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Monthly Archives: October 2009

The First White Spaces Devices are Up

White spaces, internet connectivity services that run in the unused portion of the television spectrum, have been called "WiFi on steroids" by Google founder, Larry Page. For years, IT companies like Dell, Google and Microsoft have campaigned in favor of opening up the spectrum for data service, specifically broadband internet access. But of course, the broadcasting industry has just as long been vehemently opposing the idea, spending huge quantities of money on FUD advertising campaigns meant to convice consumers that white spaces would harm their television quality. Back in November, 2008, the FCC made a surprising call when it allowed internet service carriers and other vendors to deploy devices in the unlicensed white spaces spectrum at up to 100 milliwats, but only up to 40 milliwats on white space spectrum which lies adjacent to TV channels. More dependable than WiFi, white spaces can support bigger bandwidths for... --

Barnes & Noble Releases the Nook Against Kindle

Today, pictures and details about Barnes and Noble’s forthcoming e-book reader leaked, and it looks exciting, both inside and out. On sale next Tuesday, it looks set to take the wind right out of the Kindle's sails. Named the “Nook,” Barnes & Noble's reader strongly resembles Amazon’s white plastic e-book, except for the chiclet-keyboard being replaced by a multicolor touch screen, which can be used as a keyboard or for book browsing, cover-flow style. The reader runs Google’s Android OS, as well as coming equipped with wireless capability whose carrier remains unspecified. The Nook also rings up at the same $260 the Kindle goes for. Gizmodo leaked the images, but they also have information about Barnes & Noble's plans to heavily discount titles in their electronic format, which is as it should be. The Nook will also... --

Research Group Develops Sonar Power Saving Technology

At the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University, a research group has developed a unique new way for your computer to detect whether or not a user is present, and are presently looking for test subjects willing to try it out and see just how much power it can save. Using your computer’s existing hardware, the microphone and speakers more precisely, echolocation software will determine whether you’re watching a movie (present) or getting a snack (away). Discussions among the group led to the idea of using sonar, as well. Developing software that, when the user is not using the mouse or keyboard, plays a tone at a high frequency and records the tone’s echo, the computer then has the ability to process the tone and filter out everything except that frequency and detects any variance. The software can... --

iTunes Store Banished Indies from LP

For now, the iTunes LP Marketplace is effectively closed to indie artists. A Chicago-based indie label called Chocolate Lab Records recently contacted Apple with requests to begin setting up iTunes LP albums for their artists, but were told that major labels are the only ones being considered, and that regardless, there's a $10,000 design fee that's expected up front. Most of the controversy has been focused on the subject of this large dollar figure, which has caused confusion amongst iTunes users and indie music lovers. When it comes to design, one usually gets what they pay for, and it's certain that the slick iTunes LP offerings currently in the store are actually worth that $10,000 price tag. The puzzle has more to do with Apple taking that money for design in the first place. iTunes LP... --

IBM the Subject of DOJ Antitrust Inquiry

IBM is reportedly facing an antitrust inquiry from the U.S. Department of Justice. Recent actions the company has taken in the mainframe computer market have caught the DOJ's attention, according to the trade group that filed the complaint, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA).

The DOJ has issued formal requests for information related to a complaint that was filed against IBM in September. CCIA's problem with IBM is related to the company's refusal to issue licenses for IBM's mainframe OS to its competitors. In some cases, IBM has rescinded the OS license from customers when they attempt to switch from IBM mainframe hardware to a competitor's. The DOJ had a long-standing antitrust consent decree with IBM, but abandoned it in 2001. Several midsized companies have intentions to compete with IBM in the... --

Planted Hotmail Password May Have Flushed Out Phishers

Today, a security researcher said that recently leaked Hotmail passwords may already have been used in a plot involving fake Chinese electronics and cheating users out of cash and credit card information. The suspect messages claim to be for an electronics retailer in China, and provide a link to its site which appears to be legitimate but is simply a front. Consumers caught up in the scam have reported that they never received the goods they ordered. The link to these Hotmail passwords is circumstantial, but still credible. The researcher speculated that the scammers had simply taken advantage of the apparent work of other criminals, swiping the account information from the Web and using those compromised accounts to send spam. Microsoft and Google say they have blocked the specific accounts, and both companies were eager to point... --

Behind Bars Hacker Causes Confusion

An imprisoned hacker managed to shut down a prison's entire computer system - after wardens gave him the task of programming it. 27 year old Douglas Havard is serving six years for stealing £6.5million with forged credit cards over the internet. Reports state that he was approached after governors decided to create an internal TV station, but realized they needed a special computer program to be written. Havard was left unguarded, and surprisingly, hacked into the prison system's hard drive at Ranby Prison, outside of Retford, Notts. He then set up a series of passwords so that no one else would be able to get into the system. This blunder was reported only a week after the Sunday Mirror revealed that an inmate at the same prison managed to somehow get a key cut that opened every single... --

Apple Loves Copyright Law

Woolworth's insists that its new logo is simply a stylised 'W', meant to resemble a piece of fresh produce, but Apple thinks it is an apple, and the California-based tech company plans to stop Australia's largest retailer from using it at all. A legal challenge to prevent Woolworths from using the logo has been mounted by Apple, even though the logo already marks its trucks, stores and products. Apple will have to convince IP Australia, the country's federal government agency governing trademarks, to reject Woolworths's trademark application, first filed in August of last year. The application includes a wide berth for all electrical goods and technology, putting it in direct competition with Apple if the retailer ever decides to brand computers or music players. Woolworths has already branched out to credit cards and mobile phones, so... --

Court Orders Served via Twitter

The High Court in the UK has granted permission for an injunction to be served via the social-networking site Twitter. The order to be served is against an anonymous Twitter user who posts to the site using the same name as a right-wing political blogger named Donal Blaney. The order demands that the anonymous Twitter user reveal their identity as well as no longer posing as Donal Blaney, who blogs at a site called Blaney's Blarney.This is all on the grounds that posting as someone else breaches copyright laws. Mr Blaney turned to Twitter to serve the injunction after realizing how lengthy the process of contacting Twitter headquarters in California and asking them to remedy the matter would be. Luckily for Blaney, UK law states that an injunction can be served in person... --

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