There are two things I despise: an overabundance iPhone users and the overabundance of Auto-Tune users. Fortunately, media company Smule has teamed up with Antares and T-Pain to create a duet from hell with the new app, I Am T-Pain. The app allows you to plug in your iPhone to a set of speakers and sing along to your favorite T-Pain hits and then send the sorry excuse for a song to your friends. Sounds exciting, right? It gets better! It comes with several of the Top 40 hits along with 3 original beats for you to get your off-keyness on.
For those who are unaware, Auto-Tune is a feature that corrects, or tunes, your voice to the correct pitch if you wind up flat or sharp during singing. The more corrections you hear on a song typically correlates with the talent of the artist. Currently there are thousands of young artists with aspirations to make it big who are using this software thinking it will launch them to the top just because T-Pain did it. However, they fail to realize that a singing ability is still required to not make the correction software overwork itself into oblivion on the track.
Bluetooth headsets were quite the rave not too long ago, but a recent study shows a decline in use of Bluetooth headsets in the United States. In 2008, 43% of Americans used their headsets daily, but now the number has decreased to 26%. American consumers are finding that hands-free car kits are easier to use and performed better when professionally installed.
Although the number of consumers who use their headset daily has plummeted in the United States, it has increased in Europe. Talking to someone with a flashing stick in their ear sure can get annoying, but I'd have to admit the Bluetooth is much more convenient and can be used in more than just the car, unlike a hands-free car kit. So which is better, the Bluetooth headset or the hands-free car kit? We'll let you decide.
Ever heard of the computer manufacturing company Linutop? Good, I haven't either. Apparently their goal is to cater to the cheapskate of the world by making computers whose sole purpose is to annoy technicians and reviewers like myself by creating a device which can only run Solitaire without crashing. It's called the Linutop 3. This beast - and when I say beast, I mean kitty cat - of a machine comes with a whopping 1 GB of RAM with a 2 GB flash-based hard drive. You may be wondering why I'm bashing a netbook so much, but this is a desktop machine, standing at a manly 9" tall and 2" wide!
Why so harsh, you ask? This is only going to further widen the technology gap for people who only buy new devices based on price. Yes, I understand that this machine could prove to be useful for the 70 year old grandfather who merely wants to check up on his family and maybe receive a picture or two. This can even be useful as an Internet center at your local library. However, we all know the difference between impact and intent.
Unless you care about Europe for some reason then you are probably not familiar with Nokia's "Comes With Music" service and why it being delayed in the U.S. could make U.S. phone owners a sad panda. Nokia unveiled the service in December 2007 one year before its official launch in the U.K (it's in Europe). Come With Music basically works as a prepaid music service where you pay a certain amount up front and get unlimited downloads from their music library for a whole year. Well that sounds pretty cool but what's the catch? It seems that in order to get European wireless companies to jump on board and foot some of the bill they had to slip some DRM into the mix.
Hey everyone remember TiVo, the device that revolutionized the way we watched TV by bestowing upon us the ability to warp time? Except for the fact that we had one sitting around where I used to work, I don't either. It turns about they are still alive and have been trying to rip Dish Network a new one since 2004 because of alleged patent infringements. Originally, they sued EchoStar, which is part of Dish Network now for infringing on their patent for their "multimedia time warping system" (wow that sounds cool).
To put it simply, they are referring to the TiVo's ability to record one channel while watching another. Fast forward to 2006 and a federal court ruled that EchoStar had to pay TiVo a whopping 73.9 million for damages but it doesn't stop there. Recently Dish was also ordered to pay $103 million plus interest for continuing to sell DVRs with technology that violates a permanent injunction by federal courts but wait round 3 is coming up next. This dispute has now remained unsettled for 5 years so TiVo went for the killing blow and sued Dish for $1 billion based on the profits they had made from their DVR in this timeframe. Now fortunately for Dish the judge ruled that only $200 million more was justified and said that Dish had made a good faith effort to work around the technology and did not willingly infringe TiVo's patent.
TiVo released a statement saying,
There may be some unrest in Apple's board of directors with some of the reshuffling that's been going on. We recently talked about the CEO of Google Eric Schmidt resigning from Apple's BOD due to growing conflicts of interest but it seems he may not be the only one leaving. There have been some recent developments pertaining to Bill Campbell who is a key Apple board member and close adviser to Steve Jobs.
Campbell is also the chairman of Inuit and is a close adviser to Eric Schmidt as well but he is not officially on Google's board of directors. He is however the only outsider that attends their meetings. There is no concrete evidence yet of whether Campbell is leaving but is should be noted that he recently redeemed some director's stock options for a "non-sale transfer" of 60,000 APPL shares worth more than $7.7 million.