The Week in Review: The war goes online

Information technology began to play a part in how the Iraq conflict was viewed, Amazon had a surprise best-seller and black cabs went wireless

Fighting officially began in Iraq this week, kicking off the biggest international conflict since the emergence into the public awareness of communications technologies such as Web logs, mobile messaging and indeed the Web itself. These will no doubt have an impact on the way people take in information about the war, just as cable television did in the earlier Gulf action. As military action started, people around the world found various ways of digitally exchanging their views. They also tapped into the Net's unique brand of news coverage.
As the missiles fly, so do the messages
Users flock to Web as war begins Whoops! accidentally listed an iPaq Pocket PC to customers for about £7, on Wednesday, and judging by the fact that the item quickly made its way to No. 1 in the site's sales charts, a few people took the company up on its kind offer. Amazon now says it has no obligation to fulfil the orders, though lawyers may dispute this.
Amazon mis-priced iPaqs: No sale In the mean time, the high-tech industry continued its obsession with finding a way to start making money again, with a particular focus on wireless. In the learned opinion of Qualcomm's (admittedly biased) chief executive, wireless network operators shouldn't bother jumping on the Wi-Fi bandwagon, which will turn into the next dot-com bust once GPRS and high-speed networks get rolling. Of course, Wi-Fi is here today, while 3G's main outpost is in telecommunications companies' long-term business plans and the advertising material of Hutchison's 3.
Qualcomm: 3G will beat Wi-Fi Intel is promoting Wi-Fi for all it's worth, with the logic that people will come running to buy wireless-enabled Centrino notebooks. Don't be fooled by companies' sunny thinking about universally available, convenient 802.11b roaming, though: a lot of it is just wishful thinking. TI built GSM, GPRS and Wi-Fi into an all-in-one chipset, but in general companies are eschewing big promises these days.
Bumpy road ahead for Wi-Fi roaming
TI waves its wireless Wanda
Lowered expectations at wireless show Continuing with the wireless theme, how about this idea: ring a central number and get connected to the nearest taxi. It's still in the early stages, but the system exists, and it's one of the first to rely on mobile phone location data.
For taxis it's location, location, location Midband is BT's answer to the problems of rolling out ADSL to areas too far from a suitable telephone exchange. It can reach anywhere, delivers 128kbps, and was originally supposed to include always-on email. Users won't get everything they want when the service launches this summer, though. And does anyone else think this just sound a bit like ISDN under a new name?
Midband to launch this summer, with limitations The gumdrop-shaped computer is finally fading away after five years. There's still the flat-panel version and the eMac, but neither is available in Flower Power or Bondi Blue.
Original iMac goes the way of Flower Power

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