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– A quite interesting article about the new laptop Google created was recently posted by Liz Gannes at allthingsd.com

Why Google Made Its Own High-End Laptop, the Chromebook Pixel

FEBRUARY 21, 2013 AT 11:00 AM PT

Google today unveiled the Chromebook Pixel, a laptop that it designed and built itself. Unlike prior Chromebooks, whose main draw was their value, this one is built to compete with the top end of the market.

The three biggest appeals of the Pixel will likely be its touchscreen and high-density display, its elegant design, and the fact that it’s a Web-based device.

ChromePixelGoogle set out to build the best possible device for “power users living in the cloud,” said Sundar Pichai, Google’s SVP of Chrome, speaking at a launch event in San Francisco today.

Like other Chrome OS products, the Pixel does not support desktop software, and would have its users live entirely in browser windows using Web-based applications.

The Pixel, which will ship as early as next week and starts at $1,299 for a Wi-Fi-only model (more specs analysis here), evolves from previous products Google made with partners such as Samsung. But it’s a far step above them.

Most notably, the screen has more pixels per inch than any other laptop, Google said.

The focus on detail and design is unheard of for a Google product. Where the company had tiptoed into hardware before, it’s striding in wholeheartedly now.

The smooth device’s hinge gives “the feeling of a luxury car door opening and closing,” Pichai said. The touchpad is made of glass, and has been tuned with a laser to have a maximally grippy surface. There are three microphones, with an additional one set below the keyboard so typing noises can be canceled out.


At one point, a Google hardware designer at the event started waxing poetic about “tuning the force function of the mechanical keys to be more responsive.” Really.

In many ways, the Pixel is similar to Google’s Nexus device line, which sets the bar for production of Android mobile phones.

But the Pixel goes beyond that, because Nexus devices are explicitly built with hardware partners, and Google isn’t even naming the Taiwan-based OEM it is working with for the Pixel.

At the same time, this is very much a first-generation device. Some of the Pixel’s hardware capabilities — like the third microphone, and gestures on the touchscreen — aren’t even supported by Google’s own services yet.

And that’s not the only awkwardness. The Pixel brings Google back to the perpetual question of why Google is building two operating systems, Chrome and Android, that are converging on each other.

“What we are showing here is once you build a touchscreen laptop, the lines blur,” Pichai allowed. But he added, “We’re comfortable at Google with two viewpoints, and we are doing both.”

– See more at: http://allthingsd.com/20130221/google-makes-its-own-high-end-laptop-the-chromebook-pixel/?mod=obinsite#sthash.74ENsmbx.dpuf

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– Is Our Democracy in Danger?

 Posted at http://www.afcea.org/content/?q=node/11445

Democracy Is Doomed Without Effective Digital Identification

July 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

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Democracy has only 20 years left to live if an effective means of digital identification is not developed before that deadline. As young people growing up with social media reach voting age in increasing numbers, they will lead a major shift to online voting. A lack of identity security will throw open the gates to massive voter fraud that will destroy the fidelity of elections, and with it, true representative government.

That gloomy assessment came from one the world’s leading experts on cybersecurity. Speaking at the AFCEA Global Intelligence Forum in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Eugene Kaspersky, chief executive officer and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, warned that this will be a consequence of the failure to secure the Internet.

“Kids today are always online,” he pointed out. “They will want to vote online. We need a 100-percent, biometric-based digital identification card.”

Issuing this type of identification will help secure the Internet if it is restructured, Kaspersky continued. He suggested splitting the Internet into different components: One would be highly secure, where financial transactions would take place, and another would be totally open for noncrucial activities with no identification required. Other segments with varying degrees of importance and security would be located in between these two extremes, he offered.

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