COFFEE, TEA OR EMAIL?
Now that most airlines aren’t serving meals onboard, what do you do with that extra time during flights? Check your e-mail.
United Airlines says it plans to add technology to more than 500 planes in its North American fleet that will make e-mail on domestic flights possible by the end of the year. Continental Airlines is also starting to install the service, developed by Tenzing Communications, Seattle, WA, and says by fall it will offer e-mail access on its entire narrow-body fleet.
Several carriers throughout the world have adopted or have been experimenting with e-mail services over the last year including Cathay Pacific Airways, Lufthansa Airlines and British Airways, according to The New York Times.
HOLD THE SPAM!
Nobody likes spam, and especially if you’re one of the world’s largest providers of e-mail accounts. In June, Microsoft filed lawsuits against 15 groups of individuals and companies that it says collectively sent its clients more than two billion unwanted e-mail messages.
All of the large Internet service providers, including America Online, Earthlink and Yahoo, have started filing lawsuits against e-mailers that they say are sending spam, but Microsoft’s suits represent the largest number filed at one time.
With 140 million users, Microsoft’s Hotmail has been a fat target for spammers. The suits reflect the company’s willingness to devote some of its considerable resources to fighting spam, and it has promised more such actions to come.
THE BEAT GOES ON
First came the Walkman (25 years ago!), then the beeper, then cell phones, then cell phones with tiny digital cameras . . . and now, finally, there’s a palm-size portable video player to allow people to watch movies on the go.
The gadgets play compressed video files on a small screen and are designed to be less expensive and more convenient than portable DVD players. Using advances in storage and compression technology, most of these players store the video on hard drives or memory cards much the way digital audio players store music files.
A few of these players are already in stores. At the high end is a hard-drive based system that runs about $600. At the low end is a $50 system that plays 30-minute shorts on a monochrome screen