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Friday, February 11, 2011

Browser Feature War: IE9 RC1 vs. Firefox 4 vs. Chrome 9 - PCWorld

Browser Feature War: IE9 RC1 vs. Firefox 4 vs. Chrome 9 - PCWorld

The browser wars are back with a vengeance.

Microsoft recently launched its first release candidate for Internet Explorer 9 (IE9 RC1), which features hardware acceleration, a simplified interface, Windows 7 jump lists, and a new "do not track" feature.

Not to be outdone, Google Chrome 9, which launched earlier this month, is sporting 3D hardware acceleration, Google Instant Search, and the Chrome Web Store. Meanwhile, Firefox 4 is in on its one-millionth beta (just kidding, it's on beta 11), rocking its own online tracking opt-out mechanism, an updated interface, and WebGL hardware acceleration.

It's a browser battle for the ages. But watch out Chrome and Firefox, the Borg (that was Microsoft's pet name in the 90's, kids) are back and this time resistance really is futile. Let's take a look.

Don't Follow Me

The Federal Trade Commission has been clamoring for Web browsers to institute do not track features that tell online advertisers you don't want them to follow you around while you browse the Web. Internet Explorer 9 has answered that call with a new feature called Tracking Protection. IE9's do not track feature allows you to create lists of sites that you want to block from tracking you. You can created your own list or find some pre-defined lists here on Microsoft's IE9 Website. To enable Tracking Protection in IE9, click on the settings cog in the upper right corner of IE9 RC1 then select Safety>Tracking Protection.

Firefox's answer to tracking is much simpler. The browser has simply instituted a system that puts a message in your browser's metadata that tells Websites you visit that you don't want to be tracked. Of course, it's any body's guess if the sites you visit will honor your request, but it's still a simple and elegant approach. To turn on Firefox 4's do not track feature in Windows 7 go to the Firefox tab in the upper left corner then click Options>Options>Advanced. Then under "Browsing" select "Tell web sites I do not want to be tracked." ??Chrome also has a do not track feature that you can activate by downloading an add-on called "Keep My Opt-outs."

Click to ZoomSimplified Interface

Firefox 4's new look is pretty much the same as it has been since Firefox 4's first beta came out in the middle of last year. Windows Vista and 7 users will see a new orange button in the upper left corner of the browser that houses most of Firefox's menu items. The home button and favorites can be found on the far right side of the browser window. Firefox also has tabs on top similar to Chrome's approach. This means you have less browser to deal with and more room to view the actual Web page.

Click to ZoomInternet Explorer also joined the Chrome-style revolution with IE9 RC1. The toolbar has been shaved down and the tabs have been put on the same line as the URL address bar to maximize the space for Web page views. The downside is that multiple tabs quickly go off the screen in IE9. You can change this by right-clicking any tab and selecting "Show tabs on a separate row." This will move your tabs to a separate row from the URL address bar, but it will cost you a tiny fraction of Web page viewing space.

In my advanced tests (by putting my finger on the screen), I determined that all three browsers now have pretty much the same screen space for viewing Web pages when you run them without toolbars.

Hardware Acceleration

All three browsers are focused on improving browser speeds. Internet Explorer 9 RC1 uses its own brand of hardware acceleration designed to take advantage of multiple processor cores as well as optimizing the power of your machine's graphics processing unit (GPU). IE9 RC1 also uses special Windows APIs to improve performance for 3D graphics, and has an improved JavaScript engine.

Both Chrome and Firefox use a Web standard called WebGL that speeds up the performance of online 3D graphics without the use of plug-ins. Firefox 4 also has a new JavaScript engine called JägerMonkey to improve speed performance. The latest Firefox beta build also uses hardware acceleration to improve speeds.

During my browsing session with each browser, IE9 appeared to react a little faster than both Firefox and Chrome by about two seconds. But we'll have to wait for PC World's official tests to get a better idea of which browser is actually faster.

Chrome Web Store and Instant

Google Chrome users in the United States now have access to the Chrome Web Store in Chrome 9. Just click on "Chrome Web Store" when you open a new tab to check out all the Web-based apps you can subscribe to or try out for free. You can check out this run down of 10 cool Web apps to get started.

Click to ZoomYou can also use Google Chrome 9's new search feature, Instant, that shows you web pages as you type and tries to predict just what you're looking for. To turn on instant in Chrome go to click on the wrench icon in the upper right corner and select "Options." Then select the check box that says "Enable Instant for faster searching and browsing."

Jump Lists

For Windows 7 users IE9's pinned Websites can be very handy. If you want to have easy access to sites you visit on a regular basis just drag the site's tab from IE9 into your Windows taskbar to pin it there. This will allow you to open the site in its own browser window with just one click. Some sites are also taking advantage of IE9's jump list feature that give you quick access to specific parts of the site. PC World's IE9 jump lists give you quick access to News, Reviews, Business Center, App Guide and How To sections. You can find out if a site has jump lists by right-clicking the pinned site's icon in your taskbar.

So which browser is best? Well, choosing a browser is more about your own personal taste than anything else. Internet Explorer may not be the dominant browsing force it once was, but with improved performance and a few handy features, it is well worth a look. Can it regain its once dominant position in the browser market with plus 90 percent share? It certainly has a long way to go from its current position of about 56 percent share, according to recent numbers from Net Applications. But IE9 RC1 is an impressive browser and just might let Microsoft dominate the Web browsing market once more. Like I said, the Borg are back baby, and this time you will be assimilated.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul) and Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

Apple's Jobs Calls Shots From Home -

SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 27:  (EDITORS NOTE: Re...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeApple's Jobs Calls Shots From Home -

Three weeks into a medical leave he took "to focus on my health," Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs is staying closely involved in the company's strategic decisions and product development, according to people familiar with the matter.

The 55-year-old Mr. Jobs, whose ailment hasn't been disclosed, has been taking business meetings at home and on the phone, these people said.

He also has been seen on Apple's Cupertino, Calif., campus and in public in Palo Alto, Calif., with a company executive, said people familiar with the matter.

Among products he is continuing to work on are the next version of the iPad tablet computer, expected out in the next couple of months, and a new iPhone, expected to be released this summer, said two of these people.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Apple has started manufacturing a new iPad, which includes a front-facing camera and other new features, and which will be available through Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc.

Inside Apple, meanwhile, day-to-day operations continue nearly unchanged under Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, said people inside the company and at its business partners. While several of them said there is a sense of sadness about Mr. Jobs's health struggles, they said Apple employees are focused on their jobs and projects.

"Steve is the CEO of Apple and during his medical leave he'll continue to be involved in major strategic decisions," said an Apple spokeswoman. Messrs. Jobs and Cook didn't respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Jobs, who was treated for a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004 and who got a liver transplant in 2009, said in January that he would take a leave of absence for an unspecified period. His health status remains unclear. Apple has said it will say no more about his condition.

Medical experts not involved in his care have speculated that there are many reasons why he might need medical attention again, including possible metastasis of the cancer or complications arising from the transplant. People who have seen Mr. Jobs in the past few months said he continues to look thin. A drastic weight loss was one indication of the severity of the CEO's illness two years ago before he received his liver transplant.

The company and Mr. Jobs appear to be going about things in much the same way as they did during his previous medical leave, at the time of his transplant, said people familiar with the matter. During that leave, Mr. Jobs continued to work on Apple strategy and products from home.

While some people at Apple said there was concern about Apple's future during Mr. Jobs's previous leave, Apple stock rose 78% while Mr. Cook steered the company through his nearly six-month absence. Mr. Cook's performance then has made Apple employees more secure about his taking the reins again, said people familiar with the matter. One of these people said Mr. Jobs often worked from home even before his leave.

Apple's business has been gaining momentum, and people inside the company are enthusiastic about the new products and services they are working on, said the people familiar with the matter.

Last month, Apple reported a 78% increase in profit and 71% rise in revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 25 on strong demand for its iPhones, iPads and Macintosh computers. Apple is expected to see more iPhone sales in the current quarter as Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, begins selling the smartphone for the first time starting Thursday.

Wall Street so far appears to be unfazed by Mr. Jobs's leave. Apple's stock has risen about 1.7% to $354.54 since Jan. 17, when he announced it.

His leave "is a concern because people view [Mr. Jobs] as the head innovator, but...I feel Apple can continue down its path with or without Steve," said Mike Binger, fund manager at Thrivent Asset Management in Minneapolis, which holds Apple shares as part of the $70 billion in assets it manages.

Some Apple watchers said they are withholding judgment about the seriousness of Mr. Jobs's health until the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in early June, at which the CEO traditionally gives the keynote address and unveils the latest version of the iPhone. "App developers are waiting to see if Steve will come back to give the keynote at WWDC," said Vishal Gurbuxani, a co-founder of mobile-ad company Mobclix Inc.

Apple hasn't announced the dates for this year's conference, but San Francisco's Moscone Center, which has hosted the event for the past few years, has June 5-9 blocked out for a "corporate meeting" on its online events calendar.

A spokeswoman for Moscone Center declined to comment.

Mubarak Reportedly Leaves Cairo -

Mubarak Reportedly Leaves Cairo -

CAIRO —The Egyptian military appeared to assert its leadership Friday amid growing indications that President Hosni Mubarak was yielding all power. A Western official said that Mr. Mubarak had left the capital.

As protesters were swarming into the streets Friday morning for what was expected to be the biggest and most volatile demonstrations in the three-week revolt here, the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces issued a statement over state television and radio indicating that the military, not Mr. Mubarak, was in effective control of the country. It was unclear whether the military would take meaningful steps toward democracy or begin a military dictatorship.

Western diplomats said that officials of the Egyptian government were scrambling to assure that a muddled speech Mr. Mubarak made on Thursday night that enraged protesters had in fact signaled his irrevocable handover of presidential authority.

“The government of Egypt says absolutely, it is done, it is over,” a Western diplomat said. “But that is not what anybody heard” in Mr. Mubarak’s speech.

The Army announcement and diplomatic scrambling appeared intended to forestall the potential for violent confrontations as hundreds of thousands of protesters, angered by Mr. Mubarak’s refusal to step down on Thursday, flooded the streets demanding his full resignation — if not also his public trial for violence against them.

By about 1 p.m., state television was reporting that thousands had gathered around the state television building and were threatening violence against employees who entered.

Protesters remain enraged by Mr. Mubarak’s speech Thursday night which, after a day of mounting official signals that he was about to make an exit, failed to convey any such conclusion in either its tone or literal meaning. Although he said that he was “delegating” his powers to his vice president, but he did it in an aside that might have been easy to miss. He apparently referred to a provision of the constitution that would have allowed him to reclaim those powers. And the rest of his speech sounded very much like he was an active president with no intention of resigning.

The statement Friday by the military’s Supreme Council struck a very different tone and appeared to assert that the military, not President Mubarak, was now in control. The military said that first it would end the 30-year-old emergency law — used to detain without trial— “as soon as the current circumstances are over.” The protesters have demanded that the law be eliminated immediately, before any talks about ending the uprising.

The military also said that it would oversee the amendment of the constitution to “conduct free and fair presidential elections.”

“The Armed forces are committed to sponsor the legitimate demands of the people,” the statement declared, and it vowed to ensure the fulfillment of its promises “within defined time frames with all accuracy and seriousness and until the peaceful transfer of authority is completed towards a free democratic community that the people aspire to.” And the military further promised the protestors — “ the honest people who refused the corruption and demanded reforms” — - immunity from any prosecution or “security pursuit.”

The statement urged a return to normalcy but made no threats to enforce it. Western diplomats and American officials say that the top military commanders, including the defense minister and the chairman of the armed forces, have told them for weeks that the Egyptian Army would never use force against Egyptians civilians to preserve the regime. And on Friday morning the military said that the defense minister, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, was presiding over the military’s Supreme Council, which appeared to have taken control of the state.

It has been “increasingly clear,” a Western diplomat said Friday, that “the army will not go down with Mubarak. “

The military statement, broadcast first by a civilian announcer on state television and then by a uniformed military spokesman, came as the city — and many other places in Egypt — began noon prayers on Friday, the Muslim holy day and the beginning of the weekend, a moment that has been the prelude for large-scale demonstrations since the revolt started.

Several hundred protesters gathered outside the presidential palace in the suburb of Heliopolis, news reports said, but troops backed by armored vehicles and razor wire barricades did nothing to prevent them from assembling.

In the upscale neighborhood of Mohandiseen, about a thousand protesters spilled out of the Mustafa Mahmoud mosque to march on the Radio and Television Building, even though shouting matches broke out as some Egyptians watching them urged them to call off their protest since Mr. Mubarak had repeated that he would leave in September when elections are scheduled. But one demonstrator, Mohamed Salwy, 44, said: “Mubarak doesn’t understand. I think these protests are going to have to go on for a long time.”

Once they arrived at the broadcasting center, they were joined by thousands of others, facing a ring of steel made up of a dozen armored personnel carriers and tanks forming a cordon. Soldiers with heavy machine guns looked down at them from a balcony.

Outside the capital, television images showed large numbers of protesters gathering under a sea of Egyptian flags in Alexandria, and there were unconfirmed reports of thousands of protesters surrounding government buildings in Suez.

The reaction abroad to Mr. Mubarak’s address was more measured, but also critical. President Obama issued a statement on Thursday night saying that “too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy.” European leaders also called for more fundamental change and urged that it happen faster.

Earlier in the day, even Mr. Obama seemed to believe that Mr. Mubarak would go further, celebrating his belief that Egypt was “witnessing history unfold.”

Instead, Mr. Mubarak, 82, a former general, struck a defiant, even provocative note in his speech. While he acknowledged for the first time that his government had made mistakes, he made it clear that he was still president and that reforms in Egypt would proceed under his government’s supervision and according to the timetable of elections in September.

Mr. Mubarak echoed the contention of officials in past days that foreigners might be behind the uprising, but he cited no evidence to support that allegation.

For hours before Mr. Mubarak’s speech, jubilant crowds, prematurely celebrating their victory, positioned themselves next to large speakers for what they assumed was a resignation speech. At about 10:45, the crowd quieted as Mr. Mubarak started his speech, which was transmitted via a tiny radio that someone held up to a microphone.

Soon, angry chants echoed through the square. People gathered in groups, confused, enraged and faced with Mr. Mubarak’s plea to endorse his vision of gradual reform. Some said his speech was intended to divide the protesters, by peeling off those who thought he had gone far enough. Others said it reflected the isolation of a president they had come to detest.

By midnight, about 3,000 protesters made their way from the square to the Radio and Television Building, which protesters loathe for propaganda that has cast them as troublemakers. In a sign of the confusion that reigned in Cairo, youthful opposition leaders sought to dissect the series of statements from the military command, Mr. Mubarak and Mr. Suleiman. Some believed that the army, long a player behind the scenes, was still intent on seeking power but had not yet mustered the leverage to force Mr. Mubarak from office.

It was unclear whether the military had tried to oust Mr. Mubarak and failed or was participating in a more complicated choreography in Egypt’s opaque system of rule.

Along with the protests, labor strikes have flared across Egypt, organized by workers at post offices, telecommunications centers, textile factories and cement plants. Clashes have occurred in distant parts of the country — from the New Valley west of the Nile to Suez, a city along the Suez Canal, which provides Egypt with crucial earnings.

While organizers have said Friday’s rallies may be some of the biggest protests yet, they spoke in darker tones about what they may represent now, given what many view as the determination of Mr. Mubarak to stay in office, whatever the numbers.

The anger was fueled in good part by expectations that Mr. Mubarak would be making his last address to the nation. For much of the day, people traded rumors about where he might be preparing to go to — Bahrain and Dubai were two rumored destinations — and then by a cascade of official statements suggesting that might be the case.

The first came from the civilian government. Around 3 p.m., Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told the BBC that talks with Mr. Mubarak about his possible resignation were already under way.

Gen. Hassan al-Roueini appeared in Tahrir Square to tell protesters that “all your demands will be met today,” witnesses said, words that were quickly read by crowds around him to mean that Mr. Mubarak was on the way out.

A short time later, the military, still seen as potentially decisive in the conflict, announced that it was taking action in what sounded to many people like a coup.

“In affirmation and support for the legitimate demands of the people, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces convened today, 10 February 2011, to consider developments to date,” an army spokesman declared on state television, in what was described as communiqué No. 1 of the army command, “and decided to remain in continuous session to consider what procedures and measures that may be taken to protect the nation, and the achievements and aspirations of the great people of Egypt.”

Around the same time, Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, the chief of staff of the armed forces, appeared in Tahrir Square to tell the protesters the same thing, to roars of celebration.

The reports seemed increasingly convincing, to both protesters and even high-ranking officials. Hossam Badrawy, the top official of the ruling party, said in a television interview that he had personally told the president he should resign. And, though Mr. Mubarak did not respond, Mr. Badrawy said he believed he would go. “That is my expectation, that is my hope,” he added in an interview. The news electrified protestors in the square and Mr. Mubarak opened his speech with words that suggested he was staying. “I am addressing all of you from the heart, a speech from the father to his sons and daughters,” he said. He expressed what he described as pride for them.

“Can this man be serious or did he lose his mind?” asked George Ishak, a longtime opposition leader. Mohamed ElBaradei, an opposition leader and Nobel laureate, was blunter. “I ask the army to intervene immediately to save Egypt,” he wrote on his Twitter feed. “The credibility of the army is being put to the test.”

David D. Kirkpatrick and Anthony Shadid reported from Cairo, and Alan Cowell from Paris. Reporting was contributed by Kareem Fahim, Liam Stack, Mona El-Naggar and Thanassis Cambanis from Cairo, and Sheryl Gay Stolberg from Marquette, Mich.

Egypt Flips Internet Kill Switch. Will the U.S.? | Dan Costa |

Egypt Flips Internet Kill Switch. Will the U.S.? | Dan Costa |

By Dan Costa
What can an undemocratic government to do to control its people? If tear gas and rubber bullets don't work, take away their Twitter and Facebook access, of course. And if the people still don't fall into line, cut off their Internet and mobile phone access entirely. That's exactly what the Egyptian government did today when confronted with citizenry taking to the streets and demanding regime change. The surprising thing isn't that a corrupt, authoritarian regime would launch this kind of state-sponsored denial of service attack on its own citizens. Nor that it is willing to jeopardize its economy by cutting its businesses off from world markets. No, the thing that surprises me is that the U.S. government has plans for its own Internet Kill Switch.

The legislation was first introduced last summer by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and the former has promised to bring it to the floor again in 2011. It isn't called anything as obvious as the Internet Kill Switch, of course. It is called the "Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act." Who could be against that? Anyone who's watching the news on TV today, that's who.

The proposal calls for the Department of Homeland Security to establish and maintain a list of systems or assets that constitute critical cyber-infrastructure. The President would be able to be able to control those systems. He or she would have ability to turn them off. The kicker: none of this would be subject to judicial review. This is just a proposal, mind you, but it certainly warrants concern. Particularly given the heavy-handed example being provided by Egypt.

Reports of Egypt's grand disconnection came first from James Cowie of Renesys, a New Hampshire-based firm that tracks Internet Traffic. As he watched Egypt drop off the grid, Cowie wrote:

"Every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world."
Keeping citizens off the Internet is becoming standard operating procedure during civil unrest. The Iranian government slowed Internet access to a crawl during last year's civil unrest, but the country online. Myanmar has a little more success blocking its citizens. Egypt's move, however, is unprecedented in its scope.

Only about 25% of the Egyptian population has Internet access, but that still works out to 20.1 million users. There are about 55.3 million cell phones, and most of them are dark too, right? Not quite. At this moment the streets are still filled with protesters carrying those disconnected phones—and cameras, and camcorders. With or without Internet access, those protesters are recording both the protests and the government's response. Shutting down Internet access may slow the rate at which those images get out, but it will happen eventually. And by eventually, I mean hours, not days.

Even if the government manages to keep their incipient rebellion off Twitter and Facebook, everything they're doing is bound to leak out sooner or later anyhow. And the denial of service doesn't seem to be hurting the protestors' ability to organize. Once something becomes a trending topic, cutting off Twitter is like closing a barn door after the horses have fled. Egypt's heavy handed actions show how little the country's government understands the Internet. If anything, all they're accomplishing is enraging the protesters even more by proving just how thuggish they can be.

The United States would do well to learn the lesson that Egypt has not. Because, really, the case is all the more complicated here. There are only four major service providers in Egypt: Telecom Egypt, Raya, Link Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and Internet Egypt. Last night, all four took their networks—and the IP addresses of every man, woman, and business in Egypt—offline. This presumably happened at the government's request, though it's worth noting that they haven't admitted anything. (Their email is probably down.)

The U.S. telecommunication industry is much more complex and far more decentralized. To do something similar in the U.S. would require a lot more than four phone calls. There are simply too many connections inside the nation already for them to be silenced. Also, since our economy is more dependent on the Internet obstructing the free flow of information would be disastrous. Still, the push for a U.S. Internet Kill Switch is here, but no one understands the consequences.

The fact is, no one in the U.S. should ever have the right or the ability to take the Internet offline. As an editor of a purely online publication (we made the switch from print a few years ago), it's very clear to me that freedom of the press relies more than ever on the Internet. No one in the U.S.—or anywhere—should have the right to shut it down.

As Cowie put it in his post:

"What happens when you disconnect a modern economy and 80,000,000 people from the Internet? What will happen tomorrow, on the streets and in the credit markets? This has never happened before, and the unknowns are piling up."
Egypt is going to find out what happens the hard way. Let's hope the U.S. never has to.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Apple poised to make 'universal' iPhone, says analyst -

Apple poised to make 'universal' iPhone, says analyst -

A dissection of the Verizon iPhone shows that Apple is already deploying dual-carrier cell technology.

(CNN) -- Apple has the pieces needed to build an iPhone model that can connect to just about any cellular network.
The evidence was found under the hood of a new iPhone 4 unit made for Verizon Wireless.
To work with the nonstandard infrastructure used by Verizon, Apple needed to deploy a different cell chip. The hardware company had to alter parts of the iPhone's construction in order to make it compatible, Apple COO Tim Cook said during the phone's coming-out event.
While the new iPhone will only work on Verizon's network, the Qualcomm chip Apple is using in these new models is capable of connecting to Verizon's network, as well as to carriers using the GSM standard, which is what AT&T and T-Mobile USA have.
The finding was unearthed by repair firm iFixIt in a full dissection of a Verizon iPhone obtained through the pre-order system.
The silicon chip in the iPhone is the same type used in another Verizon phone, the Droid Pro. The latter smartphone is designed for frequent travelers and can be used easily in most countries overseas.
But Apple didn't develop the first-run Verizon iPhones in a way that lets them work internationally, despite the building blocks being there. For one, it's lacking the crucial SIM card slot used for telling the phone which network it should connect to and what its phone number is.
AT&T is positioning this travel-ready ability as a major competitive advantage of its iPhones, and of other phones made for its network.
That Apple has a healthy supply of these dual-carrier chips could be a sign of an impending "universal iPhone."
Charles Golvin, an analyst for Forrester Research, is confident that the next iPhone model, expected to come out this summer, will be capable of working on both Verizon and AT&T, along with most cell networks worldwide, he said in an interview.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Monday, February 07, 2011

iPad may replace textbooks, playbooks | Tablets | iOS Central | Macworld

iPad may replace textbooks, playbooks | Tablets | iOS Central | Macworld

Legislators in Georgia and NFL coaches in Dallas are listening to the siren song of the iPad as a replacement for paper books in their bailiwicks. In the Peach State, Apple is pitching the iPad as a replacement for textbooks in the public schools. In Cowboy Land, America’s Team is considering ditching paper playbooks for the Apple tablet.

This week the Georgia Senate president pro tempore, Tommie Williams, acknowledged that Apple had approached the state with a sweet deal, according to Atlanta Journal Constitution political columnist Jim Galloway. For $500 a student annually, Apple would provide each student in Georgia’s middle schools with an iPad, set up wireless networks, load all the textbooks for system and take responsibility for upgrading the system and training teachers on how to use it.

One legislator with his hands on the state’s purse strings, though, cast a sour note on Apple’s proposal. “There’s a lot of groundwork that needs to be covered before we can even remotely consider moving forward,” said Tom Dickson, vice chairman of the House appropriations committee, in a report posted by a Fox TV station in Boston.

“You know what our budget’s like,” he added. “We’re not looking for new ways to spend money. We’re looking for new ways to save money, so it’s not something we’re going to jump into.”

Meanwhile in Dallas, the Cowboys’ head of technology, Pete Walsh told CNET that his team and at least two others are considering replacing their playbooks with iPads. The move could save the team the expense of printing 5000 pages of paper printouts per game.

However, one of Walsh’s concerns about the move is security. Walsh isn’t alone in this concern—he said that the issue of security is being mulled by ever NFL team that is considering adopting tablets in lieu of playbooks.