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2010-04-29

Facebook doesn't delete what you remove

Think twice about putting anything controversial on social media; think three times about posting to Facebook. A simple test shows, even a year after removal, that content is still sitting where it can be accessed on Facebook servers.

The file with this kitten was removed over a year ago, yet its link still shows you the content on Facebook servers.

2010-04-27

Fat good for you, flour bad

Processed carbohydrates, which many Americans eat today in place of fat, may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease more than fat does—a finding that has serious implications for new dietary guidelines expected this year, or so says Scientific American.

Go ahead, have another Voodoo doughnut.

2010-04-26

Yet Another Facebook Privacy Leak

Facebook leaks even more information about you than we thought; it will tell anyone what events you plan to attend. Anyone.

You can also go to http://zesty.ca/facebook/ enter your name at upper right, and have it search Facebook for everyone with that name. Once you find yours, then you have your Facebook ID number, and can search all of Facebook for information filed under that ID number, a good way to check to see what is publicly available about you to complete strangers.

Million-plus Facebook accounts for sale by cybercrook

It may be time to change your Facebook password, as a cybercrook is offering one and a half pwned million Facebook accounts for sale; all of them, just a few.

2010-04-22

Hotmail's social networking busts your privacy

Woody Leonhard, a long-time Windows spelunker, has overturned Yet Another Micro$oft privacy blooper. In his weekly report in Windows Secrets, he reveals Hotmail and Windows Live shows the public waaay too much about its users.
In its rush to take on Facebook and Google Buzz, Microsoft is now collecting and displaying personal information on your Hotmail page — information you may never have wanted to broadcast.

Exactly how it's mining this information is something of a mystery, but if you use Hotmail or Windows Live, it's time to review your privacy settings — lest something you said or did comes back to haunt you.

The picture at left shows what folks saw about one user, things potentially embarrassing, career-limiting, or might get them fired. Maybe it might not be a bad idea to see what Micro$oft shows other people about you?

2010-04-16

Kobo e-reader PDF and PDB only

Shucks. The new Kobo eReader will not read anything except EPUB and PDF, which dampens my enthusiasm, considering how many MOBI and DOC file I've bought.  Their support folks answered my query with:
Hi John,


No, at the outset, only PDF and ePub will be supported. If we later make support available for other formats, you will be able to download an app upgrade.


Sincerely,
Shayna, Apr 16 11:37 (EDT):
The Kobo Team

2010-04-14

Factoid du Jour re electric vehicles

The exec who's the trail boss on electric vehicles at GM just revealed something interesting about electrics:

Bly noted one particular struggle GM and other carmakers face as they slowly transition their fleets from gasoline-powered vehicles to EVs: the extreme demands of climate control.
“It takes as much energy to keep a human warm in the northern climates as it does to push the entire vehicle down the road at posted speeds,” Bly said. “It’s not that the battery isn’t necessarily capable, but it’s where we and other OEMs decide to spend that energy.”
Also, GM hasn't figured out how to recycle the humongous lithium batteries used in the Volt.  Lithium batteries burn really, really well; ground-shipping laptop and cellphone batteries for recycling requires carefully covering the contacts to avoid fire risk, and there's a ban on shipping large spare lithium batteries in checked luggage and the air cargo shipment rules are stringent

I've found that no one will pay to accept lithium batteries, unlike lead-acid batteries, so I wonder if the recycling costs might end up dumped on the electric car buyer. 

2010-04-13

Update on the Kobo eReader

UPDATE FROM YESTERDAY: http://www.the-ebook-reader.com/kobo-ereader.html suggested yesterday's posted eReader from Kobo is based on the http://www.netronixinc.com/EB600.html - if so, it runs Linux, which is all the better.

If true, it not only reads

  • EPUB (the open standard e-book format, really just ZIPped HTML) and
  • PDF (Adobe's proprietary, but popular, standard, easily created from Ubuntu Linux and OS X out of the box, or from Windows with doPDF.com freeware), 

but might also handle these popular e-book formats:

  • DOC  (handling Word DOC format plus PDF makes it a business tool, too)
  • FB
  • HTML
  • MOBI
  • PRC
  • RTF, and 
  • TXT

I will write to Kobo and ask.

That aforementioned e-book website also suggested Borders would retail the eReader in the U.S.; again, all the better.

2010-04-11

Kobo, a CAN$ 149 e-book reader next month

UPDATE here

Wow! A CAN$ 149 e-book reader with Bluetooth and an SD Card Slot which reads EPUB and PDF files. This is the same screen size as the original Kindle, although the Kobo's frame size is smaller (no keyboard).

Stats
RAM: 1GB
Thick: 10mm / 0.4"
Weight: 200 grams / 7 oz.
Frame: 120x184mm / 4.7"x7.2"
Screen: 152mm / 6" (diag.) 8 level greyscale e-paper
Battery: 8,000 pages, or 2 weeks between charges
Connectivity: Bluetooth for file transfer plus SD Cards (no SDHC cards) and USB cable
Customization: Skins in multiple colors and textures, so you can distinguish His from Hers.

Indigo in Canada is taking orders but US shipments are not slated until this summer.

This is a real game-changer; although the design is imperfect (no backlight, no bookmarking), both are easily overcome (clip-on LED for reading in bed, and Post-ItsTM or paper notebooks for bookmarks).

That price is not likely to drift up, as Marvell's Moby (aimed at education) prototype is priced at $99.

High school textbooks, as per one source, average $70.  Add the concept of Open Textbooks, offered for free, enabling the desire of teachers to supplement their curriculum with material not in the mass-produced textbooks bought for them, and there are terrific opportunities for education; not so much in cost-savings (for textbooks appear to be less than one percent of education budgets) but for improved instruction; and, of course, removing the strap marks from the backs of kids burdened with the weight of five textbooks.

The downside, of course, is substandard curriculum; how will a school or school board screen out bad textbooks, textbooks with errors, ideologically driven texts, outdated texts? Here's a review of five Open Texts on calculus, an ideology-free subject (one hopes).

2010-04-04

When radiation is good for you

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2477705/ and http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2010/03/radiation-damage-lnt-or-hormesis-prof.html explain how radiation in small doses stimulate your immune system, and prevent cancer from taking hold. Hard to argue with the multiple studies and hard numbers.

2010-04-02

A Better Open Office for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux

Go-oo is a derivative of OpenOffice with many enhancements. It includes a more polished interface, better interopability, more support for various formats and it is tweaked to run faster.
Features:
- Go-oo has built in OpenXML import filters and it will import your Microsoft Works files. Compared with up-stream OO.o, it has better Microsoft binary file support (with eg. fields support), and it will import WordPerfect graphics beautifully. If you are reliant on Excel VBA macros - then Go-oo offers the best macro fidelity too. If you expect your spreadsheets to calculate compatibly, or you get embedded Visio diagrams in your documents, you'll want Go-oo.
- Go-oo's user interface is more familiar, with lots of small pieces of polish. We have built-in (working) multimedia integration on Linux, a beautiful solver component, and your Chinese should look sane. We also integrate with your system better by default: eg. enabling native file-selectors on Linux.
- From first-time startup, where we sort I/O to reduce seek cost, to a highly optimised second start application, we are faster. We use less memory than up-stream, we link faster, use better system allocators, and don't waste so much time & memory in the registry. Go-oo performance is hard to beat.

For more, see
http://go-oo.org/discover/go-oox-xlsx.png and http://go-oo.org/ or download the free Windows installer at http://go-oo.mirrorbrain.org/stable/win32/3.2/GoOo-3.2-13.exe.