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.