The NewsDemon Blog

Microsoft Bill Gates Goes Nuclear

March 23rd, 2010

gates-power-toshiba-nuclear

Environmental and MS Newsgroups have posted that former Microsoft CEO turned philanthropist Bill Gates is teaming up with Japanese nuclear technology giant Toshiba Corp. to develop a next-generation nuclear reactor. TerraPower, a U.S. start-up company backed by Microsoft are investigating technology for mini-reactors, which are more cost-efficient than conventional units.

Toshiba and TerraPower have begun exchanging information in a move that would bring together Gates’ ample wealth and the know-how and experience which the Japanese electronics giant has established in the nuclear power business. Mr. Gates is the principal owner of TerraPower, which investigates ways to improve emission-free energy supplies using small nuclear reactors.  Under the partnership and agreement, Toshiba would provide TerraPower with the expertise to manufacture nuclear power equipment. Gates is expected to invest his personal wealth on the development of the reactor, which could reach billions, newsgroups have reported. The hope is that the new reactors might be suitable for use in cities or emerging-market countries.

Toshiba expects to get U.S. approval for its ultra compact design this fall and start construction of the first such reactor by 2014. Mini-reactors could last up to 100 years without refueling, unlike today’s units which need replenishing every few years.  Power outputs of these units are projected to range from 100-thousand to 1-million kilowatts which is much larger than current commercialized reactors. Current light-water reactors require refueling once every several years. The company is preparing to apply for US approval to start constructing the first such reactor as early as 2014 and put it into practical use by the end of the decade.

The deal was sealed when Gates visited the Japanese maker’s nuclear research center in Yokohama near Tokyo in November. Gates, a newsgroup subscriber who is deeply involved in global health work through his private foundation, has shown a growing interest in nuclear and other energy technologies that could potentially meet the power needs of the world’s poor without contributing to global warming.

 

Newsgroups Recount CES Highlights

January 11th, 2010

ces-newsgroups

It’s 2010 and it’s already been a long hard week for many people in Las Vegas this week, as over 100,000 people flocked to the city for the Consumer Electronics Show that ended this past Sunday. Many reports on the positive upswing for this yearly convention as registration top 120,000. Multiple newsgroups have been getting posted with a ton of updates from the weekend CES 2010 event. Here are the top CES discussions going on:

Televisions – From the Toshiba Cell TV, Skype HD TV and others from Samsung, Phillips and Toshiba, the biggest winners in this class were those who brought out the 3D TV Sets. With the cost of manufacturing them coming down – and Avatar coming out on DVD in a few months – expect reasonably priced 3D LED TV sets coming soon. How do they look? If you like how 3D movies look in the theatre, you might like these.

Toys – Top toys from this year’s CES according to hobby newsgroups had mini helicopters with built in cameras that can be controlled with your iPhone like the Parrot AR Drone Quadricopter to the IceTouch Mp3 player with the first ever transparent OLED Touchscreen. Microsoft newsgroups report that at CES it looks as though that the XBox 360 upgrade Natal may indeed be out by the holidays this year which could be a big blow to the Nintendo Wii – who stood silent this year.

eBook Readers and Tablets – The Amazon Kindle might have but the eBook market on the map, but certainly isn’t the only contender.   With dedicated eBook newsgroups, the Entourage Edge and Plastic Logi Que ProReader have been the most discussed of the 23 companies that displayed e-readers at this year’s show – and none showed them last year.

Phones – Since the world of mobile connectivity is exploding, smartphones by the plenty should be no surprise. Motorola, Samsung, HTC and more displayed their new offerings.  No longer for just making phone calls, most of these phones – equipped with apps, can very well almost replace laptops completely. Mobile computing is getting easier. Most interesting? According to mobile newsgroups: Google Nexus

Connectivity was once again the over-arching theme during the 2010 CES and the focus of several technology executives’ speeches. With all the gadgets mentioned above and including new offerings in Ford vehicles, the theme has been about integrating these devices together.

Much like the way Usenet ties in all these themed newsgroups, these technologies are being modeled to communicate and interact with each other. With the way that these toys appear now, it seems as though the home PC may be the mother to all these components.

Closing CES, a new possibility of shaking around in your living room with 3D game characters swarming and closing in on you while you bluetooth your friend for backup seems more of possibility this year. Unanimously, newsgroups rejoice.

 

Newsgroups: Top Searches In 2009

November 30th, 2009

michaeljackson-newsgroups

First out of the veritable search engine gates this year, Bing has posted its top searches for 2009. Each year, the big three give us a reveal on what most of us have been looking for all year long.

Here are 2009 top search results from Bing:

1) Michael Jackson – No surprise that the death of the one glove entertainment goliath topped the list.

2) Twitter – The USENET inspired service gained a curious look by many this year – few REAL people joined.

3) Swine Flu – Achoo.

4) Stock Market – Achoo.

5) Farrah Fawcett – Charlie lost an angel this year.

6) Patrick Swayze – Although Ghost and Dirty Dancing brought him fame, he earned the online world respect early with Road House.

7) Cash for Clunkers – A government incentive program to encourage US citizens to purchase foreign cars.

8) Jon and Kate Gosselin – Talk of divorce clogged both the interwebs as well as many USENET newsgroups for the reality television couple with 100 kids.

9) Billy Mays – But wait, there’s one more:

10) Jaycee Dugard – Kidnapped as a child, Jaycee was discovered alive after 18 years from her disappearance, also with a child.

The search trends tend to coincide with the popularity of these topics on newsgroups. Each of these top 10 either have a dedicated newsgroup to the matter or at the very least – a newsgroup related to the topic.

According to Bing, other searches were prominent this year:

“Not surprisingly, we saw a lot of folks using Bing for quick access to favorite sites like Facebook, MSN, Youtube and Craigslist. We also saw a lot of more complex searches such as product related queries in which people used Bing to help decide what MP3 player to buy and travel searches to help find the best deals on a tropical vacation.”

Separate from “Top Trending Topics”, the most popular searches is a general category of search terms that gained the most interest. Top Trending Topics is another list compiled by Bing which mostly covers celebrities. This year, the top three were Megan Fox, Robert Pattinson and holding in at number one – Perez Hilton.

Google has its own trends section will allow users to see real time results on popular searches. Yahoo and Google both are expected to have their own 2009 top 10 searches coming out soon.  The Bing results are only gathered from US results and do not include a UK edition. To find out more, many Microsoft and search engine newsgroups provide discussion groups on the matter.

UPDATE:

Google and Yahoo have both released their top 10 results. In each, Michael Jackson takes hold of the charts in each. However, looking closely at the rest is where all the similarities apparently end:

Google

  1. michael jackson
  2. facebook
  3. tuenti
  4. twitter
  5. sanalika
  6. new moon
  7. lady gaga
  8. windows 7
  9. dantri.com.vn
  10. torpedo gratis

Yahoo

1) Michael Jackson

2) The Twilight Saga

3) WWE

4) Megan Fox

5) Britney Spears

6) Naruto

7) American Idol

8) Kim Kardashian

9) NASCAR

10) Runescape

 

Microsoft Newsgroups: Windows 7 Party

September 4th, 2009

Windows 7 Pary

Windows 7 gets by with a little help from it’s friends. Microsoft has announced in all of its operating system related newsgroups that they are giving away a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Signature Edition to party hosts.

Microsoft is not letting just anyone host such a party though. The company is being very selective in the application process it has set up with HouseParty.com.

USENET newsgroups report that the offer is only open to residents of 12 countries: Australia, Italy, Canada, Japan, Mexico, France, Spain, Germany, the US, Hong Kong, the UK, and India.

A “Windows 7 Party Pack” that includes Host Help Videos, Host Notes, and other materials to make your Launch Party fun is included if selected.

Every host also has a chance to win a PC worth $750.00, according to the Web site. Winners will be notified and their prizes delivered after Oct. 30.

The house parties are set to run between October 22 and 29.

 

CES 2009 Top 5 Best Gadgets

January 10th, 2009

The tech world’s focus shifted to Las Vegas from January 8th through the 11th as the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show kicked off. Expectantly, a parade of shiny, tiny, and wireless gadgets from CES exhibitors–including a 3G watch-phone from LG Electronics, a wafer-thin Samsung TV that’s 6.5 millimeters thick, and an emphasis on emerging fields such as environmentally friendly green technologies and Wi-Tricity, a technology that allows wire-free power charging of small devices.

As CES 2009 comes to a close, exhibitors presented some fantastic new products coming out throughout the year. Our top 5 favorites we’re watching are:

The Palm Pre – The Palm Pre goes well beyond updating the stale Palm OS platform, and brings an entirely new interface and hardware paradigm in the form of the Palm WebOS. The WebOS is a jewel of a touchscreen interface, and it includes some interesting synchronization options to allow users to seamlessly navigate between corporate mail, personal e-mail on Google as well as social networking on Facebook. The Palm Pre hardware itself packs all the high-end features you’d expect from a modern smartphone, all in a slim, rounded design

Ultra-thin TVs –  As expected, CES 2009 is awash with ultra-skinny TVs. All the top brands – Samsung, Phillips, Sharp and Sony – represented their own versions of their waife tvs.

Dishwasher-Safe Gadgets –  Seal Shield’s line of dishwasher-friendly gadgets and computer peripherals featured at CES 2009 is another collection that is long overdue. Not only are all of the products in the Seal Shield line boast antimicrobial properties, they come with a three-year warranty. Keyboards and mice come in both wireless and corded forms, and there are two remotes from which to choose. All are guaranteed to be waterproof and can even be tossed in the dishwasher to clean. Seal Shield keyboards and mice are meant for hospital settings, but I think they’re perfect for bloggers, students, gamers, and Internet fiends.

Next-Gen GPS – Ford showed off what its SYNC system might one day look like at the 2009 CES in Las Vegas. The video demos configurable controls and a personal assistant “avatar” named Eva. This is definitely targeted to a female marketplace, which is smart given the fact that women participate in a whopping 80% of purchases for all goods and services.Ford and Microsoft’s 3.0 version of Sync, due to be in every Ford by 2011, gives users true hands-free control of their phones. In addition to making hands-free calls over a Bluetooth connection, Sync can manipulate any smartphone applications compatible with it. So if your phone maker got on board with Sync’s open API, you could, for instance, have your new email read to you (in that reassuring GPS lady voice), get feed updates, or have anything else voiced out for you. For anyone who’s been tempted to geek while driving, it’s also a safety upgrade. Speaking of Microsoft products..

Windows 7 – Windows 7 is going to be big in 2009. From the millions of early adopters who’ll try out the public beta to the monumental Microsoft marketing machine that will continue to drive the point home – there will be no escape. Windows 7 already looks like it will be a lot better than Vista.

 

Microsoft Sits On Thumbstack

December 11th, 2008

Microsoft Thumbstack

Microsoft Thumbstack

Microsoft’s Live Labs has just released Thumbtack, a web clipping service that allows users to compile links, media, and text snippets into online storage bins for future reference. Users can also share their Thumbtack collections with their peers, allowing them to collaborate by adding new clips and notations.

According to Microsoft, Thumbtack was developed based on user feedback the company received after releasing Listas in 2007. Unlike Listas, however, Thumbtack does not focus on social bookmarking but rather on creating online research collections. Thumbtack supports both IE7 and Firefox, though Firefox users miss out an a few interesting features.

Thumbtack is an “easy way to gather and share links, photos, and text, from different Web sites and save all of the data in the form of a collection to a single place,” a Microsoft spokesperson stated. “Thumbtack allows users to share and collaborate with others on collections, by providing the ability to directly email the content or by allowing them to publish their collection to the Web with a number of options including RSS, Atom, HTML, and Internet Explorer 8 Web Slices. Thumbtack collections can also be embedded in personal websites and blogs.”

At this point in time Microsoft is not ready to reveal the direction in which it will take Thumbtack, as the Live Labs incubation projects are essentially designed to test ideas and technologies, more than actual solutions. In this regard, users familiar with Live Labs will notice similarities between the new tool and concepts tested with the Listas Technology Preview.

You can find more information on Listas and Thumbstack on Newsgroups:

microsoft.public.deployment
microsoft.public.design
microsoft.public.developer
microsoft.public.development
microsoft.public.applicationcenter
microsoft.public.access

 

Microsoft Has It’s Head In The Cloud

October 28th, 2008

Microsoft is taking another step into the world of Web-based computing with a new system it’s calling Windows Azure.

Microsoft says it’s joining Amazon.com and other rivals in selling information storage space and computing power “in the cloud,” distributed across massive data centers worldwide. That will let companies build Web-based programs without having to manage their own data centers.

Microsoft’s chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, described Azure to software developers at a conference in Los Angeles. Ozzie said that managing Microsoft’s own Web sites and Web-based programs has made the company adept at anticipating Web traffic spikes and knowing when to ramp up some computers and dial down others.

Want to know more about Microsoft Azure and other Microsoft news? Did you know that Microsoft has over 100 Newsgroups relating to every product they’ve released?  Check out just some of these Newsgroups as an example:

microsoft.public.test
microsoft.public.windows.vista.general
microsoft.public.greatplains
microsoft.public.outlook
microsoft.public.windowsxp.general
microsoft.public.excel.misc
microsoft.public.access
microsoft.public.windowsupdate

To name a few.

 

MicroBerry May Come Soon

October 17th, 2008

Microsoft said that they have no plans to create a mobile device of their own, but they might have bigger plans to enter the business. According to a TelecomTV report, the monumental software company is planning to make a bid to acquire Research In Motion (RIM), makers of the Blackberry mobile devices.

According to the report, analysts are suggesting that Microsoft is waiting for RIM’s share prices to drop before they make a proposal. The Blackberry maker’s share numbers are currently at $60 USD, and as soon as the price drops to below $40, Microsoft will make their offer.

In related Microsoft mobile news, the company’s Windows Mobile OS is still widely used by other devices, such as the Samsung BlackJack and T-Mobile’s Dash.

 

DRM through DECE without Mickey

September 15th, 2008

A consortium of leading studios, including Warner Bros, Sony, NBC Universal, Fox Entertainment, Paramount and Lionsgate, has teamed up with Microsoft to develop an industry-standard digital media framework – excluding Disney because of its association with Apple.

Initially, more than 20 companies will be involved in the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) – a digital rights management initiative to standardise the acquisition and playback of content across a range of services and devices. This could lead to the development of a rival to Apple’s digital entertainment retail store iTunes.

In addition to the above studios, other DECE launch partners will include Alcatel-Lucent, Best Buy, Cisco, Comcast, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Philips, Toshiba and VeriSign.

The consortium will aim to “address growing consumer confusion around buying, downloading and playing digital content offered by multiple services by working towards a simple, uniform digital media experience.”

Over time, DECE will issue a licensable specification, along with a recognisable brand and logo for compliant products and services, which it says will “assure consumers that content they download will play on their devices.” The specification, based on mutually agreed industry standards, will outline the hardware and software requirements for companies to follow.

 

New Zune Software Slated For Release

September 12th, 2008

A significant software upgrade for Microsoft’s Zune music player will be available next week. It will not garner the attention of Apple’s recent iPod news, but the changes are notable and worth consideration if you want a new portable music option.

Zune and other music competitors remain well behind the iPod in market share, yet Microsoft is doing some interesting things and have a more robust view of music that Apple has so far overlooked. Zune’s software upgrade will be available to download and shipped on new devices starting Sept. 16.

Here’s what’s new:

Buy from FM. The Zune has a built-in FM radio. So if you hear a song you like while listening to the Zune’s radio, you can tag it and the song will download to the Zune the next time you dock the device. This is similar to the HD Radio feature called iTunes tagging. I’ve tested that and it works great.

Zune Pass improved. Microsoft has always embraced the music subscription approach (Apple does not), and if you pay $15 a month for the Zune Pass, you’ll find that the feature for discovering new music has been significantly enhanced. You can download songs that stay on your device, as always; but with a subscription, you also can choose among 3.5 million songs to listen to at anytime.

Channels. These are programmed playlists that will change regularly. Channels will include songs suggested by top music programmers at radio stations, a selection from the Billboard Top 100, genre categories like folk, rock, hip-hop, etc., and even music for workouts. If you have Zune Pass, these channels will be refreshed with new music weekly.

Picks. These are songs recommended for you, based on what you like. In one respect, this is similar to the Genius program Apple offers on iTunes 8, but the difference is that when Apple suggests a song you like, you need to buy it. If you have Zune Pass (yes, you pay $15 a month), you can download and listen to full versions of as many songs as you want.

Social. You can listen to what your friends like. If one of your buddies always is the first to listen to some cool music, Zune can deliver those songs to your device.

There are more capabilities, but the real news is that Microsoft continues to distinguish Zune as an alternative approach to music. It’s a fine player if you take the traditional approach — load your CD collection onto the player or buy digital music online — but if you really like music discovery, Microsoft’s subscription plan is a great bonus.