U.S. government sanctions Iran for creating 'electronic curtain'

Iran is notorious for being a foe of the Internet, and the U.S. government has decided to do something about it.

The State Department announced today that it was sanctioning Iran for creating an "electronic curtain" that cuts off its citizens from the rest of the world.

The sanctions are against four individuals and five organizations that have been particularly oppressive when it comes to the freedom of information on the Internet.

According to a statement from State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, these groups have "engaged in censorship or other activities that prohibit, limit, or penalize … Read more

Evernote 5 coming soon to iOS

As much as I'm a fan of Evernote (who isn't?), I've never really liked its companion apps. On my iPhone, for example, I've always found the interface confusing and not especially pretty.

That's about to change. According to the company's blog, Evernote 5 is coming soon for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. And it's looking mighty sharp.

The new Home screen, for example, resembles the top edge of a file drawer, with stacked tabs for things like places, tags, notes, and notebooks. One tap takes you directly to the corresponding screen.

It's … Read more

Tactile glove is like a homing device for your hand

I've been known to wander the wasteland aisles of the grocery store, seeking out a single elusive item in a futile voyage only slightly shorter than "The Odyssey." If only I had a prototype tactile glove developed by the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics.

The glove works by giving the wearer physical feedback. It vibrates to lead the person to a point in 3D space. The researchers see it being useful for locating items in a supermarket, finding a car in a parking lot, or zeroing in on a book among the stacks of a library.… Read more

IT hiring remains strong, says survey

It seems the job hunt is in your favor if you qualify for a job in IT. Though the job market is still recovering from the recession, more than half of IT employers said they plan to hire for positions throughout the remainder of the year, according to CareerBuilder's IT midyear job forecast, which is due out tomorrow.

The survey says 55 percent of IT employers said they were planning to hire full-time, permanent staff from July 1 through December 31, according to CareerBuilder. While this is a 1 percent decrease from last year, CareerBuilder said the market is … Read more

Wikipedia blackout in Russia to protest censorship

Wikipedia shut down for 24 hours, just six months ago, joining a massive Web protest in the U.S. over the proposed anti-piracy laws SOPA and PIPA. Now, it's stepping up again in a major Internet revolt against online censorship in Russia.

According to The Next Web, the Russian government is looking to amend a law called the "Act for Information." The proposed changes to the law could lead to sweeping censorship of the Internet, including the complete closure of Wikipedia in Russia.

Wikipedia posted a statement in Russian on its Web site, which The Next Web … Read more

Three iPad apps offer very different views of the world

The iPad was made to move, but even if your iPad never leaves the house, these three apps deliver the world to your tablet.

Tilt your iPad to flatten your 3D satellite view Do you remember the first time you used Google Earth to fly over your favorite world capitals -- or maybe just to get a bird's-eye view of your own back yard?

The novelty of panning and zooming may have worn off, but there's no denying the encyclopedic information Google Earth provides about all four corners of the globe.

The Google Earth iPad app bears a … Read more

Writefit Software Suite

Writefit Software Suite offers you four programs combined in one package, but we weren't all that impressed with the individual programs or the overall design. And users should be prepared for quite a bit of data entry to get the suite set up.

The application's initial interface is very plain but easily understood. You're presented with four large buttons, one for each of the programs: Web Address Book, Data Confidential, ChequeWealth, and TimeWatch. There's also a smaller button to help you get started that guides you through each program. Understanding how to use the program shouldn'… Read more

Google's revamped search engine sees lots of action

It's been two weeks since Google embarked on its biggest overhaul since its inception far so good.

The Internet giant said it has had a clear increase in search activity over the past couple of weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"Early indications are that people are interacting with it more, learning about more things...and doing more [search] queries," top Google search executive Amit Singhal told the Journal in an interview. "It's stoking people's curiosity."

Google spokesman Jason Freidenfelds also told the Journal that more people are doing more … Read more

China's Sina Weibo creates 'user contract,' increasing censorship

Just a couple of weeks after Chinese censors lambasted the social network Sina Weibo for "rumor" mongering, the Twitter-like service announced plans to establish a "user contract" by the end of this month. This comes shortly after the uberpopular site also promised to fight against rumors on the Internet.

According to tech news site The Next Web, which got its hands on the contract and translated it, there are several points that look like they could impede the free flow of information.

It seems as if, for Sina Weibo, the point of the contract is to … Read more

Facebook's profile-download tool comes up short

Even casual Facebook users can quickly accumulate a library of photos, videos, and posts reflecting the noteworthy and mundane moments in the lives of family and friends.

Facebook lets you download much of this information and recently enhanced its download archive to include IP addresses used by the account, relationship information, and other categories of personal data.

The download-tool update is being rolled out gradually. (When I downloaded a Facebook profile this weekend the added categories of information weren't included.) To use the profile downloader, sign into your Facebook account and click the down arrow next to the Home … Read more