Google has been once again revamped its iGoogle start page for easier use on iPhone and Android handsets. It lets you see and interact with your gadgets in a similar fashion to the desktop version, by making use of tabs and displaying content that runs in iFrames. The previous version, which was mysteriously discontinued by Google in late January, simply put everything into one, large vertical stream, and required you to go back and forth to get at different sets of widgets.
One nice feature that was not found in the previous version, is the option to set certain widgets … Read more
Virgin Mobile USA is launching a new pay-as-you-go mobile broadband service called Broadband2Go.
The service uses Sprint's EV-DO Rev. A network. It will not require a monthly subscription nor will it require an activation fee. To use the service, people need to buy a Novatel USB broadband modem that costs about $149 from Best Buy.
The device and service will be available in late June, the company said. The service is sold in megabyte and gigabyte packages. For $10 a month, users can get 100MB of data usage for 10 days. For $20 they can get 250MB of data, … Read more
MobileMe's Find My iPhone service is alive and ready for anyone using iPhone OS 3.0. Using it allows you to locate your iPhone or iPod Touch on a map, send a message along with a sound to the device, or wipe your device remotely if its been misplaced, lost, or, stolen.
Here is the location screen for an iPhone (iPod Touch is similar in all cases below) in the Account settings section at me.com.
The location screen supports the following actions:
Press the Update Location button and MobileMe will attempt to query your iPhone and display an updated map showing its location.
Press the Display a Message... button, and MobileMe will send a text message to your phone that displays with an optional sound playing for up to 2 minutes. You'll be prompted to enter your message and check the box to include the sound.
The message then appears on your iPhone like this:
Next, you get a confirmation e-mail that your message was sent, received, and displayed on your missing iPhone.
Press the Remote Wipe... button and MobileMe will remotely erase your iPhone. According to Apple:This will permanently delete all media and data on your iPhone, restoring it to factory settings. This will not suspend your wireless service. Once wiped, your iPhone will no longer be able to display messages or be located. Learn more.
You'll be prompted to erase your device with a warning that you cannot undo this process once it has started.
If the iPhone is eventually recovered, users can restore their data by enabling their MobileMe account on the iPhone or syncing with their computer. It's unfortunate that the iPhone cannot be completely disabled, but at least you have a chance of destroying your personal data if it lands in the wrong hands.
The system isn't foolproof, however. One problem with Find My iPhone, according to Jonathan Zdziarski in a Twitter post, is that, "There's a magic button on every iPhone a thief can use to disable remote wipe and LocateMe; it's called the SIM eject button."… Read more
Should you do a prepaid broadband card? What if it costs you more for the convenience? What if your payments expire after 10 days if you don't use them? You know what, we think the coffee shop is probably a better bet at that point. We also discuss why Microsoft has stopped making Money and what effect Craigslist has really had on the newspaper industry.Listen now: Download today's podcast Subscribe now: iTunes (audio) | iTunes (video) | RSS (audio) | RSS (video) Episode 995
KCBS celebrates 100 years http://www.rbr.com/radio/15066.html
DTV transition is nearly here. … Read more
In what appears to be another case of "good idea, poor execution," Heinz has partnered with Frazer Designers to invent the world's smallest USB-powered microwave. The little device aims to satisfy the appetites of office workers who have so much work on their plate they can't find the time to step outside for a bite to eat. Stranger still, the microwave is called...the Beanzawave (what?!).
The small turquoise device is officially the smallest microwave ever invented, measuring a tiny 7.4 inches tall, 6.2 inches wide, and 5.9 inches deep. Much like today'… Read more
Let me begin this by saying that I'm a stingy guy. In high school, I bought a hair clipper and adopted a buzz cut largely to save cash by not having to go to the barber. I will also stop dead in my tracks to pick up a penny.
So for me, spending $99 a year on Apple's MobileMe, a service that basically does Web e-mail, contact syncing, photo hosting, and file storage, was a hard sell--especially after its bad start. This week, however, Apple finally got me to take the plunge. Why? It's starting to add genuinely useful tools for Apple hardware owners, with the promise of more to come.
On Monday, the company demoed a new tool for MobileMe subscribers called "Find My iPhone" that lets you both find a lost (or stolen) iPhone, as well as remotely wipe its contents. You can also get it to ring and vibrate for two minutes straight, which can be a huge help if it's stuck between couch cushions or buried deep within a bag. Anyone who's been late to work, or had a near-heart attack from trying to find a lost phone can appreciate how this service alone may be worth a Benjamin.
Then there's the upcoming iDisk iPhone and iPod Touch application that lets you access files you've stored in your MobileMe online storage. This in itself is not groundbreaking, but if you're an iPhone or iPod Touch user who is already using MobileMe's online storage, it's a nice bonus. Apple is advertising this as a way to show off presentations and get at important business documents, but I'd argue that it's a great way to extend the limited storage on the iPhone by keeping some of your music and videos on MobileMe instead. If you've got a Wi-Fi connection, you can stream both.
But let's get back to the basics. Is the rest of the service worth the cash? Not in my mind--and a big, fat no if you're using it for the Web apps alone. Let's break it down:
For Web e-mail: No On the iPhone and iPod Touch, you get messages as soon as they're sent. On the browser, however, it's missing a lot of features that competitors like Yahoo and Google have had for years. Both of those services are free, and between Gmail's labs, and Yahoo's just-introduced apps platform, MobileMe's Web mail feels rudimentary. It also drives me nuts that the service logs you out after 15 minutes of activity. This isn't my bank account, it's my e-mail. (Note: readers wrote in to let me know that you can avoid having this happen if you check off the "keep me logged in for two weeks" option when first signing on).… Read more
On Wednesday Google released two small but important updates to the mobile version of Gmail. New to the service are keyboard shortcuts and address auto-completion; two time-saving features that desktop Gmail users have been enjoying for years.
The keyboard shortcuts (obviously) do not work on the iPhone. For now, Google is limiting them to Android phones with a physical keyboard. These are exactly the same as on the desktop version, so you don't need to re-learn anything.
The auto-completion, on the other hand, is available to everyone and is quite a time saver. It begins pulling up names from … Read more
A T-Mobile spokesman said on Tuesday that data someone posted to a security e-mail list over the weekend was legitimate T-Mobile data but not customer information, and that the phone company's network was not hacked or breached as the poster claimed.
The statement raises more questions than it answers. If indeed there was no network hack, could there have been an inside leak? Or could it have been something as low-tech as dumpster diving, in which records are obtained from trash bins outside a company's offices?
All T-Mobile would say is that it is investigating how the information … Read more
Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) have recently introduced the "Mobile Wireless Tax Fairness Act" (S 1192), which promises to enact a five-year halt on new or increased taxes on wireless infrastructure and services. It is supported by Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Patty Murray (D- Wash.), John Ensign (R-Nev.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
This bill is a companion to the "Cell Tax Fairness Act of 2009" (HR 1521) that was introduced a few months ago by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) of the House. HR 1521 … Read more