tech - hawg
Friday, September 15, 2006
  Flicker add Blogger Beta support
Looks like Flickr has integrated support for the new Blogger Beta accounts. I would love to give this a whirl, but my blogs have not yet made it over to blogger beta land. I continue to wait and hope that tomorrow will be the day that i move to the new blogger system. A young tech blogger can only hope...hope and dream.
  The Apple branded mobile phone is still coming...honestly
According to Think Secret, Apple is still planning on releasing an Apple branded cellular phone. I don't yet believe it. True, the mobile market could use some of Apple's innovation to breathe some life and to provide some alternative's to the glut of uninspired mobile phones that are currently available. I want to believe this, but after having so many people say Apple was going to announce their phone at the recent press conference they had, in which they announced iTV and iTunes movies instead, I'm just burntout on these Apple cell phone rumors for now.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
  Is the Palm Treo 750v worth buying?
Sounds like it acutally may be. The Palm Treo 750v will be shipping with Windows Mobile 5.0 but will apparently contain some software enhancements that could make it a more stable product than other Windows Mobile 5 devices. It looks a touch sleeker, which is nice, but the fact that it lacks WiFi support is a bit disheartening. Not necessarily a deal break though.

  Custom Google Home page adds tabs...

Wha, wha? Did I miss something? this didn't always used to be here did it? I noticed on my Google custom homepage today that apparently I can add tabs for different views to it. It makes perfect sense to me and I plan on using the heck out of it. Thank you Google for giving me functionality that I will probably use the heck out of but I didn't know well enough to think to ask for it. Gotta love it.

UPDATE: Maybe I wasn't supposed to see this tab feature just yet. It's buggy as all hell and it keeps disappearing on me. Just refreshing the page makes it disappear. Good intentions though.
  New Yahoo Mail client gets released
However, when I logged in to my Yahoo Mail account, is was still the same old mail client. I'll check back again later. This makes the Yahoo Mail's e-mail client largest "Ajax'd" mail client implementation, due to the fact that Yahoo Mail has over 250 million users. I hope it goes well, I've been looking forward to this day ever since Oddpost was acquired by Yahoo a few years back.

  Dogster raises $1 million to go bigger

When I saw this, I had visions of bubbles bursting in my head and thoughts of how everything is all downhill from here. Then I read the article, Dogster is actually making money! Odd but not all that far fetched. The artcile goes on to describe how these pet owners may be willing to post more details about themselves on their pets web site rather than on their own, personal web site. I get that and it's cool to see a little niche site make an actual market out of it.

So what exactly does Dogster plan to do with the loot? Branch out into other pet industries of course. I think that's a good idea. I can see it now, Snakster, Hamster (that one's easy!), mousester etc...
  Microsoft officially announces the Zune brand

Microsoft has officially thrown their hat into the iPod-dominated digital music player arena but officially announcing the Zune brand. The Zune will be a 30GB digital media player that will not only play your music, but will let you wirelessly share your tunes. The Zune will also come in three colors, black, brown and white. I like how Microsoft threw Brown in there as a zune color. You don't see too many companies going for the brown look but it works for me here. Maybe it's just my mood. The wireless sharing sounds good but I'm a little suspicious of this line:

Listen to the full track of any song you receive up to three times over three days.

So you can only listen to a song you've been sent three times? While I may not need to listent to it more than once to determine whether I like it or not, it's a restriciton none the less. I'm interested in how the device handles though. Sounds interesting. Here's the release:

Microsoft’s Zune Delivers Connected Music and Entertainment Experience
Built-in wireless technology lets consumers share experiences device to device.

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 14, 2006 — Marking the next big milestone for its Connected Entertainment vision, Microsoft Corp. today unveiled details of the first products to be released under its Zune™ brand. Designed around the principles of sharing, discovery and community, Zune will create new ways for consumers to connect and share entertainment experiences. The Zune experience centers around connection — connection to your library, connection to friends, connection to community and connection to other devices.

“The digital music entertainment revolution is just beginning,” said J Allard, vice president, design and development, at Microsoft, who is leading the charge for building the family of Zune products. “With Zune, we are not simply delivering a portable device, we are introducing a new platform that helps bring artists closer to their audiences and helps people find new music and develop new social connections.”

The Zune Experience

Available this holiday season in the United States, Zune includes a 30GB digital media player, the Zune Marketplace music service and a foundation for an online community that will enable music fans to discover new music. The Zune device features wireless technology, a built-in FM tuner and a bright, 3-inch screen that allows users to not only show off music, pictures and video, but also to customize the experience with personal pictures or themes to truly make the device their own. Zune comes in three colors: black, brown and white.

Every Zune device creates an opportunity for connection. Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing lets consumers spontaneously share full-length sample tracks of select songs, homemade recordings, playlists or pictures with friends between Zune devices. Listen to the full track of any song you receive up to three times over three days. If you like a song you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device and easily purchase it from the Zune Marketplace.

Zune makes it easy to find music you love — whether it’s songs in your existing library or new music from the Zune Marketplace. Easily import your existing music, pictures and videos in many popular formats and browse millions of songs on Zune Marketplace, where you can choose to purchase tracks individually or to buy a Zune Pass subscription to download as many songs as you want for a flat fee.

To get started with great music and videos out of the box, every Zune device is preloaded with content from record labels such as DTS, EMI Music’s Astralwerks Records and Virgin Records, Ninja Tune, Playlouderecordings, Quango Music Group, Sub Pop Records, and V2/Artemis Records.

Zune Accessories

To enhance the Zune experience, three accessory packs help Zune users enjoy their music where they want to, at home or on the road. The packs and the individual accessories, all designed exclusively for Zune, will be available at launch:

• The Zune Car Pack includes everything needed to hit the road with a Zune device, such as the built-in FM tuner with AutoSeek and the Zune Car Charger.

• The Zune Home A/V Pack enhances your experience in the home through five products that integrate Zune with the TV and music speakers: Zune AV Output Cable, Zune Dock, Zune Sync Cable, Zune AC Adapter and the Zune Wireless Remote for Zune Dock.

• Zune Travel Pack is a set of five products designed to keep friends and family entertained on the road: Zune Premium Earphones, Zune Dual Connect Remote, Zune Gear Bag, Zune Sync Cable and the Zune AC Adapter.

Providing consumers with additional options to customize and personalize their Zune experience, Microsoft is also working with leading accessory manufacturers Altec Lansing, Belkin Corp., Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO), Dual Electronics, Griffin Technology, Harman Kardon and JBL, Integrated Mobile Electronics, Jamo International, Klipsch Audio Technologies, Logitech, Monster Cable Products Inc., Speck, Targus Group International Inc. and VAF Research

The Future is Bright

In addition to the features available at launch, built-in wireless technology and powerful software provide a strong foundation to continue to build new shared experiences around music and video. As Zune evolves, the device can be easily updated. The Zune software on your PC will let you know when these updates are available for download.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006
  Google's Featured Content for Google Earth

Google has now implemented special "Feature Content" areas in Google area. Basically, in certain spots on the globe you can see certain overlays which will let you click through to learn more about that certain location. Right now they have a number of spots setup to better educate people about these areas. In the future though, I can imagine this being expand to include businesses as well as other geographic information. Cool. If I can get it working properly on my machine, I'll throw up some screenshots. Here are the currently available content areas:

Initial Featured Content for Google Earth partners include:

· United Nations Environmental Program - The UNEP overlay for
Google Earth includes successive time-stamped images illustrating 100
areas of extreme environmental degradation around the world. From the
deforestation of the Amazon to the fallout of raging forest fires in
Sub-Sahara Africa and the decline of the Aral Sea in Central Asia, this
before-and-after imagery spanning the past 30 years offers users an
online resource for learning about the environmental crisis zones
around the world.

· Discovery Networks World Tour - The Discovery overlay enables
travel enthusiasts and armchair tourists alike the opportunity to
virtually visit major world attractions, cities, and natural wonders
through Google Earth. Featuring streaming Discovery video segments,
users can learn about the history and significance of various world
landmarks, national parks, American and European cities, and African
locations. These multimedia vignettes introduce users to the wonders of
King Tut's tomb in the Valley of Kings to the history of the gate of
the Itsukushima Shrine in Japan.

· National Park Service - The National Park Service overlay enables
users to learn more about the natural recreation opportunities in their
own backyard. This includes detailed park descriptions, information on
visitor facilities, and more than 10,000 miles of trails within all 58
US National Parks.

· Jane Goodall Institute - With the Jane Goodall Institute overlay
users can visit Fifi and the other Gombe preserve chimpanzees and
follow their daily exploits with the Institute's "geo-blog" in Google
Earth. Updated daily, this geo-blog captures the work of the Jane
Goodall Institute, illustrating the Institute's research on
chimpanzees and the effects of deforestation in Africa.

· Turn Here - This overlay features free city video guides for
travel, restaurants, hotels, local events and music around the globe.
Told from an insider's perspective, these short films connect users
to information about the best pizza shop in New York's Little Italy
to Pablo Picasso's favorite hang-out in Halmstad, Sweden.

[google earth]
  iRiver's S10

The 2GB iRiver S10 looks to be a winner. I wonder how the D-click navigation they talk about works. It sounds pretty intuitive.
  Good times for tech valley
USA Today has an article up detailing how life is going well for some tech heavyweights and a few upstarts in the Silicon Valley tech industry. The article is an interesting read if for nothing else, to see how well things are in the valley compared to everything else...

The largesse is starting to spill into the local economy. "We see a whole lot of money flowing out here right now," says Ginny Cain McMurtrie, a vice president at Saratoga, Calif.-based Alain Pinel Realtors.

In the first quarter of 2006, 82 homes were sold for more than $2.5 million in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, the real estate firm says.

"I hear the agents talking about the Googlers and eBayers looking at $3 million houses," Cain McMurtrie says. A home in the tech-executive hamlet of Woodside recently sold for $10.3 million.

That's a striking contrast to the rest of the country, where a softening market has caused the median home price to nearly flatten at about $230,000, says the National Association of Realtors.

Dang, I am living in the wrong city.

[usa today]
  It's the Barbie Volkswagon Beetle!

For everyone who has or has ever had a teenage daughter comes the Barbie branded Volkswagon Beetle. They won't be easy to get though, only 13 are being made and they'll be released to the Mexican market only.

  The morning-message pillow

Don't you hate it when you lay on a pillow with an odd embroidered design on it and you wake up with that design on your face? No you don't have to, wake up with a message on your face instead. I know this isn't really tech-related but the morning message pillow is a pretty good gift idea. If you're a skilled embroider, you can probably do this on your own pillow yourself.

  Free PVR MythTV gets an upgrade

To balance out that previous $$$ heavy TiVo post, I figured I would also note that free feature-rich Personal Video Record software MythTV got a hefty upgrade the other day. If you don't know too much about MythTV, it's a neat piece of software you can use with your own hardware to basically have your own, personally created digital video recorder. If you like free, this is for you.

  TiVo Series 3 now available

You can now buy the HD compatible, CableCard ready TiVo Series 3 DVR model. While you can pick up the device for $799 (ouch), the service plan will run you $12.95 a month. If you love TiVo and know you'll be keeping it around for at least the next three years, you can get a year for free if you pre-pay for those three years up front for $299 (which works out to be a little over $8 a month). You can get more pricing details here if you have either the money to burn or an understanding significant other (or both, but I doubt it).

[seen at pvrblog]
  Sony Vaios get dual cor'd and Blu-ray drives
Sony updated their higher end Vaio laptops recently, giving them Intel Core Duo 2 processors, a Blu-ray disc drive as well as 2gb of RAM. The 15.4 inch, 1280 x 800 screen will make watching those ultra hi-def Blu-ray movies that much more sweeter...for the two of you out there who actually own Blu-ray movies that is.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
  More Apple coverage
The happenings from the just ended Apple Conference are all over TechMeme. Check it out to see if I missed anything worth noting :)
  Why Apple just won the digital content battle for your living room with the iTV

This is good. Real good. Gizmodo leaked it this morning and it turns out their source was right. Apple plans on releasing a device that will basically allow your computer (Jobs is hoping it's a Mac but it sounds like PCs will work as well) to talk to your TV. Apple has dubbed the device the iTV for now but Jobs mentioned that as being a codeword for the device and that it's likely to change. The kicker is, no cables, not even for power. With this device you can beam high quality movies you buy from iTunes to your TV with ease. Some specifics:

Let me go back a bit. I said above you get to beam high quality movies from your Mac (or PC, I've been converted!) and while that's true that's not the whole picture.

This box gives you access to all of your iTunes content. Music, movies, movie trailers, pictures and so on and so on. I wonder how long it'll be until someone cracks it so you can stream whatever you want to your TV. All this functionality and ease of use for $299 early next year. Apple just blew by all competitors with this one. I think this picture sums it up quite nicely:

Would you want it any other way? ;)

I seriously think Apple is continuing to BLOW past all competition on this one. Microsoft's still trying to battle the iPod while Apple is thrusting forward into new markets and creating new spaces. Why couldn't anyone else come out with the iTV? Why couldn't Microsoft? The closest they got was Windows Media Center which is nice software but that's it. Just software. Apple is killing them on this. I wonder how the world will respond?

[photos and info from engadget]
  iTunes movies

Films from Disney, Pixar, Touchstone, and Miramax are now going to be purchasable via iTunes. Awsome. What I like is the pricing scheme. Here are the details:

Those are the details on iTunes Movies. But as Steve said...

But there is one last thing ....
  The iPod Nano gets updated
The iPod Nano got some upgrades today too. Here's the lowdown:

The prices are $149, $199 and $249 for the 2gb, 4gb and 8gb models respectively.
  Apple's Latest: Make way for more iPods!
Apple's iPods recieved a lot of love from Apple today. Apple made their iPod more accessible (pricewise), more useable and overall, a tad bit sexier. Here are some of the major improvements:

Whew! I love the costs and the new functionality (games and searching). Up next, the iPod Nano!
  It's time for Apple's "Showtime"!

My gawd I wish I was there. Right now Steve Jobs is unveiling the latest Apple coolnes. I love these types of press conferences. The build-up is so huge and everyone is always hoping that it lives up to the hype. I'd recommend you keep checking Engadget since Gizmodo apparently buckled under the pressure.

  Apple's TubePort
Looks like there's a (slight) chance that someone leaked what Apple's planning on unvieling today and if it's true, consider me excited. Apple could be releasing a device you would attach to your TV and a device that you would attach to you computer so that you can stream the movies you download from iTunes right over to your TV. By passing the need to burn them to a DVD or worry about messing with DRM. I'm sure there will be some kind of drm involved but if I don't have to hack it to play it on my tv (I'm looking at you Amazon Unbox), I'll be ok with it. I'll still be looking for more details on this so stay tuned.

  hmm, the iTunes Store is down

Interesting ain't it? I think it's safe to say that movies downloads via iTunes are just a few hours away.
  Today is Apple's big announcement
Today Apple unleashes something. Most people think it'll be their video downloading service (i do too!) but only time will tell. I'll keep you all up to date through out the day.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
  Awsome music playing site (not service...yet)

Saw this cool little site,, mentioned on techcrunch and being the lover of music that I am, I had to check it out. It so dern quick! Right on the first page, you can search for your deisred artist and almost instantly a playlist comes up with that artist's songs. Sounds quality was good enough for me. Will this last long? Probably not so enjoy it ASAP! Now all they need to do is widgetize it so I can embed it into one of my sites :)
Friday, September 08, 2006
  Amazon, Unboxed

Amazon quietly launched their video service "Unbox" recently and it's not that different from the other video download services out there. I'm thinking that due to it's somewhat quiet launch, they wanted to just get it out the door asap before Apple's alleged iTunes Movie downloads service was available. You can rent or flat out buy the movies but it was unclear to me whether all movies gave you that choice. To either rent them or download them. Unsurprisingly, the downloaded videos come "protected" with DRM so you can't burn these videos to a DVD and watch them on a TV. You can burn them to a DVD but only for backup purposes since they won't play in any DVD player. Amazon does have an unintentionally hilarious "how to" explaining how to watch these Amazon videos on your TV by connecting your PC to your TV. Hilarious in a "I-gotta-do-all-that-to-watch-a-video-I-purchased-on-my-TV?" kind of way. To watch these video, you'll also have to be using a PC and you'll need to install their video player software.

UPDATE: looks like you can crack Amazon's Unbox drm with FairUse4WM. There's been some recent drama in regards to this tool which you can read about here.
  Creative Zen Sleek 9 months later
I've been using the Creative Zen Sleek since around Christmas time last year and it has been very good to me. However, lately it's been acting a bit strange. I frquently get playback errors and often, the system will just freeze. The only way I know of to get it unfrozen is to let it just die out. It's disappointing really since I don't use it all too often, to have it start acting up like this. In the past, it was extremely convinient to be able to use it as a removable hard drive as well as digital music player. It's been a fun ride but I think that ride is about to come to an end.

Thursday, September 07, 2006
  How Facebook can do right...
After my post this morning about the recent Facebook debacle, I started to think about why these Facebookers are so upset. Did they not know how to properly use Facebook? Don't they know they can opt to not share certain information? But wait, does it matter what I think since I'm not an active user? I realized that it doesn't. I can sit back and alayze all I want, the reality is, there's a subset of Facebook users that are pissed off. I think started to think about what Facebook should do. "I've been Tuesday morning quaterbacking all morning, why stop now?" I thought. First off, Facebook needs to engage these ticked off users. Go to them and tell the users how Facebook cares and listen to why they're upset about these new features. Next, make it easy to learn how to use these feeds properly and address the users security concerns. Maybe a few screencasts showcasing how your information isn't readily available for everyone. Lastly, keep the community engaged. Inform them of every change Facebook is making in relation to these features. I like what Scoble suggested about not only catering to the big bloggers but to anyone who has recently said anything about Facebook. I don't agree that Facebook should turn off these new features since this seems to be a big miscommunication between Facebook and their userbase. I think Facebook just needs to communicate better on how these feeds can be used and how they are governed by your privacy settings. Get some dialog going is all I'm saying, and educate.
  T-Mobile's Blackberry Pearl

T-Mobile recently announced the first Blackberry to sport a camera (and 1.3 mega pixels at that), the RIM Blackberry Pearl. Also new to Blackberries is the trackball on the front of the phone. The Pearl can play your mp3s, is Bluetooth 2.0 compatible and even comes with a MicroSD slot if you need to add to the included 64mb of memory. That screen looks beautiful too. Hmmm, should I switch to T-Mobile?
  Is eBay the web 2.0 clearing house?
Yet another "web 2.0" start up is being auctioned off on eBay. The site is Huckabuck which considers itself a web 2.0 search engine. The bidding is up to $9,100 so far but the reserve has not yet been met. If this auction can get some press and earn a decent price for the Huckabuck team, eBay could gain some more credibility as a venue in which to sell your fledgling company after you've lost interest or want to move on. It'll be interesting to see how this auction ends and what the bidder ends up paying.
  Windows Vista RC1

The Microsoft Windows Vista Release Canidate 1 is now available for public consumption. If you have the need, feel free to download it and tinker. Good luck.
  Korean Air bans Dell and Apple laptops
Due to the two pc heavies put out a recall on certain notebook models that used certain batteries, Korean Air has banned any laptops from Dell or Apple from being on board their flights. Ouch.
  Apple event scheduled for Septembet 12th

Apple will be holding a special event on September 12 and on their invites, they dubbed the event "It's Showtime". Interesting choice of words since the rampant speculation has suggested that they will be unvieling iTunes movie downloading service. The crazier reports suggest that Apple will be releasing an Apple branded cell phone. The cell phone rumors are what I'm most hopeful for. There probably won't be any Apple branded cell phones anytime soon but I can still dream. I think I'll hold off making my switch from Verizon until September 13th, just in case.
  SpiralFrog convinces EMI
SpiralFrog has announced that it has also signed an agreement with EMI to distribute their music catalog via the SpiralFrog service for free. This comes shortly after their deal with Universal was announced. Could this change the game of downloading music online? It sounds promising and I am very intrugued but we still have to wait a few more months. SpiralFrog doesn't plan on releasing their service until late December.
  The rise of Ubuntu

I really didn't know too much about the history of Ubuntu until I read this Forbes article about Mark Shuttleworth. Mark is a very rich man, due to selling one of his companies to VeriSign for $700 million in stock in 2000, but not a man who wants to hoard his money. He used his expansive bank account to create and launch a flavor of Linux dubbed Ubuntu. I've been hearing about Ubuntu and I've checked it out once acutally. I like the fact that they are more than happy to ship you out a free cd no matter where you live.
  Six apart buys Rojo

Six Apart has acquired Rojo Networks but not for Rojo the service. Since Six Apart plans on possibly selling off Rojo the service at a later date, this is more of an acquistion of talent. Put simply, Six apart wanted Rojo CEO Chris Alden and they bought his company to get him.
  Facebook users freak out
Apparently, the recent features Facebook added angered a percentage of their user base. The reason? It seems to me to be a misunderstanding. According to the "a day without facebook" protest site, the new feeds that Facebook added make it eaiser to "stalk" your friends. From the site:

There is one major reason there is a sense of anger over the Feeds feature.

It damages what privacy was left on Facebook. Before Feeds, it was already easy enough to stalk anyone at your school, and everyone on your friends list; but with the advent of Feeds, it is now nearly impossible not to be “stalked” or to “stalk”

Without even trying an individual now knows the changing relationship status of individuals on their friends list, the new “friendships” added by users, and the photos tagged by either a user or a user’s friends.

It is almost impossible now to keep your information to yourself. In the last year this has become incredibly important as we have seen judicial actions brought against students based solely on photos posted on facebook, we have heard of cases concerning actual stalking where Facebook was the accused main form of information, and we have seen employers who have begun using Facebook to check on potential employees.

Before Feeds there were steps that could be taken to prevent your information becoming everyone’s property; now there is literally no option to prevent your information from going completely public.

This feature was not requested by the users, and the users are not given a chance to opt out of it.

There are other reasons users are complaining, ranging from the fact it takes away the time-wasting aspect of Facebook to aesthetic complaints about the new look.

Clearly there is a desire to not have Feeds be the Facebook standard.

What these Facebook protesters seem to be misunderstanding is that you CAN decide what your friends do or don't see. On the other side, these feeds also make it easier to keep up with what's going on with your friends. In short, Facebook users can decide what they want to share. Their information is shared out to everyone at all times without giving the user the ability to change it. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg even weighed in on the official Facebook blog:

We didn’t take away any privacy options. [Your privacy options remain the same.] The privacy rules haven’t changed. None of your information is visible to anyone who couldn’t see it before the changes. If you turned off your wall to non-friends, no one who is not your friend will be able to see a post on your wall. Your friends can still see it; it hasn’t changed. Secret groups and secret events remain secret from other people. Pokes and messages remain as private interactions. Nothing you do is being broadcast; rather, it is being shared with people who care about what you do—your friends.

You crazy kids are so dramatic, sheesh.

[more info at techcrunch]
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
  Tucows bought Kiko!

Tucows CEO Elliot Noss revealed that his company is the one that won the Kiko auction. Their reason? It made sense for them to at that time. Interesting read.
  I'm leaving Verizon
So my two year stint with Verizon is up and I don't know who to go to next. What I need is a phone (and service provider) that will let me upload my own ringtones, that's something my wife and I both want. Any ideas which phone or service I should look in to?
  Apple to hold a special event on September 12th
My bet is that Apple will unveil movie downloading via iTunes but since you never can be absolutely sure with Apple events, I'm not holding my breath.

[via ilounge]
  Woah, sofa that converts to a bunk bed...

Man, I should get this for my kids, or even myself. If I get too tired one night I could just crash on the sofa, but if I feel the need to sleep a little higher off the ground, I'll just pop the bunk bed out and have at. Perfect way to save space.

  TiVo came from aliens!
This is a pretty funny (not true) video on where TiVo technology came from (from the stars!).

[via zatz]
  The digital divide still dividing students
Looks like the digital divide is still prevalent amongst students with the latest surveys breaking down internet usage:
-67 percent of white students
-44 percent of of hispanic students
-47 percent of black students
So basically two thirds of white students use the internet while less than half of the black and hispanic students do. Ouch. Why is this the case? I'm not sure but I could speculate all day. Could it be a lack of interest among the aforementioned minority students or more of a cultural problem? I'm sure it's most likely a combination of factors but one thing I do know is that as pc hardware gets cheaper and more ubiquitous, these numbers should (and hopefully will) increase.

[via yahoo]
  New Apple vs PC ads featuring Giselle Bundchen
The gist from these picutres for these new Apple "Get a Mac" ads seem to be that pcs with Windows is akin to an ugly cross dressing girlfriend while Macs are akin to the young, hip model type. They look to be pretty funny. I'm sure we'll all be seeing the actual video sooner rather than later.

[via nick starr's blog and flickr set]

  The Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition, a phone I won't be getting soon

Sure the Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition looks purty and even sports sounds and 'sonic textures' from Brian Eno, the price is just a bit out of my price range.

The Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition is now available in select markets, with an estimated retail price of EUR 1000, before taxes or subsidies.

Despite the price it does sound like a nice phone, from the stainless steel case to the hidden ergonomic keypad.

The stainless steel case of the Sirocco Edition is treated in such a way as to give the device a unique sensual feel, which humanizes this natural masterpiece. Impeccable functionality is created through superlative craftsmanship, using techniques drawn from master watchmakers and jewellers. From the sapphire coating of the 262,000 colour display to the distinctive slide mechanism which reveals its 2 mega-pixel camera, or even its extended battery life, every seemingly minor detail of the Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition is honed to perfection. The ergonomic keypad undulates like the glimmering dunes of the night desert, whilst the jewel-like navigation key shines like the brightest star in the darkest night. The Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition truly is unique, created out of the inherent beauty and chaos of nature and distilled into a modern form that is graceful, sympathetic and spare.

Who writes these descriptions? Who ever it is, the next time I need to sell I house, I'm giving them a call.
  LG's latest mobile, the LG-LB1700
I'm such a sucker for sliders. The type of mobile phone that usually hides away the keypad behind the screen via a small track that allows you to slide the keypad out and in. They can save some space but they just look cool to me and LG's LG-LB1700 is no exception. It's a nice sleek black with a seemingly large screen. Unfortunately, this slider goodness is only going to be released in Korea.

  HP's iPAQ rx4000 Mobile Media Companion

HP's iPaq rx4000 Mobile Media Companion sounds like a sooper dooper PDA. Basically allowing you to do all kinds of things from this handheld device. As intriguing as those first two sentences are, I only want to know two things...does it fit in my pocket and can it flip from landscape view to portrait view by just rotating the device? If so, I'd be happy. 'Yes!' could be the answers to those two questions but from what I've read here, it's not too clear. By using the earphones in the picture for scale, the device seems small enough to fit in my pocket and from the aforementioned web site you can...

Choose to view digital content in either landscape or portrait mode to maximize the viewing pleasure of videos, photos and games.

So my prospects look good but this doesn't clarify how you swtich between modes. I guess I'll have to wait. Here are the other mentioned features:

Key features of the smart design include:

Choose to view digital content in either landscape or portrait mode to maximize the viewing pleasure of videos, photos and games.
A scroll wheel for a single, smooth, one-handed operation for access and navigation of digital content.
A large 2.8-inch-wide anti-glare touch screen to quickly launch media applications for entertainment gratification.
The HP iPAQ rx4000 Mobile Media Companion series, which is built on Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 Software for Pocket PC, also includes a suite of connectivity options, such as integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, enabling consumers to stay connected on the go.
Built with integrated Wi-Fi, consumers can connect to their email and the Internet to get real-time information and download music or movies. Consumers can also download VoIP software to make free PC-to-PC calls and fee-based calls to landlines and mobile phones, staying connected to loved.
Bluetooth technology enables consumers to connect to other Bluetooth devices, such as wireless stereo headphones, mobile phones and wireless printers.
Built on Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 Software for Pocket PC, consumers can synchronize their calendar and contacts with ease, while getting work done on the go with popular Microsoft applications, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  Facebook adds new features and a new look
While the asthetic changes don't seem to be anything too crazy, what I dig is the implementation of their News Feed and Mini-Feed features. These new features are basically ways to keep track of and to view/show the most recent changes for any given Facebooker. What I like about it is that this makes the service a little bit easier for users to consume the data they're most likely interested in. Instead of trying to track down what's new about a certain user or if a user made a change to a certain aspect of their profile, you can now view this data in one of these feeds. From the Facebook blog:

News Feed highlights what's happening in your social circles on Facebook. It updates a personalized list of news stories throughout the day, so you'll know when Mark adds Britney Spears to his Favorites or when your crush is single again. Now, whenever you log in, you'll get the latest headlines generated by the activity of your friends and social groups.

Mini-Feed is a new part of the profile that shows all the latest stuff someone has added on Facebook.Mini-Feed is similar, except that it centers around one person. Each person's Mini-Feed shows what has changed recently in their profile and what content (notes, photos, etc.) they've added. Check out your own Mini-Feed; if there are any stories you don't like, you can remove them from your profile.

I know of a lot of sites that could benefit from features similar to these and I expect we'll see more of this kind of innovation as more people and services begin to understand how to capture and keep people's attention (give them what they're looking for or make it easier to get that data).
  Sirius moving to the internet?

In what I think is the right move, satellite radio publisher Sirius recently announced a portable satellite reciever (and mp3 player of course), dubbed the Stiletto, that can connect via Wi-Fi to Sirius. They even have an online only subscription ($12.99 for the first user, $6.99 for additional listeners) which allows consumers to get Sirius without having to connect to their satellites. I think this is an awsome idea since wireless networks will only be more common in the future, why maintain your own expensive satellites when you do need to?
Friday, September 01, 2006
  Blogger beta for some bloggers....not for me :(
I know Blogger launched a new version of Blogger under the name "Blogger in Beta" and the new features look to be the bees kness but how long do I have to wait to partake of some of the new beta goodness? I just wanna rock and roll all night, and party everyday. I'm so looking forward to moving my blogs over to the new blogger system. I.can't.wait.
  Google's image labeler launches
This is a pretty creative way to help improve a search index. In this case, Google is aiming to improve the relevance of their image search index by basically using their fans. Here's their description:

How does it work?
You'll be randomly paired with a partner who's online and using the feature. Over a 90-second period, you and your partner will be shown the same set of images and asked to provide as many labels as possible to describe each image you see. When your label matches your partner's label, you'll earn some points and move on to the next image until time runs out. After time expires, you can explore the images you've seen and the websites where those images were found. And we'll show you the points you've earned throughout the session.

I tried it and it's pretty fun. The random partner I got match up on my fifth go roung or so was right there with me. We matched 4 labels, giving me 400 points. Boo ya.
  Slower blogging this weekend
Due to the holiday, the blog post may not be coming as hot and heavy as they have been for the past few days. I'll still attempt to through up a few posts though. We have a tradition of sorts of helping out with the balloon festival that happens here in the Springs every Labor day weekend. So the family and I will be helping out with that. Have a safe weekend!
  A robot on wheels for you iPod

The Japanese music robot Miuro (short for "music innovation based on utility robot technology") has got to be the best iPod accessory out there right now. I love the thought of plugging in my portable music player (for $$930, it better work on more than just an iPod) and have it follow me around playing my music. That way I don't have to keep going back to it to make adjustments or worry about being in a different room than my boom box and having the volumne way too loud just so I can hear it from a couple of rooms away. This is just so cool. For some reason it reminds me of teddy from the Speilberg movie A.I.
  Apple to offer movies downloads by mid-September
Apple may begin to give iTuners the ability to download full length feature films around mid-September. The trick is, it looks like they may be able to get a pretty nice discount on the wholesale price of these movies. A pretty nice discount meaning $14.99 for a brand new movie in this case. This currently undercuts the discount that WalMart gets and for this, they aren't happy. How are the studios going to play this though? If they give WalMart a similar discount, there goes hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. But if they don't appease WalMart, will WalMart have the cajones to apply some sort of pressure on the movie industry? Maybe by possibly not releasing certain titles or by delaying the release of others on their shelves? Who knows. I think Business Week is making too big of a deal out of this. Sure iTunes will be selling movies at a cheaper price than WalMart but not everyone has made the full transition into the digital age just yet. I don't think that people will all of a sudden stop buying DVDs from Walmart and to just start downloading them and burning them to a DVD. Not everyone has a video iPod yet so WalMart still has time. On the other side of that coin though is the fact that a lot of people will be making the move to downloading their movies over the net over the next few years and when they do, who's going to be the flagship property that has a rep for letting their customers download awesome quality movies at affordable prices? If Apple gets it's way, that property could be iTunes and that is what WalMart shouldn't want. Either way, I still want to be able to download a new release the day it comes out in theaters. I won't get my wish anytime in the foreseeable future but I know that day is coming. Sooner or later.
Cell phones, Gadgets, DVRs and DAPs. All around Tech-coolery....


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