NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, June 2005
Tech News
by Sue Crane
Vice President / Editor, Big Bear Computer Club, CA
sue.crane@charter.net (click to email author)

Traditional 911 Services not available from VOIPs
The Texas attorney general filed a lawsuit against Internet telephone service Vonage, saying the company fails to clearly tell consumers about the limits of 911 emergency calling over its service. The suit stems from a incident last month in Houston where a husband and wife were shot by burglars while their daughter tried to call 911 on a Vonage line and reached a recording. Independent VOIP providers typically do not have access to the traditional 911 system which carries calls to emergency dispatchers and transmits data about the caller's location. As a work-around, Vonage tells customers they need to activate a 911 service, but that service directs calls to administrative telephone lines that in some cases are unanswered.

MRI in a Pill
A South Korean semiconductor manufacturer has announced an image sensor for pill-size cameras that doctors can use to obtain accurate information about a patient's digestive tract. The image sensor can take up to 50,000 photographs in an eight-hour tour of the patient's insides by taking two pictures a second. Mass production will begin in the second half of 2005.

Mouse Adaptor for Shaky Hands
IBM has developed an adjustible mouse adapter that compensates for the shakes of patients with hand tumors and other causes of uncontrollable shaking. According to the International Essential Tremor Foundation, in the US alone nearly 10 million people are affected by essential tremor, the most common form of hand tremors. This adapter will plug in between the mouse and computer and is compatible with existing mice.

Cell Phone Helmets for Bikers
Motorcyclists are now able to talk and ride by using a mobile-phone headset for crash helmets, demonstrated at the CeBit trade show. The headsets (full-face, open-face and flip-up), have audio capabilities at speeds up to 62 miles per hour.

Now You CAN Return Unwrapped Software
In the settlement of a California lawsuit Microsoft, Symantec, Adobe and others have agreed to publish EULA agreements on their websites for their respective products, while CompUSA, Best Buy, and Staples agreed to allow consumers to return unwrapped software for full monetary refunds, even if the shrink-wrap has been opened. Details of the settlement can be found at: http://www.techfirm.com/AmendedComplaint-Filed.pdf

Great New Escape
Virtual reality, technology that gives users the feeling they are somewhere else, can be of great value in treating people suffering from a variety of physical or psychological conditions. Therapy based on the technology is being used in a small number of U.S. clinics to treat burn victims and people with phobias such as the fear of flying, spiders, and heights. Researchers say the technology holds enormous promise for treating PTSD, addictions and for use as a distraction technique in painful dental and medical procedures, including chemotherapy and physical therapy.

Creative Commons Rewrites Copyright!
When Chuck D and the Fine Arts Militia released their latest single, "No Meaning No," They encouraged everyone to view, copy, mix, remix, sample, imitate, parody and even criticize it under a new licensing scheme called Creative Commons that some say may be better suited to the electronic age than the controversial copyright license. More than 10 million other creations -- ranging from the movie "Outfoxed" and songs by the Beastie Boys to the BBC's news footage and the tech support books -- have been distributed using Creative Commons licenses, which allow artists to keep "some rights reserved" rather than "all rights reserved". Online users can go to http://www.CreativeCommons.org and search its archives.

WinFS to be included in WinXP Update
Microsoft has said it plans to add support for WinFS to Windows XP. The operating system will support all three key Longhorn components WinFS, Avalon, and Indigo. Win FS is built on top of the fundamentals, which would include security features and technology to make sure applications and drivers don't conflict. A first beta of Longhorn is set to ship by the end of June. Microsoft plans to have a beta test version of WinFS available when Longhorn ships, probably late next year, and add it as an update to WinXP later. Microsoft is expected to handout a pre-beta preview release at the Microsoft Win HEC Conference.

New Photoshop CS Details
Adobe is still finding its bearings after it unintentionally released details of its next Photoshop upgrade. The company quickly pulled down the announcement, but Google never forgets. Check out Publish.comís rundown of the new features: http://ct.eletters.whatsnewnow.com/rd/cts?d=181-431-1-278-41858-19872-0-0-0-1.

There is no restriction against any non-profit group using this article as long as it is kept in context with proper credit given the author. The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an international organization of which this group is a member, brings this article to you.

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