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Mozilla updates Firefox, fixes critical flaw

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Mozilla has released an upgrade for the popular Firefox browser. Version 3.0.10 reportedly corrects a critical flaw that caused frequent crashes for a number of users.

"One of the security fixes in Firefox 3.0.9 introduced a regression that caused some users to experience frequent crashes. Users of the HTML Validator add-on were particularly affected, but other users also experienced this crash in some situations. In analyzing this crash we discovered that it was due to memory corruption similar to cases that have been identified as security vulnerabilities in the past," explained Mozilla.

Firefox 3.0.9, released just a week ago, fixed a slew of problems, including:

* Refresh header redirect to javascript
* POST data sent to wrong site when saving web page with embedded frame
* Malicious search plugins capable of injecting code into arbitrary sites
* Same-origin violations in XMLHttpRequest and XPCNativeWrapper.toString
* XSS hazard using third-party stylesheets and XBL bindings
* Same-origin violations when Adobe Flash loaded via view-source
* URL spoofing with box drawing character

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7:31 PM

Verizon eyes partnership with Apple

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Verizon Wireless is reportedly considering a partnership with Apple.

According to Business Week, the companies are currently thrashing out the distribution terms for two new iPhone-like units.

One device is described as an "iPhone lite," while the other is thought to be a "media pad" capable of playing music, HD videos and displaying photos. The "iPhone lite" is slightly thinner than the current iPhone, but will be cheaper to produce as it is powered by a system on a chip. Meanwhile, the media pad is apparently smaller than Amazon's Kindle electronic reader, but with a larger touchscreen. The pad may also be capable of placing calls over Wi-Fi and a high-speed wireless connection from Verizon.


"The media pad category might go to Verizon," a source told Business Week. "We are talking about a device where people will say, 'Damn, why didn't we do this?' Apple is probably going to define the damn category."

Apple is also examining the possibility of developing a new iPhone that would utilise the Verizon's CDMA network.

However, Gene Munster, a senior analyst at Piper Jaffray (PJC), noted that the manufacture of a CDMA iPhone was "unlikely."

"We believe such a deal is unlikely due to the technology hurdles involved in building and supporting its first CDMA iPhone," wrote Munster in a research note.

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7:28 PM

Cablevision to offer 101 Mbps broadband

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Cablevision Systems unveiled plans to launch a new high-speed Internet and WiFi service that could quite possibly bring Verizon, which posted excellent quarterly earnings based solely on their wireless, Internet and TV division’s strength, a little competition.

Cablevision officials announced that they intend to begin offering the nation’s first 101 Mbps high-speed Internet service on May 11. Currently, the company delivers high-speed Internet, digital cable TV and digital voice services in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut via its Optimum brand.

The new service, priced at $100 per month, is being called “Optimum Online Ultra” and leverages the new DOCSIS 3.0 technology. Cablevision believes that Optimum Online Ultra will put them a step ahead of competitors allowing the company to offer a superior product to anything else available. As a comparison, Verizon offers its FiOS fiber optic service at a rate of $140 per month, for download speeds reaching only 50 Mbps. Cablevisions said its service will provide up-speeds of 15 Mbps.

If Cablevision in fact can provide 101 Mbps, users will be to download full-length HD movies in less than 10 minutes – or 150 MP3 tracks or 750 high-resolution digital photos in one minute, the company said. And yes, we are also wondering about those download caps and how long it will take you to run into such a barrier with that connection speed. Cablevision did not release any information on bandwidth caps for its new flagship service.

The wireless Internet access offered by Cablevision will also be doubling in speed to 3.0 Mbps utilizing Wi-Fi technology. The service is free to individuals who subscribe to Cablevision when they want to use their laptops and mobile devices locally in specific areas.

Cablevision said that the new broadband service required an investment of about $300 million.

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7:27 PM

Swine flu defines social media’s new age

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If someone tweets it, is it news? Should Twitter be our first stop when we want to know what’s going on? Do we even have a choice anymore?

Over the last year or so, Twitter has emerged as an early warning system of sorts for major breaking news stories. Following the earthquake that devastated the Sichuan region of China in May, tweets from the disaster zone gave the rest of the world its first glimpse of the scope of the devastation. When US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River in January, Twitter got the scoop on everyone else with a nowiconic picture of passengers waiting calmly for rescue on the wing of the downed plane.

As swine flu sweeps from its origins in Mexico to countless countries around the world, Twitter finds itself once more on the front lines of modern hybrid journalism. And as much as Twitterati appreciate the hair trigger ability to know what’s going on Right Now, such knowledge comes with a price.

In the land of social media, anyone can say anything. While the collective influence of the crowd tends to rein in anyone intent on posting the online equivalent of graffiti, the real-time web as exemplified by Twitter often makes this self-policing a bit of a joke. That’s because by the time the crowd has shamed the perpetrator back on the righteous path, the damage has already been done.

So as an endless barrage of tweets – from individuals, citizen journalists and major news outlets alike – raises our collective panic level around this emerging global story, we find ourselves knowing more about things sooner than ever before. But at the same time, we’re more vulnerable to misinformation. Individuals with no primary newsgathering capability of their own send out hastily worded, ill=informed messages in the hope that hyperbolic language will attract more attention. Conventional media journalists are just as guilty for using their Twitter pulpits to hawk upcoming shows and goose ratings. Like the teaser spots they play before going to commercial, they’re usually just exciting enough to get us to hang in – even if they’re misinformed and irresponsible.

Is Twitter providing a balanced public service that allows us to optimally manage our way through a potential threat to our collective health? Or is it helping some among us increase their ratings and raise their follower counts by spreading a little needless panic along the way?

No matter who you are, there’s nothing wrong with using Twitter as a tool to keep abreast of what’s going on in the world. It’s a welcome addition to the fast-evolving world of online media, and a great way to quickly plug into whatever network makes the most sense to us at any given moment. Where we begin to lose it is when we assume it’s the only thing we’ll need going forward. It isn’t. And in the absence of the context provided by using a well-chosen set of conventional and new media tools to stay up-to-date, we run a greater risk of being unable to separate fact from fiction.

Carmi Levy is a Canadian technology analyst and journalist covered with scars from his years leading IT help desks and managing software development projects for big bad insurance companies. He comments extensively in a wide range of media, and works closely with clients to help them leverage technology and social media tools and processes to drive their business.

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7:24 PM

New Firefox beta finally arrives

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Under development for ten months, Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 is finally available for download.

Based on the Gecko 1.9.1 rendering platform, Firefox 3.5b4 is available in 70 languages and features improved tools for managing private data, including a private - aka porn - mode.

Mozilla claims the new browser offers better performance and stability with the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine, together with the ability to provide location aware browsing using web standards for geolocation.


Improvements to the Gecko layout engine include speculative parsing for faster rendering. Support for HTML5 video and audio, downloadable fonts and other new CSS properties, JavaScript query selectors, HTML5 offline data storage for applications, and SVG transforms are also included.

The 7.6MB beta is available in Windows, Mac and Linux versions and you can get it from here. The usual dire warnings about compatibility problems with some websites and add-ons apply.

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7:20 PM

iPod/iPhone Tips: How To Free Yourself From iTunes With SharePod

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SharePod is a light weighted iTunes alternative that you can launch directly from any windows PC even no need of administrative rights.This one feature itself has won the popularity for this free utility to manage iPods/iPhones at the work places, where it usually requires admin privileges for installing any applications.

This tiny app has already made the LifeHacker’s most popular free windows downloads of 2008.The real power of the application lies in its GUI, which make accessing your music so simple and smooth.

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SharePod latest releases also supports new iPhones and iPod touches along with as usual iPod nanos.In addition to basic music playback features it supports complete iPod back up feature and copying entire or individual tracks from iPod to PC and vice versa.Now with the SharePod we can edit the albums art work or share your albums to friends very easily unlike the complex iTunes apps.

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10:52 PM

9 Best Sites To Read Reviews Before You Buy An iPhone App

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As there are hundreds of applications available on Apple App Store for iPhones it is tough to decide which application to buy or not to buy.

Another unfortunate issue is that there is no way to try an application before purchasing. App Store does not provide any demo version of applications to download and try them.

iPhone App review sites comes very handy to know about an application before shelling out your hard earned money. Check out a list of great web sites that provide detailed reviews of iPhone Apps.

1. AppVee

AppVee understood that it is unfortunate that we cant try an application before purchasing and they provide a demo video of the application as part of their review. AppVee is a great web site for detailed review of iPhone Apps along with video demonstrations.

visit AppVee.com

2. Apple iPhone School

Apple iPhone School has mini reviews of the applications with loads of pictures and occasional video demos. This site also hosts reviews on the process of jail breaking the iPhone and the applications that run on jail broken iPhones.

visit Apple iPhone School

3. What’s On iPhone

The mission of What’s On iPhone is to review the latest applications, be the forum of iPhone and provide application resources. With a great team of engineers, writers, home makers and other professionals What’s On iPhone provides excellent reviews.

visit What’s On iPhone

4. iUseThis

The iUseThis iPhone application review website stands out from the rest of the review sites by providing the count of people really using the application. This makes it easy to decide which one to buy if you have more than one application in the same arena.

visit iUseThis

5. App Store Apps

App Store Apps web site hosts a list of Top 100 Paid and Top 100 Free applications. So if you are a new iPhone owner browse the tow lists to get a glimpse of best of iPhone Applications available for you.

visit App Store Apps

Blogs

There are few blogs that post reviews of interesting iPhone applications and provide good insight information

1. The Gizmodo iPhone App Reviews
2. Ars Technica iPhone App Reviews
3. iPhone Alley iPhone App Reviews
4. Life Hacker iPhone App Reviews

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10:39 PM

How To Capture Screen Shots of iPhone 3G

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The new iPhone 3G has a built in feature that allows you to grab screen shots without installing any third party applications.

To capture a screen shot hold down the home button and press the top button. The screen will flash indicating that a screen shot is captured and the resulting image is placed in your photos folder.

This is a very useful feature for bloggers as they had to use digital cameras to capture screen shots.

The built in screen capturing capability is available in only iPhone 3G models. If you are having a old iPhone and willing to upgrade it iPhone 3G read the section “Upgrade your old iPhone to firmware version 2.0″ in the post 5 Steps to Upgrade From a Hacked iPhone to an iPhone 3G by Matt Cutts.

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10:24 PM

How To Save All Your Opened Tabs In Google Chrome

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Google Chrome, blazingly fast browser, provides an useful option to restore all of the tabs that you had open when you last closed.This feature is similar to Firefox’s Session Manager.
Uses

  • By using this option you can just leave up all of the pages that you visit frequently and they were the next time when you the browser.
  • You can easily recover all the tabs from any sudden crash of the browser.
How to Enable The Option

By default this option is disabled.Follow the below steps to enable the option:

Step 1: Click on the Tools button located on top right of the browser and select Options.
Step 2: On the Basics tab of the Options just enable the Restore the pages that were open last option which is located at the top.That’s it!

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10:16 PM

How To Add Missing iTunes Album Art

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Everyone has this problem - you have tracks in your iTunes library that don’t have album artwork.With the release of iPhone and iPods this album art became a major part in our music listening experience.

There are many online tools available to automatically fix this.But it won’t work for the tracks that came from some obscure CD that iTunes has never heard of.

Luckily we have a very simple solution to fix this without requiring any application to download.

The process is simple:

  • Select the songs that belongs to the same album.
  • Right click on it and select ‘Get Info’ option.
  • Drag the art from your browser(using google image search) into ‘Artwork’ image box located at the right-side of the dialog. You’re done!

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10:10 PM

How To Create iTunes Store Account Without Credit Card

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Many of us who have the iPhone/iPod are still struggling to install free applications available in the iTunes store. The problem is either we don’t have a credit card to create the account or may be the free application is not available in our country’s iTunes store(most of the free apps are available for US users only).

To solve both the problems there is way in which we can create iTunes account as a US user and also skip entering credit card details. Here are the simple steps to follow:

1. Launch iTunes application on your computer
2. Select “iTunes Store” from the left side panel options; displays iTunes Store home page.
3. Select United States as your location from the country selection drop down menu available at the bottom of the page
4. After choosing the country, click on "Top Free Apps" section
5. When the application’s page is loaded - click on "Get App" button; login window will appear.
6. Click on the "create account" button
7. Fill out US address details and click on continue. If you don’t know any valid US address you can use Apple US retail store address by pointing your browser to http://www.apple.com/retail/ and choosing a store from the list available in the page
8. After submitting valid US postal address details, iTune Store registration takes you to payment mode page. Here choose the option "None" and finish the registration.
9. You will now see the congratulation page.You’re done! Your iTunes Store account is created without credit card and from now onwards you can download all the free applications available to US users from any country.

Note: If you try and create an account directly from the logon box, you will be missing the option called "None" in the payment page, and you end up in compulsory submitting your credit card details.

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10:07 PM

How To Access Blocked GMail From School or Office

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Are you a GMail addict and tired of your office or school administration blocking access to GMail? Here is a guide with various tricks to unblock your favorite GMail and enjoy the full mail access at your organization.

1. Instead of gmail.com Use Different Address Like mail.google.com, google.com/mail, etc

Instead of using the URL gmail.com to access your GMail account, try other web address like mail.google.com, google.com/mail when GMail is blocked at your school/office. This trick is expected to work if the IT administrators has blocked gmail.com alone and left the rest of the domains open as they are not widely known to people. Here is the list of alternative address to access GMail

* http://m.gmail.com
* https://gmail.com
* http://google.com/mail
* http://mail.google.com or https://mail.google.com
* http://googlemail.com

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2. Access Blocked GMail Using iGoogle

GMail is available as a gadge to iGoogle and you can use this gadget to access GMail. When you access GMail through iGoogle all the communication with the GMail servers is routed through iGoogle servers. So this defeats all the restriction and filters applied by IT administrators in blocking gmail.com domain.

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To access GMail through iGoogle

1. Login to iGoogle using your Google Account
2. Add GMail gadget to iGoogle by following this link or by using Add Stuff on screen
3. That’s all. Start accessing your GMail inside iGoogle.

3. Access GMail Using Opera Mini Simulator

Use Opera Mini Browser Online Simulator application to access GMail in a small screen window. Opera Mini is a popular web browser for mobile phones. It allows users to work with live demo of Opera Mini that functions exactly like it would when installed on a handset.

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Point your browser to http://www.operamini.com/demo/ and start accessing blocked GMail using the URL m.gmail.com.

Reading mails on mobile simulator is definitely not convenient as reading them on a full screen browser computer. But when you need to access your GMail urgently, This trick might be helpful to you.

4. Use Microsoft Outlook Or Other Mail Programs To Access GMail Using POP3/IMAP

Configure your mail clients like Outlook, Live Mail, Lotus Notes to access GMail using POP3 or IMAP protocol. This trick of accessing GMail when blocked is mostly useful for working professionals as they should be definitely using some mail client for official mail access.

You can find the instruction to configure POP3 and IMAP access for various mail clients over here and here.

5. Launch GMail from Google Talk

launch_gmail_from_google_talk At few organizations they block access to GMail but not to Google Talk. If that is the case at your organization, then you can launch GMail from Google Talk application. Sign in to GTalk and click on the envelope icon to launch access GMail.

6. Use Your Smart Phones

If you have internet connection on your mobile, you can make use of your mobile phone to access GMail.

GMail has an excellent native application for most of the mobiles like iPhone, Nokia, Android, Windows Mobile, etc. The ease at which you can read and reply to mails through GMail for Mobile is amazing. It is my favorite mobile application.

You can download GMail application for mobiles from Google

7. Use Proxy Web Site To Bypass

Using proxy website to beat censorship is one of the popular ways for unblocking any kind of websites. When we try to access GMail using a web proxy, the web proxy hides our IP address and uses it’s own IP address to load the page.

8. Nothing Working? Then Bribe Your IT Administrator

giftIf none of the above methods worked for you then take help of someone at IT department and get access to GMail. Bribe them :) Offer small gifts, drinks or something else they like.

Either you can ask them to grant access for your PC or get details of internal proxy server that allow GMail access.

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9:54 PM

Apple sold 3.8 million iPhones in Q1

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Apple has announced its financial results for the second fiscal quarter of 2009. The company racked up an impressive $8.16 billion in revenue, with a net quarterly profit of $1.21 billion, or $1.33 per diluted share.

The company racked up an impressive $8.16 billion in revenue, with a net quarterly profit of $1.21 billion, or $1.33 per diluted share. Revenue was up from $7.51 billion in the year-ago quarter, while net quarterly profit rose slightly from the previous figure of $1.05 billion. International sales accounted for 46 percent of the quarter's revenue.


The Cupertino giant managed to sell 3.79 million Iphones, which represented 123 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. The company also sold 11.01 million iPods, which indicated a three percent unit growth. However, Macintosh sales decreased to 2.22 million, registering a three percent drop compared to the year-ago quarter.

"We are extremely pleased to report the best non-holiday quarter revenue and earnings in our history," said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. "Apple's financial condition remains very robust, with almost $29 billion in cash and marketable securities on our balance sheet. Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter of 2009, we expect revenue in the range of about $7.7 billion to $7.9 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share in the range of about $.95 to $1.00."

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7:02 AM

Wikipedia signs pact with phone company

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Sprawling online encyclopedia Wikipedia said it has forged a relationship with Orange.

Orange and Wikipedia will work together to develop channels for Orange's mobile and web portals.
The deal will kick off in the UK, Spain, France, and Poland first, with co-branded content from the Wikimedia Foundation.

Orange will develop mobile and web based widgets so customers can directly access Wikipedia content from cellphones or web pages. In the future, the two will work together to extend the provision of content to television, with services being offered across the whole of Europe.


Orange claims 55 million unique visitors a month for its own web sites. Financial details of the arrangement were not provided by either Wikipedia or Orange.

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7:00 AM

White House may take control of cybersecurity

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The White House should take direct control of US cybersecurity - with a little help from the private sector - according to the official who has just completed a national review of net security.

Speaking at the RSA conference in San Francisco, Melissa Hathaway said that net security posed "one of the most serious challenges of the 21st century". She added, "We have witnessed countless intrusions that have allowed criminals to steal hundreds of millions of dollars and allowed nation- states and others to steal intellectual property and sensitive military information," she said.

She urged security professionals and the private sector to join the government in efforts to secure the net. She said the job ahead was "a marathon, not a sprint but we have taken the first steps to make real and lasting progress".

Hathaway, who is acting senior director for cyberspace for the National Security and Homeland Security Council, has just completed a 60-day review of cybersecurity for the President to determine how the government should restructure the way it handles the internet and security. The review is expected to be made public at the end of the month. Ms Hathaway said more detailed discussions will take place once the President and his administration had have an opportunity to digest her recommendations.

Hathaway declined to give any details of the review, but did present what she called her "60-day movie trailer", which outlined a desire for collaboration between the White House, security experts and the private sector. She also called for a national dialogue to "help this critical conversation grow."

Currently, non-military cybersecurity issues are handled by the US Department of Homeland Security, which has been charged with the creation of a national response system for online attacks and a risk management program for critical infrastructure. But it has come under fire repeatedly from government auditors who said it was failing to fulfil its responsibilities and was unprepared for emergencies.

The announcement of the review led to speculation that the White House's National Security Council or the National Security Agency would be handed more cybersecurity responsibilities.

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6:59 AM

Humans cause growth in Antarctic sea ice

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So it's not all bad: it seems human activity is as much to blame for the increase in Antarctic ice as it is for the melting of the Arctic ice cap. Unfortunately, the effect won't last.

The growth in Antarctic sea ice over the last 30 years is a result of changing weather patterns caused by the ozone hole, according to scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and NASA. They say that while there has been a dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice, Antarctic sea ice has increased by a small amount as a result of the ozone hole, delaying the impact of greenhouse gas increases on the climate of the continent.


The new research helps explain why observed changes in the amount of sea-ice cover are so different in both polar regions.

Lead author Professor John Turner of BAS said, “Our results show the complexity of climate change across the Earth. While there is increasing evidence that the loss of sea ice in the Arctic has occurred due to human activity, in the Antarctic human influence through the ozone hole has had the reverse effect and resulted in more ice."

But, he warns, the effect is likely to be temporary. "Although the ozone hole is in many ways holding back the effects of greenhouse gas increases on the Antarctic, this will not last, as we expect ozone levels to recover by the end of the 21st century. By then there is likely to be around one third less Antarctic sea ice,” he said.

Using satellite images of sea ice and computer models the scientists discovered that the ozone hole has strengthened surface winds around Antarctica and deepened the storms in the South Pacific area of the Southern Ocean that surrounds the continent. This resulted in greater flow of cold air over the Ross Sea, leading to more ice production in this region.

Whilst there has been a small increase of sea ice during the autumn around the coast of East Antarctica, the largest changes are observed in West Antarctica. Sea ice has been lost to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula – a region that has warmed by almost 3 degrees Celcius in the past 50 years. Further west, sea ice cover over the Ross Sea has increased.

The research will be published in Geophysical Research Letters this week.

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6:58 AM

NASA showcases spinoff technologies

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From swimming costumes to firefighters' uniforms, from trucks to electric cars: NASA has launched an expanded version of an interactive online program that allows users to discover some of the many ways in which everyday life has been improved by NASA technologies.

NASA at Home and NASA City take users on an illustrated tour of commercial technologies and products that have originated from or been enhanced by NASA's investment in space and aeronautics research and development.


Visitors can scroll more than 100 technologies grouped by themes such as home, airport, grocery store, sports arena, hospital, public safety and manufacturing. After entering an area, users can experience the impact NASA has on their lives and find descriptions of such technologies as temperature-regulated clothing from materials designed for astronaut suits and gloves, wireless headset telephone technology pioneered to transmit the first words from the moon, fire-resistant paint and steel coatings from NASA's heat shield technology, and remote-controlled ovens based on technology used aboard the International Space Station.

Among the new features on the sites is Spinoff Challenge, a metagame that offers users NASA Home and City graphics, wallpapers and screen savers. NASA Billboard gives visitors up-to-date information about what is new at NASA.

NASA has documented more than 1,600 examples of how the agency's technologies have been used to improve life on Earth in its annual Spinoff publication. The technologies are available in an online searchable database that can be accessed directly from this new web feature.

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6:57 AM

Yahoo drop in profits means 700 will go

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A fall in advertising revenues has resulted in Yahoo's profit falling by 78 percent and that means 700 jobs will go at the company.

Revenues for its first financial quarter dropped 13 percent to $1.58 billion, while its net income fell to $118 million. In the same period last year, revenues amounted to $1.81 billion while net income was $537 million.

CEO Carol Bartz, brought in to shake up Yahoo, said that the 700 jobs or so that would be lost would not be across the board, but from specific business units.

Gossip continues that Yahoo is still in talks with Microsoft to create a strategic alliance on search technology but neither firm care to comment about such talks.

An alliance would certainly give rival Google a tiny migraine, but we doubt it would essentially change the search landscape. Dominant Google, although affected by the global meltdown like every other company in the known universe, only has to sit tight in order to give both Yahoo and Microsoft an enormous splitting headache.

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10:58 AM

Google boosts ego of people with boring names

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Search engine behemoth Google introduced a set of tools helping people who want to "look themselves up on the Internet" but have really dull names.

The search index now includes a profiling feature that will help egotists with somewhat dull names discover themselves.

The number of John Smiths, David Jones, and Ramesh Patels out of the six billion people on the planet won't be known until we have a world government and an international census. Try a search on "John Smith" and you'll get the picture.

A search on "Wolfgang Gruener" or "Mike Magee" narrows down the results significantly, although apparently there is an American soccer player called Mike Magee, as well as a Dr Mike Magee. Magee, to my knowledge, only played soccer when he was a child, 500 years ago. Perhaps Mike Magee needs to see Dr Mike Magee but that is a different matter.

While Google may seem to be giving the opportunity to folk to ego-boost themselves online, they can only access the Profile feature if they sign up. And that increases the possibility of Google persuading them to use additional services.

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10:57 AM

Sanyo releases powerful hybrid bicycle

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Japanese firm Sanyo said it has released a hybrid bicycle which with the aid of its Eneloop battery can help you peddle half as hard to get where you want to go to.

The SY-SPG226 has broad wheels and a big front basket as well as a rack at the rear to carry extra large items. Its range, Sanyo claims, is 85 kilometres, but the battery re-charges when you're coasting down hills.

Sanyo faces fierce competition from three other Japanese players - Yamaha, Bridgestone and Panasonic. Panasonic is set to acquire Sanyo later this year.

The electric motor allows a ratio of motor to peddle power of two to one. The Japanese government eased its laws on the power of electric-powered bicycles at the end of last year.

The number of electric powered bicycles sold in Japan grew 20 percent last year, partly as a result of higher fuel prices and partly because they're seen as greener and more sustainable than motorbikes.

This latest machine dispenses with gender distinctions by dispensing with a cross bar for men. All models of the SY-SPG226 free men from having to put their leg over a cross bar. The convention arose in Victorian times when women wore huge skirts which made riding a bike rather problematical.

You can find a picture of the bike at Sanyo's Japanese site, here.

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10:56 AM

Ebay gets knuckles rapped over pricing

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An advertisement by Ebay has drawn the ire of the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Ebay issued a poster claiming that prices on its site were 25 percent cheaper than the High Street for brand new items. High Streets in Britain are the main shopping areas in a town or city.

The firm said the source of the complaint was an organization called Frontier Economics, obtained by comparing the average sold price, including postage and packing of 288 new products.

But a complaint was received saying the claim would mislead buyers, because Ebay hadn't made sufficiently clear the basis of such a comparison. Ebay's response was that the independent survey looked at typical household items sold both on its site and in mainstream stores. Unbranded products and second hand and used items were excluded from the study.

But the ASA upheld the claim on the basis that the phrase "25% cheaper than the High Street on brand new items" was an absolute claim that Ebay was cheaper than all main high street stores for all new items. The full evidence, however, wasn't available, the ASA noted. Plus, there were product sectors not included that should have been, such as furniture, garden goods, computers, and toys and games. Ebay had not made that clear.

The ad breached the advertising code on three counts - substantiation, truthfulness and comparisons with identified competitors and/or their products.

Thundered the ASA: "The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Ebay to ensure they held robust evidence to support comparative claims in future."

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10:56 AM

Scientists make gasoline from garbage

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You never know what you might find when you go rooting around on a garbage dump, and US scientists reckon they have struck black gold.

Scientists at a synthetic biology lab at the University of California have used a bacterium found living on a French dump in the early 1980s which can be used to turn plant waste into gasoline that is chemically indistinguishable from fossil-fuel based petroleum.

Their method allows for the use of agricultural waste products like corn stover and sugar cane bagasse. This sidesteps criticism of biomass projects for helping drive up food prices and damage the environment.

With improvements in the rate of production from genetic engineering, the researchers estimate that production costs could be as low as $1.65 per gallon from sugar cane bagasse.

The lab used a bacterium discovered in the early 1980s living in a French garbage dump, which was then combined with yeast. When mixed with biomass, the bacteria digest it and produces the chemical acetate. The yeast then converts the acetate into methyl halides, which can be collected and converted into gasoline.

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10:55 AM

Bluetooth 3.0 released

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The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) today announced the release of the Bluetooth 3.0 +HS specification, which increases the wireless standard’s bandwidth by a significant margin and turns Bluetooth into the product it should have been a few years ago. Finally, there is an opportunity for the technology to reach for products beyond the headset.

A few days ago, I pulled out an old picture of the first commercial Bluetooth card released, back in 2000, and remembered how painful it was to use the technology, when data was transferred at less than 50 kB/s. Nine years later, Bluetooth is finally what we imagined it to be at the beginning of this decade.

Bluetooth 3.0 + HighSpeed (HS) lifts the maximum bandwidth from 3 Megabit/s (Mb/s) with 6 ft to 24 Mb/s within 10 ft. Shifting data at a peak speed of 3 Megabyte/s (MB/s) is a quantum leap over the first generation and even the preceding 2.1 + EDR version. However, it is substantially slower than what was originally planned – Bluetooth 3.0- was originally planned to use UWB technology.

Previously, the SIG said that the new Bluetooth technology would be using a traditional 2.4 GHz radio as well as an additional 8 GHz UWB radio to hit data rates of at least 53.3 Mb/s.

The organization still went with the dual-radio approach, but Bluetooth 3.0 ended up with the Wi-Fi 802.11 radio protocol. The inclusion of the 802.11 Protocol Adaptation Layer (PAL) provides the increased throughput capability. Other changes in Bluetooth 3.0 include “enhanced power control” as well as new data encryption technologies. No features were dropped from version 2.1 + EDR to 3.0 + HS. The SIG said that the rollout of Bluetooth 3.0 products is “eminent”.

The bandwidth of the new wireless standard may be disappointing in some respect, but a data rate of about 3 MB/s is clearly enough for more than just connecting a headset to a cellphone – and it will interesting to see whether it is too late for the technology to move into application fields that are now have been occupied by Wi-Fi. The SIG still indicates that most applications for Bluetooth will be limited to the cellphone, but it is now much more convenient to synchronize music, send video from a cellphone to a TV and download pictures from your phone to a PC.

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10:54 AM

Why I won’t be celebrating Earth Day today, and instead everyday

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It’s April 22, and there is absolutely no way I could have possibly forgotten. For the past couple of weeks my e-mail inbox and unfortunately even my postal mailbox has been flooded with marketing materials. Promotions for eco-friendly and green products, sales in the name of the special day, it would seem that as many corporations and businesses as possible are trying to capitalize on the event, which was originally established in 1970 as a grassroots attempt to gain environmental awareness.

It would seem, the original purpose of the day has been lost. Environmental awareness, sustainability and green living are not just for one day of the year. It’s a commitment. It’s a dedication. And it’s actually for those of us who are committed, a way of life.

Many companies are utilizing Earth Day as an opportunity to make more money and draw more business, though their efforts seem positive, the results aren’t. Subscribers to Newsweek can utilize the cover from the April 14 issue and fold it into an envelope and use it to send plastic bags to Target. In exchange these individuals will receive a reusable tote bag. If you shop at Macy’s, you can make a $5 donation to the National Park foundation, for a 10% to 20% off discount during the weekend of April 26. The company is also giving away reusable totes and saplings.

Do these companies and corporations jumping on the Earth Day bandwagon not realize that excessive e-mail campaigns, print marketing and even airing commercials is utilizing renewable resources, and wasting energy? The issue here is that the practices being utilized are not green, nor environmentally friendly. These advertising campaigns which are costing companies a pretty penny are being launched via direct mail, store catalogs, in store signage, newspaper advertising, and television campaigns.

I think it is great that companies are gaining awareness for the movement. However, their practices are not environmentally friendly and they do not reflect the movement in which these companies are pumping, or profiting from. Though many of the campaigns attempt to or maintain the Earth Day message by contributing to a good environmental cause, the issue is two-fold. What is the environmental impact of the campaign in itself?

Consumers are becoming skeptical, and feel that they should avoid the green arena all together, as these days every company, and every product comes in a “Green” form. What is truly green? What is truly sustainable? Many individuals believe that all organic clothing is “green”, these words are thought to be interchangeable. People don’t realize that a product sold to them as “green” could in fact be manufactured using chemicals, or utilizing a process which is damaging to the environment in general.

The more the concept of green, and eco-friendly is pushed on consumers, the less they will be responding, and soon it will become lost, another commercialized holiday with no impact or true message concerning its original roots.

The green-marketing guides were last updated in 1998, and the Federal Trade Commission began reviewing the guide in November. This move is in response to claims of green-washing and the onslaught of green and eco-friendly ad campaigns.

I won’t be celebrating Earth Day today. I celebrate Earth Day every day. We have been given the gift of life, and we have been given the power to protect our environment. I urge you to utilize that ability on a daily basis. Do I feel that you should abandon your lifestyle and change everything that you do, and think solely of the environment? Absolutely not. Do I feel that you should be environmentally aware? Yes, of course.

Environmental awareness and the “celebration of Earth Day, everyday” is a simple concept. It involves little steps and incorporating as many, or as few into your life as your wish. Methods of conservation and environmental preservation include:

- Clean or replace air filters on your air conditioning unit at least once a month.
- Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120.
- Turn off unneeded lights even when leaving a room for a short time.
- Clean the lint filter in your dryer after every load so that it uses less energy.
- Purchase appliances and office equipment with the Energy Star Label; old refrigerators, for example, use up to 50 more electricity than newer models.
- Keep your thermostat at 68 in winter and 78 in summer.
- Shut off electrical equipment in the evening when you leave work.
- Shade outside air conditioning units by trees or other means.
- Replace old windows with energy efficient ones.
- Use cold water instead of warm or hot water when possible.
- Check labels of household cleaners you use. Consider alternatives like baking soda, scouring pads, water or a little more elbow grease.
- Use an electric lawn- mower instead of a gas-powered one.
- Minimize pesticide use.
- Put leaves in a compost heap instead of burning them or throwing them away. Yard debris too large for your compost bin should be taken to a yard-debris recycler.
- Join a carpool or vanpool to get to work.
- Walk or ride your bike instead of driving, whenever possible.
- Use discarded paper for scrap paper.
- Wash and dry only full loads of laundry and dishes.
- Install water-saving devices on your faucets and toilets.
- Install a low-flow shower head.
- Check your car for oil or other leaks, and recycle motor oil.
- Take your car to a car wash instead of washing it in the driveway.
- Avoid products with several layers of packaging when only one is sufficient. About 33 of what we throw away is packaging.
- Reuse items like bags and containers when possible.
- Use reusable plates and utensils instead of disposable ones.
- Use reusable containers to store food instead of aluminum foil and cling wrap.
- Buy rechargeable batteries for devices used frequently.

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9:46 AM

Why I won’t be celebrating Earth Day today, and instead everyday

0 Comments »

It’s April 22, and there is absolutely no way I could have possibly forgotten. For the past couple of weeks my e-mail inbox and unfortunately even my postal mailbox has been flooded with marketing materials. Promotions for eco-friendly and green products, sales in the name of the special day, it would seem that as many corporations and businesses as possible are trying to capitalize on the event, which was originally established in 1970 as a grassroots attempt to gain environmental awareness.

It would seem, the original purpose of the day has been lost. Environmental awareness, sustainability and green living are not just for one day of the year. It’s a commitment. It’s a dedication. And it’s actually for those of us who are committed, a way of life.

Many companies are utilizing Earth Day as an opportunity to make more money and draw more business, though their efforts seem positive, the results aren’t. Subscribers to Newsweek can utilize the cover from the April 14 issue and fold it into an envelope and use it to send plastic bags to Target. In exchange these individuals will receive a reusable tote bag. If you shop at Macy’s, you can make a $5 donation to the National Park foundation, for a 10% to 20% off discount during the weekend of April 26. The company is also giving away reusable totes and saplings.

Do these companies and corporations jumping on the Earth Day bandwagon not realize that excessive e-mail campaigns, print marketing and even airing commercials is utilizing renewable resources, and wasting energy? The issue here is that the practices being utilized are not green, nor environmentally friendly. These advertising campaigns which are costing companies a pretty penny are being launched via direct mail, store catalogs, in store signage, newspaper advertising, and television campaigns.

I think it is great that companies are gaining awareness for the movement. However, their practices are not environmentally friendly and they do not reflect the movement in which these companies are pumping, or profiting from. Though many of the campaigns attempt to or maintain the Earth Day message by contributing to a good environmental cause, the issue is two-fold. What is the environmental impact of the campaign in itself?

Consumers are becoming skeptical, and feel that they should avoid the green arena all together, as these days every company, and every product comes in a “Green” form. What is truly green? What is truly sustainable? Many individuals believe that all organic clothing is “green”, these words are thought to be interchangeable. People don’t realize that a product sold to them as “green” could in fact be manufactured using chemicals, or utilizing a process which is damaging to the environment in general.

The more the concept of green, and eco-friendly is pushed on consumers, the less they will be responding, and soon it will become lost, another commercialized holiday with no impact or true message concerning its original roots.

The green-marketing guides were last updated in 1998, and the Federal Trade Commission began reviewing the guide in November. This move is in response to claims of green-washing and the onslaught of green and eco-friendly ad campaigns.

I won’t be celebrating Earth Day today. I celebrate Earth Day every day. We have been given the gift of life, and we have been given the power to protect our environment. I urge you to utilize that ability on a daily basis. Do I feel that you should abandon your lifestyle and change everything that you do, and think solely of the environment? Absolutely not. Do I feel that you should be environmentally aware? Yes, of course.

Environmental awareness and the “celebration of Earth Day, everyday” is a simple concept. It involves little steps and incorporating as many, or as few into your life as your wish. Methods of conservation and environmental preservation include:

- Clean or replace air filters on your air conditioning unit at least once a month.
- Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120.
- Turn off unneeded lights even when leaving a room for a short time.
- Clean the lint filter in your dryer after every load so that it uses less energy.
- Purchase appliances and office equipment with the Energy Star Label; old refrigerators, for example, use up to 50 more electricity than newer models.
- Keep your thermostat at 68 in winter and 78 in summer.
- Shut off electrical equipment in the evening when you leave work.
- Shade outside air conditioning units by trees or other means.
- Replace old windows with energy efficient ones.
- Use cold water instead of warm or hot water when possible.
- Check labels of household cleaners you use. Consider alternatives like baking soda, scouring pads, water or a little more elbow grease.
- Use an electric lawn- mower instead of a gas-powered one.
- Minimize pesticide use.
- Put leaves in a compost heap instead of burning them or throwing them away. Yard debris too large for your compost bin should be taken to a yard-debris recycler.
- Join a carpool or vanpool to get to work.
- Walk or ride your bike instead of driving, whenever possible.
- Use discarded paper for scrap paper.
- Wash and dry only full loads of laundry and dishes.
- Install water-saving devices on your faucets and toilets.
- Install a low-flow shower head.
- Check your car for oil or other leaks, and recycle motor oil.
- Take your car to a car wash instead of washing it in the driveway.
- Avoid products with several layers of packaging when only one is sufficient. About 33 of what we throw away is packaging.
- Reuse items like bags and containers when possible.
- Use reusable plates and utensils instead of disposable ones.
- Use reusable containers to store food instead of aluminum foil and cling wrap.
- Buy rechargeable batteries for devices used frequently.

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9:46 AM

Americans not green enough, Microsoft claims

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A survey released by MSN Green claims that 70 percent of the population of the USA don't use a kitchen composter and don't limit toilet flushes to save water.

Worse than that, America produces enough rubbish in a day to equal the weight of the Empire State Building - which, by the way, is quite heavy, although the survey doesn't say exactly how heavy it is. This site says the building weighs 365,000 tons. That's a load of rubbish.

The survey is intended to support "Earth Day", and quizzed 1,086 people over the age of 18. Half of those surveyed said simple systems need to be introduced to identify recyclable waste, and the trash needs to be picked up from their homes.

A fifth of Americans don't have access to recycling services and don't know what a carbon footprint is. Astonishingly, half of the respondents will give up air conditioning for a summer or become a vegetarian for a year to reduce the carbon footprint. But a third want a tax credit before they'll recycle or compost their trash.

Microsoft asked the people it surveyed who their favorite most green celebrities were. The men said Cameron Diaz and the women said Leonardo DiCaprio.

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10:58 AM

Man sues Microsoft, Google for $30,000,000

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A Utah man is suing Microsoft, Google and Bill Gates for $30,000,000 alleging that his email accounts were blocked by the companies.

Ronnie McDaniel filed the suit in a Utah district court at the end of last week. He claims both Microsoft and Google have shut down his access to email.

In the filing he alleges his outgoing email was “locked up” and his email security breached without his knowledge. He said: “My Internet privacy has been tampered with and my e-mail security has been breached after numerous contacts and pleas ti defendants with no attempt at resolution.”

He wants the court to launch an “investigation into all accounts and circumstances and $30,000,000 in lost revenue from the defendants”.

We doubt Mr McDaniel has a leg to stand on given that the number of other email accounts he could use are legion, and that the problem is more likely to be a technical one rather than a conspiracy between the two major software giants.

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10:58 AM

Urine test may reveal lung cancer risk

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Most of us poor smokers like to think we'll be one of the lucky ones who makes it to 100 unscathed. And now researchers think they may soon be able to tell which of us will, through a simple urine test.

Only about one in 10 smokers gets lung cancer. "A history of smoking has always been thought of as a predictor of lung cancer, but it is actually not very accurate," said Jian-Min Yuan, associate professor of public health at the University of Minnesota. "Smoking absolutely increases your risk, but why it does so in some people but not others is a big question."

Researchers collected data from over 80,000 men and women, carrying out in-person interviews to assess levels of cigarette smoking, dietary and other lifestyle factors. They also collected blood and urine samples from more than 50,000 patients.

The nicotine metabolite NNAL had been shown to induce lung cancer in laboratory animals, but the effect in humans hadn't yet been studied. To evaluate its impact, researchers identified 246 current smokers who later developed lung cancer and 245 smokers who did not during the 10-year period following the initial interview and collection of urine samples.

Patients with a mid-range level of NNAL had a 43 per cent increased risk of lung cancer compared with those with the lowest levels, while those at the highest level had more than double the risk of lung cancer, after taking into account the effect of number of cigarettes per day and number of years of smoking.

Levels of nicotine in the urine were also calculated. Those with the highest levels of nicotine and NNAL had eight and a half times the risk of lung cancer compared with smokers who had the lowest levels after accounting for smoking history.

"Smoking leads to lung cancer, but there are about 60 possible carcinogens in tobacco smoke, and the more accurately we can identify the culprit, the better we will become at predicting risk," said Yuan.

The results were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 100th Annual Meeting 2009.

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10:55 AM

Adobe Flash coming to your TV

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Adobe is driving its Flash technology much more into the mainstream with an announcement that the software platform will soon be supported by “set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and “other devices in the digital living room.”

According to the company, Flash will be integrated directly into the hardware and will be used by “major System on Chips (SoC) vendors,” OEMs, cable operators and content providers including Atlantic Records, Broadcom, Comcast, Disney Interactive Media Group, Intel, Netflix, STMicroelectronics, The New York Times Company, NXP Semiconductors, Sigma Designs – all of which announced support for Adobe Flash today. SoCs with embedded Flash technology are expected to ship in the second half of 2009.

Adobe said that its Flash technology will allow consumers to watch HD Web videos via the Flash Video (FLV) file format on their TVs, without the need for a web browser.

“Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home will dramatically change the way we view content on televisions,” said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president, Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “Consumers are looking to access their favorite Flash technology-based videos, applications, services and other rich Web content across screens.”

From a hardware view, the most significant announcement may be Intel’s note that the Media Processor CE 3100, one of the firm’s first SoCs for consumer electronics will come with integrated Flash support. The chip primarily targets set-top boxes, high-definition digital televisions and Blu-ray Disc players.

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10:53 AM

MySpace Fires Employee After Data Breach

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MySpace employees experienced some unusual high and lows this week at work. On Monday, workers for the social networking site learned of a data breach orchestrated by a fellow employee, who collected names, Social Security numbers and compensation information of many of his co-workers. Fox Entertainment Group (the company that operates MySpace) sent e-mails to all employees alerting them to the incident, and assured them that no bank account or medical information was compromised.

Fox Entertainment promptly terminated the perpetrator; a departure from the typical MySpace and Facebook firing stories we often cover here at Switched. The internal e-mail, which was forwarded to TechCrunch, told employees that the thief used the acquired data to "annoy selected individuals," but did not send the information to any third parties. At least the thief didn't crash the company's server, as we've seen before.

In addition, MySpace employees received some slightly odd news via e-mail Wednesday evening: Southern California Edison power company had to shut down power to MySpace's Beverly Hills headquarters from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Employees were encouraged to grab their laptops and work from home the while the power was off. Since the e-mail went out after many workers had already gone home for the day, we're guessing many of them conveniently "missed" the part about grabbing their laptops. C'mon, everyone needs a day off!

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8:23 PM

Google tries new Captcha method for Bots

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Google has released research results about a new test to foil computers pretending to be humans by requiring them to orient an image so it's upright.

A persistent problem on the Internet is screening out automated computer systems that can be used, for example, to sign up for spam-sending e-mail accounts or post comments designed to improve a site's search results. Google, which already devotes a lot of resources to block e-mail and Web spam, has tried a new test to keep the bots at bay.

The test is the latest variation on a screening technique called a Captcha (completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart). The idea is that people can often tell which way is up in a photo, but computers have a harder time.

Captchas are in widespread use today, usually in the form of obscured or distorted text that people can still read. But there's a lot of work in the area, including identifying 3D images and distinguishing between cats and dogs.

Here's how Google authors Rich Gossweiler, Maryam Kamvar, and Shumeet Baluja described the image-orientation technique in their paper:

This task requires analysis of the often complex contents of an image, a task which humans usually perform well and machines generally do not.

Given a large repository of images, such as those from a web search result, we use a suite of automated orientation detectors to prune those images that can be automatically set upright easily. We then apply a social feedback mechanism to verify that the remaining images have a human-recognizable upright orientation.

The main advantages of our Captcha technique over the traditional text recognition techniques are that it is language-independent, does not require text-entry (e.g. for a mobile device), and employs another domain for Captcha generation beyond character obfuscation. This Captcha lends itself to rapid implementation and has an almost limitless supply of images.

We conducted extensive experiments to measure the viability of this technique...Our Captcha technique achieves high success rates for humans and low success rates for bots, does not require text entry, and is more enjoyable for the user than text-based Captcha.

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The tricky part is finding the right balance between too easy and too confusing. Some images are hard for people to orient correctly, and some have cues--faces, text, blue skies, and green grass--that computers can use to figure out which way is up.

To get around this issue, while being able to draw from the large number of images on the Web, the technique presents people with new images as well as those known to perform well. If people have trouble consistently telling which way is up, that image isn't included in the library.

The researchers like their system in part because the image doesn't have to be obscured or distorted, as in text-based Captchas such as those Google currently employs. But image-based Captchas aren't immune from the bot vs. Web site arms race.

"As advances are made in orientation detection systems, these advances will be incorporated in our filters so that those images that can be automatically oriented are not presented to the user," the researchers said. "The use of distortions may eventually be required."

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11:39 PM

10 Youtube URL Tricks One Should Know

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Youtube - You know that site with videos and all. Yeah! It turns out that its quite popular and you happen to visit and use it quite often. Instead of just searching and playing here are some top Youtube URL tricks that you should know about:

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1. View high quality videos

Youtube gives you the option to switch to high quality videos for some of the videos, however you can check if a video is available in high quality format by appending ‘&fmt=18′(stereo, 480 x 270 resolution) or ‘&fmt=22′(stereo, 1280 x 720 resolution) for even higher quality.

2. Embed Higher Quality Videos

While the above trick works for playback, if however you want to embed hig quality videos you need to append “&ap=%2526fmt%3D18″ and “&ap=%2526fmt%3D22″ to the embed url.

3. Cut the chase and link to the interesting part

Linking to a video where the real action starts at 3 minutes 22 seconds, wondered if you could make it start at 03:22? You are in luck. All you have to do is add #t=03m22s (#t=XXmYYs for XX mins and YY seconds) to the end of the URL.

4. Hide the search box

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The search box appears when you hover over an embedded video. To hide the search box add ‘&showsearch=0′ to the embed url.

5. Embed only a part of Video

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Just append ‘&start=30′ to skip first 30s of the video. In general you can modify the value after start= to the number of seconds you want to skip the video for.

6. Autoplay an embedded video

Normally when you embed a Youtube video and load the page, the player is loaded and it sits there waiting for you to hit the play button. You can make the video play automatically by adding ‘&autoplay=1′ to the url part of the embed code.

7. Loop an embedded video

Append ‘&loop=1′ to make the video start again without user intervention after it reaches the end.

8. Disable Related Videos

Publishing your content in the form of Youtube video? Don’t want people to see other people’s content that may be related but may as well be in competition to you? Just add ‘&rel=0′ to the end of the url part of the embed code and you just turned off the related video suggestions!

9. Bypass Youtube Regional Filtering

Some videos are only available in certain parts of the world. Your IP Address is used to determine your location and then allow or deny access to the video. Change the url from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= to http://www.youtube.com/v/

10. Download Video

Although not inherently a youtube trick but useful all the same for downloading videos. Just change youtube to kickyoutube in the url of the video and it will take you to kickyoutube.com with all the options for downloading the video you were watching.

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11:30 PM

Xbox 360 sales remains strong

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Microsoft’s Xbox 360 may be older than the Wii and PS3, but it is the only console that continues to post increasing U.S. unit shipments – which jumped by 26% to 330,000 in March. Nintendo still rules the segment, but showed some weakness, while Sony’s PS3 clearly needs more incentive to attract buyers.

While we had doubts one year ago that Microsoft would be able to sustain its sales against the Wii and the PS3, it seems that the company has found key features that make the Xbox 360 an attractive buy.

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Nintendo’s Wii came in at 601,000 units, according to NPD; the Xbox 360 was second with 330,000 units and the PS3 third with 218,000. However, compared to March 2008, Wii sales were down more than 16% and PS3 sales were down more than 15%, but the Xbox 360 number climbed by 26%. It is also clear that the market is separating into three distinct segments: While the Xbox 360 was close to the PS3 in sales numbers last year, it is now outselling Sony’s PS3 by more than 50%. If we believe the current trend, then it seems that the Wii will settle at a market share of just above 50%, the Xbox 360 at just below 30% and the PS3 at slightly less than 20%.

All three players are entrenched in their market segments at this time and a major market shift would require either player to make either a huge mistake or make brave move to attack the others. It is somewhat obvious that Sony cannot be happy about its current situation. The PS3 needs more than just a decent game launch here and there. More entertainment content and a substantial price decrease are the only tools that can help the console at this time.

Combined Wii sales since launch currently stand at 19.7 million in the U.S., followed by the Xbox 360 with 14.9 million and the PS3 with 7.5 million, according to NPD. The three consoles add up to 42.1 million total unit sales.

Overall U.S. game consoles unit sales were down year over year the first time in 14 months. Combined sales were 1.15 million units, down 7% from 1.24 million in March 2008.

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10:04 PM

Watch out Hulu: YouTube’s coming with video

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Google's YouTube streaming video site has announced a partnership with Hollywood studios, which provide television and movies in the United States viewers. Among the partners agreed to provide content on the site are CBS, BBC, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lions Gate Entertainment, an independent film studio.

Freedom of view, ad supported content is delivered through a "Shows" page of YouTube, and will be separated from the user-generated content.

YouTube is the introduction of the premium content in an attempt to compete with sites like Hulu, which offers ad-supported television shows and movies to users. YouTube new content is older television shows and films, rather than the new content offered by Hulu.

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Google has been known to take a hard hit this year due to high cost and low return on YouTube, and the company hopes that YouTube over grant aid in the fight against this through advertising revenues. The company also introduced Google TV Ads, which places advertisements in the television programs which are monitored online.

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9:57 PM

Awesome 500$ 3D Mouse

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Many of us are willing to sink hundreds of dollars on a new LCD. Serious players are used for firing of $ 500 or more for a new graphics card. And in May we Plunk even brighter for a new CPU. But what about a mouse? Would you spend $ 500 for a mouse really capable?

So I must be fair. 3DConnexion SpacePilot Pro is not really a mouse, my webmaster told me. There is some aspect that you would expect from a mouse and it does not look like such a mouse at all, even if the manufacturer calls a "3D mouse". Let's call it a 3D controller.

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The Pro SpacePilot is a huge machine that exceeds the size of several mouse pads. The platform is dominated by the browser 3DConnexion button. But there are many programmable hot keys - as well as an LCD display, which allows users to scroll and select applications. Applets even allow the screen to display content such as new e-mails.

While the device works perfectly under Windows, it is clearly a device that excels in 3D applications. The manufacturer claims that the controller is the most accurate ever built, entry recognizing that small of 4 micrometers. Most applications are not available to take advantage of this $ 500 controller and it would be too pure (and certainly annoying also) used for text, spreadsheet or image editing.

However, I have written before these devices are fantastic controllers Space Navigator for those who love Google Earth. Entry level products, including the button of the browser are a cost of approximately $ 100.

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9:55 PM

Google Maps Now Show Views From Webcams

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The latest layer to be enabled in Google Maps is one of the webcams. Just click on the "More" button at the top right of each card next to the "traffic" button. When you do this, it shows you thumbnails of different audiences Webcams around the world as followed by Webcams.travel.

You do not see a real video, just the last image captured by the webcam. But it may be convenient when you want to see traffic on a highway you or how to look like waves on the beach. If you're here, you can also click the other layers, such as Wikipedia entries, photos, YouTube videos, and public transport.

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What are the other sections of the Google map we need?

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9:48 PM

Some awesome gadgets

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About 10 years ago, we didn’t really expect the 1.4mb 3.5 inch floppy to evolve into flash drives 10x smaller with storage capacity as big as 32gb. The interesting thing about technology is; it’s just going to get more and more high-end but the size, is just going to get smaller and slimmer.

These concept gadgets you see before you today, have extremely high chance of getting into production anywhere in the future. For example, Microsoft’s Surface Computing Technology certainly tells us they are for real. Here’s some really cool concept gadgets, just concepts for now but we really hope it’ll be implemented, that inspires. If we happened to missed something impressive, please let us know in comment. Full list after jump.

B-membrane Laptop/Desktop

Concept computer designed by Korean designer Won-Seok Lee. No bulky monitors, just a UFO shape system that displays screen like a projector.

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Nokia Aeon Full Screen Concept Phone

The most prominent design feature of aeon is a touchscreen that stretches over the full surface area of the phone.

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Napkin PC

The Napkin PC is a multi-user, multi-interface, modular computer designed for creative professionals to collaborate and bring their greatest ideas to life.

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Cellphone Code

This phone uses haptic technology to provide physical feedback for making a call. To turn it on…twist a section, to dial a number…twist a bunch of sections, to make an international call…break your wrist!

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New dSLR?

Concept of a digital camera which can be used in one hand.
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Future Internet Search


All you need to do is point the tablet at any object and you should get search results as good as Google’s, just more interactivity.

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Sunshine Pillow

We arent sure if it’s warm enough, but it’s good to own one.

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Capsule Radio Clock

Not rocket science, but definetely cool to get one.

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Info-Live Watch

INFO Live is an data organizer for connected internet world. It is able to transfer data information to any hardware and person any moment in time of need.

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Jive for the elderly

Jive is a range of 3 products that were designed to get elderly technophobes connected to their friends and family.

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LifeMap

Touch screen digital photo storing and organization product.

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Microsoft Arc Mouse

When you go advanced in all your computer equipments, the next best thing is to get a futuristic mouse.

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8:34 PM

Globalfoundries at 32 nm in H1 2010

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AMD’s spun off manufacturing arm, now called Globalfoundries, said that it is on track to manufacture 32 nm semiconductors in H1 2010 and will begin accepting half-node 28 nm designs in the second half of that year.

Following news that IBM’s technology alliance is marching toward 28 nm chips, we hear that AMD’s former fabs will be able to accept 32 nm designs in late 2009 and produce 32 nm chips in the first half of next year. If Globalfoundries can keep that promise, it would be a remarkable step for the company, considering the fact that AMD was unable to reduce the manufacturing technology gap with Intel over the past few years.

At 65 and 45 nm, AMD was 12 – 14 months behind and now it seems that the fabs will be able to cut the gap at least in half. Of course, we have no idea if AMD will take advantage of that manufacturing capability right away. Further down the road, 28 nm design can be submitted to the Dresden Fab 1 in the second half of 2010 with production beginning “shortly thereafter.”

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7:26 PM

NASA’s Kepler telescope captures first images

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NASA’s mission to find Earth-like planets in the Cygnus-Lyra region of our Milky Way galaxy is shifting into the next gear. The Kepler space telescope has taken first images, which show millions of stars. NASA plans to survey more than 100,000 of them over the next three years.

"Kepler's first glimpse of the sky is awe-inspiring," said Lia LaPiana, Kepler's program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "To be able to see millions of stars in a single snapshot is simply breathtaking."

One new image from Kepler shows its entire field of view and mission target, which is equivalent to two side-by-side dips of the Big Dipper. The regions contain an estimated 14 million stars.

Two other views focus on just one-thousandth of the full field of view. One image shows the NGC 6791 cluster of stars located about 13,000 light-years from Earth. The other image zooms in on a region containing a star, called Tres-2, with a known Jupiter-like planet orbiting every 2.5 days.

Full fielkd view

Cluster view

"It's thrilling to see this treasure trove of stars," said William Borucki, science principal investigator for Kepler at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. "We expect to find hundreds of planets circling those stars, and for the first time, we can look for Earth-size planets in the habitable zones around other stars like the sun."

The Kepler mission is expected to last for about three years. NASA hopes the telescope will identify hundreds of planets that are at least the size of Earth orbiting distance stars which are much like our own sun in energy output, luminosity and mass. The telescope will focus on the potentially habitable zone within their space and "could find dozens of worlds like ours." However, NASA also mentioned that Kepler may not find any such "Earths" - especially if they are rare.

To find the planets, Kepler will stare at one large expanse of sky for the duration of its lifetime, looking for periodic dips in starlight that occur as planets circle in front of their stars and partially block the light. Its 95-megapixel camera, the largest ever launched into space, can detect tiny changes in a star's brightness of only 20 parts per million, NASA said.

"Everything about Kepler has been optimized to find Earth-size planets," said James Fanson, Kepler's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Our images are road maps that will allow us, in a few years, to point to a star and say a world like ours is there."

Scientists and engineers will spend the next few weeks calibrating Kepler's science instrument, the photometer, and adjusting the telescope's alignment to achieve the best focus. Once these steps are complete, the planet hunt will begin, NASA said.

"We've spent years designing this mission, so actually being able to see through its eyes is tremendously exciting," said Eric Bachtell, the lead Kepler systems engineer at Ball Aerospace & Technology Corp. in Boulder, Colo. Bachtell has been working on the design, development and testing of Kepler for nine years.

Kepler is a NASA Discovery mission. Ames is responsible for the ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. JPL manages the Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. is responsible for developing the Kepler flight system and supporting mission operations.

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7:21 PM

SlingPlayer shot down for iPhone App Store

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Apple has yet again banned an application from its App Store. This time, SlingPlayer, which first showed its face at MacWorld Expo in January, and met all of the qualifications and guidelines for Apple’s user interface, got the boot. This morning it was announced that, at the request of AT&T, Apple has made the decision to ban the SlingPlayer application from its store.

Heavy use of the iPhone already puts a tremendous strain on the AT&T data network, as we saw just recently during South by Southwest, when so many iPhone users in one place caused the service to take a turn for the worst. This morning, BoyGenius said that AT&T has asked Apple to reject the SlingPlayer for iPhone application from the company’s store. No reason for the requested ban was cited.

One possibility for AT&T’s request to deny the SlingPlayer for iPhone application could be their speculated desire and plans to launch their own mobile service in which they would offer mobile streaming video for uses, placing the SlingPlayer in direct competition. In March, AT&T changed its terms of service to prohibit the offering of services like that of SlingPlayer on its network.

If AT&T’s request to Apple for application removal was launched due to a possibly overwhelming bandwidth use then the application might have to find a different method for landing back on the App Store shelves. This situation is similar to the one which Skype entered into, in which the software was required to only allow calls to be placed utilizing WiFi, which reduces the bandwidth usage by customers.

At this time SlingPlayer has had no news from Apple on the status of their iPhone application, but their website still says they have “submitted the first release of our application to the iPhone App Store.”

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7:18 PM

Understanding your baby's dreams

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The first human fetus spends most of its growth after the seven month mark asleep. So far it has been a mystery whether or not the brain during sleep or remained inactive. Now, scientists know the answer.

Using sophisticated mathematical techniques to detect patterns, a Friedrich Schiller University in Germany, the team found that the immature fetus are capable of entering a state in which they dream, just weeks before the onset of rapid eye movements . The scientists based their findings on analysis of the sleep habits of immature fetal sheep.

The team discovered the cycles of the complexity of the activity of the immature brain. Unlike the sleep patterns that occur in the later stages of development, the cycles vary from 5 to 10 minutes and change over time as the fetus develops.

Scientists have recorded the electrical activity in the brain of a 106-day-old developing fetus directly sheep, which had never been done.

The sheep were used in this study because they are equipped with one or two fetuses that are similar in both weight and size to that of men. In addition, brain development in humans and sheep is also very similar in humans, it lasts 280 days and 150 sheep.

Scientists say it is difficult to imagine what the fetus experiences throughout these cycles in terms that make sense for adults, but the models will describe the origins of sleep.

"Sleep is not suddenly a change from a brain at rest. Sleep and sleep changes are state regulated active processes," team leader said Karin Schwab.

These results will help scientists determine why we need sleep and how you can use these models to determine optimal growth and optimal health of individuals from the state of life.

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10:31 AM

Virgin partners with Google to provide email

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Virgin Media has announced a partnership with Google to power its email service to enable better management of the inbox and more storage space.

Available to the first 20,000 to sign today on a pilot basis, the service will be offered to all customers in the near future, with a maximum of 10@virginmedia.com authorized addresses per user.

Virgin claims that all the bits that make up the Gmail service from Google (as the message more easily search, management of mobile viruses and spam and control) will be available for emailers, using Google Apps Partner Edition , which allows companies to use Google's services under their own domain name.

Google and son e-mail discussion, already an integral part of the Gmail experience, will also be focused on users of Virgin Media.

In the old with the new

Those who have already a@blueyonder.co.uk, @ ntlworld.com or@virgin.net e-mail will be able to keep their domain or choose to enroll in a new@virginmedia.com e-mail but all are likely to use the new Google collaboration.

Google Apps Partner Edition is also planned for companies who want to use services like Google Calendar, Docs and Talk, and it seems Virgin Media wants to add to his service in the future:

"With e-mail so important in everyday life, we are delighted to work with Google and the launch of a brand new, feature-rich and easy to use email service," said Alex Green, Executive Director Online Virgin Media. "We look forward to exploring the future of Google services and to continue to provide market-leading communications and entertainment to our customers."

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10:25 AM

62 Trillion Spam E-mails by Spammers

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All those junk e-mails that clog your Inbox is not only a huge inconvenience but a colossal waste of energy.

According to a report released this week by computer security company McAfee, spammers have generated last year, a huge 62 billion junk e-mails.

All those junk e-mails that clog your Inbox is not only a huge inconvenience but a colossal waste of energy.

According to a report released this week by computer security company McAfee, spammers have generated last year, a huge 62 billion junk e-mails.

What does this mean in terms of energy?

Instead of sending messages asking for money or the marketing of Viagra, the electricity used for sending e-mails could have fed 2.4 million households for a year or drive a car around the planet 1.6 times, according to the report.

This energy waste is also polluting the environment.

All that power also emits greenhouse gases. McAfee researchers say every junk e-mail emits 0.3 grams of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). This May not seem like much, but if one considers the overall annual volume of spam, after all.

Spam Grand Carbon Footprint

Spam emissions for all e-mail users worldwide in 2008 totaled 17 million tons of CO2, according to ICF International, the consulting firm in partnership with McAfee to the study. That is, 2 percent of total global emissions.

"The amount released into the atmosphere is important," said Dave Marcus, director of security research from McAfee. "Spam is a large carbon footprint. This is something that people should be aware of. "

The report said that nearly 80 percent of spam-related emissions of greenhouse gases come from energy burned by PC users to view, delete and search for legitimate e-mail under mounds waste. To view and waste a piece of spam takes about 3 seconds, McAfee said.

Marcus said about 85 to 91 percent of all e-mail is spam, but consumers can reduce their burden of spam while surfing the Net with a little more care.

For example, when you use a website to participate in online discussions or post comments, make sure that your name has nothing to do with your e-mail. And think twice before using the auto-complete feature of your browser as it will allow spammers to harvest in May of personal information. Some experts also advise to change your e-mail an.

But what could all that wasted energy-spam do? Click on the next page to discover these estimates based on the report from McAfee and Carbonfund.org.

Instead of sending messages asking for money or the marketing of Viagra, the electricity used for sending e-mails could have fed 2.4 million households for a year or drive a car around the planet 1.6 times, according to the report.

This energy waste is also polluting the environment.

All that power also emits greenhouse gases. McAfee researchers say every junk e-mail emits 0.3 grams of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). This May not seem like much, but if one considers the overall annual volume of spam, after all.

Spam Grand Carbon Footprint

Spam emissions for all e-mail users worldwide in 2008 totaled 17 million tons of CO2, according to ICF International, the consulting firm in partnership with McAfee to the study. That is, 2 percent of total global emissions.

"The amount released into the atmosphere is important," said Dave Marcus, director of security research from McAfee. "Spam is a large carbon footprint. This is something that people should be aware of. "

The report said that nearly 80 percent of spam-related emissions of greenhouse gases come from energy burned by PC users to view, delete and search for legitimate e-mail under mounds waste. To view and waste a piece of spam takes about 3 seconds, McAfee said.

Marcus said about 85 to 91 percent of all e-mail is spam, but consumers can reduce their burden of spam while surfing the Net with a little more care.

For example, when you use a website to participate in online discussions or post comments, make sure that your name has nothing to do with your e-mail. And think twice before using the auto-complete feature of your browser as it will allow spammers to harvest in May of personal information. Some experts also advise to change your e-mail an.

But what could all that wasted energy-spam do? Click on the next page to discover these estimates based on the report from McAfee and Carbonfund.org.

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10:19 AM