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Cybernaut

The new iMac, aliens and too much bass may be bad for the lungs

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Interestingly enough, the first faint signals were detected through the SETI@Home project, a program that uses thousands of home computers that are at rest to sift through the mountains of data collected by an array of radio telescopes. Which means that a home computer that is probably used for school reports surfing sports Web sites and trading recipes, may have helped us make first contact with another life form.

The article on the signal is in the September issue of New Scientist magazine at www.newscientist.com.

For more information on the find and SETI itself, visit www.seti.org.

Microsoft delays then downsizes Longhorn

Windows XP users may be looking at downloading Service Pack 3 and 4 before they see a new version of the popular operating system. After announcing plans to delay the release from 2005 to 2006 earlier this summer, the software giant Microsoft announced last week they would have to cut some features from the operating system to make their release date.

The most significant feature being dropped from the release is WinFS, or Windows File System, a next generation storage system that allows for the more fluid searching, organizing and sharing of data. The system is required to simplify the way people find information on their own computers, with hard drives reaching the 160 Gig range and above, and people collecting and storing more data than ever before. You can also search for a wider range of data, including data by location, tasks, contacts, appointments, annotations, audio, video, text, etc.

A beta version of WinFS will be available in 2006, and will likely be included as part of a Windows Service Pack in 2007.

Unfortunately the decision to drop WinFS will impair other Windows features as well, including the Microsoft Business Framework, a set of developer tools designed to build on and enhance the .Net framework. That in turn affects the development of other software platforms, like Visual Studio.

Turn down the bass

At university, I knew a guy who used to enter car stereo contests. He and others were able to build stereo systems that cranked out so many decibels, you had to stand at least a hundred feet away from the car and activate the systems by remote control. Super-reinforced glass was also required, so you didn’t shatter the windows or the windscreen.