Carriers Adopt Content Rating for Cellphones - New York Times

Carriers Adopt Content Rating for Cellphones - New York Times:

The nation's major cellular phone carriers said yesterday that they had adopted a content rating system for video, music, pictures and games that they sell to cellphone users - a development that could pave the way for them to begin selling pornography and sex-oriented content on mobile devices.

The carriers said the ratings, meant to mimic content classifications for movies and video games, are voluntary.

Initially, the carriers would classify content in two categories: general interest and restricted content deemed appropriate only for people over the age of 18.

The carriers said they had agreed not to begin making restricted content available until they had developed filters and other technological tools that would enable parents to prevent children from getting access to inappropriate material.

Posted by rshah on November 09, 2005| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tsunamis prompt interest in 'Net alerts

From Network World:
An update on the IETF's effort to build in a protocol for emergency communications.

Posted by rshah on October 22, 2005| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Devices help the blind cross tech divide


Business is really booming these days, Swerdlick said, as more and more manufacturers are building so-called assistive technology gadgets to address a wide range of special needs groups.

Microsoft, for one, has been taking a hard look at the issue. In addition to numerous studies, the software giant recently released a royalty-free software license called the Microsoft Windows User Interface Automation, which helps modify Microsoft Word, Excel, or third-party applications with screen readers, screen enlargers and other alternative inputs.

Besides Microsoft, other well-known tech companies are also working on assistive technology. Apple Computer, Adobe and IBM have been working on speech recognition and screen enlargement software for their various applications. Apple, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell have offered technical support to third-party companies working on assistive technology hardware. The computer makers have also adapted their PCs, laptops and PDAs to include large, recognizable keys and plug-and-play USB ports that support various peripherals.


Posted by rshah on October 05, 2005| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Companies subvert search results to squelch criticism

From Online Journalism Review:

The answer isn't a simple one and can't be answered directly as Google and other search engines will not spell out exactly how their top secret algorithms work. But after reading through Quixtar Blog, the picture becomes clearer: The company, a revamped online version of Amway, has had trouble with critics online and decided to fight them by unloading an arsenal of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that go against accepted marketing techniques and into the muddy world of Web page spam, also known as link farms and Google bombing.

Posted by rshah on June 03, 2005| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dell does new eco-friendly desktops

Dell does new eco-friendly desktops:

Dell executives made the announcement during an afternoon event in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The company used the backdrop of one of Europe's best-known vacation destinations to highlight its efforts to cut back on the amount of hazardous materials in its products.

The company said its new OptiPlex systems are good first steps toward complying with the European Union's 2006 deadline to restrict the use of certain substances, such as lead, and eliminate the use of other metals, such as cadmium. Dell said it already complies with international environmental standards including GreenPC and Energy Star.

Dell said it also is avoiding brominated flame retardants and has virtually eliminated the use of halogenated flame retardants in desktop, notebook and server chassis plastic parts. Many of the reductions in hazardous materials are linked to the shift away from cathode ray tube, or CRT, monitors in favor of liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors.

In related news, Dell executives said they plan to increase by 50 percent the amount of used product recovered from customers in 2006.

Since last year, Dell said its Asset Recovery Services program has helped the company recover 24 million pounds of used product from U.S. customers. Worldwide, Dell said it recovered nearly 66 million pounds of product during the same period.

Posted by rshah on June 02, 2005| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New .xxx domain will be reserved for porn

New .xxx domain will be reserved for porn:
Numerous groups, including several outspoken U.S. politicians, have been demanding for some time a separate Internet domain for pornography in a move to prevent sexually explicit content from landing on the screens of young Net users. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers took a big step Wednesday to meet that demand by approving a plan for pornographic Web sites to use new addresses that end with ".xxx."

Posted by rshah on June 02, 2005| Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tensions When Firms use Open-source

CNET has a nice article on the inherent tensions when firms work with an existing open source project, Open-source divorce for Apple's Safari? CNET
According to KHTML developers, Apple engineers took a less "pure" approach to fixing bugs, applying patches that KHTML developers were loath to reincorporate back into their code base.

"In open source, everything's supposed to be done the right way, but sometimes the less correct way is faster," Rusin said. "In fixing one problem, they were breaking a whole bunch of other things. Apple developers were focused on fixing bugs in such a way that we could not merge them back into KHTML. Those fixes were never an option for us."

In contrast to the transparency and immediacy with which open-source developers are accustomed to working, KDE volunteers said they suddenly found themselves dealing with bug reports Apple deemed too sensitive to share, new requirements for auditing code before releasing it, and demands that developers sign nondisclosure agreements before looking at some Apple code.

Posted by rshah on May 12, 2005| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Study Confirms Parents' Net-Illiteracy

From Techdirt: Study Confirms Parents' Net-Illiteracy, But What Does It Mean?:
Concerns a study, titled UK Children Go Online. BBC
Some interesting facts from the study:

Skills gap between parents and children: Only 16% of weekly and daily user parents consider themselves advanced compared with 32% of children

Most porn is viewed unintentionally: 38% have seen a pornographic pop-up advert while doing something else, 36% have accidentally found themselves on a porn site when looking for something else, and 25% have received pornographic junk mail.internet safely.

Parents face some difficult challenges: 18% of parents say they don’t know how to help their child use the internet safely.

Confusion about filtering: In homes with internet access, 35% of children say that filtering software has been installed on their computer while 46% of parents claim this.

More education: 75% want to see more and better teaching and guidance in schools while 67% want more and better information and advice for parents.

Improved technology: 66% want improved filtering software, 54% improved parental controls and 51% improved monitoring software.

Posted by rshah on April 28, 2005| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bush OKs Smut-Stripping Tech

Permitting technology that filters out "objectionable" material over rights of the copyright holder
Examples include ClearPlay and MovieMask
Links to previous posts: Here and here

Wired News: Bush OKs Smut-Stripping Tech:

President Bush on Wednesday signed legislation aimed at helping parents keep their children from seeing sex scenes, violence and foul language in movie DVDs. The bill gives legal protections to the fledgling filtering technology that helps parents automatically skip or mute sections of commercial movie DVDs.

The legislation, called the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, creates an exemption in copyright laws to make sure companies selling filtering technology won't get sued out of existence.

Critics of the bill have argued it was aimed at helping one company, Utah-based ClearPlay, whose technology is used in some DVD players. ClearPlay sells filters for hundreds of movies that can be added to such DVD players for $4.95 each month. Hollywood executives maintain that ClearPlay should pay them licensing fees for altering their creative efforts.

Posted by rshah on April 28, 2005| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Public procurement contracts should stipulate eAccessibility

From the EU:

Requirements to make information and communication technology (ICT) goods and services accessible to elderly and disabled people should be laid down in public procurement contracts. So say 90% of the 500 respondents (public agencies, ICT goods and service suppliers, universities, business associations and user groups) to the Commission’s January 2005 public consultation on the need for “eAccessiblity” measures (see IP/05/14). Stakeholders also say that EU institutions should take the lead in proposing these measures (88%), that ICT goods and services need to be made more fully interoperable (74%), and that technical requirements should be harmonised within and beyond the EU for this purpose (84%). It is less clear how these requirements should be enforced. Although there is clear support for some form of product certification or a “labelling” scheme (72%), stakeholders are fairly evenly divided on whether this scheme should be voluntary, mandatory, and/or rely on self-certification with checks. Commission proposals will be set out in a Communication scheduled for September 2005.

Posted by rshah on April 25, 2005| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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