China's space mission was more than exploration
The Washington Times reports that China's first manned space mission was a SPY mission.
The spacecraft carried a spy satellite which was launched shortly after it achieved orbit, as well as an infrared camera capable of photographing anyting as small as 5 feet for photographic spying.
Friday, October 17, 2003
VHS NO MORE
Best Buy phasing out video
Totally committing to DVD, Showbizdata reports that BEST BUY will completely phase out VHS product with a clearance sale of videocassettes.
"What we are doing now is selling out what we have in-store, and when that is gone, then we're going to be directing all VHS purchases to our Web site bestbuy.com. ... " said company spokesman Brian Lucas to Video Store magazine. "Our Web site has had a much larger selection of VHS for a while. We're keeping that going because we still see some demand for VHS, and we want to accommodate our customers. ... By the end of the month, it's safe to say we'll be transitioned."
COMMITMENT TO MAKE ONE SHUTTER
Nokia is going all cellphonecam all the time
Nokia CEO Jarma Ollila is commiting to mobile photography. BIG TIME. The CEO says that by next year, ALL Nokia cellphones will come with a digital camera built-in.
Now if we can only do something about those nasty dropped calls. It is a phone, right?
A new MP3 player for Napster
Another MP3 player wants to knock off the king. The Samsung YP-910GS 20GB hard drive MP3 player. It has some things that iPod doesn't, like in-line recording jacks, FM Tuner, and the ability to make MP3s from the radio directly.
But, word on the street is that it's ability to interface seamlessly with The Kitty isn't going to well.
Long live the KING.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? I'M THROWING YOU AWAY
Disposable cell phones are still trying to make their way in the world
Gizmodo talks about new disposable (and recylable) cell phones. The concept is very popular in the Far East, but has yet to catch on here in the U.S.
This phone may have a shot. It the Cyclone and is made by New Horizons Technologies International. The Cyclone phone is a spartan design with no display and capable of holding as much as 60 minutes of airtime for $60. A cool public service feature is the ability to call 911 for free.
The price structures are a bit high, but for an emergency or backup phone to keep in the glove compartment it could be the way to go.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
New cellphonecam breaks 2 megpixel barrier
VODAPHONE/SHARP has launched the V601SH 2.02 megapixel autofocus camera with a 20x digital zoom that can take images up to 1224 x 1632 pixels in size.
The V601SH also records and plays back recorded in SD-Video format, and can hook up to a TV via the included cable. It even includes an e-book reader, audio player and voice recorder.
I like the blue one.
Creative's s 60GB Nomad Jukebox Zen Xtra offers form and function
Gizmodo caught the leak and shared it. So will we. CREATIVE has announced the s 60GB Nomad Jukebox Zen Xtra portable MP3 player. And it looks like we finally may have a PC competitor to Apple's iPod.
The Nomad, can store up to 16,000 WMA or MP3 songs and uses AudioSync to synch up with with your a PC. And though it relies on USB2.0 port rather than firewire, it can still transfer a song a second (that's up to a little over 4 hours to download to it's max capacity for all you math geeks). It can also transfer via USB1.1.
The Nomad also comes with a large, hi-res blue backlit LCD and advanced features such as Quick Scroller Navigation, Find, Playlist Creation and something called "automatic ID3 tag categorization" for managing and organizing your music.
It also doubles as an external hard drive for storing photos, documents and other data files. Users can "drag and drop" data files into the data folder or music files into the music library using Explorer.
List price: between $299.99-$399.99 depending on if you want the 30GIG or 60GIG version.
THINKING DIFFERENT ... OVER AND OVER
Apple is redesigning the iMac again
APPLE INSIDER is leaking that Apple Computer Inc. engineers are hands-deep into their third major overhaul to its iMac product line in the last 10 years.
MEMO TO STEVE JOBS: ... rather than making the iMac look prettier, how about breaking the 2 GIG barrier?!
Duel deck DVD/DVR goes modular
Gizmodo has a cool blurb about a DVD/DVR which allows users to SWAP OUT the hard drive on the fly in favor of larger capacities.
This is cool as it may force TIVO and REPLAY TV (which currently is networkable) to follow suit. Currently, DVR users have to hack into their DVR boxes and void their warranty in order to beef up or add an additional hard drive.
The NorthQ NQ7100 DVD Player/Harddrive can accomplish DVD - Harddisk recording in up to ten Media formats (DVD, Audio, CD-R, CD-RW, VCD2, VCD3, SVCD, CVD, MP3 & Kodak picture CD), perform "timeshifting" to record MPEG 2 in 4 different quality modes (XP - SP - LP & EP) off it's built in TV Tuner, copy from DVD to hard drive, and record of other devices with SVideo imput.
The audio portion is rather state of the art as well with Dolby AC-3 decoding & Digital Output, as well as DTS Digital Sound.
What's the catch? They sell it WITHOUT the hard drive. But that isn't too bad as as users can add as much hard drive space as they can afford.
A CHINK IN THE ARMOUR - AGAIN
More vulnerabilities to Windows announced in new monthly update
REDMOND announced today that there are four MORE holes in Windows which could be exploited by computer hackers. The holes are coming so often that Microsoft has resorted to monthly updates, rather than driving the world crazy with daily or weekly patches which have been dealing with holes one at a time.
This time around, all four of the new vulnerabilities affect versions of Windows 2000, and deal with how it authenticates software publishers over the Web and in its Windows help and support system.
BOUGHT AND PAID FOR
New FCC Rule on Digital video just what the MPAA ordered
The Post is reporting that the FCC is on the verge of giving Hollywood just what it's paid for - a new rule to prevent consumers from copying digital video shows.
Known as the "broadcast flag" rule - which Hollywood insists are necessary to combat video piracy - it would require that personal computers and other consumer electronics devices contain technology to help block Internet piracy of digital entertainment and would also would force consumers to purchase new equipment if they wanted to record enhanced digital-quality television programs and replay them on other machines.
The broadcast flag puts computer code in digital television signals which could only be read by "compliant" devices - which Hollywood is seeking development and manufacturing control of.
The rule would not affect consumers who record shows the old-fashioned way, with VCRs. Nor would it affect programming received on a cable or satellite system, in part because consumers pay for that content.
Well, at least that's something.
THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH
China's Taikonaut completes 21-hour orbital mission
In a triumph that impresses the bosses of the Communist party and Loral (though not much more than that), Lt. Colonel Yang Liwei's Shenzhou V space capsule landed safely in the grasslands of China's Inner Mongolia province (though laying on it's side isn't as sexy as floating upright in the warm pacific ocean), culminating a successful 14-orbit manned space mission which makes China only the third nation in history to send a manned presence into the heavens.
China's program, which comes over forty years after Soviet Union and the United States pioneered the feat, has been bought and paid for rather than developed and relies largely on Soviet Soyuz tech that has been customized.
Chinese space officials are outlining an ambitious program consisting of spacewalks, space rendezvous, and ultimately, perhaps a journey to the moon.
MEMO TO CHINA: BEEN THERE. DONE THAT. GOT THE T-SHIRT. WANNA SEE THE ROCKS?
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR
ZVue Handheld Video/MP3 player debuts
It was only a matter of time before somewould would take the iPod to it's next logical step. VIDEO. Trouble is, it wasn't MAC!
Hand Held Entertainment has announced the ZVue, a portable video/mp3 player which can play videos, digital images, and MP3s on a bright, 2.5-inch full-color screen. The full-motion video uses HHE costumed compression codec for small format video that they guarantee will protect video content providers from being “Napsterized."
Video Content won't be on a hard drive (so there's still hope that APPLE will pick up that ball) but will be available on a postage stamp-sized "ZCARD," (starting at $5.99) with storage capacities ranging from 8 Megabytes (MB) to 256MBs and will offer high-quality video playback on the ZVUE! from eight minutes to more than one-and-a-half hours of uninterrupted full-motion video.
The ZVue is designed with the “tween” (youth ages 8 to 12), teenage (youth ages 13-19) and early twenty-something (ages 20 to 25) markets in mind.
“Every kid is going to want to find a ZVUE! in their stocking or under the tree this year when they find out they can watch video or listen to MP3s on the first personal video player that they hold in the palm of their hand,” said Nathan Schulhof, president and chief executive officer of HandHeld Entertainment.
About the size of a deck of playing cards, the ZVUE! has a price point of $99.00 (a "C" note in disguise) and is due out in time for Christmas.
Forget the kids! ME WANTS ONE!
MOST RIDICULOUS ITEM OF THE WEEK
Pet translators all the rage in Japan
In the "now I've seen everything department" comes this little diddy ... a DOG TRANSLATOR!
Bow-Lingual, The Dog Translator can tell it's user if their pet is experiencing any one of six emotions — Happy, Sad, Frustrated, Needy, Angry and Assertive — by analyzing it's bark.
It sells at SHARPER IMAGE for $99.99.
David Hannum (not PT Barnum, mind you) was right.
CALLING DICK TRACY
TV Watch takes a step forward
Japanese alphabet-tech-co NHJ has created a new TV Watch which uses SONYs miniTV tuner chipset. The watch has a 1/5 inch full color screen and a Li-Ion rechargeable battery.
Story via AkibaLive.
No price qouted yet, but look for it to hit the stores next spring.
What, not Christmas? What up wit dat?
MISSING THE MARK
RIAA victimizes another
It was pretty embarrassing when Big Bad went after a 65 year old teacher and accused her of using Kaaza to engage in music piracy, only to find out her MAC can't use a PC product. Now they are after a small business owner for downloading music he doesn't even like! He claims they have the wrong IP address. Read more about it at WIRED.
"We are confident in our evidence-collection process but to the extent that someone claims that we've erred, we will investigate the matter," said Amanda Collins, an RIAA spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, TECH CENTRAL STATION has a primer on what the music industry needs to do in order to not only increase it's sales but to stop music piracy (hint: it isn't SUING IT'S FANS into bankruptcy).
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
UP, UP AND AWAY
China is third nation to launch man into orbit
40 years later. Using Russian and American technology.
And this is a triumph because ...?
A STEP CLOSER
Philips MP3 Player a step in the right direction, but just a bit outside
GIZMODO features Philips new HDD060 1.3 GB MP3 player, which has all the style of an iPod, but woefully lacks in function. 1.3 GB? The iPod is nearly 40 TIMES that. It also uses USB 1.1 for data transfer ...
Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh sorry, is it done yet?
RUNNING THE GAUNTLET
New wired backpack redefines mobility
It's like getting a peak into "Qs" laboratory. MobileMag has a feature on Network Anatomy's Bond-esque CommanderGauntlet Wearable Communications System. The one-size-fits-all wireless system contains a bevy of gadgets: two-way radio, cellular and satellite technologies, a PC-based interactive monitor, audio/video camera, integrated power and even a lighting system.
The Gauntlet is specifically designed to provide communication without restricting a user's hands and is also available in a waterproof variant.
The user can user the phone or radio utilizing cellular or satellite access, light the area and even transmit video images, audio, documents and more via email from it's on-board PC.
Every boy should have one.
SPAM IN A CAN II
ChinaSpace: Not ready for prime time
China has cancelled plans to broadcast their first manned space launch live. Portent, perhaps?
GREATEST AIRCRAFT OF ALL TIME
What's your favorite?
MSNBCs ALAN BOYLE is putting together a list of the greatest aircraft of all time. You can email him your list HERE.
As for E-R, ours is rather eclectic:
10. SOPWITH CAMEL - if it's good enough for SNOOPY, it's good enough for me.
9. MOLLER M400 SKYCAR - it isn't operational yet, but when it is, MAN I KNOW I WANT ONE!
8. BOEING B58 HUSTLER - sleek, sexy, nuclear. When it absolutely, positively needs to get there on time. Too bad it's a flying coffin.
7. LOCKHEED CHEYENNE HELICOPTER - The coolest attack whirlybird never to make it to the front line.
6. B17 FLYING FORTRESS - With names like "Picadilly Lilly," and "Memphis Belle" on her nose, Europe owes Boeing big time for what this baby did in WWII.
5. HUGHES HK-1 HERCULES (you know her as the Spruce Goose): LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT THING!
4. GEMINI SPACECRAFT - With a cockpit designed by Astronaut Gus Grissom, it's the two seat hotrod in space that, without which, America couldn't have made it to the moon. "11" is my favorite.
3. THUNDERBIRD 2 - who WOULDN'T want the Jolly Green Giant? F.A.B.!
2. NORTH AMERICAN P51D - They don't call it the Cadillac of the Skies for nothing
INCOM XWING FIGHTER "You're all clear, kid. Now let's blow this thing and go home!"
And hey, it was in the Smithsonian for awhile, I saw it during the Lucas exhibit!
YOU JUST MIGHT BE A GEEK IF ...
Wave Magazine lists Top 10 ways for Geeks to pass the time
WAVE MAG has listed the Top 10 Ways Geeks have hobbies. Granted, a hobby keeps one off the streets, as it were, but when they are rated according to public humiliation factors and the hobby could affect your sex life, they might not be all that great. (Note - E-R has been involved in 3 out of 10, and we didn't do too bad in the ladies' department - if you know what I mean!)
10. Comic Books
9. Role Playing Games
7. Star Wars
5. Collectible Card Games
3. Star Trek
1. Live Action Role Playing
MPAA employs a Kodak Anti-piracy technique and ruins the movie going experience
When ROGER EBERT complains about it, you know it's bad.
Kodak has developed a system of placing random red and brown dots on a projected image in an effort to frustrate pirates who bring videocameras into movie theaters to steal films before they're released on Video.
The rational is understandable. put big red dots on frames of a film in patterns that are different print to print in order to identify which print a pirated movie on the net came from. But the dots are driving audiences NUTS and ruining a movie-goers experience.
The irony? According to Ebert, most of the pirates work for the film industry itself.
NOKIA CELLPHONES MAY EXPLODE
Counterfeit Batteries may be the culprit
Recent reports are that using a counterfiet battery in a NOKIA phone can cause the phone to explode and burn the user with battery acid.
IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE ... It's a Desktop?
New chip can make PC into Supercomputer
WIRED has story about ClearSpeed Technologies' new CS301 processor which is so fast it can turn a PC into a Supercomputer! Operating from a separate PCI card to work in concert with existing chips, the processor will handle 25 billion floating-point operations per second, or 25 gigaflops!
Course, at a starting price of $25,000 each, it'll be a while before the average user can enjoy the speed. However, when one considers that a Supercomputer can cost in the MILLIONS to construct, it's quite a bargain.
Imagine what LucasFilm's ILM division could do with that puppy! We're talking Jurassic Park LIVE.
iPOD IN THE CLASSROOM?
New peripherals allow recording
Imagine listening to a lecture at school. You don't want to miss it. Whip out your iPod! AppleInsider reports that Apple is introducing new hardware accessories which turns the iPod into a digital recording device.
Meanwhile, a new feature of iTunes Music Store will allow downloaders to "borrow" a tune to check it out at no charge.
Cell Phone points to Mecca
If you're of the Islamic faith and it's time for prayers, Gizmodo has something for you. LG's new G5300 cellphone is designed specifically with a compass that can automatically point the user towards Mecca when it's time for prayer.
Monday, October 13, 2003
DOWNLOAD SERVICES DEMYSTIFIED
Which one is best for you
USA Today has a round up of all the legit music download services. Enjoy.
SPAM IN A CAN
China to join manned space race this week
The countdown clock is ticking as China's "taikonauts" have arrived at Jiuquan Launch Centre in China to prepare for their launch into orbit sometime between Wednesday and Friday of this week.
"A manned program can push the development of technology ... manned space technology is a symbol of the state's comprehensive national strength and is a great boost to the country's national prestige," said China's "People's Daily," the Mandarin version of Pravda.
MEMO TO CHINA: This guy and THIS GUY have already beat you to it ... FORTY YEARS AGO.
RESTING ON IT'S LAURELS CAN COST YOU
Windows may be in trouble as it circles the wagons
Microsoft got bad news this weekend as a survey shows that the majority of Windows users are fed up with security holes giving worms and viruses free reign, never ending patches, and high costs of licensing.
Almost two-thirds of respondents to a recent InternetWeek Reader Question said they are dissatisfied with Microsoft software, and 41 percent of respondents are at least thinking about switching away from Microsoft software. Only 28 percent of users responding to the poll described themselves as satisfied Microsoft customers.
What could they switch to?
But with Microsoft controlling over 95% of marketshare, I don't think Rome is going to burn just yet.
DOUBLE DUTCH BUS
Maxtor's new recording technology doubles hard drive capacity
CNet News reports that Maxtor has created a method of doubling capacity of hard drives for "roughly" the same cost as those used in today. It's called "perpendicular recording technology," and it promises to make the standard 80GB per 3.5-inch platter to 175GB.
LAPTOPS IN 3D
Sharp breaks the barrier
Sharp has launched the Actius RD3D, the first laptop computer that can display images in three dimensions.
Korean firm developes largest plasma screen in the world
And it's a whopping 76 inches!
APPLE THINKING DIFFERENT SOONER, RATHER THAN LATER
iTunes for Windows rumored to launch next week
With PC music download services like MusicMatch, BuyMusic.com/, and the coming launch of "The Kitty" later this month - rapidly gobbling up marketshare for legit music downloads, the rumors are flying that Apple is accelerating their iTunes for Windows Music service. MacRumor and Apple Insider are both reporting that iTunes for Windows is DONE and ready to roll.
The story was previously leaked by MSNBC/Newsweek, but burried in a story about ... what else ... the RIAA campaign of terror.
So, as Alan Shephard would say ... "I'm cooler than you are ... why don't you fix your little problem and light this candle!"