jump to navigation

Google’s open-source phone plan November 6, 2007

Posted by alivelee in Kinda cool.
Tags: , , ,
3 comments

I have to admit I harbor a bit of a “business crush” on Google, what with its oodles of on-hand cash, investment in global servers and by all account, kick-ass offices. But my crush has more to do with the fact that Google’s business platform model, based on openness and accessibility, is an approach that nudges other forward-thinking tech folks to enter, perhaps master, a new arena. Rumor is Google plans to make “open” cellphone software, which would allow others to develop software control applications and interactions with hardware, according to the wsj.com. Some highlights of Google’s cell phone foray, details of which could be released as soon as today (Nov. 5, 2007):

  • Internet access that feels more like a Web experience, with links to location-specific restaurants, maps and instant photo-sharing
  • Pages that display more personal, customized content
  • Software developers say the open source approach will allow phones to handle more content

Doesn’t look like Google plans to make phones, just create an open platform to allow software developers to go crazy making next-generation phones. And hey, if this approach works, some evolution from this technology one day could arguably become a component of a true competitor to the iPhone. And choices are good!

Source: wsj.com

SNL (jailbroken) iPhone commerical November 5, 2007

Posted by alivelee in Kinda cool.
Tags: ,
add a comment

SNL with Brian Williams was pretty good Saturday night, but for me the highlight was this hysterical commercial which illustrates the way most men use the iPhone. I kid, I kid. But the humorous spot is generating buzz and logged more than 800 YouTube views within 12 hours. But it’s also generating glee among phone-tech geeks everywhere. You see, they say (or shout, really) that the phone’s been jailbroken, and perhaps also unlocked, so it could be running on a carrier other than AT&T. Oh no they didn’t! Apple’s death-grip on anything iPhone-related makes brings some sweet ironic humor to this whole spot, as evidenced in this YouTube comment:

THAT IPHONE IS JAILBROKEN….LIKE MINE :):) :)….i bet apple is pissed…and the carrier logo doesnt [sic] look like at&t…so its also unlocked(like mine ;)) or he switched the carrier image with customize

Nothing like kicking the king.

Does this vacuum suck? November 5, 2007

Posted by alivelee in WTF.
Tags: , ,
1 comment so far

You know, I love my dishwasher, as I no longer have to wash (many) dishes by hand. I love my washer and dryer, they which rock by cleaning my clothes for me. Granted, the technology needed for these appliances isn’t new, but these are inventions that changed the way we live. These machines free up time so people can do other things. Good stuff. But the absurd can’t be far behind. So behold: the miniature 1970s-looking vacuum that will have no technological impact on your life whatsoever. But hey — it’s powered through a USB! And it looks like a useful domestic appliance! For you know, all that, um, lint that piles up around your PC. God, this thing looks like it belongs with Dwight on The Office. Who is the audience for this? Is there a poor schlub out there who be be on the recipient end of this oddity at this year’s office holiday swap party??

Source: Whateverworks

Attention Chicago — Shell gas stations care about YOU! November 2, 2007

Posted by alivelee in Personal rant/rave, Privacy issues.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Ten Chicago Shell gas stations are part of a pilot program that allows gas-getters to swipe their finger to pay at the pump. While this Pay By Touch technology isn’t new, it is a first for gas stations. To be honest, I’m not sure how the technology works, but the Shell’s Chris Suess, manager of global refueling innovations (not kidding), promises it’ is effifient and secure. Hmmm, fingerprint payment. Kinda weird. Secure? Well, perhaps, for the purchase. But now your local gas station has a permanent, and arguably court-admissible, record of you. Hmmm. Wonder if fed or your local DAs could subpoena fingerprint records from Shell stations? And how long would Shell keep the records? Could they sell them? Frankly, my debit card is enough of a trail of my comings and goings, my tastes, my hangouts, etc. ; I consider myself pretty well tracked. Looks like some customers at Sunflower Market, a Chicago grocery store, might agree with me. From Yahoo!News:

About 2 percent of its customers signed up for the payment option, said the store’s manager, Debbie Britton.

“I think it scares people,” Britton said. “They’re more confused about the whole system. Some of them say, ‘Well, now the FBI can find me.’

 

And since they can’t find anyone on their own, it’s probably not a leap to assume they’ll lean on private enterprise to do their investigating for them.

Source: Yahoo News, Popsci.com

MLB GameDay rocks my dinner hour October 29, 2007

Posted by alivelee in Kinda cool, Personal rant/rave.
Tags: , ,
5 comments

I’m a huge Detroit Tigers fan. Being from Michigan, I’ve been a fan of Detroit’s storied baseball team since I was a little girl. And while this season wasn’t great, as a fan you know the Tigs will roar again, and you watch the World Series anyway because, well, it’s the World Series. Little did I know that online technology has already infiltrated America’s pastime, and in a very cool way. This past weekend, my boyfriend and I were listening to Game 3 of the Red Sox vs. the Colorado Rockies on the radio while making dinner, and of course a laptop is nearby for any split- second Googling we might need to do to settle an argument. (Sadly, I’m not kidding.) A batter waited on a particularly tough pitch, and Greg went straight to the laptop to see where the ball crossed the plate. He’s an avid user of MLB GameDay, this fabulous online feature from MLB.com. It’s got a bunch of different real time features — one of which will graph the path of the pitch. So, there we were in our Chicago kitchen watching exactly where the ball flew over a tiny plate in a ballfield in Colorado mere seconds ago, all while the radio announcer yapped away about the batter regrouping for the second pitch. It was kinda surreal.

Greg tells me MLB GameDay is also handy for those days when you can’t watch or listen to the game (i.e. when you are at work in a tiny cubicle). Just have GameDay up on your browser and you get the game live on your laptop. And suddenly, work doesn’t suck as much.

Online privacy is sooo 2006 October 29, 2007

Posted by alivelee in Privacy issues.
Tags: , ,
1 comment so far

Forget silver spoons, today’s kids are born with cellphones in their tiny little hands, and more and more often, a username and password. Okay, in reality they probably won’t type until they’re say, the ripe old age of 2. But it’s no secret that today teens are online, all the time, and harboring addictions to social networks sites like Facebook. It’s natural this group is comfortable with technology. But their comfort level is so high, and their life experience so low, they often do not realize how vulnerable they can be online. This story from USA Today examines that comfort level, and points out that teens (via social networking sites) are comfortable sharing just about everything, that is until that drunken party pic gets posted and Jane Athlete gets kicked off the high school soccer team. One teen admits he even posts his real home address online. But most think they know the parameters of online privacy. I don’t buy it. I’ve never had my identity stolen, but my eBay and PayPal accounts have been hacked. I’m quite fearful that being online somehow negates my privacy rights. And that makes me soooo 2006.

You should totally compliment my iPod October 29, 2007

Posted by alivelee in Personal rant/rave.
Tags: ,
1 comment so far

I have to confess: I recently purchased my first iPod. I realize this implies that 1) I am not into technology and 2) I’m not into music. Neither could be further from the truth. My reasons for staying away from the iPod were also twofold: 1) I wanted to wait until Apple cycled through several generations so I wouldn’t get one with a plagued with kinks and 2) all of my friends have one so I’m never really starved for good music. So I was pretty excited to buy the 80GB video iPod that my most excellent new media professor/guru at Northwestern requires for class. I was psyched to finally get my own. I researched its features online. I read consumer reviews. I planned a day to go downtown, and thought ahead about all the extra stuff I’d need (car charger, wall charger, etc.). I’d never been to an Apple store, so when I got there I was relieved I knew exactly what I wanted. The place was teeming with tourists, and I’m not a huge fan of crowded stores, or really tourists for that matter. (There was even one guy directing foot traffic right at the entrance.) I was thrilled to finally make the purchase and was absolutely thrilled that the silver color iPod was in stock. No either/or black/white for me — I have a “unique” iPod! But my enthusiasm has been effectively snuffed out. In my excitement, I wanted to show everyone my new gadget. The response has invariably been the same: “Why didn’t you get the touch screen?”

Here’s why I didn’t get the touch screen: I clearly want to disappoint you.

Okay, here’s the real reason didn’t get the iTouch: I didn’t know it existed, okay? And now that I know more about it, I’m heartened that even if I had known I wouldn’t have bought it anyway, as it lacks the storage space I need for my new media class. But the whole incident has been a reminder that with technology, only the gadgets that are 5 seconds off the production floor are “cool.” Everything else is stale, barely worthy of a half-hearted compliment, let alone a few seconds of oogling.

So, I’m coping with the anticlimactic iPod purchase that is impressive to no one but me. I will survive. But I must say I at least find some amusement in the fact that my sleek, cool-lookin’ powerful iPod relies on a cassette tape do-dad to play through my car stereo. Ah, today’s technology needs yesterday’s technology to play through yesteryear technology. And still no one wants to look at it.

The only time you’ll ever see “underfed” and “Americans” written without jest October 28, 2007

Posted by alivelee in Polls and surveys.
Tags: , ,
1 comment so far

Approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million are obese and 9 million are extremely obese, according to the The Endocrine Society, which also hosts obesityinamerica.org, an educational site that aims to curb obesity in America. Currently, an estimated 65 percent of U.S. adults age 20 years and older and 15 percent of children and adolescents are overweight and 30 percent are obese. The fact that we’re fat isn’t surprising. And the fact that some huge conglomerate wants to make money off that problem isn’t surprising either. Healthcare giant Abbott Laboratories in a northern Chicago issued a press release this week announcing its foray into “nutritionals,” or those bland “meals” that are supposed pack the nutrition of a Thanksgiving Day meal in a 5 oz. bar. So, the company hired someone to take a look at how often we Americans eat-on-the-go, and — wait for it — it happens. A lot. We’d prefer to fiddle with our PDAs than sit down for a meal. Behold the precious announcement:

ZonePerfect® Survey Finds Americans Are Overfed on Technology, Underfed at the Dinner Table

These authors clearly haven’t seen a family of four at an IHOP.

Study shows work, pot connection; dope still infinitely more interesting October 28, 2007

Posted by alivelee in Polls and surveys.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Technology has transformed the workplace, and gadgets like cell phones and PDAs mean we’re never far from an opportunity to add thousands of little tasks to each and every day. So it’s interesting to note this study found those who are multitasking can’t focus or concentrate as well as those who, you know, aren’t. And those who multitask share much in common with the world’s stoners: a lower IQ. In fact, some cheeky British researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s college London in 2005 got the Internets a-buzzin’ with the news that e-mail might do more damage to your brain than smoking pot. From Discover Magazine.com: “Of course, a closer examination of the study is less startling but still fascinating. Researchers asked two sets of subjects to take IQ tests. One group had to check e-mail and respond to instant messages while taking the test. The second group just sat down and did the test without distractions. Surprise, surprise, the distracted group didn’t do as well on the test—10 points worse than the control group. In similar testing conditions, people intoxicated by marijuana had scores 8 points lower. So researchers drew attention to their study by noting that multitasking is worse for your ability to concentrate than getting stoned.”

For what it’s worth, I don’t think the boss is going to take, “But it’s like I’m stoned…” as any kind of excuse for why you didn’t answer your cell while you were participating in an Webinar while texting a client and faxing that final contract during a global conference call.

$1,299 means it just looks like neon October 22, 2007

Posted by alivelee in WTF.
Tags:
3 comments

Buro Vormkriigers has created this neon-looking overpriced table lamp, and I’m befuddled as to the audience for this thing. My guess is those who love lava lamps will love the Mary Louise, which is made of acrylic sheets cut to look like, well, a lamp. So, we’ve narrowed the audience to the nation’s middle-aged former club-goers and to teens who swear they’re not stoned, just “tired.” Only the first group has the cash to actually buy this hideous thing, which costs $999 for the one that looks like a kid’s Christmas tree cutout (thank you “Oh Gizmo!”). The uber-etched out one on the right will run you another $300. It’s illuminated with a 14-watt fluorescent bulb that can glow in several different colors, including amber, yellow, orange, purple, blue, pink, red and green. Run to Generate to snap this bulb-that-is-a-lamp. And then think about why you have too much money.