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Published: Friday, 9/30/2005

Fusion: Still rising, Tunisia for Tech?

STILL RISING

More than 60 percent of Americans who use the Internet at home now do so with a high-speed connection, a new study finds. That s a jump from 51 percent a year ago. Nielsen/NetRatings says 86 million Internet users surfed the Web on home broadband connections in August. Broadband use has grown steadily in the United States. Meanwhile in India, a trade group said the country will fall far short of its goal of getting 2 million broadband connections by year s end. The government says there were 530,000 broadband connections at home and work at the end of August.

MORE BLACKBERRY

The BlackBerry service for checking e-mail on the go will be available on a non-BlackBerry device for the first time in the U.S. with the November launch of a Nokia smart phone by Cingular Wireless. The BlackBerry Connect service is the latest entry in a newly crowded market of real-time e-mail platforms for mobile devices. Cingular is charging $350 for the Nokia 9300 device $50 less for customers who commit for two years and then $45 per month for unlimited e-mail usage.

TUNISIA FOR TECH?

Facing heated protest, the United Nations is defending Tunisia s hosting of a U.N. summit on Internet access in the developing world, even though the north African nation stands accused of such rights abuses as blocking Web sites it dislikes. Earlier this week, a coalition of human rights groups known as the Tunisia Monitoring Group issued a report that declared Tunisia unfit to hold the World Summit on the Information Society. The group said the government has blocked access to Web sites belonging to Reporters Without Borders, other human rights watchdogs and the independent press, and that police monitor e-mails and Internet cafes. The U.N. suggested that the summit could help pressure President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who took power in 1987.

BIGGER BITTORRENT

The creator of the popular online file-swapping software BitTorrent has lined up $8.75 million in financing from a venture capital firm in a bid to build his software into a commercial distribution tool for media companies. Bram Cohen created BitTorrent in 2001. Since then, it has become a favorite tool for computer users to swap large files particularly movies and other video because it grabs bits from various computer users simultaneously as they send and receive a file. That speeds up transfers. Cohen said the financing from Menlo Park, Calif.-based Doll Capital Management demonstrates the capital firm s belief that BitTorrent will become the ideal platform for both independent publishers and the world s leading media companies alike. More than 45 million people use the BitTorrent software, according to Cohen.

DIGITAL SNOWFLAKES

Stephen Wolfram is the author of the computer program Mathematica and a program called WolframTones (tones.wolfram.com) that dynamically generates ring tones as unique as a snowflake. Using a basic program that generates a style of music rock, swing, classical, rap and a set of data, WolframTones creates a new piece of music every time it is run. The core concept in Wolfram s area of expertise, cellular automata, is that simple rules beget great complexity. The WolframTones system comes with a set of pleasing pieces of music that it tweaks, with increasing complexity, to create trillions of possible ring tone combinations. WolframTones are compatible with almost any cell phone. They are free to generate and cost $2 to download.

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FROM THE BLADE S WIRE SERVICES AND STAFF.

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