Segways Get the Boot?

Looks like ginger, which we all know and love as the Segway, has been sent back to its maker by the U.S. Government after some reports of folks falling off of them. The MSNBC article here has a photo of George W. Bush falling off of one, which a lot of folks caught on the Internet. If you happen to have a Segway (because you know everyone has one), you’re instructed to give them a call and a software upgrade can fix the problem. How do you think that works? Do you ship it back to them and front the money, or does the Segway Repair man come out and take care of it? I mean, shouldn’t Segway be calling you? How many could be out there, seriously? JMHO.

[update: some quality comments at MetaFilter, and a different article link than MSNBC…]

Technological Marvels

Well, last weekend I signed up for Sirius satellite radio. I already have DirecTV, and had an unfortunate experience with DirecWay satellite internet service. (DirecWay gets the gasface!) I figured I would give it a shot, and had received a free hardware deal, so what the heck. You have to sign up for one year by the terms of the deal, but it’s $140 for the year (or somewhere thereabouts), but you get 60 channels of tunes with no commercials, and 40 channels of news/sports/etc. that do sometimes have commercials. Either way, not a bad deal. So I got the house kit to hook it up, and will eventually pick up the car kit.

I received the hardware this week, and activated the service. So far, my only complaint is that I’m having a bit of a hard time finding the perfect spot facing Westward to put the antenna (it can go in a window or outside). Probably because the way my audio systems are set up make it too far away for the wiring. So I’m trying to figure out that situation. I’d like to permanently wire the antenna somewhere, so perhaps that’ll help. Plus, the wire needs to be a bit longer. This one is like 10-12 feet, and I need to have some more. Maybe Best Buy or someone will have it. If anyone knows about this, let me know.

Otherwise, when I have it set up (not being blocked by trees or hurricanes) it works great. I’m definitely happy with how it sounds (as compared to FM), and the variety that they offer. Definitely worth the loot, if you ask me. I’m curious to see how it runs in a car, however. No listening to the radio in the tunnels and whatnot, I would suppose.

All in all, it gets a thumbs up from me.

Pets, Pets, Pets.

Gizmodo.com posted earlier today about a new toy called the ISeePet, which allows you to check on your pet over the Internet, dispenses food or water at your command, no matter where you are – as long as you have a broadband connection. Click here for the full article about the item as reviewed by ABCNews’ TechTV folks. Oh, by the way, the ISeePet is only $500 and won’t come out until October of this year in the States. If you pamper your pet, this is something you need to do. Now I wonder if you can put up multiple ones in your house… Hmmm…

Blocking the RIAA?

Looks like “Methlabs” has set up some software that effectively blocks all known RIAA IP ranges from your computer. The technology is called “PeerGuardian”, and apparently lags your computer bigtime… So if you’re into that sort of thing, check it out – I just heard about it moments ago.

[update] apparently, you can go to peerguardian.net as well.

[update 2] David Teather of The Guardian has dropped his recap on the recent “crackdown” that the RIAA has put forth on music downloaders. It’s interesting to see this quite late, considering the hubbub in the USA last week about all this.

HAD to post this…

It seems that Verisign (our friends at Network Solutions, of course) has made it so any mistyped domain name that doesn’t go to someone scamming on another domain, will now go to their own “404” page. dejah420’s post over at MetaFilter makes the point that they’re now the largest cybersquatter. I’d have to say I agree. I don’t see how they can really do this and not have it be an issue. Pretty shady stuff, if you ask me. It’s almost as bad as people who hijack real URLs and make them go to spam or pr0n sites. leuschke.org tracks back and offers links at ICANN which you can contact with complaints and comments. Screw them. This is ridiculous. Next thing we’ll be hearing is that someone has the rights to one-click ordering. Oh, wait – that already happened.

Mobile Phone Stuff

So I generally like adding stuff to my mobile phone, and ever since I got Motorola’s T720 earlier this year (which has polyphonic ringtones and backgrounds), I’ve gotten a few free items and paid for a few. I kind of like the option, and don’t really mind the nominal $.99-$1.99 fees for such. But they tend to run out when you’re only looking at your provider’s site.

So this afternoon, I was searching for stuff in Google, and I came across two sites that are pretty good. The first one, Pimptones is there to “pimp out” your telephone… It’s pretty good, has a decent selection, and has good pricing.

But then I came across Zingy. Their site is pretty darn cool. They’ve got a lot of ringtones, and the best feature they have is letting you chop a piece out of your own photo, and based on the screen size of your phone, send a message to your phone to pick it up on the wireless Web, and set it as a background. I know there is software to do this on your own, but most people have cut the dialup connection from their computers, and don’t have a modem anyway, so they don’t do it. Others don’t have an infrared point either. For $1.99, you can put a photo of your kids, your significant other, or your pet, or whatever – on your phone. Pretty cool if you ask me. They also offer a $2.99/month subscription whereby you can get 5 ringtones or backgrounds per month, instead of $1.99 each. Check it out if you’re into that sort of thing.

How Crazy Is This?

TVEYES is “always watching” television to see if your keywords that are entered at the site show up. If they do, on any program, it sends you an email with a brief transcript, including links to the full transcript. So of course, I signed up, entered the word “blog”. Let’s see if I get any hits on television for that word.

It *seems* to be free, though I’d be curious to hear what the business model on this badboy was. Surprised this didn’t come out in 1999. The “parent”, TVEYES, Inc. can be found here Okay, so it looks like they have been around for a while, since at least 2000. They say you can have three keywords for free, but upgrading to “Gold” will cost you a “low yearly rate” for “unlimited keywords”. Fascinating. I don’t watch that much television, but whatever. Either way, I don’t see a way to get *off* the list and de-sign up. Hmm. Perhaps you have to send them feedback.

So why all the hubbub? Because it was on MetaFilter, of course.

To the extreme

And no, I’m not talking about Vanilla Ice’s old album. I’m talking about this story, where Bruce Schneier, CTO for Counterpane Internet Security Inc. (whom I previously quoted, unfortunately), thinks it might be a good idea to “test” Internet surfers before they can surf. This is all to stop the flow of viruses, downloading of music, et al. If this isn’t the biggest crock ever, I don’t know what is. If this were to happen, I don’t know where I’d want to move to, but it would be somewhere else. And you thought the PATRIOT Act was bad. I almost wish it were April Fool’s Day.

New Blaster Worm?

This afternoon, Microsoft is sending out a warning to customers that a new flaw, much like last month’s Blaster worm, could be used to take over your PC and use it for unruly things, like bogging up traffic, sending virii, or just whatever else someone wanted to do. Security companies are definitely coming down hard on MS, because not only does it make their jobs harder, but MS keeps missing things when they fix one problem. You can get the patch at Microsoft.com or windowsupdate.microsoft.com. Enjoy!

[update: 9/11/03] 100% chance of Blaster worm coming again, says Counterpane Internet Security CTO Bruce Schneier. Get your updates, kiddies, if you happen to be running MS.