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Sun, 30 May 10
The Pushing, Pulling, Dragging and Shoving Over Facebook Privacy
Contrition is not something you normally see from Facebook. What are they going to do, say sorry for trying to squeeze a profit out of all that data everyone's willfully throwing at them? Sure, they have their fun over at Facebook HQ. Everyone gets naptime, there's a kegerator next to every computer, and most clothing is optional -- that's to promote openness. But running the site does take a fair amount of work and work costs money.

Sat, 29 May 10
OLPC to Shoot For $100 XO Tablet
The One Laptop Per Child project announced Friday that it has teamed up with semiconductor manufacturer Marvell to offer kids in developing nations a computer for under $100. This time, the project will offer Marvell's Moby tablet computer. Previous attempts by the OLPC to provide children in developing nations sub-$100 computers hit various snags and holdups -- will the OLPC be able to succeed this time? OLPC said its next-generation tablets will be based on Marvell's Moby reference design.

Sat, 29 May 10
Why Is Apple Tethering Itself to AT&T?
Thanks to advances in computer-generated technology, the images simply jump out at you from the TV screen, as all good commercials should: massive sheets of orange fabric covering up the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles and unfolding down the sides of buildings on the Las Vegas Strip, dropping from the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, being unfurled by shiny happy people all along an East Coast beach. The late British singer-songwriter Nick Drake's "From the Morning" lulls you into accepting all this as just another day in the U.S.

Sat, 29 May 10
An iPhone for Verizon and Sprint: Dream On
One of the early predictions of a Verizon iPhone goes back to 2007, when ZDNet's Russell Shaw predicted the iPhone would be on Verizon within a year. Since then, there have been countless other stories offering predictions or circulating rumors that inside sources had disclosed a Verizon iPhone would "definitely" be coming in the next week/month/year. All obviously have been proven to be false. When Steve Jobs delivers his WWDC keynote on June 7, one of the big questions people hope he will answer is what carriers in the U.S. will be getting the next-generation iPhone.

Sat, 29 May 10
What Makes Android Tick
To the average user, Apple's iPhone and Google's Android platforms are two variations of the same thing -- they're just software that runs smartphones. Both offer touchscreen capabilities, and both offer third-party applications that enhance the experience. The differences, however, are significant, and they go far beyond hardware, which Apple typically claims as its chief advantage. Looking under the hood, the trained eye can see a philosophical chasm between the two systems, and this difference is where the two platforms are staking their claims to market share.

Fri, 28 May 10
Privacy Groups: Facebook Can't Be Trusted
The new privacy controls Facebook announced Wednesday were met with criticism the following day from privacy groups that called the new policies inadequate. In a conference call on Thursday, representatives of the groups insisted on a Federal Trade Commission investigation of the social networking giant and regulatory oversight. They also questioned Facebook's commitment to privacy and its honesty. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday that the social networking site is making its privacy controls simpler.

Fri, 28 May 10
Symantec Sends Norton on Mobile Mission
Symantec is planning to introduce two mobile apps and a Software as a Service security application under an initiative dubbed "Norton Everywhere." The two apps are Norton Smartphone Security for Android Beta and Norton Connect Beta. The third product, Norton DNS Beta, is a cloud-based service through which users are able to configure their routers or PCs for basic security. The point, explained Dan Nadir, director of product management, consumer business for Symantec, is to offer the company's security functionality to devices other than the personal computer.

Fri, 28 May 10
Privacy No Joke to Young Web Users
Amid all the controversy over online privacy, one thing has been treated as an almost universal given: Young people don't care about privacy the way their cautious, conservative elders do. As it turns out, the meme is kind of wrong. Younger Internet users are just as likely as many adults to worry about the amount of information about themselves that's posted online, are less trusting of social networking services than their elders, and are the only age group to limit availability of online information about themselves as much as they did three years ago, according to a Pew survey.

Fri, 28 May 10
The Kins: Academically Average, Socially Gifted
You might think that someone at Microsoft is a big fan of Dr. Seuss; naming the new Windows Phones the "Kin One" and "Kin Two" certainly conjures up images of critters that would assist the Cat in the Hat in wreaking havoc on Sally and her brother's house. But it's really Kin as in kinship; people joined by common ancestry, or in a more tech-savvy sense, younger users joined by the common desire to share every bit of information they come in contact with via their smartphones. Certainly the two Kin phones bear no kinship to previous Windows Mobile handsets.

Fri, 28 May 10
Does Linux Do Enough for Programmers?
It seems fair to say that the relationship between programmer and platform is in many ways like a romantic one, characterized by mutual respect and a balanced exchange of give and take on both sides. Just as so many of us love and respect Linux, for instance, so it surely loves us back with all its many virtues -- no strings or price tags attached! So happy are many in the Linux community with their favorite OS, in fact, that it was difficult not to feel mortally wounded by a recent accusation that Linux does less for programmers than Microsoft does.

Fri, 28 May 10
Moe Knows Notes
The idea behind Moe's Notes is simple enough that I doubt it's the first application of its kind. It's a note-taking app that can bundle all sorts of information into a single package. Text, photos, audio notes, location data, tags, timer alerts and video all get saved into the same file and can be sent as a neatly wrapped multimedia package to anyone via email. All these things are possible to do on an iPhone without a third-party app involved; Moe's just provides all the features in a single app and can tie them together for a single email.

Thu, 27 May 10
Facebook's New, New Privacy Settings: Same Old?
Facebook on Wednesday announced an overhaul of its privacy controls intended to make them simpler. This follows a barrage of criticism and weeks of pressure from various organizations and groups regarding recent changes the social networking site made to its privacy settings. "The number one thing we've heard is that there just needs to be a simpler way to control your information," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. "Today we're starting to roll out some changes that will make all of these controls a lot simpler."

Thu, 27 May 10
Gxine Media Player: Just Press Play
It's difficult to talk about the Gxine multimedia player as a separate app from Xine. Both do pretty much the same tasks -- let you watch videos and listen to audio files. Both of these apps hale from the same Linux library of codecs and other gutsy stuff, Xine-lib. The key difference between these almost identical twins is the family lineage each one serves. Gxine is a media player based on the GTK style GUI with a Mozilla plugin. It plays CDs, DVDs and VCDs in most of the popular media file formats.

Thu, 27 May 10
Facebook Privacy: Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing?
Try Googling the phrase, "Is Facebook losing members over privacy?" You'll see seven of the top eight search results answering in the affirmative, as various headline writers take advantage of recent controversies regarding the world's biggest social network and its customers' profile data. A deeper look into those stories, however, shows the headines are referring to a small but vocal group of well-known bloggers and technology industry names who have made a show in the past week of deleting their Facebook accounts.

Thu, 27 May 10
Facebook's Big Fix: All Options Are Not Equal
This week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised users that better solutions for privacy concerns will be released soon. It's the young executive's most recent attempt to quell anger over the company's decisions to force users to delete information if they wish to keep it private and to automatically share some data with third parties. Such moves have sparked outrage from many, and while all outrage might be equal, the strategies for dealing with Facebook are not.

Tue, 25 May 10
Privacy Advocates: Facebook Has Fooled Us Once Too Often
Complaints about Facebook's privacy practices and policies have been building toward a new crescendo, with growing interest on the part of Congress and regulators, as well as a budding viral movement to quit the network. In an effort to cut through the din, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg decided to address his company's attitude toward consumer privacy head-on in an editorial in The Washington Post. He gets it, Zuckerberg wrote. He promised that Facebook is developing new privacy controls "that are much simpler to use."

Tue, 25 May 10
Seagate's Hybrid Drive Shoots for Quick-Draw Data Access
Seagate Monday began shipping its second-generation hybrid solid state/hard disk drive to original equipment manufacturers and its sales channels. The Seagate Momentus XT is priced much lower than full solid-state drives. The device spins at 7,200 RPMs and comes in capacities of 250 GB, 320 GB and 500 GB. All Momentus XT models come with not only a standard hard disc drive, but also a 4GB solid state flash memory drive. The Momentus XT comes with Seagate's Adaptive Memory Technology software that memorizes users' file access patterns and stores the most-loaded files onto the SSD.

Tue, 25 May 10
Learning to Love Reasonable Downtime
Working for a disaster recovery solutions designer is often difficult. After being bombarded by ad slogans, magazine articles and just plain life experience, many company executives are looking to achieve a mythical figure for server uptime. Perceived uptime of 99.999 percent -- or "five nines" -- equates to about five minutes and 30 seconds of unexpected downtime per year, and the number is achievable. The problem is, this number is only achievable if the language is carefully scrutinized and an overwhelming amount of hardware and software is brought to the table.

Tue, 25 May 10
Why Office 2010 and Google TV May Stumble at the Starting Gate
I've been using Office 2010 for several weeks now, and I actually have gotten to the point where I'm finding it harder and harder to use Office 2007. However, I'm reminded of the problems -- both with this product and, to a lesser extent, Windows -- that are unique to Microsoft and have proven to be a bi..., er, very difficult, to correct. Google seems to be creating its own list of unique problems on top of the ones it's copying from Microsoft, and it will need to get on top of them if Google TV is to be successful.

Tue, 25 May 10
The World, Brought to You by Linux
The Linux community is nothing if not contentious, but few would dispute the fact that many of the debates that occur are part of some recurring theme. Top of the list, of course, would have to be the ongoing "Year of" controversy, but there are plenty of others too, as astute blogger Ernie Smith recently noted in a post aptly titled, "The stories we are all sick of hearing." Debates can provide heady entertainment; on the other hand, sometimes it's nice to take a break. We might all do well to be reminded of how much Linux already does for us, and how far it's come.

Tue, 25 May 10
Keynote for iPad Hits Just the Right Pitch
Presentation software can be a valuable way to convey information to a live audience. Jazzing up your spoken words with some eye candy can keep a crowd engaged -- even if does require a little more effort on your part. That effort, though, will seem less like work with Keynote for the iPad. Keynote is part of Apple's iWork suite, which the company has remodeled for use on its iPad tablet. As with its brothers in the suite, Pages and Numbers, Keynote has a toolbar at the top of its interface.

Sun, 23 May 10
Google Street View's Wandering WiFi Eye
To create its Street View service, Google sends fleets of cars to drive around cities all over the world and take pictures with the 360-degree cameras they have strapped to their roofs. The result is many things to many people: a convenient source of information, a depressing reminder that your home is ugly, an enduring memento of that time you ducked into an alley and thought nobody was looking, etc. Even though Google's cars stay on public roads, some also consider Street View a huge invasion of privacy.

Sat, 22 May 10
Synthetic vs. Real Life: Is There a Place for Both?
Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md., say they have created the first self-replicating synthetic bacterial cell using man-made DNA. The 15-year, $40 million project consisted of synthesizing more than 1 million base pair chromosomes of a genome. The knowledge gained from the project could help develop biofuels, vaccines and other products beneficial to society, the Venter Institute contended. The Venter Institute team synthesized the 1.08 million base pair chromosome of a modified Mycoplasma mycoides genome.

Sat, 22 May 10
Facebook Is Flirting With a Big Business Backlash
Was it only four years ago that the anti-Facebook crowd was backlashing against the concept of the News Feed? Time sure flies when you're accusing the world's biggest social network of invading its users' privacy. Forget about the current spasm of criticism; hating on Facebook has been the default setting for a sizable portion of the technosphere -- and, it seems, a big chunk of the network's users -- for a while. Type in "anti-Facebook groups" in Google and you get a hit parade of mainstream media articles and blog posts zeroing in on Mark Zuckerberg's creation.

Sat, 22 May 10
Froyo Gives Android a Big Dollop of Speed and Flash
Google on Thursday took the wraps off "Froyo," the next version of Android that's been bolstered with new speed, tethering capabilities and Flash support. Announced at Google I/O, version 2.2 of Android -- the seventh platform release since it was launched in 2008 -- includes a raft of new features for both users and developers. It will arrive soon, with some devices getting the update "in the coming weeks," Xavier Ducrohet, Android SDK Tech Lead, wrote on the Android Developers blog.

Sat, 22 May 10
Google, VMware Give App Devs More Platform Options
Google has taken a major step toward providing more platform choices for Java developers with Google App Engine for Business, built in partnership with VMware, which allows the use of multiple platforms to develop applications. "Enterprises are looking for an evolutionary road map to the cloud," said Jerry Chen, VMware's senior director of cloud services. "They want to use existing tools and technologies like Java but have the flexibility to deploy these apps on-premise in their VMware private cloud, or off-premise on a VMware vCloud, or on Google App Engine."

Sat, 22 May 10
Apple's Leaky Vietnamese Connection
For the third time is a little more than a week, information about an upcoming Apple product has been aired at the Vietnamese blog Tinhte -- the same blog that accurately predicted Apple's latest round of MacBook upgrades. The latest revelation at the site appears to be a prototype of a next-generation iPod touch sporting a built-in digital camera, which the site says has a resolution of two megapixels. Photos of the touch posted at Tinhte show an early test unit, according to Thomas Ricker writing at Endgadget.

Fri, 21 May 10
Culture Wars vs. Censorship: What's a Social Network to Do?
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have made the world smaller, allowing people located on different continents to connect and communicate as if they were next-door neighbors. At times, however, the conversations taking place on these new technology platforms can offend some of their users' old-world sensibilities, creating consequences that not even the visionaries who created these sites ever imagined. The latest social media uproar surfaced Wednesday, when protesters took to the streets in Pakistan decrying a contest soliciting caricatures of the prophet Muhammad.

Fri, 21 May 10
Google Brings an Open Source Gun to the Video Codec Battle
Google on Thursday announced WebM, a royalty-free media file format for online video. With WebM, Google has thrown the gauntlet to H.264, the codec backed by rivals Apple and Microsoft, among others. Buried within the new format's FAQ was news about another Google project: Android. The next iteration of the mobile operating system, dubbed "Gingerbread," will be released in the fourth quarter of this year. WebM is an open, royalty-free media file format designed for the Web.

Fri, 21 May 10
4 Steps to Simplified Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
No company can afford to have a disaster disrupt its business. Despite this, the opportunity and technology costs of a feasible disaster recovery plan have traditionally been too high for the masses to properly plan for and ensure continuity. However, recent advancements in infrastructure and the proliferation of technology have made BC/DR less about the technology and more about developing, communicating, and executing a good plan -- making it more accessible for the average business. Still, many companies don't know where to begin.

Fri, 21 May 10
Linux Distros and the Codec Conundrum
Codecs have been the topic of much heated conversation on the Linux blogs of late, thanks largely to all the recent controversy surrounding H.264. Video compression, that is, and the technology that currently enables it in applications like Blu-ray Disc, YouTube videos and the iTunes Store. Cupertino loves the patent-encumbered H.264, not surprisingly; Microsoft does too. The open source community? Not so much. What's gotten the goat of many FOSS fans is that Canonical has gone ahead and licensed H.264 for Ubuntu, rather than using an open alternative like Theora.

Fri, 21 May 10
Twitter Sings Its Own Song on iPhone
For its first few years of existence, Twitter busied itself with keeping its servers running, its head above water and the Fail Whale at bay. Coming up with new and creative apps for people to use with Twitter was left up to third-party developers, and they had a lot of fun with it. But Twitter's growing up, and it's decided to take firmer control of its platform by developing some of its own applications. One of the first is an official Twitter-branded app for iPhone. Dozens of Twitter apps have been available for the handset before, but this one comes straight from the bird itself.

Thu, 20 May 10
European Racket Over Street View Privacy Spawns Probes
European privacy advocates are scaling up their scrutiny on Google regarding its Street View cars' collection of data from unencrypted WiFi networks. German prosecutors and the Czech data protection agency have launched separate investigations into the issue; Italy's privacy regulator is looking into whether Google treated the data correctly; and the European Union's Justice Commissioner has waded into the fray. Meanwhile, Google CEO Eric Schmidt reportedly said the company plays hardball with governments on privacy issues.

Thu, 20 May 10
FTC to Look Into Copy Machine Privacy Breakdown
The Federal Trade Commission has responded to an April 29 letter from Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., expressing concerns about sensitive data stored on digital copiers' hard drives. Markey's letter followed CBS News' April 19 airing of a report on its investigation into the matter. The FTC said it was aware of the privacy issues and planned to take steps to inform manufacturers, resellers and office supply stores about the risks associated with digital copying and see that they were taking steps to provide options for secure copying.

Thu, 20 May 10
Will Post-Production Kill the 3-D Movie Star?
F. Scott Fitzgerald said there are no second acts in American lives. Would he have changed his mind if The Great Gatsby had received the 3-D IMAX treatment -- with Jay Gatsby as an alien bootlegger and Nick Carraway as avenging Ivy League superhero? After burning bright and flaming out fast in the 1950s, "3-D: The Sequel" is now enjoying a surprising encore in the American film industry, thanks to the dazzling commercial and critical success of James Cameron's "Avatar."

Thu, 20 May 10
XSane Brings Sanity to the Mad, Mad World of Linux Scanning
Using a scanner in Linux is somewhat different than using that same scanner hardware in Windows. This week's Linux Picks focuses on how the XSane scanner app handles that process. In the Windows world, scanner hardware is TWAIN-compatible through manufacturer-developed scanning software. By comparison, Linux Land relies on an application programming interface scanning driver called "SANE." This is an acronym for Scanner Access Now Easy. SANE works in conjunction with a common graphical front-end application called "XSane Scanner."

Wed, 19 May 10
Microsoft Brings Hotmail Into the 21st Century
Now close to 15 years old and used by some 360 million people, Hotmail is getting an upgrade. The revamped email service is expected to roll out in July or August. The elephant in the room, of course, is Google -- and to a lesser extent, Yahoo, said Laura DiDio, principal of ITIC. Google has steadily enriched the feature set of its relatively young Gmail service. "Microsoft knows it needs to step up Hotmail if it wants to compete with Google," DiDio said.

Wed, 19 May 10
Why Is Your IT Audit Taking So Long?
There's no shame in admitting that audits are hard. For those of us in IT, hearing the word "audit" probably brings up a groundswell of negative connotations and the corresponding aggravation and headache: We know from having lived through it that tech-heavy regulatory audits -- annual PCI assessments, HIPAA audits, ISO, etc. -- cut directly into our staff's ability to get their already-busy jobs done. Expect reduced productivity from employees, intrusive questions that take time to research and answer, and extra hours spent gathering evidence and reports.

Wed, 19 May 10
Runt of Apple's Laptop Litter Gets a Makeover
Apple on Tuesday beefed up its plain vanilla MacBook with a tweaked CPU, more storage and longer battery life, among other things. However, it retained the device's $999 price point. The upgrade comes one month after Cupertino refreshed its MacBook Pro line and just weeks before its World Wide Developers Conference, to be held in San Francisco. For the upgrade, Apple tweaked the MacBook's Intel Core 2 Duo processor to deliver a clock speed of 2.4 GHz instead of 2.26 GHz as before. The new MacBook uses the Nvidia GeForce 320M instead of the GeForce 9400M.

Wed, 19 May 10
Android Market Revamp: Desperately Seeking Search
Google's Android Market website got a face-lift sometime in the past few days, but the update has many scratching their heads over the continuing lack of search and other capabilities. Layout changes have resulted in a simpler, more straightforward desktop interface, with incrementally easier browsing of the market's top applications. Google stresses that the site is just a "showcase for some of the featured and top ranked applications and games available on Android Market." For a more comprehensive list, the site directs users to the handset version of the Android Market.

Wed, 19 May 10
Sharing 3G: This Is Where the iPad and iPhone Simply Suck
Here in the U.S., iPhone owners still can't tether their iPhones to MacBooks to get on-the-go Internet access for their Macs or PCs. They can't do it for expensive monthly plans, nor can they do it via a new iPad-like pay-as-you-go option, either. It's 2010 and there are two facts that blow my mind: The iPad won't let you tether its data to a MacBook, and you can't use your iPhone connection to tether to an iPad. At least in some other countries in the world with more robust networks, iPhone tethering is available.

Sun, 16 May 10
Will Verizon's Gooblet Be a Droiblet or a Chroblet?
When it became clear that the iPad was seriously going to take off, some very important people at some very large companies made a decision: You are going to buy a tablet computer whether you like it or not. It doesn't have to be an iPad. Might be Windows, Android, webOS, or something not even invented yet, but you'll have one. They're the future. Everyone else wants them, companies are getting ready to make a pantload of them, and nobody wants to be the weird guy. Just do it. End of story.

Sat, 15 May 10
From Sci-Fi to Reality: Driving With a Mind-Controlled Bionic Arm
A mind-controlled robotic arm is bringing new independence to an Austrian man who lost his arms, even allowing him to drive a car, the arm's maker announced earlier this week. Created by the German firm Otto Bock HealthCare, the arm has allowed 23-year-old Christian Kandlbauer to pass a driving test with flying colors, giving him the freedom to drive the seven kilometers to and from work each day without assistance. The device is the first mind-controlled arm prosthesis in Europe.

Sat, 15 May 10
Hulu to Keep the Flash Dance Going
Hulu stepped into the Adobe-Apple war Thursday with the announcement that it's sticking to Flash for now. "We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn't yet meet all of our customer needs," Hulu VP of Product Eugene Wei wrote on the company's blog. Wei also announced updates to Hulu's video player and other features. Hulu's guiding principle for selecting technology is whether or not it best serves the needs of its key customers, its viewers, its content partners, and its advertisers, according to Wei.

Sat, 15 May 10
Whose Wikipedia Is It, Anyway?
Please don't get the wrong idea about this column; I have nothing against crowdsourcing. Some of my best friends belong to crowds. I also have nothing against the concept of a "free, Web-based, collaborative multilingual encyclopedia project," as Wikipedia defines itself. And while journalists, students and others doing research should know by now to consider the wide variety -- and quality -- of sources that go into most Wikipedia listings, I'll admit that there is some value within the information that's presented.

Sat, 15 May 10
Ubuntu Learns New Tricks, Forgets Some Old Ones With Lucid Lynx Upgrade
Lucid Lynx, Canonical's latest desktop release of Ubuntu, sports a new look and feel designed to attract new users, both in business and at home. No doubt the launch of a music store component for the Ubuntu One cloud service available through the Ubuntu OS will give consumers a reason to consider one of the most popular Linux desktops. Canonical, the commercial outlet of the community-developed Ubuntu Linux distro, clearly wants to make migrating to Ubuntu easy for new users to experience right out of the box.

Fri, 14 May 10
Brace for a Torrent of Tablets
The face of computing may be undergoing a massive change, and tablet PCs appear to be at the heart of it. "There's a fundamental shift in the computing industry, which is moving to being cloud-based and mobile," Maribel Lopez, founder and principal analyst at Lopez Research, told TechNewsWorld. With its iPad, has a commanding lead, but HP and other hardware and software makers could give it a run for its money. It seems as though just about every vendor plans to offer a tablet PC. Intel on Tuesday showed a tablet design at an investor meeting.

Fri, 14 May 10
Making a Place for Yourself in the Blogosphere, Part 2
Once all the technical steps have been accomplished and your blog is up and operating, it is time to start adding content on a regular basis and integrating it with social media. "If I had a budget for a blog, I would spend it all driving traffic to it," said Vlad Zachary, CEO of Career BlackBoard. "Content is king, but quality is queen," he added. Look for ways to provoke discussions -- emotion encourages people to interact with blogs and re-post entries.

Fri, 14 May 10
Textie: Membership Has Its Privileges
In the U.S., SMS messaging is basically a charity program. The beneficiaries are the wireless carriers, and the benefactors are you, me, and any other smartphone user who willingly agrees to pay 10 cents per text, or a few bucks for a couple hundred per month, or any other "deal" in which we pay anything above and beyond the cost of the data plan to send and receive dainty little communiques on our phones. For much, much more on this topic, just Google the terms "SMS" and "ripoff."

Thu, 13 May 10
European Authorities Join Facebook Privacy Dogpile
At least one U.S. Senator wants the FTC to investigate. Notable leaders in the tech sector have begun talking about dropping out. Millions belong to groups complaining about it. Now, European privacy advocates are on Facebook's case, arguing the company's latest round of privacy adjustments are not only wrong-headed, but may run afoul of European privacy laws. The company seems to be making efforts to mitigate the bad publicity that the fracas has generated.

Thu, 13 May 10
Google and Verizon Sketch Out Tablet Plans
Lending further credibility to reports that circulated about a month ago, Google has apparently partnered with Verizon Wireless for work on a new tablet device that may run Android. That news was delivered by Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam in an interview published Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, though no specifics or timetable were given. Coming hard on the heels of Apple's announcement last week that it had sold one million iPad devices in less than a month, however, news of the new partnership has sparked plenty of speculation.

Thu, 13 May 10
The Virtual Machine Backup-and-Recovery Conundrum
Server virtualization has crossed the proverbial chasm. Not long ago, when deploying new servers, one had to justify making them virtual, rather than physical. Now, IT managers in many organizations have decreed "virtual first" policies, requiring new server deployments to be virtual unless there is specific justification for a physical server. Alas, for all its goodness, virtualization creates a number of new storage and data management issues. One big problem area is backup. Backup techniques from the physical server world don't work very well in a VM environment. Why?

Thu, 13 May 10
Steam Heats Up Gaming for Mac Users
Valve Software on Tuesday launched the Mac OS X version of its Steam online gaming platform. Steam, a portal through which users buy, download and play both old and new PC games, was until now limited to the Windows operating system. Valve will soon extend Steam to the Linux platform. Valve launched a collection of game titles Wednesday on Steam for Mac OS X. Additional collections will be unveiled each Wednesday, Valve said. The first collection will include "Torchlight" from Runic Games, as well as "Portal."

Thu, 13 May 10
Brasero Burns Data, Not Time - or Piles of Discs
The ubiquitous CD/DVD platter may be on its way to Legacyville, one town away from the FloppyTown and the once-popular ZipDisk City. Large-capacity USB and micro disk storage media go where the CD/DVD cannot go -- small mobile gadgets. But for laptop and desktop storage and bulk transfer needs, CD/DVD software is still indispensable. Nothing can bog down its use more than poorly designed tools for burning content. Burning files to CDs and DVDs is not something I do daily, so I sometimes have to revisit a learning curve for using these apps.

Wed, 12 May 10
Twitter's Forced-Follow Flaw Fix Purges Users' Fan Files
Twitter has stomped out a bug that for a brief period allowed users to force other users to follow them on the microblogging site. In eliminating the glitch, however, Twitter emptied out some users' list of followers entirely. "Like other social networks, Twitter was originally designed to serve a pretty small community, and when it grew so big, funny things were bound to happen," Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe told TechNewsWorld. Twitter's real-time nature exacerbates the problem.

Wed, 12 May 10
Firefox 4 Steps Out of the Shadows
Speed, power and user control are Mozilla's top three goals for Firefox 4, according to early product plans released Monday. Specifically, the browser will be fast -- "super-duper fast," according to Firefox director Mike Beltzner -- while also enabling new open-standard Web technologies such as HTML5 and putting users in full control of their browser and Web experience. For developers, Firefox 4 will likely offer bidirectionally connected apps, an HTML5 parser, a full-screen API, CSS3 compatibility, and faster 2-D drawing.

Wed, 12 May 10
Where Have All the Avatars Gone?
Many have already written eulogies for the virtual worlds. Dead, they claim; the avatar is dead in the corporate realm. But the truth reads like the "Star Trek" script for the "The Trouble with Tribbles" episode: just because you don't see them, doesn't mean they are not breeding like mad in a closed grain bin. "The ease with which entities can close off public access in Second Life makes it difficult to know exactly what might be going on behind closed boardroom doors with regards to their presence in Second Life or other virtual worlds," said Shenlei Winkler, CEO of The Fashion Research Institute.

Wed, 12 May 10
Peppermint OS Puts Its Pedal to the Metal
Linux aficionados gained a new option Monday, thanks to the release of Peppermint OS. Checking in at under 512 MB, Peppermint is a Linux-based operating system that's designed to be cloud/Web-centric, ready to use and "insanely fast," its makers said. As a fork of Lubuntu, the system is based on -- and compatible with -- Ubuntu 10.04 and its repositories. "I think that we have come to a crossroads in modern technology where consumers are becoming less and less afraid of trying new things in order to get exactly what they want," Shane Remington, Web developer and project manager for Peppermint OS, told LinuxInsider.

Tue, 11 May 10
EMC's Vplex Puts Data on the Bullet Train
Much has been said recently about virtual servers and networks and their ability to both save IT groups hardware costs and let users access software applications and Web-based tools regardless of location. However, data storage has remained a sticking point in the full realization of cloud-based computing, because those virtual servers and mobile networks typically depend on data residing on traditional storage devices in physical data centers. Anyone who has waited for a department group's knowledge management site changes to replicate across an organization's intranet knows the frustration of that limitation.

Tue, 11 May 10
WiGig Aims to Widen the Wireless Road
TV viewers may soon be able to watch videos without interruption over wireless networks as they move from their television sets to their PCs to their handheld devices, with the signing of an agreement Monday between the Wireless Gigabit Alliance, the WiFi Alliance and semiconductor developer SiBeam. The WiGig Alliance's specifications enable data transmission rates of up to 7 Gbps, more than 10 times faster than the highest speed offered by the 802.11 standard.

Tue, 11 May 10
Obama Cautions Grads Against Getting Tangled in Tech
President Obama on Sunday delivered a commencement address that included warning graduates of the "distraction" posed by technologies like Apple's iPod and iPad devices. "You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter," he told students at Hampton University. "And with iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment.

Tue, 11 May 10
Facebook: Confirm or Deny?
After a tumultuous couple of weeks for Facebook that have included the introduction of Open Graph, threats of lawmaker scrutiny, complaints from consumer groups and embarrassing bugs in its software, members of the social networking site may be wondering whether it's time to ask the musical question: Should I stay or should I go? Should members stick with the world's largest social network as it reaches critical mass and rethinks -- once again -- its position on how to treat its users' data?

Tue, 11 May 10
Beating Apple: A Primer
One of the interesting things about watching Apple's rollout of the iPad and anticipating the rollout of its stunning generation 4 iPhone is that competitors don't seem to get what makes Apple successful. As a result, they have generally failed miserably to bring forward offerings that have done as well. I spent a lot of my life as a competitive analyst and still do some work along those lines today, so this week I'll offer some suggestions about how a firm might beat Apple.

Tue, 11 May 10
There's Something About Ubuntu
That Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distro these days seems to be a matter of relatively little dispute, and certainly, it's not hard to see why. The distro has a variety of features that make it particularly easy to use, especially for beginners. With the recent release of Lucid Lynx, however, the rapturous jubilation seems to have reached epic proportions. To wit: "Ubuntu 10.04 -- Perfect" was the title of one blog post on the release, generating no fewer than 140 comments there before racking up another 400 or so on Digg.

Tue, 11 May 10
Pages for iPad Gives Docs a Slick New Look and Feel
Calling Apple's Pages a word processor is a misnomer. Words are only a small part of what this software is designed to process. The application combines desktop publishing with text entry -- and on the iPad, it not only combines the two well, but in a way that makes document creation fun. The tactile features of the tablet literally give you a feel for a document unmatched by any other platform. You start a document in Pages for the iPad by choosing a template. It can be one resembling a blank sheet of paper, a letter, a resume or any of 16 included with the app.

Sun, 9 May 10
The FCC's High-Speed Squeeze Play
The FCC has big plans for the future of broadband in the U.S. -- gigabit-per-second connections all around, vast expanses of wireless airwaves everywhere, rural access even in the booniest of boondocks, etc. But the main obstacle in its way -- at least for right now -- is that making that plan a reality means regulating broadband, and the exact legal power the FCC has to do that hasn't exactly been set in stone. The FCC claims to have the authority, but a recent court ruling indicates there is a lot of room for argument there.

Sat, 8 May 10
Facebook Develops a Taste for Fast Food
McDonald's has signed on as an early user of Facebook's new location feature, which reportedly could launch as early as this month. The new feature will give users the ability to include their location within a status update, but it will also be offered as a tool for marketers, AdAge reported Thursday. Using the new feature, the McDonald's app will reportedly let users see featured products targeted to their location. McDonald's isn't paying Facebook directly for the app, AdAge said, citing "executives with knowledge." Rather, it's reportedly part of a bigger media buy.

Sat, 8 May 10
How One Reporter Used Social Media to Build Bridges
Christine Maddela, the weekend anchor at WKRN-TV in Nashville, joined Twitter on July 1, 2009. It took her all of three days to discover the microblogging service's potential impact on journalism. "Three days later, on July 4, Steve McNair was murdered, and I broke the news of McNair's death on Twitter," Maddela told me during a phone conversation this week. "I was getting this information in, and I confirmed it. We were not on the air at that point and not breaking into programming, and I said, 'People want to know about this,' so I did it."

Sat, 8 May 10
Google Goggles Makes Translations in a Snap
Users of Google Goggles can now put the technology to work translating text from other languages, Google announced Thursday. Whereas a prototype demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year could recognize only German text, Goggles version v1.1 can read English, French, Italian, German and Spanish as well as translate to many more languages. Google is currently working on extending the technology's recognition capabilities to other Latin-based languages. In the longer term, its goal is for the technology to be able to read non-Latin languages.

Sat, 8 May 10
Android Prototype Tablet Makes Flashy Debut
Some technology-company sparring comes in the form of public wars of words, as has been the case with Apple and Adobe in recent weeks. However, as it turns out, some maneuvers can be perfectly silent -- deafeningly so. Such is the case with Adobe's latest slap at Apple in the form of a booth at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. It's a booth, according to blogger Max of Zedomax, entirely devoid of Apple products. What is there is a prototype tablet computer running Android and Flash. It's not just running Flash, said Max, it's running it "flawlessly."

Thu, 6 May 10
Chrome, IE Browser Battle Addresses Need for Speed
On the heels of news that the Google Chrome Web browser is gaining market share while Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser is losing ground, both companies took the wraps off faster, next-generation browsers Wednesday. Google released a new beta of its Chrome browser which is much faster than the previous version and has several new features. Meanwhile, Microsoft put out its second IE9 platform preview, one week ahead of schedule. Speed is one of the main hallmarks of the latest Chrome browser beta, which loads Web pages at 2,700 frames per second, according to Google.

Thu, 6 May 10
Has Facebook Finally Gone Too Far?
Where's the fault in making "share" the default setting on Facebook? After all, people who have read 10 years' worth of scary headlines about email viruses, Internet scams featuring Nigerian princes and phishing websites seem eager to give up their likes, dislikes, kids' names, embarrassing photos and vital statistics to an audience of a half-billion on the world's largest social network. However, Facebook has heard its critics get louder regarding its apparently cavalier view of its members' data.

Thu, 6 May 10
HP's New Laptop Lineup Leans Heavily on AMD
HP has announced a spring product rollout that includes 14 notebooks powered by AMD. The PCs span all user categories from enterprise to consumer. Although Intel does have a presence, AMD is the star of the show. This is "the largest single introduction of HP and AMD notebooks on one day," said Mike Hockey, spokesperson for HP business notebooks, HP personal systems group. The new laptops use AMD's Vision and Vision Pro technology. The Vision Pro technology features the AMD Phenom II, AMD Turion II, AMD Athlon and AMD V-Series chips.

Thu, 6 May 10
Rhythmbox Knows the Words and the Tune
Rhythmbox, an integrated music management application, was originally inspired by Apple's iTunes. This open source app works on the Gnome Desktop and is based on the powerful GStreamer media framework. If you have read recent Linux Picks columns, you know that the Linux world of apps gives you several excellent choices to feed your portable music-playing devices. You also know that Amarok and Listen are two of my favorite music-playing Linux apps. However, that high-mark ranking could change as I continue to use Rythmbox.

Tue, 4 May 10
Latest China Web Crackdown Targets 'Hostile' Overseas Forces
China is apparently planning to step up its efforts to crack down on online crime. Wang Chen, head of China's Information Office of the State Council, has promised severe punishment for those perpetrating crimes over the Internet, which in China includes the distribution of pornography. He specifically mentioned information from "overseas hostile forces" as one of the effort's main targets. His statement reflects China's attempt to grapple with the increasing level of Web access available to its citizens and its government's desire to censor undesirable content.

Tue, 4 May 10
iPad Goes From Zero to 1 Million in 28 Days
Apple CEO Steve Jobs' supreme confidence in the iPad as a"magical device" seems to be coming true for Apple, with the company announcing Monday that it has sold its first million of the devices -- and in less than half the time it took for consumers to snap up that many iPhones three years ago. Apple also said consumers have downloaded 12 million iPad apps from the App Store and about 1.5 million books from the company's new iBookstore. Apple stated that it's struggling to keep up with consumer demand, suggesting sales may be exceeding the company's own expectations.

Tue, 4 May 10
First Blood Spilled in the New Tablet Wars
"Here in Windows-land, we love us some multi-touch," wrote Ben Rudolph on the Windows Team Blog as he reviews the new Toshiba Satellite M505 laptop. Rudolph is giving the machine two thumbs up for how well it shows off the touchscreen capabilities in the Windows 7 operating system. But a laptop isn't a tablet computer, and Microsoft apparently isn't yet ready to take the next step that would integrate Windows 7 into a competitor to Apple's media-friendly iPad.

Tue, 4 May 10
Art Authority: Vast Galleries Come to Life on iPad's Generous Screen
If there's an App Store application that clearly benefits from the iPad, it's Art Authority from Open Door Networks. The Apple tablet's spacious screen adds an arresting dimension to this virtual art museum software. When you launch Art Authority, you enter the main gallery. It's a very pleasant place. The screen rendering is so realistic that you'll want to sit on the padded bench in the room and gaze on the paintings on the wall for awhile. Each painting represents a period of art.

Tue, 4 May 10
HP's Deal of the Century, Android's Short Life
Last week was a huge week for news surrounding smartphones and iPad-like tablets. I mentioned a few weeks ago how the market was moving to vertical integration, which was placing platforms like Android at risk, but I didn't expect HP to move this quickly by buying Palm and getting its own OS. In addition, the lawsuit from Apple targeting HTC's Android phones, coupled with HTC having to license even more code from Microsoft to cover the same phones, has likely turned Android into the most expensive OS in its space.

Sun, 2 May 10
When the Gadget Police Come Knocking
The saga of the leaked fourth-generation iPhone continues to unfold, but now the story's less about the phone itself and more about Gizmodo, the Gawker Media blog that drew massive amounts of attention and Web hits by showing it to the world. Recall that last week, Gizmodo's Jason Chen appeared in a video on the site, holding and handling an unreleased version of Apple's smartphone. It had apparently slipped through Cupertino's fingers by way of an absent-minded engineer at a bar.

Sat, 1 May 10
'Avatar' Director Pitching In on 3-D Cameras for Mars
"Avatar" director James Cameron is working with NASA on two 3-D cameras that could be used on the next Mars rover, known as "Curiosity." Earlier this month, Malin Space Science Systems delivered two cameras, known as "MastCams," that are similar but lack the 3-D capabilities. If the new pair developed with Cameron can be completed in the time remaining before the rover begins final testing early next year, they could be used instead. NASA had abandoned its plans for 3-D cameras back in 2007, but Cameron reportedly petitioned the agency to bring them back again.

Sat, 1 May 10
Greenpeace Ranks Cisco First on Climate All-Star List
The quarrel over who uses the most -- or least -- harmful chemicals to make computer components seems to be dying down. In its place comes a debate over which companies are doing the best job to create and forward an agenda addressing global warming -- not just for themselves, but for the companies that use their IT products. Among global IT companies, Cisco is doing the best at addressing climate change and reshaping energy use, according to the rankings released by Greenpeace this week.

Sat, 1 May 10
Lost iPhone Brings Scoundrels, Sharks and Shysters Out of the Woodwork
Can you still support the First Amendment, the blogging community and all that is holy in journalism, and still think that what Gizmodo did re: the lost iPhone was kind of sleazy? Is Gizmodo's crime one of an ethical/moral nature, or one that is worthy of a police raid by elite members of SWAT -- Seeking Whatever Apple Targets? And were there any other examples of less-than-stellar behavior on the part of average folks not associated with the media or major technology corporations?

Sat, 1 May 10
The Joy of Jailbreaking Your iPhone
When Apple announced the new features for iPhone OS 4, it did not list any support for the 6.12 million original iPhones and only limited support for the roughly 20 million 3G iPhones. This means roughly half of all the iPhones in the market will not be able to take advantage of all the features in the new OS. While Apple may be (probably is) hoping this helps get most users to upgrade to the latest and greatest iPhone, it will also likely cause many to consider jailbreaking for the first time.

Sat, 1 May 10
Lucid Lynx on Prowl for Users of a Different Stripe
Canonical on Thursday released Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop and Server Editions, the latest in its string of popular Linux distributions. Both are available for free download. The desktop version will be preinstalled on a range of computers from a number of manufacturers this summer. Canonical wants Lucid Lynx to draw a "whole new category of users" to the open source operating system, said CEO Jane Silber. A variety of changes target the mainstream market, including a new look and feel and the launch of a music store.

Sat, 1 May 10
Microsoft Gives OEMs Embedded Win 7 to Tinker With
Microsoft has given manufacturers the tools to make Windows the operating system for a host of consumer-oriented devices -- from video game consoles to TV set-top boxes that serve as full-blown home entertainment centers. Windows Embedded Standard 7 is the proposed platform. Microsoft announced the release of a "componentized and customizable" version of the operating system to equipment manufacturers at the Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley, taking place this week in San Jose, Calif.

Sat, 1 May 10
Jobs on Adobe: My Way or the Highway
Apple CEO Steve Jobs published an open letter on Apple's website Thursday spelling out his criticisms of Adobe Flash. In short, it's really all about the technology, he wrote. Flash is proprietary, dated, unreliable and unsecure, according to Jobs. It guzzles battery juice, can't handle touchscreens and will denigrate the user experience, the Apple cofounder opined. Could Jobs really be turning his back on Adobe, or are his biting remarks really the opening steps of a complex mating dance that will continue to see Apple and Adobe working together?

Sat, 1 May 10
HTC Incredible - The Name Says It All
The branding gurus at various tech companies are certainly gamblers at heart; they're always rolling the dice when they choose names for their products. Tech reporters and bloggers clap their hands together in gleeful anticipation when they hear about a forthcoming iPad, ThinkPad, Zune, Vista or Wii -- especially if said products end up sucking royally. They can imagine how much fun they would have with headlines like "ThinkPad? StinkPad!," "Goodnight Zune," "Vista's Lack of Vision," etc.

Sat, 1 May 10
Should Hacking Be Encouraged?
For as long as human beings have walked the face of this Earth, more than a few have held dear the hope that their children would one day follow in their footsteps. Doctors encourage their kids to study medicine; lawyers advocate careers in law; rulers of evil empires create their own little clones. It should come as no great surprise, then, that hackers share similar aspirations. "Why I want my daughter to be a hacker" is the title of a post that's been making waves in the Linux blogosphere of late.

Sat, 1 May 10
Rhapsody Makes Sweet Music With iPhone, If You're Into That Kind of Thing
Apple has long stood by the idea that in general, its customers want to keep and store the music files they pay for, not shell out a set monthly fee for an all-you-can-eat auditory buffet. However, for some music fans, subscriptions are a much more appealing way to go, and services offering such an option have set up shop in the iPhone App Store. Subscription apps like Rhapsody's charge users a monthly fee for anytime access to a vast library of music, as long as the iPhone has a cellular or WiFi data connection.

Sat, 1 May 10
Android 2.2 Goes All the Way With Flash
Android 2.2, code-named "Froyo," will fully support Adobe's Flash platform, Andy Rubin, Google's vice president of engineering, told The New York Times' Bits blog Tuesday. Google's show of Flash support came weeks after Apple, Android's rival, announced changes that made it more difficult for Flash application developers to create apps for its iPhone. However, Google's promise of full Flash support in an upcoming edition of Android puzzled some HTC Hero smartphone users.

Sat, 1 May 10
Where Are the Robots Taking Us? Part 2
Is it abnormal to love robots? Do people who love robots, adopt them as friends or members of the family, give then names and bring them along on family vacations have an unnatural fixation on robots? What about soldiers who are prepared to give their lives for their units' bomb detector robots? Is that a symptom of battle fatigue? Of loneliness? Of traumatic stress disorder? Or are all these people just being human? If babies can anthropomorphize stuffed toys, why can't adults anthropomorphize robots, especially those that seem intelligent or resemble us physically?


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