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Mozilla

FireFox 3.1 Leaves IE in the Dust 435

Anonymous writes "Granted, FireFox 3.1 is just a beta and IE 8 is also in beta, but it looks like Microsoft has some ground to make up when it comes to browser performance. Given that Mozilla appears to be on a much faster cycle than Microsoft with this stuff, it's also possible that it could increase the gap even more before IE 8 is GA, no?"
Unix

NYT Ponders the Future of Solaris In a Linux/Windows World 340

JerkBoB links to a story at the New York Times about the future prospects of Sun's Solaris, excerpting: "Linux is enjoying growth, with a contingent of devotees too large to be called a cult following at this point. Solaris, meanwhile, has thrived as a longstanding, primary Unix platform geared to enterprises. But with Linux the object of all the buzz in the industry, can Sun's rival Solaris Unix OS hang on, or is it destined to be displaced by Linux altogether?"
Data Storage

Rosetta Disk Designed For 2,000 Years Archive 659

Hugh Pickens writes "Kevin Kelly has an interesting post about an archive designed with an estimated lifespan of 2,000 -10,000 years to serve future generations as a modern Rosetta Stone. The Rosetta disk contains analog 'human-readable' scans of scripts, text, and diagrams using nickel deposited on an etched silicon disk and includes 15,000 microetched pages of language documentation in 1,500 different languages, including versions of Genesis 1-3, a universal list of the words common for each language, and pronunciation guides. Produced by the Long Now Foundation, the plan is to replicate the disk promiscuously and distribute them around the world in nondescript locations so at least one will survive their 2,000-year lifespan. 'This is one of the most fascinating objects on earth,' says Oliver Wilke. 'If we found one of these things 2,000 years ago, with all the languages of the time, it would be among our most priceless artifacts. I feel a high responsibility for preserving it for future generations.'"
Security

Next-Generation CAPTCHA Exploits the Semantic Gap 327

captcha_fun writes "Researchers at Penn State have developed a patent-pending image-based CAPTCHA technology for next-generation computer authentication. A user is asked to pass two tests: (1) click the geometric center of an image within a composite image, and (2) annotate an image using a word selected from a list. These images shown to the users have fake colors, textures, and edges, based on a sequence of randomly-generated parameters. Computer vision and recognition algorithms, such as alipr, rely on original colors, textures, and shapes in order to interpret the semantic content of an image. Because of the endowed power of imagination, even without the correct color, texture, and shape information, humans can still pass the tests with ease. Until computers can 'imagine' what is missing from an image, robotic programs will be unable to pass these tests. The system is called IMAGINATION and you can try it out." This sounds promising given how broken current CAPTCHA technology is.

TiVo Patent Victory Over Dish Network Upheld 186

Thomas Hawk writes "An appeals court today shot down Dish Network's last chance to avoid a multi-million lawsuit verdict won by TiVo over their time shifting DVR technology. In addition to having to pay TiVo a minimum of $92 million, Dish Network will also now have to honor a court injunction to turn off DVR software to most of their customers. I hope Dish Network customers like commercials with their daily dose of Dr. Phil."
Google

Google Docs Aims At Microsoft Office Live 95

mikesd81 writes "Channel News reports that Google took an important step forward Monday in its rivalry with Microsoft Office Live, reporting that Google Docs will allow users to edit word processing documents offline. Google said users of its Google Docs word processing application can use Google Gears to save and then edit documents without being connected to the Internet. 'The offline capability will be limited to word processing documents, though the company plans to add it to spreadsheets and presentations in the future.'"
Wireless Networking

City-Provided Wi-Fi Rejected Over "Health Concerns" 360

exphose writes "A small, hippie-friendly town in northern California, Sebastopol, had made an agreement with Sonic.net to provide free Wi-Fi across the downtown area. However, not everyone in town was pleased with the arrangement. According to Sebastopol Mayor Craig Litwin, citizens had voiced concerns that 'create enough suspicion that there may be a health hazard' and so they canceled their contract with Sonic.net. Some more details are at the blog of Sonic.net's CEO."
The Internet

Another Web-Based Game Targeting Casual Gamers Launches 79

News.com is reporting that Mytopia, another casual-gaming network, has launched into public-beta. More than just a regular game with virtual rewards, Mytopia encourages exchanging points for real-world prizes like iTunes or Amazon certificates. "Since Mytopia is centered on "classic games," the offering--Sudoku, chess, backgammon, hearts, spades, dominoes, bingo, and poker--is a bit of a yawn, though the company has said new games will be added on a monthly basis. On the flip side, the familiarity of those games may be a draw to players who don't want to learn a whole new set of rules. Indeed, Mytopia is targeting a thoroughly non-"gamer" demographic."
Robotics

Doctors To Control Robot Surgeon With Their Eyes 99

trogador writes "Researchers from Imperial College London are improving the Da Vinci surgical robot by installing an eye-tracker, which allows surgeons to control the robot's knife simply by looking at the patient's tissues on a screen. Tracking the eyes can generate a 3D map, which in turn can make moving organs — like a beating heart — appear to stand still for easier operation. Other features include 'see-through' tissues on the surgeon's screen (so tumors can be seen underneath tissues) and 'no-cut' zones, places where the robot won't allow the surgeon to cut by mistake. Says ICL Professor Guang Zhong Yang, 'We want to empower the robot and make it more autonomous.'"
Programming

Panic in Multicore Land 367

MOBE2001 writes "There is widespread disagreement among experts on how best to design and program multicore processors, according to the EE Times. Some, like senior AMD fellow, Chuck Moore, believe that the industry should move to a new model based on a multiplicity of cores optimized for various tasks. Others disagree on the ground that heterogeneous processors would be too hard to program. The only emerging consensus seems to be that multicore computing is facing a major crisis. In a recent EE Times article titled 'Multicore puts screws to parallel-programming models', AMD's Chuck Moore is reported to have said that 'the industry is in a little bit of a panic about how to program multicore processors, especially heterogeneous ones.'"
Linux Business

SCO Preps Appeals Against Novell and IBM 163

An anonymous reader writes "It looks like SCO will be emerging from the almost dead soon, with new owners and $100 million on board. SNCP is adjusting the business strategy, according to this report on TG Daily, SCO is saying goodbye to CEO Darl McBride and is also preparing to appeal the summary judgments in the cases against Novell and IBM. If you have thought the chapter was closed, think again. Those $100 million can go a long way (even if SCO has to pay 17% interest on it)."
Privacy

An Epidemic of Snooping 163

Travoltus writes "Privacy advocates are frequently confronted with the rhetorical question, 'If you don't have anything to hide, you don't have a good reason to worry about losing your privacy, right?' This AP story uncovers a vast, distributed, decentralized epidemic of snooping into databases of personal information by workers at major utilities, the IRS, and other large organizations. In a number of cases these incidents have led to real harm. One striking example involves now ex-Mayor of Milwaukee Marvin Pratt, who had a pattern of being late paying his heating bills. This fact was leaked to the media by a utility worker and may have led to Pratt's losing a bid for re-election. As one can imagine, the harm becomes much greater when this same snooping is done by Government officials to deal with political enemies, or by corporations to uncover whistleblowers."
Wireless Networking

"GiFi" — Short-Range, 5-Gbps Wireless For $10/Chip 190

mickq writes "The Age reports that Melbourne scientists have built and demonstrated tiny CMOS chips, 5 mm per side, that can transmit 5 Gbps over short distances — about 10 m. The chip features a tiny 1-mm antenna, a power amp that is only a few microns wide, and power consumption of only 2 W. 'GiFi' appears set to revolutionize short-distance data transmission, and transmits in the relatively uncrowded 60GHz range. Best of all, the chip is only about a year away from public release, and will only cost around US $9.20 to produce."

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