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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Vatican Launches YouTube channel

The Vatican has launched a YouTube channel to bring the catholic churches views to the masses. According to the YouTube blog "for regular updates on the Pope and the Catholic Church's take on the major problems facing the world today, subscribe to the Vatican on YouTube."

I followed YouTube's link to an introduction by Father Federico Lombardi, S.I., Director of Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Centre and the Holy See Press Office, which unfortunately was entirely in Italian so I can't really comment on what was said. However I do have a question. What are those guys at the Vatican watching? Check out the monitor on the left of Father Lombardi at about the 1:14 mark... it's for research... right?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Web Slinging Robocop Introduced

Japanese robitics firm Tmsuk Co has partnered with security company Alacom Co to introduce a prototype security robot known as T-34. The little guy has wheels to propel itself at upto 10km/h (6mph) and sensors to detect intruders. Once a sensor is activated a human can control the robot with the help of real-time images on a mobile phone. "Security sensors often set off false alarms but examining the location with the robot will lead to more efficient operations," said a statement from the companies. Once an intruder is spotted the robot has the capability to subdue them by using a hurled net.

Source: BBC

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inauguration Coverage Sets Record For Online Video

On Tuesday approximately 7.7 million people watched the Presidential inauguration online, at the same time, according to Akamai Technologies Inc. making this the single most-watched event in the history of live Web video. Globally, Akamai reported, 5.4 million visitors were visiting Web pages per minute at noon Tuesday, with most of these viewers in North America. "In the past, you pretty much had to be at home or in an office with television to be able to experience what's in Washington," Clint Cantwell, a viewer who works in public relations in New York told CNN. "They need to know that if they build it they will come, and [Tuesday] was a great example that there is a demand for video," said Al Tompkins, a broadcasting and online news teacher at the Poynter Institute, in Florida.

No mention was made of how the servers kept up with demand or what the video experience was like for these viewers.

Source: CNN

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Only The Internet Could Make This Possible

When I read the Bits Blog posting entitled "Torso for Rent, Year Round" I was surprised that nobody had thought of this sooner than now and that the scheme would actually work this well in the first place. Twenty six year old Jason Sadler is selling a days worth of advertising on his T-shirt to interested buyers and the price is dependent on the day of the year, for example January 1 sold for $1 and December 31 for $365. If you've bought into the plan Mr. Sadler wears your branded T-shirt or message on your day, making appearances on high profile sites such as Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and live-streaming site Since launching in November Mr. Sadler has sold 239 days or about 65% of the calendar year and expects to sell out in March netting him a total $66,795.

As you can see in the video below the requests are varied...

Good on ya Jason!
I Wear Your Shirt

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama To Keep His Blackberry

It's a huge day for President Elect Barack Obama! Not only will he take the oath of office and assume the role of President but it also looks as if he is going to be able to hang on to his Blackberry. When asked about the device during a CNN interview Obama responded "I think we're going to be able to beat this back," and "... I think we're going to be able to hang onto one of these."

The concern over the device has been in protecting Obama from threat and the security risk that may be associated with the Blackberry's GPS and e-mail encryption.

"While it is true that the Secret Service is likely more than capable of fending off these types of security breaches, it's easy to see that the organization charged with preserving the commander-in-chief's security at all costs would rather not have to deal with this exposure at all," said Carmi Levy, an analyst with AR Communications Inc. "Up until now, they've been able to disconnect the president as a means of limiting exposure, but it looks like that era is drawing - fitfully - to a close."

Source: Globe and Mail.

The good news for tech companies is that there will finally be a President in the White House who has a clue about technology.

"Occasionally. One of the things I've used on the Google is to pull up maps. It's very interesting to see -- I've forgot the name of the program -- but you get the satellite, and you can -- like, I kinda like to look at the ranch. It remind me of where I wanna be sometimes." - George W. Bush

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cellular Systems To Take Hit During Inauguration

With throngs of people descending upon the US capital for a chance to see the Inauguration of President Elect Barack Obama, cellphone carriers are urging their customers to go easy on the system by delaying making calls, sending photos or text messages. “If some of these estimates come true, people should anticipate delays with regards to sending text messages or making phone calls or getting onto the Internet,” said Joe Farren, spokesman for the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. “We can only bend the laws of physics so much,” Mr. Farren said. Sort of sounds like a Scotty remark to Captain Kirk!

Interestingly, Verizon has several mobile units known as COWs and COLTs (for cells on wheels and cells on light trucks) in it's inventory that it plans to deploy to alliviate some of the anticipated strain on it's system. Carriers also have “sat COLTs,” which carry satellite dishes to send signals independent of terrestrial networks and power supplies. “You drive it where it needs to go, park it, push a couple of buttons, the mast will deploy, the dish will deploy and our generator and satellite ensures we’re fully self-contained and independent,” said Tanya Lin, manager of emergency response team operations for Sprint.

Source: NYTimes

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More Screen Space = More Productivity

A study conducted by the University of Utah, on behalf of NEC (monitor manufacturer) , revealed that "people who used two 20-inch monitors were 44 percent more productive at certain text-editing operations than people using a single 18-inch monitor." I'd normally take these studies with a grain of salt, but as New York Times contributor FARHAD MANJOO found there seems to be some merit to the findings. In my experience I've enjoyed working at my PC more since purchasing a 22" LCD and my son has equally enjoyed inheritting my 19" CRT monitor and putting it to use in a dual monitor configuration. With the cost of LCD monitors continuing to drop and their relatively small foot print on your desktop, large monitors and / or multiple monitors on your desk should be something you seriously consider if you are concerned with getting the most out of your PC and yourself.