Friday, February 27, 2009

Get an iPhone 3G for free — in Japan

Get an iPhone 3G for free- But there's a major catch you must be in Japan! So is Japanese wireless carrier SoftBank making way for a new version of the iPhone, or are sales just sluggish? Who can say, but from Friday through the end of May, you can sign up for an 8GB iPhone 3G in Japan for a grand total of zero.

Giz Explains: Why Lenses Are the Real Key to Stunning Photos

When most of us talk digital cameras, we talk megapixels, ISO, image noise, shot-per-second speed and image processing. We're tech geeks. But really, none of that stuff matters as much as your camera's lens.

The lens is, after all, your camera's eyeball—the image sensor or film can only record what comes in through the lens. It's what defines the picture's perspective, clarity and way more.

Lenses are actually a really complicated thing to talk about—if your job was to steer photons through tunnels of stretched glass, people would call you complicated too—so we're gonna try to keep it to field basics, you should know to get around, rather than dive into the crazy physics and mathematical ratios and stuff.

read more | digg story

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Apple to further polish Leopard with 10.5.7 update

Apple this week is believed to have tapped its vast developer community to begin testing Mac OS X 10.5.7, a sizable maintenance and security update to the company's Leopard operating system with a particular focus on syncing improvements.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Apple Announces Safari 4 - The World's Fastest Browser

CUPERTINO, Calif., Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Apple® today announced the public beta of Safari® 4, the world's fastest and most innovative web browser for Mac® and Windows PCs. The Nitro engine in Safari 4 runs JavaScript 4.2 times faster than Safari 3.* Innovative new features that make browsing more intuitive and enjoyable include Top Sites, for a stunning visual preview of frequently visited pages; Full History Search, to search through titles, web addresses and the complete text of recently viewed pages; Cover Flow®, to easily flip through web history or bookmarks; and Tabs on Top, to make tabbed browsing easier and more intuitive.

"Apple created Safari to bring innovation, speed and open standards back into web browsers, and today it takes another big step forward," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Safari 4 is the fastest and most efficient browser for Mac and Windows, with great integration of HTML 5 and CSS 3 web standards that enables the next generation of interactive web applications."

Safari 4 is built on the world's most advanced browser technologies including the new Nitro JavaScript engine that executes JavaScript up to 30 times faster than IE 7 and more than three times faster than Firefox 3. Safari quickly loads HTML web pages three times faster than IE 7 and almost three times faster than Firefox 3.*

Safari 4 is a public beta for both Mac OS® X and Windows and is available immediately as a free download.

read more | digg story

Game consoles can cause skin sores!

The BBC reports that there is "a new skin disorder caused by use of games consoles has been identified by skin specialists. The condition, dubbed PlayStation palmar hidradenitis, is described in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Researchers outline the case of a 12-year-old girl who attended a Swiss hospital with intensely painful sores on the palms of her hands. The girl, who had been using a games console regularly, recovered fully after 10 days of abstinence.

Doctors who examined her at the Geneva University Hospital concluded she had a condition known as 'idiopathic eccrine hidradenitis', a skin disorder that generally causes red, sore lumps on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

The condition has been previously found on the soles of the feet in children taking part in heavy physical activity, such as jogging. It it is thought to be linked to intense sweating."

Continue reading the full story

Monday, February 9, 2009

Getting the Most Out of Your Solid State Disk

Guide to your solid-state disk options, as well as how to get the best performance from your flash-based mass storage unit, with a look at Intel's X25-M drive and offerings on HP, Apple, and Sony portables (InformationWeek).

Now that all of the hoopla has basically died down perhaps we can have an honest discussion about the state of solid state disks (SSDs).

In theory, you should already be aware that SSDs are not the next best thing to sliced bread. (Peanut butter is, except if you're allergic.) However, they do provide interesting -- and worthwhile -- transitional points for our current crop of netbooks and notebooks. Let's dive in and examine the genre, and bust a couple of myths while we're at it.

read more | digg story

Sunday, February 8, 2009

French fighter planes grounded by computer virus

Microsoft had warned that the "Conficker" virus, transmitted through Windows, was attacking computer systems in October last year, but according to reports the French military ignored the warning and failed to install the necessary security measures.

"At that point, the chiefs of staff and the defence ministry had no idea how many computers or military information systems were vulnerable to having been contaminated by the virus," said Liberation.

The French press also reported that the only consolation for the French Navy was that it was not the only ones to have fallen victim to the virus. It said that a report in the military review Defense Tech revealed that in the first days of January 2009 the British Defence Ministry had been attacked by a hybrid of the virus that had substantially and seriously infected the computer systems of more than 24 RAF bases and 75 per cent of the Royal Navy fleet including the aircraft carrier Ark Royal.

read more | digg story

Hyundai, Unlike its Competitors, Winning Market Share

Last fall Hyundai began testing the idea of a return policy rather than simply piling more discounts onto its already low-price vehicles. The program covers every buyer of a leased or financed vehicle who involuntarily loses a job; becomes physically disabled; loses a driver’s license for medical reasons; is transferred to another country; is self-employed and files for bankruptcy; or dies in an accident.

The guarantee covers the difference between the value of the car and the amount the buyer owes, or negative equity, up to a maximum of $7,500.

“It doesn’t matter how many zillion dollars you put in rebates, or what A.P.R. you give them,” Mr. Zuchowski said. “If people are worried about their job, they don’t really care and they’re just not going to get off the fence. But we had to walk a really fine line. We wanted to make sure we didn’t come off as panicked or distressed.”

read more | digg story

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Apple's Not So Quiet Rally And Why It Will Continue

Something bordering on miraculous has occurred since the day Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced he would be taking a 6-month medical leave of absence - a rally, and a big one.

"Apple is sitting on an enormous cash position of better than $28 billion.

This is a company that hasn't made significant acquisitions, but it certainly can buy just about anything it wants to. Or buy back stock. Or offer a dividend. But here's the thing: In recessionary times, cash is always king, and Apple has a mountain of it. But the company's business is also surging. It's an incredibly powerful one-two financial punch not replicated by any other company, to this degree, that I can think of."

read more | digg story

Test Drive: 2010 Ford Fusion is best gas-electric hybrid yet

"OK, let's just get it out there: The 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid is the best gasoline-electric hybrid yet.
What makes it best is a top-drawer blend of an already very good midsize sedan with the industry's smoothest, best-integrated gas-electric power system. It's so well-done that you have to look to the $107,000 Lexus LS 600h hybrid to come close."

"The Toyota Prius crowd will protest. Prius is lower-priced, has about the same room inside, has a handy hatchback configuration, gets better mileage — and most of those attributes could improve when the 2010 Prius goes on sale in a few months — so how could Fusion be the best hybrid?

Simple. Fusion drives better. A car is, after all, a driving machine. Brownie points for saving somewhat more fuel or offering a cargo-friendly hatchback, but driving feel is most important.

And there, Fusion is without equal among hybrids. here was no — none, nada, zip — vibration or shimmying in the test car when the gasoline kicked in to help the electric. No other hybrid — not even that $107,000 Lexus — can make that claim 100% of the time."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Russian cosmonauts armed with 3-barreled gun

Among the training regimes that Russian cosmonauts pass before being admitted into orbit is the shooting range. The reason is that they must learn how to use a special three-barreled gun found on every Soyuz spacecraft. The TP-82 gun is part of the survival kit and is meant to be used on terra firma if cosmonauts land in the wilderness.

A gun in orbit is a controversial issue. NASA traditionally keeps a ‘no firearms on board’ policy, and their astronauts’ survival kit has had a machete-like knife as its only weapon for decades. When the International Space Station project was launched, the status of a pistol on Russian ships became one of the tricky legal questions.

The third space-faring nation China apparently sided with Russia in its attitude towards firearms in space. The Chinese media reported that the Shenzhou-6 expedition in 2005 was armed with pistols for self-defence, but no detail on the model or the number of the weapons was disclosed. Russian space experts believe that China may have borrowed the concept of the TP-82 and developed their own version.

* TP-82 with its three-barreled combination. (photo from

read more | digg story

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Google Ocean will let users explore shipwrecks and reefs

Google users will soon be able to explore the oceans from the comfort of their living room, thanks to an upgrade to their popular Google Earth software.

The latest version of Google Earth lets people plunge beneath the sea, swim around underwater volcanoes, hover above shipwrecks and navigate mountains on the sea bed.

The Ocean in Google Earth software also includes video and photographs of thousands of marine species, and lets virtual divers follow whales and sharks tagged with satellite tracking devices.

The undersea 3D world was created with help from more than 25 leading marine scientists.

National Geographic Society oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle said: 'I cannot imagine a more effective way to inspire awareness and caring for the blue heart of the planet.

'For the first time, everyone from curious kids to serious researchers can see the world, the whole world, with new eyes.

'In a stroke, Google Earth brings life and character to the blue part of the planet, and makes obvious the many ways land, water, atmosphere and living systems connect. '

read more | digg story

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Toyota Prius plug-in gets 65 mpg

Toyota Priuses with plug-in hybrid technology are averaging 65 mpg in combined gasoline and electric-mode testing."That is real-world driving," said Bill Reinert, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.'s national alternative-fuel vehicle manager. "I ask my guys to drive them as you drive your normal Prius."

Toyota Priuses with plug-in hybrid technology are averaging 65 mpg in combined gasoline and electric-mode testing.

"That is real-world driving," said Bill Reinert, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.'s national alternative-fuel vehicle manager. "I ask my guys to drive them as you drive your normal Prius."

By comparison, the redesigned 2010 Prius, a parallel hybrid with nickel-metal hydride batteries, will have an estimated 50 mpg rating.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

IE slips further as Firefox, Safari, Chrome gain

Internet Explorer now has 67.55 percent of global browser market share, a drop of over seven percentage points in a year, according to figures from Web metrics company Net Applications, released Monday. Mozilla's Firefox browser, meanwhile, has gained market share in the same time frame, climbing over three percentage points to 21.53 percent.

Microsoft's browser has steadily lost ground to its competitors in the past year. Its share dropped sharply in both October and November 2008, when it lost over one percentage point in each month.

Apple's Safari browser now stands at 8.29 percent, up from 7.13 percent in November, when IE dipped. Safari has gained share more quickly than Firefox in that period: Mozilla's browser accounted for 20.78 percent of browser use three months ago, and now has 21.53 percent.

read more | digg story

Analyst now says iMacs likely in both dual- and quad-core

A Wall Street analyst who recently reported that Apple was torn between using dual-core processors and quad-core processors in its next-generation iMac line now believes the company will adopt both.

Wu said that Apple was in the "midst of figuring out whether to power the new iMac with Intel quad-core processors or more high-powered dual-core processors with larger caches."

In his note to clients today, Wu now claims to be hearing from his sources "that both types of processors will likely be used," which would "makes sense as this helps Apple create better tiers within the iMac family, utilizing quad-core for the high-end, and dual-core for mid-range and low-end."

read more | digg story