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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 55 declined, 19 accepted (74 total, 25.68% accepted)

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Operating Systems

Submission + - The Year in Operating Systems: No Big Ideas (

anaesthetica writes: "El Reg summarizes 2008 as a year without any big ideas in operating system development. They place a kind of generalized blame on the need for legacy support and on the internet. Windows Server 2008 is compared with the long line-up of Unix and Unix-like operating systems, with the notable absence of Apple's Mac OS X. Their conclusion:

But actual change deep inside the operating system, aside from new hardware and scalability enhancements, is not really coming at a fast pace. When you are running legacy applications on legacy operating systems, this is what customers want: as little change as possible.



Submission + - Startup Seeks to Preempt Patent Trolls (

anaesthetica writes: The WSJ reports that a San Francisco startup is buying up patents with the promise never to assert them in order to help large corporations hedge against patent trolling firms. The company, RPX Corp, receives an annual fee in exchange for licensing the patents it has purchased. Cisco and IBM have already signed up for this service of 'defense patent aggregation.'

Submission + - Hydrogen Won't Save Our Economy

anaesthetica writes: is featuring a story asserting that hydrogen is economically infeasible as a replacement for our current energy sources. The premise is that isolating and converting hydrogen into a usable energy source takes up a great deal of energy to begin with, and that subsequently that hydrogen fuel is only useful in about 25% of our economy. Apparently, the increasing scarcity of water is going to make hydrogen too costly and just as politicized as oil. From the article:
[Fuel cell expert Ulf Bossel's] overall energy analysis of a hydrogen economy demonstrates that high energy losses inevitably resulting from the laws of physics mean that a hydrogen economy will never make sense. The advantages of hydrogen praised by journalists (non-toxic, burns to water, abundance of hydrogen in the Universe, etc.) are misleading, because the production of hydrogen depends on the availability of energy and water, both of which are increasingly rare and may become political issues, as much as oil and natural gas are today."

Submission + - The Math behind PageRank

anaesthetica writes: The American Mathematical Society is featuring an article with an in-depth explanation of the type of mathematical operations that power PageRank. Because about 95% of the text on the 25 billion pages indexed by Google consist of the same 10,000 words, determining relevance requires an extremely sophisticated set of methods. And because the links constituting the web are constantly changing and updating, the relevance of pages needs to be recalculated on a continuous basis.
The Internet

Submission + - The Internet Weighs Less than Two Ounces

anaesthetica writes: A back-of-the-envelope calculation by Russell Seitz indicates that the electrons constituting the flow of information on the internet weigh about 50 grams, or less than two ounces. Of course, this doesn't factor in the weight of the computers and physical networks themselves. From the article:
Forbes publisher and blogger Rich Karlgaard recently lamented his $1,200 monthly home utility bill. That's a lot of PG &E , but the yearly power bill for the global internet is just $3 per capita- a bargain even by third world standards. Yet looking at my ISP bill I'm not too happy - a dollar a day seems a trifle high when you reckon the weight of the penny's worth of electricity my computation consumes. My daily fix of electrons in motion costs me about half a billion dollars a pound.
User Journal

Submission + - Apple Developing iPhone and "Smart" Phone

anaesthetica writes: According to AppleInsider, Apple is not only working on a cellphone + mp3 player iPhone, but is working on a second model designed to be a smart phone, highly integrated with Mac OS and .Mac. The smart phone has gone through several iterations, as the notoriously demanding Mr. Jobs ordered the elite team working on the phone to redesign and re-engineer their prototypes. Capabilities are reported to include Front Row interface, syncing contacts and iCal with .Mac, "call ahead", iChat video conferencing integration, WiFi, and a slide-out keyboard. Too good to be true?

Submission + - Third Place is Fine by Nintendo

anaesthetica writes: The New Yorker writes that Nintendo is fine with third place. Between Sony and Microsoft both trying to build the most comprehensively next-generation console, and barely breaking even in their efforts, Nintendo decided to go a different route. Wii doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but it focuses on simple fun playing games--a strategy which turns out to be much better for Nintendo's bottom line and stock prices. From the article:
A recent survey of the evidence on market share ... found that companies that adopt what they call "competitor-oriented objectives" actually end up hurting their own profitability. In other words, the more a company focuses on beating its competitors, rather than on the bottom line, the worse it is likely to do.

This sounds like the strategy that Apple adopted out of necessity a few years back.

The Internet

Submission + - Online "Encyclopedia of Jihad"

anaesthetica writes: Forget Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Galactica, Der Spiegel reports that an "Encyclopedia of Jihad" set of online textbooks has been making its rounds online since at least 2003. The Encyclopedia resembles the old Anarchists Cookbook, geared for aspiring jihadists around the world. Now that it has found a home on the internet, the Encyclopedia has gained a life of its own. From the article:
Al-Qaida's Afghanistan veterans were apparently the first to publish the "Encyclopedia" on the Internet... Over the years, volunteers repeatedly revised and updated this original encyclopedia. After the "Second Electronic Version" appeared, it became almost impossible to determine who exactly was responsible for these ongoing revisions.

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