When you find a groovy tune, it's a tough task to turn the dial down below ear shattering levels, and if that statement needed any quantifiable proof, it now has it. According to a study for the European Union, personal music players are threatening permanent hearing loss for as many as 10 million Europeans.
A team of nine experts on the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks conducted the study and warned that most young people aren't aware of the damage until years after it's already done.
"Regularly listening to personal music players at high-volume settings when young often has no immediate effect on hearing but is likely to result in hearing loss later in life," the report said.
Listening to music for just five hours a week at high-volume settings can expose your ears to more noise than permitted in the loudest factory or workplace, and if you have a particularly good set of headphones, cranking up the volume to its highest setting can punish your hears as much as the sound of an airplane taking off.
The new study is one of just several to warn of long-term hearing loss among today's youth, but the older generation might be just as susceptible. Some estimates put the total number of EU residents listening to portable music players at anywhere from 50 million to 100 million out of a total population of 500 million.
If you can't avoid the temptation to avoid cranking up the volume, you might consider investing in crappier music.
It doesn't matter that the first-generation iPhone lacked 3G functionality or that early adopters were slapped in the face so quickly after its release. Even intentional bricking through a firmware update hasn't been enough to knock Apple's iPhone off its pedestal as the must-have cellular phone for geeks and hipsters alike. Can T-Mobile's HTC G1 Android phone deliver the right hook and make this a fight?
It's far too early to tell, but early indications look promising. According to the Motley Fool, T-Mobile subscribers have already gobbled up all of the available preorders for initial shipments of the G1, prompting T-Mobile to triple its order with handset maker HTC. Those have sold out too. All tallied, roughly 1.5 million G1s are already accounted for, with another couple million reserved for retail sales.
That still puts the G1 far behind the 10 million iPhones Apple said it would like to sell this year, but it's a good start for a phone that hasn't even been released yet and still won't be for another couple of weeks. And if the G1 is going to have any chance at taking a bite out of Apple, it's going to need to come out strong and convince buyers there's more to the Android platform than hype.
Anyone plan on picking one up or already placed a preorder? Hit the jump and sound off.
You won't find Lord British ruling over Britannia anymore, and after doing all that he could for the Ultima universe, Richard Garriott has started exploring ours. Literally. Garriott blasted off into space today in the Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft mounted on a three-stage rocket. The $30 million flight ticket buys Garriot a 10-day excursion to the International Space Station (ISS).
While he might be the first virtual Lord to blast into space, he isn't the first in this family. That distinction belongs to Richard's father, Owen Garriott, who spent three months on a U.S. space station back in 1973, almost a decade before the first Ultima game saw store shelves. Owen, now 77, will support his 47-year-old son from mission control in Moscow.
Richard won't be collecting runes in space, but he doesn't plan to sit idly by, either. To help pay back companies who he says have contributed a "meaningful percentage" towards the ticket price, Garriott plans to carry out an experiment on behalf of the contributors, which involves protein crystal growth.
Citing industry sources, DigiTimes reports Asus will soon add a motherboard line to what's quickly becoming a very crowded Eee series. Details remain nonexistent at this point, but if it happens, we could find ourselves on the brink of a new fad, specifically the DIY nettop market.
In other Eee news, Asus' upcoming Eee Top (formerly known as the Eee Monitor), an all-in-one PC, is coming in 16-inch and 19-inch versions with the cost of entry starting at $450, according to DigiTimes. If earlier reports hold true, the touchscreen device will come powered with a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, 160GB of hard drive space, a webcam, and various ports all riding on Windows XP.
Asus also addressed reports that its Eee Box systems were shipping with a virus. The company said an internal investigation revealed the virus most likely got onto systems through a USB key that's used for testing and inspection, further clarifying that the rogue file is only launched on models intended for the Japan market. The investigation remains open.
This weekend, Microsoft quietly rolled out a preview release of the Microsoft PC Advisor to select members of the Windows Feedback Program. (Members of the Windows Feedback Program agree to let Microsoft monitor their machines closely, and Microsoft uses that data to determine what types of problems real users experience.) The invitation to try out the PC Advisor made some intriguing promises—the app will monitor our PC for problems and give solutions in real time and it will monitor system settings for potential pitfalls. The survey that preceded our download was even more interesting, it hinted that Microsoft's ultimate goal for the new app is complete Apple domination. Hit the jump for our full report on Microsoft’s new PC Advisor, the Apple tie-in, a whole bunch of screenshots and the first-hands on report we've read so far.
Linus Tovalds the proverbial godfather of Linux announced the official release of a new kernel on Friday bringing it up to version 2.6.27. The new version adds both ath9k wireless drivers from Atheros, and a new gspca driver which will drastically increase the number of webcams supported by the OS out of box. Some of the changes such as “function tracing framework” and “memory-mapped IO’s” are mostly for developers, but this isn’t all that was included. The performance improvements to the Ext4 file system are rumored to be substantial and a new file system called UBIFS was implemented for flash storage devices. Perhaps the most significant change however from 2.6.26 (only 3 months ago) was in the scalability of the OS. Support for up to 4096 processors now works out of box and I for one would like to try out the system they were testing this feature with. A full log of the changes has been released and you can read either the translated or developer editions for more information. Oh and did we mention that Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) received some pretty impressive looking new wallpapers?
It’s hard to read a music industry headline these days without finding the words “lawyer” and “lawsuit” somewhere in the body. This time however, the legal cannon of EMI was pointed not just at MP3tunes.com but also its founder Michael Robertson who is likely sleeping much easier this week. A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit against Robertson, but is still allowing the case against his company to continue. Suing the CEO of a company is considered a fairly dirty tactic within the industry but is often an effective means to help intimidate leaders into a settlement. The lawsuit continuing through the courts goes right to the root of MP3tunes current business model which allows customers to upload their music to “digital lockers”. Customers are then able to access their collection on nearly any web enabled device. According to Robertson the case against MP3tunes is unique. Specifically, “it will determine if it is permissible for consumers to store their music in online commercial services for everywhere access, directly analogous to the way they currently store documents, photos, and other personal data in cloud services." The verdict on this case could set an interesting precedent when it comes to storing your copyrighted data in the cloud. Fair use is an evolving definition which is too important to be left to stakeholders to decide. The question here is will the legal system allow common sense and the greater public good to prevail?
Despite the strides that have been made with high-end air coolers, serious overclockers still turn to water to gain that extra cooling edge, and with it a few extra MHz as well. But diving into water can often be a costly venture, particularly in the prebuilt sector. Or at least it used to be.
The good news is you can now purchase a pre-assembled OEM rig with water running through its veins. The sub-$1000 watercooled PC - being called the Red Blizzard - comes courtesy of Visionman Computers and will be sold through WidowPC. Providing the watercooling is CoolIT's PURE CPU cooler, an all-in-one solution that combines a radiator, pump module, and CPU Fluid Heat Exchanger (FHE) into a single apparatus which, by itself, streets for around a C-note.
The bad news is that you won't find any voodoo magic taking place behind the budget price tag. At the heart of the system sits a modest Intel E5200 processor nestled in an Asus P5N73-AM motherboard based on the aging nForce 650i chipset. Other components include 2GB of DDR2-800 RAM, a 500GB Western Digital hard drive, a single LiteOn 20X DVD burner, and a 9600GT videocard with a 512MB frame buffer. To be fair, there isn't much of a markup on the individual parts, but we can't imagine this self-described "disturbingly powerful" system will live up to its promise of "blow[ing] the socks off all the latest titles."
October's Patch Tuesday's bigger than normal, with 11 security bulletins (four critical, six important, and one moderate) affecting the following desktop operating systems and applications:
Internet Explorer 5.01, 6, and 7 on Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP, and Windows Vista get patched to stop a remote code execution threat
Windows XP SP2 and SP3 and Windows XP Professional x64 and XP Professional x64 SP2 will be patched to stop elevation of privilege attacks
Windows 2000 SP4 through Windows Vista SP1 will also be as updated needed to prevent remote code execution
Microsoft Excel 2000 SP3, Excel 2002, Excel 2003 SP2/SP3, and Excel 2007/2007 SP1 will be updated against a critical vulnerability, as will Excel Viewer 2003/2003 SP3, Excel Viewer, and MS Office Compatibility Pack and Compatibility Pack's SP1.
What else is coming down the chute starting Tuesday?
Windows Vista Media Center gets a pair of updates (one for the TV Pack, and one for everyone), as well as the usual updates to the Malicious Software Removal Tool, Windows Mail Junk Email Filter and Customer/Windows Vista Experience Improvement Program.
However, the biggest news is the premiere of the Microsoft Active Protections Program and Exploitability Index we told you about in August. Hopefully, these programs will aid the never-ending battle against the bad guys in cyberspace.
Intense customer backlash has forced the online music arm of Wal-Mart to reverse its position on its controversial plan to deactivate all DRM authentication servers on October 9th. The move would have left countless customers with music files that could never be re-authenticated should they wish to play them on a new PC. Deactivating DRM server’s isn’t a new trend, but the announcement differed from other vendors simply because of the sheer lack of notice customers were given to backup music. The first notice only went out on September 28th giving a mere two weeks warning. For those who aren’t sure if they are affected, the DRM servers are only necessary for authenticating tracks purchased prior to February 2008. In February the retailer made the popular shift from DRM-ed WMA’s to unprotected MP3’s.
Even though the servers are safe for now, the vaguely worded email from Wal-Mart continues to urge customers to make backups of their music by burning them on CD. Music burned to an audio CD can be copied back to your hard drive DRM free using many free applications such as iTunes, but unfortunately not without an unavoidable loss of quality. No new dates are given for the server deactivation but the email doesn’t suggest the retailer’s commitment to the DRM servers will be long term. With the industry shift to copy protection free music well underway, this and other similar announcements are a lesson to us all. No authentication server (Apple included) is likely to be around forever. Now is as good a time as any to backup your tunes.