Friday, May 28, 2004

The six week trial against Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, a Muslim graduate student at the University of Idaho, is wrapping up. The grad student, charged with providing material support to terrorist groups as webmaster for the Islamic Assembly of North America, has gotten the attention of the ACLU, EFF and others, who claim that First Amendment rights are at stake, given that the nature of the material support is said to be web postings and maintaining the web site, not providing guns or money.
Reuters is reporting that California's Senate voted Thursday in support of a bill which would limit GMail, the new e-mail service by Google. Their concerns are that GMail could threaten the privacy of users. The bill would require Gmail to work only in real-time and would bar the service from producing records. It would also bar Gmail from collecting personal information from e-mails and passing any information to third parties. The bill now heads to the state Assembly for consideration and possible modification.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Reuters is reporting that, nine months after Congress attempted to end the Total Information Awareness Program, the General Accounting Office has found that at least 36 governemnt data mining efforts are collecting personal information from the private sector.
The latest single mom to be sued by the recording industry is Tammy Lafky, a 41 year old sugar mill worker in Minnesota. The RIAA is seeking more than a half-million dollars from her. She claims to take home just over twenty thousand dollars a year and that the lawsuit may be a result of her daughter's music downloading last year.
The Mossad, Israel's secret police, is now accepting applications over the web from people who want "to collect information, analyze intelligence and perform special
covert operations beyond [Israel's] borders".

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The report "Demystifying Digital Video Recorders," jointly published by InsightExpress and MediaPost shows that users of DVRs (like Tivo) actually watch more commercials, even though the devices allow users to skip them. It seems that users are sooooo pleased with their viewing experience, they are likely to watch much more TV, and thus, ultimately, more commercials.
The Associated Press is reporting that the company Imageos is attempting to digitally photograph 50 million buildings across the country, using a specially equipped van. When combined with GPS location information and aerial photographs, these new photos can be used to determine if buildings and homes have pools, fences or other notable features.

These images and information might be made available to public agencies such as police departments, but so far are primarily marketed for private businesses such as insurance companies.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

A recent news article reported that, in the wake of photos show U.S. troops abusing Iraqi prisoners, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has issued a ban on Camera Phones. The DoD then stated that the report was inaccurate. Well, it seems the inaccuracy is that new limits have been in place for over a month and are broader than just the use of camera phones. On the other hand, Clarence Page thinks it may be time we issue a camera phone to every soldier.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Xingtone makes software which will convert MP3 files to ringtones for your phone. Cool, no? Some record companies apparently don't think so. Why? Because that means they can't sell you both the CD and the ringtone separately.
The Brazilian Heavy Metal Band MegaDrive has released two albums of video game covers, including "Metal Beast" which is described as a tribute to the Sega game Altered Beast and "contains the complete soundtrack from the game recreated in Heavy-Metal style."

Sunday, May 16, 2004

The Mayor of Puteaux, France has apparently tried to arrest French blogger Christophe Grébert for being too critical of the local government.
The good folks at Queen's University Human Media Lab are developing Eye-Contact Sensing Glasses which detect when someone is looking directly at the wearer. Combined with their eyeBlog software, the user can keep a video log of their face-to-face conversations.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Comcast announced that it will lay off all of TechTV's San Francisco employees, with plans on re-hiring 80 who are willing to relocate to Los Angeles. This is apparently a result of TechTV's merger with G4. Check out Leo Leporte's blog for more info.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Adidas is going to market a $250 pair of shoes with a built-on 20 megahertz processor. The shoes will dynamically adjust their fit based upon the enrivronment and position of the wearer's foot inside each of the sneakers.
The U.S. Navy has lost a 10-foot long robotic mine sweeper off the shores of Norway. Norwegian officials have asked the public to help find the mini-sub, known as a Battlespace Preparation Autonomous Underwater Vehicle.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

The Eyeball is a spy camera about the size of a tennis ball. It can be tossed into a room, where it will stabilize and then begin taking pictures. It currently is sold for military applications.