Republicans Suspend Most of Convention Activities Monday

31 08 2008

With Hurricane Gustav heading toward the Gulf Coast, Senator John McCain announced that Republican Party activities on Monday in St. Paul would be suspended except for necessary business. He called on his party members to “take off our Republican hats and put on out American hats.”





Mandatory Hurricane Evacuation Is Ordered in New Orleans

31 08 2008

City officials ordered everyone to leave New Orleans beginning Sunday morning — the first mandatory evacuation since Hurricane Katrina flooded the city three years ago — as Hurricane Gustav grew into what the city’s mayor called “the storm of the century” and moved toward the Louisiana coast.





Dalai Lama Admitted to Hospital

29 08 2008

The Dalai Lama has been taken to hospital in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) complaining of stomach pains.

The 73-year-old exiled Tibetan spiritual leader had cancelled all his international trips on Wednesday saying he was suffering from exhaustion.

A spokesman said the ailment had not yet been diagnosed but it appeared there was no cause for concern.

The Dalai Lama has lived in Dharamsala, northern India, since fleeing Tibet after an abortive uprising in 1959.





McCain Chooses Sarah Palin As Running Mate

29 08 2008

In a surprise move, Senator John McCain announced here Friday that he had chosen Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate, shaking up the political world at a time when his campaign has been trying to attract women, especially disaffected supporters of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska with her husband, Todd, as she was introduced by Senator John McCain in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday.

“I’m very happy today to spend my birthday with you, and to make a historic announcement in Dayton,” said Mr. McCain, who turned 72 on Friday, explaining that he had been looking for the running mate who can “best help me shake up Washington.”

In choosing Ms. Palin — a 44-year-old mother of five who has been governor for less than two years — the McCain campaign reached far outside the Washington Beltway during an election in which the Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama, is running on a platform of change.

The selection of Ms. Palin, an evangelical Christian, was embraced by social conservative leaders, raising the possibility that Mr. McCain might have succeeded in reinvigorating a Republican base that was not enthusiastic about his candidacy. Democrats, however, dismissed the move as a bald attempt to attract women voters by reaching out to someone far too inexperienced to be a heartbeat from the presidency.

“She’s not from these parts, and she’s not from Washington, but when you get to know her, you’re going to be as impressed as I am,” Mr. McCain said as he introduced Ms. Palin to a crowd estimated by his campaign to be 15,000 at the Ervin J. Nutter Center at Wright State University.

Ms. Palin then took the stage with her husband, Todd, who owns a commercial fishing business. They were accompanied by four of their five children; she said the eldest child, a son, is in the Army, and he is heading to Iraq on Sept. 11.

She described herself as “just your average hockey mom,” who joined the P.T.A., was elected to the City Council and then served as mayor and as governor, adding that she did not get into government to take the safe course.

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not why the ship is built,” Ms. Palin said, adding that she would “challenge the status quo to serve the common good.”

Ms. Palin praised the achievements of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who lost a long and bitter primary race against Senator Obama, saying that she had left “18 million cracks” in the highest glass ceiling in the land.

Then, making an explicit appeal to Ms. Clinton’s disappointed supporters, she said, “It turns out that the women in America aren’t finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling.”

Ms. Palin, a former mayor of the small town of Wasilla, an Anchorage suburb, and one-time beauty pageant queen, first rose to prominence as a whistle-blower uncovering ethical misconduct in state government.

The selection amounted to a gamble that an infusion of new leadership — and the novelty of the Republican Party’s first female candidate for vice president — would more than compensate for the risk that Ms. Palin could undercut one of the McCain campaign’s central arguments, its claim that Mr. Obama is too inexperienced to be president.

The choice of Ms. Palin stands in sharp contrast to the selection of the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, a veteran lawmaker and chairman of Foreign Relations Committee.

But Ms. Palin ran as a change agent when she was elected as governor of Alaska in 2006, and in a move that might have appealed to Mr. McCain, she took intense criticism from members of her own party for turning the spotlight on the failures of Alaska Republicans, some of whom had been beset by corruption scandals.

She was elected Alaska’s chief executive after fighting off a comeback bid by a former Democratic governor. Her victory came after she had helped uncover misconduct in the administration of Gov. Frank Murkowski, whom she later trounced in a Republican primary.

Ms. Palin opposes abortion rights, which could help pacify social conservatives in a party whose members were wary as rumors swirled that Mr. McCain might pick a running mate who did not.

But she differs with Mr. McCain on a controversial environmental issue that centers on her home state: she has been pushing for a new pipeline that would pump trillions of cubic feet of natural gas from the North Slope to the lower 48 states in the hope of delivering Alaska another economic boom. Mr. McCain’s opposition to drilling — even after he changed positions and began advocating for off-shore oil drilling — has upset many Republicans.





Apple Touch Screen Patents

29 08 2008

Rumors of Apple working on a touch-screen Mac have been circulating for years, and will only grow with the revelation that the company is hoping to patent similar technology.

A number of Mac sites on Thursday are pointing to a U.S. patent application granted for what would appear to be the mythical Mac tablet. AppleInsider has a description of the device discussed in the application, which appears to bring a lot of the iPhone’s multitouch functionality to a slate-like tablet computer.

Given Apple’ focus on multitouch user interfaces over the past year, there has been a fair amount of speculation that the company wants to do something similar with a larger, more powerful computer than the iPhone or iPod Touch.

The thing is, Apple’s explored this territory before: I found one patent reference dating back to 2005, and other sites are reporting that the current application is similar to technology Apple patented two years ago.

Tablet PCs in the Windows world haven’t sold very well, and the concept has almost completely fallen off the radar screen of the PC industry. That reluctance may be the result of software that isn’t quite advanced enough to match the hardware, but few people seem to want a handheld computer the size of a piece of paper and the weight of a regular laptop.





iPhone 3G Faulty Power-Control Software

29 08 2008

A plausible scenario for the iPhone 3G reception problems has emerged: it’s a power thing.

RoughlyDrafted reported Thursday that a source with AT&T blamed “faulty” power-control software inside the iPhone 3G for the dropped calls and poor reception that owners have been experiencing since the device was released in July. In short, the iPhone 3G demands too much power–more than is necessary–from a local cell tower to maintain a connection, and when multiple iPhones try to glom onto the same tower, the problem snowballs.

The iPhone OS 2.0.2 software update was designed to fix this power-control problem, according to RoughlyDrafted’s source. However, the source believes that the problems will not go away entirely until all iPhone 3G owners-or quite a few-upgrade to the 2.0.2 software:

In a mixed environment where users are running 2.0, 2.0.1, and 2.0.2, the power control problems of 2.0 and 2.0.1 will affect the 2.0.2 users. It is not the network that is fault but the interaction of the bad power control algorithm in 2.0 and 2.0.1 software and the network that is at fault. The sooner everybody is running 2.0.2 software the better things will be.

So, this saga may soon be coming to an end. If you haven’t already updated to the 2.0.2 software, do so today, for the sake of your fellow iPhone 3G owners. Hopefully that process, combined with an iPhone 2.1 software update to get rid of the other bugs in the release, will allow people to use their iPhone 3Gs as designed.

The unanswered question–assuming this account is accurate–is why the iPhone 3G shipped with balky power-control software, something that ostensibly could have been discovered in testing?





Google Announces Android Market

28 08 2008

Google on Thursday announced Android Market, an online center that will let people find, buy, download, and rate applications and other content for mobile phones equipped with the open-source operating system.

Attracting developer attention is a key part of the Google-led Android software effort, and those who produce applications will have an easy time getting them to the market, Eric Chu of Google’s Android project said in a Thursday blog post.

“Similar to YouTube, content can debut in the marketplace after only three simple steps: register as a merchant, upload and describe your content and publish it,” Chu said. “We chose the term ‘market’ rather than ‘store’ because we feel that developers should have an open and unobstructed environment to make their content available.”

Though the first Android phones are planned to arrive later this year, Chu said to expect the initial phone-based Android Market application to be a beta version that might only support distribution of free applications. An update later will handle different versions of applications, support for different profiles of Android phones, and analytics to help developers track adoption.

The move was expected. Google said in May at the Google I/O conference that it would provide a central repository of Android software.








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