Catch up on this week’s tech and science news with the latest TowleTech from our correspondent Daniel Williford.
Technology is great and all, but it shouldn’t be used in a fashion resembling a dictatorship. Or, so a federal judge ruled today of the Bush administration’s covert, warrentless wiretapping. It is unconstitutional and must be halted. "It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such
unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard
the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights," Taylor wrote
in her 43-page opinion. ". . . There are no hereditary Kings in America
and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all ‘inherent powers’
must derive from that Constitution."
Sony will release a "portable communicator" called Mylo. It uses any available broadband WiFi connection to allow you to surf the web, check e-mail, IM, look at photos, watch video, and play music. It comes bundled with almost all the software you need to chat, surf the web, and watch digital media; 1 GB of flash memory plus expandable slots; and is the size of an average cell phone.
The heat is still on with the AOL customer data leak. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has requested and FCC investigation, claiming that AOL violated its customers’ privacy. The group is also urging the public to contact AOL to find out if they were a victim of the leak.
The U.S. began issuing electronic passports this week from its Denver office, with plans to expand production to 17 locations by this time next year. The passports include an embedded chip that contains all of the information of the passport holder. This will likely expand in the future to contain fingerprints or other biometric data. Despite recent reports of the electronic passports being vulnerable to being scanned and digitally "stolen," the State department insists that multiple security features make that a very low-risk concern.
After months of reports of Dell laptops overheating and catching fire, Dell announced a massive recall of laptop batteries sold between April 2004 and July 2006. The batteries were made by Sony, who will help fund the recall, and is the largest safety recall in the history of the consumer electronics industry. The Dell Battery Program website will help you to figure out if you need to power down your laptop immediately and get a new battery, cuz, girl, the results of a notebook fire ain’t pretty.
Fox announced that it would release its movies and TV shows for download on MySpace and other of its Internet properties. Everyone else is doing it, right?
Segway released two new models of its innovative personal transporter. The Segway i2 is the updated model of the classic, with a new LeanSteer functionality that allows the rider to steer right and left by leaning his body. It also features a wireless remote and security features. The x2 is the same but with a wheel base and tires made for rugged terrain. There are also specialized models for police/security use, golf cart use, and commercial cargo use.
A Manhattan Polo store window display allows passers-by to purchase items directly from the window, 24 hours a day. The large, projected catalog floats in front of the display and functions as a touch-screen, allowing shoppers to select and item and enter a credit card.
Yahoo rolled out its updated photo sharing website, which has new features that enable tagging, sharing, and ordering prints. The site functions much more like Flickr, the popular photo-sharing website that Yahoo purchased last year, which has made the biggest impact on online photo-album software. AOL also launched a new version of its photo sharing website with many of the same advanced features. Unlike Flickr and even Google’s Picasa Web Albums, Both Yahoo’s and AOL’s services are completely free and offer unlimited storage.
Visit our correspondent Daniel Williford at his blog, Until Today…