Latest mobile news. Fresh news about mobile phones and novelties of the world of high technologies.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is making inroads in Silicon Valley while President Obama is falling out of favor in some tech circles. How will this affect the presidential race?
Obama's presidential re-election campaign continues to rake in huge numbers, but Romney's super PAC is gaining steam in Silicon Valley just as Obama's donor pool in the tech epicenter dwindles.
The president held successful fundraisers this year in California's Silicon Valley, but the number of tech sector donors to his campaign is smaller than the first time around, and overall, his campaign is $1 million short, compared to 2008 election cycle figures.
One major defector is Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape, who donated a large sum to Obama's campaign in 2008. This time around, he donated $100,000 to Romney's super PAC.
Silicon Valley generally leans left, but a number of tech scions are frustrated by Obama's decisions to push for increased regulation. Tech companies are trying to assert themselves in Washington to avoid stringent regulations, with Facebook funding its own PAC to gain more political influence.
Even though he was vocally opposed to SOPA and PIPA, Obama's regulation policies coupled with his pushes for increased taxes for the wealthy, are alienating some tech bigwigs. People like Andreessen look at Romney's business background and see a candidate less apt to push regulation and more lenient on taxes.
Since government regulation is on the minds of all major tech players, how they give speaks to how they want the government to oversee their business moves. The upswing in Romney contributions indicates more tech giants are hoping for a Republican-controlled White House.
Romney is definitely making inroads, and there's no doubt Silicon Valley's support for Obama is far more tempered this time around. At the same time, Obama is still more popular in the Californian tech hub than Romney, and the area will likely still vote blue come Election Day.
Obama probably doesn't have to worry about losing California, but the fact that an influential sector of society that formerly supported him enthusiastically is splintering off may be a bellwether for how other powerful groups will treat the re-election campaign -- and how they will vote.
Datapalooza, a conference that pairs eager developers with a treasure-trove of government healthcare data, is aiming to spur mobile initiatives and create apps that impact our lives.
The Health Data Initiative, a public-private collaboration funded by the Institute of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will host its third annual Datapalooza, set for June 5 to 6 in Washington D.C., to showcase the latest mHealth innovations forged with open health data.
"It's a phenomenal time to be an innovator at the intersection of data and health care improvement," said Todd Park, chief technology officer of HHS about Datapalooza. "I'm incredibly excited by the rising tide of innovations we're seeing -- new products, services and features being invented by entrepreneurs across the country, fueled by open health data."
The HHS provides access to the federal government's vast data collections on topics like hospital performance, community health, and FDA recalls, for example, and converts published data in PDF format or books into machine-readable formats, which include APIs for third-party developer use.
At the yearly Health Datapalooza, the entrepreneurs discuss their best products and services. The innovators team up and compete on the stage, in an American Idol-style face-off. But instead of performing songs, these contestants present mHealth innovations mined from the Health Data Initiative's public release of data sets.
The mobile healthcare, or mHealth, market is expected to reach $5 billion by 2014, and more than double by 2020, according to the Center for Technology and Aging.
By aiming to put widespread access to healthcare within the reach of those who need it the most, mHealth is changing the traditional delivery of health care, allowing for more continuous, pervasive health care anytime, and opening up broader swaths of data to developers is expected to spur a growing number of innovations.
For example, last year, the HHS unveiled two non-smoking apps for its mobile health initiative. QuitNowTXT and SmokeFreeTXT are part of the agency's $5 million investment in the Text4Health program, created in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute.
The HHS is also pursuing public-private partnerships to create apps for pregnant women, children and those who need emergency care, understanding text messaging is widely available, inexpensive and allows for immediate delivery of information.
Also, Johns Hopkins is sponsoring 49 different studies in support of the Global mHealth Initiative to identify the apps that best help patients, doctors and the medical community by comparing them to traditional methods.
While many are aware of breakthrough medical technologies, the HHS estimates that roughly 95 percent of the potential entrepreneur pool isn't aware that these vast stores of data exist and can help with future innovations, so the agency is working to increase awareness.
Companies like Google and Microsoft are pitching in, holding health-data-code-a-thons and Health 2.0 developer challenges. These corporate collaborations produced applications for managing chronic diseases, finding providers, and locating clinical trials -- all using the government's open data -- in a fraction of time it historically has taken.
There is big push to coordinate the layers of government healthcare data into one open, comprehensive database that public innovators can manipulate. The thinking is these vast stores of data can be joined and used to promote public welfare, following the trail blazed by another government agency.
Nearly three decades ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration decided to release its data to the public, and the move resulted in a flurry of innovations, like mobile apps, websites and forecasting research tools, which transformed weather into a booming industry.
Datapalooza is designed to duplicate NOAA's success by opening reams of information for innovation to spur development of a wealth of medical tools and creations to help people improve their health and use the healthcare system more effectively.
Tablet owners may soon unlock their devices using biometric sensors, as security technology progresses beyond traditional passwords.
Napa Sae-Bae, a graduate student at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, is creating an iPad app to verify users' hand shape and finger length. Sae-Bae's biometric analyzing algorithm has already yielded a 90 percent accuracy rate, suggesting her innovation may have widespread application when it debuts in a year.
This project improves on Sae-Bae's existing tablet app, which unlocks iPads in response to hand gestures like palm rotation.
"Unlike gestures, fingerprints are physiological physical traits that you can't change," she explained about her current research. "There's the feeling that these are supposed to be secure and private."
Biometric identification research like Sae-Bae's may revolutionize the mobile industry if it succeeds, as consumers demand new and better ways to protect their data against hackers.
A hospital in Canada already uses fingerprint scanners to verify doctors' identities, allowing them to reach medical records with one swipe rather than entering long passwords.
Fujitsu, a Japanese company, is developing another kind of biometric sensor called PalmSecure that recognizes users' vein patterns instead of fingerprints or hand length.
The company maintains that hand veins never change, while fingerprints and other external hand features may fade or scar over time.
Echoing Fujitsu's logic, researchers at the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan are building heartbeat scanners to identify mobile phone and tablet owners. Every person's heartbeat is unique, making this biological marker an ideal password.
These seemingly foolproof innovations are designed to prevent the increasing incidence of hackers stealing or cracking personal and company passwords. Recent hacks against worldwide governments and corporations suggest no traditional password is safe, not even those at the Pentagon or FBI.
Despite the danger, many mobile phone owners and IT departments still use convenient security codes like "password1" or "1234," leaving them easily susceptible to malicious intrusions.
But while a palm or retina-scanning app may end the need for such passwords, this technology could also backfire.
For example, the facial detection system on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus is easily fooled by a picture, negating its usefulness as a security tool.
Biometric identification may discourage today's hackers more effectively than traditional passwords, but like any security tool it will likely challenge a new breed of hackers to twist it for their purposes.
The "World Series of intellectual property cases" is over, and Google emerged with a winning verdict from its lengthy patent showdown with Oracle.
In Brief boils down complex events to give you the heart of the matter -- today and what it means for tomorrow -- clearly and simply.
What's Happening: The jury in Oracle's trial against Google found the search giant did not infringe on Google's patents because it could not decide whether Google's actions fell under fair use laws.
In 2010, Oracle sued Google for patent infringement on three separate patents. Google admitted it used Oracle's Java programming language, but insisted with equal vigor that the use fell under fair use laws.
Initially, it looked like Oracle would emerge victorious, as the jury decided earlier that Google had used Java's patents -- but the jury could not conclude that the company violated fair use laws, so it handed the win to Google.
What's Really Happening: This case has big implications for the Android platform. Had Oracle proven Google's Android operating system improperly used Java, Google may have been ordered to dole out royalty payments for years to come.
Now it doesn't need to make any changes, which is fantastic news for both Google and Android phonemakers like Samsung, as a ruling in favor of Oracle may have led to product bans.
This case was expected to set a benchmark in regards to how much money Google would have had to pony up in the future regarding patent infringement cases. Before the trial, Google offered Oracle $2.8 million in damages up front, with more paid every year. Oracle wanted a bigger check, demanding around $1 billion in copyright damages altogether. With the verdict in, there's no chance Google will cough up that kind of money any time soon.
What's Next: Google still may have to pay Oracle some money, depending on the way U.S. District Judge William Alsup rules on one of the last components of the case. But the amount is likely pocket change compared to what was on the table before the verdict.
The case with Google and Oracle was not the only contentious patent battle going on in the tech world, with Google's rival Apple is suing HTC and Samsung for patent infringement. While the iPhone maker is not suing Google directly, the cases have echoes of similarity: Apple believes Samsung and HTC have infringed on its patents, though it could be argued the phonemakers' adoption of Apple-esque technology falls under fair use.
Oracle confronted Google directly instead of engaging in a proxy war through one of its Android phonemakers, which is how companies generally wage war with Google over Android patents. The fact that Google's legal team turned the Oracle case around in their its client's favor demonstrates the legal muscle the search engine giant can flex, and this may scare off potential adversaries from taking Google to court -- including Apple.
The Takeaway: Google's victory will have major implications for how programming language can be used, and sends the powerful message that the search giant is a formidable legal foe.
This trial also demonstrates the complexities of intellectual property cases, especially since the jury thought Google was wrong for using Java without the proper patents but could not prove it due to the complicated wording of both the patents and the laws.
The jury's verdict could discourage tech companies from pursuing these kind of suits in the future, since it illustrates how a plaintiff could still lose a case even when the jury sympathized with their plight. Moreover, the foreman noted that Google's argument that it viewed Java as open source collaborative software swayed some of the tech-savvy jurors, suggesting jurors in the future are likely to pass down similar verdicts.
Robots danced and one cruise ship employee learned the hard way about Apple's cloud technology this week. In the U.K., a child blogger inspired change in her school while Apple's Jonathan Ive received the highest accolades.
And one viral video mocked Facebook's Timeline, as well as how much people hate it.
Student's Food Blog Inspires Healthier Meals
A 9-year-old student in Scotland decided to write a blog about her school lunches, complete with pictures. The pathetic lunches caused a national uproar and drew the attention of celebrity chef and healthy eating advocate Jamie Oliver.
Martha Payne, the student, started the blog in April, and it quickly gained attention for highlighting the sorry state of school lunches, which rarely included vegetables and doled out suspiciously small portions.
In response, the school amended its cafeteria menu to include healthier food, including generous servings of fruits and vegetables. Perhaps Payne will inspire young bloggers across the ocean in the U.S. to write about their cafeteria lunches, as American children continue to struggle with high obesity rates and poor nutrition.
Apple's Jonathan Ive Gets Royal Approval
Princess Anne knighted Apple's chief designer Jonathan Ive at Buckingham Palace this week, bestowing the British designer with the honor of knighthood for his contributions to technology.
Ive, who lives in San Fransisco but grew up and went to school in the U.K., chatted with Princess Anne about her iPad after he received the honor.
He also emphasized how highly he thinks of British education and how often he comes back to visit, perhaps underlining his devotion to his homeland despite his ex-pat status.
Facebook's Timeline as a Disease
A new Funny or Die video portrays the slow but inescapable move to Timeline as though it is a contagious disease, highlighting how frustrated users get when they get forced to upgrade to a feature they do not like.
Facebook's habit of forcing users to update to a newer version is often met with anger and derision, though not enough to convince people to quit the social media site.
The parallel between Facebook's Timeline and a contagious disease is clearly hyperbolic, but raises a good point: people who are extremely upset about being forced to switch to Timeline should probably find something more important to obsess over.
Girl Schools IPhone Thief
When someone stole Katy McCaffrey's iPhone from a Disney Wonder cruise ship in April, she thought the phone was long gone. But then the pictures the phone bandit took automatically uploaded to her Facebook page.
Through the incredibly dumb move on the part of the thief, who is a Disney Cruise employee, McCaffrey could see snapshots from the petty criminal's life. She took the liberty of adding humorous captions to his photos.
Only days after McCaffrey made the album public, Disney took action and put the thief, "Nelson," on administrative leave. It shouldn't be long before McCaffrey gets reunited with her iPhone.
Robots Get Their Groove On
Choreographer Thomas Freundlich created a new show called "Human Interface" featuring dancing industrial robots.
It's actually much more graceful than it sounds. The robots and the dancers move together in hypnotizing unison.
Freundlich's show features two robot dancers and two human dancers, and premiered in Helsinki this week. Industrial robotics company ABB supplied the robots, and is probably enjoying all the free publicity.
AT&T and Verizon are both trying to boost revenue with the same tactic: shared data plans. But the strategy comes with hidden consequences.
Right now, family plans allow members to share voice minutes, but carriers allot separate data plans for individual devices. That will change soon on these two major U.S. carriers, which will give plans with multiple devices one pool of data to use later this summer. The new plans are designed to make data more affordable to consumers, and could likely relieve heavy traffic congestion and spectrum strain for carriers as well.
Roger's, one of Canada's major carriers, already adopted the approach and saw a boost in data usage, so AT&T and Verizon likely expect the same thing happening for them.
But the strategy carries two distinct risks.
1. Data Sharing Could Lose Money
The plans might not bump up costs for consumers, which means the carriers won't increase profits. Frugal families may end up paying less for the combined plan than they did with multiple data packages if they choose a small group package and don't go over the limit. If that happens, AT&T and Verizon will not benefit from the change.
With AT&T and Verizon effectively killing off unlimited data, people are likely to keep an eye on their data usage to prevent caps, and if they notice the family plan could increase their fees, they may overhaul their data usage to save money. Data consumption is rising in general among consumers eager to stream movies and perform more tasks on tablets and smartphones, but awareness of data usage could also grow, curtailing revenue growth in this avenue.
2. Data Sharing May Drive Customers Away
AT&T and Verizon are trying to sell this change as something consumers want, but the only way it will benefit the carriers is if it charges customers more money to generate revenue, which may breed contempt and cause defections. Both major U.S. carriers are taking a bet and assuming the payoff is worth the risk of alienating customers, but it may give smaller companies like Sprint room to edge into the competition.
Sprint is still offering unlimited packages as a way to differentiate itself, but A&T and Verizon both throttle or slow data when users reach certain limits, so if the family plan strategy backfires on the two major carriers it could help Sprint gain more traction in the market.
For its part, T-Mobile has disavowed family data plans. T-Mobile believes consumers don't want a "one size fits all" approach to shared family data plans, according to T-Mobile's senior vice president of marketing Andrew Sherrard. T-Mobile is instead boosting a new prepaid mobile broadband data plans for tablets, which allows customers pay in daily, weekly or monthly installments for data, starting at 300-megabytes per week for $15 and going up to 5-gigabytes per month for $50.
All carriers are banking on rising data usage to fuel revenue streams in the future, but the dilemma is how best to offer the service to consumers. AT&T and Verizon are betting on shared family data plans as one way to entice more consumers to adding data to their plans, but Sprint and T-Mobile offer other approaches that could help them gain a footing with consumers turned off by the "one bucket for everyone" plans.
Risky business, indeed.
Some Indian farmers now use cell phones to activate their irrigation systems, highlighting just how vital mobile technology has become in developing countries.
The $56 Nano Ganesh service connects farmers' mobile phones to electric pumps in their fields, allowing them to remotely "call" the irrigation system rather than manually turning on each pipe.
Santosh Ostwal of Pune developed the technology after watching his 84-year-old, crippled grandfather walk several kilometers every midnight to turn on water pumps.
As India's electric supply is notoriously unreliable, Ostwal's grandfather was often forced to make multiple return trips through the snake-infested fields. After witnessing this hardship as a boy during the 1970s, Ostwal began a lifelong journey to help rural Indian farmers water their fields more easily.
He first tried using an alarm clock to activate irrigation pumps and then switched to radio frequencies. But the second attempt required a large investment and Ostwal barely had money for food, so he made a desperate gamble on mobile technology.
"I can tell you within 15 minutes, I got the result using the bulky Motorola T 180 mobile," he recalled.
Ostal's 2009 invention is now spreading throughout the subcontinent as well as to Egypt and even Australia, where it benefits the environment by reducing overwatering and saving power. The service may also do well in Africa, where farmers already rely on cell phones for medical help and to prevent crime.
Nano Ganesh is just one example of developing countries' growing reliance on mobile technology, which has become especially vital for rural farmers who sometimes lack the infrastructure to access vital resources for their endeavors.
MKrishi, another Indian agricultural service, lets farmers snap photos of diseased crops with cell phone cameras and text them to experts for advice on proper pest control.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently began assisting rural Indians by funding mobile inventions, like Ostal's, which help farmers living on less than $2 per day.
In Kenya, KickStart helps farmers buy seeds and fertilizer via a text-based layaway program. Using the M-Pesa money transfer service, they can even buy costly irrigation systems in piecemeal payments without running up large debts or consigning away future crops.
As mobile farming inventions like Nano Ganesh catch on in developing countries, those previously living in poverty may finally gain the freedom to think beyond daily necessities with a solution that is literally at their fingertips.
Thinking of buying those shoes with your iPhone? Make sure you're protected from identity theft first.
Neal O'Farrell, the executive director of the Identity Theft Council, gave a talk called "The Hackers Are Coming -- Why the Small Business is the Big Target and What You've Got to Lose" to highlight the dangers of mobile banking for small businesses.
O'Farrell believes the dangers can jeopardize a large segment of businesses and people, explaining, "Eight out of ten mobile banking apps have security flaws, but Apple and the banks don't want you to know that. I'll wait another 20 years to stick my toe in that pond."
Even users with Macs can get their information stolen, and recovery is often problematic. Identity theft via online banking is on the rise, but police investigate less than 1 percent of the crimes.
O'Farrell advocates using a separate, cheap netbook for money transactions, so more frequently used mobile devices won't have the sensitive information on them.
Online banking is far from safe, and mobile finance systems taking stabs at winning loyal users will meet difficulty if people realize how vulnerable their security is to attempted hacks.
O'Farell's advice is at odds with the intentions of a variety of up-and-coming mobile payment systems including Isis and Google Wallet. These businesses will only succeed if consumers feel comfortable with online financial transactions, but O'Farrell points out the need for caution. Isis could have an easier time because it went to great lengths to round up an expansive coterie of security backup, but it still may not outsmart greedy hackers.
In addition to plumbing smartphones and tablets for financial information, hackers also recently targeted medical data, highlighting how identity thieves are liable to explore lots of options to gather sensitive information.
The medical records contained information the hackers could use to figure out passwords and banking information, so although it was not a direct attempt to steal money, identity theft was the end goal. This suggests hackers could also breach smartphones without banking information on them and use other sensitive data to puzzle out account information anyways.
Mobile banking is convenient and consumers have a growing number of options for transactions on the go, but every transaction brings a real identity theft risk. Even though companies are pouring money into ways to make mobile payments mainstream, the continued rise of smartphone-related identity theft may curb adopting this type of transaction unless companies can prove their mobile systems are secure.
Facebook-haters at WikiLeaks started their own social network, while Facebook fans made waves by posting a loving tribute video following the IPO.
Richard Dreyfuss might want to team up with WikiLinks, because he revealed his disdain for Facebook as well at the Webby awards.
And PayPal's founder saw his pet project launch a rocket into space, as Spanish scientists watched robot fish patrol their shores.
WikiLeaks Launches Social Network
WikiLeaks introduced an encrypted network called Friends of WikiLeaks (FoWL), meant to facilitate conversations between supporters of Julian Assange's controversial muckraking website.
WikiLeaks took to Twitter to announce the site, which it called "encrypted Facebook," and the tweets described why FoWL served its users better than Mark Zuckerberg's social media juggernaut.
In true WikiLeaks fashion, it lambasted Facebook as a surveillance device and outlined how FoWL went to great lengths to ensure its users privacy. No word yet on how many people are signed up for FoWL.
Some People Really Love Facebook
A group of people, many of whom have never met in person, collaborated to create a fan video honoring the social media site on the occasion of its IPO.
"I'm taggin' you, you're taggin' me, and we're making history" sing the video's stars, who are genuinely enthusiastic about the social network.
Deborah Torres Patel, Gianluca Verrengia and Jeffery Anaba wrote and sang "Thank You Facebook," which is available on YouTube and has its own Facebook fan page. Something tells me they won't be particularly interested in WikiLeaks' social network, seeing how enamored they are with the original.
A Corporate Space Race?
PayPal founder Elon Musk's space exploration company SpaceX launched an unmanned space capsule at Cape Canaveral, becoming the first private company to do so.
SpaceX's Dragon space capsule and Falcon 9 rocket are moving towards a space station, where they will deliver supplies to astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS).
NASA does not send people to the ISS, so SpaceX will grant the U.S. access to the site, which was only accessible to Russia, Japan and Europe. Other U.S. companies have considered doing a similar launch, but SpaceX is the first to successfully make it happen.
Attack of the Robot Fish
In Northern Spain, researchers developed robotic fish that scan the water for pollution and can bring data back. The robotic fish have chemical sensors capable of sniffing out pollutants, and their design helps the robots navigate through shallow waters with ease.
The robotic fish have an advantage to humans taking samples because they will constantly be in the water, so they can offer a more comprehensive idea of how polluted the water is at all times.
The only glitch: the battery life for the robotic fish is not very long, so they have to be taken out and recharged frequently. Once they get a better battery, the fish may become fixtures in Spanish waters.
Facebook and Google Founders Mocked by "Jaws" Actor at Webby Awards
Actor Richard Dreyfuss took a few pot-shots at Mark Zuckerberg and Google executives Eric Schmidt and Sergey Brin before launching into a tribute to Steve Jobs at the Webby Awards.
Dreyfuss took a moment to accuse Zuckerberg and the Google execs of invading privacy, and made sure to let the crowd know he was not joking around.
The "Jaws" star went on to fondly recollect his relationship with Jobs, contrasting his harsh opinion of tech's current superstars.
Jurors in the infamous Rutgers bullying trial relied heavily on a damning trail of digital evidence to convict former student Dharun Ravi, but in his surprisingly light sentencing of the defendant, the judge pointed at the evidence's limitations.
New Jersey Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman sentenced Ravi to 30 days in jail for spying on his gay college roommate, Tyler Clementi, with a webcam and writing about what he saw from the device on Twitter.
The judge could have given the 20-year-old student up to 10 years, but used his discretion as well as considered a filing from the prosecution, which indicated it also didn't support the most severe punishment.
18-year-old Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge days after learning Ravi had announced on Twitter that he'd seen him "making out with a dude," and had invited friends to a "viewing party" to watch Clementi on a second date in their freshman dorm room.
The case marked the first time Twitter, Facebook, text messaging, e-mails, surveillance cameras, and swiped university identification cards combined to play such a major part in a conviction. But while this data played a role in the trial, it wasn't paramount in the sentencing phase, suggesting that what seems like rock-solid electronic evidence might not convey the full picture, and individual actions and motivations must still be interpreted.
What's Happening: The digital footprint was not in dispute, as both sides basically agreed to the well-documented dates and times of events. Instead, Berman's sentence reflects contemplation of the defendant's intentions and behavior, and in that regard, he found certainty.
"I do believe he acted out of colossal insensitivity," Judge Berman said in handing down his sentence.
What's Really Happening: Surprisingly, in a case built so firmly on digital information, the sentence didn't stem from the solidity of that data. In addition to the sentence, Berman ordered 300 hours of community service, counseling and restitution of $10,000 that will go to an organization providing help to victims of bias crimes.
These requirements support the notion that the interpretation of the facts, and not so much the facts themselves, were critical in determining justice. Initially, many saw Ravi as an evil villain, but the defense portrayed him as a tolerant person not inclined to gay bias, but one who used very poor judgement.
Prosecutors offered Ravi a plea deal in December that would have spared him any prison time, but he rejected it. And the jury's conviction of Ravi in March only added to the bigger conversation taking place around the country about the tragic events.
The sentencing phase contributed to the national discussion, as it presented an opportunity for parents of both students to speak.
Ravi's mother said since her son's arrest, he has lost more than 20 pounds and is devastated and broken into pieces. The victim's family called Ravi's actions reprehensible, but didn't explicitly state what punishment they thought the defendant deserved. Both sides used the opportunity to express their sorrow and heartbreak.
What's Next:Though the prosecution vowed to appeal the case, for now the jury's verdict, the pleading statements from the families, and the judge's sentence are all part of the tapestry in this cautionary tale about acceptance, transparency and poor judgement in the digital age.
Many will complain the verdict was too lenient, while it satisfied others. Some will also think it adds to the debate over technology and privacy, or contributes another nuance to the problem of hate crimes. And as electronic evidence plays a larger role in courtrooms, the case poses questions of how much juries and judges can glean from it when it comes to verdicts and sentencing.
The Takeaway: Court-watchers of the Ravi case expected the role of the digital data to be at the forefront, to showcase how people's electronic trails can follow them into a trap of their making. While that was certainly true and was highlighted in this trial, the judge's sentence took the case beyond that, to the most indecipherable places of all, the human heart and mind -- and divining those motivations, intentions and understanding is something technology is still a long way from accomplishing.