Twine lassos Semantic Web technology

Semantic Web continued its evolution this week with the debut of Twine, an online organizational tool that acts as a bookmark and social networking site. Twine uses Resource Description Framework  and Web Ontology Language  to tag information on Web sites and identify concepts, which is useful for grouping sites together in a “twine.” The site can then make recommendations to users about other sites and people that might fit their interests. According to Technology Review, Twine might indicate what the future holds for Semantic Web and Web 3.0. (Technology Review)

SSDs have arrived, but users haven’t

Solid-state drives aren’t likely to gain widespread use until 2010, according to a CNet report. Although SSDs are now a common option on laptops, their higher cost makes them less appealing, despite significant advantages in performance. Intel, which launched a line of high-performance SSDs this month, demonstrated an 80Gbyte version at a developer forum that reached 44,000 input-output operations per second. (CNet)

Google releases Android source code

Google officially made its Android mobile platform open source Tuesday by releasing its source code to the public, one day before the first smart phone using the platform is scheduled to hit the market. The source files can be built with either Mac OS or Linux, and Google hopes to see a wide variety of applications created for the device. According to Computerworld, Android will be released under an Apache license and developers will not be required to share their changes with the community. (Tech News World)

Kentucky lawsuit jeopardizes online gambling sites

A Kentucky judge last week upheld his earlier decision to seize 141 domain names associated with online gambling, and gave the site owners until 17 November to block access to Kentucky residents or risk losing the domain names. Citing Kentucky law, which prohibits unregulated gambling, Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that it would set a precedent for authorities worldwide to take action against undesirable Web sites. “This doomsday argument does not ruffle the court,” Wingate wrote. “The Internet, with all its benefits and advantages to modern day commerce and life, is still not above the law, whether on an international or municipal level.” According to the Wall Street Journal, many of the sites’ registrars are located in the US (even though the site operators are overseas), so they will be forced to comply with the order. (The Register)

Liquid cooling system goes a step further

Touting it as a solution to heat problems from overclocking, Hardcore Computer rolled out its Reactor PC on Monday, the first commercially available computer that operates entirely in liquid. According to BetaNews, the Reactor’s heat-intensive components, such as its circuit board, are completely submerged in a patented liquid that’s similar to mineral oil. A pump moves the hot liquid through a cooling path and back into the liquid enclosure. Devices such as the hard drive and optical drive are kept away from the liquid. Hardcore says the computer can run three graphics cards with optimal performance. BetaNews noted that upgrading could be an issue for consumers, who might have to send their PCs back to Hardcore. (BetaNews)

Technology in development to detect guilt

An English research team plans to develop a computer system that can detect guilt to aid security screenings. According to a ScienceDaily report, the team will use a new technique, called “real-time dynamic passive profiling,” to monitor facial expressions, eye movement, and pupil changes, then evaluate physiological changes such as blood flow to produce an analysis. Dr. Hassan Ugail of the University of Bradford says that the technology would support trained border officers – humans are better at reading facial expressions, but the computer system could make use of nonvisual cues such as thermal imaging. (ScienceDaily)

FCC mulls delaying “white spaces” decision

The US Federal Communication Commission is considering an emergency request from the National Association of Broadcasters to postpone its decision on the use of white spaces for broadband access. The NAB wants a 70-day public-comment period before allowing the use of white spaces, which otherwise would go into effect concurrent with the digital television switchover on 17 February  2009. The FCC released its report on white spaces last week, detailing its proof of concept that wireless devices can operate on unused portions of the television spectrum without interfering with broadcast signals. But the NAB expressed concern over a part of the report that showed some false positives and negatives when the devices searched for vacant frequencies. (Ars Technica)

Study finds families get closer with Internet and cell phones

Contrary to popular belief, recent technology has helped people create “new connectedness” with their families, although that might mean less physical togetherness and less leisure time overall, according to a study released Sunday. The Pew Internet and American Life Project conducted a survey that found 89 percent of married couples, with or without children, were at least somewhat satisfied with the amount of time they spent with their families. Much of that time was shared online in a home computer network, on cell phones, or through other means. (Computerworld)

Microsoft technology filters out profanity

Microsoft has obtained a patent for technology that would automatically censor audio streams, which could help prevent profanity in online gaming and live television broadcasts. The technology uses batch analysis of audio data based on a lattice of phonemes to detect undesirable speech, then makes the objectionable sound unintelligible. Ars Technica speculates that governments could use the technology to censor speech on devices such as cell phones. (Ars Technica)

Noiseless amplifiers boost quantum computing

In a possible breakthrough for quantum computing and encryption, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and JILA, a joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado at Boulder, have developed a “noiseless” amplifier for the measurement of microwave signals. Current amplifiers add random fluctuations, known as “noise,” that force researches to make repeated measurements to get reliable results. As detailed online in the journal Nature Physics, the new amplifier performs better than previous noiseless amplifiers and is tunable, operating between 4 and 8 GHz. According to JILA group leader Konrad Lenhert, the new technology lets researchers “squeeze” microwave fields, reducing noise in one area while increasing it in another. The squeezed entities can then be "entangled," a process that links their properties, which could help make quantum computing easier. The amplifiers are lined with 480 magnetic sensors called SQUIDS (superconducting quantum interference devices), and according Lenhert can be manufactured quickly. “If you can make one you can make a hundred of them,” he said. (NIST)

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