10/31/2009

Russia Develops Spaceship with Nuclear Engine

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

“The project is aimed at implementing large-scale space exploration programs,” Anatoly Perminov said at a meeting of the commission on the modernization of the Russian economy.
RD-0410 NTP Engine developed by Russia in the 1960’s. Credit – Dietrich Haeseler

RD-0410 NTP Engine developed by Russia in the 1960’s. Credit – Dietrich Haeseler

He added that the development of Megawatt-class nuclear space power systems (MCNSPS) for manned spacecraft was crucial for Russia if the country wanted to maintain a competitive edge in the space race, including the exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Perminov said that the draft design of the spacecraft would be finalized by 2012, and the financing for further development in the next nine years would require an investment of at least 17 billion rubles (over $580 million).

Slashdot Linux Story

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The latest version of Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) has been released. Offering numerous enhancements for both desktop and server environments, this release includes notable features like Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud images, the Ubuntu One ‘personal cloud,’ and Linux kernel version 2.6.31

Pirate Bay founders threatened with fine if site stays open

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

File-sharing site The Pirate Bay should be closed, and if it isn’t, two of the founders will each have to pay a fine of 500,000 Swedish kronor (US$71,500), according to a verdict in the Stockholm District Court on Wednesday.

Back in May, the entertainment industry — represented by companies such as Sony, Universal, Disney and Paramount — filed a motion with the court to fine the people behind the Pirate Bay operation as long as the site’s users can access copyright-protected material.

Previously, ISP (Internet service provider) Black Internet was fined for providing data access to the site. That verdict resulted in the site going down for a brief period, and has since been appealed.

But this time it’s Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg who are in the court’s crosshairs. They have been forced to shut down the site or pay the fine.

The court has stated that the site will have to remain closed unless Neij and Warg are exonerated on another similar case they’re involved in, which is now on appeal.

10/30/2009

Google drives into navigation market

Filed under: — Aviran

Google Inc is adding Garmin Ltd and TomTom to its growing list of rivals as the Internet search giant weaves technology for driving directions into new versions of its smartphone software.

Google said its new Google Maps Navigation product will provide real-time, turn-by-turn directions directly within cell phones that are based on the new version of its Android software.

The navigation product, which features speech recognition and a visual display that incorporates Google’s online archive of street photographs, marks the latest step by Google to challenge Apple Inc’s iPhone and Microsoft Corp’s Windows Mobile software with its Android smartphone software.

It also represents a direct competitive threat to companies like Garmin and TomTom which sell specialized hardware navigation devices. TomTom also makes a software navigation app for the iPhone that sells for $99.99 in the U.S.

Google launches music search with Lala and iLike

Filed under: — Aviran

Google Inc on Wednesday partnered with Web services Lala and MySpace’s iLike to give music fans an easier way to find, sample and buy songs on the Internet, expanding its music industry footprint.

The global Web search leader will provide users who want to sample a song with a pop-up box that will play at least a 30-second segment — in some cases the entire song — provided by iLike and Lala, which will then offer links to purchase the music.

Google has also teamed up with Pandora, iMeem and Rhapsody to incorporate links to those music sites, to help consumers discover music related to search queries. Google will begin rolling the feature out to users across the United States on Wednesday.

The move will help cement Google’s role in the music industry, which is struggling with plunging sales amid the rise of Apple’s iTunes and other sites, and fewer media outlets to break new acts. Investors hope that streaming songs or video clips online will help stem the fan-base losses.

10/28/2009

Google makes Similar Images part of image search

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google on Tuesday announced that its similar-images feature is now a standard part of the company’s image search technology.

The feature was originally launched in late April, alongside the visual-news timeline, as a way for users to find images that share certain visual similarities with those in Google Images search results. This means that you could do a search for “ice cube” and very quickly fork out Google’s results between images of the frozen chunks of water and the popular West Coast rapper, all without having to change your original search term.

10/27/2009

Microsoft to open up Outlook data format

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft said on Monday that it will open up the data format behind its Outlook program.

In a blog posting, Microsoft group manager Paul Lorimer said the company is working to publish the specifications behind Outlook’s .pst files.

“Data portability has become an increasing need for our customers and partners as more information is stored and shared in digital formats,” Lorimer wrote. “One scenario that has come up recently is how to further improve platform-independent access to e-mail, calendar, contacts, and other data generated by Microsoft Outlook.”

The move, he said, will “allow developers to read, create, and interoperate with the data in .pst files in server and client scenarios using the programming language and platform of their choice.”

Google Social Search to go live Monday

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google is ready to show off its concept for social search while it figures out what to do with Twitter’s fire hose of data.

Last week at the Web 2.0 conference Google’s Marissa Mayer demonstrated the service, which went live as a Google Labs project on Monday. Google Social Search links the concepts of so-called “real-time” search with Google Profiles and custom search results, allowing searchers to find content created by friends or contacts with Google Profiles.

Google Social Search was developed separately without the Twitter deal in mind, said Amit Singal, a Google fellow. The opt-in service provides your Gmail contacts and friends on public social-networking services with the content you’ve linked to your Google Profile, such as blogs, Twitter or Friendfeed accounts, or any number of published material.

That means that if you’ve linked your personal blog to your Google Profile, your contacts will be able to see your blog posts related to a given query directly in their search results pages. Those links will be placed at the bottom of the search results page for now, and searchers will also have the option to refine the search results page with a new “social” link on the left-hand side of the page to focus just on content from your network.

Google Voice lets users keep phone number

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc has introduced a new feature that will allow consumers to use its Google Voice service without switching to a special phone number, potentially broadening the appeal of the nascent, and controversial, service.

Google said late Monday that new users of its service will be able to have the calls that they don’t answer forwarded to a special Google Voice electronic mailbox, essentially bypassing the voicemail provided by their phone carriers.

Google Voice offers a variety of voicemail management features, including unlimited storage and text transcription of voicemail messages.

The service also allows consumers to make low-priced international calls by routing portions of the call over Google’s infrastructure and the Internet.

Until now, using Google Voice required adopting a special Google phone number. The new feature allows people to retain their existing phone numbers.

Craig Walker, a group product manager for real time communications at Google, said the company will provide users with a special code to enter into their phone which forwards unanswered calls to a Google-maintained voicemailbox.

Walker said the call-forwarding feature did not require striking special deals with the phone carriers.

“Virtually all the carriers already allow this,” said Walker.

10/25/2009

GeoCities To Close On Monday

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo released a “final notice” on Wednesday reminding GeoCities users that the free site creation service will be closing up shop later this month.

“On October 26, 2009, your GeoCities site will no longer appear on the Web, and you will no longer be able to access your GeoCities account and file,” Yahoo wrote in a statement to GeoCities users.

The company said any GeoCities user that wants to maintain the site will be able to port it to Yahoo’s Web Hosting service, which would cost $4.99 per month for a year and $9.95 per month afterward. GeoCities Plus customers can port their sites to Yahoo Web Hosting at no additional charge.

Yahoo first announced that it would be closing GeoCities in April. At the time, the company didn’t divulge when the service would finally close.

Google Envisions 10 Million Servers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google never says how many servers are running in its data centers. But a recent presentation by a Google engineer shows that the company is preparing to manage as many as 10 million servers in the future.

Google’s Jeff Dean was one of the keynote speakers at an ACM workshop on large-scale computing systems, and discussed some of the technical details of the company’s mighty infrastructure, which is spread across dozens of data centers around the world.

In his presentation (link via James Hamilton), Dean also discussed a new storage and computation system called Spanner, which will seek to automate management of Google services across multiple data centers. That includes automated allocation of resources across “entire fleets of machines.”

Dean says Spanner will be designed for a future scale of “106 to 107 machines,” meaning 1 million to 10 million machines. The goal will be “automatic, dynamic world-wide placement of data & computation to minimize latency or cost.”

Newsday to charge online fees for non-subscribers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Newsday will start charging some readers $5 per week for access to its Web site beginning next Wednesday, a move many newspapers have been contemplating but few have yet to try for fear of driving readers away.

Rather than looking to find a significant new revenue source online, though, Newsday’s parent company, Cablevision Systems Corp., hopes the move will make subscriptions to the printed newspaper and its Internet access service more attractive. Customers of either will still get the Long Island newspaper’s site for free.

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