Saturday, May 31, 2008

Amazon Kindle Price Reduced to $359, Now Back In Stock

From Gizmodo -

The Kindle is back in stock and it's now available for a reduced price, dropping from $399 to $359.

Amazon website here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Laptop Pillows Are Expensively Cool For Your Thigh Hairs

From Gizmodo -

Laptop pillows from Intelligent Forms are pillows soft enough to keep on your lap for an extended period. They come in three flavors, Log, Button and Terrapin and will cost $160 US/CDN when released.

Colombia to buy 65,000 OLPC Laptops

Cambridge, Mass., May 29, 2008 - One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a non-profit organization focused on providing educational tools to help children in developing countries "learn learning," announced today that the State of Caldas, Colombia, has signed a purchase agreement for 65,000 XO laptop computers to be distributed to children in one of the country's most important coffee-growing regions.

Upon signing the purchase order, Caldas's Governor Mario Aristizabal, said, "My government and our State legislators are fully committed to giving each and every child of primary school age the same opportunity to access knowledge as the most privileged children in New York, Berlin or Tokyo. The One Laptop per Child program is the right vehicle to reach that goal and its potential socio-economic impact cannot be under-emphasized."

"We are very pleased that Colombia has committed to working with us to in order to bring a modern education to their primary school children," said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child. "OLPC is now gaining good traction in signing up countries to undertake significant deployments."

The first wave of 15,000 units to be deployed later in 2008 will be in Caldas's smaller towns and rural areas. For the capital Manizales, a separate agreement is being discussed so that total coverage of the State is achieved. Governor Aristizabal is spearheading a local team that will provide support and implementation capabilities to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project. The remaining 50,000 units will be deployed in 2008 and 2009.

HTC Dream Android Phone Shown Off at Google Conference

Thursday, May 29, 2008

MS on track to release Win 7 multi-touch SDK in Oct

From Engadget -

Microsoft is reportedly on track to release its multi-touch SDK at its Professional Developers' Conference in October. Details on the SDK are still sketch. However, with the company only going so far as to say that its session at PDC will "highlight the new multi-touch gesture APIs and explain how you can leverage them in your applications."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

June 29 Might Be Like Y2K for U.S. Airlines

From Gizmodo -

The U.S. airline industry is switching flight plans for all domestic flights over to the international standard on June 29. So you might want to be prepared just in case the switchover ends up with some Y2K-effect and screws up flight schedules.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Inkjet Refill Racket

Came across an old but rather informative article at Popular Science on inkjet refills. To summarize it, at up to $8,000 per gallon, inkjet ink is by far among the most expensive liquid in the consumer market today - far far more expensive than gasoline even with the huge increase of recent days.

Basically, inkjet printers are the new razors of today. Printer manufacturers practically give away the printers - heck, they are being bundled for free with computers. Then they gouge you every time the ink runs out. Since ink cartridges are not universally compatible, you are pretty much stuck shelling out the equivalent of $3,000 and $5,000 per gallon of ink whenever you buy your printer's manufacturer's cartridges. (That's how HP's imaging and printing group accounted for 40% of HP's USD2.63 billion profits from the last quarter alone.)

It is not surprising therefore the printer manufacturers has taken the offense against low-cost generic refill cartridges via lawsuits and installing chips on both their printers and cartridges that prevent the use of other brands. Similarly, the manufacturers have also made it much more difficult for consumers or third party service providers to refill their cartridges using generic ink.

The article does put things in sobering perspective, doesn't it?

Source article here.

Triumph reveals the charger bra with an AC/DC cup

From Shiny Shiny -

Triumph Japan has unveiled a solar-powered bra that is capable of generating enough electricity to charge a mobile phone or iPod. The environmentally, and aptly colored solar power bra includes a solar panel worn around the waist. This is the part that generates electricity when exposed to sunlight. The electricity is distributed to various types of devices when the power cable is connected.

OCZ Debuts Build-It-Yourself Notebook PC

From Extremetech -

OCZ's DIY Gaming Notebook includes the basics a 15.4-inch WXGA display, an Intel PM965 chipset, an Nviida GeForce 8600MGT/512 Mbyte video card, and an 8X DVD±R/RW combo drive capable of reading and writing four-layer discs. But beyond that, the user will have to supply CPU, memory, hard drive and operating system. The idea is that in exchange for a little elbow grease, a customer can end up buying the specific CPU he or she wants from other vendors, without paying OCZ a markup for providing and installing it.

Source article here.

OCZ Technology website.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

66% Apple Market Share For Sales of High-End PCs

From Slashdot -

In the lucrative $1,000 and over PC segment, Apple's retail market share was 66% for Q1 08. This includes a 64% market share for laptops and a market share for desktops of 70%. Actually, as pointed out by Fortune this segment is somewhat Apple's by default, since Dell, HP, and Lenovo sell the bulk of their machines in the $500-$750 range, and Apple has only one model selling for less than $1,000.

Source article here.

Taking your laptop into the US? Be sure to hide all your data first

From the Guardian -

A US court has ruled that border agents can search your laptop, or any other electronic device including mobile phones and PDAs, when you're entering the country. They can take your computer and download its entire contents, or keep it for several days. Actually the US is not alone - British customs agents search laptops for pornography. And there are reports such searches happen at other borders, too.

So how do you protect yourself?

While you can go through all sorts of protecting your data via passwords and encryption ( or, ultimately the best defense is to delete questionable or confidential data. Border patrol agents can't read what is not there.

If you don't want to delete the data, you can consider transferring them to those small memory cards that you can keep in your wallet where they will likely go unnoticed.

Source article here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Nokia preparing Linux-based phones

From Engadget -

Nokia CFO Rick Simonson has revealed this week his company will be releasing some Linux-based cellphones in the future. However Simonson refused to reveal what flavor of mobile Linux would be used; borrowing from its tablets might make sense, but the emerging Android and LiMo are pretty hard to ignore, too.

Source article here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Astak's e-book reader beats rivals in price

From Crave -

Astak has announced its Mentor line of ebook readers. All the models run Windows CE 5.0 and have E-Ink screens starting at 5" all the way up to 9.7". WiFi is standard on some models but optional for the smallest model which has a 5" screen and is priced at under USD200.

Source article here

Friday, May 16, 2008

Open Sugar & Microsoft: End of OLPC As We Know It?

OM Malik, in a GigaOM post, believes that with OLPC’s Open Sugar platform being adopted for new hardware platforms by Sugar Labs and more importantly, Windows XP going to be available on OLPC machines (Sugar will be ported over to Windows), it is the end of OLPC as we know it.

While Malik thinks a lot of people will disagree with him, I totally agree with him.

After all, the availability of Windows XP on the OLPC does make it different from what the people behind OLPC had set out to do — build a truly open, low-cost connected computing device for kids around the world. A Windows-based OLPC will be no different from the myriad of ultraportables currently available. In fact, it is doubtful if it will be able to compete with the new generation of low-cost Atom-based models.

While the initial OLPC concept was worth supporting, it was unfortunately the project ran into one problem after another from the get-go. It was as much saddled by internal conflicts as by external market trends, specifically the emergence of alternatives for low-cost mobile computing, led by the Asus Eee PC.

Somehow, given all the setbacks, in hindsight, the recent developments was not unexpected.

Source article here.

Samsung's 12.1-inch OLED laptop concept

From Engadget -

Samsung is showing off an ultra-thin, AMOLED laptop concept with 12.1-inches and 1,280 x 768 resolution with infinite contrast. It is still a concept but the extra panel around the back definitely looks weird. With Samsung projecting 14- to 15.4-inch OLED laptops in 2009, this might come sooner than you think.

Source article here.

Internet telephone encryption stumps police

An old but interesting article from the Sydney Morning Herald -

German police are unable to decipher the encryption used in the internet telephone software Skype to monitor calls by suspected criminals and terrorists.

"The encryption with Skype telephone software ... creates grave difficulties for us," Joerg Ziercke, president of Germany's Federal Police Office (BKA) told reporters, "We can't decipher it. That's why we're talking about source telecommunication surveillance -- that is, getting to the source before encryption or after it's been decrypted."

Experts say SVoIP software are difficult to intercept because they work by breaking up voice data into small packets and switching them along thousands of router paths instead of a constant circuit between two parties, as with a traditional call.

Source Article here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

VIA's Tiny Pico-ITX Motherboards Get Even Smaller

From Gizmodo -
The new Pico-ITX motherboard, EPIA PX5000EG—a 500MHz can be cooled without a bulky fan, enabling it to be reduced even smaller than its predecessors - down to to a minuscule 3.9" x 2.8.

By the way, VIA is holding a contest where competitors must guess how long the PX5000EG can survive running Ubuntu 8.04 Linux and playing an MPEG-4 video without any cooling whatsoever.

Source Article here.

Asus motherboard scandal

From the Bleeding Edge -

Gigabyte has openly accused rival Asus of lying about the power-saving capabilities of its Energy Processing Unit (EPU) in its new motherboards. Asus had previously claimed its EPU motherboards trumped the power-saving performance of Gigabyte DES equivalents.

Asus has claimed power savings of up to 80.23% from its EPU boards, but Gigabyte claims Asus has made no changes via firmware, design or component changes, and in an act that if true, can only be interpreted as gross cynicism if not outright fraud, simply changed the numbers on product advertisement and packaging. Worse, Gigabyte claims Asus is fooling its customers by using poor-quality capacitors which are known to likely to blow under load.

In addition there are suggestions that a journalist may have been involved in commercial espionage with Asus against Gigabyte.

Source article here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Philadelphia's WiFi in jeopardy

From CNET News -

The fate of Philadephia's Wi-Fi deployment is in limbo after provider EarthLink stopped accepting new customers last week and has supposedly given the city a deadline of this week to come up with a plan to take over the network or sell it to a third party.

EarthLink, which fronted $20 million to build the network and has completed 80% of the build-out, had previously aggressively pushed its municipal Wi-Fi strategy. But after the death of its CEO Garry Betty in early 2007, it had a change of heart. Within months, the company got out of several contracts with cities such as San Francisco and Houston. Early this year it announced it was abandoning the business altogether, and it started negotiating with five cities in which networks had already been built or partially built. The city governments of Corpus Christi, TX and Milpitas, CA decided to take ownership of the networks and run them themselves. But New Orleans, LA did not and will have its network dismantled starting May 18.

Source article here.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Windows is 'collapsing,' Gartner analysts warn

From Computerworld Australia -

At a Gartner-sponsored conference in Las Vegas, analysts Michael Silver and Neil MacDonald said in their presentation "Windows Is Collapsing: How What Comes Next Will Improve," Microsoft has not responded to the market, is overburdened by nearly two decades of legacy code and decisions and faces serious competition on a whole host of fronts that will make Windows moot unless Microsoft make adjustments.

Among the problems is Windows' rapidly-expanding code base, which makes it virtually impossible to quickly craft a significantly new version. That was proved by Vista, when Microsoft, frustrated by the lack of progress of the five-year development effort on the new OS, hit the "reset" button and dropped back to the more stable code of Windows Server 2003 as the foundation of Vista.

Other analysts have pointed out the slow move toward Vista. Last month, Forrester said that by the end of 2007 only 6.3% of the 50,000 enterprise users it surveyed were working with Vista. What gains Vista made during its first year appeared to be at the expense of Windows 2000; Windows XP's share hardly budged.

You can read the source article here.

Google gives Web developers a leg up with App Engine

From Computerworld -

Google is giving 10,000 developers the chance to create and run their Web applications on its infrastructure with the launch Tuesday of a preview release of Google App Engine.

"The goal is to make it easy to get started with a new Web app, and then make it easy to scale when that app reaches the point where it's receiving significant traffic and has millions of users," said Google product manager, Paul McDonald in a blog post.

"Google App Engine gives you access to the same building blocks that Google uses for its own applications, making it easier to build an application that runs reliably, even under heavy load and with large amounts of data."

The preview is available for the first 10,000 developers who sign up, with plans to increase that number in near future. It is open to developers from around the globe, and the preview release, at present, is just in English.

You can read the entire article here.

New Massive Botnet Twice the Size of Storm

From Dark Reading -

A new botnet twice the size of Storm has ballooned to an army of over 400,000 bots, including machines in the Fortune 500. The so-called Kraken botnet has been spotted in at least 50 Fortune 500 companies and is undetectable in over 80 percent of machines running antivirus software. Kraken appears to be evading detection by a combination of clever obfuscation techniques, including regularly updating its binary code and structuring the code in such a way that hinders any static analysis.

Kraken's successful infiltration of major enterprises is a wakeup call that bots aren't just a consumer problem.

You can read the entire article here.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bluetooth gives spies a window into your life

From New Scientist Tech -

Vassilis Kostakos's team at the University of Bath, UK used four Bluetooth receivers to tracked 10,000 Bluetooth phones over four months and was able to "capture and analyze people's encounters" in pubs, streets and shops.

More details available here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

MacBook Air users still faced with overheating problems?

According to Engadget they are still hearing reports of MacBook Air overheating woe, well after an EFI update in April that was meant to address some of those problems. While hot computers are nothing new, the MacBook Air starts shutting down cores and offloading processes when things get bad, which means users are faced with aggravating stop-start freezing until they can manage to cool the computer off -- or just put it to sleep and let it "rest."

You can read the entire article here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lenovo IdeaPad U110 Review

Gizmodo has a review of the Lenovo IdeaPad U110 - and the verdict? It's buyable. It is not the fastest Vista laptop, and nor does it have a decent battery life if you keep the ultra-sexy form factor. (The more powerful battery is a lot bigger.) But it is fully-capable laptop and extremely mobile at that. The only possible deal breaker is the price - at USD1899, it is USD100 more expensive than the MacBook Air.

Monday, May 5, 2008

LapLogic Aerogel Extreme LapDesks Reviewed

From Slashgear -

LapLogic sandwiches a layer of Aerogel - the best thermal insulator known to man, and capable of a 99.9% reduction in heat transfer - between non-slip fabric to make their
LapDesks products. SlashGear reviewed their G800 Aerogel Extreme LapDesk and the W800 Aerogel Extreme Wide cousin, the latter having an extra mousing area.

Both feature standoffs to increase the air-gap to 0.5"h, transparent pockets for CDs, DVDs or business cards, and - in the case of the W800 - a ScotchGuard-coated ballistic nylon mouse pad. The G800 measures 11 x 16 x 1-inches and weighs 16oz; the W800 at measures 11 x 20 x 1-inches and weighs 26oz.

Quality of both LapDesks is very good with the non-slip coating successfully gripping both thighs and notebook. The LapLogic pads are obviously more expensive: $69.95 for the G800 and $79.95 for the W800. Their performance, however, recommends them despite the cost.

You can read the entire article here.

Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 available for download

Per Engadget the latest flavor of Ubuntu is finally ready for mass consumption.

You can download Ubuntu 8.04 here.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Samsung Uses Indy to Market its Rose Crystal HDTVs

From Gizmodo -

Samsung has tied up with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for a bit of cross promotion. Both the 50" and 58" models of its Rose Crystal HDTV come with a DVD copy of the movie, as well as movie theater tickets.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Unboxing the HP 2133 (Mini-Note)

tnkgrl's HP2133 finally arrived. Specs are as follows - KX870AT model (1.6 GHz CPU, 2 GB RAM, 7200 rpm 120 GB HD, Bluetooth, 6-cell battery, Windows Vista Business)…

First impressions include exceptional build quality.

Build quality is exceptional - the screen and keyboard are great, trackpad feels tiny and the power jack sticks out in an unwieldy way while connected.

You can read the original post here.

You can view the unboxing gallery at Flickr here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Water-cooled laptop stand - $6

Digital Composting has a very simple, inexpensive tip for a water-cooled laptop stand - a $6 (from Amazon hot water bottle!

"Fill it up with tap-water (room-temperature is fine) and insert strategically between laptop and lap. It’s comfy, acts as a nice heat-sink, and as a bonus it probably blocks a fair bit of the dangerous ‘electronic rays’ that are shooting out of the bottom of the computer straight at your important bits."

Full article here.