Ow! That Hz


I heard this story on the NPR Story of the Day podcast a couple of weeks back and then a friend sent me an article from the NYTimes yesterday.

The gist is, in the UK, “inventor Howard Stapleton” discovered that teenagers can hear frequencies that many adults can’t and so he decided to turn those frequencies against them. Dubbed the “Mosquito teen repellent,” the frequency would be emitted at irregular intervals and would prove to be really irritating to teenagers and they would leave the premises.

The twist, however, is that teenagers have turned this invention on it’s head and are using it to send text messages undetected in class to one another. Most teachers can’t hear the tone and the virtual note passing is successful.

I thought I was done with the story until I ran across this while surfing tonight. Blogger Ochen K has the original mosquito sample as well as a series of test frequencies for your listening (ear shattering) pleasure.

For me it stops hurting at around 20,000Hz, whereas my wife is fitting in perfectly with our over-30 demographic.

What frequencies can you hear?

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Moviebeam relaunches


A number of stories this morning regarding the relaunch of Disney’s Moviebeam service in 29 markets this year. In a nutshell, Moviebeam is a hard drive based set top box that receives movies over unused television spectrum. The box ships with a 100 movies on the hard drive and about 10 movies are swapped out each week for new ones. Movies then can be rented for $1.99 to $3.99 (catalog versus new releases) with HD movies costing $1 more.

While the service is interesting, the biggest problem that I see is that the set top box is $250 before rebates, which is a huge barrier to entry for many folks. Not to mention it is another piece of hardware to hook up to a television. I have a sense that if this service were being a promoted by someone like Apple it could be hugely successful, but with backers such as Cisco and Disney, the future of Moviebeam is fuzzy at best.


(Via Zatz Not Funny)

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Engadget Mobile launches


I thought when I launched this blog that I would have coverage of all things gadget, but I realized over time that there are certain product areas that I could care less about. Mobile phones actually tracks pretty high on that list. This isn’t to say I’ll never cover mobiles on the site, but they must be leaps, not steps above the rest.

It seems like mobile phone carriers launch a new middle of the road phone every other week and keeping up in the market is pretty difficult. That said, I do like to point my faithful reader(s) in the right direction. Engadget Mobile launched this morning and promises to cover the mobile phone world like nobody’s business.

Check it out.


Google Maps go mobile

GmapsOk, admittedly, I’ve had Kmaps going on my Treo 650 for a few months now, but it looks like the rest of you get it now. You gotta have a Java enabled phone (J2ME, not BREW), but Sprint alone has 25 phones that are capable.

Looks like you get the full deal as well – sat images, driving directions, quick scrolling and the like. I’m a bit skeptical of the speed, so if anyone has tried this out, lemme know. Still, Google Maps on the go is pretty killer.