News Bits: Intel & Boeing, Apple Mighty Mouse, PSP Browser, ThinkPad Sale

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Intel and Boeing to Combine on Wi-Fi in the Sky Effort

Intel and Boeing announced a partnership this week in which Intel will test and approve wi-fi setup on passenger airplanes by the company Connexion (Connexion is a division of Boeing) and help to promote the availability and use of Wi-Fi during flights.  Right now only 70 planes in the world offer this service, those airlines offering it include Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Japan Airlines, ANA, Singapore Airlines and China Airlines (notice none of these airlines are American, yet Boeing and Intel both are — every U.S. based airline is just trying to stay out of bankruptcy right now I guess, you don’t even get a pillow or peanuts for free these days flying domestic U.S. — forget wi-fi).  The thinking is that if you can take a laptop on board a plane and still be able to send emails and be connected to the web or a company VPN, then you can be just as productive in the sky while travelling as anywhere else.  Of course, wireless will come at a price to start out, it’ll be $29.95 per flight.  Expensive, but hey I’m sure there’s plenty of businesses that’ll pay to keep their employees productive literally everywhere (and squeeze every last ounce of work out of them).

Fly with these airlines to get Intel/Connexion wireless offered:

       
       
       

More: http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2005/q3/nr_050801k.html

Apple Introduces Two Button Mighty Mouse With a “Clean” but Really Stupid Design *

The new Apple Mighty Mouse two button mouse, uhh, sort of

Apple for 21 years refused to release a two-button mouse.  Apple’s argument was that one button kept things simple and you could do all that was needed via this one button approach.  I guess they changed their minds and that’s not the case anymore.  So they introduced a new mouse today that works with both Apple and Windows machines and has a left and a right mouse button (as Windows based PC mice have had since the beginning) and it has a multi-direction scroll wheel. Well, I guess I should clarify that, they sort of released a two button mouse.  It actually looks like there are no buttons on the top, Apple loves to go for a clean looking design, so designing the mouse that has no obvious outline of the left and right mouse buttons and just using touch sensitive areas is what they’ve done.

I’m no product designer, but I did take a basic engineering class that they make all industrial engineers take in college and the very first thing we learned was you must have a “forcing function”.  A forcing function is something that makes it obvious to the user where to push a button and how — like on a door where the sign says “Push”.  Not putting clickable buttons or outlines of buttons (the Mighty Mouse buttons are “touch sensitive” and don’t really depress individually) is completely counter to good design.  The buttons don’t even really click, they offer a synthesized click.  Holy mackerel!  I’ve experienced teaching computer basics to newbie adult and senior computer users and some can hardly understand using a two button mouse, try teaching them to use a two-button mouse that doesn’t appear to have any buttons or that you have to go into a software program to configure the two buttons to work.  Yeah right.  Sorry Apple, you are no way and no how the choice for beginner computer users if you’re going to throw out stylish but impossible to use designs such as this.

You have to configure the Mighty Mouse to work with two buttons instead of acting like one, in this software config screen it’s painfully obvious the “primary button” and “secondary button” are not physical buttons but touch sensitive areas that will not give the proper look or obvious feel of a true two button mouse

Okay, rant over

* I do own Apple products and like the company, but not this product or their approach with mouse input devices

More: http://www.apple.com/mightymouse/

Sony Adds Web Browser to PSP


New PSP browser launch page (view larger image)

Sony has released a firmware update for the PSP in Japan that includes a web browser for the PSP, this same update should make it to the U.S. around August 12.  In case you didn’t know, the PSP is a wi-fi equipped gaming machine.  So if you’re a gadget geek but don’t carry your laptop everywhere but need to get on the net sometime the PSP might be a good solution.  Hey, you can even checkout this site using the new browser:



NotebookReview.com article at Just-Fit settings on the new Sony PSP browser (view larger image)



NotebookReview.com article at Smart-Fit settings on the new Sony PSP browser (view larger image)

Brian, one of the guys that runs this site, has a full review of the browser here.

Lenovo / IBM “Back to School, down to Business” ThinkPad Sale, up to 25% Off

All of a sudden I’m a big fan of the Lenovo takeover of the IBM PC division as they’re for the first time I can ever remember giving a big sale, no strings attached, on all of their ThinkPad offerings.  These prices are the best I’ve seen in recent memory.

Picture from Lenovo website promoting offers on ThinkPad notebooks

All Lenovo / IBM ThinkPad notebooks and PCs are on sale at IBM.com for a special July – August promotion.  Save up to $665 / 25% on certain ThinkPad notebooks.

Link to Sale Details

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