Lost Packets

Drivers in Newfoundland could get more than they bargained for if they care caught talking and driving this year. Last month the province announced it has banned handheld cell phones while driving. The law won’t come into effect until late March or early April to give people enough time to find alternatives to using handheld phones while they drive. Once in effect, anyone caught breaking the law will receive four demerit points on their driver’s licence and fines ranging from $45 to $180. The province has said the ban is aimed at improving safety on the roads.

Diving into communications

A Victoria-based military diving organization, DiveLink International Technologies Inc., has developed a cellular phone interface unit allowing divers to receive and transmit information to remote locations without having to come up for air. According to the company, through custom microchips, the surface unit allows existing cell phones to be plugged in to facilitate communication between the diver and anyone, anywhere in the world. DiveLink’s underwater communicators give hands free operation with no manual adjustments required or complicated menu modes. For more information, visit the company at www.naval-technology.com.

All you need at your fingertips

So, you’re driving down the highway, your favourite CD is playing and there is not a cloud in the sky. Suddenly, it happens: the dreaded gas light appears out of nowhere like a pimple on your first date. Will you make it to the nearest gas station? Better yet, where is the nearest gas station? As of last month, Bell Mobility clients in Quebec and Ontario need not worry. The company announced MyFinder, a location-based service that finds the location of a user’s mobile device – within Bell Mobility’s coverage area – and lets the them look up information for services including restaurants, hotels, hospitals, banks or theatres. MyFinder also provides detailed directions and the estimated distance and time of travel, whether by vehicle or on foot. Available now, more information can be found at www.bellmobility.com.

Recycling conversaction pieces

Cell phones have come a long way since the earlier enormous, bulky models of the 1980s – think Michael Douglas in Wall Street. But, have you ever wondered what to do with mobile phones once they have passed their prime? Finally, cellular phone makers are upping efforts to recycle phones to reduce the growing electronic waste mountains. According to a recent report, phone makers in Europe including Nokia, Ericsson and Siemens have signed an agreement enforced by the European Union (EU) that promises to make their handsets easier to recycle. The EU has also announced an electronic waste directive that will force manufacturers to take back old products for recycling and applies not only to cell phones, but to all electrical goods such as televisions, DVDs and computers. There is no word yet whether North American legislation will follow suit

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