The UpStream

A Unique Use for Your Nintendo DS

posted Sunday May 20, 2012 by Scott Ertz

A Unique Use for Your Nintendo DS

It seems that the people of Japan really enjoy their Nintendo products. They like them so much that they are always coming up with new ways to use them. This one goes farther than the odd, inappropriate videogame, though, and enters the realm of odd, inappropriate integrations. Toyota has decided to add a feature to some of their car navigation systems to allow passengers to control the system with their Nintendo DS.

The system, called Kuruma de DS, will allow passengers to enter destinations and even see maps and points of interest on the handheld. You can even favorite places you've been or would like to go to. It is powered by a standard game cartridge that connects to the car via Bluetooth, built-in to the cartridge. The software is designed in standard Nintendo fashion, even including Miis and a very Nintendo-style speedometer. You can even use the car's speakers to play the DS sounds.

This is not going to be an inexpensive feature, though. If you want the ability to control parts of your car from your DS, it is going to cost you in the upwards of $2,500. That price is for the Smart Navi itself, and the control software will cost you another $100, assuming you already have a DS, which we all know you do. That is a very expensive toy.

Motorola Facing Import Blocking on Android Handsets

posted Sunday May 20, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Motorola Facing Import Blocking on Android Handsets

As the patent wars rage on, the International casualties are rising, but home soil casualties have started to rise as well. The most recent is, once again, a Microsoft win over an Android manufacturer, this time one internal to Google: Motorola. The International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that Motorola has infringed on Microsoft patents in its modern Android phones and, in 60 days time, will be barred from importing those devices into the United States.

Motorola has 3 ways to avoid this block. First, they could eliminate their syncing system, which is the software that infringes on Microsoft's patents. Seeing as people want the ability to sync their phones with their computers, that seems unlikely. They could license the patent rights from Microsoft, but being as Google believes they should be allowed to use anything, anytime, that seems just as unlikely. So, at this point, their only hope is that President Obama will overturn the ruling. Seeing as he has not done it for anyone yet, they have a tough job ahead of them.

For an insight into Motorola and Microsoft's feelings on the ruling, hit the break.

Micro Computers Emerging Everywhere

posted Sunday May 20, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Micro Computers Emerging Everywhere

Over the past few months, the interest in micro computers has grown. For users, the ability to bring a computer with them everywhere they go and use it on any screen and have their environment stay exactly the same is useful. For developers, it is even better - no need to have your development environment installed on different computers and hope the settings are the same (which they NEVER are). Even The Pirate Bay has an intriguing way to use them.

The only real problem has been availability. The Raspberry Pi has been on back-order with every retailer since it launched, and the Cotton Candy, after taking pre-orders, have incredibly limited availability. What is the solution to this problem? How about a white label, no name Chinese company launching a similar device for only $74!

The device has a 1.5GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, a microSD slot, built-in WiFi, full 1080p HDMI output and Android 4.0. Being based on an ARM processor means that it can run other operating systems as well, including Windows 8 eventually. It is missing things like wireless controls (for using the computer as a media player) and no SATA capabilities, so the price difference is understandable, but it is still a fully-functional, self-contained computer for only $74.

If you had one of these bad boys today, what would you use it for? Tell us in the comments section.

HP Laying Off 30,000 Employees Beginning Next Week

posted Sunday May 20, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

HP Laying Off 30,000 Employees Beginning Next Week

While HP's future may be a little less confusing now that they've figured out what to do with webOS, the company is still having to deal with problems. Executives have been leaving since last year and it is now in the hands of CEO Meg Whitman to turn this ship around.

Unfortunately, this week we learned a little more trouble for the new CEO, in the single word no company employee ever wants to hear: restructuring. Hewlett-Packard will start reshaping its form starting next Wednesday when they will be reporting the quarterly earnings. In that same call, we are told that Whitman will be speaking on potentially cutting somewhere around 30,000 jobs from the workforce.

Facebook's IPO - NASDAQ's Biggest Bust?

posted Saturday May 19, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Facebook's IPO - NASDAQ's Biggest Bust?

The road to an initial public offering (IPO) has not been an easy or straight-forward one for Facebook. With a lawsuit from Yahoo!, purchasing Instagram for $1 billion, then patents from Microsoft, all requiring them to miss their target date, the road as been a little rocky.

The road did not get any smoother when the IPO went live Friday morning. The NASDAQ, preparing for their largest IPO ever, had system failures early in the day, causing Facebook's trading to begin a full half-hour late. At least Zuckerberg got to ring the opening bell at the exchange. All of that said, there were two ways an IPO from the social giant could have gone: a failure like Groupon, or a success like LinkedIn.

So, how did it actually go? Hit the break to find out.

Virgin Atlantic to Start Offering Cell Phone Service In-Flight

posted Friday May 18, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Virgin Atlantic to Start Offering Cell Phone Service In-Flight

Virgin Atlantic has always been known to find new, creative ways to market and promote the brand. With the boss Sir Richard Branson leading the way (sometimes in his Zulu warrior costume), an occasional April Fool's joke will usually end up coming from his mind. More recently, the airline has started to offer ice cubes shaped like his head. Virgin Atlantic CEO Steve Ridgway said it was so Branson could be with his guests "in spirit."

However, this week, the airline did something less comedic and a little more serious. For those flying on select Virgin Atlantic aircraft, you'll be able to do a little something special while coasting 30k+ feet in the air: call your friends.

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