Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Innovative? I Think Not! Part 2

Continuing through PC World's list, we see the following items:

11. Pioneer Inno
A quote from the article: "Samsung's Helix, which we didn't test, is a nearly identical model." Tells you everything you need to know: not a new idea.

12. Farecast
OK, this is definitely new. A travel site that predicts airline fares. Pretty sweet.

13. Sony BWU-100A Blu-Ray Disc Rewritable Drive
Quote: "...wasn't the first internal Blu-ray Disc burner we saw (that honor went to Pioneer's $1000 BDR-100A)..." THEN WHY DIDN'T YOU GIVE IT THE AWARD??? They're for innovation, not coolness!

14. Olympus EVolt E-330
I read this one over and over, and can't see why they gave it an innovation award. Good grief.

15. Google Sketchup
Why is this in the list? Sure, it's great, but is it innovative? No. Sorry Google.

16. Sony PlayStation 3
Absolutely nothing about this console is innovative. It's a rehash of the PS2, with some minor upgrades, like better graphics, a blu-ray drive, and unused motion-sensor. Big deal.

17. RIM BlackBerry Pearl 8100
Amazingly enough, PC World admits seeing products like this before, yet they give it an innovation award. Unbelievable.

18. Rhapsody 4.0
Hmm, can't say. I've never used it.

19. Logitech NuLooq
This looks weird. I have to say I've never seen anything like it. This gets an innovation stamp from me.

20. Shure E500PTH Sound Isolating Earphones
These are definitely innovative: they have a new feature that no other earphones do. They have a Push2Hear button, allowing you to temporarily stop listening to your music and hear the world around you for a change. But is the price worth it ($500)?

Anyway, that's the end of PC World's list. Please feel free to tune in by leaving a comment below; no signup is required.

UPDATE to Part 1, concerning the Nintendo Wii: It just won an award for innovation. Imagine that.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Innovative? I Think Not! Part 1

In the most recent issue of PC World, one of the feature articles goes through a list of products from '06, calling them all innovative. Just for the record, here's the actual definition of the word (taken from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition):

in·no·va·tion n.
1. The act of introducing something new.
2. Something newly introduced.

Now let's go through the list and see how many of these products actually fit the definition:

1. Microsoft Office 2007
Alright, I'm forced to concede that this software suite really is innovative: it includes a few user interface elements that actually are new (a first for Microsoft). Let's move on.

2. Intel Core 2 Duo
No, not innovative. The Core Duo was, the Core 2 Duo isn't. It's just the faster version of the Core Duo: nothing new here.

3. Parallels Desktop for Mac
Hmmm... this is hard. On the one hand, it isn't a new idea (running Windows and Mac OS at the same time). On the other, it is new in the sense that nobody else has made software that actually does this yet. A tie, in my opinion.

4. Nintendo Wii
Wow, no kidding! The first game console to have downloadable games, a web browser, motion control, and so much more. Innovation indeed.

5. Samsung 32GB SSD
The first usable hybrid laptop drive, but just because it's cool doesn't mean it's innovative. The 16GB version came out a long time ago. This isn't new.

6. Sony Reader
As much as I hate to say it, Sony actually has come up with something new here, and it employs new technology as well. Chalk one up for Sony.

7. YouOS
I love YouOS. I do. I'm the #1 developer. But that isn't the point. YouOS isn't innovative: as you can see from my previous article concerning web OSs, there have been plenty more web OSs before and after YouOS. Sorry Webshaka.

8. Dell XPS M2010
Here's a sweet gadget! This laptop/desktop interbreed is really pretty innovative, considering it's the first computer that comes with a detachable bluetooth keyboard. Me likey.

9. Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB
Nope. Not close. Sure, it uses relatively new hard-drive technology, but there have been earlier models. Not innovative.

10. T-Mobile Dash
What's innovative about this? It's a smart phone with a QWERTY keyboard and Windows Mobile. So? Neither of these features are new. Another non-innovative product.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series with products 11-20 from PC World's list. In the meantime, let us know what you think by leaving comments below.

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GTalk Takes the Slow Lane

Don't get me wrong. I love Google Talk. I love it with a passion. It kicks AIMs butt hands-down. But recently I have gotten fed up with how long GTalk takes to sign in.

Today I performed a test: I opened a fresh Firefox 2 and Google Talk. I then signed in to both Gmail+Talk and GTalk at the same time (I clicked the sign-in buttons within a split-second of each other). I have satellite internet (100mb download speed) and I had no other internet-related programs open.

The result? It took GTalk no less than 34 more seconds to logon than it took Gmail+Talk (which took 54 seconds), the grand total being 88 seconds, or 1 minute 28 seconds. No joke.

This needs fixing. Contact your Google representative today.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Free File Hosting, No Kidding

After months of searching for free online file hosting, I've finally found something that suits me: Host-A. Here are the vital specs:

Upload limit: 20Mb (Small, but just make multiple accounts if you can't handle it)
Monthly Bandwidth: 550Mb to start, but there are ways to increase this
File Types: Any (no copyrighted content)
Cost: Free

There are also no annoying email verification links or word verification thingies to deal with, making it quick and convenient. I got signed up and logged in within 3 minutes.

This is also not the kind of hosting that drops offline in a month, deleting your files and forcing you to look elsewhere for help. They've been around for 3 years now, and they don't appear to be leaving any time soon.

I highly recommend Host-A.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

PC World Gets Gmail Wrong

In the latest PC World magazine, Ryan Singel, who reviewed (among lots of other things) web-based email services for this article didn't actually try the services before reviewing them (why else would Yahoo! place first?) Here's a small quote (available online anyway, so this is legal):
Gmail is lightning-quick, lets you chat with other online Gmail users, and integrates nicely with Google's calendar. But its limitations--the inability to add new folders, to open multiple messages in one window, to filter e-mail, and to right-click on anything--will surely frustrate power users.
INABILITY TO ADD NEW FOLDERS?!? That's what labels are for, and they're way more versatile than folders, since you can label a single email with multiple labels.

Sure, you can't open more than one email in a single window, but you can open them in separate windows by control-clicking on the subject.

CAN'T FILTER EMAILS? There is a link that says (rather cryptically, I admit), "Create a filter". Obvious enough for you?

And what's this about right-clicking? Who the hell wants to right click on everything? The writer of this article, apparently.

Seriously, Ryan Singel needs to get an ejumacation before writing any more articles. And PC World should more carefully screen their articles before publication.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

The "I" in iPhone Stands for Innovation

Cade Metz of PC Magazine got to try the new Apple iPhone, and his reaction is amazing. It seems the iPhone really is all it's cracked up to be.

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Google: "Don't Be Evil" Yahoo: "Use Yahoo, Dammit!"

It seems Yahoo thinks that altering a users preferences from what they have already selected is OK, and even a nice thing to do. Why, it helps people use the GREATES FRIKKIN SAERCH ENGENE EVAR, right? That has to be the right way to go!

What they don't realize is simple: If the user didn't already download IE7 and select Yahoo as their homepage and search engine, they obviously don't want it that way. It isn't that they're uninformed: I know that IE7 and Yahoo exist, and I choose not to use them. I use Firefox and Google instead.

Yahoo, get a grip. If people didn't choose you, improve your services so they'll want to, instead of taking over their browser and having your way with it. Geez.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Cell Phones the Apple Way

Well, all I gotta say about the Apple iPhone is this:

It's about time.

Finally, a cell phone that does what you want, how you want, in the simplest and easiest way possible.

The phone features amazing technology that is smooth and easy to use, as well as NO BUTTONS AT ALL. All navigation is accomplished through a multi-input touch screen that I imagine is a dream to use. Not only that, it functions as an iPod, has built-in Google Maps integration, and viewing the web doesn't require mobile versions of websites, meaning that you can browse any site you want, without having to worry about whether it has a mobile version.

Again, it's about time.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Well at Least Someone will Understand Women

A new technology feeding Wikipedia pages into a specially designed computer program aims to make computers more intelligent by actually teaching the computer what words mean. Check it out.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

We're sorry. This blog is only viewable with (insert random internet tech) enabled.

What is it with websites that only work in Internet Explorer, or use JavaScript, or ActiveX, or some other technology? I mean, it isn't bad enough they don't just work, they also don't tell you what to do to fix the problem. A few examples:

"This website only works with JavaSript enabled. You are using an ancient browser that doesn't support them. Too bad!"

It should say this:

"This website works best with JavaScript enabled. Use the non-JavaScript version, or download FireFox 2, a free browser that works."

"This website uses ActiveX controls. You don't have a browser that supports them. Get lost!"

It should say:

"This website uses an obsolete piece of technology that Microsoft won't resign. Your browser doesn't support ActiveX. If you are using FireFox 2, you can download a free extension that allows ActiveX to run. Also, click here to tell our idiot developers that they need to upgrade the website design so it doesn't rely on a leaky piece of software that hackers use to break your computer."

Now, was that so hard?

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Wii Sports: Is This Real?

The other day I had the opportunity to play Wii Sports, the game packaged with Nintendo's new console. I only played Bowling and Baseball, but from what I saw, the Wii's game design strategy is a winner.

What amazed me was how similar the bowling game was to real life. I not only bowled about the same score I would when really bowling, I made the same mistakes I usually make. I mean, not just common errors. I'm talking about mistakes that I make. They are unique to me. For example, I kept accidentally giving the ball spin to the right. That is something I have only seen myself do. And I did that while playing the Wii.

Which got me to thinking, does playing Wii Sports really improve my sports skills? I mean, now, when I go to the bowling alley, will I be better because I worked on my technique while playing the Wii? A weird thought, and yet it seems possible, due to the Wii's innovative control configuration.

How about you? Have you had a similar (or different) experience? Comment below and we'll talk about it.

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