Recently the Burmese government shut down the country’s Internet connection in an effort to keep prying eyes from seeing what is going on there. No wonder the country of Myanmar is upset over more than just its name change. Earlier this year, researchers at Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, and the University of Toronto issued The OpenNet Iniative to study other countries who had have done the same. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, South Korea, and Pakistan are among those that have at least partial blocks. We may complain about our state of our Union, but we never forget that we are grateful to be in a country that allows us to have our FI (Freedom of Internet.)
Read More | Technology Review
Next time you take a plane trip, don’t bring your RC gadgets along with you. The Transportation Security Administration said this week, “It appears that terrorists may have an interest to use these remote-control toys as a means to initiate devices used in a terrorist attack.”
A Congressional Research Service claims that the toys have been improvised by both U.S. and Iraqi troops so that they can be run into unsuspecting areas and explode insurgent bombs, while the remotes can be set to trigger explosive devices. The only problem we see with this is that every time we are told that we cannot bring something on an airplane, those that make the announcements tell everyone, including the potential bad guys. Perhaps we should also caution Radio Shack not to open an outlet in the Middle East.
Read More | Reuters
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime says that demand of the Nintendo Wii will again be greater than the supply this year. Since its launch, the Wii has topped the game system charts. During August, it sold over 400,000 pieces to the Xbox’s 276,000 and PS3’s 130,000. Fils-Aime says that they are doing all they can to meet the demand and that “the issue is not a lack of production.”
Sorry, but we beg to differ. We know that half of the fun of electronics life is waiting in line for an iPhone, bargaining on eBay, and in general picking up that special item early, because you know that there will never be enough of the those things that we covet the most. It’s time that those who are in control and earnestly chart sales realized we are not as naive as they would like to believe.
Read More | Daily Tech
Apple has announced that its new update will kill unlocked iPhones. Last week, Steve Jobs cried foul as he said that the warranty would be voided, which we are pretty sure most hackers, such as George Hotz, knew about when they performed the operation. Of course, the obvious solution here is to skip the update, but then those users will not get WiFi Tunes. Perhaps Apple should think of this as a quiet demonstration of folks who want to save a bit of cash rather than a direct attack on AT&T. Think amnesty, Apple.
Read More | Yahoo Tech
MySpace and MTV have teamed together to host a one-on-one Presidential Dialogue for John Edwards, which we means that various politicos and viewers get to grill him live. It will be on this Thursday, Sept. 27 at noon, like we are going to give up our all-important lunch hour. You can ask questions via both venues and a Flektor poll is supposed to track results, although we are not quite sure why that is necessary. We don’t know if all the candidates have MySpace pages and plans, but we did note while on Edwards’ page there was a clever Google ad for Mitt Romney sandwiched in there.
Read More | Mashable
Can’t get enough terrorist attack information? The Global Incident Map provides worldwide locations of fires, biological and chemical warfare, bomb/explosives, and more. A scrolling list makes updates every few minutes, and you can click on “Display Events” to get more data. You can also use your mouse to move around and zoom in on specific incidents including links to videos, related sites, etc. We find it a scary thought that groups or individuals that caused the incidents may also checking the site as a sort of “Electronic Battleship” game.
Read More | Global Incident Map
We can tolerate Reality TV online. We can even suffer through TMZ TV, although we find it rather opportunistic. But when we heard about Online Nation that will premiere on The CW, we really started to wonder why anyone who has access to the Internet would want to see YouTube on the boob tube? There are plenty of opportunities to get your fifteen minutes of fame online, so why would we want to do the same in the real world?
We suspect that this is a chance for Network television to get in on the popularity of such sites that appeal especially to younger people who are the big spenders. In other words, another feeble attempt at making folks look merely foolish in the search for the big bucks. We do, however, applaud the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for awarding a special Emmy to Current TV and its partners Al Gore and Joel Hyatt for recognizing that there is more to the Internet than the exploits of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.
We admit that we dig anime. We are also partial to saving the whales, many of which are now on the endangered list. Combining the two concepts in hopes that Japan will stop the slaughter in its Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, Greenpeace released this animated short there to publicize the issue. We understand that after the postwar period that the Japanese needed the large mammals as a source of protein, but since the country is now at peace, the poor creatures should be allowed theirs as well. Created by Yamamura Koji, we wanted to share this fine piece of art that also has a message.
Read More | Japan Probe
As if releasing a new dancing MP3 Player isn’t enough, Sony BMG has also teamed with the Universal Music Group and devised the Ringle, which contains 3 tunes and a ringtone in a slip-sleeved cover CD. At this point, Sony is the only company that will be offering them at retail outlets. They figure that if we can download tracks and ringtones individually, we will rush right out to purchase them for a $5.98 or $6.98 list price. Excuse our naivety here, but isn’t downloading the way to avoid overcrowded shopping malls?
Read More | Reuters
Once again, Mattel has recalled over 800,000 items made in China with lead paint. This time the targets are Barbie accessories, Geo Trax Engines, and Big Big World 6-in-1 Bongo Band toys. CEO Robert Eckert gives the usual obligatory “I’m sorry” and “You have my promise…” on the company site, but it really makes you wonder when/if the recall will be over.
While we would like to think that this will end the matter, somehow we don’t think it is a complete solution. What can we as consumers do? We can write to our legislators and contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to ask for stricter control. We also suggest you go to your nearest hardware store and pick up or order online a Lead Test Kit, which retails for only about $4.00. If you find a toy and can identify the brand, contact the company and/or send them the part. We certainly no longer agree with their old tagline “If it’s Mattel, it’s Swell.”
Read More | Mattel