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Music

Submission + - comScore: 38% Downloaders Paid for Radiohead Album (comscore.com)

brajesh writes: "It was reported earlier that Radiohead may have made $6-$10 Million on Name-Your Cost Album "In Rainbows" with average price between $5 and $8. Now comScore has come out with some numbers. FTA — "During the first 29 days of October, 1.2 million people worldwide visited the "In Rainbows" site, with a significant percentage of visitors ultimately downloading the album. The study showed that 38 percent of global downloaders of the album willingly paid to do so, with the remaining 62 percent choosing to pay nothing. [...] Of those who were willing to pay, the largest percentage (17 percent) paid less than $4. However, a significant percentage (12 percent) were willing to pay between $8-$12, or approximately the cost to download a typical album via iTunes, and these consumers accounted for more than half (52 percent) of all sales in dollars.""
Software

Submission + - Skype blames Microsoft Patch Tuesday for Outage (skype.com)

brajesh writes: "Skype has blamed its outage over the last week on Microsoft's Patch Tuesday. FTA — "The abnormally high number of restarts affected Skype's network resources. This caused a flood of log-in requests, which, combined with the lack of peer-to-peer network resources, prompted a chain reaction that had a critical impact." Previsously, it was speculated that Skype outage may have been caused by a Russian hack attempt. Further FTA- "The issue has now been identified explicitly within Skype. We can confirm categorically that no malicious activities were attributed or that our users' security was not, at any point, at risk." Butterfly effect?"
Java

Submission + - Java Urban performance legends

An anonymous reader writes: Pop quiz: Which language boasts faster raw allocation performance, the Java language, or C/C++? The answer may surprise you — allocation in modern JVMs is far faster than the best performing malloc implementations. This article pokes some holes in the oft-repeated Java performance myth of slow allocation in JVMs.
Enlightenment

Submission + - Desktop vs Web Applications - Round n

brajesh writes: "The Internet browser is the new OS. What if a "thin client application" becomes thicker than the "Thick"s of the lot. The problem with web applications- "[...]is that they have tried too hard to make the web into a complete application platform, to the point where they don't even bother holding themselves to the same standards by which desktop application developers are judged.""
Businesses

Submission + - Study contradicts RIAA on cause of CD sales drop

IBuyManyCd writes: A new research paper (PDF) published in the Journal of Political Economy contradicts the RIAA claim that illegal downloading is the main reason for the 25% drop in CD sales.
A quick overview of the article is presented on the University of Chicago Press site: Downloads are not the primary reason for the decline in music sales. "Researchers from Harvard and Kansas find that impact of P2P sharing on U.S. music sales is "statistically indistinguishable from zero".
The overview also quotes:
"We match an extensive sample of downloads to U.S. sales for a large number of albums", write Felix Oberholzer-Gee (Harvard University) and Koleman Strumpf (University of Kansas). "While file sharers downloaded billions of files in 2002, the consequences for the industry amounted to no more than 0.7% of sales."
The author compiled data on nearly 50,000 music downloads of popular songs (on pop charts) and across eleven genre from 2 major P2P servers. They then compared these with the same pop chart songs CD sales, "it is striking to see that more than 60% of the songs in our sample are never downloaded".
This underlines what many online users have lived first hand. If an album is good enough, reaching the pop chart, it will gladly be bought by fans.
Hardware Hacking

DivX CEO on Hackers, YouTube, Technology 59

Cintia Barreto writes to mention a Red Herring interview with Jordan Greenhall The CEO of DivX talks about the company's roots, a little bit about YouTube, and how entertainment technology grew out of the file-sharing days of the late 90s. From the article: "We sat down and said what you just created will do these things, people will adopt it, they will use it to transmit high-quality video, probably movies, probably television shows, probably porn--on the Internet--and in this domain and in this particular way. In some timeframe, they will want to be able transmit that from the PC into the living room. It will be the kind of content that wants to live in the living room--just like what happened with MP3. You had music files sitting in your PC and you wanted to take them portable. Somebody had to invent the portable MP3 player. In fact, I was at MP3.com at the time, I got to physically touch the first MP3 player ever made. It was made by these guys from Korea--it was literally duct tape."
NASA

NASA Unveils Strategy for Return to the Moon 377

mknewman writes to tell us that NASA recently announced plans to build a permanent base on the moon by 2024. The (still tentative) plans call for building the base on one of the moon's poles, which constantly receive light from the sun and have less temperature fluctuation. This base will start small in 2020 and grow over time with the hopes of eventually supporting 180-day stays and providing a jumping-off point to Mars."

Slashdot's Vastu 386

nanopolitan writes "Wired has a story on harmonious website design according to Vastu, 'the Indian counterpart of feng shui'. The graphic accompanying the story has an analysis of Slashdot's design by Dr. Smita Narang. Her verdict? This site is 'in desperate need of balance'." From the article: "Thirty-year-old Smita Narang is rapidly becoming one of India's hottest Web designers. Her method: applying vastu shastra, the Indian counterpart of feng shui, to the online realm. The process entails mapping page attributes - HTML, colors, graphics - to elements like fire, water, and air. 'Any disturbance of these established elements can cause an imbalance in the site that directly affects its business,' Narang says."

When a Tech 'Breakthrough' Isn't Really 127

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "'More than 8,600 press releases have been issued over the years with "breakthrough" in the headline, a majority of them by computer and electronics companies,' Lee Gomes writes in the Wall Street Journal. He examines whether hyperbole and hype has robbed the term of much of its meaning, focusing on a recently announced 'breakthrough' by Intel involving optical computing. From the article: 'Having been inside Intel's laser labs, I need no persuading that the company is doing important work here, and an Intel spokesman says the development is indeed a "breakthrough" because it shows how real-world optical products can be made with silicon. I wonder, though, how many more breakthroughs we will be reading about before optical computing becomes ubiquitous.'"

Charge in 5 minutes, Drive 500 miles? 319

ctroutwi writes "In the wake of rising gasoline costs there have been plenty of alternatives seen on the horizon. Including Hybrids, Biofuels, fuel cells and battery powered all electric cars. CNN has recently posted a story about a company (EEStor) that plans on offering Ultra-Capacitor storage products. The claim being that you charge the ultra-capacitor in 5 minutes, with approximately 9$ (~$.45 a gallon) of electricity and then drive 500 miles."

Segway Recalling 23,000 Scooters 162

DocJohn writes, "For the second time in 3 years, Segway has announced a recall of all Segway Personal Transporters. The problem described is that the Segway 'can unexpectedly apply reverse torque to the wheels, which can cause a rider to fall. This can occur when the device is tilted back by the Speed Limiter and the rider comes off and then back onto the device within a short period of time.' A software update is needed to fix the problem." This AP story mentions President Bush's 2003 stumble on a Segway without speculating on whether the cause was the software glitch behind the current recall.

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?

Microsoft Changes Office 2007 Interface Again 300

daria42 writes "Microsoft has modified its interface for Office 2007 yet again, after complaints from beta testers that the 'ribbon' system took up too much space on screen. The article discusses the resistance the new interface is likely to prompt in old users of the software, both at a personal and corporate level. From a format perspective, there are other changes to expect as well." From the article: "Hodgson also confirmed that Microsoft is working on tools to help enterprises automatically translate existing documents into new file formats being introduced in Office 2007. 'We've been asked by a lot of customers to provide tools to do mass migrations,' he said. 'There will be tools that will take a million documents and migrate those to the new formats.' One likely incentive for that migration will be reduced storage costs. Microsoft claims that file sizes for the new Office 2007 XML-based formats are up to 75 percent less than existing Office formats."

PS3 Predicted to Lead Market Through 2011 314

eldavojohn writes "The Yankee Group (a Boston Technology firm) recently announced that it predicts Sony's PS3 to lead the market with a 44% share through 2011. Most interesting is their prediction that the Wii will maintain only 16% of the market share. From the article: 'The analyst group believes Sony will lead in next-gen market share by 44% in 2011, with Xbox 360 taking a close 40% share, followed by Wii with a wee little bitty 16% share.'"

Vista Hacking Challenge Answered 388

debiansid writes "Microsoft's most secure Operating System yet has been compromised at the Black Hat hacker conference. We all know that Andrew Cushman, Microsoft's director of security outreach invited the Black Hats over to touch and feel Vista in order to showcase the superiority of this OS. Joanna Rutkowska, from Coseinc, a Singapore-based security firm, obliged and showed how it is possible to bypass security measures in Vista that prevents unsigned code from running with the help of a little software she calls the 'Blue Pill.'" To be fair, the hack was possible only when the target is in administrator mode rather than a limited user account.

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