A new patent awarded to Web retailer Amazon.com could change what customers see in their shipping confirmation e-mails, as well as making falsely problematic returns more difficult.
U.S. patent number 7,689,465, which was unearthed early Tuesday by blog TechFlash, outlines a process wherein the company films outgoing packages being boxed up. Stills from these videos, or the entire video clip of the packing, can then be sent to the buyer for what Amazon says is verification of both the order and the shipping address.
But the idea behind the patent is not just for customers, it'… Read more
Ten years ago during a visit to Philadelphia, I passed a large ship docked at a pier on the Delaware River. The ship looked like an ocean liner and though I sped by in a car, I noticed the faded name "United States" on the bow. I wondered, could it be the same revolutionary passenger liner that still holds an Atlantic speed record a half a century after its speedy voyage? As it turns out, it was.
The SS United States has been moored in Philadelphia since 1994, but now it appears that its days could finally be numbered. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported today that the ship's owner, Norwegian Cruise Lines, is seeking to sell the United States for scrap. Norwegian bought the liner in 2003 with the intention of refurbishing and returning it to service in Hawaii as part of NCL America. But as the Hawaii cruise market began to lose money, NCL kept the ship in Pennsylvania.
If the United States ends up in the scrap yard, it will be a sad end to a short, but spectacular, career. When the liner was launched in 1952, it was a technological breakthrough of its time. Thanks to a sharp-edged stern, a bulbous prow, powerful engines, and unique propellers--the design of which was kept secret for many years--the United States was very fast. Its top speed was 43 knots (49.5 miles per hour), but even its typical voyage speed of 34 knots (39.1 miles per hour) was enough to win it attention. … Read more
A skipper's dream of sailing across the ocean using solar power is about to come true. More impressively, he'll be sailing on arguably the world's largest pollution-free yacht, the PlanetSolar, which was unveiled Thursday at the HDW Shipyard in Germany.
Raphael Domjan, the skipper and CEO of the PlanetSolar project, regards this event as a confirmation that "the solar-powered boat is now a reality." Since the '80s, Domjan has been dreaming of touring the world using the minimum amount of energy. He envisioned a solar-powered boat in 2004 and the PlanetSolar project has been in … Read more
I think every Amazon shopper has encountered this dilemma at one time or another: You have just under $25 worth of stuff in your cart--not quite enough to qualify for free Super Saver Shipping--so you go trolling the site for something to tip the scales.
And that's never easy, so eventually you just give up and buy something pricey. What the hell, right? At least you got free shipping!
Filler Item Finder helps you find items that bring your shopping-cart total to exactly $25, thus qualifying you for that oh-so-tantalizing Super Saver.
Suppose you're $1.17 shy of $… Read more
Apple on Sunday apologized to customers amid reports of shipping delays of its recently introduced iMac computer.
"The new iMac has been a huge hit and we are working hard to fulfill orders as quickly as possible," an Apple spokesperson told CNET. "We apologize for any inconvenience or delay this may cause our customers."
Apple declined to comment on what's causing the delay, or if it's the display problems that have been widely reported in the last week. A support thread on Apple's Web site has 81 pages of comments and complaints from … Read more
Screen savers these days tend to give users a lot of options: adjust the speed of one element, change the quantity or color of something else, add your own music, and so on. Coral Reef screen saver downplays customization in favor of really, really good graphics, and we can't say it's a bad trade-off.
The screen saver doesn't do a whole lot. As the name would suggest, it's an underwater scene, with fish leisurely swimming past a shipwreck. Sunlight streams through the water, creating a ripple effect on the sea creatures in the foreground. Users can … Read more
AsteroidRush is a basic arcade-style game in which users must destroy asteroids and other objects that threaten their spaceship. It's not very interesting, yet we found it somehow addicting in a totally mindless kind of way.
The program's interface is very simple. The player's spaceship is located in the middle of the screen and can spin around but not move from its spot. The spaceship is bombarded by asteroids (which look a lot like meatballs) and other unidentified objects from all directions. Users shoot at these threatening objects to protect themselves and earn points. Some objects confer … Read more
Lading Manager Lite allows users to create professional-looking bills of lading (shipping). It's not the most sophisticated program we've ever seen, but it does serve its purpose.
The program's interface is perhaps its most unattractive feature; it's not entirely unintuitive, but it does look very dated. The built-in Help file is quite comprehensive, but most users who have any familiarity with creating bills of lading should be able to figure the program out quickly on their own. Users must first enter information for their company, carriers, origins, consignees, and equipment. Once these are in the database, … Read more