Visite Us

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Early Look at Windows 8 Baffles Consumers

The release of Microsoft’s Windows 8

NEW YORK — The release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system is a week away, and consumers are in for a shock. 

Windows, used in one form or another for a generation, is getting a completely different look that will force users to learn new ways to get things done.

Microsoft is making a radical break with the past to stay relevant in a world where smartphones and tablets have eroded the three-decade dominance of the personal computer. 

Windows 8 is supposed to tie together Microsoft’s PC, tablet and phone software with one look. But judging by the reactions of some people who have tried the PC version, it’s a move that risks confusing and alienating customers. 

Tony Roos, an American missionary in Paris, installed a free preview version of Windows 8 on his aging laptop to see if Microsoft’s new operating system would make the PC faster and more responsive. It didn’t, he said, and he quickly learned that working with the new software requires tossing out a lot of what he knows about Windows.

“It was very difficult to get used to,” he said. “I have an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old, and they never got used to it. They were like, `We’re just going to use Mom’s computer.”’

Windows 8 is the biggest revision of Microsoft Corp.’s operating system since it introduced Windows 95 amid great fanfare 17 years ago. Ultimately, Windows grew into a $14 billion a year business and helped make former Chief Executive Bill Gates the richest man in the world for a time. 

Now, due to smartphones and tablets, the personal computer industry is slumping. Computer companies are desperate for something that will get sales growing again. PC sales are expected to shrink this year for the first time since 2001, according to IHS iSuppli, a market research firm.

The question is whether the new version, which can be run on tablets and smartphones, along with the traditional PC, can satisfy the needs of both types of users.

“I am very worried that Microsoft may be about to shoot itself in the foot spectacularly,” said. Michael Mace, the CEO of Silicon Valley software startup Cera Technology and a former Apple employee. Windows 8 is so different, he said, that many Windows users who aren’t technophiles will feel lost, he said.

Microsoft is releasing Windows 8 on Oct. 26, and it doesn’t plan to cushion the impact. Computer companies will make Windows 8 standard on practically all PCs that are sold to consumers. 

Speaking to Wall Street analysts on Thursday, Microsoft’s chief financial officer Peter Klein said he isn’t very concerned that user confusion could slow the adoption of Windows 8. When Microsoft introduces new features, he said, people eventually realize that “those innovations have delivered way more value, way more productivity and way better usability.” That’s going to be true of Windows 8 too, he said.

Instead of the familiar Start menu and icons, Windows 8 displays applications as a colorful array of tiles, which can feature updated information from the applications. 

For instance, the “Photos” tile shows an image from the user’s collection, and the “People” tile shows images from the user’s social-media contacts. (Microsoft is licensed to use AP content in the Windows 8 news applications.)

The tiles are big and easy to hit with a finger — convenient for a touch screen. Applications fill the whole screen by default — convenient for a tablet screen, which is usually smaller than a PC’s. The little buttons that surround Windows 7 applications, for functions like controlling the speaker volume, are hidden, giving a clean, uncluttered view. When you need those little buttons, you can bring them out, but users have to figure out on their own how to do it. 

“In the quest for simplicity, they sacrificed obviousness,” said Sebastiaan de With, an interface designer and the chief creative officer at app developer DoubleTwist in San Francisco. 

Technology blogger Chris Pirillo posted a YouTube video of his father using a preview version of Windows 8 for the first time. As the elder Pirillo tours the operating system with no help from his son, he blunders into the old “Desktop” environment and can’t figure out how to get back to the Start tiles. (Hint: Move the mouse cursor into the top right corner of the screen, then swipe down to the “Start” button that appears, and click it. On a touch screen, swipe a finger in from the right edge of the screen to reveal the Start button.) The four-minute video has been viewed more than 1.1 million times since it was posted in March. 

“There are many things that are hidden,” said Raluca Budiu, a user experience specialist with Nielsen Norman Group. “Once users discover them, they have to remember where they are. People will have to work hard and use this system on a regular basis.”

Mace, the software CEO, has used every version of Windows since version 2.0, which came out in 1987. Each one, he said, built upon the previous one. Users didn’t need to toss out their old ways of doing things when new software came along. Windows 8 ditches that tradition of continuity, he said.

“Most Windows users don’t view their PCs as being broken to begin with. If you tell them `Oh, here’s a new version of Windows, and you have to relearn everything to use it,’ how many normal users are going to want to do that?” he asked.

The familiar Windows Desktop is still available through one of the tiles, and most programs will open up in that environment. But since the Start button is gone, users will have to flip back and forth between the desktop and the tile screen.

There’s additional potential for confusion because there’s one version of Windows 8, called “Windows RT,” that looks like the PC version but doesn’t run regular Windows programs. It’s intended for tablets and lightweight tablet-laptop hybrids.

Budiu believes the transition to Windows 8 will be most difficult for PC users, because Microsoft’s design choices favor touch screens rather than mice and keyboards. Alex Wukovich, a Londoner who tried Windows 8 on a friend’s laptop, agrees.

“On a desktop, it just felt really weird,” he said. “It feels like it’s a tablet operating system that Microsoft managed to twist and shoehorn onto a desktop.”

Not everyone who has tried Windows 8 agrees with the critics. 

Sheldon Skaggs, a Web developer in Charlotte, N.C., thought he was going to hate Windows 8, but he needed to do something to speed up his 5-year-old laptop. So he installed the new software.

“After a bit of a learning curve and playing around with it a bit more, you get used to it, surprisingly,” he said.

The computer now boots up faster than it did with Windows Vista, he said.

Vista was Microsoft’s most recent operating-system flop. It was seen as so clunky and buggy when released in 2007 that many PC users sat out the upgrade cycle and waited for Windows 7, which arrived two and a half years later. Companies and other institutions wait much longer than consumers to upgrade their software, and many will keep paying for Windows 7. Many companies are still using Windows XP, released in 2001.

Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Financial, is optimistic about Windows 8, pointing out that it’s snappy and runs well on PCs with limited processing power, making it suited for compact, tablet-style machines. But he also notes that through Microsoft’s history, roughly every other operating-system release has been a letdown. 

Intel Corp. makes the processors that go into 80 percent of PCs, and has a strong interest in the success of Windows. CEO Paul Otellini said Tuesday that when the company has let consumers try Windows 8 on expensive “ultrabook” laptops with touch screens, “the feedback is universally positive.” But he told analysts that he doesn’t really know if people will embrace Windows 8 for mainstream PCs.


»»  Continue Reading...
Published by Gusti Putra at: 4:05 PM

Saturday, May 19, 2012

10 Cars most Sought Men

10 Cars Men Can't Stop Thinking About

Lust is a relative term. One man's object of desire is another man's reject, and there's no accounting for taste. Cars are like anything else: What you enjoy might not be enjoyed by others — until you get to the top. The best and most exciting cars in the world are generally universally appreciated. The desirable forms in this gathering tend to stimulate men the way few other machines do. Here are what we believe to be the 10 cars that men lust after the most.


1957 Jaguar XKSS
This is the prettiest Jaguar ever built, and that's saying something. The XKSS was little more than a Jaguar D-Type with a windshield and a full interior. It was loud, obnoxious and expensive when new. (Fittingly, actor Steve McQueen drove one.) Just 16 were built before a fire at Jaguar's Browns Lane factory in Coventry, England, destroyed the tooling required to make more. The daring required to put a world-class racing car into production is no laughing matter, but even if the XKSS had no history and offered no speed, its sultry, world-beating looks would make it a lock on this list.

1953 – 2012 Chevrolet Corvette

GM engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov created the Chevrolet Corvette in the early 1950s as a response to the twee sports cars then coming out of Europe, but the model has since transcended its "me, too" origins and become one of the most respected machines in the world. America's most successful sports car is still the only real choice when it comes to purpose-built Detroit speed; other cars might be faster and more well-rounded, but few offer as much style and speed for the price. Want a durable, drag-race-winning, road-course-eating American monster? Having a midlife crisis and need something to sin up the driveway? The Corvette is your answer.

1961 – 1967 AC/Shelby Cobra

It's been said that the Shelby Cobra is the most copied car in the world, and it's not hard to see why. The Cobra's unique blend of American power (a Ford V8 engine) and British style and handling (a 1960s AC Ace body and frame) make it nearly irresistible. That it won countless races in the hands of Carroll Shelby's eponymous motorsports team is just icing on the cake. There are different flavors of Cobra — 289, 427, competition-ready or road-prepped — but all are amazing to drive and frighteningly seductive. The preponderance of copies just makes the originals that much more desirable.

1962 – 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO

Every lust list needs a Ferrari, and this is the most lust-worthy Ferrari of them all. The Ferrari 250 GTO is the epitome of what the Italian marque has come to represent: fast, outrageous, competition-worthy. That it looks good in red is no small thing, either. Just 39 were produced, and each one is worth more than the average American makes in 10 years. This is the ne plus ultra of Ferraris, the barely tamed road racer that happens to look good on the street, and nearly everyone has heard of it. And if that isn't enough, it's difficult to drive quickly and makes you feel like a man every time you think about it. "Lust" is an understatement.

1964 – 2013 Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang is arguably the single greatest stroke of product-planning genius in the history of the automobile. The first Mustangs were little more than rebodied Ford Falcon sedans, but they offered flash and power in a relatively compact and affordable package. With the Mustang, Ford all but created an industry segment — a 2-door machine with more looks and speed than its window sticker would lead you to believe. Almost all Mustangs are great, and even the lackluster ones entice. Most men like a bargain, and nowhere else do you get as much bang for the buck.

1963 – 2012 Porsche 911

In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler tasked Ferdinand Porsche with designing a car for the masses. The machine that resulted, the air-cooled, rear-engine Volkswagen Beetle, stayed in production for half a century and eventually spawned the Porsche 356 sports car. The 356, in turn, spawned the Porsche 911, a 6-cylinder, rear-engine jewel that went on to dominate both motorsports and the sports-car sales race. No car is more quintessentially German, and no modern exotic does so much so well. The 911 is sex, speed, history, feedback and comfort — everything a guy might want.

A Big Truck

Yes, we know "a big truck" is a little vague. But really, who doesn't want a big truck? Whether it's a Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, International or Mack, the brand isn't important. All that matters is cargo capacity and cylinder count. You can tow with it. You can haul anything. You can stick Aunt Edna's couch in the back and move all of her stuff across town, and no snowstorm or muddy road will stop you. The day after a man wins the lottery, he buys an exotic sports car. The day after that, he buys a truck.

1961 – 1969 Lincoln Continental

You have probably seen this car before. It was in "The Matrix." It stars in the opening scenes of HBO's "Entourage." Tragically, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in one. The 1960s Lincoln Continental was the last of the great Detroit style sleds; it offers presence in spades, comfort out the wazoo, and more sheet metal than a pie-tin factory. It doesn't handle or stop all that well, but those things are beside the point; when you swan down the road in this thing, you feel like a king and a rock star all at once. Think of it as an old-school Cadillac without the glam.

1954 – 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, also known as the Gullwing, is one of the most recognizable cars ever built. The car's nickname comes from its upward-swinging doors, a feature Mercedes engineers dreamed up to get around the space limitations of the SL's revolutionary steel-tube frame. When this car was new, it was the fastest production automobile on the planet, topping out at a whopping 161 mph. Only 1,400 were built, and nearly all of them survive. If you want one, bring a few kidneys to pawn: Even a beater Gullwing will run you almost half a million dollars.

1966 – 1972 Lamborghini Miura

Deep down, everyone wants an exotic car. The Lamborghini Miura is the quintessential exotic — a machine that values speed over practicality, beauty over thrift. It is gorgeous. You cannot buy one unless you are wealthy, and even then, you may not be able to afford it. Its maintenance costs would bankrupt a Rockefeller. Its road manners would kill an Andretti. And somewhere, some woman is crying because her fiancĂ© just bought a new Miura engine and not a wedding ring. This is exactly why men — or women, dogs, aliens from Mars, whoever — want it. You should, too.

Quoted from MSN
»»  Continue Reading...
Published by Gusti Putra at: 12:23 PM

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dangerous Storms Move into Midwest

A tornado moves on the ground north of Solomon, Kan.,
on Saturday evening. A strong wave of storms pounded the Midwest.
Tornadoes Reported

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Tornadoes reported across the Midwest and Plains on Saturday and early Sunday left five people dead in Oklahoma and damaged houses, a hospital, a jail, an Air Force base and other buildings around the region, officials said.

Oklahoma authorities said five people died early Sunday after a tornado hit in and around the northwest Oklahoma town of Woodward. Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain said the state medical examiner's office confirmed the fatalities in the Woodward area. She didn't know the gender or age of the victims or details of their deaths.

The National Weather Service said the tornado hit at 12:18 a.m. Sunday.

Woodward Mayor Roscoe Hill said the sirens were not apparently working when the tornado struck, although they had been sounding loudly from storms on Saturday afternoon. The tornado hit in a mixed area of residences and businesses, Hill said.

Sheriff's deputies carry an injured man from a south Wichita neighborhood after a tornado caused massive damage Saturday night.
Woodward police said search and rescue units were headed to the damaged areas.

Storms also were reported in Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.

National Weather Service forecasters issued sobering outlooks that the worst of the weather would hit around nightfall, predicting that conditions were right for exceptionally strong tornadoes. Weather officials and emergency management officials worried most about what would happen if strong storms hit when people were sleeping, not paying attention to weather reports and unlikely to hear warning sirens.

When it's dark, it's also more difficult for weather spotters to clearly see funnel clouds or tornadoes.
In Kansas, a reported tornado in Wichita caused damage at McConnell Air Force Base and the Spirit AeroSystems and Boeing plants. A mobile home park was heavily damaged in the city, although no injuries or deaths were reported.

Yvonne Tucker rushed to a shelter with about 60 of her neighbors at Pinaire Mobile Home Park. She said people were crying and screaming, and the shelter's lights went out when the twister hit. When they came back outside, they found several homes destroyed, including Tucker's.

"I didn't think it was that bad until I walked down my street and everything is gone," said Tucker, 49. "I don't know what to do. I don't know where to go. I've seen it on TV, but when it happens to you it is unreal.
"I just feel lost."

Iowa emergency officials said a large part of the town of Thurman in the western part of the state was destroyed Saturday night, possibly by a tornado, but no one was injured or killed. Fremont County Emergency Management Director Mike Crecelius said about 75 percent of the 250-person town was destroyed. Some residents took refuge at the City Hall.

A hospital in Creston, about 75 miles southwest of Des Moines, suffered roof damage and had some of its windows blown out by the storm, but patients and staff were not hurt. Medical center officials were calling other area hospitals to determine how many beds they had available in case they needed to move patients.

In Nebraska, baseball-sized hail shattered windows and tore siding from houses in and around Petersburg, about 140 miles northwest of Omaha. In southeast Nebraska, an apparent tornado took down barns, large trees and some small rural structures. Johnson County emergency director Clint Strayhorn said he was trying to determine the twister's duration and the damage it caused.

"I'm on a 2-mile stretch that this thing is on the ground and I haven't even gotten to the end of it yet," he said, walking the path of destruction near the Johnson-Nemaha county line. He didn't immediately know of any injuries.
At least 10 tornadoes were reported in Kansas, mostly in rural parts of the western and central sections of the state. A suspected tornado narrowly avoided Salina, meteorologists said. Another was on the ground for about a half-hour north of Dodge City.

Sedgwick County, home to Wichita, declared a state of disaster and said preliminary estimates suggest damages could be as high as $283 million.

Kristin Dean, who was among the Wichita mobile home residents taking shelter during the storm, said she was shaking as she was being pushed from home in her wheelchair. She was able to grab a bag of her possessions before going into the shelter and that was all she had left. She lost her mobile home, and the windows in her car shattered.

"It got still," the 37-year-old woman, who's in a wheelchair after hurting her leg a month ago, recalled of the scene inside the shelter. "Then we heard a wham, things flying. Everybody screamed, huddling together.
"It is devastating, but you know we are alive."

Kansas Division of Emergency Management spokeswoman Sharon Watson said Rice County was the only other Kansas county to issue a disaster declaration. Several buildings in the county were damaged, including the one housing the sheriff's department and jail. Inmates were transferred to another facility because of the damage.

Homes were damaged or destroyed in 10 other Kansas counties, Watson said.
Warnings for more serious storms continued. Bill Bunting, chief of operations at the Storm Prediction Center, said severe weather is possible Sunday "from east Texas and Arkansas and up into the Great Lakes."

"The threat isn't over with tonight, unfortunately," he said Saturday.

Adapted from USA Today
»»  Continue Reading...
Published by Gusti Putra at: 4:38 PM

Human Remains Might Be at Titanic Wreck Site

This photo provided by the Institute for Exploration, Center for
Archaeological Oceanography/University of
Rhode Island/NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration,
shows a pair of shoes at the bottom of the ocean near
the Titanic shipwreck site.
Officials say evidence of human remains at Titanic wreck

NEW YORK (AP) – Human remains may be embedded in the mud of the North Atlantic where the New York-bound Titanic came to rest when it sank 100 years ago, a federal official said Saturday.

A 2004 photograph, released to the public for the first time this week in an uncropped version to coincide with the disaster's centenary, shows a coat and boots in the mud at the legendary shipwreck site.

"These are not shoes that fell out neatly from somebody's bag right next to each other," James Delgado, the director of maritime heritage at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, told the Associated Press in a phone interview.

The way they are "laid out" makes a "compelling case" that it is where "someone has come to rest," he said.
The image, along with two others showing pairs of boots resting next to each other, were taken during an expedition led by NOAA and famed Titanic finder Robert Ballard in 2004. They were published in Ballard's book on the expedition. Delgado said the one showing a coat and boots was cropped to show only a boot.

The New York Times first reported about the photographs in Saturday editions.

Filmmaker James Cameron, who has visited the wreck 33 times, told the newspaper that he had seen "zero human remains" during his extensive explorations of the Titanic. "We've seen shoes. We've seen pairs of shoes, which would strongly suggest there was a body there at one point. But we've never seen any human remains."

For Delgado, who was the chief scientist on an expedition in 2010 that mapped the entire site, the difference in opinion is "one of semantics."

"I as an archaeologist would say those are human remains," he said, referring to the photograph of the coat and boots specifically. "Buried in that sediment are very likely forensic remains of that person."

He said in an email that the images "speak to the power of that tragic and powerful scene 2 ½ miles below" and "to its resilience as an undersea museum, as well as its fragility."

"This is an appropriate time to note the human cost of that event, and the fact that in this special place at the bottom of the sea, evidence of the human cost, in the form of the shattered wreck, the scattered luggage, fittings and other artifacts, and the faint but unmistakable evidence that this is where people came to rest, is present," he said.

He said the images are also evidence that society could do a better job protecting the site.

There has been a long fight to protect the Titanic since it was rediscovered by Ballard in 1985, beginning with a federal law passed by Congress aimed at creating an international agreement to transform the shipwreck into an international maritime memorial. Sen. John Kerry introduced what some observers see as stronger legislation April 1 aimed at protecting the site from "salvage and intrusive research."

But the luxury liner, which went down April 14, 1912, after striking an iceberg, sits in international waters, limiting what the U.S. government can do.

Delgado said an international treaty would need to be negotiated between Britain, Canada, France and the U.S.

Adapted from USA Today
»»  Continue Reading...
Published by Gusti Putra at: 4:07 PM

Friday, March 02, 2012

Homes made from wacky materials

Humble materials get recycled to create outlandish homes,
such as this dumpster house.

Bedtime stories say the evil witch from Hansel and Gretel lived in a gingerbread cottage with window panes of sugar and a candy studded roof. And an old lady with so many children she didn’t know what to do lived in a shoe.

In real life, the possibilities are just as wacky, from paper houses to converted grain bins to homes made from a muddy mixture called “cob.” These architectural oddities — homes built out of recycled junk, gussied up dumpsters, or grounded airplanes — provide fodder for future fairy tales, or at least late-night shows on HGTV.

In the Hamptons, a resort area usually associated with oceanfront mega mansions, abandoned steel shipping containers are being used to construct a 2,000-square-foot beach house with a deck and a small pool. Andrew Anderson, the builder and owner of, says turning the containers into a home will ultimately help the planet.

“It’s the opportunity to take these products and give them a second life,” Anderson says. “You weld them together and tack them onto the foundation.” With loads of glass and an exposed corrugated ceiling in the upper container and an exposed corrugated wall in a lower crate, the shipping container beach house will be listed this spring for close to $1.4 million.

Here are five houses made from the most unconventional materials:

Fancy Fuselage
Where: All Over
Made From: Old Airplanes
The vintage Boeing 727's interior is adorned with teak paneling from cockpit to tail.
Photo: Costa Verde
Once they’ve made their last landings, Boeing 727s and Douglas DC-8s, don’t always get put out to pasture on the retirement tarmac. If not broken up for parts and scrap, the occasional airplane, wings clipped, gets transformed into a sealed, sturdily built fuselage-style private home. Corporate jets already outfitted with designer bedrooms, comfy leather sofas, media rooms and bars, may just need the seat belts removed.

Dumpster Home
Where: Berkeley, California
Made From: Dumpster
Extreme compromises include a toilet lid that doubles as a bed cushion.
Photo: Forbes
"A nice little home out of a garbage can." That's how artist Gregory Kloehn of Berkeley, CA describes, in a interview by Kim Aronson, the dumpster he made into a “luxury” compact home for urban living. The “elite waste” quarters boast stainless steel appliances, gas stove, hardwood floors, a toilet, storage and sleeping areas and a barbecue outside. At night its two front windows roll down into the elite dumpster for privacy.

Junk Castle
Where: Pullman, Washington
Made From: Car Parts, Sheet Metal, Car Windows
Building on a budget: this scrap-metal home cost less than $500 to build.
Photo: Forbes
Many folks have junk drawers. Victor Moore, an art teacher, had a junk house. Set on a hilltop with lookouts made from car windows and the glass from washing machine doors, the 1960s Junk Castle is filled with all sorts of, well, junk, from his workshop. The exterior walls are a mélange of old auto body parts, recycled sheet metal and household appliance parts.

Cob House
Where: Rutledge, Missouri
Made From: Sand, Clay, Straw
The 370-square-foot cottage took nine months to build.
Photo: Forbes
To build his snail-shaped "cob house," Brian "Ziggy" Liliola used 219 batches of cob, a wet mixture of straw, clay and sand. He chose the rustic building material used on 500-year-old thatched cottages in England, because of “how creative you could be” and “the flexibility and low cost and sustainable benefit” of building with local materials.

Converted Silos And Grain Bins
Where: The Midwest
Made From: Converted Silos, Grain Bins
Two grain silos were combined to create a unique 1,800 square-foot home.
Photo: Forbes
Silos and grain bins aren’t just for missiles or soybeans anymore. Structurally sound, ready made with a roof, round walls and a concrete floor loaded with interior space, the often abandoned, recyclable steel structures are easily converted into homes that are fire and termite resistant, weather proof and energy efficient. For larger lodgings, they can be placed side-by-side or stacked on top of each other. Even Rapunzel might let down her hair in these multi-story circular dwellings. After all, it’s like living in a metal turret.

Quoted from Yahoo

»»  Continue Reading...
Published by Gusti Putra at: 2:32 AM

Twitter’s logo is named after NBA Legend

Twitter’s logo is named after Larry Bird

Larry Bird sets up his Twitter account,
@HickFromFrenchLick (Jennifer Pottheiser/ Getty).
The NBA and Twitter have proved to be a natural fit for each other. Basketball players took to the service before their counterparts in any other sport, shows like TNT's "Inside the NBA" have willfully incorporated tweets into their broadcasts, and the league maintains a steady tweet presence.

It turns out that Twitter itself also takes some inspiration from the league. If you've spent any time on the site, you've almost certainly seen some variation on their bird logo. Any domesticated animal needs a name, and so the company's braintrust named their bird "Larry" — in honor, of course, of Celtics legend and current Indiana Pacers general manager Larry Bird. From Rosa Golijan for Digital Life (via PBT):

"A tweet by Ryan Sarver, a Twitter employee who works on the company's platform and API, reminded us of this silly bit of trivia. Sarver tweeted that Doug Bowman — Twitter's creative director — discussed "the evolution of the Larry the Bird logo" on Monday. [...]
So how'd Larry get his name? Is he named after Google co-founder Larry Page? Or perhaps after Larry the Cable Guy? Maybe Larry King?
No. Larry the Bird is named after former NBA basketball player Larry Bird of Boston Celtics fame. This detail was confirmed when Peter Stringer — the Boston Celtic's director of interactive media — asked Twitter co-founder Biz Stone about it in Aug. 2011."

It's a natural connection given Bird's level of fame. The only other sensible options would have been to name it after jazz legend Charlie "Bird" Parker, or come up with a clever pun like "Birdgess Meredith."

Golijan doesn't explain if the human Larry Bird has caught wind of the connection, or if he even knows what Twitter is. If he does, he probably refers to it as "that thing Roy uses all the time." And then he'd go back to his ancestral home in French Lick, ride a tractor around the farm for a while, and wonder when the world got so darn complicated.

Also, I haven't yet confirmed this report, but I've been told that the Google Plus logo is named "Carlos" after Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer's habit of shouting "and-one!" every time he gets fouled.

Quoted from Yahoo
»»  Continue Reading...
Published by Gusti Putra at: 1:59 AM

Microsoft Unveils Windows 8

You already knew from the early "developer preview" of Windows 8 that Microsoft released in September just how radically different this version of the company's ubiquitous operating system is from its predecessors. But now that Microsoft on Wednesday unleashed a more complete preview version of Windows 8 — which consumers can get their hands on — we really are on the threshold of a whole new era of personal computing.
Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows and Windows Live, at the Windows 8 Consumer Preview presentation
at the Mobile World Congress.

The stakes for Microsoft and the entire computing ecosystem are enormous. This new era is built around tablets as much as traditional laptops and desktops, and multi-touch as much as the keyboard and mouse. At the same time Microsoft marches toward Windows 8, archrival Apple is revving up a new version of Mac OS X called Mountain Lion.

And Apple has a huge lead in tablets with the iPad, a new version of which is expected to be unveiled in San Francisco next week.

For its part, Windows 8 provides consumers the flexibility to go back and forth between touch and the keyboard and mouse. And this cloud based operating system — Windows 8 is tied into various Microsoft services online, including SkyDrive, where you can store and access documents and pictures — is designed to work on all types of hardware.
"With Windows 8, we reimagined the different ways people interact with their PC and how to make everything feel like a natural extension of the device, whether using a Windows 8 tablet, laptop or all-in-one," said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft. Sinofsky calls Windows 8 "a generational change for Windows."

Microsoft announced the availability of the "consumer preview" at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.
This version of Windows 8 isn't quite final but pretty darn close, and you can download it for free at I got an early look at it on a Samsung test tablet. (Microsoft says that to date the developer preview received more than 3 million downloads.)

Keep in mind that however far along, this is still a test version that carries some risks. Not all your peripherals or software drivers will be compatible at this stage, and bugs are to be expected. Microsoft says a report will be generated during setup to alert you to known issues. Moreover, the "beta" will eventually expire (and you can't retreat to Windows 7 or earlier versions when that happens), though that's likely to be well after Windows 8 actually goes on sale.

Microsoft wouldn't give firm dates and didn't reveal pricing or other details in Barcelona. But a very reasonable assumption is the fall.

So what can you expect? Highlights:
As with the developer preview, you notice the dramatic turn in Windows from the very start — even before you get to the newly designed Start screen. At your option, you can log in with a picture password, instead of the standard typed password, by "drawing" a chosen image with your finger on the touch-screen in a predetermined pattern. You can see notifications from Twitter and Facebook.

From the Start screen you can view the weather, appointments, contacts, and more — you get to choose how the information is organized.

Suffice to say it looks very different from your daddy's Windows. At the core of the new operating system is an attractive, customizable user layout called Metro, similar to what folks using the latest Windows Phones see, and based on colorful and dynamic touchable tiles of different sizes rather than standard icons to display information.

You can click on a Desktop tile to return to a more familiar Windows layout. You can pin apps you use frequently.

If you have a touch-capable computer or tablet, you can switch among apps, pan and zoom and get around through finger gestures. You can tap to launch an app, follow a link and so on. Swiping from the right or left edge of the screen summons system commands called "charms." You can slide to pan or scroll through lists and pages. A feature called semantic zoom gives you a birds-eye view of your system and makes it easier to navigate a computer with lots on it.

You can type with one of two onscreen touch keyboards, a full-size version with large buttons or a thumb keyboard for when you're on the go. The latter splits the keyboard on the screen and is designed for portable devices.

Of course, you can also plug in a physical keyboard and/or a mouse.
Each of the various actions has a mouse equivalent, and there are keyboard shortcuts too.
Microsoft will supply a set of apps, including a mail program containing all your accounts in one place (Hotmail, Gmail, Exchange, etc.).

Similarly a photo app brings in albums from the likes of Facebook, Flickr and SkyDrive. A people app consolidates an address book with contacts from Hotmail, Messenger, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gmail and so on.
You can also chat in Messaging with pals on Messenger and Facebook.

And a music app will connect to the Zune Marketplace. App controls are hidden until you need them. A video store will let you buy or rent first run movies and TV shows.
With the consumer preview comes the beta launch of the Windows Store.

It will feature free and fee-based downloadable apps, from Microsoft and various third parties including USA TODAY, demonstrated during Microsoft's Barcelona launch. At the event, Microsoft showed off a version of the popular Cut the Rope game for Windows 8. For now apps are free to try.

Eventually if you buy an app on one Windows 8 PC, you can sign into the store and install it on up to 5 other computers. Microsoft says the store will organize offerings into categories. There'll be purchase recommendations. But the store was not available in the days leading up to the consumer preview launch. The various Metro-style apps can take advantage of the live tiles to display info even when they're not running.

Though the new operating system looks different, if you open a familiar app such as Word or Powerpoint, it looks and works the same as before.
There's more. A new preview version of the venerable Internet Explorer browser IE 10 also arrives with Windows 8. It promises an edge-to-edge Web experience on the screen — with navigational controls that are concealed.

Microsoft claims Windows 8 won't put excess demands on power, leading in theory to energy efficiencies and better battery life on ultrabook computers, tablets and other hardware. Time will tell. And the company says that if your computer has the specifications to run Windows Vista it should handle Windows 8.

I'm impressed by what I see. But I'll still reserve judgement until doing a final review on an actual product. No matter how stable (and fast and fluid), given the nature of any early operating release I'd recommend most consumers wait for a final version of Windows before plunging forward. But if you're the least bit curious, and a little bit tech savvy, go ahead and take a spin.

Republished from USAToday
»»  Continue Reading...
Published by Gusti Putra at: 1:34 AM

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

America's Most Outrageous Food Vehicles

A collection of the most outlandish food-shaped automobiles in the nation

Who hasn't wanted to take a ride in the Weinermobile? Outfitting vehicles to look like something else has been one of America's favorite advertising tools since the '30s, and drivers and bystanders have been treated to cars that look like everything from animals to candy - even shoes. In fact, carrying on in the tradition of Oscar Mayer, there is a whole bevy of food-shaped vehicles that deserve their moment of glory.

Anyone who's watched the movie Dumb and Dumber will chuckle at the memory of the MuttCutts van that Jeff Daniels' character Harry Dunne had made for his dog grooming service - it's a time-honored visual gag. Before the Super Bowl, David Arquette was spotted riding around Indianapolis in The Chicken Limo, a chicken topped vehicle that can be rented out for special events.

The most famous food truck and the one that sparked this whole phenomenon, the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, first debuted in 1936, but some of the more recent food-shaped vehicles on this list are a food fanatic's personal roving masterpiece, like Harry Sperl's hamburger Harley Davidson three-wheeler and Steve Braithwaite's banana car. Others were marketing tools for nationally recognized brands such as Dairy Queen's blizzard-mobile and the Hershey's Kiss truck.

From a hot dog cart to cupcake- and pig-shaped trucks, and even a lobster car, never has a collection of vehicles looked so delicious. 

Adapted from Yahoo

»»  Continue Reading...
Published by Gusti Putra at: 12:39 PM

Egypt begins restoring ancient boat near pyramids

CAIRO (AP) — Archaeologists on Monday began restoration on a 4,500-year-old wooden boat found next to the pyramids, one of Egypt's main tourist attractions.
The boat is one of two that were buried next to the Pharaoh Khufu, spokesmen for a joint Egyptian-Japanese team of archeologists said. The boats are believed to have been intended to carry pharaohs into the afterlife.

Khufu, also known as Cheops, is credited with building the Great Pyramid of Giza, the largest of the pyramids. Khufu, son of Snefru, was the second ruler of the 4th Dynasty around 2680 B.C. and ruled Egypt for 23 years.

Both boats, made from Lebanese cedar and Egyptian acacia trees, were originally discovered in 1954. One of the boats is on display at a museum near the pyramids.

The second boat, which is now undergoing the restoration, remained buried. It is thought to be smaller than its sister ship, which is about 140 feet (43 meters) long.

The head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mustafa Amin, said Egyptologists began taking samples of the wood for restoration on Monday.

"The boat was found in a complete shape, intact and in place," he said, adding that the focus now is on taking samples of the wood.

He said Egyptologists are studying "the different components and fungus in the wood in order to find the most sufficient and advanced way to work on the wood."

Last year in June, a team of scientists lifted the first of 41 limestone slabs each weighing about 16 tons to uncover the pit in which the ancient ship was buried, said Sakuji Yoshimura, professor from Japan's Waseda University.

At the time, experts said restoration would likely take about four years and that at its completion, the boat would be placed on display at the Solar Boat Museum near the pyramids, which routinely attract millions of tourists and boost one of Egypt's most important industries.

The team had initially thought the vessel would be safer left underground than exposed to pollution, but evidence showed that pollution, water and insects had invaded the boat's chamber.
A $10 million grant from Waseda University has helped in preparing the ship's excavation process.

Adapted from YAHOO
»»  Continue Reading...
Published by Gusti Putra at: 12:32 PM

7 Best Places to Live Cheaply

These locations boast some of the lowest living costs in the nation. They also have highly rated schools and low unemployment and crime rates.

No. 1: Sandusky, Ohio

Sandusky, Ohio, is a city with million-dollar water views and a whole lot of $100,000 houses. With a median family income of $64,000 and median home-selling price of $76,000, this city on Lake Erie, midway between Cleveland and Toledo, could be the most affordable housing market in the country.

Throw in highly rated schools and a low crime rate, and Sandusky tops the 2011 Forbes list of America's best cheap cities.

To produce the list, we started with the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Affordability Index, where Sandusky ranked sixth behind such cities as Kokomo, Ind., Elkhart, Ind., and Springfield, Ohio. Then we screened for the things homebuyers want to go along with a cheap house: low cost of living, from Moody's; low violent crime rate, from the FBI; low unemployment rate, from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics; and school quality, from GreatSchools.

No. 2: Monroe, Mich.

Median income: $69,000
Median house price: $101,000
Unemployment rate: 8.5%
Crime rate: 222
GreatSchools rating: 5

No. 3: Cumberland, Md.-W.Va.

Median income: $52,200
Median house price: $81,000
Unemployment rate: 8.9%
Crime rate: 480
GreatSchools rating: 6

No. 4: Kokomo, Ind.

Median income: $61,400
Median house price: $88,000
Unemployment rate: 9.6%
Crime rate: 300
GreatSchools rating: 4

No. 5: Bay City, Mich.

Median income: $56,200
Median house price: $73,000
Unemployment rate: 9.9%
Crime rate: 315
GreatSchools rating: 5

No. 6: Pocatello, Idaho

Median income: $55,600

Median house price: $108,000
Unemployment rate: 9%
Crime rate: 250
GreatSchools rating: 6

No. 7: Fairbanks, Alaska

Median income: $76,800
Median house price: $216,000
Unemployment rate: 7.1%
Crime rate: 752
GreatSchools rating: 7

Adapted from MSN

»»  Continue Reading...
Published by Gusti Putra at: 12:24 PM

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Seven Tips for Becoming a Better Boss

Want to build a better workplace? Follow these tips from the leaders of companies recognized in the annual Best Small Workplaces list.

Is better hiring and retention high on your to-do list this year? Many people need to do more with less nowadays. A great way to start is with better management and more effective workers.

It’s easy to see why companies would want to start building a great workplace. Where to begin can be more difficult to discern. This lack of clarity makes it tough to take focused actions that move a company forward. In some cases, it can even be discouraging to a leader if the scope and breadth seem too large to overcome.

If you’re among those aspiring to build a better workplace, even a great one, here are seven tips from the leaders of companies recognized in this year's annual Best Small Workplaces list.

1. Begin with yourself. “In order to build a great workplace, you must first build yourself by gaining a deep understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as a leader, and you must completely commit to developing yourself into the best leader and person you can be. At the same time, you must hire outstanding people who are as committed as you are to build a great workplace.” — Robert Pasin, Chief Wagon Officer, Radio Flyer

2. Flip the traditional management dynamic. “Treat every employee as a colleague, and turn the management structure upside down. If you are hiring well, then the management of the company is there to support the talent and aspirations of your employees, and not the reverse.”  — John Saaty, CEO, Decision Lens

3. Hire the best. “Hire people smarter than you. This is the best advice my father gave me when I was starting my business, and I believe it holds true today. In today's competitive environment, your time at work will be easier and more pleasant if you are surrounded by smart people — those who share your values, mission, and vision and like to have FUN! Talented employees will help your business to grow, and create a great place to work. Customers value knowledgeable employees — the smarter your new hires are, the better off your business will be in the end.”  — Lauren Dixon, CEO, Dixon Schwabl

4. See employees as whole people. “Every employee has things in their life more important than work. If you fail to realize that, there will be a fundamental disconnect in your relationship with that employee. Realize it and embrace it, and you will be on the way to a mutually beneficial relationship. ”  — Tim Storm, CEO & Founder, FatWallet

5. Use positive, constructive motivation. “It’s said that eight out of 10 people come to work in the morning wanting to make a difference, but by lunch it’s down to four. That’s usually a result of the environment more than anything, not just the physical but the interpersonal. Lead your employees with a clear vision, support them with adequate resources, and possibly most important — reward them for treating others with respect. Motivate everyone in a positive, constructive way, and your biggest problem will be having to build more office space sooner than you thought!”  — Tim Hohmann, CEO, AutomationDirect

6. Practice accountability to your values. “Hold everyone accountable to your core beliefs and values, including you. No ‘license to kill’ is allowed no matter how much money someone brings into your business. Otherwise, a double standard develops which will derail the creation of a great workplace.”  — Jim Rasche, 3EO, Kahler Slater

7. Start now. “Don’t wait till you get bigger to put in place key items, such as staff surveys, peer interviewing for hiring and clear standards of behavior [developed by staff].” — Quint Studer, CEO and founder, Studer Group

Adapted from MSN
»»  Continue Reading...
Published by Gusti Putra at: 3:19 AM

Tips on Overcoming Workplace Phobias

How to overcome phobias in the workplace

Few people truly love public speaking. So when you have to give a big presentation to your boss and a room full of your peers, it's normal to feel nervous, get a little sweaty and rejoice once the presentation is over. Yet for some, the idea of public speaking evokes such fear that it's debilitating and renders them unable to participate. That kind of anxiety may be considered a social phobia.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 5.3 million Americans suffer from a social phobia, an overwhelming anxiety and self-consciousness in social settings. What's more, the institute estimates that more than one in 10 Americans have one or more specific phobias. WebMD defines phobia as "a lasting and unreasonable fear caused by the presence or thought of a specific object or situation that usually poses little or no actual danger."

A variety of phobias -- both social and specific -- could be manifested at work. Psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., author of "A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness," names fear of heights, elevators, flying and germs as examples of phobias that could interfere with work. Others may be more specific, such as the fear of making a decision, the fear of computers or the fear of speaking on the phone. So what should a worker do if he has a phobia he believes may hurt his job performance?

Be upfront in an interview 
If you have a phobia that is associated with any part of the job description and you don't think you'll be able to perform that task, you should be upfront during an interview. "The only time you really need to mention your phobia during an interview is if the phobia will prevent you from doing the job for which you are interviewing," Lombardo says. "For example, many people who are phobic of flying still do actually fly. So in this case, there is no need to bring up your fear. However, if you refuse to fly and the job description includes travel that requires flying, you need to mention this during the interview."

Work with human resources
A phobia can be considered a disability if it limits a major life activity, says Scott Barer, a labor and employment law attorney. "For example, if the phobia rises to the level of, or causes, a mental disorder that limits a major life activity, then the phobia could be considered a disability," he says. "In that situation, the employee has rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and likely under similar state laws."

If the phobia rises to the level of a disability, "then the employer has to engage the employee -- or applicant -- in an interactive process in order to try to find a reasonable accommodation that will allow the employee or applicant to perform the essential functions of his [or] her job," Barer says. "Only in the rare situation where an accommodation would cause the employer an undue hardship is the employer not required to accommodate an employee's disability."

So what does this mean? If you believe your phobia will get in the way of your job performance, say something to human resources, and they can work with you to develop a plan that will work for both you and the company.

Build confidence
If having to deal with a phobia in your workplace is inevitable, Lombardo recommends gradual exposure as a way to build confidence and address the fear. "Take smaller steps to allow you to be more comfortable," she suggests. "For example, if you are fearful of giving a presentation, try speaking in front of a group of three to five people for five minutes, three times a week. As you do, your fear will decrease. Then, increase the number to seven to eight people." Beyond working with co-workers, Lombardo also suggests looking into organizations that help build specific skills. One such company is Toastmasters International, which is dedicated to helping members improve their speaking and leadership skills.

Attempt to overcome your phobia
Lombardo shares three tips for working to overcome your phobia:
  • Address your stress: Phobias become stronger when overall stress levels are high. So take steps to reduce stress, such as meditation, exercise or deep breathing.
  • Distraction: What you focus on gets bigger, so, for example, rather than focusing on your fear that the plane will crash, distract yourself by having a few good movies and magazines available to keep your mind on something else. The topic should be light, not stressful.
  • Exposure: Ironically, avoiding your fear makes it stronger. A technique called systematic desensitization causes you to couple your fear with relaxation techniques. So, just like how Pavlov's dog salivated at the sound of the bell, people's bodies will relax, or at least not be so tense, when they are exposed to their phobia.

Seek help
The best approach to overcoming a phobia is to seek help. While every phobic person is unique and requires a treatment plan that specifically addresses his phobia, Lombardo says that phobias are very treatable with the right approach. "Sites like, and many insurance company sites, allow you to search for a psychologist by location and specialty -- in this case, phobias," Lombardo says. "If you are really in a bind for money, community mental health center[s] could be an option. Or look into a local graduate program for psychologists or counselors. Often students, under the supervision of licensed professionals, will work with clients for little or no money."

Courtesy of MSN
»»  Continue Reading...
Published by Gusti Putra at: 3:08 AM

Monday, February 13, 2012

Meanings of 10 Valentine's Day Flowers

Whether you’re planning to give—or hoping to receive—flowers this Valentine’s Day, brushing up on the meaning behind the blooms will likely inform your choices or heighten your appreciation of your sweet-smelling gift. Think a rose is just a rose? Read on to find out what 10 popular Valentine’s Day flowers really symbolize.


Not surprisingly, this classic bud is “the most popular choice for Valentine’s Day,” says Kate Law, Product Design Manager at It could be because red roses symbolize love, romance, beauty and perfection. The iconic flower is also known for being pricey—according to Michael Gaffney, Director of the New York School of Flower Design, “flower growers hold back their rose bushes for months in order to have them bloom in time for February 14th—and then they raise the prices, giving roses that sought-after reputation.”

Gerbera Daisies

Daisies are known for symbolizing beauty, innocence and purity, says Law. The Gerbera variety, recognizable by their large flowering heads, is available in an assortment of peppy hues, which gives them the additional meaning of cheerfulness. The happy buds are “always a favorite to receive,” she says.


“Tulips stand for perfect love,” says Gaffney. The elegant and easily identifiable blooms are one of the most popular flowers in the world but are most often associated with the Netherlands, where they flourished in the 17th century. They convey comfort and warmth, says Law, and are a good Valentine’s Day pick since they’re classic and affordable.


Otherwise known as Peruvian lilies, these long-lasting, attention-grabbing petals represent friendship and devotion, says Law. They’re native to South America and feature multiple blooms per stem, which make for voluptuous arrangements. Perhaps best of all, they’re easy to find in most neighborhood supermarkets.

Casa Blanca Lilies

These white Oriental lilies typically stand for “beauty, class and style,” says Gaffney. “A man who creates a bouquet with these dramatic—and expensive––lilies is sophisticated and knows his partner well.” And, notes Law, people love these stunning blooms’ heady fragrance.


According to Gaffney, these rare blossoms symbolize love, beauty, luxury and strength. Plus, they send the message of exotic seduction. “If someone gives you orchids, they’re a little wilder than the person who goes for a dozen roses.” Orchids also hold up well over time, says Law, both in bouquets and pots.


These ruffled blooms stand for fascination and new love. “For some reason, carnations get a bad rap,” says Gaffney. “But I love them; they’re marvelous flowers.” Even better, these cheerful blooms are hearty and very affordable.


Like the sun they’re named for, these blossoms represent warmth and happiness, says Law. They also stand for loyalty, according to Gaffney. Though the bright yellow blooms scream summertime, these spirit-lifting flowers are available all year round.


In some parts of the world, dark blue or purple irises indicate royalty, according to Law. No matter their color (they’re most commonly seen in blue, white and yellow), they stand for faith and hope, says Gaffney. Mix them up with red tulips or daisies for a “striking combination,” suggests Law.


Loaded with fragrance, these elegant flowers signify purity and joy, and connote deep, old-fashioned love, says Gaffney. “The man who buys these likely has a history with the woman he’s buying them for.” Because they’re pricey and are sold as single blooms, they’ll definitely make a statement on the holiday.

Courtesy of Yahoo

»»  Continue Reading...
Published by Gusti Putra at: 8:03 PM