Friday, December 28, 2007

World's Smallest Jet Aircraft Fits in Trailer, Featured in James Bond Movie

World Smallest Jet AircraftMaking its big screen debut in the James Bond flick "Octopussy", the Bede BD-5 is the world's smallest jet aircraft. This 860-pound microjet is powered by a single TRS-18 jet engine and has a top speed of 320mph. It can reach altitudes of up to 30,000 feet, "flying for 2 hours before having to re-fuel."


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Windows Home Server bug corrupts files

Looks like we've got a definitive answer to "How would you change Windows Home Server?" -- make it so it doesn't corrupt data.

Window home server bugsMicrosoft has just posted a Knowledge Base document saying that it's confirmed WHS corrupts various files when saved to the server by certain apps. The bug affects several MS apps, including Money, Outlook 2007, Vista Photo Gallery, Live Photo Gallery, and SyncToy, but it also hits Quicken, Quickbooks, and -- fatally for a media server -- BitTorrent clients. Microsoft says it's working on a fix, but that in the meantime, you should avoid using WHS with these apps.


Dragon Bike is Perfect for Chinese Food Delivery

Perfect dragon bikeThe "Dragon Bike" is the latest creation from famed bike artist Jay Broemmel —and it would undoubtedly turn some heads if you were to ride it down the street. Broemmel even added some special touches in the form of Blue LED headlight eyes that move when you turn the handlebar and a jaw that bites down when you squeeze the left brake (no flames shooting out of the mouth?).

As far as bikes go, it is pretty bad ass — and it would be the perfect chariot to whisk Chinese food to hungry customers. Unfortunately, this bike is a one-of-a-kind, so my dream of starting up a restaurant with an army of delivery guys equipped with flaming Dragon Bikes died before it began.


Xbox 360 Devil May Cry 4 bundle hitting Japan in January

Xbox 360 Devil hitting Japan JanuaryFor all you Devil May Cry fanatics out there (wait -- are there Devil May Cry fanatics out there?) you're about to get a super-special, unicorn explosion from Microsoft. That's right, babies, it's the Devil May Cry special edition Xbox 360. Actually, it's more like a bundle of the boring, old, non-special (though HDMI equipped) Xbox 360, coupled with the brand spaking new Devil May Cry 4, where the Devil, crying, and the possibility of crying meet for a fourth -- but probably not final -- time.

Right now it's looking like a Japanese-only deal, but you never know when something this gooey will drip over to these shores. Available January 31st for ¥37,800 (or about $330).


Nokia puts back gaming service launch to new year

Nokia gaming launch new yearNokia has again pushed back the launch of its gaming service N-gage due to delays in software testing, a spokesman said on Thursday, in the latest blow to the Internet services ambitions of the world's top cellphone maker.

The gaming service, together with a music shop and mapping services, is one of the cornerstones of Nokia's drive into mobile Internet services under its new "Ovi" brand.

Nokia has also pushed into next year expansion of its digital music store offering. Also Warner Music Group Corp has been withholding content from Nokia's only store in Britain.

At the same time it has signed up Vodafone, Telefonica and Telecom Italia for Ovi.

Nokia unveiled the gaming service in August, saying at the time it would be available globally in November. But in November it was delayed into December.

Nokia's spokesman Kari Tuutti said the service would be opened in early 2008.

"We found one more issue which had to be solved before we could open the service," Tuutti said.

Nokia is the first handset maker to move strongly into the content space with services like music or filing sharing site Mosh, where millions have downloaded audio or video files, programs or documents.

Shares in Nokia were 0.2% higher at 27.04 euros by 5:13 a.m. EST, in line DJ Stoxx European technology index.


Samsung Giorgio Armani Multimedia Phone

Samsung Giorgio Armani Multimedia Phone imagePhoneArena reviews the high-end Samsung Giorgio Armani multimedia phone, which sports a 2.6-inch touchscreen display, 3.15-megapixel camera, microSD card slot, 60MB internal memory, and Bluetooth 2.0 w/A2DP.

Here's the bottom line:
While there are some drawbacks functionality-wise, the phone still offers more than most of its owners would require. Considering the audience it is targeted to, just as the PRADA, it has decent (and better compared with the Prada) features, with major drawback being the tri-band GSM receiver, which doesn't allow for using it all over the world.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Upcoming AMD Radeon HD 3450, 3470 and 3650 low-enders leaked

Radeon HD low enders leakedDisplayPort is the most fun when you snag it on the cheap, and according to some leaked specs over on Madbox PC, AMD has a $50 Radeon in the works that'll have you running that 30-incher off of USB for a pittance.

The Radeon HD 3450 card is based on the RV620 core, running at 525MHz, with 256MB of RAM and just a VGA plug to accompany the DisplayPort. The HD 3470 ($60) hits 600MHz and 512MB of RAM, and does DVI, while the HD 3650 ($100) maxes out the trio at 800MHz, with 512MB of RAM as well and the RV635 core to back it up. You might not be thrashing around in Crysis, but HD video and perhaps some last-gen shooters should be totally within your grasp whenever AMD gets these to market.


SmartNav Hands-Free Mouse Controls PC With Your Head

Put the SmartNav hands-free mouse on top of your monitor, stick a tiny little reflective dot on your forehead, and you're ready to do some hands-free mousing around your PC.

Smartnav hands free mouseSure, you'll need a foot pedal for the mouse clicking, which presents a problem for those disabled users who might have hoped to use such a device. But wait, there's a version that solves that problem, too. Check out the video to see this contraption in action.

SmartNav is available in three versions, the AT (assistive technology) version which lets you click on an item by dwelling over it, and its software also includes a virtual keyboard. As you can see on the video, this looks like it might be quite tedious for typing. The EG version has a foot switch, and is aimed at wrist strain sufferers, while the standard version is for those who want to increase their productivity and speed. Now if they can just bring the price down from $298.95.


Apple trades at $200 for first time

Apple iPhone imageShares of Apple Inc. hit the $200 mark for the first time Wednesday- As investor confidence in the company continued rising near the end of what has been a strong year for the iPod and computer maker.

In afternoon trading, shares rose $1.17 to $199.97. They earlier peaked at $200.

Apple shares have traded between $76.77 and $199.33 in the past year, rising steadily since January as investors anticipated and then cheered the release of the company's hybrid cell phone, multimedia player and wireless Internet device, the iPhone. The product went on sale at the end of June.

Apple released a refreshed line of iPods during the year, updating its flash-based Nano model to one that can play videos, and introducing a device called the iPod Touch which is much like an iPhone without cellular calling capabilities.

The company also refreshed its notebook computers during the year.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Caris & Co. analyst Shebly Seyrafi said he wasn't surprised that Apple hit the $200 mark.

"Apple has a lot of momentum right now," he said, noting the company is riding several new product cycles.

Seyrafi, who rates the stock "Buy" with a $225 price target, said sales of the iPod Touch and video-enabled Nanos are helping Apple's margins. Apple's component costs are benefiting from declines in NAND flash memory prices, he added.

"Looks like their business is strong even though retail sales growth in general appears to be weaker than in prior years," Seyrafi said.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wikia search to launch Jan. 7

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has set Jan. 7 as the launch date for an open-source search project that eventually hopes to challenge Google and other established players.

The Wikia Search project has assembled the basic technologies for a search engine, including a search application, search algorithm and Web crawler. The project will allow technology enthusiasts to help filter sites and rank search results, using a community model akin to that of Wikipedia.

The idea is to challenge the established players by offering a search service that is more transparent to end users, meaning they can see how search results are arrived at. Wales has described Yahoo and Google as opaque services that don't explain how results are arrived at.

Wales has started to invite a handful of people to test an early version of the search platform, which will be publicly launched on Jan. 7, he wrote in an email to the Wikia mailing list Monday.

The search tool will take time to evolve, and the initial service won't match the capabilities of the leading search engines. Contributors will have to develop the search platform over time, in a similar way that Wikipedia took time to get enough entries to be useful.

The search project is part of Wales' for-profit company, Wikia Inc., which offers a software platform that anyone can use to build wikis. In a similar way, the Wikia Project will allow other people to build their own search engines.

Wikia Inc. was started in 2004 and has received investment money from and Bessemer Venture Partners.


Google in crowded field bidding for US wireless licenses

Google logo at FrankfurtGoogle is among more than 260 companies vying for wireless licenses to be auctioned in January, which could allow the search giant to extend its reach to the mobile Internet.

Google has an advantage over many of its rival bidders, as it has amassed a war chest of several billion dollars to bid for the cherished telecom licenses.

The Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday it had received 266 bid applications for the licenses ahead of the January 24 auction. The licenses have become freed up for auction as analogue television broadcasters have to switch to a digital format by a 2009 deadline.

The licenses would enable mobile phone users to access the Internet more readily and enable companies like Google to market more online services to consumers.

"Google cannot grow fast enough relying solely on the PC-driven Internet, according to research firm eMarketer.

"It must extend search marketing to new interactive platforms, new markets and new advertisers who aren't currently online."

Google is developing new software, called Android, which could be used to power a new generation of mobile telephones, but its success depends heavily on securing a wireless license.

The FCC decided the future networks would be open to any mobile device, contrary to existing networks where operators can choose the brands and services.

A crowded field of bidders is jostling to participate in the auction. A total of 96 companies has been cleared to participate in the bidding so far, while another 170 firms are seeking FCC approval to join the auction.

Google announced in July that it was gearing up for the auction and had set aside a hefty 4.6 billion dollars to enter the contest. The FCC said a minimum bid for a "C Block" spectrum will be around 4.6 billion dollars, the block would enable Google to gain a national footprint.

But other bidders are also preparing their offers, suggesting competition will be fierce for the licenses. Telephone giants AT&T and Verizon, regional telecom firms Alltel and Leap Wireless, telecom equipment group Qualcomm and even an oil firm, Chevron, are all vying to snap up licenses.

Smaller companies, such as Vulcan which is backed by a co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, and wireless Internet group Towerstream, are also hoping to win licenses.

Despite heated speculation, technology trend-setter Apple has not joined the ranks of companies vying for one of the mobile telephone licenses.

The FCC is planning to auction off four "blocks" of 700 MHz spectrum including three broadband spectrums and one block which would give an owner national coverage, the C Block.

The smaller firms are bidding for local licenses that analysts say could probably be bought for under one million dollars.

"From a very high-level public policy perspective, Congress and the FCC want to see a couple of new players make it," said Scott Ellison, vice president of mobile and wireless communications at the IDC market research firm.

Analysts believe many of the bidders are speculators who would likely resell the licenses in a number of years in the hope of making a fat profit.

The auction could shake up the wireless landscape radically and enable new entrants, particularly Google if it is successful, to challenge other companies operating in the field.

Apple has teamed up with AT&T to support the marketing of its iPhone, a cell phone with Internet capability, which it launched earlier this year.


BMW M3 vs. Audi RS4 vs. Mercedes-Benz C63 Saloon Shootout

The Top Gear crew drives the BMW M3, Audi RS4, Mercedes-Benz C63 "as well as Emerson Fittipaldi's Lotus F1 racer that won the 1972 World Championship."

BMW M3 vs Audi RS4 vs Mercedes Benz C63There's also the Stig, a Stig-ette in a white bikini and helmet, Clarkson dining on an apple run over at the apex of a turn, a measurement device that we can't mention here, and lots of unkind things said of M3 drivers.


Monday, December 24, 2007

'Manned Cloud' Airship, Around the World in Three Days

Take a look at another fanciful attempt to bring back the glory days of the Zeppelin airships. This one is called the Manned Cloud, and can fly fast enough to take a round trip around the globe in three days.

Planneur Vignet AirshipThe 1640-square-foot craft, whose French designers say could take to the skies in a year or so, will have 60 rooms and travel at a breakneck speed of 173mph. Since this behemoth gets its lift from helium, there's not much danger of a fiery hydrogen explosion like that ill-fated Hindenburg, so we're thinking it might be fun to float around the world in a luxo-hotel. Of all the ideas like this, maybe this one will be the one to actually fly.


World's Smallest 4-Stroke V12 Engine

Despite it being designed for R/C models, this 4-stroke V12 engine is touted as the world's smallest. Featuring a 21mm bore, 87cc displacement, air cooling, and two camshafts.


Digital Vigilantes: Using eBay to Catch a Truck Thief

On the morning of November 17, Ben Adams found himself hiding beneath the retractable cover in the back of a Chevy TrailBlazer. The truck was parked in front of a warehouse in Duncanville, Texas. His friend "Sam," the TrailBlazer's owner, had just finished a test drive on a 1949 Chevy truck--the same truck Adams was certain had been stolen from him four months earlier.

Adams pulled out his mobile phone and dialed 911. "Please help me," he said. "I'm at a warehouse. There are criminals all around me."

The story of how a mild-mannered software developer from San Antonio, Texas, ended up running his own undercover sting operation against eBay fraudsters begins with a truck. And if the story has a lesson, it's the one told on Adams's blog: Don't mess with Texas, especially if it involves a truck.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Intex Showcases Their Range of Gadgets

Intex Technologies (India) Ltd, Delhi, elaborated its business plans for Western India for FY 2007-08, in the city. Along with revealing their target of Rs. 115 crore from the region this year, they also had a wide range of their products displayed. Among the range were some of the new Intex mobile phones which have hit the Indian market aside from the Aura and Infi models that were launched earlier.

The Envy 1044 is a lightweight mobile (78g) with a 1.8 inch TFT display sporting a resolution of 176 x 220 pixel resolution and 262k colors. It has video caller ID and the memory can be expanded. A 512MB card is provided with the box. It’s equipped with a 1.3 megapixel camera that records video. It supports MP3 playback and files can also be used as ringtones. It also has USB support. The Envy 1044 also has 8 embedded games and loudspeaker. It's priced at Rs. 4,990.

The Flair 1107 has a 1.5 inch CSTN display with a resolution of 128 x 128 pixels and 65K colors. It also has a torch light feature and is an entry level mobile priced at Rs. 1,990.

Envy-1044 and Flair-1107 mobile phonesEnvy 1044 and Flair 1107

The Estelo 3060 is a slider phone with a 1.3 megapixel camera, an MP3 player and USB support. It has a 2.0 inch TFT display with a resolution of 176 x 220 pixels and 262K colors. The phone's camera also doubles as a web cam for video chats on the PC. The Estelo 3060 also supports Bluetooth. It's available at Rs. 5,440 with 512 MB T-Flash Card and Rs.5,640 with 1GB T-Flash Card.

Intex’s higher range mobile the Ultima 1170 is equipped with a 3.2 megapixel auto-focus camera, an MP3 player, supports Bluetooth and also has an integrated FM radio. The Ultima 1170 has a 2.4-inch QVGA display that sports a 240 x 320 pixel resolution with 262K colors. It also supports video caller ID and is also equipped with TV out capability, expandable memory, USB support and this models can also be sued as a webcam. It’s priced at Rs. 13,999.

Estelo-3060 and Ultima-1107 mobile phonesEstelo 3060 and Ultima 1107

One of the previously launched models the Aura is now available in Gold and is priced at Rs. 6,990 with a 1 GB T Flash card and the older Aura Black is priced at Rs. 6750 with a 1 GB T Flash card.

Aura black and Aura gold mobile phonesAura Black and Aura Gold

Along with their mobile phones Intex also showcased their Bluetooth headset the Bluetooth 121, their 5 megapixel webcam and a slew of other products from Bluetooth enabled car audio and video players, car speakers to computers, monitors, Laptops, Speaker systems and other gizmos and devices for your home and car.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Parody sites start anti-social networking trend

Facebook anti-social networking trendTired of phony online friends? Make enemies instead. Riding on the popularity of social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, new Web sites are poking fun at online friendships that connect you to the people you like, by turning attention to the ones you don't.

Over the past 18 months, sites such Snubster, Enemybook and Hatebook are appealing to Internet users who get a kick out of the tongue-in-cheek humor of mocking their friends and others who are just plain cynical.

"I didn't understand these fake-friend war chests that people were so busy building online," said Bryant Choung, a technology consultant who started Snubster last year.

"I would get Facebook requests from people I talked to for three minutes at a bar or party, and now this person wants to go online to peruse all of my photos and contacts. I just didn't get it," the 26-year-old added.

Snubster, a Facebook application and a Web site with 16,000 users worldwide, lets users compile people and things they dislike.

No one from Facebook, which boasts 59 million active users worldwide, was available to comment about the sites.

When Facebook opened up its network to outside applications earlier this year, some users decided it was an opportunity to poke fun at the phenomenon.

Kevin Matulef, the creator of Enemybook, said the idea for his Facebook application started as a joke last summer when friends at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were asking if someone was a real friend or a Facebook friend.

"It started basically as a satire, sort of a parody of some of the superficial aspects of Facebook and the connections that you have, but now it's kind of evolved and it allows people to express themselves via their dislikes," said Matulef, 28.

Enemybook, which has 9,000 users, is similar to Snubster in that it lets you "enemy" so-called friends, public figures and fictitious characters.

"A lot of people like myself use it just to joke around with our good friends," said Matulef.

Choung agrees. "I hope that most people take it as a joke, on occasion I do get complaints from people about others who take it too seriously."

But Murray Pomerance, a professor of pop culture sociology at Ryerson University in Toronto, said most people take their online relationships very seriously.

"There are a lot of people who do not believe the friends that they have on these sites are phony," he explained.

"I know people who have lots and lots of friends on these sites and who say things about themselves on these sites that they would never say to anyone straight up in public or in private."

Pomerance added that any online social networking, whether it's making friends or enemies, could be dangerous.

"Who you liked and who you hated used to be private," he said. "What they're doing is taking human feeling and emotion and making us actually register them through these online services."


Super Smash Bros. Brawl "Subspace Emissary" Intro

Smashbros subspace emissary trailer
Unlike its predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Brawl "features a number of new additions, including an Adventure Mode (with co-op play), a wealth of new characters and stages, and online combat for multiple players to face off against each other from anywhere."

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a brawling, battling, action-packed video game that features a varied roster of characters for four-player simultaneous melees! Use your Wii Remote and Nunchuck controls to deal serious damage to your opponents and win the game.


Million-Euro Cellphone is A Smorgasbord of Diamonds, Croc and Execrable Taste

This is 1.43 million bucks-worth of telephone.

Million Euro Diamonds Cellphone imagesIt is hideous. Made by Swiss company Goldvish, the Le Million (what a name, just reeks of (cl)ass, doncha think?) comes in a choice of red, yellow or white gold. Tastefully studded with diamonds and what looks like crocodile skin (although surely croc is far too prosaic for such a phone, perhaps skin from something found in a freezer in Roswell might be more keeping with the exclusiveness of this—this thing) it's not available for just any old pleb, you know.

Just three units are available—yes, you too could be one of the top three plonkers in the world should you choose to become one in Le Million club. Anyway, they're on sale in Russia now, so perhaps Vladimir Putin, with the Man of the Year's fortune recently estimated by some to be as much as $40 billion, would like to snap up all three, gifting one to Hu, one to Bush, and keeping the red one for himself.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ninja Gaiden 2 (Xbox 360) "Day of the Ninja" Trailer

Ninja Gaiden-2 Trailer imageThis followup to the first Ninja Gaiden (Xbox 360) game, builds upon its predecessor and offers players "an auto-generation health system, new enemies and locales, and thrilling combat built upon an extensive assortment of ninja weaponry."


Liquid Image Camera-Mask Lets You Shoot Video

Although only waterproof to 15 feet, and therefore not exactly serious underwater snapper gear, this Liquid Image digital camera-mask is not a bad idea for kids or snorkelers as it lets you take hands-free images of the Big Blue. Full details will be released at CES next month, but we've got a bit more info after the jump.

Digital underwater camera mask liquid imageAvailable in 3.1-Megapixel and 5-Megapixel models, you shoot your subject by lining it up in the crosshairs on the mask. LED lights on the glass indicate whether you're in video or stills mode. A USB port allows you to download from its 16MB internal memory, and there's an SD card slot allowing you to bump that up so you can shoot your swimming-pool version of Jaws. Price of the Liquid Image Camera-Mask hasn't been finalized yet, but the idea of smaller version will cost $99.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Unborn Babies on Our iPod Creep Us the Hells Out

This is just weird, even for the giddy parents-to-be types who like to run around showing off copies of their ultrasound at work. A hospital in England is one (two?)-upping old-school 2D ultrasounds with 4D scans of your in utero spawn.

read more | digg story

Oracle 2Q profit soars 35 percent

Oracle pictureOracle Corp. fared far better than analysts anticipated in its fiscal second quarter, easing worries that the sagging U.S. economy will curtail corporate spending on technology and drag down the business software maker.

Relieved investors drove up Oracle's stock price by more than 6% late Wednesday after the results were released.

The Redwood Shores-based company earned $1.3 billion, or 25 cents per share, for the three months ended Nov. 30, a 35% increase from net income of $967 million, or 18 cents per share, at the same time last year.

If not for stock option expenses and the costs incurred in recent acquisitions, Oracle said it would have earned 31 cents per share — four cents per share above the average estimate among analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Revenue totaled $5.31 billion, a 28% improvement from $4.16 billion last year. Analysts, on average, had projected revenue of $5.04 billion.

Even more important to Wall Street, Oracle's sales of software licenses climbed by 38% to $1.67 billion. Analysts had predicted gains in the 20% range.

Software sales are closely watched because new licenses establish a pipeline for future revenue from product upgrades and maintenance.

"The strength of the quarter comes down to the fact that we are selling more products to more customers in more industries," Safra Catz, Oracle's chief financial officer, said during a conference call with analysts.

Signaling that its recent momentum will carry into 2008, Oracle forecast software sales will rise 15-25% in the current quarter, which ends in February. Oracle made the same projection for the second quarter and then soared well beyond it.

Excluding stock option expenses, Oracle expects to earn 29 cents or 30 cents per share in the fiscal third quarter. The average analyst estimate for the quarter was 29 cents per share.

Oracle shares fell 49 cents to finish Wednesday's regular trading at $20.76, then rebounded by $1.39, or 6.7% in extended trading.

"It was a very strong quarter, based on just about every metric you can think of," said Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry.

Oracle has been on a roll through most of the past two years, reaping the benefits of a shopping spree that has turned it into a one-stop shop for database software and applications that automate a wide variety of business operations.

By spending more than $25 billion snapping up its smaller rivals since 2004, Oracle has created the software industry's equivalent of a Costco warehouse, said Cowen and Company analyst Peter Goldmacher.

"Oracle looks to be better positioned than just about all its competitors," Goldmacher said. That list of rivals includes other technology heavyweights like IBM Corp., SAP AG and Microsoft Corp.

Larry Ellison, Oracle's hard-charging chief executive officer, remains on the prowl for other takeovers. In October, he offered $6.7 billion for another Silicon Valley software maker, BEA Systems Inc., only to be rebuffed. Echoing recent public comments, Oracle reiterated it's unlikely to buy BEA unless there's a change in the makeup of the San Jose-based company's board of directors.

Oracle's second-quarter showing and upbeat outlook may revive hopes that the technology sector will be able to overcome the threat of a looming recession and grow solidly next year.

With informal surveys indicating that a substantial number of companies plan to spend less on technology next year, some analysts are bracing for a downturn and their only question is the depth of the drop.

But there's a theory that Oracle and a few other industry leaders won't be hurt if the economic uncertainty causes businesses to concentrate their tech spending on products made by well-established vendors.

"Customers are going with proven technologies with proven value," Chowdhry said. "That bodes well for Oracle and Microsoft. It doesn't necessarily bode well for the rest of the software industry."


AT&T promises mobile TV "as early as possible" in 2008

AT&T new logo.jpgSo we know that AT&T slipped its MediaFLO-based mobile TV launch from the end of 2007 out to early '08, but just how "early" are we talking? Well, "as early as possible," to be specific. That rather unhelpful statement is all that's coming out of AT&T for the moment regarding its go-live window for the service, saying that testing is going "very, very well" but that it wanted to take an extra timeout to "make sure the user experience is absolutely optimal."

As far as we're concerned, those statements are in conflict with one another -- if they'd planned to launch in '07 and everything's going well, what the heck's the hold up? At any rate, when it does launch, it turns out that we'll be getting essentially the same lineup MediaFLO offers through Verizon's VCAST TV presently, featuring channels from Fox, NBC, ESPN, CBS, and MTV. That rubs us the wrong way considering that AT&T's original press release mentioned its intention to take advantage of advanced MediaFLO capabilities like datacasting and music, so to summarize: less functionality, later than originally expected.


Google UK top searches for 2007

In the UK Google has announced for the first time a city by city profile of the top searches people are looking for.

Google UK top searches 2007 graphOverall technology dominated the lists, with the social networking sites doing particularly well. Proving that the Internet isn’t just for adults, with sites like Club Penguin and StarDoll featured heavily.

It was good to see obesity featuring high up the lists as people sort life changing diets, but I am not so sure about the Spice Girls being one of the most popular music searches!

That is nothing though compared to the items of ‘news’ that people searched for:

….. the list of most-Googled news searches worldwide. Iran featured a lowly ninth on the list, one above High School Musical star Victoria Hudgens, and below searches for American Idol, YouTube, Britney Spears, the Cricket World Cup, wrestler Chris Benoit, Apple’s iPhone, Anna Nicole Smith, and Paris Hilton.

That is just worrying!


Unborn Babies on Our iPod Creep Us the Hells Out

This is just weird, even for the giddy parents-to-be types who like to run around showing off copies of their ultrasound at work. A hospital in England is one (two?)-upping old-school 2D ultrasounds with 4D scans of your in utero spawn. The new scanner produces a moving 3D image, which is why we guess they're calling it 4D—not 'cause it's like tesseract, which I would much rather look at.

Unborn iPod baby pictureThe article about the new tech's kind of trend-fishing with the iPod angle, since the hospital gives you the file on a CD or DVD, which you can load up on any portable media player. But sweet christ, I hope this doesn't become a real trend.


I-Buddy - shows off the emotions of your interlocutors

Gadgets I-Buddy emotions pictureIt seems to me that any modern person uses at last one kind of messenger. Unfortunately, people meet each other so rarely nowadays. That's why messenger is a very nice and handy solution for the majority of them. But.. I wish the messenger could reflect people's emotions. It's the biggest disadvantage of the messengers, because they can't.

The progress made a step forward in this sphere. Now appear different gadgets that help people to make their communication via different messengers more realistic and natural. I-Buddy will help you to understand the mood and reactions of your interlocutor.

This sweet gadget visually demonstrates you emotions. It flaps its wings and changes the colors depending on the emoticons in the messages. Generally, the device looks really interesting and funny. It may show love, angriness and other feelings. It's rather jokingly to observe it.

If i-Buddy starts annoying you and if your interlocutors have too many emotions, you may program it to react just for one person.

It seems to me that your computer might be happy to have such accessory. If you spend a lot of time communicating via messengers this gadget is definitely for you.

Unfortunately, the device reflects just the emotions of your interlocutors that you may also see on your screen. Why doesn't it show the real emotions that are hidden inside? I guess that would be the best-seller and the greatest accessory for the computer.

Anyway, now I represent you this gadget the way it is: funny, interesting, but it might become a little annoying.


Circle Phone- Brings Simplicity Back

While cell phones make us truly mobile, they are becoming cluttered with more unnecessary features. Jin Le brings simplicity back with the "Circle Phone". It sports "only 3 buttons and a rotary style dial pad set in a very modern looking ring."

Circle phone pictureThe upswing in high-tech technology integrated into every facet of our lives will soon (say 5+ years from now) experience a backlash started by none other than designers. The Circle Phone is an example of such a backlash.


PC World's 30 Most Popular Stories of 2007

Twelve months. Thousands of articles, slide shows, videos, downloads, and more. Millions of visitors perusing billions of words and images. There's a surging sea of content on, and over the course of a year, all of it gets read--but only a few items qualify as true smash hits.

Herewith, our megablockbusters for 2007, from practical advice to pure entertainment.

1. The Strangest Sights in Google Earth: A digital travelogue? On We'd never done one before, but when Senior Reporter Tom Spring told us that you can spot elephants, crop circles, and corporate logos in Google's mapping program, it sounded like a lot of fun. What we didn't know was that Tom's slide show would go on to be the single most-read feature ever on

2. The 20 Worst Windows Features of All Time: Fact one: The vast majority of PC World readers use Microsoft's operating system. Fact two: Virtually none of them love it unconditionally. Those two truths inspired us to compile this illustrated history of two decades of Windows nuisances, from the mild (Windows Movie Maker) to the monstrous (Messenger Service, which let hackers reboot your PC by remote control).

3. The 10 Worst PCs of All Time: Some of them were surprisingly popular, like the VIC-20. Others made no mark in the computing universe, like the New Internet Computer. But these ten machines had one thing in common: In one way or another--usually in multiple ways--they gave the PC a bad name.

4. The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time: Talk about an article that just won't say die--we published Dan Tynan's list of losers back in May 2006, and it has remained wildly popular ever since.

5. The 100 Best Products of 2007: Once again, we decided to rank the 100 best products of the year, gathering winners from an array of categories. Once again, we did it midyear, for reasons too complicated to explain. Once again, we named the Product of the Year (it's an office suite, and it doesn't hail from Redmond). And once again, the story was a monster hit.

6. The Most Notable Notebooks of 2007: We thought people would like this slide-show retrospective of the most interesting laptops we'd tested as of September, and they did. But we never guessed that one factoid--that the MacBook Pro ran Vista faster than any other machine we'd benchmarked at the time--would inspire an Apple TV commercial.

7. The 50 Best Tech Products of All Time: Okay, by "all time" we meant "since the dawn of the PC revolution." (If we hadn't set limits, we would have needed to consider the bicycle, the ball-peen hammer, and fire.) Our choices led off with the browser that was once synonymous with the World Wide Web. (Meanwhile, we asked readers to vote on our picks, and iD Software's Doom was a runaway winner as the best tech product ever.)

8. Laptop reviews: If you could visit the PC World Test Center, you'd see a bevy of notebooks undergoing objective testing with our WorldBench benchmark and other methodologies. That's because thousands of people come to every day for advice on which portables to purchase.

9. 101 Fantastic Freebies: Back in the 1990s, our cover stories on the year's best stuff were top sellers at newsstands everywhere. Actually, they still are--and today, our annual freebie roundup is also a smash online.

10. The 20 Most Annoying Tech Products: We asked readers to vote on the products that had irritated them the most over the years. The top vote-getter was an object that was round, silver, and free--and for a while in the 1990s, it seemed prone to Tribble-like multiplication.
Downloads, TVs, Cameras, and More

11. 15 Great, Free Security Programs: If you have Windows computer, you have security headaches to worry about. For this download extravaganza, we focused on ways to ward off spyware, viruses, and hackers without spending a nickel.

12. 15 Great Free Utilities You've Never Heard Of: If you've read all the way to this point in this list of our hits, you know that people love to come to PC World to learn about useful free software. This story is yet more evidence of that.

13. How to Buy a Flat-Screen TV: In the market for an HDTV? You have company--lots and lots of it. Our guide to the products, technologies, and specs is an essential resource, all year long.

14. Top 10 Compact Cameras: Cameras have been a hot topic for PCW since the dawn of digital photography, but as our reviews show, you've never been able to get so much camera in such a small case for so little money.

15. Cell phone reviews: Computers may look more and more alike these days, but wireless phones are anything but a commodity And we're thankful that we haven't had to change our name to Phone World to become a popular source of information on them.

16. The 20 (Mostly Free) Downloads You Can't Do Without: Here's yet another collection of helpful downloads for customizing, troubleshooting, and speeding up Windows. We won't stop doing 'em until we run out of good picks, or the world loses interest--and we don't think either of those scenarios will play out anytime soon.

17. Great Free Files--20 Fantastic Open-Source Downloads: Some open-source apps are household names, like Firefox. But there's plenty of good stuff you might not know about, such as the utilities, multimedia tools, and other downloads in this feature.

18. Before They Spoiled the Software: With software, newer isn't always better--sometimes, it's slower, more annoying, and less intuitive. So we called out some examples of programs that have moved in the wrong direction over the years, and showed readers how to grab the older, sprightlier versions that made the applications popular in the first place.

19. Desktop reviews: Portable computers may be taking over the planet, but plenty of people are still shopping for solid desktop computers. No surprise, then, that they're still among the most popular review subjects on our site.

20. How to Buy a Laptop: If you go to Google and type the simple phrase "how to buy a laptop," the first link you see will take you to this buying guide. That's presumably one reason why the story is a year-round hit. Hatred! Ugliness! Stress!

21. 10 Things We Hate About Apple: Back in the spring, we decided to let off a little steam with two stories--one listing stuff we loved about Apple and its products, and the other listing our gripes. The latter article made the news in a way we never would have predicted.

22. The Ugliest Products in Tech History: Great industrial design has always been hard to find in the tech world. Terrible design, however, has always been plentiful. And hey, we even included an Apple product in our slide-show roundup of notable eyesores.

23. The Most Collectible PCs of All Time: Three decades into the PC revolution, the oldest and rarest computers aren't just curiosities, they're prized collectibles. Check out our slide show to see if you have a $10,000 relic stored away in your basement.

24. 19 Tools to Get the Junk Off Your PC: Applications you don't want. Files you don't need. Almost every PC is bloated with stuff that bogs down performance and fills up the hard drive, so we gathered tools for clearing out all the clutter.

25. 35 Things Every PC User Should Know: This compendium of useful tips on troubleshooting and other topics was the cover story of our March issue, which was a best seller. But the article's popularity has persisted far beyond the dead-tree version.

26. iPhone Stress Tests: On June 29, legions of gadget freaks waited in round-the-block lines to be among the first to get their hands on Apple's phone. We were there too--and we were probably the only buyers who promptly began trying to destroy our new toy. Our torture tests, starring Senior Associate Editor Eric Butterfield, became the most popular video we've ever created.

27. Top 10 External Hard Drives: No, they're not glamorous. But since every PC user needs at least one big USB-connected drive for backups, archiving, and other data-preservation purposes, the PCW Test Center and storage guru Melissa J. Perenson try out many of them over the course of the year.

28. Vista vs. Leopard--Battle of the New Features: When Apple's Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard operating system finally appeared in October, we compared and contrasted it with Windows Vista in this slide show.

29. Top 10 Inkjet Printers: Today's printers are one part printing press, one part photo processing station. Our lab-tested reviews are perennial favorites.

30. 14 Great Programs You Didn't Even Know You Needed: Here's yet another practical guide to practical software that found a big audience in 2007.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Original Sonic the Hedgehog Now Available for the iPod

Sonic the Hedgehog imageJust in case you haven't had a chance to play the original Sonic the Hedgehog on your Wii or Xbox 360 lately, now there's yet another platform that's offering the classic platformer for sale: the iPod. Yep, for $4.99 you can now download the classic Sonic the "I remember this being better" Hedgehog for all of your awkward, click-wheel-controlled gaming needs.


Beta of XP Service pack 3 update made public

Microsoft imageMicrosoft on Tuesday said it will make publicly available a beta version of Windows XP Service Pack 3. But, like a car salesman pitching the new Corvette over the old jalopy, Microsoft argued that a switch to Vista is the better move.

"While Windows Vista provides the most advanced security and management capabilities of any Windows operating system, Windows XP SP3 will ensure PCs running Windows XP will have the latest updates, as well as compatibility with the Network Access Protection functionality of Windows Server 2008," Microsoft said in a statement.

Lest anyone misread that as an endorsement, Microsoft goes on to say that "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

The service pack has already been delayed several times as Microsoft has put its focus on getting Vista out the door and then updating that release.

Microsoft issued a release candidate version of XP SP3 in November and expanded its testing earlier this month, promising the public test version would come at some later date.

For anyone who still wants to try the darn thing, Microsoft says, the beta should be up on Microsoft's Web site later Tuesday and ready in final form in the first half of next year.


iPhone coming to Japan's NTT DoCoMo

NTT docomo iphoneAccording to the Wall Street Journal Asia, Jobs and Co are in Japan working out the details for a domestic iPhone launch. It's no surprise then that Jobs was rumored to have just met with NTT DoCoMo's president, Masao Nakamur, to discuss the deal with the largest carrier in the world's second-largest economy. As usual, Apple seems to be playing the carriers off one another with rumors that The Steve is courting Softbank as well. However, "people familiar with the situation" say that DoCoMo is the first choice. While the revenue sharing is a sticking point as usual, WSJA says that Apple doesn't expect to have any difficulty closing the deal. Funny, that's what everyone was saying about Vodafone in Europe.

P.S. For what it's worth, NTT DoCoMo does not run a GSM/EDGE network. Any iPhone released on DoCoMo's FOMA service will be HSDPA -- right, the 3G iPhone.


Monday, December 17, 2007

A Robotic Jurassic Park Coming to Dubai

Robotic Jurassic ParkWhen it comes to Dubai and attracting wealthy tourists, the word "restraint" is seldom used. Perhaps that is why it is not surprising that the locals are building a $1 billion theme park that will feature over 100 animatronic dinosaurs of 40 different species. Dubbed "Restless Planet," the park will attempt to provide an educational experience amidst all of the Vegas style spectacle. This will be done using history themed rides and robots / habitats that represent an accurate portrayal (based on current knowledge) of what life was like millions of years ago.

The robots will also be capable of interacting with guests by following them with their eyes or lunging at them as the walk by. Even though you would think that keeping the wraps on a 500,000 square foot park would be difficult, further details are scarce. However, the park is scheduled to open in late 2008 in City of Arabia, Dubai.


Kawasaki robot solves Rubik's Cube in seconds flat

We've seen robots that could solve a Rubik's Cube in nearly no time, but Kawasaki's Cube-Kun can pick one up, figure out the solution and sip down some lemonade all in the extended blink of an eye.

Kawasaki Robot ImageReportedly, this brainiac was created with absolutely one goal in life, and judging by eyewitness reports, it succeeds mightily. The fellow rocks a huge flat-panel display as a face and utilizes built-in sensors to determine the current position of each square and how to most quickly solve it. Interestingly, we heard that sabotaging the cube by removing a sticker would send Cube-Kun into fits of uncontrollable rage, but apparently, no one's been courageous enough to test its patience.


Toshiba Launches New Range of 1.8 inch HDDs

Toshiba 1.8 inch HDD previewToshiba boosted its portfolio with the release of 5 new 1.8 inch HDDs.

These drives are aimed at laptops, UMPCs and other portable devices. The drives that have been introduced are the 120GB MK1214GAH, the 60GB MK6028GAL and the 80GB MK8025GAL.

All three models are equipped with a PATA interface, 2MB buffer and 512 byte-per-sector format. The other two drives Toshiba has introduced are two single-platters, 60GB 1.8-inch HDDs in the slim, 5-millimeter-high form factor with 4,200 RPM and 3,600 RPM spin speed. Pricing and availability remains unknown as of now.


Glowbys Illuminating Hair - Shine everywhere

Ladies, do you want to feel yourself a fairy, a princess or an enchantress on any party? You will be absolutely individual, unique and stunning with the help of one magic accessory. The whole attention will be yours. Even in the darkness you will be the brightest.

Shiny Glowbys Illuminating hairsA few thin fiber optic strands should be attached to your hair to create an unforgettable appearance. What unusual is there? The strands are illuminated. They are shining and it looks like a magic spray was poured on your hair.

In a moment after attaching this Glowbys Illuminating Hair you will look brilliant and festive.

I think that is can be a nice accessory for any party or holiday. On a New Year or just Birthday party it will look the most suitable and effective.


Transparent Cell Phone is Ultraslim

Ultraslim transparent cell phoneAesthetically, the Cypres Mobile Phone by Nao Tamura is a work of art. It features a transparent case, integrated camera, and an OLED display. No word yet on pricing and availability.


Robodance- 4 software lets you control Tomy i-SOBOT with a Wiimote

Tomy's i-SOBOT usually requires users to punch in one of 147 different keycodes on its monster handheld controller to get things moving, but a couple enterprising hackers have developed a control system that lets you get it on mo-cap style using a Wiimote and the nunchuk attachment.

Robodance image of Tomy i-SOBOTThe secret is the upcoming Robodance 4 software, which maps the i-SOBOTs commands to the Wiimote and a GUI for complex scripted macros -- which means it'll be even easier to pretend that the bot is actually your real friend. Check a vid of the system in action, apparently shot in someone's underground bunker, after the break.


iPond Combines Portable Speaker With a Fish Tank

Pet stores in Australia have been selling a portable speaker with a built-in fish tank, designed to hook up to portable audio devices like the iPod.

The cleverly named iPond, which is currently drawing fire from animal rights groups for not providing adequate space for a fish to live.

iPond speaker with fish tankMelbourne Aquarium officials say the Betta fish sold with the iPond need a 10 liter tank to swim and get a proper amount of oxygen, but the iPond's tank is only 650 milliliters. Acoustics experts also say sound from the speaker, which is built into the bottom of the iPond, could transfer into fish tank, bringing up another potential hazard.

But even if Aussies are ambivalent to bleeding heart animal rights activists, they should still avoid the iPond because it looks like a cheap piece of garbage selling for an inflated 70 Australian Dollars (60 USD).


Microsoft Slashes Xbox360 Prices This December

Good news for anyone looking to get into next gen gaming, Microsoft has slashed the price of the Xbox 360 significantly this holiday season.

xbox360 logo imageFor the month of December only, the Xbox 360 core console will be sold for Rs. 14,990 while the Pro version will set you back by Rs. 23,990. The core console will come bundled with two free games (Forza Motorsport 2 and Viva Piñata) while the Pro version will come bundled with four games (Project Gotham Racing 3, Forza Motorsport 2, Viva Piñata and Yuvraj Singh International Cricket 2007).

And remember, this offer is available till 31 December 07 and till stocks last.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Windows Mobile: more of what's going on in the next two versions

Windows mobile logo picturePublicly disclosable details about the future of Windows Mobile are still sparse, but we can let the door open a bit wider on what was shown at this year's Mobius with regard to the next two versions of Windows Mobile. We all know that 6.1 is around the corner, but it's the next two versions beyond that which are really interesting. Post-6.1, WinMo will indeed have its app suite revamped, including a desktop-grade port of IE to Windows Mobile, which Microsoft is replacing pocket IE with and directly targeting mobile Safari. Likewise, the rest of the consumer-centric apps (photos, media, etc.) as well as the messaging suite will be upgraded to be a bit friendlier. This whole experience won't be too foreign to long-time users, but is the next step in the right direction.

But it's really the Windows Mobile that's two versions out that's the game-changer. Significantly redeveloped, this WinMo will focus on an upgraded user experience with massive changes made to ease of use, as well as new features like global search and data correlation, meaning the device would, for example, know who you're talking to and give you instant access to email from only that person, or maybe a map with that pinpoints their address. Fingers crossed they'll execute on this stuff -- Microsoft's a big company with lots of wonderful ideas that seem to fall out of the truck on the way to the store.


Santa Gadget Is One Hawt Girl

Santa gadget-Hawt girl
Ok. we understand that tis the season to be jolly. Tis the season to give away love and good stuff!. Tis the season to enjoy hot chocolate and marshmallows... in front of the fire while being half naked with black leather frack-me boots and a tiny Santa Claws suit? For shame! First Macinstein and now i4u? Has everyone gone crazy? Can't people be a little more responsible and stop posting gratuitous pictures of models in "Santa" suits? Madness. What happened to the good old page-three models who used to wear just the hat?

Santa gadget-Standing Hawt girl

Translating menus with your phone

Help could be at hand for millions of travelers who have previously ended up with some unexpected delicacy when ordering their meals in foreign restaurants.

Cellphone/mobile phone pictureOver at the Nokia Research Center in Helsinki they are looking at utilizing the camera in the phone to take a picture of the text on a menu and to translate it for you. A particularly challenging task will be the Asian market, where the literal translations often found on menus often offer no help at all.

Of course for some this would take the adventure and fun out of travel, but they don’t have to use the feature, whereas for many I feel it would be absolute godsend!


Lego Iron Man Must Be Seen to Be Believed

Lego iron man snapA masterful Lego builder that goes by the name of Arvo is the man responsible for this unbelievably awesome Iron Man figure. And with results like that, the dude doesn't even need a last name. Just whispering "Arvo" will get grab the attention of geeks the world over.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wii, "Call of Duty" top U.S. charts in November

November 2007 US video games console salesNintendo Co Ltd's (7974.OS) Wii held on to its spot as the No. 1 video game console in the United States in November, selling 981,000 units, industry data showed on Thursday.

It was the Wii's best showing for the console since its November 2006 launch, topping last December's sales figure by 60%, according to market research firm NPD.

"Since there is still an evident inventory shortage at retail, it's difficult to say just how high sales could be if you took that issue out of the equation," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said.

Microsoft Corp's Xbox 360 console sold 770,000 units while Sony Corp's (6758.T) PlayStation 3 sold 466,000 units, NPD said.

Activision Inc had the top-selling video game, "Call of Duty 4," which sold more than 2.01 million copies for the Xbox 360 and PS3, NPD said.

Nintendo also sold 1.53 million of its DS handheld device while Sony sold 567,000 of its PlayStation Portable, the data showed.

Activision's "Guitar Hero 3" sold 1.9 million copies for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and Sony's older PlayStation 2.

"Assassin's Creed" from France's Ubisoft sold nearly 1.36 million copies for the Xbox 360 and PS3, while Nintendo's "Super Mario Galaxy" for the Wii sold 1.12 million copies.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

New TOYOTA Mobility Robot - Violin playing Robot


- Mobility Robot can walk owners around, carry shopping
- Violin-playing Robot can perform Christmas carols

Toyota has unveiled two new robots, a “Mobility Robot” and a “Violin-playing Robot”, which could become very useful at Christmas in years to come.

The Mobility Robot provides transport in places where conventional wheeled vehicles would fail, including steps, making it the ideal aid for all those hours of Christmas shopping.

The Mobility Robot can move at speeds of up to 4mph – human walking pace – and travel up to a distance of 13 miles on one hour of battery charge. In addition to being able to transport its owner, it can also follow people and avoid obstacles, allowing it to function as a porter, leaving the owner’s hands free at the New Year sales.
Toyota Violin playing RobotThe Violin-playing Robot is capable of performing a variety of tasks with its hands and arms. Its delicacy of movement is best demonstrated by the fact it can play the violin. It can achieve vibrato on a violin similar to that created by humans, enabling it to play all the classic Christmas carols.

The 1.5-metre tall Violin-playing Robot, equipped with a total of 17 joints in each of its hands and arms, uses precise control and coordination to achieve human-like agility. It could also be used to assist with domestic duties or nursing and medical care.

These newest additions to the Toyota Partner Robot family are being developed to support people’s everyday life but unfortunately you won’t be able to purchase them for this Christmas. Toyota hopes to have these and other Toyota Partner Robots on sale in the early 2010s.

Toyota Partner Robots are envisioned to assist people in four main fields: domestic duties, nursing and healthcare, manufacturing and short-distance personal transport.

Toyota is primarily focussing on technology that works in harmony with people, such as assistance devices that can help move heavy instruments in a factory, on mobility technology for autonomous movement, on full-body coordination for walking and jumping, and on tool manipulation.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Xbox 360 DivX/XviD Playback Tested - It's Almost Perfect

Xbox360 DivX/XviD playback tested

The Xbox 360 supports DivX and XviD as of today, which may make some of you with big file collections (like us) as giddy as a kid in store with puppies made of candy. We threw our entire collection of movies, TV shows and random clips at it and found that the 360 can play back pretty much anything. Here are some notes.

You can play files off of a CD/DVD. This feature wasn't listed on the Xbox Team's website as one of the supported locations for playing back content, but this is fantastic for homes that have wireless networks (or no network at all). In fact, reading off a disc is probably the best way to ensure your movie won't cut out in the middle due to network congestion (unlikely) or someone turning off the computer accidentally (fairly likely).

It supports almost all files. It played back all TV shows we threw at it, including My Name is Earl, 30 Rock, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Battlestar Galactica, and The Venture Bros.. Most of these, and most TV downloaded TV shows, are encoded in XviD format. As for DivX, that's supported back to version 5.0, but it's unlikely that you're going to find any DivX 3 or DivX 4 online, unless you're talking about old files you've saved for a couple years.

AC3 Audio is supported. Nice! AC3 support was added in the Spring Update, but it's nice to see it working with DivX/XviD. Too bad it's not 5.1 though. 5.1 is supported!

It supports Windows Home Server as well. Along with USB drives and WMP11 streaming, you can also stream DivX/XviD from Windows Home Server too. It makes sense to store all your videos on here, since videos are big and WHS has a lot of room. QED.

Video Stretching is kind of weird. The Xbox will try and auto-fit your video to the screen when it starts playing, but it gets confused easily with different video dimensions. You'll want to manually change the playback mode to either letterbox or stretched, depending on what kind of content (widescreen, fullscreen, PAL) you're playing back.

You can skip through a video with the bumpers. RB and LB let you skip forward and back through the movie, but might not be granular enough to get to the place you want to be. You'll have to use the trigger buttons to FF or RW.

It's fast. If your network connection is fast enough (my network is Gigabit Ethernet enabled, which isn't a huge deal since the 360 is only 10/100), the video should play back without a hitch. It's quite nice to be able to play back stuff on your 360, in HD, without having to transcode it into WMV first.

It doesn't work in Windows Media Center Extender. You're going to have to kick out of WMC and back to the dashboard in order to play your videos. Annoying for people who like to switch between live TV and downloaded content.

It's not entirely perfect. It's 90% of the way there, but 5.1 AC3 support, improved handling of different video dimensions, better playback controls and Windows Media Center Extender support will make this the perfect DivX/Xvid implementation.


Xbox Live Video Coming to Europe Marketplace on December 11

Xbox360 video marketplace coming on 11 DecemberEuropean Xbox 360 owners don't just get the Dashboard update with DivX and XviD playback, they're finally getting Xbox Live Video Marketplace as well! They've been asking for it forever (seriously, they ask almost every time there's Video Marketplace news), but come December 11, they'll be able to pay 380 points for 720p HD video and 250 for SD video. Big list of movies available at launch in the UK after the jump.



iPhone topped the list of fastest-rising search term in Google

iPhone tops Google search terms in 2007Technology and entertainment topped Google Inc's searches in 2007, with the iPhone grabbing the No. 1 slot on a list of the fastest-rising search terms in the United States, the company said on Tuesday.

"iPhone, of course, is a word very few people typed in a search box in 2006," said Marissa Mayer of Google, an Internet search engine. "It didn't exist."

Apple rolled out the iPhone, which is a mobile phone, music and video player and Internet browser device, in the United States last summer.

Four social networking sites made the top 10, including Webkinz, which grabbed the No. 2 slot. Webkinz is a stuffed animal that customers can register and play with online.

Celebrity news Web site TMZ ranked third, while transformer toys took the No. 4 slot.

Transformers are the wildly popular toys that shift their shapes, for example from cars to alien robots, and they got a big boost from the 2007 hit movie "Transformers."

"There's a lot of interest in the celebrity culture, television and movies," said Mayer.

YouTube, the video-sharing Web site, grabbed the No. 5 spot while Club Penguin, a networking site for children, came in No. 6. Social networking site MySpace took the No. 7 slot. Heroes, Facebook and Anna Nicole Smith rounded out the top 10.

Google also released a list of fastest-rising global search terms and the iPhone topped that list too.


Nokia N800 Internet Tablet - Mobile Phone Gadgets

The Nokia N800 Internet Tablet is exactly what it sounds like, a mobile internet device. It is not a cellphone, not a Smartphone, not a mobile computer/UMPC. The N800 is designed to be used to access the internet and internet application while on the go.

Nokia N800 Internet TabletNokia N800 is designed to stay online so you can enjoy the benefits of the Internet, whether you’re at home or on the go. Browse your favorite sites. Stay in touch with the people you love with Internet calling. Chat with your friends. Check your email. Relax with your favorite songs and videos.


Google Gmail Integrates AOL's AIM

Google has integrated AOL's popular AIM instant-messaging service into its Gmail Web-based e-mail client, the company announced on Tuesday.

Gmail has had its own chat service since February 2006, but now Gmail users will be able to connect to AIM through a drop-down menu on the Gmail Web page, Google said. Gmail users can sign into AIM through the "set status here" menu, Google said. AIM contacts and Gmail chat will appear on the same menu.

Google said it was rolling out the new feature on the English version of Gmail on Tuesday. AIM access will be available on other language versions of Gmail soon, the company said.

"We're always looking for new and useful ways to help our users connect with friends, family, and coworkers," Google said in a statement.

The ability to connect to AIM through Gmail is a "very big deal," said Michael Osterman, founder of messaging analysis firm Osterman Research. About 75 percent of people who use IM in business settings use AIM or the AIM enterprise product, he said.

Now, when people are using Gmail, they can see if the people they're sending e-mail to are available for live chat on AIM instead, he said. "You've been given another option for communicating with people," he said. "It's one more way to talk to them."

Gmail users can keep a history of chats and e-mails together in so-called conversation threads.


Free subscription service from Nokia's - "Comes with Music"

Nokia just launched a "Comes with Music" program. No, not software, but a deal which allows you to buy a Nokia device with a year of unlimited, subscription access to "millions of tracks." Once the year is complete however, customers can keep all their downloaded music -- it doesn't disappear just because the subscription is ended.

Free music subscription from NokiaWhat's the catch? Don't know yet. We know it's limited to Universal Music Group tracks for the time being but there's no mention of any fees, DRM, advertising, or other boundaries. We'll update you as soon as we get more.

Update: It's free for one year! All the Universal Music tracks you can download for 12 months can be yours. The offer doesn't begin until mid 2008, just as long as the deal doesn't fall apart by then.