Google got to keep its foot in the Chinese market after the authorities in Beijing on Friday agreed to renew the company's license to operate in the country. In doing so, the government made sure that it didn't lose face in announcing the decision. Also note that Google didn't wind up embarrassed either. To be sure, Google can't automatically redirect people using its google.cn sit to an unfiltered Chinese language site. But the government did agree to Google instead offering a link on the google.cn homepage to a company-operated Hong Kong site.
In a post on ZDNet, Christopher Dawson correctly noted that this market was just too big for Google to abandon. Even though China-related revenues were paltry - about 1% of Google's sales - the bigger picture told the story: More people in China use the Internet than anywhere on the planet. (Wall Street predictably rallied on the news.)
"We are very pleased that the government has renewed our ICP license and we look forward to continuing to provide web search and local products to our users in China," the company's chief legal officer, David Drummond, wrote on a Google blog.
Nothing there about the rights of individuals to privacy protection. If you believe compromise is a dirty word, this translates into a sell out. But this is the real world. As China continues to evolve, the company is betting that the winds blow in the direction of reform. Only then would Google would be able to operate without being forced to play cat-and-mouse.
Many would argue that's a reasonable assumption but we won't know how that gambit turns out for quite some. And so it boils down to a matter of wait-and-see.
Free speechers are not going to like the deal. On the surface, the decision to take a half in, half out approach does not square with the public statements by Google's co-founder Sergey Brin regarding Internet censorship and totalitarianism. For a company pledging not to do evil, Google is vulnerable to criticism that it has failed to live up to its professed principles. So it is that Dana Blankenhorn argues that nobody covered themselves with glory here - including the U.S. government's public silence in the matter.
For U.S. tech companies, that's probably the most troubling takeaway of this affair. Whatever backroom negotiations took place, Uncle Sam was noticeably missing. And since this license comes up for renewal in another year, Google and China may be back at it yet again..
But for the time being, everyone gets something. This was a compromise. China didn't want to cut itself off from one of the most innovative companies in Silicon Valley. And If Google was going to get a piece of the world's biggest online market, management was going to have to bend its head ever so slightly in order end the standoff. And that's what happened.
It's hard to remember the iPhone without the App Store.
With 250,000 applications cumulatively downloaded more than 5 billion times to date, it's easy to forget that the App Store didn't come along until a year after the iPhone debuted in 2007. But in a relatively short time, Apple has not only Continue »
What came to be known as the "Monkey Trial" (subsequently immortalized by journalist H.L. Mencken), the case was a showdown between progressives and creationists, who wanted to ban the teaching of Charles Darwin's writing about evolution from local schools.
William Jennings Bryan, a three-time candidate for president, led the prosecution. He was pitted against the famous Chicago attorney Clarence Darrow. The trial lived up to the hype, but it ended on a flat note.
Toward the end of the trial, Darrow asked the jury to find Scopes guilty because he intended to appeal the verdict to the state's Supreme Court. The jury complied and Scopes was fined $100.
The following year, Tennessee's Supreme Court reversed the decision on a technicality.
Writing for the majority, the court's chief justice dismissed the case, saying "We see nothing to be gained by prolonging the life of this bizarre case. On the contrary, we think the peace and dignity of the State, which all criminal prosecutions are brought to redress, will be better conserved by the entry of a nolle prosequi herein. Such a course is suggested to the Attorney-General."
In a twist of fate that copyright owners are sure to snicker at, The Pirate Bay apparently has been hacked and the info bandits have made off with user information.
According to Brian Krebs, up until December an Internet security reporter with The Washington Post, an Argentinian hacker called Ch Russo penetrated The Pirate Bay, one of the world's leading BitTorrent search engines, and snatched "user names, e-mail and Internet addresses of more than 4 million of the site's users."
Reporting on his blog, Krebsonsecurity.com, Krebs said that to prove the validity of his claims, Russo sent Krebs' own username and password for The Pirate Bay. Krebs confirmed that the information was accurate.
Russo acknowledged that he and an associate who helped get into The Pirate Bay considered selling the data to the big music labels or Hollywood studios, but instead went public about the site's vulnerabilities.
"We wanted to tell people that their information may not be so well-protected," Russo said.
Russo said he accessed The Pirate Bay's user database by exploiting some of the site's vulnerabilities to SQL injections.
Russo's hack is unlikely to endear him to the file-sharing community. While some may hold whoever is running The Pirate Bay responsible for the vulnerabilities (The Pirate Bay founders have publicly distanced themselves from the site after they were Continue »
But the program, known as "Perfect Citizen," has stirred privacy concerns according to the Journal. While some industry and government leaders viewing the program as an unnecessary intrusion into domestic matters, supporters believe it's a needed step in the fight against the threat of cyberattacks. What do you think?
If you think the picture in the lower half of the above photo resembles the shape of a dragon, you're not alone.
The multi-colored cloud of dust was captured recently by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. When viewed in visible light, the "dragon" seems to fade away into the clouds -- leading astronomers at NASA to draw the analogy to Puff, the Magic Dragon, from the Peter, Paul and Mary song by the same name.
In reality, the dark cloud called M17 SWex, is believed to be forming stars at a very rapid clip. NASA says that the clouds and gas are now passing though the Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way, creating a galactic "domino effect" along the way. "Over time, this area will flare up like the bright M17 nebula, glowing in the light of young massive stars. An older burst of star formation blew the bubble seen in the region to the far left, called M17 EB," NASA said in a release.
Here's a fuller version of the stars forming around the M17 nebula.
In a statement sent to CNET, Apple said that the developer "huat Nguyen and his apps were removed from the App Store for violating the developer Program License Agreement, including fraudulent purchases." Over the weekend, several blogs reported that their accounts had been hacked and that funds might have been fraudulently used to buy apps in the iTunes App Store. Engadget was first to note that Nguyen's apps accounted for 42 of the top 50 books by revenue in the Books section of the iTunes App Store.
Perhaps that could change as Apple Records has at least now for the first time made some of the label's catalog available for download. In partnership with EMI Music, Apple Records announced Tuesday that it is releasing 15 remastered albums that it will also make available for download on October 26.
Among the acts whose music is being released by Apple Records, the chief division of the Beatles' primary business entity, Apple Corps, are Badfinger, James Taylor, and Billy Preston. Okay, but what anybody who knows anything about Apple Corps knows is that what people really want from the company is "Help," and "Across the Universe," and "Yesterday," and all the Beatles' music. (No disrespect to JT, as "Carolina in My Mind" is excellent.)
The theoretical physicists have had the upper hand for years, but something new has begun tilting the balance toward the experimentalists: the Large Hadron Collider.
This mammoth, $8 billion particle accelerator is housed in a ring 27km in circumference bored about 100 meters beneath a somewhat pastoral valley west of Geneva and operated by a multinational nuclear physics organization called CERN, which was founded in 1954.
Interest in Brooklyn-based MakerBot and the company's 3-D printing machines is high. So high, in fact, that a mention on a television segment which ran on CBS News briefly brought down the company's web site.
Chalk it up to an understandable rush of excitement. The idea that one day small 3-D printers will be as widespread as personal computers is a provocative one. And while it may still be ahead of its time - not to mention the purview of the early adopter crowd (for instance, Jay Leno has one that his mechanics use to build hard-to-find replacement parts for his extensive car collection), - the idea has understandably fired imaginations. So has the under-$1,000 price for this do-it-yourself kit that can "turn ideas into objects," as one of the inventors of the MakerBot put it in the CBS interview. OK, so the hype is a bit over the top. Still, it's worth checking out in this video below:
The Internet has suffered a premature death--or at least that's what aging rocker Prince believes has happened.The Mirror, which published an interview with the music icon on Monday, the eve of the debut in that country of his latest CD, 20TEN. Perhaps not coincidentally The Mirror plans to soon give away copies of the disc with every purchase of the paper.
"The Internet [is] like MTV," Prince said later in the Interview. "At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated."
It's easy to see what's happening here: first Prince is making provocative comments in a publication that will tuck a copy of his latest work in its pages. Can't hurt sales by stirring a little controversy, can it? Still, one might think Prince would know that he risked becoming a punch line ("The only thing unhip and outdated is...")
Certainly one of the greatest music artists during the course of the past three decades knows that CD sales plummet as digital sales climb. He must know that the Internet is the most revolutionary communication tool since the telephone and is making information more accessible to the masses. The Web has radically transformed entertainment, media, education, banking, politics, travel, retail...forget all that.
Prince says the Web is washed up.
The performer, known for such classic 1980's songs as "Purple Rain" and "Little Red Corvette," has said little about the Internet the past two years since going on a copyright crusade in late 2007. That's when the Minneapolis native lashed out at his own fan sites and demanded they remove all "photographs, images, lyrics, album covers, and anything linked to Prince's likeness." He also tried to prevent a Pennsylvania woman fromContinue »
For a technology company whose business is so closely tied to the pace of innovation, it's an uncomfortable question. But it's a perennial one that Microsoft watchers have raised almost from the time that Bill Gates acquired the rights from Seattle Computer Products to the operating system which came to be known as MS-DOS.
Though Microsoft has undeniably been one of the most financially successful companies in techdom, when it comes to the wow factor, it's an after-thought. These days, the buzz surrounds names like Apple, Twitter or Google.
The latest flub: Microsoft's surprise cancellation of its Kin smartphones less than two months after the product's debut. The sudden announcement was a marketing embarrassment and it also called into question whether Microsoft still has the tech chops to delight a younger, social-network savvy generation of new customers. Or had the company reached a tipping point, where it had become too big and plodding to make products that developers and consumers found hip? As the Times noted, the Kin debacle wasn't a one-off: Continue »
The International Space Station orbits Earth at an altitude of about 250 miles.
NASA issued a statement, saying that its docking plans for the resupply craft had been delayed due to a loss of telemetry. It said that the resupply craft flew past the International Space Station. Still no word on when NASA plans to resuming the docking activities.
Russian Mission Control said that the Progress space capsule was carrying food, water, food and other supplies for the orbiting laboratory.
Mission Control spokesman Valery Lyndin was not immediately available for comment, but his secretary confirmed Russian media reports Friday that the docking had failed, according to the Associated Press.
The Russian Progress capsules have been a reliable supply system for the space station and their importance will increase with the end of the U.S. space shuttle program.
Apple now blames reception issues that many new iPhone 4 customers are experiencing on a software miscalculation rather than on hardware design. But will a software update really fix the problems that many customers are reporting?
I'm not sure I am buying Apple's explanation.Continue »
For more than a week, iPhone customers have complained that gripping the metal antennas surrounding the phone's body resulted in loss of signal strength. In a release put out early Friday, Apple acknowledged that something was amiss with the smartphone's design. The company reported being "stunned" to learn that the formula used to determine the number of signal strength bars to display had turned out to be "totally wrong."