Tech Briefs: 17-inch MacBooks, faster Wi-Fi, more

Apple has just announced its new 17-inch MacBook Pro laptops. Featuring the new Intel Core Duo processor that makes it possible to load Windows XP as well as the Mac OS, the new model represents the flagship of Apple's high-end laptop line. The 17-inch MacBook Pro will set you back $2,800 — more if you want to add extra RAM or a larger hard disk.… Congress is readying a new, stricter digital copyright bill. The bill has the support of industry groups such as the music industry's RIAA and gives the government much greater powers of enforcement and investigation for copyright infringement. If passed, the law will allow federal wiretapping for copyright cases and have penalties of up to 10 years in prison for merely attempting to pirate something. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales endorsed the bill, using terrorism, shockingly enough, as justification for its far-reaching scope.… The next-generation standard for Wi-Fi, known as IEEE 802.11n, will soon be utilized in products available to the general public. Routers and network cards featuring the protocol will be able to wirelessly connect at speeds up to 12 times faster and at a range 4 times greater than the current protocol, 802.11g, allowing for high-definition video and voice over IP (VoIP) telephony to stream simultaneously. Expect products with the new protocol to hit store shelves in the second half of this year.