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Handhelds Hardware

Forget the PDA, Here Comes the TDA 390

Roland Piquepaille writes "A French company has just started to sell the Jackito, the first 'Tactile Digital Assistant' (TDA). This new kind of PDA has no stylus, doesn't offer handwriting recognition and has no keyboard. Instead, it is based on touchscreen technology and relies entirely on your thumbs for input -- which are harder to lose than a stylus. And as Jackito has two simultaneous touch points, you can operate it with your two thumbs at the same time, at least according to the company. For an entry price of $600, you'll get parallel-processing capabilities with 7 processors and plenty of brand new technology, including 3ActilOS, a multitasking OS, which is not even referenced by Google. So be warned before purchasing one! However, the approach is pretty unique and I wish them good luck. Before opening your wallet, you'll find some selected pictures in this summary."
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Forget the PDA, Here Comes the TDA

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  • by scrytch ( 9198 ) <> on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:53PM (#9680119)
    "tactile" ... "jackito" ... oh my.

  • bad pricing idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tedtimmons ( 97599 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:53PM (#9680120) Homepage
    So it costs $600 right now. After 1/2 million units, they'll lower to price to some unspecified amount. After 1 million units, they'll lower the price to $100.

    How would you like to pay $600 for the 499,999th unit? Or (unspecified amount) for the 999,999th unit? D'oh!
  • Ewwwww (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Why do the words "Jackito" and "finger-touch array" give me a real bad vibe. You when you see tentacle pr0n. *shudder*
    • I imagine Jackito sounds more like taquito, although your pronunciation is probably going to be very popular no matter how Novinit wants to pronounce it.
  • SMS texters have been sending messages using their thumbs for years.
  • by bgog ( 564818 ) * on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:53PM (#9680129) Journal
    Is it just me or does this have almost no cool factor. I'm about as excited about it as a ham sandwich.
  • but does it run linux?
  • by CrackHappy ( 625183 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:54PM (#9680139) Journal
    They will never get any first-adopters now! They told everyone that after 1 million units it will drop to $100! So everyone will wait, no one will buy it, and it will die.

    Bye bye, Mr. Tactile Digital Assistant!
    • Not neccesarily true though. There are always those who will go to any extent or price to say "I had it first."

      Look at people who pay several hundreds of dollars for a cell phone just because T-Mobile doesn't offer it yet.
  • by jbellis ( 142590 ) * <`moc.rednelbeganrac' `ta' `nahtanoj'> on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:55PM (#9680153) Homepage
    On the one hand, they say that
    [t]o optimize Jackito's features (Finger-Touch Control, battery life, fast graphics, Multitasking, Real-Time Processing, etc.), we have had to incorporate Parallel Processing (seven processors) and a powerful Gate-Array. These are unrivalled technologies in the PDA arena, which explains the price.
    But on they other, they say that: "A single AA battery = several weeks' battery life."

    Those must be some pretty unimpressive processors to last a week on a single AA...

  • by Trillan ( 597339 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:56PM (#9680166) Homepage Journal
  • by raehl ( 609729 ) *
    Those insensitive clods!
  • taking notes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatfieldje ( 147296 ) * <`' `ta' `leiftahh'> on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:57PM (#9680172)
    One of the reasons people like PDA's is because they can take notes in class or in meetings. I didn't see any easy way to take notes with this thing, unless they use morse code: Left thumb = dash, right thumb = dot.
    • How about an onscreen keyboard optimized for two-thumb input? that thing's probably much more than double the size of my cellphone's keypad, and i do fine on that.
    • Re:taking notes (Score:4, Informative)

      by C10H14N2 ( 640033 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:51PM (#9680811)
      ...especially given that god-awful A-Z keyboard. UGH. Does it at least have the ability to map into a more friendly layout? That one sucks. Also, part of the appeal of Graffiti was that it took up a tiny portion of the screen realestate. The on-screen keyboard takes up more than half of it.

      Besides, I've been using my finger as a stylus for years, so "hey look! you don't need a stylus!" is about as attractive as marketing a soda can as "look! no glass or straw needed!" Erm, yeah, thanks for the 411.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:57PM (#9680184)
    "So simple a monkey could use it.*"

    *If that monkey had opposable thumbs.
    • i believe all primates have opposable thumbs... therefore, a monkey would have opposable thumbs (they also have opposable big toes, so they could use it with their feet as well).
    • Re:Their new slogan: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rleibman ( 622895 )
      All monkeys have opposable thumbs, that is in fact one of the defining characteristics of primates. Of all the primates, I believe only humans have 2 opposable thumbs, the rest have 4.
  • by madprogrammer ( 214633 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:58PM (#9680190)
    Is that in sleep mode?

    To optimize Jackito's features (Finger-Touch Control, battery life, fast graphics, Multitasking, Real-Time Processing, etc.), we have had to incorporate Parallel Processing (seven processors) and a powerful Gate-Array

    Isn't it counter-intuitive to imply Parallel Processing and powerful Gate-Array would give better battery life??

    This sounds like a hoax.
  • Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by wbav ( 223901 ) <> on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:59PM (#9680216) Homepage Journal
    Now I don't want to sound cynical, but I remember a product a few years ago on slashdot which numbers didn't add up, and it had all these pretty pictures. Something about a seti@home pci card.

    If you ask me, it's a joke, especially since it's using an OS that google can't find.
  • by proverbialcow ( 177020 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:00PM (#9680232) Journal
    I'm unemployed right now, so securing "financing" for that $600 price 2would definitely put my thumbs in jeopardy...
  • I smell a hoax (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scrytch ( 9198 ) <> on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:00PM (#9680233)
    Let's see, "super sekrit SEVEN PROCESSOR PARALLEL PROCESSING sauce ..." runs for over a week on standard AA batteries. Telling everyone your pricing model which includes a ridiculously steep drop after shipping a million units. Truly amateur copy writing ... even the French know that when you have a new product, you have to market it wel.

    Oh, and you pay a $100 or 100 eur "deposit to confirm your order".

    So it's not only a hoax, it's a SCAM .
  • beowolf cluster of these?
  • Man, this Jackito almost made me weep browsing the PDA's website. This thing is incredible, and is definitely an incredible feat of engineering. But the only thing is, does anyone else think this is too good to be true? Weeks on a AA battery, very fast, easy to use, cost cutting to $100 after 1 million units. It almost sounds too good to be true to me. Lets all hope this is for real and not vaporware like the OQO.
  • I've always had horrible handwriting.

    The only reason I can still write at all legibly (slightly less then a doctor) is because I use a PDA stylus... just using my thumbs? I might as well swear off ever using a pen or pencil in future.
  • PDA/TDA? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eeg3 ( 785382 )
    It's 'not a PDA', but... it's website is Interesting. On another note, using your thumb on the screen is messy, it gets the screen all greasy and dirty. You can use your thumbs on a regular PDA, if you are so inclined. Also, it's powered by AA batteries. Ugh, i'll stick with my lithium rechargable battery.

    High Sound quality via Screen!
    Apparently the speaker is beneath the screen, that's kind of neat.

    This seems to me to probably be the equivalent of a "PDA" you can buy at walmart for $
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:02PM (#9680256)
    If you look at the product demo it shows the touchscreen being used as a keyboard. A very big keyboard. I see how this could appeal to the those peoplewho insist on running a 640x480 display but the screen area overhead that this thing will need for regular operation will turn off everybody else.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:03PM (#9680271)
    If you look, they require $100 to be put into what they call an "Escrow account" until the unit ships. Huh!? ELABORATE SCAM!!!

    It is a very professionally well done web site, very convincing, but a company of their stature would be accepting payment by means other than PAYPAL!!!

    I mean fake Apple PDA pictures have surfaced a few years ago that also looked very convincing as well. At least these fakers are trying to get some money out of you for all their hard photoshopping and HTML design!!!
    • by Bellyflop ( 681305 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:16PM (#9680429)
      I'm going to have to call shenanigans on this one. That's pretty sketchy. They don't seem to really want to let you know how to really use their new touchscreen technology to do useful things like input an address. That's the sort of thing a PDA company wants to reassure is very simple right off the bat.

      The website is registered to Novinit, some company in France. I have a hard time believing that they are real since they don't seem to want to leave an address on their website, nor do they own the domain "" which any self-respecting french company would own. They claim that they have been doing the research for 10 years with "tens of millions" of dollars invested in research. Sort of hard to believe since they also claim to have been founded in 1999 and with a 2mil euro initial investment and $10 mil in initial capital. Strange that they keep flipping between Euros and Dollars.

      If they are real, they ought to provide more information.
      • To complicate things even more, look at whois info for []. First of all, it's an (almost) empty web page, but the info says the domain is registered to

        HONG KONG, 00000

        Sounds extremely fishy; seems like they couldn't throw a phony website together for the OS.
    • Good call. Also, the picture looks a like a photoshopped Newton 2100. []
    • Result of WHOIS

      Domain Name: JACKITO-PDA.COM
      Registrar: NETWORK SOLUTIONS, INC.
      Whois Server:
      Referral URL:
      Name Server: NS1.HOST7X24.COM
      Name Server: NS2.HOST7X24.COM
      Status: REGISTRAR-LOCK
      Updated Date: 28-may-2004
      Creation Date: 28-may-2004
      Expiration Date: 28-may-2005
      Note the creation date.


  • I often try to operate my P900 with my thumb, but it usually ends up badly. Sometimes it works, though.

    Why can't someone come up with a thumb stylus? Kinda like a thumbpick for guitars...
  • This is a pretty damn good hoax. I bet the real news sites start picking up on it as something real very soon.

    It has enough technical information to sound real, but there are just so many sections where it just doesn't quite make sense what they are saying... :)
  • You hear me? Not color, not grey scale, not even 4bpp. Its mono, black & white. Hell, its not even that, its black and not black. Scuse me while I go call the 1990s and tell them we've found their missing PDA.
  • by LightStruk ( 228264 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:07PM (#9680321)
    What has two thumbs and loves simultaneous touch points?

    This guy...
  • 7 CPUs? (Score:5, Informative)

    by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:07PM (#9680324) Homepage Journal
    Why in gods name would they include 7 processors? That just dosn't make any sense. My guess is that some idiot just counted up all the chips in the system, or something.
    • Re:7 CPUs? (Score:3, Informative)

      by randyest ( 589159 )
      Why in gods name would they include 7 processors?

      Power management. They have one chip, implemented as a cMOS gate-array ASIC, which includes 7 CPU cores. More or fewer cores activate as needed (via gated clocks). It's a very good way to minimize power use (hence the 1xAA battery lasting several weeks, under "normal use," which is to say "waiting for input, usually") while still providing decent performance when needed.

  • by Perianwyr Stormcrow ( 157913 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:08PM (#9680333) Homepage
    Because something that sounds like a cross between masturbation and tortillas ain't so great!
  • Sony Gummi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by datawar ( 200705 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:08PM (#9680341)
    Sony has a device called the Gummi Bendable Computer [] that they've been developing. Input is based on bending the credit-card sized device (made of flexable material) towards and away from you. The design is well thought out, and as an HCI person, I'm actually pretty impressed with it.

    If you have access to ACM's digital library there's a good paper on it that was published at the CHI 2004 conference.
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) * on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:09PM (#9680348) Homepage Journal
    ..relies entirely on your thumbs for input -- which are harder to lose than a stylus.
    Yeah, but if you do lose one, they cost an arm and a leg to replace.
  • Fraud! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:12PM (#9680384) Journal
    What is with all those lovely color pictures ( on a device that has a BLACK & WHITE screen? And by B&W, I mean 2-color and not grey-scale. They call it "extreme contrast".

    Mmmmm... $600 for a 2-color PDA w/a proprietary OS and heavy DRM. Sign me up for a dozen! I'll take delivery right after Nader sweeps the elections in November!

    [And an OS that is described as an extension to Visual C++, to boot!]

    • Re:Fraud! (Score:3, Informative)

      by chill ( 34294 )
      Damn, I had to read further! :-) A color screen is $138 extra. Add a few options and you can easily hit $1,000!

  • Well (Score:4, Funny)

    by stonecypher ( 118140 ) <stonecypher&gmail,com> on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:13PM (#9680388) Homepage Journal
    Instead, it is based on touchscreen technology and relies entirely on your thumbs for input -- which are harder to lose than a stylus.

    Not if you're yacuza, you insensitive clod.
    • Sorry to spoil the joke (high difficulty points for you, still). It's Yakuza, and it's usually the pinky finger that one cuts off, if one is a Yakuza and did something bad or dumb, to show sincerity of penance and apology.
  • However, we appreciate that, without actually holding Jackito in your hands, you can't really feel this new and unrivalled type of interactivity. Why? Well, for example:

    A PC mouse can't make objects jump, unlike your fingertips
    on a Jackito Touchscreen.
    A stylus-driven PDA doesn't allow you to touch two points
    on the screen simultaneously.

    Jackito lets you use both thumbs at the same time.

    Jump? The objects on the screen jump? As in, off the screen, into the third dimension? Wow. No wond
  • As you don't have another place to enter text as the on-screen keyboard editor, you probably lose the ability to have some in-place editing, i.e. you could lose track of what are exactly editing now and things like that. That at the very least will limit the kind of applications that can be done with it.

  • From the site's "Software" page:
    Digital Right Management :
    The Firmware keys for Software protection.
    No thanks.
  • Hmm, let's see.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Spyro VII ( 666885 ) <spyro@[ ] ['spy' in gap]> on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:23PM (#9680508)
    including 3ActilOS, a multitasking OS, which is not even referenced by Google
    Which can be taken to mean that this OS doesn't exist.
    1. Your $100 or 100 deposit will be paid into an escrow account until your order is delivered. 2. Your deposit is refundable on request. In this case, we will deduct 8% to cover bank charges.
    I'm sorry but something about this escrow account and deposit reeks of a scam. And if that wasn't interesting enough, I should note that the domain was just registered on May 28th of this year, which doesn't seem to be a long enough time for something to be created. I wouldn't give them my 600 bucks.
  • by SamBaughman ( 74713 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:24PM (#9680529) Journal
    "7 processors" = 1 microcontroller (M30803) ("Logical processor") @ 20MHz and 1 DSP (MSP 430) ("Analog processor"), both released in the 2001 timeframe + 5 "Automata" inside an FPGA (write protection/addressing windows, main timing control, access control, button control, and LCD processor ... or touchscreen process control, graphic control/LCD clipping, memory optimation/bank switching, main timing control, and main bus interfaces, depending on which [] page [] you check.

    Pretty bad when you're not even self-consistent.
  • Apparently, the unit, sans screen, costs $600. If you want a screen for some reason, a B/W costs $123, while color is only a mere $15 bucks more, for $138. Totally nuts you have to pay more for a screen, should just be honest and sell two models, one for $723 and another for $738. F'ing retarded to try and slip in a lower unit price by pretending the screen is an optional accessory (Did fool the loons on Slashdot though; the uber-parent fell for this ploy, as did the nutsy Slashdot uber-mod).
  • it's not my cup of tea. reminds me of those grubby touch screen monitors libraries had back in the mid 80's. more importantly where's the compelling software [] that is easy to use ~ like my Palm 3 which I got back in '98 for about AUD$600?

    Technology looking for a solution that's already been p

  • SCAM? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wdavies ( 163941 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:31PM (#9680613) Homepage
    Ok, the more I read this, the more it seems like a scam. Of course Slashdot can't be held responsible for novel scams, I do think a large rwarning should be put up now enough folks have ridiculed the site.

    Lets see: Weird named OS that has never seen the light of day, a "deposit" required, etc. Even if this isnt a scam, seems like these guys dont have a shippable product, and are looking for some free funding... and that's being charitable

  • by sbaker ( 47485 ) * on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:32PM (#9680616) Homepage
    The problem with a device like this at it's high price is that it changes just too many variables.

    * You might pursuade people that the wonderous new input device was worth looking at on a fairly standard PDA.

    * You might sell them a fairly standard PDA with some new no-name Operating System.

    * You might even convince them that they need 7 CPU's on a regular PDA.

    * You might maybe sell people a pretty standard PalmOS PDA from a company you've never heard of (if it's cheap enough).

    But all those things at once (and at such a high price) are just spelling "DISASTER" to me.

    It only takes one of those wonderously innovative things to be somewhat broken to make the darned thing useless - and what happens if the company goes bust tomorrow? They've already admitted that they've paid a fortune up-front to tool up to build a half million of these things. They must owe money out the wazoo - it's a high risk venture they are engaged with here.

    Will they be there to fix up the bugs in an untried OS running on 7 CPU's in parallel? Will there be new applications for it? Will there be endless teething troubles with all of these new hardware widgets?

    (And if it's a "TDA", why to they have 'pda' in their URL?)
  • I hope people realize how amazing this hardware appears to be, or at least the manufactoring of it. Look - it's a build to order PDA []: , the first ever. I have been following this industry for 5 years (I run a large pda website), and never has a company made a true build to order PDA.

    This company? Which screen you want, color, b&w, or bistable - a technology that I thought was still in testing! This may be the first use of bistable screens in a large device. (and how about the fact that it's turning the
  • by nial-in-a-box ( 588883 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:46PM (#9680764) Homepage
    A company is capable of producing an innovative new handheld device running an allegedly unknown OS, and they use PayPal to accept payments? That alone dropped their credibility to almost none. This is one case where I will definitely have to see to believe.
  • by Tandoori Haggis ( 662404 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:57PM (#9680877)
    Like a PDA you can operate while keeping your hands in your pockets...

    Er ok... Perhaps not...

    (such a device might end up being euphemistically
    referred to as a jerkito)
  • by Dr. Mojura ( 584120 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:59PM (#9680887)
    After seeing all the comments of people thinking it's a hoax, I did some searching and I don't think it is a hoax. First, I did a whois on the actual company, Novinit and found the following:
    Arnaud de La Fouchardiere
    66 bis avenue Jean Moulin
    Paris, 75014
    Phone: 06 07 61 23 36

    Registrar Name....:
    Registrar Whois...:
    Registrar Homepage:

    Domain Name: NOVINIT.COM

    Created on..............: Fri, May 18, 2001
    Expires on..............: Wed, May 18, 2005
    Record last updated on..: Mon, Oct 06, 2003

    If the Jackito is their first product, and only recently named, it would make sense that the domain for "jackito-pda" was only recently registered.

    Also, searching for their management team of Arnaud de la Fouchardière: Founder, President and CEO; Patrick Thomsen: Vice-President Marketing and Finance; Noël Pietri: Vice-President Sales turned up (among others) these links: Noël Pietri [], Arnaud de la Fouchardière []. I haven't found anything on Patrick Thomsen as of yet, but if this is a hoax, it is extrodinarily elaborate.
    • Did research too. redirects to

      check out

      Just to keep you guys reminded that france telecommunication and computing are relatively independent of what's going on in the US, so it's highly possible.
    • Re:it's a hoax (Score:5, Informative)

      by anticypher ( 48312 ) <anticypher&gmail,com> on Monday July 12, 2004 @08:17PM (#9681504) Homepage
      A quick reverse directory [] on that address turns up no company called novinit, but the offices of a couple of shell companies, MMSA/Digiplace. Web design and hosting, with not much history according to google.

      Novinit is not a registered company name in France. Perhaps it is the operating name of another company. The website does not offer the required information of a tax number, physical address, and other contact details.

      Arnaud de la Fouchardière is the money behind the fly-by-night Marcopoly online store. They've got a bad reputation for shipping various bits of kit which probably fell off the back of trucks, and no after sales service. He made his money from online pr0n, mostly doing the technical front for prostitution rings using the old Minitel service.

      There are two sites, and, one is hosted in France, the other in California. They seem identical in content, but the one hosted on 7x24net in the U.S. has bogus registration information.

      The photos of the device on the website are of an Apple Newton.

      There is no way to get in touch with this company except through a paypal link. The phone number given for the registrars is a pre-paid anonymous GSM phone on the orange network.

      All the hallmarks of a scam.

      the AC

  • by miradu2000 ( 196048 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @07:00PM (#9680902) Homepage
    I could not find any patent apps, or any FCC approval documents by Novinit, BUT they did trademark the name jackito for use in laptops/pdas/handhelds and the like back in 2002: 0knan.2.1

    Trademark's aren't free, and this was years ago, so I take this as proof that it's real.
  • by shamino0 ( 551710 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @07:01PM (#9680913) Journal
    Offering a bait-and-switch price of $600, only to find that this price is without any display whatsoever. After adding a display and memory, you're now up to almost $800.

    And then they only accept payment via PayPal. So you have no legal recourse when they take your money and disappear.

    And their product description looks like a whole pile of feel-good platitudes with absolutely no technical content whatsoever. Their FAQ goes on at great length about how styli are evil, but the site says absolutely nothing about how you enter text into the thing. My guess is that you can't. Assuming the device exists at all, you probably can only enter text while it's docked to a real computer - making it completely useless for everything I rely on my Palm PDA for.

    Seven processors and a custom OS? <SARCASM>And if the program is not stopped, the computer's processor will be placed in an nth-complexity infinite binary loop - which can severely damage the processor if left running that way too long. Unfortunately, most novice computer users will not realize what is happening until it is far too late.</SARCASM>

    Click here [] before replying that you don't get the joke.

  • I wouldn't pay $200 for that.

    Look up the M30803. It's a 20 MHz CPU!
    The MSP430 is a digital-watch class device.

    20 MHz processor. 2.5M RAM, 320x240 display, serial interface, you can ignore the FPGA and "internal bus"... if the CPU is so anemic they can't be any good. I've got a faster PDA with a better screen and more memory that cost under $150. AND you can actually get software for it.
  • Mafia (Score:3, Funny)

    by InfiniteWisdom ( 530090 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @07:14PM (#9681021) Homepage
    which are harder to lose than a stylus
    I work for the mafia, you insensitive clod!
  • by AnEmbodiedMind ( 612071 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @07:14PM (#9681025)
    This [] is hilarious,

    They claim that the developer tools are touch screen based... yeah - you code for the product USING THE TOUCH SCREEN!

    But there is also a BASIC language interpreter... can you imagine coding BASIC with a touch screen?

    "We have supplied this built-in BASIC interpreter, as it lets you code programs directly on Jackito, without having to use a PC. We chose not to include a Java interpreter, as you cannot code Java programs directly on Jackito - you need a PC for this."

    What a dumb ass hoax

    • I'm not claiming it's not a hoax or anything, but your grounds for declaring it's a hoax really don't fly. There are lots others in this thread that are more compelling.

      Other than C++, the primary development language for the Psion EPOC32 OS was OPL, a basic-like language that could be development on the PC w/ a simulator, or on the device itself, though the Psions had real keyboards, not just an on screen one.

      And this is coming from a person who has done a lot of coding directly on a PDA. First, using Ne
  • by ( 643709 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @07:40PM (#9681211) Homepage
    how do i write larger texts on it? with my fingers? no matter how advanced the computer is and no matter what else it can do, plain writing of text is still one of the most important tasks. at least for me.
  • by qseep ( 14218 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @09:46PM (#9682138)
    Studies show 90% of PDA users lose their PDAs. Why worry about losing your PDA ever again? The SolePad(tm) PEDA (podiatric embedded digital assistant) fits right in your shoes!

    Walk your way to a new day! This innovative product, made possible by the NASA space program, has undergone 35 years of development and cost over $10 billion.

    Advantages over PDA's:
    • Large footprint allows easy data entry. What is more natural than walking?
    • Take notes with the innovative Hopscratchpad.
    • Simultaneous data entry with both feet!
    • Play fun built-in games such as Twister(tm) and Kickman, and educational software such as Prance Prance Evolution.
    • Experience multimedia interactive fiction such as Stomp: The Interactive Multimedia Experience (requires force-feedback module).
    • Contains FOUR MULTIMEDIA LAYERS of Teflon, Foam, Silicon and Plastic!
    • Easy connection to Segway(tm) docking station.
    What people are saying about SolePad:
    • "Finally, my hands are free to do my work. I love taking notes with the Hopscratchpad." - Jackie Chan, actor
    • "I kept losing my shoes. Now I have an excuse to keep them on!" - Bikram Choudhury, yoga instructor
    • "This is the greatest new technology I have seen since Jackito." - Michael Jackson, singer
    Special prepaid introductory price: $1000/ft.

    SolePad: Finally, a step in the right direction. (tm)

    Kickman (c) 1981 Midway
    Twister is a registered trademark of Milton Bradley
  • by hedgehog2097 ( 688249 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @09:55PM (#9682194)
    "This guy must be laughing all the way to the bank. Every minute this is on the front page suckers are sending this guy money..."

    Would be my immediate comment. But I'll back it up with some quick detective work.

    Let's view the source on the payment page and start with some PayPal background checks. You need a PayPal account for this:

    Seller Reputation: New Member*
    Account Status: Unverified
    Account Type: French Business
    Account Creation Date: 28 Jun. 2004
    PayPal Member For: 15 days
    Cust. Service Email:

    An unverified account rings an alarm bell immediately. It doesn't take long to do this, just a week or two to wait for a code on a bank statement. It's another sign that you are who you say you are. Any reputable retailer does this. Maybe he's just about to.

    Now a whois search on the novinit domain:

    Arnaud de La Fouchardiere
    66 bis avenue Jean Moulin
    Paris, 75014
    Phone: 06 07 61 23 36

    Alarm bell 2 - the name "Arnaud de La Fouchardiere" itself is registered to another address. You can determine that with a search here:

    I won't paste it in case I'm barking up the wrong alley. But it certainly isn't the one from the whois result. Perhaps he moved recently, or this is his office address. Or perhaps he's a clever scammer syphoning away our money as we speak.

    Alarm bell 3 - from comparisons with the above site, Parisien phone numbers should begin 01 4.

    Alarm bell 4 - The whois address given appears to have rather too many companies using it for my liking. It may be a rented service. sa fe=off&q=%2266+bis+avenue+Jean+Moulin%22&btnG=Sear ch

    Alarm bell 5 - he wants us to wait 90 days?!?

    If you check PayPal's policies, it's increasingly difficult after 30 days to retrieve funds on items that aren't received. This guy is expecting us to wait 90 days before he despatches?

    So what we have is a site that seems a little too good to be true, appears to invent technology, and has some large information holes that many other people have pointed out.

    Maybe it's genuine. Send us an email Arnaud, we'd love an exclusive interview!

    I'll wait for the first million.

    Perhaps "Arnaud" could make a better living designing websites? I'd be glad to throw him 600 bucks to redesign mine...
  • Google searching 101 (Score:4, Informative)

    by rjamestaylor ( 117847 ) <> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @12:25AM (#9683024) Journal
    • including 3ActilOS, a multitasking OS, which is not even referenced by Google
    True "ActilOS" is not googlable, but "actil OS" is []. Common boogle -- not trying alternate spacing for acronyms and product names.

The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them. -- T.A. Dolotta