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A roundup of the latest high-tech news from The Associated Press:
• McAfee antivirus program goes berserk, freezes PCs
NEW YORK — Computers in companies, hospitals and schools around the world got stuck repeatedly rebooting themselves Wednesday after an antivirus program identified a normal Windows file as a virus.
confirmed that a software update it posted at 9 a.m. Eastern time caused its antivirus program for corporate customers to misidentify a harmless file. It has posted a replacement update for download.
McAfee could not say how many computers were affected, but judging by online postings, the number was at least in the thousands and possibly in the hundreds of thousands.
McAfee said it did not appear that consumer versions of its software caused similar problems. It is investigating how the error happened "and will take measures" to prevent it from recurring, the company said in a statement.
The computer problem forced about a third of the hospitals in Rhode Island to postpone elective surgeries and stop treating patients without traumas in emergency rooms, said Nancy Jean, a spokeswoman for the Lifespan system of hospitals. The system includes Rhode Island Hospital, the state’s largest, and Newport Hospital. Jean said patients who required treatment for gunshot wounds, car accidents, blunt trauma and other potentially fatal injuries were still being admitted to the emergency rooms.
Intel Corp. appeared to be among the victims, according to employee posts on Twitter. Intel did not immediately return calls for comment.
• eBay founder launches online Hawaii news service
HONOLULU — The entrepreneur who created a virtual marketplace that connects sellers and buyers worldwide is launching an online news site where people will pay to exchange ideas and discuss issues affecting their communities.
Pierre Omidyar, the founder and chairman of eBay Inc., is entering the news business with a new online service in Hawaii. By charging a $19.99-a-month membership, Omidyar hopes to accomplish what newspapers and other media organizations nationwide have long struggled with — having readers pay for content and making local news profitable.
"It’s really critical to help find a new way to do journalism that connects with ordinary citizens in a better way," Omidyar said in an interview Tuesday. "I think that is what’s been lacking. Because the industry has been preoccupied with its own decline, it hasn’t had the opportunity to reinvent itself.
"As a new startup, we have the opportunity to reinvent that and bring journalism back into the center of conversation."
was expected to go live Wednesday with the official launch scheduled for May 4. It promises to provide in-depth reporting and analysis, and be a civic plaza for island residents. "Reporter-hosts" will post articles, interact with readers, provide frequent updates and host discussions.
"Journalism plays a central role in the way democracy works, especially in this country. And our democracy doesn’t work when journalism doesn’t work," Omidyar said. "As I saw the decline in the industry, I really became concerned especially with our local communities not just here in Hawaii, but nationwide."
Omidyar decided more than two years ago to launch a news service to cover local civic affairs, including the state, city, education, land and money.
"It’s very important for me that we demonstrate that we can do this sustainably," he said.
• Target to sell Amazon’s Kindle e-reader
MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. says it will sell Amazon’s e-reader Kindle in select stores beginning in April.
Target said Wednesday that it will be the first brick-and-mortar retailer to carry the Kindle, which sells for $259 and is one of Amazon.com Inc.’s best-selling items.
The retailer said it will sell the Kindle at its flagship downtown Minneapolis store and 102 south Florida stores beginning April 25 and begin rolling it out to more Target stores later this year.
Amazon, which is scheduled to report its first-quarter results Thursday, has declined to give specifics about how many Kindle electronic readers it has sold, disclosing only that it is in the "millions."
Shoppers will now have an opportunity to touch and experience the Kindle in person before their purchase, giving Amazon better footing against its e-reader competitors such as Barnes & Noble’s Nook reader and Apple’s iPad, which comes with electronic book-reading software.
Target, based in Minneapolis, has 1,740 stores in 49 states.