Particle Debris (week ending 9/25) Brace Yourself

Early week: Many AT&T customers who have poor 3G coverage will be happy to learn that the company is rolling out a 3G Microcell appliance. It plugs into your home router and a creates a 3G bubble in your location, covering 5,000 sqft. Think of it as a cell phone tower in a box. AppleInsider had some additional details.

I once skied with a professor from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He told me that his incoming freshmen knew a lot about how to use a computer, but not much about what happens inside a computer. On Tuesday, I discovered a neat proposal by John Dvorak: kids in school should learn how to build a PC. Put it together and get it working. It would be a first step in their modern education, preparation for college work in Solid State electronics. It might even save the school some money -- if it has a mind to use PCs instead of Macs.

Net Neutrality is in the news again. It seems like an endless battle between those who want to give businesses free reign and those who are looking out for the general good of the customers. Like health care, the debate is based on a National consensus of values. We either believe that our communications infrastructure is a service (albeit profitable) or it's a license for cutthroat competition, extreme wealth generation, and that the customer comes last.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was interviewed earlier in the week by Franklin Paul with Reuters, and he asked about an app for the iPhone. "...it’s something that’s likely to come over time. But nothing in the short term. (With) movie watching, we are not focused on mobile yet, but (instead) on the TV, on Blu-ray and on the video game consoles. We will get to mobile eventually, including the iPhone."

If you've been wondering why Netflix elected to use Silverlight for video streaming on the Mac and why there's no Netflix agreement with the Apple TV, note that Mr. Hastings is on the Microsoft board of directors.

Also, if you've been curious about HTML 5, a candidate to replace Silverlight and Flash, here's a tutorial by Brad Neuberg, Google Developer Programs: "An introduction to HTML 5". Note: it's nearly 42 minutes long, but provides a lot of interesting background along with some nice visuals.

In the last Mac Geek Gab, Dave Hamilton mentioned the ContourHD from Vholdr, an HD wearable camcorder for those who might want to record their adventures: skiing, skate boarding, sky diving, motorcycling, you name it. This is a great way to preserve and share memories of your high speed adventures. I may have to have one of these for the next ski season.

Late week: Over at BusinessWeek, Arik Hesseldahl pondered the similarities between the Microsoft concept for the Courier Booklet and the 1987 Apple concept video, "Knowledge Navigator." There are many similarities and key difference worth comparing to see how our technology, and expectations for technology, have evolved over the last two decades. It's also a great resource for those who have asked about seeing a video of the Knowledge Navigator. (These KN videos were derived from an original VHS master (I have one!), so the video quality is poor.)

There has been a boatload of discussion about how Snow Leopard handles documents when you double click them. Prior to Snow Leopard, the application that created the document was launched. That's not always the case in Snow Leopard, but, as Daniel Eran Dilger explains, that appears to be because developers haven't fully rolled out app support for Uniform Type Identifiers, UTI. His conclusion was that if you double click a doc and the app that created it doesn't launch, the developer has some more work to do.

Brace yourself. This next link is very, very sad. Pathetic. Microsoft, as part of its Windows 7 rollout has produced video, a home "Launch Party" to introduce friends to Windows 7. The video will give you pause, and have you asking yourself, once again, how executives at Microsoft think. Send the kids to grandma's house, watch with caution and have a bucket handy. Joe Wilcox provides his take.

Finally, on a brighter note, Texas Instruments has released its own calculaor for the iPhone, the BAII Plus. It's an Algebraic entry business calculator, akin to the HP-12C. It's US$14.99. So far, the customer ratings are excellent.