Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Inventors Enter The Popular Science Invention Awards

Homebrewed inventors wanted to enter the third annual PopSci Invention Awards. PopSci editors are looking for the best garage built, basement designed invetions you can come up with. They will pick 10 inventions that best represent the spirit of homegrown ingenuity and solve real-world problems in a practical and innovative way. And feature them in there June 2009 issue.

Here are a few guidelines for you closest designers and engineers to follow:
  • Inventions must be physical objects—no processes or concepts.
  • There must be a working prototype or something else that demonstrates that the invention actually works.
  • Inventions must be the work of independent inventors or small teams; outside funding is fine, but inventions created wholly out of universities or other R&D labs will not be considered.
  • Inventions that are intended to become commercial products in the future are acceptable, but they must not already be available for sale.
  • Inventions must be something new, not just an incremental improvement on an existing item.
  • PopSci will not publish an entry online or in print without notifying the inventor first, but we will seek third-party verification of the technology and significance of the invention. All intellectual-property protection is the responsibility of the entrant.
  • All entries must be received by Feb 1, 2009.
  • Send a brief description of your invention to inventions@popsci.com.
For more information checkout PopSci.com and click here to checkout some of last year's winners.

Islandreefjob.com "Best Job In The World"

I know many of you have been trying to reach Islandreefjob.com to get your application in for the "Best Job In The World" however the site has been down for the better part of the day. So while you wait for the traffic to die down you can check out some of the great videos they have on their YouTube Channel: IslandReefJob.

For those of you that aren't satisfied with watching videos and are desperately trying to get to the site, the wait might be a long one. The site had well over 200K applicants in less than 24 hrs and given the fact the site seems to be overloaded it might take awhile to get in. Unfortunately you need to reach the site to fill in the online form as well as upload your 60 second video.

I posted the details of the job this morning "Australian Site Offers "Best Job In World" Blogging From Paradise Island" but here are the full details of the application process (PDF).

Candidates are required to create a 60 second or less video application in English explaining why they are uniquely qualified for the job. Candidates are also required to complete an application form and upload the video to www.islandreefjob.com. Applications open on 10th January and close 22nd February 2009. Tourism Queensland and their representatives in international markets will select ten candidates and visitors to www.islandreefjob.com will have the chance to select one Wild Card candidate. All candidates will participate in an interview selection process which will be held on a number of the Islands of the Great Barrier, on the 3rd - 6th May, 2009.

About the job
Tourism Queensland is seeking applicants for the best job in the world! The role of Island Caretaker is a six-month contract, based on luxurious Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef. It’s a live-in position with flexible working hours and key responsibilities include exploring the islands of the Great Barrier Reef to discover what the area has to offer. You’ll be required to report back on your adventures to Tourism Queensland headquarters in Brisbane (and the rest of the world) via weekly blogs, photo diary, video updates and ongoing media interviews. On offer is a unique opportunity to help promote the wondrous Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

Other duties may include (but are not limited to)
  • Feed the fish - There are over 1,500 species of fish living in the Great Barrier Reef. Don’t worry – you won’t need to feed them all.
  • Clean the pool - The pool has an automatic filter, but if you happen to see a stray leaf floating on the surface it’s a great excuse to dive in and enjoy a few laps.
  • Collect the mail – During your explorations, why not join the aerial postal service for a day? It’s a great opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of the reef and islands.

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About the job package
Living above the Great Barrier Reef is a pretty unique benefit, but the successful
candidate will also be paid a salary package of AUD $150,000 for the six-month contract.

You’ll receive return airfares from your nearest capital city (in your home country),
accommodation and transport on Hamilton Island, travel insurance for the contract period, computer, internet, digital video and stills cameras access, plus travel to a number of the other Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. The six-month contract commences 1st July 2009.

About the location
Stretching for 2,600 kilometres, and composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900
islands, the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia is the world’s largest coral reef system. The World Heritage Listed area supports a diversity of wildlife including whales, dolphins, sea turtles and more than 1,500 species of fish. The reef is an extremely popular destination for tourists, sustainably managing approximately 2 million visitors each year.

Education/Experience Requirements:
A broad range of experience will be considered, but the successful applicant should

    -Excellent interpersonal communication skills
    -Good written and verbal English skills
    -An adventurous attitude
    -Willingness to try new things
    -A passion for the outdoors
    -Good swimming skills and enthusiasm for snorkeling and/or diving
    -Ability to engage with others
    -At least one year’s relevant experience

How to apply:
Want the best job in the world? If you enjoy new experiences and you can spare six
months to enjoy life above the Great Barrier Reef, you’re already in with a good chance. All applicants must be eighteen years of age (or over) as of the 1st January 2009
It’s easy to apply.
  • Step 1: Create a video application in English and in 60 seconds or less. The file must be MPEG, AVI, MOV or WMV only and the file size under 100MB. Applicants should be telling us why you’re the best person for the job and demonstrating your knowledge of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Step 2: Fill out a brief application form and upload your video to www.islandreefjob.com. Applications open on 2.00pm UTC 9th January and close 11.59pm UTC 22nd February2009

About the application process:
Eleven candidates will be invited to the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef for an interview from the 3rd to the 7th May 2009. So, if you want the best job in the world, you’ll need to be available to travel to Queensland for the final interview selection process. You’ll also need to be available to start work on the 1st July 2009.

Tourism Queensland will select ten candidates. Visitors to www.islandreefjob.com will
have the chance to select one Wild Card candidate, who will also participate in the final interview selection process. All applicants must be eligible for a short term business visa for the interview selection process and a long term temporary employee visa for the contract period.

Eligibility Requirements
From the terms and conditions page:

The following conditions must be satisfied and agreed to in order for your application to be accepted.

  1. You must be 18 years of age or over as at 1st January 2009.
  2. The successful applicant will be required to undertake activities and tasks which require excellent physical and mental health. Therefore, if shortlisted you must submit to physical and psychological examinations by Tourism Queensland selected medical professionals and meet all physical and psychological requirements.
  3. You must be of good moral character and not be under the influence of any medication, drugs or other substance which may impair your ability to undertake your employment responsibilities. By applying for this position, you authorize Tourism Queensland to conduct civil, criminal, financial, driver-history and other background checks deemed necessary by Tourism Queensland.
  4. You must be willing to be employed by Tourism Queensland or its nominee, for a period of six months pursuant to an employment agreement and otherwise act in accordance with the reasonable directions of Tourism Queensland during the employment period.
  5. If you are shortlisted by Tourism Queensland for an interview, you must be willing and able to travel to Queensland for approximately one week to be interviewed at a time as scheduled by Tourism Queensland for the final selection process. Interviews are expected to occur in early May 2009. Economy travel (return to and from the interview destination and the airport in your closest capital city) and hotel accommodation (in Australia) will be arranged and paid for by Tourism Queensland. Tourism Queensland recommends that all shortlisted interviewees obtain comprehensive travel insurance (at their own expense) prior to attending interviews.
  6. Applicants must be eligible for a short term business visa to Australia for the interview event and a Temporary Business Long Stay visa for the employment period. For business visa information visit www.immi.gov.au/skilled.
  7. You must be willing to participate in a formal interview and various activities during the interview process. Activities may include team challenges, physical, skill based and aptitude tests.
  8. Tourism Queensland shall be entitled to use your application, name, likeness, appearance, voice and biographical information for its promotional and publicity purposes.
  9. Your involvement in the selection process and your employment is entirely at your own risk. You agree to release Tourism Queensland and its nominees, and each of their respective officers, directors, agents, representatives and employees, and all others connected with the selection process and your employment, from any and all claims, actions, damages, liabilities, losses, costs and expenses, in any way arising out of or resulting from your involvement in the selection process and your employment, including, without limitation, any and all claims, actions, and liabilities for injury, loss or damage to you, to anyone else or to any property, regardless of whether or not such injury, loss or damage was caused by the negligence or misconduct of Tourism Queensland, its nominees or any of their respective officers, directors, agents, representatives or employees, or anyone else connected with the selection process and your employment. You agree to indemnify Tourism Queensland and its nominees and each of their respective officers, directors, agents, representatives and employees, and all others connected with the project and hold them harmless from any and all liabilities, claims, actions, damages, expenses and losses (including, without limitation, legal fees) of any kind or nature whatsoever in any way caused by or arising out of your involvement in the selection process and your employment.
  10. Shortlisted candidates will behave in an appropriate and professional manner as befitting their potential representation of Tourism Queensland.
  11. Any inappropriate, illegal or immoral behavior on the part of the shortlisted candidates will result in immediate exclusion from the selection process.
  12. All applicants will be subscribed to receive email communications from Tourism Queensland.
  13. The closing date for applications is 22nd February 2009, however this date may be brought forward at Tourism Queensland’s discretion should more than 30,000 applications be received.

Employment Conditions
The successful applicant will be required to enter into an employment agreement incorporating the following conditions. All applicants must confirm their acceptance of these conditions.

  1. You must be available for a six month employment period from 1 July 2009 to 31 December 2009. However if unforeseen circumstances arise you may withdraw from the employment contract after a minimum of 3 months, in which case the salary will be paid pro rata up until employment ceases. It is an employment requirement that you are to reside in Queensland, Australia for the extent of your employment under this contract.

  2. You are responsible for making any necessary arrangements with your employer and family in anticipation of an extended absence from home.

  3. Employment responsibilities will include the following:
    • Providing weekly internet updates/blogs;
    • Travel to various Islands of the Great Barrier Reef as required;
    • Represent Tourism Queensland at various functions;
    • Be an Islands of the Great Barrier Reef ‘Ambassador’ and participate in media interviews as required;
    • Act responsibly at all times and in accordance with the reasonable directions of Tourism Queensland.

  4. During the employment period, you must:
    • Reside on the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef for the period of your employment contract maximum 6 months, minimum 3 months
    • Act responsibly and demonstrate good moral character.
    • Should these requirements not be met, Tourism Queensland shall be entitled to terminate the employment agreement at its absolute discretion.

  5. You must be willing and able to participate in the various tourist activities available on the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef, including but not limited to sailing, kayaking, swimming, snorkelling, island picnics and bushwalking.

  6. The gross wage of AUD$150,000 is inclusive of superannuation, allowances, benefits and an amount of applicable income tax will be withheld. The wage will be paid on a fortnightly basis during the period of employment.

  7. Accommodation will be provided by Tourism Queensland or its nominee during the period of employment. However, you will be responsible for the cost of all meals, beverages, utilities such as water, electricity, telephone and personal items.

  8. The employee, as a representative of Tourism Queensland, will act in an appropriate and professional manner and not engage in any activity or undertaking which brings disrepute or cause damage of reputation to Tourism Queensland.

  9. The employee will exercise reasonable skill, care and diligence in the performance of the services in accordance with the standards of Tourism Queensland

  10. Tourism Queensland will own all intellectual property in reports, diaries, blogs, photos and other material created by the employee in the course of their employment.

  11. Tourism Queensland reserves the right to monitor and edit material produced by the employee in line with its corporate communication and marketing guidelines.

Twitter Is Ready To Get Down To Business

Looking to expand on their vast business opportunities Twitter announced today that it has hired Kevin Thau as their Director of Mobile Business Development. Kevin was actually hired late last month however Twitter held off on making the news public until today.

Mr. Thau is Twitter's "first official business development guru" and will be working on assessing all their current business opportunities, picking up ongoing threads, and also actively working on a mobile business strategy. Thau has previously worked at Buzzwire where he served as Vice President of Sales & Business Development.

For all you Tweeters out there you can add yourselves to the growing list of Kevin Thau followers by click here.

Will An Asus & Gigabyte Overstock Mean Lower Motherboard Prices?

According to DigiTimes Asustek and Gigabyte suffer an overstock of 4-series-based motherboards which are rapidly depreciating in value as Intel moves ahead with its next-generation chipset series.

DigiTimes sources say shipments of 4-series products have been low due to declining market demand and competition from low-cost PCs, leaving the two motherboard manufacturers holding inventory equivalent to around NT$10 billion (US$300+ million) in value.

once you know, you newegg
Motherboard makers are hoping Intel will delay its two new processors slated for '09 the entry level and performance mainstream market minded Lynnfield and Havendale series as well as delaying a switch over to the 5-series chipsets to allow them time to clear inventories.

According to the report Intel is still planning to follow its original schedule and will drop prices and production bringing the 4-series products into the entry-level market by the second quarter. Meaning there will be no relief or leeway for the companies to move their overstocks. This could mean that in an attempt at moving their overstocked inventories we'll see price cuts on many popular 4-series motherboards from several of the top manufactures.

Australian Site Offers "Best Job In World" Blogging From Paradise Island

So you think you've got a great job, how about earning a $100k for six months of lounging around on a tropical island doing little more than blogging, interviews with the local press and oh yeah occasionally feeding the fish.

According to Yahoo! News the Queensland Australia government is offering one lucky winner that amazing opportunity. The Australian state run site Islandreefjob.com is offering internationally what it calls "the best job in the world" -- earning a top salary for lazing around a beautiful tropical island for six months.

The job pays 150,000 Australian dollars (105,000 US dollars) and includes free airfares from the winner's home country to Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland's state government announced on Tuesday.
In return the luck person selected as the "island caretaker" will be expected to stroll the white sandy beaches, snorkel the reef, take care of "a few minor tasks" and report to a global audience via weekly blogs, photo diaries and video updates.

The successful applicant, who will stay rent-free in a three-bedroom beach home complete with plunge pool and golf buggy, must be a good swimmer, excellent communicator and be able to speak and write English.

"They'll also have to talk to media from time to time about what they're doing so they can't be too shy and they'll have to love the sea, the sun, the outdoors," said acting state Premier Paul Lucas. "The fact that they will be paid to explore the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, swim, snorkel and generally live the Queensland lifestyle makes this undoubtedly the best job in the world."

Lucas said the campaign was part of a drive to protect the state's 18 billion Australian dollar a year tourism industry during the tough economic climate caused by the global financial meltdown. "Traditional tourism advertising just doesn't cut it sometimes and we are thinking outside the box by launching this campaign."

Queensland Tourism Minister Desley Boyle said some people might question whether it was risky to let an unknown person become an unofficial tourism spokesperson for the state. "I think the biggest risk will be that the successful candidate won't want to go home at the end of the six months," she said. "This is a legitimate job which is open to anyone and everyone."

For those lucky enough to get through to the site you'll need can submit your application as well as a short 60 second video before February 22. Eleven shortlisted candidates will be flown to Hamilton Island in early May for the final selection process and the six month contract will commence on July 1.

Yes, this is a real job offer, and yes, it has everything to do with publicity. The "Best Job in the World" campaign is meant to "highlight the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef and showcase Australia's own unique Island experience to the global market," according to Tourism Queensland CEO Anthony Hayes.

The site is Islandreefjob.com is totally legitimate, even though you might not be able to reach it. It has been inundated with hits since the announcement was made. However you can find more information at the Tourism Queensland's site. According to Tourism Queensland the "Best Job in the World" promotion has received over 200k applications since the site went live. For more details read the full Tourism Queensland press release "New Reef tourism campaign offers 'best job in the world'"

Check this post for all the updated information as well as the terms and conditions from the Islandreefjob.com site.

Fisker Automotive Debuts Karma S At The Detroit Auto Show

The Tesla Roadster might be one hot machine but my money goes to the newly debuted Fisker Karma S. This $90,000+ plug-in hybrid two-door hardtop convertible is an offshoot of the $87,900 Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid that’s scheduled to hit streets later this year.

fisker karma s

Fisker Automotive, the new American manufacturer of premium green automobiles, unveiled the Fisker Karma S (Sunset) concept at the 2009 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The four-seat, plug-in hybrid hardtop convertible furthers the company’s belief that driving style and performance need not be compromised for environmental friendliness.

The open-air Fisker Karma S concept shares its aluminum spaceframe architecture and clean Q-DRIVE powertrain with the Fisker Karma sedan. Designed and engineered by Quantum Technologies exclusively for Fisker Automotive, Q-DRIVE provides 50 emission-free miles on a single charge to its lithium-ion battery pack, and up to 403hp from two electric motors. The power retractable hard top, a first for Fisker, glides neatly into the trunk and a unique design language sets the Karma S concept apart.

The Karma S runs from 0-60 in 5.8 seconds, with a seamless one-speed transmission taking it to a top speed of 125 miles an hour. While certainly not as fast as the $100k Tesla Roadster, which has a 0-60 time of under 4 secs, the Karma S still packs some punch and looks good doing it!

“Our objective is to create a singular design language and heritage around our state-of-the-art Q-DRIVE powertrain,” said Fisker Automotive, Inc. CEO Henrik Fisker. “The Karma S is an extension of the Fisker Automotive product range of eco-conscious automobiles and sets the tone for our future.“

Source: Fisker Automotive Press Release (PDF)

Possible PS3 Price Cuts Coming

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter believes Sony will cut prices on the 80GB PS3 base model from $399 down to $299 by April. He also believes that, wishing to maintain momentum, Microsoft will follow suit, knocking $50 off of its 60GB 360 Pro model around the time of the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo, which runs from June 2-4.

"Once the PS3 is at a more affordable price point (we expect a cut to $299 in April), we think that sales of that device will once again begin to grow. We expect another cut in price for the Xbox 360, with the feature-laden Pro model likely to come down in price to $249 at or before this year's E3 show in June. We expect Nintendo to maintain Wii pricing at $249 until the company sees signs that demand is slowing, which means a price cut may not happen until late in the year, if at all," Pachter said.

According to GameSpot Pachter's statements were part of his NPD preview report released on Monday. Pachter and EEDAR's Jesse Divinch weighed in on the forecast of NPD Group's December game sales which is expected this Thursday. Both analyst predict strong console sales with more than 3.25 million Wiis sold domestically during the month, followed by 1.35 million Xbox 360s and 750,000 PlayStation 3s.

It was recently reported that Sony has reduced the production cost of its second-generation PlayStation 3 revision by 35 percent. According to a teardown report by analyst firm iSuppli it now costs Sony about $448.73 in parts and labor to manufacture each new PS3.

With the drop in production costs it is likely that we'll see some price cuts down the road. How soon and how much is unclear, however it would seem unlikely that we'd see such a drastic cut. Sony obviously still feels selling PS3's at a loss and recouping the revenues through games sales is the way to go, but I don't know that they are going to slash a $100 right off the top.

Sony has been working the promotions angle previously offering up to $150 off a PS3 with their new Sony card, a promotion that has been in affect since last November. They have since lowered the deal and it is now down to $100 off.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hitachi Adds Two New Large-Venue 3LCD Projectors To Professional Series Lineup

Hitachi Adds CP-WX11000 And CP-SX12000 Large-Venue 3LCD Projectors To Professional Series Lineup

-- The Professional Series includes projectors designed for large-venue applications such as auditoriums, lecture halls, large houses of worship and staging productions --

January 12, 2009 — Expanding its new Professional Series projectors for large venues, Hitachi Home Electronics (America), Inc., Business Group is introducing the CP-WX11000 and CP-SX12000 3LCD projectors. As part of the Hitachi Professional Series, the CP-WX11000 and CP-SX12000 deliver on Hitachi’s trademark of reliability, versatility and performance to the high-end professional AV marketplace. This includes auditoriums, lecture halls, large houses of worship and staging productions.

The CP-WX11000 offers WXGA resolution, a 16:10 aspect ratio and a brightness of 6,500 ANSI lumens. As with all Professional Series models, the CP-WX11000 offers a 2500:1 contrast ratio and is equipped with five optional lenses.

Additionally, the CP-WX11000 features a hybrid filter, making maintenance and cleaning much less frequent. Moreover, the CP-WX11000’s dust-resistant cooling system results in the filter running for 10,000 hours without maintenance. Also crucial to high-end pro AV applications, the CP-WX11000 uses inorganic LCD panels, which feature a higher resistance to light. This translates into better picture quality and longer operational life.

The CP-WX11000 offers unparalleled convenience, with proprietary functions such as My Screen, My Memory and My Button as well as input source naming and blackboard/whiteboard/daytime modes. With networking connectivity, multiple projectors can be monitored and managed from a single, remote location. Security features include a PIN lock, Kensington slot and transition detector.

Offering SXGA+ resolution, the CP-SX12000 provides a brightness of 7,000 ANSI lumens and five optional lenses for various throw distances. The dust-resistant cooling system enables the filter to operate for 10,000 maintenance-free hours. The CP-SX12000 features a 2500:1 contrast ratio, while a variety of connectivity options are available, including DMI, BNC, DVI, RGB, composite, component, and S-video. Additionally, the CP-SX12000 includes inorganic panels, which offer a higher resistance to light, meaning better picture quality and longer operational life.

The CP-SX12000 also offers proprietary functions such as My Screen, My Memory and My Button as well as input source naming and blackboard/whiteboard/daytime modes. With networking connectivity, multiple projectors can be monitored and managed from a single, remote location. Security features include a PIN lock, Kensington slot and transition detector.

“The expansion of Hitachi’s new Professional Series projectors is in response to several demands from large venue market customers, including performance, versatility and affordability,” said John Glad, product manager, Hitachi Home Electronics (America), Inc., Business Group. “The new CP-WX11000 and CP-SX11000 3LCD Professional Series projectors address these demands for a variety of applications, ranging from houses of worship to performance spaces.”

Windows 7 Beta 1 Initial Thoughts

I was writing this post over the weekend, after walking away from it for a day and coming back to it this morning it occurred to me that it looked and felt more like a full fledged review rather than just an initial response. Not wanting to jump the gun and create a totally negative post I figured I better save some of what I've wrote for my full review and cut this down to the basics.

I've got it installed now what?

After Friday's short delays I finally got the software downloaded and installed, the installations was fairly quick and painless. After your first boot and a few setup options you are starring at a clean desktop. Both Vista and Windows 7 are plagued with what I can "icons for the blind", over sized icons that I can't stand. Windows 7 by default uses these new larger icons for the new taskbar, something I had to remedy immediately.

Luckily that is easy to fix. To shrink the desktop icons hold down the control key (CTRL) and use your mouse's scroll wheel to scroll either up or down depending on how big or small you want them. To change the taskbar icons right click on the task bar and check the small icons box. I know this might be a matter of personal preference and some users might like the larger icons but to me it looks too elementary. Like Microsoft is dumbing down the OS.

Large icons aside users that love Vista are going to love Windows 7 even more. Outside the new taskbar the user interface (UI) is bascially unchange. So you'll feel right at home.

Improved performance

Every review I've seen has said that Windows 7 is supposedly a lean mean Vista and XP killing machine. That the beta uses less resources than both previous operating systems. Personally I find it hard to believe that it uses less resources than XP. From my initial testing I didn't see much difference in boot times, speed or overall performance from Vista. The fresh install, with fewer applications, used roughly 8-10 fewer processes than my current Vista install, but that was still several more than my current XP install.

Memory usage between Windows 7 and Vista seemed to be about the same. This could be due to the way both Operating System cache memory, they hold as much memory as possible available for programs and release it as needed. It could also be that they both use a lot of meory. Since I haven't installed any applications that use a ton of memory like PhotoShop or Microsoft Office I didn't get to thoroughly test the memory usage. With just Firefox installed and most of my add-ons enabled I didn't see much difference. Again I just wanted to get a feel for the OS and not do any over the top testing.

The wow factor!

Aero Peek, unified program launchers and a jump list are all features of the new taskbar that add to Windows 7's wow factor. These are a few more of the things you are either going to really like or going to really hate.

Pinned programs become a window switchers that creates a single button on the task bar for each program and all of its corresponding windows. On mouse over you get interactive thumbnails that allow you to manage your open windows. Mouse over also enables Aero Peek, the window under the mouse pointer will appear on the desktop and all other windows fade away into glass sheets.

I'm a little on the fence over these new features. Aero Peek is great but I'm not sure about the unified program launchers. This is one of those features that will take some time getting use to, so I really don't want to say its a bad feature. More on the new Windows 7 taskbar.

Let's not forget about the new paint

Last night while posting some screenshots in a thread over at Techimo.com I stumbled upon the newest version of MS paint. Now it might not be relevant to testing a new operating system but its one of those things that caught me by surprise. The interface will remind users of something from Office 2007, which for me is a bad thing. But the program seems to have gained a little more functionality and usefulness.

Final thoughts

Windows 7 for the most part feels like Vista Second Edition or as a friends said, "what Vista should have been when it was released." There are several other features that are included that I have yet to test, therfore I didn't bother mentioning them.

I didn't bother with any in game testsat this time since I wanted to do an accurate side by side comparison to either Vista or XP. I want to test Windows 7 with all my daily apps installed and see how accurate the perforamce reports are. But from my initial views they reports I've seen are nothing more than hype.

Logitech Pulls In Awards At CES

logitech logoLast week Logitech took home seven CES innovation awards for excellence in design and engineering. Among the products winning awards were the Logitech G13 advanced gameboard, which won the Best of Electronic Gaming award, and the Harmony 1100 advanced universal remote, which won the Best of Home-Theater Accessories award.

Logitech’s award-winning products for 2009 include:

Best of Innovations in Home Entertainment Accessories:

Logitech Harmony 1100 Advanced Universal Remote
Winner of the CES 2009 Design and Engineering Award: Best of Innovations in Home-Entertainment Accessories, the Logitech Harmony 1100 advanced universal remote delivers powerful home-entertainment control through a customizable, 3.5-inch full-color touch screen. Logitech’s newest remote provides a touch-screen interface that lets you put the commands you want, where you want them.

With its fully redesigned software, the 3.5-inch touch-sensitive screen – which features QVGA resolution – gives you a brilliant base from which to control your system. Using the new Harmony software, you can select the commands you use most and put those features on the screen. If you love to watch movies, for example, and are always using the Play and Pause buttons, you can tell the Harmony 1100 to make those commands immediately available on the screen once you start your movie.

Best of Innovations in Electronic Gaming:

Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard
Winner of the CES 2009 Design and Engineering Award: Best of Innovations in Electronic Gaming, the Logitech G13 advanced gameboard is a hybrid gaming keyboard designed to complement your Logitech keyboard and mouse – giving you game-changing comfort and control on a Mac computer or a PC. With its sculpted, ergonomically inspired shape and pushing-the-envelope functionality, the Logitech G13 advanced gameboard completes your search for gear, augmenting a Logitech G15 keyboard for gaming and a Logitech G9 Laser Mouse.

Delivering increased comfort, the iconic contoured design complements the natural shape of your hand and fingers, while the smooth, concave home-row keys make it easy to locate buttons by touch. With three game modes, 25 programmable keys and a programmable analog stick, the G13 gameboard offers up to 87 ways for you to control your game (software installation required). And you can set up custom button-profiles for each one of your favorite titles. You can even create macros on the fly without having to pause your game.

Honoree in Electronic Gaming:

Logitech G35 Headset
For game-changing immersion, the Logitech G35 headset is the first Logitech headset to offer 7.1 surround sound – a perfect complement to the growing number of action games and high-definition movies that support 7.1-channel surround sound. Powered by second-generation Dolby Headphone technology, the G35 headset simulates the complex acoustics of a listening room, creating a detailed, outside-the-head sound field. Plus, with its proprietary ear-enclosing design, the G35 headset greatly reduces ambient noise from interfering with your entertainment, while an adjustable, noise-canceling microphone focuses on your voice and reduces background noise.

Honoree in Electronic Gaming:
Logitech Driving Force GT
The Logitech Driving Force GT racing wheel – the official wheel of Gran Turismo – features powerful force feedback and an innovative 24-position realtime adjustment dial for on-the-fly control of brake bias, traction and damper settings, the Logitech Driving Force GT gives gamers the most accurate and authentic PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3) racing experience.

The Driving Force GT racing wheel was meticulously designed by Logitech and Polyphony Digital, Inc., the developer of the Gran Turismo series. The companies worked together to add the unique realtime adjustment dial, a first for force feedback wheels, allowing people to fine tune the car’s balance by adjusting the brake bias, traction control and damper settings.

Honoree in Audio Components:

Logitech Squeezebox Boom
The Logitech Squeezebox Boom is Logitech’s first all-in-one network music player, featuring an integrated amplifier, high-performance speakers and a simplified setup. With the Logitech Squeezebox Boom player, you can listen to your digital music in the kitchen, the bedroom or any other room in your home – without needing to attach external speakers. Just plug the new Logitech network music player into a power outlet – there are no additional wires to connect. Then, using your existing home network, you can listen to the music you love from the personal collection on your computer, your favorite Internet radio stations, and subscription services such as Rhapsody, Last.FM, Slacker, Pandora and Sirius – even when the computer is off.

Honoree in Computer Peripherals:

Logitech Z-5 Speakers
Unlike standard PC speakers that focus sound in one direction, the Logitech Z-5 speakers use omnidirectional acoustics that create a substantially wider sweet spot – an especially helpful feature if you often move your laptop around your home or office. An innovative speaker technology previously found only in expensive home-theater systems, omnidirectional acoustics on the Logitech Z-5 speakers use forward- and backward-firing drivers to transmit sound evenly in all directions. Whether you’re listening to your favorite song or watching a video on YouTube, you’ll enjoy rich, articulate sound and minimal distortion – from every corner of your room.

Honoree in Computer Peripherals:

Logitech Illuminated Keyboard
The Logitech Illuminated Keyboard makes typing easy – even in the dark. To optimize existing backlight technology, Logitech combined microlens reflectors, a multilayer painting process and laser etching – creating a backlight experience that is brighter, sharper and easier to read. Whether you're typing an e-mail or chatting with a friend, the adjustable backlight gives you just the right amount of light.

With its transparent frame, the ultra-thin Illuminated Keyboard (.37 inches or 9.3 mm from base to frame) adds an elegant touch to any desk. Balancing form and function, the keyboard offers a full-size key layout (including a number pad), soft-touch palm rest and a full row of F-keys, as well as media- and volume-control keys for instant command of your entertainment.

Source: Logitch Press Release

eBay Updates Feedback Policy, Adds New Payment Services

ebay logoIn an attempt at winning back some of it's sellers eBay has decided to implement some much needed changes. These new changes were outlined earlier this week in a general announcement posted by Dinesh Lathi, eBay's vice president of seller experience.

New eBay Approved Payment Methods

One of the biggest complaints eBay has faced is the favoritism showed to eBay-owned PayPal. eBay has all but disallowed any other online payment form, even requiring sellers to carry a PayPal Premiere account. n February, eBay will be adding two new electronic payment methods to the permitted payments list in the Accepted Payments Policy: Moneybookers and Paymate.

To learn more about these new payment methods, visit www.moneybookers.com/partners/us/ebay and www.paymate.com/eBay. A third service Propay also plans to open up its payment service to all levels of Powersellers starting January 22. For more information about Propay, go to www.Propay.com/eBay

Unfortunately there is still no word on accepting the use of Revolution Money Exchange or any other online services.

Update to Feedback Removal Policy – Customs Fees

eBay is changing feedback rules to remove negative comments left by customers towards the sellers because they wouldn’t mark an item as “gift” in order to sidestep customs fees. eBay will now remove Feedback if a) the listing meets the Customs Requirements below and b) the seller receives a negative or neutral Feedback comment which references customs delays or customs fees. To learn more, please read eBay’s Feedback Removal Policy

The following text, or very similar wording, must be included in the listing and be:

  • In a font size no smaller than the majority of the other text in the item description
  • Prominently displayed (in the upper half of the description, free-standing, etc.)

“International Buyers – Please Note:

  • Import duties, taxes and charges are not included in the item price or shipping charges. These charges are the buyer’s responsibility.
  • Please check with your country’s customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to bidding/buying.”

eBay isn't doing enough to win sellers back

While these changes might appease some of the masses I don't feel they go far enough to win many of the alienated sellers back. Most of the complaints have stemmed from fee increases, a new feedback policy implemented last year (which is very flawed) and the tight reign on payment services. Of the three payment services listed ProPay is the only option for sellers in the US. Moneybookers is a UK site and Paymate us an Aus. site.

The feedback policy changes are understandable and go a long way to helping the few sellers that have faced this issue, however it does little to help any other buyers/sellers. One major complaint of last years changes was the removal of sellers' ability to leave buyers negative or neutral feedback. The fact that retaliatory feedback is being left for international orders just shows that there has been little done to improve the new system since it took affect.

If eBay really wants to win back some of the users that have jumped ship they need to step up and make the hard decisions.

Windows 7 Beta Round Two

windows seven logoFor those of you that have not yet downloaded Windows 7 Beta 1, despite this weekends delays, Microsoft now has the site back up and running smoothly. You can head over to the Official Windows 7 page for download details and instructions on installation.

Microsoft has also announced they will be suspending the 2.5 million download limit which was originally going to be imposed. The information came via blog post from Windows Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc.
Due to an enormous surge in demand, the download experience was not ideal so we listened and took the necessary steps to ensure a good experience. We have clearly heard that many of you want to check out the Windows 7 Beta and, as a result, we have decided remove the initial 2.5 million limit on the public beta for the next two weeks (thru January 24th). During that time you will have access to the beta even if the download number exceeds the 2.5 million unit limit.

I downloaded the beta on Friday and have been testing it over the weekend. Installation is pretty straight froward and should be easy enough for an average user. I haven't had any stability issues, still as with an beta software its recommended that you don't rely on it for day to day computing. Microsoft and TechNet have a great Windows 7 Forum, that can help you out if any issues arise.

I've been working on my review over the weekend and will have it up before mid week. I will say that I don't feel Windows 7 has lived up to the hype I've seen on some sites. It looks and feels like Vista SE.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Palm Intros Palm webOS And Palm Pre

Earlier this week Palm introduced their new mobile platform operating system webOS as well as the first device slated to run the new system the Palm Pre.

Web-Centric Platform and New Palm Pre Phone to Debut Exclusively on Sprint's Mobile Broadband Network in First Half of 2009palm webos logo

LAS VEGAS, Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Jan. 8, 2009 - Palm, Inc. today unveiled its groundbreaking Palm webOS mobile platform, built from the ground up to be constantly connected to the web, and the new Palm Pre, the first phone based on the new platform. Pre is scheduled to be available exclusively from Sprint in the first half of 2009.

Palm webOS is a brand-new kind of platform, invented exclusively for mobile use. webOS recognizes that you want your people, calendars and information to move with you, wherever you are, wirelessly, as opposed to being bound to a personal computer. Palm webOS is the first mobile platform to automatically bring your information from the many places it resides - on your phone, at your work or on the web - into one simple, integrated view. The new Palm Pre and webOS are designed to be so in sync with your needs that it feels like Pre is thinking ahead for you.

"Palm products have always been about simplifying lives and delivering great user experiences," said Ed Colligan, Palm president and chief executive officer. "webOS and Pre bring game-changing simplicity to an increasingly mobile world by dissolving the barriers that surround your information. It's technology that seems like it's thinking ahead to bring you what you care about most - your people, your time, and your information - in the easiest and most seamless way."

"Pre continues Sprint's leadership in open access to the content customers want for a great web-connected experience," said Dan Hesse, Sprint chief executive officer. "We look forward to bringing this remarkably innovative device to our customers on America's most dependable 3G network.

Palm's new OS is the first mobile platform to be built from the ground up to combine standard technology, innovation and integration. At its core, webOS leverages several industry-standard technologies, including web technologies such as CSS, XHTML and JavaScript. On top of that, Palm has included creative and innovative advancements to enhance the overall user experience and provided a deep integration of all elements within the platform.

The new platform was designed to allow a vast ecosystem of partners, including developers, hardware suppliers, and accessories manufacturers, to develop core solutions to complement the platform and product line. For developers, webOS shatters traditional barriers to mobile-application development by offering a rich open development environment that's familiar to tens of millions of web developers. More people can develop for the platform and can do it faster than ever before. The platform's flexible environment will also allow developers to distribute their applications over-the-air via an on-device Palm application store.

Your Life, Brought Together

The new platform introduces Palm Synergy, a key feature of webOS that brings your information from all the places it resides into one logical view. You don't have to worry about tracking multiple calendars, contacts and messaging applications - Synergy brings it to you for a more comprehensive and truly representative view of your life.

  • Linked contacts - With Synergy, you have a single view that links your contacts from a variety of sources, so accessing them is easier than ever. For example, if you have the same contact listed in your Outlook, Google and Facebook accounts, Synergy recognizes that they're the same person and links the information, presenting it to you as one listing. And if you update a contact on your webOS device, it also will be updated in your various accounts, whether on a personal computer or on the web.

  • Layered calendars - Your calendars can be seen on their own or layered together in a single view, combining work, family, friends, sports teams, or other interests. You can toggle to look at one calendar at a time, or see them all at a glance.

  • Combined messaging - Synergy lets you see all your conversations with the same person in a chat-style view, even if it started in IM and you want to reply with text messaging. You can also see who's active in a buddy list right from contacts, and start a new conversation with just one touch.

Your Information, Effortlessly

By smartly integrating your information, webOS is designed to think ahead for you and keep you on top of the things that happen in your life, but that's just the first step. The platform's unique interface brings your information to you with the ease that only Palm can offer.

  • Web-connected applications - Applications are seamlessly connected to the web and always active, ensuring you have the most up-to-date information.

  • Run multiple applications at the same time - Palm's revolutionary webOS lets you manage multiple activities more effectively than any other mobile platform today. It lets you keep multiple applications open and instantly flip from one to another.

  • Instinctive user interface - With its multi-touch interface, webOS lets you move easily between activities like flipping through a deck of cards and rearrange items simply by dragging them; when you are done with something, just throw it away. And finding what you need is easy with universal search - as you type what you're looking for, the OS narrows your search and offers results from both your device and the web.

  • Intuitive and unobtrusive notifications - When important things come up or new updates arrive, you'll receive notifications with a diplomacy that's a radical departure from other mobile platforms. For example, if you receive a text message or email, a scrolling notifications bar at the bottom of your screen lets you address it right away or leave until later. webOS alerts are one step ahead, ensuring that you never miss a thing, but never lose your place or train of thought.

Palm Pre: The First webOS Phone

palm pre logo

Pre has a breakthrough interface and hardware design that makes it the most integrated and user-friendly phone for mobile users. Featuring a smooth, rounded ergonomic design and a physical keyboard that slides out only when needed, Pre is engineered to feel natural in the hand and comfortably small in the pocket. When closed, the phone is ideal for phone calls, web browsing, music, photos and videos; when open, Pre is optimized for email and text messaging. With its curved slider and gesture-controlled touch interface, Pre fuses exquisite design with the revolutionary webOS software for fast access to anything on the device or web. It's an instinctive user experience that seems to anticipate your needs.

"As our lives revolve more and more around the web, devices like Palm Pre that transform how we interact with the web will lead the way," said Hesse. "We are focused on bringing our customers a superior experience that includes easy-to-use devices, simple pricing and value with Simply Everything all-inclusive offerings, plus Ready Now, our exclusive retail program that helps customers leave the store feeling comfortable and confident they know how to use their new device."

Pre will support a variety of differentiated on-device Sprint services, including Sprint TV, offering an extensive selection of live and on-demand programming. Sprint Navigation provides GPS-enabled audio and visual turn-by-turn driving directions, one-click traffic rerouting and more than 10 million local listings. Sprint also offers more than a dozen streaming-radio applications, including Sprint Radio with more than 150 channels.

Palm Pre features include the following:

  • High-speed connectivity (EVDO Rev. A or UMTS HSDPA)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
  • Integrated GPS
  • Large 3.1-inch touch screen with a vibrant 24-bit color 320x480 resolution HVGA display
  • Gesture area, which enables simple, intuitive gestures for navigation
  • Slide-out QWERTY keyboard
  • Email, including Outlook EAS (for access to corporate Microsoft Exchange servers), as well as personal email support (POP3, IMAP)
  • Robust messaging support (IM, SMS and MMS capabilities)(4)
  • High-performance, desktop-class web browser
  • Great multimedia experience and performance (pictures, video playback, music), featuring a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash and extended depth of field, and a standard 3.5mm headset jack
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with A2DP stereo Bluetooth support
  • 8GB of internal user storage (~7.4GB user available)
  • USB mass storage mode
  • MicroUSB connector with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
  • Proximity sensor, which automatically disables the touch screen and turns off the display whenever you put the phone up to your ear
  • Light sensor, which dims the display if the ambient light is dark, such as at night or in a movie theater, to reduce power usage
  • Accelerometer, which automatically orients web pages and photos to your perspective
  • Ringer switch, which easily silences the device with one touch
  • Removable, rechargeable battery
  • Dimensions: 59.57mm (W) x 100.53mm (L, closed) x 16.95mm (D) [2.35 inches (W) x 3.96 inches (L, closed) x 0.67 inches (D)]
  • Weight: ~135 grams [4.76 ounces]

An array of compelling accessories also will be available for Pre, including the first inductive charging solution for phones (sold separately). Simply set Pre down on top of the elegantly designed Palm Touchstonecharging dock without worrying about connection, orientation or fit. Pre is active while charging, so you can access the touch screen, watch movies or video, or use the speakerphone.

Availability and Pricing

Palm Pre is scheduled to be available first in the United States exclusively from Sprint in the first half of 2009, and will be followed by a world-ready UMTS version for other regions. Sprint's pricing for the phone has not yet been determined.

Customers who would like to register to receive additional information about Pre and be notified when it's available can register at www.palm.com or www.sprint.com/palmpre.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

PC World's Best Products of CES 2009

The PC World editors give us a glimpse of some of the best products featured at this years Consumer Electronics Show. Items that made the list include; Samsung's MBP200 Pico Projector, Yahoo's Widget Magic and a gadget that I particularly like the Asus's Eee Keyboard.

Here is the complete list that features 18 products in all. If you want more you can click here for full PC World Coverage of CES 2009.

NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision Now Available

NVIDIA's new GeForce 3D Vision Kit, wireless Stereoscopic 3D glasses, for your PC are now on pre-sale directly from NVIDIA. The $199 kit includes NVIDIA's high-tech wireless stereoscopic 3D glasses and wireless IR receiver. When combined with a supporting NVIDIA GeForce GPU and a "GeForce 3D Vision-Ready" display the kit transforms hundreds of 3D Vision ready PC games into full stereoscopic 3D. In addition, you can watch 3D movies and 3D digital photographs in eye popping, crystal-clear quality.

GeForce 3D Vision-Ready displays devices
  • Desktop Displays
    • Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ 120 Hz LCD display
    • ViewSonic FuHzion VX2265wm 120 Hz LCD display
    • 100 Hz and higher analog CRTs
  • Projectors
    • DepthQ HD 3D Projector by LightSpeed Design, Inc.
  • GeForce GTX 200 Series
    • GeForce GTX 285
    • GeForce GTX 280
    • GeForce GTX 260
  • GeForce 9 Series
    • GeForce 9800 GX2
NVIDIA and TigerDirect.com also have the GeForce 3D Vision Bundle available for pre-sale. The bundle features the NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision glasses as well as a Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ 120Hz LCD monitor for $598.

Dell Offers New Inspiron Mini 9 For $99

On Friday Dell said they will offer the Inspiron Mini 9 for $99 (regularly $449) on its Web site along with a two-year subscription to AT&T's mobile broadband network. The deal which is identical to the $99 Acer Aspire One requires users to signup for a 2 year AT&T LaptopConnect agreement contract at $60 per month.

Unfortunately, the $99 offer is after a $350 Dell Mail-in-Rebate which in my opinion is a but much. The $99 price ends January 31st, 2009 so you have only three weeks to jump on this offer.

For more details on the promotion read the full Dell press release.

Digital Cribs: Shadi Shahrokhi - The Digital Architect

What is the digital revolution and how is it affecting the way we conceive the modern, urban home? Digital Architect profiles Shadi Shahrokhi, inventor of the revolutionary Trak-Kit system and principal of Shadi + company a New York-based design studio.

If video doesn't load properly click here

A self-proclaimed audio and videophile, Shadi is at the center of the convergence of technology and design which allows for an increasingly democratized digital world. He addresses issues of mobility, efficiency, and elegance and explores new ways of conceiving and realizing the environments where we live, work, and play. First-person observation and Shadi's own words shed light on an architect whose visionary work is defining new ways for consumers to integrate digital technology into their homes.

Farshad "Shadi" Shahrokhi trained in sculpture and film-making at the school of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston before completing an undergraduate degree in Architecture at Sci-Arc. He holds a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University. His work has been published and exhibited throughout the U.S.

Mr. Shahrokhi formed SHAdi + company in 1997, a design/build studio with an emphasis on high-end, modern, total design. Shadi being an avid audiophile/videophile, Trak-kit was a result of his interest in helping architectural clients choose and install audio/video centers within the spaces he designed.

The above video is courtesy of Cisco's Digital Cribs. Digital Cribs is a new series of mini-documentaries produced by Cisco profiling interesting individuals and how they use consumer technology. A big thanks goers out to Robert Profusek of PS Pictures who was nice enough to send us over the information posted above.

Move Your Blogger Posts Anywhere With Google Blog Converters 1.0

godaddyAnnounced yesterday on the Google Open Source blog the Google Blog Converters project provides the ability to easily move blog posts and comments from service to service. This initial release provides Python libraries and runnable scripts that convert between the export formats of Blogger, LiveJournal, MovableType, and WordPress.

In addition, the source code includes templates for hosting these conversions on Google App Engine. Future additions to the project will include support for BlogML and synchronization tools between various services that do not provide a import/export feature but do provide APIs for accessing and modifying blog contents.

To test out the blog converter download, the 2.7 MB zipped file, for feedback join the Google discussion group.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Can't Find The Windows 7 Public Beta, You Aren't Alone

On Wednesday, CEO Steve Ballmer promised that the beta would be released to the general public today, however as of 1:300 PST this afternoon the beta is nowhere to be found. According to Computerworld Microsoft has postponed the public release citing "very heavy traffic".

Gregg Keizer of Computerworld writes:
The company did not offer a new schedule for delivering the beta of its newest operating system.

"Due to very heavy traffic we're seeing as a result of interest in the Windows 7 Beta, we are adding some additional infrastructure support to Microsoft.com properties before we post the public Beta today," a spokeswoman said in an instant message reply to earlier questions about the Microsoft.com's performance. "We want to ensure customers have the best possible experience when downloading the Beta."

The Springboard series official download page, now features a similar response to the one posted above, and the direct link to the download site has reverted back to saying "Windows 7 Beta coming soon!"

For those of you that absolutely can't wait and want to get your hands on the Windows 7 Beta, follow the direct download links below Compliments of Wired:

**Update As of Feb 10th Microsoft has suspend the officially available downloads of Windows 7 for more details click here

Windows 7 x86 (32bit)

Windows 7 x64 (64 bit)

There is no guarantee on how long these will work, MS might pull them, but for now you should be able to get the .iso. Or if you are really desperate you can download the torrent via several sites like Demonoid, Pirate Bay and ISO Hunt.

The download link will provide you with an .iso that can be used to install the Windows 7 beta. You won't however receive a valid product key, you'll need to wait for Microsoft to release those. Until then you can run the beta for 30days or as much as 120 days using the slmgr -rearm command. This command extends the grace period another 30 days, up to four times. Simply start a command prompt as Administrator, and issue the command.

Test Out Google Chrome Beta Features Early

Release early, release often, according to Google's Chrome blog that is Google's new motto for Google Chrome. Google wants to release fewer features more often instead of making us wait several months for the next "Major Dot-Oh Release Jam-Packed With Features."

By subscribing to Google's new automatic update channels you can automatically get early access the latest updates as well as test out new features before the rest of the world. You can subscribe to one of three update channels:
  • Stable channel. Everyone is on the Stable channel when they first install Google Chrome. The Stable channel is updated with features and fixes once they have been throughly tested in the Beta channel. If you want a rock solid browser but don't need the latest features, the Stable channel is for you.
  • Beta channel. People who like to use and help refine the latest features subscribe to the Beta channel. Every month or so, we promote stable and complete features from the Dev channel to the Beta channel. The Beta channel is more stable than Dev, but may lack the polish one expects from a finished product.
  • Developer preview channel. The Dev channel is where ideas get tested (and sometimes fail). The Dev channel can be very unstable at times, and new features usually require some manual configuration to be enabled. Still, simply using Dev channel releases is an easy (practically zero-effort) way for anyone to help improve Google Chrome.
To check it out follow the instruction found here. The program will change Chrome's subscription to your choice of either the Dev or Beta channel. After that, you'll automatically get early access updates.

AMD To Deliver Next Gen Games, HD Movies And More Through The “AMD Fusion Render Cloud”

amd logoAMD Supercomputer To Deliver Next-Generation Games and Applications Entirely Through the Cloud

LAS VEGAS (2009 International CES) -- January 8, 2009 --Today at CES, AMD President and Chief Executive Officer Dirk Meyer and OTOY Chief Executive Officer Jules Urbach unveiled a plan to revolutionize the deployment, development and delivery of HD content through the “AMD Fusion Render Cloud”, a massively-parallel supercomputer. The announcement took place during AMD’s Industry Insider Series keynote at the Las Vegas Hilton Theater, where AMD was joined on stage by industry luminaries such as Lucasfilm, Dell, HP and Electronic Arts.

“AMD has a long track record in the supercomputing world. Seven out of 10 of the world’s fastest machines, including the fastest two computers on the planet, are powered by AMD hardware,” said Meyer. “Today, AMD is pleased to announce a new kind of supercomputer unlike any other ever built. It is being designed to break the one petaFLOPS barrier, and to process a million compute threads across more than 1,000 graphics processors. We anticipate it to be the fastest graphics supercomputer ever. And it will be powered by OTOY’s software for a singular purpose: to make HD cloud computing a reality. We plan to have this system ready by the second half of 2009.”

newegg amd logo

The system is being designed to enable content providers to deliver video games, PC applications and other graphically-intensive applications through the Internet “cloud” to virtually any type of mobile device with a web browser without making the device rapidly deplete battery life or struggle to process the content. The AMD Fusion Render Cloud will transform movie and gaming experiences through server-side rendering – which stores visually rich content in a compute cloud, compresses it, and streams it in real-time over a wireless or broadband connection to a variety of devices such as smart phones, set-top boxes and ultra-thin notebooks. By delivering remotely rendered content to devices that are unable to store and process HD content due to such constraints as device size, battery capacity, and processing power, HD cloud computing represents the capability to bring HD entertainment to mobile users virtually anywhere.

The AMD Fusion Render Cloud will also enable remote real-time rendering of film and visual effects graphics on an unprecedented scale. Gaming companies can use the AMD Fusion Render Cloud for developing and deploying next-generation game content, to serve up virtual world games with unlimited photo-realistic detail, and take advantage of new delivery channels as open and diverse as the web itself.

“Hosted on AMD’s powerful new AMD Fusion Render platform, OTOY’s revolutionary software has given birth to the world’s first practical, scalable graphics supercomputer capable of true server-side HD cloud rendering. The AMD Fusion Render Cloud will allow directors like Robert Rodriguez of Troublemaker Studios to break through existing CPU-only and graphics processor-only render bottlenecks which have imposed limitations on the creation of true eye-definition assets,” said Charlie Boswell, Director of Digital Media and Entertainment, AMD.

“I use big technology to stay ahead of the artistic curve and that technology has been and continues to be AMD’s. Having the means to create interactive eye-definition movie and game assets with the AMD Fusion Render Cloud and to then to make them available to a broader audience through new distribution methods will bring about a renaissance in content creation and consumption,” said Robert Rodriguez, Director, Troublemaker Studios.

“Imagine watching a movie half-way through on your cell phone while on the bus ride home, then, upon entering your home or apartment, switch over to your HD TV and continue watching the same movie from exactly where you left off, seamlessly, and at full screen resolution,” continued Boswell. “Imagine playing the most visually intensive first person shooter game at the highest image quality settings on your cell phone without ever having to download and install the software, or use up valuable storage space or battery life with compute-intensive tasks. Those are just some of the experiences that AMD and OTOY plan to make possible with HD cloud computing of visually rich entertainment content.”

“By fusing industry-leading CPU technology with computationally dense, massively parallel graphics processors, the AMD Fusion Render Cloud can rival the world’s most powerful industrial computing devices, but require just a fraction of the floor space, power envelope and cost associated with many of today’s leading supercomputers,” said Jules Urbach, Chief Executive Officer, OTOY. “Combined with the power of OTOY’s revolutionary and flexible software platform, the AMD Fusion Render Cloud can transform the entertainment industry and remove the technical barriers between consumers and first-rate content experiences.”

The AMD Fusion Render Cloud will be powered by AMD-optimized hardware including the AMD Phenom II processors, AMD 790 chipsets and ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics processors, for unprecedented compute density and power efficiency. The AMD Fusion Render Cloud is an excellent example of AMD’s Fusion strategy, combining its partners’ dreams with AMD innovation, to bring powerful technologies to mainstream markets through the combined power of graphics processors and CPUs in a single platform.

“At Electronic Arts, we have been lucky enough to be a part of the creation of a number of changes in the world of personal computer gaming. From the first PCs to CD gaming to the advent of Internet gaming, we have embraced each new evolution of technology as an opportunity to bring new experiences to our customers,” said Richard Hilleman, Chief Creative Officer, Electronic Arts. “OTOY and AMD are at the cutting edge of thin client gaming, and we look forward to the new customers we can reach and the new interactive expressions that emerge from revolutionary technology like the AMD Fusion Render Cloud.”

AMD plans to provide the hardware and engineering resources for the AMD Fusion Render Cloud, with OTOY providing technical software development and a middleware layer. To watch a recorded webcast of Meyer’s keynote address, visit: www.mogulus.com/amdunprocessed.

Source: AMD Press Release

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Sony Adds Wi-Fi And Internet Browser To The Cyber-shot DSC-G3

Sony has introduced what it is calling the world's first Wi-Fi digital camera with web browser, the new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G3.

Sony unveils world's first WI-FI digital camera with web broswer

LAS VEGAS (CES Keynote), Jan. 8, 200: With a focus on making photo sharing easier and more convenient, Sony today introduced the world’s first Wi-Fi® enabled digital camera that uploads photos and videos to Web sites through any public hotspot due to its built-in Web browser.

The new Cyber-shot DSC-G3 digital still camera answers one of the most pressing needs for photo enthusiasts: how to share those amazing photos and video clips of family, friends and events as soon as you shoot. The Cyber-shot camera makes it easy to upload images and video directly to popular photo and video sharing sites wherever a Wi-Fi connection is available.

“Research shows that our customers greatly value sharing images and video clips, but they often forget or don’t have enough time if they wait to get home to upload images,” said Phil Lubell, director of digital camera marketing at Sony Electronics. “Our new Cyber-shot DSC-G3 camera provides the simplicity and convenience of sharing in the moment, while the impulse is still fresh in people’s minds.”

The camera can wirelessly connect to any public hotspot, including hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and airports. Like a computer, the camera can connect to free or fee-based hotspots, as well as to secure and unsecured access points.

The new DSC-G3 model comes with complimentary AT&T Wi-Fi access to Sony’s Easy Upload Home Page until Jan. 31, 2012. It includes Wi-Fi access at thousands of AT&T hotspots across the United States, including participating coffee shops, selected book stores and major quick-serve restaurant locations, as well as hundreds of upscale hotels and airports.

“By collaborating with Sony to launch the first digital still camera with a built in Web browser and embedded access across the entire AT&T Wi-Fi service network, we’re enabling consumers to gain quick and convenient access to Sony’s Easy Upload Homepage through thousands of AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots across the country,” said Glenn Lurie, president of AT&T’s emerging device organization. “The wireless capabilities and cutting-edge features of the G3 camera with the reliable coverage of AT&T’s Wi-Fi network offers a unique consumer experience.”

Uploads Made Easy

The new camera makes it easy to connect to the Internet and upload images. By pressing the WLAN button on the camera, you can open its embedded Web browser.

After connecting to the Internet via wireless access points, the camera automatically navigates to the Sony Easy Upload Home Page, which includes direct links to photo sharing sites like Shutterfly and Picasa Web Albums; video sharing sites like YouTube and Dailymotion; and a photo and video sharing site, such as Photobucket. Also, the DSC-G3 camera allows you to access other sharing sites for uploading photos and videos through its Web browser.

Through the Sony Easy Upload Home Page, you can send e-mail notifications from the sharing Web sites to let friends and family know that you have posted new images and videos for viewing. This is perfect for sharing with loved ones that were not with you when you took the pictures or shot the videos.

When friends and family are nearby, you can use the camera to access photos you may have already uploaded to sharing sites and display them on its high resolution 3.5-inch LCD screen.

The camera supports DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) guidelines. By connecting to such DLNA-compatible devices as Sony BRAVIA televisions via access points, photos in the camera can be played back with high-definition quality. In addition to BRAVIA TVs, the camera can connect to other DLNA-compatible devices, such as Sony VAIO PCs.

Smart Camera

In addition to its wireless sharing capabilities, the new camera is built for high-performance imaging. The 10-megapixel camera is about three-fourths of an inch thin and includes a 4X optical zoom Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens. Although compact enough to fit in the camera’s slim dimention, this lens provides excellent sharpness and color accuracy.

The Intelligent Scene Recognition feature automatically identifies a total of eight types of scenes — backlight, backlight portrait, twilight, twilight portrait, twilight using a tripod, portrait, landscape and macro — and automatically optimizes camera settings for each challenging shooting situation, taking an additional shot in low and bright light scenarios.

With Sony’s Face Detection technology, the DSC-G3 camera detects faces in a scene and adjusts auto focus (AF), auto exposure (AE), flash and white balance accordingly. It can also distinguish between children and adults, allowing users to to prioritize faces according to their preference .

Combining the Intelligent Scene Recognition feature with Face Detection technology, the camera includes an anti-blink function that helps make closed-eye photos a thing of the past. The camera automatically takes two shots and then determines whether the subject(s) have closed eyes. It will record images with open-eyed subjects. If both pictures have subject(s) with closed eyes, the cameras will record one and display a warning so you can try again.

Sony’s Smile Shutter technology automatically captures a smile the moment it happens. You can use the adult or child priority setting when shooting scenes containing both adults and children, and the camera will distinguish one face from another.

The camera’s Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) determines the best exposure and contrast settings in almost any shooting environment, giving images a natural look with clearer details that match what you see with your naked eye. DRO also balances the contrast in scenes with strong highlight and shadow, recovering detail normally lost in shadow areas. Combining the benefits of Optical SteadyShot image stabilization with high sensitivity mode, Sony’s Double Anti-blur feature helps reduce camera shake blur, especially when there is low light .

Photo Library

The Cyber-shot DSC-G3 model is also a “photo album in your pocket” and has 4GB of internal memory that can store nearly 1,000 full-resolution or 40,000 VGA-quality photos. The 3.5-inch (measured diagonally) wide touch panel Xtra Fine LCD™ screen is perfect for photo-like viewing with high contrast and wide-angle viewing. This Xtra Fine LCD screen delivers high resolution images (921,600 dots) that is approximately four times higher than conventional LCDs.

The camera also makes it easy to sort thousands of images. While shooting, images are organized automatically in albums by date. All images in an album can be displayed simultaneously as thumbnails on the screen, and the desired image can quickly be selected.

There are four ways to view photos: standard folder view, date view, favorites and event view. Images can be stored and managed on both the camera’s 4GB internal memory and an optional Memory Stick® media card.

In addition to the in-camera organization and search functionality, bundled Picture Motion Browser (PMB) software allows you to quickly organize images on a compatible PC. The software lets you search and organize images by event or face, and you can display images in calendar or chronological views organized into folders.

Source: Sony Press Release