Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Windows 7 Revealed to Include Multitouch Surface Computing Support

Last evening at the The D Conference, Microsoft bigwigs Gates and Ballmer talked about the company's core business, Operating Systems. Ballmer shared a video snippet of Windows 7's multitouch support on a Tablet PC. Click Read More! link for the video

Multi-touch computing has been demonstrated by Microsoft before, with the Surface that was introduced to the public by Glenn Derene, of Popular Mechanics, in July. They have sold these Surface systems to the a hotel chain and a couple mobile communications providers, so far.

The ten thousand dollar Surface is more showpiece that PC, but it does present a new interactivity were dragging and dropping virtual content to physical objects becomes a reality. Using WiFi, special machine-readable tags (RFID), and shape recognition the table can see what's placed on it and interact accordingly. Dragging a few pics over to your phone, sitting on the Surface, actually places the pics in the phones memory; no syncing, no cord... just done. Getting pics off a digital camera work similarly. Place the camera on the Surface, and instantly the images are available.

Data visualization has been on the minds of database designers for decades. Virtual reality...

promised data visualization and physical interactivity, but stepping into a computer is a bit much. The approach of conforming the interface to the user is much more palatable.

Microsoft, along with companies like NYC based Perceptive Pixel, are pushing this technology into the hands of government and corporate buyers, luckily for us little people this may led to more innovation in the way of cheaper solutions.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Omnivision's vision of CMOS sensor

Competition is the engine of innovation, and Omnivision, seemingly right on cue, has announced their latest innovation that promises to bring an smaller 8MP CMOS camera to our 3G phones.

While Sharp was looking for ways to slim a larger, denser, CMOS camera phone sensor. Omnivision was developing a new way of producing the same size sensor while doubling the image resolution.

Their approach, as simple as it sounds...

was to turn the sensor over. Dubbed OmniBSI, this changed the order of things a bit, making the silicon the first thing the light hits. This subtle switch up optimizes the silicon’s light absorption, giving the sensor better low-light sensitivity, while allowing for larger apertures and thinner cameras.

This isn’t the first time we seen this type of tech in phones, but Omnivision is one of the largest supplier of camera modules to phone makers. Previously, only one or two brands were making these higher resolution modules, and putting them into their own phones. Now with Omnivision no one company will have “the” high resolution camera phone... unless it's huge. Either way, this will certainly level the playing field when it comes to pricing.

Manufactures will get to fool around with these buggers starting in June.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Sharp Introduces World's Thinnest 5MP Cam

Thursday Sharp announced their tiny CMOS camera module, an autofocus five megapixel camera with an improved signal-noise ratio and the world's thinnest lens element. Meant to be embedded in the next generation of smartphones, these will boost their image quality to something a bit more presentable.

3G phones promise many functions, but adding a camera that produces high quality images and video has been on the wishlist of many gadget freaks for years. Guess we'll have to wait and see if phone manufactures are impressed by the new component option; Sharp is set to ship a prototype form of the cam at the end of the month.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

JVC KD-NX5000: So Good They Don't Dare Change it price 799.52Tech junkies of the world unite your dollars and take over one of these super functional, feature laden GPS car receivers from JVC. These units are so well engineered JVC left well enough alone this year. They’ve reintroduced the KD-NX5000 as is. This move is a bit surprising, especially in a tech culture of planned obsolescence. But, considering the unit had only been out for 5 months when this announcement was made…it really kind of makes sense.

Today, media servers have taken up residence in our autos, and the KD-NX5000 is a true media mogul; it’s 40GB internal hard drive holds up to 460 Albums of music. The combination CD/DVD/GPS device includes 24GB available space. Media is loaded on the HDD only through CD, which is a bit of a down side, but not having to carry 460 CDs after you’ve loaded it up makes it all better.

The JVC KD-NX5000 packs an impressive array of media savvy ways. It plays MP3, WMA, and WAV audio formats, DivX and MP3 video formats, and displays JPEG images. The MP3 audio file’s ID3 tag info is also displayed, making browsing huge music libraries quickly a conceivable option.

This thing looks great installed, and with rocker keys accessing all (they saved a few for the remote) of the receiver’s functions, the faceplate is surprisingly uncluttered and easy to use. The screen size may turn off some movie lovers, but DVD movie playback on the 3.5 inch screen, same size as an iPod Touch, is easily viewable from the driver seat.

Preloaded GPS data includes Navtaq maps of Canada and the 50 States...

as well as over 13 million points of interest. A built-in RDS-TMC tuner allows for real-time traffic reports. Text-to-voice gives guided directions with, or instead of the music; which one is up to you. Address input happens in a few ways, but the quickest is to find an address by telephone number. If you don’t know the number you can use input the address or the longitude and latitude values (like you’d have those handy). For those that like to confirm things over the phone before setting out, the quite useful telephone number is displayed after each address is located.

Envisioned as more of a highway navigator the map zoom only goes in as far as about five blocks, leaving the map detail somewhat lacking for larger city map reading, but it will still get you were you need to go if you provide an address. Also, no touch screen means scrolling to each letter you wish to write. This is why the phone number method of address input is preferable.

For those tech heads that want it all, you can tune in satellite radio and make Bluetooth calls with some additional equipment.

..Cnet reviews..

Related Accessories

JVC KS-BTA200 Bluetooth Adapter
JVC KS-PD100 iPod Adapter

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Monday, May 19, 2008

JVC's YouTube Cam with a 35x Zoom

JVC GZ-MS100JVC's GZ-MS100 is a YouTube skewed SD card camcorder; basically, it's a 35x high powered Konica Minolta lens with an 2.7-inch LCD attached. No hard drive, recording heads, or tape reels have definitely lightened things up a bit. This slight, sight and sound recorder weights in a little over a half a pound. Making holding the shot much less taxing.

The GX-MS100 lets you shoot and capture all the moments uninterrupted; no more time spent looking for tapes or having them run out at the most inopportune time. SD cards have allowed lengthier recording times of 3hrs to 19hrs. Unfortunatly, you would need to plug in this viral video maker to record that many hours, the battery life on the JVC GZ-M100 stands at around 2 hrs. More will cost ya.

Now, getting to the YouTube aspects of this guy; it has a one-button upload to the popular video sharing site using...

the included software. WiFi would have really given these units wings, but JVC doesn't included this seemingly obvious addition. The real new idea here is the built-in a video time limit, of 10min, when requested. This makes sure you don't exceed YouTube's time limit, saving users the time of editing for time.

Another JVC exclusive is Laser Touch Operation. This is touch sensitivity without the touch. You just hover or scroll your finger over the buttons and scrollbar, while a blue halo highlights your option, making sure the appropriate selection is made. The beauty here is the screen remains clean and fingerprint free. More on how well this work when we get some in...

..via release..

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Clarion MAP780 using iGO My Way 8

Clarion MAP680 Credit: Clarion GermanyClarion's two newest Personal Navigation Devices the MAP680 & MAP780, from Clarion's German site, reverberated through the vascular system that is the blog-o-sphere by way of Navigadget on Tuesday.

These impressive GPS units, that were announced in April and include iGO 3D mapping software, have also made their there way to Youtube. Showing the device in action, the video demonstrates a no-joke navigator with mad 3D rendering skills provided by iGO's My Way 8 software, a 3D map rendering application designed for portables.

This upgrade gives you access to so much terrain/building mapping data you may never have to look at the road again. Well, there's still that bit concerning other cars and people getting in your way. Although, these units will have you wanting to keep them in front of you.

Clarion has included all the functionality you'd expect from a high-end PND, but they also added some you might not.

These knowledgeable navi's boast SMS (texting) capabilities, and can connect to a streaming audio service. The differences in the units are mainly disc space and what maps are loaded on those flash memories.

The Clarion MAP680 includes regional map information only, the region in this case is Germany so that includes four countries on it's 1GB internal storage. The MAP680's partner in 3D map rendering touts quite a bit more mapping data, 43 European countries are stored on it's 2GB Memory. Both devices can be expanded and accept SD cards.

No word on when Clarion will grace us with an American version of these mapping moguls but the software is available, a manufacturer just needs to bring it to market in the US.

Related Products
Alpine PMD-B200 Blackbird Portable Navigation System
Panasonic Strada CN-GP50U Portable Navigator w/ 5" Screen
Pioneer AVIC-S2 Portable Smart GPS Navigation with 3.5" Touch Display
Uniden GPS402 Portable In-Vehicle Navigation System features: 4" EZ Touch display

Read more!

Monday, May 5, 2008

TED: Brilliance Uncorked

TED Ideas worth spreadingThere is an amazing exchange of brilliant ideas taking place in Monterey, Cali every year. It's a conference called TED, short for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. What goes on at these meetings of uber-inventive minds are presentations on any number of substantial topics.

It was started in 1984 as a way to converge the aforementioned disciplines and has morphed into an open exchange of groundbreaking ideas covering a wide range heady topics.

TED's organizers pride themselves on the conference's openness. The talks, given by an eclectic array of presenters, are filmed and uploaded; from veteran researchers, such as Jane Goodall, to newer scientists like Johnny Lee, who gained exposure exclusively through Youtube, they all have something outstanding to convey, and only 18 minutes to do it.

Every video is available for free and is released under the Creative Common license, so the brilliance is easily disseminated.

Do your synapses a favor and mosey on over to their site. Just make sure your schedule is clear for, oh say, the next couple days. Yeah it's that engrossing.

Read more!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

'Shure' you need new headphones...

Shure ES110Shure is one of those companies. Rather than being a renowned producer of consumer grade products, they're mainly associated with high-end high-performance equipment designed with the professional in mind.

Their equipment prices aren't discount, that being said, their prices aren't unreasonable either. You get what you pay for with Shure.

Now, what you pay for when you plunk down those hard earned greenbacks for a pair of Shure SE110 headphones is a set of Hi-def Mircospeakers with unique soft foam sleeves. These sleeves, or the parts that go in you ear, are made from the same foam material as the earplugs you would wear at a rock concert or an auto race.

This idea is genius. Forget noise canceling headphones that attempt to mask outside noise, the Shure SE110 completely isolates the music; without even a hint of outside noise ruining your listen experience. You hear nothing but superb highs, clear mids, and thumping bass. All while enjoying your music at a level that won't damage your hearing.

If you read the instructions of most sets of headphones there will be a warning against turning the volume up enough to drown out noises. Say what!? Now I know in a sue crazy world disclaimers are a necessity, for dummies; but, how could you enjoy listen to your music on the bus if you can still hear the crazy homeless dude beside you rambling incessantly.

Lucky for us there is no sign of this disclaimer in the Shure SE110's literature. As I'm writing this and using the ES110s, I have the volume on my iPod touch set at half, and I can't even hear the strokes of my own keyboard. Just think of what these Shure's could do for annoying managers.

There are some drawbacks with the SE110. Having to clean the ear wax out of the nozzle is kinda gross but completely required, plus Shure designed the ES110 so they are worn with the wire going behind the ear. This configuration is a bit annoying and lacks the familiarness of other earbuds, not a deal breaker at all though.

Bottom line on these Shure ES110s is they're a great entry level professional in-ear headset. Offering superior sound quality and wonderfully effective noise isolating foam sleeves, which won't let any of the music get away from you.

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