Good morning tech; VA to team with non-profit to spur wireless tech

Industry notes

'Scrapers' dig deep for data on Web. In the latest installment of its "what they know" series on online privacy, the Wall Street Journal examines how software can be deployed to "scrape" the contents of online forums, including personal conversations on sites such as where people exchange stories about their emotional disorders. The company to blame for the scraping, in that case, was Nielsen, the media-research company. "Firms offer to harvest online conversations and collect personal details from social-networking sites, résumé sites and online forums where people might discuss their lives."

Gates Foundation gives $20 million for online courses. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said Monday it will offer $20 million in grants for technology projects that help students finish college and earn a degree. They are particularly interested in online course models for high-enrollment classes such as introductory math, science and English aimed at community colleges, as well as analytics that allow teachers to monitor student progress.


Microsoft unveils Windows-based smartphones. Microsoft unveiled nine new smartphones based on its Windows operating system on Monday in an attempt to gain ground in the mobile market. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer introduced the devices at a launch event in New York. AT&T will sell Windows phones built by HTC, LG and Samsung starting Nov. 8; each will retail for $199.99 with a two-year service contract. T-Mobile USA will also carry Windows phones, including an offering from Dell.

Virgin Galactic makes first manned commercial space flight. Virgin Galactic successfully completed the first manned commercial spaceflight on Sunday. The company announced that SpaceShipTwo, dubbed the VSS Enterprise, was successfully released from its mothership at an altitude of 45,000 feet and steered safely to Mojave Air and Space Port. The Obama administration has pushed to cut much of NASA's human space flight program in favor of funding to help boost the commercial space flight industry.

Oracle and IBM agree to work together on Java. Oracle and IBM have agreed to cooperate on Java development. The move comes after Oracle sued Google, claiming its Android operating system illegally used ideas and code from Java.


The Free State Foundation will hold a panel discussion on broadband policy at the Capitol Visitor Center. Speakers include Neil Fried, senior counsel, House Energy and Commerce Committee, David Quinalty, professional staff member, Senate Commerce Committee, Daniel Sepulveda, senior adviser to Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe continuous whipsawing of climate change policy Budowsky: United Democrats and Biden's New Deal Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil MORE (D-Mass.) and Bruce Wolpe, senior adviser, House Energy and Commerce Committee. Details:


The FedTalks conference, hosted by FedScoop, runs from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Sydney Harman Hall (610 F Street N.W.) and includes such speakers as U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Vice President for Government Affairs at Microsoft Fred Humphries, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Andrew McLaughlin and Rep. Jim MoranJames (Jim) Patrick MoranLawmakers toast Greta Van Susteren's new show Star-studded cast to perform play based on Mueller report DC theatre to host 11-hour reading of the Mueller report MORE (D-Va.). The agenda: 

On the airwaves:

Digital Politics with Karen Jagoda: Kate Kaye of ClickZ and Rick Shenkman of Vote iQ will discuss the role of online ads and social networks in the home stretch of the campaigns. 3 p.m. EST. Listen here:

Kojo Nnamdi, Tech Tuesday: The show looks at how companies are integrating accessibility into their design process. President Obama signed a law last week applying accessibility expectations the latest devices. 12:06 p.m. EST on WAMU.


SECOND LIFE…The San Jose Mercury News looks at how the world's biggest social network deals with death. "With Facebook claiming more than 500 million users worldwide, it's fair to wonder how many may be apparitions." Here's the policy, according to the report: "Unless the company is presented evidence that a user has died, such as a death certificate or newspaper obituary, the digitized persona will reside indefinitely in its system. The request for proof is understandable to minimize pranks and harassment; but despite its verification policy, Facebook reportedly once mistakenly memorialized the page of a user who was, in fact, alive."