What would inspire you to make a computer from scratch? When Wei Jin-Long wanted to get an iPad for his girlfriend, but couldn't afford it, he decided to build one himself. Jin-Long, who is a student at the Art & Design Department at Northeast Normal University in Changchun, China, said he studied Internet video programs on how to make tablet PCs and then bought a refurbished laptop computer to start with. The old laptop came with a main board, video card, CPU and screen. Jin-Long bought the touch screen and the battery online to complete his masterpiece for a grand total of about $125. He even hand-carved and polished all the holes to give it a more professional look. Completing the custom tablet took him ten days to finish, but he told The China Daily News that it allows its user to "read, download, watch movies, [and] play games by just touching the screen." After receiving her gift, Jin-Long's girlfriend Sun Shasha said, "this is the best gift I've ever had, and I will keep it forever." He designed the tablet to resemble an iPad, with an Apple logo and all. Shasha added rhinestone around the edges to personalize it eve more. So what's the biggest difference between Wei's tablet and an actual iPad? Wei's tablet runs Window's 7, not the MAC operating system.
A Kansas City teenager is receiving backlash for a comment she made against her state's governor on Twitter. Emma Sullivan was attending a Youth in Government event with her classmates listening as Governor Sam Brownback spoke, when she tweeted, "Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot." The 18-year-old Shawnee Mission East senior is now declining her school principal's request for her to write a formal letter of apology to Governor Brownback saying she "isn't sorry and doesn't think such a letter would be sincere." In reality, Sullivan did not actually make the comment she tweeted, and said she was "just joking with friends." However Governor Brownback's office, which monitors social media for any posting with the governor's name, saw Sullivan's tweet and contacted the Youth in Government program. What followed was a verbal scolding from Sullivan's principal, Karl R. Krawitz, who instructed Sullivan to write a letter of apology and also offered talking points for how the letter should be written. Sullivan has refused, and people on Twitter are responding. Before the incident, Sullivan had 65 followers, currently her following has increased to more than 6,500. She said that she feels her tweet has helped to "open up dialogue" about free speech in social media. Sullivan has not heard from Governor Brownback or his staff, but says she is not opposed to conversing with the governor directly. Sullivan has also said, "it would be interesting to have a dialogue with him. I don't know if he would do it or not though. And I don't know that he would listen to what I have to say." Sullivan also admits that she disagrees with Brownback politically, partly because he vetoed the Kansas Arts Commission's entire budget--making Kansas the only state to eliminate its art funding. So what does Emma's mother have to say about this Twitter controversy? Julie Sullivan said she is not angry with her daughter, but she could have, "chosen different words." She also notes that "[Emma] was talking to 65 friends. And also it's the speech they use today. It's more attention grabbing. I raised my kids to be independent, to be strong, to be free thinkers. If she wants to tweet her opinion about Gov. Brownback, I say for her to go for it and I stand totally behind her." As for Emma, she's still waiting to see if there will be further action against her since she has refused to apologize.
On the other side of the world, Ampon Tangnoppakul, a 61-year-old truck driver from Thailand, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sending cell phone text messages that were deemed insulting to the country's monarchy. The law imposes seemingly severe penalties for publicly or privately making insults or threats directed at King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 83, and his family.
UPDATE: On Monday afternoon, Governor Brownback submitted a statement to Yahoo! News apologizing to Emma Sullivan, saying, "My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms," he said.
- Sam Brownback