First US Airline to Offer Wi-Fi

It looks like United, of all carriers, is the first to announce Wi-Fi access to its passengers in flight.  Pricing has not yet been set.  Other airlines might still be the first to implement such access.  United does not expect the access to become active until mid- to late 2006.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that other airlines will follow suite.  Expect the airlines to charge a premium for the access as they are all trying desperately to better their bottom line.

Read the New York Time story here.


Steve

Internet Access Via Bluetooth and a Moto Razr

I tried for some time to get my PowerBook online via Bluetooth and my Motorola Razr.  I read all I could find in the forums, and even contacted Cingular tech support.  It was a trying process of trial and error before giving up and contacting tech support.

I was reluctant to tell Cingular support that I was using a Mac.  I think we have all been in that boat before.  As soon as you tell someone you are using a Mac, they promptly inform you that they have no support for the Mac and you are out of luck.

In my case, since Cingular simply assumed that I was using Windows, I opted not to correct them… At least until I was specifically asked.  Interestingly enough, the charade went on for almost 90 minutes before someone decided to confirm that I was using XP.  By that point I was speaking with my 3rd tech at Cingular!

To my surprise, upon admitting that I was using OS X 10.4 (I promptly specified my OS as soon as I was asked- there was no point in playing games), the tech told me that they had not official support for the Mac, but he would give it a shot anyway.  Way to go Cingular!  It doesn’t make up for the way they are jerking me around on some other issues I am having with my account, but it does help.

I went over all of the settings again with the tech.  He found some info buried in his documentation that indicated that I needed to go off site and download some modem scripts from as site in the UK.  He gave me the URL and, after confirming the site, I was happy to tell him that I had already installed the scripts after reading about them in a forum somewhere.  That saved us a step, and we both knew we were on the same page (literally).

We went on and on with no luck.  Apparently there were a number of different settings that can be used when configuring for online access.  Several of the settings we tried were mentioned in the forums I had already read.  In the end, it turned out that the sales person at Cingular who sold me that data package for my phone had made a mistake.  I had been issued the wrong data package.

This proved that all of the options available to Cingular subscribers are just as confusing to Cingular staff as they are to us.  There are multiple data packages, and the tech I spoke with took a few extra minutes to read up on them before confirming that I has been issued the wrong one.

Once I had to correct options added to my account, I was finally online!  It worked!  Many thanks to the nameless tech who spent so much time with me.  I told him that I would write up a step by step instruction sheet for others and post it on Maclive.  Unfortunately, when he gave me his online contact info, I must have misunderstood.  He had wanted to add the link to the Cingular tech archive for future users.  My only hope is that this somehow finds its way back to him.

That being said, here is the step by step procedure needed to get a Mac online using OS X 10.4, Cingular, and a Motorola Razr.  Though most of the info is available in forums out there right now, I do specifically detail the data account needed to get the service working.  That was the problem for me, and it will likely happen to other Mac users.

Good luck!


Steve

Installing RedHat on a Mac Mini?

I have to admit, they prospect of installing Fedora (Red Hat) Linux on a Mac Mini is tempting. For the price, the Mini is one hell of a computer. Personally, I would love to run all of my Servers on the Mac OS, but this install might be too much fun to pass up.

Here are the detailed “How-to” instructions. Also, feel free to post back with your comments. I would love to hear how it works out for others.

Combine this with the rumor of Apple’s use of Intel based chips as reported by the Wall Street Journal, there could be some interesting turns in the future for Apple. In all likelihood, the Intel chip will only be used in the Mac Mini, but what keeps hackers from installing it on any Intel based system at that point?

Time will tell!


Steve

Mac’s Used to Develop for the Xbox 360

There’s no hiding it this time. We have heard rumors that Power Mac G5’s had been seeded to Xbox 360 developers. That rumor was confirmed at May 2005’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles this week.

The Microsoft booth contained a pair of modified G5’s that were in fact running the Xbox games that were on display.

MacCentral.com has the story.


Steve

Update:
Here’s another link that shows photos from E3 and gives some more info about the G5s.


Steve

The Future of Broadband?

Though it has not made much of a splash in the main stream news, Verizon is quietly rolling out amazingly fast fiber optic services to homes in select areas.

With speeds of 12-50Mb, this could be the future of broadband internet access.

Not to be outdone, Comcast may have something more interesting up their sleeve. In an off the cuff remark made in the following news story, there appears to be a hint of Comcast offering speeds up to 200Mb!

http://www.maclive.net/link/3

So far, I have found no mention on any Comcast run sites, but the idea sounds plausible, and should be easier to deploy that fiber optic lines. More on this as information becomes available!


Steve

Chicago Outlaws Cell Phone Usage

Reading this story, it seems that the law only applies inside of Chicago city limits. It would be nice if the law applied state wide.

http://www.maclive.net/link/4

First of all, it seems silly to pass such a law from one city to the next. It seems ready to take advantage of unsuspecting motorists whom only travel to the city from time to time. How are they expected to know that the law has been passed? If signs are posted everywhere, this should not be an issue. I suppose only time will tell. But making this law apply state wide just seems more fitting.

I am a frequent cell phone user. Some of that time applies to me while I am in the car. It seems an ideal time to get some of the calls out of the way. Since my driving time is down time, as far as I am concerned, why not get something else done.

At the same time, I am constantly in danger from people who are talking on their phones and not paying attention to the speed zone, traffic, or people around them. I would be happy to see this law passes state wide. I am tired of people’s lack of concentration when they are behind the wheel.

When I am in the car, I keep a wireless headset within reach. I even switched phone services from Verizon to Cingular since Cingular has much wider support for wireless headsets. And, with modern technology like hands free systems that can be wired into the car, it only makes sense to put safety first.

Some people consider any form of cell phone usage a danger when behind the wheel. On this, I disagree. When I am driving and using a headset while on the phone, I am no more distracted than than I might be by a passenger in the car beside me. In fact, I believe it is even safer to conduct a conversation over the phone than it would be with someone beside me. At least when I am speaking on the phone, I am never tempted to look over at the person I am speaking with in order to make eye contact.

In any case, that is my two cents!


Steve

QuickTime 7: New Features Explained

A friend just send me a link to a tech paper that details the new features of QuickTime 7.  It explains the differences between QuickTime and QuickTime Pro and explains what new features developers might take interest in.

One interesting note is on concurrent exporting.  Apparently, it is now possible to export multiple video clips at the same time.  I can’t see this being fast, but it should be helpful should I need to leave my machine processing when I leave for the day.  This way, I could potentially let the machine work through the night on exports that normally take hours.

It is also now very easy to capture a video directly into QuickTime, should you have a camera attached to your computer.  This could help make video email messages more mainstream (it will likely take more than this).

Also of interest is the addition of multiple undos in QuickTime 7.  This will be a welcome improvement for anyone who uses QuickTime Player to edit a video in any way!

Read more here:
http://www.maclive.net/link/5


Steve

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