Apple’s holding an iPad 2 event on March 2nd | Engadget

One more thing . . .

Y and I are very happy with our iPads, but we are curious to find out what new features the iPad 2 (or whatever Apple calls it) will have. According to Engadget’s invitation to a special media event with Apple, we only have one week to wait:

Apple’s holding an iPad 2 event on March 2nd… we’ll be there live! — Engadget.

A Report on Recent Goings-On in Kent

Last week, Y and I picked up our friend Masaya from the airport. He is back in Kent, late of Japan, for another research mission. It’s good to have our friend back in town, even though we are all very busy. We will have to make time to hang out for the short time that he is back in the States.

This past Saturday, Mack and Sue took Y, Masaya, and me out to lunch at Pufferbelly’s Restaurant in downtown Kent. It was a good day, cold with the snow recently melted away after a short warm spell, and we had good conversations about jobs, dissertating, and Stieg Larsson. Many thanks to Mack and Sue for a good lunch and wonderful conversation.

Now, almost all of the snow that melted last week has been replaced with newly fallen snow. Y and I worked outside early this week to keep the roof cleared and the driveway open.

Professionally, I am reading the proofs for The Postnational Fantasy, and I am revising my entry on Asimov’s “Bicentennial Man” and Chris Columbus’ film of the same name for Peter Wright’s collection on science fiction film adaptations. I put in my application for a service-free semester fellowship, too.

I am looking forward to tomorrow’s departmental review, because Y and I can speak with Professor Eric Rabkin again (we first met Professor Rabkin at the SFRA 2010 meeting in Carefree, AZ, read about it here). He is the only member of the outside review committee who I happen to know.

13″ MacBook Pro specs leaked, reveal “Thunderbolt” I/O port, from ArsTechnica

Ars Technica posted leaked specs for the next iteration of the Apple MacBook Pro line. It seems that they are switching over to the Intel Sandy Bridge platform. This could be a problem, because Intel recalled their Sandy Bridge chipsets at the beginning of the month [read about it here]. However, the new platform will provide substantial speed and horsepower over my current Core2Duo MacBook. Even if they are shipping the crippled Sandy Bridge chipsets, it should only affect higher SATA ports above 0 and 1. My aluminum unibody MacBook is a bit long in the tooth, so this is exciting news.

13″ MacBook Pro specs leaked, reveal “Thunderbolt” I/O port.

‘Digital Inspections’ at U.S. Border Raise Constitutional Questions –

The New York Times recently reported on the constitutionality of border guards searching your computer hard drive when you enter or reenter the United States. I have heard about this occurring, particularly as reported on [here and here], as an information gathering tool for police authorities as well as a punitive measure against ‘persons of interest’ to the US government. According to the Times:

The chosen few — 6.1 million of the 293 million who entered the United States in the year ending Sept. 30, 2010 — get a big letter written on their declaration forms: A for an agriculture check on foodstuffs, B for an immigration issue, and C for a luggage inspection. Into the computer the passport officers type the reasons for the selection, a heads-up to their colleagues in the back room, where more thorough databases are accessible.

And there is where concerns have developed about invasions of privacy, for the most complete records on the travelers may be the ones they are carrying: their laptop computers full of professional and personal e-mail messages, photographs, diaries, legal documents, tax returns, browsing histories and other windows into their lives far beyond anything that could be, or would be, stuffed into a suitcase for a trip abroad. Those revealing digital portraits can be immensely useful to inspectors, who now hunt for criminal activity and security threats by searching and copying people’s hard drives, cellphones and other electronic devices, which are sometimes held for weeks of analysis.

As it now stands, very few people, statistically speaking, are having their digital selves exposed for governmental review. Additionally, there are concerns that when computer and cellphone hardware is in the hands of the government, there is the possibility that they are exploiting manufacturer built-in backdoors or installing rootkits or other virtually invisible monitoring software. Basically, you cannot trust your computer without a full nuke-and-pave if your digital device is searched by the government.

As a digital nomad, I carry my digital life with me on my various digital devices. I protect my data from crooks, but what can I do to protect my data from government compulsion? With our lives increasingly leaving the constitutionally and precedent protected space of the home and ending up online and in our computers, why should we not have the same protections against unreasonable searches and seizures in an obviously concealed space that we control–a virtually mobile home that contains private documents that the government should not have a right to see unless there is a compelling interest based on judicial oversight and a warrant showing just cause?

The ACLU is challenging these searches, and you can read more about their work on Ars Technica here.

While this issue is being sorted out, protect yourself and your data.

via ‘Digital Inspections’ at U.S. Border Raise Constitutional Questions –