Bryant writes: "Counterintuitive as it may seem, increased exposure by vegetation to carbon dioxide can actually lead to an increase in global warming. As discovered by scientists with the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, it turns out that higher levels of carbon dioxide gas can actually constrict the stomata (the pores, essentially vents for gas exchange used by plants and typically located on leaves) and lead to a drop in water released by the plants, hindering evaporative cooling."
Bryant writes: Microsoft took a brand (ahem) new approach to their Windows Mobile platform with the Metro UI. The catch: there are no windows in Windows Phone 7. In fact, the concept itself is completely opposite from how Windows works. Microsoft fell back on the Windows Phone 7 name for the sake of benefiting from positive mental association, but the long-term risk is that the Windows brand no longer has a rock-solid definition of what it is, which risks turning Windows into a meaningless brand. To top it off, this isn't the first time Microsoft butchered product branding for some form of short-term gain.
Bryant writes: "Yesterday at CES, OnStar and Chevrolet demonstrated a mobile app and separate web interface which can remotely lock, unlock, and charge the Chevy volt, as well as notify the user in th event that a process, such as a vehicle charge, is interrupted (thereby giving you a heads up if someone unplugs your car). Though the Droid is the only Android model which supports the preview build of the app, Android isn't the only platform getting it. Walt Dorfstatter did state that both the iPhone and the BlackBerry Storm will also get the app, and while both the iPhone and Storm apps should be available by the time you read this, nothing was dropped offhand as being in the works for Windows Mobile or other platforms."
Bryant writes: "The Windows community is somewhat notorious for leaks from upcoming versions of Windows (obligatory link to this guy since that's most of what he does), and while the official PR word from Microsoft and many other companies with regards to leaks is a simple "no comment," no one has really gotten a candid, inside look at the various things that go down when word, screenshots, or builds of upcoming software leak. I managed to get some time with a senior Microsoft employee for the sake of discussing leaks, and the conclusions reached (leaks heavily affect communication, not so much the product schedule) as well as what these guys actually have to deal with whenever someone leaks a build, breaks an embargo, etc. may actually be a surprise given what most companies try to instill in the public mind."
Bryant writes: "It seems the Free Software Foundation, in their latest campaign against closed source, may have committed an egregious sin of their own. The content of their latest campaign is licensed, perhaps against their own ideals, under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License (ironically, their choice of license does not prohibit commercial redistribution of their work). Furthermore, they may have actually nullified their own license by infringing on Microsoft's intellectual property. The campaign itself leads some to question whether the FSF might be squandering funds on what may come off as a campaign of fear, uncertainty, and doubt, an accusation perhaps given credibility by their latest efforts to contact Fortune 500 companies, a step typically unusual for them. What are your thoughts: is the Free Software Foundation doing free open source software any good with their campaigns, or might their campaigns simply be causing more problems than they solve?"
Bryant writes: "Rafael Rivera (of Within Windows fame) decided to dig deep into Windows yet again and, this time, managed to find a rather ingenious workaround for downloading a browser on Windows 7 E. It's a win-win for everyone involved, as it allows Windows users to download a browser through Windows Media Player and it gives Microsoft advertising revenue. The trick involves using the Windows Media Player media guide to grab a browser through advertisements provided on the guide site, thus giving Microsoft some advertising revenue and yourself a browser which you can use to, well, browse the internet. The fact that Windows Media Player can actually still render web pages also means that Trident is still in Windows 7 E, which also poses a few other interesting questions."
Bryant writes: "Blogger Kristan Kenney discovered a clause in the EULA of the RTM candidate builds which suggests that Microsoft is planning a family licensing pack for Windows 7. While this isn't anything new (Microsoft has done this for Windows Vista as well), the fact that it hasn't been announced before the discount seems to have some people upset. Ed Bott suggests that Microsoft would be most successful pricing this at $189.99, which is more expensive than three discounted upgrade licenses for Home Premium while remaining ten dollars cheaper than Apple's Snow Leopard family pack, thus keeping contented everyone who took the bait on the discount."
Bryant writes: "Scientists with the Carnegie Institution for Science have discovered what could bring yet another massive advance in memory and storage. The discovery, a magnetoresistence literally "up to 1000 times more powerful" than the Great Magnetoresistence Effect discovered roughly 20 years ago which led to one of the major breakthroughs in memory, seems to be a result of high-pressure interactions between Manganites. Manganites aren't new to this game; MRAM uses Manganite layers to achieve the Magnetic Tunnel Effect needed to keep the state of memory stable. Applying significant amounts of pressure to known tech-useful materials isn't a new trick; slashdotters might recall the recent breakthrough with Europium superconductivity thanks to similar high-pressure antics."
Bryant writes: "The latest leaked build (7048) of Windows 7 allows users to remove Internet Explorer 8 (steps included). Given that this change was added after Beta 1, the odds of this persisting into Windows 7 RC or even RTM are pretty high. Granted, this only removes iexplore.exe and reconfigures Windows not to complain, but it's a step in the right direction for those who believe in the ultimate in free choice. The remaining IE8 components and dependencies only exist to let IE-dependent Windows components run without problems."
JasonM writes: A blogger recently discovered a nasty bug in Microsoft's implementation of the customer experience improvement program which causes various subsystems feeding the CEIP to repeatedly fail, leading users to format and reinstall Windows 7 only to run into the same problem yet again. The problem, as Bryant of AeroXP later uncovered, isn't so much the fact that things in a beta OS are crashing. Rather, it's with the fact that the very feedback mechanisms Microsoft is relying upon to improve Windows 7 are themselves failing and causing other parts of the operating system to fail as well.
Bryant writes: "The Windows 7 superbar is in build 6801, the build handed out to PDC attendees last week, and was concealed by twelve elaborate checks. In the end, all it took was one flipped bit to conquer these twelve checks and load the hidden UI elements. The patch (and documentation) is available here, but the build must be found on your own."
conhopper writes: "People keeping track of The Dark Knight's percentage of fresh/rotten reviews on Rotten Tomatoes seem to have picked up on an interesting trend: TheyareallNewYorkers (reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 respectively). In addition to three of them sharing the name "David," I personally thought it was an odd coincidence that these five reviewers either live in New York, write for a New York-centric publication or are a member of a New York film critics group. Why does New York hate The Dark Knight?"
Bryant writes: "Up until now, people had no idea what Microsoft was using as its guidelines for Windows 7. Now that Microsoft's 'pillars' for Windows 7 are public, people can get a general idea of where Microsoft will take it's next client operating system. The five pillars have a number of target usage scenarios which Microsoft plans to fulfill sometime between the Beta 1 and Beta 2 milestones (putting it into context, Windows 7 is still pre-alpha). Each pillar specializes on a particular aspect of use: specializing for laptops, designing for services, personalizing computing for everyone, optimizing for entertainment, and engineering for ease of ownership. I've included a few screenshots to show some examples of Microsoft's early partial implementations of some of the scenarios within the pillars. Due to the fact that Windows 7 is still very early in development, all of this could (but likely won't) change."