Archive for December, 2006

Microsoft eye up the dashboard

Microsoft eye up the dashboard

I'm going to say it and then give you a couple of minutes to make all the obvious jokes, then we can get back to business: Microsoft are partnering with Ford to offer embedded software called Windows Automotive in selected models in 2007, with all 2008 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models coming later.  Right, you can make all the "blue screen of highway death" jokes now. 

Finished?  Well, you'll be pleased to know that the only systems it integrates with are entertainment and communication, rather than anything to do with brakes or engine timing or steering or anything.  Available at first on the Focus and Five Hundred models, it'll mean things like managing email and downloading music are possible from the comfort of your velour seat.

Detroit Free Press [via slashdot]...

TomTom Linux Project

TomTom Linux Project

When I'm cruising the mean streets, hat swung backward and my favourite Cher tape blaring, the last thing I want to do with my TomTom GPS unit is build a new Linux distro.  But there are other people out there not as blatantly cool as I am, and if you're one of them you might be interested in the OpenTom project, a way to unlock the GPS units' firmware and hardware and run custom software such as an mp3 player.

A cheap old unit on eBay would be a great way to play with the OS, and some of the newer models (such as the 910) might be an interesting beginning of a basic carputer.  Check out the mp3 player (which also has an accelerometer) after looking at the project wiki linked to below.

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Use a mouse upside down for only $35!

Use a mouse upside down for only $35!

Thanko is a typical online shop/company that sells some unusual and (few) useful USB contraptions. One of those is the USB Wireless Space Mouse. It is a mouse that can be used upside down and in the air. So if you are too lazy to put the mouse on a flat surface, you can use it in the air. Great!

I don't know what bugs me more: How lazy people have gotten, or the fact that you can use any current mouse, turn it upside down, and it use it, and that you really don't need to be this new mouse. Just try it now with your current mouse.. I don't imagine it would be much better on this "Wireless Space" mouse.

The design of the mouse it just disgusting, and the mouse is pretty large. It weighs 100g wih the batteries that must be added in. It is a wireless mouse that uses an ugly wireless transmitter. You can buy it for $33.17 (I know, pretty unusual number) plus shipping.

USB Wireless Space Mouse [Via: Thanko, Inc.]...

Microsoft’s future OS plans to be ambitious

Microsoft’s future OS plans to be ambitious

Now that Vista has finally moved off of Wired News' Vaporware Awards list, albeit only in business versions, flighty analysts are already looking to the future of Microsoft's OS strategy.  There have been plenty of opinion pieces claiming that Vista will be the last of the traditional Windows series, with dark hints about internet-based web-appliance systems and the like, but it all seems rather hashed together.  Still, I'm all for intrigue and crystal-ball gazing, so it was interesting to see James Kyton's analysis of what little information about the next-gen developments will be.

Codenamed Fiji and Vienna, the former could be considered 'Vista RC2'; expected to be released in 2008, it will build on the much-vaunted sidebar and tighter system integration of the OS with WinFS add-ons to enable virtual folders and/or saved searches, default HD-DVD compatibility, NGSCB security and possibly even a Garageband-rivalling music suite provisionally titled Monaco.

Details on Vienna after the cut.

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FBI is inside every recent cellphone

FBI is inside every recent cellphone

After the news that China has decided to force manufacturers to standardise phone charging ports to the mini-USB format, it turns out that there's an even easier way to get the industry-wide feature you want implemented: just be the FBI.  What cellphone manufacturers are reluctant to include in-among all the blurb about Bluetooth and high-speed data connectivity is that apparently every recent phone sold in the US has a built-in tracking device that, once activated remotely, can be set to keep the microphone powered on even when the phone itself is switched off.

The FBI used the technology in collecting evidence for the recent Genovese crime family trial, and it should be made clear that they can only do so with the relevant court order.  Saying that, just how difficult is it to get a court order in our age of super-terror?  The only way to circumnavigate the tracker is removing the battery, which then makes the phone rather useless.  In fact, you'd be better off carrying a small child's shoe, which could at least be used for storing your keys. 

I'd be very interested to find out whereabouts in the phone circuitry the tracking device is located, from a purely geeky point of view.  Anybody fancy hacking open their KRZR and going looking?

The Blotter [via Neatorama]

LG’s latest phone the SB190

LG’s latest phone the SB190

The latest phone from LG is the Cyon LG-SB190. It's styled along the same lines as the popular LG Chocolate phone, but with more tactile buttons. The SB190 is sleek and white with a cool stainless-steel-looking navigation circle, some clear bubble buttons, and a slide-out keypad. The phone offers DMB, GPS, an MP3 player, and a 1.3 megapixel camera.

And as expected, it is one of those Korea-only items. I can’t find any detailed info on it besides that which is in Korean. So, lets just do the usual staring at pictures with envy routine and move on.

LG SB190, the latest LG phone
[Via: AkihabaraNews]

HotPod Concept

HotPod Concept

If your lazy ways are leading you down a path of frozen entrees and delivered pizzas, you and your pudgy midsection can look forward to the HotPod concept by designer, Christian Jung. This futuristic-looking crockpot delivers healthy food in single portions and will probably match well with your existing iPod speaker dock.

Just seal raw ingredients inside its central chamber and it will conduct heat when placed on an induction plate. And by using steam, the HotPod will insure that your food will better retain their natural richness, vitamins, and minerals.

HotPod
[Via: Yanko Design]

No 64 Bit PhotoShop CS3

No 64 Bit PhotoShop CS3

Many photography editors rely on Photoshop, image editing software, to do their daily jobs. A future version of this piece of software may prove to be troublesome for people with computers with 64 Bit processors. Although Adobe does plan to release future versions of Photshop with support for 64 Bit processors, this will not be the first edition to do so.

This future version does have features that many users have been waiting for, however. For example, owners of Intel Macs will be able to run this application without using Rosetta (A PowerPC imitating application), but completely native, and much faster. This is one of the main reasons many Mac users will buy this software.

Although Macs do not currently support 64 Bit applications, and Windows XP, only has a very limited capability, both Mac OS X and Windows' operating systems will soon be updated to support 64 Bit fully (Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and Windows Vista), and at that point, Adobe will be behind.

Adobe: No 64-bit Photoshop CS3 [Via: CNET News]...

What’s up Coby? (Part 1)

What’s up Coby? (Part 1)

So, I splurged and picked up some Coby speakers for the iPod and iPod Nano. The speakers had a holiday sale for $40, so I couldn't go wrong (Or so I thought)! I brought the speakers home, and while carrying them, they felt almost weightless, I couldn't wait for the portability. The unboxing went well. Coby included many dock adapters, a video out cable to use on a TV, the AC adapter and of course the units, which looked sleek and compact. I was impressed. This changed when I plugged it in.

So, I plugged the unit in, along with my iPod (60GB, 5th Generation). The blue light on the speakers came on and my iPod started to charge, all seemed well. This changed when I hit play....I waited....I waited some more. Nothing played. Not a single sound came from brand new speakers.

After a 10 minute hold, waiting for customer service, on the phone, I got an answer. So I just got the simple, exchange and get a new one. So, tomorrow, you will hear back from me, I hope I get some working speakers. Keep an eye out for "What's up Coby? (Part 2)"!

Coby CS-MP87 Portable High Output Stereo Speaker System [Via: Amazon]...

A Crappy Plasma TV from ByD:sign / EyeFi

A Crappy Plasma TV from ByD:sign / EyeFi

Want to buy a TV from a company that is just catching up to modern technology? I don't either. A new 42" plasma TV released by ByD:sign / EyeFi supports an unattractive 852 x 480 pixels. This TV has just met industry standards and only now has HDMI support.

The PE-4202DFK does have removable speakers which could be helping this unit sell. This feature alone does not substitute the fact that HD and Blu-Ray DVDs won't appear as well on such a low resolution.

So, does a TV that has old technology at a horrible resolution with limited support for new technologies suit everyone? I believe not. For $1,430, this TV won't make it to my home any time in the future.

ByD:sign / EyeFi unveils antiquated 42-inch plasma [Via: Gizmodo]...

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