* You are viewing the archive for August, 2007

Apple’s Captive Audience: New iPod Coming Next Week?

Apple LogoThere is lots of buzz surrounding a special event Apple will be hosting next Wednesday. The general consensus is that Apple is introducing an iPod with more features. Forbes seems to think iPhone-like features are likely, such as a large, touch-sensitive display. Another possibility is that of a Wi-Fi receiver which would allow the iPod to browse the Internet and/or send and receive e-mail.

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) brings cost into the equation by saying that Apple “is expected next week to introduce new versions of its digital music players that have more features, but cost the same.” The WSJ, however, doesn’t admit to its own speculation, instead relying on a new source: “Apple fan sites.” Here’s another excerpt:

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World of Warcraft to Introduce Disease in the Name of Science?

World of WarcraftThe Economist (subscription required) has an interesting article out on how epidemiologists (those who study epidemic diseases) would like to use World of Warcraft (for the unofficiated: an extremely popular MMORPG or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) as part of research to see how people will react when faced with wide spread disease. This type of situation, obviously, can’t be introduced in the real world for study (at least not very ethically).

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I Blame the Internet for My Lack of Reading Books, What’s Your Excuse?

BooksI must say, I love this day and age where information flows freely. I remember back (what, ten years ago?) when I took magazine and/or newspaper subscriptions seriously. There were (are) so many, and they all cost money. Which ones should I subscribe to? Which are worth the time of sifting through pages to find what I really want?

But now, finding information to stay up-to-date on your news or hobbies? Who spends time actually searching for information they used to get in a magazine or newspaper? I know I don’t. It’s almost in front of me before I’m ready for it; I’m still catching up with what’s considered old news because it’s been a couple days. Sites like Techmeme or Google News aggregate it for me. Combine that with my favorite RSS feeds via Google Reader (all of which are free daily updates of what I used to pay for via magazines or newspapers) and I have some good, quality information that interests me.

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Wal-Mart Now Offers DRM-Free Downloads But Still Has Issues with Firefox

Wal-MartWal-Mart is trying to step up its competition with Apple iTunes. The retail giant, which is already the No. 1 seller of recorded music because of CD sales, will now sell digital downloads of songs without any copy protection (DRM) via walmart.com for 94 cents a track, or $9.22 an album. The service will launch with music from two of the major record labels: Universal Music and EMI.

The company plans to continue offering its existing WMA protected format for other music downloads, which cost 88 cents a track but won’t work with iPods and plenty of other digital music players. Here’s what Kevin Swint, Wal-Mart senior director for digital media, had to say, “As we consistently strive to help our customers shop smart at Wal-Mart, our new ‘DRM-free’ MP3 digital tracks give them the ease and flexibility to play music on virtually any device at a great value.”

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Airline Virgin America Offers Satellite TV & Text Messaging From Every Seat, But Is That Enough?

Virgin AmericaBeginning Wednesday, Virgin America will offer daily flights linking San Francisco to New York and Los Angeles. Virgin is apparently trying to compete with the major U.S. airlines both in terms of price and features. Tickets between San Francisco and New York are competitive at just over $250.

And the airline hopes to be an attractive alternative due to its on-board amenities. The seatback entertainment system allows you to enjoy satellite TV, radio, and games. You can even order food, create a playlist from a library of 3,000 digital songs, and send each other text messages.

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The Irony of the Most Popular Anti-Virus Having the Worst Customer Service

SymantecComputerworld has an interview with Symantec CEO John Thompson, which discusses, among other things, the poor customer service the company has been dishing out lately. Apparently, it took hold times of over an hour for the anti-virus giant to realize something had to be done.

In answer to the question, “Have you sufficiently addressed related customer service issues and long telephone waits?” Thompson replies: “We think we have by overstaffing, but that’s not a sustainable model, so we have to fix the technology underpinnings… Wait times from their peak of well over an hour are down to now under two minutes.”

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