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Submission + - Windows 7 versus Windows XP on a Netbook (legitreviews.com)

Justin writes: "Many in the industry are counting on Windows 7 to bring the netbook market to the next level. Having netbook manufacturers ship netbooks with 7+ year old Windows XP pre-installed surely deterred some from joining the ranks of households with the small, light and portable netbooks. It seems Microsoft has addressed most of the pitfalls of Windows Vista on a netbook by increasing battery life and performance to be very close to that of the lighter weight Windows XP. Legit Reviews has the full scoop of battery life and performance tests pitting Windows 7 against Windows XP on the ASUS Eee PC 1005HA Netbook."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Metamaterials Shown to Boost MRI Resolution (technologyreview.com)

Al writes: "Manuel Freire at the University of Seville in Spain and colleagues are using a metamaterial lens to focus radio frequency magnetic fields in order to boost the resolution of MRI machines. The lens is a metamaterial slab made of a repeating periodic structure, the details of which the authors do not give. However, the results are clear to see in images taken of the knees belonging to one of the authors, in which the focusing slab is placed between the knees. The say that placing a lens between the breasts could similarly improve the resolution of breast images, a potentially important and useful breakthrough."

Submission + - Stirling Engines to Reduce Solar Power Costs? (technologyreview.com)

Al writes: "Stirling Energy Systems (SES), based in Phoenix, AZ, is building a prototype solar thermal plant that it hopes will make energy generation significantly cheaper. SES uses 12-meter-wide mirrors in the shape of a parabolic dish to concentrate sunlight onto a Stirling engine. The difference in temperature between the hot and cool sides of the engine drives pistons and generates 25,000 watts of electricity. The first phase of the company's large-scale projects will use 12,000 of these dishes to generate 300 megawatts of power. Ian Simington, the chairman of SES, expects electricity from the systems to cost between 12 and 15 cents per kilowatt hour, higher than the cheapest sources of electricity--such as coal-fired power plants--but competitive in many markets, especially in the afternoon, when prices are highest. Compared to several prototypes that have been tested for several years at Sandia National Laboratory, the new design cuts about two metric tons from the weight of each dish and reduces the number of mirrors in each from 80 to 40. The simplified design can be built in large quantities using equipment in existing factories for automobiles."

Submission + - The Rise of the Digital Nomad

krou writes: The WaPo has an interesting look at the rise of the digital nomad, workers who have shunned the idea of working in an office, or working from home. Instead, they've taken the next logical step in the evolution of teleworking, and work wherever there is a Wi-Fi connection, using tools such as Facebook, Skype, and Twitter, to gain both primitive ("If I'm working at home by myself, I am really hating life. I need people.") and practical ("there is no hope for the road system around here") benefits from this "nomadic" lifestyle. The need for contact with other people has driven some nomads to start working with others in public places and at strangers' homes. Other benefits from nomadic working include changing the scenery, and starting the work day long "after many of their colleagues out at the cubicle farm have spent hours preparing for and getting to their workstations". Coffee shop owners love the trend, and so do some employers, one of whom (an AOL manager), says: "It's a win-win" because the employee in question "is happy doing what he loves and from a business perspective, we gain valuable industry knowledge, contacts and insights." There's even a website for the digital nomad in you.
The Military

Submission + - Army studying soldier intuition in combat zones (brucefwebster.com)

bfwebster writes: "The New York Times has a lengthy article about the use of hunches or intuition by soldiers in dangerous situations (possible registration required). This phenomenon — a soldier sensing that something is wrong or out of place before determining just what the threat is — is real enough that the Army has spent two years studying it. The article cites other studies, military and non-military, that have demonstrated that "as the brain tallies cues, big and small, consciously and not, it may send out an alarm before a person fully understands why." Two interesting points that may actually be the same: troops that think of themselves as predators tend to do better than those that see themselves as prey; and elite troops (e.g., Navy Seals) tend to do better than regular troops."

Submission + - Blackboard Patent Invalidated by Appellate Court (bizjournals.com)

Arguendo writes: A federal appeals court today ruled that Blackboard Inc.'s patent on a learning management system is invalid in light of the inventors' own prior software product. We have previously discussed the patent and Blackboard's trial court victory against Desire2Learn. It's not completely over, but this is almost certainly the death knell for Blackboard's patent. If so inclined, you may read the appellate court's decision here (pdf) or on scribd here.

Submission + - Web Login for Internet Access? 1

Joseph Piche writes: As a SysAdmin for a small college (approx. 300 users), part of my job is ensuring that students and faculty both can easily access the internet. On the other hand, it is also my responsibility to ensure that no unauthorized computers connect to our network. Being a religiously minded college, we also employ a content filter to help protect students & faculty from offensive and profane content. Our current security setup isn't quite fool-proof, as anyone with a bit more than average computer knowledge can easily get around it. We've looked at doing a web login for internet access, but have been unable to find anything that fits our budget (free) and isn't a hassle to setup. Optimally, we would also like it to support external authentication such as LDAP, IMAP, or POP3. We've looked at a few solutions, but nothing seems to be what we need. Does anyone with a similar setup have any suggestions?

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