Technology notebook

A leading industry analyst on municipal wireless projects is revising its 2007 spending estimates as cities find their projects costing more and drawing less interest from residential customers than expected.

In an annual State of the Market Report, MuniWireless estimates U.S. expenditures at $329 million for the year, down from the $460 million projection made for 2007 last year.

But MuniWireless founder Esme Vos notes the revised estimate is still 35 percent above the $243 million spent in 2006 on projects to blanket all or parts of cities with Wi-Fi and other wireless Internet access.

Service providers have been questioning whether the networks will generate enough revenue to justify the multimillion-dollar investments to build and maintain them. EarthLink Inc., one of the chief promoters of municipal Wi-Fi, has decided it can no longer afford to foot the bill by itself.

Insider domain name snatching probed: The Internet’s key oversight agency is investigating suspicions that insider information is being used to snatch desired domain names before an individual or business can register them.

The Security and Stability Advisory Committee of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers termed the practice “domain name front running” and likened it to a stock broker buying or selling shares ahead of a client’s trade, in anticipation of a movement in price.

In the case of Internet addresses, many people who see a domain name available the first time they check find it already taken by the time they return to buy it.

That has led to suspicions that someone with access to search requests has been using the information to gauge interest in a domain name. By buying the domain first, that person can then try to sell it to the interested party for a profit.

Cheap laptop program still eyes India: The so-called $100 laptops for children may make it to India after all.

Last year, India rebuffed One Laptop Per Child, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinoff that created rugged little computers for kids in the developing world.

Being shut out of the world’s second-most populous country seemed a defeat for One Laptop Per Child, which has had a tougher sell than it expected. Mass production of its roughly $190 laptops is expected to begin soon, but with fewer than the several million computers originally envisioned.

Even after hearing the minister’s comments, One Laptop Per Child kept talking to Indian officials, companies and non-governmental agencies. And a pilot test began recently in which 22 children in first through fourth grades in a rural, one-room school in the Indian state of Maharashtra are using the computers.

GPS jacket helps keep track of kids: Parents may worry less about losing their children — or at least their children’s expensive winter gear — with a new jacket that includes a global-positioning tracker.

Jackets released by the British clothing company Bladerunner have a GPS tracking device in the lining that allows parents to find the jacket anywhere in the world.

Using Google Inc.’s mapping tools, users can watch the jacket move, with updates every 10 seconds. The tracking device’s rechargeable battery lasts about 18 hours.

A children’s tracking jacket costs $500 plus $20 a month for the tracking service. An adult jacket costs $700.

From Herald news services

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