Catch up on this week’s tech and science news with the latest TowleTech from our correspondent Daniel Williford.
Coinciding with its 25th anniversary, MTV launched Flux,
a MySpace-like social network currently available to the UK market. It
has the usual features, allowing users to upload photos, videos, add
and send messages to friends, create a blog, create a playlist, and add
to message boards. But On September 6th, Mtv will launch a new,
corresponding television network, for which the content will be
determined and created entirely by Flux users. "At the end of the day,
all of our channels might be Fluxed. It might be the redefinition of
our television channels," said Michiel Bakker, managing director of MTV in the UK and Ireland. Flux yeah!
The rumors were true: AOL announced that it is giving away its service for free now, and is moving away from being a dial-up ISP to a content and service provider. They hope to lure past users back, promising that they can still reclaim their previous aol.com e-mail addresses, and now anyone with an Internet connection can use the AOL software and e-mail services. AOL promises more fun things to come, including a new version of its software "that is more than a browser — it’s a breakthrough four-pane design that will revolutionize the way you use the Internet," and 5GB of on line storage space free through the startup Xdrive, which AOL acquired last year.
Two major record labels have agreed to work with a new Peer-to-Peer file sharing program called Mashboxx. The record industry has been at odds with P2P networks like Napster and Kazaa, since they encourage illegal downloading of copy-written music. Mashboxx, founded by a former Sony music executive, hopes to bridge the gap by using technology to keep rights in check, but allow for viral sharing of music. If a song is "claimed" by a copyright owner, it is protected and can only be played 5 times for free. At that point, it is available for purchase for 99 cents. But if another person on the network downloads the file, it is reset and can still be played 5 times for free. This week both EMI and Sony-BMG Music opened their catalog to the service, which has not yet launched to the public.
Camera phone or phone camera? This cell phone by Samsung, just made available by Verizon, is the first of its kind in the US to feature a 3.2 mega-pixel digital camera. That’s not crappy little camera-phone pics,–that’s, like, the same quality as many people’s full, clunky digital camera. In your cell phone. It also features a video camera, image editing software from within the phone, BlueTooth for transferring pics to your computer wirelessly, and a TV out so you can connect the camera to a television to display a slideshow of your photos.
Verizon has all the toys this week, with the launch of the anticipated LG Chocolate. This shiny black slider phone has a sleek look, touch-pad controls, and a bright, vivid screen. Obviously, MP3 functionality is at the core, with integrated VCAST programming that allows you to download music from the phone, an expandable memory card slot that allows up to 2GB of music files, stereo bluetooth for use with wireless headphones, and a look that is more iPod than cell phone. It also includes a 1.3 megapixel camera. None of this explains why its called Chocolate. There’s no connection. Stop trying to find one.
Not yet convinced to upgrade your phone to the latest high-tech
all-in-one gadget? Here’s some inspiration for Cingular customers: you
may have to pay an extra monthly fee for using an old handset. The most
popular mobile carrier is hoping to phase out its outdated analog
network and switch all its customers to a single, updated network in
order to save costs. The company is willing to risk losing customers to rid itself of the old network.
So which one of you is Ray and which one is Jay? Astronomers have discovered a strange set of twin worlds that orbit around each other beyond our Solar System, which may well be a new class of objects in space called "planemos." They are not quite planets, but aren’t quite stars, either. "Its mere existence is a surprise, and its origin and fate a bit of a mystery."
Radar is a new photo-sharing website tailored to cell phone camera culture. Shoot and upload a photo from your phone, and friends can instantly view them on their cell or computer and respond by commenting. Intended to help friends keep in touch through pictures, Radar describes the service as enabling you to "Share what you do when you do it with the people who matter most." [via coolhunting]
Visit our correspondent Daniel Williford at his blog, Until Today…