Lost Packets for March 4, 2005

Red carpet greetings

William Shatner is taking Rogers Wireless voicemail where it has not boldly gone before. The Toronto-based company has introduced a host of celebrities to greet callers when the phone owners can’t get to their devices. The messages include Shatner, formerly Captain Kirk on TV’s Star Trek, wishing he could “beam you up”, to Destiny’s Child harmonizing “the girl is not home” and making sure “she’ll get jumping back at you.” Callers can also choose a breathless Anna Nicole Smith airily saying, “Your friend is unavailable . . . and I’ll give him your message once he is untied.” To take advantage of this new feature, Rogers Wireless customers require a GSM/GPRS phone and must be a subscriber to a voicemail plan. These new greetings can be downloaded onto wireless handsets at a cost of $3.00 each. To preview the celebrity greetings or to purchase one for download, visit www.rogers.com/celebrityvoicemail.

Today the role of tour guide will be played by….

Coming soon will be a new set of mobile devices that offers users a unique way to experience a city such as Vancouver. Mobile MUSE (Media-Rich Urban Shared Experience), a Vancouver-based consortium made up of industry and academic organizations like IBM, Telus, Nokia, New Media BC and the University of British Columbia, is the brainchild behind the project. According to its Web site, the first prototype, called re:call, is “a mobile information and experience architecture targeted at Vancouverites and visitors aged 14-34 who are interested in simultaneously making and participating in culture on the go.” It is scheduled to be deployed this spring in the form of a mobile history tour of Granville Island.

Anti-theft protection for laptops

According to the FBI, about 97 per cent of stolen computers are never recovered. With stats like those in mind, IBM has partnered with Vancouver’s Absolute Software to have its Computrace solutions embedded into the BIOS firmware of IBM’s new T-series of ThinkPad computers. Absolute guarantees the recovery of a stolen computer and says it can remotely delete sensitive data. If the computer is not found within 30 to 60 days, customers may be eligible for a recovery guarantee payment of up to $1,000 (certain terms and conditions apply). In addition, Absolute solutions have the ability to track a computer’s location, provide computer hardware and software inventories as well as managing lease returns and enabling software title tracking and licence compliance. Visit www.absolute.com for further details.

Rent a car, get a BlackBerry

Avis Rent a Car in Canada is letting its customers drive away with a free BlackBerry with any rental completed between now and April 30, 2005. For every completed transaction, customers will get a free BlackBerry 6750 (valued at $299); up to five devices can be attained. In addition, the offer also includes free activation and shipping. According to Avis, the reason behind the promotion is to help “small businesses and busy professionals save money and maximize their time when on the road.” In order to qualify, customers must provide a rental agreement number by visiting the company’s Web site to confirm a completed rental. The device will only be shipped once the customer signs a 24-month service agreement with Bell Mobility.

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