PR Project: October 2008

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AC/DC Excel Spreadsheet Music Video Has Us Thunderstruck

Sure, AC/DC may be behind the times on digital distribution. And they could be described as "in denial" about the death of the music album, but this Microsoft Excel spreadsheet music video, while not condoned by the band in any way, is rockin' our Hell's Bells this fine Sunday afternoon. Better still, this "music video" was designed with the corporate drone in mind—spreadsheets navigate office firewalls with ease!

The video is the fine work of Phil Clandillon and Steve Milbourne, who work at a division of Sony/BMG in London. They call this "the world's first music video in Excel format."

"Basically, it's come about because we recognized that a lot of people have fairly restrictive internet and security policies at work," said Clandillon inan interview with "What we really liked was that we could actually subvert the corporate firewalls by including AC/DC's music in an Excel spreadsheet, because that's allowed through every corporate firewall there is."

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Melting steel with sunlight, James Mays big ideas

The best way to feed the world's hunger for energy, James May visited a solar furnace to see how powerful they really are. Usually, solar furnaces are used to boil water into steam to generate electricity or make hydrogen fuel. But May thought that the best way to make people understand their insane power is to do something equally as insane: Melt steel almost instantly.

A solar furnace is a mirror structure used to concentrate sun rays into a small area called the focal point. As you can expect, the concentrated rays produce extremely high temperatures: At the focal point, solar furnaces can achieve temperatures of 5,430 ºF (3,000 ºC). The idea is not new—coming from ancient Greece—but their potential is starting to become more relevant now as we try to cut dependency on fossil fuels.

While this furnace is not as big as the largest solar furnace in the world at Odeillo, in the French Pyrenees, it's capable of achieving 4,352 ºF (2,400 ºC)—which, as you can see, it's enough to melt steel in a few seconds and almost disintegrate hot dogs.


Sprint launches Touch Pro at "select national retailers" this week

After a short delay, Sprint has announced that the HTC Touch Pro will be available at select Sprint retailers on October 26th and online starting on November 2nd. Pricing is set at $299.99 with a two-year subscriber agreement, after a $100 mail-in-rebate and a $25-or-higher data add-on or Everything plan with data. Details are available in the press release after the break.

Sprint Introduces the Highly Anticipated
HTC Touch Pro

Advanced TouchFLO™ 3D interface, access to Sprint Mobile Broadband data speeds, desktop-like Web browsing, five-row sliding QWERTY keyboard and Windows Mobile 6.1 merge work and play into one device

Bellevue, Wash. — Oct. 24, 2008 — HTC Corporation, a global leader in mobile phone innovation and design, today launched the HTC Touch™ Pro for Sprint. Bringing a beautiful new angle to mobile business productivity, the HTC Touch Pro uses styling and functionality similar to the recently launched HTC Touch Diamond™ and introduces a variety of business-focused enhancements that make getting work done on-the-go quick and easy.

The HTC Touch Pro is priced at $299.99 with a two-year subscriber agreement, after a $100 mail-in-rebate and a $25-or-higher data add-on or Everything plan with data. Customers will be able to purchase the device in select national retailers beginning the week of Oct. 26 and in all Sprint sales channels, including online at, 1-800-SPRINT1 and Sprint Stores, on Nov. 2.

Lightning Fast Connectivity
The HTC Touch Pro for Sprint provides a mobile Internet experience that uses the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network. With EV-DO Rev. A technology access, the HTC Touch Pro provides customers with blazing fast speeds that reach more than 253 million people, 16,986 cities and 1,625 airports and brings customers instant gratification so they stay connected to life and work fast and on-the-go. With EV-DO Rev. A, peak download data rates increase to 3.1 Mbps and peak upload data rates increase to 1.8 Mbps; average download speeds improve to 600 Kbps to 1.4 Mbps and average uplink speeds increase to 350 Kbps to 500 Kbps.

Beyond this lightning-fast connectivity, customers can also interact with their device in new ways. With the new HTC Touch Pro for Sprint, users can zoom and pan Web sites and automatically view optimized content that has been specially created to fit the display. Using gravity-sensor technology, turning the device sideways automatically rotates the Web page view from a portrait to landscape view.

In addition to game-changing Web browsing, the HTC Touch Pro offers direct access to exclusive Sprint content, including live and on-demand programming from Sprint TV® as well as over-the-air song downloads from the Sprint Music StoreSM and even a custom YouTube application for watching a variety of user-generated video content.

To take advantage of all the great features on these new phones without having to worry about additional monthly charges, Sprint customers can sign up for the $99.99 Simply EverythingSM plan, which includes unlimited domestic calling, messaging, email, Web surfing, GPS navigation, Sprint Music Premier, Sprint TV® Premier, NFL Mobile Live, NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile, Direct Connect and Group Connect on compatible phones. The Simply Everything plan is available to current customers without renewing their contract. New lines of service require a two-year agreement.

Key HTC Touch Pro Specifications

* Size: 4.17 (L) x 2.05(W) x 0.70 (D)
* Weight: 5.3 ounces
* Connectivity: CDMA 2000 1X/EVDO Rev.A/1xRTT and IS-95A/B voice or data. Dual band (800 and 1900 MHz)
* Operating system: Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional
* Display: 2.8-inch VGA touch screen
* Camera: 3.2MP, with autofocus, flash and video calling
* Internal memory: 512 MB flash, 288 MB RAM
* Expansion slot: microSD™ memory card (SD 2.0 compatible); supports up to 16 GB
* Keyboard: Slide-out five-row QWERTY keyboard
* Bluetooth: v2.0 with A2DP support (Stereo Bluetooth)
* Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
* Interface: HTC ExtUSBä (mini-USB and audio jack in one; USB 2.0 High-Speed)
* Battery: 1340 mAh
* Talk time: 250 minutes
* Chipset: QualcommÒ MSM 7201Aä 528MHz

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BlackBerry 9220, 9900

Word has it that RIM will be rolling out its BlackBerry 9220 and 9900 smartphones sometime in the second half of next year - or at least that's what a Rogers Wireless roadmap says. Guess it will be a busy time for RIM, and hopefully these new releases won't tank like the BlackBerry Pearl Flip but instead pull up their share prices. AT&T and T-Mobile USA will follow Rogers' footsteps sometime next year as well, so now would be a good time to save if you want to get a new smartphone.

  • Available Features : Wireless email,Browser,Camera (2.0 MP& 3.2 Mp),Video Recording,Media Player,Built-in GPS,Wi-Fi® Support,SMS,MMS
  • Size and Weight : 4.48"/114mm (Length), 2.6"/66mm (Width),0.59"/15mm (Depth),4.8 oz/136g (Weight)
  • Voice Input/Output : 3.5mm stereo headset capable,Integrated earpiece/ microphone,Built-in speakerphone,Mono/stereo headset, hands-free and serial port profiles supported (Bluetooth® technology),M3, T3 (Rating for hearing aids)
  • Media Player : Video format support: DivX 4, DivX 5/6 partially supported, XviD partially supported, H.263, H.264, WMV3,Audio format support: .3gp, MP3, WMA9 (.wma/.asf), WMA9 Pro/WMA 10, MIDI, AMR-NB, Professional AAC/AAC+/eAAC+
  • Display : Half VGA resolution 480 x 320 pixel color display,Transmissive TFT LCD, supports over 65,000 colors,Font size (user selectable),Backlighting,Light sensing screen
  • Battery Life : Up to 13.5 days days (Standby time),Up to 4.5 hours (Talk time)
  • Memory : Expandable memory – support for microSD™ card,1GB On-board + 128 MB Flash
  • Modem : RIM® wireless modem,Tethered modem capability
  • Accessories : USB cable,Wall charger
  • Device Security : Password protection and keyboard lock 
  • Wireless Network : Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g

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Google's Very Own Fighter Jet

The NYTimes's Bits blog has sleuthed something interesting in Mountain View—H211 LLC, the company controlled by the G's execs that operates Larry, Sergey and the rest of the Googlers' private jets, has recently acquired a fighter jet. A Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet, to be exact—a light attack and trainer jet used by air forces around the world. So, aside from performing high-speed low-altitude fly-bys of Jerry Yang's crib, what else does Google have planned for a military aircract?

Science, of course! H211 LLC uses many of its jets for NASA-sponsored experiments, since they operate primarily out of Moffett field, a NASA-controlled airstrip that's conveniently located right next to Google's Mountain View HQ. The jet was acquired to carry scientific instruments that could not be rigged up to Boeing 757/767 and Gulfstream jets the company already operates, some of which were used to monitor the re-entry of the ESA's Jules Verne satellite. 

So other tech companies probably don't need to worry about an escalating proliferation of military hardware in preparation for a Silicon Vallery air superiority battle just yet. Détente!


Zaha Hadid's space-aged bar

Looking to set up a bar in your home? Also looking to make the interior of your house look more like a spaceship? Well, who better to turn to than famed architect Zaha Hadid, who designed this insanely futuristic bar for Home House in London.

Was it a racy bar or a racing car? The conceptual architect Zaha Hadid unveiled two contemporary projects in one venue last week as her ongoing collaboration on dynamic footwear with Lacoste was projected in the space-age new interior for London's historic Home House.

The bar and lounge, with sculpted metallic surfaces finished with car paint or with silvered leather, made an impressive backdrop for the futuristic shoes. Onlookers studied the video images with attention usually reserved for Bill Viola's art, as a digitized version of the famous crocodile logo became a "landscape" that was then transferred by laser on to leather stretched over stainless steel plates.

"Dynamic fluid grids," said Hadid, defining her design expression and explaining how the shoe will expand and contract as it wraps around the foot, allowing the landscaped pattern to come and go.

In March, 1,000 pairs of limited edition Lacoste-Hadid shoes will go on sale, followed by a 10,000-strong diffusion line in May. Meanwhile, Hadid was to be in New York on Monday to open her futuristic construction for Chanel in Central Park.

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HP Shows Off Two New iPaQ Phones

HP's rumored touchscreen handset has showed up in the for of the iPaq Data Communicator, a pop-out QWERTY Windows Mobile handset, with a solid but predictable spec sheet. You'll find a full range of 3G capabilities, Wi-Fi, a-GPS, a 3.1MP camera with autofocus and flash all behind a 2.8in, 320 x 240 screen, controlled with a 5-way "optical navigation" key.

 It measures in at the same respectable 1.7cm thickness as the T-Mobile G1 — a little thinner than its clear competitor, the HTC Touch Pro. For the old-fashioned types, you can find most of the same guts in the Voice Communicator, a sleek, half-qwerty candybar phone

HP's choice to use Windows Mobile here is an expected one, but it's still unclear how they plan to differentiate these handsets from the existing crowd of nearly identical hardware running the aging OS. 

In a best-case scenario, HP expands their TouchSmart brand downward, adapting their impressive PC touch interfaces to phones, hiding Windows, as HTC has for years, under a slick, modern shell. There's no mention of such software on HP's spec pages, we can hope, right? The Voice and Data Communicators are only available in Europe now, for €399 and €499, respectively.


Freehands Gloves Shield Your Soft Hand [Winter's Coming]

Freehands, the gloves that let you keep in touch, feature fold-back thumb and index finger tips to expose the fingers you need to use a touch screen, keyboard, MP3 player, PSP or simply to pull something out of your wallet. Small magnets keep the folded back tips from flopping around when they're folded back.

Freehands gloves are a cute idea: uncover the thumb and forefinger so you can operate capacitive touchscreens, like the iPhone's, without removing your gloves. Past touchscreen-capable gloves (like these and these) have some sort of attachment on the outside of the glove so you don't have to expose your fingers. I'm singularly qualified to explain the problem here, because unlike the other Giz writers, I've lived in Canada.

These gloves are made for wussy American winters. In a real winter, you can't be pulling out your fingers all willy-nilly to decide which Justin Timberlake track you want to bop along to. You make that decision before you leave the house, and goddammit, you stick with it. These gloves are an invitation to lose that iPhone-pointing finger to frostbite. Unless, of course, you live in the south, which I've now come to see as anything below Boston. You confederates will be just fine.

Leather Freehands are lined with micro-fleece making them warm in addition to being stylish and wind resistant. All Freehands have elastic wrists to keep cold air from getting in and a plastic hook and loop to hold the gloves together when you put them away or to attach to a jacket zipper.

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Mars Science Laboratory

DENVER, October 16th, 2008 -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] recently delivered the backshell for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The backshell is half of the large and sophisticated two-part aeroshell that will encapsulate and protect the MSL rover during its deep space cruise to Mars, and from the intense heat and friction that will be generated as the system descends through the Martian atmosphere.

While it looks like an UFO from Area 51, this is
 just the bottom part of the Mars Science Laboratory Rover aeroshell, the largest aeroshell in the history of space exploration at 15 feet of diameter, bigger than the almost 13 feet of the Apollo capsule heatshield. However, this is just not a simple protective device. This aeroshell will actually float in the middle of Mars' atmosphere, using a crane to softly land the rover itself in a complete new approach to planetary touch downs.

In addition to protecting the rover, the backshell provides the structural support for the parachute and unique sky crane, a system that will lower the rover to a soft landing on the surface of Mars.  The MSL biconic-shaped backshell is made of an aluminum honeycomb structure sandwiched between graphite-epoxy face sheets. It is covered with a thermal protection system composed of the cork/silicone super light ablator (SLA) 561v that originated with the Viking landers.

According to Steve Jolly, from Lockheed Martin, "the biggest challenge for the MSL aeroshell is its gigantic size. It's almost double the size of our Mars Exploration Rovers' [Spirit and Opportunity] aeroshells. When you are building a structure that big, there are many considerations we had to take into account, including the fact that this is a lifting capsule that is steerable."

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, a major operating unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation, designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a full spectrum of advanced-technology systems for national security, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include human space flight systems; a full range of remote sensing, navigation, meteorological and communications satellites and instruments; space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft; laser radar; fleet ballistic missiles; and missile defense systems.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2007 sales of $41.9 billion.

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Globecruiser-Camper, Tank, Bombshelter

If you want your family and friends to take pleasure in the great outdoor expeditions, you need to have a look at the Action Mobil's new Globecruiser. The comfy beast, which is based on the MAN TGA 6�6 platform, will kinda shatter the poor roads on the move. Designed for adventure seekers, the Globecruiser model gets its power from 783ci turbodiesel engine that pumps out a very respectable 388 kW. 

The 4 x 240W solar system supports the batteries and LPG tanks. Other features include heated air-suspension seats and satellite systems that help you in case you are lost somewhere in the wilds. The two fuel tanks can store 219 gallons and yes, the refill cost is going to make you tight-lipped. One refill will set you back a cool $800. Forget the refill costs; the Globecruiser itself carries a stocky price tag of EUR490,000 (US $670,000), not much for a MANly drive. More shots after the jump.

The MAN chassis:                                               
MAN 26.530 BB 6x6                                                
MAN 6-cylinder inline turbodiesel with intercooler
Displacement 783 cubic in. (12.816 ccm)
Performance 388 kW/530 hp Euro 3
2 speed transfer case with street and cross country ratios
permanent all wheel drive with center diffential lock                  
Differential locks for front and rear axle
Drum brakes.
Anti lock brake system
Leaf springs front, air suspension for rear axles.
Tires 16.00 R 20 Michelin XZL, tubeless
2 fuel tanks, capacity 219 U.S. gallons (860 liters)
Fuel prefilter with water seperator
seats with air suspension, heatable
Satellite navigation system (GPS)

Electrical equipment:                                                          
Custom control panel to control powermanagement and liquide storages.
Battery main switch, savety cutout, fault current breaker.
DC power supply by Gel-battery bank, automatic I-U regulated alternator and AC
automatic I-U shore charger with cell temperature sensing.
Battery capacity: 24 V 1000 Ah
Alternator charge rate: 28 V 100 A
Shore charge rate: 28V 70 A
Inverter 24 V/230 V, max output 3.000 W
Power plugs for 12 V DC, 24 V and 230 V AC.
Solar system 4 x 240 Watt

Water supply:
154 U.S. gallons (550 l)                                        
11 U.S. gallons (40 l) l hot water-heat exchanger.
waste water tank, 69 U.S. gallons (180 liters) .
Water faucets in bath and kitchen are built due to highest household quality standards.
All plumbing is insulated to prevent freezing.
City water connector and outside shower.
Water filtration system
Porcelain toilet with water flushing. Black water tank 21 U.S. gallons (80 liters).

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Orange iGPS 360

We've had our doubts about this Orange Gadgets outfit -- the same folks promising that entirely-too-wondeful iControlPad -- but it looks like the company is making good on its first promisedproduct, the iGPS360. The little add-on module brings GPS to your jailbroken iPhone or iPod touch, and is now available for order.

 Only 1,000 will be available out of the gate, at $75 (plus shipping) a pop. Since we haven't seen one in the wild, it's hard to know how well these modules will work, but Orange Gadgets has a pretty open development model, so feel free to page through the blog and see this thing through from concept to execution. Now, about that iControlPad...

You can now place your order for the iGPS360 module (and some other goodies) by clicking here or by accesing the Orange Gadgets website and clicking on ORDER in the top menu bar.

When you place your order, make sure to mention your database entry number in the comments box for your order during the checkout procedure.

If you have lost your database entry number, no worries, I will be sending out notifications to all of the emails in the database later today/tomorrow with your database entry number in it.

If you don't have a database entry number, you can get one by signing up here

Orders are going to be handled according your database entry number (assuming your order is paid for). This is to be fair to everyone and to make sure that the people who signed up first, will get their units first.

With respect to the new online store a few notes:

  • Please report any website related problems you encounter

  • For questions with respect to the details of your placed order, please email

  • Performance of the website will depend on the amount of traffic, so if things are a little slow while accessing the online store, please be patient for pages to complete loading.

  • The online store has detailed product descriptions, so please take the time to read them as they might answer questions that you have. For remaining questions, please
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The New MacBook

When the MacBook Pro was introduced in January 2006, everyone was left wondering: If this is the MacBook Pro , where’s the MacBook? Five months later, the other shoe dropped.
the new non-pro MacBook is a 13-inch laptop that replaces both the iBook and the 12-inch PowerBook G4. But despite its lack of Pro in its name, this little laptop is much more powerful and full-featured than the laptops it’s replacing

Size matters
Compared to a 15-inch MacBook Pro, the MacBook seems quite small. The MacBook is slightly thicker, but the MacBook Pro is 1.3 inches wider and .4 inches deeper than its new little brother. Likewise, the MacBook weighs 5.2 pounds, compared to the MacBook Pro’s 5.6 pounds.

But how you view size is a matter of perspective. I like little laptops. One of the perks of being the editorial director of Macworld is that I generally get to use whatever Mac system I want to. And yet at

 one point I was an iBook user, entirely because it was so much smaller than the Titanium PowerBook G4. When the 12-inch PowerBook was released, I glommed onto it and wouldn’t let go. Only recently did I relucta

ntly switch to a MacBook Pro, taking on the added size and weight so I would be able to actually write about using an Intel-based Mac.

Unlike the 12-inch PowerBook and iBook, this new MacBook comes with a 13-inch widescreen display with a native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. (In contrast, the 12-inch PowerBook’s screen could only display 1024 x 768 pixels.) This screen is slightly taller, much wider, and quite a bit shinier, since it’s the first Mac laptop to feature a screen with a glossy surface.

Although Apple could have skimped on features with the MacBook to distinguish it from the higher-end MacBook Pro models, it didn’t. The MacBook contains many of the same features you would find in a MacBook Pro, including a built-in iSight camera and an Apple Remote with built-in Front Row software. As with all other new Apple systems, there’s no longer a built-in modem — Apple’s external USB modem is $49 extra. And as with all Macs these days, AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth are built in to all MacBook models.

Beneath the battery

RAM slots
The MacBook’s battery is long and narrow, somewhat reminiscent of the original iBook battery — but not nearly as gigantic! We’ll work to test the MacBook’s battery life, although right now we have no idea how long it’ll run on a single charge. Stay tuned for more in our full review.

Underneath the battery you’ll find two SO-DIMM slots, which let you take the MacBook up to as much as 2GB of RAM. To get to the slots, you’ve got to unscrew a small metal housing and then pull back on one of two levers to pop out that particular RAM module. It’s relatively easy to do, but it’s a different process than on other Mac laptops I’ve seen.

Although the MacBook is Apple’s lowest-priced laptop, it’s about as far from a “low-end” model as you could get. Although you can no longer buy a new Mac laptop for under $1.000, the cheapest MacBook (a $1,099 model) features a dual-core 1.83 GHz processor. Apple could have chosen to release a cheap, underpowered MacBook with an underpowered Intel Core Solo processor — the same approach it took with its Intel-based Mac mini models — but it didn’t go down that path. As a result, even the lowest-priced MacBook is a remarkably powerful system.

And for those who appreciate the MacBook’s small package but want to make sure it’s packed with as much power as possible, the add-on options for this system are incredible. Yes, a maxed-out MacBook will cost you $2,049 ($2,199 if you want it in black!), but for that price you’ll get a dual-core 2GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, a 120GB serial ATA drive, and a SuperDrive.

The iBook might have gotten a reputation as a compromised low-cost laptop, but the MacBook is as powerful as you — and your bank account — want it to be.


WVGA Mini Monitor

This is a little monitor. A tiny monitor, really. It measures 77mm x 127mm x 17mm, with an LED backlit 4.3 inch WVGA (800 x 480) display. It comes with a little kickstand, and is designed to be used in conjunction with your primary monitor.

Connecting monitors to computers via USB isn't really that exciting anymore, but this little USB dreamboat from Century Japan does something much more than that: it runs on bus power. In other words, this thing is powered just like your trusty flash drives, mice and soda can-shaped USB humidifiers. A tiny, portable, fully functional secondary monitor would be extremely useful for mobile power users, and of interest to just about anyone with a spare USB port. Possibly an issue: I'm not sure that "extremely useful" quite translates to "worth $200."

It’s really freakin’ expensive, but my best (and only) guess is that you’re paying for the fact that it’s small and bus powered. I hate power cords so much that I’d just about be willing to pay this ludicrous price and have the option to attach a secondary monitor to my laptop (or even to one of these) without having to worry about an outlet.
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