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New gadgets hint at intense cyber rivalry

Japanese publishers organise to discuss e-books
Tokyo (AFP) March 24, 2010 - Japan's top book publishers Wednesday formed an alliance to harness the growing e-book market as Amazon's Kindle and e-book readers by Sony and other companies are set to battle for market share. The Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan was launched with 31 members to discuss formats for Japanese e-books, legal issues related to the expanding industry, and to analyse what people like to read digitally. "We cannot ignore the impact which the expanding market for electronic books has on the publishing industry," said Yoshinobu Noma, vice president of publisher Kodansha and the leader of the new association. The Japanese electronic book market is now estimated to be worth 46 billion yen (about 500 million dollars), with most titles distributed via mobile telephones and conventional computers. Japanese major electronics companies including Sony and Panasonic have introduced e-book readers in the past but they have yet to win the hearts of Japanese readers.

Amazon now sells its popular Kindle e-book reader in Japan, but has yet to introduce Japanese-language books for the device. Japanese publishers have long voiced worries that Amazon or other makers of e-book readers may offer high royalty payments to popular authors for exclusive rights to distribute their work. The new association will not serve as a negotiator for the publishing industry, should manufacturers of e-book readers approach individual publishers for the rights to distribute their titles. "Our aim is to ensure the synergy between paper and electronics. We aim to expand paper and electronic books and expand the market," Noma said. "The mission of publishers is to find writers and future writers, nurture them, and to make investments. This will not change whether you deal with papers or e-books," he said. "If people find value in what we do, I don't think we will be left behind."
by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Mar 24, 2009
New technologies displayed at the premier U.S. information technology event show the future is intense in the evolving cyberspace rivalry among manufacturers and battles against crime and terrorist threats.

The Federal Office Systems Exposition and conference in Washington is aimed at government information technology professionals, a major procurement and purchasing community but draws visitors from across the United States and the rest of the world.

Current debate on cybersecurity and how cybercrime or cyberterrorism could disable national and international systems has given IT and security industries a huge boost. Delegates at the FOSE 2010 said security industry growth could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars in the United States alone in the coming years and would likely stimulate copycat development in Europe and East Asia.

Innovative technologies drew thousands of visitors to the show but industry analysts said the event's real importance lay in how new gadgetry on display would intensify competition and rivalry in cyberspace.

A balanced view offered at the talks was that for every device displayed to counter crime and defeat terrorism there would be risk of new products falling into the wrong hands and challenging the main concepts behind the invention.

The show, Tuesday-Thursday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, comes amid warnings the stakes are high in cyberspace and more investment is called for.

As the federal market is a very important customer for IT and security companies, the focus at FOSE was on attracting government visitors' attention to new gadgets that could be put civilian law enforcement and military uses.

Anthony Zuiker, creator and executive producer of the hit television drama series, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," outlined how governments could boost information-sharing across agencies using new technologies.

Zuiker indicated there was need not only to leverage technology to make government more efficient but to make it more responsive to citizen needs and reactive to future challenges.

Many of the inventions on display are hand-held gadgets that could be applied to both civilian and military use.

A powerful new WiFi Investigator will enable law enforcement agents to easily specify locations in requests for search warrants or immediately apprehend suspect devices, including laptops, pocket PCs, smart phones, wireless cameras and network access points.

The PS236 is a hand-held communications powerhouse with built-in GPS and wireless wide-area network, WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities suitable for both civilian and military use.

The tiny unit offers a variety of additional features, including a built-in 3-megapixel auto-focus camera, an altimeter, an electronic compass, extended battery life, real-time voice and data communications, and as much as 12G of internal storage, wrote John Breeden II in a review of the show for Government Computer News Web site.

"It doesn't matter if you're in the rain forest or arctic because this baby is fully rugged, meeting even the tough military specifications," Breeden said.

Users can capture critical geographic information as a JPEG file and transmit the data anywhere in the world.

Another innovation seems designed for sticky situations when an embassy or a government office is overrun so fast that those inside are left with little time to get rid of sensitive information.

The Proton T-4 from Proton Data Security produces powerful magnetic pulses to erase sensitive data instantly.

The RamSan-20 from Texas Memory Systems takes storage to a new frontier. Featuring a 450-gigabyte drive on a tiny PCIe card, the device packs in onboard processors, ultracapacitors and enterprise-grade Single-Level Cell chips.

The drives are engineered for extreme efficiency, performance and reliability without affecting host performance and a designed to last for at least 12 years -- a long time in terms of technological innovation.

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Study focuses on retinal implants
Tel Aviv, Israel (UPI) Mar 23, 2009
Israeli scientists say they are researching technology that might someday result in bionic retinal implants that can restore sight to vision-impaired people. Tel Aviv University Professor Yael Hanein says she has completed foundational research that may merge retinal nerves with electrodes to stimulate cell growth. The research, she said, has so far been successful in animal models. ... read more

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