Lost Packets: Networking news and trivia

Digital inspiration expires parking meters

When we pull into a parking spot, we’ve all hoped for some time left over from the previous driver, so we don’t have to pay. But for Pacific Grove, a seaside town in California, those prayers will forever be unanswered. Last year, the coastal resort town ditched coin-operated parking meters in favour of digital ones. The meters from Harrison, Ariz.-based Duncan Parking Technologies use a wire grid underneath the pavement to trigger a sensor when a car pulls into the spot. Information is then sent wirelessly via radio signals to traffic enforcers so they will know when time runs out on any meter in town. As soon as the car pulls away, the meter resets itself to zero. And the longer you overextend your stay, the more you will pay in parking fees. The move to this type of meter is supposed to help lower a city’s operating costs, reduce staffing needs and increase ticketing accuracy.

Elvis has left the building, and gone online

He may have died 28 years ago, but Elvis Presley lives on in cyberspace. In August, to coincide with the anniversary of his death, Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. launched a new global Web site, ShopElvis.com, dedicated to selling wares that bare the king of rock & roll’s likeness. The new Web site has been set up to accept foreign currency and provide faster and less expensive shipping to Elvis aficionados and fans around the world. Secaucus, N.J.-based eFashion Solutions is in charge of the worldwide Web-marketing and Web-retailing for Elvis-trademarked merchandise. In July, the company took over as the e-commerce platform from FanBuzz Inc., which specializes in operating Web sites for professional sports teams.

Motorola brings mobile filmmaking to TIFF

At the 30th Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, Motorola introduced Canadian filmmakers to mobile video technology. Through its MotoFilm project, Motorola gave these filmmakers Motorola V635 handsets to experiment with and create self-portrait films using mobile video technology. As well, Motorola issued a challenge to film students at universities and colleges across Canada to create a public service announcement about the issues of mobile phone courtesy and film privacy. The winner, Stephen Mavilla from Humber College, had his film, “Ushering: Basic Training,” screened as a trailer before each film at this year’s festival for a total of 900 showings. To see the winning film, visit www.motorola.ca/motoreel.

Instant message service gets mobility

Canadians will now be able to access MSN Messenger on their mobile devices, thanks to Bell Canada. About 11.5 million Canadians use MSN Messenger and spend an average of 378 minutes per month on it. Now, on select Bell Mobility phones, Canadians can take MSN Messenger with them wherever they go. Initially being launched on four instant message-ready handsets, customers have the ability to transmit messages typed on their mobile phones to anyone on their contact list, in real time over the Internet, to other mobile phones or PCs. The cost of the service on the select handsets is $3 per month. Customers also have the option of subscribing to the $5 Mobile Browser bundle or the $35 rate plan that includes Mobile Browser and unlimited messaging without incurring transfer fees. To download the application or for more information, visit www.bell.ca/msnmessenger.

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