Japan’s Warp-Speed Ride to Internet Future

Broadband service here is eight to 30 times as fast as in the United States — and considerably cheaper. Japan has the world’s fastest Internet connections, delivering more data at a lower cost than anywhere else, recent studies show.
Accelerating broadband speed in this country — as well as in South Korea and much of Europe — is pushing open doors to Internet innovation that are likely to remain closed for years to come in much of the United States.
The speed advantage allows the Japanese to watch broadcast-quality, full-screen television over the Internet, an experience that mocks the grainy, wallet-size images Americans endure.
Ultra-high-speed applications are being rolled out for low-cost, high-definition teleconferencing, for telemedicine — which allows urban doctors to diagnose diseases from a distance — and for advanced telecommuting to help Japan meet its goal of doubling the number of people who work from home by 2010.

Taiwan isn’t Japan but the broadband penetration present here is nothing short of amazing. Something that can’t be envisioned in Canada or America for years to come.
Japan’s Warp-Speed Ride to Internet Future – washingtonpost.com


Why Apple Can’t Stop iPhone Hackers

AT&T and Apple may face an uphill battle prosecuting hackers who untether the iPhone from the AT&T wireless network.
Daidone says he doesn’t plan to sell unlocked iPhones just yet. Rather, he says that he wants Hotz to teach CertiCell’s technicians the secrets to unlocking other kinds of cell phones. But that could change—if he can clear up legal questions surrounding the practice of unlocking mobile phones. “As the need arises to unlock phones, we should be at the forefront of that,” Daidone says.

Why Apple Can’t Stop iPhone Hackers


Mountain Hardwear Scrambler Pack

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This bag makes allot of sense. Throw it in your large duffle, or if you must your wheeled luggage, and when you arrive at your destination you have a handy day pack for day time excursions. At first glance those straps might look uncomfortable but I think the increased air flow would be welcome in the heat.

An excellent accompaniment to a larger pack, the Scrambler compresses and packs into its own 7″ x 6″ x 3″ pocket. Pull it out and pack it with basics for your last leg to the summit or for a jaunt from base camp.
The 1,600 cu. in. capacity fits extra layers and a lunch. Two pockets in the hood let you keep smaller items easily accessible. Shock-cord web on the front of the pack compresses your load and provides external storage. A removable foam back-panel pad supports the pack’s contents and provides a pad for comfort when you’re sitting or belaying.

$50.00 at LL Bean.


Ambient Umbrella

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From Ambient Devices comes another useful tool. If rain is forecast, the handle of this umbrella glows so you won’t forget it. Embedded in the handle is Ambient’s wireless data-radio. This chip receives accuweather.com data for 150 U.S. locations and pulses in proportion to the likelihood of precipitation for your area; if there is a 100% chance, it will flash rapidly, and if a 10% chance, it will flicker slowly. Genius. Powered by a single C battery. Far more convenient than remembering to check the weather from the web or relying on outdated radio weather reports. The information is there when you need it as you walk out the door. From Ambient Devices. Available to purchase from Hammacher Schlemmer.


Tempo Wireless Hard Drive

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A concept for a bluetooth enabled hard drive from Cagnina Design.

Designed to mimic the look of a trash can, TEMPO is a unique hard drive storage device. Intended to protect the user from accidentally deleting files, it can also be used as an external storage device. As you delete files, they are automatically copied to the *TEMPO. As it fills up, led’s light the “can” from the bottom up, informing you of how much space is available.

Link. Via Core 77.


Plastic Clothes

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They are pilloried in the fashion world for their ugliness – but Crocs colourful rubber clogs have been such a cult hit that their manufacturer is launching a plastic-inspired clothing range.
Colorado-based Crocs yesterday announced that enthusiasts would soon be able to buy shirts, shorts and skirts containing its trademark Croslite soft, spongy foam resin. The resin will be blended with natural fibres such as cotton to create a breathable, sweat-resistant substance for outdoor activity.

Clog firm turns to plastic clothes


Nap Sac Travel Blanket

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A product that is almost perfect for traveling with the kids. With air carriers like Air Canada charging you for blankets and pillows this might turn out to be a necessity. Lug’s Nap Sac is a ‘cozy’ 2 in 1 pillow and blanket set. Remove the blanket from zip storage pouch, inflate the pillow, and the zip pouch becomes a pillow case. $28.00 at LUG.


Laptop Cool Feet

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If it wasn’t for the din of the office air conditioner the whine from my Powerbook’s fan would be the loudest noise in the room. When the ambient temperature gets high I wonder if the machine will actually explode. This is the price we pay when we buy gear that works so hard, something my mum is discovering having just spent most of our usual regular Sunday night call grilling me on why her new MacBook ‘laptop’ was so hot she couldn’t use it on her lap. Bluelounge’s Cool Feet look like a simple answer to the problem.
Cool feet are 4 small ‘feet’ with suction cups at the end that attach to the bottom of your laptop, allowing the heat to be dispersed properly. An added benefit is that in raising your laptop they also allow for greater ease in typing. I think they might also be a safeguard against accidental spills when working at a café. $12.95 from BlueLounge.


The iPhone Learning Curve

Whenever anything complex is manufactured in large quantities, there’s bound to be a certain amount of failure.
When the product being manufactured is as complex as an iPhone, where there are a scores of components, each of them complex in their own right and subject to their own potential failures, then the mathematical likelihood of a glitch in the final product increases.
What’s important about bugs or glitches in any new product, annoying as they may be, is what the manufacturer learns from each individual episode and what’s done about it to ensure that it doesn’t recur. Henry Ford called failure an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

Apple’s iPhone Learning Curve


Keeping in sync with your spouse

Sadly this is also a common thread in my life:

Sometimes when you get home from work and the kids are hollering about dinner, babies needing a change, and you just have time to kick off your shoes and throw something in the microwave, you don’t really get a chance to talk to your spouse. In my case, with twins and a 3-year old, it can be days before I actually get a chance to ask him how he’s feeling or what he’s been doing. That’s where Gmail chat comes in. Both my husband and I are on Gmail (his company uses it as a part of Google Apps and, of course, so does mine). So even if I fall asleep within minutes of wrestling my son into bed, at least my husband has already heard about how I’m feeling throughout the day. With a little :-) and a little <3, it's a wonderful way for us to stay connected.

Official Gmail Blog: Tips from a Digital Mom


When Lost Bags Put You on a Carousel

“What is the airlines’ responsibility in such a situation, and what are the travelers’ options in making sure that this responsibility is fulfilled?”
It’s a question on many travelers’ minds these days as reports of mishandled luggage continue to increase. The top 20 domestic airlines mishandled 7.92 checked bags per 1,000 passengers in June, higher than both June 2006’s 6.30 rate and May 2007’s 5.93 mark, according to the most recent Air Travel Consumer Report issued by the Transportation Department.

I love this completely unbelievable quote – who are these people – it is an outrageous amount:

“When you think about it, 2,300 euros for four people (clothes for one week) is not outrageous, but it was about $3,000 more than we had planned on spending.”

When Lost Bags Put You on a Carousel – New York Times


Availabot – IM presence monitor

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I want my interfaces everywhere.

Availabot is a physical representation of presence in Instant Messenger applications. Availabot plugs into your computer by USB, stands to attention when your chat buddy comes online, and falls down when they go away. It’s a presence-aware, peripheral-vision USB toy… and because the puppets are made in small numbers on a rapid-prototyping machine, it can look just like you.

I love devices like this.
More info here.


Lexaphone Skype phone

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If you are a heavy user of Skype or MSN for voice calling an investment such as this might make some sense for you. AT $70.00US it’s more expensive than some alternatives. Great styling on the device, reminiscent of some of the work down by Braun ages ago (their calculator and more recently the calculator on the iPhone).
Simply plug it into your computer’s USB port and dial anywhere in the world for free! Lightweight and compact, it’s great for use with a laptop when you travel.
$70.00US


MEC Duffle

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My family arrived home from their long sojourn in Canada and after they all had gone asleep I had the opportunity to check out the MEC duffle bag that I mentioned a while back. So far I’m quite impressed. Great seams, zippers, and pretty solid through-out. I do like the fabric used in the Trager better but at the price we paid for this I think we have nothing to complain about. One downside of a duffle this large, and of this quality, is the ability to completely fill the space without any worry of breakage. It gets heavy! Full this bag weighed 65 kilos making it an exhausting haul without a cart (I got tired carrying from the car to the house). Only$32.00CAN for the large one at MEC.