Tech_DELTA Release 01

Tuesday, January 31 2006 @ 10:17 PM EST

Contributed by: jwitte

Welcome to Tech_DELTA. Beginning on January 31st and on the 15th and last day of each month thereafter, Tech_DELTA, will be published on the CITASA website. What will you find there? Exactly what the name implies. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Fourth Edition: 2000) offers the following definitions for the word "delta.

1. The fourth letter of the Greek alphabet.
2. An object shaped like a triangle.
3. A usually triangular alluvial deposit at the mouth of a river, caused by tidal currents.
4. Mathematics. A finite increment in a variable.

The choice of the name builds (more or less) on each aspect of the definition. 1. The Greek alphabet is cool. 2. To find Tech_DELTA on the CITASA home page look for the triangle logo. 3. The deposits at the mouths of rivers and inlets are rich, fertile places, as we hope Tech_DELTA will be. 4. For those of you who know your Greek letters, Delta is not Epsilon, which represents the smallest incremental change (also more). Our emphasis will be on the relatively small but very important, incremental changes that define the ongoing process of communication and information technology change

Week of 1/9/2006

This week the buzz seemed to surround the Apple Corporation. They have made numerous announcements about changes to their line of computers. The biggest change is the move to using Intel Chips in their laptops. A lot of Apple fans are a bit upset about this, but the claim is that the Intel chip will make the computers run three times faster (Musil, 2006).

Another big announcement early in the week by Apple is the introduction of a revamped laptop line. Two new laptops (designed to bring more female buyers) will be available: a new 12-inch weighing in at 29-33% less than the current 12-inch iBook (4.9lbs) and PowerBook (4.6lbs), and a new 14-inch weighing in at 29-33% lighter than the 14-inch iBook (5.9lbs) and PowerBook (5.61lbs) (O'Grady, 2006). Later in the week it was said that there will be a new high-end laptop (with the Intel chip) called the MacBook. Apple has decided to continue to sell the older models as well. These new models will have new software including a new version of iLife with the added tool of iWeb that will make creating and maintaining websites easier, including adding "video, audio and blogs, and new features to make sharing photos easier" (Musil, 2006). The price of the new model will match that of the older.

Lots of new cell phone ideas. The first is the idea of "mobile TV", something that has already caught the eye of many consumers. Companies such as Qualcomm and Crown Castle International are spending billions of dollars to create a network large enough and fast enough to support live TV programming. People will be able to (for a price) watch TV through a live stream anywhere they can get a signal (Reardon, 2006).

Apple is doing something similar with the iPod. They have teamed up with Walt Disney and NBC Universal to give consumers the opportunity to pay for shows through iTunes and download them on to their video iPod.

Verizon wireless has announced that the opportunity to buy tunes from their music store for their phones, will come at a price. They will no longer be able to play MP3s on their phone. This was the deal made with Microsoft in order for the new Verizon Music Store to fly. (Berland, 2006).

The new Treo 700W has decided to go with Microsoft on the inside. You can get the new phone with a 2 year commitment to Verizon. Some of the features on the phone include a new "Today" screen. This is your "home". From here you can access your directory and address book, you can see how many new e-mails you have, and see your appointments for the day. Other improvements include new buttons (DVD like) for listening to voice mails. Conference calling will be easier as well as using MIDI files, MP3s, and video clips. The new phone still has the old features such as speaker phone, camera, long batter life, and a slot of an SD memory card (Pogue, 2006). In the market for a Windows-based smartphone? Tech_DELTA author's suggest you also look at Verizon's version of the Audiovox 9700--similar features, cheaper and better looking.

Other new technologies announced at the CES conference last week include the EPOS Digital Pen that has an internal USB flash drive. This pen allows you to write things down without having to use paper. If you have an idea or thought and paper is nowhere to be found, don't fret. All you have to do is write on a hard surface and the pen stores what you write which can then later be pulled up on your PC. This will cost as little as $50. Also, the new Skype Wi-Fi moble phone was unveiled. This phone will allow you to access the Internet from any Wi-Fi hotspot. Unfortunately there are no video capabilities on this phone. Finally one of the most practical devices unveiled at the CES conference was the Eton's emergency radio. A crankshaft powers this radio, but the best part is that you can plug your cell phone in and your cell phone can be charged as well! It's reported that 60 seconds of cranking gives you about an hour of radio time. (Grebb, 2006).


Week of 1/16/2006

This week in technology, there have only been a few things that turned our heads. This week Apple announced their idea of an iPod phone. This announcement was met with much skepticism. Some say that Apple will have hard decisions ahead, such as who to network with, etc. This would be a major step for a company that historically has kept a "closed door" policy. However, Apple remains hopeful and plans on breaking in to the "network world" soon. (Wrolstad, http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20060118/tc_nf/41021)

Moving to cell phones, NY announced a plan to integrate cell phone services in to the tunnels of the train system. Early in the week there was a lot of doubt about the proposal. Cingular was thought be the company to head up the project. The bidder who won would be required to absorb all costs associated with the project. Needless to say officials didn't seem too hopeful (Chan, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/13/nyregion/13cell.html). Later in the week, the MTA received four bids for the project. The four bids came from Cingular Wireless (teamed with Verizon, Sprint Nextel, and T-Moble), Dianet Communications (teamed with Nab Construction Corp and Transit Technologies), and American Tower Corporation (the forth was not mentioned). It is expected that the bid from Cingular Wireless would get the most attention (Chan, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/19/nyregion/19cell.html). From down in the South, we at Tech_DELTA's have heard of even more ambitious plans for Atlanta's MARTA system. Think broadband.

In general technology news, a South African inventor has developed a wrist watch that monitors blood for signs of the malaria parasite. The inventor reports the wris*censored*ch takes a small sample of blood (by a prick) four times a day. The watch can then detect if there are traces of the parasite that causes malaria. If the count of the parasite surpasses 50, the watch alerts the individual who then must take a series of pills that will kill the parasite. The African government (where malaria runs rabid) and the WHO have both expressed interest in the "life saving wrist watch" (Reuters, http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9584_22-6028019.html?tag=zdfd.newsfeed).


Week of 1/27/2006

The biggest news this week surrounds the Blackberry patent case. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case early in the week. This means that the Federal District Court judge, James R. Spencer, will be the one to decide if NTP has valid patents over an emailing service used in Blackberry phones. If the court were to rule in NTP's favor, it could mean the end for Blackberry. Research in Motion (R.I.M.), based out of Ottawa, Canada claims that the U.S. patent laws do not extend outside of the United States, therefore holding no weight on the product. Never the less, Blackberry users are a little nervous (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/24/techonology/24rimm.html).

Moving on to computer news. Finally, someone explained the motivation for Apple to move from its historical IBM chip to the well-known Intel Chip. Sure, we've all heard that with Intel inside, Macs will run faster (and naysayers claim it will not be faster), but that isn't the only thing driving the beloved company for a change. David Pogue in the Technology section of the New York Times explains the new chip will allow the computer to cooler than the current PowerBook laptops. More importantly, the Intel chip will allow consumers to compare apples to apples (no pun intended) when it comes to hard drives and disk speed. Before, one couldn't really do that because the two chips were different, and what might have been a 2-gigahertz Mac was not necessarily slower than a 3-gigahertz PC. Finally, Mac users will flawlessly be connected to the PC world. Apple has managed to take programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Entourage and PowerPoint (to just name a few) and convert the language to work on the PowerBooks. Best of all - all of this is happening for the exact same price as the old laptops. What more could a Mac-user possibly ask for? (Except for the old chip back). (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/25/technology/techspecial2/25pogue.html)


References

Berlind, D. (2006, January 7). New networks for mobile TV.
Retrieved January 9, 2006 from , Web site:
http://news.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=2374
Grebb, M. (2006, January 9). Gadgets Galor at CES. Retrieved
January 9, 2006 from , Web site:
http://news.zdnet.com/news/technology/0,69978-0.html?tw=wn_tophead_3
Musil, S. (2006, January 13). Week in Review:Seeds of Apple's
speed. Retrieved January 13, 2006 from , Web site:
http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-6026796.html?tag=zdfd.newsfeed
O'Grady, J. (2006, January 9). PowerBook nano one step closer to
reality?. Retrieved January 9, 2006 from , Web site:
http://news.zdnet.com/Apple/?p=64
Pogue, D. (2006, January 5). A Marriage Not Made in Heaven.
Retrieved January 9, 2006 from , Web site:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/05/technology/circuits/05pogue.html
Reardon, M. (2006, January 9). New networks for mobile TV.
Retrieved January 9, 2006 from , Web site:
http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-6022654.html?tag=zdfd.newsfeed
Reuters (2006, January 9). Analysts: Apple may offer new
laptops. Retrieved January 9, 2006 from , Web site:
http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9584_22-6024263.html?tag=zdfd.newsfeed


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