Boston cellular networks flooded, but service was not cut off

In light of this afternoon’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon, many across the world scrambled to contact loved ones through calls, texts, and social media. Cellular providers had beefed up their networks in advance of the Marathon, but even with the extra capacity the networks became flooded, leading to reports of users being unable to make calls.

There was confusion this afternoon when the Associated Press reported that cell service in the city would be intentionally shut off as police looked to prevent any possible cellular activation of another explosive. However, the news organization basically retracted its original story and found no such shutdown was ordered. The carriers said heavy usage caused connection delays—but service remained available in the city throughout the day.

“Verizon Wireless has not been asked by any government agency to turn down its wireless service. Any reports to that effect are inaccurate,” Verizon spokesman Tom Pica told the IDG News Service in an e-mail.

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If You’re in Boston Without Phone Service, Call Out from This Site

With Boston’s cellular service shut down, it isn’t easy for locals to speak with their family and loved ones outside of the city. If you’re in Boston and need to make a call, you can use a site set up by Twilio to do so via your browser. You’ll need Chrome or Firefox and the Adobe Flash plug-in. If you’re reading Lifehacker, chances are you have what you need. Just follow the instructions on the page and you’ll be able to call out for free.

Call Your Family | Twilio

If You’re in Boston Without Phone Service, Call Out from This Site

With Boston’s cellular service shut down, it isn’t easy for locals to speak with their family and loved ones outside of the city. If you’re in Boston and need to make a call, you can use a site set up by Twilio to do so via your browser. You’ll need Chrome or Firefox and the Adobe Flash plug-in. If you’re reading Lifehacker, chances are you have what you need. Just follow the instructions on the page and you’ll be able to call out for free.

Call Your Family | Twilio

If You’re in Boston Without Phone Service, Call Out from This Site

With Boston’s cellular service shut down overloaded, it isn’t easy for locals to speak with their family and loved ones outside of the city. If you’re in Boston and need to make a call, you can use a site set up by Twilio to do so via your browser. You’ll need Chrome or Firefox and the Adobe Flash plug-in. If you’re reading Lifehacker, chances are you have what you need. Just follow the instructions on the page and you’ll be able to call out for free.

Call Your Family | Twilio

This Acura RLX Commercial Will Make You Want To Luxury Vomit

The new ad for Acura’s RLX is such a perfect embodiment of douchey luxury, watching it will make you want to walk to your luxury bathroom and luxuriously vomit into your luxury toilet.

It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what’s wrong with the luxury in this luxury car luxury ad. Is the luxury sugar too cubic? Is the luxury suit too shiny? Is the luxury smirk on the luxury car driver’s face too luxurious?

Either way, it’s not a good look for a car that is already hopelessly flailing against its luxury car competition.

This Acura RLX Commercial Will Make You Want To Luxury Vomit

The new ad for Acura’s RLX is such a perfect embodiment of douchey luxury, watching it will make you want to walk to your luxury bathroom and luxuriously vomit into your luxury toilet.

It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what’s wrong with the luxury in this luxury car luxury ad. Is the luxury sugar too cubic? Is the luxury suit too shiny? Is the luxury smirk on the luxury car driver’s face too luxurious?

Either way, it’s not a good look for a car that is already hopelessly flailing against its luxury car competition.

This Acura RLX Commercial Will Make You Want To Luxury Vomit

The new ad for Acura’s RLX is such a perfect embodiment of douchey luxury, watching it will make you want to walk to your luxury bathroom and luxuriously vomit into your luxury toilet.

It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what’s wrong with the luxury in this luxury car luxury ad. Is the luxury sugar too cubic? Is the luxury suit too shiny? Is the luxury smirk on the luxury car driver’s face too luxurious?

Either way, it’s not a good look for a car that is already hopelessly flailing against its luxury car competition.

Rolls-Royce Once Built A Car To Keep You Out Of Jail

Rolls-Royce’s very first V8 engine was placed in a car whose sole purpose was to keep you from speeding. It was actually the first time a V8 had ever been designed for a passenger car. And, another version of this car was meant to compete with electric cars. Pretty much everything about these ideas seem nuts, but this was way back in 1905 when everything was nuts, anyway.

Rolls-Royce isn’t really known for having flops. They’re more known for an unceasing drive for perfection, regardless of the cost, and as a result they end up producing cars so refined and exquisite that they become boring. A beautiful, well-crafted Rolls isn’t really interesting anymore, but one built on a crazy idea and failed miserably certainly is. And, so, lovely readers, meet the Rolls-Royce Legallimit.

Before Rolls-Royce had their own firmly-entrenched core market of fabulously wealthy landed gentry, titled royalty, and lotto winners with solid-gold toilets, they had to compete just like everyone else for their filthy money. And they noticed that a lot of their potential wealthy clientele were choosing refined, quiet electric town cars.

So, they decided that they needed to compete with these battery-powered blue-blood haulers by making two cars: one that had an "invisible" engine and would be as quiet as an electric car, and one that was designed to never exceed the then speed limit of 20 mph. And, most remarkably, they decided that the best way to get a quiet and slow result was to use a V8 engine, a conclusion which has never been arrived at again in the history of motoring.

The V8 itself was pretty remarkable for the time, as the idea of a V8 at all was only barely known. In fact, listen to this description in a contemporary issue of The Auto: The Motorist’s Pictorial:

… the engines are but little longer than an ordinary four-cylinder engine, they require less head room, and they materially exceed the usual dimensions in point of width only, because the cylinders are fixed diagonally — four on each side — to the crank-chamber, all sloping outwards at 45 degrees to the vertical.

That sure sounds like how you’d describe a V8 engine to someone who’s never even thought of one before.

In the case of the "invisible" engine car, that strange new V8 was mounted under the floor of the unusual body, hidden in a louvered box lest anyone learn the filthy secret of those eight explosion chambers clandestinely hauling your smooth, privileged ass around town. I’m pretty skeptical it was as quiet as an electric motor or that anyone was fooled, and the sales numbers of exactly zero cars sold seem to suggest I’m not alone.

The Legallimit was 100% more successful, with total sales of one. To account for the dramatic disparity in sales may be the somewhat more conventional phaeton body type, with the engine under a shockingly low but conventionally-placed hood. The car actually has a certain low-slung sporting look about it that is completely contrary to its actual goal: keeping you from speeding.

The Legallimit’s transmission was governed for three speeds: 8, 13.5, and 21.5 MPH, which was close enough to the speed limit of 20 MPH that I suppose no one noticed, radar being a good 30 years away. If you (and by you I mean the one guy who bought the car, Sir Alfred Harmsworth) were feeling really daring, you could shift to a higher governor setting and blow your pince-néz off at a blistering 26 MPH.

These Rolls-Royces also have the distinction of being the only Rolls-Royce models for which no examples exist. A total of three Legallimits were built, and at least one "invisible engine" model, so that’s four that I bet you’ll be able to find in a barn somewhere in England no problem. Just send us some pictures when you do.

Linux Foundation takes over Xen, enlists Amazon in war to rule the cloud

The Linux Foundation has taken control of the open source Xen virtualization platform and enlisted a dozen industry giants in a quest to be the leading software for building cloud networks.

The 10-year-old Xen hypervisor was formerly a community project sponsored by Citrix, much as the Fedora operating system is a community project sponsored by Red Hat. Citrix was looking to place Xen into a vendor-neutral organization, however, and the Linux Foundation move was announced today. The list of companies that will “contribute to and guide the Xen Project” is impressive, including Amazon Web Services, AMD, Bromium, Calxeda, CA Technologies, Cisco, Citrix, Google, Intel, Oracle, Samsung, and Verizon.

Amazon is perhaps the most significant name on that list in regard to Xen. The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud is likely the most widely used public infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud, and it is built on Xen virtualization. Rackspace’s public cloud also uses Xen. Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin noted in his blog that Xen “is being deployed in public IaaS environments by some of the world’s largest companies.”

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How to Awaken Your Lawn from Its Winter Slumber

Whether your lawn is the emerald crown jewel of the neighborhood or has more brown spots than a cheetah, now is the time to give your yard a spring cleaning. If you’re just trying to get rid of the dead spots or starting over from scratch, here’s what you’ll need to do to ensure your yard stays lush—or at least alive—for another year. More »