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The Internet

Submission + - Where to for fast broadband? Latvia, Romania! 1

thefickler writes: We've all heard how fast broadbrand is in South Korea, and that's been confirmed by a recently released global legue table of broadband speeds, confirming South Korea remains the country with the fastest average speed of 12 Mbps, followed by Hong Kong and Japan. But get this, the next two spots go to Romania and Latvia, which have enjoyed major speed increses in the past year.
The US is in 16th place with an average speed of 4.7 Mbps. While there’s an argument that this is a poor position for such a major country (and cited as a reason for federal investment in expanding and improving provision), it’s likely also the result of the US having so many rural and remote areas compared to the likes of South Korea. That’s partly borne out by the US having a dozen of the 100 global cities with the fastest average speed, the American contingent being headed up by California’s Monterey Park with an average 7.2Mbps.

Submission + - The tech keeping Plastiki afloat: photos (

lukehopewell1 writes: Adventurer and entrepreneur David de Rothschild and his crew of six travelled more than 17,000km across the Pacific on a craft made from discarded PET bottles and plastics. ZDNet Australia brings you the tech below deck on the epic Plastiki voyage.

Dubbed "The Plastiki", this small catamaran-like craft landed in Sydney on Monday after an epic four-month journey from San Francisco, designed to bring attention to waste dumping in the Pacific Ocean.

HP was the official tech partner for the voyage, supplying netbooks and laptops from its consumer range to make sure the crew was up to speed.

Global satellite partner Inmarsat kept the Plastiki in contact through video and audio streaming, as well as providing GPS location data to keep the Plastiki on course.


Submission + - Pacific Vortex to become habitable island? 4

thefickler writes: The Pacific Ocean trash dump is twice the size of Texas, or the size of Spain combined with France. The Pacific Vortex as it is sometimes called, is made up of four million tons of Plastic. Now there's a proposal to turn this dump into "Recycled Island". The Netherlands Architecture Fund has provided the grant money for the project, and the WHIM architecture firm is conducting the research and design of Recycled Island. One of the three major aims of the project is to clean up the floating trash by recycling it on site. Two, the project would create new land for sustainable habitation complete with its own food sources and energy sources. Lastly, Recycled Island is to be a sea worthy island. While at the moment the project is still more or less a pipe dream, it's great that someone is trying to work out what to do with one of humanity's most bizarre environmental slip ups.

Submission + - Robots to beat World Cup winners by 2050

thefickler writes: Robots, one minute they're trying to obliterate the human race; the next minute they're trying to beat us at soccer. The 2010 Robocup robotic soccer tournament is currently being held in Singapore, having attracted 500 teams. What makes Robocup interesting (if you're not into soccer) is that the stated aim is that: "by mid 21st-century (2050), a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win the soccer game, complying with the official rules of the FIFA, against the winner of the most recent World Cup." The videos are hilarious, and to tell the truth, I'd much prefer that robots burn up their superioity streak by beating us at soccer than by wiping us off the face of the planet. But that's just me.

Submission + - MS announces online office apps

thefickler writes: The great online office suite war is now officially on, with Microsoft announcing online versions of its Office applications. Users just simply need to head over to and log in with their Live ID to access online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Users can opt to upload their current Office documents via a drag-and-drop interface powered by Microsoft's Silverlight, or they can create new documents right in the browser. Watch out Google! (or not)
The Internet

Submission + - Internet to run out of IP addresses in 18 months 3

thefickler writes: According to Daniel Karrenberg the chief scientist at RIPE NCC, the organization that issues IP addresses in Europe, the web will run out of IP addressees in 18 months — making harder to add new devices to the Internet. The problem appears to be that companies are being slow to adopt the latest Internet Protocol Addressing Scheme (version 6 (IPv6), which can provide trillions of IP addresses, rather than a measly few billion(iPv4) One wag has implored the IT world to take action on this issue: "Come on, get off the fence and let's get on the Ipv6 bandwagon so that my refrigerator can have its own address!" Glad someone out there really understands just how serious this issue is.

Submission + - Cost-reduced OLED coming to your TV

thefickler writes: Organic light emitting diode (OLED) screens are energy efficient and vibrant, but until now, have mainly been used in cell phones, since the cost to manufacture large OLED screens has been prohibitive. That's changed now that Dupont has developed a new manufacturing process that avoids the need for expensive evaporative materials. Apparntly DuPonts commercial ready OLED manufacturing process will create TVs that have a 15 year lifespan. These new active matrix OLED displays will have resolutions from 55ppi to 128 ppi.

Submission + - Symantec: it's dangerous to rely on free antivirus

thefickler writes: Clearly the rise of free antivirus is starting to worry Symantec, with a top Symantec executive warning consumers not to rely on free antivirus software (including Microsoft's Microsoft Security Essentials). "If you are only relying on free antivirus to offer you protection in this modern age, you are not getting the protection you need to be able to stay clean and have a reasonable chance of avoiding identity theft," said David Hall, Symantec's Product Manager Asia-Pacific Consumer Products and Solutions.
The Military

Submission + - Laser treated metal directs water uphill

thefickler writes: Dr Chunlei Guo at the University of Rochester in New York has developed a method of treating metals so they can redirect water, even to the point where the water will flow up rather than down. The method involves treating the metal with a femtosecond laser. The laser unleashes as much power as the entire electric grid of North America does, all focused onto a spot the size of a needlepoint. This changes the nanostructure of the metal. This technique can also be used to permanently change the color of metals, for example silver to blue. And in case you're wondering, the research is funded by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation.

Submission + - Yahoo set to overwhelm with new widgets

thefickler writes: Yahoo is set to release a raft of new widgets to Yahoo Mail, My Yahoo, Yahoo Connected TV and Zimbra in coming months. For example, Yahoo mail will get widgets to Send payments with Pay Pal, Send large files with Zumo Drive, Add images to Photobucket, and Edit photos with Picnik. However, as one commentator said: 'While it is obvious that Yahoo is trying to gain back some of its market share it has lost over the past several years, I'm not positive that cluttering up their pages with more information is the way to do it.'

Submission + - New HDMI 1.4 spec set to confuse

thefickler writes: "HDMI Licensing LLC, the company that determines the specifications of the HDMI standard, is set to release the HDMI 1.4 spec on 30 June. Unfortunately it could very well be the most confusing thing to ever happen to setting up a home theater. When the new cables are released, you're going to need to read the packaging very carefully because effectively there are now going to be five different versions of HDMI to choose from — HDMI Ethernet Channel, Audio Return Channel, 3D Over HDMI, 4K x2K Resolution Support and a new Automotive HDMI. At least we can't complain about consumer choice."

Submission + - Could Google predict illness trends?

thefickler writes: With the Swine Flu pandemic scare not long past, Google is embarking on a study to test a theory that internet searches can predict illness trends. Users who search for keywords relating to illness and medicines may, in randomly selected cases, be asked whether their search was prompted by a medical condition (either their own or someone they know.) By doing this, Google should be able to extrapolated how many people actually affected by an illness are searching for information about that particular illness at any one time, allowing Google to track significant patterns.
The Internet

Submission + - Journalist's career wiped by The New York Times

thefickler writes: Reading about Peter Wayner and his problems with book piracy, reminded me of another writer Thomas Crampton, who has the opposite problem — a lot of his work has been wiped from the Internet. Thomas Crampton has worked for the New York Times (NYT) and the International Herald Tribune (IHT) for about a decade, but when the websites of both newspapers were merged two months, a lot of Crampton's work disappeared into the ether — much to the Crampton's horror. Links to the old stories are simply hitting generic pages. Crampton wrote a letter to Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times, pleading for his work to be put back online. But here's the hilarious part, according to one analysis, the NYT is throwing away money — at least $100,000 every month the links are broken.

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C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]