Archive for August, 2011
Today won’t be remembered tomorrow. Nothing of consequence happened today. Steve Ballmer didn’t resign, Dell didn’t get out of the PC business and I didn’t stop procrastinating and actually go to the gym. Nope, like any other boring summer day, several products were announced, start-ups announced funding and another wireless carrier jacked up fees. Today is just another day.
But while we’re still here, the last day of August, several tablets from major brands were announced that deserve a bit more conversation. Sony finally revealed the full specs and launch details for the P and S tablets. HTC, likewise, did the same with Puccini tablet, which now sports the rather predictable name of Jetstream. You see, these tablets are just like all the other Honeycomb tabs that were hyped for months and eventually hit with a thud instead of a bang.
It’s hard to be an Android sympathizer these days, isn’t it? I used to consider myself firmly in that camp — then I bought an iPad 2 a few months back and perspective slapped me in the face. Android tabs are reliant on their manufacturer to make up for Honeycomb’s empty app marketplace. Without help, they’re simply another Internet portal device whose existence is moot when compared against a notebook. This cry for life makes laptops, not the iPad, Honeycomb tabs’ biggest competitors.
The Sony tablets outed today attempt to justify their novelty with Sony’s Qriocity media suite. This somewhat obscure offering is available on nearly every connected device Sony makes, including the PS3, Bravia TVs, Sony Ericsson Android phones, the PSP, and all their set-top boxes and connected Blu-ray players. Its install base might even eclipse iTunes when considering the sheer number of devices running the service. But without this media platform, the Sony tablets are, well, just more Android tablets.
Sony did build-in robust Playstation support, which could be a killer feature — someday. The Tablet S is the first tablet to be able to play PSP and Playstation games via an emulator. But the tablet comes with only two games (Crash Bandicoot and Pinball Heroes) and per the Sony press conference earlier today, it doesn’t sound like adding titles is a huge priority.
Several early reviews and hands-on of the Sony tablets popped up shortly after it was announced. Tim Stevens from Engadget states that the Sony Tablet S is “not clearly better” than Galaxy Tab 10.1 citing the odd form factor, scratch-prone glass and flimsy feel. So that’s a pass?
Reviews really need to target consumers outside of our sheltered world of silly gadgets. Is it worth your money over another product? No caveats, no “if-then” statements. So far not one table priced around $ 500 has countered the iPad.
The HTC Jetstream fails this proof even harder than the Sony Tablet S. Priced at $ 699 with a 2-year contract, the rather bulky tablet only sets itself apart with an LTE radio and stylus support, which their Flyer only barely made work. Besides that the tablet is just another nondescript Android 3.1 tab. This one will fail faster than the $ 499 TouchPad.
Another day, another Android tablet to add to the deadpool. But hopefully manufacturers do not view each failure as a wasted opportunity but rather a learning experience. You can bet that Apple pays attention, as the iPad is not the definition of a perfect tablet. With each failed tablet, the path to the perfect slate device gets a tad shorter and we’ll all eventually arrive together. Hopefully this promised land isn’t a gated garden filled with apple trees but rather an open field filled with frolicking androids. But until then, let’s just gather up all the Honeycomb tablets and throw them in the deadpool. No one will notice.
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“…he was here a minute ago.”
When you go how do you want your body finished off? I used to want to be shot out of a cannon but now I’m thinking I wanna be fed to sharks to kick off Shark Week one year. Pretty cool, right? “Whatever, just as long as you’re dead.” Damn you know how to make a guy feel good! You should consider hookin’. Enter alkaline hydrolysis: a means of dissolving a body with pressure and a strong alkaline. It’s not a new concept (links to an old Geekologie article on the same subject so you look stupid when you start yelling, “this shit is f***in’ old news, homey!” in the comments), just one that’s gaining
steam ashes with the environmental crowd since one was recently installed in a Florida funeral home. Florida: unsurprisingly on top of funeral home technology.
The makers claim the process produces a third less greenhouse gas than cremation, uses a seventh of the energy, and allows for the complete separation of dental amalgam for safe disposal.
The system works by submerging the body in a solution of water and potassium hydroxide which is pressurised to 10 atmospheres and heated to 180C for between two-and-a-half and three hours.
Body tissue is dissolved and the liquid poured into the municipal water system. Mr Sullivan, a biochemist by training, says tests have proven the effluent is sterile and contains no DNA, and poses no environmental risk.
The bones are then removed from the unit and processed in a “cremulator”, the same machine that is used to crush bone fragments following cremation into ash. Metals including mercury and artificial joints and implants are safely recovered.
“Body tissue is dissolved and the liquid is poured into the municipal water system.” Haha — I guarantee people are gonna freak out about that. Also, if they found out how often I pee in the sink. “How often do you pee in the sink, GW?” Never — I save it in bags and pour it directly into the water tower when I’m up there tagging.
Hit the jump for a video demonstration day in the life of a body dissolver.
Retro designs seem to be the latest thing when it comes to high-end point-and-shoot cameras, and Fujifilm is helping to lead the pack with its rather limited (and pricey) X100. The company’s just-announced X10, however, appears to expand upon its well-received cousin with a mighty fast f/2-2.8, 28-112mm manual zoom lens with a proprietary “Electron Beam Coating” that promises excellent image quality, even at the edge of the frame. The camera features a black magnesium alloy housing — we have to admit, it’s a very elegant look. There’s also a 12 megapixel EXR CMOS sensor with sensitivity up to ISO 12,800, 1080p video, an optical viewfinder, 10 fps continuous shooting (7 fps at full res), a pop-up flash, and a full-size hot shoe. Advanced photogs will appreciate the shooting mode, focus mode and exposure compensation dials, along with dedicated buttons to adjust a variety of other settings, including activating RAW capture. Fuji is mum on price, but we’re certain to get an update before this hits stores in early November. Jump past the break for the full feature rundown.
Samsung Mobile presents STAGE (www.youtube.com the ultimate YouTube talent contest — from stunning skills to amazing tricks, there’s no limit to what you can do. The slim, light and fast GALAXY S II is the perfect match for capturing this talented young soccer star celebrating in style! Just another example of one of the talents you can expect to see on Stage. Capture your wow moments with Samsung Mobile wherever you are, and get ready to share them with the world as the Stage contest continues! What can you do? Keep up with the Stage contest on the Samsung Mobile Facebook fan page: (facebook.com And with the Stage android app: (market.android.com
Olympus is trying to do with their new E-PMT1 PEN Mini camera what other manufacturers already have: bring DSLR power to the masses. It’s their smallest Micro Four Thirds camera to date, and it’s definitely got its proverbial sights set on the mass market — and the fact that it comes in six colors certainly doesn’t hurt. Olympus was kind enough to let me play with an E-PM1 and a variety of lenses at the U.S. Open of all places, and here are a few of my quick impressions.
The body is a bit on the plasticky side, but it fortunately doesn’t feel like it will fall apart at the seams either. Corners had to be cut to keep the price down, and while the body probably could have been a bit sturdier, it feels robust enough to stand up to the rigors of everyday use. The rest of the package was spot on: it performed pretty nicely in most low light situations I found myself in, and the autofocus was nice and snappy.
As something of a novice photographer, I appreciated the simple terms that Olympus has peppered throughout its UI. While being asked to manually change shutter speed on a typical DSLR may elicit a clueless look from an aspiring photographer, Olympus makes it a cakewalk: just change the “Motion Control” setting (complete with self-explanatory icons) to achieve the desired effect. That said, the menu system was a bit confusing at times: after changing the art mode (Olympus’s name for filters) in the menu for example, you couldn’t use the same method to change it. Rather, you press a different button and change art mode from the settings it brings up.
The E-PM1′s iAuto mode is a boon to new users — while photos taken using it seem to err just a bit on the warm side, it reduces the amount of know-how needed to take nice shots. Different art modes also add an extra splash of fun to the PEN Mini, and while every camera has them, personal favorites like the tilt-shifting Diorama mode will help position it as the fun camera to use.
All things considered, I’m really starting to fall for the little guy. The problem with Olympus’ approach is that it’s terribly difficult to strike the right balance: water it down too much and pros won’t pick it up as a smaller alternative, but make it just a bit too complex and casual users won’t take the plunge. While not perfect, the E-PM1 seems to stick it mostly in that sweet spot. The Olympus E-PM1 is due for a September release, and will set photographers back $ 499.99.
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Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” update may arrive on September 15, according to reports.
Microsoft is currently preparing to release Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” as an update to existing devices. Windows Phone OEMs are currently making subtle changes to their update packages to ensure each device is ready for Windows phone 7.5. WPCentral reports that a “well known” commercial software developer has claimed that Mango is arriving on September 15. The developer works with Microsoft directly according to the site and distributes Windows Phone, Android and iOS applications.
A September 15 distribution date for Windows Phone 7.5 ties in nicely with the unveiling of some new Windows Phone devices on September 1. Microsoft’s device partners are expected to reveal new Windows Phone 7.5 devices on Thursday that will be made available on carrier networks shortly. Separately, a report from We Love Windows Phone HK suggests that HTC is aiming for a September release of Mango on its existing devices. HTC is reportedly working on the RTM version of Windows Phone 7.5 (build 7720) and is applying patches and fixes ahead of a final certification from Microsoft.
Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” update arriving on September 15? originally appeared at WinRumors.com.
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Hey, what do you know! It’s been just shy of two weeks since Apple’s last Beta release of iOS 5, and just like clockwork, they’re back with another serving.
You guys all know the drill at this point: as usual, this Beta release is for developers (and “developers”) only — but on the upside, that Beta version number probably won’t climb too much higher before this thing gets released to everyone.
Plus: at this point, the releases seem to be boiling down to bug fixes and tiny tweaks. If you’ve managed to hold out this long, you’re probably not going to miss too much that you wouldn’t have seen in the first 6.
Alas, Apple doesnt really release a “change log” pointing to all the fun little gems (other sites may post what they call Apple’s “change log”, but these are just Apple’s developer-oriented API notes/tweaks. These notes are almost identical from Beta to Beta, and have little to do with user-facing changes.) With that said, we’ll keep an eye out for big, notable changes and update this post as we come across them — be sure to let us know down in the comments if you spot any!
Like the past two releases, Beta 7 can be downloaded as a slim update over-the-air, or as a full image through the Apple developer portal.