Archive for May 7th, 2008|Daily archive page

More Displays. More 3D. More to Love: VMware Fusion 2.0 Public Beta 1 Now Available

The VMware Fusion team is proud to announce VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1.

This public beta, a free download, boasts a handful of industry firsts for Mac virtualization, including true multi-display support for virtual machines and experimental DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 2 3D acceleration.

The team is also extremely happy to announce that VMware Fusion 2.0, when released, will be a free downloadable upgrade for all VMware Fusion 1.x customers, as a sincere thank you to our early supporters.

Now, on to the features!

Key Features of VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1

VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1 sports dozens of innovations and improvements.  For a more exhaustive list, visit the VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta landing page.

Highlight Reel: In addition to more in-depth demo videos on the VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta landing page, above is a teaser to get you started.  Enjoy!

True Multi-Display Support

multidisplayVMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1 brings the first true multi-display support to Mac virtual machines, letting your virtual machines see additional displays attached to your Mac as additional, individual displays.

Drag Unity windows between displays and expand your virtual machine full screen across one or all your available displays.

Finally run Windows-only applications that require more than one logical display, while application windows correctly maximize only to their current display.

Easier Switching to VMware Fusion

switchingtools Scores of users are switching to VMware Fusion for fast, stable, and powerful Windows on Mac.

Unparalleled Performance: To make the switch even easier, VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1 integrates the ability to convert Parallels Desktop and Virtual PC for Mac virtual machines.  Importing legacy virtual machines to run on VMware Fusion is as easy as click and drag.

bootcampswitch Graduate from Boot Camp: VMware Fusion has always allowed users to unlock the true potential of their Boot Camp partition, running their Windows apps side-by-side with Mac apps.

But for users ready to go “fully virtual” and tap the full benefits of virtualization, VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1 includes the ability to convert your Boot Camp partition to a “full” virtual machine.

No more waiting for Boot Camp to boot with virtual machine suspend/resume.  Snapshots to help you keep your virtual machine out of harm’s way. And the ability to move your virtual machine from Mac to Mac.

Experimental 3D Acceleration Races Ahead

3DBeta1 From the people who first brought 3D to virtual machines, and later, to Mac virtualization, comes another 3D first: experimental support for DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 2.

VMware Fusion 1.0 launched with DirectX 8.1 support, followed by VMware Fusion 1.1 raising the bar to DirectX 9.0 without pixel shaders.

VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1 now ups the ante again with support for DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 2, letting users play select PC-only 3D games in Windows XP virtual machines.

DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 2 support in Beta 1 is considered experimental, and performance will vary based on hardware and applications in question.  Some games that work in VMware Fusion 1.x may fail in this beta.

More Displays. More 3D. More of Everything.

And that’s just the beginning.  In addition to multiple display and 3D support, there are many great improvements and enhancements that have to be seen to be believed.

The full list of features and enhancements rounding out the rest of VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1 can be found on the VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta landing page.

We encourage you to swing by, sign up for the beta newsletter to stay in the loop, and best of all, download the beta.

Let’s Get Cracking: Beta Participation

Participation in the VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1 is open to everyone – current VMware Fusion users and prospective users alike!

The Beta is a free download, with registration, and can be accessed at the VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta Portal.

Community participation, filing of bugs, feature requests, and support are all handled via the Beta Portal, so check it out!

Please Note: Beta software can be prone to instability and bugs, and is only suitable for users interested in testing out the latest and greatest in a testing environment. Do not run beta software in mission critical situations.

Advertisements

What to Do When Windows Gets Really Messed Up

“To err is human,” the old joke goes. “But to really mess things up requires a computer.”

This Answer Line collection concentrates on the absolute disasters of Windows computing–the problems that threaten your PC, your career, and your peace of mind. Here’s what to do when Windows throws the dreaded Blue Screen of Death your way, and how to restore your OS even if you’ve lost the original restore CD.

To regain some of your own peace of mind, join the community in our Answer Line forum or send your technology questions to answer@pcworld.com.

Why Does My PC Keep Dying With a Blue Screen of Death?

Gael Busson, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

What’s worse than the sudden, unexpected appearance of a blue screen filled with white text? Recurring appearances of blue screens filled with white text. The fewer times you have to read the maddeningly passive-voice observation “A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down…,” the better.
Microsoft calls these freeze-frame moments “stop errors,” but everyone else uses a much more descriptive title: The Blue Screen of Death (BSoD). They occur whenever Windows senses a problem that won’t let it operate properly.

When you encounter a BSoD, there’s not much you can do except mourn your lost data (whatever was in memory but not yet saved to disk), reboot your machine, and go on with your life. If you start getting them regularly, however, you have a problem that must be addressed.

The question is, what’s causing the problem?

The Blue Screen of Death; click for an enlarged image.

Believe it or not, BSoD screens actually contain some useful information–albeit not much. The next time your monitor and mood suddenly turn blue, grab a pen and a sheet of paper and jot these items down before rebooting:

The problem description: Write down whatever text appears between the boilerplate first paragraph (“A problem has been detected…”) and the one that begins “If this is the first time…”
• Technical details: Write down everything that appears under the heading ‘Technical information’.

Once you’ve rebooted, use your favorite Internet search engine to find pages that mention both BSoD and some of the terms that you jotted down. The statement in all caps with underlines instead of spaces will likely be useful here.

If a Web search doesn’t yield helpful information, ask yourself what has changed on your PC lately. Did you add hardware or update a driver just before the problem became common?

Driver Roll Back; click for an enlarged image.

Bad drivers often give Windows the blues. If you recently updated a driver, try reverting to an older version. Here’s how:

1.    Select Start, Run (in Vista, Run is enough), type devmgmt.msc, and press Enter.
2.    Double-click the device in question, click the Driver tab, and then click the Roll Back Driver button.

Conversely, if you recently added new hardware to your system, installing a more recent version of the driver may fix the problem. Check the vendor’s Web site to see whether there’s an update.

A bad RAM module is another potential cause of BSoDs. You can test your modules easily with Memtest 86, a free program downloadable at Memtest.org. Memtest isn’t a Windows program, and you must boot it before running it. You can download it as a CD image .iso file. Nero, Easy Media, and other disc-authoring programs can easily burn this .iso file into a bootable CD. Once you’ve burned the CD, boot and see whether Memtest finds any problems.

Overheating is another common culprit. Check your computer’s air vents for blockage. If you have a desktop, open it and use an air canister to remove any dust you find. (If you have a laptop, check with your vendor to see whether you can clean out dust without resorting to professional intervention.)

And while your desktop is open, check the internal connections to confirm that all of them are firmly attached. A loose connection is yet another possible cause of Blue Screens of Death.

As with virtually every other major Windows problem, the fault may lie not in your hardware, but in your Registry. If you can, use System Restore to return that great compendium of necessities and problems to the state it was in on a date before the problem arose.

Or you can try running a Registry cleaner. As I have in the past, I recommend ToniArts’ free EasyCleaner and ChemTable’s $40 Reg Organizer for this purpose.

If all else fails, back up your data and take your PC to a professional. It’s OK to admit that you can’t fix some things yourself.

The Largest Insects on Planet Earth

Source: divinecaroline.com

Cannibals, dancers, and pheromone emitters—some of the largest (and endangered) insects in the world are nurturing mothers in the wild, wearing poison as perfume, and crawling up human backs as friendly pets.

Giant Walking Stick


Photo courtesy of tajai (cc)

Considered one of the best tropical insects to keep as a pet, the stick insect (Phasmatodea) derives from the Greek word, “phasma” (meaning phantom), which refers to its ability to disguise itself as varied species of sticks and leaves. The longest in the insect kingdom, it can measure up to almost two feet long. Many species of female stick insects live alone, reproducing asexually. Stick bugs are vegetarian but also molt numerous times to eat their own shed skin. When they perceive a threat, they fall to the ground and play dead or dance for hours, swaying back and forth.

Goliath Beetle


Photo courtesy of Conservation International

Native to the African rainforest, the Goliath Beetle is one of the largest insects on earth according to its size, weight, and mass. They measure up to five inches in length and can reach up to four ounces while in their larval stage, before reducing their weight to half as adults. Equipped with an armored shell, adult Goliaths produce a toy helicopter sound once their two pairs of wings emerge and they take flight. Male Goliath beetles have a Y-shaped horn on their heads to battle other males for feeding sites or females, while females have a wedge-shaped head to assist them in burrowing when they lay eggs. Though they feed on ripe fruit and tree sap in the wild, they enjoy cat and dog food when raised in captivity.

Atlas Moth


Photos courtesy of Sean Dockery (cc) and Lionoche (cc)

Found only in Southeast Asia, the Atlas Moth is the largest of the moth species with the largest wing surface area—close to sixty-five square inches—and a wingspan of up to a foot long. Named after wing patterns that resemble maps, the moth’s wing tips resemble a snake’s head in order to ward off predators. With no mouth, it feeds off fat reserves built up during their caterpillar stage. Females secrete a pheromone through a gland at the end of the abdomen that males can detect several miles downwind. Adults mate quickly, since a total lifespan of a female is only one to two weeks. Females lay their eggs, use up their fat reserves to feed themselves, and then quickly die.

Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing


Photo courtesy of khasan

Named after Queen Alexandra of England (1844-1925), the Queen Alexandra Birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae) is the largest butterfly in the world. Found in Oro Province in eastern Papua New Guinea, females are predominately larger than males and have a wingspan of up to fourteen inches. Birdwings feed on the aristolochia plant (Aristolochia schlecteri) to lay their eggs, which contains a poisonous substance that when digested by the caterpillar makes it distasteful to predators. Endangered since 1989, the Birdwing has experienced habitat loss caused by agriculture, logging, and human advancement.


Photos courtesy of Dr Paddy Ryan-Ryan Photographic

The Giant Weta, New Zealand’s largest insect, can be four inches long and weigh almost three ounces, while a pregnant Weta can weigh more than a small sparrow. Nocturnal and flightless, the Weta raises its hind legs when frightened, flicking its legs down in hope of “spiking” a predator’s face. Other times Wetas lie on their backs to play dead, exhibiting their vulnerability. One tagged and researched male Weta walked over nine miles in one night in search of a female (females tend to stick closer to home, moving at an average of thirty-three meters at night). Since becoming extinct from New Zealand’s mainland one hundred years ago, the Giant Wetas now live on offshore islands. Its decline stems from predatory mammals, and habitat destruction/modification.

Chinese Mantis


Photo courtesy of GRBerry (cc) and Mark Williamson (cc)

Introduced to North America in the late 1800s as a form of pest control, the Chinese believed the mantis may cure conditions ranging from impotence to goiters. They also believed roasting the mantis’ egg cases and feeding them to children could stop bed-wetting. Chinese mantis can grow up to four inches in length and are the largest mantis species on the continent. Though they mainly eat insects, most are cannibals. Females can capture and digest small reptiles and amphibians, as well as hummingbirds. When hunting, they assume a “praying” position and fold their legs under their head, until they unfold to strike and capture their prey. When mating, a smaller male usually jumps on the back of a large female, and eventually may become her meal. During copulation, the female may turn and consume the male’s head, keeping his body to complete mating until finished, when she can eat the rest of his body.

Giant Dragonfly


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Recently placed on the Endangered Species list in Australia from degradation of wetland habitats, the Giant Dragonfly (Petalura gigantean) is considered a terrestrial species throughout most of its life. As true carnivores, dragonflies fly over and grab the insects they consume. Females tend to be larger, reaching a wingspan of almost six inches. Males patrol swamps while females fly in from a surrounding area to mate. If the female does not accept the male, she will curve her abdomen downward, but if accepted, the male grasps and clasps her, commencing their tandem mating flight. Just before copulation, sperm moves from the male’s first genitalia into his secondary genitalia, then the female will lay her eggs one-by-one deep into the swamp’s peat moss.

Giant Burrowing Cockroach


Photo courtesy of Natural History Museum-London

Native to North Queensland, Australia, the Giant Burrowing cockroach is the world’s heaviest cockroach species. They can weigh over one ounce and grow to over three-inches long. Since they don’t have wings, they are not considered a pest and can live up to ten years in the bush. Some believe the species to be great pets due to their cleanliness, odorlessness, and inability to crawl out of a tank. The name “burrowing” comes from the burrows they dig, three feet deep, making them the only cockroach species to construct underground burrows to live in. Eating dead eucalyptus leaves to prepare for yearly reproduction, females birth one litter of five and thirty young nymphs that stay with their mother for up to nine months before constructing burrows of their own.

Giant Water Bug


Photo courtesy of NoiseCollusion (cc)

Not a loofah for a human’s back, but eggs carried on the back of the male Giant Water Bug. The largest bug in the cicada family, the Giant Water Bug can grow to five inches and will painfully bite that which dips beneath the water’s surface. Considered one of the worst bites in the insect kingdom—and a delicacy for humans in Thailand—the Giant Water Bug feeds on fish, amphibians, and crustaceans. Their saliva stuns their prey while they suck out the prey’s liquefied remains. When the prey resembles a human, the water bug plays dead, emitting fluid from its anus. Females deposit their eggs onto the males, who raise the eggs by exposing them to air (to avoid the growth of fungus) until the eggs hatch into the nymphs three weeks later, proving that a mother’s work (even when not carrying the child) is still never done.

Senator to ISPs: “Think twice” about ‘Net neutrality… or else

Source: arstechnica.com

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) stepped in front of a group of tech executives in Washington this morning to deliver a caffeinated and surprisingly sharp defense of network neutrality. Pledging to use “every ounce of my energy to protect network neutrality,” Wyden had a message for ISPs who might be pondering new charges for various forms of access: “think twice.” If ISPs start down that road, they might soon find that they lose key legal protections including “safe harbors” and tax freedom.

Wyden delivered his ultimatum at a Computer & Communications Industry Association conference in DC, where he cast the entire network neutrality debate in terms of a legislative compromise. Years ago, Congress began protecting ISPs from the twin threats of regulation and taxation; in return, ISPs were expected to deliver an unimpeded connection to the Internet. A move away from a neutral ‘Net would undermine the “very philosophical underpinnings of what we fought for for the last 15 years,” according to Wyden. If that happens, he sees no reason for Congress to continue sheltering ISPs.


Ron Wyden

The two specific pieces of legislation encompassed by this threat are the Communications Decency Act and the Internet Tax Freedom Act. While much of the CDA was tossed out by a federal judge on the grounds that it unconstitutionally limited free speech, section 230 of the act survived. 230 provided a safe harbor to ISPs and web sites, exempting them from liability for content posted to or through them, a provision that benefits Ars and every other website that allows user-generated content and comments. The law saved ISPs “vast sums,” according to Wyden.

The Internet Tax Freedom Act has also kept most taxes from being applied to Internet connections, even though states have repeatedly shown interest in taxing these links.

In return for helping out ISPs, what did Congress get in return? “Monopolies,” according to Wyden, or, in other cases, duopolies where one or two main gatekeepers controlled access to the ‘Net for most US citizens. Wyden’s rhetoric grew downright militant as he contemplated the various ways that these ISPs might start hitting consumers with fees. “The sword cuts both ways,” he said, implying that the ISPs might find themselves having to collect more taxes and pay for more litigation if they continue to agitate Congress by pondering or implementing non-neutral fees.

Part of the reason that the issue gets so much traction is because network neutrality has become one of those wonky crossover issues that stirs up passions even among normal ‘Net users. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), speaking at the same event, issued a reminder of how much popular traction the idea has gained: when she goes into high school classrooms, the kids “ask me about ‘Net neutrality,” she said.

With Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) holding an important network neutrality hearing this morning in the House, Eshoo expressed her confidence that Markey’s bill would be taken up by Congress but that it would face a serious challenge on the House floor. Should it fail there, “I think the Capitol would fall down around members’ ears if the opposition were successful,” she said.

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) agreed with Eshoo and noted that the two sides are separated by what now seems to be “almost a religious difference.” Doyle chalks up some of the antagonism to a generational divide, as the only people of his generation who grew up using the Internet were the people who invented it. ‘Net neutrality isn’t a “wild plan to destroy the Internet,” Doyle continued, arguing that a younger generation brought up using the Internet understands exactly what’s at stake.

Or, as FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein put it later in the day, “Anyone who messes with the open Internet does so at their peril.”

Swords, peril, wild plans, and a crumbling Capitol; all we need are wild animals in the streets and possibly a rider on a pale horse for the network neutrality debate to officially complete its ascendancy from a network management issue to a millenarian apocalyptic battle cry. Despite the rhetoric on this issue, it looks unlikely that Congress will actually take any action this year.

Did Earth once have multiple moons?

he ancient catastrophe that gave birth to the Moon may have produced additional satellites that lingered in Earth’s skies for tens of millions of years.

A new model suggests moonlets may have once occupied the two Earth-Moon Lagrangian points, regions in space where the gravitational tug of the Earth and the Moon exactly cancel each other out. Objects trapped in these points are called Trojans and can remain stationary forever if left undisturbed.

Scientists think the Moon was created when Earth was struck by a Mars-sized object some 4.5 billion years ago.

“The giant impact that likely led to the formation of the Moon launched a lot of material into Earth orbit, and some could well have been caught in the Lagrangian points,” says study team member Jack Lissauer of NASA Ames Research Center in California, US.

Once captured, the Trojan satellites likely remained in their orbits for up to 100 million years, Lissauer and co-author John Chambers of the Carnegie Institution of Washington say. Then, gravitational tugs from the planets would have triggered changes in the Earth’s orbit, ultimately causing the moons to become unmoored and drift away or crash into the Moon or Earth.

“The perturbations from the other planets are very, very tiny,” Lissauer said. But they change the shape of Earth’s orbit, which changes the effect that the Sun’s gravity has on the moons. “[That] is what ultimately destabilises the Trojans,” Lissauer told New Scientist.

Separate modelling work by Matija Cuk, an astrophysicist at the University of British Columbia in Canada, suggests small, asteroid-sized objects a few tens of kilometres across would have lasted the longest as Trojan satellites. Cuk estimates these ‘lost moons’ might have circled Earth for a billion years or more after the Moon’s formation.

“They would have looked more like Jupiter or Venus in the sky than a satellite,” Cuk told New Scientist. “They would have resembled very bright stars.”

International Body Language, Gestures & Manners: Don’t Be “That Guy!”

Source: parkrideflyusa.com

dork3.jpg

When you travel, you may think that if you don’t know the language, you can just communicate using gestures. BUZZER! Knowing what gestures and body language mean in foreign countries can mean the difference between making friends and getting beaten up and it’s all too easy to make mistakes.

Take the quiz to find out how much you know about body language, gestures and foreign customs:

Continue reading

5 Great Examples of Guerilla Marketing Gone Wrong: Olympic Belly-Flops to the Boston Bomb Scare

Source: weburbanist.com

Guerilla Marketing Examples Gone Wrong

Guerilla marketing is often a risky business, skirting the edge of ethical (or even legal) acceptability. Some guerilla marketers who have crossed the line have caused everything from Olympic belly-flops to city-wide bomb scares and have been punished with anything from modest jail time to millions of dollars in fines. All the same, some of these are probably (secretly) considered successes because subsequent media attention to the debacles probably raised more awareness than the guerilla campaigns alone ever could have. Some guerilla marketing is even done to support good causes though much of it is created to line the pockets of giant corporations. Know of other great examples of guerilla marketing gone wrong? Be sure to list them below!

Olymic Guerilla Marketing

The Olympics aren’t games to be toyed with apparently, as one tutu-wearing prankster learned the hard way. In an effort to guerilla market an online gaming site a Canadian man leapt into an Olympic pool at the 2004 Athens games. He was convicted of various counts of trespassing and creating a disturbance and was sentenced to multiple months in a Greek prison but then released with a fine of just a few hundred dollars. Some divers were apparently put off by the intervention and subsequently failed to complete their dives.

Zune Guerilla Marketing

The Microsoft Zune arguably has more haters than fans, apparently including some police officers in Austin, Texas. A person postering guerilla advertisements for the Zune was detained and handcuffed by authorities at SXSW last year. According to one eyewitness the police were overheard saying something like “We’ll have none of your advertising for your DRM’d crippleware’d crappy MP3 player littering our town.” Now that is an interesting reason to state for arrest if ever there was one.

Sarah Marshall Guerilla Campaign

There are many fans of the new movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall – unfortunately, most women named Sarah Marshall aren’t among them. Guerilla-style scrawled ads posted around the country have featured disparaging phrases like “You Suck Sarah Marshall” leading up to the film’s release. Perhaps it never occurred to the guerilla marketers behind these campaigns that there are, in fact, many real-life women with that name. Responses have ranged from frustration to raging retaliation (with comparable “You Suck” signs aimed at the film’s director). The lucky woman, however, who owns SarahMarshall.com was relatively pleased with the tens of thousands of visitors her website received.

Nvidia Logo

We’ve all heard of subtle guerilla marketing campaigns aimed at mentioning products casually so that passers-by will overhear a name-drop and it should be no surprise that this kind of marketing has found its way online as well. Nvidia is one of a number of companies that has been accused of seeding online forums with fake-fan support for their products. Of course, when the truth comes out real forum users are often none-too-pleased with the deception and the lame excuses provided by the marketers or companies accused.

Boston Guerilla Bomb Scare

Of course, no discussion of guerilla marketing gone wrong could possibly be complete without the 2007 Boston bomb scare. A number of LED signs designed to promote the television program Aqua Teen Hunger Force were mistakenly identified as explosive devices. At the time, these cute little blinking cartoon figures probably seemed like a brilliant way to raise curiosity. In retrospect, in this post-911 world installing a series of complex wire-filled devices with their own power sources on public structural elements like bridge supports was probably a tremendously terrible idea. Worse yet, the marketing company and device designers failed to notify the police of the devices’ true purpose even after learnings that they were being treated as bombs by authorities. Though no jail sentences resulted from the incident Turner Broadcasting paid millions of dollars to city police and Homeland Security to resolve the matter.

McGovern, former Clinton backer, urges her to drop out

Source: huffingtonpost.com/

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Former Sen. George McGovern, an early supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton, urged her to drop out of the Democratic presidential race and endorsed her rival, Barack Obama.

After watching the returns from the North Carolina and Indiana primaries Tuesday night, McGovern said Wednesday it’s virtually impossible for Clinton to win the nomination. The 1972 Democratic presidential nominee said he had a call in to former President Clinton to tell him of the decision, adding that he remains close friends with the Clintons.
“I will hold them in affection and admiration all of my days,” he said of the Clintons.

McGovern’s announcement comes a day before Clinton was scheduled to travel to South Dakota to campaign. The state holds its primary June 3 with 15 pledged delegates at stake.

McGovern said he had no regrets about endorsing Hillary Clinton months ago, even before the Iowa caucuses.

“She has run a valiant campaign. And she will remain an influential voice in the American future,” he said.

But Obama has won the nomination “by any practical test” and is very close to a majority of the pledged delegates, said McGovern, who is 85. Obama moved within 200 delegates of clinching the nomination with his split decision on Tuesday of a win in North Carolina and a narrow loss in Indiana.

It’s time to unite the Democratic Party, he said.

“Hillary, of course, will make the decision as to if and when she ends her campaign. But I hope that she reaches that decision soon so that we can concentrate on a unified party capable of winning the White House next November,” he said.

McGovern is not a superdelegate, one of the prominent Democrats who has a vote at the national convention.

One Useless Cat

Study: Many moms are making infants dumber w/ TV & DVD’s

If you want to really go back in the TV history books, you’ll find that this whole debacle was started with programs such as Sesame Street, Sesame StreetMister Rogers, Captain Kangaroo and 3-2-1 Contact. Hundreds of programs could be added to the list, but it was TV programs like these that started America on the trend of educating their children through one of the most convenient teachers in the house, the television. What has evolved from this are more educational TV Shows that incorporated more interaction like Blue’s Clues where children are asked questions, engaged with music and activities that include other children and the child viewer themselves. By 1997 a new child education system was born, Baby Einstein. The new development of the Baby Einstein DVD baby education package grew to a million dollar business quickly and was soon gobbled up by the Walt Disney Corporation. In the last couple years heavy scrutiny has come out against educational claims made by all these programs and systems.

On May 5th, 2008 a new study was released which you can read here in the May issue of the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine a JAMA publication, concerning TV viewing and verbal interactions among low-income parents and infants. It seems the study was partly developed due to the, “dramatic increase in television programming directed toward young infants” said the author of the study. The direct argument of the proliferation of educational media material for young children, more specifically for this study, 2 years and younger is thInfants in front of a TVere is no data to support this material is educational. The exact statement the authors make in argument of the growth of young children educational media is, “This has occurred despite recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics that children younger than 2 years should not watch any television. Much of this programming is marketed toward parents as ‘educational,’ despite limited data to support this assertion.”

This study tackles issues that haven’t been looked at specifically in the past. There were many different types of analysis in the past concerning educational media like Baby Einstein, which we will cover later. This study however found an important link between infants receiving less verbal and physical interaction when viewing any type of TV program. There is a catch here, however, as there always seems to be with anything! If the parent, or mother in most cases, viewed the educational TV programs with the child, termed as coviewing, they interacted with the infants 62.7 percent of the time. Mother-infant interactions were only reported 23.7 percent of the time during all TV viewing but during child-oriented media when mom was around it hit 42.8 percent of interaction time.

So with all the stats and figures it can almost make you wonder if there was a conclusion. The bottom line finds that if an infant is exposed to TV, they have very limited amounts of mother-infant interactions that report at one fourth of all TV viewing the infant is exposed to. While the figures show that mom’s interacted with infants more when viewing educational children’s content they didn’t spend more time coviewing, which in turn didn’t lead to any increased interaction. The final conclusion this study has decided upon is that they don’t really support educational media produced for infants two years and under unless there is someone interacting and coviewing the content with them.

With this most recent study being released it’s almost a Déjà vu moment when looking back at the heated battle that happened between the Baby Einstein DVD Educational ProductUniversity of Washington and the Walt Disney Company. The major claim by a study done at the University of Washing was, “Baby DVDs, videos may hinder, not help, infants’ language development.” The complete press release and coverage to the in depth story can be found on the University of Washington’s article archives here.

The biggest and most damaging claim made by the University of Washington study were the exact figures on how it could be damaging vocabulary development of infants. “Rather than helping babies, the over-use of such productions actually may slow down infants eight to 16 months of age when it comes to acquiring vocabulary”, stated the study. The study went on further to actually pick an exact number of how many words infants were losing in their vocabulary for every hour they watched an educational DVD and video. The study made this claim, University of Washington Seal“The scientists found that for every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants understood an average of six to eight fewer words than infants who did not watch them. Baby DVDs and videos had no positive or negative effect on the vocabularies on toddlers 17 to 24 months of age.” All of these findings were in an effort to explore the potential damage that new found data of young infant TV adoption rates were growing, stating that by 3 months of age 40 percent of infants were regularly watching TV and by age 2 it was 90 percent.

The release of the studies made The Walt Disney Company a very unhappy player in the baby educational arena. It was in 2000 that The Walt Disney Company made a purchase of the Baby Einstein franchise for an undisclosed amount. Since the Baby Einstein franchise had grown to $10 million in revenue by 2000 you can imagine what Disney forked over for it’s new prized possession. When the studies hammered the entire market segment of baby DVD Baby Diplomaeducation, Disney fired back with a letter from the CEO which you can read here. To add the heap of bickering, the President of the University of Washington replied with his own letter back to the CEO of Disney rejecting the complaints which you can read here.

So for all you future parents out there, think twice before you decide to educate your offspring in hopes of bringing them to the ranks of Einstein. Let’s just be honest here though, how many parents have only education on their mind when they sit their infant in front of Sesame Street, Arthur, Blue’s Clues and Baby Einstein DVD’s? If you’re a good parent, you are lying every step of of the way saying it’s all about education when we all know that everyone wants a cheap babysitter from time to time. For the cost of a nice flat-screen, monthly cable fee and a $20 DVD you can have a perpetual baby sitter that also gives that parent the feel good feeling that they are not only keeping the baby quiet, they’re educating them to boot. Leave us a comment and let us all know what you think.

Rockstar sells 6 million units of GTA IV in 5 days

Source: vgchartz.com

VG Chartz.com, the most comprehensive videogaming charts in the world, has announced that Rockstar sold roughly 6 million copies of Grand Theft Auto IV during the first 5 days after the game’s release. 4 million gamers purchased the game day one.
The game generated an estimated revenue of $390 million, exceeding Halo 3´s $280 million launch week. Worldwide sales split 4:3 in favour of the Xbox 360 while the Playstation 3 version saw a higher attach rate.

Image: GTA IV first week sales (numbers in millions)

America saw sales of more than 3.7 million units during the first week of the game’s release. Europe experienced strong sales, as well – roughly 2.2 million Europeans purchased the game during the same timeframe. (1.25 million on Playstation 3; 0.95 million on Xbox 360)

Grand Theft Auto IV also had a big affect on hardware sales: Playstation 3 sales nearly doubled compared to the week before, while Xbox 360 sales jumped roughly 70%.

Grand Theft Auto IV is considered the most expensive game of all time, with estimated development costs of $100 million. The game is likely to hit the 10 million units sales mark during the next months.

Questions regarding VGchartz or our articles? Contact me: Louie.july@gmx.de

Update: Rockstar today confirmed that 6 million copies were sold in the first 5 days but posted a total revenue figure of $500 million rather than our $390. In hindsight, the game sells for closer to $100 in Europe (when taking the exchange rate into account) and $60 in America with the collectors edition being around half again so our initial per game cost of $65 was pessimistic and total revenue will be more like the $500 million Rockstar reported.

Superdelegate suggests Clinton camp tried to ‘buy’ her vote

While voters in Indiana and North Carolina cast their votes, several Hoosier and Tar Heel superdelegates still sitting on the fence shared personal stories with RAW STORY about the pressures and issues that will help them finally decide: Hillary or Barack.

North Carolina superdelegate Dr. Jeannette Council, currently a member of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, said her decision will be based on the voters in her district as well as her own conscience.

“I’ve been in politics for 30 years and I’ve paid my own way to the convention since ‘72,” Council said. “I’ll announce my decision tomorrow because I don’t want to influence anyone’s vote. The ‘Wright’ thing has probably cost Obama a few points here though I think he’ll win. What is most important to me is education, health care, and inspiring the kids and that’s what Obama has done. All of my children are for him.”

Dr. Council said that she had been contacted numerous times by both campaigns, though she said the Clinton campaign has been more aggressive. She seemed upset about calls from the campaign.

“They asked me what it would take to get my vote and I said, ‘I don’t think I heard you right,'” Dr. Council told RAW STORY Tuesday. “‘I know I didn’t hear you imply that my vote was for sale.’ ‘Oh no,’ [they said], ‘that wasn’t what I intended to say at all.’ … ‘Then what the hell do you mean?'”

Sounding frustrated by the bitterness of the campaign, Dr. Council said she felt that Obama had been unfairly treated by the press and Senator Clinton’s campaign. She has not participated in any presidential candidate events or met with the candidates swarming around her state for the last four weeks.

Economy is focus of second superdelegate

Another North Carolina superdelegate, David Parker, says he spends time with both candidates and they constantly ask for his vote, but he’s holding out.

“Hillary Clinton told me last night that the ‘elected’ delegates could switch their vote at the convention and I told her that she was talking like a lawyer,” Parker said Tuesday. “Sure, they can change, but the chances are zero that they’re going to change – at least, not on the first ballot.”

Asked if Clinton’s thinking gave him a good idea whether she was planning to stay in the race until the convention, Parker said, “Probably.”

“She’s come up in the polls and the timing has been bad for Obama with the Rev. Wright revelations, but I still think it’s a good thing because he needs to be bloodied up before he goes into the general election,” he added.

Parker also said that he wouldn’t vote until it became clear there was a winner and he wasn’t concerned if the battle went all the way to the Democratic Convention in Denver this August.

“What matters most to me is how the candidates respond to the economy. Everything points to a troubling fall. Whichever candidate can convince the voters they can come up with quick results will win the election,” said Parker.

Asked if he’d be voting for Hillary Clinton because of her gas tax roll-back, Parked laughed and then turned serious.

“I honestly don’t know,” he said. “Remember, there are a lot of guys like me down here – over-educated white males trying to purge the spot of generations of racial inequality – and that will definitely play a part in my decision.”

Three Indiana superdelegates still undecided

In the Hoosier state, only three superdelegates remain uncommitted. One is Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-IN), whose endorsement is highly coveted by both camps.

His First District includes the far northwest corner of that state, which borders the south side of Chicago. The area is largely urban and one of the strongest African-Americans voting blocks in Indiana.

Jacob Ritvo, Communications Director for Congressman Visclosky, told RAW STORY: “The most important issues to determine who will get his superdelegate vote; jobs, jobs, jobs, the economy, the war in Iraq, gas prices, and access to healthcare.”

Congressman Visclosky has received lots of mail urging him to support Obama or Clinton and he’s been wooed and pursued by both, Ritvo said.

“The Congressman doesn’t have any self-imposed timetable,” Ritvo said. “He’ll wait until after our primary and may choose then…or not until this summer.”

Another uncommmitted delegate, first-term Congressman Joe Donnelly from Indiana’s Second District told the Kokomo Tribune, “I’ll vote for the candidate who can do the most to improve health care for Americans and help working families.”

Like most uncommitted superdelegates still hanging out on the sidelines, Donnelly said he didn’t want his decision to influence any voters.

Why are Broken Bones Lethal to Horses?

After a four-race winning streak, Eight Belles galloped past the Kentucky Derby’s finish line to snag second place. The glory was shattered as the racehorse collapsed on the track. She had broken bones in both front ankles — a lethal injury for a horse.

Unlike us, couch-potato life is not an option for horses like Eight Belles. Immobility can cut off vital circulation within a horse’s body, leading to a cascade of health compromises.

“When [Eight Belles] switched leads to her right front, apparently she landed awkwardly under fatigue, and that was the initiating problem,” said equine veterinarian Celeste Kunz, a spokesperson for the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

Kunz is referring to the rhythm of a horse’s gallop: First the right hind-hoof hits the ground, followed by the left hind-hoof, then the left fore-hoof and right fore-hoof. The right front leg in this instance is the “lead,” and after this hoof touches down there is a moment when the horse is suspended with all four legs in the air.

The injury to the right leg caused the horse to transfer more weight to the left leg, which was overload for the left leg bones.

Horses can tip the scales at more than 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms). They can carry up to 70 percent of that weight on their two front limbs, according to John Hermanson, a zoologist who studies horses at Cornell University in New York.

Eight Belles’ shattered ankles were ill-equipped to support her standing weight. So the horse couldn’t walk. Every step a horse takes keeps blood pumping from their legs back up to the heart and back again.

“A horse’s hoof is designed like a passive mechanical pump,” Hermanson told LiveScience. “Every time they take a step, it provides a little assist in driving blood back to the heart.”

That’s why horses are rarely caught lounging, with their naps lasting seconds to minutes.

“We have reports of horses standing up for twenty-four hours a day,” Hermanson said. “Unlike us, they can sleep on their feet.”

Another injury that can ground a horse, and often lead to death, is so-called laminitis. This happens when the horse’s hoof tissue called the lamina separates from the end of its leg limb.

Hermanson describes the pain from such laminitis as comparable to a human ripping a fingernail off with a wrench. “When you have a horse with laminitis, you’re dealing with that magnitude of pain.” That leads to myriad health issues, one of which is the inability to stand up.

This Commercial for Glasses Was Banned from Television

Billions Spent on Britain’s Cameras Haven’t Cut Crime

Source: timesonline.co.uk

Billions of pounds spent on Britain’s 4.2 million closed-circuit television cameras has not had a significant impact on crime, according to the senior police officer piloting a new database.

Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville said it was a “fiasco” that only 3 per cent of street robberies in London were solved using CCTV.

Mr Neville, who heads the Visual Images, Identifications and Detections Office (Viido) unit, told the Security Document World Conference that the use of CCTV images as evidence in court has been very poor.

“Billions of pounds have been spent on kit, but no thought has gone into how the police are going to use the images and how they will be used in court,” he told the conference.

“It’s been an utter fiasco: only 3 per cent of crimes were solved by CCTV. Why don’t people fear it? [They think] the cameras are not working.”

The aim of the Viido unit is to improve the way that CCTV footage is processed, turning it into a third forensic specialism alongside DNA analysis and fingerprinting.

Britain has more CCTV cameras than any other country in Europe. But Mr Neville is reported in The Guardian as saying that more training was needed for officers who often avoided trawling through CCTV images “because it’s hard work”.

Viido had launched a series of initiatives including a new database of images that will be used to track and identify offenders using software developed for the advertising industry. This works by following distinctive brand logos on the clothing of unidentified suspects. By backtracking through images officers have often found earlier pictures of suspects where they have not been hiding their features.

Mr Neville said that Viido would be publishing pictures of suspects in mugging, rape and robbery cases on the internet from next month and building a national CCTV database that will hold images of convicted criminals and unidentified suspects.

Richard Thomas, the information commissioner, said: “We would expect adequate safeguards to be put in place to ensure the images are used only for crime detection purposes, stored securely and that access to images is restricted to authorised individuals. We would have concerns if CCTV images of individuals going about their daily lives were retained.”