Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

December, 2011 Archive

69

December 23, 2011 • News

(Don’t) Hold the Phone: NTSB Secretary Nixes Support for Hands-free Ban

A week ago Michael Anderson posted a thought-provoking article here about the National Transportation Safety Board showing data that tended to support the notion that hands-free cellular use was just as hazardous as using a handheld phone. That the NTSB was mulling a recommendation for total cell phone/hands free ban was dire news indeed, both …

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167

December 23, 2011 • News

US Cellular Launching Huawei Ascend II in January for FREE After Rebate!

Phones such as the Samsung Repp and HTC Wildfire have shown that low-end devices still have much to offer, and the Huawei Ascend II looks to step in at a somewhat higher level but still be available for free after rebate! This is the description: The Huawei Ascend IITM with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) is your …

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112

December 23, 2011 • News

It’s the End of B&N As We Know It

Oh Barnes and Noble…I keep saying you aren’t Borders, and then you go and stock crock pots for the holidays. Cooking appliances. In a bookstore. Not even near the cookbooks, just chilling near bargain titles. Why? Did the NOOK line open the floodgates? Are you morphing into Target by carrying appliances while Target morphs into …

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128

December 22, 2011 • Reviews

Speck CandyShell View for iPhone 4/4S Video Review

I had two different students come in to see me the other day. Both had brand new iPhones. Both iPhones were in the same style of case although in different colors. Yes, both students had opted to buy Speck’s CandyShell case to protect their new iPhone. The CandyShell line has been a huge hit for Speck …

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86

December 22, 2011 • eBooks, Gear Bits

Wired Illustrates the Limitations of Paper Publishing

Over at Teleread, they’ve called Wired magazine onto the carpet for a set of eBook reader reviews that pitted the low-end Kindle against touchscreen, higher-end competitors, and for not breaking out the Special Offers/non-special offers versions of the Kindle. The Wired writer responsible for the segment responded in the comments, and after a few days …

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198

December 22, 2011 • Reviews

Speck CandyShell Card for iPhone 4/4S Video Review

The other day we reviewed Sena’s gorgeous Hampton Wallet for iPhone 4/4S. It is a luxurious leather case that doubles as a wallet and is a pleasure to hold and to use. Yesterday, however, I found myself a tiny bit frustrated by having to open the cover each time I wanted to access my phone. …

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107

December 22, 2011 • Gaming, Rants and Raves

Direct2Drive Being Absorbed Into GameFly … Prepare to Lose Some Games!

What is the first thing you do when someone tells you not to worry? That’s right – you start worrying! Earlier this year I posted about how IGN had sold Direct2Drive to GameFly. GameFly is a console game rental subscription service, and had wanted to branch into PC game distribution and potentially rentals and saw …

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106

December 22, 2011 • News

TimeHop Rewinds Your Social Networking Calendar

One thing I like about the Facebook Timeline view (perhaps the only thing) is the ability to hop back in time to see what was going on in 2007. Now TimeHop will help you get a daily dose of short-term nostalgia. TimeHop sends a daily email of the user’s activity on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and …

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114

December 22, 2011 • Rants and Raves

Amazon Reminds Google … ‘Um, We OWN This Whole Mega-Deal Thing’ …

I should have known better than to rush into buying music on Google. As I say repeatedly, they have the absolute worst music service bar none. Yet that old siren song of ‘great music, low prices’ lulled me into not checking Amazon. BIG MISTAKE. On Google I got the music, can play it on my …

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277

December 21, 2011 • News

Evernote Essentials Extra: Remember the Rare

Many of the people I’ve turned onto Evernote find it invaluable. Others, however, underutilize the service and, as a result, don’t see what the big deal is. That’s where Evernote Essentials: The Definitive Getting Started Guide for Evernote by Brett Kelly comes in. As Brett explains: The amount of information we want and need to …

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197

December 21, 2011 • Gear Bits, Music Diary

Random Cool Video: Lyle Mays Makes Rare Appearance

For fans of pianist Lyle Mays, best known as the keyboardist and co-composer with the Pat Metheny Group, ANY sighting or musical release is an event. This isn’t just because his music is wonderful – it is because it so rarely happens! His last album Some video just surfaced from a CalTech series early this …

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131

December 21, 2011 • Music Diary, News

University Report Attempts to Mathematically Describe ‘How to Make a Hit Song’

Do you know what it takes to make a hit song? Mathematicians from Bristol University in the UK purport that their ‘Hit Equation’ is extremely accurate at predicting what will and will not be a hit. They have a site called Score-a-Hit that describes all of this. Here is a snip: Mathematical Definition To quantify …

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159

December 21, 2011 • Reviews

Sena Hampton Wallet for iPhone 4/4S Review

I left my house yesterday and headed into the office. I was in the car. My iPhone was in the car. My wallet, however, was on the kitchen table. Oops. Yes, I NEVER leave home without my iPhone but, time and again, I seem to forget my wallet. That is a bit of a problem …

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173

December 21, 2011 • News

Box.net Becomes ‘Box’, Details Future Plans

For most people, when they hear ‘box’ related to cloud storage they might think of ‘another’ company, but Box.net has been a very popular service and has recently been giving away ’50GB for Life’ to mobile users. Now they are changing things again, starting with their name – they are now just BOX. Here are …

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112

December 21, 2011 • Gaming, Reviews

Star Wars The Old Republic Launches, My Hands-On Thoughts

One of the most highly anticipated games of the year launched today – STAR WARS™: The Old Republic™ from LucasArts and Bioware. The game is in the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) genre, and has been compared to the hugely popular World of Warcraft in terms of style, though obviously in a very …

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348

December 21, 2011 • Gaming, Reviews

PlayStation 3 Review: Goldeneye 007: Reloaded

James Bond’s successful Nintendo Wii installment of Goldeneye expands to the PlayStation 3 with PlayStation Move compatibility, a special “sharpshooter” bundle, and an exclusive character/weapon.

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105

December 21, 2011 • Autos, News

OnStar and NORAD warming up the Santa Tracker

As Christmas Eve approaches and the world eagerly awaits the arrival of Ole’ Saint Nick, children of all ages can track the big guy as he and his sleigh make their way around the globe visiting those of us who have been naughty or nice. OnStar, in partnership with the North American Aerospace Defense Command …

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60

December 21, 2011 • News

The Hobbit First Teaser Trailer Released

The first view of JRR Tolkein’s universe most of us got was through the wonderful story ‘The Hobbit’, which is a less intimidating initial read than the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now we get a first look at the upcoming Hobbit film made by Peter Jackson with most of the original Lord of the …

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190

December 21, 2011 • News

“Healthy” Foods To Avoid

(image courtesy alldietsreview) Sure, you want to eat better, and maybe that’s your new years resolution. But be very, very careful when shopping, as labels like “natural” and “low fat” don’t always mean something is good for you. While that’s become (somewhat) common sense, it seems like crappy foods are finding more and more ways …

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117

December 21, 2011 • News

Griffin and Third Man Records Put a Spin on Your iPhone 4S with a Case Custom Cut from a 7” Vinyl Record

My hometown of Nashville, TN is full of stars, and not just the country music kind. It’s a little-known secret that lots of actors and musicians from other genres choose to live in the area because, in general, we Nashvillagers pretty much leave them alone when we see them out in public. Nicole Kidman shops …

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82

December 21, 2011 • News

If You Can’t Beat ’em, Eat ’em: Nuance Buying Vlingo

Last May we published a post entitled Bloomberg Businessweek: A More Nuanced Approach to Discussing Nuance Please. In it I wrote Yesterday Bloomberg Businessweek published a rather scathing article about Nuance and its approach to business; it was heavy-handed and one might say once-sided. I went on to say that The article highlights the back …

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