Month: November 2011

Dear Steve Jobs: Apple Founder’s Greatest Email Hits Collected in Ebook

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Steve Jobs Emails

An ebook released Tuesday takes an inside look at the email correspondence of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

“Letters to Steve: Inside the Email Inbox of Apple’s Steve Jobs” ($2.99), by CNN technology writer Mark Milian, explores how the tech innovator fielded emails from fans — and how he handled the missing Apple iPhone 4 prototype dilemma with Gizmodo editors.

Jobs often responded to customer emails directly, which is highly unorthodox for someone in his position. Many ended up online.

Milian spent months scouring the Internet, looking at blog postings and message boards for email correspondences, and spoke to many of those who were lucky enough to get a response. The book, available for the Kindle, is a compilation of what he found.

Mashable spoke with Milian about what it was like to receive an email from the former Apple chief executive — and what kind of questions generally triggered him to respond.MoRE

Facebook Canada Hosts Youth Focused Hack-a-thon

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hack image

Hack-a-thons are becoming popular ways to get a massive group of hackers together for a manic, usually overnight blitz to code something cool. Hack for a Cause is one of the newest to apply that Red Bull-fueled creativity to social and charity causes.

In just 12 hours (6 p.m. on Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday, EST), 60 coders created 12 products that were ready to ship. The event, hosted at Facebook Canada’s Toronto headquarters, was organized by Free the Children, a Canadian charity that empowers youths across North America to create positive change.

The rules of the hack-a-thon were pretty simple: Come up with some product that will help Free the Children get kids engaged in positive actions. In response, Hack for a Cause turned out Facebook apps to help log and share volunteerism, a mobile app that accepts and displays donation pledges, an interactive map that allows users to see local philanthropic meet ups, educational mobile games and more.

Even though Hack for a Cause is relatively single-minded, as far as hack-a-thons go, providing Free the Children with new technology will hopefully have widespread impact as well. Besides, it’s not such a bad idea to host a group of uber-talented coders and get some awesome new products in return. It’s a smart move by Free the Children that may help some kids get more involved in social change.MoRe

Apple on Track to Be the World’s No. 1 PC Vendor Next Year [STUDY]

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 Apple‘s long climb back from the margins of the PC industry will culminate in world domination next year, according to one researcher — but only if you consider the iPad a PC.

Canalys is projecting that Apple will overtake Hewlett-Packard as the leading global PC vendor sometime before the second half of 2012. Canalys, however, lumps iPad sales in with PC sales, which makes Amazon a player as well. The researcher predicts that total “pad” sales will reach 59 million units by the end of 2011, a category that includes the Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet.

The entry of those two lower-priced tablets will dampen Apple’s growth somewhat, according to Canalys analyst Tim Couling. “Apple has seen its PC market share expand from 9% to 15% in just four quarters, though iPad shipments in its core market – the United States – are likely to come under pressure in Q4 due to the launch of the Fire and Nook at extremely competitive price points,” he wrote in a release from the company. “HP and Apple will fight for top position in Q4, but Apple may have to wait for the release of iPad 3 before it passes HP.”

Factoring in the growth of the tablet market, full-year global PC shipments for 2011 are expected to rise 15% to 415 million units.MORE

WordPress 3.3: The 11 Most Important New Features

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Brian Casel is the founder of CasJam Media, a web design shop that works with clients worldwide designing custom WordPress CMS sites. Connect with Brian on Twitter@CasJam.

For those of us who work with WordPress every day, it has been exciting to watch our beloved content management system evolve over the years from a blogging tool into a web publishing powerhouse.

Today we take a look at the all new WordPress 3.3, which after months of beta testing, is expected to be released in late November.

 

SEE ALSO: Top 4 Ecommerce Tools for WordPress 

Compared to the milestone WordPress 3.0 release — which introduced important new functionalities, such as custom post types and built-in multisite mode — version 3.3’s improvements may seem less groundbreaking. But, in fact, the impact of this release may be felt by more people than ever.

Most of the improvements are aimed toward improving the user experience for all users, not just those of us building WordPress websites. Your clients will immediately see the changes in 3.3, which are bound to improve their experience too.

Here are the major improvements coming to WordPress 3.3.MORE

Galaxy DNA-Analysis Software Is Now Available ‘in the Cloud’

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Galaxy — an open-source, web-based platform for data-intensive biomedical and genetic research — is now available as a “cloud computing” resource.

A team of researchers including Anton Nekrutenko, an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State University; Kateryna Makova, an associate professor of biology at Penn State; and James Taylor from Emory University, developed the new technology, which will help scientists and biomedical researchers to harness such tools as DNA-sequencing and analysis software, as well as storage capacity for large quantities of scientific data. Details of the development will be published as a letter in the journal Nature Biotechnology. Earlier papers by Nekrutenko and co-authors describing the technology and its uses are published in the journals Genome Research and Genome Biology.MORE

Data Transmission for the Internet of Tomorrow

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Electrical engineers in Bochum have succeeded in developing a new concept for ultrafast semiconductor lasers. The researchers make clever use of the intrinsic angular momentum of electrons, called spin, to successfully break the previous speed barriers. The new spin lasers have the potential to achieve modulation frequencies of well above 100 GHz in future. This is a decisive step towards high-speed data transmission, e.g. for the Internet of tomorrow.

The researchers report on their results in the journal Applied Physics Letters, published by the American Institute of Physics.

Optical data transmission: the basis of our information society

Optical data transmission by semiconductor lasers is a basic prerequisite for the globally networked world and today’s information society. The ever increasing degree of networking and the desire to exchange larger amounts of data are the driving force behind the development of ever faster optical data transmission systems. The maximum speed of conventional semiconductor lasers has long been a limiting factor – typical modulation frequencies are currently at levels well below 50 GHz. Read the rest of this entry »

How the world is learning to speak in tweets

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 We all know the Internet is becoming less of an American (and Anglo) playpen, and now there’s a graphic representation to illustrate that fast-evolving story.

Google includes code in its Chrome browser that can determine the language of a Web page and ask whether you’d care to have it translated. That provided an opening for Mike McCandless, who subsequently extracted the so-called Compact Language Detector software, which Google has open-sourced.

Eric Fischer then applied the data to Twitter to generate a couple of stunning images tracing the use of the micro-blogging service around the globe.

“There are a lot of near-identical colors for different languages because I was optimizing for maximum distinguishability of languages used near each other rather than for global uniqueness,” Fischer noted on his Flickr account. “The exception is English, which is in gray because it is so common almost everywhere that it threw off the process of choosing the other colors.”MORE

 

FBI investigates grade change hacking at Santa Clara

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Mark Loiseau, who says the FBI gained access to his Verizon and Google Voice accounts

A Twitter post from an undergraduate student at Santa Clara University has prompted the school to acknowledge that it asked the FBI to investigate how a few dozen grades were electronically altered.

Mark Loiseau, 25, a senior electrical engineering student, received an unpleasant surprise this morning: three FBI agents showed up at his off-campus apartment wanting to have a friendly chat with him.

FBI agent Jeffrey Miller and his colleagues had complete dossiers on him and his friends, Loiseau told CNET this afternoon. “They had all my grades. They had pictures of me.”

It started out as a friendly conversation, Loiseau said, but then the FBI agents began to suggest that he was involved in illegally changing his or someone else’s grades. After receiving a denial, the trio of agents said that lying to a federal agent was a crime and that they wanted to search his computers.MORE

With Timeline, Facebook Bids To Reinvent The Social Biography

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As a Harvard buddy of Mark Zuckerberg, Samuel Lessin had early access to Facebook in 2004. The then-nascent web site instantly became a part of his life. “The sum of those conversations was how I expressed myself,” he says, “it’s how people express themselves.”

So it’s not surprising that when Lessin took a job at Facebook last year he became product manager of Timeline, which transmogrifies one’s Facebook profile to a linear self-account that accumulates the moments of your life — via communications among friends, photos, videos, links, check-in and other data — in a chronological presentation.

Facebook execs explain that while the previous profile was like a five-minute conversation between acquaintances, Timeline is like meeting a friend for drinks and spilling your soul until the bar lights flicker for closing time.MORE

Boost for move to new net addressing scheme

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Clock hands close to 12

Efforts to shift the internet to a new addressing system have been boosted by US internet service provider Comcast.

The firm has begun switching some customers over to a system built around the net’s new addressing scheme, called IP Version 6 (IPv6).

The change is needed because the older version has almost exhausted its pool of available addresses.

Some small UK ISPs have also begun putting domestic customers on a network that uses the new system.

Comcast is carrying out a trial in Pleasanton, California that willsee some customers in the town being connected to a network built around IPv6. To do this they will need home hardware that can handle IPv6 and its forerunner- IPv4.

Everything connected to the internet needs an address so data is sent to the right place. From the earliest days of the net, addresses have been pulled from the IPv4 pool which has about four billion numbers available.MORE