Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tech Tuesday: BlackBerry Curve

The feature that differentiates this from other Blackberries is UMA - unlicensed mobile access. In contrast to the AT&T Blackberry 8820, this T-mobile 8320 allows one to SPEAK over wifi. The 8820 can only use wifi for data.

It roams seamlessly between wifi networks and EDGE/GSM networks without dropping the call. I started a call from a Starbucks wifi network and walked out of its range. The phone switched over to the GSM network without dropping the call - no problem. I then walked into my office where there is wifi, and the phone switched over to wifi.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Hand injury to keep Shia LaBeouf off 'Transformers' sequel for month

LOS ANGELES - "Transformers" star Shia LaBeouf will need a month off to recuperate after getting hurt in a car accident that got him busted on drunk driving charges.

His reps say he'll that much time to heal the mangled mitt he received when his truck smashed into another vehicle and rolled across a West Hollywood intersection around 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

"Shia is currently recovering from extensive hand surgery with plans to return to work on the set of Transformers 2 within one month," a statement from LaBeouf's publicist and lawyers said.

The "Transfomers" sequel was scheduled to resume filming Monday in Los Angeles with the notoriously hard-driving director Michael Bay at the helm.

Sheriff's officials said LaBeouf showed "outward sings of intoxication" after he turned left at the intersection of La Brea Ave. and Fountain Ave. and hit another vehicle with his giant Ford pickup.

Originally facing felony charges, LaBeouf was booked for misdemeanor DUI after Sheriff's deputies followed him to the hospital and determined the injuries to his unidentified female passenger and the driver of the other vehicle were minor.

LaBeouf, who also appeared in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," has had minor scrapes with the law before.

The onetime star of Disney's "Even Stevens" TV show, LaBeouf was arrested Nov. 4 in Chicago after a guard in a Walgreens drugstore said the actor was drunk and refused to leave. The case was dismissed.

He was cited for unlawful smoking in Burbank last February and temporarily was the subject of a bench warrant when he failed to make a court appearance.

Last month he was busted for illegal smoking in the bathroom of the Smithsonian National Air and Space in Washington D.C. during filming for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

NTSB says signage, driver error led to Bluffton crash

WASHINGTON -- Investigators for the National Transportation Safety Board say confusing highway signs, driver error and a lack of passenger safety features contributed to the deaths of five college baseball players in an Atlanta bus crash last year.

The findings on the crash, which also killed the bus driver and his wife, were among several pending approval from the NTSB board at a Tuesday meeting.

Investigators said the bus driver thought he was getting on an HOV lane when he drove onto an elevated exit ramp, plowing through a stop sign at highway speed and hurtling from an overpass onto the interstate below.

The March 2 crash killed five members of Ohio's Bluffton University baseball team and injured 28 others.

NTSB investigator Dave Rayburn said Georgia officials changed the layout of the signs after having trouble with their mounting. The change deviated from federal guidance about placement of certain exit signs to make them more clear, he said, but the change did not amount to a violation of federal regulations, which allow for some exceptions.

Rayburn said nine accidents have occurred at the site between 1997 and 2007, including three fatal collisions. The drivers in all of the crashes were from outside the Atlanta area.

NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker called it "an accident that didn't have to happen."

"Had the appropriate investigation been done at the state level we might not be here today," he said.

Investigators also said the 65-year-old bus driver was partly at fault.

He had a good driving record and had been driving for only an hour before the early-morning crash, they said. But his medical certificate, which is required by law, was expired, and he had several risk factors for sleep apnea.

Still, they found no evidence that medical problems contributed to the crash.

Instead, "he missed what route guidance was available," said investigator Deborah Bruce, noting that 20 million drivers have successfully navigated the exit over 10 years. "He didn't decrease his speed as he came up the exit ramp," despite two signs notifying drivers of a stop ahead.

Parents of several of the crash victims appeared at the meeting to call for stronger regulations on bus safety, including for more driver training, stronger roofs, shatterproof window glazing and mandatory seat belts. The NTSB has made similar recommendations dating back to 1968, but the recommendations have never made it into law.

John Betts, whose son, David, was killed in the crash, said if the NTSB's proposals had been adopted, "our sons would be alive today."

"That's not a wish. That's not a fantasy. That's a fact," he said. "The apathy has gone on too long. These recommendations were made 40 years ago."

Monday, July 7, 2008

NYC taxi commission: No fuel surcharge

Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Matthew Daus says that “under no circumstances” will the TLC consider the $1 gas surcharge sought by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.

AP) - New York City taxi drivers want passengers to pay a $1 fuel surcharge. But the Taxi and Limousine Commission says it's not going to happen.

Commissioner and Chairman Matthew Daus says that “under no circumstances” will the TLC consider the gas surcharge sought by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. The Alliance is meeting Monday at the TLC’s Manhattan headquarters to propose the extra $1 on their meters, an effort to offset increasing gas prices.

Several other U.S. cities have implemented taxi fuel surcharges. Non-regulated industries have raised prices because of higher gas costs.

The taxi alliance says the city's 43,000 yellow-cab drivers each use about 20 gallons of gas per shift and lose more than $1,000 a month because the TLC won't help them. It says it proposed a fuel surcharge when Hurricane Katrina crippled refining capacity and pushed gas prices above $3 per gallon in 2005 but the TLC rejected the idea.

The TLC has granted taxi drivers two fare increases since 2004

The Voice of Empathy

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