Google WiFi in Mountain View, CA is Live

Google officially announced the launch of their Mountain View WiFi Network.  According to the lead WiFi product manager, Minnie Ingersoll, “this network is a way for us to give back to and engage with the community where our headquarters are.  Another goal of this network is to promote alternative access
technologies by using Mountain View as an example for organizations
considering investments in the WiFi arena.”

A map of the (crazy amount of) available WiFi spots can be found here and you can read the rest of the entry at the Official Google Blog.

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Zune

Gizmodo has an extremely informative update on Microsoft’s attempt to knock the sucktacular iTunes/iPod off of its’ huge throne: Zune.

Supposedly featuring support for WiFi and gaming, the Zune player and as-yet-untitled music store should be a welcome entry to this underwhelming market.  Granted, I think I thought the same thing about URGE (from Microsoft & MTV.)  I love the subscription service options that both Napster and URGE (as well as Rhapsody and others) offer but Pixar’s Cars movie was compiled in less of an amount of time than it takes me to navigate the URGE store and Napster’s player is one of the buggiest programs I think I’ve ever played with.

Here’s hoping that the Zune move works because if I see someone else buy an iPod because it’s “cool” – I may just have to take a flying leap out of my office.

Google Releases Desktop 3.0 BETA

The Official Google Desktop Blog writes to tell us all that a BETA version of the latest Google Desktop release, 3.0, is now available. New features include:

  • An Updated Sidebar. The new sidebar allows you to move sidebar panels anywhere on your desktop as well as enabling you to share content within each panel to other users via e-mail.
  • Search Across Computers. There’s not much more to say because this is pretty much self-explanatory. This feature just basically allows you to search content on other computers. According to the features page, “Search Across Computers enables you to search your documents and viewed web pages across all your computers. For example, you could find files you edited on your desktop from your laptop. To activate this feature, you will need a Google Account (the same login you use for Gmail, Orkut, or other Google services). Remember, to search your other computers you must also install Google Desktop on them as well as enable the Search Across Computers preference using the same Google Account on each one.

Other features, according to the blog entry, include a Search Lock (which allows you to prevent anyone else from doing a desktop search on your PC), an Advanced Search page, as well as an updated Preferences page with many more options. They have also released an updated API so developers can take advantage of all of these new features.

Update: Reuters has an interesting article (which you can read here) on how this latest release of Google Desktop is slowly threatening Microsoft’s desktop dominance.

Imation Acquires Memorex

BetaNews.com is reporting that Imation has agreed to purchase Memorex for $330 million.  That’s a decent amount of change but I was actually expecting it to be more when I read the headline of the article.  That’s a fairly big move as Memorex has long been well-known in the field of cheap digital media and (dare I say crappy) electronics such as TVs, DVD players, and more.

I’ll sometimes pick up some Memorex media but the main thing I remember about Memorex is getting my first multi-pack of CDRs a decade ago (or somewhere along there) and having about 3 out of 10 fail on me….and that was back when they were more than a buck a piece.  Granted, that was probably due to my Acer drive at the time but I always associated it with the media.  I have yet to have any other problems with Memorex discs, though.

Free City-Wide WiFi in New Orleans…

This from Engadget yesterday:

“New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has announced an unprecedented project wherein the entire city will be blanketed by free WiFi within a year. Due to the almost complete devastation of the city’s infrastructure, the free Internet access is one attempt to turn the city’s stagnant economy into one of growth and independence. Like in most large-scale networks, the New Orleans routers will be placed on top of street lights and provide citizens and businesses with 512 kbps download speeds until the city’s state of emergency has been lifted. In accordance with state laws that restrict government-owned Internet providers, speeds will drop to a paltry 128 kbps once the city has returned to some level of normalcy.”

I’m sorry, didn’t Ray Nagin just announce about a month or so ago that the city would have to lay off a very large percentage of its’ employees? Police Officers, Firefighters, etc…many of them were laid off because of the pressure the city was feeling based on the costs to rebuild.

So, basically, there’s a single woman down in N.O. with two or three kids that now has free WiFi (no computer, mind you) and no one to protect her. No need to worry, though, I’m sure Nagin will come to her aid if she needs it.

New Memorex USB Drives Including Mozilla Application

The new U3 USB mini-drives from Memorex are including Mozilla’s Thunderbird e-mail client as one of the bundled applications. This is yet another huge step for the open-source movement. Thunderbird will be accompanied by Migo (to manage personalized settings including IE favorites and desktop wallpaper, etc.), U-Safe (for password protection), and U3 Anti-Virus (powered by McAfee). The drives will be available in 256mb, 512mb, 1gb, and 2gb capacities.

Sure, it’s missing a portable Firefox but I’m as pleased as punch that Thunderbird might be getting some more exposure. The faster I can get rid of Outlook…the better off I’ll be in the long run.

Source: http://www.pocket-lint.co.uk/review.php?reviewId=1286

Microsoft Announces XBOX 360 Launch Lineup

I’ll be the first to admit…I do not have an Xbox. I’ve got my PS2 and I’m content for now but this new 360 is lookin’ pretty sweet, I must admit. I have a feeling, though, that the PS3 is going to blow it out of the water.

“It’s what you’ve been waiting for—the strongest launch lineup in the history of video game consoles is announced, with 18 Xbox 360™ games, spanning all the popular genres, available on Day One. In addition, 13 Xbox 360 accessories will be available when the eagerly anticipated next-generation system lands on retail shelves in North America on November 22.

Exclusive, thrilling racing games like Project Gotham Racing 3, sports games that hit hard with high-definition graphics and sound like Madden NFL 2006 and NBA 2K6, immersive action-adventure games like Kameo: Elements of Power, and intense action exclusives like Call of Duty 2 will all contribute to the broadest and deepest retail launch lineup in console history.”

Information courtesy teamxbox.com.