Traffic delays are the bane of any commuter—even those who use a GPS, which warns you about traffic jams on your route to work. The reason: getting real-time data is difficult as the traffic information is routed from the scene to a massive database that only feeds GPS units on regular intervals.
The T-Mobile G1 smartphone, which comes out October 22 for $179, is a serious upstart challenger; a device that provides an easy-to-use touchscreen display, lets you download music directly to the device from the Internet, and has a full QWERTY slide-out keyboard. Using the G1 is intuitive and enjoyable. It reveals to the world once again that every other smartphone you've ever used besides the iPhone (Motorola, Samsung—are you listening?) now seems clunky and old-fashioned.
Just a few weeks ago, the new St. Anthony bridge in Minneapolis opened, to a heavy stream of commuter traffic. On August 1, 2007, the original bridge collapsed, killing 13 people and injuring more than 100. The National Transportation Safety Board will issue an official report on the bridge collapse next month, but the likely cause has to do with gusset plates that were poorly designed in the 1960s. There are still 12,600 similar "steel deck truss" bridges in use in the U.S.
Hubble fanboys take note: NASA is attempting to fix the inoperable space telescope right now. Cross your fingers, because the 18-year old computer code needs a serious reboot.
About two weeks ago, the Hubble stopped working for the most important and the malfunction has now delayed a space shuttle upgrade mission planned for this month, which would have made the orbiting telescope about 90 times more powerful. The delay is costing NASA $10M per month, presumably because plans for a repair mission are now on hold until early next year.
Is your ISP sabotaging your Internet connection? There's now a simple way to find out
By John BrandonPosted 08.08.2008 at 3:26 pm 3 Comments
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a rights advocacy group based in San Francisco, released a software program last week that lets you track whether your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is purposefully making your connection run slower. Called Switzerland, the software monitors packet forgery, a technique by which ISPs add overhead to your broadband line.
Massively multiplayer online role playing games may be massively more addictive than the games that came before
By John BrandonPosted 08.08.2008 at 1:19 pm 21 Comments
In a famous scene in the first Matrix movie, a character takes a bite out of a juicy steak. He knows it's not real, but enjoys it anyway. In some ways, a video game -- just moving pixels on the screen -- is a similar virtual reality experience. No, the aliens in Halo 3 are not real, but we pretend they are. That is how a game can pull you from a living-room couch into a foreign realm.
Google's new service provides the world even more information about where you live and how to get there
By John BrandonPosted 08.04.2008 at 10:58 am 5 Comments
Last week, Google released a beta application that provides walking directions in major cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Minneapolis. It's another sign that the search giant is getting even more specific about "organizing the world's information," right down to the sidewalk in front of your house. If you want to walk from your apartment in the suburbs to a restaurant downtown, Google will show you the best route with turn-by-turn directions you can print out or follow on your smartphone.
By John BrandonPosted 07.31.2008 at 6:05 pm 0 Comments
Ready for a rat's nest de-tangler? Nokia's Ovi.com service, set to debut in a few months, intends to reach into the myriad of digital files on your computer, sync them to an online portal, and make them available on your Nokia phone -– any time, from anywhere.