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Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

By NazreenNizam, PSM women’s desk coordinator

March 8, 2012 — In conjunction with International Women’s Day 2012, Parti Sosialis Malaysia [PSM, the Socialist Party of Malaysia] wouldlike to commemorate women’s pursuit of liberation, real justice, equality andfreedom.

Thisyear is the 101st year we are celebrating International Women’s Day. Thanks to our leftist and progressive comrades who proposed such an idea, backin 1910. the United Nations theme for the Women’s Day celebration this year is "Empower rural women – End hunger and poverty’.

Whileit is true that majority of our rural women, especially in East Malaysia, areliving in poverty, the urban women too are deeply distressed with their lowincome jobs, lack of social security, discrimination at the workplace and home,long work hours, lack of child-care facilities at the workplace, and the list couldgo on. the women are further burdened with the government’s neoliberalpolicies which led to privatisation of all basic needs that keeps the cost ofliving high. There are still many girls and women out there, both in rural andurban areas, who are illiterate.

Nodoubt, there has been much remarkable progress among Malaysianwomen in self-advancement and capitalism did contribute to that, but as aworking class, we are still the oppressed class.

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OnLive offers service to speed up Web browsing on an iPad

 OnLive offers service to speed up Web browsing on an iPad

Palo Alto-based OnLive, the cloud gaming pioneer, is offering a new way for iPad users to view Flash content and surf the Web ultra quickly.

Via a new service that launched Wednesday, iPad users can access a supercharged version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer within the OnLive Desktop app. with that browser, users can view videos and play games streamed using Adobe’s (ADBE) Flash technology, something they can’t do using the iPad’s built-in browser.

And OnLive says that content as well as normal Web pages should load nearly instantaneously because the browser runs on the company’s servers in its data centers.

The new application could be revolutionary because it gives users of mobile devices access to applications and experiences they previously could get only through a full-blown PC, said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Gartner, a research group.

“This has the potential to transform the way people think about computing,” he said.

OnLive launched OnLive Desktop last month. the app allows iPad users to see a virtual Windows desktop and interact with standard Microsoft Office programs including Word and Excel. but the usefulness of the app is limited, because users can’t use it to connect to online services.

The company is addressing that shortcoming with the new service. For a $5 monthly fee, OnLive Desktop users will get access to Internet Explorer as well as the Office apps.

The OnLive Desktop browser runs on a version of Windows running on the company’s servers in its data centers. OnLive essentially takes screen captures of what’s displayed in the browser and on the virtual desktop and streams those down to users’ iPads.

Not only are OnLive’s servers fast, but they also have superfast connections to the Internet. Thanks to those connections, the browsers are able to load Web pages rapidly and then immediately stream what they show to users’ iPads. to help speed the process, OnLive doesn’t send the whole Web page to users. Instead, it only sends what will fit on their screens, said Steve Perlman, OnLive’s founder and CEO.

“It’s crazy cool,” Perlman said. “The iPad, in the ultimate irony, now has the fastest Flash browser in the world.”

The application is likely to appeal to consumers who want to access Flash content on their iPads and mobile professionals who need to be able to access and edit Office documents on the go, Gartenberg said.

“For anyone that travels with an iPad, this is going to be a must-have application,” he said.

OnLive isn’t the first company to offer Flash browsing on the iPad. YouWeb’s iSwifter app, for example, is a similar cloud-connected Web browser that allows users to browse Flash-enabled sites and play Flash games. the company similarly charges monthly fees for users to access such content.

Other companies similarly offer remote access to Windows desktops and applications. Citrix offers an iPad app that allows users to connect to run virtual versions of Windows and other applications. the Splashtop app allows users to connect to their own Windows PCs.

OnLive’s Desktop application differs from rivals in that it’s not trying to give users access to their own PCs, Gartenberg said. and it’s so fast that it feels almost as if it’s running natively on the iPad rather than in the cloud, he said.

“You are going to get a no-compromise experience,” he said.

Contact Troy Wolverton at 408-840-4285. Follow him at Twitter.com/troywolv.

  • Last month, OnLive launched OnLive Desktop, an app that allows iPad users to see a virtual Windows desktop and interact with standard Microsoft Office programs including Word and Excel.
  • Wednesday, the company began offering, for $5 a month, a supercharged version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer within the OnLive Desktop app that will allow users to view videos and play games streamed using Adobe’s Flash technology, something they can’t do using the iPad’s built-in browser.

    Source: Mercury News reporting

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    Hands-On With HTC’s Hot New Android Smartphones: Quad-Core One X and Siblings

     Hands On With HTCs Hot New Android Smartphones: Quad Core One X and Siblings

    HTC unveiled its new One X, One S, and One V smartphones in Barcelona, Spain, today. I had the chance to preview this latest crop of HTC Android smartphones in an exclusive hands-on session last week.

    HTC One is a new design strategy that the company is launching this year. According to Jeff Gordon, HTC online communications manager, the company came up with its umbrella “One” brand in response to customer feedback that there were simply too many HTC smartphones and that it was confusing to distinguish one dual-core 4.3-inch display Android phone from another. (The company released more than 50 devices in 2011)

    [Read: “HTC Announces the One X: Its First Quad-Core Smartphone”]

    All HTC One phones will have three things in common: HTC ImageSense with the HTC ImageChip; Beats audio software; and a premium hardware design. all three phones will ship with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) and run HTC’s Sense UI 4.0.

    The One X, One S, and Oner V will also come with the HTC ImageChip, which has an almost no-lag shutter speed, an f2.0 aperture, and a handful of different shooting modes, including High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Panorama.

    I tested the HTC One S’s 8-megapixel camera and was impressed at how well it picked up detail in the somewhat dark room where my demo was held. I also liked how quickly the HDR mode stitched together my light and dark photos to create one composite photo. Other phones with an HDR mode take a bit longer to perform this task.

    HTC One XThe One X quad-core phone is, of course, the hottest of the crop. this was the first time I’d seen quad core in action up close. Menus and apps opened quickly, and scrolling and moving throughout the user interface were incredibly snappy. I didn’t have enough time to see how quad-core technology affects battery life (one of Nvidia’s claims for the Tegra 3 chip is that it actually conserves battery life by offloading certain tasks to a smaller fifth core).

    The One X’s Super LCD 2 display has excellent viewing angles, and it seemed to hold up well in bright sunlight. I did a quick side-by-side comparison between the One X and the HTC Rezound, which has a Super LCD display, and noticed considerably less glare on the One X’s display.

    Like all of HTC’s top-of-the-line phones, the One X feels well constructed. The polycarbonate body seems durable and yet looks attractive; according to HTC’s product manager, it is also scratch-resistant. HTC tells us that the One X will be available sometime within the next 60 days, and the phone is confirmed for AT&T on its LTE network.

    The HTC One S and One V might not be headline-grabbing phones, but they still impress–and may have enticing price tags the company launches them in the United States.

    HTC One SThe One S, which runs on a dual-core Qualcomm 1.5GHz processor, felt responsive and snappy throughout the user interface. The 4.3-inch display gives you plenty of room to watch videos or play games, and the Super AMOLED technology makes colors look bold (though a little oversaturated) and details sharp.

    I loved the phone’s aluminum finish, which gives it a premium feel. it is soft to touch, but feels sturdy as well.

    HTC One VLast week, HTC launched its Legend smartphone. to some extent the One V emulates the Legend, with a unibody aluminum design and a slightly curved lip on the bottom edge. The One V carries only a 5-megapixel camera, as opposed to the 8-megapixel cameras found on the other two new HTC phones, but it does have the HTC ImageChip. it lacks a front-facing camera–and because the One V has a single-core processor, it can’t shoot 1080p video.

    Love it or hate it, HTC Sense–the manufacturer’s user interface over Android–is here to stay. Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) has, by far, the best-looking interface of any version of Android. I understand why manufacturers slapped on overlays in the early days of Android: Let’s face it–it was ugly. and HTC Sense is undeniably a gorgeous user interface. but those pretty animations and colorful widgets have a tendency to bog down the operating system.

    Perhaps the idea that manufacturers might leave Android 4.0 alone and just add a few customized widgets was just wishful thinking on my part. to HTC’s credit, Sense 4.0 is much subtler than previous versions of the user interface. The company has cleared out a lot of unnecessary icons and text found in older versions of Sense.

    I’ve argued that companies’ introducing too many smartphones into the market hurts customers, so I’m glad to see that HTC is streamlining its production. I also appreciate that all of the phones have common features, but will be sold at different prices. not everyone needs a quad-core–or even a dual-core–smartphone.

    The names of the phones are a little confusing to keep track of (they aren’t even in alphabetical order!), but I think this umbrella branding will benefit HTC as well as consumers. Plus, the phones aren’t too shabby.

    For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the world’s largest mobile show, check out PCWorld’s complete coverage of Mobile World Congress 2012.

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    PRODUCTS ROUND-UP: The latest from Western Digital, Cougar, Axis, BitCloud, Logitech, and OpenText

     PRODUCTS ROUND UP: The latest from Western Digital, Cougar, Axis, BitCloud, Logitech, and OpenText

    WD’s dual-drive cloud and digital storage solution

    Storage solutions provider, Western Digital has released its dual-purpose my Book Live Duo cloud and storage solution.

    Built with RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) technology, it offers shared storage and remote access as either a double-safe backup or increased capacity dual-drive.

    When in ‘spanning mode’, the dual-drives unite to form one large volume, acting as a standard one-drive system for maximum storage. It is powered by an in-built 800MHz CPU, and offers read speeds that surpass standard USB 2.0 drives.

    If ‘mirrored mode’ is activated, the my Book Live Duo splits into two separate drives which mimic each other as to produce and maintain a second copy of all files for real-time data backup. this format is designed to ensure data protection in case one drive fails. Windows users can use the included WD SmartWare software and Mac users can utilise Apple Time Machine to protect their data.

    Like its predecessor, the My Book Live, my Book Live Duo is a personal cloud storage solution, which can be connected to a network for shared storage and remote access via the WD2go app for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets.

    The my Book Live Duo also acts an entertainment hub, with a built-in media server that streams movies, photos and music to any DLNA-certified multimedia device.

    WD’s my Book Life Duo is available via WD’s online store for: 4TB – $599.99; 6TB – $799.99.

    Cougar’s Evolution cooling solution

    German-based gaming-centric PC hardware vendor, Cougar has released its Evolution case, a full tower built with multiple cooling options and acessibility for gaming enthusiasts.

    Built for heavy usage, the Evolution supports up to seven fans, with air intake through the front, bottom, and left side, and exhaust via the top and rear. It also contains holes on the rear panel which allow installation of water cooling solutions. Additionally, it has an integrated fan speed controller for dual-way fan control. Both the front panel and power supply fans contain air filters.

    The Evolution’s shockproof HDD tray is compatible with both 3.5-inch HDDs and 2.5-inch SSDs, which can be slid in through the front and top. The motherboard tray comes with retaining holes for quick access to the backplate of the CPU cooler, and its routing holes are designed for cable organisation.

    The full tower also incorporates two USB 3.0 ports, and supports longer high-end graphics cards of up to 305mm, with 8 PCI slots for customised graphics options.

    The Cougar Evolution is available through Fortunetec’s website.

    Axis’ camera and encoder solution for tough environments

    Network video solutions provider, Axis Communications has released its range of Q60-C PTZ Dome Network Cameras as well as its Q7424-R Video Encoder, designed specifically to withstand tough environments and vast temperature ranges.

    Q60 cameras

    The pan, tilt and zoom cameras, which are built according to military standard MIL-STD-810G, can operate in temperatures ranging from -20 degrees Celsius to 75 degrees Celsius. They are also equipped with a climate control system which manages rapid weather change to eliminate condensation. Additionally, the IP66- and NEMA 4X-rated cameras are both dust and water waterproof, requiring no additional housing.

    The Q60-C range is connected to a supplied media converter switch that provides two SFP optical fiber slots and two RJ-45 connectors as to allow a daisy chain network link through fiber optic of standard cables. The media converter switch enables the camera to connect to external alarm devices via two configurable input/output ports, and to 12 V power.

    All cameras support day and night functionality, wide dynamic range, H.265 and Motion JPEG, automatic guard tour, alarm management and intelligent video capabilities such as auto-tracking, Active Gatekeeper, and other video analytic applications from Axis’ partners.

    Axis’ new range consists of: – Q6032-C: Extended D1 resolution, 35x optical zoom – Q6034-C: HDTV 720p, 18x optical zoom – Q6035-C: HDTV 1080, 20x optical zoom.

    The cameras will be available for order in March for $3565, $3960, and $4335 respectively.

    Q7424-R video encoder

    The Q7424-R Video Encoder meets America NEMA TS-2 standards for shock, vibration, and temperature, with an operating range of -40 to 75 degrees Celsius.

    It also has the ability to encode one to four analogue video sources, and supports key IP surveillance features such as H.264 and Motion JPEG, two-way audio, Edge storage with the built-in SD/SDHC memory card slot and Power over Ethernet (IEEE 802.3af). Additionally, it contains a 1gbps SFP slot for fiber connection as well as an Ethernet port, and can be used with the T8604 Media Converter Switch for 2 SFP slots and Ethernet ports.

    The Encoder’s event management capabilities include tampering alarm, motion and audio detection, and support for Axis Camera Application Platform applications on one video channel.

    Q7424-R is supported by Axis Camera Station video management software, and ONVIF specification for interoperability of network video products.

    The Axis Q7424-R will be available in March for $1155.

    BitCloud’s high availability Cloud

    Jabra, a cloud based service and business solutions provider, has implemented a redundant cloud infrastructure with multiple availability zones and regions independent of each other for increased redundancy and flexibility.

    The modified infrastructure reduces the possibility of failure by spanning resources across separate availability zones and regions, each with its own switches, servers, and SANs.

    The Company has invested 12 months into providing the service.

    BitCloud CEO, Bennett Oprysa, said, “We can now offer customers access to resources in geographically separated regions, as well as multiple availability zones within the regions. for extra flexibility, customers can choose from fulyl or self managed geographical redundancy.”

    Logitech’s fold-up keyboard for iPad 2

    Technology hardware and software provider, Logitech has released a fold-up keyboard for the iPad 2.

    Inspired by its “open and type, close and forget” motto, the keyboard rests underneath the iPad two when closed, and folds out to hold the iPad 2 at an angle when required.

    The device charges itself over a USB connection, turning on when unfolded, and powering down to conserve battery when not in use.

    The Logitech Fold-Up Keyboard for iPad 2 is now available for $179.95 from The good Guys, Myer, and through Logitech’s website.

    OpenText releases Web and Social Analytics 2.0

    OpenText, a business solutions provider, has released an upgrade to its Web and Social Analytics solution. The 2.0 version grants real-time access to more elaborate and concise reports.

    The solution’s multiple-dimension reporting allows marketing teams to generate reports that deliver an uninterrupted view of web activity and metrics, including activity on social networks, the most popular content on a site, the number and tone of blog comments, and the most influential people in a community. Additionally, it can track when anonymous visitors become recognised customers.

    Information is presented in reports containing multiple panels to provide an activity summary of the different levels or dimensions all on one screen.

    OpenText chief marketing officer, James Latham, said, “We designed OpenText Web and Social Analytics to provide deeper insights, more control and greater security than what’s possible with consumer-grade analytics tools.”

    Web and Social Analytics 2.0 includes the new OpenText Live Insights analytics consoles for real-time access within the context of a live site. Live Insights offers:

    • Page Heat Map: shows most popular links
    • Page and Element Level Indicators: usage of particular page, including clicks and time
    • Site Level Indicators: global site usage information
    • Social Indicators: social activity within a website
    • Custom KPIs – key performance indicators within the live site

    Web and Social Analytics also offers improved integration with OpenText customer experience management, online marketing and social business solutions.

    Version 2.0 is open available through the OpenText website.

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    Mount Airy News – Of Being Lost and Steak Grills

     Mount Airy News   Of Being Lost and Steak Grills

    So last night at about 11 o’clock my roommate knocked on my door and told me that I needed to write a column today.

    Ummm, okay. That’s a great thing to tell someone when they’re trying to go to sleep!

    Since I don’t know enough about this area to have an actual opinion or talk about anything with any authority, I’ll just tell you what’s been going on in the Land of Strange since my last introductory column.

    Well, it didn’t take long at all.

    I’m now as busy as can be and am once again developing an intimate relationship with the calendar program on the old laptop.

    It’s always kind of fun, although challenging, to try to schedule interviews and make them fit with other appointments and deadlines and such. Let’s just say flexibility and cooperation are the mantras of the day.

    In taking over the education beat here in the city and county there are certainly a lot of things I need to learn quickly, but it seems like you have a lot of good things going on in the schools.

    I haven’t had the chance to get out very much to this point to meet the important folks in the school systems, but those I have met have really impressed me.

    It may be hard for you to believe, but many of the school systems I’ve covered in the past don’t, ummm, run as smoothly as things seem to run here. I remember covering the renovation of a middle school in another locality that nearly ended up with a fist fight during a school board meeting. And that was among the members of the School Board!

    Another School Board member in another locality actually chained himself to the front door of a school scheduled for closure and had to be cut away before being led away in handcuffs and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. That was fun…

    It will be a relief to cover the education beat when there are people in positions of responsibility who actually place the needs of the student before their own political ambitions!

    Speaking of schools, I had the chance to visit Pilot Mountain Middle School last week.

    Driving there was a challenge because I was on the highway trying to find the “right turn on McKinney Road after you pass all businesses.” the hand-written directions mentioned that it was right before Interstate 74, but failed to tell me there would be a North Carolina State Trooper about 18 inches from my rear bumper while I was looking for the turnoff.

    I let him stay back there until I found my turn, but it’s never comfortable having the constabulary on your bumper when you don’t know where you’re going.

    And trust me. I don’t know where I’m going about 90 percent of the time.

    Today, for example, as soon as I finish this column I have to put the computer in the bag and head out to the Millennium Academy to do a story. this afternoon I have to meet some people at the county School Board office in Dobson.

    Tomorrow I have a meeting with the Mount Airy School Board folks to try to get up to speed on what’s happening in the city’s schools.

    As of this writing I have no idea where any of them are located.

    Wish me luck and let’s hope the police stay off my bumper while I’m driving around wondering where I am.

    I did get the chance to try one of those chopped steak sandwiches (the steak grill?) at Dairy Center over on Lebanon Street Sunday. it was highly recommended by the trusty roommate, without whom I’d starve.

    A steak grill is something I’ve never heard of and never knew existed, but I’d just like to thank the person who created it. it was yummy!

    It was the look and feel of the place that struck me most, though.

    Walking into the place I got the distinct feeling that I was going back in time.

    Tommy James and the Shondells were playing over the speakers as I ordered my meal. Turning around I saw two tables of teens who could just have easily been sitting in any 1950s soda fountain.

    The cook was even wearing a Tennessee Volunteer hat and shirt! I immediately felt at home. next time I’m going to try a hot dog…

    Now, if I can just schedule the time to try one of those pork chop sandwiches at Snappy Lunch everyone’s always telling me about…

    Reach Keith Strange at kstrange@heartlandpublications.com or 719-1929

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    Maine Public Library Information Commons

     Maine Public Library Information CommonsBy Kim Erickson Myers January 11, 2012 2:00 AM

    I recently attended a workshop to learn more about the new information resources that have been collected in one helpful online web page called Information Commons. This is all part of a Broadband Technology Opportunity Program grant that also provided computers, broadband Internet access, and video conferencing capabilities at a number of public libraries across the state.

    The BTOP grant sought “funding to equip Maine’s public libraries to become — information commons areas — to serve as access points to free high-speed Internet service and to provide assistance to vulnerable populations both in the use of technology and in finding and using needed information in the areas of employment, civil law, health, government services, small business information, and workforce development.”

    You can access the Information Commons online resources from our homepage at york.lib.me.us by clicking on the Information Commons logo on the right-hand side of the page. there are six components to Information Commons: Learning Express Library, Getting a Job, Health Information, Business and Legal Information, Digital Literacy, and eGov Online.

    1. Learning Express Library: Learning Express has resources for elementary school levels through college and beyond. These include online courses, practice tests and e-books. the e-books can be downloaded to a flashdrive, Kindle, Nook, or other e-Reader. A great resource for parents, homeschoolers, and students, it includes GED prep, LSAT, TOEFLE, ASVAB, other civil service exams (postal worker, etc.) and test-taking skills improvement modules. you need a library card to sign in. you can create an account so that your exams will be scored, or so that you can go back to a test to finish it later and you can save all this info in one place. the user is the only one with access to this info.

    2. Getting a Job: With only 12 career centers in Maine (Springvale is our closest), and libraries in almost every community, public libraries are a prime source for job seekers who need access to the Internet, computers and printers — to prepare resumes, cover letters, and apply for jobs online. under “Getting a Job,” there are great resources for resume writing, cover letters, job searching, checklists, resources on making a visit to a job fair productive, interviewing skills, and identifying cross-over skills. there is also a video on how to file for unemployment benefits.

    3. Health Information: you can trust the health information provided through the links provided under Information Commons. They include MedLine Plus, produced by the National Library of Medicine, which offers reliable, up-to-date health information about diseases, conditions, and wellness in language for lay people. you can learn about the latest treatments, look up information on a drug or supplement, find out the meanings of words, or view medical videos or illustrations. you can also get links to the latest medical research on your topic or find out about clinical trials on a disease or condition.

    The Health Information also includes links to information about senior health issues and children’s health as well as get Better Maine. you can use this site to find a doctor or hospital in your area, compare health care providers, and locate free health-care resources and KeepMEWell, which has information on how to stay healthy and how to assess your health risks.

    4. Business and Legal Information: Starting a business? you can find information on writing a business plan, financing, taxes, etc. the Getting Legal help section has information on family law, elder law, housing, employment, and consumer law among others. there are also links to Legal help Organizations, including Pine Tree Legal which represents low-income people in many civil cases.

    5. Digital Literacy: How to use a computer, navigate the web, set up an e-mail account, upload a resume, use social media. All the skills anyone must have to be successful in the workplace or to stay in touch with family and friends. there are also modules with video demonstrations and tutorials of Microsoft Office programs, how to set up and use Skype, how to use a mouse/keyboard, maintain your computer, purchase a computer, and many, many more. A link to GCFLearn Free.com — (Goodwill Community Foundation) provides tutorials on a variety of topics including cloud computing, downloading mobile apps for various platforms including iPhone, Android, etc., and also reading and math, map reading skills, computer tutorials, and money (using an ATM, counting change back, paying bills, etc.).

    6. eGov Online: Many government functions are now available online. you can register your vehicle, fill out and submit your tax forms, renew your driver’s license, get a hunting and fishing license or a burn permit, pay a traffic ticket, find a state park, and more. This one resource provides links to all of these online government services.

    Try out these resources. we think you will be impressed with the easy access to trusted information. as the BTOP grant application stated, “Public libraries have historically provided a gateway to information. They are perceived as safe places to go for unbiased, friendly, confidential information. as broadband is introduced into rural communities, the public library is a logical place to learn to use the new medium. … That is the aim of the Maine Public Library Information Commons Project.”

    • Split Bamboo Fishing Rods: At 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, this program is back by popular demand. Sante Guiliani and Fred Kretchman will discuss the split bamboo fishing rod and encourage anyone to bring their antique fishing tackle for identification, evaluation, and value on today’s market.
    • “No place Like Home”: At 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan., 14, the Diversity Forum’s Economic Insecurity Film Series continues. After their apartment burns down, Mike and Zan Cooper (Jeff Daniels and Christine Lahti) move with their two children into the home of Mike’s brother, but tension between the families forces them to move on again, and a downward spiral of bad luck soon finds them homeless. while Mike desperately seeks work as an electrician, Zan takes a low-paying job as a waitress, and their son’s entanglement with a drug dealer adds to their heavy burdens (1989, NR, 93 minutes).
    • family fair: the York Public Library’s Family Fun fair will run from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 21. the lower level of the library will be full of local people offering programs for children from preschool through grade-school age. Looking for a preschool? Searching for the perfect art class? Wanting a chance to try cooking or yoga? Not sure what your child wants to try next? Come to the library and talk to program representatives while your child explores hands-on activities. It’s a great way to learn more about the wonderful area we call home. 363-2818.
    • “Precious”: At 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, see this film, part of the Diversity Forum’s Economic Insecurity Film Series. Viciously abused by her mother (a riveting, Oscar-winning Mo’Nique) and pregnant by her father, Harlem teen Precious Jones (Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe) has an unexpected chance at a different life when she enrolls in an alternative school. Teacher Blu Rain (Paula Patton) encourages her, but Precious must battle unimaginable barriers everywhere in her lifen (2009, Rated R, 109 minutes).
    • “Winter’s Bone”: At 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, the Diversity Forum’s Economic Insecurity Film Series continues. In director Debra Granik’s unflinching noir drama set deep in the Ozarks, resilient teen Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) goes on the trail of her missing, drug-dealing father when his absence jeopardizes the family’s safety. Her deadbeat dad has a key court date pending, and Ree is determined that he show up — despite the objections of the insular Dolly clan. the film earned Oscar and Independent Spirit Award nods for best Picture and for Lawrence (2010, Rated R, 100 minutes).
    • winter Concert Series: At 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, Tom Dean will play the York Public Library. one third of the group DEVONSQUARE, this well-travelled performer brings to the stage intelligence, talent, and amazing songwriting and vocals in songs about the road, radio ghosts, redemption, Elvis, small-town new England life and, of course, love. Alan Taplin, a York High School track coach, will open the concert.

    • Infant Lapsits: 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays for infants to 2-year-olds. Come for a program of stories, songs, fingerplays and rhymes.
    • PRESCHOOL STORY HOURS: 10:30 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays. Thursday programs are designed for 3- and 4-year-olds. Friday story hours with Miss Kathleen are designed for 2- and 3-year-olds. Stories, songs, fingerplays, crafts, and science.

    Ads by Google

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    Video – 50 Cent, not so cheap – The Age

     Video   50 Cent, not so cheap   The AgeReturn to video Help with videos Streaming media

    Websites in the Fairfax Digital Network offer streaming video and audio in the Flash format. Streaming media allows you to watch video on a website as a continuous feed, as opposed to waiting for an entire audio or video file to download to your computer before you can use it.

    Download the software

    To play a video or multimedia clip, you need to have the Flash player installed. you can download one for most systems (including Mac OS X) for free if one is not already installed on your system.

    Which Speed?

    Our automated system will test your connection speed and send the best video stream so it plays smoothly and continuously.

    Alternatively, you can manually choose the speed setting that corresponds most closely with your network connection. we produce clips in a range of speeds to deliver the best quality possible– the better the quality the faster connection you’ll need.

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    Start of tolling may speed up 520 commute

     Start of tolling may speed up 520 commute

    Yes, you’ll have to pay to drive across the Highway 520 bridge, starting Thursday. The upside is that your commute may move a little faster.

    On the other hand, if you head over to Interstate 90 to avoid the new toll, your drive across Lake Washington may take longer than it used to.

    That’s the word from the state Department of Transportation, which is gearing up for the Dec. 29 launch of tolls on the 520 bridge — tolls that will cost drivers $3.50 to cross during peak hours as a pass on their windshield is read electronically.

    More than 100,000 cars drive across the 520 bridge on a typical weekday. Craig Stone, toll-division director for the state DOT, said Thursday that once traffic picks up after the holidays and tolls are in place, about 20,000 of those trips are expected to divert to I-90, some 5,000 likely will shift to Highway 522 around the north end of the lake, and 15,000 either will switch to transit (public transit and registered van pools are exempt from tolls) or choose not to make the trip at all.

    That means extra traffic on I-90 will slow traffic on that bridge by about 5 to 10 mph, while on Highway 520, fewer cars there will speed traffic by up to 20 mph, according to DOT.

    All of this is based on computer modeling. State officials say they can’t know the traffic picture for sure until tolls take effect.

    As of the end of last week, only 20 percent of trips across 520 were by vehicles with good to go passes installed. The state is trying to get 70 percent or more of drivers to both buy and install the pass — which will automatically debit from an account — in time for the first few days of tolling.

    To activate the passes, drivers should go to goodtogo520.org, include license-plate information and put at least $30 on their account — about a 10-minute process, according to DOT.

    The fact that many drivers haven’t yet bought the cards is not unusual, Stone said. when the state began tolling the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, just 20 percent of the drivers had the passes the day before tolling began. within days, 72 percent had passes, Stone said.

    “Everyone waited till the last minute,” he said.

    It’s not exactly a revelation that many drivers will seek a free route instead of the 520.

    A state financial study released in September found that tolls on Highway 520 would cut traffic in half, dropping to 52,000 vehicles per day as drivers divert to I-90, avoid trips or shift to transit.

    The study found trips wouldn’t rebound to today’s levels until 2032.

    Fewer cars on the bridge could hurt the state’s mission to use the tolls to help pay for a new 520. But State Treasurer Jim McIntire has said he is confident that tolling can support at least $1 billion in bonds for the $4.65 billion crossing.

    The state has sold 30-year bonds worth $550 million. so the tolls will last at least until 2032, Stone said.

    The advent of tolling has led Metro and Sound Transit to add 130 trips each day across the bridge.

    A bus crosses the bridge every two minutes on weekdays, carrying a total of 18,000 daily riders, said Metro spokeswoman Linda Thielke.

    The most-popular destinations? Eastbound it’s Microsoft, Thielke said, and westbound it’s Amazon.

    Four ways to pay

    Tolls will vary by time of day, with the busiest times being the costliest. for drivers with a good to go sticker, it will cost $3.50 to cross the bridge during peak commuting hours. Weekend afternoons will cost $2.20; overnight there will be no charge. Tolls will be higher for trucks and trailers. a three-axle vehicle with a state toll sticker would pay $5.25 each way during peak times, for instance.

    There are four ways to pay:

    • good To go pass, which is the cheapest way.

    • Pay by plate. Drivers can register as many as six license-plate numbers on a prepaid account. No vehicle pass is required. The machine will read the plates, and the crossing will cost an extra 25 cents. this is for people who may be regular commuters but have other cars — perhaps driven by children — that cross 520 only occasionally.

    • Pay by mail. for vehicles without passes, license-plate numbers are read electronically and a bill sent to the vehicle owner. this rate is $1.50 higher than the good to go rate.

    • Short-term account. these are for people who might be in town for a short time and can set up a 14-day, or shorter, account on a credit card. It costs an extra $1 but is still cheaper than pay by mail.

    People who cross without a pass and fail to respond to a mailed bill will be rebilled in 30 days for an extra $5. If that goes unpaid another 50 days, a notice of civil penalty will be issued, similar to a parking ticket, for $40 plus accumulated tolls and fees. a private, state-contracted collection agency then contacts the motorist, who will not be able to renew Washington state license tabs without paying up.

    Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or sgilmore@seattletimes.com. Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

    Information in this article, originally published Dec. 22, 2011, was corrected Dec. 23, 2011. a previous version of the information box with this story incorrectly stated that walk-in centers, where people can buy toll passes, would be closed Saturday, Dec. 24 and Sunday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day). The centers will be open Saturday, but closed Christmas Day. The state Department of Transportation had provided incorrect information.

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    Is The Laptop Dead? Yup

     Is The Laptop Dead? Yup

    Intel has been pushing a reference design on Eastern manufacturers for months now, and the pressure is finally paying off. Maker after maker has revealed its own take on what’s dubbed the Ultrabook. Consumers may be pleased by the focus on high design, Intel will be pleased it has a new vehicle for its processors, and manufacturers will be pleased they have a seemingly new toy to promote and sell for profit. the Wall Street Journal has even written a piece on them: “For PCs, Hope in a Slim Profile,” and they’re predicted to be everywhere at CES 2012. the thing is the Ultrabook isn’t new, nor is it revolutionary. It’s proof that the laptop is now an evolutionary dead end in computer history.

    A lightweight PC with long battery life, petite format, and full-featured PC functionality … that’s a rough description of an Ultrabook. Remember this, we’ll come back to it. but in essence the Ultrabook is a MacBook Air, only slightly more typically PC-like, and sporting some flavor of Microsoft Windows 7 aboard it as its OS. in the Mac versus PC war, this is perhaps the most complete example of a Mac design being cloned into a PC design paradigm–so much so that some Ultrabooks to be released are sure to attract the attention of Apple’s IP lawyers, so similar are they in shape, format, arrangement of ports and sockets, and color. 

    Apple’s innovation was to build an all-metal chassis (which actually permits the shape to be slimmer due to its monocoque structure) around a full-powered computer that lacks an optical drive and eschews a hard drive in favor of solid state drives that are faster and more power-friendly at the expense of large capacity, and favors only a few output ports. It’s a Jon Ive special, one might say–the Air is a laptop boiled down to its simplest essence, just a keyboard, screen, trackpad, and a few ports. the Air has become one of Apple’s fastest-selling machines, with users loving its almost instant-on speed, light but strong body, and pure, attractive design.

    That’s what Intel is chasing, of course. the Ultrabook plan has hit a few flaws, with many early headlines suggesting makers were having difficulties meeting the Air’s $999 price point thanks to the raw cost of components and later headlines noting makers had to switch to alternative cheaper materials and forcing Intel to drop prices. but it looks like Intel’s effort will work out, and more and more ultrabooks will probably arrive in 2012. with Apple rumored to be leading the charge, bringing the Air format to a 15-inch laptop, the Ultrabook format will probably sway the design of the majority of laptops produced from 2012 onward. They will sell because they do offer significant benefits to users.

    But remember that description of the Ultrabook? almost to a word it fits an earlier laptop reinvention–the netbook. these cheap half-powered machines were incredibly popular a handful of years ago when the economic outlook was dim, and compared to the weighty “full” laptop, they seemed to offer a new degree of portability and extended battery life that promised new experiences to users. 

    They sold by the millions, but then the star faded: the economy picked up, users realized they weren’t fully capable machines that could in all circumstances substitute for the full-feature laptop of which they were a pale echo, and though the netbook is still on sale it’s now merely another type of computer on sale.

    We are drawing the comparison between the two here–the Ultrabook is perhaps a more considered, full-featured version of the netbook.

    But Apple’s Air is the touchstone for what may be a laptop design evolution, but it’s not a revolution in the same way the iPhone was to the smartphone business. the Air and the Ultrabook are merely the calm, polished peak of laptop design. There’s nothing extra, there’s nothing superfluous, they offer powerful processing, speedy responses, and longer battery life than you may have expected from their tote-friendly mass. but they still need laptop staples: a keyboard, a webcam, ports, wireless powers, a quality screen, and a pointing device–in Apple’s case the simplest most innovative implementation of the trackpad, in giant size.

    There’s nowhere to go from here. how may one improve the Air into the Air II? It’s about as simple an edition of the laptop format–which Apple, to some extent, invented, that’s possible. by definition, the Ultrabook is the same. you may add features like a touchscreen or perhaps 3-D, a built-in pico-projector, or some other tricks, but that would be gilding the lily, and the essential format is the same. and it works–we’re all used to portable computing, and to using a keyboard and trackpad to control a windows/icons/mice/pointers user interface such as OS X or Windows 7.

    And yes, if it ain’t broke … don’t fix it.

    But it means the laptop is dead. There’s literally no place left to take it, innovatively. Makers will churn them out for several years yet, but they’ll be rewarmed editions of what we see in 2012. and when this sort of evolutionarly cul de sac is reached, it means one thing: Massive scope for an innovative new product to revolutionize portable computing for the consumer around the world. Shrewd industry observers will suggest the tablet PC is perfectly poised to slot into this niche: it has a totally new user experience, it lets consumers relate to computers in a wholly new and more intimate way, it offers new interactions that aren’t possible with the unweildy hinged format of a laptop–such as motion controlled gaming–and it’s a true go-anywhere device. If it evolves a little more past its current perceived “lightweight” computing uses, it’ll be an even stronger contender.

    We’re not saying laptops are going to disappear momentarily. They’re still selling incredibly well, and they will do for some time. but the Utrabook isn’t the silver bullet to securing their future–they’re instead almost like a well-polished, perfectly refined full stop at the end of the design description of the device. Something better will soon hove into view, and we’ll love using it. That’s why the portable computing game is so hot, why there’s so much scope for innovation and that’s why the immediate future is so exciting.

    [Image: Flickr user Radiant Guy]

    Chat about this news with Kit Eaton on Twitter and Fast Company too.

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