Technology Tidbits

Amazon’s Evil Kindle; Trapping Rainbows; Malware that is worse than ever; The Net is overloaded; Algorithm determines best blog news sites.

Amazon debuts digital book reader

Online retailer Amazon has unveiled an own-brand wireless electronic book reader called Kindle.

The paperback-sized device is on sale immediately in the US for $399 (£195). It can store up to 200 books in its onboard memory.

Kindle does not need a PC to be loaded with books, blogs or papers – instead content arrives via wireless.

Amazon said 90,000 books, including bestsellers priced at $9.99, were available for Kindle at launch.

I hear you don’t own the books you read on it, you just rent them. I hear it does not read PDF files. This is just another expensive electronic device where the device’s operation is tied to a particular market … like US cell phones, for instance … I don’ t think I want one.


Trapped rainbow: New technique to slow down, stop and capture light offers bright future for the internet and powerful computers

[Scientists] have revealed a technique which may be able to slow down, stop and capture light.

The technique would allow the use of light rather than electrons to store memory in devices such as computers, enabling an increase in operating capacity of 1,000% by using light’s broad spectrum rather than single electrons. Slow light could also be used to increase the speed of optical networks, such as the Internet. At major interconnection points, where billions of optical data packets arrive simultaneously, it would be useful if we could control this traffic optically, by slowing some data packets to let others through. This system would work in the same way as traffic congestion calming schemes do on our motorways, when a reduction in the speed limit enables swifter overall flow of traffic.


Hackers Use Banner Ads on Major Sites to Hijack Your PC

The worst-case scenario used to be that online ads are pesky, memory-draining distractions. But a new batch of banner ads is much more sinister: They hijack personal computers and bully users until they agree to buy antivirus software.

And the ads do their dirty work even if you don’t click on them.

The malware-spiked ads have been spotted on various legitimate websites, ranging from the British magazine The Economist to baseball’s MLB.com to the Canada.com news portal.

Net gridlock by 2010 study warns

Consumer demand for bandwidth could see the internet running out of capacity as early as 2010, a new study warns.

US analyst firm Nemertes Research predicted a drastic slowdown as the network struggles to cope with the amount of data being carried on it.

Cost-effective Outbreak Detection in Networks

Rankings are based on the following question: Which blogs should one read to be most up to date, i.e., to quickly know about important stories that propagate over the blogosphere? …
We plot the mount of information captured vs. the number of blogs read. We compare our algorithm to current blog ranking techniques, like reading blogs with most in-links, most posts, most out-links or just reading random blogs. See the paper for details.