XueCast writes "The federal government has announced that they will release new electronic Passport cards in either April or May 2008. The cards could be read wirelessly from up to 20 feet away, which could reduce the waiting time at border checkpoints. Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State For Passport Services, Ann Barrett said, "As people are approaching a port of inspection, they can show the card to the reader, and by the time they get to the inspector, all the information will have been verified and they can be waved on through.""
Exactly. I don't sift through every page and Adblock everything. One, it would be a waste of my time, and two, I actually do click on a few ads every once and a while. I use Adblock to get rid of "annoying" ads, like the ones screaming into my speakers that I won a free iPod Nano, or the ones who make huge flash overlays over half the page so I can't read the damn article. It's not immoral, it's pushback.
eldavojohn writes "Reuters is running a story on a study that claims "Online video sites that sell shows and movies such as Apple Inc.'s iTunes will likely peak this year as more programming is made available on free outlets supported by advertising." Many channels have wised up to offering their content hosted from their own sites for free — with commercials — to cut out iTunes as the middle man. End result? Predictions that services like iTunes-Video have no future."
netbuzz writes "A problem with Google's Personalized Home Page feature has apparently cost a lot of users their carefully crafted doors to the Internet. And Google, which says it is frantically searching for a fix, also acknowledges that it is not sure if it will be able to recover the lost settings. 'The problem is the latest in what seems a regular stream of technical glitches and availability problems affecting Google's online services. In the past six months, Google services like Blogger, Gmail and Google Apps have all experienced significant technical issues that have left users fuming. The problems highlight one of the risks of relying on hosted applications providers, which offer to house software and its data for individuals and organizations. Google is one of the biggest cheerleaders for this software provisioning model, which many see as a viable option to the traditional approach of having users install applications on their own PCs and servers.'"
cshamis writes "T-Mobile has recently changed their policies and now tell their customers with appropriate data plans and with Java-Micro-App-capable T-Mobile phones: no third-party network applications. You can, of course, still use their incredibly clunky and crippled built-in WAP browsers, but GoogleMaps and OperaMini are left high and dry. Would anyone care to speculate if this move is likely to retain or repel customers?"
Patrick Robib, a blogger who wrote his own blogging engine called Forest Blog recently noticed that none other than the MPAA was using his work, and had completely violated his linkware license by removing all links back to the Forest Blog site, not crediting him in any way. The MPAA blog was using the Forest Blog software, but had completely stripped off his name, and links back to his site. He only found about it accidentally when he happened to visit the MPAA site.
ageor writes "It seems (not only) to me that DRM is about far more than intellectual property. It's also about monopoly and freedom of choice. It's one of those cases where we, the consumers, must decide against accepting the new industry's rules, which care only about control and making money. The whole matter is very well put in DRM, Vista and your rights, where you can follow the subject as deeply as you like through the numerous relevant links."
jcatcw writes "Mike Elgan at Computerworld lists six reasons why it was a mistake to make the iPhone keynote at Macworld. He argues that extremely high expectations can only lead to disappointment for consumers and investors. The focus on the phone during the keynote also took away from the Apple TV announcement, put iPod sales at risk, gave competitors a head start, and (perhaps worst of all) ruined the company's talks with Cisco over the iPhone name. From the article: 'The iPhone, despite its many media-oriented virtues and its sweet design, will do far less than most existing smart phones. The problem Apple now faces because of Jobs' premature detail-oriented announcement is that of dashed expectations. When customers expect more and don't get it, they become dissatisfied.'"
netbuzz writes "British news reports say insurgents are using Google Earth to pinpoint vulnerable targets within bases in Iraq. Could Google be doing more to prevent this? Should they be doing more? They certainly could explain more."
Joe Drago writes "I purchased a Mac Pro within the first week that they were available, and immediately upgraded to 3GB of RAM (knowing that OSX loves memory). When playing 3D games (World of Warcraft mainly), the game would Kernel Panic the machine if I had played it for a few hours, or if I swapped in and out of the game a few times, etc. I eventually found out (from an official Blizzard poster) that NVidia has a bug in their drivers that kernel panics a Mac Pro if any memory past the 2GB boundary is addressed in the driver. After waiting months for a resolution to this, I decided to post on Apple's support site. Here is an image of my post.. Within a few hours, they removed it from the site, placing it under 'Posts Removed by Administration.' What's going on here? Is Apple trying to hide this bug, or is there something more serious going on between Apple and NVidia?"
gloom writes "In 2000 the Finnish demoscene musician Janne Suni (also known as 'Tempest') won the Oldskool Music Competition at the Assembly demoparty with his four-channel Amiga .MOD entitled 'Acid Jazzed Evening.' A Commodore 64 musician called 'grg' remade the song on the C64 (using the infamous SID soundchip); it is this that was stolen. The producer's name is Timbaland and he is one of the hottest names in American music these days. The track in question is called 'Do it' and it is featured on the Nelly Furtado album 'Loose' on the Geffen label. Getting nowhere with Geffen, the demoscene has now risen to the aid of Tempest, first by creating a stir at SomethingAwful (files downloadable from the forum), then at Digg.com, then on YouTube, with a video demonstrating the blatant ripoff. Being an online-posting musician myself — what rights do I have if this should ever happen to me, and what can be done to raise awareness about such things?"
mrspin offers the opinion of ZDNet blogger Steve O'Hear that users may soon tire of social networks — if they don't open up and embrace standards allowing greater interoperability among the different networks. O'Hear writes: "Unless the time required to sign-in, post to, and maintain profiles across each network is reduced, it will be impossible for most users to participate in multiple sites for very long." In an earlier post he went into more detail on the same subject, with extensive opinions from four creators of social networks. A contrary data point comes from the Apophenia blog, in a post noting the tendency among young users to create ephemeral profiles, and not to mind at all if they have to re-enter data. "Teens are not looking for universal anything; that's far too much of a burden if losing track of things is the norm." What does Slashdot think — is data portability among social networking sites a big deal or not?
pin_gween writes to point us to a report in the Telegraph that British travelers using a credit card to purchase their ticket may now have their credit card and email accounts inspected by US authorities. This has been true since October, when the US and the EU agreed about what information the US could demand from airlines and how this information would be handled. But details of the agreement only recently came to light following a Freedom of Information request. The US says it will "encourage" US carriers to reciprocate to any requests by European governments. From the article: "[T]he Americans are entitled to 34 separate pieces of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data... Initially, such material could be inspected for seven days but a reduced number of US officials could view it for three and a half years. Should any record be inspected during this period, the file could remain open for eight years...'It is pretty horrendous, particularly when you couple it with our one-sided extradition arrangements with the US,' said [a human rights activist]. 'It is making the act of buying a ticket a gateway to a host of personal email and financial information. While there are safeguards, it appears you would have to go to a US court to assert your rights.'"