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Feed Futuristic Fridge Mimics Tree (wired.com)

The Tree House Fridge looks like a Wile E. Coyote prop -- a multi-chambered whatnot box rather than a big, cold rectangle. Separate branches hold meat, cheese, produce and other stuff -- cool! In Gadget Lab.


Feed Toyota Fights a Sea of Recalls (wired.com)

The company's attention to detail verges on OCD and consumer problems bring out more than ritual self-abasement. Toyota's first full-time quality chief cracks down to catch and fix glitches early. In Autopia.


Portables (Apple)

Submission + - iPhone 3rd party development support petition

Alex Speller writes: According to http://www.petitiononline.com/iphone/petition.html :

"Apple's major competitors in this space (Palm, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile) were given a thorough drubbing by Steve Jobs during his latest MacWorld keynote. But all of these platforms allow easy, open 3rd-party development by developers large and small. Even the vast majority of non-"smart" mobile phones allow the installation of mobile Java applications, including complex games. In the case of Palm, it is possible to develop and distribute applications with no licensing fees and no software investment. As a result, the thousands of free and shareware applications developed by the community are largely considered the platform's biggest asset.

The software included with the iPhone is incredible, with functionality and user interfaces far superior to the standard software included with any other handheld. But as amazing as it is, it's just not enough. With a tiny investment, any smartphone can be enabled to edit Office documents, connect to chat networks, read electronic books, manage a diet, and play games. All of these activities would be better, easier, faster and more enjoyable on the iPhone, so it breaks our heart to know that, if Apple maintains its closed stance, none of this potential will be realized. "
The Courts

Submission + - Cisco lost rights to iPhone trademark last year?

An anonymous reader writes: An investigation into the ongoing trademark dispute between Cisco and Apple over the name "iPhone" appears to show that Cisco does not own the mark as claimed in their recent lawsuit. This is based on publicly available information from the US Patent and Trademark office, as well as public reviews of Cisco products over the past year. The trademark was apparently abandoned in late 2005/early 2006 because Cisco was not using it. TFA: http://blogs.zdnet.com/Burnette/?p=236
Communications

Submission + - Undersea cable repair via 19th century technology

An anonymous reader writes: Workers are relying on 19th century technology to fix a very 21st century problem — disruption of the Internet traffic that tech-savvy Asia relies on. "No electronics involved," said John Walters, general manager of Global Marine, one of the firms engaged in the repairs. "It's an old and traditional technique. After arriving at the scene they survey the ocean bottom to assess whether the contour has changed, and the degree of sediment movement. Then the traditional tools are brought out. A rope with a grapnel on the end is played out, down into the depths, and towed over the sea floor until tension registers on a graph on the ship, indicating contact has been made with the cable. Today's fibre optic cables are just 21 millimetres in diameter. The grapnel is a metal tool about 18 by 24 inches (46 by 61 centimetres) which includes a cutter, like a fine razor blade, and a grabbing tool. As tension increases and the cable is slowly pulled up, it is cut, grabbed, and half of it is hoisted to the surface. Dropping the grapnel, dragging the sea bed and recovering the cable can take about 16 hours, Walters said. "It is a tried and tested method." Once the severed half of the cable is on board the boat, debris is cleared from the damaged end, it is tested, sealed and the end boiled off. Then it is attached to a buoy on the water surface while the process is repeated for the second half of the cable before both halves are spliced together and dropped back to the ocean floor. Even before the Boxing Day earthquake, Global Marine had faced a busy year, with about 20 repairs after damage from fishermen or anchors. All those ruptures were fixed using the old grapnel method, he said.

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