Friday, July 13, 2007

PayPal Mobile Checkout Lets You Pay While On the Go

paypal.jpgAs a frequent traveler, and eBay addict I've been faced with a small problem. I can watch the auctions for those rare vintage maps, international DVDs and other "junk" that fills my apartment from my mobile phone. I can even place bids for the items. But paying for the stuff was a pain. And many sellers have strange, and even demanding rules on how quickly they want to be paid. If I'm home I'm using checking out 30 seconds after an item ends, but when I'm on the road I'm panicking to get to a PC.

But the auction gods have answered my prayers! PayPal announced this week the launch of Mobile Checkout, a service that will allow users in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada to buy items securely using the mobile Web! PayPal Mobile works like the traditional payment and you can use a credit card or direct transfer from a bank to pay for auctions or other items. I suppose you could even pay back that $10 you owe your buddy, as you now have no excuse for not having the cash in your wallet!

[Via GPShopper News]


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Upload Large Files to YouSendIt from Desktop, Can Resume Uploads

Sharing large files on the internet just got more convenient. Popular file sharing service YouSendIt now comes with a desktop uploader software that will allow you to upload large files from the desktop without using the web browser.

upload yousendit files

What's exciting about the new YouSendIt software is that it can resume uploads - you know the frustration when you are uploading a 100 MB file from the web uploader when suddenly the internet connection breaks or the browser crashes for some reason.

With the new YouSendIt uploader, that problem may be a thing of the past as it will resume file upload from the exact point where it broke earlier. Once the file is successfully uploaded and sent to the intended recipients, you get an email confirmation automatically.

For free YouSendIt accounts, the download link will expire in 7 days and the file will be available for 100 number of downloads. The max file size that you can upload is 100 MB while the limit is 2 GB for paid accounts.

YouSendit earlier released an Outlook add-in to help you email large file attachments directly from Microsoft Outlook.

YouSendIt Standalone App [Windows only]


Olympus developing completely wireless head-mounted displays

Olympus is planning on taking head-mounted displays out of the "giant nerd" category and into the "scary dystopian future" realm with a new project to develop a completely wireless system that can also double as eyeglasses. While most other HMDs we've seen feature a cable snaking across your body to an external power pack, Olympus has expanded on its previous efforts (pictured) and is already prototyping a 3-ounce unit with an internal power source powering two side-mounted 110,000-pixel displays that project email onto the lenses. Olympus is optimistically hoping to bring the tech to market in 2012 -- looks like wannabe Terminators are going to be lugging those battery packs around for a while yet.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Inflatable dummy company sues rival for patent violations

Cory Doctorow: A company that patented the idea of using inflatable dummies for crowd-scenes in movies is suing another company that does the same thing. The defendant has a successful business, the plaintiff does not, so he is seeking to drive the successful competitor out of business.

It's such a misery that the US Patent and Trademark office continues to abdicate its responsibility to the American public, granting virtually every patent application filed before it. Using dummies for crowd scenes fails the "non-obvious" test that every patent is supposed to be subjected to, in spades.

Every entrepreneur I know is pressured to file "defensive patents" for the most basic, simple things, but no one can tell me how these are supposed to work. If the second guy also had a patent on inflatable dummies, he'd still have to bankrupt himself in court proving his patent was good and the other guy's was bad. The plaintiff doesn't care -- he's going out of business as it is, he can lose it in court or in the market. And once he goes under, his patents will be bought by patent trolls, companies that make nothing but lawsuits, and they will sue any successful inflatable dummy business for everything they have.

The only defense against patent abuse is to reform the patent office. For starters, let's change the way they're funded: right now, they pay their bills with the fees they get from patent applications. That means that the more patents there are, the more money they make. Is it any wonder that they've crapflooded the country with bogus government monopolies over the simplest things in the world?

Now the two startups in the market are squaring off in court. Crowd in a Box (, which holds patents issued in 2004 and 2005 for the use of inflatable humanoid figures in background scenes, is suing Inflatable Crowd for patent violation.

Joe Biggins, owner of Inflatable Crowd (, declines to comment on the suit but says he came up with the dummy idea independently in 2002, while working on the crew of Seabiscuit. Since then Biggins, 35, has become the market leader, placing his inflatables in more than 50 feature films, while Crowd in a Box has five (plus five TV shows and 22 commercials).

"He seems to have better connections in Hollywood than we do," admits Crowd in a Box co-owner Mark Woolpert, 58, who anticipates a court date in November. Top of page

Link (Thanks, Ross!)


California to get world's largest solar farm

Filed under:

Cleantech America, a San Francisco based developer, has launched a project to build the world's largest solar farm, giving this Spanish solar tower a run for its money, as well as insulting the work of countless Tesco engineers and their puny, insignificant solar roof. When completed in 2011, the 80-megawatt spread of solar panels will cover roughly 640 acres and be 17 times the size of the largest US solar farm in existence. The project, which will generate enough power for nearly 21,000 homes, will be sold to the Kings River Conservation District, a public agency that purchases power for 12 cities and two counties in California's Central Valley. The company hopes that a solar farm of this size will be an industry-wide tipping point for energy providers, and will drive the cost of solar energy downward. Meanwhile, Tesco and Spain will be plotting their sublime revenge.