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Showing posts from March 31, 2011

How Technology Is Affecting Our Lives

Today’s world is full of pieces of technology that we take for granted, the microchip has truly revolutionised the way in which we live and do business. The world we see would not be recognisable to people of a few generations ago and nowhere is this truism greater than in the world of computing. Hence it is important to stay up to date with technology news; while many may think that this type of news is purely for geeks it is clear that all of us should have at least a passing interest in news of technological developments.
Technology pretty much touches all of our lives in some way and hence technology news is a vital resource that can keep us up to date with developments and ways in which the world will be changing. For instance, the onset of digital television is something that will affect most people; news stories that inform us of the dates for the switch over are vital so the average member of public can understand when their analogue signal will be turned off. In the sam…

Basic Tips for Choosing a BlackBerry

So, it’s time toupgrade your cell phone.  You’ve done some research, and decided that you want a BlackBerry smart phone.  But with all the options to choose from, which one is right for you?  Here are the main things to consider when choosing a BlackBerry.
Who’s Your Carrier?
If you plan to stick with your current carrier, your choices may be limited to what that carrier offers.  If all your options are open, do some basic research on factors such as a) coverage in the areas where you’ll be most often; b) available plans (minutes, data, text, and cost); and c) terms of contract or service agreement.
Check Your Timing
Before buying a phone, check BlackBerry forums online (such as Crackberry.com) for new product announcements.  A new model with advanced features may be introduced in a few weeks, and you may decide to wait for it.
On the other hand, technology is advancing so quickly that there’s always going to be a new and improved model coming “soon”.  So if the model you want is …

Dual-Screen E-Reader Makes a Half-Assed Debut

Chocolate or vanilla? Red or white wine? Kindle or iPad? For those who can’t make up their minds, there’s always a combo option: choco-vanilla swirl, Rosé and — now — the Entourage eDGe, an e-reader that doubles as a tablet. This quirky device contains two screens that fold together like a book, letting you read a Malcolm Gladwell book on the black-and-white E Ink screen while you update your Facebook status on the adjacent color LCD display. You’d think this mash-up would be fabulous. It’s not. Despite our initial enthusiasm, after testing the eDGe we found it to be a Frankenstein-ish monster that’s hobbled by a slow processor, some puzzling design choices and touchscreen technology that seems like it was cooked up during the Clinton administration. At three pounds, the eDGe is five times as heavy as a Kindle and nearly twice the heft of the upcoming iPad. It’s comparable in weight to the average netbook, but since you almost always have to cradle the eDGe in your arms, it …

Digital Pen Gives Boring Note-Taking a Modern Kick

Looking for a way to give your note taking routine a 21st-century kick in the ass? Have a gander at the Echo. Livescribe’s latest smartpen comes with all the insanely cool tricks of its predecessor — the Pulse —albeit in a slightly redesigned package. Packed with the same ARM 9 processor, an infrared camera, a built-in speaker and mic, the Echo lets you write, record and then seamlessly transfer all your notes (with the help of the company’s free desktop software) to your Mac or PC. Of course, you’ll still need that dot-speckled smart paper to perform this magic trick. But with a huge variety of notebook sizes and bundled options, the average student shouldn’t have to part with much beer money to get a semester’s worth of high-tech scratch pads. While the overall system remains the same, there have been a few design tweaks to the pen itself. The Echo now comes with a smooth rubber grip plus flattened surface. This, presumably, is for added comfort and to keep your $200 supe…

New Archos Tablet Is a Kid's Toy, Not Suitable for Adults

Photo by Archos Following the rather disastrous reception of its Windows-based Archos 9 PC Tablet, the company is back at the tablet game again with a wholly different approach: A cheap, Android-based tablet with a 7-inch screen. Stripped to its absolute basics, this is a tablet for the user who expects the bare minimum from his gadgetry. This isn’t a smartphone without the phone — it’s a smartphone without the phone or the smart. Nothing in the tablet takes advantage of the features that even basic Android devices on the market provide. Without multitouch, GPS, an accelerometer, or even a Home button, the use case for the Archos 7 can be frustrating. Fortunately, the device does offer a couple of key features that make it a shade better than useless, namely a headphone jack and a kickstand so you don’t have to prop it up on your knee. The OS is stripped down and over a year old, but technically it’s still running Android. That means it has a web browser, an e-mail client, and…

Touchscreen E-Reader Pushes Our Disappointment Button

Sony hasn’t exactly upstaged anyone in e-reader theater. But, the company’s pocket-sized PRS-350 is looking to change that. The impetus was clear: Make an attractive, travel-sized, idiot-simple e-reader for the masses. Unfortunately, though the PRS-350 does many things right, there’s still a lot of room to kvetch. Sony clearly nailed the hardware on the PRS-350. As the company’s flagship pocket reader, it’s small and feather-light at 5.5 ounces, while also supporting a spanking new 800 x 600 e-ink Pearl display. Nestled into the frame is a functional (yet cheap-feeling) stylus, and resting below the five-inch screen is a set of functional (yet cheap-feeling) soft keys. An aluminum and plastic chassis and an infrared-driven touchscreen add a touch of class, and at a little over four inches wide, the device sat comfortably in our hands during marathon reading sessions. A lot of the PRS-350’s hardware high-points come with counterpoints. Though reading text on the screen is a de…

Dell Inspiron Duo Is Indifference Times Two

You can’t deny Dell some hard-fought gee-whiz cred with the new Inspiron Duo. In a world of commoditized portables, it is nothing if not a unique product. Show it off to your friends; it looks like a netbook, and you pop open the laptop-like clamshell and wait for the bored expression to appear. Then comes the sucker punch: you rotate the screen horizontally within its frame and snap the laptop back shut. Ta-da, it’s a freakin’ tablet, bro! People are duly impressed. It’s a neat trick and, at the very least, a clever feat of engineering. But what is the Dell Inspiron Duo? Cut through the mystery and you will find — sorry to burst your bubble — a Windows netbook with a rotating touchscreen. And that begs the question, what is it good for? Well, we’re still working on that one. This is the problem with dual-function gadgets in general: They rarely do either of the things they’re designed for very well. As a netbook, the Duo is at least passable. While it’s heavier than other 10-in…

Tiny Tracking Devices for the Spy in You

Photo: by Jens Mortensen The dime-sized tracking devices that movie spies stick on villains’ cars don’t exist (that we know of). But there are some fairly small options for keeping tabs on your closest enemies. 1. Lightning GPS Spark Nano Not much bigger than a Zippo, the Spark determines its position via cell towers. Just tuck it into something you need to track and follow along on the intuitive web client that updates in real time or at set intervals. Even with 30-second updates and stashed in a backpack inside a car, the Spark was fast and sensitive enough to show us the moment our significant other (a willing participant) missed a turn on her way home. WIRED Push notifications warn if the Spark crosses one of the Geo Fences (no-go zones) you’ve designated. TIRED Must export data for replay. Kinda creepy. $150, plus $70 activation fee and contract (starting at $210 for three months), lightninggps.com Rating: 9 out of 10
2. iTrail GPS Passive Logger This unit ditches the onboard…

Everything You Need To Know About Google’s +1

Google’s announcement that it’s adding a “+1” button to incorporate sentiment into its search results raised a lot of questions not addressed in the company’s official announcement.
We spoke with Google rep Jim Prosser about +1. Here are some of our questions answered. What other questions do you have about the new product? Why is Google doing this?
Aside from the fact that it represents another way to compete with Facebook, Google’s official line is that it will make search results more germane. Says Prosser: “People consult their friends and other contacts on decisions. It’s very easy and lightweight way to make search results more relevant.” Will the number of +1s affect search rankings?
Prosser says no, but adds that it’s something Google is “very interested” in incorporating in some form at some point. Who are these contacts we’re seeing next to the +1s?
They are from Google Contacts, which come from various Google products, most notably Gmail, Buzz and Reader. Will we see F…

Google Gives Blogger a Dynamic New Look

Google is rolling out five dramatically new ways to view blog posts on Blogger, in an attempt to change the typical way people consume content on the web.
Starting Thursday, visitors to Blogger-hosted blogs will discover new viewing options if they type “/view” at the end of a blog’s URL (e.g. http://cookingwithamy.blogspot.com/view). Unlike traditional blog skins or themes though, these views dramatically alter the entire experience of reading a blog.
As Blogger product manager Anil Sabharawal told Mashable, it’s about modernizing the UI and “really revolutionizing the blog consumption experience.” Sabharawal says that blogs should be utilizing the full power of the modern web, especially HTML5, AJAX and CSS3 technology that has made websites more dynamic in recent years.
To that end, Google has launched five views that harness the power of new web standards:
Flipcard: This visual view places square photos side-by-side in neat little rows. Hovering over any photo reveals…

Google’s Answer to the Facebook “Like” Button: The “+1”

Google is making a big new push into social with a feature called “+1” that is similar in purpose to the Facebook “Like” button, but integrated directly into the world’s biggest search engine. Starting Wednesday, users who opt into the +1 button experiment (and soon everyone else) in Google Labs will start seeing a +1 icon next to each link in Google search results. Google defines this action as a “public stamp of approval,” and it is exactly that. When you +1 something, your name becomes associated with that link “in search, on ads, and across the web,” according to the company. It also shows up in a feed on your Google Profile, which is required to use the product. The move builds on a number of social features that Google introduced in search earlier this year, such as the ability to see which friends have tweeted a given link in search results. Today’s move, however, is clearly something much bigger. Beyond showing up in search results, Google plans to offer to publisher…

Final Version of Firefox for Mobile Now Available

If you own an Android or Maemo device, you can now grab the official Firefox 4 for Mobile browser. The official and final version was released Tuesday. We’ve been following the evolution of this mobile browser since its pre-alpha days, when it was better known by its codename, Fennec. Since its buggy, crash-inducing beginnings, the browser has evolved into an elegant, feature-rich alternative to the native browser that current Firefox users in particular will find a joy to use. The driving ideas of Firefox for Mobile’s UI and UX are less typing and more web. In other words, Mozilla wants the browser controls to disappear when you don’t need them. The aim is to make manual text entry a rare inconvenience, rather than the necessary task it is on most native mobile browsers. One of the most exciting features, and one that makes total sense for desktop Firefox users, is Sync. It allows the user to carry all of his or her bookmarks, browsing history, log-in credentials and even op…

Microsoft Slams Google With Antitrust Complaint

Microsoft plans to launch an antitrust complaint Thursday in Brussels against Google, alleging that the company is using its search engine to unfairly promote its products.
This is nothing new for Google, as the European Commission already opened an antitrust investigation against the company for that same reason in November 2010, while several smaller companies filed complaints in February that same year. But it is the first time Microsoft has filed an antitrust complaint against another company.
Microsoft’s complaints are many, and the company describes some of them in a lengthy blog post. Microsoft says, among other things, that Google has unfairly limited Windows Phone 7 phones from accessing content on YouTube in the same way Android phones do, that it is seeking to block access to content owned by book publishers, and that it’s restricting its advertisers’ access to their own data.
Probably the most important complaint claims that Google is making it more expensive for …

You Can Now Convert Your Facebook Profile to a Facebook Page

Facebook has released a new tool that lets users convert their personal profile into a Facebook Page. Though the terminology is often muddled, a key difference between the two features is that users can simply “like” a Page while they must “friend” (establish a mutual relationship with) a profile, which makes Pages a much better solution for businesses and public figures. On a help page explaining the new tool, Facebook describes what happens when you make the switch: “Be aware that when you convert your profile to a Page, your profile pictures will be transferred, and all of your friends will be automatically added as people who like your Page. No other content will be carried over to your new Page, so be sure to save any important content before beginning your migration.”Migrating is irreversible at this time, so you may want to download your profile information — including photos, wall posts, messages and friend list — before making the switch. With the tool, Facebook’s p…

Google Releases In-App Purchasing for Android

Google has released in-app billing for Android, finally giving mobile developers a much-needed source of revenue for their apps.
In-app billing gives developers another way to monetize their Android apps. iOS has had in-app purchasing since June 2009, helping app developers generate millions from virtual goods, in-game upgrades, content purchases and more. Like Apple, Google will take a 30% cut from all in-app purchases.
Google says that several apps are launching with the new in-app billion system today, including Disney’s Tap Tap Revenge, ComiXology’s Comics and Glu Mobile’s WSOP Hold’em Legend.
The launch of Android Market in-app billing has been highly anticipated since Google first announced the feature at its Android Honeycomb event in February. The search giant pre-announced the feature last week to prepare developers for the change.
It’s well-known that mobile application developers have had a harder time monetizing Android apps compared with iPhone apps. Add the f…

Windows Phone 7 To Get NFC Mobile Payments [REPORT]

Microsoft has joined Apple and Google on the list of OS providers rumored to be taking steps toward enabling mobile payments.
The company plans to include the short-range wireless technology NFC (Near Field Communication) in new versions of its Windows Phone 7 operating system, Bloomberg Business Week reported Wednesday, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the plans.
NFC enables devices to collect data from other devices nearby, and is seen as a useful payment mechanism. Users would simply wave their phones in front of a special cash register in order to purchase products.
While most phones have yet to be equipped with NFC, rumors about the payment technology aren’t hard to find.
Apple hired an NFC expert in August, while leaked patents suggest that the iPhone 5 may support NFC. Google, which released the first NFC-enabled Android phone in December, has reportedly teamed up with Mastercard and Citigroup to create a contactless mobile payment system for Android phones.
Addin…

Cowon D3 Plenue Android PMP review (video)

One thing's for sure: Cowon's D3 Plenue is vastly different (and superior) to the firm's AMOLED-equipped S9 from 2008, and it's also catering to a vastly different sect of consumers compared to its ultra-capacious X7. This beaut is one of the few pocketable Android-based PMPs available today, offering up a gorgeous 3.7-inch AMOLED capacitive touchpanel (800 x 480), dedicated media controls along the edges, Android 2.1, WiFi, 1080p video output, a built-in microphone and a battery good for up to 21 hours of use. As with every other Cowon player, this one also supports every file format ever conceived, including FLAC, APE and OGG -- three that the audiophiles in attendance will definitely recognize. The real question here is simple: does having Android on a non-connected (cellular, anyway) device really do you much good, and moreover, is it really worth the $357.99 asking price? We'll discuss these points and more in our full review just after the break. J…

Westone 4 earphones review

Westone isn't exactly a household name, even in the earphone universe. But what the company lacks in recognition, it more than makes up for in quality. If you'll recall, we had a listen to its ES5 custom in-ear monitors earlier in the year, and while they cost a staggering $950, they also managed to melt our brain and thoroughly spoil us in the process. Thankfully, there's a budget alternative: the Westone 4. Granted, even 50 percent off still lands you right around $449, but many audiophiles would argue that said price is a small one to pay when looking at a quad-driver setup, a three-way crossover network and an insanely robust set of earbud tips. There's no question that these guys are aimed at the professionals in the crowd, and if you're interested in seriously stepping up your mobile listening game, you owe it to yourself to peek our full review. It's after the break, per usual.Westone 4 earphones hands-on
There's actually quite a bit of …

Apple's WWDC 2011 kicks off on June 6th

It's five days of developer love in sunny San Francisco, and this year it starts on June 6th. As ever, Moscone West will be hosting Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, and this year we'll be seeing "the future of iOS and Mac OS" along with "more than 100 technical sessions presented by Apple engineers." Last time Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone 4 to a very willing world at large. Could its successor make an appearance this year? We'll be there live to tell you if and when it happens.

press release

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference to Kick Off June 6 at Moscone West in San Francisco

CUPERTINO, California-March 28, 2011-Apple® today announced that it will hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) June 6 through June 10 at San Francisco's Moscone West. At this year's five-day conference Apple will unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS®, including exciting demonstrations of the new kinds of apps that developers can bu…

Amazon Cloud Player goes live, streams music on your computer and Android

Oh snap! Look who just ate Apple and Google's lunch here? Minutes ago, Amazon rolled out its very own music streaming service which is conveniently dubbed the Amazon Cloud Player. Existing Amazon customers in the US can now upload their MP3 purchases to their 5GB cloud space -- upgradable to a one-year 20GB plan for free upon purchasing an MP3 album, with additional plans starting at $20 a year -- and then start streaming on their computers or Android devices. Oh, and did we mention that this service is free of charge as well? Meanwhile, someone will have some catching up to do, but we have a feeling it won't take them too long.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

Update: As some readers have confirmed, it appears that the Cloud Player will support music purchased from iTunes as well, presumably from the post-DRM era.

Update 2: Press release after the break.
 press release Introducing Amazon Cloud Drive, Amazon Cloud Player for Web, and Amazon Cloud Player for Android

Netflix nabs exclusive subscription pay TV rights to Paramount movies -- in Canada

So far Canadian Netflix users have had to deal with a far more limited streaming library than their US cousins, exacerbated by the lack of a DVD / Blu-ray library to fall back on, but that's about to change. Netflix has struck a deal in Canada with Paramount for premium pay TV window access covering "exclusive subscription television rights to all first-run films." Currently in the US Netflix's deal with Epix gives it access to many of the same movies (Iron Man 2 -- already available since the 25th in Canada, while not currently ready for streaming in the US -- Titanic, Zoolander, The Last Airbender) eventually, but that's clearly not exclusive. While it's previously cut deals with smaller distributors like Relativity Media and Nu Image/Millennium Films for pay TV window access, the combo of exclusive and a major studio like Paramount makes Netflix a pay TV channel competitor in a whole new way. This backs up its earlier move in that direction by si…