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понеділок, 7 березня 2011 р.

The Technology Newsbucket: Fresh IFPI piracy crackdown in London, Windows Phone 7 software woes, and more

A quick burst of 11 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team

New music industry plan: halt flow of money to pirate music sites >> Ars Technica

"IFPI has proudly announced a new copyright enforcement initiative. It boils down to this: IFPI will submit allegedly infringing websites to the London police department's Economic Crime Directorate. Once the division has "verified the evidence," it will pass the information to MasterCard and Visa."

No 'Mango' Windows Phone update before December? >> Windows IT Pro

This could spell a big problem for Nokia, which is waiting for the next big update to Windows Phone (beyond 7) before it intends to release "Nokindows" phones: "Windows Phone fans will need to wait for the v2 release of Windows Phone 7, code-named Mango, to get a major functional update. Mango will be finalized by the end of 2011, and while Microsoft recently promised to ship this release to customers by the end of the year as well, my sources tell me that schedule is a near impossibility. "

Windows Phone 7: Will NoDo show? Has Mango gone soft? >> ZDNet

Mary Jo Foley on the unending "update that doesn't update" for Windows Phone 7 problem: some Samsung phones still haven't updated for technical reasons. Big question: will that push back the "copy/paste" update due later this week?

No Windows Tablets Until Late 2012? That Could be Disastrous. Or a Pretty Good Idea >> Technologizer

Harry McCracken makes a good case. Then again, at this point Microsoft has tried competing via Windows 7, and it's been a failure. So, Windows 8 it will have to be - given that it's not allowing Windows Phone 7 on tablets.

Samsung sees iPad 2's thinness, price as challenges >> Yonhapnews

"Samsung Electronics Co., the world's second-largest maker of mobile phones, sees the slim design and competitive price of Apple Inc.'s new iPad 2 as its biggest obstacles, a senior official said Friday." In which case it arguably hasn't realised what the real biggest obstacles are: availability of compelling apps and user experience.

Apple's MacBook Pros ship with active SSD TRIM support in Snow Leopard >> AppleInsider

TRIM support means solid state disks have OS-level support (rather than needing it in their own firmware). Now available for Apple-supplied SSDs; soon coming for others too?

RIM's Marketing Chief to Leave >> WSJ.com

"The departure of Mr. [Keith] Pardy, who was hired from Nokia Corp. in late 2009, deprives the smartphone maker of a marketing chief during the crucial lead-up to the launch of its PlayBook tablet, expected at the end of March or early April. It reflects larger turmoil in RIM, as the company struggles to remake itself from a maker of corporate-workhorse devices known for security and reliability to a producer of hip, media-savvy gadgets that can compete with the likes of Apple Inc.'s iPhones and iPads, say people familiar with RIM's strategy."

IE6 Countdown >> Microsoft

We'd like to be able to zero in on particular places on the map. Such as the NHS and other parts of UK government. Then let's see what the (geiger?) reading is.

Nexus One downloaded OTA update for Gingerbread 2.3.3 but didn't update after reboot >> Google Mobile Help

Interesting to read the advice on how to do the update. It makes Android feel like Linux. Which of course it is.

US cites a top Chinese web site in the sale of fake goods >> NYTimes.com

"The United States government has labeled China's top search engine, Baidu, and Taobao, a popular Chinese-based e-commerce platform, as 'notorious markets' linked to sales of pirated and fake goods." Specifically, "music, clothing and other goods that were fake or unauthorized copies."

Smartphones - the grip of death >> Bristol University

If you dig through it, you discover that what it's saying is "all smartphones can suffer from the death grip".

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Good Boot: Series for novices to delve into Windows 7 features

Until recently I was pretty much convinced most Good Booters were only interested in discovering features of their operating system that applied to the computing adventures in which they were currently involved. That the days when so many of us were curious about everything our operating system could do whether or not it had anything to do with a computer adventure of particular interest were long past.

Well it seems I was wrong. Of late many former Xpers and re-enthused Vista users have asked that I provide a novice-friendly tutorial series that would help them discover the less obvious Windows 7 features and how to safely tweak Windows 7 default settings.

When I asked them why they did not invest in a manual many responded manuals were too technical, too detailed and did not provide adequate warning that adjusting a particular default setting might cause a serious problem.

Be as it may, your wish is my command. Next Monday I'll begin a Windows 7 tutorial series for novices and those who may be a bit timid about adjusting default settings. If the tutorials are beneficial and should you miss one, you can find my last few Good Boots on the News-Press Web site by clicking on Opinion and Columnist. All my Good Boots can be found at www.goodboot.net.

But be assured should I receive a significant number of requests for information on a particular subject, I'll pre-empt a Windows 7 tutorial or two with my response. I'll also continue to periodically provide interesting and productive freeware.

Apropos of productive freeware programs, I recommend you check out CintaNotes (http://cintanotes.com).

CintaNotes is a lightweight, user-friendly personal notes manager. It allows you to quickly save and tag information or a quick note to yourself. You can clip text anywhere by selecting it and clicking a hot key. The text clipping works in any application that can copy text to clipboard. CintaNotes will automatically save the text and if appropriate its source URL.

Once you have accumulated a significant library of notes, to find a specific note you simply start typing. The note(s) containing the typed words or phrases will appear. You can also search by titles and URL's from which the note was taken.

You can use tags for note organization and synchronize notes across multiple PCs.

Because CintaNotes is a totally self-contained application you can install the program on a flash drive and have your notes available anywhere you go.

Here's wishing you a Good Boot.
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Review: Microsoft's Windows 7 Phone

Your only consistent dose of technology, this week's CNBC-TV18's Tech Toyz reviews the much anticipated operating system from the Microsoft stable - the Windows Phone 7. It has been launched in the HTC Mozart device, which is India's first Windows 7 mobile phone. Find out what Microsoft's vision is as to what they anticipate Smartphone's must look like in the future.

Also on the show:

Review of the HTC Mozart - is it worth the hype?

Tired of deciphering complicated phones? Enter the iBall Aasaan phone. The phone is so simple, even your grandparents can have a go at it with the basic instructions!

The Bose VideoWaveTV and Phillips 58 - 3D LED TV - Which size matters?

Review of the Viewsonic ViewPad 10 tablet...

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Revisiting Windows 7 on MacBooks

Last year I published a ZDnet article about installing Windows 7 as the default operating system on a MacBook Air. It was well-received, and generated a number of questions from the readers.

There’s still a great deal of interest in using Windows 7 as the primary operating system on Apple MacBooks. I should point out that this project os really for those people who are truly enamored with Apple hardware, but not so much with the operating system. If you’re just looking for something like a regular MacBook Pro, consider the HP Envy series.

If you’re looking for a thin and light device like a MacBook Air, take a look at the Acer Aspire TimelineX series. There’s also the Sony Vaio Z series. Both of these laptops have high end CPUs. Or you could go with a lower-power, more conservatively-priced Lenovo Thinkpad X120e with the new AMD Fusion CPU that doesn’t run so hot that it ruins a man’s ability to father children like the previous model.

If you’re still with me at this point, you’re probably the kind of person for which this article is intended. I am still quite happily using WIndows 7 on my MacBook Air 11,, with no real issues. The only major obstacle I face is that I need to boot the system to OSX in order to update the system firmware. I have an external USB hard drive with OSX installed for this very purpose.

One reader asks:

i am sorry can you explain in detail how to install windows. how did you access mdr sector etc. from the very beginning. i have the widnows on my usb, but i wont detect it. also i previously had windows on my mac, but it doesn’t work properly. viruses. also my bootcamp doesn’t open, you know how to fix this. feedback appreciated

The entire hard drive partition had to be wiped and recreated using the Disk Utility function found on the OSX Install disc. On the MacBook Air, the install disc is actually a small USB stick. Once the hard drive is wiped and recreated as a Master Boot Record type with FAT formatting, you can then boot to a Windows 7 install DVD and install directly to the hard drive.

As for the other issues, that’s obviously a problem with your BootCamp Windows install and unfortunately I can’t really help you with that. Create a clean Windows BootCamp install and make sure to install anti-virus and anti-malware apps.

The same reader asks:

hey..can you explain further how you did it…my mac is also not recognizing the usb. i have a windows already installed on mac, but its got viruses. and the bootcamp doesn’t open, u know how i can fix this, i dont have my restore original cds, makes it all so worse

You can’t install Windows 7 from a USB stick to a MacBook. You need to use an install DVD. The DVD drive, however, can be a USB-connected one.

Again, I can’t help you fix your broken BootCamp install. If you don’t have the original discs, contact your manufacturer for a new set or purchase one.

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Researchers create millimeter-scale computer

University of Michigan researchers last month announced that they have created the first prototype of a millimeter-scale computing system -- one so small that it just covers the letter N on a penny.

The computer, called the Phoenix chip, is about 1 cubic millimeter and was designed to be implanted in the human eye to monitor the intraocular pressure of glaucoma patients.

"This is the first true millimeter-scale complete computing system," Dennis Sylvester, a University of Michigan professor and one of the researchers on the project, said in a statement.

Within the computer is an ultra-low-power microprocessor, a pressure sensor, memory, a thin-film battery, a solar cell and a wireless radio with an antenna that can transmit data to an external reader.

The chip uses very little power: It has an extreme sleep mode that wakes the computer up briefly every 15 minutes to take readings, and the chip uses only 5.3 nanowatts each time it turns on.

The researchers said that tiny computers could one day be used to track pollution, monitor structural integrity, perform surveillance, or make virtually any object smart and trackable. "We can collect data, store it and transmit it," said Sylvester. "The applications for systems of this size are endless."

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CRPF inaugurates computer centre for youth

A computer training centre of the CRPF was inaugurated on Monday to wean away youths, who had fought pitched battle with security forces last summer.

"We know the problems of society so this is our small effort to deliver and connect with the people," Deputy Inspector General of CRPF for Srinagar, P K Singh, said after inaugurating the computer center.

Singh said such efforts have been a regular feature of security agencies but "when situation goes wrong, the efforts go slow because a communication gap develops."

"Otherwise our efforts continue round the year so that we remain connected with the youth and other sections of society," Singh said.

The last three years have been a difficult time for the CRPF and local police after the Valley witnessed increasing street protests with stone-pelting youth taking the centrestage in confrontation with security agencies.

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Meeting our new computer overlords

Afew weeks ago Alex Trebek introduced humanity to a new friend: His name is Watson, he is good at trivia, and he is a blue glowing orb on a plasma TV. When he's feeling good, he turns green. When he speaks, he sounds like an ordinary American man. He is polite.

All the same, it came as a relief to hear that Watson finally lost a round of "Jeopardy" last Monday - to former "Jeopardy" winner Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., in a Trebek-less exhibition against members of Congress - after shellacking former superchamps Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter a couple weeks before. Watson may seem harmless, maybe even cute (those vertical rays hovering over his globe-face makes him look as if he's in a constant state of surprise). But using sci-fi movies, TV shows and books as our guide, we know that sometimes it's the friendliest-seeming robots that turn out to have the worst intentions.

Which makes it bewildering that IBM designers settled on an avatar for Watson (named for IBM's first president, Thomas J. Watson) that just happens to resemble perhaps the most infamous of all of sci-fi's evil machines, HAL from "2001: A Space Odyssey." Undoubtedly, this is a comparison IBM would just as soon not evoke; after all, there's that urban legend of Stanley Kubrick envisioning HAL as a future-generation IBM machine. (Just take the name HAL, move all the letters forward one place in the alphabet and what do you get?) It's not just the glowing orb-for-a-face - it's that serene American-accented male voice shared by HAL, the one that becomes all the more sinister when he begins lying to the crew and disobeying orders. Today it's "I'll take $800, same category, Alex," but tomorrow it could be, "I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

Movie references aside, it's notable IBM that went the route of HAL, whereas robot-crazy Japan has been going in another direction. Their robots often resemble child-size American astronauts. And they're helpful, like the domestics of the Jetsons who do the laundry and fetch the drinks. (The underlying goal seems to be the creation of a robot working class, filling a demographic void in Japanese society ... robots being preferable to immigrants, apparently.)

Watson's stint on "Jeopardy" didn't just give us a hint of the future of artificial intelligence technology. It established the rules and etiquette by which we may be expected to interact with robots in the future. As our human ambassador to the robot world, Trebek treated Watson as he would an eccentric foreign savant: playful yet respectful. At one point he teased, "Oh you sneak!" when Watson wagered a low amount on a Final Jeopardy question he ultimately got wrong.

The personification of Watson wasn't without its hitches, however, and it resulted in some fine comedic moments. Take the wonderful deadpan irony of the traditional camera pan during the thinking portion of Final Jeopardy. The shot begins on contestant Jennings, human, deep in concentration. The famous "Jeopardy" music plays. The camera pans right. There, behind the "Jeopardy" podium bearing his name is a TV screen with the image of a glowing orb. Hold. Then pan over finally to the other contestant, Rutter, writing his answer. Just another day on the "Jeopardy" set.

One human treatment not afforded to Watson was the opportunity to talk about the charity he was playing for, as the two humans did after the first commercial break on Watson's final show. But this may be for the best. What should we do if Watson, or some future robotic "Jeopardy" contestant, announces he'll be playing for an advocacy group promoting robot rights? Think about that. At that point our new "friend" becomes something else entirely.

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Do we need a computer museum in Cambridge?

Jason Fitzpatrick is trying to raise £1.5 million on Twitter, by getting 1.5 million people to donate £1 each via PayPal, though bigger sums are obviously welcome. The money will be used to set up a Centre for Computing History in Cambridge. However, it could compete with The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) at Bletchley Park, The Science Museum in London, and other efforts, so it raises the obvious question: do we need it?

The problem is that computer history is very badly served in the UK. It's supposed to be the Science Museum's responsibility, but that hasn't done anything of much significance since the Apple II came out. This means there is an excellent case for TNMOC, which also benefits from sharing its site with Bletchley Park and its history of wartime code-breaking. We know that we must preserve Bletchley Park's manor house and other features, whatever else happens, and TNMOC helps with that.

Probably the best solution, as I suggested in The Guardian in 2007 (Cracking the case for a museum of computing), would be for the Science Museum to adopt TNMOC and for it to receive the appropriate government funding. But that's not going to happen, which leaves TNMOC scratching around for funds. It's had support from the local council, the Bletchley Park Trust, the BCS and its Computer Conservation Society and a few sponsors, and its volunteers are doing a brilliant job, but it shouldn't have to struggle.

The Centre for Computing History (Registered Charity No: 1130071) already exists in Haverhill, which is close to Cambridge, and on the web. However, it only has space to display a fraction of its thousands of exhibits, and it can't cope with many visitors. Moving it to Cambridge makes sense, for two reasons. First, Cambridge already attracts a huge number of tourists, and the CCH could tap into and enhance the flow. (By contrast, visiting TNMOC basically means making a special trip.) Second, Cambridge has helped produce many of our most significant computer scientists -- including Charles Babbage and Alan Turing -- and Acorn and Sinclair made it the heart of the British microcomputer business. As with TNMOC at Bletchley Park, there's a good geographical argument for its existence.

Like TNMOC, the centre wants to show working machines, and this has helped it earn a certain amount of publicity. For example, CCH supplied computers for use in The IT Crowd television series, and it was used to film scenes for a Channel 5 documentary about Elite, the BBC computer game written by two Cambridge undergrads. It has also worked with The Gadget Show, and it rents out vintage equipment.

If you want to know more about its vision for the future, The Centre for Computing History has a nice brochure (PDF) to support its appeal.

I'm already a very keen supporter of TNMOC at Bletchley Park, but I don't see why we can't have both. It's not like having two museums competing to buy unique works of art, such as paintings or sculptures, that cost £10 million each. The CCH will be displaying devices that were mass-produced by the thousand, or even by the million. Except in a couple of very rare cases, there's more than enough to go round.

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