Fennec writes: "Amazon.com has launched a beta of a new service called Askville, yet another online answers service, flavored with "Experience Points, Levels, and Quest Coins." These coins will supposedly become useful some day on another Amazon service that's not actually open yet, Questville. If this virtual currency becomes useful, could Askville fill a place between strictly volunteer systems and pay-for-answer services like the now-defunct Google Answers? Or is it destined to fail in the already-saturated online Q&A market?"
An anonymous reader writes: silicon.com is running a two-part column on the 10 best and 10 worst things about Cupertino — and it would seem Steve Jobs' latest magic trick is the ability to create products that are simultaneously Mitchell and Webb... Take the iPod — it's apparently blessed with "usability and simplicity". Yet has also "long been dogged by accusations of dodgy battery life, defective mechanics, easily scratched or cracked screens and a general lack of longevity"... Or the iPhone — a flagrant example of 'style over substance', says writer Seb Janacek, before really sticking the boot in: "A clutch of mobile devices have been offering the same services for the last year or so at a fraction of the price. And it doesn't arrive for another six months or so. And when it does there will be just one operator to choose from. The latest example of Steve Jobs snake oil?"... But wait! "The gloriously sexy iPhone was worth the wait"... gushes the same author... "Apple spent two and a half years developing a device that makes the usual phone functions, MP3 playing and internet browsing work as a whole"... Confused? It seems Steve Jobs is not the only one guilty of a 'reality distortion field'...
from the bigger-than-giant dept.
zakkie writes "New Zealand fisherman have caught a massive 450-kg colossal squid in Antarctic waters. This is by far the biggest yet found, measuring over 10 meters in length and weighing 450 kg. It has been taken back to New Zealand for study." The NZ government's announcement page features a downloadable backgrounder on the colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) and a 1.1-MB popup portrait of the animal in the fishing boat's hold.
from the one-small-step-for-a-woman dept.
shoemortgage writes "The Association for Computing Machinery has named Frances E. Allen the recipient of the 2006 A.M. Turing Award for contributions that fundamentally improved the performance of computer programs in solving problems, and accelerated the use of high performance computing. Allen,74, is the first woman to receive the Turing Award in the 41 years of its history. She retired from IBM in 2002."
An anonymous reader writes: "...tipsters well placed at Apple informed MacScoop that the company is preparing to make the fight harder for its competitors of the Windows world with several Mac hardware releases scheduled for calendar Q2." [...] "a black version of the iMac could make its way with the next update of the company's all-in-one consumer desktop Macs." Full article here. Just a rumor though.
jaweekes writes: The TV program "Top Gear" recently launched the "largest non-commercial rocket launch in European history" in the form of a rocket-propelled Reliant Robin. From the article http://www.bbc.co.uk/topgear/show/production_notes /shuttle.shtml "What could possibly be so difficult about building a space shuttle? Quite a lot, as it turns out. This was easily Top Gear's most ambitious film and, while everything didn't go quite according to plan, we're still very proud of the results. Here are just a few of the things that happened when we tried to put an ageing three-wheeler into space."