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GDocs vs. ThinkFree vs. Zoho vs. MS Office 226

CWmike writes "Web-based productivity suites, once almost a contradiction in terms, have become real challengers to desktop applications. Google Docs, ThinkFree, and Zoho, have all made major improvements in recent months. They're becoming both broader, with more applications, and deeper, with more features and functionality in existing apps. The question is: Are these three applications really ready to take on a desktop-based heavy hitter like Microsoft Office?"

Liquid Mirror Telescopes Set For Magnetic Upgrade 64

KentuckyFC writes "Liquid mirror telescopes start life as a puddle of mercury in a bowl. Set the bowl spinning and the mercury spreads out in a thin film giving the surface an almost perfect mirror finish. But these telescopes have two important limitations. First, they can only point straight up since tilting the mirror spills the mercury. And second, they cannot be made adaptive to correct for any blurring introduced by the Earth's atmosphere. But liquid mirror telescopes look set for an upgrade thanks to the work of a group of Canadian researchers. Their technique is to change the shape of the liquid mirror using powerful electromagnets. They use a ferromagnetic fluid of iron nanoparticles in oil instead of mercury which is too dense to be easily manipulated in this way. The work is just proof of principle at this stage but the idea is to use magnets to correct for the usual range of optical aberrations that telescopes have to deal with (abstract). And also to allow a liquid telescope to be tilted by using oil that is much more viscous than mercury and correcting any periodic deformation in the fluid that tilting might cause."
Hardware Hacking

World's First Custom Firmware For Wii Released 165

Croakyvoice writes "Waninkoko has released the world's first custom firmware for the Nintendo Wii, which is installed using the twilight hack; among its features is the ability to allow writeable DVDs to be read in emulators. From the readme: 'The Custom Firmware installs as IOS249 and it does not modify any other IOS so it is secure to install and has been made to be used ONLY with homebrew software. This is a custom IOS, an IOS modified to add some new features not available in the official IOS.'"

A DIYer's Quick Guide To Cheap Wireless Extension 148

An anonymous reader writes "This piece is described in one of the comments on it as 'a little piece of genius'... and I have to agree! Although Peter Cochrane seems a bit of a crack pot, the ways that he comes up with to get connected when he's out of range in the sticks are pure genius and he makes them appear really simple! Think old satellite dishes, USB dongles and plastic bags and you'd be on the right tracks to upping wi-fi signal by 4 bars." A perfect excuse to link to one of my favorite sites, if you want more details and photos on similar jury-rigged long-distance connections. However, your meterage may vary — I've found USB Wi-Fi devices to be pretty fickle under Linux, with some distros working way better than others.

NASA Shuttle Replacement's Problems Are Worsening 344

ausoleil noted that NASA's replacement for the shuttle, the Orion, is slipping behind schedule "'We're probably going to have to move our target date,' NASA exploration chief Doug Cooke told The Associated Press on Wednesday after Nasawatch.com posted the 117-page internal status report (PDF) on the moon program. The cost problems include an $80 million overrun on a motor system. The Orion spacecraft's design remains too heavy for the proposed Ares 1 rocket. Software development, heat shield testing and other complex work remain behind schedule or over budget. There are dozens of such serious challenges, many of which are 'worsening.'"

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