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AP Technology NewsBrief at 1:52 p.m. EST
[December 29, 2008]

AP Technology NewsBrief at 1:52 p.m. EST

(AP Online Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Uproar in Australia over plan to block Web sitesSYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ A proposed Internet filter dubbed the "Great Aussie Firewall" is promising to make Australia one of the strictest Internet regulators among democratic countries. Consumers, civil-rights activists, engineers, Internet providers and politicians from opposition parties are among the critics of a mandatory Internet filter that would block at least 1,300 Web sites prohibited by the government _ mostly child pornography, excessive violence, instructions in crime or drug use and advocacy of terrorism.

Report: HP sells printers in Iran with third partyPALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) _ Hewlett-Packard Co. could be breaking U.S. trade sanctions by using a third-party distributor to sell printers in Iran, The Boston Globe reported Monday. According to the newspaper, HP signed a distribution deal with a Dubai-based company called Redington Gulf in 1997, two years after the Clinton administration put sanctions on Iran.

Amazon says 2008 holiday season was 'best ever'SEATTLE (AP) _ Online retailer Inc. called this holiday season its "best ever," saying Friday that it saw a 17 percent increase in orders on its busiest day _ a rare piece of good news in a season that has been far from merry for most retailers, including online businesses. Amazon customers ordered more than 6.3 million items on Dec. 15, compared with roughly 5.4 million on its peak day last year, the company said. It shipped more than 5.6 million products on its best day, a 44 percent rise over 2007, when it shipped about 3.9 million on its busiest day.

Wal-Mart to start selling Apple's iPhone on SundayBENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Wal-Mart will start selling Apple's popular iPhone on Sunday, the chain said, confirming earlier reports by employees. Bentonville-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will become the second independent retail chain after Best Buy Inc. to sell the phone. It is also sold at Apple Inc. and AT&T Inc. stores.

E-shopping site to open in China for Japan goodsTOKYO (AP) _ A new Internet shopping mall is opening in China next month that will take payments in the widely used China UnionPay Co. cards for Japanese products, company officials said Friday. The electronic shopping site "" will sell gadgets, clothing and cosmetics from about 100 Japanese companies, aiming 4 billion yen ($44 million) in sales in the first year, said Ryuichi Kobayashi, spokesman for Sumitomo Mitsui Card Co., a credit card company that tied up with China UnionPay.

Amateurs are trying genetic engineering at homeSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The Apple computer was invented in a garage. Same with the Google search engine. Now, tinkerers are working at home with the basic building blocks of life itself. Using homemade lab equipment and the wealth of scientific knowledge available online, these hobbyists are trying to create new life forms through genetic engineering _ a field long dominated by Ph.D.s toiling in university and corporate laboratories.

Some stations to reach fewer viewers with digitalWASHINGTON (AP) _ Nearly a fifth of the nation's full-power television stations will no longer reach at least 2 percent of viewers now covered by their existing analog signals after they switch to digital broadcasts in February, federal regulators say. The Federal Communications Commission report comes amid mounting concerns that some consumers who rely on analog-only television sets could lose some or all over-the-air broadcast channels following the Feb. 17 digital transition even if they have purchased and hooked up digital converter boxes.

Review: Cable, sat TV alternatives OK but a hasslePHILADELPHIA (AP) _ It's Day One of a weeklong experiment to see if I could live without satellite TV. That means I have to wait a day before I can watch the season ender of "Heroes" to learn whether Hiro Nakamura, trapped in time 16 years ago, can escape to the present and destroy a formula that, in the wrong hands, would plunge the world into chaos. The show will start to be available online a day after its Monday evening broadcast on NBC.

Dutch company punches holes in font to save inkAMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ A Dutch company looking for ways to reduce the environmental costs of printing has developed a new font that it says cuts ink usage by about 15 percent. In essence, the "Ecofont" has little holes in the letters.

Notebook shipments overtake desktops in new studyNEW YORK (AP) _ Shipments of notebook computers edged passed desktop sales in the third quarter for the first time, according to data from the research firm iSupply. Preliminary figures for the quarter show notebook PC shipments shot up about 40 percent from the same period a year ago to 38.6 million, according to iSupply. Meanwhile desktop shipments fell about 1.3 percent to 38.5 million.

Copyright ? 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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