Loaded: Embrace your civic duty

Culture
>> Verizon kills Pay As You Go. Yahoo Live who? And of course today is Election Day here in the States. Time to stand up and embrace your civic duty. It's Tuesday, November 4, I'm Mark Licea and it's time to get Loaded. ^M00:00:12 [ Music ] ^M00:00:15 >> If you'll be following the election tonight, I'm sure most of you will be, there are a few sites where you can check to find results today. First off, Google's 2008 Election Map is an unbiased easy way to get real time information counting down to the actual results. If you don't know where your polling place is you can actually check out Google Maps. Just enter the address where you're registered and it will give you all of the info. Also definitely check out our parent site CBS News, their Campaign '08 page will offer analysis from Jeff Greenfield on which dates will be good indicators of a win from either candidate. They also have a live election results widget that you can download, although it won't be fully functional until 5 PM Eastern Time. And if you're on the go today the New York Times will be sending out text messages with the results and lastly, you can check updates on CNN's Mobile Election Center by typing in CNN.com in your mobile browser. Western Digital is now entering the media player market. The Western Digital TV media player reads a slew of audio, video and photo files and the player can access a portable hard drive loaded with content. Western Digital does get props for not limiting their player to work with just their hard drives and it work with any storage device with USB connectivity. The media player looks like a hard drive, but comes with standard AV cables or remote and HD mic port for high-def playback. I really like the simple plug-in play idea behind this product and for 129 bucks it's a great gift for the holidays. Speaking of holiday gifts, how about a brand spanking new Logitech Harmony remote at a very reasonable 49.99. The 550 was released a few years back for 150 bucks and its current list price is 129.99. PC Richard is slashing that price down to a cool 50 bucks and we're not talking used or referred. The Harmony remotes are relatively easy to program. It's obviously not the most current model out, but if a good deal weighs more heavily than the latest gadget, I'd say go with this. And a concession to the US Justice Department, search giants Google and Yahoo have offered to narrow their planned advertising deal in the last minute pitch for approval. The DOJ has been closely scrutinizing the deal after a few years that it would reduce competition and let Google control most of the online search business. The deal calls for ads from Google to be placed along side web search results on Yahoo, but under the terms of the new deal Yahoo's revenues will be capped at 25% and the link of the deal would be reduced from ten years to two. Early announces of this deal suggests this may not help Yahoo much at all after it defended a take over bid by Microsoft earlier this year. Salesforce.com unveiled plans for its new site force.com. The offering will be available sometime next year and will allow companies and individuals to build and host their own web pages around the Salesforce cloud infrastructure. Developers can use Salesforce's tools to create apps that could be customized to fit a company's specific needs. Salesforce is also working with Amazon and Facebook. The companies are collaborating to allow developers to create apps that will join both platforms together. Now for the bad news, here goes. Do you plan on switching to Verizon's Wireless Pay As You Go Plan? Well, you can juts go ahead and cross that off your list. Verizon leaked documents detailing some changes to the company this being one of them. Starting November 14, all PDA and smartphones will require a set data plan the cheapest of which starts at 29.99 a month. No more Pay As You Go plans, One-Time, Data-Block plans, etcetera. If you're currently signed up for these plans, you won't be forced to change, however, if you do decide to upgrade to a new phone, your plan will voided. I suppose having a smartphone or PDA does entail high data use and I'm sure Verizon does have its reasons from the business end, but why push people that would opt for these plans out the door, beats me. Remember the Motorola Aura that we mentioned last week. Super stylish, rudely expensive, it looks like it would fit nicely in Batman's utility belt, well if you do plan to blow 2 grand to this bad boy to sell it to some sucker on eBay to pay twice that, well, you can't. Apparently, Motorola's prized piece will involve signing a legal contract to prevent selling the phone on eBay or any other place for that matter. It will be interesting to see what happens if someone actually does break this contract. I can predict a lot of wasted time and effort. Oh well, who's still buying, anyone? Two companies in Europe are collaborating to mitigate their carbon footprint. SolFocus, the maker of Concentrator Photovoltaic systems or CPVs signed a $103 million deal with EMPE Solar Spanish group to promote the use of solar energy. Between now and 2010, SolFocus hopes to install over 10-megawatts of CPV systems across Southern Spain. Combine the initiative would collectively eliminate 27,000 tons of CO2 emissions and supply enough energy to power up 40,000 resident town. The deployment if this kind of CPV technology is the largest in Europe today, [inaudible] also add that SolFocus wears it's eco-friendly brand with pride. The CPV systems are composed of mainly glass and aluminum and 95% recyclable. Amazon is hard at work to make your unboxing experience stress-free. The company just launched a program called Frustration-free packaging. It features 19 of their best selling products specially packaged for easy unboxing. Plastic bubble clamshells and wire ties are some of the first packaging items that the company hopes to do away with. Manufacturers say that these methods are used to deter theft, but Amazon hopes that it will lessen stress on buyers and reduce the amount of waste in our landfills. Let's say it's a win-win. Those are all your headlines. Natali is covering the election up until tomorrow, so, you're stuck with me for one more day, but come Thursday, it's all Natali, so tune in for that. Thanks for watching. I'm Mark Licea with CNET TV, and you've just been Loaded. ^M00:05:30 [ Music ]

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