Reading Materials

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Microsoft to offer anti-spyware and Bill Gates had adware/malware.

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CNET's News.com has an article that says Microsoft is planning to offer its own anti-spyware software.

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Robot Uses Mouse Whiskers to Get Around

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Mousey would be so proud of his rodent species. New Scientist's story says a robot with real mouse whiskers could represent an important step towards developing simple robots that navigate by mimicking rodents. Such whiskered machines could eventually be used to perform repairs in pipes.

The bristly bot, known as AMouse (Artificial Mouse) was built by researchers from the University of Tokyo in Japan and the University of Zurich in Switzerland. It uses real mouse whiskers because simulations have shown these to be the perfect size and shape for the task, but artificial whiskers will also be developed eventually.

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The New Road to Riches

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A story, by Business 2.0, says the phenomenon has gone largely unnoticed because most of the deals are too small to make news. But the trend is accelerating. By the end of September, there will have been more than 5,300 tech acquisitions in 2004, based on research from Mergerstat. The average reported selling price was $12 million; in two-thirds of the transactions, the prices were so small that buyers didn't disclose them. At this point in 2003, also a big year for small deals, there had been 4,500 tech acquisitions, averaging $12.5 million.

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Open source lives on Mars with rover mission extension

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NewsForge has a story on how NASA's most sophisticated gear and the space agency using open source software heavily. This helped the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers to receive clearance for an extended tour of the Red Planet.

Jeff Norris, a senior computer scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who headed development of the rovers' open source-heavy Science Activity Planner (SAP), said the mission extension was a steal for taxpayers, whose space and research support has shrunk along with NASA budgets...

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'Apprentice' Contestant (Jennifer Crisafulli) Loses Real Job

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According to Zap2It's interview and a alt.tv.the-apprentice newsgroup thread, Jennifer Crisafulli also got fired from her employer after Donald Trump fired her in The Apprentice (season 2; episode 3). DOH!

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2 Solutions for /. Effect: Mirrordot and Network Mirror

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Wired News has a story about Mirrordot. It is a new project from the founders of network security firm Edgeos, is seeking to alleviate the Slashdot effect by automatically mirroring any website linked on the Slashdot homepage.

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Amateur Revolution

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Fast Company's article mentions that the networks of amateurs are displacing the pros and spawning some of the greatest innovations from from astronomy to computing.

Rap inflects global popular culture from music to fashion. Linux poses a real threat to Microsoft. The Sims is among the most popular computer games ever.

These far-flung developments have all been driven by Pro-Ams -- committed, networked amateurs working to professional standards. Pro-Am workers, their networks and movements, will help reshape society in the next two decades.

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Gaming industry prepares to hike prices after 20 years.

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According to CNN/Money's story and Shacknews' story, the gaming industry prepares to hike prices after 20 stable years. For the past 20 years, the gaming world has had one universal truth: AAA games cost roughly $50. As we close in on the next generation of game machines, though, change is in the air.

Publishers have quietly been testing how consumers might react to higher priced games for a while now, bumping the price of sure-bet titles above the $50 line. Sales of "collector's edition" titles, which offer small perks for anywhere from $10 to $25 more, are also being watched closely.

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Tip of the day for Mozilla and Firefox users: F7 key.

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According to this newsgroup thread (from Cliff's List Filter - Sept 20 - 26), one can use "caret mode" when it is hard to select and copy text that may exist as part of a link in Mozilla and Firefox Web browsers.

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How to pick up and carry your iMac G5...

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My good PC hardware friend, Otaking71, sent me this Apple article on how to pick up and carry an iMac G5. [sighs]

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Caffeine Withdrawal Recognized As Real

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This /. story says "Caffeine withdrawal is for real. New research at Johns Hopkins should result in it being included in the next edition of the DSM, and recognized by the World Health Organization."

Science Blog says. "If you missed your morning coffee and now you have a headache and difficulty concentrating, you might be able to blame it on caffeine withdrawal.

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The Lord of the Ring Trilogy With Special Extended DVD Editions = 12/14/2004

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From The Digital Bits for 9/28/2004:

"We certainly expected this... New Line has announced that the 4-disc Special Extended DVD Editions of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King will all be available in a single box set on 12/14 (SRP $119.97). So if you haven't gotten them yet, here's the perfect chance. Basically, the three separate 4-disc sets will be packaged together in a new outer slipcase. There's nothing new in this release - no exclusive bonus discs or anything. This is just a way to sell all the Extended Editions in one package for those who may wish to purchase them that way."

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Disabilities Act doesn't cover Web, court says.

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According to ZDNet's story, Web publishers are not required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal appeals court has ruled.

This is not going to improve the usability and accessiblity on the Web, especially for people with disabilities like me. :(

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First JPEG/JPG Virus Posted To Usenet

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Just saw this announcement on /.. It says: "This could possibly be the worst viruses yet! Earlier this month Microsoft announced a problem in their GDI driver that processes the way JPEG images are displayed. Someone has finally posted an exploit to Usenet. Easynews, a premium Usenet provider, found the virus Sunday afternoon. Up-to-date information about how we found it and what it does is located at www.easynews.com/virus.txt. When this picture is viewed it installs remote management software (winvnc and radmin) and will connect to irc."

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Ants in Special Delivery -- a Happy Ending Story

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BBC News (UK) has a happy ending story on a colony of a rare species of ant has been returned to its home in Devon six years after it was rescued by Paignton Zoo. My ant message board has a thread about it.

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TiVo Software uses gdiplus.dll

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According to NTBugtraq's article, TiVo has software package that allows a user to setup an Image and Audio server on their PC. When connected to the same LAN as the TiVo it allows the image and audio files to be viewed on a TV via the TiVo DVR. The software uses gdiplus.dll file that has a JPEG parsing engine. It might contain an exploitable buffer overflow as seen in online security news.

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Tales From Making the 'Star Wars' Trilogy

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This CNN's article (thanks /.) says: "Fans invariably take Star Wars too seriously, but the people behind the sci-fi series recall the experience as a surreal comic opera. Training a monkey to play Yoda? Studio complaints that Chewbacca was pantsless? The only thing that worked on R2-D2 was the dwarf inside?"

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Irish firms tops for security awareness

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ElectricNews.net's story says that Irish companies are aware of internal threats to security, but give higher priority to technological safeguards than they do to employee training.

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Internet junkies without their Internet after two weeks...

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The Register's article one becomes gibbering uncontrollably because he/she can't get a fix without Internet after two weeks. That, at least, is according to an "Internet Deprivation Study" carried out by Yahoo! and advertising outfit OMD.

Participants in the human experiment were deprived of the web for 14 days, and found themselves quickly succumbing to "withdrawal and feelings of loss, frustration and disconnectedness". The reason for the rapid collapse of their universe is - say the researchers - because "internet users feel confident, secure and empowered. The internet has become, to some, the ultimate symbol of modernity to the point that participants were hobbled without convenient access to routine information like maps and telephone numbers. The pervasive nature of the internet is such that participants often forgot or lost the desire to use 'old fashioned tools'.

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New York Times Link Generator

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New York Times Link Generator is an useful online tool so you can link to The New York Times stories without logging in to read stories. Saw this tip in a /. comment.

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