Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
IDG News Service - Last week, Facebook announced that it had amassed 500 million users, a formidable portion of the global Internet audience. But even as Mark Zuckerberg and company celebrates, others are busy trying to uproot Facebook's popularity by establishing a set of open standards to share Facebook-like features across the Internet.
Just like open standards for e-mail and the Web broke users free from proprietary closed networks of the early 1990s, so too could a new set of standards allow people to share their thoughts, photos and comments across the Internet, regardless of what social networking services they use, argued Evan Prodromou, head of open source microblogging software provider StatusNet, during the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON), held in Portland, Oregon last week.
Open-source social, or "open social," networking services are not new. StatusNet has been running an open source implementation of its Twitter-like microblogging service for several years, called Indenti.ca. But no open-source service has gained Facebook- or Twitter-proportioned success.
Now, the developers behind such services are changing their pitch: Instead of stressing the open-source nature of their services and software, they are emphasizing how the interoperability of such offerings could free users -- and their data -- from the locks of any one social-networking service.
Prior to OSCON, a number of social-networking software developers gathered for an informal summit to discuss interoperability. They developed a simple test case to show how federation of social-networking services could share data.
In their example, a person uploads a photo of another person on some photo-sharing service, tagging the photo with the subject's name. The subject of that photo should automatically see the photo on his or her own preferred photo-sharing service. A friend of these two individuals who uses yet another service could see the photo and add a comment, and the message can then be relayed to the two other services.
"A federated social network would be a network of networks, using open protocols and a uniform name space that would allow anyone to participate," Prodromou said.
Such interoperability should be an inevitability, given the history of the Internet, Prodromou argued. Once some company-specific commercial technology gets really popular, it tends to be replaced by a set of open standards that multiple service providers use to offer generic versions of that feature.
E-mail is one example of this. "E-mail in 1992, 1993 was characterized by separation. We had large consumer services like CompuServe and Prodigy, with millions of users," Prodromou said. "It was used as a retention mechanism. You had to be on AOL [America Online] to e-mail someone on AOL." Governments and universities and single operator bulletin board systems (BBSes) also offered e-mail, though it was difficult relay messages across different systems.
A healthy social life may be as good for your long-term health as avoiding cigarettes, according to a massive research review released Tuesday by the journal PLoS Medicine.
Researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pooled data from 148 studies on health outcomes and social relationships — every research paper on the topic they could find, involving more than 300,000 men and women across the developed world — and found that those with poor social connections had on average 50% higher odds of death in the study's follow-up period (an average of 7.5 years) than people with more robust social ties. (See 10 smarter ways to reach your retirement goals.)
That boost in longevity is about as large as the mortality difference observed between smokers and nonsmokers, the study's authors say. And it's larger than differences in the risk of death associated with many other well-known lifestyle factors, including lack of exercise and obesity. "This is not just a few studies here and there," says Julianne Holt-Lunstad, lead author on the review and an associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young University. "I'm hoping there will be recognition from the medical community, the public-health community and even the general public about the importance of this." (See TIME's special report on how to live 100 years.)
The friend effect did not appear to vary by sex or by age, with men and women of all ages and health statuses showing roughly equal benefit. Nor were lonely people unusually susceptible to any one disease in particular. (Comment on this story.)
But if it's true that we get by with a little help from our friends, then how, exactly, do our friends do it? That is, how does "social integration" — measured by surveys and questionnaires about friends, family size, marital status and the number of household residents — influence long life? The short answer is that we don't really know yet. "The truth of the matter is that the critical evidence on psychosocial processes and health have come about only within the last 10 to 15 years — even though there's been a lot of theory on it since the 1970s," says psychology professor Bert Uchino at the University of Utah. (See TIME's special report on how to not get sick.)
That may help to explain why doctors, for the most part, have yet to embrace social support as a factor in good health, on par with smoking habits, diet or exercise. Without a good sense of the physiological mechanisms that may link feelings of loneliness, for instance, to biological markers like blood pressure and resting heart rate, it has been easy to dismiss the power of social connections as nothing more than an artifact of the data or, worse, as touchy-feely pseudoscience.
To be sure, the direct physical evidence of the health benefits of social support is much more preliminary than the population-level association reported by Holt-Lunstad. But the evidence is mounting, says Uchino, who has written widely on the physiological links between social life and health outcomes. (Uchino did not contribute to the new review in PLoS Medicine, but has collaborated with Holt-Lunstad on other projects and was, once upon a time, also her grad-school adviser.)
We turn to family and friends for obvious tangible support when we're sick — from help preparing meals to keeping track of pills, appointments and insurance forms. And caring about others may also prompt us to take better care of ourselves. "A really good example, of course, is someone who has a child," Uchino says. That new bond is often the impetus to quit smoking, to drink less or to curb any number of risky pastimes.
But the influence of social ties may be even more powerful than that. Social relationships, it seems, may also help our bodies help themselves.
Recent lab studies have shown that, in a stressful situation, blood pressure and heart rate will increase less when people are accompanied by a person who is close to them. Brain imaging also shows neurological differences between a person who is alone and a person who has support: in a lab-induced tense situation, brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region activated in times of stress, is attenuated when people have a close friend or relative alongside them. And it's not just adult stress. In an experiment published this spring, children who were allowed to talk to their mothers after a stressful encounter — giving an impromptu speech or doing math problems in public — showed increased levels of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter thought to dampen the hormonal stress response, compared with children who did not have contact with their mothers.
In one of the most famous experiments on health and social life, Sheldon Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University exposed hundreds of healthy volunteers to the common cold virus, then quarantined them for several days. Cohen showed that the study participants with more social connections and with more diverse social networks — that is, with friends from a variety of social contexts, such as work, sports teams and church — were less likely to develop a cold than the more socially isolated study participants.
The immune systems of people with lots of friends simply worked better, fighting off the cold virus often without symptoms. Studies suggest that the immune response may be affected by stress hormones — catecholamines and glucocorticoids — so that a strong social life thus affects immune function by helping people keep physiological stress in check.
But turning such research into full-fledged medical advice isn't easy. "It's hard to legislate social relationships," Holt-Lunstad says. "And we all know that some relationships are better than others, and not all relationships are entirely positive."
Since Holt-Lunstad's new study reviewed the statistical association between mortality risk and relationship quantity, rather than perceived quality, she wonders whether we wouldn't see even stronger benefits if we focused only on the good relationships. Bolstering these connections may ultimately help people stay healthier than trying to build connections between complete strangers, as in, say, a cancer support group. (Studies on the physical health benefits of support groups show mixed results.) "We need to pay better attention to naturally occurring relationships and to fostering those," Holt-Lunstad says.
The Apple iPad: can Microsoft match it?(Credit: Netflix)
"They'll be shipping as soon as they are ready," Ballmer said, offering few details on the products, which he said will come from partners, not Microsoft itself. "It is job one urgency. No one is sleeping at the switch."
Speaking to financial analysts, Ballmer said the goal is "not just to deliver products, but to deliver products that people want to buy."
As for Apple and the iPad, Ballmer said, "they've sold certainly more than I'd like them to have sold."
But he added that Microsoft has a lot of software knowledge and intellectual property from the decade it has spent in the tablet business. He said the task Microsoft faces is similar to the early days of the Netbook, when many of those machines were Linux-based. "We have got to make things happen," he said. "We're in the process of doing that as we speak. We're working with our hardware partners. We're tuning Windows 7."
Some designs will show up later this year, he said, adding that the devices will get a boost next year when Intel debuts its more power-efficient Oak Trail processor.
Update 2:38 p.m. PDT: In the question-and-answer session, talk again turned to tablets and Ballmer tried to be a little more clear on the plan, which he said will center around Windows 7 as opposed to Windows Phone and Intel rather than ARM processors, at least for the near term.
"We're coming," he said. "We're coming full guns. The operating system is called Windows."
He reiterated something he said earlier, which was that Microsoft won't allow hardware to be the limiting factor in its plans, saying that the company will design hardware where it needs to in order to have competitive products. "We will embrace what we need to embrace over time," he said.
As for timing, Ballmer said he wouldn't say if the devices would come really, really soon or pretty soon, but said, "It ain't a long time from now."
2:55: More talk on tablets in the Q and A.
"When you get your Windows 7 machine, it will print," Ballmer quipped. "Some people actually like to print every now and then."
But he said he isn't trying to minimize what Apple has done, noting they are always tough to compete against, albeit usually at the high-end of the market. As for Android in the tablet market, Ballmer said that if Microsoft can't compete against those devices: "Shame on us."
"Every day you have to prove yourself prove yourself," Ballmer said. "We'll prove ourselves."
Turner continued: "We're in it, we get it. Stay tuned."
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article may contain original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding references. Statements consisting only of original research may be removed. More details may be available on the talk page. (January 2010)
Club 33 is a private club located in the heart of the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland. Officially maintained as a secret feature of the theme park, the entrance of the club is located next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant at "33 Royal Street" with the entrance recognizable by an ornate address plate with the number 33 engraved on it. When riding Pirates of the Caribbean, just as the ride departs, the Blue Bayou restaurant is visible, but the balconies above it are actually a part of Club 33.
Club 33 members and their guests have exclusive access to the club's restaurant, and the premises are not open to the public at large. It is the only location within Disneyland to offer alcoholic beverages, though Disneyland has a park-wide liquor license and has set up bars throughout the park for private events. Club 33's wine list includes vintages priced at $200. In addition to beer and wine, Club 33 has a full bar, though patrons may not order directly from the bar and must place orders through their server.
When Walt Disney was working with various corporate promoters for his attractions at the 1964–1965 New York World's Fair, he noted the various "VIP Lounges" provided as an accommodation for the corporate elite. This gave him the idea that culminated in Club 33. When New Orleans Square was planned, this special area for corporate sponsors and VIPs was included. Disney asked artist Dorothea Redmond to paint renderings and hired Hollywood set director Emil Kuri to decorate the facility. While originally intended for exclusive use by Disneyland's Corporate sponsors and other industry VIPs, when Club 33 opened in May 1967—five months after Disney's death—individual memberships were also offered.
To enter Club 33, a guest must press a buzzer on an intercom concealed by a hidden panel in the doorway. (At one time, a member needed only to insert his/her membership card in a slot near the buzzer and the door would open. However, this process no longer works.) A receptionist will ask for their name over the intercom and, if access is granted, open the door to a small, ornate lobby. Guests have the option of going to the dining level via an antique-style glass lift. The lift is an exact replica of one Disney saw and fell in love with during a vacation in Paris, but the owner of the original refused to sell. Undaunted, Disney sent a team of engineers to the Parisian hotel to take exact measurements for use in the creation of a replica; even a sample of the original finish was taken so that it could be duplicated. A staircase to the second level wraps around the lift.
Once at the dining level, guests can view antique furniture pieces collected by Lillian Disney. The walls are adorned, in part, with butterflies pinned under glass and hand-painted animation cels from the original Fantasia film. Walt Disney also handpicked much of the Victorian bric-a-brac in New Orleans antique stores.
The club is also furnished with props from Disney films. There is a fully functional glass telephone booth just off the lift that was used in The Happiest Millionaire and an ornate walnut table with white marble top that was used in Mary Poppins. A video capture from the film on display atop the table shows actors Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber and David Tomlinson standing immediately to its left. A newly-installed bar prepares drinks for members and their guests.
A harpsichord which was rumored to have been an antique was in fact custom-built for Lillian Disney specifically for use in Club 33. The underside of the lid features a Renaissance-style painting that was actually done by Disney artists. Elton John has played this harpsichord, and it can be played by anyone who sits at it.
Walt Disney also wanted to make use of Audio-Animatronic technology within Club 33. Microphones in overhead lighting fixtures would pick up the sounds of normal conversation while an operator would respond via the characters. Though the system was never fully implemented, it was partially installed and remains so to this day. An Audio-Animatronic vulture is perched in one corner of the club's "Trophy Room." The microphones are clearly visible at the bottom of each of the room's lighting fixtures. The animal trophies (Walt inherited them from a friend), for which the room was named, have been removed by Disney family members. Photos of the room with the trophies still installed can be seen on the walls now.
In the dining room area one may walk through a door leading to the balcony. The balcony overlooks the water in the New Orleans area of the park. The shows often put on there are also very visible from the balcony.
Disneyland guests participating in the "Walk In Walt's Footsteps" tour are provided entrance to the lobby of Club 33. The tour guide will provide a brief history of the club and explain some of the artifacts in the lobby. The tour members may be photographed in the lift, but are not allowed upstairs.
 Tokyo Disneyland's Club 33
A second Club 33 is located in Tokyo Disneyland. Rather than being located in New Orleans Square, it is located on Center Street off World Bazaar. Members of Disneyland's Club 33 do not have reciprocal privileges in Tokyo Disneyland's Club 33.
 See also
 External links
- Club 33 Information: a fan website with information about Club 33.
- Club 33 review: a MousePlanet review of Club 33.
- snopes.com - Snopes article on Club 33
- Mickey the Mason - Orange County Weekly review of Club 33
- MouseOwners thread on Club 33 - Steamboat Bill's review of Club 33
Note: these websites are not official representations of Disneyland or Club 33. Neither Disney nor Club 33 maintain an official public website for the Club.
[show] Tokyo Disneyland attractions World Bazaar The Penny Arcade · The Disney Gallery · Omnibus Fantasyland Tomorrowland Westernland Adventureland Critter Country Splash Mountain · Beaver Brothers Explorer Canoes Toontown Entertainment
[show] Attractions at Disneyland-style parks Main Street, U.S.A. Fantasyland Snow White's Scary Adventures · Snow White Grotto · Pinocchio's Daring Journey · Dumbo the Flying Elephant · Casey Jr. Circus Train · Mr. Toad's Wild Ride · Cinderella Castle · Cinderella Carousel · Cinderella's Chateau · Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall · Alice in Wonderland · Mad Hatter Tea Cups · Alice's Curious Labyrinth · Peter Pan's Flight · Sleeping Beauty Castle · Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant · Sleeping Beauty's Cottage · Sword in the Stone · Pooh's Hunny Hunt · The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Adventure · Ariel's Grotto · The Beast's Castle · Pixie Hollow · Fantasy Gardens · Mickey's PhilharMagic · The Golden Mickeys · Matterhorn Bobsleds · It's a Small World · Storybook Land Canal Boats · King Arthur Carrousel Adventureland The Magic Carpets of Aladdin · Festival of the Lion King · Tarzan's Treehouse · Swiss Family Treehouse · Jungle River Cruise · Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye · Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril · Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room · The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management) · The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents Aloha e Komo Mai! · Liki Tikis · Western River Railroad Tomorrowland Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters · Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor · Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek · Stitch's Great Escape! · Stitch Encounter · Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage · Space Mountain · Astro Orbitor · Autopia · UFO Zone · Muppet Mobile Lab · Push · Captain EO · Innoventions · Starcade · Star Tours · Tomorrowland Transit Authority · Carousel of Progress Mickey's Toontown Frontierland Pocahontas Indian Village · Woody's Roundup · Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island · Big Thunder Mountain Railroad · Frontierland Shootin' Arcade · Mark Twain Riverboat · Sailing Ship Columbia · Big Thunder Ranch · The Golden Horseshoe Stage · Fantasmic! · River Rogue Keel Boats · Phantom Manor · Country Bear Jamboree · Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars · Geyser Gulch water play area New Orleans Square Critter Country Liberty Square Toy Story Land Toy Soldier Parachute Drop · Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin · RC Racer Mystic Point Mystic Manor · Mystical Garden · The Storytellers SandboxRetrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_33"
Privacy concerns at DefconJuly 22nd, 2010 by Chris in Uncategorized
I’m planning to give a pretty spectacular demonstration of cellphone insecurity at Defcon, where I will intercept the cellular phone calls of the audience without any action required on their part. As you can imagine, intercepting cellphone calls is a Very Big Deal so I wanted to announce at least some of the plan to reassure everyone of their privacy.
First and foremost – I’m not just making this stuff up. I know when to get advice from a good lawyer, and in this case I’m taking the advice of the very best there is: the EFF. They’ve been kind enough to offer their help and I’m taking it – this is what we’ve worked out.
1. If you’re in an area where your cellphone calls might be intercepted, there will be prominent warning signs about the demo including the time and date as well as a URL for more info. This will be the only time when unknown handsets will be allowed to connect; at all other times only pre-registered handsets will be granted access. You will be clearly warned that by using your cellphone during the demo you are consenting to the interception, and that you should turn your cellphone off during that time if you do not consent. A recorded message with essentially the same info will also be played whenever a call is made from the demo network.
2. The demo itself will be performed from a machine with no hard drive, only a USB key for local storage. At the end of the demo this USB key (including all logs, recordings, and other data) will be handed over to the EFF for destruction. No logs, recordings or other data will be exported from the machine except as necessary to connect calls during operation.
3. Transmit power will be kept to a maximum of 250mW (for comparison, a handset is typically 2W) and will comply with all relevant FCC regulations to operate in the band.
4. At all times, for all connected handsets, a best-effort will be made to connect calls successfully to their destination. It is unlikely that any 911 service can be provided, however a best effort will be made to connect any emergency calls to a suitable local destination.
Also, to be clear, my demonstration should not affect handsets on Verizon or Sprint in any way. The technology I’m working with is GSM and these are not GSM networks; if your handset is not capable of GSM (it must have a SIM card) then it will not possible for your calls to be intercepted by my equipment. That said, I invite all of my attendees to bring a GSM cellphone with them and participate – the more the merrier!
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Sixteen Years in Prison for Videotaping the Police?
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Gary Royer has probably seen more malt liquor bottles than most residents of Columbus will see in their lives.
He has picked up and bagged about 650 40-ounce bottles, and hundreds, if not thousands, still need to be removed.
For the past week, his summer vacation, the 50-year-old has been trying to single-handedly clean up an abandoned homeless camp along Rt. 315 just west of Downtown.
Royer said he wrote e-mails to city and state officials, including the governor's office. Someone there told him it wasn't the state's jurisdiction and that he should call the city. Sanitation officials told him to contact the city's advocate for the homeless. He sent her e-mails but hadn't heard back.Advertisement
Columbus asked a small group of homeless people to move on and started a counseling and intervention program in February after state officials told the city they wanted to clean up the area, said Erika Clark Jones, the mayor's advocate for the homeless.
The program normally runs smoothly, so Jones hadn't had her outreach workers check the state's cleanup job. She said it's important to restore the area to keep more homeless people from settling there.
She said she was just starting to look into the issue yesterday because a complaint had been filed with the city's 311 call center last month.
Jones said she was surprised to hear there was still a mess and that Royer had invested so much time.
"Oh, no, God bless him," she said. "That's true community service. I hate that he had to do that, but he definitely deserves some recognition from the state."
Ohio Department of Transportation crews planned to take care of the mess and cleared some brush in the spring, but paving and mowing distracted them, said ODOT spokeswoman Nancy Burton.
"We had other issues that quite frankly affected more of the motoring public," she said.
She said she didn't feel comfortable commenting on Royer's effort, but added that state crews ought to get to the area within a few weeks.
Royer could use the help.
The ground yesterday was still a mosaic of bottle caps, Styrofoam, rusted cans, rotting scraps of cloth and broken glass that crunched under Royer's brown work boots, despite 185 bags of trash already collected.
"I couldn't imagine living like this," he said. "They're real survivors, and I guess they had learned to deal with it, but I can't stand to see litter at all."
Royer is the volunteer groundskeeper at the Old Franklinton Cemetery, around the corner from the campsite. Five years ago, he came across Columbus' oldest cemetery and was stunned by the trash and overgrowth.
He cleaned it up.
When the homeless people moved out of their camp, he felt someone should tidy that up, too. He put on some gloves, pulled out his weed trimmer and set to work.
"I think it's one of the single most generous acts I've ever seen," said Carmine L. Menduni, Royer's boss at Columbus Art Memorial. "What's been done to that land is criminal."
Royer couldn't get the city to pick up the trash bags he filled, so the folks at neighboring GFS Chemicals offered to help.
Dave Barric, a GFS employee, got permission to lend Royer the company's Dumpster.
Wednesday, Royer was jumping on a pile of festering mattresses, trying to squeeze them into the container.
"He's awesome," Barric said. "If there were a bunch more people like him, the city would be a lot cleaner."
To contact Gary, please email him -> firstname.lastname@example.org.