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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Factory Installed Viruses - Getting More Than We Paid For?

The CBC has a story of new devices hitting store shelves with factory installed viruses and trojans. "Recent cases reviewed by the Associated Press include some of the most widely used tech devices: Apple iPods, digital picture frames sold by Target and Best Buy stores and TomTom navigation gear." The experts believe the threats are the result of lax quality control measures in the manufacturing process, the result of cost cutting measures in foreign manufacturing facilities. Ultimately, does not the responsibility lay with the company who commissions the work? I mean, if you are outsourcing work shouldn't you do your due diligence and have your own quality control checks in place?

Friday, March 14, 2008

How To Watch Higher Quality Videos On YouTube!

In order to serve up the millions and millions of videos that YouTube serves in a day YouTube's backend compression engine knocks some of the goodness out of your video. Wired's How-To Wiki has some interesting hacks that let you watch higher quality version than the standard offerings. Follow these few simple hacks and you will be able to see larger, clearer videos. Check them out here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

China Now The Biggest Web Market... According to Chinese Research Firm

A Chinese research firm puts China's Internet user base at 210 million at the end of 2007, and anticipates that at it's rate of growth the Chinese web market will surpass the 216 million US web population this year. “Based on these sources and the assumption that these markets have continued to grow in 2008 to date at the same rates that they grew in 2007, we can conclude that China has by now comfortably surpassed the United States as the world's largest Internet population,” analyst Bin Liu said in a statement. Globe and Mail story here.

Neck Worn Device Captures Thoughts To Produce Voice

A device called the Audeo, developed by Ambient converts your thoughts into speech allowing for a voiceless telephone conversation or, as described in the video below, could be used in conjunction with Wi-Fi to do a quick Internet search, in your head... so to speak, or not? The Audeo is worn around your neck and interprets the signals the brain sends to your vocal cords, apparently even when you just think of a word the brain send the signal. The Audeo recognizes about 150 words and phrases currently and is said to be at the state that voice recognition software was at in the early days. The device is being promoted as not only having applications for the speech impaired but also for those of us who would choose not to speak out load. I was not blown away by the video but considering it is early stages it is still impressive... until of course, someone discovers the man behind the curtain ;-)

TiVo Partners with YouTube To Bring Videos To Your TV

TiVo has announced an agreement with YouTube to bring millions of online videos to your television screen. “TiVo’s strategy is to bridge the gap between Web video and television and make as much content available as possible for our subscribers,” said Tara Maitra, TiVo’s vice president and general manager for content services. With Apple TV offering similar content the lines between television and the computer are beginning to blur, just as some futurists had predicted... not that it was that big of a stretch! YouTube clips will be streamed to the television as opposed to the downloading of television content to a hard drive that is customary for the TiVo device. “TiVo should be the best experience for all video options, whether it’s coming from cable, satellite or off of a server,” Ms. Maitra said. NYTimes article.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Intel's Atom Processor Aimed At The Cost Conscious

Cnet blogs is reporting that Intel's upcoming Atom processor is being heralded by the company as a step towards low cost Nettop computers that will range between $100 and $300. The Nettop pc's will utilize the Atom - "Diamondville" chip and incorporate a number of other cost-saving measures, "no system CPU socket...(an) optimized PSU (power supply unit)" and "cost optimized OS solutions." The machine's primary use will be Internet based computing and will operate on either Windows or Linux according to the article. I can see myself buying such a device for my 75 year old father, who enjoys checking stock prices, the occasional e-mail, and playing solitaire. Seriously!

Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes Returns Thanks To Ask A Ninja!

The masterminds behind the Internet Comedy sensation "Ask A Ninja", Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine, are taking their talents to the big screen with a remake of the 1978 cult classic "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes". ” ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!’ is the masterwork of a generation,” Nichols said. “We can only aspire to recapture that magic.” I love Ask A Ninja and am a fan of these cheesy horror flicks of my childhood, I'm sure that these guys will do Killer Tomatoes proud! Do you suppose we'll get "The Day the Earth Stood Still" next? See the Hollywood Reporter.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 My New Favourite Web App

Here is a dead simple solution to file sharing! is a new service, since November of '07 according to the interview on net@night, that is largely making itself known by word of mouth. The site allows you to create a "drop", which is "a ‘discrete’ chunk of space you can use to store and share anything (pictures, video, audio, docs, etc) privately" according to the site, without requiring any type of sign up. Free drops allow you 100 MB of space for up to one year while the $10 a year premium drop gives you 1 GB! The really cool thing about is that it makes it extremely easy for you to set up your drop and receive files from multiple entry points. You can use a familiar web interface, e-mail your files to your e-mail address, phone your phone number and leave an audio message that gets converted to .mp3, or send a fax to your drop! As the administrator of your drop, you decide who to send the drop location and password to, it's that simple. The only thing knows about you is your ip address, for obvious reasons. I'm lovin' it!

Paramount Pictures To Offer Movie Clips On Facebook

Paramount is launching a video sharing service known as VooZoo, possibly the worst name ever, with free short clips from movies in it's catalogue. Face book users will be able to view and share clips ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes in length. Once a clip has played, a link will be displayed that offers the user a chance to purchase the movie that the clip was taken from, on DVD. "The short clips for a movie that you've already seen before helps you relive the moment," said Derek Broes, Paramount's senior vice-president of entertainment. CBC story here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Comic Strips R Us, All Of Us!

Fancy yourself a Stan Lee or Scott Adams? The tool to make your comic strip delusions come true has just been released as a public beta. Bitstrips is an online tool/editor that allows you to create and share your own comic strip with friends and the Internet at large. Create your own strip or read those that others have created and follow the discussion in the forum. It's a lot more Dilbert than it is Spiderman, but I can really see having some fun with this one! Perhaps there will be a GBG comic strip in the not so distant future? Careful though, turning your co-workers into comic character in a public forum sounds like grounds for dismissal and not fame or fortune... you decide!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Jules Verne Lifts Off

The European Space Agency has sent an unmanned supply ship into orbit to rendezvous with the International Space Station. Named Jules Verne after the 19th century French science fiction writer, the 20 tonne cargo ship will deliver supplies by self docking with the space station. The ship will then be filled with refuse and sent into a disintegrating orbit where both the trash and the vessel will disintegrate upon re-entry over the Pacific Ocean in August. CBC article here.

Digg Sale Imminent?

The CBC is citing TechCrunch, saying that the sale of popular news site is imminent with Google and Microsoft both considering the acquisition. There are apparently 2 other interested but the $300 million that Digg had been shopping around for last year appears to be too pricey. The article says that Digg is now prepared to accept less and indicates that Google's interest lies in the neighborhood of $225 million. Microsoft has it's own interest as Diggs revenue comes from advertising fed by Microsoft's ad network. $200 to $300 million buys Kevin Rose a lot of J├Ągermeister!