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Posts Tagged ‘technology’
I get it. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel when the common wheel works just fine. But why is it that everyone is copying Apple’s iPhone? Is there a certain sense for excitement, for something new and better only at Apple? Add Google to the list of iPhone imitators: If you don’t like the arrogance of Apple, but are jealous of all those flaunting their iPhones, the Nexus One from Google is probably the best you can do. That is, of course, if you don’t depend on texting and if you don’t like Blackberrys.
Yes, lots of cell phone news today and we promise we won’t have quite as many tomorrow. This one is especially noteworthy – Google is expected to introduce its idea of an iPhone (well, it won’t be called iPhone, of course) on January 5, if we believe industry rumors.
The rumors started flying when Google began inviting journalists to a mysterious press conference shortly before the opening of the Consumer Electronics Show, the annual Disneyland gadget spectacle for geeks in Las Vegas.
A German security expert announced that the encryption technology protecting certain cell phone calls from interception has been cracked. The tools necessary to intercept cell phone calls are available free of charge on the Internet and information detailing the vulnerability of cell phone voice call and data (such as text messages) encryption has been released.
The newly raised concern affects only GSM networks, which are used by about 4 billion cell phone users around the globe and by AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S. There were previous reports indicating that GSM might be insecure, but no one was able to show evidence for that claim until now.
I have to admit that I never really cared about text messaging and even found it quite annoying and useless – before the time of my divorce. Now I am infinitely grateful for this service as it allows me as a single parent to keep contact with my children when they are not with me. But it seems that not only I have gone SMS crazy, but many other people in the U.S. as well. According to the Census Bureau’s most recent data, more than 110.4 billion text messages are sent from U.S., cell phones – every month.
Let’s be honest, calling an Apple computer ‘affordable’ is an oxymoron, so please excuse my sensationalism in the headline. But Apple is to the generic PC what Lexus is Toyota, they are both more than likely to take you from A to Z, but the Lexus is more comfy and will do it in a more stylish way. Now it seems that Apple will soon be revealing the computer equivalent to a Lexus that is stripped down to the bones. It is likely to cost a lot less than current Apple computers, but it won’t be able to take you all places. Will you prefer this Lexus with a weak engine over a similarly priced Toyota that will get you everywhere?
Don’t pretend you are surprised: Facebook has been found to have played a role in about one out of five divorces.
What may create and build friendships and relationships could also destroy it in the end. A British law firm said that “Facebook” was mentioned in 989 out of a sample of 5000 filed divorce cases.
Rant alert – You might think it is common sense to assume that texting while driving could be rather unhealthy, especially if you are typing and miss that red light in front of you. But some things may simply be too inconvenient to believe and to adjust to – and we need to be reminded countless times of potential consequences. So, how many studies and accidents do we need to understand how dangerous texting while driving really is? How many more studies do lawmakers need?
I’ll take a good guess and just assume that you are among those 300 million Facebook users and there is a reasonable chance that, since you are a single parent, you are among the 60 million who actually use the site on a daily basis. Given the massive impact the site has on our lives – according to Alexa.com, it is the Internet’s second most web site worldwide – any changes potentially should matter to you. Especially if Facebook modifies its privacy options and recommendations. You may have noticed the founder’s note on the Facebook main screen last week, but I wonder: Do you really (have to) care?
There is quite some activity in the cellphone space: Many big carriers are dropping their fees for certain plans. Especially the all-you-can-eat voice plan, that is now available for as little as $45 per month, down from as much as $130 just a few months ago, has created enough incentive for carriers to make their plans more attractive – which is very much welcome by single parents who depend on those unlimited voice and data plans. But if you are stuck in a 2-year plan, changing plans or switching carriers can be very expensive and result in early contract termination fees. Consumer Action has released helpful tips how to cut down the impact of those fees if you want to switch.
If we believe the usual suspects among typically well-informed tech bloggers, Google has begun testing its own cellphone. Apparently it will look just like an iPhone, with a huge touchscreen, but it will be thinner and it is squarely aimed at the crowd that has become so dependent on texting and mobile Internet. Which, of course, includes single parents who need to stay in touch with their kids.
I have no doubt that some video game or even video game console is on the Christmas shopping lists of most single parents. But before you shell out your dollars, be sure to check what your kids want and keep in mind what will be new next year – especially Microsoft’s gesture recognition technology.
Thankfully, the choices for video game consoles aren’t that tough. Kids tend to make up their minds pretty much on their own. Some research what each console is capable of can be a tremendous help which console and what games you should purchase. Nintendo’s Wii remains the family fun and most social console, Sony’s Playstation 3 has without doubt the most capable and most sophisticated (and also most expensive) hardware that includes a Blu-ray player, but has yet to prove how it can truly differentiate itself other than claiming it is a high-end gaming and entertainment device.
I have been a technology journalist for more than 14 years and despite I believe I have seen it all, I am still amazed at the astonishing progress that has been made within a few years. We are keeping contact with our kids via cell phones, we are connected day and night to our work (ok, that may not be so much progress) and friends, we are purchasing virtually any product from the comfort of our family room couch, we are carrying tiny music players that store tens of thousands of songs and we have cell phones that can snap pictures and record videos when we want to.