Tuesday, April 28, 2009

GE Breakthrough Puts 100 DVDs on a Disc

General Electric says it has achieved a breakthrough in digital storage technology that will allow standard-size discs to hold the equivalent of 100 DVDs. 

The promising work by the G.E. researchers is in the field of holographic storage. Holography is an optical process that stores not only three-dimensional images like the ones placed on many credit cards for security purposes, but the 1’s and 0’s of digital data as well.The data is encoded in light patterns that are stored in light-sensitive material. 

The holograms act like microscopic mirrors that refract light patterns when a laser shines on them, and so each hologram’s recorded data can then be retrieved and deciphered.Holographic storage has the potential to pack data far more densely than conventional optical technology, used in DVDs and the newer, high-capacity Blu-ray discs, in which information is stored as a pattern of marks across the surface of a disc. The potential of holographic technology has long been known.

read more | digg story

Friday, April 24, 2009

Who Owns the Rain? Hint: It's Not Always Homeowners

Across the country, resourceful homeowners have embraced rainwater capture as a way of conserving community water supplies while maintaining healthy gardens. Unfortunately, rain barrels are sometimes at odds with the law... by capturing rainwater, some homeowners are breaking the law.

"Capturing rain may be one of humanity's most ancient methods of acquiring water, but now it's coming back in vogue. Rather than press their luck with drought, conservation-conscious homeowners are setting up rudimentary rain barrels and elaborate rainwater storage systems to catch precipitation for nondrinking purposes, such as watering their lawns. But while rainwater may seem like a global common, nowadays it depends on where you live: By capturing rainwater, some homeowners are breaking the law. This has put city and state governments in an awkward position—smack in the middle of competing water users and advocates, often from within their own agencies, of conserving water to protect supplies. "

read more | digg story

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Screw the Recession How to Spend Less and Get More

A new tax year has begun which provides a great opportunity to do a little financial spring cleaning. Even in a tough economy, it is possible to spend less without making major sacrifices.

read more | digg story

Hummer Plugin Hybrid Gets 100+ MPG, Kicks Prius Butt

The modded Hummer gets 268 hp, has a 40 mile all-electric range, and a fuel-efficiency of over 100 mpg.

The V-8 combustion engine has been replaced by a small stand-alone 4 cylinder 2.0L engine which is only connected to the 100 kW Symetron PM Synchronous generator, and not the drive system. The engine is used only generate electricity and recharge the batteries when the vehicle drives beyond its 40 mile battery range and the lithium ion batteries are spent.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The World's First Solar-Powered Waterproof Cell Phone

"Ever find yourself with a water-soaked low-battery phone? Sharp and Japanese network KDDI have a solution: the world's first solar-powered waterproof cell phone. The phone, scheduled for a June release in Japan, can nab one minute of talk time or two hours of standby power from ten minutes of sun. The phone can derive 80% of its charge in total from solar power. It's not a fast enough charging time to change anyone's life, but it's ideal for afternoons in the park or on the beach."

read more | digg story

Monday, April 20, 2009

U.S. Soldiers' New Weapon: an iPod

DOD are developing military software for iPods that enables soldiers to display aerial video from drones and have teleconferences with intelligence agents halfway across the globe. Snipers in Iraq and Afghanistan now use a "ballistics calculator" called BulletFlight. The Ipod is becoming the U.S. Military's new secret weapon.

"The future of "networked warfare" requires each soldier to be linked electronically to other troops as well as to weapons systems and intelligence sources. Making sense of the reams of data from satellites, drones and ground sensors cries out for a handheld device that is both versatile and easy to use. With their intuitive interfaces, Apple devices—the iPod Touch and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone—are becoming the handhelds of choice."

read more | digg story

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A desperate Microsoft preps auto IE8 update amidst dramatic usage share decline!

As IE8’s adoption rates lag far behind initial expectations, Microsoft prepares its most powerful tool to push the browser out to user computers. The company said that it is preparing an Automatic Update/Windows Update targeting IE6 and IE7 users, which make currently make up about 93% of the IE user base. The update will be published in the third week of April. And we wonder: Can it slow the rapid decline of IE market share?

read more | digg story

Saturday, April 18, 2009

iBotnet: Researchers find signs of zombie Macs

"Malware hunters at Symantec have discovered a direct link between a malicious file embedded in pirated copies of Apple’s iWork 09 software and what appears to be the first Mac OS X botnet launching denial-of-service attacks.

Writing in the current issue of Virus Bulletin (subscription required), researchers Mario Ballano Barcena and Alfredo Pesoli found two malware variants — OSX.Iservice and OSX.Iservice.B — using different techniques to obtain the user’s password and take control of the infected Mac machine."

Read the full ZD Net article

World's First Mac Botnet? Not Quite.
"This morning, as I scrolled down the list of security Web sites I normally check via my RSS reader, I noticed several items referencing news about the "world's first Mac botnet." As I read on, it became clear this was neither news nor a first."

However you can't get this Trojan horse virus unless you are attempting to steal Apple software uploaded to ButTorrent. Notice the user has to search out and download this software unlike many a windows virus. ClamXav is a free virus checker for Mac OS X.

Snopes.com gets an "A" from fellow fact checkers

FactCheck.org gives Snopes.com a dose of its own medicine and the Internet's best-known BS-detector comes through the exam the picture of good health. As for the charge -- widely circulated in a chain e-mail -- that Snopes lied about an Obama opponent? That one's DOA

But who's checking the fact checkers? The FactCheck.org found that the bottom line is You can go on trusting Snopes.com as much as you'd trust any other source of information on the Internet (and, no, that's not meant to be back-handed).

read more | digg story

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Rules for Russia's Cops: No Bribes or Wild Sex

"Police in Russia have long had a reputation for three things: bribery, cruelty and ineptitude. Now the government is determined to change that image by teaching police that taking drugs or bribes or befriending criminals are probably all bad ideas. At a time when protests are breaking out across the country over Moscow's handling of the financial crisis, the Ministry of Internal Affairs says it has drawn up a new code of conduct for the police and will distribute it to every officer by the end of 2009. The aim: to turn Russia's police into polished professionals.

The code goes into striking detail on how officers should behave both in public and private. Police, it says, should avoid casinos, "indiscriminate sex" and "questionable relationships with people with negative public reputations such as criminals." Drinking on duty, talking on cell phones on public transport, using drugs, offering or accepting bribes and engaging in "gross jokes and wicked irony" are also out."

read more | digg story

Warren Buffett's Chinese Electric Car Company

"If you think the American auto industry is in trouble now, just wait until the Chinese learn how to make great cars.

BYD is an amazing company. It was started by a chemist and government researcher named Wang Chuan-Fu in 1995 (same year as Yahoo) to make rechargeable batteries, which it learned to do very well. Within a few years, BYD's batteries were cheaper and just as reliable as those made by industry giants Sony and Sanyo. Then Mr. Wang, as he’s known, got into the automobile business by buying a failing state-owned carmaker. BYD's conventional gas-powered cars are selling well these days in China, and his electric plug-in electric model looks like it will come to market with a longer range and a lower sticker price than the new Toyota Prius much-hyped Chevy Volt. As if that were not enough, I'm hearing now that BYD is on the verge of a breakthrough in the solar power business and that the company has big plans to make rechargeable batteries at a utility scale to store energy from intermittent, renewable sources like wind and solar. Today, BYD employes 130,000 people in 11 factories, either in China and one each in India, Hungary and Romania."

read more | digg story

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Everyone Should Pay Income Taxes

It's bad for our democracy to exempt half the country. It's also what's called redistribution of income, and it is getting out of hand. 

Contrary to the myth that Mr. Bush cut taxes only for the wealthy, the 2001 tax cut reduced taxes for every income-tax payer in the country. He reduced the bottom tax rate to 10% from 15% and increased the refundable child tax credit to $1,000 from $500 per child, both cuts that President Barack Obama says we should keep. In so doing, millions of lower income taxpayers were removed from the tax rolls, shifting the remaining burden to those at the top, even after their taxes were cut. Congress should start by refusing to go along with Mr. Obama's promise to cut taxes for 95% of the country, no one should have their taxes cut -- no one.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Moms At Risk For Internet Addiction

"I was scrolling through family photos on my computer, admiring my two beautiful babies, when I spotted a disturbing trend: My laptop was open in almost all of the pictures. There's my daughter, at 8 months, playing at my feet while I typed away on the couch. There's me and my son, a year later, with the laptop at my side as I held him in my arms.

I'd heard about Internet addiction before, but always assumed it was something limited to socially challenged guys who played too much World of Warcraft. Now it seemed my Internet "habit" was slowly but surely crossing the line. Sometimes I found myself up into the wee hours of the morning, surfing the Web while my family slept. I read the news, kept up with friends, and looked up answers to endless questions. I wrote my personal blog and read dozens of others, just for something to do."

read more | digg story

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Possible reasons and fixes for Time Machine slowdowns

Time Machine has been a great backup solution that has for the most part worked quite well; however it has not been without its glitches. Despite the majority of initial problems being addressed by Apple, there will be times when the backup process seems to just hang or stall out, without giving any apparent errors or notifications.

Read some possible solutions here

Monday, April 13, 2009

Enterprises Chucking Windows & Choosing Macintosh

"News Analysis. Macintosh is choice du jour for enterprises deploying operating systems other than Microsoft's Windows. Uh-oh. One Linux version is catching up.

Windows Vista dissatisfaction and concerns about Windows 7 compatibility and deployment costs have some enterprises looking at alternatives, according to the research. The economy is a factor, too, but more to the benefit of Linux than either Mac OS X or Windows. The number of businesses considering "an alternative to adopting Windows Vista or Windows 7" is 50 percent, up from 42 percent in 2008, according to the report."

Read the full story

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Space cowgirl salvages NASA junk, finds 'Pic of the Century'

"NASA was so preoccupied with getting an astronaut to the moon ahead of the Soviets that little attention was paid to the mountains of scientific data that flowed back to Earth from its early space missions. The data, stored on miles of fragile tapes, grew into mountains that were packed up and sent to a government warehouse with crates of other stuff.

And so they eventually came to the attention of Nancy Evans, a no-nonsense woman with flaming red hair that fit her sometimes-impatient nature. She had been trained as a biologist, but within the sprawling space agency she had found her niche as an archivist."

Charged with archiving 2,500 unreadable NASA data tapes from the '66 Lunar Orbiter mission, a determined Nancy Evans scoured govt salvage yards to find a one-ton FR-900 Ampex tape drive to read them. Too costly for NASA, she retired, the drives in her garage. Thru stroke of luck, space junkies found her on a blog, and restored NASA's historic pics.

read more | digg story

How-To: Survive the Recession Like It's 1933

"We are often told that the current financial meltdown is the most serious since the Great Depression. And while that may be true, comparing today’s times to such an awful and demoralizing crisis has the effect of scaring people, thereby making the situation worse. This is the wrong way to react to the situation. Rather than passively absorbing fear and uncertainty, we would do well to remember that some people managed to stay afloat during the Great Depression - and to learn how they did it. In that vein, here are 16 Depression-era money saving tips and how they can be utilized today."

read more | digg story

Apple Admits White MacBook's Notorious Crack Problem

Apple is acknowledging the white MacBook's legendary hairline cracks along the bottom enclosure, and will actually fix it, regardless of your warranty.

read more | digg story

Ubuntu accuses Microsoft of Linux netbook FUD

If you think that Windows now completely rules the netbook world, you've been drinking way too much Microsoft kool-aid according to Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu.

"LaBlanc opened by claiming that almost all netbooks sold today are sold with Windows. Well, no, not really. The numbers LaBlanc cites are from NPD's sales survey. NPD focuses on brick-and-mortar U.S. sales, not overall sales. Notice how many Linux systems you see at Best Buy? NPD numbers say a lot more about retail channel sales than it does over-all sales. Besides, as Canonical's director of business development Kenyon wrote, "However here is an interesting fact--when customers are offered choice on equally well-engineered computers around a third will select Ubuntu over XP."

"Kenyon also calls Microsoft on what he's polite to call an out-and-out lie. Microsoft claims that Canonical itself has said that its Linux netbooks are returned at a rate more than four times as high as Windows netbooks. No they're not. Kenyon wrote, "Continually repeating that we 'confirmed' a 4x return over XP when we did nothing of the sort is really not worthy of a great company like Microsoft."

read more | digg story

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Segway & GM reinvent urban transportation

GM has partnered with Segway for a project called P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility). This electrically powered two-seat prototype has only two wheels and according to GM allows people to travel faster and with lower cost around cities.

read more | digg story

How Apple Can Beat RIM

While Apple is the smartphone technology leader, it is not the sales leader. Importantly, it's still trailing BlackBerry maker Research In Motion. This is a platform land grab, so sales and market share count.

"This isn't because RIM is selling to corporations while Apple is selling to consumers: RIM says 70% of its new subscribers were "non-enterprise" last quarter, and consumers are now half of its total subscriber base. RIM and Apple are largely going after the same customers, meaning many BlackBerry buyers are choosing RIM over Apple.

How can Apple improve its position?"

read more | digg story

Prepare for ludicrous speed: Ars reviews the 8-core Mac Pro

"After what has seemed to so many of us like an eternity, the wait for the Nehalem Xeon Mac Pros is finally over. When Macworld 2009 passed without any i7 or Nehalem Xeon announcement, I was worried that it would be a while before the dual-socket boards would be released. But Apple finally came through with eight cores, hyper-threading, and a speedy new frontside bus to make us masters of the deadline. It's safe to say that not everyone needs (or can afford) these new eight-core machines, but I've done some serious high-end grind-work to see what sort of user might be able to justify tossing his pocketbook into the juicer for this potential monster."

read more | digg story

Friday, April 10, 2009

Photo of Luchik from Russia
I have always enjoyed Japanese Animation but there seems to be a group of folks that can't seem to get enough and like to make their own costumes and show them off for here. They call it Cosplay.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Romance the old fashioned way

Diamond In The Rough Funny 3D Animation Movie

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Plush Jobs?

Plush Jobs loves you. Cuddle up with him and pretend he's whispering corporate secrets in your ear. Jobs enjoys hanging out with your other stuffed animals... also he adores Barbie. But please keep him away from computers running Windows, he hates those. Podbrix

Google uncloaks once-secret server

Unusually, the search giant designs its own servers. For the first time, Google unveils one publicly, showing a surprise built-in battery.

"Google's big surprise: each server has its own 12-volt battery to supply power if there's a problem with the main source of electricity. The company also revealed for the first time that since 2005, its data centers have been composed of standard shipping containers--each with 1,160 servers and a power consumption that can reach 250 kilowatts.

Why is the battery approach significant? Money.
Typical data centers rely on large, centralized machines called uninterruptible power supplies (UPS)--essentially giant batteries that kick in when the main supply fails and before generators have time to kick in. Building the power supply into the server is cheaper and means costs are matched directly to the number of servers, Jai said.
"This is much cheaper than huge centralized UPS," he said. "Therefore no wasted capacity."
Efficiency is another financial factor. Large UPSs can reach 92 to 95 percent efficiency, meaning that a large amount of power is squandered. The server-mounted batteries do better, Jai said"

read more | digg story

Monday, April 6, 2009

Run out of ink?

A Girl's Gotta Trim the Hedges: Hilarious Schick Commercial

Every gardener loves the satisfaction of creating a well-crafted design on her front lawn. If You Want to Sell the House, Mow the Lawn!

read more | digg story

Sunday, April 5, 2009

IE 8 is sloooooow!

"In the interest of broadening my horizons, I promised Microsoft I'd give Internet Explorer 8 a fair shake by trying the browser as my default for a week.

And, boy, am I glad that week is over.

Microsoft's browser rules the roost with about two-thirds of the market, according to Net Applications, which collects a broad set of data on which browsers people use. There's nothing like being built into the dominant operating system for winning a popularity contest."

Read the full CNET review

Mac vs. Windows: What Does $1K Get You?

Apple's been criticized a lot lately for charging premium computer prices during a recession. In its defense, though, I hasten to add that Apple generally delivers value with its computers. In my experience, with a few nits aside, Mac laptops are imaginatively designed, well built, and a pleasure to use. Macs aren't subjected to all the viruses and malware aimed at Windows computers. You can run Windows on a Mac. And though Apple laptops slipped a bit in PC World's most recent reliability and service survey, they still get high marks in those areas.

Read full article

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Putting Apple Displays Under the Microscope

A widescreen Apple display looks nice alongside a Mac Pro, with their matching aluminum constructions. But beyond mere design aesthetics, what's the value proposition for Apple's lineup of pricey monitors? They definitely fall into the higher end of the market, so how do their features and specs compare with rivals' elite offerings?

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) gets a lot of criticism for the seemingly high retail prices of its Macs. While the PC and Mac pundits alike can spec out competing solutions and argue over value in terms of software and operating systems, what about displays? Computer monitors don't ship with an operating system and free productivity software -- displays are about as pure a hardware play as you can get these days. So who's buying Apple displays, and why would someone buy an pricey Apple display, anyway?

Continue Reading

True Love

My husband and I got married at eight in the morning. It was winter, freezing, the trees encased in ice and a few lone blackbirds balancing on telephone wires. We were in our early 30s, considered ourselves hip and cynical, the types who decried the institution of marriage even as we sought its status. During our wedding brunch we put out a big suggestion box and asked people to slip us advice on how to avoid divorce; we thought it was a funny, clear-eyed, grounded sort of thing to do, although the suggestions were mostly foolish: Screw the toothpaste cap on tight. After the guests left, the house got quiet. There were flowers everywhere: puckered red roses and fragile ferns. "What can we do that's really romantic?" I asked my newly wed one. Benjamin suggested we take a bath. I didn't want a bath. He suggested a lunch of chilled white wine and salmon. I was sick of salmon.

What can we do that's really romantic? The wedding was over, the silence seemed suffocating, and I felt the familiar disappointment after a longed-for event has come and gone. We were married. Hip, hip, hooray.

Read the full article from National Geographic magazine

Friday, April 3, 2009

Geisha: The Life, the Voices

“Geisha: The Life, the Voices” "is an icon of Japanese culture and custom- the geisha in her role as human work of art and perfect woman.

A hundred years ago geisha numbered eighty thousand; today there is a thousand at most. Luckily, Jodi Cobb can show us- before they disappear- both the ceremonial world of the geisha in Tokyo and Kyoto and their private world as few outsiders have ever seen it.

Many of the older women we meet here were forced into this world by difficulty; the young women were drawn to it by their dream of a romantic life or their love of traditional arts. We see geisha in their daytime routines: fine-tuning their breathtakingly lavish wardrobes; perfecting the art of makeup; training maikos (apprentices); and preparing for annual dance performances."

7 Reasons to Travel With Your Kids

Young families everywhere take note: include your children in your travels. Explore the world together. Here’s why.

"Traveling gels a family. While life, work and school can get in the way of togetherness, a family getaway makes a team of you all. You’re in the same boat, car, train, or plane and negotiating everyone’s needs at close quarters is a chance to get to know each other again in a new way."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ouch! Moving violations just got more expensive!

Politicians hard at work in Sacramento have added some unrelated charges to the cost of a moving violation ticket.

Here's the breakdown of the tab for failing to stop at a red light up in the Bay Area:
$100 -- the base fine
$70 -- for various state programs
$30 -- Alameda County general fund
$70 -- county fee for automated fingerprint ID and other programs
$20 -- fee for state DNA crime evidence collection program
$55 -- fee for court construction
$20 -- assessment for county's emergency medical system
$20 -- court security fee
$20 -- surcharge for state's general fund
$35 -- fee to help cover revenue bonds for courthouses
$1 -- night court fee
$49 -- fee for the privilege of signing up for traffic school
$490 for rolling through a stop sign. However you have the option to pay the courts on the installment plan or defer payment. With a $30 penalty fee, of course. Read the full story at the SF Chronicle.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Russia backs return to Gold Standard to solve financial cris

Russia to play peripheral role at the G20 summit. However Russia has become the first major country to call for a partial restoration of the Gold Standard to uphold discipline in the world financial system.

Mr Dvorkevich said it was "logical" that the new currency should include the rouble and the yuan, adding that "we could also think about more effective use of gold in this system".

The Gold Standard was the anchor of world finance in the 19th Century but began breaking down during the First World War as governments engaged in unprecedented spending. It collapsed in the 1930s when the British Empire, the US, and France all abandoned their parities.

It was revived as part of fixed dollar system until US inflation caused by the Vietnam War and "Great Society" social spending forced President Richard Nixon to close the gold window in 1971.

How to Recycle 10 Unusual Household Items

"Whether doing major spring cleaning or just sorting through old household supplies, occasionally, we all run into a recycling stumper—crayons, foam peanuts, old VHS tapes? 

Good grief. The more obscure an item, the harder it is for us to resist throwing it out the easy way—in the trash can. But the truth is we really are doing ourselves (and our planet!) a big favor by repurposing used parts and pieces. So, the next time clutter is being banished from the house, refer to this list of wacky recycling tips."