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Submission + - 45nm Phenom II matches Core 2 Quad, trails Core i7 (techreport.com)

An anonymous reader writes: AMD is debuting its 45nm Phenom II processors today, and The Tech Report has already run them through a complete suite of benchmarks to see how they perform compared to Intel's latest and greatest. The result? The new 2.8GHz and 3GHz Phenom IIs are in a dead heat with like-priced Core 2 Quads, but they generally fall well behind Intel's new Core i7 chips. TR concludes that AMD's future doesn't look as bleak as some say, and future Phenom IIs could compete favorably with more affordable Core i7 derivatives.

Submission + - OpenOffice Getting A Facelift (openoffice.org)

Sean0michael writes: "OpenOffice is looking for a facelift, so they have launched their own Renaissance project to get things rolling. The project is just beginning, so now is a good chance to get in on the ground floor and make your opinions heard. Bruce Byfield at Datamation draws attention to the complexity of the process and the different directions this project might take. While the revamped UI is still a few years away, you can get involved now by taking a quick survey to help the project get its bearings."

Submission + - More Brains Needed

Hugh Pickens writes: "BBC reports that more people need to donate their brains to medical research if cures for diseases like dementia are to be found and are urging healthy people as well as those with brain disorders to become donors. "For autism, we only have maybe 15 or 20 brains that have been donated that we can do our research on. That is drastically awful," said Dr Payam Rezaie of the Neuropathology Research Laboratory at the Open University. "We would need at least 100 cases to get meaningful data. A lot of research is being hindered by this restriction." Part of the problem, according to Professor Margaret Esiri at the University of Oxford, may be that people are reluctant to donate their brains because they see the organ as the basis of their identity. "It used to be other parts of the body that we thought were important," says Esin. "But now people realize that their brain is the crucial thing that gives them their mind and their self." Dr Kieran Breen, of the Parkinson's Disease Society, said over 90% of the brains in their bank at Imperial College London were from patients, with the remaining 10% of "healthy" brains donated by friends or relatives of patients. "Some people are under the impression that if they sign up for a donor card that will include donating their brain for research. But it won't," says Breen. "Donor cards are about donating organs for transplant, not for medical science.""
Wireless Networking

Submission + - SPAM: Researchers apply P2P principles to car traffic

alphadogg writes: University of California, Irvine researchers are applying lessons learned from music and video peer-to-peer file transfer networks to a system for reducing traffic jams on the roads. Their Autonet plan would center around ad hoc networks of vehicles and roadside monitoring posts supported by 802.11 technology (the prototype uses 11b). The vehicles would essentially be the "clients" in such a system and feature graphical user interfaces to pass along information to drivers. They're building the system to be able to handle data on thousands of traffic incidents and road conditions.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Is love just a chemical cocktail? (bbc.co.uk)

Hapless Hero writes: A professor of neuroscience at Emory University theorizes that romantic love, despite the myriad ways poets have been describing the most written-about emotion for centuries, is nothing more profound than a series of chemical reactions. From the BBC.co.uk article:

Professor Young argues that love can be explained by a series of neurochemical events that are happening in specific brain areas. If that is true then, he says, one would no longer have to rely on oysters or chocolates to create a loving mood. Instead, it will be possible for scientists to develop aphrodisiacs — chemicals that would make people fall in love with the first person they see. And for those who have fallen in love with someone they shouldn't have fallen in love with, an antidote to unrequited love. There is even the prospect of a genetic "love test" to assess whether two potential love birds are predisposed to a happy married life.

Are we headed towards our very own real-life love potions? Or is there something deeper going on in true love?

Social Networks

Submission + - Researcher: Social networks link terrorists (idg.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: At the International Conference on Cyber Security 2009 in New York, Evan Kohlmann, a senior investigator and private consultant for Global Terror Alert, claimed that a new breed of terrorists are using online forums to recruit people who align themselves with the mission of Al Qaeda, creating global networks of would-be terrorists.

Submission + - Trip to Mars proposed using NASA Space Shuttle (remarkable.com)

An anonymous reader writes: There's a Web article entitled: "Mars on a Shoestring: A novel method to transport humans to Mars based on a pair of tethered Space Shuttle orbiters" http://www.remarkable.com/marsonashoestring.html It's a new twist on a concept proposed by futurist Robert Zubrin in the mid 90s. The article proposes using existing hardware (primarily Space Shuttle orbiters) and the new "Earth Departure Stage" being developed by NASA for a trip to Mars. A very large parachute system would allow each Space Shuttle to independently land on the surface of the planet. The article discusses other propulsion options, generating "artificial gravity" by spinning the pair of orbiters, a "near-closed-loop biosphere" using "bioregenerative life-support systems", and how the living space could be quadrupled using payload-bay modules that already exist for the Space Shuttle.

Submission + - Neurobiology and the end of software (ddj.com)

donberryman writes: "An interesting article at DDJ about how software may change as systems are designed to learn for themselves. It predicts the end of the software industry. Neurobiology Will Become "No-Brainer" Substitute for Software: "Despite the grim prospects for the software industry, shed no tears for its eventual demise. No other industry could provide a product with such a plethora of bugs, errors and malfunctions and still be considered a viable market. (Most people working in science use Linux systems because of their higher degree of reliability.)""

Submission + - SPAM: NSF wants hot visual and data analysis algorithms

coondoggie writes: "The National Science Foundation is furthering its search for highly interpretive technology to help all manner of government and private researchers evaluate the massive amounts of data generated in health care, computational biology, security and other fields. In a nutshell, the NSF said it is seeking mathematical and computational algorithms and techniques that will fundamentally improve law enforcement and the intelligence communities' ability to transform large, often streaming data sets, e-mails, images, numbers and sounds into a form that better supports visualization and analytic reasoning, NSF stated. [spam URL stripped]"
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Twitter Hacker identified - Claimed Easy Hack

Dieppe writes: According to an article on Wired.com: An 18-year-old hacker with a history of celebrity pranks has admitted to Monday's hijacking of multiple high-profile Twitter accounts, including President-Elect Barack Obama's, and the official feed for Fox News.

The hacker, who goes by the handle GMZ, told Threat Level on Tuesday he gained entry to Twitter's administrative control panel by pointing an automated password-guesser at a popular user's account. The user turned out to be a member of Twitter's support staff, who'd chosen the weak password "happiness."

Submission + - Earth may have not one but two inner cores (discovery.com) 2

suraj.sun writes: A new theory is proposing the seemingly impossible: Earth has not one but two inner cores.

The idea stems from an ancient, cataclysmic collision that scientists believe occurred when a Mars-sized object hit Earth about 4.45 billion years ago. The young Earth was still so hot that it was mostly molten, and debris flung from the impact is thought to have formed the moon.

Haluk Cetin and Fugen Ozkirim of Murray State University think the core of the Mars-sized object may have been left behind inside Earth, and that it sank down near the original inner core. There the two may still remain, either separate or as conjoined twins, locked in a tight orbit.


Submission + - Nvidia recommends not buying its defective chips (vr-zone.com)

suraj.sun writes: Nvidia apparently has a solution to the problems faced by many in their notebooks powered by GeForce 8M series, that is, to encourage the OEM/ODMs to buy their new problem free chips. Of course, this doesn't solve the issues faced by current users and there won't be any replacement for them.

Here's a note from Nvidia to their partners :

        NVIDIA is committed to providing our customers with quality products that push the edge of technology and also continuously improve product quality and reliability. To help improve the product quality and ensure smooth and uninterrupted product supply during the current "end stage" of life cycle, NVIDIA strongly recommends that customers transition to this latest revision of the NB8E-SET GPUs as soon as possible. These latest revision units utilize "Hitachi" underfill packaging material that improves product quality and enhances operating life by improved thermal cycling reliability.


Submission + - SPAM: X Power Tools

stoolpigeon writes: "The X Window System has been around for over twenty years and is the display system for an incredibly wide range of operating systems. With the number of Linux users growing, there are more people working with X than ever before. Most modern desktop environments provide user friendly interfaces that make modifying X rather simple. There is not so much need to dig into config files and settings as in the past but for those environments without such tools or for the user who loves to dig deep into their environment this book can be a simple way to understanding how X works and how to tweak it in any number of ways. If you want things that 'just work' and have no interest in digging around below the surface this book is not for you. On the other hand, if you think the best thing to do with a shiny new tool is to take it apart, well "X Power Tools" by Chris Tyler may be just for you.

The author, Chris Tyler, is a professor at Seneca College in Toronto as well as a programmer and Linux user. His first book published by O'Reilly was "Fedora Linux: A Complete Guide to Red Hat's Community Distribution", published in 2006. He cites the growth in X users, combined with active development and the lack of existing books that address X as the motivation for writing "X Power Tools."

X is the windowing system on a wide range of Unix and Unix like systems. Chris is obviously most familiar with Linux and so the material is heavily Linux oriented. This is most apparent when the book deals with Session Managers, Desktop Environments and Window Managers. The material focuses on Gnome, KDE and Xfce and their associated components in regards to X. For the Linux user this could be a valuable resource.

When I've had issues in working with X locally and over the network, I've found that while what I need is available on the web, getting just what I need can be very labor intensive at times. Usually just what I want is spread across tutorials, on-line man pages and forum posts. Sorting out what applies to my situation can be especially difficult when I'm not even sure just how things work for my setup. Chris makes this kind of guessing unnecessary and provides the locations and function of key files. He also spells out how the most important files and tools can be best used.

For the sysadmin on another platform, these Linux specific sections are not going to be much help. Most of the book though, deals with X itself. I've already loaned my copy to one of our AIX admins more than once and I think he plans on picking up a copy of his own.

When Gnome and KDE provide an interface for modifying or customizing X functionality, the book gives at least the name of the program and sometimes screen shots and explanations of how the tool works. This is always after an illustration of how to get the job done with the tools that are a part of X itself. From fonts to keyboard layouts, multi-display to kiosks, everything required is laid out in straight forward terms.

For me, as a Fedora user myself, this means that having read this book I approach my work environment with a new level of confidence. Behaviors that used to puzzle me, now make complete sense. Quirks that bothered me, no longer need to be tolerated as I know have the tools to get things working just the way I want, rather than using defaults.

The book has just come out, so it was being written before the release of KDE 4. I've looked through the documentation and I don't think any of the changes to programs like KDM or KWin make the information in the book out of date. In fact, according to the KWin release notes, when discussing KWins new compositing support, "...manual configuration of X may be required for proper results..." So if you are a KDE user that likes to live on the edge, this book may come in handy.

O'Reilly says that their "Power Tool" books are comprised of a series of stand-alone articles that are cross-referenced to one another. To be honest, it didn't feel much different from reading any other tech book. Topics flowed naturally and the articles are analogous to sections that divide up chapters in other books. One nice navigation feature is that page numbers are on the bottom of the pages while chapter and article numbers are at the top corner in a decimal notations. For example at the top of page 58 there is a grey square containing the number 3.13 which means that it is the 13th article in chapter 3.

The book has a thorough index. It also comes with 45 days free access to an electronic version through O'Reilly Safari.

For me the only real weakness of the book is that I would like to have seen more information on working with X on Unix. When reference is made to specific implementation of X it is almost always in regards to Linux. I wouldn't want to lose that, but I think a mixed environment of Unix, Linux and Windows is more the rule than the exception today. It would be more work to include other operating systems, but it would have also made the book much more valuable.

All tech books face the danger of becoming quickly useless as progress marches forward. X is actively being developed, but at the same time, looking back on its history I think this book will be useful for sysadmin and user for some time to come."

Submission + - (how) do you print your code? 2

Thunder Rabbit writes: "When trying to grok the flow of code, I can't always do it just on the screen. When I come across a closing bracket, it may be several hundred lines below its opener. Even if they are correctly commented, it's hard for me to get the overview into my brain.

At my office, though I can print the code in syntax driven glorious full color, it comes out on individual sheets of letter paper (landscape, with minimized margins).

I long for the fanfold paper we had in university. It was black and white, but it was all contiguous; I could draw lines along the left margin connecting opening and closing brackets, and immediately get a better sense of the program's flow. And (goodness forbid) a bug caused by a missing or superfluous bracket? I could find that problem in a trice.

Nowadays I print my pages, then use tape to string them all together to get my fanfold fix.

What about you? How do you print your code?"

Submission + - Geeks Help In Government Coverup (wsj.com)

covaro writes: "Seems those on-site computer services are helping cover up government dirty deeds these days. From the article:

Bypassing his agency's computer technicians, Mr. Bloch phoned 1-800-905-GEEKS for Geeks on Call, the mobile PC-help service. It dispatched a technician in one of its signature PT Cruiser wagons. In an interview, the 49-year-old former labor-law litigator from Lawrence, Kan., confirmed that he contacted Geeks on Call but said he was trying to eradicate a virus that had seized control of his computer. Mr. Bloch had his computer's hard disk completely cleansed using a "seven-level" wipe: a thorough scrubbing that conforms to Defense Department data-security standards. The process makes it nearly impossible for forensics experts to restore the data later. He also directed Geeks on Call to erase laptop computers that had been used by his two top political deputies, who had recently left the agency.
This also makes you wonder if the technician had the necessary clearance to be performing the work he was doing. They were after all machines being used in a government investigation."

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