Genesis spacecraft set to return to Earth

Submitted by Karthik on 6 April, 2004 - 20:59

New Scientist reports that NASA's genesis spacecraft is all set to return to Earth after completing it's mission of collecting samples of high-energy ions from the Solar wind.

The mission is intended to shed light on the formation of the Solar System nearly five billion years ago by revealing the Sun's composition. Its quarry will be the first material ever returned to Earth from beyond the Moon when it drops to Earth in September 2004.

An earlier article can be read here.

Free PC project on hold

Submitted by Karthik on 6 April, 2004 - 09:48

The Register is running a story on the free PC project in the UK. The company involved - Metronomy has stopped accepting applications due to a large number of bogus applicants, and high risk of theft.

An operator confirmed that the company had issued an email yesterday warning of delays after Metronomy received a number of "bogus registrations" with people supplying false addresses.

Since the PCs were due to be picked up at depots rather than delivered to homes, there were fears that the machines were just gonna get nicked.

No-one has received a free PC yet, we were told but a few would be sent out soon.

Well.. what did they expect? :S

Microsoft on Sourceforge?

Submitted by Karthik on 6 April, 2004 - 00:13

No, this is not a belated April fool's gag. PCWorld is carrying a report on the availability of the Windows Installer XML (WiX) toolset on Sourceforge, under an open source (CPL) license. WiX, as the name suggests lets you build installation packages based on XML sourcefiles. However, a jab at the GPL was inevitable:

The company will continue to release code under various licenses, Matusow says. Microsoft might release code under the Common Public License again, but it has no plans to use the GNU General Public License, under which Linux is distributed. Microsoft has frequently criticized GPL.

"We feel that the GPL presents certain challenges as a commercial software business," Matusow adds.

Let's hope that this is the start of many such initiatives..

India falls on world trade charts

Submitted by Karthik on 5 April, 2004 - 23:52

Rediff is carry a report on the latest WTO figures which show that India has dropped out of the top 30 list of leading exporters.

According to the 2003 world trade data, released by the World Trade Organisation in Geneva on Monday, United Arab Emirates, with exports of $58.1 billion, edged out India, which exported goods worth $55 billion, from the 30th spot on the list of top exporters in 2003.

India maintained it's 24th spot on the top 30 importers list.

Moblogging taking off

Submitted by Karthik on 4 April, 2004 - 22:16 has a nice piece on the growing popularity of moblogging - that's using your mobile (camera phone) to create photo-blogs. While, as of now, everything is done via the computer, cellular companies are looking to get in on the action.

Cell phone plans vary in terms of how subscribers are charged for Internet access, but Blasi estimates that it costs 25 cents to send a picture over the network.

Consumer and cell company demand for moblogs has yielded opportunity for a number of start-ups including TextAmerica, Mobog, Buzznet and Ploggle.

The images on the sites mentioned are uncensored - bewarned!

Latest Patent Insanity: Sub-domains patented

Submitted by Karthik on 4 April, 2004 - 12:54

The Register has a rather shocking story on Ideaflood, a Nevada based company, enforcing a patent awarded to it on the use of sub-domains. Several hosting providers have announced that they have received letters from a party representing Ideaflood Inc.

Ideaflood, Inc. is an intellectual property generation and holding
company specializing in core Internet advertising and operating technologies.

To me, that translates as:

Ideaflood, Inc. is a shell company specializing in bull-shit. We are also spammers, and would love to make life unbearable for all Internet users whenever and however we can

It just gets even worse:

Ideaflood secures many Internet-based patents, according to its own Web site. It describes itself as an intellectual property holding company. On Feb. 10, 2003, it announced that it was looking for a buyer for its "Patent No. U.S. 6,389,458, covering exit traffic on the Internet," which is "one of the most widely infringed patents ever issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office." Ideaflood also has claimed patents on addressee-defined mail addressing systems; managing ownership of virtual property; aggregating information over a wide-area network; and a host of other Internet-based methods, systems and practices.

All in all, the company does absolutely nothing except try and patent every miniscule concept, and try and pressurise "infringers" without deep-pockets, to pay up :/

Some of these patents are viewable here. The Web Host Industry Review is also carrying this story.

Gravity Probe-B: Precise Gyroscopes Ready to Test Einstein Theory

Submitted by Karthik on 3 April, 2004 - 22:32

SpaceRef is carrying a report on NASA's scheduled launch of Gravity Probe-B on April 17.

The two effects being tested are: The geodetic effect, the amount by which the Earth warps local spacetime in which it resides, and the frame-dragging effect, the amount by which the Earth drags local spacetime around with it as it rotates.

The launch from Vandenberg will be broadcast live on NASA Television on the AMC-9 satellite, transponder 9C, located at 85 degrees West longitude, vertical polarization, frequency 3880.megahertz, audio 6.8 megahertz.

Yahoo is also carrying the story.

Nigerian jailed for e-mail scam

Submitted by Karthik on 3 April, 2004 - 21:44

The BBC has a story on the arrest and conviction of a Nigerian 419 scammer in Wales.

"Given the gravity of this offence it's detrimental to the welfare of the UK that you should remain here."

Judge John Rogers QC

I think the UK and every other victim country would be better off if they also jailed the people who actually respond to these scams :S

China reacts to U.S. visa policy

Submitted by Karthik on 2 April, 2004 - 22:48

CNN is carrying a story on China's reaction to the recent step-up in America's security policy to fingerprint and face-scan all her visitors.

The Foreign Ministry said the Chinese embassy in the United States would require some American visa seekers to take part in interviews.

U.S. diplomats would be forced to apply and pay for visas when they travel on a personal basis and American citizens would no longer be eligible to apply for visas on arrival in China.

Brazil is already fingerprinting US visitors.

I don't know if US bureaucrats are reading too much sci-fi, or if sci-fi authors watch CNN for inspiration :S This is just getting crazier everyday..


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