Defender of the free world

McNeil Technologies lands top secret contract

Virginia-based McNeil Technologies Inc. has landed a $10 million contract with the U.S. Office of Defense to declassify top secret documents. Over the next five years, the company will examine more than 800,000 documents (about 33 million pages) from the Cold War era to determine whether they should be made available to the public. The challenge? Much of what the U.S. considers old technology is new to many developing nations. In fact, the U.S. learned that information Iraq received to produce chemical and biological weapons came from data that had been declassified years ago, says company CEO James McNeil. “Our job is to make sure that the wrong material isn’t declassified,” he adds. “We have to be the guardians of weapons of mass destruction.”

McNeil Technologies doesn’t actually declassify the documents but makes recommendations on which documents should be declassified, digitizes the information, and makes it available via the Internet. These highly classified documents are stored in vaults, and those working on the document receive top-level clearance. For more information on McNeil Technologies Inc., see (“One Size Does Not Fit All,” March 2002).

One company says it may have a solution to the Florida elections debacle. TruVote International Inc., based in Nashville, Tennessee, has created the TruVote Voter Validation and Verification System, which provides voters with a computerized system to cast their ballots.

Developed by Athan Gibbs Sr., the system has tested in 48 states. It provides touch screen voting with photos, sound and animated instructions, vote validation at the booth, and a receipt showing proof of voting. The system also has built-in security for fraud protection.

Bugs, patches, fixes. If your new iPod is having trouble waking up, there’s a good reason. Apple says that a “small percentage” of iPods temporarily don’t wake up from sleep mode when the battery runs low. To fix the problem, head to www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n120077 to download the iPod firmware update, version 1.0.4

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