Tuesday, November 6, 2007

China's first moon expedition swoops into lunar orbit

The Chang'e 1 spacecraft entered lunar orbit at about 0337 GMT Monday (10:37 p.m. EST Sunday), capping off a 12-day voyage from planet Earth that began with an Oct. 24 blastoff from the Xichang space base in southwestern China.

The spacecraft circled Earth several times after launch, gradually raising its orbit before embarking on a course last week to intercept the moon early Monday.

The 5,000-pound probe fired a maneuvering engine for about 22 minutes for the critical insertion burn, slowing the spacecraft's velocity by about 800 miles per hour. The change in speed was enough to allow the moon's weak gravity to capture the spacecraft in a preliminary orbit stretching from an altitude of 124 miles to a high point of about 5,344 miles, according to China's state-run Xinhua news agency.

Further thruster firings will circularize Chang'e 1's orbit at a distance of 124 miles from the moon's surface, Xinhua reported.

The first images of the moon from Chang'e 1 are expected by the end of this month. Controllers plan to transition the mission into an operational phase by December.

US Urges Pakistan's Musharraf to Remove Army Uniform, Restore Civilian Rule

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf should resign as army chief and restore civilian rule.

Ms. Rice at a news conference in the West Bank Monday urged President Musharraf to carry out his promise to shed his army uniform. She also said the United States believes the best path for Pakistan is a return to constitutional rule, followed by elections.

Earlier Monday, the U.S. postponed a defense cooperation meeting with Pakistan planned for this week.

Meanwhile, the Dutch government announced a freeze on aid to Pakistan to show its disapproval of emergency rule.

The British government said it is reviewing its development and aid assistance to Pakistan.

And the United Nations' top human rights official, Louise Arbour, expressed concern about the arrest of hundreds of Pakistani lawyers, judges and activists since the imposition on emergency rule.

On Sunday, Secretary Rice said the United States will review its financial aid to Pakistan. The U.S. has given Pakistan more than $10 billion since 2001. Most of that aid has gone to the Pakistani military.

Yahoo Kickstarts a social service aimed at college grads

Yahoo is set to launch Kickstart on Monday, a social network aimed at college students, alumni, and recruiters.

Yahoo already is experimenting with a general-purpose social network, Mash. But whereas Mash will be for socializing, Kickstart will be for career networking, says Scott Gatz, senior director of Yahoo's Advanced Products division.
"It's a professional network with a purpose--to help college students and recent graduates build a professional network," he says.
The initial "early preview" is focused on professionals and alumni, with a push for students to come next year.
Gatz says the site won't really compete with Facebook because Kickstart is focused on career advancement, not on fun.
What about LinkedIn, which caters to the professional crowd? "LinkedIn doesn't cross the minds of college students," Gatz says.

'American Gangster' Tops US Weekend Box Office Sales

A potent combination of bullets and bees propelled last weekend's U.S. box office chart. Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe's bloody crime saga American Gangster took in $46.3 million to lead the list, while Jerry Seinfeld's animated comedy Bee Movie placed second at $39.1 million.

Together, the two hit movies revitalized what had been a sub-par autumn season. "It took three of the biggest stars in the world to get the box office back on track, and they did it in high style with two totally different kinds of movies," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office tracker Media By Numbers.

"You had an R-rated movie and a PG-rated movie bringing in a really diverse audience." After six consecutive underperforming weekends, the Top 12 movies took in $127.2 million. That's a 12 percent increase from the same weekend in 2006, when Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan took first place with $26.5 million.

Star Runner Dies During Marathon Trials

November 3, 2007

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Distance runner Ryan Shay died on Saturday after collapsing during the U.S. Olympic marathon trials. The 28-year-old, a four-times national champion on the roads, collapsed after passing the five-mile mark of the race in New York.
He was taken to hospital by ambulance where he was pronounced dead, race officials said.
"We all are devastated over Ryan's death," the U.S. track and field federation said in a statement.
"He was a tremendous champion who was here today to pursue his dreams. The Olympic Trials is traditionally a day of celebration, but we are heartbroken. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ryan's wife, Alicia, and all of his family.
"His death is a tremendous loss for the sport and the long-distance running community."
Shay was the national marathon champion in 2003, he twice won the U.S. half marathon title and was 20 km champion in 2004. He also won national college titles while at Notre Dame.

Olympics Push Chinese Kids to the Max

BEIJING - An 8-year-old girl runs 2,212 miles to Beijing in 55 days. A 10-year-old swims in a river with her hands and feet bound. And then there's 4-year-old Yang Yang, riding a 1,000-pound beluga whale.
Kids' stunts such as these are becoming more common as Olympic fever rises with the approach of next summer's games. But don't expect any great outcry. In China, where one-child families are the government-enforced norm, pushing a child to overachieve is a social imperative.

Yang Yang's grandmother, 55-year-old Jing Xueying, dreams of the boy growing up to be a world champion swimmer. "That's the dream. I'm working hard here to achieve it ... I think my dream will come true," she told AP Television News at the aquarium where Yang Yang rode a beluga whale named Xiao Qiang.

Meanwhile, Zhang Huimin spent the summer running 40 miles a day from her home on the southern island province of Hainan to Beijing in northern China, her father trailing behind her on an electric bicycle.

Monday, November 5, 2007

India to host world toilet summit

1. Join the World’s leading Authorities as they probe analyze the changes in the Toilet and Sanitation Sector.
2. Be the first to hear the experiences of those involved in the implementation of People Centric Toilet Projects under the MDG, School Sanitation Programme, Public Toilets and Urinals as we look ahead at the strtegies required to change the Global Scenario for it for Fundamental Improvement in the quality of Life for the masses.
3. Participate to express your views and join others for practical interpretation and future strategic directions to give impetus to the Toilet and Sanitation Movement in the World.
4. Share your thoughts on Laying the Foundation for WORLD SANITATION FUND, and further strenthening of the efforts to speed up meeting the bulk of the MDG Targets for Toilets by the 2015.

Beware 414,000 Pizza Cases With Possible E. Coli O157:H7

As there is a raised risk of E. coli O157:H7 contamination of 414,000 cases of pizza products with pepperoni toppings, the makers, General Mills, has announced a voluntary recall of said pizzas. As these are freezable products, the company is asking consumers to check in their freezers as well. The pizzas were produced in General Mills' Ohio factory and distributed throughout the USA.
The products to look out for are:
(SKU = stock keeping units or UPC codes)

-- Totino's Party Supreme - SKU number 42800-10700
-- Totino's Three Meat - SKU number 42800-10800
-- Totino's Pepperoni - SKU number 42800-11400
-- Totino's Pepperoni - SKU number 42800-92114
-- Totino's Classic Pepperoni - SKU number 42800-11402
-- Totino's Pepperoni Trio - SKU number 42800-72157
-- Totino's Party Combo - SKU number 42800-11600
-- Totino's Combo - SKU number 42800-92116
-- Jeno's Crisp 'n Tasty Supreme - SKU number 35300-00561
-- Jeno's Crisp 'n Tasty Pepperoni - SKU number 35300-00572
-- Jeno's Crisp 'n Tasty Combo - SKU number 35300-00576

When 21 cases of E.coli related illnesses were reported in ten states, with half of the patients being hospitalized, authorities started to investigate. The first case happened in June 20th, 2007, while the latest one happened on October 10th, 2007. Nine of those patients had consumed Totino's or Jeno's pizza with pepperoni topping prior to becoming ill. Over 120 million Totino's and Jeno's pizzas have been distributed since the first reported illness.

Download Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 released

Internet service and search engine firm Yahoo! on Tuesday launched the latest version of its Yahoo Messenger, the Vietnam Bridge said. Six new language forms of the Yahoo Messenger 9 Beta was also launched bringing to 25 the messaging software's total number of international versions.

Windows 7 FAQ

Q: Is Microsoft working on an operating system after Windows Vista?
A: Yes. The next client version of Windows was originally codenamed "Blackcomb," though the company renamed it to "Windows Vienna" in early 2006 and to "Windows Seven" or "Windows 7" more recently.

Q: Why Windows 7?
Since Windows Vista is really Windows 6.0, Windows 7 will presumably be version 7.0.

Q: Is Windows 7 the final name?
No. Like Vienna, Windows 7 is just a codename and will likely change prior to the OS' official release.

Q: I heard that Windows Vista will be the last major OS release from Microsoft. Is that true?
A: No. Windows-based PCs will continue to form the center of our digital lifestyles, and as Microsoft executives have noted in recent days, there are still plenty of areas in which Microsoft can improve Windows. Some obvious examples include voice recognition and storage.

Q: So is Windows 7 going to be a major Windows version?
A: Yes. Windows Vista was a major release, and Windows 7 will be also be a major update. Microsoft is currently on a development path where every other Windows version is a major release, so it's possible we'll see a minor OS update between Vista and Windows 7.

Q: When will Windows 7 ship?
A: Microsoft currently plans to ship Windows 7 in 2010, about four years after Vista. (Windows Server updates are on a similar cycle.)

Q: What features will be included in Windows 7?
A: Microsoft hasn't publicly committed to any features for Windows 7 and the company is currently still deciding what this next Windows release will look like. We do know a few things about Windows 7, however: It will include a new version of Windows Explorer that is being built by the same team that designed the Ribbon user interface in Office 2007. It will likely include some form of the "Hypervisor" (Windows Virtualization) technologies that will ship shortly after Windows Server 2008. It will also likely include the WinFS (Windows Future Storage) technologies, though they won't be packaged or branded as WinFS. Microsoft says it might also make a subscription-based version of the OS available to consumers, but that's still in flux.

Q: That's it?
A: Remember, it's early yet and Microsoft is being very secretive about future Windows versions. However, the company has publicly issued a bit of information about the broad capabilities it intends to include in Windows 7. This information comes from a publicly-available Microsoft slide deck:

Easier. Windows 7 will make it easier for users to find and use information. Local, network and Internet search functionality will converge. Intuitive user experiences will be further advanced. Automated application provisioning and cross-application data transparency will be integrated.

More secure. Windows 7 will include improved security and legislative compliance functionality. Data protection and management will be extended to peripheral devices. Windows 7 will advance role-based computing scenarios and user-account management, and bridge the inherent conflicts between data protection and robust collaboration. It will also enable enterprise-wide data protection and permissions.

Better connected. Windows 7 will further enable the mobile workforce. It will deliver anywhere, anytime, any device access to data and applications. It will enable a robust ad-hoc collaboration experience. Wireless connectivity, management and security functionality will be expanded. The performance and functionality of current and emerging mobile hardware will be optimized. The multiple device sync, management and data protection capabilities in Windows will be extended. Finally, Windows 7 will enable flexible computing infrastructures including rich, thin and network-centric models.

Lower cost. Windows 7 will help businesses optimize their desktop infrastructure. It will enable seamless OS, application and data migration, and simplified PC provisioning and upgrading. It will further efforts towards non-disruptive application updating and patching. Windows 7 will include improved hardware- and software-based virtualization experiences. And it will expand the PC self-help and IT Pro problem resolution diagnostics in Windows.

Q: Will Windows 7 be available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions like Vista?
A: Though I had expected Windows 7 to ship only in 64-bit versions, Microsoft now says it will be the final Windows version to ship in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Q: Will Microsoft release any Windows updates between now and Windows 7?
A: Yes. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1, codenamed "Fiji") will ship simultaneously with Windows Server 2008 in early 2008 and will include a new kernel version that makes that release up to date with the kernel version in Longhorn. Fiji will almost certainly include a revision to the Media Center software in Windows Vista as well. For these reasons, we might consider Fiji a major release for a service pack. Certainly, no previous service pack has ever included a major kernel update.

Next version of Windows: Call it 7

Microsoft is planning to ship its next major version of Windows--known internally as version "7"--within roughly three years, CNET has learned.

The company discussed Windows 7 on Thursday at a conference for its field sales force in Orlando, Fla., according to sources close to the company.

While the company provided few details, Windows 7, the next client version of the operating system, will be among the steps taken by Microsoft to establish a more predictable release schedule, according to sources. The company plans a more "iterative" process of information disclosure to business customers and partners, sources said.

Windows Vista, the oft-delayed most recent release of Windows, shipped to businesses in November and to consumers in January after more than five years of development. Vista's gestation period was marked by shifting product details as internal priorities changed and problems arose with development.

Like Vista, Windows 7 will ship in consumer and business versions, and in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The company also confirmed that it is considering a subscription model to complement Windows, but did not provide specifics or a time frame.

Friday, November 2, 2007

YouTube = Funny Videos. Literally.

Hitwise has done an interesting study on the correlation of the search terms “funny videos” and “YouTube” in the UK.

Turns out, the word YouTube has replaced the phrase “funny video” for searches on the Internet. This implies a distinct identification with YouTube as a brand, and the concept of funny videos. Looks like people are attaching funny videos to YouTube, and doing a search for the brand, and not the end result. This means that YouTube has done a great job of branding itself in the UK, if being a central location for funny videos is what it was going for. And I’m pretty sure that YouTube doesn’t mind at all. It’s joined the ranks of Kleenex, Xerox, and Band-aid. Way to go, YouTube.

Privacy groups seek

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nine privacy and consumer organizations asked the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday to create a "do not track" list for Internet users who don't want their online activities tracked, stored and used by advertising networks.
Such a list would function much like the FTC's "do not call" registry that consumers can join to prevent telemarketing phone calls, according to the groups, which include the Center for Democracy and Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Consumer Federation of America.
Internet advertising companies and marketers increasingly are collecting information about individuals' Web activities and preferences so as to tailor their advertising messages.
In recent months, Google Inc, Yahoo and Microsoft Corp have all struck deals to acquire online advertising companies.
Executives from the three companies and other Internet firms are scheduled to address an FTC public meeting on behavioral advertising practices on Thursday and Friday.
The "do not track" list would require advertisers that place electronic cookies or tags on consumers' computers to register with the FTC all domain names of the servers involved in such activities, according to the groups.
"Online opt-outs should be as well-known and as easy as the Do Not Call list," said Mark Cooper, research director of Consumer Federation of America.
The proposal would also prohibit advertisers from collecting and using personally identifiable information about health and financial activities and would require independent auditing of companies using behavioral tracking to ensure they upheld privacy standards.

Hyundai launches i10 from India

New Delhi, Oct. 31
New compact: Mr H.S. Lheem, Managing Director, Hyundai Motor India Ltd, at the launch of the company’s new compact car ‘i10’ in the Capital on Wednesday. The car is priced between Rs 3.39 lakh and Rs 4.9 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The Korean car company said that after making India its global manufacturing hub for small cars, its unit in the country will account for 30 per cent of the company’s international production
Hyundai Motor Company is not only looking to leverage India’s manufacturing capabilities to expand its presence in the global market and consolidate its presence in the premium compact car segment in the domestic market, but also enhance its research and development carried out from India.

The company on Wednesday unveiled its first car, i10 launched from India for the global markets.