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Showing posts from April, 2008

Charge Your iPhone, Wirelessly

I've been waiting for this one for a while: WildCharge has finally released their pad-based charging system for small electronics: simply lay your device on the pad, and, courtesy of a special case, it immediately starts charging. No wires, no cords: Nada. and, of course, the next device it will work with? Yep, you guessed it: the iPhone. The $100 or so it costs ($60 for the pad; $35 for the case) is a bit steep, but I have to think it will come down. And, of course... how cool is this ?!??!? For more, check out WildCharge .

Frakking Bastards

Comcast adding SciFi to their HD lineup: good. Ability to watch the last season of Battlestar Galactica in HD: great. Comcast compressing the HD signal to the point of my DVR acting like it's had too much caffeine in trying to keep up with the compressed signal: Bad. Comcast once again admitting that they throttle bandwidth, but refusing to tell anyone why or under what standards they apply it to : Horrific. You'd think they would learn, as they are facing $100 million in fines from the FCC on their broadband throttling. But messing with people's HDTV? I can see a big boost for Verizon, AT&T, and DirecTV...

In Praise Of Hulu

I'm usually one of the first people to simply roll my eyes at the efforts of traditional broadcast media companies to adapt to the new paradigms of online penetration. Witness the debacle of various networks as they hemmed and hawed about putting their shows on iTunes, only to pull them off over perceived pricing disputes. Or watching movie studios and television networks turn on their ardent consumers who would gladly pay to watch their content on alternate devices (iPods, laptops, etc.) by suing them. I have been patently disgusted with the 19th century approaches most have taken in the past, so months ago when I read that NBC and Fox were planning to respond to the constant "piracy" of having their shows show up on YouTube by building an online site dedicated to video streaming, I snorted in derision, and passed it off as another lame attempt to convince less knowledgeable viewers that they truly were "cutting edge." Ok, I can admit it: I was dead wrong. Hulu

Jailbroken...and Happy

I have a confession to make: I am now officially a fugitive. Last weekend, after a cross-country trip, I vowed to Jailbreak my iPhone. Not familiar with the term? It refers to a process that unlocks your iPhone so you can install programs on it, extending the functionality. Now, Apple is already moving this way with the release of the SDK, and I will be very happy to reap the benefits, but I'm a tinkerer at heart. My PC's always have custom skins, I have hacks and shortcuts in my browsers, and more. That, combined with the need to have local games (not a lot of WiFi at 30,000 ft.), sent me on a collision course with Steve & Co. First, how do you Jailbreak an iPhone? It's surprisingly simple. First, I downloaded ZiPhone , a Windows application that made it as simple as double clicking. A couple of iPhone restarts, and I was free as a bird. The unusual part of Jailbreaking is how you get the applications after you've Jailbroken: you can really only download them with

Dark Side Of The Sun

Not sure if Yahoo is reflecting on their dark mood after Microsoft's ratcheting of the takeover bid, but my Yahoo Widget Engine weather widget apparently is either forcecasting a black hole, an eclipse, or the end of the universe today. Or it just forgot it's daytime. :-) No worries; the sun IS still shining here. YWE obvious is trying out the new "mood ring" function.

Mobile TripIt...Just In Time

Great news, just in time for my upcoming trip: instead of the innovative, but practically dubious, previous " mobile " TripIt access, TripIt itineraries are now truly mobile . Great news, following right on the heels of my installation of Remote Calendars, allowing me to sync any iCal feed to Outlook; I was using it to sync my TripIt itineraries. If you are a TripIt user, head on over to m.tripit.com and see for yourself.

The Icarus Effect

This morning's news started with the latest grim proof of overdevelopment in a tough sector: SkyBus Airlines shut down , less than year from when it started. Never heard of Skybus? Not surprising; they chose to focus on trips from Ohio to the West Coast for ridiculously low fares. Yes, you read that right: the airlines' unique niche was that they focused on trips from Ohio . Was air travel such an amazingly profitable business that we needed that much segmentation and focus? Of course not. A year ago, when Skybus was just getting off the ground (har har), fuel costs were at an all time high. United was still in bankruptcy; Delta, a fellow airline with a major hub in Ohio, was just exiting Chapter 11. And yet, "irrational exuberance" led investors like Nationwide Mutual Capital, Huntington Capital Investment Co., and Battelle Services Co. to ignore the obvious signs of risk, and dive into what was a dubious investment. Today, they, and the passengers who were lured by

Sweet Team Spirit

With the Olympics looming large, there's been a lot of discussion on my daily ferry commute about the rise of China in the international stage, and, of course, the debate if the USA has already gone past it's nadir as the pre-eminent international power. In other words, has the USA already begun its decline, like the great empires before it? Many factors lead to this possibility, primarily the lack of investment in a manufacturing base: when a society becomes so wealthy that they find it less expensive to send work to another country, or to employ illegal aliens, no matter how trivial or important the work, I maintain that it is officially on the decline. As part of this exercise, we look at key indicators that might represent the telltale signs of when the USA "jumped the shark." For the Roman empire, it might have been the gladiatorial games and vomitoriums; the British empire saw the East India Company become it's de facto ambassador to the world. What might t

Yer All Wet

We may, as a society, disagree with many things, but there has been one truth we all seem to instinctively agree on: drinking lots of water is good for your health. However, as with all good maxims, it's occasionally important to test them for reality. And, according to the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, this wives' tale is all wet. Turns out, drinking more water not only does not improve skin tone or reduce appetite, but actually can even be harmful, possibly causing kidney damage. The irony of this to me is not that yet another accepted truism has fallen by the wayside, but more that this was forecast by the most unlikely of prognosticators, Lewis Black . He of the waggling finger, and apoplectic screaming fits, the man predicted this very thing years ago in his HBO Broadway special, Black on Broadway , as well as a hilarious and wry look at the history of this admonition, as well as it's possible origin. Take 10 minutes, sit back and prepare to laugh.