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Steven Warshak, the man behind the "natural male enhancement" product Enzyte often advertised on late-night TV, has successfully challenged the government's ability to access his e-mails without obtaining a search warrant or giving notification to Warshak. HangZhou Night Net

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the government had acted improperly in its wire fraud and money laundering case against Warshak and his company. As part of the case (which we reported on earlier), the feds secured a court order under the Stored Communications Act (SCA)that allowedthem to access Warshak's stored online e-mail.

A court order does not require the full "probable cause" level of evidence demanded by a subpoena, but it does involve some judicial oversight. Normally, a court order of this kind requires notification so that the subject of the order can challenge it, but in this case, the judge gave the government 90 days to look at the e-mails before it needed to contact Warshak. This is allowed under the SCA, but Warshak argued that gaining access to his e-mail without 1) a warrant or 2) a court order with notification was a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The Appeals Court ruled in Warshak's favor. In the decision, the Court noted that the rules "still allow seizures of e-mails pursuant to a warrant or with prior notice to a subscriber" but that the ability to get the court order without notification was no longer allowed.

The court also responded positively to the idea that e-mails should be given the same privacy protection as phone calls. This means that getting access to an ISP's customer information database would be allowed without a warrant, but getting access to the actual text of the e-mails would not. In the telecom world, this is analogous to the "pen register" that grabs data about what phone numbers are being dialed but does not provide access to the content of the call.

The Court found that "individuals maintain a reasonable expectation of privacy in e-mails that are stored with, or sent or received through, a commercial ISP," dealing a blow to government attempts to get easier access to e-mails stored with an ISP than those stored on a suspect's own computer. Protecting the privacy of e-mail is "as important to Fourth Amendment principles today as protecting telephone conversations has been in the past."

"E-mail users expect that their Hotmail and Gmail inboxes are just as private as their postal mail and their telephone calls," said EFF staff attorney Kevin Bankston, who helped draft an amicus brief in the case. "The government tried to get around this common-sense conclusion, but the Constitution applies online as well as offline, as the court correctly found. That means that the government can't secretly seize your emails without a warrant."

With that important e-mail issue resolved, the case against Warshak will continue.

After a few runs, I began to ask whether I was pushing myself hard enough. I could always try to up my personal best, but that isn't always the best indication of whether you are working as hard as you should be. Ideally, I would use a heart rate monitor, but that is significantly more money than I'd already spent. Second best would be a personal trainer to motivate me to work my hardest, but unfortunately that would be even more expensive than the heart rate monitor.HangZhou Night Net

So what am I (and you) to do? Luckily for us, Nike has us covered. On the iTunes Store, the shoe company has a variety of different workouts available to help keep your running steady. Today we will look at Improve our Endurance 1.

There is the saying "Nothing in life is free." Well, these workouts are no exception. Some might even consider them a poor value, but hold any judgment until the end. For $14.99, you get ten full-length songs from the hip-hop genre, including tracks by Obie Trice, Busta, and the Pussycat Dolls. You also get an additional track entitled the "Continuous Mix," which is the full workout track, and a digital booklet. The "Continuous Mix," which changes songs to go along with the speed in which you are supposed to run at any given time, also features a voiceover with training instructions (the continuous mix only works with iPod nanos, by the way). Here, the instructions say to do a ten-minute warmup, four sets of three-minute speed intervals, and then ten minutes of cool-down.

I know what you are asking: "If that's the workout routine, why not just do that? Why not just use music you already have and a stopwatch?" For some, that method might be enough, but for those of us that like the encouragement and time updates that a personal trainer, a coach, or a voiceover track provides, this workout works well. There is something to be said for a voice telling you that you are halfway there or that there are "only three minutes" remaining. The change of tempos and intensity throughout the workout does a lot for your mindset during your run, too. If the 42:49 running time seems like too much or doesn't fit into your schedule, you can always do what I do and tailor it to your ability or needs. For me that means not using the entire 42 minutes but instead using the track for a given distance.

Here is the bad: if you are to the point where you can run intervals more than twice a week, and this is the only interval training track you have, this music will get pretty boring pretty quickly. If you run this interval training once a week, it isn't so bad, but you will begin to feel some hatred for the Pussycat Dolls after a while. Be warned!

Gateway has announced that it is recalling 14,000 notebook batteries from laptops sold during the months of May and June 2003. The recall is in response to high temperatures that occur in lithium-ion batteries that could potentially cause a fire. The faulty batteries can be found in Gateway notebook models 400VTX and 450ROG and will be replaced for free. Not every model uses these batteries though, so here's how to find out if yours does. HangZhou Night Net

To find your battery number, you'll need to remove your battery from your laptop. Before doing this, make sure your LCD is closed, and your laptop is face down, back up. Unlock the notebook battery lock and slide open the battery release latch, then slide the battery out of the bay. On the battery you'll find two numbers: a serial number and a battery part number. If your battery has part numbers 6500760 or 6500761, then you have one of Gateway's faulty batteries. To exchange your battery for a new one, fill out Gateway's Battery Exchange Request Form.

Last year Sony issued a worldwide recall for Sony-manufactured lithium-ion batteries that shipped in Lenovo/IBM, Dell, Apple, and Toshiba notebook computers after battery malfunctions caused a Lenovo ThinkPad battery to burst into flames in a Los Angeles airport. Earlier this year, Lenovo recalled ThinkPad batteries for over 208,000 notebooks after overheating issues caused damage to a number of notebooks. Speaking of Toshiba, the company yesterday stepped up its own notebook battery recall after a laptop caught fire in Britain last month. Toshiba is currently in talks with Sony to discuss a reimbursement for the recall, which is expected cost Sony roughly $400 million when all is said and done.

A new battery standardization project hopes to make recalls a thing of the past. The Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC) Lithium Ion Battery Subcommittee said last year that the IPC expected to have a completed a lithium-ion battery standard for laptops and handheld devices by this time (it has yet to arrive). In December the IEEE said that it expected its revised IEEE 1625 standard to be completed by the end of 2007, at that rate though, we likely won't see the finished product until sometime in 2008.

Without an official standard for lithium-ion batteries, manufacturers like Matsushita have taken matters into their own hands. Last December Matsushita developed a safer lithium-ion battery for notebooks that uses a heat-resistant insulator between the cathode and the anode of a battery that prevents punctures from short-circuiting batteries.

iPhoneDevCamp to whip developers into shape

While there's currently no real SDK for the iPhone (and little chance of one to boot), it's important to remember that developers at least have some ability to write applications for the iPhone. The use of web applications for the iPhone has been debated and criticized any number of times, but some developers have been busy writing sample iPhone applications with some excellent results. HangZhou Night Net

There was a lot of discussion about iPhone development at WWDC this year and even a session about creating iPhone-friendly sites. But there are lots of aspiring developers out there who didn't attend WWDC, as well as those who did attend and are craving more knowledge. For everyone interested in iPhone development, the iPhoneDevCamp is shaping up to be the cool place to go. It's more of an intensive boot camp than a conference, since the primary goal seems to be to get as many people as possible together to talk about, learn about, and write applications for the iPhone. There will be a few presentations in the beginning as well, but most of the time will be dedicated to actual development. And developers, if you don't have a shiny new iPhone by July, don't worry: it's recommended but not required.

The good news is that the DevCamp is free, and will be held from July 6 to 8 in the Bay Area. No venue has been picked yet, but the organizers are trying to nail that down quickly. The organizers are also actively seeking sponsors and a few presenters, so if you can help out in either of those capacities, you might want to let them know.

It seems like a great idea, but everything is a bit tentative for now, and there are only a few weeks left until July 6. There are 27 attendees so far, but I'm really hoping that everything will come together and the iPhoneDevCamp will be a big success and a big step for iPhone development. If you're interested in dropping by, the iPhoneDevCamp wiki has all the details, but you can follow the status on Twitter and a few other sites, as well.

In the Internet traffic race, P2P used to be way out in front. For years, P2P traffic eclipsed HTTP traffic as broadband users slurped down music and movies, some of which were actually legal. But P2P fell behind this year; for the first time in four years, HTTP traffic is out in front. HangZhou Night Net

Ellacoya Networks, makers of deep packet inspection gear for carriers, has pulled together some statistics on one million broadband users in North America, and its findings show that HTTP traffic accounts for 46 percent of all broadband traffic. P2P applications now account for only 37 percent.

Data source: Ellacoya Networks

Chalk it up to YouTube and other Internet video sharing sites. The surge in HTTP traffic is largely a surge in the use of streaming media, mostly video.

Breaking down the HTTP traffic, Ellacoya says that only 45 percent is used to pull down traditional web pages with text and images. The rest is mostly made up of streaming video (36 percent) and streaming audio (five percent). YouTube alone has grown so big that it now accounts for 20 percent of all HTTP traffic, or more than half of all HTTP streaming video.

Looking over all the numbers, one of the most surprising result is the continued success of NNTP (newsgroups) traffic, which still accounts for nine percent of the total. Clearly, newsgroup discussions (and, ahem, binaries) are still big business.

The data may provide some ammunition for companies that favor traffic shaping on their networks. Between P2P, newsgroups, and streaming HTTP video traffic, the vast majority of Internet traffic is non-critical (i.e., no one's going to die or lose $20 million if they don't download a YouTube clip or a new song in under a minute). Networks that want to ensure priority transmission of VoIP calls, traditional HTTP web browsing, medical imaging, etc., have a strong incentive to throttle back that flood of non-critical traffic when the network is experiencing heavy loads. That could bring them into conflict with proponents of strict network neutrality, though, who don't want to see any sort of packet prioritization.

Frank's big Canadian crush on Dr. Cameron aside, the 360 port of Command Conquer 3 was a solid game. A solid game that let you taunt people using video—an idea that sounds great in print but scares me in reality. While the PC version has enjoyed one or two patches, the 360 version is about to get its first batch of downloadable content from Live Arcade. Here are the packages that are going live: HangZhou Night Net

Name:Ground Zero Map
Price:Free
Availability: All Xbox Live regions
Dash Details: Ground Zero Map Lead your army against a rival commander in this 1v1 map featuring a huge meteor impact crater. Download this free map now! This map is also playable in single-player skirmish mode.

Name:Map Pack 1 Developer Interview
Price:Free
Availability: Not available in Japan
Dash Details: Get the developer’s insider tour of the five intense map designs available in Command & Conquer 3 Map Pack One. Discover the key strategies to dominating the Tiberium fields and securing victory, whether you play GDI, NOD or Scrin!

Name:Map Pack 1
Price:500 Points
Availability: Not available in Japan
Dash Details: Map Pack 1 What kind of commander are you? Are you a defensive specialist, an air-superiority junkie, or a clandestine operations fanatic? Whatever your preferred strategy, test your skills and your wits against other commanders in five new multiplayer maps. Ranging from brutal 1v1 shootouts to gigantic 2v2 showdowns, this pack has something for every commander. Includes: Black’s Bigger Battle | Tiber River Valley | Frontier Fracas | Tiberium Gardens III | Tournament Desert Redux. All maps are playable in single-player skirmish mode as well.

Name:Factions Picture Pack
Price:80 Points
Availability: Not available in Japan
Dash Details: Whose side are you on? Support your favorite Command and Conquer 3 faction with these gamerpics! Includes 4 gamerpics: GDI, NOD, Scrin, and unique Tiberium EA logo.

A free map? Our cup runneth over. $6.25 for five new maps is an okay deal, but the dollar for that picture pack…are people buying these things? I'm glad that EA is still supporting the game—and these downloads aren't nearly as annoying as some of the other EA offerings in this area—but I think I'll keep both my nickel and my dime in my pocket.

When Ars last examined the state-of-the-art in gecko mechanics, researchers were measuring the strength of single fibers from the bottom of their feet, hoping to gain insights into how these translate weak van der Waals attractions into the ability to scamper up walls. Since then, researchers have been making pretty good progress in fashioning carbon nanotubes into fibers with similar adhesive properties, allowing them to make adhesives that approach the ability of geckos to stick to surfaces. HangZhou Night Net

In a paper that should show up at PNAS later this week1, a research team has discovered that the lessons of the gecko go well beyond the properties of the individual fibers. It turns out that the biological version of these fibers are arranged in hierarchical clusters, and the research team involved sought to mimic this organization. They experimented with creating various bundles of carbon nanotubes, and compared their adhesive properties with both unbundled nanotubes and live geckos (join me, if you will, in imagining the gecko harness involved…).

Unbundled, their nanotube tape was nearly as adhesive as a live gecko, but as these same tubes were clustered into bundles, their strength went up. By the time the authors optimized the combination of fiber length and bundle width, their tape was over four times stronger than a gecko: a square centimeter was sufficient to support nearly four kilograms. Although this was weaker than the initial strength of a standard piece of adhesive tape, the "gecko tape" had staying power. Its adhesive properties remained stable over time, while those of the adhesive tape dropped below those of the gecko tape after about five minutes.

Because of its reliance on van der Waals forces, the gecko tape had some unusual properties. These forces can work between any two surfaces, allowing the tape to stick to Teflon with roughly half the efficiency of its adhesion to a charged surface. Because the forces are proportional to surface area, peeling the tape works remarkably well: for most angles, peeling gently reduced the surface area, allowing the tape to come off with little force and no damage.

The only downside seems to be the consequences of overloading the tape. The failures tend to be catastrophic, and many of the fibers break and are left behind on the surface. Long term, this will degrade the performance of what is an otherwise reusable adhesive.

A second paper that should also be released soon2 has a potential solution to that. Instead of having the nanofibers contact the surface directly, it uses them to support a flat surface of similar material. That flat surface maximizes the area capable of undergoing van der Walls attractions, while the fibers create many individual points of failure that have to be overcome before the surface peels away. In tests, having the nanofiber backing improved the adhesive properties of the surface by over nine-fold compared to the surface alone, while failure of the adhesion left the fibers involved intact.

1: When PNAS releases the paper, it should appear here.

2: The draft of this paper uses a DOI that has been assigned to an unrelated paper, so I cannot link to it. Those interested can watch PNAS for Glassmaker et. al., Biologically inspired crack trapping for enhanced adhesion.

YouTube has launched localized versions of its video-sharing site in nine different languages. YouTube co-founder Steve Chen made the announcement at a press conference in Paris this morning, saying that the sites now have custom-translated pages and interfaces and that more local features were coming in the future. Those features will include channeling country-specific videos, categories, and sections onto each site, as well as displaying country-specific ratings and comments. HangZhou Night Net

Localized versions of YouTube now exist for Brazil, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the UK. Noticeably missing is a version localized for Germany, which the company says should be in the works soon, along with localized versions for other unannounced countries.

Along with the announcement came news that YouTube also signed partnership agreements with various content providers, including the BBC, French news channel France 24, France Televisions, and several Spanish channels. Additionally, YouTube has struck deals with football (soccer) clubs in Europe such as Chelsea, AC Milan, Barcelona, and Real Madrid.

In addition to the nine localized versions of the site, YouTube also made a foray into the mobile space this week with the launch of YouTube Mobile. Previously, the company had launched mobile services with specific carriers (such as Verizon and Vodafone), but launched a (mostly) universal mobile version of the site over the weekend. The mobile version of YouTube can be accessed at m.youtube.com from most major carriers. However, although the site itself loads for almost anyone with a data plan, the video player is not entirely compatible with all phones. BlackBerrys, for example, cannot play the videos from YouTube Mobile.

These strategic moves show that YouTube is still focused on expanding itself in other markets, despite holding the number-one position among video sharing sites in the world. Expanding into the mobile space is the popular thing to do these days, with companies like Google and Ask rushing to port their content to mobile phones before the offerings get too crowded. And localized versions of the main site might split up the otherwise unified community of YouTube, but will also help the company strike deals with smaller, local content providers and offer more targeted videos to its users.

Why the targeting? It's all about the ad dollars, of course. International targeting will allow YouTube to charge higher rates for their international traffic, which itself should grow as a result of localization.

2007 has not been kind to AMD. The company saw its workstation market share slip, has taken on $2 billion of new debt, lost almost $1.2 billion over the past two quarters, has been unable to close the gap with Intel when it comes to CPU performance, and has been the subject of recent rumors that Barcelona will be delayed. AMD has been in cost-cutting mode for the past several months and, according to IDG News Service, is considering getting out of the fabrication business. HangZhou Night Net

Currently, AMD operates two fabs: Fab 30 and Fab 36. Fab 30 is in the process of being fitted to handle 300mm production, and when the transition is complete, it will be rechristened Fab 38. It hasn't come cheaply, either—the chip maker has invested over $2.5 billion to expand its 300mm capabilities. AMD has also been talking up a new 45nm plant in Malta, NY, that would come online in 2009.

Speculation is building in the analyst community that AMD will attempt to further cut costs by outsourcing more—or all—of its chip making as early as 2008. One Citigroup analyst is predicting a "transformational move" that would result in AMD's lower-end CPUs being manufactured by a third party and possibly selling off part or all of its Dresden, Germany facility. Another report from Goldman Sachs outlines the investment firm's belief that the company will leave manufacturing completely in the hands of third parties.

Currently, Chartered Semiconductor handles some of AMD's manufacturing, and AMD told Ars Technica last fall that its plans called for Chartered to eventually manufacture CPUs on a 65nm process. AMD also has a long-standing partnership with IBM under which AMD gets to use Big Blue's East Fishkill, NY, plant for R&D and manufacturing.

An AMD spokesperson told Ars Technica that the company is looking to extend a model that it already has in place to other parts of the manufacturing and supply chain. "For instance, on the process technology side, we have a joint development agreement with IBM," AMD spokesperson Drew Prairie told Ars. "We use their 300mm R&D facilities right now. One extension of that is looking at taking some of the assets that are currently on our books off our books." We also asked whether AMD was head in the direction of going completely fab-less as part of its asset-light strategy. "At no time did we signal that going fab-less was part of the discussion with asset-light," said Prairie.

Getting out of manufacturing is certainly a plausible—if not likely—scenario for AMD. It would allow AMD to drastically cut costs and possibly stave off a private equity buyout. Outsourcing chip manufacturing would save the company a large chunk of money, and other semiconductor manufacturers—TI and Sony come to mind—have taken steps towards a fab-less existence.

But it's a different story for CPU makers. From a technical perspective, ditching your fab capabilities is an iffy proposition as it introduces a separation between design and manufacturing that could ultimately stretch out development times. AMD would no longer be able to design CPUs with its own fabs in mind, as both it and Intel currently can. AMD may be confident that its history of successful partnerships with the likes of Chartered and IBM will allow it to overcome the obstacles inherent in becoming a fab-less company and that it would be better off selling its own manufacturing facilities to free up cash.

Growing a review

I have a confession to make: I've never owned an iPod. I have nothing against them, and every time I've used a friend's iPod or taken a spin with the latest model in an Apple store, I've always been impressed with the product. I don't have to tell you how great iPods are. You probably have one. Everyone has one. I can't walk down the street without seeing dozens of little white earbuds on display as people make it clear they shouldn't have to listen to the sound of cars. iPods are ubiquitous these days, and that drives me crazy. HangZhou Night Net

The contenders and the king

I know the fact that this bothers me makes me petty, and I'm comfortable with that. I have nothing against Apple or iPods as products; I just wouldn't buy one. I get bothered by consumer electronics that are so popular you're able to put them in vending machines.

Which put me in an awkward position when I decided I wanted an MP3 player. I don't need to carry my entire library; I rarely need to have multiple days of music with me. I wanted to spend less than $100, be able to put a few episodes of This American Life in a small device, and take off.

$80 would get me a Shuffle. I should get a Shuffle. They come in different colors now, you know. I could turn myself into shadow and dance to very hip music against a brightly colored background. But I'm not very hip, and $80 seemed a little steep for 1GB of storage and a button. There had to be something better.

The problem is that everyone I asked just told me to buy a Shuffle. People seemed unconvinced that other companies actually made MP3 players. Apple has done a great job of carving out a dominant position when it comes to iPods; people almost default into an Apple product.

So here is what I did: near my house is a farmer's market, and you can get all sorts of crazy things like pig guts and DAP seeds. That's right, you can grow these things now. So I bought two seeds, put them in dirt, and fed them ripped up pictures of Steve Jobs. In just a few days, I had my players to review! I grew a Sansa Express and the Creative Zen Stone, and I hoped they would be as good, if not better, than a Shuffle. Let's do some testing!