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Category Archives: Technology and Gadgets

With the recent popularity in smartphones, Palm today launched a new product, Foleo. Foleo will be a mobile companion for your smartphone, even if you do not own a Palm Treo. It’s laptop-like design allows consumers to connect to their smartphons and surf the web, email and even view Word Documents and Powerpoint presentations. Palm sees this as a springboard to use your smartphone more efficiently and on a larger screen while on the go. The website doesn’t give any specs for the weight but I have to say, it looks very sleek. It looks just like a very small and sleek laptop, but it drives all the information and processing from your smartphone using Bluetooth. What’s even better, since it is not a full computer, you don’t even have to boot the unit. Palm touts a ‘Instant On’ button and it is to do just that; press the button, you’re ready to go, press it again, you’re done. Furthermore, there is an auto-sync button that allows you to instantly sync your mail from your phone. The unit will also feature a full keyboard and a 10 inch screen. Sounds pretty cool, I would love to get my hands on one when it comes out … I guess that means I would need to get a smartphone first!

Palm announced that Foleo will be released in mid-summer and will sell for $499.

These days, all it takes is one simple podcast to stir the entire tech community – on the Mac side anyway. Do you think Microsoft generates this kind of buzz from their even most loyal of users about a potential product? No way; sure, we’re all wondering how Windows Vista will turn out on January 30th, but other than that, no one company can captivate its loyal ‘fanbase’ quite like Apple can. Think about it, when’s the last time you heard Windows users scurry into an online frenzy when Microsoft files for a patent? That’s what I thought.

I have to say, this whole idea of an iPhone is sweet, even more so is the idea that Apple rumor mills are second to none than with any other tech corporation. Although, I have to say, IF there is an iPhone, I don’t see it releasing until the second week of January at the Macworld Expo. If this puppy ends up releasing to any and all carriers, you can bet I’ll be saving for one.  So, thanks to Kevin Ross (founder of Digg and host of Diggnation), let the iPhone rumors run wild for one last month.

Microsoft has today announced the release of a video download service via Xbox Live on the recently released Xbox 360 console. Beginning November 22, users will be able to purchase and download video content onto to their Xbox 360, to then play them on their tv. Microsoft has been pushing its Media Center PC conept with the Xbox 360 since many users find it too difficult to tranfer content from a PC to a tv. The service is said to be a bit similar to Apple’s iTunes video service – with similar pricing. One catch on movies though, (oh, you just knew this was coming, didn’t ya?) you don’t exactly own your videos – it is a rental service for movies rather than purchasing. On the up side for Microsoft, they are providing HD content for some shows and movies, so with no PC in the middle, this direct download to tv concept may begin to sound appealing for Xbox 360 users, as well as anyone in the market for a gaming system.

Today, Microsoft officially took the wraps off the official website to their up and coming Zune Media Player. The site features photo and video advertisements of the Zune, as well as links to accessories that will be available for the Zune. Microsoft also announced that upon the arrival of the Zune Media Player and Marketplace, the MSN Music store will cease selling music and all “buy” buttons on the MSN Music store will become links to the Zune Store and to Real’s Raphsody Music Service.

Once the Zune and it’s marketplace is unveiled, consumers will be given the option to purchase music per song or a monthly subscription service. Microsoft’s new Zune will be featured in White, Black or Brown colors, in sizes of 30 and 60 GBs of data capacity, and sell for around $249. Microsoft’s Zune Media Player and Marketplace is slated to make its debut on November 14.

Microsoft responded on the heels of Apple’s event that they will be shipping their future Zune player in time for the holiday season. It will sport a wide screen for movie viewing, wireless sharing, and an FM tuner. I will be posting soon to elaborate more on the touted features.

Price points were initially to be reported, however it has been said that Microsoft halted it’s plans to release the prices after Apple dropped their price points on their two headline iPod models by $50 each the day before. People will be able to purchace Microsoft’s Zune in three colors: white, black and brown (honestly, brown? yes, brown.)

Digg!

While the event is nearly a week old, that doesn’t mean that it is to late for one to reflect on his or her feelings towards the announcements made. Going into this event, there were a lot of speculations around a new iPod and a so-called ‘iPhone.’ Since we saw neither of these, the overall consencus of the event was underwelming for most people. However, I think there were more than one really noteworthy and interesting announcements.

One thing that rumor sites got right was the idea that Apple’s next iPod Nano would be almost retro to the iPod Nano in construction and colors. The ‘2nd Generation Nano’ as Apple calls it sports an aluminum casing like the iPod Mini it replaced in 2005. Furthermore, you can now buy the iPod Nano in larger capacities of 2GB, 4GB and 8GB, and in different colors of grey, green, blue, pink and black. Unlike with the iPod Minis, you have to pay a premium for the ‘new’ colors. You can only buy the 2GB in the native color grey ($149), you can only buy the colors green, blue, and pink in the 4GB model ($199); and you can only purchese 8GB in Black. This is similar to Apple’s MacBook color options model (you can only buy a black colored MacBook, if you buy the bed setup with a $150 premium).

Apple didn’t surprise anyone when they announced iTunes 7 and the addition to movies to the now iTunes Store (previously iTunes Music Store). While the movie buzz has been going on for a while, I don’t think many people expected many changed to iTunes 7, but indeed there were. The new enhancements include a more organized sidebar, automatic album art downloads (whether you bought the music from iTunes or not), two new views: Album and Cover Flow, and much better management for your iPod. The 5G iPod with Video recieved its share of enhancements, including one I love, screen brightness control, as well as more available games for the iPod.

I’ve thrown a lot out there, and I definately review what I can more in-depth like iTunes 7 and the iPod enhancements. However, probably the most impressive to me is the new iPod Shuffle. No, the iPod Shuffle doesn’t have a screen now, it is still the plane-jane simple and small iPod. However, Apple made their smallest iPod even smaller and in my opinion now sports a more intuitive design for you on-the-goers. It now has a built in clip and it is the size of a quarter!

Oh … there is one more thing … sorry, I just had to say it. Apple did something unusual and previewed a product that was said to be released in Q1 of next year (Macworld Expo in January, maybe?) It is code-named iTV, and will allow users to wirelessly stream content from their Mac or PC with iTunes to the iTV which is then connected to your TV. If it does what Steve says it is supposed to do, and does it well, it definately will be promising.

For some reason, I look at this event as both a way to satisfy us for now (iTunes 7, movie content), but keep us waiting for more (a true iPod video, the future of ‘iTV’). Which is good, because now Apple can and will hold our attention until their next event. If you thought the media frenzy was big over this event, just wait until all of the journalist recieve notice of th enect big event.

Hey everyone, I know it has been forever since i have posted. But, with school starting up, moving into a new dorm and getting used to a new campus, I have been rather busy. Having ear aches in between all of that has not been fun either. Sorry to all of my readers.

For those who don’t know, I am a huge fan of David Pogue, the award-winning technology journalist for the New York Times. He recently wrote his review of LG and Varizon’s largely marketed new phone called Chocolate. You know it can’t be good when an award-winning journalist had this to say about your product:

“Listen up, LG dudes: I’m sorry, but if your primary control system requires seven warnings in your manual, maybe you should reconsider your system.”

It appears that this Chocolate is very un-user-friendly. Check out his full post here and enjoy.

I have been a social networking user for a while now. For much of that time, I found myself frustrated, upset, and driven batty by much of MySpace’s shortcomings. Now, MySpace right now appears to be King in the social networking world and rightfully so — their marketing moves have been brilliant and have drawn more and more users into their service. However, MySpace’s back end – or their database – is built and maintained entirely with .NET, a software and service created and driven by Microsoft. As MySpace users continue to grow daily, it seems that at times, MySpaces reliability weakens. There are many times where I attempt to log on, view a profile or pictures, or send a message to a friend and I am not-so-welcomed with MySpaces “Sorry! We are doing database maintenance on our servers!” There are numerous other things I can speak of for MySpace – both negative and positive. However, this is not a MySpace-bashing post — I’ll save that for a day I really get frustrated. Today, I want to mention a new and upcoming social-networking site called VOX.

The first thing you will notice is that you cannot sign up for VOX right now. Specifically because it is in beta or test mode so they are only allowing a few members via invitation. You will have to give them your email address and when they come down to you on the line, you will then recieve an emial saying that you have been invited. The wait between my email address submit and the invite was barely over 2 weeks or so. As soon as VOX comes out of beta, this will change to where any and everybody can join.

If you check out my VOX page here, you will see really quick that VOX’s whole design theory is different from many other friend oriented sites. VOX provides you with numerous built-in templates that to me seem rather fashionable. Also, in contrast to other comparable sites, your VOX page is more geared toward your blog or online journal, rather than the amount of friends (VOX calls ’em Neighbors), or comments you recieve. You are given the option for one or two side bars, I went with one. In these side bar(s), you are able to list your favorite movies, CDs, books and music and it automatically places the CD, DVD, or book cover that corresponds with your favorites.

One more quick thing that I find neat is that with each blog you post, you can either make it public or private. Hence, you may post one day about an awesome event that you don’t mind the world to read. However, you may have personal information in your life that you want to share with your friends and your friends only. A nice added feature. As you can see, even as VOX is still in test mode, it appears to be very feature-rich. These features are somewhat available for services such as MySpace, but they are not built in and you are forced to go somewhere, copy code you do not understand, and paste it into your ‘About Me’ section. VOX seems to add a lot of those kind of features right at your fingertips in a good looking, very easy to use, user eviornment. You can be sure that once VOX hits the big time this fall, I will have much more to say about it in a more thorough review.

Several months ago, I saved up enough money and along with a nice student discount, was able to purchase a new Fith Generation iPod with video. I went with black because I am one of those who loves to be a bit different than the rest of the crowd. I like the idea of that choice and I really hope Apple keeps that trend going in all of their products.

For those who have never seen or handled one of these new iPods in person, one of the first things you will notice is that the moment you take it out of its packaging and you touch it – your iPod will forever be smudged from that day on. This is something that really plagues the iPod Nano. My suggestion would be to buy a case that you like for the model that you have and as soon as you can, place the iPod in it so that minimal smudging occurs. Widespread rumors have been reported that Apple may soon change the material used to enclose their wildly famous music player.

For me, the iPod proved to be all that it is cracked up to be, and more. Going with the 30GB was more than enough for me, although Apple does offer a model that is 60GB – about the size of most laptop hard drives these days. The weight is just right, and the thin nature of the device is mindblowing when you think of just what it is made to do – and that is even doubles as an external hard drive. This makes it perfect to use the iPod to back up your documents, however, it shouldn’t be purchased to fulfill that exclusive role as a hard drive. It is designed to be a music player first, video player second and hard drive third. Because the iPod with Video contains an actual hard drive, this isn’t a music player for athletes or people constently on the go. The constant motion will take its toll on the device, like any laptop hard drive.

The video quality is quite impressive over all. The screen is pretty small at 2.5” inches; so, having to hold it up to watch video in your room seems kind of odd. Watching your favorite TV shows on your iPod is definately not going to be like watching it on your living room TV, but it is perfect for traveling. The battery life is a bit sub-par for watching movies at around 2 hours of video playback. However, if you are just wanting to watch occasional news clips and sitcoms from the iTunes music store, it will suit you just fine. For music, the iPod will give you about 14 hours of playback time. Apple claims that the 60GB model will give you around 20 hours of music playback.

However, with the idea of Apple soon to release a new video capable iPod, you should really keep in mind what you want the iPod for. If you are primarily wanting a music player and like the idea of watching a show occasionally, it would be what you want. But, if you are wanting a pure hybrid between a iPod music player and an iPod video player, I would hold onto my money and wait and see what Apple reveals this fall. It is rumored that the new iPod will sport a larger screen along with some other great features.

Speaking of the future for the iPod, it appears that Microsoft will be soon entering the ‘iPod Chase’ with its music device to be called ‘Zune.’ Will this be better than the iPod? Technically it could be, however iPod sports such a ‘hip’ factor and has become so popular, and it takes more than pure technology to overcome a ‘coolness’ factor that the iPod holds. One thing is for sure – Microsoft is going to attempt to become a real player in the mobile music market. That will lead to even more and better innovation from Apple.

I am not fortunate enough to land one of these nifty gadgets yet. However, I did find a very positive article written by USA Today’s Edward Baig. Check it out – but be careful, it might make you want one of these kits even more.