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Submission + - OpenLaszlo 4 released

jsundman writes: "OpenLaszlo 4.0, (which used to be code named the "legals" project) has been released. OpenLaszlo's LZX is an XML/JavaScript language for building "rich internet applications". With OL4, you can compile the same source for either Flash or DHTML ("ajax"). It's like XUL or XAML or MX:ML, only it compiles to Flash or Ajax, runs on all browsers, and is completely free and open source. Also, it's very well documented.

More details on the OpenLaszlo project blog:
http://weblog.openlaszlo.org/archives/2007/03/open laszlo-40-announced/

Feel free to mention that the OpenLaszlo documentation guy (me!) has gotten cool slashdot reviews of his geeky novels:
http://books.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/05/09/ 1543222&mode=nested
http://books.slashdot.org/books/02/08/27/1612253.s html?tid=126"

Submission + - Steering probes through the body using magnets

Matthew Sparkes writes: "Microscopic medical devices could one day be steered through a patient's bloodstream using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, Canadian research suggests. In the study, researchers were able to move small magnetic beads through the arteries of live pigs using the magnetic coils inside an MRI device. Being able to move tiny working medical devices through the body this way could let doctors reach areas beyond the scope of keyhole surgery or other existing techniques. Software was written that uses the three coils to steer magnetic objects around, it checks on the object's progress twenty four times every second and continuously alters the strength of each coil to keep it on course."
United States

Journal Journal: Alaska Loses Info on a $38 Billion Dollar Account

JUNEAU, Alaska -- Perhaps you know that sinking feeling when a single keystroke accidentally destroy hours of work. Now imagine wiping out a disc drive containing an account worth $38 billion.

Submission + - Store says DRM causes 3 of 4 support calls

Carter writes: Ars Technica reports that Musicload, one of Europe's largest movie stores, says that 75% of its customer support problems are caused by DRM. Users have frequent problems using the music that they have purchased, which has led Musicload to try selling independent label music with DRM. The results? Artists choosing to abandon DRM have seen 40% growth in sales. Good to see someone in the business both "gets it" and is willing to do something about it.

Microsoft Tracks Down Mass Fake Web Pages 135

An anonymous reader writes "According to an article on New York Times, Microsoft researchers have discovered tens of thousands of junk Web pages, created only to lure search-engine users to advertisements. While most of us have run across them from time to time, the company researchers have found the pages are deliberately generated in vast numbers by a small group of shadowy operators. By following the money trail, Microsoft researchers were able to track the flow from big-name advertisers to search engine spammers. Many use Google's blogspot.com to set up spam doorway pages. 'The practice has proved to be a vexing problem for the major search companies, which struggle to prevent both spammers and companies specializing in improving legitimate clients' Web traffic -- a field known as search-engine optimization -- from undermining their page-ranking systems. Surprisingly, the researchers noted that the vast bulk of the junk listings was created from just two Web hosting companies and that as many as 68 percent of the advertisements sampled were placed by just three advertising syndicators.' The report is available at Microsoft Strider Search Ranger project page."

Submission + - YouTube 1984/Hillary Ad Stirs Controversy

fistfullast33l writes: "A supposedly viral video mashup of the 1984 Apple ad and Hillary Clinton has gotten the political world talking about how much of an effect these types of videos will have on the 2008 presidential race. The video, whose author is analyzed at techPresident.com, features the famous Super Bowl ad that was remade recently to feature the iPod (look closely at the woman with the hammer — she's wearing an iPod). It also features Obama's campaign logo on the woman's shirt and Hillary Clinton speaking as "Big Brother." The debate rages as to whether the ad was made by the Obama campaign or another political operative to cause trouble, or whether it was made by grassroots supporters of the campaign. The author emailed techPresident

"The idea was simple and so was the execution. Make a bold statement about the Democratic primary race by culture jacking a famous commercial and replacing as few images as possible. For some people it doesn't register, but for people familiar with the ad and the race it has obviously struck a chord."
More analysis is offered at MyDD, a well known progressive blog that has a pretty good list of links talking about the ad."

Submission + - Apple's iMac to get first redesign in nearly 3 yea

bobbybobber writes: Apple's popular iMac personal computer line is about to undergo a major facelift that will give way to some striking new industrial designs, according to AppleInsider. The Apple news site, which has a solid track record with its predictions on future Apple products, claims that new 20- and 24-inch models will be outfit in sexier enclosures that are noticeably thinner than the current iMac offerings. The bad news is that Apple will not carry the new industrial designs over to the 17-inch model, which is rumored to be on its way out of the iMac lineup. The new iMacs should arrive ahead of the educational buying season, which heats up in late June.

Submission + - Upgrading to Vista: Gotchas and Good News

jcatcw writes: "Computerworld's Scot Finnie has some advice for those considering an upgrade to Vista. He praises the work Microsoft has done on the installation program, but thinks it still presents problems for those who wish to upgrade. He recommends the free Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. Then, be sure to pick the best edition for your use. From the article:

Don't bother wiping your hard disk. Just run the in-place upgrade from your previous installation. You'll be given the option to perform either an Upgrade or Custom (advanced) installation. Opt for the Custom install to clean-install Vista, and Windows Vista Setup does something smart: It creates a folder called Windows.old in your root directory that contains your old Documents and Settings, Program Files and Windows folders. (Note that on my test machine, this added step used an additional 7GB of disk storage.)
PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - Engineer Creates Playstation 3 Computing Cluster

An anonymous reader writes: The Sony Playstation 3 (PS3), Xbox and Nintendo Wii have captivated a generation of computer gamers with bold graphics and rapid-fire animation. But these high-tech toys can do a lot more than just play games. At North Carolina State University, Dr. Frank Mueller imagined using the power of the new PS3 to create a high-powered computing environment for a fraction of the cost of the supercomputers on the market, Science Daily reports.

Submission + - Will Microsoft Start Paying for Flaws?

Clint27 writes: Interesting discussion over at ZDNet about hackers are starting to agitate for Microsoft to start paying for information on security flaws found in its software products. The best comment from from Dan Geer: "Who's to say they aren't don't do it already? It's a fine line between deciding to buy vulns and paying protection, and if this really has become a game where the best business deal wins, then Microsoft could, if it chose, embrace the extortionists and buy them out."

Internet Radio In Danger of Extinction in United States 229

An anonymous reader passed us a link to a Forbes article discussing dire news for fans of Internet radio. Yesterday afternoon saw online broadcasters, everyone from giants like Clear Channel and National Public Radio to small-fry internet concerns, arguing their case before the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB). The CRB's March 2nd decision to increase the fees associated with online music broadcasting will have harsh repercussions for those who engage in the activity, the panel was told. "Under a previous arrangement, which expired at the end of 2005, broadcasters and online companies such as Yahoo Inc. and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL unit could pay royalties based on estimates of how many songs were played over a given period of time, or a 'tuning hour,' as opposed to counting every single song ... [They] also asked the judges to clarify a $500 annual fee per broadcasting channel, saying that with some online companies offering many thousands of listening options, counting each one as a separate channel could lead to huge fees for online broadcasters." There was also a previous provision for smaller companies that allowed them to pay less, something the March 2 decision did away with; in the view of the royalty holders, advertising more than pays for these fees, and they're ready for higher payments.

Strange Bedfellows Fight Ethanol Subsidies 552

Reader Actual Reality sends us to Business Week for a tale of the strangest political coalition to be seen in a while — greens, hippies, libertarians, and livestock producers uniting to get ethanol subsidies reduced or killed. The demand for the alternative fuel is driving up corn prices and having big impacts on other parts of the economy. Not many other issues are capable of getting left-leaning economist Paul Krugman and the Cato Institute on the same side.

John W. Backus Dies at 82; Developed FORTRAN 271

A number of readers let us know of the passing of John W. Backus, who assembled a team to develop FORTRAN at IBM in the 1950s. It was the first widely used high-level language. Backus later worked on a "function-level" programming language, FP, which was described in his Turing Award lecture "Can Programming be Liberated from the von Neumann Style?" and is viewed as Backus's apology for creating FORTRAN. He received the 1977 ACM Turing Award "for profound, influential, and lasting contributions to the design of practical high-level programming systems, notably through his work on FORTRAN, and for seminal publication of formal procedures for the specification of programming languages."

University of Wisconsin-Madison Bucks RIAA 203

stephencrane informs us of an interesting development at UW Madison. The school, along with many others, has been sent "settlement letters" by the RIAA with instructions to forward them to particular students (or other university community members) that the RIAA believes guilty of illegal filesharing. The letters order the assumed filesharers to identify themselves and to pay for the content they are supposed to have "pirated." The university has sent a blanket letter to all students, reiterating the school's acceptable use policies, but has refused to forward individual letters without a valid subpoena. This lawyer's blog reproduces the letter. The campus newspaper has some coverage on the university's stance.
The Internet

Internet2 and National LambdaRail To Merge 44

An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica has the story on the rapproachment of the two main US providers of high-speed networks to academic and research institutions: Internet2 and National LambdaRail have agreed to merge. And they're moving quickly, after tussling over the details of such an agreement for more than a year. The two groups have decided to put final merger documents before their respective boards by April 20, with merger completion to take place by June 29."

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