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Friday Afternoon (5 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 21-November-2008  18:42:15 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Google is now letting users customise search results. If Google delivers useless search results, just erase them and you won't see them again. That's possible under a new system Google unveiled on Thursday. Hoping to give its search engine a more personal touch, Google now lets users reshuffle results so their favourite websites get top billing and disliked destinations get discarded the next time they enter the same request. It marks the first time that the internet's most popular search engine has allowed its audience to alter the order of search results.

The US army has declared war on a computer worm. Under sustained attack from what is described as a rapidly spreading network worm, the U.S. army has banned the use of USB sticks, CDs, flash media cards, and all other removable data storage devices, according to internal e-mail messages seen by Wired’s Noah Shachtman. The USB device ban was handed down by the commander of U.S. Strategic Command and includes everything from external hard drives to “floppy disks. It takes effect immediately.

Microsoft is cutting the price of the Zune. This holiday season, Microsoft is taking aim at arch-rival Apple's iPod - and its companion iTunes software. This week, Microsoft cut the retail prices on 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB Zunes as well as on the Car Pack, Home/AV Pack, and Dock Pack. With the 8GB Zune now selling for $139 (was $149) and the 16GB model now selling for $179 (was $199), Microsoft is undercutting the price of comparable Nanos by $10 (8GB) and by $20 (16GB). The 4GB Zune anchors the lineup at $99, down $30 from its old price.

CES coverage is likely to be down this year, with many manufacturers not attending. "This was to have been Cisco's first time as a formal exhibitor," said spokesman Jim Brady. "Given (Cisco's) focus on reducing costs, the company has decided to scale down its participation in CES in Las Vegas in January 2009." Cisco isn't the only one to scale back. Also on the list are Yahoo, Seagate, Logitech, and Belkin, company representatives confirmed. Philips won't have a space on the CES show floor, either, though Funai, which has taken over manufacturing and selling TVs under the Philips brand in the United States, will pick up some of the slack.

The internet can be a positive influence on teenagers a study has found. "It might surprise parents to learn that it is not a waste of time for their teens to hang out online," said Mizuko Ito, lead author of the study by the private, grantmaking MacArthur Foundation. "There are myths about kids spending time online -- that it is dangerous or making them lazy," said Ito, a researcher at the University of California, Irvine. "But we found that spending time online is essential for young people to pick up the social and technical skills they need to be competent citizens in the digital age," she said.

Do you want to grab more from your laptop's battery? It’s happened to many a traveler: You’re onboard a flight from, say, New York to Los Angeles, with plans to finish a stack of work along the way. After all, an airplane is often a great place to be productive, thanks to the absence of nagging colleagues, email and ringing phones. Except you’re barely over Minnesota and your computer warns you it’s about to “hibernate” as your battery power is hovering somewhere around just five percent.

If you are really lazy, then this is the chair for you. The Home Chare—yes, that's chare, not chair—is a combination wheelchair for the disabled and for Jabba the Hutts. This device not only can be adjusted into a bed and standing aid, but also can double as a toilet via a replaceable seatless cushion. We can't see how this toilet design is convenient though, unless, of course, you rode around in this wheelchair pantless or in a pair of asschaps.

Today's second timewaster is from Michael. Match the planets and collect the crystals.

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All original content copyright James Rolfe. All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.