Digg.com Blog. Techsmith718@Gmail.com

Digg is a technology news website that gives editorial control back to the community. Most technology websites allow users to suggest content by submitting links or stories to an editor. If the editor believes the story to be relevant to the masses, he or she moves the story to the homepage. With digg, users also submit links for review.To be a member of this blog please E-Mail me at Techsmith718@Gmail.com

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Chi-Lan Lieu leaving G4's The Screen Savers

I am no longer with G4 everyone! That's right! And it feels soooo good! Sadly, there won't be a whole lot of gadget reviews anymore. As 'The Screen Savers' begins to retool the show in the coming week and lauch as a new name and direction (which I am sure you all are aware of from the G4 forums and DVD Talk - the critiques are spot-on by the way), I will not join them on the new show. I will instead appear elsewhere. Beginning first with STUFF Magazine's July issue. I am their new tech/gadget columnist, and it is awesome!!! As I write this column, I will continue to write this blog and tell you guys of weird fun gadgets. Hazaa! I am free!!!!

posted by Chi-Lan Lieu

Mozilla Firefox 1.0.2

Mozilla Firefox version 1.0.2 is available on Mozilla's FTP site.
Download it here Firefox 1.0.2

Peer Guardian 2 Review

Today I reviewed PeerGuardian 2 the upcoming version of a popular IP-blocking program
So I downloaded the latest private beta version, shut down ProtoWall and fired it up! I was greeted with a PeerGuardian Startup Wizard. I love programs with wizards, so that made me feel really good.

So I pressed next and the wizard asked me which blacklists would I like to use.

Next it asked me how often I would like to update and what to update

The only thing I didn't like here is that there is no not to update at all option, but that's no big deal. Later I asked the MethLabs team and they told me if you uncheck all three options then LiveUpdate is disabled. Thats fine, I just thing it needs to be a little more straight forward I pressed next and wizard was complete. It updated my blacklist and went into the system tray.

Well a nice interface indeed, the only thing thats missing is a logo, but that's absolutely no drawback, as this is just a beta.

I decided to see what settings there are to configure

Well the main thing that I like is here, not to save log to disk and also I can reconfigure live update, that's good too and of course the allow local IPs option is nice for those of us who have a network. I went back into Protection and Manage Lists

The manager is very flexible. I can always press and Add and Add a blocklist from either the internet or from my PC, either blocking or allowing certain IPs. Then I can press Open List and see what IPs are in there.

So to round it all up, I think PeerGuardian 2 is worth the wait. Its very flexible and powerful and a real competitive to ProtoWall. As new beta versions are released I'll be updating this review, to reflect any changes. There have been reports of BSODs on some systems but I never got one. Remember this is a beta and is still under development.

Rating: 5/5

Pros: Easy to use wizard, powerful blacklist manager

Cons: Turning off LiveUpdate is not straight forward

To download Peer Guardian 2 go to Meth Labs.

Today I reviewed PeerGuardian 2 the upcoming version of a popular IP-blocking program
So I downloaded the latest private beta version, shut down ProtoWall and fired it up! I was greeted with a PeerGuardian Startup Wizard. I love programs with wizards, so that made me feel really good.

So I pressed next and the wizard asked me which blacklists would I like to use.

Next it asked me how often I would like to update and what to update

The only thing I didn't like here is that there is no not to update at all option, but that's no big deal. Later I asked the MethLabs team and they told me if you uncheck all three options then LiveUpdate is disabled. Thats fine, I just thing it needs to be a little more straight forward I pressed next and wizard was complete. It updated my blacklist and went into the system tray.

Well a nice interface indeed, the only thing thats missing is a logo, but that's absolutely no drawback, as this is just a beta.

I decided to see what settings there are to configure

Well the main thing that I like is here, not to save log to disk and also I can reconfigure live update, that's good too and of course the allow local IPs option is nice for those of us who have a network. I went back into Protection and Manage Lists

The manager is very flexible. I can always press and Add and Add a blocklist from either the internet or from my PC, either blocking or allowing certain IPs. Then I can press Open List and see what IPs are in there.

So to round it all up, I think PeerGuardian 2 is worth the wait. Its very flexible and powerful and a real competitive to ProtoWall. As new beta versions are released I'll be updating this review, to reflect any changes. There have been reports of BSODs on some systems but I never got one. Remember this is a beta and is still under development.

Rating: 5/5

Pros: Easy to use wizard, powerful blacklist manager

Cons: Turning off LiveUpdate is not straight forward

To download Peer Guardian 2 go to Meth Labs.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Sony Ericsson’s Bluetooth Motion Cam ROB-1


ROB-1
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Sony Ericsson really better not just be messing with us, because you rarely see a gadget with as much potential for mischief and abuse as their new ROB-1 Bluetooth Motion Cam. Yeah, it looks like a yo-yo, but the ROB-1 is actually a robot with a built-in digital camera that you control from your (Sony Ericsson) cellphone using Bluetooth and that can wheel around and snap pics or stream video back to your cellphone. No word on cost, but the ROB-1 (which is 11cm in diameter, by the way) should be out sometime in the third quarter of this year.



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The taxman cometh: BootFinder helps city marshals tow cars with unpaid taxes >

Related entries: Digital Cameras, Laptops

Taxman Bootfinder

New Haven, Connecticut, officials are throwing some technology at the problem of unpaid car taxes (we won’t even go into how lame it is that some states levy an annual car tax). The BootFinder system uses a laptop with an attached infrared camera that rapidly scans license plate numbers and matches them to delinquent taxpayers by comparing notes with the database of offenders. For once we’d agree a little privacy paranoia might be in order, as officials scramble to think of all the other laws they could start enforcing using this sytem. Local governments are starting to see dollar signs resulting from the program, which will inevitably blind them to how disproportionate the towing punishment can be for what often amounts to a relatively minor infraction.

Yahoo to enter digital music space with iTunes-esque service


Yahoo music
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
When Yahoo bought Musicmatch for $160 million in September of last year, they had some big plans in mind that are now coming to fruition. They’re about to launch an online music service that will combine the digital download pricing reminiscent of the iTunes Music Store with a subscription-based service similar to that of Napster. Yahoo is developing its own music player software that will be backed by MusicNet-provided downloads and subscriptions. Analysts who’ve been privy to a view of the Yahoo store are reporting that it looks not dissimilar in style, design and layout to Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Ready the lawyers!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Siemen CL75


Siemen CL75
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
The CL75 from Siemens Communications is the ideal versatile communications companion for the fashion-conscious woman. Soft contours and a cheerful floral motif lend femininity to this clamshell-style mobile phone. Enhanced with convenient features such as a digital camera with video functionality, Push and Talk (PaT) and Instant Messaging (both features depend on the operator) make this handset the ultimate accessory.
The Siemens CL75 gives mobile communication the feminine touch. This stylish clamshell mobile phone uniquely combines feminine elegance with the latest mobile communications technology. The distinctive colorful floral motif on the case makes the CL75 a leading trendsetter, while the large color display with 262,000 vivid colors is another eye-catching feature. When users are not on the phone the interior display comes in handy as a pocket mirror when needing to catch a glimpse of themselves. Weighing a mere 90 grams, this phone is the perfect size for any handbag.

Personal photos and videos can be stored in the 11 megabyte memory, or be sent off to friends in a multimedia message (MMS).

Finally landed that dream job, or learned about an exclusive shopping bargain? One can the Push and Talk feature to instantly tell friends important news. At the press of a side key, the triband mobile phone works like a walkie-talkie. This also makes arranging spontaneous get-togethers simple.

T he CL75 is priced in the mid-range price segment and will be available from second quarter 2005 initially in the color variant "Silk Flower red”, as well as in one other color/motif combination. Two further fashionable design variants as well as a limited special edition are planned.

New Mobile Notebook Quickcams from Logitech


Logitech quick cam
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Logitech today announced their new line of mobile webcams for notebooks, just in time for CeBIT. The Quickcam cameras for Notebooks will feature VGA video capable of up to 640x480 video. The Deluxe version will add functionality for digital stills at 1.3 megapixels, in addition, software based face tracking will make sure your face is in the camera’s view at all times. Both models have a spring loaded clip which will firmly grasp to the top of your laptops screen.

The cameras are compatible with both USB 2.0 and 1.1 and will come with a protective case to protect itself inside your laptop bag. Expect to see the cameras on U.S. shelves in April retailing at $59.99 for the Deluxe version and $39.99 for the lower end model. For you Euros it will arrive in May.

Live from CeBIT: Samsung i300 3GB MusicPhone


Samsung xxH-i300
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Here’s the new Samsung xxH-i300, the new MusicPhone with a built-in 3GB hard drive. True to form, I forgot to actually get a clear shot of the specs, but I have a good excuse this time: I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be in the booth. Sure, they were letting me walk around and take pictures, but humor me—it makes me feel cool to snap surreptitious photos. Of course, earlier in the day I sat in an NEC booth for five minutes until I realized it wasn’t a press briefing, but someone giving instructions to booth operators about what not to tell the press. Obviously, everyone wasn’t firing on all cylinders today.

Also, this phone is hot. OGG Vorbis and AAC decoding on a Windows Mobile player—looks good to me. SCH-i300 is already taken, too, but it’s an older model. Maybe recycling?

PDA wristwatch sees light of day two years late at CES


PDA Watch Fossil
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Fossil has finally released a Palm-powered PDA wristwatch two years later than planned and after reports that the product was never going to see the light of day.

The new wristwatch sized pda has 8Mb of memory, a 160x160 back-lit touch screen and runs standard Palm applications.

The watch will run on Palm OS version 4.1, will work with both PCs and Macs via a USB cable.

The Lithium-ion rechargeable battery lasts approximately three to four days between charges.

The new Wrist PDA is available in two different brands, FOSSIL and ABACUS, and will hit store shelves on January 6th in America. The Fossil branded product (FX2008) can be found at Fossil stores nationwide or at www.Fossil.com. The FOSSIL Wrist PDA is priced at a MSRP of $249.00 USD.

Creative poops out Vivid range of speakers


Creative Speakers color
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Creative is to announce tomorrow a new range of portable speakers called the Vivid range for its Zen Micro and other MP3 players. The portable speakers on display at CeBit in Germany will be available in 10 bright colours to complement the colours available for the Zen Micro.

Geraldine Lee, European business manager with Creative commented “We found that customers really liked the idea of having a choice of 10 colours. It was easy to extend this thinking to other products.”

There are two new speakers sets available; Creative Vivid 60 Creative Vivid 80.

Creative also announced a new range of headphones and confirmed its announcement earlier in the year of the Zen Micro Photo, a 6Gb version of its Zen Micro player, but with a colour screen and the ability to view and store upto 7,500 images.

Creative poops out Vivid range of speakers


Creative Speakers color
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Creative is to announce tomorrow a new range of portable speakers called the Vivid range for its Zen Micro and other MP3 players. The portable speakers on display at CeBit in Germany will be available in 10 bright colours to complement the colours available for the Zen Micro.

Geraldine Lee, European business manager with Creative commented “We found that customers really liked the idea of having a choice of 10 colours. It was easy to extend this thinking to other products.”

There are two new speakers sets available; Creative Vivid 60 Creative Vivid 80.

Creative also announced a new range of headphones and confirmed its announcement earlier in the year of the Zen Micro Photo, a 6Gb version of its Zen Micro player, but with a colour screen and the ability to view and store upto 7,500 images.

IMAGES:

Sony Actius 3D Enhanced Notebook

Designed with the high performance demands of 3D applications in mind, the Sharp Actius AL3D is equipped with the Intel Pentium M Processor P750 (1.86GHz) and driven by Microsoft Windows XP Professional operating system. The notebook is equipped with 1024 MB of DDR2 SDRAM, and comes complete with a 80 GB hard drive.

In order to provide the advanced visual processing power for 3D applications, the Actius AL3D comes equipped with the NVIDIA GeForce Go 6600 graphic processing unit driven by PCI Express for faster bus performance with 128 MB of dedicated graphics memory. The GeForce Go graphics processor delivers awesome performance and unmatched feature set that includes a host of video enhancements and power management (via the NVIDIA PowerMizer™ Mobile technology) along with high-resolution anti-aliasing to deliver amazing detail and performance for all applications.

The Sharp Actius AL3D notebook comes equipped with a 15-inch XGA (1024 x 768) 3D LCD display panel that can be switched between 2D and 3D display modes with the touch of a button, making the notebook flexible for use in standard 2D and enhanced 3D applications. The notebook, equipped with a 15-inch XGA (1024 x 768) LCD screen, provides bright, clear pictures in which precise details can be clearly seen. The Actius AL3D also features Sharp’s Clear LCD finish, which provides users with highly saturated, rich colors and a color purity that isn’t available with the matted finish traditionally available for notebook computers.

In addition to being able to support 3D software applications, the Actius AL3D comes equipped with an advanced optical drive, making the notebook capable of viewing 3D DVD content. The Actius AL3D comes complete with a DVD Dual Layer Super Multi-Drive with DVDRAM/ ±R/±RW and CD-R/RW media compatibility that allows users to produce original DVDs, back up important data on DVD or CD, and watch DVD movies at the user’s convenience. Fully equipped with premium quality stereo speakers below the LCD display, the Actius AL3D also supports 5.1 channel virtual surround sound for users using external 2 channel speakers with built-in Dolby Virtual Speaker (DVS) and WinDVD.

In addition to strong multimedia performance and advanced 3D display technology, The Actius AL3D also includes an array of I/O options including an IEEE1394 (fire wire) port, three USB 2.0 compliant ports, and microphone & headphone jacks. The Actius AL3D also offers 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T (Gigabit) ,LAN for superfast wired networking a 56kbps (V.90) fax modem, and includes a VGA out port.

The Actius AL3D will come complete with a software bundle to support its 3D and multimedia capability, which includes SHARP Smart Stereo Photo Editor / Slide Show for creating 3D images from digital photographs. Also included is TriDef® DVD Player from DDD Group, which converts standard DVD movies into a 3D experience, ‘on-the-fly’. Finally, the laptop will come with an evaluation version of the Amira® visualization package from Mercury Computer Systems for realistic 3D visualization of 3D models for medicine, biology, physics or engineering.

Available immediately, the Sharp Actius AL3D sells for an estimated street price of $3,499.

Despite the snub, Kutaragi sticking with Sony


Ken Kutaragi psp
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
It was big, big news the other day when Sony decided to appoint someone who wasn’t Japanese as chairman and CEO of the company, but the story behind the story was that up until Sunday pretty much everyone thought that it was going to be Sony Computer Entertainment prez (and father of the PlayStation) Ken Kutaragi who succeeded Idei-san, not Sir Howard Stringer. To add insult to injury, not only did Kutaragi not score the job he thought he was getting, he also lost his seat on Sony’s board of directors and his title of executive deputy president. There’s still a chance that he’ll ascend to the top spot after Stringer finishes his stint, but in the meantime his snubbing is being spun as “Kutaragi will get to focus on the PS3, which is what’s most important.” Seems unlikely that he’d ever leave Sony (despite all this), but we could totally see Microsoft offering Kutaragi many millions of dollars to defect.

Despite the snub, Kutaragi sticking with Sony


Ken Kutaragi psp
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
It was big, big news the other day when Sony decided to appoint someone who wasn’t Japanese as chairman and CEO of the company, but the story behind the story was that up until Sunday pretty much everyone thought that it was going to be Sony Computer Entertainment prez (and father of the PlayStation) Ken Kutaragi who succeeded Idei-san, not Sir Howard Stringer. To add insult to injury, not only did Kutaragi not score the job he thought he was getting, he also lost his seat on Sony’s board of directors and his title of executive deputy president. There’s still a chance that he’ll ascend to the top spot after Stringer finishes his stint, but in the meantime his snubbing is being spun as “Kutaragi will get to focus on the PS3, which is what’s most important.” Seems unlikely that he’d ever leave Sony (despite all this), but we could totally see Microsoft offering Kutaragi many millions of dollars to defect.

US panel clears security review of Lenovo-IBM deal


lENOVO P
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US government panel cleared the deal for China's Lenovo to acquire the personal computer operations of IBM after a review of national security issues, the companies announced.
A joint statement from the firms said the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency US government panel which can block mergers for national security reasons, had cleared the deal.

CFIUS rarely blocks a business acquisition but an investigation that uncovers objections may force companies to scrap or modify their plans.

A statement from IBM and Lenovo issued both in New York and Beijing said that the CFIUS review "was concluded in advance of the statutory deadline."

Under the deal, Lenovo will produce IBM-branded computers and IBM will have an 18.9 percent ownership share in Lenovo Group.

"Lenovo is committed to being a great corporate citizen," said Steve Ward, an IBM senior vice president who will serve as chief executive officer of Lenovo.

"The new Lenovo will be an innovative, international PC company, delivering the best PCs in the industry. With the review by the US government complete, IBM and Lenovo are moving quickly to integrate the two companies and expect to finalize the transaction in the second quarter, as planned."

Lenovo, China's largest personal computer maker, will manufacture PCs for the global market with the IBM name under the deal signed last year, getting some clout in competing with sector leaders Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

Lenovo paid some 1.75 billion dollars under the deal, which underscores the move toward lower-priced PCs.

"The completion of this process is an important step forward for Lenovo. We are committed to working with the highest level of integrity in every community," said Yuanqing Yang, the current chief executive officer of Lenovo, who will become chairman of the company when the transaction closes.

"This is a standard that both Lenovo and IBM have held for decades. Now we are moving quickly to deliver the benefits of the new Lenovo to PC customers worldwide. Lenovo is poised to become an exciting new global competitor in the personal computer market."

Analysts said the deal may be good for IBM, which can extract itself from the low-profit PC business to concentrate on more lucrative software and services.

PCs have fallen sharply in price in recent years, with units that previously cost over 1,000 dollars now selling for several hundred dollars less.

The review by CFIUS of the IBM-Lenovo deal was based on some concerns that the Chinese group could obtain sensitive technology, possibly "dual-use" -- civilian and military -- technologies that could be used for civilian or military purposes, analysts said.

The CFIUS panel is chaired by the US treasury secretary and includes the heads of the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Defense, and Commerce, the Attorney General, the Office of Management and Budget, the US Trade Representative, and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

In 2003, a review by the committee forced Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa to withdraw its bid for bankrupt group Global Crossing because of apparent national security concerns.

Logitech announces mm22 their iPod speakers


POD speakers
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Logitech, the makers of fine peripherals for everything from gaming to productivity, have finally dipped into the overcrowded iPod speaker market with their mm22 (though to be honest, we thought they already had come out with iPod speakers). Rather than use the dock connector to grab sound, the mm22 uses the headphone out. This means the mm22 is compatible with virtually any iPod, even those pre-dock dinosaurs some of us still carry around like badges of honor (it comes with several cradles to accomodate various sizes). This also means it will work with any music player, Apple-made or not. The company swears by the speakers they chose: four neodymium microdrivers (probably the basis for the “22” in the name) that they promise deliver rich, smooth sound with tremendous depth for their size.

The Mac Mini Colorized


JetBlack Mac Mini
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Colorware plans on adding the Mac mini to its colorful line of products. ColorWare is best known for the extraordinary paint jobs they do on other Apple products such as the iMac, iPod, iBook and Powerbook. Their products have been seen on TechTv and in the pages of MacAddict Magazine. So it was only a matter of time before they added a little color to the Mac mini. ColorWare sent us some pictures of the Mac Minis they plan on producing. The two colors pictured on the right and below are called Blaze and Carbon. Hopefully they will make around 20 colors for the Mac mini like they do with the other Apple products we mentioned. At this time we have no information on pricing or availability.


About Color-Ware Inc. - Established in 2000, is an industry leader in altering the color of existing products. The idea behind Color-Ware started with transforming the ubiquitous beige computer into a custom-colored work of art. Color-Ware is growing in excess of 48% a year and is presently expanding into custom colored business computers, home entertainment systems, and the office interior design field. Our focus: "We will continue to create and transform our products beyond what the original manufacturers intended."


We would like to thank Lars Rasmussen of ColorWare for the pictures. We cannot wait to see one of these in person!

PoGo Radio Tivo C00l


PoGo Radio
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Kind of seems a little like shooting fish an a barrel to us, making a teched-out portable AM/FM radio at this point, but hey PoGo, don’t let us stop you. Their new Radio Your Way LX could stand to be a a lot smaller for a freaking flash-based device at 2.3 x 3.9 x 0.78-inches, and sure, they could stand to go whole hog with the radio thing and make it a Sirius, XM, or DAB device (or even add freaking time-shifting, for that matter), but you get what you get: 128MB or 512MB mass-storage compliant capacities, 10 radio program recording presets, mic and line-in, SD slot, built-in speaker, dock, and a shockingly weak 15-hour playback life. Still, this could be the greatest thing your great aunt ever got for her birthday.

Sony ICD-CX50 Visual Voice Recorder


X50 Visual Voice Recorder
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Sony has released seven new digital voice recorders today, most are what you'd expect from a recorder, they record. Except for the ICD-CX50 Visual Voice Recorder, it not only records voice, but it also takes digital pictures which can be viewed and framed on its mini-LCD screen.

The ICD-CX50's camera is 1.2 megapixels, it can capture close to 4,000 680x480 resolution pictures while storing them on an internal 256MB memory bank. The camera also sports 4x digital zoom to really intimidate your professor. The implications of the device are endless, no more taking notes off endless PowerPoint slides, just snap a picture and laugh at your fellow students.

The ICD-CX50 will come with a rechargeable battery, and is USB 2.0 high-speed file transfer compatible. Sony will ship it to retailers this June for a mammoth $400 USD price tag.

For more information on the other six digital voice recorders you can check out Sony's press release

Can you hear VoIP now? Google and AOL can


Gooogle vipo
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
SAN JOSE, Calif.--A team of Google honchos met this week with several Net telephone service providers, sources familiar with the talks told CNET News.com, renewing speculation that the search giant may be exploring a move into the fast-growing market.

"They were fairly aggressive about getting our opinions," said one Internet phone executive who facilitated several meetings between Google and Net phone interests here at Spring 2005 Voice on the Net. The executive requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the meetings.

Google product manager Eric Sachs was among nine Google employees who attended this week's conference, which at 6,000 attendees this year is one of the largest of its kind in the country, one source said. Sachs is a longtime friend of Jeff Pulver, founder of free Internet phone provider Free World Dialup, and creator of the VON conferences.

Google declined to comment for this story.

As recently as last month, Google downplayed its interests in voice over Internet Protocol, relatively new technology for placing phone calls over a broadband connection. Services based on VoIP have seen rapid growth in the past year, thanks in part to rates that are typically below what traditional phone services charge.

The meetings offer further confirmation of the view that as the Net phone business starts to take off, search giants and Web portals such as Yahoo may not be far behind. Among the announcements at VON, America Online said it plans to unveil a VoIP service in the next month, heightening speculation that Yahoo, Microsoft's MSN and Google--its biggest Web rivals--may be exploring similar moves.
Google would be a new entrant to telephony, while AOL, Yahoo and MSN have long offered rudimentary phone service using their instant-messaging software and a PC. Yahoo has already expanded its VoIP efforts, having launched a PC-based voice service last year in the United Kingdom in partnership with phone giant BT. Microsoft plans to embed voice calling into its enterprise instant-messaging software. Rumors have swirled about possible Net phone plans from Google as well, plans that would kick off in the United Kingdom.

While none but AOL has yet outlined a clear VoIP strategy, the technology is proving hard for Web portals and search engines to ignore. Analyst firm Halpern Capital on Tuesday said about 115,000 U.S. homes adopt VoIP every month, and about 16 million homes will have VoIP service by 2008. By comparison, there are about 113 million traditional local phone lines, which now use circuit-switched technology dating back about 100 years. VoIP services are typically software-based, requiring little infrastructure to build and maintain.

While that's great for consumers, it remains to be seen whether a VoIP program makes sense for Yahoo, MSN or Google. Yahoo and Microsoft could jeopardize important partnerships with telecom companies if they invest too heavily in voice services. Despite potential risks, all of the portals have begun tentatively checking out VoIP providers to test possibilities, according to sources familiar with the talks.

Samsung ELEC


Samsung ELEC
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. unveiled the world's first mobile phone with a powerful 7-megapixel camera on Wednesday, providing a potential competitive threat to manufacturers of digital cameras.
Samsung has been stepping up development of increasingly sophisticated phones for high-end users looking to access games, music and movies on their handsets. It launched the world's first 5-megapixel phone in October.

But while top digital camera makers such as Japan's Canon Inc. and Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE - news) (news - web sites). are likely to see the model as a new threat, its popularity may depend on how much of an improvement the camera can deliver over existing units.

There is a growing consensus among consumers that 3 or 4 megapixels, the measure of how many million picture elements are captured in a digital snapshot, are enough for a decent shot.

Some of the best-selling digital cameras feature 4 or 5 megapixels.

The new phone, which also has an MP3 player and business card reader, would go on sale as early as the first half, though a price had yet to be set, Samsung said in a statement.

Samsung aims to sell 100 million mobile phones this year, up 16 percent from 86 million sold last year.

The SCH-V770 phone will make its international debut at CeBIT, the world's biggest tech and telecoms trade show, in Hanover, Germany on Thursday.

Shares in Samsung, Asia's most valuable technology company with a market value of $81 billion, ended down 0.4 percent at 500,000 won, versus a 0.85 percent rise in the broader market.

Minimo Just for us kids.


Minimo
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
We hear that all the cool kids are rocking the Firefox these days, but apparently if you want to really raise your game you have to be like Rafael Ebron and replace Pocket IE on on your Pocket PC or Windows Mobile Smartphone and replace it with Minimo (”Mini Mozilla”—geddit?).

Virgin Radio Podcasting


Virgin Radio
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
There’s no stopping the geek continent at Virgin Radio at the moment. After earlier this week announcing that the station would be available across the globe to anyone with a 3G phone, the Coldplay fans fave music channel is now going to be available as a pod cast. From now on the Pete and Geoff breakfast show can be downloaded to an MP3 player so the user can take the show with them and listen to it whenever they fancy.

Although pod casting has really taken off in the United States it has been slow to catch on in Europe. Accessing the Pete and Geoff pod cast will involve downloading some software and subscribing to the Virgin website. Then each time a person hooks up their iPod to the PC the show is transferred to the player. The really good news for listeners though is thanks to a sponsorship deal with Opera and Expedia the pod cast will be virtually ad-free. The bad news however is that users only get to hear half an hour of the show. Still at least Virgin is to edit out traffic and weather reports for that day.

Siemens M75: The ultimate phone for the great outdoors


Siemens M75
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Designed for consumers with an active outdoor lifestyle, the new M75 from Siemens Communications is not only robust it also looks good and offers the latest in entertainment convenience. Thanks to the unique Siemens Protection System, it can easily withstand dust, splashes and shocks. With its rugged metal frame and protective rubber sides, this phone shrugs off everything the elements can throw at it. And since Mother Nature often offers the most beautiful photo opportunities, the M75 comes with an integrated 1.3 megapixel digital camera too. But it doesn't stop there: this versatile outdoor mobile phone also offers an MP3 player, and an optional portable Mobile Music Set as accessory ensuring even more fun whilst on the move. These active loudspeakers allow sharing music with others in high sound quality.

Equipped with the Siemens Protection System, this new outdoor mobile phone is just as tough as its owner. If it falls to the ground at work, while hillwalking or if it is left lying on the beach the M75 just takes it all in its stride. The phone is protected by an integrated aluminum frame with solid rubber cushions on the sides of the casing and still it only weighs just 110 grams. Especially the display is protected by the metal frame from scratches and breaking. Detachable rubber seals also keep dust and splashes off the built-in 1.3 megapixel digital camera and other particularly sensitive parts.

The robust casing conceals the very latest in advanced technology. The M75 displays its all-round talents not only as a mini camera and media player for photos and videos, but also as a mobile MP3 player. It is possible to access the personal photo album or music collection at any time on interchangeable multimedia memory cards. The excellent display renders photos and videos in 262,000 vivid colors. Sending short greetings on the move is also quick and easy with multimedia messaging (MMS) or email.

Want to keep in constant touch with your party while out and about? Use the Push and Talk function to speak to the whole group at once. During a break enjoy exciting 3D mobile games – on your own or play against other players via a wireless Bluetooth connection. The battery powered Mobile Music Set with its active loud speakers is the perfect supplement for the MP3 player as it allows users to share high-quality sound in an outdoor environment.

The M75 is bundled with a 32 megabyte multimedia card and stereo headphones. In addition to the Mobile Music Set, there is also a wide range of further original Siemens accessories available such as an attachable flash, a choice of in-car hands-free solutions, a variety of headsets as well as divers chargers, data cables and phone cases.

Siemens Voip phone


Siemens Voip phone
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
It may look like a bog standard digital cordless (DECT) phone, but this latest model from Siemens - unveiled at CeBIT 2005 -is actually a rather clever VoIP(Voice Over Internet Protocol) device. Called the Gigaset S35, it connects to a wireless local area network (WLAN) router so you can use it to make calls over the net either via your own network or a wireless hot spot.

Unlike some VoIP services such as Skype you don't need to have the PC switched on to make/receive calls (though you do need your WLAN router connected, of course.) One particularly neat feature is that you can use the device to pick up basic e-mails even when the PC is switched off. It's due to launch Winter 2005.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Ubisift Teams With AGEIA For Next-Gen Titles

AGEIA Technologies a company announced today that it has signed an agreement with Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, to provide technology for Ubisoft's next-generation game titles.



AGEIA's PhysX chip creates an entirely new category of processor, the Physics Processing Unit, which represents the next milestone in the evolution of game acceleration hardware. AGEIA's NovodeX Physics SDK is uniquely equipped for this revolution in hardware-accelerated physics. NovodeX is the only multi-threaded physics API that will unleash the power of multiprocessor systems.



"The Ubisoft creative team thrives on working with the most advanced technology available, which drives both our creativity and our passion for making state-of-the-art games," said Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft's President and CEO.



"It is exciting to see our technology embraced by a company with the stature of Ubisoft," said Manju Hegde, CEO and co-founder of AGEIA. "Together with Ubisoft, we are determined to re-ignite the passion and creativity of game developers, enabling them to integrate dramatic game play and develop totally immersive environments."

Wherify kids phone


Wherify kids phone
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
The phone has the GPS tracking capability that gives Wherify its name. You can go to Wherify's Web site at any time and pinpoint the exact location of your child on a map. In addition, it is a cell phone, giving your child a way to call 911 and five other numbers.

Motorola ski slope


Motorola ski slope
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
That's real snow, sprayed onto a slope made of scaffolding. People snowboarded down it and did tricks.

CES is an amazing show!

For more information on CES 2005 and the technologies introduced in this article, check out the links on the next page.

Emagin VR headste


Emagin VR headste
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
We've been hearing about "virtual reality" (VR) and "virtual reality headsets" for the last decade or more. Now, VR may finally be headed to the home. Emagin's headset is still in the development stage, but it should be available this year.
When you put the headset on, you see a very clear 800x600 image in each eye. The image is made possible by two tiny OLED displays about the size of a postage stamp (one for each eye).
These chips are incredibly light compared to previous display technologies, making the headset much more comfortable to use.

In the demo, they were using a game called "Unreal Tournament 2004" to drive the headset's displays. This game is able to generate stereoscopic views (giving your brain the impression of depth) and can also handle 360-degree viewing. A gyroscope in the headset tells the game where your head is. So, if you want to look to the left, you turn your head to the left, and the image shifts exactly like you would expect it to. It is an incredibly natural way to view the game environment. They are expecting a price point of about $900 when the headset comes out later this year.

Torian wi fi radio


Torian wi fi radio
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
The basic idea is that as long as you are in range of a WiFi hotspot, you will be able to receive the stream of your choice on this handheld device. It also acts as an MP3 player and a recorder for any Internet radio station so you can time-shift.

Forza xbox setup


Forza xbox setup
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Forza's Extreme Xbox Setup
Forza Motorsport makes driving games. One of its platforms is the Xbox, and the people from Forza had an Xbox setup at CES that seemed unique to me.

If you have read about Halo Networking, you understand some of the interesting networking capabilities designed into Xbox. These capabilities allow multi-player configurations on a network. What Forza demonstrated was a way to network Xboxes together to get multiple views for a single player. You can see the arrangement on this post.
In front of the player are three Xboxes. They are networked together and connected to the three plasma displays. The steering wheel and foot pedal inputs go into one Xbox, and that Xbox drives the other two. Each Xbox plays a different view of the same game, with all views completely synchronized.

When you sit in the driver's seat, it feels like you are able to look out the front window of the car, along with both side windows. It is extremely realistic, and since it activates your peripheral vision it is much more immersive. A very impressive demo!

Book Shape HD


Book Shape HD
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
This book-shaped external hard drive appears to actually be useful as well as decorative. Plug it up to any TV/monitor and a user-friendly GUI lets you flip though stills, videos and audio at whim. No word on size or price, but as it’s only available in China you’ll just have to admire from afar.

How to get an expiring domain name

Designer Mike Davidson’s published a fascinating rundown of all the steps he went through to get a prized web site domain name owned by someone else that was expiring.

Davidson details the entire 75 day (!) process of domain expiration, and what it’s like to deal with three services that help you snap up a web site address once it’s for sale to the general public. The shady business of jostling for domains names can be an intense and unpleasant cat and mouse game, so arming yourself with info from someone in the know - as always - helps.

How to get an expiring domain name

Designer Mike Davidson’s published a fascinating rundown of all the steps he went through to get a prized web site domain name owned by someone else that was expiring.

Davidson details the entire 75 day (!) process of domain expiration, and what it’s like to deal with three services that help you snap up a web site address once it’s for sale to the general public. The shady business of jostling for domains names can be an intense and unpleasant cat and mouse game, so arming yourself with info from someone in the know - as always - helps.

Xbox 360 Part One


Xbox 360 1
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
For several GameSpy editors, Game Developers Conference (GDC) is one of the best and most enjoyable events held each year. One of the primary reasons for GameSpy's GDC love is that the editors get to interact with some of the best talents in the business. Recently, some of GameSpy's friends in the development community shared a ton of details on Microsoft's next console system. Keep in mind that all of this information is based off of alpha development kits and current projections for the final hardware. Everything is subject to change. In the first part of our Xbox expose, I'll cover the console's hardware components and software goals. Since the final name of the next Xbox hasn't been revealed yet, I'll refer to the system by its codename, Xenon.



The Guts of the Next Box

# CPU - Xenon's CPU has three 3.0 GHz PowerPC cores. Each core is capable of two instructions per cycle and has an L1 cache with 32 KB for data and 32 KB for instructions. The three cores share 1 MB of L2 cache. Alpha 2 developer kits currently have two cores instead of three.

# GPU - Xenon's GPU is a generation beyond the ATI X800. Its clock speed is 500 MHz and it supports Shader 3.0. Developers are currently working with an alpha 2 GPU. Beta GPU units are expected by May and the final GPU is slated for a summer release. The final GPU will be more powerful than anything on the market today; in game terms, it would handle a game like Half-Life 2 with ease.

# System Memory - Xenon will have 256 MB of system RAM. Keep in mind that this number should not be equated to typical PC RAM. The Xbox has 64 MB of system RAM and is a very capable machine.

# Optical Drive - As many have speculated, Xenon will not use Blu-Ray or HD-DVD. Games will come on dual-layer DVD-9 discs. While the media is the same as that of the current Xbox, the usable space on each disc is up to 7 GB. The drive is slated to run at 12X.

# Memory Units - Xenon will use 64 MB to 1,024 MB memory cards. 8 MB is reserved for system use, leaving a 56 MB to 1,016 MB for user data.

# Hard Drive - As many have speculated, Xenon's hard drive is optional. 2 GB of the drive will be used as game cache. The final drive size is still being determined.

# Camera - Xenon will have a USB 2.0 camera. It's capable of 1.2 megapixel still shots and VGA video. Photos can be used in-game and for gamer profiles. The camera can also be used for video chat. It's unknown if the Xenon camera will allow for EyeToy-like gameplay. Developers are currently using a simulated camera driver.

# Sound Chip - Xenon does not have an audio chip in the traditional sense. Decompression is handled by hardware, while the rest of the chores are handled by software. DirectSound3D has been dropped in favor of X3DAudio. The former was deemed too inflexible.

The Software

Microsoft is requiring developers to make all Xenon titles Live enabled. One of the key reasons for this will be revealed in the second part of this story.

Developers are being instructed to plan their games for high-definition. The baseline is 720p at 1280x720 for gameplay and video clips, 16:9 aspect ratio, 5.1 Surround Sound, and anti-aliasing. These features are the current minimum requirement.

All Xenon games can be played using custom soundtracks. Owners can also play their own music directly. Supported formats are MP3 and WMA. Files can be encoded up to 320Kbps CBR or VBR stereo. The system is branded a Music Player Service.

For gameplay movies, Xenon uses Xenon Motion Video (XMV). XMV is based on Windows Media 9 and uses the mandatory codec for HD-DVD. The goal for video is 720p running at 30 frames per second with 5.1 Surround Sound.

Genius Bar


Genius Bar
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Remember “Genius-like”, that LiveJournal supposedly written by someone who works at the Genius Bar at an Apple Store that we mentioned yesterday? It’s already a memory. Apparently all the attention freaked out the site’s author, because as of this morning the site was gone. Not sure why everyone discovering the site should make that much of a difference—if you’re going to post a blog on the Internet about your employer and reveal behind the scenes dirt (however inconsequential) then you shouldn’t be too shocked (or perturbed) when they find out about it. If this was the real deal then obviously whoever was behind the site got scared right quick.

iBook Mini


iBook Mini
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
Have you noticed that it’s just about every five or six months that another rumor surfaces about how Apple is definitely working on some sort of handheld computer? Seems like a shame to raise the hopes of all those Newtonheadz, but this time around PowerPage, which has been right enough about this stuff before to land themselves in some serious legal hot water (and also been wrong plenty of times, too, we should note), reports that Apple is working on some sort of new mini laptop/pocketop that will fold neatly “into your pocket” and run on a stripped down version of OS X and use Apple’s Inkwell handwriting recognition technology. They’re describing it as being something like a large Motorola RAZR V3, just with a keyboard. Not entirely outside the realm of possibility, but given how flat the market for PDAs is these days it seems like a really odd time for Apple to be diving in. You’d think there be way more demand for a tablet Mac than some sort of pocket Mac, right?

P.S. - That’s just a rendering someone made a while back, there are no pics or illustrations associated with this story/rumor—yet.

Motorola E399


Motorola E999
Originally uploaded by cappachino22.
We’ve got no pics or leaked illos or anything, but a Motorola exec just confirmed that the E399 will be the first iTunes phone. Speaking at an analyst conference, Ron Garriques, president of Motorola’s Mobile Devices business, also said that the E399 (which sounds like a successor to their E398 musicphone) will come out sometime in second quarter of this year. The ROKR phone, which Apple and Motorola worked on together, won’t be out until Christmas. Both phones will emphasize removable over internal storage. Garriques even disses the market for hard drives in cellphones, but then admits that Motorola will indeed have a handset with a hard drive out by Christmas.