The UpStream

Chinese Student Builds an iPad - Sort Of

posted Sunday Nov 27, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Chinese Student Builds an iPad - Sort Of

Apple seems to hold a strange place in the hearts of the people of China. From selling kidneys and virginity, to counterfeiting entire stores, they sure do show their attachment to the company and its products. What do you do if your girlfriend wants an iPad, but you are not a virgin and need to keep both of your kidneys? Build it yourself, of course.

That is exactly what Wei Xinlong, a senior at the Art & Design Department at Northeast Normal University did. Well, kind of. Using a touchscreen and battery he purchased and parts from an old laptop, Wei built an entirely touchscreen device that "one can read, download, watch movies, play games by just touching the screen." The casing, all hand-cut, is adorned with rhinestones and has the Apple logo on the front. Unlike an iPad, though, it can be used for useful things because it runs Windows. It even has all of the ports you would expect on a device, like VGA and USB. The best part? It only cost him $125 to build.

It seems to me this thing is like the perfect gift - less expensive than an iPad, running Windows and has connectivity, plus it was built by someone she loves. It doesn't get much better than that. Head over to the source article at the bottom to see some more pictures of the device.

AT&T-Mobile Might be a No-Go

posted Sunday Nov 27, 2011 by Scott Ertz

AT&T-Mobile Might be a No-Go

It has been a long, hard battle for the AT&T/T-Mobile USA merger so far. They have faced a public who is reluctant to have only 1 GSM carrier left in the country, a Department of Justice lawsuit looking to prevent it and a leaked document revealing AT&T's real reason for wanting T-Mobile USA. Recently, the FCC got involved in the issues when the chairman recommended to his board that they disallow the merger.

AT&T's reaction was not quite what was expected but not terribly surprising. AT&T withdrew their bid for FCC approval completely. Now, this might seem to indicate that perhaps they feel they have failed, but I don't think that is what is happening here. With a major DoJ case coming up, their legal team needs to focus all of their attention there, not let it get spread across fighting two big battles. The easiest way to do that is to eliminate one of the problems. Done.

That's not their only reason for delaying the FCC. Hit the break to find out what else is going on.

Tracking Customer Behavior in the Real World

posted Sunday Nov 27, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Tracking Customer Behavior in the Real World

We all know the Internet changed the way retailers interact with their customers. Most importantly, it gave retailers the ability to learn about how their customers shopped to help target marketing or even determine product mix. Brick and mortar retail, however, has never really had this luxury. Sure, they have tried "give us your email and we'll send you a coupon" promotions to help track behavior, as well as in-store credit cards to keep track of purchase trends, but nothing is quite like the good old cookie. That is until now.

A company out of Portsmouth, England, named Path Intelligence, has developed a new way to track people in physical retail almost the same way as online, only they don't use cookies; they use your wireless phone. No personal information is able to be recorded, of course, but just like a digital cookie, it is able to follow the anonymous you through the store to see where you go and what you look at. It can even be used in a full mall to see what types of stores customers are spending a lot of time in and which stores are being skipped all together.

Right now the technology is being tested for US consumption in 2 US malls. Hit the break to find out where and why the management believes the data is important.

Best Buy Stays In the Red with 'Premier Silver' Customers this Black Friday

posted Saturday Nov 26, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Best Buy Stays In the Red with 'Premier Silver' Customers this Black Friday

In preparation for this year's Black Friday, the supposedly 'epic' deals that are synonymous with that weekend and is what starts the retail golden quarter, happened prematurely. Some big name companies such as Walmart, Target, hhgregg, Amazon and Best Buy kicked things off early this year in an effort to gobble up few more percentage points of the golden quarter pie. This isn't at all surprising when retailers in general are combating declining revenues and in some cases losses but it is a little surprising when a lack of follow through on the retailer's part makes good deals go sour.

Best Buy has been fighting losses that date back over 5 straight quarters in stores that have been operating for more than 14 months and was one of the retailers to reach out to select customers with exclusive pre-Black Friday deals. The specific customers in this case were their Premier Silver customers who qualify for that distinction by spending over $2,500 per year with the company and also being a Rewards Zone member. On November 21st, the Premier Silver customers were supposed to be able to take advantage of special offers related to laptops, TVs and videogames through Best Buy's website but many were digitally denied by some technical issues that prevented them from completing their orders. Oops. Read some negative customer feedback after the break.

Search Different With Volunia

posted Sunday Nov 20, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Search Different With Volunia

Massimo Marchiori is an Italian mathematician who played in big role in what Google currently uses as their page rank system. Back in 1996 he presented his Hyper Search algorithm at a conference that was attended by Larry Page and well, the rest is history, until now. Marchiori has plans to create his own search engine that is not intended to be "better" than Google but "different" and really useful to people.

If you have received an e-mail from Volunia with an offer to become a "power user" and participate in some preliminary testing then you would know because the video linked in the e-mail consists of Marchiori sitting on a park bench with a magical white board that seems to have something in common with Ghost Writer. He's not able to give away much information but he is able to say that this is something new, exciting and different.

It's not just Google plus 10 percent. It's a different perspective. It's a new radical view of what a search engine of the future could be.

Check out the video for yourself after the break.

Sony PlayStation Home is Cozier When You Watch Movies with Friends

posted Sunday Nov 20, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Sony PlayStation Home is Cozier When You Watch Movies with Friends

There isn't much to say about PlayStation Home that hasn't been said before. For most, it's just a big space that feels like you're the only one in it. The movie theater seems to only play "C" movies and the slushies at the ice rink are luke warm at best. After three redesigns, it appeared that Sony was really just missing the mark. However, the PlayStation Home may have some life still left in it, or it at least will go down kicking and screaming.

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