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What Font Color Is Best For Eyes?
Black on... grey. Might mix in some dark orange for headings (or my case, names)
How the BBC rendered a spinning globe in 1985
Klaidas writes "A live picture of a spinning globe had been shown before BBC programmes since the Sixties. When colour came to BBC 1, a curved mirror was added behind the globe, and the effect this produced continued to be seen on screen for over fifteen years. But technology had moved on and time was running out for this mechanical symbol.
BBC Research & Development, Hywel Williams and 625.uk.com have a story about how the spinning globe was being rendered back in the days."
Skies to be swept for alien life
Klaidas writes "The BBC reports that the switch has been thrown on a telescope specifically designed to seek out alien life. Funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the finished array will have 350 six-metre antennas and will be one of the world's largest. The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) will be able to sweep more than one million star systems for radio signals generated by intelligent beings. Its creators hope it will help spot definite signs of alien life by 2025.
It is expected to help improve understanding of such phenomena as supernovas, black holes, and exotic astronomical objects that have been predicted but never observed.
The array is situated in Hat Creek, California, and lies about 290 miles (470 km) north of San Francisco."
Apollo Moon photos reveal detail
Klaidas writes "Highly detailed photographs of the Moon taken by the Apollo missions are being made available to the public for the first in more than 30 years. Photos taken on the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions in the 1970s showed the Moon in great detail but were only ever viewed by a few scientists. Since then they have been locked away in freezers by Nasa to preserve them.
"We're scanning the pictures in a very high bit resolution — 14 bits — which means that for each pixel, you have about 16,000 shades of grey. A typical scan of a negative or film is eight bits. So it's not only that we're scanning this at a very high pixel resolution — showing detail to five millionths of a metre — but it's also a high bit resolution, because we want to preserve as much of the original information as possible.", Mark Robinson, a professor of Geological Sciences and the principal investigator on the project, told BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme."
Shuttle Endeavour to be launched today
Klaidas writes "NASA reports that on the morning before the scheduled liftoff of Space Shuttle Endeavour on the STS-118 mission, launch officials confirmed once again that the countdown is continuing as planned and no issues have surfaced.
On Monday night, workers finished loading the reactants for the orbiter's three power-producing fuel cells. Checks of the space shuttle main engine's avionics and pneumatic systems are planned today, along with inspections of the external tank, activation of ground support equipment, and crew equipment stowage in the crew module. Launch remains on target for Aug. 8 at 6:36 p.m. EDT"
Google sidesteps mobile reports
Klaidas writes "The BBC reports that Google has refused to deny mounting speculation that it is working to produce its own brand mobile phone. Reports suggest that the web giant is developing a "GPhone", centred on its mobile services, such as search, e-mail and maps. In a statement, Google said it was working with carriers, phone makers and content providers to "bring its services to users everywhere". "What our users and partners are telling us is that they want Google search and Google applications on mobile, and we are working hard every day to deliver that.", the statement said. The firm would not clarify if its efforts included plans for a handset."
Gene for left-handedness is found
Klaidas writes "The BBC report that scientists have discovered the first gene which appears to increase the odds of being left-handed.. The Oxford University-led team believe carrying the gene may also slightly raise the risk of developing psychotic mental illness such as schizophrenia. The gene, LRRTM1, appears to play a key role in controlling which parts of the brain take control of specific functions, such as speech and emotion. Lead researcher Dr Clyde Francks, from Oxford University's Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, said the next step would be to probe the impact on the development of the brain further. He said: "We hope this study's findings will help us understand the development of asymmetry in the brain.
Australian research published last year found left-handed people can think quicker when carrying out tasks such as playing computer games or playing sport, and French researchers concluded that being left-handed could be an advantage in hand-to-hand combat. However, being left-handed has also been linked to a greater risk of some diseases, and to having an accident."
Huge Chinese piracy ring tackled
Klaidas writes "The BBc reports that pirated software worth $500m (£250m) has been seized as the FBI shuts down a world-spanning piracy outfit. Before the raids the Chinese counterfeiting syndicate was thought to have sold and distributed software worth more than $2bn. The FBI and China's Public Security Bureau arrested 25 people during the two-week operation against the pirates.
"Countries around the world are expected to experience a significant decrease in the volume of counterfeit software as a direct result of this action," said Microsoft in its statement."
Mac and iPhone sales boost Apple
Klaidas writes "BBC reports that Apple has made strong three-month profits, helped by Mac and iPhone sales, even though the phones were only available for two days of the quarter. Apple sold 270,000 iPhones on the first two days of their US launch. Net income was $818m (£398m) between April and June, up 73% from the same period of 2006. Apple shares have risen 62% since the start of the year when chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone and predicted 10 million sales in 2008. But the shares fell on Tuesday after AT&T, the exclusive US carrier, said it had activated 146,000 iPhones in the first two days after the 29 June launch. Analysts had been expecting the number sold in the first weekend would be closer to 500,000.
Mr Jobs says he is confident of selling his millionth phone within the first three months."
Facebook faces fraud claim
Klaidas writes "BBC reports that Facebook could be closed if legal action in the US by a rival site's founders succeeds. Three founders of ConnectU say Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for the site while at Harvard. Facebook has become a global phenomenon with about 31 million users, compared with ConnectU's 70,000. A Federal case accuses Mr Zuckerberg of fraud and misappropriation of trade secrets, and asks for ConnectU to be given ownership of Facebook. Facebook has asked a judge at a Boston district court to dismiss the case."
Antique engines inspire nano chip
Klaidas writes "BBC's reporter Jonathan Fildes has posted an interesting article about nano computers:
"The energy-efficient nano computer is inspired by ideas about computing first put forward nearly 200 years ago", he writes. "What we are proposing is a new type of computing architecture that is only based on nano mechanical elements," said Professor Robert Blick of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the authors of the paper."We are not going to compete with high-speed silicon, but where we are competitive is for all of those mundane applications where you need microprocessors which can be slow and cheap as well."
In addition to high-temperature automotive applications, Professor Blick envisaged nano mechanical chips being used in everything from toys to domestic appliances.
The team's tiny, hypothetical number-cruncher could be built out of ultra-hard materials such as diamond or piezoelectric materials, which change shape when an electric current is applied. Unlike today's computers, which are based on the movement of electrons around circuits to do useful calculations, the nano mechanical computer would use the push and pull of each tiny part to carry out calculations. The researchers are currently building the first elements needed for the computer, focusing initially on transistors, the basic switches at the heart of all computers. "We have demonstrated that a single element of these transistors work," said Professor Blick."
iPlayer faces petition pressure
Klaidas writes "The BBC has reported that more than 10,000 people have signed the petition which calls for the service to be made compatible with other operating systems. Even though the BBC's on-demand TV service launches as a trial version on 27 July and will only work with PCs using Windows XP, other versions are in the pipeline too, according to the BBC. A version for Apple Macs could be available in autumn, with versions for Window's Vista and mobile devices to follow, the BBC has said.
It will go live to the general public in open beta on Friday, allowing the number of users to increase over the summer in a controlled manner, before a full launch in the autumn."
PlayStation 3 sales boost in US
Klaidas writes "BBC reports that sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 (PS3) console in the US rose by 21% in June, analyst figures show, but the machine still trails the Wii and Xbox 360. Tracking firm NPD Group reported that 98,500 PS3s were sold, compared to 198,400 Xbox 360s (up 28%) and 381,800 Wiis (up 13%). Sony said that the $100 (£50) price cut to the 60GB PS3 led to a 135% sales rise over the last two weeks.
"This jump in sales bodes very well for us heading into the fall as we launch an impressive arsenal of hardware and software," Jack Tretton, head of Sony Computer Entertainment America, said in a statement."
Top search sites unveil plans on user privacy
Klaidas writes "BBC News have reported that the top four search sites, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Ask, have unveiled plans to cut how much data they hold and how long they store it.
The rush to improve privacy policies was started by Google in March when it announced it would start deleting the final parts of the individual address it collects from each user's computer after 18 months. Earlier this month the firm announced that its cookies would expire two years on from a user's last visit. Prior to the policy change they were set to last until 2038.
Microsoft is expected to make a similar announcement to separate the identifying address and other data from searches after 18 months. The information will be held for longer if users request it.
Yahoo said it would delete identifying addresses and cookies after 13 months unless users want the data held longer or law enforcement agencies require it to store the information for longer.
Ask is taking the most radical step by unveiling plans for a tool called AskEraser which, it claims, will let people tune whether data is gathered about them on a search-by-search basis.
"People should be able to search and surf online without having to navigate a complicated patchwork of privacy policies," said Peter Cullen, Microsoft's chief privacy strategist, in a statement."
Windows "Vienna" renamed to "7"
Klaidas writes "Engadget reports that although Vista still seems fresh as a daisy, that hasn't stopped Microsoft from planning their next major OS release, and it looks like a part of the plan is changing the internal codename from Vienna to "7." The switch was disclosed at at a Microsoft sales training conference in Orlando this past week as part of the company's new "iterative" information-sharing plan, which aims to provide customers and partners with more and more info as part of a predictable release schedule."
Government websites are "too complex"
Klaidas writes "While services like online road tax renewal are very popular, other sites such as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), are too complex, the report said.
Most people only knew a few key sites and tended to use "transactional services" once or twice a year — like filing income tax returns or renewing their car tax.
But other websites were difficult to use, too "text-heavy" and filled with policy material that was irrelevant to the visitor, the report said.
The average central government site had 17,000 pages — roughly equivalent to that of a large department store — yet most of their search engines "often fail to work satisfactorily".
The Conservative chairman of the public accounts committee, Edward Leigh, said it was "disappointing that there had been so little improvement in the quality of government websites since 2002". "Departments have poor information on costs, websites are still hard to navigate and citizens have to wade through masses of irrelevant information to find what they need," he said."
Klaidas (981300) writes "On Wednesday, October 18, Mark Shuttleworth posted a message to the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list about the +2 version of Ubuntu (that's 7.04, which will be released after 6.10). Turns out, the codename will be "Feisty Fawn
From the message:
The main themes for feature development in this release will be:
In the next cycle we'll expand on the brand new infrastructure that has landed in Edgy as well as branching out in some exciting new directions.
This combination of courage and restlessness is also found in a young deer
that sets out to explore a world that is new and exciting — seeing the
world through eyes unprejudiced by what has gone before. In that spirit, the release will be be code named "The Feisty Fawn".
Ubuntu's Feisty release will put the spotlight on multimedia enablement and desktop effects. Feisty is expected to be a very gratifying release for both users and developers.
Improvements to hardware support in the laptop, desktop and high-end server market, and aggressive adoption of emerging desktop technologies.
Ubuntu 7.04 is scheduled to be released on April 19, 2007"
Klaidas writes "Apple has introduced some more new "Get a Mac" ads — "Counselor", "Better Results" and "Self Pity"
Just something to pass the day ;)"
Klaidas writes "Firefox Release Candidate 1 (RC1) has been released!
Firefox RC1 is availbile for download here."
Klaidas writes "After delays the shuttle Atlantis has been lauched today, as expected. NASA reports: The shuttle Atlantis is in orbit, headed for a challenging new phase in the construction of the International Space Station. Commander Brent Jett and his five crewmates will install a new 17-ton segment of the station's truss backbone, adding a new set of giant solar panels and batteries to the complex. Three spacewalks are planned."
Klaidas writes "Some interesting quotes related to programming can be found here. Just something to pass the day.
Most of them have a deep though too!"
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