Ced Kurtz’s Techman Texts: Gimmick could place shared docking on map

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One of the joys of being TechMan is that once in awhile an unexpected package arrives at the office door. Even though TechMan can’‍t keep the devices that show up, it’‍s fun to play with them.

This happened the other day, and the box bore a PadFone X — the newest of the phone/​tablet combo made by the Taiwanese company and about to be introduced in the U.S. on the AT&T network.

Another phone and tablet? Yawn.

But there is a gimmick here that, if it becomes popular, could change the phone/​tablet market.

When you purchase the PadFone for $200 with a two-year contract, you get a 5-inch phone and a 9-inch tablet, both of good quality. How can this be, a phone and a tablet for the price of a phone? One reason is that the tablet has no computing guts — it does nothing if the phone is not docked with it by sliding into a track on the back. If the phone rings while docked with the tablet, you can answer using the tablet’‍s speaker mode.

The combination offers a few advantages right away. For one, you can operate both the phone and tablet on the same data plan. Apps can be used in both phone and tablet mode. although the switchover is sometimes a little clunky. And content on the phone, like photos, can be viewed on the tablet since the two devices share the same memory.

Are these advantages enough to make the PadFone popular? If so, we may see more shared docking devices.

Hard to forget. The birds released by a European court’‍s “right to be forgotten” ruling are starting to come home to roost. The court ruled recently that search engines, such as Google, must honor valid requests to remove certain links to a person’‍s name. Google last week reversed its decision to remove several links to stories in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, underscoring the difficulty the search engine is having implementing the ruling, according to Reuters.

Privacy campaigners have accused the Internet giant of removing valid links in an attempt to undermine the ruling, according to The Independent. One of the Guardian links removed was about singer Kelly Osborne. Hmm, maybe this isn’‍t such a bad idea. We certainly could use less meaningless celebrity news.

Don’‍t even think about it. A video showed up recently on YouTube, recorded with a GoPro Hero 3 Silver camera, showing the view from a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter drone flying in and above a fireworks show, according to Forbes.

Thinking about a little drone photography?

Gregory S. McNeal, a professor specializing in law and public policy, writes in Forbes that such drone antics are illegal.

Practice makes perfect. A boy in Spain was able to have a life saving operation with the help of a 3-D printer. Two attempts to remove a tumor near the stomach failed because of the danger of slicing important blood vessels and the tumor was considered inoperable. But then the doctors had an idea.

They used a multimaterial 3-D printer to print hardened arteries and organs surrounding a translucent, soft resin so they could practice removing the tumor without damaging the boy’‍s innards, according to CNET. The third time was the charm.

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