Beam Me Up Scotty

Some of the science fiction from shows like “Star Trek” is becoming less fiction and more science as apparent by the latest breakthrough in teleportation from the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland.

Now the JQI team, along with colleagues at the University of Michigan, has succeeded in teleporting a quantum state directly from one atom to another over a meter. That capability is necessary for workable quantum information systems because they will require memory storage at both the sending and receiving ends of the transmission.

In the Jan. 23 issue of the journal Science, the scientists report that, by using their protocol, atom-to-atom teleported information can be recovered with perfect accuracy about 90 percent of the time — and that figure can be improved.

“Our system has the potential to form the basis for a large-scale ‘quantum repeater’ that can network quantum memories over vast distances,” Monroe said. “Moreover, our methods can be used in conjunction with quantum bit operations to create a key component needed for quantum computation.”

Now my science knowledge, not great to begin with, make most of the meat of the article a bit difficult to comprehend but 2 things I did get from the story. One is with 90% accuracy I wouldn’t want to be transported as it stands now and secondly, science is well on it’s way to Star Trek type technology breakthroughs. How cool is that?

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iPhone Now At Wal-Mart!

Big news! As rumoured a few months ago, you can now go into your local Wal-Mart and pick up Apple’s legendary iPhone and save a whopping $2 in the process. The world’s largest retailer now has the $199 dollar 8 gig version available for $197 and the $299 16 gig version can now be had for the bargain basement price of $297 (2 year agreement with AT&T still required).

So if you were waiting for this monumental event to finally arrive, you can now rush out to one of the 2500 Wal-Marts or 69 Sam’s Clubs that have been pegged to carry this technological wonder and get your very own iPhone. But of course if you live in South Dakota like I do, the state with seemingly more Wal-Mart’s per capita than just about any state,  you can disregard this post as it is still not available here…

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Our Cell Phone Service In For A Change?

Anyone that has spent any amount of time traveling through South Dakota knows that cell phone service is spotty at best. In my experience, the company with by far the best coverage in the state has to be Verizon, especially now that they have upgraded to their high speed EVDO network in several cities including Sioux Falls. With that said, news that the FCC has approved Verizon’s request to buyout Alltel could spell big changes here in the great white north, also known as South Dakota.

Why you ask?

Part of the deal that Verizon struck in order to get approval from the DOJ and the FCC was that they had to divest assets in 100 areas in 22 states. One of those areas just so happens to be the whole state of South Dakota.

The Department of Justice said the divestitures were necessary to preserve wireless voice service competition in areas where Verizon and Alltel both already have significant footprints. In addition to divesting its assets throughout the whole of North Dakota and South Dakota, Verizon must also divest wireless businesses in areas of Midwestern states such as Ohio, Minnesota and Kansas; western states such as Arizona, Colorado and California; and Southern states such as Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.

“The divestitures required are necessary to protect wireless consumers and are among the most extensive required by the department in a wireless case,” said Thomas O. Barnett, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice’s antitrust division.

Considering the deal was just approved last week, the details of any divestment of Verizon assets here are far from worked out. But if the Verizon sell off happens to include several smaller carriers, we could be living the old Verizon slogan of “can you here me now” with no one answering.

Is the DOJ’s attempt to promote choice in service actually going to end up doing the opposite here? Time will tell but it quite possibly could depending on how the changes play out. Then again maybe Sprint will buy some of the assets so that their so called South Dakota “coverage map” actually becomes accurate for a change…

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Smoke In A Can

Being a recently reformed smoker myself (17 months and counting), I can understand the frustration that smokers feel over their ever shrinking number of places to light up. Never fear, a Dutch company might have your back if their drink called Liquid Smoking takes hold.

The tipple, made up of 15% nicotine, will be sold in pubs to help punters beat the smoking ban.

(h/t – Dvorak)

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The Next Best Thing, Not!

HTC G1Okay so yesterday I ragged (again!) on Apple and AT&T for the fact that the most popular cell phone on the planet isn’t offered to those of us in the great state of South Dakota. So with that in mind what is a gadget freak in South Dakota supposed to do?

If you are like me, you look at latest so-called “iPhone killing” cell phone coming out with Google’s new operating system, Android, loaded on HTC’s new G1.

That soon to be released unit is surely generating lots of favorable buzz and in fact T-Mobile has already pre-sold 1.5 million of them. So not wanting to be left out, I decided to throw my name on the 1.5 million name waiting list and went to the G1’s exclusive partner T-Mobile’s site to do just that. Low and behold this is what I found:

At least the weather is….oh that’s right it is South Dakota.

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iPhone Coming To Walmart?

Rumor has it that Apple is looking to add more distribution points for their popular iPhone. With that in mind, the world’s biggest retailer Walmart could be in line to start selling the phone.

Currently you can get the iPhone at one of the 1200 or so AT&T stores and the 200 or so Apple stores and adding Walmart would put 3500+ US locations into the mix as well. Of course for those of us in South Dakota, there are exactly 0 AT&T stores and 0 Apple stores so if true, putting the iPhone in Walmarts would mean that there would actually be 10 or so stores (one more if you count Best Buy’s which now carry the phone) actually in the state that couldn’t sell us the phone because AT&T doesn’t feel we should are worth providing service to. Thanks again AT&T and Mr. Jobs…

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Annoy Your Teen And Feel Better While Doing It

As the father of 2 soon to be teenagers, I know how much they hate having restrictions placed on them. So when Ford announced their latest in remote “babysitting” technology, I can see the heads of Ford family teenagers exploding everywhere.

Starting in 2010, Ford will be offering what they call their “Any Key” option that will allow parents to control certain features of the car using a computer chip embedded in the key. While putting chips in keys has been around for awhile for security reasons, Ford’s chip will do a bit more all controlled by the parents including:

  • Alert every 6 seconds that the driver’s safety belt is unbuckled
  • Limit top speed to 80 miles per hour
  • Set off speed warning alerts at 45, 55 or 65 miles per hour
  • Limit stereo volume to 44% of maximum
  • Traction control cannot be disabled
  • Optional blind spot detection cannot be disabled
  • Earlier low-fuel warning

As you can imagine, teenagers might have issues with some of these restrictions but for parents already on pins and needles each time their kid takes the car it could give them a little piece of mind.

Ford plans on offering this feature as standard equipment on the Focus and initially as an option on other models with it moving to a standard feature down the line. Now if we could only do something with South Dakota’s ridiculously low minimum driving age of 14…

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More Bad News For South Dakota Gadget Nuts

Being a gadget nut like me in South Dakota isn’t always easy. Having a population as a state smaller than most urban cities means that technology usually passes us by until everyone else has long since adopted and been using it for years. The iPhone is a perfect case in point.

We are one of the few areas that AT&T deems unworthy of providing service to and because of Apple’s exclusive contract with the cell phone provider, we were left to wait until that agreement expired in 2009 for any hope that we could get Apple’s cell phone crown jewel from a provider that actually services South Dakota.

Did I say 2009? Shame on me, or should I say shame on Apple and AT&T.

In an overlooked USA Today article from Friday, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and “insider sources” quietly all but confirmed that the company has retained exclusive rights to the iPhone until 2010. The previous exclusivity agreement with Apple had AT&T retaining the rights until 2009. The article implies AT&T managed to negotiate the extension thanks in part to the subsidized $200/$300 iPhone 3G’s it’s eating by the hundreds of thousands right now.

Well at least the now increased to 2 year wait will mean I can renew with my current carrier and not have to worry about any early cancellation fee’s that would have been associated with moving to another provider. Thanks AT&T and Apple!

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Won't Win You Friends

This item, while funny to those that aren’t sitting (if you know what I mean) when they discover it, probably won’t win you new friends unless of course they have a very good sense of humor.

To gain access to the toliet paper you’ll have to work out how to undo the puzzle first. Just make sure you know how to undo the Don’t Pee Me Off before you feel the need to go.

(h/t – Gizmodo)

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Good Luck

As D-day for the release of the iPhone 3G is now upon us, I wanted to wish good luck to all those waiting outside of their local Apple stores, I hope you aren’t stuck having to get a white one because the black ones have already sold out (we all know the black ones are so much cooler).

What’s that, you don’t have an Apple Store? No problem, then good luck at your local AT&T retailer.

What, you say there are none of those either?

Let’s see, no Apple Store and AT&T doesn’t provide service, where are you South Dakota?



Added Thoughts – Considering all 3 members of South Dakota’s Congressional delegation voted to give AT&T retroactive immunity in the recently signed FISA legislation, don’t you think it would only be fair for them to spend some of the millions that they will be saving in civil judgments and legal fees to build some infrastructure in South Dakota? I think our elected leaders scratched their back pretty well, how about returning the favor.

Evening Update: I’d say I felt sorry for the thousands who waited hours for their shiny new toys only to have Apple’s servers crash under the load not allowing them to activate, but then I would be lying.

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