Two weeks ago I wrote about some active speculation regarding the announcement of the not-so-secret Dell Mini-Inspiron (I guess Minspiron sounds too weird?).
Everyone expected the machine to be announced during a special Dell press event held that week; but we got nothing.
In the meantime, Asus, Acer, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Everex, Fujitsu and even LG have either released or announced their own Netbook. Everyone knows Dell will have one, so what is taking them so long?
I had initially set my sights on getting one of their shiny mini Inspiron machines, but ended up succumbing to the draw of the Acer Aspire One. At $350 it is (in my opinion) the best value for money in Netbook land at the moment.
- 8.9″ screen
- Intel Atom 1.6GHz CPU
- 120GB hdd
- 1GB ram
- 3 USB ports
- 1 SD slot for storage expansion
- 1 multi-card reader slot
- Windows XP
The Aspire One (with Windows XP) launched for $429, then dropped to $399, then dropped again to $349. It was on sale this weekend at Bestbuy, but most vendors have yet to lower the price from $399. A Linux version of this machine is available for $329, but it lacks the 120GB HDD opting for an 8GB SSD drive instead. Perhaps I’ll give Dell a chance if they ever release their machine, but the Acer is making me mighty happy in the meantime.
Each week I’m going to pick several posts from the Flyertalk travel technology forum, and share them with you. Here are some of the highlights from the past week:
Jason8612 asks how to remove scratches from his Blackberry – I advise him to get a tube of scratch remover. I’ve used that product in the past, and it’s been great. Links to the product are in the thread.
KRSW wants to know what the best bedroom alarm clock is – It’s not exactly travel related, but unless you are able to get out of bed on time, you won’t be traveling anywhere soon!
Pittpanther needs a new smartphone but finds the email options confusing – the answers in that thread might be able to help you. Email on smartphones is indeed a real mess at the moment.
Orionve has some questions about using GPS in flight – and the regulars in the travel technology forum have the answers.
That’s it for this week. If you have a thread on Flyertalk you’d like to bring to my attention, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Flyertalk user “jpatokal” says he was unhappy with FlightMemory.com, so he sat down and built his own version. If you are not familiar with either site; they allow frequent fliers to log the trips they took and display their trip history on a map. It isn’t necessarily useful, or very handy, but it’s great fun and a handy way to see just how much of the world you have visited.
In the past, I played with several of these sites and settled for a desktop version instead of an online application; Flightmap runs on XP and Vista and allows me to enter my flights without the need to be online. It can also generate massive map files which I use as my desktop background.
The author of OpenFlights is looking for some feedback, so head on over to his Flyertalk thread, and help him out! In that thread, you’ll also see a rebuttal from one of the developers behind FlightMemory.com who explains that they are not the faceless corporation they are described as (I’ve spoken to them in the past, and can confirm that!).
If you own a Blackberry, then you’ll probably be used to keeping the device strictly for business. You can however brighten things up a little by adding some games. TO get you started, Bplay is giving away its popular Pro Golf Paradise game for free!
The download can be found on the Bplay website, and even though you do need to provide a valid credit card number, you will not be charged.
Gizmodo has a juicy update on the Blackberry Bold; the device should/might/will launch on AT&T in a little over 2 weeks (September 12th). The US will be the fourth country to get the Bold, after Chile, the UK and Canada.
The best part? It’ll sell for just $299 (with the usual 2 year contract), making it $100 cheaper than our poor neighbors in the north had to pay (in addition to a three year contract!)
With the announcement a couple weeks ago that Southwest has finally set a date for the testing of their in-flight Internet connectivity it seems that the majority of the US-based carriers have something in the works. Runway Girl has a couple good posts (Post 1; Post 2) about the various options, but I haven’t been able to find an exhaustive list of all the offerings from all the carriers. So I decided to put one together. Here are the airlines, the service and the status of the deployment efforts:
- American Airlines – Aircell’s gogo service currently operational on 767s for NYC-LAX/SFO/MIA routes.
- Alaska Air – Row 44, currently planned for testing on a single plane.
- Jet Blue – LiveTV, but only on one plane and no word on when additional rollout will happen.
- Continental – LiveTV on the entire domestic-focused fleet, starting in January ’09
- Delta – Aircell’s gogo service, expected on the MD8x planes first and on the entire fleet by mid-2009
- Frontier – Likely LiveTV since they already use the service for television on the planes, but I haven’t seen an official release.
- United – Nothing planned/announced
- US Airways – Nothing planned/announced, though back in February they said they were looking at it. The fact that they are pulling the entertainment systems to save weight makes me suspect of their ability to actually get it into their planes soon, particularly since they have nothing specific announced, but they supposedly are looking at it.
- Southwest – Row 44, currently planned for testing in Q4 ’08
- Virgin America – Aircell’s gogo service coming soon and will be fleet-wide.
The Aircell and LiveTV services are both terrestrial, which Row 44 is a satellite-based solution. Row 44 and Aircell’s gogo are both supposed to be “full” Internet service while LiveTV is very up front about the fact that they are providing access to a very limited subset of the internet, and they’ve increased the content available recently.
Hopefully this helps (and I didn’t mess up the details too much). If I did, I’m sure you’ll let me know.
Back in May I posted about an impending change from the TSA to allow some laptops to be screened without having to remove them from their bags, like the rest of the modern world does it. Well, today’s the day.
The TSA even offers some “helpful” comments about the new policy, including this gem:
Given TSA’s use of random screening protocols, TSA reserves the right to re-screen any bag or laptop regardless of the design of the bag.
If you’re shopping for a new bag anytime soon I’d definitely consider a model that meets these specifications, but I still haven’t seen one that is actually nice and meets the requirements.
Dell will be holding a press conference tomorrow to announce some “new and exciting products”. One of those new products is most likely going to be their Mini Inspiron, which will be the first Dell Netbook.
The rumored specifications point towards a $299 Linux powered sub-notebook with an Intel Atom processor, 512MB of memory and a 4 or 8GB SSD drive. Beefier models will add more memory, Windows XP (or Vista) and a spinning hard drive.
All models are rumored to be equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an Expresscard slot.
It’s no secret THAT they’ll be introducing these machines, it’s just a matter of WHEN, so tomorrow seems as good a time as any, just in time to squeeze some more cash out of parents in the wacky “back to school” sales frenzy.
In my opinion, the Dell lineup, along with the recently announced netbook from Lenovo will probably deal a serious blow to firms like Asus, Everex and MSI who have been dominating this market for the past months.
Source: CNN Money (Image from Engadget.com)
Last week all hell broke loose. An Apple iPhone developer went digging in his phone, and found several lines of code referring to “phoning home”.
The code linked to an Apple URL that contained a blacklist. This blacklist is at the heart of a lot of outrage over even more “big brother” involvement by Apple.
Today, Steve Jobs went on record admitting the kill switch, and explaining that Apple had no other option. The app blacklist feature was designed so rogue apps could be killed by Apple, if they started displaying bad behavior, like hacking into your contact list or sending your personal information to a third party.
Of course, Apples claim that they had no other option seems pretty bogus to me; Windows Mobile has done without this for years, and it has never been an issue. But then again, Windows Mobile users can install whatever they want, from any source, without having to go through an official Apple sanctioned repository of applications.
The funny thing, is that the iPhone has had access to applications since last year, albeit through an unofficial source; installer.app. Despite 100′s of applications being uploaded to installer.app without any third party controls, there have been no incidents of rogue apps.
On Blackberry devices, things are even tighter; but everything stays under the command of the device owner. The Blackberry application firewall controls every aspect of an application. When you install an app, you can allow or disallow anything from interaction with the phone book, to outgoing connections.
But once again, Apple shows it doesn’t trust its users, and implements something akin to parental controls on the cable box. It’s your phone, with applications YOU paid for, but they still want a little bit of control over what you do. Add that to the DRM already in place on these apps, and the DRM on your music and videos, plus a very vague and restrictive NDA for developers, and you’ll understand why many iPhone owners are not as happy as they were with the first iPhone.
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