Nrbelex writes: "A team at the University of Michigan and Microsoft Research has uncovered, for the first time, the frequently suboptimal network practices of more than 100 cellular carriers.
By recruiting almost 400 volunteers to run an app on their phones that probes a carrier's networks, the team discovered, for example, that one of the four major U.S. carriers is slowing its network performance by up to 50 percent. They also found carrier policies that drained users' phone batteries at an accelerated rate, and security vulnerabilities that could leave devices open to complete takeover by hackers." Link to Original Source
Nrbelex writes: "Google and Verizon are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege... Any agreement between Verizon and Google could also upend the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to assert its authority over broadband service, which was severely restricted by a federal appeals court decision in April.... People close to the negotiations who were not authorized to speak publicly about them said an agreement could be reached as soon as next week. If completed, Google, whose Android operating system powers many Verizon wireless phones, would agree not to challenge Verizon’s ability to manage its broadband Internet network as it pleased." Link to Original Source
Nrbelex writes: "The New York Times is running a profile of Intellectual Ventures, the largest company within the category of firms that hold patents, but do not make products. Nathan Myhrvold, leader of Microsoft's technology development in the 1990s and current chief of the company claims the patent world is a vastly underdeveloped market, starved for private capital and too dependent on federal financing for universities and government agencies, which is mainly aimed at scientific discovery anyway. Eventually, he foresees patents being valued as a separate asset class, like real estate or securities. Yet while Mr. Myhrvold is saying one thing, his company’s main activity is quite another, according to Mark Bohannon, general counsel and senior vice president for public policy for the Software and Information Industry Association." Link to Original Source
Nrbelex writes: The New York Times reports in this week's Science section that hardware and software trojan kill switches are an increasing concern, and may have already been used. 'A 2007 Israeli Air Force attack on a suspected partly constructed Syrian nuclear reactor led to speculation about why the Syrian air defense system did not respond to the Israeli aircraft. Accounts of the event initially indicated that sophisticated jamming technology was used to blind the radars. Last December, however, a report in an American technical publication, IEEE Spectrum, cited a European industry source in raising the possibility that the Israelis might have used a built-in kill switch to shut down the radars. Separately, an American semiconductor industry executive said in an interview that he had direct knowledge of the operation and that the technology for disabling the radars was supplied by Americans to the Israeli electronic intelligence agency, Unit 8200.' Link to Original Source
Barence writes: "Mozilla is planning to include simple-text commands and desktop web apps in the next version of Firefox. Firefox 3.2 will see the company build the Mozilla Labs project, Ubiquity, into the browser, allowing users to type natural language phrases into the browser to perform certain tasks, such as typing "map 10 Downing Street" to instantly see a Google map of that address. It will also include "lightweight theming" for customising the browser design, and elements of another Labs project called Prism, which allows you to turn web apps such as Gmail into pseudo desktop apps which are accessed from the Windows desktop or Start menu. "We're looking for more pure innovation than just incrementally getting better. It's nice to try stuff where we don't know if it's going to work."" Link to Original Source
Nrbelex writes: "The writings, books and other possessions of Theodore Kaczynski, the serial killer known as the Unabomber, will be sold in an Internet auction to pay restitution to several of his victims. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco rejected Kaczynski's arguments, filed from federal prison, that the government's sale of his writings violates his freedom of expression. Copies will be given to the University of Michigan, per his wishes."
Interesting... similarly... "New technology developed by Emory and Georgia Tech researchers could aid the early identification of people susceptible to Alzheimer's disease.
A portable device called Detect may provide an easier, less expensive way to test for mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which often leads to Alzheimer's. The test could provide potential Alzheimer's patients the chance to slow the disease's progress with medication before serious symptoms set in."
Check out the nearly identical picture.