Chrome shines, Gore opines, staffs decline

Google's Chrome OS captured a lot of headlines and hype this week after the company invited the media in to have a look-see, setting off a whole lot of opinions about whether it will be any good. Microsoft, predictably, doesn't think so. Otherwise, Al Gore offered his opinion on the role supercomputers can play to quell climate change, and for the first time we can recollect there were not one, but two, cat-related IT stories that caught our attention.

1. Google Chrome OS unveiled: Speed, simplicity and security stressed, The 5 best, and 5 worst, features of Google Chrome OS, Microsoft, other rivals slam Google Chrome OS and Why Chrome OS will fail, big time: We were all over the Chrome demonstration, with varying opinions about it, including Randall Kennedy's provocative piece at InfoWorld about why he thinks it will fail, and in a big way.

2. Al Gore: Supercomputers can reverse climate change: The temperature is a balmy 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius) here in Boston, making it more than a little weird to see Christmas decorations, even allowing for the argument that those are displayed too early. So, it seems fitting that former Vice President Gore said at the SC09 supercomputing conference this week that supercomputing technology can be used to help expand renewable energy sources and explain climate change to people so that they better understand its implications.

3. EU ombudsman faults EC's Intel antitrust ruling: The European ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamandouros, found fault with the European Commission's antitrust investigation of Intel, although his decision is not legally binding and so will not change the outcome, which led to a hefty fine for the company.

4. Ballmer: Windows 7 sells twice as fast as past operating systems: The Windows 7 operating system is selling like hotcakes compared to past Microsoft operating systems, according to CEO Steve Ballmer. Of course, there's another way to look at that fact, which is that users are flocking to get rid of Vista.

5. Nokia cuts research staff by up to 330 people and AOL looks to slash staff by a third: In what is becoming a standing entry for the ongoing effects of the recession, we include this week word that Nokia is cutting its research staff by as many as 330 people and the plagued AOL will axe a third of its employees.

6. Three basic steps to avoid joining a botnet: CSO's Joan Goodchild has been all over the botnet beat lately, and her latest installment on that topic offers some advice from security pros on how to keep corporate networks from becoming hooked into botnets.

7. Facebook bible: Everything you need to know about Facebook: The headline says it all.

8. Sold out! Grinch steals Nook Christmas and Some Sony e-readers may not arrive for the holidays: Well, it looks like many of us who are hoping for e-readers will find Kindle's under the tree now, doesn't it?

9. IBM brain simulations exceed scale of cat's cortex: Living with four cats, we have keen appreciation for research out of IBM toward building a computer that mimics the human brain, with a brain simulation that exceeds the capacity of a cat's cortex. Of course, it's also the case that some cats seem to have better cortexes than others, but that's a different story.

10. CatPaint iPhone app adds cats to any photo and CatPaint got your iPhone?: Arguably, some other IT news story (OK, quite a few other IT news stories) could be in this slot, but this one generated a whole lot of interest and discussion, and besides which we aren't about to let down the "Cheezburger" crowd by leaving it out. The iPhone app, CatPaint, allows users to add cats to any photo. At last, we have a reason to buy an iPhone.

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