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Chrome OS Designed To Start Microsoft Death Spiral 817

Al writes "Technology Review has a feature article that explores the business strategy underlying Google's decision to develop its Linux-based operating system, Chrome OS. Writer G. Pascal Zachary argues that Eric Schmidt has identified a sea-change in the software business, as signaled by Microsoft's recent problems and by the advancement of cloud computing. Zachary notes that Larry Page and Sergey Brin have pushed to develop a slick, open-source alternative to Windows for around six years (with the rationale that improving access to the Web would ultimately benefit Google), but that Schmidt has always refused. While developing Chrome OS is a significant gamble for Google, Zachary believe it will exploit Microsoft's historical weakness in terms of networking and internet functionality, forcing its rival to better serve Google's core business goals, whilst initiating its own steady, slow-motion decline."
The Internet

Why the Photos On Wikipedia Are So Bad 572

Reservoir Hill writes "The NY Times has an article investigating why, unlike the articles on Wikipedia which in theory are improved, fact checked, footnoted, and generally enhanced over time, the photos that go with Wikipedia articles are so bad and in many cases there is no photo at all for even well known public figures. Few high-quality photographs, particularly of celebrities, make it onto on Wikipedia because Wikipedia runs only pictures with the most permissive Creative Commons license, which allows anyone to use an image, for commercial purposes or not, as long as the photographer is credited. 'Representatives or publicists will contact us' horrified at the photographs on the site, says Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation. 'They will say: "I have this image. I want you to use this image." But it is not as simple as uploading a picture that is e-mailed to us.' Recent photographs on Wikipedia are almost exclusively the work of amateurs who don't mind giving away their work. 'Amateur may be too kind a word; their photos tend to be the work of fans who happen to have a camera,' opines the Times's author. Ultimately the issue for professional photographers who might want to donate their work is copyright. 'To me the problem is the Wikipedia rule of public use,' says Jerry Avenaim, a celebrity photographer. 'If they truly wanted to elevate the image on the site, they should allow photographers to maintain the copyright.'"

Main Toilet On ISS Craps Out 219

The Narrative Fallacy writes "NASA has spent years getting ready for a crowd in space — adding additional sleeping quarters, learning how to recycle liquid waste into drinking water, and installing a second bathroom last year. But now the main toilet has broken down on the International Space Station while a record 13 astronauts are on board. For now Mission Control has advised the astronauts to hang an 'out of service' sign on the toilet as it may take days to repair. In the meantime, Endeavour's seven astronauts will be restricted to the shuttle bathroom. Last year a Russian cosmonaut complained that he was no longer allowed to use the US toilet because of billing and cost issues. Now the six space ISS residents will have to get in line to use the back-up toilet in the Russian part of the station. The pump separator on the malfunctioning toilet has apparently flooded, and ESA astronaut Frank De Winne is the guy tasked with putting his plumbing skills to work on short notice. 'We don't yet know the extent of the problem,' says flight director Brian Smith, adding that the toilet troubles were 'not going to be an issue' for now."

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