Catch up on this week’s tech and science news with the latest TowleTech from our correspondent Daniel Williford.
President Bush issued an executive order
this week asking Homeland Security to put its resources towards a major
technology upgrade to the country’s outdated Emergency Alert System in order to
ensure that "the President can communicate with the American people" in
times of crisis. Whether something effective can be implemented in a
timely manor is a different story altogether. "…The White House order
calls for ‘an integrated alert and warning
system that reaches as many Americans as possible through as many forms
of communication as possible — television, radios, PDAs, cellphones,
et cetera,’ said Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke.
‘We’re talking about a quantum leap forward.’"
Sometimes, it seems, AOL gets a bit confused. This week they launched an entire new website, LAT34.com, which is basically a version of its recently launched AIM Pages for EXTREME teenage boys. LAT34 (a reference to its Los Angeles home base, which is, obviously, at Latitude 34 degrees, Longitude 118 degrees) is a social networking site and news portal for people into BMX biking, Sk8ing, Snowboarding, Mountain Dew, and Johnny Knoxville. Hell yeah, bruh!
Engadget reviews Napster’s new Nano-like 1GB digital music player. The promotional Napster-branded player stores video and photos, as well as common music file formats (excluding Apple’s AAC). "The tiny device probably won’t be seen outside of its current role of attracting 1-year subscriptions, but it manages a nice look, decent user interface and a commendable 40 hour battery life — not bad for $50."
MTV’s Gay and Lesbian television network LOGO has added a bunch of its programming to iTunes, and it will add more through the end of the year. The deal appears to be part of MTV’s larger iTunes offering of content from its many subsidiary outlets, such as VH1 and Comedy Central — which is surprising, considering that MTV also owns and iTunes competitor, Urge, which recently partnered with Microsoft’s Window’s Media Player.
TechEBlog released a top 10 list of Coolest Designer Gadgets this week. We were particularly hot for this yet-unreleased Sony Ericson Black Diamond designer phone with a 4MB camera and shiny black "borderless screen" from designer Jaren Goh.
This week Google launched its own payment system, comparable to PayPal’s popular service. Google Checkout allows sellers to accept credit cards on their own websites or through Google Base, and it allows shoppers to use their Google account to make purchases without having to give all of their credit and contact information over to an unknown merchant. Google does not share the full credit card number with the merchant, and it also intercepts any future e-mail from the merchant. That way, you won’t get bombarded with spam from that one drunken purchase of the Ab-Zapper 5000, which is still in its box under your bed wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper because you considered getting rid of it that way but realized that you didn’t dislike anyone enough to give them a piece of cheap exercise equipment as a gift. So yeah, Google Checkout.
Google Video launched a "Free Today" page, giving away its for-pay videos of shows, documentaries, and news clips that previously cost $.30 to $1.99. They’re making videos free on a temporary basis in partnership with their sponsors.
YouTube partnered with NBC this week, which NBC will use to offer promotional content from its upcoming fall programming. YouTube will also get a boost when NBC launches a contest that encourages its viewers to upload content to YouTube. The the two companies were mentioned together was when NBC confronted YouTube when copyrighted material owned by Saturday Night Live became hugely popular on the video sharing site. "What NBC is doing is acknowledging the power of YouTube as a marketing
vehicle," an industry analyst said. "At the same time, NBC has a vested interest in
controlling the marketing message on YouTube."
Visit our correspondent Daniel Williford at his blog, Until Today…