THE BROWSER: Truth and rumors from the tech world
New Apple monitors to double as cameras
In an invention out of George Orwell's nightmares, Apple's two-way screen takes your picture as you view it. Plus: Southwest's blog draws boos.
By Owen Thomas, Business 2.0 Magazine online editor and Oliver Ryan, Fortune reporter

SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) - Since the legendary 1984 TV commercial that launched its first Macintosh, maverick Apple (Research) has prided itself on humanizing personal computing. However, its latest innovation may prove disconcerting to fans: It's a flat-panel LCD screen that can record video as well as display it. New Scientist calls the idea "clever" : Apple has patented a way to insert tiny image sensors in between the LCD cells of a flat-panel monitor. But over on Slashdot, one reader is understandably flustered: "What you're telling me is that Apple is NOT really the enemy of Big Brother, but Big Brother in disguise? I'm so confused. How can there be so many truths?"

Southwest starts blogging

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You'd think that zany, contrarian Southwest Airlines (Research) would be perfectly suited for corporate blogging. But bloggers have universally panned the launch of its company blog, Nuts for Southwest. Microsoft (Research) blogger Robert Scoble praised the airline for creating the blog, but said he found it "pretty cold" and "safe." Shel Israel, the co-author with Scoble of the book "Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers," goes further, saying he found a post about business travelers using Southwest "insulting," and that he'd rather hear from pilots, flight attendants, or gate agents than the airline's marketing executives. The Weblogs Work blog concludes that it's "not very Southwesty." Sounds like it's time to take the blog back to the hangar for repairs.

You can't please all of the people all of the time

Microsoft programmers must feel like there's just no pleasing some people - especially security researchers. Earlier this week The Browser reported that security experts were beating up on Redmond for not being more forthcoming about the nature of its regular security patches. Today at the InfoSec conference in London, however, noted security guru Bruce Schneier argues that Redmond may actually be guilty of overloading Windows Vista users with too much information. Schneier is concerned that the upcoming operating system's constant stream of security warnings will turn users off, rather than put them on alert. Microsoft technical security advisor Steve Lamb admitted Microsoft could do better, telling that he'd like computer security to "just work like turning on a car ignition." But he also noted that users have "personal responsibility" for operating a computer, just as they do when they drive a car. If only Microsoft's security warnings were as clear as traffic lights

Media bigs praise tech at Milken confab's Rafat Ali covered the last day of the Milken Institute Global Conference and found media moguls saying all the right things at a power-player panel. Disney (Research) CEO Bob Iger said "technology is to media companies what refrigeration was to Coca-Cola," while News Corp. (Research) president and COO Peter Chernin predicted his MySpace unit would soon surpass Yahoo (Research) in Web traffic. One interesting note for wireless watchers: It looks like the studios are successfully importing the Hollywood business to cell phones. Chernin bragged that Vodafone (Research) paid News Corp.'s Fox TV studio three times the production cost for mobile episodes of Fox's "24" television drama. Top of page

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