Murdoch's Scandal - Lowell Bergman (the journalist portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider) has investigated News Corporation for PBS Frontline [transcript]. He depicts Rupert Murdoch's British operation as a criminal enterprise, routinely hacking the voicemail and computers of innocent people, and using bribery and coercion to infiltrate police and government over decades. Enemies are ruthlessly "monstered" by the tabloids. Bergman also spoke to NPR's Fresh Air [transcript]. But the hits keep coming: in recent days News Corp has been accused of hacking rival pay TV services and promoting pirated receiver cards in both the UK and Australia. With the looming possibility of prosecution under America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, how long will shareholders consider Rupert Murdoch irreplaceable? [Previous 1 2 3 4]
QWERTY keyboard, how do you plead? Gluty! (Stephen) Fry's English Delight tackles the sociotechnical history of the QWERTY keyboard. [more inside]
The Early Television Foundation and Museum Website covers the nascent days of the nation's pastime, with interesting items like mechanical TVs and programming schedules from 1939.
LA6NCA's WW2 German Radio Collection Pictures and a little history on many WW2 German radios including a cute as a button spy radio and the Lichtsprechgerät 80, an incoherent light audio transceiver. Also featured are a few photo essays of the equipment in use (Enigma, Luftwaffe Signals unit redeploying). [dorian
Avalanche transceivers have become an essential piece of technology for people who spend time in avalanche terrain. Beacons, as they're also known, operate on an international standard frequency and can be used to find other transceivers (hopefully still attached to people) buried under snow, giving rescuers a chance to find victims before they suffocate. [more inside]
The Spark Museum John Jenkins' collection of vintage wireless, radio, scientific and electrical equipment, including Crookes and Geissler tubes, Barlow wheels and other early electric motors, loudspeakers and many more oddball electrical devices. [via TeamDroid]
Engines of Our Ingenuity is a web site run by John Lienhard of the University of Houston. The site includes almost 2000 short, three minute talks on the history of science, technology, and engineering. The talks are in the form of RealAudio files, with accompanying transcripts which often give you more links and references. The transcripts themselves are indexed by keywords and are also fully text-searchable. A simple idea but very effective, and kind of addictive. I've been finding out about Jacquard and Babbage, German women astronomers of the seventeenth century, and the deisgn of the zipper. There's also other cool stuff: what did people say about books in 1498?
Beyond the bar code: Tags on retail products will send radio signals to their manufacturers, collecting information about consumer habits -- and raising privacy concerns. Radio tag technology is already here, used in fields such in livestock, freight-train cargo and highway tolls. The only barrier to widespread use is consumer products is price. When they can be made for a penny, expect to see them everywhere. From the March issue of MIT Technology Review.