Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mario Kart Wii Preview

GT provides us with an in-depth look at Mario Kart Wii, which is set for release on April 27th in North America.

Mario Kart Wii takes a giant step forward with new karts, bikes, tracks, and tons of options for both controllers and online play, but did Nintendo oversimplify the driving mechanics?

Via- []

Price Comparison

The Cranko MP3 player twists our panties in a knot

Cranko MP3 playerYou know what kids in developing nations need besides water, vaccines, and schools? MP3 players... and laptops, lots of laptops. Meet the Cranko, at least that's what we're calling it since Thanko's "Cranking MP3 Player" bores us to the point of Wal-marting razor blades. The 1GB capacity player from Thanko features a flashlight and 10 minute charge per minute of cranking. You know, just in case your spelunking adventures take you too far away from a USB port. Yours now for ¥6,000 or about $60.

Via- []

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Series Evolution

Super smash bros series evolutionIn this GT featurette, we take "a six-minute odyssey through all things Smash." Here's one fact you may not have known about: the "game's music is made up of arranged versions of pieces by one of 39 renowned video game composers that originated in previously released video games."

This installment also includes a deeper single-player mode than its predecessors. Known as The Subspace Emissary, this mode is a plot-driven, side-scrolling beat 'em up game featuring Brawl's playable characters.

Via- []

Will Yahoo Negotiate?

The Wall Street Journal's Kara Swisher today posted what some insiders are telling her may come next with the Yahoo/Microsoft buyout drama. One source (which she doesn't name) says Yahoo will likely call Microsoft to negotiate terms within 14 days.

While that's not a universal consensus, Swisher writes that she expects such a call will happen, and that the only realistic barrier to the buyout in the wake of Yahoo's ho-hum roadshow is the Justice Department stepping in. Not a likely event, she says.

Sobering stuff, given that a Microhoo could drastically change the Webscape for consumers and business alike, though I couldn't predict just how.

In other Yahoo news, the company changed their home page design to once again put their logo in the top center instead of the upper left. A post looks at the change and compares it with past designs from the 90s through today.

Via- [,143820-c,mergersacquisitions/article.html]

Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360) Unreal Tech Demo

In this GT featurette, we get to "check out the impressive features of the updated Unreal Engine 3 via an on-stage demonstration."

Via- []

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

UT3 Mod Brings Master Chief to the PlayStation 3

UT3 mod PS3That's right, UT3 modders decided to bring Master Chief, Gears of War characters, Cloud, and even Spawn to the PlayStation 3.

Thank Unreal Tournament III, UTIII mods and a UTIII mod-friendly PS3! These mods were brought to us by the folks at UT.PS3, so kudos to them for cooking them up.

Via- []

Every South Park Ever Online for Free (Legally!)

South park online fullTaking a page out of the Hulu playbook, but awesomer, the South Park guys are streaming every single South Park episode in full at their official site, South Park Studios. What they get right: Streams are fast and vid quality is solid; every episode, from first to most recent is available (with one exception); and newer ones are uncensored. Yep, you actually get to hear your favorite childrens scream "What the fuck is going on?" in the Britney ep. Major point of suck: ads.

They're mercifully short, but you get hit with about three per episode (marked by the little white lines in the timeline), though you have a limited ability to jump around the ep to sorta avoid them. Still, they're less intrusive than the pop-ups that assault you at or the like. Which is probably a big part of why they're doing this—the online audience for South Park is huge, with lots of sites streaming eps and major torrent traffic. So why not get a slice of that ad revenue?

Ads are going to be a part of any free TV online equation, unfortunately. So are rights issues—for some reason the Britney ep is already available, but the first episode of the current season won't be up until April. WTF? But all in all, they get it as right as an official channel can for the time being, which looks startlingly like a glimpse at the future of TV. Update: Another reason living in Canada sucks: No access for Canadians.

Via- []

Mario Kart Wii Japanese Intro

Mario kart wii japaneseNintendo's Mario Kart Wii is set for release on April 27th in the US (April 10th Japan). GT provides us with a first look at the Japanese intro.

I've got to say I was far happier with the graphics than I expected to be. Each track had a completely different flavour. From the gently swaying trees and difficult to dodge cows in the meadow course to the conveyor belts and crane-carried platforms in the Toad's factory course, each track brought back a fond new memory of a Nintendo title from yesteryear but presented them with fresh style.

Via- []

Monday, March 24, 2008

Apple iPhone App Store Pictured

iPhone app storeOK, so take this with a dashing of salt; the guys at Monster and Friends have apparently spotted the first pics of the iPhone App Store, which appeared on a user's iPhone in place of a connection error alert. The user, Drunkenbass of Monster and Friends managed to have a look around the Genres and Top 50 sections, and he spied a Facebook and Checkers app.

The look of the alleged store appears to be very similar to, and why not? It sure as hell works. Strangely, the applications already had a shed load of user ratings, but if this is part of Apple's testing routine, that fact is probably not too out of place.

Via- []

First Look at Sonic Unleashed (PS3 / Xbox 360)

Sonic first lookHere's a first look at Sonic Unleashed, set for release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 -- "some in-game, some pre-rendered CG."

First look sonic unleashed PS3 Xbox 360 characterThey certainly look like the genuine article, giving the impression that Sonic Unleashed will be coming to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, hopefully with gameplay that's more Sonic and the Secret Rings than it is Sonic the Hedgehog "Next-Gen."

First look sonic unleashed PS3 Xbox360
Via- []

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Apple Time Machine- Works With AirPort Disk

Apple time machine works with airport diskApple issued a firmware update for the Airport Extreme today that allows any USB hard drive connected to the router to function with Time Machine.

It's nice for those with MacBooks and external HDDs who find it troublesome to have to plug and unplug their drive everytime they take their lappy on the go.

Via- []

Credit card data stolen from supermarket chain

Credit cardsA computer hacker stole thousands of credit card numbers after breaching security at two U.S. grocery store chains owned by Belgium-based Delhaize Group SA, the companies said on Monday.

Nearly 2,000 cases of fraud have been linked to the breach, but no personal information such as names or addresses was accessed when the hacker broke into the Hannaford Bros. stores in Massachusetts, New England and New York, and Sweetbay customers in Florida, Hannaford said in a statement.

Boston's WBZ radio said 4.2 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen. Company officials were not immediately available to confirm the number of stolen card numbers.

Hannaford, headquartered in Scarborough, Maine, said it became aware of unusual credit card activity on February 27 and began an investigation. It said the data was illegally accessed during the credit card authorization process.

Hannaford Chief Executive Ron Hodge offered an apology for the intrusion. There are 165 Hannaford stores in the U.S. Northeast and 106 Sweetbay supermarkets in Florida.

"We sincerely regret any concern or inconvenience this has caused," Hodge said in a statement. "We have taken aggressive steps to augment our network security capabilities."

The breach is the latest at a big U.S. retailer and comes after U.S. retail group TJX Cos Inc disclosed last year that data from 45.7 million credit and debit cards were stolen by hackers over a period of 18 months, as well as personal information for 451,000 people.

A group of banks later asserted in court documents that the number of consumer accounts were affected was closer to 94 million, a charge Massachusetts-based TJX denied.

Via- [;_ylt=AjqwXWlrO_vE5omWQ2a5bDIjtBAF]

Google goes Non-Profit.....

Google Non ProfitsGoogle has recently introduced a new site Google For Non-Profits, described as a one-stop shop for tools. This new section from the search engine giant is aimed at advancing companies and organizations’ mission by presenting Google tools like Gmail, Docs, Checkout, Calendar, Analytics, YouTube, Blogger and Maps & Earth among others.

Such Google Tools help people to be more efficient in their work, and sometimes even play. But really, not all Internet users are tech-savvy and know how to use these tools so tutorials and recommendations by Google itself is good.

Google presents some examples with links to tutorials:
  • When you’re writing a grant application, don’t get stuck emailing drafts back and forth. Try Google Docs to collaborate on documents with your colleagues.
  • Cut costs and save time with Google-hosted email at your own domain. Access your e-mail from any computer with an Internet connection.
  • Accept online donations without hassle and with no transaction fees until 2009 with Google Checkout.
  • Apply for free online advertising through our Google Grants program to raise awareness and drive traffic to your website.
  • Start a blog to keep your supporters informed and engaged.
Google Non Profits ProductsAside from teaching people how to use the free Google tools, Google For Non-Profits will also teach users how to promote their work, raise money, and operate more efficiently.

Via- []

Wii Shortages Continue?

Wii gameStill looking for a Wii? Well keep looking, because video game retail giant GameStop revealed this week that it expects shortages of the console to persist until at least September.

You read that right. While GameStop executives said in a conference call this week that the company was seeing an end to the post-holiday shortages that affected the Xbox 360 and DS in January, the Wii was having no such luck.

GameStop COO Dan DeMatteo confirmed, saying that with the Wii, the company anticipated the console's supply "won't meet demand for the next 2 quarters," at the very least. The estimate would put the duration of the Wii shortage at almost the two-year mark since its launch in November 2006.

Additionally, the GameStop call did not address what could happen to the Nintendo supply chain in the wake of the Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit US launches on April 27 and May 19, respectively. If they are successful, and early indications from Japan and US media circles say that they will be, the two quarter estimate could very well become much longer.

On a final note, GameStop CFO David Carlson said the company was still anticipating shortages with the PSP; was "not seeing any problems with PS3"; and expects "good [PS3] stock when GTA IV launches."

Via- [,143597-c,gameconsoles/article.html]

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Adobe says Flash is coming to the iPhone

Apple iPhone wil come with flashAdobe has apparently gone against old Jobsy's wishes, and it's planning a Flash player made all special for the iPhone (ala Windows Mobile) despite Apple's concerns that the technology -- in its current incarnation, anyway -- isn't cut out for mobile duty.

During a conference call today, Chief Executive Shantanu Narayen said, "We believe Flash is synonymous with the Internet experience, and we are committed to bringing Flash to the iPhone," adding, "We have evaluated (the software developer tools) and we think we can develop an iPhone Flash player ourselves." We wouldn't be surprised if Adobe were to be given a pass on all those pesky SDK rules that would likely prevent a proper browser-based Flash component to be coded for the device, though those Apple dudes can be real sticklers for rules.

Via- []

Intel Finds a Way to Transmit Wi-Fi Over a Distance of 60 Miles

Intel WiFi can transmit over 60 milesIntel has developed a means of transmitting Wi-Fi over a distance of 60 miles, making it possible to bring the internet to people living in the sticks. The technology, dubbed the "Rural Connectivity Platform" (RCP) consists of a processor, radios, specialized software, and an antenna that can crank out data rates of about 6.5 megabits per second.

Even though the Wi-Fi has been tested at 60 miles, it will be necessary to spread out access points every 30 miles from the main antenna to ensure a quality signal. Still, each RCP device costs only $500, which means you could put together an entire end-to-end system for around $1000. Plus, the radios consume very little power, making it possible to run them on solar energy. It sounds great, but one has to wonder if there would be interference problems (and whether or not this newfangled software solution can overcome them). My guess is that it is probably not something that could be utilized outside of a rural setting.

Via- []

PSP Firmware Update Brings Internet Radio Stations

PSP FirmwarePSP's firmware update has hit, and now enables the use of over 20 internet radio stations ranging from 80s to J-Pop to Classical. The update also expands support for Playstation Network titles.
Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) today released 20 additional players for its recently launched Internet Radio feature on PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system. The new Internet Radio players offer something for every music lover, with more specific genres such as '80s, Classical, British, and J-Pop. In other news today, SCEA also released the newest system software update, v. 3.93, which expands support for PLAYSTATION®Network titles.

More than 50 percent of PSP users listen to music on their system, and to address this user interest, SCEA launched Internet Radio for PSP in December 2007, with more than 22,000 stations via AOL's SHOUTcast Radio and's icecast. The new players are organized into more specific styles of music so that PSP users can easily find what they are looking for and listen to their favorite genres. The additional stations expand PSP's broad set of music capabilities and demonstrate how SCEA continues to add services and features that benefit PSP owners.

The PSP system's Internet Radio can be accessed at any Wi-Fi* hotspot, giving users a vast library of music to choose from that goes well beyond the music files stored on their Memory Stick Duo.*

How to use Internet Radio on PSP
  • PSP system software must be 3.80 or later to use Internet Radio.
  • Ensure you are in a Wi-Fi environment before attempting use.
  • Insert Memory Stick Duo™ media into the PSP, select the Internet Radio icon under the Network icon, and then select "About Internet Radio."
  • Follow the on-screen instructions for adding an Internet Radio player.
  • When you have added the desired Internet Radio player, the player icon will appear under the "About Internet Radio" icon.
  • Select the Internet Radio player icon.
The Internet Radio feature is compatible with both the original PSP (PSP-1000 series) and the recently released PSP (PSP-2000 series).
Via- []

Monday, March 17, 2008

US Technical Committee starts testing Microsoft Windows 7

Microsoft Windows 7Microsoft Vista’s non-success will not stop the software giant to come out with Windows 7, the next Windows operating system that still remains (for the most part) to be a mystery. However, a test version has already been forwarded to the technical committed (TC) of US law enforcement perhaps to have the upcoming OS’ compliance checked, according to a court document filing.

The court document filing claims that the next operating system from Bill Gates’ Microsoft has full description but currently only the regulators have access to it, as well as, the test version. Regulators and Microsoft itself claimed in the filing:
“Microsoft recently supplied the TC with a build of Windows 7, and is discussing TC testing going forward. The TC will conduct middleware-related tests on future builds of Windows 7.”
No results and changes were made public but we’re sure that a long line of discussion and close encounter between the two groups can be expected.

Via- []

One third of All YouTube Videos Viewed Online

Youtube LogoMarket research form comScore said that Google's YouTube accounted for over three billion of the over nine billion videos viewed in January 2008. The service accounts for one out of every three videos viewed online.

While nine billion videos is certainly a lot of viewing, that number is actually down from December. In a record-breaking month December 2007 saw over 10.1 billion videos viewed online.

However, Google sites gained 1.7% market share to 34.3% or 3.4 billion videos viewed -- YouTube account for 96% of Google's videos. Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 584 million (6%), followed by Yahoo! Sites with 315 million (3.2%) and Microsoft Sites with 199 million (2%).

According to comScore, more than 139 million U.S. Internet users spent an average of 206 minutes per person viewing online video in January. Google Sites also attracted the most viewers (80 million), where they spent an average of 110 minutes watching video. Fox Interactive attracted the second most viewers (53.9 million), followed by Yahoo! Sites (36.3 million) and AOL LLC (21.9 million).

The research also showed that more than three-quarters of the total U.S. Internet audience (75.7%) viewed online video.

Via- [,143517-c,video/article.html]

LEGO Meets Team Fortress 2- Games news

LEGO and Fortress 2 teamHere's one way to bring the Team Fortress 2 experience home (aside from buying it): recreate a scene in LEGO, like this skillful brick artist.

Lego fortress 2 team
Via- []

Snelflight Jump Jet, a Fast R/C Micro-Aircraft

Snelflight JumbojetThe new Jump Jet from Snelflight. It's a kind of mashup toy, with four rotors to keep it aloft in the hover, or tilted to propel it forward, vectored-thrust style. From the demo video of a prototype in flight, it looks much easier to control than the multiple-crashing Chinook:

The aircraft charges from a power brick (not the controller, like Picoo Zs,) and a full battery will apparently give you around five to six minutes of flight. Its got proper three-axis control too, so you have forward and backward flight and yaw and roll. The IR remote has a range of 30 feet, and the model is designed to be as robust as you can get in such a small size, so it should survive the impacts it'll incur as you learn to fly it. This extra sophistication means it will cost around $160, and it's due for release imminently in the UK and later in the spring over in the US. And I want one!

Via- []

China blocks YouTube over Tibet videos

China tibetsInternet users in China were blocked from seeing on Sunday after dozens of videos about protests in Tibet appeared on the popular U.S. video Web site.

The blocking added to the communist government's efforts to control what the public saw and heard about protests that erupted Friday in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, against Chinese rule.

Access to, usually readily available in China, was blocked after videos appeared on the site Saturday showing foreign news reports about the Lhasa demonstrations, montages of photos and scenes from Tibet-related protests abroad.

There were no protest scenes posted on China-based video Web sites such as, and

The Chinese government has not commented on its move to prevent access to YouTube. Internet users trying to call up the Web site were presented with a blank screen.

Chinese leaders encourage Internet use for education and business but use online filters to block access to material considered subversive or pornographic.

Foreign Web sites run by news organizations and human rights groups are regularly blocked if they carry sensitive information. Operators of China-based online bulletin boards are required to monitor their content and enforce censorship.

China has at least 210 million Internet users, according to the government, and is expected to overtake the United States soon to have the biggest population of Web surfers.

Beijing tightened controls on online video with rules that took effect Jan. 30 and limited video-sharing to state-owned companies.

Regulators backtracked a week later, apparently worried they might disrupt a growing industry, and said private companies that were already operating legally could continue. They said any new competitors will be bound by the more stringent restrictions.

Via- [;_ylt=Aknhl0SI5JPZ7De49tyrzoIjtBAF]

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wii gets the Super Smash Bros crystal ice treatment

Crystal ice super smash bros wiiCaptain Awesome and the League of Awesomeness were unavailable for comment. Now if you'll excuse us, we need to go die a few hundred more times in pointlessly difficult platforming levels.

Via- []

Verizon Actually Helping Speed Up P2P File Sharing?

Verizon PirateOh yes, Verizon is teaming up with researchers at Yale and a P4P Working group in order to speed up peer to peer file sharing.

How is this beneficial to Verizon, who has the burden of carrying P2P traffic, which measures at about 1/3 of the internet's throughput already? Because when you're sharing files with others, only about 6.3% of the traffic comes from users in the same city as you, which is cheap traffic for Verizon to deliver. In a new optimized scheme, up to 58% of the traffic can come from nearby users, which speeds up your downloads and makes it much more cost effective for the ISP.

AT&T has also participated in tests like this one, but is trying to find a way to block pirated content and only allow "legal" content such as NBC's officially delivered shows to make it through the network. Verizon, on the other hand, says they do "not accept the role of network police agency," which means filtering for pirated content is unlikely. Time to sign up for Verizon!

Via- []

Warning: Gadgets coming preloaded with a virus

We love new gadgets and we always keep an eye on every new releases that come out of the market. We adore its shiny new look and get awed by its features. But have you ever stopped and thought about the possibility that the software that comes preinstalled in our new gadgets might be infected by viruses?

The Associated Press warns that some of today’s gadgets are coming into the market with extras - viruses. Recent cases examined by the AP pointed out that Apple iPods, digital picture frames sold by big-box retailers Target and Best Buy and the TomTom Navigation all contained viruses even before consumers ever had them in their hands.

And guess where those gadgets came from? Chinese factories. But there’s no reason to be alarmed though. The viruses came from lax quality control and not from organized sabotage by Chinese hackers. The three companies mentioned are already investigating the problem. Apple said that the virus that infected a small number of video iPods in 2006 came from a PC used to test compatibility with the gadget’s software. Best Buy was quick to respond to the findings of the study and immediately pulled out infected Chinese made digital photo frames from their inventory. Sam’s Club and Target are still investigating the matter and have not yet verified if their digital photo frames are infected with digital viruses.

Although none of the viruses found in the mentioned gadgets have caused major damages to consumers who bought them, it is still advised that consumers exercise caution when using their newly purchased gadgets. Or if you are like us and simply cannot resist a gadget purchase, the best way to prevent a virus attack is to run update anti-virus program when possible and keep an eye out for news reports.

Via- []

How would you change Chumby?

Chumby snapshotAs with Pleo, many may argue that Chumby is simply too cute to tweak. But if you can manage to shuffle your emotional attachments to the side for a tick, we're confident there's quite a few things you'd like to see changed. Sure, this totally unique hodgepodge of glanceable information and bedroom mainstays can handle quite a broad variety of tasks right out of the box, but considering that it's built on an open, hackable architecture, it's just begging for someone to come along and do things better than its creator.

So, now that you've had ample time to roll this critter around your domicile, enjoy its abilities and install that hefty firmware update, what's left to be done? Tell the world below, we're all listening.

Via- []

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Vstone Black Ox Robot- Might Destroy Your Office

Vstone Black Ox RobotVstone has just unveiled "Black Ox", a 1.5-foot robot that features "20 movable axis points and fierce fighting skills."

Finally, after a scourge of sissy, beer serving robots we meet our maker. Vstone's Black Ox stands more than 7,000 feet tall and brings a Tokyo-sized lust for meat.

Via- []

Hands on with Mac Pro Mini

Mac Pro Mini snapshotThe steampunk mac mini mod was great, but even it can't compare to the awesome powers of this Mac Mini Pro design by Hideo Takano. On the surface, he managed to hack a mini to look like a Mac Pro that measures only 3.28" wide by 7.8" tall by 6.5" deep.

Mac Pro Mini DemoTakano also added a single USB port and a power button to the front as well as an enclosure that slides off to reveal the hard drive in all its glory. The good news is that there is a complete guide on how to build one yourself—but unless you are fluent in Japanese, you will probably need to rely on the pictures.

Via- []

AOL to Pay $850M for Social Network Bebo

AOL Bebo CollaborationAOL stepped up its bid to boost traffic and advertising opportunities worldwide as the struggling Internet company agreed Thursday to pay $850 million for the online hangout Bebo and a foothold in the growing arena of social media.

Although Bebo remains in the shadow of MySpace and Facebook, it is strong in some foreign markets, including Britain. According to comScore Inc., its audience outside the United States is engaged, spending more time on average there compared with the leading rivals.

AOL executives say they are planning to tap that engagement to drive traffic to AOL's other free, ad-supported Web sites, especially internationally, while leveraging AOL's instant-messaging communities, AIM and ICQ, to try to grow Bebo in the United States.

"This is going to be the cornerstone of our strategy to really go after the social media space," Ron Grant, AOL's president and chief operating officer, said in an interview.

In a conference call with reporters, AOL Chief Executive Randy Falco called the acquisition "game-changing for AOL," a move that will power the company's strategic push into advertising.

AOL has been looking for ways to increase ad revenue to offset steep declines in dial-up Internet subscriptions. After several quarters of strong growth, AOL's advertising expansion has been slowing, putting pressure on the company's parent, Time Warner Inc., to sell the Internet unit.

Falco said Time Warner's willingness to spend $850 million in cash indicated its commitment to AOL's future, though eMarketer analyst David Hallerman likened the move to renovating a home before selling it at a higher price.

Company officials declined comment on recent reports that Yahoo Inc. has stepped up talks with Time Warner about buying or forming a joint venture with AOL as Yahoo tries to fend off a $40 billion-plus takeover bid from Microsoft Corp.

The Bebo acquisition could make a Yahoo-AOL deal less likely by adding one more integration headache to the mix, said Roger Kay, who heads the market research firm Endpoint Technologies Associates.

The deal is AOL's largest since it bought MapQuest for $1 billion in 2000 (not counting AOL's $106 billion purchase of Time Warner in 2001).

San Francisco-based Bebo Inc. has about 100 employees and plans to launch in five countries this year. New York-based AOL LLC said Bebo will be "featured prominently" in AOL's international expansion.

Unlike the $1 billion AOL has spent in recent years buying various advertising companies for their technology or platform, the Bebo deal essentially involves buying eyeballs.

It is an acknowledgment that AOL needs outside help in fostering a vibrant community around social media, where visitors are encouraged to strengthen connections through photo-sharing tools, messaging features and personal profile pages.

AOL so far has failed to leverage AIM's strong community of buddies into a full-powered social network, despite such an attempt with AIM Pages. Yahoo, Google and Microsoft also have been struggling with their homegrown efforts.

Startups have been behind the most active networks online, and the Bebo acquisition serves to underscore their potential as gold mines for ad dollars.

Media conglomerate News Corp. bought MySpace for $580 million in 2005, and analysts believe the company could argue the network is worth more than $15 billion today, based on what Microsoft paid for a 1.6% stake in Facebook Inc., MySpace's next biggest rival. That stake went for $240 million in October, implying a $15 billion market value for the company as a whole.

Both MySpace and Facebook, however, have struggled to capitalize on their large audiences. Facebook drew strong criticism from its users when it unveiled its "Beacon" program for tracking and sharing information about their purchases and their activity on other Web sites.

Hallerman, the eMarketer analyst, said that despite Bebo's traffic, AOL won't necessarily find lots of ad opportunities there.

"It's just the category," he said. "There's a disconnect between traffic and monetization."

Bebo President Joanna Shields, who will stay on to run the network, said her site has successfully attracted sponsorships from major brands to run with original programming. With the targeting technologies AOL already has built and acquired, she said, Bebo should be able to extend that success to other formats such as display advertising.

"A lot of these (social-networking) companies are developing the types of assets AOL has assembled," Shields said in an interview.

It's not clear what would happen with Bebo's existing deal with Yahoo to run display advertising. Shields said it was too early to comment because the sale to AOL wasn't expected to close for another month.

Time Warner shares fell 16 cents, or 1%, to $14.60 in mid-afternoon trading Thursday.

Via- [$850m-for-social-network-bebo/31461/0]

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Weird- Blu-ray Prices Higher Than Ever

Blu ray price list March 2008I suppose that it is not all that surprising to find out that without competition from the HD DVDs camp, prices for Blu-ray players have gone up.

According to data collected by, Blu-ray players have hit a high average of $400 per unit for the year—about the same price they were at this time last year. This comes after the aggressive price cuts Blu-ray manufacturers employed at the height of the HD DVD battle. While these players probably would have been $1000 without a format war these prices are not moving in the right direction.

Via- []

Mozilla Speeds Up Firefox

Firefox 3.0 is dramatically faster than its predecessor and rivals, benchmark tests claim -- the result of hundreds of performance improvements designed to make the open-source browser the best at running complex Web 2.0 applications, Mozilla Corp.'s chief developer said Wednesday.

"We've been working on performance for a long time," said Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's vice president of engineering. "Each beta of Firefox 3.0 got better. Beta 1 was better than Firefox 2.0, Beta 2 was better than Beta 1 and so on. Some of the big architectural changes [we've made] had begun paying off. Now we're at the point where we can turn the knob to get it to perform well."

Firefox 3.0 Beta 4, which Mozilla released late Monday, has been put through its paces by users and bloggers, some of whom have published the results of head-to-head benchmark tests between Firefox, Opera, Apple Inc.'s Safari and Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer. According to Percy Cabello, who posted his results on the Mozilla Links blog, Firefox 3.0 Beta 4 is 53% faster than Opera 9.5 beta, twice as fast as Apple Inc.'s Safari and three times faster than Microsoft Corp.'s IE7 on the SunSpider benchmark, which tests JavaScript performance.

Schroepfer, however, refused to be drawn into a conversation about benchmarks. Instead, he talked about what the open-source project is looking to do.

"There are lots of ways to 'game' the system [in benchmarks], but what we're trying to do is speed up the things that enable people to run the really heavy-duty applications on the Web."

Saying that a browser is a browser is a browser when rendering basic Web pages, Schroepfer added that the challenge Mozilla took on was how to build a browser that performs well when asked to run much more complex Web 2.0-esque applications, such as Yahoo's Zimbra, the online collaboration and document suite.

"Web apps today are magnitudes more complex than those from five years ago," said Schroepfer. "When Yahoo started out, it wasn't anything more than a bullet list. Now it has widgets and word processing. It's important for us to make it possible for Web designers to create complex applications. They can be confident building [big Web applications] knowing that Firefox can handle them."

Firefox's developers have dealt with more than 400 performance-related bugs and changes, Schroepfer said. "There are a bunch of things that have to come together to get these kind of results," he said, as he ticked off several. "We optimized JPG encoding, developers took advantage of more and newer compiler options and we found a way on Mac OS X to keep it from throttling page rendering."

Larger-scale modifications included new graphics- and text-rendering architectures in Gecko, Firefox's engine, and a completely revamped JavaScript engine.
Mobile Use

Boosting Firefox's performance is also important, Schroepfer said, for the mobile market, which Mozilla has begun exploring. "The performance gains carry over into mobile, where underpowered devices are the rule," he said. "It should really help us there."

Mozilla is at the end of the line in the mobile space. There, Opera Software ASA's Opera leads all others in popularity on handsets. IE, found on Windows Mobile-powered smart phones, and Safari on the iPhone trail Opera in installations, but are ahead of Firefox by miles.

"I think better performance goes back to the mission of Mozilla," concluded Schroepfer. "That mission is to move the Web as a platform forward." That's happening, he argued, with Firefox leading the way.

"I'm happy to see that other browsers are working on performance now, too."

Firefox 3.0 Beta 4 can be downloaded for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux in 36 languages from Mozilla's site.

Via- [,143386-c,browsers/article.html]

Blu-ray on Xbox 360? Microsoft hasn't heard about it

Xbox 360 with Blu rayThose hot/cold "Blu-ray coming to Xbox 360" rumors just cooled off a bit again, with product manager Aaron Greenberg telling Reuters "Xbox is not currently in talks with Sony or the Blu-ray Association to integrate Blu-ray into the Xbox experience".

He also dropped the nugget that Microsoft expects to trail the PS3 in sales again in February, but should have things turned around by April, just in time for the GTA IV launch, which should also be right around the time this rumor rears its head again.

Via- []

Microsoft launches the stylish, affordable Windows Laser Desktop 7000

Microsoft Windows Laser Desktop 7000Microsoft has announced its latest gadget that will complement consumers digital lifestyle today- the Windows Laser Desktop 7000. Designed to complement Windows Vista with its sleek design, the Desktop 7000 is composed of a wireless keyboard and mouse.

The Desktop 7000 wireless keyboard is an epitome of a modern design common among gadgets today. With an ultrathin comfort curve and rechargeable mouse, the Desktop 7000’s wireless keyboard delivers ultimate performance and comfort to consumers. The keyboard’s Windows-inspired translucent design is a pleasure to behold even if you are just looking at its digital picture. It also has floating Hot Keys that provide instant access to Windows ID making it a perfect companion to a Windows Vista-based PC.

In fact, Microsoft’s group marketing manager Carla Forester said that the Desktop 7000’s keyboard is an answer to Microsoft’s objective of connecting its hardware to the Vista software.

“The Wireless Laser Desktop 7000 truly brings the best of both worlds together — a beautiful design and a full suite of productivity features — making it the best option for customers desiring a sophisticated accessory for their computer,” said Forrester.

Complementing the Desktop 7000 wireless keyboard is the wireless laser mouse 7000. The laser mouse has a horizontal charging station that provides a sturdy. The charging station has a battery status indicator that reminds users when the mouse needs to be charge.

The Wireless Desktop 7000 will be released by April 2008 and has an expected retail of $129.95. Amazon is currently accepting pre-orders which will be delivered in April.

Via- []

Compressed Air Knife Patent

You would think that knife blade technology had reached its pinnacle a long time ago, but there are still inventors out there bound and determined to re-invent the wheel. Imagine if Crocodile Dundee whipped out a knife that was not only huge, but could also blast compressed air into an open wound—causing massive organ and tissue damage in the process. Now THAT would be a knife.

The truth is, inventor Gregory Rondinone has patented this very idea, saying that it would be particularly useful in underwater situations.

The weapon as Rondione envisions it would be best utilized by divers to protect them from aggressive undersea creatures. The device would kill quickly (and spectacularly) plus, the compressed gas would make the carcass more buoyant, so it would most likely float to the surface. The problem is that we all know where this thing would end up if it were ever produced—like the backpack of some kid in a high school.

Via- []

HD DVD Toshiba's faced $986 Million Loss

HD Dvd ToshibaAccording to a report appearing in The Nikkei, Toshiba's HD DVD gamble will cost the company $986 million (100 billion yen) for this year.

I'd been waiting to see how much Toshiba would charge to the shuttering of its HD DVD business; curiously, Toshiba did not disclose this number at its last earnings report. Nor did the company mention this when it announced its withdrawal from producing HD DVDs last month. The Nikkei report indicates that Toshiba has not confirmed or offered comment on the losses.

Last year alone, Toshiba posted a $400 million loss on HD DVD; then, the company justified it by saying it was an investment in the future. Now, the company is trying to wrap up its HD DVD business by the end of March. It's no surprise that players and movie discs are being deeply discounted, with the discounts getting steeper the further removed we are from Toshiba's decision to pull the plug on HD DVD.

Via- []

Nokia N810 Tablet Gets $90 Price Drop

Nokia N810 TabletThe powers that be over at Nokia have officially dropped the price of their N810 tablet by $90, bringing it down to a slightly more affordable $389.99.

Via- []

Konami Releases New Metal Gear Solid 4 Screenshots

Metal gear solid 4 screenshotKonami has just released a new batch of Metal Gear Solid 4 screenshots, which show off some of the game's mechs.

While Kojima has already apparently moved on to other things, we haven't! Check out these new Metal Gear Solid 4 screenies. Looks like aqua green is the new brown.

Via- []

Latest iPod Nano Competitor- SanDisk Introduced

iPod NanoSanDisk today introduced a new MP3 player it intends as competition to the iPod nano -- the new Sansa Fuze MP3 player. It's coming in April in 2, 4 and 8GB capacities for $79.99, $99.99 and $129.99 respectively.

The flash-based Sansa Fuze features a 1.9-inch color screen, and has the ability to play MP3, WMA, secure WMA, WAV, Audible and Overdrive files. It can also play MPEG-4 video and display JPEG videos (it doesn't work with protected files from the iTunes Store, however).

The device also features a built-in FM radio tuner and a slot for microSD cards, so you can add additional content on the fly. It has a voice recorder, as well. SanDisk will offer the 4GB Sansa Fuze in colors including pink, red, blue, black and silver (the 8GB comes in silver only; the 2GB comes in black only). The device incorporates an internal rechargeable battery that plays audio for up to 24 hours and plays video for up to 5 hours between charges.

The Sansa Fuze includes Windows software, and also supports the Mac and Linux computers in MSC mode, which enables the device to work as a mass storage peripheral, where you can drag and drop audio or video files.

Via- [,143335-c,mp3players/article.html]

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

StarCraft II Zerg Gameplay Blowout

StarCraft II ZergUnlike its predecessor, StarCraft II offers "custom 3D-graphics engine with realistic physics and the ability to render several large, highly detailed units and massive armies on-screen simultaneously."

Each race will be further distinguished from the others, with several new units and new gameplay mechanics, as well as new abilities for some of the classic StarCraft units that will be making a reappearance in the game.

Via- []

Facebook French- User translated French site

Facebook franceIn the hopes of catching up with its rival social networking site in terms of localizing strategy, Facebook has launched a French language version of its site.

The launch followed the successful launch of its German and Spanish language versions a couple of months ago. The French language version of Facebook was made possible by its French speaking members who helped out in translating the site.

Translating Facebook into French was only logical since France is the sixth most active country on Facebook, with the U.S. in the number 1 spot in terms of user base activities. French speaking Facebook users will now have the option to change the language version of the Facebook site they visit. This can be done in their account settings. But for those members who directly sign onto Facebook, the French language version of the site will be automatically displayed.

Facebook is planning to empower its members in translating the site into other non-English language. Using a strategy popularized by Wikipedia, Facebook is hoping that members whose native language is other than English will contribute in translating the site into their own languages. Any Facebook members can help translate the site into non-English language by adding the translation application into their Facebook profile. All translations to be submitted by members will be approved through voting system by Facebook users themselves.

Via- []

American Gladiators (NES)

American gladiatorIn American Gladiators for the NES, "the events were morphed into side-scrolling and overhead mini-levels that only partially resembled the real-life events."

The Eliminator in this game combined elements of the first two seasons' courses. The treadmill run and handbike were the first two obstacles, followed by a run across the balance beam through a gauntlet of what appeared to be blocking pads. The cargo net climb and zipline were next, followed by the choice of a door which may or may not have had a Gladiator behind it.

Via- []

Hands-free Cell Phone Use in Cars Not Much Protection

Hands free cellphone in carCarnegie Mellon University researchers say you're still likely going to be distracted.

The researchers used brain imaging to show that even just listening to a cell phone while driving cuts by more than a third of your attention to driving. Subjects inside an MRI brain scanner were tested on a driving simulator and were found to weave, similar to if they were under the influence of alcohol. The study showed lessened activity in the brain's parietal lobe, which is called upon for spatial sense and navigation, and occipital lobe, which handles visual information.

The findings by neuroscientist Marcel Just and colleagues Timothy Keller and Jacquelyn Cynkar, to be reported in an upcoming issue of the journal Brain Research, show that making cell phones hands-free or voice-activated is not sufficient in eliminating distractions to drivers. "Drivers need to keep not only their hands on the wheel; they also have to keep their brains on the road," said Just, who is also director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging., in a statement.

It's unclear how much of a distraction talking or listening on a cell phone is vs. talking to a passenger or listening to a radio, Just said.

"Drivers' seats in many vehicles are becoming highly instrumented cockpits," Just said in a statement, "and during difficult driving situations, they require the undivided attention of the driver's brain."

Conventional Wisdom
It had been widely thought that driving could be made much safer by at least taking cell phones out of drivers' hands, and a number of states have enacted laws or discussed laws banning use of handheld phones while driving.

Other research, from the University of Utah, has shown that cell phone wielding drivers actually tend to drive more slowly and can create traffic jams.

Via- [,143292-c,cellphones/article.html]

Monday, March 10, 2008

Eee PC Revisions: Intel Processors, Windows XP, Bigger SSDs and More...

Eee pc revisionsJoanna over at Laptop Mag just published an interview she held with Jerry Shen, Asus' CEO. She questioned him regarding the future of the Eee PC, and he sure did outline some interesting plans for future revisions. Jump for the low down on what Jerry Shen had to say.
• Although we already knew the 8.9-inch model was confirmed to be coming to market, the souped up edition will also come with 8GB, 12GB or 20GB SSD options. The 8GB model will run Windows XP, whilst the other two will support Xandros. Whether the OS will be fixed to those particular models only is not entirely clear.

• Asus will move away from the VIA processors, instead adopting Intel's Atom platform in Q2, this year.

• Additional colors will be added to the current selection. However, those will not be the only cosmetic changes; Shen promised a "very stylish" makeover, which will have a "New York city sleekness" about it. He coined May or June as dates for the newer, potentially sexier Eee PC.
Shen speculated that Asus were playing with the idea of offering HDD versions of the Eee PC, too. Unfortunately, he did not go so far as to confirm any plans on that front. Nevertheless, it all sounds very promising—1024 x 600 resolution, bigger SSDs, Intel Atom and a face job.

Via- []

Epson RX595 printer: Reviews

Epson RX595 printerEpson’s RX 595 all in one printer has it all. It prints, it scans, and can even read memory cards and print directly to CDs.

After opening the box, I quickly set up the printer and scrounged around for a USB A male to USB B male cable (which, unfortunately, was not included with the printer) and popped in the software CD. I was a bit disappointed that my MacBook could not automatically detect and use the printer, but installing the software was for the best. Though this is probably not a universal problem, the unit I received had a problem during its initial setup with paper jams. However, after a few aggravating minutes, the jams stopped and printing was smooth as could be.

I began to put the device through many printing tests. After a numerous amount of 4x6 prints, both in black and white and color, the ink levels were still nearly full, and remain as such today; 2 weeks after I began to use this device. As for the prints themselves, the color is picture perfect (pun intended if you are so inclined :-), except the tones are a tad dark for my liking. For any size paper, the printing of photos is very good, though the printing time for photos is around a minute each, which is a little too long for my liking.

Scanning is not anything special on the RX 595, as the all in one is easily no match for flatbed scanners, which serve that singular purpose. However, using the bundled Epson Scan software, the device falls nothing short of a serviceable scanner for digitizing whatever you have that needs to be digitized. Quality wise, the scanner is spot on, no matter how dense in color or texture the scanned item is.

As far as all-in-one’s go, the RX 595 is on par for the course, in terms of design at least. The device has a black finish, both matte and glossy, all around, giving it an undeniable vibe of sophistication. The RX 595 is just as wide as normal printers, but a little taller and deeper, and much heavier. The menus are split up into three major areas; copy, memory card, and specialty print. These three can be accessed from dedicated buttons on the device’s face, but you can print no matter what position in the menu hierarchy you are in. Using the arrow and menu buttons provided, you can easily select the paper size, paper finish, and much more. All the vital information, and more, is displayed on the device’s 2.5-inch screen, which is gorgeous for viewing images from a memory card.

The Epson RX595 is a wondrous purchase, and for only around $100, you are certainly getting your money’s worth. It uses 6 individual ink cartridges, which altogether, will probably run you around 70 dollars, but they do last quite awhile. The included software is perfect, and the print quality is pretty good for the price value of the device. The few gripes I have are the fact that paper jams did seem to occur a lot on my device, and the print times are less than stellar.

Overall, I do recommend the RX 595 for anyone who needs a solution for their printing, copying and scanning needs.

Via- []

Unlimited iPhone Usage Plan

iPhone usage plansAT&T and Apple quietly introduced a new rate plan for the iPhone yesterday. Now you can get unlimited minutes, in addition to unlimited data, for just $119.99.

Via- []