Canadian Man Selling Homemade Jet Pack

Canadian man's homemade jet pack.If you’ve got $2500 dollars (I’m assuming Canadian) and feel like making a really poor decision, there’s a Canadian man you need to meet. Though he remains unnamed, he would still like to sell you his homemade jet pack, but you better be willing to part with some cash.

The man put an ad up on UsedVictoria.com, where he hopes to sell the jet pack for the aforementioned $2500. What do you get for your hard earned cash? Why not let the man tell his own story. The copy from the ad reads as follows:

Handcrafted by myself Using Car and Airplane parts. I spent 15 years as a mechanic. Can Use for 2 High Jumps 10 feet in the air with a safe landing before overheating, takes about an hour to cool down after that.

weighs 53lbs, approx Camping backback in size , dull grey in color.

serious buyers only can test out on my property and of course watch me first for safety reasons and training.

At the very least your $2500 will get you the chance at seeing a man blow himself into tiny pieces. You better hurry, though. The offer’s only good through September 28th!

Apple Hosting “Rock And Roll” Media Event September 9th

Apple September invite.Today, Apple sent out invitations to their September media event (if you’re reading this, Apple, you forgot the one with my name on it and that complimentary airfare/hotel stay). This year’s invitation looks like just about every other iPod advert. The invite reads, “It’s only rock and roll, but we like it.” Those aren’t exactly inspiring words for a tablet announcement, but there are plenty of other things Apple could show off this year.

Among those would be the rumored-to-death cameras for the iPod Touch and Nano models, the release of which would set the stage for an iTunes 9 announcement. There’s also the “Cocktail” feature that’s supposedly designed to save the album (can you save what’s dead?). All of those things would be interesting announcements, though I can’t say I’d be excited about the extra bloat coming to iTunes. It’s bad enough as is.

Yelp’s Crusade To Liberate iPhone Developers

Apple's App Store.Hidden within Yelp’s new app this week was an augmented reality feature called “Monocle.” Users gain access to the feature by shaking the phone three times on opening the app. It’s not the first easter egg we’ve seen used to access otherwise prohibited features, but it’s certainly the most prominent, and it seems not everyone is as excited about the feature as I am.

Enter Matt Galligan. He’s the CEO of CrashCorp, a development group looking to put together an augmented reality SDK to help developers create quality AR apps. He was a guest author at TechCrunch this week, where he criticized Yelp for deceiving the Apple review team. It’s not that Galligan always agrees with what Apple mandates, but that he would rather play ball and stay in the game than take his chances with unapproved features. Yelp, Galligan says, has changed the development game for everyone, ensuring even longer approval times as the review teams scour lines of code for tricks and treats.

I can understand Galligan’s concern. The App Store is a symbiotic relationship. Apple gives developers access to a truly ravenous audience, and the best apps draw more customers to Apple’s phone. Everyone makes money, everyone goes home happy. But Apple has been tightening its grip lately, reigning in even the tamest of applications, like Facebook 3.0, and making them beg for release. Rumored rejections of key apps, like Google Voice, have even led TechCrunch’s founder, Michael Arrington, to leave his iPhone behind for greener pastures.

Granted, approval problems aren’t going to make the majority of iPhone users look for change (if AT&T doesn’t scare you off, what will?), but the developers have more to worry about than Apple’s good graces. It’s consumers making developers money, we’re just letting Apple handle the transaction, and consumers love it when their phones can do something cool. Monocle is decidedly cool and, though Yelp may have snuck one over on Apple to release it, Yelp created a bond with the consumer that Apple better not break.

Imagine the outrage if Apple pulled Yelp. Granted, it’s no Google Voice, but it’s prominent enough that more than just the Arringtons of the world would notice. And oh would they be pissed. With as much bad press as Apple’s recently had, it can’t afford to give consumers another reason to cry foul. If anything, now is the perfect time for developers to take action. I hate to turn this into some hyperbolic plea for an uprising but, developers, you have nothing to lose but your chains!

That’s the real beauty of this situation – Yelp is catering to its real audience: the consumers. While Galligan is worried about Apple, and whether developers will get to implement his SDK in a timely fashion, Yelp is using consumers to force Apple’s hand, reminding Apple none too gently that it better behave.

Hulu Has More Viewers Than Time Warner Cable

Silicon Alley Insider Hulu vs. Time Warner chart.According to Silicon Alley Insider, Hulu has passed the nation’s second largest cable provider, Time Warner Cable, in monthly viewership. The comScore report for July puts Hulu at 38 million viewers, while Time Warner was estimated to be closer to 34 million.

As the SAI article points out, there’s not a whole lot to draw from this news. Cable is still drawing far greater revenues than Hulu, so it’s hard to say how the two will compare into the future. There’s also the matter of the content actually being watched. While it’s probably rare that someone would fire up the DVR just to watch a clip of the Colbert Report, those clips are probably a large part of the viewer count for Hulu. Then again, those Hulu viewers may end up logging more video time because accessing content is a little more active than flipping on the TV. In any case, the comparison isn’t quite one to one.

AT&T And AppleGetting Sued Over MMS

MMS service for the iPhone.An irate iPhone customer has decided to take legal action concerning the lack of MMS support for the iPhone on AT&T. The case, which is being brought by an Ohioan, Deborah Carr, claims that both AT&T and Apple used tricky marketing to mislead customers into believing they would have MMS support in June.

The brief is actually pretty funny. It claims that millions of customers purchased the iPhone 3G and 3GS after the “false and deceptive representations and concealments of Apple and AT&T” led consumers to believe they would have MMS support. Yeah, I don’t know about you guys, but that’s exactly why I bought my iPhone. The brief also refers to the alleged day in June when iPhone MMS would become available as “wonderful.”

Now I’m not on AT&T‘s side here. Quite the opposite. The MMS delay is completely absurd, but so is this brief. Referring to the ability to send picture messages via MMS as “wonderful” is sad, and it smacks of a clinically diagnosable level of obsession with cellular service. Will it be nice when I can send a picture message from my phone? Sure. Will it be life-changing? No.

Why Mrs. Carr and the lawyer who went in on this couldn’t have more appropriately worded the brief is beyond me. The words “excessive delay,” and “denied service without adequate cause” just have such a nice ring to them.

Yelp Augments Your Reality

Yelp logo.Yelp updated its iPhone app this week and included one very cool easter egg. If you haven’t already, download the update, open your Yelp app, and shake your phone three times. You should get a message telling you that “Monocle” has been activated and can be accessed in the top-right corner of your screen.

So what is Monocle? It’s augmented reality for Yelp. Hitting the monocle button takes you to what looks like the camera application with a Yelp overlay. A compass in the top right corner displays local establishments with a Yelp presence. Rotate your phone to the right spot and you’ll see a little Yelp shortcut card with the name of the establishment. The card scales based on how far away you are, so the biggest cards are closest and the smallest the furthest away. It’s a neat feature, particularly if you’ve just moved somewhere new.

There is one problem, though – augmented reality apps weren’t meant to be released until iPhone OS 3.1. That’s what Apple asked of its developers, anyway. Personally, I appreciate Yelp’s noncompliance, but there are others who think it’s going to hurt the development community. What say you? Sound off in the comments.

China Unicom iPhone Deal Is Official

iPhone on its way to China.China Unciom issued a statement today confirming the release of a Chinese model of the iPhone. The deal has been in rumors and unofficial news stories for some time now, but the companies actually involved are confirming the story this time around.

In a deal that would bring the iPhone to 141 million users, China Unicom will buy their phones from Apple wholesale. That means no crazy revenue sharing deal like Apple initially inked with AT&T and several European partners.

It also looks like China Unicom won’t be getting the 3GS but the 3G in several models (probably storage capacities). One big question is whether or not the devices will come Wi-Fi enabled as they do in the rest of the world. Everyone knows China has some crazy restrictions regarding internet use. Neither China Unicom nor Apple will confirm the specs of the Chinese models.

Facebook 3.0 Is Live

Facebook 3.0 for the iPhone.Facebook developer Joe Hewitt can finally rest easy knowing that his app is approved and in public hands. It certainly took long enough. Hewitt posted his submission on his Twitter page a couple weeks back. He made a blog post earlier this week decrying the App Store for its lengthy and often arbitrary approval process. Well the app is finally out, and it’s pretty great.

The update brings a whole list of new features along and gives the software a makeover. The new interface is much more direct, which is something I really appreciate. I probably say it too much, but I don’t really like Facebook, so making my user experience quick and to the point is fantastic.

I also like that I can manage events from the new app. I mentioned yesterday that I prefer an uncluttered digital experience and this is just one more thing I can manage on the go. As always, the app is free for download.

Facebook Should Reconsider Friend Requests

Jesus wants to be your friend.I’m not secretive about the fact that I don’t like Facebook. I’ve mentioned in other posts that I don’t need daily updates from people I haven’t seen in years. The simple solution is to just not friend those folks, but some of them are incredibly persistent, sending requests four or five times before I cave.

Facebook posted a reminder on its blog this week to remind users that we have methods for dealing with these problems. If you don’t want to friend someone, press the ignore button. They’re never notified. You could also friend the person, let him read your profile, and then unfriend, in which case the person again won’t be notified. If you’re in my situation, though, you have just one recourse. You leave the friend request pending. In that way you never have to deal with the request again.

But I hate that solution. Hate it. I don’t like cluttered message systems, and there’s really no reason Facebook couldn’t implement a simple ignore system, as in, ignore this request and all future requests from this individual. It’s similar to blocking people, which the site allows you to do, just built into the friend request system, making it much easier to manage.

The fact that Facebook saw fit to remind users of these features suggests the site may be getting some negative feedback, and for good reason. Facebook beat MySpace by offering better privacy features, so why not this? Why must I subject myself to the hoard of messages people send to entire friend lists?

Analysts Say No iPad In September

The Apple iPAD?Despite all the rumors flying about an impending Apple tablet release, analysts don’t expect we’ll see one at the glamorous September Apple event. Instead, you should be looking for an iPod Touch/Nano refresh that includes cameras for both models and possibly a video cam on the new iPod Touch, bringing the flagship mp3 player in line with the iPhone.

The Apple tablet rumor got a whole lot bigger back when Borders posted a survey regarding ereaders that referenced an Apple device. Since then it’s been a lot of speculation, but nothing truly official has surfaced. The camera rumor, on the other hand, has more substantial evidence. There are countless cases with camera ports all in the same place, along with insider info that the cam is coming. I’d say it’s definitely a safer bet.

There’s also the nature of a tablet release for Apple. It has to be good. It has to be really good. The netbook craze is already starting to decline as the models get stuffed with more and more features and look more and more like actual notebooks. Convincing the world to reconsider what is essentially an MID will take an exceptional product, and that’s something Apple may not be ready to roll out by September.