Archive for July, 2011

China cracks down on WiFi in public spaces

July 29th, 2011

China has ordered public spaces offering WiFi web access to install costly software to enable police to identify people using the service, state media said.

The software, which also gives police a list of all websites visited by an online user, costs between 20,000 yuan ($A2824) and 60,000 yuan ($A8472), the China Business News said on Thursday.

As a result, many establishments such as bars, restaurants, cafes and bookstores have decided to stop providing wireless internet to their customers despite its popularity, to avoid paying the money, the report said.

In Beijing, cafe and restaurant owners have been told they face a minimum fine of 5000 yuan if they continue to offer wireless without installing the software, it said.

“In serious cases,” offenders could see their internet cut off for up to six months, the report said.

Cafe owners in Shanghai and in the eastern city of Hangzhou contacted by the official China Daily newspaper said they had also been notified of the new measure, which other reports have said is being rolled out nationwide.

The software is purportedly designed to supervise “illegal activities,” the report said.

“It’s a requirement of the public security organs. Why should we pay the fees?” Yang Xiaowen, manager of UBC Coffee in Beijing, told the China Daily.

“For a reason that everyone is aware of, we are temporarily stopping our wi-fi service,” announced the Beijing-based Kubrick bookstore, according to the China Business News.

The report also raised questions about ties between police and the software maker Rainsoft, a company founded in 1998 that reportedly collaborates with public security organs in many Chinese provinces.

China – which has the world’s largest online population with 485 million users – constantly strives to exert its control over the internet, blocking content it deems politically sensitive as part of a vast censorship system.

In one high-profile case in 2009, it ordered computer makers to addan internet filter software to all new personal computers sold in the country, saying it would shelter children from pornographic and violent web content.

But it was forced to back down on the plan just ahead of the deadline after an outcry in China and abroad.


CAD software ‘does not aid mammogram accuracy’

July 29th, 2011

Using computer-aided detection (CAD) software does not improve the accuracy of mammograms, according to a new study.

CAD software is commonly used to identify patterns associated with breast cancer and detect potential abnormalities to be considered by the radiologist.

Research published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, discovered that CAD was associated with more false positive diagnoses and did not improve the detection of invasive cancers.

In addition, the cancers identified using the software were not more likely to be smaller, at a lower stage of have less lymph node involvement that those detected not using the technology.

Authors wrote: “CAD appears to increase a woman’s risk of being recalled for further testing after screening mammography while yielding equivocal health benefit.”

In another breast cancer study, women whose breast appear dense on mammograms were seen to have a higher risk of developing the condition than those with less dense breasts.

Risk of breast cancer was seen to increase progressively with increasing breast density.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute also found that dense breasts were linked to certain aggressive characteristics of the cancer.

However, authors noted that this association could be due in part to a masking effect.

“Masking of a tumor can occur because cancerous tissue and mammographically dense tissue have similar x-ray attenuation, allowing tumors to go undetected on screening mammography examination and progress to a more advanced and aggressive stage before detection,” they wrote.

Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins scientists investigated why some breast cancer cells become resistant to medication tamoxifen.

According to the paper in journal Human Molecular Genetics, the increased activity from the RET gene in breast cancer cells is linked to more aggressive and tamoxifen-resistant forms of the disease.

The authors believe these findings could have implications for usage of the drug among breast cancer patients.


Android giving away most software but Apple selling most smartphones

July 29th, 2011

The results, tabulated for June 2011 by Nielsen, show widespread use of Android by HTC, Motorola, Samsung and other smartphone makers, whose combined use of Android makes it the largest smartphone platform in the US.

Adding in Apple’s other mobile devices, including the iPad and iPod touch, continues to leave iOS as the largest mobile platform in the country and globally, particularly given the poor showing for Android-based tablets and other non-smartphone devices compatible to Apple’s iPod touch.

Google’s free-to-implement Android platform has largely replaced the use of other smartphone platforms based on Linux, Java and Flash, which historically have served as the mainstream platform for mobile devices prior to iPhone.

Even so, despite being the largest smartphone platform, Android, like Sun’s Java ME before it, has failed to attract the same kind of attention from developers and buyers as Apple has cultivated for iOS though its App Store, instead developing a reputation for Android as a platform where there is little money to be made because nobody wants to pay for commercial Android software.

The Also Rans

Microsoft’s share of smartphones in the US has plummeted from a share once similar to Apple’s current slice to a narrow 9 percent, split between HTC, Samsung and other Windows Phone 7 licensees. Adding HTC’s Android business with its WP7 market results in giving that manufacture a position roughly tied with RIM as the second place US smartphone maker, at 20 percent of all devices sold in the country.

Motorola and Samsung both make up 10 to 11 percent of US smartphone sales, and when combined with all other Android and WP7 licensees apart from HTC, amount to a share about equal with Apple’s iPhone sales.

Apple’s ability to continue to command a leading share of the US market four years after the launch of iPhone is difficult to fathom given the company’s late entry into what was assumed to be a crowded, mature, and highly competitive market. Apple is also limited to the two major carriers, AT&T and Verizon Wireless, preventing iPhone from being able to reach a significant portion of US market.

Other companies with a much longer history in the mobile business have failed to put even a dent into the US smartphone market, including Nokia’s tiny 2 percent share with its Symbian based phones (long a global leader outside the US), and HP’s 2 percent share from its acquired Palm WebOS business.

Despite its distant manufacturing lead in the US, Apple’s iPhone fortunes are largely tied to international sales, where iPhone growth has occurred even faster, leaving US sales to amount to just 30 percent of the company’s smartphone sales.


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