Apple to advertise iPhone during Oscars (Jim Dalrymple/Macworld)

Apple to advertise iPhone during Oscars  —  Apple will use the Academy Awards show on Sunday to feature a new teaser advertisement focused on the iPhone, Macworld has learned.  The new ad was described as being made for the Oscars, although no further details on the content of ad were available.

Source:   Macworld
Author:   Jim Dalrymple
Link:   http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/02/23/iphoneoscar…

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How to avoid warranty problems

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Warranties can be somewhat mysterious, but the Federal Trade Commission has written up a practical fact sheet on exactly what to look out for. A few things:

  • Read the warranty before you buy. When online, look for hyperlinks to the full warranty or to an address where you can write to get a free copy.
  • Save your receipt and file it with the warranty.
  • Consider the reputation of the company offering the warranty. Look for an address to write to or a phone number to call if you have questions or problems.

Good to know, since I'm sure we've all experienced various warranty horror stories.

What's it take to be a Web 2.0 start-up?


Stowe Boyd spends a lot of time thinking about Web 2.0, and web business in general. He was recently asked 5 questions for an article by a reporter at a small paper. His answer to the reporter's final question underscores how drab some recent startups have been.

When asked if "someone with nothing more than a good idea could start a Web 2.0 business", Boyd replied, "having an innovative idea is a good start, a necessary precondition for success. But there is a lot of luck involved, too. [...] The best advice I can give for would-be web app developers is to go where other companies aren't: move into the white space where there are no competitors. The world does not need yet another social bookmarketing app, another social event site, or another screen sharing tool."

I've got my own great idea for a new Web 2.0 start-up. It's this social-screen-sharing event site with bookmarki ng ability added on. Oh yah, and you can vote on things too! Wait! Where are you going? It's the next killer app, really!

Everybody hurts... sometimes (Eric/The MyBlogLog Blog)

Everybody hurts... sometimes  —  Here's the thing.  A lot of people I respect immensely have written in to tell me that I screwed up, and after a point, it becomes impossible to avoid the truth.  We banned Shoemoney originally to keep him from updating his list of User IDs on Wednesday night, which I think was the right thing to do.

Source:   The MyBlogLog Blog
Author:   Eric
Link:   http://mybloglogb.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/02…

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Track shows with BeeThere

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Keep track of upcoming concerts in your area with BeeThere, a show tracker that lists events for over 800 cities in the United States.

You have a couple of options here; you can do a simple search by city or artist name, or you can also upload all your iTunes faves and create a watchlist for when they might be coming your way. I found over 20 pages of different artists that will be showing up in my local area in the next month alone, and selected artists also provide a quick listen right onsite so you can see if it's something you might be interested in.

Six Apart spins like a Whirling Dervish (Suw Charman/Strange Attractor)

Six Apart spins like a Whirling Dervish  —  I've refrained from blogging about Six Apart lately, because I have nothing positive to say about them or their products right now, but I'm afraid I can't let their latest marketing email pass without calling bulls**t.

Source:   Strange Attractor
Author:   Suw Charman
Link:   http://strange.corante.com/archives/2007/02/23…

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Social Media Monitoring Firm Cymfony Being Bought By Taylor Nelson Sofres (Rafat Ali/PaidContent)

Social Media Monitoring Firm Cymfony Being Bought By Taylor Nelson Sofres  —  You're reading it here first: Cymfony, the social media market intelligence and research firm based out of Watertown, MA, is being bought by UK-based research giant Taylor Nelson Sofres, paidContent.org has learned.

Source:   PaidContent
Author:   Rafat Ali
Link:   http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-social-media…

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Learn a new keyboard shortcut every day

Windows KeyStephen Mack is director of TiVoCast operations for, you guessed it TiVo. He's also a keyboard shortcut guru. As he points out, the less often you have to reach for the mouse, the less strain you put on the wrist, and the quicker you can get your work done at your computer.

After getting a few requests for keyboard shortcut tips from his coworkers, Mack went and set up a new blog. Sure, there are plenty of places on the web where you can find lists of keyboard shortcuts. But it's nice to just find one new shortcut a day to focus on. It's sort of like flipping through a word a day calendar. You don't become a wizard overnight, but by th e end of the year, you've expanded your vocabulary.

There's just a few tips up right now, and they might seem pretty obvious (hit the Windows key to bring up the start menu), but there's a few hidden gems in there. For example, I didn't know you could also bring up the start menu by clicking Ctrl+Esc if your keyboard doesn't have a Windows button.

Mack's list appears to be Windows only, but there are plenty of resources out there for Mac and Linux users.

The Essentials of Web 2.0 Your Event Doesn't Cover (Anil Dash)

The Essentials of Web 2.0 Your Event Doesn't Cover  —  Do you want to learn about the future of web applications?  If so, when choosing an event, you might want to make sure it's one that cares about including speakers based on merit, instead of based on arbitrary gender qualifications.

Source:   Anil Dash
Author:   Anil
Link:   http://www.dashes.com/anil/2007/02/23/the_essentials_

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Get your Scrabble on with Wabble

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Scrabble nerds everywhere, rejoice: you can play it online with Wabble, a fun multi-player Scrabble clone.

I must confess - I'm not a huge Scrabble fan, mostly because I'm a leetle too competitive for my own good. However, Wabble is great for anyone who wants to do a quick pickup game; you can start your own game, or join one that's already going on. Go on - improve your word power!

Computing award goes to female for first time (Associated Press)

Computing award goes to female for first time … (AP) — One of the most prestigious prizes in computing, the $100,000 Turing Award, went to a woman Wednesday for the first time in the award's 40-year history.  —  Frances E. Allen, 74, was honored for her work at IBM Corp. on techniques …

Source:   Associated Press
Link:   http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/02/22/computing.award.ap/

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How to prevent frozen pipes

snow.pngThe Red Cross has a good fact sheet on how to prevent frozen pipes.

Most of us probably have a few tried and true methods that have worked well in the past. Personally, I've done the whole "leave the faucet barely running" thing; this year, we also got to experience the fun of crawling underneath the house to wrap exposed outside faucet pipes in insulation (long story). What are your favorite ways to stave off the dreaded frozen pipes experience? Let us know in the comments.

Rename multiple files at once in Windows XP


This is a really neat trick I never knew existed. Have a series of files with mis-matching names and want to put them in better order? It's mega-easy, just follow these simple directions.
  • Highlight the files you want to rename. (Use Ctrl or Shift to highlight multiple files at once)
  • Right-Click the first file in the series, click Rename.
  • Only the file you've right clicked will be highlighted. That's OK. Change the file name, the extension will be kept.
  • Hit the enter key to commit your change. Your files will be named "file (1).jpg", "file (2).jpg", etc..
Note: If you've turned on "View extensions for known file types", leave the file extension intact when you rename.

A Software Maker Goes Up Against Microsoft (Steve Lohr/New York Times)

A Software Maker Goes Up Against Microsoft  —  VMware, a young Silicon Valley company, is the early leader in a fast-growing market for what is called virtual-machine software.  And that puts it on a collision course with Microsoft, the industry's Goliath.  —  A virtual machine essentially mimics …

Source:   New York Times
Author:   Steve Lohr
Link:   http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/24/technology/24soft…

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Get gift suggestions at Surprise.com

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What do you get for that person who is difficult to shop for? If the proverbial well of gift ideas has run dry, you might want to visit Surprise.com, a site that takes personality traits and suggests stuff they might like.

Is your intended receiver a movie buff? Try the list of unusual movie gifts. How about someone who's politically incorrect? Yep, they've got you covered. Everything from chocoholics to metrosexuals is here with a great list of corresponding gift ideas; this would be a good site to bookmark for upcoming birthdays, holidays, etc.

TGIF: This week's best posts

Once a week, we round up the cream of the Lifehacker crop in the Highlights feed. If you want to snack of the best we've got on a daily basis, try our top stories feed. This week's best posts include:

Find inspiration at StorySquared

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If you need some help unleashing that inner muse (or just want to have a bit of fun), try StorySquared, a community story-building site.

Basically, it works like this: you start a story, and others contribute...or, you can contribute to already started stories. This would definitely be a great way to get those creative juices flowing, collaborative-style.

Plan your meals more effectively with Meals Matter

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The Dairy Council of California has put together an incredibly useful meal planner - and it's free.

Meals Matters includes a recipe planner, interactive shopping list, and meal ideas. Most meal planners with this much extra features charge you a subscription fee, so this is definitely worth a looksee. My favorite feature? The Personalized Pantry, where you are given a list (you can add your own stuff to it) of the "must have essentials" in your cupboards at home.

52 ways to reduce stress

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Are you a little stressed? The Counseling Center at Texas Woman's University came up with fifty two different ways to reduce stress, simply and practically. Here were a few that especially resonated with me:

  • Do nothing which, after being done, leads you to tell a lie.
  • Do one thing at a time. When you are with someone, be with that person and with no one or nothing else. When you are busy with a project, concentrate on doing that project and forget about everything else you have to do.
  • Procrastination is stressful. Whatever you want to do tomorrow, do today; whatever you want to do today, do it now.

Would you add anything to this list? Thoughts in the comments.

Cure writer's block with writing toys

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Ugh, the dreaded writer's block! How do you get rid of it? Well, you might want to try a few writing games over at Language is a Virus, a site that's completely dedicated to helping you re-discover your writing mojo.

There's lots of fun little games and gizmos to try out here; anything from creative toys to author's shrines to specific writing exercises. I particularly enjoyed the Writing Prompts; you're given random topics to write on that are actually pretty intriguing (great possible fodder for blog posts or articles).

A magazine I would love to read (Matt McAlister)

A magazine I would love to read  —  There's a magazine that I'd love to read if someone published it (yes, the print kind).  Of course, it's about the Internet.  It's about the stack that makes up the Internet, the platform or, as many people are calling it, the Internet Operating System.

Source:   Matt McAlister
Author:   Matt McAlister
Link:   http://www.mattmcalister.com/blog/2007/02/23/143/a…

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Digg Lets Banned Domains Back In (Neil Patel/Pronet Advertising)

Digg Lets Banned Domains Back In  —  It seems Digg has unbanned a list of sites by letting them back in.  From what I have noticed here are the sites that have been allowed back in.

Source:   Pronet Advertising
Author:   Neil Patel
Link:   http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/digg-lets…

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Digg Upgrades Spam Armor, Unblocks Sites (Michael Arrington/TechCrunch)

Digg Upgrades Spam Armor, Unblocks Sites  —  Digg has started to unblock many sites that were previously banned for "bad behavior," which usually consisted of a suspiciously high number of stories making it to the home page.  If too many stories were buried by people voting it down …

Source:   TechCrunch
Author:   Michael Arrington
Link:   http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/02/23/digg-upgrades…

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Putting Our Money Where Our Mouths Are: Boycott the RIAA in March (Gizmodo)

Putting Our Money Where Our Mouths Are: Boycott the RIAA in March  —  Alright, we've been following the RIAA's increasingly frequent affronts to privacy and free speech lately, and it's about time we stopped merely bitching and moaning and did something about it.

Source:   Gizmodo
Link:   http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/home-entertainment/putting…

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Apple TV: Why It Matters (Tim Bajarin/PC Magazine)

Apple TV: Why It Matters  —  The real battle for the digital living room is about to begin.  —  At CES in early 2005, I hosted a Super Session panel entitled "The Battle for Control of the Digital Living Room" in which executives from Best Buy, Charter Communications (Paul Allen's cable company) …

Source:   PC Magazine
Author:   Tim Bajarin
Link:   http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2097871,00.asp

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MyBlogLog Snafu, Identity and Resurrection (Caterina.net)

MyBlogLog Snafu, Identity and Resurrection  —  MyBlogLog, Flickr's sister company at Yahoo, has gotten dinged for banning a community member who exploited a security hole, and then posted instructions of how to use the exploit to impersonate other MyBlogLog members, providing names of several members to use.

Source:   Caterina.net
Author:   Caterina
Link:   http://www.caterina.net/archive/001042.html

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Study: Consumers not willing to pay $500 for iPhone (Nancy Gohring/InfoWorld)

Study: Consumers not willing to pay $500 for iPhone  —  San Francisco (IDGNS) - Consumers aren't willing to pay what Apple may ask for the iPhone, but if the price drops they'll switch their mobile service to AT&T in order to get it, according to results of a survey released Thursday.

Source:   InfoWorld
Author:   Nancy Gohring
Link:   http://news.yahoo.com/s/infoworld/20070223…

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Nintendo's Wii a hit with the geriatric set? (Darren Murph/Engadget)

Nintendo's Wii a hit with the geriatric set?  —  No, we don't expect the vast majority of elderly folks kickin' it in a retirement home to honestly show any interest in video games (right?), but apparently, the Wii's at least making some minor strides in getting the geriatric set up and active with virtual sports.

Source:   Engadget
Author:   Darren Murph
Link:   http://www.engadget.com/2007/02/23/nintendos-wii-a…

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Social Shopping with Wists


Do you have a birthday coming up and want everyone to know just what gifts they should bring to the surprise party you're pretending not to know about? You can't email your friends and family a long list of "suggestions" since that would be tacky, and the Amazon Wishlist tool wont help if they don't have what you really have your heart set on. Enter Wists, the website that bills itself as a social shopping service.

Register at the site and place the Wist bookmarklet on your toolbar. When you come across something on the net that you must have, simply click on the bookmarklet, add a keyword, and Wist automatically saves your selection, along with an image of the product. Direct others to your Wist by giving them a link, pasting some code onto your website or, displaying your Wist right inside a post for maximum "suggestion powe r." The only niggling difficulty I encountered is that it wouldn't easily display images from Flash-heavy sites, but the ability to apply tags and keywords remained intact. Wists will make it easy for me to encourage the people in my life to go forth and shop for my upcoming birthday. I promise to be surprised about the party.

List 'the stuff you love' at Listal

Listal is a social website for listing "the stuff you love", or categorizing your DVDs, CDs, books, video games, and listing the movies you've seen and TV shows you watch. In the traditional social networking fashion, you can tag, rate, and review items, see everyone else who has the same stuff, and locate similar member based on your ratings. The site launched back in August of 2005, but since then it has become quite robust, with a consistent stream of updates to enhance the versatility of the website. I haven't visited it in a few months, so I checked out some of the new features. Here's a brief rundown of some recent highlights:

  • A new completely customizable profile feature, so you can change the layout, colors, background image, and style of your personal page
  • Users can now add videos to any item page, either from a video sharing website or directly from their computer
  • Enhanced list views, including options for two or three column layouts for viewing your items
  • New quick recommendations included in profile pages, an easy way to get recommendations for items not on your own list from the person you are viewing
Listal has proven to not only be a decent way to waste time, but it is actually quite useful for organizing your stacks of movies, CDs, and books lying around.

Digg Upgrades Spam Armor, Unblocks Sites

Digg has started to unblock many sites that were previously banned for “bad behavior,” which usually consisted of a suspiciously high number of stories making it to the home page. If too many stories were buried by people voting it down, or too many users otherwise complained, a site was banned, most of the time [...]

Learn to travel light

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The Travelite FAQ web site is a one-stop resource for packing and traveling light. The site is bursting with great packing tips, but my favorite gem is Travelite's method for compartmentalizing everything you need with a mnemonic, TRAVEL.

Standing for Toiletries, Reading Materials, "Aid" Pack, Vital Documents, Electronics, and Laundry, the TRAVEL mnemonic helps you organize your packing so that you remember not only what to bring, but also where you put everything. We've covered how to travel with one carry-on before, but the Travelite FAQ is another excellent packing resource for the light traveler. Thanks Craig!

Judge rules against Canon in nanotube TV case (Michael Kanellos/CNET News.com)

Judge rules against Canon in nanotube TV case  —  A federal judge has ruled that Canon breached a licensing agreement with a small nanotechnology company, a decision that puts another roadblock into Canon's effort to come out with a whole new style of flat screen TVs.

Source:   CNET News.com
Author:   Michael Kanellos
Link:   http://news.com.com/2100-1047_3-6161591.html

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Will you trust Google with your data? (Larry Dignan/Between the Lines)

Will you trust Google with your data?  —  IN FOCUS » See more posts on: Google Office  —  Update below: Phil Wainewright raises an interesting beef in his post on SaaS data worries.  In a nutshell, Phil says it's strange that people are trotting out the "your data may not be safe" argument when talking about Google Office.

Source:   Between the Lines
Author:   Larry Dignan
Link:   http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=4544

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Skype petitions FCC for open cellular access (Marguerite Reardon/CNET News.com)

Skype petitions FCC for open cellular access  —  Skype petitioned the Federal Communications Commission earlier this week to force U.S. mobile operators to loosen controls on what kinds of hardware and software can be connected to their networks.  —  In a document dated February 20 …

Source:   CNET News.com
Author:   Marguerite Reardon
Link:   http://news.com.com/2100-1036_3-6161569.html

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Netvibes2Go - All Mobile Net in One Place (Stace/Unwired View)

Netvibes2Go - All Mobile Net in One Place  —  I have almost never used Mobile Internet services on my cellphone.  With the dismal navigation interfaces on the phones, Mobile Internet was just too hard for me.  Until I tried Netvibes2Go.  Now I use it almost every day.

Source:   Unwired View
Author:   Stace
Link:   http://www.unwiredview.com/2007/02/23/netvibes2go-all…

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Web TV's top-rated acts (Erick Schonfeld/Business 2.0)

Web TV's top-rated acts  —  Two-minute YouTube clips were just the start.  As television comes to the Internet, dozens of companies are gunning to become the networks of tomorrow, reports Business 2.0 Magazine.  —  (Business 2.0 Magazine) — Wayne's World, it's not.

Source:   Business 2.0
Author:   Erick Schonfeld
Link:   http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2…

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Advertisers may see high CPC and spend amounts (adCenter Blog)

Advertisers may see high CPC and spend amounts  —  Some of our adCenter advertisers are seeing high cost-per-click (CPC) and spend amounts in their accounts.  I will update this post with more information as soon as I have it, but I wanted to let you know that this issue is now resolved …

Source:   adCenter Blog
Link:   http://adcenterblog.spaces.live.com/blog/cns…

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Talking Exchange 2007 SP1... (Exchange/You Had Me At EHLO)

Talking Exchange 2007 SP1...  We're wrapping up our Beta of Exchange 2007 SP1 (to be released through TechNet plus this April), and as always we wanted to discuss it publicly here first.  We are targeting final release with Longhorn Server 2nd half of this year.

Source:   You Had Me At EHLO...
Author:   Exchange
Link:   http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2007/02/23/435699…

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Police, school get failing grade in sad case of Julie Amaro (USA Today)

Police, school get failing grade in sad case of Julie Amaro  —  Imagine you know next to nothing about computers.  You're a substitute teacher for a seventh grade class.  There's a computer in the classroom and, knowing you're going to be sitting there for a while, you ask a fulltime teacher if you can use it.

Source:   USA Today
Link:   http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/andrewkantor…

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SETI@home still looking for aliens, finds missing laptop

SETI@homeMore than a million volunteers have dedicated spare CPU cycles on their home and work computers to helping find signs of extraterrestrial life. So far, they've had no luck on that front, but the SETI@home project has at least helped one man find a missing laptop.

Software programmer James Melin's wife's laptop was stolen in January. It also happened to be one of 7 computers that Melin had installed the SETI@home software on.

Well, it turned out the thief never bothered to disable the software, and so within a week it shared data with the SETI@home server three times. Melin gave the IP address to the police, who were able to get a an address where the computer was being used from a local intenet service provider, and the laptop was returned.

Melin's wife was duly impressed.

[via Slashdot]

Virus2 - Today's Time-Waster


There has been a virus going around my office this week which hasn't been fun. I've got a much better virus that everyone will love spreading around your workplace -- except your boss. I'm not talking about the latest brand of crypto-zoological themed influenza, but rather about Virus 2.

The idea behind the game is to spread your virus, represented by a color, as quickly as possible. You can change the color of your virus by clicking on one of the gem icons at the very bottom of the game screen. When the color of the virus changes, you infect all of the gems in that color that are currently touching your virus string.

Sound tedious? Totally addictive. Give it a shot, just don't come crying to us when you're still playing at 2am.

[Thanks Jordan!]

Is this Microsoft's tipping point?


Vista hasn't been an overwhelming success. Sure, it's sold a few new PCs but, it's not proving to be a Windows XP-style revolution of stability, it's no Windows 95-style revolution of usability and it hasn't really changed much of the landscape or given the compelling impression that there's something new, something you must have. It feels more like a round of catch-up aimed at Apple's OS X. Come to think of it, Microsoft's last big launch, the Zune, wasn't all that successful either. Are we witnessing the slips and foibles of an ailing giant? Stowe Boyd says, yes.

He writes, 'Vista will turn out to be the worst black eye for Microsoft, ever. It will be the turning point, when we look back in the future, where we will unequivocally say "that's where Microsoft demonstrated how lost they were."` He also points to The Inquirer who ask, flatly, if turning up Windows Genuine Advantage to kick out the pirates is really the brightest thing to do.

Is this really the moment we'll look back upon and point to as the beginning of a new era of tarnished Microsoft glory? That remains to be seen. What is pretty apparent though; Microsoft is losing the PR war on all fronts.

Yahoo User Interface gets a big update

Tuesday the good folks from the Yahoo User Interface team released version 2.2.0 of their much loved JavaScript framework. The exciting changes this time around include a browser history manager, a data table control, and advanced button control. These additions are all still considered beta and extend the huge number of components currently available in the YUI library.

The Yahoo User Interface, if you haven't played with it, is a massive open source JavaScript framework along the lines of Prototype or Dojo. The library is heavily documented and supported (featuring examples, forums, cheatsheets, and videos) and lets you easily bundle Ajax, calendar, tab, drag and drop, au to complete, and all manner of other cool functionality into your web applications.

More on the new version (including examples) after the jump.

Continue reading Yahoo User Interface gets a big update

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Puretracks - just says no to DRM


In a move sure to make consumers dance and sing, Canadian music download store, Puretracks, is going to sell songs online without Digital Rights Management from a group of independent labels: Nettwerk Music Group of Vancouver, Arts & Crafts Productions of Toronto, the San Francisco, Calif.-based Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA) and Beggars Banquet Records of London, England. Well known artists from these labels include Barenaked Ladies, Sarah McLachlan, Feist, Metric and Broken Social Scene.

The songs offered will be in MP3 file format and will cost 79 cents and up. The non-DRM catalog of songs is 50,000 strong and, Puretracks will add more on a weekly basis.

Some pundits are claiming the move by Puretracks is the beginning of death of DRM as we know it. They point to Job's open letter denouncing DRM and Bill Gates' remarks to bloggers in December that DRM "causes too much pain for legitimate buyers." With all this momentum against it, one thing's for sure, DRM is losing its beat.

Why programs are hard to understand


When politics and computing mix, the results aren't usually pretty. Politicians have fundamental misunderstandings about computing, the internet and how computers and people interact; a fault which often causes them to enact useless or even harmful legislation. Senator Sam Brownback is pushing a bill that would force the people who rate video games to play the full game in order to render a rating. Ed Felten of Freedom to Tinker explains why this shows a complete misunderstanding of games, and computer science.

He writes, "Nonexperts are often surprised to learn that programs can do things the programmers didn't expect. These surprises can be vexing; but they're also the main reason computer science is fun." Felten gives an example of a simple Python script which even source code inspection wouldn't explain. It's only three lines, games run into millions of lines of code.

import sys, sha
h = sha.new(sha.new(sys.argv[1]).digest()[:9]).digest()
if h.startswith("abcdef"): print h[6:9]


Can you predict every possible outcome from these three lines of code? Would it ever print anything kids shouldn't see, like, for example, a four letter word?
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Disable Windows low disk space warning in one line


I've had it up to my eyeballs with the nagging Windows low disk space warning and offers from my helpful operating system to clean up the junk I have lying around. If you have a drive or two that remains constantly on the edge of full for good reason, you probably share my sentiment.

I went looking for a solution, and I found a few. Most of them involved lengthy descriptions of how to navigate the registry just to add the "NoLowDiskSpaceChecks" key. Here's a much easier solution; one command line you can cut and paste into any open command prompt window.
REM copy here 
regini HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer "NoLowDiskSpaceChecks" = REG_DWORD 1
REM end copy here
(REM lines added to make this easier to copy correctly)
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Microsoft hit with $1.5 billion patent violation fine

Microsoft MoneyA federal jury has ruled that Microsoft has to pay $1.5 billion dollars to Alcatel-Lucent for violating two patents the telecommunications equipment maker held related to MP3 audio technology.

Alcatel-Lucent and Fraunhofer worked together to develop the nearly universal digital music format. Microsoft says it paid Fraunhofer $16 million dollars to license the technology for use in its Windows operating systems. The ruling could mean that dozens of other companies that did not license the technology from Alcatel-Lucent could face similar lawsuits in the future, although Microsoft obviously has some of the deepest pockets.

The $1.5 billion figure is based on a percentage of a ll Windows-based PCs sold since 2003. With Windows Vista and Zune sales slow, this is not a good time for Microsoft. Then again, if sales had been slow earlier, the fine wouldn't be so hefty, right?

Microsoft's lawyer says the company plans to seek relief from the court, or possibly to appeal the ruling.

Full Speed Tests - How fast can you go?


Are you getting the performance your internet provider promised? Feel like you're lagging behind? This freeware speed test can tell you whether you'd be better off using sneakernet or the Internet for your next large file transfer.
Full Speed Tests from Versis lets you test your connection speed by downloading a 4, 12 or 35 megabyte file and uses the speed with which the file is received to calculate your connection speed. The free program does attempt to upsell you to Versis' "Full Speed Fix" software although, if you're tempted to spend the extra dough I'd think twice. Most "speed fixes" only adjust the MTU value of your internet connection, a technique which may or may not be effective depending on your ISP and your operating system version. Further, you can change your connection's MTU value yourself, if you're feeling a little bit registry hacky.

Userscripts.org redesigns

Userscripts.org redesigns
Userscripts.org is a useful repository of scripts for Greasemonkey, the killer Firefox add-on that allows you to augment the way some sites look or function. I've used the site for some time now, but was always a little irked at its not-so-intuitive design. As you can see, the new design offers a breath of fresh air, with a much cleaner and more streamlined experience, though it isn't quite a major feature update just yet. This post in their forums announces the new site and their intentions, while the roadmap at the bottom of their wiki reveals a bit more about what's to come.



Individual script pages look good in this new format, with a clear description column and a sidebar containing all the pertinent metadata and tags. A big black "Install this script" button replaces the old, hard-to-find HTML link of the previous design, and I particularly like the link at the bottom of the content column to contributors who helped out with the script.

All things considered, I think this is a successful redesign that should bring the site more credibility and attention from both Greasemonkey script writers and users. I'll be interested to see how those new features roll into the site in the coming weeks and months.

Googleholic for Friday 23rd 2007

googleholic
In this issue of Googleholic we cover:

  • Google celebrates Engineers
  • Google wants Scientists to market themselves
  • Anti Piracy deadline missed
  • Which is better for kids, Google or Wikipedia?
  • Google One Click
  • Viacom to go with Joost
  • Vint Cerf sees bigger R&D opps in India
  • Desktop Search flaw fixed
Continue reading Friday's Googleholic...

Continue reading Googleholic for Friday 23rd 2007

Porn pop-up teacher gets new attorney, PC World outs juror

Julie Amero, substitute teacher and convicted porn-pop up purveyor, has finally gotten a tiny break in her favor. Connecticut criminal defense lawyer William Dow has stepped in and offered help to Julie Amero. The Norwich Bulletin -- the same paper that did such a terrible job of covering the case up to this point, convicting Julie Amero in print and circulating its uneducated drivel to a technophobic and Internet illiterate readership -- reports that Dow has offered pro-bono assistance to Mrs. Amero and will likely file a formal request for postponement of her March 3rd sentencing in order to review the facts of the case. Dow is a well respected criminal defense attorney who, according to Amero's lead attorney John Cocheo, has joined the team because, "he sees it as an injustice that this happened. I think it's a moral issue for him."

Speaking of moral issues; PC World's Steve Bass made a bit of a miscalculation and outted the partial identity of Fred F. a juror in the Amero trial. The email interview in which the juror's screenname was released was initiated by Fred F. who failed to follow Lincoln's famous rule, "It's better to keep your mouth s hut and be thought a fool; Rather than open it and remove all doubt." I'll let Fred F.'s own words and lack of punctuation speak the volumes that I dare not say.

Continue reading Porn pop-up teacher gets new attorney, PC World outs juror

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