Tagged With in brief

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One not-so-great outcome of the Federal budget this week was that the fringe benefit exemptions have been tightened on laptops. So the practise of salary sacrificing to get a laptop is on its way out, unless you use it "primarily for work". If you were thinking of rushing one through before June 30, apparently that's not an option either - the changes have already taken effect. Thanks, Mary, for that tip.

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Here's a twist on the tale of the Windows XP phaseout - Microsoft has confirmed it's going to keep selling XP on certain ultraportable computers, including the ASUS Eee PC, until 2010. Microsoft had already extended the XP phaseout once, to June this year, but it will be sold on the Eee and similar form factor products until 2010. Interesting!

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Data portability seems to be the buzzword of the moment. We've already heard that Facebook and MySpace will let users take their profile data to other sites. But if you're a Google-head, you will probably be excited to learn that the Big G has been tipped to announce something similar, called Friend Connect. Tech Crunch has speculated that Friend Connect will be "APIs for Open Social participants to pull profile information from social networks into third party websites."

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Argh! The Engineers over at Google Australia have launched a treasure hunt for geeks - they'll be releasing four puzzles "drawing from computer science, networking, and low-level UNIX trivia", with prizes for the first people to solve them. The blog post is scant on details but it's enticing - check it out to see the first clue.

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A Nielsen Online study has found that Australians now spend more time online than watching TV. We spend an average of 13.7 hours per
week web surfing, and 13.3 hours per week in front of the TV. Does that fit with your net and TV habits? The silly thing is I bet it doesn't take into account people watching downloaded shows on their computers or streamed to their TV. My question is - how do people find 13.3 hours of TV worth watching each week? :)

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Here's some fun for the starry-eyed amongst us - 
NASA has invited people to submit their names to be transported to the Moon onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Visit the website to add your name, and you can print out a certificate of participation. Nice one for the kids.