AT&T Upgrade Fee $200

An AT&T smart phone upgrade fee will now cost you $200. If you recently signed a 2 year commitment with AT&T and you decided after a couple months later that you want a new smart phone, it’s going to cost you $200. As I recall, the AT&T early termination fee is $350.

In my case, I’m out of contract. I still haven’t decided which phone to get or what carrier to go with. Typically, you can get a great deal by jumping to another wireless provider than the one you are currently with because usually wireless providers consumers tantalizing offers to get you to jump ship.

It’s a good possibility I may just do that.

Firefox 4 Beta for Android Phones

Mozilla just released Firefox 4 Beta for Android phones. This is awesome news for Firefox admirers. Firefox 4 will be available for download on any Android 2.0 or newer based smart phone and the Nokia N900. From Yahoo/PC World:

The beta versions include a feature called Sync, which synchronizes a user’s tabs, history, bookmarks and passwords between the Firefox browser on a desktop PC and that on the smartphone. The browser also comes with what Mozilla calls the Awesome Screen, which gives the user access to recent browsing history, bookmarks and tabs by tapping on the browser’s address bar. The start screen shows tabs from the last time the user accessed the Internet, tabs from the PC and suggests add-ons to the browser to personalize it.

Firefox for mobile is available for the Nokia N900, or for phones running Android 2.0 or newer. It has been tested on the Nexus One, HTC’s Desire and EVO 4G, and Motorola’s Droid 2. The browser should work on other Android-based smartphones from Motorola and HTC, as well, including the Desire Z (T-Mobile G2), Droid Incredible, Droid X and the Milestone (Verizon Droid), but hasn’t been tested on these devices. The Samsung Galaxy S, and its various different U.S. versions, is also included in the latter group, according to a list of compatible phones on Mozilla’s Website.

To improve speed and responsiveness, the browser runs the user interface in a separate process from the one rendering Web content. The split allows Firefox to react faster to user input while pages are loading, according to Mozilla.

49 Microsoft Vulnerabilities

Microsoft plans to patch 49 vulnerabilities this coming Tuesday. Microsoft considers four of them to be critical. The patch covers fixes to Internet Explorer, MS Office, .NET, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. To date, this will be Microsoft biggest patch at one time.

Speaking of Microsoft, I’ve yet to take advantage of the latest Windows 7 Home Edition Family Pack for just $149. The latest release started October 2.  The family pack comes with 3 licenses. Share between two other friends and you can get a Windows 7 Home Edition for about $50. Good deal.

Ubuntu 10.10 on 10.10.10

Ubuntu 10.10 is scheduled for release on 10.10.10. How clever. It looks more like an internal IP address. Well, sort of. The latest distro is also known as Maverick Meerkat. So, what’s new with Meerkat? Here’s a sneak preview of features from Ubuntu.

The GNOME base platform has been updated to the current 2.31 versions. This particularly includes the new dconf and gsettings API.

Evolution was updated to the 2.30 version, which operates much faster compared to the version in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

Shotwell has replaced F-Spot as the default photo manager.

Gwibber has been updated to support the recent change in Twitter’s authentication system, as well as changing the back end storage to improve performance.

The Sound Indicator has been enhanced to include music player controls.

The Ubuntu Software Center has an updated look and feel, including the new “Featured” and “What’s New” views for showcasing applications, an improved package description view, and a “For Purchase” software category has been added. You can also now easily access your package installation history too.

Ubuntu One: Polished desktop integration with new sign up and sign in process. Tighter integration with Ubuntu SSO. Nautilus enhancements for managing folder sync preferences. Faster file sync speed. Share links to music within the Ubuntu One Music Store.

$16 California CRT Recycling Fee

I recently paid a $16 California CRT Recycling Fee for a new purchase of a 20 inch monitor. What! Are you kidding me? I just bought a new monitor. Now, the state of California want $16 of my hard-earned dollars for a disposal fee — of my brand new monitor. Ridiculous! Apparently, the law has been in effect since July 1, 2004. I think I may have purchased another monitor before 2004. I vaguely recall. The difference is that I bought the monitor online and I didn’t get slapped by $16 recycling fee because it was an out of state purchase.

I know $16 is peanuts, but $16 here and there adds up after a while.

And you wonder why the state has a shortfall of income. I’m not even going to bring up overspending. The monitor recycling fee is just another example of California encouraging consumers to buy out of state or online as opposed to buying within the state and supporting local businesses. In tough economic times, consumers will find ways to cut back in spending and that includes avoiding taxes and fees if they can get away with it.

With this law, the State of California imposes taxes on monitors sold within the state. If you’ve purchased out of state, California has no way of enforcing such laws. So they tax you up front and I supposed they will also tax you after as well. The EPA can also issue fines if you improperly discard your old monitors. With th $16 fee, you should be able to discard old computers and monitors through your garbage disposal company, but that’s not the case.

You still have to call a recycling company or setup a special pickup from a charitable company. I just want to know how my $16 dollar fee is being spent by the state. Is that too much to ask?

LED Lamps In Demand

If you’ve been to a hardware store lately, you’ll find that traditional flashlights are disappearing. Flashlights with light bulbs are being replaced with flashlights with LED lights. Manufacturers are turning to LEDs for various reasons. The most important reason is LEDs use less energy. A restaurant chain recently switched all of its 827 restaurants to LED lights to save 3.7 million a year in electricity. In addition, LEDs are durable with lifetimes greater than the traditional light bulb. Brightness of LEDs have also improve over the years making them a viable option.

Recompute Cardboard Cases

Thanks to ZDNet. There’s a company called Recompute that makes PC cases out of cardboard. The case is made of cardboard strips that are held together by a non-toxic glue. I know what you’re thinking. The cardboard case will be a great fire log. In actuality, the cardboard case ignition point is 800 degrees Fahrenheit. The honeycomb-like design also diffuses heat. The motherboard and power supply are separated in two chambers to minimize overheating.

With global warming and the oceans rising, the only question left is, will the cardboard case float? Is it waterproof?

The Ubuntu Font

If you have visited Ubuntu’s website lately, you may have noticed the font being used. It’s called the Ubuntu font. See sample below. Canonical plans to release the Ubuntu font as open-source. Mark Shuttleworth talks about the font development in detail in his blog. If you haven’t been to the Ubuntu site lately, check it out. Also, Betatype has released an Ubuntu titling font. It’s not open source.