Privacy Protection: Progress, Of Sorts
Reasonable minds can argue over the specifics in these bills, and they should. But whatever passes, and I do hope that happens soon, at least those bills form some sort of basis for nailing thieves and for holding accountable the companies that are the repositories of our most sensitive data. It also speaks to a beginning of a public policy of sorts.
Next Version of Google Talk Leaked
Screenshots and installation software for a major upgrade version of Google's instant messaging application, Google Talk, have apparently been leaked online. The new Google Talk appears to have "themes," color schemes and so on for how conversations look, and the equivalent of what rival AOL Instant Messenger calles "Buddy Icons." Here's a look at the screenshots.
Ethics Aren't Just For The Classroom
My colleague Paul McDougall has been taking quite a beating in the comments section of the InformationWeek Weblog for suggesting that it's a bad idea for executives to take massive gifts from vendors bidding on company business. Paul is making the crazy, wild-eyed assertion that bribery is, perhaps, ethically speaking, the nonoptimal solution. You might even say it's wrong.
The Nerdy Way To Better Health
As junk food, alcohol, cigarettes, prescription drugs and inactivity increasingly take their toll on our health, people are looking for ways to get healthy. Of course, there's no getting around the need to consume fewer toxic substances and excercise more. The good news is that you can employ gadgets and computers to help you out -- and make getting healthy easier and more fun.
Globalization, Or Sailed Ships And Election-Year Politics
The car's left the driveway on the globalization of IT, but the United States apparently still thinks it has the keys. International deals of all sizes have been coming under increasing scrutiny over supposed security questions, and the atmosphere doesn't seem to be getting better anytime soon. Well, at least until after November.
It Takes An Indian Village To Buy An Intel Laptop
Intel Corp. has dropped the other shoe in its defense of its laptop processor business against whatever threat Nicholas Negroponte's One-Laptop-Per-Child project poses.
In December Intel Chairman Craig Barrett bad-mouthed the $100 laptop Negroponte, founder of MIT's Media Lab, plans to distribute in Third World countries, and earlier this month Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, the other half of the "Wintel" combine, did the same thing.
Even though he dismissed Negroponte's design as "the $100 g
Big IT Takes Step To Influence Tech Policy In U.S.
Influencing public policy in Washington and throughout the country requires more than hiring K Street lobbyists to push a legislative agenda. Look at the success of the modern conservative movement in shaping public policy. Its roots date back to 1973 with the founding of the think tank, The Heritage Foundation. Big IT vendors are tearing a page out of the right-wing playbook by establishing their own think tank.
One-Gigabyte SD Card Costs Just $20
It's amazing how quickly the price of removable mobile storage drops. The price of Secure Digital (SD) cards is now so low you can buy one for $19.95 -- and shipping is free.
It Takes One To Know One, Stephen Toulouse
I am sorely tempted to heap ridicule on Stephen Toulouse, the program manager for the Microsoft Security Response Center who had the unmitigated gall to lecture Apple on how to do security alerts. But I won't. It's too easy. Mr. Toulouse doesn't need me piling on. He's self-satirizing. But I hope he and other Microsoft employees do learn a little lesson from this. Nobody from Microsoft has the right to tell anybody anything about secur
Dell and Alienware: A Mismatch Made In Heaven?
I've been trying to think of apt similes for "Dell Buys Alienware." It's like "Kia Buys Ferrari," or "J. Howard Marshall II Marries Anna Nicole Smith" -- something that at first glance seems sort of ridiculous, and the longer you think about it, the less sense it makes. Dell's been going through a bad patch and could use a shot of good PR, but is being laughed at the kind of PR it really wanted?
'V For Vendetta' Phone Coming To U.S.?
In the film "V For Vendetta," all the movie's office yuppies carried identical cell phones -- a sweet black and very thin rectangular gadget that (like all technology in the movie, including old-school Dell PCs) seemed oddly primitive for the year 2020, but that would nevertheless be a very cool phone to have now. And soon you may be able to buy one.
Disney To AT&T: Here, Hold My Wallet
How much more are you willing to pay for Internet service? If you're Robert Iger, the CEO of Walt Disney, apparently you're willing to pay billions. Iger appeared at TelecomNext yesterday in Las Vegas and said he didn't see a need for any net-neutrality legislation that would keep the big telecoms and cable companies from charging his company whatever they want to to deliver Disney's content to customers.
Gates Slings Mud at $100 PC, Winds Up Muddy
Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, stopped off in Washington yesterday to push his company's Origami project at his company's Government Leaders Forum. Although generally a pretty classy guy, Gates followed Intel Chairman Craig Barrett down the low road to take some cheap shots at Nicholas Negroponte's One-Laptop-Per-Child $100 laptop project as a way of building up Origami. Sorry, Bill, but when you got a dog that won't hunt
Can't We All Just Get Along (Online And In The Air)?
Manners, or rather, the lack of them, have been all over our news pages the last two weeks. The topics covered won't surprise anyone, although the proposed remedies might. And yet when all is said and done, what's really needed isn't some time-consuming legal maneuver or more reams of survey data, but rather a dose of good old common sense served up with a dollop of common courtesy.
Tech History Made Yesterday
Most of the Big Events in technology history appear big only in retrospect. For example, for technology historians the day Google.com first came online (September 15, 1997) is obviously a historic milestone. But at the time the number of people who were even aware of it was insufficient to form a basketball team. The date became important only because of what happened later. So remember the date March 14, 2006.
Keeping Kids Safe Online
These days, we're all somewhat wiser about the risks of online chat rooms. My girls are now helping their friends understand what they've learned about how to be more responsible young adults. However sad I am that they needed to have learned this particular lesson, I'm very glad they did.
Mini Displays Coming to Laptops
Most cool new clamshell cell phones these days have a big display inside, and a small one outside. The outside display shows the time, or Caller ID info. It's a great idea that people seem to like. Don't look now, but the same idea is coming to Windows-based notebook PCs!
Intermec Talks New RFID Products For 2006
From small portable printers to huge forklifts, Intermec Corp. will RFID-enable more mobile devices this year, says Mike Wills, Intermec's vice president of global services, radio frequency identification, and intellectual property.
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The Tech-Savvy Presidential Candidate
Mark Warner is mostly known within political circles these days as the anti-Hillary, but the ex-Democratic governor of Virginia has strong IT credentials that would make him the first former high-tech executive to call 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home. Of course, he faces numerous obstacles in his still-unannounced quest for the White House, most notably grabbing the Democratic Party nomination from front-runner Hillary Clinton, let alone ousting the GOP hold on the federal government.
Biggest And Smallest USB Drives Unveiled
Those handy USB memory drives -- which have largely replaced "floppies" for the quick-and-dirty transfer of files from one PC to another -- come in a variety of sizes and storage capacities. The current smallest size, and also the largest capacity, memory drives have been unveiled by two different companies at the giant German trade show, CeBIT.
You Can't Be Steve Jobs, But This Is Close
You want to be Steve Jobs. You can admit it. Everybody does. You want to wear the jeans, the black mock-turtleneck sweater, and the frameless eyeglasses. You want people to say your products are insanely great. You want to have a cult following.
Well, you can't be Steve, but you can create your own Steve Jobs presentation using the Steve Jobs Soundboard, mixing and matching Steve-isms like "We're super-excited about it" and "But there is one more
Origami, Or Microsoft Bob 2006
The most interesting thing about Origami is
how Microsoft manipulated bloggers and journalists into hyping it.
Far from the Transformer gadget hinted at (Eight toys in one! Changes
from iPod to camcorder to computer and back!), the device is just a
small Tablet PC. And Microsoft's only actual new product is a
software suite intended to further dumb down Windows XP's user
As I was picking through a stack of newspapers I was getting ready to recycle this past weekend, I kept seeing examples of how advances in high technology and its movement beyond the workplace are creating new opportunities for the good, the bad, and the ever rude. It's also starting to spur debate about appropriate applications of some of this technology, while also bringing to a head the issue of how best to deal with some of the fallout.
The kinds of questions that come to mind include:
But What About The One-Man Helicopters?
I think about the movie The Road Warrior whenever I pass through places where business users and students gather--coffee shops, airport gates, hotel lobbies, and trade show common areas.
In The Road Warrior, Mel Gibson and groups of scruffy post-nuclear mutants wandered the Australian outback, clad in fabulous leather couture, fighting for dwindling supplies of gasoline.
And that's the scene wherever people gather to use mobile computers. Those places are bleak, Darwinian lands
Finally: A Camera Phone For Klutzes
A cool, ruggedized and water-resistant camera phone that's very popular in Japan and Korea called the Casio Hitachi NX9200 was approved today by the FCC for sale in the United States. Here's why you're going to want this phone.
Origami PR Campaign Is a Puzzlement
Microsoft has done a masterful job of manipulating the buzz around its Origami project. It's got the press playing "Where Is Carmen Sandeiego," tracking a flurry of rumors and sightings of the diminutive touchscreen PC all around the world. Our Man In San Francisco, Paul Kapustka, even got a sighting of his own at the Intel Developer's Conference. And here are the pictures.
Free, Easy and LEGAL Phone Hacking (To Bypass IVR, Reach Human)
When you think of "hacking," you probably imagine a dark underground of technical criminals abusing computer skills to break into, steal or deface company data and web sites. When "hacking" is done with telephones, it's called "phreaking," and it's always just as illegal... Or is it? I'm going to tell you about an ethical form of phone phreaking that's legal, easy, free and -- best of all -- helps you escape from that prison of automated responses you get when you call many large companies.
RIM-Vs.-NTP: And The Winner Is . . . Neither
Who was the big winner in the RIM-NTP Inc. patent suit? It wasn't NTP. It looks to me like the patent troll folded and made a quick grab for some cash before RIM took it all off the table. And it wasn't RIM. The real damage to the BlackBerry company's business wasn't the $612-plus million it agreed to pay NTP. It was surely an amount several times that whatever dollar value you assign to the damage done to its customer relationships, which was considerable. So who was the big winner? My t
Podcast: Interview With Peter Rojas
Tech hardware blog Engadget turns two today, or so co-founder and editor-in-chief Peter Rojas reports. Coincidentally, Engadget is number two on Technorati's list of the most popular blogs.
I interviewed Peter Rojas for an upcoming Q&A in InformationWeek's print edition, and that conversation can be heard as a
Net Neutrality Finds A Champion
Just when I was gloomily thinking that the only politicians interested in net neutrality were those being paid by telcos and cable companies to bury it, something really unusual has happened: A senator has stepped forward to champion the interests of citizens rather than corporate lobbyists. Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, says he's introducing legislation to prohibit Internet network operators from charging companies for faster delivery of their content to Internet users.
When Is A Security Update Not A Security Update?
Question: when is a security update not a security update? Answer: when it's an update to Internet Explorer. Microsoft Tuesday released an update to IE that forces the user to explicitly approve the execution of some Active-X controls. That's a security update in my book. Microsoft is splitting hairs by saying it doesn't protect the browser. It protects the user, and that's what's important.
Microsoft Invents E-Mail You Use With Your Feet
Microsoft invests billions in its awesome research wing. Some of the inventions developed there are stunning -- awe inspiring. But one invention I discovered today is, well, not so hot. It's e-mail software that you manipulate with your feet using a Dance Dance Revolution game pad.