Bits and megabytes


Issue: "Public-school reform," July 26, 2003

Japanese phone company NTT DoCoMo now sells a Dick TracyÐ style wristwatch. It sells more for its retro sci-fi look than its technology. The $310 Wristomo resembles a handcuff that snaps off the wrist for use like a handset.... The FCC plans to force cell-phone makers to offer handsets that work with hearing aids. By February 2008, half of new units must emit lower energy levels to prevent interference. Federal law requires most analog telephones to be compatible with hearing aids, but cell phones were exempt until now.... Would you like fries with that? McDonald's is expanding its experimental wireless Internet service. Several hundred restaurants will hook up, predominantly in the New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago areas. Cost for a two-hour wireless connection using WiFi will be $4.95.... BellSouth plans a cheaper DSL service that runs faster than dial-up but slower than traditional broadband. For $39.95 a month, subscribers receive a 256K connection. Typical broadband connections run at twice that speed, or better. This may start a trend of services for those who are only infrequent users, but don't like pokey dial-up modems.... Online gambling is on the rise among minors, who need not worry about the security guards who would keep them out of local casinos and racetracks. A survey by the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems found that 9 percent of eighth-graders had gambled on Internet sites.

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