In other news, market for thinfoil clothing is exploding in Mexico...
CWmike writes "Web-based productivity suites, once almost a contradiction in terms, have become real challengers to desktop applications. Google Docs, ThinkFree, and Zoho, have all made major improvements in recent months. They're becoming both broader, with more applications, and deeper, with more features and functionality in existing apps. The question is: Are these three applications really ready to take on a desktop-based heavy hitter like Microsoft Office?"
An anonymous reader writes "It seems that ISPs have gathered together with 45 attorney generals and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to form an agreement to crush child pornography. What does that mean? Probably the same as it meant for RoadRunner, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon customers — the end of the newsgroups." Here's the back-patting press-release from the various parties who signed on (the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the National Association of Attorneys General), though the actual text of the agreement does not seem to have been made public.
jg21 writes "Even though IBM's Irving Wladawsky Berger reports a leading analyst as having said recently that 'There is a clear consensus that there is no real consensus on what cloud computing is,' here are no fewer than twenty attempts at a definition of the infrastructural paradigm shift that is sweeping across the Enterprise IT world — some of them really quite good. From the article: 'Cloud computing is...the user-friendly version of grid computing.' (Trevor Doerksen) and 'Cloud computing really is accessing resources and services needed to perform functions with dynamically changing needs. An application or service developer requests access from the cloud rather than a specific endpoint or named resource.' (Kevin Hartig)"
An anonymous reader writes "Bruce Schneier and colleagues from the University of Washington have figured out a way to break the deniability of TrueCrypt 5.1a's hidden files. What about the spanking-new TrueCrypt 6? Schneier says that 'The new version will definitely close some of the leakages, but it's unlikely that it closed all of them.' Meanwhile, PC World is reporting that the problems Schneier and colleagues found are bigger than just TrueCrypt. Among their discoveries: Word auto-saves the contents of encrypted files to the unencrypted portions of your disk, and this problem should apply to all non-full disk encryption software. Their research paper will appear at Usenix HotSec '08."
KentuckyFC writes "Liquid mirror telescopes start life as a puddle of mercury in a bowl. Set the bowl spinning and the mercury spreads out in a thin film giving the surface an almost perfect mirror finish. But these telescopes have two important limitations. First, they can only point straight up since tilting the mirror spills the mercury. And second, they cannot be made adaptive to correct for any blurring introduced by the Earth's atmosphere. But liquid mirror telescopes look set for an upgrade thanks to the work of a group of Canadian researchers. Their technique is to change the shape of the liquid mirror using powerful electromagnets. They use a ferromagnetic fluid of iron nanoparticles in oil instead of mercury which is too dense to be easily manipulated in this way. The work is just proof of principle at this stage but the idea is to use magnets to correct for the usual range of optical aberrations that telescopes have to deal with (abstract). And also to allow a liquid telescope to be tilted by using oil that is much more viscous than mercury and correcting any periodic deformation in the fluid that tilting might cause."
If you're like me, your favorite part of the bar is the layer of cigarette stench that coats the walls, seats, air and eventually your clothing. It seems the Dutch agree. Rain Showtechniek, a Dutch company that specializes in stage effects, has created a machine that reproduces that wonderful bar smell we all love. "There is a need for a scent to mask the sweat and other unpleasant smells like stale beer. People find that smells such as Mocha coffee, Havana cigars or cigarettes can be about good moods and different ideas of living well" said Erwin van den Bergh, a spokesman for the company. The machines come in various sizes and prices, ranging from the giant £3500 model for exhibition halls to the smaller cafés machines, priced at £440.
Croakyvoice writes "Waninkoko has released the world's first custom firmware for the Nintendo Wii, which is installed using the twilight hack; among its features is the ability to allow writeable DVDs to be read in emulators. From the readme: 'The Custom Firmware installs as IOS249 and it does not modify any other IOS so it is secure to install and has been made to be used ONLY with homebrew software. This is a custom IOS, an IOS modified to add some new features not available in the official IOS.'"
kaos07 links to this ZDNet story, according to which "Researchers at software vendor CA have discovered that social networking site Facebook is able to track the buying habits of its users on affiliated third-party sites even when they are logged out of their account or have opted out of its controversial 'Beacon' tracking service. Responding to privacy concerns, Facebook has since moved to reassure users that it only tracks and publishes data about their purchases if they are both logged in to Facebook and have opted-in to having this information listed on their profile. But in 'extremely disconcerting' findings that directly contradict these assurances, researchers at CA's Security Advisory service have found that data about these transactions are sent to Facebook regardless of a user's actions."
An anonymous reader writes "This piece is described in one of the comments on it as 'a little piece of genius'... and I have to agree! Although Peter Cochrane seems a bit of a crack pot, the ways that he comes up with to get connected when he's out of range in the sticks are pure genius and he makes them appear really simple! Think old satellite dishes, USB dongles and plastic bags and you'd be on the right tracks to upping wi-fi signal by 4 bars." A perfect excuse to link to one of my favorite sites, if you want more details and photos on similar jury-rigged long-distance connections. However, your meterage may vary — I've found USB Wi-Fi devices to be pretty fickle under Linux, with some distros working way better than others.
An anonymous reader writes "Firefox 3.0.1 was released today. It fixes 3 security vulnerabilities, including a critical issue reported by Billy Rios, Ben Turner, and Dan Veditz. The issue could be combined with an issue in Apple's Safari browser to read data from the user's disk or to execute arbitrary code. This issue was previously discussed on Slashdot. The release also fixes a remote code execution bug involving the CSS reference counter, reported by the Zero-Day Initiative (previously discussed on Slashdot here), as well as a Mac-only potential code execution bug involving GIF image rendering, reported by Drew Yao of Apple Product Security."
ausoleil noted that NASA's replacement for the shuttle, the Orion, is slipping behind schedule "'We're probably going to have to move our target date,' NASA exploration chief Doug Cooke told The Associated Press on Wednesday after Nasawatch.com posted the 117-page internal status report (PDF) on the moon program. The cost problems include an $80 million overrun on a motor system. The Orion spacecraft's design remains too heavy for the proposed Ares 1 rocket. Software development, heat shield testing and other complex work remain behind schedule or over budget. There are dozens of such serious challenges, many of which are 'worsening.'"