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Software

Submission + - Pidgin 2.0 Released

An anonymous reader writes: After nearly two years of development, Pidgin 2.0 has finally been released! Originally called Gaim, Pidgin is a powerful and robust open source instant messaging client that supports many protocols. Pidgin 2.0 features a completely redesigned interface with attractive new icons and and a new status management system that was designed for optimal usability. Pidgin 2.0 also adds support for universal buddy icon management and smooth-scroll functionality for conversation windows. A comprehensive review at Ars Technica explores the new features in Pidgin 2.0 and demonstrates how to use the new D-Bus bindings with Python to make Pidgin's status system send updates to Twitter.
The Internet

Submission + - Virtual rape is traumatic but is it a crime ?

cyberianpan writes: Wired is carrying commentary on the story that Brussels police have begun an investigation into a citizen's allegations of rape — in Second Life. For reasons of civil liberty & clarity we'd like to confine criminal law to physical offences rather than thought crimes but already threats , menace & conspiracy count as crimes. Could we see a situation where our laws extend ? What if people started signing contracts that made Second Life criminal law "real" ?
Google

Submission + - Google Rebrands Personalized Homepage as iGoogle

rm69990 writes: Google has officially rebranded their personalized homepage as iGoogle. According to Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of search products and user experience, iGoogle was floated as a name for the Personalized Homepage back in 2005 when the service was being assembled. One of the major new features of iGoogle is the ability to build gadgets without any prior programming experience. For those not in the know, Gadgets are similar to widgets on Apple's Dashboard or... gadgets on Vista's toolbar.
Power

Submission + - Heating Your Home With A Geothermal Pump

Makarand writes: This article in the Chronicle describes how geothermal pumps could be used to heat our homes instead of natural gas or electricity. These pumps rely on the fact that regardless of what the surface temperature of the earth is, it is always 60 degrees a few hundred feet below. You have to drill a few holes 200 feet deep and insert U-shaped tubes in them and connect these to a heat exchanger. The tubes are filled with a solution of water and alcohol to prevent corrosion. Circulation pumps drive the water solution through the tubes in the ground and when the solution comes up from underground it is warm because it has passed through an environment of about 60 degrees.The heated liquid then is passed through the heat exchanger which takes care of the business of heating your home.

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