Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
The 10-second clip of a woman singing Au Clair de la Lune, taken from a so-called phonautogram, was recently discovered by audio historian David Giovannoni."
Friday, March 28, 2008
How to Tell When Your Hard Drive is Going to Fail - Lifehack.org
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
for National Geographic News
You need some serious luck to find a 53-million-year-old rabbit's foot.
As it happens, Kenneth Rose was so fortunate—but it took him a few years to realize it.
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine anatomy professor unearthed curious bones in India several years ago.
He suspected they were important but could not identify them. So he stored them in a drawer until serendipity struck in spring 2007.
Easter Surprise: World's Oldest Rabbit Bones Found
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Perhaps encryption isn't so easy after all, and some people could use a little primer. This is how I protect my laptop.
There are several whole-disk encryption products on the market. I use PGP Disk's Whole Disk Encryption tool for two reasons. It's easy, and I trust both the company and the developers to write it securely. (Disclosure: I'm also on PGP Corp.'s Technical Advisory Board.)
Setup only takes a few minutes. After that, the program runs in the background. Everything works like before, and the performance degradation is negligible. Just make sure you choose a secure password -- PGP's encouragement of passphrases makes this much easier -- and you're secure against leaving your laptop in the airport or having it stolen out of your hotel room.
The reason you encrypt your entire disk, and not just key files, is so you don't have to worry about swap files, temp files, hibernation files, erased files, browser cookies or whatever. You don't need to enforce a complex policy about which files are important enough to be encrypted. And you have an easy answer to your boss or to the press if the computer is stolen: no problem; the laptop is encrypted.
PGP Disk can also encrypt external disks, which means you can also secure that USB memory device you've been using to transfer data from computer to computer. When I travel, I use a portable USB drive for backup. Those devices are getting physically smaller -- but larger in capacity -- every year, and by encrypting I don't have to worry about losing them.
I recommend one more complication. Whole-disk encryption means that anyone at your computer has access to everything: someone at your unattended computer, a Trojan that infected your computer and so on. To deal with these and similar threats I recommend a two-tier encryption strategy. Encrypt anything you don't need access to regularly -- archived documents, old e-mail, whatever -- separately, with a different password. I like to use PGP Disk's encrypted zip files, because it also makes secure backup easier (and lets you secure those files before you burn them on a DVD and mail them across the country), but you can also use the program's virtual-encrypted-disk feature to create a separately encrypted volume. Both options are easy to set up and use.
There are still two scenarios you aren't secure against, though. You're not secure against someone snatching your laptop out of your hands as you're typing away at the local coffee shop. And you're not secure against the authorities telling you to decrypt your data for them.
The latter threat is becoming more real. I have long been worried that someday, at a border crossing, a customs official will open my laptop and ask me to type in my password. Of course I could refuse, but the consequences might be severe -- and permanent. And some countries -- the United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia -- have passed laws giving police the authority to demand that you divulge your passwords and encryption keys.
To defend against both of these threats, minimize the amount of data on your laptop. Do you really need 10 years of old e-mails? Does everyone in the company really need to carry around the entire customer database? One of the most incredible things about the Revenue & Customs story is that a low-level government employee mailed a copy of the entire national child database to the National Audit Office in London. Did he have to? Doubtful. The best defense against data loss is to not have the data in the first place.
Failing that, you can try to convince the authorities that you don't have the encryption key. This works better if it's a zipped archive than the whole disk. You can argue that you're transporting the files for your boss, or that you forgot the key long ago. Make sure the time stamp on the files matches your claim, though.
There are other encryption programs out there. If you're a Windows Vista user, you might consider BitLocker. This program, embedded in the operating system, also encrypts the computer's entire drive. But it only works on the C: drive, so it won't help with external disks or USB tokens. And it can't be used to make encrypted zip files. But it's easy to use, and it's free.
How Does Bruce Schneier Protect His Laptop Data? With His Fists -- and PGP
Backup your GMAIL account!!
However, using a service like Gmail means you don't have a local backup of your e-mail like you would get if you were using a desktop client. Naturally, that doesn't mean you can't store backups of your e-mail on your local machine. It requires a bit of work to set up, but once you do, you'll be able to enjoy the goodness of Gmail's web interface worry-free.
This page is a wiki. Got extra advice? Log in and add it.
Other pages in this series need your help:
Make a Local Backup Of Your Gmail Account - Wired How-To Wiki
WinGuggle download and review - recover your Vista and Office CD keys from SnapFiles
IntroductionWithout any programming skills you can create web access to your database. You can build forms and display graphs with very little effort.
The Dataceptor can pull information from almost any ODBC compliant database and show the data on the web. This will enable you to quickly create Intranet, Extranet or Internet applications based on data that you already have.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
His writings are credited by many observers with giving science fiction - a genre often accused of veering towards the fantastical - a human and practical face.
A farmer's son, he was educated at Huish's Grammar School in Taunton before joining the civil service.
George Whitesides, the executive director of the National Space Society, on which Clarke served on the board of governors, paid tribute to Sir Arthur.
He told BBC News 24: "That particular enthusiasm of his was what I think made him so popular in many ways. "He was always thinking about what could come next but also about how life could be improved in the future. "
BBC NEWS UK Writer Arthur C Clarke dies at 90
March 18, 2008, 12:52 PM
In a major blow to the struggling satellite TV provider, a new EchoStar satellite destined to expand the HD lineup of Dish Network failed to reach proper orbit over the weekend. Meanwhile, the company asked a judge to rehear its patent dispute with TiVo.
HD is the new competitive battleground, as cable, satellite and IPTV operators vie to attract more customers by offering the most high-definition channels. Most companies, including Dish Network, are playing catch-up to DirecTV, which has over 90 HD channels.
BetaNews Dish Network satellite failure hurts HD rollout; TiVo suit reopened
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Speed Up Windows XP - Wired How-To Wiki
The Flores fossils appeared to come from a separate and previously unknown species of human -- one that stood 3 feet tall, made complex tools and died out just 13,000 years ago. The discoverers dubbed these newfound cousins Homo floresiensis, and a public enthralled by visions of diminutive Komodo-dragon hunters called them hobbits.
But other scientists said H. floresiensis was more wishful thinking than solid science, based on mismatched bones and just a single half-complete skeleton. The hobbits' supposedly unique features, said skeptics, were either common to local pygmies or -- as underscored by their unprecedented tiny brains -- a physical deformity.
The newly discovered Palau skeletons possess many H. floresiensis features, but have normal-sized brains -- and that, say skeptics, is further evidence that the hobbits were deformed local pygmies. Others call the findings shoddy and irrelevant. It's impossible to know which side is right, but at least one thing is clear: The controversy isn't about to end.
Were Fossil 'Hobbits' Just Little Humans?
PALENQUE, Mexico (AP) -- North American Indians assembled in the shadow of ancient Mayan pyramids Monday discussed how their tradition wisdom could help save the planet, and were told that even indigenous cultures have struggled with environmental abuse.
More than 200 leaders from 71 American Indian nations in Mexico, the United States and Canada came together in this Mexican jungle to find indigenous solutions to pollution and ecological problems threatening the planet.
"Our Mother Earth is being polluted at an alarming rate, and our elders say that she is dying," said Raymond Sensmeier, a Tlingit leader from Yakutat, Alaska. "The way the weather is around the world ... a cleansing is needed."
Wired News - AP News
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
In the late 19th century, the realization that electricity could be coaxed to light up a bulb prompted a mad dash to determine the best way to distribute it. At the head of the pack was inventor Nikola Tesla, who had a grand scheme to beam electricity around the world. Having difficulty imagining a vast infrastructure of wires extending into every city, building, and room, Tesla figured that wireless was the way to go. He drew up plans for a tower, about 57 meters tall, that he claimed would transmit power to points kilometers away, and even started to build one on Long Island. Though his team did some tests, funding ran out before the tower was completed. The promise of airborne power faded rapidly as the industrial world proved willing to wire up.
Then, a few years ago, Marin Soljačić, an assistant professor of physics at MIT, was dragged out of bed by the insistent beeping of a cell phone. "This one didn't want to stop until you plugged it in for charging," says Soljačić. In his exhausted state, he wished the phone would just begin charging itself as soon as it was brought into the house.
Technology Review: TR10: Wireless Power
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Scientists classified the hobbit as a separate human species, Homo floresiensis.
According to Berger, the estimated brain size of the early Palauans is about twice the size of the hobbit brain.
Ancient Bones of Small Humans Discovered in Palau
Sunday, March 09, 2008
You've just download the latest and greatest version of Ubuntu Linux and it didn't cost you a thing. You breezed through the installation and a brand new desktop is staring you in the face -- now what?
There are a few things you'll need to do if you want to get the most out of your Linux desktop. But don't worry, none of this is too complicated. In fact, it's much easier than trying to do the same on Windows or a Mac.
Optimize A Fresh Ubuntu Installation - Wired How-To Wiki
A New Automaker Is in Hot Pursuit -- of the Perfect Police Car
But it could revive scholarly debate on the location of Odysseus' Ithaca mentioned in Homer's poems—which are believed to be loosely based on Mycenaean-era events.
While the nearby island of Itháki is generally identified as the hero's kingdom, other theories have proposed Lefkáda or neighboring Kefaloniá (Cephalonia).
Stavropoulou-Gatsi said the discovery might cause excitement on Lefkáda but it was too soon for any speculation on Odysseus.
"I think it is much too early to engage in such discussion. The location of Homer's Ithaca is a very complex issue," she said.
3,000-Year-Old Tomb Found on Greek Island
for National Geographic News
The fossils of hobbit-like humans discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003 may have been severely malnourished modern humans, a controversial new study suggests.The hypothesis is the latest in a string of diseases proposed to explain the small-bodied fossils.
-- Hmmmmmm.... I don't know about this...
"Hobbit" Humans Were Diseased Cretins, Study Suggests
Excelsior Installer helps you create installation packages for your Windows applications. It supports the most common installation scenario:
- Display a splash screen (optional)
- Display a license agreement and require the user to accept it before
- Let the user select the installation folder
- Copy all application's files and folders into the selected folder
- Create shortcuts in standard locations (Start Menu, Desktop, Startup Menu)
- Create a registry entry for the application (optional)
- Register an uninstaller
- Run typical post-install actions (optional)
Excelsior Installer - Features
Desktop Optimization Pack: Supporting Technologies
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Revealed: Volkswagen's 69.9-MPG Diesel Hybrid | Autopia from Wired.com
Fiery explosions, beautiful reactions, and hilarious music videos are great reasons to be excited about chemistry. Here are some of our favorites.
Top 10 Amazing Chemistry Videos | Wired Science from Wired.com
By Patrick Biz
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
Geeks hate listening to commercial radio on their way to work. Hollywood gossip and local news are not the types of content computer-savvy people are raving about. What if, come Monday morning, you’re in the mood for tech news? Then on Tuesday’s commute, you want home theater reviews, and Wednesday, you want the latest pop news from Steve Jobs? Good luck finding all this on your AM/FM portable tuner.
Nine Must-Listen Podcasts For Geeks
Saturday, March 01, 2008
for National Geographic News
A massive prehistoric sea reptile that was longer than a humpback whale and had teeth the size of cucumbers has been found by fossil hunters on a remote Arctic island. (See pictures of the "sea monster.")Measuring some 50 feet (15 meters) in length, the bone-crunching predator represents one of the largest marine reptiles ever known, according to a team led by Jørn Hurum of the Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway.
Giant "Sea Monster" Fossil Discovered in Arctic
FunHostr - This explains a lot - Palestinian loss of land 1946 to 2000.