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1Oct/10Off

Samsung Officially Announces November 1st Availability of Galaxy Tab in UK

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We heard November 1st thrown around a lot before today – Amazon (who we normally trust to provide accurate information) had it listed on their online storefront for the same day – but Samsung’s gone ahead and made it official. It’ll debut in the UK first, but no word on when other regions would be able to purchase it could be had. Everything else in the press release we’re referring to says nothing we don’t already know, but read on if you want more details on the features (which include a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, a 1GHz prcoessor, Android 2.2, a front-facing camera, and more.)

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SAMSUNG ANNOUNCES UK AVAILABILITY OF GALAXY TAB

Android tablet device to hit the shops on 1st November 2010

Following last month’s global launch at IFA, Samsung Mobile today announces the Samsung Galaxy Tab (GT-P1000), will be available in UK stores from Monday 1st November.

Representing a new category of mobile products for the company, the Galaxy Tab features a 1GHz processor, Google’s Android 2.2, Froyo operating system, a front facing camera for video calls and a 7-inch TFT-LCD display. It can be used for everything from watching films and TV, viewing pictures, reading e-books and sharing documents, to talking to friends and colleagues via voice and video call, e-mail, instant messaging, SMS/MMS or social networking.

The light (380g) weight of the Samsung Galaxy Tab means it is extremely portable, with its dimensions easy to grip and use, it is perfectly sized for life on the go. Supporting the latest Adobe Flash Player 10.1, the device allows people to quickly and easily surf and view pages on the internet.

The ‘Readers Hub,’ Samsung’s unique e-reading application, provides easy access to a digital library, featuring everything from classical literature to the latest bestsellers and reference materials. In turn, films, videos and music are available via ‘Media Hub’ and ‘Music Hub’ applications, whilst all personal contact details, e-mail, calendar, social networking and instant messenger accounts, can be combined in the ‘Social Hub’.

Simon Stanford, Managing Director, Mobile, Samsung UK and Ireland said: “At Samsung we recognise consumers want to experience life without limits. The Samsung Galaxy Tab brings a very unique proposition to the tablet market and from 1st November, gives consumers the ultimate in connectivity and portability that they have been waiting for. It can be enjoyed by anyone – commuters, students, parents, businesses – who want to experience a complete range of entertainment, whether that be watching movies, listening to music, reading newspapers, or simply making a phone call plus much more besides.”

The Samsung Galaxy Tab will be available in the UK across all major networks, key high street and out of town electrical retailers and online such as Carphone Warehouse, Dixons Store Group and T-Mobile. The Galaxy Tab will be available on a range of attractive price packages, making it as widely accessible as possible to all consumers.

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1Oct/10Off

Mobilicity in Canada Latest to Sell the Nexus One

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If you thought any new carriers wouldn’t be interested in picking up the Nexus One to offer to their customers, guess again. Canadian carrier Mobilicity has announced that they will be offering the device for their customers, but there’s no subsidy to take advantage of. You can buy it from $549.99 (that’s Canadian) and it comes with Android 2.2, a 1GHz processor, a 3.7-inch touchscreen, the awesomeness that is the illuminated trackball, and more. Read on for full price details.3

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Google phone coming to Mobilicity
Wireless carrier to debut its first Android device; continues to enhance handset lineup with popular smartphones for unlimited data customers
Toronto, ON – September 30, 2010 – Mobilicity today announced it is carrying the Nexus OneTM by GoogleTM smartphone, a state-of-the art AndroidTM 2.2 device known for its sleek form factor, fast performance and Google enhancements for seamless integration with Gmail, Google Earth and live desktop wallpapers.
The Nexus One is part of Mobilicity’s growing lineup of popular smartphones and is a great choice for sophisticated smartphone users on one of Mobilicity’s unlimited data plans.
Available soon at select Mobilicity stores for $549.99, the Nexus One features a spectacular, 3.7-inch brilliant touch-screen display and a 1GHz Qualcom Snapdragon core processor – the fastest on the market. Considered a multi-tasker’s dream come true, the device is designed to simultaneously run 3D graphics, online applications and multiple programs running in the background without slowing down.
The Android device also features Google’s voice-activated keypad – voice recognition software that automatically converts speech to text messages, email, social networking updates and built-in GPS and mapping applications.
For those who rely on smartphones for mobile access to email and the Internet, Mobilicity’s data options are simply unrivaled in Canada. Unlimited data can be added onto any Mobilicity unlimited talk plan for only $20 – making the price for unlimited voice and data $45 a month. The company also offers unlimited data, unlimited global text, unlimited talk and unlimited North American long-distance for $65 a month – Canada’s best all-in-one wireless value.
Mobilicity customers do not require a contract or credit check – nor do they need to worry about incurring extra, hidden charges.
About Mobilicity (DAVE Wireless)
Mobilicity, Canada’s UNLIMITED 3.5G mobile operator, provides city-based consumers with simple, value-packed talk, text and data plans on its state-of-the-art, unlimited 3.5G network – without contracts, credit checks or hidden charges. Formerly known as Data & Audio Visual Enterprises Wireless Inc. (DAVE Wireless), the company is led by Obelysk, a diversified Canadian holding company, and Quadrangle Capital Partners, a global investor in the telecommunications and media sectors with more than $3 billion of capital under management. Mobilicity was recently named one of Canada’s Top 25 Up and Coming Information & Communication Technology start-ups by the Branham Group Inc. Further information about Mobilicity can be found at www.mobilicity.ca.

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1Oct/10Off

Epic 4G Update Pulled

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So the Samsung Vibrant first gets its GPS fix update pulled from Kies, and now the Samsung Epic 4G’s update has been pulled, as well. The news comes to us as Sprint was met with a barrage of complaints from customers who expected to pull down a file over-the-air yesterday, but didn’t. They were kind enough to update everyone  on the situation, and here’s why you can’t get your fix just yet:

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We learned this evening that there were administrative issues getting this software loaded to Google’s servers.  We don’t yet have an expected time when this will be available but will update you as soon as possible.  Please see the statement below that was sent by the Sprint Product Management team:

We  were planning to release an update for your Samsung Epic 4G on 9/30.   The file was delivered and on track for distribution but late this  afternoon, we learned that an administrative issue prevented Google from  releasing the update as we had planned.  We are working to resolve the  issue and will provide an update as soon as we understand the new  delivery schedule.


We  would like to clarify that  the timing of this update has nothing to do  with the 30 day return window that many of you on these blogs have been  discussing and that this delay has nothing to do with any last minute  changes within the release package itself.  The delay is simply due to  an administrative issue that we are working to resolve.

What that administrative issue might be is unclear (did Google find bugs? Were they unable to push the update out due to server errors?) but it looks like even more waiting is in store for those of you who were looking forward to this patch (which mainly addresses the issue where users faced capped upload speeds.) We’ll pass more information along as we get it.

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1Oct/10Off

The Funniest Prank

I’m not a practical jokester, but I’ve always wanted to have that reputation, like the stories you hear tangentially about George Clooney and Brad Pitt on the set of Oceans 12 (at least they were having fun). I’ve only pulled one prank in my life, during my freshman year of college. I convinced my resident advisor that a malevolent supercomputer from MIT was watching him from spy satellites in the sky. It was a funny joke at first, but when the supercomputer AI called in the FBI, it became utterly hilarious.

the funniest prank

[Macintosh image courtesy VAW]

One night I called Michael into my dorm room to show him the new supercomputer that we had hacked into. This was 1993, and we had established a link through the campus network to MIT. You could simply talk to my computer screen and the supercomputer would hear you and answer your questions.

“What sort of questions?” Michael asked.

“I don’t know. Try baseball trivia.”

“What team eventually became the Minnesota Twins?”

The computer sat silent. Then:

“Processing. . . Processing. The Minnesota Twins began as the Washington Senators, one of the original teams in the American League,” the computer finally spat out in a robotic voice.

Michael was floored. He asked more and more questions. First about baseball. Then history. Then pop culture. The supercomputer answered every question correctly. Well, almost every question. Occasionally, Michael would stump the computer, but he never noticed. He would ask a question that the machine couldn’t answer, and it would suddenly encounter some system error, or it would become distracted by other tasks, and it would reset itself, ignoring the question. This never fazed Michael, who was furiously thinking up questions he could ask to stump the machine from MIT that was talking through my Mac IIsi.

The next night, we took things a bit further. We told Michael that we had found a satellite interface for the supercomputer, and that the machine could see us from outerspace.

“But we’re inside,” he objected.

“Yeah, but it uses weather and spy satellites. It can use RADAR and heat imaging to see through walls. It can even detect colors.”

“Really?” He asked, without an inkling of doubt.

“Watch. Computer, who is in the room with me?”

The computer sat silent for a long time. Then:

“In the dormitory designated Pomerantz East Quad, Room 203, this machine detects 4 individuals. Philip Berne. Elizabeth Hu. Michael Pervis. Josh Cohen.”

We all looked around, every one of us except Michael feigning shock. Michael didn’t need to feign anything, he was floored.

“Computer, what color shirt is Michael Pervis wearing.”

“Michael Pervis is wearing a red Izod shirt. Size medium.”

Michael almost fainted.

“It knows my size?! How does it know my size?”

“I’m guessing the cameras are so sensitive that it can read the tag. Or maybe it just calculates based on your body size.”

We continued for a few more minutes, then the computer dismissed itself with an unceremonious excuse and shut down.

Finally, on the next night, I hear screaming from down the hall.

“Phil! Josh! Get in here now! Get in here right now!” Michael was in a panic.

I yelled from my room to ask Michael what was going on. He wouldn’t come to me, he insisted I come to him.

Michael’s computer was talking to him. The things it was saying were not reassuring.

“Michael Pervis. Please remain calm. You are being charged with unlawful access to military intelligence property. Please remain in your room. FBI agents have been called and are en route to your location. Please remain calm. Do not try to escape.”

Michael had turned pale beige like the Macintosh Color Classic on his desk that was now talking to him. He asked me what he should do. I told him he better listen to the machine. After all, if it could read his shirt size from outer space, it could certainly hunt him down.

We let this go on for about five minutes. That’s a very long time when someone is panicked and you’re trying not to crack up. Then, after some dry heaving and plenty of pats on the back, Josh’s roommate Paul came into Michael’s room. In his hand he held the thin microphone that came with his computer. Even though it wasn’t connected to anything, as he entered the room, he spoke into the mic in a robotic voice:

“Michael Pervis. Please remain calm. You are being charged with unlawful access . . . ”

Michael didn’t get it at first. He thought Paul was mimicking the computer. Of course, as we all knew, Paul was the computer.

Here’s how it worked: first we set up a simple voice chat program over the AppleTalk network. Paul could hear us in another room, and we could hear him. Michael asked questions, and Paul, with a small group from our dorm floor, supplied answers using his best robot impression. We started with baseball because Paul’s a baseball nut and he has plenty of reference material. When our panel of experts didn’t know an answer, we simply moved on and Michael hardly noticed.

On the second day, we had Elizabeth act as a runner between the dorm rooms. Michael was so distracted he never noticed her coming and going. When we asked about the color of his shirt, Liz ran down the hall and told Paul. For the shirt size, she simply guessed correctly.

The last piece was the most complicated. Some of our friends distracted Michael to get him out of his room, and I snuck in to install a piece of software on his computer. Michael was using an old version of the OS, so my first job was to install an extension that would allow the system to multi-task. Of course he would notice the voice chat app unless I could hide it running in the background. Then, I installed the chat program and let it run, hidden. We waited until he was back in his room, then simply started talking.

And that was the funniest, and the only, prank I’ve ever pulled.

This is the second time I’ve written this column for SlashGear, but only the first time I’ve submitted it for publication. The first time, I was simply trying to write a whimsical story about how technology has progressed over the years. I mean, a computer that couldn’t multi-task! That’s just crazy, right?

Then, a little over a week ago, a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide after a so-called prank that used similar methods. You can read the story here on CNN. His roommate turned on the camera and watched him over the campus network. When Tyler started getting intimate on camera, his roommate shared the live cam with the campus. Whether or not Tyler’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, is homophobic is anybody’s guess. But he shared Tyler’s personal life, and he certainly wasn’t polite about it.

It’s a horrible story, completely wrenching from every angle. I sympathize with all of them. I certainly feel for the pain Tyler must have felt. I also can’t believe that Ravi, even after his cold, callous and perhaps bigoted act, wanted anyone to die. He’ll have to live with the death he caused for the rest of his life, and that’s in addition to criminal charges he might face.

It’s always depressing to read the comments on a Web site, especially one that deals with any polarizing issue. But after I got past the brutal homophobia and hatred in the comments on the CNN story, I noticed another trend. A lot of folks claimed this prank was a normal part of college, and that Tyler simply overreacted. I’m inclined to agree that suicide is almost always a tragic overreaction, but I wouldn’t qualify Dharun Ravi’s actions as a classic college prank.

I’m not going to make up rules or boundaries for a prank, because I think there’s really only one rule. At the end, everybody laughs. I laugh, my co-conspirators laugh, and the victim laughs. At the end of my little Internet prank (I think we called it the Information Superhighway back then), Michael had a great big laugh. He laughed at his reaction, and he laughed at the way he was fooled by a ploy that seemed obvious, in retrospect.

Most of all, though, Michael knew that we liked him because we put so much effort into the prank. We didn’t destroy his things, we didn’t embarrass him in front of people he doesn’t know. We were having fun, and it wasn’t Michael who was the butt of our joke, it was his reaction, and the absurd situation we created.

What Dharun Ravi did was no prank. It was assault. There was no laughing; what was there to laugh about? If you’re in college and you’re still laughing at two people getting intimate, you’re clearly not meant for a higher education.

In the end, this is not an Internet issue. Before the Internet, this would have been Ravi taking secret Polaroids of his roommate and posting them on bulletin boards. Or stealing his diary and making copies to pass around. I’ve seen both of these so-called pranks in my day, and they always end poorly. The Internet can bring out the worst in us, but as Wilson Rothman points out on MSNBC, the Internet could be a useful tool for both sides in the Rutgers case.

The best use for the Internet? Making us laugh. Laughter is the thin line drawn between a horrible tragedy and the funniest prank.


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1Oct/10Off

Samsung Galaxy Tab to land in UK on November 1

One of the more exciting tablets that we have been talking about over the last few weeks that will be coming soon to fight the iPad is the Galaxy Tab. We even spent a bit of hands on time with the Galaxy Tab last month and had fun while it lasted. Today some new info on availability for the tablet has surfaced.

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Samsung has officially announced that the Galaxy Tab will land in the UK on November 1. The tablet will run Android 2.2 as the OS. That November 1 launch date is a bit of a disappointment for some after the Galaxy Tab was originally expected to land in September. Samsung also stated that the tablet would come in a range of prices.

That quip hints that the price will vary depending on the subsidy and most likely the data plan you opt for at purchase. The thing will turn up in the UK at popular stores like Carphone Warehouse, Dixons Store Group, and T-Mobile in addition to other retailers and carriers.


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1Oct/10Off

Sony Eclipse concept media player gets power from the sun

Concept products don’t have to be functional; they just need to look cool. A new concept product carrying the Sony brand has hit Yanko Design called the Eclipse. The Eclipse is a media player that sticks to a window with a suction cup.

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The backside of the Eclipse is one big solar panel so the device can get the juice it needs directly from the sun rather than batteries or AC power. The concept has Bluetooth connectivity to stream music, podcasts, and weather updates from a smartphone or computer.

Other features of the concept are a pop out holder for your PMP that looks like a cassette deck from the 80′s. Speakers are integrated into the design and a supporting app for the iPhone would let the user get screen savers to go along with the songs being played. The Eclipse was designed by Hoang M Nguyen and Anh Nguyen.


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1Oct/10Off

Google Street View hits Antarctica

It’s odd to me that Google Street View has limited Street View offerings for my town of 100,000 people yet it now has Street View for Antarctica. The least populated continent on earth with more penguins than people now has Street View.

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Naturally, the images weren’t shot with the cars that typically roll through towns taking photos. The imagery includes images form an area called Half Moon Island. Google says that the blue dots on the maps of the area are photos that were contributed by users.

The addition of Antarctica continent means that users can now use the Street View service on all seven continents. It is cool and would be cooler if they just strapped that camera to a Penguins back. At least Google doesn’t have to worry about catching WiFi data accidentally up in Antarctica; the penguins know how to secure a network.


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1Oct/10Off

Ballmer’s bonus slashed due to Kin failure

The failure of the Microsoft Kin phone was swift and epic. I haven’t seen a phone fail that fast before. You can bet the failure was felt around Microsoft and CEO Steve Ballmer may have felt the failure in his heart, but it hit is wallet too according to Reuters.

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Ballmer saw his nice, fat bonus slashed in the wake of the failure of the Kin and the Microsoft tablet efforts. The bonus was cut despite the fact that Microsoft had its biggest year ever. Reuters report that the bonus Ballmer received was $670,000, equal to his salary.

That is a lot of green for sure, but the bonus could have been twice that amount had the Kin and the tablet efforts paid off. Reuters reports that the official factors for the bonus cut were according to documents, “unsuccessful launch of the Kin phone, loss of market share in the company’s mobile phone business, and the need for the company to pursue innovations to take advantage of new form factors.”


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1Oct/10Off

USB Desktop Aquarium holds a real fish and your stuff

The number of weird USB gadgets that you can guy never ceases to amaze me. I have seen all manner of strange stuff like a microscope for your ears, a camera for taking pictures of zits, and even lights to pimp your cubicle. A new USB gadget has surfaced that has an aquarium powered by USB along with some other stuff.

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The little tank has 1.5 quarts of water and the recruiting water thing looks like a faucet. An articulating desk lap sheds light on your fish and a panel on the right side shows off a bunch of different info. The panel has a clock, calendar, and shows the temperature

To the right of the fish tank is a holder for things like your scissors, pens, and even your iPhone. I wouldn’t want my iPhone that close to water. The thing will sell for about $40 and should be available by the end of the month.


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1Oct/10Off

World’s fastest lawn mower sets speed record

I have watched a few lawn mower drag races in my day. The things can be surprisingly fast when they are hopped up well enough. An American dude named Bobby Cleveland has set a new lawnmower speed record taking the title back from Brit Don Wales.

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Cleveland previously held the record at 80.833 mph and Wales took that record from him with a run of 87.833 mph. Cleveland decided to take the record back and set about building himself a new mower. The American wanted to hit 104mph and didn’t quite make it.

Taking the mower to the Bonneville Salt Flats Cleveland hit 88.944 on his first run, breaking the existing record. He went back out and crushed the record with a top speed of 96.529. It’s worth noting that he rules say the mower must actually be able to cut crass.


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