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Saturday, June 14, 2008

MLB Contemplates Instant Replay

Major League Baseball, the pro league instant replay holdout, is considering joining the likes of the NFL, NBA, and NHL and could enforce video replay as early as August according to the Associated Press. After a month that has seen a number of blown calls by umpires, the league seems serious about instituting instant replay on disputed home run calls. "It's all still premature," MLB spokesman Rich Levin said Friday. "A final decision has not been made." Fact is that the league will require an agreement with it's umpires' union before it can take action. Umpires, however, are adamant that they do not want video replay to be used to review close plays on the bases or ball-and-strike calls. Seems fair.

Friday, June 13, 2008

US Congressman Claims Computers Hacked By Chinese

Representative Frank Wolf, a Republican from Virginia, said Wednesday that the FBI found that four of his government computers have been hacked by sources working in China. Wolf is a long-time critic of China's human rights record and a spokesman for the congressman said the four computers were being used by staff members working on human rights issues. “I think this is very bad because you have the Chinese compromising and gaining access to computers of any number of members of the House and a major committee of the House,” Wolf told The Associated Press. “We don't know how many others.”

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had no immediate comment. Last week, China denied accusations that it's officials had secretly copied the contents of a US government laptop during a visit to China by Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and used the information to try to hack into Commerce Department computers.

Globe and Mail story here

Google - Yahoo! Sign Non-exclusive Advertising Agreement

Google announced on Thursday a non-exclusive advertising agreement that will provide Yahoo! with access to the AdSense for search and AdSense for content advertising programs on Yahoo!'s U.S. and Canadian web sites. They also intend to work on enabling interoperability between their respective instant messaging services which is aimed at allowing users broader communication online. In a post on the Official Google Blog, has been in contact with regulators about the deal, and that they expect to be working closely with them to answer questions about the transaction. "Ultimately we believe that the efficiencies of this agreement will help preserve competition." It seems as though Google is preparing it's defense in anticipation, check out the bolded text of Kordestani's post...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Radiation And Your Cell Phone

The jury is still out it seems on the affects of using a cell phone and / or any links that this may have with brain tumors or other ailments. If you are concerned then you may wish to consult this handy reference guide to cell phones and the amounts of radiation that they emit. CNET has compiled a list of phones by 10 Highest US Models, 10 Lowest US Models, and a run down by manufacturer. Fear not, if you are looking for the iPhone on the list it's grouped under Other Manufacturers. Oh, and CNET has the following to say about how you should interpret their publishing of the lists: " It's important to note that in publishing this list are we in no way implying that cell phone use is or isn't harmful to your health. While research abounds and some tests have shown that cell phone radiofrequency (RF) could accelerate cancer in laboratory animals, the studies have not been replicated. Cell phones can affect internal pacemakers, but there is not conclusive or demonstrated evidence that they cause adverse health affects in humans. Conversely, there is not conclusive or demonstrated evidence that they don't cause adverse health affects in humans. So, in short, the jury is still out, research is ongoing, and we will continue to monitor its results."

Getting More From Your 802.11n WiFi Network

Web Worker Daily blogger Samuel Dean in a recent post suggests 4 ways to get more from your 802.11n wireless network. All four suggestions make good sense to me and I would say are applicable to all wireless networks, even those of the b and g varieties. An obvious one that I'd also add is to ensure your network is locked down, while it may seem like you need a network administrator to do this, most manufacturers have done a decent job of making their devices easy to configure and with a little knowledge you can save yourself a lot of headaches. There are some good wireless network and network security resources freely available online, your router's manufacturers site is always a good place to start but you might also try a trusted site like and their newsgroups. Besides securing your network, consider moving off of the default channel that your network broadcasts on. By default most WiFi routers come out of the box set to channel 6 and chances are 90% of your neighbours will also be broadcasting on that channel. By moving off of the beaten path you'll save yourself a lot of dropped connections and improve your throughput. By no means am I an expert on the subject, just experience talking... so there you have it, 6 ways to get more from your network ;-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Polaroid POGO Pocket Printer

Polaroid, the camera company that brought us the first instant camera 40 years ago is making news again with the introduction of the Polaroid PoGo™ an inkless pocket sized photo printer that no doubt will find a loyal fan base. This little guy who's name is short for Polaroid-on-the-go - prints full-color, 2-inch by 3-inch photos from cell phones via Bluetooth and from digital cameras via PictBridge. The PoGo will debut on July 6th in the U.S. for $149 MRSP while the ZINK Photo Paper™ will retail for between 33 and 40 cents per print; 10-packs cost $3.99, while 30 packs cost $9.99. Tom Petters, Chairman of Polaroid: “ZINK™ Zero Ink™ Printing Technology elevates instant printing to a whole new level. With Polaroid PoGo™, you don’t have to process pictures at your personal computer anymore – the convenient pocket size means printing and sharing photos can once again be a social activity.” I, for one will be anxious to compare the print quality of the PoGo with that of my Canon Selfphy, granted they are not necessarily meant to compete.

Meet GINA, BMW's Shape Shifting Car Experiment

Take a look at GINA, a concept car by BMW that uses a fabric for a skin as opposed to metal. GINA stands for "Geometry and functions In 'N' Adaptions" and is not necessarily being considered for production but "Rather, they are intended to steer creativity and research into new directions." It's impressive that companies like BMW are willing to spend on such projects in the name of creativity and "innovative potential". Check out the video...

Wired's Autopia blog has more info here.

Happy B'day Lucas!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gas Sipping Techniques Gaining Favour

Sky rocketing fuel prices have brought back into favour driving techniques aimed at squeezing every last mile out of a tank of gas. The trend, called hypermiling, is seeing the average practitioner getting 20 - 30% or more miles per fill up. "It's like a videogame," hypermiler Yahya Fahimuddin says. "Can I beat my new high score?" There are a number of things that can be done to push your vehicle a little further, more than 100 according to, some are common knowledge while others may push the limits of the law. I'm thinking I'll get out the tire gauge and perhaps be a little more conscious of the speed limit.

Wired has more here.

3G iPhone Comes To Canada July 11th

Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the coming of the new and improved iPhone 3G at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday, and with this comes the release of the device in Canada. Apple plans on releasing the new iPhone in 22 of the biggest national markets worldwide on July 11th. In Canada the 3G will be offered on the Rogers Communications network, “Rogers has a long history of bringing Canadians the very best in wireless services, networks and handset innovations,” Rogers Wireless president Rob Bruce said in a statement. “With iPhone 3G, we will provide our customers with an amazing mobile experience over Canada’s fastest wireless network.”

The updated iPhone promises improved sound quality and better battery life, giving 300 standby hours, five hours talk time, seven hours of video or 24 hours of audio, according to this Globe and Mail article.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Microsoft Signs Health Vault Deal With Kaiser Permanente

Microsoft and the U.S.'s largest nonprofit health maintenance organization, Kaiser Permanente, have signed a deal that will see Kaiser's 156,000 employees pilot a project linking Kaiser’s patient information with Microsoft’s Health Vault personal health-record service. The move is being touted as significant by some analysts according to the New York Times, "because of California-based health company’s size and its reputation as an innovative user of information technology." The goal being to give people useful information so that they can be more active in managing their own health. “We think we can start to transform the management of chronic diseases,” said Peter Neupert, the vice president in charge of Microsoft’s health group.

Google has also made strides in this area with the release of Google Health earlier this year. The funny thing is that most people I have spoken with are extremely weary of big business knowing their business, especially when it come to personal information such as health data. It will be interesting to see just how well received these services are.

Call In The Myth Busters Guys - Can Cell Phones Pop Popcorn?

Here is a YouTube video that is making the rounds, well this one and a number of others like it. If you believe the video evidence, it would appear that the signals emitted when 3 or 4 cell phones receive calls, simultaneously and in close proximity, are capable of popping popcorn! I'd like to see a scientific explanation or a reason to debunk the mystery. Perhaps I'll round up a few willing participants at work today and see if we can do a little myth busting our selves... any volunteers? Somehow I think it's just fancy camera work, but I just have to find out for sure. Neat party trick if it works!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

iPhone 2.0 GPS Capability Has Other Hardware Makers Scared

Wired Blog Network's Autopia blog discusses the impact that a new iPhone with GPS capability is going to have on companies, like Garmin, who already in the portable GPS market. Suffice it to say that the appeal of the iPhone will likely steal some of that business away for the portable navigation system makers. The same was being said of Research in Motions business when the first iPhone was unveiled but the Blackberry lives on and sales are strong. Time will tell, but I must say that for a guy like me who has not already invested in a portable GPS, the thought of an all in one device is appealing.

Disney World In 3D

In January my family and I traveled to Orlando, Florida for a wonderful week at Walt Disney World. We jammed a lifetime worth of memories into a week of roller coasters, water slides and other attractions that only Disney could do right. A new collaborative effort between Disney and Google now puts us a mouse-click away from the place where dreams come true, in 3 dimension. Walt Disney World® Resort in 3D, is an interactive, virtual Walt Disney World completely recreated on Google Earth including four theme parks and more than 20 of Disney’s Resort hotels. Think I'll head back to the Tower of Terror!