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Submission + - Facebook Opening Up (facebook.com) 1

ssentinull writes: With Google preventing Facebook from accessing Gmail contact lists because of non-reciprocity, it seems Facebook has gotten the message. They are now offering the ability to download all of your information from your profile (pictures, friends, wall posts, interests, etc.). It seems they are getting the picture that people want more control of their data, and would like in the future to switch from Facebook. A glad addition (as long as you aren't planning for running as a politician anytime soon).

Submission + - First Look: Google's Chrome OS Notebook, Cr-48 (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: JR Raphael writes, Hello, Chrome OS. Pleasure to meet you. I just met Chrome OS for the first time this morning, when a demo unit of Google's new Cr-48 notebook arrived at my office. The Cr-48 is considered a Chrome OS test notebook; it isn't a final product, and it isn't for sale. Google is sending the notebooks out to a limited group of people in order to get feedback on the system and get it ready for its public debut. (Head over to Google's Cr-48 Pilot Program page to learn how to sign up.) First up in this first look: The Cr-48, which weighs 3.8 pounds, has a 12-inch display, built-in Webcam, trackpad, and full-sized keyboard. That's pretty much it; this thing is clearly designed for on-the-go use, and it doesn't have any unnecessary bells and whistles... but you will need to get to learn the new keyboard layout and shortcuts, JR writes. Next: Chrome OS. The simple cloud-synced nature of the system would make it great as a secondary computer for travel and on-the-go work. But using Chrome OS for the first time wasn't all roses, he writes. Put simply, getting around Chrome OS takes some getting used to. There's no desktop, per se; instead, your default screen is a blank browser window. You can't minimize, you can't close it — it is the home screen, so to speak, of the operating system. The hardest thing about Chrome OS for me to get used to so far: Its file management — or, to be more accurate, the lack thereof, JR writes. Well, there is one, it just takes a while to figure out where saved items are, and you can left-click 'em, right-click 'em, even scream at 'em — and you still won't get an option to upload or e-mail the things. Is JR just a Windows tragic?

Submission + - The 12 Most Amazing (and Useless) Wikipedia Pages 1

Ponca City writes: "When you document everything, you're going to end up with some incredible, but pointless, entries. To prove the point, Asylum has an interesting article about twelve of the most interesting but useless Wikipedia entries including Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitatenhaupt betriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft, one word in German that means the Association for subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services; Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo, an arrangement of nouns, verbs, adjectives and place names that makes perfect grammatical sense describing a herd of buffalo in the city of Buffalo who intimidate ("buffalo") other buffalo beneath them; Uncombable Hair Syndrome, a genuine condition whereby an unusual structural anomaly of the hair means the mess on your scalp cannot be combed flat; and Hitler bacon or "Hitlerszalonna," a dense fruit jam eaten by Hungarian troops and civilians during World War II. Our personal favorite: The Katzenklavier, an actual piano-like musical instrument except instead of hitting tuned strings, the hammers hit special, tonally selected cats' outstretched tails, making them meow out in pain. How to use it in a sentence? "My wife Yoko Ono and I are recording an album of blues classics stripped of every third beat and, instead of guitar, a Katzenklavier.""

Submission + - Stroustrup Reflects on 25 Years of C++ (wired.com)

eldavojohn writes: Today roughly marks C++'s first release 25 years ago when about six years of Bjarne Stroustrop's life came to fruition in the now pervasive replacement language for C. It achieved ISO standardization in 1998 and its creator regularly receives accolades. Wired's short interview contains some nice anecdotes including 'If I had thought of it and had some marketing sense every computer and just about any gadget would have had a little ‘C++ Inside’ sticker on it' and 'I’ll just note that I consider the idea of one language, one programming tool, as the one and only best tool for everyone and for every problem infantile. If someone claims to have the perfect language he is either a fool or a salesman or both.' There's some surprising revelations in here too as his portable computer runs Windows.

Submission + - Florida Town Builds Data Center in Water Tank (computerworld.com)

miller60 writes: The Florida town of Altamonte Springs has converted an old water storage tank into a new data center. The decommissioned tank previously held up to 770,000 gallons of water, but its 18-inch thick walls provided a hurricane-proof home for the town's IT gear, which had to be relocated three times in 2004 to ride out major storms. The Altamonte Springs facility is the latest example of data centers in strange places, including chapels, shopping malls, cargo ships, old particle accelerators and caves.

Submission + - Bittorrent to Replace Standard Downloads?

Max Sayre writes: "Have you ever tried to download an operating system update only to have it fail and have to start all over? What about patches for your favorite games? World of Warcraft already uses Bittorrent technology as a way to distribute large amounts of content at a lower cost to the company and faster speeds to all of their clients. Torrents are totally in these days. So why haven't they replaced the standard downloading options built into any major OS? No more anxious waiting as download speeds begin to drop... 95% done and you can update all of those servers, 96% or play your current gaming addiction, only to have the connection drop, download die, or power go out. Who knows? Companies like Opera are including the downloading of torrents in their products already and extensions have been written for Firefox to download torrents in-browser. Every day Bittorrent traffic is growing. So why do we insist on prolonging user suffering with these failed downloads? In many countries bandwidth is still at a premium and capped usage limits apply to everyone. Replacing the standard 'download' function in all the major operating systems with default torrenting functionality would see an end to a plague some feel are a punishment worse than death. Failed downloads would no longer be a risk where bandwidth is scarce.

Sites like OpenBittorrent already exist and DHT doesn't even require a tracker. So why isn't everyone doing it? Is it finally time to see all downloads replaced with Bittorrent?"

Submission + - Build a $200 Linux PC (extremetech.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Lots of us have built our own computers, even on budgets. But ExtremeTech has a story about one of the cheapest builds I've seen: a Linux system for under $200. It's not really decked out (obviously), but it shows how you can make smart buying decisions even during tough economic times. What's the lowest-priced system you've ever built, and could you build one for less than $200? If so, how?

Submission + - Phones use WiFi to make self powered mesh network (gizmag.com)

peterc_150 writes: Mobile phones operating on 3G networks have a limited range away from phone towers. The Serval Project – named after the problem-solving African wildcat – is working on increasing the operating range of mobile phones using two systems.

The first is a temporary, self-organizing, self-powered mobile network for disaster areas, formed with small phone towers dropped in by air.

The second, currently being tested in the Australian outback, is a permanent system that requires no infrastructure and creates a mesh-based phone network between Wi-Fi enabled mobile phones, and eventually specifically designed mobile phones the researchers have called Batphones, that can operate on unlicensed frequencies.


Submission + - Recycling Robot Transforms Rubble into New Bricks (inhabitat.com)

lilbridge writes: An amazing concept for a robot that recycles construction waste could take advantage of millions of tons of brick and concrete demolition material that gets sent to the landfill. Return Brick vacuums up bits of waste, crushes them and reforms it into a lego-like brick that can easily be stacked.

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