The Lane Train

News and Pop Culture for the Blog Generation

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

New “Cheap” iPhone Actually Quite Costly

Posted by thelanetrain on July 8, 2008

Oh man, my head is still spinning from that post way, way back where I calculated the actual cost of a “free” European iPhone.  Originally, it looked as if the cheapest way to go per megabyte was the 16 GB American iPhone.  Well, as it turns out, I may be sorely mistaken.  As this article from PC Magazine, the new iPhone has so many hidden fees, even its fees appear to have fees of their own.  Switching from another carrier to AT&T?  That’ll cost you an extra $36.  Or maybe you want unlimited text?  $20.  How about unlimited data? $30.  So what is the cheapest price for a $199 iPhone?  In reality, it’s $217, and that’s only for existing AT&T/iPhone customers.

Touché, Steve Jobs.  Way to squeeze every living dime out of us honest, hardworking saps.

Click the above link for the full article and guide to how Apple is price-gouging you.

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Viacom Granted Access to Private Information, Videos of People Kicking Each Other’s Balls

Posted by thelanetrain on July 7, 2008

Everyone says we should be careful about what we post on the internet (I will probably hate myself for this blog 20 years from now).  Aside from all-telling social networking sites and controversial blogs, YouTube has now joined the ranks as a bastion for big mega corporations to steal all your personal info that you publicly post anyway.  According to Channel Web, media giant Viacom will now have complete access to personal information generated by YouTube users in part of the decision reached with its $1 billion dollar lawsuit against Google.  Viacom initially sued the search engine company for allowing its users to display their content on YouTube without its permission.  I guess the rights to everyone’s personal information is justified given that we’ve watched that clip of Pumkin spitting on New York about a dozen and a half times.

So remember kids:  It’s still ok to use YouTube.  Just try not to search for or post videos of anything risque or career damaging, like, “leather fetish porn” for example.  Viacom might try to market you directly.

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Portable Karaoke Set to Ruin, Annoy the World

Posted by thelanetrain on June 20, 2008

According to Reuters, a Japanese electronics company will soon be launching what is being marketed as a “personal karaoke machine”.  Named “Hi-Kara”, this one pound 7″ cube will function “like a real machine” and allow users to download songs via the internet or buy special cartridges for them.  The product is being marketed towards the Japanese youth particularly because:

“Girls who are middle-school age and under can’t go to karaoke parlors by themselves even if they wanted to sing, but now they can try it at home with this new karaoke machine.”

So thanks to them, you’ll have hundreds of off-key Kelly Clarkson wannabes belting out J-Pop and teeny-bopper hits all day long.  Fan-tastic.

And while it seems that karaoke and singing is all the rage these days, it probably won’t be as ever popular as this.

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Europe To Get Free iPhones, Actually, Not Really…

Posted by thelanetrain on June 16, 2008

Remember last week when Steve Jobs announced the new iPhone, followed by a subsequent, “Oh ma goddddd!” when people saw the $199 price tag? That’s so cheap, right? Wrong, bitch. Once again, the Europeans are showing us that Americans overpay for everything. According to Digital Trends, UK carrier O2 would be giving customers free (yes, free) iPhones if they sign up for a more expensive monthly service plan, and in Germany, carrier T-Mobile will subsidize the cost of iPhones to only ONE EURO if customers subscribe to the most expensive monthly plan (€69 per month). Wanna upgrade to a 16GB model? Only €89 per month with phones costing a mere €19.95.

So are the little to no cost phones really cheaper? We’ll save you the time and math.

According to the O2 site, the free iPhone only applies to the £45 and £75 monthly service plans, which run a minimum of 18 months. So, in the UK, a free iPhone really costs about $88 and $147, respectively, per month. For Germans, the 8GB phone is $106 a month (plus a buck fifty for the phone), and for the 16GB, $137 a month with $31 for the phone. Stateside, the new iPhone will cost $199 or $299 depending on which size you buy, but the monthly fee is substantially less than its European counterparts (only $69.95 a month).

So in the end, the Brits will pay $1,584 and $2,646 total, respectively, while Americans will pay $1,877.80 and $1,977.80 total, respectively. Assuming the Germans are on an 18 month contract (like Britain, although their pricing plans have not been published online), they will pay $1,909.50 and $2,485.95 total, respectively.

Our advice? Buy a smaller phone in Britain, but fork over the $299 for the 16GB here. Comparatively, the latter is your biggest bang for the buck.

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Hold The Phone! (Literally)

Posted by thelanetrain on June 12, 2008

It appears that a summer smartphone war is very much on our hands.  Almost 72 hours after Apple announced a new iPhone, Verizon Wireless reported that it will be carrying the new Palm Centro for (brace yourselves) only $99!  That’s like half an iPhone!  It gets better.

According to the article from Channel Web, this budget smartphone is gonna have TONS of great features.  It comes in cobalt blue, features a vivid 320×320 pixel touchscreen, a QWERTY keyboard, weighs just 4.2 ounces, and has full 3G internet capability!  It still doesn’t look nearly as sleek or cool as the iPhone, but at least you don’t have to have AT&T’s shitty coverage.

Now if only Sprint and T-Mobile were somehow able to get their shit together…

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Google Co-founder To Be Launched Into Space

Posted by thelanetrain on June 11, 2008

So you’ve created what is arguably the best search engine, which owns the best online video site, and are worth over $11 billion, so what do you do with some of your spending money?  Buy a seat on the next space shuttle, duh!   Information Week reported today that Google co-founder Sergey Brin recently put down a $5 million deposit to secure a spot on a future spaceflight.  Space Adventures, a private “space-tourism” company that has helped the elite and prosperous to be launched upward announced that Brin has become the founding member of its “Orbital Mission Explorers Circle”, which allows members to buy and sell space flight seats, you know, kind of like stubhub for the super filthy rich.  In a statement released today, Brin said:

“I am a big believer in the exploration and commercial development of the space frontier, and am looking forward to the possibility of going into space.  Space Adventures helped open the space frontier to private citizens and thus pave the way for the personal spaceflight industry. The Orbital Mission Explorers Circle enables me to make an immediate investment while preserving the option to participate in a future spaceflight.”

Commercial development of the space frontier?  So THAT’S why he wants to go into space so bad.  Well, hats off to you, Sergey Brin.  Perhaps with your brave leadership and assloads of cash, you can help make interplanetary commercial development a true reality.  Thanks to you, we’ll finally get to enjoy these on Mars some day.

Oh, and a little further research showed us EXACTLY how much it costs to go to the Moon.  For those too lazy to click, it’s $100 million, roughly the same as 500,000 brand new iPhones (without the service, of course).

Posted in Odd News, Technology | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Apple Launches New iPhone, Inflates Steve Jobs’ Ego

Posted by thelanetrain on June 10, 2008

The New iPhone

Remember last summer when the iPhone came out and people camped out for a week so they could get one first? Remember when it cost nearly $600? Remember when Apple lowered the price after two months and all the original owners complained, so they shut them all up with store credit? Well, nearly a year after the first wave of iPhone-mania, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled a brand new iPhone in San Francisco yesterday. Among its awesome features?

  • A 3G based browser that can download porn faster than both the original and its closest competitor
  • 6 hours of watching YouTube videos and 5 hours of crappy AT&T talk time on a fully-charged battery
  • Loopt, a program that allows you to stalk your friends in real-time
  • Comes in “Steve Jobs’ shirt” Black and “All of Apple’s other iProducts” White
  • Can be bought on a peasant’s salary for only $199 (for the lower-end model)

The iPhone 2.0 comes out on July 11th, and will be available only in Apple Stores, so do yourself a favor and start camping out now, because god forbid you don’t have one by then, all your friends will laugh at you for being so behind the times.

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