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The Media

Why WikiLeaks Is Unlike the Pentagon Papers 696

daveschroeder writes "The recent release of classified State Department cables has often been compared to the Pentagon Papers. Daniel Ellsberg, the US military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers, has said he supports WikiLeaks, and sees the issues as similar. Floyd Abrams is the prominent First Amendment attorney and Constitutional law expert who represented the New York Times in the landmark New York Times Co. v. United States (403 U.S. 713 (1971)) Supreme Court case, which allowed the media to publish the Pentagon Papers without fear of government censure. Today, Abrams explains why WikiLeaks is unlike the Pentagon Papers, and how WikiLeaks is negatively impacting journalism protections: 'Mr. Ellsberg himself has recently denounced the "myth" of the "good" Pentagon Papers as opposed to the "bad" WikiLeaks. But the real myth is that the two disclosures are the same.'"
Books

Analyzing Amazon's E-Book Loan Agreement 214

conel writes "The Economist has a knowledgeable mainstream take on the restrictions publishers are forcing on e-books. From the article: 'They wish you to engage in two separate hallucinations. First, that their limited license to read a work on a device or within software of their choosing is equivalent to the purchase of a physical item. Second, that the vast majority of e-books are persistent objects rather than disposable culture. ... Just as with music, DRM will be cracked. As more people possess portable reading devices, the demand and availability for pirated content will also rise. (Many popular e-books can now be found easily on file-sharing sites, something that was not the case even a few months ago, as Adrian Hon recently pointed out.)"
Communications

Forming New Mobile Networks With People-Borne Sensors 49

An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from Medical Daily: "Members of the public could form the backbone of powerful new mobile internet networks by carrying wearable sensors. According to researchers from Queen's University Belfast, the novel sensors could create new ultra high bandwidth mobile internet infrastructures and reduce the density of mobile phone base stations. The engineers from Queen's renowned Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT), are working on a new project based on the rapidly developing science of body centric communications."
Handhelds

The iPhone Serial Port Hack 217

An anonymous reader writes "The iPhone's little known secret, a hidden serial port, is revealed. 'The real benefit in all of this is that there are so many console packages for iPhone in Cydia now that you can have a fully functional computer, as useful as a Linux box, but without carrying around a laptop.'"
Data Storage

Are Consumer Hard Drives Headed Into History? 681

Lucas123 writes "With NAND flash fabricators ramping up production, per GB prices of solid state drives are expected to drop by more than half by this time next year to about 50 cents. Even so, consumers still look at three things when purchasing a computer: CPU power, memory size, and drive capacity, giving spinning disk the edge. SSD manufacturers like Samsung and SanDisk have tried but failed to change consumer attitudes toward choosing SSDs for their performance, durability and lower power use. But, with the release of the new MacBook Air (sans hard disk drive), Steve Jobs has joined the marketing push and may have the clout to shift the market away from hard drives, even if they're still an order of magnitude cheaper."
United States

US, China Working On Intellectual Property Rights 90

itwbennett writes "US Attorney General Eric Holder is visiting Beijing this week to discuss how China and the US can better coordinate efforts to stop intellectual property rights violations. 'One of the things that has happened in recent years is that counterfeiting has become a globalized industry,' said Christian Murck, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. To effectively shut down these operations, cross-country efforts at strengthening global enforcement like Holder's visit to China are crucial, he added. Coinciding with Holder's visit, China announced it will launch a new national campaign to crack down on intellectual property rights violations. The campaign will take aim at the production and distribution of pirated goods such as DVDs and software products. Violations relating to registered trademarks and patents will also be targeted. The campaign will last for half a year. The commercial value of pirated software in China, at $7.5 billion, is second only to that in the US, where it is $8.3 billion, according to the Business Software Alliance and IDC."
Canada

International Effort Brings an Open Standard For Docking In Space 140

FTL writes "Engineers from the US, Russia, Japan, Canada and Europe have come together to publish an International Docking Standard for spaceships. Currently the space station has three different types of incompatible docking ports, and the Chinese are developing their own. Standardizing on one type would permit interoperability and facilitate emergency rescues."
Communications

Facebook, Skype Getting Really Friendly 119

cgriffin21 writes "Facebook and Skype are reportedly in talks over a deal that would integrate Skype calling capabilities into Facebook user accounts. Such an agreement would give both Skype and Facebook not only a leg up on rival VoIP and social networking services from the likes of Google, but also the combined force of two Internet-based services beloved by consumers. The talks, which were reported by All Things Digital on Wednesday, stem from Facebook's goal of merging IP communications and social networking communities more closely together. Facebook in recent weeks had also been rumored to be developing a mobile device of its own."
Cellphones

Bloomberg Reports Facebook Building Android Smartphones 63

destinyland writes "Reports are surfacing of a Facebook-backed smartphone running Google's Android system, built by INQ (who also manufactures a phone for Skype). GigaOm's Om Malik says he's been aware of the project 'for quite some time,' and Bloomberg News (linked above) reported that Facebook will release two AT&T smartphones in 2011, first in Europe and then in America. (Adding that 25% of Facebook users access the social networking site with their wireless devices.) " Whether it's pure semantics or pure misdirection, as of yesterday, Facebook acknowledges work with INQ, but describes the collaboration as customization, rather than a phone of their own.
Businesses

ISPs Lie About Broadband "Up To" Speeds 547

Haffner writes "Ars Technica has an article detailing the difference between ISP advertised 'up to x Mbps' speeds and the actual speeds, in addition to some possible solutions. They find that on average, the advertised speeds were 'up to 6.7 Mbps' while the real median was 3 Mbps and the mean was 4 Mbps. This implies that ISPs were falsely advertising by at least 50%."
The Internet

New York To Get Free Wi-Fi Network Via Livery Cabs 86

AndyAndyAndyAndy writes "NYC may finally have a viable plan for free, ad-supported public Wi-Fi service. A company named LimoRes Car & Limo plans to roll out 1,000 cars with transmitters by the fall, and 20,000 by 2011, providing in-car Wi-Fi and externally with a radius of 200 feet. Each car will be able to support up to 16 separate connections. It may be a long shot to say this will provide complete coverage in Manhattan, but if each cab company in New York got onboard... although the brief article notes that the tougher regulation environment for taxicabs means that Wi-Fi won't be coming to Yellow Cabs any time soon."
Businesses

Xfire Purchased, Team Leaving 161

phorce phed and several other readers sent news that a system notification was sent out this evening through the Xfire IM client, to wit: "Xfire was bought by new owners today. Most of the team that has built Xfire over the last six years is leaving. We enjoyed working for you for the last 127 releases and wish we could stay to create the next 127. Good bye, good luck, and game on. — The Xfire Team." According to Wikipedia, the new owner is 3D Realms.
Transportation

Boeing's Hybrid Electric Airliner of the Future 152

fergus07 writes "Borne out of the same NASA research program that gave birth to MIT's D 'double bubble,' Boeing's Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research (SUGAR) Volt concept is a twin-engine aircraft design notable for its trussed, elongated wings and electric battery gas turbine hybrid propulsion system — a system designed to reduce fuel burn by more than 70 percent and total energy use by 55 percent. The goal of the NASA supersonic research program is to find aircraft designs that will significantly reduce noise, nitrogen oxide emissions, fuel burn and air traffic congestion by the year 2035."

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