Put down the political pitchforks, because whether or not you're into politics, you might want to start paying attention in the coming months. Among the topics a Democratic aide said is likely to make a comeback this year is Net neutrality, along with possible changes to digital copyright and patent law.
Net neutrality, who Aaron Cooper, counsel to Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in the Senate Judiciary Committee, says is a "completely judiciary issue" might soon take center stage. And if you're not keeping a close eye on where things are going, you can bet that copyright holders are. Case in point - Cablevision has proposed a service that would allow subscribers to record broadcast TV shows and movies on a DVR hosted by Cablevision, but not everyone likes the idea. Alec French, VP for government relations for NBC Universal, warns that Cablevision's plan would be "setting a roadmap out for anyone who wants to create a copyright infringing service."
Issues like this and statutory licensing reform (of high interest to Webcasters) are just some of the topics that could step into the limelight in 2009 and affect how you use your PC.
Hawaii residents can now visit their physician without ever leaving their home. It's not that house calls are making a comeback, but the 50th state becomes the first one to offer online physician visits. Available 24/7, ailing patients and hypochondriacs alike can spend one-on-one time with a doctor over IE7 or Firefox 2 and above, and even load up a webcam to show exactly what that nasty infection looks like.
Hawaiians insured through HMSA (Hawaii Medical Service Association, the state's largest insurer) are charged a flat $10 fee for a 10 minute online visit, while non-members pay $45. In return, doctors are instructed to apply the same standards of care and to address only issues that can adequately be handled over the phone or web. Prescriptions can also be written, if there's a definitive diagnosis during the 10-minute visit. But while this new practice will cut down the number of people cluttering emergency rooms, proponents warn that it's not a replacement for real emergencies.
"I don't think this situation can completely replace one-on-one doctor's visits," said Michelle Shimizu, a family practice doctor who has been helping test the system. "It's an adjunct to that."
For the most part, doctors receive $25 for each session, an amount which "has been received tremendously," according to HMSA marketing VP Michael Stollar.
Would you feel comfortable visiting your doctor online? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Ultima creator and one-time Tabula Rasa big man Richard “Lord British” Garriott may have moonwalked right out of the gaming industry, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be phoning home after his geosynchronous jaunt. In an interview with GameDaily, Garriott spoke of his intention to give game development another shot – but only after raising the bar for mid-life crises a few notches higher.
“Do I have a plan that I can tell you now? No. I'm still finishing my space flight. I am literally still in the middle of NASA and ESA medical experiments. I am literally still in the middle of my earth observation analysis, as well as the particle crystal growth stuff we're wrapping up. And that's going to take me some weeks and months to wrap up,” Garriott said.
“But, some day in the future, it's hard not to assume I will get back into gaming. I still personally believe I have lots of great ideas and desire to build games. It's just today, it's space.”
Garriott also mentioned that he might be interested in developing a new Ultima title – something we’d be mighty okay with.
At the moment it is difficult to write about major financial developments in any industry without going on a frenzied hunt for words that can adequately describe the prevalent gloom. However, facts have a tongue of their own and at times don’t need to be underpinned by forceful words. Talking of facts, the previous quarter was the worst in the past six years in terms of PC sales.
PC sales data for the last quarter released by two of the leading market research firms, IDC and Gartner, paints a very grim picture. PC sales defied all expectations during the recently concluded holiday season and registered a trough. According to Gartner, PC sales only grew by 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter. But if data released by IDC is to be believed, then there was a depreciation of 0.4 percent.
Microsoft had predicted a growth of 10 percent to12 percent during the fourth quarter. The sharp drop in PC sales might have a huge impact on Microsoft’s own quarterly results.
So, you've decided to log into your bank's website to figure out if you can afford the newest techno-bling shown at CES. Your bank gives you the nod, and you open up another browser tab (or window) to cruise over to your favorite tech reseller. After doing a few price and stock checks, a pop-up window appears: your bank session has timed out - and if you want to double-check your available credit or account balance, you need to log in again. Should you click and go?
To learn how it works, and to learn how to protect yourself, join us after the jump.
Wired’s Brian Chen was smacked with a cease-and-desist not long ago for his video depicting how to turn your netbook into a hackintosh.
The video, which gave an exact step-by-step tutorial about how to put OS X onto a netbook, (with trips to The Pirate Bay included) has since been taken down off of Wired’s Tech Lab. However, you can still check it out over at Gizmodo, who’s sticking it to the man hasn’t run them into any evident danger as of yet.
Apple’s exact complaint about the video hasn’t been printed anywhere, so that is something that we might not ever get to find out, but what we do know is that the video is mighty thorough! And it only clocks in at about four minutes, so why not watch it?
Any sports fan will tell you that regardless of a team's record, first place is still first place (deep, isn't it?). So in that respect, Hewlett-Packard can still claim victory as the world's top supplier of desktops and notebooks. The only problem is HP is the top dog in a weak economy, which is kind of like a sports team taking the top spot in a weak division (we're looking at you, Arizona Cardinals).
Putting aside the sports analogy (and go Cardinals, btw), overall shipments of both desktops and notebooks dropped in the fourth quarter of 2008, which had a significant impact on the PC market, according to Gartner and IDC. But if there's a silver lining, it's that despite the Q4 slide, overall PC shipments for 2008 increased by a tad over 2 percent with 68 million units shipped. It should come as no surprise that netbooks helped drive the overall market.
"In the fourth quarter, if you had to pick a bright spot, the surge of mininotebooks in the PC [market] has helped drive growth," said Doug Bell, an analyst with IDC. "The Catch-22 is that these are inexpensive machines and that means total revenue is down. As far as volume goes, it helped a very tough fourth quarter."
For HP's part, the oem topped 15 million units in Q4 2008, representing a 3 percent increase over one year prior. Dell lost some footing with a 6 percent drop, and Acer has been gaining momentum with a 25 percent increase over Q4 2007.
If you're trying to watch a YouTube video and can't get the sound to work, it could be by design. The Google-owned video sharing site has just implemented a new policy which won't remove a user's videos containing copyrighted audio, but it will mute the audio stream, allowing the offending video to play on sans sound.
The new policy comes as a result of YouTube's ongoing dispute with Warner Music Group. Last month, Warner forced YouTube to cut off access to videos containing copyrighted music, following a breakdown in talks over licensing agreements. The video sharing site appears to have found a workaround until those talks come to a conclusion.
"Music licensing can get very complicated, but we try to make your experience as simple as possible," YouTube wrote in a blog post. "We want you to have options when uploading videos with music in them. And if your video is subject to a copyright claim, you should have some choices too."
YouTube recommends that anyone whose videos have been flagged and muted to check out Audioswap, which is a library of pre-cleared music.
Buffalo Electronics is staking the claim that their WLI-UC-GN Wi-Fi dongle is the smallest that’s been created. Whether this is true or not, we can’t say for sure, but one can’t help but admire its diminutive size and price tag.
The dongle will only run you $25, and it clocks in at 33mm by 16mm. Evidently, the brains behind the operating aren’t much bigger than the plug that goes into your computer. It’s reported that it will feature B/G certification for backwards compatibility with older wireless networks, base station operation, and an automated security system.
Let’s just hope that we can see this bad boy on our shores sooner than later, because a handy (and cheap) little piece of tech would find plenty of uses.
Research into the field of light powered computing has made some considerable strides as of late. Most notably, the science behind a laser powered hard drive has been more solid than ever before.
A laser powered hard drive would work on the principles of picosecond pulse lasers working where magnetic read/write heads would (something that was considered to be impossible until recently). Drives working on these fundamentals would provide a 1 TB/s transfer rate with their first generations, and others after that would reach speeds of 100TB/s and over.
Supposedly, this technology will be available within only five years, but like most laser technology, we’ll believe it when we see it.