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The Internet

ICANN To Allow .brandname Top-Level Domains 300

AndyAndyAndyAndy sends in this excerpt from a Reuters report: "Brand owners will soon be able to operate their own parts of the Web — such as .apple, .coke or .marlboro — if the biggest shake-up yet in how Internet domains are awarded is approved. After years of preparation and wrangling, ICANN, the body that coordinates Internet names, is expected to approve the move at a special board meeting in Singapore on Monday. ... The move is seen as a big opportunity for brands to gain more control over their online presence and send visitors more directly to parts of their sites — and a danger for those who fail to take advantage."

Windows 8 Previewed At D9 330

theodp writes "Mum's still the word on a shipping date for its new OS for laptops, desktops, and tablets ('touch slates' in MS-speak), but Microsoft on Wednesday gave the world a first look at the touch-friendly 'Windows 8' user interface, which sports a live tile-based Start screen reminiscent of the company's Windows Phone 7 interface. Also prominent in the demo was a large 'Store' tile, suggesting that Microsoft plans to offer Windows apps through a marketplace. A Microsoft video offers an overview of the interface, showcasing Win 8's multi-tasking capabilities and some other interesting features, including a virtual keyboard that can be switched from full-screen to a more ergonomic split-screen thumbs layout."

The Next Phase of Intelligent TVs Will Observe You 294

An anonymous reader writes "Japan based NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories (STRL) is testing an interface which observes TV viewers, determines their interest and provides information related to the TV program in accordance with the way they are watching it. UTAN (user technology assisted navigation) TV viewing interface, as it is called, has a camera mounted on the TV which photographs the viewer and estimates the viewer's degrees of interest, concentration, etc. The information is processed by a tablet PC and recommended information is shown to the viewer. It is possible to show individual interests as well, in case there are multiple viewers."

Sony Wants To Put Your Game Saves In the Cloud 224

itwbennett writes "Sony may be planning to have three platforms (Android devices, NGP, PS3) running PlayStation Suite content and needing access to the same saved data stored in the cloud, says blogger Peter Smith. At last week's PlayStation Meeting, game developer Hideo Kojima said his 'dream' was to offer the same game on the PS3 and the new PlayStation Portable with saves in the cloud. If Kotaku has it right, that dream may be coming in firmware version 3.6. Also, in an interview with Engadget, Sony's Jack Tretton first said that PlayStation Suite games would work on the PS3. He then retracted that comment, but it's sounding a lot like Sony just isn't ready to talk officially about plans to bring Suite content to the PS3, says Smith."

Obama Eyeing Internet ID For Americans 487

Pickens writes "CBS News reports that the Obama administration is currently drafting the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which will be released by the president in the next few months. 'We are not talking about a national ID card,' says Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, whose department will be in charge of the program. 'We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.' Although details have not been finalized, the 'trusted identity' may take the form of a smart card or digital certificate that would prove online users are who they say they are. These digital IDs would be offered to consumers by online vendors for financial transactions. White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt says that anonymity and pseudonymity will remain possible on the Internet. 'I don't have to get a credential if I don't want to,' says Schmidt. There's no chance that 'a centralized database will emerge,' and 'we need the private sector to lead the implementation of this.'"

What If We Ran Universities Like Wikipedia? 380

Pickens writes "Do university bureaucracies still make sense in the era of networks? At the recent Educause conference, David J. Staley laid out the findings of a focus group he conducted asking educators what a college would look like if it operated like Wikipedia. The 'Wiki-ized University' wouldn't have formal admissions, says Staley; people could enter and exit as they wished and the university would consist of voluntary and self-organizing associations of teachers and students 'not unlike the original idea for the university, in the Middle Ages.' In addition, the curriculum of the 'Wiki-ized University' would be intellectually fluid, and instead of tenure, professors' longevity 'would be determined by the community.' Staley predicts that a new form of academic organization is emerging that will be driven by volunteerism. 'We do see some idea today of how "volunteer teaching" might look: think of the faculty at a place like the University of Phoenix. Most teaching faculty have day jobs — and in fact are hired because they have day jobs — and teach at the university for a nominal stipend,' writes Staley. 'If something like the Phoenix model is what develops in a wiki-ized university setting, this would suggest that a new type of "professorate" will emerge, consisting of those who teach or publish or conduct research for their own personal or professional satisfaction or for some other nonmonetized benefit.'"

Like Google's Chrome, Mozilla To Silently Update Firefox 4 287

CWmike writes "Taking a page from rival Google's playbook, Mozilla plans to introduce silent, behind-the-scenes security updating to Firefox 4. The feature, which has gotten little attention from Mozilla, is currently 'on track' for Firefox 4, slated to ship before the end of the year. Firefox 4's silent update will only be offered on Windows, Mozilla has said. Most updates will be downloaded and installed automatically without asking the user or requiring a confirmation. 'We'll only be using the major update dialog box for changes like [version] 4 to 4.5 or 5," said Alex Faaborg, a principal designer on Firefox, in the '' forum. 'Unfortunately users will still see the updating progress bar on load, but this is an implementation issue as opposed to a [user interface] one; ideally the update could be applied in the background.' Unlike Google, Mozilla will let users change the default silent service to the more traditional mode, where the browser asks permission before downloading and installing any update."

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