June 30, 2005

iTunes Podcast Subscriptions Top 1 Million in 2 Days

Apple put out a press release stating iTunes customers have subscribed to over 1 million podcasts in just 2 days after the podcast directory was released. I can attest that my bandwidth costs have gone up 10X since the launch due to the listing of the FirstAdopter.com Show podcast in iTunes. Rock on, I guess. I need to find a more affordable hosting plan pronto.

“With the release of iTunes 4.9, listeners are voting with their ears,” said Adam Curry, co-founder of the PodShow Podcast Network. “Subscriptions have dramatically increased across our entire PodShow Podcast Network, and I predict over the coming months that iTunes will introduce tens of millions of new listeners to the world of Podcasting.”

June 28, 2005

AMD Sues Intel for Anti-Trust Violations

AMD sued Intel today for monopolistic anti-trust violations. In a 48 page lawsuit, AMD accuses Intel of using its monopoly power to coerce and bribe PC manufacturers from using AMD chips. AMD says Intel paid these companies huge cash payments, cut-rate pricing, and marketing subsidies as long as they didn't use AMD CPUs.

Among the alleged abuses detailed Monday in AMD's 48-page complaint, the company said former Compaq CEO Michael Capellas complained that Intel withheld delivery of server chips in 2000. Saying "he had a gun to his head," he told AMD he had to stop buying its processors

New iPods and Shuffle Price Reductions

Apple announced their new simplified line-up of iPods today. Basically they are rid of the "photo" moniker and adding color screen capability to all their full-size white hard-drive iPods.

A new 20GB iPod with the new color screen will go for $299, 60GB for $399 ($50 cheaper), and U2 model for $329 ($20 cheaper). The 30GB model has been discontinued.

Due to poor sales, the 1 gigabye iPod Shuffle will now sell for $129. Apple store employees seemed to have much success up-selling people to the iPod Mini at $199.

Apple Launches iTunes 4.9 with Podcast Support

Head over to Apple.com and download iTunes 4.9 with support for over 3000 free podcasts. You can even subscrible to the FirstAdopter.com podcast show on it. Just search FirstAdopter or find it in the directory under Technology and Gadgets.

Top 25 Xbox Games of All-Time

I've always been a sucker for these all-time best games lists. This one is no different from Gamespy. I wonder if Halo 2 will be numero uno.

June 27, 2005

Google Video Search Launches

Google's stock price went over $300 for the first time today. That is up from only $85 less than a year ago at their IPO. To celebrate, Google launched Google Video Search. The site is now live and playing video. Google is also working on an online payment system which will allow users to pay for content. Yes it will compete with eBay's Paypal.

AMD Athlon 64 FX-57 Processor Review

Tech-Report does their normal review goodness of the new AMD Athlon 64 FX-57. This single core CPU is the fastest one in the world for gaming. However it isn't exactly future proof as gaming companies move to dual-core support.

IT MAY BE AMONG the last of a dying breed. The Athlon 64 FX-57 is AMD's latest and greatest single-core enthusiast-oriented CPU, a 200MHz clock speed bump in an era when such an increase is becoming more of a rarity than a regular event. This single-core monster runs at 2.8GHz, which is awfully fast in the world of AMD K8 processors. It also packs a handful of revisions that make it more potent, clock for clock, than its predecessor, the FX-55.

Xbox 360 vs. Playstation 3 Hardware

Anandtech does an in-depth feature comparing the technical feature set of the hardware war between Xbox 360 and PS3. Overall it seems the author is a bit more lenient to Microsoft's box vs. the gaming developer community, who generally love the PS3 more.

Graphics-wise the 360's Xenos GPU and the PS3's RSX are fairly different in implementation, but may end up being very similar in performance. Treating Xenos as a 24-pipe R420, it could be quite competitive with a 24-pipe RSX despite a lower clock speed. The unified shader architecture of the Xenos GPU will offer an advantage in the majority of games today where we aren't very geometry limited. The free 4X AA support offered by Xenos is also extremely useful in a console, especially when hooked up to a large TV.

Motorola RAZRBerry Specs and Photo Leak

The eagerly anticipated Motorola RAZRBerry specs have been released along with a photo of the device. Specs include:

-Windows Mobile 5.0
-11.5mm thick
-Quad-band GSM
-1.3 megapixel camera with LED flash
-Bluetooth, IrDA
-2.4" 320×240 65K TFT
-Class 6 EDGE

At only a reported 4 ounces, hubba hubba indeed. [Discuss]

June 25, 2005

Cingular Considering iTunes Phone

According to Reuters sources, Cingular is considering using the iTunes cellphone created by Motorola and Apple. An RBC Capital analyst has said there are current negotiations for how to work out the revenue share between the carrier and Apple. Motorola expects to ship the phone in the third quarter of this year.

It was widely perceived that the phone was delayed because carriers didn't want Apple to disintermediate them for music download revenue. Verizon Wireless is expected to launch their own download music service that will compete directly with Apple's iTunes. Good luck Verizon. Your web technology expertise has been pitiful to say the least.

Microsoft Copies Apple Again!

Tuaw noticed that the Internet Explorer 7 beta looks like a carbon copy of Safari RSS. Microsoft truly has no shame.

Battlefield 2 Review by Arogan

- 4 hours multiplayer
- my opinion has changed quite a bit now. This game can really shine if you get into a good squad with a good squad leader and a good commander. When a squad leader gives good orders and waypoints, hangs back to say alive so that his squad members can respawn at his location, things really start clicking and I begin to see the advances in gameplay. The built in voice over IP works pretty well and really helps to coordinate things. There was this one time when we were moving as a squad through some dense trees getting prepared to take a flag when we stumbled across another full enemy squad. All hell broke lose but we survived and had a medic to patch up our wounded. Intense!
- I really like the urban maps where infantry play a much bigger role. I've been playing mostly special ops. Planting charges and blowing up stuff is fun. There's also quite a bit of strategy like sneaking into the enemy base and demo their radar, artillery, etc to cripple their commander.
- the Commander position is quite unique in that you can actually run around, shoot, and play like normal if you want. What you should really be doing is hiding somewhere, stay in the map screen, and command your squads for coordinated attacks. You can also send out artillery strikes (watch the FF though), scan the area, send out recon drones, etc. A good commander really does have a big impact on the team.

Join a squad when you jump into a server. It's the way this game was meant to be played and really separates this iteration of BF from all the previous versions. It really adds a great new dimension to the game. There are still quite a few bugs in this game, the load times are still very annoying, but if you can look past all the technical issues (which I hope get patched soon) there actually is a fun and innovative game in there.

I went from being pretty pissed off at this game to cautiously recommending it. [Read More]

Samsung ML-1740 Laser Printer Review by Arogan

These run for around $70 all the time after rebates.
Currently Best Buy and Fry's has it for this price.

- true 600x600 dpi
- text quality is great
- graphics quality isn't too bad (a bit of banding and some grain when printing photos)
- toner saver mode. Blacks are just slightly less black. It's suppose to save up to 40% in toner. I leave it on toner saver mode all the time.
- fast. warm up from sleep < 15sec. It's suppose to be around 17ppm (closer to 15 in real life). Still plenty fast for me especially coming off of ink jet.
- sleep mode 10w, operation 250w (lights did NOT dim while printing)
- print drivers are pretty rich. Lots of options to print multiple pages on one sheet of paper. It also has odd/even pages so you can do manual duplexing.
- a reall full size paper tray that holds 250 pages.
- tiny and light printer. foot print around 15X15 inches.
- comes only with a starter toner (1000 pages at 5% coverage vs 3000)
- there is a manual single sheet feeder on the front, and you can pop the back down so the paper ejects out the back. This gives you a straight paper path so you can print on a larger variety of items.
- some issues with manual duplexing. I was printing a large document with a LOT of black coverage (we are talking black background, white text). It seemed like when I put the paper back in the tray to print on the other side, while printing some static charge built up and some of the pages were sticking together which basically messes up duplexing. I tried it again the next day with a 150 page manual doing manual duplexing and didn't have a single issue. This manual was a more typical document with mostly text and a few diagrams. Either way I never had an issue when just printing like normal. It was only with these very black saturated pages that I was feeding in a second time that caused some issues.
- the drum and toner are all in one piece (ML-1710D3). Replacement is around $65
the other option (which I'm trying) is to refill it yourself. Search on ebay "samsung 1740 toner" and you should find refills for under $6 each shipped. The drum should last between 2-3 refills. So now you are talking 9000-12000 pages before you have to buy another actual samsung toner cartridge. Refilling is suppose to be very easy with no tools required. No chips on the samsung toner either. I estimate around < .9 cents per page. [Discuss]

New iPods Likely Next Month

Apple Insider is reporting their sources are telling them new iPods are likely at a special event next month. Speculation is for a 2nd-generation iPod shuffle and/or 5th-generation iPod along with the release of iTunes 4.9 with podcasting support.

June 22, 2005

FirstAdopter.com Show Episode 2 Podcast

Episode 2 - June 22, 2005

This show covers the following topics:

-News Commentary: indie game store economics, Sony PSP porn, 40M credit cards hacked, World of Warcraft 2M users, Nintendo Revolution Spec Leak, PSP forecast down 33%, Nvidia Gefore 7800GTX Launched
-SuperCard Flash Cart Reader for GBA Review
-Site of the Week: TechBargains.com
-Podcast of the Week: GamingSteve.com

Download the MP3 Podcast

June 16, 2005

Best Mouse Pads by Arogan

If you are serious about your mousing surface take a look at the func 1030:


I have two of the original 1030's. The problem I had with the first one is after about 2 years the rubber frame started to warp and then the surface itself would no longer sit flat.

They just came out with the limited MBA (Machined Billet Aluminum) version which of course should never warp. One warning though they are pretty pricey:

$24 shipped for the regular version:


$50 for the MBA:


I've tried everglide, ratpadz, etc. and I always come back to the func 1030 for serious gaming. I just really like the feel of their surface. [Discuss]

June 14, 2005

Archos Jukebox Recorder 20 Mp3 Player Review by Arogan

There are some very clear advantages to this vintage mp3 player.

- about the size of a 2.5" laptop hard drive but 3x as thick.
- 20 gig hard drive based mp3 player
- discontinued for a couple of years now. you can still find them on ebay:


You should be able to get one for around $100 shipped for a working model if you are patient.
- uses 4 X AA standard nimh. With 2300mah I'm getting about 10-15 hrs (With a good mix of audio books and music I got close to 14hrs). A lot depends on the bit rate of what you are listening to. Higher bit rate means more hard drive access since shorter durations fit in the memory buffer.
- usb mass storage device. no special software needed
- usb 2.0
- requires a usb A(male)-A(male) cable (not the usual A-B). You can get these at fry's for $7-10 or you can buy a A->B adapter for about $4.
- uses a standard 2.5" laptop hard drive formatted to fat32. Pretty easy to upgrade. You want 100 gigs of music? You can do it with this player and for a lot cheaper.
- killer open source OS called rockbox:
http://www.rockbox.org [READ MORE]

Without this there would be almost no reason to even consider this player. It has a ton of features for the power user. Read over the manual to get an idea of all it can do: full customization of almost every imaginable setting, directory navigation, unlimited bookmarks which are saved to the hard drive in a plain text file, resume, better usb support, better charging algorithm, games (even tetris), very flexible on the fly m3u playlist creation, and a ton more. No need to flash. Super easy installation. Just unzip to the root of the HD.

- lots of inputs/outputs. Digital in/out and analog line in. You can record directly to mp3 VBR up to avg 170 kbps. The quality is very good. Visual graph of recording level lets you adjust gain on the fly and also monitor/hear what you are recording on the headphones.

buying an archos: http://www.rockbox.org/docs/devicechart.html

The only device that meets my criteria of using standard AA nimh, uses standard 2.5" laptop HD, and is usb 2.0 is the Archos Jukebox recorder 20. Only the 20 gig model are you guaranteed usb 2.0. The 15gb comes in both usb 1.1 and usb 2.0 so be careful.

I flashed my Archos with rockbox. This is completely optional. Archos runs just fine from the hard drive. Make sure you read carefully:

It was really easy and pretty safe. It took only a few minutes. I flashed with rombox so rockbox executes directly from flash instead of ram. I now have 1.761MB (up from 1.614) of free buffer memory (about 4% increase in play time - 30min).

The main reason I did it was I was getting tired of the 15 sec boot times. Now I'm enjoying 4 sec boot times!

Hard drive upgrade:

The drive should have the following specs...
2.5 inch
9.5 mm
4200 rpm (I hear lower rpm helps battery life)
Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) quieter.

I picked up this 80gb fujitsu laptop hard drive. It's currently only $104:


Installing it was quick and easy.

create a primary partition.
used h2format to format to fat 32

So basically for around $200 I have an 80gb mp3 player. If you ebay the original 20gb HD that came in the archos (for around $40) then you are looking at about $160 for an 80gb mp3 player! Sure it looks a bit dated, it's a bit larger and heavier but it uses so many industry standard parts (battery, storage) plus open source software. It makes it a dream to tinker with/upgrade for the power user. Overall I think it's a great value. [Discuss]

June 12, 2005

FirstAdopter.com Show Episode 1 Podcast

Episode 1 - June 12, 2005

This show covers the following topics:

-FirstAdopter.com members rock
-Apple moving from PowerPC to Intel
-Nintendo DS over Sony PSP
-Battlefield 2 Demo
-Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
-Recommended Podcasts
Site of the Week
Review of the Week
-Dyson DC 14 Vacuum Cleaner

Download the MP3 Podcast

June 11, 2005

Guild Wars Impressions by Arogan

MMORPG with NO monthly fee.

- I haven't touched a MMORPG since the original Everquest and that only lasted 2 weeks. I got so bored killing bats and rats. There's none of that here.
- I'm only about 6 hrs into it so this is a very early impression. Finishing all the quests can take anywhere from 50-100hrs.
- I started with a ranger/elementalist (level 3) but I enjoyed the elementalist stuff more so I started a new character:
elementalist/mesmer (level 5)
- the engine is pretty amazing. 1600x1200 rock solid 60fps (almost never budges). Graphics/art direction is great. This game loads up FAST, almost no load times between areas (almost everything is streamed), exit is fast too.
- no patches to install ever. all updates are streamed in real time.
- no monthly fee. just buy the game and play all you want.
- I soloed most of the time, I paired up once to complete a few quests that required it.
- lots of interesting emotes with nice animations. Dancing in your underwear in public places is all the rage.
- so far the early parts of the game are actually pretty fun.
- emphasis is suppose to be on player skill instead of how many hours you've played. I haven't played enough to have an opinion. This game is really easy to pickup and play but there is a lot of depth here to master.
- You can play short periods of time. Everything is stored on their server. There are only THREE files on your hard drive (about 900meg total). Really amazing tech.
- no online issues. everything ran smoothly.
- developed by X Blizzard guys.
- You only see masses of online people in towns and outposts. This is where you can form your party. Once you venture off on your quest you party gets spawned its own instance of the mission (so you won't see any other online players except who is in your party during missions). This eliminates a lot problems like spawn camping, quest queues, etc.
- I haven't touched guilds or pvp stuff yet.
- little penalty for death. In pre-searing there is none. You just respawn at the nearest resurrection temple. Post-searing you take a 15% hit to max health and mana up to 60%. The penalty is removed once you enter a town.
- Encourages build experimentation because you can reallocate your attribute points with little to no penalty.
- Quick travel system. Just open the map and double click on any town/outpost you've previously visited and you warp there.
- great camera. Zoom in all the way into first person or pan all the way back out.
- flexible gui. you can pop open as many info windows as you want and arrange them any way you like.
- combat is strategic yet fast action paced.
- there's none of that your character lives only one one server. you can chat with anybody online no matter where they are or what district they're in. There's a drop down in the upper left that you can just select the district and that's it. No starting a new character sillyness.

I highly recommend it. If you always wanted to try a MMORPG but didn't like the idea of a monthly fee, then this game is for you. [Discuss]

June 10, 2005

Battlefield 2 Demo is Out

The demo for Battlefield 2 is out. You have to love the cut throat business nature of Electronic Arts. First the hire the Desert Combat mod team because of its popularity, then after they copy every one of the team's ideas and release a copycat game (Battlefield 2), they give an ultimatum to them. You can leave NYC and move to Sweden, or you're fired. Ouch. Lesson to you developers out there, never trust BIG BAD Electronic Arts.

*UPDATE*: As much as I want EA to fail due to their tactics these days, I have to admit BF2 is a mighty good time. Brings me back to the glory days of BF1942 finally with an awesome upgraded graphics engine. BF2 is definitely worth the download. [Discuss]

Sony PSP Hacking to Play Pirated Games is TOUGH

A tech geek explains that trying to hack the Sony PSP to play pirated games is going to be a lot tougher than people think. Hackers will have to break industrial strength RSA encryption to get the code to run off the memory stick.

"Even if you put the UMD game on the memory stick," Gilbert added, "that binary is not only encrypted, but also programmed to load from the UMD. So obviously, it's not going to boot from the memory stick." Copying the game itself to another UMD disc--which would require a burner for a proprietary, smaller disc medium not generally available through retail channels--would be an even larger hurdle for a game dumper to clear.

New Super Mario Brothers Game Movie

Here's a early look movie for the new Super Mario Brothers game coming out for the Nintendo DS handheld. Pure nostalgia.

June 09, 2005

YoYoBat.com Launches

A new site called YoYoBat.com launched. It's a great place to get the latest cool news links. Check it out.

June 08, 2005

Details on Intel Dev Mac (looks like just a plain PC, nothing special)

Mac Gaming Developers on the x86 Switch (some need to find new jobs)

Podcasting 101 (from a podcasting webhoster)

37" 1080p HDTV LCD Television for $2300 (PS3 buyers rejoice!)

1080p LCD Panel Discussion (read up before you buy)

Handheld Homebrew Game Contest (impressive GBA games for free)

Pixelblock Nintendo Characters (legos for the videogame age)

June 04, 2005

Apple to Ditch IBM PowerPC for Intel

News.com is reporting Apple will switch processor companies from IBM PowerPC to Intel Pentium chips. Sources said it will be announced on Monday at the Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco. Currently Apple has 1.8% marketshare of the worldwide PC market. A move to Intel is very risky, but potentially could help the company offer more price/performance competitive products. However Apple may face itself fighting off hackers who may find a way to run OS X on cheap OEM PCs.

Whatever the case, if true the resale value of my Mac Mini and iBook has just plummeted. Moreover who is going to buy an expensive Mac in the short-term if a new one that runs the newer software is coming in a 1-2 years. The source said an Intel based Mac Mini is due in mid-2006 and a PowerMac in mid-2007.

IBM may have forced Apple's hand for not improving the PowerPC fast enough. The company promised a 3 ghz+ CPU years ago and still hasn't produced one for Apple. And then all of sudden announces a 3.2 ghz PowerPC core for Microsoft Xbox 360. If I was Apple, I'd be pretty upset. Moreover the PowerPC G5's design inherently has major thermal problems for being used with laptops, a key market Apple needs to be competitive in. [Discuss]

*UPDATE*: The Wall Street Journal has also confirmed the Intel switch and the mid-2006 Mac Mini and mid-2007 PowerMac schedule with their sources. It's definitely going to happen folks.

June 01, 2005

Link Roundup

Vonage Hits 1 Million Subs (those commercials are getting annoying though)

Nintendo E3 DS Demos (you can download them wirelessly)

How to Wirelessly Download DS Programs (neat stuff)

Comprehensive List of NES Knockoffs (Hong Kong delights)

NeoGeo CD and Genesis Emulated on Sony PSP (memory sticks going to fly off the shelves)

Battlefield 2 Gone Gold (Ex-Vietnam, I would be a lot more psyched)

Gigabyte has 6800 GT SLI on ONE card (nice heater for your room too)