Osama bin Laden has likely stayed off the grid for the past decade in order to evade capture, but was it his aversion to tech that actually did him in?
During a late-night press briefing on bin Laden's death, the White House said that the Abbottabad, Pakistan's compound's lack of an Internet connection was one of the things that tipped off investigators.
"It's also noteworthy that the property is valued at approximately $1 million but has no telephone or Internet service connected to it. The brothers had no explainable source of wealth," a senior administration offical told reporters.
The brothers in question are a trusted bin Laden courier and his sibling. The White House said intelligence officials became aware of this courier four years ago thanks to information provided by detainees, but only uncovered his location in August 2010.
White House officials said they were "shocked" by the compound.
Osama Bin Laden's death is a clear victory in the war on terror for the U.S., but as someone who was working in New York City on September 11, 2001, this event also highlights just how much has changed in the world of technology, communication and news dissemination in the last 10 years.
Nearly a decade ago, I marveled at how technology allowed us to not only learn about the attack on the World Trade Center, but experience it as it unfolded. Back then, I relied heavily on AOL's Instant Messenger to communicate with my team in the office and those scattered around the country. As a result, AIM was a constant presence on my desktop and it's through that platform that I learned of the first jet hitting one of the towers. With that distressing information in hand, our staff gathered in a conference room to watch TV news on a larger projection TV. As a result, we all witnessed the second plane hit the other tower and knew we were under attack.
I used AIM throughout the day to stay in touch with family, friends, and co-workers. Most of my news updates, however, were delivered via TV and radio. There was no Google News, no Facebook, no Twitter, or YouTube for anyone to post eyewitness accounts.
Last night, much of the world learned of Osama bin Laden's death hours before President Barack Obama announced it in a televised news conference at roughly 11:35pm Eastern. Back in 2001, those sharing news about the airplane hitting one of the World Trade Center towers were simply repeating what they had seen on local television networks. Real news was rarely traded on the point-to-point instant messaging service. In fact, there was no concept of a viral network or participants simply sharing what they were experiencing to a wider group without thought of import or impact.
Update: Contrary to the original reports, it seems there are still typewriters being made in China, Japan, and Indonesia. So rather than being the death of the typewriter, this is just another nail in the coffin.
You might want to be sitting down for this. It's time to say your goodbyes, because the world's last remaining typewriter factory, Godrej & Boyce in Mumbai, India, is closing its doors.
Although typewriters have long been obsolete in the West, they remained popular in India for a long time. However, Godrej & Boyce stopped production in 2009, and now its inventory has dwindled to just 500 machines, most of which are Arabic-language models, and no more will be made. It's a different tune than the company was singing back in the '90s, when it produced 50,000 typewriters a year, a third of India's total output of 150,000 units, India's Business Standard reports.
"From the early 2000s onward, computers started dominating," Godrej & Boyce's general manager of operations Milind Dukle told the Business Standard. "All the manufacturers of office typewriters stopped production, except us. [Until] 2009, we used to produce 10,000 to 12,000 machines a year."
When Godrej & Boyce opened in the 1950s, the Business Standard says the typewriter was a "symbol of independent and industrialized India." More than half a century later, one of the company's plants in Shirwal that closed in 2009 was morphed into a refrigerator factory.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a law that would bar the Obama administration from limiting shipments of lithium-ion batteries by air.
The proposed rule by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the FAA would have eliminated exceptions for small lithium batteries, classifying them as "Class 9" hazardous cargo, and requiring a number of labeling and other safety regulations.
The House will have to reconcile its legislation with the Senate before President Obama can sign a unified joint bill, as Bloomberg noted.
There have been numerous incidents of batteries short-circuiting, and many of those have involved airplanes. (The last major battery incident involved Sony, in 2008; that recall then, however, did not cover airplanes.) The proposed rule noted that out of 21 and 44 incidents involving lithium batteries since 1991 involved passenger aircraft; of those, 16 involved carry-on luggage, and one involved checked baggage. Twenty-three incidents involved cargo aircraft, presumably in pallets of batteries being transported by air.
AUSTIN - Just as SXSW attendees were landing in Austin and heading to their first conference sessions, news and images of the terrible tsunami that hit Japan were hitting the Web. Organizers acted quickly to create a site (sxsw4japan.org) that not only accepts contributions, but also enables attendees to do what they do best, share the news and create their own support networks.
The goals of sxsw4japan.org are simple:
- DONATE: Make a donation or text your donation to 90999
- SHARE: On the Web, on Twitter, mention it in your SXSW talks with #sxswcares and #sxsw4japan
- CREATE A FUNDRAISING PAGE: Start a page so your friends/family can donate to disaster relief.
The original goal of $10,000 has been doubled to $20,000. So far the site has raised more than $15,000 with two days remaining.
SXSW organizers are also encouraging attendees to like the Facebook page of DogBlessyou.org. The site, which is affiliated with the Annenberg Foundation, is donating $1 for every person who "likes" they page over the next few days.
As the devastating images of the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Japan come in via cable news, newspapers, blogs, and homemade videos, tech giants like Google, Apple, Twitter, and more are donating funds and using the power of tech to help those in need.
In the wake of the earthquake, Google set up its Person Finder Web site to help people locate the missing or post data on those who had been found. In a Saturday blog post, Google Japan's Ken Miura said his team started working on Google's Crisis Response page within minutes of the quake.
Miura was in Tokyo, about 250 miles away from where the first quake hit, but the Google Japan office – located on the 26th floor – "started shaking slowly," he wrote.
"Although alerts from the building urged us to evacuate via the emergency stairs, I couldn't help but stay and search for information about the earthquake's epicenter and scale," he wrote. Miura said he was a university student when the Kobe earthquake hit 16 years ago and he recalled "the immediate desire for information."
With that in mind, the team launched Person Finder in Japan within an hour of the earthquake, pulled together public information from local governments about affected areas, and posted tsunami warnings on the Google homepage.
Miura also said Google will donate $250,000 to Japanese relief agencies.
The space shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station for the last time this morning and started its two-day journey back to the Kennedy Space Center.
The shuttle fired its jets to separate from the ISS at 8:37am Eastern, NASA said. Discovery is scheduled to land at 11:58am on Wednesday; at this point, weather conditions are favorable.
Overall, the astronauts engaged in seven days, 23 hours, and 55 minutes worth of joint activities with the ISS crew. This is Discovery's 39th and final mission.
The crew received a special wake-up call at 3:23am this morning: the theme from "Star Trek" and a recorded message from actor William Shatner. "Space, the final frontier. These have been the voyages of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Her 30 year mission: To seek out new science. To build new outposts. To bring nations together on the final frontier. To boldly go, and do, what no spacecraft has done before," Shatner said.
Inamo is a futuristic restaurant in the Soho district of London. The fusion of technology, and Asian-inspired interior design makes Inamo a destination restaurant on the bleeding edge of innovation. Inamo’s interactive dining experience is like nothing you've ever seen or tasted before. The illustrated food and drink menus are powered by E-Table technology, and Canon projectors display mouthwatering menu options on the Corian tables. The tables include round preview screens shaped like plates, allowing customers to interact with any menu item before placing an order.
Allowing customers to preview menu options is not the only trick in Inamo’s digital dining bag. Customers can watch the kitchen webcam, change the table background, watch movie trailers from Paramount Pictures UK, browse information about the local community, play games, watch short films, and even call the “I drank too much" taxi, directly from their E-table.
75 Years of DC Comics from Paul Levitz covers, well, 75 years of DC Comics through 2000 images in 720 pages.
You can order it from Amazon now for $126, in all its 15 pound glory!
We're big fans of what Powermat has to offer here at Gear Live HQ, and that's why we think it's appropriate to feature them in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. What you've got here is a little panel with a built-in battery pack that lets you wirelessly charge your mobile devices. It folds up and is small enough to throw in a bag, and won't take up much space at all on a desk. On a full charge, you can charge an iPhone five times. The Powermat Travel Mat comes with adapters that allow you to charge any USB device, Nintendo DS, a few proprietary phone connectors, and iOS devices. The cool part here is that you just set your device on the mat, and it starts charging.
They typically sell for $130, but Amazon's got 'em for $69 right now.
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