$19 unlimited wireless phone plan is a reality

Looking to save a a bundle on your wireless phone service?

Republic Wireless, which offers its “members” a $19 unlimited talk, text and data plan, recently entered open beta.

That means anyone can join.

Of course, there’s gotta be a catch, and there is. The company wants you to connect to Wi-Fi for the majority of your calling, texting and Internet access.

That shouldn’t be a problem for those of us who have Wi-Fi access at work and at home, but for others, that could be a dealbreaker.

Of course, you still have service when you’re not connected to a hotspot. Calls, texts and Internet get routed through Sprint’s CDMA cell network when you’re out and about, and the company remains committed to unlimited access for everyone.

There are a few caveats, however.

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Apple announces iPhone 4s instead of iPhone 5; humanity somehow continues to exist

Apple today announced the iPhone 4s, an upgrade to its popular iPhone 4 that is not the iPhone 5.

Many had expected the iPhone 5, a technological marvel that would have raised its owners’ children, prepared five-star cuisine and paved the way for comprehensive peace settlements across the globe.

Instead, Apple announced a new phone that is reportedly an upgrade from a previously released product. It also has a voice-recognition feature called Siri.

Here’s the real story from the San Jose Mercury News:

In a closely watched but ultimately anticlimactic product launch, Apple (AAPL) on Tuesday unveiled its latest iPhone, with a low-key Tim Cook emceeing his first event since iconic CEO Steve Jobs resigned in August.



Disappointed fans jumped all
over Apple for releasing merely an upgrade to the iPhone 4, dubbed
iPhone 4S, instead of the widely expected iPhone 5. But analysts
reminded them that many cool features — faster operating system,
slicker camera and video — were hiding under the hood.



“The improvements in software and
the new camera, for example, are impressive,” said analyst Roger Kay
with Endpoint Technologies Associates. “But if you don’t have a new look
on the outside, people tend not to get as excited.”



Cook seemed comfortable on
stage but was working a room clearly missing the energy Jobs used to
infuse into these events. The real star of the show was Siri, the new
voice-recognition feature billed as the user’s “personal assistant,” a
female voice that soon will be helping millions of Apple fans answer
e-mails, make dinner reservations and remember to pick up the dry
cleaning, all without a single key stroke.

As of this writing, the world has not fallen apart.

Report: Microsoft to cease production of Zune

Microsoft is expected to stop producing its Zune MP3 player, although the software is expected to live on in smartphones running Windows operating systems, Bloomberg News reported.

Zune, introduced in 2006, never managed to break the iPod’s
grip on the music-player industry and became the brunt of late-
night talk-show jokes. Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPod led the market with 77
percent of unit sales last year, while the Zune failed to crack
the top five, according to NPD Group Inc. By adding the Zune
features to the Windows Phone software, Microsoft aims to gain
ground in another challenging area — mobile phones — where
it’s lost market share to Google Inc. (GOOG) and Apple.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., declined to
comment on plans for the Zune.

I would comment if I have an opinion as to whether the Zune was or was not actually superior to the iPod, but I have a Sandisk Sansa, which it totally OK.

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The MIcrosoft Zune, shown here in many versions, is reportedly leaving the marketplace.

iPhone 4 Alarm Issues

Welcome to the New Year! 2010 was great for consumer electronics and hopefully 2011 will bring out more amazing gadgets. 2011 kicked off with out a hitch unless you are an iPhone user that recently updated to iOS 4.02. Like many others, if you set an alarm using the phone’s basic alarm setting, you may have not woken up on time.

Employees at the Apple store in Rancho Cucamonga said a fix should be out by Jan. 5, but in the meantime set your alarm to occur daily. It’s a simple workaround that could save you from being late.

Not your average cookout device…

Celebrity gossip site TMZ normally doesn’t report on gadgets, devices, or anything gaming related until Sears’ “human cooking line” popped up on their radar.

At first glance, it looks like your listing for a typical Kenmore 4-Burner until you take a look at the department that it is listed under. A few possibilities come to mind: the site was hacked, someone was bored at work (and may eventually be fired), someone was being let go at work and decided to be funny on the way out, or they outsourced their website to cannibals.

The department link goes nowhere, but the page is still live as of this writing. If you put the words “Sears Kenmore human cooking” in Google, that’s what currently comes up as the first link.

I’m kind of disappointed that they didn’t offer a copy of Soylent Green with the burner.

UPDATE, 12:15 PM: It didn’t take Sears too long to fix this one. All I can say from an IT perspective is that today is going to be a very bad day for someone in that department if they were responsible. As for the Google results, that will take a little more time to clear out, but the screenie below shows what was on there.

UPDATE: A post on Reddit has explained just how a “human cooking” line had appeared on Sears. If you don’t like technical explanations, you can always read what rumor-debunking site, Snopes, has to say about it instead. But suffice it to say, no one at Sears intentionally defaced the site to appeal to cannibals.

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