Lost Packets

Just as the ’80s spawned those tacky watch-rings, it was only a matter of time before today’s necessities turned into fashion accessories. Last month, Siemens AG in Munich, Germany announced it has developed a collection of wearable phones that will sell through retail stores. The first of four collections was launched earlier this month targeting “any fashion-minded people,” according to a company spokesperson. The phones, including the Xelibri, offer simple voice functionality and will only be available for 12 months. And, although the phones will only be initially sold in select European countries, China and Hong Kong, Siemens said further markets will be explored later this year. For details, visit www.siemens.com.

Guitars get connected

If only Jimmy Hendrix were alive, imagine what he’d say. Last month, famous guitar manufacturer Gibson Guitar Corp. announced it is the midst of producing new guitars that not only let out a mean wail, but also carry Ethernet support. In conjunction with 3Com Corp., Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Xilinx Inc., Gibson is creating a the MaGIC protocol that carries live digital data from instruments. Based on Ethernet connectivity, MaGIC stands for Media-accelerated Global Information Carrier and makes a standard Ethernet cable capable of carrying up to 32 channels of 32-bit, 48kHz of uncompressed digital sound allowing for real-time synchronization of hundreds of instruments and devices, Gibson said. The company released its first electric guitar integrating MaGIC last October. Visit www.gibson.com for more information.

Iraq goes on the auction block

While it has endured its share of pranks, including a mother for sale and a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich (allegedly Elvis’s), eBay Inc., the online auction giant, may have been surprised to see that an ad placed on its site last month advertised the sale of Iraq. The auction, starting as low as 99 U.S. cents, reached upwards of US$99 million for the middle-eastern country, described in the ad as “conveniently located on the Uzbekistan-Syrian super freeway…with millions of relieved citizens.” Although it could only mean good news for the likes of U.S. President Bush, the sale was, in fact, a farce, and eBay staff assured users the ad would be pulled. According to an eBay spokesperson, the site offers more than 12 million auctions on a given day, and the site does not routinely go through new listings every day looking for pranks. Find eBay at www.ebay.com.

Hold my pickaxe while I check my e-mail

It seems that Internet connectivity is popping up everywhere these days. So, when Tsering Gyaltsen Sherpa, the grandson of Sherpa Tensing – one of the first men to climb Mount Everest – suggested offering climbers Net connectivity, it didn’t take long before the wheels were in motion. At an altitude of 5,300 metres, Sherpa will be opening an Internet caf