Daily News Brief: Dishing up Big News in Small Portions!

Daily News Brief: Dishing up Big News in Small Portions!

Free Phone Calls for $399

While that may seem like something of a misnomer, ooma Inc. hopes to market a $399 box that will allow users to make free domestic phone calls. The company without a capital (spelled ooma and not Ooma) isn't without capital of the venture variety, to the tune of $27 million. But does the new system work? It appears so, as they've already given away 1,500 beta boxes accounting for 325,000 calls to date. Like other internet based phone services, ooma's box utilizes peer-to- peer and distributed computing, and works over both DSL and cable broadband connections. Some consumers may balk at the $399 price tag, but consider that a year's worth of Vonage service at $29/month equates to $360/year. The numbers aren't as rosy when pitted against a combination of SkypeIn ($60/year) and SkypeOut ($30/year), and Skype also serves as a reminder of the vulnerabilities associated with peer-to-peer calling solutions. But at least one high profile name has jumped on board, and he serves as the creative director for ooma: Ashton Kutcher from Punk'd and That 70s Show fame. You can catch the 80 second advertisement he produced this Wednesday on YouTube.

Extra, Extra, Read all about It!

And now you can read all the extra content on the New York Times website, and it won't cost you a cent. You previously had to be a subscriber to the paper or a TimesSelect member to gain access to additional news and opinion columns, personalization tools, and archives dating back to 1987. But NYTimes.com announced yesterday that they're doing away with the paid subscription model, opening up subscriber level content to everyone. Advertisers will pick up the slack and replace the subscription based revenue, with American Express the first to jump on board. TimesSelect was introduced two years ago in September 2005 and ran $7.95/month, or $49.95 for a one year subscription before yesterday's announcement. For anyone keeping score, Maximum PC's Daily News Brief has been serving free daily tech updates since September 3, 2007!

IBM to Launch Lotus Symphony for Free

In other freebie news, IBM will begin offering free programs for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations as part of its Lotus Symphony package. This comes hot on the heels of IBM's announcement that they plan to support and share code with OpenOffice. The new downloadable desktop suite will offer end users another free alternative to Microsoft's pricey Office package, which retails anywhere from $149 to a whopping $679. Lotus Symphony will use the OpenDocument Format, and will also support Microsoft Office formats. How well it can translate fonts and formatting from Office documents remains to be seen, but it's hard to argue against the price.

Microsoft Taketh Away

While IBM gears up to give users a free productivity suite, Microsoft is getting ready to take away the fast - save feature built into Word 2003. In what's expected to be the last major update to Office 2003, MS will kill fast-saving as part of its Service Pack 3, which you can download this Tuesday. The soon-to-be disabled feature works by saving just those changes made to a document since the last save, but since the documents may contain metadata, Microsoft fears confidential information could be at risk. Don't expect a massive slowdown on current machines, but do keep this excuse in mind the next time your college professor asks why you didn't turn in that 20 page assignment on time.

WiFi in the Sky

Frequent travelers may sometimes feel as though they spend more time in the air than they do on the ground, making it tough to keep up with urgent emails and other web based activity when on the go. Alaska Airlines hopes to change that, stating they will be the first US carrier to implement a satellite-based Wi-Fi service during flights on a trial basis. They plan to cover all routes, which include all 50 states, Canada, and Mexico. An antenna residing under a dome-shaped device on top of the plane will transmit satellite signals to Wi-Fi devices, such as laptops and smart phones. Pricing has yet to be determined and is still being shopped.

News Updates and Bite Sized Tidbits

What a difference a day makes, and in the tech world, the difference can be worth $110 million, the amount we learned today that Intel will pay to buy Havok, a story we reported on yesterday but without any hard numbers. We can also confirm yesterday's rumor making the rounds that AMD will offer a triple core version of its upcoming Phenom processor. Super Talent jumps into the XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) fray, and finally, we'd like to wish a happy 25th birthday to the 25 year old smiley face emoticon. May you have many, many more! :-)~






+ Add a Comment

zine team279

Thanks Paul.

Always enjoy reading these.



You're very much welcomed, zine!


Talcum X

In the IBM column, I thought it read "...free alternative to Microsoft's piracy Office package". Funny thing is, it still works either way.

Happy B-Day :^D (not to be confused with 'Bidet')

Every morning is the dawn of a new error.



uhh, isn't intel the one buying havok?



Yes! The slip was just to see who paid attention yesterday. :P

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.