mark castillo
Friday, February 28
  Outage hits Microsoft's bCentral
A glitch knocked Microsoft's bCentral services offline Friday, leaving thousands of small-business Web sites inaccessible for much of the day. The outage, which began early Friday and was resolved late in the day, disrupted Web service for 15,000 Microsoft bCentral customers, Microsoft spokesman Rich Adolph said. "bCentral regrets the inconvenience this issue has caused to its customers," he said. Ron Hall said the most frustrating aspect was that numerous conversations with bCentral customer service yielded no answers about the nature of the problem or when it would be resolved.
  GTA: Vice City Sells 8.5 Million Copies in 3 Months
Gus writes "Take Two Interactive Software reports that Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has sold more than 8.5 million copies in the first three months since its late-October launch. The good news is Rockstar Games has 11 titles in the works. The bad news is the chances of the next GTA making it out this year are pretty slim." Also, there's still a couple people waiting on Duke Nukem Forever, and their patience is wearing thin.
Thursday, February 27
  Welcome to the Safari Jungle
O'Reilly has come up with an interesting solution to your lack of physical shelf space: a virtual bookshelf. Safari Bookshelf is a great resource for all things technical. They recently went over 1,000 titles available online, 24/7. Several publishers have joined forces with O'Reilly to provide so many titles. Que, Alpha, Sams, Microsoft Press (and O'Reilly itself) are a few of the big-name publishers that are part of Safari. Currently, 75% of all O'Reilly books are available through Safari. (With plans for adding 10+ books per month, the selection is growing rapidly, too.)
Sunday, February 23
  Wired News: Why Did Google Want Blogger?
Cleveland said Google's acquisition of Pyra would, quite simply, help Google create a more accurate search engine by adding rich new sources of data gleaned from weblogs. The secret, Cleveland said, is in the scores of links webloggers create every day to content on the Web. "By doing this we were taking a couple of baby steps down the road of what some have called the semantic Web -- a Web ... where computers can understand, at some level, the meaning and context of a Web page or blog post," he explained in an e-mail. Cleveland said in addition to using RSS metadata, the company planned to add ways to factor in Web traffic statistics. "We would look not only at what was written, but what was viewed and how people got there," he said. Cleveland said the technology could allow Web surfers to find not just breaking news stories, but those highly ranked by the weblogging community. In addition, those stories could be accompanied by the best comments made by popular webloggers, or those writing in a certain language or from a particular country.
  Game Boy Advance SP US details
As for US specifics, the Game Boy Advance SP is scheduled to ship in North America on March 23 for a price of $99.95. While three colors have been announced for the GBA SP's launch in Japan and Europe, only two colors, platinum and cobalt, will be available in the US. Following the press conference, we were able to check out prototype units. The GBA SP is compact and felt comfortable in our hands. The light worked exceptionally well on the games that were on hand for the demo, most notably Metroid Fusion.
Saturday, February 22
  The Linux Uprising
Meet Nicholas Walker, digital nomad. Like blues musicians who once wandered the South singing for their supper, this 18-year-old high school dropout lives out of a suitcase--sometimes trading his software programming skills for a place to crash or some spending money. His travels have taken him far and wide, from a programmers' confab in Istanbul to Massachusetts Institute of Technology's famed Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Walker's fresh, earnest face tells all: He's an idealist. He believes in sharing his software innovations with others. "I'm not comfortable with selling the things I do and making money from them," Walker says during a stopover at his parents' home in New Hampshire.
As you may have heard, Shift's publishers made the decision yesterday to suspend the publication of Shift indefinitely. Our last issue will hit newsstands the first week of March. Putting together the magazine and website has been a labour of love for all of us here, and so it's with great regret that we make this announcement. For more info, there's coverage in The Toronto Star, The National Post and The Globe and Mail. All the best, Shift staff.
Tuesday, February 18
  Top Ten Mac OS X Tips for Unix Geeks
From starting up to shutting down, there are big differences between Mac OS X and Unix machines. Brian Jepson, coauthor of Mac OS X for Unix Geeks offers ten tips he gathered while working on the book. If you're a Unix geek moving to Mac OS X, these tips will help smooth the way.
  First batch of Gameboy Advance SP - Full coverage of the console: reviewed, revisited
The first surprise is the size of the box. I have to admit our first thought was: 'Damn supplier, they delivered the power supply for GBA SP instead of the console itself!'. When you open the box you realize the compact design of the new GBA is not just press talk, it's really much smaller and comfortable than the first Gameboy Advance. And it looks stylish :) Of course, after a couple of minutes, the design does not really interest you anymore, so you need to play a game on the unit, see what the fuss is about the front light, see how long the Li-ion battery can last and how does the unit fit in your hands. The A, B, Select, Start buttons and the control pad remind the Gameboy Color disposition completely. You have an additional light ON/OFF button right on top (no regulation of the light intensity, seems like we should start on making a dimmer chip for the unit... it just confirms to all of us we definitely don't live in a perfect world) The L and R buttons have changed completely, compared to the flat design on the first GBA, these toggles are now very tiny and in square shape.
  S. Korea Subway Arson Kills at Least 120
Fire raced through two packed subway trains in South Korea on Tuesday after a man lit a carton filled with an unidentified material that burst into flames, killing an estimated 120 people, officials said. A suspect who police said had a history of mental illness was under interrogation in Daegu, South Korea's third-largest city, but police still did not know what motivated the attack. Rescue workers had given up the search for survivors by the afternoon, and many of the 138 injured were seriously hurt
Monday, February 17
  Google buys blog tool developer
Internet search company Google will acquire Pyra Labs, the handful of Web developers who helped jump-start the personal publishing phenomenon known as blogging, Pyra's founder said Sunday. Word of the deal spread after Pyra Labs Chief Executive Evan Williams confirmed on his personal Weblog that his team of six developers would join Google.
Tuesday, February 11
  The O'Reilly Learning Lab
O'Reilly has partnered with Useractive to provide you with a complete online learning environment. Useractive provides the tools and the course materials as well as the coaching to ensure that your online learning experience is productive. We are especially excited by Useractive's Learning Sandbox technology, which provides complete command-line access to a Unix machine through a Web browser. This means that students can practice what they are learning without separate administrative access to a host machine.
  NES PC - Build your own Nintendo computer!
I for one love old Nintendo games. I can't get enough of them. But, like so many others, my Nintendo started flaking out on me. I'd have to blow into the games, then blow into the Nintendo, then try the game. 90% of the time, I'd get a flashing blue screen and I would need to try again. Well, I'd had enough of that, and decided it was time to do something different with my Nintendo. I decided to put a computer inside my old Nintendo case. I could run emulators, play games with my regular Nintendo game pad, all on my TV. Of course, this was quite a stretch, but I made it happen.
  US 2 yr Occupation of Iraq
U.S. officials on Tuesday laid out plans for a two-year military occupation of Iraq in the event of an invasion and told wary senators that "enormous uncertainties" made it impossible to say whether troops might stay even longer or how much it would all cost.
Monday, February 10
  Dell Dude In Pot Bust
Hey, dude, you're getting a cell! Benjamin Curtis, the 22-year old actor who portrays "Steven," the Dell Guy, in those bothersome computer commercials, was arrested late last night (2/9) on a marijuana possession charge, The Smoking Gun has learned. According to police, Curtis was nabbed after cops spotted him buying a "small bag of marijuana" from a dealer on Manhattan's Lower East Side (at Ludlow and Rivington for you Gothamites). Curtis, who lives in lower Manhattan, was charged with criminal possession of marijuana, while Omar Mendez, the 19-year-old alleged dealer, faces drug sale and possession charges.
  The New 12" Powerbook: Slick and Sexy, But Not Without its Faults
Number 1 issue is heat. The thing burns. After 2-3 hours of continuing usage, the laptop just burns like a hot cake on the lower left side. If you want a cheaper Powerbook to boast to your friends, or you want a fast-ish Powerbook that is able to do its job fine and be small and really be portable, this is the Mac laptop you were looking for. And no matter what, don't buy an iBook, shave off the extra $500-600 and get this laptop instead. But don't except it to be as "wonderful" or as "glamorous" or as "full-featured" as the other Powerbooks. But it would be glamorous, and fast, and wonderful and full-featured compared to the iBooks. Yes, this is the cheapest Powerbook ever, but have you considered what was crippled in order to pay this "better" price? And speaking for myself, I don't like crippling my own eyes just to pay $300 less. I expect a certain (LCD) quality from a piece of hardware that bares the name "Powerbook". Don't misunderstand me though, I like the Powerbook. It is already a best-seller for Apple and I haven't make up my mind for purchasing it. I use it all the time and it is solid and it does what you expect and its keyboard is great. But it could [easily] be better for the $2,000 it cost us.
Saturday, February 8
  GamerFeed : 24/365 Gaming News
GamerFeed officially launched on February 3, 2003 after a five month period of beta testing and building a solid team of news reporters and features writers. The site's mission is to provide consumers and fans with the most comprehensive coverage of the video game industry with around-the-clock news updates, timely reviews, and in-depth feature stories. GamerFeed stays committed to staying a free Web site with no pop-up ads, allowing readers to fully enjoy the content found on the site.
Thursday, February 6
Thanks cuz!
  Ex-student accused of spying on campus
A former Boston College student was indicted on Thursday for allegedly installing keystroke-recording software on more than 100 campus computers and accessing databases containing personal information on other students, staff and faculty. A grand jury in Cambridge, Mass., indicted Douglas Boudreau, 21, on charges of violating seven criminal laws, including six counts of intercepting electronic communications and eight counts of unauthorized access to a computer system. Boudreau is staying with his mother in Warwick, R.I., until a Feb. 25 arraignment in Middlesex County Superior Court, the school said. The case may be the first criminal prosecution of a person accused of unlawfully installing a key-logging device, which is designed to capture and record what a computer user types, including passwords and other private information. In 1999, the FBI surreptitiously used a key-logger to snatch the PGP passphrase used by Nicodemo Scarfo, who pleaded guilty last year to a bookmaking charge related to organized crime.
Tuesday, February 4
  Slashdot | What Should I Do With My Life?
gse writes "I first heard about Po Bronson's What Should I Do With My Life? here on Slashdot a few weeks ago, then read more about it on NPR. I found these articles and excerpts compelling and inspiring, so I picked up the book. Before I get into the review, some quick background on me so it's clear where I'm coming from: I'm a geek. I've been programming since I was a little kid, I have a computer science degree, I contribute to open source projects, I've been coding professionally for ten years. I am "successful" in my career. But I've found my day job unfulfilling for years, and as a musician I often wonder if I should follow my heart elsewhere. I imagine I'm not the only Slashdot reader who fits this description." Read on for Scott's take on this book.
Sunday, February 2
  Blogs open doors for developers
Secrecy has long been a hallmark of the software development process: Let too many people know too much about what you're working on too early, and somebody might steal your ideas. But a growing array of big-name software developers are finding they can make better software if they leave the doors open, by sharing information with potential customers from the start and incorporating their feedback into development decisions. While developers of games software have used this method for years, business software makers are now also catching on. Web logs (commonly known as "blogs"), message boards and other online forums are becoming increasingly important vehicles for developers to attract customers--and development talent--well before an application even enters the beta stage.
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