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PlayStation (Games)

US Air Force Buying Another 2,200 PS3s 144

bleedingpegasus sends word that the US Air Force will be grabbing up 2,200 new PlayStation 3 consoles for research into supercomputing. They already have a cluster made from 336 of the old-style (non-Slim) consoles, which they've used for a variety of purposes, including "processing multiple radar images into higher resolution composite images (known as synthetic aperture radar image formation), high-def video processing, and 'neuromorphic computing.'" According to the Justification Review Document (DOC), "Once the hardware configuration is implemented, software code will be developed in-house for cluster implementation utilizing a Linux-based operating software."

Submission + - Solar power-cell breakthrough

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from the Nanomaterials Research Centre at Massey University in New Zeeland have developed synthetic dyes that can be used to generate electricity at one tenth of the cost of current silicon-based solar panels. These photosynthesis-like compounds work in low-light conditions and can be cheaply incorporated into window-panes and building materials, thereby turning them into generators of electricity.
The Media

Submission + - MyCircles.com Press Release

Leon Gomez writes: "Hello,
I thought that our press release could be of interest to Slashdog.org. Please feel free to call or email me with any questions you might have about MyCircles.com and I will be more than happy to answer them for you.

Thank you,
Leon Gomez

Contact: Leon Gomez
(954) 965-7072

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — March 26, 2007 — South Florida-based MyCircles.com, an online dating and networking portal for adults, specializing in alternative lifestyles, has launched in BETA and is accepting free registrations for memberships into its communities.

According to Leon Gomez, founder and its Fearless Leader, "MyCircles has already amassed a substantial number of registrations from word-of-mouth referrals. We had thousands of members pre-register in the weeks leading up to our BETA launch from 58 countries around the world. We are very excited to see the positive response we have received from around the world."

MyCircles.com allows members to post profiles, search for other members, upload photo galleries, post blogs, and read about local events, while specializing in alternative lifestyles. "Those who are already familiar with MyCircles.com through local events in South Florida have come to expect the most fun and most exciting opportunities with our community," Leon said. "People who know us, love what we are about — meeting quality people through a fresh venue. We want those in our community to truly feel they are part of a community, and so far, our community has really pulled together to get the word out about MyCircles," he said.

MyCircles is a membership-based site geared to adults with alternative lifestyles and ensures privacy. "We do not intend to be nor ever will be a site that is full of teenagers like Myspace. We feel there are enough sites that cater to young adults and teenagers and we will not be one of them," said Leon. "Our plans are to have some portions of MyCircles as free communities and other areas that have adult content on them which will require a paid membership. At this time we are a free site for all of the communities though and we will continue to operate as a free site until we have all of the components that we are building in place. In the next couple of weeks we will be adding our MyCircles Messenger and other features that enable us to compete with any full service portal."

According to Leon, "We are requiring all users to go through an age verification process to ensure that our members are all over eighteen years of age. In the future we will be offering all of our US users a free criminal background check that also includes a screening for sexual offenders. There have been many stories written about unfortunate incidents where someone has been victimized by a person they have met online and we feel that by offering the criminal background check our members will have a better idea of who they are dealing with." Leon went on to state, "We want to offer our members the tools they need to enjoy themselves in as safe of an environment as possible."

"Providing consumers an opportunity to choose what 'Circles' or communities they belong to while still being able to maintain their privacy was a focal point in the development of MyCircles.com," Leon explained. "We feel that many people go online and hide behind a screen name because they are fearful to express who they truly are and show their lifestyle preferences because they do not know who will be seeing their profiles online." By joining MyCircles.com our members will be able to join the 'Circles" that interest them and know that only other members of the same circle are able to see the other members of that community. Our motto is Be Yourself and we encourage everyone who joins MyCircles to freely express themselves."

Adults who join MyCircles during the BETA period will be rewarded with special incentives, including membership bonuses and registration for prize giveaways, according to Leon."

Feed H-1B Visas Exhausted In Record Time; Think It's Time To Raise The Cap? (techdirt.com)

Every year, the story is pretty much the same with H-1B visas, as tech companies quickly gobble them up, prompting the inevitable debate of whether more should be made available the following year. Everybody knew this year would be a mess, but in case there were any doubt that demand for these visas far exceeds their supply, the government has said that it's run out of them after only one day of availability. Employers now realize that there's no sense in waiting around and running the risk that they won't get alloted any, so they all apply on the first day. The fact that they're exhausted so quickly should make people realize that more should be made available, but there are some politicians who are completely opposed to the system, since they see it as just a way for companies to import cheap foreign labor. But their stance doesn't really hold up. For one thing, it's hard to imagine that companies would go through all of this trouble if it were just about saving money, as opposed to filling gaps in talent. Furthermore, if companies can't bring employees from abroad, then they'll just move more operations overseas, which is something these politicians would find even more troublesome. The real problem is that politicians see everything as a black or white, zero sum game. Some see it as foreign workers stealing American jobs, while others view it as greedy managers selling out American laborers to further line their own pockets. But these simple viewpoints don't capture the reality of the tech industry, which is far more dynamic. The US economy, and the tech industry in particular, benefits from from immigrant workers, while the traditional delineation between management and labor doesn't really apply in an industry where most workers have a large stake in the success of their firm.

Submission + - Effectiveness of Education Technology - NOT

CETS writes: The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance produced this major study of the effectiveness of education technology. Mandated by Congress, the report uses scientifically based research methods and control groups to focus on the impact of technology on student academic achievement. The main findings of the study are:

  • Test scores were not significantly higher in classrooms using the reading and mathematics software products than those in control classrooms.
  • There was substantial variation between schools regarding the effects on student achievement. Although the study collected data on many school and classroom characteristics, only two characteristics were related to the variation in reading achievement. For first grade, effects were larger in schools that had smaller student-teacher ratios (a measure of class size). For fourth grade, effects were larger when treatment teachers reported higher levels of use of the study product.

Hackers Offer Subscription, Support for Malware 105

Stony Stevenson writes "Organised gangs are taking a page out of security vendors' books and setting up their own websites that offer support and subscriptions for malware and spyware. From the article: 'For subscriptions starting as low as $20 per month, enterprises can sell fully managed exploit engines that spyware distributors and spammers can use to infiltrate systems worldwide, said Gunter Ollmann, director of security strategies at IBM's ISS X-Force team. Many exploit providers simply wait for Microsoft's monthly patches, which they then reverse engineer to develop new exploit code against the disclosed vulnerabilities, Ollmann said. "Then all you've got to do is just subscribe to them on a monthly basis.'"
The Internet

Submission + - Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! Now Support GeoRSS

Lord Satri writes: "This week, Microsoft announced their new Live Maps, in addition to supporting Firefox on Windows for 3D, now supports the GeoRSS standard. They join Google which recently announced the support of GeoRSS and KML mapping in their Google Maps API. In short, GeoRSS is a standard supported by the Open Geospatial Consortium that incorporates geolocation in an interoperable manner to RSS feeds. The applications are numerous. With Yahoo!'s support of GeoRSS, all the major players are in and the future looks bright for this emerging standard. As for KML, Google Earth's file format, this new Google Maps integration is not unrelated to the recent announcement of internet-wide KML search capabilities within Google Earth. From the GeoRSS website: "This site describes a number of ways to encode location in RSS feeds. As RSS becomes more and more prevalent as a way to publish and share information, it becomes increasingly important that location is described in an interoperable manner so that applications can request, aggregate, share and map geographically tagged feeds. To avoid the fragmentation of language that has occurred in RSS and other Web information encoding efforts, we have created this site to promote a relatively small number of encodings that meet the needs of a wide range of communities. By building these encodings on a common information model, we hope to promote interoperability and "upwards-compatibility" across encodings.""

Submission + - UK Hacker Faces Extradition

kurbchekt writes: The Guardian reports, "The British computer hacker who spectacularly cracked the Pentagon system and embarrassed the American defence establishment now faces extradition to the United States, where a prosecutor has said he would like to see him "fry"." Also in the rumour mill: Matthew Broderick wrote his dialer program and RISC architecture is gonna change everything.

Submission + - Will Apple EMI Deal Marginalize the WMA Format?

An anonymous reader writes: If the recent deal between Apple and EMI to sell DRM-free tracks in the AAC codec takes off — and it waits to be seen if consumers will pay an extra 30% for the privilege — it could marginalize WMA as a lead commercial codec. Because they were locked out of FairPlay most player manufacturers and download services turned to WMA and PlaysForSure as their DRM solution for the masses. Some also incorporated additional open codecs like OGG, but did so to primarily attract a niche, digitally savvier, audience. As it gives competing DAP makers and music services access to the iPod and iTunes, the deal now places straight AAC in prime position to take off as the paid download standard. This means there is less compelling reason to stick with WMA should the other major labels follow suit. It doesn't help that Microsoft angered a number of its partners when it introduced Zune and a new proprietary DRM scheme restricted to that player and their Zune Marketplace. That strategic move now appears to be ill-fated.

Submission + - Microsoft: Rivals' Royalty Fees Are Fair

OneWay writes: European Union regulators want Microsoft Corp. to give rivals access — at little or no cost to information that would help their products work better with Windows, according to a published report Thursday. But the software maker says its current charges are fair and the EU has not provided clear guidance on what fair pricing would be.

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