nullstream weblog - November 2007

360 to get Divx support

Gaming

November 30, 2007 02:37 PM PST

The new dashboard update scheduled for December 4th is going to include support for Divx / Xvid along with other goodies. Hurray.


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Gdrive and Web Apps

Web Apps

November 27, 2007 10:22 AM PST

Rumor has it that Google is readying the release of GDrive. This will give users a large amount of free online storage for their files. (And possibly a larger amount of storage for a fee). If true, this move will push users closer to the vision of using the Web for all your computing needs.

Web office suites, Google's own included, are already (albeit slowly) encroaching on one of Microsoft's two cash cows - Office. Just yesterday Zoho, makers of a complete set of (currently) free online business apps, upgraded their Writer program to support offline editing of documents via Google Gears. This allows user's to cache their top used online documents for modification when they are disconnected from the web. The documents then automatically synced the next time the are online. The solution is not perfect, requiring you to plan ahead and keep your browser open, but it is a step in the right direction.

Another online office solution live-documents, is taking a slightly different approach. Rather than go after MS Office head on, they are looking to embrace and extend. Their solution is to provide Office plug-ins that turn office apps into a 'web-enabled smart clients' that automatically sync your offline documents with your online versions. When you are at your desk you use MS Office, when online you use their Web Office. No matter which, your files are always kept in sync. Live-Documents is currently available as a 'technology preview'.


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Quad OS Madness

Cool Tech

November 21, 2007 07:10 PM PST

For some cross platform developers a Mac laptop + virtualization software represents the 'holy grail' or rather the 'holy trinity' of technology - the ability to run OSX, Windows and Linux on one machine. George decided this wasn't good enough. After maxing his Blackbook to 4G ram and installing VmWare Fusion he installed 3 additional operating systems for a total of four!

OSX Leopard
Vista
Ubuntu 7.10
Solaris 10.2

Low Res YouTube Video:

To see the full res JingProject video capture click here. By the way JingProject is this cool cross platform utility that combines screen / video capture, annotation and file hosting. You should check it out.


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Amazon Kindle

Lame

November 19, 2007 11:06 AM PST

kindle.jpg

The Kindle is a new e-book reader from Amazon. I decline to link to it here because it's so lame. Yes... this is an editorial, not a review.

For $400 you get a small e-paper reader with a built in cell phone connection to download books, newspapers and blogs (and possibly email). The first thing about the device that is so ridiculous is how badly the device is designed. It's like they just haphazardly threw buttons and scroll wheels all over it. In this day of the iPhone - you just can't have poor design like this.

The second issue is the price of the device and content. At $400 the device is retailing for far more than the BOM cost. The OLPC XO is only $200 and includes both a color screen and an e-paper display. And the $400 Asus eePC is a full Windows running notebook. The electronic content at $10/book for new releases is cheaper than full priced hardcover books, but the DRM limitations offset that to some extent. The price is OK, but definitely not game-changing. Then there's the $1 per blog subscription cost. Of course blogs are free, but I suppose the idea here is to offset the cellular download cost. Somehow bloggers also get a cut of this price, so it's more than just data costs obviously.

My final peeve is that there is a mini-usb port AND a charging jack. Why can't current devices standardize on freaking USB for charging? Two of the wires in USB are for power, so why include a separate power brick and jack?

Overall - I just can't get past the poor hardware design and hardware cost to even begin thinking about any benefits to this thing. Let's wait for the Apple iRead with multitouch.
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OLPC - Give One Get One

Cool Tech

November 12, 2007 07:57 PM PST

olpc.jpg
The One Laptop Per Child project started accepting orders for the handy little computers today. The goal is to create a $100 laptop for developing nations, however the first iteration of the laptop costs $200. Initially these laptops were only going to be sold in large amounts to overseas schools, but OLPC has decided on a "forced charity" model that allows anyone to buy one. It's actually quite ingenious. If you want one of the laptops, you must also buy a second one to be donated to a kid overseas.

So the deal is, for $400 you get a cool little laptop and also provide one for a kid to become the next Jobs, Gates, or Mitnick. But that's not all! T-Mobile is offering one year of free Wi-Fi at all their hotspots across the US. You can also write off $200 of the purchase as charity.

The specs of the machine are a mixed bag. The CPU speed and ram are low, but the screen is an impressive 1200x900 at 200dpi, and also has a layered black and white display that is daylight readable. The laptop also supposedly has incredible Wi-Fi range and has huge battery life. All software and OS is open source - Steve Jobs offered free copies of OS X for all the laptops and was turned down because it's closed source.

So click here and sign up for "give one get one".
One Laptop Per Child: Give 1 Get 1
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Windows Immobile

Mobile Tech

November 5, 2007 11:11 PM PST

windows_mobile.png


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Open Handset Alliance

Gooogly

November 5, 2007 09:30 AM PST

Ok so Google releases an open source phone platform with 34 members in what they call the Open Handset Alliance. It's free and will be put on phones ranging from HTC to Samsung. The OS is based on Linux and licensed under the Apache v2 License. Companies can develop custom functionality without contributing the source code back to the community. This is obviously aimed directly at Windows Mobile, Symbian, and Palm. The SDK for developers will be available by November 12.

I hope it isn't lost on anyone that Google just released the long awaited GoogleOS. It has been predicted that before long the majority of access to the web will be done through mobile devices such as phones. Conservative estimates claim there are between 2.5 and 2.7 billion mobile phones in the world and that mobiles outsell PCs at a 4-to-1 ratio. If this new platform takes off, Google is likely to have the dominant OS on the planet within a few years.


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What's In A Name?

Humour

November 4, 2007 08:53 PM PST

Some Indian restaurants in the SF Bay Area have awesome names:

god.png

On the other hand, some do not:

gaylord.png

I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out which one is located in Mountain View, and which one is in San Francisco.


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gPhone?

Gooogly

November 4, 2007 12:36 AM PST

So is there going to be a gPhone or not? Some people seem to think so. Sounds like an entire OS and app stack to be announced on Monday.


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Mobile Data Plans

Lame

November 2, 2007 10:09 PM PST

You think mobile data plans in the US are crazy expensive? Check out this rant about Rogers in Canada. Wow.


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