We knew that Microsoft Research had something pretty amazing up its sleeve after talking to a few people at the company, in addition to having dinner with Robert Scoble, who told us that what he saw brought him to tears. As it turns out, it is the WorldWide Telescope that had people in awe. After watching Roy Gould introduce the software in the above video during TED, we have to say, we agree. Think of the WorldWide Telescope as the equivalent to the full-featured version of Google Earth - except that the WorldWide Telescope software is free, and instead of looking at the earth in extreme detail, you get to peruse the cosmos instead. I mean, watch the video to see how truly mind-blowing this technology really is. Look for it to be available for download this Spring for the Windows platform. No word on how beefy a machine you will need to run it as smoothly as it worked in the demo - but here’s hoping that everyone who downloads the WorldWide Telescope will be able to enjoy the same experience seen here.
Amidst all the excitement about the new Apple announcements yesterday (Penryn Macbooks and MacBook Pros, plus iPhone 1.1.4 firmware), many were left wondering just where the heck the promised iPhone SDK had gone. After all, we’d been promised by Steve Jobs himself that it would appear in late February. As it turns out, Apple will be holding another of their Town Hall-type events on March 6, which will specifically deal with both the iPhone SDK as well as “some exciting new enterprise features.” On the invitation itself, you see a Software Update sign, an SDK sign, and an Enterprise sign. Yeah, fairly vague, we know. Still, it is a promising sign. Now we just wait for March 6.
Looks like we have new iPhone firmware as well this morning! In addition to refreshing their MacBook and MacBook Pro lines to Penryn processors, Apple has also released the new iPhone 1.1.4 firmware. Go ahead and check for a new update after connecting your iPhone to iTunes. Of course, if you are
unlocked, you may want to wait for a bit while everything gets figured out. Apple is saying this release is all about bug fixes - but we are hoping there is also some iPhone SDK magic in there somewhere.
EDIT: Okay, if you are jailbroken, go ahead and update. ZiPhone still works, and will jailbreak the just-released 1.1.4 firmware update…although the developer recommends waiting until he can fully test. Your call.
Have you ever wanted to play your Wii without having to have that pesky Wiimote in your hand? Reactrix hopes that their WAVEscape product might come close to providing that experience. We got a look at it during CES.
The WAVEscape contains a camera that can track the motion of multiple people, distinguishing each person individually. Everyone can use “natural” motion to interact with different things on the screen, including games.
Now, we aren’t sure when, if ever, the WAVEscape technology will be available in the home. It is more designed as a cool diversion that can be used commercially. It’s all about the “engaging advertising experience” - you know, punch the panda and maybe get a coupon?
WAVEscape is the brainchild of Reactriz and TYZX. They plan on having over 100 of these out and about by the end of the year.
First things first - the MacBook Air took no one by surprise. We all knew, based on the reports churning out of the rumor mill, that Apple had a subnotebook up their sleeve, and all signs were pointing at MacWorld 2008 for it’s introduction to the world. Heck, even the name of the product got out there before Steve got a chance to announce it at the event. Of course, that wasn’t the only thing that leaked before MacWorld 2008, as we got our hands on the iPhone 1.1.3 firmware weeks before it was officially announced.
What we didn’t know was how the Air would look. When Steve pulled the computer out of manila envelope, everyone was wowed. The MacBook Air is thin. T-H-I-N. At it’s smallest point, the Air is just 0.16 inches thin. That is thinner than both the iPhone and iPod touch. The larger side is just 0.76 inches. Again, tiny. See for yourself in our MacBook Air unboxing gallery.
As for the rest of the specs, the Air is the same brushed aluminum color that you will find on the MacBook Pro line, and is available in 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo speeds. Both models come with 2GB of non-upgradable RAM, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, a 13.3-inch widescreen LED-backlit display, and Bluetooth 2.1. As far as ports go, you will only find one micro-DVI, one USB, and one audio out jack. That’s it. As for storage, this is where the major choice comes in. You can choose between an 80 GB 4200 RPM ATA hard drive, or a 64 GB SSD (solid-state flash drive). We got our hands on the SSD version of the MacBook Air.
We give you our thoughts on the SSD-based MacBook Air in our full review.
It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I have a deep appreciation for games in quirky, niche, genres, and also intelligent stories. Frankly, it is rare that I get to find both of these needs met in a single game, but Lost Odyssey manages to do it.
But wait! I thought Lost Odyssey was a Japanese-RPG and thus not really niche? Sadly (in my opinion), the gaming landscape has changed so profoundly over the years that the once thriving JRPG is now increasingly a rarity; One with high-production values, so much the more. Several early reviews would have you believe that Lost Odyssey does something fundamentally wrong simply for being true to its genre. Mercifully, you are reading this review so at the very least let me try to paint a slightly different picture of Hironobu Sakaguchi’s latest opus.
EDIT: The Skyfire browser for iPhone allows you to view Flash video directly on your iPhone.
EDIT: Here are the details on Apple and Adobe collaborating on an iPhone Flash player.
EDIT: Here is an update on the whole Flash on iPhone situation.
We’ve been waiting for Flash support to hit the iPhone ever since…well…it launched. We’ve had to make do without Flash for almost eight months, and YouTube even had to convert a bunch of their catalog to H.264 in order for the service to be enjoyed on the iPhone. Well, we’ve just got word from a reliable source that Flash support is on its way to the iPhone, and it should be coming very, very soon. Speculating a bit further on our own, we are guessing that it would be pretty convenient for Flash support to be introduced alongside the iPhone SDK, wouldn’t you say? Now, we know that there isn’t much information here, but you also know how strong our sources are too - Flash on the iPhone is coming, just take our word for it, okay?
EDIT: We already have had a couple people ask about the supposed battery and CPU issues that were holding Flash back from being included on the iPhone in the first place. From what I am hearing, it was a complete fabrication. Flash has not yet made it to the iPhone solely due to business negotiations. As we said, it is now on its way!
Yesterday we hit you with our MacBook Air unboxing video, giving you a look at the SSD version of the notebook. Today, we bring you our unboxing video and demonstration of the MacBook Air SuperDrive.
As you probably know by now, the MacBook Air doesn’t include any sort of optical drive built-in to the unit. While the Remote Disc feature is nice, sometimes you just want to have a dedicated optical drive. I’d hate to install Vista in Boot Camp using Remote Disc, if that is even possible. For what it’s worth, we think this is a worthy purchase to go alongside your MacBook Air notebook. You just never know when you’ll need it.
The MacBook Air is the latest gem of a notebook from the Apple folks. Aimed at those who need something super portable (or, ultra-portable), the Air features a 13-inch LED backlit screen, a full-sized backlit keyboard, and it weighs just three pounds.
We got our hands on the SSD version of the MacBook Air, so we boot it up and give you a look at it’s startup time as well. The Air comes with a
Micro DVI-to-DVI cable, and
Micro DVI-to-VGA cable, and the expected power charger and software. We also noticed that the box it ships in is a lot smaller than those of previous Apple notebooks. Check out the video to see for yourself.
A little under two weeks ago, we made a long-standing issue that we had with Verizon public. The fact that they had ignored our request to fix a huge oversight that resulted in our private FiOS account info to fall into the wrong hands for over 8 months was starting to upset us just a tad. We knew that if we shared it with you, our readers, that Verizon would have no choice but to respond quickly. At least, that was the hope.
Well, sure enough, after the story was picked up on The Consumerist as well as made it to the front page of Digg, we received a phone call. Then an email. Then another phone call. Then a couple more emails. Verizon Damage Control had stepped in.
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