Aug 21, 2009 | 5
You've noticed them—people who truly cannot detach psychologically and behaviorally from the worlds of online gaming or social networking. Or perhaps you are one of these people. In any case, these compulsive types now have a way out; the first Internet addiction detox center in the U.S. has opened in Fall City, Wash., just a few miles from Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond.
For $14,500—WiFi not included—an addict can spend 45 Internet-abstinent days at the Heavensfield Retreat Center and, hopefully, emerge into the real world free of an obsession with Facebook, online gambling or even text messaging. (A stay at Heavensfield is not covered by insurance, but some scholarships are available.)
The retreat's founders think that Internet addiction is a serious problem, affecting between 6 and 10 percent of the online population. But how do you know if you are an addict? A list of 12 "signs and symptoms" appears on the new reStart Internet Addiction Recovery Program's Web page—from a "heightened sense of euphoria while involved in computer and Internet activities" to "being dishonest with others" and "physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, [and] carpal tunnel syndrome." According to the site, three or four "yes" responses suggests possible abuse; five or more point to addiction.
Jun 30, 2009 | 5
The Chinese government is retreating from a controversial requirement that every PC sold in the country be equipped with Internet filtering software.
On the eve of a July 1 deadline for compliance, the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) today delayed implementation indefinitely to give computer-makers more time to comply, the Xinhua News Agency reports.
Computer makers had protested that installing the software, called Green Dam Youth-Escort, might expose them to liability if the Chinese government uses the software to invade its citizens' privacy. The U.S. government sent a letter to Chinese officials complaining that computer makers were given virtually no notice of the mandate ahead of time, possibly violating World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Others complained the software could be used by the Chinese government to censor political material—not just pornography.
Apr 17, 2009 | 2
NEW YORK, N.Y. — While computers, the Internet and mobile phones have brought their users a great degree of freedom, they've also had a severe impact on privacy, the distribution of information and security, a panel of computer scientists, law enforcement and journalists said Thursday at a Marconi Society symposium here. (Additional coverage of the April 16 Marconi Society symposium.)
The Internet has changed society dramatically, said Robert Gallager, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of electrical engineering and computer science. "Some of this is healthy, some of this is not," he said at yesterday's conference. The blistering pace at which information is created and disseminated via the Web and mobile devices, "makes our lives more complicated because it's harder to organize the information we receive," he added.
Jan 19, 2009 | 3
Chomping at the bit to Twitter, text and make cell phone calls from tomorrow's inauguration? You might want to limit your expectations: telecom providers say they're expecting record wireless and Internet traffic in the nation's capital, and are asking mobile users to wait until after the big event to start tweeting and calling, lest their messages get delayed and their calls met by busy signals.
The Wireless Association, an industry trade group based in Washington, D.C., is asking people to text instead of call, because it uses less bandwidth. For the same reason, it's also recommending that folks send mobile photos and video after Barack Obama is sworn in as president.
Jan 6, 2009 | 4
Too busy to go to the doctor? Unfortunately, it's the rare one who makes house calls these days. But how about the next best thing? The Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) next week is set to begin offering doctor consults via Web cam, an emerging form of telemedicine.
The association (the state's Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance provider) will offer the 10-minute Internet visits through American Well, a Boston-based company that provides video conferencing and electronic medical record-keeping to doctors and patients, the New York Times reports today. HMSA is its first customer, the Times says.
Dec 22, 2008 | 3
Although the Internet has come to be seen as ubiquitous, people in the Middle East and India were reminded Friday of just how the Web is delivered to their homes and businesses when three key undersea cables were severed within a span of 38 minutes, knocking a large portion of users offline until traffic could be re-routed. The cables remain on the sea bed today as France Telecom Marine deploys its "Hector" remote-control submarine to find the ends of its two cables and bring them to the surface, where they can be repaired on board the company's C/S Raymond Croze 3,200-ton cable maintenance ship. (A second ship operated by India's Reliance Globalcom is en route to repair the third cable, NetworkWorld reported today.)
Dec 18, 2008 | 1
Although the Federal Aviation Administration (mercifully) still won't let passengers yap on their mobile phones while in flight, there's nothing to keep airlines from letting their customers connect wirelessly to the Web. And that's exactly what Delta and several other major carriers have begun to do.
Delta Air Lines this week began offering Gogo Inflight Internet service from Aircell, LLC, an Itasca, Ill., wireless technology company, on five MD-88 aircraft flying Delta Shuttle routes between New York's LaGuardia Airport and Boston's Logan and Washington's Reagan National airports, plus one Boeing 757 flying domestic routes. Delta says that the service will be offered on five more flights by the end of the month and that it will be available on as many as 300 planes by the end of 2009. Northwest Airlines (a Delta subsidiary) will begin offering Gogo late next year, according to the Delta Web site.
Dec 15, 2008
A vote that would have decided whether U.S. Internet users would get access to free, nationwide broadband service has been put off. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) canceled a meeting scheduled for Thursday at which regulators would have decided whether the agency would auction off a spectrum of unused airwaves for the purpose of building the massive network.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Rep. Henry Waxman of California, both Democrats, wrote FCC Chairman Kevin Martin on Friday, asking him to hold off on any FCC business unrelated to the February switch to digital TV, according to Reuters. They’re worried that the transition will cause problems for the 15 percent of U.S. households that don’t have digital tuners and use over-the-air antennae to receive broadcasts.
Dec 10, 2008 | 3
Forty years ago, Douglas Engelbart gave a 90-minute presentation on a "computer-based, interactive, multiconsole display system" under development at Stanford Research Institute (SRI), according to an official announcement of the event. The system was designed to investigate "principles by which interactive computer aids can augment intellectual capability." This event—attended by about 1,000 computer professionals—would later be called by many the "mother of all demos" and would introduce the world to a number of computing capabilities largely taken for granted today: the computer mouse, hypertext, object addressing and dynamic file linking.
As ScientificAmerican.com reported last month, it would be another two years before the U.S. Patent Office officially recognized the mouse, at the time called a "X-Y position indicator for a display system." Engelbart, 83, filed the patent in 1967 but had to wait three years for the government to acknowledge his technology, which provided the tool needed to navigate graphics-filled computer screens with a simple motion of the hand rather than by wading through screens filled with green-tinted text using keys or a light pencil pressed up against a computer monitor.
Dec 2, 2008 | 16
Free, broadband Internet service could become available across the country if the government okays a proposal to open up unused public airwaves to bidders.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to vote Dec. 18 on whether to auction off the so-called AWS-3 spectrum, an unused chunk of airwaves. The winner would have to agree to use at least 25 percent of the spectrum to build a free, national broadband network (one free of porn, too, for anyone except for "adults" who click online agreements claiming to be 18 or older), but could charge a fee for faster service on the remainder. The network would reach 95 percent of the U.S. population, especially those in rural areas where broadband is less accessible, according to FCC spokesperson Rob Kenny.
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