News for 03/12/2008

Many computer users (including yours truly) have whined about the crappy performance of Windows Vista. Many (again including yours truly) have wondered aloud what Vista’s successor will be like, and if it’ll be as awful as Windows Vista. Well guess what? The successor to Vista just arrived, and it’s called Windows Server 2008. Apparently the folks over at have put Server 2008 through its paces and found that, after some tweaking to make Server act more like a desktop OS, Server 2008 ran 20% faster than Vista on the same hardware. The post’s author, David Methvin, calls “Windows Workstation 2008”, the “speediest and most secure version of Windows to come along in a decade”. Hmmmm.. I’ll have to check that out!

Pour a bit of your 40 on the ground for the F-117 fighter jet. On April 21st, all remaining F-117s will depart from Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico for their final resting place: Tonopah Test Range Airfield in Nevada. This brilliant piece of military technology is being retired to make way for the Air Force’s newest badass fighter, the F-22 Raptor. We’re sad to see the F-117 go… but since the F-22 is reputed to be “the most outstanding fighter plane ever built”, we’re not worried.

Speaking of “new tech”, the TSA screeners at one airport could not believe that a man’s AirBook was actually a real, functioning computer. Several agents huddled around the mysterious device, confused by the thin size, lack of ports of the back, and the lack of an internal hard drive. Eventually the agents let the guy go (with the laptop), but not before the poor schlub missed his flight.

The British continue their Orwellian march towards INGSOC with the ThruVision camera system, a device that the BBC says uses “terahertz rays, or T-rays” to passively scan people for metal objects. It can see through clothes and find any number of objects, including weapons and drugs. The scary device has already been ordered by the Dubai Mercantile Exchange and Canary Wharf in London.

System administrators might want to change their tune about Bitorrent. According to this article at Ars Technica, a university in the Netherlands was able to send 22TB worth of patches to 6,500 computers in 4 hours using a Bittorrent-based technology. If you’re at all involved in system administration, you’re going to want to read this article; it’s simply astounding what these folks put together.

Lastly for today… Dawn Wells, who played the perky “Mary Ann” on Gilligan’s Island, is apparently a pothead.

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