Why Sprint is taking its sweet time with 4G LTE

As the wireless carriers shift into high gear with their speedy 4G LTE networks, Sprint has seemingly been stuck in the slow lane.

The company has showed some progress in the critical market of New York. But even there it's not a complete victory, with only two of the five boroughs -- Brooklyn and Bronx -- officially lit up with 4G LTE.

The partial deployment of New York is illustrative of the rocky road that Sprint has been on as it upgrades its wireless network -- a frustrating reality for both the company and its millions of customers.

Sprint'… Read more

The 404 1,291: Where we paddle out to North Brother island (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- What happens when you install every adware, toolbar, and plug-in offered for download on the Internet?

- Great comments on YouTube for Jeff.

- Cheap vacation: An abandoned island in the middle of NYC.

- You can now buy a spray at Home Depot that makes anything wateproof.

- I usually don't get excited about iPad cases, but this one takes me back.… Read more

The 404 757: Where we crash your Valentine's date (podcast)

To celebrate the most miserable day of the year, aka Christmas 2.0, we're being Debbie Downers and checking out stories to ruin your cheesy holiday. If you're not hitched up with a honey bunny today, you may be able to increase your chances of bagging someone special based on the next gadget you buy.

According to this Gadgetology study, your computer, cell phone, and other tech accessories are big factors in determining your attractiveness to the people around you. Of the men surveyed under the age of 35, 50 percent find women with fancy smartphones more attractive, whereas 38% of women think a modern laptop oozes the most sex appeal.

And this is no surprise, but the two worst tech deal breakers for women are the awful Bluetooth wireless headset and cell phone holster, so steer clear of those two if you're looking to hook up. Finally, outside of the tech world, more women younger than 35 say they're attracted to a man walking a cute dog than a geek with a cool smartphone, so we're kind of screwed either way.

On the other hand, if you want to avoid sex altogether this year, the best way to accomplish that goal is to trick your partner by cooking them a dinner made of anaphrodisiac ingredients.

You can kill the mood with a number of ingredients including hops, marjoram, common rue, soy, and coriander, or you can really play it safe with a combination of it all in a deliciously platonic chicken and tofu in a marjoram cream sauce.

A anti-touch relationship is a good way to practice safe sex altogether, but what if a painful health affliction is preventing you from getting yours? A dating Web site based out of Winnipeg is playing Cupid for clients that suffer from herpes.

Actually, you don't have to have herpes to join. According to the creators, hopeful clients are asked during registration if they have it and if they'd be open to someone with it for full transparency. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, about one in six people between the ages of 14 and 49 suffer from the STD and are embarrassed to admit it to lovers, so Camelot Introductions offers this service to dispel the prejudice.

But all that aside, if you're a super procrastinator and still haven't purchased your boo a gift, consider a New York solution and just name a cockroach after your Valentine.

Episode 757 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more

School shows off its laptop surveillance tactics

"This kid looks like they're editing their MySpace page."

So declares an assistant principal at Intermediate School 339 in the Bronx borough of New York, a "former technology coach" (PDF) named Dan Ackerman (but not to be confused with CNET's Dan Ackerman). You might imagine that he's wandering around a classroom looking over kids' shoulders as they fiddle about on their laptops. You might imagine, then, that storks deliver milk as well as babies.

This remarkable 2009 footage from the PBS show "Frontline," promoted on its site earlier this month and … Read more

Just sit right there

WhoopieCushion is a free and extremely simple app that attempts to replicate the classic, red-rubber toy of the same name. Like the original toy itself, there are countless competing imitations--offering everything from timers to motion sensors--so shop around to find the right flatulence simulator for you. WhoopieCushion stands out because of its price (it is free) and its clean interface: you just tap the photo of the "Whoopee Cushion" on your iPhone or iPod Touch screen, and the app will randomly produce one of a handful of "Bronx cheer" noises. No similar app--this one included--can quite … Read more

Next-gen pranks with the Soundbomb

No, the Soundbomb isn't a lo-fi, post-modern iPod speaker. And no, you definitely don't want to leave one under a bridge in Boston. But if you're an artist or a prankster, you may want to get on the waiting list for one.

The idea is simple: record the sound of your choice to the Soundbomb, hide it somewhere, and enjoy as the motion detector-based Soundbomb greets/annoys/scares the crap out of passersby by blaring your audio recording.

Imagine recording ghost noises to it and hiding it in a dark basement, using it as a stolen-beer alarm … Read more