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Submission + - Size Matters: Smaller Particles Could Make Solar P (nsf.gov)

mrobbert writes: Studies done by Mark Lusk and colleagues at the Colorado School of Mines could significantly improve the efficiency of solar cells. Their latest work describes how the size of light-absorbing particles--quantum dots--affects the particles' ability to transfer energy to electrons to generate electricity.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Playing Bad Video Games for Charity (desertbus.org)

katicli writes: Desert Bus, the adventure of driving from Tuscan Arizona to Las Vegas real time by Penn and Teller, was designed to be absolutely horrible and painfully realistic. There are no other cars, no scenery aside from the occasional cactus, and no other passengers. Only an occasional slight list of the bus to the right breaks the monotony of the trip (which is approximately 8 hours each way). If the bus is crashed it will be towed back to the city of origin (real time). If the player completes the trip they are awarded a single point and invited to drive back. There is no pause button. Needless to say it exceeded its design goal of complete boringness and was never released. Now the game is back, in its full Sega CD glory, for a second (first?) life as a charity event. Comedy group Loading Ready Run is playing the game to raise money for the Child's Play Charity (founded by Penny Arcade). Four members of the comedy group are playing the game non-stop for a sentence that increases by the amount of money that is donated (currently 104 hours and counting). You can tune into the wonderful adventures of this virtual road trip by a live feed of the video game, a live IRC chat room with the drivers and fans, or a live video of the group playing the game. Residents of Victoria BC invited to stop by for the event and are encouraged to bring snacks. Donations are accepted on the DesertBus.org website.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Dell to again offer XP to home users

HikingStick writes: News.com is reporting that Dell will once again offer Windows XP to consumers.

From the article:

Amid significant customer demand, the computer maker said on Thursday that it has returned to offering the older Windows version as an option on some of its consumer PCs.

Like most computer makers, Dell switched nearly entirely to Vista-based systems following Microsoft's mainstream launch of the operating system in January. However, the company said its customers have been asking for XP as part of its IdeaStorm project, which asks customers to help the company come up with product ideas.
Another great example of Dell being responsive to customer needs, but how will Microsoft spin this? Sure they make their dime (okay — many, many dimes) regardless of the OEM OS, but it does demonstrate that consumers don't really want Vista, now doesn't it?
Operating Systems

Submission + - Seven essential tips for using Ubuntu Feisty Fawn

Ed Albro writes: "Matthew Newton, our Free Agent columnist at PC World, has a great column today on seven things you'll want to change (or at least consider changing) as soon as you start using Feisty Fawn. Some are as simple as making sure the Alt key works right, another gives you step-by-step instructions for turning on the impressive Beryl interface.
Here's an excerpt:
"Before you dive in too deeply, here are seven steps you can take right away to prevent common headaches and help yourself enjoy your new surroundings."

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,130923-page,1-c, linux/article.html"

Submission + - Froogle is gone

qaz20 writes: Froogle is gone. Now Google product search and the results page is labeled Google.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Michael's Got a New Notebook...

An anonymous reader writes: Lionel Menchaca just posted on direct2dell.com: "I just heard that Michael's added a new notebook to his hardware collection. It's a Precision M90 mobile workstation with Ubuntu 7.04 and a list of open-source applications. He's also running an NVIDIA Quadro FX 3500 graphics card with 512MB RAM. I figured a few of you might want to know. "

Submission + - Large step in game AI.

hunter_invul writes: "The upcoming game "S.T.A.L.K.E.R Shadow of Chernobyl" is taking the games AI into the next generation of gaming. But the game has two main groups of enemies, Mutants and other Stalkers. The Mutants AI is more scripted, but has actions like hunting, hungry, fight, or exploring, some only appear at night while others in the day. So that is interesting. The enemy Stalkers AI is more advanced and made to appear as though you are playing online. For instance the enemy Stalkers use their enviroment heavily, and are programmed so that they would appear as though they had their own mind. For instance, if your down a hill firing at an enemy Stalker, he won't just charge dow the hill, he'll duck, hide behind busted cars, and crawl. You can also team up with different clans of Stalkers, which is interesting. The AI for the Stalkers is supposed to surpass that of F.E.A.R's and Gears of War. The enviroment of the game is more interactive. If you shoot a light, it will fall and spin creating shadows, while flickering on and off. Also the maps in the game can be a vast outside terrian to the ghostly halls of the Chernobyl power plant. The game was made to look post apocalyptic, so it will have more of a spooky feel to it."

Microsoft to Get Tough on License Dodgers 564

An anonymous reader writes "PC Advisor reports that Microsoft is going to start getting tough with certain small business customers. They are going to examine their small customer license database — any discrepancies and it will call you for an audit. If you refuse it will send in the BSA and the legal heavies. "

Submission + - Communicating with companies like Verizon?

chaoskitty writes: "Ok — so you run a mail server or 10, and you've gotten all of the bugs ironed out. You are confident that your email delivery and reception are working perfectly — after all, you pass hundreds of thousands of legitimate email a day. Then, one of your users contacts you telling you that mail from your server is not getting delivered. You ask for a copy of the error report so you can see what's going on, and you see something like this:

(reason: 550 You are not allowed to send mail:sv25.verizon.net)

So you look in the mail logs, and it's clear that the problem is on Verizon's end:

... Jan 29 12:12:25 bigtime sm-mta[17704]: l0TJwls8005690: to=, ctladdr= (10001/10000), delay=00:13:38, xdelay=00:00:01, mailer=esmtp, pri=213168, relay=relay.verizon.net. [], dsn=4.0.0, stat=Deferred: 450 Requested mail action not taken-Try later:sv18pub.verizon.net
Jan 29 12:22:41 bigtime sm-mta[6426]: l0TJwls8005690: to=, ctladdr= (10001/10000), delay=00:23:54, xdelay=00:00:12, mailer=esmtp, pri=303168, relay=relay.verizon.net. [], dsn=5.0.0, stat=Service unavailable Jan 29 12:22:41 bigtime sm-mta[6426]: l0TJwls8005690: l0TKMRb4006426: DSN: Service unavailable

So you decide to contact Verizon. But email to postmaster@verizon.net and support@verizon.net aren't answered. You try to call the numbers in the WHOIS, and you get shuffled to Verizon Support, who obviously won't help you because you don't have a Verizon account regardless of how patiently you try to explain that the problem is on their end.

You look up 550 errors and Verizon in Google, and you see that LOTS of other people are having the same problems. But nobody knows why Verizon is randomly rejecting email. It's not even consistent, as your user corresponds with the same Verizon accounts all the time.

What do you do now? Is there a way to get a company like Verizon to respond to seemingly ongoing mail server problems on their end? How do you get someone at Yahoo to read the email you send them to tell them that they're registering and hosting phishing sites and phishing-collecting email addresses?

What do YOU do when that huge company offers no way to communicate? Is it time to start advising people to AVOID email accounts from large providers?"
Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - RMT on eBay... for WoW, No-- for Second Life, Yes

wjamesau writes: "I just followed up on eBay's decision to delist RMT items, for GigaGamez — turns out they're doing it for games like World of Warcraft, but interestingly, allowing it to continue with Second Life items. eBay's Hani Durzy insists this has nothing to with the fact that eBay's founder is also a major investor in Second Life. This will likely be an important consideration for upcoming online world platforms like Multiverse and Raph Koster's RMT."

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