Our lives are increasingly mobile and our cell phones are not only a way to contact anyone, anytime, anywhere but also our calendars, cameras, photo albums, inboxes, maps, weather reports, dictionaries, and entertainment. Payphones are disappearing as business users edit documents on their Blackberries, kids text each other furiously in class instead of passing notes and celebrities partner with handset manufacturers. We take our cell phones for granted now but it wasn't that long ago that a cell phone was much like a snow leopard - rare, expensive and exotic. So what happened? What were the technologies that really changed the playing field for mobile? How have our systems of communication changed over the past three decades?
Let us take you on a tour of the most noteworthy mobile moments - from telecomm inventions to handset debuts to appearances in popular culture, we've found the top 20 Moments in Mobile Phone History. From must-have handsets to advancements that moved mobile forward, we're hightlighting watershed occassions, developments and adaptations that made mobile phones an indispensible addition to our lives.
Most of us are unlikely to invent anything in our lifetimes, let alone in 24 hours. But that was the goal for droves of eager hackers at TechCrunch’s Hack Day, a 24-hour hackathon prefacing the TechCrunch Disrupt convention this week in New York.
Hunched over glowing laptops, scattered papers, and energy drinks, more than 300 contenders turned nascent plans into working inventions. Three lucky teams will be going on to Disrupt to present their winning projects.
Some teams had solid blueprints to work through the night; some brought vague ideas they hoped to flesh out along the way; and others came simply to absorb and contribute to the creative energy. In the end, 60 teams pitched their products. Here are our top ten builds that truly impressed.
Last year, during research for some project or another, we asked Seagate an offhand question about hybrid drives. Where nearly everybody said that hybrid drives (last seen circa 2005) were dead, Seagate said that the technology had shown promise, but that they had no further comment. We immediately assumed that meant they were working on one, and to our immense satisfaction, today Seagate announced the Momentus XT, a 2.5-inch hybrid drive featuring 500GB of 7200rpm mechanical storage, 4GB SLC NAND flash, and a 32MB cache.
“Lost” isn’t just a TV show. It’s also a complete, self-contained mythology that taps into the science and technology passions of hardcore nerds. The show overflows with interesting gadgets and gizmos, and with but one episode left, we’ve decided to celebrate our favorites. We created our list from memory, but researched the living bejezzus out of it on Lostpedia, the ultimate depository of “Lost” minutia. And by the way, if you’re interested in owning some of these gadgets, tools and technologies -- all lovingly created by the department of “Lost” prop master Rob Kyker -- you can ready yourself for the auction to be held by Profiles in History this summer.
And now, without further ado, our favorite “Lost” tech gear, in order of increasing coolness.
There are a ton of apps out there that you can use to automate something you do on your PC. I mean, that's the central conceit of software development as a whole, correct? To somehow ease the time burden it takes one to do a particular task in what would otherwise be a manual, labor-intensive process?
Well, when a number of new apps each seek to automate some facet of your everyday computing life, it should come as little surprise that I'm going to cover them. However, I've also hand-selected a few interesting little freeware and open-source tools that are a bit more esoteric in their operations than what you might typically think of when you ponder the word, "automation."
Case in point: Want to find a way to find and delete all the credit card information you've accidentally left open on your system? Or would you like a method for discovering duplicate images on your system so you can nix unwanted (and space-consuming) shots you don't actually want to keep around?
These are but a few of the situations I'll be tackling in this week's Freeware Files. Click the jump and let's get started!
A week wouldn't go by on ol' Maximum PC dot com without a flurry of comments erupting over the very mention of that one competing platform. You know, the one whose company is named after a fruit? Anyway, I won't draw out the joke--Maximum PC fans are not quite as enthusiastic about Apple products, Apple platforms, or Apple software as they are about their own custom-built (or purchased), Windows-based PCs. And that's a shame.
We can all agree to disagree on the various parts and pieces of the whole "PC vs. Mac" war that we subscribe to. However, it would be improper--and downright wrong--to deny some of the neat accomplishments that Apple's brought to the table. There are some elements of OSX that are awesome to fire up from a usability standpoint and, at the same time, equally fun to use. But as a Windows user, you're trapped to one system. Good luck getting a legal version of OSX to work on your PC without some interesting sacrifices and workarounds.
Well, that's where this week's Freeware Files leaps into the picture. I can't turn your Windows installation into OSX, nor would I want to--I'm going to show you how you can mimic some of OSX's more fun features in Windows directly. Let's go!
Updated 5/06/10 12:30PST to reflect Seagate comments on pricing.
Yesterday Seagate announced their new FreeAgent GoFlex line of external drives, which is actually more interesting than it sounds. Instead of a standard 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SATA drive with a SATA-to-USB controller inside, a GoFlex drive wears its controller on the outside. The GoFlex drive is not much more than a hard drive with a minimal plastic sheath and a SATA port, into which the drive controller itself is plugged. This allows you to change out drive controllers when you upgrade your system, plug the bare drive directly into a dock (like the GoFlex Net network-storage device or GoFlex TV HD media player, or (hopefully) just plug it into your rig for SATA speed with no overhead.
The GoFlex has modular cables, so today's USB 2.0 drive can become tomorrow's USB 3.0 drive easily.
As part of our neverending quest to keep Max PC readers up to date on all the latest and greatest tech hardware, we're launching a new monthly feature called Kick Ass Gear. In it, we'll give you a quick rundown of all the products that got a Kick Ass award or a review score of a 9 in the previous month's issue, and we'll link you to the products' online reviews.