November 27, 2005

AMD 1-3 Year Product Roadmaps

Interesting roadmaps if you are a computer processor enthusiast. Looks like AMD is going to continue its price/performance advantage over Intel for quite some time. 1 year - 3 year

November 26, 2005

Firefox 1.5 Review

PC Magazine is reviewing the latest release candidate instead of a final version. Anyhow they put up a review of the Firefox 1.5 browser today. It's all good.

The best browser gets even better with improved tab controls, reworked user preferences, a more robust extensions system, faster page loading and better security. Already streamlined user interface gets better with the addition of drag-and-drop organization of tabs. Background security-patch updates. Intelligent caching speeds up forward and backward browsing.

November 25, 2005

Nokia Gives up on N-Gage

Nokia came out and said they are giving up on the N-Gage gaming platform. It only sold 2 million units vs. an expected 6 million. The company will focus on game development for its other phones including the Series 60. Mobile gaming will not be a focus for the company until 2007 when screen sizes and better quality will be available.

"N-Gage is still being sold but it was not a success in the sense of developing a new category," said Antti Vasara, Nokia's vice president for corporate strategy. "We learnt that people want to play games on all devices. As such we are integrating the gaming software into Series 60 phones."

November 24, 2005

Nintendo has 21% Profit Drop

Due to poor Gamecube sales, Nintendo's profit dropped 21% to $308 million from a year ago. Sales dropped 6.2% also. Gamecube units in North America were the main culprit down 36% to 630 thousand units. Things probably won't turn around until the Nintendo Revolution is released in 2006.

Research in Motion Reduces Subscriber Targets

Research in Motion (RIM) reduced their subscriber targets for Q3 (September) quarter. Initially they guided to 680-710 thousand, but now the figure will be 625-653 thousand. Q4 numbers were also brought down slightly to 751-800 thousand. Currently the company has 4 million subscribers, so it still has a healthy growth rate.

Xbox 360 Review

HardOCP gives their customary excellent run-down review of the Xbox 360.

We came into this review with a very skeptical eye, not wanting to be bowled over by high tech hardware, flashy graphics, catchy games or marketing hype. The reason we must be careful in these types of situations is that we are not only hardware enthusiasts, but we are also gamers at heart; products like the Xbox 360 cater to our weaknesses for high horsepower hardware and graphically impressive games. Does the Xbox 360’s hardware live up to our initial expectations? Yes, very much so, and then some. It is hard not to be impressed with what we have seen, heard, and experienced. On the hardware level, the Xbox 360 delivers a true next-gen gaming experience that promises to deliver for a long time to come.

Xbox 360 Defects

Reports of people having issues with their shiny new Xbox 360s are hitting the internets from crashes, overheating, and system meltdowns. The most common complaint is that the DVD drive is very loud.

Some people complained of games freezing. Some complained of systems overheating. Some complained of hard drives not working. Some complained of disk drives that scratched games.

"We have received some isolated reports and calls of consoles not operating as expected. The call rate is well below what you'd expect of a consumer electronics product of this complexity."-- Molly O'Donnell, senior manager of global Xbox public relations.

November 23, 2005

Nintendo DS for $99

Target is an in-store only sale for the Nintendo DS. $99. Go and get one. Search DS in the catalog.

Xbox Losing Almost $200 Per Xbox 360

A research firm says Microsoft is probably losing almost $200 per Xbox 360 sold these days if you add up all the component costs. Never mind the cost of marketing and distribution. Don't feel bad for Microsoft though, they make billions of profits from the OS and Office to subsidize our gaming habits.

An up-close look at the components and other materials used in the high-end version of the Xbox 360, which contains a hard drive, found that the materials inside the unit cost Microsoft $470 before assembly. The console sells at retail for $399, meaning a loss of $71 per unit -- and that is just the start. Other items packaged with the console -- including the power supply, cables, and controllers -- add another $55 to Microsoft's cost, pushing the loss per unit to $126. These estimates include assumptions that Microsoft is getting a discount on many components.

November 21, 2005

Tivo to Allow Downloading to iPod and Sony PSP

Tivo is working on software to allow its users to copy their TV programs on their Tivo onto video iPods and Sony PSPs. If they can do this with an easy to use end-to-end experience, it will be a home-run.

TiVo Inc. on Monday said it will begin testing a feature in the coming weeks to let some subscribers transfer recorded television programming to Apple iPod digital music players or Sony's PlayStation portable devices, sending the company's shares up 4.5 percent.

Dell Going to Use AMD Chips?

Forbes is reporting that sources in Taiwan say that Dell is ramping up production of PCs and laptops that use AMD processors. If true, this is a huge boon for the company in its eternal battle with Intel. Moreoever it helps Dell compete with HP in the price/performance server market.

Dell Inc has informed its Taiwan contract makers of plans to develop devices based on Advanced Micro Devices Inc's microprocessors, and these suppliers are awaiting orders for global shipment, the Economic Daily News reported, citing industry sources. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (2317.TW) develops AMD-powered servers, Asustek Computer Inc (2357.TW) develops motherboards and Quanta Computer Inc (2382.TW) develops notebook personal computers powered by AMD microprocessors. These suppliers are ready developing and arranging the logistics of such devices for shipment to Dell, it added.

November 20, 2005

Sony Eating More Crow

Sony is so desperate now, it is offering free unprotected MP3s to try and get into the consumer's good graces. Too late!

Businessweek Newegg Article

Business week gives a nice puff piece to Newegg. Good for them. It's the best PC parts store online.

RIAA President Whines

So pathetic.

And for generations, students have spent their hard-earned dollars on the music they love in the local college record store. How many of those stores are left now? Makes you realize just what the impact of illegal downloading can be, and why we've taken the actions we have.

Complete Black Friday List

Here's a complete list on what is for sale for this Black Friday. $1000 42 inch Plasma TVs, $150 computers with monitors, etc. Yum.

November 19, 2005

Google-Mart - The Quest for World Domination

Cringely writes on how Google is going to be like Wal-mart and take over Web 2.0.

There will be the Internet, and then there will be the Google Internet, superimposed on top. We'll use it without even knowing. The Google Internet will be faster, safer, and cheaper. With the advent of widespread GoogleBase (again a bit-schlepping app that can be used in a thousand ways -- most of them not even envisioned by Google) there's suddenly a new kind of marketplace for data with everything a transaction in the most literal sense as Google takes over the role of trusted third-party info-escrow agent for all world business. That's the goal.

Early Xbox 360 Reviews Lukewarm

Initial impressions have been pretty luke-warm mainly due to the lack of a true killer app for the machine. Xbox Live Arcade looks pretty cool though. Net-net, I'll probably pass on this console for now.

"Good, but not great," says CNN. "Don't buy the Xbox," The New York Post.

"I don't have that 'day before Christmas' feeling about this console. I have read plenty of impressions, looked at many screenshots, and watched plenty of in-game video footage. I can't find a single game that I am excited about." --Gamecrapper

Pavio Portable Digital Theater

Pavio has a new portable video player that has a 30GB hard-drive, ability to record off a TV, and a SD/CF slot. They need to work on the design though. It is pretty ugly.

Cisco Buys Scientific-Atlanta

Cisco announced on Friday it has acquired Scientific-Atlanta for $6.9 billion. Let's hope this means our future cable boxes will have better user interfaces, features, and crash much less. Cable boxes in general from my experience have been a total disaster.

Cable TV set-top boxes could become the primary conduit for consumers to receive video programing, ranging from television and on-demand movies to videogames and Internet content. "The infrastructure of the future must allow consumers to personalize data, voice and video," Cisco Chief Executive John Chambers said in a conference call with analysts.

November 17, 2005

MIT $100 Laptop

The MIT $100 laptop looks like it's made by Fisher Price.

November 16, 2005

Inside the Xbox 360

Anantech has already ripped apart the innards of an Xbox 360.

Facebook Story

The glorious startup mania is back. Read about how a Harvard 21 year old drop out started his site that is valued at $100 million buckeroos.

Venture capitalists loved Zuckerberg’s pitch. Social-networking sites like Tribe and Friendster were already the rage, but Facebook had the advantage of a highly targeted youth audience. Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal who runs his own investment firm in San Francisco, ponied up $500,000 to Facebook in late 2004. Accel Partners threw in $12 million this year, valuing Facebook at $100 million.

November 15, 2005

AOL to Launch Online Television

It only took then eons to do it, but finally Time Warner is going to put its content assets to work for them online. 3400 hours of old programming will be available online starting next year, ad-supported of course.

November 14, 2005

Best Buy Xbox 360 Allocation Numbers

Find out how many Xbox 360 your local Best Buy is going to get.

Google Analytics

Free web analytics. What will the geniuses at Google think of next? They are using the tried and true Microsoftian competitive mantra of giving software and services away for free. I have no quibbles with that model.

November 13, 2005

New Sony Patent Makes Selling Games Obselete

Sony is really racking up the goodwill points lately. A new patent has been filed that registers Playstation 3 software to only one machine. Which means you can't sell or loan a game you bought for your PS3 once you register it. Ouch. Xbox 360 is looking more and more palatable now, even if it's from the evil empire. Sony is trying to be worse. Gasp.

By means of the present invention as described above, the following effects are obtained. Since only titles for which legitimate software has actually been purchased and which have been initially registered in the machine table can be used, resale (so-called used software purchase) after purchase by an end-user becomes practically impossible.

Lionhead Fan Movies

People are already posting their movie creations from Lionhead's latest game, The Movies.

Ken Kutaragi PS3 Hype

Mr. Kutaragi, the father of the Playstation, is in full blown reality distortion field mode. I guess when you're a visionary like Ken or Steve Jobs, you have to talk like this.

"I am an engineer and I like technology. I want to change the world with technology and I want to change our lives. The best way to realise it is, for us, PlayStation. "In the past, game machines used to use obsolete technologies. But we as engineers are always keen to introduce new technology to them. And with creators, we are very interested in creating totally new entertainment." The PlayStation 3 (PS3) is slated for release next spring and Mr Kutaragi says it promises to usher in a whole new era of entertainment, though observers point to hype like this about the PS2, which never really materialised.

Ron Moore Tribute to his Ex-Boss

Ron Moore writes a tribute to his former boss that initially hired him to be writer for Star Trek. A good read. Let’s thank Michael Piller for recognizing Moore’s talent. If he didn’t do so, we may have never seen the remaking of the best show on television, Battlestar Galactica.

He’s gone now, Michael Piller. Tomorrow, I will gather in a place with other people who knew and loved him, along with some who only knew of him, and we will both mourn and celebrate him. His obituary has been written, and I can only add my personal opinion and belief that he was one of the most fundamentally honorable and decent men I have encountered in my life. And he had no malice.

November 12, 2005

First Intel Macs Coming in January 2006

In a stunning announcement, according sources at Apple Insider, Apple will release an Intel-based iMac in January followed soon after by a Intel-based Powerbook. The Powerbook will be much thinner than the current PowerPC based model. I can't wait to upgrade my Mac Mini to an Intel-based version next year too.

Surprisingly, the most reliable information indicates that the iMac and PowerBook -- two of the company's most recently revised Mac offerings -- are targeted to be the first two Mac models to receive Intel processors in January. The iMac and PowerBook are also believed to be Apple's best-selling Mac models, which explains why the company will be upgrading them with Intel processors first and refreshing their associated product lines for the second time in as little as four months.F

Canon EOS 5D Review

Dpreview has the net-net on Canon's latest 12.8 megapixel wonder. Good god it's good.

The EOS 5D is a fantastic photographic tool which is capable of producing really excellent results. The caveat is that it takes a little more care and understanding of your equipment (especially lenses). We found resolution to be absolutely excellent with crisp detailed results straight from the camera (JPEG) and even more detail available if you shoot RAW. Different 'looks' can be easily achieved via Picture Styles (almost like changing film) and the range of in-camera image parameters has been expanded. Noise levels are essentially identical to the EOS 20D as is dynamic range, this is neither a surprise or a disappointment, it simply means consistency and the maintaining of an expectation built by Canon in the performance of its CMOS sensor.

Xbox 360 Compatibility List

The compatibility list is out for Xbox games on the Xbox 360. It is pretty impressive with over 200 games playable through software emulation. Most impressive Microsoft. Have to give props to the evil empire for pulling this off. Notable games on the list are all the GTA and Halo titles.

November 11, 2005

Mossberg Loves Macs

Join Walt and I, Mac is calling you to join the "light side" away from the evil empire of Bill Gates and Microsoft. Your life will be so much better if you switch away from Windows.

I believe that, at the moment, Apple makes the best computers, and the best operating system, for mainstream consumers doing typical tasks email, web surfing, office-productivity functions such as word processing and presentations, photo organizing and editing, playing and collecting music, and editing home video.

November 10, 2005

iPod Nano Shipping with Protective Sleeve

According to forums and iLounge, Apple has started shipping iPod Nanos with a protective sleeve similar to what is sold with the iPod Video. Does this mean us early adopter Nano owners are going to get the sleeve too?

November 09, 2005

Bill Gates Rallying Cry

Bill Gates wrote a rallying cry "let's beat Google" sub-text email a week ago. Pure desperation. Here's an email from the CTO too.

From: Bill Gates
Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2005 9:56 PM
To: Executive Staff and Direct Reports; Distinguished Engineers Subject: Internet Software Services

Microsoft has always had to anticipate changes in the software business and seize the opportunity to lead.

Ten years ago this December, I wrote a memo entitled The Internet Tidal Wave which described how the internet was going to forever change the landscape of computing. Our products could either prepare for the magnitude of what was to come or risk being swept away. We dedicated ourselves to innovating rapidly and lead the way much to the surprise of many industry pundits who questioned our ability to reinvent our approach of delivering software breakthroughs.

Five years ago we focused our strategy on .NET making a huge bet on XML and Web services. We were a leader in driving these standards and building them into our products and again this has been key to our success. Today, over 92% of the Fortune 100 are utilizing .Net and our current wave of products have XML and Web services at their core and are gaining share because of the bold bet we made back in the year 2000.

Today, the opportunity is to utilize the Internet to make software far more powerful by incorporating a services model which will simplify the work that IT departments and developers have to do while providing new capabilities.

In many ways this is not completely new. All the way back in 1998 we had a company meeting where we outlined a vision in which software would become more of a service over time. We've been making investments since then -- for example, the Watson service we have built into Windows and Office allows us and our partners to understand where our users are running into problems and lets us improve their experience. Our On-line help work gives us constant feedback about what topics are helping our users and which we need to change. Products from MSN like Messenger and Hotmail are updated with new features many times throughout the year, allowing them to deliver innovations rapidly. Our Mappoint service was a pioneer in letting corporations connect up to a web based API on a subscription basis.

However, to lead we need to do far more. The broad and rich foundation of the internet will unleash a "services wave" of applications and experiences available instantly over the internet to millions of users. Advertising has emerged as a powerful new means by which to directly and indirectly fund the creation and delivery of software and services along with subscriptions and license fees. Services designed to scale to tens or hundreds of millions will dramatically change the nature and cost of solutions deliverable to enterprises or small businesses.

We will build our strategies around Internet services and we will provide a broad set of service APIs and use them in all of our key applications.

This coming "services wave" will be very disruptive. We have competitors who will seize on these approaches and challenge us still, the opportunity for us to lead is very clear. More than any other company, we have the vision, assets, experience, and aspirations to deliver experiences and solutions across the entire range of digital workstyle & digital lifestyle scenarios, and to do so at scale, reaching users, developers and businesses across all markets.

But in order to execute on this opportunity, as we've done before we must act quickly and decisively. This next generation of the internet is being shaped by its "grassroots" adoption and popularization model, and the cost-effective "seamless experiences" delivered through the intentional fusion of services, software and sometimes hardware. We must reflect upon what and for whom we are building, how best to deliver new functionality given the internet services model, what kind of a platform in this new context might enable partners to build great profitable businesses, and how our applications might be reshaped to create service-enabled experiences uniquely compelling to both users and businesses alike.

Steve and I recently expanded Ray Ozzie's role as CTO to include leading our services strategy across all three divisions. We did this because we believe our services challenges and opportunities will impact most everything we do. Ray has long demonstrated his passion for software, and through his work at Groove he also came to realize the transformative potential for combining software and services. I've attached a memo from Ray which I feel sure we will look back on as being as critical as The Internet Tidal Wave memo was when it came out. Ray outlines the great things we and our partners can do using the Internet Services approach.

The next sea change is upon us. We must recognize this change as an opportunity to take our offerings to the next level, compete in a manner commensurate with our industry responsibilities, and utilize our assets and our broad reach to reshape our business for the benefit of the users of our products, our customers, our partners and ourselves.


November 08, 2005

Xbox 360 3 Million 3 Months

The chief financial officer of the Xbox division at Microsoft said they will sell 3 million Xbox 360s in the first 90 days. Moreover the company intends to have $1.5 billion of total revenue from hardware, games, and accessories. The fiscal year goal that ends in June 2005 is still 4.5-5.5 million units.

"We're building a lot right now," Lee said during his speech, which was also broadcast on the Web. "We are building thousands and thousands and thousands of 360s every day. They are on boats. They are on planes. They are in distribution centers. They are hitting retail."

CBS, NBC to Offer Video on Demand for 99c

CBS and NBC are going to let DirectTV and Comcast offer video-on-demand for a handful of shows for 99c. This is a knee-jerk response to Apple's iPod Video if I ever saw one.

The CBS shows will be offered to roughly 5 million subscribers to Comcast Corp.'s digital cable service, a company spokeswoman said. Those shows will still have commercials, but users will be able to zap through them with their remote controls. Both services start up early next year.

November 07, 2005

Nvidia GeForce 6800GS Review

Tech-Report has the review skinny on the new 6800GS. Sounds like a keeper to me, especially with future SLI configurability.

The biggest knock on the GeForce 6800 GS, in my book, comes from another source. If you're going to fork over $249 for a graphics card, you would probably do well to consider shelling out the additional $70-100 for a GeForce 7800 GT instead, if you can. The 7800 GT delivers significantly more performance

November 06, 2005

Xbox 360 Black Screen of Death

Instead of a blue-screen of death, Xbox 360 users will be treated with a black-screen when their machine crashes.

Command and Conquer 12-Pack

Starting in February EA is going to sell all 12 Command and Conquer games in one pack for $39.99.

Command & Conquer (August 1995)
Command & Conquer The Covert Operations (April 1996)
Command & Conquer Red Alert (October 1996)
Command & Conquer Red Alert The Aftermath (September 1997)
Command & Conquer Red Alert Counterstrike (March 1997)
Command & Conquer Tiberian Sun (August 1999)
Command & Conquer Tiberian Sun Firestorm (February 2000)
Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 (October 2000)
Command & Conquer Yuri's Revenge (October 2001)
Command & Conquer Renegade (February 2002)
Command & Conquer Generals (February 2003)
Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour (September 2003)

Google Paying $1 for Toolbar Referrals

Pony up that buck!

Yahoo Pranks Google

According to Yahoo, Google is a just a fish store.

ATI Radeon X1800 XT Review

HardOCP gives the run down on ATI's latest and greatest. Net-net, good card, but probably not the best value and availability.

The Radeon X1800 XT does have an interesting new feature – which is unavailable on the GeForce 7800 GTX – as it has the ability to do AA with all methods of HDR. Therefore, if this is important for you, the X1800 XT might be the better choice. There also seems to be a lot of performance headroom with the Radeon X1000 series, which we have seen with the recent OpenGL Fix drivers. I sincerely hope that ATI can keep making the X1000 series more efficient through driver updates. Whichever card you chose, you won’t be disappointed as each allows a very high level of game play performance and image quality.

Building a New PC Story

Tech-Report goes through building a new PC for himself. Always good reading as building PCs are full of traps, tips, and frustration.

Xbox 360 Design Rejects

Here's a slideshow of the ugly pre-designs for the Xbox 360.

Journey to the Center of Yahoo

NYTimes goes at the heart of the Yahoo vs. Google war.

One is that while Yahoo is ever conscious of Google and determined to match it head to head in familiar keyword search, in the long run its plans for search seem quite different from Google's. The other is that Yahoo views the very scale and sprawl of its operations - the seemingly random assemblage of sites and functions, the 200 million active users in more than 20 countries - as a crucial competitive advantage.

November 05, 2005

Intel-based Apple PCs to Come Early?

AppleInsider has sources that say the Intel-based Apple PCs are going to come sooner than you think. As early as early 2006. The company also wants to be one of the first to come out with Intel's new dual-core processor in its desktops.

Without getting into specific dates at this time, sources familiar with Apple's Macintosh hardware roadmap say the company is striving to unveil a completely redesigned set of Intel iBook laptops just in time for next year's K-12 educational buying season, which takes place around April or May.

Google Founders Buy a 767

What do you do when your stock quadruples after the IPO and you are worth tens of billions of dollars? Buy a luxury 767 airplane of course.

Frugal. In a world where CEOs buy brand new Gulfstream 550 business jets like they were toilet paper for the office, Larry and Sergey found a used beast of an airplane that typically flies 180 people, but when overhauled, could transport 50 people on long trips. They reportedly paid under $15 million for the plane, but are likely paying tens of millions more to redo the interior for comfort. It will have two bathrooms, a shower and a large dinning room; and of course, Internet access. A Gulfstream costs roughly $45 million and transports about 15 people.

Dell Selling AMD

Well not exactly what you think. The Dell accessory store is selling the latest AMD chips, but maybe this means in the future we can expect Dell AMD-based PCs?

Vivendi Universal Rocking Because of World of Warcraft

A few years ago, when Vivendi was in the dumps, it tried to sell Blizzard for over a billion dollars. EA and Take-Two were very interested, but in the end decided to pass because the price was too high. Little did they know that in retrospect, it was the steal of the century. World of Warcraft alone is on track to make billions upon billions of dollars and the other IP like Diablo and Starcraft would of been icing on the cake.

Vivendi Universal Games, had made a substantial contribution, posting revenues of 158 million Euro; an increase of 151 percent at constant currency. The results for the first nine months showed an increase of 88 percent on the same period in 2004.

The company has stated that its subscription-based MMO title, World of Warcraft has been the main driver behind the games division's revenue increases, though strong sales of Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, FlatOut and movie license Robots have all shown 'strong' sales.

November 03, 2005

Elevation Buys into Bioware and Pandemic

Elevation, a $1.9 billion venture capital firm, bought a $300 million stake in BioWare and Pandemic. Elevation is led by U2's Bono, John Riccitiello (former President of EA), and Fred Anderson (the ex-CFO of Apple). John will be CEO of the new company and the co-founders of the studios will become shareholders and senior executives.

Pandemic is known for making Full Spectrum Warrior for THQ. And Bioware is famous for Jade Empire and great old RPG computer games. Earlier in the year, Elevation tried to buy Eidos, but was eventually out-bid by Sci.

November 02, 2005

Doom Movie Review by Arogan

One word: Inconsistent

- The creature effects were inconsistent. Some were ok, some were horrible (especially during the fps segment)
- Production values seemed all over the place. Some scenes looked pretty good. Others looked very low budget and cheesy.
- Overall the story didn't bother me too much. it wasn't that bad of a plot. It's nothing like the game but it wasn't too bad.
- The pacing was kind of weak. NOT scary at all. Several parts I just got kind of bored. They back tracked a lot (a no no in game design too) which seemed like it was there just to kill time.
- BFG. Ok I really wanted to see this gun clear a room of baddies. NEVER HAPPENED. What a waste. The gun was shot a total of 2 times to no effect (well except making a big hole in the environment).
- Turns into wire fu at the end. Obvious film speed up was used.
- I went in with low expectations and was still disappointed.

4/10 [Discuss]

November 01, 2005

iLounge Holiday Buyer's Guide

Do you own an Apple iPod? Then you must download this 100 page buyer's guide with 650 ratings and reviews on everything related to the iPod.

# The world’s first reviews of AKG’s stunning k701 Reference Headphones and Altec Lansing’s iM series headphones.
# Exclusive Sneak Peeks at new 2005 and 2006 iPod nano and 5G accessories from Belkin, Griffin, Vaja (iVod nano!), Power Support, Core Cases, ProClip and more.
# Re-introducing the iPod: iLounge editors will quickly help you pick the 5G, nano, or shuffle that’s right for you.
# Great new feature articles, including A Brief History of iPod + iTunes; and
# Contest winners for our two latest Buyers’ Guide photography and art contests - you’ll be blown away by these pictures!

Logitech 676 Universal Remote Review by Arogan

Product Link - ZipZoomFly (warning: first one was DOA. Had to swap it out). $120
good review - forums

make sure you have the latest java runtime installed and grab the latest version of the software (under support link in the upper left of the page)
The version on the cd was pretty dated.

- 15 device support, 2mb memory. Uses activities instead of devices. You can still use it like a tradition univeral based on devices but you won't want to once you setup activities which work much better.
- Web/Java application to setup everything about your remote. Once it's setup you d/l it to the remote through usb (the first time it also upgraded the remote firmware). Incredible up to date database. This remote supports learning but I didn't have to learn a single key. It had everything in the database including my old Laser Disc Player and even an IR -> x10 converter.
- 6 custom LCD buttons which you can add an infinite (up to max memory) number of custom keys.
- tons of hard buttons with good spacing so you can operate almost everything through tactile feedback. Great ergonomics for easy one hand operation.
- uses regular 4XAAA batteries
- takes 3 min to d/l changes.
- web interface needs work. It's slow. some functions are pretty hidden. Example, if you want to make sure a device is always on (never turns off when you hit the off button), then it's advance options or sometimes burried in trouble shooting. If you want to add a device to an activity and add some commands from the device when you first press the activity button it's in the trouble shooting section of the activity. The remote can probably do whatever you want it to do, the problem is finding it on their web page which relies way too much on wizards and just makes it difficult for you to tweak that one thing. You have to go through a series of questions all over again and again.
- one thing I couldn't figure out is how to customize the Off button. I know it's trying to be smart, keeps track of all the activities you've been using and all assocated devices, and then turns everything off that it knows is on. But it seems to ignore any devices you add to an activity after the initial activity setup. Example, I added an IR x10 command to shut off my sub woofer. The x10 device is part of my activity. I was even able to set it up on activity start it turns on the sub. But when I press the off button the sub stays on. The work around is you can also customize actions that happen when you leave an activity. This happens not only when you press off but when you switch from one activity to another. This works for the most part but it would be nice just to see the "OFF Macro" and let me insert commands.
- activities are great but some macro control would have been nice.
- what happens if logitech decides to drop support one day and shut down the Harmony line?

This was an upgrade from my old Sony RM-AV2100 Remote Control which worked great, had incredible learning capability, but I grew tired of the touch screen, and the bulk made it hard to operate with one hand. Overall the harmony is a big improvement, simplifies operations (activities > macros for the most part). The wife made the switch in no time.

Highly recommended. [Discuss]

NBC News Online

It's the beginning of the end for broadcast TV.

NBC News said Monday that it would begin making its "NBC Nightly News" broadcast available for free on the Internet starting next week. Past broadcasts will also be archived at the Web site, the network said. It's not necessarily news on demand, though. The newscast, aired at 6:30 p.m. on many NBC stations on the East Coast, won't be available on the Web until after 10 p.m. ET. "Many of our viewers tell me they often miss the broadcast because they're not at home or tending to their busy lives and families," anchor Brian Williams said. "This new service reflects the fact that the pace of our lives has changed." The first newscast available on the Internet will be on Nov. 7.

Next Generation Console Wars

Ars-Technica does a detailed feature spec run down among the next-generation consoles.

I now have very good reason to believe that I was correct the first time, and that Revolution will use the same PPE core that powers the Cell and the Xenon. On this point, I have to appeal to inside information the source and nature of which I won't characterize. IBM has sold this core to all three console makers as a media processing monster that packs a lot of power into a small die area, and they tried to sell Apple on it as a laptop core based on those very qualities.

Apple Aperture Review

A pro photographer reviews Apple's Aperture new image photo management / workflow software.

How Aperture should impact Adobe, the camera makers and smaller developers alike is to spur them into revising their programs for pro shooters to be super-efficient, smooth in operation, photographer-friendly and show a deep understanding of the pro workflow. Simply put, all pro photography programs should be really pleasant to work in. Watching Aperture run, we couldn't help but think that we've put up with the poorly-designed interfaces of certain applications, and the seriously slow underpinnings of others, for far too long. Aperture appears to demonstrate that there is a better way to design certain aspects of applications for pro photographers.