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UnBox Calls Home, A Lot 252

SachiCALaw writes "It turns out that to use UnBox, the user has to download software from Amazon that contains a Windows service (ADVWindowsClientService.exe). Tom Merritt over at C|Net reports that the service tries to connect to the internet quite frequently. Even tweaking msconfig could not prevent it." From the article: "So, in summary, to be allowed the privilege of purchasing a video that I can't burn to DVD and can't watch on my iPod, I have to allow a program to hijack my start-up and force me to login to uninstall it? No way. Sorry, Amazon. I love a lot of what you do, but I will absolutely not recommend this service. Try again."

Chip Promises AI Performance in Games 252

Heartless Gamer writes to mention an Ars Technica article about a dedicated processor for AI performance in games. The product, from a company called AIseek, seeks to do for NPC performance what the PhysX processor does for in-game physics. From the article: "AIseek will offer an SDK for developers that will enable their titles to take advantage of the Intia AI accelerator. According to the company, Intia works by accelerating low-level AI tasks up to 200 times compared to a CPU doing the work on its own. With the acceleration, NPCs will be better at tasks like terrain analysis, line-of-sight sensory simulation, path finding, and even simple movement. In fact, AIseek guarantees that with its coprocessor NPCs will always be able to find the optimal path in any title using the processor." Is this the 'way of the future' for PC titles? Will games powered by specific pieces of hardware become the norm?

Are Liquid Explosives on a Plane Feasible? 875

permaculture writes "The Register describes the difficulty of mixing up a batch of liquid explosives on a plane. Further, it opines that such a plot might work in a Hollywood film, but not in the real world. Liquid explosives were used for the 7/7 London bombings in 2005, according to the official account — or not, as now seems more likely." This story selected and edited by LinuxWorld editor for the day Saied Pinto.

Lead PHP Developer Quits 809

Jasper Bryant-Greene writes "Jani Taskinen, one of the lead developers of the Zend Engine (the engine that powers PHP), as well as a lead developer for the thread safety system and other core components of the PHP project, has quit in a relatively cryptic message to the php-internals mailing list. Jani has been involved with PHP for about 6 years and his loss will undoubtedly be a big blow for the PHP project."

Industrial Labs that Still Do Fundamental Research 303

An anonymous reader asks: "I am a graduate student of Mechanical Engineering at a reputed University in the United States. I have had a lot of fun working towards my PhD. I have published papers and done exciting research. I should be finishing up in the next few months or so, but I would like to continue doing the same kind of work that I am doing now. One option would be to take up a post-doctoral research appointment and find myself a faculty position. I am somehow not attracted to this option because of the tenure and grant pressure. My ideal job would be in something like the Bell Labs of yester-years. Do you know of labs that have that kind of environment? National labs are supposed to have such an atmosphere, but my stint in one of them makes me think otherwise. Google does seem to have such an environment but I am not a CS person. Does Slashdot know of labs where basic research in applied engineering is still done in the US, without the pressure of money and immediate results?"

Most Influential People In Technical Mac Community 64

An anonymous reader writes "The MacTech Journal of Macintosh Technology has released MacTech 25, a list of top 25 most influential people in the *Technical* Mac community. According to the magazine 'The MacTech 25 is designed to recognize the technical contributions of developers writers, bloggers, problem-solvers and personalities to the Macintosh technical community.' The people were chosen by popular voting during June. Bios and pictures of the people on the list will be published in the printed MacTech magazine in time for WWDC."

AMD Launches Counterstrike Against Core 2 Duo 277

DigitalDame2 writes to mention a PC Magazine article about the AMD 4x4 enthusiast platform, which is meant to counter Core 2 Duo. The article observes that AMD is now facing many of the same business practices it used in its war against Intel. From the article: "While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, improvement can often be a slap in the face. Intel's C2D was designed with both low power and performance per watt in mind, two key design metrics that helped AMD cut into Intel's market share with the Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 X2. And, as preliminary numbers have indicated and final performance reviews now show, the C2D has learned its lesson well: its performance now tops AMD's Athlon 64 architecture by a substantial margin."

The Life and Death of Microsoft Software 187

coondoggie writes "With Microsoft aiming to release Vista real soon now, they've been retiring older versions of the Windows OS. For IT outfits it's yet again time to evaluate what stays and what goes, and make plans for the future. Network World discusses the life cycle of Microsoft's software." From the article: "'Generally, it is a bad idea to run unsupported software, but there can be a business case to run it,' says Cary Shufelt, Windows infrastructure architect at Oregon State University, in Corvallis. The university still has some NT machines running in isolation in its labs. But Shufelt says there are security risks in allowing connections to legacy machines and that the university makes sure to minimize those risks. 'We don't allow [Windows] 9.x clients to connect to our Active Directory,' he says. 'But we try to stay current with technology so these issues don't typically come up.' Others say they also stay current to avoid headaches and fire drills."

End of Win 98 Support May Boost Desktop Linux 581

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft kills off support for Windows 98 and Windows ME today, and ZDNet is reporting that the move will boost demand for Linux on the desktop. Unlike two years ago — when support for Win98 was extended because Linux was seen as a serious competitor — this time it seems there is no turning back."

Vermont Launches 'Cow Power' System 400

odyaws writes "Central Vermont Public Service has launched Cow Power, a system by which power users can opt to buy 25, 50, or 100% of their electricity from dairy farms that run generators on methane obtained from cow manure. Cow Power costs only 4 cents/kWh more than market price, so a household like mine would only pay $5-6/month more at 100% usage. The big question now is whether Vermont-based Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream will use power generated from the manure of cows treated with Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone."

Adware Spreads Through Myspace 209

Sandbagger writes "Here's an interesting problem for MySpace — groups of websites that entice MySpace users into placing videos onto their profile pages (under the guise of 'free content'), without disclosing a key piece of information that might make them think twice. When someone visits one of these profiles carrying the video, a DRM acquisition box pops up and attempts to install Zango adware. In all likelihood, the profile owners don't even know these videos are doing this to their visitors. The end result is an Adware affiliate effectively removing himself from the distribution chain and letting kids promote these videos instead, in a strange example of viral marketing gone wrong."

First Look at Sony's Tiny Vaio UX180p 178

An anonymous reader writes "MobileTechReview has posted a first look at the Sony Vaio UX180P Micro PC and comparison of it with UMPC and OQO. "When I first heard about the Sony UX series, I nearly dismissed it because I just couldn't imagine that 1024 x 600 on a 4.5" screen could ever be readable. Yes, the price is certainly another issue-- consumers don't flock to spend twice as much on a "notebook" that's less than half the size of a standard ultralight. At least not in the SUV-lovin' US. Well, happily I was wrong. That tiny XBRITE display is easily readable, despite the number of pixels squeezed into close company""

CEO Calls For AOL Paradigm Shift 149

An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times is reporting that Jonathan Miller, AOL's chief executive, is calling for the effective dismantling of marketing for their dialup service. In a new plan to be presented to the Time Warner board in a couple of weeks, Miller outlines a new direction for AOL which moves towards using advertising as the main source of revenue while offering most everything they have (software, AOL.com email addresses, etc) for free."

Microsoft's Handheld Codenamed Argo 101

The Seattle Times reports that details on Microsoft's handheld gaming/music device are finally slipping out. The Argo project looks to be Microsoft's hedge against angry analysts, upset that the next versions of Office and Windows have slipped yet again. From the article: "As reported last week, initially by Bloomberg News, the device is expected to go on sale by Christmas. It has Wi-Fi capability so it can connect wirelessly to home and public networks and other players. Wi-Fi sounds like a big deal if you're comparing the player to the wire-bound iPod. But this is more than just another MP3 player. It will also compete with game players from Sony and Nintendo that have long had Wi-Fi and work as media players, Internet terminals and communication devices. Argo is likely to showcase another Allard project — XNA, a new toolkit that helps game developers create titles for multiple platforms."

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