Snow Leopard debuts, FBI investigates laptops

This is traditionally a slow news week in IT, and this year did not break with that tradition, leaving us time to enjoy the waning days of warm weather here in Boston between following the flurry of reports about Apple's new OS, which captured the lion's (or the leopard's as it were) share of major headlines. Otherwise, we had some odd stories, what with U.S. governors receiving mysterious shipments of laptops, with a fair bit of news also coming to us out of China.

1. Snow Leopard: Complete coverage, Spotlight on Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Snow Leopard: What's new for all users and Snow Leopard versus Windows 7: IDG sites offered comprehensive coverage of Apple's new Mac OS X, dubbed "Snow Leopard," with news, analysis, reviews and slideshows.

2. FBI investigating laptops sent to US governors: U.S. governors in 10 states have mysteriously been sent Hewlett-Packard computers that no one in the governors' offices apparently ordered, prompting the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to step in amid worries that the computers might harbor malicious software.

3. Canadian probe prompts Facebook privacy policy change: Facebook will tighten its privacy controls over the next 12 months in response to recommendations from the Canadian government. We'll keep in mind that Canada was able to push forward these changes, which Facebook users have clamored for, the next time we need action on an issue.

4. Microsoft wins fast-track appeal of Word ban and Microsoft: Word patent ruling, injunction 'miscarriage of justice': Microsoft was granted "fast-track" status for its appeal of an injunction in a patent infringement case brought against the software maker by software development company i4i. The injunction orders that sales of Word 2003 and Word 2007 be prohibited after Oct. 10. A patent ruling in favor of i4i that awarded the Canadian company almost US$300 million in damages and banned Word sales is a "miscarriage of justice," Microsoft said in a court filing this week. i4i Chairman Louden Owen called the filing "extraordinary" and said, "it captures the hostile attitude of Microsoft toward inventors who dare to enforce patents against them. It is also blatantly derogatory about the Court system."

5. FCC to take long, hard look at wireless industry: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is going to open a three-pronged inquiry into the wireless industry. The inquiry could lead to major changes in how the FCC assesses, and regulates, that industry.

6. China Unicom to sell iPhone next month and iPhone in China could be battle of the bureaucracies: At last, the iPhone will be sold in China, with China Unicom signing a three-year deal with Apple. The deal, which was long rumored, raises questions about how effectively Apple will navigate dealing with the bureaucracy of the Chinese government. Read on for more news out of China.

7. China game boss sniped rivals, took down Internet: This week's oopsie entry comes from China, where authorities said that an attack by a Chinese online game provider that was aimed at taking down a rival's servers veered out of control and caused May's Internet outage through much of the nation. Interestingly, that sort of untoward behavior is common among small Internet companies trying to compete in China, though usually such shenanigans remain smaller in scale.

8. Sharp rise in PC sales over next few years, says Intel and Intel raises sales forecast: Intel offered some encouraging economic news, saying that it expects PC sales will be robust over the next few years, and separately revising its third-quarter financial forecast to reflect a more optimistic outlook.

9. Developers salivating over Twitter's geolocation plans: Developers this week expressed enthusiasm for Twitter's plan announced last week that it will add geolocation features to the micro-blogging site.

10. BlackBerry at D.C. VA Medical Center: Saving heart-attack victims with handhelds: We confess that a whole lot of the mobile apps available are not terribly interesting to us. But Al Sacco reported about a life-saving application that caught our attention. The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C., became the first U.S. hospital to use a fully automated version of mVisum's app that monitors EKGs. The application will both help save the lives of people who have heart attacks and also decrease the average length of time heart patients stay in the hospital, which will reduce health-care costs.

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