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Loaded: Shuttle Discovery's last hurrah

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Loaded: Shuttle Discovery's last hurrah

2:51 /

Mozilla's Firefox 4 beta reaches the release candidate stage, Microsoft will launch Internet Explorer 9 next week, and NASA space shuttle Discovery makes its final flight.

IT'S THURSDAY, MARCH 10. I'M JEFF BAKALAR, AND IT'S TIME TO GET LOADED. MOZILLA IS PREPARED TO UPDATE FIREFOX 4 TO RELEASE CANDIDATE STATUS, MEANING THAT ALL THE BROWSERS NEW FEATURES WILL BE LOCKED IN UNLESS THEY DISCOVER A MAJOR BUG OF FLAW. THE NEW BROWSER HAS A BRAND-NEW LOOK, BORROWING THE TABS ON TOP MOTIF FROM GOOGLE'S CHROME. WINDOWS, MAC AND LINUX VERSIONS OF THE FIREFOX 4 RELEASE CANDIDATE IS AVAILABLE NOW FROM CNET'S OWN DOWNLOAD-DOT.COM. IT'S OFFICIAL, ON MARCH 14TH MICROSOFT WILL BE RELEASING THE FINAL VERSION OF INTERNET EXPLORER 9. SO WHAT'S NEW IN IE9? THE NEW BROWSER PROMISES A STREAMLINED DESIGN, THE ABILITY TO PIN SITES TO THE TASKBAR, A DOWNLOAD MANAGER, ENHANCED TABS, HARDWARE ACCELERATION AND MUCH MORE. FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE ITS INTRODUCTION, PLAYSTATION 3 OWNERS NOW ACTUALLY HAVE A REASON TO PURCHASE THE PLAYSTATION PLUS UPGRADE. STARTING TODAY PLAYSTATION NETWORK USERS WHO ARE PLUS MEMBERS CAN NOW SAVE THEIR GAMES IN A CLOUD-BASED SYSTEM AND ACCESS THEM FROM ANY CONSOLE CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET. USERS WILL GET 150MB OF STORAGE, BUT CAN ONLY DOWNLOAD A SAVE FILE ONCE A DAY. WITH THE IPAD 2'S RELEASE TOMORROW, ANALYSTS ARE ALREADY PREDICTING RECORD-BREAKING SALES, BUT GET THIS, MICROSOFT IS SAYING THAT SALES FOR THE XBOX 360 MOTION SYSTEM KINECT HAS BROKEN SALES RECORDS PREVIOUSLY HELD BY THE FIRST IPAD. ACCORDING TO THE COMPANY, 10 MILLION KINECT SYSTEMS HAVE BEEN SOLD SINCE ITS RELEASE AND AVERAGED 133,000 UNITS PER DAY IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER. LOOKS LIKE THE IPAD 2 HAS ITS WORK CUT OUT FOR IT. YESTERDAY APPLE ROLLED OUT I-OS UPDATE 4.3 FOR IPHONE AND IPAD. THE NEW SOFTWARE FIXES A HANDFUL OF ISSUES MOST NOTABLY ONES ASSOCIATED WITH THE KEYBOARD, VOICE OVER CONTROLS, AIRPLAY, AND SAFARI. ALSO, THE BUG THAT PREVENTED THE APP STORE FROM RECOGNIZING PREVIOUSLY PURCHASED APPS HAS BEEN CORRECTED L AND THE PERSONAL HOTSPOT FEATURE IS NOW LIVE FOR ALL 3G DEVICES. AND FINALLY IT'S A BITTERSWEET MOMENT FOR NASA AS THE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY HAS RETURNED TO EARTH AFTER A FLAWLESS FINAL FLIGHT. DISCOVERY IS THE OLDEST NASA VEHICLE EVER, CLOCKING IN 5,750 ORBITS, 148 MILLION MILES, AN ENTIRE YEAR TOTAL SPENT IN SPACE, ALL OVER THE COURSE OF 39 MISSIONS SINCE AUGUST OF 1984. THAT IS YOUR NEWS FOR THE DAY. REMEMBER CNET-DOT-COM-SLASH-LOADED FOR LINKS TO THE STORIES WE DISCUSSED TODAY. I'M JEFF BAKALAR FOR CNET AND YOU'VE JUST BEEN LOADED.

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