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Thursday, January 31, 2008

'Playing with Gilly was a privilege' - Langer !!

One hundred sixes in Test match cricket pretty well sums Adam Gilchrist all up.The fact is everyone loves a six hitter. Whether is it is in the backyard, the village green or Lord's, we all love watching the cricket ball sail over the boundary rope.

Australia's latest retiree is the consummate entertainer who is sure to be missed by cricket lovers and team mates around the world.From the moment he entered international cricket he had an impact, and now, as he walks away from the game, he will be remembered as one of the all-time great players.

He has revolutionised the role of the wicket-keeper/batsman and in many ways he has raised the bar in terms of what is expected from the man behind the stumps.Not only do they have to be mistake-free with the gloves on, but they now have to be able to open the batting in one-day cricket and average in the high 40s with the bat in the longer forms of the game.

While Gilly has always prided himself on his wicket-keeping alone, his impact with the bat has been supreme.To this day I have never seen a player who can walk out and hit the first ball they face in the middle of the bat as regularly as Gilly does.

His ability is freakish and one of the catalysts behind Australia's breathtaking success over the last decade.Having him slide into the batting order at number seven was psychological murder for any opposition.

After working hard to dismiss Australia's top five, they always knew more was still to come in the form of one of the most consistently destructive players of all time.Playing with Gilly, like it was with Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, was unashamedly one of the privileges and highlights of my career.

Apart from his genius on the field, Adam Gilchrist was a great leader. His rare talent was to combine being one of the boys, while still playing his role as the team's vice-captain or captain.

Usually the team's leader has to be a little removed from the group but through sheer respect and a charismatic character he could be both; another talent which is as magnetic as his batting.Obviously he will be missed and the hole he leaves will be discovered with time but his replacement Brad Haddin is sure to take the opportunity.

Like Michael Hussey, Phil Jacques and Stuart Clark, Haddin has sat on the bench for a long time waiting and craving his opportunity.With street-fighting character and enormous talent to match, he will be a welcome and hungry inclusion in both forms of the game.

He has done everything that has been asked of him in his apprenticeship and my feeling is that he could be another instant star like the other 'senior' rookies that have come into the team over the last few years.

The question keeps being asked, 'Is this the end of Australian cricket's dominance?' and all I can say is that we were asked the same question when we lost in India after winning 16 consecutive Tests five or six years ago.

I never thought the record would be broken, but only two weeks ago that string of victories was at least matched by the current Australian test team.The system in Australia is strong and competition for places intense so any one who wants to write off Australian cricket could be doing it at their peril.

Whatever happens, the one thing that is certain is that the game will be worse off without the great Adam Gilchrist adorning cricket grounds around the world.

Google profits disappoint market !!

There were signs of a slowdown at Google after it reported disappointing profits in its most recent quarter.

Google's profits were up 17% to $1.21bn (£608m) for the three months to the end of December.Some analysts had been hoping for stronger profit growth and its shares fell sharply in after hours trading.

Google's shares have fallen more than 18% so far this year on concerns that the slowing US economy will cause advertisers to cut back on spending.


Investors have become used to Google reporting extremely strong profit growth.Analysts say the latest quarter shows that even Google is not immune to an economic slowdown in the US.

"I think its essentially an in-line quarter for Google which, given the history of beating expectations is disappointing Wall Street.

"There was a slight softness in revenue which perhaps portends softness going forward due to the US economy," said Clayton Moran, senior vice president of the Stanford Group.

Google's sales for the quarter were $3.39bn, up 52% but not as much as analysts were hoping.

Clooney made UN peace messenger !!

Oscar-winning actor George Clooney has officially been appointed a United Nations peace envoy in New York.

The film star, who will promote the UN's peacekeeping missions around the world, arrived in the city from a trip to the Darfur region of Sudan.Mr Clooney told the BBC he hoped to be able to help the people he met there who had suffered in the conflict.

Among the eight other peace messengers are actor Michael Douglas and Israeli classical musician Daniel Barenboim.


Clooney, who is Oscar-nominated for his performance in thriller Michael Clayton, briefly posed for photographs as he entered New York's UN headquarters.The 46-year-old was accompanied by his parents at the ceremony with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Clooney has been waging his own campaign to end the conflict in Darfur, and was selected for his ability to focus public attention on international issues.The actor is a co-founder of Not On Our Watch, a humanitarian group that focuses global attention on Darfur's people and has raised more than $9.3 million (£4.67 million) for the region.

"You hope that somehow... if you just shine a really bright light on these things it's harder to get away with it," Clooney told the BBC.Mr Clooney appealed for the world's governments to send the new African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur the helicopters and radios it needs to do its job.

The people of Darfur, he said, were putting their faith in the blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers and it was up to the world not to let them down.The actor acknowledged he'd been quietly backing the Democratic Senator, Barack Obama, in the US presidential race, and said a change of US administration would affect the way America's seen worldwide.

Musing on the difference between screen action and his new UN role, Clooney said: "An Oscar's a nice thing to have in your life, but this isn't just sort of an honour, it's a responsibility."

Democratic pair hold key debate !!

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have faced each other in a televised debate days ahead of a string of key primary contests in the White House race.The contest to become Democratic presidential candidate has been getting more tense ahead of votes in 22 states on "Super Tuesday" next week.

They debated head-to-head after John Edwards withdrew from the race.Both refused to rule out the idea of running for office as presidential candidate and running mate.

Mr Obama has seen his campaign funds swell since the start of the year, with $32m of contributions reported in January.He is now running TV advertisements in 20 of the states which will be voting in primaries on Tuesday.

His opponent has yet to release figures for the past month, but the Clinton campaign says it raised 26.8m in the last three months of 2007.


Mr Obama said the US was facing a "defining moment", opening the debate in the Kodak theatre in Los Angeles, venue for the Oscars ceremony.

"What is at stake right now is whether we are looking backwards or whether we are looking forwards. I think it is the past versus the future."Mrs Clinton said that the Republican administration of President George W Bush had created a "stack of problems".

"It is imperative that we have a president, starting on day one, who can begin to solve our problems," she said.The debate was mostly cordial in tone.

"I was friends with Hillary Clinton before we started this campaign; I will be friends with Hillary Clinton after this campaign is over," said Mr Obama.Mrs Clinton noted that "the differences between Barack and I pale in comparison to the differences that we have with Republicans".


But there were also moments of tension, including during a discussion about the Iraq war.Mrs Clinton defended her decision to vote in October 2002 to allow President Bush to use force in Iraq, saying she had made a "reasoned judgement" based on the information the president had set out to the nation.

"It was a sincere vote based on my assessment at the time and what I believed he would do with the authority he was given," she said.She also said that she had "the necessary credentials and gravitas" to lead the country in a withdrawal from Iraq without endangering US forces or further destabilizing the area.

Mr Obama responded: "Senator Clinton mentioned the issue of gravitas and judgment. I think it is much easier for us to have the argument when we have a nominee who says `I always thought this was a bad idea. This was a bad strategy.' It was not just a problem of execution."

Another pointed exchange came on the subject of whether illegal immigrants should be able to obtain driver's licences.Mr Obama supports such a policy while Mrs Clinton at first backed it and now opposes it.

"Senator Clinton gave a number of different answers over the course of six weeks on this," Mr Obama said, turning to Mrs Clinton.She called the controversy "a diversion" from efforts to come up with comprehensive immigration reform."I sponsored immigration reform before Barack came to the Senate," she said.

McCain endorsements

In the Republican race, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger added his support to John McCain's bid.Rudy Giuliani, who pulled out of the Republican contest this week, has also said he is backing Mr McCain.

It is thought that Mr Schwarzenegger's backing may improve Mr McCain's chances of winning the California primary - one of the many to be held on Super Tuesday.The Republicans held their own televised debate on Wednesday night.

It was dominated by verbal jousting between Mr Romney and Mr McCain, with the two others in the race - Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, who are both trailing - struggling to be heard.

Mr McCain has emerged as the front-runner after winning the Florida primary.

Top Al-Qaeda leader reported dead !!

A senior al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan, Abu Laith al-Libi, has been killed, senior Western counter-terrorism officials say.

News of Libi's death first emerged on a website used by Islamist groups.The website,, said Libi had "fallen as a martyr", the Reuters news agency reports.

US intelligence agencies have been investigating reports that a top al-Qaeda figure was killed in the Afghan-Pakistan border area this week.It follows a missile attack in Pakistan's North Waziristan area in which 12 militants were reported killed.

While Western counter-terrorism officials told the BBC they believed Libi to be dead, they would not discuss how he was killed.Libi has appeared in a number of al-Qaeda videos. He is reported to be one of al-Qaeda's most senior field commanders in Afghanistan.

Reports say he was also active across the border in the Waziristan region of Pakistan.

Schwarzenegger set to back McCain !!

John McCain's hopes of becoming the Republican candidate for US president are set to be boosted further with the endorsement of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Mr McCain is to appear alongside the governor of California later.The Republican front-runner has had a good week, winning the Florida primary and then securing the support of Rudy Giuliani, who has now quit the race.

Meanwhile, the two leading Democratic candidates will go head-to-head in a debate after John Edwards withdrew.Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are left battling for their party's nomination after Mr Edwards, who had failed to win any of the Democratic nomination contests held so far, quit the race on Wednesday.

California votes

In the Republican race, Mr McCain has emerged as the front-runner, pulling ahead of main rival, Mitt Romney.His win in the Florida primary election means he has secured more of the delegates who will choose the Republican Party's presidential candidate in September.

He also has some high-profile backing.Mr Giuliani, the former New York mayor, pulled out of the Republican race after disappointing results in Florida, announcing his support for his friend John McCain, whom he described as "an American hero".

Mr Schwarzenegger's endorsement will also be important for Mr McCain, an Arizona Senator.It may improve his chances of winning the California primary - one of the many to be held next week on "Super Tuesday".

Whichever Republican takes California will win nearly 15% of all the delegates he needs to secure the party's nomination.

Trailers sidelined

A Republican debate on Wednesday night was dominated by verbal jousting between Mr Romney and Mr McCain, with the two others in the race - Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, who are both trailing - struggling to be heard.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mr Romney accused Mr McCain of "dirty tricks" for accusing him - just before Tuesday's Florida primary - of supporting a date for withdrawing troops from Iraq.

"It's offensive to me that someone would suggest that I have," said Mr Romney.Mr Romney said Mr McCain was out of the conservative mainstream, having twice voted against President George W Bush's tax cuts, which the Republican establishment had embraced.

Mr McCain countered that he was proud of his conservative credentials, and questioned Mr Romney's administrative record in Massachusetts."His job creation was the third worst in the country," said the Arizona senator.

The contest to be the Democratic candidate is also getting more tense ahead of the potentially decisive Super Tuesday.It is unclear whether Mr Obama or Mrs Clinton will benefit most from the withdrawal of Mr Edwards, says the BBC's Kim Ghattas in Washington.

He has not endorsed either of them yet and is likely to be courted intensely by both camps, our correspondent says.

Meanwhile, Thursday was the deadline for candidates to file details of their campaign finances, up to the end of 2007, promising to shed some light on their multi-million dollar spending.

Handball Maradona : " Im sort-of sorry " !!

Devious Diego Maradona has finally extended a hand of friendship to England - 22 years after cheating the country out of World Cup glory.

The Argentine legend has hinted at an apology for his infamous "Hand Of God" goal in the two nations' 1986 World Cup quarter-final.And he revealed he may now be moving to the UK - but had harsh words for David Beckham and Ashley Cole.

In a newspaper interview today, the soccer superstar finally confronted demands to say sorry for the moment he clearly punched the ball past Peter Shilton and into the net.Former England goalkeeper Shilton recently complained that Maradona had never apologised for the goal which was amazingly given by referee Ali Bin Nasser, despite furious protests.

Today, Maradona claimed to be treated warmly by English supporters despite his notoriety - and was told by one autograph-hunter this week: "You are a legend."He told The Sun: "This made me very happy. Your people are so polite and kind despite the history between our countries.

"If I could apologise and go back and change history, I would do."But the goal is still a goal. Argentina became world champions and I was the best player in the world."I cannot change history. All I can do now is move on."

Maradona had previously been more belligerent about the goal, blaming Shilton while also claiming the 2-1 victory was revenge for the Falklands War.He has been enjoying a whistlestop tour of English grounds over the past week, including trips to Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle.

And the 47-year-old, who has fought drug addiction, serious illness and lovechild scandals, said: "I plan to spend much more time in England."He claimed to have had "informal talks" about taking up job offers here.

Maradona also claimed Beckham "doesn't belong to the superior group of players", while Cole "needs to demonstrate he can forget girls and concentrate on football".

Call centre chaos after internet black-out !!

An internet black-out is spreading across swathes of the Middle East and Asia - causing problems for call centres serving the UK.

India today reported half of its bandwidth was disrupted, causing knock-on effects for Britain and the US.Online service was cut off in many areas after two undersea cables were damaged off the Widespread outages were also hampering much of the Middle East.

Officials said it could take a week or more to fix the cables, as they scrambled to reroute traffic to satellites and to other cables through Asia.Users in India, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain were affected.

Israel was unaffected by the outages because its Internet traffic is connected to Europe through a different undersea cable. Lebanon was also operating normally.

The biggest impact to the rest of the rest of the world could come from the outages in India - where many US and European companies outsource back-office operations including customer service call centres.Such large-scale disruptions are rare but not unknown.

East Asia suffered nearly two months of outages and slow service after an earthquake damaged undersea cables near Taiwan in December 2006. That repair operation also was hampered by bad weather.

So far, most governments in the region appeared to be operating normally, apparently because they had switched to backup satellite systems.However, the outages had caused slowdown in traffic on Dubai's stock exchange.

In India, major outsourcing firms, such as Infosys and Wipro, and US companies such as IBM and Intel, said they were still trying to asses how their operations had been affected, if at all.

But the president of the Internet Service Providers' Association of India, Rajesh Chharia, said companies that serve the East Coast of the United States and Britain had been badly hit."The companies that serve the US East coast and the UK are worst affected. The delay is very bad in some cases," he said.

"They have to arrange backup plans or they have to accept the poor quality for the time being until the fiber is restored.Chharia said some companies were re-routing their service through the Pacific route, bypassing the disrupted cables. He said roughly 50 per cent of the country's bandwidth had been affected.

It appeared the cables had been cut north of the port city of Alexandria, and rumors in Egypt said a ship's anchor had cut them.

Middle East INTERNET service disrupted !!

CAIRO, Egypt — Internet outages disrupted business and personal usage across a wide swath of the Middle East on Wednesday after an undersea cable in the Mediterranean was damaged, government officials and Internet-service providers said.

An official who works in the customer-care department of Internet service provider DU said the problem was with a cable between Alexandria, Egypt, and Palermo, Italy.

Six ships were diverted from the port at Alexandria because of bad weather, and one may have severed the cables with an anchor, said a spokesman for Flag Telecom Group, which operates one of the cables.

India and countries across the Middle East experienced slow Internet connections and problems making international calls to the U.S. and Europe, the spokesman said. The break will take 12 to 15 days to fix, he said.

"It's a national disaster," said Joseph Metry, network supervisor at Orascom Telecom, the biggest mobile-phone company in the Middle East and North Africa. The problem is affecting all Egyptian Internet users, Metry said.

Internet service also was disrupted in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which markets itself as a top Mideast business and luxury tourist hub. Two ISPs said international telephone service was also affected.

One of the ISPs, DU, was completely down in the morning; browsing remained slow even after Internet service was restored by the afternoon.Customers of AT&T, the biggest U.S. phone company, were affected by the disruption, spokesman Michael Coe said. He didn't know how many customers were affected.

San Antonio-based AT&T is part of the group that owns the cable, Coe said. Verizon Communications, the second-biggest U.S. phone company, said some of its customers also were affected by the cable break.

Garmin's gets official with Nuvifone !!

We know, it's not like the nüvifone is at total surprise any longer, but just in case you tend to rest easier after digesting information straight from the source, here goes. Garmin's recently (and abruptly) announced handset obviously marks the firm's first solo foray into the cellphone arena, and according to Cliff Pemble, the firm's president and COO, it's the "breakthrough product that cellphone and GPS users around the world have been longing for." That being said, the unit will feature a 3.5-inch touchscreen with a trio of primary icons -- Call, Search and View Map -- along with an internet browser, HSDPA support and preloaded maps of North America and / or Eastern and Western Europe. Furthermore, it houses "millions" of POIs, doles out turn-by-turn, voice-prompted directions and becomes Garmin's first device to include Google's local search capability. As for pricing and availability? We're looking at a Q3 2008 release, but we'll have to wait things out before finding out a price and who exactly will be carrying it. Check out the gallery below for shots of the device and its UI, and head on past the break for lots more dirt.

In case that wasn't enough, here's an overview of the rest of the features:
  • "Where am I?" - spits out precise longitude / latitude coordinates at a moment's notice
  • Helps drivers remember where they parked by marking the position in which it was last removed from the vehicle mount
  • Garmin Online - an online service offering constantly updated information such as real-time traffic, fuel prices, stock prices, sports scores, news reports, local events and weather forecasts
  • Built-in camera (megapixels currently unknown; captures video as well) that automatically tags photos with exact longitude / latitude. This allows the user to navigate back to the location or email the image to a recipient who can navigate directly to its location.
  • Provides direct access to millions of geo-located landmark and sightseeing photographs available through Google's Panaramio picture sharing site
  • Integrated media player to handle MP3, MPEG4 and AAC files
  • Just in case you missed it: Q3 2008 release; price and "sales partners" will be announced "in the future"

Bush Picture that Guys will love !!

One of the best pics on the internet today.

The only one that’s actually fun to see.

CLICK ON PIC for mooooore details ...

Britney Spears Admitted !!

LOS ANGELES - Britney Spears was taken from her house by ambulance early Thursday, police told The Associated Press.

A Los Angeles police officer, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the 26-year-old pop star was being taken to "get help" but did not give the ambulance's desination.

On Jan. 3, police were called to her Studio City home when she refused to return her two young sons, Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1, to ex-husband Kevin Federline, who has custody.

Officers had paramedics haul Spears to a hospital for undisclosed reasons. She was released after a day and a half in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Police also went to the home Monday night after someone reported a swarm of paparazzi trespassing in the singer's gated community. When officers arrived, they didn't see anyone trespassing, police said, but citations were issued for several illegally parked cars.

Spears has been in a highly public downward spiral since filing for divorce from Federline in November 2006.Her bizarre antics include shaving her head bald, attacking a car with an umbrella and bringing along a paparazzo pal on trips to a courthouse in her child custody case.

India players ordered to behave !!

The Indian cricket board has told its players to behave themselves following the row involving Harbhajan Singh.

On Tuesday, Harbhajan had a charge of racially abusing Australia's Andrew Symonds downgraded to abusive language by the International Cricket Council.

"We have told the players not to get into altercations," said Indian cricket board secretary Niranjan Shah.India play Australia in a Twenty20 match on Friday ahead of a one-day series, which also includes Sri Lanka.

Spinner Harbhajan had been found guilty of calling Symonds, Australia's only mixed-race player, a "monkey" during the second Test in Sydney this month.However, Tuesday's appeal hearing ruled there was not enough evidence to convict Harbhajan of racial abuse, but instead charged him with using abusive language.

Harbhajan pleaded guilty and consequently escaped a three-match suspension but he was fined half his match fee.New Zealand judge Justice John Hansen, who considered the appeal, indicated that even if Harbhajan's accusers had proved he had made the racist remark, a ban would not have been upheld.

Hansen felt Symonds' sledging of Harbhajan had effectively removed his right to be offended.Shah now expects the matter to be finished and is confident the controversy will not affect future India-Australia cricketing ties.

"I don't think this will have any repercussions for the future," he said."So many such incidents have happened in the past, there have been heated exchanges in the middle and teams have gone on from there."

Spray-on-condom !!

A German condom expert has developed a "spray-on condom" system in the form of a pump that squirts out liquid latex through a multitude of nozzles that cover the erect member with a latex sheath in a matter of seconds.

"If you go into a drug store to buy condoms, the ones they sell are mainly suited to men with the average penis length of 14.5 centimeters (5.51 inches), but a lot of people have penises that are smaller or larger than that," Jan Vinzenz Krause, director of the Institute for Condom Consultancy, told Spiegel Online.

"We thought why not come up with a condom that fits the man rather than vice versa? This would represent a revolution in the condom market," said Krause, whose institute gives sex education as well as providing advice on AIDS prevention and contraception.
He has filed for a patent for the latex spraying system he invented. "As far as I know our idea is unique," said Krause. . .

"With our technology we could spray a condom on an erect elephant," he declared, not without a hint of pride.

The system works a bit like a car wash. The man put his penis in a chamber and presses a button to start the jets of liquid latex, sucked from a detachable cartridge. The rubber dries in seconds and is later rolled off and discarded like a conventional condom.

The aim is for the process to take just 10 seconds but at present the latex drying time is around 20 to 25 seconds. "We're working to shorten that time," said Krause.

"In a survey we conducted, men had a two-fold reaction to the idea. Some said it's a great idea and would help them because they can't find conventional condoms that fit them. Others say they can't imagine it working in practice. There's the romance factor: applying the condom does interfere with the sex act."

Heath Ledger Drug Tape !!

DETAILS have emerged from a video of Heath Ledger allegedly at a drug binge party at a Hollywood hotel.

The footage is understood to have been shot two years ago at Los Angeles celebrity hangout Chateau Marmont at a January 29 (2006) party following the Screen Actors Guild awards - where Ledger had missed out on two awards for Brokeback Mountain despite being favourite in both categories.

Ledger had appeared at the ceremony alongside his girlfriend Michelle Williams but she did not attend the private party and was reportedly sleeping in a room upstairs with the couple's daughter Matilda.

The footage, which was taken through a window into a hotel room, showed Ledger talking and shows at least one guest sniffing a "cocaine-like" substance off a drug-filled table with a rolled up bill in his hand. At one stage, Ledger's face is noticeably twitching as he speaks.

"I'm gonna get so much sh*t from my girlfriend," Ledger said. "We have a baby three months ago - Matilda, Matilda Rose. "I shouldn't be here at all."

During another point in the video, Ledger talked about his marijuana habit. "I used to smoke five joints a day for 20 years," he said, in a slurred voice.

The footage was taken only hours before Ledger was nominated for the best actor Oscar for his role in Brokeback Mountain. Its content has become highly sensitive given Ledger's still unexplained death in New York on January 22 and emerging stories in foreign media outlets claiming the 28-year-old Australian had been battling drug abuse problems.

Entertainment Tonight did not end up airing the footage during its program tonight but showed the lengthy promotional clip on the eastern half of the US in the lead-up to the east coast version of its bulletin.

The footage was not shown on the west coast - with legal pressure believed to have been applied to the American program after the initial airing of the footage.

Entertainment Tonight today said it decided not to show the explosive footage out of respect for Ledger's family.ET said, however, Australia's Nine Network had obtained the tape and was preparing to show it in Australia - something that Nine denied tonight.

Nine spokeswoman Alex Phillips said the network did not have possession of the tape.
"We are not showing the video because we don't have the tape,'' Ms Phillips said.

US reports said Entertainment Tonight had paid almost $A225,000 for the tape.But earlier Nine Los Angeles bureau chief Rob Penfold had indicated Nine had planned to air the tape told The Daily Telegraph that the Australian network had not paid for the video.

"Definitely not," he said today. "There was absolutely no money involved at all." Penfold said following Ledger's death, the tape had become one of the most in-demand celebrity videos being chased by television stations across the world.

"This tape has been in circulation and a lot of people have been trying to get hold of it," he said. "It was always going to surface.

"It would appear that what the magazines have been writing about (Ledger's alleged drug addiction) has been true." During the west coast version of Entertainment Tonight, host Mary Hart said the program would air the Ledger footage in tomorrow night's episode.

A statement on the program's website later said the show and its sister program The Insider, which are both on the same network, had renegged on airing the footage.

"Out of respect for Heath Ledger's family, Entertainment Tonight and The Insider have decided not to run the Heath Ledger video which has been circulating in the world media," the statement said late yesterday.

Excerpts from the video were shown widely on Australian TV today.The video was allegedly made two years ago at the hotel where actor John Belushi died - the Chateau Marmont, in Hollywood - while Ledger's girlfriend Michelle Williams and his daughter Matilda Rose were upstairs.

Ledger is not shown taking drugs, although others can be seen in grainy footage apparently snorting a substance off a table.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

McCain wins key Florida election !!

John McCain has won a close victory in Florida in the battle to become the Republican candidate for US president.The Arizona senator narrowly beat Mitt Romney in the primary election to gain the upper hand ahead of next week's crucial polls in 24 states.Media reports suggest former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani - who based his campaign on winning in Florida - may endorse Mr McCain and drop out.

Hillary Clinton won a largely symbolic victory in the Democratic vote.No delegates are at stake for the Democrats because the state's Democratic Party has been penalised by the national party for breaking rules on when it could hold its primary.

'Getting close'

The BBC's Kevin Connolly in Orlando says Mr McCain's win probably makes him a slight front-runner going into Super Tuesday - but the closeness of the margin may also encourage Mr Romney.Observers can expect things to be equally tight on Super Tuesday, our correspondent adds.

With 97% of the vote counted, Mr McCain led Mr Romney by 36% to 31%. The result means Mr McCain will take all 57 delegates in what is a winner-takes-all primary - the biggest prize of the primary season so far.The delegates will attend the party's national convention later this year when the Republican candidate is chosen.

Speaking to cheering supporters at a rally in Miami, Mr McCain said: "Our victory might not have reached landslide proportions, but it was sweet nonetheless." He said he believed he would win the Republican nomination and would go on to win "against anyone the Democratic Party nominates".

"Tonight, my friends, we celebrate but tomorrow it's back to work. We have a ways to go but we are getting close."Mr McCain's Florida victory follows a win for the Arizona senator in South Carolina 10 days ago and another in New Hampshire on 8 January.

In campaigning, Mr McCain focused on national security and had the benefit of strong support among a large number of military servicemen and veterans in the state.Mr Romney, speaking in St Petersburg, Florida, said he had telephoned Mr McCain to offer his congratulations.

A former businessman and ex-governor of Massachusetts, Mr Romney has presented himself as someone with the credentials to shore up the economy.He said he would be appearing at the Republican presidential debate in Simi Valley, California, on Wednesday night.

Democratic row

None of the Democratic candidates campaigned in Florida after the party's national committee penalised Florida for holding its primary early.But Hillary Clinton - who has said she wants the state's delegates reinstated and seated at the national convention - held a victory rally in Davie, Florida, as the results came in.

With 91% of the vote counted, she was winning by 50% to chief rival Barack Obama's 33%, with John Edwards in third with 15%.

She told supporters: "I am thrilled to have had this vote of confidence that you have given me today and I promise you I will do everything I can to make sure not only are Florida's Democratic delegates seated, but Florida is in the winning column for the Democrats in 2008."

Mr Obama told reporters he believed the decision on delegates "should be made after the nomination, not before".Mr Obama spent the day campaigning in Kansas, another Super Tuesday state.He also picked up the endorsement of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who delivered the Democratic response to President George W Bush's State of the Union address on Monday.

Osteopetrosis !!

Osteopetrosis is a rare congenital disorder (present at birth) in which the bones become overly dense. This results from an imbalance between the formation of bone and the breakdown of the bone. There are several types of osteopetrosis of varying severity. Symptoms can include fractures, frequent infections, blindness, deafness, and strokes.

Osteopetrosis is also known as Albers-Schonberg Disease, Generalized Congenital Osteosclerosis, Ivory Bones, Marble Bones, Osteosclerosis Fragilis Generalisata.

Osteopetrosis is a congenital disease characterized in each of its forms by defective osteoclast function. Osteoclasts are the cells responsible for bone resorption. They are necessary for the formation of bone marrow. In people with osteopetrosis, osteoclasts do not function normally and the cavity for bone marrow does not form. This causes bones that appear dense on x-ray and cannot resist average stressors and therefore break easily. The condition is quite rare; incidences have been reported at 1 in 20,000-500,000 for the dominant form and 1 in 200,000 for the recessive form.

Among the difficulties in diagnosing and being treated for this disease and its symptoms are the realities that there are at least two and as many as five differently recognized types of osteopetrosis.

Osteopetrosis is generally diagnosed through skeletal x-rays. X-rays of osteopetrosis patients will have an unusual density with a chalky white appearance. Bone density tests and bone biopsies can confirm the diagnosis while other tests such at CAT scans or MRI can be performed to evaluate any potential complications.

Types of osteopetrosis

Malignant or infantile osteopetrosis

Infants are diagnosed with this form of osteopetrosis immediately or shortly after birth. This type of osteopetrosis is characterized by hematological difficulties, including anemia/thrombocytopenia/granulocytopenia. Compression of the cranial nerves leads to blindness and deafness. Other symptoms include pathological fractures and infections. It is genetically recessive. Infants with this form of osteopetrosis will most likely be referred for a bone marrow transplant. Sites in the United States of America known to have successfully transplanted osteopetrotic babies included St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis Tennessee, the Saint Louis Medical Center in St. Louis Missouri and . Without the bone marrow transplants, infants with this form of this disease generally die during the first ten years of life.

Benign osteopetrosis

Benign osteopetrosis is genetically dominant, as opposed to the recessive transmission of malignant osteopetrosis. Generally, patients with benign osteopetrosis are diagnosed as adults and suffer from frequent fractures, which tend to have difficulties with healing. Life expectancy is not altered with this form of the disease. Other symptoms associated with benign osteopetrosis include osteomyelitis, pain, degenerative arthritis and headache. There are two recognized types of dominant osteopetrosis:

The site for the classical Albers-Schonberg disease has been identified to a site on chromosome 1 abbreviated as 1p21 by a group of Belgian scientists…

Intermediate osteopetrosis

Because there are individuals with symptoms that do not fit clearly into the two more recognizable categories, some publications will present a third type of osteopetrosis known as intermediate osteopetrosis. These individuals will generally have a diagnosis in the first decade of life and symptoms more severe than those described as benign osteopetrosis, including blindness, deafness and hematological symptoms. There will be no family history of osteopetrosis, leading to the conclusion that this form is recessive. Research into this is being done at this time. There is some indication that this may be a more severe form of the dominant type of osteopetrosis and that benign osteopetrosis is not as benign as originally reported.

Carbon Anhydrase Type II (CAII) Deficiency

This disease is caused by a deficiency of an enzyme, CAII, which has activity in bones, kidneys and the brain and all of these organs are therefore affected. It is rare and principally affects children of Mediterranean and Arab race. The gene responsible for producing CAII is found on chromosome 8 (at 8q22).

Symptoms in this type of osteopetrosis include increased bone density, a tendency to fracture easily and changes in body chemistry. Other symptoms may include intracranial calcifications, sensorineural hearing loss and developmental delays. The blood is slightly acidic and has a high chloride concentration (hyperchloraemic acidosis.) The blood acidity is caused by excessive leakage of bicarbonate from the kidney tubules (renal tubular acidosis). CAII must also have an important role in brain development and children who are affected often develop cerebral calcification and experience developmental delays.

This form of the disease usually causes symptoms in the first few years of life although x-rays are normal at birth. X-ray appearances often improve again in later life. Unlike malignant osteopetrosis, blood problems tend to be minor or absent.

This disease should be excluded in every child with osteopetrosis by measuring CAII activity.

Symptoms common to Osteopetrosis

Since starting this website in 1999, we have heard from many people with osteopetrosis, including one woman with the Transient . Some of them have chosen to remain anonymous and some of them can be found on the biography portion. We have found through discussion with many of these people, that osteopetrosis tends to comprise a very wide variety of symptoms and a broad spectrum of severity of these symptoms. The symptoms that we have seen are:

  • Pain.
  • Frequent fractures, especially of the long bones, which often do not heal.
  • Nerve compression, leading to headache, blindness, deafness.
  • Hematological difficulties, including anemic thrombocytopenia, leukopenia.
  • Enlarged spleen.
  • Osteomyelitis.
  • Frontal bossing of the skull.
  • Unusual dentition, including malformed and unerrupted teeth.
  • Infection.
  • Bleeding.
  • Stroke.

Although it can be noted that all of these symptoms are discussed in the literature, the literature does not reflect how different these symptoms can be. For example, we have found people with fracture difficulties who do not have any hematological or neurological problems. We have also found individuals who present with the hematological issues, but not the osteomyelitis or fractures.

Clinical Management

The malignant form osteopetrosis can be cured only by bone marrow transplant. Children with osteopetrosis have been treated with 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D in an effort to provoke osteoclasts to resorb bone. No clinical improvements were notes, however, bone biopsy specimens showed evidence of increased osteoclastic bone resoption. In addition, recombinant human interferon gamma has been demonstrated to cause an increase in bone resorption, hemtopoiesis and leukocytic function. Both of these treatments are considered experimental at this time.

Surgical management of fractures and cranial nerve compression has been generally successful, although difficult due to the density of the bone.

A Study regarding bone stimulators for fracture non-unions is being considered in the future

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Polymer Vision's "Readius" !!

A Dutch company has squeezed a display the size of two business cards into a gadget no bigger than other mobile phones — by making a screen that folds up when not in use.

The 5-inch display of Polymer Vision's "Readius" is the world's first that folds out when the user wants to read news, blogs or email and folds back together so that the device can fit into a pocket.

Polymer Vision, spun out of Philips, whetted the appetite of gadget fans more than two years ago when it showed off a prototype. Now the gadget is in production and will go head-to-head with Apple's iPhone and Amazon's ebook reader Kindle when it hits stores mid-2008.

"You get the large display of e-reading, the super battery life of e-reading, and the high-end connectivity, and the form factor and weight of a mobile phone," said Karl McGoldrick, chief executive of the venture capital-funded firm, in which Philips still has a 25 percent stake.

"We are taking e-reading and bringing it to the mobile phone." He would not say how much the Readius would cost, but said it would be comparable to a high-end mobile phone. McGoldrick said his "dream device", which the company planned to build within 5 years, was a mobile phone with an 8-inch colour display that could show video.

Like Amazon's Kindle, the Readius has a so-called electronic paper screen, which displays black-and-white text and images that look almost like they have been printed on paper. The device — which will also just make phone calls — connects to the Internet using the third-generation mobile phone networks with high data speeds.

The company said it was talking to retailers as well as mobile operators to sell the device. Like Apple's iPhone, the gadget offers the chance for operators to boost data usage, which is more profitable than voice revenues.

Users will be able to set up their email accounts, news sources, podcasts, audio books and blog feeds at home on their computer, and the data is then pushed to the device whenever it is updated. McGoldrick said the company opted to use this approach — which rules out quickly browsing the Web on the go — because it was simpler in a mobile environment.

"I see these devices with 50 buttons on them. We have eight," he said, adding that the company plans to add a keypad to future models

Quantum of Solace !!

The new James Bond flick will be called Quantum of Solace, with the title taken from a 1960 short story from creator Ian Fleming.

Daniel Craig will return as Bond in the 22nd instalment of the long-running franchise, with Mattieu Amalric playing villain Dominic Green.

Other new additions to the cast include Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arterton. Returning are Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright and Giancarlo Giannini.

Director Forster is at the helm, with a scheduled release date of Nov 7.

Apple warning on unlocked iPhones

Apple has warned that anyone attempting to unlock their iPhone to use with an unauthorised mobile network could find their phones irreparably damaged.The company said that modified mobiles would become "permanently inoperable" once Apple updates were installed.

It follows a flurry of hacks claiming to unlock the phone, which is tied into the US AT&T network and O2 in the UK.Apple has denied that it is "doing anything proactively to disable iPhones that have been hacked or unlocked".

Cat and mouse

The warning will be seen as a pre-emptive strike by Apple in the ongoing battle with hackers who are increasingly making unlocking software available to iPhone users.Unlocking the phone allows iPhone owners to use the phone with the network operator of their choice rather than the authorised ones chosen by Apple.

"Apple is saying that if you buy the iPhone and unlock it, you could preclude yourself from getting new features. Apple updates might not install properly and you could find that you own a £270 brick," said Ben Wood, director of research firm CCS Insight.

At the launch of the iPhone in the UK, Apple boss Steve Jobs admitted that the firm was engaged in a "game of cat and mouse" with the hackers. He added jokingly: "We're not sure if we are the cat or the mouse."

Unlocking the phone has also created a growing market for unauthorised applications, including wallpaper and ringtones.Mr Wood said he thought the way Apple was marketing the iPhone had made hacks inevitable.

"It set the challenge that the iPhone was unbreakable and the temptation was too much. A small army of hackers started work on this project as soon as it was launched," he said.The fact that the iPhone can be bought off the shelf without signing up to a mobile contract, coupled with the decision to launch it with a single operator in the US and the UK, have added to the reasons why hackers are keen to open the platform up, said Mr Wood.

Apple is planning to release its next software update - which will allow users to purchase music from the iTunes store via a button on the iPhone - next week.It has said it wants to "continuously delight" users with new iPhone features.

Bird flu cull hit by 'corruption' !!

Several culling teams have stopped working in districts of West Bengal hit by bird flu, complaining of corruption.They say that they are being put under pressure by local politicians to exaggerate the number of birds killed so that more compensation is paid.Some of the extra money is pocketed by local politicians, they say.Nearly 200 culling team members have withdrawn from working in Rampurhat and Baroncha in protest against "pressure for false certificates".

Too tired

"If we kill five birds, we are asked to certify the killing of 50 birds so that the villagers get more compensation, part of which is pocketed by the village politicians," alleged Pintu Ghosh, member of a culling team at Rampurhat.

The decision by some culling team members in Rampurhat and Baroncha in Murshidbad district is significant, because these are areas worst hit by bird flu, where culling targets have been constantly upped as the epidemic spreads.

The officials all work for West Bengal's health and animal husbandry departments.In the district of Nadia, other culling teams have stopped work because they say they are "too tired".

"We are too few and our task is huge. We have been working relentlessly for the last week," said Chandan Das, a culling team member.Desperate district administrators have threatened to arrest those members of culling teams who pull out of work.

On Monday, officials said that the epidemic has spread to 13 of West Bengal's 19 districts.An outbreak has even been reported from Budge Budge, a suburb of the capital, Calcutta, officials say, even though 1.7 million birds have so far been culled.

Police checkpoints have been set up all around the city to prevent any possible smuggling of poultry, Calcutta's police commissioner Gautam Chakrabarty said."If this spreads to Calcutta, there will be panic and chaos," animal disease expert Barun Roy said.The municipal authorities in Calcutta are not prepared for such a situation, he said.


West Bengal's Health Minister SK Mishra said that the situation was "alarming" and that a total of 2.5 million birds would need to be disposed of.In some areas just hit by bird flu, like Debra in West Midnapore district, villagers are actively resisting the culling of their backyard poultry, complaining of financial losses.

Experts say that this could be contributing towards the spread of the disease. The H5N1 strain of bird flu is regarded as highly pathogenic and can cause disease and death in humans.

Health experts have warned that the outbreak could get out of control. The only saving grace so far for the authorities is that no cases of human infection have yet been reported. Tens of thousands of rural families, for whom poultry is the only major source of income, have been ruined.

MacBook Air Review !!

It fits in a manila folder, you can slide it under a door, and if you threw it hard enough you could probably chop someone in half with the thing. It's the thinnest, and if we may say so, sexiest laptop around today: the MacBook Air But looks aren't everything to everyone, and despite all the rhetoric about being a no-compromises ultraportable, Apple did leave plenty on the cutting-room floor in its quest to make an absurdly thin ultraportable that doesn't skimp on a full size keyboard or roomier 13-inch display. But, as many potential buyers have been asking themselves since last week, is the Air right to be your next machine? Read on, we'll tell you what we think.


It's hard to take lightly (har) the purposeful design that went into the Air, it's simply and without a doubt the most beautiful laptop we've seen in a while. Sure, there have been thinner, lighter laptops that take up fewer cubic centimeters -- but that's not really on trial. The goal of the Air was clear: create a Mac that frequent fliers wouldn't be ashamed of, or in physical pain to lug around. But therein lies the rub. The Air simply doesn't have the power to be many users' primary machine, while also lacking many of the features considered necessity by business travelers. More on that in a minute, though.

There are a lot of things that the Air gets right, and a decent amount of horsepower is one of 'em. Apple didn't take the easy route and go with an etiolated Ultra Low Voltage (read: ultra low performance) chip, they actually pushed Intel to repackage a slower version of its full-on Core 2 Duo processor. We were a little disappointed when Steve announced this wasn't the new power-efficient, lower-heat 45nm Penryn chip design, but in the time we've played with the Air, it's still rarely managed to output enough heat to raise an eyebrow. This is actually a laptop that belongs on your lap -- without any fear of sterility. Of course, as our Mac on Mac benchmarks showed the 1.6GHz chip is still a little on the slow side, but the Air is by no means unusable. It's not really one of Steve's "screamers" -- but ultraportables aren't really intended to be.

The 13-inch LED backlit screen not only sips power where larger CCFL backlit displays guzzle, it also looks amazing: crisp, bright, and vibrant. Where other small laptops use 8-11-inch screens that are nigh-unreadable by many a squinty Engadget editor, for a laptop of this size the Air gives plenty of screen real estate to get things done. Unfortunately, Apple only offers this display with a glossy finish, so if you're fond of the matte or work outside or near a window, be forewarned. The bezel around the display is a little thick for our tastes, and the lid might not tilt back as far as we'd like due to the physical constraints of the joint design, but these are relatively minor complaints.

Also rare for an ultraportable is the Air's full-size keyboard, which adds some (worthy) width to the body. Those fond of the ridgeless, separated key design as found in MacBook and iMac / Mac pro keyboards will feel right at home. We're not too into this design, but unlike almost every ultraportable we've owned, the Air's keyboard feels thoroughly solid and sturdy. The keys are tactile, not at all mushy, and backlit to boot. Typing on the Air is a pleasure, not a chore. The keyboard also happens to be where the MacBook Air emits audio -- beneath right home row keys (k, l, ;, ') is the Air's tinny mono speaker, which seems and sounds more like an afterthought.

he Air's integrated 802.11n worked well with our stock D-Link 802.11n router, and transferred data at about 3-4MBps -- we were certainly satisfied with its wireless performance. The Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR as a standard option is also nice, but it's immediately clear the Air needed some integrated 3G, especially considering its lack of an ExpressCard slot.

Where a lot of other machines might have ports and protrusions along their edges, the Air has none -- it swoops inward from the edge to the base with only two spots for plugs, a new, 90-degree angled MagSafe power connector on the left underside, and a clicky, extremely sturdy-feeling foldable door that is impossible to open while resting on the table, and basically requires picking the entire machine up. This exposes the Air's only three ports: one USB 2.0, one micro-DVI, and one headphone. But here we begin with the design sacrifices, and at the top of the list is the user replaceable battery.

For some this might be an issue, but for others -- especially those on the road for long periods of time without access to a power outlet -- a deal-breaker. The Air uses a 37 Watt/hour lithium polymer (compared to the MacBook Pro's 60WH lithium-ion), and using our normal tests -- full screen brightness, WiFi and Bluetooth on, no attached peripherals -- under medium usage (light browsing and watching a 1:20 h.264 movie) we got a mere 2 hours and 25 minutes. Under lighter usage (browsing, some audio playback, no movies) we got closer to 3 hours and 35 minutes. Not bad, but still nowhere near the 5 hours Apple promises (under ideal conditions, surely).

Thankfully, the Air's power adapter is as impressively proportioned as the laptop, so taking it with you won't be much of an issue. But users of current generation adapters be warned: the Air's MagSafe implementation won't always work with your current MagSafe adapters simply because the angle and location make it physically impossible to accommodate when used on a table. Hardly a huge issue, we know. But things get worse on the connectivity side. The USB port is recessed enough that, while we're sure it meets USB Implementers Forum's design spec, it realistically won't accommodate most of 3G modems, without a USB extension cable, and some flash drives, as we learned yesterday. Even the headphone port had a difficult time accommodating our Shure E4C phones. We got stereo audio, but a high pitched hissing from not being fully plugged in and grounded. (This went away when we used a better-fitting audio extension cable.)

The Micro - DVI port is also not physically compatible with the mini-DVI port on your MacBook and previous Apple laptops, so it requires some new connection accessories for VGA and DVI out, which are thankfully included in the box. Since the Air doesn't have a powerful (but space and power-consuming) discrete graphics adapter, you'll only be able to drive a 24-inch display, although for many that should probably be sufficient. (Games and movie watching also suffer because of the integrated graphics, since some of that visual load is taken on by the CPU.) Also integrated is the Air's 2GB of RAM, built directly into its insanely small motherboard; processors rarely need to be swapped in laptops, but are you willing to bank on a couple of years' use without having to upgrade your RAM? Perhaps a lot of people are, but we're not.

The Air also uses a slower 80GB 1.8-inch drive, the same kind that powers many portable media players. While probably sturdy enough to withstand normal use, it's nowhere near as fast as your average 2.5-inch laptop drive, and will always be behind in storage should you chose to upgrade later. If you can afford to spring for the 64GB SSD option, we highly suggest it -- your machine's reliability, performance, and battery life will all get a boost (at the expense of 16GB of space and a ton of cash, naturally). Oddly overlooked for inclusion is the Apple Remote; the Air certainly has the necessary sliver of an IR sensor for making use of one, but the remote isn't included, despite being found in the box of just about every other Apple machine. Oh, and for those wondering, the Air's built-in iSight is the VGA variety.

Despite its shortcomings on the hardware and specs side, though, it's hard to say enough about how well made the Air feels -- a particularly important point when you're taking your machine everywhere. Whereas most smaller laptops try to cut weight with inner metal frames and flimsy plastic bodies, the Air bulks up a bit with an all-metal enclosure that looks and feels like it was carved out of a single piece of aluminum. Only time will tell if metal in the Air's wrist rest area will pit out and blacken like MacBook Pros and PowerBooks of years past, but the machine definitely gets extremely high marks for its the physical engineering. And no, we're not at liberty to drop test Apple's review unit, sorry!


Just like every other Apple machine, the Air runs Leopard -- albeit a slightly different build (9B2324). The only changes made have to do with taking advantage of the machine's oversized touchpad, which now supports multi-finger gestures in system prefs. Apple thoughtfully actually includes in-line instructional videos for learning how the gestures work (and how to make them), like the three-finger sweep for backward and forward in Safari, or using two fingers to rotate an image in iPhoto. This is just the beginning of touchpad-based multi-touch, and while it's not always the most practical way to do things (cmd+R or L seems to us an easier way to rotate a photo), it's intuitive and well-integrated.

Apple also hasn't released any information for third party developers on how to integrated touch gestures into their apps, so until they do, only Apple apps will be able to take advantage of the new input methods. It's obvious that, with time, Apple will be rolling out multi-touch on their other machines, but for now they claim that current hardware cannot support this input, so don't expect to see any (official) software updates to enable multi-touch.

Another feature rolled out is Remote Disc, Apple's new system for sharing the optical drives of networked Macs and PCs with the drive-less Air. As we quickly learned, you should be prepared to have as much bandwidth as possible between the Air and your host machine, -- and don't be disappointed when you cant do eveything with Remote Disc that you can do with a regular drive. There's no commercial media playback, no HD support, no ripping, no burning -- it's really only meant for installing apps, downloading data, or reinstalling the OS (more on that in a second). On the upshot, it did work seamlessly when we tried it

Still, we think the Air's external USB SuperDrive (which only works on MacBook Air mind you) is a necessity. There simply isn't any way to transparently replace all the functionality of an optical drive yet, so we're kind of bummed Apple didn't just include the thing in box. [Also, disclosure: we had a pool running and I bet against a non-bundled optical drive and lost ten bucks. Thanks, Apple!] There's no question that a laptop really doesn't need an optical drive at all times, and we've always been happy to omit them. But having to shell out $99 to buy the drive separately just doesn't sit well with us.


The Air is a tough call. On the one hand it proposes to be a no-compromises ultraportable, but on the other hand it compromises many (but not all) the things road warriors want. We're all about removing unnecessary frills and drives (we rejoiced the day the original iMac bucked the floppy), but laptops are increasingly becoming many users' primary -- often only -- machines, which is why the Air's price doesn't do it any favors, either. It's hard to justify almost two grand for a second laptop (or a third machine) just for travel needs -- and even then, that's only easily done if all your data lives in the cloud. Given those sacrifices and that higher-end sticker, it's more than likely not going to replace most peoples' current workhorse laptop.

This all might look a bit different if the Air was a little closer to MacBook price range, though. We're thinking $1500 could be a sweet spot, especially if bundled with the wired Ethernet dongle and SuperDrive. But we're not going to kid ourselves, either; the Air isn't supposed to be everything for everyone. For those in need of a machine that masters basics in a super thin, light form-factor, and who have the coin to pay for that ultraportability, the Air absolutely nails it like few others.

Given its stripped down, one-piece design, some are calling the Air the iPod of laptops. The point is debatable as to whether this machine could have the same appeal to computer users, but if there is one clear upshot to the Air, it's that Apple's learned to take the next step in miniaturizing their portable computers. While not all Mac users are going to stand in line to get this latest machine, Apple is doubtless welcomed back into the ultraportable laptop market by the technology world. Perhaps the largest side-effect of the Air won't be ditching optical drives, though; for the rest of Apple's consumer base it's now just a matter of time before other Mac laptop lines benefit from the technical and engineering advances that made this thing so thin and light. Give us the lovechild of the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro, and it's all over.