The LG Chocolate VX8500 debuted in the United States to much fanfare. Verizon pushed it as the next big thing in mobile entertainment phones, and even went all out with a television commercial campaign. Focusing on a cool music playing experience along with V-Cast entertainment over 3G EVDO, the hype machine seems to have paid off, as quite a few people that we know have ended up with an LG Chocolate phone. We took the VX8500 for a spin, and report back with our full review which you can check out after the break.
Inventor Mark Howe, who has been banned from casinos since the 1990’s, claims that his roulette computer can give you an advantage of 20% to 100% over a casino. The result is that the house’s normal 2.7% edge will be overturned. Because the UK gambling industry will be deregulated next year, amatuer and professional gamblers alike are scrambling to jump on the roulette bandwagon by purchasing such devices.
The UK based newspaper Guardian Unlimited reported that, “Keith Tayler, an ex-croupier and gaming inspector, says regulators are unwilling to ban predicting devices because it would amount to an admission that wheels can be biased.”
The gadget itself consists of a clicker that records deceleration speed of the wheel’s rotor and ball. You are then instructed by earphone which zone the ball will land in. In 2004, a group using this device actually won £1.3m at the Ritz Casino in London. At a price of US$5,000, the basic package includes the computer (inside a Nokia cell phone), an electronically shielded data input cable and button or switch, a DVD with footage of a wheel for practice, and an instruction manual. Let the games begin.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced that he will sign into law legislation that bans the use of handheld cellphones while driving. Although 38 state legislatures have considered similar bills, only New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington D.C. have actually passed them. Under the new law, which takes effect in 2008, a minimum of a $20.00 fine will be given when using a cell without a headset, speaker phone, or other wireless device.
“Public safety is the governor’s No. 1 priority,” said Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson, “and this bill will make the streets and highways of California safer by ensuring that drivers have both hands available for driving.”
Senator Joe Simitan (D-Palo Alto) has taken five years to bring his idea to fruition. The California Highway Patrol indicates that last year alone there were 775 accidents involving drivers who were using hand-held cellphones. Statistics show that the risk of death is 9 times greater for those drivers. Our only question is if public safety is Arnie’s #1 priority, why are they waiting until 2008?
Read More | LA Times
If you like Chocolate, but prefer it in a clamshell, here is a sneak-peak at the LG VX-8600. Similar to its VX-8500 mate (it has a lower resolution display), this model features EV-DO high-speed data, stereo Bluetooth, a 176 X 220 main screen with 262k colors, a 128 X 128 external screen with 65k colors, a 1.3 megapixel cam, a microSD card slot, and music player with external WMA/MP3 controls. Although no pricing or launch date has yet to be set, rumor has it that this exclusive Verizon Wireless gourmet Chocolate will be available for our stockings this holiday season.
Ever since the 2004 tsunami, scientists have been searching for a better method to detect and warn us of upcoming earthquake-generated tidal waves. Austrian Michael Stadler may have devised an answer. Stadler has developed a program that accesses and analyzes data that comes from hard drive vibration sensors. Once the data is analyzed, it can be shared with other computers.
The program can ignore minor vibrations and differentiate between normal seismic and tsunamic activity. When “the big one” is about to occur, the system sends warnings to the other connected computers. Unfortunately, there is so much interest in the freeware download that his site seems to have crashed (no pun intended). Hang onto the link and try again in a day or two, or visit his suggested site of Dr. Eduard Heindl. Dr. Heindl has also created a warning system that can alert you by cell phone through a GSM network in any country at a price of EUR 9.95 (~$12.60) for a 1 month trial or EUR 29.95 (~$38.00) per year subscription.
Read More | Michael Stadler Website
Our favorite bunny’s parents, Energizer, has just introduced Energi To Go, a battery pack that can plug into most cell phones. With this new product you can recharge your phone’s battery almost instantaneously (except for some PDA and smart-phones,) even if your phone is completely powerless. The ETG comes with an adapter and a pair of Energizer e2 Lithium batteries. At an MSRP of $19.99, it’s available at your favorite department, grocery, or drug store.
Energizer claims that it is compatible with 80% of cell phones now on the market, including Nokia, Samsung, Sprint, and Motorola, as well as mini USB devices developed after 2003 such as BlackBerry, SLVR, and RAZR. Now, if that bunny could just learn to catch a cell phone before it hits the ground.
You won’t have to spend your break time at the water cooler any longer. Sprint is now offering Sprint Movies, the first pay-per-view service of full-length movies for mobile phones in the U.S. More than 45 titles are offered at this time, including flicks such as “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” and “The Village”, from Buena Vista, Sony, Lion’s Gate, and Universal. Each title can be viewed for 24 hours to 1 week (depending on the title.) Two additional 24 hour extensions are available for $.99 each.
Sprint Movies is being powered by mSpot, who is handling the video production as well as operations. In December, Sprint started carrying mSpot at a monthly subscription rate, but will now offer their service for $3.99 - $5.99 per movie. All of their titles will be edited to TV-14. God Bless America.
Read More | Sprint Press Release
Sprint has finally unleashed the Treo 700wx today, which we have all but been waiting for over the past few weeks. The Treo 700wx sports EV-DO/1xRTT, 128MB NVRAM, 240x240 touchscreen, XScale 312MHz processor, a full QWERTY keyboard, Bluetooth support, and the standard 1.3 megapixel camera. It runs Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC edition, and is, you know, a Treo. The 700wx sports double the RAM of the Treo 700w on Verizon, but everything else is pretty much in line. Of course, Sprint has had the Treo 700p available for a while now - but if you just gotta have that Pocket PC goodness, now is your chance if you are on Sprint.
Read More | MobileTechReview
Today in South Korea, Samsung Electronics demonstrated new 4G wireless technology to the press. Samsung showed 4G technology could carry speeds of 100Mbps over the air. That’s more bandwidth than most current broadband providers can even harness. The demo took place on a bus while traveling across the city. Samsung reps demonstrated high speed access through HDTV streaming as well as data access. According to Samsung, this type of performance should be attainable whether standing still or traveling at over 70mph on the highway.
The speeds demonstrated by Samsung best the WiMAX standard that is currently being used to supply wireless network access city-wide to customers at speeds of up to only 20Mbps. Samsung also did some demonstration showing that the 4G technology could potentially even hit speeds of up to 1Gbps! 1Gbps wireless…the best I can get is Comcast’s ultimate connection at a rockin 6Mbps. Go figure.
Read More | EE Times
In today’s world, land line phones are becoming ancient technology. More and more customers are leaving phone line systems for VoIP systems, while others, myself included, operate solely through their cellular service. It never ceases to amaze me, however, that the quality of cellular service at home leaves something to be desired. I have moved three times in the past two years, and haven’t been able to average more than a 2-bar signal in any of my homes. Excessive dropped calls, poor reception and sound quality, and the especially hated voice mail notice from calls that never rang. Sound familiar? Well it may be time to invest in an amplification system to boost cellular signal while around the house.
The setup is simple, intuitive, and available for purchase from several manufacturers. It consists of a pair of antennas, one high gain and one low gain, and an amplification system. The system works best if the large gain antenna is mounted outside of the house, but it is not necessary. The system improves your service by relaying the signals from the high gain antenna, through the amplifier, through a smaller antenna mounted somewhere inside the home and out to your cellphone . Transmitting works in the reverse fashion starting from the cell phone, to the small antenna, then through the amplifier and out the large antenna to the service tower. The benefits to be gained here are two fold. First, the antenna that communicates directly with the tower will have a much stronger response (higher gain) to the signals, both in and out, than the cell phone because of its sheer size. Secondly, the signal is being amplified again through an in-line amplifier. The result is a serious increase in local signal to your cell phone resulting in better battery life, fewer dropped and missed calls, and just plain better quality service. This type of setup is not limited to the home either. There are also systems available for installation in your vehicle which operate on the same principle.
Popular Science has a full length article describing these setups and even points out some manufacturers and models of devices available today.
Read More | Popular Science