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Submission + - Thin Client Economics (

davidstrom writes: The arguments for thin clients are very similar to ones used in the PC vs. mainframe debate: thin clients are easier to manage and support, because they don't get into trouble with malware or viruses. Even if they are infected, an IT manager can quickly reset a thin client within a few seconds and bring it up to where an end user was just working. This article goes into more details about whether this technology is right for your situation.

Submission + - Proof of the coming mobile revolution (

GMGruman writes: AT&T's 3G woes, and its woeful mishandling of them, have given mobile broadband a black eye. But new reports show that 2010 will be the year that 3G networks become capable of handling the boom in mobile Web traffic — and the year that businesses stop fighting users who want to bring in their own smartphones and instead learn to manage them. The surveys by Morgan Stanley and Forrester Research paint a picture of major mobile transitions that will lead to device diversity and 3G networks that can handle more traffic and cost the carriers less on a per-megabit basis, without incurring extra costs by the carriers to deploy. This blog ties together these trends and developments to show why the mobile revolution will happen.

Submission + - Helix grip by PosiMotion for iPhone/iPod touch (

An anonymous reader writes: As an avid iPhone gamer, the notion of an increase in agility and comfort for longer hours of accelerometer-based game play is intriguing. The Helix grip for iPhone/ iPod touch promises to enhance the control of the device and deliver an increase in comfort for gaming. With an ergonomic curve and gentle tacky coating, the Helix seems to be a useful and elegant addition to your collection of iPhone and iPod touch accessories. Games like Jet Car Stunts, Apache Lander and NFS will surely be more fun with more control. The Helix will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Nevada at the beginning of the year. Apparently you can pre-order the Helix at "". Also check out the CES website and participants at "".

Submission + - Hackers Buying Own Data Centers for Botnets ( 3

Trailrunner7 writes: The malware writers and criminals who run botnets for years have been using shared hosting platforms and so-called bulletproof hosting providers as bases of operations for their online crimes. But, as law enforcement agencies and security experts have moved to take these providers offline, the criminals have taken the next step and begun setting up their own virtual data centers. "It's gotten completely out of hand. The bad guys are going to some local registries in Europe and getting massive amounts of IP space and then they just go to a hosting provider and set up their won data centers," said Alex Lanstein, senior security researcher at FireEye, an antimalware and anti-botnet vendor. "It takes one more level out of it: You own your own IP space and you're your own ISP at that point."

Submission + - Controlling devices without looking at them (

An anonymous reader writes: Modern mobile devices are dominated by big screens and visual domain. This is a huge problem especially while driving and for visually impaired. Technology startup Hipui has developed user interfaces using the same control logic for both visual and auditory interaction. They combine 3D auditory menus and matching visual menus to gesture control and touchscreen input. Although menus are designed for "eyes free" use they definitely are also nice-looking. The technology can be tested for free in Funkyplayer iPhone application, where the whole music library can be browsed without looking at the screen.

Submission + - Virtual Visits to Doctors Spreading ( 1

tresho writes: For $45, anyone in Texas can use NowClinic, whether or not they are insured, by visiting Using video conferencing, they can have 10-minute appointments who doctors who can prescribe, except for controlled substances. The service has encountered resistance in states where it is already available. Texas law requires that before doctors consult with patients or prescribe medicine online or over the phone, they form a relationship through means like a physical examination. After a similar service began in Hawaii last year, lawmakers passed legislation to allow the establishment of online doctor-patient relationships, though the Hawaii Medical Association opposed the bill.
Book Reviews

Submission + - SPAM: Python Essential Reference 4th ed.

stoolpigeon writes: "It has been ten years since David Beazley wrote the first edition of Python Essential Reference. The book has proven itself as a valuable resource to Python developers and has been kept current over those ten years, with the fourth edition coming at an interesting time for Python. Python 3 was a major release that broke backwards compatibility. Python 3 has been around for a year now. That said, the current download page at the official Python site states, "If you don't know which version to use, start with Python 2.6.4; more existing third party software is compatible with Python 2 than Python 3 right now." Beazley in keeping with the pragmatic roots of a reference that sticks to what is 'essential' has removed the coverage on features from 2 that were removed from 3. At the same time, the primary focus for new features that came with 3 is limited to those that have been back-ported to 2. This approach, born out of a desire to keep the reference relevant, provides a blended approach that is above all else practical.

The end result of that choice is a reference document consisting of those parts of Python that are shared between versions 2 and 3. This is a significant portion of the language and I think this approach is really what will give this reference more traction than many of the other guides that focus purely on 3. I think that those are valuable and over time the balance will shift but as of right now, for a little while to come, this book takes the most realistic approach. That feels very fuzzy, but I have no idea how long it will be until Python 3 truly is the dominant version and Python 2 is truly put to bed.

If I had to guess how Beazley's Python Essential Reference has held in there over the years, the key would be that there is a lot of what a developer needs and very little of what she doesn't need. There is a twenty-four page tutorial introduction, but this is not a guide on how to program or how to use Python for beginners. An experienced programmer could probably use this reference to shift to Python as a new language, but someone completely new to writing code would probably not want to start here. A quick look at the table of contents shows that an explanation of the language itself is covered in under 200 pages. Extending and embedding Python also get their own section, but close to 400 pages is given to the Python library.

An inevitable question is what one will gain with this reference over the online documentation. A good example to see how things vary is to look at chapter nineteen, Operating System Services and the online documentation for Generic Operating System Services. The online documentation is very thorough, and covers each piece of the library starting with os and io, building from there. While every facet is documented much of it is rather brief. For example section 16.2.3. Raw File I/O is a very straightforward listing of the very low level functionality available via io.FileIO. In contrast, looking at the 3.1.1 Docs for Raw IO shows that parameters for FileIO changed with that version. Looking to the documentation for 2.7a1 Raw File I/O shows that these changes are being back-ported to Python 2.

In Python Essential Reference none of this hunting down changes and checking to see if they are coming to 2 are necessary. Beazley shows them in his documentation. This is the strength of his choice on how to handle these types of situations. On top of that, Beazley provides more than the online documents by including four paragraphs of additional information on Raw I/O and when its use is appropriate. This added content is probably available googling around for it, but then I have to take the time to check dates on posts to see if things are still current and in general just hope that things are accurate. I have never read a technical book that was completely error free, and there are probably at the very least some typos in Python Essential Reference, though I haven't caught any of them on my read through or use of the book yet. But the important thing is that I don't expect the book to be perfect, rather I value it for being a known quantity. I am aware of just when the material was compiled, who put it together and I have it all in one place.errno symbols is not exhaustive and oddly enough is not ordered alphabetically. Beazley provides two lists for errno symbols. They are provided in alphabetical order, have a description and are grouped as POSIX error codes and Windows error codes. A quick glance at these tables in a skimming of the book might lead one to believe that this is just a simple quick grab from already available sources, but that isn't the case. There is real value added even here.

The index is solid. It would seem that one should be able to take this for granted with a technical reference but I've seen some sad exceptions. Between the thorough index and the detailed table of contents I've never had to spend more than a few seconds looking for what I need. This is the result of those tools as well as the fact that this is not an exhaustive reference. After initially reading through the book for this review, I've taken some time just to use it day to day, as I doubt many will be reading it from front to back. I don't use Python professionally. I'm purely a hobbyist when it comes to programming, but I've found that if I want to get the most out of the time I do have to play with personal projects, I want this book close. I'm not cranking out code that fast to begin with and so I need all the help I can get. I've found that Beazley seems to have hit that sweet spot where he gives enough information to get me where I need to be without bogging down in too many details or the things that I just don't need to know. I imagine this proper balance of information is due to Beazley's extensive experience with Python and that of Noah Gift the technical editor for the book.

I've mentioned repeatedly that I approve of how the shift between Python 2 and 3 has been handled. Beazley hasn't completely integrated everything and left some of the unique new features of 3 out in the cold. There is an appendix that deals specifically with Python 3. It is short but does have some value. New features, common pitfalls for those making the move from 2 to 3 and how to run both at the same time in a single environment are covered. This is helpful and keeps my desk a little neater, though I think if I were going to be spending extensive time working with Python 3 then I would probably want to have another reference on hand.

If you are a week-end hacker like me, or someone that is writing Python on the clock, I think that this compact reference is very useful. I don't have any trouble running across huge technical books that do come in handy for any project that requires something heavy. I also see a lot of little books that seem to be quickly produced summaries of what is already out there, spending most of their short content on fluff. Every so often though, someone hits that sweet spot of concise usefulness. Beazley did this with Python Essential Reference and this new edition continues that history in strong fashion."

Link to Original Source

Submission + - A Data Center Powered Entirely By the Wind (

1sockchuck writes: An ISP in Illinois may be the first company in the U.S. to power its data center entirely with wind power from an on-site turbine. While some data centers use utility power that is sourced from wind generation, and developers have unveiled ambitious plans for huge wind-powered server fams, few have pursued on-site wind turbines. Other World Computing is small enough to power its data center with a single 194-foot high wind turbine, and also uses geothermal cooling, an emerging trend among facilities in the MidWest.

Submission + - New Antifreeze Molecule Isolated In Alaska Beetle (

Arvisp writes: Scientists have identified a novel antifreeze molecule in a freeze-tolerant Alaska beetle able to survive temperatures below minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unlike all previously described biological antifreezes that contain protein, this new molecule, called xylomannan, has little or no protein. It is composed of a sugar and a fatty acid and may exist in new places within the cells of organisms.


Submission + - Verizon removes search choices for Blackberrys (

shrugger writes: I picked up my Blackberry this morning to do a search and noticed, Bing as my default search engine. I thought this was very strange, since I didn't pick this setting. I went to change it back to Google, and to my chagrin, Bing was my only option!! Apparently Verizon has pushed updates that remove all search providers except Bing. Thanks a lot Verizon!
The Internet

Submission + - GRIX traffic slashed down by 70% (

magreb writes: Last week the Greek police arrested the administrator of one of the major torrent sites in the country. In a defensive response most of the rest Greek torrent sites closed down preemptively in the risk of further arrests by the authorities. As an outstanding result the GR IX (domestic intra-country) traffic was slashed down to almost 30% of its typical volume.

Submission + - The worlds first augmented reality sound browser (

An anonymous reader writes: Augmented reality browsers have been around for awhile, chances are you have one for your cellphone already. But a Russian based developer has introduced the worlds first Augmented Reality Sound Browser. Rather than reading the content it is delivered via sound to the cellphone.

It works just like Layar or Wikitude in that it uses location based services to determine your current location and then depending on what channels you are subscribed to will give you an audio commentary. The channels include a Tourist channel for finding information on nearby landmarks, a Services channel to receive promotional information from shops and business and a Weather and Chat channel.

The next big thing in augmented reality?


Submission + - Android's Success a Threat to Free Software? (

Glyn Moody writes: Two years after its launch, Google's Linux-based Android platform is finally making its presence felt in the world of smartphones. Around 20,000 apps have been written for it: although well behind the iPhone's tally, that's significantly more than just a few months ago. But there's a problem: few of these Android apps are free software. Instead, we seem to be witnessing the birth of a new hybrid stack: open source underneath, and proprietary on top. If, as many believe, mobile phones will become the main computing platform for most of the world, that could be a big problem for the health of the free software ecosystem. So what, if anything, should the community be doing about it?

Submission + - D.C. detective pulls gun at snowball fight (

langelgjm writes: The Washington Post reports that during Saturday's record-breaking snowfall, hundreds of twenty- and thirty-somethings gathered in a mostly-empty area of the city and proceeded to have an enormous snowball fight. Things were all fun and games until a D.C. detective in plainclothes stopped in the middle of the fight, leaving his Hummer and confronting the crowd with his gun drawn. At first, D.C. police denied the claims, but the incident was caught on tape. The detective is currently on desk duty pending an investigation. The tech angle to all of this? 25-year-old Yousef Ali, a one-time Apple Genius, said he was inspired to start the snowball fight by a friend's Facebook status and used a dormant personal blog and extensive Twitter promotion to expand the participant list: "Basically, I used a lot of my social media promotions techniques... to really push this thing pretty big."

Submission + - Beer-Finding Augmented Reality App Launched

andylim writes: There are many potential uses for augmented reality technology including creating cool games and browsers but Stella has used this advanced technology to resolve that age old question — where can I find beer? Or to be more specific, where can I find Belgium beer? The app even finds you a taxi for when you've had enough and need to get home.

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