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Bill Ray

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Top Stories by Bill Ray

I'm looking at my huge field of corn, millions of ears ready for harvest, every one genetically engineered to be identical. From the root structure to the tips, every stalk's the same, and offers the maximum yield made possible by modern science. But enhancing production is only part of what the breaking of the genetic code can offer me. Should the need arise, I can release specially modified viruses into my field, allowing each infection to make minute alterations to the DNA of the crop, updating my harvest. In this way I can provide protection against unforeseen pathogens, and modify the very blueprint of my harvest to suit climate or market conditions. Hopefully the above image has you reeling in horror. "What of the real disease?" "What of genetic diversity?" "Such a crop could be wiped out overnight!" But that is what we risk in making everything we use compatib... (more)

Opening the Door to M-Commerce

A secure mobile payment system is essential if m-commerce is to reach its potential. The most-popular method used ­ credit cards ­ has failed in this area, and fallen prey to astronomical levels of fraud and theft. Now, Paybox, a relatively new company with an authorization system that tracks transactions every step of the way, is taking on players such as Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. While I was working at Swiss Telecom back in 1998, I heard about the most impressive example of mobile commerce. Elegant, simple, and completely impractical, it demonstrated what m-comme... (more)

Games Without Frontiers

The games industry is a horrible place to find yourself, long hours working on projects that might just be the next big thing, but probably won't be. Very little recognition and not much money for the developers who can spend several years working on the same title, only to have the project pulled when a competitor comes out with something too similar or the customer's insane demands go too far. But the rewards can be huge, the market is obvious, and the revenue streams established, so it's no great surprise that the wireless world is poised to enter the games business with a ven... (more)

You Can Take It with You!

Any day now (November 24) you'll be able to change your mobile phone network and take your number with you, something that Europeans have been doing for awhile. The networks hate it. As long as you were tied to your number you were tied to their network, and changing networks might mean changing everything from Web sites to business cards, so most people didn't bother. Once you can take your number with you, things get much easier, though it remains to be seen how much paperwork will be required. New York is planning to offer a map of the city, showing the coverage offered by diff... (more)

Getting the Whole Picture

Is it possible to get an entire film onto a mobile phone or PDA? Would it be a practical viewing experience? We started with a DVD, then used only free software in an attempt to view the film on a Nokia 3650 handset, a Microsoft Pocket PC device, and a PalmPilot. Everyone seems to be talking about getting video into your pocket, from network operators to the latest Silicon Valley startup. The dream of being able to watch videos in the palm of your hand (or, more importantly, to collect revenues from users watching movies on the move) is alive and well. Of course, no one knows wh... (more)