Students Required to Buy Cell Phone

Now, I’m all for campus safety and for colleges using the technology that our students are using – but this is a bit much!

Students at Montclair State University in Dirty Jersey now must purchase, out of their own pocket, a Sprint cellphone, dubbed the "School Phone" by students. Ostensibly, the plan is designed to ensure student's safety. The least expensive plan, which includes a paltry 50 peak voice minutes (but unlimited text messages and on-campus data transfer), costs $420 per year.

Students should be able to pick their own phone and plan – some are just better/cheaper than others – and the campus should learn to work with all cell phones. And if a student can’t afford a cell phone then the school should come up with some compensation – a scholarship fund of sorts.

Via CrunchGear.

Kindle

Do you think that this name has some hidden meaning? Turning your paperbooks into kindling? Anyway, Amazon’s Kindle looks awesome!! My only problem is that it doesn’t read PDF. Now, while I’m not a student anymore, I always wanted an e-book reader so I could read my lecture notes which were in PDF format on a nice book-sized screen. I just read an amazing paragraph in Everything is Miscellaneous regarding the future of ebook readers. Weinberger talks about the power of having our ebook readers hooked to a wireless network keeping track of data about our reading habits and note-taking – it’s awesome and I’ll share more later (only 5 pages to go) – but Kindle sounds like a step in the right direction:

  • Revolutionary electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
  • Simple to use: no computer, no cables, no syncing.
  • Wireless connectivity enables you to shop the Kindle Store directly from your Kindle"”whether you're in the back of a taxi, at the airport, or in bed.
  • Buy a book and it is auto-delivered wirelessly in less than one minute.
  • More than 88,000 books available, including 100 of 112 current New York Times® Best Sellers.
  • New York Times® Best Sellers and all New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise.
  • Free book samples. Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy.
  • Top U.S. newspapers including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post; top magazines including TIME, Atlantic Monthly, and Forbes"”all auto-delivered wirelessly.
  • Top international newspapers from France, Germany, and Ireland; Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine, and The Irish Times.
  • More than 250 top blogs from the worlds of business, technology, sports, entertainment, and politics, including BoingBoing, Slashdot, TechCrunch, ESPN’s Bill Simmons, The Onion, Michelle Malkin, and The Huffington Post.
  • Lighter and thinner than a typical paperback; weighs only 10.3 ounces.
  • Holds over 200 titles.
  • Long battery life. Leave wireless on and recharge approximately every other day. Turn wireless off and read for a week or more before recharging. Fully recharges in 2 hours.
  • Unlike WiFi, Kindle utilizes the same high-speed data network (EVDO) as advanced cell phones"”so you never have to locate a hotspot.
  • No monthly wireless bills, service plans, or commitments"”we take care of the wireless delivery so you can simply click, buy, and read.
  • Includes free wireless access to the planet’s most exhaustive and up-to-date encyclopedia"”Wikipedia.org.
  • Email your Word documents and pictures (.JPG, .GIF, .BMP, .PNG) to Kindle for easy on-the-go viewing.

Want one? Well – it’s sold out already:

Due to heavy customer demand, Kindle is temporarily sold out. Because we ship Kindles on a first-come, first-served basis, please ORDER NOW to reserve your place in line. See availability messaging above for estimated in-stock date.

Learn more from Newsweek.

[update] From the user reviews on the Kindle page: “The most common complaint seems to be lack of PDF support. Yeah, pretty dumb. But easily handled. The Kindle supports MOBI files. It took me five minutes on Google to find the Mobi site, download their desktop software, and convert a PDF file to Mobi. Problem solved. ” – sounds promising! [/update]

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No GPS Needed

How neat is this?

Lost drivers soon will be able to Google for help at the pump. As part of a partnership to be announced Wednesday, the online search leader will dispense driving directions at thousands of gasoline pumps across the United States beginning early next month.

Instead of fighting with your significant other about who has to go in and ask for directions from the dubious looking gas attendant, you can now access Google Maps right from the pump – well not now but eventually!

Sony Reader – Part 2

This weekend I saw/posted about the Sony E-book reader … now I read on Crunch Gear that it may not be as cool as it looks.

According to Gordon Meyer over at 43 Folders, the Sony PRS-505 eBook reader is pretty close to perfect until you try to drop a few PDF files onto it. “None of my PDF files were remotely close to readable on this thing,” he says. He then details several different cumbersome options for converting PDFs to more legible formats but ultimately ended up returning the device. This is disappointing for something that claims it's compatible with one of the most ubiquitous text formats around and the thought of spending $300 and then having to reformat and/or convert many of the files you want to read is silly. Does anyone have one of these that can speak to the PDF issues?

Oh well …

Sony Reader

Today I was in Borders on my way out the door with my Chai Latte (my favorite winter drink) when a techie toy caught my eye. It was the Sony Ebook Reader (PRS505/SC). I had read about these bad boys – but never seen one. As a librarian and a reader, I have dismissed ebook readers as no possible replacement for the real thing … but this toy is pretty darn nifty! The screen is such that there is no glare like off a regular computer monitor. The font can be adjusted so that anyone can read the page without struggling and the menu provides a way to bookmark pages. I also liked that it came in a case that make it so that you could hold the reader just like a regular book (only thinner).

I played with the page turning and the menu options and thought it could be a bit more responsive, but overall thought it was well worth looking into if more of my favorite authors become available on ebook … no let me rephrase that … I think I’d still buy my favorites in print just to complete the collection on my bookshelf – I’d probably use this for those impulse buys that I almost always give into … you know the ones – where the paperbacks are 3 for the price of 2? That’s always how I find new authors that might interest me.

Anyway, if you’re looking for an ebook reader, this is certainly a tool to take a look at.

World’s Thinnest Notebook (for real)

The other day I wrote about the thinnest laptops ever. Today I read that Toshiba actually has the thinnest notebook.

The Portege R500 is Toshiba's newest addition to the mobile front. Surprisingly this two pound notebook comes with an optical drive which is touted as the worlds thinnest at an impressive 7mm.

The R500 packs some cool features and options such as the available 64GB of SSD storage, which -when combined with the absence of an optical drive- drops weight of the notebook to an incredible 1.72 pounds.

That said – I want the pretty one from Intel.

Thinnest Laptop Ever

Intel's Think Thin Laptop

I agree with Sarah – I want one of these nifty little things!! In fact – that was just what they were aiming for:

Though designers say the product is unisex, as a fashion accessory it may carry particular appeal to women, a group Intel has long wanted to win over. “Increasingly, women are often the decision makers, particularly with high-end purchases,” says Richard Shim, an analyst with IDC. “More and more companies are starting to pay more attention to the female market segment.”