I'm sure I've baffled a few readers after several days of Web video on Ferraris and then totally switch gears and start showing videos of minivans, showing moms and their little kids. But variety is the spice of life, my friends, and besides, the thing won a prestigious award at the International Auto Show in Detroit this week for being "Truck of the Year" (interesting, seeing as this is a cargo van, but anyway...). Tuesday's Web video demonstrated the Ford TC's usefulness as a family vehicle, but today's clip basically serves as a … Read more
Anyone who thinks that American automobiles don't stack up against their European and Asian rivals may need to reconsider such an attitude. Why? Just recently two Ford vehicles won both of the prizes in the North American Car and Truck of the Year contests as decided by roughly 50 automotive critics at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The winning car was Ford's first foray into the world of hybrid vehicles (the Ford Fusion), and the other winner for Ford was its new Transit Connect van.
The Transit Connect part cargo van, with plenty of room … Read more
Episode 54 of the Digital City, where we discuss NYC's plan to stop taxi drivers from using cell phones and Washington's suddenly high-tech subway system.
Scott talks about his meeting with Shigeru Miyamoto, and Nintendo's big holiday gamble on New Super Mario Bros., while special guest Jeff Bakalar expresses his frustration with Jack Black's Brutal Legend.
And, in a nod to the hottest story of last week, we show off the very best Balloon Boy Web games (ok, the only Balloon Boy Web games we could find), and host the world podcast premiere of the parody … Read more
Wedding Album Maker Gold is an intuitive way to create custom slideshows and save them in a variety of formats. Although it's not the most sophisticated program we've ever seen, it's easy to use, and is a good choice for users that aren't too picky.
The program's interface is very intuitive, allowing us to create our first album in a matter of minutes. The program walks users through the process of selecting photos, adjusting transition effects, adding music, selecting a template and menu, and selecting the proper output format. The interface isn't particularly slick-looking, … Read more
Commuters on public transit want to know two fundamental things: when can I expect the bus or train to pick me up? And when will it drop me off at my destination?
Nowadays, they may also be wondering whether their local transit agency is willing to share that data with others to put it into new and helpful formats.
How likely is it that the arrival and departure information will be available on a site or service other than the official one? That depends on how open your local agency is. In some metro areas, transit agencies make data--routes, schedules, and even real-time vehicle location feeds--available to developers to mash into whatever applications they wish. In others, the agencies lock down their information, claiming it may not be reused without permission or fee.
In local blogs and on transit sites, outrage over agencies and companies that claim ownership of the data is growing. The core argument against locking down such data is that it's collected by or paid for by public, taxpayer-funded agencies and thus should be open to all citizens, and that schedule data by itself is not protectable content. The argument against is that the agencies might be able to profit from using the data if they can maintain control of it. The counter to that is the belief that if the data is open, clever developers will create cool apps that make transit systems more usable, thus increasing ridership and helping transit agencies live up to their charters of moving people around and getting as many private cars as possible off the roads.
Each city and metro area with a transit system is unique, but there are three cases in the U.S. that highlight the way the transit data drama can play out.
New York locks down subway schedules As reported last week at ReadWriteWeb and elsewhere, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Agency believes its public train schedules fall under copyright law and thus applied an interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to send a takedown notice to the developer of StationStops, an iPhone app that gives people access to train schedules on the Metro-North lines.
According to StationStops developer Chris Schoenfeld, the MTA claims that the StationStops iPhone app (not the Web site) infringes on MTA intellectual property. The MTA, Schoenfeld says, has sent a letter to Apple to get it to remove the app from the iTunes App Store. As of this writing, the $2.99 iPhone app is still available.
Schoenfeld does believe that he and the MTA will come to an agreement for use of the data, even though the initial communications were not promising: the MTA, he says, was asking for royalties on use of the data in arrears, at a price that would basically drive him out of business as an app developer in the category. Schoenfeld and his lawyer say that the data isn't protectable content.
Furthermore, Schoenfeld says the procedure that the MTA said it would use to update data for him and other developers is archaic: the MTA said the agency would send StationStops the schedule data on CD ROM, and that it would send him updates only after receiving paper letters requesting them--guaranteeing that Schoenfeld would never have current data.
Veterans are often reluctant to seek therapy for service-related conditions, but rather than write them off, scientists are creating a virtual online community where servicemembers can find the camaraderie and resources to ease their return to civilian life.
The "Transitional Online Post-deployment Soldier Support in Virtual Worlds" created by the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) will be ensconced within a corner of the virtual landscape of Second Life, a popular online 3D grid where people interact through avatars (PDF).
In the aftermath of the U.S. switchover to a new digital television standard, which became official on June 12, the man who saw it through a 25-year transition, Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro, likened the effort recently to "putting a man on the moon."
Speaking with CNET News by telephone from his Washington, D.C. office this week, Shapiro reflected on the cooperative effort undertaken by consumer electronics companies worldwide, the U.S. government, and broadcast, cable, and satellite providers. He says the transition was completely smooth but reflects on the bumpy road behind the scenes … Read more
Euro Calculator is a fast currency calculator that doesn't really separate itself from the myriad free online calculators. The program does its job well, but we were left wondering why users should choose it.
The program's interface will be fairly familiar to anyone who's used a computer calculator before. The program is organized the same, but with two data lines. Changing currencies takes a little experimentation or a brief trip to the Help file, but not too much work. Users simply input an amount of euros in the main data line or enter a math equation, then … Read more
President Barack Obama announced Thursday that he plans to nominate Meredith Attwell Baker, a former Commerce Department official, to fill the open Republican slot on the Federal Communications Commission.
Most recently Baker led the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA. This is the agency within the Commerce Department that was responsible for distributing the $40 coupons to consumers to convert their older analog TVs to receive digital TV signals. Baker came under fire earlier this year when the Commerce Department ran out of money for the coupons and millions of people were put on a waiting … Read more
BOULDER, Colo.--The age of peak oil is coming, and some say we're already there. So when the effects of rapidly rising oil prices start to seriously affect the world, will your community be ready?
To Michael Brownlee, a driving force behind a nonprofit here currently known as Transition Boulder County, there is no time to lose in answering that question.
Transition Boulder County is the local outcrop of a growing international movement built around the concept of Transition, or getting ready for a post-peak oil world, and the concern that the effects of such an environment could wreak … Read more