Lenovo is finally pumping out machines made in the USA.
Lenovo has been on a roll these days. While the PC industry on a whole continues to suffer, they have continually taken market share and have prospered against the odds. Normally when a company has a recipe for success they continue to iterate, but last year they announced the reversal of a longstanding trend. Rather than continue adding production capacity in low cost labor markets, the company would build a brand new state-of-the-art PC manufacturing line in North Carolina. Late last week Lenovo announced it has made good on its promise, and machines are finally rolling off the line.
Verizon FiOS customers don’t have much to complain about in the speed department, unfortunately however, not everyone is so fortunate. According to a recent study conducted by video hosting company Wistia, almost one in five US Internet users are unable to reliably stream HD video over their connections. Even more depressing is the bar Wistia used to make the HD capable determination. Compression technologies allow for a 720p signal to squeeze down a 2 Mbps connection, and that’s something 18% of U.S. Internet users simply can’t do.
For as long as PCs have been around, Americans have been the ones buying them. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the old Stars n’ Stripes dominated the PC salescape when you remember that the field was pioneered by US-based companies like Apple and IBM. Now, that streak has come to an end; a new report says that China surpassed the US in both PC shipments and sales in the second quarter of 2011.
Death and Taxes are supposed to be the only universal constants you can depend on, but the Internet has long been a loophole many of us have enjoyed exploiting. If Rep. Bill Delahunt gets his way however, everything you buy online will soon be taxed at the same rates as their brick and mortar counterparts. Currently most Americans who buy from out-of-state vendors aren't required to pay sales taxes, but crushing government deficits could force legislators to take immediate action.
Normally we could write this off as one politician's pipe dream, but The National Conference of State Legislatures has voiced its approval of Delahunt's legislation, a law that could allow states to collect as much as $23 billion in new taxes. Not surprisingly, the Retail Industry Leaders Association also threw their voice behind the motion, a group made up of giants such as Wal-Mart & Home Depot.
The exact details of the proposed legislation haven't been made public yet, but we expect this issue to keep gaining momentum in the coming months. Perhaps they are hoping geeks don't vote?
Are you worried Fermi is going to make your GeForce 8800 look a bit long in the tooth? Well just be glad you're not stuck trying to run Crysis on the Secret Service's mainframe featuring state of the art technology from the 1980's. A classified review of the aging computer system has revealed that the system is now only operational about 60 percent of the time, and frequently prevents them from accessing the master database of mission critical information and apps.
"We have here a premiere law enforcement organization in our country which is responsible for the security of the president and the vice president and other officials of our government, and they have to have better IT than they have," said Lieberman, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Currently the NSA runs 42 mission-oriented applications on a 1980s IBM mainframe, and are hideously underpowered based on the agencies current requirements.
The price tag for updating the system is a mere $187 million, and far below the $33 million they currently have in the budget. If I were president, I would probably check the seat cushions on Air Force One to make up the difference, they are charged with saving his life after all.
The perils of leaving your Wi-Fi unsecured can be plenty. It can even jeopardize a country's security in extreme cases, as appeared to be the case around 18 months back, when Indian cops found that terrorists were using open Wi-Fi networks to send emails to take responsibility for terrorist activities or to issue threats.
The United States leads Europe when it comes to the number of open Wi-Fi access points. According to WeFi, 40% of all hotspots in the States are unsecured compared to only 25% in Europe. But United States trails France in terms of the number of open access points with captive portals, which are used to “moderate the entry of users into unlocked hotspots.” Although it is not uncommon for public hotspots to be open for the sake of convenience, the use of captive portals can help monitor access and prevent misuse to a certain degree.
Nearly one-third of the world's total Wi-Fi hotspots are unsecured, as per WeFi's estimates. WeFi's database of hotspots includes nearly 50 million hotspots, which the company says is around 10% of the total number of hotspots worldwide.
The national debt clock ticks along endlessly, but never fear, your tax dollars are hard at work trying to gauge the accuracy of the Internet using weather balloons. It may sound silly, but the experiment was actually concocted by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) in an attempt to learn how much trust they should put in information gathered from social networking channels such as Facebook and Twitter. The test involved launching balloons from 10 undisclosed locations across the United States, and offered prize money to the team that did the best job of reporting on their locations.
Over 4,000 groups competed in the event, but the winner of the contest was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Mit) which won the $40,000 grand prize. It remains to be seen what the conclusions of the experiment were, but I think we would all be a bit more interested in finding out what exactly this proves to begin with. Maybe the whole Tiger Woods scandal was part 1 of the test. If that's true, I think its safe to say the Internet failed pretty miserably on that one.
Can information gathered from social networks be trusted?
The US remains very behind in broadband speeds for industrialized countries, with an average speed of only 5 Mbps. This compares to South Korea’s 20.4 Mbps and Japan’s 15.8 Mbps.
Within the US though, speeds vary greatly. According to a recent study average speeds range from Delaware’s 9.91 Mbps all the way to Montana’s 2.32 Mbps. California, perhaps one of the most tech friendly states, ranked only 11th with 6.64 Mbps.
“Every American should have affordable access to high-speed Internet, no matter where they live. This is essential to economic growth and will help maintain our global competitiveness,” said Larry Cohen, the president of the company that conducted the study.
Still though, it should be noted that the study is not perfect. Some states were blessed with more data points to draw from than others, and it did also include US territories such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, where notably slow speeds lowered the average. But, at any rate, we’re still quite behind our Asian friends.