Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How To Delete Files to Prevent Crashes in OS X 10.5.6

Apple has recently posted several articles that offer advice on how to prevent crashes and freezes related to the Mac OS X 10.5.6 update. The fixes all involve deleting files, most often heretofore little-known system files.

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BBC: UK housewives rule in online time

A survey of more than 27,000 web users in 16 countries has shown that the Chinese spend the largest fraction of their leisure time online.

However, UK housewives spend even more than China's average - 47%. The study was conducted by global market information group TNS, which asked 27,522 people aged between 18 and 55 to answer questions about their web use and compared respondents' faith in traditional versus online media.

Read the full story BBC story

All 30GB Zunes Fail!

Apparently, the players of those few silly people who did not buy Apple iPods began freezing at about midnight last night, becoming totally unresponsive and practically useless. 

"Apparently, around 2:00 AM today, the Zune models either reset, or were already off. Upon when turning on, the thing loads up and... freezes with a full loading bar (as pictured above). I thought my brother was the only one with it, but then it happened to my Zune. Then I checked out the forums and it seems everyone with a 30GB HDD model has had this happen to them"

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Student loans turn into crushing burden for students

Natalie Hickey picked up $140k in student debt, some of it at interest rates as high as 18%. Her monthly payments are roughly $1,700, more than her rent and car payment combined. Caught in an increasingly common trap in the nation's $85-billion student loan market, Hickey borrowed heavily, presuming that all her debt was part of the federal loans

Hickey knew she would need loans to complete her degree, so she went to the campus financial aid office as a freshman. After she filled out paperwork, Brooks Institute set her up in a loan program administered by Sallie Mae, the nation's biggest student lender.

Sallie Mae was chartered by the federal government in 1972, and most of its business is in issuing federally insured student loans. But while it may appear to be a quasi-government agency, it is in fact a for-profit company whose stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Hickey ended up with $20,000 in low-interest federally guaranteed loans issued by Sallie Mae, and $120,000 in higher-interest private loans issued by Sallie Mae.

Hickey said no one explained the difference to her.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Guys you have lost the coin toss but perhaps not the war. Are Romantic Movies Bad For You?

Researchers are beginning to ask whether the make-believe world projected in "rom-coms" might actually be preventing true love in real life.

They found that problems typically reported by couples in relationship counseling at their counseling center reflect misconceptions about love and romance depicted in Hollywood films.

Relationship counselors often face common misconceptions in their clients — that if your partner truly loves you they'd know what you need without you communicating it, that your soul mate is predestined. We did a rigorous content analysis of romantic comedies and found that the same issues were being portrayed in these films," the university's Dr Bjarne Holmes says.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Massive iPod Touch Sales Over Christmas

Apple's new iPod Touch appears to have been a huge hit this holiday season with evidence that the high end iPod has seen massive gains in marketshare.

read more | digg story

Saturday, December 27, 2008

iPhone Trumps Storm In Customer Satisfaction

Owners of the iPhone 3G were more satisfied than BlackBerry Storm owners, but RIM is well positioned for the next quarter, according to a report. The touch-screen BlackBerry Storm has helped Research In Motion (NSDQ: RIMM) on the sales side, but a new report from ChangeWave said customers are more satisfied with Apple's iPhone 3G.In a survey of 4,000 U.S. cell phone owners, 77% of iPhone owners said they were "very satisfied" with the device. By contrast, only 33% of Storm owners said they were "very satisfied" with their handset. Additionally, 14% of Storm owners said they were "unsatisfied" with it, while only 5% of iPhone owners said the same.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Nation's First 'Underwater Wind Turbine' Installed

The USA's first commercial hydrokinetic turbine, which harnesses the power from moving water without the construction of a dam, has splashed into the waters of the Mississippi River near Hastings, Minnesota.

The 35-kilowatt turbine is positioned downstream from an existing hydroelectric-plant dam and — together with another turbine to be installed soon — will increase the capacity of the plant by more than 5 percent. The numbers aren't big, but the rig's installation could be the start of an important trend in green energy.

And that could mean more of these "wind turbines for the water" will be generating clean energy soon.
"We don't require that massive dam construction, we're just using the natural flow of the stream," said Mark Stover, a vice president at Hydro Green Energy, the Houston-based company leading the project. "It's underwater windpower if you will, but we have 840 or 850 times the energy density of wind."

read more | digg story

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Firefox picks up 2 out of 3 users IE loses

FireFox is predicted to hit more than 21% market share in Dec, IE will drop below 69%. There is also a conclusion that FireFox is stealing more IE users than any other browser out there. 

Internet Explorer 7 is somewhat stable, but shows a tendency to drop. Internet Explorer 6 is on a clear path of decline. Current market share highs during the week are at about 22%, down from more than 25% three months ago. The lows are at about 15%, down from about 18% in October. It is clear that IE7 is not picking up the market share IE6 drops, but what about IE8 (beta)? The browser is showing strong growth, but the growth is based on a base line market share of just 0.48%. There is continuous adoption of the browser, which is now expected to be in the range of about 10 million, give or take a few hundred thousand users. Considering the current trend and estimates that IE may have lost almost 50 - 70 million users this year, IE8 is clearly not picking up users fast enough.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chinese Electric Cars Coming to America

EASTON, Pa. — Wuzheng North America, which recently made headlines by bringing in China-made pickup trucks, has made a deal with another Chinese company, to sell electric vehicles here.

The Jinan Flybo Motor Company's flagship is called the XFD-6000ZK. The name is almost longer than the vehicle, which measures 102.3 inches long on a 71-inch wheelbase and looks similar to the Smart car from certain angles. The XFD-6000ZK is "100 percent legal for on-road use," the company says.

The Flybo minicar can get you where you want to go electrically. It's now being sold by a U.S. distributor. (Photo courtesy of

Microsoft Warns of SQL Attack

Just days after patching a critical flaw in its Internet Explorer browser, Microsoft is now warning users of a serious bug in its SQL Server database software.

Microsoft issued a security advisory late Monday, saying that the bug could be exploited to run unauthorized software on systems running versions of Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005.

Attack code that exploits the bug has been published, but Microsoft said that it has not yet seen this code used in online attacks. Database servers could be attacked using this flaw if the criminals somehow found a way to log onto the system, and Web applications that suffered from relatively common SQL injection bugs could be used as stepping stones to attack the back-end database, Microsoft said.

Desktop users running the Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine or SQL Server 2005 Express could be at risk in some circumstances, Microsoft said.

Grab your BFG and play Doom in your browser

Yes, Doom 1 has been recompiled in Flash from the original source. It plays just like I remembered the original, and could definitely become a giant Time Waster for anyone else who was hooked on Doom when it was first released. Adobe Flash 10 is required.

read more | digg story

Monday, December 22, 2008

Blow into the iBreath and your iPod plays a blood-alcohol al

The accessory's maker hopes the iPod's cool factor will overcome any stigma of being responsible and using a breathalyzer.

Now the iPod can answer the question: Am iDrunk?

A new product called the iBreath turns Apple Inc.'s iPod into an alcohol breathalyzer. The $79 accessory plugs into the base of the iPod and functions like a field sobriety test. The person using the iBreath exhales into a retractable "blow wand" and the internal sensor measures the blood-alcohol content. Within two seconds, it displays the results on an LED screen. A reading of 0.08 or above sets off an alarm, signaling a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit in all 50 states.

"We figured, OK, if it's only a breathalyzer, the chances are this thing is coming off the iPod and sitting in the drawer," Bassler said. "If we put in the FM transmitter, they might keep it on there."

Dean-Mooney questions the accuracy of the device. Law enforcement agents use instruments that are calibrated monthly, and accurate readings require the person taking a field sobriety test to blow "deep lung air," she said. iBreath claims to offer results in as little as five seconds within 0.01% accuracy.

"I'm afraid it not only causes young people to use it as a training tool but also gives them a false sense of security. 'I'm good to go,' " Dean-Mooney said. "Your blood-alcohol content goes up for 30 minutes after you stop drinking."

read more | digg story

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Japan Launches First Solar cargo ship

TOKYO (AFP) – The world's first cargo ship partly propelled by solar power took to the seas on Friday in Japan, aiming to cut fuel costs and carbon emissions when automakers export their products.Auriga Leader, a freighter developed by shipping line Nippon Yusen K.K. and oil distributor Nippon Oil Corp., took off from a shipyard in the western city of Kobe, officials of the two firms said.The huge freighter capable of carrying 6,400 automobiles is equipped with 328 solar panels at a cost of 150 million yen (1.68 million dollars), the officials said.The ship will initially transport vehicles being sent for sale overseas by Japan's top automaker Toyota Motor Corp. The project was conceived before the global economic crisis, which has forced automakers to drastically cut production as sales dwindle.Company officials said the 60,213-tonne, 200-metre (660-foot) long ship is the first large vessel in the world with a solar-based propulsion system. So far solar energy has been limited to supporting lighting and crew's living quarters.The solar power system can generate 40 kilowatts, which would initially cover only 0.2 percent of the ship's energy consumption for propulsion, but company officials said they hoped to raise the ratio.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

If You Rescue Someone You May Get Sued!

Would-be heroes were warned by the retarded California Supreme Court on Thursday that they could be liable for damages if they inadvertently injure a person while attempting a rescue. In a 4-3 ruling, the high court held that a state statute immunizing rescuers from liability applies only if the individual is providing medical care in an emergency situation. It doesn't apply when Good Samaritans accidently cause injuries while, for example, pulling someone out of a burning house or diving into swirling waters to save a drowning swimmer.

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New iMacs and Mac Minis Confirmed to Use NVIDIA Chipsets

Apple's next-generation iMacs and Mac minis will adopt the same NVIDIA chipset platform found at the heart of the company's most recent notebook overhaul, new findings confirm once over. A member of the InsanelyMac forums was recently rifling through the extension files that ship with the latest MacBooks and MacBooks Pros and discovered references to a "Macmini3,1" and "iMac9,1."Running System Profiler on Apple's most current iMacs and Mac minis reveal the model number of those systems to be "Macmini2,1" and "iMac8,1," meaning the configuration files included with the company's latest notebooks are for still unannounced models. Specifically, the extension file of interest pertains to a Mac's System Management Controller and Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI_SMC_PlatformPlugin.kext). It includes a variety of information, including strings that identify the supporting chipset of each Mac. The entries for the unannounced iMac and Mac minis list their chipset as the "CFG_MCP79," which is the same exact NVIDIA MCP79 platform employed by unibody MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs, which are similarly identified in the same file as the MacBook5,1, MacBookPro5,1, and MacBookAir2,1.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Apple's Take On Mobile Unix

The Mac community was buzzing in late November when the director of Apple’s Unix group showed a slide at the LISA (Large System Adminstration) conference that predicted that the Snow Leopard version of Mac OS X would ship in the first quarter of 2009. In presentation they offered some interesting bits of their own.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

France abuzz over alcoholic 'cure'

An eminent French cardiologist has triggered an impassioned debate in the medical world over his claim to have discovered a cure for alcoholism.

Dr Olivier Ameisen, 55, one of France's top heart specialists, says he overcame his own addiction to alcohol by self-administering doses of a muscle-relaxant called baclofen.

He has now written a book about his experience - Le Dernier Verre (The Last Glass) - in which he calls for clinical trials to test his theory that baclofen suppresses the craving for drink.

read more | digg story

Friday, December 12, 2008

Apple's Security Paradox

Even as Macs have multiplied, the number of viruses and Trojans targeting them has fallen.

As Apple's slice of the computer market grows, cyber security researchers have long warned that hackers would someday turn their attention away from PCs and toward innocent Macbooks and iPhones.

That day, it turns out, has yet to come. But virus-fearing Apple (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) fans could be forgiven for thinking it had.

On Monday, Washington Post blogger Brian Krebs wrote that Apple had "quietly published" a note on its technical support site recommending Apple users install antivirus software. In fact, the recommendation had been on Apple's site for more than a year. But other blogs and media outlets took the Post's story as evidence that Apple computers have finally lost the "immunity" to viruses and other malicious code that the company touts in its "Mac vs. PC" ads.

On Tuesday evening, Apple deleted the antivirus recommendation, writing in a statement to the press that it was "old and inaccurate," and reiterating the claim that Apple devices are safe "right out of the box."

read more | digg story

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gmail Enables Free SMS Messaging From Chat

To send a message, just type a phone number into the search box at the top of the chat window on the left side of the Gmail interface, and hit ‘Send SMS’. Numbers can be associated with contact names so you don’t have to keep manually entering them.

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Don't wait for Snow Leopard: 10 ways to slim down and speed

December 10, 2008 (Computerworld) Apple Inc. hasn't done much talking about Snow Leopard, the next-generation update to Mac OS X that's due to be released in 2009 (possibly within the first quarter of the year). But in what came as a surprise to many, the company has said that the new operating system will contain a limited number of new features.

Instead of going the route of Leopard, which added more than 300 new features, Snow Leopard is designed to focus on the underpinnings of the operating system. The result, according to Apple, will be an operating system that takes greater advantage of multicore processors, is able to leverage the often-untapped power of graphics processing hardware for general computing operations and extends 64-bit architecture compatibility -- all of which will deliver much higher performance over Leopard. You can get lean and fast computing with your current version of Mac OS X. Here's how...

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The 7 Dumbest Things Ever Done by Airport Security

If there's one holiday ritual we all know and hate, it's that yearly trip to the airport, where the friendly security man awaits with his X-ray machine, his metal detector and possibly a well-lubed rubber glove. While none of us want to spend the holidays involved in a terrorist incident (unless you're living in the Die Hard universe), you have to admit that sometimes security gets a little out of hand. And then there are horror stories like...

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Henry Winkler's Days as 'The Fonz' Blighted By Dyslexia

'I was called Dumb Dog': Henry Winkler's happy days as The Fonz were blighted by condition undiagnosed for 35 years. 

But the reality was rather different. The star couldn't actually ride the bike because his co-ordination was so poor - one symptom of dyslexia, a condition that had crippled him since childhood yet remained undiagnosed until he was 35.

'It's not just the fact that you can't read or you find studying difficult,' says Henry, now 63. 'There are so many ways dyslexia can affect you. For some, it means you don't always understand what's being said to you. Numbers get transposed, so instead of 13 you read 31.

Dyslexia is a neurological problem that manifests itself primarily as a difficulty with written language. Sufferers may also have time management, clumsiness and co-ordination problems.

Experts believe the condition, which is thought to affect ten per cent of the population, according to the British Dyslexia Association, results from differences in how the brain processes language.

It is not an 'intellectual' disability and has been diagnosed in people of all levels of intelligence. Albert Einstein was believed to be a sufferer and could not read until the age of nine.

Famous names from Sir Richard Branson to Eddie Izzard and Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, are diagnosed dyslexics.

While there is no cure, individuals can learn to read and write with specialist education or treatment.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Drug to Cure Jet-Lag in the Works

It's odd that jet-lag needs a cure. It does not seem like the sort of thing for which there should be a cure. When it's been a long time since you've traveled it can become easy to see jet lag as a psychological weakness, not a physical one. All you've got to do is tell yourself to "buck up, you've done nothing but sit for ten hours." But as all weary travelers know, jet-lag is as real as any virus or condition.

read more | digg story

Monday, December 8, 2008

Top 10 Most Fuel-Efficient Cars in the United States

The miles-per-gallon standard for cars in the United States is stuck at 27.5, compared to 43 in Europe and 46 in Japan. And those standards will be laughable in a few years time. Case in point: A British Volkswagen concept car gets 235 miles to the gallon. But that one won't be available for a couple more years.

read more | digg story

Apple's LED Cinema Display: the review

Apple's first major update to the Cinema Display line brings a much greener design and a raft of welcome feature updates, especially for MacBook owners. At the same time, a partial shift away from Apple's mainstay professional crowd makes one wonder where the company is going and whether it hasn't lost focus.

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Avoiding Negative Friends is a key to happiness

                                             Happiness is contagious, study finds
Happiness is contagious, researchers reported on Thursday. The same team that demonstrated obesity and smoking spread in networks has shown that the more happy people you know, the more likely you are yourself to be happy. And getting connected to happy people improves a person's own happiness, they reported in the British Medical Journal.

read more | digg story

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Apple: 300 million iPhone apps downloaded

Apple on Friday said 300 million iPhone apps have been downloaded from its App Store since it opened in July. In addition to the 300 million apps download, Apple also confirms that the App Store also passed the 10,000 app mark in the store.

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Exclusive: Jay Leno on the Bailout

Once you Lose American Manufacturing, It’s Gone Forever. In an exclusive interview with PM, Jay Leno gives his take on the auto bailout.

I think we should bail them out. To me it’s like class warfare. The white-collar guys get a bailout and the blue-collar guys don’t? That’s crazy. You know, I’d rather help a guy with a wrench in his hand than some guy sitting in front of a keyboard.

We’ve given the banks $700 billion. Does it seem like anything has actually happened with that money? No. But when a factory closes, boy, you’ll see the effect of that right away. You’ll see towns go under and you’ll see lives ruined. That town will never be a manufacturing center again. At best those old buildings will become a mall or a Wal-Mart.

I look at it this way: I don’t necessarily want to loan my brother-in-law money, but he’s family. To me, GM, Ford, Chrysler and the suppliers that go along with them are our family.

We barely make anything in this country anymore as it is. And once you lose this manufacturing infrastructure, it’s pretty much gone forever.

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3 Dirt-Cheap DIY Electric Cars for Under $2k

So you want a 100% electric car for commuting or running errands in your town or small city.

Maybe you’ve dreamt of whipsering down the road in a clean, quiet Tesla roadster … and then you woke up screaming at the thought of the $109,000 U.S. price tag.

In that case, may we present the other end of the EV spectrum: a trio of street legal electric cars converted from gasoline to battery power for an average price of $1450 each. (No, that’s not a typo.)

"I Made A Fake Facebook And Had 100 Friends In 4 Days"

Facebook is by far one of the top social networking sites on the Internet, with millions of users, How security conscious are the people that use it? Basically you just have to be aware of your own security online. Do not post information that other people shouldn’t have and always second guess yourself when wondering whether you should do something that could compromise your online safety. And as pointed out from above, check who you friend on Facebook.

read more | digg story

Meraki Releases World’s First Solar-Powered WiFi Device

day, wireless networking provider Meraki started shipping the world’s first solar-powered WiFi mesh device. Meraki’s groundbreaking energy-independent device is powered by a single solar panel and solar-charged battery. Since the unit requires no grid-derived energy, it can be set up in areas lacking power supplies, like parks, golf courses, rural areas, and resorts.

read more | digg story

Economy, opportunity seen leading to $599 Apple netbook

Faced with the perfect storm of a bleak market and a boom in ultra-budget portables, Apple is believed by some to be readying its own take on the netbook for the first half of 2009.

Gottheil dismisses the notion of an artificial premium on Apple products, noting that they often compete well for the features, but is certain that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has reached a breaking point where perceived quality can't override genuine financial woes from customers.

Crucially, he also takes to heart Jobs' assertion that $500 systems are typically "junk" and believes that Apple will price the system at $599. The figure would be just low enough to draw customers who would pass over the plastic MacBook but high enough to avoid the risk Apple's co-founder perceives in dropping the price particularly low.
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Friday, December 5, 2008

The Kit That Turns Gas Guzzlers into Plug-In Hybrids

Sitting in a Connecticut warehouse, the very first Poulsen Hybrid looks like a standard Honda Civic with immobilizer boots attached to its rear wheels. It is, one would have to say, not the most visually elegant of solutions to the pressing problem of using electric power to extend the range of the internal-combustion automobile. But it's also both practical and affordable.

The concept is relatively simple: Two of the company's seven-horsepower (five kilowatt) disc-shaped DC electric motors are bolted onto the rear wheels of the host car, connected by cables to a controller, battery charger and 4.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack in the trunk. The system, adding approximately 200 pounds to the car and taking up 20 percent of trunk space, acts as range extender. The motors do not drive the car, but kick in to provide a power boost between 15 and 60 miles per hour. Regenerative braking helps keep the batteries charged.

read more | digg story

Monday, December 1, 2008

Apple investigating graphics issues on new MacBook lines

The first issue, which some are calling "the black screen of death," manifests itself on unibody MacBook Pros during game play. Users report that their screens go black after just a few minutes of gaming, while the system locks up and the audio enters into an infinite loop.

Once the systems lock up, users say they lose control of their cursor and are left with no other option but to restart their Macs through a hard reset. The issue exists under both Windows and Mac OS X, affecting a wide range of titles that include Call of Duty 4, World of Warcraft, Ages of Empire III, Command and Conquer, Oblivion, Company of Heroes, an

read more | digg story

Friday, November 28, 2008

Apple Stores to match competitor prices on Black Friday

Apple has internally announced that its Apple Stores are authorized to match the Black Friday sales of any authorized Apple re-seller. There have been reports indicating that Apple was already planning significant price cuts for Black Friday, so this Thanksgiving should be a great time to purchase Apple products at attractive prices.

read more | digg story

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Help at last for IT and consultants

Those of us that work in computer support have all seen our share of bad IT support policies and awful help desk software. In my years of doing technical support I have seen some of the very best help desk software to some of the worst. Bad or difficult to use help desk software is a major reason of unhappiness for not only your support staff but also for your customers.

One fantastic customer support program you may not of heard of is called Web Help Desk. The Web Help Desk is a high performance web application designed as a 100% browser-based solution. The Web Help Desk's browser-only focus guarantees a rich, powerful cross-platform application regardless of your operating system. Web Help also offers integration with LANrev Client Manager and Apple Remote Desktop.

This week MacsDesign Studio LLC makers of Web Help Desk split there product line to into three offerings:A full feature Help Desk Software Comparison Checklist can be reviewed here or the full technical specifications of the software here.

In a gesture of pure generosity MacsDesign Studio offer consultants and small one support man shops a fantastic gift Web Help Desk for free and this version has very few limitations and no adversing! I hope you will enjoy using their software as much as I do!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Global warming will help Russian economy

Global climate change is supposed to contribute to Russian economy, according to Michael McConnell, director of US national intelligence. It is said in the document that by 2025 Russia’s profit from the rising temperatures on the Earth will be the largest of all the countries. One of the reasons is the expected lengthening of the sowing term, but the key factor would be an easier access to oil and gas fields in Siberia and in the North, including the Arctic shelf. This will be a great success for the Russian economy, according to the NSC report, and the Arctic waterway would also open huge prospects for Russia.

read more | digg story

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2009 Volkswagen Jetta Tdi: A High-Mileage Masterpiece

Among a wave of diesel cars and trucks — whose advanced emissions systems let them meet pollution rules in all 50 states -- the Jetta is the people’s choice, costing half as much as diesels from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The VW is also the current champion of diesel economy.

The Jetta is frugal in the middle years, with a rating of 30 miles a gallon in town and 41 on the highway. The tiny two-seat Smart is the only nonhybrid car that can match the 41 m.p.g. rating.

Since hybrids are the golden child in the public’s mind, talking about diesels necessitates a head-to-head comparison. But I’ve always argued that diesels and hybrids aren’t a zero-sum game. It’s possible to extol diesel’s virtues without dismissing hybrid technology, and vice-versa.

In that vein, if your commute involves tearing your hair out in freeway gridlock, a Prius or Civic Hybrid will still beat the mileage of a comparable diesel car. Diesel fans, no matter what you say on your blog, your old soot-spewing Rabbit will not touch those hybrids’ 40-50 m.p.g. in low-speed traffic. The same goes if you live in an urban paradise and spend 20 minutes driving 20 blocks.

But if you cruise relatively unhindered through suburban hill and exurban dale, the modern diesel has the clear edge in both economy and entertainment value. Even in the city, the Jetta’s 30-plus m.p.g. is a quantum leap over a conventional gasoline car.

That makes the VW a real solution to real problems. The TDI is easy on money, fuel and the planet. It just needs Americans to give it a spin and a fair shake.

read more | digg story

Apple Launches "iPhone Your Life" Site [Direct Link]

Apple has launched a new web iPhone web site. Once you own an iPhone, you discover that it’s more than a phone. It’s a way of life.Take a look at some ideas to help you get the most out of your iPhone, wherever you go.

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Why Cigarettes Should Cost $10 a Pack

As the U.S. government throws tax money on the banking bonfire, you have to wonder how many billion-dollar notes are left in the Washington ATM machine for health-care reform. If an income-tax hike isn’t in the cards for 95% of Americans, there will surely be a revenue hunt elsewhere. Why not cigarettes?

Why pick on tobacco even more?
According to data from R.J. Reynolds, total tobacco taxes in 2007 were $22.4 billion. The company is outraged about that, but consider this November 13 statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “Smoking in the United States causes 443,000 deaths annually and costs $193 billion.”

Now 443,000 is one of those hideous death counts that numbs the mind. But I’m betting we’re all a bit better these days at processing numbers like $193 billion. And if that’s what smokers are costing the economy, shouldn’t they—so to speak—help bail out health care?

read more | digg story

Honda's New Fuel Cell Sports Car

Honda surprised the motoring world today with the release of the radical and futuristic Honda FC Sport, a three-seat Hydrogen-powered design study that hints at the future of Honda sports cars to come. Using the Honda V Flow fuel cell setup already found in the Honda FCX Clarity, the FC Sport is the supercar to the FCX's stately sedan.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Apple's OpenCL standard near complete in just six months

Apple has reportedly set an industry record by moving its OpenCL parallel computing standard from its beginnings to imminent approval in 6 months, paving the way for inclusion in Mac OS X Snow Leopard.The operating system will use technology to accelerate general-purpose tasks using both individual processor cores, video chipsets inside its system.

For Intel, the prospect of seeing OpenCL already in a shipping operating system for 2009 has been a strong lure. Employees have "divorced [their] families" and worked extreme levels of overtime to complete a draft that many said would be "impossible," according to the chipmaker's Tim Mattson.
read more | digg story

The Chinese Want To Buy the Big 3 Automakers

It appears that the Chinese car makers SAIC and Dongfeng have plans to acquire the Big 3: "A take-over of a large overseas auto maker would fit perfectly into China's plans. As reported before, China has realized that its export chances are slim without unfettered access to foreign technology. The brand cachet of Chinese cars abroad is, shall we say, challenged. The Chinese could easily export Made-in-China VWs, Toyotas, Buicks. If their joint venture partner would let them. The solution: Buy the joint venture partner. Especially, when he's in deep trouble.

At current market valuations (GM is worth less than Mattel) the Chinese government can afford to buy GM with petty cash. Even a hundred billion $ would barely dent China's more than $2t in currency reserves. For nobody in the world would buying GM and (while they are at it) Chrysler make more sense than for the Chinese. Overlap? What overlap? They would gain instant access to the world's markets with accepted brands, and proven technology."

read more | digg story

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sun + Water = Fuel

With catalysts created by an MIT chemist, sunlight can turn water into hydrogen. If the process can scale up, it could make solar power a dominant source of energy.
By Kevin Bullis

"I'm going to show you something I haven't showed anybody yet," said Daniel Nocera, a professor of chemistry at MIT, speaking this May to an auditorium filled with scientists and U.S. government energy officials. He asked the house manager to lower the lights. Then he started a video. "Can you see that?" he asked excitedly, pointing to the bubbles rising from a strip of material immersed in water. "Oxygen is pouring off of this electrode." Then he added, somewhat cryptically, "This is the future. We've got the leaf."

What Nocera was demonstrating was a reaction that generates oxygen from water much as green plants do during photosynthesis--an achievement that could have profound implications for the energy debate. Carried out with the help of a catalyst he developed, the reaction is the first and most difficult step in splitting water to make hydrogen gas. And efficiently generating hydrogen from water, Nocera believes, will help surmount one of the main obstacles preventing solar power from becoming a dominant source of electricity: there's no cost-effective way to store the energy collected by solar panels so that it can be used at night or during cloudy days.

Solar power has a unique potential to generate vast amounts of clean energy that doesn't contribute to global warming. But without a cheap means to store this energy, solar power can't replace fossil fuels on a large scale. In Nocera's scenario, sunlight would split water to produce versatile, easy-to-store hydrogen fuel that could later be burned in an internal-combustion generator or recombined with oxygen in a fuel cell. Even more ambitious, the reaction could be used to split seawater; in that case, running the hydrogen through a fuel cell would yield fresh water as well as electricity.

Storing energy from the sun by mimicking photosynthesis is something scientists have been trying to do since the early 1970s. In particular, they have tried to replicate the way green plants break down water. Chemists, of course, can already split water. But the process has required high temperatures, harsh alkaline solutions, or rare and expensive catalysts such as platinum. What Nocera has devised is an inexpensive catalyst that produces oxygen from water at room temperature and without caustic chemicals--the same benign conditions found in plants. Several other promising catalysts, including another that Nocera developed, could be used to complete the process and produce hydrogen gas.

Nocera sees two ways to take advantage of his breakthrough. In the first, a conventional solar panel would capture sunlight to produce electricity; in turn, that electricity would power a device called an electrolyzer, which would use his catalysts to split water. The second approach would employ a system that more closely mimics the structure of a leaf. The catalysts would be deployed side by side with special dye molecules designed to absorb sunlight; the energy captured by the dyes would drive the water-splitting reaction. Either way, solar energy would be converted into hydrogen fuel that could be easily stored and used at night--or whenever it's needed.

Nocera's audacious claims for the importance of his advance are the kind that academic chemists are usually loath to make in front of their peers. Indeed, a number of experts have questioned how well his system can be scaled up and how economical it will be. But Nocera shows no signs of backing down. "With this discovery, I totally change the dialogue," he told the audience in May. "All of the old arguments go out the window."

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Don't waste your time with Shell Vacations Club

"Always keep in mind that the saying is true about " If it sounds too good to be true it usually is." There is usually always a catch to something and the best way to find out what the catch is, is to read the fine print." Well I should have kept this in mind when we were told that we won a free trip to Hawaii from Shell Vacations Club working out of the Anaheim Crowne Plaza Resort.  All we had to do is come down and view a video tape of what they offer and you don't have to buy a thing. Sounds good huh? So off we went to hear what ever their snake oil sales people were offering and after spending over an hour in traffic and then waiting for them to get around to speaking to us.

They ask us to fill out the same paperwork we have already filled out once before we came. So I ask they girl one behind the desk does it matter if I put a lower amount then I actually make on the form? She said no put whatever and so I did. Then girl #2 starts asking if my wife would like to put her income down and I said no. She then said well we can't speak to you. I say fine Ill put what I actually make on the form we traveled a long way to hear what you have to say. After all was a simple misunderstanding that could have been corrected but it was more important for these people to try to prove a frivolous point. Now this is when it starts to get amusing and I have only seen this attitude in clerks in tiny little countries where they are going to try and show you how important they are. Yes, their life sucks so they want to try to impress you with their power. Girl #2 says oh you marked on the paper and that is very serious we can't have that! You must go!

So after trying to reason with the little paper pusher I ask to see a manager. Well I got whomever I guess was eleted to play the role that night. But here is where the story becomes really funny. All of a sudden they have no one that can speak to us. After multiple phone calls and emails to have us show up (and even early at that) you have no sales people to talk with us? They they said perhaps they might be able to find some one to show us around (in a tone acting like it was a lot of trouble) if we were willing to come back another time. Really do you ever buy from a sales guy who acts like they are doing you a big favor by letting you hear their 90 minute sales pitch? Oh but then they told us we could commute in tomorrow and we could give you the same presentation. Seriously who do they think would take them up on this bad deal?

I really hope the patronizing treatment we received after they thought we were of little means
 (and we are far from it) was worth because I know that when you treat customers badly it's going to bite you in the butt sooner or later.

Well at least at the end I got the truth they had been over booked and they were really planning on wasting our time for two nights in a row because they had over booked. 

IMHO this may have been the true goal as they were looking for a rube to buy their services. My advice is to stay away from these guys and any resort that they are partnered with as you may get more then you bargained for...

For those of you thinking about having dealing with Shell I have some additional links I found on the web for you:

Complaints Pile Up Against Vacation Club

Report: Shell Vacations Club And Holiday Travel Of America
It is not worth going for a 2 hour timeshare meeting and having to give your first born to get your free gift. Bad company, and very rude service.

Shell Vacations Club Do not Buy Shell Vacations Club Time Share!! Hawaii

Complaints Board

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Review: Parallels Desktop 4 For Mac Boosts Stability, Performance

The previous version of the Parallels virtualization package for running Windows and Linux on Macs was a buggy disappointment. Will version 4 be able to win back users' hearts?

By Mitch Wagner, InformationWeek
Nov. 18, 2008

When the first version of Parallels Desktop hit the streets two years ago, it was just amazing. The software allowed you to run Windows, along with its applications, on Mac OS X. Mac users just flipped for it.

But with Parallels Version 3, introduced last year, the company seemed to have lost its way. The software was slow and buggy. Users put up with the problems for a while, because it was the only product of its kind, but when competition emerged, in the form of VMware Fusion, users switched to the new product. VMware even ran its own "switcher" marketing campaign, like Apple did against Windows.

Today, I know about a dozen people who use the VMware product. I only know one person who still uses Parallels. He complains about it a lot.

This month the company (also called Parallels) introduced Parallels Desktop 4, which it says has significantly improved performance and stability over the previous version, and a few new features.

In other words: Parallels is back from its long spree in Vegas, with a bouquet of roses in hand and a hangdog expression its face. It's promising to be good. It wants us to take it back.

Should we open our hearts and give the relationship with Parallels one more try? Or should we kick it to the curb?

Continue Reading the full story

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nuclear Energy: Fueling the Future?

I found this very interesting show on about Nuclear Energy

People across the political spectrum are agreeing that we have to reduce our dependence on oil. But what's the best solution to the problem?

Nuclear energy has been hailed as a cheap and effective alternative energy source, but what are the safety risks associated with nuclear plants? What can we do with the waste? How is France, a country that relies heavily on nuclear power, dealing with these concerns?

Come find out everything you need to know about going nuclear from a panel of experts with a variety of opinions and perspectives - The Commonwealth Club of California

The Commonwealth Club of California
San Francisco, CA
Aug 4th, 2008

T. Boone Pickens - Reducing Oil Dependence

Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.
Sep 22nd, 2008

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens presents his plan to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil at Georgetown University.

The plan is centered on generating electricity with wind while diverting natural gas from power generation to transportation fuel.

Augmented Reality Girlfriend

This just in via Next Nature, if you speak and read Japanese and lack the will to find a real live woman who will give you the time of day. Then this new virtual Augmented Reality toy from Japan may make your Windows XP do something semi useful. 

Using the special cube, stick, and web camera, ARis will appear and move around in the monitor of your PC. When you touch her by the AR Stick, she shows various reactions. You can also change her clothes and give her some presents such as a teddy bear.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Melamine it's what's for breakfast!

I received an e-mail regarding the bar code number of products made in China. The e-mail reads as follows:

China milk poisoning incidents make everyone afraid to look at the daily news report. Everyday, the reports are changing. No one can clearly tell us what to eat and not to eat.

1.What really is poisoned milk?

It is the milk powder mixed with "MELAMINE"

What is Melamine use for? It is an industrial chemical use in the production of melawares.
It is also used in home decoration. " US resistant board"
Do you understand? Melamine is use in industrial production & it cannot be eaten.
2.Why is Melamine added in milk powder?

The most important nutrient in milk is protein. And Melamine has the same protein that contains "NITROGEN"
Adding Melamine in milk reduces milk content and it is cheaper than milk so it lowers capitalization.  It can give the business man more profit!
Below is Melamine; doesn't it look like milk? It doesn't have any smell, so cannot be detected.

3.When was it discovered?

Year 2007, US cats and dogs died suddenly, they found that pet food from China contains Melamine.
Starting 2008, In China , an abnormal increase in infant cases of kidney stones.
August 2008 China Sanlu Milk Powder tested with Melamine
Sept. 2008, New Zealand gov't ask China to check this problem
Sept. 21, 2008, lots of food products in Taiwan tested with Melamine

Although surgery can remove the stones, but it will cause irreversible kidney damage.
It can lead to loss of kidney function and will require kidney dialysis or lead to death
because of uremia.

What is dialysis? In fact, it should be called "blood washing"; it is filtering all of the body's blood into the machine and then go back to the body.

The whole process takes 4 hours and it is necessary to dialysis once for every 3 days for the rest of your life.

Here is a dialysis center
Large dialysis center
A small hole is required in the arm to insert the sub-dialysis catheter.
Why is it more serious in babies?Because the kidney is very small and they drink a lot of milk powder.

Here is a baby undergoing dialysis.

China currenty has 13,000 infants hospitalized
It does not matter how much a human being took Melamine. The important point is
"It cannot be EATEN!"

5.What are the foods to be avoided?

Foods that contain dairy products should be avoided.
Remember: Foods with creamer or milk should be avoided.

6.Which companies are affected?

Hereunder are the companies affected with Melamine.
The following companies were affected:


AsiaInfo, Camry, Ueda, Shun Xiang special, old rooms, food-wei of Taiwan's high education biotechnology companies,
Yunlin Pak Kong and Thailand were the food, yet effective, high-goods, long-Jin, Yi-dimensional food, real taste, than Lend Lease, Shing Hing Fat Industrial, Huasheng food, HOSSONI food, bird food is, Yima international marketing, business Bao Jia-hong, Kam-three enterprises, Clostridium International Industrial and international trade Reserve, trading million, far edge of trade, enterprise-cheng, Yu Zhang, Lin Qi, with the co-hing, when the British company, Friesland, Kaiyuan

If you have friends or relatives in China, avoid products from these companies.



Pai Baoji in Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia Mengniu card, Tianjin Qi can be more and more signs licensing Yashi Li, Guangdong, Hunan Nanshan times the benefit card, license Qining Heilongjiang, Shanxi licensing Yashi Li, Shenzhen's gold will license, Guangzhou En card Guangzhou Jin card, Inner Mongolia Yili card, Yantai, Shandong Macao and the United States more than licensing, Qingdao love to license small, unlicensed Bao Yu Xian in Shaanxi Province, Shandong Yantai licensing Lei Lei, Shanghai Bao-power license, the city of Fuding in Fujian morning card crown

The data will continue to update, if you have the latest information, also said that with the small-U!

7.What do we do next?

Avoid the above foods for at least six months.

If you have snack bar, restaurant or coffee shops, stop selling dairy products for the meantime.

If you have infants at home, change to mother's milk or find other substitutes.

Finally, share this information with friends so they will understand the risk of milk poisoning.

The whole world is scared of China made 'black hearted goods'. Can you differentiate which one is made in the USA , Philippines , Taiwan or China ? Let me tell you how... the first 3 digits of the barcode is the country code wherein the product was made.

Sample all barcodes that start with 690.691.692 until 695 are all MADE IN CHINA. 471 is Made in Taiwan
This is our human right to know, but the government and related departments never educate the public, therefore we have to RESCUE ourselves.

Nowadays, Chinese businessmen know that consumers do not prefer products 'made in china', so they don't show from which country it is made.

However, you may now refer to the barcode, remember if the first 3 digits is 690-695 then it is Made in China .

00 ~ 13 USA & CANADA
30 ~ 37 FRANCE
40 ~ 44 GERMANY
49 ~ JAPAN
50 ~ UK
57 ~ Denmark
64 ~ Finland
76 ~ Switzerland and Lienchtenstein
628 ~ Saudi-Arabien
629 ~ United Arab Emirates
740 ~ 745 - Central America

All 480 Codes are Made in the Philippines.

Please inform your family and friends for them to be aware.

End eMail

However doing some checking on the Internet I found this from enterpgirl:

In researching about the bar codes of products, I came across the website of GS1, which is a global organization dedicated to the design and implementation of global standards and solutions, and the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world. It states that:

GS1 Prefixes do not provide identification of country of origin for a given product. They simply provide number capacity to different countries for assignment from that location to companies who apply. Those companies in turn may manufacture products anywhere in the world.
The management of the GS1 System is carried out locally by GS1 Member Organisations established in over 100 countries. GS1 Member Organisations use their assigned prefix to allocate GS1 Company Prefixes to their member companies to enable them to create GS1 Identification Keys.

So there's really no way of knowing if the products are made in China or if there are raw ingredients used in the product that are made in China. I guess this bar code may help a little but does not eliminate all the possibilities and risks. I do hope they find a more accurate way of detecting product and raw ingredient origin. But I guess the main thing here is for China, being the top manufacturer of the world's products, to stop using harmful chemicals in the production of food and materials so that we can all avoid these toxic and sometimes fatal goods.

I found this via ramilcvaliente:

Barcodes not guide to product origin
SENIOR technician Chan Chee Kong, 54, found himself scrutinising food-product barcodes after reading an e-mail he recently received.

The e-mail claimed that consumers would be able to differentiate between Taiwan- and China-produced food by decoding the first three digits of the 13-digit European Article Number (EAN) barcode usually found on packaging.

The EAN-13 barcode is defined by global-standards organisation GS1, which administers barcodes for retail goods in about 140 member countries. EAN is a superset of the Universal Product Code - the world's first barcode symbology.

The latter was formally established in 1973. Singapore got its assigned GS1 prefix back in 1986 or 1987, according to a local GS1 spokesman. China's assigned GS1 prefixes are 690, 691 and 692, while Taiwan's is 471.

The e-mail went on to exhort its recipients to avoid food products with China- assigned barcodes, referring to the recent scandal surrounding tainted China-made food products.

Mr Chan found out that, contrary to what the e-mail said, his Chinese cooking wines bore the Singapore-assigned prefix 888, despite being labelled as a product of China.

He told my paper that he also discovered Malaysian products that appeared to have been re-packaged in Singapore had the '888' barcode on their labels.

So, while it is true that each country does have a unique three-digit prefix, it does not reflect the origin of its contents.

This is stated in bold on the GS1 website: "GS1 prefixes do not provide identification of country of origin for a given product."

It added that the prefixes indicate only the locations from which companies apply for the barcode. In other words, a company that registers its barcode in Singapore will carry the '888' prefix on its products, even if they were manufactured elsewhere.

A spokesman for the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority said that the agency does not have any regulation pertaining to barcodes on food packaging.

However, Singapore's food regulations do require that basic information - such as a list of ingredients, the name and address of the manufacturer or importer, and the country of origin - be declared on food labels in English.

It's so to be honest there is no way to 100% know if the food our eating has been repacked in some way other then to keep an eye on the FDA site:
Melamine Contamination in China

FDA Updates Health Information Advisory on Melamine Contamination
Interim Melamine and Analogues Safety/Risk Assessment

"Responding to concerns about the presence of the contaminant melamine in numerous foods made in China and exported to the United States and elsewhere, the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday that consuming a very small amount of the chemical poses no serious risk.

The exception, officials said, is melamine in baby formula, which has sickened more than 54,000 infants in China. The agency said it was unable to determine what a safe amount of melamine in formula might be.

The FDA set 2.5 parts per million as the maximum "tolerable" amount of melamine that could be safely consumed in other foods.

"It would be like if you had a million grains of sand and they were all white, and you had two or three that were black, that's kind of the magnitude," said Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's food safety program."
FDA Sets Safety Threshold for Contaminant Melamine