Animated Map: Imperial History of the Middle East

img missing Did you ever wanted to know who has controlled the Middle East over the course of history? Maps of War has created an Flash animated map that let you flip through 5000 years of history in less then 2 minutes.
It shows you how over time empires have come and gone together with their reach. And the list is long…Egyptians, Turks, Jews, Romans, Arabs, Greeks, Persians, Europeans all got their go.

Imperial History of the Middle East

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Star Trek 40 years anniversary and Christies

img star trek Beam me up Scotty…

Christies last week completed its first “official” auction of Star Trek items, with about 1,000 lots put up by CBS Paramount Television Studios, including props and costumes used in the TV shows and films.

And Kirk you’re a Red Shirt when you didn’t get your hand on some of the alien ship and space station models for tactical training.

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Web Browsers: New IE and Firefox ante portas

img browser icons Both Microsoft and the Mozilla Foundation today announced new versions of their popular web browsers.

Both releases are primary targeted at web developers. The public release for Mozilla Firefox is due within November 2006 while Microsoft wants to roll out Internet Explorer 7 by the end of October to end users.

Developers are strongly advised to test their web sites with the new version of Internet Explorer as many “hacks” that worked in the past will only function with IE 7 if these comply to web standards.

The new Internet Explorer introduces a host of new features for end users including tabbed browsing, a new look, RSS and Atom feed reading together with improved search and printing functionality. Users who did not manually download IE7 will have it installed a few weeks after release date through the automatic MS Windows Update function

End user improvements within Mozilla Firefox 2.0 include enhanced tabbed browsing, more bookmark features plus Microsummaries, inline spell checking for form text fields and Phishing protection to warn users when a web site appears to be a forgery.

Yes Minister: EC Vice-President speaks up against administration

img missing Many of us do know it and all of the EC commissioners know it. But until yesterday no high ranking official has ever publicly admitted it.

In an interview (in German) with German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Guenter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission said that, over the years, the power of high ranking civil servants had grown so much that today the most important political task of the commissioners has become to control the civil servants so that important decisions can still be taken by the political elected and not been traded out by civil servants amongst themselves”

…and sometimes the control gets lost. There is a continuous power struggle between the commissioners and the high ranking civil servants. And some believe that an elected commissioner is gone after five years, like a temporary squatter….

He later continues with ….my own team tells me, that they spend 80-90% of their time with internal coordination. One could, slightly exaggerated, say we spend most of our time with solving problems that would not exist without the administration…

Good thinking Guenter but we all know that inefficient bureaucracies are mostly busy with themselves. But its good to hear it from a high ranking member of the administration speaking in public.

Anyway that all reminds us too much of some episodes of 1980s top political satire Yes Minister. We would like to invite you to watch some of the episodes so that your Sir Humphreys won’t get you too easily. We know you have a gigantic task ahead to make the world’s biggest funding pot more efficient. But too often with many of these reforms a lot is said at the beginning and very little result can be seen at the end. To put it into words of “Yes Minister” ….we could always get rid off some tea ladies… or more to the point …its all about activity and very little about achievement…

Good luck Guenter and keep up the spirit in the never ending struggle…

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DLink V-Click: Another WLAN – GSM twin hitting the streets

img DLink VClick Another WLAN-WiFi enabled GSM phone will become available soon to consumers in Europe and the USA. D-Link is introducing a new unlocked Linux based phone that can be used with normal GSM cell phone networks as well as with wireless WiFi networks. HP, Nokia and Siemens (now BenQ) plus others have all recently introduced similar devices.

Well you say what does that interest me, I’ve got a mobile phone and its working fine?

I believe you have heard about Internet telephones, Skype and all the other VoIP service providers. You might have followed the debates about roaming cost regulations in Europe – to put a ceiling on what cell phone network providers would be allowed to charge their customers. In short – why pay USD 10 per minute for long distance or even USD 1 per minute for local calls when a dollar can get you an hour of the same service.
And already today Wireless Internet access is free in quite some places. And wherever you have Internet access with sufficient bandwidth you can place a call with a VoIP enabled phone like the D-Link one.
As soon as this will become mainstream – and expect it within the next 12-18 months latest – plus more and more full cover WiFi networks becoming available, this will be disruptive to the current price and service model of GSM – network providers. Guess why almost all of them are blocking VoIP services over their GSM Internet services.

info based on article from LinuxDevices

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Screaming cell phones

img RemoteXT msg UK based start-up company Remote XT has come up with a new solution to stop mobile phone theft. Currently, on average a mobile phone is stolen every 12 seconds in the UK.

The service offered includes software available for most GPRS handsets that can connect to the Internet. It does not work with Blackberries.

When the subscriber reports the phone stolen a software alert is send from the central service center that then completely disables the phone and wipes clean all data stored on the device.

Remote XT hopes to sell the service for a monthly fee starting around USD 18 which might look prohibitive to some. Business users might see it as another offering to make phones that are more and more also used to store sensitive data like bank account information, credit card numbers or documents more secure and prevent from damages in the event of loss or theft.

The service includes data backups, anti-virus protection and access to MS Outlook email.