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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Canadian Carriers Team Up To Offer Money Transfer Through Cellphones

The big 3 Canadian mobile phone carriers, Rogers, Bell, and Telus have collaborated to form a jointly owned company called EnStream LP. “The end vision is you can take your billfold or purse and stick it into your phone,” said David Robinson, vice-president of new business planning at Rogers Wireless.

According to the Globe and Mail, "The first step involves software called Zoompass, which customers can download from EnStream to their phones beginning Monday. It will let them draw up to $1,000 a day from their bank accounts and credit cards and send it to other individuals using the same software. Recipients will have instant access to the money, which will be held in trust by HSBC Bank Canada. Recipients will access funds by moving them to their own bank accounts or using a special MasterCard that will be credited instantaneously."

This type of transaction via mobile phones is not new globally, what appears to be new is the collaborative effort of the carriers which could, in my mind, have it's pro's and con's. Perhaps working together will keep the cost to consumers down, but we are talking about cell phone companies and banks here, neither of which have great reputations in that department...

Friday, June 12, 2009

MIT Team Develops Futuristic Bus Stops

Making its debut in October in Florence, Italy, the EyeStop is a new take on the traditional bus shelter. Providing such information as shortest bus routes, time to wait for in coming buses, air quality reports, and temperture, the EyeStop developed by the SENSEable City Lab at MIT will give commuters something to do while waiting for their ride. “You have a map where you just touch where you want to go and you will see in real time how to go there.” and “When there's lots of time, you will see a coffee cup so you can have a coffee before the bus arrives.” according to Carlo Ratti, head of the lab. EyeStop shelters will cost between US$5,000 for a basic EyeSpot – a pole designed for narrow streets – to $30,000 for a shelter with all the technology packed in.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Oline Gambling Players Have Money Frozen By Courts

Prosecutors in the US have gone to the courts to freeze the accounts of several payment processing companies that work with off shore gambling sites. The move has left millions of dollars payable to tens of thousands of players in accessible. Since the prosecutors have no jurisdiction over the gambling sites themselves, the new tactic is to cut off the cash by going after the companies that do operate within the US, the transaction processors. The effect is that it has become harder and harder for players to send payments or receive winnings, and that puts a clamp on the gaming sites and places doubt in the mind of players. “Now, you not only have to find a way to get money to a place you trust and that’s going to be honest, you have to get money back and hope it doesn’t get seized,” says I. Nelson Rose, a gambling law expert at Whittier Law School.

Source: NY Times Bits blog

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

iPhone 3G S Unveiled

At it's Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple Inc. demoed it's next generation of iPhone dubbed the 3G S. The S apparently stands for Speed and it is reported to be as much as two times faster than it's predecessor the iPhone 3G. As for new features the iPhone 3G S is reported to have:

  • The long anticipated Cut, copy and paste capability.
  • Internet tethering, which allows the iPhone to share its 3G wireless network connection with laptop computers.
  • Video recording ability.
  • A three-megapixel camera with built-in autofocus and the ability to focus on individual objects by tapping their image on the screen.
  • Voice control.
  • A digital compass.
  • A larger keyboard that can be accessed by rotating the phone into the "landscape" orientation.
Many of these features were obviously missing from the 3G and/or are found on competing devices and therefore causing mixed sentiment amongst reviewers.

The 3G S will sell in the United States for $199 for the 16 GB version and $299 for the 32 GB model. The 8 GB 3G model will remain in play for a reduced $99, all prices require a 2 year contract commitment. The Canadian prices are to be released on June 19th.

Source: CBC

Monday, June 8, 2009

Great Firewall Of China Expanding

The Chinese government is said to be planning to require all PCs sold within the country to be shipped with software that blocks certain Web sites from users. Called "Green Dam-Youth Escort," the software would block access to government banned Web sites by regularly connecting to a database of banned sites and blocking access to those addresses. The government is claiming the intent is to protect young people from "harmful" content such as pornography, however recently during the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Chinese government blocked access to many social media and video sharing sites. It would appear as though their efforts at a network level are insufficient to block access to all of the content they are attempting to censor.

Source: CNet

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tony Hawk's New Game With Skate Board Remote

Tony Hawk has long been a favourite amongst game players and wanna be skateboarding champs. The latest incarnation of the Tony Hawk series of video games comes with a skateboard, like a Wii Fit board, only "way cooler", that allows you to get more than your thumbs into the action. Check out this Wired video in which Tony explains how to maneuver on the board:

The game is yet to be released but will be available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC.