Does a blog post count as “fair disclosure”?

Written by admin on 02/09/2019 Categories: 杭州夜生活

Christopher Cox, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, recently posted in the discussion thread attached to Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz’s blog. The posting was in response to a letter Schwartz had written (and made available on his blog) more than a month ago, asking if the SEC would be willing to update “Regulation Fair Disclosure” to allow companies to first share corporate information over the Web. Cox’s response: let’s talk about it.HangZhou Night Net

RegFD, as the rule is known, was designed to ensure that no one gets preferential access to important corporate information. It requires that earnings reports, merger announcements, and the like are publicly reported to numerous outlets at the same time, usually through a conference call or press release. Schwartz wants company websites and corporate blogs to count as public reports, and he argues that the traditional outlets for such corporate information have had their day.

“It is our view that proprietary news outlets are insufficiently accessible to the broad majority of Internet users and individual shareholders,” he wrote in a September 25 letter to Cox. “It is certainly the case that the Internet represents a broader user base than those able to afford subscriptions to traditional forms of media and thus usage of this or any other freely available company blog or website should be considered sufficient in satisfying the objectives of Regulation Fair Disclosure.”

Cox responded last week, posting a copy of his return letter to Schwartz in a discussion thread on Schwartz’s blog. He points out that companies are increasingly putting their information online, and notes that most of this is already allowed by the government. “Indeed, because information that is not ‘selectively disclosed’ or that is not material nonpublic information is not subject to the public dissemination provisions of Regulation FD, Sun and other public companies can already do this without implicating the provisions of Regulation FD,” Cox wrote.

Important corporate details need to satisfy a “widespread dissemination” requirement of the regulation, and Cox expressed his willingness to discuss the issue of whether publication to the Web should count. Before the SEC could sign off on such a plan, it would have to adopt rules designed to ensure that important bits of information are not released onto obscure webpages that only insiders know about or made available only to users of certain browsers.

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HPNA gets speed boost to 320Mbps

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The HomePNA Alliance, backers of a networking spec that works over coaxial or twisted pair wiring, has announced the release of the HPNA 3.1 specification. The big news comes in the form of a speed jump from 128Mbps to 320Mbps, which pushes it above competing networking standards HomePlug AV and MoCA (Multimedia over Coax) for the title of fastest networking tech outside of gigabit Ethernet and makes it a more attractive option for triple-play providers. (For an overview of all the competing technologies, check out our recent report "Propagating the triple play through the house.")HangZhou Night Net

The technologically savvy among us may prefer the likes of gigabit Ethernet or are looking forward to the final approval of the 802.11n WiFi spec and its 600Mbps speeds, but for many US users HPNA 3.1 and MoCA may be the best way to move content around the house. Both HPNA and MoCA can run over coaxial cable which gives them a leg up in newer homes where coaxial and twisted-pair copper wire are run to nearly every room in the house.

With its 320Mbps of bandwidth and ability to use either coaxial cable or phone wires, HPNA 3.1 can easily handle VDSL, ADSL, POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service), and television simultaneously. Since it is capable of multispectrum operation, HPNA can also handle multiple networks over the same wiring, with up to 50 devices spread up to 1,000 feet apart on a single network.

HPNA is the technology of choice for AT&T in its U-Verse fiber-to-the-node installations and is finding favor with other IPTV providers. Verizon, which is in the midst of rolling out its FiOS fiber-to-the-premises network, is sticking with MoCA and its 135Mbps of throughput for the time being. MoCA is currently limited to coax and can handle voice, video, and data packets without any quality of service issues.

When you go to your local big-box electronics retailer or computer store, you’ll see little, if any, MoCA or HPNA networking equipment on the shelves. ABI Research director Michael Wolf told Ars that service providers are snapping up almost all of the equipment at this point. "We won’t see much in the way of retail products for MoCA or HPNA 3.0 during the next 12 to 24 months," remarked Wolf.

If you are looking for an alternative to running gigabit Ethernet through your house and don’t want to mess around with Draft N equipment that may or may not be compatible with the final 802.11n spec, your best bet is HomePlug AV. HomePlug AV products should be appearing on store shelves soon. Manufacturers Netgear and D-Link have recently begun shipping powerline networking products that use the competing DS2 powerline networking technology, which also offers speeds of up to 200Mbps. Our testing of a pre-HomePlug AV Netgear unit that had a maximum throughput of 85Mbps resulted in max speeds of only 18Mbps, but HomePlug AV gear may perform better.

With an estimated 45 million connections using either HPNA, MoCA, or HomePlug AV (which runs over electrical wiring) by 2011, the progress of these competing standards bears watching. If the 802.11n spec is ratified and comes to market in a timely matter, its 600Mbps bandwidth cap along with its ease of installation and use may change the story.

Further reading:Propagating the triple play through the house

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Mixed messages on science education in the election

Written by admin on  Categories: 杭州夜生活

Efforts to limit the teaching of science in public schools occur at almost every level of government in the US, but the most prominent of them happen at the state level. Most states (all but one—what's up with Iowa?) have written standards that define the minimum information that students should be exposed to by the time they graduate. As such, these standards have often become battlegrounds for those who wish to keep the science of evolution out of the classroom, or dilute it with the nonscientific. Over the last five years or so, the states stuck deepest in this sort of quagmire have been Kansas and Ohio, where several members of the state school boards were up for election yesterday. HangZhou Night Net

Some of the drama in Kansas was eliminated at the primary level earlier in the year. But, as I noted then, two anti-science board members survived the primaries; it now appears that they are likely to have survived the election as well. That leaves the pro-science board members with only a slim majority of the existing board. Perhaps more significantly, it means that the next time there are state elections, the majority of the contested seats will be held by the pro-science folks. In short, Kansas is all set up to dive back into this mess in another two years.

Better news comes out of Ohio, though, as it appears that several candidates endorsed by local science groups have won. Most significantly, however, the most outspoken ID proponent has been sent home. Debra Owens-Fink made repeated attempts to revisit Ohio's science education policy after the rest of the board voted to remove the portions of it that were based on Discovery Institute material. She was notable for saying that the suggestion that there is a scientific consensus on the accuracy of evolution is "laughable" and calling the National Academies a bunch of "so-called scientists." She may continue to make outrageous statements regarding science, but it appears that she won't be doing so from a position where they will influence educational policy.

For all of these races, it's important to emphasize that scientific accuracy is just one of a number of factors that do (or should) come into play when voters make a decision—hopefully, it should at least provide an indication of a minimal competence for office. It seems to me that a similar thing could be said regarding the one issue that may have appeared to be purely about science: the Missouri ballot initiative regarding stem cell research. The initiative, which has passed, basically affirmed that any stem cell research permitted by the federal government could be performed in Missouri.

Since voters in Missouri weren't being asked to actually spend money on the research, the fight over the initiative was primarily regarding the ethical aspects of stem cell research, rather than their scientific merit. Over the last few weeks, as Michael J. Fox weighed in via commercials, the issue also became tied into what was a tight senate race, as well as a debate over the role of celebrities in politics. In the end, it seems that the actual science of stem cell research played a minimal role in the passage of that initiative.

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Skype 3.0 beta released

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Windows-using Skype fans can now download beta 3 of the venerable VoIP application. Skype 3.0 sports a handful of new features, including Skypecasts, Public Chats, Click-to-call, and a redesigned user interface.HangZhou Night Net

Public Chats allow Skype 3.0 users to create and join large text chatrooms that appear to operate much like IRC chatrooms. Moderators can direct conversation topics, kick users, and determine who can participate in chats and to what extent. Public Chat links can be included on web pages, allowing surfers to jump into conversations via Skype.

Skypecast began testing in May with a handful of Skype partners. Still in beta, Skypecasts are conference calls handled over Skype’s network that can handle up to 100 users. Like Public Chats, Skypecasts allow moderators to control the flow of the conference calls with mute and "eject" buttons. Like Public Chats, Skypecast links can appear on web pages to enable ‘Netizens to join calls.

Click-to-call is an extension of a feature first found on eBay. It works with both Internet Explorer and Firefox, using a phone number recognition feature to enable one-click Skype calls directly from a web page.

Other improvements include a redesigned UI, tweaks to some of the language files, support for the Lithuanian language, and improved video device detection. As of now, Skype 3.0 beta is for Windows only, and that will likely remain the case for the next several months. The official Mac OS X client just hit 2.0 last month, and Skype for Linux is currently at version 1.3.

We thought eBay’s decision to buy Skype last year was a bit of a head-scratcher, and it’s still unclear how the online auctioneer is going to recoup the $2.6 billion it paid for the company. Although Skype is still fighting a RICO lawsuit filed by Streamcast, the company’s prospects look good, especially for its users. Skype’s decision to make calls within the US and Canada free through the end of the year has, at the very least, increased interest in the application.

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Microsoft buying $240 million worth of SUSE Linux

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The agreement between Novell and Microsoft is actually three agreements, and one of them will see Microsoft buying $240 million of SUSE Linux certificates. New details about the deal surfaced yesterday in a Novell filing with the SEC, where the company spelled out the financial arrangements in detail.HangZhou Night Net

The two companies have actually signed three separate agreements: a Business Collaboration Agreement, a Technical Collaboration Agreement, and a Patent Cooperation Agreement. All three deals are designed to make virtualization simpler, something we suspected when the announcement was first made. The agreement on technical collaboration requires both companies to make sure that their respective operating systems run well as guest systems, and both have agreed to make it easy for each operating system to “command, control, and configure” the other OS in a virtual machine environment. The two firms will also work on interoperability between the ODF and Office Open XML file formats.

Interesting, to be sure, but what about the money? The Business Collaboration Agreement is the one that will have Microsoft buying $240 million of SUSE subscription certificates, which the company can distribute as it sees fit. Microsoft will also spend the least $12 million a year marketing the Windows/Linux combination and will pump $34 million into developing a sales force for the combined offering.

The Patent Cooperation Agreement means that both Microsoft and Novell agree not to sue end-users of either SUSE or Windows for potential patent violations found in the respective operating systems. Microsoft will make a one-time payment of $108 million to Novell, and Novell will turn around and pay at least $40 million each year back to Microsoft for a minimum of five years (the exact amount depends on sales of certain Novell products).

This last agreement has raised questions within the open source community among users who are concerned that it might violate Novell’s GPL obligations. The worry is that Novell has agreed to “license” patents from Microsoft that potentially cover certain aspects of Linux, but Novell stresses that is not the case. The agreement “does not include a patent license or covenant not to sue from Microsoft to Novell,” Novell said in a statement. “Novell’s customers receive a covenant not to sue directly from Microsoft. We have not agreed with Microsoft to any condition that would contradict the conditions of the GPL and we are in full compliance.”

Novell further asserts that there was no threatened litigation from Microsoft that caused it to cut the deal.

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Dell goes quad-core

Written by admin on 08/08/2019 Categories: 杭州夜生活

Dell has unveiled its first round of systems that support Intel’s new quad-core Xeon (Clovertown) processor. The new systems are basically just upgrades to the existing PowerEdge rackmount and tower server line, as well as upgrades to two Precision workstation models. The new systems use the Blackford chipset, so they’re able to take the forthcoming quad-core Clovertown as a drop-in replacement for the existing dual-core Xeons. HangZhou Night Net

The systems being upgraded with Clovertown support are as follows:

PowerEdge 1900: A dual-socket tower serverPowerEdge 1950: A dual-socket rackmount serverPowerEdge 2900: A dual-socket 5U rackmount or tower server PowerEdge 2950: A dual-socket 2U rackmount serverPrecision 490: A dual-socket workstationPrecision 690: A dual-socket workstation

The Dell announcement highlights the latest move by Intel to stop some of AMD’s momentum in the server market. Right now, if you want a four-core Opteron system, you have to spring for a two-socket solution. This will remain the case until AMD comes out with its own quad-core part in the first half of 2007. Even if some would (justifiably) dispute Clovertown’s status as a legitimate quad-core part (it’s two dual-core chips sandwiched together in the same package), this gives the current lead in the n-core race that has replaced the “megahertz race” of the first decades of the PC era.

If you’re using older dual-core Xeon servers based on obsolete Netburst architecture (i.e. Dempsey, the server counterpart to Smithfield), then you’re going to want to jump on the Clovertown/Woodcrest bandwagon as soon as possible. Real World Technologies recently benchmarked identically configured Xeon 5070 (dual-core, Netburst-based) processors against the newer Xeon 5160 (dual-core, Woodcrest-based) processors and found that the Woodcrest part offers a 2.2X performance/watt improvement over its predecessor.

Doubling performance per watt is a pretty significant feat, especially when you’re talking about rackmount equipment that’s packed into a power-hungry server closet. These kinds of numbers will make the new Dell systems compelling to anyone who has been itching to get rid of old Netburst hardware.

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Better stem cells through chemistry

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Creating stem cells may be the most controversial part of the process that we'd need to master in order to use them in potential therapies, but it's not the only difficult one. Maintaining populations of stem cells is also a challenge. Currently, standard protocols involve bathing the cells in a soup of growth factors, which can get quite expensive. Some lines also require what are called "feeder cells"—non-stem cells that keep them healthy and dividing. But contamination of stem cells by the feeders is one of the reasons that many of the federally-approved stem cell lines are considered unsuitable for use in humans. Simplifying stem cell maintenance would go a long way towards making the prospect of therapies more realistic. HangZhou Night Net

An international research group may have taken a big step in that direction by performing a high-throughput drug screen using mouse stem cells (ESCs). They simply took a bunch of ESCs and grew them without any of the normal factors that keep the cells dividing. Normally, within a few days, cell divisions would stop. But the researchers gave each of 50,000 ESC populations a single molecule from a panel of complex organic molecules, and searched for ESCs that kept dividing. A total of 28 molecules out of the initial 50,000 looked promising, and further work narrowed the focus to a group of related molecules that share a complex five-ring structure made of carbon and nitrogen.

They called the most efficient of these SC1, and showed that the cells treated with this did maintain their stem cell fate. To find out why, the researchers linked SC1 to beads, and ran the contents of ESCs over them. To their surprise, not one, but two different proteins stuck to the beads. Anyone who follows cell signaling would recognize what they were: Ras-GAP and ERK, two proteins that play key roles letting cells know that they've received a signal from one of any number of growth factors. They were able to show that SC1 blocks the activity of both of these molecules.

The authors proposed that blocking Ras-GAP causes the cells to act as if a signal has been received, while blocking ERK tells the cell how to interpret the signal: as an instruction to keep dividing. Thus, the large, complex structure is probably related to the molecule having distinct regions that perform each of these two activities. Future work that narrows these regions down and separates them may make future molecules more efficient and easier to make and/or administer. In the end, this work may mean that stem cell research is about to get a lot easier.

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Game Review: Guitar Hero 2

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My arms are killing me. After picking up Guitar Hero 2 last night I played a five-hour session on hard, and now my body is getting its revenge. Guitar Hero 2 isn't much of a leap from the Guitar Hero 1, the graphics are on about the same level, the guitar still works the same way, and game play has not really changed from what you saw in the first game. Why it's a great game—and it is a great game—is that the developershave tweaked everything that bothered people in the first title; a bunch of little additions make the game truly shine. If you thought Guitar Hero was addicting… well, then don't buy this. You simply won't get much done. HangZhou Night Net

First, hammer-ons and pull-offs feel much more forgiving. It doesn't seem like they dummied down the difficulty, but stretching the time you can hit them by a tiny amountmakes the system much less frustrating. Second, the ability to track detailed stats for each song, and also each section of each song, means you can zero into where you need to practice to get the big points. By the way, there is also a practice mode where you can try each section on its own, over and over, while speeding up or slowing down the tempo to make sure you can get it nailed. Awesome. If you were upset about your DLP HDTV lagging on the first game, you can actually adjust lag in options this time around. Hallelujah.

You can play head-to-head against a friend the same way you could in the first game, or you can play Pro Face-Off which gives you both the exact same notes so no one can complain about the differences between each side of the screen. This is great for those of us who didn't much enjoy multiplayer in the first game, as trading off notes could be a frustrating experience when it didn't match up with what we were used to playing.

The real fun is going to be had in co-op, though, where you are playing with a friend, not against them. They also have added different lines for each songs, so one person will be playing lead, the other will play bass. Another option is lead and rhythm guitar. This gives each song a much different character in co-op, and it's a blast to try to beat your own high scores while working with someone else. You even need to use Star Power at the same time. The bass lines are a little on the easy side, even on the higher levels, but they are certainly a blast to play. Bass just makes you feel cool—as if you didn't feel awesome already while flailing around on a plastic guitar.

The song list is great, but some songs are certainly better than others. Most of them are passable, some are excellent, and others… well, they are terrible. Killing in the Name Of has been edited, and the vocals are embarassing. Heart Shaped Box is fun on guitar, but whoever is trying to emulate Kurt Cobain needs to be shot. Them Bones also has some questionable vocals, but who the hell can sing like Layne Staley? This is made better by spot-on songs like Strutter, Tattooed Love Boys, and Girlfriend. Girlfriend by Matthew Sweet in particular is one of my new favorite songs. It's not hard, but it has a great feel to it, and every time I play it I get a big smile on my face. Trogdor will also give you aching arms, but for all the right reasons.

The animations, venues, and characters have all been updated as well. The game is still funny as hell, and the sequel makes it easier to pick up and play, more friendly for multiplayer, and the song list is hard to find issue with. There are a few nits I could pick, but overall this is one of the strongest games of the year. If you liked the first one, this is a no-brainer. If you've been wondering what the buzz is about, this is a good place to start.

Have you played it yet? What are your favorite songs? Least favorite? Let's hear it!

Status: Buy, along with a second guitar

Price: $49.99 game, $79.99 with red guitar

System: PS2

Publisher and Developer: Red Octane

ESRB: Teen

Other recent minireviews:

Work Time Fun (WTF)Mercury MeltdownGrand Theft Auto: Vice City StoriesFatal Frame (Halloween Game Review)DS-Xtreme

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Will the PS3 have a centralized friends list?

Written by admin on  Categories: 杭州夜生活

I love the friends list feature of the 360. I like being able to see who is online, I like sending invites, and I certainly like getting them. I may not be able to respond to as many as I'd like across all my accounts, but I like the idea that if I ever want to play a game with someone, I can. The community aspect of the 360 is a strong feature of the system, one I hope is emulated on the PS3. HangZhou Night Net

Gamasutra sat down with David Karraker, Sony's minty-fresh senior direct of corporate communications. The whole interview is rather interesting, and I was amused when he spoke of Sony asking him how he was at "crisis communications," something they must be keenly interested in coming off all the bad press leading up to launch. Here's what caught my eye though:

GS: And how does the friends list work with Xfire? Will the friends list from the desktop be transferable into games, or…?

DK: That’s totally a question for SOE, because their game is the only one that’s supporting Xfire out of the box. So they’re building their community based on Xfire.

GS: And can you say if there will be a larger friends list community that can be integrated into games, or not?

DK: Again, allowing the developers to do whatever they want. SOE announced they want to work with Xfire, great, we applaud them. It’s not something on the hardware side that we’re supporting at the moment.

That's not promising. It sounds like the PS3 will have no centralized friends list. Am I really going to have to type in my friends on every single game? Just the games that don't use Xfire? Something else? We're about a week away from launch and I wish we had a real answer.

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“Mac Guy” no longer in “Get A Mac” ads

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Wow, some people say they expected this, but I certainly didn't. Justin Long, the actor who plays the "Mac Guy" in Apple's famed "Get A Mac" campaign, isno longer filming ads with Apple, according to reports. The ad campaign is still going, just without Justin—the "PC Guy" John Hodgman is still sticking around. HangZhou Night Net

A rep for Long confirms that his days as an Apple pitchman are over: "Every ad you see Justin in is for that previous time period only," she tells Radar. "There's no long-term deal with him." She adds (somewhat implausibly, perhaps), "Justin's a movie star, not a commercial guy."

It's hard to determine whether Justin left on his own (to become a bigger movie star, perhaps) or whether Apple ditched him. Supposedly, viewers just plain hated the guy. I, on the other hand, kind of had a weird affection toward him, kind of like how I think of my weird younger brother (incidentally, also named Justin) who says crazy things that make me laugh and think "wtf?"

The Radar Online, who is reporting the story, doesn't seem to know either, but they have their theories:

Why was Long dropped, specifically? Perhaps for striking people as a "smug little twit," in the words of Seth Stevenson, ad critic for Slate. Long, he adds, is "just the sort of unshaven, hoodie-wearing, hands-in-pockets hipster we've always imagined when picturing a Mac enthusiast…. It's like Apple is parodying its own image while also cementing it."

Okay, so that made me laugh, and maybe it even has a little bit of truth in it. Did people hate him because he came off like an annoying, modern hippie?

Either way, I will be genuinely sad to see him go, and I wonder if the Get A Mac commercials will be the same without him. The love-hate, homoerotic friendly banter between the two will always have a special place in my heart.

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