If you have been on the fence about giving up $100 large to Apple for a .Mac account, you may want to reconsider if you are constantly on the go and in need of wireless net access. Through June 29, 2005, if you sign up for a .Mac account, you will also receive a free 30 day trial of the T-Mobile Hotspot service. Not too bad when you consider that a month of Hotspot access would cost you $39.95 in the first place. Of course, more and more free hotspots seem to sprout up each day, but who am I to judge?
Read More | .Mac Member Benefits
We recently told you about the Macally SyncBoxII, the portable USB device that allows you to transfer data from one USB device to another. While it sounded intriguing, I needed to know if it would give us functionality that we don’t already have in some of our products. I made a few calls and got a few more details:
- If the USB device requires its own driver to operate, it will not work with the SyncBoxII. If it uses a built-in Microsoft driver, it will be compatible.
- The SyncBoxII will not recognize Mac formatted drives, nor will it recognize NTFS format. This one is all about FAT32.
- The SyncBoxII will fully support iPod-to-iPod transfers.
There you have it - many of you emailed asking if the product would actually allow two iPods to transfer/copy media back and forth to one another. It certainly will, now you can rest easy knowing you won’t have to use the iCopulate!
Just when we think they are doing some good in the tech world, they go and mess it up, as always. Best Buy customer Mike Bolesta simply wanted to purchase a car stereo. After being assured that a particular model would fit, he realized the Best Buy sales rep was incorrect (this sounds familiar). After being told the installation fee would be waived due to the error, he was able to get the correct stereo. When he got home, he received a call from Best Buy saying he needed to pay the fee. Upset about the horrible service he received, Mike decided to pay the $144 charge using only $2 bills. Now, there is no law against this. $2 bills are still legal tender here in the United States. He handed over 57 bills, and should have been able to be on his way. Instead, he was asked accusingly if they were real. Then they called the cops. I feel for ya Mike, it’s just unfortunate that I have heard stories like this in the past - and yours probably won’t be the last. Anyone else have a story of horrible customer service at an electronics retailer?
Read More | WorldNetDaily
We were able to mess around with the first product from JellyBarn, the very humorous FoolsJelly interface. For all of you that love to “caption this pic”, this site is for you. Basically, you can view any submissions from other users thus far - or you can create your own. The ones you create can be sent to friends by email, and you can also choose to place it on the FoolsJelly site into their gallery. Here are the features of FoolsJelly:
- Upload your own image for use in two optional postcards to send out via email. You can add text to the postcards in the following ways either by using the cartoon bubble quote, or the “inspiring” poster with a title and subtitle text.
- Reply to the postcard with your own text or by uploading your own image.
- Forward a postcard you received to another person.
- Add your postcard to the gallery and vote for it or other users’ postcards.
- View other users’ postcards via the gallery.
I definitely recommend everyone to check it out - its a nice interface, and can be used for humor or inspiration.
Read More | FoolsJelly
The Voice over IP market just got a little bit bigger. AOL has launched its VoIP service at a promotional rate of $29.99 a month for non-AOL users and $13.99 a month for AOL users. The service includes standard features found in most calling plans such as voicemail, 3-way calling, caller ID, call waiting and call forwarding. AOL’s new VoIP service also includes “advanced AOL features” such as AOL voicemail, AOL call alert and AOLbyPhone. The company is trying to offer competitive prices by bundling some its services with their VoIP package. What stands out in AOL’s package is that they provide enhanced 911 service, which delivers the caller’s address to dispatchers when in case of emergency. This is something other companies have not been able to implement or offer as an included service. AOL is promising to make VoIP easy to install and use just like the rest of its services so that mass-market consumers may take advantage of this technology.
We knew it would happen at E3, but according to the game guru at CNN’s Game Over, Chris Morris, Microsoft will unveil the next Xbox on Monday, May 16. That’s two days before the E3 Expo officially begins. According to Morris, the name Xbox 360 is pretty much a shoe-in. Rumor has it that they are still debating the hard drive issue and are working hard on backwards compatibility. A foreshadowing fact is that Microsoft recently acquired silicon graphics patents. The CPU is rumored to be capable of decoding and executing in Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL) while at the same time being able to run x86 code for backwards compatibility with the current Xbox library. We will soon have all the info - it is now only a matter of time.
Read More | CNN - Game Over
We may be close to the day where cars won’t require steering wheels, at least according to Milan-based Parodia Electronica. They have developed a satellite navigation system on test vehicles which responds to data generated from dGPS (differential GPS). Simply put, the software can determine the position of the test vehicles to within +/- 50 centimeters. It uses servo commands from the navigation system to actuate an electro-hydraulic steering mechanism. They have successfully navigated on public roads in Southern Italy between a set of fixed points without any steering input from the driver, as they only control the brake and accelerator. Parodia’s technical director said, “The steering wheels are for show only.” Sounds like in years to come, we may be able to snooze all the way to work.
Read More | Transport Trends
Chalk one up for the people. The Connecticut Supreme Court has proclaimed that a $150 “excessive wear and tear” penalty charged by Acme ‘American Rental’ is illegal. Acme outfitted their vehicles with GPS systems and set them up to rat you out if you drive at least 80mph for over two minutes at a time. Of course, details were buried deep within the fine print, and the GPS devices was never mentioned. The contract simply stated “Vehicles driven in excess of the posted speed limit will be charged $150 per occurrence.” Some customers were fined more than once on the same rental.
Justice David M. Borden wrote, “Using the [consumer department] hearing officer’s calculation, a customer would have to travel more than 1,070 miles at high speeds, without decelerating below 80 miles per hour, to cause $150 of excess wear on the vehicle.” Unfortunately the ruling is in regards to the excessive fine, stating that there really was no extreme wear on the vehicle. The companies’ use of GPS to track a customer’s actions was not touched. So, we won this battle but we have no precedent for our coming war.
Read More | ArsTechnica
Physicists Dr. Tammy Humphrey and Dr. Heiner Linke have discovered that a particular structure and configuration of nanowires can have remarkable thermoelectric properties. Meaning that electricity can be generated from heat differentials across materials. Even better, the thermoelectric effect is reversible. This means that the nanomaterial could operate as a heat pump, in essence transferring heat. What does this all mean? There are a few things this can bring to the table - processors that don’t require fans, precise control over temperature for labs and sensors, and refrigeration without pumps or chemicals. They also say it could have significant uses in energy production and transportation such as transferring engine heat to electricity for hybrid vehicles.
Read More | World Changing
In an interview with the official Xbox magazine of Japan, Mr. Yoshiki Okamoto says there are many other ‘big name’ game developers getting behind the next gen Xbox. He said, “When announced, the lineup of launch games for the console may shock the industry.” Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy), Tetsuya Mizuguchi (Space Channel 5), and Yoshiki Okamoto are all legendary game creators in Japan. This is just one of the ways Microsoft is committed to winning the hearts and minds of Japanese gamers while wowing their American audience too. Okamoto said that if the current lineup of launch games in development for the next gen Xbox was revealed, there probably wouldn’t be anyone in Japan who would be uninterested in buying one. Those are big words, but aren’t they always before a launch?
Then there’s Shane Kim who took over as head of Microsoft Game Studios (MGS). He has led some of the largest and most successful game launches in the publisher’s history, including Fable and Halo 2. In an interview on xbox.com, he says “We’ve also built some great franchises that customers love and look forward to playing for many generations of Xbox, like Halo, Fable, Project Gotham Racing, and the upcoming Jade Empire and Forza Motorsport.” Obviously, these games will continue to live their life on the next Xbox.