Google on Wednesday said it would build and test a super-fast, fiber-optic Internet service in a few communities, providing service to as many as 500,000 people.

The Sun-Star newspaper in Merced, California ran an editorial yesterday, trying to rally community support for a bid to get Google to build a fast network there.

Guests: Brandon Bowers, Merced Sun-Star; Stacey Higginbotham, GigaOm

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The Apple iPad: Is it a computer?

Some argue it’s not, citing the lack of a keyboard, a limited operating system, and the fact that users can’t get under the hood and tinker. But the iPad does have a CPU, memory, and lot of other computer-y components.

Whichever way you go on the iPad-as-computer question, there’s no doubting that our concept of the computer is changing as technology permeates our lives more and more.

Guest: Dwight Silverman

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Based on its history with iPhones, iPods and other gadgets, Mission:Repair of suburban Kansas City is expecting to see its first tragically broken iPad the day after the new Apple tablet computers go one sale. So it has to be ready. Having seen iPads only from afar, Mission:Repair President Ryan Arter says he’s trying to glean as many facts as he can from Apple news and rumor sites, and plans to buy a few iPads as soon as he can, so his technicians can rip them apart.

The following is an edited transcript of my interview with Arter:

ARTER: We have broken our fair share of new products, there’s no doubt about that. That’s how we got to sort of reverse-engineer the assembly and begin to learn how to service these items in the event there is an out-of-warranty failure.

GORDON: Based on your history with other Apple devices what do you see as the possible frailties of the iPad?

ARTER: We’re going to make a couple of assumptions here: The screen and digitizer appear that they’re going to be glass. Like the iPhone, that can crack. There are different ways to make that glass that we know about and hopefully it’ll be tougher than the iPhone. But it’s a large area and when that glass cracks it needs to be replaced. So the installation of the glass will be similar to the iPhone. It will be adhesived down to the frame.

GORDON: When you tear apart that first iPad, what will you be looking for exactly?

ARTER: When we tear apart our first unit we will be disassembling it very slowly and very carefully, keeping cable placement and cable tension in mind. If we can’t open an item without tearing a cable then we just can’t open it. We need to address where the most sensitive components are, i.e. the logic board. We know that the logic boards on any product are the most expensive. They are the one item we don’t want to damage while we’re inside of it performing a repair.

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The new book by Financial Times reporter Joseph Menn tells the story of a young, brilliant security researcher who infiltrates a gang of Russian hackers. The hackers launched denial of service attacks against business Web sites, then demanded money to stop the attacks.

In Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet, we learn about a deep connection between mob-controlled Russian hackers and the government.

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