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Google

Google Apps Deciphered 91

Lorin Ricker writes "Computing in the Cloud — Free Apps — Outsource It! Yippee! Automation TCO nirvana at last! You can hear the non-technical managers and home-users unite in grateful song and dance! If we can just offload our office applications and data to the Cloud Known As Google, that apparently bottomless source of storage, search and now other useful capabilities, our office automation problems will be solved! Hooray! 'Well, just y'all hold up there a minit, lil' cowboy. Thar's a few thangs y'all oughta know 'bout afore ya go rushin' off...' If John Wayne didn't say exactly that, well, he should'a." Keep reading for the rest of Lorin's review.
Games

Mass Effect 2 Announced For Early 2010 72

Bioware has confirmed rumors that development for the sequel to Mass Effect is well under way, and they're planning on a release in early 2010. They mentioned PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game, but no information was given about a possible PS3 version. CVG has a write-up of what we know about Mass Effect 2 so far. Quoting: "In the shooting department the developer's official announcement promises 'intensified combat' and 'expanded weapon options.' We're hoping some of the work goes on improving the game's shooting mechanics, which were solid enough but could certainly do with some polishing to meet 2010 standards — especially in the cover system department. As for 'expanded weapon options,' we can only assume this refers to the in-depth gun tweaking and customisation options available in Mass Effect 1."
Data Storage

Sun To Include SSDs On Server Motherboards 79

snydeq writes "Sun has announced plans to integrate solid-state drives onto server motherboards to provide faster data access for I/O intensive applications. For now, the company is offering SSDs that customers can slide into their storage bays, but long term, Sun will locate SSDs closer to the server CPUs to cut the bottleneck that occurs when powerful, multicore CPUs have to wait for data to be delivered from hard drives, according to the company. The move could mark a change in how Sun servers are designed going forward, including the possibility of servers that have no hard drive, relying entirely on SSDs."
Censorship

UK To Mull High Video Game Taxes — To Fight Knife Crime 615

chareverie writes "The Prime Minister of the UK is being urged to impose high taxes on violent video games in an effort to reduce the number of knife-related crime. The request comes from Richard Taylor, who argues that young people 'feel that the law has no control over them. They just feel that they can go on the streets and do whatever they like.' He doesn't have a definitive number on how much to tax on the offensive video games, but says that they should be 'very high.' Rap music is also voiced to be a concern due to the alleged negativity and language. Taylor's son, Damilola Taylor, was killed in November 2000 at the age of 10 by knife stabbing."
Role Playing (Games)

Darkfall Set For Launch 80

Darkfall, a PvP-oriented MMORPG that was first announced in 2001, is finally in the process of going live. After dealing with some launch-day bugs, the Darkfall team reports that servers are going up, and they're processing pre-orders to get players in the game. MMOCrunch has an in-depth write-up from the end of the beta, saying that the game is still "rough around the edges," but also that the team has created a "solid framework of an MMO that offers a unique experience that the genre has not seen in quite some time." Ten Ton Hammer had a similar reaction, tempering criticism with praise for the lack of hand-holding.
Medicine

New Success For Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Arm 81

An anonymous reader writes "A number of amputees are now using a prosthetic arm that moves intuitively, when they think about moving their missing limb. Todd Kuiken and colleagues at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago surgically rearrange the nerves that normally connect to the lost limb and embed them in muscles in the chest. The muscles are then connected to sensors that translate muscle movements into movement in a robotic arm. The researchers first reported the technique in a single patient in 2007, and have now tested it in several more. The patients could all successfully move the arm in space, mimic hand motions, and pick up a variety of objects, including a water glass, a delicate cracker, and a checker rolling across a table. (Three patients are shown using the arm in the related video.) The findings are reported today in Journal of the American Medical Association."
The Media

Telling Fact From Fantasy In the World of Apple Rumors 91

Harry writes "In recent years, fact-based reporting about Apple and its products has been almost completely overwhelmed by gossip, predictions, and speculation — an amazing percentage of which is embarrassingly wrong. I've put together a guide to figuring out which scuttlebutt is almost certainly fiction, and which has a shot at jibing with reality."
Games

What Spoils a Game For You? 214

MTV's Multiplayer Blog is running an interesting piece about what constitutes a spoiler in video games. The interactivity of a video games, argues the author, often makes it necessary to spoil or reveal at least general characteristics of a game during a review or other informative article. He says, "I believe that writing about games is overly careful. I believe that game scripts, game plots and game endings have been given a pass because critics tend to avoid them or address them with the most ginger touch. I'd at least like the discussion about spoilers to cease being so binary. There is room between avoiding mentioning a plot event and reporting its main details. There is value to addressing anything and everything that is most interesting in a game, and value in doing it with words that express meaning rather than those designed to mask it." So, what do you consider a spoiler for a video game, and how do they affect your enjoyment of the game?
Operating Systems

Ubuntu Wipes Windows 7 In Benchmarks 781

twitter writes "Recent and controversial benchmarks for Windows 7 leave an important question unanswered: 'Is it faster than GNU/Linux?' Here, at last, is a benchmark that pits Ubuntu, Vista and Windows 7 against each other on the same modern hardware. From install time to GUI efficiency, Ubuntu beats Windows and is often twice as fast. Where Windows 7 is competitive, the difference is something the average user would not notice. The average GNU/Linux user is now getting better absolute performance from their computer as well as better value than the average Windows user."
Communications

Obama Staffers Followed Palin's Email Lead On Inauguration Day 407

theodp writes "Using Yahoo's free e-mail service to conduct government business was good enough for Sarah Palin. And now the Washington Times reports that Obama staffers turned to Gmail on Inauguration Day to conduct their business. Those wishing to contact members of the incoming Obama administration were instructed to contact staffers at wh.LASTNAME@gmail.com until official White House e-mail addresses became available."
Software

BitTorrent For Enterprise File Distribution? 291

HotTuna writes "I'm responsible for a closed, private network of retail stores connected to our corporate office (and to each other) with IPsec over DSL, and no access to the public internet. We have about 4GB of disaster recovery files that need to be replicated at each site, and updated monthly. The challenge is that all the enterprise file replication tools out there seem to be client/server and not peer-to-peer. This crushes our bandwidth at the corporate office and leaves hundreds of 7Mb DSL connections (at the stores) virtually idle. I am dreaming of a tool which can 'seed' different parts of a file to different peers, and then have those peers exchange those parts, rapidly replicating the file across the entire network. Sounds like BitTorrent you say? Sure, except I would need to 'push' the files out, and not rely on users to click a torrent file at each site. I could imagine a homebrew tracker, with uTorrent and an RSS feed at each site, but that sounds a little too patchwork to fly by the CIO. What do you think? Is BitTorrent an appropriate protocol for file distribution in the business sector? If not, why not? If so, how would you implement it?"
Privacy

UK Cops Want "Breathalyzers" For PCs 545

An anonymous reader writes "One of the UK's top cyber cops, detective superintendent Charlie McMurdie, says the top brass want to develop the equivalent of a breathalyzer for computers, a simple tool that could be plugged into a machine during a raid and retrieve evidence of illegal activity. McMurdie said the device was needed because of a record number of PCs were being seized by police and because the majority of cops don't have the skills to forensically analyse a computer."
Linux

Slackware 12.2 Released 351

pilsner.urquell submitted a quote from the announcement saying "Well folks, it's that time to announce a new stable Slackware release again. So, without further ado, announcing Slackware version 12.2! Since we've moved to supporting the 2.6 kernel series exclusively (and fine-tuned the system to get the most out of it), we feel that Slackware 12.2 has many improvements over our last release (Slackware 12.1) and is a must-have upgrade for any Slackware user."
Government

Obama Launches Change.gov 1486

mallumax writes "Obama has launched Change.gov. According to the site 'Change.gov provides resources to better understand the transition process and the decisions being made as part of it. It also offers an opportunity to be heard about the challenges our country faces and your ideas for tackling them. The Obama Administration will reflect an essential lesson from the success of the Obama campaign: that people united around a common purpose can achieve great things.' The site is extensive and contains Obama's agenda for economy and education among many others. They first define the problem and then lay out the plan. Everything is in simple English without a trace of Washington-speak. The site also has details about the transition. According to many sources, Obama's transition efforts started months ago. The copyright for the content is held by 'Obama-Biden Transition Project, a 501c(4) organization'."

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