Friday, June 02, 2006

Moving from Blogspot to Typepad

Over the past months I have ran this blog on news that covered areas relating to technology, media, sports, web etc. However I always felt left behind in the game of web development, as I was using a blog that ran on Google's proprietary software name "Blogspot". Over the past couple of days I had been researching on Typepad looking into how convenient it was to have a blog hosted by Typepad. I am happy to say that I was very impressed, and decided to make a move to Typepad. It took me less than 4 hours to create a new blog, I have still kept the same blog name; this will be the new blog address (Please make a note) -

http://photophunk.typepad.com/

The blogs main purpose will not change and will be the same. I will have daily postings on technology, media, sports etc.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Nokia N72 Starts Shipping

Nokia announced today that it has started shipments of the Nokia N72, the sleek and stylish multimedia computer.

The Nokia N72 is equipped with a 2-megapixel camera and integrated digital music player, with dedicated capture key, music player key, an integrated browser, FM radio and support for Visual Radio.

"The Nokia N72 perfectly illustrates our commitment to offer the powerful performance of the Nokia Nseries to people based in regions dominated by EDGE/GSM network coverage," said Pekka Pohjakallio, vice president, Multimedia Computers, Nokia.

Users can personalize their Nokia N72 with a choice of digital music tracks, and enjoy music on the go with the integrated digital music player. They can rip music from their CDs, create playlists, and transfer music onto their Nokia N72 with the Nokia Music Manager, part of Nokia PC Suite.

Moreover, users can morph their Nokia N72 into a digital camera by sliding open the active lens cover and compose their shot using the high definition 2.1 inch colour display.

The 2 megapixel (1600 x 1200 pixels) camera includes an integrated flash, which will make it easy to capture images even in low light conditions. Photos and video clips can be personalized with the integrated photo and video editor. Photos can be printed or transferred onto a compatible PC, with the option of online sharing on select Internet communities.

The Nokia N72 is already shipped to key markets worldwide, including the Middle East and Africa, Russia, Eastern Europe, mainland China, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Wii wins game critics' Best of E3 2006

Nintendo, which was nominated a show-high 13 times, took home the show's biggest prize for its Wii console. The system, in the running for the only two categories it could qualify for, was handed the coveted Best of Show award, as well as Best Hardware award.

Read more from gamespot.

Will this be the new 2008 Honda Accord?

If you have been watching TV, you would have noticed Honda who is trying to brew up some new vehicles to its line up. Fit - which is a five-door hatchback automobile produced by Honda of Japan, it made its debut in the US and Canada car market on April 20th, 2006. It is a commuters dream as it provides very good gas mileage and packs plenty of cargo space.

One of the next major project which is in works at the present moment is the 2008 model for Honda Accord. This picture has been floating around the internet for about a week now, but there seems to be quite a few "reliable" sources that indicate this rendering is for real.

When you take a close look at this picture it looks like an extended version of the Civic Si model.

Will this be the next Honda Accord is yet to be seen, however the car does look futuristic.

Top 15 U.S. phones in May

Motorola's coveted Q; the three-Megapixel Nokia N80; thumbboard-toting phones from Sony Ericsson, T-Mobile and Palm; and more in May's most sought after phones.

Top 15 U.S. phones in May

Ask.com launches Blog and Feed Search

Ask.com has had to make some changes to its web site due to the stiff competition it has encountered with some of the other search engine companies such as - Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo etc which has made Ask.com to take a progressive approach. Ask.com has gone ahead and has made their site more appealing both in the appearance as well as the feature department as they have added a lot of interesting tools that will make searching much easier.

Some of the awesome features included in this site are -
  • Advanced Web Search - Know exactly what you are looking for on the Web? Use the advanced web search tool to include specifics about your search and get precisely what you are looking for.
  • Binoculars Site Preview - Get to what you're searching for faster! Just point your mouse on the Binoculars icon and a preview of the site will appear, saving you time and the hassle of clicking through search results to get what you want.
  • Dictionary Search - Need to know the definition or pronunciation of a word, origin of a word or just a new word altogether? Quickly search the online dictionaries, encyclopedias and thesauri for the information you need.

Moving a step ahead Ask.com has added a Blogs and Feed tab to its Internet search tools menu and to more thoroughly integrate its search engine with its online news aggregation site, Bloglines.

The other guys are taking their eyes off the ball,” says Daniel Read, Ask.com’s VP of consumer products and user experience, referring to efforts by the major search engines to promote services unrelated to search. “We believe what we’ve come up with is truly industry leading search.”

The reason we’re getting into blog search,” says Read, “is it’s the fastest growing content type on the Web.”

Ask Blog & Feed Search lets users query three distinct categories: blog posts, RSS feeds, and a selection of around 7,000 news sources. It allows queries to be sorted using additional criteria including date, popularity, or a combination of the two. This can be particularly useful for locating recent blog posts.

At the same time, Ask is adding features that may help drive more traffic to blogs. The addition of "Subscribe" and "Post To" links to Ask's search results page should encourage searchers to sign up for more RSS feeds and to contribute more links to news aggregation services like Bloglines, Digg, and Newsvine.

There's also a new list of top Blog & Feeds queries in the past hour, for those who have to know what other bloggers have on their minds.

Dell includes Skype with new laptops

VoIP company Skype managed to strike a deal with the top PC maker, Dell, that will see the PC manufacturer ship Skype software with a range of new laptops. The announcement comes as Dell unveils a new range of performance laptops carrying the XPS tag.

Skype will be supplied with both the XPS M1210 and the XPS M2010 laptops, which both sport an integrated webcam and microphone. As far as Skype is concerned, the inclusion of its software on the machines finishes off the functionality needed to make VoIP calls and also complements the machine's hardware.

This latest move by Skype is the latest in a number of aggressive moves to try to establish itself better in the VoIP market and in the face of growing competition.

Read more at CNET.

Best Buy expanding its Apple lineup

Best Buy which already started carrying Mac Mini's and iPods has started to promote and sell other Apple products such as the Intel-based Macs.

According to ZDNet -

  • Best Buy, North America's largest consumer electronics retailer, and Apple are flogging the new MacBook units, as well as the MacBook Pro, Mac Mini and iMac systems, according to Samir Bhavnani, an analyst with Current Analysis. The Mac maker has prominent displays and units available in several Best Buy stores throughout the United States, he said.
  • Best Buy has been selling Apple's popular iPod music players and Mac Minis for some time, but the latest move represents a major expansion of Apple's retail efforts with Best Buy, as well as those outside of its own retail stores, Bhavnani said. [...] The move also shows that Apple is very confident about the inventory situation regarding its new Intel-based products, he said.

Best Buy started carrying Mac Mini's last year in its retail outlets in order to promote Apple products.

News.com has posted a photo gallery of a Best Buy store that is stocking and prominantly displaying Apple's complete lineup.

DS Lite available in stores ahead of schedule

While the DS Lite has been on sale in Japan for a while now, officially, us poor saps living in North America were told to wait until June 11th before we could get our hands on the smaller package with a brighter screen.

However, it seems that a few big box stores have ignored Nintendo's requests and have already started selling the DS Lite. According to several reports, you can waltz into certain Target and Walmart stores TODAY and grab the diet-sized, "touching is good" machine. A few comments on the Joystiq site have confirmed this rumour. Cries of joy have been heard 'round the country.

If you thought you heard someone scream out "Crikey!" from a distance, that might have been some of our Australian readers jumping up and down, because the DS Lite has been spotted for sale down under as well.

Yahoo! Research - Tag Lines

The folks over at Yahoo! Research have developed an interesting visual depiction of flickr’s growth.
  • TagLines is the visualization of the evolution of Flickr tags over time. An algorithm chooses the eight most popular tags for each day, along with interesting photos corresponding to each of these tags. TagLines provides via Flash two metaphors for visualization: the waterfall and river. In the waterfall metaphor, the top eight tags are displayed in eight rows, with font sizes proportional to their popularity intensity and one or more photos from Flickr corresponding to each tag. In the river metaphor, tags flow from right to left, displaying one photo from Flickr. Both visualizations step forward, one per day, and offer the ability to random access time by a bar displayed on the top of the screen.

Tag Lines [via: Lifehacker]

A Fresh Yahoo! Video

Yahoo! has unveiled a newer Yahoo! Video, an upgrade from their previous version named “Yahoo Video Search”. It offers a mix of new features such as -
  • An entirely new face to the product, starting with the home page.
  • A continued expansion of the largest video index, with more user submitted Media-RSS feeds, direct feeds from major video publishers, and video crawled from Web.
  • The introduction of Channels, which are groups of videos created by a common source. In the search results, we match channels to your query and display them in the left-column, when relevant, next to the video results.
  • New ways to export and share videos with friends, whether by email or by sending links through Yahoo! Instant Messenger.

Yahoo Video [via Yahoo Search Blog]

Fancy Features Don't Sell Cell Phones

Most shoppers pick their phones based on price and design, study finds.

Price and design are the biggest reasons consumers give for buying particular handsets, said Kirk Parsons, an analyst at the Westlake Village, California, company. Few respondents said they chose their current phone because it had a particular feature. The company surveyed 18,740 users in two waves, one last October and one in February. They were allowed to give multiple reasons for the purchase, Parsons said.

U.S. consumers have been slower than those in many European and Asian countries to embrace advanced mobile services and the feature-rich phones that support them. The J.D. Power results suggest the stereotypical voice-centric, free-phone-using U.S. consumer still exists even as the country's major mobile operators build faster networks and applications such as text messaging and image-sharing gradually grow in use.

Just 12 percent of the users cited a color screen as a reason for buying their phone, the same percentage who were swayed by the fact that it had a digital camera. In addition, only 12 percent said they bought a particular model because it offered a speakerphone, though 26 percent of respondents said they use that feature regularly--three to five times per week. The phone's overall variety of features was cited by 16 percent of the consumers.

Money Matters

Style was mentioned as a buying factor by 39 percent of the users, making it the single most popular answer, but cost considerations were the biggest reason overall, Parsons said. Getting something for nothing was the most-cited cost factor: 29 percent said they chose their phone because it was free. By the same token, 20 percent cited reduced price and 16 percent mentioned rebates. Choice of calling plan also influenced consumers, with 16 percent saying their phone was the only one offered with the plan they wanted.

Consumers' use of advanced features is gradually growing, the study showed. Use of the most popular special feature, speakerphones, rose from 22 percent of respondents in the previous survey, which was taken in March and June of last year. Regular use of MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) for sharing audio and video content rose 29 percent in that period, though only about 6 percent of respondents used it, Parsons said. In the latest survey, 19 percent said they used a camera phone regularly, up from 14 percent in the previous results, and SMS (Short Message System) users rose to 22 percent from 19 percent.

Ease of use was a frequently cited factor in choice of phones, Parsons said. The ideal is to be able to start up a special service in just one or two keystrokes, he said.

"As they layer these new services on the phone, it's going to be more difficult to get to that nirvana," Parsons said.

Consumers were most satisfied with phones from Sanyo Electric, followed by LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, J.D. Power said. Satisfaction was based on physical design, operation, features, and battery function.

Via PCworld.com

AMD Unveils AMD Live

In the search for more revenue and more opaque product goals and lines, whereby the maker of a thing--albeit an important thing--within the machine attempts to dictate to the world how something should be, we find AMD jumping on the bandwagon with its "AMD Live!(tm) PC."
The AMD LIVE! PC (referred to at various times in its press release using different cases) is summarized here:
  • The AMD LIVE! PC and AMD LIVE! Entertainment Suite represent the culmination of industry-leading companies collaborating around open standards to deliver compelling entertainment solutions... With the AMD LIVE! PC, AMD begins delivering on its vision for merging broadcast TV content with interactive, personalized broadband applications and services, all without disrupting the devices already accepted and used by consumers in their homes today.

Now, I'm all for devices such as this, and I'm all for companies coming up with uses for AMD's chips, interconnect technology, and even its suggestion. What I don't get is this big push by Intel (with its VIIV) and AMD (with its LIVE) into this cross-product attempt. Why is it that AMD and Intel are doing this? I mean, the AMD press release reads like a "What's What" of how system designers should do a particular thing, regardless of what the consumers might actually want or be given a choice of having.

Read more in AMD's Press Release.

Retailers List Half-Life 2 for Xbox 360

If the websites of EB Games and Gamestop are to be believed, then it looks like Half-Life 2 could be coming to the Xbox 360 in 2007.

The two recently merged game retailers have added a listing for Half-Life 2 on the Xbox 360, an example of which can be seen here. The release date of the game is shown as 5 Febuary 2007 and the price is US$59.99.

The game has already been ported from the PC to the original Xbox, and when asked to comment on the issue, Value told IGN, "We've only announced development for 360, no specific titles to reveal just yet, but folks can expect to hear more before the end of this year."

It's not a confirmation, but likewise it's not a denial. If indeed the popular shooter does make an appearance on the Xbox 360, it would be interesting to see what sort of downloadable content is made available on the Xbox Live Marketplace in order to spark some new life into this 2 year old title. We can only wait and see.

Virgin Mobile Offers Cellphone Talking Time For Watching Commercials

Virgin Mobile USA is announcing a program called SugarMama that will enable people to earn minutes of talking time by watching 30 seconds of commercials on a computer. Customers may opt to receive text messages on their phones instead of watching ads on the computer, and they will have to answer a set of questions to prove that they paid attention to these ads.

The American company is trying to reach the teenagers with this program, who can earn up to 75 minutes of free talk time per month. Virgin has signed up three advertisers: Pepsi, Microsoft's Xbox game console and an antismoking campaign called Truth.

Customers who want to use SugarMama must visit the Virgin Web site to sign up. They must agree to take part in one of three ways: by watching short video clips online, filling out questionnaires or receiving text messages on their phones.The company claims that the program is the first ad-supported cellphone service in the United States, and that will be available starting from June 14.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New details for Halo 2 PC

Back in February, Halo PC fans were delighted and disheartened to hear that Bungie was indeed developing Halo 2 for the personal computer. The bad news--Halo 2 would require the new Windows Vista operating system, which would mean most consumers would need a PC upgrade.Now Bungie is revealing a few more details on the Halo 2 port to PC, and again it is both good and bad.

On the good side, even though Halo 2 for the PC will require Windows Vista to run, consumers will be able to keep their old video cards. The reason for this is that the game will not require video cards compatible with Vista's video game component DirectX 10. That will save a few dollars thankfully.

On the downside, if you are itching to take on Halo 2 Xbox users when the game is released for the PC, it doesn't appear that Bungie will make that dream a reality any time soon. According to the Bungie update, that Xbox players have a two year jump on PC players "means a level playing field would be impossible." Add to this that Halo 2 PC will feature a map editor, and new maps created specifically for the PC version, and it would be unclear how the two systems would interact--at least for now.

Read more at GameSpot.

Why Bush Won The Election

Here's a bunch of funny pictures that clearly answer the question. Could Kerry be any dorkier?

Why Bush Won The Election

DIY Project: Battery Powered USB Charger

Instructables a site that provides you with step by step instructions on DIY projects has another interesting project. This time they have come up with a way of making your own small USB charger.

This is by far the most detailed instructions provided by Instructables to under take a project. However don't let the detail of the instructions bog your mind, let this be a challenge, start your project with an open mind. This charger will give you 1 full recharge to an iPod video, 5 recharges to the shuffle, and 1.5 recharges for the mini - As you will be using AA batteries this would be beneficial in a situation where you can't use your charger, for example – If you are stuck on a long flight, or are camping on a camp sight that does not have any electricity.

MintyBoost! - Small battery-powered USB charger [Instructables]

Xbox 360 Dashboard Update

Since E3, we've been promised an update to the Xbox 360 dashboard that will fix many annoying traits such as the mess of demos and trailers and not being able to download stuff in the background. In this video, Major Nelson shows off the new interface. Not radically different, but good to see that the Xbox team are listening to feedback.

Click here to watch the video

Maxtor One Touch III Turbo Edition

This Maxtor One Touch III Turbo Edition is the latest creation from Maxtor and an addition to the family of One Touch series of external hard drives. This 1 TB drive is specifically made for hard core video editors and graphic designers who have to work with large amounts of data. This hard drive includes FireWire 800,400 (b, a respectively) connectivity and USB 2.0. It supports RAID0 and RAID1 for performance or security according to the need of the user. It has two ATA physical drives inside the box and an external power adapter.
  • The Maxtor OneTouch III solution, with a triple FireWire 800/FireWire 400/USB 2.0 interface, was selected as a CES 2006 Innovations Design and Engineering Honoree in the Computer Accessories category. It was chosen for its engineering qualities, the product's intended use/function, unique features, and aesthetic and design qualities, among other reasons. To meet the needs of mainstream creative and business professionals, Maxtor is offering the Maxtor OneTouch III with dual interfaces, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0, for quickly and easily backing up photos, music and data.
  • All Maxtor OneTouch external storage and backup systems come with an added data security feature called Maxtor DriveLock, which provides a password protection option to safeguard contents if the drive is ever lost or stolen, said company in its statement.

New Maxtor OneTouch III launched

Microsoft and LG-Nortel Sign a Memorandum of Understanding to Develop and Market WinCE IP Phones

Microsoft and LG-Nortel, a joint venture of LG Electronics and Nortel, have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for broad range collaboration in Voice over IP (VoIP), including WinCE-based IP terminals and the new WinCE 6 videophone. WinCE 6, code-named "Yamazaki", is Microsoft's new integrated embedded development environment for the next generation of smart devices.

Under the MoU, the scope of the strategic alliance will include joint research and development, cooperative marketing to customers and channels worldwide, and a licensing agreement for WinCE 6. The MoU builds on the strength of an existing relationship between the two companies, marked by LG-Nortel's successful development of a WinCE 5-based multimedia Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) phone, the LIP-6824CD, and the world's first WinCE 6 videophone for global markets.

"This partnership provides a perfect fit for our strategy of developing innovative IP solutions for leading telcos looking to expand into IP Centrex services and such multimedia services as video calls, MMS/EMS and other value added services," said Jae Ryung Lee, CEO, LG-Nortel. "In the future, we plan to make a wide range of WinCE-based products available to Microsoft channel partners around the world."

Terminals based on Microsoft's new WinCE 6 platform provide more powerful multimedia processing and will serve as a platform for application-oriented enterprise and residential solutions based on innovative embedded devices. "Through this partnership, we anticipate substantial sales of embedded solutions in the area of VoIP, as well as the establishment of a leading position in the IP phone and IP videophone market through WinCE 6," said Lee.

Microsoft and LG-Nortel expect to conclude a definitive agreement within the next few months. At that time, new WinCE 6-based IP phone designs and features will be announced.

Motorola teams up with Rand McNally for cell phone navigation solution

What do you get when you combine America's top mapping company with the world's second largest cell phone manufacturer? Well, we're going to find out soon enough because Rand McNally has partnered up with Motorola to produce a GPS navigation system to be run on compatible handsets from the big M.

While GPS systems are on the rise for many new vehicles including more "entry level" models like the Acura CSX, it is still quite the expensive aftermarket endeavour (a $2000+ option). This new agreement hopes to bring full turn-by-turn functionality to something that people carry around with them anyways.

The solution will take Motorola's VIAMOTO navigation software and mate it with Rand McNally's years of experience in getting people heading in the right direction. Software based, this new GPS system will be a downloadable mobile application that will require a "low monthly fee". It will be interesting to see where they price the app and the monthly subscription, given that there are so many portable GPS units on the market that don’t require any additional costs beyond the price of the unit itself.

Source: randmcnally.com

NYPD has developed a etching program to track stolen iPods

In light of the ever increasing iPod thefts that have taken place on subways, the New York City police department has launched a new program where you can register and track your iPod. The New York Daily News reports: “Under the iPod etching program, cops are using invisible ink to mark the mini-music machines—as well as cell phones, BlackBerries and other electronic devices—so they can return lost or stolen items to their rightful owners and connect with potential prosecution witnesses.” The NYPD police are offering this free service at various Transit Bureau offices, and have set up table through out the entire subway system where devices can be marked. About 2100 iPods were registered during last three month.

[via: iLounge]

Cingular offers world's smallest camera flip phone

Cingular launches the Pantech C300 as part of its GoPhone prepaid service.

Atlanta -- Cingular Wireless today announced the availability of the Pantech C300 - the world's smallest camera flip phone. The phone is now available exclusively for customers of Cingular's GoPhone, the most innovative and feature-rich prepaid wireless service in the industry.

The Pantech C300 is part of the Pantech Group's unique "Slim Series" of handsets, which will be offered exclusively in the United States to Cingular customers.

The new phone, Cingular's first offering from Pantech, is just 2.72 inches tall, 1.69 inches wide and only 0.76 inches thick with the flip closed. Nevertheless, it boasts bright, large font color screens, a VGA camera with flash and zoom and such features as MP3 ringtones, SMS/MMS/IM client and email messaging, photo caller ID and others.

The Pantech C300 is available in the U.S. through Cingular Wireless retail locations or at www.cingular.com for $119.99.

Cingular also recently announced the addition of its newly enhanced MEdia Net to the GoPhone "Pick Your Plan" service. Unlike other offerings in the industry, GoPhone MEdia Net offers customers buckets of data which means Cingular GoPhone customers do not have to pay daily charges or per kilobyte rates for prepaid data.

More...

Full version of Opera 8.6 for Pocket PC available

Opera has been moving along with public beta versions of Opera for Pocket PC devices, and today the company announced the release of the full version of Opera 8.6 for Windows Mobile Pocket PC devices. Opera for Pocket PCs is available for US$24 and comes with a 30-day free trial period.

I am curious to see how well it works now on a Pocket PC. Some stated features are tabbed browsing, URL auto-complete, fit-to-screen, and pop-up blocker. I am especially interested in seeing how Opera handles secure websites like credit card and banking sites.

Microsoft launches Mac Desktop

On May 30, 2006 - Microsoft announced that it has developed a desktop tailored specifically for users of rival Apple Mac systems.
  • "This launch further demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to enhancing the computing experience for Mac users," Scott Erickson, director of product management and marketing for the Macintosh Business Unit at Microsoft, said in a prepared statement.

Some of ther other things that were mentioned were -

  • Wireless Laser Desktop for Mac’s Comfort Curve Keyboard; Mac Modifier Keys, which provide "control, option and command" buttons; a "Zoom Slider" that enables magnification of digital photos and other media; favorites keys; an "Eject" key for CDs and DVDs; other "Hot Keys;" and a high-definition laser mouse.

The price for this Mac Desktop has been set for $99.95 and it will be available during the summer.

[via: InformationWeek]

Fujitsu Siemens adds HSDPA to Q2010 laptop

I've gotten pretty used to talking about 3G this and 3G that when it comes to cell phones. Heck, it seems like nearly every handset coming out of Korea or Japan is sporting some form of high-speed data, especially considering the proliferation of multimedia phones and the apparent appeal of video telephony.

Today is just a touch different though: we have the "world's most desirable laptop", the Fujitsu Siemens Q2010, because they're adding 3.5G technology to the mix. That's right… this hot little notebook will soon sport HSDPA.

Don't get too excited just yet, though, as the plan is for T-Mobile Austria to equip the Q2010 to work with their high speed European network. As such, we don't know if it will ever come to the United States or anywhere else for that matter. But we do know that this 2.5 pound unit that's rocking Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, an eight-hour battery, and a piano black finish will set back buyers an incredible $5000.

A techies experience interviewing with Google

For most of us Techies "Google" is heaven, a place where we would like to see ourselves working someday. Google a company that offer so much to their employees in terms of benefits like - Company stock, the ability to work on your personal projects by spending 20% from your work time, also offering free luncheons, drinks etc. However there are a lot of people who think Google is not the place for them. Here is a look at how it is to interview with the software giant. Peter Abilla was contacted for a position in Google's print team. After two days of grueling interviews--11 in all, and with free Google goodies--and a couple of weeks' looking forward to a good offer, Peter had to decline as the offer wasn't what he had expected.

Peter's whole experience was what I find shocking, as he mentions that the HR folks did not look happy to be working at GOOGLE.
  • the people i met were nice, very bright, and focused on their work. several of them complained to me about their frustrations. i thought that was interesting. i declined because of the iffy-ness of a contractual job (though the cash would be very good); the high cost of the bay area wasn’t appealing to me; and, the future of the print effort seemed unsure to me. those were my reasons. now, back to the google interview below…

All this makes me realize no matter where you work, there is always someone who is dissatisfied.

[Via Macalua.com]

Mobile Gambling in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Sands Corporation will be among the first Las Vegas hotel company to use gambling devices in its casinos.

‘The Venetian’ will be the first casino to introduce black jack, roulette, poker and slots sometime this year on handheld devices that will be provided by Cantor G& W (Nevada) LP.

Unfortunately, the Nevada Gaming Commission regulations stated that mobile gambling can only take place in public areas of the casino – and not in hotel rooms or other private areas. The mobile gambling services at ‘The Venetian’ hotel will be provided after a field trial late this year or early next, after receiving regulatory approval. Joe Asher, Cantor managing director, stated that the deal makes company the Sands' exclusive mobile gambling provider, but does not prevent Cantor from making deals with other firms as well.

As a consequence of the business, it seems that Las Vegas Sands’ shares rose between 4$ and 6$ on the New York Stock Exchange.

An iPod Gaming Platform In The Making?

Apple has decided to shake things up among the tech enthusiasts, one of the latest rumors that has been spreading around the blogosphere is the fact Apple is hiring gaming developers to come up with exclusive videogames which will provide unrivaled fodder to the entire gaming freaks world over. However the most surprising development is that according to the rumor, it’s the Apple iTunes department which is working overtime. So does that mean that we will most likely see an iPod with gaming capabilities? Lets keep our fingers cross guys!

Via Arstechnica

Back Up Cell Phone Data With The Following Toys

Backing up your phone data especially your contact list is a gruesome task, until now your service provider was the only one who had the capability of backing up your phone list to a central server in case you loose your phone during which the phone list can be transferred to your new phone. This service sounds cool, but comes at a varying price depending on what service provider you currently have. However there are various applications in the market that will help you backup your phone data without incurring any monthly fees with very little change from your pocket.

Here are a few hardware devices under $40 to help you transfer data from your mobile to your PC:
  • Cell Phone Backup Drive: This device works with Motorola, LG or Samsung phones. Allows you to backup, transfer and edit cell phone data. Plugs right into your phone, and transfers data via USB to your computer.
  • Backup Pal: This device looks like a mini-Roomba, and connects to your phone via infrared or USB to create a back up on the device. Price and availability haven't been announced yet, but price is estimated to be under $40.
  • Universal USB SIM Card Reader and Writer: This gadget allows you to read, backup and modify information on any SIM card. Plug the SIM card in on one end, and the USB plugs into your computer to read the data.
  • USB Phone Book Flasher: Works with some Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung phones. Pressing one button saves your cell phone's phone book.

These are just some of the software applications that can be used to save your contact lists, however there are several other ways of doing it as well.

[via: Yahoo's Tech Advisor: Gina Hughes]

Super Model Gisele Bundchen featured in the New Apple Ad

One of the most popular Victoria Secret Model Gisele Bundchen's official site is reporting that she has been photographed for a new ad commercial for the Mac.

According to the web site (Translated in English):
  • Gisele has been photographed for an ad campaign on Apple's line of computers MAC (Macintosh), in the United States.

Some of her noteworthy achievements were -

More information will be provided as it is available.

The Halo Movie Delayed?

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has updated its listing for the Halo movie from a summer 2007 release date to sometime in 2008.

While no further information on the purported release date change is available at this time, many gamers could be left wondering whether the movie release date will have any affect on the release of the Halo 3 game. Many have predicted that the two will somehow be linked in order to achieve maximum coverage, however on the other hand Bungie Studios have said that neither one will affect the other.

According to IMDb, script writer Alex Garland was originally paid $1 million by Microsoft to write the Halo movie, Microsoft then sold the script to Universal Studios for $10 million.

After they crash-land on an artificial ring-world called "Halo", a marine captain, his surviving marines, and a genetically-and-surgically-enhanced supersoldier called "Master Chief" must find out what the Covenant, the genocidal alien race they are at war with, are looking for on the ring. However, Halo holds more secrets than either side imagined.

Adidas Develops A Mobile Football Portal

The Adidas global mobile football portal will soon be able to become the most comprehensive of its kind and will be available in many countries like United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, China and US.

Adidas estimates that the portal will have at least 500,000 visits, 1.5 million impressions and near 600,000 downloads by the end of the World Cup.

Adidas are the first brand to offer free Premiership alerts, results, tables and fixtures to users via mobile with many exclusive content partnerships, bringing many industry firsts to the mobile platform. Our portal also offers consumers the opportunity to win fantastic prizes and download free premium content, such as wallpapers, videos, screensavers and ringtones”, said Richard Prenderville, head of global media at Adidas. According to Prenderville, „The portal we have developed is not waving the adidas brand in our consumers face, but rather adding value to their lives by enabling easier and greater access to their passion – football.”

The mobile portal was put together by digital mobile marketing agency Inside, and managed by Dusan Hamlin, its managing director.

The site can be found here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Cambodian Prime Minister bans 3G cellphones

There's always been the question about how much a spouse may influence a leader of a country. It seems in Cambodia the spouse of the Prime Minister has a great deal of influence; the Cambodian Prime Minister banned 3G cellphones after complaints from his wife.

It seems that the wife received some pornography on her 3G phone, which motivated her and some of her friends to sign a petition against use of the 3G phones. 3G phones enable more multimedia capabilities for cellphones due to the higher data transmission rates offered by the technology. These capabilities include the ability to receive video and pictures.

The Cambodian Prime Minister gave a clue as to when the phones could once again be allowed to return while speaking to an assembly of monks. It seems the Prime Minister believes that the country should wait on using 3G phones until "we have managed to improve morality in society." Based on the success of that goal within other countries the last few years, it will only be a matter of time before the country completely reverts back to two cans and a string.

Read more from the Reuters article.

Earthlink to build Wi-Fi network in New Orleans

Earthlink managed to land another municipal Wi-Fi contract; this time the city of New Orleans passed an ordinance allowing the company to move forward with a plan to build a Wi-Fi broadband network in the city. The service will be available to residents, businesses, and visitors.

Earthlink's Wi-Fi network will be offered in two tiers--paid and free. A free version of the network will be offered at speeds of up to 300kbps, for a limited time without advertising, while the city rebuilds. A 1 mbps paid solution will also be available.

New Orleans is yet another addition to a growing portfolio of cities for which Earthlink has won contracts to build Wi-Fi networks. Other cities that have previously awarded Earthlink Wi-Fi contracts include Milpitas, California, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. The New Orleans contract is a great opportunity for Earthlink to show how a Wi-Fi network can be used to help bring back from utter devastation a city such as New Orleans.

Read more from the Earthlink press release.

Google teams up with Dell

It seems that last week must have been the time for partnerships.

The announcement of a strategic partnership between eBay and Yahoo! is significant. An agreement revealed last week by Google's CEO on Thursday may be even bigger.

Under a new agreement with Dell, Google software will be pre-loaded on Dell computers. The software includes Google Desktop and Google Toolbar. All computers would also be set to load a co-branded Dell and Google home page upon launching Internet Explorer.

Read more from CNET and Newsfactor.

Microsoft will sell an Ultimate Office

Microsoft has used this year's WinHEC event to announce plans to introduce an "Ultimate" edition of the forthcoming Office 2007. The announcement means that Office will be following Windows Vista's footsteps in offering an all-in-one option for a few more dollars.

The Ultimate edition will include Access, Excel, Groove, InfoPath, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Word. The Ultimate edition is basically the same as the old Enterprise edition of Office except that it will be offered to all customers, both corporate and consumer.

Microsoft says it has introduced the new version due to feedback received from customers.In comparison, the Professional edition loses Groove, InfoPath, and OneNote, and the Small Business edition lacks Access on top of those. Office Standard 2007 will continue to have Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word. Finally, Student and Teacher editions of Office will now be called Home and Student, and will include OneNote instead of Outlook.

Pricing starts at US$679 for Ultimate, $499 for Professional, $449 for Small Business, $399 for Standard, and $149 for the Home and Student editions.

Read more at BetaNews.

World Cup iPod Cases by Vaja

Vaja has unveiled a new line of its iVod cases in colors matching the countries/teams competing in this years World Cup soccer tournament. Like the previous iPod cases the World Cup iPod case will include a screen protector, a click wheel protector, and easy access to all controls and ports. These World Cup cases are priced at $90 each.

Top 10 Most Common Passwords

Life these days has become largely dependent on passwords - whether we're checking our emails, tranferring funds or shopping online, passwords have their part to play. We're constantly bombarded with horror stories of security breaches, fraud, and phising sites. Users are consistently told that a strong password is essential these days to protect private data. Why is it, then, that users on websites opt for the same, consistent, insecure passwords time after time?
  1. '123'
  2. .............
  3. ............."Top 10 Most Common Passwords"

Customers get stuck in Apple NY Store

Unfortunately Apple didnt publicize this snafu. Apparently that beautiful elevator we saw throughout that entire NY store opening got stuck and trapped a bunch of customers. Not only did it get stuck two people burned their hands. I wonder if Apple did the right thing and take care of those packages they were all holding in there hands. I would only assume they did.

Source: Trying Not to Offend

AllYouCanUpload Free Image Hosting

AllYouCanUpload a free image hosting service provided by cnet a one stop place for all your images. This site lets you upload images which can be used for your blog posts, MySpace pages, as well as eBay auctions without running into any problems.

The best part about this site is that you do not have to register in order to use this site and upload images. All you have to do is just upload your images, you are provided with various codes so you can place your photos on other pages. The only way to recover the images uploaded with allyoucanupload.webshots.com is to save that code.

Nothing can beat a free service, what makes it even better is the fact one does not have to register.

AllYouCanUpload

Amazing R/C airplane demo

An awesome display of precision flying of a radio-controlled airplane, that takes place indoors.

Computer Viruses Monitored via Worldmap

Here is a look at all the viruses that have been spreading around the world using a world map. This site is pretty cool as it categorizes viruses according to "The current month, previous month, this year, previous year" not only that but it also displays "Top Viruses", and "Top Families".

Computer Viruses Monitored via Worldmap

Gates Comments on PS3 Controller

Bill Gates has weighed in on the Playstation 3 motion sensing controller debate saying that it is "not mainstream for most games."

Speaking in an interview with MTV News, Gates said that while there is room for development in this area, "It's tough because sometimes you move the controller, and you don't [mean] to fly into the ground. You just want to put the controller down... People aren't that good at totally standing still. Even pilots actually sit in a chair when they do their flying. So there's a lot to be learned about these controllers."

He also said that Microsoft had previously released a controller for the PC based on the same technology, the Sidewinder Freestyle Pro, which did not do very well.

New Qualcomm chip supports 3 mobile TV standards

With so many different mobile TV standards being developed, and the supporters of those standards all seemingly convinced that theirs is superior, it seems as if we are heading for a battle of choices that will make the HD DVD vs. Blu-ray skirmish look like a walk in the park. It seems positive, then, that Qualcomm, is taking a step which may ease some of those tensions.

They have announced that they have developed the world’s first chip which supports multiple mobile TV standards.The new chip is known as the Universal Broadcast Modem, or UBM, but it isn’t quite universal, since it just supports three formats. It obviously will support FLO, or forward link only, since Qualcomm was instrumental in its’ development. It will also work with DVB-H and ISDB-T. Those format choices clearly signal Qualcomm’s intent to make a statement in Japan. The UBM will work with CDMA2000 and WCDMA 3G technology.

Amazing Photos of Smoke

Professional artist uses different colors and formations to create some truly amazing images.

Visit Site

Details on the Nokia 5500 sport smartphone

The Moscow-based Mobile-Review website always seems to get its hands on the latest devices well before others, and it has the first review of the upcoming Nokia 5500 smartphone that was just announced on May 10.

The Nokia 5500 is a S60 Third Edition smartphone targeted at the active person with its tough casing and integrated pedometer 3D sensor. The device looks well designed and rugged with some interesting features such as the different color lights on the navigational pad, screw-on battery cover, rubberized keypad, and smaller display than commonly found on smartphones (208x208 pixels). Memory expansion is provided with a microSD card slot located under the battery. It has a Bluetooth 2.0 radio for good wireless connectivity, with the exception of A2DP. I would think A2DP would be a perfect fit for a device designed for the athlete who wants a cordless music experience.

The sports applications are very interesting, and I think my wife would love to work out with this phone.

Thanks to All About Symbian for the link.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 SKU

ExtremeTech is reporting that Microsoft confirmed that there is a Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 SKU in the works. A company spokeswoman made the following statement when more information was asked about Office Ultimate: “Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 will be a new package offered in retail and OEM channels at general availability. It will give people working at home access to the full line-up of 2007 Microsoft Office applications so they can create, find, manage and share information across boundaries using the toolset they’re familiar with at the office.

Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 SKU source

[via: MicrosoftFutureWatch]

Xbox live to undergo major improvements

Coming to the Xbox 360 in the next few weeks, Microsoft's online service Xbox Live will be undergoing major renovations.

One of the most noticeable upgrades will include improved navigation of the Xbox Live Marketplace. Due to the unexpected success and large amount of content in the Marketplace, additional grouping has been added to make searching through all the available items easier for the user. Another one of the most anticipated features for the Xbox Live update will include the ability for background downloading. This will let Xbox Live users go about other things on the console while waiting for their selected content to download.

Other features in the Xbox Live upgrade will include improved control over DVD playback, and finally the user can set the Xbox 360 to boot directly to the Dashboard.

Read more at GameIndustry Biz.

Apple Ranked Third Fastest Growing Tech Company

Business 2.0 released its 2006 ranking of the top 100 fastest growing technology companies, and Apple came in at number three. The list is based publicly traded companies that have a market capitalization of at least US$50 million, and had a positive cash flow during the past 12 months.

Apple's annual revenue growth of 35.4 percent and 123 percent stock return was enough to propel it third place behind Celgene with 52.8 percent revenue growth and 144 percent stock return, and Red Hat's 41 percent growth and 104 percent stock return.

Business 2.0 credits the introduction of the 1GB iPod nano at $199 and the Mac mini as contributors to Apple's success in 2005. In last year's list, Apple came in at 16.

Adobe Systems ranked number 91, and other familiar companies, like Dell and Microsoft, were not on the list.

Samsung SCH-B490 goes DMB, 3.2 megapixels

Another day, another Samsung handset that will likely never see the light of day this side of the Pacific. The all-new SCH-B490 is the latest offering from our friends in Korea. The twisting and flipping clamshell packs in a long-list of features that could easily be the envy of most other handsets on the market, including an incredible 3.2 megapixel camera that allows users to combine photos taken by the phone.

This EV-DO ready mobile phone also comes with an integrated DMB tuner for all your mobile entertainment needs, in addition to internal stereo speakers (what's great video without great sound, right?) and a vibrant QVGA screen that can be rotated to face both up or down. With 67MB of flash memory on board, you'll have some space for your tunes, vids, pics, and what-have-you, but more likely than not, you'll be finding lots of use for that microSD expansion slot.

Now if only we could convince Samsung to produce more of this stuff for us lowly North Americans.

WikiMapia - Geo Tagged Wikipedia

WikiMapia, a Google Maps mashup site which enables users to find various interesting locations and gives them the ability to tag these locations for others to see, you can also tag locations for your own city. This site is like a reference guide where you can find the location information for a particular place. No need to look at paper maps anymore, you don't even have to take a trip to your local AAA office to get a reference book. Just go to WikiMapia and get all the location information you need about a particular place.

WikiMapia

Nokia offers browser code to Open Source community

Nokia announced it released its Web Browser for S60 to the Open Source community. Nokia is making the S60 WebKit source code available under the terms of the Open Source BSD License. Developers will be able to download the source code from the WebKit Open Source Project website.

Nokia said the S60 WebKit source code has enhancements that will allow the browser to be easily ported to different mobile platforms. The Web Browser for S60 is based on components of Apple's Safari browser. Nokia hopes the release of its S60 WebKit source code will encourage broad adoption of an Open Source browser across the mobile industry.

Adoption of an Open Source browser among the mobile community is a nice goal, and Nokia is definitely doing its part to help that endeavor by offering up its own source code. Meanwhile, Nokia is also ensuring that if an Open Source browser is adopted that Nokia will at least have had an opportunity to contribute significantly to it.

Read more from the Nokia press release.

Google Picasa for Linux

Google has developed Picasa (Google photo organizer) for Linux users. Slashdot writes, "This is a pre-beta labs release and since we're still learning on how to best make software for Linux, we're asking that you submit your bugs as you find them. Picasa for Linux uses Wine internally; this shows a bit in the interface, but it works even better than we had hoped. Download it and check it out! A list of supported distributions can be found in the FAQ. We hope our patches to Wine will help make it easier for everyone to run Windows apps on Linux and other Unix-like systems. Thanks to our pals at CodeWeavers who did much of the heavy lifting, and to Marcus Meissner, whose libgphoto support patch was a welcome surprise."

Mario Through The Years: The Building of A Nintendo Legacy

GameDaily tribute to the world-famous stereotype, Mario, taking a brief (yet detailed) look back at his gaming history. They track Mario through the years of Platforming, Karting, RPG'ing and all the other random Mario franchise game genres.

Mario Through The Years

The 25 Worst Tech Products

PC Mag a site that provides us with product reviews, in depth analysis on products that can helps us save time and increase productivity at work. However there are some products that were just blunders, and should have been left alone without being created. PC Mag has compiled a list of the 25 worst TECH products that hit the market.

  1. America Online
  2. RealNetworks RealPlayer
  3. Syncronys SoftRAM
  4. Microsoft Windows Millennium
  5. Sony BMG Music CDs

Don't stop here, there are still 15 more to go.

They also have a section for "Honorable Mention", I wonder who made it on that list.

The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time

Ways to avoid a Mac disaster

"Programs" they are applications that you use on a daily basis in order to do your job, however there are other programs called malware or spyware that find their way inside your Macs and can slow down the performance of your Macs. Macworld has taken the time as they have pointed out 12 ways on how to track down hidden Mac Malware.

If you are a Mac owner you might want to read this -

  • Check Login and Startup Items: It’s easy to check your Login Items. Go to the Accounts system preferences panel and click the Login Items tab to see what’s listed.
  • Activate Activity Monitor: Activity Monitor (/Applications/Utilities) lets you keep an eye on all of the processes running on your Mac, from the applications you’ve launched, to the OS services running behind the scenes, to the underlying Unix mechanisms that make it all work.
  • Use Feature-rich Firewall Software: Firewall software can also make you aware of unknown software running on your Mac that’s trying to make network connections.
  • Encrypt Your Files: If you keep sensitive files on your laptop, make sure to use FileVault, turn off auto-login, protect your Keychain.

There are 8 other ways, do get the complete Mac down -

Tips for avoiding a Mac disaster

Planning a Vacation: Ditch the Laptop for a USB Key

The Traveling Forever blog has an article which explains on how to get rid of your laptop when planning a long distance trip; they provide a solution on carrying a USB flash drive which will solve your problems.

The article also provides various alternatives on what you can carry on your vacation -

  • Web Browser: Hands down, Portable Firefox is the greatest asset a traveler has when on a long trip and when using slow, third world computers. It's a minimized version of Firefox, the fast and secure browser, and all your bookmarks and personal cookies are stored securely on the usb key.
  • Web Mail: I strongly recommend portable Thunderbird with Enigmail and GPG. With this great open source piece of software, you'll be able to send and receive messages in complete security.

All the options provided in this article are good ones, however I would be a little iffy when it comes to security as I have to plug my USB key in one of the computers in a coffee chain in order to access my e-mail. On the other hand if I wanted to avoid the burden of brining a laptop this would be the way to go.

How do you travel? Do you take your laptop with you or do you load all the apps into your USB key?

Ditch the Laptop for A USB Key

Drivers Ignore Cell Phone Laws

England a country, where cell phones have been banned while driving: however most of its citizens do not follow the law and break it periodically. 50% of the driving population do not follow the rule, talking while driving is one hazard, not only does it put you at risk, but it puts other drivers on risk as well as there are chances you might go off the road and sway into a different lane.

It comes to me as a surprise that 75% of the population of drivers support the law and want those who violate this rule should be punished. Now that we think about it, we all ignore traffic laws when it comes to driving on the speed limit, coming to a complete stop when you approach a STOP sign and crossing when the light is still yellow, so I can say this is just an extension of the growing driver apathy.

Christopher Null from Yahoo! Tech has a post on how driving while chatting on the cell phone is dangerous no only to you but also to your fellow drivers.
  • Studies have shown that it's not the looking away from the road to dial a number that makes driving with a cell phone so dangerous. Rather, it's the concentration required to focus on a conversation with someone not in the vehicle that distracts the driver enough to make him a real menace behind the wheel.
  • Hand-free devices don't make you any safer while driving.

Does your county or state ban cell phones while driving? And do people actually follow the law?

More Info on the Dashboard Update

The Xbox 360 dashboard has been confirmed one way or the other, with articles on the MS Knowledge Base appearing, only to be later taken down. However yesterday the Xbox marketing team also confirmed it was coming.

Originally planned for May 23, the update will have the sought after background downloading feature. The Xbox marketing representative said gamers should look out for more information in the coming week.

Here is the important part from the KB article:

Active Download

This article describes the Active Download feature that is available in the Xbox Live Marketplace. With the spring auto-update of the Xbox Live service scheduled for May 23, 2006, you will have access to the Active Download feature in the Xbox Live Marketplace.

With an active downloads list, you receive the following benefits:
  • Each item that you download is downloaded separately in the background. This lets you continue to use the console while you download an item.
  • You can stream music, play DVDs or CDs, play arcade titles, and play games while you download an item from the marketplace.
  • If you start to play an online game, the download is automatically paused while you play the game to help prevent game lag because of network congestion. This helps you receive the best online gaming experience that the network can provide.
  • All downloads are associated with your profile. If a download is paused or if the download is interrupted, the download will resume the next time that you connect to Xbox Live.
  • You can add items to the active downloads list at any time by selecting more items from the marketplace.
  • You will receive a notification in the Xbox Guide when an item starts to download and when the download is completed. You will also receive a notification if the download fails.

Animated Star Wars shows coming to iTunes Music Store

Lucasfilm Ltd. on Thursday announced that Cartoon Network's Star Wars animated series has been released on Apple's iTunes Music Store. Volume 1 was released yesterday; and Volume 2 will be released in June.

Each episode costs $1.99 individually; or the entire first volume (20 episodes) can be purchased for $10.99.

Clone Wars -

In the fictional Star Wars saga, the Clone Wars, (also known as the Clone War) were a series of intragalactic battles in the Star Wars galaxy that took place from 22 BBY to 19 BBY. The Clone Wars were featured in the second and third episodes of the six-part movie series: Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, respectively.

They were first mentioned in a message from Leia Organa to Obi-Wan Kenobi and in a brief conversation between Kenobi and Luke Skywalker in the fourth chapter of the saga, A New Hope. The Clone Wars were more thoroughly explored, however in the Expanded Universe comics, novels, games, and animated series.

Gmail Remote Command

A Windows only utility that allows you to send commands using your Gmail account which can be used to open applications, web pages, and to shut down your computer.

  • GRC does not require any installation operation, you must only to extract the file from the zip compression and execute the GRC.exe
  • Insert username and password of your gmail account and click on Sign in...
  • GRC will wait instructions. Each 60 seconds it will cheeck if new instructions have arrived throught email.

Gmail Remote Command [gianniamato.it]

Motorola Q gets an A+

PC Magazine a place where you can find in-depth reviews and previews of the latest hardware and software for the information technology professional has been able to get their hands on the latest smart phone creation by Motorola named the "Q". They have already done the work and have posted an in depth review on their site giving the phone an A+ for its sleek design, e-mail and web surfing capabilities, and the ability it has that it can be used with one hand. Moreover the review congratulates Motorola Q on its voice quality giving it the best Verizon phone they have tested. It also got props for its ability to transfer music via bluetooth.

However all was not well for the "Q", there were however some bugs that were found and mentioned in the review. Some of them included were - Music skipping while going through various phone features and not so good video taking capabilities. Moreover one of the aspects that goes against Verizon’s downfall is the service plan which is offered at $79.95, which PC Mag thinks will keep a lot of customers from buying this phone. Another feature that was missing from this smart phone is that it does not have Wifi.

Overall the reviewer liked the Q but due to the fact that it had so many bugs attached to it, they still prefer the Palm Treo 700p, where it was given the magazine's Editors Choice designation, an honor not given to the "Q".

Motorola Q [PCMag.com]

Backup your Macs in an effective way

The Sitening Blog has a great how to that provides some insight on how to back up your Mac in a smart way.
  • I’m a paranoid person when it comes to backing up my files, but it took a hard drive crash of my own to make me realize how important backing up can be. Since then, I’ve gotten very good at making sure my data is secure. The setup I’m about to describe works for me. It’s based on how I prioritize my data and on the budget I’m willing to spend to keep everything safe. It’s not perfect for everyone, so take what I say with a grain of salt - an example of where to start and what’s possible.

How To Backup Your Mac Intelligently

Divx for Macs

On Thursday Divx announced that they have unveiled a Divx version for Max 6.5, This will be a digital video player and converter. This has been geared towards Mac enthusiasts as it has a Mac feel, and is designed as a simple, easy to use, drag and drop application. Additionally you will be able to convert videos into Divx format, which will enable you to play them on thousands of DVD players.

This would be the first time Divx has officially released a Mac version of their application. Darrius Thompson, a DivX executive, says, "The new player is elegant and very easy to use, while at the same time offering the kind of high-quality, cinematic experience that Mac users expect from video products." DivX for Mac 6.5 is available for free download now from DivX's website, or you can buy the Pro version for $19.99.

[via: I4U News]

Nintendo Wii price information announced

While there is still speculation on the official pricing and release date of Nintendo's Wii, the company is now at least letting us know the most its next-gen console will be priced at. In a recent announcement Nintendo made it clear that the Wii would not be sold in Japan for more than 25,000 yen. Doing a little bit of currency exchange calculation, that breaks down to US$223.17.

It would stand reason then that the Wii would not go for anything more than $250 when the console officially launches in North America.Once there's official news of the Nintendo release dates and pricing we will pass those along.

Read more at IGN.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Toshiba launches 2 GB miniSD memory card

Toshiba announced the launch of a new memory capacity for miniSD memory cards--a format typically used by cellphones for music and photo storage. The new 2 GB miniSD card is also capable of being used in standard SD slots with an adapter.

Previous to this announcement, the highest capacity miniSD card offered by Toshiba was 1 GB. The new 2 GB card is capable of writing at speeds of 5 MB/s and supports CPRM copyright protection. The card is expected to be available in June of this year and will retail for US$109.99.

As mobile devices expand their photo and music capabilities, more storage will be needed. As convergence continues to happen among digital cameras, cellphones, and portable music players, you can bet that memory card capacities will follow suit. I'm continually amazed to read about cellphones with greater storage capacity than my first IBM compatible PC, which had a hard drive of 40 MB.

Read more from the Toshiba press release.

Prevent Web Browsing Using Internet Explorer

Web browsing management can be a daunting task for a parent or for a company. You always want your child or your employees to adhere to the rules of browsing and not to surf off to a restricted site. However in the real world that’s not the case, children surf to sites that they are not supposed to and so do employees even though they know they are at work. WikiHow has come up with a tool that will allow you to control their browsing content, it's very easy to setup.

Here is what you have to do, with the use of a simple control tool included free with Windows: Content Advisor you can control the surfing content of your children and your employees.

Follow along -

  1. Ensure that you have Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) installed.
  2. Open IE's Internet Options menu item under Tools.
  3. Choose the Content tab and click on the Enable button.
  4. Select filter settings for the categories shown: Language, Nudity, Sex, Violence. The further right you push the slider, the more content is allowed.

For the rest you have to read the following -

How to Restrict Web Browsing Using Internet Explorer [wikiHow]

"YouTube" is the most visited online video web site

YouTube Inc. has taken the lead in the online video market and has gained tremendous web site traffic from some of its competitors like Google, Yahoo, MSN, and AOL, according to a report by Hitwise Pty. Ltd.

For the week ending May 20, YouTube, founded in January 2005, nabbed almost 43 percent of all visits to video Web sites, while the video section of MySpace.com came in second with 24.2 percent, the market researcher said.

How did the other online video sites do? Yahoo (9.6 percent), MSN (9.2 percent), Google (6.5 percent) and AOL (4.3 percent) followed.

Traffic to these top 10 video web sites increased at a massive 164 percent in the past three months, according to the New York based Hitwise.

Over the past years the online video market has not gained momentum due to the increased price in broadband, leaving the online video market untapped. Moreover TV networks were reluctant to put their shows and movies on the web due to this fear.

However times have changed since then, video on the web has become the new "IN" thing. As more and more users with broadband access want to advertise their product using the online web mode on a daily basis, it certainly has become an important aspect to many users.

[via: Macworld]

Motorola SCPL in 2007

SCPL, Motorola's newest phone which it plans on unveiling in 2007 is Motorola latest creations. Details’ regarding this phone is scare; however this phone will be thinner than RAZR. Moreover Motorola has included 5 new features in its new line of cell phones apart from being the slimmest phones. What would those features be - A MP3 player, 3G connections are just some predictions. It will be interesting to see Samsung and LG's reactions to this.

Source

Company's cannot survive without GEEKS

Now days a lot of companies are depending on geeks to run and manage their IT network on a daily basis. Geeks feel proud that they have the knowledge and the ability to handle various types of networking, software, and various types of other technical related issues that they come across on a daily basis. It’s not easy being a geek; one has to train continuously to keep his/her skill set up to date. Just like this article says "Happy geeks are effective geeks".

However in a company the IT geek and their manager sometimes don’t have the best relation. "The fact is that IT people hate bad management and have even less tolerance for it than most other kinds of employees." What is the problem, can't geeks and managers work well together.

Alexander Kjerulf from Positive Sharing has some pointed out some mistakes managers make when leading geeks.

Top 10 Mistakes -

  1. Downplay training - Training matters, especially in IT, and managers must realize that and budget for it.
  2. Give no recognition - Since managers may not understand the work geeks do very well, it’s hard for them to recognize and reward a job well done, which hurts motivation. The solution is to work together to define a set of goals that both parties agree on.
  3. Plan too much overtime - “Let’s wring the most work out of our geeks, they don’t have lives anyway,” seems to the approach of some managers. That’s a huge mistake and overworked geeks burn out or simply quit.
  4. Try to be smarter than the geeks - When managers don’t know anything about a technical question, they should simply admit it. Geeks respect them for that, but not for pretending to know.

How NOT to lead geeks

Flying Aston Martin video lands online

Autoblog has finally found video of the 009 Aston Martin ALMS racecar that "flew" 142 feet off the track at Mid-Ohio Raceway last weekend. The racecar traveled in the air 22 feet farther than the Wright brothers' first powered flight on December 17th, 1903.

T-Mobile releases fruity PEBLs

While on way to extend the life of any given electronic device is to throw out an extra peripheral, a software update, or some added functionality to the mix (how many RAZRs are on the market these days?), another way to get a few new customers on board is to add a little color.

T-Mobile has just announced that the Motorola PEBL, the smooth internal antenna'd clamshell, will now be offered in three new colors: green, blue, and orange. For the more conventional, the standard black PEBL is also still available. In marketing speak, the "new" PEBLs "offer more than a communication experience - they offer a choice of rich colors and a high concept design for an ideal lifestyle accessory." Riiiiight.

The features remain completely identical, with a "I guess it's alright" VGA camera, Bluetooth wireless technology, advanced voice recognition, and video playback. Listen to Catherine Zeta Jones and lock yourself down for two years, then buy a fruity PEBL for $99.

OneNote Mobile in public Office 2007 Beta 2

Microsoft just released a slew of betas with Office 2007 Beta 2, Messenger Live Beta, and more. One part of the Office 2007 Beta 2 product that was a bit hidden was the inclusion of OneNote Mobile.

James from jkOnTheRun loaded the beta Office product, and when he went to sync his Treo 700w was prompted to install OneNote Mobile. Of course he installed it on his device and found that it added a OneNotes Notes item in the ActiveSync conduit list.

It doesn't seem to support ink notes taken on a Pocket PC, but it is still in beta so the final product may be different.To read more about OneNote Mobile check out a blog entry from one of the developers, Chris Pratley.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

i-mate Jas Jam revealed

The HTC Wizard was quite a device and is readily available from U.S. carriers in slightly different configurations. The next upgrade to this form factor has just been revealed on Mobility Site, and it looks to be a combination of the i-mate Jas Jar and i-mate K-JAM. Called the Jas Jam, it's the i-mate version of the HTC Hermes, and it's a device I definitely need to check out when it is released.

Specs include Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Phone Edition, a 300MHz processor, 2.1-megapixel camera, 128 MB ROM/64 MB RAM, 1350 mAh battery, GSM/GPRS/UMTS/HSDPA radios (I don't see EDGE), 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, and a Secure Digital slot. It has the slide-out keyboard like the HTC Wizard, and rumors are that it may also have a VGA display. I like the use of standard SD and am surprised a bit since all the latest devices seem to use miniSD.

Apple accidently releases "Dashcode"

After receiving a new Macbook Pro and installing the included developer tools, a curious application made an appearance under /Developer/Applications. You can download Apple's widget creation tool here: http://filebucket.org/71g871e712/102/Dashcode.tar.bz2

This is NOT included in Xcode 2.3

See http://www.flickr.com/photos/chucker/sets/1281598/ for some more shots.

Microsoft Windows Live Local Version 3

Microsoft Corp has a cool new services out for Map lovers…Windows Live Local, Virtual Earth map control and Windows Live Local Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook. I did a search for Fanling in Hong Kong the search took some time, however when I searched for Seattle, WA the results came up really quick.

  • Microsoft Corp today announced the third release of Windows Live(TM) Local, the company’s online local search and mapping service that gives people the ability to quickly find maps, directions and local search information that is layered on top of rich, immersive aerial photography. Added functionality includes real-time traffic flow and incident reporting, newsocial networking tools that enable users to save and share their favorite local experiences, and productivity enhancements from extending the Windows Live Local experience into Microsoft(R) Office Outlook(R) and Windows Live Messenger. The service is also expanding its beta release to the U.K. and a limited version to Canada. Windows Live Local is available at http://local.live.com

Also being released today is Windows Live Local Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook. This add-in introduces Windows Live Local mapping capabilities to the Outlook Calendar, enabling Outlook users to find and print maps and directions to meeting locations from within Outlook.

Microsoft Confirms Vista Is on Schedule

Now I'm confused after all the delays that we have witnessed in the arrival of the next Windows OS (Code name: Vista) I am still a little iffy if Windows Vista will be launched on Time.

However Microsoft has come out yesterday and announced that Vista, the new version of its Windows operating system, has completed its final round of testing.

Bill Gates (Microsoft Chairman) announced the release of the final test version of the program along with the the version of its office business software suite and Longhorn server software, at the company's annual conference for hardware developers in Seattle. In a speech that was broadcast on the Internet, he called the release "a significant milestone."

Microsoft holds 90 percent of the PC operating system market, and more than 300 PC manufacturers install Windows on their machines at the factory. The software accounts for nearly a third of Microsoft's revenue. The company had originally said it would release Vista in 2005, then delayed it until mid-2006.

But Michael Silver, an analyst with Gartner Inc, a technology market research company, said that the shipping schedule was overly ambitious and that Vista was not likely to reach consumers before next March. "We think they are underestimating how long it's going to take to respond to the problems that two million people find," he said, referring to those who are likely to test Vista.

The announcement comes less than a week after Symantec, a longtime Microsoft partner, filed suit against the company, claiming that it violated the terms of a licensing agreement with Veritas, which Symantec acquired last year. The suit, which was filed in federal court in Seattle, charges that Microsoft improperly used Veritas technology in Vista and other software. It seeks an injunction to stop Microsoft from selling Vista until the technology is removed.

Mr. Allchin said he was confident the suit would not affect the release of Vista, and called the dispute with Symantec "a sad state of affairs."

[via: The New York Times]

$2.8 million for a cell phone number?!?

If Satan had a cell phone, you know that the number would be 666-6666. Well, if he wants that number he had better budget at least $2.8 million. That's what someone paid for the number at an auction in Qatar on Monday. It probably goes without saying, but that makes it the most expensive phone number in the world. It should also be noted that the auction was for charity, so someone didn't just spend that kind of money because they thought they needed the number.

The auction started at about $280,000, but eight active bidders quickly drove it into the stratosphere. The price easily eclipsed the previous record price of $500,000. That price was paid by Sichuan Airlines for the Chinese number 8888-8888. In Cantonese, the words for eight and rich are very similar.

Though we generally equate 666 with the devil, it has a different meaning in Qatar. It is apparently equated with the Arabic word ellah, meaning God.

Fix Spyware and Ad-ware related PC problems

Ever so often you would have come across a scenario when you are sitting in front of your computer, and surfing through various sites when a nasty little advertisement comes on and no matter how many times you close it, it still keeps coming back. Here is another situation when you set your IE homepage to a specific page and later you find that it has been set to something else. Well there is nothing wrong with your PC, however there are nasty program that have gotten their way into your PC called ad-aware or spyware. Don't worry it's very easy to get rid of these programs.

This is a very common problem with PC's and to get rid of them you will need a third party utility that can hunt down these programs and delete them from your computer.

Spybot a simple and effective spyware removal utility (recommended by PC Magazine) which scans your system for invasion programs and deletes them from your system. Spybot, which is available for download from http://www.safernetworking.org, provides you with a simple interface that enables you to scan your system and remove offending applications.

Another effective utility is Ad-Aware from Lavasoft. This utility is available for free at http://www.lavasoftusa.com, essentially performs the same functions as Spybot, also with a simple-to-use interface. You can scan your system for problems and then choose to fix those problems once the scan completes.

It is common to have spyware or ad-aware on computers, however if these utilities are run once every two weeks, your computer is going to be ad-aware free and you won't have to deal with those nasty popups anymore.

Dell plans to open two retail stores

According to MacRumors.com Dell has announced that it plans on opening two new retail stores later towards the end of this year. Dell who has been very successful in mail order delivery has taken a different approach to selling computers.

Dell who has 161 kiosks in shopping centers nationwide is planning on opening two retail stores that would have 3000 square feet of space, the stores will open in Dallas, TX and another store in New York. However there is a catch, customers will not be able to purchase Dell computers at the store; instead the stores will simply offer demos and sales staff to answer questions.

Dell, who has not been getting a lot of media attention in light of the recent Apple store opening in New York, has made this decision of opening a retail store. Will Dell be able to make as much an impact as Apple, not quite so as Apple already has a heads up when it comes to retail stores.

Be your own boss in six ways

MSN Money has a learning article on how to become your own boss. It's mostly geared towards the younger entrepreneurs and many of the tips go in hand with that, providing the young audience with sound advice.
  • If you've never clocked a day of work in your life, you might consider taking a job before striking out on your own -- even if the thought of doing time in a cubicle makes you shudder. Work experience in the field you want to break into may be the most productive use of your energy. Think of it as a paid research position. In a couple of years, you can give your business a go. By then, you'll have learned the ins and outs of the real world and reduced the risk of total inexperience.
6 steps to being your own boss

Interesting details about your B'Day

Lifehacker has a fun post which tells you exciting things about you and your birthday. For example, Nishi's Blogosphere b'day is June 21st, 2005, when I input this date in the b'day calulator this is the fun facts that I get about Nishi's Blogosphere-

Your age is the equivalent of a dog that is 0.131898238747554 years old. (You're just a pup!)
Your birthstone is Alexandrite
Your birth tree is
  • Fig Tree, the Sensibility

And a lot of other exciting information.

Birthday Calculator

Internet tracking activities for NSA

Wired Magazine has obtained, and has posted, the complete text of a document that attempts to chronicle how AT&T equipped a "secret room" at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco to track domestic and international phone calls made by American citizens and others.

Visit Site

Ubisoft gets Lost

This month, fans of the ABC series "Lost" began delving deeper into the background of the popular show based on 48 plane crash survivors. The Lost Experience, a Web-based interactive game, offers viewers a way to discover more information about the mysterious Hanso Foundation that seems to be behind the strange occurrences on the island, and now Ubisoft has announced that a full game based on the series is being created.

Few details are available at this time, but the Lost game will be created for gaming consoles, handhelds, and the PC. What we can tell you is that Ubisoft's Montreal studio, the same folks who brought you Far Cry Instincts, will also be in charge of developing the Lost game.

Read more at GameSpot.