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Technology

Dell's XPS One desktop

December 28, 2007



I have always wondered why the entire PC market is just so inept. Apple routinely designs better looking computers and charges a premium for such products. Not so for PC makers who think if they keep designing commodity looking products they will do better. Well surprise, this is not a winning strategy.

To drive this point home in fact, Dell has done what I suggested back in a March, 2007 column where I asked if any PC maker can just copy Apple.



Wanted: Dead or Alive

December 28, 2007

Haven’t we all seen those old Western movies with those “Wanted” posters looking for bandits? I know I have. Now it is time for those posters to go high-tech in the form of electronic billboards the FBI will use to display the faces and names of criminals.

As the engadget article points out, be sure to commit your crimes quickly as once these billboards get rolled out, your odds of getting caught for your crimes will likely rise greatly.

I am just wondering what might be next for the FBI and law enforcement in general? Now that they embraced electronic billboards, will web advertising be next?



Technology News Wrap Dec 27, 2007

December 27, 2007

It has been a slow news week as you might imagine and there have been a number of stories which have caught my eye. Stories wrapping up 2007 are rampant and one worth reading is from Mae Kowalke and is titled 2007 VoIP News Highlights from TMCnet. Within the article is a summary of news regarding Microsoft OCS, Vonage, SunRocket and more.   In other news, Sonus got nice recognition as a market leader from Infonetics in a report which states Sonus has captured 26 percent of the worldwide market, with 42% coverage in North America region representing increases over Q2 2007.   A rumor which could be a deal changer for the technology market comes from Seeking Alpha and discusses a potential new Apple device which seems like a Nokia N800 clone. I am a huge fan of the Nokia N800 as it is speedy, has wonderful resolution at 800x480 and can do so much more that a smartphone.

Did Bell Steal Ideas?

December 26, 2007

If you are interested in historical telephony and whether Alexander Graham Bell actually invented the telephone or “borrowed” some patent ideas, you will want to read this story.

  Excerpt:  
In "The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret," journalist Seth Shulman argues that Bell -- aided by aggressive lawyers and a corrupt patent examiner -- got an improper peek at patent documents Gray had filed, and that Bell was erroneously credited with filing first.   Shulman believes the smoking gun is Bell's lab notebook, which was restricted by Bell's family until 1976, then digitized and made widely available in 1999.

The notebook details the false starts Bell encountered as he and assistant Thomas Watson tried transmitting sound electromagnetically over a wire. Then, after a 12-day gap in 1876 -- when Bell went to Washington to sort out patent questions about his work -- he suddenly began trying another kind of voice transmitter. That method was the one that proved successful.



Mobile Menu Productivity

December 26, 2007

It has been a fairly busy holiday season from a work perspective but over the holidays I found some hours to get some much needed work done. I have gotten on a productivity and efficiency kick that started with my change to the Google Reader. The more I use this reader, the more I like it.   One reason I made this switch you may recall was because I want to take my RSS feeds on the go and the Google Reader works well with my phone.   But I now have another dilemma. I don’t always want to open my mobile browser to the Reader.

TMC Goes JibJab

December 26, 2007

OnStar Shut Down

December 24, 2007

For those cars with analog cellular cell phone OnStar connections you have until February 18, 2008 before your service will stop working. Some who have complained to GM about this problem have received a $500 gift certificate towards the purchase of a new vehicle.   What is amazing to me is the fact the electronics for the cellular connection are hard-wired into vehicles. Today, cell phones are dirt cheap and even come in the disposable variety; can you believe you need to throw away the car because the network was upgraded?  

Cars made on or around 2002 upgraded to digital cellular networks and will not be affected by the shut down. About 500,000 OnStar users have cars made prior to this time.   See Also:   AP: Users Left in Lurch by Network Shutdown

In-Flight Internet Access Update

December 24, 2007

I think I want internet access when I fly. I really do. Yes, the plane is usually a quiet time to reflect and write compelling content… Still, I can now feel comfortable flying during the business day from the west coast to east because I will not miss anything that is happening. While in the air, I can participate in decisions and stay on top of the latest news without missing anything.   JetBlue really kicked off the latest round of stories about in-flight internet access and now it seems many airlines have an internet strategy of one sort or another.   Some which fly over land have base stations and others use satellite.   According to the Wall Street Journal:  
JetBlue's LiveTV subsidiary paid the Federal Communications Commission $7 million for wireless spectrum that one test JetBlue aircraft has been using since Dec. 11 to communicate with about 100 cell towers spread across the continental United States.

The Shrinking Bible

December 24, 2007

VoIP Banned on Some Flights

December 24, 2007

Perhaps the best holiday gift for people who enjoy peace and quiet on their flights is an all out ban on VoIP in the sky. The AP is reporting on the sorts of things we may be allowed to do in the sky like view porn or talk.   It is too soon to know which airlines will allow what but I am sure there will be extreme pressure on airlines to allow talking if they can monetize it effectively. The question is how to allow talking without disturbing passengers who want quiet.   Will airlines have talking sections like they used to have smoking sections?   Then again, what happens when you are seated in a row that has a baby crying? Is talking more annoying than a baby crying?   As a frequent Metro North train traveler I can sympathize with how annoying some callers can be.
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