Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Los Angeles Times points to an interesting study ranking the cities in California which have the most rooftop solar installations and generate the most solar energy. But it’s not Los Angeles.
Actually, San Diego leads all California cities in solar rooftops. Last year, the city had 4,507 solar power installations. The city also lead all other cities in overall solar energy generation, producing almost 36.7 megawatts. To put the number in context, it’s enough power to rank the city in the top 25 of nations in the world for solar energy production — more solar capacity than the entire nation of Mexico.
Los Angeles wasn’t far behind with 4,018 installations producing about 36.2 megawatts of solar energy.
The study notes that 10 years ago solar rooftops were a rarity in the state’s cities. But in the past two years alone the solar industry has installed 5,000 kilowatts of solar in each of 10 California cities.
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Monday, January 30, 2012

International health scandal

Breast augmentation: Late-generation models of...
Image via Wikipedia
-Claude Mas, whose breast implant firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) has sparked an international health scandal by using substandard silicon, was arrested and could be charged with manslaughter, a French police source told Reuters.
Mas was arrested at around 7am (7pm NZT) at his home in southern France and police searched the premises.
He will be held for 48 hours while investigators decide whether to charge him with involuntary manslaughter and causing injury.
A second PIP executive, Claude Couty, was also arrested under an investigation opened in the southern port city of Marseille, close to PIP's former premises, on December 8.
Mas, who sold some 300,000 implants around the world, recently spoke out for the first time since the scandal erupted in December, acknowledging that he had used unapproved silicon and scoffing at the idea that it constituted a health risk.
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Symantec advises to stop using pcanywhere

Image representing Symantec as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
Symantec Corp took the rare step of advising customers to stop using one of its products, saying its pcAnywhere software for accessing remote PCs is at increased risk of getting hacked after blueprints of that software were stolen.
The announcement is the company's most direct acknowledgement to date that a 2006 theft of its source code put customers at risk of attack.
Symantec said it was only asking customers to temporarily stop using the product, until it releases an update to the software that will mitigate the risk of an attack.
It acknowledged that some customers would need to continue using the software for "business critical purposes," saying they should make sure they were using the most recent version of the product and "understand the current risks," which include the possibility that hackers could steal data or credentials.
Still, it is highly unusual for a software maker to advise customers to disable a product completely while engineers develop an update to fix bugs. Companies typically recommend mitigating factors that will reduce the risk of an attack.
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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Japanese solar power owner sold 50% more power to utilities

Solar powered tea
Image by Nick . Brooks via Flickr
Japanese small solar panel owners - householders and small businesses - sold 50 percent more power to utilities last year than in 2010, Reuters calculations based on an official data showed on Wednesday.
Japan is overhauling its energy policy after the Fukushima crisis shattered public confidence in the safety of atomic power, and is set to introduce a new subsidy scheme which covers a wider range of renewable energy power developers to support the budding market for domestically produced power.
Owners sold a total 2,150 gigawatt hours to power utilities last year, helped by the government scheme.
The data showed Japan's 10 regional power companies spent a total 96 billion yen ($1.2 billion) for surplus solar power from house owners and small businesses last year via a feed-in tariff scheme, which requires them to buy such power.
Last year's purchase volume is equivalent to 0.24 percent of sales from the power companies of some 884,000 gigawatt hours a year on average in the three years to March 2011.
In calendar 2010, power companies bought 1,400 gigawatt hours of such surplus solar power via the same scheme.
When a full-fledged scheme applying any electricity from solar, wind, small hydro, biomass and geothermal power plants is launched in July, the existing one will remain but cover surplus power from solar panel owners of up to 10 kilowatts only
Currently, regional power firms pay 48 yen per kilowatt hour for surplus electricity from solar panel owners of less than 10 kilowatts and 24 yen for surplus power from owners of 10 to 500 kilowatts, and allowed to add on the extra costs to all users in the same region evenly.
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Friday, January 27, 2012

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Anonymous has a new tool in its arsenal

Anonymous has a new tool in its arsenal that transforms casual Web surfers into unwitting participants in a distributed denial of service attack, according to security experts. The loosely-knit group of activist hackers has embedded JavaScript into specially crafted Websites to redirect site visitors to the targeted site, Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, wrote on the Naked Security blog Jan. 20. The page repeatedly attempts to access the target Website for the entire time the browser window is open, which only adds adding to the traffic bombardment. Anonymous distributed links to these specially crafted Web pages via its Twitter feed which was re-tweeted widely, and links also popped up on Internet Relay Chat rooms, Facebook, Tumblr and other social networking sites. Some of the links led to PasteHTML.com, a site that looks a little like the popular text-sharing site Pastebin frequently used by Anonymous to issue statements. A variation of this method allowed users to type in the IP address of target Web servers before the JavaScript code began executing. Most of the links were obscured using URL shortening services such as bit.ly. Several Anonymous Twitter accounts have thousands of followers, and some gained "hundreds of thousands of new fans overnight" during the course of the campaign, according to Cluley. The new method appears to have helped knock Universal Music and other sites offline during last week's MegaUpload-revenge attacks. "If you visit the Webpage, and do not have JavaScript disabled, you will instantly, without user interaction, begin to flood a Website of Anonymous's choice with unwanted traffic, helping to perpetuate a DDoS attack," Cluley said. Internet users who have disabled JavaScript on their browser would not have been caught in this trick. However, considering how many Websites require JavaScript to do the simplest tasks nowadays, most people have the scripting language enabled. This is yet another reminder to be careful about clicking on links online. URL shorteners make it really hard to tell where the link originated from or its intended purpose. Even if a friend posted the link on the social network, if the original source is Anonymous, it may not be that safe. "Don't forget, denial-of-service attacks are illegal. If you participate in such an attack you could find yourself receiving a lengthy jail sentences," Cluley warned.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Twitter more than social

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
Twitter is much more than a social network and has no time to waste worrying about newcomers like Google+ as it becomes more important as an information service and builds its advertising business, co-founder Jack Dorsey said on Sunday.
"We have a lot to concern ourselves with, just building Twitter," Dorsey said when asked at a technology conference whether he was worried that Google's own fledgling social network would come after Twitter.

"Social is just one part of what we do. We think of it as an information utility," he said, describing Twitter as a personal news service as much as a social network.

"You don't have to tweet at all," he told the DLD conference in the German city of Munich. "The biggest value is finding out what's happening in your world in real time."

Twitter, which lets people send 140-character messages, or tweets, to groups of followers, has more than 100 million active users.

Investors are eagerly awaiting a market float that could value the company at around $8 billion.

Skeptics contend that the site has not yet proved it can make money. But Dorsey, who is the company's executive chairman, said advertisers were proving willing to pay to promote their tweets, accounts and trends.

"Our business model has been in development for quite some time, and it works," he said.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stop Online Piracy and Protect IP acts

The controversial Stop Online Piracy and Protect IP acts have been temporarily shelved as congressional lawmakers figure out their next move.
The Senate will postpone the vote on PIPA that was originally scheduled for Jan. 24, House Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Jan. 20. He made the decision after weeks of intense lobbying by technology companies and industry associations opposed to the bill, which culminated in a one-day Internet strike led by online site Wikipedia. Google collected over 4 million signatures on its petition protesting the bill.
The House Judiciary Committee will postpone markup on SOPA and "revisit the approach" on how to stop online piracy, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the committee's chairman and lead sponsor of the bill, said in a statement shortly after Reid's announcement.
"I have heard from the critics, and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy," Smith said.
Congress will work with copyright owners and Internet companies to develop a consensus on the best approach to stopping piracy on the Web, Smith said. The bills themselves are not dead, as there is still a possibility lawmakers will move ahead after making some modifications.

Monday, January 23, 2012

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

White House officials raised concerns on Saturday about online piracy legislation pending

English: President Barack Obama greets his new...
Image via Wikipedia
White House officials raised concerns on Saturday about online piracy legislation pending in Congress that Google and Facebook have decried as heavy-handed and Hollywood studios and music labels say is needed to save U.S. jobs.
In a blog posting, three advisers to President Barack Obama said they believed the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and other bills could make businesses on the Internet vulnerable to litigation and harm legal activity and free speech.
"Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small," said the officials, including White House cyber-security czar Howard Schmidt.
The House of Representatives' SOPA bill aims to crack down on online sales of pirated American movies, music or other goods by forcing Internet companies to block access to foreign sites offering material that violates U.S. copyright laws.
U.S. advertising networks could also be required to stop online ads and search engines would be barred from directly linking to websites found to be distributing pirated goods.
The search engine Google has repeatedly said the bill goes too far and could hurt investment. Along with other Internet firms such as Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter and eBay, it has run advertisements in major newspapers urging Washington lawmakers to rethink their approach.
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Friday, January 20, 2012

It is getting better all the time

IT's getting better all the time.
Phase II of Sir Paul McCartney's evolving personal cloud archive and CRM system, designed and built by Hewlett-Packard's cloud group, launched on Jan. 12, showcasing what IT now can provide in a cloud service.
Paul McCartney
Image by darioferrini via Flickr
The new portal contains most of McCartney's newly digitized collected assets from a half-century of trotting the globe and impressing millions of people with his singular composing and performing talents.
During the last 18 months, HP has digitized a hefty portion of the 1 million-plus assets in McCartney's vast library, one that Sir Paul himself described as something similar to the Library of Congress. "You could get lost in there," he said.
McCartney has been one of the world's most-renowned entertainment content creators for two generations. Like most people, his personal collection has been stored all these years on old-school media that's considered at risk. Not anymore, however.
Archiving the Long and Winding Road
The former Beatle has been an archivist since long before "Yeah Yeah Yeah" was a pop music statement. Virtually all of his personal content -- home movies, concert videos, photographs, awards, documents, released and unreleased music, paintings and numerous other items -- are now stored in perpetuity on the new private cloud system designed, built and maintained by HP.
The free-to-the-public version of PaulMcCartney.com offers news about his upcoming appearances, blogs and articles from various media sources, and links to all his post-Beatles music and concert footage, but only in brief swatches. For a $50 fee, users can become premium members and have full access to everything, including every song and concert video stored on the site.
"The new Website is really going to be fascinating. It has a lot of ideas that haven't been done before," McCartney says in an introductory video on the site. "Essentially, it's a great service for the fans -- if anybody wants to look up what I'm doing. So the idea is to intrigue people and bring them into our world ... It's all the stuff we can give that nobody else can give.
"So it's totally fab -- and fascinating!"
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thousands of Bulgarians protest fracking

Thousands of Bulgarians protested throughout the Balkan country on Saturday against exploration for shale gas, worried it would poison underground waters, trigger earthquakes and pose serious public health hazards.
Protesters rallied in more than six major Bulgarian cities calling for a moratorium on shale gas tests through hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and demanding a new law to ban unconventional drilling for gas in the southeastern European country.
"I am opposed because we do not know what chemicals they will put in the ground. Once they poison the water, what shall we drink?" said Olga Petrova, 24, a student who attended a protest in Sofia.
In June, the centre-right government granted a license to U.S. energy major Chevron to test for shale gas in northeastern Bulgaria, with the hope that it could reduce the country's almost complete dependence on gas imports from Russia's Gazprom.
Shale gas is natural gas locked in rock formations that in the past decade has been found in abundance around the world and is considered a major source of future energy, but its drilling method has raised environmental concerns globally.
Fracking involves injecting water mixed with sand and chemicals into shale formations at high pressures to extract fuel. Critics worry that fracking fluids might get into groundwater-holding aquifers and contaminate them.
The possibility for shale gas wells in the Dobrudzha region, Bulgaria's main grain producer, is stirring growing opposition by environmentalists who want to safeguard drinking water and land.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The world's technology showcase

Image representing Foundry Group as depicted i...
Image via CrunchBase
Former NFL player Jeremy Bloom anxiously scanned the crowd at a taco party under the luminous faux-sky of the Venetian hotel's canal walk in Las Vegas. The wide receiver turned entrepreneur wasn't hoping to spot friends or catch a waiter's attention -- he was on the lookout for venture capitalists.
Bloom, also a former Olympic skier, flew in from Denver, blew through four meetings, then landed at the party hosted by venture capital firm Foundry Group -- par for the course on the sidelines of the Computer Electronics Show earlier this week, where venture capitalists and cash-hungry startups held marathon meetings to seal potentially game-changing deals.
The 29-year-old was looking for financial backing for his advertising startup, Integrate.com, which already has raised $4.25 million.
CES is "a collection of some of the most important decision makers in the venture world. It would otherwise be virtually impossible to coordinate all those schedules, to get time with them, to meet with them and do deals," Bloom said.
The world's technology showcase has long been a vibrant meeting place for industry executives, consultants, fund managers, analysts and bloggers. But in the past five years, entrepreneurs, and the venture capitalists they depend on have joined the club.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

FTC probe of Google to include company's new search

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase
The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly expanding its antitrust probe of Google to include the company's new Search, plus your world social search feature, an effort to make users' results more personal.
Bloomberg and Reuters both said Jan. 13 the FTC is looking into the matter because it is concerned Google is providing preference to Google+ over Web services from others, breaking its promise to provide unbiased search results.
Search plus your world injects posts and pictures from users' Google+ accounts into their search results. It also makes users' Google+ contacts and relevant Google+ Pages more readily searchable.
However, the service eschews such content from Facebook and Twitter, two of the world's leading social services that users have come to expect content from on search engines. Google's failure to treat third-party sources equal to Google+ in search results drew complaints from media, Twitter and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).
EPIC Jan. 12 complained to the FTC that Google is skewering user privacy and antitrust rules just to keep up with Facebook.
The FTC appears to be listening to the Internet's concerns, which echo complaints brought to bear by senators who complained that Google was ranking its own products higher than those of Yelp, Expedia and others in its search results.
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Monday, January 16, 2012

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Microsoft TV on hold

Microsoft Corp has put its talks with media companies about an online subscription service for TV shows and movies on hold, according to people familiar with the discussions.
The technology giant had been in intense talks with potential programming partners for over a year and was hoping to roll out the service in the next few months. But it pulled back after deciding that the licensing costs were too high for the business model Microsoft envisaged, according to these people.

"They built Microsoft TV, they demoed it for us, they asked for rate cards but then said 'ooh ah, that's expensive,'" said one senior media executive who had been involved in the talks.

A representative for Microsoft declined to comment.

Early versions of Microsoft's TV service included a range of advanced features such as being able to change channels with voice and motion control.

Similar to Netflix Inc, Microsoft's service also would have allowed users the option of paying a monthly fee for a package of programming from someone other than a local cable or satellite TV company. But unlike Netflix, Microsoft had hoped to offer current shows and live networks on its service, which made it a much higher cost proposition.

Microsoft is still working closely with the TV business to distribute shows over the Web, but rather than playing a role in helping consumers replace their cable TV packages it is focusing on delivering programming via its Xbox gaming system to existing cable subscribers.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Shares of Google Inc fell nearly 4 percent on Monday

Google 的貼牌冰箱(Google refrigerator)
Image by Aray Chen via Flickr
Shares of Google Inc fell nearly 4 percent on Monday, after Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc's warning of worse-than-expected financial results raised concerns about Google's pending acquisition of the smartphone maker.
The $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola, the largest in Google's history, is expected to close early this year.
Motorola's weak results "may suggest further deterioration in the business since the acquisition was announced, and they highlight the uphill battle for Motorola" in the competitive smartphone market, JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth wrote in a note to investors on Sunday.
The weak financial results could also serve as a reminder to investors about the operational challenges that Google will face as it enters the hardware market, and of "clouded optics surrounding an overall slower growth, lower margin Google once the deal closes," Anmuth wrote.
Google, the world's dominant Internet search engine, has become the No. 1 provider of smartphone software with its freely distributed Android operating System used by handset vendors including Samsung, HTC and Motorola.
By acquiring Motorola, Google will be able to develop its own line of smartphones with tightly integrated hardware and software, as it competes against iPhone.
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

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Lake Massawippi Lodge

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

counter-productive Berthing Tax

Tax
Image by 401K via Flickr

Italy Considers Berthing Tax to Help Debt Crisis


We understand the need to fix the debt crisis in Italy, but it seems counter-productive to make it cost prohibitive for people who want to visit and contribute to the existing economy.

As part of its attempt to get to grips with it debt crisis, Italy’s government has proposed the introduction of a new Berthing Tax. Under the scheme — which would begin in May 2012 — all craft over 16ft would be taxed on a daily basis if they decide to moor up inside a harbor — or anchor off outside a harbor.
Those over 78ft would be taxed at a rate of $116 per day ($42,500 per year), while craft in excess of 177ft would have to pay $246,000 per year.
All superyachts in excess of 210ft would need to pay $332,000 per year.
Sailing yachts and all yachts in dry dock would receive a 50 percent discount, and there is some respite for older boats.
Those over five years old would get a 15 percent discount, those over 10 years a 30 percent discount, and veterans of 15 years or older would receive a 45 percent discount.
This proposal is part of Decreto Legge 6 Dicembre 2011 n. 201 — a draft statute currently under discussion before parliament.
Courtesy of www.ibinews.com.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Patch Tuesday

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase
Microsoft plans to ship seven patches closing security holes in the Windows operating system and Microsoft developer tools and software in its first Patch Tuesday release of 2012.
The company fixed vulnerabilities in all versions of the Windows operating system, including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, according to Microsoft's advance notification announcement released Jan. 5. Only one of the seven bulletins is rated "critical," and the remaining ones are rated "important." The critical bulletin, which fixes a remote code execution issue in Media Player, can be downgraded to "important" for Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 users, according to the advisory.
Microsoft is expected to release the updates for January's Patch Tuesday on Jan. 10.
Six of the bulletins fixed holes in various versions of Windows, and only one would cover Microsoft Developer Tools. "Windows 7 and 2008 R2 have less exposure" as two of the bulletins don't apply to them at all, according to Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys.
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Monday, January 09, 2012

Yahoo named PayPal President Scott Thompson

Image representing PayPal as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase
Yahoo named PayPal President Scott Thompson as its chief executive on Wednesday, hoping the well-regarded Internet technology and e-commerce expert will replicate his success at eBay Inc and turn around the struggling company.
Thompson, credited with driving growth at eBay's online payments division PayPal, joins Yahoo during a period of turmoil, as the company plows ahead with a strategic review in which discussions have included the possibility of being sold, taken private or broken up.
Shares of Yahoo were down about 2 percent in mid-morning trading, as Wall Street assessed how Thompson's hiring would affect the hopes of some investors that Yahoo would be sold or spin off its Asian assets, as well as how Thompson's background fits in with Yahoo's core online media business.
"It's a positive outcome, but not as positive as a sale of the company," said Lawrence Haverty, a fund manager with GAMCO investors, which owns Yahoo shares.
"The risk element is that his background was in payments. And this is not a payment company; it's a marketing, technology company," he said.
Thompson, a former Visa payments software platform designer, joins the company five months after the firing of previous CEO Carol Bartz as the one-time Web powerhouse Yahoo struggles to compete with newer heavyweights Google Inc and Facebook.
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Sunday, January 08, 2012

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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Research In Motion could dismiss Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie

Image representing Research In Motion as depic...
Image via CrunchBase
Research In Motion could dismiss Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie as co-chairmen of their company’s board, according to reports circulating widely online.
Barbara Stymiest is the figure being cited by Canadian publication the National Post as RIM’s potential next chairperson. The newspaper, which attributed that information to unnamed sources, described her as “an independent director who joined RIM’s board in 2007.”
Whether she ends up taking the reins of RIM’s board, analysts are already weighing in on whether she can help a company struggling to maintain its market share in the face of significant pressure from the likes of Google Android and Apple’s iPhone.
“We would view such an announcement positively as we believe she will initiate a formal strategic review, possibly trim costs in the hardware business, and possibly announce additional partnerships,” Peter Misek, an analyst with Jefferies & Co, wrote in a co-authored research note Jan. 4. “However, we continue to see an outright sale in the near-term as unlikely and see near-term results as challenged.”
Stymiest currently serves as group head of strategy, treasury and corporate services for the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). According to Misek, she “is also often cited as a successor to RBC’s current president and CEO, Gordon Nixon.” That could complicate her role at RIM, should she become chairperson.
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