Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Movie Studios Think We'll Pay $30 To Watch New Movie Releases At Home

Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Co. are reportedly in talks with In Demand, Cox Communications, Comcast, and Time Warner to offer customers the option of watching newly released films in the comfort of their own homes for as much as $30 per showing. According to the reports the new releases would be available, via Video-On-Demand, shortly after hitting theaters and several weeks before being releases to DVD.

Testing for the new services has already begun with Sony Corp. testing the market with users of its Bravia TV by offering the Will Smith movie “Hancock” in 2008 and the animated film “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” in 2009 for $24.95. Time Warner Inc. Chief Financial Officer John Martin told the Goldman Sachs conference in New York last week that the company’s Warner Bros. studio expects to begin tests on the service later this year. He said he expected the offering to be priced at $20 to $30 per viewing.

The major question is why would consumers opt for such a high priced single viewing service option? Well for one, if you are a larger family (3 or more) and the movies are released within a shortened time frame the $30 cost could actually save you quite a bit over in theater costs. Ticket prices have been skyrocketing over the years with adult tickets costing well over $10/person and kids tickets averaging well over $6/child.

The National Association of Theatre Owners, a Washington-based industry group, is obviously opposed to the idea of offering the new VOD option stating “Any promotion, advertising, marketing or testing of premium VOD needs to be done within the existing in-home window time frame [of the exclusive 120-day theatrical “window” exhibitors have for a typical release]."

The NATO is concerned that any deviation from the 120-day theatrical window would not only affect ticket sales but also undercut the value of "theatrical exhibition".

I for one don't see this as being a very viable option. Personally rising ticket costs and expenditures have kept me out of theaters over the past few years and I don't see that changing anytime soon. So I don't think I'd be willing to shell out an additional $20-25 just to see a movie that has already been in theaters for a few weeks. I'd be perfectly willing to wait the extra time saving me my hard earned cash to see a new release on DVD or Blu-Ray as apposed to spending the extra money for thew VOD service.

Want To Know Whats New At Google? There's A Page For That

Google is constantly releasing or updating products or features and while the official Google Blog Network covers all the changes following the more than 100 blogs can be a bit overwhelming. Enter  Google New, a new site from Google new site from the company covering all kinds of products, policy issues, technical projects and much more.


Google New was created to help all of us Google users find the latest product and feature launches from Google. The site is an aggregate of all the our favorite Google Blogs providing an all in one approach to delivering information on various Google projects.


Official Google Blog: One place to find everything new from Google

Friday, September 24, 2010

Google Awards $10 Million To Five Project 10^100 Winners

Two years and approximately 150,000 idea later and Google has finally announced the winning ideas for their Project 10^100 initiative. The program, which kicked off exactly two years ago today, called for ideas that would help improve the lives of people around the world.

The call was answered by people from more than 170 countries whom submitted more than 150,000 ideas. Google then selected 16 big ideas and asked the public to vote for their favorites. The five ideas that received the most votes are the winners of Project 10^100.


Here are the brief summaries of the five programs Google is donating to:

Idea: Make educational content available online for free
Project funded: The Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization that provides high-quality, free education to anyone, anywhere via an online library of more than 1,600 teaching videos. We are providing $2 million to support the creation of more courses and to enable the Khan Academy to translate their core library into the world’s most widely spoken languages.

Idea: Enhance science and engineering education
Project funded: FIRST is a non-profit organization that promotes science and math education around the world through team competition. Its mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by giving them real world experience working with professional engineers and scientists. We are providing $3 million to develop and jump start new student-driven robotics team fundraising programs that will empower more student teams to participate in FIRST.

Idea: Make government more transparent
Project funded: Public.Resource.Org is a non-profit organization focused on enabling online access to public government documents in the United States. We are providing $2 million to Public.Resource.Org to support the Law.Gov initiative, which aims to make all primary legal materials in the United States available to all.

Idea: Drive innovation in public transport
Project funded: Shweeb is a concept for short to medium distance, urban personal transport, using human-powered vehicles on a monorail. We are providing $1 million to fund research and development to test Shweeb’s technology for an urban setting.

Idea: Provide quality education to African students
Project funded: The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a center for math and science education and research in Cape Town, South Africa. AIMS’ primary focus is a one-year bridge program for recent university graduates that helps build skills and knowledge prior to master's and Ph.D. study. We are providing $2 million to fund the opening of additional AIMS centers to promote graduate level math and science study in Africa.

Logitech Announces ‘Host With The Most’ Winners

Logitech's search for the ‘Host with the Most’ to help introduce the world to the new Logitech Revue with Google TV is now officially over and they have selected three lucky winners. The lucky geeks whcih will represent LA, NYC and SF are as follows:


The three lucky winners will be paid to host several launch parties for the new Logitech Revue at each of the three lofts over the coming weeks. The will also be asked to blogs, Twitter, Facebook and create videos for YouTube showing of the new the Revue.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

AMD Announces New CPUs, Slashes Prices On Older Models

amd logoToday AMD unveiled six new speedier CPUs to refresh not only their newer Phenom II lineup but also their aging Athlon II budget line.

For the budget minded AMD introduced three new chips into its budget Athlon II lineup. First up is the new Athlon II X2 265 (3.30 GHz). The X2 265 is based on the 45 nm Regor die, it features 2 MB of L2 cache, rated TDP of 65W, and is priced at US $76. Next is a new triple-core Athlon II X3, the new Athlon II X3 450 (3.20 GHz). The X3 450 is based on the 45 nm Rana die, and is essentially a cut down Propus die with one core disabled. It has TDP rated at 95W and sells for $87. The last addition to the budget lineup is the new quad-core Athlon II X4 645 (3.10 GHz). The X4 645 makes use of the full Propus die, rated TDP at 95W and is priced at $122.

Next up, AMD introduced a new "high-end" six-core model the new Phenom II X6 1075T Black Edition. The new chips is essentially the same as the current Phenom II X6 1090T, except that it's clocked at 3.00 GHz not 3.2GHz like the 1090T. The Phenom II X6 1075T is priced at $245 or about $50 cheaper than the Phenom II X6 1090T. Next up AMD added a new quad-core Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition. This new chip is clocked at 3.50 GHz, the highest AMD default clock speed to date, and is based on the older Deneb die instead of derivation from Thuban. This new chip displaces the X4 965 BE, and is priced at $185.

Lastly, there's the the dual-core Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition. Aimed to compete with Intel Core i3 processors, this model is priced at just $105, but offers a clock speed of 3.30 GHz, 512 KB L2 cache per core, 6 MB L3 cache, and TDP rated at 80W. It's based on the Calisto die, which is Deneb with two cores disabled. So its possible you might get lucky unlocking the disabled cores on any of the motherboards out there that have core unlocking enabled.

Twitter Hit With Major XSS Hack

twitter logoJust after 7:30am EST this morning Twitter was hit with a major XSS hack that spread like wildfire. The bug was first discovered by security researchers at Kaspersky Lab who then noted that the several Twitter accounts had already been hit.

"Apparently, there is an actively exploited XSS vulnerability on Twitter. From my first preliminary analysis, you'll have to hover over a link to activate it and so far I have just seen some proof of concepts from people I follow. However, this vulnerability looks at least semi-wormable, so better turn JavaScript off on Twitter for now," Kaspersky Lab researcher Georg Wicherski said in a blog post on the bug.

In all it is expected that more than 500,000 users may have been hit by the the exploit before Twitter could patch the hole. According to a post by Del Harvey (@delbius), the head of Twitter's Trust and Safety Team the security hole was patched at about 9:45 AM ET.

The original attacks leveraged a common javascript feature, onmouseover, which showed a pop-up window that displays the logged-in user's Twitter cookie. The attack later incorporated a cross-site request forgery component that forced users to retweet a piece of code.

Update: Twitter has now responded to the issue: All about the "onMouseOver" incident

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Logitech Unveils New Wireless Trackball

Logitech today announced the new Logitech Wireless Trackball M570, designed to deliver comfort and control to those who are looking for an alternative to touchpads or traditional mice. The Wireless Trackball M570 is uniquely designed for all-day comfort and features the leave-in Logitech Unifying receiver.


The trackball M570 features a traditional Logitech design for added comfort and ease of use. The traditional Logitech sculpted shape supports your hand to let you work all day in comfort. The tried and true Logitech 2.4 GHz wireless connection lets you control your laptop, desktop computer of home theater PC from up to 30 feet away. Additional features include up to an 18-month battery life, a standard set of programmable buttons with back/fwd and scroll wheel.

The Logitech Wireless Trackball M570 is available now at most retailers for an MSRP of $59.99

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Internet Explorer 9 Beta Available Tomorrow

The first widely available beta of Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 will be available tomorrow for those of you running Windows Vista SP2 and Windows 7. Sorry XP fanboys the new beta is not available for earlier versions of Windows including those of you still running a none updated version of Vista.

The Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview has been available for quite awhile and gives users a pretty good look at what the new browser will look like. This however will be a full beta release that should have most of the new features that will be packaged into the final version.

You can checkout the countdown to the Internet Explorer 9 Beta celebration at MS' Beauty of the Web page which will provide full details on download information on 9/15.

Keep in mind this will be a beta release so you may want to hold of installing it on any critical machines.

NVIDIA Launches Budget Minded GTS450

NVIDIA this week announced the latest addition to the company's Fermi-class of GPUs, the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 -- which was designed to deliver the best DX11 price/performance in the $129 USD price category. According to the latest Steam survey, a leading indicator of the hardware used by PC gamers today, 56 percent(i) of gamers play at mainstream resolutions, typically between 1600x1050 and 1280x1024. The GTS 450 was specifically designed to excel at these resolutions, delivering awesome DX11 performance with 4X antialiasing turned on, enabling more gamers than ever before to experience incredibly detailed characters, terrain and game environments with blazing fast performance and awesome visuals.

For games and applications that feature tessellation -- the key feature of DX11 -- the GTS 450 is up to 65% faster than the closest competitive product(ii). Even in last generation DX9 and DX10 games, the GTS 450 is faster by over 30%(iii), including in the blockbuster PC title StarCraft II. This makes the GTS 450 a terrific GPU for playing this year's hottest games including the upcoming holiday titles like Civilization V and Hawx2, both of which feature support for DX11 and tessellation, and other games, such as Dead Rising 2.

"The GeForce GTS 450 makes huge strides in expanding DX11 capability to the masses," said Sid Meier, Director of Creative Development, Firaxis Games. "Civilization V plays beautifully on the GTS 450 and looks even more amazing with 3D Vision technology."

"We are excited about the GeForce GTS 450, which brings awesome performance to a very affordable price point," said Shinsaku Ohara, Producer of Dead Rising 2 at Capcom. "By delivering a great gaming experience mixed with some cutting-edge features such as support for 3D Vision, we are confident that fans of Dead Rising 2 will have a great platform to play on."

With full support for NVIDIA 3D Vision technology, the GeForce GTS 450 also provides the graphics horsepower and video bandwidth needed to experience games and high definition Blu-ray movies in eye-popping stereoscopic 3D. And with NVIDIA SLI technology, the industry's most scalable multi-GPU platform, gamers will be ecstatic to almost double their gaming performance by adding a second GTS 450 to their PC, when budget allows.

The GeForce GTS 450 is available starting today from the world's leading add-in card partners, including ASL, ASUS, Colorful, ECS, EVGA, Gainward, Galaxy, Gigabyte, Innovision 3D, Jetway, KFA2, Leadtek, MSI, Palit, Point of View, PNY, Sparkle, Zotac and others. For more information, visit the product page.

GTS 450 Benchmarks and Reviews:

More Reading:

GeForce GTS 450 Deals:


Friday, September 10, 2010

Don't Like Google Instant? Turn It Off

I've read many criticisms of Google's newly introduced Instant Search function that provides predictive searches. Many out there, me included, would rather not have predictive searches pop-up as we are typing in our search terms. Well Google has kindly offered a quick easy solution for us, its as simple as changing your search preferences.


From the top of the main Google search page, click settings then select search settings. From there scroll down to the bottom of the "Global Preferences" section. You'll see a box similar to the one pictured above that says Google Instant. Click the "Do not use Google Instant" button and scroll to the bottom of the page to save your settings. From now on, or at least until you clear your cookies or log out of your Google account, you'll no longer use Google Instant's predictive search.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Apple Opens Door For Adobe Will Allow Third Party App Developers

Apple has begun to backslide on their restrictions for App development and inclusion into the App Store. The company officially announced today that it is backing off previous statements and restirctions of not allowing third party development tools.

The changes are big news for devs that don't want to be limited to a set standard of tools. The announcement didn't specifically mention Adobe or the new CS5 Adobe Packager but many view this as a direct inclusion of the new tools. By lifting the restrictions Apple has essential said you can use Flash to develop your apps, and then compile them to work on the iPhone and iPad utilizing the Adobe Packager tool-set.

We should make one thing clear, the inclusion of the new third party dev tools does not mean that Flash is coming to iOS as a plugin: You still won’t be able to view Flash content on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. This change in Apple’s policy just means developers can use third-party tools such as Flash to create apps sold through the App Store.

The second part of Apple’s announcement may be even less expected. Apple plans to provide a more open set of guidelines for developers to follow to get their apps included into the app store.

In addition, for the first time we are publishing the App Store Review Guidelines to help developers understand how we review submitted apps. We hope it will make us more transparent and help our developers create even more successful apps for the App Store.

In the past Apple has singularly denied or removed Apps for no apparent reason and in some cases with little to no cause. By publishing the guidelines developers will know what they can and can’t get add to their apps versus, say, an Android application. Third-party programmers will have a clearer sense of whether or not to invest time and money in developing an app, whereas before they were subject to rejection without knowing what they weren’t allowed to do.

Apple’s seven-page list of guidelines divides reasons for app rejections into 11 categories with several different sub-categories. Reasons for rejection are still the basics and objectionable material such as nudity, vulgarity, discrimination ect. There are also several new technical offenses: Apps that crash will be rejected, any thing that majorly changes the UI or potentially harms the device for example. More details can be seen via PDF thanks to Wired.com.

This new stance and approach Apple is taking is not only great news for developers but for consumers alike. Having a clearer understanding of which Apps may be accepted means more developers can and will work on cross platform apps, which in turn means more apps for everyone.

Read More: Statement by Apple on App Store Review Guidelines

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Apple Releases iOS 4.1 for iPhone, iPod touch

Apple has released their newest operating system update available for your iPhone 3G, 3GS or 4 via iTunes. Dubbed iOS 4.1, the new releases promises to fix performance issues with the iPhone 3G, proximity sensor issues with the iPhone 4 and Bluetooth bugs. In addition to these fixes users will get their hands on several of Apple latest features including the new Game Center, HDR photography, HD video uploads via YouTube over Wi-Fi, the option to rent TV shows from iTunes right on your phone and lets not forget of course the addition of the new Ping social network.

For the most part users will jump on the new update as you guys of course want the latest kool-aid Apple is serving up. But for those running a jailbroken phone the iPhone Dev Team is warning that you may want to stay away from the new update for now. iPhone Dev Team members posted a warning on their blog today advising anyone with a jailbroken iPhone, or anyone running the recently updated ultrasn0w unlock utility on an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 against updating to the new iOS 4.1 update.

The iOS 4.1 update kills the current jailbreak and unlock exploit for the what may be a short time or possibly the foreseeable future. iPhone Dev Team member @MuscleNerd tweeted earlier today "@pod2g got latest exploit just as 4.1 went public (lots of work left...keep away from 4.1 for now!)."

The Dev Team is apparently working with this new exploit to potential create a new jailbreak which may be dubbed 4.1.0 TinyUmbrella. For now however they are informaing users that "There’s currently no known way to revert your baseband — if you update your baseband you’ll lose the ultrasn0w unlock, possibly forever. Please stay away from this 4.1 release until a safe jailbreak procedure (which also preserves ultrasn0w) is developed and released."

Google Instant Adds Predictive Search To Your Search Results

Google has unveiled the latest incarnation of the companies search page which now includes "Google Instant," or predictive, real-time search results.

Google Instant is something similar to the predictive text input found in most smarthphones, as with the previous Google search function as you type words appear in the search box. Now however the search page updates with new search results adding in each word typed. This new search-before-you-type instantly adds new search results to what you have typed, predicting the most likely completion of the sentence or words streaming results in real-time for those predictions. This gives users a smarter and faster search that is interactive, predictive and powerful.

Here are a few of the core features in Google Instant:
  • Dynamic Results - Google dynamically displays relevant search results as you type so you can quickly interact and click through to the web content you need.
  • Predictions - One of the key technologies in Google Instant is that we predict the rest of your query (in light gray text) before you finish typing. See what you need? Stop typing, look down and find what you’re looking for.
  • Scroll to search - Scroll through predictions and see results instantly for each as you arrow down.
Here’s a video from the Google Blog that explains Google Instant in greater depth:



To bring Google Instant to life, the company needed to implement several new technologies including a new caching systems, the ability to adaptively control the rate at which we show results pages and an optimization of page-rendering JavaScript to help web browsers keep up with the rest of the system. In the end, Google needed to produce a system that was able to scale while searching as fast as people can type and think—all while maintaining the relevance and simplicity people expect from Google.

For now Google is rolling out Google Instant to US users via Google.com for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE 8. The company promises they will also be offering Google Instant to users in France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the U.K. who are signed in and have Instant-capable browsers. Over the coming weeks and months there are plans to work to roll out Google Instant to all geographies and platforms.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Samsung Launches Possible iPad Killer The Samsung Galaxy Tab

Samsung has announced their new, and rather impressive looking iPad killer dubbed the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The Android powered tablet (MID device) features a 1Ghz Cortex A8 processor, 512MB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage, with an expansion MicroSD card slot for up to an additional 32GB of storage. The Galaxy Tab comes with a 1.3MP front-facing camera and a 3MP rear camera with LED flash, great for taking thpse late night pictures in the dark. The device also comes 3G data-ready, and has a 5Ghz dual-band 802.11n WiFi built-in card. The battery is a 4,000mAh battery, which Samsung says is good for up to 7 hours of battery life.



Other additions include a speaker on the bottom of the device for not just sound but speakerphone support. Built in Bluetooth 3.0 and a 30-pin dock connector that allows HDMI, USB and other accessories to be added onto the tablet. The Galaxy Tab has a screen that is a bit smaller than we'd have hoped featuring a rather small 7-inch TFT LCD screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 (WSVGA). Total overall measurements are 19 (7.5 in) centimeters by 12 (4.75 in) cm by 1.2 cm with an overall weight of 380 grams.



As far as application support goes the Tab runs a Samsung modified version of Android 2.2 Froyo customized by Samsung's TouchWiz 3.0 GUI. The OS provides full feature support as with any other Android OS which also means it has Adobe Flash 10.1 support.

For media junkies users can watch movies in a number of different formats, including DivX, Xvid, WMV and MPEG-4 as well as all flash based movies from sites like Hulu and Joost.

Pricing has not officially been released nor has a carrier for 3g support been announced, however speculation suggests the Galaxy Tab will cost anywhere from $200-300 more than the iPad and further speculation puts Sprint at the front of the pack for carrier service. Again this is all speculation until Samsung makes an official announcement

My thoughts:

Specs wise, so far at least, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is one of the better tablet PCs we've seen on the market. Making it more likely to be competitive with the iPad. With little to no pricing information its really hard to say exactly how competitive Samsung can actually be. If the rumors are true and they are $200+ above the mark the iPad has set then I'm afraid they are already doomed to fail.

Personally I'd much rather have seen Samsung release a slightly larger devices. Something more comparable in size to the iPad. I'd rather trade better overall functionality to ultra-portability any day. Tablet/MID device makers are, in my opinion, trying to hard to breach the gap between a smartphone and a PC. I'd like to see a tablet in the 12-14" range that offers much great ease of use and full functionality.

Samsung press release

Win A MSI R5870 Lightning, MSI N460GTX Hawk or MSI R5770 Hawk GPU

MSI, along with popular hardware review site TechPowerUp, are teaming up to hold a hardware giveaway contest on GPU-Z from September 1st, 2010. Anyone who downloads the new GPU-Z v0.4.6 application and answers all 5 questions will have a chance to win a new MSI R5870 Lightning graphics card for free! There will be three lucky winners each month, and the contest will not expire until October 30th, 2010.

Contest page:
http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/contest3.php

The details of GPU-Z hardware giveaway contest:
  1. The giveaway starts September 01, 2010 and ends October 31, 2010 (2 months).
  2. Prizes will be given away in the week of October 1st and the week of November 1st.
  3. This contest is open to participants from all countries.
  4. All platforms are welcome to submit their entry, including notebook and IGP.
  5. All submissions have equal odds to win.
  6. All cards are welcome and eligible to win, not only MSI.
  7. Anyone, any age can enter where legal.
  8. Winners will be chosen at random from all contest submissions since the beginning of the giveaway. You only have to submit once for the entire duration. 
  9. Entry into to giveaway is only possible using GPU-Z on the tab "MSI Giveaway".
  10. Only one entry per system per IP.
  11. If a winner cannot be contacted after 5 days another winner will be chosen at random.
  12. Information submitted in the contest questionnaire will be made available to MSI.
  13. You will not receive any communication to your submitted E-Mail address other than a winning notification in case you win.
  14. Winner will not be responsible for shipping fees.
  15. TechPowerUp or MSI shall not accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by you or any other participant entering the Competition or as a result of accepting any prize. TechPowerUp or MSI are not responsible for any problems or technical malfunction of any telecommunications network or lines, computer on-line systems, servers, or providers, computer equipment, software failure of any email or entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet, telephone lines or at any web site, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to your or any other person's computer or mobile telephone related to or resulting from participation or downloading any materials in the competition. TechPowerUp and MSI also reserve the right to change or amend the rules if necessary.

Prizes:
  1. MSI R5870 Lightning x 2 (one every month)
  2. N460GTX Hawk x 2 (one every month)
  3. MSI R5770 Hawk x 2 (one every month)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Oracle Giving Students Free Passes to JavaOne Conference

JavaOne and Oracle Develop are offering free Discover Passes to all qualifying students offering those students complimentary admission to the upcoming JavaOne and Oracle Develop conferences.

What Students Get: Admission to any session in the Java Frontier track for students, JavaOne, Oracle Develop and OpenWorld keynotes, three Exhibition Halls and the Mason street tent. Space permitting, you can also attend any JavaOne and Oracle Develop technical sessions, Birds-of-a-Feather sessions (BOFs), and Hands-on-Lab (HOL) sessions.

On top of the benefits that the free Discover Pass to qualifying students offers we have organized a special Java Frontier track for students. These sessions are designed for those with some or no programming experience. Students with no programming experience will discover tools and projects related to programming. Students with programming experience will learn tricks and tips for programming complex logic and deepen their knowledge of projects like Open Source.

To qualify for the free passes you must be enrolled in an accredited nonprofit institutions of learning during the Fall semester/quarter of 2010, taking a minimum of six (6) units, and you must be at least 18 years old.

JavaOne and Oracle Develop are being held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco September 19 - 23, 2010

To Register: Call the JavaOne and Oracle Develop help desk Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time) at 1.866.382.7151 (U.S. and Canada) or +1.650.226.0820 (international).

or

Create a PDF copy of your current Student ID and your 2010 Fall schedule of classes and either e-mail to javaoneinfo@eventreg.com or Fax to +1.650.226.0840. Your credentials will be reviewed, and if you qualify, you will be sent a confirmation e-mail with event registration details.

More details:

eBay Tightens PayPal's Monopoly Officially Bans Third Party Online Checkout Options

Most eBay sellers that are familiar with the eBay seller agreement know that eBay holds a tight reign on the services sellers can use to collect payments and while Google Checkout and several other third party services have never explicitly been disallowed the company has never listed most of them as accepted payment services.

According to a recent post by Todd Lutwak, eBay’s vice president of the seller experience, the company is instituting a new policy that will disallow collections of payments from not only Google Checkout but any and all third party online payment services.

Once the new policy takes affect PayPal will stand as the only online payment method available to users. The company claims the move is intended “to give eBay buyers a consistent, speedy checkout experience and to ensure support for fast-growing sales via mobile platforms...,”

Clearly this has more to do with eBay owning PayPal than the user experience. Users have for years complained about the monopolistic approach eBay has taken towards PayPal. This seems to me nothing more than eBay looking to further double dip on their sellers!

Read more via eBay:

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Apple's Press Event In A Nutshell

Personally I hate sitting through press events, even if I could do it from the comfort of my own home as with today's streaming event from Apple. There is something about hearing company clonies dragging on and on about their latest greatest product and how much I need it in my life that kind of bores me. So I wait for the condensed version, dissect it, and draw from it the information I want or need.

Well for those of you that share my disdain for the ramblings of cooperate heads here is the condensed version of Apple big event:

Apple Introduces New iPod touch

Apple announced the new iPod touch, packed with new features including Apple’s Retina display featuring 960 x 640 pixels—four times as many pixels than before, FaceTime video calling, HD video recording, Apple’s A4 chip, 3-axis gyro, iOS 4.1 and Game Center—all combined in a new thinner and lighter iPod. The new iPod touch features up to 40 hours of music playback and seven hours of video playback on a single battery charge.

The new iPod touch will be available next week for a suggested price of $229 for the 8GB model, $299 for the 32GB model and $399 (US) for the 64GB model through the Apple Store (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

MacMall iPod Superstore
Apple Announces New iPod nano With Multi-Touch Interface and iPod Shuffle

Apple today unveiled a completely redesigned iPod nano featuring Apple’s Multi-Touch interface that lets users navigate their music collection by simply tapping or swiping a finger on the display. Nearly half the size and weight of the previous generation, the new iPod nano features a polished aluminum and glass enclosure with a built-in clip.

The new wearable iPod shuffle has an all-aluminum enclosure with a built-in clip and comes in five brilliant colors—silver, blue, green, orange and pink. The new new iPod shuffle will sale for just $49 while the new iPod nano with Multi-Touch will have a starting price of $149 and should be on-sale in time for the holiday season.

Apple Introduces iTunes 10 With Ping Social Music Discovery

One of the more exciting announcement was the announcement of the newest version of iTunes, iTunes 10 with Ping, a new music-oriented social network for following your favorite artists and friends to discover what music they’re talking about, listening to and downloading. iTunes Ping lets you post your thoughts and opinions, your favorite albums and songs, the music you’ve downloaded from iTunes, plus view concert listings and tell your friends which concerts you plan to attend.

iTunes 10 will also allow users to rent their favorite HD TV shows commercial free from ABC, ABC Family, Fox, Disney Channel and BBC America and watch them at home or on the go for just 99 cents an episode. Apple promises that thousands of episodes are going to be available, many the day after broadcast, to watch on your Mac or PC, iPhone, iPod touch and the all-new Apple TV, and you have 30 days from the moment you rent an episode to start watching it, and 48 hours after that to finish it.

iTunes 10 is available immediately as a free download at www.itunes.com.

Apple Premieres a New Smaller Apple TV

Apple's new entry into the set-top market is the new $99 Apple TV box. The new Apple TV box features streaming content from ABC, ABC Family, Fox, Disney Channel and BBC America for just 99 cents and first run movies for $4.99. Users will also have the option to stream content from Netflix, YouTube, Flickr and MobileMe, as well as music, photos and videos from PCs and Macs to directly to their HD TVs.

Apple TV will be available late this month for a suggested retail price of $99 (US) and can be pre-ordered beginning today on Apple’s online store (www.apple.com).

Virgin Mobile Now Offering $40 Unlimited Mobile Broadband2Go Plan

Starting last week Virgin Mobile updated the companies mobile Broadband2Go service with two new price tiers a new $40 unlimited mobile broadband plan and an inexpensive $10 option for 100 MB, good for 10 days from purchase.

“Many unlimited broadband offerings require a contract or are on networks with limited range, so they don’t meet the need for flexibility or true mobility,” said Neil Lindsay, chief marketing officer, Virgin Mobile USA.  “The introduction of Virgin Mobile’s prepaid unlimited broadband for $40 a month will provide the access you need on a nationwide network without a contract.”

New Broadband2Go Plans
Signing up for the new unlimited plan also means customers no longer need to monitor data usage – and try to figure out how much they need --

Price        Expires    MBs/GBs    Web Browsing        Video        Emails
$40        1 month        Unlimited    Unlimited        Unlimited    Unlimited

$10        10 Days        100 MB        5 HRS            25 MIN        10,000

To use Virgin Mobile's new mobile broadband plans, you must also purchase the carrier's MiFi 2200 mobile hotspot for $150 or the Ovation MC760 USB device for $80. Devices are available at Best Buy, RadioShack , Sprint Stores, Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile stores, Walmart and online at BestBuy.com, Target.com, Walmart.com and VirginMobileUSA.com.

Source: Virgin Mobile Press Release

Microsoft Makes Arc Touch Mouse Official

After weeks of the Microsoft Hardware team teasing about a new device on Twitter the company has made the device official with the announcement of the new Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse.



The new mouse features Microsoft’s first capacitive sensing touch scroll strip for easy navigation — just move a finger slowly for controlled scrolling or flick for hyperfast scrolling. The strip also has three tap “buttons” for added functionality: page up, page down and the middle click area, which is reprogrammable for whatever mouse function the user needs most. Switching from a scroll wheel to a touch strip is made easier with haptics, a vibration technology that simulates the bumps users would feel while using a traditional scroll wheel.

The Arc Touch Mouse is equipped with BlueTrack Technology, letting consumers track on virtually any surface, and a tiny magnetic snap-in Nano transceiver stores conveniently on the bottom of the mouse. Two AAA batteries give the Arc Touch Mouse more than six months of battery life, and the two-color battery life indicators let people know when the power is running low.



The Arc Touch Mouse will be available for the estimated retail price of $69.95 (U.S.). It is available now for presale on Amazon.com, BestBuy.com and Buy.com, and it will ship in early December.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Apple Will be Streaming Tomorrow’s Big Apple Event Live

For all you Apple Fanboy and girls out there that are interested in what Apple has hidden up it's sleeve you will get your chance to watch live with the rest of us.

Apple has just announced that anyone owning either a Mac running Safari on Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard, an iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 3.0 or higher, or an iPad will be able to watch the big press event live at Apple.com, starting at 10AM Pacific.

Sorry none Apple owners you are going to have to wait for the follow-up video, or you'll have to catch a your favorite bloggers live blogging the event. For those running Firefox there may be a few workarounds, namely the User Agent Switcher add-on. Using the add-on you can make Firefox appear to sites as an iPhone, iPad or other Mac OS device.

Here's a list of Firefox User Agent Strings that can be used to replace the current MS string and of course you'll need to know which settings to change. For that I suggest checking out one of these tutorials

iFixit Now Offers Gaming Console Repair Guides, Tools and Parts

Those geeks over at iFixit may be best known for their teardowns and guides for smartphones and other mobile devices but that is about to change. iFixit has decided to push into a relatively untapped market: gamers who want fully detailed guides on how to open their systems, work on the innards, replace parts and keep them alive. The site will be offering a combination of information and products, mixing how-to manuals with specialized tools and replacement parts.

Once You Know, You Newegg
Right now there are repair guides for 24 gaming consoles, including 206 repairs and upgrades. Some of these fixes deal with major issues, such as the infamous Red Ring of Death from the Xbox 360, but others are simpler. For instance, right now there is no easy way to clean out the fans inside your console, something that any geek knows should be fairly routine maintenance. With an iFixit teardown guide you can now d-i-y it.

Some of the other guides go through more complicated procedures, some of which will take a little know how, like learning how to replace broken LCD screens on your portables or replace the motherboard on your PlayStation 3.

iFixit's repair guides are great. They are very well written and easy to follow, chocked full of pics so you know exactly what you are doing and they offer user interaction by way of editing similar to a iki. There is also forum style question section so you can ask those hard to answer questions.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Say So Long To ATI, AMD Kills Off The ATI Brand

AMD has decided to dissolved the ATI brand completely, and consolidated ATI brands, such as Radeon and FirePro under the AMD main brand. AMD which purchsed ATI back in 2006 for $5.4 billion point to recent research which the company says indicates that people prefer the AMD name to the ATI name. Under the new branding scheme, all of AMD's new graphics products (such as the upcoming Radeon HD 6000 series), will do away with "ATI" completely from the logo, marketing material, and so on, and the market will, as it already has been doing since the AMD-ATI merger, albeit informally, refer to Radeon/FirePro products as "AMD Radeon" and "AMD FirePro".



THis move really comes as no big surprise. Most of us know the ATI name doesn’t mean a whole bunch these days, in fact most of us interchange the AMD/ATI names when referring to GPU's anyways. For me it’s more of a nostalgia thing. “Oh man, they’re phasing out the ATI name that has been here for ages!" I recently took part of in an AMD insight study where they showed off several new logo designs, some of which were for the new AMD Radeon logos some were new ATI designs. Looking back at the study it doesn’t surprise me that their research pointed to more people liking the new AMD Radeon logos over the new ATI logos they had. Those things were funky and IMO ugly.