This report says “iPod touch software 1.1.2 adds calendar functions“:

Arriving alongside iPhone software version 1.1.2 on Thursday evening was iPod touch software version 1.1.2, which adds new calendar functionality to the touch-screen media players. Thus far, one of the only visible features delivered by the update appears to be the ability to add and edit calendar events through the Touch’s calendar application. Although these capabilities had long been available to iPhone users, Apple omitted them from the initial version of the Touch software presumably to help differentiate the player from the iPhone.

It still needs more capabilities, but this is a big improvement.

In this New York Times story, “McCain Finds Sympathy on Torture Issue” we find the following paragraph:

Democrats are largely opposed to torture, and while the Bush administration has said it does not engage in torture, it had previously reserved the right to use aggressive interrogation techniques in questioning terrorism suspects. And the leading Republican candidates, with the exception of Mr. McCain, are refusing to rule out certain techniques that others would deem as torture.

It’s a classic example of the problem with today’s journalism. News organizations accurately quote people, but flatly decline to point out the truth — that one side is lying.

The truth in this case is that the United States, by any measure, does torture people. “Aggressive interrogation techniques” like “waterboarding” — designed in perfect Orwellian lanauge to sound like a theme park ride — are the kind of torture that was bad enough to convict Japanese soldiers of war crimes.

No one has begun to contradict the truth of what — among others — Malcolm Nance, a counterterrorism expert and former Navy instructor in how to resist interrogation, wrote here and told Congress. Here’s a lengthy quote:

1. Waterboarding is a torture technique. Period. There is no way to gloss over it or sugarcoat it. It has no justification outside of its limited role as a training demonstrator. Our service members have to learn that the will to survive requires them accept and understand that they may be subjected to torture, but that America is better than its enemies and it is one’s duty to trust in your nation and God, endure the hardships and return home with honor.

2. Waterboarding is not a simulation. Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex, and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of the word.

Waterboarding is a controlled drowning that, in the American model, occurs under the watch of a doctor, a psychologist, an interrogator and a trained strap-in/strap-out team. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning. How much the victim is to drown depends on the desired result (in the form of answers to questions shouted into the victim’s face) and the obstinacy of the subject. A team doctor watches the quantity of water that is ingested and for the physiological signs which show when the drowning effect goes from painful psychological experience, to horrific suffocating punishment to the final death spiral.

Waterboarding is slow motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of black out and expiration –usually the person goes into hysterics on the board. For the uninitiated, it is horrifying to watch and if it goes wrong, it can lead straight to terminal hypoxia. When done right it is controlled death. Its lack of physical scarring allows the victim to recover and be threaten with its use again and again.

Call it “Chinese Water Torture,” “the Barrel,” or “the Waterfall,” it is all the same. Whether the victim is allowed to comply or not is usually left up to the interrogator. Many waterboard team members, even in training, enjoy the sadistic power of making the victim suffer and often ask questions as an after thought. These people are dangerous and predictable and when left unshackled, unsupervised or undetected they bring us the murderous abuses seen at Abu Ghraieb, Baghram and Guantanamo. No doubt, to avoid human factors like fear and guilt someone has created a one-button version that probably looks like an MRI machine with high intensity waterjets.

3. If you support the use of waterboarding on enemy captives, you support the use of that torture on any future American captives. The Small Wars Council had a spirited discussion about this earlier in the year, especially when former Marine Generals Krulak and Hoar rejected all arguments for torture.

Yet the New York Times can’t bring itself to simply explain the reality. It does stenography, repeating the lies from one side.

So disappointing. Yet also so standard for the Paper of Record.

Lifehacker: Build a Hackintosh Mac for Under $800. (Y)ou can build your own “Hackintosh”—a PC that runs a patched version of OS X Leopard. What?!, you say. Apple’s move to Intel processors in 2006 meant that running OS X on non-Apple hardware is possible, and a community hacking project called OSx86 launched with that goal in mind. Since then, OSx86 has covered major ground, making it possible for civilians—like you and me!—to put together their own Hackintosh running Mac OS 10.5. Today, I’ll show you how to build your own high end computer running Leopard from start to finish for under $800.

This is essentially a parlor trick for now. Why anyone would put OS X on a cheap PC is beyond me, given the relatively low cost of Apple’s own entry-level hardware — for not much more you could buy an iMac with roughly the same specs.

What’s potentially exciting about this is something entirely different: the possibility of putting the Mac OS on a better notebook than Apple is willing to sell. The ThinkPad line is still the absolute class, hardware-wise, in the field. And the X series — superlatively powerful and compact with the best keyboards around — is my favorite laptop form factor.

I’d buy one of those with the Mac OS in a heartbeat, and pay a premium. Apple refuses to sell a sub-notebook computer (though rumor has it that one is coming, extremely belatedly). If someone can hack the X40 or its heirs to run OS X reliably, I’ll give it a great deal of thought.

Clark Hoyt, the paper’s public editor, notes the NY Times’ continuing publication of pieces by Henry Blodget, one of the Internet bubble’s most notorious characters. In “Taint by Association” Hoyt asks two key questions:

One is whether The Times properly identifies Blodget when he writes for the paper. I don’t think so. His name was big in financial news at one time, but many readers do not know him.

The bigger question is whether The Times should be publishing him at all. Like Nocera, I believe in second chances, and Blodget seems to be doing fine establishing a new career. But why would The Times give a former analyst who lied to investors a platform to write about financial markets? If he wanted to write about how investors can spot phony reports by analysts, that would be one thing. But each time the newspaper uses Blodget as it has, it is conferring greater expert status on him.

These deals work two ways. The Times’s luster may help Blodget. But some of his taint rubs off on The Times.

Hoyt has it exactly right here. The newspaper is sullying its own name by lending Blodget its columns.

(Note: I own a small amount of stock in the company.)

I have a piece in today’s Boston Globe called “Net gains” — some suggestions on how to improve politics in the digital age, specifically political debates. Here’s what the Globe ran. In another posting I’ll amplify, as promised, one one part of the piece.

On Thursday night, most of the Democratic presidential candidates will travel to Las Vegas for the latest in this election cycle’s “debates.” The quotes around that word are deliberate, because political debates are stuck in a world of television sound bites, after-the-fact spin, and almost blatant contempt for voters.

Mass media, the communications technology that became supreme in the 20th century, has ruined debates. The Lincoln-Douglas confrontations in 1858 and other verbal contests were once among the deepest and most revelatory of conversations. They revealed intellect and passion, and illuminated the issues of their day. Today’s mass media, reflecting a cultural short attention span, elevates shallowness.

This year’s endless series of events, with so many candidates aiming for the nominations, have been especially puerile, little more than mini-press conferences and spin sessions. Even when the questions are serious, the time limitations on answers puts a premium on regurgitating canned, semi-clever lines that entertain instead of illuminate. These things are to real debating what motel room art is to Picasso.

But technology can also help restore the debate. The Internet and digital tools – search, blogging, online video, wikis, interactive games, and virtual worlds – are made to order for serious conversations. The collision of technology with media offers an unparalleled chance to hold debates that would illuminate our problems and opportunities and give us true insight into the people who want us to elect them.

The role of technology in politics has always been prominent, notably in communications. The pamphleteers of America’s Revolutionary era, and newspaper people later on, knew how powerful the printing press could be. The telegraph sped the news. Telephones, a one-to-one device, transformed personal communications. Radio and then, even more, television became the ultimate tools: one-to-many megaphones of unparalleled power.

The Internet subsumes all that came before, and adds a many-to-many capability. The democratization of media means that anyone can publish; that what we publish is available to a potentially global community; and that creation naturally leads to conversation and collaboration.

The Net has, of course, already made itself felt on the campaign trail. Howard Dean’s 2004 team innovated with blogging and online fund-raising ideas. Former senator George Allen lost his 2006 reelection race in part because of an unflattering video posted on YouTube. In this cycle, the presidential candidates are all over the Internet map, and so are their supporters – witness the now-famous “I’ve got a crush on Obama” video and Mitt Romney’s invitation to his supporters to create advertisements, among countless other efforts.

We’ve seen some modest attempts to make the Internet part of the debate process. The CNN-YouTube Democratic event during the summer (a Republican version is scheduled for Nov. 28), demonstrated at least one thing of value: Regular folks can ask questions that are at least as penetrating, or vapid, as the ones posed by journalists in more typical settings. But post-event chatter focused, to a major extent, on what questioners looked like – and whether CNN and YouTube should have let the audience, not just the journalists, select the questions posed to candidates (the answer is obviously yes). Still, this was a sideshow. We learned almost nothing useful about the candidates or their views.

Meanwhile, Slate and Yahoo joined forces a few weeks ago to offer a slightly more innovative, roll-your-own version. Voters could select specific questions and issues, and get a brief video lineup of candidates’ views. Yahoo says visitors to the site stuck around for an average of seven minutes, a long time on the Web but a pathetic span for serious voters. Perhaps they’d have delved more deeply had the site included more truly interactive features.

Better still is 10Questions.com, created by the TechPresident site working with The New York Times and MSNBC, a site that lets regular folks ask video questions and vote on the ones that get posed to candidates. Then the candidates answer, and the regular folks vote on whether the candidates actually answered.

But we can do even better, using a variety of media and techniques. Consider two approaches, different in character but both aimed at greater understanding.

First, the candidates should agree to hold lengthy, one-on-one debates and then put the results online for the public to slice and dice. Rather than having journalists and/or YouTubers ask the questions, we should leave the questioning to the candidates themselves. Give the candidates time to provide substantial responses, and give them full freedom to follow up on their opponents’ remarks. Moderators could help keep the debate on track and civil.

The videos should be posted online and made freely available. Media organizations, party organizations, interest groups, and private citizens could use increasingly inexpensive digital editing tools to help us sort through the mass of video; for example, someone who cares about healthcare could create a comparison of what each candidate said about the topic.

Then let voters decide what they want to watch. A few will watch everything. Many more will watch several debates, or parts of many.

Certainly this system would ask a great deal of the candidates, including perhaps more of their time than they might wish to spend. It would also demonstrate the utter shallowness of the so-called debates that broadcasters and interest groups sponsor today.

A second approach would be even more ambitious: A debate that would unfold online over the course of days, or even weeks and months. Imagine that one candidate takes a position and poses a question. The opponent would answer with a written response of some predetermined length, but with the help of staff, experts, and the general public. Then the first candidate, again with the help of anyone who wants to join the process, would dissect the response and reply with (we’d hope) a truly nuanced update. Continue this process at length – and repeat it with many other topics.

What would the site look like? What technologies would we use? I have my own ideas, and have posted them on my blog (citmedia.org/blog), but I’m just one person; we need a collective effort to figure this out, using much the same iterative process. The specific tools are less important than the willingness to deploy them.

Indeed, we’d start with an inventory of what people are already doing. Nonpolitical online conversations are already achieving remarkable depth and breadth using a variety of methods.

But before we finish yet another campaign cycle in the traditional way, let’s resolve to bring debating into the new century. We have the ability to turn top-down, sell-the-candidate methods of electioneering into edge-in conversations among candidates and the electorate. I’ll happen eventually. Why not this time?

SF Chronicle: Feinstein backs legal immunity for telecom firms in wiretap cases. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Thursday that she favors legal immunity for telecommunications companies that allegedly shared millions of customers’ telephone and e-mail messages and records with the government, a position that could lead to the dismissal of numerous lawsuits pending in San Francisco.

So what if these companies flagrantly committed felonies, says our feckless senator.

Again, she’s delivered a slap in the face to her constituents. Unsurprising, sadly, given her record.

She’s nearly completed her morphing into a right-wing Republican — that is, someone who thinks civil liberties are outmoded. (No doubt the Chronicle editorial page will find some excuse to explain this decision, too, as they’ve done so many times with Feinstein.)

Once, she was someone who believed in the rule of law, or at least pretended to. Now she’s become one of the people who makes clear, through actions that are unmistakable, that she has no time for it.

If liberty dies in this nation, it will not be just the fault of people like Bush and Cheney. It will be the equal responsibility of their enablers.

Over at Dopplr, a travel service for sharing trip information with friends and colleagues (I’m a co-founder), we’re still in pre-release mode — that is, open by invitation. But we’ve just given full access to people from 100 top business schools around the world.

So if you have an email address from

Arizona State University: Carey; Ashridge; Aston Business School; Australian Graduate School of Management; BI Norwegian School of Management; Babson Executive Education; Boston University School of Management; Bradford School of Management; Carnegie Mellon: Tepper; Catholic University of Portugal; Ceibs Center for Creative Leadership; Chinese University of Hong Kong City University: Cass; Columbia Business School; Copenhagen Business School; Coppead; Cornell; Cranfield School of Management; Drexel University: LeBow; Duke Corporate Education; EM Lyon; ESCP-EAP European School of Management; Edhec Business School; Edinbourgh University Management School; Emory University: Goizueta; Esade Business School; Essec Business School; Fundacao Dom Cabral; Fundação Instituto de Administração; Georgetown University; Georgia State University: Robinson; HEC Paris; Harvard Business School; Helsinki School of Economics; Henley Management College; Hong Kong UST; IAE Management and Business School; IE Business School; IESE Business School; IMD; Ibmec São Paulo; Imperial College London: Tanaka; Insead; Ipade Kelley; Executive Partners at Indiana University; Kellogg; Lancaster University Management School; London Business School; MIT: Sloan; Macquarie Graduate School of Management; Manchester Business School; McGill University; Melbourne Business School; Nanyang Business School; National Sun Yat-Sen University; National University of Singapore; Nyenrode Business Universiteit; Pennsylvania State University: Smeal; Pepperdine University: Graziadio; Purdue/Tias/CEU/GISMA; RSM Erasmus University; Rutgers Business School; SDA Bocconi; Stanford University GSB; Stockholm School of Economics; Thunderbird School of Global Management; TiasNimbas Business School; Trinity College Dublin; Trium; Tulane University: Freeman; UC Berkeley; UCLA: Anderson; Universidad Adolfo Ibanez; University College Dublin: Smurfit; University of Alberta/University of Calgary: Haskayne; University of California at Irvine: Merage; University of Cape Town; University of Chicago GSB; University of Maryland: Smith; University of Michigan: Ross; University of Minnesota: Carlson; University of North Carolina: Kenan-Flagler; University of Notre Dame: Mendoza; University of Oxford: Said; University of Pennsylvania: Wharton; University of Pittsburgh: Katz University of Pretoria: GIBS University of Texas at Austin: McCombsUniversity of Toronto: Rotman; University of Virginia: Darden; University of Western Ontario: Ivey; University of Wisconsin-Madison; Universität St.Gallen; Vlerick Leuven Gent; Warwick Business School; Washington University: Olin; West Point; Wits Business School; York University: Schulich

you’re welcome to join by clicking here.