May 31, 2007

R&R: Speed Demon Planet Discovered; Its Getting Crowded Out There…

Filed under: IT R&R — Black Falcon @ 10:53 pm

Oddball Planet Puzzles Astronomers
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By Jeanna Bryner, Staff Writer
30 May 2007

HONOLULU–A team of amateur and professional astronomers has discovered a mammoth orb more than 13 times the mass of Jupiter that whips around its parent star in fewer than four days and is considered an “oddball” planet among its exoplanet relatives.

The new exoplanet, dubbed XO-3b, was described here at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The discovery came out of the XO Project, a collaboration between amateur and professional astronomers.

Security: Vista No Better Than XP… So Much For Upgrading For Security

Filed under: IT Security — Black Falcon @ 10:42 pm

Review: Vista, XP Users Equally At Peril To Viruses, Exploits
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By Mario Morejon, CRN

After a week of extensive testing, the CRN Test Center found that users of Windows Vista and Windows XP are equally at risk to viruses and exploits and that overall Vista brings only marginal security advantages over XP.

One of Microsoft’s big promises with Vista was a more secure operating system. But when stripped to the bare bones and thrown into the wild, wild Web, Vista’s security failed to impress Test Center engineers.

Vista remains riddled with holes, despite its multilayer security architecture and embedded security tools. Besides providing no improvement in virus protection vs. XP, Vista brings little or no security gains over its predecessor against such threats as RDS exploits, script exploits, image exploits, VML exploits, malformed Web pages and known malicious URLs, the Test Center found.

Windows: Future Windows OSs To Be Redesigned; Maybe Vista Isn’t Doing All That Well…

Filed under: IT Windows OS — Black Falcon @ 10:30 pm

Microsoft exec: Future versions of Windows to be “fundamentally redesigned”
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By Jeremy Reimer
May 29, 2007

Microsoft executive Ty Carlson spoke about the future of Windows recently during a panel discussion at the Future in Review 2007 conference held in San Diego, California. Carlson said that future versions of Windows would have to be “fundamentally different” in order to take full advantage of future CPUs that will contain many processing cores.

“You’re going to see in excess of eight, 16, 64 and beyond processors on your client computer,” said Carlson, whose job title is director of technical strategy at Microsoft. Windows Vista, he said, was “designed to run on one, two, maybe four processors.”

Carlson is tipping his hat to the fact that little growth is expected from straight MHz scaling of single CPU cores over the coming years. Multi-core is the only way to go (for now), but Microsoft isn’t exactly behind the times. The Windows kernel has supported multiple processors since the first release of NT (which for marketing reasons was called version 3.1) back in 1993. The NT kernel can allocate various processes and threads to different CPUs, and the maximum number of CPUs that it supports is generally an issue of licensing, not technical capability. (There is a hard limit, however, on NT systems: 32-bit Windows can have only 32 total processor cores, and 64-bit Windows has a 64-core limit, no matter how many physical processors are in the system).

Business: Dell To Lay of 10% of Workers; The Standard For Management Efficiency

Filed under: IT Business — Black Falcon @ 10:15 pm

Dell to lay off 10% of employees
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Dell says it spent $46 million in the last quarter to investigate accounting, financial reporting

Ben Ames
May 31, 2007

(IDG News Service) — Dell Inc. will lay off 10% of its 78,800 workers in a continuing effort to improve profits, while it completes an investigation of accounting fraud, it said Thursday.

Dell will make the layoffs over the next 12 months, including workers throughout its geographic regions, customer segments and job functions, the company said in a statement. The move is part of a corporate cost review spanning product development and procurement, service and support delivery.

While layoffs are difficult, “we know these actions are critical to our ability to deliver unprecedented value to our customers now and in the future,” company CEO Michael Dell said in a written statement.

Tools & Code: Google Launches “Google Gears” For Offline Web Apps; What Happens if The Internet Crashes?

Filed under: IT Tools & Code — Black Falcon @ 10:06 pm

Google launches open-source tool for building Web apps
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By Heather Havenstein
May 30, 2007

Google Gears will tackle key limitation of browsers, company says

May 30, 2007 (Computerworld) — Google Inc. is using its first worldwide Developer Day on Thursday to launch Google Gears, an open source technology for building Web applications that can work offline.

In addition the company will unveil plans to work with other vendors to mold standards that would provide developers with consistent APIs for building offline functionality into Web-based applications.

The free Google Gears technology builds on the existing programming models for the Web, and adds new JavaScript APIs for data storage, application caching and multi-threading features, the company said. The Gears tool will work with all browsers that run on the Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems, it added.

May 30, 2007

Tools & Code: “Cold Fusion” Continues Solid Rep With New Version 8.0

Filed under: IT Tools & Code — Black Falcon @ 11:46 pm

New version of ColdFusion aimed at .NET, Ajax crowd
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May 29th, 2007
Ryan Stewart

The very first language I ever programmed was Quick Basic. The next one was Java in an introduction computer science class. But the first time I ever made real money programming it was building ColdFusion when I worked for Wharton Computing. As a result, ColdFusion has always held a special place in my heart even though it had started to get a bad rap around the web as of late. There was some pickup when Flex 2 came out but the general consensus was that ColdFusion was dying and everyone was just waiting around for the funeral. But today Adobe released a public beta of ColdFusion 8 and based on the early looks I’ve had, this is very much targeted at putting the wind back into ColdFusion’s sails by courting .NET developers and people who want to start doing more with Ajax.

Computers At War: Russia May Have Launched First Cyber-Attack

Filed under: IT Computers At War — Black Falcon @ 11:39 pm

Cyberwar: Is This The First Salvo?
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May 30, 2007
By John McCormick and Deborah Gage

Estonia claims that Russia launched a virtual attack this past month against government agencies, followed by cyberassaults on its newspapers and TV stations, schools and banks. If true, this would represent the first cyberattack by one nation on another. Should Americans and American business be concerned?

Two of the nation’s leading security experts, Ira Winkler and Alan Paller, spoke to Baseline this week and gave their perspectives.

Ira Winkler, one of the nation’s leading computer security experts, is the author of Zen and the Art of Information Security. He is also president of Internet Security Advisors Group, a security consultancy that specializes in vulnerability assessments and penetration testing services. He sits on the board of advisers at Securify, a computer monitoring and security company.

Tools & Code: Do SQL Server BulkCopy With .NET 2.0 Class

Filed under: IT .NET, IT Tools & Code — Black Falcon @ 11:32 pm

Perform bulk copies with .NET 2.0’s SqlBulkCopy class
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Tony Patton

A common development task is transferring data between disparate data sources. If you have worked with SQL Server, the bcp (bulk copy) command will be familiar to you. It allows you to quickly bulk copy large files into SQL Server tables or views. With .NET Framework 1.1, you can utilize bcp via a SqlCommand object, but .NET Framework 2.0 adds the SqlBulkCopy class to simplify the chore.

The SqlBulkCopy class
While you may still use the t-sqlbcp command, the SqlBulkCopy class offers a significant performance advantage. You can only use the class to write data to SQL Server tables, but any data source may be used. The only caveat is the contents of the data source must be able to be loaded into a DataTable object.

Tools & Code: Java Developers! Create User Friendly Windows Launchers Your Apps

Filed under: IT Tools & Code — Black Falcon @ 11:20 pm

Download JSmooth…

Smooth User Experience

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  • Several GUI, console, and Windows Service wrappers are available!
  • The JSmooth EXE launchers are smart: They know how to swiftly search for any Java Environement installed on a computer, and determine which best suits the requirements of your application. If no VM is found, it’s OK as well, your end-users are in
    good hands with jsmooth: the wrappers can redirect them to a web page, or even better, they can propose the user to
    automatically download and install a Java Environment.


May 28, 2007

R&R: George Lucas; Dreaming of Adventure in Galaxies Far, Far Away…

Filed under: IT R&R — Black Falcon @ 5:42 pm

Life After Darth
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May 2005
By Steve Silberman

George Lucas was born to make underground films. Then a little movie called Star Wars lured him to the dark side. Can the father of the blockbuster really rediscover his avant-garde soul?

He looks out the window of the 19th-century house in Northern California he bought 30 years ago, when he was still a young man slaving over a script inspired by the mental image of a dogfight in space. Art and history books line the walls of the room he designed as a personal sanctuary, and there’s an editing bay next door networked to servers a few miles away at Skywalker Ranch, the Victorian headquarters of his filmmaking empire. The father of digital cinema is willing to employ technology to serve his own artistic ends, but he does not use email, nor does he surf the thousands of fan sites devoted to the output of his prodigious imagination. The whole rollicking galaxy of Star Wars was originally rendered in longhand with a No. 2 pencil.

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