RevWaldo writes: I'm hardly the first armchair inventor that's thought "like a Roomba, but for snow!" If you search around many folks have built themselves remote control snowplows / snowthrowers, but we're hardly talking The Jetsons here. You'd think self-guided bots that continuously remove snow as it's falling (thus reducing the needed mass and horsepower, making it less likely to, say, scoop up the neighbor's dog) would be all over Kickstarter and the like, but not so much. What's the hold up?
RevWaldo writes: The Verge and other sources post how AOL's Ryan Block ultimately succeeded in cancelling his Comcast account over the phone, but not before the customer service representative pressed him for eight solid minutes (audio) to explain his reasoning for leaving "the number one provider of TV and internet service in the country" in a manner that would cause a character in Glengarry Glen Ross to blanch. Comcast has as of now issued an apology.
RevWaldo writes: A YouTube video purports to demonstrate a video transmitter/repeater combo (connected to an iPhone) that allows the creator to override the video signal to external displays around New York's Times Square, first on displays built into magazine stands, then on one of the billboard-sized displays by tethering the repeater to a balloon. Real or fake — you decide.
RevWaldo writes: Mashable notes that they received an invite to a joint Facebook / MySpace press conference set for 12 Noon US Pacific time today. "Our best clue as to what the two companies will announce is that MySpace will be using the Facebook Platform or Facebook Connect, something that has been rumored for nearly a year." Gothamist predicts that "MySpace will also read a prepared statement apologizing to the world for being a worthless turd of a website that isn't fit to lick the bottom of Mark Zuckerberg's flip-flops. Facebook executives are expected to silently sit there looking smug."
RevWaldo writes: The Wall Street Journal reports that "Apple Inc. plans to begin mass producing a new iPhone by the end of 2010 that would allow Verizon Wireless to sell the smartphone early next year, said people briefed by Apple." (Not in time for the holidays? Bummer!) All companies involved have declined to comment.
RevWaldo writes: From Gothamist: Five former employees of Bowlmor Lanes in New York have filed a lawsuit against Strike Holdings CEO Tom Shannon, claiming he used social media outlets to keep minorities from making reservations at "one of the city’s hottest and most compelling nightlife venues." The suit claims Shannon met with top executives after "incidents" at Bowlmor's restaurant, Carnival, "to discuss possible ways to exclude certain people...such as African-Americans, Asians and Latinos."...The suit claims the workers were asked to look up prospective patrons on Facebook and MySpace to see how they looked and dressed and where they lived. If they didn't fit the Bowlmor customer ideal, they didn't get a reservation.
RevWaldo writes: From Gothamist: Five former employees of Bowlmor Lanes in New York have filed a lawsuit against Strike Holdings CEO Tom Shannon, claiming he used social media outlets to keep minorities from making reservations at "one of the city’s hottest and most compelling nightlife venues." The suit claims Shannon met with top executives after "incidents" at Bowlmor's restaurant, Carnival, "to discuss possible ways to exclude certain people...such as African-Americans, Asians and Latinos."...The suit claims the workers were asked to look up prospective patrons on Facebook and MySpace to see how they looked and dressed and where they lived. If they didn't fit the Bowlmor customer ideal, they didn't get a reservation." but it don't stay put as long as truth."
RevWaldo writes: A man in a Darth Vader costume (plus camo pants?) robbed a Chase in Setauket, Long Island at gunpoint. Obviously someone with an ARM that decided to alter the deal. Pray he doesn't alter it any further!
RevWaldo writes: The suicide note left by software engineer Joseph Stack before flying a small plane into a building with IRS offices in Texas on Thursday cited a 1986 tax law as a major motivation for his action. An article in the New York Times states the law, known as Section 1706 of the 1986 Tax Reform Act, "made it extremely difficult for information technology professionals to work as self-employed individuals, forcing most to become company employees." Harvey J. Shulman, a tax lawyer, states "This law has ruined many people's lives, hurt the technology industry, and discouraged the creation of small, independent businesses critical to a thriving domestic economy. That the law still exists — even after its original sponsors called for its repeal and unbiased studies proved it unfairly targeted a tax-compliant industry — shows just how dysfunctional and unresponsive Democratic and Republican Congresses and our political system have been, even on relatively simple issues."
RevWaldo writes: From Gothamist: AT&T has realized that the first step towards recovery is admitting it has a problem. The phone giant has confessed that its New York City iPhone service is not up to par, according to a presentation slide published on Tom's Guide noting that the company's 3G Voice Composite Quality in the New York metro area—particularly in Manhattan—is below its performance objective.
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Last month, the phone giant explained that 3G service has suffered in New York due to "better than average iPhone penetration," meaning "AT&T has been too successful in selling the iPhone, to the point where the network has been severely strained." The company even briefly stopped selling iPhones online in New York City because the area didn't "have enough towers to handle the phone."
The slide does contain some good news for AT&T subscribers. Apparently, AT&T has had "[t]hree consecutive months of improvement" and it is doing "change-outs" of Radio Network Controllers among other upgrades, according to Mobile Crunch. Anyone notice service improving over the past few months? If we don't hear back we'll assume you're still waiting for this page to load.
RevWaldo writes: According to the Wall Street Journal, the estate of Philip K. Dick says the name of Google's new smartphone infringes on the famous character name from "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" aka "Blade Runner". Isa Dick Hackett, a daughter of Mr. Dick, states Google has its "Android system, and now they are naming a phone 'Nexus One'. It's not lost on the people who are somewhat familiar with this novel... Our legal team is dealing head-on with this." No word on any similar actions being taken on Rob Zombie.
RevWaldo writes: Coming full circle, former Velvet Underground lead singer/guitarist, Warhol Factory denizen, and rock-n-roll elder statesman Lou Reed has collaborated with developer Ben Syverson to create LouZoom, a new iPhone app for his fellow baby boomers who have trouble reading the small type in iPhone's address book. And everyone thought Ms. Reed (NASA artist-in-residence Laurie Anderson) was the one with all the mad technical skills.
RevWaldo writes: "From Gothamist: A Brooklyn man can't sleep at night knowing that the bizarre inter-gadget relationship between his Sony Erickson PDA and his Maytag Magic Chef stove might leave him burned. Last Monday Andrei Melnikov discovered that his cellphone was turning on his stove when he got a call in the kitchen. The phone had been on the kitchen counter when it rang, and as he answered it and walked away, he recalls hearing a faint beep. Minutes later, he smelled smoke, and discovered that some plastic cookware left in the oven was on fire. The incoming call had somehow turned the broiler on high, a phenomenon which Melnikov demonstrated for his landlord and 1010WINS. They believe this is the first time this has happened in the three years since Melnikov has owned the stove and the phone, but since neither device is talking, nobody really knows how long this hot affair's been going on. Melnikov and his girlfriend have put a stop to it by unplugging the oven, and they're afraid to plug it back in because of their pet chinchillas. Maytag is sending someone to "fix" the problem, but will the lonely old Maytag man really have the heart to stand in the way of such fiery passion?"
RevWaldo writes: Installing bike lanes in urban areas is both expensive and often contentious. The proposed system, dubbed LightLane, would use lasers to project a virtual bike lane onto the ground from the bicycle itself. 'Instead of adapting cycling to established bike lanes', the designers state, 'the bike lane should adapt to the cyclists...Our system projects a crisply defined virtual bike lane onto pavement, using a laser, providing the driver with a familiar boundary to avoid. With a wider margin of safety, bikers will regain their confidence to ride at night, making the bike a more viable commuting alternative.' (via Gothamist via BoingBoing via GOOD )