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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Internet2 To Get GigaFast

Internet2, a network primarily used by academic and research institutions is plenty fast when it comes to speed. It currently runs at about 10 gigabits per second. But that might seem downright glacial when the network operators are done with an upgrade. Plans are afoot to use 80 channels to pump 10 gigabits per second per channel, and upgrade the total backbone bandwidth to a whopping 800 Gbps. The upgrade will use 80 different wavelengths to send the traffic that could make it possible for uncompressed hi-def video and video conferencing, over the net collaboration and even give a massive boost to grid computing. Internet2, a consortium of 201 academic institutions plans to phase out its Abilene network, which has been in service for seven years. The consortium will not renew its fiber contract with Qwest Communications. The Abilene Network used 10,000 route-miles of Qwest’s 10-Gigabit-per-second optical network.
This was seized 4 u at GigaOM

Monday, May 29, 2006

Who needs a Web Office when you have an inflatable office

Of course I got curious when I read this headline from a post from Richard MacManus at ZDNet and was surprised by this simple answer:

If you want to read more about the "Office in a bucket" and other useless and really fun structures go here.

This was seized 4 u at Office In A Bucket and Office In A Bucket

Friday, May 26, 2006

Biology inspired computer networks

Today, for many, computer networks are an indispensable infrastructure that interconnects people, places and organisations. But increasingly they are beginning to creak as their complexity grows. Biological systems through years of evolution can offer clues on how to cope, as a research project has demonstrated. "Even a minor perturbation on a network can cause major problems," says Dr Ozalp Babaoglu at the University of Bologna. "Simply adding a computer or installing an operating system can suddenly mean that the printer stops working or you can't access your files." The problem is caused by complex systems, where a large number a simple elements interact. And networking can be complex. Millions of interconnected nodes create inherent complexity and a growing sophistication of interactions between devices means complexity exists even when the number of devices is modest.
Enter the BISON project funded under the European Commission’s FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) initiative of the IST programme. BISON is inspired by Complex Adaptive Systems like ants, fireflies and even single cells. "Complexity in computing is already a problem, and traditional methods are no longer adequate to address the problems," says Babaoglu, BISON’s coordinator. "And it's going to get worse as the internet becomes increasingly complex. Biological systems, on the other hand, are incredibly resilient and amazingly robust, so we're taking inspiration from a system that we know works."
BISON took a 'modular' approach, using simple and predictable services as building blocks, or protocols, to develop more complex functions. Using simple protocols the group validated its approach by developing a load-balancing protocol, which is very important to stop traffic from overwhelming a particular node. With the proof of principle established, it's hoped others will begin designing further tools.
BISON focused on adaptive routing and radio power management to tackle the fundamental challenge in ad hoc networks of a constantly changing network topology. Not only are nodes moving but they are constantly entering and leaving the network. What's more, power is a crucial issue: use more power to boost the signal and the device runs out of energy. Lower signal power and the network becomes disconnected. It used Ant Colony Optimisation (ACO), a computing scheme inspired by the way ants leave and follow paths to find the shortest route to food. In the computing paradigm, tiny packets of data, called ants, are sent out to find the most efficient routing choice based on the twin needs of connectivity and power management. Called AntHocNet, it is an attempt to create an ACO routing algorithm, which works efficiently in Mobile Ad hoc Networks, combining reactive path finding and repairing with proactive path maintenance and improvement. The attempt looks successful. BISON conducted a large series of simulations of its AntHocNet against an algorithm for routing data across Wireless Mesh Networks called AODV, an important reference in the computer science field.
"We were successful in developing robust, adaptive protocols," said Babaoglu. "But we were surprised that their performance was so good. We expected to lose performance, but our protocols are comparable to what's available today." BISON also developed a synchronicity protocol inspired by fireflies. Synchronicity is important to time the execution of certain functions in a network. Fireflies very quickly synchronise their light emission, rather like clapping in an audience, and Babaoglu says it could become the basis for developing a heartbeat on the internet. Read more...
This was seized 4 u at Science Technologies Society & BISON

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Earthshine inspires hunt for alien life

Earthshine – the dim glow from sunlight bouncing off the Earth, and reflected back from the Moon's surface – may aid in the search for life on other planets, say scientists. It may also give insights into climate change on Earth. However, experts are split on how useful a tool Earthshine may be. Researchers demonstrated the potential for using Earthshine as a “practice” case for spotting life signs from other Earth-like planets, in a session at this week’s joint assembly of the American Geophysical Union in Baltimore, US.
Leonardo da Vinci is credited as the first to explain the Earthshine effect, which is caused by sunlight reflecting off the Earth and illuminating the parts of the Moon that would otherwise be in total shadow. Earthshine observations offer a potential window into the role of clouds in climate change. Variations in cloud cover affect Earth’s total reflectivity and so register as slight changes in the brightness of Earthshine from month to month.
“It gives us an absolutely calibrated measure of the Earth’s reflectance,” says Phil Goode, director of the Big Bear Solar Observatory in California, US. The usefulness of Earthshine has been disputed by some climate experts, and particularly after 2004, when astronomer Enric Palle and colleagues at Big Bear reported a reversal in the Earthshine trend. Prior to 2000, the group found the brightness of Earthshine decreased steadily, suggesting that there were progressively fewer clouds reflecting sunlight onto the Moon. But after 2000, they found the brightness of Earthshine increased again. Although the cause of the change is not known, the degree of the change is enough to affect climate models.
Now a composite of twenty-seven years’ worth of data on ultraviolet reflectance from eight different NASA and NOAA satellite instruments appears to confirm the Earthshine observations. “Our data agree astonishingly well with the Earthshine data,” says Steven Lloyd, of the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, US.
Traub and other researchers detailed how the spectrum of Earthshine reveals the presence of ozone and chlorophyll, both sure signs of biological activity on Earth. In the future, it is expected that planet hunting space telescopes will be able to resolve Earth-like planets as tiny pinpricks of light circling around their parent stars. And though such a “pale blue dot” would not likely reveal any visual details, its spectrum might be enough to distinguish between a sterile and a living world. Traub has calculated what the spectrum of Earthshine would have looked like at different times during Earth’s geological history, when gases such as methane and carbon dioxide were more dominant and oxygen was not yet present in large quantities. “By comparing what we know about Earth with the spectrum of an extrasolar planet, there is a good chance we would see what stage of evolution the planet was in,” says Traub.
This was seized 4 u at New Scientist

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sony BMG "rootkit" DRM case settled (submit your claim)

A federal judge on Monday gave final approval to a settlement in a class action suit against Sony BMG Music Entertainment over anticopying software the company had embedded in some music CDs. The agreement (click for PDF) covers anyone who bought, received or used CDs containing what was revealed to be flawed digital rights management (DRM) software after Aug. 1, 2003. Those customers can file a claim and receive certain benefits, such as a nonprotected replacement CD, free downloads of music from that CD and additional cash payments.
The court action picked up last fall when security researchers discovered vulnerabilities posed by two pieces of software, First4Internet's XCP and SunnComm's MediaMax, which are automatically installed on a user's computer upon loading certain Sony BMG music CDs. The software's presence was masked by a "rootkit" that can make the PC more vulnerable to viruses and other hacker attacks.
The software also allegedly transmitted information about the listener's computer use back to Sony BMG, although a company-commissioned privacy assessment later determined that it collected only "non-personal information tied to a particular album and its usage." At least 15 different lawsuits were filed by class action lawyers against the record label, and the New York cases were eventually consolidated into one proceeding. The parties reached a preliminary settlement with Sony BMG in December, leaving it up to a judge in a U.S. District Court in New York to make it official.
Sony BMG had already begun taking steps to remedy the situation. It yanked the affected discs off the shelves, suspended production of CDs containing the technology and issued a recall of the 4.7 million XCP CDs, offering MP3 downloads in return.
Anyone who "purchased, received, came into possession of or otherwise used" music CDs containing Sony's flawed DRM software anytime after August 1, 2003 is entitled to file a claim for a replacement CD, free downloads of music from that CD (with Apple's iTunes named as one of the three download services, ironically), and even "additional cash payments". Read more...
This was seized 4 u at CNet news

Monday, May 22, 2006

Turn your cellphone into a full-size piano or a drum kit

The popular science magazine New Scientist has again dug their way through the patent office. Here is the one that got my attention: Samsung says it can turn a cellphone into a full-size piano or a drum kit. A recent patent filing from the South Korean company explains how. Earlier in 2006 Motorola patented a way to use a cellphone screen and keypad to mimic a guitar. But there is little hope of squeezing 88 piano keys or a full set of drums into a handheld device. Samsung's idea is to use a small video projector, embedded in the phone, to project an image of a keyboard or drum skins onto a plain, flat surface. As the owner presses the keys or hits the drums a camera in the phone would detect the motion and convert it into the appropriate musical sound. The phone could either play the sound out loud or make a recording and the phone's camera could even make a video of the performance. The only issue the Samsung patent does not address is how much of a drain this will be on the phone’s battery life. Read the full patent, here.
This was seized 4 u at New Scientist

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Why building a robotic Giraffe?

Well, for years I have been coming to Burning Man, dressed up in my zebra costume. Yes, a zebra costume. Anyway, I've wanted to build something that went along with that decoration. So I rode around on several art cars during 2002 and 2003. What data I gathered suggested these parameters: It should be tall, because the view one gets at BM from just being 8 feet up is amazing. It should be an animal, since I love animals and like the idea of an animal as a form of decoration. It should play music and be able to carry a small number of people, probably no more than 4 to 6 max. Almost immediately a giraffe came to mind. I had thought of making a zebra, but, that would be redundant and on top of that, it had been done already. So, the initial design saw the giraffe on a wheeled frame, driving around much like a car. But I wanted the legs and neck to move as well, so I started looking at motion systems for ideas. Initially, the thought of the giraffe actually walking crossed my mind, but was quickly written off as being impossible or at least, very difficult to try. So the giraffe would "walk" but, it would be faked motion, with the hooves barely touching the ground. It was to be very much like a real giraffe skeleton, that walked and moved like a real one would. Well, along comes this model from Tamiya. I spotted it while searching information on the net about giraffes. The little thing uses this very simple method of operating all 4 legs at the same time from a single geared motor source. I took the thing to my friend Gary and showed it to him, placing it on the table, and as it walked, I talked about how this motion would look nice on the wheeled frame, imitating a real walking giraffe. Well, Gary shot straight out of his chair and pointed at the thing, saying here was all the design criteria I needed. To borrow the mechanism of this toy and build a full size walking machine! I was stunned and at first rebelled against the idea, having invested 2 years in solid thought and design with the project, and had a very clear idea of how it would look and operate. But what I was also planning was terribly complex and demanding. It could take years to complete, and here I was, in late 2004 wanting to build a machine for 2005 in august. The prospects were not looking good for this more artistic giraffe I was planning. But the more robotic and stiff looking machine was suddenly looking very possible. After about 4 hours of discussion, Gary and I came to agree that this little model would provide the basis of what was going to become the wildest thing I have ever built so far. And it would really walk! From there I entered into a world of welding every weekend and spare hour during the week for 10 solid months. We got a 7 year rain cycle that came through, my day job became an utter nightmare due to its own parameters, and I passed through more misery and injuries than ever. Needless to say, I was having the time of my life, spending every dollar I earned on this project, and loving it more and more as the days passed and the machine neared completion. It seemed like everything fate could toss me to trip me up on the project was happening, plus all sorts of help manifested itself at the same time. New friendships were created on many levels, and I remain deeply pleased with what has arisen from a pile of steel so far.
This was seized 4 u at ElectricGiraffe & Make

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Iowa Co. Hopes to Make Gasoline Obsolete

Iowa Company Makes Engines That Can Run on Hydrogen, Ethanol, Natural Gas or Propane
ALGONA, Iowa May 20, 2006 (AP)— While much of the world fumes over escalating fuel prices, a small company in north central Iowa is quietly hoping to make gasoline obsolete as an engine fuel.
Research at the Hydrogen Engine Center Inc. is done in an early 1900s red brick armory at the Kossuth County fairgrounds.
There, a clean six-cylinder engine that looks like it could have been pulled from a Ford pickup has been running for 110 hours, not quite half the 300 hours it must continuously run for certification. The company, led by a retired Ford Motor Co. engineer, hopes to meet Environmental Protection Agency automotive 2007 emission standards.
All 81 parts are original Oxx Power, the brand name the company has given all its engines.
The engine can run on a number of fuels including hydrogen, ethanol, natural gas, propane or digester gas from landfills.
The company, started by Ted Hollinger, 65, is initially focusing on making more efficient, environmentally friendlier engines to replace those used in generators and in forklift trucks, airline ground equipment, irrigation pumps, tractors and buses.
Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have dropped industrial engine production as they've cut costs, leaving what Hollinger said is a ready-made market for his fledgling company.
"Our engine has to bolt in where the old engine went and can't be a thread off," he said. "If you do that and you make improvements in it so that it gets rid of emissions and it's more efficient, then I think people are going to like it."

This was seized 4 u at ABC News

Friday, May 19, 2006

Internet addiction

NEW YORK (Reuters)-- For some, the Internet it has become an addiction, adversely affecting their lives and their family's lives. While not yet defined as a true addiction, many people are suffering the consequences of obsession with the online world, warns Dr. Diane M. Wieland, who treats patients with computer addiction in her practice in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.
For some people, the Internet may promote addictive behaviors and pseudo-intimate interpersonal relationships, reports Wieland in the journal, Perspectives in Psychiatric Care. "Such cyberspace contacts may result in cyber disorders such as virtual relationships that evolve into online marital infidelity (cybersex) or online sexually compulsive behaviors," she writes.
"Obsession with and craving time on the computer results in neglect of real-life personal relationships to the point of divorce," Wieland says. The prevalence of Internet addiction is hard to gauge at the moment, Wieland notes. Extrapolating from prevalence rates of other addictions, she thinks that 5 percent to 10 percent of Internet users will most likely experience addiction.
Signs and symptoms of Internet addiction include a general disregard for health and appearance; sleep deprivation due to spending so much time online; and decreased physical activity and social interaction with others. Dry eyes, carpal tunnel syndrome, and repetitive motion injuries of the hands and fingers are common. Internet addicts may also get the "cyber shakes" when off line, exhibiting agitation and typing motions of the fingers when not at the computer.
...aehh - hi guys - I've to visit my shrink...
If you neet to know more please proceed here.
This was seized 4 u at CNN

Thursday, May 18, 2006

If computers could create a society, what kind of world would they make?

Thanks to the work of an ambitious project that adds a whole new meaning to the phrase, ‘computer society’, in which millions of software agents will potentially evolve their own culture, we could be about to find out. With funding from the European Commission’s Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) initiative of the IST programme, five European research institutes are collaborating on the NEW TIES project to create a thoroughly 21st-century brave new world – one populated by randomly generated software beings, capable of developing their own language and culture. This kind of social interaction is a tantalising prospect for the artificial intelligence (AI) experts, computer scientists, sociologists and linguists working on NEW TIES. The keyword here is ‘social.’ “While individual (or machine) learning and evolutionary behaviour have been quite well studied, social learning is still an unknown quantity,” says project coordinator Gusz Eiben, an AI professor at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.
“For the linguists and sociologists, the main motivation is to study existing processes in societies and languages,” Eiben explains. “The computer scientists on the other hand want to develop and study machine collaboration, with an eye on future applications in robotics. Robots in the home are only five to 10 years away, and in the future we might be able to send robot rescue teams to disaster areas to search for survivors. They could even one day travel to Mars. Obviously, it will be important for them to be able to cooperate with each other – especially if they are in a hostile environment.” Future disaster victims rescued by robots may perhaps owe their survival to the software agents currently being prepared for life in the NEW TIES engine – which, within a few months, will be running across a Grid of 60 computers. “No one has ever created an engine of this complexity,” says Eiben, adding that it will support about 1,000 agents at first, building up to millions – each one a unique entity with its own characteristics, including gender, life expectancy, fertility, size, and metabolism. The agents will not be labelled, but will have their own distinguishing characteristics to make them recognisable. Their traits will be inherited from their parents, and passed on to their offspring, but they will be able to learn from their own experiences and from each other.
“It’s a given of the NEW TIES project that we are not hardwiring agents,” says Eiben. “We are not programming how they behave. Each entity has its own ‘controller,’ analogous to a brain. And because we want to create an interesting controller, we have to produce a challenging world – otherwise there would be no impetus for development. So, in one scenario, we have created a world with seasons – so that the agents have to learn to find, transport and store food. And there are two rival groups, so they will have to learn to tell friend from foe.” The agents will have the ability to communicate, using a ‘native vocabulary’ of a few simple words like, ‘food’, ‘near’, and ‘agent’. “One interesting question is how they will communicate,” says Eiben. “Naturally, the linguists want to see how they develop a spoken language, but for the AI researchers we will also test to see if there are possible alternatives – telepathy, for example.” Some basic rules will also be given, along the lines of, “if it’s hot, it burns,” but agents are expected to add to the rule set as they discover new ‘laws of nature.’
Currently, NEW TIES is on the brink between development - now pretty much complete - and scientific experiment, which can begin once calibration is completed. “We are ready to start the interaction,” says Eiben, adding that the team hopes to scale up to 5,000 computers, and a vast population of agents, because “then we’ll really see some emergent behaviours.” In the meantime, he points to some intriguing results obtained from other platforms. His own findings have established that aggressive behaviour, surprisingly, increases in agent-worlds as life becomes easier, while an ideal world (‘ideal’ meaning maximum survival) has two main attributes: flexibility and mobility.
Eiben cautions against applying the findings from simple computer worlds to reality, yet admits that this ‘shadow world’ effect is the reason why the press have shown so much interest in NEW TIES, and why the project’s ‘it might look like this’ images have been taken as literal representations. Now, in fact, the project is working on a state-of-the-art visualisation for its interface, to make its agents more comprehensible to a public well versed in The Sims and other computer realities. By the time it has run its course in August 2007, NEW TIES will have provided food for thought in several fields, and perhaps taken us a step closer to the days Eiben anticipates, when politicians will be able to run simulations on computers to test scenarios (for new tax laws, for example) before carrying them out in real life. “Simulators now allow us to optimise car engines or train timetables,” says Eiben. “But why shouldn’t they help us optimise social decision-making?”
This was seized 4 u at Information Society Technologies

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Net Monitoring or how big brother is watching you

The equipment that technician Mark Klein learned was installed in the National Security Agency's "secret room" inside AT&T;'s San Francisco switching office isn't some sinister Big Brother box designed solely to help governments eavesdrop on citizens' internet communications. Rather, it's a powerful commercial network-analysis product with all sorts of valuable uses for network operators. It just happens to be capable of doing things that make it one of the best internet spy tools around.
"Anything that comes through (an internet protocol network), we can record," says Steve Bannerman, marketing vice president of Narus, a Mountain View, California, company. "We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their (voice over internet protocol) calls."
Narus' product, the Semantic Traffic Analyzer, is a software application that runs on standard IBM or Dell servers using the Linux operating system. Internet companies can install the analyzers at every entrance and exit point of their networks, at their "cores" or centers, or both. The analyzers communicate with centralized "logic servers" running specialized applications. The combination can keep track of, analyze and record nearly every form of internet communication, whether e-mail, instant message, video streams or VOIP phone calls that cross the network.
Brasil Telecom and several other Brazilian phone companies are using Narus products to charge each other for VOIP calls they send over one another's IP networks. Internet companies in China and the Middle East use them to block VOIP calls altogether. But even before the product's alleged role in the NSA's operations emerged, its potential as a surveillance tool was not lost on corporate America. In December, VeriSign, also of Mountain View, chose Narus' product as the backbone of its lawful-intercept-outsourcing service, which helps network operators comply with court-authorized surveillance orders from law enforcement agencies. A special Narus lawful-intercept application does this spying with ease, sorting through torrents of IP traffic to pick out specific messages based on a targeted e-mail address, IP address or, in the case of VOIP, phone number.
"We needed their fast packet-detection and inspection capability," says VeriSign Vice President Raj Puri. "They do it with specialized software that can isolate packets for a specific target."
Narus has little control over how its products are used after they're sold. For example, although its lawful-intercept application has a sophisticated system for making sure the surveillance complies with the terms of a warrant, it's up to the operator whether to type those terms into the system, says Bannerman.
That legal eavesdropping application was launched in February 2005, well after whistle-blower Klein allegedly learned that AT&T was installing Narus boxes in secure, NSA-controlled rooms in switching centers around the country. But that doesn't mean the government couldn't write its own code to do the dirty work. Narus even offers software-development kits to customers.
"Our product is designed to comply (with) all of the laws in all of the countries we ship to," says Bannerman. "Many of our customers have built their own applications. We have no idea what they do."
This was seized 4 u at Wired News

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

False alarm: is alive and kicking

The extremely popular, quasi-legal AllOfMp3 site went down over the weekend and we got worried. AllOfMp3 has had a lot of server maintanance outages lately but it is evident that the service is really improving. I have observed an improved response time and a lot of minor enhancements to the site. Nevertheless it seems like that still has some work to do, because some of the functionalities still are unstable.
Sorry for the false alarm. Stay tuned for further updates. If you are not familiar with the service, visit the site and judge by yourself.

Can't get much exercise? Buy "O2 Supli" (oxygen with the taste of your choice)

Exhausted Japanese workers in need of a pick-me-up will soon be able to get a hit of canned oxygen at their local convenience store. Seven-Eleven Japan will start marketing the new product, "O2 Supli," at select stores in the Tokyo area later this month and expand sales nationwide in June. "People are under a lot of stress and can't get much exercise, so they aren't getting enough oxygen," said Minoru Matsumoto, a spokesman for Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd, Seven-Eleven's parent company. "This is especially true of people who do long hours of desk work in front of a computer. They don't breathe that deeply." The oxygen will be sold for 600 yen ($5.50) in 3.2-liter spray cans of 95 percent pure oxygen, each of which comes with a small plastic mask attached to the top. Users place the mask over their mouth and nose, then push a nozzle, which dispenses the oxygen for two to three seconds. Each can contains enough oxygen for about 35 doses, in either a grapefruit or peppermint fragrance. "The peppermint should be really good for mornings when you're tired, or when you're driving, or when you really have to concentrate," Matsumoto said. "The grapefruit should be good before you do sports or while you're working really late." People involved in product testing gave favorable reports, Matsumoto said, noting that he had tried it himself. "Everyone found it extremely refreshing," he added.
This was seized 4 u at Reuters

Monday, May 15, 2006

A new invention: Human cannonballs

Here is a great new patent seized by my favorite popular science magazine:
The old circus trick of firing a person from a cannon is being considered by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as a way to get special forces, police officers and fire fighters onto the roofs of tall buildings in a hurry.
A ramp with side rails would be placed on the ground near the target building at an angle of about 80°. A (very brave) person would then sit in a chair, like a pilot’s ejection seat, attached to the ramp.
Compressed air from a cylinder underneath would be rapidly released to shoot the chair up the ramp's guide rails. At the top the chair would come to an instant halt, leaving the person to fly up and over the edge of the roof, to hopefully land safely on top of the building.
Of course, the trick is to get the trajectory just right. But the DARPA patent suggests a computer could automatically devise the correct angle and speed of ascent. It also claims that a 4-metre-tall launcher could put a man on the top of a 5 storey building in less than 2 seconds. I think I'll take the stairs.
Read the full patent here.
This was seized 4 u at New Scientist

Skype calls free to the US & Canada for US and Canada based customers only

Skype, today announced that all US and Canadian-based Skype customers can now make free SkypeOut™ calls to traditional landline and mobile phones in the US and Canada. Previously, Skype users in both countries were required to pay for Skype calls from their PCs to traditional telephones. Free SkypeOut calls to the US or Canada will be available to US and Canadian-based Skype users until the end of the year. Skype has now removed any cost barrier for its American and Canadian customers to keep in touch with friends, family and business associates. Skype anticipates that completely free calling in the US and Canada will expand Skype’s increasing penetration in North America and solidify Skype’s position as the Internet’s voice communication tool of choice. More people will now have the chance to benefit from Skype’s premium services and online calling capabilities. If you want more countries you can call for free, you can call the following countries landline phone for free regardless from where you call by using the competing provider VoipBuster: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela. Conclusion: If you want to make high quality zero cost calls outsite the US use VoipBuster, if you live in the US or Canada calling to the US will be free only via Skype (for the time being;-)).

AllofMP3 Down - For Good?

The extremely popular, quasi-legal AllofMP3 site went down over the weekend and is not yet back up. The site currently says “We are sorry but the server is closed for maintainance.”We’ve written about AllofMP3 a number of times, including a review as part of a general review of downloadable music. AllofMP3 offers DRM -free downloadable music in a variety of different formats and quality levels, for $0.02 per MB, far below what legitimate music services charge.The site has evolved from being a little known cult favororite service to a powerful force in music sales. In April 2006 it was second only to iTunes in U.K. online music sales.
Pressure on Moscow to close the site has been intense and is increasing. In recent comments, Russian President Putin stated that they would do more to fight copyright infringement in order to gain admission to the WTO.
I am a fan of AllOfMP3 because it puts pressure on labels to strip out DRM and keep online prices low. It’s disruptive to a broken business model. I hope it comes back online.
In the meantime check out the number two music service from russia (lacking some of the ease of allofmp3):

Most of this was seized 4 u atTechCrunch

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Bean and us

Here some new pics of "The Bean",
Anish Kapoor's artwork in Chicago's Millennium Park, staring Steve and Robin. The lines are gone and if you want to count the number of times we are reflected, please don't, because you will end up in an infinite series of mirror images causing confusion and headache. Thanks to Steve for his kind hospitality. It is a great city to live in!

Read more about Cloud Gate on the Millenium Park homepage.

This was seized 4 u by Robin

Friday, May 12, 2006

Zookoda - subscribe to the Reseize newsletter

Regular readers will notice that the Reseize email subscription submission form at the right hand menu has changed. This is because Reseize is testing a new email newsletter service called Zookoda which is designed specifically for bloggers wanting to offer their readers a way to subscribe to their blog via email. We have just swapped from Feedblitz to Zookoda and it is too early to give a definate comment on how the service works but the first impressions are quite positive.
Zookoda is an Australian company that offers a range of email notification services, primarily email newsletters and "recurring broadcasts". The Zookoda team describes it as "web-based email marketing application designed specifically for bloggers". The best thing about this service is its powerful set of functionality, together with its flexibility and the fact that it is a free service without annoying advertisements.

If you’re not already subscribed to the Reseize newsletter you can do so by simply adding your email address. If you’re a subscriber we would love to hear your feedback on the new format. Keep in mind it’s a beta test - but any suggestions you have as a subscriber will be appreciated.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Insurerance policy for World Cup "sick days"

A Dutch insurer is offering employers in the country the chance to insure themselves against the sudden rise in staff sick days expected during next month's soccer World Cup. Tens of thousands of Dutch workers phoned in ill during the European Championships in Portugal in 2004, with sickness levels rising 20 percent on days when the Dutch national side played. "We are expecting a lot of claims," said Dennis Massaar of insurer SEZ.
Under Dutch law, companies must pay employees who are too ill to report to work. They can insure themselves against this, but most policies apply only to absences longer than two weeks. SEZ said it would waive the usual two-week time limit and pay out for any employees absent on the day of a Netherlands match or the day after, regardless of the excuse given. "Obviously nobody will phone in and say they're ill because they want to watch the match or because they drank too much."
This was seized 4 u at Reuters

How life is entering earth (interstellar organic materials in meteorites)

Once again, meteorites are turning out to be scientific treasure chests. Primitive meteorites do not only contain stellar dust that formed at high temperatures- they also contain traces of pristine organic substances, often in their original state, or sometimes just slightly altered. They built up at low temperatures in the interstellar gas and dust cloud that formed our solar system billions of years ago. These are the results of a study by researchers at the Carnegie Institute in Washington, Harvard University in Cambridge, and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany.
Some of these interplanetary dust particles seem to come from comets. They contain comparatively large amounts of stellar dust and organic material of interstellar origin. That material could be an important source of prebiotic molecules, building blocks for life on earth. We can also find presolar material in primitive meteorites, which originate from the asteroid belt. However, in the case of meteorites, it seemed until now that pristine organic material was not preserved as it was in interplanetary dust particles. Rather, the parent bodies and the original solar nebula went through thermal change, and we have lost information about the carriers of the pristine organic material.
The international research team from the Carnegie Institute in Washington, Harvard University and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz has identified largely unaltered organic material of presumably interstellar origin in meteorites. The scientists were looking at specific hydrogen and nitrogen isotope signatures in a kind of primitive meteorites called carbonaceous chondrites.
The magazine Science reports that the researchers found strong, localised concentrations of the rare deuterium isotope, plus nitrogen-15, in insoluble organic materials from carbonaceous chondrites. These isotopes had only until now been found in such quantities in interplanetary dust particles. Peter Hoppe from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry explains that "we may be able to explain these signatures qualitatively through ion-molecule reactions at low temperatures in interstellar clouds." The researchers used two special ion microprobes in Washington and Mainz. The one in Mainz, the NanoSIMS ion microprobe, (a "secondary ion mass spectrometer") lets scientists look at isotopes at a spatial resolution finer than 100 millionths of a millimetre (see image). The measurements showed that the deuterium and nitrogen-15 concentrations are not spatially correlated - and this suggests they were created differently and had different organic carriers.
The results suggest that interstellar organic material found its way to the asteroid belt at a time when its temperature was relatively low. We can find pristine organic materials not only in interplanetary dust particles but also in meteorites, and this means that much larger amounts of this valuable cosmic material is available for laboratory research. This allows scientists to look in new ways at how organic substances are created - and other chemical processes - in the interstellar medium and in protoplanetary systems.
This was seized 4 u at Max Planck Society

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

How would you like to enter the world of freelance bug-fixing & make less money than you ever dreamed possible?

How would you like to enter the exciting and fun world of per-piece freelance writing? How would you like to enter my world, and make less money than you ever dreamed possible?
Well, now you can.
Open Logic has launched a program assigning trouble tickets to freelance programmers supporting up to 150 different open source projects. It's part of their Consolidated Enterprise Support program.
VP-marketing Mark Winz explained how it works. "These 150 projects are certified, integrated, and configured. Once the issues come in we take the call, understand what it is, and sort out where the problem is." The needed fixes are then posted, and you get to do the work.
In fact there are many programmers who might prefer not to be paid cash. People on government disability might lose their status if they took the money, for instance. "Stormy talked to people and some said, they didn’t want to be paid cash, they wanted money donated somewhere or they wanted something like an Xbox," said Winz.
So you can have cash, or a donation, or what's behind door number three. Fair enough. Oh, and if you're in another country they will convert that to local currency for you.
It's so exciting to see the birth of a new business model. Especially when it's mine.
Read the whole story here...

This was seized 4 u at zdnet's open source blog

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Buy 'Ou Wee!' - Enjoy Radi8's 'Injection'

If you dont know our finish friends you can start now by optaining the "Ou Wee! 12"/CDEP" at your local record dealer or online shop. It includes a remastered version of the 22 Pistepirkko debut 7" in English. It was originally released in 1986 and has no need to stay a collectors item! ;-) (The B-side features the first recordings by The Others a.k.a. 22PP. The Others are 22 Pistepirkko's garage rock alter ego who play covers of personal favourites. The style is primitive and wild with vintage R&R; sound. Here they cover 3 Link Wray tunes. Your can read more at

I have started to digitalize the old Radi8 material. You will be able to download the whole stuff at Google, meanwhile I wanted to post this first 'single shot video' of 'Injection':

Dolphins communicate like humans by calling each other by name?

The mammals are able to recognise themselves and other members of the same species as individuals with separate identities. St Andrews University researchers studying in Florida discovered bottlenose dolphins used names rather than sound to identify each other.
Dr Vincent Janik, of the Sea Mammal Unit at St Andrews University, said they conducted the research on wild dolphins.
The three-year-study was funded by the Royal Society of London. He said: "We captured wild dolphins using nets when they came near the shore. "Then in the shallow water we recorded their whistles before synthesising them on a computer so that we had a computer voice of a dolphin. "Then we played it back to the dolphins and we found they responded. This showed us that the dolphins know each other's signature whistle instead of just the voice.
"I think it is a very exciting discovery because it means that these animals have evolved the same abilities as humans. "Now we know they have labels for each other like we do." The findings are published in the US journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
This was seized 4 u at BBC

Monday, May 08, 2006

Devo Is Dead. Long Live Devo.

Suddenly, '80s cult figure Mark Mothersbaugh is everywhere, from movie scores to TV ads to a next-gen album produced by a little outfit called Disney.
by Robert Levine
It's the final night of Devo's latest reunion tour, and keyboardist Mark Mothersbaugh and his bandmates are jumping around the stage in identical yellow radiation suits and crimson flowerpot headgear. One of the weirdest groups to rise from the ashes of punk rock, Devo racked up one major hit - the MTV smash "Whip It" - in 1980 and has performed sporadically in the 15 years since its last proper album. But to the audience at the LA-area Canyon Club, the band is as relevant as ever. "How many of you believe devolution is real?" bellows singer Gerald Casale as the quintet prepares to launch into another song. "It's certainly more believable than intelligent design!"

Devo was always as much an art project as a rock band, and devolution was its core concept: the notion that society is becoming less, rather than more, intelligent. The group, which started out in Akron, Ohio, backed up this proposition with pseudoscientific explanations, including mutation, nuclear radiation, and the legacy of mankind's origins in the cannibalistic brain-eating rituals of prehistoric apes. These tales gave the band's albums and videos a satirical edge. But they were also an outlandish way to make sense of the political and cultural chaos Mothersbaugh and Casale saw as students at Kent State University, where National Guardsmen killed four student protestors in 1970. "We wanted to describe what was going on around us, and it wasn't evolution," he says.

Today, the attitude of ironic subversion the group pioneered pervades the cultural landscape, from U2's PopMart tour to the icon-obsessed art of Takashi Murakami. Mutants, malformed and misunderstood, populate blockbuster movies like X-Men. The presentation of rock bands as faceless brands, which Devo lampooned in its costumes and robotic sound, has reached its commercial apex in the cartoon hip hop ensemble the Gorillaz.

This was seized 4 u at Wired

Cracking China's Great Firewall (Revenge of the nerds)

Three computer geeks at the U of T are renowned developers of anti-censorship software, including a program out this month that could allow people to outwit the world's most repressive regimes. Looking at them you might not guess it. But deep in a basement room on the University of Toronto campus, three unassuming computer hackers with messy hair and wrinkled T-shirts are working to tear down China's "Great Firewall," the most sophisticated Internet censorship system in the world. They are self-confessed computer "geeks." They don't go to the gym much, or see much sunlight. They talk about "routers" and "nodes" and "secure socket layers" like they were saying, "Hello," or "How are you?" But the computer smarts of Ron Deibert, Nart Villeneuve, and Michael Hull, combined with their passion for politics and free expression, have led them to develop a highly anticipated software program that allows Internet users inside China and other countries, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Burma, to get around repressive censorship and not get caught. Their innovation is called Psiphon, and it's being launched at the end of this month. "It's enormous," says Deibert, 41, a nerd-meets-aging-punker kind of guy who directs the Citizen Lab at the U of T's Munk Centre for International Studies, where the trio work. "If it works the way we hope it does and is distributed worldwide, it will have a huge impact on freedom of speech." Others watching Psiphon's progress agree. "We've been trying to circumvent both the firewalls and the censorship surveillance," says Sharon Hom, executive director of New York-based Human Rights in China. "So it's something we are very, very interested in." Psiphon takes the concept of a third-party computer doing the work yours can't because of censorship, and protects it by relying on trusted friends and close family, to create a program the creators say is nearly fail-safe. The program is needed more than ever, as the number of countries that censor or filter the Internet continues to grow. China alone has reportedly spent hundreds of millions of dollars on its Great Firewall, as it's known outside the country. Thousands of people stand guard on it. China blocks countless websites, from ones featuring porn to those devoted to Falun Gong, a spiritual movement banned in China. Anything on human rights is off-limits. Same for democracy. Late last month, the wildly popular website Technorati, which searches the Internet for blogs, or personal Web journals, vanished in China despite the fact that the country has one of the fastest growing blogospheres in the world. A spokesperson for the San Francisco-based Technorati told the Star it wasn't clear how or why the site was blocked. So the Citizen Lab taking on powerful censors such as China is a lot like David going into battle with Goliath. "It's a huge uphill battle," Deibert concurs. "The trajectory in terms of global politics is toward greater state control (of the Internet). I see closure everywhere." What does Villeneuve, 31, who spawned the idea of Psiphon, think about challenging the likes of China? He puts down his Che Guevara mug and thinks for a moment. He shrugs his shoulders and smirks: "It just seems like the right thing to do." Read the whole story here and read more about Psiphon here.
This was seized 4 u at The Toronto Star

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The best VOIP service worldwide

I have been written stories about different VOIP services with different conclusions. The undisputed world leader in counting members, Skype was followed by the way cheaper Yahoo, but "alternative" services like Wengo and Talqer do also have their advantages.
The best VOIP service at the moment is VoipBuster. It is similary to the services mentioned above. You can download that messenger kind of thing and call for free to other members etc. This one is also SIP compliant which enables you to use any phone and very important: It does also work with your computer turned off (unlike Skype, Yahoo and Talqer/Gtalk). VoipBuster provides you with a landline phone numer (call in number) from various countries for free on top of that.
VoipBuster is of course much cheaper then Skype and also cheaper (or the same price) then the other competitors for all destinations. It is up to 100% cheaper then the rest of the pack. Yes, thats right 100%, because 43 countries can be called for free as long as you have registered and have a positive balance on your account. If you dont have any money on your account you will still be able to call these 43 destinations for free but your call will be disconnected after 1 minute. Another limitation is that a maximum of 20hrs per month of free calls is allowed (and that unused free minutes cannot be taken to the following month).
Now I have got a free lanline phone number, my calls to France, Denmark & Canada are for free, for calls to the USA, Germany and the UK it costs only 1 c/min (same as Yahoo - 40% cheaper than Skype). The sound quality is top because it complies to SIP standarts and is not dependend on the pc. This makes that the prime VOIP service at the moment.
We'll update our information about interesting developements in VOIP - so stay tuned...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Will your first personal robot be made in China?

China has manufactured its first "personal robot" that can provide services at home and, among other skills, log on to the Internet and tell its owners the news and weather, Xinhua news agency said Friday.
Liangliang, standing at about 80 cm (nearly three feet), is able to walk and navigate obstacles at ease, as well as perform tasks as instructed by humans.

Its developer, the Shenyang-based Xinsong Automation Co., affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the robot cold "provide services of education, entertainment and security" and act as a personal assistant, Xinhua said.

"In the presentation debut, a staffer sent a mobile phone short message to the robot inquiring about the situations at home and, in two minutes, Liangliang replied with a message: temperature 22 degrees Celsius and everything normal at home," Xinhua said.

Liangliang, in Chinese, is a duplication of the character for "shining" and "bright."

This was seized 4 u at Reuters

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Bean (or who loves Cloud Gate?)

The surreal sculpture Cloud Gate, Anish Kapoor's artwork in Chicago's Millennium Park has caused quite a stir and the media are pissing off Kapoor by nicknaming it "The Bean." The Reseize Team's point of view is quite simple: Its wonderful!

Read more about Cloud Gate on the Millenium Park homepage.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ozone layer: the sequel

The ozone layer will make a comeback, but not in the form we know. That's the idea that has emerged from a new analysis of the recovery of the ozone layer, which was damaged by the large-scale release into the atmosphere of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from aerosols and refrigerants. While the layer may recover by around 2050, its composition will probably be subtly different to its form before 1980, when CFCs were banned under the Montreal protocol. Its new form might affect how much it can protect us from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
"The big news is that the Montreal protocol seems to be working," says Betsy Weatherhead of the University of Colorado in Boulder, whose analysis with Bech Andersen of the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen appears in Nature (vol 441, p 39). The precise make-up of the revitalised ozone layer, especially the vertical distribution of ozone, will depend on three variables: global warming, patterns of air circulation and concentrations of non-CFC gases such as nitrous oxide, which also damages ozone.
This was seized 4 u at New Scientist

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Bad In Email (or Why We Need Collaboration Software)

The guys over at Central Desktop Blog have an interesting article on the shortcomings of e-mail as a colloborative tool. From the article:
"The single worst trait of email is that it’s silo’ed. [Email] traps information into personalized, unsharable, unsearchable vacuums where no one else can access it - the Email Inbox. Think of your Email Inbox as a heavily fortified walled garden. Not mentioning the difficulties many have accessing their Email Inbox outside the corporate firewall, the Email Inbox contains a hodgepodge of business, personal and private information that most people do not want to share with others."
Sounds like these guys have been peeking into my inbox(es)! Seriously, though... I think a lot of us agree with many if not all of these points. In fact, I would like to add a couple more points to his list... Email is not a file system, nor is it a file sharing system. I think it is time for someone to develop a desktop (or suite of desktop) tools that really reflects the average user's usage habits. To mangle a very old metaphor: "Email has become the duct tape of the groupware/office application suite."
Read on...
This was respectfully seized 4 u at Central Desktop Blog

BabyBot takes first steps

BabyBot, a robot modelled on the torso of a two year-old child, is helping researchers take the first, tottering steps towards understanding human perception, and could lead to the development of machines that can perceive and interact with their environment. The researchers used BabyBot to test a model of the human sense of 'presence', a combination of senses like sight, hearing and touch. The work could have enormous applications in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine perception. The research is being funded under the European Commission’s FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) initiative of the IST programme, as part of the ADAPT project. "Our sense of presence is essentially our consciousness," says Giorgio Metta, Assistant Professor at the Laboratory for Integrated Advanced Robotics at Italy's Genoa University and ADAPT project coordinator. Imagine a glorious day lying on a beach, drinking a pina colada, or any powerful, pleasurable memory. A series of specific sensory inputs are essential to the memory. In the human mind all these sensations combine powerfully to create the total experience. It profoundly influences our future expectations, and each time we go to a beach we add to the store of contexts, situations and conditions. It is the combination of all these inputs and their cumulative power that the ADAPT researchers sought to explore.
"We took an engineering approach to the problem, it was really consciousness for engineers," says Metta, "Which means we first developed a model and then we sought to test this model by, in this case, developing a robot to conform to it."
The team used BabyBot to test it, providing a minimal set of instructions, just enough for BabyBot to act on the environment. For the senses, the team used sound, vision and touch, and focused on simple objects within the environment. There were two experiments, one where BabyBot could touch an object and second one where it could grasp the object. This is more difficult than it sounds. If you look at a scene, you unconsciously segment the scene into separate elements. This is a highly developed skill, but by simply interacting with the environment the BabyBot did its engineering parents proud when it demonstrated that it could learn to successfully separate objects from the background. Once the visual scene was segmented, the robot could start learning about specific properties of objects useful, for instance, to grasp them. Grasping opens a wider world to the robot and to young infants too.
The work was successful, but it was a very early proof-of-principle for their approach. The sense of presence, or consciousness, is a huge problem and ADAPT did not seek to solve it in one project. They made a very promising start and many of the partners will take part in a new IST project, called ROBOTCUB. In ROBOTCUB the engineers will refine their robot so that can see, hear and touch its environment. Eventually it will be able to crawl, too. "Ultimately, this work will have a huge range of applications, from virtual reality, robotics and AI, to psychology and the development of robots as tools for neuro-scientific research," concludes Metta.
This was seized 4 u at Information Society Technologies

Monday, May 01, 2006

I have a pyramid in my backyard (the great pyramid of Bosnia)

There is a new sign hanging above Visoko's shabby hotel. Guests now stay at the Pyramid of the Sun. Across the road at the local restaurant the hungry tuck into pyramid pizza. It is served, of course, on triangular wooden platters. And for those who have yet to get the point, the market sells home-made brandy - in pyramid-shaped bottles.
Up until a few weeks ago, most Bosniaks would have been hard placed to locate Visoko on the map; it was "somewhere outside Sarajevo". No more. It is now home to Europe's only pyramid, or at least that is what one Bosnian archaeologist would have us believe. Whether the 45-year-old Semir Osmanagic is right or not, he has certainly started a craze. At the petrol station heading north out of Sarajevo there is pyramid fever as well as petrol fumes in the air. There was no fooling the pump attendant. "Oh, you're going to see the pyramid," he said. "Visoko is famous now. You can't miss it, it's above the town." He was right. Visoko sits in the brooding shadow of Visocica hill, towering 625m over this previously anonymous hamlet. Osmanagic - whose main qualification is a decade and a half spent studying the pyramids of Latin America - is convinced that sitting underneath the hill is a giant step pyramid, which would be the first found in Europe. He thinks it is 235m high, one-third taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. At the market, the traditional focal point of any small Balkan town, there are predictably few pyramid sceptics. T-shirts with the imaginary pyramid are sold in the streets. Esref Fatic, 45, the owner of a souvenir shop, is ready to herald the dawn of a golden age.
"The good times are finally arriving," he said surrounded by handmade wooden clocks with a pyramid hastily carved behind the word "Visoko". Fatic firmly believes "something will be found under the hill". "Any kind of discovery means a lot after so many years of nothing." He pointed at key chains with pyramids and traditional Bosnian slippers, now with pyramid designs. "People will come and spend money - that will mean our youth has something to do."
Excitement reached a fever pitch in late April when researchers unearthed geometrically cut stone slabs from the hillside that they claim formed part of the slope of the pyramid. For Osmanagic it was vindication. "I'm certain that there is a colossal artificial object under that hill," he said. "I came to the idea that the mounds around Visoko hide the old, man-made pyramids last summer. All the satellite images, thermal and radar [scans] so far have shown there are man-made structures under the hill." After studying the pyramids in Peru and Mexico for 15 years, he could not "mistake the regular geometrical structure" of the hills around Visoko.
On the slopes of the hill, renamed the "Pyramid of Sun Plateau" by Osmanagic, dozens of volunteers have dug up rectangular shaped sandstone plates. They are on display for the thousands who have descended on the site in the past few weeks. He thinks there are Moon and Dragon pyramids as well, under two nearby hills. "Nature does not make such shapes - they have to be man-made."
So far, 10 teams are digging in the shafts at several spots on the slopes to see if they will run into stone blocks. The work will last nearly seven months. Experts from Egypt are expected to join them within weeks. Surveys show that Visocica hill has 340m-long sides, forming triangles of 60 degrees on each of its four slopes. The tips of the three form a 60-degrees regular triangle of their own. "That is the so-called sacral geometry of all ancient pyramids," Osmanagic said, who believes the pyramid was made along Latin American lines, with a few key differences.
"This pyramid combines the method of Egyptian and Mexican pyramids. We have yet to establish if this is the mother of all the pyramids." But he is a good deal more evasive when it comes to dating his findings. "We have yet to find any organic remains, bones, wood or coal," Osmanagic said. "The analysis would help us establish the structure's age." When it comes to origins of the material, he becomes even more evasive. "It was transported by men, but we have not established yet where from. Some quarries exist near the Neretva River [in Herzegovina]".
To confirm the theory of a "Valley of Pyramids", as Osmanagic calls the area around Visoko, he speaks of tunnels that connect the three structures. Unlike at the "Pyramid of Sun" site, professional miners have set to work examining the 3.8km of tunnels. "The tunnels meet at 90 degree junctions and contain oxygen, no carbon monoxide or methane and at each 30 metres or so, one feels the breeze of fresh air," Osmanagic claimed. He says the first archaeological artefact to have been found in the tunnels is "the big monolithic plate, weighing seven to eight tonnes, with angles of 90 degrees". "We are facing the slow systematic task that will provide answers to all questions that are posed now."
Not everyone is happy about the goings on in Visoko. Osmanagic has been criticised by the elite corps of Sarajevo's archaeologists and historians. They called the relevant institutions in Bosnia to stop what they described as "travesty of science". Experts say there is no scientific basis for his claims, and accuse him of digging up an area "known for medieval importance, studied by scientists who wrote papers on their findings". Visoko was the medieval capital of Bosnia, and had a fortress on the top of Visocica hill. That fortress had been built on a Roman observation post, which was built on ancient ruins. Senad Hadovic, head of the local museum for the past 18 years, is unhappy at years of neglect but remains wary of the newcomer. "All the archaeological sites in Visoko were neglected for decades. We need systematic research on what has historically been proven. "Archaeologists have collected 23,000 Neolithic items in their diggings last year, but no one finds that important. The only thing I don't mind [about the pyramid search] is the positive boost it might give to Visoko."
Along the steep, narrow, 3km road to the excavation, families climb to the top to see "the new miracle", as 32-year old Sead Simko put it. Despite the heat and lack of shade, pensioners haul plastic bags with water and food. "I made some sirnica [cheese-pie] for those kids up there" said Fatmira Mujovic, 62, a native of Visoko. "We always knew something was under Visocica hill; let it be the pyramid." Ordinary people seem not to care much about academic disputes. In a garden of one small house in Visoko, young men were busy with a printing machine for T-shirts. The inscription will be "I have a pyramid in my backyard", they said.
This was seized 4 u at The New Zealand Herald

'Places' cut from Firefox 2

The new bookmark and history system, Places, originally scheduled for inclusion in Firefox 2 will be disabled in official builds. First seen by Firefox users in the Bon Echo alpha build last month, the new bookmark and history system would have been the single most significant change between Firefox 1.5 and Firefox 2.0: "As we have been preparing for the FF2 Alpha2 on May 9 it has become increasingly clear that we do not have time to complete an implementation of places that lives up to our standards of user experience and quality. Places is a complex and exciting feature which changes the way people use bookmarks, history, and navigate through their private space of the web. Rather than rush it to market - we'd prefer to spend the time it takes to get it right. Thus, we are going to disable Places on the 1.8 branch and continue work on the feature on the trunk for inclusion on a future release. This is a difficult decision - but doing it this early in the release cycle gives us the time to focus on delivering an extremely high quality FF2 in Q3 and gives Places the room it needs to develop into a truly innovative feature." Numerous users and developers have expressed disappointment with the removal of the new bookmark and history system, and some say that the upcoming release no longer justifies a 2.0 version number.
To get more information on this topic visit Inside Firefox, & Arstechnica