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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Celtel launches mobile net service

People in Africa are starting to embrace the Web as a business tool in the wake of Celtel International's launch of its mobile Internet service, according to one African leader.


Q&A: U.S. health IT exec details 'trial' nationwide networks

The Department of Health and Human Services plans to back trial projects that could ultimately lay the groundwork for a nationwide health information network, according to HHS's John Loonsk.


A Passion for Music

Posted by Mark Dalrymple, Member of Technical Staff, Mac Team

After an orchestra rehearsal last month, some of us went to the local Eat-n-Park, a family restaurant chain here in western Pennsylvania. I was decked out in a traditional black Google T-shirt. After chatting with the waitress a bit, she asked about the shirt, and I said that I worked at Google. She said "Wow! It never occurred to me that people actually worked there."

Yes, indeed, real live people work here. And because we're real people, we have real interests. The most interesting programmers I've come across have also had serious passions outside the world of bits and bytes. Among the Googlers I know are a triathlete, an expert wordsmith, a rescue dog trainer, and an incredible black-and-white photographer.

My particular passion is music. I've been playing music of one kind or another since fourth grade, having floated into and out of dozens of groups, and I have played hundreds of performances over the years. I met my wife Sharlotte in a community orchestra in Northern Virginia. Since moving to the Pittsburgh area in 2000, we've joined two concert bands, one community orchestra, an on-again off-again woodwind quintet, and we sing in a church choir.

I started out my music career on trombone in elementary school and got to be a fairly decent player. In junior high school, my folks sent me to The Summer Arts Camp at Interlochen, an 8-week musica l immersion experience where you perform 7 complete concerts. That's a fresh batch of music nearly every week! At Interlochen, I met the bassoon while I was counting hundreds of bars of rest during orchestra rehearsals. One week the group was doing the Berceuse and Finale from Stravinski's Firebird suite, which has an amazing bassoon part. At that point, I decided I wanted to play that thing. I had to play that thing. Luckily, my school had an instrument no one was using, so I glommed onto it and took some lessons. I've kept up with both instruments over the years, becoming a "doubler": that is, I play each of them well enough to not embarrass myself in public.

Sharlotte and I are very busy musically, especially during the holiday times. This m onth, we're slated to play a three-night run of a hometown Christmas musical, one orchestra concert, three community band benefit concerts, background music at a grocery store, background music for a dinner banquet, two church services, and we'll be demonstrating the double-reed family to the local middle school's seventh grade band. It's a crazy schedule, but we love it.

I'll leave you with two recordings. In the first, I'm performing "Bye Bye Blues", a bass trombone solo with the Westmoreland Symphonic Winds Jazz band. The other is Zephyrs (The West Winds), a quintet I'm in, playing the second movement of the woodwind quintet by Muczynski, which includes Sharlotte on oboe and me on bassoon. I hope you enjoy the music -- played by peop le!


Simplified Backup

Separating backups into individual recovery images allows quick restoration.

Visit IT Business Edge for the Simplified Backup interview.


Chained Text

This tutorial will show you how to create text wrapped in metal chains. [more]

Halftone Fear Effect

Use a halftone with gradation and a brush to create this fear effect for a editorial. [more]

Removing the Background

This tutorial teaches you how to remove the background from an image using alpha channels and selections. [more]

Glassy Invitation

Make a glossy invitation for the next party that you have. [more]

Realistic Fur

A guide to painting realistic fur in Photoshop. [more]

Stylized Christmas Tree Design

This teaches you how to create a stylized Christmas tree design with stars. [more]

Glossy Star

Learn how to use Photoshop to create glossy icons. [more]

Mazda Photoshop Rendering

See how to sketch out a design of a Mazda. [more]

Pacific Storm v1.2 to v1.3 Incremental Patch

This patch includes several bug fixes and game balances. [more]

Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales v1.41+ to v1.43 Patch

This patch addresses compatibility with graphics cards, allows scripts for modding, and includes other game bug fixes and improvements. [more]

History Channel: Civil War Gameplay Movie 2

The Civil War comes to the Xbox 360 courtesy of the History Channel. [more]

Rayman Raving Rabbids Gameplay Movie 1

Check out some zany mini-game action in Rayman Raving Rabbids for the PS2. [more]

SanDisk and Sony Announce Memory Stick PRO-HG Format

Sony and SanDisk bump speed, capacity for the Memory Stick format... [more]

Real Cost of OLPC XO is nearly $1000 Says Report

But end result is still cheaper than anything else... [more]

More AMD "RS690" Details Revealed

...featuring ATI Radeon Xpress 1250 graphics... [more]

Second Gen Toshiba HD DVD Players Shipping

Toshiba updates its entry-level HD DVD player... [more]

Mozilla ships developer release of Firefox 3.0

Mozilla has released is first alpha version of Firefox 3.0, giving Firefox and Web application developers an early look at the next-generation browser.


E-discovery vendor Zantaz acquires Singlecast

Storage archiving storage vendor Zantaz is acquiring Singlecast Technologies for its data classification and policy management tools


Quantum announces data de-duplicating backup arrays

The DXi3500 and DXi5500 are disk arrays aimed at the remote office and data center respectively and are capable of storing from 1.5TB to 11TB of capacity as well as replicating file- or block-based data over a WAN.


Veterans Affairs CIO: We're more secure

Citing the data breach last May as "a real eye-opener," the CIO of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said the agency has reorganized its IT group and improved cybersecurity.


Newly 'Untangled' firm debuts open-source SMB security appliance

The company formerly known as Metavize has announced a name change, to Untangle, and the introduction of a Linux-based security appliance for small and midsize businesses.


Cisco, Citrix expand click-to-call functionality

The enhanced technology allows automatic dialing from any Citrix-based application.


Wayman to step down as HP's CFO

Bob Wayman is retiring as Hewlett-Packard's chief financial officer at the end of the year, after 37 years at the company.


Congress passes ban on phone record pretexting

Congress late last week passed a bill making it illegal to use pretexting to gain access to private phone records.


Google Research Picks for Videos of the Year

Everyone else is giving you year-end top ten lists of their favorite movies, so we thought we'd give you ours, but we're skipping Cars and The Da Vinci Code and giving you autonomous cars and open source code. Our top twenty (we couldn't stop at ten):

  1. Winning the DARPA Grand Challenge: Sebastian Thrun stars in the heartwarming drama of a little car that could.
  2. The Graphing Calculator Story: A thriller starring Ron Avitzur as the engineer who snuck into the Apple campus to write code.
  3. Should Google Go Nuclear?: Robert Bussard ( former Asst. Director of the AEC) talks about inertial electrostatic fusion.
  4. A New Way to Look at Networking: Van Jacobson as the old pro discovering that the old problems have not gone away.
  5. Python 3000: Guido van Rossum always looks on the bright side of life in this epic look at the future of Python.
  6. How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Daniel Wilson stars in this sci-fi horror story.
  7. The New "Bill of Rights of Information Society": Raj Reddy talks about how to get the right information to the right people at the right time.
  8. Practical Common Lisp: In this foreign film, Peter Seibel introduces the audience to a new language. Subtitles in parentheses.
  9. Debugging Backwards in Time: Starring Bil Lewis in this sequel to Back to the Future.
  10. Building Large Systems at Google: Narayanan Shivakumar takes us behind the scenes to see how Google builds large distributed systems. Like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but without the Oompa-Loompas.
  11. The Science and Art of User Experience at Google: Jen Fitzpatrick continues the behind-the-scenes look.
  12. Universally Access ible Demands Accessibility for All of Humanity: McArthur "Genius Award" Fellow Jim Fruchterman talks about accessibility for the blind and others.
  13. DNA and the Brain: Nobel Laureate James Watson explains how the key to understanding the brain is in our genes.
  14. Steve Wozniak: This one-man show is playing to boffo reviews.
  15. Jane Goodall: The celebrated primatologist discusses her mission to empower individuals to improve the environment.
  16. Computers Versus Common Sense: Doug Lenat reprises his role as the teacher trying to get computers to understand.
  17. The Google Story: David Vise talks about his book on Google.
  18. The Search: John Battelle talks about his book on Google.
  19. The Archimedes Palimpsest: Like Da Vinci Code, only true.
  20. The Paradox of Choice - Why More is Less: With Barry Schwartz. Hmm, maybe I should have made this a top three list?

Developer doc updated (more to come!)

Take a look at our updated developer documentation ? pages aimed at anyone who uses the Google Desktop SDK. Of course, the new doc describes the API changes in our latest release, but we've made other changes, too. The top-level and gadget doc has been reorganized, looks more like other Google API doc, and has some new navigational aids such as simplified side links and hierarchical links at the top.

We're still working on the doc. One of our short-term plans is to post code examples, so you won't have to download the SDK to see some source code. Another is to post a tutorial that leads you through writing your first gadget.

If you miss the old doc ? maybe we removed a mostly obsolete or confusing page that you still find useful ? you can download an archived version. See Using the Gadget API for details.

What else should we do? Please post your suggestions to the Developer Forum.

AdSense for content in 4 new languages

We're excited to tell you that AdSense for content is now supported in Croatian, Czech, Slovak, and Traditional Chinese. If you manage a site in one of these four languages, you can now complement your existing AdSense for search boxes (and revenue) with contextually-targeted AdSense ads!

To get started with generating your AdSense for content code, just visit the AdSense Setup tab in your account. Please keep in mind that after you add the ad code to a new page, it can take up to 48 hours for our crawler to access your site. Once your site has been crawled, our system will automatically detect the primary language of your pages and serve targeted ads in the correct language.

Welcome (or Dobrodo?lica / Vítame / ??) to our new AdSense for content publishers!


Blogger Beta Overview


Our very own Eric Case recently chatted with Jay Dedman and Ryanne Hodson (videobloggers extraordinaire) about the new version of Blogger currently in beta. Relevant bits for developers include:Developers interested in coding with the Blogger Data API (which now supports JSON!) should definitely to check out the bloggerDev discussion list.

Switching with team blogs and getting out of beta

Just before the weekend we added the final piece to the transition from old Blogger to the new Blogger in beta: members of team blogs can now switch to the new Blogger. This is the last step before we take the new Blogger out of beta.

Team blogs move when the blog?s original creator moves to the new Blogger. When that happens, team blog members will also have to move to the new Blogger in order to post. Team blog members don?t have to wait, though! If you move to the new Blogger, team blogs you didn?t create will still show up on your beta Dashboard. You?ll be able to post with them as before, though they won?t have the new features of the new Blogger. We wrote a help article to explain this all in a bit more depth.

At this point, the pieces are in place:

This all means that we?ll be removing the ?beta? from the new Blogger very soon! At that time, we?ll begin the process of requiring that users of old Blogger move to new Blogger.

* = From time to time we may limit switching in order to keep old and new Blogger functioning smoothly. Also, users with particularly large blogs may not switch right now. This latter restr iction will be gradually lifted. [more]

The Demise of Desktop Linux?

Last week, OSDL announced it would be refocusing its efforts from advancing the adoption of Linux across the enterprise to providing more legal support for open source users and developers dealing with the myriad of licensing and patent issues that continue to crop up. Though statements from the organization weren’t clear as to which projects would be [...] [more]

The Elusive Quest for Intranet Search

Internet search just keeps getting better and better, but intranet search is still in a rut. Google?s intranet search product, Google Search Appliance, has gotten good reviews  and claims features that let users search not only HTML documents, but relational databases as well. But the fact remains that Google?s success on the consumer-dominated Web can?t be [...] [more]

How to Get Virtualization into the Data Center ? For Real

One of the more amazing aspects of the virtualization market is that everybody is talking about it, but few are actually using it. Recent research indicates that only about 6 percent of data centers have deployed any type of virtualization at all. Some of this is no doubt due to the cost. Even if you can [...] [more]

Microsoft, IDC Predict Huge Impact from Vista ? Surprised?

A report from IDC and Microsoft is bucking the overall opinion that Windows Vista adoption may well be gradual for many businesses, predicting 35 million units sold in the U.S. during Vista’s first year and faster adoption than previous editions of Windows. IDC analyst John Gantz is quoted by MarketWatch this morning as saying that for [...] [more]