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    Sunday, September 28, 2008

    Reuters - Nintendo to launch camera, music-capable DS: report

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    Nintendo to launch camera, music-capable DS: report

    Sunday, Sep 28, 2008 4:26AM UTC

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co Ltd plans to launch a new model of its DS handheld machine that can take pictures and play music by the end of the year, the Nikkei business daily said on Sunday.

    The move would pit the top-selling portable game gear with Apple Inc iPod and camera-embedded cellphones in general.

    The price for the new machine, which will also be equipped with advanced wireless communications functions, is expected to be below 20,000 yen ($189) in Japan, compared with 16,800 yen for the current model, the Nikkei said.

    The Wii game console and DS have been Nintendo's twin growth engines, helping its share price to grow more than three-fold over the past three years.

    The DS far outsells Sony Corp's rival machine, PlayStation Portable (PSP), globally.

    But in Japan, the PSP's unit sales exceeded the DS's in five consecutive months through July, according to game magazine publisher Enterbrain, in a potential sign of slowing momentum for the current DS model.

    Nintendo officials were not immediately available for comment.

    ($1=105.97 Yen)

    (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

    Reuters - Hole in Adobe software allows free movie downloads

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    Hole in Adobe software allows free movie downloads

    Saturday, Sep 27, 2008 12:3PM UTC

    By Daisuke Wakabayashi

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - A security hole in Adobe Systems Inc software, used to distribute movies and TV shows over the Internet, is giving users free access to record and copy from Inc's video streaming service.

    The problem exposes online video content to the rampant piracy that plagued the music industry during the Napster era and is undermining efforts by retailers, movie studios and television networks to cash in on a huge Web audience.

    "It's a fundamental flaw in the Adobe design. This was designed stupidly," said Bruce Schneier, a security expert who is also the chief security technology officer at British Telecom.

    The flaw rests in Adobe's Flash video servers that are connected to the company's players installed in nearly all of the world's Web-connected computers.

    The software doesn't encrypt online content, but only orders sent to a video player such as start and stop play. To boost download speeds, Adobe dropped a stringent security feature that protects the connection between the Adobe software and its players.

    "Adobe is committed to the security of all of our products, from our players to our server software. Adobe invests a considerable amount of ongoing effort to help protect users from potential vulnerabilities," it said in a statement.

    Adobe said it issued a security bulletin earlier this month about how best to protect online content and called on its customers to couple its software security with a feature that verifies the validity of its video player.

    An Amazon spokesman said content on the company's Video On Demand service, which offers as many as 40,000 movies and TV shows on its Web site, cannot be pirated using video stream catching software.

    However, in tests by Reuters, at least one program to record online video, the Replay Media Catcher from Applian Technologies, recorded movies from Amazon and other sites that use Adobe's encryption technology together with its video player verification.

    "Adobe's (stream) is not really encrypted," said Applian CEO Bill Dettering. "One of the downfalls with how they have architected the software is that people can capture the streams. I fully expect them to do something more robust in the near future."


    The free demo version of Replay Media Catcher allows anyone to watch 75 percent of anything recorded and 100 percent of YouTube videos. For $39, a user can watch everything recorded.

    One Web site -- -- explains step-by-step how to use the video stream catching software.'s Adobe-powered Video On Demand service allows viewers to watch the first two minutes of a movie or TV show for free. It charges up to $3.99 to rent a movie for 24 hours and up to $14.99 to download a movie permanently.

    Amazon starts to stream the entire movie during the free preview -- even though it pauses the video on the Web browser after the first two minutes -- so that users can start watching the rest of the video right away once they pay.

    "It's the traditional trade-off, convenience on the one hand and security on the other," said Ray Valdes, analyst at research group Gartner.

    However, even if a user doesn't pay, the stream still sends the movie to the video catching software, but not the browser.

    Amazon's Video On Demand is the Web retailer's answer to declining sales of packaged movies and TV shows and the growth in demand for digital content that can be viewed and stored on the Internet.

    Unlike Amazon, videos from, and are already free although the TV programs are interrupted by commercials. However, the stream catching software separates the commercials and the program into two separate folders, so people can keep the programs without the advertising., a video Web site owned by News Corp's Fox network and General Electric Co's NBC Universal, was the big networks' answer to YouTube, the popular video-sharing Web site where many users began uploading TV shows and other content owned by media companies.

    The networks scrambled to post videos on their own sites in a bid to capture another stream of advertising revenue from a growing audience, but they have struggled with how best to show commercials which fund the programing when played on the Web.

    YouTube, which started the online video boom before being bought by Google Inc for $1.65 billion in November 2006, has also struggled to cash in on its popularity even though its user base continues to mushroom.


    One possible solution would be to protect the video with a digital rights management (DRM) system. A Seattle-based company called Widevine Technologies has a DRM system that can encrypt online videos using Flash.

    "The fundamental problem here is that Adobe's lack of technology is not allowing the business models to be preserved," said Widevine Chief Executive Brian Baker.

    The lack of content protection, according to Baker, threatens all the business models used today to fund video on the Web.

    Apple Inc, which sells movies and television shows at its online iTunes store, uses its own DRM technology called FairPlay, but it only works for video bought on iTunes.

    Forrester analyst James McQuivey said he doesn't believe the video stream catching technology will entirely derail the advertising-supported business model used by the networks for online video.

    "It's too complicated for most users," said McQuivey, noting that file-sharing services like BitTorrent already exist but only a small percentage of people use them.

    "People want something easy to find and easy to use."

    (Editing by Peter Henderson, Richard Chang)

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    USA TODAY - Largest particle collider conducts successful test

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    The world's largest particle collider passed its first major test by firing a beam of protons around a 17-mile underground ring Wednesday in what scientists hope is the next great step to understanding the makeup of the universe.

    After a series of trial runs, two white dots flashed on a computer screen at 10:26 a.m. indicating that the protons had traveled the full length of the $3.8 billion Large Hadron Collider described as the biggest physics experiment in history.

    "There it is," project leader Lyn Evans said when the beam completed its lap.

    Champagne corks popped in labs as far away as Chicago, where contributing and competing scientists watched the proceedings by satellite. Physicists around the world now have much greater power to smash the components of atoms together in attempts to learn about their structure.

    "Well done, everybody," said Robert Aymar, director-general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, to cheers from the assembled scientists in the collider's control room at the Swiss-French border.

    The organization, known by its French acronym CERN, began firing the protons a type of subatomic particle around the tunnel in stages less than an hour earlier, with the first beam injection at 9:35 a.m.

    Now that the beam has been successfully tested in a clockwise direction, CERN plans to send it counterclockwise. Eventually two beams will be fired in opposite directions with the aim of recreating conditions a split second after the big bang, which scientists theorize was the massive explosion that created the universe.

    "My first thought was relief," said Evans, who has been working on the project since its inception in 1984. "This is a machine of enormous complexity. Things can go wrong at any time. But this morning has been a great start."

    He didn't want to set a date, but said that he expected scientists would be able to conduct collisions for their experiments "within a few months."

    The collider is designed to push the proton beam close to the speed of light, whizzing 11,000 times a second around the tunnel.

    Scientists hope to eventually send two beams of protons through two tubes about the width of fire hoses, speeding through a vacuum that is colder and emptier than outer space. The paths of these beams will cross, and a few protons will collide. The collider's two largest detectors essentially huge digital cameras weighing thousands of tons are capable of taking millions of snapshots a second.

    The CERN experiments could reveal more about "dark matter," antimatter and possibly hidden dimensions of space and time. It could also find evidence of the hypothetical particle the Higgs boson which is sometimes called the "God particle" because it is believed to give mass to all other particles, and thus to matter that makes up the universe.

    The supercooled magnets that guide the proton beam heated slightly in the morning's testing, leading to a pause to recool them before trying the opposite direction.

    The start of the collider came over the objections of some who feared the collision of protons could eventually imperil the Earth by creating micro-black holes, subatomic versions of collapsed stars whose gravity is so strong they can suck in planets and other stars.

    "It's nonsense," said James Gillies, chief spokesman for CERN.

    CERN was backed by leading scientists like Britain's Stephen Hawking, who declared the experiments to be absolutely safe.

    Gillies told the AP that the most dangerous thing that could happen would be if a beam at full power were to go out of control, and that would only damage the accelerator itself and burrow into the rock around the tunnel.

    Nothing of the sort occurred Wednesday, though the accelerator is still probably a year away from full power.

    The project organized by the 20 European member nations of CERN has attracted researchers from 80 nations. Some 1,200 are from the United States, an observer country that contributed $531 million. Japan, another observer, also is a major contributor.

    Some scientists have been waiting for 20 years to use the LHC.

    The complexity of manufacturing it required groundbreaking advances in the use of supercooled, superconducting equipment. The 2001 start and 2005 completion dates were pushed back by two years each, and the cost of the construction was 25% higher than originally budgeted in 1996, Luciano Maiani, who was CERN director-general at the time, told The Associated Press.

    Maiani and the other three living former directors-general attended the launch Wednesday.

    Smaller colliders have been used for decades to study the makeup of the atom. Less than 100 years ago scientists thought protons and neutrons were the smallest components of an atom's nucleus, but in stages since then experiments have shown they were made of still smaller quarks and gluons and that there were other forces and particles.

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    Reuters - RIM launches first BlackBerry flip phone

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    RIM launches first BlackBerry flip phone

    Wednesday, Sep 10, 2008 4:5PM UTC

    By Wojtek Dabrowski

    TORONTO (Reuters) - Research In Motion Ltd is launching a flip version of its popular BlackBerry Pearl smartphone, a move that reasserts its push into the retail consumer market.

    Like RIM's original Pearl model, the first-ever flip BlackBerry comes loaded with multimedia features such as a video and music player and a 2-megapixel camera with flash, as well as a Web browser and an abridged keyboard.

    "Seventy percent of the mobile phone users in the United States use a flip," RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said in an interview. "There's never been a smartphone or a BlackBerry option for that."

    He added the new device is "extremely important" to capturing more retail users.

    The new clamshell flip BlackBerry will be available around the world starting this autumn. In the United States, T-Mobile will be the exclusive launch carrier. No pricing details were immediately available.

    RIM's volatile shares jumped early on Wednesday, rising $3.37, or 3.4 percent, to $102.67 on the Nasdaq market. In Toronto, they rose C$4.20 to C$110.23.

    The first, candy-bar-shaped version of the Pearl was launched in September 2006 to rave reviews and strong sales. Its success was a key factor behind the Waterloo, Ontario-based company's ability to deliver banner results throughout the rest of that year and in 2007.

    The Pearl also allowed RIM to broaden its market beyond its mainstay of executives, lawyers, politicians and other professionals who use the BlackBerry to send work e-mail securely.

    RIM has more than 16 million subscribers. It says that "non-enterprise" customers -- the company's term for small and medium businesses and consumers -- now represent more than 40 percent of that total.

    The drive for retail consumers has put the company in more direct competition with hardware makers such as Apple and its iPhone, as well as Motorola and Nokia. Balsillie has repeatedly dismissed competitive concerns and they have yet to translate into lower sales.

    Despite that, RIM's shares have lost about a third of their value since setting a year high of $148.13 on the Nasdaq in June.

    Most analysts continue to recommend RIM's shares to investors, according to Reuters Knowledge. Some cite a strong slate of upcoming product launches including the recently unveiled BlackBerry Bold, as well as continuing strong demand for smartphones.

    Asked whether the market should expect RIM to launch additional BlackBerry models before the end of the calendar year, Balsillie replied: "We're far from done."

    ($1=$1.07 Canadian)

    (Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Peter Galloway)

    Monday, September 8, 2008

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    CNN - Multibillion-dollar experiment to probe nature's mysteries

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    Multibillion-dollar experiment to probe nature's mysteries

    Deep underground on the border between France and Switzerland, the world's largest particle accelerator complex will explore the world on smaller scales than any human invention has explored before.

    The Large Hadron Collider will look at how the universe formed by analyzing particle collisions. Some have expressed fears that the project could lead to the Earth's demise -- something scientists say will not happen. Still, skeptics have filed suit to try to stop the project. It even has a rap dedicated to it on YouTube.

    Scientists say the collider is finally ready for an attempt to circulate a beam of protons the whole way around the 17-mile tunnel. The test, which takes place Wednesday, is a major step toward seeing if the the immense experiment will provide new information about the way the universe works.

    "It's really a generation that we've been looking forward to this moment, and the moments that will come after it in particular," said Bob Cousins, deputy to the scientific leader of the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment, one of six experiments inside the collider complex. "September 10 is a demarcation between finishing the construction and starting to turn it on, but the excitement will only continue to grow."

    The collider consists of a particle accelerator buried more than 300 feet near Geneva, Switzerland. About $10 billion have gone into the accelerator's construction, the particle detectors and the computers, said Katie Yurkewicz, spokewoman for CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which is host to the collider.

    In the coming months, the collider is expected to begin smashing particles into each other by sending two beams of protons around the tunnel in opposite directions. It will operate at higher energies and intensities in the next year, and the experiments could generate enough data to make a discovery by 2009, experts say.

    Testing the unknown

    Experts say the collider has the potential to confirm theories about questions that physicists have been working on for decades including the possible existence of extra dimensions. They also hope to find a theoretical particle called the Higgs boson, which has never been detected, but would help explain why matter has mass.

    The collider will recreate the conditions of less than a millionth of a second after the Big Bang, when there was a hot "soup" of tiny particles called quarks and gluons, to look at how the universe evolved, said John Harris, U.S. coordinator for ALICE, a detector specialized to analyze that question.

    Since this is exploratory science, the collider may uncover surprises that contradict prevailing theories, but which are just as interesting, said Joseph Lykken, theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

    "When Columbus sails west, he thought he was going to find something. He didn't find what he thought he was going to find, but he did find something interesting," said Lykken, who works on the Compact Muon Solenoid, one of six experiments inside the collider complex.

    Why should the layperson care about this particular exploration? Years ago, when electrons were first identified, no one knew what they were good for, but they have since transformed our entire economy, said Howard Gordon, deputy research program manager for the collider's ATLAS experiment.

    "The transformative effect of this research will be to understand the world we live in much better," said Gordon, at Brookhaven National Laboratory. "It's important for just who we are, what we are."

    Black hole fears are "baloney"

    Fears have emerged that the collider could produce black holes that could suck up anything around them -- including the whole Earth. Such fears prompted legal actions in the U.S. and Europe to halt the operation of the Large Hadron Collider, alleging safety concerns regarding black holes and other phenomena that could theoretically emerge.

    Although physicists acknowledge that the collider could, in theory, create small black holes, they say they do not pose any risk. A study released Friday by CERN scientists explains that any black hole created would be tiny, and would not have enough energy to stick around very long before dissolving. Five collider collaborators who did not pen the report independently told CNN there would be no danger from potential black holes.

    John Huth, who works on the collider's ATLAS experiment, called such fears "baloney" in a recent interview, and noted that in normal physics, even if the black hole were stable, it could just pass through the Earth without being detected or without interacting at all.

    "The gravitational force is so weak that you'd have to wait many, many, many, many, many lifetimes of the universe before one of these things could [get] big enough to even get close to being a problem," said Huth, professor of physics at Harvard University.

    At the scene

    When visiting the general-purpose detectors CMS and ATLAS at the Large Hadron Collider, Lykken said he was awed that 30,000 tons of electronics would have to work without anyone fiddling with them all the time.

    "It just blows you away to look at these things and realize they're not only incredibly complex and huge, but they have to actually work," he said. "They have to work without people banging on them all day because they're sitting underground all by themselves."

    With twice as much iron as the Eiffel Tower, CMS will run at full power for the first time in conjunction with the first beam test Wednesday, Lykken said. The magnet serves to bend particles, whizzing by at almost the speed of light, to figure out what kind of particles they are.

    Although the detector's parts weigh thousands of tons, in previous trials of CMS at lower power, the magnet actually yanked certain parts around because of its power, Lykken said.

    "You're talking about such incredible power inside both the accelerator and detectors that you never really know until you turn it all on what's going to happen," he said.

    Scientists around the world are pumped for the first beam. Fermilab, the high energy physics lab in Batavia, Illinois, and major collaborator on the Large Hadron Collider, will be host of a "pajama party" at 1:30 a.m. CT that includes a live connection to CERN to follow the action.

    Cousins believes that because the collider pushes the frontiers of science and technology, it would be "amazingly impressive if it works the first try," he said in a phone interview from CERN. Any little disturbance of the magnetic field anywhere in the tunnel could stop the beam from making it all the way around.

    Still, after a 25-year wait, he's not complaining. "I personally will be fine if there's some problem that has to be overcome in the next few days," he said.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008


    wtf man. summer is over. had man fun. mad shows. can't believe the year is almost over. wow. what does fall 08 have in store? so much stuff i want tp do man. want to start making money blogging. bout to start a comic blog. i feel i can a lil money on that. i feel real bad about what's happened to this blog. but all bad. i learnt a lot selling this blog out. i learnt about buzz words and traffic and all that. would really like to take things further. we'll szee where things go.

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    New world order

    Reuters - Sony launches new PSP in Japan to battle Nintendo DS

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    Sony launches new PSP in Japan to battle Nintendo DS

    Tuesday, Sep 02, 2008 11:54AM UTC

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp's <6758.T> game unit said on Tuesday it will launch a new model of its PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld machine on October 16 in Japan, its latest bid to challenge Nintendo Co Ltd's <7974.OS> market-leading DS.

    The PSP-3000, unveiled in August, comes with a built-in microphone and advanced liquid crystal display (LCD) panel that is better suited for use outdoors and offers a shorter response time than the existing machine.

    A quicker response makes moving pictures look seamless and natural, while the process of making phone calls on the PSP becomes easier with the built-in microphone. The PSP already supports a Skype Web phone function.

    "The LCD is the face of a PSP, and it is an important feature of the 3000 model," Sony Computer Entertainment Japan President Shawn Layden told a news conference in Japanese.

    The new machine will sell for 19,800 yen ($182), the same price as the current PSP model and compared with 16,800 yen for the DS.

    Sony sold 3.72 million units of the PSP in April-June worldwide, while Nintendo's DS sold 6.94 million units.

    The PSP, however, has outsold the DS in recent months in Japan, helped by Capcom Co Ltd's <9697.T> popular hunting action game "Monster Hunter Freedom 2G".

    In a move to spur holiday demand for the PSP, game software maker Square Enix Co Ltd <9684.T> plans to launch "Dissidia Final Fantasy", the latest version of its blockbuster "Final Fantasy" game series, for the Sony machine on December 18.

    Shares in Sony closed down 1.7 percent at 4,070 yen ahead of the announcement, while Nintendo fell 2.4 percent to 52,400 yen and the benchmark Nikkei average <.N225> was down 1.8 percent.

    (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Michael Watson)

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