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From: Frank A. Coluccio10/26/2011 2:26:27 PM
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Progress slow in city's $2B plan for 911 call center even after request for help for NASA


fac: and to think, they scoffed at Twitter...


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From: axial10/26/2011 8:09:19 PM
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It’s time to admit that journalists are human beings

'The recent furor over NPR host Lisa Simeone’s involvement in a Washington-based offshoot of the “Occupy Wall Street” protests has drawn attention again to the issue of whether journalists should be allowed to have — and express — their opinions about social issues. Some believe that “transparency is the new objectivity,” in the words of author David Weinberger, and that this is appropriate in an age when the web allows for a multiplicity of voices. Former Slate media critic Jack Shafer also falls into this camp, and says the days of asking journalists to pretend that they are automatons without opinions should be coming to an end.


As Shafer said in the Poynter discussion, having reporters and other journalists disclose their views and opinions actually makes it easier for readers and listeners to determine whether they want to trust their reporting — and as David Weinberger noted in his post about transparency, the web allows for the inclusion of links and other features that make it easier for users to check facts and come to their own conclusions. Objectivity, he said, is “a trust mechanism you rely on when your medium can’t do links.” It’s time we allowed journalists to be human beings, both online and off.'


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From: axial10/26/2011 8:17:02 PM
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Mitsubishi Builds a Bubble Boat For Better Efficiency

' The boats, to be completed by 2014, rely on Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ proprietary Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System (MALS). The setup uses massive blowers to create a layer of bubbles underneath an already streamlined hull in order to further reduce friction.

Mitsubishi claims that MALS can reduce CO2 emissions by a quarter compared with conventional dry bulk carriers. Considering the ships will carry about 100,000 tons including cargo, fuel and crew, that’s a significant reduction.'


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From: LindyBill10/27/2011 1:54:35 PM
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Hands On: India’s $35 Android tablet, the Aakash, lands in America By Chikodi Chima of VentureBeat, Published: October 26 This piece originally appeared in VentureBeat.

The Indian government thinks the $35 Aakash Android tablet has the power to change the world. After testing one out, we’d tend to agree.

An Aakash tablet was brought to the VentureBeat office on Tuesday by Vivek Wadhwa, a Washington Post columnist and visiting professor at the University of California at Berkley and Duke. Wadhwa, who is researching the Indian education system, was given the tablet by Kapil Sibal, the Indian minister of human resources and development, who has been the driving force behind the tablet project. The device (whose name means “Sky” in Hindi) was produced entirely in India — a point of pride for the Indian government.

The 7-inch Android-based device will be distributed at a government subsidized price of $35, making it the world’s cheapest Android device. The general retail price will be $60, which is still remarkably cheap for such a powerful device. A contract between the Indian government and Canadian development partner DataWind, should put between 10 and 12 million devices in the hands of students across India by the end of 2012, according to Computer World.

We tested the Aakash, surfing the web, using apps, typing text documents, plugging in peripherals and playing Bollywood videos. Here’s our exclusive first look at what a $35 tablet can really do. (See a video of the Aakash in action at the end of the article.)

Hands on with the Aakash

Jugaad is an Indian word which means “to make-do.” The Aakash tablet is a Jugaad in a very high tech way. The components inside the Aakash tablet are cheap, and easily sourced. For example, the Aakash tablet has a headphone jack and an audio-in jack, but no external speakers -- an obvious cost-savings measure. However, with the addition of a cheap headphones, and an equally cheap microphone, the owner can make calls on Skype, and has the potential to communicate with people around the world.

The screen is pressure sensitive (also called resistive touch) and responds somewhat slowly to gestures. It’s definitely not as dazzling as the high-end tablets familiar to Western audiences, such as the capacitive touchscreen iPad, or even the HP Touchpad.

The Aakash is running Android 2.2, Froyo, with the UniSurfer browser installed. Made by DataWind, UniSurfer is supposed to make webpages process faster, probably to compensate for the slower processor and connection speeds. However, while browsing the Internet and testing out apps, we couldn’t help but notice that the reaction time seemed very slow. Scrolling, for example, is a swipe-and-wait affair. However, the speed is going to be quite sufficient for someone who has never in his or her life had a smartphone or computer. It’s all relative after all. Compared with the iPhone 4s, the iPhone 3G is a “slow” smartphone, only because speedier alternatives are available. Even in a context where the market is full of smart devices, like in the U.S., speed helps us make decisions incrementally faster, but rarely are these issues of genuine consequence.

And given how slow navigating the user interface is, watching videos on the device was incredibly impressive. We used YouTube to watch a clip from a Bollywood film, and the video came through fast and clear, with no hiccups.

The Aakash has both GPRS and Wi-Fi capabilities. Its battery power is limited to 180 minutes of use on a full charge, but it comes with an AC adapter. What’s important isn’t that the tablet can run off of the battery for long periods of time, but that it will still be able to work and surf the net when the power goes out.

Weighing in at less than double a handheld smart phone (350 grams), the device itself feels a bit like a toy. A goofy plastic cover protects the screen, slowing down the touch response considerably. It might remind you of the conference call controller in a corporate boardroom. Though its design is minimalistic, absent are any Apple-like design flourishes that might evoke the word “magic.”

Unlike the XO, the low-cost laptop produced by One Laptop Per Child for the world’s poorest children, with help from Frog Design, The Aakash tablet is not going to win any beauty pageants. This is certainly one of its strengths. A big problem with the XO is it was seen as relatively arcane technologically by the time it was actually available.

What makes the Aakash tablet different is that its creators didn’t strive for perfection. Instead, the emphasis was on getting the product into the market quickly so it could be adopted, tinkered with, and improved over time. As Wadhwa said, “to get the cost down, you have to make some compromises”

The unmistakable impression we all got from using the Aakash tablet was that it is built for performance. Every design choice that might seem like a negative reveals three, four, five -- or more -- net benefits.

Why does it have two USB ports? So you can plug in a keyboard, of course, and still have a free slot for an external hard drive, or some other device. What about that screen cover that seems like it’s made from laminating material? If the tablet is meant for educational use, it’s probably going to have to contend with some pretty rough handling, dirt, dust and moisture. Better that it should withstand damage, than look the extra bit nicer.

Seeing the tablet’s potential

The Aakash Tablet is an example of a “leapfrog technology,” a concept where the latest innovations jump directly into areas where legacy technologies never penetrated. Tens of millions of people throughout India who never had access to a land line phone now walk around with cell phones in their pocket. Many of those likely to use or own the the Aakash Tablet will never have used a desktop computer, and it’s possible they never will.

Now imagine the educational potential of the world’s lowest-cost tablet being unleashed to hundreds of millions Indians eager to join the world economy. At the heart of the Aakash tablet is an HD video co-processor that will connect viewers to one of the largest educational libraries ever assembled: YouTube. When the Aakash tablet reaches villages across India, an entire generation will have instant access to rich educational content such as the Khan Academy, and anything else their hearts desire.

And with the Aakash tablet in hand, students across India will be free to do what their global counterparts do -- or should do -- with their computers. There are the educational basics such as creating documents and spreadsheets, and browsing the web for research materials. But as with anything, young people will probably spend a fair amount of time playing games online and chatting with their friends.

India’s history with affordable tech

India, which has a population of nearly 1.2 billion and houses 40 percent of the world’s poor people, has experience parring down high-end technology and making it affordable and accessible.

A similarly transformative Indian-created product is the Tata Nano car, a revolution in automobile design built to give mobility to millions of low-t0-mid-income Indians. When it came out in 2009, the Tata Nano was heralded as the world’s cheapest car. But while the Tata Nano is ultimately a destructive force -- adding drivers to the congested roads and vehicle exhaust into the air -- the Aakash tablet will be used to educate hundreds millions of children.

The Hole in the Wall initiative is another example. It put a computer kiosk in several rural villages throughout India, giving thousands of children and adults their first access to a computer and the Internet. The organizers compared it to the village well, where the community could come together to exchange knowledge and learn from each other. In this case, however, the well was connected to the world’s deepest reservoir of knowledge, the Internet.

And next month, the first Aakash tablets will go on sale throughout India, and millions of children will be able to join the tablet revolution that is transforming education, communication and entertainment across the world.

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From: Frank A. Coluccio10/27/2011 4:03:59 PM
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NTT: future Tokyo data center will withstand 9.0-magnitude earthquake
27 Oct 2011 07:28 pm
Facility under construction to provide Cloud services


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From: FUBHO10/27/2011 5:19:33 PM
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Chinese Tech Giant Aids Iran

When Western companies pulled back from Iran after the government's bloody crackdown on its citizens two years ago, a Chinese telecom giant filled the vacuum.

Huawei Technologies Co. now dominates Iran's government-controlled mobile-phone industry. In doing so, it plays a role in enabling Iran's state security network.

Huawei recently signed a contract to install equipment for a system at Iran's largest mobile-phone operator that allows police to track people based on the locations of their cellphones, according to interviews with telecom employees both in Iran and abroad, and corporate bidding documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. It also has provided support for similar services at Iran's second-largest mobile-phone provider.

Iran beefed up surveillance of its citizens after a controversial 2009 election spawned the nation's broadest antigovernment uprising in decades. Authorities launched a major crackdown on personal freedom and dissent. More than 6,000 people have been arrested and hundreds remain in jail, according to Iranian human-rights organizations.

In winning Iranian contracts, Huawei has sometimes partnered with Zaeim Electronic Industries Co., an Iranian electronics firm whose website says its clients include the intelligence and defense ministries, as well as the country's elite special-forces unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. This month the U.S. accused a branch of the Revolutionary Guards of plotting to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S. Iran denies the claim.

Huawei, one of the world's top makers of telecom equipment, has been trying to expand in the U.S. It has met resistance because of concerns it could be tied to the Chinese government and military, which the company denies.

Last month the U.S. Commerce Department barred Huawei from participating in the development of a national wireless emergency network for police, fire and medical personnel because of "national security concerns."

In February, Huawei withdrew its attempt to win U.S. approval for acquiring assets and server technology from 3Leaf Systems Inc. of California, citing opposition by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The panel reviews U.S. acquisitions by foreign companies that may have national-security implications. Last year, Sprint Nextel Corp. excluded Huawei from a multibillion-dollar contract because of national-security concerns in Washington, according to people familiar with the matter.

Iran's telecom market, which generated an estimated $9.1 billion in revenue last year, has been growing significantly, especially its mobile-phone business. As of last year, Iran had about 66 million mobile-phone subscribers covering about 70% of the population, according to Pyramid Research in Cambridge, Mass. In contrast, about 36% of Iranians had fixed-line phones.

As a result, mobile phones provide Iran's police network with far more opportunity for monitoring and tracking people. Iranian human-rights organizations outside Iran say there are dozens of documented cases in which dissidents were traced and arrested through the government's ability to track the location of their cellphones.

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From: axial10/27/2011 5:31:50 PM
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NSA is feeding Wall Street with hacker information

'It is the second month of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and although the US has not seen a significant attack on the New York Stock Exchange, the spectre of hacking assaults is being played up by US authorities. This, as well as the increasing risks of attacks and spying from foreign entities, is feeding US government paranoia. According to Reuters, the NSA has stepped in to make the financiers feel better and is providing Wall Street investment banks with intelligence on "foreign hackers and assistance in fending off assaults".'


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To: Frank A. Coluccio who wrote (39942)10/27/2011 5:34:40 PM
From: axial
   of 46529
Broadband subsidies aim to bring 4Mbps service to unserved areas

' The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved a sweeping overhaul of the nation's Universal Service Fund. The USF currently subsidizes traditional phone service in rural areas, but the plan proposed by Chairman Julius Genachowski will shift that money to support the buildout of broadband networks. The FCC also approved a gradual phase-out of the "intercarrier compensation" scheme, in which the company that originates a phone call pays the other company to terminate it. In its place, the FCC will institute an Internet-style "bill and keep" scheme in which each company bills its own customers and exchanges traffic without money changing hands. Oh yeah, and there will probably be a new "Access Recovery Charge" on your monthly phone bill. '


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From: axial10/27/2011 5:49:29 PM
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Wave Goodbye to Free Wi-Fi

' Steven Glapa, senior director of field marketing at the Wi-Fi offload vendor, says that most operators are at least exploring how to charge for Wi-Fi now. Most, like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which has 29,000 hot spots, offer it free as a value-added service today. But Glapa says operators, in general, are considering bundling in an extra cost for the off-network access into data plans and counting that usage against the data cap. “Once they have the policy management in place to integrate Wi-Fi into [their networks], you have those options,” Glapa said in a 4G World interview.

Right now most operators are approaching Wi-Fi as an easy way to dump data traffic off their networks, but as vendors introduce policy management solutions that let them keep an eye on users as they traverse between the networks, it’s becoming possible to track -- and monetize -- subscribers, regardless of what network they are on. (See Wireless Operators Embrace Wi-Fi as Their Own and Mobile Wi-Fi Offload.) ';


"Carriers are leveraging former ISM bands for microcells and on/off ramps for wireless traffic; they're circling "free" WiFi use like hungry vultures."


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To: axial who wrote (39994)10/27/2011 7:35:10 PM
From: ftth
   of 46529
I guess the best word to describe that is "fascinating."

An interesting paper from one of the links in the article you posted:

Mobile Data Offloading: How Much Can WiFi Deliver?

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