kdawson writes: A Bulgarian newspaper carries a report that missing security researcher Dancho Danchev has been found — and is in a mental institution (link is a Google translation of the Bulgarian original). The article claims that 'according to reliable source of [the newspaper] Dnevnik he was placed in a Bulgarian psychiatric hospital since December 11.' I hope more will eventually be revealed as to where Danchev spent the 3 months preceding that date. During the bygone Soviet era, 'psychiatric hospital' didn't have the same connotations it might in the West.
kdawson writes: David Gewirtz's blog post over at ZDNet warns of an imminent price collapse for traditional Mac applications, starting tomorrow when the Mac App Store opens. The larger questions: what will Mac price plunges of 90%-95% mean for the PC software market? For the Mac's market share? Quoting: 'The Mac software market is about as old-school as you get. Developers have been creating, shipping, and selling products through traditional channels and at traditional price points for decades.... Mac software has historically been priced on a parity with other desktop software. That means small products are about $20. Utilities run in the $50-60 range. Games in the $50 range. Productivity packages and creative tools in the hundreds, and specialty software — well, the sky's the limit. Tomorrow, the sky will fall. Tomorrow, the iOS developers move in and the traditional Mac developers better stick their heads between their legs and kiss those price points goodbye.'
kdawson writes: Software developer and blogger Ben Strong did a little exploring to find out how Google achieves its admirably fast load times. What he discovered is that Google, and to a much greater extent Microsoft, are cheating on the 'slow-start' requirement of RFC-3390. His research indicates that discussion of this practice on the Net is at an early, and somewhat theoretical, stage.Strong concludes with this question: 'What should I do in my app (and what should you do in yours)? Join the arms race or sit on the sidelines and let Google have all the page-load glory?'
kdawson writes: This essay in New Scientist from a few days ago goes over recent work attempting to derive quantum mechanics, or to prove that it is or is not sufficiently weird — non-local or non-real — to describe the world as we find it.
kdawson writes: First researchers from Purdue noticed a yearly periodicity in the decay rates of radioactive isotopes on earth. A Stanford emeritus professor suggested they look for variation on the timescale of the sun's rotation, and they found a 33-day component in the variability. Quoting: '"It doesn't make sense according to conventional ideas," Fischbach said. Jenkins whimsically added, "What we're suggesting is that something that doesn't really interact with anything is changing something that can't be changed."'
kdawson writes: "The NY Times is reporting that Netflix will pay almost $1B to add on-demand titles to its stable (press release). 'Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer for Netflix, said he was essentially taking the "huge pile of money" that Netflix paid in postage for DVDs by mail — about $600 million this year — "and starting to pay it to the studios and networks." Wall Street analysts estimated that Netflix would pay about $900 million over the course of five years to Epix, a fledgling competitor to HBO that holds the rights to the film output of Paramount, Lions Gate and MGM.... It was the second film deal for Netflix this summer, coming a month after a pact with Relativity Media...'"
kdawson writes: A year after voting unanimously to open 'white space' frequencies for unlicensed use, the FCC has now issued a public notice seeking database proposals (PDF). Howard Feld explains in his blog posting: 'At last! We can get moving on this again, and hopefully move forward on the most promising "disruptive" technology currently in the hopper. And move we are, in a very peculiar fashion. Rather than resolve the outstanding questions about how the database provider will collect money, operate the database, or whether the database will be exclusive or non-exclusive, the Public Notice asks would-be database managers to submit proposals that would cover these issues.... I label this approach "good, but weird."'
kdawson writes: (From the see-it-when-I-believe-it department) We're already wary of trusting that photos we see online or in print represent unaltered, unmanipulated reality. Techniques of computational photography that have been demonstrated at graphics conferences show how the lighting in a room, the position of the camera, the point of focus, and even the expressions on people's faces can all be chosen after the light is captured. The moment that the picture so beautifully captures may never have actually happened. The article calls this development "arguably the biggest step in photography since the move away from film."
kdawson writes: "Gary Stock, the guy who invented the Googlewhack, tried a bit of Google election predicting last night. Using a methodology that is entirely indefensible, and which he does not try to defend, Stock asked Google to call the results on Michigan's five referendum questions. The result: Google's answers to two questions were spot-on, two questions were answered correctly but underrepresented the 'yes' vote, and one question was reversed. An 80% accuracy rate has got to beat any number of the pollsters and pundits who have been shouting at us since last August, no?"