Should public libraries be welcoming homes for ingenuity?

Public libraries are about books, right? Yes, books, PCWorld reports. And something other than books, too. Public libraries are physical homes for the human imagination. The human imagination is represented physically in books, but also in the things we build and make. The media we make. The contraptions we devise. The songs we compose. The art we make. Traditionally, we haven’t thought of public libraries as “houses of ingenuity,” but maybe that’s the direction in which they’re headed. Maybe people will start heading over to the public library because they’ve been wondering about something. And they want to talk to a library staffer who is good at soldering, or is good at Google SketchUp, or is handy at prototyping, or who likes to build solar charged lawn mowers, or has incredible talent at making a cat feeder from a VCR, or who is excellent at animation using free software…

Read more

…Read More

Microsoft’s ‘Bing Boards’ allows users to curate search results

Microsoft’s push to make its Bing search engine more social will take it in a new direction—actually letting a select group of users curate results, PC World reports. Microsoft’s “experiment,” known as Bing Boards, will allow a small group of food and lifestyle bloggers, experts, and social influencers to cultivate their own selection of search results on a given topic. The Board will be a visual collection of images, videos and links that tell the story from the blogger’s point of view, Microsoft said. These results won’t replace the search result that Bing normally returns, but will sit alongside them within the middle column of Bing’s search results, Chen Fang, program manager of Bing Experiences, said in a blog post…

Read the full story

…Read More

PCs aren’t dead, they’re microwaves

Last week’s news wasn’t generous to PCs, PC World reports. In fact, half the internet was ready to eulogize our beloved black boxes after market research showed that computer shipments fell by double-digit percentages in the first quarter. Stick a fork in ’em, the common wisdom declared. PCs are done. But nothing could be further from the truth. PCs aren’t dead—they’re microwaves. But not for much longer…

Read the full story

 …Read More

5 holiday tech scams to avoid

The holiday shopping season is a great time to get tech products at discounted prices, but it also creates a golden opportunity for the web’s scam artists. The FBI, McAfee, the Better Business Bureau and F-Secure are all warning about cybercriminals who will try to take you for a ride this holiday season, reports PCWorld. Here are their most pertinent warnings and tips for staying safe:

The Infamous Free iPad

Bogus free iPad offers started popping up immediately after Apple’s tablet went on sale, and they’ve since been banned from Facebook. Still, you might see similar offers around the Web, McAfee says, prompting you to buy other products as a condition of getting the free iPad. By now, you should realize it’s too good to be true.…Read More

To boost security, Facebook adds remote logout

The social-networking giant Facebook is rolling out a new security feature that lets users see which computers and devices are logged into their Facebook accounts, then remove the ones that they don’t want to have access, PC World reports. The move addresses a growing problem on Facebook: Spammers use fake phishing sites to trick Facebook users into entering their usernames and passwords, and then they use those credentials to send spam messages to as many Facebook friends as possible. This type of spam is often very effective because it looks like it’s coming from a trusted source (a Facebook friend), and security experts say that many spammers have now developed automated programs that log into stolen Facebook accounts and send spam. Besides knocking out spammers, the new feature also gives users a way of logging out of machines that they’ve recently used—a school library computer or a friend’s mobile phone, for instance. Not everyone will be able to use this new feature immediately, as it’s being rolled out “gradually,” Facebook said in an eMail message. Users who have been granted the login control feature can see it by going to Account Settings and then looking for it in the Account Security Section. There, they can see the different computers currently logged into Facebook, which browser and operating system they use, and—based on Internet Protocol information—a guess at where they are located. With the click of a button, the user can “end activity” on any of these sessions…

Click here for the full story

…Read More

How schools are putting the iPad to work

When Apple’s iPad tablet went on sale to the public last spring, David Woodbury ordered 30 for the libraries at North Carolina State University to be available for checkout by students and faculty, PC World reports—and demand was immediate and widespread. “Literally, the hour we started [lending out iPads], we had students lining up to use them,” said Woodbury, NCSU’s Learning Commons librarian. That popularity is likely increase this fall, as schools around the nation are distributing iPads to students and faculty to start the new school year. Some are using the device to lure talented freshmen; others hope faculty and students will merely experiment with the tablet as a learning tool. But a few educators are betting the iPad will herald a revolution in the classroom, once-and-for-all displacing musty textbooks in favor of a mobile multimedia device that can engage students in new and innovative ways. “I think we realize that at some point in the future, textbooks will be digital and that we’ll be using a device like the iPad in the classroom,” said George Saltsman, Director of Educational Technology for the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning at Abilene Christian University, where the device will be used in two classes this fall. “I don’t know that we’re ready to say that we’ll do that next year, but I do think that in five years all our students will be getting their texts digitally.”

Click here for the full story

…Read More

The web is dead. Who cares?

No doubt many netizens of cyberspace were surprised to hear this week that the World Wide Web is on death’s doorstep while the internet is alive and well and ready to be the platform for an electronic Camelot, PC World reports. That’s because for many folks the web and the net are synonymous. They use the words interchangeably in their daily lives, and they’re likely to continue using them that way even if the prediction of the web’s fade from glory becomes a reality. Let’s face it, all this talk of the web’s rapidly diminishing importance is simply “inside baseball” palaver for many cybernauts who just want to get things done and don’t care about what enables them to do it. To them, it doesn’t matter that what they see in their browsers represents less than a quarter of the traffic on the internet and is shrinking, or that most of the traffic is consumed by peer-to-peer file transfers, eMail (90 percent of which is spam), corporate virtual private network traffic, machine-to-machine APIs, Skype calls, interactive online games, Xbox Live players, iTunes users, voice over IP phone calls, chatting, Netflix streaming movies, and so on…

Click here for the full story

…Read More

Google defends its net-neutrality plan

Despite much opposition, Google is defending its net-neutrality proposal co-authored with broadband and wireless provider Verizon, PC World reports. The search giant on Aug. 12 issued counterarguments on six points (Google calls them myths) that the company believes have been misunderstood about its proposal. Google says the proposed framework defends net neutrality, would protect the current internet we enjoy today, and is definitely not about writing legislation from the boardroom. Google also says its proposal has not sold out the fundamental concept of net neutrality—the idea that an internet provider should not be allowed to restrict web data traffic based on the traffic’s contents. The problem is it’s unclear whether the Google-Verizon plan really would protect users. The proposal leaves wireless networks out of net-neutrality regulation entirely, although Google disputes this notion. The company believes the proposal’s transparency rules that force companies to publicly report wireless traffic-management policies would ensure that providers play fair. The agreement also would create a two-tiered internet with a net-neutral public internet (the World Wide Web we use today) and a private, non-neutral internet for premium services that could be packaged similarly to cable television. Given the financial incentives from wireless and the private internet, it’s unclear whether the public internet would survive under this system…

Click here for the full story

…Read More

Flash for iPhone now available, thanks to jailbreak

Adobe’s Flash technology is now available for iOS devices, thanks to a new application for jailbroken iPhones and iPads, PC World reports. Coming from Comex, the same man who developed the browser-based JailbreakMe tool, Frash lets iPhone users view Adobe Flash content on their phones. Frash is in its very early stages, and works with the iPhone 4, 3GS (with iOS4), third-generation iPod Touch, and iPads with the latest software (3.2.X), the developer says. To install Frash, you will also need to jailbreak your device, which can be done easily with the new web browser-based JailbreakMe tool released last week. Apple has refused to include Adobe’s Flash technology into its mobile devices, saying that it would cripple the experience and battery life. Some iPhone users were not happy with that decision, and looked into getting Flash on their iOS devices. As for jailbreaking, the procedure came into legality two weeks ago, when the U.S. Copyright Office declared it an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. However, Apple doesn’t agree with jailbreaking and says the procedure will void the warranty of your iOS device—meaning no free repairs in case something goes wrong…

Click here for the full story

…Read More