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Tom Keating
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Computer Hardware

Everything in the World's Going Wireless

August 27, 2008

In Singapore, the Dutch consumer electronics maker Philips is designing a multimedia server to stream audio and video through the air, from the Internet to any device in the home.

In Munich, a former unit of Siemens envisions a cordless phone that would double as a music player, wirelessly drawing music from home computers.

In Japan, members of Sony's global "digital home team" are redesigning 90% of the company's home electronics components to connect wirelessly to the Internet by 2011.

Across the consumer electronics industry, the leading players are revamping their audio and video equipment for a future centered around the Internet, a world in which televisions, stereos, computers -- even kitchen appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators -- can communicate with each other over a wireless home network.

Some industry executives say the new focus on Internet content and wireless networks reflects a fundamental shift in home entertainment. 

Expanded lines of "networked entertainment equipment" took center stage this week at the Internationale Funkausstellung in Berlin, the largest consumer electronics convention in Europe, with 1,200 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors.

Sony is introducing plug-in adapters to enable some of its Bravia television sets to connect to the Internet wirelessly. Philips is demonstrating a line of hard-disc stereo systems that can wirelessly read and play music stored on personal computers or laptops in other rooms, streaming music selectively through the house.

Pioneer, Samsung and Sharp are presenting flat-panel TVs that hook up to the Internet, some with wires, some without. Hewlett Packard's MediaSmart LCD TV will wirelessly stream high-definition video. 

More at the International Herald Tribune.

Woz: The Engineer Behind the Apple

August 26, 2008

At the 2008 Intel Developer Forum, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (right in photo) took the main stage to talk about his love of engineering and science, the process behind developing the Apple II personal computer, and what it's like to be "Employee No. 1" at Apple.

Wozniak also spoke of the impact Steve Jobs (left in photo) still has on Apple and its slew of successful products, from the iPod to the iPhone.

If he had his wish, he would have remained an engineer for life at Hewlett-Packard.

Instead, Steve Jobs encouraged Wozniak to leave the safe confines of HP and venture out into a new company -- Apple -- where the two would work to bring the Apple II personal computer into every household, school and business.

With some reluctance, Wozniak left HP and became--and still remains--"Employee No. 1" at Apple. In his partnership with Jobs, Wozniak would remain the engineer, and Jobs would sell what Wozniak would invent.

"A lot of times you become what you want to be in life, and I wanted to be an engineer," said Wozniak at the conclusion of the Forum.

"I never wanted to run a company. I didn't want to worry about money. I didn't want to move up the management chain," Wozniak said.

Intel's Third Tablet Ready for Back to School Ride

August 26, 2008

Intel has unveiled the third generation of its low-cost laptop for students, which branches out from the standard clamshell design with a tablet-style option and includes a touch screen.

Introduced at the recent Intel Developer Forum 2008 in San Francisco, the new Classmate PC -- slated for deployment by the end of this year -- is aimed primarily at students worldwide in grades 3-8.

"We spent a lot of time with ethnographers, building this Classmate with students in mind," said Jeff Galinovsky, regional manager for the Classmate PC. "We've been collecting over two years of research to help develop the best PC for students."

Since its initial release in 2007, Intel has developed two prior versions of the Classmate PC: the rugged, camera-equipped, first-generation Classmate, and the Atom processor Classmate introduced in June.

The Atom processor is Intel's smallest chip, built for low power consumption and designed specifically for a new wave of mobile internet devices and simple, low-cost PCs, Intel said.

Like Intel's previous laptops, the new Classmate's design concept will allow for local original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to release versions of the computer with different colors or decorations. Examples of these OEM-branded Classmate PCs include the HCL MiLeap (India), Olidata's JumPC (Italy), FTEC's SmartBook (Malaysia), Neo's eXplore (Philippines), and CTL's 2Go PC (United States). 

Amazon To Re-Kindle Its Popular eBook Reader

August 25, 2008

Amazon will reportedly ship new versions of its Kindle e-book reader before year's end. The original reader launched last November sold out in its first week and had Amazon scrambling to fill holiday orders. While sales have been brisk, estimates vary.

A Seattle newspaper confirmed late last week that is in the late stages of rolling out two new versions of Kindle. Reports unconfirmed by Amazon indicate there will be at least two new devices -- one with a new user interface, but the same dimensions of the original paperback-sized reader, and another the size of an 8-by-11-inch sheet of paper.

Microsoft Debuts Its Surface 30" Interactive Screen at Sheraton

August 20, 2008

Mac Clone Maker in Trouble -- Did You Even Know about Mac Clones?

August 12, 2008

Why Pay Twice as Much for a Mac?

August 6, 2008

Is Windows really that bad, you may ask?

Well, Apple Watch asked that very same question and came up with some very interesting statistics.

Last weekend, they got to wondering about Mac versus Windows PC pricing after seeing two HP notebooks on sale at the local Target. One of them, a 14-inch model, the HP DV2946NR (pictured at left), sold for $699.99 and packed 4GB of memory and a 320GB hard drive. Capacity for both features is twice that of the $1,299 MacBook -- and shared graphics is 356MB compared with a meager 144MB for the MacBook.

I wondered: If Vista notebooks are selling for so little and packing so much, how does this compare with Mac desktops and notebooks? 

You must read more and come to your own conclusion!

Enter the Netbook

August 4, 2008

Lenovo today announced it is entering the "netbook" PC market with the new IdeaPad S10 netbook PC.

Lenovo designed the super-slim, super-small IdeaPad S10 to complement a customer's primary PC or as a first-time, introductory PC purchase.

The IdeaPad S10 allows users to perform simple activities such as surf the Internet, check and write emails, listen to music and run basic applications. Lenovo also plans to introduce netbook models designed specifically for students and educators. Now is this too simple an appliance like the computer in every kitchen from a few years back?

Approximately one-inch thin with models weighing just over two pounds, the IdeaPad S10 netbook typifies thin and light design.

Maybe too light? And in this day and age, pricing is even more important than ever.

MSRP: Starting at $399 (available in early October).

Kindle Moving & Grooving

August 1, 2008

Dymo DiscPainter Review

July 30, 2008

Printing CD and DVD labels can be a chore. It often requires special labels and only certain printers can accept CD/DVD labels. Certainly burning CDs and DVDs has become more popular so users are looking for quick, easy, and fun ways to label and decorate their CD/DVD collections. I have an Epson printer at home that doesn't print the size labels I need, so I resort to using a black Sharpie pen and hand scribbling on the CD or DVD.
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