2008
10.17

Yes, it’s been awhile, so these news bits will be shorter and to the point. Hopefully this will be enough catch-up news-wise since my last post of this type…

YouTube is now serving up TV shows on their site, starting with Star Trek, Beverly Hills 90210 and MacGyver. The interface seems reminiscent of Hulu’s, with a big focus on the viewing area, plus some ads interspersed in with the content. Fine with me…I’d rather watch an ad or two on a cool TV show than have YouTube keep on not making any money…

Texting while driving has now been proven to be more dangeous than driving while drunk. Just don’t do it. Also, if you don’t have a number on voice dial, think twice before trying to hammer it own while speeding down the freeway. Have an iPhone? You’re screwed; stop if you want to do anything with your shiny new toy, or have someone who isn’t behind the wheel do it for you.

Know about the Roku “Netflix Box”? Pretty soon it’ll be able to stream from a variety of sources. A very good deal when you’re talking about a device that costs just under $100.

Between this article and the last one of its kind, MySpace Music was announced…and streamed over one billion songs! It helps that “the usual suspects” are on board in terms of recording labels. It’s also an advantage when your service is probably already the largest aggregator of indie bands on the web at the moment.

Aside from being delayed…or maybe coming soon…depending on who you ask, Windows 7 (which, by the way, will actually be called Windows 7 upon release) will not ship with photo, video or e-mail editing applications on board. This time around, they’ll be downloadable from Windows Live, something Microsoft is already doing as an option with everything mentioned but a video editor. The idea is to get both applicatioons and Windows itself to the market quicker, with the side benefit of less litigation from the suit-happy EU. In “same difference” news, Microsoft is now touting “Windows Cloud“, some bit of vaporware that exemplifies Microsoft’s new focus on web-based services. Misplaced focus? You decide.

eBay is nixing check and money order payment options for small-ticket items, trying to keep buyer satisfaction up. They also laid off 1,000 workers recently. Coincidence? Mostly, but eBay hasn’t been doing so well lately, with their modified policies on both ends of the transaction and the site’s unfortunate abundance of cheap accessories for whatever item you’re really trying to buy.

Verizon Wireless now has the option to buy a phone and plan without a contract, though you’ll pay as much as three hundred more dollars for your phone for this privilege. Or you can activate your own Verizon-capable phone. In other news, they’ve announced that the BlackBerry Storm 9500, a touch-screen, multi-network Swiss army knife of a phone, will be out “in time for the holidays” “priced competitively”. Whatever that means, the phone itself looks awesome. Not so awesome: charging content providers three cents per text message sent to a Verizon subscriber, in addition to what that subscriber already pays to receive the message. Look for mobile services like Google SMS to start offering their wares everywhere except Verizon sometime soon.

The Large Hadron Collider is shut down until early spring. Even the paranoid are safe…for now…

TiVo is now available for your computer. TiVo lovers rejoice…and say “Finally” under their breaths.

Pandora will survive for just a little longer. The internet radio service is a direct beneficiary from a Senate bill that passed recently, allowing internet broadcasters more time in negotiating with the big names in terrestrial radio, who would absolutely love to sock it to internet venues with high per-play royalties, thus putting the poor guys out of business.

RealDVD has been halted from sale by entertainment industry litigation, after Real, the software’s producer, sued to establish legitimacy of its product. In the mean time, Google is your friend; there are plenty of free DVD rippers out there.

iTunes threatened to shut its music section down in light of Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) rate hikes. The CRB blinked, so Amazon’s MP3 store is still playing second fiddle to the Apple music behemoth.

Adobe Flash is being developed for the iPhone. The problem is that Apple decides what goes onto the iPhone, and such platforms as Flash just aren’t on that list. A few other notable apps, such as a podcast catcher and a special GMail reader, have also been rejected. Look for them on an Android phone near you soon.

Android phones seem to be qite the hot item these days. T-Mobile is having trouble keeping up with preorders for their device, the HTC-built G1. Over 1.5 million have been sold, and it isn’t even the first day!

It’s not a phone, but the Nintendo DSi, coming soon to Japan and likely later here, looks to be a solid answer to Apple’s iPhone\iPod Touch challenge to the mobile gaming throne. The DSi has an internal camera, a 3.2 megapixel external camera, larger screens and an application store. It’s also even thinner than the last iteration of Nintendo’s handheld series, making it enough of an upgrade to get people thinking about the platform again. On the other hand, it remains to be seen whether DS or DS Lite owners will upgrade…the price of $190 probably doesn’t justify the number of features added to the unit.

Heard of the Slingbox? Its makers will soon be pulling together content from major studios, your computer and even the Slingbox itself at Sling.com, though not all of these features will e available at launch. Still, very, very nice.

It’s a TV, it’s a camera, it’s a game console, it’s an MP3 player…it’s the Sega Vision! No kidding…they’re getting back into the hardware market next year, though who knows how successful this handheld PSP competitor will fare.

Want more battery life? Then don’t boot into Windows and use a cell phone processor to do all your work. That’s the premise behind the Dell Latitude ON feature. Naturally, when you’re in this flash-based, email-checking mode you’re running Linux and not Windows Vista.

Heard of the Sony eReader? No? What if Sony gave it a touch screen, spiffed up the design and added a few features both on the dive and its associated online store, then raised the price by $100? Ah well, that’s what those folks did…

Is drunk e-mailing a problem for you? How about drunk basic math? If you answered yes to the last two questions, Google’s Mail Goggles may be the answer to your first problem, by taking advantage of the second.

AMD is splitting into two companies, one for design and the other for actual chip-building. The idea is to have the design half focus on…well…competing with Intel on the CPU front and Intel\nVidia in the GPU sector, leaving the expensive process of building factories and other such physical burdens to another entity.

What happens when you cross light with WiFi? A research project, of course. The idea is to allow for scrue short-range communication in lieu of WiFi by way of LED-based light fixtures. Sorry guys, but the very thought gives me subliminal messages that a headache is imminent.

Google Chrome (yes, the browser) seems to have had a dose of meteoric success; its market share is dropping faster than the Dow in an economic crisis (close to home but an appropriate sense of scale). It probably doesn’t help that the browser is no longer being promoted on Google’s front page, but it’ll probably go back there once a new version (or a Mac version, or both) becomes available.

Paranoids, now is your time. The Google-exclusive GeoEye-1 mapping satellite has beamed its first high-resolution images down to earth, and while they aren’t military-grade (each pixel covers 50cm of territory) they are creepily detailed, especially if you don’t trust what used to be simply the world’s best search engine, or something like that.

That’s it for now. More news bits coming soon!

Share:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email

No Comment.

Add Your Comment

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free