1. As the military battle for Libya goes on, a different battle has been won behind the scenes: Rebel forces have successfully hacked Gadhafi’s mobile network, and have used it to establish their own communications grid. Gadhafi shut the networks and Internet down weeks ago, to confound the rebels. A Libyan-American telecom exec, living in Abu Dhabi, worked out the plan to separate-off part of the Libyana cell grid to use.
2. AMD, the other big name in PC processor design, has revealed it’ll support the new super-fast USB 3.0 connection in future chips, starting with the A75 and A70M Fusion CPUs shipping today. USB 3.0 is fast, and legacy-compatible, but bigger rival Intel has held off from supporting it to develop LightPeak, a still-faster alternative that Apple has since included into its novel Thunderbolt connection–third party peripherals for which started shipping just recently.
3. Crowd-sourcing/mechanical turk mix-up Duolingo is in the news at the moment. It’s partly because such systems are booming, partly it’s a system invented by Luis voh Ahn who invented reCAPTCHA and sold it to Google, and partly it’s a great idea: There’s a lot of Net text and older books that need translating, and people learning other languages (about 1 billion folks at any time) need to practice translation. Duolingo helps to teach, and crowd-sources and optimizes translations. Clever.
4. Microsoft is tackling Google on more fronts with Bing: It’s launching its equivalent of Street View, called Streetside, across Europe. Unlike Google’s, Streetside will mainly concentrate on populated areas and important sights (the data is collected with mapping firm Navteq) and while it will also harvest Wi-Fi data, Microsoft is wary about making the same mistakes as Google and for the time being won’t collect any data.
5. Fans who remember the haunting music of PlayStation classic Ico, or who feel stirred by World of Warcraft‘s musical soundtrack will be pleased: The U.S. Recording Academy has just re-worded the text of four Grammy awards to specifically include “video games music” in the category. It’s a reflection of how big and influential the multi-billion-dollar industry has gotten, albeit a little late in the day.