Vonage: flat-rate voice-over-ip for the masses

I’ve been keeping an eye on Vonage. The deal is pretty simple: $40/month gets you flat-rate, unlimited local & long distance phone calls over your high-speed Internet connection using your ordinary phone. You get a phone number in any area code you choose (kewl!), voicemail, caller ID and all the goodies. Your phone plugs into a special adapter. You kiss Qwest goodbye.

While Vonage is not (yet?) offering service to businesses, this seems like it would be a great deal for someone working from home who has to make a lot of long-distance phone calls.

Backflip: a handy way to store bookmarks online

Like many people, I often wish I could access my Web bookmarks when I’m not at my desk, or that I could easily share my bookmarks with colleagues. My friend Beth Kanter just steered me towards Backflip which does exactly that. It lets you easily add bookmarks to an online database, and optionally, to make chunks of your bookmarks publicly available. It’s very slick, and I think I’ll find it very useful.

“Recycled” computers shipped overseas

The San Jose Mercury News just published a very disturbing and eye-opening story called Where Computers Go To Die which tells the story of how waste computers are being exported to China, where their improper disposal is a major toxic waste and human health catastrophe in the making.

The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition first documented this in their report Exporting Harm.

Want some things you can do about it? For starters — buy greener computing gear. You can also endorse SVTC’s “Electronics Take It Back! Platform” which calls for manufacturers to take more responsibility for post-consumer electronics waste.

Monorail! (What nerds think about transit)

Well, it looks like the Monorail won — by 800 votes out of 200,000 cast. (If I ever hear “My vote doesn’t count again….”) More amusingly, even Slashdot covered the story. Some pretty interesting comments from the high-tech crowd… worth reading if you’re interested in understanding techie attitudes towards transit (suprisingly favorable). My favorite comment:

[Anonymous Coward] I hear those things are awfully loud. [Article] It glides as softly as a cloud [Enginerd] Is there a chance the track could bend? [Article] Not on your life, my Slashdot friend [Frequent poster] Why Seattle, those braindead slobs? [Article] There were only so many Starbucks jobs [Oil Companies] Were you sent here by the devil? [Article] No, good sir, I’m on the level [Cowboy Neal] I feel attracted to a man. [Article] Go outside and get a tan! I swear it’s Seattle’s only choice Throw up your hands and raise your voice! Monorail! What’s it called? Monorail! Once again! Monorail! [Poster] But our educational system’s all cracked and broken [re;] Sorry, man, the mob has spoken [All] Monorail! Monorail! Monorail! Monorail! [Homer] Mono- d’oh!