Apple Turns on 90-Second iTunes Song Previews

Apple made good on its promise to extend iTunes song previews to 90 seconds very early Thursday, Dec. 9. Only some songs 2:30 and longer will get the new preview length, though, with shorter tracks and some exceptions retaining the original 30 second preview length.

iTunes Song Previews to Triple in Length to 90 Seconds

In a recent email to music labels and providers, Apple announced that previews will be soon tripled in length. Song previews for tracks over 2:30 will now be 90 seconds instead of 30 seconds in the iTunes Store. Reaction to the change appears to be mixed.

Google Introduces New Productivity-Boosting Features in Gmail

Gmail Labs has been busy lately, it would seem, and has introduced a number of new features for the web-based email service that have me, once again, considering going back to it (I generally use my MobileMe account, because it allows me to sync across my Macs and my iPhone and iPod Touch). These new features are generally useful for anyone, but they can also add to a web worker’s productivity, especially if you use your Gmail account for both private and professional correspondence.
First up, there’s a feature I know I’ve wished I had many, many times. And generally, when I found myself wanting it, my career was somehow involved. Basically, Gmail now has a take-back button for undoing a “Send” command. It actually holds the email for five seconds after you’ve pressed the send button, so it can’t actually reach out and steal a sent email back from the receiving server, but that five seconds is often all I need to realize that I’ve forgotten an important attachment in a client-facing email. Read More about Google Introduces New Productivity-Boosting Features in Gmail

HP adds $199 integrated 3G option to Mini 1000 netbook


Remember those stories two weeks ago about HP quietly including a "hidden" 3G card in the HP Mini 1000 netbook? I never heard back from HP on my inquiry but it may be a moot point now. I just got word from the company that you can now add an integrated 3G option with the Mini 1000. Unfortunately, while hitting up HP Direct and configuring a Mini 1000 confirms the good news of availability, the bad news is the price. Expect to pay $199 for HP’s un2400 Mobile Broadband card. Considering that the Mini 1000 can be had for as little as $399, the additional $199 might be hard to stomach.

You’ll get your choice of Verizon’s EV-DO or AT&T’s HSPDA when you configure the option. To activate it, you’ll need the HP Connection Manager software, which was alluded to in the hidden 3G news recently. Interestingly, there are three options for configuration shown in my screen-cap above. I’ve got a note into HP wondering if the HP un2400 uses Qualcomm’s Gobi chip, which supports both EV-DO and HSDPA. I’m guessing not, but since there are three configuration options for two 3G networks you never know. Maybe that’s a "hidden" feature too.

Since netbooks are mobile companion devices, I fully understand why an "always-on" connection is desirable. That’s why I have one. But if computer makers are going to limit that connection by making it integrated, it either needs to come down in price through subsidization or they should simply offer USB options. If I had integrated 3G for each of my devices instead of my 3G USB adapter I’d be paying more for 3G than I pay for my car. That’s not appealing to me as a consumer and I’m not sure a $199 3G card for a $399 netbook will be either for many. Especially when HP sells the un2400 alone for $149.99. I’m assuming it’s the same thing based on the features and specs.

I’ll update if and when I hear back from HP on the either/or option shown above.

Ztail, online listings made easy

It has been a weekend of relative quiet and peace – where most of the time was spent cleaning up the apartment, and discovering that I had more digital device clutter than any sane person should have. In other words, time to head on over to eBay and list some old stuff to make room for the new gee-gaws. Apparently I am not alone: a recent survey released by eBay shows that the average US household has approximately $3,000 of unused things in their home

Call is serendipity, but right after watching Roger Clemens right the New York Yankees’ ship, I met with Bill Hudak, cofounder and CEO of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Ztail, that has come up with web service that allows you to easily create “classifieds” and then publish them to not only eBay, but to other sites such as Edgeio, Facebook, MySpace, TypePad and WordPress blogs, and of course the Ztail listings site.

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