In today's Remainders: the unfun. Wait! Don't go. The items themselves are fun! They just involve unfun. We have a no fun WiFi school bus; a no fun eBook from the White House, an unspectacular Samsung smartphone reveal, and more.
I recently took my first trip on a WiFi-enabled airplane. At first I thought, "How cool! I'll never be bored on a flight again!" But I quickly realized that in-flight WiFi, in some perverse way, made me MORE bored. That special in-the-air-with-nothing-to-do time had been invaded by the regular old routine of checking e-mail and reading through my RSS feeds. So it is with a heavy heart that I read this story about a school district in Arizona that plopped a mobile WiFi router on top of a school bus, effectively turning it into a mobile study hall. And the worst part is the kids are just going along with it. Apparently all of the regular back of the bus mischief has subsided and now the kids just sit and do homework. That's no fun! I remember one time when I was on a school bus a weird kid put SIX FRUIT ROLL UPS in his mouth at one time and nearly suffocated himself in the process. If we're entering an age in which WiFi is the replacement for adolescent fruit roll up shenanigans, count me out. [CrunchGear]
For the first time, this year's Economic Report of the President will be made available as a free eBook. They have versions prepared for Nooks and Kindles and will offer an ePub version for the Sony Reader and other devices that get down with ePub. I applaud the effort, but I imagine that I'd have such a hard time concentrating on this to begin with that it would take approximately one E-Ink page refresh for me to give up completely. [Engadget]
Oh Samsung. You tried to keep your new Bada smartphone under wraps until MWC. You were so close. But then you went ahead and put up this gigantic billboard mere days before the event. Sure, the ad doesn't reveal much about the Wave's specs—just that it has a camera and a full touchscreen—but talk about fudging your big unveiling. [Unwired View]
TED curator Chris Anderson brought Google's Sergey Brin on stage for an unplanned Q&A about his company's recent cyber-beef with China. Wired made note of Brin's statement that he was remained "optimistic" that Google and China could work something out, and quoted him as saying he thought Google could "really work within the Chinese system." On the whole, it seemed like Sergey might've been backing down from the no-censorship ultimatum his company announced earlier this year. But a quick read through a transcript of the question and answer session reveals that he addressed the ultimatum explicitly—it's still there, just sugarcoated a little bit:
Yes, we've made a statement of intent. That we intend to stop censoring, and you know, if we can do that, within the confines of Chinese policy, we'd love to continue Google.cn and our operations there. And if we cannot, then we'll do as much as we can but we don't want to run a service that's politically censored. I'm not talking about things like porn and gambling and things like that. Political censorship.
So, no, Google's not backing down. Just being diplomatic. [Wired]