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Bill Gates investing in Vinod Khosla green-tech fund

Bill Gates, whose philanthropy is aimed at improving the lives of people in poor countries, is also taking a interest in clean energy, both intellectually and financially.

In an interview published Sunday, Gates said he has invested in Vinod Khosla's green-technology fund, which is aimed at incubating breakthrough technologies.

"He is backing some great entrepreneurs. I get some exposure to them as part of that. Innovation is called for in a big way," Gates said.

After leaving full-time work at Microsoft in mid-2008 to focus on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the software pioneer had been … Read more

Bill Gates thinks big on energy and climate

Nuclear energy is worth pursuing, wind and solar are good but have limitations, and the government is putting minuscule amounts of money into energy R&D dollars.

So says software tycoon turned philanthropist Bill Gates, who launched his Gates Notes Web site on Wednesday to share his big-picture ideas on big topics. High on his list is energy and environment, an area where he's already taken lots of notes.

In a series of podcasts, Gates sketches out what technologies and policies are likely to lead to the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to zero.

In a response to a question, … Read more

Bill Gates shares his notes

SEATTLE--Now you have a chance to compare notes with Bill Gates.

The Microsoft chairman is launching a Web site on Wednesday designed to to share his thoughts on everything from his foundation work to musings on other topics including energy and the environment.

Dubbed Gates Notes, the site is launching with postings from Gates himself, and in the works are plans to allow for more discussion on the topics he raises.

In an exclusive interview, Gates told CNET that he missed having the kind of Web presence he had at Microsoft.

"The Internet is tailor-made for the kind of … Read more

Firefox note-taking add-ons are Web supersavers

Web pages aren't getting any smaller, but there are usually not more than a few paragraphs or a couple of images of particular interest on any given page. Firefox add-ons ICyte (also available for IE), Wired-Marker, and Trails let you save all or sections of Web pages and share your snippets with others.

ICyte makes sharing easy Most of the time, sharing Web content means sending someone a link via e-mail, chat, or phone. The ICyte add-on for Firefox and Internet Explorer lets you highlight the important content on the page before you share it, or you can save and send portions of the page rather than the whole enchilada.

You must provide your name and e-mail address to use the service. After you download the add-on and restart Firefox, two buttons are added to the left of the address bar. Click the left button to create a Cyte for a new or existing "project." Here you can assign tags or a note to the Cyte. Click the button on the right to open your Cytes in the sidebar.

The Cyte entries in the sidebar show a thumbnail of the page, its name, the name of the project, and its comments and tags. When you click a Cyte to reopen it, a banner appears at the top of the main browser window showing the same information along with the date it was saved and a Live View button that returns to the original page. You can hide this banner to view more of the page itself.

Click the gear icon that appears when you hover over a Cyte in the sidebar to open its drop-down menu with options for editing the Cyte name and other data (but not the page itself), creating a copy, deleting the Cyte, sending it to someone via e-mail, or embedding it in a Web page. You can also share the sites you designate as public with others via RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, though I didn't try these features.

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Reminder minder

AllNotes Personal Organizer provides a simple set of tools for keeping track of a date and staying on top of events. The program's bare-bones simplicity and easy navigation make this a great choice for basic reminders.

We enjoyed the program's simple interface. It buries itself in your task bar and only has a few, easy-to-understand command options. Nothing about it left us with questions about how to operate this software. With a few simple clicks, we were able to enter dates and times, write ourselves a quick note, set an alarm, or post a note or event on … Read more

Jot it down

There are so many note-writing and -keeping programs out there that you practically need one of them just to make sense of them all. Some of them stand apart by offering something extra, or, in the case of King Stair Software's Jot+ Notes, a lot extra. It's a note/cardfile program that will rid your work space of paper clutter, but you can also add subnotes to your notes, subnotes to those subnotes, and so on, until you have built up an outline of notes that you can use for organizing your material or even as the basis … Read more

Neat, see!

Organizer from Miha Rataj is just the sort of handy freeware we like to see. It's a simple but efficient and effective desktop organization application that combines a suite of tools and displays in one easy-to-use interface. It has a scrolling, configurable calendar, a prominent analog clock face, a daily task organizer, sticky notes, and an alarm clock that you can sync to tasks and that will alert to an impending event with an alarm tone, the time, or something you add yourself.

The main interface is cleanly laid out, with everything neatly spaced around the task organizer window … Read more

First Take: Microsoft Office 2010 beta

The Microsoft Office 2010 beta was released Wednesday, and though there aren't many major changes from the Technical Preview from July, there are some new features and enhancements worthy of note. This post will focus on the changes to the beta, but if you want a larger overview of new features across all the applications, check out our rundown of the Microsoft Office 2010 Technical Preview.

Outlook is the cornerstone of many companies' communications and daily schedules, and as such received a lot of enhancements in Office 2010. In the beta version, Microsoft has added even more ways to connect with coworkers and contacts. The new Outlook Social Connector is an added information pane that gives you more info about everyday contacts. Once set up, you'll be able to view pictures of contacts (even in large cc lists), previous conversations, attachments shared, meetings attended, and much more. Though not complete in the beta, Microsoft says the Outlook Social Connector will soon be able to connect with social Web sites like Facebook and Twitter, so you can follow status updates and more all in one location.

The Office 2010 Technical Preview introduced the Back Stage view, an enhanced File menu (accessed from the Office Icon tab) that lets you manage your documents, set permissions, and share your projects with colleagues. In the beta version Microsoft has decided to return to calling it the File menu, but with all the functionality and flexibility of Back Stage. They also have made it possible to access all the other tabs in the Ribbon, which were previously inaccessible in the Technical Preview, so you can get to the information you want quickly without the added step of exiting Back Stage.… Read more

Interval teacher

Music Theory Basics - Interval Training Complete has a focused set of tools for learning musical intervals. By offering a few basic options and some great tests, this program will appeal to anyone learning or relearning music theory.

The program's interface is surprisingly simple and intuitive, considering the complex material it covers. The layout consists of large buttons and onscreen directions that shouldn't require a trip to the Help file, which is fortunate, because there's no Help file to consult. Music Theory Basics opens with a simple menu asking how you want to learn. You can choose … Read more

Organized? Totally

Personal Information Managers are among the most useful kinds of software available. They can bring order to chaotic lives or help even the most organized among us wring extra time out of their busy schedules. Total Organizer is a free PIM from Konrad Papula that has some features that set it apart from the crowded PIM scene, chief among them its tree view method of organizing your tasks into folders, called "tags." These tags can belong to any number of other folders simultaneously, and it's all cross-referenced for easy searching and task conversion.

Like most PIMs, Total … Read more