Catch up on this week’s tech and science news with the latest TowleTech from our correspondent Daniel Williford.
We lost a little piece of our solar system this week when it was determined that Pluto is not a planet. While science fairs will never be the same, the widow of Clyde Tombaugh, the American astronomer who discovered the 9th rock from the sun, would have understood. "He was a scientist. He would understand they had a real problem when
they start finding several of these things flying around the place,"
Patricia Tombaugh said.
Sansa, a new music player by SanDisk, bests the iPod Nano on many levels — most notably, its doubled storage capacity at 8GB — but sells for the same price at $250. It does video, features a replaceable battery, transferable memory card slot, FM tuner/recorder, and a voice recorder. It is also compatible with Windows Media Player. While Apple will likely soon roll out a larger-capacity version of its Nano, SanDisk beat them to it. "Simply put, the Sansa does more, holds more, and costs less than the Nano."
Apple followed Dell by announcing the second largest consumer electronics recall,
also of its laptop batteries that were made by Sony. The batteries were
in some of Apple’s iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 laptops. Find out if
you’re affected here.
"I can’t believe Nicole and Lindsay have been hanging out without me! That lying bitch!" Paris Hilton has been accused of hacking
into other people’s voicemail and listening to their messages,
according to a caller identity protection service called Spoofcard.
Hilton was a customer of Spoofcard, which allows users to route calls
through them in order to mask their outgoing phone number from
appearing on a reciever’s caller ID. Hilton, herself a victim of hackers
accessing her cell phone account and posting personal photos online, is
accused of using an exploit in the system to break into the voicemail
of other Spoofcard users, including Lindsay Lohan. According to the Washington Post, Paris’ conduct may have been illegal.
In other Paris Hilton tech news, the pervasive celebutant now has her own official YouTube page
— a first for the video sharing website. Hilton’s site is a form of
paid advertising that taps into the massive user base of YouTubers who
regularly post their amateur video clips for free. YouTubers are
invited to view and comment on the 26 different music videos, live
performances, and behind-the-scenes video clips. In only its first
week, Paris’ channel has topped the charts of YouTube for most views
It seems that every week we hear more and more about major studios making film, television, and videos available for download online. This week, AOL’s new video site announced that it has teamed up with major studios to sell downloadable movies and television shows, along with the ad-supported free shows it already offers. Fox will make its own movies and television shows available through its Direct2Drive website and on MySpace.com, all owned by the same parent company. And, of course, iTunes is working on adding movie downloads as well.
"Creative is very fortunate to have been granted this early patent," said Steve Jobs, in a statement released after Apple settled a long, bitter patent dispute with Creative over the iPod. Creative released its Zen series music players before Apple launched the iPod, but the iPod was the clear winner in that race. The companies filed a number of lawsuits against each other over the technology that runs the players. Apple agreed to settle with Creative by paying them $100 million to license Creative’s patent, and has also agreed to allow them to participate in its "Made for iPod" program, enabling Creative to sell iPod accessories.
Netflix is projecting a massive increase in its customer base
based on their prediction that large chains of rental video stores will
dry up. The online rental company is also adding High-Def DVDs for
rent, and will soon add movie downloads. They are developing a
television set-top box that will download movies on demand, allowing
users to rent from directly within their TVs.
Hallmark has unveiled its own line of music players. They’re paper thin, store one song, and feature new "writeable surfaces" technology. 😉 Hallmark’s new line of Song Cards give your sentiments a soundtrack from classic pop artists like Blondie, The Jackson 5, and The Village People.
We saw the launch of the first 3.2 Megapixel cell phone available through a US carrier. It looks like this will be the standard in the next year. Sony will release its Ericsson CyberShot K790a 3.2 megapixel camera phone, merging both the reputation of their Ericsson line of multimedia phones and their CyberShot digital camera series. It does auto-focus, has a built-in flash, and features an image stabilizer to reduce blur.
Visit our correspondent Daniel Williford at his blog, Until Today…