Friday, August 21, 2009

Back to School Tech on KGW-TV's The Square "Live at 7"

click above to watch the broadcast as originally shown on

It's time to send the rugrats back to school and young adults everywhere are leaving the nest and moving to campus. I recently took time away from Gnomedex 9 to jump on KGW's The Square "Live @ 7" to share some back to school tech tips.

First up, gadgets!

LiveScribe Digital Pen ($150+) – Amazon. Take notes with a digital pen, record voice annotations, and search the text you wrote and save for later. It's high-tech paper and pen!

Texas Instruments TI-89 Graphing Calculator ($140) – Amazon. The latest in graphing calculators from TI, the TI-89 is a must-have for back-to-school math. Plugs into your USB and even runs apps!

Griffin AirCurve Acoustic Amp for iPhone ($20) It's an amplifier without wires, cables, or batteries. Using acoustic molding and a clever tunnel of sound, the Aircurve jumps your volume up 10db. Perfect for iPhone!

Speck Products Laptop Backpack ($100) Use code "BMW25" for 25% all Speck Products. Get a stylish laptop bag that protects your new notebook!

Back-To-School Tips:

Computer essentials:
  • Focus on RAM, screen, keyboard
  • Battery Life critical
  • Storage doesn’t matter, but…
  • Portability does

Mac vs. PC?
  • Personal preference
  • Coursework may determine
  • windows 7 Coming soon

Tech dorm essentials
  • Plenty of spares!
  • Ink cartridges
  • Media
  • Extra power supply, batteries, etc.
  • Extra cables
  • Backup plans

Helpful Back-to-School Websites: – rent textbooks like netflix, save money! -- capture notes, comments, clips on your phone or web -- Curriculum Wiki, perfect for educators and parents to help students

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cut the Cord: Sprint 4G Launches In P-Town

Back in a time of arctic freeze and #Snowpocalypse I reported on Sprint's new U300 dual-mode 3G/4G device. Well, folks, get out your contract-signing pen... 'cause it's here in Portland and ready for use!

(uhh, unless you use a Mac, more on that in a moment...)

Sprint yesterday opened the wireless floodgates for customers to jump on the WiMax-powered 4G network. They join network partners Clear and Comcast in offering broadband-like speeds on a wireless device.

We're not alone.

While the versatile U300 is capable of 4G speeds in markets such as Portland, Baltimore, Atlanta and Vegas -- with others (such as Seattle & Salem, Ore. coming this year) -- the killer app is having access to the current 3G network in those spots where WiMax hasn't been rolled out yet.

Sprint tells us in a press release:
Sprint made history by launching 4G in Baltimore in September 2008. In addition to Portland, Sprint also launched 4G service in Atlanta and Las Vegas today Sprint also plans to deploy Sprint 4G service in these additional markets in 2009: Chicago, IL; Dallas, Ft. Worth, Philadelphia, PA; Austin, Texas; Abilene, Texas; Amarillo, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Bellingham, Wash.; Charlotte, N.C.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Greensboro, N.C.; Honolulu, HI; Killeen-Temple, Texas; Lubbock, Texas; Maui, Hawaii; Midland-Odessa, Texas; Raleigh, N.C.; Salem, Ore.; San Antonio, Texas; Seattle, WA: Waco, Texas; and Wichita Falls, Texas.

One thing the U300 can't do, quite yet, is accommodate Mac OS X or Linux users. While initially promised for "Summer" my contacts at Sprint now tell me "Fall 2009".

But wait, there's a workaround!

For an extra $100, you can plug your U300 into Sprint's Cradlepoint PHS300s [Note: I believe the photo on is actually of the business version] mobile router and turn any WiFi-equipped device (such as your laptop, iPod Touch, personal gaming device... heck, even an iPhone!) into a 4G-uber-fast mobile broadband surfin' machine. Okay, so it's another device to lug around, and a battery to charge, but I'm a huge fan of the ubiquitous nature of WiFi (and sharing your connection among up to 5 devices).

So now the choice is yours: Sprint, Comcast, or Clear -- but if you're a mobile professional, a connectivity addict, or just want the latest toys -- upgrade to WiMax.

For more on this story, listen to my report (MP3), as heard on Newsradio 750 KXL during Portland's Morning News 18 Aug 2009.

Verizon Commerical- Twitter Updates and Facebook

Verizon hits a nail on the head with this clever commercial turning the tables on social media cliches'. Kudos to VZW for giving us something comical for raw comedy's sake... not your typical advertising stunts.

Check it out:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sprint Slapped Over Early Termination Fees

It'll be at least October 21 before we know for sure, but Sprint has agreed to settle a lawsuit over early-termination fees. If you canceled a Sprint contract between July 1, 1999 and December 31, 2008-- you may qualify for up to $95.
A proposed national settlement has been reached in a class action proceeding alleging that Sprint, Nextel and/or Sprint Nextel's use of a flat-rate early termination fee (ETF) in its customer wireless agreement violate the Federal Communications Act and consumer protection laws of the states and of the United States.

The company has agreed to pay $17.5 million to settle the class action lawsuit.

If you think you may qualify for a cash or credit refund, check the website:

For current customers, Sprint won't be charging flat rate early termination fees until at least 2011 -- but that doesn't get you out of your Sprint contract if you were considering switching: pro-rated fees are still fair game.

The confirmation hearing is October 21, but customers can file a claim now.

As is typical, Sprint has denied any wrong-doing.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

DoS Attack Results in Twitter "Fail Whale"

Twitter was down for nearly an hour this morning. An inconvenience for some, a burden for others. Not the least of which Twitter security teams fighting what the status blog is calling a denial of service attack.

The outage brings up the question: Has Twitter become a critical communication tool for you?

Stay tuned for more...