Miranda IM 0.9 Released With Improved Unicode Support

I’m now primarily a Mac user, but back when I was on Windows, my multi-protocol IM client of choice was Miranda IM. It’s a lightweight, highly extensible and unobtrusive open-source tool. The Miranda IM team this week released version 0.9, which contains some useful new features:

Customers Suffer as Cablevision and Scripps Clash

Wow, I thought it was tough being a Time Warner Cable (s TWC) customer right now, but that was because I haven’t had the pleasure of forking over monthly payments to Cablevision, whose recent troubles with Scripps Networks make the Fox-TWC drama look like an episode of Sesame Street.

Scripps, which owns the Food Network and HGTV, has been unable to negotiate with the cable provider, according to The New York Times, and thus 3 million cable households in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have been affected by the argument over how much Cablevision subscribers should pay for the Food Network and HGTV.

However, Scripps is offering some of its programming locally, specifically Food Network shows like on WPIX in New York City and WTXX in Hartford, Conn, Multichannel News reports. Among the shows being rebroadcast is the Iron Chef America episode featuring First Lady Michelle Obama, which originally premiered Jan. 3 and has been mentioned frequently as one of the programs subscribers were most miffed about having to miss. Read More about Customers Suffer as Cablevision and Scripps Clash

Rumor Has It: Apple “iSlate” Intended as a Kindle Killer

Yhe Apple (s aapl) tablet isn’t going to be a tablet computer at all, really, according to the Quick PWN blog. If you believe Quick PWN contributor Hans’ inside sources, the Apple iSlate, as he maintains it will indeed be called, is more aimed at taking on the Amazon (s amzn) Kindle and its ilk as an e-reading device.

Presumably, the iSlate would also offer iPod and media playback functionality, but Hans’ post makes no mention of these features:

Our sources have told us that the rumor about Apple launching a product with the iSlate name is true, but the product won’t be an Apple tablet, it will be an eBook reader. The iSlate will be a competitor to the Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook and other e-readers that are out there. Our sources have also told us that the iSlate eBook reader will run on Apple’s upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 software and will include a seperate App Store for eBooks. Apple will be announcing the iSlate eBook reader at WWDC 2010, which our sources says is being held on June 7.

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Time Warner vs. Fox: Here We Go Again

I’ll say this for being a Time Warner Cable (s twc) subscriber — for the second year in a row, it’s brought a little extra drama to the holiday season.

Last New Year’s Eve, I was prepared to cut the cord on my cable because Time Warner nearly couldn’t work out a deal with Viacom (s via). And now this year Fox and Time Warner are in a transmission fee standoff counting down to Jan. 1, one that’s started much earlier and gotten much nastier, potentially leading to TWC dropping Fox channels from its service for some subscribers.

Per Paul Sweeting on GigaOM Pro (subscription only), only 3.9 million of TWC’s 14 million subscribers will be affected by the blackout, in areas where Fox-owned stations overlap with Time Warner. But according to Fox’s site, as a Los Angeles subscriber I’m yet again one of them.

Both sides have put together sites to lay out their positions — Time Warner borrowing phrases from truck commercials with rolloverorgettough.com, and Fox explaining what customers stand to lose at keepfoxon.com. There’s no image quite as iconic as last year’s crying Dora the Explorer, but that’s because the range of programming at risk this time isn’t quite as broad. Read More about Time Warner vs. Fox: Here We Go Again

Mac OS X 10.6.2 Update Points to New MacBook Pros

Two Spanish Apple (s aapl) sites are reporting that the latest build of Apple’s upcoming update to its Mac OS X Snow Leopard software contains references to as-yet unreleased new models of MacBook Pro.

Build 10C531 lists “MacBook Pro 6,1” and “MacBook Pro 6,2”, an indication of major revisions of the MacBook Pro lineup. The current family of MacBook Pro’s range from 5,1 to 5,5.

macbookpro-6.1

Last week’s introduction of refreshed iMacs brought Intel’s (s intc) new Core i5 and i7 (Nehalem) processors to Apple’s most popular desktop machines, but the refreshed product lineup didn’t include any new MacBook Pros. Applesana suggests that the new MacBook Pro models will likely feature quad core processors based on Intel’s Arrandale architecture which brings i5/i7 technology to a more power-efficient mobile chip.

The last time Apple refreshed the MacBook Pro line was in early June at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Read More about Mac OS X 10.6.2 Update Points to New MacBook Pros

Daily Sprout

Tesla Still on the Hunt for Space: Two cities in Southern California — Long Beach and Downey — have emerged as leading candidates for Tesla Motors’ Model S electric sedan factory, but the San Francisco Bay Area is still in the running. — San Jose Mercury News
Maple Power: Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle have found there’s enough electricity flowing in big leaf maples to run an electronic circuit. — Scientific American
DOE Doles Out $354M for Efficiency Upgrades: The U.S. Department of Energy today announced more than $354 million in stimulus grants for 22 states to implement energy efficiency programs. — DOE Press Release
Problem With Ambitious EV Timelines: If ambitious introduction schedules for the upcoming generation of electric vehicles “give way to delays, automakers could end up feeding consumer cynicism.” — New York Times
Underwhelming Cash for Clunkers Results: Researchers at the University of Michigan say the $3 billion cash-for-clunkers program improved the average fuel economy of all vehicles purchased in the U.S. by 0.6 miles per gallon in July and 0.7 mpg in August of this year. — Edmunds Green Car Advisor

5 Lessons from Cash for Clunkers for the Green Car Market

cash-for-clunkers-cars-logoAs the whirlwind of Cash for Clunkers draws to a close, it’s coming full circle: The federal program that until 8 p.m. Monday night provided rebates of up to $4,500 for old gas-guzzlers when they were traded in for more fuel efficient new vehicles kicked off last month with the government web site for the program crashing under the strain of dealers racing to sign up to participate. This weekend, dealers again overloaded the site as they scrambled to file documentation for last-minute deals — prompting the government to extend the filing deadline yesterday afternoon by 24 hours.
cash-for-clunkers-flickrthreadedthoughts
While Congress moved rather hastily when it implemented the original legislation, as well as when it tripled the budget and carved the extra funds out of a clean energy loan guarantee program, we can still learn from how the program played out. Here are five lessons we see for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cleaning up the national vehicle fleet and helping boost the market for greener cars.
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Cash for Clunkers Update: Game Over Monday Night

cash-for-clunkers-cars-logoThe party’s over: Obama administration officials have announced that the cash for clunkers program will shut down on Monday at 8 PM (EDT). That’s the deadline to trade in an old gas guzzler in exchange for a rebate of up to $4,500 on a new, more fuel efficient vehicle under the program that legislators initially funded with $1 billion earlier this summer with the expectation that it would last until November 1. Boy, were they off — the shutdown announcement comes just two weeks after Congress tripled the program’s funding to $3 billion in an effort to extend the program at least through Labor Day.
As of Thursday morning, more than 457,000 trade-ins and at least $1.9 billion in rebates had been recorded in the system, according to the Department of Transportation — and there’s more in the pipeline. Auto dealers have complained in recent weeks about backlogs in the system and delayed payments from the government, and the Washington Post reports this morning that less than 40 percent of the applications have been processed so far (a document on the official Car Allowance Rebate System site puts the portion of reviewed applications at closer to 30 percent). Read More about Cash for Clunkers Update: Game Over Monday Night