Reversing Windows 7 to XP gets yet another reprieve – again

In a reversal of its earlier stance, Microsoft officials confirmed that customers will be able to downgrade from Windows 7 to Windows XP for a year and a half after the new system ships, or until the first Service Pack drops — whichever comes first.

While some industry observers the modified downgrade policy is a change for the better, at least one analyst says Microsoft still hasn’t enough to provide options for enterprises.

This industry observer says Microsoft simply hasn’t a clue!

The downgrade option is also not available to all Windows 7 users: Downgrade rights apply to purchasers of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate, so the option isn’t available to customers who buy Windows 7 Home Premium.

Additionally, customers who have either Software Assurance subscriptions or Enterprise Agreements with Microsoft can continue to get the downgrade as long as they want.

Confused, yet?

“Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate customers will have the option to downgrade to Windows XP Professional from PCs that ship within 18 months following the general availability of Windows 7 or until the release of a Windows 7 service pack (SP), whichever is sooner and if an SP is developed,” a Microsoft spokesperson told in an e-mail.

Understand that, OK?

Javelin train test runs – is this the future for the U.S.?

Guests on a test-run of the “Javelin” – Britain’s fastest commuter train with a 140mph top speed – have been whisked from London to Kent and back.

The Hitachi train took 30 minutes to travel from St Pancras station to Ashford at an average speed of 114mph. The return journey took 29 minutes.

The test-run on the Channel Tunnel line passed without a hitch and was slightly quicker than the forthcoming passenger services as it did not stop at Ebbsfleet.

The services are expected to cut Ashford to London journey times from 80 minutes to 37 minutes. Ebbsfleet to London will take 17 minutes.

The trains, which have 338 seats and can carry up to 508 people, will provide the “javelin” service to take spectators from St Pancras to the 2012 Olympics site at Stratford in east London in just seven minutes…

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, who travelled on the test-run, said the high-speed trains were the “future of the railways“…

“It will offer the best service in to London from the Kent coast and the Medway towns. It’s a great day for passengers and a great day for UK railways.”

This is the kind of train the Obama administration proposes for high speed rail corridors in the United States.

Following the construction of the new railroad track system in central New Mexico has convinced me it could be a piece of cake – if we can claw the politicians and lobbyists out of the way of progress. It’s a beautiful piece of work and appears to be as capable of high speed traffic as any rail line in Europe or Asia.

No doubt the project will be opposed by the Party of No and all the other feebleminded thugs who’d rather find a war to invest in. Meanwhile, the Javelins look to be up and raring to go – in the UK.

Mobile phone infrastructure boosts African climate data

Gaping gaps in weather and climate data across Africa may be filled by a partnership between humanitarian groups and mobile phone companies.

The project aims to deploy 5,000 automatic weather stations across the continent mounted on phone masts. They will gather data on aspects of weather such as rainfall and wind, and send it to national weather agencies.

Former UN chief Kofi Annan says the project could help save lives of people on the frontlines of climate change. “The world’s poorest are also the world’s most vulnerable when it comes to the impact of climate change, and the least equipped to deal with its consequences,” he said…

More than 70% of Africans make a living from farming, and the vast majority of the continent’s agriculture is rain-fed, making it highly vulnerable to variability in weather and climate.

Yet report after report has concluded that weather data – needed to make accurate projections of climate change – is in woefully short supply.

Africa has less than 200 weather stations meeting World Meteorological Organization (WMO) standards. Europe, by comparison, has several thousand…

So far the project’s pilot phase has seen 19 stations established around Lake Victoria in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Sounds like a win-win. Data and information for farmers. Good will for the wireless service providers. If they can keep the lawyers and politicians out of the way.

Nurses use Colorado whistle-blower law to sue medical center

Three nurses who cared for the sickest babies at Swedish Medical Center claim they were fired for reporting what they believed was unsafe care, including a pacifier taped to a baby’s mouth.

Their lawsuit is among the first to test a 2007 state law that protects health care workers who “blow the whistle” on dangerous conditions.

The three workers — all supervisory “charge nurses” in the intensive-care nursery — allege they were terminated for clashing with supervisors about safety concerns. The women say the hospital lacked enough “level three” nurses with the skills to medicate, resuscitate and care for premature babies.

But when they complained to superiors, the nurses “were met with a brick wall,” said Penelope Clor, their attorney…

All three nurses, who each had worked in the profession for at least 15 years, have struggled to find jobs since leaving Swedish. One is working two jobs and still not earning her old salary; the others work for a temporary-placement agency.

The 2-year-old state law was passed to encourage health care workers to report legitimate safety concerns at work.

I’d hope the state would step in to back up their own law. How’s that for a daydream?

TARP funds stuffed into biggest banks repaid – with interest

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

JPMorgan Chase and nine other big banks said Wednesday have repaid the federal assistance money that they received in the fall during the height of the financial crisis.

JPMorgan said it had returned $25 billion, with interest, to the government — money that the bank’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, has said it never needed in the first place.

Like the others in this article, JPMorgan Chase was told by Bernanke and Bush they would not be listed as a secure banking source if they refused the money. Literally, it was reverse extortion – with our money.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs said in separate announcements that they had each repaid their $10 billion in federal aid, joining a parade of financial institutions making their exit from the government rescue program.

By late Wednesday afternoon, all 10 banks allowed to exit the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program had said they had repaid the TARP money. Among them, American Express returned $3.39 billion, Bank of New York Mellon $3 billion, Capital One Financial $3.57 billion, State Street $2 billion and Northern Trust $1.58 billion.

Earlier in the day, BB&T and U.S. Bancorp said they had repaid $3.1 billion and $6.6 billion, respectively, in government bailout money.

These 10 banks were informed by regulators last week that they were considered financially stable enough to return the government’s money…

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Brooklyn hustler posed as his own dead mother

A Brooklyn man who police said dressed in drag to impersonate his dead mother and collect $115,000 in Social Security check and rent subsidies has been indicted on 47 counts of grand larceny, forgery and conspiracy.

Thomas Prusik-Parkin’s alleged accomplice, Mhilton Rimolo, was also indicted and both men face up to 25 years in prison if they’re convicted…

Prusik-Parkin’s six-year scam came to a crashing end on Monday when the 49-year-old from Park Slope was arrested…

Prusik-Parkin’s alleged scam began in 2003 when his mother, Irene Prusik, died at age 73.

Her son allegedly gave the funeral director the wrong Social Security number and date of birth for his mother so that her death would not be registered in government databases.

He began collecting $700 a month in Social Security in her name, in addition to his own disability checks, sources said.

Authorities said Prusik-Parkin also posed as his mother to file for bankruptcy so “she” would be eligible for $39,000 in city subsidies to help pay rent on a Park Slope apartment.

RTFA. A classic example of a slimeball hustler. He worked so hard at being a crook he probably would have expended less energy being an honest man.

Blair ordered collaboration with CIA torture

A pair of useless self-serving political gits

Tony Blair was aware of the existence of a secret interrogation policy which effectively led to British citizens, and others, being ­tortured during counter-terrorism investigations, the Guardian can reveal.

The policy, devised in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, offered guidance to MI5 and MI6 officers questioning detainees in Afghanistan whom they knew were being mistreated by the US military.

British intelligence officers were given written instructions that they could not “be seen to condone” torture and that they must not “engage in any activity yourself that involves inhumane or degrading treatment of prisoners”.

But they were also told they were not under any obligation to intervene to prevent detainees from being mistreated.

“Given that they are not within our custody or control, the law does not require you to intervene to prevent this,” the policy said.

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