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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Kauai is not Oahu as far as computers are concerned

I just returned home from a nice vacation in Kauai.  I was surprised at how few internet cafes there were.  In fact, there seemed to be a general contempt for computers at large.  For example, while eating at a local bakery I read a sign that said "please use your computers outside - especially if it is raining".  Now I know that most people who visit Kauai are trying to get away from the rigamarole of the rat race but it would seem that being on a remote island would prompt the need for connection to the rest of the world; at least for it's residents.... --

Report Critical of U.S. for e-waste Disposal Practices

"In what may be the least astonishing news of the day, some major US companies who say they are environmentally recycling electronic waste — aren't. Rather more startling — they are dumping everything from cell phones and old computers to televisions in countries such as China and India where disposal practices are unsafe to people and dangerous to the environment. Controlling the exportation of all of the e-waste plops on the doorstep of the US Environmental Protection Agency which is doing a woeful job, according to a scathing 67-page report issued by the Government Accountability Office today." Source:  Slashdot... --

Software Can Detect Spin in a Politicians Speech

"According to an article in NewScientst Tech, there is now software that can identify the amount of spin in a politician or candidate's speech. From the article, 'Blink and you would have missed it. The expression of disgust on former US president Bill Clinton's face during his speech to the Democratic National Convention as he says "Obama" lasts for just a fraction of a second. But to Paul Ekman it was glaringly obvious. "Given that he probably feels jilted that his wife Hillary didn't get the nomination, I would have to say that the entire speech was actually given very gracefully," says Ekman, who has studied people's facial expressions and how they relate to what they are thinking for over 40 years.' The article goes on to analyze the amount of spin... --

iPhone 2.1 Update Released

Apple rolled out version 2.1 of its iPhone software last Friday, and widespread reports suggest that it successfully fixes numerous problems, including 3G data reception. Here's is the lowdown on the iPhone 2.1's enhancements. Fewer dropped calls. In a survey conducted by Wired.com, 40 percent of readers report that they're getting fewer dropped calls than they did before the update. Another 43 percent currently state that the update has made no change one way or the other, while 15 percent state that they're getting more dropped calls than ever. Upshot: The new software probably won't hurt your calls, and might lead to fewer dropped ones. Increased 3G download speeds. "We're seeing an overall more consistent kbps score and the number of 3G tests where the user scored a real low 100kbps -- 300kbps is down," said Donovan Lewis,... --

New Aluminum MacBook?

If we take the word of Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner, the much rumored new aluminum MacBooks are already winging their way from China to Apple's secret underground storage facility. This fits with speculation that we'll see a notebook refresh from Apple some time in October. Gardner's "field checks" (read: crystal ball) have told him that the new MacBooks will have a “very thin aluminum casing, an LED-backlit display and an aggressive entry-level price point." Aluminum makes sense. Everything else in the lineup is turning into aluminum (except the iPhone's rear case). LED backlighting also makes sense. And the "aggressive entry-level price point," combined with the iPod price drops, could be the mysterious "product transition" we keep hearing about. Other parts of the internet will surely cry "fake," saying that new MacBooks would have been released for the back-to-school... --

The Best Gaming Laptop Ever – New Report

"Gameplayer has gone live with their winners for the best gaming laptops money can buy as of Q3 2008. The analysis is broken into three sections to cater for three different budget requirements. There is a detailed explanation of why each laptop was selected, going into each hardware component individually. Regular slashdot users will remember the site's article from a few weeks ago, which analysed the Best Gaming PCs that Money can Buy. Prices may vary depending on where you live."... --

Best Buy Purchases Napster

MarketWatch reports that Best Buy has decided to spend 54 million dollars to purchase Napster. In total the deal amounts to approximately $121 million, with an estimated $67 million put towards getting cash and short-term investments from Napster's balance sheet. "The deal will give Best Buy an online digital music retail outlet as well as a subscription streaming service that has about 700,000 subscribers. That could help Best Buy to compete against retail giant Wal-Mart, which has its own online digital music offering."  I dont know about you guys but who uses Napster anymore...not me or anybody I know.... --

Internet Explorer 8 Reports Back to Microsoft!

"Microsoft has defended the Internet Explorer 8 tool that suggests sites based on URLs typed into its address bar, claiming that the browser "phones home" only a very limited amount of information to Microsoft and that the company discards all user IP information almost immediately. (I love the usage of the word "almost" in that line) Company managers also compared Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2's 'Suggested Sites' feature with the 'Suggest' feature used by the Chrome browser (Google's new browser), saying that Microsoft's requires the user's explicit permission before it's used. They did acknowledge a glitch that stops the request from reappearing when users reinstall the browser. Cyra Richardson, a Microsoft principal program manager on the IE team, said: 'Suggested Sites is connected to the browser's history, and it's not looking at each of... --

World’s Fastest Wireless Network Tested by Scientists

"Scientists in Pisa, Italy claim to have set a new world record for the fastest wireless data transmission. They report that they were able to achieve throughput speeds above 1.2 Terabits per second, which they say beats the previous wireless data transmission speed record of 160 Gigabits per second by Korean scientists. The technology that the Pisa scientists utilized actually shares a significant similarity with fiber optics. Unlike Wi-Fi or microwave communications, which use radio-based transmissions, the Pisa scientists used a technology called free-space optical communications. In free space optics, an energy beam is collimated and transmitted through space rather than being guided through an optical cable."... --

Want to Copy a DVD?

In the U.S., the movie and video industries continue to search for what they feel to be acceptable ways to let consumers copy and watch DVD content on their computers. But the end result of their efforts are often clumsy and painfully unusable -- and always laden with warnings, restrictions and Digital Rights Management software that is intended to protect the rights of the copyright holders. The latest product to "hit the shelves" is RealDVD from RealNetworks, the software company responsible for the RealPlayer streaming audio and video player that all but ruled streaming media presentation around the turn of the century.  (Incedentally RealPlayer is one of PC Fixer's top ten worst software programs.) RealDVD, a $30 product, lets users copy a DVD to their hard drive while keeping the menus, options, special features -- and the encryption --... --

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