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Ultrawideband Soon To Be Legal In Europe 109

ukhackster writes "ZDNet UK is reporting that ultrawideband will be legalized in Europe within 6 months, but with tougher controls than in America — the only place where it is legal now. Ultrawideband offers wireless connectivity at speeds up to 1Gbps, and is meant to supersede USB and clear our desks of wires. In Europe, fears that UWB might interfere with other technologies have kept it out of the market. Opening up the European market could give manufacturers a powerful incentive to push UWB." From the article: "[S]ources confirmed to ZDNet UK that the restrictions put forward by the EC would indeed be more rigorous than those imposed in the US, although they would not be so restrictive as to make it impossible for some global harmonization of UWB devices... It is understood that the committee decision to allow UWB was based on a far from unanimous majority, with some Scandinavian countries and France opposing the proposal."

Intel to Make Cheap Flash Laptop 202

sien writes "In a similar vein to the One Laptop Per Child computer Intel have announced that they intend to produce a similar cheap laptop using flash storage.The entry of Intel and the declaration that Microsoft intend to get Windows running on the One Laptop Per Child machine suggests that there may be a general market for a cheap, robust laptop without hard drive or optical storage."

Intel Takes Quad Core To the Desktop 191

Rob writes to mention a Computer Business Review Online article about Intel's official launch of the Kentsfield chipset. Their Quad Core offering, Intel is claiming, is up to 80% faster than the dual-core Conroe released this past July. From the article: "Kentsfield, a 2.66GHz chip with a 1066MHz front-side bus, is more for computational-heavy usage, including digital content creation, engineering analysis, such as CAD, and actuarial and other financial applications. Steve Smith, director of operations for Intel digital enterprise group, claimed rendering is 58% faster for users building digital content creation systems, for video, photo editing or digital audio. In other words, Kentsfield is for high-end desktops or workstations only. For the average office worker who uses their PC for general productivity apps, such as communications and garden-variety computing, Smith recommended the Core 2 Duo from 'a price point and performance perspective.'"

TOP500 Supercomputer Sites For 2006 108

geaux writes to let us know about the release of the 28th TOP500 List of the world's fastest supercomputers. From the article: "The IBM BlueGene/L system, installed at DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, retains the No. 1 spot with a Linpack performance of 280.6 teraflops (trillions of calculations per second, or Tflop/s). The new No. 2 systems is Sandia National Laboratories' Cray Red Storm supercomputer, only the second system ever to be recorded to exceed the 100 Tflops/s mark with 101.4 Tflops/s... Slipping to No. 3 is the IBM eServer Blue Gene Solution system, installed at IBM's Thomas Watson Research Center, with 91.20 Tflops/s Linpack performance." You need over 6.6 Tflop/s to make it into the top 100.

New Zealand To Allow 'Text-Speak' On Exams 421

ScentCone writes "New Zealand's Qualification Authority (which sets testing standards for the public schools) is confident that those grading papers will understand the meaning of students' responses, even if they use phone/IM-style text-speak. From the article: 'credit will be given if the answer "clearly shows the required understanding," even if it contains text-speak.' Many teachers are not amused, and critics say that the move will devalue NZ's equivalent of a high school diploma." Not to mention that graders will need to be restrained so they don't gouge their own eyes out. While in the medium of text messages, some shorthand might be in order, but I didn't realize that world paper, pencil, and ink shortages were so severe so that text-speak is necessary everywhere.

Geekspeak Baffles Web Users 363

An anonymous reader writes to mention a BBC article on the technology buying public's continued frustration with 'geek speak'. Despite ever-increasing adoption of high tech gadgets in first-world nations, the terms used to describe what these new toys do often elude the people who buy them. From the article: "Acronyms in particular foxed users. 75% of online Britons did not know that VOD stands for video-on-demand, while 68% were unaware that personal video recorders were more commonly referred to as PVRs. Millions of people keep in touch via instant messaging but some 57% of online Brits said they did not know that the acronym for it was IM. 'The technology industry is perhaps the most guilty of all industries when it comes to love of acronyms,' said Mr Burmaster. "

Plastic Batteries Coming Soon? 200

Roland Piquepaille writes "Engineers at Brown University have built a prototype of a hybrid plastic battery that uses a conductive polymer. The system, which marries the power of a capacitor with the storage capacity of a battery, can store and deliver power efficiently. For example, during performance testing, 'it delivered more than 100 times the power of a standard alkaline battery.' Still, it's unlikely that such a device can appear on the market before several years."

PC World's 25 Worst Web Sites 272

Cilibrin writes "PC World has posted a story on the 25 dumbest dot-coms and silliest sites. Among those to make the list are the pet-related Neuticles — a site for testicular implants for pets — and every child's favorite, Rabies for Kids." From the article: "As venture capitalists scramble to throw money at anything labeled Ajax or Web 2.0, and Web publishing becomes so simple that anyone with a working mouse hand can put up a site, we offer our list of the 25 worst Web sites of all time. Many of our bottom 25 date from the dot-com boom, when no bad idea went unfunded. Some sites were outright scams — at least two of our featured Net entrepreneurs spent some time in the pokey. Others are just examples of bad design, or sites that got a little too careless with users' information, or tried to demand far too much personal data for too little benefit. And to prove we're not afraid to pick on somebody much bigger than us, our pick for the worst Web site may be the hottest cyberspot on the planet right now. "

Rethinking the Thinkpad 268

Octiaviane writes to tell us that XYZComputing has a review of Lenovo's Thinkpad X60 with a look at not only the current specs but the evolution of the Thinkpad line. From the article: "One constant which has remained throughout the evolution of the notebook computer is the Thinkpad. Processors and operating systems have changed, designs have been updated, and ownership has changed hands, but the Thinkpad remains. This product has never stopped being a top choice for demanding consumers and corporate buyers, whether they are looking for size, power, or features."

A Truly Silent Home Theater PC Built for Linux 178

slimrabbit writes "LinuxDevices is reporting on a truly silent home theater PC that comes with its own Fedora 5 based quick install Linux DVD capable of installing a fully-configured FC5 system with LIRC, KDETV, TV-Time and Kradio in about 15 minutes. The most notable features are its "church mouse quiet" 14dba power supply, TV-Out (SVideo and composite), component video, DVI and VGA out, and hardware MPEG support(XvMC). The company also supports and engages the Linux community through its sponsorship program. It is sponsoring knoppmyth and the Debian User Project and makes the mechanical drawings of its face plates available under the GPL."

AMD Says Power Efficiency Still Key 167

Larsonist writes to tell us that even though AMD's new architecture wont be released until mid-2007 they are still letting people in on what some of the new features will be. From the article: "While clock speeds have not been revealed, each of the four cores will integrate 64 KB L1 Cache and 512 KB L2 cache. The native quad-core architecture will also include a 2 MB shared L3 cache, which may increase in capacity over time. The processor will have a total of four Hypertransport links - up from three today - that provide a total bandwidth to outside devices of 5.2 GB/s. AMD is also thinking about integrating support for FB-DIMMs 'when appropriate.'"

How Much Virtual Memory is Enough? 544

whitroth asks: "Ten years ago, Received Wisdom said that virtual memory should be, on the average, two to two-and-a-half times real memory. In these days, where 2G RAM is not unusual, and many times is not that uncommon, is this unreasonable? What's the sense of the community as to what is a reasonable size for swap these days?"

The Light Bulb That Can Change the World 1137

An anonymous reader writes to tell us FastCompany is reporting on the latest and greatest version of the compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). While CFLs of the past may have been efficient, they certainly were not effective. However, according to the article, CFLs have come as far as cell phones have since the mid 80s while still maintaining that high efficiency. From the article: "if every one of 110 million American households bought just one [CFL], took it home, and screwed it in the place of an ordinary 60-watt bulb, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people. One bulb swapped out, enough electricity saved to power all the homes in Delaware and Rhode Island. In terms of oil not burned, or greenhouse gases not exhausted into the atmosphere, one bulb is equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the roads."

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