Having just gotten off a plane, I'm now facing the difficulties that a West-to-East coast trip does to one's sleeping schedule. Thus, this week's freeware roundup has as much of a concrete theme as I have a coherent thought at the moment. But that's ok. Examples of killer freeware or open-source software don't always fall within a single bucket.
So what's on deck for right now? I won't give away too many details. Suffice, if you've ever lost data as a result of a scratched or scuffed CD, you'll want to click on the jump below. While the page loads, go dig though the trash to recover the media that you just tossed--it's not dead. It might be on life support, and you might stand a very good chance of losing parts of your data, but you might also be able to save a portion of the files located on said disc.
That's a great bit of lifesaving... and it's just one of the programs in this week's roundup. Even niftier applications lurk behind the cut below. Get your downloading finger ready.
For some time now Barnes & Noble has been a WiFi hotspot for hipsters with ironic t-shirts all across the nation, however these hipsters have had to create accounts and pay in order to reap the benefits. But, thanks to a recent desire to push a fledgling online bookstore, the prices and account requirements have been lifted.
Barnes & Noble struck a deal with AT&T to provide free Internet access to those within their walls, all thanks to an online bookstore that they hope will compete with Amazon. They’re so confident, in fact, that they’re in the process of developing a reader of their own (currently in development with Plastic Logic).
Barnes & Noble is boasting that their eBookstore is launching with 700,000 titles (500,000 of which were public domain offerings from Google), compared to Amazon’s launch catalog of 300,000 volumes.
Should you find yourself in a Barnes & Noble enjoying the free WiFi, feel free to check out the online bookstore here. Or, if you’d prefer, continue to spend time with us. We prefer the latter.
At long last, it looks like the 802.11n standard might finally get approved. Bob Heile, who heads up the 802.15 group for Personal Area Networks, fired off an email confirming that the IEEE 802.11n draft standard had been sent to the Standards Review Committee, PCMag.com reports.
"On other fronts, 802.11 was granted unconditional approval to forward 11n to RevCom," Heile wrote. "After a bit of a rocky period on getting acceptable coexistence language included in the draft, I was pleased to support this approval. Congratulations to Bruce for his patience and perseverance in getting this done. This was an extremely complex project."
And a time consuming one. The 802.11n standards process first began almost five years ago in 2004. Internal turmoil and political maneuvering put the clamps down on the process, even after a draft version of 802.11n was approved in January 2006. But come September 11, 2009, the draft may finally become a standard.
"We sought and were granted conditional approval to forward 802.15.3c latest draft to Revcom for its consideration at its Sept. 2009 meeting," Heile added. "A third and, we hope final, recirculation is in the process."
Earlier this week Asus announced their RT-N16 router, which brings their “three ‘S’s’ – Speed for ultra-fast data transfers, Simplicity for unparalleled ease-of-use and ease-of-setup, and Security for absolute peace of mind when performing online tasks.” (Seriously.)
The RT-N16 will feature wireless speeds up to 300Mbps, use an innovative “EZ UI” which will let system administrators easily setup and manage their networks, as well as allocate bandwidth to suit specific needs. And lastly, it’ll sport WiFi Protected Setup (WPS), so that users can lock down their networks quickly and easily.
Recently HP announced their brand spankin’ new HD Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web, allowing users to print web content straight from the printer.
The Photosmart’s TouchSmart Web UI system works on a 4-inch widescreen panel that features a row of thumbnails that you flick through in order to access what you wish to print. It also comes with an open API, allowing any web content developer to create their own widgets.
HP expects that the new Photosmart will revolutionize and “change the way people think about printing.” Typical taglines, but for those interested, the printer is WiFi enabled, can copy, scan and fax, and will cost $399.
According to a new survey conducted by American Airlines and Hewlett-Packard, passengers are split nearly right down the middle on whether they'd prefer to fill their bellies with airline food or join the mile high WiFi club.
"We know that our business customers rely on technology to be as productive as possible while on the road," said Manuel de Oyarzabal, Director of Customer Research at American Airlines.
The survey pinged more than 1,500 frequent business travelers who take more than 20 trips a year on three or more airlines. Of them, a little more than 47 percent said WiFi was the most important airport amenity, besting their desire for food by almost 30 percentage points.
Related to the above, the survey found that not having a place to plug in and recharge a notebook ranked as the No. 1 irritant, with 24 percent indicating access to power outlets as the most important technology amenity when flying.
While AirTran claimed that they would be the first to implement Wi-Fi on all of their flights, Virgin America just beat them to the punch.
Yesterday Virgin officially announced that they would feature Wi-Fi on all 100 of their daily flights. Costs clock in at $12.95 for three hours and over, $9.95 for less than three hours, $5.95 for red-eye flights, and $7.95 if you just want to use a handheld device (such as a cell phone or a DSi).
Sure, the prices might seem a little beefy, but when I’m given the mental option between watching the inevitably bad movie that’s playing on the screen in front of me, or surfing the net on my own accord, I’ll opt towards the latter every time.
The issue was brought up by Colin Kinney at ATL’s annual meeting. He referenced a Swedish research and the findings of some other European experts to justify his sense of alarm. “Have we the right to avoid the moral warnings simply for access to a few more computers?” he asked the attendees at ATL’s annual meeting.
He wants a long-time study to probe WiFi’s impact on heath. The teacher’s body has espoused Kinney’s concerns and resolved to prod the government into action.
What is it lately with AT&T and inflated WiFi charges? Last week the ISP handed a Chicago Bears fan a $28,000 internet bill after his laptop's wireless card picked up an errant signal while he watched a football game on his notebook, and now the company has billed an Oklahoma woman $5,077 for data charges on her DataConnect plan.
Oklahoma resident Billie Parks is suing both AT&T and RadioShack, alleging the two companies co-conspired to offer a netbook and data bundle intentionally designed to mislead customers into racking up thousands of dollars per month in service charges. Parks purchased her netbook from RadioShack in December of 2008 for just $100, a price which required a two-year commitment with AT&T's DataConnect plan. On the $60/month plan, customers can get online no matter where they're at.
However, Parks maintains that she was never told that Internet data usage over 5GB would result in "astronomical additional charges running into the thousands of dollars." According to Parks, the Customer Service Summary says only that additional charges apply, but makes no mention of what those charges are.
"We're reviewing the suit and don’t have a comment on it at this time," AT&T spokesperson Seth Bloom told ArsTechnica. "But I can tell you that we go to considerable lengths to inform customers of the limits involved in these plans. We display the plan usage limits and overage rates on our collateral, terms and conditions, and on att.com, And customers can check their usage using myWireless Account or by using the usage monitoring capability on the AT&T Communications Manager application."
Does Parks have a fighting chance with her lawsuit? Hit the jump and sound off.
If you’re any kind of fan of adding WiFi to your digital camera, you may want to check out Eye-Fi’s latest cards, which will double the previous storage cap and add support for uploading videos.
The new versions are the 4GB Explore Video, which will run you $100 and the 4GB Share Video, for only $80. The Explore will automatically geotag photos and videos for you, and offers hotspot access at over 10,000 locations. The Share loses the ability to geotag, and only allows users to send photos and videos to the Web and your home computer.
These new cards are available today. If you’re not looking for all of the fancy frills and are happy with the 2GB space limit, you get the old cards for only $50.