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Swiss Group Makes PowerPoint Use Political Issue

Opinion about Microsoft’s PowerPoint business presentation software is fairly polarized, but now a group in Switzerland is taking issue and making their objections political. The Anti-PowerPoint Party (APPP) is a political party seeking to ban the application, along with other presentation software, as well as run candidates for national office in October. The group claims presentation software costs the Swiss economy 2.1 billion Swiss francs (US$2.5 billion) annually. Across Europe, it says the economic loss is €110 billion (US$160 billion). It bases the figures on “unverified assumptions about the number of employees attending presentations each week, and supposes that 85 percent of those employees see no purpose in the presentations,” according to CIO. Matthias Poehm, the party’s founder is also author of The PowerPoint Fallacy. He confirmed that the creation of the party is designed to promote the book, but he claims people need to know that there are alternatives to PowerPoint -- namely, the flipchart. Microsoft has reportedly not responded to requests for comment.  (CIO)(The Daily Mail)(Anti-PowerPoint Party)

Microsoft Pressing Customers to Jettison Windows XP

Although Microsoft’s Windows XP is not scheduled to be retired until April 2014, the company is telling its customers to adopt another operating system. At Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles this week, CEO Steve Ballmer said that although 400 million Windows 7 licenses have been sold, between half and two-thirds of PCs are still using Windows XP. “Windows XP had an amazing run and millions of PC users are grateful for it. But it's time to move on,” Stephen Rose wrote on the Windows Team Blog. Effective 8 April 2014, security patches and hotfixes will no longer be available for Windows XP; the company has already limited its support for the OS. Some pundits suspect both consumer and enterprise users may be waiting for Windows 8, tentatively due out in 2012, rather than switch to Windows 7. The company is also reportedly urging customers to upgrade from Internet Explorer 6. (PC World)(The Guardian)(Windows Team Blog)

AMD Launches New GPU Mobile Graphics Card

AMD has released what it claims is the world's fastest single-GPU mobile graphics card. The Radeon HD 6990M is reportedly the mobile market’s equivalent to the AMD Radeon HD 6990 PCI Express. The device has 1.7 billion transistors on a single die and reportedly has a clock speed of 715 MHz and 1.6 tFLOPS of computing power. The company says it is targeting the card specifically at mobile gamers needing enhanced performance and power for their notebook computers. Market rival NVIDIA released the GeForce GTX 580M several weeks ago, which it claimed was the world’s fastest notebook card. (SlashDot)(ZDNet)(CNET)(AMD)

Performance Demonstrates Music Created Using Gestures

In a performance in Scotland this week, singer Imogen Heap demonstrated a pair of musical gloves that let wearers wirelessly manipulate music using hand gestures. A team at the University of West England created the technology. The fiber-optic gloves, often used in gaming, are equipped with both accelerometers and magnetometers to provide precise spatial data about the positions of the hands and the speed of their movements. The movements are tied to specific controls. Spreading the arms apart, for example, makes the music louder. The project will be expanded, allowing Heap to alter the music depending on where she is standing on stage. TEDGlobal 2011 is a five-day, invitation-only conference being held in Edinburgh.
(BBC)(CNET – UK)(NewScientist)

Sandia Researcher Develops Novel Cooling Device

A Sandia National Laboratories researcher has developed a new technology for cooling that promises to provide dramatic benefits. In the Air Bearing Heat Exchanger, known also as The Sandia Cooler, the heat sink is the fan. In his design, Jeff Koplow eliminates the dead air zone typically found in conventional cooling technology. The heat is transferred across a narrow air gap from a stationary base to a rotating structure, which creates a powerful pumping effect. The cooler outside air reportedly pushes away dust as it flows through the center of the spiral and out the sides. The result is a significantly quieter, more cost-efficient cooling device. A proof-of-concept prototype was developed to show its potential for cooling computer CPUs. It might be able to scale such that it could be used in HVAC applications. Lab officials are reportedly seeking licensees for the technology who will use it for chip cooling, but will also be courting licensees for the technology’s use in other fields. (SlashDot)(NewScientist)(Media Newswire)(“A Fundamentally New Approach to Air-cooled Heat Exchangers,” Jeffrey P. Koplow)

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