Steven Levy

An Identity Heist The Size of Texas

The nation was shocked last month to learn that a data analyst from the Department of Veterans Affairs had downloaded a database containing more than 26 million personal records, taken it home with him and then had his laptop stolen--exposing all the information necessary to swipe the identity of virtually every person released from military service since 1975.

Shanghai Starts Up

The shanghai Pudong Software Park didn't exist a few years ago. Now about 20,000 programmers negotiate traffic jams every day to get there. Throngs of former school math champs file into boxy buildings to rabbit hutches and workstations, doing the high-tech programming jobs that used to belong to Americans--the jobs that weren't supposed to go offshore but are now commonly outsourced here or to India.

Only the Beginning?

To understand why the NSA wants to look at your phone bills, check out the work of Valdis Krebs, an expert on "social-network analysis." By mapping the connections of Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, two men that the CIA had suspected as Qaeda members back in 2000, Krebs established not only that they were dangerous--they had direct links to two people involved in the USS Cole bombing--but that someone named Muhammad Atta was at the center of their social web.Unfortunately Krebs did his work...

Dear Diary--And Everyone Else, Too

Megan wasn't invited to the party. Worse, everyone else in the world was there, except Megan and her friend Tonya. And that's not all. Megan learned that at the party "G," a guy Megan thought was her friend, was calling her "a brain" who "has no looks at all." And he said this in front of "the studs," the cool guys in the class whom he supposedly hated.

Why Don't We Do It on the Internet?

Go to itunes or Rhapsody and search for "Beatles" and where do you wind up? Nowhere, man. The greatest rock group ever doesn't sell its songs online. That's why the managing director of the Beatles' record label, Neil Aspinall, made a stir recently when he revealed that the Fab Four were finally planning to sell their songs on Internet stores--but only after a long-term project of remastering the songs was completed.Though Aspinall's comment made news, the impact was mitigated by the fact that...

Win on Mac: A Sign Of the Apocalypse?

I am experiencing the computer equivalent of an out-of-body experience. In front of me is Apple's sleek new MacBook Pro laptop computer. And on the screen is a familiar sight in an unfamiliar setting: the rolling green hill and the blue sky spotted with clouds (and dotted with icons) that is the unmistakable Windows XP desktop.

AOL's Blog King

Last October, the question of whether blogging could be a business was pretty much decided when AOL paid a reported $25 million for Weblogs, Inc., a network of almost 100 blogs on topics like technology, travel and parenthood.

BlackBerry Deal: Patently Absurd

What is the value of a bunch of discredited patents? We found out last week when Research in Motion (RIM), the company that makes the beloved BlackBerry, paid a company called NTP $612.5 million to settle a claim that it infringed on patents NTP was granted in 1991.

Software: Mac Sort Of Life

Another year, another update of Apple's already best-of-breed consumer media suite of programs? That's right, and if you've got $79, room on your hard drive and a relatively new Mac with power to run these, you'll find goodies in every component of iLife 'o6.

A (New) Chip on His SHoulder

Steve Jobs foiled the rumormongers once more at last week's Macworld Expo. Most observers expected that Apple would announce the first Macintosh computers that partake of powerful and efficient Intel Core Duo microprocessors, the same used by top-notch Windows machines. (Jobs had previously promised to make the shift over his whole computer line by this time next year.) But almost no one thought that the first of these machines would be the most popular Macs that Apple makes--the elegant...

No, It's Not the New Napster

Bram Cohen estimates that a third of all Internet bandwidth these days is tied up in his file-distribution program called BitTorrent. If that's right, the program that the 30-year-old New York native (now living in the Bay Area) wrote in 2001 is now responsible for one in three bits moving on the Net.

Technology: Know Your iPods

Since Apple phased out the original iPod and the Mini to make room for two new models, you might be wondering which one to buy. A rundown: iPod: The fifth-generation full-size iPod holds 7,500 songs ($299; the $399 version holds twice as many), is slimmer than its predecessor and shows crisp video on its 2.5-inch screen.