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February 2007 Archives

World's oldest blogger has Canadian connection

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

Writing about the world's oldest blogger may seem a little impolite after yesterday's post about how bloggers are a bunch of parasites. But because timing is everything in news and comedy….

Click through the link below for an inoffensive post.

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We're all parasites: pro blogger

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

A professional blogger is taking his cohort to task for doing something that would be a firing offence for a professional journalist: ripping each other off.

Bloggers: eat your young through the link below.

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The perils of community editing

by Paul Jay, CBC News Online

The volunteer editing process made famous by online encyclopedia Wikipedia was hit with two very different cases of tampering in the last week.

In the first more prominent case, pro-golfer Fuzzy Zoeller launched a lawsuit over allegedly defamatory remarks posted onto Wikipedia. Interestingly, Zoeller's lawsuit is against the Miami education consulting firm that owns the Internet Protocol (IP) address from where the remarks allegedly originated.

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Apple iPhone ad airs during Oscars

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

Those wondering how Apple would follow its attention-grabbing announcement that it would launch its new iPhone cellphone later this year had their curiosity satisfied last night during the 79th annual Academy Awards.

Look to the link below for more on Apple's latest star.

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Puretracks, unlocked MP3s and Apple's iTunes

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

Confusion over Puretracks' new MP3 collection — which is free of anti-copying measures — just got a little less confusing. The workaround for users of the Firefox Web browser that saw MP3 tracks they downloaded misnamed as Windows Media ".wma" files has been fixed. Meanwhile, the attention around the online music store's growing pains has once again focused attention on digital rights management (DRM) software.

Hit the link below for more of this DRM-free blog post.

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Crackdown producer on Halo 3 beta

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

Crackdown producer Phil Wilson got back to me with his take on the buzz about the Halo 3 beta being bundled with the Realtime Worlds game.

Dive into the controversy through the link below.

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China makes First Contact...sort of.

by Paul Jay, CBC News Online

A rash of UFO sightings in Australia turns out to have a decidedly terrestrial origin: debris from a Chinese satellite.

Remember the furor China caused when it blew up one of its own satellites? Some world leaders raised concerns the missile launch was a show of force on the part of the nation, while a spokesman for British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed concern about the creation of debris in space.

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Scientists try to solve ancient board game

by Paul Jay, CBC News online

Chess lovers revel in their game's status as the brainiest of leisure activities, but even they had to admit some of the fun has been taken out of the game after Deep Blue and, more recently, Deep Fritz, started beating world champions.

Those in pursuit of a game of true human intuition could always fall back on Go, as the popular Asian board game's subtleties had thus far eluded programmers. While Go-playing software could beat amateur players, they had failed to compete against even mid-level opponents. Two Hungarian scientists, however, believe they are a step closer to playing in the big leagues.

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Crackdown battles Halo 3 as freebies excite, raise eyebrows

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

When I spoke with the producer and lead designer of Crackdown, the save-the-city third-person perspective science-fiction shooter for the Xbox 360 video game console that launched today, I had little inkling of the buzz and anticipation that would accompany its arrival — or that the attention would not be on Crackdown, but on a Microsoft Game Studios title: Halo 3.

Blast the link below for more on the most anticipated game of 2007 (Halo 3, in case it's not clear)

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Hello 2007, it's 1991 calling

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

David Winer, the self-described inventor of RSS (or not) – the technology that automatically tells you there's a new post to this blog or a news story without having to manually check the site – has discovered a new use for his webcam that he calls a "cool overkill use of technology." Only it's not so new.

Transport yourself to another time by clicking the link below.

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The tedium of roleplaying games

by Paul Jay, CBC News Online

Role-playing game developer Jeff Vogel has a lovely rant on RPGVault about how much he hates fantasy role-playing games. Well, not all games, but most of them, which he says are a waste of time involving "a lot of tedium."

But this is not a rant against all the World of Warcrafters out there; rather, Vogel's criticisms will likely ring true with massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) players as much as anyone. Vogel's big problem with RPGs could best be described as the Frodo Baggins school of narration so present in fantasy role-playing games: everyone starts out as a complete weakling.

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Is the Wii the future of voting?

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

Nintendo Co. Ltd. has added a new online channel to its Wii Menu that it calls Everybody Votes.

Wii owners with an internet-connected console will be able to vote in unscientific global and regional online polls through the channel on subjects that range from the topical to the humorous.

Vote to read more by clicking the link below.

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Microsoft slams IBM in document standards fight

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

It may not be a sexy subject, but it's potentially worth a lot of money: Microsoft Corp. has fired a volley over IBM Corp.'s bow with an open letter that claims IBM is trying to block Office document formats from being established as an industry standard.

The letter, signed by signed by Microsoft executives Tom Robertson, general manager for interoperability and standards; and Jean Paoli general manager of interoperability and XML architecture, calls out IBM on its opposition in the international standards process.

Click below to enter the fray.

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Send them over the moon, or at least into orbit

by Paul Jay, CBC News online

For lovers out there trying to come up with a last-minute Valentine's Day gift to get out of the doghouse, the key is to think big. And what's bigger than outer space?

That's the thinking behind a special Valentine's Day offer from the MIT and Georgia Tech students responsible for YNIS, or Your Name Into Space.

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Vista isn't security software: Symantec CEO

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

Microsoft Corp. has been touting the security features of its Windows Vista operating system as a key reason for people to switch to the latest version of its flagship product, but at least one senior security executive has turned up his nose at the notion.

John Thompson, the CEO of Symantec Corp., said he won't use Vista and consumers shouldn't be fooled by the slick, feature-laden software.

Click the very safe link below to read more.

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They never saw it coming

by Paul Jay, CBC News Online

After 28 years of studying ESP (extra-sensory perception) and telekinesis, the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (or PEAR) laboratory will shut down at the end of the month, The New York Times reported.

For almost three decades the lab was an embarassment for the university and an outrage to the scientific community. And lab founder Robert Jahn has finally decided to call it quits.

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Future of video games in your hand

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

Greg Canessa, the man who conceived and drove Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox Live Arcade casual games division – which is often referred to in Microsoft circles as "wife-crack" for its characteristic ability to addict women previously not interested in their husbands' digital amusements – has left the company. His new gig? Vice-president of video game platforms for Seattle, Wash.-based PopCap Games Inc., the maker of notorious work-time devourers such as Bejeweled (which you can also play online)

The move is part of PopCap's strategy to put its games not only onto consoles, but handheld devices as well.

Click the link below for a peek at the future of video games.

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Are the days of the ink-stained wretch over?

by Paul Jay, CBC News Online

Here in Toronto, with the city's four major news dailies and two commuter papers (not to mention the countless ethnic newspapers and entertainment weeklies), it's sometimes difficult to imagine that what media industry analysts have been saying for years could be true: the ink-and-paper newspaper as we know it dying.

But it's getting easier to believe. Especially in light of comments made by newspaper publishers like the New York Times's Arthur Sulzberger Jr.

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Web 2.0, the movie

by Paul Jay, CBC News online

Michael Wesch, an assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, posted a video on YouTube last Wednesday on Web 2.0 entitled "Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us." It's a fascinating attempt to distill the essence of the internet today in a five minute video, complete with a techno soundtrack.

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Mac vs. PC, the editorial smackdown

by Paul Jay, CBC News Online

It doesn't take much to fuel the Mac versus PC debate among computer users. But just in case the inclusion of Intel chips in Macs has softened the rivalry, Charlie Brooker at the Guardian has thrown an oil tanker into the fire with a column entitled ever-so-subtly, I Hate Macs. Says Brooker:

I have always hated Macs. I hate people who use Macs. I even hate people who don't use Macs but sometimes wish they did. Macs are glorified Fisher-Price activity centres for adults; computers for scaredy cats too nervous to learn how proper computers work; computers for people who earnestly believe in feng shui.

Click the link below to keep reading.

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Brain scans reveal anxiety towards Super Bowl ads

by Paul Jay, CBC News Online

After the opening kick-off was returned for a touchdown, the Super Bowl didn't have much drama for viewers. Mostly it was a matter of waiting patiently until Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman lost his composure and fumbled, stumbled and threw away the game. And according to scientists at UCLA, the commercials weren't much better. At least according to brain scans of 10 subjects.

Click the link below to read about the most anxiety-inducing ad.

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Apple fixes iTunes broken by Windows Vista

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

Users of Apple Inc.'s iTunes software for Windows PCs who couldn't wait to install Microsoft's new Vista version of the operating system had a rude awakening when they found they couldn't play songs they had bought from the online store. They were warned.

More on the music to their ears through the link below.

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Digital rights activist, writer, Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow interview

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

Outspoken activist, blogger, writer and academic Cory Doctorow has a lot of say about a lot of subjects. I spoke with him for a story I'm working on about an hour before he was set to deliver the opening keynote speech about the limits of copyright at the Ontario Library Association's conference.

More through the link below.

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Branson goes from cellphones to stem cells

by Ian Johnson, CBC News Online

Richard Branson's knack for marketing and his eye for hot business opportunities have helped him bank huge piles of cash from music, airline and mobile phone ventures. Now he wants to bank something new, making a bid to move from cellphone mogul to stem cell czar, according to a Guardian Co./Press Association report.

Click below to read more

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U.S. sued for monitoring troops' blogs

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

The U.S. digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing the federal government for details of how the U.S. Army monitors soldiers' blogs [1 MB PDF].

The activity echoes similar restrictions on Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan [Text | Video].

Click below to read more.

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