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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Levi Strauss Goes Viral On YouTube

Who says that Levi's aren't cool anymore? The company has struck quite an audience online with this viral YouTube video:

Ouch! Let's just say better these guys than me... I think I'll stick to one leg at a time the rest of the sane people.

Apple Settles Class Action Suit In Canada Over iPod Battery Life

A class action lawsuit filed against Apple Inc. in Montreal and Toronto has been settled with an offer to Canadian owners of 1st, 2nd, or 3rd generation iPods purchased before before June 24, 2004. The settlement awards $100,000 in legal costs and a $45 per owner rebate at Apple Canada's online store, with the exception of iTunes content. The suits were brought on by owners who claimed Apple overstated the battery life of the devices, claiming 8 hours when in practice they were averaging about 3 hours.

One down, and one to go, as the CBC explains, "The company is still facing another lawsuit in Canada regarding iPods, filed by Montreal student David Bitton last year, over the device's memory. Bitton said his iPod Nano has only 7.45 gigabytes of memory, rather than eight GB, as advertised by Apple. His lawyer is seeking class-action status and is asking for a full refund, or a 7.5-per-cent refund of the device's $220 purchase price and $75 in damages." The cost of the battery issue is estimated to be $3.6 million if all 80,000 owners apply and receive the rebate.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Firefox Plugin Infects Vietnamese Users Machines

Mozilla is increasing it's efforts to scrutinize user submitted plugins after it had discovered that a Vietnamese language pack on its official add-on page had been infected for months with rogue code. In mid-February the user submitted add-on passed Mozilla's scrutiny because the virus's signature was unknown at the time of testing. According to Wired's Threat Level blog "On Tuesday, a user named Hai-Nam Nguyen reported that anti-virus programs detected the Xorer Trojan inside the add-on. Firefox admins quickly confirmed the presence of the Trojan's code and removed the file the same day." It is unknown how many users actually installed the plugin but Mozilla says 16,667 people had downloaded the add-on since November 2007. The organization now intends to scan all of the user submitted add-ons each time virus definitions are updated, that seems a bit more proactive...

Facebook Agrees To Measures Aimed At Keeping Young Users Safe

Facebook has reached an agreement with the attorneys general of 49 states to institute a broad set of principles intended to protect young users from predators and inappropriate material online. Users under the age of 18 will be required to acknowledge reading Facebook's safety tips at sign up and the site will also display a prominent “report abuse” icon devised by the attorney general of New Jersey. Facebook will be closely monitoring users who drastically change their age on their accounts and has promised to take down offensive material within 24 hours of it's discovery. Facebook is said to be working on profiling technology to help it determine when someone is not telling the truth about their age. “We envision this as an ongoing process. We purposely built into this agreement the opportunity to raise and address new issues,” Connecticut attorney general, Richard Blumenthal said. “If we see a problem they’ll hear from us.” New York Times article here.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Wii Pole-Dance Kit On Horizon?

US company Peekaboo is pledging to produce a video game for the Wii that teaches gamers how to pole-dance! According to the Register "the pack could include an extendable pole ... and a videogame that would teach gamers all they need to know about sliding up and down, spin around and dangle provocatively." A company spokesman apparently claims "the game will help people tone-up, burn calories and, most importantly, improve their pole dancing skills." I'm speechless...

Google Invests $500 Million In Nationwide Broadband

A post on the Official Google Blog yesterday explains Google's investment into a consortium which includes contributions from other heavyweights like Comcast, Intel Capital, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Trilogy Equity Partners for a total investment of $3.2 billion. The group will build on "Clearwires' existing consumer WiMAX business with Sprint's broadband infrastructure and 2.5 GHz spectrum to create a new nationwide wireless broadband network." In particular, the network will: (1) expand advanced high speed wireless Internet access in the U.S., (2) allow consumers to utilize any lawful applications, content and devices without blocking, degrading or impairing Internet traffic and (3) engage in reasonable and competitively-neutral network management." Of course Google intends to support the initiative with technology as well as money and it is clear that the network will be a catalyst for android powered devices.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rogers Unveils Hybrid Phone

Rogers Communications Inc. is rolling out new phones to Canadians that are aimed squarely at freeing them from the land lines. The new dual mode phones "function as a regular cellphone outside the home, but also connect to the Internet through Wi-Fi when in range of the customer's home router" according to the CBC. Rogers chief marketing officer John Boynton tells that "It's a way for them to have just one phone period," and "This is one phone, one phone number, one voice mail, one caller ID." According to Statistics Canada about 6.4% of Canadians have already ditched land lines in favour of cell phones, a figure that lags behind other developed nations. The launch of this new product will likely help drive that figure up, at least this is what Rogers is counting on.

Batman "The Dark Knight" Trailer

After seeing Ironman on the weekend I thought that I had seen the best of the summer movie lineup, but after watching The Dark Knight trailer I think that there is at least one more reason to go the the theatre this summer. Check it out...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Robotic Insects On Horizon For Military?

British Weapons giant BAE Systems is creating an army of tiny robotic spiders, insects and snakes that potentially could become the eyes and ears of soldiers on the battlefield. The UK's Daily Mail is reporting that prototypes of the tiny robots could be deployed into action by the years end. BAE has secured a £19million contract to develop the robots for the US Army and have ambitions to equip every front-line soldier with them enabling the boots on the ground to detect danger from insurgent fighters, chemical, biological or radioactive weapons. Check out this animated scenario. As the Daily Mail points out its reminiscent of Minority Report.

Nine Inch Nails Says Thank You With Free Record

In a post on the nine inch nails website on Monday, Trent Reznor writes "thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years - this one's on me". The most recent offering titled 'the slip' is available for free download here. The record is licensed under a creative commons attribution non-commercial share alike license. The site reads "we encourage you to remix it, share it with your friends, post it on your blog, play it on your podcast, give it to strangers, etc." While Radio Head may be viewing their web experiment as a one off, it looks like Reznor has embraced the web with yet another digital distribution exercise.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sharapova Turns To The Web For Support Against WTA

The Worlds number 3 ranked women's tennis player is asking her fans opinion/help regarding a dispute she is having with the WTA. In her words "...the WTA Tour is forcing me and several of the other top players to do a 4 hour commercial shoot for WTA Tour marketing materials. They want me to do this shoot on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday of the Rome tournament after flying 12 hours from LA. I have set my own personal rules when is comes to doing shoots and I never do shoots before tournaments because they are mentally draining and I want to just focus on my tennis." The association is threatening fines ranging from $300,000 to $700,000, the greater amount seems to be tied to the fact that Sharapova also refuses to wear a sponsors patch on her clothing. The star's website,, has a plea from Sharapova to her fans and a link to a poll asking what she should do. I think that Maria needs to understand that without a tour and sponsors she'd have a different job and lifestyle... with a salary of more that $20 million yearly at 21 years of age, she has little to complain about in my humble opinion. My vote Maria: do the shoot and be thankful! Globe and Mail story here.

Prescription Drug Dispensing Machine To Begin Trials

PCA Services Inc., of Oakville, Ontario has secured a deal with Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre to test a preliminary version of its PharmaTrust system a vending kiosk for prescription drugs. The machine has the sophistication of an automated banking machine, uses advanced robotics and technology to read prescriptions and dispenses more than 150 commonly prescribed drugs. Thomas Paton, Sunnybrook's director of Pharmacy says "There's going to be some fear, some skepticism about it," and "I'm expecting that I'm going to get calls that might say, 'How dare you participate in this?' But my view is that, in the early going, I think I would rather be part of this; it's going to be here whether I like it or not. Let me be part of that solution and work it so it's part of the tools that I can use to advance pharmacy practice to do the things we want to do." The machines are expected to be dispensing drugs in doctors' offices, emergency rooms and workplace clinics. I'll be interested to see how the device manages to decipher the doctor's handwriting... Globe and Mail story here.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Greenest Town In America

Greensburg Kansas, was devastated by a tornado on May 4th, 2007 with nearly 90% of the city destroyed. When the residents decided to rebuild their community, they made a conscious effort to make it the greenest in the country. "The timing of all this is, in some ways, almost spooky," Daniel Wallach, a nonprofit specialist helping Greensburg rebuild said. "It's like the world was ready for this to happen, for a town to be completely re-imagined. The tragedy was terrible. But the folks here know that it also provided an incredible opportunity." CNN video segment here.

Tesla Sports Car Hits The Street

Tesla Motors will open it's flagship show room in Los Angeles' tony Westwood neighborhood, where Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Hollywood intersect with a second store to open in a couple months near Tesla's headquarters in Silicon Valley's San Carlos. With a sticker price beginning at $109,000 and a 15 month delivery period the cars are not for everyone but reports have it that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, actors George Clooney and Kelsey Grammer and musicians and Flea have all ordered Tesla Roadsters. The good news, I guess, is that "There's a model in the works right now, a five-passenger sedan that will be styled comparable to the roadster but a lot roomier to accommodate families, and that is slated for 2010," says Jeremy Snyder, head of client services for Tesla. CNN has more here.