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Chrome

Chrome Users Are Best With Numbers, IE Users Worst 203

New submitter dr_blurb writes "After reading about last year's hoax report 'Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Browser Usage' I realized I was in fact already running a real live experiment measuring number skills: a site were you can solve Calcudoku number puzzles. I analyzed two years' worth of data, consisting of over 1 million solved puzzles. This included puzzles solved 'against the clock,' of three different sizes. For each size, Chrome users were the fastest solvers, Firefox users came second, and IE users were the slowest. The number of abandoned puzzles (started but never finished) was also significantly higher for IE users. Analysis shows that the differences are statistically significant: in other words, they did not happen by chance. I put up more details and some graphs, and also wrote a paper about it (PDF)."
GNU is Not Unix

Jeff Jaffe Named CEO of W3C 145

blozza2070 notes the news that Jeff Jaffe has been appointed CEO of the World Wide Web Consortium. Until January Jaffe was CTO at Novell and, while his name hasn't come up very often in this community, he is one of the architects of the Novell-Microsoft patent deal. A reading of Jaffe's blog while at Novell tends to paint him as a software patent supporter, Microsoft apologist, and no fan of the FSF. This strongly worded page at Boycott Novell features copious links to support the above characterization.
OS X

Mac OS X v10.5.8 Ready For Download 152

mysqlbytes writes "Apple has posted an anticipated v10.5.8 patch for Mac OS X, updating a number of components in the operating system, one of their last updates to Leopard. The update brings improvements to Safari, Airport, Bluetooth, among others and rolls out the latest OS X security fixes." Worth glancing at are some of the security-related notes on the update.
PC Games (Games)

Is Cataclysm the Next World of Warcraft Expansion? 259

ajs writes "There has been no official announcement yet, but a number of moves by Blizzard Entertainment seem to indicate that the next expansion for World of Warcraft could be titled Cataclysm. Speculation began when Blizzard trademarked Cataclysm recently, and then later when a test server briefly popped up with the word 'Maelstrom' in its name. If true, the name would fall neatly into the WoW lore and expected expansion list. The Cataclysm is another name for the Great Sundering, an event that created a swirling vortex of water and mystical energies (the 'Maelstrom') that has appeared on the world map in-game since release. There are also indications that early design work included some of the islands in this area, which has long fueled anticipation of a Maelstrom-based expansion involving the former Night Elf noble, Azshara, queen of the Naga and the Goblins whose main city is in the south seas."
Networking

Ubuntu Download Speeds Beat Windows XP's 515

narramissic writes "Doing a download speed test of his Time Warner cable connection, James Gaskin discovered something odd, something that he is quick to note isn't a rigorous benchmarked lab test. The discovery: His Ubuntu machine 'returned a rating from the Bandwidth.com test of 22-25mbps over several tests' while the same test done from a Windows XP PC returned a rating of 12-14mbps. The two computers used in the test are 'almost identical: both off-lease Compaq small form factor D515s, part of the very popular corporate desktop D500 family. Both have Pentium 4 processors running at 2GHz. The Ubuntu machine has 768MB of RAM, while the XP box has only 512MB of RAM. Both run Firefox 3 as their browser.' Gaskin's question: Can a little extra RAM make that much difference in Internet download speeds or does Ubuntu handles networking that much faster than Windows XP?"
Security

Gaining System-Level Access To Vista 412

An anonymous reader writes "This video shows a method by which a user can use a Linux distro called BackTrack to gain system access to Windows Vista without logging into Windows or knowing the username or password for any accounts. To accomplish this, the user renames cmd.exe to Utilman.exe — this is the program that brings up the Accessibility options for users without sight or with limited vision. The attack takes advantage of the fact that the Utility Manager can be invoked before the user logs into the system. The user gains System access, which is a level higher than Administrator. The person who discovered this security hole claims that XP, 2000, 2003 and NT are not vulnerable to it; only Windows Vista is."
Microsoft

Upgrade Trick Still Present In Vista SP1 373

Chris Blanc writes "The new Service Pack 1 version of Windows Vista allows end users to purchase the 'upgrade edition' and install it on any PC — with no need to purchase the more expensive 'full edition.' The same behavior was present when Vista was originally released, but the fact that the trick wasn't removed from SP1 suggests that Microsoft executives approved the back door as a way to make the price of Vista more appealing to sophisticated buyers."

Goodbye Cruel Word 565

theodp writes "The problem with Microsoft Word, writes the NYT's Virginia Heffernan, is that 'I always feel as if I'm taking an essay test.' Seeking to break free of the tyranny of Microsoft Word, Heffernan takes a look at Scrivener and the oh-so-retro WriteRoom, which she and others feel jibe better with the way writers think. 'The new writing programs encourage a writerly restart. You may even relearn the green-lighted alphabet, adjust your preference for long or short sentences, opt afresh for action over description. Renewal becomes heady: in WriteRoom's gloom is man's power to create something from nothing, to wrest form from formlessness. Let's just say it: It's biblical. And come on, ye writers, do you want to be a little Word drip writing 603 words in Palatino with regulation margins? Or do you want to be a Creator?'"
Windows

Vista Makes CNET UK's List of "Worst Consumer Tech" 484

Several anonymous readers pointed us at CNET UK's Crave blog for a list of what is or was, in their opinion, the worst consumer tech in history. Vista comes in at number 10, in company with Apple's puck mouse (number 6) and Sony's CD rootkit (number 9). According to Crave: "[Vista's] incompatibility with hardware, its obsessive requirement of human interaction to clear security dialogue box warnings and its abusive use of hated DRM, not to mention its general pointlessness as an upgrade, are just some examples of why this expensive operating system earns the final place in our terrible tech list." That's gotta hurt a little, coinciding as it does with Apple's Don't Give Up On Vista attack ad.
Patents

Everyday Copyright Violations 431

Schneier has pointed out a great law review article about the problems with copyright. The author takes a look at normal daily practices and how many commonplace actions actually result in what can be considered copyright violations. "By the end of the day, John has infringed the copyrights of twenty emails, three legal articles, an architectural rendering, a poem, five photographs, an animated character, a musical composition, a painting, and fifty notes and drawings. All told, he has committed at least eighty-three acts of infringement and faces liability in the amount of $12.45 million (to say nothing of potential criminal charges). There is nothing particularly extraordinary about John's activities. Yet if copyright holders were inclined to enforce their rights to the maximum extent allowed by law, he would be indisputably liable for a mind-boggling $4.544 billion in potential damages each year. And, surprisingly, he has not even committed a single act of infringement through P2P file sharing."
XBox (Games)

Mass Effect Has Gone Gold 48

BioWare's sci-fi RPG epic Mass Effect has now 'gone gold'. Essentially, the game is done and is ready to be pressed onto discs in time for its November 20th launch date. "The Limited Collector's Edition of Mass Effect will include a wealth of background on the game. Foremost among the premium package's offerings is a pair of 36-page booklets, one of which offers a primer on the game's universe and timeline, and the other a collection of concept artwork. The set will also include a bonus DVD with documentaries on the making of the game, a look inside BioWare, 18 Xbox Live gamer pics, 16 dashboard themes, 10 songs from the soundtrack, and 600 concept images with commentary from the game's art directors. [Z: But sites have noted it is only available for purchase online.] On top of that, gamers who preorder ... will receive a bonus disc with an introductory documentary on the game, a dozen gamer pics, eight dashboard themes, three songs from the soundtrack, and various trailers."

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