A Billboard story this weekend discussed the rise of flash memory drives and bracelets as a medium for album releases. I knew that Willie Nelson had experimented with selling USB bracelets of live recordings, but artists like the Mars Volta and Ringo Starr are also offering new albums on USB. So far, because they're more expensive to produce than a CD, most artists are selling them as niche products for the biggest fans--for example, the Mars Volta is offering a monthly download to fans who pay $30 for the USB version of their last album, The Bedlam in Goliath, … Read more
The reserve price on a valuable sliver of spectrum was reached in the Federal Communications Commission's 700MHz auction on Thursday, triggering rules that would make the spectrum accessible to any device or software application.
After the 17th round in the auction, a bidder for eight licenses in the "C" block of the 700MHz spectrum auction surpassed the minimum reserve price of $4.64 billion, which had been set by the FCC before the auction began. The current bid is now at $4.71 billion. The minimum bid for round 21 is $5.18 billion, according to the … Read more
We get so used to doing things a certain way, we sometimes miss new techniques that could save us time and trouble. My latest "d'oh!" moment was when I realized, after spending a couple of hours moving files from my office PC to an FTP server so I could sync them with my new laptop, that there's a better and faster way that doesn't cost a nickel: remote access.
A couple of years ago I edited a review of a half dozen remote-access services that link to a PC from any other Internet-connected machine. At … Read more
Microsoft on Thursday is expected to release a new set of developer tools for products that improve the Internet's accessibility for people with disabilities. The tools, called UI Automation, can be used royalty-free, according to Microsoft's Windows Accessibility lead Norm Hodne, as long as the resulting applications are built to perform within all platforms, e.g. Windows or Linux.
Microsoft formally donated the UI (user interface) Automation developer tools to the Accessibility Interoperability Alliance (AIA), an engineering working group that the software giant helped form last November in partnership with tech companies like Oracle, Novell, Hewlett-Packard and Adobe … Read more
Paying users of WebEx's remote desktop service now have the added bonus of Mac support. The service has been upgraded to be cross-platform in time for next week's Macworld Expo and throws in a couple other goodies like a remote Webcam viewer (so you can spy on your home computer from the office and visa versa), and a guest pass system that lets you send someone a one-time coupon to use your computer from wherever they are.
It's kind of surprising it's taken WebEx this long to get a Mac version of its remote client service … Read more
The biggest problem with JetBlue's inaugural "BetaBlue" flight, equipped with Yahoo and BlackBerry e-mail and instant messaging, was the fact that there aren't power outlets on board the aircraft.
Sure, there are those little 110-volt things in each bathroom. But if you hog the airplane toilet so that you can give your laptop some juice, you're going to be the second most unpopular person on that flight. (The screaming kid in seat 15D still beats you.)
All joking aside, if in-flight Wi-Fi is going to take off, airplanes are going to need power outlets. Virgin … Read more
Tempted to obsess over how another personal habit helps or hurts the Earth? Keep surfing with cable or DSL and you might save carbons in the process, according to the American Consumer Institute.
The world would be spared 1 billion tons of greenhouse gases within a decade if broadband Internet access were pervasive, the group's report (PDF) concluded in October.
Broadband is available to 95 percent of U.S. households but active in only half of them, the study said, noting that near-universal adoption of high-speed Internet would cut the equivalent of 11 percent of oil imports to the … Read more
We already know mobile phone companies are under fire for hidden surcharges, exaggerated service area claims, and other questionable business practices ranging from irritating to illegal. Citing mandatory contract extensions in particular, a new survey of 47,000 users indicates that a majority are not happy with their provider. What will it take to cause a change in the wireless industry?
Read the full story at Information Week.
Perhaps huffing at your computer might get you somewhere if research at the Georgia Institute of Technology comes to fruition.
Shwetak Patel and Gregory Abowd from Georgia Tech have published a paper that describes how to use a computer microphone to determine where on a screen a person is blowing. The technique, which they call BLUI for Blowable and Localized User Interaction, can distinguish between the different sounds air makes depending on where the breath is directed.
"BLUI supports blowing at a laptop or computer screen to directly control specific parts of an interactive application, such as blowing at … Read more