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lead to health problems?
ULead has just released a DVD
authoring plugin for their VideoStudio and MediaStudion products
The UK has done a study on the flooding
effects of global warming, but will all this actually lead to a new ice age?
Could a neutron
star collision have lead to a mass extinction event?
- Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 gets more features, but still could be made more user-friendly. This version added panorama image assembly (which compares well with Ulead PhotoImpact) and the new Group Shot feature is designed to allow one to make a single photo containing the best elements out of several group poses. This version also has support for producing photo books, which need to be uploaded to Kodak for printing. There are some other places that do photo books: Picaboo and ShutterFly.  
now that the 2GHz Pentium 4 is out Intel seems to have regained
the lead over AMD, according to this article
at least. Where the Athlon 1.4GHz seems to be lagging the most is in
CODEC type applications, which this article talks about a lot.
- In Sept'07 Toshiba
announced their SpurEngine video processing chip, this is based on
the Sony Cell processor technology used in the PS3, it looks like they
are going to integrate this into some of their future laptops to give
them a boost in the video editing (trans-coding) department. This could
be a significant advancement, I wonder if anyone is going to make a
PCI card to allow a video processing accelerator to be plugged into
existing systems. This could also help with power consumption, as its
possible that one of these chips could consume less energy that a
general purpose CPU to do the same overall task, which would be good
for laptops. LeadTek's HPVC1100 puts a SpursEngine in a small external enclosure for connection to a laptop (or perhaps some other computer).
Biofuel production could lead
to water shortages, largely due to increased irrigation needs
dots may lead to cheaper solar panels
- A problem with patents on hard drives has arisen, this might lead to a ban on the importation of drives into the USA. 
is a quirky commedy that never ran its full season (like FireFly). The star, Tony
Shalhoub, also has the lead role as a rather mad detective in Monk.
- A study now shows that a recent reduction in violent crime in the USA is well correlated with the phasing out of leaded gasoline that started in 1973. The question is, will this be repeated for the UK and Australia who did not switch to unleaded until the 1980s? Is leaded gas still used else where, Africa perhaps? 
- Wikipedia writes about the Slashdot effect, the example load graph they include shows a web server going from idle to delivering content at a 900k bytes/sec rate and gradually declining over a 12 hour period. Simple integration of this curve (which is essentially a triangular shape) leads to a total delivery of about 19GB of data in response to Slashdot requests. A visualization of this effect can be seen here. 
- The PCSport Power Stepper is a small, USB-attached stepper that can be placed under your desk to get some exercise while working. Slashdot discusses it here. Given that it is going to be rather limited in range of motion, and that your knees will be quite bent while using this in a typical sitting position (unless you are on the edge of a rather high seat) I doubt this will burn many calories per hour and I'd be a bit worried it might lead to some odd new joint injury (due to the odd position for the knees). Still it might help keep the circulation going. 
Logic Supply's flash
disk page, which includes industrial flash disk modules for IDE
- The Noahpad from E-Lead Electronic is another very small laptop, similar to the ASUS Eee - it is supposed to be shown at CES in Jan'08. It did get shown and it has a rather unique approach to the small keyboard problem. 
In C (and C++) one has been able to recast pointers to the start
of a structure to other types, now it appears that optimizing compilers
are unable to tell that these aliased pointers are to the same object
and this can lead to bugs, this article
explains how this can be a problem for Python.
outsourcing lead to unwanted disclosure of sensitive data?
- An advanced lead-acid battery is being developed that could increase the battery pack life span by 4 times and the power capacity by 2 times, this would keep lead-acid in the game. 
- The E-Lead Noahpad is taking some innovative steps (but probably not popular) in the keyboard and mouse controller design area. They have combined the two functions by enlarging the touchpad and then placing "keys" on it. It looks like the surface of the touchpad is still smooth, so this could be a problem for touch typing. They have also revived the idea of a larger virtual display (1024x768) that the user pans the physical display (800x480) across. Since the act of panning has always been problematic they have set up a second touch pad (which has the left half of the keyboard on it) which is dedicated to moving the display. I'm still thinking a better solution would have been to have installed a 10 inch (1024x768) display instead of the little 7 inch display. It looks like the Noahpad might be getting revised, it was shown at Computex in June'08 with a somewhat larger keyboard. 
- PicApp is looking at a program that will provide free images for bloggers to use to illustrate their articles - probably in the hope that these images lead to further image sales. They entered beta with this service in March'08. 
- Simple infra red head lamps could foil common security camera systems. Or at least mark the wearer as a person of significance (and quickly lead to a close encounter with a tac team).  
- Nano particles could improve the efficiency of electrolysis leading to cheaper production of hydrogen. 
- Beautiful Code, by Andy Oram, Greg Wilson, ISBN: 978-0596510046. is a book on software development. 
Big brother moves to Baltimore,
this city is following the UK's lead in camera monitoring of public
Could black boxes in cars lead to cheaper
insurance rates? I think they are missing the point here, while
where you drive is a factor in the risk you undertake, its probably
less important than the distance you drive (i.e. time behind the
wheel). In fact insurance companies could get this information very
easily by insisting that people report the odometer readings of their
insured vehicles once a year and then just adjust the rates for the
next year based on the previous years distances.
supposedly this will trick the dialing computers that telemarketers use
into thinking your phone is disconnected, but does it really work? I
must admit the idea of paying one fee, only once, to get rid of these calls
is appealing (it sure beats having to pay "protection money" to the
phone companies on a monthly basis for caller ID, a service that costs them
absolutely nothing to provide and on 90% of my telemarketers identifies them as
Mr. "Out of Area" because they are calling from another province) but I
can't help thinking that a few software tweaks to the computers that do this
calling and they will no longer be fooled, and you'll have to buy a new
zapper. 27-Feb-03: it looks like the telezapper may actually have been
for-real; however, its days are numbered by software
from Castel that will allow call centers to ignore the tones the
zapper produces. And best yet, Castel's software will allow the call
center to transmit any caller ID information they care to choose - you can bet
they'll be choosing some misleading names like "visa" or just taking
your last name and putting a different, random, initial in front of it.
Brother in the UK is now going to listen in too. Following the
Netherlands lead in this area.
- A home electric motorcycle conversion project (discussed here on Engadget), achieving a 20 mile range off four lead acid batteries and a reasonable 45MPH top speed. With lithium cells this could probably get something in the 50+ miles range. 
- Following Microsoft's lead the Yahoo! Music service will be closing for good in Sept'08, another DRM controlled music service that is about to leave its customers with junk bits instead of tunes. Discussed here on Engadget. It looks like Yahoo intends to compensate those who purchased songs through this system in some way. 
- The Sony Cell chip is going to be available on a PCI-E card (the PxVC1100 from Leadtek) to add H.264 video compression/decompression acceleration to PCs, let's hope this does a bettr job than NVidia's recent attempts. 
- Wireless networking security is now under attack by Nvidia GPUs. Elcomsoft has written a system that can use these cards to accelerate the cracking of WPA and WPA2 keys by a factor of 100. Discussed here on Slashdot and also mentioned here on Engadget. A new attack on WPA-TKIP has been announced that can lead to some compromise in security in as little as 15 minutes. Here is a more detailed discussion of the attack (with further discussion here on Slashdot), along with some useful background material on WEP, WPA and WPA2. 
- Google has settled with the Authors Guild over a copyright lawsuit relating to Google's scanning of library books. This sounds like it might lead to some changes in the way old (and especially out of print books) are made available.  
- The CIA once booby trapped pipeline control software that the Russians were illegally purchasing, this lead to a large pipeline explosion in 1982. I wonder what the SAT procedures for this feature were. 
- A mention of Gumstix micro controller computers leads the Electric Duncan to consider cloud computing and massively distributed computing and storage systems (such as Tahoe) in an interesting multi-part ramble. 
- Using Google Earth as an environment for a Ship Simulation game. Perhaps this will lead to a massively multi-player conquest game like RISK? 
- Excessive (in the several litres a day range) Cola consumption can lead to a number of problems, including muscle weakness. 
- The odd combination of XKCD and Python leads to exploration of the Knapsack problem and two solutions in Python.  
- A couple of wireless keyboards with some mouse pointing support were shown at Computex'09: the Lazy pad from E-LEAD and the Air Keyboard. 
- In 2009 the rise of digital photography finally lead to the death of Kodachrome film. For me Kodachrome died when the 25 ASA version was discontinued back in (I think) the 1980's, though I did keep shooting with the 64 ASA version for many years. 
- Finally, Alan Ralsky, one of the all-time big spammers, gets a day in court and pleads guilty. 
- New research is showing that adult animals can grow new brain cells after all. 
- The limitations of computer math, though in some systems (like that of the Patriot missile control system) it is more limited than it should be. The cited error in time calculations of 0.34 seconds (which lead to an error in position of almost 700m) strikes me as a bit odd given that the time was being stored with a 0.1 second resolution. Normally when one is storing times in a computer system those times are obtained from a higher precision hardware timer circuit which might work to milli-second or even micro-second accuracy and only when the time is sampled by the computer is it rounded down to the 0.1 second resolution. If this is done, then each time stamp is accurate to +/-0.05 seconds and the difference between any two such sampled times has a maximum absolute error of 0.1 seconds (but a typical error of less than that). Now given a 0.1 second error the position should really have been accurate to within about 200m - the next question would be is that accurate enough? 
- The Chuck Norris botnet is attacking weakly secured routers, DSL modems and even satellite TV receivers. Given that devices like DSL modems and cable modems are often only configured by the ISP there's a good chance for poor practices on the ISP's part (like using one user name and password on all of the modems it controls) to lead to massive hacks. Even though this attack is only against the router or modem, there is a nasty issue here in that a compromised router could be set to divert DNS look-ups to a bad DNS server which could serve up the wrong IPs for the some common internet services (like Facebook or some of the advertising suppliers) which could divert the user's browser to sites that try to install malware. 
- The Tata Nano EV will be an electric version of the Nano for the Indian market, this should lead to a melt down of the Indian electric grid. 
- The loss of gene p21 in mice causes changes to the healing process that may lead to full tissue regeneration, not just scar formation. 
- The Google Nexus One Phone does work on Virgin Mobile in Canada. As of 26-Mar-2010 I was able to successfully connect my (ATT/Rogers style) Nexus One to the Virgin Mobile network in Calgary, Canada. It runs fine and with the data plan activated it works over the 3G (HSDPA) network quite nicely. Getting connected was much more painful than it needed to be. Here's the story:
- It all started when I heard from a couple of friends that the unlocked Nexus One was now available to Canadians and that they had taken the plunge. So I did a bit more research and found that there were now two variants: one (the AWS version - for "3G on T-Mobile USA") would only work on the Wind network in Canada and the other ("compatible with 3G on ATT and Rogers Wireless") should work on Rogers, Fido, Telus, Bell and Virgin. I ordered the ATT/Rogers version because it offered me more carrier choices in Canada.
- After researching the various carrier offerings (and rediscovering that the thinly-disguised monopolistic cell phone price fixing conspiracy was still alive and well in Canada) I decided to stick with Virgin Mobile where I already had a pre-paid phone.
- I then called Virgin's support to see if they thought the Nexus One was compatible, they confirmed that the specifications were a match and stated that: as this was not a "supported phone" they could not guarantee data would work. They said when I got the phone to take it to one of their stores and get hooked up using their GSM SIM card.
- I then paid a visit to their North Hill mall booth (they don't really have "stores" just booths in Calgary) only to be told "they only do CDMA phones". Of course Virgin has only recently begun handling GSM/3G type phones, but you'd think their staff training would have mentioned the fact that now they are carrying the iPhone and offering SIM cards and that they had joined the GSM/3G service crowd (like the rest of the Virgin operations around the world). I also visited the Bell booth (Virgin runs on Bell's network in Canada and shares network towers with Telus, competing with Rogers and Fido) and they were ready to try right away.
- Undaunted I called Virgin service the next day, reconfirmed that the phone would work and that I would be able to port my pre-paid phone number and remaining balance to the new plan and then settled back to wait for DHL to deliver the phone.
- Once the phone arrived I returned to the Virgin booth, this time it was staffed by someone who did know that they did more than CDMA, so we got set to the task of hooking up. After about 15 minutes of credit check, verifying that the phone's IMEI number was listed in their database as compatible (for the 3rd time!) we got to the part where they scan in the SIM card's number and associate the phone by its IMEI number. At this point we got a rather odd error from their system saying something like "the SIM card is incompatible with the selected plan". The salesman called his support line and they got the same error and after a few minutes they just gave up. The salesman gave it another shot (this time starting as if I did not have an existing account, in case the pre-paid legacy account was messing things up) and even used a different SIM, but still got the same error. As I was running late, I just called it a day and left.
- The next morning I called Virgin support and told them what had happened, they went through the same registration process (again checking the IMEI for compatibility) and ran into the same error (using a SIM card on their end as I had been unable to purchase one). This time support called their support, and after a few minutes on hold, they returned to say they had got around the error and we could proceed, but that I would have to now buy a SIM card from one of their stores. However, all the account stuff had been done and I had a new (non-working) phone number and once I had the SIM I was to call back and they could complete the process.
- So at lunch time I went SIM shopping, its just a little $5 card that all the Virgin retailers carry and there are several a short ways from my office, so I checked stock levels at The Source (as the Virgin Booth is further away) and walked over. On my way I passed "The Telephone Booth" which had a big Virgin Mobile display at the front of their store, so I went in and asked for a SIM, they wanted $42 for it (unless I registered through them) so I resumed my search for The Source.
- At The Source they said no problem, they had the SIMs but needed to check the phone first, so they checked the IMEI against the database and then got out their "test SIM" (which was from Bell), popped it into the phone and declared it good. So then they proceeded to sell me the Virgin SIM, but at some point in the checkout process they have to have a Virgin Account number (to sell the SIM against), so they wanted to go through the registration process (again!). I told them this had already been started and it was on hold pending purchase of the SIM. They called Virgin, and after about 10 minutes of back and forth (and another IMEI check, credit card check and photo ID recheck) they got the account number out of Virgin and were able to complete the sale. All in all, about 25 minutes to make a $5 sale - how do these guys stay in business?
- Later that day, SIM in phone, I call Virgin back again to resume the process. After about 10 minutes on hold I get an operator and after a brief description of what I need to do she decides another department needs to handle the call, so back on hold. After about 30 minutes more on hold I hang up and call back to the support line again, this time I get through and after about 5 minutes we have completed the next step. The SIM and the IMEI are now associated! So now I have to power off the phone, pull out the SIM, reinsert it, power up the phone and then wait for 2 hours for the phone and network to connect up and then call them back to finish the data configuration step.
- After 2 hours I check the phone and the it appears to be on the GSM network (I don't see any 3G indicator), I can make a phone call with it and I have received two text messages from Virgin welcoming me to the party. Things are looking good, so I call them up, wait for about 15 minutes, talk to someone in support who curtly tells me the phone is not supported by them so 3G ain't going to work, your phone's only going to do what its doing now, goodbye. I hope Virgin reviews their call recordings on that one... Muttering to myself I dig through my accumulated net-searches on Virgin 3G lore and find this helpful article where the author reports the same sort of grief. He mentions that the solution is actually documented on Virgin's site (note: Virgin has since removed this page from their site and when I pointed it out to them they denied it even existed, you can get the information you need from Bell's site, since Virgin just resells Bell's service) in a cunningly concealed section of the page on their SIM cards. I found that following the setup (under the misleading heading "What Do I Get?") for the iPhone 3G/3GS eventually worked just fine. These are the settings that worked for me, there are some other settings that I didn't enter anything for.
To get to the data entry page on your Nexus One go into the Settings menu, then "Wireless & networks", then "Mobile networks", then "Access Point Names", then (for me) it says "virgin pda.bell.ca", I click on this and it gets to the "Edit access point" menu.
Initially it did not seem to do anything, but after a few minutes I thought "what if my phone's too smart, perhaps when it is connected via WiFi it does not display the 3G indicator?". So I shut down my WiFi connection and the 3G icon popped into view, a quick test confirmed that data was flowing through 3G and all was well!
- APN: pda.bell.ca
- Proxy: web.wireless.bell.ca
- Port: 80
- MMSC http://mms.bell.ca/mms/wapenc
- MMS Proxy: web.wireless.bell.ca:80
- MCC: 302
- Well that should have been the end of the story, only the next day I realized that in all of this Virgin never actually shut down the old account and ported the number, so I had to call them again (20 minute hold) and go through the number porting process. This required another SIM remove/replace and wait an hour or two cycle, but now things appear to be working.
- I just have to wait a few days and check that their accounting department did move the unused balance from my pre-paid phone to the new monthly (one month term contract) plan. Oh joy, another half hour of hold time ahead. And yes, they did transfer the remaining balance from the pre-paid plan, so nothing was lost there.
- Just how long should copyrights be? An Economist article leads to the usual Slashdot discussion. 
- big Brother is watching you and Facebook is helping him do it. 
- Gathering Leads using MTurk talks about using the Amazon Mechanical Turk project to gather data for a web site. 
- A live map of the current location of all the trains in the London Underground has now been constructed - this is what I'd like to see on Calgary transit's LRT system. Then we will be able to watch drivers play "follow the leader" or "tag", where the lead train is the slowest at each station (as it has the most people getting on and off) and the trains behind it play "catch up" rather than staying back and keeping service evenly distributed. And don't tell me this doesn't happen, I see this very often as I walk past SAIT in the evening and see three or four trains head north within a period of less than 10 minutes - sometimes with only a single minute between trains. 
- There are issues with Apple's Time Capsule backup system. 
- A new process to generate electricity from both light and heat could lead to more efficient solar power capture, but will it be less expensive? 
- Looks like hot cargo holds can lead to lithium batteries igniting, and this is believed to be the cause of at least one 747 crash. 
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