Obsessing over pocket calculators might not be the hippest hobby for today’s online generation, but Hewlett-Packard Co. is hoping a quirky contest will draw out their bravest fans.
The Palo Alto-based technology company is marking its 35th year in the handheld calculator business by encouraging the gadget’s most devoted fans to submit short YouTube-style documentary films conveying their affinity for the devices.
Eight finalists will win a trip to Hollywood this summer for the HP Golden Calculator Awards ceremony, and the audience favorite wins a $3,000 high-definition plasma television set.
‘Second Life’ to charge for names:
The online fantasy world “Second Life” will soon introduce the virtual equivalent of vanity plates, allowing residents to customize their characters’ first and last names.
“Second Life” spokesman Alex Yenni said the feature, likely to cost $100 up front and $50 a year, would debut by the end of the year.
Currently, participants in the popular alternative universe can give their digital proxies – called avatars – nearly any first name they’d like.
But nearly everyone has to select from a rotating stock of surnames – conventional surnames such as Geiger, Felix and Lancaster, or futuristic, foreign or odd ones like Cioc, Stenvaag and Pugilist.
Best Buy offers help in ‘Second Life’:
The online world of “Second Life” is about to get even geekier.
Best Buy Co. Inc. plans to open Geek Squad Island, a spot in “Second Life” where its Geek Squad technical support workers will offer free computer advice.
The virtual world will have regular office hours (3 p.m. to midnight, PDT, seven days a week). The online characters will wear white, short-sleeve button-down shirts, black pants and, of course, a badge.
Best Buy said many of its Geek Squad agents already were a part of “Second Life,” a virtual 3-D world where people can gather and interact.
Some of the Best Buy’s plans sounded as if they would fit in with the “Second Life” vibe of wandering around and seeing what’s there to see. But others resembled Best Buy’s core business of selling tech toys, such as the “Future Home” that will include an interactive exhibit showing new home technology.
The company said it would hold regular events on Geek Squad Island, and offerings will evolve as Geek Squad agents add to it in future months.
Greenpeace ranks Apple last for green:
Greenpeace International ranked Apple Inc. last in environmental friendliness among major electronics makers, while it praised Lenovo Group Ltd. for bucking trends in China.
Greenpeace spokeswoman Iza Kruszewska said Apple has been willing to meet legal requirements and basic standards, but it hasn’t stopped using several types of harmful chemicals in its manufacturing.
Apple spokeswoman Sheryl Seitz rejected the environmental group’s ranking system.
“Apple has a strong environmental track record and has led the industry in restricting and banning toxic substances such as mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium, as well as many BFRs,” or brominated flame retardants, Seitz said.
The Green Electronics Council, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, generally gave Apple better scores than Lenovo and Dell Inc. based on 23 criteria established by the IEEE, including materials used, energy conservation and packaging.
Lenovo replaced Nokia Inc. at the top of the list. Kruszewska said Lenovo was the first major electronics manufacturer to offer all customers the opportunity to give back computers for recycling. She said the Chinese company was bucking the tide in China, which has become a dumping ground for hazardous electronics.