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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Blackberry Devices: A history

For most of us, the BlackBerry is a relatively new revelation. While the devices have been around since 1999, they really didn’t start gaining traction until the early 21st century. And even then, BlackBerry’s popularity really started its surge recently. In November of 2004, Research In Motion announced that there were over two million BlackBerry subscribers worldwide. This was up from one million earlier in the year. So yes, that means that it took five years to get the first million, and then 10 months to get the second. The third came just six months after that, in May of 2005. Less than a year later, subscribers totaled 5 million. However, in the past two years, RIM has added another 9 million subscribers, and now boast 14 million subscribers. So in less than three-and-a-half years, 13 million people have gotten their hands on BlackBerrys.

Just a pager

The reason for the monumental growth is easily explainable. See, the first model was the one pictured, the 850. As you can see, it was little more than a mobile pager. It did integrate with existing enterprise email, though. Still, 1998 was still in the era of the AOL Internet, so most consumers didn’t really have a need for a mobile email device. Cell phones in general weren’t even big in the consumer market at that point, so the need for a wireless PDA was expectedly lacking. But it did provide corporate data access, an organizer, calendar, paging, and wireless Internet, so it was of great use to businesses who wanted a more mobile workforce. In 2005, PC World called the 850 the 14th greatest gadget of the past 50 years.

Funny bit: The 850 actually ran on two AA batteries. Kind of unfathomable in our wireless era, right?

An Academy Award?

I actually didn’t know this — and wouldn’t have been able to find it — had I not attended the Best New Smartphone Handsets & Devices seminar at CTIA’s Smartphone Summit. Susan Payne, RIM’s vice president of BlackBerry Connect, told us that Research In Motion had actually won a technical Oscar. She didn’t get into further details, nor did I think it an appropriate follow-up at the time. Thanks to the Internet, though, looking it up was a breeze. And yes, that claim is true. RIM did win a technical achievement award, though I’m not sure that the got one of the statues for it:

* Ed Zwaneveld (National Film Board of Canada); Frederick Gasoi (National Film Board of Canada); Mihal Lazaridis (Research in Motion); Dale Brubacher-Cressman (Research in Motion)
- For refining and further developing electronic time-code slates.

Lazaridis is currently the company’s co-CEO and president.

Progressing to the 857/957 series

RIM’s next line of BlackBerry devices looked a little more like the models we see today. The pager-style was ditched for a more PDA-style look. The display was increased more than twofold, going form 6 or 8 lines to 16 or 20. It also added the rechargeable lithium battery. The onboard memory doubled from 4 MB flash to 8MB flash, and from 512 KB SRAM (memory) to a full megabyte. And really, other than the ability to sync up to 10 personal and business emails, that was it for the upgrades. However, RIM definitely found the model that would work in the future.

Their next upgrade was to the 5810. This is when we started to see some further integration of the BlackBerry. There weren’t many

Strange sidenote: The device page for the 5810 notes a full-color screen. However, Wikipedia’s list of BlackBerry models notes that full color didn’t appear until the 7210. Since I don’t have, nor do I have access to a 6000-series BlackBerry, can someone fill me in here?

GSM in a CDMA country

Almost all through the 5000- and 6000-series BlackBerry models, RIM catered to the GSM market. However, with the rise of Sprint and Verizon in the U.S., demand increased for a CDMA version. So in the second quarter of 2003, RIM released the BlackBerry 6750 for Verizon Wireless. The device wasn’t a huge upgrade over the existing GSM 6000 models, though it did carry 10 MB of onboard memory. The device specifics weren’t the important part, though. At the time of the 6750’s release, Verizon Wireless was the nation’s No. 1 wireless communications provider, so breadth of availability was the height of the issue.

The CDMA releases continued in the 7200-series with the 7250, which was released through Sprint and Verizon. It was the first BlackBerry model to feature Bluetooth capabilities. At this point, Cingular had bought AT&T and was the No. 1 wireless communications provider in America. However, with both Sprint and Verizon using CDMA, the demand for these devices was still great.

At this point, devices were being made for both GSM and CDMA networks, though GSM still saw more models. In the 7200-series, the 7210, 7220, 7230, 7280, and 7290 were created for GSM, while only the 7250 was CDMA-compatible. The 7270 was actually WLAN device, and did not operate on a traditional cellular network. It was meant for data purposes and VoIP calls. The 7500-series was made for Motorola’s iDEN network, and featured the signature two-way radio — probably the only feature that has kept the iDEN network operational through today. The 7700-series was 2/3 GSM, with the 7730 and the 7780, with CDMA carriers getting the 7750.

SureType takes off

The full QWERTY keyboard was the signature of the BlackBerry. However, some people found the device a bit bulky — especially consumers who were used to traditional candybar and flip cellphone models. And so RIM released the 7100t through T-Mobile in late 2004. It’s calling card was the SureType keyboard, which assigned two letters to each key. This reduced the device’s size to pass the “shirt pocket test.” The intention: Blur the lines between work and life. The 7130e was a similar model later released for CDMA networks. There was also an iDEN model.

Of course, SureType ended up taking off in 2006 with the release of the BlackBerry Pearl. The big change here was the switch from the side scroll wheel to a trackball. The Pearl was small enough to begin this experiment, as anyone could operate the trackball while holding the device in one hand, much like people used the side scroll wheel with one hand.

The original Pearl was just for GSM networks, but in late 2007, the Pearl 8130 was released on CDMA networks. Shortly thereafter, we heard of T-Mobile’s plans for a second Pearl release, this time with WiFi and GPS. AT&T actually picked up the device first, though T-Mobile plans to release theirs this week.

8000-series BlackBerrys

Ah, but before we got caught up in the Pearl madness, there was another wave of full-sized BlackBerrys hitting the market: The 8700 series. At this point, we were seeing a ton of other smartphones hit the market, so there was more competition. RIM responded with a sleek-looking device, which was released in November of 2005, when subscribership was between 3 and 5 million. Surely, the 8700-series aided in RIM’s climb to 5 million, which was accomplished in March of 2006.

There were really three models of the 8700, though various lower-case letters added for each specific run (for a total of eight runs of the 8700 series). There was one for GSM networks with EDGE, one for GSM networks without EDGE (UMTS in the UK, Italy, Hong Kong, and Singapore, W-CDMA in Japan), and one for CDMA networks with EVDO.

So RIM hit the 5 million mark in March of ‘06. Later that year, they prepped for another series. And by February 12, 2007, the 8800 was released. This hit the world’s major GSM carriers, and was the first full-sized BlackBerry to feature the now ubiquitous trackball. A few months later, Verizon picked up the 8830, which is basically the same model for CDMA. And just a few months after that, the 8820 was announced. Glancing at the specs, it seems almost exactly the same as the 8800, right down to running on GSM networks. However, it added WiFi, a feature we’ve seen appear in more RIM devices lately.

And finally, the Curve

Even though the 87- and 8800 series contained more consumer-friendly features, they were still a bit lacking in that department. Specifically, a camera was and had been missing from BlackBerrys from the get-go. It’s been said that RIM opted not to include cameras because a number of professions disallow them (say, in a courtroom), or some bosses don’t want them on their employees’ phones. Of course, these claims have been challenged, with people arguing that this was RIM intentionally holding back features.

RIM delivered the camera, introducing the Curve in early May 2007. The helped RIM bleed further into the consumer market. In September of that year, T-Mobile added the Curve (8320), complete with WiFi. And, as we know, RIM developed a CDMA Curve, which was recently picked up by Verizon, Sprint, Telus, and Bell.

9000 series and beyond

With the 8800-series being over a year old, it seems time for RIM to introduce a new flagship phone. We could be seeing their 9000-series as soon as August. We’ve seen patent applications for a slider device, a touchscreen, and an angular keyboard. All of these features likely won’t make it onto a single 9000-series model, but it does give one the sense that RIM has big things planned for its next line of devices.

So will RIM further blur the lines between consumer device and business tool? Or will they create separate entities that together keep them atop the smartphone/PDA world? I guess we’ll just have to wait for the next chapter in the history of the BlackBerry to be written.

Cool Iceberrg

Inflation being felt more and more

NEW YORK ( -- Make no mistake, inflation is a big headache for Americans. Just ask our readers.

According to today's consumer price index (CPI) report for March, retail prices are up 4% over last year.

Those gains were fueled (pun intended) by a 17% increase in energy prices and 8.2% jump in transportation prices. Food and beverage costs are also rising, up 4.4%.

And this comes at a time when paychecks aren't going as far as they used to: the government also reported that weekly wages in March, adjusted for inflation, dropped 1%.

So even though many news outlets (including ours) are paying a lot of attention to the problems in the housing market, many readers suggested in response to yesterday's column about inflation that they are much more concerned about rising energy and food prices.

"Inflation on energy and food has to be the major problem," wrote Jim from Washington County, Va. "Many, many Americans have paid off their mortgages ... but everyone has to deal with energy price increases and food price increases. My family has to turn down the temperature and wear sweatshirts inside. We do drive as little as possible. We keep the speed at 55, check tire pressure correctly inflated., etc. Little things do add up."

Bill C. of Boise, Idaho, agreed. He said inflation was a bigger concern and chastised those who used the housing bubble as an excuse to live beyond their means. He was referring to those who recklessly tapped into the value of their home as if it were merely another ATM machine.

"Shame on people for 'living' off of home equity. The housing issue really only applies if one buys or sells. But what about day-to-day living? This is the issue. And this will kill the engine. Every dollar extra spent on fuel, food, etc., is one less dollar to save or spend in the economy," he wrote.

Criticism of those who bought houses with exotic adjustable-rate mortgages was a common thread on the discussion page. And several readers begged the Federal Reserve to stop lowering interest rates for fear that a weaker dollar will only drive food and gas prices even higher.

"As I bought a house well within my means, at a fair price with a fixed interest rate, the payments on my house are not rising," wrote Genia, of Columbus, Ohio. "The weekly food and gas prices that are rising at such a fast rate that I can barely keep up. Some please tell the Fed not to lower the interest rate anymore. It's obviously not solving the problem, it's making matters worse.

There were also several readers who were angry about the Fed "rescuing" banks like Bear Stearns.

"I've had enough of the Fed trying to bail out the banks and people that weren't smart enough not to buy houses they couldn't afford," wrote Michelle in Atlanta. "You need to stop cutting rates and let the dollar rebound to keep inflation from getting any worse. This country is never going to recover if inflation keeps the food and gas prices through the roof."

With all this in mind, the Joint Economic Committee of Congress will hold a hearing in the next few weeks to discuss the threat of inflation.

"There's a middle class squeeze. The average person is paying more for groceries and gas, getting paid less, and no one is doing anything about it," wrote the committee's chairman, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. "As the paychecks of middle-class families get smaller and their homes lose value, their wallets are being further emptied by the skyrocketing everyday costs of gas and food."

Of course, this is not to suggest that the problems in housing should be ignored. Rising foreclosures and delinquencies are not good for the economy. And it is in the best interests of all Americans to get the real estate market back on track.

"Housing prices have me more worried than anything else. While we can afford our mortgage just fine, my husband and I had planned to move someplace nicer (with decent health care and schools) before having kids, but now are stuck with a house worth less than we owe and no way to sell," wrote Amie of Lancaster, Calif.

In addition, while rising food and gas costs are problems that truly do need to be addressed, several readers astutely pointed out that Americans can help their finances by changing some daily habits.

"As far as food and gas goes ... tons of people bought monstrous gas-guzzling cars and now they want the government to bail them out because they can't afford all the gas they use. Meanwhile they criticize all the people who bought houses they couldn't afford. Isn't irony grand?" Amie added.

But I think David of Albany, N.Y., summed it up the best. In tough times, everyone has to start examining whether they are really living within their means.

"Things are hard - I feel a difference and I already never eat out, I bike and run to work instead of drive," he wrote. "But seeing people bring big LCD TVs out of Wal-Mart, driving big trucks and SUVs aggressively, and eating out a lot (watch that diet!) has made me wonder if people don't feel entitled too much for the amount of value added their work contributes."

"Things just seem a bit out of line. I hope people will make the necessary adjustments and we will get back on track - on a better track," David concluded.

Neutron Jack takes a shot at Immelt

General Electric (GE) chief Jeff Immelt is under attack from a surprising source. His predecessor as CEO of the conglomerate, Jack Welch, said on CNBC Wednesday morning that Immelt “has a credibility issue” after GE’s recent earnings miss. Immelt had promised as recently as last month that GE would hit its full-year earnings target of $2.42 a share, but he was forced to recant Friday after the company’s first-quarter profits fell short of targets. Part of the problem was that the company failed to raise as much money as expected through financial asset sales. GE shares tumbled 13% Friday in the wake of the shortfall, which was GE’s first in three years, though they rose fractionally Wednesday.

“Here’s the screw-up: you made a promise that you’d deliver this and you miss three weeks later,” Welch said on CNBC, Bloomberg reported. Welch, who mastered the dark secrets of earnings management during his long run atop GE, added that he doesn’t expect to see another earnings miss. “I would be shocked beyond belief,” he said on the GE-owned network, “and I’d get a gun out and shoot him if he doesn’t make what he promised now.”

Hedge funds CAN pay

NEW YORK ( -- Hedge fund manager John Paulson of Paulson & Co. took home $3.7 billion last year, making him the biggest earner in the industry, according to Alpha Magazine.

Alpha's annual survey of hedge fund pay found that the top five fund managers - Paulson, George Soros of Soros Fund Management, James Simons of Renaissance Technologies Corp., Philip Falcone of Harbinger Capital Partners and Kenneth Griffin of Citadel Investment Group - each made more than $1.2 billion. That's about the price JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) paid to acquire troubled Wall Street firm Bear Stearns (BSC, Fortune 500).

Alpha's survey took into account each manager's share of their firm's performance and management fees, as well as personal capital gains, and did not include any benefit from the sale of a firm or an initial stock offering.

Fund managers are enjoying massive paydays at a time when financial markets are in turmoil and millions of homeowners face foreclosure. As a result, hedge funds are likely to draw the ire of Congress and face more regulation in the future, the magazine said. To top of page

Did you know? Porsche built a VW T3 Vanagon-based B32

While there are countless aftermarket engine, transmission, and brake upgrades for the Volkswagen Vanagon, what could be better than a factory conversion... from Porsche? The Porsche-branded B32 van you see above occurred back in the mid-1980's, when the automaker from Stuttgart was racing its awesome Group B 959 in the Paris to Dakar Rally and the factory found itself in need of a support vehicle. Using a Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter (Vanagon) as a platform, the van was modified to accommodate the 3.2-liter flat-6 engine from the Porsche 911 Carrera. The air-cooled powerplant was good for 230 hp and a top speed in excess of 130 mph. It obviously offered significantly more motivation than the largest VW factory engine at the time, a water-cooled inline-5, though testing its limits was likely akin to expressing a death wish. Porsche built up to eleven examples of the "B32" complete with upgraded suspension, brakes, and leather interiors. Thanks for the awesome tip, Mike!

[Source: Finalgear]

12 yr-old busting for birthday boob job

Most teenagers ask for a High School Musical DVD for their birthday - but Alicia Douvall's daughter wants a boob job. Georgia is just 12-years-old, but already wants to go under the knife to launch a modelling career, with her plastic fantastic mum giving the thumbs up, and reckons her girl can be more famous than Britney !

read more | digg story

Vulcan bomber takes to the skies

Vulcan bomber
The bomber made an emergency landing at RAF Cottesmore on Monday

A restored Vulcan bomber has taken to the skies on a test flight from RAF Cottesmore in Rutland despite an earlier false fire alert.

The Cold War bomber took off just after 1345 BST to fly the 30 miles (48km) to Bruntingthorpe airfield in Leics.

The aircraft had to make an emergency landing during a test on Monday following the false alarm.

Project Manager Andrew Edmondson said the fault on the aircraft was just one of a few teething problems.

He said: "There's people out there who've restored motor cars and everybody knows that once you've restored it, for the first six months, you get a few teething problems.

"We're getting the same thing and they're just bulbs that are blowing, a micro switch not quite working, so it's not very significant."

Vulcan History
137 of the aircraft were manufactured starting in the 1950s
First Vulcan flew in 1953
Introduced to counter the threat of the Soviet Union
Took 14 years to restore
Retired from service in 1984

The test flight is in preparation for an application to the Civil Aviation Authority for a permit to fly during air shows this summer.

Organisers hope the bomber will fly in about 18 air shows over the summer - which will cost about £1m - but say a major sponsor still needs to be found to ensure it has enough money to continue flying.

The plane last flew operationally 15 years ago after being used for years as deterrent in the Cold War.

Some 20,000 people worldwide have helped contribute to the restoration of the bomber - with £2.7m contributed by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Vulcan was first introduced as a four-engined nuclear bomber to counter the growing threat of the Soviet Union.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/04/16 13:21:32 GMT



A U.S. Air Force pilot aboard an F-15E Strike Eagle conducts a mission over Afghanistan, April 14, 2008. The F-15 frequently performs shows of force to deter enemy activities and protect coalition forces on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung

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PREDATOR 4/15/2008

An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle takes off in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, April 10, 2008. The Predator provides armed reconnaissance, airborne surveillance and target acquisition for Iraq. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Rob Valenca

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Save Money on Travel

Want to get away without breaking the bank? We share 15 budget-friendly ways to help you spend more time enjoying yourself and less time worrying about money.

We've laid out our list in text format below, or you can check them out in our slide show. Plus, you can share your favorite ways to save in our reader comment box at the end of this article.

Travel in the Off-Season
Timing your travel can save you serious money -- plus you'll avoid the crowds.


More From Kiplinger's Personal Finance

The Best Travel and Consumer Deals

Great Values in Overseas Trips

What You Need to Know About Travel Reward Programs

For example, if a destination sees its highest tourist traffic in summer -- such as national parks, Europe and Canada -- plan your visit for winter, spring or fall. And, vice versa, in the summertime, head for popular winter destinations, such as ski resorts and Caribbean cruises. See Timed Travel for more ideas.

Don't Surf. Kayak
You can waste time and money wandering the Web to find the cheapest airfare. Instead, head for, which fetches fares (plus hotel rates and other travel products) from more than 140 sources. Click on the best deal, and will send you to a site where you can buy the ticket.

If your itinerary is not set in stone, you can boost your chances of finding a deal by using the flexible dates option, which searches for flights over a range of dates. See more of our favorite travel Web sites.

Book a Package
Give yourself the gift of saving money. Bundling your airfare with a hotel or car rental is a great strategy, especially if you're making last-minute travel plans.

Airlines discount unbooked seats at the last minute by rolling them into packages, which don't list the fare reduction separately. You can find these bundled bargains at, which specializes in last-minute getaways.

Vacation Close to Home
vacation2.jpg The steep cost of airfare is enough to eat up any vacation budget. Instead, consider destinations to which you can drive. For a trove of ideas and itineraries in dozens of cities, check out the Day Trips series and Quick Escapes series from Globe Pequot Press.

Or try being a tourist in your hometown. Check out a tour guide book for your city, grab your camera and go explore.

Ring Up a Better Deal
If a hotel is run independently or is part of a regional chain, call the front desk and ask the clerk for an extra night's stay free, a discounted rate or free upgrade -- even if the hotel isn't currently advertising one. Independent and regional-chain hotels, which lack the marketing power of national chains, may be more willing to bend to fill an unexpected vacancy.

When you call, say something like, "I already have a reservation at another hotel at a cheaper rate, but I'll book with you if I can get a third night free."

Be a Happy Camper
It may not be the Ritz, but if you're up for an adventure, staying at a campsite can save you oodles of money. handles reservations for the USDA Forest Service, National Park Service and others. You'll find plenty of camps for less than $20 a night at locations ranging from mountain settings to beach-front sites.

Consider Hostelling
For $15 to $35 a night, you can stay in a dorm-style room. (Make reservations online through Or for a little more money, many hostels offer private rooms for couples and families.

Most hostels come with communal kitchens and laundries, and some even offer perks such as high-speed Internet access, game rooms, TV rooms, hot tubs and organized activities for kids. Plus, many are in the center of town -– or in unique locales, such as California's Pigeon Point Lighthouse hostel pictured here.

Take a Leap of Faith
Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. Book your travel through blind-booking sites such as and and you can save a bundle.

For example, on rental cars, you specify the dates, car type and pick-up location, but you don't find out which company is offering you your nonrefundable rate until after you buy. The same goes for airfare and hotels on the sites.

Get In Touch With Nature
nature1.jpgFor budget-friendly activities, you can count on Mother Nature. For starters, consider national parks, forests and state parks. Miles of hiking and biking trails, beautiful vistas, fishing holes, beach retreats and rafting runs await.

Park entrance fees typically cost less than $10, or are free. And if you plan to visit several national parks this season, spring for the National Parks Pass ($50), which gives you and your party to all the parks for a year.

Opt for Mom-and-Pop
Try a small inn or a bed-and-breakfast instead of a big hotel. These mom-and-pop operations are often more flexible about discounting to fill vacancies than national hotel chains.

A great place to find deals on a bed and breakfast getaway: Sign up for free weekly e-mails from Every Wednesday, you'll receive a list of places offering deals of 20% or more off regular rates for the upcoming weekend in the city, state or region you prefer to visit. We recently spotted offers as high as 70% off on the site.

Get a Home Away From Home
Condo or house rentals can be a nice alternative to hotels. Vacation rentals generally offer more room and amenities for the same price as hotel rooms. Plus, their kitchens can spare you from having to dine out for every meal.

One of the best sites we've found for rental lodgings is at

Swap Your House
swap1.jpgHow does free lodging sound? Trading homes with another person looking to get away can save you a bundle.

Aside from escaping hotel bills, a home exchange lets you save in other ways. By swapping cars, you can avoid renting one -- most exchangers are willing to trade cars, say the top clubs. And having a kitchen cuts your restaurant tab. Plus, you get more room to spread out and you can immerse yourself better into the local atmosphere. See Mi Casa Es Su Casa for more information.

Take a Last-Minute Cruise
Deciding on a last-minute cruise can work to your advantage. When people who booked early cancel at the last minute, bargain-priced cabins become available. To find these deals, stop at or

Learn more tricks to get a deal on a last-minute vacation.

Join a Frequent Flier Program
Whether you travel for business or pleasure, consider signing up for an airline's frequent-flier program. Enrollment is free, and you can start collecting miles on your first flight that you can eventually cash in for free flights, hotel stays, merchandise and other perks. is the most useful site for comparing programs and for getting the best seat or upgrade for the miles you've earned.

Bid Smart
bid1.jpgBidding for travel at can save you money on airfare and car rentals. But we particularly love it for snagging luxury hotels at discount prices. (Bids of less than $100 a night on luxury lodgings are often successful.)

Priceline's rates for four-star hotels are usually the best values available from online travel sites. Yet you can boost the chances that you'll submit the lowest possible winning bid by checking the message boards at, where recent Priceline users note their successful and unsuccessful bids.

Copyrighted, Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.

Handwriting Recognition for iPhone Now Available (PICS)

Holy Egg Freckles! A third-party developer has released handwriting recognition software for the iPhone. Similar to Graffiti, the classic writing software for Palms, you can setup HWPen from to give you an a writing area that can take over the standard keyboard at the touch of button. The best thing: it works.

read more | digg story

New security camera can 'see' through clothes

LONDON, England (CNN) -- New technology that can "see" through clothing and detect what's underneath can now be used to scan crowds, making it a potentially effective tool to prevent terrorist attacks in public places.

The camera can see through people's clothes from up to 25 meters away, detecting objects.

The ThruVision T5000 camera picks up Terahertz rays, or T-rays, which are naturally emitted by all objects and can pass through fabric or even walls.

The camera can then image metallic and non-metallic objects hidden under clothing on still or moving subjects without revealing any body detail, according to its British manufacturer, ThruVision Limited.

While similar technology is being unveiled at airports around the world, the T5000 is designed to be used in large, open areas. With a range of 25 meters, the T5000 can screen people in public places, thus avoiding bottlenecks at border crossings or security checkpoints.

It also means people can be screened without knowing it.

Amid privacy concerns, ThruVision Chief Executive Clive Beattie said the image produced by the camera did not reveal detailed anatomy.

"It's almost a glowing light bulb," Beattie told CNN. "You don't see the detail that people might be concerned about."

Explosives, liquids, narcotics, weapons, plastics, and ceramics can all be detected by the camera's imaging technology, which the company says is completely safe. Unlike X-rays, the T5000 does not emit radiation -- it only picks up on it. VideoWatch the camera in action »

The technology stems from British astronomers' work in studying dying stars. Astronomers use T-ray cameras to see through dust and clouds in space.

The company sees uses for its camera at high-profile sites like political or business venues, and outdoor areas like tourist attractions and sports arenas.

The camera is already in use in London's Canary Wharf financial area.

In London's busy Piccadilly Circus -- which is already filled with closed-circuit surveillance cameras -- reaction to the new technology was mixed. What do you think of this technology?

Some said the camera was going too far and invading privacy, but others said they are willing to put safety before privacy concerns.

"There's surveillance everywhere anyway," said one commuter. "I don't think it's much of difference. I don't care that they can see through me, because they can see me anyway."

Some experts said the intrusion of the camera was not worth the benefit.

"What we should consider is how much we want to lose aspects of our privacy in order to attain a sort of notional security," said David Murakami Wood, director of the Surveillance Studies Network, which deals with surveillance and privacy issues. "In most cases this isn't real security -- it's a sense of safety that has very little real effect."

CNN's Paula Newton contributed to this report

Classic Sci Fi of the 60's

With the recent resurrection of, I'm off to see if I can find some DVD (hopefully remastered) prints of these classics to watch on my new TV.

Time Machine (1960)

George Pal’s version of H.G.Wells’ classic science fiction novel. The Wells estate was impressed by Pal’s War of the Worlds they let him choose another story for a future project. George Pal picked Time Machine.

The story of George a Victorian gentlemen who invents a machine that travels in time. George discovers a future where humanity is divided into two species, the Eloi who live above ground and the subterranean dwelling Morlocks.

The film starred Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux.

The ingenious use of time lapse photography to speed up time for the time travel sequences won Gene Warren and Tim Baar an academy award for special effects.

village of the damned children

Village of the Damned (1960)
The English village of Midwich falls prey to an anomaly that knocks everyone unconscious. Months later all women of childbearing age are giving birth to blonde children who manifest telepathic powers.

Directed by Wolf Rilla based on the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. Professor Gordon Zellaby was played by George Sanders.

A low budget scifi horror film eerily depicting an alien invasion through children. Another version by Anton Leader, Children of the Damned set in London would also give a good scare.


Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961)
Irwin Allen’s film adventure aboard the submarine Seaview. The movie has an all-star cast starring Walter Pidgeon as Admiral Harriman Nelson, Robert Sterling as Captain Lee Crane with Joan Fontaine, Barbara Eden, Michael Ansara and Peter Lorre in supporting roles.

Plot involves a burning Van Allen radiation belt and the Seaview is tasked to stop the “Skyfire” by launching a missile from the Marianas Trench at a precise moment. In a race against time, the Seaview confronts a giant octopus, a hostile submarine and a saboteur before completing its mission to save the world.

The submarine’s unique design with its eight window panoramic view, shark-like frontal flare and Cadillac tail fins gave the Seaview a pop icon status for fictional ships.

Voyage became a box-office success Irwin Allen would later recycle the props to make the hit TV series with the same title.

Day of the Triffids (1962)
After a meteor shower spores begin to grow into plants called Triffids beginning its carnivorous attacks on civilization.

Based on the novel by John Wyndham, directed by Steve Sekely and starring Howard Keel as the central character, Bill Masen.

A low budget movie with not so special effects the film has become a cult favourite for B-movie fans. The novel, established author John Wyndham and remains his best known science fiction writing.

la jetee

La Jetée (1962)
Paris in the apocalyptic future after WWIII survivor’s research time travel sending one traveller back to obtain food, medicine and technology. The traveller’s obsession from childhood recalling an incident at the airport’s boarding ramp (the jetty) takes him to that moment at the jetty where he discovers his own death.

Directed by Chris Marker, the film is a black and white photo montage with voice over narration running 28 minutes. The pacing of the montage gives the film the progression of a graphic novel. The still images freezes each moment in a temporal memory like a narrative photo album.

Terry Gilliam adapted the plot for the film Twelve Monkeys.

jason and the hydra

Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
Ray Harryhausen’s landmark film based on the mythical hero Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece.

Directed by Don Chaffey with music by Bernard Herrmann. The film’s numerous Dynamation animated monsters- Harpies, the bronze giant Talos and the Hydra is an unparalleled achievement without use of computer graphics.

Jason’s spectacular battle with the skeletons is regarded as one of the greatest special effects in motion pictures. Harryhausen took four months to finish the three minute scene.

Ray Harryhausen’s elaborate special effects gave the film the look of a big budget production turning Jason and the Argonauts into a box-office hit and a memorable classic.

 dr. lao

7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)
A travelling circus ran by Dr. Lao brings wonders and a moral lesson in life to a small town.

George Pal directs from the novel by Charles Finney starring Tony Randall as Dr. Lao and featuring Barbara Eden.

The film won an honorary Oscar for William Tuttle (Outstanding Achievement in Make-Up).

Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Stanley Kubrick’s satire on the Cold War and the idea of mutual assured destruction (MAD).

Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper launches a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union with B-52 bombers. Claiming the communists are out to “sap and impurify” the “precious bodily fluids” of the American people with fluoridated water and causing his impotence.

The Soviets reveal to the Americans they have a “Doomsday” device that in case of attack will destroy all life on earth. The Soviets turned it on a few days before a planned public announcement.

Starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott with Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens, James Earl Jones, Keenan Wynn, Peter Bull, Tracy Reed. Sellers plays three roles; President Merkin Muffley, Group Captain Lionel Mandrake and Dr. Strangelove. The film launched Peter Sellers to Hollywood stardom.

first men in the moon -moon cow

First Men in the Moon (1964)
Adapted from the H.G. Wells Novel directed by Nathan Juran starring Edward Judd, Martha Hyer and Lionel Jeffries

The U.N. launches the first moon mission only to find a British flag and the names of the first explorers. Authorities on Earth trace one survivor who retells their first journey to the moon.

Ray Haryhausen animates the various moon creatures with his trademark Dynamation.

Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)
Adapted from Daniel Defoe’s novel and directed by Byron Haskin. Starring Paul Mantee, Victor Lundin and Adam West.

A mission to Mars malfunctions leaving one surviving astronaut and a monkey trapped in Mars.

The Martian war machines from “War of the Worlds” which Byron Haskins also directed were recycled for use as the alien mining ships.

Haskins decision to film at Death Valley gave the “Mars” landscape a striking similarity to the real Martian landscape. NASA tested their Mars Rovers at Death Valley.

Alphaville (1965)
Jean-Luc Godard’s “SciFi Film Noir” about a secret agent transported to the future city of Alphaville ran by a sentient computer, Alpha 60.

A tale of emotional suppression, loss of individual freedom and a society controlled by a dictatorial AI Godard pits brawn versus logic eventually destroying that logic with the emotional power of poetry.

Though set in the future Godard filmed the locations in modern day Paris.

Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature book paper catches fire. Ray Bradbury’s dystopian future looks at literary and intellectual suppression via the burning of books. Firemen are charged with hunting down books and burning them. One fireman, Guy Montag eventually reads some of them and begins a journey of self discovery.

Though shot in England, the monorail exterior was done at France’s SAFEGE test track which no longer exists. Directed by Francois Truffaut starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie.

fantastic voyage

Fantastic Voyage (1966)
A defecting scientist from the Soviet Union escapes an assassination attempt but is left comatose. A team of specialists attempt to remove a blood clot by entering the body in a microscopic miniaturized submarine, the Proteus.

Amazing special effects brings a surreal journey through the human body. Human tissues and cells become larger than life transforming them to something out of this world.

Written for the screen by Harry Kleiner, novelization by Isaac Asimov.
Directed by Richard Fleischer starring Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, and Donald Pleasence. Special effects by L.B. Abbott and Art Cruickshank.

raquel welch

One Million Years B.C. (1966)
Hammer Films Production starring Raquel Welch, John Richardson.
A fantasy adventure film set in prehistoric times about humans struggling to exist in a dinosaur world.

Dinosaur animation by Ray Harryhausen. Humans and dinosaurs never co-existed but the producers thought it might make a good subject for a movie. Filmed mostly in the Canary Islands, Raquel Welch’s publicity shot got better notoriety than the movie.

Barbarella (1967)

Roger Vadim’s groovy SciFi erotica based on the French comic strip by Jean-Claude Forest. Starring Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg, Marcel Marceau.

Jane Fonda’s opening sequence stripping in zero gravity has become a cinematic icon. The film bombed at the box-office but became a pop culture influence from the band Duran Duran, pop music, and films The Fifth Element and Austin Powers.

Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
SciFi horror film by Hammer Productions released in the United States as Five Million Years to Earth. Directed by Roy Ward Baker and written by Nigel Kneale based on his television series, Quatermass.

A unique scifi film from Hammer (compared to what they regularly produced) that ends with an element of the supernatural. An extension for a London subway unearths fossils and a five million year old spaceship. Quatermass investigates and discovers something not right and people around Hobbs station begin to experience disturbances.

Starring Andrew Keir as Prof. Bernard Quatermass with James Donald, Barbara Shelley, and Julian Glover.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Stanley Kubrick’s surreal journey of human evolution, extraterrestrial life and space exploration. Collaborating with renowned SciFi author Arthur C. Clarke from his short story, The Sentinel, 2001 is the SciFi movie fans of the genre have been waiting for Hollywood to produce.

Kubrick’s artistic manipulation of space and time coupled with minimal dialogue conveys a visual sense of the vacuum of space and its isolation. The film is a visual experience (sometimes termed “psychedelic”) complemented by the use of classical music. Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra will always be identified with 2001.

2001’s pioneering special effects achieved a realism and authenticity that made it the breakthrough film in SciFi moviemaking history. Cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth did all effects in-camera, doing multiple passes on the same negative giving the film’s space scenes a first generation quality minimizing degeneration inherent in special effects. The film won an academy award for special effects.

Arthur C. Clarke & Stanley Kubrick

Arthur C. Clarke wrote further sequels 2010 was the only story developed into a movie. 2001 starred Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester and Daniel Richter as Moonwatcher.

Charly (1968)
Charlie Gordon is a mentally challenged man who volunteers to undergo experimental brain surgery. His progress parallels a mouse named Algernon. Both regain their intelligence Algernon can do complex mazes, Charlie becomes a genius. Algernon’s memory begins to deteriorate Charlie finds out the treatment is temporary and realizes he will revert back to his former self.

Poignant drama on mental retardation and social behaviour. Cliff Robertson’s portrayal of Charlie Gordon won him the Oscar for best actor. The film stars Claire Bloom, Lilia Skala, Leon Janney and Dick Van Patten.

Directed by Ralph Nelson and adapted by Stirling Silliphant from the Hugo and Nebula award winning story, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

Planet of the Apes (1968)
A spaceship crash lands in an unknown planet three astronauts find their way to a civilization ran by apes and humans are considered a lesser animal species.

Based on the French novel, La Planète des Singes by Pierre Boulle from an adaptation by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. The film stars Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans.

Ground breaking make up effects to recreate the apes delivered make up artist John Chambers the Academy’s Honorary Award for outstanding achievement in Makeup.

statue of liberty damn you all
The surprise ending is considered one of the most memorable in film history.

gwangi and cowboys

The Valley of Gwangi (1969)
A struggling Wild West rodeo discovers a valley where dinosaurs exist. The cowboys try to capture the dinosaurs for the rodeo show ending up with more than they can handle.

Great creature effects by Ray Harryhausen. “Gwangi” in the movie is an Allosaurus but Harryhausen modeled it to a T. Rex. The roping of Gwangi remains a memorable sequence of the film. The story was based on an early concept, Valley of the Mists from King Kong animator Willis O’ Brien.

Directed by Jim O’Connolly and written by William Bast starring James Franciscus, Richard Carlson and Gila Golan.

Marooned (1969)
Three American astronauts returning home from a space station mission are unable to fire the main rockets stranding them in orbit while rescue efforts are hampered by an approaching hurricane.

The suspense filled movie delivers an edge of your seat tension as ground crews attempt a rescue mission to the stranded Apollo module.

Based on the novel Marooned by Martin Caidin. Caidin rewrote and updated the novel to reflect the movie he also acted as technical advisor. Directed by John Sturges and starring Gregory Peck, Richard Crenna, David Janssen, James Franciscus and Gene Hackman.

Great special effects plus some creative stories were a good balance in 60’s SciFi films, the special effects techniques developed for 2001 added an authentic realism never before seen in cinema. The pioneering work of these films will bring the future generation of SciFi Cinema to new heights.

Ex-Boyfriend Jewelry: Sell, Trade, Vent?

Every woman has at least a few jewelry pieces hanging around from past relationships, and although some of them may be sentimental in value and very special, others are ... well ... not. But what to do with that ugly diamond necklace when the pawn shop just won't pay a fair price? Ex-Boyfriend Jewelry offers up a solution with their theme of "buy, sell, trade, blog about the boy." Not only can you list your gold and diamonds for the price you think is fair, but you can also let off a little steam and vent about your ex's annoying habits and bad taste in jewelry. Out come the shoe boxes!

The 10 Best Cities For Clean Drinking Water

If you're like most Americans, you probably don't know a lot about the quality of your tap water. Using data on contamination levels provided by community water systems and compiled by the University of Cincinnati, determined some of the U.S. cities with the cleanest drinking water. Check out how your city stacks up.

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New England Patriots Schedule 2008

Game Date Kickoff Opponent Broadcast TV MA CT
Thu 8/7/2008 7:30 PM vs Ravens WCVB / Channel 5

Sun 8/17/2008 8:00 PM @ Buccaneers NFL Network

Fri 8/22/2008 7:30 PM vs Eagles WCVB / Channel 5

Thu 8/28/2008 7:00 PM @ Giants WCVB / Channel 5

Sun 9/7/2008 1:00 PM vs Chiefs CBS / WBZ Channel 4

Sun 9/14/2008 4:15 PM @ Jets CBS / WBZ Channel 4

Sun 9/21/2008 1:00 PM vs Dolphins CBS / WBZ Channel 4

Sun 9/28/2008
vs Bye

Sun 10/5/2008 4:15 PM @ 49ers CBS / WBZ Channel 4

Sun 10/12/2008 8:15 PM @ Chargers WHDH Channel 7

Mon 10/20/2008 8:30 PM vs Broncos ESPN / WCVB Channel 5

Sun 10/26/2008 1:00 PM vs Rams WFXT Channel 25

Sun 11/2/2008 8:15 PM @ Colts NBC / WHDH Channel 7

Sun 11/9/2008 1:00 PM vs Bills WBZ Channel 4

Thu 11/13/2008 8:15 PM vs Jets NFL Network

Sun 11/23/2008 1:00 PM @ Dolphins WBZ Channel 4

Sun 11/30/2008 4:15 PM vs Steelers WBZ Channel 4

Sun 12/7/2008 8:15 PM @ Seahawks WHDH Channel 7

Sun 12/14/2008 4:15 PM @ Raiders WBZ Channel 4

Sun 12/21/2008 1:00 PM vs Cardinals WFXT Channel 25

Sun 12/28/2008 1:00 PM @ Bills WBZ Channel 4