The Evangelist

Worldwide Technology News

Here's an interesting idea: a digital camera with a built-in printer.

That's exactly what the new TOMY xiao with ZINK printer is. The TIP-521 allows you to print pictures of photos taken with the camera in less than 60 seconds. You get a 2x3" print that you can easily share photos with a friend quickly and easily.

Unlike a Polaroid, however, the pictures are stored in digital form. It can take pictures just like any other 5 megapixel camera, so you are not limited to just the small prints produced by the device. It has 16MB of internal memory and supports SD (Secure Digital) and SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) cards. Just like a polaroid, it does not require ink, just the paper.

The device does seem on the expensive side when you add the expense of the special 2x3" paper. One has to be wary of proprietary formats, and it is almost certain that the paper will no longer be sold, even if the product itself still works.

Still, this seems like a pretty cool little gadget. For more information, you can visit

Intel is the world's leading producer of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) with their Intel Graphics Media Accelerator products. Their GMA products are often included in lower-end laptops and desktops because they are cheap and offer reasonable performance. They have garnered much criticism, however, from those who value graphics performance. Nvidia and ATI integrated graphics consistently perform better when compared to GMA GPUs, and their dedicated (discreet) GPUs blow them out of the water.

This would appear to be why Intel is developing a GPU under the codename Larrabee. Larrabee will compete with both Nvidia and ATI's dedicated and GPGPU high-performance computing products. It is thought that Larrabee will be released in either late 2009 or early 2010, although we will probably see more of Larrabee before then.

Larrabee is almost a combination of a CPU and GPU. They use the x86 microarchitecture, like standard Intel processors. It has a coherent cache hierarchy, also like CPUs. But it also has GPU-like features. It will support 3D graphics such as OpenGL and DirectX for games.

The fact that Larabee is a hybrid card could allow it to prove useful for GPGPU and stream processing applications. This could make Larrabee useful in supercomputers for scientific processing such as ray tracing and physics processing. This will help Intel compete with AMD's ATI FireStream and NVIDIA's Tesla in high-performance computing.

Larabee is in some ways similar to IBM's Cell. It is designed to have many small cores that can perform different tasks, perhaps more efficiently than one core made to do it all. There are differences as well. I won't elaborate much on this, but needless to say that while they have similarities, they are meant for different applications.

This will make Intel's offerings reflect those of AMD's ATI and Nvidia more and allow Intel to compete in the dedicated graphics market. With Intel's close relations with many manufacturers, it seems likely that they can get these chips in the market. The question in the end will be how well they perform compared to products from ATI and Nividia. Price will also factor in; it will be interesting to see whether or not Larrabee will be priced competitively. It will also be interesting to see whether or not Intel tries to market these products as ATI and Nvidia do to enthusiasts and sell them individual to system builders and those wishing to upgrade their video card. It will also be interesting to see if Intel will try to offer something similar to Crossfire from ATI or SLI from Nividia. Without support for multiple GPUs, if Intel doesn't have a single product that can outperform the other companies' cards enthusiasts will likely shun Larrabee, at least until Intel gets things together. At any rate, it will be very interesting to see how things play out.

A while back Toshiba demonstrated a Cell processor-based SpursEngine chip in a laptop (yes, the same Cell processor tech that is found in Sony's Playstation 3). Although the Cell processor was shown to be powerful at allowing for several new innovative applications in their demo, the usefulness of these chips is really for encoding and transcoding MPEG4 and MPEG2 AVCHD/H.264 codecs.

The Firecoder Blu is a card meant for these purposes, and accelerates encoding and transcoding, possibly up to five times faster than real-time. The device could possibly prove useful to those who are into Blu-Ray. With the power of modern GPUs, however, and with new programs coming out that can take advantage of their capabilites in encoding and transcoding videos, the question is whether the projected $599 pricetag will really be worth it. This is yet to be seen.

With all of the modern smartphones and push-email devices on the market now, a device dedicated to just email may seem like what a pager is to a cell phone. That, however, is exactly what the Peek, a device now on sale at Target stores, is.

The Peek is a device specifically designed for mobile email. It is a good example of the classic concept of doing one thing, and doing it well. It operates in the United States using a nationwide GSM network, which will cost you $19.95 a month in addition to the $79.95 for the device itself.

Because it is designed just for email, the device is very slim and light (at just 3.8 ounces). It features a full QWERTY keyboard that promises to be easy to type on. It also has a decently-sized (and high contrast) screen (2.5 in. QVGA at a resolution of 320x240) which makes it easier to read emails. The Peek's website also says that it lasts around 4-5 days under typical usage. While 'typical' is a bit ambiguous, it seems likely that this device will get pretty good battery life.

To give the specifics, the device has a total of 8MB of memory for storing emails and sports a 104MHz ARM7 chipset from TI and an operating system called "Peekux" (no relation to the open-source Linux).

So far, the device has been reviewed favorably, with Time calling it one of the "50 Best Inventions if the Year 2008." I'm not at all surprised; I can't help but like the device myself for its simplicity and reasonable price. While I do a fair deal of instant messaging, I still like to use email for a good deal of my communications.

For more information on the peak, or to purchase a device, you can visit the Peek website at

Many tech blogs and sites have already begun to pour over all the new gadgets, cheap and expensive alike, and make gift recommendations for the holidays.

I think that giving tech gifts is an awesome idea. People tend to use gadgets often, and it is harder to go wrong with tech gifts as long as the person you are giving it to is not inept when it comes to technology.

For some, just giving a tech gift is good enough, especially considering current economic conditions. But if you can afford it this tough holiday season, there is ColorWare, a company that allows you to add some personalization to certain electronics. They allow for color customization of different elements on certain computers, smart phones, music players, game consoles, and even HDTVs. They also offer some accessories for these electronics so that everything matches (or doesn't). Want to give a pink iPhone to that special someone? Well, now you can.

If you can't decide what to get, want to allow the person to customize the gadget themselves, or if the person already has one of the electronics, you can give them a gift card so that they can custimize their own or send their gadget in and get it customized.

So if you are looking for a tech gift that will turn heads and stick out from the crowd, ColorWare is your place.

AppleInsider has recently released an article about how the Macintosh's business marketshare almost tripled over this recent summer.

This is a fairly interesting fact. Apple's consumer sales have gone down recently, which is not surprising when considering Apple's prices and the current state of the economy. The growth in small business sales will no doubt help to make up for this. According to AppleInsider, that's an increase from 61,000 units sold to 188,000 for the quarter. In marketshare, this has brought them from 1.9% to 5.6% for small business.

So, while consumers have stopped buying expensive Macs, businesses have started buying them. Interesting, considering how business-oriented Microsoft tries to be with their Small Business Server products. It would seem to make sense that small businesses would turn to Windows-based PCs when considering cost as well as hardware compatibility. One does have to remember, however, that with boot camp and products such as Parallels that Macs can run Windows. Still, that would push up the cost of ownership even more.

So the question is, why has Apple been so suddenly successful in the small business field? There is no clear-cut answer. I have a few theories, however. Perhaps instead of buying new computers with Windows Vista pre-installed, these companies are hoping to continue using Windows XP with a new Mac. Macs have typically had excellent hardware quality, and small businesses may factor in the cost of having a machine repaired if it breaks down when they make their decision to buy. And perhaps the greater initial cost of buying an additional copy of Windows (and sometimes Parallels or a similar virtual machine product for the Mac) isn't so bad after all. The base iMac is priced at $1199, which isn't too bad. And for applications that only require word processing or where a company used to have a computer and still has the old monitor, keyboard, and mouse, there is always the Mac mini which starts at a reasonable $599.

At any rate, it will be interesting to see whether or not this type of growth continues, and whether small businesses also turn to Apple for server products (such as the Xserve with OS X Server).

Compaq will be releasing a touch-screen nettop tentatively named the mini-Q.

Tech specs include either an Atom 230 or 330 processor, Windows XP or Vista, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a 7,200 RPM (read: decent speed) 160 GB hard disk drive, a dual-layer DVD writer and a 6-in-1 card reader. The device will sell for either $296 or $386 for the respective models in Taiwan (there may also be the ability for customization on Compaq's webiste), and I suspect that the nettop will be coming to America in the not-too-distant future.

If done right, this nettop could be great in many applications which nettops are designed for in the first place. Want to check the news and weather and surf the web in the kitchen while making a quick cup of brew? This could be the device, especially if it doesn't require the use of a keyboard and mouse. I would imagine this device being used in airports instead of some the current pathetic excuses for web-browsing terminals as well.

Here's to hoping that this device is done right. If it is, it seems likely to be a hit.

People have done some pretty crazy things with Mac minis, from Millennium Falcon case mods to installing a Mac mini in a car. It is easy to see how versatile the Mac Mini can be with its small size and decent specs at a reasonable price. This has resulted in the little Mac being used more and more as a web server.

Some web hosting companies have either been offering mini-based hosting services as an option. Others have made it their specialty. At any rate, it seems to make sense. The mini is so small that they installed in high density in a datacenter. For physical dedicated servers (not virtual machines), this really makes sense because hosting companies can fit more in less space. A good example of a dedicated Mac mini host would be, where you can send in a mini or buy one from their site and they provide the web services, so you actually own the mini. Sites such as this one offer Mac mini collocation and mini dedicated servers among their other Linux-based services.

Of course, you could just take a Mac mini of your own and make it a web server at your house if your ISP allows it. Even without a static IP, there are sites that offer to have an address that will always link to even a dynamic address. One blog has articles on how to set up an apache web server, an email server, MySQL, PHP and more on a Mac mini. Personally, I'm wondering how well a dedicated gaming server running under OS X or Windows would do on the mini as well (considering the fact that dedicated servers need processing power, not graphics).

Yet another new web browser has entered the fray, this time by a Tokyo, Japan-based company by the name of Lunascape Corporation.

Get Lunascape Browser.

Lunascape, while not open-source, is freeware. While it has been around in Japan for a little while, it is just getting started in the United States with an english release now that the company has an operation in San José, California.

The browser is based on Microsoft's Internet Explorer platform, so it only runs on Windows. There is a reason for this, however, so don't give up on it yet. Lunascape can switch between the Webkit (Chrome and Safari), Trident (Internet Explorer) and Gecko (Firefox) layout engines with ease. This doesn't make it a combination of the browsers listed above (so it isn't necessarily the fastest because one of the above is considered the fastest at the time) but instead a capable web browser for viewing different sites which may render better or faster using a certain layout engine instead of the other two. This could also make Lunascape a capable platform for web developers to test their site's compatilibity with a number of different layout engines all with one browser.

The company claims that the browser has the world's fastest JavaScript rendering engine.

Lunascape has several other innovative features including podcast aggregation, RSS "news-flashes," and mouse gesture capabilities (which can already been found in Opera). The browser also promises to be compatible with many Internet Explorer add-ons and Firefox plugins alike; an amazing feat.

The browser also sports the now nearly ubiquitous tabs feature as well as a built-in RSS reader.

I'm looking forward to trying out Lunascape for a while, and I'm hoping that the browser makes some waves in the market. New competition can only serve to encourage innovation, and there's nothing wrong with that.

For more information or to download Lunascape, you can visit their website at

Click picture to see larger version.

Just thought I'd share this little tidbit from my spam folder on Gmail.

They promise "minute" profits. But when I saw minute, this is the first thing that came to mind:
Very small, diminutive

Blockbuster has finally made the leap with Video On Demand (VOD) services after staying out of a market that has proved to be massive and growing at a huge rate for years.

While Blockbuster was sitting around with their stores (which have a poor selection of titles) and eventually DVD rentals by mail, other companies such as Netflix have had mail subscriptions for years and opened the doors on Video In Demand a while back, bith Netflix even offering streaming movies that can be viewed on devices such as PCs, Macs, and even the Xbox 360. There have been other services with similar offerings as well. Blockbuster has suffered because of these services and because of their overconfidence in their retail stores.

With Blockbuster's new service, they basically claim that they will have more new titles when compared to Netflix's services, which seems to focus more on television shows and classic movies. I fail to see what's wrong with having classics, but whatever floats their boat.

Unlike Netflix, which charges a flat monthly fee, there is a fee for each rental. In order to get the device from Blockbuster, you first have to pay $99 for the first 25 rentals, and you get the device for free. You can learn more (or buy the device) at

I'll be waiting to see how well this service goes over.

You have probably already heard of Intel's Atom microprocessor, which is designed specifically for use in small devices (if you haven't, check out my article here). Intel has now expanded on the Atom with a dual-core version that sips more power but offers more processing power. While the Atom isn't as powerful as the old Pentium D dual-core desktop processors of the past, it is certainly getting close, and Atom processors are clearly more powerful than the old Pentium 4M processors that used to be found in upper-end laptops. Of course, they sip far less power and are far smaller than the Pentium D, which was made for high-end desktops; a truly impressive feat, but that's the way technology evolves.

The Atom isn't without competition, however; VIA, another company involved in the x86 (Intel-compatible) processor market has a competing product. VIA has been producing low-power chips for applications such as Tablet PCs for years, and so their producing a competitor to the Atom just makes sense.

The VIA Nano simply hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. While the Atom does not support x64 and therefore 64-bit applications, the Nano does. While this may seem minor, Microsoft has stated that Windows 7, the next release of Windows, will primarily come in 64-bit editions, and 32-bit editions, while still available, will probably take a backseat and be mostly for those who want to upgrade their older machines (many OEMs like Hewlett Packard have already started installing 64-bit editions of Vista as standard on their new PCs despite compatability worries). Also, Windows 7 may be the last version of Windows to support processors without x64 extensions. Many believe that Microsoft will take advantage of the quickly-growing netbook market with Windows 7. This may make the company change their plans and continue active support for processors without 64-bit extensions. Microsoft has not (as of yet) been very active in getting a product out in the netbook market; they have only released the stripped-down version of Windows XP Home for netbooks and Linux has done well in the market. Windows 7 with its MinWin kernel promises to at least be better for netbook applications by taking up less memory and using memory more effectively on lower-end hardware. It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out. It seems likely that Intel will add 64-bit extensions to their Atom processors. The VIA Nano, however, offers that already.

The Nano was launched this year on May 29. It is a single-core processor based on either 65nm or 45nm technology and with a front-side bus (FSB) speed from 800 MT/s to 1333 MT/s. They have support for Error-Correcting Code (ECC) as well as hardware virtualization technology (based on Intel's implementation), which Intel usually supports only on their higher-end Core 2 chips. They also have a 128KB L1 cache and a 1MB L2 cache. If you are wondering about multimedia program comaptibility, the Nano supports the SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, and MMX instruction sets.

A dual-core version is on track to be released in 2010. This presents an interesting parallel between current netbook chips and laptop chips of the past. Intel had released the original 32-bit Core Duo laptop processors, while AMD had released single-core Turion processors with 64-bit support. Here, we see that Intel has a 32-bit netbook processor while VIA has a 64-bit chip. The Core Duo processors outperformed the Turion processors, but the Turions were future-proofed. Of course, Intel is a marketing machine. AMD stood little chance, and VIA doesn't even have as many marketing resources at their disposal as AMD. This will likely result in the Nano being used in a smaller number of devices, which might mean that Intel will face no real competition. It's really up to the manufacturers now. Either they choose to put the Nano in their products, recognizing its merits, or they don't. To some degree, it is also up to the customer. Some will likely see "VIA" and read "not Intel so probably won't run my programs." Sure, there may be somebody there to explain, but old habits are hard to break. Even AMD has a difficult time because people don't always understand that their products are more like Intel's offerings then not.

I am afraid that the Nano will not attain much marketshare. The chip may have other effects on the market, however; in order to stay ahead, Intel may add 64-bit support and other features to their Atom processors. Competition can encourage innovation.

The Nano won't be the Atom's only competition; AMD will be entering the market, or so they say. While Intel was producing Atom chips and selling them like hotcakes, AMD was telling us that they didn't think that there was a market in netbooks and nettops and that they weren't willing to risk the investment. AMD is finally coming around, however, and their latest roadmaps indicate that they are now working on a chip that is meant for higher-end applications than the Atom but will be in the netbook and nettop market. The chip also promises to be cheaper than the Atom, but I have a feeling that Intel will try their best to ensure their dominance of the netbook market, and Intel has plenty of time to respond now that AMD has announced the product. That's the price they have to pay for reassuring their shareholders. I really do hope that AMD succeeds with their prouduct.

Here's to hoping that innovation triumphs.

Just to let everybody know, I am taking the day off from blogging.

I do have quite a few articles in store, however, so stay tuned for more articles soon.

To everyone in the United States, have a happy Thanksgiving.

-The Evangelist

For years, various stock market simulations have existed. These simulations have generally been based on real stock markets, using real-world data to determine the success (and failure) of investors. This is good for those who want experience in what it really is like to trade in the stock market. Everything is very real, except for the fact that virtual investors can't really have an effect on the market. This is more significant when virtual investors are dealing with large sums of money (which they likely couldn't afford to invest in a real stock market), but when considering simulations with hundreds or even thousands of users, having no effect on the market can make trading in a simulation seem boring for some unless they are into investing.

While some might fall under this category, others do not. But that's what Thotmarket is for. Thotmarket is a social bookmarking site (similar to Digg) and stock market simulation combined. Users can invest in 'thots', virtual stocks, post coments on thots with a certain value (which may eventually lead to a payout for the shareholders of a thot) and send comments to other users (for a certain amount of credit that is determined by the user you are trying to message). Every user starts with $1000 (virtual money, of course). You can do any of the above actions with your funds, or you can even offer a new thot to the market with a certain investment. By offering stock and/or investing, you have the opportunity to gain more credits if the value of the stock increases and you can sell the stock for more than you initially put in. However, you must choose the right investments or, in the case of a new offering, set an optimal trading price to ensure that people will actually value the thot. If people don't think the thot is worth the price, think the thot will not succeed, or think that the investment will not be worth it, they will not invest in the thot. Therefore, it is best to give the thot a popular and quality link, video, or feed.

Thotmarket is certainly an excellent way to spend some time, and a great alternative to trying to boost your site through massive social bookmarking sites such as Digg, where the small bits (even if they are valuable) are drowned out by big sites and larger news. And Thotmarket's emphasis on new thots for their front "marketplace" page is bound to help newer thots gain more attention. This, in turn, means more people clicking the link to your site, video, or feed of choice. This could be very good for webmasters who want tp get something out of their time spent on the site.

Check out this page for more information or visit to get started.

The Evangelist is already listed. You can see its ticker below and visit the thot here.

When it comes to social software, I haven't always been extremely enthusiastic. There are plenty of bad things about sites such as Myspace and even Facebook. From identity theft to viruses that create vast botnets, social networking applications do present new problems. This isn't to say I haven't used a good handful of them (including the professional LinkedIn), it's just to say that they have their downsides.

Some of these appliances, however, can't be overlooked. They offer something totally new and never seen before. One recent innovation that is just starting to get more mainstream is social searching. Google has started dabbling with this with their new SearchWiki. The feature can be used on Google by anyone logged in with a Google account to either promote or remove a result from your personal listing as well as comment on any page. It is unclear, however, what effect this will have on a page's Google ranking in the end.

While Google is the largest search engine and therefore the largest to operate social searching, it is still a mainstream search engine, and it has its limitations when it comes to social search. That's where Scour comes in. Scour combines results from the big three search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Live Search from Microsoft) with social searching methods. This means that the relevance of results for searches is ranked by the users themselves. This can be superior to the traditional algorithm-based search because unrelated results (which may contain sites with spammed keywords or meta-tags) typically get ranked down, as opposed to them getting ranked because of their keywords by search engines (this has been a tough problem that Google has worked hard to deal with). With Scour you can do everything you would expect to be able to do with a social search engine, such as comment on sites and vote on the relevance of results.

Scour, however, takes social search to new heights. With user-controlled options on how many top results you get from each search engine and the option to favor results from a specific search engine, Scour certainly offers more customizability than most other social search engines. Scour also has an innovative points system. For every search, ranking, and comment (up to one time per each search), you get a point. These points can later be cashed for Visa debit gift cards after getting an appropriate amount of points. Scour gets the money for these payouts from their advertising on the site. To ensure that nobody abuses the system, Scour checks all accounts manually before payout. This means they can ensure that the searches and comments aren't spammed or bot-generated. In the case of some, they promise only to remove points for those who mean no harm to the system. The check keeps those who are there only to earn, however, from ruining it for everybody. This has made it so that nobody has gotten an incredible amount of money from them so far. But it also means that unlike many other programs that offer you money or prizes for doing something such as viewing advertising, Scour's promise is not absurd.

For more information on how Scour works, or to get started, you can visit the Scour website. You do not need to be registered to see how a sample search works.

We've all heard of Apple's unique offerings in the consumer desktop segment, the Mac Mini and the iMac. While the iMac has sold decently, the Mac Mini evidently has not sold as well as Apple has hoped. In fact, there are rumors that Apple may phase it out completely.

While the Mac Mini is pretty neat when it comes to size, it is expensive for what you get, and there are no upgrade options. The iMac, on the other hand, is limiting; those who already have monitors or don't want to be restricted to one monitor don't want an all-in-one. If you do want upgradeability, the only option is the Mac Pro, which costs more than $2000 USD for a base model.

Why can't Apple release a machine for the rest of us?

I'm sure Apple is hoping that those who long for/need upgradeability will jump for the Mac Pro. However, I also think that Apple is losing quite a few customers here. Surely Apple, of all companies, could come up with something original that definitely isn't a commodity PC in form factor but that is capable of being upgraded to a good extent and can take a decent video card. It's not asking much. It seems to me that this is a pretty big problem for those who want OS X but need this kind of machine (not a Mac Pro).

With Apple suffering because of the economic situation, a product like this would be aptly timed and perfectly appropriate. The only question is whether or not Apple will see it that way.

Mozilla has announced that they will stop updating the Firefox 2 series this December.

What will this mean? Firefox 2 and Thinderbird 2 will stop receiving updates of any kind, and all browsers based on Gecko 1.8 will at the very least not receive security updates from Mozilla. This means that Seamonkey 1.1, the original Flock browser, K-Meleon, Camino 1.5.5, Epiphany 2.16 and all older versions will no longer receive Mozilla security update.

Mozilla is encouraging users to switch to Firefox 3 to keep their systems secure. Those using third-party Gecko browsers should really update as well; there can really be little harm in it the way that browsers have been improving in speed these days.

This will mean that users who want Firefox on Windows ME or any older Windows operating system will have to stick with Firefox 2 despite the fact that support is stopping.

If you ask me, Mozilla is doing what is right. By killing of continued support, they can focus their efforts on developing new technologies such as Firefox 3. In the end, many users will benefit from this.

In the world of portable gaming, there are two main contenders: The Nintendo DS and Sony's PSP (Playstation Portable). Both of these portable consoles are designed to run commercial, proprietary games that usually have to be approved by the maker of the portable (especially in the case of Nintendo). In addition, the game studios have to pay royalties to be able to develop games. In addition, there are many other restrictions that may be put on the game studios such as how many cartridges they are alloted, how few copies they must produce, and whether or not they can sell the game on other systems simultaneously. This effectively eliminates the production of indie games for these portable consoles (except for underground development not supported by Nintendo or Sony) as well as the availability of emulators.

The same is not true, however, for the little-known portables that run open source software and thrive on indie and homebrew games.

Released on November 10, 2005, the GamePark Holdings GP2X is a Linux-based portable console with media playback capability. The GP2X spawned a great deal of homebrew games and could run emulators to play games from numerous other consoles. As of August 31, 2008, 60,000 GP2X units have been sold. The GP2X is still being sold in Korea as an aid for those wishing to learn the English language; however, a successor has been released and has taken the spotlight in most markets.

The GamePark Holdings GP2X Wiz should be first available this November. The Wiz is, like its predecessor, Linux-based and open source. A brochure for the console states that new commercial games will be released for the console on a monthly basis as well. The price advertised for the Wiz is around $180 USD per unit, a reasonable price for the capabilities of the console.

Despite the fact that the Wiz is considerably more powerful, the current specs for the consoles indicate that it will be slimmer than the original GP2X. The Wiz features an OLED screen instead of an LCD screen, which means that the response time will be better on the Wiz and that the screen will have a better viewing angle. The Wiz has built-in flash memory for storage and can also take SD cards for additional storage

Perhaps even more amazingly, it is planned that the Wiz will have Flash Player 7 at the time of its launch, brining a more rich web experience to the console.

The Wiz, unlike the GP2X, has competition this time around.

The Pandora, manufactured by OpenPandora, aims to be a higher-end console than the Wiz. At $330 USD, it carries considerably more expense as well, but this is understandable for what you get. The Pandora was designed with constant feedback from the GP32X community, and therefore reflects more what the gamers want than what the company that makes the device wants. It runs a derivative of the Linux distribution Ångström and includes a number of PDA qualities in addition to traditional gaming abilities.

Pandora will be a platform for homebrew games as well as emulators. With its greater power, the developers of the Pandora believe it can emulate the Playstation and any older consoles including the Amiga, Atari Jaguar, and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (NES, otherwise known as the Super Famicom). With a full keyboard, the console should also be able to emulate consoles such as the Commodore 64 with full capabilites. The console, with its poweful GPU, may even be able to emulate some Nintendo 64 games; however, it is not clear what exactly will be possible yet.

Because the console uses Linux, it will be able to accept Debian packages for the little-endian ARM architecture, which could lead to other software for the system as well and quite a bit of expansion. Being open-source, the possibilities are greatly expanded.

OpenPandora has already started taking pre-orders. Additional features of the Pandora include wireless 802.11b/g capabilities, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, a rechargeable battery, two Secure Digital High Capacity ports and more.

The open-source handheld console market is surprisingly large with two competing products. At any rate, one can only hope that this competition will encourage further developments in the industry and keep this little niche going.

On November 17, 2008, Intel will release its new brand of processors dubbed "Core i7."

Core i7 will be the first wave of Intel's new Nehalem architecture chips to be produced. The initial line of processors, codenamed Bloomfield, includes three quad-core desktop chips. The 920 model at 2.66 GHz is priced at $284 while the 940 model at 2.93 GHz is priced at $562, both in price per 1000 units. The 965 extreme edition, on the other hand, is clocked at 3.2 GHz but costs $999. The extreme edition comes with an unlocked multiplier, which makes it easier for enthusiasts to overclock.

But there is more to Core i7 than just clock speeds. Intel has changed much with their new Nahelem architecture, and it's all for the better. The memory controller is now on the processor. The traditional Front Side Bus that Intel has been using for years while AMD used HyperTransport technology has been replaced with Intel's new Quickpath Interconntect (QPI). Memory is now three-channel, so groups of three memory DIMMs can now be used for optimal performance. The processors have a "Turbo Boost" capability which automatically overclocks the processor by 133 or 266 MHz when safe to give you an extra boost of power when you need it. Intel has also added hyper-threading to their new Core i7 chips, a feature which was dropped in Intel's Core 2 architecture. This allows each core to appear to the operating system as two processors. They use the new 45nm technology and contain 731 million transistors. To top it all off, they have a new power management system that can actually shut down cores that are not in use to save a good deal of power. With the current economic troubles, this will no doubt be welcomed by many.

There are some problems with Core i7, but they are generally non-issues. The new architecture means that only DDR3 memory is compatible - and it is more expensive. There has also been some debate over the fact that nore current motherboards made for the Core i7 support ECC memory. It is thought that this could cause scientific computing and number crunching done by the processors to be inaccurate with these motherboards. It will be interesting to see if distributed computing projects such as Folding@home will have to do something different in the case of machines with these motherboards.

Everything considered, Core i7 truly is a leap ahead. The performance of this chips generally exceeds that of Yorkfield Core 2 processors of the same clock speed by some margin. It is estimated that Core i7 chips can complete 20% more instructions per clock cycle than the Yorkfield chips as well.

Even if you aren't looking at a Core i7 machine, the release of these processors is bound to bring the prices down on older Core 2 chips for desktops, which is always a plus.

With Core 2, Intel had the lead over AMD (Advanced Micro Devices). With Core i7, it seems as if Intel will leave AMD in the dust. Intel has learned their lesson from remaining static and letting AMD gain superior performance with their Athlon 64 line of processors - they aren't going to sit idle again or just concentrate on making their chips look good because they have high clock speeds (see megahertz myth). I do think, however, that AMD could rival Intel if they take the right steps. They certainly aren't going to sit still, but more on that later.

There have been a lot of people hoping for an Apple Tablet PC, like those that have been released by other companies.

During the October 14 MacBook event, Kirk Hiner said "Oh, and the mythical iTablet? Apple has “experimented” on it, but feels it doesn’t yet make much sense."

Doesn't make sense?! Apple has always been popular among artists and designers. Can't Apple see that there is indeed an audience for such a computer? Companies like Wacom have touch-sensative tablets on the market for both desktops and laptops that are compatible with both Windows and OS X. But it would seem more intelligent of Apple just built it in. The entire "touchscreen" thing just seems like an extension of the direction Apple was taking with the iPhone anyways.

Perhaps Apple is right in that the interest in such a tablet isn't great. But what about making a personal version as well? Certainly the iPhone and iPod Touch have gotten great attention due to their intuitive touch-interfaces. A personal version, perhaps in "slate" form factor without a keyboard, could be easily marketed.

As a side note, I don't see why Apple shouldn't keep with their previous conventions and separate the Macbook Air into "Pro" and consumer models. The lower end could be a netbook targeted at the coffeehouse blogger. Imagine how slim Apple could make it with Intel's new Atom processors.

I've just been blogging over at N-Tech as well.

Check it out if you are in to graphic design or are interested in having some graphics made for you. N-Tech has forums as well.

So the October 14 MacBook event is said and done.

As we saw, there were many rumors leading up to the event regarding what Apple might announce. The most-hyped of those rumors turned out to be false.

It is interesting to note that the rumors about the manufacturing process and the networked televisions were both "confirmed." As the event showed, Apple is using what could be described as a "revolutionary" manufacturing process. But more on that later. What is interesting is that nothing in the event was related to networked televisions. Might Apple be working on networked televisions and just not have announced them at the event? Or perhaps this was pure rumor or even a tactic meant to mislead.

At any rate, this entire ordeal hasn't seemed that good for Apple. Their stock went down because of the event, just as it went down when they announced the iPod Nano refresh. There was so much hype surrounding the event that it virtually took the spotlight on what the event was really about - notebooks. And when Apple did announce their refresh, it just didn't seem to be anything big. There were already pictures out there of a chassis that looked like it had been made out of a single block of aluminum. Brick turned out to be what most everybody already thought it would be: a new way of manufacturing notebooks. And so Job's keynote seemed more an announcement of the obvious than of something great. The "one more thing" event turned out to be a MacBook refresh, bringing the graphics up to the Geforce 9400M instead of an integrated Intel chip. We saw a sub-$1000 notebook, but it was priced at $999 instead of the rumored $899 or $799.

It seems to me that Apple should do a better job keeping its manufacturers and employees quiet. A company such as Apple has much to loose over rumors like these. It seems as though Apple has really lost control of the rumor machines so instead of a product seeming like a long-shot come true it seems like an obvious revelation. Try harder, Apple. Surprise us with products that we couldn't have possibly imagined just a few years ago.

Rumors have been circulating around the web about just what is known as Apple's "Brick" is. They came in waves, starting mostly with Mac Mini updates, moving on to Macbook rumors including a netbook and the design process rumor as well as Nvidia graphics. And now, the latest rumor is that Apple will release networked televisions.

Whatever Brick is, it will supposedly be unveiled as part of a "one more thing" presentation at the end of the October 14th Macbook refresh announcement.

I'm going to try to tackle all of this piece by piece, so bear with me.

Mac Mini: The Mac Mini rumor seemed to pass by quickly. The Mini has changed little from its inception, mostly just "behind-the-scenes" hardware changes such as processor upgrades. Many think that the Mini needs a refresh, and it's hard not to agree. However, it seems doubtful that the Brick is related to the Mac Mini. The Mini is Apple's cheapest desktop product, and you have to, as they say, BYODKM. That is, you have to buy the monitor as well as a keyboard and mouse separately in order to use the computer. The first thing that makes this rumor seem unlikely is that this is a Macbook refresh event that we are talking about here, so it would make little sense for the "one more thing" at the event would be a Mac Mini refresh. Also, the Brick turning out to be a Mini refresh would be, needless to say, disappointing. That's not to say that it isn't, just that it seems unlikely that Apple would give that much attention to it. But then again, the recent announcement of the iPod Nano refresh was ultimately extremely disappointing for many and has done very little for a struggling Apple (see The Economy and Consumer Electronics). Hopefully Apple has learned their lesson, and if this is a Mac Mini refresh, they at least execute it properly.

Macbook Netbook: Rumors began to turn to the possibility of Brick being part of the Macbook line, possibly a subnotebook (like the Macbook Air). An editor for Wired, Leander Kahney, suggested that the Brick might be a netbook. Kahney proposes that the Brick may actually be a netbook with two touch screens connected at a hinge, like the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) XO-2. This would allow for the laptop to be used for multiple functions depending on the way the screen is tilted. This seems more like wishful thinking than a good prediction, however. Many have been hoping for something like this for a long time, but it seems unlikely considering Apple's history. Who knows, maybe Apple will surprise us.

Manufacturing Process: This rumor, which was said to have been confirmed by an anonymous Apple employee, states that Apple's Brick is not a product but instead a way of making a product. The rumor claims that Apple would start using lasers and jets of water to cut Macbook chassises out of a "brick" of aluminum. This could result in designs that would supposedly make for a stronger, smoother, and lighter Macbook. The amount of screws could be greatly reduced, or external screws could be eliminated entirely with some good engineering. Finally, the process could allow for more innovate designs, which would definitely be a plus for a company like Apple. Other claims are that the process would reduce costs and give Apple a competitive edge.

Networked Television: Now this would be something. According to Nate Lanxon, Jason Calacanis, a so-called "tech celebrity," has confirmed that Apple's Brick is really a networked television. This would be much like a television with an integrated Apple TV, a device released by Apple that allows for the streaming of music and video over a network through ethernet or wirelessly using 802.11n wireless. Apple clearly makes some beautiful displays. However, this rumor seems suspicious. With the Apple TV already on the market (and not selling too well at that), Apple would have to give the general public a really good reason to buy their new televisions. Many who would be interested in this kind of product have probably already bought an Apple TV. While Apple's more loyal fans would probably buy one, others may question why they should pay more, especially when many already have HDTVs. It's not something you upgrade every 5 minutes. Perhaps, however, Apple could make it worth the people's while. What if, instead of having to buy cable, Apple offered an online TV service instead? The service might not cover every single channel at first, but this could be the future of broadcasting. With the current economic downturn, perhaps if Apple had a cheap enough service (Apple and cheap rarely mix) they could get the masses to switch. If Apple could do something unique and desirable enough, I am sure they could get a pretty good userbase going.

Since the event is supposed to be tomorrow, I will update the blog with new reviews and opinions tomorrow as information is released (or leaked). Stay tuned.

The Evangelist has been updated with a new theme and has been reorganized to better suit your needs.

A reward system for posting comments and participating in the blog will be starting very soon. In addition, The Evangelist will soon be accepting sidebar advertisments as well as sponsorships for Entrecard credits or x10credits. We hope to support the blogging community in doing this, and that using the resources we gain we can give back through the future form of contests for both bloggers and general readers.

I will be posting a new article soon, so don't worry, it's coming.

Everyone knows that the economies of United States and a number of European (and even Asian) countries have been struggling lately. What's new is that the struggle is starting to hit the tech market hard as well, especially after the bailout failed to pass congress in the United States.

One of the companies hit hardest is Apple (AAPL). Apple's market segment is rapidly decreasing with the rapidly increasing price of oil and, in turn, food and other goods. No longer can some people afford Apple's expensive computers and electronics (even if they are of good quality).

But other companies are taking a hit as well. Hewlett Packard, IBM, Google; it seems as if no company is immune to the effects of what is a recession. It does seem that with computers becoming less affordable due to the increase in the prices of other goods, as well as the computers themselves.

This brings to mind netbooks and subnotebooks (as discussed in The Netbook Trend, published September 21, 2008) and nettops. This recession could foreseeably cause a reactionary response from the computer companies. Clearly, technology plays an important role in our day-to-day lives. At the same time, there are now new and more cost effective ways for technology to play those roles.

For one, perhaps Sun Microsystem's model of slim clients accessing a remote server may become economically viable again, as less well-to-do families, who in my opinion definitely deserve access to computers and the internet, may no longer be able to afford even a cheaper computer of their own.

Perhaps online services will become even more popular. Instead of storing files on their computers, users may turn to online storage, if it is cheap enough, for their files. Movies and televisions shows could be available on the internet accompanied by advertisements so that the producers can still make money (a number of television studios are already doing this).

At the same time, subnotebooks and cheaper computers will become ever more widespread. Many users don't use all of the power that their computers have - and the OEMs can take advantage of this.

At any rate, it seems highly likely that the changes in the economy will result in changes to the computer industry and the way it operates. But it is my belief that technology will continue to play an extremely important role in the everyday lives of many people throughout the world and, hopefully, even more in the future.

It's Google's 10th birthday, and in recognition they have launched Project 10 to the 100 (which is, notably, a Googol).

The project is an open call for ideas to help change the world and make this planet a better place while having an effect on as many people as possible.

Here's how it works:

1. People submit their ideas - you can submit an idea right now if you want at their idea submission page. A single person may submit as many ideas as he or she would like, as long as they meet the deadline of October 20, 2008. You can even include a video up to 30 seconds in length.

2. The people vote - 100 ideas will be posted on the website, and the public will have a chance to vote on which they like starting on January 27, 2009. From this, twenty semifinalists will be chosen. Five finalists will then be picked by an "advisory board."

3. Google funds the idea - Google will then fund companies to further your idea with a total of $10 million USD.

You can learn more about Project 10 to the 100th as well as submit your idea at the Project 10 to the 100th Website.

I will be following up on Google's noble project later as well as when voting begins and when the semifinalists and finalists are chosen.

Hello everyone.

This is simply a note that all of the times have been changed to Eastern Standard Time (EST), which should make it easier for those living on the east coast of the United States.

The Evangelist

Netbooks have been getting more and more popular these days since Intel started encouraging manufacturers to produce the devices and put the term back into use this February.

Historically, the original 'netbooks' were produced by the company Psion starting in 1999. They had just enough processing power to browse the web, read the email, and perform basic office tasks such as word processing. However, they generally ran non-standard operating systems (at first a derivative of Psion's Epoch Operating System and then, later, Windows CE. Because the market at the time was small, the cost of the Psion Netbooks was high, and they used non-standard operating systems, they were a flop.

Today's netbooks are a different kind of beast. They typically run either Linux or Windows XP and are fairly inexpensive. To make things better for Netbook manufacturers, today's market for them is a different beast as well. One prediction indicated that the amount of netbooks could go from under 500,000 for 2007 to 9 million in 2012, while another estimate proposes that around 50 million will be distributed by 2011. This could give netbooks such a big market, in fact, that they have the potential to upset the industry.

Companies like Intel, HP, and Dell on the hardware side and Microsoft on the software side have much to gain or loose from the increasing popularity of netbooks. While Microsoft has stopped distributing Windows XP to the major OEMs for use in standard PCs and laptops, they are still distributing the operating system for use in netbooks and nettops (the term for a desktop device with similar function). This is a clear sign that Microsoft realizes what's at stake here, and realizes that if they do not continue to distribute Windows XP for these devices, Linux and other small operating systems ideal for netbooks will saturate the market. It seems likely that Microsoft has their own plans for netbooks, and may release a special version of their Windows Vista operating system or their upcoming Windows 7 operating system (with its tauted MinWin Kernel) for use with netbooks and nettops. It seems likely that Microsoft would be unsucessful in pushing Windows CE for use with these devices.

A Nettop

And then there is Intel, whose new Atom Processor (see Why Intel's Atom May Revolutionize Mobile Computing is being used in many newer netbooks. The chips are ideal for use in this kind of application, and Intel has much to gain from the sale of the chips. AMD, on the other hand, does not have a comparable product at the time.

Intel's Atom

Remember the Palm Foleo? Although the term hadn't been put back into use at the time the product was announced, the Foleo was basically a netbook (albeit a failed idea for one).

And certainly the OEMs have much to gain or lose from netbooks.

ASUS has been pusing their Eee PC for a while, but there are other manufacturers getting in on the market as well. Hewlett Packard has their HP 2133 Mini-Note PC, and Dell has just recently released the Inspiron Mini 9. A number of independent companies are also vying for a slice of the pie, including Skytone, Everex, LG, MSI, Lenovo, and VIA (who would also manufacture the processors for these systems), among a number of other manufacturers.

But will the netbook really live up to all this hype and excitement? I tend to think it will, at least until smaller portable devices become capable of doing the same thing as netbooks with the same efficiency. Netbooks are great because they can be used for word processing and web browsing easily because they have a keyboard with decently sized keys (compare to UMPCs) and enough screen real estate to multitask and really get something done. It also seems likely that features standard in netbooks today, such as solid-state drives (SSDs), will be incorporated into tomorrow's laptops, desktops and servers.

As always, early adopters can expect some kinks here and there - but that's something easily accepted considering the benefits of these lightweight machines.

Windows Vista has been getting a lot of grief lately from users, IT managers, system administrators and businesses. And Apple has been there all along with their "I'm a Mac" advertisements to stir things up and keep the pressure on Microsoft. The new "I'm a PC" ads by Microsoft is a clear indication of this, because it means that Microsoft has recognized the threat to their marketshare and is now reacting to it.

But it would seem that Vista may be thought about the same way by another group: the Original Equipment Manufacturers, or OEMs.

Hewlett Packard company is the largest distributor of Microsoft software in the world. Yet recent reports suggests that the company is at least considering building their own operating system. These reports suggest that their is a team at HP looking into a Linux-based OS because of Vista's pitfalls. This would suggest that HP is recognizing that many users do not like the direction Microsoft has taken with Vista and the problems others have experienced. Then again, the entire report could just be rumor, the alleged HP contacts not real or just trying to create buzz. I don't think there is enough information to believe either theory at the moment.

But if HP is working on their own OS, that could mean usurpation in the industry if they plan to mass market it (unlike Dell simply selling Ubuntu on laptops that are only available from their website).

The rumors speculate that Hewlett Packard would take the Linux operating system and basically build their own user-friendly distribution of it, modifying it greatly. This would be necessary to compete with Windows, which most users are familiar with. In addition, many users who have tried Linux consider it difficult to use because it lacks much of the automation of Windows, as well as many of the traditional Windows user interface (UI) elements.

Then again, Dell is offering a "Mini OS powered by Ubuntu 8.04" on its new Inspiron Mini 9, which is explained to be "Ubuntu 8.04 with a special Dell interface." This brings up the question of whether HP's OS would really be so different.
Dell's MiniOS

But the real question is why HP would consider this in the first place. Windows currently has the vast majority of the marketshare for operating systems. In making their own OS, HP could be taking a risk. If they do produce an OS and want to distribute it in any meaningful quantity, they may have to ship units to stores and distributors (which would mean convincing those stores and distributors that the risk is worth taking). If they did not take their computers that run Windows Vista off the market, they would risk their new OS not being accepted and the end users only buying the Windows Vista PCs. If they did try to force their new OS and stopped distributing Vista, the users could reject it anyways, doing great damage to HP as a company. Finding a healthy medium would be extremely difficult as well and, if done wrong, could also damage the company.

Hewlett Packard's technique so far has been to try to build on Windows Vista and try to make it more user friendly with additions. This method seems like it may be the best for HP as a company in the end, and certainly the safest. However, compatability and other problems may still exist with Vista, and the additions by HP can't always help that.

And then you have the fact that uptake of the 64-bit version of Windows Vista has been steadily increasing. It would appear that maybe users are ready to move on, as 64-bit compatibility in Windows Vista is not even as complete as that of the 32-bit version. Or perhaps it is being forced on the users (more and more vendors are selling laptops and desktops with the 64-bit version of Vista when the computer has a 64-bit processor).

So the question becomes, does HP think that enough users would be willing to turn away from Vista that they are actually working on such a project and, if so, are they willing to make the jump and take the risk? Only time will tell.

So Mozilla has released Firefox 3, and the browser's marketshare has been steadily increasing to the 43.7% is has now.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Firefox will continue to expand as quickly when its marketshare starts to near 50%. There are a lot of users out there who don't know that there is an alternative to Internet Explorer. And even those who do know that there is an alternative might not care because Internet Explorer "works" and is "good enough." This is more understandable with IE7 with its new features than IE6, which lacks some more basic features such as tabbed browsing. This is not to say that there aren't Internet Explorer users who actually realize the alternatives but choose to use IE because they prefer it, however. It will be interesting to see whether members of these groups switch to Firefox, making its marketshare continue to increase, or if Firefox will start to come to a "critical momentum," so to speak, and balance around a certain percentage. If internet access becomes available in more developing nations, the use of Linux and therefore possibly Firefox could also have an interesting effect on this dynamic.

But there is more to the future of Mozilla than the expanding marketshare of Firefox. There are other ways to expand as well.

Currently, it would seem that in the world of browsers, Mozilla is targeting the mobile platform with a mobile version of Firefox, codenamed "Fennec."

Through Fennec, Mozilla hopes to bring their standards-based browser to their mobile platform and make it so that device manufacturers as well as individuals (in some cases) can embed the browser on their devices. Mozilla also wants to make it so that the mobile version of Firefox is add-on capable, just like the regular Firefox browser for the desktop. This would help to enlarge the Mozilla community in the mobile market (and compete with Opera Mini). Mozilla also wants to help web developers with making web applications compatible with the browser and use developments from the project to benefit the desktop version as well.

Mozilla wants to make Fennec able to browse the web and access web apps the way they are meant to be viewed. They also want to make it so that developers don't have to go out of their way just to design a page or app that works well with the browser, which would be great. They want to make mobile browsing simple and fast. This is something that has proven hard for the developers of browsers for mobile phones. Simple tasks such as entering a URL or refreshing a page can be exceedingly difficult at times. Like the desktop versions of Firefox, Mozilla hopes to keep the mobile version secure to ensure that phones are not hacked and information taken from them.

Mozilla plans on using their leverage in the desktop market to try to make people aware of Fennec and why it is better than the other mobile browsers already available.

One interesting element is that Fennec is to be compatible with both touchscreen and standard phones, and be relatively easy to use on both.

Those with a Nokia N810 can already get Fennec on their phones through the Fennec Releases page. It is worthy of noting that this version is far from complete, and is definitely lacking in the UI and usability improvements that Mozilla hopes to have in the final version. The current version does however show how well the backend of Fennec works, and the browser is still technically impressive (although not really ready for general use and release; Mozilla will likely do what it does with its other products and not release the browser until they are sure it's ready).

It is my hope that Mozilla also explores opportunities in other areas. Mozilla has always had a commitment to supporting open source, and I hope they continue to honor that commitment in the future.

It is also my hope that Mozilla starts offering web services such as online bookmarking that can be used across multiple browsers and other services. Perhaps Mozilla, with their significant marketshare and strong support, could even take on the giants like Google and Microsoft in online services with the help of its large base of web developers. I know that I would gladly contribute to such a project by Mozilla to make such a change.

The future of open-source web browsing awaits us. And it's looking like a bright future.

In the so-called browser war, we are always hearing of the battle between Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox. Alone, IE version 5, 6 or 7 has less marketshare than Firefox. Together, they have about 50.6% of the browser marketshare according to w3schools, while Firefox only has 43.7%. Apple's Safari browser has 2.6 percent of the marketshare. Opera, on the other hand, only has 2.1% of the marketshare.

Opera is a fast and memory-efficient web browser with many innovative features that gets far less attention than it deserves. Being a user of Firefox myself, I can say that Opera has features that even Firefox doesn't have (while conversely Firefox has some features that Opera lacks, such as find as you type).

Quick Find is a nifty feature that allows you to search the content of sites you have visited in the past to help find something on a page even if you forgot which website it was at. With Opera Link through the My Opera Service, everything gets synchronized across Opera browsers over multiple PCs, allowing you to keep your bookmarks and settings no matter which computer you are on. Speed Dial, which is much like the speed dial feature on a phone, brings up a list of up to 9 user-defined websites instead of about_blank when a new tab is opened. Mouse gestures are an alternative to clicking buttons in the browser or using key commands, which can be useful for some users who like to use the mouse. The download manager is comparable to the one in Firefox 3, plus it has Bittorrent capability, a big plus. The browser also has widget capabilities as well as a jumble of other features that I won't mention here because both Firefox and IE7 already have them.

What is also interesting is that Opera is working on a set of developer tools for creating websites and web applications known as Opera Dragonfly. This is an interesting move for Opera to release a set of tools for developing web pages and then make sure they are compatible with the browser. While other companies have made similar moves, they have never to my knowledge taken it this far.

Overall, my experience with Opera has been a good one. The browser behaves as one would expect it to for the most part, and it has some great features. While many of these can be attained in Firefox through other means including add-ons, Opera has really gone far to make an original browser, and has really come far from earlier versions.

Okay everybody, here is your chance to participate.

I am thinking about starting some more blogs, which would have content generated by multiple bloggers/editors, and which would all be tied under the "The Evangelist" banner, so I would link to the blogs.

Such blogs would be a great opportunity for anyone interested to get involved in tech blogging and just writing and/or editing in general. Contributions to the blogs can be cited later for any reason needed. It's a great way to get involved in the tech and journalism worlds all at once.

So here are curent ideas for blogs:
Windows Vista
Game Consoles

Note: If you have another topic that interests you personally, please feel free to post it.

If you would like to participate, just say so. You can pick any one of the ideas that you would like (or bring up your own idea), and I would create the blog.

The reason I am doing this is to encourage tech evangelism and community participation, as well as writing and communication skills.

If you are interested, just reply to this post or send me an email at

Okay, so you are probably thinking that I fell off the face of the Earth, right?

Well, I'm afraid it's not true.

I have been very busy lately and have been unable to post to the blog or give it the attention that it rightfully deserves lately, and I appologize to my readership, but there was simply no way that I could have continued working on the blog at the time.

This message is to let you know that I am still here, and will be posting new articles. I may even be posting one later today.

I am aware that some rather racey advertisements have been displayed through my Entrecard widget. These ads were not approved by me. Instead, my account on Entrecard was somehow hacked and accessed in order to approve the ad. I will not reveal the identity of this blog considering the fact that it may not have been the owner or member of the blog who hacked my Entrecard account, but couldm also have been an outside party. I doubt I will ever find out from Entrecard, but I would hope that they improve the security on their server, because I doubt that my password was brute forced, and even if it was, Entrecard should limit the number of incorrect login attempts from each IP address at the very least in order to prevent such attacks.

At any rate, I am glad to be back. Keep an eye on the blog for new articles that will be posted very soon.

As a note, I am considering starting another blog, and will probably be redesigning my website, so you will likely see updates on these as well.

Hope you like what you have seen so far and will continue reading.

The Evangelist

If you are into tech or browse news sites such as Slashdot, you have probably heard of Intel's new Atom Processor. And you probably know that the processor is meant for use in ultra-mobile PCs and other mobile devices, even smartphones.

You might be thinking, "these have existed in the past without the Atom processor, how are things going to be any different?" If so, you are right that both AMD and Intel have had mobile offerings available for a while. However, in these cases the lowest-power chips available from both were used for an application they really weren't originally made for. Also, because they consumed little power and were so small, they were generally underpowered, which made these UMPCs slow. And then there are "Netbooks" and other small laptops that relied on processors like low-powered Intel Pentium-M and, more recently, Core 2 chips to keep their small form factor. And finally there are even smaller devices, such as Smartphones, that use processors not compatible with the x86 instruction set that is standard in Intel and AMD processors which run Windows and standard Linux distributions. One example of this is Nvidia's Tegra, which will supposedly have superior performance to Atom, but will not support the x86 instruction set, and instead be based on the ARM RISC architecture.

This is where Atom comes in. Intel's Atom has a maximum CPU clock of a decent 1.87 GHz (with the lowest clock being 800 MHz), and supports the x86 instruction set. While AMD's Geode processors have supported Windows operating systems and standard software, they are underpowered compared to Intel's Atom.

Now, with Atom, even a smartphone could run the standard applications end-users have gotten used to, not just special versions adapted for a mobile platform, often with less functionality. And there is software that is not available at all for current mobile platforms. Two good examples would be Flash and Java, which can be important parts of the web browsing experience. With Intel Atom, both Flash and Java could run on Windows or Linux on a UMPC or MID (Mobile Internet Device).

Hopefully manufacturers will realize the potential here, and that the companies selling these devices properly market these devices, making sure that consumers know that these devices can do what other mobile devices cannot.

At the same time, I hope that innovation marches on, and that AMD comes up with their own mobile solution to compete with Intel.

In the meanwhile, Intel has unveiled their Centrino 2 Platform. Highlights include an 802.11n-compatible Wireless card.

You may have heard of or even participated in beta testing programs before. But you've probably never seen something like this.

Microsoft Connect is a community created by Microsoft around the idea of letting the general public beta test Microsoft software.

On the website, you can report bugs, suggest a new feature for a program, or participate in community discussions.

Connect is completely free of charge to use. They have a program to fit virtually everyone, from Windows Home Server feedback to Microsoft Game Studios betas.

Connect presents an opportunity to test new software that wouldn't otherwise be available. It also shows that Microsoft is listening to their customers more and more, likely do to the reception of Vista.

Targeted advertisements. You've probably seen them before. They advertise something that you are interested in, have searched lately, or seem to know where you live.

Because of targeted advertisements, I have Firefox set to delete my cookies, cache, and other internet information every time I close my browser. While this can be annoying and log you out of your session at many sites, it can also help improve your internet security and anonymity.

However, I recently saw an incredibly targeted ad. I had looked at the weather for my local area (which, of course, means my zip code). Next thing you know, I see an ad for the county fair. While the fact that the ad was for the county fair did not creep me out that much, the fact that I was being shown an ad for the county fair did.

For those who would like to avoid these advertisements, deleting your cookies and the information saved by your browser regularly can help.

However, for those who are more concerned about protecting their privacy, there are tools like Tor, which can help ensure that advertisers and those looking for personal information alike can't get it. By using Tor, the website you are connecting to won't be able to determine where you are located based on your IP address and more. The downside is that browsing is slowed significantly, even on broadband connections (if you have dial-up, don't even consider it).

What do you think about targeted advertisements? Leave your comment to get the discussion going.

Microsoft has expanded its limit on those allowed to test the Live Mesh Tech Preview from 10,000 to 20,000 testers maximum.

Live Mesh is a system meant to synchronize folders and personal data across your machines and allow you to share files that you would like to share. While Microsoft already has their Windows Live SkyDrive service for uploading and sharing files and Windows Live FolderShare for keeping entire folders accessible across both computers running Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Mac OS X, Live Mesh goes beyond that, and some even claim that Mesh is a critical part of the way Microsoft intends to "stay relevant," as many bloggers have said, now that Bill Gates has stepped down.

Backing up this interpretation are the facts that one of the key components of this system is a "Live Desktop," which acts more as a traditional desktop, as the name suggests, retaining the folder and file hierarchy that can be found on a computer. Live mesh also has a feature called "Live Mesh Devices." Currently, this allows users to remotely access their files on Windows XP and Vista computers through the Live Mesh software, which is downloadable for free to those testing Live Mesh. Microsoft has plans, however, to add support for Macs as well as mobile devices in the future.

It seems that Microsoft plans to open up Live Mesh more to developers in the future, and this will probably expand its usability greatly, allowing for more sharing features and possibly for some innovative new apps.

You can be added to the waiting list by visiting the Live Mesh Website, or the Microsoft Connect Directory. With any luck, you will be running Live Mesh on your computers as well. You need a Live ID to participate in the program, which can be obtained for free at those websites if you do not already have one.

The Pirate Bay, a popular torrent site that allows users to download material such as music, movies, and more (much of the time illegally, hence the name of the site), has posted a technical proposal for "Transparent end-to-end encryption of the Internets," which they shorten to "IPETEE."

Instead of working on the same level as programs, IPETEE would work on the network level, effectively encrypting all traffic possible on the internet. Therefore, IPETEE would even be able to encrypt applications that don't support encryption some of the time.

This, of course, would help to make sure that local and federal governments can't go snooping into any possible illegal pirating activities, and this is clearly one of the main reasons that The Pirate Bay has begun work on this system. However, IPETEE would also be better for legitimate web traffic. With so many security concerns now, especially over transmissions over wireless networks, especially wireless "hotspots," IPETEE could help make the average user feel more comfortable using the internet, and make it so that businesses and corporations would not have to spend as much making sure that their information remains confidential when sent over the internet.

While this will likely be opposed by governments and corporations with interests in keeping the internet unencrypted, this would be a big step forward. While the entire "Web 2.0" movement is just fine, the new technologies involved have presented numerous security concerns. IPETEE would help bring internet security up to the level of protection users need against a whole new world of "hackers" (script-kiddies) who are exploiting new technologies to collect personal data and make web browsing a possibly painful experience for all but the most experienced power users. And while these hackers will likely try to find a way around IPETEE, through reverse-engineering or other methods, perhaps the people behind IPETEE, including the Pirate Bay, will have a better idea of who they are dealing with then a company such as Microsoft, Apple, or Symantec.

For more information, see the technical proposal at

If you have been wondering why I haven't been posting for a little while, it's because of this post. Since I don't want to bombard you with a million articles relating to the iPhone 3G, I will keep it to one, comprehensive article.

As you probably know, Apple released its new iPhone 3G to the public last friday, touting it as the only phone better than the original iPhone. And then there were the problems. People had problems activating them early Friday due to errors with the activation servers. This meant that those who bought the iPhone 3G early had to activate them using iTunes on their own computers because they could not be activated in Apple and AT&T stores.

Apple has also been blamed for the iPhone 3G being in short supply while thousands of consumers want to get their hands on the new gadget right away.

And then there is the entire argument that the iPhone 3G is not selling as well as the original iPhone and won't in the future. This seems to me like a continuation of the "only Apple fanboys would buy the newer iPod when they already have one" argument, although I stay neutral when it comes to that (it's not worth getting involved).

All in all though, the iPhone 3G is a pretty cool new little device. The 8GB model comes in black, while the 16GB model comes in both black and white. The models sell for $199 and $299, respectively, a definite improvement from the original iPhone.

Of course the iPhone 3G comes with all of the features of the original iPhone such as iPod functionality, phone and SMS capability, an internet browser, and all of those features. However, by Apple's claims the device's connection will be twice as fast. The new iPhone also features GPS capabilities that track your location, adding a hodgepodge of new features, some of which are actually third-party applications.

Speaking of third-party applications, Apple has released iTunes 7.7 with the release of the iPhone 3G. The new version is mostly a minor upgrade. It does, however, add the App Store, where you can find applications for your iPhone. Some of them are even free of charge.

The iPhone 3G also includes push email, calendar, and contacts, making it more ideal for enterprise and business use. If you aren't in it for business, you can get Apple's MobileMe service for $99 a year for an individual or a family pack for $149 a year. The service replaces Apple's .Mac, and offers push email, just as you could get with Microsoft Exhange or another service on the iPhone, except for personal use.

Other new features include support for email attachments (yay) and a scientific calculator.

A software update is available for the original iPhone which adds many of the iPhone 3G's software features without needing to buy a completely new unit. Keep this in mind before getting the iPhone 3G if you already have an iPhone.

Personally I think it will be interesting to see what apps developers churn out for this platform. The possibilities truly do seem endless.

Gentoo Linux has finally released the 2008.0 release of their distribution.

Due to problems, Gentoo was unable to release any new versions of their distribution after the release of 2007.0, which was highly irregular.

Gentoo is an excellent distributions geared toward software developers and power users. This makes it powerful yet fast. The portage package manager borrows from the old ports system for software installation. And since usually most software is compiled from source just for your machine, it should run as fast as possible.

With the new version comes a better installer, a newer version of the Linux Kernel with better support for hardware, and the more compact, faster Xfce desktop environment instead of Gnome on the LiveCD installer.

If you would like to download 2008.0, a simple visit to the download page will get you what you want. Enjoy!

Do you frequent tech news sites and forums? Then you are probably looking for more. is a community forum dedicated to computer-related topics, ranging from the internet to gaming, and everything in between.

Join the discussion today.

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Or, if you have Thunderbird as your email client, you can download Lightning, which is a plugin that integrates a calendar into Thunderbird.