The High-Tech Texan Blog

Monday, March 27, 2006


Kosher Cell Phone For Orthodox Jews

Israeli company MIRS Communication is now offering certified kosher phones, approved by rabbinical authorities to be used by those in Orthodox Jewish communities. The phones are Motorola handsets that have had all but the most basic services trimmed away, tossing out internet access, SMS, and any sort of extra applications, to help minimize the potential for “corrupting influences.”

Kosher certification doesn’t allow most of the Orthodox to use the phones on the Sabbath, however, since many feel that the completion of an electrical circuit is ‘building,’ an act that is forbidden.

Rumors that an updated version of the V3 RAZR will be certified and rebranded as the V3 BRIS seem to be based on an incomplete tip!

Beefing Up Bluetooth

The Bluetooth wireless standard used in cell phones and other small devices will take a leap in transmission speed, broadening its scope to enable high-definition video and files for digital music players like the iPod. The industry group behind Bluetooth said it would boost transfer speeds in the next few years by incorporating a new radio technology, known as ultra-wideband, or UWB, according to an AP story.

Currently, Bluetooth works only for low-speed uses like headsets and wireless keyboards. UWB, which has yet to appear in consumer devices, enables wireless transmissions at much higher speeds. The first products with high-speed Bluetooth may show up late next year, with wider availability in 2008.

UWB is developed by another industry group, the WiMedia Alliance, which includes Intel Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp.

Hooters Air Goes Belly Up

I heard they had a bunch of boobs running it...
It’s official -– Hooters Air going belly up.

After nearly three years of flying, Hooters Air will end all of its regularly scheduled passenger service on April 17. Hooters will now focus on flying charter flights for large groups such as sports teams and tour groups. That was the original business model for Pace Airlines before Hooters chairman Bob Books acquired that small carrier in 2002 and converted it into Hooters Air. "The flying industry is in a terrible mess," Brooks tells The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, S.C. "I've got a fair amount of money, but I don't have enough to fix this animal. … Now I think the best thing we can do is basically put it to bed, at least for right now, until the industry changes.” The first signs of problems at Hooters Air surfaced in December, when the carrier abruptly began canceling flights over the winter holidays -– leaving many disgruntled passengers scrambling to make alternate plans for holiday flights. Then came news earlier this month about another wave of Hooters Air service cuts, which seemed to catch some officials at the affected airport by surprise.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Show Me The Logo, Kubes

Would it hurt new Texans head coach Gary Kubiak to wear something, ANYTHING, with a Texans logo on it? Of all the press conferences I have seen him at I have yet to see him sport the battle red, steel blue and liberty white.

Does he have a clothing deal with Dillards?? C'mon, Kubes, put all the orange and blue rags you have on eBay and show some love to your new team.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Microsoft created a lot of buzz this week with its official announcement of a "tweener" device. You know, something that's in between the size of a PDA and a laptop. It's currently being called Origami and has been on the drawing board for a while. My guess is that it's not really going to take off.

They'd better price the thing very well. Biggest issue I see is that it uses an OS that stil has to boot up. Those precious minutes it takes to start are the difference between a product's success and failure. I don't want to schlep another device around (small or large) that takes over 2 seconds to turn on.

I spoke with a contact of mine in HP's mobility division and he wasn't even aware of this new thing. Guess they aren't too scared of it being a category killer. Judge for yourself. Take a look at this video made by Microsoft to create more buzz about it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

March Madness Online

CBS SportsLine in partnership with CBS Sports, CSTV and the NCAA launched NCAA March Madness on Demand, an online video player that will stream the first 56 games of the 2006 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship as they are broadcast by CBS Sports beginning on March 16th. The broadcasts will be available on for free. Users can also access MMOD via links on CBS SportsLine and

CBS thinks MMOD will attract one of the largest audiences in the history of live streaming events on the Internet. Capacity will be available to provide millions of video streams over the course of the Tournament but to manage the anticipated demand during Thursday and Friday, March 16th and 17th, access to the MMOD video player will be managed using a "virtual waiting room." When demand exceeds peak capacity virtual lines will form. Viewers need to apply for a VIP status to insure quicker access.

Umm...wouldn't it be a hell of a lot easier to just turn on the TV?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Citywide WiFi for H-Town

The City of Houston intends to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to prospective companies for the financing and management of a wireless broadband network throughout the city. Prior to the issuance of the FINAL RFP, the City has posted a final draft RFP to allow interested parties to comment or suggest improvements to the Final RFP. The City anticipates release of the FINAL RFP on March 17, 2006.

To obtain a copy or the DRAFT RFP or to submit comments go to

Blackberry is Sweet

Who called it? As I've said over the past few months, no way Research In Motion was going to let another company nor the US Government shut its service down. Friday afternoon the word came down that Canada-based RIM settled its patent lawsuit with NTP for a mere $612.5 million.

Who's the winner? Not RIM, really. They could have paid NTP about $450million a while back to stop all this crap. But RIM stood tall with its wireless guns telling a judge that it owned all the patent rights to the wireless services it uses.

NTP came out smelling pretty well with a nice pay day but I think they - along with other such piddly, patent-holding landrush companies - should go away. NTP was looking for a loophole buy buying a patent and simply holding on to it. For no other reason than to hold RIM at ransom and scare the hell out of every CEO in America who uses a Blackberry.

It's over for now. And that means maybe I can put my canned answer back on the shelf. Over the past few months the question I have been asked the most on my show and at parties as been "should I trash my Blackberry now and look for another device?" My reply had been a strong NO. The Blackberry, IMHO, is the greatest tech product invented in the past 10 years. The US Government, law enforcement agencies, thousands of companies and geeks like me would have come to a standstill. There was simply too much for RIM to lose not to mention the possible explosion of the time-space continuim.

So go back to your Blackberry prayer position, climb down from the rooftop jumping point and get back to your normal life. Blackberry is back, baby.