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Comment Re:RAM optimization (Score 1) 241

This sounds a lot like the Outlook 2007 discussion on Vista (and some reports on XP). Vista has "advanced memory management" and Outlook "continually asks for RAM, as long as some is available". The result? Outlook allocates ~700M, according to the Task Manager process list, while the Physical Memory free (on a 3G system) reports 6% free. Closing Outlook brings the ram free percentage up to %60. Some MS MVP said just what you said "The RAM is available, so Outlook uses it and the program responds faster, that's a good thing", completely disregarding the fact that the computer is near unresponsive to everything else. A program should never take RAM "because it's available", it should take it "because it's needed". Using over 2G of RAM to open 3 emails is absurd, using 1G for texture and sound data is more reasonable.

MS has a very nasty habit of making its software defaults benefit MS rather than any particular user, even when a cursory installer examination of the user's machine would suggest different settings.

MS wants things to be oh-so-shiny! Many of us prefer our systems to run oh-so-fast. As a rule, I never select MS's "recommended" or default options when adding, or changing, or updating software. When you consider that spyware such as WGA stuff gets installed by default in MS updates, I don't think I'm being too paranoid.

Comment Re:RAM optimization (Score 1) 241

This obsession with memory usage is silly.

RAM is very, very cheap now, less than £10 a gigabyte. I configure my software to use lots of RAM, because I prefer a fast computer to one with lots of free memory.

I just bought a cheapo system (a little over $425 USD) that came with 4G of reasonably fast RAM...plenty for any version of Linux I am aware of, and almost enough for Winblows XP, Vista, and probably 7; given that previews suggest Win7 makes WinVista look like the pile 'o crap that it is.

Kiss hard drives goodbye, folks! Within a very few years, even storage will be entirely solid state.

Getting back to the point; software utilities such as "chkdsk" to diagnose and repair HD problems will be replaced by RAM checking solutions.

Comment Re:How many times do we have to hear about DRM?? (Score 1) 749

I [heart] your attitude "problem"!!! When I buy a license to listen to or view some work on distributable media or a download from the 'Net, I expect to have permanent access to it, regardless of evolutionary changes in IT. Historically, golden-eared audiophiles would take their brand new 12" albums and record them to reel-to-reel media and listen to them from that source, thus keeping the original media (vinyl) from wearing out very quickly through repeated use. I'm not sure if you qualify as golden eared, but I am an audiophile and I was listening to some of my favorite albums I bought in vinyl format from copies I made with my SOTA Wollensak cassette deck back in the 1970s.

Radar Could Save Bats From Wind Turbines 116

mknewman sends in an MSNBC piece on a promising way to keep bats from straying into wind farms — by using radar. "Bats use sonar to navigate and hunt. Many have been killed by wind turbines, however, which their sonar doesn't seem to recognize as a danger. Surprisingly, radar signals could help keep bats away from wind turbines, scientists have now discovered. ...some researchers have raised concerns that wind turbines inadvertently kill bats and other flying creatures. ... The bats might not be killed by the wind turbine blades directly, but instead by the sudden drop in air pressure the swinging rotors induce... The researchers discovered that radar helped keep bats away, reducing bat activity by 30 to 40 percent. The radar did not keep insects away, which suggests that however the radar works as a deterrent, it does so by influencing the bats directly and not just their food. Radar signals can lead to small but rapid spikes of heat in the head that generate sound waves, which in turn stimulate the ear. A bat's hearing is much more sensitive than ours. It may be so sensitive that even a tiny amount of sound caused by electromagnetic radiation is enough to drive them out."

Laser Ignition May Replace the Spark Plug 388

dusty writes "Laser Focus World has a story on researchers from Ford, GSI, and The University of Liverpool and their success in using near-infrared lasers instead of spark plugs in automobile engines. The laser pulses are delivered to the combustion chamber one of two ways. One, the laser energy is transmitted through free space and into an optical plug. Two, the other more challenging method uses fiber optics. Attempts so far to put the second method into play have met some challenges. The researchers are confident that the fiber-optic laser cables' technical challenges (such as a 20% parasitic loss, and vibration issues) will soon be overcome. Both delivery schemes drastically reduce harmful emissions and increase performance over the use of spark plugs. So the spark plug could soon join the fax machine in the pantheon of antiquated technologies that will never completely disappear. The news release from The University of Liverpool has pictures of the freakin' internal combustion lasers."
The Military

Medieval UK Battle Records Released Online 178

eldavojohn writes "Do you have ancestors who served in the British military under Henry V or fought in the Hundred Years War? Look them up online now that 250,000 medieval battle records are online and available for searching. According to the project details (PDF): 'The main campaigns of the period were to France but there were others to Flanders, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Wales and Scotland, a much wider geographical spectrum than before 1369. In addition, garrisons were maintained within England (such as that held at the Tower of London), the Channel Islands, Wales and the marches, as well as at Calais and in Gascony. In the fourteenth-century phase of the Hundred Years War, the English also held some garrisons in areas of northern France, and in the fifteenth century phase, there was a systematic garrison-based occupation of Normandy and surrounding regions...'"

40 Million Identities Up For Sale On the Web 245

An anonymous reader writes "Highly sensitive financial information, including credit card details, bank account numbers, telephone numbers, and even PINs are available to the highest bidder. The information being traded on the Web has been intercepted by a British company and collated into a single database for the first time. The Lucid Intelligence database contains the records of 40 million people worldwide, mostly Americans; four million are Britons. Security experts described the database as the largest of its kind in the world. The database is in the hands of Colin Holder, a retired senior Metropolitan police officer who served on the fraud squad. He has collected the information over the past four years. His sources include law enforcement from around the world, such as British police and the FBI, anti-phishing and hacking campaigners, and members of the public. Mr. Holder said he has invested £160,000 in the venture so far. He plans to offset the cost by charging members of the public for access to his database to check whether their data security has been breached."

Best Tools For Network Inventory Management? 251

jra writes "Once every month or so, people ask here about backups, network management, and so on, but one topic I don't see come up too often is network inventory management — machines, serial numbers, license keys, user assignments, IP addresses, and the like. This level of tracking is starting to get out of hand in my facility as we approach 100 workstations and 40 servers, and I'm looking for something to automate it. I'm using RT (because I'm not a good enough Web coder to replace it, not because I especially like it) and Nagios 3. I've looked at Asset Tracker, but it seems too much like a toolkit for building things to do the job, and I don't want my ticket tracking users to have to be hackers (having to specify a URL for an asset is too hackish for my crew). I'd prefer something standalone, so I don't have to dump RT or Nagios, but if something sufficiently good looking comes by, I'd consider it. I'd like to be able to hack a bit here and there, if I must. Perl and Python, along with C, are the preferred implementation languages; least favorite is Java. Anyone care to share their firsthand experiences with this topic, and what tools they use (or built) to deal with it? "

First New Nuclear Reactor In a Decade On Track 575

dusty writes "Plans to bring online the first new US nuclear plant since 1995 are on track, on time, and on budget according to the Tennessee Valley Authority. TVA had one major accident with a coal ash spill of late, and one minor one. The agency has plans and workers in place to have Unit 2 at Watts Bar, near Knoxville, online by 2012. Currently over 1,800 workers are doing construction at the plant. Watts Bar #1 is the only new nuclear reactor added to the grid in the last 25 years. From the article: 'TVA estimates the Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor every year will avoid the emission of about 60 million metric tons of greenhouse emissions linked with global warming. ... TVA began construction of Watts Bar in 1973, but work was suspended in 1988 when TVA's growth in power sales declined. After mothballing the unit for 19 years, TVA's board decided in 2007 to finish the reactor because it is projected to provide cheaper, no carbon-emitting power compared with the existing coal plants or purchased power it may help replace.'"

Open Source Languages Rumble At OSCON 197

blackbearnh writes "Everybody knows what the best programming language is, it's whatever one you like the most. But is there a best language overall? Or even a best language for a given purpose? This question has been debated since the first time there were two languages to choose from. The argument is still going on, of course, but maybe a little light will be shed on the issue this week at OSCON. On Wednesday night at 7PM Pacific, representatives of the 5 major open source languages (perl, PHP, Python, Java and Ruby), as arbitrarily decided by O'Reilly, will meet to debate the merits of their various languages. If you're not going to be at OSCON, you can watch it live on a webcast and pose questions or comments to the participants. The representatives are: Python: Alex Martelli, Google; Ruby: Brian Ford, Engine Yard; PHP: Laura Thomson, Mozilla; Perl: Jim Brandt, Perl Foundation; Java: Rod Johnson, SpringSource."

Kingston Unveils $1000 USB Flash Drive 119

Barence writes "Kingston has unveiled the 'world's first' 256GB flash drive, raising flash drive storage to the kind of capacity you normally associate with laptop hard disks. Kingston claims the drive is 'ideal for netbook users who want to extend the limited capacity of their machines,' although given that the device costs about twice as much as a netbook, buyers could probably get more storage by purchasing two of the cheap ultraportables. The device is made on a build-to-order basis, with a suggested UK retail price of £650.52 including VAT — that's an astonishing $1074.69 at current exchange rates. Not exactly cheap and cheerful."

Chinese Employee Loses iPhone Prototype, Kills Self 514

tlhIngan writes "Physical intimidation of a Foxconn employee, 25 year-old Sun Danyong, and a possibly-illegal search of his house may have led to suicide after an iPhone prototype in his possession was lost. Foxconn is Apple's long-time manufacturing partner for the iPhone. Entrusted with 16 iPhone prototypes, Danyong discovered that one was missing and searched the factory for it. When it didn't turn up, he reported the incident to his boss, who ordered his apartment searched. There are reports of physical intimidation by Foxconn security personnel. This ended tragically on Thursday at 3 AM, when Danyong jumped from his apartment building to his death." VentureBeat notes that "Apple exerts immense pressure on its business partners [to] help it maintain secrecy." An Apple spokesperson said this to CNet: "We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death. We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect."

Researchers Create Database-Hadoop Hybrid 122

ericatcw writes "'NoSQL' alternatives such as Hadoop and MapReduce may be uber-cheap and scalable, but they remain slower and clumsier to use than relational databases, say some. Now, researchers at Yale University have created a database-Hadoop hybrid that they say offers the best of both worlds: fast performance and the ability to scale out near-indefinitely. HadoopDB was built using PostGreSQL, though MySQL has also successfully been swapped in, according to Yale computer science professor Daniel Abadi, whose students built this prototype."

Doctors Fight Patent On Medical Knowledge 205

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Doctor's groups, including the AMA and too many others to list, are supporting the Mayo Clinic in the case Prometheus v. Mayo. The Mayo Clinic alleges that the patents in question merely recite a natural phenomenon: the simple fact that the level of metabolites of a drug in a person's body can tell you how a patient is responding to that drug. The particular metabolites in this case are those of thiopurine drugs and the tests are covered by Prometheus Lab's 6,355,623 and 6,680,302 patents. But these aren't the only 'observational' patents in medicine — they're part of a trend where patents are sought to cover any test using the fact that gene XYZ is an indicator for some disease, or that certain chemicals in a blood sample indicate something about a patient's condition. There are even allegations that certain labs have gone so far as to send blood samples to a university lab, order testing for patented indicators, then sue that university for infringement. Naturally, Prometheus Labs sees this whole story differently, arguing that the Mayo Clinic will profit from treating patients with knowledge patented by them. They have their own supporters, too, such as the American Intellectual Property Law Association." Prometheus doesn't seem to be a classic patent troll; they actually perform the tests for which they have obtained patents.

The Speed Gamers Raise Over $26,000 For Charity 65

Levonn Lawrence writes "Moving into day four of seven, The Speed Gamers (TSG) continue to play a Final Fantasy marathon for an unusual reason: charity. The guys at TSG are playing through every main Final Fantasy game, from one to twelve, over a period of seven days in hopes or raising $50,000 for ACT Today (Autism Care and Treatment). The marathon is streamed live for people to watch. ACT is a charity helping to financially support families effected by Autism. The marathon started 6pm CST, Friday, July 17th, 2009 and is going until Friday, July 24th 2009. So far they've raised over $26,000 (not a typo) and they're only 89 hours in."

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