Recent Entries in Sci-Tech

In the second ruling to limit the legal ammunition of Canadian copyright holders looking to sue file-sharers and hold ISPs accountable for peer-to-peer (P2P) piracy, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that ISPs are not subject to royalty fees.

Canada's high court ruled that the creation of a cache copy by Internet providers is part of their business to provide access to users, who have an expectation of freedom and privacy , and should not mean the providers have to pay royalties, as proposed by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), which has fought for nearly nine years for the fees.

The Supreme Court of Canada has issued a major blow to the music industry, which had hoped to be able to sue Internet service providers (ISPs) for royalties on music illegally downloaded via their networks.

In a ruling issued on June 30th, the Court ruled that music composers and music publishers will have to target individual users if they want to extract royalty payments for music illegally downloaded from the Web. The high-profile court case, which follows a disputed ruling in a lower Canadian court, matched the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) against a coalition of Canadian ISPs.

A 23-year-old Singaporean woman appears to have set a world record for sending text messages over a mobile phone.

Kimberly Yeo thumbed 26 words in 43.24 seconds into her phone, beating a world record of 67 seconds for the same words set by a Briton last September, Singapore's dominant telephone carrier, Singapore Telecommunications, said on Monday.

Mobile phones are an ubiquitous accessory in technology-savvy Singapore where more than four out of five people own a handset, giving the wealthy city-state one of the world's highest mobile phone penetration rates.

The privately funded rocket plane SpaceShipOne flew to outer space and into history books on Monday as the world's first commercial manned space flight.

The distinctive white rocket plane was released from a larger plane called the White Knight and ignited its rocket engine to enter space 62 miles above the earth.

Against the backdrop of a clear blue sky, it landed safely back at a runway in the Mojave Desert in California, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.

"The colors were pretty staggering from up there," said pilot Michael Melvill, who also earned his wings, officially, as an astronaut. "It was almost a religious experience."

Melvill said he could see the black expanse of outer space, the curvature of the earth and a broad swathe of the Southern California coast during his three and half minutes just beyond earth's atmosphere.

US researchers have sent atoms through space without movement, which could mean faster data transfer in the computers of the future

Teleportation -- "sending" atoms, or at least their properties, through space without any physical movement -- is possible, according to scientists at the National Institute for Standards and Technologies.

In a paper published in the journal Nature, NIST scientists say they were able to transfer the quantum state, or list of active properties, of one beryllium atom to another. The quantum state describes such physical characteristics as energy, motion and magnetic field.

Alas, wireless Internet may not be the technology sector's salvation after all.

Small companies, some publicly traded, are burning cash trying to turn Wi-Fi into viable business. Some have already shut down.

Faster than you can say "industry bubble," skeptics are asking whether wireless Internet connections will become similar to the wired Internet of the late 1990s -- hot but rarely profitable.

Intel Corp., the world's largest chip maker, is set to launch Thursday a highly-anticipated new chip designed to sharply improve and expand the power of personal computers.

Intel is expected Thursday to officially mark the launch of its Grantsdale chip set, which will work in tandem with Pentium processors to give PCs more powerful sound and graphics, a speedier link for peripherals and memory, and give desktop PCs the ability to run a wireless data network.

Having those features built into the core components of a computer could be essential to Intel's strategy as it tries to turn the PC into the heart of home entertainment.

Red Hat's latest hobbyist version of Linux stops some users' systems from booting Windows

Red Hat's newest hobbyist and developer version of Linux, Fedora Core 2, caused trouble for some who found they couldn't start Windows after installing the Linux upgrade side by side with it.

The bug had cropped up in testing, but after Red Hat released Fedora Core 2 in May, many more users reported their systems no longer would boot Windows.

No data on the Windows side was destroyed, and some manual hard drive reconfiguration fixed the problem.

A few games of Roller Coaster Tycoon don't usually translate into productive work, but for one developer the diversion planted the seed for making website analysis more intuitive.

Several years after playing those inspirational games, Robert Savage came up with VisitorVille, a website-traffic analysis package that essentially crosses the DNA of SimCity with that of the traditional chart- and graph-centric tools businesses have long been using.

VisitorVille employs a graphical, urban metaphor to present information about customers' real-time Web-traffic flow. A company's entire Web presence is seen as an urban or suburban neighborhood, with each individual Web page presented as a building. The more visitors on a site, the taller the buildings, and the brighter the lights on each floor.


A pair of sunglasses that can detect when someone is making eye contact with the wearer has been developed by Canadian researchers.

Besides being useful in singles bars, its inventors say the system could play a key role in video blogging, a hi-tech form of diary keeping.

Video bloggers record their lives from the point of view of a first person video narrative. "I think this is something that we will see over the next few years," says Roel Vertegaal, co-creator of the glasses at Queen's University's Human Media Lab, in Ontario, Canada.

The main problem is the tedious process of editing out the dull bits where nothing much happens, says Vertegaal. So the glasses allow a video blogger to automatically detect and record interactions and conversations with other people.

  Nightclub 'chips' punters

A Spanish nightclub is giving guests the chance to pay for drinks and admission using a tiny microchip implanted under the skin.

By waving the part of the body containing the chip over a scanner, money is automatically deducted from their bank accounts.

The 'VeriChip', a Radio Frequency Identification chip made by a US company, will mean regular clubbers at the Baja Beach Club in Barcelona will no longer have to wait in queue to pay to get in.

Scientists in the US are working on a 'Barbie drug' that gives people a tan, makes them lose weight and increases their sex drive.

Scientists at the University of Arizona told Eyewitness News 5 they came across the drug while looking for ways to help people avoid skin cancer.

They tested a hormone, melanotan 2, on a group of men hoping it would stimulate a natural tan without the aid of sunlight.

But, to their surprise, they found it also seemed to work as a sexual stimulant and they say it should also help people lose weight.

Cisco is investigating the possible theft of source code for its main networking device operating system, the company confirmed on Monday.

According to a Russian security Web site, criminal hackers broke into Cisco Systems' corporate network last week and stole 800MB of source code for IOS 12.3 and 12.3t (an early deployment version of the operating system containing features not found in the vanilla 12.3 version). In addition, a 2.5MB sample of what is supposedly IOS code was released on an Internet Relay Chat channel as proof of the alleged theft.,1759,1593862,00.asp

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States is launching a new push to regain the lead in the competition over who has the most powerful computer.

The Energy Department is announcing plans Wednesday to build the world's fastest civilian computer at a research laboratory in Tennessee with the help of three private computer companies.

The supercomputer to be built at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory will have federal grants totaling $50 million over the initial two years. If successful, it will surpass in sustained computing power a machine unveiled in Japan two years ago.

While the United States has nine of the 10 fastest computers in the world, according to Top500 Project, a group that tracks supercomputers, U.S. officials fear that U.S. scientists are losing ground in the critical area of ultrahigh speed computing.

Teleportation always used to seem so simple. All it took was a quick call to Mr Scott, and Star Trek's Captain Kirk would be beamed up from the cheap-looking scenery of some alien planet and materialise on the Starship Enterprise.

These days it's all about lasers, subatomic particles and very hard sums, but one Australian research team's world-beating discoveries in the field seem almost as far-fetched as the science fiction version. The multinational group from Canberra's Australian National University (ANU) have become the first on this particular planet to demonstrate the sharing of secrets via teleportation using quantum physics. Who cares? Well, a lot of big businesses, because their discovery has moved unbreakable codes, superfast computers and communications inaccessible to cybercriminals a step closer.

What the team's find boils down to is that, using a laser, they can teleport to a network of recipients a signal which can only be reassembled by a majority of the recipients. Any less and the signal cannot be reconstituted. The team's leader, Chinese-born Ping Koy Lam, was building on work done by the university in 2002, when they teleported information using a laser beam. But Ping described the latest achievement as "a much more complex form of information teleportation in the sense that it involves multiple recipients."

Teleportation is defined as the production, disembodiment and successful reconstruction of a signal, which in this case was a high frequency sound to three participants. The message in the future may be spoken or typed. The researchers used crystals, lenses and mirrors to produce a pair of "entangled" laser beams that are then used to carry fragile information in the form of quantum states. "These quantum states cannot be measured or copied, making eavesdropping impossible," Lance said in a statement released by the university. "The transmission of the light beams constitutes a secret communication scheme with guaranteed security." The process of secret sharing is said to be a fundamental part of present day telecommunication, computer and banking practices. "Such network communication can be enhanced using the laws of quantum physics to protect the information, a process called quantum state sharing. "The benefit of this technology is that the encrypted message can only be decoded by a majority of recipients. "For example, if an encrypted message was sent to a spy network containing 15 individuals, a minimum of eight agents would be needed to access the message - limiting the chances of the message being infiltrated or deleted by a double-agent."

The ANU team spent more than a year working through their theory, which has been published in the latest edition of the scientific journal Physical Review Letters, then proving it worked on a large tabletop apparatus, involving multiple lasers, mirrors, lenses and computers in the optics laboratory. The work was performed at the ANU by Chinese-born Ping Koy Lam, Belgian post-doctoral researcher Thomas Symul and Australian doctoral student Andrew Lance in collaboration with professor Barry Sanders of Canada's University of Calgary. "Beam me up Scotty" it ain't. But the team says it is likely to attract attention from the defence and finance industries, eager to secure their secret transmissions. They also claim it has potential to significantly enhance the security of computer systems and lead to computers infinitely faster than those of today.

  Can AOL Ever be EhOL?

Despite the obvious closeness of the two countries, the US and Canada have some big differences.

For example, here in Edmonton, let's check out the local TV news on cable channel KTLA, where hockey is often the last item on the sportscast; right after women's college diving and WWE highlights. Likewise, north of the 49th, we think Karl "the Mailman" Malone was the Canada Post official that Prime Minister Martin just canned. Here hockey rules but in the US, basketball is far more important.

Now let's put some hi-tech spin on this.

Even with a name like AOL Canada Inc. we hosers still believe the company is AMERICA Online. Officially, AOL Canada is a strategic alliance between America Online, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner, and RBC Royal Bank, the personal and commercial banking division of RBC Financial Group.

  No Hat - No Red

What is the goal for White Box Linux?

To provide an unencumbered RPM based Linux distribution that retains enough compatibility with Red Hat Linux to allow easy upgrades and to retain compatibility with their Errata srpms. Being based off of RHEL3 means that a machine should be able to avoid the upgrade treadmill until Oct 2008 since RHEL promises Errata availability for five years from date of initial release and RHEL3 shipped in Oct 2003.


The San Francisco Bay area is the nation's top market for wireless Internet hot spots, according to a new study sponsored by Intel Corp.

The region was followed by Orange County, Calif., Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas. Last year's "most unwired" area, Portland, Ore., was bumped to No. 5 on the list compiled for the semiconductor giant by "Best Places" author Bert Sperling.

Intel, which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing its Centrino mobile chip sets, sees the growing popularity of Wi-Fi wireless Internet service as a big driver of microprocessors, particularly those used in laptop and handheld computers.

Wi-Fi is no longer limited to airports, coffee houses and home networks. Hot spots are springing up in tourist spots, truck stops, RV parks and shopping malls. Intel's survey did not say what percentage of the hot spots were paid versus free.

America Online said its members have submitted more than one million AOL screen names in the Internet company's unorthodox drawing for a spammer's seized sports car.

Last week, AOL announced it had confiscated a red Porsche Boxster S convertible as part of a settlement with a spammer who made more that $1 million from sending unwanted junk e-mail. AOL, a unit of Time Warner Inc., launched a sweepstakes for the car on March 30 as "a gesture of support and thanks" to its members for their help in the fight against spam.

  Google Reads Your Email

Privacy advocates are up in arms over Google's new free email service, Gmail. Their concern? Google plans to "read" each email and add relevant AdSense advertising.

Google claims that they'll only read incoming mail, though if Gmail users send email to other Gmail users they will effectively read the outgoing mail as well.

They claim they will not log which adds appear to which users, nor will they record the keywords that appear.

Some privacy activists have compared this practice to your phone company listening to your phone conversation and cutting in to pitch products based on your discussion.

Check out the article

In what analysts are calling a "stunning" decision, the Federal Court has ruled against a motion which would have allowed the music industry to begin suing individuals who make music available online. Justice Konrad von Finckenstein ruled today that the Canadian Recording Industry Association did not prove there was copyright infringement by 29 so-called music uploaders. He said that downloading a song or making files available in shared directories, like those on Kazaa, does not constitute copyright infringement under the current Canadian law. "No evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorized the reproduction of sound recordings," von Finckenstein wrote in his 28-page ruling. "They merely placed personal copies into their shared directories which were accessible by other computer users via a P2P service."

He compared the action to a photocopy machine in a library. "I cannot see a real difference between a library that places a photocopy machine in a room full of copyrighted material and a computer user that places a personal copy on a shared directory linked to a P2P service," he said. The ruling sent shock waves through the industry and surprised copyright analysts. "It raises questions of the viability of suing individual users in Canada under current Canadian copyright law," said Michael Geist, a professor at the University of Ottawa specializing in Internet and e-commerce law and technology counsel with the law firm Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt. Geist, who called the decision "stunning," anticipates it will push the industry to increase its lobbying efforts for copyright reform in Canada.

Last month, the industry association took five Internet service providers to Federal Court, trying to force the companies to hand over the names and addresses of 29 people who allegedly shared hundreds of songs with others using programs like Kazaa last November and December. The judge denied the recording industry's request, which means the five high-speed Internet providers . Bell Canada, Shaw Communications, Telus Communications, Rogers Cable and Videotron . won't have to divulge their client lists.

Without the names, CRIA can't begin filing lawsuits against 29 John and Jane Does who it alleges are high-volume music traders.

They're currently identifiable only through a numeric Internet protocol address and user handles like Jordana(at)KaZaA.

All the ISPs except Videotron have fought the order. Videotron had agreed to comply because owner Quebecor is also concerned about piracy in other parts of its business, which includes newspapers, television, Internet services and CDs.

Check out the article here.

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