Bill Gates (the philanthropist, not the technologist) capped off the “reboot” segment of today’s TED speeches with a presentation about two of the important global problems the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have been addressing since Gates retired from day-to-day operations at Microsoft: eradicating malaria and boosting education.
With regard to the Malaria issue, Gates noted that though the disease claims the lives of one million victims each year, this is a greatly reduced number from when Malaria was a global epidemic a hundred years ago. Now, the epidemic is centralized in poorer countries, whereas first-world nations have largely dismissed the problem. In fact, Gates noted more money was spent on developing baldness medication than on curing malaria – Malaria simply isn’t the rich man’s problem.
Gates then proceeded to release a handful of mosquitoes into the air, joking that there was no reason that only poor people should get malaria. These mosquitoes obviously didn’t carry the disease, though the surprise move drew more than a few nervous laughs from the 1,300 in attendance.
In between Tim Berners-Lee and Nandan Nilekani’s featured presentations at this year's TED conference, past-TED speaker Cindy Gallop announced the launch of her new website: Make Love Not Porn (NSFW, so we won’t link it). The feisty New York advertising exec, who last year gave a speech called “The Toyboy Manifesto” (about relationships between older women and younger men) started the site to debunk the myths that hardcore pornography is teaching about sex. Using some saucy language, Gallop claimed that internet pornography has become a de-facto substitute for sex education for today’s youth, and wants the site to become a open dialogue on the cultural meaning of sex. So far, the new site has only one entry.
If you check the list of hot topics on Twitter right now, you’ll fine #TED at the top of the list. That’s because today is the opening day of the annual TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference, a prestigious gathering of just over 1000 of the world’s most influential thinkers, entertainers, and futurists. This private event (registration costs $6,000, and that’s only after you’re invited) hosts a series a thought-provoking presentations aimed at stimulating the minds of attendees who are then encouraged to engage in an exchange of ideas throughout the week-long session.
Past speakers include Al Gore, JJ Abrams, and Jeff Bezos, who each gave provocative talks about their passions and innovations. This year’s lineup includes Green Auto Pioneer Shai Agassi, web pioneer Tim Berners-Lee, and one Bill Gates. The public typically has to wait several months before videos of these 18-minute long TED talks get uploaded, but we’ve received special access to the live stream of the main stage. Over the next three days, we’ll be posting recaps of tech-related talks to give you some insight into what goes on in this exclusive and enlightening forum. Keep tabs on our TED coverage by clicking this link!
For the many MaximumPC.com readers who wrote that two or three Windows 7 SKUs was all that Microsoft needs to offer, the news that Windows 7 will be available in six flavors (Starter, Home Basic, Enterprise, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate) may seem like throwing gasoline on an already-raging fire. However, before you start reformatting your Windows 7 partitions, take a look at Windows GM Mike Ybarra's reasoning. Here's a bit of it:
The first change in Windows 7 was to make sure that editions of Windows 7 are a superset of one another. That is to say, as customers upgrade from one version to the next, they keep all features and functionality from the previous edition...The second change is that we have designed Windows 7 so different editions of Windows 7 can run on a very broad set of hardware, from small-notebook PCs (sometimes referred to as netbooks) to full gaming desktops...
Although Windows 7 will be available in six SKUs, most of the emphasis will be on just two. To find out which SKUs are expected to do the heavy sales lifting and how the editions differ, join us after the break.
MySpace announced this week that they’ve happily booted 90,000 registered sex offenders from their social networking site. But, as some research would reveal many of them simply took this in stride and made their way over to Facebook to do their business.
Former New York City police officer John Cardillo, and now CEO of Sentinel, a security technology firm based out of Miami, has said that Facebook is a “safe haven” for sex offenders. Notably, Facebook isn’t currently a client of his service.
After these gentlemen were booted from MySpace he did a search on Facebook for many of the same names. “We found over 8,000 offenders on their site without much effort,” stated Cardillo. “My professional opinion is that the real number is 15 to 20 times that.”
Cardillo’s Sentinel works by searching a gigantic database identify sex offenders. The database of offenders consists of more than 700,000 names, photos, dates of birth, email and IM addresses, and other “important data points.”
Well, let’s think of it this way – at least they probably don’t have access to Google’s Latitude.
Stalking your friends and family (and others?) just became a lot easier thanks to Google’s latest app for your mobile device, Latitude. The app simply works by using location-based technology built into one’s cell phone to track their every movement, so you can know exactly where they are, at all times.
Currently Latitude is available for Google’s G1, color-screen BlackBerrys, most Windows Mobile devices as well as other assorted smart phones. Google has mentioned that they’re working on a version for the iPhone, iPod touch and Sony Ericcson phones.
Sadly for Google, they’re a tiny bit late to the party, as other applications such as Loopt and Where are already following people on plenty of devices. But, given the name-power of a company such as Google (as well as the admittedly good work they do), there’s little doubt that this will catch on to be as popular, if not more, than the other guys.
Sound a little creepy? Well, truthfully it is. But, when you think of it as a tool for weary parents to keep track of their kids, or weary kids keeping track of their elderly parents it does make a little bit of sense.
According to a report recently published by the FBI, the most stolen gadgets here in the US are laptops, followed closely by cell phones and their smartphone counterparts. And the report is quick to note that the theft numbers of these items is continuing to rise.
Back in 2008 there were 109,000 stolen laptops, and only 18 percent of those made it back to their owners. During the same year nearly 80,000 cell phones were given the five-finger discount, which is an increase of 33 percent from 2006.
TVs are a hot item on the list as well, with 53,000 of them stolen in 2008. Many of these were LCD TVs, which are apparently much easier to steal thanks to their smaller profile. This number is a 130 percent increase from 2006.
Let this be extra incentive to you, folks! Keep your gadgets safe at all times, don’t let them talk to strangers and hope that if they are taken, that you’re in the lucky fraction that get theirs back. We’d certainly want you to be.
According to a report by DigiTimes, Kingston Technology is vouching for memory chip maker ProMOS Technologies and has agreed to act as a guarantor for the latter's application for a syndicated loan worth approximately $148 million. Of that $148 million, which is to be paid by nine local banks, Kingston has reportedly agreed to guarantee somewhere between $44 to $60 million.
Memory chip makers have found themselves in dire straights over slumping memory prices and an unforgiving global economy. The situation has gotten so bad that Qimonda, one of the world's top 10 memory chip suppliers, recently filed for bankruptcy. ProMOS has also been struggling, suffering losses adding up to $675 million in the first three quarters of 2008. Earlier this month, ProMOS submitted its application for a government-led bailout package.
Finally answering the call first made in 2003 and ultimately "deferred to a future release," Sun Microsystems is giving users a 64-bit plugin integrated into Java 6 Update 12. The new update also includes a 64-bit version of Webstart, a framework which offers end-users the ability to start Java applications over a network or the internet.
The 64-bit plugin is required for 64-bit browsers and comes included as part of the Java Runtime Environment. Users planning to run 32-bit and 64-bit browser interchangeably must install both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the JRE.
In addition to the 64-bit plugin, Java 6 Update 12 offers official Windows 2008 support, better performance, and no less than 140 bug fixes.
Garmin and Asus today announced a "strategic alliance" to build and sell co-branded Nuvifones. The partnership won't result in a new company, but any smarthphone released by either company will be co-branded and carry the Nuvifone name, seemingly ending any speculation of an impending Eee Phone.
"Garmin and ASUS have already begun joint development on a diverse mobile phone product line, which will be known as the Garmin-Asus nüvifone™ series," the two companies stated in a press release. "The companies expect to bring to market several Garmin-Asus nüvifone models in 2009, and a new Garmin-Asus nüvifone model will be announced at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain, February 16-19, 2009."
The first smartphone the two new BFFs will release is the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone G60 scheduled for release sometime before June. No word yet on price or carrier, but it appears most likely the G60 will find a home with AT&T and T-Mobile. After that, the two will follow it up with an unannounced model not expected to utilize Google's Android platform. Instead, the followup smartphone will be based on another "major platform," which the smart money puts on Windows Mobile.