Over the last few years, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other organizations looking to eliminate the illegal swapping of digital media files have attacked the problem through the courts, publicity campaigns, and other means. But while they've managed to close down some peer-to-peer operations, and have successfully (and not so successfully) sued individuals who were uploading movies and music to the Web, there is one part of the Internet that has, until now, been operating under their radar: Usenet.
Stories by David DeJean
"Excellence," said John W. Gardner, "is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well." That's worth thinking about with back-to-school time right around the corner. Students these days take their computers everywhere and use them for everything, so with that in mind, here are some ideas for making the back-to-school computer experience an excellent one.
Web-based office suites are coming into their own at last. For quite a while, Web-based suites -- which offered word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and other tools associated with desktop office suites -- were extolled not because they did these things well, but because they could do them at all. But the three major competitors, Google Docs, ThinkFree, and Zoho, have all made major improvements in recent months. They're becoming both broader, with more applications, and deeper, with more features and functionality in existing apps.
Amazon.com's Kindle has turned a long under performing category of tech gadget -- e-book readers -- into an overnight hit, and in the process has boosted interest in electronic paper display (EPD) technology. The Kindle and its rival, the Sony Reader 505, both boast e-paper displays that look unnervingly like printed pages and consume next to no power. However, today's EPDs -- and today's e-book readers -- are only the beginning.
When you're on the road, you can feel more like a juggler than a traveler: You've got your notebook, your smart phone, your camera, your GPS device, your MP3 player -- and all the power cords, USB drives and other gadgets that go with them.
When it comes to smart phone preferences, there are clear differences between the sexes, say market researchers and usability testers. And these differences have implications for the success the devices.
In theory, it's possible to do real work such as composing e-mails and editing Microsoft Office documents on a smartphone. In reality, of course, few people use their smartphones for such tasks because of the small screen and tiny keyboard.
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