? Episode 285
 all tech radio show
  • Demand for Apple's iPad 2 over the weekend may have outpaced supply, at least according to analyst reports today. Today, the Cupertino maker of Mac computers and "i" devices was offering the iPad 2 at its online store with shipping in three to four weeks.In an e-mail this morning, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White said the iPad 2 was "sold out" by Saturday afternoon "at every Apple and non-Apple store we contacted." White reported long lines at Apple Store locations across the country, including a crowd "that appeared to be 2,000 to 3,000 people" Friday evening at the flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
  • Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) will cease introducing new versions of the Zune music and video player because of tepid demand, letting the company shift its focus to other devices, according to a person familiar with the decision. Microsoft will concentrate on putting Zune software onto mobile phones, such as those running its Windows operating system, said the person, who declined to be identified because the decision hasn't been announced. Zune software lets customers buy songs and movies, as well as pay a monthly fee to stream unlimited music.
  • Internet explorer 9 is released today to the public. Many security improvements have been made, but the biggest change is in the speed. According to independent testers IE 9 is now the fastest web browser of all. Of course Firefox and other browsers will be releasing their latest versions in a few weeks, so we will see if that still stands after that. IE 9 also looks more minimalist and has a see through border.
  • Despite earthquakes, tsunamis, and a possible nuclear meltdown, Japan's internet service has been surprisingly stable. The underground cables that connect Japan to the rest of the world is run by EAC Pacific. They suffered little damage even though the entire country of Japan moved 8 inches during the earthquake, and the station where the cables are connected have been abandoned. Japans fiber connected cables have a combined potential data rate speed of 192,000 Gbps.
  • Google is starting a new social networking site. It will be called Circles. The biggest difference between it and Facebook is that you can pick from you contacts and friends which ones you want to see your status. This is one of the biggest complaints about Facebook status updates.
  • NASA, already committed to paying Russia millions of dollars to hitch rides into space, had some expensive news to announce Monday: Russia plan to start charging even more. With the United States phasing out the shuttle program, the new way for U.S. astronauts to get to the International Space Station will be to catch a ride with the Russians, and NASA's existing contract for that transport priced each rocket ride at just under $56 million. Now, Russia is hiking the price for each rocket ride to nearly $63 million in 2014. The contract extension with the Russian Space Agency totals $753 million, which covers trips for a dozen astronauts from 2014 through 2016.
  • A month ago at Mobile World Congress, Microsoft announced that the Windows Phone 7 copy and paste update, known as "NoDo", would ship some time in the first half of March. That's not going to happen now, as the company has formally announced in a blog post that the update is delayed until the second half of the month. The reason given is so that Microsoft can take a little extra time to ensure that the update "meets [Microsoft's] standards, your standards, and the standards of [Microsoft's] partners." The statement assured users that the updates scheduled for later this year won't be impacted by this delay, and that multitasking, Twitter integration, and an Internet Explorer 9-powered browser are all going to ship as expected.
  • As it stands, the number of apps in the Android Market has grown from a measly 5,000 applications in summer of 2009 to the over 250,000 apps we see less than two years later. The number of apps apple has added in that time period is nothing to scoff at, either, and Android's biggest rival currently has claims to 350,000 applications in their own app store. The key difference is the rate of growth Android has seen compared to iOS. While Apple's platform continues to grow at a rather steady rate, Android has been gaining apps in exponential numbers. Business Insider had predicted Android would have overtaken Apple by now, but they still remain confident it is only a matter of months until the deed is done. With figures like these we say it is very likely, too.
  • The blog Broadband Reports broke some bad news over the weekend for AT&T DSL customers. Starting May 2, AT&T plans to stop offering flat-rate pricing for unlimited Internet use. Instead, it will impose a monthly cap of 150 GB on its DSL subscribers and 250 GB on its U-Verse customers. (U-Verse is the pay-TV service that AT&T transmits over high-speed phone lines; the cap would apply only to those customers' Internet use, not their TV viewing.) Those who exceed the limit will be charged $10 for every additional 50 GB they consume. The company says its average DSL customer uses a mere 18 GB a month, and just one out of each 50 customers has been exceeding the new limits -- presumably someone who downloads or streams a lot of video, games or software. To put it in some perspective, consider the case of an online video fan. At standard-definition data rates, that person would need to watch (or download) more than six hours of full-screen video a day to hit 150 GB. High definition video is much more of a bandwidth hog, but even then an AT&T customer could download one a day and still have plenty of room left under a 150 GB cap.
  • Three days after the devastating earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, concerns are now being raised about the effects of a potential reactor meltdown. Furthermore, one analyst study raised questions about the impact of the quake on a key component of the Apple iPad 2. Reports from the area now claim that the three units in the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor in northern Japan may be faced with partial, or at worse complete meltdowns. Any catastrophic meltdown could place thousands at risk, although local residents have been evacuated to a safe area. But the reactors also supply power to homes, businesses, and factories in the area, placing technology manufacturers, affecting semiconductor wafer manufacturers, chip suppliers, and ultimately manufacturers of consumer products.

Email from listeners

  • Sonya from Tacoma asks "What can I do with the IPAD 2 that I cant do with other tablets?"
  • Broadcast Sunday, March 20th, 2011
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