Sunday, 5 August 2012

Usain Bolt Wins men's 100m in record time 9.63 seconds

Usain Bolt has won the gold medal in the men's 100m at the London Olympic Games after winning the final in 9.63 seconds, a new Olympic record.
Bolt's Jamaican training partner and biggest rival, Yohan Blake, claimed the silver medal in 9.75 secs and former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin won the bronze in a time of 9.79.
Bolt's victory was the second-fastest 100m run in history, behind his world record time of 9.58, set in at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009.
More to follow.
Simply the best: Usain Bolt crosses the finishing line to win gold in the men's 100 metres final
Simply the best: Usain Bolt crosses the finishing line to win gold in the men's 100 metres final

Cruise control: Usain Bolt (right) wins his 100m semi-final ahead of Britain's Dwain Chambers (left)
Cruise control: Usain Bolt (right) wins his 100m semi-final ahead of Britain's Dwain Chambers (left)
Plenty left in the tank: Bolt crosses the finishing line in a time of 9.87 secs in the second 100m semi-final
Plenty left in the tank: Bolt crosses the finishing line in a time of 9.87 secs in the second 100m semi-final
Not quite enough: British sprinter Dwain Chambers looks in vain at the scoreboard after his race
Not quite enough: British sprinter Dwain Chambers looks in vain at the scoreboard after his race
Rising star: Gemili (centre) proved he has a bright future after just missing out on the final
Rising star: Gemili (centre) proved he has a bright future after just missing out on the final
Fastest of all: American Justin Gatlin (right) qualified fastest for the final in 9.82secs
Fastest of all: American Justin Gatlin (right) qualified fastest for the final in 9.82secs
Ever the showman: Jamaican superstar Bolt plays up for the crowd in London ahead of his race

Snap shots of London 2012

China's Xu Chen (right), and Ma Jin play against Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, also from China, at the badminton mixed doubles final of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London yesterday. Chen and Ma lost the match 11-21, 17-21. (Photo: AP)
Spain's Onan Barreiros and Aaron Sarmiento compete during the 470 men class race in Weymouth and Portland, England, yesterday (Photo: AP)
Italy's Aldo Montano (left) fences against Russia's Alexey Yakimenko during the men's sabre bronze medal match at the ExCel arena. (Photo: AP)

Great Britain Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark compete during the 470 women class race in Weymouth and Portland, England, yesterday. (Photo: AP)
Bronze medallist China's Lu Chunlong performs on the trampoline yesterday. (Photo: AP)
Kazakhstan's Svetlana Podobedova (centre) poses on the podium with her gold medal next to Russian silver medallist Natalya Zabolotnaya (left) and bronze winnner Belarus's Iryna Kulesha at the presentation of the women's 75kg group A weightlifting event. (Photo: AFP)
Athletes compete in the men's 3000m steeplechase heats at the athletics event in the Olympic Stadaium yesterday. (Photo: AFP)
France's Marion Farissier competes in the preliminary round of the women's 3m springboard diving event at the Aquatics Centre in London. (Photo: AFP)
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (centre) jumps to feet to applaud the gold medal won by Great Britain's rowers at Eton Dorney. The Prime Minister watched the race on television with workers at Team GB house in Stratford, east London, yesterday. (Photo: AFP)
Italy's Aldo Montano (left) fences with Russia's Alexey Yakimenko during the men's sabre bronze medal match at the ExCel arena. (Photo: AFP)
Justin Reid-Ross of South Africa (centre) celebrates after scoring a goal against Spain during the men's field hockey preliminary round match at the Riverbank Arena in London. (Photo: AFP)

Bolt jogs to win 100m semis

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Usain Bolt secured a place in this afternoon’s 100m final winning his semi final in 9.87.

Second place was Ryan Bailey of the US in 9.95 and third Richard Thompson
RankLaneAthleteReac. TTime
13BOLT Usain0.189.87
26BAILEY Ryan0.1559.96
37THOMPSON Richard0.15810.02
44CHAMBERS Dwain0.15410.05
58PHIRI Gerald0.16510.11
65BAILEY Daniel0.14210.16
71ADAMS Antoine0.15910.27
82SU Bingtian0.15710.28

Blake into finals, Asafa squeezes in

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Yohan ‘The Beast’ Blake secured his spot in 100m final clocking 9.85 running top contender Tyson Gay into second.

RankLaneAthleteReac. TTime
15BLAKE Yohan0.1769.85
23GAY Tyson0.1519.9
36GEMILI Adam0.15810.06
47ATKINS Derrick0.16410.08
58WARNER Justyn0.13510.09
64YAMAGATA Ryota0.15810.1
72SORRILLO Rondel0.1410.31

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Phelps ends career with gold in medley relay

LONDON (AP) — Michael Phelps ended his career with another gold as the United States won the medley relay at the London Olympics on Saturday.
Phelps leaves the sport with a record 18 golds and 22 medals overall. At these games he won four golds and two silvers.
In the final swimming event of the eight-day meet, the Americans clocked 3 minutes, 29.35 seconds.
Matt Grevers led off in the backstroke leg, Brendan Hansen swam the breaststroke, Phelps did his usual butterfly leg and Nathan Adrian was the anchor in freestyle.
The Americans trailed when Phelps dove in, but he pushed them in front.
Japan touched in 3:31.26 to take the silver medal and Australia finished in 3:31.58 to take bronze.

Ernesto still a threat to Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica - The Meteorological Service has continued the Tropical Storm warning for Jamaica as Ernesto continues to move towards the west and closer to the island. This means that tropical storm conditions, including possible sustained wind speeds of 34-63 knots or 63-118 km/h, are expected for sections of the island in 36 hours or less.
At 1:00 p.m. the centre of Tropical Storm Ernesto was located near Latitude 14.5 degrees North, Longitude 69.3 degrees West; about 820 kilometres (510 miles) east-southeast of Morant Point, Jamaica or 440 kilometres (270 miles) south of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Ernesto is now moving towards the west near 30 km/h (18 mph) and this general motion is expected to continue during the next 48 hours.
Maximum sustained winds are near 85 km/h (50 mph), with higher gusts, and no significant change in strength is expected today.
Intensification to hurricane strength is, however, possible on Sunday as the tropical storm begins to move south of Jamaica; hence, the warning for the island has been upgraded. Tropical storm force winds now extend outward up to 165 km (105 miles) mainly north and east of the centre of Ernesto.
Satellite imagery indicates that the outer rain-bands of Tropical Storm Ernesto extend over a large area north of its centre and, on the current forecast track, these could begin to influence the weather over Jamaica by Sunday morning. Periods of heavy rainfall and strong, gusty winds occasionally reaching tropical storm strength, could be experienced mainly over southern parishes on Sunday and Monday.
All small craft operators, including fishers from the cays and banks, should by now have completed all the necessary safety precautions and are advised to remain in safe harbour until all warning messages have been discontinued and wind and sea conditions have returned to normal.

Shelly-Ann successfully defends Olympic title

KINGSTON, Jamaica-  Defending champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the women's 100m finals in 10.75 seconds.
Her compatriot Veronica Campbell-Brown finished third behind American Carmelita Jeter. 

Tagged Review

Tagged is a social networking website originally aimed at junior high and high school students but is now open to people of all ages. Despite a convoluted design, complaints about inbox spam and excessive bot spam, Tagged's popularity has grown over the past year.

Tagged - Pros and Cons

  • One of the fastest-growing social networks
  • Customizable profiles
  • Users can 'tag' each other with pictures
  • A growing number of applications including games like Poker and Mafia Wars
  • Questionable behavior leads to inbox spam
  • Advertisements not exactly kid-friendly
  • Lacks enough protection against spam bots
  • Convoluted design

Tagged - What's To Like

Tagged is one of the fastest growing social networks, which means it will provide plenty of opportunity to create a community of friends and meet new people. With the ability to customize your profile, write on walls and tag friends with pictures, Tagged provides a fun atmosphere.
Tagged also has a growing number of applications and game like Mafia Wars, a game where you become a Mafia Don and gather together a gang of thugs.

Tagged - What's Not To Like

By far the biggest complaint about Tagged is their behavior in sending out email spam. Tagged is known for sending multiple emails to a member's address book, spamming friends and family with invites.
Tagged also has a convoluted design which can make it difficult to navigate and a confusing registration process that can end in a never-ending loop asking for personal information. The need to ask for a street address and mobile phone number is also of concern.
Tagged has been overrun with spam bots that grab user profile information and spam user walls. These spam bots can also lead to more inbox spam.
While Tagged was originally targeted at junior high and high school students, the questionable advertisements make it not exactly kid-friendly. For this reason, there are parental concerns with Tagged.

Tagged - The Bottom Line

While Tagged is quickly becoming one of the more popular social networks, it still lags behind Facebook and MySpace in design, functionality, popularity and community. Add to this the negative aspects of inbox spam, questionable advertisements and spam bots, and it is difficult to recommend Tagged over other social networks.

LED VS LCD review

led vs lcd

If you are planning to buy a new TV for your home and have got confused over the battle of LED VS LCDs, then don’t blame yourself. Due to the new marketing strategies of the television companies, both aggressive and persuasive, all people have been bamboozled when they are faced with the LED VS LCD competition. However, you will be shocked to know that there is no need to be so puzzled on the LED VS LCD matter since they don’t have that much of a difference between them in reality.

The buzz of LED VS LCD in the market is actually the brainchild of clever marketing strategies from large TV manufacturers, to promote the sale of their new LED televisions and also push the sale of LCD televisions even further. However, these LED televisions in reality, are not a new kind or new generation TV. They are almost similar to the LCD televisions where they share almost a similar screen in which we see the picture. The main difference between these two televisions is that LED televisions use LED or Light Emitting Diodes to light the screen while LCD televisions use cold-cathode fluorescent lights or mostly known as CFL lights to light the screen on it. Therefore, you can see that there might not be that much of a difference in the feature evaluation of LED VS LCD and it might also be a big waste of time thinking about the winner in an LED VS LCD encounter.
However, there are a few differences between the LED and LCD televisions which are still adding fuel to this burning clash of LED VS LCD television. Among them, the most important one is the thickness of these televisions. LEDs, since they use LED lights, can be thinner than other LCDs as well as the plasma televisions. So, this is a winning blow from the new LED televisions. In addition to that, since LED televisions use LED lights, the picture is more clear and crisp in an LED television. According to this, pure white is brighter and dark black is deeper in an LED television compared to the LCD televisions. This is not the end of LED VS LCD war. Compared to LEDs, LCD televisions are quite cheaper; at least by 100 to 200 dollars. So, people on a budget always pick the LCD from an LED VS LCD dilemma and to be honest, this is an easy decision for them considering the price.  Besides that, the LCD televisions are available in almost any departmental store and are very easy to fix or replace. So LCDs have again got some advantages over the LEDs in the battle of LED VS LCD.
However, these features are not enough to make the verdict on the LED VS LCD. It is evident that in the fight of LED VS LCD, it will be very difficult to declare the universal winner that everyone will accept and it will be a waste of time arguing which is the best between these two.

Windows 7 Review

What if a new version of Windows didn't try to dazzle you? What if, instead, it tried to disappear except when you needed it? Such an operating system would dispense with glitzy effects in favor of low-key, useful new features. Rather than pelting you with alerts, warnings, and requests, it would try to stay out of your face. And if any bundled applications weren't essential, it would dump 'em.
It's not a what-if scenario. Windows 7, set to arrive on new PCs and as a shrinkwrapped upgrade on October 22, has a minimalist feel and attempts to fix an­­noyances old and new. In contrast, Windows Vista offered a flashy new interface, but its poor performance, compatibility gotchas, and lack of compelling features made some folks regret upgrading and others refuse to leave Windows XP.
Windows 7 is hardly flawless. Some features feel unfinished; others won't realize their potential without heavy lifting by third parties. And some long-standing annoyances remain intact. But overall, the final shipping version I test-drove appears to be the worthy successor to Windows XP that Vista never was.
Microsoft's release of Windows 7 also roughly coincides with Apple's release of its new Snow Leopard; for a visual comparison of the two operating systems, see our slideshow "Snow Leopard Versus Windows 7." Of course, an OS can't be a winner if it turns a zippy PC into a slowpoke or causes installation nightmares. Consult "Windows 7 Performance Tests" for Windows 7 performance test results, and "How to Upgrade to Windows 7" for hands-on advice on the best way to install it. Read on here for an in-depth look at how Microsoft has changed its OS--mostly for the better--in Windows 7.

Interface: The New Taskmaster

The Windows experience occurs mainly in its Taskbar--especially in the Start menu and System Tray. Vista gave the Start menu a welcome redesign; in Windows 7, the Taskbar and the System Tray get a thorough makeover.
The new Windows Taskbar; click for full-size image.Windows 7's revamped Taskbar introduces several new features and gives users much more control over how it looks.The new Taskbar replaces the old small icons and text labels for running apps with larger, unlabeled icons. If you can keep the icons straight, the new design painlessly reduces Taskbar clutter. If you don't like it, you can shrink the icons and/or bring the labels back.
In the past, you could get one-click access to programs by dragging their icons to the Quick Launch toolbar. Windows 7 eliminates Quick Launch and folds its capabilities into the Taskbar. Drag an app's icon from the Start menu or desktop to the Taskbar, and Windows will pin it there, so you can launch the program without rummaging around in the Start menu. You can also organize icons in the Taskbar by moving them to new positions.
To indicate that a particular application on the Taskbar is running, Windows draws a subtle box around its icon--so subtle, in fact, that figuring out whether the app is running can take a moment, especially if its icon sits between two icons for running apps.
In Windows Vista, hovering the mouse pointer over an application's Taskbar icon produces a thumbnail window view known as a Live Preview. But when you have multiple windows open, you see only one preview at a time. Windows 7's version of this feature is slicker and more efficient: Hover the pointer on an icon, and thumbnails of the app's windows glide into position above the Taskbar, so you can quickly find the one you're looking for. (The process would be even simpler if the thumbnails were larger and easier to decipher.)
Also new in Windows 7's Taskbar is a feature called Jump Lists. These menus resemble the context-sensitive ones you get when you right-click within various Windows applications, except that you don't have to be inside an app to use them. Internet Explorer 8's Jump List, for example, lets you open the browser and load a fresh tab, initiate an InPrivate stealth browsing session, or go directly to any of eight frequently visited Web pages. Non-Microsoft apps can offer Jump Lists, too, if their developers follow the guidelines for creating them.
Other Windows 7 interface adjustments are minor, yet so sensible that you may wonder why Windows didn't include them all along. Shove a window into the left or right edge of the screen and it'll expand to fill half of your desktop. Nudge another into the opposite edge of the screen, and it'll expand to occupy the other half. That makes comparing two windows' contents easy. If you nudge a window into the top of the screen, it will maximize to occupy all of the display's real estate.
The extreme right edge of the Taskbar now sports a sort of nub; hover over it, and open windows become transparent, revealing the desktop below. (Microsoft calls this feature Aero Peek.) Click the nub, and the windows scoot out of the way, giving you access to documents or apps that reside on the desktop and duplicating the Show Desktop feature that Quick Launch used to offer.
Getting at your desktop may soon be­­come even more important than it was in the past. That's because Windows 7 does away with the Sidebar, the portion of screen space that Windows Vista reserved for Gadgets such as a photo viewer and a weather applet. Instead of occupying the Sidebar, Gadgets now sit directly on the desktop, where they don't compete with other apps for precious screen real estate.
Old Tray, New Tricks: Windows 7's Taskbar and window management tweaks are nice. But its changes to the System Tray--aka the Notification Area--have a huge positive effect.
System Tray changes; click for full-size image.Changes in Windows 7 transform the System Tray from an intrusive eyesore (in Windows Vista) into a useful set of shortcuts and other controls.In the past, no feature of Windows packed more frustration per square inch than the System Tray. It quickly grew dense with applets that users did not want in the first place, and many of the uninvited guests employed word balloons and other intrusive methods to alert users to uninteresting facts at inopportune moments. At their worst, System Tray applets behaved like belligerent squatters, and Windows did little to put users back in charge.
In Windows 7, applets can't pester you unbidden because software installers can't dump them into the System Tray. Instead, applets land in a holding pen that appears only when you click it, a much-improved version of the overflow area used in previous incarnations of the Tray. App­lets in the pen can't float word balloons at you unless you permit them to do so. It's a cinch to drag them into the System Tray or out of it again, so you enjoy complete control over which applets reside there.
More good news: Windows 7 largely dispenses with the onslaught of word-balloon warnings from the OS about troubleshooting issues, potential security problems, and the like. A new area called Action Center--a revamped version of Vista's Security Center--queues up such alerts so you can deal with them at your convenience. Action Center does issue notifications of its own from the System Tray, but you can shut these off if you don't want them pestering you.
All of this helps make Windows 7 the least distracting, least intrusive Microsoft OS in a very long time. It's a giant step forward from the days when Windows thought nothing of interrupting your work to inform you that it had de­­tected unused icons on your desktop.

File Management: The Library System

Compared to the Taskbar and the System Tray, Explorer hasn't changed much in Windows 7. However, its left pane does sport two new ways to get at your files: Libraries and HomeGroups.
Libraries could just as appropriately have been called File Cabinets, since they let you collect related folders in one place. By default, you get Libraries labeled Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos, each of which initially di­­rects you to the OS's standard folders for storing the named items--such as My Pictures and Public Pictures.
To benefit from Libraries, you have to customize them. Right-click any folder on your hard drive, and you can add it to any Library; for instance, you can transform the Pictures Library into a collection of all your folders that contain photos. You can create additional Libraries of your own from scratch, such as one that bundles up all folders that relate to your vacation plans.
Libraries would be even more useful if Microsoft had integrated them with Saved Searches, the Windows feature (introduced in Vista) that lets you create virtual folders based on searches, such as one that tracks down every .jpg image file on your system. But while Windows 7 lets you add standard folders to a Library, it doesn't support Saved Searches.
HomeGroups, Swee HomeGroups? Closely related to Libraries are HomeGroups, a new feature designed to simplify the notoriously tricky process of networking Windows PCs. Machines that are part of one HomeGroup can selectively grant each other read or read/write access to their Libraries and to the folders they contain, so you can perform such mundane but important tasks as providing your spouse with ac­­cess to a folderful of tax documents on your computer. HomeGroups can also stream media, enabling you to pipe music or a movie off the desktop in the den onto your notebook in the living room. And they let you share a printer connected to one PC with all the other computers in the HomeGroup, a useful feature if you can't connect the printer directly to the network.
HomeGroups aren't a bad idea, but Windows 7's implementation seems half-baked. HomeGroups are password-protected, but rather than inviting you to specify a password of your choice during initial setup, Windows assigns you one consisting of ten characters of alphanumeric gibberish and instructs you to write it down so you won't forget it. To be fair, passwords made up of random characters provide excellent security, and the only time you need the password is when you first connect a new PC to a HomeGroup. But it's still a tad peculiar that you can't specify a password you'll remember during setup--you can do that only after the fact, in a different part of the OS. More annoying and limiting: HomeGroups won't work unless all of the PCs in question are running Windows 7, a scenario that won't be typical anytime soon. A version that also worked on XP, Vista, and Mac systems would have been cooler.
Federated Search, a new Windows Explorer feature, feels incomplete, too. It uses the Open­Search standard to give Win 7's search "connectors" for external sources. That capability allows you to search sites such as Flickr and YouTube from within Explorer. Pretty neat--except that Windows 7 doesn't come with any of the connectors you'd need to add these sources, nor with any way of finding them. (They are available on the Web, though. Use a search engine to track them down.)

Security: UAC Gets Tolerable

Speaking of annoying Windows features, let's talk about User Account Control--the Windows Vista security element that was a poster child for everything that rankled people about that OS. UAC aimed to prevent rogue software from tampering with your PC by endlessly prompting you to approve running applications or changing settings. The experience was so grating that many users preferred to turn UAC off and take their chances with Internet attackers. Those who left it active risked slipping into the habit of incautiously clicking through every prompt, defeating whatever value the feature might have had.
UAC changes; click for full-size image.Whereas Vista's notorious User Account Control gave users no control over the feature other than to turn it off, Windows 7's version of UAC lets users choose from two intermediate notification levels between 'Always notify' and 'Never notify'.Windows 7 gives you control over UAC, in the form of a slider containing four security settings. As before, you can accept the full-blown UAC or elect to disable it. But you can also tell UAC to notify you only when software changes Windows settings, not when you're tweaking them yourself. And you can instruct it not to perform the abrupt screen-dimming effect that Vista's version uses to grab your attention.
If Microsoft had its druthers, all Windows 7 users would use UAC in full-tilt mode: The slider that you use to ratchet back its severity advises you not to do so if you routinely install new software or visit unfamiliar sites, and it warns that disabling the dimming effect is "Not recommended." Speak for yourself, Redmond: I have every intention of recommending the intermediate settings to most people who ask me for advice, since those settings retain most of UAC's theoretical value without driving users bonkers.
Other than salvaging UAC, Microsoft has made relatively few significant changes to Windows 7's security system. One meaningful improvement: BitLocker, the drive-encryption tool included only in Windows 7 Ultimate and the corporate-oriented Windows 7 Enterprise, lets you en­­crypt USB drives and hard disks, courtesy of a feature called BitLocker to Go. It's one of the few good reasons to prefer Win 7 Ultimate to Home Premium or Professional.
Internet Explorer 8, Windows 7's de­­fault browser, includes many security-related enhancements, including a new SmartScreen Filter (which blocks dangerous Web sites) and InPrivate Browsing (which permits you to use IE without leaving traces of where you've been or what you've done). Of course, IE 8 is equally at home in XP and Vista--and it's free--so it doesn't constitute a reason to upgrade to Windows 7.

Applications: The Fewer the Merrier

Here's a startling indication of how different an upgrade Windows 7 is: Rather than larding it up with new applications, Microsoft eliminated three nonessential programs: Windows Mail (née Outlook Express), Windows Movie Maker (which premiered in Windows Me), and Windows Photo Gallery.
Users who don't want to give them up can find all three at live.windows.com as free Windows Live Essentials downloads. They may even come with your new PC, courtesy of deals Microsoft is striking with PC manufacturers. But since they are no longer tied to the leisurely release schedules of Windows, they are far less likely than most bundled Windows apps to remain mired in­­definitely in an underachieving state.
Still present--and nicely spruced up--are the operating system's two applications for consuming audio and video, Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center. Windows Media Player 12 has a revised interface that divides operations into a Library view for media management and a Now Playing view for listening and watching stuff. Minimize the player into the Taskbar, and you get mini­player controls and a Jump List, both of which let you control background music without having to leave the app you're in. Microsoft has added support for several media types that Media Player 11 didn't support, including AAC audio and H.264 video--the formats it needs to play unprotected music and movies from Apple's iTunes Store.
Media Center--not part of the bargain-basement Windows 7 Starter Edition--remains most useful if you have a PC configured with a TV tuner card and you use your computer to record TV shows à la TiVo. Among its enhancements are a better program guide and support for more tuners.
Backup and Restore Center changes; click for full-size image.The Backup and Restore Center in Windows 7 gives users greater specificity in selecting files to back up than Vista did, but most versions of Win 7 can't back up to a network drive.Windows Vista's oddly underpowered Backup and Restore Center let users specify particular types of files to back up (such as ‘Music' and ‘Documents') but not specific files or folders. Though Microsoft corrects that deficiency in Windows 7, it deprives Windows 7 Starter Edition and Home Premium of the ability to back up to a network drive. That feels chintzy, like a car company cutting back on an economy sedan's airbags. It also continues the company's long streak of issuing versions of Windows that lack a truly satisfying backup utility.
The new version of Paint has Office 2007's Ribbon toolbar and adds various prefabricated geometric shapes and a few natural-media tools, such as a watercolor brush. But my regimen for preparing a new Windows PC for use will still include installing the impressive free image editor Paint.Net.
The nearest thing Windows 7 has to a major new application has the intriguing moniker Windows XP Mode. It's not a way to make Windows 7 look like XP--you can do that with the Windows Classic theme--but rather a way to let it run XP programs that are otherwise incompatible with Win 7. Unfortunately, only Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate offer it, and even then it comes as an optional 350MB download that requires you to have Microsoft's free Virtual PC software installed and that only works on PCs with Intel or AMD virtualization technology enabled in the BIOS.
Once active, XP Mode lets Windows 7 run apps that supposedly aren't compatible by launching them in separate windows that contain a virtualized version of XP. Microsoft clearly means for the mode to serve as a security blanket for business types who rely on ancient, often proprietary programs that may never be rewritten for current OSs.

Device Management: Setting the Stage

Windows 7 offers you numerous ways to connect your PC to everything from tiny flash drives to hulking networked laser printers--USB, Wi-Fi, ethernet, slots, and more. Devices and Printers, a new section of the Control Panel, represents connected gadgets with the largest icons I've ever seen in an operating system. (When possible, they're 3D renderings of the device; the one for Sansa's Clip MP3 player is almost life-size.)
More important, the OS introduces Device Stages--hardware-wrangling dashboards tailored to specific items of hardware, and designed by their manufacturers in collaboration with Micro­soft. A Device Stage for a digital camera, for instance, may include a battery gauge, a shortcut to Windows' image-downloading tools, and links to online resources such as manuals, support sites, and the manufacturer's accessory store.
You don't need to rummage through the Control Panel or through Devices and Printers to use a Device Stage--that feature's functionality is integrated into Windows 7's new Taskbar. Plug in a device, and it will show up as a Taskbar icon; right-click that icon, and the Device Stage's content will at once ap­­pear as a Jump List-like menu.
Unfortunately, Device Stages were the one major part of Windows 7 that didn't work during my hands-on time with the final version of the OS. Earlier prerelease versions of Win 7 contained a handful of Device Stages, but Microsoft disabled them so that hardware manufacturers could finish up final ones before the OS hit store shelves in October. The feature will be a welcome improvement if device manufacturers hop on the bandwagon--and a major disappointment if they don't.
Even if Device Stages take off, most of their benefit may come as you invest in new gizmos--Microsoft says that it's encouraging manufacturers to create Device Stages for upcoming products, not existing ones. At least some older products should get Device Stages, though: Canon, for instance, told me that it's planning to build them for most of its printers. And Microsoft says that when no full-fledged Device Stage is available for a particular item, Windows 7 will still try to give you a more generic and basic one.

Input: Reach Out and Touch Windows 7

Touch-based input; click for full-size image.Microsoft’s Collage tool shows off the power of touch-based input to good effect.The biggest user interface trend since Windows Vista shipped in January 2007 is touchscreen input; Windows 7 is the first version of the OS to offer built-in multitouch support (see "Windows 7 Hardware: Touch Finally Arrives").
Windows 7's new touch features are subtle on a touch-capable PC and invisible otherwise. Swipe your finger up or down to scroll through document files and Web pages; sweep two fingers back and forth to zoom in and out. Dragging up on icons in the Taskbar reveals Win 7's new Jump Lists. The Taskbar button that reveals the Windows desktop is a bit bigger on touch PCs for easier use.
I installed the final version of Windows 7 and beta touchscreen drivers on an HP TouchSmart all-in-one PC. The touch features worked as advertised. But applications written with touch as the primary interface will determine whether touch becomes useful and ubiquitous. Until they arrive, Windows will continue to feel like an OS built chiefly for use with a keyboard and mouse--which it is.
You might have expected Microsoft to reinvent familiar tools such as Paint and Media Player for touch input. But the closest it comes to that is with the Windows 7 Touch Pack, a set of six touch-based programs, including a version of Virtual Earth that you can explore with your finger, and an app that lets you assemble photo collages. The Touch Pack isn't part of Windows 7, but it will ship with some Win 7 PCs, and it's a blast to play with.
Still, ultimately, the Pack is just a sexy demo of the interface's potential, not an argument for buying a touch computer today. Third-party software developers won't start writing touch-centric apps in force until a critical mass of PCs can run them. That should happen in the months following Windows 7's release, as finger-ready machines from Asus, Lenovo, Sony, and other manufacturers join those from HP and Dell. And even then, touch input may not become commonplace on Windows 7 PCs. But if a killer touch app is out there waiting to be written, we may know soon enough.

Bottom Line: Is Windows 7 Worth It?

Reading about a new operating system can tell you only so much about it: After all, Windows Vista had far more features than XP, yet fell far short of it in the eyes of many users. To judge an OS accurately, you have to live with it.
Over the past ten months, I've spent a substantial percentage of my computing life in Windows 7, starting with a preliminary version and culminating in recent weeks with the final Release to Manufacturing edition. I've run it on systems ranging from an underpowered Asus EeePC 1000HE netbook to a po­­tent HP TouchSmart all-in-one. And I've used it to do real work, not lab routines.
Usually, I've run the OS in multiboot configurations with Windows Vista and/or XP, so I've had a choice each time I turned the computer on: Should I opt for Windows 7 or an older version of the OS? The call has been easy to make, because Win 7 is so pleasant to use.
So why wouldn't you want to run this operating system? Concern over its performance is one logical reason, especially since early versions of Windows Vista managed to turn PCs that ran XP with ease into lethargic underperformers. The PC World Test Center's speed benchmarks on five test PCs showed Windows 7 to be faster than Vista, but only by a little; I've found it to be reasonably quick on every computer I've used it on--even the Asus netbook, once I upgraded it to 2GB of RAM. (Our lab tried Win 7 on a Lenovo S10 netbook with 1GB of RAM and found it to be a shade slower than XP; for details see "Windows 7 Performance Tests.")
Here's a rule of thumb that errs on the side of caution: If your PC's specs qualify it to run Vista, get Windows 7; if they aren't, avoid it. Microsoft's official hardware configuration requirements for Windows 7 are nearly identical to those it recommends for Windows Vista: a 1-GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of free disk space, and a DirectX 9-compatible graphics device with a WDDM 1.0 or higher driver. That's for the 32-bit version of Windows 7; the 64-bit version of the OS requires a 64-bit CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 20GB of disk space.
Fear of incompatible hardware and software is another understandable reason to be wary of Windows 7. One un­­fortunate law of operating-system upgrades--which applies equally to Macs and to Windows PCs--is that they will break some systems and applications, especially at first.
Under the hood, Windows 7 isn't radically different from Vista. That's a plus, since it should greatly reduce the volume of difficulties relating to drivers and apps compared to Vista's bumpy rollout. I have performed a half-dozen Windows 7 upgrades, and most of them went off without a hitch. The gnarliest problem arose when I had to track down a graphics driver for Dell's XPS M1330 laptop on my own--Windows 7 installed a generic VGA driver that couldn't run the Aero user interface, and as a result failed to support new Windows 7 features such as thumbnail views in the Taskbar.
The best way to reduce your odds of running into a showstopping problem with Windows 7 is to bide your time. When the new operating system arrives on October 22, sit back and let the earliest adopters discover the worst snafus. Within a few weeks, Microsoft and other software and hardware companies will have fixed most of them, and your chances of a happy migration to Win 7 will be much higher. If you want to be really conservative, hold off on moving to Win 7 until you're ready to buy a PC that's designed to run it well.
Waiting a bit before making the leap makes sense; waiting forever does not. Microsoft took far too long to come up with a satisfactory replacement for Windows XP. But whether you choose to install Windows 7 on your current systems or get it on the next new PC you buy, you'll find that it's the unassuming, thoroughly practical upgrade you've been waiting for--flaws and all.

Another good day at the office — Gatlin

LONDON, England — Former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin of the USA was full of praise for the track inside the Olympic stadium after clocking 9.97 seconds in round one of the men's 100m at the Olympic Stadium this morning.
"It was good, the track was super-fast and it was another good day at the office. I worked on my technique. I just wanted to out there and give the spectators a good show. You feel the magic out there," Gatlin said.

Bolt fit and ready, Asafa taking it easy

JAMAICA"S male sprinters Asafa Powell and defending Olympic champion Usain Bolt say they are ready to compete in tomorrow's semi-finals of the blue riband 100 metres event.
"I expected it, I'm running well, I'm happy, training is great. reaction was good," Bolt said, "I'm looking forward to the semi-finals tomorrow."
Bolt stumbled a bit at the start of his heat but didn't pay too much attention to the slight hiccup.
"I made a bad step. I stumbled a bit. I'm glad it happened now," he said.
Powell quashed any doubts about his preparedness for the men's 100m at the London Olympics.
The former world record-holder said his race was "good"; and that he "just wanted to get the cobwebs out. I took it easy today."
The sprinter also said he was not worried about almost running out of his lane saying "It's the 100m, it's a straight race and we can drift a bit.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Douglas wins all-around title, 2nd Olympic gold

LONDON, England (AP) — Make it a pair of Olympic gymnastics gold medals for Gabby Douglas, who added the all-around title today to the one she won with the US team two nights ago at the London Games.
Douglas became the third straight American to win gymnastics’ biggest prize, taking the lead on the first event today and never really letting anyone else get close. She finished with a score of 62.232, less than three-tenths ahead of Viktoria Komova of Russia.

Aliya Mustafina won the bronze.
Douglas brought the house down with her energetic floor routine, and US teammates Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross jumped to their feet and cheered when she finished. Douglas flashed a smile and coach Liang Chow lifted her off the podium.
Komova’s floor routine was impressive, as well, and she stood at the center of the arena staring intently at the scoreboard, her folded hands at her mouth.
When the final standings flashed, her head dropped and she hurried to the sidelines, tears falling.
Douglas finished with a score of 62.232, about three-tenths ahead of the Russian.

Late Cuban dissident's family doubts crash report

HAVANA, Cuba (AP) — The family of late Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya cast doubt on the official explanation of the car crash that killed him and another government opponent, asking the international community yesterday for help getting an independent investigation.
Speaking to foreign journalists at the family home in Havana, Paya's widow said she can't trust the same authorities who have long monitored, intimidated and harassed her family and other dissidents.
Oswaldo Paya

"We do not accept the explanation of what happened that was aired on television," Ofelia Acevedo said.
She spoke a day after Cuban authorities, who call the small opposition "counterrevolutionaries" and "mercenaries" paid by the US government and anti-Castro Cuban exiles, announced that a Spanish man was being charged with vehicular manslaughter in connection with the crash.
His testimony and that of the crash's other survivor should lay to rest any theories about foul play, Communist Party newspaper Granma said in an editorial.
But Paya's daughter Rosa Maria said family friends who were at the hospital after the July 22 crash in eastern Cuba overheard a police captain telling fellow officers that a red car was at the scene of the crash and its occupants supposedly made the emergency call.
According to those accounts, the captain also said that Angel Carromero, the Spaniard who was driving the vehicle carrying Paya, emerged from their rental car yelling at the red vehicle: "Why are you doing this to us?"
Rosa Maria Paya questioned what Carromero would have been referring to, why there was no mention of a red car in the official report and why a coroner was purportedly in the ambulance when it first responded.
Rumors of a second vehicle's alleged involvement in the crash swirled among dissidents and some foreign media soon after the crash, with some suggesting the rental vehicle carrying Paya was being followed or even forced off the road.
Cuban authorities have insisted all along that it was a single-car incident, and some dissidents discount "conspiracy theories" while saying the investigation has not been entirely transparent.
On Monday, authorities released videotaped testimony from Carromero saying no other vehicle was involved, and the crash happened when he lost control after braking suddenly in an unpaved stretch of roadwork. Carromero faces one to 10 years in prison if convicted, though prosecutors have not specified what sentence they will seek.
Jens Aron Modig, a Swedish citizen riding in the passenger's seat, also said there was no second vehicle, though he was dozing off at the time.
Acevedo said she has not been able to talk independently to the two Europeans, who were the only survivors. Carromero is in police custody, and Modig returned to Sweden on Tuesday.
"I am not going to accuse anyone, nor am I looking for guilty parties," Acevedo said. "I simply want the facts to be cleared up."
Carromero and Modig, both members of conservative political parties in their home countries, said they came to Cuba to help the dissidents organize youth movements and lend other support.
They said they brought US$4,900 for Paya's organisation, though Acevedo said Paya never got any money from the Europeans.
Cuban state media published a lengthy editorial Tuesday complaining about a series of foreign-funded attempts to undermine the government, including new revelations about eight Mexican youth allegedly trying to incite protests during Pope Benedict XVI's visit in March, at the behest of a Cuban exile group.
Tuesday's editorial in Granma also excoriated the "fistful of slanderers" who called for a transparent investigation of the crash that killed Paya.
Acevedo alleged a pattern of intimidation and threats against the family, saying the lug nuts on their car have repeatedly and mysteriously come loose, and that an old classic car rammed their Volkswagen minibus in June.

Gay says it's time Americans topple J’can sprinters

LONDON, England (AFP) — Top US sprinter Tyson Gay said yesterday that winning an elusive, first Olympic medal was the missing piece of his heart.
Gay saw his Olympic dream shattered in 2008 by a hamstring injury and now the former World champion comes to the London Games after needing nearly a year to recover from right hip surgery.
US athlete Tyson Gay holds up a pair of running shoes during a press conference near Olympic Park in east London yesterday. (Photo: AFP)

"It's a lot of pressure, I'm not going to lie. The missing piece in my heart is an Olympic medal," said Gay, who will turn 30 four days after the 100m final on Sunday.
"It's really special to come here and compete for a medal. I came up short in 2008.
"Now I'm fully focused on these Games, and not my age or 2016, to leave with a medal."
But Gay acknowledged that he would be up against it in the blue ribbon event of track and field, and arguably the whole Olympics.
Rivals include the formidable Jamaican trio of defending champion and world record holder Usain Bolt, world champion Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell, as well as US teammate Justin Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic gold medallist.
"I know what those guys bring to the table and they know what I bring to the table," Gay said.
"Regardless of any radar, we're going to have eight finalists most of whom are capable of getting a medal."
Gay said he had nothing to hide, as shown by a rare open training session at the US camp in Birmingham, central England, last week.
"It is what it is. We're going to run this weekend, and that's it. I have nothing to hide."
Gay, who said his confidence was good and was undergoing "consistent treatment" on his hip and legs, also expected a fast time, but was quick to play down suggestions that Bolt seemed off the boil.
"I definitely think that's possible, if the weather holds and everyone's fit," he said of a fast time.
"I don't want to say Bolt's vulnerable because he's definitely proved that he can run 9.5, 9.6, 9.7sec.
"He's the only guy who has been where we others haven't.
"He has to be one of the favourites because he knows what to do to win competitions.
"My only hope is that my body's ready to go there (fast times) as well."
Turning to Blake, Gay said: "I remember running against Blake in London several years ago when he was just out of high school. He's definitely matured into a great young man running a professional sport."
Gay said he was not overly concerned with the prospect of having to race three rounds before even dreaming of the final, despite only having made his competitive comeback after 50 weeks on the sidelines in June.
"I'm not worried about it too much. I'll focus on executing my programme and I think I'll be okay," he said, warning that it was time the Americans regained sprint supremacy from the Jamaicans.
"It's very important for the US to try to get back on top in the sprints," he said.