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Tom Keating
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Technology and Science

Technology and Science

Skype Brings 720p to HDTVs and PCs

January 5, 2010


Skype today introduced a high-definition (HD) video calling service that will work on computers and televisions. The newest version Skype 4.2 Beta for Windows, supports 720p video calling in a 1280x720 pixel resolution at 30 frames per second. The latest version of Skype will come pre-installed on some LG Electronics Inc. and Panasonic Corp. television sets by June, according to Skype. Panasonic will support the technology via its VIERA Cast televisions and LG will support it with its NetCast Entertainment Access and both will offer HD webcams as accessories.

The new HDTVs will deliver familiar Skype features including:
  • Free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls
  • Calls to landline or mobile phones at Skype's low rates
  • The option to receive inbound calls via a user's online Skype number
  • Skype voicemail, if it is set up
  • Being invited to participate in voice conference calls with up to 24 other parties
  • Support for up to 720p HD video calls, depending on the availability of high-speed broadband and a HD webcam
I have a relatively new (late 2009) Panasonic 54" TV with VIERA Cast, so it'll be interesting to see if my TV will be on the list to support it.


StarTech KVM Console to USB 2.0 Portable Laptop Adapter Review

December 23, 2009


If you are an IT or network manager you know how frustrating it can be to try and troubleshoot a rackmounted server that doesn't have a monitor or keyboard hooked up to it. After all, LCD rackmount console can be pretty expensive.

Often referred to as "headless servers", in many cases you can use Windows Remote Desktop over an IP connection to access the machine and troubleshoot. However, if you have a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), the network card dies, you have an IP address conflict, or you need to get into the BIOS, you can't use Remote Desktop or other remote desktop software.

Well, StarTech.com's USB 2.0 Laptop KVM Adapter turns your notebook or netbook into a portable server crashcart, eliminating the need to carry a large, heavy video monitor, keyboard, and mouse. This device will turn any laptop into a portable console for headless servers, PCs, ATMs, kiosks etc.

How does it work?






Nuance Dragon Dictation for iPhone Rocks!

December 11, 2009

Nuance Dragon Dictation for iPhone is the most amazing text-to-speech application you will find on the iPhone. Employing a client-server architecture along with the iPhone's superb high-quality microphone means near dead-on accuracy. When you click the record button your voice is temporarily stored locally on the iPhone. When you are finished recording or reach the 30s maximum time, the recording is uploaded to Nuance's servers.

MindTouch Cloud Launches into Cloud Collaboration

November 19, 2009


MindTouch just launched their popular open source Sharepoint-like software into the collaboration cloud. Called MindTouch Cloud, this hosted SAAS offering will put them in direct competition of the likes of Google Apps, Google Wave, Zoho, and others. MindTouch will deliver their open source collaboration applications in the cloud for a monthly fee that starts at just $7/month for 50 users. They also offer a free 30-day trial.

MindTouch Cloud enables your employees & managers to pull and aggregate business data from data silos like your CRM, ERP, accounts payable, file servers, email, databases, and others to gain visibility through mashups.


Watch a Microsoft Operating Systems Video Timeline

November 19, 2009


Microsoft's operating system have evolved quite a bit since the 1980s when they launched their first operating system. Ah, who doesn't miss Microsoft DOS? Gimme my DOS command shell, .bat files, QEMM expanded memory manager, Stacker disk compression (a requirement due to small hard drives back then), and all the other MS-DOS goodies any day of the week and I'm a happy man. Ohh the nostalgia!

Blabbelon Launches HD VoIP for Video Games

November 3, 2009


Video gamers love VoIP in video games but have often been disappointed with poor voice quality - including jitter, lag, and choppiness, inability to continue to talk via VoIP once you close the game and just an overall poor user experience. Well, Blabblelon aims to change all that with the launch of their browser-based VoIP application which uses a mix of Java and Flash to VoIP-enable any PC, Mac, or Linux computer. The beauty of Blabbelon is that it works at the browser-level, so you can VoIP your friends whether you are inside the video game or not. With Blabbelon, you can blab all you want - even start your own blab-a-thon if you want.

Blabbelon is not to be confused with Babylon where the story goes that God wasn't too pleased with the Tower of Babel the people built, so he took one common language and confounded it into many so they couldn't understand each other.


GE's Vscan Portable Ultrasound = No more OB Visits?

October 21, 2009


GE's Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt unveiled the new Vscan an ultra-small ultrasound. According to GE, "For critical care clinicians, Vscan can offer an immediate look beyond patient vital signs with the potential to identify critical issues, like fluid around the heart, which could be a sign of congestive heart failure. And for cardiologists, Vscan provides a dependable visual evaluation of how well the heart is pumping at a glance, so they can treat patients more efficiently."

It's certainly small enough to be portable - about the size of a mobile phone and could even have some home-use potential - assuming the costs are low.

I can see it now...

Man: "Hey honey, forget about going for an ultrasound and paying a $30 copay, the wasted time and gas money, etc.






Microsemi Launches Captain Marvel-proof PoE Midspan

October 21, 2009


Today, Microsemi is launching a new line of midspans which feature integrated lightning protection. This marks the first time a PoE midspan features lightning protection. As more and more PoE devices are used outdoors, including outdoor wireless Access Points (APs), outdoor security cameras, and more, having lightning protection is critical. One lightning bolt strike and it can wipe out your entire networking and IT infrastructure.

Rich Takes xMax Wireless for a Test Drive

September 29, 2009

Rich Tehrani took xG Technology's xMax technology, a WiMAX / LTE competitor for a (literal) test drive.

Rich writes:

xG Technology proclaimed in 2005 that they have a revolutionary technology which allows wireless broadband using unlicensed and licensed frequencies. They said they could build the equivalent to a WiMAX network without the need to spend a massive amount on spectrum auctions and moreover, their technology had better range than WiMAX.

It seemed too good to be true and after some years of waiting, the communications industry got impatient. After all, this revolutionary technology had the potential to change the way wireless networks are deployed. If it was real, where was it?





Livestream Livepack Bonds Six 3G/EVDO modems for Ludicrous Wireless Internet Speed!

September 24, 2009

Livestream today is launching the world's first solution for wireless live streaming at HD quality by bonding six load-balanced 3G/EVDO modems over three carriers. Called Livepack, this unique solution enables you to have a roaming live video studio anywhere you can get 3G/EVDO connectivity. Livestream says it can stream HD video at far lower costs than traditional solutions such as broadcast trucks.

 Of course, bonding six 3G/EVDO modems together has some other fringe benefits - like ludicrous wireless Internet speed! Wonder if you can tether the Livepack to your laptop and get super high-speed Internet access while on the road?
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