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Infrastructure // PC & Servers
12:21 PM
David  DeJean
David DeJean

News Of What's New

Between the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the flood of press releases timed to the show, there is news about several of the subjects and companies I've written about over the past year. Some updates are in order. Eye-Fi continutes to be a big winner, HSUPA comes to laptops, and more.

Between the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the flood of press releases timed to the show, there is news about several of the subjects and companies I've written about over the past year. Some updates are in order. Eye-Fi continutes to be a big winner, HSUPA comes to laptops, and more.Eye-Fi -- The Eye-Fi card is a 2 GB SD flash card that goes into your digital camera. But it's got a secret ingredient: built-in Wi-Fi. When you turn your camera on within range of your home network, the card will upload your pictures to your computer or a long list of online photo-sharing sites. When it was introduced in November it supported 17 services. In the last couple of months its added three more -- Microsoft Windows Live, Microsoft Windows Live Photo Gallery, and Costco's Photo Center -- and enhanced its support for the Mac with wireless photo uploads directly into iPhoto and support for Safari and Leopard. Along the way it picked up a couple of awards: it won the "Last Gadget Standing" competition at CES, and las week was named "Best of Show" at MacWorld. It's a great idea that's well executed, and sales have been brisk enough that Eye-Fi has done a co-branding deal with Lexar, which will increase the availability of the gizmo.

CallWave -- I included this company in a round-up of "visual voicemail" services in October, when it was in beta-test. It has announced the launch of three levels of commercial service, and says it will have a Mac version coming soon. I thought CallWave's transcription of voicemail to e-mailed text was only adequate, but its other services, including a desktop application for managing your phones and messages, were really good. Now you can find out for yourself, beginning at $9.95 a month.

SimulScribe -- In the "visual voicemail" round-up I praised the quality of SimulScribe's transcription, but thought its lack of services delivered to mobile devices was a negative. At CES, company founder James Siminoff told me the company will soon be correcting that omission with service to display its visual voicemail inbox on BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices.

MagicJack -- One more telephone-related item: If you were intrigued by the MagicJack but bummed that it wouldn't work with a Macintosh (see "Review: Two VoIP Products Offer Long Distance For Free"), then you're a candidate for MagicJack's Mac beta program. You'll need a MagicJack phone connector device and temporary access to a Windows PC to update it with firmware to work with the Mac. For details, see the company's beta sign-up offer.

Animusic -- In December of 2006 I wrote about the viral success of an animated music clip that turned out to be "Pipe Dream," a cut from a DVD published by Animusic. The "Pipe Dream" track, which has been viewed more than 1.3 million times on YouTube, comes from the "Animusic 1" disk. What I didn't know then was that there's a second DVD, "Animusic 2." Jeff Garrard, a producer for Animusic, handed me a copy at a CES event. It's just as musically and visually inventive as the first one.

I'm especially partial to "Starship Groove" (above) and "Cathedral Pictures," which borrows its musical themes from Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition."

If you're interested in music, or in animation, you have to check these out. You can buy DVDs and CDs of the two disks on the company's Web site, and, yes, there's an "Animusic 3" in the works, Garrard said.

Fujitsu Laptops Get WAN -- When Fujitsu announced two new very small notebooks last August (see "The Line Between Laptops And PDAs Gets Fuzzier") they didn't include any WAN capability. At CES the company announced updated versions of the LifeBook T2010, an ultralight tablet/laptop PC with a 12.1-inch WXGA screen, and the U810, an ultramobile PC with a 5.6-inch display, Both are now available with HSUPA data service from AT&T BroadbandConnect.

High-Speed Uplink Packet Access provides faster upload speeds than current HSDPA services -- between 500 Kbps and 800 Kbps, according to Fujitsu -- and the two laptops are the first PCs to include the service, newly offered by AT&T.

Why wasn't it included when the machines were released in August? "We wanted to," said Paul Moore, senior director of mobile product marketing, in Fujitsu's booth at CES, "but the network wasn't ready." That delay has been resolved, and Moore hopes the faster service will boost interest in WAN on laptops, which hasn't yet taken off for several reasons, he said, including the chaotic marketplace with conflicting products from the mobile carriers, and the lackluster performance of their wide-area data services to date.

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