Tech News Daily

Thursday, September 29, 2005

USA to UN - The Internet is Ours and You Can't Have it.

A senior U.S. official rejected calls on Thursday for a U.N. body to take over control of the main computers that direct traffic on the Internet, reiterating U.S. intentions to keep its historical role as the medium's principal overseer.

"We will not agree to the U.N. taking over the management of the Internet," said Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department. "Some countries want that. We think that's unacceptable."

A stalemate over who should serve as the principal traffic cops for Internet routing and addressing could derail the summit, which aims to ensure a fair sharing of the Internet for the benefit of the whole world.

Some countries have been frustrated (boo - hoo bitches) that the United States and European countries that got on the Internet first gobbled up most of the available addresses required for computers to connect, leaving developing nations with a limited supply to share.

They also want greater assurance that as they come to rely on the Internet more for governmental and other services, their plans won't get derailed by some future U.S. policy.

One proposal that countries have been discussing would wrest control of domain names from the U.S.-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, and place it with an intergovernmental group, possibly under the United Nations.

Gross dismissed it as unacceptable, and I for one am glad he did.

"We've been very, very clear throughout the process that there are certain things we can agree to and certain things we can't agree to," Gross told reporters at U.N. offices in Geneva. "It's not a negotiating issue. This is a matter of national policy."

The UN has demonstrated it's complete and utter incompetence over the last few years and in my opinion is one bad decision away from being deemed completely worthless.

Earlier today I contacted Al Gore for his take on the issue. He was unavailable for comment but his secretary send the following image in response to my inquiry:

Apparently Al still thinks he owns the Internet. Seems fair, after all, didn't he create the Internet in the first place?

My Beer is Empty and I'm too Drunk to Order Another

It's been a problem of mine ever since I turned 16...err I mean 21. Your hanging out at the local bar and have had 25 too many. You really want another, but that case you just put down in the past 5 hours has impaired your ability to articulate your desires to the bartender.

Two students in Germany have invented a beer mat that knows when a glass is nearly empty and automatically asks for a refill on your behalf. Andreas Butz of the University of Munich and Michael Schmitz from Saarland University came up with the idea while out drinking with their students.

Andreas and Michael say the beer mat could also be used for interactive TV events, as it contains an accelerometer capable of sensing when it is being waved in the air.

"I've been discussing this with a friend of mine who is an expert pub goer," Butz told New Scientist. "He mentioned that the pay-TV companies who broadcast soccer games are desperately looking for ways to make TV an interactive experience. Betting on actual sports events with the mat could add such interactivity."

The researchers believe the smart mat could even be used in pub games: "One important direction which needs further investigation is the large body of drinking games which has developed in certain cultures and how they can be supported using our beer mat."

Today is truly a great day for beer drinkers everywhere. In honor of this history altering invention everyone reading this should cut out of work early today and have a round of beers in honor of our German friends.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Gmail...My One and Only

I've been using Gmail in a limited fashion ever since the first few weeks it was released. At this point, I have a few months of Gmail experience under my belt and made a somewhat "drastic" move over the weekend - I forwarded all my active e-mail accounts (at last count about 50) to my Gmail account.

I have bashed free e-mail services for years. Hotmail sucks almost as much as Yahoo. I'll save all the details of just how much, and why, they suck for another post. Gmail on the other hand has really won me over.

When you have 50 + e-mail accounts and about that same number of logins/interfaces to work with it can really be a pain in the ass. Between all my accounts I probably get 200 e-mails a day that I actually want - that number does not include spam. I found myself spending hours and hours of my day logging in to various accounts and replying to e-mails. Not to mention that the organization of my accounts was horrible. Inboxes with hundreds and hundreds of e-mails were not uncommon. Finding old e-mails was a joke as the search functionality of just about every web based app, and Outlook, is atrocious. What I wanted - correction - what I needed, was a single interface/app to manage all of e-mail. It had to be reliable and available on any PC with an internet connection and had to have pop access so I could check it with my mobile device. When you get 200 e-mails a day storage is also an issue.

Enter Gmail.

After months of testing, as I mentioned earlier, I made the call over this past weekend to forward every single on of my e-mail accounts to my Gmail account. Sitting here today I can say with all sincerity it's one of the best e-mail decisions I've made in a long, long time. What are Gmail's perks you ask? Check out this feature set.

To me, the most important feature is pop access. Now that Gmail has it (it didn't always) I can get my mail on my Treo 650 without navigating to Gmail through the web interface. Gmail's spam filter is top notch and I have only experienced one period of downtime that lasted about 5 minutes over the past few months.

The biggest thing to get use to when using Gmail is never deleting your messages and not using folders to sort your mail. You can delete them but there's really no need to. I archive everything. Gmail's search is powered by the same engine that powers Google's search - in short it's awesome. There is no need to create separate folders for different e-mail anymore. Just archive everything and search for it when you need it. The search is lightning fast too.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Bluetooth Wireless Technology

Often times when I'm working with a client the subject of Bluetooth wireless technology comes up. I'm surprised that most people really don't have a clue what this technology is and the practical applications for it's use.

Let's start by defining Bluetooth wireless technology:

Define Bluetooth Wireless technology: A technology specification for linking portable computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and mobile phones for short-range transmission of voice and data across a global radio frequency band without the need for cables or wires. Bluetooth is a frequency hopping technology in the 2.4GHz frequency spectrum, with a range of 30 feet.

My most common use of Bluetooth wireless...a wireless headset for one of my phones. Comes in handy. I get a horrible signal in one part of my house on my cell phone. I set the cell phone in the part of the house that gets a solid signal then I'm free to roam 30 or so feet away from the phone and carry on my conversation.

Palm to Launch Windows Based Treo Today

The previously unthinkable is set to happen today. It is rumored that palm is set to announce a Treo PDA/mobile phone running the Microsoft Windows operating system.

The announcement is set to be made in San Francisco where Palm, Microsoft and US telco Verizon are planning to hold a joint press conference. At the conference, Palm will announce that it will be dropping the PalmSource operating system in favor of Windows Mobile 5.0.

More to follow as the product is announced.

I'm still in a little shock...never though we would see the day when Palm & Microsoft teamed up. I guess money really does talk.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Let Google Make Your WiFi More Secure

Google announced a new beta product today...Google Secure Access. As a company, Google continues to impress me with their innovation.

What does Google Secure Access do?

"Google Secure Access is a downloadable client application that allows users to establish a more secure WiFi connection."

Why would you want to use Google Secure Access?

"Google Secure Access allows you to establish a more secure connection while using Google WiFi. By using Google Secure Access, your internet traffic will be encrypted, preventing others from viewing the information you transmit."

I haven't used it yet but plan to give it a whirl in the next couple days. If you beat me to the punch feel free to post your comments and let our readers know what you think.

Monday, September 19, 2005

There Should be a Test

From time to time I do a little computer repair work in and around the Chicago area. I get to see first hand what the "average" computer user with a new broadband account can do to a PC.

Most of the time when I first visit a new client they have similar setups. They usually have a newer PC - Dell seems to be the most common. They have a broadband connection that is less than month old. If the computer actually has any sort of anti virus protection it's a trial version of the worst software known to man, Norton. 9 times out of 10 it's using an old virus database and isn't set for any type of autoupdate or scan. I'm sure it goes without saying, but there's no anti spyware solution installed. Like the anti virus software, if it is installed, it's not configured properly and is basically just taking up hard drive space.

While the above is bad it's not the most common element all these folks share - that would be the complete lack of any sort of firewall - the exception being the Windows Firewall in XP's SP2. Basically what the "average" user has is a nice Dell zombie spam machine infested with virus and spyware exploits. It's usually bad enough that the machine is running like a 10 year old box running Windows 3.1 that hasn't had a ounce of maintenance performed on it....ever.

The whole point of this rant is that I think there should be a test people have to take before they can get a broadband connection. You have to pass a test to drive a car...why not to own a broadband connection? Some of these people just have no clue that they are one of the reasons it's so easy for spammers and virus authors to operate. They are quite simply, fucking up the Internet for those of us who took 30 minutes to educate ourselves on what our computer can actually do and how to prevent some common problems.

Ok, so the odds of a test ever being implemented are tiny but there's another solution...ISP's should require that users have a hardware based firewall. It should come as part of the install/setup package.

Friday, September 16, 2005

What Nintendo Has In Store

Ok so I guess this is what the Nintendo Revolution's (next gen) controller will look like. Personally this looks like crap. Why have a wire from one part to the other on a wireless controller? Better yet why not make it one piece?

Maybe this venture will turn out good for Nintendo, but I highly doubt it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Google's New Blog Search

Sometimes I want to narrow my search to get information from certain areas - like Blogs. Today I noticed that Google has a released a new Google Blog Search tool to help people do just that.

It includes some pretty cool new search operators like:


So if you wanted to find a blog entry that included the phrase "ipod nano" in the post title you would type inposttitle:ipod nano in the search box.

It's new,and like everything else Google releases, still beta. The initial index/results need some work. Some of the test searches I ran this morning returned the same blog over 80% of the time within the first 100 results.

I expect Google's blog search will only improve as time passes. At least they know about this blog already.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Microsoft Vista, Next Office & IE7

I won't go into great can get that here.

Office 12 should be nice. God knows I use all the office apps so much that even a small increase in productivity makes a huge difference for me.

I'm more interested in Internet Explorer getting upgraded (IE7)....tabbed browsing is looooooong overdue.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Where's Your Blog

Today's entry will be short and to the point...why on earth don't you have a blog yet? Blogging is almost as common as e-mail - as a matter of fact there's one new blog created every second of every day!

So turn off your VCR and head over to Blogger to make your very own blog. An 8 year old kid could do it - it's really that easy.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

6.8 GHZ, 1 TB RAM, and 2 TB Hard Drive

AtomChip has announced a SUPER NOTEBOOK COMPUTER, THE AtomChip SG220-2.

Features to note are as follows:
  • 6.8 GHZ Processor
  • 1 TB NvIOpSRAM (Quantum-Optical non-volatile RAM)
  • 2 TB NvIOpRAM-ATA IDE Storage
  • 802.11 a/b/g Wireless
  • Bluetooth
  • GPRS
  • 1 Megapixel Camera
  • 4-in-1 card reader

All of this only weighs in at ~4 lbs, and has a battery life of 8 hours. I know what just took the top slot on my list to Santa...

More news here, and now here...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

iPod Phone Buzz Pushes Apple up 5%

Apple shares climbed as high as $48.88 today, a new record.

Apple and Motorola are expected to announce a mobile phone that will include Apple's technology for downloading songs from the Internet (iTunes) onto portable music players, and have scheduled a press event in San Francisco for Wednesday, September 7th.

The new iPod phone will be available at first only through Cingular least according to news reports for last week.

The iPod controls 75% of the market for portable music devices, and investors are betting that the new product will help Apple protect its dominant position as cell-phone makers look to build digital music capability into their products.

Apple has sold more than 20 million iPods since 2001, but that's a fraction of the hundreds of millions of cell phones that are sold each year. Grabbing a segment of this market would be huge for Apple, and it's investors.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Gabe Newell Criticizes Next Gen Consoles

Gabe Newell has recently stated his mind on how Microsoft and Sony have made it harder on the developers of next gen console games. He says that the coding is much harder, thus the price of coding is going up. Also the difference in cpu's will greatly hinder cross platform games.

Some people are now thinking that pc gaming will make a comeback. This is very contrary to the thought of just a few months ago, that the next gen consoles will kill pc gaming.(like it will ever happen)