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A few backs Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 was in talks as it had passed the ACID 2 test. Now it looks like the Browser has hit the beta 1 milestone. Microsoft sent out a letter to some selected beta testers offering them a chance to try out the technical preview of Internet Explorer 8 beta 1. The contents of the mail were

Greetings from the Internet Explorer Team! We are nearing the launch of Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 and we will be making it available for the general public to download and test. IE8 Beta 1 is focused on the developer community, with the goal of gaining valuable feedback to improve Internet Explorer 8 during the development process. We have identified you as a qualified beta tester and we would like to offer an opportunity to join our limited technical beta program for Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1. Participation in the Technical Beta will enable you to evaluate a common release of Windows Internet Explorer 8, the ability to submit feedback, post bug reports, download software answer surveys on product quality as well as vote on top bugs filed by others from the technical beta program. This is a very exclusive program, by invitation only. The only way to submit feedback is to enroll in the Windows Internet Explorer 8 Technical Beta program

The mail states that it is available to a selected few but it does say that it will be available for general public to download and test. However, it is unlikely that it will be available soon as Microsoft has planned to give a first taste of the browser at MIX 08.

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TheĀ first commercial Ethernet switch has been successfully deployed in space aboard the Columbus module research laboratory.
The switch will form part of a half duplex 10Mbps local area network (LAN) on board the International Space Station (ISS), which has previously used a mix of IT technology dating back as far as the 1980s.
Switches from Cisco, D-Link, Avaya, 3Com, NetGear and Hewlett Packard were exposed to extreme levels of radiation in a particle accelerator in Villigen, Switzerland under conditions similar to space.
Two redundant LAN switches, developed by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) Astrium, already operate in the ISS network core and now have been joined by HP’s ProCurve 2524 switch. The HP switch has a lifespan of 10 years.
The switch was taken straight off the conveyor belt without modification.
It proved much more advantageous to us [that the switch] used fewer chips on the circuit board, as the fewer components present, the lower the susceptibility to radiation and mechanical duress during the launch into space,” said EADS Astrium Space Transportation Columbus Data Management System Engineer, Rolf Schmidhuber.
The switch underwent three years of development, configuration and qualification testing before it journeyed into space.
HP said it was the “most unusual and demanding” projects that Procurve has experienced.
It is now some 400km above Earth

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