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The Internet

Web Surfing At Work Can Boost Productivity 134

An anonymous reader writes "The Wall Street Journal reports on a study into productivity and efficiency in the workplace, which found that people who are given a break to surf the web return to their work with 'lower levels of mental exhaustion, boredom and higher levels of engagement.' Researchers tested against two other groups; one continued working, and one was given a break that did not involve web browsing. They concluded that 'browsing the Internet serves an important restorative function.' In contrast, dealing with personal email was 'particularly distracting.' In the end, the researchers recommended that employers loosen restrictions on employee web access." This backs up a similar study out of Australia from a couple years ago.
Firefox

Submission + - Mozilla Builds A Platform For Your Internet Life (conceivablytech.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla's chairman Mitchell Baker has been saying that Mozilla may be changing and thinking beyond Firefox in the future. Her ideas have become clearer as she is formulating an "Internet Life" platform that will not be based on Gecko and enable users to manage their identity on web. Mozilla believes that this could be a way to reach Firefox with walled gardens such as iOS and reach new users. It seems as if Mozilla is getting much more aggressive to find a future for itself, but a confrontation with Google and apple is inevitable. Can an open platform win against iOS?
Sony

Sony Wins 'Epic Fail' Honors At Pwnie Awards 48

hypnosec writes "Hackers' favorite recent target, Sony, has won an award at the Black Hat conference held in Las Vegas this week. However, much to the embarrassment of the company, the award it nailed was in the category of 'Epic Fail' of the year. The Pwnie awards, which are like Oscar equivalents in the hacker community, gave this 'honor' to Sony following the series of cyberattacks it was subjected to a few months back, which saw the company's PlayStation and PC gaming networks go down, as well as many other services suffering heavily."
Wikipedia

Wikipedia Losing Contributors, Says Wales 533

derGoldstein writes "According to an AP report, 'Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said the nonprofit company that runs the site is scrambling to simplify editing procedures in an attempt to retain volunteers.' He explained, 'We are not replenishing our ranks... It is not a crisis, but I consider it to be important.' Despite Wikipedia's wide-reaching popularity, Wales said the typical profile of a contributor is 'a 26-year-old geeky male' who moves on to other ventures, gets married and leaves the website."
China

Submission + - McAfee Denied Accusing China in Cyberwar (xinhuanet.com)

hackingbear writes: In an interview with Chinese official Xinhua news agency,McAfee said no direct evidence suggests a particular nation such as China is behind Operation Shady RAT, a five-year cyber campaign discovered by McAfee. Alperovitch told Xinhua that they "don't have direct evidence that conclusively points to a particular nation state" behind the scheme. So the same online security industry that has propagated Chinese cyber threats in front of Western media denies they made such suggestion in China, another of their major market. Is there really a cyberwar going on? Or is it really a marketing campaign aim to grab money from taxpayers around the world?
Programming

Learning Programming In a Post-BASIC World 510

ErichTheRed writes "This Computerworld piece actually got me thinking — it basically says that there are few good 'starter languages' to get students interested in programming. I remember hacking away at BASIC incessantly when I was a kid, and it taught me a lot about logic and computers in general. Has the level of abstraction in computer systems reached a point where beginners can't just code something quick without a huge amount of back-story? I find this to be the case now; scripting languages are good, but limited in what you can do... and GUI creation requires students to be familiar with a lot of concepts (event handling, etc.) that aren't intuitive for beginners. What would you show a beginner first — JavaScript? Python? How do you get the instant gratification we oldies got when sitting down in front of the early-80s home computers?"
Advertising

AP Adopts Firefox's 'Do Not Track'; Others On the Way 80

theweatherelectric writes "As noted by the Mozilla Blog, the AP News Registry is the first large scale service to support the Do Not Track (DNT) feature of Firefox 4 and Internet Explorer 9. They write, 'The Associated Press (AP) is the first company to deploy DNT on a large scale, and it only took a few hours for one engineer to implement. The AP News Registry tracks 1 billion impressions of news content, with 175 million unique visitors per month, and has membership with more than 800 sites. When consumers send a DNT preference via the browser while viewing a story at one of its publisher's sites, the AP News Registry no longer sets any cookies. The previous solution was for users to opt-out via a link to a central opt-out page referenced in each participating news site's privacy policy. They still count the total number of impressions for each news story, but aggregate consumer data for those with DNT in a non-identifiable way.'"

Submission + - Renewable Energy Might Not Be 2

lee1 writes: "Physicist Axel Kleidon of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
in Jena, Germany has shown that it is a mistake to consider the wind and
waves to be truly renewable energy sources. Build enough wind farms to
replace fossil fuels, he says, and we would reduce the energy available
in the atmosphere and actually accelerate climate change. We know from
thermodynamics that only a modest fraction of the solar energy reaching
Earth is available as 'free energy' we can use, taking the form of
winds, ocean currents, and lifting of evaporated water. The rest becomes
heat, which is not available to do work. By building wind and wave farms, we
will be converting part of the sun's useful energy into thermal energy.
The effects of this would probably show up first in the wind farms
themselves, where the gains expected will be less than predicted as the
energy of the Earth system is depleted. Kleidon’s calculations show
that the amount of energy which we can harness from the wind is reduced
by a factor of 100 if you take this into account. In addition, sucking that much energy out of the
atmosphere will alter precipitation, turbulence and the amount of solar
radiation reaching the Earth's surface. The effect
will be comparable to the results of doubling
atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. Even current photovoltaic
designs will contribute to global warming, because they
convert only a small fraction of the light that hits them converting the rest to heat that warms the environment."
Data Storage

Submission + - Confidential Data Not Safe on Solid State Disks (usenix.org)

An anonymous reader writes: I always thought that the SSD was a questionable place to store private data. These researchers at UCSD's Non-Volatile Systems Laboratory have torn apart SSDs and have found remnant data even after running several open source and commerical secure erase tools. They've also proposed some changes to SSDs that would make them more secure. Makes you think twice about storing data on SSDs — once you put it on, getting it off isn't so easy.
Microsoft

Microsoft Bans Open Source From the Windows Market 566

Blacklaw writes "Microsoft has raised the ire of the open source community with its Windows Marketplace licence by specifically refusing to allow software covered under an open licence to be distributed. The licence, which anyone wishing to distribute Windows, Windows Phone, or Xbox applications through the company's copy of Apple's App Store is required to agree to, is the usual torrent of legalese — but hides a nasty surprise for those who support open source ideals."
Businesses

Nokia Plan B Was Just a Hoax 142

suraj.sun writes "There's been a lot of chatter about a 'Nokia Plan B' over the past 48 hours — the site was put up by nine young investors who outlined an audacious plan to rally shareholders, get themselves elected onto Nokia's board, and radically change the company's direction by firing Stephen Elop and committing massive resources to MeeGo. There's just one problem, though: the nine young investors don't really exist — according to the last tweet on the @NokiaPlanB Twitter account, it was all a hoax perpetuated by 'one very bored engineer who really likes his iPhone.' Ouch. That explains why the now-defunct site abruptly gave up the cause this morning after just 36 hours of existence."

AMD Sale to Dell Rumored 325

An anonymous reader writes "Advanced Micro Devices may be up for sale. AMD's shares were significantly up yesterday, apparently on rumors that Dell is interested in buying the American multinational semiconductor company. If AMD ends up being bought out, the purchase by Dell, or any other company for that matter, would be among the biggest the technology industry has seen. It would be of course bigger than when AMD bought ATI in 2006."
Cellphones

Nokia and Microsoft Make Smartphone Alliance 479

pbahra writes "The smart money was right. Nokia has jumped into bed with Microsoft and will produce phones running Windows Phone 7. The cynics would say that, here, we have two lumbering dinosaurs of the technology world clinging to each other hoping that the other gives them a future. Optimists would point to two companies that need each other, both bringing vital components to the alliance. The big winner is Microsoft. Windows Phone 7, while reasonably well received by commentators, has not set the world on fire. An alliance with Nokia gives it access to the world's largest phone maker and its huge mindshare — in many developing nations a mobile phone is known as a Nokia. The biggest loser is MeeGo, the ugly, unloved step-child of operating systems." Nokia wrote to developers, "Qt will continue to be the development framework for Symbian and Nokia will use Symbian for further devices; continuing to develop strategic applications in Qt for Symbian platform and encouraging application developers to do the same."
Science

Submission + - Australian Aborigines the first 'astronomers'? (news.com.au)

brindafella writes: Look out, Stonehenge, here come the Wurdi Youang rocks in the Australian state of Victoria. A semi-circle of stones as been checked by an astrophysicist from Australia's premier research group, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), who says this arrangement of rocks is a carefully aligned solar observatory that may be 10,000 years old. It would have been created by local Aborigines, the Wathaurong people, who have occupied the area for some 25,000 years.
Science

'Invisibility Cloak' Created Using Crystals 98

Zothecula writes "The quest to build a working 'invisibility cloak' generally focuses on the use of metamaterials – artificially engineered materials with a negative refractive index that have already been used to render microscopic objects invisible in specific wavelengths of light. Now, using naturally occurring crystals rather than metamaterials, two research teams working independently have demonstrated technology that can cloak larger objects in the broad range of wavelengths visible to the human eye. PDFs of the two similarly named research papers are available through arXiv.org."

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