Thursday, January 29, 2009

USB to HDMI Adapter - With Caveats
Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer, Grandtec, claims that it is now shipping "the world's first USB to HDMI converter"--the Grand HD Cinema. Grandtec claims that the Grand HD Cinema can use your Windows XP or Vista system's USB 2.0 ports to send 720p HD video to an HDMI-equipped display, such as widescreen HD LCD or plasma TV...
Google Launches ISP Throttling Detector
Never one to sit idly by on the sidelines and let things play out on their own, Google has always tried to play an active roll in shaping how Internet technology is used and regulated. Net neutrality is one of the concerns that Google has been very vocal about, and now Google is putting tools into the hands of researchers and everyday users to help us determine if ISPs are "blocking or throttling particular applications," such as using traffic shaping and network prioritization practices--just like the ones Cox Communications announced it will be experimenting with starting next month in Kansas and Arkansas...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Non-QWERTY Keyboard For Hunt-and-Peckers
Tradition says that there are two primary kinds of typists: touch-typists who are familiar enough with a keyboard's layout to type without having to look at the keyboard while they type, and hunt-and-peck typists who must visually locate each key they want to hit. The vast majority of English-language keyboard users--be them touch-typists or hunt-and-peckers--type on keyboards that use the QWERTY layout. While this layout might have performed a specific function back in 1874 when it was originally patented, there is no real technical reason why this particular layout has endured, other than tradition. Now a pair of Philadelphia women is looking to offer a more-logically laid-out keyboard for the hunt-and-peck set with the Fast Finger Keyboard...
Have Security Software, Will Travel
If cloud computing truly is the future, then this means that we'll likely be accessing our data from many different computers and devices--a number of which might belong to other parties. If you are like us, we get a little nervous when accessing our data on someone else's PC--it sort of feels like handing our wallet over to a stranger for a moment. For those who tend to use third-party PCs on a regular basis--such as at Internet Cafes or libraries--one way to feel a little more protected is to use portable security software...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Google: Spam Volume on the Rise Again
If you've noticed more spam in your inbox recently, it's not necessarily because you are now getting more spam that you used to. In fact, spam levels are still lower now than where they were this time last year. No, the increase is just spam slowly working its way back to its "normal" levels after it significantly dropped off last November. Sadly, we were all just momentarily lulled into a sense of false hope. The party is officially over...
Transient Malware is the New Online Threat
Security software company, AVG Technologies, reports that as many as 300,000 new, unique Websites launch every day, whose sole purpose is to infect visiting computers with malware. Not only has this number jumped up from as many as 200,000 only three months earlier, but many of these sites stay active for only a short period of time--sometimes just a day or two--giving them just enough time to infect enough PCs, but then disappear before they are routed out or blacklisted...
Daniel Begun Interviewed Live on Computer and Technology Radio About Skype
(01/24/2009)
Segment 03: Skype at Your Service with Daniel Begun
Guest Daniel Begun from Skype. Marsha Collier talks to him about how to use the service and new uses.
Segment 04: The New MAC Beta Revealed with Skype's Daniel Begun
Daniel Begun from Skype continues exposing undocumented features and the new MAC beta.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Congressman Proposes "Anti-Upskirt" Law
Congressman, Peter King (R), of New York State's Third Congressional District, introduced a bill to congress earlier this month that some might call the "Anti-Upskirt Bill." The actual name of the bill is the "Camera Phone Predator Alert Act" (HR 414), and its aim is to make it into law that all camera phones must "make a sound when a photograph is taken...
Streaming Your Problems Live Over the Internet
Perhaps one of the oldest forms of entertainment is that of witnessing other people's problems. The Greek playwright, Aeschylus, may have given us the tragedy as a parable, but radio and TV have given us first-hand insights into people's real-life, self-destructive behavior from the likes of the Lovline call-in radio show to the Dr. Phil TV talk show. Now airing your love problems for the world to see is about to invade the most ubiquitous medium of them all--the Internet--with the Webcam-centric, live, "call-in" show, LuvChat...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Verizon Reinvents the Home Phone
One of the reasons why cell phones are increasingly replacing landlines as the only phone service in some households is because cell phones can typically do much more than landline-based telephone units can. Cell phones have essentially become miniature computers with sophisticated audio-visual capabilities; whereas most landline phones do little more than make and receive phone calls and perhaps also act as speakerphones or answering machines. Verizon Wireless is looking to change your expectations of what a landline phone can do with its new Verizon Hub telephone, which includes a lot of the functionality you would expect from a multimedia cell phone...
Best Buy Kicks Off Nationwide Recycling Program
If you are looking to get rid of an old computer, TV, or consumer electronics device, all Best Buy stores, nationwide, will help you recycle it. Starting on the day after Valentine's Day--Sunday, February 15--all 1,006 of the Best Buy stores in the U.S. (Puerto Rico will be added in 2010), will be participating in Best Buy's new electronics recycling program...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Trojan Horse Targets Macs
Mac-based security software company, Intego, is warning that a Trojan horse targeting Macs is actively out in the wild and that at least 20,000 users have already downloaded (although not necessarily installed) infected software. The Trojan horse has the name OSX.Trojan.iServices.A and it is piggybacking on pirated copies of Apple's new iWork '09, which users are downloading via BitTorrent...
Corsair Silently Launches Its First SSD
Although there is no mention that the product even exists on Corsair's own Website, U.K.-based online retailer, Scan, purports to now be selling a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD) from Corsair. As a matter of fact, Corsair's site makes no mention that the company has even entered into the SSD market; albeit, such a move is a logical choice for a memory manufacturer, as other memory makers, such as Crucial, Kingston, and OCZ, have already made the plunge into SSDs...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Two Methods for Measuring SSD Lifespans
Solid State Drives (SSDs) are very quickly becoming a very popular alternative to traditional, platter-based hard drives. Not only can SSDs read and write data quicker, but since they have no moving parts, they can withstand a lot more abuse than traditional hard drives. SSDs are still relatively expensive and available storage capacity limits still pale in comparison to today's traditional hard drive options; but as the technology matures, prices are steadily coming down, and storage capacities are going up. If not for one significant potential flaw, SSDs might appear to be the perfect storage medium...
Mobile Phone Spending Exceeds That of Landlines
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that at the beginning of 2007, mobile phone expenditures exceeded that of expenditures for residential landline phone services. This marks the first time ever in the U.S. that consumers had spent more for mobile phone services than for traditional landline phone services...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pandora Adds Audio Ads
Pandora's free Internet streaming radio service just got a little less free. Well, it still doesn't cost you anything, but it is no longer commercial free. Pandora made the following announcements on its Twitter feed today: "Yes, for those asking, we have implemented a few audio ads. Not to worry, they won't be frequent or long. We gotta pay those bills. :)" "So you know, we did not take on audio ads lightly. We try to be extremely respectful of your listening experience, & promise to be prudent...
Insurance For When You Can't Play WoW
There's an old saying in the insurance business: If you have enough money, you can purchase insurance for just about anything--that's something that Lloyd's of London has been doing for years. YouPlayOrWePay.com is no Lloyd's, but it is now offering insurance for something that until now seemed to be uninsurable: your World of Warcraft (WoW) downtime. YouPlayOrWePay.com doesn't actually call it "insurance," but instead refers to it as "third party compensation"--which is also another way of saying that this downtime compensation is not coming from WoW's Blizzard Entertainment...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Google's Latest Experiment: Preferred Sites
Searching via Google can be as much art as it is science. Yes, you can simply input what you are searching for and hope that some relevant results pop up somewhere in the first few ranked results. But when your search topic is somewhat obscure, complicated, or even too broad, you often have to tailor your search by carefully selecting which words to include and which ones to leave out. For true power-searches, Google's Advanced Search operators are a must...
Inauguration To Be Streamed Using Silverlight
There will no shortage of ways in which you'll be able to view tomorrow's Presidential Inauguration Events, either via TV or online. But regardless of the plethora of options available, that hasn't stopped the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) from also promising to host "live and on-demand video streaming of the official inauguration swearing-in ceremony on the PIC Web site." Perhaps what is most significant about the PIC's decision to stream the live event online is that it has chosen to do so using Microsoft's Silverlight technology...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Boost Mobile's $50 Unlimited Everything Plan
It was only last year that many of the major U.S. mobile phone service providers eventually settled on a rate of $99.99 per month for unlimited, nationwide voice calls. This has been a boon for heavy users of mobile phones as it has brought down the cost of their monthly phone bills. But folks who also use their phones for data access usually have to pay an additional fee for that service. A few smaller service providers, such as MetroPCS and Cricket, are able to undercut the big companies by offering nationwide, unlimited voice calls at about half of what the major providers charge; but unless you live in and plan to use your phone in one of the very limited areas that MetroPCS and Cricket have coverage in, these less expensive plans will be of no use to you...
GPUs Used to Successfully Crack Wi-Fi Passwords
Because of the computational power of today's GPUs, GPUs are starting to be harnessed more and more to help out CPUs with some hardcore number crunching. That is the concept behind Nvidia's CUDA, ATI's Stream, and Apple's OpenCL frameworks. There aren't many apps available yet that take advantage of these relatively new technologies, but the ranks are slowly growing. The latest GPU-assisted app to come available is one designed for IT managers to make sure their wireless networks are secure--and inevitably for hackers to try to break into wireless networks...
Search Multiple Sites Simultaneously
Google might be the most popular search engine, but it is by no means the only search engine people use. In fact, when people are truly digging for information it is not unheard of for them to use more than one search engine to find what they are looking for. So why not use multiple search engines at the same time? That's what the folks over at SearchBoth.com have allowed you to do--using the two most popular search engines, Google and Yahoo!, SearchBoth.com essentially mashed-up both sites, giving side-by-side results. Now SearchBoth has taken their mash-up a big step further and have added a bunch more sites you can perform simultaneous searches on--including not just other search sites, but also travel, shopping, apartment rental, and job sites, as well as others...
Quake Live Beta Opens To More Players
The Quake franchise has been one of the most popular game series of all time, with versions available for Windows PCs, Macs, Xbox 360, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 3, and even mobile phones, among other platforms. Back in 2007, id Software announced that it was working on a free, browser-based version of Quake, which id initially called Quake Zero. The name changed to Quake Live, and the beta program kicked off in 2008. In the last few days, users who had previously requested beta invitations, but who had not initially received them, are now reporting that they are finally being invited to join the Quake Live beta program. Not only does this mean that more people can now get a glimpse of the game, but it also indicates that the game's development has likely taken a significant move towards its official release...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Google Launches Quick Search Box App for Mac
If there is one aspect of the Mac OS that Mac users love to gripe about it is OS X's desktop search feature, Spotlight, which was initially introduced in OS X 10.4. While it does an adequate job of searching a Mac system's files, its functionality leaves a lot to be desired. Even with improvements to Spotlight, such as adding Boolean search operators with the release of OS X 10.5 (Leopard), many Mac users still feel that Spotlight is missing a lot of needed functionality; and because Apple has been unable to adequately meet the needs of many of its users, third-party developers stepped in and produced more functional applications to perform system searches--as well as act as application launchers--such as LaunchBar, Butler, and QuickSilver...
Diagnose WiFi Problems With a Spectrum Analyzer
Maintaining a wireless network in a business environment can be a royal pain in the neck. Just because your wireless network worked flawlessly yesterday, doesn't mean that some new and unknown electronic device won't start causing interference today--which could slow your wireless network down or possibly render it inoperable altogether. For many businesses these days, keeping a wireless network up and running is mission critical; and being able to find the source of interference and the ability to do something about it is an essential element of wireless network management in business environments...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Track Your Child's Location Using GPS
There's something about becoming a parent that seems to raise your paranoia quotient; it probably has a lot to do with becoming responsible for another human being's safety and welfare--especially when that being lacks the years of experience, wisdom, and distrust that adults eventually accumulate. Of course, it doesn't help when the evening news is rife with stories of child kidnappings. Whether rational or not, it is this primal fear of losing a child combined with propensity for the news to cover seemingly every child kidnapping story that has given rise to the burgeoning market of child-tracking and child-location devices...
LG's New NAS Device Has Built-In Blu-ray Burner
Blu-ray might not be supplanting DVD as the preeminent optical storage medium for data and media anytime soon, but it is at least slowly seeing growing market share. Korean-based manufacturer, LG, for one, believes in the future of Blu-ray as it recently unveiled a couple of new Blu-ray-based products, including what LG claims is "the world's first Network Attached Storage device with a built-in Blu-ray drive...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Some Details Revealed About The Obamamobile
It's being called "Stagecoach," "The Beast," "Cadillac One," and even the "Obamamobile;" but no matter what name it goes by, the new presidential limousine is getting a lot of attention for its looks and largely secret technology. The limo's official name is the unimaginative "2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine," it was custom-made for the Secret Service by General Motors (GM), and it is expected to go into official service starting at Obama's presidential inauguration on January 20th...
AMD Launches the ATI 4600 Series Mobile GPU
Oops! It looks like someone at Asus might have gotten an itchy trigger finger and pushed the button on sending out the press release for the ASUS N81Vp and N51Tp notebooks a couple of days early. The press release came out on Wednesday, January 7th, and it exclaimed, "ASUS Introduces World’s First Notebook Solutions with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4600 Series GPU." All true and great for Asus, but the only problem is that AMD (ATI's parent company) had embargoed the information about the new ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4000 Series until one minute after midnight, Eastern Time, Friday, January 9th (not coincidentally the exact date and time this news post was published). Well, the embargo has finally lifted and we're now free to tell you (we're nice that way) about the new ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4000 Series of GPUs for notebooks...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

OQO Finally Gets it Right With the model 02+ MID
Some might argue that OQO practically invented the Mobile Internet Device (MID) category when it first announced its OQO platform back in 2002. Of course it was still just a proof-of-concept then, and a real product didn't emerge until a few years later in 2004. Perhaps because the initial OQO model 01 and subsequent model 01+ were powered by fairly anemic Transmeta Crusoe processors and only had 256MB and 512MB of memory, respectively, they met with only moderate success. The OQO model 02 and model e2 got somewhat warmer receptions, but they still felt underpowered with their 1.6GHz Via C7M ULV processors and 1GB of RAM. But now OQO is announcing the new OQO model 2+, powered by an Intel Atom processor, and OQO might finally have a winner on its hands with its latest design...
MS Songsmith Turns Anyone Into a Songwriter
Just as blogging makes everyone a writer, and digital cameras make everyone a photographer, Microsoft is now looking to make everyone a musician with its new Songsmith software. Songsmith is actually a relatively simple program with some very complex technology behind it. Using "signal processing and artificial intelligence techniques developed at Microsoft Research" and the University of Washington, Songsmith analyzes your voice as you sing into a microphone connected to your computer, and then automatically generates musical accompaniment to compliment what you sang--think of it as your own recording studio backup band...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Verizon Offers Some New DSL Deals
Not everyone has the option to choose from a bevy of broadband Internet service providers, nor can everyone afford the high price of Verizon's FIOS service or even some cable broadband options. For some users, DSL is still the most viable option for getting online via a broadband connection. You may not see the same 50Mbps speeds as you'd get with Verizon's much faster FIOS service ($139.95 per month) or Comcast's Extreme Fifty service (also $139.95 per month); but you will also pay a lot less--Verizon's DSL service can be as inexpensive as $17.99 per month for the 1Mbps service...
Buffalo LinkStation Pro NAS With iPhone Support
Is storage about to become the hot product category for 2009? Probably not, but you might think so based on all the recent media sever-based NAS devices that are being announced. Just yesterday we told you about Iomega's Home Media Network Hard Drive, and earlier today we reported on the Linksys by Cisco Media Hub...
Cisco/Linksys Launches the Media Hub NAS Family
Storage might not be the sexiest of tech categories, but the undeniable truth is that we wouldn't have files or electronic media without someplace to store them. And as the world becomes increasingly digital, the sheer quantity of files we accumulate--such as music, photos, and videos--seems to grow at what often feels like an exponential rate. Not only are we faced with the quandary of where to house all this media, but we also want to be able to access it from multiple devices in multiple locations. Cisco thinks it has the answer with its new Media Hub family of media-based NAS devices...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Comcast's New Network Throttling Now In Place
For the last few months, Comcast has been transitioning how it monitors and throttles broadband traffic. DSLreports.com claims that this transition is now complete for all of Comcast's markets, meaning that Comcast users might see their connection speeds drop if they use too much sustained downstream throughput and they can even potentially lose their service if they exceed Comcast's monthly broadband cap...
The Age of Cloud Attached Storage Begins
A new Israeli-based company that goes by the name of CTERA Networks is not only officially launching at CES today, but it is ushering in a brand-new product category: Cloud Attached Storage. Cloud Attached Storage--or at least CTERA's approach to it (it's a brand new concept, so it's way too early to tell how others might implement it)--takes a seamless approach to providing both onsite and offsite storage for consumers and small businesses...
HP (Formally) Announces the HP Firebird with VoodooDNA Mini-Gaming Tower Series
Some rumors prove false and others prove true. We're relieved to state that the rumor we reported on a couple of weeks ago that HP was coming out with a "VoodooDNA"-inspired mini-gaming tower is true. But it turns out that we only got part of the story—not only is HP coming out with the HP Firebird with VoodooDNA 803 as we reported, but there will also be an HP Firebird with VoodooDNA 802 as well...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Lenovo Announces Its First All-In-One Desktop
Lenovo is entering the all-in-one desktop PC market with a bang with its fully-loaded Lenovo IdeaCentre A600. And not only does Lenovo's first all-in-one desktop design come with a bevy of features, but Lenovo claims that since the IdeaCentre A600 is only an inch thick at its thinnest point, it is therefore "the slimmest all-in-one in the industry...
Sabotage and Lack of Data Backup Sink Company
San Jose-based, free blog-hosting and software company, JournalSpace.com has unceremoniously closed up shop and gone out of business. JournalSpace.com was not a victim of the economic downturn, however; the company's sudden failure was a direct result of sabotage by "a disgruntled member" of the company that hosted JournalSpace's site. The now sparse JournalSpace blog provides a rather personal view into the circumstances that led to the company's failure...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Verbatim Announces Quad-Interface External HDDs
USB 2.0 might be the present undisputed king of peripheral interfaces, but it certainly is not the only option available, nor is it even the fastest. FireWire 400 (400Mbps), FireWire 800 (800Mbps), and eSATA (300Gbps) are also viable peripheral interfaces found on many desktops and even some laptops--and two of them are even significantly faster than USB 2.0 (480Mbps); which explains why Verbatim has decided to produce a series of external hard drives that include all four interfaces...
Top Tech Trends of 2008
The number-crunching-happy folks over at the Nielsen Company recently released a report of popular trends in the U.S. for 2008 in the form of the ever-popular Top 10 Lists format (PDF). The data shows what were the most popular PC games, game consoles, mobile phones, Websites, and more for 2008. The data is informative, but the one caveat we want to point out is that most of the data doesn't actually cover the entire year--most of the trends reflect data culled from January to only October 2008. While it is unlikely that the missing data from the last two months of the year will skew the results much, if there were any end-of-the-year surprises, they will not be reflected in the trends that Nielsen reported...