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United Kingdom

Submission + - UK election captures the Geek Vote (votegeek.org.uk)

dominux writes: With the UK getting ready for a General Election the political parties are figuring out the importance of the geek vote. As a result of the protests and general backlash against the Digital Economies bill (our DMCA equivalent) that was being shoved through at the last minute the Liberal Democrat party has dropped it's support for the bill and it will now probably fail. Voter initiatives such as Democracy Club and Vote Geek are making this the an election where technology policy makes a difference.
Microsoft

The Secret Origins of Microsoft Office's Clippy 263

Harry writes "Most folks think that Microsoft Office's Clippy, Microsoft Bob, and Windows XP's Search Assistant dog were perverse jokes — but a dozen years' worth of patent filings shows that Microsoft took the concept of animated software 'helpers' really, really seriously, even long after everyone else realized it was a bad idea. And the drawings those patents contain are weirdly fascinating." The article, a slide show really, spreads over 15 pages.
The Media

Print News Fading, Still Source of Much News 140

CNet's Dan Farber took a look, not only at the popular news of how print media is dying a slow death, but also what contribution to the news print journalists are still making. According to research quoted, while the physical publications are quickly becoming a thing of the past much of the news that makes its way into circulation via blogs and other means still originates from the hard work of those print journalists. (We discussed a similar perspective on the news a week back.) "While the Internet is growing as the place where people go for news, the revenue simply isn't catching up fast enough. The less obvious part of the Internet overtaking newspapers as the main source for national and international news is that much of the seed content--the original reporting that breaks national and international news and is subsequently refactored by legions of bloggers--comes from the reporters and editors working at the financially strapped newspapers and national and local television outlets. [...] As the financial pressures mount--the outlook for 2009 is dismal--and the cost cutting continues, we can only hope that the original news reporting by top-flight journalists is not a major casualty."

High School Robotics Competition Kicks Off 64

DeviceGuru writes "Some 35,000 high school students from over 1500 high schools in eight countries today began competing in the annual US FIRST student robotics contest. This year's competition, dubbed FIRST Overdrive, challenges the student teams to build semi-autonomous robots that will move 40-inch diameter inflatable balls around a playing field and score the most points. In this year's game, two alliances of three teams each work collaboratively to win each round. An animated simulation of the game (in several video formats) is available online."
Mozilla

Firefox 3 Reviewed - A Disappointment

oopensource writes "According to OSWeekly.com's latest review of Firefox 3, it's not quite up to standards. Author Matt Hartley opines: 'What pains me the most is that Firefox has not even achieved the full market share that a version 1 mindset might have allowed for. Back then, it was fast, and there was a genuine feeling like the users were being heard with the functionality that future releases would offer. Today, this seems to be a thing of the past.'"
Windows

Vista SP1 Guides for IT Professionals Released 270

wilkinism writes "Microsoft released several detailed documents explaining just about everything you ever wanted to know about Vista SP1. Highlights include a Deployment Guide, list of included hotfixes, and a 17-page list of 'Notable Changes'. In reviewing the Notable Changes document, it seems the company focused on improving reliability & performance in really specific scenarios, so it's no wonder that most reviewers are reporting no noticeable gains."

Feed Engadget: Hitachi's CP-A100 projector brings short-throw within US distance (engadget.com)

Filed under: CES, Displays

Hitachi's CP-A100 is pretty unsightly, sure, but what it lacks in sexiness it totally makes up for in utility. Needing just 1.6-feet to project a 60-inch image, this 3LCD machine can get a Halo match upside your wall regardless of how many beanbags are cluttering up the area. If you'll recall, we spotted the Japanese variant just months ago posing all pretty for us, but it looks at though an Americanized flavor is now official. As for specs, you'll be looking at an XGA (1,024 x 768) resolution, 2,500 ANSI lumens and a contrast ratio of 500:1, and just in case your colleagues like to borrow company kit without asking, there's a Kensington slot, security bar and multilevel PIN locks to keep it planted. Unfortunately, a definitive price / release date is missing, but hopefully Hitachi will have this critter out to stores real soon.

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Robotics

Submission + - Carnegie Mellon wins DARPA Urban Challenge

angio writes: "Carnegie Mellon University's Tartan Racing team won the DARPA Grand Challenge, narrowly beating out competitors Stanford and Virginia Tech in a closely-watched race. Eleven finalists started the race on Saturday, with six finishing. The top three winners received $2 million, $1 million, and $500 thousand, respectively. Blow-by blow blogging of the event was covered by the register, Wired, and Popular Mechanics."

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