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Businesses

The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy 602

HughPickens.com writes: Markus Krajewski reports that today, with many countries phasing out incandescent lighting in favor of more-efficient and pricier LEDs, it's worth revisiting the history of the Phoebus cartel — not simply as a quirky anecdote from the annals of technology, but as a cautionary tale about the strange and unexpected pitfalls that can arise when a new technology vanquishes an old one. Prior to the Phoebus cartel's formation in 1924, household light bulbs typically burned for a total of 1,500 to 2,500 hours; cartel members agreed to shorten that life span to a standard 1,000 hours.

Each factory regularly sent lightbulb samples to the cartel's central laboratory in Switzerland for verification. If any factory submitted bulbs lasting longer or shorter than the regulated life span for its type, the factory was obliged to pay a fine. Though long gone, the Phoebus cartel still casts a shadow today because it reduced competition in the light bulb industry for almost twenty years, and has been accused of preventing technological advances that would have produced longer-lasting light bulbs. Will history repeat itself as the lighting industry is now going through its most tumultuous period of technological change since the invention of the incandescent bulb?

"Consumers are expected to pay more money for bulbs that are up to 10 times as efficient and that are touted to last a fantastically long time—up to 50,000 hours in the case of LED lights. In normal usage, these lamps will last so long that their owners will probably sell the house they're in before having to change the bulbs," writes Krajewski. "Whether or not these pricier bulbs will actually last that long is still an open question, and not one that the average consumer is likely to investigate." There are already reports of CFLs and LED lamps burning out long before their rated lifetimes are reached. "Such incidents may well have resulted from nothing more sinister than careless manufacturing. But there is no denying that these far more technologically sophisticated products offer tempting opportunities for the inclusion of purposefully engineered life-shortening defects.""
Microsoft

Microsoft Leaks Details of 128-bit Windows 8 581

Barence writes "Microsoft is planning to make Windows 8 a 128-bit operating system, according to details leaked from the software giant's Research department. The discovery came to light after Microsoft Research employee Robert Morgan carelessly left details of his work on the social-networking site LinkedIn. His page read: 'Working in high-security department for research and development involving strategic planning for medium and long-term projects. Research & Development projects including 128-bit architecture compatibility with the Windows 8 kernel and Windows 9 project plan. Forming relationships with major partners: Intel, AMD, HP and IBM.' It has since been removed."

US Government Checking Up On Vista Users? 291

Paris The Pirate writes "This article at Whitedust displays some very interesting logs from Vista showing connections to the DoD Information Networking Center, United Nations Development program and the Halliburton Company; for no reason other than the machine was running Vista. From the article 'After running Vista for only a few days — with a complete love for the new platform the first sign of trouble erupted. I began noticing latency on my home network connection — so I booted my port sniffing software and networking tools to see what was happening. What I found was foundation shaking. The two images below show graphical depictions of what has and IS trying to connect to my computer even in an idle state'."

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