If you are frustrated by quirks in Windows, you will now be able to console yourself with the thought that the next blue screen crash dump you see was brought to you courtesy of – a human dump.
Data center Microsoft researcher Sean James used to think that a sewage treatment plant would be an inhospitable place for a data center professional. Now when he smells methane at a wastewater plant, he smells free energy.
Microsoft today said it has gotten approval to test a modular data center run from a biogas-powered fuel cell located at a wastewater treatment plant in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Local officials approved a 18-month trial of Microsoft’s Data Plant research program at the Dry Creek Water Reclamation Facility in a $5.5 million project funded by Microsoft, FuelCell Energy, and the state of Wyoming.
“A person is consuming data and that person’s waste is going to power the data center,” says James, who is a research program manager with advanced data center development at Microsoft.
I’m getting at least four calls per week from scammers offering to fix my computer.
I recorded today’s fun:
Or, in hexadecimal 3F, decimal 63 and octal 77.
The so-called “Windows” ruse involves the bad guys, many of whom have researched their targets well, posing as Microsoft technicians calling to rescue you, and your computer, from a catastrophic virus that will kill your computer and compromise all your banking information and passwords.
The hook: after guiding the victim through some bogus Online hocus-pocus to save their computer from an imaginary virus the bogus technician will ask for a credit card payment ranging from the tens to thousands of dollars.
Scores of National Post readers, and readers at large, have been targeted by the bad guys. Some have been victimized, sadly, but many others have gone on the attack by playing dumb with the scammers — knowing it was a scam — and then pouncing on them with a good old Canadian comic punchline or a good old-fashioned scolding.
I’ve received a number of these calls; the latest was this afternoon.
Here is a way to give these twerps a poke in the eye. After wading through 20 minutes of looking at things like the Windows event viewer, eventually you will be transferred to a “certified technician”. He will ask you to access a website – probably, www.logmein123.com. It is quite harmless and will bring up a screen like this:
Your Indian friend will give you a number to enter into the box and ask you to click on the “Connect to technician” box – this will run a program that will give him control of your computer.
- Don’t click on the box; instead tell him a message appeared saying the code is expired.
- Write down the code.
- He will probably scurry off and get another code.
- Repeat back to step 1 until he hangs up
You now should have a collection of PIN codes. They are distributed and maintained by a legitimate software manufacturer. On their website you will find a phone number: 1-866-478-1805. Call them, explain what happened and give them the PIN codes you have collected. They are well aware of the con artists making use of their software and they will deactivate the PIN codes so that they can no longer be used.
Celebrate in the certain knowledge that you have struck a blow against a bunch of witless bastards who make a living preying on defenceless computer users who have better things to do than waste their time becoming computer nerds.
According to this:
Internet Explorer users have a lower than average IQ, according to research by Consulting firm AptiQuant.
The study gave web surfers an IQ test, then plotted their scores against the browser they used.
IE surfers were found to have an average IQ lower than people using Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Users of Camino and Opera rated highest.
The report has sparked anger from IE supporters, who have threatened AptiQuant with legal action.
Researchers gave over 100,000 web surfers a free online IQ test. Scores were stored in a database along with each person’s web browser data.
The results suggested that Internet Explorer surfers had an average IQ in the low eighties. Chrome, Firefox and Safari rated over 100, while minority browsers Opera and Camino had an “exceptionally higher” score of over 120.
I can’t help noticing that the IP addresses belonging to the Anglican Church of Canada that access this blog are all using Internet Explorer. It must be a coincidence.
Update: The BBC is now reporting that this was a hoax.
As a schoolboy, having exhausted my enthusiasm for winding my own tuner coils for home-built crystal set radios, I embarked on my first transistor radio employing one red spot transistor – something which cost many weeks of horded pocket money. The thought of a billion transistors being compressed into a square inch would have seemed inconceivable at the time. Not so today, though.
Intel has now designed a new processor chip where transistors are smaller and use less power because of their fin shape.
Intel has unveiled its next generation of microprocessor technology, code named Ivy Bridge.
The upcoming chips will be the first to use a 22 nanometre manufacturing process, which packs transistors more densely than the current 32nm system.
Intel said it would also be using new Tri-Gate “3D” transistors, which are less power hungry.
Rival chip manufacturers including AMD and IBM are understood to be planning similar designs.
The announcement marks a significant step forward in the commercial processor industry, which is constantly striving to build more transistors onto silicon chips.
One of the main measures of its progress is the length of the transistor “gate”, measured in nanometres (1nm = 1 billionth of a meter).
A human hair is around 60,000 nm wide. Current best microchip technology features a 32nm gate.
It has been known for a long time that 22nm technology would form the next stage in the evolution of microprocessors.
However, the exact nature of Intel’s offering has been a closely guarded secret, until now.
The company expects to begin commercial production later this year.
I still have an Amiga 3000 buried in my antique computer graveyard in the basement – unless my wife found it, concluded its decomposing carcass was junk and threw it out – and now, as a reminder of the Halcyon days of display lists, blitters and 6800 assembler code, Commodore has risen from the ashes with new versions of the 64, VIC-20 and Amiga.
They are not the real thing, of course: their processors are Intel, graphics Nvidia and OS Linux.
Still, a pleasant nostalgia moment.
I wanted to like IE9, I really did: it is very fast and has a number of useful built-in security features.
Unfortunately, it is next to useless if you are a photographer and want to see images on a wide-gamut monitor – something photographers usually have – with anything like accurate colours.
All wide-gamut monitors come with colour profiles that Windows can use to correctly display colour information. Unfortunately Microsoft has never used these profiles in any of its version of Internet Explorer; instead it uses a default sRGB profile – IE9 is no exception. This results in every image appearing super-saturated on a wide-gamut monitor. Ironically, Microsoft trumpets IE9’s ability to correctly extract embedded colour profiles from images – but it then proceeds to nullify its efforts by displaying the image using an sRGB profile, regardless of the monitor.
Firefox has used monitor colour profiles for some time, so it’s back to Firefox for me.
For example. This is what Ava should look like:
And this is how IE9 displays her on a wide gamut monitor:
Update: I just installed Firefox 4.0 RC1 and it seems to be as fast – or almost as fast – as IE9. And the colours are right. Lot’s of other improvements, too.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper assured Canadians on Thursday that the government does have a strategy in place to protect computer networks, following the revelation that at least three key departments had their systems compromised by hackers.
Harper would not comment specifically on unprecedented attacks that targeted the Finance Department, the Treasury Board, and Defence Research and Development Canada.
But he said at a press conference in Toronto that he recognized cybersecurity was “a growing issue of importance, not just in this country, but across the world.”
He added that in anticipating potential cyberattacks, “we have a strategy in place to try and evolve our systems as those who would attack them become more sophisticated.”
There is good news: Canadian apologists for Julian Assange will be dancing in the streets to express their support for free access to all government documents as their tax records appear on the Internet for everyone to peruse.