Monthly Archives: February 2011

Sony PSP Receives Price Cut – May Foreshadow Sony’s Mobile Future

In the world of video games, Sony has done quite a good job in making a name for themselves.  The PlayStation line has been insanely successful, and has earned the reputation for having high-quality and great gameplay.  However, Sony’s involvement in the gaming industry has always been most prominent in the arena of console-based gaming.  About six years ago, however, Sony opted to change this and branched out into a relatively new venture for the company;  building on the success of the PlayStation family with the release of the PlayStation Portable (PSP).

At the time, the PSP was a huge game-changer (no pun intended) in the sense that it truly revolutionized mobile gaming and brought it up to par with the type of technology seen in the console-based systems.  With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the PSP debut was very successful in initial sales.  And this success was anything but short-lived.  Tim Bender, VP of sales at Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), has even been quoted as saying that the “demand for the PSP remains strong” six years after the initial release.

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How Google’s Search Cleanup Will Affect You

As companies, organizations, and entities grow in size they tend to have a much higher visibility in the eye of the general public.  Sure, being in the spotlight can ultimately be greatly beneficial to a company and can help them grow significantly more than they would if they were unknown, but the fact of the matter is that public exposure works both ways.  When a company has high levels of public visibility, all of their flaws end up out in the open and they open the doors for scrutiny and criticism.   And in the era that we live in, web giant Google – arguably the largest entity on the vast Internet – is definitely no exception.

For Google, a lot of their bad PR recently has surrounded the one area that helped the company get to where it is today; search.  You see, many people have realized that in recent months Google’s search results have become more and more irrelevant and infested with spam.  Knowing that their failure to fix this problem could have easily been devastating to the company, however, Google recently rolled out a new and improved search and index algorithm targeted at generating more useful and relevant results for end-users.  After having seen these changes first-hand over the last couple of days, I’ve decided to answer the one question that I’m sure is brewing in the heads of end-users and content providers alike; how will this affect me?

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Review: V-Moda Remix Remote Headphones

V-Moda is a company known for their superior sound quality mixed in with elegant and stand-out design, with the Remix Remote headphones being no exception. V-Moda’s Remix line of in-ear headphones were very popular for their durability as well as their performance, but customers complained about the lack of remote and volume control on the cable. V-Moda answered by releasing the Remix Remote, the difference is simply the addition of the in-line remote and volume control. The sound quality and build quality is the same quality that customers loved when buying the Remix headphones.

Build quality wise, these are very solid ‘phones. The drivers are enclosed in metal, but are not extremely heavy like some metal enclosed in-ears. They fit very snuggly in the ear and do not fall out easily. With that combination of weight and fit, these headphones are ideal for the athlete or anyone looking to use headphones in the gym or on a run. To add to the physical activity aspect is the included around-ear bands. The bands will route the headphones around the ears to secure the fit and if the buds do fall out they will just hang from the ears rather than falling to the ground. The cable has a nice soft touch texture to it and is a decent size and length.

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Google Ushering Businesses Into the Cloud

Over the last few years, we have seen a gradual but definite transition from desktop-based applications to services that we access on the Internet, usually by means of a modern web browser.  This concept, known as “cloud computing” is awesome because it allows for users and organizations to work more productively by centrally managing their files and information in order to ensure ease of access and collaboration.  While cloud-based computing used to refer to server systems that were managed by an organizations IT department, more and more businesses and individuals are beginning to migrate themselves over to outsourced servers and services that take the frustration out of managing their information; ultimately allowing for users to focus on their actual work instead of the infrastructure.

However, as great as the cloud is, there is one big problem standing in the way of its growth: transitioning users.  Think of all of the items and possessions you have in your home.  Now think about the effort it would take to move all of those items to a new home.  That would be a lot of work, right?  Well, that’s exactly the same issue we’re seeing with cloud computing.  Users have been working with desktop-based applications for so many years that replacing them with “cloud” applications is simply unfathomable; not because of the applications themselves, but the user-generated data that goes along with them.  Perhaps one of the best examples of this concept is the Microsoft Office productivity suite, which users have used for a great many years.

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Mac App Store to Ignite Mac Gaming

I’ll admit my previous article about the Mac App Store was less than approving. I mentioned five different things that could potentially bring the store to its knees. However, after almost two months the store is alive and well. Maybe not as good as the iOS store, but I see no signs of it failing anytime soon.

I recently began discovering new apps via the Mac App Store, looking around for utilities and things that would make me go wow, but was disappointed to find nothing of interest. I thought at that moment my suspicions of the store had been confirmed until something unexpected happened. By complete accident I clicked on Pangea Arcade, a simple retro style platform that brings together three classic arcade games with a modern twist. Over time I found many more games and slowly began to fill my Applications folder. A week passed and I was amazed at how little time it took to find, download and play games that let me relive my youth.

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Kaspersky Mobile Security: Snake Oil to Cure Our Mobile Paranoia?

In the world of computer and Internet security, Kaspersky is relatively well-known for its vast user-base and extensive line of anti-virus products for home and small business users.  Over the last several years, Kaspersky has produced a number of widely used security products for personal computers.  One of their lesser-known products, however, has been aimed at an industry that is growing at exponential rates.  You guessed it; the mobile industry.  Kaspersky Mobile Security, as it is dubbed, has aimed at locking down Symbian and Windows Mobile OS devices; not only to protect the privacy of the end-user, but to protect the device from annoying malware threats as well.

Yesterday Kaspersky announced that their mobile security product line – which had previously only covered Symbian and Windows Mobile handhelds – was going to expand its horizons and focus on Android and BlackBerry smartphones as well.

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Research Shows: Solid State Drives Are More Difficult to Erase

We have been erasing hard drives and other storage mediums for years now with much success by overwriting the data with zeros and ones several times.  However, with the adoption of SSDs that may not be sufficient anymore.  According to researches at the University of California at San Diego, “newer solid state disks have a much different internal architecture, so it is unclear whether what has worked on magnetic media will work on SSDs as well.”

The researchers study shows that after trying 14 sanitizing techniques on SSDs ranging from Gutman’s 35-pass method to the Schneier 7-pass method they found is that every data-erasing technique left at least 10MB of recoverable data from a 100MB file.  In some techniques, such as overwriting the chip with pseudorandom data or using a British HMG IS5 baseline, left nearly all data intact.

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Square Eliminates 15¢ Fixed Fee On All Swiped Payments

Square, the mobile payment processor, which we reviewed in the past has recently announced that they have eliminated the 15¢ fixed fee that was incurred with every swiped (using the reader) payment.  Now, all you have to pay on a per transaction basis is the 2.75% fee as opposed to the 2.75% + 15¢ fee (per transaction) which was the case previously.  However, credit card payments accepted by Square that are manually entered still require a 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction fee.

This announcement definitely differentiates Square from its current competitors and especially from current credit card processing companies who take a large amount of fees (typically).  In fact, according to Square, many businesses are not even aware of how the fees work or how much in fees is taken.  You can watch the video (provided by Square) where they speak with several business owners about credit card fees.

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Amazon Prime Now Includes Streaming Media

I absolutely love Amazon.  If there was ever such thing as an “Amazon fanboy”, then I am most definitely the living breathing definition of one.  What once started out as a simple book store has emerged to become so much more; a full-blown online store that sells just about everything you can imagine, a web host and remote server provider, and a major innovator in the e-book arena.  With all of the success that Amazon has had thus far, it’s no surprise that I listed the retailer as one of the three companies that could afford to take gambles in 2011.

One of the great services that Amazon offers to show their appreciation for their more frequent customers is a service called “Amazon Prime.”  Priced at $79 per year, Prime allows customers to receive unlimited free two-day shipping on all of their eligible orders regardless of the size.  For many who frequent Amazon, this deal is a big money-saver as it eliminates the shipping payments when an individual purchases an item.  However, up until now, Amazon Prime has been nothing more than a way to save money on shipping.

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How To: Manually Repair or Upgrade WordPress via SSH

Recently I inherited a dated – and severely damaged – installation of the WordPress CMS/blogging platform.  Because of the age of the installation and the fact that the previous owner neglected to maintain it, I came to the conclusion that I would simply be better off to completely reload the WordPress core; the actual “application”, if you will – all whist keeping the data from uploads and addons.

Knowing that the WordPress administration console allowed for this to be done rather easily, I figured that such a task would only take a couple of clicks to be home free.  However, as soon as I navigated to the “/wp-admin” directory from my web browser, I found that that too was damaged.  With this in mind, I initially pondered downloading a copy of the latest WordPress version onto my local computer, manually adding the content to it, and re-uploading.  However, having shell (SSH) access to the server that the site was hosted on, I was able to come up with a much more efficient method of re-loading the WordPress core files.

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Hands On: With Google’s CR-48 Notebook

From the day I first heard about the Google Chrome CR-48 notebook computer, I instantly wanted to get my hands on what Google promised to be a very revolutionary device.  Now, after nearly two months of waiting, I finally received my CR-48 notebook via UPS Ground this last Friday.  After nearly hugging my UPS driver and giddily tearing the packaging open like a child on Christmas morning, I finally had a CR-48 of my very own.

Being that I got the device on Friday afternoon, I have been using it on and off for the extent of the weekend.  This has given me a great deal of time to find various ups and downs with the notebook, and ultimate has allowed me to develop an opinion based on my own experiences.

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Review: iDAPT i3 Universal Desktop Charger

The iDAPT i3 is the perfect solution for someone whose desk and power outlets are both cluttered and filled with various cables to charge our beloved phones, cameras, tablets, media players, etc. The i3 allows you to charge up to 3 gadgets while only using a single power outlet. It uses a removable tip system, which allows you to charge any and every gadget in your house by buying extra tips form iDAPTweb.com.

The charging dock comes with 6 tips, including mini and micro USB, the Apple 30-pin, one for Sony Ericson, one for Nokia, and one for Samsung devices. The dock comes in 4 different colors (pink, white, black, silver), and looks pretty nice  sitting on a desk. The i3 retails for $60 but the functionality and convenience make up for the price in my opinion.

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Hello There, Hellobar. + 5 Invites!

Let’s face it – it’s tough to get people’s attention.  Whether it be online or offline getting someones attention can be a daunting task, however, one thing is for sure, the simple and non-intrusive way will typically triumph over the complicated and annoying way.  In the words of someone very smart, keep it simple stupid.  That’s exactly what Hellobar does.

Hellobar is a simple little script that you embed on your site (any kind of site) and it will stick a little bar at the top of the site in which you can put short messages for your visitors.  It takes seconds to sign-up and configure.  You can customize the color of the bar, the font, the text, and various other settings such as how long it’s displayed.

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Technically Speaking: Is An iPad With 2048×1536 Resolution Possible?

There have been a slew of recent rumors floating around that the iPad 2 or iPad 3 will sport Apple’s Retina Display and have a beautiful resolution of 2048 x 1536.  Which got me thinking, is that even possible to achieve on a 9.7-inch display?  So I decided to do a little math.  The current iPhone 4 which has a Retina Display has a screen resolution of 960 x 640 at 326 PPI.

If the iPhone 4’s 3.5-inch display is capable of producing such a high-resolution, then yes, it would seem logical that Apple could get a 2048 x 1536 resolution on a 9.7-inch display.  But let’s take a look at the numbers to make sure, shall we?

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