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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Actiontec Internet Phone Wizard Intro - Actiontec Internet Phone Wizard review - Modems - CNET Reviews

Actiontec Internet Phone Wizard
Release date: January 6, 2005
CNET editor's take

Reviewed by Stephanie Bruzzese
Edited by Felisa Yang
Reviewed April 21, 2005

Editors' rating:
Very good
out of 10
How we rate

Every once in a while, a product comes along that's so helpful and simple to use, it makes us fall in love with technology all over again. The Actiontec Internet Phone Wizard is one of those products. The device works in combination with Skype's excellent VoIP software, letting you make free Internet telephone calls to other Skype users through an analog phone--and it allows you to place regular landline calls, too. Though its $79 price is a bit high, you'll recoup expenses quickly as you save on your long-distance bill. We recommend the Internet Phone Wizard to anyone with broadband connection who seeks a more familiar way to make free phone calls than using a headset.

The discreet Internet Phone Wizard is slightly larger than a standard deck of cards, so it won't stand out and ruin your decor or take up much space. The back edge includes a USB 2.0 port for connecting the device to your computer, plus two RJ-11 jacks for plugging it into your analog phone and, if you also want to use that phone for plain old telephone calls, the phone jack in your wall. A row of three status lights lines the front edge, indicating when the device is properly connected to your computer, when a call is coming through the Internet, and when you're on a landline call.

Actiontec clearly put time and effort into composing the Internet Phone Wizard's quick-start guide. The guide includes superclear installation instructions, with plenty of full-color images and screenshots to help point the way. The whole installation takes just a matter of minutes: download, install, and configure the Skype software on your computer; connect the Phone Wizard to the appropriate ports on your computer and phone; and install the device drivers from the included CD. If you're like most of the modern world and are using a cordless phone, you can then pick up the handset, dial your Skype buddies (if you have them programmed in your speed dial--if not, you'll have to dial from your Skype interface), and roam around your house while talking for free. This way, you're not tethered to your computer while talking, as you would be with a headset or mic-and-speaker setup plugged directly into your system. You can also call non-Skype users, but only after registering with SkypeOut, a fee-based service that offers competitive long distance in line with other VoIP phone services, such as Vonage. After you've shut down your computer, you can make and receive landline calls as if the Internet Phone Wizard wasn't there, but remember that these calls are still subject to all of the standard fees levied by your local phone service provider.

The Internet Phone Wizard offers several awesome features that make using it a pleasure. You can switch between Internet and landline call modes (much like call waiting) just by pressing your handset's # key twice. If you've assigned speed-dial numbers to your Skype friends, you can punch those numbers into your handset to place calls. The built-in call waiting feature will alert you to a landline call that's attempting to come through while you're on an Internet call, and vice versa. A ring-back function lets you know when you've forgotten a call on hold. And because the device works through any Internet firewall, you don't have to mess with any of your computer settings before you use it.

Our anecdotal testing of the Internet Phone Wizard resulted in fine connections that were on a par with a normal cell phone connection. In our Skype-to-Skype calls, we detected a bit of latency, but both voices came through clearly. And our Skype-to-non-Skype calls sounded like conversations between two analog phone users.

The Internet Phone Wizard ships with the same one-year warranty offered by most consumer communications devices. It also includes toll-free phone support that's conveniently available around the clock. The device's user manual is top notch, expanding on the explicit instructions and images featured in the quick-start guide. And the company's support Web site lists dozens of helpful FAQs about the device.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Prototype Tablet PC Unveiled in Japan. It is larger than a handheld but smaller than a standard tablet PC. If it was slightly smaller I believe this form factor might be a winner. Notice the integrated keyboard Posted by Hello

Pocket PC Thoughts - Daily News, Views, Rants and Raves

Pocket PC Thoughts - Daily News, Views, Rants and Raves: "Monday, April 18, 2005
THE COMPETITION What Do You Prefer -- A Mini-Tablet or a Pocket PC?
Posted by Janak Parekh @ 09:00 AM
Akihabara News reported on a new 'handheld-sized' prototype Tablet PC with integrated thumbboard being unveiled at IDF Japan last week. Dubbed 'Ruby', it weighs in at 450g (15.8oz), uses a Pentium M 600MHz, and has an electrostatic (non-touch-sensitive) digitizer.

PocketBreeze 4.3 - New Release @ Dave's iPAQ

PocketBreeze 4.3 - New Release @ Dave's iPAQ: "PocketBreeze 4.3 - New Release

By Jack, posted 20 hours ago
Reader Comments: 0
Pageviews: 260

PocketBreeze new major version is out! with version 4.3 you will find lots of new features and improvements making PocketBreeze the most powerful Today screen plug-in.

Three of the major improvements you will find with PocketBreeze 4.3:

The Custom Tab - Using the new and exciting Custom Tab feature you can include any other Today screen plug-in inside PocketBreeze as a new PocketBreeze tab! This gives you the most efficient solution for managing your Today screen real estate.

The Dynamic Tab Loadin technology - With the new Dynamic Tab Loading PocketBreeze tabs can be loaded dynamically only when you access them, offering the best memory usage solution for Today screen plugins. The Custom Tab feature is also loaded using the Dynamic Tab Loading technology.

Brand new VGA look - The new version offers a complete re-do for VGA users with a new and fresh look! We also had many new VGA and QVGA skins added to our skins page. We invite you to visit our QVGA skins page and VGA skins page.

"My Favorite Utilities" :: April 2005

"My Favorite Utilities" :: April 2005: " April 2005

'My Favorite Utilities'

From the Judges of the Pocket PC magazine Best Software Awards 2004

This past year, over 80 experts judged 543 Pocket PC and Smartphone nominations for Pocket PC magazine Best Software Awards 2004. Our judges had plenty to say about their favorite products. In this issue we are publishing their comments about the programs nominated for the Utilities software category. The purpose of publishing the comments is to give insights into a variety of products-not to show how the judges voted. The winners and finalists can be found on our Web site ( For the sake of brevity, we've included only one comment per product and edited them for clarity and brevity."

IBM ThinkPad T43 Intro - IBM ThinkPad T43 review - Notebooks - CNET Reviews

IBM ThinkPad T43 Intro - IBM ThinkPad T43 review - Notebooks - CNET Reviews: "The latest iteration of IBM's corporate thin-and-light, the ThinkPad T43, features the same sturdy case as that of the previous model, the ThinkPad T42--a CNET Editors' Choice. The T43 also features some new components, including Intel's latest-generation Centrino chipset. Unfortunately, the new parts don't contribute any significant performance gains, and in fact, they seem to detract from the system's battery life. As a result, we think the ThinkPad T42 remains the better buy.

Our ThinkPad T43 test model measured 12.2 inches wide, 10 inches deep, and just 1 inch thick. At 5.5 pounds, the ThinkPad T43 is of average weight for the thin-and-light category. The blackboard eraser-size AC adapter adds another 0.8 pound to its overall travel weight.

It's far from the sexiest laptop on the market, but the ThinkPad T43 is well designed, and it has a number of thoughtful touches, such as a spill-proof keyboard with drain holes. The notebook includes IBM's signature red eraser-head pointing stick, which has a nice, flat top that supports your finger better than the rounded tops on most pointing sticks; two corresponding mouse buttons and a handy scroll button sit just below the keyboard. Below its keyboard, the ThinkPad T43 also features a touch pad with its own two mouse buttons, which are a bit too small. The keyboard itself is wide and comfortable to use. Though there aren't many multimedia controls here--this is a business laptop, after all--you do get external volume controls, including a mute button, as well as a blue IBM button that brings up support information. Our ThinkPad T43 test unit featured a fingerprint sensor on the right-hand side of the wrist rest; swiping your finger over the sensor logs you onto the notebook in lieu of typing in a password (for more details about this biometric security feature, check out our review of the ThinkPad T42).

IBM's " - Windows Mobile podcasts - meet new, massive, grassroots movement ! - Windows Mobile podcasts - meet new, massive, grassroots movement !: "Windows Mobile podcasts - meet new, massive, grassroots movement !
April 19, 2005 [General]
Some issues can't just be swept neatly under the carpet. Some trends can't be ignored because later on it will be too difficult to catch up with competition. Meet podcasting - the next, after blogging, Internet revolution in progress!

Make no mistake: Podcasting is not just a technical solution to deliver audio content automatically to mobile devices (so that existing audio content can be exposed as podcast feeds):

Monday, April 18, 2005

Pocket PC Thoughts - Daily News, Views, Rants and Raves

Pocket PC Thoughts - Daily News, Views, Rants and Raves: "SBSH PocketBreeze 4.3 Released
Posted by Darius Wey @ 03:30 AM
'PocketBreeze - a Today screen plug-in for Pocket PC devices allowing you to view appointments, tasks, and email accounts status directly on your Today screen. Giving you a more intuitive interface to manage your daily agenda with up to 30 days agenda display, appointments and tasks in a joint display, advance tasks management and your contacts' birthdays and anniversaries. PocketBreeze integrates seamlessly with Agenda Fusion, Pocket Informant, and the default PIM. PocketBreeze new major version is out! with version 4.3 you will find lots of new features and improvements making PocketBreeze the most powerful Today screen plug-in.'"

The New York Times > Technology > When the Blogger Blogs, Can the Employer Intervene?

The New York Times > Technology > When the Blogger Blogs, Can the Employer Intervene?: "April 18, 2005
April 18, 2005
When the Blogger Blogs, Can the Employer Intervene?

There are about 10 million blogs out there, give or take, including one belonging to Niall Kennedy, an employee at Technorati, a small San Francisco-based company that, yes, tracks blogs.

Like many employees at many companies, Mr. Kennedy has opinions, even when he is not working. One evening last month, he channeled one of those off-duty opinions into a satiric bit of artwork - an appropriation of a "loose lips sink ships" World War II-era propaganda poster altered to provide a harsh comment on the growing fears among corporations over the blogging activities of their employees. He then posted it on his personal Web log.

But in a paradoxical turn, Mr. Kennedy's employer, having received some complaints about the artwork, stepped in and asked him to reconsider the posting and Mr. Kennedy complied, taking the image down.

"The past day has been a huge wake-up call," Mr. Kennedy wrote soon afterward. "I see now that the voice of a company is not limited to top-level executives, vice presidents and public relations officers."

As the practice of blogging has spread, employees like Mr. Kennedy are coming to the realization that corporations, which spend millions of dollars protecting their brands, are under no particular obligation to tolerate threats, real or perceived, from the activities of people who become identified with those brands, even if it is on their personal Web sites.

They are also learning that the law offers no special protections for blogging - certainly no more than for any other off-duty activity.

As Annalee Newitz, a policy analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group in Washington, put it, "What we found is there really is quite a bit of diversity in how employers are responding to blogging."

A rising tide of employees have recently been reprimanded or let go for running afoul of their employers' taste or temperament on personal blogs, including a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines who learned the hard way that the carrier frowns on cheeky photos while in uniform and a Google employee who mused on the company's financial condition and was fired.

Some interpreted these actions as meaning that even in their living rooms, even in their private basement computer caves, employees are required to be at least a little bit worried about losing their jobs if they write or post the wrong thing on their personal Web logs.

"I would have expected that some of the louder, more strident voices on the Internet would have risen up in a frenzy over this," said Stowe Boyd, the president of Corante, a daily online news digest on the technology sector. "But that didn't happen."

In Mr. Boyd's opinion, everything about what Mr. Kennedy did was protected speech. The use of trademarks was fair use in a satirical work, Mr. Boyd said, and it seemed unlikely that the company would be somehow liable for the off-duty actions of an employee, as Technorati executives argued. It was, in Mr. Boyd's eyes, an indication that corporate interests were eclipsing individual rights.

"I don't know what else to say," he declared. "I'm astonished."

But Ms. Newitz and others have cautioned that employees must be careful not to confuse freedom of speech with a freedom from consequences that might follow from what they say. Indeed, the vast majority of states are considered "at will" states - meaning that employees can quit, and employers can fire them, at will - without evident reason (barring statutory exceptions like race or religion, where discrimination would have to be proved).

"There really are no laws that protect you," Ms. Newitz said.

Martin H. Malin, a professor of law and director of the Institute for Law and the Workplace at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, said there were only a few exceptions.

"It depends on what the blog is," he said, "what the content is, and whether there's any contractual protection for the employee."

Those who work for the United States Postal Service, for instance, or a local sanitation department may have some special blogging privileges. That is because, depending on the circumstances, the online speech of public employees can be considered "of public concern," and enjoys a measure of protection, Professor Malin explained.

Employees protected under some union contracts may also be shielded from summary dismissal for off-duty activities, at least without some sort of arbitration. "Lifestyle law" trends of the late 1980's and early 90's - sometimes driven by tobacco and alcohol lobbies - created state laws that protected employees from being fired for engaging in legal, off-duty activities, though no one is likely to be fired simply for blogging, but rather for violating some policy or practice in a blog.

And bloggers who are neither supervisors nor managers and who can demonstrate that they are communicating with other workers about "wages, hours or working conditions" may warrant some protection under the National Labor Relations Act, Professor Malin said - even in nonunion enterprises.

None of this, of course, answers the question of where the status of employee ends and that of private citizen begins.

Some companies, like Sun Microsystems, have wrapped both arms around blogging. Sun provides space for employees to blog (, and while their darker impulses are presumably kept at bay by the arrangement, there are hundreds of freewheeling and largely unmonitored diaries supported by the company.

Microsoft, too, has benefited from the organic growth of online journaling by celebrity geeks now in its employ, like Robert Scoble, whose frank and uncensored musings about the company have developed a loyal following and given Microsoft some street credibility.

But other companies are seeing a need for formalized blogging policies.

Mark Jen, who was fired from Google in January after just two weeks, having made some ill-advised comments about the company on his blog (Google would not comment on Mr. Jen's dismissal, but confirmed that he no longer works for it), is now busy helping to draft a blogging policy for his new employer, Plaxo, an electronic address book updating service in Mountain View, Calif.

"It was a very quick education for me at Google," Mr. Jen said. "I learned very quickly the complexities of a corporate environment."

With Plaxo's blessing, Mr. Jen is soliciting public comment on the new blogging policy at

Most of the points are the kinds of common-sense items that employees would do well to remember, particularly if they plan on identifying themselves as employees in their blogs, or discussing office matters online: don't post material that is obscene, defamatory, profane or libelous, and make sure that you indicate that the opinions expressed are your own.

The policy also encourages employee bloggers to use their real names, rather than attempting anonymity or writing under a pseudonym.

Bad idea, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Two weeks ago, the group published a tutorial on "how to blog safely," which included tips on avoiding getting fired. Chief among its recommendations: Blog anonymously.

"Basically, we just want to caution people about how easy it is to find them online," Ms. Newitz said, "and that they are not just talking to their friends on their blogs. They're talking to everyone."

But does that means that Mr. Kennedy, a short-timer, a product manager and by no means an executive at Technorati, carries the burden of representing the company into his personal blog?

Technorati's vice president for engineering, Adam Hertz, responded: "It would be antithetical to our corporate values to force Niall to do anything in his blog. It's his blog."

Yet with the spread of the Internet and of blogging, Mr. Hertz said, it would be foolish for companies to not spend some time discussing the art of public communications with their employees, and even train and prepare lower-level staff for these kinds of public relations situations.

That said, Mr. Hertz stressed that the company had no interest in formalizing any complicated policies regarding an employee's activities outside the office.

"I had a high school teacher," he recalled, "who used to say 'I have only two rules: Don't roller-skate in the hallway and don't be a damn fool.' We really value a company where people can think for themselves."

The New York Times > Opinion > A New Leader's Thoughts on NASA

The New York Times > Opinion > A New Leader's Thoughts on NASA: "April 18, 2005
April 18, 2005
A New Leader's Thoughts on NASA

The Bush administration's choice to lead the National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Michael Griffin - sailed through the confirmation process last week.

In hearings before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, only Senator George Allen of Virginia was churlish enough to raise concerns about cuts in the aeronautics budget that could lead to job losses in his home state. The other members seemed intent on whisking Dr. Griffin through as fast as possible so that he could take the helm of the space agency as it prepares to resume shuttle flights. There is little doubt that the agency needs a firm hand at the top as it struggles to rebound from the Columbia tragedy, and Dr. Griffin, who has held a variety of jobs in the aerospace industry, looks eminently qualified.

In his love fest with the senators, Dr. Griffin showed an encouraging independence of mind and a willingness to abandon past NASA decisions that look increasingly myopic. Of immediate importance, he said he would not be bound by the decision of his predecessor, Sean O'Keefe, to abandon as too risky a planned astronaut servicing mission to extend the life of the Hubble Space Telescope, the agency's premier scientific instrument.

Cancellation of the astronaut mission on safety grounds never made much sense. Astronauts have already serviced the telescope several times without incident, and the revamped shuttles should be safer than in the past thanks to upgrades after the Columbia accident.

For the longer term, Dr. Griffin put his finger on a gaping hole in the nation's future space plans that has received little public attention. The aging shuttle fleet is scheduled to be retired in 2010 if not sooner, and the successor, known as the Crew Exploration Vehicle, is not expected to fly before 2014. That leaves a gap of four or more years when the country would have no independent means of sending astronauts aloft. We would be forced to rely on other nations, just as we now rely on Russia to ferry American astronauts to the space station and back. It took the fresh eye of Dr. Griffin to declare it unacceptable that this advanced technological nation, which in past years has developed major new spacecraft in just three to six years, would now dawdle nine years before being ready to launch the new one.

By definition and inclination, Dr. Griffin wholeheartedly supports the president's long-range space exploration plan, which would send astronauts back to the Moon and on to Mars. But he seems to think that NASA has ample funds to pursue more than one mission and calls it crucial to protect the agency's outstanding science programs. The test will come when budgetary choices have to be made.

Akihabara News : Your Leading News provider on Gadgets and Hi-Tech stuff from Akihabara in Tokyo Japan and in other Asian Countries

Akihabara News : Your Leading News provider on Gadgets and Hi-Tech stuff from Akihabara in Tokyo Japan and in other Asian Countries: "Hands free" for Skype
Posted by Daimaou on 18-04-2005 07:35
Skype is the VoIP revolution of these past years. It works really really well on PC, Mac, Linux and PocketPC! It's a normal evolution to see devices appear that are designed to use with the software, and Datago's VC-1 PLUS is one of them. The device is available through Synnex in Japan and connects to your PC's USB and Mic-in ports, and it allows you to use Skype without a headset and even as a "conference-call" tool.
The package will cost less than 80 EUR.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

CBS 46 Atlanta - More controversy in Cobb plan to buy student laptops

CBS 46 Atlanta - More controversy in Cobb plan to buy student laptops: Marietta
More controversy in Cobb plan to buy student laptops
Apr 16, 2005, 10:38 PM

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) -- A much-debated plan by Cobb County educators to spend more than 100 (m)million dollars on student laptops ran into more controversy when a local newspaper revealed that a study on the proposal is being funded by Apple Computer.

The county school board voted last Wednesday to order an evaluation study by the University of Georgia to decide whether the county should spend 100-point-eight million dollars to give laptop computers to every high school student in the suburban county.

Cobb Superintendent Joe Redden pitched the study, but left out one detail: a computer company arranged for U-G-A to conduct the study and not the school district. The Marietta Daily Journal reported the Apple financing in today's editions.

The school board voted four-to-two to start buying laptops in phases. At first, according to the plan, 71 hundred teachers and 87 hundred students at four of Cobb's 14 high schools would get Apple G-four iBooks at an estimated cost of 25 million dollars.