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Hardware

Submission + - Small Plug-in solar panels coming out in 2011

KindMind writes: Clarian Power, a Seattle startup, is promising "plug-in" solar panels at $600 to $800 installed per panel for homeowners and small businesses. A typical installation is three panels, at around $2400 installed. These generate about 200 watts a panel, so a three panel systems would be 800 watts A single panel would save 30 to 40 kilowatt hours per month, translating to around $50 a year in energy cost savings. The estimated payback for a setup like this is estimated at four years, with tax credits and rebates taken into account. This is a supplemental power system, for replacing outside utility power, not for selling back to the utility company. The target date to have these for sale is sometime in 2011.
Linux

Submission + - Is Ubuntu's new direction wrong? (dedoimedo.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: An alternate future that features Windows-like looks for Ubuntu has the owner of a tech-website worried: where is Ubuntu heading? He argues that while competing with Windows and Mac is a noble goal, Ubuntu must first make itself more stable (by looking into the recent kernel crashes), keep applications like GIMP included, stop unnecessary experimenting with package management, support older hardware, and review the 6-month release cycle. He concludes,

I have no doubt Mark Shuttleworth is a man of great vision. I see his vision. [...] Competing against Windows and Mac is a very noble goal. I really applaud it. [...] But you can't beat Windows by offering a Windows-looking clone. [...] How do you beat perfect looks and perfect stability [of Mac]? The way things are, stability has not been Ubuntu's prime goal in the last few releases, and it's getting worse. The ultra-short release cycle does not help. [...] My message is, stability first, gimmicks later. I want my stuff to work, all the time, every time, forever. Once we get past that bridge, we can discuss eye candy and killing my programs.


Idle

Submission + - Man Saves Wet Palm Pre Using Rice

An anonymous reader writes: Apparently an avid Lifehacker reader, called Dietrich, managed to drop his Palm Pre in a puddle and didn't realise for half an hour. You would think that after a thirty minute soak the Pre would be dead but Dietrich remembered a tip on Lifehacker involving uncooked rice to dry out wet gadgets. “I remembered articles on Lifehacker about what to do so I immediately popped the battery out and dried the phone. When I got home I put my Palm Pre in a bag of rice for ten hours. Adding insult to injury, I forgot to take the phone battery out of my pocket and put it through the washing machine. Ten hours later I'm typing this on my Pre. Good job Palm on making an excellent phone.”
Censorship

Submission + - New China Report Further Attacks MMOs (yahoo.com)

eldavojohn writes: According to a Yahoo News (PCWorld) article, China is continuing its war on online games with a new news program. The feature report entitled "Confession of a Murderer — Focus on Pornography and Violence in Online Games (Part Two)" cited a statistic that up to 80 percent of the violent criminals in the prison turned to crime because of online games (note the verbage 'up to'). Prepare to be amazed as China lengthens the list of social problems that the pox of online gaming has brought them: crime, drugs, murder and teen pregnancy. Yes, teen pregnancy. It would seem the government has found its scapegoat to protect the people from at all costs.
IBM

Submission + - The Fiftieth Anniversary of the IBM 1401 (theregister.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: The IBM 1401 — the most popular computer of the 1960s — just turned 50. The Reg takes a look back at the plugboard-less, stored-program system, which was known as the SPACE machine while under development. It was the age of Sputnik

Submission + - Mac OS X 10.6.2 Will NOT Block Atom Processors (tumblr.com)

pcaylor writes: It looks like the reports of Apple disabling support of Atom processors in Mac OS 10.6.2 was premature. The latest developer build of 10.6.2 (10C535) apparently works fine on Atom based systems. As Stell's Blog writes:
Wow, didn't expect to get linked all over the internet for this damn post. Anyways, in the latest development build Atom appears to have resurrected itself zombie style in 10C535. The Atom lives another day, but nothing is concrete until the final version of 10.6.2 is out.

Perhaps people shouldn't freak out quite so much when unsupported processors break in an development build.

Patents

Submission + - SPAM: ACLU fights patents blocking cancer research 1

destinyland writes: The ACLU joined 20 plaintiffs — including the Public Patent Office — fighting to invalidate an exclusive patent on the genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The patent has given Myriad Genetics exclusive rights to diagnostic tests — which they sell for over $3,000 — plus control over the rights to even conduct experiments on these genes. "Gene patents undermine the free exchange of information and scientific freedom," argues the ACLU, saying the patents also compromise the integrity of our bodies and eventually our health. Ultimately this case could answer the question of whether it's legal to patent a gene.
Link to Original Source
Microsoft

Submission + - Classic PCs vs. New PCs: A True Price Comparion (technologizer.com)

harrymcc writes: We all know that today's PCs deliver massively more power for the price than vintage machines of the 1970s and 1980s. But the price/performance curve over time is even more stunning if you factor in inflation--for instance, the original 1981 IBM PC sold for the equivalent of $7127.69 in 2009 dollars, a price higher than that of even most of today's most powerful PCs. Benj Edwards has prepared in-depth comparison charts that pit the MITS Altair, IBM PC, Apple Lisa, original Mac, Commodore 64, and Timex Sinclair against comparably priced new computers, with adjusted prices.
Space

Submission + - Astronomers aim for 3,200 megapixel space image (pcauthority.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: While some of the more expensive mass-market DSLR cameras in production today boast 21 megapixels or more, the soon-to-be in production Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) has the ability to shoot for the skies — literally. Known as a 'wide-field' reflecting telescope, the Chilean based LSST will eventually boast images as large as 3,200 megapixels, sizes that dwarfs the average earth bound DSLR by a factor of 152, when production on the telescope begins in 2010. The camera will use a 'prime focus' optical lens plane (usual for a relflective lens telescope), and shoot a 15 second exposure every 20 seconds. Though never captured before by telescopes, dark energy is still a highly theoretical form of energy linked to the rapid expansion of the universe.

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