Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Technical News - 30 August 2011

  • Key computer conservationist dies
    August 30, 2011
    Tony Sale, the brilliant engineer who led the rebuild of Colossus, the first recognisably modern computer, has died aged 80.
  • Gold, bonds jump as Wall St down on weak confidence
    August 30, 2011
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gold surged on Tuesday and Wall Street stocks slid after a sharp slide in U.S. consumer confidence and a weakened euro on Greek bailout woes pushed safe-havens back into play.

  • August consumer confidence lowest in more than two years
    August 30, 2011
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Consumer confidence crumbled in August to its lowest level in more than two years as the fallout from political wrangling over a budget deal took its toll, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday.

  • Eid protests across Syria defy tanks and troops
    August 30, 2011
    AMMAN (Reuters) - Protesters across Syria demanded President Bashar al-Assad's removal after prayers marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, defying tanks and troops besieging many cities and towns, activists and residents said.

  • Cornell's Creative Machines Lab Lets Chatbots Interact
    August 30, 2011
    mikejuk writes "When Cornell's Creative Machines Lab got two chatbots to settle down for a short interaction the result was surreal, to say the least. Is one of them the future winner of the $100,000 Loebner prize or a future TV show host? From the article: 'This years Loebner prize is on the 19th of October and as a sort of curious run up activity Cornell's Creative Machines Lab pointed two chatbots, Cleverbots, at each other and let them talk. You can see and hear the result in the video and it is both hilarious and some how very disturbing. It this the future of AI?'" It's funny how quickly they become aggressive towards each other, and what the male claims to be instead of a bot is priceless.
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • AMC: Breaking Good? Merrill Says Buy; Barclays Upgrades
    August 30, 2011
    AMC Networks shares are getting a boost this morning from a pair of upbeat notes from the Street.
  • Samsung Launches Bada Phones with ChatOn Service
    August 30, 2011
    Samsung's flagship model is the Wave 3, which has a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a 1.4GHz processor and a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash.

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  • The Pirate Bay Founders Go Legit With BayFiles
    August 30, 2011
    An anonymous reader writes "The founders of The Pirate Bay, possibly the best-known BitTorrent tracking service in existence, are going legit with a new file-sharing site which they claim will adhere to all copyright rules and takedown requests. BayFiles, as the new service is named, isn't BitTorrent powered. Instead, the site borrows its method of operation from the likes of Megaupload and RapidShare: a user selects a file and uploads it to the site via their web browser, after which it becomes available for anyone to download, assuming they have the link."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Notch explains why you can't find Minecraft on Steam
    August 30, 2011
    Minecraft has sold something on the order of fifty hojillion copies, making its creator, Markus "Notch" Persson, a hero among indie developers. There is an oddity about this success, however: Minecraft is still not available to purchase via Steam. After being asked the reasons for this at PAX, Persson decided to make a public statement on his blog.
    He begins the post with effusive praise for the digital-delivery platform, before explaining why he doesn't sell his own game there. "Being on Steam limits a lot of what we're allowed to do with the game, and how we're allowed to talk to our users," Persson wrote. "We (probably?) wouldn't be able to, say, sell capes or have a map market place on minecraft.net that works with steam customers in a way that keeps Valve happy. It would effectively split the Minecraft community into two parts, where only some of the players can access all of the weird content we want to add to the game."
    This is reminiscent of EA's reasons for not offering Battlefield 3 on Steam. "When a download service forbids publishers from contacting players with patches, new levels, items and other services—it disrupts our ability to provide the ongoing support players expect from us," EA said in a statement. "At present, this is the case with only one download service. While EA offers its entire portfolio to this site, they have elected to not post many of our games."
    In the case of Minecraft, there's no big argument or disagreement between himself and Valve, and Persson stated that he's speaking with the company about these issues. He simply noted that "a certain inherent incompatibility between what we want to do and what they want to do."
    Read the comments on this post



  • iTunes Match Is Looking Pretty Good (The Atlantic Wire)
    August 30, 2011
    The Atlantic Wire - Related: Spotify Had a Good First Month in the U.S.
  • Apple releases 'iTunes Match' beta cloud music service with streaming feature (Digital Trends)
    August 30, 2011
    Digital Trends - Apple released late Monday a new version of iTunes 10.5 (v6.1) to developers that includes its upcoming cloud music subscription service, iTunes Match. The new service allows users to download their entire iTunes library to up to five different Mac or iOS devices, or to stream the music directly from their library, over Wi-Fi or 3G, without the need to download — a feature Apple kept secret when the service was first announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
  • As therapeutics become personal, patient social networks may become essential
    August 30, 2011
    An interesting article in today?s WSJ discusses how patients with an exceptionally rare disease ? in this case, spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) ? used social networks to find each other, to organize, and ultimately to drive research efforts into this otherwise obscure condition.
  • The Science of Gawker's Nerd Baiting
    August 30, 2011
    About seven different people yesterday directed me to this Gizmodo article, in which a young woman, Alyssa Bereznak recounts a horror story that she endured attempting to use OKCupid to find an online date. Fair enough, I thought, but this better be one hell of a story to warrant its own Gizmodo post.
  • Barnes & Noble forecasts strong Nook growth
    August 30, 2011
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Barnes & Noble Inc reported a narrower quarterly loss as strong sales of the largest bookstore chain's Nook e-reader helped mitigate declining book sales.

  • Social media fuels college megaparty in Colorado (AP)
    August 30, 2011
    AP - An apartment complex near Colorado State University that used Facebook to advertise "the biggest pool party of the year'" got more than it bargained for — at least 2,000 people, most of them college students, showed up.
  • AP IMPACT: Automation in the air dulls pilot skill (AP)
    August 30, 2011
    FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2009, file photo, a plane burns after it crashed into a house in Clarence Center, N.Y.,  Authorities say it was Continental Airlines Flight 3407 operated by Manassas, Va.-based Colgan Air.  Airline industry and safety officials are concerned that pilots’ flying skills are becoming rusty and their ability to handle unexpected situations is eroding because most flying is delegated to computers in today’s highly automated planes.  (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)AP - Are airline pilots forgetting how to fly? As planes become ever more reliant on automation to navigate crowded skies, safety officials worry there will be more deadly accidents traced to pilots who have lost their hands-on instincts in the air.


  • LDK Solar: One Day After Earnings, A Pair Of Downgrades
    August 30, 2011
    LDK Solar shares are taking a hit Tuesday morning from a pair of analyst downgrades. The moves follows the China-based solar company's weak Q2 financial report yesterday morning. The Q2 results were about in line with the company's recent sharply reduced guidance.
  • Steve Jobs Gets an 'A' for Vision, 'F' for Philanthropy
    August 30, 2011
    Apple's former leader rates closer to Scrooge than Bill Gates when it comes to charitable giving, according to one article.

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  • Are CIOs From Mars? If So, It's Time for CMOs to Visit
    August 30, 2011
    I?ve heard all the stereotypes:
  • Barnes & Noble's Nook revenue up 140 percent
    August 30, 2011
    Barnes & Noble is seeing store sales drop, but when it comes to its Nook, things are looking up.
  • Nokia hack reveals developer details
    August 30, 2011
    The intrusion resulted in the attacker redirecting visitors to the Nokia Developer Community forum to a page berating Nokia for its server security.
  • MIPS Rallies As Capstone Boosts Rating To Buy
    August 30, 2011
    MIPS Technologies shares are getting a boost this morning from Capstone Research analyst Jeff Schreiner, who lifted his rating on the chip maker's shares to Buy from Hold, setting a $7 target price. The stock closed Monday at $5.46.
  • In Tudou, China's Sina web portal sees online video success
    August 30, 2011
    The parent company of China's third most popular website, Sina.com, is moving into online video services with a $66.4 million stake in Tudou, a popular video site.
  • New USB 3.0 Flash Drive Has 2 TB of Storage
    August 30, 2011
    First time accepted submitter Dr Max writes "During Display Taiwan, Transcend and Taiwan's ITRI displayed a finger-long USB stick that reportedly offers 2 TB of storage. That's no typo. It somehow holds up to 2 terabytes worth of information. So far neither company has released anything official in regards to specs or a simple introduction, nor does the high-capacity USB 3.0 stick appear on Display Taiwan's website. But as seen in the video below, the 'Thin Card' thumb drive is even smaller than a thumb, measuring slightly thicker than a penny. It offers a minimum of 16 GB and a maximum of 2 TB."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • iTunes Match available in beta for developers
    August 30, 2011
    iTunes Match is Apple's cloud service designed to help you access your personal music collection form multiple Apple products without storing music locally on every device.
  • VMware announcements on day two of VMworld
    August 30, 2011
    VMware quickly moved to announce products based upon its view of the industry moving into the "Post PC era."
  • Microsoft: Is It Time To Double The Dividend Rate?
    August 30, 2011
    The time has come Microsoft to increase its dividend. And not just by a little.
  • Understanding The Engine Of Innovation: The Idea Hunter
    August 30, 2011
    Regular readers of this blog will know that the future of individuals, organizations, and indeed the entire economy, rests on a capacity for continuous innovation, for example, in my articles, Why Amazon Can?t Make A Kindle In The USA, Understanding Apple: Five Myths About Steve Jobs and The Five Surprises of Radical Management.
  • Windows 8 Will Sport a Revamped Explorer
    August 30, 2011
    Microsoft is adding the "ribbon," a strip of commands and options running across the top of the application window that changes depending on what the user is doing, to Windows Explorer.

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  • Street Talk: What Innovations Would Make Cities More Livable? (preview)
    August 30, 2011
    Cell-Phone Paradise Communication is at the heart of the future. A future city would need to respond to people on a personal level. Our cell phones can become devices that are able to open the door to our home, pay for our bus and subway charges, make purchases at any store with a tap and a password, and give us unfettered access to the Internet. [More]

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  • The Bearable Closeness of Being: Why Cities Create Community
    August 30, 2011
  • Amazon could sell 5 million tablets next quarter
    August 30, 2011
    If its tablet costs less than $300, Amazon could sell 3 million to 5 million units in the fourth quarter, according to a Forrester analyst.
  • Google Explores Re-Ranking Search Results Using +1 Button Data
    August 30, 2011
    tekgoblin writes "Google plans to use data from its +1 button to re-order search results and keep spammers at bay. While this would bring Google’s search engine into the social networking era, it would also create a new avenue for blackhats to manipulate search results. From the article: '"Google will study the clicks on +1 buttons as a signal that influences the ranking and appearance of websites in search results," a spokesman wrote. "The purpose of any ranking signal is to improve overall search quality. For +1's and other social ranking signals, as with any new ranking signal, we'll be starting carefully and learning how those signals are related to quality."'"
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • HP exec sees PC unit flourishing, even as spinoff
    August 30, 2011
    The head of the company's Personal Systems Group, Todd Bradley, says he wants to lead the division regardless of whether it's spun out on its own.
  • Mobilize Your Content & Collaboration Applications
    August 30, 2011
    Content and collaboration systems are pervasive in the workplace. But how do you mobilize them?
  • Samsung Drops Prices for Google Chromebooks
    August 30, 2011
    Google Chromebook by Samsung
    Chromebooks went for sale in June and in this short period of time, Samsung has already dropped the price of their Google Chrome OS laptops by as much as 10%.
    The Wi-Fi only Series 5 Chromebook is now selling for $399.99, down from $429.99, while the 3G + Wi-Fi Chromebook is available for $449.99, down 10% from the original $499.99. The prices for Acer Chromebooks are however unchanged.
    While a price drop is always welcome, I am still not convinced why would anyone prefer a stripped-down Chrome OS based laptop over these netbooks that are much more versatile.
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    Digital Inspiration @labnolThis story, Samsung Drops Prices for Google Chromebooks, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on August 30, 2011 under Google Chrome Os, Gadgets.



  • Verizon Kills Free FTP Access
    August 30, 2011
    First time accepted submitter JP205 writes "Verizon recently disabled FTP access for its Internet customers who use its proprietary service to build their personal websites. It turns out that if you want FTP access restored, Verizon is happy to grant it to you for an extra $6 a month."
    Read more of this story at Slashdot.



  • Bayfiles 'to respect copyright'
    August 30, 2011
    Two founders of The Pirate Bay launch a new venture called Bayfiles that claim will comply with copyright rules.
  • iTunes' streaming music finally shows up
    August 30, 2011
    A developer beta shows iTunes will be enabled to stream as well as download music from Apple's servers without your having to upload each song. You can't do that at Amazon or Google.
  • America's official U.S. government portal is also available in Spanish
    August 30, 2011
    Like USA.gov, GobiernoUSA.gov is full of many resources. If you haven't looked around this important government resource, take some time to check it out.
  • New Wikileaks cables detail Apple's struggle with Chinese counterfeiting
    August 30, 2011
    New Wikileaks cables show the work of Apple's "global security team", cracking down on piracy in emerging markets in China and Asia -- and struggling.
  • Tether trouble
    August 30, 2011
    The pitfalls of going online via your mobile
  • Amazon may sell 3-5 million tablets in Q4: Forrester
    August 30, 2011
    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc may sell as many as 5 million tablet computers in the fourth quarter, making the largest Internet retailer the top competitor to Apple Inc in this fast-growing niche of the consumer PC market, Forrester Research said on Monday.

  • Defining the Journalism vs. Blogging Debate, with a Science Reporting angle
    August 30, 2011
    I wrote and posted this originally on March 30th, 2009. [More]

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  • Google Chrome 15.0.865.0 Beta
    August 30, 2011
    Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.

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