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The Internet

HTTP Intermediary Layer From Google Could Dramatically Speed Up the Web 406

grmoc writes "As part of the 'Let's make the web faster' initiative, we (a few engineers — including me! — at Google, and hopefully people all across the community soon!) are experimenting with alternative protocols to help reduce the latency of Web pages. One of these experiments is SPDY (pronounced 'SPeeDY'), an application-layer protocol (essentially a shim between HTTP and the bits on the wire) for transporting content over the web, designed specifically for minimal latency. In addition to a rough specification for the protocol, we have hacked SPDY into the Google Chrome browser (because it's what we're familiar with) and a simple server testbed. Using these hacked up bits, we compared the performance of many of the top 25 and top 300 websites over both HTTP and SPDY, and have observed those pages load, on average, about twice as fast using SPDY. Thats not bad! We hope to engage the open source community to contribute ideas, feedback, code (we've open sourced the protocol, etc!), and test results."
PC Games (Games)

Experimental Video Game Evolves Its Own Content 167

Ken Stanley writes "Just as interest in user-generated content in video games is heating up, a team of researchers at the University of Central Florida has released an experimental multiplayer game in which content items compete with each other in an evolutionary arms race to satisfy the players. As a result, particle system-based weapons, which are the evolving class of content, continually invent their own new behaviors based on what users liked in the past. Does the resulting experience in this game, called Galactic Arms Race, suggest that evolutionary algorithms may be the key to automated content generation in future multiplayer gaming and MMOs?"
Wireless Networking

"GiFi" — Short-Range, 5-Gbps Wireless For $10/Chip 190

mickq writes "The Age reports that Melbourne scientists have built and demonstrated tiny CMOS chips, 5 mm per side, that can transmit 5 Gbps over short distances — about 10 m. The chip features a tiny 1-mm antenna, a power amp that is only a few microns wide, and power consumption of only 2 W. 'GiFi' appears set to revolutionize short-distance data transmission, and transmits in the relatively uncrowded 60GHz range. Best of all, the chip is only about a year away from public release, and will only cost around US $9.20 to produce."

Sandia Wants To Build Exaflop Computer 144

Dan100 brings us an announcement that Sandia and Oak Ridge National Laboratories are setting their sights on an exaflop supercomputer. Researchers from the two laboratories jointly launched the Institute for Advanced Architectures to facilitate development. One of the problems they hope to solve is how to provide each core of each processor with enough data so that cycles aren't going to waste. "The idea behind the institute — under consideration for a year and a half prior to its opening — is 'to close critical gaps between theoretical peak performance and actual performance on current supercomputers,' says Sandia project lead Sudip Dosanjh. 'We believe this can be done by developing novel and innovative computer architectures.' The institute is funded in FY08 by congressional mandate at $7.4 million."
The Courts

Comcast Sued Again over P2P Throttling 73

Dr. Eggman writes "Ars Technica brings us news of a disgruntled Washington D.C. Comcast customer who has filed a lawsuit against Comcast over claims of false advertising. The complaint seeks punitive damages, class-action status, and attorneys' fees. The customer claims Comcast advertised 'unfettered access to all the content, services, and applications that the Internet has to offer.' We discussed a similar lawsuit brought against Comcast by a Californian customer back in November, as well as the FCC investigation into Comcast's practices. While Comcast confirmed reception of the new lawsuit, they declined to comment on it directly. Spokesman Charlie Douglas was quoted saying, 'To be clear, Comcast does not, has not, and will not block any Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services, and no one has demonstrated otherwise.'"

Is XMPP the 'Next Big Thing' 162

Open Standard Lover writes "XMPP (eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) has been getting a lot of attention during the last month and it seems that the protocol is finally taking off as a general purpose glue to build distributed web applications. It has been covered that AOL was experimenting with an XMPP gateway for its instant messaging platform. XMPP has been designed since the beginning as an open technology for generalized XML routing. However, the idea of an XMPP application server is taking shape and getting supporters. A recent example shows that ejabberd XMPP server can be used to develop a distributed Twitter-like system."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Holy Grail in Iceland?

A group of scientists believe the Holy Grail and other lost objects, which according to Christian mythology were guarded by the Knights Templar, may be located at Kjölur in the center of the Icelandic highlands.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Build a Windows Home Server (

ThinSkin writes: "While our important digital information is dangling at the mercy of our local hard drives, protecting that data with a home server isn't such a bad idea. For roughly $800, computer users can build a low-power, 1 terabyte Windows Home Server to ensure that our data doesn't go bump in the night. ExtremeTech has a primer on building this server, outlining which parts to buy, and also taking readers through each installation step. The cost is about the same as the HP MediaSmart Server EX475, though building a system allows PC users more flexibility and full access to the operating system."

Submission + - Next for Apple: Lossless iTunes Store (

DrJenny writes: C|net has an interesting piece running at the moment about why Apple developed their own lossless codec, and more importantly that iTunes will become a download store for lossless audio, potentially from all the major labels. This would be a massively positive move for people who spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on hi-fi gear, but refuse to give money to stores that only offer compressed music. It's a big FLAC, DRM, ALAC and GB discussion, but it's a very exciting perspective, and surely one that'll pan out meaning audiophiles will finally be able to take advantage of legal digital downloads.

Submission + - New Zealand Justice Ministry prefers Open Source (

christian.einfeldt writes: "In a paper dated 11 Dec. 2007, the New Zealand Justice Ministry has taken a position favoring Free Open Source Software if all other aspects of the proprietary competitor are comparable. The policy does not rule out proprietary software; but it does state a clear preference for FOSS where all other things are equal. The nine-page paper (PDF warning) does not purport to express any sort of legal or commercial commitment by the Ministry, but instead 'is believed to be consistent with existing MoJ policies.' The most salient reasons given for the preference are summarized in one sentence: 'Given two equivalent packages, one open and one proprietary, the OSS one would be the preferable choice for reasons of better supportability and lower lifecycle cost.'"

Submission + - Dutch governemnt goes the open standard route (

Alpha77 writes: Today, the Dutch parliament has agreed to a plan that aims to implement support for open standards in national and local government organisations. The plan (in Dutch) lists a number of actions that will be taken. Support for ODF is mandatory for the national government by April 2008, other government organisations must comply by December 2008, but other existing formats are still allowed too. The Google translation of the source can be found here.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Make Your Own OS With MikeOS

ADenyer writes: Want to write your own OS? Fancy trying your hand at x86 assembly language? MikeOS is an open source x86 operating system, designed to show you how a simple OS fits together. Yes, it's 16-bit (for BIOS access), but it's small enough to avoid the old-school DOS memory segment woes, and includes a very thorough HandBook with a guide to writing your first OS kernel. The new 1.1 release includes build scripts for Mac OS X and Windows.

Submission + - Backup your mobile phone contacts, manage online (

Kunal Gupta writes: "Styky is a free service that wirelessly backs up your mobile phone contacts and lets's you use and manage them online, for free. If you ever lose or break your phone, Styky restores your contacts to your new device. Besides backup, Styky offers a lot of other cool features, like phone number sharing and requesting, group text messaging, reverse number lookups (enter a number, see if one of your friends can identify it), rich profile views — right from the phone book on your phone, photo sharing, and more.

You can get styky by texting "styky" to 4STYKY (478959) or by checking out Styky is also available as a Facebook application, "Styky Phonebook" that let's you manage your phonebook through Facebook, including tagging your contacts, and linking them to your Facebook friends. You can also send free text messages through the Facebook app. And for those of you who ever ever flushed your phone, and your social life down the toilet, Styky helps you rebuild your contacts with a simple profile box, where your friends add themselves right to your phonebook. No more "Lost my phone, Need Numbers." groups.

Styky supports over 300 devices, including Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices, with more being added every day. For phones that don't support the downloadable app, you can access Styky Lite, the WAP site, at"


Submission + - The 10 most overpaid jobs in the United States

lucabrasi999 writes: Almost everyone can point to a co-worker and say, "They are overpaid". Maybe that co-worker is lazy. Maybe they work hard, but their results are say, lackluster. Maybe they are a great worker, but they landed in a nice, cushy job. Well, Chris Plummer from Marketwatch has identified what he thinks are the most overpaid jobs in the United States. Longshoremen? Motivational Speakers? This list may make you wonder if it is time for a career change. Especially for those of us in IT.

Submission + - KDE 4 uses 40% less memory despite 3D eye-candy

An anonymous reader writes: Pro-Linux reports that KDE 4, scheduled to be released in January 2008, consumes almost 40% less memory than KDE 3.5, despite the fact that version 4 of the Free and Open Source desktop system includes a composited window manager and a revamped menu and applet interface. KDE developer Will Stephenson showcased KDE 4's 3D eye-candy on a 256Mb laptop with 1Ghz CPU and run-of-the-mill integrated graphics, pointing out that mini-optimizations haven't even yet been started. Will this combination of resource efficiency and consumer appeal make KDE 4 the leader in the booming Linux-based ultra mobile laptop and energy efficient desktop markets?

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