The NewsDemon Blog

Mozilla Ubiquity Commands Attention

By Newsgroup Usenet August 27th, 2008

image21.pngThe web is a reflection of human beings in that it’s always changing and adapting to fit the needs of those around it an interacting with it. A human invention with human qualities. But as more applications find their homes on the web, pulling information from each of them becomes a disparate sequence of copying and pasting snippets of content into a new form. Mozilla is ready to change that with the launch of its new Ubiquity plug-in for Firefox.

Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Interestingly, a similar pattern has emerged with the Windows operating system, with applications throwing icons all over the start menu and  burying shortcuts in multiple folders. Command line is making progress there too in the form of applications like Launchy, which launches applications based on text entered into a command prompt.

In similar fashion, Ubiquity runs commands based on bits of text entered into a command prompt. For example to define a word in a web page, you would activate Ubiquity (I’m using CTRL+Space) then type “def this”. Ubiquity would then display a definition pulled from a dictionary on the web.

This has staggering implications for empowering the common web user to remix content more easily by controlling the flow of information around them.

For someone who reads a lot on the web, built in live page editing capability and highlighting are included. Imagine finding an article and adding a paragraph underneath one by the original author with notes about what you were thinking at the time. Then, highlighting a couple of words for emphasis. The only thing that would make it even better would be to share those edits with other people, right? And that’s when the “email this” command steps in.

Ubiquity has the potential to usher in a whole new way of interacting on the web, and I’m glad an open source organization like Mozilla is pioneering it

The Power of Wireless

By Newsgroup Usenet August 25th, 2008

Say goodbye to the tangle of cables and the wall socket and hello to powering up your electronic gizmos wirelessly.

This picture of a world without wires is one long dreamed of and came a step closer following significant progress made by Intel.

It said it has increased the efficiency of a technique for wirelessly powering consumer gadgets and computers.

“The notion of disappearing energy sources is a powerful one,” Justin Rattner, Intel technology boss, told the BBC.

“Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we didn’t think about where the power was coming from and the power was everywhere?” Justin Rattner, Intel technology boss stated. “No cords, no batteries anymore.”

Mr Rattner envisaged a scenario where a laptop’s battery could be recharged when the machine gets within several feet of a transmit resonator which could be embedded in tables, work surfaces, picture frames and even behind walls.

Intel’s technology relies on an idea called magnetic induction. It is a principle similar to the way a trained singer can shatter a glass using their voice; the glass absorbs acoustic energy at its natural frequency.

At the wall socket, power is put into magnetic fields at a transmitting resonator – basically an antenna. The receiving resonator is tuned to efficiently absorb energy from the magnetic field, whereas nearby objects do not.

“This is a potentially world changing event,” said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group.

“This is the closest we’ve had to something being commercially available in this class.”

Mr Rattner admitted the technology is at least five years away, if not more, of becoming a reality.

‘Second Life” gets life of its own.

By Newsgroup Usenet August 24th, 2008

A North Carolina woman allegedly drove hundreds of miles to Delaware and posed as a postal worker for several days, all as part of an unsuccessful plot to abduct her online ex-boyfriend.

Kimberly Jernigan, 33, of Durham, N.C., and her ex-boyfriend, a 52-year-old resident of Claymont, Del., met through the online community “Second Life,” where users can create virtual lives and interact with other members. Jernigan and the man met in person and he broke off the relationship.

Two weeks ago, Jernigan went to the man’s job and tried to abduct him. She pointed a weapon at him and tried to get him into her car.On Monday, Jernigan, a North Carolina postal worker, returned to the area and found out the man had moved.

She spent four days finding out the victim’s address and then broke into her ex-boyfriend’s apartment and waited for him to return.

Police found Jernigan’s dog, Gogi, in the bathroom. The Irish setter/ lab mixed-breed dog was bound with duct tape.

“The dog was making too much noise, so she bound the dog with the duct tape she brought along to bound her ex-boyfriend,” Navarro said.

The Delaware SPCA took the dog.

Jernigan was arrested about an hour later at a rest stop in Maryland, police said.

“She had handcuffs, duct tape and a Taser,” Navarro said. “It’s pretty bizarre. We haven’t seen anything like this in the past.”

Police said Jernigan will face kidnapping and burglary charges.

Comcast Imposes Speed Limit on Users

By Newsgroup Usenet August 21st, 2008

Comcast , the nation’s largest cable TV provider and an ISP to over 14 million broadband subscribers, plans to begin throttling service to some broadband users it deems to be hogging the pipes during times of congestion, Bloomberg reported.

Comcast senior vice president and general manager of online services Mitch Bowling said that the company will monitor traffic “in nearly real time,” and penalize its heaviest users by impeding their connections for up to 20 minutes, dropping them down to DSL-equivalent speeds.

“If in fact a person is generating enough packets that they’re the ones creating that situation, we will manage that consumer for the overall good of all of our consumers,” Bowling told Bloomberg.

Initial reports state that the policing of bandwidth of users would be beginning shortly, although no specific date has yet been announced.

LOTR Returns to the Past

By Newsgroup Usenet August 20th, 2008

Reminiscent when we first heard Star Wars Episode I was going into production some years ago after a long hiatus, an even greater excitement is anticipated in a shorter period of time inbetween as Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens (the three writer/producers of the of the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy) have all officially agreed to not only work on the film adaptation of “The Hobbit”, but it’s sequel that covers the time in between “The Hobbit” and “The Fellowship of the Ring”.

Production is scheduled to begin sometime during winter and an expected release date has been estimated between 2011-2012. Guillermo Del Toro will direct both films back to back with the first film centered on a young Bilbo Baggins swept off by the wizard Gandalf to recover a lost treasure. Provides Free Usenet Access to Educators and Charities

By Newsgroup Usenet August 19th, 2008

Anderson, SC., August 19, 2008 — announced today the availability of free Usenet services for University professors and qualified charities.

With this offer, valued subscribers such as qualified charities, College and University professors alike will have free access to Usenet for their personal or professional use. Usenet owes its origin to two college graduate students who initially created the foundation of what it is today. Since then, has become a leading provider of Usenet access to both the United States and Europe.

“Newsdemon is proud to give back to the Usenet community and to its birthplace. We’re excited about being able to offer our services to organizations and individuals that will allow them access to a valuable resource that a global network such as Usenet provides.”

With this offer, Newsdemon will continue to provide the same benefits and features that are available to its current premium members including 20 simultaneous connections, 99.9% completion rates and valuable newsreader software. Most University faculty members and members of charities may apply to be qualified for this free Usenet offer.

Additional offers and incentives are available for bloggers, members of social networks, forums and other community driven networks and websites.

“The purpose of now offering free Usenet to the members of these organizations and groups is meant to promote and enhance the spirit of community that Usenet has always been about.” said George Fergus, a spokesperson for Newsdemon.

Newsdemon services European customers through their SSL enabled server in the Netherlands and North American customers through servers in Georgia and Virginia.

iPod Goes Rice Crispies

By Newsgroup Usenet August 18th, 2008

It seems that iPod Nanos have an added mission impossible-esque feature of self-imploding. One Apple enthusiast was charging his first-gen Nano via his PC USB cord when it went snap, crackle, POP!:

“After being plugged in for somewhere between 5-10 minutes I heard a sizzling sound. I looked down on the iPod just in time to see it explode open and start shooting sparks and spewing smoke… I had noticed that a small fire had started on the table I had the laptop and the iPod sitting on… Unlike in other cases, I’ve read about, my iPod continued to spew smoke and spit sparks while throwing out some kind of sooty substance from the inside of the iPod for several minutes after removing the cable from the computer. I moved the still spitting iPod from the table and placed it on a book case across the room.”


No word after a letter was sent to Apple regarding the issue, nor how many users are affected by this issue.   UPDATE: Apple has agreed to replace the iPod.

This message will self-destruct in….

New Moon Found Near Neptune

By Newsgroup Usenet August 18th, 2008

A new rocky object similar to a comet and known as a minor planet has been discovered in the solar system some 3.2 billion kilometres from Earth and could provide clues about the formation of comets, scientists said Monday.


The minor planet 2006 SQ372, which could be as wide as 96 kilometres across, is slightly closer to the Earth than the planet Neptune and is orbiting the Sun in a 22,500-year, 241-billion- kilometre trip, researchers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey announced at a gathering of astronomers in Chicago.

Major planets, such as Earth and Mars, travel around the Sun in more circular orbits, but the object has a pronounced elliptical orbit similar to a comet, said Andrew Becker, the University of Washington astronomer who led the research.

The unusual orbit is similar to only one other known object, Sedna, a dwarf planet found in 2003.

The new minor planet could have come from the Oort Cloud, a distant reservoir of icy bodies that scientists believe is the birthplace of many asteroids, or may have formed ‘like Pluto, in the belt of icy debris beyond Neptune, then been kicked a large distance by a gravitational encounter with Neptune or Uranus,’ researcher Nathan Kaib said.

Minor planets is a broad category of objects in orbit around the Sun that neither full-blown planets nor comets.

The category includes dwarf planets, like Pluto, whose downgrade from full planet sparked controversy in 2006.

The new planet is not being called a dwarf planet. Instead, scientists stressed its similarity to comets but noted it does not have the typical tail of debris that comets normally carry around with them.

Scientists happened upon the object while they were looking for supernova.

‘If you can find things that explode, you can also find things that move,’ said Lynne Jones, an astronomer at the University of Washington, in a press statement.

Microsoft Believes You’ll Buy Anything

By Newsgroup Usenet August 18th, 2008

Recently, Microsoft launched a new tool to detect online commercial intention. The intention with the tool is to generate a statistical calculation on how likely an average user would be inclined to purchase from a website or the likelyhood they would be searching for keywords to purchase something.

For instance, using this with our own website,, we generated these results:

Probabilities for Each OCI Type:
Commercial-Informational    Prob.: 0.5848
NonCommercial                    Prob.: 0.37661
Commercial-Transactional    Prob.: 3.8585e-00

According to this tool, you are 58% likely to buy something from our website.

Running this for the keyword Usenet, generated these results:

Probability for Commercial Query:

We have a measly 13% probability that someone will be likely to buy using this keyword. No one likes Usenet anymore? This prompted suspicion.

So we decided to look further into this and to see what else is more popular than Usenet according to this Microsoft tool. The following is our results.

Toe Nails
Probability for Commercial Query:
Beats Usent by 30%

Probability for Commercial Query:
Beats Usenet by 26%

Grandmas Dentures
Probability for Commercial Query:
Beats Usenet by 19%

Used Tissues
Probability for Commercial Query:
Beats Usenet by 41%!!!!
If Microsoft is using their own tool for there marketing and estimating the intelligence of their audience by the results of this system would explain the reasons for most of their current lines of products.

It begs the question at the end of the day, can poor Microsoft get anything right anymore?

Beijing Blocks Olympics

By Newsgroup Usenet August 18th, 2008

It may not win a gold, a group of chinese lego builders still set out to make there own history of accomplishment with a complete replica of the Beijing Olympics – Lego Style.


Built by the Hong Kong Lego User Group, the Beijing replica celebrates the Olympics with scale models of many of the venues of the Games, including the National Stadium, the National Aquatics Center, and Olympic Village.


Although impressive, it can’t be helped to wonder how much better it would have come out if Michael Phelps had a hand in it.