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ElekTex Bluetooth Keyboard

Be prepared for what will surely be an onslaught of peripherals for Microsoft’s Ultra-Mobile PC platform.  Eleksen, makers of fabric-based interface devices, has introduced a trio of products aimed at users of the new UMPCs.  Bluetooth and USB-equipped keyboards will be available, as will a carrying case that has a keyboard and other controls integrated into it’s soft exterior.  The keyboards are designed around Eleksen’s ElekTex technology, which allows touch sensitive interfaces to be placed in a variety of textiles.  The Bluetooth keyboard even has drivers to allow its use with smartphones and PDAs, further broadening its usefulness.

Flexible keyboards may be nothing new, but with Eleksen’s products being incorporated into textiles, the possibilities are just about limitless.  In fact, the company also has their interface technology designed into jackets (the Kenpo iPod jacket), backpacks and other items that have controls for audio players built right in.


Read More | Eleksen


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Otto Berkes

Okay, so we were waiting for Thursday to arrive so that we could get the full scoop on Origami, and that time has arrived. From this day forth, Origami devices will be referred to as Ultra Mobile PCs - or UMPCs - and Channel 9 has posted a great piece showing off the platform. Robert Scoble sat down with Otto Berkes, the General Manager of the UMPC division, to get all the deets. The video is about 40 minutes long, and goes in-depth into what exactly brought the UMPC to fruition, and what we can expect from the platform in the future.

From our perspective, these first-generation devices may not have lived up to the hype that was generated across the Internet over the past couple of weeks, but we can see the potential going forward - especially once we have the Windows Vista-enabled UMPCs hitting the market. We do have to wonder, with Microsoft expecting pricing to range from $599 to $999 USD, where does DualCor stand in all this? Their device is a bit smaller, but they expect to hit retail at $1500 or so. This will certainly be an interesting one to watch.


Read More | First Look At Ultra-Mobile PCs


Windows LiveMicrosoft, in their continuing quest to dominate Google, has made available the beta of their new search engine dubbed Windows Live.  With functionality similar to that of its arch nemesis, Windows Live is able to search for images, news, RSS feeds, e-mail (Windows Live Mail and Hotmail) and more.  For better or worse, some things have been spiced up a bit such as the Image search feature.  When you hover your mouse pointer over a search result it increases in magnification and provides detailed information about the image.  On the flip side for you minimalists, a nice feature is the ability to disable or hide just about everything on the page short of the search box. 

What good would a search engine be anymore without a corresponding toolbar?  Microsoft delivers on that angle as well with the Windows Live Toolbar.  In addition to the standard search capabilities, it offers protection from phishing and pop-ups. 


Read More | Windows Live


Mac OS X FireWindows detractors are generally more than happy to point fingers at Microsoft’s failings in making their operating systems secure.  It’s hard to blame them, as it does seem that barely a day goes by without some new exploit popping up.  However, one has to look at the percentages of installed systems.  With Microsoft products commanding the vast majority of the market share, they make prime targets for anyone with too much free time or a grudge to bear.  In contrast, Mac OS X and Linux seem to blend quietly into the background noise, with nary a peep to be heard with regards to security problems.  Okay, that’s oversimplifying things a tad, but the basic idea remains the same - Microsoft products appear to have more security holes than their competitive counterparts due in part to market share and their public presence. 

As a case in point, an obliging Mac user set a Mac mini up and told would-be hackers to give it their best shot.  Within six hours, the mini had been compromised and root-level access obtained.  Total time to actually hack the mini?  Less than 30 minutes.  Granted, there aren’t a lot of details as to patch level, security measures taken, etc., but the hacker claimed the use of an unpublished hack that would have worked regardless of counter-measures implemented.

With regards to recent viruses and exploits related to Mac OS X, a senior director of Symantec’s Security Response Division is quoted as saying, “The lesson here is that if we look at Mac OS X and compare it to, say, Windows XP, we find that, in terms of the number of vulnerabilities, they are actually quite comparable.” 

Keep in mind that we’re not out to bash the Mac by any means, and many Gear Live members love the Mac.  Would an equivalently configured Windows or Linux system have fared any better?  Not likely.  Therefore it’s important to be mindful, that regardless of your operating system of choice, security holes do exist and it’s better to be as prepared as possible than sorry due to blissful ignorance. 

EDIT: Turns out, this is a lot less important that it first seemed. Check out the comments section, and you will find that the “hack” was made to be extremely simple - this is not something that took place in a real-world scenario.


Read More | Top Tech News


Origami Project

We have held off on all the Origami Project speculation, as it has mostly remained a mystery. Earlier today, the image above started circulating around the internets, and it grabbed our attention. Of course, we have no real proof that this is Origami, but if it isn’t, we do hope that it is a real product. The thing just looks amazing. As for what Origami really is, we are not yet sure. However, Scoble is quick to tell us what it is not. Okay, not an iPod/OQO/PSP/Nokia N90/Treo 700w/Palm killer. We are cool with that, but mostly because no matter what Origami turns out to be, it wouldn’t kill any of the aforementioned products. It also isn’t a portable Xbox, which we didn’t even consider, seeing as how new game consoles have a ton of fanfare behind them before ever being shown.

So what is it? If the image is even close to being real, we gather that Origami is a smart way to carry around your digital life. Sure, that will include music and video - but we think that also includes contacts, email, RSS, and email - all wrapped up in wireless mobile broadband. Our bet is that Origami is an extension of your home computing experience, but not a replacement for it.


Read More | Origami Portal


Samsung SGH-i310It seems one can barely turn around before a new cellphone has been released to supplant an older model.  In this case, Samsung is releasing their SGH-i310 with 8GB of memory and Windows Mobile 5, to replace their 3GB model the SGH-i300.  With it’s whopping 8GB it can hold 2,000 songs and has dedicated keys for music playback functions.  Music features aside, the phone also has a 2MP camera, Bluetooth with A2DP support, a microSD memory card slot, and EDGE. 

Scheduled for release to the European market in the second half of 2006, there’s a good chance that the phone will make it’s way over the big pond and land here in the US.  After all, it has EDGE support, and here in the US, that means Cingular.


Read More | Chosun via Digital Tech News


There’s something peaceful and serene about Apple’s current iPod packaging.  Their design works on the basis that less is more, and indeed it is.  Now visualize in your mind just about any product from Microsoft, and the packaging it came in.  Certainly a jarring contrast in styles isn’t it?  The Microsoft packaging is a visual flurry of activity, bordering on a graphical trainwreck.  This movie, certainly a parody, and rumored to be an internal Microsoft marketing movie (presumably to shake things up, if that’s possible), is quite humorous and sadly, very true.


Read More | The Apple Blog via OhGizmo!


Vista Enterprise CTP
Microsoft has released their fourth preview of Windows Vista, this one entitled the Enterprise CTP (Community Technology Preview).  With the name change (the previous beta was called Partner CTP), Microsoft is trying to draw attention to the features of Vista that benefit corporate customers.  Migration utilities, enterprise deployment tools, Windows System Image Manager and an updated Management Console are some of the items geared for use in a business atmosphere.  It’s not all work and no play though, as this build (5308) also contains Windows Sidebar (which disappears/reappears just about every other build) and Gadgets (think widgets). 

Considered a milestone, this build of Vista is the first to be called feature-complete.  From this point on, there will be no new features added, and all testing will be geared for performance, bugs (removal that is), and tweaking based on user feedback.  This is also the first release that is designed to be installable over an existing Windows XP installation.

The Enterprise CTP build is currently available on Microsoft Connect and reportedly will show up on MSDN today or tomorrow (at the time of this writing, its not on MSDN yet).  The next scheduled release of Vista is 2Q 2006 and will be considered the end of Beta 2.


Read More | TechWeb


Gear Live Bleeding EdgeWe are ramping up our efforts on the multimedia front. Of course, we have started our weekly video show, The Bleeding Edge. Now, we are hitting you up on a daily basis with our audio podcast. The daily shows will be much shorter (think 5-10 minutes), and will just cover interesting tidbits we found throughout that day. In today’s episode:

  • Office 2007 News: We talk about the Office 2007 name, the death of Microsoft FrontPage, and what Microsoft might have up it’s sleeve to replace their WYSIWYG editor in their next office suite.
  • PlayStation 3 Rumors: Will the PlayStation 3 be delayed to 2007? More importantly, will the thing cost you almost a grand just to get it home?

Here’s how to get the show:
|Subscribe| - iTunes
|Subscribe| - RSS
|Download| - Enhanced AAC
|Download| - MP3

Voices: Andru Edwards, Sparky
Length: 10:43, 14.3 MB

Gear Live Podcast SurveyIMPORTANT: We are surveying the listeners of our podcast to see what it is that people like, and more importantly, what they don’t like. It is anonymous, and just takes a couple of minutes. If you have the time, we would appreciate it!

Don’t forget to vote for us on Podcast Alley! Also, be sure to check out the Gear Live Odeo Channel, and subscribe there are well.


Microsoft FrontPageIt looks like Microsoft is finally going to take their FrontPage web design software out back, and put it to pasture. According to PC World, Microsoft FrontPage sees the end of it’s life cycle with the release of Microsoft Office 2007, formerly known as Office 12. FrontPage became popular in the mid-ninties, when people were just starting to realize what the internets were all about and decided they wanted a piece of the action. This was the first mass-market WYSIWYG web editor on the consumer level. Once Dreamweaver was noticed by the masses, FrontPage became seen as a joke. I mean, who wants 15 font tags in a block of text that only requires one?


Read More | PC World


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