Microsoft unclogs Windows 7 beta download pipe

Microsoft Corp. on Saturday restarted its roll-out of the Windows 7 beta, 24 hours after it aborted the launch when heavy demand stalled its servers. As of noon PST, 10 January, Microsoft said that the primary beta download site, an off-shoot of the Windows section, was “up and working.”

Computerworld confirmed that the Windows 7 beta download page was online and taking download requests. Springboard Series, another public download location targeting IT professionals, was also live.

Originally slated to start Friday at noon PST, Windows 7’s public debut was postponed by Microsoft, which cited “very heavy traffic” across its Web properties. “Due to very heavy traffic we’re seeing as a result of interest in the Windows 7 Beta, we are adding some additional infrastructure support to properties,” a spokeswoman said Friday afternoon.

On Wednesday, when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the Friday launch of the public beta, he urged everyone to grab a copy. “I encourage you all to get out and download it,” he said.

Some of the comments from Microsoft – and users – were hilarious. A Microsoft hack worried aloud that, “demand might be so high it will bring down the Internet”. Uh-huh.

Then there were a few users who cautioned Microsoft that continued delays “were going to hurt the credibility of Microsoft statements.”


Another Attack of the Giant Panda: We’re DOOMED!

“Get off my lawn!!!”

Gu Gu is not your typical soft and cuddly giant panda.

For the third time, he’s tasted the flesh of an unwitting intruder in his pen at the Beijing Zoo.

His most recent victim was 28-year-old Zhang Jiao, who told CNN he fell into the panda pen Wednesday while trying to catch a small toy thrown by his young son.

“My son and I were playing with a panda doll, throwing it to each other, when I dropped with the toy” into the pen, Zhang said.

The barrier around the pen is about 5 feet tall, but on the other side is a drop of 9 to 10 feet, and Zhang says he could not climb out.

And then.. here it comes.. you know the victim is going to say it… Drumroll………..

Zhang said he never imagined a panda could be so vicious.

“I always thought they were cute and just ate bamboo.”

Dexter marries his sister! WTF?

Are they reviewing the guest list – or body parts washed ashore in Florida?
Daylife/AP Photo

Dexter” star Michael C. Hall has married co-star Jennifer Carpenter, who plays his sister on the television show.

They wed on New Year’s Eve in picturesque Big Sur, California, and she had a wedding ring linked to a bouquet, Hall’s representative Craig Bankey said in a statement.

In “Dexter,” Hall plays Dexter Morgan, a Miami police analyst who moonlights as a serial killer targeting sociopaths. Carpenter plays Debra Morgan, Dexter’s adoptive sister, a tomboyish cop. “Dexter” is on U.S. cable channel Showtime.

The show is a gas!


Oz coppers seek evildoer for kidnap/rape – of blow-up sex dolls

The more expensive model

An Australian man broke into three adult shops, had sex with blow up dolls named “Jungle Jane” and then dumped his plastic conquests in a nearby alley.

“It’s totally bizarre. It’s a real concern that someone like that is out on the street,” said one of the owners of the adult sex shops in Cairns in northern Queensland state.

He has been taking the dolls out the back and blowing them up and using the dolls and leaving them in the alley,” the owner, who gave the name of Vogue, told the Cairns Post newspaper.

Police told the Cairns Post that scientific officers had taken DNA samples, fingerprints and pictures of the crime scene.

Glad to see they’re taking a methodical approach to this crime. In between falling over laughing at the looney who’s doing this!

Immoral advances: Is science out of control?

Daylife/Reuters Pictures

What would our forebears have made of test-tube babies, microwave ovens, organ transplants, CCTV and iPhones? Could they have believed that one day people might jet to another continent for a weekend break, meet their future spouse on the internet, have their genome sequenced and live to a private soundtrack from an MP3 player? Science and technology have changed our world dramatically, and, for the most part, we take them in our stride. Nevertheless, there are certain innovations that many people find unpalatable.

Leaving aside special-interest attitudes such as the fundamentalist Christian denial of evolution, many controversies over scientific advances are based on ethical concerns. In the past, the main areas of contention have included nuclear weapons, eugenics and experiments on animals, but in recent years the list of “immoral” research areas has grown exponentially. In particular, reproductive biology and medicine have become ripe for moral outrage: think cloning, designer babies, stem-cell research, human-animal hybrids, and so on. Other troublesome areas include nanotechnology, synthetic biology, genomics and genetically modified organisms or so-called “Frankenfoods”.

To many scientists, moral objections to their work are not valid: science, by definition, is morally neutral, so any moral judgement on it simply reflects scientific illiteracy. That, however, is an abdication of responsibility. Some moral reactions are irrational, but if scientists are serious about tackling them – and the bad decisions, harm, suffering and barriers to progress that flow from them – they need to understand a little more and condemn a little less…

I left Jones Headline alone. It could be construed as opportunism, deliberately leading discussion to the sensational and uninformed – excused as “inviting comment”.

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Sheriff jailed for skimming budget for inmate meals

Daylife/AP Photo by Gary Cosby Jr.

A federal judge ordered a north Alabama sheriff jailed this week, saying the lawman intentionally served jail inmates “woefully insufficient” meals in order to pocket more than $200,000.

After a Wednesday hearing, Clemon found Sheriff Bartlett in contempt of court, saying he had failed to comply with a consent decree in a 2001 lawsuit regarding conditions at the Morgan County Jail, according to documents filed in the case.

Clemon ordered Bartlett released from the federal Talladega Correctional Facility the following day after the sheriff’s attorneys pledged to provide better and healthier meals to inmates.

At issue is an Alabama law that attorneys for the inmates claim provides sheriffs with an incentive to skimp on feeding inmates. Under the law, sheriffs are permitted to keep — as personal income — money left over after purchasing food for inmates.

The state provides sheriffs with $1.75 per day per inmate for food, according to the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. However, in a March 2008 opinion, the office affirmed that sheriffs may legally keep what is left over.

What medieval creeps! The dude makes the Sheriff of Nottingham look positively benevolent.

Of course, the idiots in the state legislature – combined with slimy lawyers – constructed a system of commerce that pretty much guarantees stealing above and beyond the call of opportunity. Cripes!

Lose 10 Facebook friends and get yourself a free Whopper

The labyrinthine world of social networking can be confusing for everyone, particularly small-business owners trying to figure out how platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter fit into their business plans. If you or your company is already on Facebook, chances are your account is already cluttered with “friends” you may not even know, or with PR reps who want to keep visible. If you can think of 10 of them you want to remove, Burger King will give you a Whopper, for free…

This week, fast-food giant Burger King released a Facebook application that gives you a free Whopper burger for every 10 friends you delete. On the Web site Whopper Sacrifice, Burger King keeps a tally that records the number of friends who have been sacrificed for the company’s signature sandwich offering.

The promotion is limited to one coupon per account, so don’t go thinking you can “sacrifice” your entire tech department and eat for a week (though that may be a tempting thought). At the time of this article’s publication, 54,563 friends have been deemed less important than a mouthful of bread, meat and vegetables.

I’m already confident about our evolution as omnivores. A certain portion of that relied on animal protein. Killed and eaten – or found lying on the ground and eaten.

Over the counter is OK, too.

GPS, Google Maps and Street View helps find missing child

A nine-year-old girl, allegedly kidnapped by her grandmother, has been found using a mobile phone signal and Google Street View.

A police officer and a firefighter in Athol, Massachusetts, joined forces after authorities were alerted that Natalie Maltais had been taken. Officers used GPS in the girl’s mobile phone to find her approximate location.

They fed the co-ordinates into Google Street View, pinpointing a hotel where the child was subsequently found…

Police officer Todd Neale contacted the mobile phone provider, AT&T, which gave him GPS coordinates every time the phone was activated. Police must submit a compliance form to the phone provider to request location information.

Officer Neale then got in touch with Athol’s deputy fire chief Thomas Lozier who…used mapping software to determine the location of the co-ordinates given to him by Officer Neale over the radio. Then he turned to Google street view. He found the location on Google maps and looked at the Street View, which shows eye-level photographs of the area. That’s when he spotted a nearby hotel.

“I noticed the hotel in the area, and as I was panning the map, I was able to see the road sign at the intersection,” he said.

Officer Neale alerted the Virginia state police, who found the missing child and her grandmother in the hotel as predicted.

Bravo. Good police work. Geek coppers and geek firemen rule!

German computer geeks learn to flirt – hopefully

Even the most quirky of computer nerds can learn to flirt with finesse thanks to a new “flirting course” being offered to budding IT engineers at Potsdam University south of Berlin.

The 440 students enrolled in the master’s degree course will learn how to write flirtatious text messages and emails, impress people at parties and cope with rejection…

The course, which starts next Monday, is part of the social skills section of the IT course and is designed to ease entry into the world of work. Students also learn body language, public-speaking, stress management and presentation skills.

There’s something especially droll about technology whizbangs who find themselves incapable of communicating with human beings.

Raju brothers arrested and charged in $1 billion Satyam fraud

B. Ramalinga Raju, the disgraced IT mogul behind India’s largest corporate fraud, has been arrested on charges of cheating and forgery, according to an Andhra Pradesh state police chief.

Mr Raju, the former chairman of Satyam, India’s fourth-largest out-sourcing company, was arrested with B. Rama Raju, his brother and co-founder, on charges of criminal breach of trust, criminal conspiracy, cheating, falsification of records and forgery. The Indian Government also dissolved Satyam’s board yesterday and plans to appoint its own directors next week.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India, the credibility of which hangs in the balance as a result of the scandal, will ask just how the former star businessman was able to orchestrate a £1 billion fraud by wildly overstating profitability, cash reserves and other assets for several years. Mr Raju faces up to ten years in prison if found guilty of misleading investors.

The fraud included $1 billion (£660 million) of purely fictitious cash, which Mr Raju had claimed the company had on its books, according to a confession he released on Wednesday. That he was able to get away with such a rudimentary deception has called into question the role of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which had audited Satyam’s accounts since 2000.

PwC’s assertion that it had done its duty has been disputed by angry institutional investors. “If you’re an auditing company and your client says it has $1 billion in cash, you check with the bank,” said HughYoung,Aberdeen Asset Management head of equities.

Wow. These guys are turning out to be heads of the Enron of India.