Wednesday, 25 August 2010

internet Explorer 9 makes cameo appearance on Microsoft Russia site

Microsoft's gotten a little carried away with its Internet Explorer 9 excitement and posted an early screenshot of the browser up on its Russian site. The post and the image have since been diligently pulled, but not before Mary-Jo Foley managed to snag the pictorial evidence. What's new to see? A resoundingly minimal interface, that's what. The Chrome comparisons should be raining down thick and heavy if this snapshot is anything to go by, as Microsoft has done a fine job of ridding its browser from pesky menus, consolidated its controls into a few icons in the top right, and combined the search and address bars into one. Of course, given the earlier leak of screenshots, those menus could still just be hiding somewhere nearby, ready to spring at us. Another similarity to Chrome (and Firefox and Safari) is the new ability to "tear off" tabs from one window and reposition them independently. We'll see how closely the Beta aligns to what we see here when it debuts for real on September. 15.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The Windows 7 / iMac Black Screen of Death

imac bootcamp1 150x150 The Windows 7 / iMac Black Screen of DeathBlogger and Internet marketer Vance Sova problems with Apple Mac users installing Windows 7 on their computers.  The problem that is being called the “Black Screen of Death” is, like the blue screen of death (BSOD) in Windows, irreconcilable and the only way to get rid of it is to restart the computer.
The problem occurs when installing Windows 7 using Boot Camp and some users have had the problem repeatedly according to tech site Nexus404.
The blogger contacted his local Apple store and Apple support but apparently this got him nowehere, though in fairness you can’t expect Apple to understand everything about the Windows 7 install process.  Extensive testing at Apple either didn’t show up the black screen of death, or they didn’t consider it a big enough problem.
He describes the process as…
That hope was frustrated and the black screen of death greeted me after I got up. Turning the computer off and on again got me to a screen with a headline saying “Windows Error Recovery”.  No matter which instructions on that screen I followed, and there are 3 safe modes and one saying “Start Windows Normally”, I always ended up at the same place in the loop: the black screen of death.
Starting everything over I made doubly sure I followed the instructions not only religiously but like a first class meticulous monk. After all I could have made some mistake, however small, the first time.  Well, I ended up staring at the black screen of death again on my shiny new Mac with no Windows 7 installed and a bit of disappointment and frustration creeping in.
I tried one more time with the black screen gaping at me again and the frustration and disappointment level rising.  I went to the PC store where I bought the Windows 7 and asked them to exchange it. They gave me another disk and also checked the one I brought on their computer to see if it was defective. It worked.
I did the installation process with another brand new disk with Windows 7 Ultimate on it. Black screen of death again resulted on the Mac. I repeated the process again like a fool doing the same thing and expecting a different result. I really wanted it to work. I spent a lot of time and money on this and all I was getting was a stupid black Mac computer screen of death.
When I purchased the Mac computer I also bought the extended warranty with Apple Care. Before I had the Windows 7 exchanged I described the installation problems to a person at Apple Care over the phone.  I was told that trying a different installation disk was a good idea and that they had no other suggestions other than that. Well, that idea with replacing the disk was mine. They didn’t help at all.
Either way the problem remains unresolved with no sign of a fix on the horizon.  If you are installing Windows 7 on an Apple Mac using boot camp and your screen goes completely black with no activity then you’ll have been hit by the black screen of death.  The only advice anyone can give is to switch your computer off, restart it and try the installation again.
For Windows 7 users on PCs feeling left out or having a giggle at Apple Mac users’ expense, if you’ve not received it yet I can assure you that the blue screen of death is alive and well in Microsoft’s latest Windows operating system.
Related posts:
  1. Windows 7 Black Screen Of Death (BSOD): Fix Update
  2. Windows 7 BSOD: ‘Black Screen Of Death’ Freeze And Potential Fix
  3. More on the Blue Screen of Death
  4. Black Friday: A Good Time to Switch to Windows 7
  5. Installing a Browser in Windows 7 E

Friday, 20 August 2010

Virtual reality tackles tough questions

Virtual reality tackles tough questions

By David Reid
BBC Click

A male volunteer
Men are learning to empathise with women using virtual reality
Virtual reality is allowing scientists to ask difficult questions about human behaviour that were previously not possible or were thought too unethical.
A Spanish team has designed a trial that allows men to step inside the body of a woman subjected to violence.
Meanwhile scientists in London are simulating a controversial experiment from the 1960s in which people were persuaded to inflict pain on others.
The original experiments were condemned as immoral and too traumatic.
At Barcelona University, male volunteers have experienced life as a virtual young girl and then separately, witnessed violence towards her.
On returning to live the girl's virtual life, the men empathized with her more than usual, feeling scared and insecure themselves.
"I want to know whether you can use virtual reality, not just to transform the place you are in, but also to transform your very self," said Mel Slater, lead researcher at the Catalan Institute of Research and Advanced Studies.
"If you see yourself in a virtual body, which moves as you do, how will this affect your behaviour?"
Virtual cruelty
Male volunteers in the Spanish experiment see a virtual room with a woman in front of them caressing their arm. Meanwhile, the illusion is reinforced by someone actually running their fingers down their arm in real life.
Click to play
Volunteer Joan Llobera discusses life as a virtual girl with researcher Mel Slater
Looking in the mirror, the person looking back is a young girl wearing a skirt.
A little later, things take a sinister turn. The volunteer is shown a view hovering above the scene instead of acting as the girl. The previously affectionate woman inexplicably lashes out, slapping the girl twice on the face.
The idea is that having previously been the girl, the volunteer feels the shock of what has happened more personally.
Mr Slater described how the technique could be used to tackle racism and abuse.
Even if you knew you were only giving electric shocks to a virtual character, would you still respond with stress and anxiety?
Mel Slater, Researcher
"In a kind of empathic way, we can learn what it is like to be the victim of racism.
"Or understand what it is like to experience abuse in different ways. And therefore especially for the abusers, they may learn what sort of damage they are inflicting on others from a psychological point of view."
According to Bernard Spanlang, researcher in virtual reality at the University of Barcelona, this works even if the quality of the virtual reality is pretty rudimentary.
"The visual quality is actually not very important. What is more important is that the virtual reality reacts in a way that you would expect it to.
"So even if you render the scene in wire-frame, based on triangles without any shading, in experiments people react as if they were in that place."
Electric shocks
Virtual reality is also being used to replicate a psychological experiment into the darker parts of the human character where real experiments would be too traumatic for those taking part and not allowed on ethical grounds.
In the early 1960s, Stanley Milgram of Yale University caused uproar with his experiments into how people responded to an authority figure, finding most people if pressed were prepared to repeatedly give an electric shock to another person.
The scenario was of course fictitious using actors pretending to be in pain, but the experiments were criticised as unethical because they were based on deception.
Participant in electric shock experiment
In the 1960s, volunteers believed they were delivering real electric shocks
Mel Slater has replicated these experiments using virtual reality, this time at University College London.
The person getting the shocks might be virtual, but the subject is still put in a moral quandary and their emotional reaction is real.
"What we are interested in is, even knowing that you were only giving electric shocks to a virtual character, would you still respond with stress and anxiety and the kind of symptoms that were shown by Milgram's original subjects?
"The answer was yes. Obviously to a lower level, but people still experienced anxiety that you could measure with physiological measuring devices.
"This virtual reality technology opens up the door for studying - in an ethically fine way - these kinds of issues."