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A Screenshot Review of KDE 4 274

billybob2 writes "PolishLinux.org has an extensive screenshot review and commentary on the development version of the Free and Open Source KDE desktop. Highlights include the ability to run any desktop applet prepared for Mac OS X inside Plasma, on-the-fly annotation and rating of files from within the Dolphin file manager. It also has an improved GUI for the Amarok music player, flexible 3D eye candy configuration in KWin, and improved support for both accessing digital cameras via the Solid hardware layer and the DigiKam photo manager."

Norway's Yes-To-OOXML Is Formally Protested 324

An anonymous reader writes "Norway's yes-to-OOXML may tip the vote in favor of accepting it as an ISO-standard, but the committee chairman just faxed a formal protest to the ISO. 'I am writing to you in my capacity as Chairman (of 13 years standing) of the Norwegian mirror committee to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34. I wish to inform you of serious irregularities in connection with the Norwegian vote on ISO/IEC DIS 29500 (Office Open XML) and to lodge a formal protest. You will have been notified that Norway voted to approve OOXML in this ballot. This decision does not reflect the view of the vast majority of the Norwegian committee, 80% of which was against changing Norway's vote from No with comments to Yes.'"

Neal Stephenson Returns with "Anathem" 248

Lev Grossman writes to tell us that Neal Stephenson, author of greats like Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon, has another novel due for release in September. The catalogue copy gives us a small glimpse at what may be in store: "Since childhood, Raz has lived behind the walls of a 3,400-year-old monastery, a sanctuary for scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians--sealed off from the illiterate, irrational, unpredictable 'saecular' world that is plagued by recurring cycles of booms and busts, world wars and climate change. Until the day that a higher power, driven by fear, decides that only these cloistered scholars have the abilities to avert an impending catastrophe. And, one by one, Raz and his cohorts are summoned forth without warning into the Unknown."

Women's Attractiveness Judged by Software 348

Roland Piquepaille writes "According to Haaretz, an Israeli team of computer scientists has developed software that ranks facial attractiveness of women. Instead of identifying basic facial characteristics, this software has been designed to make aesthetic judgments — after training. The lead researcher said this program 'constitutes a substantial advance in the development of artificial intelligence.' It is interesting to note that the researchers focused on women only. Apparently, men' faces are more difficult to grade."

Scientists Look at Martian Salt for Ancient Life 116

eldavojohn writes "Is there life on Mars? Maybe not, but a better question might be whether or not it has ever existed on Mars? Scientists are claiming that the best indication for this will be in newly found evaporated salt deposits on Mars which they can use to check for cellulose. Here on earth, tiny fuzzy fibers have been found in salt dating back almost 250 million years making it the oldest known evidence of life on earth. Jack Griffith, a microbiologist from UNC, is quoted as saying, 'Cellulose was one of the earliest polymers organisms made during their evolution, so it pops out as the most likely thing you'd find on Mars, if you found anything at all. Looking for it in salt deposits is probably a very good way to go.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Geeky April Fools' Day Prank Roundup 282

An anonymous reader writes "April 1st is the ultimate holiday for a geek — a little hands-on DIY, a little hacking and a lot of sub-par humor. Popular Mechanics and Instructables have teamed up for five pranks you can build in the office (including a stripped-down version of Gizmodo's CES TV blackout), while Wired has its top 10 practical jokes for nerds, Lifehacker is toning it down with 10 harmless geek pranks, and Slate gets you ready for the receiving end with an April Fools' defense kit. What's your best prank?" Be safe, head for the bunker on 4/1 and just assume everything you hear is a lie. Everything.
Book Reviews

Windows Forensic Analysis 82

Don Wolf writes "Computer forensics is a rapidly growing discipline and an even faster growing business. Whether it's the natural progression of technological science pertaining to crime or perhaps the digression of a few elite information security professionals, computer forensics is every so slowly gaining credibility in the otherwise PhD dominated field of criminal science. Computer evidence continues to be showcased in some of the most high-profile and controversial court cases in history, from the murder case of Lasie Peterson to the multi-billion dollar Enron scandal. Whether society will allow it or not, computer forensics geeks will play pivotal roles in the prevalence of justice." Keep reading for the rest of Don's review.

Researchers Unravel Mystery of Lightning Diversity 65

coondoggie writes to tell us that researchers from Penn State and New Mexico Tech have unraveled the mystery of lightning diversity. A new "Lightning Mapping Array" has been able to show detailed models on how lightning acts. "About 90% of lightning occurs inside clouds and is not visible to the casual observer, researchers said. The researchers wondered if lightning that appears within clouds and the lightning that escapes upward or downward shared the same development mechanisms, researchers said. Lightning forms in clouds when different areas of the cloud become either positively or negatively charged. Once the electric field near a charged area exceeds a certain propagation level, lightning occurs. The type of lightning depends on where the charge builds and where the imbalance in charge exists in the clouds. The mechanism behind different types of lightning is what the new model shows, researchers said."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Inside UC Berkeley's High Tech Joke Recommender 102

alphadogg writes "Every day is something like April Fools' Day at the University of California, Berkeley joke recommendation site, dubbed Jester. Now on Version 4.0, the site tosses visitors a handful of jokes to rate on a scale of "less funny" to "more funny." It then recommends jokes based on the user's taste (or lack thereof), dynamically making recommendations based on the user's most recent ratings. Jester's more than a joke jukebox though. Underlying it is a Berkeley-patented "collaborative filtering algorithm" dubbed Eigentaste , now on Version 5.0. The more people who use the system and rate jokes, the more data Berkeley researchers have to advance their understanding of recommendation systems, like those used by Amazon.com and other Web sites."

Clandestine Operations at Google 166

eldavojohn writes "The San Francisco Chronicle is running an interesting story about Google's involvement with the CIA, NSA, NOAA and several other agencies. This has been speculated before although now Google seems to have several contracts open with several agencies. From the article, "When the nation's intelligence agencies wanted a computer network to better share information about everything from al Qaeda to North Korea, they turned to a big name in the technology industry to supply some of the equipment: Google Inc. The Mountain View company sold the agencies servers for searching documents, marking a small victory for the company and its little-known effort to do business with the government. 'We are a very small group, and even a lot of people in the federal government don't know that we exist,' said Mike Bradshaw, who leads Google's federal government sales team and its 18 employees.""

Adobe Joins Linux Foundation, Develops AIR For Linux 171

2muchcoffeeman writes "Adobe announced Monday that it is joining the Linux Foundation and alpha-released a Linux version of its new Adobe Internet Runtime environment, which allows Internet-enabled applications to run on Windows and Mac OS desktops, for Linux. According to Adobe, the alpha version lacks some key features that will be available in the final product and only runs with Sun Java, not GNU Java. Adobe also released an alpha of Flex Builder for Linux Monday."
The Internet

World's Fastest Net Link 'Used To Dry Laundry' 135

praps writes "Last summer a 75-year-old woman from central Sweden became the envy of the IT world with her scorching 40Gbps internet connection. 1,500 simultaneous HDTV channels or a whole high definition DVD downloaded in two seconds were hers for the taking. Now Sigbritt Löthberg could soon be treated to an incredible 100 Gbps link — but it may not be put to great use. According to the head of the ultra-fast fiber connection project, Sigbritt mostly used the gear 'to dry her laundry.'"

Comment Re:Dr. Grip (Score 2, Informative) 919

Ah, that's the problem, isn't it? I am a regular Dr. Grip user, but I agree with the ink problem. What I do is I refill it with ink from a Zebra Sarasa (http://www.zebrapen.com/gel-sarasa.html) which not only fits perfectly, but is probably the smoothest ink I've ever used. But that's only for the Dr. Grip gel pens. The regular Dr. Grips are just loaded with awful ink that clumps up and leaves strands behind (I used to have notes where every page had a superfine strand of ink at some point on the page, attached to a small ink clump at one end---terrible...)

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