Microsoft Vista Software | Microsoft Vista Books | Linux Books | Ubuntu Books | Ruby On Rails Books

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ruby on Rails On Apple OS X Tutorial

The Ruby on Rails web application framework has built up a tremendous head of steam over the last year. Fueled by some significant benefits and an impressive portfolio of real-world applications already in production, Rails is destined to continue making significant inroads in 2006. Simply put, Ruby on Rails is an open source tool that gives you the advantage of rapidly creating great web applications backed by SQL databases to keep up with the speed of the web. And with the release of Rails 1.0 kicking off the new year, there's never been a better time to climb aboard.

It should come as no surprise that Mac OS X is a favored platform for Rails development. Rails and its supporting cast of web servers and databases thrive on the rich Mac OS X environment. The premier text editor favored by legions of Rails programmers everywhere is TextMate, a Cocoa application. And all members of the Rails core development team work with Macs.

This article introduces you to Ruby on Rails by building a trivial web application step by step. Consider it a ride on the express train—an overview of what Rails can do, including a look at features new to Rails 1.0. In the end you'll be better equipped to consider the advantages of powering your web application with Rails.

Why Ruby on Rails?
First, you might be wondering: Web application frameworks are a dime a dozen, so what's different about Rails? Here are a few things that make Ruby on Rails stand above the crowd:

Full-Stack Web Framework. Rails is an MVC web framework where models, views, and controllers are fully integrated in a seamless fashion. That means you automatically get all the benefits of an MVC design without the hassle of explicitly configuring each component to play well with the others.

Real-World Usage. The Rails framework was extracted from real-world web applications. That is, Rails comes from real need, not anticipating what might be needed. The result is an easy to use and cohesive framework that's rich in functionality, and at the same time it does its best to stay out of your way.

One Language: Ruby. Everything from business logic to configuration files (there aren't many) are written in the Ruby programming language. With just one language, you hope it's a good one, and Ruby doesn't disappoint. Ruby is a full object-oriented language with clean syntax and it has a way of making programming truly fun. Using one language means you don't have to juggle between multiple languages and dialects as you're building your application.

Convention over Configuration. Rails works hard to take care of all the repetitive and error-prone chores associated with starting to build a web application, and maintaining it over time. Rails uses simple naming conventions and clever use of reflection to make your work easier with near-zero configuration.

It's Productive! At the end of the day, Rails is all about helping you stay productive. And in a world where being the first to market and keeping customers happy adds up to increased revenues for you, it pays to pick a tool aligned with those goals. Many real-world applications are already reaping the benefits.

All that being said, the best way to judge Rails is to experience it while building an application. So let's get right to it...

Read the tutorial here

Yahoo! Involvement Confirmed In Second Chinese Dissident Case

Court papers about cyberdissident Li Zhi confirm that Yahoo! collaborated with the Chinese authorities, according to media watchdog Reporters Without Borders. Yahoo! and local competitor Sina both provided evidence that allowed the Chinese to imprison Li.

Li, a 35-year-old ex-civil servant from Dazhou in south west China, was given an eight-year jail sentence in December 2003 for "inciting subversion" over comments criticising official corruption posted on online discussion groups. He was also accused of mixing with the banned China Democracy Party online.

"The Li Zhi verdict shows that all Internet sector companies are pulled in to help when the police investigate a political dissident," Reporters Without Borders said. "It is unacceptable that US firms should turn themselves into auxiliaries of a government that systematically tramples on the rights of Internet-users to freedom of expression."

The verdict showed that Yahoo! Hong Kong and Sina Beijing had supplied information confirming that Li Zhi had set up an email account using their services. It did not, however, say if the content of messages he sent or received had been handed over to the courts. Court documents revealed that a local telco helped police find Li's address and telephone number based on the IP address used to access Yahoo! and Sina email boxes.

Read the rest here

VMware Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge

Are you up for the challenge of creating the industry’s most innovative virtual appliance? VMware invites you to put your skills to the test, go head-to-head with your peers, and develop the best virtual appliance the industry has ever seen. Using open source or freely distributable components and/or your own code, create the most inventive and useful virtual appliance and win the $100,000 first prize! The Challenge is open to anyone worldwide and will be judged by a panel of industry experts with input from the community.
Why the Challenge? VMware's customers are building valuable virtual appliances to solve a variety of IT problems. The Challenge will make those appliances available to the whole community while rewarding their creators with cash and recognition

Learn More
Entry Information and Challenge Rules
Top Prizes and Judging Criteria
Judging Panel

Register here

Monday, February 27, 2006

Samsung Hires Brain Behind The iPod

The New York Times reports that Samsung has hired the same programming genius who helped make the iPod so great to design its own music player. They imply that the new Samsung device is just as innovative
Samsung's choice of Mr. Mercer also shows how much consumer electronics now rely on the powerful computing capabilities that defined personal computers two decades ago. Samsung is betting that it can win a share of the music market dominated by Apple by using new software that mimics what is found in powerful PC's. The Z5, shaped like a stick of gum, has a 1.8-inch color screen and a 35-hour battery life, and is priced at $199 to $249 to compete with the iPod Nano, which costs $149 to $249. Early reviews have been positive, and Samsung is hoping that the Z5 will work smoothly with the range of subscription music services that support the Microsoft PlaysForSure digital music standard

Read the whole New York Times article here

Apple Buying Disney?

Barron's is suggesting that with Steve Jobs on board as the number one shareholder of Disney, following Pixar's acquisition, that Disney is ripe for the plucking for an acquisition by Apple. But look at the numbers. Apple has a $60 billion market cap, and Disney's is over $50 billion. Apple's cash on hand is in the $10 billion range. "I think he has an open option," Barron's quoted analyst Christopher Whalen, a New York-based managing director of Institutional Risk Analytics. "Disney is badly undervalued right now. Jobs might get an opportunity to take it out."

IBM Octopiler

Cell's greatest strength is that there's a lot of hardware on that chip. And Cell's greatest weakness is that there's a lot of hardware on that chip. So Cell has immense performance potential, but if you want to make it programable by mere mortals then you need a compiler that can ingest code written in a high-level language and produce optimized binaries that fit not just a programming model or a microarchitecture, but an entire multiprocessor system. This isn't just a tall order, or even a doctoral dissertation. It's a generation's worth of doctoral research. Meanwhile, the PS3 is due out in 2006.

Octopiler is intended to become just such a compiler—one that can take in a sequential program that's written to a unified memory model, and output binaries that make efficient use of the massive, heterogeneous system-on-a-chip that is the Cell Broadband Engine. I say "intended to become," because judging from the paper the guys at IBM are still in the early stages of taming this many-headed beast. This is by no means meant to disparage all the IBM researchers who have done yeoman's work in their practically single-handed attempts to move the entire field of computer science forward by a quantum leap. No, the Octopiler paper is full of innovative ideas to be fleshed out at a further date, results that are "promising," avenues to be explored, and overarching approaches that seem likely to bear fruit eventually. But meanwhile, the PS3 is still due out in 2006.

Read the rest here

Friday, February 24, 2006

Microsoft To Embarrass Europeans

Microsoft is accusing the European Commission (EC) of denying it a fair defense in its long-running anti-trust case, so officials could nip off early for their Christmas hols.

That's just one of the claims Microsoft is laying at the door of the EC - a fact learned today after Redmond took the unprecedented step of publishing confidential documents and correspondence used in the case. Microsoft has also accused EC regulators and prosecutors of tardiness, laziness, acting illegally, and of a brazen desire to encourage cheaper knock-offs of Microsoft products. (Ed: And we thought that was just called "competition.")
At stake is a daily EC fine of $2.4m, which Microsoft hoped to sidestep in January by promising to publish source code for its Windows server communications protocols. Rather than jump at Microsoft's belated offer, the EC preferred instead to evaluate it and decide whether Microsoft was in compliance.

According to Microsoft, the EC had "not even bothered to read the most recent versions" of documents submitted before the December statement of objections and "waited many months before informing Microsoft that it believed changes were necessary".

"The second claim... concerning the usability of Microsoft's documentation, made an even more tardy appearance," Microsoft said, adding the EC's criticisms "ignore the inherent complexity of writing specifications for software as complex as the Windows server operating system communications protocols".

Microsoft continued: "Despite Microsoft's substantial and serious efforts to reach the ever-receding horizon of the commission's demands... the commission was not to be deterred from its pre-holiday rush to impose a punitive daily fine on Microsoft."

Microsoft said it would be unlawful for the EC to fine Microsoft, as it had failed to review the documentation it already had.

The company accused the EC of working at the behest of its competitors by "commanding the compulsory licensing of some of Microsoft's most valuable intellectual property". "It's no mystery why the commission refused to state its standard for compliance regarding interoperability information in clear written form," the company said.

Read Microsoft’s Response to the European Commission

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Google Page Creator

Google launched on Thursday a service that lets people create their own Web pages hosted by the Internet giant.

Google Page Creator, which is in beta, has sample layouts and lets people type in content, upload images and publish their pages, without knowing HTML. People can create multiple linked pages and are allowed 100MB of storage on the service.

The free service requires a Gmail account and supports either Internet Explorer 6.0 or Firefox 1.0, or higher.

If you go there now you will see the following message:
Google Page Creator is having a little trouble right now.This is not because of anything you did; it's just a little hiccup in our system that will hopefully go away soon. We apologize for the inconvenience, and recommend you try reloading this page.

Mac OS X Zero-Day Exploit Released (Extremely Critical)

Heise online is reporting that a new critical vulnerability for Mac OS X has been discovered and it appears to have ramifications beyond the Safari brows (thanks to SANS and SunbeltBLOG for the link). The problem is severe because a user simply needs to visit a malicious website and shell scripts with launch with zero user interaction!

The cause for this problem is that OS X will automatically launch shell scripts (even inside a ZIP file) when it's missing certain syntax at the beginning of the script.

You can determine whether your system is vulnerable by using this online demonstration provided by Heise Security. The demo attempts to open a Terminal window to display the contents of a folder. If you are running Mac OS X in its standard configuration and use Safari, the window will open without waiting for a prompt. The script could just as well delete all files accessible to the current user. At this point, no web pages are known to misuse this vulnerability. However, this could change quickly

Apple To Unveil 'fun products' Next Week

Apple Computer confirmed on Tuesday that it plans to introduce some "fun new products" next week, but declined to say more about what those products might be.

In an e-mail sent to journalists, the company merely said the invited scribes should come to Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters next Tuesday to learn more.

"Come see some fun, new products from Apple," the company said in its invitation.

Unlike past invitations, which hinted at which product Apple was targeting, the current invitation includes just a picture of a calendar with only the date Feb. 28 on it.

At January's Macworld Expo, Apple introduced the first of its Intel-based Macs, including a revamped iMac and the MacBook Pro laptop. The company also updated its iLife and iWork software products, but announced little in its music business, which now makes up more than half of the company's overall sales.

Read the rest here

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Microsoft Windows Vista Info

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT - news), the world's largest software maker, prematurely posted information about its much-anticipated Windows Vista operating system on one of its Web sites, the company said on Tuesday.

Microsoft disclosed information about a plan to release eight different editions of the new operating system on a company help page that was under development. The company has not made any official statements about the different versions of Windows Vista it plans to offer.

The company has since taken down the Web site and declined to confirm the information and said it will offer more details about the Vista launch, targeted for the second half of 2006, in the coming weeks.
Below are the 8 editions :

Windows Starter 2007 - Vista without Aero, probably meant for developing nations.

Windows Vista Home Basic - Basic Windows Vista for your single PC fam, doesn't sound like much going on here. Analagous to XP Home.

Windows Vista Home Basic N - European version of the same, but without Media Player (because of antitrust rulings against MS in the EU).

Windows Vista Home Premium - This is the one we're all probably gonna own. It's got Media Center functionality, Cable Card support, the whole home-media shebang.

Windows Vista Business - Think of it as XP Pro, but Vista.

Windows Vista Business N - Think of it as XP Pro, but Vista, but Euro.

Windows Vista Enterprise - Business version of Vista with numerous enterprise features, like Virtual PC, volume encryption, etc.

Windows Vista Ultimate - Love that name. This one does all of the above (and more); what else do you need to know? It's ultimate Windows

The page has been taken down of course, hasta la vista baby.....

Dell Seeks Damages From Man Called Dell

Web designer Paul Dell is asking for donations to help him defend himself against legal action and a claim for damages from computer maker Dell, Inc.

Paul Dell has been summoned to appear before the Tribunal de Grande Instance Paris because he owns Paul uses the web address to publicise his web design business, but is accused of parasitism and unfair competition. Dell America seeks €100, 000 in damages, €50,000 for Dell France, plus another €500 for every mention of the word Dell on his website.

A posse of Paul's friends have set up a page explaining why you should support him here. Or visit Paul's own site here.

Nikon Puts Wi-Fi, Anti-Blur Into Cameras

Nikon today unveiled its latest assault on the digital compact camera market: seven new Coolpix models, including the 8.1 megapixel, shake-resistant and Wi-Fi enabled P3, and the slimline S5 and S6 with their "wave-surface design" - it's curved, in other words - and a supercharged slideshow facility.

The P3 and P4 take the Coolpix family's resolution up to 8.1 megapixels. Both sport 3.5x zoom lenses with 4x digital zoom, and to prevent disappointing blurred shots they incorporate Nikon's latest vibration-reduction (VR) technology. There are two VR modes: one for everyday shaky-hand syndrome, the other to enable the camera to cope with moving subjects.

Read the rest here

IBM Claims Chip Breakthrough

Scientists at IBM say they have figured out how to produce smaller and more powerful microchips than previously thought possible.

It is hoped IBM's announcement at San Jose on Monday will mean the creation of miniscule microprocessors, which will save the IT manufacturing sector billions of dollars. The breakthrough revolves around the distance between the circuit-lines chip makers must "draw" onto the surface of a computer processor. IBM scientists declared they can now draw lines on silicon much closer together than ever before.

Current techniques are not expected to work on chips smaller than 32 nanometres. However, staff at IBM Research have created structures on a processor measuring 29.9 nanometres, using a form of deep-ultraviolet optical lithography.

This technology "prints" circuits onto chips in a method similar in principle to the way t-shirt manufacturers stamp images onto material using the silk-screening method.

Read the rest here

Monday, February 20, 2006

XULRunner Developer Preview Available

XULRunner is a Mozilla runtime package that can be used to bootstrap XUL+XPCOM applications that are as rich as Firefox and Thunderbird. It will provide mechanisms for installing, upgrading, and uninstalling these applications. XULRunner will also provide libxul, a solution which allows the embedding of Mozilla technologies in other projects and products.

XULRunner is a stable developer preview release based on the same codebase as Firefox It is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, in English. Please read the release notes for installation, uninstallation, and other information.

A XULRunner Tutorial
A short introduction to XULRunner.

Deploying XULRunner 1.8
XULRunner 1.8 is a stable developer preview release; here's how it can be used to deploy standalone XUL applications in a production environment.

Download XULRunner here

Microsoft Develops Skype For Mobile Phones

Microsoft has developed a Skype-style free internet voice service for mobile phones that City analysts believe could wipe billions off the market value of operators such as Vodafone.

The service is included in a mobile version of Microsoft Office Communicator due to be released this year. It will take the form of a voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) application that allows Office users to make free voice calls over wi-fi enabled phones running Windows Mobile software. It uses the internet as a virtual phone network as well as accessing e-mail, PowerPoint and other Office applications.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer dropped his bombshell at the mobile operators’ annual 3GSM show in Barcelona last week. The significance of his remarks was missed because of his effusive and eccentric delivery.

Trying to downplay the havoc Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile will wreak on the mobile telecoms industry, Ballmer chose a topical Valentine’s Day theme for his announcement. “I love the mobile industry and I love our operator partners, and I want to have that message precede all we’re about to show,” Ballmer said in Barcelona. He went on to demonstrate how a mobile phone running Windows Mobile can be used to make a free voice call over the internet. Ballmer told the audience: “That was a VoIP call.”

Ricky Gervais Podcast Not Free Anymore

The show features British comedy personalities Ricky Gervais, Steven Merchant and Karl Pilkington. Their irreverant brand of monkey-based comedy has seen the weekly half-hour podcast storm to the top of the iTunes charts and stay there.

The first run of 12 episodes was sponsored by UK newspaper the Guardian and were free to download via iTunes. Following on from the success of the show, the second run of episodes will be hosted on and will be accessible only to those who've paid a subscription fee.

iTunes doesn't currently support the purchasing of podcasts through its own store, but does allow the purchase of audio spoken content through its link with Audible, which can be accessed through the Music Store.

An Audible subscription to the show will cost $7 a month in the US and £4.50 a month in the UK. For the money, you'll get four half hour shows.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ajax Patterns and Best Practices

Apress has just published an Ajax book: Ajax Patterns and Best Practices
This book is not just about the technical, low-level details of the APIs, but about making things happen on both the client and server sides.

This book addresses the server side with the REST protocol. REST and Ajax blend elegantly together, but REST can also be used alone, with just a computer-to-computer solution. Like Ajax, REST can be used with today's existing technologies. Millions of client computers are now Ajax-ready, and millions of servers are REST-ready.

This is an ideal book whether or not you have already created an Ajax application. Because the book outlines various patterns and best practices, you can quickly check and verify that you’re building an efficient Ajax application.

Table of contents
About the Author
About the Technical Reviewer
CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Ajax
CHAPTER 2 The Nuts and Bolts of Ajax
CHAPTER 3 Content Chunking Pattern
CHAPTER 4 Cache Controller Pattern
CHAPTER 5 Permutations Pattern
CHAPTER 6 Decoupled Navigation Pattern
CHAPTER 7 Representation Morphing Pattern
CHAPTER 8 Persistent Communications Pattern
CHAPTER 9 State Navigation Pattern
CHAPTER 10 Infinite Data Pattern
CHAPTER 11 REST-Based Model View Controller Pattern

Get sample chapter 3 (Content Chunking Pattern ) here

The Amazon link is here if you are interested in purchasing this book

Advanced Requests And Responses In Ajax

IBM has published their latest Ajax article (Mastering Ajax, Part 3: Advanced requests and responses in Ajax, Gain a complete understanding of HTTP status codes, ready states, and the XMLHttpRequest object)
Everyone that works with Ajax should read this. What's in the article?

Digging deeper into HTTP ready states
Ready states in hiding
Viewing an in-progress request's ready state
Browser inconsistencies

Response data under the microscope
Viewing the response text during a request
Getting safe data

A closer look at HTTP status codes
200: Everything is OK
Redirection and rerouting

Additional request types
Making the request
Checking for a URL
Useful HEAD requests

The link to the article is here

Google Acquires Measure Map

According to the Google Blog, Google has acquired Measure Map, an analytics system for blogs, from Adaptive Path. There is a limited beta test up and running over at the Measure Map website
The cool thing about Measure Map is that you get all the stats in a nice user friendly format. Some of the stats are visitors, links, comments, posts and what country visitors are coming from. Sign up for the beta now on their website

Oracle Tried Buying Open-Source MySQL

Oracle tried to acquire open-source database maker MySQL, an indication of the profound changes the software giant is willing to make as it adapts to the increasingly significant collaborative programming philosophy.

MySQL Chief Executive Marten Mickos confirmed the acquisition attempt in an interview at the Open Source Business Conference here but wouldn't provide details such as when the approach was made or how much money Oracle offered.

He did, however, say why he turned down Oracle's offer: the desire to keep his company's independence. "We will be part of a larger company, but it will be called MySQL," Mickos said.

Oracle didn't immediately comment on the acquisition offer.

Read the rest of the article here

After that Oracle bought Sleepycat of course

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


PayPal has a 24% market share of U.S. online payments, according to financial-institution consulting firm Celent LLC. PayPal, founded in 1998, boasts 96 million accounts with consumers who want to send payments online without revealing their credit-card or banking information to vendors. To use the service, customers simply set up an account with their credit-card or bank-account details, fill out a payment amount and the email address of the recipient, and send the payment via the Internet to PayPal. If the recipient doesn't have an account, he simply opens one in order to collect the payment. The service gained traction on eBay and proved to be more popular than an in-house payment system it had been using.

But PayPal must now contend with Google. The Mountain View, Calif., Web-search giant, which has terrified Silicon Valley with its ability to quickly create new consumer products and services, is developing a rival service called GBuy. For the last nine months, Google has recruited online retailers to test GBuy, according to one person briefed on the service. GBuy will feature an icon posted alongside the paid-search ads of merchants, which Google hopes will tempt consumers to click on the ads, says this person. GBuy will also let consumers store their credit-card information on Google.

Google said that it has acknowledged publicly on many occasions that it is working on payment products. The company also said it already processes online payments for ad services, as well as fees from consumers who use features such as Google Store and Google Earth. It declined to comment on any pending products.

Read the full article here

Intel Woodcrest At 2.93GHz

Intel is set to ship its 'Woodcrest' processor, the first 65nm Xeon chip to be based on the chip giant's next-generation architecture, will ship at 2.93GHz and boast a 1333MHz frontside bus, a purported copy of the company's server roadmap posted on a Chinese-language website claims.

Woodcrest will run on top of Intel's 'Blackford' chipset, a part the company announced some time ago. It hasn't, so far as we can recall, mentioned 'Whitmore Lake', which appears on HKEPC's posting alongside the upcoming Xeon ULV, the low-voltage version of 'Sossaman', itself derived from Intel's Core Duo mobile processor.

The Xeon ULV will debut in H2, the roadmap indicates, and be supported by Whitmore Lake and Intel's existing E7520. Whitmore Lake will also support older low-voltage Pentium M parts pitched at ultra-dense servers.

Interestingly, the document claims Intel will also ship Sossaman under the Celeron brand. If accurate the roadmap suggests Intel plans to use the budget chip brand to push low-cost, dense server systems. Again, this is due to take place in H2.

Sun To Get Linux On UltraSPARC Via Xen

Sun has plans to offer the Linux set a bit of Niagara Viagra. Sun's engineers have been beavering away on a hypervisor layer that sits on the company's UltraSPARC T1 - aka Niagara - processor and allows operating systems such as Linux and BSD to run on the chip. More impressively, perhaps, Sun plans to merge its own hypervisor work with the open source Xen code.

Quite some time ago, Sun's software team began hammering away on something called "Project Q." This was an effort to run multiple operating systems in different partitions on the same server. The work done by the Project Q team first appeared on Sun's UltraSPARC T1 chip - only Sun didn't talk a whole lot about it.

As the OpenSPARC group explains it,
"Sun's UltraSPARC T1 processor has been designed to incorporate hypervisor technology in order to present a virtualized machine environment to any guest operating system running upon it. The resulting software model for a guest operating system is referred to as the 'sun4v' architecture.

"This virtual machine environment is implemented with a thin layer of firmware software (the 'UltraSPARC Hypervisor') coupled with hardware extensions providing protection. The UltraSPARC Hypervisor not only provides system services required by the operating system, but it also enables the separation of platform resources into self-contained partitions (logical domains) each capable of supporting an independent operating system image."

For some reason, the hypervisor technology has been largely ignored by the press and analysts. In a rare move, Sun has chosen not to hype it up either.

This could be because the likes of Red Hat and SuSE have shied from porting their versions of Linux over to UltraSPARC. There doesn't seem to be much motivation from the main Linux vendors to help Sun out with any non-x86 efforts. Although, we suspect this chap might be more open to the idea.

Read the rest here

Monday, February 13, 2006

Can We Trust Google?

An inside look at how success has changed Larry and Sergey's dream machine. Can they still be the good guys while running a company worth $100 billion?

It's time to make some big decisions, so the Google guys are slipping on their white lab coats. After eight years in the spotlight running a company that Wall Street values at more than $100 billion, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are still just in their early 30s and, with the stubbornness of youth, perhaps, and the aura of invincibility, keep doing things their way. So the white coats go on when it's time to approve new products. For a few hours, teams of engineers will come forward with their best ideas, hoping to dazzle the most powerful men...

Read the rest here (Time Magazine)

Ajax Desktops Try To Change The Rules Of The Game

As the Web matures into a richly intertwined ecosystem of shared content and open services, what some call The Web As Platform, some innovative companies are beginning to offer potentially disruptive products that leverage the Web's growing "platformness". Increasing in popularity in particular are what some people call Ajax desktops, or personalized start pages. Well exemplified by Microsoft's, but also by the likes of the popular Protopage and Netvibes, the interest in these online desktops is being driven by a confluence of factors.

Now, for those of you that haven't used Ajax desktops yet, they are a far cry from the HTML portals of yesterday. Yes, all of the new Ajax desktops do the traditional portal of work of gathering the content sources that interest you, from news and weather to your favorite blogs and bookmarks. But a number of things make the new online desktops a serious native desktop alternative that will increasingly compete with today's PC desktop, both on the Web and in the enterprise.

Value proposition for online Ajax desktops

One Stop - Centralized online consumption of content and services

Accessible Anywhere - Roaming accessibility from anywhere with Web connectivity

All Your Data - Easy integration of most existing information sources including e-mail, calendars, bookmarks, news, blogs, pictures, etc.

Engaging, Fun, Fast - Rich, interactive experiences that match native software

A Platform that Grows And Evolves - Open platform for in-browser third-party software add-ons ('s Gadgets and Pageflakes' Community Flakes)

Real Software Not Just Data - Increasing integration with Web 2.0 software applications like word processors, messaging, and wikis, plus rich Javascript widgets

Intelligent Consumption - Ad-hoc, decentralized, user guided content filtering and mashup creation

Read the rest here

Yahoo Offering Prizes to Search Users

Yahoo Inc. is considering offering free music downloads, discounts on DVD rentals and frequent-flier miles to users who make the Web site their primary search engine.

The possibility was disclosed in a recent online survey of some of Yahoo's e-mail users, intended to gauge interest in a rewards program, that detailed the idea and provided a list of potential incentives.

In contemplating such a program, Yahoo is showing the lengths to which it may go to try to erode Google Inc.'s dominance in search. But it also illustrates Yahoo's concerns about the rest of the industry, which has signaled increasing interest in offering users carrots for their loyalty.

Recipients of the survey were given a list of 10 possible rewards to choose from, including an advertisement-free version of Yahoo e-mail, five free music downloads per month, discounted subscriptions to Yahoo Music Unlimited, donations to charity, a discount on Netflix DVD-rental subscriptions and 250 frequent-flier miles that could be used on most major airlines.

Read the rest here

Botnet Attack Shuts Down Hospital Network

One day last year, things started going haywire at Northwest Hospital and Medical Center.
Key cards would no longer open the operating-room doors; computers in the intensive-care unit shut down; doctors' pagers wouldn't work.
This might have been just another computer-virus attack, a common and malicious scheme that sometimes is done for little more than bragging rights. But federal officials say it was something far more insidious.
It turns out the Seattle hospital's computers — along with up to 50,000 others across the country — had been turned into an army of robots controlled by 20-year-old Christopher Maxwell of Vacaville, Calif., according to a federal indictment issued Thursday. And Maxwell, along with two juveniles, earned about $100,000 in the process, court documents state.
The trio had created a "botnet," a phenomenon that is on the cutting edge of computer crime, federal officials say.
"Their goal was as old as fraud itself," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn

Christopher Maxwell is now facing felony conspiracy charges after unleashing a botnet attack that shut down the network of a Seattle hospital intensive care unit. This indictment comes a few weeks after another California man pled guilty to similar charges. Both attacks were attempts to make money off of adware affiliate programs


Half of the world's human population is infected with Toxoplasma, parasites in the body—and the brain.

Toxoplasma gondii is a common parasite found in the guts of cats; it sheds eggs that are picked up by rats and other animals that are eaten by cats. Toxoplasma forms cysts in the bodies of the intermediate rat hosts, including in the brain.

Since cats don't want to eat dead, decaying prey, Toxoplasma takes the evolutionarily sound course of being a "good" parasite, leaving the rats perfectly healthy. Or are they?

Oxford scientists discovered that the minds of the infected rats have been subtly altered. In a series of experiments, they demonstrated that healthy rats will prudently avoid areas that have been doused with cat urine. In fact, when scientists test anti-anxiety drugs on rats, they use a whiff of cat urine to induce neurochemical panic.

However, it turns out that Toxoplasma-ridden rats show no such reaction. In fact, some of the infected rats actually seek out the cat urine-marked areas again and again. The parasite alters the mind (and thus the behavior) of the rat for its own benefit.

If the parasite can alter rat behavior, does it have any effect on humans?

Read the rest here

Friday, February 10, 2006

Intel Shows Quad Core CPU Clovertown

Clovertown, a four-core processor, will start shipping to computer manufacturers late this year and hit the market in early 2007. Clovertown will be made for dual-processor servers, which means that these servers will essentially be eight-processor servers (two processors x four cores each).

The company will also come out with a previously announced version called Tigerton around the same time for servers with four or more processors.

Core expansion will be a dominant theme for Intel over the next few years, said Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner. By the end of the decade, chips with tens of cores will be possible, while in 10 years, it's theoretically possible that chips with hundreds of cores will come out, he added.

Rattner showed off a computer running two Clovertown processors

By working with one server application developer, Intel determined that it needed to make three small changes to the architecture of one of its future server chips. Before the changes, the application only ran well in simulations on chips with 16 cores. After that, performance began to decline, Rattner said.

After the changes, performance continued to climb. "We got it to scale well past 32" cores, he said.

Another pending change to chip design to accommodate problems that arise with core multiplication are Through Silicon Vias, or TSVs. With TSVs, processors and memory chips are stacked up and connected through tiny wires; the top of one chip wires directly into the bottom of another. Currently, chips connect through buses, long data paths that have become as crowded as rush-hour freeways in some computers.

Clovertown and Tigerton are members of a new chip architecture coming from Intel at the end of the year. A notebook chip called Merom and a desktop chip called Conroe coming out around the same time will be based on the same architecture. Intel will give the architecture a name at the Intel Developer Forum taking place in March.

Rattner indicated that Merom and Conroe will only be dual-core chips, as many analysts expect.

Oracle To Buy JBOSS, Zend and Sleepycat

The open-source community may be in for a jolt. Oracle (ORCL) is plotting what could be the biggest endorsement yet by a mainstream software company for a movement that involves legions of developers across the globe who publish "open" software distributed freely over the Net, making money instead from support and maintenance.
Oracle is in talks to buy at least three open-source software companies in deals that could be valued at more than $600 million

The largest of the three targets is Atlanta-based JBoss, which specializes in so-called middleware, the software that serves as a connection between disparate programs. JBoss competes with traditional software companies like BEA Systems (BEAS), IBM, and, to some degree, Oracle

Also in Oracle's crosshairs: closely held Zend, based in Cupertino, Calif. Zend's PHP software language is one of the most prevalent on the Web, present in more than 18 million Web sites. The company, which snared headlines last year when Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen joined its board, has been trying to extend its success with the Web into business applications. Zend could sell for $200 million, according to one source.

The third is Emeryville (Calif.)-based Sleepycat Software, which makes technology used in many of the open-source databases that handle reams of digital data. The Sleepycat deal, likely to be the smallest of the three, is expected to be announced as soon as Feb. 13. It's not clear how soon the others will be announced, and they're unlikely to be unveiled in conjunction. However, talks with all three are advanced, say some of the people involved, who asked not to be identified.

Read the whole article here

EFF Warns Not To Use Google Desktop

Google Copies Your Hard Drive - Government Smiles in Anticipation
Consumers Should Not Use New Google Desktop

Google announced a new "feature" of its Google Desktop software that greatly increases the risk to consumer privacy. If a consumer chooses to use it, the new "Search Across Computers" feature will store copies of the user's Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other text-based documents on Google's own servers, to enable searching from any one of the user's computers. EFF urges consumers not to use this feature, because it will make their personal data more vulnerable to subpoenas from the government and possibly private litigants, while providing a convenient one-stop-shop for hackers who've obtained a user's Google password.

"Coming on the heels of serious consumer concern about government snooping into Google's search logs, it's shocking that Google expects its users to now trust it with the contents of their personal computers," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "Unless you configure Google Desktop very carefully, and few people will, Google will have copies of your tax returns, love letters, business records, financial and medical files, and whatever other text-based documents the Desktop software can index. The government could then demand these personal files with only a subpoena rather than the search warrant it would need to seize the same things from your home or business, and in many cases you wouldn't even be notified in time to challenge it. Other litigants—your spouse, your business partners or rivals, whoever—could also try to cut out the middleman (you) and subpoena Google for your files."

The privacy problem arises because the Electronic Communication Privacy Act of 1986, or ECPA, gives only limited privacy protection to emails and other files that are stored with online service providers—much less privacy than the legal protections for the same information when it's on your computer at home. And even that lower level of legal protection could disappear if Google uses your data for marketing purposes. Google says it is not yet scanning the files it copies from your hard drive in order to serve targeted advertising, but it hasn't ruled out the possibility, and Google's current privacy policy appears to allow it.

"This Google product highlights a key privacy problem in the digital age," said Cindy Cohn, EFF's Legal Director. "Many Internet innovations involve storing personal files on a service provider's computer, but under outdated laws, consumers who want to use these new technologies have to surrender their privacy rights. If Google wants consumers to trust it to store copies of personal computer files, emails, search histories and chat logs, and still 'not be evil,' it should stand with EFF and demand that Congress update the privacy laws to better reflect life in the wired world."

Is Google becoming Evil?

The EFF link is here

Thursday, February 09, 2006

ADVISE (Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement)

The US government is developing a massive computer system that can collect huge amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity.
The system - parts of which are operational, parts of which are still under development - is already credited with helping to foil some plots. It is the federal government's latest attempt to use broad data-collection and powerful analysis in the fight against terrorism. But by delving deeply into the digital minutiae of American life, the program is also raising concerns that the government is intruding too deeply into citizens' privacy.

The core of this effort is a little-known system called Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE). Only a few public documents mention it. ADVISE is a research and development program within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), part of its three-year-old "Threat and Vulnerability, Testing and Assessment" portfolio. The TVTA received nearly $50 million in federal funding this year.

A major part of ADVISE involves data-mining - or "dataveillance," as some call it. It means sifting through data to look for patterns. If a supermarket finds that customers who buy cider also tend to buy fresh-baked bread, it might group the two together. To prevent fraud, credit-card issuers use data-mining to look for patterns of suspicious activity.

What sets ADVISE apart is its scope. It would collect a vast array of corporate and public online information - from financial records to CNN news stories - and cross-reference it against US intelligence and law-enforcement records. The system would then store it as "entities" - linked data about people, places, things, organizations, and events, according to a report summarizing a 2004 DHS conference in Alexandria, Va. The storage requirements alone are huge - enough to retain information about 1 quadrillion entities, the report estimated. If each entity were a penny, they would collectively form a cube a half-mile high - roughly double the height of the Empire State Building.

Starlight has already helped foil some terror plots, says Jim Thomas, one of its developers and director of the government's new National Visualization Analytics Center in Richland, Wash. He can't elaborate because the cases are classified, he adds. But "there's no question that the technology we've invented here at the lab has been used to protect our freedoms - and that's pretty cool."

Read the complete article here

Pink Slips for Oracle, Siebel And PeopleSoft Employees

With the megamerger between Oracle and Siebel Systems closed, Wall Street analysts are forecasting pink slips for Siebel employees.

But Siebel, a large vendor of customer relationship management (CRM) software, may not be the only one to feel the pain. Analysts have noted that Oracle employees involved with its own CRM efforts may find themselves displaced.

Oracle on Thursday plans to discuss its integration path and business outlook for the combined companies, during a conference call with analysts.

Oracle has previously indicated it plans to use Siebel's technology as its core CRM product and, as a result, Oracle's CRM sales and marketing team may feel the deepest cuts, Di Bona noted.

Administrative Siebel employees, such as those in finance and human resources, will likely encounter the heaviest cuts, he added.

We have been hearing that further headcount reductions among PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards employees may occur shortly as the company begins to implement its longer-term vision for Fusion

Maybe we should call this Oracle Fusion

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Krugle Announces Search Engine For Source Code At DEMO Conference

DEMO 2006
Krugle, Inc. unveiled its search engine for source code and related technical content. The Krugle search solution promises to deliver easy access to code and other highly relevant technical information in a single, convenient, easy-to-use interface.

“Krugle is a search engine for programmers”, said Krugle Co-Founder and CEO, Steve Larsen “Today programming is more about efficiently assembling and integrating code, than it is about writing new code from scratch. The problem is, finding and evaluating the available code takes too much time. That’s the problem Krugle solves”.

Finding Code: Finding, evaluating and downloading the right code is a common developer task that consumes massive amounts of developer time. “This process has difficulties because of the way software projects and components are currently accessed on the Internet”, notes Ken Krugler, Krugle’s co-founder and CTO. ”While current search engines are OK at finding Web pages, they don’t crawl source code repositories, archives or knowledge bases, and they don’t leverage the inherent structure of code to support the types of searches programmers need”.

Finding Answers: Developers sift through many separate pieces of information (project information, documentation, license information, tips & hints, user reviews, legal information) must be considered when making decisions on what code to use. Krugle delivers the precise information a programmer needs to solve their immediate problem.

Beyond Search: Krugle also improves communication between programmers by allowing them to add their commentary in a layer that floats above the source code. In addition, Krugle allows programmers to permanently tag code, and sets of search results, and easily share them with their colleagues.

“The implications of the open source movement are dramatic and can’t be understated,” noted Chris Shipley, Executive Producer of the DEMO Conferences. “Everyone agrees that open source is the wave of the future, and Krugle is riding that wave by helping programmers find the code they need to do their job”.

Borland To Sell Borland Developer Studio

Borland Software Corporation (NASDAQ NM: BORL), today announced aggressive plans to drive its Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) business forward. As part of that plan, Borland has agreed to buy Segue Software Inc. (NASDAQ CM: SEGU), the Massachusetts-based provider of global software quality and testing solutions. In addition, Borland announced plans to seek a buyer for the portion of its business associated with the Integrated Development Environment (IDE), including the award-winning Borland Developer Studio (Delphi®, C++Builder® and C#Builder®) and JBuilder® product lines.

Both actions are significant milestones in Borland’s strategy to secure leadership in the growing ALM sector and expand its ability to offer organizations solutions that make software delivery a more predictable and manageable business process.

“Segue’s quality optimization products and services will add significantly to our growing portfolio of application lifecycle management solutions,” said Tod Nielsen, Borland president and chief executive officer. “This is a natural extension of our focus to expand beyond development and into software delivery, helping companies increase business value through successful software initiatives.”

Nielsen continued: “The decision to expand our emphasis on ALM, and at the same time enable our IDE business to get the attention it deserves, enables us to do what’s right for our business, what’s right for our customers, and what’s right for the future of software development.”

IBM Kicks Power6 To 6GHz

IBM has carved out a renegade path for the upcoming Power6 processor, opting to crank the chip's clock speed much higher while rivals shy away from major gigahertz boosts with their products.

The Power6 chip will run between 4GHz and 5GHz, and has been shown to hum away at 6GHz in the lab. IBM reckons that some process technology breakthroughs have allowed it to kick the frequency higher while still keeping heat and power consumption issues under control. All told, IBM claims that Power6 will be twice as fast as competing server processors from Intel, AMD and Sun Microsystems.

"There's nobody looking at anything like this. We have a more highly integrated chip that is multi-core and we are increasing the frequency - we are turning up both knobs at once when the industry is going the other way and turning [the frequency] knob down," Bernie Myerson, chief technology officer in IBM's systems group, told the Financial Times.

Read the rest here

SWsoft Releases New Virtuozzo For Linux And Windows

SWsoft today rolled out a major upgrade for its Linux product and a fresh tweak for its Microsoft code as well.

Virtuozzo for Linux 3.0 stands as the most significant upgrade to SWsoft's server slicing product since 2002. The new software includes several upgrades for keeping servers up and running and for simplifying management. On the Microsoft front, SWsoft pushed out version 3.5.1 of its Windows product with a new tool for turning a physical server into a virtual one.

Virtuozzo is the only virtualization technology for commodity Linux and Windows platforms which allows workloads to scale to large SMP, high memory systems without scalability or performance degradation," said Serguei Beloussov, the CEO at SWsoft. "With these new capabilities, we are bringing the advantages of efficient virtualization technology to an even wider range of organizations by making it even easier to configure and administer highly available virtual servers."

SWsoft competes against the likes of VMware, Microsoft and XenSource. In the past, the software maker has targeted service providers looking to run hundreds or thousands of virtual servers. Of late, it has expanded this attack by going after large, corporate customers.

Beloussov admits that VMware is the clear market leader based on its impressive number of customers but believes SWsoft offers a performance advantage over rivals and a wide variety of management tools.

With Virtuozzo for Linux 3.0, customers will find a "zero downtime migration" feature. As you might expect from the name, this technology makes it possible to move a virtual server from one physical server to another without interrupting the software. This free tool can work without the aid of separate, shared storage.

SWsoft has also cut back on the basic configuration settings needed to set up a virtual server. In the past, administrators had to deal with tens of options, but they can now pick from the basics - memory, disk, networking and CPU - when creating a virtual server. Complementing this advance are a new set of configuration templates.

The Windows product refresh includes a GUI package that makes it possible for administrators to do the drag and drop thing between physical and virtual servers. The technology will make sure a virtual server can deliver the same performance as a physical server before shifting a workload.

Opera 9 Now Available With Widgets And BitTorrent

Technical Preview 2 of the upcoming Opera 9.0 browser (codenamed Merlin) is now available for download. In addition to the general bugfix and rendering improvements there's also new features:

Opera Widgets – Widgets are small AJAX applications that provide specific functionality – like getting your favorite news, converting currency and so on

BitTorrent – BitTorrent has become one of the most popular file transfer protocols around. We built it right into the browser so you can download torrent files easily. No more hassle finding the right port, no worries about setting upload and download speed

Customize your search engines – Use your favorite search engine in the search box. Go to the site you want and right click on the search field site and click on the search field. You will then be prompted to “create search”

Improved content blocker – Cosmetic surgery for Web pages. Just right click on a page and select “block content”. Any content not greyed out can be blocked with a click. Select “done” and see the page the way you want.

Improved pop-up blocker – Just try it with some nasty popups. We added more intelligence to help weed out even more pop-ups. But since not all pop-ups are created equal, use the trash can to retrieve pop-ups you may want

Site specific preferences – For those of you who want to control settings for specific pages. Want to accept some cookies and deny others? How about setting your own style sheet to make the site more accessible? Just right click on the page and select “Site preferences”.

Thumbnail preview – Opera conserves system resources and uses less memory than other browsers so it's easy to have many tabs open at once. But just what tab had that video you wanted? Using the thumbnail feature, you can find out by resting the mouse on any tab

Download Opera 9 Technology Preview 2

Novell Announced Public Availability Of The Xgl Code

Novell is announcing its contribution of the Xgl graphics subsystem and the 'Compiz ' compositing manager to the project. These enhancements open up a whole world of hardware acceleration, fancy animation, separating hardware resolution from software resolution, and more. As a result, Linux desktops will become more usable, end-user productivity will increase, and Linux is firmly positioned at the forefront of client computing technology.
Under the leadership of Novell's David Reveman, Novell has sponsored and led the development of this powerful new graphics subsystem for Linux since late 2004. Xgl is the X server architecture layered on top of OpenGL and takes advantage of available accelerated 3D rendering hardware. It is designed to integrate well with the composite extension and performs best when a compositing manager is running. 'Compiz' is the new OpenGL compositing manager from Novell and is the framework that enables the development of graphical plug-ins.
Both projects are being hosted on and the latest code can be found in the CVS repository.

Link to source code and tarballs for public download: (The latest Xgl source code can be found in the xg-0-0-1 branch of the Xorg tree).

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


WorldChanging has a lengthy interview with Chris Phoenix and Mike Treder of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, a non-profit group helping to make sure molecular manufacturing is developed as safely as possible. In the article they talk about their policy task force (which includes folks like Ray Kurzweil, David Brin, and Jaron Lanier), the risks and benefits of nanofactories, and why open source is so important to the responsible development of nanotechnology

Some of the questions are:

What is the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology hoping to make happen?

How does the "responsible" approach differ from something like the "Precautionary Principle?" What's your take on the concept of "precaution" applied to emerging technologies?

It seems to me that manufacturing via nanofactories will require some different concepts of the manufacturing process than the automated assembly-line model most of us probably have in mind when we think of "factories." Parallel to early design work on the hardware end, has there been much work done on the software/design end of how nanofactories would work

What makes nanofactories so different from traditional production methods

The degree to which research is largely corporate, academic or governmental will obviously vary from country to country. Who are some of the organizations doing innovative work in nanotech?

To what degree is nanotechnology research a province of the big industrial countries, and to what degree is it accessible to forward-looking developing countries (what we term on WorldChanging the "leapfrog nations")?

Read the whole article with the answers here

Monday, February 06, 2006

Google Delists BMW Germany

Google has flexed its muscles and dropped BMW Germany from its search engine following the German car manufacturer’s attempts to artificially boost its popularity ranking.

The move is likely to send shockwaves through the Internet industry over fears that one company has such power and effect over a websites access to the public.

The delisting was reported by Matt Cutts, a software engineer at Google, who works to stop websites tricking the system by featuring hidden text or different content from what the website visitor sees.

In his blog, Cutts wrote that the methods used by BMW were a violation of the search engine's guidelines, and that a second company, camera maker will be removed soon for similar reasons shortly.

Read the rest here

AMD Demonstrating Quad-Core Chips In Mid-2006

Advanced Micro Devices’ quad-core processors will be demonstrated as early as in the middle of this year and, perhaps, will be unveiled even earlier than expected according to some analysts. The forthcoming chips with four processing engines will be demonstrated on the next-generaion AMD server platforms that will ship this year.
“To go from single-core to dual-core to quad-core on the same platform, that has never been done in the industry,” said Marty Seyer, a senior vice president of AMD, reports InformationWeek web-site.
AMD plans to unveil server processors with virtualization technology and faster DDR2 memory support in mid-2006 and also to demonstrate its quad-core microprocessors in the same timeframe, the company is reported to have announced. The demonstrations will be carried out on the newly available server platforms for AMD Opteron processors, according to the web-site.
“When AMD rolls out dual-core processors with built-in virtualization hooks midyear, the company also aims to demo quad-core processors running on its current server platform,” Mr. Seyer is reported to have said.
It is expected that AMD’s dual-core processors with new memory controller and virtualization capabilities as well as quad-core processors will use a different socket and will sport DDR2 memory, two fundamentally different things from the current server platform by AMD.
AMD’s quad-core processors are due out in early 2007, but some industry analysts have said AMD could release them by the end of this year.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Sun Announces New Opteron And SPARC Workstations

Sun Microsystems has jazzed up its workstation line with a pair of new systems - one for the Opteron set and another for the UltraSPARC hangers-on.
Both the Ultra 40 (Opteron) and Ultra 45 (UltraSPARC IIIi) workstations ship as two-socket boxes. Sun says they're the best performers in its workstation line. Complementing the horsepower, the systems arrive with a free license for Sun's N1 Grid Engine 6 software.

The Ultra 40 runs on the single and dual-core Opteron 200 Series processors. It also supports Nvidia's nForce Professional 2200 and 2050 GPUs, up to 8 memory slots, 2 PCI slots, 2 PCI Express-x16 slots and 2 PCI Express-x4 slots. Sun prefers that you run Solaris 10 x86 on the hardware, but it will support Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SuSE Enterprise Server and Windows XP Professional in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors of each.

Kama Sutra Worm Starts Today (Officially)

The destructive Kama Sutra worm has begun thrashing files on infected machines with incorrectly set system clocks. Even though the worm is programmed to first delete files on infected machines on Friday (February 3), its deadline is based on the clock of infected Windows PCs. Finnish anti-virus firm F-Secure says it has already received two reports from users who've had files on their system overwritten by the worm.
The Kama Sutra worm (AKA Nyxem-D or Blackworm) first appeared on January 18, posing as a email message offering a variety of salacious content. Subject lines used in the malicious emails include: The Best Videoclip Ever, Fw: SeX.mpg, Miss Lebanon 2006 and Fuckin Kama Sutra pics. The worm only affects Windows PCs.

Windows users who fall for this ruse wind up with an infected machine and disabled security software. Worse still, Nyxem-D is also programmed to overwrite files on Friday February 3, and the third day of every month thereafter. The worm overwrites DOC, XLS, MDB, MDE, PPT, PPS, ZIP, RAR, PDF, PSD and DMP files on all mounted drives.

Read the rest here

RIAA Sues Home Health Aide

Marie Lindor, a home health aide who has never bought, used, or even turned on a computer in her life, but was nevertheless sued by the RIAA in Brooklyn federal court for using an "online distribution system" to "download, distribute, and/or make available for distribution" plaintiff's music files, has requested a pre-motion conference in anticipation of making a summary judgment motion dismissing the complaint and awarding her attorneys fees under the Copyright Act.Request for pre-motion conference for summary judgment motion
So the RIAA is really getting out of control, how do they find people like this?

Maybe they use this method
1. Rip pages out of telephone book
2. Pin pages to the wall
3. Throw dart
4. Sue based on the result
5. Profit!!!
(6. Repeat again)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

WMF Exploit Sold Underground for $4,000

Virus hunters combing through the wreckage of the zero-day WMF (Windows Metafile) attacks have found evidence that exploit code was being peddled by Russian hacker groups for $4,000 a pop.

The first sign of an exploit was traced back to the middle of December 2005, a full two weeks before anti-virus vendors started noticing mysterious WMF files rigged with malicious executable code, says Alexander Gostev, a senior virus analyst at Kaspersky Lab.
"One very important aspect of this case is that the vulnerability was first identified by members of the computer underground," Gostev said.
"Around the middle of December, this exploit could be bought from a number of specialized sites. [Two or three] hacker groups from Russia were selling this exploit for $4,000," he added, confirming a widely held suspicion that a lucrative market exists for code that can exploit unpatched Windows

Read the rest here

Yellow Laser

I first heard about yellow lasers while listening to TWIT (This Week In Tech) One of the guests was Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple computers. He has a collection of different lasers; blue, purple and recently he got a yellow one. Although the price at this moment is $299 the price should drop to less than $20 in a couple of years after demand increases
The yellow laser pointer is currently available in the standard <2mW output power. If you need higher output power, a 5mW version is also available
If you want one now go to

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Eclipse AJAX Toolkit Framework (ATF) Project

IBM and several other software companies have proposed an open-source project to simplify development tools for AJAX-style Web development.

Called Open Ajax, the proposed open-source project will be based on IBM-donated code designed to let software developers use the Eclipse development tool to write Web applications using AJAX.

AJAX Toolkit Framework (ATF) will provide extensible frameworks and exemplary tools for building IDEs for the many different AJAX runtime offerings (Dojo, Zimbra, etc) in the market. These frameworks will contain features for developing, deploying, debugging and testing AJAX applications. Tools built upon these frameworks will initially include: enhanced JavaScript editing features such as edit-time syntax checking; an embedded Mozilla web browser; an embedded DOM browser; and an embedded JavaScript debugger. Because it is a framework, ATF will provide for the development and incorporation of additional AJAX development tooling. ATF will use existing Eclipse extensions for web application deployment so that the environment will be "server agnostic" - that is, a developer may easily extend the framework to deploy their AJAX application to an arbitrary new class of server. Initial adapters will include a J2EE / JSP adapter and an Apache / PHP adapter. An additional and unique aspect of the framework is the Personality Builder function, which assists in the construction of arbitrary AJAX runtime frameworks, thus allowing those runtimes to be used with ATF tools.

ATF Tools
Note that the initial contribution focuses heavily on the use of Mozilla because the Mozilla system offers cross-platform interfaces to enable such things as JavaScript Debugging. However, as a framework, ATF exposes a prototype API that would allow for the incorporation of arbitrary browsers with comparable function as they become available.

Enhanced JavaScript Editing Features
Batch and as-you-type syntax validation
JavaScript Debugger
Tight integration with Eclipse debug UI to provide flow control in browser runtime and the ability to examine JavaScript code and variables
Embedded Browser
Access to browser's DOM, e.g., Mozilla XPCOM
DOM Inspector / JavaScript Console
Mozilla tools integration for DHTML developers as Eclipse Views.

Rhino, JSLint
Used for JavaScript syntax validation
XULRunner with JavaConnect
Mozilla-specific code to enable the embedding of the Mozilla browser within a Java container (Eclipse)
AJAX Runtime
ATF is tooling for arbitrary AJAX runtimes. The initial distribution will include tooling support for
Note: one or more of these initial AJAX runtimes may move to, but whether the runtimes are part of is irrelevent to this proposal.
Eclipse Platform 3.2 and WTP 1.0

Interested Parties
Support has been expressed by:

Read the complete proposal here

Intel Will Add Enhanced SpeedStep To 65nm Desktop Chips

Intel is updating its 'Presler' and 'Cedar Mill' 65nm desktop cores to improve the part's power consumption by adding support for the chip maker's Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST).
The upgrade affects the dual-core Pentium D 920, 930, 940 and 950, clocked at 2.8, 3.0, 3.2 and 3.4GHz, respectively. Sample of the updated core, dubbed 'C-1', will ship on February 24 with a view to product shipments coming through after April 5

The effects on system builders will be minimal, according to Intel. The most noticeable change is that the 940 will consume on average 95W rather than 130W.

Read the complete article here


Mozilla SeaMonkey 1.0 has been released

The SeaMonkey Council is proud to announce SeaMonkey 1.0, the first end-user release of their internet suite. This open source application, available as a free download from its website, features a state-of-the-art web browser and powerful email client, as well as a WYSIWYG web page composer and a feature-rich IRC chat client. For web developers,'s DOM inspector and JavaScript debugger tools are included as well. SeaMonkey 1.0 is one of the most complete, powerful, and secure internet software packages available today.
SeaMonkey comes with the the look and feel familiar to users of its predecessors, the Mozilla Application Suite and Netscape Communicator packages, but adds many new features as well as back-end changes that improve security, stability and performance. Some highlights are: drag&drop reordering of tabs, phishing e-mail detection, support for a single shared inbox when using multiple accounts, and support for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).
The SeaMonkey project is a community-based project hosted at that emerged around Mozilla's suite codebase when the Mozilla Foundation announced it would discontinue further development of its suite product. The new project is dedicated to keeping this suite alive and developing it into an even more modern and complete internet software package.