Ars Technica

Internet Explorer 9 utterly dominates malware-blocking stats

"Internet Explorer 9's dual-pronged approach to blocking access to malicious URLs—SmartScreen Filter to block bad URLs, and Application Reputation to detect untrustworthy executables—provides the best socially engineered malware blocking of any stable browser version, according to NSS Labs' latest report. Internet Explorer 9 blocked 92 percent of malware with its URL-based filtering, and 100 percent with Application-based filtering enabled. Internet Explorer 8, in second place, blocked 90 percent of malware.

Beamforming your data: how WiGig will offer 7Gbps speeds

"The Wireless Gigabit Alliance recently announced that it has published the certification-ready 1.1 specification of its wireless system, and it includes some new capabilities, like a framework for video connectors. But given that even 5GHz WiFi is notorious for spotty reception mere feet from the offending wireless router, how will WiGig, which uses an incredible 60GHz frequency, ever manage to transmit information to devices that aren't literally pressed up against the router?.."

Building a better quantum computer with lasers and (impure) diamonds

"If the development of a quantum computer were like motor racing, then we would currently be in the twisty-turny bit that comes before we barrel over the mountain and hit the long, fast straightaway. We know the requirements for quantum computing; we even know systems that kinda-sorta meet these requirements. But no existing quantum computing architecture—that is, how we make quantum bits (qubits) and perform operations on them—is really all that satisfying. If you don't even know which materials are best for building a quantum computer, it makes progress awfully slow..."

Can Microsoft use the DMCA to kill competing Xbox 360 accessories?

"Can Microsoft remotely disable third-party accessories from working with the Xbox 360 and get away with it?

The Redmond, Washington software- and console-maker did just that, and claims copyright law gave it the right. At issue is Microsoft’s 2009 remote disabling of Datel memory cards, which prompted an antitrust lawsuit that lives on today—litigation that has morphed into the latest test of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Graphene meets silicon with conventional fab techniques

"Graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of graphite where carbon atoms are held in a hexagonal lattice reminiscent of chicken wire, has some unusual properties, one of which may allow it to replace silicon in high-speed electronics. At room temperature, graphene exhibits extremely high electron mobility—the speed at which electrons move through the material is over 100 times greater than silicon. However, because its material properties are different from traditional semiconductors, researchers have struggled to develop integrated circuits with graphene components.

How scientists turned a living cell into a green laser

"Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) does exactly what its name implies: when excited by light from the blue end of the spectrum, it emits a satisfying green glow. But its deceptively simple name doesn't begin to convey how it has changed biology. It can be fused with other proteins and made by just about any cell, letting researchers track all sorts of biological processes. Variants have been made that glow other colors. Three people got Nobel Prizes for its development. Glowing animals have even become works of art and pets."

1Gbps fiber for $70—in America? Yup.

"American ISPs have convinced us that Internet access is expensive—getting speeds of 100Mbps will set most people back by more than $100 a month, assuming the service is even available. Where I live in Chicago, Comcast's 105Mbps service goes for a whopping $199.95 ("premium installation" and cable modem not included). Which is why it was so refreshing to see the scrappy California ISP Sonic.net this week roll out its new 1Gbps, fiber-to-the-home service… for $69.99 a month.

Battlefield 3 takes shot at MW3 with free social portal

"A post from the game's official blog touted the ability of the Frostbite 2 engine to provide both large-scale battles and close combat. "Gamers will experience a physical battlefield and be able to temporarily disable vehicles, go prone, mount weapons, lay down suppressive fire and more. Under the hood, the brand-new engine ensures cutting-edge visuals and immersion," Karl Magnus Troedsson, the general manager of DICE, wrote.

Work on PlayStation 4 underway, may include fewer custom parts

"The real news is that Sony may be focusing on using less-expensive components that can be ordered in larger quantities at a lower price. When you're trying to launch a system with as much new tech as the PlayStation 3, you're spending a lot of money on components, and you may be suffering from low yields as the high-end components are mass produced..."

The post-PC era is happening, but not yet at the expense of PCs

"Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently roused some criticism for declaring the iPad to be the harbinger of a "post-PC" era. Market research firms seem to disagree with Jobs' proclamation; Gartner thinks he may be right, suggesting tablets are eating into PC sales, while NPD thinks slow PC sales have nothing to do with iPads.

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