December 29, 2005

Treo 700w Review

Treonauts has one of the first reviews of the Treo 700w up on the web.

I hope that this will have given you a good overview of how ActiveSync and Today work with the Treo 700w and how it compares to the Treo 650. Also, even though I write that I consider both these functions to be ‘Better’ overall than the similar ones under PalmOS in our Treo 650

December 27, 2005

Grand Theft Auto London?

Joystiq got a rumor email saying Grand Theft Auto London will come out in Q4 of 2006 for the Playstation 3. The game will be set in 1997.

Treo 700w Specs and Info

A member at Howard's Forums is saying that the Palm Treo 700w will be launched at CES on January 5th. It will come with Windows Mobile 5.0, 128MB flash/60MB main memory, 1.3 megapixel camera, Exchange Active Sync, EVDO high speed access on Verizon's network, and Bluetooth. Pricing will be $499 for 2 year agreement, $599 for 1 year, and $619 for no contract.

December 25, 2005

Mercedes S-Class LCD Dashboard

Auto Spies have posted photos that show the new Mercedes S-Class will have LCD displays in place of old analog dials like the speedometer. I don't know if this is a good thing because if the LCD fails or dies after a few years, it can't be very safe.

Xbox 360 Mod Chip Already?

There are reports that hacker groups will release mod chips for the Xbox 360 as soon as February 2006. That was pretty fast.

A member of a hacker group disclosed to press that they will finish the first mod chip of Xbox360 in a couple of weeks. "Everyone of us is endeavoring to develop a mod chip with complete functions. With the chip, gamers will access all functions of Xbox360. We think the chip will be available at market in a couple of weeks. But as the first attempt, the first batch of chips may be complex and they may not function very well." Information from another hacker group says pirate games for Xbox360 will be on sale in February or March in 2006.

Gamespot Game of Year: Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 won game of year from Gamespot. The other finalists were Battlefield 2, Civilization IV, F.E.A.R., Forza Motorsport, God of War, Guild Wars, Guitar Hero, Mario Kart DS, and Ninja Gaiden Black.

Goldeneye Source Released

A nice Christmas present indeed for nostalgic Golden Eye players. The mod for Valve's Half-life 2 Source engine has been released. Enjoy.

December 24, 2005

AMD Chips in Tight Supply

AMD spokesman has said there is too much demand for their processors and they are in tight supply.

One of those systems builder said the note specified the Athlon 64 3500, 3800, the dual-core X2 3800 as well as the lower end Sempron 2600 and 2800 as being in tight supply. An AMD spokeswoman acknowledged shortages in the low-end desktop space but would not comment on specific model numbers. In a statement e-mailed to CRN, the spokeswoman said: "AMD is experiencing unprecedented demand for our desktop processors and this unprecedented demand has depleted our supply of packaging components."

Palm to Rollout 3 new Treos in 2006

Hopefully they will find a way to make the operating system more stable. My Treo 600 crashes way too much.

We'll roll out the Palm Treo 700w smartphone based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile, and we'll announce three additional new smartphones during calendar year 2006." said said Ed Colligan. During the conference call he further stated that these new models will debut with new industrial designs and at different price points. They will also implement next-generation radio technologies...This announcement confirms earlier rumors about new Treo products in 2006. That report stated Palm plans a Treo 700p (similar model as the 700w running Palm OS Garnet) as well as two new designs code-named "Hollywood" and "Lowrider".

Intel Conroe and 965 Chipset to Ship in July 2006

Intel is pushing up the launch of their new desktop processors next year to July of 2006.

Intel will push up the launch of its desktop Conroe CPU and delay the debut of its 965-series chipset so that both will hit the market at the same time in July 2006 in a demand-boosting strategy, according to sources at motherboard makers in Taiwan. Intel declined to comment. According to Intel’s original schedule, the 965-series chipset and the Conroe CPU would have been launched in the second and fourth quarter of 2006, respectively. Smooth development of Conroe, however, has enabled Intel to reschedule the launch of the new CPU and revise its marketing strategy, said the sources, adding that the launch of its 965-series chipset will be delayed by a week or two.

December 18, 2005

Gmail Mobile

Google comes out with Gmail for your mobile device and cellphone.

Bush Gets Free iPod from Bono

Fun little video clip where President Bush talks about what artists are on his iPod. Then he goes on how Bono gave him a new iPod that isn't as advanced as his iPod Shuffle. Laugh out loud.

Dell Dimension XPS 400 Review

HardOCP serves up their usual review goodness. They hold nothing back before bashing Dell's gaming PC to oblivion. Ouch.

The next line: “XPS show just how serious we are” is more telling. If the Dimension XPS400 is any indication, Dell considers computer gamers a joke. Harsh, yes. But we think it’s accurate. The system itself is a decent gaming platform and the hardware was well built. It was put together decently with parts that can pull the weight required to play today’s graphically intensive games.

NCSoft Founder Says Online Gaming will be Bigger than Google

The interview is actually pretty interesting. I don't know if an online gaming company will ever be as large as Google is today, but it sure is the key growth market in the videogame industry over the next decade.

"When I started NCsoft, everybody asked me why I wasn't building NCsoft as an information company, like Microsoft or Yahoo! or Google," he explained, "but my belief is that something people really want to have is something entertaining. I believe that the future of the Internet is on the entertaining side, not just on the information side."

December 17, 2005

Gel Tabz Review by Arogan

I bought 3 sets (xbox, xbox 360, ps2). $6 each. I've always had problems when your hands get sweaty the tend to slip off the analog sticks especially the concave ps2 ones. These covers for your analog sticks really work well. They are made out of very grippy rubber/gel with little bumps on them. Xbox and xbox 360 are really easy to install. Just slip them on. It does add a bit of height to the stick but I got use to it very quickly. The ps2 instructions say to remove the existing rubber covers which are GLUED on. They were tough to get off and basically you will destroy the original rubber covers so there is no going back. But having said that I do like the gel tabz quiet a bit more and the height is exactly the same on the ps2. Highly recommended. [Discuss]

Xbox 360 Review by Arogan

Picked up the $1000 bundle. I ordered it yesterday and got it today. This is compared to my 4 month old gamestop preorder when last I checked I was still #7. I'm going to try and return 6 of the games for maybe store credit.

first 5 hrs impressions:
- composite cables hooked up to a sharp 32" standard definition TV with a dd 5.1 sound system. Wired Ethernet to a netgear wgr614 v5 router through road runner cable modem.

- mfg date 11-25-2005 so this is definitely a new batch.

- first thing I did was do the live gold transfer. Since I already linked my live account to a passport account through it was really easy.

- Next I tried media connect. I found out it doesn't support network shares even though you can add them on the computer. I tried changing the service login ID to a local admin account but then the service would no longer start. I think they want you to install Windows Media Connect on each machine that has content you want to stream to the xbox. I tried streaming photos and music without issue. Unfortunately it seems to only support browsing by ID3 tag or play list. NO directory navigation which sucks. Then I tried my archos and rio forge mp3 players through usb. I even tried some photos that were on the archos. Everything worked great and this time you can ONLY navigate by directory structure. I wish I had both options under both conditions.

- I highly recommend you go to the system tab and do the "Test XBOX Live Connection." It showed my NAT to be strict which basically means LIVE WILL SUCK. It really limits who you can connect to, and you can't host. What I found out was you MUST ENABLE UPNP on your router (mine is the netgear wgr614 v5). After that Live works GREAT. You'll see the xbox open port 3074 UDP through upnp. I retested and my NAT reported as "open" which is what you want.

- I had one freeze(sort of, sound was still working but couldn't close the gamer card) when I had upnp off in pgr3 while trying to access a gamer card in gotham tv. Once I turned upnp on everything was smooth. I never had any issues while in single player. There have been no locks, freezes, or crashes so far (knock on fake simulated faceplate wood - no I didn't buy one).

- Next I d/l the free trial of geometry wars and messed with that a bit. I ended up buying $25 worth of microsoft points and purchased the full version of geometry wars for about $5. They have different amounts you can buy but they all equate to 80 pts/dollar. No volume discounts. I also briefly tried joust and gauntlet trials. Then, I checked out the Lost Planet Trailer and Red vs Blue.

- Xbox Guide button brings up a menu which has unique menu items NOT found in the dashboard blades. This is where you can change your theme and play custom music tracks that you have stored on the hd, on a portable mp3 player through usb, or streamed from a pc.

- tried a dvd and the remote. It's pretty nice with 32x scan, a-b repeat, zoom, but no slow motion. I tried some svcd/vcd's but they were a no go. DVD+R's work fine.

- Ridge Racer Six. Very crisp detailed textures and silky smooth 60fps, deeper nitrous mechanic than the psp version. I've always been a ridge racer fan and this one doesn't disappoint. Live support is great. I played in several 8 player games and it played great with no warping or lag. There is one SERIOUS BUG in rr6 which really shows this title was rushed for launch. If you stream music from a pc you will experience CONSTANT MAJOR LAG AND STUTTER while playing online. It's not enough just to stop the music play back. You must do the following:
1) Go to the system blade
2) Choose computers
3) Choose the highlighted option (Windows-based PC or Windows Media Center)
4) Disconnect the connection.
This really kind of sucks and is only an issue in Ridge Racer six. This means the only way to have a custom soundtrack while playing online is to either have it on the HD or from USB.

- Project Gotham Racing 3. I only played this very briefly and tried one online game which also played very well. I also checked gout Gotham TV which is way cool being able to watch the top races live. Text is really hard to read for us poor standard def sobs.

- Perfect Dark Zero (collector's edition). I finished the first level (basically a tutorial). My feelings are a bit mixed so far. I like the graphics and don't mind all the shinny surfaces. The movement speed is VERY slow compared to recent shooters and therefore changes the pacing/tension a bit. I'll have to play it more to get a better feel. I jumped into an online match for a few minutes and it played smoothly.

- Condemned: I think this is my favorite game so far. I've only finished the first level. Hey it's by Monolith and uses the fear engine. I love fear and this game is great too. The spooky atmosphere, lighting, and melee combat are all great.

- I love the controllers and the new headset. Much more comfortable than xbox 1.

- pluggin in a usb keyboard sure makes adding people to your friends list much easier.

Overall this is a slick piece of hardware. Xbox arcade and marketplace are great. There are many things to explore besides the games. Several strong launch titles with excellent live support (except the rr bug). There's just a ton of potential for this system.

Get one if you can find one and if you get one you really need to be on Live. [Discuss]

December 12, 2005

Apple Boombox for iPod?

Ever hungry for more revenue and share of wallet, sources say Apple is going to release iPod companion products such as an iPod boombox. With companies like Bose and Logitech making a killing on low-end speakers, more power to Mr. Jobs. Hopefully the quality will be there.

company's plans describe the new products as "iPod companions" rather than "accessories," and say Apple appears ripe to announce the first of the gadgets as early as the second week of January at the annual Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Calif. One such product described to AppleInsider is an iPod boombox "unlike anything seen in boombox world" and strikingly different from "anything Apple has released in the past."

Interview with the CEO of Palm

The New York Times interviews the CEO of Palm. They are going after the big fish and trying to be the number one smartphone player in 2010 when the world will be consuming 1 billion cellphones annually.

What are the competitive advantages you have over R.I.M.? A. Really the advantages are the application suite. We do wonderful browsing; MP3; we have a camera; and we have the e-mail. We have a great personal information management integration. We have an expansion slot that allows you to add gobs of memory. So it’s a very powerful open platform and probably the most important thing, the one thing that we focus on is the design of it in the sense that you have the full keyboard to be able to enter a lot of information, but you also feel comfortable putting it to your head and using it as a phone.

Viiv-based Desktops Coming Soon

According to Digitimes sources, Viiv based home media PCs will begin mass production as early as February 2006. The ballpark launch cost for these PCs is slated to be $1000-1500. Let's hope these companies come out with spiffy form-factors and work on deadening the noise levels.

Intel’s Viiv platform will consist of the dual-core Pentium D 800/900 CPU line, 945 and 955 chipsets with ICH7 DH southbridge chip and Intel Pro/100 PM/PL/VE/VM network cards, indicated the sources. The new platform will be capable of Intel’s Audio Codec 5.1/5.1-channel connector with 2.1 SPDIF digital output, NCQ-enabled SATA drive and only support the Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) operating system, the sources added.

December 11, 2005

Playstation 3 on Track for Spring 2006

Sony said this week that the Playstation 3 is on track for a Spring 2006 launch. EA however said don't expect to see it in the USA to at least the Fall of 2006.

EA Acquires Jamdat for $680 Million

After buying off the NFL, EA wanted to become the #1 player in cellphone games. So instead of playing on a level playing field and building their own games and letting the best games win, they just bought the market leader for $680 million. It pays to be the biggest gorilla on the block.

Vivendi Gives in to King Quest IX

Vivendi decided being the evil grinch isn't a role worth playing. Vivendi has given the King Quest IX fan project the go ahead as long as they change the name of the game. That is good news for fan boys and open source game projects everywhere.

Yahoo Buys

Yahoo is buying everything that is Web 2.0 these days. With its acquisition for and Flickr, Yahoo is trying to dominate the next gen internet. I want to see how they integrate all these sites together.

Shuttle XPC SD11G5 Review

PC Stats gives up the review goodness on Shuttle latest pc cube offering. It's for those that really want the quiet HTPC experience and can afford to spend a little extra to get a Pentium M low heat processor.

The brand spanking new Shuttle XPC SD11G5 small form factor PC is very different from its miniaturized brethren, it is based on a mobile CPU. This makes the Shuttle SD11G5 a perfect candidate for environments that require low noise computing. The Intel Pentium M processor does not generate much heat, which in turn mean that it does not require substantial cooling devices.

December 07, 2005

Nintendo Revolution Not So Powerful

Developers are leaking information about the next gen Nintendo console. Supposedly it will only be 2.5Xs more powerful than the Gamecube. They are trying to replicate the success of the Nintendo DS by coming out at a lower price point and an innovative user interface.

In terms of RAM, the system is well-known to boast 512MB of Flash RAM which can be used to store save games and downloaded content, but this will not be accessible to developers, we were told. What they'll have available is 96MB of main memory, built on the same 1T-SRAM architecture as the Cube, and "a few megs here and there for other stuff" - such as 3MB of on-board memory on the graphics chip, which will be used for a frame buffer. "That's plenty, since the Revolution isn't supporting HDTV," one developer added.

December 06, 2005

Best Company Reputations

According to Harris Interactive, here are the top 10 companies who were ranked the most reputable in 2005. 1. Johnson & Johnson 2. Coca-Cola 3. Google 4. UPS 5. 3M 6. Sony 7. Microsoft (huh?) 8. General Mills 9. FedEx 10. Intel.

The bottom 10 were Sprint, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Tyco, United Airlines, Halliburton, Adelphia, MCI (Worldcom), and Enron. It's not a good thing when your current wireless provider is near the bottom next to Enron.

December 05, 2005

Spiderman 3 Movie

Spiderman 3 is slated for release in 2007 and according to WSJ sources is going to cost $250 to $300 million to make. Yowsers. I guess Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst don't ever have to work again.

Aperture Review

Ars-Technica reviews Apple's latest new software creation, Aperture. It is not pretty.

It saddens me to say that Aperture's innovations are only skin deep. If it could deliver on the promise of being both fast and produce flawless results, it would be the dream package. At this point it is an expensive and questionable alternative to Camera Raw, a free extension to Photoshop

December 04, 2005

Blogger Brings Down a Digital Camera Store

After having a very heinous shopping experience with an online digital camera store, Thomas Hawk went public with his story and single-handedly destroyed the guy's business. Amazing what the internet can do these days. Hint to our readers, buying a $2K camera from a shady dealer in Brooklyn, NY isn't the smartest thing to do.

The day after posting the feedback describing my attempt to buy the video camera from PriceRitePhoto/CameraMall, I received a call from a "John Hancock", claiming to be the owner of the camera companies, and demanding that I remove the feedback I posted. He said that he would charge my credit card for the amount of the camera and and additional $250 for each posting.

Xbox 360 Coming Out Weekly

Microsoft has told retailers to expect more Xbox 360s on a weekly basis (some are supposedly slated to arrive this weekend). The company also said the defect rate is running at 3%, which is average for a new consumer electronics product. P.J. McNealy from Amtech estimates that 300-400,000 Xbox 360s have already been sold.

Nokia's 2006 Mobile Phone Forecast

The company said this week that the phone market is growing faster than expected and will hit 3 billion subscribers by the year 2008. Their forecast for 2005 is 780 million handsets sold where the company itself has one third of the market-share. Moreover they think ASP and margins can go up with more features being added to the phone every year.

December 03, 2005

Dell 3007WFP 30 inch LCD Monitor

Yes it's coming. A 30" LCD monitor from Dell. It will have a response time of 14ms, 700:1 contrast, 400cd/m2 brightness, and a native resolution of 2560x1600. DVI and HDCP inputs along with a 4 port USB hub and 9-in-1 flash memory reader round out the package. Estimated time of arrival is December 21st. [Discuss]

MySpace Generation

First there was GeoCities. And it was crap. Then there was Friendster, at first it was good, but then turned into crap. Now there is MySpace. It's taking the teeny boppy world by storm. Read how Paris Hilton, Hillary Duff, and Ashley Simpson can't be wrong in the latest Businessweek profile of the social networking phenom.

It's becoming a phenomenon unto itself. With 20 million of its members logging on in October, MySpace now draws so much traffic that it accounted for 10% of all advertisements viewed online in the month. This is all the more amazing because MySpace doesn't allow those ubiquitous pop-up ads that block your view, much less spyware, which monitors what you watch and infuses it with pop-ups. In fact, the advertising can be so subtle that kids don't distinguish it from content. "It's what our users want," says Anderson.

ATI and Nvidia 90nm Graphics Chips for 2006

ATI and Nvidia are going to come out swinging in 2006 with new 90nm GPU chips. Competition sure is a good thing. Let's hope ATI can actually make chips in volume in 2006, something the company struggled to do this year.

New 90nm graphics processor units (GPUs) from ATI Technologies and Nvidia, with ATI’s flagship R580 chip and two 7xxx series from Nvidia, are expected to enter mass shipments by the end of the first quarter of 2006, according to Taiwan-based graphics card makers.

Holiday System Guide 2005

HardOCP has put together a great holiday PC system upgrade guide.

It’s not officially the holiday season until we gauge how much buying power a dollar will buy at Our last guide included systems from both AMD and Intel and we aren’t leaving either camp out in the cold for this edition. For full systems, we scoured with budgets of $1200 and $2000 and looked at good buys for both AMD and Intel. For upgrade systems, we took budgets of $500 and $1000 and did the same. We’ve come up with good systems this year and we’ve even learned something for ourselves along the way.