1. It was 20 years ago today that the first text message was sent. It was Dec. 3, 1992, and Neil Papworth, an engineer working in the UK, sent the world's first short message service or SMS. It read "Merry Christmas."
2. The new crop of BlackBerrys, expected sometime after Jan. 30, are considered essential to RIM's survival. They feature a touch-screen, Web browsing and apps that consumers have come to expect on iPhone, Android and other smartphones. RIM is betting big on BlackBerry after its PlayBook tablet computer flopped. The Blackberry 10 device is getting rave reviews that RIM has finally created something that can compete with other smart phones. The screen is excellent and the web browser is said to set a new usability standard. If it fails then RIM will likely fail with it.
3. Redbox has been delivering low cost DVD rentals at local stores and restaurants for years. Before the end of the year they will be offering an online service to compete with Netflix. The cost is said to be a very cheap $6 per month. Netflix was getting ready to raise their rate next year due to higher costs but this may get them to think otherwise. For a couple dollars more members can use their subscription to take out DVD rentals at the physical Redbox locations.
4. According to a study released Monday, 32 percent of people in the United States aged 18 to 24 say they use social networking in the bathroom. The same report from marketing research firms Nielsen and NM Incite also found that 51 percent of US adults between 25 and 34 use social networking in the office -- more than any other age group. While personal computers remain the primary tools for logging onto sites like Facebook and Twitter, the report -- posted at blog.nielsen.com -- noted a significant increase in the use of cellphones and tablets as well. Forty-six percent of respondents said they used a mobile phone to connect online, up from 37 percent last year, while 16 percent used a tablet like Apple's iPad, up from just three percent in 2011.
5. Despite recent stats that crowned iOS as the top U.S. mobile OS, comScore found that Google's Android was still the most popular operating system at the end of October. Mobile ad network Chitika, meanwhile, found that Web traffic on iOS and Android devices on its network has remained relatively stable over the last few months, though iOS dominated. Between July and October, Google's Android OS nabbed 53.6 percent of the market, up 1.4 percent, comScore found. Apple's iOS had 34.3 percent, up almost 1 percent. Rounding out the top five were: RIM, which dropped 1.7 percent to 7.8 percent; Microsoft, which dropped 0.4 percent to 3.2 percent, and Symbian, which continued its drop to land at 0.6 percent.
6. At least, that's the latest bit of fun passing around the social network these past few days. Prompted by this past week's $587.5 million Powerball jackpot - the second-highest total in the lottery's history - a Facebook user named Nolan Daniels decided to post up a picture of his "winning" lottery ticket. Anyone sharing the image would be invited to Daniels' personal lottery, where he would allegedly give one person a cut ($1 million) of his allegedly significant winnings. Of course, more than 200,000 Facebook users shared said image. They shared an image of Daniels, holding his winning ticket, with the winning numbers printed in a haphazard - if not seemingly random fashion on the ticket itself.. It's hard for some to remember life before the Internet, let alone social media, and now it appears that these sites are coming of age. Consumers spend more time on social networks than any other site - about 20 percent via a PC, and 30 percent using a mobile device, Nielsen's Social Media Report revealed. Still not impressed? The report also tips a 37 percent increase in the total time spent on social media in the U.S., reaching 121 billion minutes in July, compared to 88 billion in summer 2011.
7. A UN agency is trying to calm fears that the internet could be damaged by a conference it is hosting. Government regulators from 193 countries are in Dubai to revise a wide-ranging communications treaty. Google has warned the event threatened the "open internet", while the EU said the current system worked, adding: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But the agency said action was needed to ensure investment in infrastructure to help more people access the net. "The brutal truth is that the internet remains largely [the] rich world's privilege, " said Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the UN's International Telecommunications Union, ahead of the meeting.
8. The new iMacs' 5mm edges and vivid displays are the first things you will notice about Apple's brand-new all-in-one desktops, which went on sale last Friday. But a few people noticed something else. On the bottom of a few iMac pedestals, some buyers saw the following text: "Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in USA." Most Apple products, of course, say "Assembled in China." iFixit.com, a website that dismantles products to determine the cost and make of the system, also had a machine made in the U.S. "It's the first product from Apple in quite a long while that says 'Assembled in the United States,' " Miroslav Djuric, iFixit's chief information architect, told ABC News. iFixit said it bought the iMac at an Apple Store. It did not configure it with any special parts from Apple's website.
9. The blinking, buzzing fluorescent lighting tubes that have blighted office buildings for over 70 years could be on their way out, now that US scientists think they've cracked a system to replace them with glowing plastic. "People often complain that fluorescent lights bother their eyes, and the hum from the fluorescent tubes irritates anyone sitting at a desk underneath them," said David Carroll, professor of physics and director of the Wake Forest University Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials. "The new lights we have created can cure both of those problems and more." The new system, dubbed field-induced polymer electroluminescents (FIPEL), uses three layers of white-light emitting polymers that have been mixed with nanomaterials that glow when electrically stimulated. The research team claims the resultant light is close to natural sunlight but can be filtered for specific colors.
10. Google launched Gmail 4.2.1 for Android Monday, rolling out a bunch of features that really take the application to another level. For starters, the update has an "auto-fit" option that automatically resizes messages to fit the screen, while Gmailers can also pinch to zoom for a closer look. Archiving and deleting messages is as easy as a brushing a finger along the screen. Swiping either left or right archives emails straight from the Inbox, while changing the option in the "Swiping conversation list" turns the motion into a delete command. As for image improvements, 4.2.1 provides thumbnails of photo attachments users can view directly in the message. When an image is tapped, a photo gallery pops up that users can browse through for individual image viewing.
email from listeners:
Gene from Seattle asks "Will cameras ever get better on phones and tablets?"