What is WikiLeaks?

With its sparse design, WikiLeaks doesn’t look like it would stir incredible worldwide controversy. But that’s what the whistleblower website has done.

On Sunday, WikiLeaks published part of what it says is a cache of more than a quarter-million U.S. diplomatic cables. The leak of this classified material could be embarrassing at best, some say. At worst, revelations in the cables “can damage national security” and “may put lives at risk.”

The organization known as WikiLeaks has been defined many different ways. It has previously said it publishes and comments on leaked documents that allege government and corporate misconduct, and it is supported by private, confidential donors. The Wall Street Journal breaks down how the site keeps its funding secret.

Although WikiLeaks has been online since 2006, it attained megawatt international celebrity in July after what was then considered the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history – the release of 90,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan – appeared on the site. Read more

Cars With Wi-Fi Hitting the New Information Highway

Consumers don’t want to leave home without their wireless devices, allowing connectivity to be offered in places today that seemed unheard of just a handful of years ago. The trend will only accelerate as car makers see an “option-tunity” for Wi-Fi in automobiles; research firm iSuppli predicts integrated Wi-Fi systems in 7.2 million cars by 2017, a more than forty-fold increase from the 174,000 connected cars expected to hit the roads this year. Wi-Fi by itself is less useful than mobile broadband, however, and the auto industry is taking different routes to accomplish full connectivity to the cars of tomorrow.

Ford’s Sync system, for example, doesn’t provide true mobile broadband access by itself, but can turn the entire car into a giant hotspot when a customer-provided, USB, mobile, broadband dongle is plugged into the car. By choosing to implement a less expensive Wi-Fi radio, Ford keeps connectivity costs down and allows the car to be connected on mobile broadband, or free hotspots on the road. I’ve often wanted to connect a car to my home network so I can shoot addresses to the navigation system from a computer with a full-keyboard, and Sync would work just fine for that. Read more

Queen Elizabeth II joins Facebook

Queen Elizabeth II is now on Facebook — but she’s not going to be your friend.

Britain’s queen has launched a series of official pages offering the website’s 500 million users daily updates on her engagements, the royal household said on Sunday.

The 84-year-old British monarch will be featured in videos, photos and news items on the site, which will be available starting Monday, alongside other members of the country’s royal family, including Princes William and Harry. Read more

Microsoft Is On Apple’s Side Now

When PC platforms were the central battlefield for technology, Microsoft was Apple’s big threat, hated enemy and all-purpose nemesis. But those days are gone.

It’s time for those Apple fans to come back to civilization understand what’s really happening now. Microsoft is more a friend than an enemy to Apple.

It’s true that Apple competes against Microsoft in a number of product areas. iPod competes against Zune. iPhone competes against Windows Phone 7 devices. Some believe iPads compete against Windows 7-based tablets. And, of course, Macs compete against Windows PCs.

But none of this competition threatens Apple. Read more