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Science

Scientists Dubious of Quantum Computing Claims 107

Dollaz wrote with a link to the International Business Times, which questions the authenticity of D-Wave's Quantum computing. We discussed the 'Sudoku playing' computer yesterday, but scientists in the field have expressed a lot of distrust of the company's findings. The machine was not available for inspection during or after the demo, and even if the technology was working as intended there is some doubt that it can be scaled. The article points out that "notwithstanding lofty claims in the company's press release about creating the world's first commercial quantum computer, D-Wave Chief Executive Herb Martin emphasized that the machine is not a true quantum computer and is instead a kind of special-purpose machine that uses some quantum mechanics to solve problems." Good to see people in the field questioning 'breakthroughs'.
Programming

Submission + - How do you hire a programmer if you're not one?

NewMediaBlogger writes: "I'm a geeky business guy — I know basic SQL/Linux/PHP, but am definitely not a programmer. I have a software idea I want to develop, but am not confident enough in my own skills to determine whether or not a programmer is "good". I don't know a elite programmer I can hire to build a team for me.
How do you judge a programmer if you are not one yourself?
Is there an external consulting service you use? Skill testing in the interview process? "Trial" work contracts? Other?"
User Journal

Journal Journal: Music execs criticise DRM systems

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6362069.stm

Almost two-thirds of music industry executives think removing digital locks from downloadable music would make more people buy the tracks, finds a survey.

Haha.

Patents

Congress Tackles Patent Reform 261

nadamsieee writes "Wired's Luke O'Brian recently reported about Congress' latest attempt to reform the patent system. In the article O'Brian tells of how 'witnesses at Thursday's hearing painted a bleak picture of that system. Adam Jaffe, a Brandeis University professor and author of a book on the subject, described the system as 'out of whack.' Instead of 'the engine of innovation,' the patent has become 'the sand in the gears,' he said, citing widespread fears of litigation. The House Oversight Committee website has more details. How would you fix the patent system?"
Security

Submission + - Smokers may be the weak IT security link

BobB writes: "Where there's smoke, there's a door. A U.K. security company is warning that smokers may impact IT security, leaving open doors that could let in intruders who could abuse a company's network. It may sound slightly far-fetched. But a penetration tester from NTA Monitor Ltd., a company based in Rochester, England, gained access to a professional services company outside London that way. http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/021607-smoke rs-may-be-the-weak.html"
Quickies

Submission + - Detailed Article of 2007 Time Zone Changes...

Ant writes: "Jeff Regan wrote an article titled "2007 Time Zone Changes Will Impact Many Computers in Canada, the United States (U.S.), and Bermuda". He says: "... this is a new risk for many businesses that has some similarities to the Y2K bug, but is not actually a bug at all. Last year, in an attempt to reduce energy consumption, the US Congress, in section 110 of the "Energy Policy Act of 2005" announced plans to move the start and ending dates of Daylight Savings time to give more light in the evenings for a longer period of the year. All of Canada (except the regions that never change their timezone at all during the year) will follow the U.S. plan as well. Bermuda has announced a similar plan. In 2007, Day Light Savings Time will start on the second Sunday of March instead of the first Sunday of April. It will end on the first Sunday in November, instead of the last Sunday in October. Businesses, and individuals who use any hardware or software that is sensitive to date and time transactions, and utilizes a local time zone, or interacts with systems that use a local time zone (versus the universal UTC time zone used for many world wide business transactions) could be impacted by these changes in Daylight Savings Time.On your typical computer server or PC, the automatic decision to change to Daylight Savings time is generally made by the underlying Operating System, such as Microsoft Windows or Unix. However, applications often also perform date and time manipulation, and may make a similar automatic decision, or use date/time calculations in other ways... Seen in a /. comment."
United States

Submission + - FCC wants to regulate violence on TV

An anonymous reader writes: CNN is reporting that the FCC has released a report that claims Congress can expand the FCC's authority to regulate broadcast television. Currently, the FCC can regulate profanity and sexual content, but the new report calls for the power to regulate violence as well.
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Apple the latest company to jump the gun on 802.11

PetManimal writes: "Apple has just released the latest model of the Airport Extreme base station, which besides adding home storage networking capabilities, also pushes a wireless standard that's not even ratified: 802.11n. Although it's not the first "pre-n" wireless gear, the article says it does much better than the Linksys pre-n hardware in terms of setup and ease of use. As for whether the plethora of pre-n hardware on the market now is setting the stage for interoperability problems later on, eWeek reports that wireless vendors are already taking steps to make gear from different 802.11 manufacturers play nice, by releasing new router firmware and client drivers designed to improve interoperability among chip-set implementations, and implementing chip sets from multiple vendors. The draft 2.0 version of the 802.11n standard may be approved in the middle of this year, which could lead to final approval in late 2007."
Education

Submission + - Not So Global Warming

OverlordQ writes: A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models. This comes soon after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth's climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human activity. David Bromwich, professor of professor of atmospheric sciences in the Department of Geography, and researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, reported on this work at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at San Francisco.

Feed Water on Mars: New Evidence (wired.com)

Photographs sent by a NASA orbiter suggests that water may indeed be flowing on Mars. And where there's water, there's at least a chance of life. By the Associated Press.


Announcements

Submission + - nanotechnology battery demo on youtube

h00manist writes: "mPhase Technologies will post a video demonstration of its Smart Nanobattery on YouTube today, February 16th at 5 p.m. Eastern time. The video will explain the technology behind its breakthrough development of a "smart" battery based on nanotechnology. The video will illustrate in layman's terminology some fundamental concepts behind the company's smart nano battery. mPhase has proven it is possible to fabricate nanotech-based "smart" batteries, which can store reserve power for decades and generate electric current virtually on demand. The prototype battery is based on a discovery that liquid droplets of electrolyte will stay in a dormant state atop nanotextured surfaces until stimulated to flow, thereby triggering a reaction producing electricity. This effect can permit precise control and activation of the batteries when required."
Space

Submission + - End of the World? Nah,.Only 3 Football Fields Wide

j2xs writes: "So a funny thing happened today as I was checking my web stats report. This company was surfing DataRush, so naturally I went out to take a look at 'em... then I found this quote regarding what the world can expect in 2036. Heck, forget that! Look what happens seven years earlier!

"Some believe that all of this is science fiction," Ailor stated, "but we know that an asteroid (Apophis) 300 meters in diameter, large enough to cause serious damage, will pass within 20,000 miles of Earth — closer than our weather satellites — in 2029, and an impact by the same asteroid in 2036 cannot be ruled out. This conference will help improve our readiness should we need to defend our planet in the future."

I for one, am hereby donating my software to the effort !! Hey Aerospace Corporate guy, uhhh, just TAKE the darn software and start modeling its trajectory!!
[nervous laugh turning to whimper...as the screen fades to black]"
Media

Submission + - Is It Possible To Protect Your Kids Online

wiredog writes: In light of the multiple daily stories about various online predators, and attempts to Protect The Childrentm from them, a Washington Post writer asks

How much can parents protect their children from increasingly pervasive technology and the many bad things that can come from it? How much should they protect them?

Are the MySpaces and Comcasts and Earthlinks of the world completely blameless? As a parent, is it even possible to completely protect your children in this era?
Windows

Consumer Vista Upgrades Moving at Snail's Pace 269

Chester Freeze writes "During the holiday season, many shoppers bought PCs with the promise of quick, free Vista upgrades. The reality has been something else entirely: many Dell and HP customers are being told that they won't receive their copies of Vista before April. 'One source at a major OEM who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the real issue is that OEMs are still not sure which PCs are really ready to support Vista, and which PCs aren't... Customers who qualify for an Express Upgrade also qualify for OEM support for Windows Vista, even if their machines came with Windows XP. The last thing a Dell, Gateway, or HP wants to do is start sending out upgrades to customers who might have video cards that do not have particularly stable drivers yet (or sound cards, or RAID controllers, etc.). This could be a support disaster.'"

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Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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