High-speed Internet On TheBus

Alison Young
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December 09, 2005
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I admit that I haven’t used our wonderful transportation system since I learned how to drive many years ago. But now I actually have a reason to ride TheBus with high-speed Internet available onboard.

Sprint Hawaii recently launched its 3G EVDO (Evolution Data Optimized) secure, wireless high-speed data service. The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services allowed Sprint to equip one of its buses to demonstrate how public transportation could be a more attractive option by having high-speed Internet access available while commuting.

“I’m excited about EVDO’s potential, and will be directing my administration to look closely into how this type of service could be made available to public transportation patrons,” says Mayor Mufi Hannemann. “While the recent spike in gas prices and costly parking fees make public transportation increasingly appealing, EVDO would enable commuters to jump-start their work day before ever setting foot into the office.”

The American Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle has also been equipped with EVDO service. This donation allows the Hawaii Red Cross to have a fully functioning mobile office at the scene of major disasters, such as last year’s Manoa flood.

You may remember my recent story on the EDGE technology having average download speeds of 70 up to 135 kilobits per second (Kbps), but EVDO definitely beats it with a faster average download speed of 400 to 700 Kbps. That means it would basically take you an average of one minute to download an mp3. Sprint is expanding its Power Vision EVDO high-speed wireless network to about 200 markets and more than 400 airports nationwide. Some of the airports include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas McCarran, Honolulu, Kahului, Kona and Lihue.

The demand for wireless data is growing. Wireless data subscribers in the U.S. are expected to grow from 9.1 million in 2003 to 31 million by 2007. EVDO is secure - it uses CDMA. It’s a technology that encodes, scrambles, encrypts and modulates data in multiple ways to ensure critical information can only be accessed by authorized users.

EVDO phones available are the Sprint PPC-6700 with Windows 5.0, Sanyo MM-9000 and Samsung MM-A940. You can also use EVDO-ready Sprint PCS Connection Cards - the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 and the Novatel Wireless Merlin S620.

Order your own EVDO service at any Sprint Store, the Sprint sales office (841-4144) or www.sprint.com. There’s a promotional plan going on now for $59.99 per month if you sign a two-year service agreement. Contact Sprint directly for more details.

Saving Precious Photo Negatives.
I’ve been using digital photography for years so I haven’t had the thought of photo negatives cross my mind for awhile. I’ve always been a photography nut and love to take pictures, so my collection of photo negatives (before owning a digital camera) stacks up to my eyeballs.

In the past, a photo negative scanner was expensive, but the Epson Perfection 3590 Photo provides an affordable way to save all your favorite photo negatives before they disintegrate. The scanner can be used to scan regular pictures and your other documents, but it’s an easy way to save your 35mm negatives. It comes with an easy-touse automatic film feeder and the scan quality for film is good at 3200 x 6400 dpi (for enlargements of up to 8-by-10 or larger).

As with other Epson scanners, the 3590 emphasizes ease of use. All you need to do to scan a strip of film is insert it into the autoloader slot and sit back and wait for it to scan. Unfortunately you can only load in one strip at a time, so if you have a whole box to scan, it will definitely take awhile. It hooks into your computer via USB 2.0, and has buttons on the front that allow you to scan directly to PDF, an e-mail program or your default printer.

There are three scan modes: fully automatic, professional and a third mode that falls in between the two. The full auto mode does not give you many options, with fewer options to customize your scans. The professional mode gives you the opportunity to set grain reduction when scanning transparencies. If you’re unhappy with the results of automated edits, the settings are easy to modify in the configuration menu.

The included software has a photo editor, a business card program and more importantly, color-restore and dust-removal features for the negative scans. The business card program is not the best, as it’s known to have a few errors for every business card it scans in. As a whole, though, this is an excellent simple to use, “entry-level” scanner with good color and clarity. The discriminating photo professional may not be totally satisfied with the color quality in the default modes, but it’s good enough for me.

The Epson Perfection 3590 Photo works with both Windows and Mac and is available for about $150 on www.epson.com or at your nearest CompUSA.

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