Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/30/2012

Mary Meeker's Slides from D10
Mary Meeker is a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, but to me and many others, she's most well known for her annual Internet Trends reports which are packed full of facts and figures. She presented this year's report at the D10 conference. It's full of data and I suggest reviewing the slides. The saddest topic has how everything is being "Re-imagined" by the internet. I read it as books, photos, records and mementos are going away to be replaced by digital simulations.

Zagat is free with Google+ Local
Google bought Zagat for $151 million and is now giving it away for free. Google is integrating it to Google+ in the new local tab. In addition, is free. This could turn Google+ into stiff competition for Yelp.

Inside Project Glass
Fast Company interviewed Steve Lee, the product lead for Google's Project Glass. In part 1, he gives an overview of where they are at, but doesn't pony up any info on when they will be available for the rest of us. He does say he wouldn't be on the project if it was five years out. So we're looking at sooner than 2017, I guess.

Facebook, where games go after death
The vintage PC trivia game "You Don't Know Jack" is coming to Facebook. Is this going to be a trend with the success Zynga has had on Facebook? When does "The Legend of Zelda" or " The Oregon Trail" become available?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/29/2012

Rovi and Nuance bring voice control to TVs
Tired of waiting for the long rumored iTV with Siri voice control? Hopefully Rovi and Nuance will beat Apple to the punch. At the Cable Show, Rovi and Nuance were demonstrating Dragon TV, which combines Rovi's TV metadata and EPG with Nuance's voice and language-understanding platform for voice control of your TV. While no release date has been announced, no release date for iTV has been announced either.

Google announces the next generation of Chrome devices
Google and Samsung announced the next generation of the Chrome devices, a new Chromebook starting at $449 and a Chromebox priced at $329. With the new version of ChromeOS supporting multiple windows and looking more like an OS and not a glorified browser, this may have a chance. Of course, some people like it, but some don't. The big compliant is the pricing, with Windows 7 desktops cheaper than the Chromebox, and the iPad 2 priced cheaper than the Chromebook.

Samsung announces Music Hub
Samsung announced a cloud music service, Music Hub. This is a competitor to iTunes, right down to iTunes Match-like "Scan & Match Cloud Locker", but subscription based vs. the iTunes purchase model. The subscription gives you unlimited streaming of their music library. Unfortunately, in the near term, it's only for the Galaxy S3 and in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK.

Accelerator for battery startups
CalCharge is an accelerator lab for battery technology. It hopes to create an ecosystem for battery startups that will speed up developments in this critical technology that impacts everything from cellphones to electric cars to solar energy.

Bonus Link of the Day: $119 Android Tablet
Think the Amazon Kindle Fire is a little too pricey at $199? The Ematic Steal is a $119 Ice Cream Sandwich Android Tablet with a 1GHz ARM processor. It's scheduled to be available at this week.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/28/2012

Tired of 1080P?
The ITU just approved a draft recommendation for 4K and 8K Ultra-HD TV. This is just the first step to new a TV in your living room, which could be some years away. At least it gives you time to start saving.

How much energy does your DVR use? 
More than your refrigerator according to the National Resources Defense Council, 446 KW hours vs. the 415 KW hours of an energy star rated refrigator. Fortunately, companies like Comcast, and Broadcom are working to make your DVR go to sleep and use much less power when you're not using it.

Where's Google Wallet? 
It's been a year since Google Wallet was released. It's still going just not growing very fast. Only 4 phones support it, but with MasterCard PayPass terminals supporting it, there are plenty of places to use it if you're lucky enough to have one of  the phones that support it.

MHL gets updated
MHL is a video standard, that combines HDMI with the power charging of USB. It's probably on the smart phone you own. With MHL, if you plug into an MHL compliant TV, your phone can charge while you watch the videos you recorded. With MHL 2.0, you can charge your phone faster and support up to 1080P60.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/24/2012

The User Interface of the Future
What would you think of an Eames chair augmented with a joystick, touchpad and 10" tablet with stylus to control a state of the art user interface with a wall sized screen and two touch screen monitors? Pretty cool huh? Apple Engineers thought so over thirty years ago when they saw Dataland at MIT. It inspired the UI for Lisa, the precursor to the original Mac.

Siri vs. S Voice
When Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy III, they also announced S Voice, a Siri-like assistant based on technology from Vlingo. The Verge did a face off. Unfortunately, it seems although Siri came out a bit ahead, neither can replace a real assistant yet.

The Google Play Store gets In-App subscriptions
The Android Developer Blog announced the addition of In-App subscriptions for the Google Play Store. This will enable a recurring subscription that users can control through the Play Store. The obvious applications are magazines and newspapers, but game developers are even looking at it for "renting" features.

Dish sued over commercial hopping
When Dish announced it's Hopper DVR, one of the more interesting features was the ability to "Auto-Hop" commercials. Evidently, Fox, CBS, and NBC don't think this is interesting and have sued Dish to remove the feature due to copyright infringement. Similar arguments killed a similar feature in Replay.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/23/2012

nVidia readies a $199 tablet design
The chip manufacturer nVidia is readying a reference design that would enable a $199 quad core android tablet in the market. This design, named Kia, should have twice the performance of the dual core Kindle Fire or iPad3 at a competitive price point. This type of tablet could be a big winner for Android.

Intel promises end to conflict-free processors
We've all heard of blood diamonds, however a critical component for consumer electronics has a similar problem, Tantalum. Tantalum mining is unfortunately funding a civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Intel has promised to stop using Tantalum from this region by the of 2013. Kudos to them.

Android Screen Sharing
ESR Labs has demonstrated  a screen sharing app called The Android Transporter. This is similar to Intel's WiDi or Apple's AirPlay Mirroring. Currently, it only works between one Samsung Nexus S and another, however the developers don't see any limitations for expanding it beyond the Nexus S.

What's new in ARM processors? 
ARM processors are the CPUs powering your smart phones and tablets, as opposed to the Intel processors that power your PC and notebooks. If you didn't already know that, this article might be a bit too technical for you, otherwise it's a great overview of the improvements made by the new ARM Cortex A15 that will be in the next generation smart phones.

Update: Followup on Straight Talk cell service
I previously reported on Straight Talk having a $45 unlimited talk, text and data plan if you provide the phone. GigaOm has an article from someone who has tested it out. Sounds pretty good, except for the unlimited data is really 2GB a month.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/22/2012

SpaceX launches
The private spacecraft SpaceX Falcon 9 launched this morning. The Falcon 9 is running a test for shipping supplies to the international space station. If successful, SpaceX will start fulfilling a contract for delivering supplies to the space station this year.

Tesla vs. Edison
The website The Oatmeal and Forbes Magazine have gotten into a flame war after The Oatmeal ran an article praising Nikola Tesla and slamming Thomas Edison. Here's the first article, Forbes' response and The Oatmeal's final response. I'm a Tesla man myself, but you can make your own choice.

The Indy 500 embraces the second screen
If you're watching this weekend's Indy 500, you'll have access to some of the best second screen technology available today. From or, you can follow any driver you want, and maybe more importantly watch crashes from at least two or more camera views.

Are transparent televisions next? 
Loewe has taken the thin TV to the next level with a demo of it's concept TV, the Loewe Invisio. By using a new technology called TOLEDs (or transparent organic light-emitting device), that can be practically transparent when turned off, the Invisio practically disappears when not in use.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/21/2012

A big day for gesture based user interface hardware
Today Microsoft released version 1.5 of the Kinect SDK for Windows, which includes better body tracking and extra languages for speech recognition. Not to be out done, Leap Motion revealed its motion control hardware for gesture control. Leap says it's 200 times more accurate than existing technology,  which I assume means the Kinect. Check out the demo video.

Want your TiVo to go? 
TiVo announced a set top box, that along with the normal features for watching live and recorded TV, will convert your shows to a format compatible with your smart phone or tablet allowing you to take your shows with you.

Want a QR code with your beer? 
Guinness has come up with a beer glass that when filled up with a nice dark beer creates a QR code. That QR code, when scanned by your smart phone, tweets about your beer, updates your facebook status, checks you in on foursquare, gives you coupons and invites your friends to come join you.

Want to learn guitar? 
A new startup Incident launched the gTar, an app for the iPhone that along with a $450 custom electronic guitar, will teach you to play guitar. This was demonstrated at Disrupt NYC along with several other startups. Incident was one of the coolest startups, along with Babelverse, a speech translation powered by human interpreters.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/20/2012

Tablet Rumors of the Day
The rumor mill has been having fun on the tablet front. From the Amazon world, the rumor mongers are reporting that Amazon will put out a 10" model in Q3 and add a lower cost 7" ad-supported model. In addition, the Android Authority did a price breakdown on the rumored iPad-mini. They seem to believe it will be a $300 device. That makes it a little less compelling than the $200-$250 price earlier rumored.

Who wants a robot that climbs clothing?
In what sounds like a scene from a science fiction movie, Chinese researchers developed a robot that can climb your clothes. The video is pretty cool, but the researchers don't have a real use for the robot beyond giving children nightmares.

SpaceX launch scrubbed
Privatized space travel took a step backwards when the SpaceX rocket launch was scrubbed. High pressure in one of the nine engines caused the launch to be cancelled. SpaceX reported that there was a faulty valve in the engine. If all goes well, they will attempt to launch on Tuesday May 22nd.

Microsoft launches a new social site
Microsoft launched So.Cl (pronounced Social). It's for encouraging collaboration and enchancing social search for learning purposes. It's like the Pinterest for students, since only college students can create boards.

Is Innovation stagnating? 
Neal Stephenson gave a talk at MIT in which he stated that we have seen a lack of large scale projects and innovation since the introduction of the internet. While you may agree or disagree, here's a list of innovations from 1876 to 1886 from a followup article: internal combustion engine, electric lightbulb, electric transformer, steam turbine, electric railroad, automobile, telephone, movie camera, phonograph, linotype, roll film (for cameras), dictaphone, cash register, vaccines, reinforced concrete, and flush toilets.

Here's the list from ABC news of the top 10 innovations from 2000 to 2010:  GPS, hybrid cars, text messaging, wikipedia, file sharing, social networking, the human genome project, Google, Nintendo WII  and the iPhone. I think 1876-1886 wins.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/17/2012

Google patents input for Augmented Reality Glasses
Google has applied for a patent to use a marker ring on your finger as an input to a glasses based augmented reality system (sound familar? Hint: Project Glass). As opposed to talking to yourself to control the glasses, now you can walk down the street waving your hand. 

Comcast is replacing Usage Caps
The good news is that Comcast is replacing it's usage cap. The bad news is that it's replacing it with a tier usage plan similar to cell phones. Comcast will test two new plans. The first one will have performance tiers (Blast and Extreme) for users that want more bandwidth. The other one will offer additional blocks of data over the base 300GB, (e.g. $10 per 50GB). 

A Cool Android App comes to Kickstarter
Chameleon, a awesome looking home screen app for Android tablets has come to Kickstarter. Chameleon is a home screen app that lets you configure your home screen based on your location, network or time of day. At work you can have your email and to do list up, at home, may be it's Facebook and Netflix. It looks like an app that should be on the iPad. A very clean design and cool looking. Teknision, the company behind Chameleon, started out trying to sell the idea to OEMs, but it didn't take off so they are trying to fund this via Kickstarter. 

Is texting like a truth serum? 
The University of Michigan has found that people are more honest when replying to a text than in person. In addition, people are more likely to disclose sensitive information and give more precise answers. Maybe texting is the best form of communication? 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/16/2012

Google's Knowledge Graph
Ever wonder how Google handles search queries? Today they launched the Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph handles your query results as objects as opposed to just strings. This allows them to tell the difference between Taj Mahal, the monument and Taj Mahal, the band.

Wireless Power alliance formed
Samsung and Qualcomm have formed the Alliance for Wireless Power. A4WP is promoting a standard wireless power charging technology. If it is successful, we can all have a cool wireless charger like the Palm Pre had almost three years ago.

Hello Engineer Guy! 
In looking through articles today, I discovered The Engineer Guy on YouTube. Want to know how the CCD in your camera works or how your LCD monitor works? The Engineer Guy can tell you. These are understandable, technical and well done. Check them out.

Goodbye Assistant, Hello Companion
In the on going attempt to organize our lives, will we progress from assistants like Siri to companions who know where we go and what we do and use that to help guide us to make better decisions? Companions don't wait for you to ask them questions, they make suggestions, maybe like rescheduling that dentist appointment you missed. With all the data we can capture about ourselves, maybe our devices can make us a little better.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/15/2012

Term of the day: "Superstack"
What's a Superstack? It's the integration of hardware, software and apps, the iPad for example. The idea is once you've accepted a Superstack, you're willing to give up options for convenience. An iPad user will more likely buy from the iTunes store rather than Amazon since it's cleanly integrated. It feels like the rest of us came up with a term that Apple has understood for years. 

What Android Fragmentation? 
One of the biggest issues for Android developers is the number of Android platforms. OpenSignalMaps has recorded the number of different Android devices that have downloaded their app and the number is 3997. Compare this to the 10 that Apple lists for the iPhone. 

The Story of Google Send
Curious on what happens when you hit send in Gmail? Google has put out a high level description of the process in "The Story of Send". It has nice graphics and an overview of their data security and green initiatives, but don't expect a bits and bytes nerd-tactular level of information. Videon folks may like the dude zipping around on a Razor. 

Two-thirds of Americans watch one online video a day
A recent survey shows that over two thirds of Americans watch at least one online video a day. This along with Nielsen's data showing that internet video is starting to impact traditional TV watching could be a signal that cord cutting or cord shaving is starting to reach beyond the economic argument and impacting a broader section of TV viewers.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/14/2012

Ericsson's Connected Me turns you into a cable
Ericsson has been showing off it's Connected Me technology at all the regular trade shows and until I read this article I didn't get it. Connected Me turns you into a cable. Want to exchange business cards between cell phones? Shake hands. Want to print a document from your phone? Touch the printer. No wireless setup, No Bluetooth pairing. It's probably over year away from a product, but a cool concept. 

Wallpaper that blocks WiFi
Even with security enabled on your router, determined people can still get on your wireless network. Researchers in France have come up with an interesting solution: wallpaper that blocks WiFi signals. The wallpaper lets television, radio and mobile phone signals through but blocks WiFi signals so no one outside your house can detect your network. 

Buffalo announces an 802.11ac router
802.11ac is the next generation of wireless networking with network speeds over 4 times the current 802.11n. Buffalo announced the first 802.11ac router available now, beating Netgear to be the first. Of course, the 802.11ac standard is not finalized so assume you'll need a firmware update down the line. 

Foxconn CEO confirms Apple "iTV", then no he didn't 
The CEO of Foxconn announced that they will soon start manufacturing a television for Apple. Then shortly after that a Foxconn spokesperson announced that the report was not accurate. I don't what the Apple press will talk about once this thing comes out. 

Bonus Link of the Day: Android Rooting Terms
Want to be hip like all your geek friends and  root your Android phone or tablet but don't even understand what rooting is? Well the good people at Android Authority put together this dictionary of rooting terms. Enjoy and try not to brick your phone, now that you know what brick means. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/10/2012

NDS previews the future of TV
NDS went to San Francisco to demo their idea of a futuristic TV. They demonstrated a matrix of 6 "bezel-less"  displays the size of a wall. With a 4K resolution, you can see your TV show on the wall and have other information displayed around it. Of course, this is all driven by an iPad. The concept is your TV screen is modular and you can attach more displays to make your TV bigger.  The only problem is that the "bezel-less" displays still put a line in the middle of the screen. If that can be fixed, it could be a cool demo.

Lenovo announces Android TV
Lenovo announced a Smart TV for the Chinese Market. While not a GoogleTV, it does run Android 4.0 (or Ice Cream Sandwich) on a dual core 1.5GHz Qualcomm CPU. Since it's running Android, Lenovo's Le Store already has over a 1000 apps available.

The No-Smudge Screen is on it's way
Motorola applied for a patent for a new display layer that promises to prevent smudges on touch screens. Clean freaks of the world rejoice!

Klik App does Facial Recognition
Tired of typing in everyone's name when checking in on Facebook or Twitter? The Klik app helps by using facial recognition software to automatically label everyone in a picture and auto-tagging them on Facebook or Twitter when you upload it. It's more of a novelty than a time saver for most people, but it demonstrates's facial-recognition APIs that are available to developers.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/09/2012

GE announces a 27 watt LED bulb
I rarely talk about lightbulbs but when GE announces a 27 watt LED bulb that is as bright as a 100 watt lightbulb, that's cool. The fact that it is supposed to last for 25,000 hours is even better. And by the way, did you know that it was announced at Lightfair, the largest lighting trade show? I didn't even know lighting had a tradeshow. Just another reason to hit Vegas. 

Pioneer announces an in-car GPS with heads up display
Pioneer is releasing an in-car navigation system that uses your windshield as the display. No more taking your eyes off the road to look at the GPS. Unfortunately, it's only going to be released in Japan so far. 

DVDs and Blu-rays made more annoying
The one drawback to DVDs and Blu-rays is the fact you can't fast forward through the FBI warning. Now we will have two warnings to not fast forward through. The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center has added an "Educational" screen to inform you piracy is bad. The stupid part of this is that one of the ways to get around the screen is to pirate the movie. 

Visa announces 
Visa announced their service. looks to be a combination of Paypal and Google's Wallet. It's a central payment method for buying online without entering your credit card information. It also allows you to buy using a smartphone with NFC technology similar to Google's Wallet. 

Flipboard unofficially available for Android! 
Yesterday I mentioned there was a port of Flipboard coming to Android. Today, an XDA user has posted the apk for Flipboard. If you are interested and a bit adventuresome, here's the link

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/08/2012

3D Printer for $499
Solidoodle is producing a 3D printer capable of printing 6x6x6 objects for the low price of $499. The printed examples look good, and this is the cheapest 3D printer I've seen. If anyone is looking for a present for their friendly neighborhood CTO, this would be great. :)

Evernote buys Penultimate
Evernote bought the popular iPad handwriting app Penultimate. Evernote is going to integrate the handwriting into other Evernote products and, joy of joys, porting Penultimate to other devices. Please can I have my Android port?

Pandora breaks 150 million users
Pandora announced that it broke 150 million users. Unfortunately, it also lost 16 million dollars, making it 11 straight years it has lost money. It will become even harder to be profitable with competitors like Spotify and Rdio.

Tizen is demo'd
Tizen, the open source phone OS that replaced Meego, has hit version 1.0 with an SDK release last week. The Handheld Blog shows a 7 minute demo of a Samsung phone running Tizen from the Tizen conference. Can't say it's anything amazing but it good to see something real out of the Tizen camp.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/07/2012

AppleTV Rumors are back
An elusive "source" for Cult of Mac claims to have seen the Apple HDTV. It's a larger version of a Cinema Display with a camera for Facetime video conferencing and Siri voice activated control.

Google releases Google+ Hangouts On Air
Google released Google+ Hangouts On Air for everyone. What are Hangouts On Air? Simply put, they allow you to create your own TV channel anyone can watch, almost the online version of Public Access TV. Go be creative! 

Google is allowed to test self driving cars
Nevada approved Google's license to test autonomous vehicles. Currently, they require two drivers and $1 million in insurance. Hopefully we are on our way to the Minority Report self driving cars. 

Megatron is alive! 
Japanese robot researchers have created a small car that transforms into a walking robot. Check the video out. Pretty cool. I can't wait to really hear "I bought a car. Turned out to be an alien robot. Who knew?"

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/06/2012

Samsung Galaxy III announced.
Samsung announced the Galaxy III. It's a monster of a phone with a 1.4GHz quad core processor, 720P resolution AMOLED display, and has all the hardware bell and whistles: Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi Direct, MHL-compatible micro-USB port, and NFC. It also includes a microSD slot allowing you to upgrade the storage. However my favorite feature is the port of the iPad app Flipboard to Android. I hope it's opened up to other android devices soon.

Touch control for ordinary items
Imagine enabling touchscreen-like controls on objects like doorknobs or even your body. Touche is demoing how this can be done using multi-frequency touch technology. Be sure to watch the video to see all of the application usages, like a music player controlled with gestures on your hand, or a sensing sofa that will turn on the TV when you sit down. It's like the lamps that you turn on by touching them on steroids.

Hacking the Audio Jack
Project Hijack is developing a board to plug into the audio jack of your cell phone. Why would you want to do this? Because the audio jack is the only open connector on the iPhone/iPad where you don't have to pay Apple and, it's compatible with Android phones. It supplies power and two way low data rate communication. Both software and hardware are open source.

Tod adds location to your stuff
A new Kickstarter project, Tod, is a small sensor that you can place on your stuff. The Tod sensor works at up to a 500 foot range. You can use it to remember where you parked your car or where your dog is. It also can send text messages when you come into range of a Tod. Another interesting Kickstarter project.

Free struggling with cheap cell service
French IPTV provider Free launched a cheap cell phone service in France, with prices as low as 2 euros a month. While they seem to have taken market share, the downside is that they don't have enough bandwidth for all of their customers. This requires Free to buy bandwidth from it's competitor French Telecom. Free is trying to avoid this by updating their IPTV set top boxes with a WiFi access point so they will route calls over their network rather than using a cell network. With their 4 million set top boxes, they are hoping this will keep them from relying on French Telecom's network.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/02/2012

MIT gives a glimpse into the future
MIT's Media Lab held its annual Inside Out conference on the future of technology and design. The topics ranged from smart buildings to drive-by-wire electric cars to stuffed animals for recovering children. All the presentations are online, enjoy.

Online Education keeps moving forward
MIT and Harvard are creating a non-profit partnership called edX that will offer free online courses. Similar to Udacity, edX will not give credits but will give a certificate for completing the course. They aren't the only universities that are working together. Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan announced a commercial version of this called Coursera. As more and more universities open up this type of online coursework, the question is how this will impact the future of traditional education. Would you be more likely to hire a person who has certificates from online Ivy league or MIT courses or a degree from a state university?

Comcast blocks out Sony Video Service
It turns out controlling the pipe is important. Sony shutdown a plan for a home video service since it couldn't compete with Comcast's Xfinity service. Comcast has a 250 GB monthly cap. Xfinity on the XBox is not counted against this cap, while Sony's service would be. As long as Comcast is supplying the network connection, it's within its rights to do this. This creates a natural, almost insurmountable, advantage for Xfinity over any other over-the-top provider.

Amazon is paying for original ideas for TV shows
Amazon is offering up to $55,000 for an original comedy or kids show. You just need to provide a 5 page description and a pilot script. Come on, now's your chance to prove you can write a better show than Two and a Half Men or 2 Broke Girls.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 05/01/2012

Flashback earns $10K a day
Why do people write malware? To make money. Symantec analyzed the Flashback exploit that hit Macs. Flashback installed software that faked clicks on pages to generate ad revenue to the tune to $10,000 a day. Those are the numbers that lead people to break the law. 

Unfortunately, with tablets, Size matters
LukeW shows that with tablets and web views, size matters. The average number of page views drops in proportion to the screen size. Since it's thought that the small screen size makes it hard to navigate pages with a touchscreen, hopefully web designers will begin to modify their sites for different screen sizes. 

Want a cheap unlimited plan? Buy your phone
Straight Talk offers an unlimited voice, messaging and data plan for only $45 per month with no contract. It also works with AT&T's and T-mobile's networks. What's the catch? You need to buy your own phone. With Google selling the Galaxy Nexus for $399, you could save up to $1600 in two years. 

Netflix looking at resurrecting another cancelled TV show
Netflix has been referred to as Rerun TV since most of it's content has been old TV shows. Now it may have a new nickname: Lazarus TV. After striking a deal to bring back "Arrested Development", Netflix is talking to CBS to resurrect another cancelled show, "Jericho". Similar to Arrested Development, Jericho had a small but loyal audience. You may remember the Jericho Nuts campaign where fans sent 40,000 pounds of nuts to protest the cancellation of the show. The campaign got Jericho a second season. 

Apple pushes Mastered for iTunes
iTunes songs are compressed using a format called AAC. Unfortunately, AAC modifies the music to get decreased file sizes. If this isn't done correctly, the audio quality drops.  Apple has released guidelines to get the best quality out of AAC with it's Mastered for iTunes program. We can thank Rick Rubin for this, since he went to Apple to complain about the audio quality on the Red Hot Chili Peppers album, "I'm With You".