Jul 19, 2011

Mac OS X Lion To Hit The App Store Tomorrow

Well it looks like the cat's finally out of the bag virtual box. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer just confirmed that Mac OS 10.7 is due to hit the Mac App Store tomorrow, making Lion available as a 4GB download for $30.

The new operating system packs 250 new features, including an iOS-like app launcher, multi-touch gestures, AirDrop for direct file sharing, and system-wide Resume. More enhancements that will feel particularly familiar to iOS users include a new version of Mail with conversation view, and reverse touchpad scrolling.

Google+ App for iPhone Now Svailable

Google promised that iPhone users would soon be getting a Google+ app of their own, and it's now here. Not surprisingly, it looks a lot like the Android app, including views of your main stream and nearby users, sharing via Circles, and support for the Huddle group messaging feature. It's not a universal app, though, so iPad users are still left out for the time being, as are those with an iPod touch.

Victorinox Swiss Army Slim, Slim Duo USB Drives

For frequent business travelers, the days of carrying around a Swiss Army knife on your keychain were gone even before the TSA was born. Well, that familiar pocket multi-tool is back, in the form of Victorinox's Swiss Army Slim and Slim Duo. Both products pack a tool that many of us use far more often than scissors and knives: the USB flash drive.

The colorful, waterproof storage devices are finally shipping, in capacities that range from 4GB ($40) all the way up to 128GB ($350) with the Slim Duo (which, as its name implies, includes a pair of 64GB drives). Both flavors are designed to let you file photos and presentations, not your fingernails -- but if you're looking to do both, Vic's got you covered there, too.

Jul 18, 2011

Acer Debuts WiDi-Equipped Aspire 5755 Laptop

Intent on buying a new Acer laptop but not satisfied with the just-announced TravelMate 8481 thin-and-light? Then perhaps you'll find the company's new and slightly larger Aspire 5755 model more to your taste. This one packs a 15.6-inch display with a rather lowly 1366 x 768 resolution, but it at least boasts some built-in WiDi so you can easily view movies (or anything else) on a larger display without the need for any pesky cables.

Otherwise, you'll get your choice of Intel Core processors (up to a Core i7-2820QM), up to 8GB of RAM and a maximum 1TB of storage, NVIDIA's Optimus-enabled GeForce GT 540M graphics, and either a Blu-ray or basic DVD drive -- all for a starting price of £899 (or roughly $1,440).

AIAIAI’s PX-0 Headphones Have Childlike Looks, but Promise Grown Up Sound

Danish audio purveyors AIAIAI have made some good products in the past: look no further than the TMA-1 headphones. Now they've teamed up with Teenage Engineering to deliver these lovely PX-0 earbuds, they also have an inline mic/remote, which make them just as useful when paired with a compatible smartphone or MP3 player. They're currently selling in Europe for €60.

Ideum's MT-55 'Platform' Multitouch Table Goes Ultrathin

You'll find a devilishly thin (3-inches) table, complete with 55-inches of 1080p gorgeousness, a 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio, 178-degree viewing angle and support for a 64-bit copy of Windows 7 Professional. The internal computer includes a dual-core Core i5 CPU (2.66GHz), 8GB of memory and a 128GB SSD; you'll also find WiFi, Bluetooth and a slew of "hidden ports."

The entire thing is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, and it supports a total of 32 touch points. If you've got the $17,950 to take one home, have fun!

Jul 17, 2011

Watching Progress Bars Move Just Got Infinitely Cuter With the Nyan Cat Download

Just when you were thoroughly bored of the ever-cute Nyan Cat, Ben Stone has only gone and made a custom Nyan Cat progress bar, which works on Windows 7 machines. It's a free download, so nyan nyan nyan on over. Get it here.

Droid 3 on Sale Now at Verizon Wireless

Big news for Big Red-eyed fans -- the Droid 3's finally made its dual-core, qHD, global 3G surfin' ways official at the carrier's retail outlets. You can pick this QWERTY slider up now for $199 on a two-year contract, or just go whole-hog and pay $459 with no strings attached. It's not the operator's top of the line offering, nor is it the increasingly mythical Bionic, but it should satisfy your Android needs.

Jul 16, 2011

See Like a Shark With These Fish Scale Goggles

While they don't come with gills, these goggles are good enough for any trip to the beach. Because they're made out of actual fish scales. Unique! Designed byErik de Laurens, they're part of a project he calls Fish Feast.

HP TouchPad Goes on Sale in The UK

Here's an interesting titbit: HP's TouchPad has already begun to ship to speciality shops in the land of untamed energy usage and a holier-than-thou attitude, but for the pernickety among us, you may know that the company's first webOS slate hasn't actually hit the streets of Londontown.

Until now, the 16GB WiFi model is going for £399, while a doubling of capacity will tack on a few extra quid.

GScreen's Dual-Screen SpaceBook Touts Twin 17-inchers

There's a new dual-screen beast in town, and it's not settling for second best. The first run of SpaceBooks is now up for pre-order, with each one offering a pair of 17.3-inch displays that boast a 1920 x 1080 screen resolution. Each panel slides out horizontally (think wings, but on a laptop), and creates quite the spacious area for creative professionals to immerse themselves in. 

The entry-level piece is being hawked for $2,395, which nets you a 2.66GHz Core i5-560M CPU, 4GB of DDR3 memory, NVIDIA's GeForce GTS 250M (1GB), a 500GB HDD, DVD burner and a magnesium alloy frame. The pricier sibling is marked at $2,795, with that premium grabbing you a 1.73GHz Core i7-740QM, double the RAM and quadruple the bragging rights. There's no exact word on when these will ship out, but you'll need th in-between time just to wrap your mind around the object you're certainly still peering at above.

Jul 15, 2011

iPhone 4 Case And IR Remote

Mashed Pixel's Surc iPhone 4 case is finally ready take on the challenge of making Apple's slab a universal remote now that it's on sale for a mere $74.95. The built in MicroUSB hookup and included cable means it can stay on even while charging before jumping into action when the companion app is opened on the phone. It can be controlled via buttons, gestures or motion control, with plenty of programmability built in.

The only downside we can find is that this is definitely a goner whenever you upgrade to Steve's next iThing, and it means leaving the sweet, potentially reception-improving case you already picked out behind.

Are Tablets Really PCs?

Microsoft insists tablets are Windows-powered mobile PCs. Even Windows Phone president Andy Lee, who should be pushing for a WP7 tablet, said, "We view a tablet as a PC."

Since the early days of the Origami project, Microsoft has looked at the tablet as a desktop replacement. Slates ran Windows XP or Windows 7; never Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7. This desktop approach hasn't worked so well in the past, but the company just won't let it go.

Microsoft probably believes its tablet strategy will work out better this time with Windows 8; but the runaway success of the iPad suggests otherwise. The iPad is popular because it is an oversized smartphone and not a notebook replacement.

Fujitsu TH40/D Tablet Finally Sliding Out in Japan

It's mid-July now, and things have been mostly quiet surrounding the 10-inch tablet's keyboard-packing goodness. The Windows 7 device, which debuted back in May, is now scheduled for a July 22nd release in its native Japan, according to new reports. Once that date rolls around, ¥80,000 (around $1,010) should buy you all the games of "hide-a-keyboard" that your heart desires.

Where Are All The Girls On Google+?

According to information from Google+ stat trackers SocialStatistics and FindPeopleOnPlus, the new social network is dominated by men.

 And it's not even close — up to 86.8% of all Google+ users are male. This distribution is much different from Facebook which has a 50/50 split of male and female users.

Jul 14, 2011

Even Batman Would Be Jealous of This Turbine-Powered Batmobile

The helicopter engine was originally used by the US Navy but has now been repurposed for this Batmobile. It packs 365hp and uses its jet thrust to "internally propel turbine blades that spin an output shaft after going through a planetary reduction gearbox". 

The Batmobile seats two in the cockpit where an iPad is set on its dashboard for no other reason than to have an iPad in a Batmobile dashboard. I'm sure Michael Keaton would even be impressed at how awesome this Batmobile replica is. 

These Retro Headphones Are Perfect for Any Era

IDEA International, the design shop, teamed up with one of Japan's oldest audio companies, Ashidavox, to create a pair of cans that look like they're from the 1970's. Or 60's. Or 50's. Whatever! They look as timeless as ever.

These IDEA x Ashidavox Dyanmic Headphones are obviously inspired (if not, directly related to) by the Ashidavox ST-90. The minimal retro design is the same but the headphone's internals have been reworked and rejigged around to provide better sound and comfort. The headphones can deliver a frequency range of 25-18,000Hz and use a special urethane material on its ear cups for more comfortable listening with the price of $140.

Bread In a Can

Mmm. Bread. Delicious (well, somewhat) canned bread. In Japan, canned bread is a tasty treat for otaku. Among the t-shirts and hug pillows being offered at an upcoming event for Xbox 360 gameDream Club, there are cans of bread. The cans feature characters from the virtual hostess game.

If you've never had Japanese canned bread, there is a novelty factor. Hey, bread in a can! But with so many delicious bakeries in the country, there's the simple question of why anyone would want it. Sure, you can carry it around, chuck it in your backpack. What canned bread does allow is the commodification of popular games or anime in way that bread wrapped in plastic bags does not. Slap an illustrated label on a can of bread, and bam, you've got Dream Club canned bread. Magic! It's much more striking than, say, Pok√©mon bread.

Canned bread is not a Japanese innovation. It's been available in New England for decades—B& M Brown Bread is a camping and emergency food stash stable. Boston brown bread was born out of necessity. Colonists baked bread from the resources they had, and since not all settlers had ovens, they cooked the bread in cans.

Jul 13, 2011

Magnetic Carabiners are the Next Big Thing

Black Diamond is developing carabiners that use magnetic power to lock themselves as opposed to the traditional twistlocks and screwlocks.

The Magnetron carabiner is supposed to be easier to unlock than traditional systems but still provide the same safety. Here's how it works:
• Magnetic attraction to a steel insert in the carabiner nose keeps two independent arms securely locked
• Locking arms must be individually depressed before the gate can be opened
• Once open, opposing magnetic fields repel the arms to ensure smooth and reliable gate operati
Ideally, it'll be a lot easier to use than the old method and can let people focus on scaling a cliff rather than screwing and unscrewing a carabiner. Sadly, the Magnetron carabiner won't be released until 2012. Guess my keys will have to wait.

Google+ Now Lets You Keep Your Gender Private

Google listened, and now lets you make your gender private in Google+. It also uses gender-neutral language—"they" as opposed to "him" or "her"—to make things simpler. Well done!

This Harry Potter Crop Circle Maze Definitely Wasn’t Created By Aliens

Neither aliens nor goblins had a hand in creating this "maize maze" near York, England—the farmer "Top Pearsy" (that's a name, yes) owned up and said he merely wanted to mark the ending of the Harry Potter moviethon.

Thank god he didn't carve the four Sex and the City women's likenesses in his corn fields.

Jul 12, 2011

Samsung NC215S Snetbook Delayed, Won't See Sunlight Until August

There was reported that Samsung's solar NC215S netbook was up for pre-order and now it's been delayed. Despite earlier estimates of a July 3rd US shipping date.

The solar-powered laptop won't make it to consumers until sometime in mid to late August, due to hold ups involving the machine's custom panels. They are hoping this doesn't spoil anyone's plans to journey out of the house this summer.

Klipsch’s Headphones Keep On Noise-Cancelling For 45 Long Hours

They can be used as normal stereo headphones should the battery run out of juice.

Coated in leather and with a 40mm woofer and 15mm tweeters inside, Klipsch's Mode cans haven't been priced yet but will be on sale sometime this Fall.

Bowers & Wilkins C5 iPhone Headset Oozes Luxury Into Your Ear Canals For $180

Crafted mostly from aluminum, its bullet-shaped earbuds look like a posh blend of the Zeppelin Air and Mini geared for mobile. The 'buds are iDevice compatible with an inline remote / mic to get a handle on phone calls or swap though playlists, and have a few unique features to boot. To ensure a proper fit on-the-move, you'll find Secure Loops that can be adjusted to hug the inner cartilage of your ear, along with added heft (Tungsten Weighting) near the inner-ear side for a tight seal. Internally, there's a Micro Porous Filter to widen the perceived soundstage, while also preventing any leakage to folks around you.

Jul 11, 2011

Why Google+? Your Parents Can’t Find You There

Presenting the next logical step in the "Google+ is good because it isn't Facebook" argument: you're much less in danger of constant parental surveillance. For now, anyway. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Acer's C110 Pico Projectors Aim to Please, Travel Well

The  DLP-powered beamer gets all the juice it needs via USB, measures just 110- x 85- 25mm and offers up a WVGA (854 x 480) native resolution. The LED bulb is said to last up to 20,000 hours, and it'll go from dead to dazzling in five seconds flat. 

Complete with an optional external battery good for two hours, a 1,000:1 contrast ratio and an identical WVGA resolution. This guy is to hit UK shops at the end of the month, with prices set at £199.

Steve Jobs Impersonator Officiates Mock Keynote

Well, there's clearly no better way to legitimize any new product than to have a faux Steve Jobs hawking it on-stage, in front of dozens of applauding mock journalists, with a 20-foot iPad 2 projected behind. The Jobs / John Stamos hybrid dropped by to pitch a Taiwanese company's vast selection of tea, of all things, for a TV advertisement that's apparently currently airing in Taiwan.

 Decked out in light jeans, a black mock turtleneck and sneakers, the impersonator even matched Steve's hair color, rimless glasses, and current weight. The only thing missing was an actual Apple product -- and months of media speculation. The "keynote" even ended with "one more thing," as they often do: Tea drinkers will have a shot at winning a bonafide iPad 2 with each purchase of oolong, milk, or Apple-infused Tong Yi Cha.

Jul 10, 2011

Pioneer's SE-CL331 Earbuds are Just Begging to Be Washed

The first-ever earbuds designed to be drenched they aren't, but they just might be one of the first to actually be "washable." Sure enough, Pioneer's new SE-CL331 headphones ($59.99) -- available in white, pink and bright blue hues -- can reportedly be "soaked and washed after every sports session without damaging sensitive electronic equipment." 

Furthermore, they boast a newfangled ear holder that keeps 'em in place while your body's in motion, and there's a two-layer mesh and rubber ring that'll prevent water from seeping in while submerged up to one meter of goop. The built-in 9mm drivers probably won't live up to Westone standards, but then again, you can't exactly take your ES5s into the kiddie pool.

Zuckerberg Is the #1 Most Popular Person! (On Google+)

Mark Zuckerberg is so rich and incredible that he's not only running the universe's most beloved social network, but is the most beloved person on Google+—his competition! What a guy. He's even beating Google's own CEO.

According to Google+ stat-tracking site SocialStatistics, Zuck's topping out the Google+ popularity contest with over 29,000 followers. Google CEO Larry Page is a distant second with almost 20,000, and everyone he works with has to follow him, or else they get thrown into the giant Google people-masher that powers their data centers. So, that's pretty sad right? Furthermore, isn't 29,000 a pretty paltry number?

Jul 9, 2011

Concrete Speakers Sound Solid

Concrete isn't usually associated with elegance and beauty but Israeli designer Shmuel Linski wants to change that. His "Exposed" concrete speakers are the latest in a series of high-end concrete product concepts.

It is worth pointing out that concrete is an awful medium for making traditional speakers. Its stiffness distorts any sound it comes in contact with. That's why most speakers tend to be made of wood or plastic which can vibrate with the sound waves.

 Linski embraced this "problem" by selecting special Horn drivers which work with the material rather than against it. The sound is channeled from the Horns through the hollowed out body and out the bottom, resulting in what he refers to as "a sense of nirvana for concrete lovers and audiophiles."

Twitter and Flickr Light Up the Planet

People love visualizing internet usage, mostly because it's very pretty. But photographer and NYT tech editor Eric Fischer's outdone himself with perhaps the prettiest one of all, mesmerizingly mapping Flickr and Twitter use across the dark surface of the Earth.

The data from North America is pretty surprising! Twitter use is heaviest on in the Southeast and Eastern Seaboard, with much less action on the typically tech-heavy west coast. The central states are, unsurprisingly, something of a dead zone.

The rest of the world is mostly dark—according to this visualization, Twitter and Flickr are almost entirely an activity of the Western World. Oh, and New Zealand. Which loves Flickr.

Jul 8, 2011

Western Digital's My Book Studio Jumps to 3TB

Hard to say how long WD's going to keep its My Book line. Thy just announced a gently refreshed version of its My Book Studio, now available in capacities reaching 3TB and sporting a flashy new exterior that should blend right into your Mac Pro + Cinema Display setup.

These new models are equipped with a brushed aluminum casing and rely on Western Digital's Caviar Green HDDs to handle the ints and outs. You'll also find FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 interfaces, meaning that Thunderbolt aficionados should probably be turning their nose up right about now. The new guys are available with pricing set at $149.99 (1TB), $199.99 (2TB) and $249.99 (3TB).

Someday You Could Say Goodbye To Sunburn Pain

You learn very quickly that most over the counter medicines only mask the agonizing pain of a sunburn for a short time. Medicines can't remove this terrible discomfort, because, until now, scientists didn't what caused it.

In a significant discovery, researchers from Kings College London may have identified one protein responsible for this searing pain. Called CXCL5, it shows up in large quantities in the sunburned skin of human and mice test subjects.

When the researchers injected this protein back into the mice, it caused a level of pain similar to the original burn. The team then added an antibody that neutralizes CXCL5 and the pain went away. This discovery is not a panacea for those who fall asleep while worshipping the sun, but it could lead to the development of medicines that block, not just dull the pain of a sunburn.

Jul 7, 2011

Surgeons Perform the World’s First Synthetic Organ Transplant

For the first time in history, a patient has been implanted with a synthetic windpipe that was created using the patient's stem cells and a replica of his original windpipe. It's amazing even though it kinda looks like PVC piping

It's the future of medical science: there's no donor needed and no depressingly long wait times. Scientists from London created the replica using 3D scans of the 36-year-old patient. The material was made from polymers with a spongy and flexible texture with stiff rings around the tube to recreate a more human-like trachea. They coated and soaked the trachea model in a solution of stem cell's taken from the patient's bone marrow and after two days, the patient's own tissues had grown to cover replica. 

According to the Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, a professor at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm that performed the surgery, said the "stem cells from the own patient were growing inside and outside. This structure was becoming a living structure." It's been a month since the surgery and the patient's body has accepted the synthetic organ and he should be released soon. The doctors hope that it can lead to more artificial organs for future transplants. Not cloning!

US Army Bans Toe Shoes for Looking So Damn Goofy

FiveFingers running shoes and the rest of the quasi-barefoot movement are a pretty zealous bunch—they wear a pretty polarizing shoe. But the debate is now quashed in the military, with an official ban. Why? They look too silly.

According to an official Army memo, FiveFingers and any similar shoes "that feature five separate, individual compartments for the toes" are banished from military footsies on the grounds that they "detract from a professional military image."

Acer Starts Rolling out Android 3.1 Update For The Iconia Tab A500

Acer has started pushing out an update for its Iconia Tab A500 that will upgrade the 10-inch slate to Android 3.1. The update actually leaked late last month, but would have required folks to take the risk of flashing their tablets.

Jul 6, 2011

The Zilch Is as Minimal as a Sport Sandal Can Get Away

The Zilch by Teva is a sport sandal for minimalists, and it lives up to its name. With a thin footbed and highly flexible design, you'll want them mostly for casual hiking and camping. Plus you can fold them away at a whim.

Don't expect to do anything too out of the ordinary in these, though. They're just a step above walking barefoot, even if they're more than your average flip-flop. $80. You can find them here: GearJunkie

iPad Makes up One Percent of Global Web Browsing

This is surely the sort of thing Apple likes to see -- it might not be the prettiest graph in the world, but it certainly drives home the fairly consistent growth of the iPad's global web browsing share. Back in April of last year, the company's "magical" tablet had nabbed 0.03 percent of global web traffic in its first week.

The decimal point has moved a couple of places, according to NetMarketShare, with the device now making up more than one percent of worldwide web browsing. That number is even higher in the US, at 2.1 percent, with the iPhone and Android devices pulling in 2.9 and 2.6 percent, respectively. As for Apple's share of tablet traffic -- well, there's not a heck of a lot to report on that front.

Nokia 700 'Zeta' Gets Classy

The Nokia 700 "Zeta," with the 1GHz, Symbian Belle opting for a white front and chrome back instead of the black and candy-apple combo. This could mean that, like many Nokia handsets before it, a rainbow of various hues will be available to choose from the moment the device launches.

Jul 5, 2011

Veho Bluetooth Headphones Gumball Edition

Veho's entry into the reasonably saturated market sits just above the pricing sweet spot at $110, but it does sport some nice features like touch controls on the side for manipulating your iDevice or smart phone, and a mic for use as a hands-free headset.

The lithium-ion battery inside can keep these folding over-ear phones pumping out Springsteen bootlegs and Joell Ortiz mixtapes (gotta cover all your bases, right?) for up to ten hours. And, if all black isn't you're thing, the Gumball 3000 edition adds some bright orange flair.

Corsair's Speedy, Flaming red Force GT SSD

These bad boys also promise up to 85,000 random write IOPS and are rated for impressive read / write speeds of 550 MBps and 525 MBps -- a shade higher than the specs being bandied-about when Corsair showed it off back in March. The drive also supports SATA 3, is backward-compatible with SATA 2, and ships with a 3.5-inch adapter that'll work with both desktops and laptops. Look for it this month in two sizes: 60GB ($149) and 120GB ($279).

Toshiba Reveals the Qosmio F750 Glasses-Free 3D Laptop

Toshiba just unveiled what it claims is the world's first glasses-free 3D laptop, the Qosmio F750. It's a heavy-set beast dedicated to gaming and movies, with a 15.6-inch Full HD lenticular screen that can display 2D and 3D simultaneously in separate windows.

 It also rocks an HD webcam that follows your movements and adjusts the 3D effect accordingly, so you can peek at the that lovely third dimension from almost any angle you like. Innovative stuff indeed, but how well does it all stack up? As for pricing and release, the laptop would be on the shelves in early August, with a price of £1300 ($2100).

Jul 4, 2011

Soda Now Comes in Convenient Foam Spray-Can Form

Look at this young man! Look at how happy he is! The can, which retails for about $2.50 US, might remind you something of a Cheez Whiz container. 

That's fine, we should all be thinking about Cheez Whiz as much as possible. But the real breakthrough, the one I'd like to see in my lifetime, is a foam soda that's Cheez Whiz-flavored. That's the grail, science. Seek it. 

Jul 3, 2011

Facebook Will Launch Video Chat Powered by Skype?

Microsoft's $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype hasn't closed yet, but it looks like Redmond is already working behind the scenes to make the service even more ubiquitous. According to an anonymous source interviewed by TechCrunch, Facebook is going to introduce video chat next week, and that service will be powered by none other than Skype. And while the service will be browser-based, it's also said to include a desktop component. 

What's more, Facebook sent out invites for an event next week, where Mark Zuckerberg was clear the outfit would unveil a new product from its Seattle team. That's in Microsoft's backyard, of course, the invites themselves have chat icons on 'em, and, most tellingly, that Seattle office has been snapping up engineers specializing in desktop software. 

Samsung's Galaxy S II Becomes Company's Quickest Selling Phone: Three Million in 55 Days

Samsung sold three million of its original Galaxy S phone in 85 days. A few months later, a full ten million had been moved. Now, it looks as if the superphone's proper successor may put that latter statistic to shame. The outfit just announced that it took but 55 days to move three million Galaxy S II handsets, which works out to one phone every 1.5 seconds.

It's Sammy's briskest-selling smartphone ever, and if it'll keep up the pace once that AT&T variant lands on US soil. Which iscoming soon, right Samsung?

Droid 3 Leaks Reveal Manual, Confirm July 7th and 14th Release Dates

The oft-leaked Motorola Droid 3 is dripping information yet again, this time over on Droid-Life where an internal flyer confirms it will be available at retail locations July 14th, with direct fulfillment orders starting a week earlier. Iis a confirmed price for Verizon's QWERTY slider w/ 1080p camera and dual core processor.

Jul 2, 2011

GSM Turns 20 today

Happy birthday, dear Global System for Mobile Communications! 20 years ago today, on July 1 1991, the world's first GSM call was made by Finnish Prime Minister Harri Holkeri. The historic call used Nokia gear on GSM's original 900MHz band. Today GSM is all grown up and ruling the world -- connecting 1.5 billion people in 212 countries and serving 80% of the planet's mobile market.

It was the first fully digital cellular system using TDMA to cram more information into less spectrum and provide better sounding, more reliable calls using less power. It introduced the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM), the idea of switching handsets at will (something carriers have sought to subvert by locking phones), and the reality of international roaming.

Short Messaging Service (SMS) was first launched on GSM networks, along with packet data (GPRS and later EDGE), which made internet access practical on mobile devices. Eventually, GSM expanded to the 400, 800, 1800 and 1900MHz bands and evolved into WDCMA-based UMTS (3G) and later HSPA and HSPA+, followed byLTE (4G) networks.

So next time you're at the coffee shop sipping on that latte while uploading that video to YouTube at 10Mbps using your LTE phone, remember to be thankful for that first GSM call 20 years ago -- that's when the mobile revolution really started.

Where to Get the Best Fireworks in America

If you're really into fireworks, maybe you should move your butt to any square state. But whatever you do, don't move to New York, New Jersey, Delaware or Massachusetts. They have a total ban. The awesomerest state is South Carolina.

There they have prohibited any small rockets less than 3 inches long and half an inch thick. That's right: They have a ban on ridiculously sized fireworks.

The nation's capital is, ironically, the lamest when it comes to celebrate the 4th of July. It doesn't have a total ban, but look at their description: Prohibited products include, but are not limited to, "firecrackers of any kind of description. Any fireworks that explode [...] or intended to move after the piece is placed and fires."

Jul 1, 2011

Windows Phone Marketplace is Growing

It's not just Apple's App Store striding past milestones today, Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace has also rounded a notable marker in its development. Specifically, it's now reported to have passed 25,000 apps by one site tracking comings and goings within it, though that figure's up for debate as the other WP7 apps tracker still lists the total at just under 25k.

 The main point is that the WP7 ecosystem is growing, and faster than previously at that -- it took until the end of March to accrue 11,500 apps, a span of five months from its launch, whereas the last 13.5k have come in the brisker period of three months. Provided this acceleration continues, and there's no reason to expect it'll slow down with Mango on the horizon, Microsoft's mobile OS reboot promises to be in pretty competitive shape in time for its first anniversary.

Samsung Galaxy Z: Galaxy S II's 'Affordable Little Brother'

Been lusting after the Galaxy S II, but aren't willing to break the bank? Apparently Samsung does too. Billed as a more affordable spawn from its Korean progenitor. The Gingerbread-toting handset will sport a 4.2-inch Super Clear LCD, 1GHz dual core processor (rumored to be Tegra 2), and 8GB of onboard storage, extensible with microSD.

Fret not camera junkies, also present is a 5 megapixel sensor plus flash and "HD" video recording. All that stands between you and this little Galaxy, are 4,000 kronor (about $630) and your undying love of Swedish meatballs.