??Kid, this portable music player thing is gonna be big??.??
With just 12 percent household penetration in this country, portable music devices still fall short of consideration as a mass market. But that??s about to change. A new study by Jupiter Research pegs 2005 as the year MP3 players reach a tipping point.
The historical benchmark Jupiter uses is 15 to 20 percent household penetration ?? a figure well within reach this year. A lot of companies compete in that business but you can attribute the soaring popularity of portable music players to the iPod phenomenon engineered by Apple?? a point reflected in the company??s stellar earnings announcement this afternoon.
Here's an intriguing tidbit from Apple's report: sales of Macs more than doubled from a year ago. What gives? Some first-timers??yours truly among them?? certainly bought systems because they liked the ??I??m not a PC?? computing architecture of the Mac. But how many others came to the Mac because they were smitten by the iPod? No hard figures yet on hand to back up that hunch but you can draw the obvious conclusion.Charles is an executive editor with CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years. A graduate of Queens College and Columbia University, Cooper began his career in journalism at the Associated Press before moving to technology coverage. Before joining CNET News, he worked at Computer & Software News , Computer Shopper , PC Week , and ZDNet. He received the Excellence in Journalism award from the Northern California branch of the Society for Professional Journalists for column writing. In addition to his blogging and podcast appearances, he is a co-host of the CNET News Daily Debrief. E-mail Charlie .
If there were snakes on this plane , you could IM your friends and tell them.
Low-cost airline JetBlue has equipped one of its Airbus A320 planes with an onboard wireless network and has forged partnerships with Yahoo and BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion to give passengers access to the companies' e-mail and instant messaging functions while in the air. The airline considers the plane, nicknamed "BetaBlue," to be an early-stage test as the company explores expanding in-flight communication options.
Passengers won't be able to surf the full Web. But if they bring Wi-Fi-equipped laptops along, they can access lightweight versions of Yahoo e-mail and instant messaging services; BlackBerry owners who have Wi-Fi-enabled handsets will be able to access their personal and corporate e-mail. BlackBerry models that have only cellular connections rather than Wi-Fi won't be compatible--the Federal Communications Commission still has a ban on cellular service in-flight.
The plane will take its inaugural flight on Tuesday morning, making the cross-country trip from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to San Francisco International Airport. After that, "BetaBlue" will be added to JetBlue's regular flight lineup; a company representative told CNET News.com that there will be no way to specifically request the messaging-equipped plane, nor will any additional fee be charged for the service.
It's been known for well over a year that JetBlue had been planning some sort of in-flight wireless initiative. LiveTV, a division of the airline, was awarded a 1MHz air-to-ground wireless license from the FCC in June 2006, following an intense bidding war. After 120 bids, LiveTV paid $7 million for the license, which offers full coverage of the continental U.S. above 10,000 feet. Another company, AirCell, obtained a 3MHz license for $31.3 million in the same FCC auction.
Earlier this year, JetBlue representatives hinted that they were interested in exploring options for in-flight text messaging--but that would require a relaxation of the FCC's stringent regulations.
As the major players in the airline industry compete with one another in an increasingly tech-savvy world, carriers have touted in-flight tech innovations like satellite TV service and electrical power connections. JetBlue already offers DirecTV service, as well as XM satellite radio on some of its newer planes. When Virgin America first took off in August , geeks drooled over the USB and power connections, MP3 library, and a messaging service that lets lonely passengers strike up conversations with fellow travelers on the same plane.
But when it comes to communication services , there have been some major momentum issues. Cell phone use on planes is still a contentious topic, but it's nevertheless likely imminent on some foreign carriers and some wireless companies see it as a potential source of profit .
Broadband Internet is a different story. Connexion, a paid in-flight broadband service from Boeing , was used by a number of foreign airlines, like Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines, before it was officially shut down at the end of 2006. There's been no word from Panasonic recently on a rumored plan to succeed where Connexion had failed.
And when BetaBlue takes off on Tuesday, it will make the Forest Hills, N.Y.-based JetBlue the first domestic airline carrier to offer any kind of wireless service in the air. Virgin America's planes have Ethernet ports at each seat, but they remain inactive.
JetBlue representatives said that if BetaBlue proves successful, expansions to the program will become evident over the next year. This would possibly include either installing the Yahoo and RIM services on other planes, or expanding the wireless offerings.
The Philly 'burb resident wants to build a 20-foot-by-12-foot model of a "Star Wars" Jawa Sandcrawler on the grounds of a local business, according to an Associated Press report .
But first, the Lucasfilm fanatic needs to convince officials that a replica of the Jawas' desert vehicle will duly complement the architecture of the historic redevelopment area where he wants to build.
The town has another concern about welcoming a model Jawa Sandcrawler . "This could wind up being an attractive nuisance and a safety concern if kids try to climb on it," township community development director Ed Sayers told the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill, N.J.
If past behavior is any indication, Degirolamo's vision of Jawas in Jersey isn't just some Jedi mind trick.
The 38-year-old built a 35-foot model of a "Star Wars" ship in 2002 for his yard, and after complaints by neighbors and a visit from inspectors, he had to put up a fence.
Hopefully for Degirolamo's sake, the current matter will get resolved quickly. The movie lover, after all, can't wait until the droids come home to proceed. He wants to build his model vehicle before the May opening of " Episode III: Revenge of the Sith ."Leslie Katz, senior editor of CNET's Crave, covers gadgets, games, and most other digital distractions. As a co-host of the CNET News Daily Podcast, she sometimes tries to channel Terry Gross. E-mail Leslie .
"Mother of Satan"--that's what bomb makers call peroxide-based explosives like triacetone triperoxide , which are easy to make and hard to detect. But a new pen-shaped detector doodad offers hope for those doing time in airport security lines.
The Peroxide Explosives Tester , or PET, by Acro is supposed to help security personnel quickly and accurately identify peroxide-based explosives, from diacetone diperoxide and hexam-methalene-triperoxidediamine to the notorious TATP, a component allegedly used by Mr. Goofy in the shoe bomb he tried to detonate on a trans-Atlantic flight in 2001.
Acro announced this month that it had licensed the explosives testing kit technology from Life Science Research Israel , a subsidiary of the Israel Institute for Biological Research.
Peroxide is what bombers from London and Madrid to Casablanca and the streets of Israel all have in common nowadays, and unfortunately we're not talking about their roots. It's also what caused the hoopla over liquid explosives in London in 2006 and subsequent banning of all carry-on bottled goods.
The chemical generally comes as an innocuous-appearing solid that looks like sugar, a class of explosive that's almost impossible to detect with dogs or conventional high-tech methods . To make matters worse, it's easy to whip up at home with ingredients available at any supermarket.
Testing with the new device sounds easy enough: Insert the sample into PET and inject the secret sauce; if it turns green-blue, dive for cover. The company says it's also disposable and nonpolluting, but there's no word on how it's expected to be applied to mass screenings.
There's already a constituency opposed to readmitting fluids to your carry-on--the people who charge $2 for a pint of water in the departure lounge.