Thoughts & news on technology…well, mostly

Got Mii a Wii

nintendo-wii.jpgI got a Nintendo Wii this morning – suh-weet! 😀

The Wii has been out for about 7 months and it’s still ridiculously hard to get one. However, it should start to get easier to find a Wii in the next couple of months since Nintendo said they are ramping up production and are aiming to sell 14 million consoles by March 2008.

Here’s how I got my Wii:

  • Friday, April 27 (5:30pm): I stopped by Target (Somerville, MA) on my way home from work to see if they had any Wiis.
  • The sales clerk told me they were sold out (what a shocker!) but they should be getting more on Sunday, April 29 (he didn’t know how many they were getting).
  • Sunday, April 29 (7:15am): Since Target opens at 8am on Sundays, I got there at 7:15am and there were already 4 people waiting.
  • Sunday, April 29 (7:30am): A Target manager came out and gave us tickets to buy the Wii (they had 18 in total) – I got ticket #5.
  • Sunday, April 29 (8:05am): I bought the Wii and was on my way out the door.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a Wii, I would recommend getting one – the games are ridiculously fun.


Filed under: Gaming, Nintendo, Wii

Comments on the iPhone’s battery life and its slippery surface

There have been rumors circulating over the past month or so that the battery life of the iPhone would be pathetic but according to MacScoop’s inside source the battery life will “surprise us.”  According to Apple’s specs, the iPhone will have up to 5 hours talk/video/browsing and up to 16 hours of audio playback.  If MacScoop’s source is correct, then it sounds like the battery life will exceed the advertised specs.

Surprisingly, their ‘source’ is more concerned about the slippery feel of the iPhone:

Overall, our source found the iPhone awesome but he mentioned, as a sole negative point, that the material used on the device’s case makes it feel even more slippery than the iPod and will probably require the purchase of a protective skin or case so as to avoid unintentionally dropping it.

Interesting details…only a month or so to go until we all can get some hands-on time with the iPhone.

[via MacScoop]

Filed under: Apple, Cellphone, iPhone, Mobile Phone, Smartphone

Wanna play Guitar Hero II at a bar?

guitar_hero2.jpgPianos, a bar in New York City’s Lower East Side, has ‘Guitar Hero night’ on Tuesdays @ 10pm. So, if you’re looking to have a few (or several) beers and then show off your skills to the ladies (or guys), you’ll want to hit up Pianos.

I don’t know about you but I think that would be a funny night – watching your friends playing a plastic guitar…drunk.

Anyone know of a bar in Boston that does this?  🙂

[via Joystiq]

Filed under: Gaming, Playstation 2, Xbox 360

Windows Mobile 6 for T-Mobile Dash coming on May 4?

wm6_tmobile.jpgRumors have been circulating that T-Mobile will be releasing a Windows Mobile 6 Standard ROM upgrade for T-Mobile Dash owners on May 4.

If it does drop next week, I would caution that you make sure all of your 3rd party apps are compatible with WM6 before upgrading.

[via Smartphone Thoughts]

Filed under: Cellphone, Microsoft, Mobile Phone, Mobile Software, Rumors, Smartphone, T-Mobile, Windows Mobile, Wireless

Are cell phones killing bees?

Some scientists are suggesting that the radiation emitted by mobile phones are killing bees by interfering with their navigation systems. When this happens, the bees can’t find their way back to the hive and end up dying.

German research has shown that the behavior of bees change near power lines. Now, a small study at Landau University (Germany) has shown that bees don’t return home when mobile phones are placed nearby.

In the East Coast of the U.S., 70% of the bees are missing. In the West Coast, 60% are missing. This is not only occurring in the U.S. but across the world – Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece.

The implications of the spread are alarming. Most of the world’s crops depend on pollination by bees. Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, “man would have only four years of life left”.

When was the last time you saw a bee?  I haven’t seen one in years…

[The Independent via Gizmodo]

Filed under: Cellphone, Mobile Phone, Wireless

Intel confirms ‘Santa Rosa’ shipping in May

Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum held here this week, David Perlmutter, Intel’s senior vice president and general manager for mobility

David Perlmutter – Intel’s Sr. Vice President & General Manager for Mobility – confirmed at last week’s Intel Developer Forum that the Santa Rosa platform will begin shipping in notebooks next month:

The Intel executive also noted that Intel’s Santa Rosa platform will start shipping in notebooks from next month. The mobile platform will comprise an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, the mobile Intel 965 Express chipset family, 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity and optional Intel Turbo memory that has been touted to improve application performance.

In a nutshell, Santa Rosa is a mobile platform with a Core 2 Duo processor, 800Mhz front side bus, better graphics chipset, and Intel’s flash-based caching technology (Robson).

[BusinessWeek via MacRumors]

Filed under: Computers, Laptop, Mobile Computing, Technology

Earth Day video from Rocketboom

Yesterday (April 22) was Earth Day and Rocketboom posted a nice video in relation to Earth Day.  The video is about the amount of waste that goes into the packaging of consumer products – in this case, a Canon inkjet refill cartridge.

Rocketboom is a videoblog based in NYC that posts daily 3-minute news videos (hosted by Joanne Colan and formerly hosted by Amanda Congdon) focused on international arts, technology and weblog drama.

Filed under: Video

U.S. sales of video game consoles during March – Wii still #1

The Nintendo Wii was the #1 selling next-gen video game console in the U.S. during the month of March.  Following the Wii were Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s Playstation 3.

The specific sales numbers were:

  1. Wii: 259,000
  2. Xbox 360: 199,000
  3. PS3: 130,000

Interestingly, the PS2 outsold all next-gen consoles by selling 280,000 units.

Total dollar sales for video game consoles in March was $257 million.

So, we see the PS3 being outsold by the Wii and Xbox 360 – nice!  🙂

[Reuters via Digg]

Filed under: Gaming, Nintendo, Playstation 3, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360

Sales of PS3 fall 18% in Japan from Apr. 9 – Apr. 15

The latest sales data is out and the news for Sony is not good – the PS3 continues its ‘thud.’

During the same week Nintendo saw the Wii increase in sales by 44% while Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has declined 2%.

Here are the weekly sales numbers:

– DS Lite: 133,325 22,480 (20.28%)
– Wii: 75,759 23,176 (44.08%)
– PSP: 24,850 6,653 (21.12%)
– PS2: 12,872 1,362 (9.57%)
– PS3: 11,948 2,572 (17.71%)
– Xbox 360: 2,900 63 (2.13%)
– GBA SP: 654 179 (21.49%)
– Game Boy Micro: 617 105 (20.51%)
– Gamecube: 167 88 (34.51%)
– DS Phat: 146 56 (62.22%)
– GBA: 26 14 (116.67%)

Frankly, I’m happy to see these results because I am not a fan of Sony or the PS3.

[via Joystiq]

Filed under: Gaming, Nintendo, Playstation 3, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360

Vista barely made a dent in Apple’s marketshare during Q1 2007

Research firm Gartner released a preliminary report saying that Apple’s marketshare has remained steady despite the release of Windows Vista in January.  In fact, Mac sales increased 30% year over year:


Like I’ve said before, Apple’s got the mojo.

To be honest, it *feels* like Apple’s marketshare is more than 5% because I see a lot of people using Apple laptops in Starbucks, Panera Bread, and all of the other places that offer free WiFi in the Boston/Cambridge/Somerville area.

Obviously, this isn’t scientific but I’m sure other people are feeling the same thing…and when PC users see more Macs out there, they’re more likely to consider switching.

[via AppleInsider]

Filed under: Apple, MacOSX, Microsoft, Technology, Vista, Windows

StumbleUpon being acquired by eBay

stumbleupon.pngWord on the street is that StumbleUpon has signed a term sheet with eBay – indicating that they will be acquired by eBay. The price is rumored to be in the $40 – $45 million range. Not bad for a start-up that raised $1.5m in only one round of venture funding, eh?

StumbleUpon is the internet equivalent of channel surfing on your TV. StumbleUpon is installed as a web browser toolbar that allows users to ‘stumble’ upon websites that match their profile and interestes by clicking a “Stumble!” button. Users can also rate websites (via thumbs up or thumbs down) – the more positive ratings a website has the more that site will be served/displayed to other ‘stumblers.’ If a site is rated positively and has not been rated by another ‘stumber’, then the site is added to their database as a website that should be served/displayed to other ‘stumblers.’

Frankly, I’m not sure why eBay wants to acquire StumbleUpon…GigaOM has a couple of reasons (one involves integrating it with Skype) but that doesn’t seem too compelling to me. What do you think?

[via TechCrunch]

Filed under: Business, Social Web, Software, Technology, Web 2.0

Thunderbird 2.0 has been released

thunderbird.pngMozilla has just released Thunderbird 2.0 – sweet!

If you’re not familiar with Thunderbird, it’s the best open source email application out there. In fact, I would say it is the best email application out there.

Don’t worry about your OS, Thunderbird is compatible with Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.

Some of the new features:

  • Advanced folder views
  • Message tagging
  • Saved searches
  • Built-in support for retrieving email from Gmail and .Mac (all you have to do is enter your username/password)
  • Updated junk mail/spam filter
  • Updated theme and user interface
  • Better Windows Vista support

FYI, a lot of people must be downloading Thunderbird 2.0 as I write this post because the download speed is very slow – like 5kb/sec slow. 😦

Filed under: Email, Software, Technology

Google will release a web-based PowerPoint application

The Web 2.0 Expo is under way (April 15 – 18) and Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, has announced that they will be adding a presentation and slide show application (i.e., PowerPoint) to Google Docs & Spreadsheets.  We now have Google’s version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  Nice.

Eric Schmidt said it will be “launched soon” and did not give a specific timeframe.

Docs & Spreadsheets is already hugely popular and makes collaboration soooo much easier. Adding a web-based PowerPoint-esque application is a natural extension of the Google Apps.

Google continues to create applications that enable better collaboration within teams and communities – I love it. 🙂

[via TechCrunch and CNET]

Filed under: Google, Web 2.0

Apple may offer $50 – $150 rebate for the iPhone

A Wall St. research report an Apple from American Technology analyst, Shaw Wu, says there are several sources indicating that Apple is seriously considering offering a rebate on the iPhone, which will retail for $499 (4GB) and $599 (8GB). Of course, if you want to take advantage of the rebate, you’ll have to sign a 2-year contract with AT&T.

Some other interesting topics in the report:

  • Revenue sharing and bounties for Apple
  • Recurring revenue from cell phone carriers

Personally, I hope they offer a rebate because $500/$600 is tough to swallow.

[via AppleInsider]

Filed under: Apple, AT&T, Cellphone, Cingular, iPhone, Mobile Phone, Rumors, Smartphone

Use your Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons at Linens ‘N Things

linens-n-things.gifFor those of you who may not know, you can use Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons at Linens ‘N Things. It’s extremely simple to do: all you have to do is go to the customer service counter to checkout and present the Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon. The customer service person will apply the coupon to your purchase with no questions asked. Sweet, eh?bed-bath-and-beyond.jpg

I was a bit skeptical when my girlfriend told me about this but, this past Saturday, I used a 20% off coupon from Bed, Bath, & Beyond to buy a Dyson Root 6 handheld vacuum from Linens ‘N Things. It saved me a cool $30 beans. 😀

Btw, I originally bought a Dyson Root 6 (and wrote a review) from Best Buy on March 23rd but returned the one I bought from Linens ‘N Things to Best Buy because they don’t accept competitor coupons.

Filed under: Bargains, Deals, Retail, Shopping

Deal: Western Digital Passport 160GB for $120

western-digital-passport.jpgIf you’re in the market for an external hard disk drive, you should take a look at the slick looking Western Digital Passport portable drives. They come in 60, 80, 120, and 160GB versions. Costco is selling the 160GB version for $120 (in-store) and $130 on their website, which is $60 cheaper than MSRP and cheaper than you can find on the web (e.g., NewEgg.com).

I just bought the 160GB version for $120 at the Everett, MA location.

It’s a very sweet portable drive that does not require a separate power adapter (it’s usb-powered)…assuming your USB ports are 1000 mAH.  Some USB ports top out at 500 mAH, which isn’t enough juice to power this drive (more on that in a future post).

Filed under: Bargains, Computers, Deals, Hard Drive, Storage, Technology

New Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processors coming soon

Intel will be releasing an update to the Core 2 Duo mobile processor platform sometime this quarter (Q2). Rumors are saying May 8 is the date. The next set of Core 2 Duo mobile processors are:

  • T7700 (Core 2 Duo – 2.4Ghz)
  • T7500 (Core 2 Duo – 2.2Ghz)
  • T7300 (Core 2 Duo – 2.0Ghz)
  • T7100 (Core 2 Duo – 1.8Ghz)

Instead of the current ‘Merom’ platform, these processors will be using the ‘Santa Rosa’ platform, which has:

  • 800MHz front side bus (the current Merom platform tops out at 667MHz FSB)
  • 64-bit support (same as Merom)
  • 4MB L2 cache (same as Merom)
  • GM965/PM965 chipsets (Crestline for improved graphics)
  • 82566MM Gigabit Network chip
  • 4965AGN wireless chip (Kedron) with 802.11n support
  • Wi-Max and HSPDA integration (rumored)

All of the above isn’t ‘new’ news but something to consider if you’re in the market for a new laptop. For example, there are rumors that Dell will be using one of these new Core 2 Duo processors and Santa Rosa on their Latitude D630/830 at the end of April/early May.

So, the real question is: when will the computer companies update their laptops to use these new processors and platform? In my case and, more importantly, when will Apple update the MacBook Pro? I’ve been waiting for 4 months to replace my PowerBook G4 with a MacBook Pro and my patience is wearing thin…

[the following articles were referenced for this post: Wikipedia, The Inquirer, Notebookreview.com]

Filed under: Computers, Laptop, Mobile Computing, Rumors, Technology

Performance comparison between Intel-based Macs

Primate Labs released a CPU and memory performance app named Geekbench 2 and they posted test results for almost every Intel-based Mac that’s been released over the past 2 years.

Their conclusion:

There’s not a huge change in performance across most of Apple’s Intel-based Mac lineup (the high-end MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo is only 30% faster than the low-end MacBook Core Duo, for example). The only big changes occur at the low end with the (discontinued) single-core Mac mini, or at the high end with the quad-core Mac Pro.

If you’re thinking about getting a Mac, you might want to check out their results.

[via MacSlash]

Filed under: Apple, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacOSX, Reviews

Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) delayed until October

Ugh…Apple has officially announced that Leopard will be delayed from June to October. The reason: so they could launch the iPhone on time.

However, iPhone contains the most sophisticated software ever shipped on a mobile device, and finishing it on time has not come without a price — we had to borrow some key software engineering and QA resources from our Mac OS X team, and as a result we will not be able to release Leopard at our Worldwide Developers Conference in early June as planned. While Leopard’s features will be complete by then, we cannot deliver the quality release that we and our customers expect from us. We now plan to show our developers a near final version of Leopard at the conference, give them a beta copy to take home so they can do their final testing, and ship Leopard in October. We think it will be well worth the wait. Life often presents tradeoffs, and in this case we’re sure we’ve made the right ones.

I’d rather have Apple release quality software than release a buggy version of Leopard in June. Also, there’s gonna be hella comparisons between Leopard <–> Vista so it’s better for Apple to make sure it’s of high quality.

I’m really bummed since I’ve been waiting for Leopard to buy a MacBook Pro.  Well, now I have to decide if I should just pull the trigger and buy it now because my PowerBook G4 won’t last until October.

Filed under: Apple, MacOSX, Software

Got my Joost beta invite

Well, I finally got my beta invite to Joost back on April 5 and I just was planning on downloading the install software but noticed that only Intel Macs running 10.4 or higher is supported. Since I’m running a PowerBook G4 with 10.3 I’ll have to install it on my Vista machine.

I’ll try to check it out later this week. When I do, I’ll post a review or, at least, my initial thoughts.

Update (4/11/2007) Well, I just tried to install it on my Vista Ultimate machine and I keep getting a “Joost stopped working” error message…ugh, what a pain in the ass.  I checked their forums and, with the latest version (0.9.2), some people are reporting issues with Vista while others aren’t.  The real annoyance is that I can’t post in the forums because the only way to create a Joost user account is via the client application.  Since I can’t launch the app, I can’t create an account.

I sent an email to their support email addy so, hopefully, they’ll help me resolve it soon.  Until then, no beta invites for me to give away. 😦

Filed under: Digital Movies, IPTV, Video, Web 2.0