December 17, 2017

Defenders of Free Software

SoftwareIn Tiel Netherlands, Armijn Hemel, 32, works as a technology consultant and several hours a week pesters the world's most powerful consumer electronics and technology companies. Hemel serves as a volunteer watchman for free open-source software like Linux which competes with Microsoft's Windows. Companies like Google, TiVo and Sony piggyback on the work of others rather than building all of their software products from scratch.

Some companies may be violating the requirements associated with free software licenses. These include tweaked versions of a free software product available to the public, or giving credit to original developers.

Dell received a lashing from geek kingdom for shipping its new Streak tablet without providing underlying open-source software code which has now been rectified. Quite often, companies are ignorant about the rules of engagement or fail to live up to them. They then become exposed to expensive lawsuits.

Mr. Hemel, who volunteers for receives an email complaint, hops on his bike, rides to a local retailer, conducts a test purchase and then analyzes the product to see whether it use free software and lives up to it's end of the bargain.

People send in: wireless routers, pc cameras, phones, or even an exercise bike with a small computer so people could race against it. More problems occur with car makers for their entertainment consoles, or energy companies with smart meters.

High profile companies such as Cisco Systems, Samsung, Best Buy, Verizon Communications and many others have been sued by Software Freedom Law Center. Most cases are settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Hewlett-Packard, in particular, has helped develop a standardized inventory list for software for companies to keep track of their  code and licenses with a built in tool that lets companies analyze their software.

The situation will improve with these new programs in place.

3D Glasses the New Trend?

3D Glasses3D glasses are treated as disposable products for movie goers supposedly chucking them in the bins outside the theaters. They are then cleaned and recycled. Marchon3D will soon offer a range of sunglasses that feature the RealD system able to be used in the majority of 3D screens in the US. They will sell for about $35. They can be worn anywhere and will block 100 percent UVA and UVB but not bright light.

For standard sunglasses the company will also market a photochromic 3D glasses at prices ranging from $99 to $125. Four styles each for men and women will be offered and sold through 27,000 professional eye care centers that carry its company's line of eye wear.

Plans are being made to produce prescription lenses but no date has been set.

How to Make Phone Calls from Inside GMail

Old PhoneSkype, an internet based phone service lets Americans talk to each other free and charges a couple of pennies per minute for long distance. Google is introducing an Internet phone service built into its Gmail interface service. Even though it is promoted as Gmail's video chat it's for anyone who wants to make a phone call with or without video. It works by opening a small window with a telephone-style keypad and box for typing people's names found in the Gmail address book.

To use the phone feature, you must first install a plug-in from Google which works with Internet Explorer, Firefox, the Google Chrome browser and Safari from Apple on Macs.

The phone uses your computer's built-in microphone and speakers or a U.S.B. headset to pick up voice. Once the plug-in has been installed and configured to the correct audio gear, making calls is as simple as dialing an old phone. All receiving calls will see the caller ID 760 705 8888 which is Google's outbound caller number.

To receive calls withing Gmail, you'll need to sign up with Google Voice and be assigned a number to track you incoming calls. Like Skype, prices are hard to beat. All calls withing the USA and Canada are free. Other calls to outside countries average from around 2 cents a minute to 77 cents a minute to North Korea.

If you're already on Skype and Gmail you need only one Web page and one address book that combines e-mail, IM-style chat and phone. Most would agree that Internet phone call has better voice quality than cellphone.

Web Plan From Google & Verizon Criticized

Internet ClickRecently Google and Verizon proposed how Internet services should be regulated. There was immediate criticism by groups that favor keeping their networks open. According to the proposal, Internet service providers would not be able to block producers of online content or offer them a paid fast lane with the exceptions over cell phone networks and potential new services for broadband providers.

These could include things like health care monitoring, advanced educational services or new entertainment and gaming options. Federal Communications Commission would have the authority to stop rule breakers.

The two companies are hoping to influence regulators and lawmakers to invoke net neutrality which holds that Internet users should have equal access to all types of information online.

Senior Vice President and policy director, Andrew Jay Schwartzman, says the plan creates an internet service for the haves and have-nots, making some services unaffordable for consumers or access unavailable for new start-ups.

The proposal excludes services that broadband providers may create and are not designed to circumvent the rules such as the Metropolitan Opera. The exception could let companies bypass open access regulations causing less incentive to invest in Internet capacity and pushing more content providers to creating alternative networks similar to cable TV.

Google and Verizon stressed that their plan was not a business deal but a policy proposal to follow for the Federal Communications commission to review. Jen Howard, spokeswoman for the F.C.C. says it would not immediately comment on the proposal but would probably demand net neutrality rules cover wireless and that details of any exceptions for specialized online services be made clear.

The opposition to open-access regulation has guarded reactions but demonstrates that it is possible to bridge differences on this issue.

"The more competition you have for broadband access, the less need you have for net-neutrality-type regulation" says Gregory L. Rosston, a former deputy chief economist at the F.C.C.


Motorola Droid X VS HTC Droid Incredible

MobileThe droid phone by Motorola is an attractive smart phone built with touch-screen and various features. The phone runs on Google's operating system known as Android 2.0, and has been heavily commercialized as a phone that can beat iPhone.

At first look, you might not think Motorola's droid phone design amounts that much. Its external build looks rather dull and its sharp edges contribute in a boxy figure. But this is a smart phone that conceals many surprises, the biggest being the positively sleek looking WVGA display. Its gorgeous screen at 3.7 inches surpasses even I-Phone's excellent screen feature and is firmly near the bounds of what many people consider as standard size for touch-screen displays. Its resolution and color support is charitable operating with 16 million hues and 440 x 854 pixels.

Definitely the droid phone by Motorola is big due to its 4.56"H x 2.36"W x.54"T display, but that is a small amount to pay considering it features a superior screening display. You'll also notice that these droids are heavy weighing 5.96 ounce compared to other smart phones available today, but its slim phone design keeps it from being portable. The phone's real-life sliding motion is noticeably stiff, but its front display does not really freeze into place on any end.

The phone's capacitive display interface is also noticeably responsive and quick. As for this phone, an added vibrating feedback feature that can be used only for some features is also helpful though you can still turn it off.

Although Motorola Droid offers mostly the same features, its distinct enhancement is in being the first smart phone to successfully run Android 2.0 which brings new enhancement and features.