Archive for August, 2010

Net neutrality: a buzzword that’s duping us

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

by Bob Sullivan, Red Tape Chronicles, MS-NBC

It’s a nightmare scenario: One day, you log on to the Web, and only 20 or 25 Web sites built by brand-name Net companies fire up quickly. Everything else — all the mom-and-pop sites, all the niche retailers, all the alternative blogs you read — dribble out onto your screen like it’s 1996 all over again. But this is a nightmare, too: You log on to the Web after work, and nothing seems to be working. That’s because the people living in the three other apartments in your building are busy downloading one pirated Blu-ray movie while watching another. Or spammers have taken control of your neighbors’ machines and are pumping out millions of e-mails, totally clogging your Internet pipe. You call your ISP and complain. An operator there says, “Sorry, those pirates and spammers have just as much right to the network as you do.”

http://redtape.msnbc.com/2010/08/net-neutrality-a-buzzword-that-fools-almost-everyone.html

Share on Facebook

The Difference Engine: Rewiring the brain

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

by N.V., the Economist

It’s a question that’s bothered cultural critics for decades: while we know more than ever, are we getting dumber as a result of the increasing amount of technology at our disposal? Reading historical debates, and hearing of the attention paid to them by a thoughtful populace, certainly makes one wonder. Speaking in the 1820s of the mechanical Difference Engine he had devised for computing polynomial functions, Charles Babbage, the father of the programmable computer and our web-log’s namesake, told the House of Commons: On two occasions I have been asked [by Members of Parliament], “Pray, Mr Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?” I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. One wonders how the founders of Facebook, Twitter or YouTube might respond to similarly banal queries tossed at them during congressional testimony.

http://www.economist.com/node/21009264

Share on Facebook

Are we at the beginning of a PC-gaming renaissance?

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

by Dan Ackerman, CRAVE, CNet news.com

The past several years have seen a steady drumbeat of negative prognostications for PC gaming, both as a creative medium and as a viable business. High-profile releases were steered to living room consoles, with perfunctory PC ports at best, and messy DRM and hardware incompatibility made many of the remaining PC games more trouble than they were worth. Magazines such as Computer Gaming World shut down (after an embarrassing sponsored name change to Games for Windows Magazine) and the only bright spot seemed to be the online multiplayer game World of Warcraft–even if other MMO entries found it hard to bottle that lightning twice. No one was more at the forefront playing Taps for PC gaming than myself, having gone from a cheerleading booster to sober realist in the space of a few short years. Yet, for the first time in a long time, I find myself much more interested in what’s going on the PC side of the video game industry than the console side. My office and home laptops are suddenly buzzing with new and upcoming games, including StarCraft II, Civilization V, and OnLive’s various streaming-game offerings–whereas this year’s big list of holiday season console releases elicits a shrug at best, filled by the annual installments of mass-market cash cows. How did this potential reversal of fortune take place?

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20012767-1.html

Share on Facebook

Negroponte: You really can give a kid a laptop

Monday, August 16th, 2010

by Ina Fried, CNet news.com

One Laptop Per Child founder Nicholas Negroponte said that in two years the company has managed to rebuff one of the biggest critiques of his effort–the idea that you can’t just give a kid a laptop connected to the Internet and walk away. “You can, you actually can,” Negroponte said, speaking on a panel at the Techonomy conference here. “Kids in the remotest places,” he said, “not only teach themselves how to read and write, but most importantly–and we found this in Peru–teach their parents to read or write.” Negroponte said that is the point of his program. “I don’t have a better story.”

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-20012926-56.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

Share on Facebook

Report: iPod refresh coming sooner than expected

Monday, August 16th, 2010

by Josh Lowensohn, CNet news.com

A report from Brazilian news site MacMagazine says Apple’s annual refresh of its iPod line is little more than a week away. Citing “a reliable source within Apple,” MacMagazine pegs the unveiling of the next-generation iPods between August 14-16, the first two days of which are a Saturday and a Sunday, leaving Monday the 16th as a more likely candidate. For the last four years, Apple has held its iPod press events in early September, and is widely expected to follow suit this year. In the past, the company released new iPod models on an annual basis as early as March or April, and as late as October–as it did in 2005 with the introduction of the iPod Video.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20012977-248.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

Share on Facebook

What’s next for HP after Hurd

Monday, August 16th, 2010

by Erica Ogg, CNet news.com

The good news is that Hurd is out just five years after helping HP recover from the most turbulent period in its history and pushing the company to the top of tech world. He leaves Hewlett-Packard in a strong position, and in much better shape than he found it. HP brought in $30 billion in revenue during the second fiscal quarter of 2010, compared with the almost $22 billion of the same quarter five years earlier. So where does HP go from here? Well, beyond the task of finding a new chairman and CEO, it’s likely to be business as usual.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-20012982-260.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

Share on Facebook

Amazon Kindle Now Features Games

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

By Nicholas Kolakowski, eWeek

Amazon’s Kindle now features two word-puzzle games, bringing the e-reader’s features more in line with those of its erstwhile rival, Barnes & Noble’s Nook. The first game, “Every Word,” requires you find as many words as possible from six or seven scrambled onscreen letters. With the second, “Shuffled Row,” some 60 lettered tiles are used to make words; once a new word’s submitted, new letters are added. Both are free and available for download from the Kindle Store.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Desktops-and-Notebooks/Amazon-Kindle-Now-Features-Games-274621/?kc=rss

Share on Facebook

Google, Verizon Deny Deal to Squash Network Neutrality

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

By Clint Boulton, eWeek

Google and Verizon Wireless Aug. 5 said they are not striking a deal to accelerate online content to Internet users more quickly for fees. The New York Times stated that Google is working with Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for such service. Google and Verizon said that report was not accurate.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Search-Engines/Google-Verizon-Deny-Deal-to-Squash-Network-Neutrality-535112/?kc=rss

Share on Facebook

School ICT lessons a ‘turn-off’, says Royal Society

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

by the BBC

ICT lessons: Inspiring pupils for the future or turning them off? Information technology lessons in UK schools are so dull they are putting pupils off the subject and careers in computing, top scientists warn. The Royal Society said the situation would lead to an unskilled workforce and threaten the UK’s economy. Launching a study of how lessons might be improved, the society said the number of pupils in England doing ICT GCSE had fallen 33% over three years. And there was a 33% fall, between 2003 and 2009, in ICT A-level candidates.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-10865856

Share on Facebook

Android Beats iPhone With New Subscribers

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

By NICK BILTON, New York Times

By the end of 2011, there could be more smartphones in the United States than the less advanced feature phones, according to a report released Monday by the Nielsen Company, a market trends monitor. The report also notes that the Google Android platform continues to show rapid growth and over the past six months has edged past the Apple iPhone platform with new subscribers. But even with the latest spike, the iPhone still remains the smartphone that is most coveted by consumers. The Nielsen report said that “among current subscribers thinking of switching” mobile phones, 90 percent of iPhone owners remain loyal to the handset. The report said that 21 percent of Android owners and 29 percent of BlackBerry users have considered switching to the iPhone.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/android-passes-iphone-for-new-subscribers/

Share on Facebook

Google Acquires Slide, Maker of Social Apps

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER, New York Times

Google has acquired Slide, the start-up that makes apps for social networking Web sites, according to two sources briefed on the deal. Google will pay around $228 million for the company, according to one of the sources. Officials at Google and Slide declined to comment. The acquisition is one of the clearest signals yet that Google is planning moves into social networking. Google has also invested some $150 million in Zynga, the biggest online social gaming company, according to sources briefed on the investment.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/04/google-acquires-slide-maker-of-social-apps/

Share on Facebook

Electronics Designers Struggle With Form, Function and Obsolescence

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

By NICK BILTON, New York Times

It’s a question for the entire electronics industry: Have designers of electronics elevated form above function? Most mobile phones, laptops, tablets and the like are just not designed to be dropped or handled too aggressively. Max Burton, executive creative director for Frog Design, said in a phone interview that Apple and other electronics companies offer a product that makes sense for consumers to slip in their pockets, looks beautiful and isn’t too cumbersome. Mr. Burton said he’s worked on product designs for the military where his team was asked to make something “shatterproof, waterproof and bombproof and the products just kept growing so much that it wouldn’t be acceptable to a consumer audience.” That doesn’t fly with consumers.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/06/electronics-struggle-with-form-and-function/

Share on Facebook

Google Adds Multiple Sign-In for Power Users

Friday, August 13th, 2010

By Clint Boulton, eWeek

Google has quietly added the ability for users to sign into up to three Google accounts at the same time from the same browser, saving users the inconvenience of logging on and logging off to switch between accounts. The Google Operating System blog noted that when users go to their Google accounts Web page, they will see a new “multiple sign-in” option under the “e-mail addresses” option.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Messaging-and-Collaboration/Google-Adds-Multiple-Signon-Feature-for-Power-Users-334963/?kc=rss

Share on Facebook

Trusteer Finds Massive Zeus Botnet of U.K. PCs

Friday, August 13th, 2010

By Brian Prince, eWeek

Researchers at Trusteer have uncovered a large botnet of 100,000 computers built using a variant of the Zeus malware. Almost all of the infected bots are in the United Kingdom, according to Trusteer. After infecting the computers with Zeus 2, the botnet pilfered all kinds of user data, ranging from log-in information for banks to credit and debit card numbers and browser cookies.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/Trusteer-Finds-Massive-Zeus-Botnet-of-UK-PCs-721790/?kc=rss

Share on Facebook

Android Smartphones Sold More Than BlackBerry, iPhone

Friday, August 13th, 2010

By Clint Boulton, eWeek

Google’s Android operating system appeared on 33 percent of all of the U.S. smartphones purchased in the second quarter, surpassing Research In Motion’s BlackBerry devices and Apple’s iPhone in units shipped. NPD Group’s latest research shows that RIM commanded 28 percent of the smartphones sold, with iPhone selling 22 percent for the quarter.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Android-Smartphones-Sold-More-Than-Blackberry-iPhone-691118/?kc=rss

Share on Facebook

Web attack knows where you live

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

by the BBC

The attack exploits the way routers handle requests for ID information One visit to a booby-trapped website could direct attackers to a person’s home, a security expert has shown. The attack, thought up by hacker Samy Kamkar, exploits shortcomings in many routers to find out a key identification number. It uses this number and widely available net tools to find out where a router is located.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10850875

Share on Facebook

iPhone at risk from security flaw

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

By Daniel Emery, BBC News

The PDF exploit currently only exists in theory, although experts say that could change Security firms are warning of a vulnerability in Apple’s iOS for iPhone, iPad and iPod. Symantec said that it could be exploited by remote attackers to take complete control of a vulnerable device. Experts said that the threat, at present, only exists on paper but that Apple need to issue a fix before it becomes a reality.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10865288

Share on Facebook

Europe breaking electronic waste export ban

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

By Aidan Lewis, BBC News

Old televisions and computers containing hazardous substances are still being exported from Europe despite a ban aimed at stopping the trade, which poisons workers at makeshift recycling plants in Africa and Asia. In Rotterdam a Dutch customs officer swings open a heavy metal door to reveal a pile of old televisions stacked tight within a shipping container. Instead of proceeding to Ivory Coast, these goods will be impounded, checked and most likely sent back to Germany, from where they arrived.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-10846395

Share on Facebook

Snapshot of global internet speeds revealed

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

by the BBC

The world’s internet is getting faster – slowly A report based on analysis of huge amounts of net traffic has revealed the state of the internet around the globe. The data, from network giant Akamai reveals the average global net speed is only 1.7Mbps (megabits per second) although some countries have made strides towards faster services. The fastest broadband city in the world is Masan in South Korea.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10786874

Share on Facebook

Legal action on ‘zombie cookies’ filed in US court

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

by Daniel Emery, BBC News

Zombies always cause trouble, be they computer, network or cookie A legal challenge has been launched in the US against a number of websites amid claims that they were engaged in “covert surveillance” of users. The lawsuit alleges that a number of firms, including Hulu, MTV, and Myspace, used a Quantcast Flash application to restore deleted cookies. Cookies are text files used by web browsers to store user data. The lawsuit says that the application was creating so-called “zombie cookies” from deleted files.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10787882

Share on Facebook

Amazon offers new look Kindle for the UK market

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

by the BBC

The UK Kindle has had a make-over Amazon is releasing a slimmed-down Kindle e-reader with a beefed-up selection of books for the UK market. It comes as the book giant predicts that digital reading will go mass market with the majority of books being sold in digital format “in coming years”. The e-reader, which has been available on Amazon’s US site since 2007, will now also be available on its UK site. The device will be priced at £149 with free 3G wireless supplied by Vodafone.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10786882

Share on Facebook