Archive for October, 2012


If You Want To Charge For Content, Use Psychology

If you are a $2 billion company, people will pay for your content – if you are losing money and not making a profit, claims a paper published today in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
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The giant asteroid Vesta is constantly stirring its outermost layer, according to data from NASA’s Dawn mission that show that a form of weathering that occurs on the moon and other airless bodies we’ve visited in the inner solar system does not alter Vesta’s outermost layer in the same way.
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OpenStreetMap, an alternative to Google map data, has had a lot of success but can’t agree on what direction to go next, say those in the know. An odd problem for people who make maps, right?

But at least they are having fun trying. 

When I was young, the only sort-of controversy in maps was ‘fairness’ to third world countries.  We didn’t say ‘developing nations’ back then, we said ‘third world’, just like people who were trying to foment dissent in a country were called ‘fifth columnists’ but now we call them ‘humanities professors’.
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Kroger, America’s largest supermarket chain, announced it will stop selling sprouts because of their “potential food safety risk”. It joins retail behemoth Walmart, which stopped selling them way back in 2010.

“After a thorough, science-based review, we have decided to voluntarily discontinue selling fresh sprouts,” Payton Pruett, Kroger’s vice president of food safety, said in a statement that USA Today got.
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Enlarge / A list of the the 10 network operators with the highest number of open DNS resolvers, as measured by CloudFlare. Over the past three weeks, third-party attackers have been abusing them around the clock in an attempt to knock a website offline.

A company that helps secure websites has compiled a list of some of the Internet’s biggest network nuisances—operators that run open servers that can be abused to significantly aggravate the crippling effects of distributed denial-of-service attacks on innocent bystanders.

As Ars recently reported, DDoS attacks have grown increasingly powerful in recent years, thanks in large part to relatively new tools and methods. But one technique that is playing a key role in many recent attacks isn’t new at all. Known as DNS amplification, it relies on open domain name system servers to multiply the amount of junk data attackers can direct at a targeted website. By sending a modest-sized domain name query to an open DNS server and instructing it to send the result to an unfortunate target, attackers can direct a torrent of data at the victim site that is 50 times bigger than the original request.

Engineers at San Francisco-based CloudFlare have been shielding one customer from the effects of a DDoS attack that has flooded it with 20 gigabits-per-second of data around the clock for three weeks. While attacks of 100Gbps aren’t unheard of, that’s still a massive attack even large botnets are generally unable to wage.

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In 1987, unthinking, primitive pre-GMO breeders exploited an abandoned shelter cat in Montana, with no one to defend it, for their own nefarious ends when it was discovered that this feline pawn gave birth to a curly-haired kitten. The kitten was then raped by a Persian male and gave birth to a mixture of curly-haired and normal-haired kittens, resulting in a horrible mutation that was now dominant over nature: its presence on even one of the two copies of the gene involved was suddenly sufficient to cause cats to have curly hair. (1)
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The heir to Windows’ desktop dominion? Uh, no.

Since the very first reveal of Windows 8, some critics have called the operating system a fatal move for Microsoft. They call it a blunder so large in its abandonment of Windows’ heritage that it has created an opportunity for other operating systems to rise up and seize large portions of Windows’ customer base in the consumer and enterprise markets. Others see Windows 8 as a sign that Microsoft is grasping for relevance in a world where Windows and the PC itself are waning. In this view, the once-mighty “Wintel” platform is already dead—it just doesn’t know it yet.

Both sets of critics are wrong—or, at best, only half right. Windows 8 does create a huge opportunity for another desktop operating system to finally achieve total domination of the desktop and laptop markets, but that operating system is Windows 7. Sure, Windows 8 won’t take the crown itself. But it has a slew of features that at least make its next major revision the heir apparent, not just to the desktop world but to a much more complicated computing kingdom. Even if one argues that Windows 8 is a hot mess of a user experience, it’s still breaking the trail for what comes next.

But it is Windows 7 that will see the biggest effect from Windows 8, and not just because some may find Windows 8 jarring. It’s common in IT planning to run a generation behind, particularly on Microsoft products with long support lifecycles. Windows 7 will have extended support until January of 2020. Consumer sales can and will adjust accordingly. If Windows 8 becomes an impediment to consumer purchases, retailers and OEMs will opt for Windows 7.

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The yeast used to make beer has yielded what may be the first gene for beer foam, CFG1, scientists are reporting in a new study. The discovery opens the door to new possibilities for improving the frothy “head” so critical to the aroma and eye appeal of the world’s favorite alcoholic beverage, beer. And it gives Science 2.0 another reason to write about beer.
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The Administrator’s view of the business side of a Windows 8 start page. This is what Windows shortcut keys were made for.

Windows 8 Enterprise is the reverse-mullet of operating systems: all party in front and business in the back. Up front, the new Start screen and touch-focused interface are more focused on users having a good time—one can not imagine many productivity applications for having access to content based on a gamertag, for example. Behind the tiles, the Desktop is where all the real work will happen.

And even at the Desktop level, Windows 8 Enterprise does not wear its business credibility on its sleeves. The exclusive features in the volume-licensed version of Windows 8 packaged specifically for business users are for the most part under the covers and barely visible. But they make it possible for users to work more securely, and take their work with them when they untether from the LAN—or, with one new feature, when they unplug their boot thumbdrive from the PC.

There are six features exclusive to Windows 8 Enterprise that aim to make it friendlier for business use:

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It’s day one of Microsoft BUILD, the company’s major developer conference. Traditionally at these things (this is only the second BUILD, but before build, there were almost 20 years of PC conferences that served a similar purpose) the keynote presentations are developer-heavy. The speakers tend to talk about Microsoft’s latest developer tools and operating system platforms, do some programming live on stage (always a crowd-pleaser), and show off new testing and source control features—playing to the audience.

But today was different. BUILD’s opening keynote was presented by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Ballmer was in top form. Thanks to certain videos, the man’s presentation style has developed a certain reputation; over-confident, volume cranked up to 11, bombastic, and, it must be said, sweaty.

Today, he was none of that. He was composed, he was funny, he was natural, and he was tremendously likeable. He was, as always, excited about the products Microsoft is delivering, but where sometimes that excitement comes across as almost scary, today it was infectious enthusiasm.

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