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Sat, 31 Jan 09
Is Dell Dialing Up a Smartphone?
Dell may be gearing up to launch one or more new smartphones, possibly based on Google's Android operating system and/or Windows Mobile software. The prototypes, according to a report that cited anonymous sources, might include a touchscreen-based model and another with a slide-out keyboard. Apparently, Dell has had engineers working on the phones for more than a year, the sources said. To achieve anything near success, Dell would have to produce a smartphone that could compete against the likes of Apple, Nokia, Samsung, Research In Motion, Sony, HTC and Palm, among many more.

Sat, 31 Jan 09
Fired Contractor Kisses Off Fannie Mae With Logic Bomb
The government-backed mortgage bank Fannie Mae has already had its share of negative headlines over the past year, but officials there were close to suffering another major setback: a case of computer sabotage that would have resulted in millions of dollars in damage and wiped out customer mortgage data on the lender's 4,000 computer servers. Rajendrasinh Babubha Makwana, a former IT contractor at Fannie Mae who was fired for making a coding mistake, was charged this week with placing a "logic bomb" within the company's Urbana, Md., data center in late October of last year.

Sat, 31 Jan 09
Print's Best and Brightest Go to the Digital Side
Another week, another round of bad news for those who bring you the bad news. Some California newspapers tell their employees to take a week off -- without pay. A 24-hour news channel run by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune is signing off due to a lack of investors. The Washington Post's Book World stand-alone section is stand-alone no more. The CBS station in the nation's top television market guts its on-air sports department. And speaking of sports, when was the last time the number of media passes handed out for a Super Bowl actually declined from the previous year?

Sat, 31 Jan 09
Mac Bloggers Talk Big Telecom, Big Blue and Small Changes to iTunes
Speculation over an AT&T 3G-enabled MacBook fanned some flames in the Apple-minded blogosphere this week, as did Apple's and IBM's settlement over engineer Mark Papermaster. Also, most everyone seems pleased that Apple is finally letting iTunes customers upgrade their musical libraries one song at a time rather than all-at-once. Years ago, Apple jumped in bed with AT&T to offer exclusive cellular services to iPhone owners. Might the companies be considering a relationship more akin to marriage?

Sat, 31 Jan 09
Firefox Add-Ons: Addictive Browsing Enhancers
If there is one Web addiction that I have not been able to tame, it's collecting add-ons for Firefox. I currently have 43 add-ons actively running in my browser, and I have an additional two that I use in Thunderbird. As a staple of the Web experience, browsers have come a long way. When Firefox began allowing developers to create add-on applications, browser usability was greatly improved. Add-ons make me a faster and more effective researcher, so much so that this is one addiction I am not willing to give up.

Sat, 31 Jan 09
Grassley Wants to Cut NSF From Stim Package on Porn-Surfing Suspicions
The ranking GOP member of the Senate Finance Committee wants Congress to reconsider new funding to the National Science Foundation amid allegations that top staffers spent long stretches of their day surfing the Internet for pornography. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter to the foundation's Office of Inspector General on Tuesday seeking all documents it has related to the inappropriate use of the foundation's network. The foundation is the major source of federal backing in fields such as mathematics, computer science and social sciences.

Sat, 31 Jan 09
'Need for Speed' Hits Fork in the Road, Takes It
Electronic Arts is steering the popular "Need for Speed" franchise in a new direction. The video game publisher announced plans Friday to spin off the 15-year-old racing series into three driving games on different platforms. The new games will speed into three separate genres -- simulation, action and arcade racing. "It's all about crafting different games for different audiences," said Keith Munro, EA marketing vice president. "The 'Need for Speed' brand is quite powerful. It has great recognition, even outside of gaming."

Sat, 31 Jan 09
California May Get Tough on Power-Sucking Flat Screen TVs
Visit any electronics store and it's clear that flat-screen TVs are among their best sellers -- and that they hope consumers continue a years-long tradition of upgrading their home entertainment systems for the Super Bowl. Many large TVs are energy hogs, however, and California regulators want to get the biggest offenders off store shelves. The California Energy Commission is expected to adopt rules this summer requiring retailers by 2011 to sell only TVs that meet guidelines of the federal Energy Star program, which is generally voluntary.

Fri, 30 Jan 09
First Death Threats, Now Spit: TechCrunch Blogger Arrington Calls Time Out
Michael Arrington helped make the technology blogosphere a must-read for many. Now, the influential TechCrunch blog founder says the blogosphere is showing its appreciation by encouraging some to abuse him. Arrington announced Wednesday he will take some time off after he was spat on earlier this week as he was leaving a Munich conference. The incident, and his reaction, is renewing more discussion about the level of vitriol on the Internet, the burnout rate of tech bloggers and the sour economy's impact on the startup company scene.

Fri, 30 Jan 09
Spinvox Delivers Handy Talk-to-Text Service
Toolbars and add-ons bring increased functionality to Web browsers and the computers that run them. UK-based SpinVox does the same thing for cell phone users. The company offers several services that convert voicemail to text messages or e-mail and allow message broadcasting to listed recipients and social networks. SpinVox is just beginning to market these services to U.S. consumers, and all of the company's offerings are not yet available through individual cell phone carriers.

Fri, 30 Jan 09
Canonical's $30 Million and Redmond's Gathering Storm
January has been an exciting month, what with all the many changes taking place around us. As the month draws to a close, however, there's a certain feeling of winter doldrums setting in, particularly for those of us being pummeled by harsh weather again and again. Never fear! The economy may be a wreck and the temperatures polar, but there has been an extraordinary amount of good news of late for our favorite operating system. We here at LinuxInsider are here to bring it to light -- banish those below-zero blues and think freedom instead!

Fri, 30 Jan 09
Air Mouse: A Mighty Little App for Big-Screen Control
Getting a movie to play on your laptop is no big chore -- go to iTunes, Amazon, or just shove in a DVD. But do you really want to watch the whole thing on your little computer screen? Well, most high-definition TVs have a PC input port for a VGA cable, and some newer computers have an HDMI output, so take your pick. There, now you're watching your movies, TV shows and Web videos on the big TV with the couch and the Cheetos and the beer and the feet up. But even then, you still haven't achieved the zenith of convenience.

Fri, 30 Jan 09
Google Earth Reveals 2-Acre Weed Patch to Swiss Police
Swiss police said Thursday they stumbled across a large marijuana plantation while using Google Earth, the search engine company's satellite mapping software. Police said the find was part of a bigger investigation that led to the arrest of 16 people and seizure of 1.2 tons of marijuana as well as cash and valuables worth $780,000. Officers discovered the hemp field in the northeastern canton of Thurgau last year while investigating an alleged drug ring, said the head of Zurich police's specialist narcotics unit Norbert Klossner.

Fri, 30 Jan 09
NBC, Tech Startup Create Automated Neighborhood Newshound
Web sites for NBC-owned television stations are tapping technology from an Internet startup to let visitors home in on their particular neighborhoods. Instead of running a generic site for the entire New York metropolitan area, for instance, NBC uses technology from Outside.in to automatically create subsections with content about neighborhoods such as Brooklyn's Coney Island. Outside.in says content on some 650 neighborhoods is available for nine markets.

Fri, 30 Jan 09
Newly Discovered Planet Makes Venus Look Mild
Astronomers have found a planet with a galactic case of hot flashes. In just six hours, this planet -- four times the size of Jupiter -- heats up by more than 1,200 degrees, according to a study published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. "It's the first observation of changing weather" on a planet outside our solar system, said study author Gregory Laughlin, an astronomy professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He used NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to study the planet.

Thu, 29 Jan 09
Google Lets Gmailers Cut the Cord
Google has officially taken Gmail offline. No, the search giant has not put the kibosh on the popular e-mail service; it's added offline functionality, the company announced Tuesday. While Web-based e-mail services that are accessible from any computer with a Web connection and a browser are convenient, the applications are sometimes hindered by their Internet tether, Google said. Unless users are at a WiFi hotspot or using a smartphone over a snappy network, accessing Web-based email can be a challenge.

Thu, 29 Jan 09
Alternative-Alternative Energies: What's Next?
Gone are the days when "fringe technologies" meant things like solar energy and wind power. Those and other alternative energy approaches have all gone mainstream, to one degree or another, and they're gaining more steam. However, the fringe is still out there -- so-called alternative-alternative energy technologies. Some are closer to application than others; some depend on geographical factors for practical use. "We start paying attention once they reach the point of showing some promise," said Gartner analyst Zarko Sumic.

Thu, 29 Jan 09
The MacBook Interface Dilemma: So Many Ports, So Little Space
Look on the side of any MacBook or PC laptop, and you'll see a Swiss-cheese-like array of holes. They're all interface ports for plugs of various shapes and sizes. Mini DisplayPort. HDMI. 8P8C. FireWire 400. FireWire 800. DVI. VGA. WUXGA. And good old USB 2.0. They're all there for connecting peripherals -- mice, monitors, hard drives, MP3 players, cell phones, and even weird little things like flexible gooseneck lights for working in the dark. These ports have evolved over the years, changing in size and spec.

Thu, 29 Jan 09
US Military Swaps Kiwi's Secret-Laden MP3 Player for 'Serious Upgrade'
U.S. officials took possession Wednesday of an MP3 player that a New Zealand man found held 60 U.S. military files, including names and telephone numbers of American soldiers, the man said. Chris Ogle, 29, from the northern New Zealand city of Whangarei, said he bought the music player in February or March last year for $18 at a thrift shop in Oklahoma City and found the files when he linked the device to his computer. "I was very surprised," he told The Associated Press.

Thu, 29 Jan 09
PlayStation 3 Online: The Good, the Dull and the Dumb
Two years into the lifespan of the PlayStation 3, Sony's online offerings are a mixed bag. On the plus side, "LittleBigPlanet" and its energetic community of amateur level designers make it essential for PS3 owners to have an Internet connection. On the minus side, there's "PlayStation Home," the drab, underpopulated virtual world that's drawn almost universal derision since its beta launch in November. Then there's the PlayStation Network, whose library of software, game add-ons and movies has grown at a healthy clip over the last year.

Thu, 29 Jan 09
Tenn. Aims to Raise Health Marks With Telemedicine Tech
Expanding a medical video network in Tennessee will allow small-town doctors who treat pregnant women to consult electronically with obstetrics specialists in Knoxville and Chattanooga when there are serious problems. Perinatologists will link with the patients through high-speed, secure Internet connections, specialized computer video equipment and digital medical devices. The project expands the work of the nonprofit Community Health Network, which has become a national model.

Wed, 28 Jan 09
Verizon Offers Pint-Sized Personal Cell Tower
Verizon Wireless has introduced a new device that routes its cell phone traffic over a consumer's household broadband connection, effectively creating a mini cellular service network inside the user's home. The new box, called "Verizon Wireless Network Extender," is designed to let Verizon Wireless customers use their cell phones at home in situations where they don't typically have good service signals. The Verizon Wireless Network Extender acts as a small cellular base station, also known as a "femtocell."

Wed, 28 Jan 09
Tuning Up the Convergence Engine: Q&A With Nokia's Ira Frimere
Nokia is gearing up to make moves in both hardware and software. Its next flagship phone, the N97, is gearing up for release in Europe in the first half of this year -- though availability in the U.S. is still hazy. On the software side, the Symbian Foundation is scheduled to begin operations within the same time frame. TechNewsWorld spoke with Ira Frimere, Nokia's multimedia product manager, about the direction in which smartphones and the software found on them are headed.

Wed, 28 Jan 09
Will Apple's iPhone Patent Pre-empt the Pre?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a key patent for its iPhone, which it applied for in September 2007. Patent 7,479,949 covers the product's distinctive multifunction touchscreen. It also encompasses technology behind the iPhone's hardware, operating system and certain phone and camera functions, such as the device's uncanny ability to determine which icon the user intended to press when more than one was selected.

Wed, 28 Jan 09
Heads Up: Cell Phones Add to Risk When Crossing Street, Study Shows
Children who talk on mobile phones while crossing the street are more likely to suffer injuries or death than children who cross the street undistracted, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Kids who were having phone conversations took 20 percent longer to cross the street than their phone-free counterparts, concludes a study published Monday in the medical "Pediatrics." They were 43 percent more likely to be hit by a car or have a close call.

Wed, 28 Jan 09
ShopSavvy for Android: More Pretty Than Practical
One of the winners of the Android Developer Challenge, ShopSavvy uses the G1's camera and GPS chip to compare prices of everyday products. To use it, you open the application, select "Search for a product," and scan the product's bar code with the viewfinder. The application searches a database for the product you've scanned and lists the prices other outlets are charging for the same item, both online and in your local area. It uses the G1's two-pronged location feature to figure out where you are.

Wed, 28 Jan 09
Japan Launches First Satellite to Track Global CO2 Levels
The first satellite dedicated to monitoring carbon dioxide emissions was launched into space Friday from a center in Japan, where officials hope to gather information on climate change -- and help the country compete in the lucrative satellite-launching business. The satellite -- named "Ibuki," which means "breath" -- was sent into orbit along with seven other piggyback probes on a Japanese H2A rocket. Japan's space agency, JAXA, said the launch was a success, but officials there said they were monitoring the satellites to make sure that they entered orbit properly.

Wed, 28 Jan 09
US Military Data Turns Up on Second-Hand MP3 Player
A New Zealand man who bought an MP3 player from a thrift shop in Oklahoma found it held 60 U.S. military files, including names and telephone numbers for American soldiers, a media report said Tuesday. TV One News said the 60 files contained personal details of U.S. soldiers, including some who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq. A New Zealand security expert said the information should not be in the public domain, but that it did not appear likely to affect U.S. national security. The U.S. Embassy declined to comment on the incident.

Wed, 28 Jan 09
Study: Some Climate Change Effects Can't Be Undone
Many damaging effects of climate change are already basically irreversible, researchers declared Monday, warning that even if carbon emissions can somehow be halted temperatures around the globe will remain high until at least the year 3000. "People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 years; that's not true," climate researcher Susan Solomon said in a teleconference.

Tue, 27 Jan 09
Verizon Launches VoIP House Phone Hub
In an effort to rekindle some love for the old-school kitchen telephone, Verizon Wireless is getting set to roll out a brand-new touchscreen VoIP phone that offers visual voicemail, calendaring, text alerts, local traffic, weather reports and the ability to send turn-by-turn directions to Verizon Wireless phones. The new phone is called the "Verizon Hub." "The Verizon Hub reinvents the home phone system that's been centered on your kitchen counter for years," noted Mike Lanman, vice president and chief marketing officer at Verizon Wireless.

Tue, 27 Jan 09
Going Mobile: A Whole New World of Web
The mobile Internet is fast becoming mainstream. One reason is clearly the growing prevalence of high-end handsets that are less telephones than they are entertainment centers, fashion statements, and content-consumption vehicles. And every bit as important as the devices are the all-you-can-eat data plans that come with them. These two factors alone explain much of the growth in mobile content consumption; but let's not forget the other key dimension, which is the content itself.

Tue, 27 Jan 09
Living on Windows 7: Can It Bring Back the Windows 95 Glory Days?
Windows 7 is coming, and even major Apple fans like Walt Mossberg are saying some rather surprising things about it. With the layoffs and financial results that Microsoft announced last week, you have to wonder whether it will be enough to light a fire under the market like Windows 95 did. A lot has changed, and I'm beginning to wonder if, like it was in the '80s, the market is getting ready to move to something else. Recall that the hot products for 2007 and 2008 were iPhones and the hot product so far in 2009 is the Palm Pre.

Tue, 27 Jan 09
Obama and the Open Sourcing of the US Government
Those of us in the Linux community have long appreciated the many virtues of open source technology, but a rash of new interest suggests that governments are starting to wake up to the idea as well. For example: Earlier this month, as faithful readers will remember, we noted the new mandate in Vietnam that all government computers move to Linux. Then, late last week, news emerged that the Russian government may be planning to build a Linux-based national operating system of its own as a way of reducing its dependence on licensed foreign software.

Tue, 27 Jan 09
Just Write It: iWork's Pages Simplifies Routine Tasks
It's a personal quirk, but I've long had a "thing" about word processors. They've fascinated me, new ones are intriguing, and old ones sometimes evoke fond memories. Apple 's iWork 09, announced last week about 18 months after the 2007 launch of the '08 version, keeps the single-user price at $79, but adds a ton of new features. Thanks to my idiosyncrasy, I attacked Pages '09 first. Doing things with words and documents still fascinates me most. The program runs on Macintosh computers, and I can't recall seeing anything that comes close to its ease of use on the Windows side of the aisle.

Mon, 26 Jan 09
The Super Bowl's Coming - Are You HD-Ready?
If you haven't yet sprung for a high-definition TV set, the week before the Super Bowl is a good time to make the upgrade. Sports look great in HD, and football in particular is easier to follow on a big, sharp screen. The bad economy has curbed many people's appetites for big-ticket purchases, but consider that prices for flat-panel TVs 32 inches and smaller are now very close to what old-fashioned, tube-based TVs used to cost, with some models going for as little as $400. Of course, bigger TVs make for a more compelling viewing experience, but even a smaller HD set is a good step up.

Sun, 25 Jan 09
Giving Biodiesel the Old College Try
Forgive the students at Sinclair Community College if they get the munchies when they pass the tractors that cut grass, blow leaves or sweep snow on campus: Oil that once cooked french fries and onion rings is being used to power the vehicles. Students have begun making biodiesel fuel by converting used cooking oil from the dining hall. Biodiesel saves the school a little money on gasoline, gives the students lessons in engineering and chemistry, and removes oil from the waste stream.

Sun, 25 Jan 09
Open Standards + Community Support = Healthy Wireless Networks
You may be thinking "who needs another open source High Availability project?" Or, in fact, "why do we need any open source HA project?" For those who do not know, OpenSAF is the latest in a line of open source HA projects that is specifically designed to address high availability and clustering. First we'll look at what OpenSAF is and then some of the previous open source HA projects. We will look at some of the unique characteristics of the OpenSAF project that make it different from earlier HA projects and more like successful open source examples such as Eclipse or Apache.

Sat, 24 Jan 09
New HTC Smartphone Includes Photo Geotagging, Car Nav
HTC on Friday unveiled the Touch Cruise, a handset featuring built-in GPS and accompanying software. The new smartphone, an update to a similarly named HTC device released in January 2008, offers consumers a more compact form factor as well as new features. The handset is the first to include a new photograph-tagging application from HTC, called "Footprints." The program enables owners who take pictures using the device's 3.2-megapixel camera to then add notes and audio clips while automatically identifying the photo's specific geographical location.

Sat, 24 Jan 09
Feds Approve Stem Cell Tests on Patients With Spinal Cord Injuries
Candidate Barack Obama promised to lift Bush Administration restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. Two days after he became President Obama, the government gave its approval for the first-ever human trials using therapies derived from this controversial area of science. Geron, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based biotechnology firm, was given the go-ahead by the Food and Drug Administration Thursday. The news reignites the debate between those who see the promise of miracle-like cures in human stem cells and opponents who say the harvesting of cells from embryos is akin to murder.

Sat, 24 Jan 09
How to Build a Small-Business Web Site, Part 4: Web 2.0 Tools
When it comes to Web 2.0 tools and your business Web site, there's a time and a place for everything. Web master wannabes with businesses to run often go overboard with the plethora of social networking tools at their disposal and end up wasting a lot of time and effort on frivolous undertakings. "It's important not to get carried away and implement every last widget you can find," said Jim Keller, CEO of Context Technology Solutions. "If it's not going to be relevant, then you are investing time that could be better spent on other aspects of running your business."

Sat, 24 Jan 09
Obama, Obama, Recession, Recession, Obama
The Obama techies had their fingers on the switch on Tuesday, and at precisely 12:01 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, they threw it. The Bush administration's WhiteHouse.gov underwent a Cinderella-like transformation and joined the Web 2.0 era. There's a White House blog now, if you can imagine that, and a page that will host video of the president's weekly address to the nation. And you can sign up for e-mail alerts. Those are all a step up from the old Whitehouse.gov, but the most substantial change is the addition of a page that will display new laws awaiting the president's signature.

Sat, 24 Jan 09
Warning to iWork Pirates: Here There Be Trojans
Mac security firm Intego sounded the alarm Thursday on a trojan horse it spotted hiding in pirated copies of Apple's iWork '09. Since then, several more security solution providers have responded. On the surface, the trojan -- OSX.Trojan.iServices.A -- might seem relatively benign. After all, only those who stole a copy of iWork '09 can get it. While those numbers may edge into the thousands, pirate Mac lovers tend not to be clients of enterprise Mac security solution providers.

Sat, 24 Jan 09
Breaking the Belkin Scandal: Blogger Schools Old-School Journalists
Arlen Parsa is about to get his degree in documentary film from Chicago's Columbia College. Yet he seems to have already graduated cum laude from the unofficial School of Blogs. Thanks to his mashup of old-school reporting and new media-fueled advocacy, a major consumer electronics company is reeling from scandal, traditional media is following his news trail and anyone who ever had doubts about the validity of Amazon customer reviews is having their worst suspicions confirmed. "Politically speaking, I'm a progressive, so I think consumer advocacy comes naturally," Parsa told me.

Sat, 24 Jan 09
Obama Set to Change Science and Tech
When Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States this week, he promised that his administration would "restore science to its rightful place." Whether reality will fit the rhetoric remains to be seen, and there are reasons to be both optimistic and a little wary. In his inaugural speech, the president devoted a decent 130 out of 2,402 words to technology issues such as broadband, science research, health IT, and clean energy. These highlights generally track with what is posted on Whitehouse.gov as part of his technology agenda.

Sat, 24 Jan 09
Mac Bloggers Hail White MacBooks, Salute Apple TVs, Chuck iPhone Nanos
There's a lot of news in the Apple-focused blogosphere this week, and picking the most interesting tidbits is quite a chore. In any event, Apple quietly upgraded its polycarbonate entry-level white MacBook, announced record profits and nixed the notion that Apple might introduce an "iPhone nano" anytime soon. Plus, the Apple TV "hobby" picked up some steam. When Apple announced its new unibody aluminum MacBook and MacBook Pro line in October, most everyone seemed to think the white old-school MacBook simply gave Apple a sub-$1,000 notebook it could sell out and allow to fade away.

Sat, 24 Jan 09
10 Ways to Make Your Open Source Database Project Float
Harvesting, querying, delivering, enriching and analyzing data is at the heart of every business. However, most organizations are saddled with high-priced commercial databases as a result of continual departmental investments in new database projects, business intelligence projects, and the addition of new database projects through the merger and acquisition process. Consequently, IT budgets are increasing. To help reduce the costs of developing and maintaining data-driven business-critical applications, many businesses are turning to open source database solutions.

Fri, 23 Jan 09
Massive Mashup Gives NYC Tourists High-Tech, 3-D Planning Tools
New York City has unveiled a new state-of-the-art information center designed to help both residents and tourists explore New York City through interactive maps and 3-D views of the city's five boroughs. Designed with Google Maps, the interactive facility is focused on cultural events, museums, dining, entertainment and lodging. Making a guest post on the Official Google Blog, Mayor Michael Bloomberg highlighted nycgo.com, a new site that uses Google Maps to help visitors plan their "New York experience.

Fri, 23 Jan 09
All the President's Technology: Obama to Keep 'BlackBerry'
Just days after his inauguration, Barack Obama will apparently be the first U.S. president to use a smartphone while in office. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Thursday that the new president will use a BlackBerry to stay in contact with a circle of senior staffers and close friends, despite concerns expressed earlier by the U.S. Secret Service and the National Security Agency. "Like many executives, he's going to get what he wants," said Jonathan Penn, an analyst at Forrester Research.

Fri, 23 Jan 09
What's Driving Future American Auto Development?
Hybrid cars now produced by Toyota, Honda and other mainstream automakers are veritable gas hogs, says Felix Kramer, founder of California Cars Initiative. Not that he doesn't appreciate the technology that has led to mileage ratings in the range of 40 to 50 miles per gallon of gasoline. Still, that amounts to child's play, compared to Kramer's dream of plug-in hybrids that squeeze out 100 mpg or better. While gasoline has powered the automotive age since the turn of the 20th century, its days as a car's chief fuel are numbered.

Fri, 23 Jan 09
Browser Wars, the 'Linux Killer' and the Free Software Ditty
Now that President Obama has taken office at last, hopes are high around the globe for an era of recovery and change. Coincidentally, similar hopes were evident on the Linux blogs in recent days following last week's lambasting of the Wisconsin college student who claimed that Ubuntu forced her to drop out of school. Throughout the blogosphere, Linux geeks not only pondered the ferocity of the verbal attacks that greeted her claim, but also turned their thoughts to related topics such as technology policies in higher education and Dell's apparent open source ambivalence.

Fri, 23 Jan 09
ShapeWriter for iPhone: Do You Want to Relearn How to Type?
There's something that irritates me about software that I've barely met acting like it knows me, knows what I'm thinking, knows what I'm about to do. That's why the first thing I do on any new phone is shut off T9 predictive text, that thing that tries to guess what I'm trying to type based on somebody's idea of commonly used words. Almost as bad is the iPhone's autocorrect feature -- yeah, I typed "mome" and I meant "mome," not "mime," is that OK with you? But with my fat fingers, I've been learning to live with it.

Fri, 23 Jan 09
Nokia Nixes WiMax Tablet
Just as Clearwire has fired up its long-awaited WiMax wireless data network in two cities, Nokia has stopped selling the only portable gadget that can use the network without accessories. Nokia spokesperson Laurie Armstrong confirmed Wednesday that the company has discontinued the N810 Internet Tablet WiMax Edition on its Web site. Armstrong did not say why the tablet was withdrawn. But she said Nokia is still interested in WiMax, and by the time WiMax networks are more widely deployed, "refreshed products with even better performance will be required."

Fri, 23 Jan 09
Mother Nature Network Puts a Green Tint on News
It's safe to say this doesn't seem like the best time to start a news outlet, given the recession and the struggles of the media industry. But the creators of the Mother Nature Network are betting that another trend will eclipse even the worst economic forecast: The green boom. They've launched an advertising-supported Web site that aims to be a dependable source of environmental news written for the average reader -- a sort of WebMD for green topics.

Thu, 22 Jan 09
Whitehouse.gov Seeks Wisdom of Crowd
At 12:01 p.m. EST on Tuesday, the White House Web site underwent a transformation. The old look was out, and a brand new one, designed by the Obama administration, was in. The changeover took place without fanfare or formality. Indeed, the new site was up even before Supreme Court Justice John Roberts had administered the oath of office to Barack Obama, who had quietly undergone his own Constitutionally mandated transformation, becoming president at precisely the same moment.

Thu, 22 Jan 09
New Citrix, Intel Tech Cuts Virtual Umbilical Cord
Virtualization software provider Citrix and chipmaker Intel announced a deal Tuesday that will see them teaming up to develop the industry's first application and desktop delivery solutions optimized for desktops with Intel's Core 2 processors and laptops featuring Centrino 2 chips with Intel vPro technology. Under the terms of the joint venture, Citrix will produce a new class of virtualization solutions it said will optimize the delivery of applications to millions of Intel Core2 and Centrino 2 processor-based devices.

Thu, 22 Jan 09
Yes They Can - but So What? Media Technology and the Inauguration
Barack Obama has made it as clear as a 1080p high-definition image that he intends to be the Digital President. He used online fundraising, Facebook, text messages and YouTube to get elected, and he has an ambitious agenda that calls on technology to create jobs, clean up the environment and bring transparency to government. So why shouldn't the media -- traditional and new -- break out all the digital bells and whistles at their disposal to help bring you the first draft of history regarding Obama's Tuesday inauguration?

Thu, 22 Jan 09
HP's Mini 1000: Sometimes a Road Warrior Needs a Good Peashooter
Netbook computers remind me of travel toothbrushes and portable air mattresses. You use them only when you need to move a lot, like when you're on the road or camping or running around at a trade show. They're just not nearly as functional or comfortable as the at-home version. But when you're on the move and you need a real keyboard, a real Web browser and a full PC operating system, a netbook will save you no small amount of agony. I put a new HP Mini 1000 to the test while covering the Consumer Electronics Show this month.

Thu, 22 Jan 09
Webby Hordes Converge on Social Media as Obama Takes Oath
The landmark inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States Tuesday drew an estimated 1.8 million spectators to the Mall in Washington, D.C. Online, many more followed the pomp and circumstance online at their favorite social networks. Facebook teamed with CNN.com to provide simultaneous streaming coverage, while MySpace joined with Hulu and Fox News to bring users streaming coverage of the celebration. LiveStation featured live broadcasts news coverage from around the world.

Thu, 22 Jan 09
The Hefty TCO of a New Apple Gadget
Buying a new shiny new electronic device doesn't necessarily just mean shelling out for the device itself. It also might mean buying -- or perhaps even re-buying -- new accessories, software or added services. For example, customers who bought the first iPhone and upgraded to the iPhone 3G lost out in several ways. In addition to the cost of the iPhones, their cases usually didn't fit the more rounded iPhone 3G. Soft silicon skins sort of fit, while most hard cases would not and some old cases caused screwy behavior with the changes to the ambient light sensor on the new iPhone 3G.

Thu, 22 Jan 09
Obama Aides Signal New Tech Era With Traffic Texts
President Barack Obama's aides sent text messages to tens of thousands of people about crowd control, public transportation and even the weather Tuesday as he took the oath of office and immediately started building another massive technology-based list of supporters. Starting a week before Obama took office, aides to the inaugural committee warned visitors of subway stations' closures, television schedules and even train schedules -- part of Obama's aggressive communications strategy that delivered him his Democratic Party's nomination and later the White House.

Wed, 21 Jan 09
Is Cisco Spoiling for a Server Market Brawl?
Cisco, the dominant maker of routers and switches, appears to have designs on the blade server market. It has reportedly begun working on its own virtualized technology code-named "California Server." It is said to run on Intel processors and Cisco's own Nexus switch. Details are murky, but questions are plentiful: For instance, there is speculation as to whether Cisco is planning a general-purpose blade server or one designed for a specific use case, such as telephony.

Wed, 21 Jan 09
Live From Ustream: Everything From the Momentous to the Mundane
Approved by Apple just in time to broadcast President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony Tuesday, a new live video streaming app lets iPhone and iPod touch users watch events in real time on their handheld devices. In addition, the app -- Ustream Viewing Application -- let users interact with other users via a built-in chat function while watching. Take that, HDTV! So how does Ustream work? How does it look? The app is free, but is it worth bothering with? I took it for a spin immediately after the swearing-in ceremonies today.

Wed, 21 Jan 09
Avatars in Tuxes: Second Life Hosts Inaugural Ball
In an almost surreal scene, unprecedented numbers of euphoric people are mobbing America's capital city to celebrate a new hope for a beleaguered nation. It is a celebration so huge that the bounds of reality cannot hold it in. For the very first time, the inauguration of a new president will be trumpeted in this world and another; in life and in Second Life. Of course, there are those who would dismiss Second Life's Inaugural Ball as a mere novelty.

Wed, 21 Jan 09
CardioTrainer: A Great Way to Track the Ground You Cover
CardioTrainer was one of the first apps I downloaded when I got my G1. If you're the outdoorsy type, it should serve your needs quite well, whether you're a cyclist, runner, hiker or just want to track your daily walks. The application is easy to use. Launching it calls up a start screen, and pushing the "Start" button gets the timer and GPS tracker started. Just tuck the phone away and go about your business. One thing to note: Make sure your phone's GPS has a lock on your position before setting off, otherwise, CardioTrainer might not track your position.

Wed, 21 Jan 09
Phone Service Spotty During Massive Inaugural Influx
Can you hear me now? The most appropriate answer in the nation's capital on Tuesday appears to be "sometimes." "I had to stand in the same place for 20 minutes just to have a conversation with my mother," said Christian Kingston, an 18-year-old college student who was among the hundreds of thousands of onlookers jamming the streets and the National Mall. Kingston, an AT&T customer, said his coverage has been really spotty and that text messages have been arriving about an hour after they were sent.

Wed, 21 Jan 09
Web Apps With an Eye for Interiors
Interior decorating takes an eye for color, a knack for what makes a space both functional and attractive, and the mental stamina to visualize the seemingly endless ways to stylishly transform a room. There are myriad computer programs for budding home decorators who might need some help visualizing the possibilities, but they can cost anywhere from under $100 to several hundred dollars for the most sophisticated packages. And mastering them often takes serious time.

Wed, 21 Jan 09
Tech Gives Distant Loved Ones Window on Funerals
Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service has taken the business of grief high-tech: It's one of a growing number of funeral service providers to embrace the Web. Schoedinger in central Ohio is offering live Web streaming and archived online video for use by military personnel overseas and others who can't be present for a loved one's funeral. It's a way for mourners to take part in the experience without the time and expense of a long-distance trip, especially one arranged on short notice.

Tue, 20 Jan 09
Report: Intel Cooking Up More Robust Low-Power Processors
Intel is reportedly preparing a new consumer ultra low voltage platform aimed at small, highly portable notebook computers. The new push will focus on ultra-mobile PCs priced between $700 to $900. Consumers should look for the new platforms in hardware beginning in the second quarter of 2009. Intel would not confirm or deny the information in the report. "We have not made an announcement concerning plans for consumer ULV. We have seen a lot of rumor and speculation in several reports," Connie Brown, an Intel spokesperson, told TechNewsWorld.

Tue, 20 Jan 09
YouTube Ushers In Change With Obama Videos
YouTube has started to dabble in downloadable videos, offering an new download option for President-elect Barack Obama's ChangeDotGov channel on YouTube. Some of the videos, particularly the "Weekly Address" series, now sport a "Click to download" link below the play button. Previously, all videos were offered as streaming videos that required an Internet connection while viewing. Now, a simple click initiates the download, which results in an H.264 encoded .mp4 file that's playable on computers as well as many portable media players like iPods, as well as video-capable mobile phones.

Tue, 20 Jan 09
Why Risk Analysis Is Like Mowing the Lawn
Like many kids, I hated mowing the lawn. Also like many kids, I was the go-to guy for lots of family landscaping. The worst lawn to mow of all my relatives was my grandmother's: It was big, it was weedy and rocky, and she still had a push-mower. But the strangest part of mowing her lawn was the neighbor down the street. This guy mowed like it was going out of style -- three times a week at least. But the strangest part wasn't how often he mowed -- it was that he didn't have any grass. His yard was bald as a pitcher's mound.

Tue, 20 Jan 09
Apple Without Steve Is Like Disney Without Walt
Both Steve Jobs and Apple are unique -- well, almost -- in the technology market. Most companies spend their money on lots of product choices and hope to hit a sweet spot for a customer; Apple spends its money on marketing and design and drives customers to the sweet spot it creates. Most CEOs focus on financial performance, investors and big customers; Steve Jobs focuses on design, product presentation and driving employees and suppliers like cattle, leaving the traditional CEO roles largely to others. Apple and Steve Jobs are deeply intertwined.

Tue, 20 Jan 09
Woman Quits College, Blames Ubuntu, Is Flamed by Overzealous Fanboys
Operating systems have been charged with a variety of grievances over the years, but perhaps none so dire as the one that was laid at Linux's door last week. Yes, last week Linux -- or, more specifically, Ubuntu -- was blamed for nothing short of ending a Wisconsin student's college career. How could that be possible, you may ask? Well, the student in question -- we won't reproduce her full name here for fear of worsening the response she's apparently already gotten -- accidentally ordered Ubuntu on her new Dell computer.

Tue, 20 Jan 09
Widespread Windows Worm May Be a Washout
A computer virus that may leave Microsoft Windows users vulnerable to digital hijacking is spreading through companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia, already infecting close to 9 million machines, according to a private online security firm. Fortunately, however, it may be a dud. Though computer bugs have become a common affliction, Finland-based F-Secure says a virus it has been tracking for the past several weeks has surged more rapidly through corporate networks than anything they've seen in years.

Tue, 20 Jan 09
Tech for Blocking Cell Phones While Driving Falls Short
Many parents would love to be able to give their teenagers a cell phone that couldn't be used while driving. Now some inventors say they have come up with ways to make that possible, but they appear to be relying on wishful thinking. One product to hit the market, $10-a-month software by Dallas-based WQN, can disable a cell phone while its owner is driving. It uses GPS technology, which can tell how fast a person is traveling. But it can't know whether the person is driving -- and therefore it can needlessly lock a phone.

Mon, 19 Jan 09
YouTube Goes to Washington
Tired of YouTube clips of precocious kids, stupid pets or faux superheroes? Try out the videos of House Minority Leader John Boehner, or maybe New York Rep. Charles Rangel, the lawmaker in charge of writing tax bills. Congress is launching official YouTube channels where members of the House and Senate can create and control videos of floor speeches, hearings or ribbon-cuttings. Lawmakers frequently use the online video service to promote themselves and their causes, but the new channels give viewers a single destination to find out what their representatives are up to.

Sun, 18 Jan 09
The Move to Digital: On a Coupon and a Prayer
Never mind about that $775 billion fiscal stimulus program. More than 7 million American households are in danger of missing an episode of "Dancing With the Stars" unless Congress acts fast to help them. Concerned about the very real possibility that his first month in office could be marred by a couch potato insurrection, President-elect Barack Obama has asked lawmakers to delay the Feb. 17 switch from analog to digital TV signals. Don't touch that dial -- er, remote.

Sun, 18 Jan 09
Collaboration and the Productivity Revolution
The Web 2.0 revolution has spawned hundreds of cover stories, thousands of companies, and millions of words of hype. But there's one thing it hasn't brought: Profits. With the coming of the credit crunch and the global recession, hype won't pay the bills. That's why the next wave of Web 2.0 will be using collaboration to help businesses do more with less. Facebook now claims over 140 million active users. If Facebook were a country, it would be the 10th largest in the world, right behind Russia and right ahead of Japan.

Sat, 17 Jan 09
Kido Worm Keeps On Truckin' via USB Thumb Drives
A new method of propagation has given a computer worm a fresh lease on life. The Win32.Worm.Downadup, aka "Conficker" or "Kido," first hit the world last year by exploiting the MS08-067 vulnerability that let it spread in loosely secured networks. Microsoft issued a patch for the vulnerability, but a large number of PCs have remained unpatched. Now, security researchers believe the worm can spread via USB thumb drives. In addition, 8.9 million PCs have been infected, according to F-Secure.

Sat, 17 Jan 09
Separation Anxiety: Obama and His BlackBerry, Apple and Steve Jobs
There's been a fair amount of snickering over the possibility that Barack Obama will have to give up his BlackBerry after his swearing-in next week, with the implication that it's just a personal habit he'll have a hard time breaking, like quitting smoking. Apparently, the security risks associated with a president using a mobile device are too enormous for the U.S. government to contain. There's also the matter of political risks. Since records have to be kept of everything the president puts into writing, he better protect himself and avoid communications that are off the cuff.

Sat, 17 Jan 09
Will Newspapers' Slayer Be Their Savior?
It's a question fit for the asking in Seattle, home to some of the world's software, gaming and e-commerce giants: If technology is supposedly one of the villains threatening the nation's newspaper industry, can technology also ride to the rescue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer? I'm asking the question because the paper, founded in 1867, may not survive much longer into the 21st Century to cover the goings-on at Microsoft, Nintendo and Amazon. Last week the owners, Hearst Corp., gathered the staff in the newsroom for the ultimate piece of bad breaking news.

Sat, 17 Jan 09
Linux Elitism: Fact or Fiction?
For users reared on GUI-oriented commercial operating systems, switching to open source POSIX-type OSes can be an onerous task. Whereas Linux, and FOSS in general, are built around the ideas of inclusion and sharing, the communities built up around the open source operating systems often face accusations of exclusive techno-elitism. Although there are a few smug members within the various FOSS communities and although shell fluency is more complex than simple commercial OS GUI administration, the accusations of perceived superiority among open source communities amount to sour grapes.

Sat, 17 Jan 09
Review: Blockbuster Comes Late to Streaming Party and Underwhelms
Blockbuster knows the days of the movie rental store are numbered, as video downloads over the Internet slowly start to replace DVDs. But knowing which way the wind is blowing doesn't mean you can sail it. Blockbuster's first box for playing Internet video on the TV doesn't measure up to competing devices. The company launched the MediaPoint player in November, selling it for $99 from its Web site. The first 25 movie rentals are free. It's a slim box made by 2Wire that connects to your TV and your home broadband line.

Sat, 17 Jan 09
Mars' Methane Belches: Mysterious Microbes or Rude Rocks?
A surprising and mysterious belch of methane gas on Mars hints at possible microbial life underground, but also could come from changes in rocks, a new NASA study found. The presence of methane on Mars could be significant because by far most of the gas on Earth is a byproduct of life -- from animal digestion and decaying plants and animals. Past studies indicated no regular methane on Mars. But new research using three ground-based telescopes confirmed that nearly 21,000 tons of methane were released during a few months of the late summer of 2003.

Sat, 17 Jan 09
Tweets Related Hudson River Crash Landing as Drama Unfolded
News of Thursday's crash of a Charlotte, N.C.-bound US Airways flight into the Hudson River led countless people to tune to the Web and cell phones or other handheld devices for news. It was the latest example of how the Internet has grown into a powerful tool to spread breaking news. Within minutes of the crash, dispatches from eyewitnesses started appearing on sites such as Twitter, a blogging service where users send text messages called "tweets."

Sat, 17 Jan 09
Invisibility Cloak No Longer Science Fiction
They can't match Harry Potter yet, but scientists are moving closer to creating a real cloak of invisibility. Researchers at Duke University, who developed a material that can "cloak" an item from detection by microwaves, report that they have expanded the number of wavelengths they can block. In 2006, the team reported they had developed so-called metamaterials that could deflect microwaves around a three-dimensional object, essentially making it invisible to the waves.

Fri, 16 Jan 09
Scientists Find Too Many Cooks - er, Cores - Spoils the CPU
A new simulation by Sandia for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration has found that trying to use too many cores for multicore supercomputing processing just leads to slower, not faster, computations. Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corp., a Lockheed Martin company. Using algorithms for deriving knowledge from large data sets, Sandia simulations found a significant increase in speed going from two to four multicores, but an insignificant increase from four to eight multicores.

Fri, 16 Jan 09
Portable Password Protector Locks Your Secrets Tight
Creating strong passwords with letters and numbers is vital to keeping secure access to computers and online accounts. Remembering them and easily retrieving them are equally vital. A password is only as good as the user's ability to remember it. In today's world of mobile access and multiple accounts, that can be a very big problem. Until now, the available solutions were risky at best. For instance, carrying around a list of passwords in a wallet or cubbyhole in a briefcase just invites discovery. Sooner or later, the account holder loses the paper or the bad guy bent on ID theft finds it.

Fri, 16 Jan 09
On Games, Google and Geeks' T-Shirt Sizes
You know it's a good week on the blogs when one of the top stories on Digg is a graph of Linux users' T-shirt sizes. Yes indeed, said graph -- comparing the sizes of attendees at the Linux Symposium in 1999 with those of last year's participants -- drew some 800 Diggs and 100 comments on the site, not to mention providing fodder for endless entertainment. Why? Let's just say "supersize me" seemed to be an apt description of the trend over the past decade. "The big ones are eating the little ones ...," quipped turiya04.

Fri, 16 Jan 09
Slacker for iPhone Is No Deadbeat
Just because there's no FM tuner on the iPhone doesn't mean it's locked out from radio. Ever since Apple opened its App Store last summer, third-party applications like Pandora have allowed users to stream Internet radio music over the device's data connection. Wherever you go, as long as you've got a clean data signal, you can get unlimited new music for free. The latest Web radio tuner to pop into the App Store is Slacker. Slacker isn't just a Web radio service provider; it also sells devices that compete in a way with Apple's iPods.

Fri, 16 Jan 09
Salesforce.com Corrals Customer Services in the Cloud
Salesforce.com has rolled out another cloud offering -- this time for the service space. Called "Service Cloud," the bundled applications, which include integrated social networking tools, are built on the Force.com platform. Service Cloud allows users to create an online community for up to 250 customers, set up a contact center with up to five agents, and connect with partner sites like Facebook and Google. Partners can participate in the Service Cloud as well.

Fri, 16 Jan 09
Hawaii Takes US Lead in Offering Online Doctor Visits
Patients with a sore throat, high fever or mystery rash in Hawaii will now be able to bypass the waiting room and find a physician's care just a click away. Doctors there plan to start making online house calls Thursday in the nation's first large-scale program of its kind that some believe could be a groundbreaking step in healthcare. Dr. Roy Schoenberg, American Well's chief executive, calls the launch the "world premiere" of his technology that has been in the works for two years and is being offered around the clock, seven days a week.

Fri, 16 Jan 09
Pilot Program Beams Live, Local TV to Cell Phones
There's television technology being tested in Chicago that about a dozen people can watch right now. But the question is how many people will tune in when it's ready for prime time? If this TV is free, and it may be, it could be a hit. Called "Mobile DTV," it will send live signals from local TV stations to a hand-held device or a car-mounted video monitor. The signal stays sharp as you drive along the Kennedy Expressway or ride the "L" to work. Our current mobile options come from wireless phone carriers and do not offer live, local channels.

Fri, 16 Jan 09
Study: Social Network Populations Tilt Toward Youth
More people are embracing social networks like MySpace and Facebook, but use of these friend-gathering sites remains a much bigger phenomenon among the young, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Of the roughly three-quarters of U.S. adults who go online, 35 percent use social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, Pew found in a survey of 2,250 people late last year. Just 8 percent of adult Web users were on social networking sites four years ago.

Fri, 16 Jan 09
VA Under Scrutiny for Glitchy Software
The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee said Thursday he would investigate software glitches at the VA that put patient safety at risk, calling the problems a sign of a "dangerous lack of accountability." "VA continues to discover problems and attempts to fix them quietly and internally, and then downplays them as inconsequential and nonthreatening," said Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif. "No one expects new software to operate perfectly, but confidence must be inherent in any electronic medical records system."

Thu, 15 Jan 09
Microsoft Stomps Beastly Server Bugs
Microsoft issued a critical software update Tuesday, plugging three vulnerabilities in all versions of its Windows operating system. The three flaws, two of which were reported privately and the third of which was publicly disclosed, deal with a hole in the Microsoft Server Message Block Protocol. The vulnerabilities could enable an attacker who successfully exploits them to install programs; view, change or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. The security update addresses the flaws by validating the fields inside the SMB packets, according to Microsoft.

Thu, 15 Jan 09
The President and His BlackBerry: Much Ado About Something?
Like every chief executive before him, President-elect Barack Obama will be making personal sacrifices as he assumes the role of U.S. president. He won't be able to stroll down a beach without the world watching. He will likely worry over how his daughters will adjust to living in a fishbowl. He may end his term, or terms, with a lot more gray in his hair than he would have picked up as a senator. He will almost certainly have to give up his beloved BlackBerry. Past presidents probably can't relate to the pain that's going to cause.

Thu, 15 Jan 09
Does a Safari by Any Other Name Surf as Sweet?
iPhone users will find a new type of application in the iTunes App Store this week: Web browsers. The new browsers showed up on Apple's virtual online shelves late Tuesday. The additions are noteworthy -- at first blush, they appear to fly in the face the device maker's previously stated policy of not approving for sale applications that duplicate functionalities available through Apple's proprietary software. In this instance, Apple's Mobile Safari browser has been the only application of that nature available for the iPhone since its launch in June 2007.

Thu, 15 Jan 09
What Did Blu-ray Win?
Last spring, Sony appeared to score a decisive blow in the high-definition video sweepstakes when its Blu-ray video format won the endorsement of Hollywood studios and major retailers, claiming victory over Toshiba's rival HD-DVD format. It seemed it would only be a matter of time before the buying public would line up to buy Blu-ray players, which were sure to flood the marketplace at a friendly price. That hasn't happened. It's not clear that Blu-ray's improved viewing experience will sway consumers to spend money on the new technology.

Thu, 15 Jan 09
Report: Web Not Inherently a Scary, Dangerous Place for Kids
A task force charged with assessing technologies for protecting children from unwanted contact online has concluded that no single approach is foolproof and that parental oversight is vital. The Harvard-led panel, in a report obtained by The Associated Press and scheduled for release Wednesday, dismissed prospects for age-verification technologies, the approach favored by many law-enforcement officials who had pushed for the creation of the task force.

Thu, 15 Jan 09
Solar Industry Advised to Keep It Clean
Solar is part of "clean tech," but an environmental group is urging the industry to clean up its act to avoid becoming a major polluter. The industry needs a plan for recycling panels and reducing the harmful materials it uses to manufacture them, the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition says in a report to be released Wednesday. The report calls on the fast-growing solar industry to not follow the path of the computer industry, which generates 2.6 million tons of e-waste annually in the United States -- only 13 percent of which is recycled.

Thu, 15 Jan 09
Google Earth Gives Up-Close Look at Art in Spain's Prado
Spain's Prado Museum has teamed up with Google Earth for a project that allows people to zoom in on the gallery's main works -- even on details not immediately discernible to the human eye. The initiative, announced Tuesday, is the first of its kind involving an art museum. It involves 14 of the Prado's choicest paintings, including Diego Velazquez's "Las Meninas," Francisco de Goya's "Third of May" and Peter Paul Rubens' "The Three Graces."

Thu, 15 Jan 09
Technology Delivers War Propaganda to Gaza, Israeli Citizens
To the suicide vest, the rocket and the battering ram, those longtime staples of conflict in the Middle East, add the cell phone. Both sides in the Gaza war have employed cell phones as a form of psychological warfare, among other purposes -- part of a trend toward using new media in a century-old conflict. Hagar Mizrachi, a 25-year-old Israeli, recently received a text message that said rocket attacks on all of Israel's cities were imminent. The message was signed "Hamas" and the sender name was listed as "Qassam.hamm," he said.

Thu, 15 Jan 09
Is Skype Ripe for the iPhone?
Free calls over Skype, the Internet communications service, could be coming soon to the iPhone. Skype, a subsidiary of eBay, said last week at the International Consumer Electronics Show that a version of its Internet calling and instant-messaging software is available for Google's Android cell phone platform as a free download. It indicated an iPhone Skype program isn't far behind. Scott Durschlag, Skype's chief operating officer, said Skype's iPhone application is still under development. Engineers are still working on cutting the amount of power the application consumes, he said.

Wed, 14 Jan 09
Extreme HD: IBM Makes MRI Tech 100 Million Times Sharper
Scientists at IBM Research, along with researchers the Center for Probing the Nanoscale at Stanford University, say they have developed and demonstrated magnetic resonance imaging technology with volume resolution 100 million times finer than conventional MRI. Results of the demonstration were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The development represents a significant step forward in tools for molecular biology and nanotechnology by providing the ability to study complex 3-D structures at the nanoscale, according to IBM.

Wed, 14 Jan 09
National Safety Council Urges Total Ban on Cell Use While Driving
The National Safety Council has called on drivers to stop using cell phones and other communication devices while driving. The organization has also encouraged businesses to institute policies prohibiting their employees from driving and using a mobile phone. In addition, the NSC called on the governors and legislators of all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia to pass laws banning the use of cell phones while driving. A study conducted by the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis found that cell phone use while driving plays a role in 6 percent of accidents.

Wed, 14 Jan 09
Responsible E-Disposal: Attacking the E-Waste Blight
The winter holidays are over, and brittle Christmas trees and empty champagne bottles aren't alone in many consumers' trash heaps. There are also used computers, televisions, cell phones and other gizmos that have been replaced with fancier models. Those piles may be somewhat larger than in recent years, thanks to the imminent U.S. government-mandated changeover from analog to digital television broadcasting. The switch, which is slated for February, has prompted many consumers to flock to retailers for new sets.

Wed, 14 Jan 09
Imeem for Android Will Rock Your G1
Imeem for Android is a music application from Imeem.com available for free at the Android Market. This application caught my eye as one of the early front-runners in popularity at the Android Market. I've been using it for about a month, and I listen just about daily. As a music app, it's faster and easier to use than the music player that's built into the G1 handset. If you're more in the mood for a genre than for a specific song or artist, it's a better choice. One of the application's strengths is its buffering capabilities. You won't get any hiccups or skips in songs.

Wed, 14 Jan 09
Palm Pre Could Give iPhone a Good Smack
Palm, at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, didn't give me one of its new Pre smartphones to take home with me. But I did get to play with one under the watchful eye of a Palm employee, who made sure I didn't walk away with it. Pity. Based on my first impressions, it's the phone I want to carry around. I might change my mind after I give it a thorough test but, so far, I'm impressed. One can't help but compare the new Palm phone with Apple's iPhone. Both have a touchscreen with that great "multi-touch" interface that lets you use a finger to flick from one screen to another.

Wed, 14 Jan 09
Rolls-Royce to Test Ocean Wave Energy System
British engines and power systems maker Rolls-Royce will test a one megawatt turbine to generate electricity from tidal power next year, Ric Parker, director of research and technology, said. "It's a huge opportunity for the UK, we're ideally positioned to lead on this because we have the resources all around us," said Parker, referring to Britain's location and long coastline which give it a big chunk of European tidal and offshore wind power.

Wed, 14 Jan 09
China's Web Population Edges Toward 300 Million
China's fast-growing population of Internet users has risen to 298 million after passing the United States last year to become the world's largest, a government-sanctioned research group said Tuesday. The latest figure represents a 42 percent increase compared with a year earlier, the China Internet Network Information Center said in a report. China's Internet use is growing at explosive rates despite government efforts to block access to material deemed subversive or pornographic.

Wed, 14 Jan 09
Stanford Alums Fund Independent $100M Energy Research Center
Stanford University has received $100 million to create a new energy institute where scholars can study everything from solar cells to energy markets and economics. The institute will expand Stanford's role in energy research and national energy policy. The donations came from three alumni who said they were motivated by the desire to protect the environment from greenhouse gases, improve energy efficiency and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

Wed, 14 Jan 09
Inventor's Lament: Automated Phone Systems Should Work Better
When he worked for IBM, Arnold Ford helped invent the first computerized phone answering system. If only he had a time machine. ... "It's become a monster," the 87-year-old St. Anne, Ill., resident said. "I don't care how busy they are. They need to have live bodies there to take calls." He speaks from experience. After signing up for a WellCare prescription drug insurance program in November, he received a letter with a number to call to verify his enrollment. Ford said he called the number more than 20 times in December, at all hours day and night -- and could not get through.

Tue, 13 Jan 09
Harvard Physicist Sets Record Straight on Internet Carbon Study
A story in the Sunday Times of London sent Google's public relations machine into an advanced search for answers. The Times reporters wrote about a new Harvard study that examines the energy impact of Web searches. The story's lead paragraph: "Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research." One problem: the study's author, Harvard University physicist Alex Wissner-Gross, says he never mentions Google in the study.

Tue, 13 Jan 09
Security Wonks List Coders' Top 25 Worst Flubs
A report issued Monday purports to detail the 25 most dangerous programming errors committed by software writers that result in security bugs and enable cyber espionage and cybercrime. The list was compiled by more than 30 experts from cyber security organizations in the U.S. and other countries. Experts from the Computer Emergency Response Team and the non-profit technology resource Mitre, among others, named the errors, according to Mason Brown, director of the SANS Institute, which helped coordinate the project.

Tue, 13 Jan 09
The Small Wonders of a Smaller CES
As the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas continued on Friday and through the weekend, it became clear that the official attendance count at this year's gadget fest will likely reflect significant shrinkage. In addition, runaway hits -- things that really managed to shake the ground everyone was walking on -- seemed few and far between. Thin TVs? They look cool, I suppose, but they don't really give anyone a completely revolutionary couch potato experience. Cameras with massive amounts of built-in memory? Convenient, nice, useful, practical, and absolutely unsurprising.

Tue, 13 Jan 09
CES Wars: Apple vs. Microsoft vs. Palm and Other Battles
This was the first chance since Steve Jobs returned to Apple that Microsoft had to slam-dunk Apple. The biggest thing at Macworld was Tony Bennett. Windows 7 was releasing in Beta and reports have been glowing, with a number of the folks I travel with actually living on the pre-beta code and raving about it so this should have been like shooting ducks in a barrel. Palm was bringing out a new phone and a lot of folks thought they were simply done and not worth seeing, good lesson in the dangers of preconceptions here.

Tue, 13 Jan 09
Linux Guy and Windows Guy Walk a Mile in Each Other's Shoes
There's nothing like the dawn of a new year to give a person a fresh perspective, and that's probably never been more true than it is now, as we begin this year of monumental change. So it's not surprising that the conversations on the Linux blogs over this past week seemed to be taking place on a somewhat higher plane than usual, and to touch upon questions from more of a bird's eye view. On the Linux Loop, for example, Thomas Teisberg presented some of the highlights of the Linux dreams for 2009 that readers had submitted over the past few weeks

Mon, 12 Jan 09
What the World Needs Now: Microsoft's Not-So-Evil Empire
For years, many techie types have considered Microsoft an Evil Empire of consumer electronics, crushing competition and innovation and maintaining a reign of mediocrity. That's why two years ago, mild-mannered Bill Gates was booed when he delivered a keynote address at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas -- and why, earlier this year, a Hungarian student threw eggs at new Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. For a long time, it's been cool to hate Microsoft and fun to root against it, but that may be changing.

Mon, 12 Jan 09
Is Technology Accessibility the New Green?
The craze for touchscreen gadgets, sparked by Apple's popular iPhone, is raising worries that a whole generation of consumer electronics will be out of the reach of the blind. Motown icon Stevie Wonder and other advocates came to the world's biggest gadget fest, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, to convince vendors to consider the needs of the blind. Wonder told a CES event that his wishlist included a car he could drive -- which he acknowledged was probably "a ways away" -- and a Sirius XM satellite radio he could operate.

Sun, 11 Jan 09
AMD Aims to Smash Petaflop Barrier With Graphics Supercomputer
AMD is working with leading software and content developer Otoy to develop and deploy applications, high-definition content and even games in the cloud using a massively parallel supercomputer. Details of the AMD Fusion Render Cloud were unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas during a keynote by AMD president and chief executive Dirk Meyer, along with Otoy chief executive Jules Urbach and spokespeople from Lucasfilm, Dell, HP and Electronic Arts.

Sat, 10 Jan 09
Ford's Sync Update Gives Directions, Fuel-Saving Tips
Ford got into the act at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas with the debut of the next-generation of Sync, its voice-activated, in-car technology. Alan Mulally, chief executive officer at Ford, presented new features for the current version of Sync and described upcoming changes set to roll out by 2010. Sync enables Ford car owners to play music from a portable music player and make phone calls hands-free using a Bluetooth-enabled phone.

Sat, 10 Jan 09
Gadget Gawking at CES: Mini Projectors Still Just Good Ideas
The doors to the Las Vegas convention center opened Thursday, and the Consumer Electronics Show is now officially in full swing. I'm in no position to do an official head count, of course, but the crowd seems just a little thinner than it did last time I was here. Certain parts of certain halls just seem kind of dead. I can find places to sit in the press room and the slop stands. Is it really less crowded? Perhaps the constant message from exhibitors ("Yes, it's economic Armageddon, but we're doing fine") has tinted my perceptions. Who knows?

Sat, 10 Jan 09
Will 2009 Be the Year of Multiple Digital Identities?
Just days after microblogging company Twitter was hacked, a group of entrepreneurs and policy activists gathered at Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters to discuss "Privacy 2009: The Year Ahead." The discussion, cohosted by Tech Policy Central, demonstrated that the privacy debate is starting to mature. Instead of inflexible government dictates for data usage, privacy activists agreed that rules need to be set in a way that encourages innovation.

Sat, 10 Jan 09
TV Station Bumps Guests: KRON's Misguided Author Snub
A television station in San Francisco invites the authors of a new book that's highly critical of TV news, the blogosphere and the "menace of media speed" for a Jan. 3 interview. Then, in a speedy development that turns out to be menacing for the authors, the TV station cancels the invitation, claiming a sudden change in format. It was a lie. The station's news director admitted it in a note to the authors' publicist: "The format hasn't changed. We still do guests. But I am not all that interested in a book that is going to be critical of what we do as a business."

Sat, 10 Jan 09
TomTom Adds Live Services to Navvy
TomTom has announced a new GPS navigation device, the Go 740 Live, which includes a built-in SIM card and GPRS modem for connectivity that can deliver real-time traffic information and a variety of other services, including TomTom's Fuel Price Service, Local Search powered by Google, TomTom Weather, QuickGPSfix, and TomTom Buddies. All of the TomTom Live Services work out of the box for the first year as part of the $499 price. The Go 740 Live will ship in the second quarter of this year.

Sat, 10 Jan 09
Mac Bloggers Murmur Over Macworld Machinations
This should come as no surprise to any iPhone-toting, Apple-watching, Mac-usin' reader: this week's blogs were primarily aimed straight at Macworld and the last Apple keynote the company will deliver. More specifically, the hottest coverage focused on Phil Schiller's keynote address, the new unibody 17-inch MacBook Pro, and DRM-free iTunes tracks. Starting with Schiller, who replaced CEO Steve Jobs this year: Most seemed to think he did a fine job -- and blamed any fallout over the keynote's lackluster messages on the content Schiller had to work with.

Sat, 10 Jan 09
Can't We All Just Get Along? Q&A With OSA Community Dev Chair Gopi Ganapathy
The Open Solutions Alliance, a federated community of open source business and developer communities, opened in early December a community portal built upon technology from one of its newest member organizations, Essentia. The company develops software platforms and solutions for online communities and commerce. The EssentiaESP is a community-engagement platform designed specifically for commercial open source and taps into the latest trends in social networking to encourage greater collaboration among companies and open source communities.

Fri, 9 Jan 09
Palm Steals CES Spotlight With New Smartphone and OS
Companies like Sony and Microsoft are typically the ones to gather the biggest crowds at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This year, however, a lot of anticipation centered on Palm, a company that pioneered the concept of the PDA and the smartphone, but has more recently endured a streak of lousy sales, few new or exciting devices, and the unfortunate embarrassment of an aborted product. What it managed to come up with for CES was expected to be an indication of whether Palm would sink or swim.

Fri, 9 Jan 09
Dish Network Thinks Inside the Slingbox
Let's say a Slingbox and a set-top digital video recorder meet during a very wild weekend in Vegas. After many drinks and much lascivious talk they decide to get married at 3 a.m. at the First Church of Elvis. Nine months later, you might end up with something like the ViP 922, which is being billed as the world's first "placeshifting" high-definition DVR. What happened in Vegas returns to Vegas; Dish Network and Echostar took the wraps off the new set-top box Thursday during the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Fri, 9 Jan 09
Samsung Gives TV Viewers the Skinny With New LED-Backlit Series
Samsung, like a whole lot of other TV makers displaying their wares in Las Vegas this week, is emphasizing the Web capabilities of its new TVs. Among those features is what Yahoo calls the "cinematic Internet," which allows television viewers to use the remote control, rather than something like a wireless mouse and keyboard, to cruise through an assortment of Web utilities such as news channels, information feeds, video and social networks.

Fri, 9 Jan 09
Ballmer Offers Tempered Optimism in CES Keynote
Steve Ballmer's presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was free of the dancing, screaming, sweaty antics he's sometimes known for when he takes the stage at conferences and conventions. Instead, the Microsoft CEO's first CES opening keynote speech laid out his company's vision for the year ahead as Microsoft and its many hardware partners gird for a bleak consumer spending landscape. "It feels like we've entered a period of reduced expectations, a time when we may be tempted to temper our optimism and scale back our ambitions," he commented.

Fri, 9 Jan 09
Sony Positions Featherweight Vaio P as Full-Featured Notebook
Sony introduced its latest entrant to the ultra mobile PC class of computers on Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas. Billed as the world's lightest 8-inch notebook, the Vaio P Series Lifestyle PC is roughly the size of a business envelope and about as thin as a cell phone. However, unlike most systems in the UMPC category, Sony said the Vaio P is not a netbook PC. "I would call it a 'mini-notebook' because it looks and functions like a notebook," said Bob O'Donnell, an analyst at IDC.

Fri, 9 Jan 09
How to Build a Small-Business Web Site, Part 3: Advanced Design
Anyone who's tried designing a Web site or working with a designer knows that the job inevitably turns out bigger and more complicated than expected. Some have created a graphically rich thing of beauty only to discover that half the users visiting the site are frustrated by slow wait times. Links or downloads may not work quite the way they should -- or the site simply doesn't turn up on any search engines. These kinds of problems can be rooted in a number of things, from poor planning to more subtle issues such as an inappropriate choice of "mechanics" for the job.

Fri, 9 Jan 09
Toshiba Gives HDTVs New Tricks
Toshiba kicked off its CES press conference by reminding the audience of the ad space it bought right underneath the ball at last week's New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square. Perhaps the company liked the idea of kissing 2008 good-bye -- it was around this time a year ago that Warner Bros. decamped from Toshiba's HD-DVD format, and a month later HD-DVD crumbled completely. CES 2008 couldn't have been the happiest of times. With no need to keep pushing high-def discs, Toshiba this time around has put its efforts into its line of LCD TVs.

Fri, 9 Jan 09
Microsoft BI: 'Just Do It in Excel'
When Microsoft kicked off its second annual business intelligence summit in Seattle, it did so with the announcement of enhancing end-user BI capabilities with Gemini, an Excel-based interface that will enable on-the-fly pivot table functionality with point-and-click ease of use. Organizations continue facing pressures to deliver timely information that effectively meets business goals. This requires companies to have access to the information, the ability to combine, aggregate and integrate this information, and then deliver it to people when, where and how they need it.

Fri, 9 Jan 09
Macworld a Wistful Love-In for Apple Fans
They came from Paris, Taiwan and, yes, Cupertino, Calif., to participate in the tech Be-In known as Macworld. They came Mac-equipped -- there are probably more MacBook laptops and iPhones per square foot at the Moscone Center in San Francisco this week than any other spot on Earth. The unlucky few seen lugging around Dell notebooks, on the other hand, are quietly sneered at. "It's like coming to Mecca -- the Macca," said Trevor Macdonald, a junior from the University of Utah.

Fri, 9 Jan 09
Unemployment Claim Systems Buckling Under Pressure
Electronic unemployment filing systems have crashed in at least three states in recent days amid an unprecedented crush of thousands of newly jobless Americans seeking benefits, and other states are adjusting their systems to avoid being next. About 4.5 million Americans are collecting jobless benefits, a 26-year high, so the Web sites and phone systems now commonly used to file for benefits are being tested like never before. Even those that are holding up under the strain are, in many cases, leaving filers on the line for hours.

Thu, 8 Jan 09
SanDisk Ramps Up Flash Memory Speed, Space
SanDisk announced the upcoming availability of two new memory cards, the Mobile Ultra MicroSDHC and Memory Stick Micro. Available in January, both cards offer 16 GB of high-capacity removable storage for mobile phones. The cards extend SanDisk's line of microSDHC cards, which already includes 4 GB and 8 GB capacity models. The two cards have the world's largest removable storage capacity for mobile handsets, Dan Hogan, director of retail marketing for SanDisk's mobile products division, told TechNewsWorld.

Thu, 8 Jan 09
LG at CES: Look Ma, No Wires!
Wires will find few friends in Las Vegas this week. Companies showing off their wares at CES are committed to cutting the cord and going wireless, whether you're talking about home network connections or high-definition TV content. Wireless HD was one highlight of LG's showcase here Wednesday morning. The company showed off technology that uses a 60 GHz channel to send an uncompressed 1080p picture from a set-top box to a wall-mounted TV without unsightly wires. It gives you a clean look for a wall-mounted TV, but it left me wondering where the TV's power cord went.

Thu, 8 Jan 09
Portland Becomes WiMax's Second City, Chicago Waits
Portland, Ore., became the second city to get Clearwire's 4G WiMax wireless broadband services, dubbed "Clear," the company announced Tuesday. With the rollout, users in the Portland metropolitan area will have access to anywhere broadband services whether at home, in the office or on the go. The deployment comes three months after the service was initially launched in Baltimore. It is the first rollout since Clearwire and Sprint Nextel finalized the deal that resulted in the two wireless network companies joining forces.

Thu, 8 Jan 09
Asus Fattens Up Its Little Notebook Lines
As of a few nights ago, it was still possible to get a room at a decent place on the Las Vegas strip at a bargain rate. That was a good sign for travelers but a bad sign for the Consumer Electronics Show -- not to mention the city's hospitality industry. When everything falls into place, CES is supposed to fill hotels, casinos, restaurants, clubs and taxis to capacity. It'll be easier to gauge the crowds on Thursday, when the show actually kicks into gear.

Thu, 8 Jan 09
Flexibility Rules: Q&A With Beliefnet CTO Jason Rodriguez
If you are a regular visitor to the multi-faith Web site Beliefnet, or if you subscribe to its e-mails, you may have noticed the site is becoming a little more playful. Something new -- a quiz or prayer tool or connection to a social networking site -- is introduced every month. However, the word CTO Jason Rodriguez uses to describe these offerings is "flexible," not "playful" -- and certainly not "Web 2.0," which is another term these widgets might evoke.

Thu, 8 Jan 09
Apple's Last Macworld: No 'Whoa!'
With Apple CEO Steve Jobs sitting out this year's Macworld event, speculation turned to what Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, might announce during Apple's keynote address. Would Apple unveil something huge, like an "iPhone nano"? Or would Apple slide out of Macworld with a whimper? That question can be put to rest: Schiller's keynote couldn't be characterized as a bang, but it wasn't exactly a whimper either.

Thu, 8 Jan 09
Wide Email for iPhone: Happy Thumbs
While the accelerometer that detects subtle changes in position or orientation of Apple's iPhone 3G is astoundingly responsive -- for instance, quickly resizing a Web page from a vertical layout to a horizontal view -- there's no built-in ability to change to a landscape mode when writing an e-mail message. Why is this a big deal? For starters, you can fit more text on a horizontal screen, making it easier to keep track of what you're writing; furthermore, a widescreen mode permits a larger keyboard image, making it easier to hit keys while typing quickly.

Thu, 8 Jan 09
The Making of an Open Source Developer Hero
Every industry has a hero who paves the way with innovation. Cisco is looking for developer heroes for the open source software industry and hopes to find three as winners of its Think Inside the Box Developer Contest. The contest, which started in October, encourages developers to produce applications that run on Cisco's new Linux Application eXtension Platform. Cisco's goal is to encourage programmers to conceive apps that will enhance the usefulness of its routers that tie corporate networks together.

Wed, 7 Jan 09
Motorola Goes Green, Rugged, Touchy-Feely
The 2009 Consumer Electronics Show promises plenty in the gadget department, as usual, and Motorola unveiled three new handsets on Tuesday that it hopes will capture the imagination of attendees. The device maker introduced the environmentally friendly Moto W233 Renew, the MotoSurf A3100 touch tablet and the rugged Tundra VA76r. While CES will not officially open until Thursday, with the announcement of these three new handsets handsets Motorola has signaled which market segment baskets it will place its eggs for 2009, said Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC.

Wed, 7 Jan 09
Twitter Mischief Hijacks Reputations
The revelation Monday that 33 accounts on the Twitter social networking site had been hacked, while others were compromised by a phishing scam over the weekend, highlights what cyber criminals can do. Accounts belonging to Britney Spears, Barack Obama and CNN's Rick Sanchez were hacked, using tools normally accessible only to Twitter's technical support team for the purpose of letting locked-out subscribers reset their e-mail addresses.

Wed, 7 Jan 09
Gogimon Machine Delivers Serendipitous Search Experience
The drawback with using most search engines is they all seem to give similar results and generally all have the same look and feel. They lack personalization and offer a mostly boring environment. "Most people select the first few results on Google, even though Yahoo and Microsoft Live give better business results for specific information. And Live is much better for technology searches. It's much more focused. We found no reason just to rely solely on Google," Menachem Reinshmidt, CEO of Gogimon.com, told TechNewsWorld.

Wed, 7 Jan 09
Diagnosing Apple's PR Afflictions
Unless Apple is planning on unveiling an iCar, an iHome or an iBrain at Tuesday's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, the media focus will remain squarely on Steve Jobs; his absence, his health, his successors. That's as it should be, even with the "Dear Apple Community" letter from Jobs that the company released Monday, and an accompanying statement of support from Apple's board of directors. Still, I feel sorry for anyone who's wearing a press badge in the Moscone Center audience.

Wed, 7 Jan 09
How MIDs Are Complicating Mobile Linux Development
The mobile Internet device is the most exciting new device category to hit the market since the smartphone. A MID is a handheld device that delivers high-speed wireless Internet and multimedia services, typically with a 4- to 7-inch screen form factor. Most MIDs will be based on the Linux operating system and at less than half the cost of an average laptop, MIDs are an appealing new alternative. Like the smartphone, there will not be a prototypical MID.

Wed, 7 Jan 09
Less Heat but Lots of Cool at CES
The recession figures to tone down the flashiness of this week's International Consumer Electronics Show, but the lineup of innovative products likely will measure up to past years. The CES product list still looks intriguing partly because startups haven't yet been hit as hard by this downturn as they were when the Internet boom collapsed in 2000 -- and bigger companies haven't yet had time to adjust to consumers' belt-tightening. Most of all, competition in consumer electronics is still fierce, and innovation counts.

Tue, 6 Jan 09
China Goes After Baidu, Google in Web Porn Crackdown
The Chinese government is starting 2009 with a crusade to make the Internet safe for its young population to surf without encountering pornography. While Beijing has previously tried to crack down on obscenity, this time government officials are using some of their harshest language yet, threatening actions against 19 Internet companies -- including China's most popular search engine, Baidu, and Google. Both Baidu and Google also offer blogging services that the government said had been used to distribute obscene content.

Tue, 6 Jan 09
Lenovo Unveils Giant Two-Headed Laptop
As gadget makers gear up to show their wares at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Shows in Las Vegas, Chinese hardware maker Lenovo debuted a host of new laptop PCs, the most striking of which offers users a dual-screen configuration. The ThinkPad W700ds features a 17-inch primary screen with a 10.6-inch slide-out secondary screen. It is the first mobile workstation with two built-in displays, according to Lenovo, and will enable users accustomed to working with two monitors the ability to operate in a mobile environment. Prices start at $3,663.

Tue, 6 Jan 09
Freescale Eyes Cheap Linux Netbooks With New Chip Design
Freescale Semiconductor has launched a new low-cost processor, the i.MX515, that's designed to power what Freescale hopes will be new lines of Linux-based netbooks retailing for less than $200. There are lots of interesting angles to Freescale's efforts -- the lower price point, the technology behind the i.MX515, and a new path for Linux into the minds of everyday consumers. Most netbooks retail in the $300 to $400 range, so a sub-$200 netbook obviously could generate a lot of consumer appeal.

Tue, 6 Jan 09
Long Live the Battery: Q&A With Boston-Power's Christina Lampe-Onnerud
Just three and a half years after Christina Lampe-Onnerud founded Boston-Power to bring new battery technology to devices large and small, her company forged a deal with PC maker HP, which will be the first computer maker to offer laptops with the new Sonata battery. The Sonata can be charged and recharged about 1,000 times, compared to the maximum 150 to 250 recharges many other batteries can bear, according to the company. Their expanded lifespan and their use of fewer ecologically damaging materials put a green tint on Boston-Power's cells.

Tue, 6 Jan 09
Will This CES Be the Last?
Well, this is CES week, and I am eagerly waiting to fly to Las Vegas, participate in the Tiger Build Your Own PC race, and spend the following three weeks relearning how to walk. This year should be interesting because I'm getting weekly notices that the hotels are lowering room rates, and one of the vendors is letting me use one of its pre-paid rooms for free. This suggests a show like the last Comdex, where I'll actually have a great time but folks will wonder whether it is the last CES. This week I'll talk about what I expect to see.

Tue, 6 Jan 09
Making a Web App Work on Safari, Explorer and Everything in Between
Building an application for today's Web is a balancing act. Potential users use several competing browsers. Yet the user experience must be uniform for everyone, regardless of his/her browser of choice. And you can't support one or two browsers because you'll cut out major portions of the market. The problem is further compounded if your application is social. Not only do you have to support your direct customers, but you have to ensure that anyone they communicate with is also supported.

Tue, 6 Jan 09
Linuxy New Year's Resolutions
So 2009 is here at last, and not a moment too soon! Finally we can put another Holiday Season behind us and get back to work. Some of us, of course, are still recovering from the seasonal merriment; others are still pondering gifts they received. To wit: On Digg, Rekzai earned more than 3,340 Diggs and 345 comments for posting a photograph titled, "I like Linux, so my aunt sends me this for Christmas!" No shortage of penguins in that thoughtful assortment -- lucky geek, that Rekzai!

Mon, 5 Jan 09
A Modest Blogging Proposal
It all started with a simple question from Forrester Research analyst Jeremiah Owyang late in the afternoon on Friday, Dec. 12. A few days earlier, blogger Chris Brogan had written about his decision to accept $500 from Kmart to find out what's cool to buy at the discount retailer and then write about it. Owyang posted a question to his readers on microblogging site Twitter, asking whether it's OK for brands to approach bloggers in that manner. With that began one of the most vociferous recent debates in the blogosphere.

Mon, 5 Jan 09
Does Your iPod Playlist Reveal the Real You?
The human personality is as complex and diverse a system as anything that can be found in this world. Everyone ticks in their own way. While some can mask their inner selves and emotions well enough to win the World Series of Poker, others wear their hearts -- and even more -- on their sleeves. Either way, if you want to get a good snapshot of someone's personality, a peek at their iPod's playlist might just be the way there. Playlists, and the artists represented, are every bit as diverse as each layer of the individual listener's personality.

Sun, 4 Jan 09
The Life of a Social Cyborg
Kevin Lim was positively draped in technology as he walked into a crowded Amherst, N.Y., tavern on a recent Saturday. He had a small camera clipped to his baseball cap, another camera on one shoulder, an iPod and small speakers on the other shoulder, and a laptop and video recorder in his backpack. Lim is a technophile, a blogger and -- his preferred term -- a social cyborg. He shoots video and broadcasts it, often live, to the Web. "It was put very succinctly by a friend who was watching this, and he said when he looked at my camera, he looked at it as if it were a third eye," Lim said.

Sun, 4 Jan 09
Sylvania Netbook With Ubuntu: A Good Mix
Given the many options out there, someone in the market for a portable computer may have a hard time deciding whether to go with an ultra-small netbook or a small-but-not-THAT-small notebook computer. If you want a netbook, you've got another choice ahead of you: Would you like that with Linux or Windows? While it's no surprise to see the latter offered as a pre-installed operating system, the former is also a common option on lightweight netbooks -- much more so than on desktops or larger laptops.

Sun, 4 Jan 09
A Flu Shot for Your Mac
One of the main reasons Windows users switch to the Macintosh is to escape the constant onslaught of malware. Viruses, Trojans and spyware are a constant threat to the Windows ecosystem. Apple touts the Mac as being a haven from malware, and certainly in the past that's been the case. But the past is no guarantee of what will happen in the future. The Mac's market share is growing rapidly -- from 2 percent just a few years ago to around 10 percent now -- and the bad guys are starting to notice. Although relatively few now, there are an increasing number of threats taking aim at Mac users.

Sat, 3 Jan 09
Traditional Journalists Look Warily Toward 2009
I'm writing this on Tuesday evening Pacific Time, Dec. 30, 2008. It will be published early Friday morning, Jan. 2. So right now I can't tell you if I was able to keep my first New Year's resolution: to use the extra "leap second" we all got just before midnight New Year's Eve in a wise, productive and clever fashion. The additional tick of the clock came courtesy of the earth slowly putting the brakes on its rotation. Blame the UK's Royal Observatory, proprietors of Greenwich Mean Time, for stretching out the Economic Year of Living Dangerously.

Sat, 3 Jan 09
Linux Netbooks: What's on the Menu?
I recently carried out a personal quest for a netbook computer. Relying on a bit of insider snobbery since I write about computer technology almost daily, I was not expecting a big problem in making a selection. It's not that I really needed another computer. My home office is well-stocked with two desktops running Windows XP and a third former Windows box now running Ubuntu Linux. My HP Pavilion laptop with Windows XP and its very large wide-screen display serves me well as a desktop replacement and a mobile office with all the bells and whistles.

Sat, 3 Jan 09
Get a Grip With Griffin iPod-to-TV Cables
Getting video out of your iPod and onto a television screen is often both easy and difficult at the same time. It's easy because Apple's proprietary cables are plug-and-play, and hard because early iPod-to-TV options were somewhat easier -- some early models of iPods would deliver TV out via the iPod Universal Dock and a cheap S-video cable. When Apple ditched the iPod Universal Dock's S-video port and replaced it with the Apple Universal Dock, it also created a divergence of support for video out among the various devices.

Thu, 1 Jan 09
Obama's Internet Army Eager to Re-Up
The legions of online activists who mobilized to help Barack Obama win the White House were expected to return to their normal routines after the election, but they apparently did not get the memo. Rather, this group seems intent on remaining active as the new administration takes shape, for the most part using the same networking techniques that led to its formation. That is the finding of a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Thu, 1 Jan 09
The Day the Zunes Stood Still
At the stroke of midnight -- the first second of Dec. 31 in the Pacific time zone -- 30 GB Microsoft Zunes started spontaneously dying. The Microsoft Zune support site discussion boards started filling up with posts, in addition to others on ZuneScene and ZuneBoards, the latter of which may have experienced a server crash. In any event, Zune users said that their Zunes automatically restarted last night and then froze on their boot screens, rendering them unresponsive and, of course, unable to play music.

Thu, 1 Jan 09
E-Cinema, Part 3: Adding a New Dimension
Despite all the attention being paid to the creation of 3-D films, the immense catalog of existing 2-D movies ready for 3-D conversion provides a massive market ripe for exploitation. Techniques to convert existing 2-D images for 3-D presentation have existed throughout the entire history of 3-D, but few have been effective or even survived. However, today's combination of readily available digital and digitized source material along with relatively cost effective digital post-processing techniques has spawned a new wave of conversion products.

Thu, 1 Jan 09
Joost for iPhone: A Bad Case of the Hiccups
For Internet junkies with high-speed access, there's a growing set of options for viewing online TV shows and movies. Sites like Hulu.com, Joost.com and even YouTube.com are showing full-length TV shows online. While YouTube is far behind Hulu and Joost in that regard, at least iPhone owners can watch YouTube videos on their mobile screens. When I stumbled upon Joost in the Apple App Store, I was pleasantly surprised. I had briefly used Joost's client-side Mac video viewing application in its early days, back when Joost had very little content ... then forgot about it.

Thu, 1 Jan 09
Virtual World Research, Part 2: Reality in a Can
Universities and government agencies, even a few private corporations, are going all "mad scientist" on us in the realm of virtual worlds. But why are they experimenting there and why are so many drawn to virtual worlds like a dying man to a priest? "As a new part of the real world, virtual worlds are like the utopian communes and artistic movements of the 1960s: a flowering of creativity and exploration of alternate ways of life that may eventually reshape all other dimensions of reality," said William Sims Bainbridge, National Science Foundation program director.


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