January 31, 2006

Billionaire's Budget - Larry Ellison

Even billiionaires need a spending budget.

In the e-mails, which stem from a recent shareholder lawsuit against the technology titan, Ellison's accountant, Philip Simon, warns the billionaire about his habitual runaway spending. Like a concerned parent, Simon chides Ellison for overextending himself on a new yacht, on his America's Cup team and on his new houses in Woodside and Malibu. “I'm worried, Larry ...” Simon wrote to Ellison in a 2002 e-mail. “I think it's imperative that we start to budget and plan.”

1) Life Style -- annual $20m
2) Interest Accrual -- annual $75m
3) Villa in Japan -- $25m
4) New Yacht -- $194m -- over 3 yrs
5) America's Cup -- $80m -- over 3 yrs
6) UAD -- 12m over 3 yrs.

Bill Gates has a Big Tax Problem

Some people in the world have real problems. Gates isn't one of them.

“My tax return in the United States has to be kept on a special computer because their normal computers can't deal with the numbers,” he said at a Microsoft conference held in Lisbon. “So I am constantly getting these notices telling me I haven't paid something when really it is just on the wrong computer,” he added in comments broadcast on television. “Then they will send me another notice telling me how bad they feel they that they sent me a notice that was a mistake,” he said

IE 7 Beta is Public

Microsoft has released a public beta of IE7. Now you too can experience the Microsoft copying Firefox browser.

The latest version works only with Windows XP Service Pack 2 and includes many of the features Microsoft has been touting for months. Among them are new security and privacy protection capabilities such as mechanisms designed to combat phishing attacks, spyware and other threats. Another new feature lets users clear their browsing history more easily and thus wipe out passwords, form data and cookies in one click, the company said. The new browser also includes tabbed browsing and a search box on a more streamlined toolbar

January 30, 2006

One Artist Makes Millions a Year Making Greeting Cards

Her cards simply rock. Basically you get access for $8 a year. With 527,000 subscribers, she makes millions.

According to the Internet consulting firm Nielsen/NetRatings, JacquieLawson.com had 22.7 million visitors in December, more than twice its closest competitor, AmericanGreetings.com. The business started on a whim when Ms. Lawson, an artist working for a Web site developer, created a Christmas card in 2000 and sent it to a dozen friends while she was on vacation. Ms. Lawson returned from vacation to 1,600 e-mail messages from people who had seen the card, and a company was born. Now, JacquieLawson.com has 527,000 subscribers who pay about $8 annually to choose from among about 60 cards Ms. Lawson and a colleague have created.

Steve Jobs Article

Jobs to take over Disney like he did Apple?

A few minutes later, in walked Steve Jobs. The co-founder of the once proud company had been fired by Apple 12 years before. He had returned seven months earlier as a consultant, when Amelio acquired his NeXT Software Inc. And now Jobs was back in charge. Wearing shorts, sneakers, and a few days' growth of beard, he sat down in a swivel chair and spun slowly, says McCluney, now president of storage provider Emulex Corp. (ELX ). “O.K., tell me what's wrong with this place,” Jobs said. After some mumbled replies, he jumped in: “It's the products! So what's wrong with the products?” Again, executives began offering some answers. Jobs cut them off. “The products SUCK!” he roared. “There's no sex in them anymore!”

Microsoft iPod

Microsoft is supposedly considering making a Xbox game/media player.

BusinessWeek has learned that the software giant is working on plans to develop its own portable digital media device to rival the iPod, rather than just providing technology to partners.

Nintendo DS Lite to Come March 2nd, 2006

The new and smaller DS will be launched on March 2nd, 2006.

DS Lite will come in at 133mm wide, 73.9mm high and 21.5mm deep, as compared to the proportions of the original DS which was 148.7mm wide, 84.7mm high and 28.9mm deep - which in real terms, means that it's 42 per cent smaller than the original DS.

January 24, 2006

Full Motion Color Video at 30FPS on Original IBM PC

Must be seen to be believed. Who know the 8088 was so powerful?

Opera Mini Launches

Opera launched their new browser for cellphones. It is free via WAP download.

Opera Software today announced the worldwide release of Opera Mini, the full Web browser that runs on almost every mobile phone, including low- and mid-end handsets. Today's global launch follows the trials of Opera Mini in the Nordics and in Germany during the fall of 2005, which resulted in a user base of over one million people. Opera Mini is available free of charge via WAP download, or for a small fee via SMS.

The History of Pixar

Steve Jobs turned his $10 million purchase of Pixar into $7 billion in 10 years.

George Lucas needed cash (there’s a sentence you don’t read everyday) and a lot of it. The cash flow problem stemmed from a divorce. Lucas’ Wife, the well respected film editor Marcia, wanted her share of the wealth they had accumulated while still married. George wanted to keep his businesses going. Looking for something to sell, George’s eye lit on a small, almost inconsequential, part of the LucasFilms Empire: the computer animation division.

Netflix to Support HD-DVD at Launch

Netflix announced it will rent HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies at launch starting in late March 2006. Now if only the HD-DVD players were at reasonable prices.

“High-definition DVD is the next wave of excitement in home entertainment and we'll be there at its inception,” said Netflix Chairman and CEO Reed Hastings. “With far sharper images, better sound and more features, we expect high-def will greatly enhance DVD's consumer appeal and extend its popularity over the next decade or more.”

Disney Buys Pixar

Disney announced it will buy Pixar today for $7.4 billion. Steve Jobs will be added to Disney's Board of Directors as the largest single individual shareholder and John Lasseter will become President of Disney Animation studios.

January 17, 2006

The New Fresh Gear Ventures to Online TV


Did you like Fresh Gear on Tech TV? Well many of the people responsible for that show are offering their expertise for free and have produced an episode covering 2006 CES. The quality is surprisingly just as good as the old cable TV show. I wonder who paid up for all the hotels, airfare, and video editing. I wish them well and it is definitely worth the gander. Go check it out.

Google Buys dMarc Broadcasting

Google announced they acquired dMarc Broadcasting for $102 million cash and up to $1.14 billion in performance based incentives over the next 3 years. The company is aiming to be the one-stop shop for advertisers. The new addition lets companies automate buying radio ads across 500 stations. Could be great for local based ad campaign on and off-line. Yes Google is on its way to conquer the world.

iMac 17 inch Core Duo Review


Ars does their normal review goodness for the new Intel based 17 inch iMac. The general message is if you stick mainly to Apple's media apps you can switch now. However if you rely on professional apps, it's better to wait for the universal binary versions that will come out later this year.

Apple has a lot riding on the iMac Core Duo and the upcoming MacBook Pro. An architecture switch is no simple matter, and if done poorly, it can be disastrous. Fortunately for Apple, the early indications are very positive.

Google Adsense Pays out 78.5%

New York Times has an article on Google Adsense and how much they pay out to bloggers. Unfortunately for me, I do not get anywhere near what the Digital Point website gets. I barely can cover my hosting and other expenses, but I guess it's better than nothing.

Google.com and the company's foreign search sites contribute more to Google's bottom line than AdSense, because for every dollar the company brings in through AdSense and other places that distribute its ads, it pays roughly 78.5 cents back to sites like Digital Point that display the ads.

January 16, 2006

GeForce 6800 GS Review

Die Coin

PC Perspectives lays down a great in-depth review of the Nvidia 6800 GS. It looks like ATI is going to continue to be lagging in the mid-range video card market for some time to come.

The NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GS GPU is a great addition to NVIDIA's widening selection of parts based on the NV40 architecture. While the performance of the 6800 GS and the 6800 GT are fairly similar, NVIDIA is able to make the NV42 for a much lower price and keep yields even higher making the GS an easy late-in-the-season decision. ATI doesn’t have anything to compete with in the same price range and as such the 6800 GS makes a great purchase for budget conscious gamers.

Steve Jobs Fights Back at Michael Dell


Michael Dell a few years ago told a conference crowd what he would do if he ran Apple. He said, “I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.” Well Steve Jobs had the last laugh when last week Apple passed Dell in market value. Jobs, never a guy to let a chance to rib a guy back pass, wrote this email to Apple employees:

“Team, it turned out that Michael Dell wasn't perfect at predicting the future. Based on today's stock market close, Apple is worth more than Dell. Stocks go up and down, and things may be different tomorrow, but I thought it was worth a moment of reflection today. Steve.”

Go Apple go. We need more innovative technology companies that actually create great new intuitive easy-to-use products instead of make dull boxes with no R&D. I'm speaking to you, Dell! Dude get a Mac, Mike.

Microsoft Sold 600,000 Xbox 360s


I've been asking around local videogame retailers and I hear the same mantra. No Xbox 360s in stock anywhere. A local EB Games employee told me he expects his next shipment to come in March. NPD now says Microsoft has sold only 600,000 Xbox 360s since the November launch in the United States. Yes you read that right, only 600,000. Microsoft is still banging their drum that they will meet their target of 4.5 to 5.5 million sold by June 2006, but seriously 600,000 in mid January is a far cry from that. Microsoft has flubbed their launch big-time. 600,000 sold barely after Christmas? Pathetic. How can you not have at least 2-3 million Xbox 360s to go when you launch in the States? It's unimaginable how incompetent this is.

Meanwhile in Japan there are Xbox 360s collecting dust on retail shelves. Analysts have said only 28% of shipped machines have sold in the first few weeks. The geniuses at Microsoft were really smart to do a world-wide simultaneous launch? Don't you think?

January 14, 2006

Intel iMac Benchmarks


The initial Intel based iMac are being shipped and people are posting benchmarks. Generally the numbers aren't that great. It could be the software is not yet optimized to run on the x86 processors. Time will tell, but till then it probably doesn't pay to be one of the first guinea pigs. Wait if you can.

Actually, it felt clunky and more like being on a PC the way that it seemed to hesitate for just a moment when doing things. But I was the most disappointed with the render speeds, which were only slightly faster than single processor iMac G5 1.8 Ghz on most test, and half the speed on anything with h264. The h264 export result was so suprising that I tried it a couple of different times with a few different setting, all with the same result - all very slow - about half the speed of the iMac G5.

Why Windows Surfing is Dangerous to your PC's Health

Some enterprising guys download 140,000 websites to see what kind of spyware is out there. What they found was pretty horrid. This is why surfing with Internet Explorer on a Windows machine is tantamount to destroying your PC.

When we first started crawling the Web looking for bad downloads last year, we weren't sure what we'd find. Today, a million Web sites and 140,000 download tests later, I can say with confidence that there are some great programs to be downloaded out there. I can say with equal confidence that there's also plenty of train wrecks waiting to happen to your PC.

Sony Coming out with 4GB and 8GB Memory Sticks

Exhibit Pro Duo

Sony is coming out with 4 and 8GB versions of the Memory Stick Pro Duo, perfect for all your movie watching on the shiny new PSP.

Microsoft Making Keyboard Mouse Combo for Mac

Let's face it. Apple makes a sweet operating system, great hardware design, and has some great easy to use software. However the keyboard and mice just sucks. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Microsoft to the rescue.

The keyboard and mouse is expected to ship as a package, with a suggested retail price of $99.95, a company spokeswoman said. Microsoft, however, could not get permission to use the Apple logo normally found on a key at the bottom left of an Apple keyboard, so the key will have a clover instead. The key will perform all of the same functions.

Digg vs. Slashdot


Our friendly professional blogger kottke got dug and slashdotted for one of his posts. He writes on how the hit barrage was different and how Slashdot actually brought in more traffic. Someday FirstAdopter will have this kind of super power. Wu wu ha ha.

The story had been “dugg” 1387 times[2], garnered 65 comments, and had sent ~20,000 people to kottke.org. On 1/8 at around 5pm ET (a Sunday afternoon), the 50 Things/iPod link appeared on Slashdot's front page and was up there for around 24 hours. As of 10pm ET on 1/11, the story has elicited 254 comments and sent ~84,100 people to kottke.org.

Samsung LN-R409D 40“ LCD TV Review by Arogan

Img 4450
OneCall $2600 shipped (it was on sale). Plus, I get a free dvd recorder. OneCall is great. They are an authorized dealer (valid warranty), shipped fast, package arrived in very good condition, both shock sensors were clear.

- Primary use is for video games (legacy systems and XBOX 360). Everything else is secondary.
- Considered Sony XBR LCD'S (too pricey), Panasonic Plasma (@ 42“ max resolution only 1024X768), DLP (bad view angles, not near as bright as direct view tech, potential lag in games).

Native resolution: 1366 X768
power used: 285w
weight: 60 lbs
response time: 8ms.
view distance: 9ft.

3 days of non-stop testing

Over the Air Broadcast TV:
- We live pretty far out of the city so analog stations are almost complete static out here:

Img 4364

- Here is the exact same channel in HDTV over the air ATSC tuner for FREE:

Img 4365

Img 4366

using a crap antenna:

Img 4359

I can receive all channels in HDTV/DTV (nbc,cbs,abc,fox,upn,wb) except for pbs (I can pick it up if I hold the antenna outside the room). Digital cable doesn't even have upn or wb in HD so there are some advantages to atsc hdtv.
- Notice digital stations are in between regular stations. So ch 11 is analog, 11-1 (11.1) is digital, 11-2 is a satellite weather map.
- you also get guide data over ATSC which you do NOT get from digital cable (cablecard):

Img 4387

- ATSC is FREE, great quality, guide data, and most stations are sending out a VERY strong signal, and you don't need an expensive antenna. Any cheap rabbit ears will do.

Digital Cable QAM Tuner:
- cable card only $1.75/month from time warner
- Didn't get crap without the cable card inserted. Once I inserted the card I got every digital channel I subscribe too (and then some).
- Has all local stations in HD except for upn and wb. You get additional HD channels like tnt, discovery, hdnet, inhd, and espn.
- no guide data

General Broadcast quality:
- overall SD analog channels look worse than a CRT IMO. The LCD is just so sharp it really shows all the grain in an analog signal while an SD CRT will blur most of that out.
- digital SD looks pretty good and most HD content looks great. Digital cable and ATSC are equal in this respect. Many HD channels often broadcast HD resolutions but use poor source material. Example: tnt broadcasts some old movie from a grainy source. There's not much you can do about it. But take a look at HDNET, any sports, pbs, or discovery, and you will see amazing detail. Also, I watched some prime time local station programs like CSI and the office. They both were full 16:9 HD and looked fantastic. It seems most of the prime time shows are in full HD. The difference in quality really is night and day. Once you go HD it's hard to go back.
- I also tested a HD set top box (Motorola 6200) hooked up using a DVI to HDMI cable. It worked fine and looked good.
- Kind of cool getting dolby digital 5.1 (depending on source material) from broadcast. I like how all audio that goes into the tv is sent out the optical output.

DVD Movies:
- I played them on the xbox 360 (progressive output). I checked out Batman Begins and it looked pretty good. Again, this TV does point out all the imperfections in the source material. I can now see the need for HD DVD or Blu Ray.

- I used my laptop and hooked it up through vga and set resolution to 1360X768. It looked very good on the TV with nice sharp text:

Img 4370

- I tried a few games (guild wars, counter-strike) and both supported the native 1360X768 resolutions:

Img 4383

Img 4384

- I've read that the HDMI port isn't designed for pc (only works in a few resolutions, overscan issues). I did not get to try this since my laptop doesn't have DVI, and I don't feel like dragging a desktop over.
- Playing a mpeg2 (captured from analog source) it seemed like I ran into some interlacing issues during fast action while playing with media player. I'll have to look into it more. Not sure if the issue would exist if I used TV Out instead of VGA. I know powerdvd does deinterlacing (hmmm I guess I should have tested with that).

Img 4377

- I played the same material over the Media MVP on composite and it looked pretty good. No interlace issues.

- First the issue about lag. These new digital sets do some image processing before the image actually gets displayed. This can introduce lag between the time you do something on the controller and when you see it on the screen. Samsung DLP's are known to have this issue. Here are the following tests I've conducted on the issue of lag:
- street fighter II anniversary collection: played just fine, I can pull off fireballs as usual, movement felt fine.
- pgr3, pdz, call of duty, king kong, NFS most wanted, kameo, condemned all played great with no perceptible lag.
- Hot shots golf fore on ps2. Two stage timing meter for strokes. It felt fine.
- dance dance revolution on ps2 felt fine. The timing for getting a ”perfect“ felt just right.
- Geometry wars, gauntlet, smash TV, robotron: I thought I might have felt what might be a tiny tiny bit of lag (almost a slight sluggishness to the controls). In the end if there is some it's almost imperceptible. I was still able to score over 400K in geowars.
- I fired up doom3 and counter strike on the laptop hooked up to the tv through vga. I sat there and held the laptop up to the TV so I could have both screens in my field of view (for the most part). I got up to less than 12 inches from the screens. I could not see any lag while shooting or during the gun reload anamations. I would turn left or right and then scrutinize to see if one screen started moving before the other. At one point I thought there was a tiny bit of lag, but then other times I couldn't pick it out. As a control I also tested against a 17” LCD monitor.
- Tip: Go into the menu|input|edit name and pick GAME. This is suppose to flag it as a gaming input and the TV is suppose to bypass somethings to reduce lag. I've heard this helps on DLP's but I'm not sure if it does anything on this LCD. It doesn't hurt.
- Another theory is disabling DNIe helps except you can't actually do that. You can enter the service menu: and there is a DNIe lite menu but I have no idea what all the options mean so I didn't mess with it.
- I've also read that VGA bypasses DNIe. I know you can't enable the DNIe demo while using VGA.
- In conclusion, I'm neurotic. My results are pretty inconclusive. If there is any lag at all it is so small it shouldn't affect any gameplay.

- view angle is great vertical and horizontal.
- 8ms response rate is great. There is very very little motion blur (loss of focus) during fast movement. I think it looks better than my dell 2001fp monitor and I'm very sensitive to motion blur/ghosting.
- I ran PixPerAn (Pixel Performance Analyzer) Chase test which I get around 11ms and worst case no more than 15ms at all color combinations (this test is a bit subjective so I errored on the conservative side).

Img 4386

- I ran a few dead/stuck pixel tests. I couldn't find any. Backlight was pretty even.
- PQ is great for the most part. I like DNIe. For gaming I have Digital NR on, dynamic contrast off, contrast 85, brightness 50, sharpness 50, color 55, color tone normal.
- Looks great when there is a lot of ambient light. I have 4 lights in the ceiling fan and a big window in the room. With the old CRT the glare would drive me nuts. I hear plasma has a lot of glare issues too. With LCD NO GLARE and the picture is nice and bright.
- all the 360 games are just incredible in HD. I didn't realize how much I was missing playing on SD. It really does make a HUGE difference.
- BackCompat games like halo 2 that play in 720p widescreen look pretty good on the 360 except I think the aspect still looks a bit off. The picture still looks a bit stretched. In fact I see this problem with some ps2 and xbox games (and yes I set up everything up properly at the os level). It really depends on the game if it supports widescreen properly.
- Xbox on composite looks pretty bad. Then I switched to component (first party cables only) and it looked quite a bit better. PS2 component still doesn't look that great. God of war had jaggies all over the place and textures looked pretty low rez.

Img 4420

Img 4398

Img 4455

Overall I'm pretty happy with this TV. I don't think a perfect HDTV exists yet but overall I'm quite impressed with this set. It has every feature/connection I could want. It has a great built in atsc/qam tuner. The picture quality is very good. SD content is acceptable but not great (as expected). It's pretty awesome for gaming (which is the main reason why I bought it). I think LCD prices will come down a lot this year as even more plants are brought online. [Discuss]

January 10, 2006

Playstation 3 Likely to be Delayed

It looks increasingly likely that Sony is going to delay the launch of the Playstation 3. The hardware doesn't seem to be ready and certainly the games aren't ready as we hear from sources the dev kits are immature and not enough in number. Intuition says if PS3 was close to ready to go, why did Sony barely mention it at CES and how come there was nothing but pre-rendered demos?

If Sony fixes the bugs tomorrow, due to the time it takes to push a spin through the fabs, you won't see final PS3 silicon until March, April for boards and consoles in small quantities. Add another month for ramp up, and you are talking May for availability if absolutely nothing goes wrong.

Sources have told us that this rosy scenario is at odds with the work going on right now, expect debugging to go on for quite a while yet. Add minimum 4 months to the end date, and you have a possible release time. The long and short of it is, don't expect a PS3 before E3, and even that is a very long stretch.

Apple Share Price $80.86 on Intel Day

The the very day Apple launches their first Intel-based products, the stock price of the company closed at $80.86. Spooky. 8086 chip for you newbs is the first major successful Intel PC processor created in 1978.

Tetris for the Nintendo DS

Tetris for the Nintendo DS is coming out March 20th with online Wi-Fi support. Imagine playing multi-player Tetris on a handheld. Yum.

Slashdot on the Defensive

Slasdhot is under fire lately from their readers and Digg.com fans. CmdrTaco posts a defensive piece on article selection.

Part of the Slashdot Editor's job is to make a submission “Presentable”. Usually this means moving a few URLs around. I'd guess a good half of story submissions use the word 'here' or 'article' or something equally stupid as their anchor text. I prefer relevant words to be linked. There are other minor things tho, like taking off extra intros like “Hi guys I read Slashdot every day and thought you would like this”. We want the Slashdot story to be mostly distilled down to the essentials. Just the key 3-4 sentences.

Athlon 64 FX-60 vs. Pentium EE 955 Review

Tech-Report compare the ultra high end screamers from Intel and AMD. Surprisingly Intel actually puts up a fight.

The Pentium Extreme Edition marks real progress for Intel on multiple fronts. It is the fastest all-around desktop CPU that Intel has ever produced, and thanks to its faster bus, larger cache, and higher clock speeds, the Extreme Edition 955 consistently outruns the older Extreme Edition 840.

CD-Rs have a Lifespan of Only 2 Years

Don't feel secure if you back up your files on CD-Rs. Scientists say the CDs only last 2 years before breaking down. The best way is to use tape backup, which is pretty expensive. Magnetic tapes can last 30 to 100 years depending on quality.

The problem is material degradation. Optical discs commonly used for burning, such as CD-R and CD-RW, have a recording surface consisting of a layer of dye that can be modified by heat to store data. The degradation process can result in the data “shifting” on the surface and thus becoming unreadable to the laser beam.
“Many of the cheap burnable CDs available at discount stores have a life span of around two years,” Gerecke said. “Some of the better-quality discs offer a longer life span, of a maximum of five years.”

Apple Launches Intel Based iMac

Steve Jobs also announced the Intel based iMac today. It has up to a 2Ghz Intel Core Duo processor, 17 to 20 inch screen, ATI Radeon X1600 graphics, and a built-in iSight camera. All this for $1299. It's available on the Apple store for sale today.

Apple Launches MacBook Pro

Steve Jobs announced the MacBook Pro notebook computer at MacWorld today. it is the first Apple portable that will use the Intel Core Duo processor. It has a 15.4 inch wide screen display, 1.67 or 1.83ghz processor, ATI Mobility X1600 graphics, ExpressCard/34 slot, built-in iSight, and Front Row remote. It is available for pre-order today for shipping in February. The base model will cost $1999.

January 09, 2006

MySpace.com Future Plans and Who is in Control?

At a Citigroup investor conference, Rupert Murdoch, the Chairman of the media evil empire, News Corp. outlined future plans for MySpace.com. He said the company plans to add a video download feature where users can post and share videos. They will also improve the instant messenger functionality and offer VOIP internet calling. The company also plans to license a new search engine to help users navigate the content. MySpace now has 47 million members and 32 million unique visitors each month.

The strange part of this story is why is the Chairman of News Corp. announcing these features at an investment conference. Didn't the founders of MySpace.com say they are in charge and in control even after the take-over? Didn't they say not to worry about corporate control? Inquiring minds want to know who is really controlling the ship.

January 08, 2006

FirstAdopter.com Podcast Show - Episode #8

This show covers the following topics:

Favorite podcasts: 60 Minutes, Coverville, Diggnation, BBC Documentary Archive, FirstAdopter.com Show, Gaming Steve, Inside the Net, Meet the Press, NPR: Motley Fool Profiles, PC Gamer, TWIT, and Washington Week. Plus viewer mail.

Download the MP3 Podcast

Nintendo BBC Documentary

In one the worst piece of journalistic TV crap I've ever watched, BBC is a just a travesty. Do they even do one iota of research when they produce these things? It's almost as if they just did a Google search on Nintendo articles, put a pretty reporter on the case, and just recorded anything associated with Nintendo.

Yahoo Free PVR Software

Yahoo is going to give out free ad-supported PVR software for PCs in the coming months. Bye bye Tivo.

Yahoo Go TV will allow consumers to link their existing base of Yahoo contacts and resources directly into their televisions, allowing them to watch digital photos and to check news, sports or other Yahoo services from the same account they use on their computer or mobile phone.

Plasma and LCD Killer

Toshiba is going to launch SED technology TVs later this year that is supposedly going to blow away plasma and LCD in terms of video quality. The main issue however with any new technology is pricing. No word there.

Toshiba is planning to release this new line of unbelievably accurate flat-panel sets in late 2006. The technology is called “Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display” (yes, that's a mouthful) or SED for short. The electronics maker showcased prototype SED sets at CES and every IGN editor on-hand was in agreement: nothing else compares.

Sony PSP Multimedia Ramp Up

Sony is ramping up the multimedia capability of the Sony PSP. They are hyping of Location Free technology which lets users stream live video and audio on their PC, TV, and PSP. The firm is also going to re launch the Connect music site to better compete with Apple's iTunes this March.

January 05, 2006

Take-Two Profit Warning

Take-Two said it will drastically miss earnings and revenue expectations. The chief operating office also resigned. Top Spin 2 and College Hoops 2K6 will also be delayed. Where is Grand Theft Auto London guys? 2006?

Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. on Thursday posted lower fourth-quarter earnings and said fiscal 2006 results would fall “significantly” below Wall Street targets, sending its shares down 8 percent. The company behind the controversial “Grand Theft Auto” games also cut its first-quarter forecast, citing the move to new video game console technology, shortages of Microsoft Corp.'s (NasdaqNM:MSFT - News) new Xbox 360 gaming machine and the timing of its own game releases. Take-Two also said Gary Lewis, its global chief operating officer, had resigned to return to Europe.

Toshiba HD-DVD Player to be Under $500

Toshiba announced at CES that their HD-DVD player will be priced under $500 and will come out in March. Samsung, Pioneer, and Sharp said they will come out with Blu-ray players for $1000-1800. That price point seems pretty crazy considering you probably can get a Playstation 3 later this year that will offer Blu-ray playback support for probably less than $500.

HD Tivo Series 3 Specs

The latest info the HD Tivo Series 3 is it will have 6 tuners, 2 cable tuners, 2 ATSC tuners, and 2 NTSC tuners. It will only be able to record 2 programs at a time however. Output will be HDMI, component video, S-Video, and Composite. It will have SATA hard drive support and be available in late 2006.

Stern to get $220 million Early

Howard Stern before he even starts his show on Sirius is going to get $220 million of stock thanks to strong subscriber growth incentives that were in his contract.

Samsung and Sandisk Prepare iPod Nano Clones

It amazing how even the largest companies in the world are blatantly copying Apple product so quickly.

Two MP3 player makers today demonstrated their decision to compete with Apple's iPod Nano by... er... announcing virtually identically styled products. Step forward Samsung and SanDisk, whose YP-Z5 and and Sansa e200 players elicited immediate 'it looks like a Nano' calls from assembled hacks. Ah well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em...

Fox to Offer Video on Demand Pre-Air

Fox will offer certain programming to DirectTV subscribers before they even air on the networks. I like how they charge for shows you will get for no additional cost later on.

In an industry first, beginning in March viewers will get a “first look” at prime time hits from FX a full 24-48 hours prior to their initial broadcasts for $2.99 and, later in the year, DIRECTV subscribers will have post-air access to FOX Broadcasting’s hottest series for just 99 cents for six to seven days following their national broadcast. The innovative deal will provide DIRECTV subscribers the ability to choose between pre-air and post-air television programming options for the first time ever.

Dell 30“ LCD Monitor Price

Dell has put a $2199 price on its new 30“ LCD monitor.

ATI Announce Digital Cable PC Receiver

ATI's new product will let you connect your media center PC to your digital cable service to record HD programs.

ATI Technologies Inc. (TSX:ATY) (NASDAQ:ATYT) today announced a preview of the revolutionary (HD) digital cable PC receiver. Available later this year, the ATI OCUR (open cable uni-directional receiver) product will allow Media Center PCs that run on the forthcoming Microsoft Windows Vista operating system, to receive High Definition premium digital cable TV content on the PC, ushering in the next level in functionality and opening new avenues for PC entertainment. The new device will also offer traditional analog TV and free-to-air HD broadcast reception to the PC.

Dell Super Gaming PC

Dell announced the XPS 600 “Renegade” which will have 4 GeForce 7800s and an overclocked P4 at 4.2 Ghz. It will be available in Q1 2006.

Microsoft Xbox 360 Shipments

Microsoft announced at CES they expect to ship 4.5 to 5.5 million units of the Xbox 360 by the summer of 2006. The company said Celestica will join Wilstron and Flextronics as manufacturing partners.

More Nintendo DS Numbers from Europe

Nintendo announced that 3.5 million units of the DS were sold in Europe bringing the world-wide installed base to 13 million.

January 04, 2006

Best Cellphones of 2005

With all the new cellphones and smartphones being annnounced at CES, take a step back and read about the best phones of 2005 for each respective carrier.

Nearly all major carriers offer the Razr and the Treo, but if you want something different, it would be a good idea to check out models that might only be available on one carrier. For example, from Alltel, I like Kyocera's Slider Remix KX5.

Skype and Netgear to Offer Wi-Fi Phone

The new phone will let Skype users call anyone over the internet with any wireless internet connection as long as it is not encrypted.

Networking products maker Netgear and wireless calling provider Skype on Wednesday unveiled the first Wi-Fi phone designed to work on the internationally popular voice over IP service. The so-called Wi-Fi phone, which will allow Skype users to access the service and call anyone anywhere in the world, is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2006. The companies also said pricing would be announced in that time frame.

Xbox 360 to Get External HD DVD Drive

Microsoft isn't going to let Sony have all the high definition DVD fun. The company has announced at CES they will offer an external HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360. Unfortunately it doesn't look like Xbox 360 games will benefit from the added storage capability of the new technology. Sony's Playstation 3 will have a large storage capacity edge.

Building on Xbox 360 leadership in high-definition experiences, the company announced plans to deliver a new Xbox 360 external HD DVD drive in 2006. The new drive will offer millions of Xbox 360 owners the ability to easily enjoy HD DVD movies and will provide consumers with even more choices for experiencing high-definition content, in either physical or digital form. Consumers can also use their Xbox 360 system to access high-definition television and movies from their Windows XP-based Media Center PC.

Mossberg Likes the Treo 650 over Treo 700w

Mossberg likes the good old Treo 650 over the new Treo 700w even with the EV-DO speed advantage. His email bug isn't really a bug though because I have to do the same thing with POP email on my Treo 600.

My verdict: Despite some nice new features, the Windows Mobile software is still inferior to the Palm software for one-handed use on the go. Its crucial email and phone functions are also weaker. And there's a serious bug in its email software that affects individuals, though not corporate users... There are some offsetting pluses. In my tests, downloading Web pages on the Treo 700w was wicked fast for a hand-held, typically hovering between 500 and 800 kilobits per second, roughly 10 times as fast as on the Treo 650. Also, the new model has more than twice as much usable memory, and slightly better claimed battery life.

World of Warcraft Patch v. 1.9 Released

Blizzard released v 1.9 patch for World of Warcraft.

* The Temple of Ahn'Qiraj
* New Armor Models
* Linked Auction Houses
* Multiple Battlegrounds Queues
* New Raid Dungeon Reset System
* New Timbermaw Hold 1.9 Reputation Rewards
* Paladin Talent Update
* And much more!

Philips Entertaible

On of the more innovative products already at CES is a touch screen table top gaming table from Philips.

The Philips Entertaible, however, is based on a series of infrared LEDs and photodiodes discretely mounted around the perimeter of an LCD screen. It requires no special lighting conditions or other equipment and is entirely ‘hand’ operated by touch alone. Entertaible can simultaneously detect dozens of objects, including fingers.

Treo 700w Launches

Verizon and Palm launched the Treo 700w as CES show begins. The price is $399 with service plan. This version is all about Microsoft enterprise compatibility and Verizon's high speed EV-DO broadband access.

Nintendo DS Stats

Nintendo came out with some sales figure data yesterday.

-78% U.S. market share of the portable market
-Mario Kart DS sold 1 million copies in the U.S.
-Nintendogs sold 1.5 million copies in the U.S.
-4 million DS hardware units have been sold in North America
-5 million DS hardware units have been sold in Japan

Google $600 Price Target

Piper Jaffray raised their 12 month price target to $600 for the search engine that all of us use.

The investment firm Piper Jaffray raised its price target on shares of the Internet search provider Google yesterday to $600 from $445, a 35 percent increase. A Piper Internet analyst, Safa Rashtchy, projected that Google would continue to generate strong, double-digit sales and earnings growth through 2007 and gain market share as well. "While the stock may have its ups and downs throughout the year, we believe it will reach $600 by the end of 2006 and we prefer to have one 12-month price target rather than raise it every quarter," Mr. Rashtchy said in a client note.

January 03, 2006

Garmin iQue 3000 GPS Handheld Specs

Garmin announced a new GPS handheld today. The specs are:

-Operating system: Palm OS 5 (Garnet)
-Processor: Bravo 2.0 200 MHz with built-in GPS correlator
-2.8“ x 4.7” x 0.7“ inches / 5.2 oz
-320x320-pixel; 54x54 mm screen size
-Internal Memory: 32 MB RAM and 32 MB ROM
-Expandable Memory: microSD card included
-Rechargeable 1050 mAh lithium-ion battery

Starz Offers Video iTunes Movie Service

Starz is the first to really offer the movie video iTunes experience.

Starz has access to about 40 percent of all first-run Hollywood films made available to cable subscription services such as Time Warner Inc.'s HBO and Viacom's Showtime. The cable network has deals for exclusives on new releases from Walt Disney Co. and Sony, typically a year after movies have been released in theaters. For $9.99 per month, subscribers will have unlimited access to watch more than 1,000 movies at any time on a laptop or a portable media player, the company said. The fee also gives users access to a live stream of the Starz cable channel.

Motorola ROKR E2 Specs

Motorola announced the ROKR E2 today. It will run Linux-Java and have the following specs:

-2“ QVGA display
-1.3 megapixel camera
-SD memory slot
-USB 2.0 for file transfers
-support for MP3, AAC, WMA, and Real
-no 100 song limit or iTunes software
-FM radio
-slated to come out in the first half of 2006

Motorola Unveils iRadio

Watch out satellite radio, Motorola has you in its sight.

The iRadio service, will include 435 commercial-free radio channels, including genres such as Heavy Metal, Rockin' Cowboys and Angry Women. Its satellite rivals also provide specialized music channels, often without ads. iRadio will let users download channels on the computer and transfer them to play on their phones or on car or home stereos, like satellite radio. The iRadio service will cost about $7 a month but the price may vary depending on which wireless phone service the subscriber uses, according to Motorola.

iBook and Powerbook Reliability

Great indepth study on the reliability of Apple's laptops.

Best of 2005

Tech-Report has their best hardware of 2005 awards for CPUs, videocards, soundcards, and motherboards.

January 02, 2006

Intel vs. AMD Horserace in 2006

2006 is going to be quite a year for the dynamic duo of Intel and AMD leaping ahead (cough) each other.

2006 dawns with AMD is a commanding lead in the server space in terms of power use and computational ability, they simply are in a different class than Intel's woeful offerings. Intel uses double or more power, and routinely gets stomped in benchmarks. It is so bad that AMD's server Dual Core Duel, handily won by AMD, was greeted with a yawn because it was obvious that in a fair fight, Intel didn't stand a chance.

Guide to Current Nvidia and ATI Graphic Cards


Google PCs?

LA Times is speculating that Google will announce their very own PCs at CES.

Sources say Google has been in negotiations with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., among other retailers, to sell a Google PC. The machine would run an operating system created by Google, not Microsoft's Windows, which is one reason it would be so cheap — perhaps as little as a couple of hundred dollars. Bear Stearns analysts speculated in a research report last month that consumers would soon see something called “Google Cubes” — a small hardware box that could allow users to move songs, videos and other digital files between their computers and TV sets.

Best Independent PC Games of 2005


Playstation 3 Buggy and Late?

An industry insider is claiming the PS3 is in sorry shape right now full of bugs and graphic sub system problems.

“SONY MIGHT BE having a few problems with its forthcoming Playstation 3, which an industry deep throat claims is full of bugs and will not be ready for its March release date.”

Sony PSP Movie Downloads

Some site is doing what Sony should be doing, too bad the $2.99 movies are 3rd tier only.

30 Years of Computer Marketshare Figures


Advance Wars on the Web

Someone programmed a site that lets you play Advance Wars over the web. Play it and try it while you can, before the bid bad Nintendo shuts it down.

Dell 3007WFP Flat Panel Monitor Documentation

Dell Support has put up a support and documentation page for the 30" 3007WFP monitor.

January 01, 2006

Best Buy Sells Nintendo Emulator?

BestBuy.com has a listing for the Messiah Entertainment Generation NEX, a Nintendo clone for $60? Can this be true?

Blockbuster Rewards is Actually a Good Deal

We probably can thank Netflix for this, but the new Blockbuster Rewards program is actually a good deal. For $10 a year, you get 1 free non-new release video or game rental a month plus rent 1 and get 1 free on Mondays-Wednesday. $10 for 12 rentals? Not bad.

Xbox 360 Mistakes

Firingsquad fires away at Microsoft's mistakes.

MobiTV Now for Treo 600

MobiTV is now available for the Treo 600. This is the first viable television service for cellphones and smart phones on the market.

Gamespot's 2006 PC Games

A great list of anticipated PC games in 2006.

Intel Moving to New Logo

intel is dumping its 37 year old logo in a major rebranding effort. The new marketing phrase will be "Leap ahead" and will replace "Intel Inside." The company will also phase out the pentium brand and focus on "Viiv" and Centrino line of chips.