Hewlett-Packard Co, the world’s largest PC maker, is recalling 15,000 laptop batteries distributed in China because of a danger they could overheat, China said on Tuesday on its quality inspections web site.
HP China will replace the batteries — used in HP Pavilion, Compaq Presario and HP Compaq models — for free because in extreme conditions they can overheat and pose a fire hazard, the government said on its website (www.aqsiq.gov.cn).
Nintendo Co Ltd plans to launch a new version of its “Wii Fit” home exercise game this autumn, aiming to help boost sluggish sales of its Wii console in Japan, the Nikkei business daily reported on Sunday.
Called “Wii Fit plus,” the new version will allow users to compete with friends and family over the Internet to lose weight and other activities, the newspaper said, without citing sources.
Nintendo will also launch a new version of its popular “Mario” game series in the second half of 2009, the Nikkei said.
A known computer hacking clan with anti-American leanings has successfully broken into at least two sensitive Web servers maintained by the U.S. Army, InformationWeek has learned exclusively.
Department of Defense and other investigators are currently probing the breaches, which have not been publicly disclosed.
The hackers, who collectively go by the name “m0sted” and are based in Turkey, penetrated servers at the Army’s McAlester Ammunition Plant in McAlester, Okla., and at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Transatlantic Center in Winchester, Va.
The breach at the McAlester munitions plant occurred on Jan. 26, according to records of the investigation obtained by InformationWeek. On that date, Web users attempting to access the plant’s site were redirected to a Web page that featured a protest against climate change.
On Sept. 19, 2007, the same hackers electronically broke into Army Corps of Engineers’ servers. That hack sent Web users to www.m0sted.net. The page, at the time, contained anti-American and anti-Israeli rhetoric and images, records show. It currently appears to be an Internet landing spot that features airline reservation links.
Beyond the redirects, it’s not clear whether the group was able to obtain sensitive information from the Army’s servers.
Heard the rumors that the much-maligned Windows 7 Starter Edition would be able to run more than three concurrent applications? Today, the Windows team made it official: ‘Based on the feedback we’ve received from partners and customers asking us to enable a richer small notebook PC experience with Windows 7 Starter, we’ve decided to enable Windows 7 Starter customers the ability to run as many applications simultaneously as they would like, instead of being constricted to the 3 application limit that the previous Starter editions included. We believe these changes will make Windows 7 Starter an even more attractive option for customers who want a small notebook PC for very basic tasks, like browsing the web, checking email and personal productivity.’
The monetization of Java has begun. Sun released the Java 1.6.0_14 JDK and JRE today which include a cool new garbage collector called G1. There is just one catch. Even though it is included in the distribution, the release notes state ‘Although G1 is available for use in this release, note that production use of G1 is only permitted where a Java support contract has been purchased.’ So the Oracle touch is already taking effect. Will OpenJDK be doomed to a feature-castrated backwater while all the good stuff goes into the new Java SE for Business commercial version?
Palm Inc. said Thursday that its much-awaited new smart phone, the Pre, can connect to Apple’s iTunes software and download music and photos just as if it were an iPod or iPhone.
The feature might be unique for a device not made by Apple Inc., though third-party software is available that lets some digital music players masquerade as iPods in iTunes.
Palm Inc.’s new phone goes on sale June 6, with Sprint Nextel Corp. as the exclusive launch carrier. It will be $200 with a two-year contract and a rebate, competing with Apple’s iPhone in the market for high-end smart phones.
Google encouraged software developers to ride into the future of email with a project called “Wave,” which opens inboxes to text, video, pictures, maps and even social network feeds.
“Wave” expands the capabilities of email to let people communicate and work together in real-time with text, photos, videos, maps, and more, according to Google software engineering manager Lars Rasmussen.
“In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it,” Rasmussen wrote in a blog post at the California Internet giant’s website.
“Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. You see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave.”
A “wave” prototype built by a five-person team “holed up in a conference room in the Sydney office” for months was previewed at a Google developers conference in San Francisco on Thursday.
“After more than two years of expanding our ideas, our team, and our technology, we’re very eager to return and see what the world might think,” Rasmussen wrote.
A Wave software kit was provided to developers at the conference.
Wave allows for collaboration and communication by letting people send out pictures, messages, or videos that can be built on or modified as they stream from recipient to recipient.
Waves can be rewound to see how exchanges evolved, according to Google.
The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) has just released the new Serial ATA Revision 3.0 specification. With the new 3.0 specification, the path has been paved to enable future devices to transfer up to 6Gb/sec as well has provide enhancements to support multimedia applications.
Like other SATA specifications, the 3.0 specification is backward compatible with earlier SATA products and devices. This makes it easy for motherboard manufactures to go ahead and upgrade to the new specification without having to worry about its customers legacy SATA devices. This should make adoption to the new specification fast, like previous adoptions to SATA 2.0 (or 3Gb/sec) technology
Being able to separate the famous from the hoi polloi has certain financial implications for YouTube. Stars attract viewers, so being able to identify videos with A-List talent might suggest where to direct marketing and promotional resources. And because stars tend to feature prominently in videos uploaded to YouTube without authorization, being able to identify popular icons could help spot copyright violations.
Such speculation may offer some hint as to why Googles researchers have been working on celebrity facial-recognition technology.
In a paper titled Audiovisual Celebrity Recognition In Unconstrained Web Videos, presented at a conference in Taiwan last month, Google researchers Mehmet Sargin, Hrishikesh Aradhye, Pedro Moreno, and Ming Zhao describe work they ve been doing to recognize the faces of celebrities in videos.
The problem is that facial recognition on video doesn t work very well in many circumstances. The researchers note that successful examples of facial recognition on video tend to involve constraints, such as a TV anchor appearing as a talking head, without much movement, under controlled illumination.
Thus, the researchers have developed an automated technique to associate faces detected in an image with people s names found in Web pages text or tags. The system doesn t need to be taught and can accommodate the scale at which YouTube operates.
The Internet is in a constant state of flux, and new celebrities are constantly added to the popular culture even as the celebrities of the past fade, the paper states. This ability to learn autonomously to constantly add to the existing gallery of celebrities is therefore a major design principle of our work.
The system can recognize hundreds of thousands of celebrity faces by exploiting the tremendous depth of the Internet, according to the paper.
Yet another breach of sensitive, unencrypted data is making news in the United Kingdom. This time the breach puts Royal Air Force staff at serious risk of being targeted for blackmail by foreign intelligence services or others.
The breach involves audio recordings with high-ranking air force officers who were being interviewed in-depth for a security clearance. In the interviews, the officers disclosed information about extra-marital affairs, drug abuse, visits to prostitutes, medical conditions, criminal convictions and debt histories — information the military needed to determine their security risk.
The recordings were stored on three unencrypted hard drives that disappeared last year.
After a lengthy development cycle that included delays and furious testing, Microsoft has finally given the public Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 (final build is 6.0.6002.18005). You can download the installer from the Microsoft Download Center: 32-bit (348.3MB), 64-bit (577.4MB), and IA64 (450.4MB). There’s also an ISO image (1376.8MB) that contains these installers. The installers will work on English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish versions of either Vista or Server 2008. Other language versions will arrive later. Those interested in slipstreamed versions of Vista and Server 2008 with SP2 will need to get an MSDN or TechNet subscription.
If you have any beta versions of SP2 installed, they must be uninstalled prior to installing the final version. To do this, use the Control Panel applet called Programs and Features, select View installed updates, and then under Windows look for KB948465. SP2’s main requirement (assuming no incompatible drivers are detected) is that SP1 is already installed. During the beta phase, it was speculated that this is because SP2 is not yet finalized, but the truth is that SP1 is a prerequisite even now.
Canonical is building an Android execution environment that will make it possible for Android applications to run on Ubuntu and potentially other conventional Linux distributions. The effort will open the door for bringing Android’s growing ecosystem of third-party software to the desktop.
Google’s Linux-based Android platform is attracting a lot of attention. The new version significantly improves the platform’s reliability and could make it look a lot more appealing to carriers and handset makers. The availability of an experimental x86 port has caused some people to speculate that Android might have a place in the netbook market.