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Friday, July 30, 2004

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > State of the Art: A Palmtop as Wireless Omnivore

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > State of the Art: A Palmtop as Wireless Omnivore: "STATE OF THE ART
A Palmtop as Wireless Omnivore

IF today's portable gadgets prove anything, it's that you can't have everything. A gizmo can't be tiny, lightweight and rugged and still have a big screen, roomy keyboard and low price tag. The problem isn't the designers' lack of imagination or the price of components; it's a little thing called physics.
When you shop for palmtops, for example, you're really shopping for compromises. If you want a built-in camera, buy this palmtop; built-in cellphone, buy that one. If you need a little thumb-driven keyboard, buy this model; if you prefer handwriting recognition, buy that one.
This frustrating game of This-but-Not-That has led to a proliferation of add-ons: snap-in camera lenses, clip-on thumb keyboards and slide-in wireless cards. Each represents another piece to buy, another thing to go wrong and, above all, another little piece to lose as you dash from airport to car rental shuttle"

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Engadget > End of an era - T-Mobile kills free WAP access

End of an era - T-Mobile kills free WAP access
Posted Jul 28, 2004, 12:45 PM ET by Joshua Klein
Related entries: Cellphones

Using WAP to browse from a cellphone was never all it was cracked up to be. The carriers tried to convince everyone that squirting a few lines of text from their pre-processed sites to our phones passed for “the Internet” and were surprised when users didn’t come clamoring, but T-Mobile let us have all we wanted of it. Now that’s suddenly over. Instead users are getting redirected to T-Mobile’s “T-Zones” site with a page stating that unlimited access is now $4.99 a month. Note that when we said WAP wasn’t all it was cracked up to be we didn’t say it wasn’t useful; some folks made a daily habit of getting their fix of information chunks on their phones that way, and T-Mobile just dropping a fee on it like that is sorta frustrating.

CNET > New TiVo recorders on the horizon

New TiVo recorders on the horizon
Last modified: July 28, 2004, 11:52 AM PDT
By Richard Shim
Staff Writer, CNET

New digital video recorders using TiVo's service will be coming out this summer.
The San Jose, Calif.-based company will unveil a Series2 recorder with a new look in mid-August, and licensing partners Toshiba and Humax are expected to release DVRs with DVD-burning capabilities, according to TiVo. Pioneer Electronics, another TiVo partner, announced Wednesday that its DVD rewritable drive, the DVR-108, will be a recommended component of TiVo's DVR and DVD burner reference design.
The combination DVR and DVD boxes will allow consumers to record television programming and then burn it to DVD-R or DVD-RW discs. The Pioneer drive is capable of recording and writing to DVD+R and DVD+RW media as well, but TiVo's design limits users to only DVD-R and DVD-RW discs.
Partnering with manufacturers to expand the number of products that can tap into TiVo's service is a key part of TiVo's strategy to increase its subscriber base. Fees for TiVo's service are $12.95 per month or $299 for the life of the recorder. The service allows consumers to pause and record live television broadcasts and program boxes to record future shows.
Toshiba and Humax are expected to release boxes based on the reference design later this summer. Pioneer has been shipping two DVR and DVD recordable boxes, the DVR-810H and Elite DVR-57H, for about a year, according to a company representative.
TiVo will unveil a new Series2 reference design, which will have similar features and prices as current boxes but will have a new look, according to TiVo representatives.

CNET > A software glitch is freezing playback of stored shows on some DirecTV boxes that access TiVo's digital video recorder service.

A software glitch is freezing playback of stored shows on some DirecTV boxes that access TiVo's digital video recorder service.
The glitch apparently is caused by a software upgrade, version 3.1.0c, that was first downloaded by DirecTV TiVo set top boxes earlier this month, according to postings to a number of TiVo community sites.
"I first noticed the problem a few days after the upgrade was downloaded to my recorder, which was Thursday (July 8)," said Dale Betterton, an attorney who lives in Baltimore. "The video would freeze live programming, but the sound would continue."
The problem seems to so far only affect first-generation set top boxes and not the newer Series2 boxes. Representatives from TiVo confirmed the problem but would not give further details, such as what the upgrade was meant to do.
TiVo said the short-term resolution is to unplug the boxes, wait for a few minutes and restart them.
Betterton tried the Band-Aid fix but said the problem returned a few days later.
TiVo said it is working to resolve the problem.
"A software fix will be available in a few days that will permanently fix this issue," the company said in a short e-mail statement.
DirecTV representatives were not initially aware of the problem and are looking into the issue.
DirecTV subscribers make up the majority of TiVo's subscriber base. As of April 30, there were 872,000 DirecTV subscribers using TiVo's service. By comparison, 724,000 TiVo subscribers use standalone boxes that connect to other service providers, such as cable connections.
DirecTV has been a significant supporter of TiVo since its inception, investing in the company back in April 1999. But more recently, DirecTV has been pulling out of its investments, including TiVo.
This story has a happy ending for Betterton. When he called to complain to DirecTV, he received a $75 credit towards a Series2 box, which he purchased, and he has not had any problems since.
According to the latest posts on various TiVo community forums, a new software upgrade, 3.1.0c2, is now available.
In related news, new TiVo recorders are due out this summer. TiVo will unveil a Series2 recorder with a new look in mid-August, and licensing partners Toshiba and Humax are expected to release DVRs with DVD-burning capabilities.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Tissot Spot Watch Forums - MSN Direct - Review Tissot High-T Forums - MSN Direct - Review Tissot High-T: "Tissot has been making watches for over 150 years. In that time they?e broken a lot of boundaries and have built a reputation of quality and innovation. They?e brought some amazing new enhancements to a product offering begging for a high-end hardware provider like this. While the High-T carries a high price tag, it also brings a touch screen, vibrating alarm, elegant design and much more to the table. Of course an MSRP of $725 will keep many prospective SPOT buyers away, for those looking to distinguish their wrists from the crowd; Tissot may have the answer you?e been looking for."

Mailblocks effectively filters out spam from any email account - Mailblocks Update Offers Easier Spam Blocking - Mailblocks Update Offers Easier Spam Blocking: "Mailblocks Update Offers Easier Spam Blocking

Improved Web-based e-mail service features simpler challenge/response system.
Paul Roberts, IDG News Service and Liane Cassavoy,
Monday, July 28, 2003
The creators of the newest version of the Mailblocks Web-based antispam e-mail service are hoping to take the challenge out of its challenge/response technology: The company has unveiled an update featuring improved sender verification that should help cut down the number of challenges the service issues.

Mailblocks' challenge/response technology works by quarantining inbound e-mail messages in a pending folder and then sending an e-mail 'challenge' message to the sender. Legitimate senders go to a Web page where they retype a number to verify that they're a real person (computer-generated spam mailers can't complete the task).
Verified messages move into the Mailbocks user's in-box, and the address is added to their master list; nonverified mail stays in the pending folder for up to 14 days before it disappears. Subsequent messages from an approved address go directly to the in-box unchallenged. (Mailbocks users can also add e-mail addresses directly to their master list.)
Less Challenging
The biggest problem with the early version of Mailblocks' technology was that every user had their own master list of verified senders. That meant that even if the service verified you as a real sender on the list for one Mailblocks user, it had to do so again when you sent a message to another Mailblocks user.
The latest version of the challenge/response feature, by aggregating the valid responses from all Mailblocks users, reduces the likelihood that Mailblocks will rechallenge s"

I have used mailblocks email for about seven months. It works just as advertised. I have my domain email forwarded to my mailblocks account. I used to receive 300-400 spam messages per day. I now receive only 2 or three per week. This service really works. John H. Armwood

PC Magazine - HP iPAQ hx4700

HP iPAQ hx4700: "HP Ramps Up Pocket PC Line
By Jennifer M. DeFeo

Analysts continue to predict the demise of the PDA, frequently citing Sony's exit from the market, but HP is moving in a different direction. The company is introducing six new iPAQ models in its Pocket PC line. The new devices include the high-end iPAQ hx4700with a VGA screen ($649.99 direct), the mid-level rx3715 multimedia companion; and the slim entry-level iPAQ rz1710 organizer. HP is also offering its first phone/PDA combo, the iPAQ h6315, in partnership with T-Mobile; even better, it has three wireless-network options, GPRS, 802.11b, and Bluetooth.
We got our hands on preproduction units of the aforementioned models, so we could give you the inside track on what to expect from the latest batch of iPAQs. We tested their batteries, ran our benchmark tests, and worked them silly. And we found that there's an iPAQ out there for everyone. Which one suits you?"

New iPAQs 

The new iPAQ Pocket PCs are official - Engadget -

The new iPAQ Pocket PCs are official - Engadget - "The new iPAQ Pocket PCs are official
Posted Jul 26, 2004, 12:00 AM ET by Peter Rojas

Those long-rumored new iPAQ Pocket PCs from HP are officially official now, and you gotta give it up to HP for not freaking out when leaked specs and pics turned up all over they obviously get that this kind of buzz is good for them, unlike some other companies. The details aren't exactly a surprise for anyone who has been following this, but because we hardly expect anyone else to be as obsessively geeky as us, we'll run over the line-up again:"

iPAQ h6300 

Dave's iPAQ - HP iPAQ h6300 By David Ciccone

By David Ciccone, posted 6 hours ago Reader Comments: 36 Pageviews: 7,991 Wifi/GSM/GPRS/Bluetooth HP delivers a monster of a phone It is Monday July 26th at 6:00am in the morning and my new iPAQ h6300 alarm goes off as I hit the snooze for another 15 minutes. Before I knew it my alarm went off again and I was delighted to lay comfortably in my bed, as I make a connection via wirelessly on my 802.11 network. I immediately connect into my corporate network via VPN and log into my Microsoft Exchange email. Seeing that my assistant made a change to my Power Point presentation, I download the presentation and opened it in the ClearView Presentation software bundled in my iPAQ h6300 in which I noticed my assistant spelled the customer name wrong and made the change. I hop out of bed and jump into the shower, get dressed and I am off to my work. As I am driving to work I turn on my iPAQ h6300 and log into AOL Instant Messenger which is bundled with the unit and send an instant message to my assistant telling her about the mistake and that I made the change and not to worry. Since I didn? need to go to my office I drove directly to my customer? location. I grabbed my portable projector which works with my iPAQ and was ready to make my presentation for the customer. During my presentation with the customer they had requested some literature on some products I spoke about during my presentation and told me they would make a decision once they received the literature. After leaving the customers site I got into my car and started to respond to their request immediately. Since I have all my product literature saved as a PDF I was able to connect via GSM/GPRS on T-Mobile? network and log into my corporate email. I typed my message using the attachable keyboard supplied with my iPAQ h6300 and attach the PDF and sent i"

CNET HP to Dick Tracy: Bet your phone can't do this Last modified: July 25, 2004, 6:05 PM PDT

By Ina Fried and Ben Charny
Staff Writer, CNET

Hewlett-Packard is introducing its first iPaq handheld that can easily switch between traditional cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
The h6315, which was co-developed with T-Mobile, operates on a traditional cellular network but can automatically hop over onto a faster Wi-Fi connection when one is available. The device also has a built-in camera and a detachable keyboard and can also act as a cell phone using the GSM cellular network.
"This is the ultimate device," said Scott Ballantyne, vice president of business services marketing for T-Mobile USA. "This will play and store MP3s. It takes pictures."
To allow the device to switch networks, T-Mobile had to adjust its network to let devices store a second Internet Protocol connection. Microsoft also had to make changes to its Windows Mobile operating system.
In addition to its Wi-Fi and GPRS data abilities, the h6315 also has short-range Bluetooth wireless for connecting to detached earpieces and other accessories. HP said it will ship versions both with and without the camera feature, as some business prefer to give workers devices that don't have the ability to take pictures.
HP plans to sell the 6315 model exclusively with T-Mobile in North America, although HP will also sell a version of the device in Europe and Asia that can be used with other carriers' networks.
The company said it expects to sell hundreds of thousands of the devices worldwide in the first year. The T-Mobile version will sell for $499 with a 1-year service agreement and is expected to be available Aug. 26 from HP and from T-Mobile and those who sell its products.
T-Mobile's embrace of Wi-Fi devices makes sense, as the company also has one of the largest commercial Wi-Fi hot spot networks in the world in addition to its cellular network. T-Mobile and Japan's NTT DoCoMo, also a cell phone and Wi-Fi hot spot operator and have been keen on such devices, but support from other carriers has been less than enthusiastic.
The Nokia 9500, a foldable phone with a full QWERTY keyboard and oversize horizontal screen, is the only other handheld with the same hat trick of wireless connections. Nokia says the phone will be available in Europe by the fourth quarter.
Among the many challenges with such devices is how to ensure customers are billed properly as devices move between different types of networks, analysts say.
Despite the challenges, such hybrid devices do provide a tantalizing view into the future. Armed with the appropriate software, such gadgets could eventually use a home's Wi-Fi access point to make phone calls using the Internet, technology known as voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.
Wi-Fi phone proponents say it makes sense to combine Wi-Fi with traditional cellular abilities. Wi-Fi is fast, has a 300-foot range and can be used for downloading large amounts of information. Meanwhile, cellular networks stretch for hundreds of miles but can usually only manage download speeds of about 50 kilobits per second to 500kbps.
In addition to the wireless product, HP is also introducing three other handheld lines--one high-end line aimed at businesses and two lines that are more consumer oriented.
The iPaq 4700 features HP ProtectTools security software, a 4-inch VGA screen and a 624MHz Intel processor. It also has a touch pad controller to move the cursor around the screen--a departure from the stylus-based navigation that has characterized most other Pocket PC-based handhelds. The device also offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless capability.
Meanwhile, the consumer-oriented rx3715 is aimed at consumers, allowing people to move music and other media files from a PC throughout a networked house using the iPaq as the controller. The $499 device also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless abilities, a 1.2 megapixel digital camera, universal remote abilities and new software for printing and sharing digital pictures. The device is slated to be available this fall.
The rz1700 series, also scheduled to be available in the fall, starts at $279 and comes with HP Image Zone software for creating slide shows and viewing photos.