We all knew that one day the zombie apocalypse would be upon us but we all thought it would be a virus that would infect people and take over their minds and alter their desires. Apparently we were wrong - the true cause will be a fungus from the Brazilian rainforest. It will not be a quick or painless death, either. Hint: it ends with a mushroom growing out of your head.
Here's the situation - a condition originally thought to be caused by a single type of fungus has been discovered to be caused by a variety. The condition is a type of zombie mindset. These fungus can infect a creature, most notably the ant, and take over the creature's mind and change its behaviors. The desired behavior is for the creature to wander to a place which is conducive for the fungus to grow and then stop and wait for the fungus to kill the creature and grow until it can sprout spores to then take over other creatures.
I am a little scared by this concept and want to stay as far away as possible. David Hughes, the study leader, has other ideas. Hit the break to find out what they are or to see a video of these things.
South by SouthWest (SxSW) has become a major event. Originally it was a place for musicians and filmmakers to get together and show off their skills. Now, it has become one of the world's largest interactive media festivals, with everyone from RadioShack to GM in attendance. To ensure that it is all that it can be this year, Microsoft has decided to use this event to launch its next generation web browser, Internet Explorer 9.
IE9 is the first Microsoft browser to support the upcoming HTML5 standard, which has been causing some controversy from Google. It also includes hardware acceleration, which allows the browser to render video better than any current browser. If you want to experience the magic now, you can head over to Internet Explorer Test Drive and get the Release Candidate, or wait until it launches fully next week and then check it out.
For some of the best features of the new browser, hit the break.
Samsung displayed an interesting prototype product at CeBit in Germany this week - a transparent LCD screen. As if that wasn't enough, the device can run entirely independent of the power grid. It is capable of running entirely off of the power generated from its internal solar panels.
Now, these features sound cool but not terribly useful, right? Well, here is why it is a big deal. First, let's talk about the fact that the screen is transparent. This particular product will probably never serve a huge role in an average home, but it does open up some cool capabilities outside. First, imagine if part of the windshield of your car was an LCD-based heads-up display. You could see reverse cameras, speed, direction and other vehicle information right in your windshield - no need to look away. It also gives us the ability to write obscene messages to the moron driver in front of you.
The screen could also be used in stores or banks as part of the display security. Imagine if, while looking at a display of expensive watches you could see information about the product right in front of them. Or the ability to display a bank's promotions next to the teller while waiting for your money. There are so many possibilities here.
For details about the power possibilities and to see a short video, hit the break.
If you were able to catch our CES 2011 coverage, you saw that we were very excited about a Swedish computer case company that was looking to emerge themselves into the American market, Fractal Design. We were able to talk to many of the important people of the company, including the founder, Hannes Wallin, who was even willing to talk on camera about his products, goals and projections for the company in 2011 (video after the break). One of those goals was to make Fractal Design products available to the US without having to order them from Canada.
Well, let that dream become a reality as this week, Fractal Design has announced a deal with Newegg, one of the leading PC component retailers with 13 million registered users, that will allow US computer users to purchase the award-winning Define R3 and Define XL Silent PC series cases.
For more on Fractal Design picking up their first US reseller, hit the break.
This isn't the first we've heard Microsoft grumbling about IE6, which is at least just as annoying to them as it is developers. There's nothing like designing a website for IE8 when up to 34% of your audience might sill be viewing it with IE6. It is also annoying when companies cling to IE6 for fear of their enterprise applications not working properly. I do recognize that the UI is much brighter and more user friendly with IE8 but that's still no reason to cling to the darkness with IE6.
Microsoft is on the offensive to rid the world of IE6, find out how you can help by hitting the break.
Do you remember when Google first launched Gmail and EVERYONE had to have one? Well, many of those people experienced another of Google's failures when 150,000 Gmail accounts were reset to new. All of these people started their day signing into their Gmail accounts to find only the "Welcome to Gmail" message. Years of emails, Gtalk chat logs, contacts and anything else stored in their accounts - gone.
While Google was working on solving the problem, a spokesperson said, "Affected users will be temporarily unable to sign in while we repair their accounts." I guess if all of your content is gone it doesn't matter if you cannot access your information. During the process, Google kept its users updated via its App Status Dashboard. One of the initial statuses said,
Our team is continuing to investigate this issue. We will provide an update by February 28, 2011 8:36:00 AM UTC with more information about this problem. Thank you for your patience.
Not that anyone really has patience for Google's disasters anymore, but at least we all expect them. The good news is, as of March 3, the new status says,
The problem with Google Mail should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.
Apparently someone at Google made a tape backup before the system failed.