Intel, China, Mideast
China text-messages millions on typhoon SHANGHAI, China - With Typhoon Kaemi roaring toward China's crowded southeast, Dr. Yang was sealing his apartment windows against the pounding rain when his cell phone buzzed to life. Mideast conflict unfiltered on the Web NEW YORK - The rapid development of video-sharing sites such as YouTube.com is giving computer users the chance to see unfiltered images of how the fighting between Israel and Lebanon is affecting people caught in the middle.
Lebanese & Isreali blogs - Thank God for WiFi
Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Speach
Microsoft's iPod killer, Neanderthal genome project
Microsoft's 'Zune' to take on iPod ~ (Reuters) SEATTLE Microsoft Corp. says it plans to release a new music and entertainment player and accompanying software under the "Zune" brand this year, in a belated attempt to challenge the dominance of Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod player. Microsoft confirmed the plans for an entertainment device and software in a statement after touting those products to record companies in recent months.
ZapperGirl gives you more here... Neanderthal genome project launches ~ (Geir Moulson, AP) BERLIN - U.S. and German scientists on Thursday launched a two-year project to decipher the genetic code of the Neanderthal, a feat they hope will help deepen understanding of how modern humans' brains evolved.
Neanderthals were a species that lived in Europe and western Asia from more than 200,000 years ago to about 30,000 years ago. Scientists from Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology are teaming up a company in Connecticut to map the genome, or DNA code.
ZapperGirl gives you more here...
Stories today: China, Google, Microsoft
China's Farms Losing $2.5 Billion a Year to Industrial Pollution BEIJING (AP) -- China's farms are losing more than 20 billion yuan ($2.5 billion) a year to industrial pollution that leaves grain tainted with mercury and other heavy metals, a government agency said Friday. ZapperGirl gives you more info here
Google Winning the Search Engine Wars SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Google Inc.'s second-quarter profit seems likely to erase any lingering doubts about which Internet company rules the Web. While rivals eBay Inc. and Yahoo Inc. merely matched analysts' earnings expectations, Google on Thursday soared well beyond Wall Street's financial hurdle -- just like the online search engine leader has done in all but one quarter since it went public nearly two years ago. "Google is clearly winning the battle," said Internet analyst Derek Brown of Pacific Growth Equities. "These are almost logic-defying results." ZapperGirl gives you more info here
Microsoft profit falls on higher costs; sales rise 16%; Stock jumps in evening trading as $40 billion buyback is planned LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Shares of Microsoft Corp. rallied in pre-open trading Friday after the company said quarterly profit dropped 24% as higher expenses and legal charges hurt its bottom line, but revenue rose more than expected on stronger sales of server software and Xbox 360 video-game consoles. ZapperGirl gives you more info here
Google profit more than doubles; sales soar 77%
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (July 20, 2006)Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2006.
"Google grew at an impressive pace during a seasonally slower quarter," said Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. "We continue to deliver valuable new products and services to users around the world through our partnerships and investments in our business. Our strong performance results from our clear focus on increasing the quality of user experience, particularly in search and ads."
Google reported revenues of $2.46 billion for the quarter ended June 30, 2006, an increase of 77% compared to the second quarter of 2005 and an increase of 9% compared to the first quarter of 2006. Google reports its revenues, consistent with GAAP, on a gross basis without deducting traffic acquisition costs, or TAC. In the second quarter of 2006, TAC totaled $785 million, or 32% of advertising revenues. ZapperGirl gives you more info here
Are Apple's Customers Rebelling?
By Leander Kahney, WIRED (Jul, 11, 2006) Cult of MacThere's been rash of press recently suggesting Apple is weathering a growing consumer recoil following claims about poor quality control, anti-iTunes legislation and allegations about Chinese sweatshops.
"Are we falling out of love with iPod?" asks the Daily Telegraph. The BBC queries, "Is Apple Feeling The Heat?" And The Scotsman reports, "Apple faces the music as public discord with iPod grows."
"...two years after Britain fell in love with the iPod there are signs that the pocket-sized box that transformed the way millions listen to music is beginning to lose its shine," claims The Scotsman.
But, in fact, there's no consumer backlash at all. Apple's firing on all cylinders, and is selling more Macs and iPods than ever.
Look at the numbers: Apple is enjoying about 20 percent year-on-year growth in Macs and about 200 percent growth in iPods. The quarter that ended April 1 was the second biggest quarter in Apple's history, and continued blockbuster sales of both Macs and iPods are predicted.
ZapperGirl gives you more here...
Battery-Fueled Car Will Smoke You!
By Joshua Davis, from Wired magazine 12:00 PM Jul, 19, 2006
Martin Eberhard holds the brake down with his left foot and presses on the accelerator with his right. The motor revs, the car strains against the brake. I hear ... almost nothing. Just a quiet whine like the sound of a jet preparing for takeoff 5 miles away. We're belted into a shimmering black sports car on a quiet, tree-lined street in San Carlos, California, 23 miles south of San Francisco. It has taken Eberhard three years to get this prototype ready for mass production, but with the backing of PayPal cofounder Elon Musk, Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and ex-eBay chief Jeff Skoll, he has created Silicon Valley's first real auto company.
"You see any cops?" Eberhard asks, shooting me a mischievous look. The car is vibrating, ready to launch. I'm the first journalist to get a ride.
ZapperGirl gives you more here... On my iPod:
Camera Obscura, Wolfmother, Death Cab For Cutie, Blondie, XTC, Neil Diamond, Coldplay
Microsoft says Vista to allow Google search engine
(July 19, 2006 - Reuters) Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday said the company was adopting voluntary principles to guide development of its flagship Windows operating system, which will include allowing computer manufacturers to set Google and other non-Microsoft search engines as a default.
Brad Smith, Microsoft senior vice president and general counsel, said the company was committed to creating a transparent system that allows open competition among software developers and computer manufacturers, and wide choice for customers.
"If a manufacturer wants to set competing search services ... by default, they can do so," Smith said in a speech at the New America Foundation, a Washington public policy institute.
Microsoft's plan to include a search service to compete with industry leader Google Inc. in its new Windows Vista operating system has caused concern that the two companies may engage in the same kind of legal fight as the Microsoft-Netscape browser war in the late 1990s.
Microsoft signed an antitrust settlement with the U.S. Justice Department in 2002. Parts of the settlement will begin expiring next year, although Microsoft agreed in May to extend one key provision involving licensing of technical data. Microsoft plans to ship the new Vista operating system in early 2007.
"Our goal is to be principled and transparent as we develop new versions of Windows," Smith said. Earlier this month, the European Commission fined Microsoft 280.5 million euros ($356.6 million) for failing to comply with EU competitiveness requirements.
Excerpt: Cringely's Triumph of the Nerds
Hi I'm Steve Jobs.
Larry Tesler, Chief Scientist: Apple Computer
When I wasn't sure what the word charisma meant, I met Steve Jobs and then I knew.
Bob Metcalfe, Founder: 3COM
Steve Jobs is on my eternal heroes list, there's nothing he can ever do to get off it.
He wanted you to be great and he wanted you to create something that was great and he was going to make you do that.
He's also obnoxious and this comes from his high standards. He has extremely high standards and he has no patience with people who don't either share those standards or perform to them.
And I'm also one of these people. I don't really care about being right you know I just care about success.
Cartoon Network develops "massively" multiplayer online game
The Cartoon Network is developing a "massively" multiplayer online game in the vein of "World of Warcraft" and "EverQuest" for kids 6 to 14.
The yet-to-be-named game, expected to launch in 2008, will let players interact with Cartoon Network characters like Mac, Bloo and the Kids Next Door.
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs, have reached mainstream popularity over the past few years, driven primarily by "World of Warcraft," which now has more than 6.5 million players. The game, announced Wednesday, is being developed with a South Korean company, Grigon Entertainment. Seoul-based Grigon already has developed several online games for the Asian market, including the cartoonish "Seal Online."
Cartoon Network, a unit of Time Warner Inc., already provides simpler ad-supported games on its Web site, which drew 4.6 million visitors last week. The cable network would not say how much it is investing in the new game, but Paul Condolora, who heads Cartoon Network's "new media" division, said it was equivalent to the cost of a new TV series. Condolora said age verification for players and age-appropriate chat functions are in the works, but details have yet to be determined. Walt Disney Co. launched an online multiplayer game for kids, "Toontown Online," in 2003. (© Peter Svensson, AP)
FBI gets hacked, video blogger sacked
BAE systems consultant Joseph Colon was just trying to sidestep bureaucratic roadblocks when he hacked into the FBI’s $500 million computer mishegas known as Trilogy. Using script kiddy tools (and a password supplied by a G-man), the 28-year-old geek-for-hire cracked 38,000 hashed passwords and gained access to several sensitive databases. Colon apparently tired of waiting days for the Feds to approve each new machine. Now he may be waiting another 18 months before he can shower in private again.
Genuinely Ridiculous: Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, a strain of malware pretending to be Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage has begun circulating the Net. The key difference between the two is that the Cuebot-K malware attempts to turn your PC into a zombie, whereas Microsoft’s WGA turns users into one.
E.U.-E.U. Owe: Meanwhile, Microsoft is shaking out its piggy bank now that the European Union has fined Redmond’s reprobates 1.5 million euros per day backdated to Dec. 15 — nearly $360 million — for allegedly violating its antitrust agreement. If Microsoft fails to comply by July 31, the fine could double. Maybe Microsoft should just wait until it saves up enough money to buy the entire continent.
Rocket Goes Boom: America's sweetheart, Amanda Congdon, has left the Rocketboom video blog, leaving thousands of geeks jonesing for their daily Amanda fix. Word is the show will go on with another perky-yet-quirky star, Joanne Colan. Still, watching Rocketboom without Amanda is like paying to see the Beatles, but getting the Monkees instead.
Hell Hath No Fury: The founder of a "rat-a-base," which lets women post profiles of ex-boyfriends, is being sued by a bachelor maligned by the site. According to DontDateHimGirl.com, Todd H. is a cheating slob with herpes who is secretly gay and, even worse, an attorney. The site does give men a chance to post rebuttals, which can typically be summarized as, “That fat chick is nuts.” With sites like this, who needs Desperate Housewives? Thanks to Robert Cringely @ InfoWorld for the above. (Not to be confused with Robert Cringely from PBS, see links section).Got any opinions on this or other posts? Please post your comments!
Intel will release all-new Core 2 Duo processor
Two weeks from now, Intel will release its all-new Core 2 Duo processor. The technical details were made available to the public in March 2006, and first benchmarks made clear that Intel is not joking: Core 2 Duo shall become the undisputed leader in performance and performance per Watt. It's time to separate facts from rumors.
Intel does not talk about changes to the processor architecture; it talks about a complete redesign. The engineers took elements from the current Pentium D NetBurst architecture and added ingredients that made the Pentium M and Core Duo mobile processors successful, and voilá: The Core2 micro-architecture was born. Key design goals were an ideal relation between processing performance and power consumption, which was a direct result of AMD's processors delivering better performance per Watt of energy, and the public complaining about unreasonably high power consumption and cooling requirements for Intel platforms.
For industry experts, Core 2 Duo beating the Athlon 64 processor family is no surprise: On the one hand, Core 2 Duo is a brand-new state-of-the-art processor, whereas the Athlon 64 X2 has been around for a while. On the other hand, Intel must come out with a superior product to finally beat AMD after two years of Athlon 64 headwinds.
So fasten your seatbelts, because Core 2 Duo is the new high-flyer. We will go through all technical aspects that have not been discussed on the web. So don't expect lots of architecture details (these can be found in our Spring IDF article), but hands-on testing and analysis. We will also have a look at the impact Core 2 Duo might have on AMD.
Core 2 Model Clock Speed Multiplier Front Side Bus Speed L2 Cache Extreme X6800 2,933 MHz x11 266 MHz (FSB1066 QDR) 4 MB Duo E6700 2,666 MHz X10 266 MHz (FSB1066 QDR) 4 MB Duo E6600 2,400 MHz X9 266 MHz (FSB1066 QDR) 4 MB Duo E6400 2,133 MHz X8 266 MHz (FSB1066 QDR) 2 MB Duo E6300 1,866 MHz X7 266 MHz (FSB1066 QDR) 2 MB
All Core 2 processors run at a Front Side Bus (FSB) speed of 266 MHz now, whereas most Pentium 4 and Pentium D models typically run at 200 MHz. At four data transfers per cycle (quad data rate mode) this results in a marketing-friendly FSB1066 bus speed, delivering a 8.5 GB/s bandwidth. Except for the entry level, all models have a 4 MB L2 cache that is used by both processing cores. All processors support Intel's 64 bit instruction set (EM64T), the streaming extensions (SSE2 and SSE3), the virtualization technology (VT) and the Execute Disable bit (XD). In addition to these functional features, all models support the latest thermal and energy management features such as the Thermal Monitor 2 (TM2), the Enhanced Halt State (C1E) and Enhanced SpeedStep (EIST).
In contrast to all 90 and 65 nm Pentium 4 and Pentium D processors the Core 2 Duo processor family requires considerably less energy. All Core 2 Duo processors are rated at 65 W maximum power draw, whereas the Pentium D family is either 95 W or 130 W. Although these are the maximum power consumption figures, our tests show that the average power consumption is also cut into half, and the minimum power draw at low load and with energy-saving mechanisms enabled looks even better.
Read more at Intel's site: http://www.intel.com/products/processor/core2/index.htm
Review: Firefox 2 Takes On Internet Explorer 7
The beta of Firefox's next version doesn't have any radical changes, but it does include a few nifty tweaks. Can it continue to challenge IE?
By Preston Gralla, TechWeb (July 17, 2006)
The just-released beta of Firefox 2 may disappoint those who expected a major overhaul, but it adds a variety of useful features that make it a must-have upgrade for Firefox users, including anti-phishing filtering, better RSS handling, a built-in spell checker, and more advanced tab handling. In contrast to the dramatic redesign Microsoft has given to Internet Explorer 7, this is more an incremental upgrade than a major one. The final versions of both browsers will be strikingly similar in features, although not in design. When the two releases are final, IE will have largely caught up to Firefox, although the large ecosystem of Firefox extensions still gives the open-source browser the edge in usefulness.
Focus On PhishingPhishing has become the latest scourge of the Internet, and Firefox attempts to address it. In a phishing attack, you're sent an e-mail that appears to be from a legitimate financial site, such as PayPal or your bank, and when you click an e-mail link to go to the site, it appears to be legitimate as well. But the site is in fact a spoofed one, and a scam artist steals your account information. Firefox 2.0's phishing filter warns you away from dangerous Web sites. Click image to enlarge and to launch image gallery. Firefox's anti-phishing filtering attacks the problem by checking every Web site you visit against a constantly updated list of known phishing sites, and also examining site characteristics to see if they match those of typical phishing sites. If it finds that the site is a phishing site, you get a warning. Click "Get me out of here!" to leave the site and you're sent to your home page. Click "Ignore this warning" to visit the site. The anti-phishing feature uses the same Safe Browsing technology currently available in Google's Toolbar for Firefox.
You have the option of having the list of phishing sites automatically downloaded on a regular basis, or you can have Firefox check the list in real time as you surf. In both cases, Safe Browsing provides the list. The default is to have the list downloaded, which means it would tend to be somewhat out of date compared to real-time checking. (Phishing sites are rarely long-lived phenomena, and are generally temporary sites that have a very short life. So if the download happens even as often as twice a day, it means that sites might not be caught -- even a delay of a few hours makes a difference.) If you want to have them checked in real time, select Tools/Options/Advanced/Anti-Phishing, and then choose the "By asking" option. You will get a warning that information about your browsing will be sent to Google; however, if you're okay with that, you'll get better protection.
How effective is the filter? In my tests, Firefox caught only one of four phishing sites tested; Internet Explorer 7 caught three. Here, at least, IE won, hands down. Better Tab HandlingFirefox 2 includes a variety of features that improve how you can work with tabs. Perhaps the best addition is the new "Undo Close Tab" feature. If you accidentally closed a tab you didn't want to, or simply want to revisit the site in the last tab you closed, right-click the tab bar, and a pop-up menu appears. Select Undo Close Tab, and the last tab you closed will open.
What if you want to open not the last tab you closed, but one you had closed some time ago? You'll find help there as well. There's now a Recently Closed tabs option on the History menu which offers a list of all the tabs you've recently closed. Select any site, and it will open in a new tab. If you want to open all of the tabs on the Recently Closed tab list, choose Open in Tabs, and they will all open simultaneously in their own tabs.
Another great addition is the Session Restore feature, which you can use to recover from a system crash. When you restart Firefox, a Restore Previous Session box pops up, asking you if you want to restore your previous session -- in other words, reload all the tabs you had open before the crash.
These new tab-handling options have previously been available one way or another in a variety of Firefox extensions. However, having them built directly into the browser is much more useful, because it cuts down on conflicts, eliminates browser bloat, and offers a simple, unified way of handling tabs.
There's also a central location where you can change options for how you want Firefox tabs to be work, such as whether clicked-upon links should open into new tabs or in new windows.
The Tabs section in Options gives you better control of your tabs. Click image to enlarge and to launch image gallery. Tabs now also have small "x"s on them that can be used to close each individually, which is more convenient than the previous way, which required you to move your mouse to find the X on the right-hand portion of the screen.
One surprise: Firefox doesn't include anything similar to IE7's Quick Tabs feature, which lets you see thumbnails of all your tabs, and quickly switch among them. This is a surprising and inexplicable oversight, because it's such a useful tool. But extensions such as Firefox Showcase offer this feature -- although you'll have to wait until it becomes compatible with Firefox 2.
So which browser handles tabs better, IE7 or Firefox? Overall, Firefox does, because of its ability to restore entire sessions after crashes, and because it allows you to reopen previously closed tabs. Still, Firefox should have implemented a Quick Tabs tool.
Better RSSFirefox's handling of RSS feeds has improved as well. When you're on a page that includes an RSS feed, the RSS icon appears in the Address Bar, as it did in previous versions. When you click on it, a list of all the feeds on the page appears. You simply select one to read it and/or subscribe to it.
Firefox's Live Bookmarks reader is very basic, and doesn't allow for filtering or searching through feeds. But you don't have to use Live Bookmarks to read the feeds -- click "Choose a Feed Reader," and you'll be presented with a list of popular RSS readers, such as FeedDemon, or one of several Web-based RSS readers. Click on one of your saved feeds, and your chosen reader will either be started (if it's a separate application), or brought up in Firefox (if it's a Web reader).
You can opt for Firefox's built-in Live Bookmarks RSS reader, one installed on your PC, or a Web-based reader. Click image to enlarge and to launch image gallery.
IE7 also includes a built-in RSS reader, and in some ways, it's superior to what's built into Firefox. IE7's reader allows you to sort each feed by date and title, as well as filter by category, and it includes ways to customize when and how feeds are checked for new content. However, IE7 doesn't integrate with other feed readers the way that Firefox does. Other New FeaturesThere are quite a few smaller improvements in Firefox 2. Careless bloggers everywhere will be pleased to find that Firefox includes a built-in spell checker that automatically flags misspelled words as you type. Right-click on the word, and you'll get a list of suggestions for correcting it. You can also add words to the dictionary. (Bloggers might also be interested in our review of Flock, a browser based on Firefox that includes features for social networkers.)
A single Add-ons window lets you control both your extensions and your themes. Click image to enlarge and to launch image gallery.The new version of Firefox also considerably improves the Search Bar. Previously, once you installed a new search engine for the Search Bar, there was no simple way to get rid of it. Now you can easily manage all of your installed engines. Click the button next to the magnifying glass and choose Manage Search Engines; to remove an engine, highlight it and click Remove. To change the order that engines appears on your list, highlight one, and move it up or down. Manage Search Engines lets you delete the search engines you no longer want. Click image to enlarge and to launch image gallery. The Bottom LineSo what's the bottom line for Firefox 2? There are enough improvements so that anyone who uses Firefox should upgrade. And the beta appears stable enough that you may be able to use it now as your everyday browser. Is it better than IE7? That depends on which features are most important to you. IE7's anti-phishing tool and built-in RSS reader beat Firefox's. Firefox's tab handling is superior, except for its lack of Quick Tabs. The ace up Firefox's sleeve is still its extensions, because those will give it a significant set of features that IE7 won't have. Overall, while Firefox 2 is an improvement over 1.5, it's not likely to be the version that helps it overtake IE's dominance in the marketplace. It will be interesting to see if anything else is added by the time Firefox comes out of beta.
Microsoft buys Winternals Software
By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service - July 18, 2006
Microsoft Corp. has acquired Winternals Software LP, the company co-founded by rootkit detective Mark Russinovich.
Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell founded the 85-person software company in 1996. Winternals produces a number of enterprise-system, recover-and-performance tuning software products. The company also hosts a popular freeware site called Sysinternals.com that boasts 10,000 registered users and about 1 million page views per month.
Terms of the acquisition, which was announced Tuesday, were not disclosed.
Russinovich made international headlines last November after he discovered that copy protection software that Sony Corp. had been distributing with millions of CDs was cloaking itself using undetectable "rootkit" software.
Sony was ultimately forced to recall the affected CDs after hackers began using the rootkit to hide malicious code.
Microsoft would not say much about what it plans to do with the Winternals product family or with the Sysinternals freeware, but the software giant plans to eventually move the company's Austin, Texas, operations to Redmond, Washington. Winternals customers will continue to be supported through the end of their contracts, but expired contracts cannot be renewed, Microsoft said.
For the time being, however, Russinovich will maintain his widely read blog on the Systernals Web site. "I will definitely keep blogging," he said. "Sysinternals.com is where the blog will be up until when and if Microsoft decides to move the site."
Russinovich will become one of 14 technical fellows within Microsoft, working in the Microsoft's Platforms & Services Division. Cogswell will assume the role of software architect within the Windows Component Platform Team.
In his new role, Russinovich will help chart the future direction of the Windows platform as it adopts new virtualization, security and multicore processor capabilities. "For the last 10 years we've been working on Windows and Windows platform technologies," Russinovich said. "Now we'll have the opportunity to directly influence Windows and Windows platform products."
He thinks Microsoft will continue to develop the software that his company created. "We felt that Microsoft was the ideal vehicle to getting those technologies to a broader audience," he said.