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Monthly Archives: November 2008

Apple on Sale?! Oh My.

That's right, the day after Thanksgiving, more commonly known as Black Friday, Apple will be offering discounts on many products, supposedly up to 15%. However, for many businesses Black Friday this year may be called "Help Keep Us Out of the Red" Friday. So Apple is playing their equivalent of hardball by giving discounts rarely allowed by Mr. Jobs and co. Of course, this is not the slashing of prices so many other products will receive, but it’s more retail aggressiveness than we’ve seen from Apple. It usually keeps its resellers on a short leash and limits its sales to Black Friday, Back to School and the occasional close-out. However, starting Wednesday the white MacBook which normally lists for $999 will already be available at a variety of in store and on... --

Mount Haleakala in Maui Island, Hawaii To Be The Home Of World’s Largest Digital Camera

Yes, you read that correctly.  A 1.4 billion pixel (or 1400 megapixel) camera will scan the night's sky looking for renegade near-Earth objects from atop Mount Haleakala in Maui Island, Hawaii.  This will be the world's largest digital camera.  It's main focus is to be used to keep an eye out for asteroids heading towards Earth. The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) has been built by researchers at MIT's Lincoln Lab.  To remove atmospheric blur from images, the system uses something called an Orthogonal Transfer CCD (Charge Coupled Device). To compare just how big the CCD cameras are is mind blowing to those of us who use the usual PHD cameras (Push Here, Dummy!).  Each camera will have about 1.4 billion pixels spread over an area about 40 centimeters square. A typical domestic digital camera contains about... --

Beat Speed Traps with your iPhone

"Two mobile applications, NMobile and Trapster, are giving drivers up-to-date maps of speed-enforcement zones with live police traps, speed cameras or red-light cameras. Each program pulls up a map pinpointing the locations of speed traps within driving distance.  An audio alert will sound as vehicles approach an area tagged as harboring a speed trap. Both applications rely on the wisdom of the crowds for their data with users reporting camera-rigged stop lights and areas heavily populated with radar-toting police officers via the iPhone or their web-based application creating the ultimate speed trap repository available to you when you need it most — while you're driving. To thwart false alarms and eliminate inaccuracies, Trapster enlists its community of nearly 200,000 members to rank speed traps on their accuracy. NMobile founder Shannon Atkinson declined to provide detailed data, though... --

Is User-Generated Video Getting Sidelined by the Pros?

Lately it seems that the videos of YouTube are less about the general public trying to find their 15 minutes of web fame and more about the Big Kahuna media companies whose video wares have been gaining more notice both on YouTube and elsewhere on the web.  In other words much less "you" and much more "them".  But isn't that inevitable? for example, in recent weeks, YouTube has signed deals with CBS and MGM. These deals are noteworthy because both involve airing full-length TV shows like "Star Trek" and films like "Bulletproof Monk" on the site.  Clearly these aren't the user-generated clips on which the three-year-old site built its foundation and reputation, but they do reflect facing the future as growth opportunities.   Yes, even before those deals, YouTube had channels for all sorts of professional clips, so this evolution to full length is not a... --

The (Blackberry) Storm Arrives Friday

In a valiant effort to compete with the iPhone (and AT&T's cash flow due to their association), Verizon welcomes the Blackberry Storm into its family on Friday.  There has been much hype leading up to this release and many reviews are available.  To its fiercest devotees, one of the best things about the previous BlackBerry is its carefully designed physical keyboard. Of course, the skilled BlackBerry addict can play that like a violin. These folks scorn Apple’s popular iPhone, whose keyboard is virtual and must be operated by tapping on the screen.  In an effort to appease those loyalists, while attracting iPhone converts, the Storm offers a touch screen pad but one that "clicks".  Ideally this provides the compromise of the two goals.  This push-down screen also replaces the side-mounted scroll wheel or track ball on other... --

Video Consoles Cost in More Ways Than You Think

Are you an avid gamer? Do you ever leave your machine on, even though the game is over?  More and more electricity is used by various video game consoles each year.  It has become such a concern that the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has just released a report regarding the electricity usage and it's effects on consumers' electric bills.  For example, according to the study video game consoles nationwide use about as much electricity in a year as every home in San Diego combined.
“If you leave your Xbox 360 or Sony Play Station 3 on all the time, you can cut your electric bill by as much as $100 a year simply by turning it off when you are finished playing,” said NRDC Senior Scientist Noah Horowitz.   In today's tighter and tighter economy, such a... --

PC Magazine to Stop Printing

In the world of the PC, PC Magazine is an industry standard magazine. Founded in 1982, it was at times so rich with ads its issues reached as many as 600 pages. But in keeping with it's tech roots and readers, it will no longer be available in the classic printed magazine format.  The now dubbed PCMag will only be an online resource. The last print edition will be available this January. Publisher Ziff Davis, which recently exited bankruptcy, will lay off seven print production employees. Gadget and PC shoppers stay online now.  Many preferr sites such as AOL's Engadget, Gawker Media's Gizmodo or CNET to print. Ziff Davis will follow that model, making PCMag  part of a network of sites called the PCMag Digital Network. The Network will also include Gearlog, Appscout, ExtremeTech, and Smart Device Central;... --

Firefox 2 being killed

According to Mozilla and other sources, Firefox 2 and Gecko 1.8 will soon be left behind some time in mid-December. The end result: no future security or stability updates. This will affect Thunderbird 2, SeaMonkey 1.1, Camino 1.5, and any other projects based on Gecko 1.8. So, if you haven't already upgraded, there's no time like the present. I personally like Firefox 2 better than Firefox 3.  To me it is just faster.  Thankfully I save all of the installers.... --

Updated Windows Live Services Introduced by Microsoft

Microsoft Corp.  announced yesterday the next generation of Windows Live -- an integrated set of online services that make it easier and, ideally,  more fun for consumers to communicate and share with the people they care about most. This new generation includes updated experiences for photo sharing, e-mail, instant messaging, as well as integration with multiple third-party sites. The release also includes Windows Live Essentials, free downloadable software that enhances consumers’ Windows experience by helping them simplify and enjoy digital content scattered across their PC, phone and on Web sites. As we have observed in previous blogs, consumers today are creating online content and sharing it all across the Web.  Microsoft believes they are helping to make it simple for the more than 460 million Windows Live customers to keep their friends up to date.  So they are partnering with such companies as Flickr,... --

Payments & Virtual Gifts Are Coming Soon to MySpace

Yesterday, November 12, 2008, MySpace COO Amit Kapur announced that his company is working on its own payments and virtual gift products that MySpace contributors will be able to add to their own apps.  In the platform wars of social networking (Facebook, MySpace, etc.), the side that makes it easier for application developers to make the most money will most likely win.  Advertising in social networks has always been problematic, and with our current recession continuing on a downward slope, the already- low ad rates are going to get lower, not higher.  Of course, the other way to make money on these platforms is to try to charge for apps themselves or sell things through the apps.... --

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