessed the wreckage of an egg-shaped craft and its extraterrestrial crew while working at the Roswell Army Air Field. An article at News.com.au reviews how Haut had worked as public relations officer for the Roswell base and was involved in the original weather balloon explanation of events at the time. This recent evidence would seem to confirm speculation that egg-shaped saucers are notoriously difficult to fly safely at low altitude."
Privacy

Permit May Be Required For Public Photography in NYC 301

Posted by Zonk
from the land-of-the-free dept.
G4Cube passed us a link to a New York Times article about a troubling development in public photography rights. New York City is considering requiring a permit for photographers, film-makers, and even possibly tourists who want to shoot imagery in the Big Apple. "New rules being considered by the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting would require any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a single public location for more than a half hour to get a city permit and insurance. The same requirements would apply to any group of five or more people who plan to use a tripod in a public location for more than 10 minutes, including the time it takes to set up the equipment. Julianne Cho, assistant commissioner of the film office, said the rules were not intended to apply to families on vacation or amateur filmmakers or photographers. Nevertheless, the New York Civil Liberties Union says the proposed rules, as strictly interpreted, could have that effect. The group also warns that the rules set the stage for selective and perhaps discriminatory enforcement by police."

Thai IT Minister Slams Open Source 520

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-good-enough dept.
patiwat writes "Thailand's newly appointed Information and Communications Technology Minister has slammed open source software as useless and full of bugs: 'With open source, there is no intellectual property. Anyone can use it and all your ideas become public domain. If nobody can make money from it, there will be no development and open source software quickly becomes outdated... As a programmer, if I can write good code, why should I give it away? Thailand can do good source code without open source.' This marks a sharp u-turn in policy from that of the previous government."

Microsoft To Announce Linux Partnership 534

Posted by Zonk
from the shout-at-the-devil dept.
Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Microsoft is entering into an unusual partnership with Novell that gives a boost to Linux, people familiar with the companies tell WSJ.com. From the article: 'Under the pact, which isn't final, Microsoft will offer sales support of Suse Linux, a version of the operating system sold by Novell. The two companies have also agreed to develop technologies to make it easier for users to run both Suse Linux and Microsoft's Windows on their computers. The two companies are expected to announce details of their plan today at a press conference in San Francisco. In addition, Microsoft won't assert rights over patents over software technology that may be incorporated into Suse Linux, the people said. Businesses that use Linux have long worried that Microsoft would one day file patent infringement suits against sellers of the rival software.'"

Next Generation of iPods to have Wi-Fi? 224

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the buying-on-the-go dept.
Zephyr14z writes "A TMCnet article states that Apple has filed a patent for iPods that can purchase music wirelessly over the internet. This was an expected feature in the Zune, though it turns out not to be true. 'While this could be an effort to fight the software giant and its product directly, it should be noted that Zune's built-in Wi-Fi will be limited to the file sharing between devices with no direct Internet purchases from the handheld,' says Campbell."

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.

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