According to a post on fscklog (English translation here), Apple may use the Austrian market as the testing ground for a new 3G phone. T-Mobile Austria announced on Monday that a UMTS version of the iPhone will be available “…soon” with “more flexible” options. We assume that “more flexible options” refers to user plans.

Last September, ZDNet Australia surmised that their country could be the first to receive a 3G iPhone, noting Apple’s timetable for a battery capable of supporting a 3G phone (“…late 2008″) and the iPhone’s launch date in Asia Pacific. A good guess, but T-Mobile’s announcement seems to shoot it down.

Earlier today, the Associated Press launched an iPhone-optimized news site that really is pleasant to use. To check it out on your iPhone simply visit Once there you’ll find AP articles, of course, but also local events (in fact, you can enter several zip codes and follow events from several locations) and more from many different outlets.

The preference pane looks like that of a native iPhone application (Save the orange sliders instead of blue) and the photos and videos render pretty quickly, even over EDGE. Plus, they’ve got a cute web clip icon. What more do you need?

If you thought armies’ of robotic spiders were creepy enough in Steven Speilberg’s “Minority Report” starring Tom Cruise, then you’re in for a real shock because these surveillance spiders of fortune are real and coming to an army near you.

With plans in the works for robo-spiders, robo-bugs, robo-snakes and even robo-dragonflys packing cameras and sensors, these slithering and flying armies will potentially detect radioactive as well as chemical and biological weapons on the frontlines by the end of year.

Breck Eisner meets in Pasadena to talk NBC’s Fear Itself, and his episode The Sacrifice (more on that later), and the only thing echoing through this writer’s skull is: Creature from the Black Lagoon, Creature from the Black Lagoon… Yes, the long-mooted remake to Universal and Jack Arnold’s 1954 film.

Myriad directors have dipped their toes into the property, but were not committed enough to dive right in. That is, until Eisner had his named attached to an update nearly three years ago, working from a script by Gary Ross. The waters have been seemingly calm on the Creature front since then leading some to suspect Universal’s attempts to float another Gill Man adventure were mere pipedreams. But the truth is, Eisner is reworking Gary Ross’ screenplay right now. In fact, he took time off from that task just to meet us today.

Blockbuster and Lucasfilm are co-sponsoring an Indiana Jones race car, as part of an exclusive chain promotion fueling the franchise’s next May 22 theatrical installment.

Star racer Marco Andretti will drive the Indy car at the Indianapolis 500 on May 25, following a 10-city tour of the car through this month at Blockbuster outlets. The car will be unveiled today at a Los Angeles Blockbuster, with Andretti in attendance.

Dubbed “#26 Team Indiana Jones Presented by Blockbuster,” the car will kick off its tour at a chain outlet in Las Vegas on May 4.

Steve Perlman, the man behind tech incubator Rearden, is a serial entrepreneur with more than 30 years’ experience in the tech industry. He built his first computer from a kit during high school in 1976. He developed graphics at Atari and worked as a principal scientist at Apple, leading the development of a variety of multimedia technologies, including QuickTime. His string of start-ups includes General Magic, Catapult Entertainment, WebTV (sold to Microsoft for more than $500 million) and Moxi Digital. Since 2000, he’s been investing in new technologies at Rearden. The company, named after the company Rearden Steel in Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” novel, is working on a wide range of R&D in a variety of fields and spins out start-ups as the R&D approaches commercializaton. Perlman believes that swinging for the fences, solving deep problems through years of research, and learning from mistakes is the only way to keep Silicon Valley moving forward. I was happy to have a chance to sit down with him at Web 2.0 and find out more about his business.

With the 2010 release of Rapunzel, Disney will only have four common fairy tales left to make feature films out of (The Princess and the Pea, Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Plato’s Republic). Knowing that they nearing the end, Disney is pulling out all the stops on this one, using cutting-edge computer animation and filming the entire production in something called Hair-O-Vision.

Originally, Rapunzel was to be titled Rapunzel Unbraided, but an episode of Mythbusters dealing with the usefulness of hair for climbing proved that braided hair was actually stronger than unbraided hair, climbing wise, and if Rapunzel was going to have braided hair, they couldn’t promise that she would be unbraided (for legal reasons).

Flicks.Co.Nz reports that Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones” ceased filming due to a rift between Jackson and his art director over the best way to depict Heaven.

A large portion of film takes place in that mythological/spiritual realm where the main character Susie Salmon looks down on her family after her murder.

The Wellington crew apparently are having a break while the creative differences are sorted out. The project has undergone some visible arguments before, notably Ryan Gosling being replaced by Mark Wahlberg several days before filming began at Jackson’s behest.

A former Pixar Animation Studios chief financial officer, expecting a stock options backdating suit by U.S. regulators, may argue that Pixar’s board, outside lawyers and auditors approved backdating long before she was hired, a source familiar with the case said.

Ann Mather, who served as Pixar’s chief financial officer through mid-2004 and now sits on Google Inc’s board, on Monday divulged that the Securities and Exchange Commission may sue her for backdating at the animation company.

Mather’s attorney said earlier this week that there was no basis for an SEC lawsuit against her.

Marvel Entertainment released their first quarter report to its shareholders this morning to coincide with the announcement about the success this past weekend of Marvel Studios’ first production Iron Man, which grossed an estimated $104.2 million domestically and over $201 million worldwide. The announcement included an update of Marvel Studios’ feature film slate with the already-rumored Iron Man 2 announced for a release on April 30, 2010, followed by three more movies for the summers of ‘10 and ‘11. Matthew Vaughn’s Thor is set for a release on June 4, 2010, and The First Avenger: Captain America (the working title) will kick off the summer of 2011 on May 6, followed by the highly-anticipated and foreshadowed The Avengers scheduled for July 2011. (Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man is also listed as being in development with no release date set.)

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