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The 404 Podcast 483: Where we play a never-ending game of devil's advocate

Today's episode of CNET's The 404 Podcast starts off on a personal note, with Jeff detailing last night's tour of Justin's tiny Manhattan apartment. I'll concede that the space is indeed very small relative to the cripplingly expensive rent, but like any self-respecting human, I'll pay almost anything stay out of New Jersey.

Although, if I ever get tired of New York, I can always make like Rob Cavazos, aka the Wilderness Man, and embark on a 10-day camping trip to the most remote phone box in the world. It's a 10-day experiment put on by Skype and The Viral Factory to raise awareness of Skype's cheaper international calls to landlines and mobile phones. Cavazos speaks English, Spanish, and French, and is inviting everyone to call the payphone using Skype for a quick chat. Check out the Phone Box Experiment Web site for more details.

Back in January, we made a spelling error trying to use the idiom, "Good juju, bad juju." As it turns out, the expired CrunchPad is now resurrected as the "JooJoo," but CNET's Rafe Needleman doesn't think consumers are willing to pay $499 for a device that does less than a Netbook. Check out Rafe's hands-on with the JooJoo and let us know YOUR opinion in the comments below.

Big thanks to Austin for the Nook motivation poster you see up there. And, as promised, we've got more 404 theme song remixes today, including more 8-bit awesomeness and two piano covers of Jonathan Coulton's "Mother Effers" track! Very cool stuff here, and please keep them coming! This has been the most. successful. unofficial. contest...ever!

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Apple pitching tablet to publishing industry


Apple will ramp up production on its long-rumored tablet in February with an eye toward a spring launch.

That's the word from Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner who says his checks into Apple's supply chain indicate that "the manufacturing cogs for the [device] are creaking into action." According to Reiner, the tablet will have a 10.1-inch multitouch LCD display and a price point of $1,000.

Apple plans to produce as many as 1 million units per month. So assuming it needs five to six weeks of inventory before launch, we can expect it to arrive at market sometime in March or April. In preparation for that day, the company has evidently been evangelizing the device to the publishing industry.

"Contacts in the U.S. tell us Apple is approaching book publishers with a very attractive proposal for distributing their content," Reiner wrote in a note to clients today. "Apple will split revenue 30/70 (Apple/publisher); give the same deal to all comers; and not request exclusivity. We believe the typical Kindle/publisher split is 50/50, rising to 30/70 if Kindle is given ebook exclusivity."

Noting dissension in the ranks, Reiner adds, "As innovative as it is, we believe the Kindle has disgruntled the publishing industry (book, newspaper, and magazine) by demanding exclusivity, disallowing advertising, and demanding a wolfish cut of revenue. The tablet is set to change that. It should also make e-books more relevant for education by simplifying functions such as scribbling marginalia."… Read more

Apple's Time Capsule and Airport Extreme revisions tested

Apple "announced" upgrades to both their Time Capsule and Airport Extreme Base Station in October. After much ado, attempting to get the new revisions and the old ones in-house to test, we've finally completed testing and have updated the reviews.

The thing about network testing is that because so many factors can potentially affect wireless network traffic, results can be quite unpredictable. This is especially true in an office environment like CNET's San Francisco office, where everyone and their mother seems to own an iPhone or BlackBerry.

While we attempt to minimize interference by analyzing the spectrumRead more

MP3 Insider 172: Subdued in sickness

As Jasmine France battles yet another cold, she defaults to Donald Bell for most of the talking, though her monotone voice intervenes at a few soothing intervals. On deck for this week: an unpopular story about popular gadgets, talks about Apple acquiring music cloud site LaLa, tips on how to ditch the iPod for the Zune (without hurting anyone's feelings), and a brief look at a new video service. Also: a listener looks for a mom-worthy MP3 player.

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HP PC users experience iPhone sync problems

This week, we received comments from a reader regarding an iPhone sync glitch with certain Hewlett-Packard-branded PCs.

Mark Lennon said his new HP DV7-3085DX PC running Windows 7 64-bit with the Intel i7 Q720 processor will not sync properly with the iPhone. He explained in an e-mail that there are "tons of messages on HP's discussion boards from other users who still have this iPhone sync problem." All these machines seem to use a new Intel i5 or i7 microprocessor while running Windows 7 64-bit.

We checked the forums at HP and found a fairly lively discussion about the problem. … Read more

iTunes Rewind shows off best-selling content of 2009

Apple has just put out a feature in the iTunes Store, called Rewind, that shows off the best and best-selling music, movies, TV shows, and apps from 2009. This year's edition is crammed full of information and I encourage you to browse through (iTunes link). The results are pretty interesting, although there are no real shockers. iTunes didn't provide download figures; it simply ranked the top-sellers. Here is a quick rundown of what stands out.

Not surprisingly, in the music category, iTunes staff picked Michael Jackson as artist of the year, with Kings of Leon taking home album … Read more

Did Apple pay $80 million or $17 million for Lala?

Two prominent technology writers are reporting vastly different stories about what Apple paid for music service Lala.

Peter Kafka, from The Wall Street Journal-owned blog All Things Digital, cited anonymous sources in a Monday report who said Apple plunked down $80 million for Lala. In a story published Tuesday, Michael Arrington at TechCrunch cited his own sources who disputed that price and said Lala was acquired for $17 million.

I wish I knew who was right, but my reporting came up with nothing solid. I will say that from the second I heard Kafka's number I was skeptical. After … Read more

Top 10 most popular laptops of 2009

Just in time to round out your holiday shopping season, we've consulted the Web traffic oracles and compiled a list of the most popular laptops of 2009.

Based on which system reviews CNET readers clicked on most often, this list shows what's on the minds of laptop shoppers -- and the emphasis is clearly on value over all else.

We've got six Netbooks in the top 10, including the Asus Eee PC 1005HA, which we've held up as a classic example of a Netbook done right. Apple, and 13-inch laptops in general, are also well-represented. Interestingly, … Read more