Text Messaging Boosts Teen Writing Ability
A Cambridge University study has found that text messaging has boosted the ability of teenagers to write. The study found that "today's teenagers are using far more complex sentence structures, a wider vocabulary and a more accurate use of capital letters, punctuation and spelling."
That's the good news. The bad news is that they're also "ten times more likely to use non-standard English in written exams than in 1980, usin
Treo 650 Music Docking Station?
Move over iPod snobs, with your fancy gadget aftermarket of music docking stations. We Treo 650 smart phone snobs now have one of our own. The Treo 650 Music Dock charges and connects (for PC synchronization) your Treo, and plays music either from the Treo or from an external music source (the dock sports a 3.5mm
Supreme Impact On IT
When President Bush scans the horizon for his next Supreme Court nominee, he might do well to not only choose a candidate who has spent some time on the bench, but also one with some understanding of, or background in, science and technology.
Such an addition to the Supreme Court would be very timely at this juncture in high-tech litigation and advances. We have entered a technological age, and we
Intel Self-Destruct Mode Aids AMD Momentum
It's hard to believe a company that controls more than three-quarters of perhaps the most profitable segment of the electronics industry can simultaneously look vulnerable and weak even while posting "banner" operational results. But Intel, in reshuffling its processor roadmap this week has ensured that the momentum rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has built over the past year will continue for at least another
Don't Believe Everything Your GPS Tells You
Two Australian tourists in New Zealand found out the hard way that you can't always rely on GPS to give you the best route. The visitors rented a car from Avis, which comes with a GPS system, plugged in their destination and drove where the gadget told them to drive.
The system guided them through a ten-hour, death-defying journey into hell: through rivers, fog and perilous and narrow mountain passes terminating at a locked-g
My Favorite Fantasy iPod
Apple's iPod is cool enough -- especially the new one. Detractors belittle the device, saying that it's nothing more than a hard disk with a play button.
The iPod lovers and the iPod haters will disagree, but there's no denying the design influence Apple's music player has had over other music players, over other consumer electronics and over a large variety of random products.
How Many Office Suites?
The release of OpenOffice 2.0 is a red-letter day for the open-source movement, but what does it mean for for companies and individuals who now have a choice of more than half a dozen alternatives to Microsoft Office? Free is good, and OpenOffice is free -- but is it good? We'll find out -- there's a review coming in Desktop Pipeline RSN.
It looks like the office-suite marketplace is settling down into three camps. The first is the free ones, like OpenOffice. The second is the commercial ones,
A Hot Dog, A Soda And A...Cell Phone?
I value the contributions information technology has made to our lives probably more than most people. I make my living on the Internet and spend the bulk of my time managing Web content and technology projects, and really enjoy working in this fast-evolving medium. Information technology -- in the form of a wirelessly enabled laptop computer and the omnipresent cell phone -- has permanently changed the lifestyle of my family, particularly as the computer's value as an educational tool increases
Hand-Held Hand Hell
As if carpal tunnel wasn't bad enough - it appears we now have digit-specific repetitive stress to look forward to, or dodge as the case may be.
I guess this means I'd better steer clear of the BlackBerry and other such tiny-keyboarded gadgets. Rats. Just as I was beginning to warm up to the idea, too. It was hard enough getting over the aging eyesight issue, I mean, can you really read those things? I see peopl
Ink Is Thicker Than Water
The next time you dig into your pocket for $40 or $50 to buy a couple of cartridges for your inkjet printer, just remember -- the printer manufacturers don't enjoy charging such outrageous prices. They're only doing it to make you happy. Really. HP said so yesterday when it sued Cartridge World for supposedly violating a patent on its ink formulation.
The article included a quote from Pradeep Jotwani, senior vice president of supplies
askSam and the REAL Leonardo
askSam has posted Leonardo Da Vinci's Complete Notebooks in a free, searchable askSam database. The REAL Leonardo (not the Hollywood DiCaprio) thus joins Hamlet, HIPAA, and the published opinions of John Roberts -- in all the database company has built a library of almost two dozen texts available for searching online or for download along with its free askSam reader app.
askSam, in case you're not familiar with it, is a database manager that is especially good at handling freeform text. It's o
Kurzweil: World-Wide Mesh In World-Wide Web's Future
If CIOs think they have a challenging job today, look what's on the horizon.
In the fourth of a five-part interview, the IT innovator and futurist Ray Kurzweil sees the Internet rapidly evolving to a world-wide mesh, tied together by an unimaginable number of devices, including ones embedded in the environment, on our clothing, and inside our bodies. Devices now spokes on the network, such as cell phones and wireless PDAs, wil
My Apple Video iPod Arrived!
I'm sitting here staring at the FedEx "We're sorry we missed you!" door tag on my desk. The FedEx Express delivery person left it while I was out this morning. I can't pick-up the package until after 6 p.m., the tag reads, but I know what's inside.
Ray Kurzweil: Treating Machines As Living Entities
Let's assume that Ray Kurzweil's prediction comes true, that by mid-century, perhaps sooner, technology advances so rapidly that machines with human intellect, emotion, and self-awareness become a reality.
How do we treat these new beings? Are they alive? Do they have rights?
These are disturbing questions. An equally alarming one: What happens when people of ill will get hold of these machines?
In the third of a five-part podca
Microsoft's Patch Dilemma
Microsoft wants you to know it's making progress on the security of its software. It's feeling so comfortable, in fact, that last Thursday and Friday it held a meeting in Redmond and invited several security consultants to critique its performance.
Unfortunately, the PR value of the "Blue Hat" (the consultants aren't black hats -- the bad guys -- nor are they necessarily white hats -- the good guys, get it?) session was undercut by problems in Microsoft's most recent set of patches to fix secur
Why It's Wrong To Predict Failure For The Video IPod
A Web site called TVpredictions.com looks into its crystal ball and concludes that the video iPod will be a failure. Philip Swann, president of TVPredictions.com, really hates the idea. In what appears to be a press release, TVpredictions.com writes:
"The video iPod will be Steve Jobs' folly," Swann said. "Americans will not watch full-length videos -- or perhaps even short music videos -- on 2.5-inch screens on portable dev
Drive For More Storage Hits Even The PSP
Storage is cheap and getting cheaper all the time, which is driving up user expectations about just how much storage we "need." The mania for storage is hitting even Sony's diminutive PlayStation Portable (PSP). Datel is reportedly planning to ship later this month a 4 GB clip-on hard drive for the PSP, complete with kludgy add-on battery.
Is 4 GB enough? Of course not! Companies will start competing with each other t
Digital Rights and Wrongs
If you haven't read Fredric Paul's rant about Why Everyone Hates The Music Industry you should check it out.
Fred is reacting to a Forrester Research study that actually uses Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' famous five stages of death and dying as the framework for its analysis, but he goes further, and I think he's absolutely right.
Silicon Valley's Stanford University won the 132-mile, $2 million 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge autonomous vehicle robot race over the weekend.
The race was conceived and organized by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) -- the same folks who brought us a little thing called the Internet.
The Pentagon wants an unmanned car that can drive all by itself through a battlefield to deliver supplies, shoot at the enemy and rescue wounded soldiers -- all without human interve
Editing PDFs, Etc.
This just in from the Desktop Pipeline "What I Really Meant to Say" Department: In my e-mail newsletter this week I wrote an Editor's Note about recent developments in the open document format area -- the release of Star Office 8, the Massachusetts state government's decision against Microsoft Office, and Microsoft's announcement that it would offer PDF as an output format in Office 12 next year.
In the course of
The Delaware Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a group of anonymous bloggers in a defamation suit, saying in essence that free speech trumps defamation. (If that's true, there is no point to the concept of defamation.)
In his ruling, Delaware Chief Justice Myron Steele also compared anonymous Internet speech to anonymous political pamphleteering, a practice the U.S. Supreme Court has apparently found to be "an honorable tradition of advocacy and dissent." (Bad choice for comparison if you ask
Trojan Hits Sony PlayStation Portable
Symantec is alerting the press that it has identified the first trojan virus that targets Sony Playstation Portable game devices. The trojan, called Trojan.PSPBrick, is a "Category 1" threat (Category 5 being the worst), which is circulating in the wild, although there are no confirmed infections, according to Symantec.
Only Sony-approved games can run on the PSP without specially written unauthorized software. Hacks, however, allow users to run their own games. Trojan.PSPBrick presents itself
Sun/Google: Less Than Meets The Eye?
So what WAS that all about? Yesterday morning we're getting reports that Sun Microsystems and Google are going to announce something like a Web-based competitor to Microsoft Office, and then they hold a press conference and make a lot of hoo-ha about installing the Google Toolbar along with Sun's JRE, as in "Java Runtime Environment"? Doesn't that strike you as a little bit . . . lame?
Time Saving App
Listen to the enthusiasm in the voice of Brian Cantrill. The 31-year-old senior staff engineer at Sun Microsystems created DTrace for Sun's Solaris operating system. DTrace provides systems administrators with real-time software diagnostics.
For his work, MIT's
Hi, I'm back. Did you miss me? I took my first real vacation in a long time, went to Munich for Oktoberfest and on for a r-e-s-s-s-t-f-u-l-l-l week on the Aegean coast of Greece. It's interesting how different the perspective is from overseas. Other than my 16-year-old Greek nephew, who wanted to know about Vista and told me all about what he's doing with Bart PE, I didn't talk computers with anybody. Only my airplane reading did anything to satisfy my jones for PC news. But that was plenty.