Quantcast Tech Addicts: June 2007 Archives

June 2007 Archives

By Joey Alarilla INQUIRER.net tv_minisodes.jpgFEELING no stalgic? Head on over to the Minisode Network, which is part of MySpace TV. The site offers free streaming video of vintage shows owned by Sony Pictures Te levision such as "Charlie's Angels," "The Facts of Life" and "Starsky and Hutch ." The "Charlie's Angels" photo I used here is courtesy of Associated Press. These episodes are compressed so that you can watch the whole show over the Int ernet, which explains why they're called minisodes. (Well, not exactly the whol e show, because they're edited so that they're shorter, but you can still get t he gist of the full episode. Watch them and see if they still make sense, heh.) The great thing about these minisodes is that, like the short clips you can upl oad to sites like MySpace TV, YouTube and Yahoo! Video, these videos can be emb edded on your blog or social networking profile. Check out some of these blasts from the past. Charlie's Angels - Death On Wheels aka Angels on Wheels

Add to My Profile | More Videos Police Woman - Fish

Add to My Profile | More Videos Facts of Life - Gossip

Add to My Profile | More Videos Fantasy Island - THE CHATEAU / WHITE LIGHTNING

Add to My Profile | Mo re Videos
By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net r
ockvote-1.JPGCEBU, Philippines--A t the Cebu ICT exhibit, US company Smartmatic showed off its answer to one important issue most peopl e in this country seem not to care much about or even be aware of -- how to au tomate the country's elections. Election computerization is not a new issue, though. It should have happened se veral elections ago, only it was mired in controversy -- a not-so-surprising ro ute for most government IT projects. Now some foreign companies like Smartmatic say it can be done with proven technology. This machine shown above (which looks like an ordinary IP phone) is used to ver ify individual voters, assuming thereâs a database, of course. You tap either y our left or right thumb onto that small slot at the bottom and out comes a prin ted confirmation that you are indeed eligible to vote. r
ockvote-2.JPGSmartmatic says the machine can also be used to build a votersâ registry and, connected to a printe r, can print a voterâs ID like this one below. Unfortunately, the system suffe red a glitch and so that would have been me on the sample ID instead of Cesar F lores. (Yes he is a real person and is actually a Venezuelan executive from Sma rtmatic). r
ockvote-3.JPGOnce you get verifi ed, you then go to the polling booth and cast your votes by pressing on a pre-c onfigured touch screen on the right. (The mock demo was patterned after the mos t recent presidential polls. GMA vs FPJ, remember?) Then you confirm your votes with the machine on the left that stores the data t wo ways -- on a fixed and removable hard drive. By the way, you cannot proceed voting until an election official authorizes the machine to receive data by pus hing a button somewhere. r
ockvote-5.JPGThe system then gene rates a receipt that essentially becomes your ballot. You drop this in the ball ot box and these serve as written records for manual counting purposes. The solution -- (which Smartmatic says has been used in South American countrie s like Venezuela and also in the US -- does make it look simple and more import antly, promises to produce election results a lot faster. Comelec is still< /em> counting votes while I'm writing this. But then again, technology isnât the problem. It's the governmentâs readiness a nd willingness to adopt it thatâs making it a problem.

Broadband overload

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By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net angelina-jolie.JPG IF I were to think of a word that best describes last week's CommunicAsia in ju st one word, here it is: broadband. Specifically, from Ericsson's point of view, the future of networks is about br oadband without wires. In numeric terms, thanks to a new standard called LTE (L ong Term Evolution), that's 150Mbps download speed on your mobile phone or HSDP A (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access)-powered laptop -- wherever, whenever. So after going through really interesting IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) and mobil e TV demos, it was a refreshing thought to find more about how Miss Jolie plans to make the world a better place. Minus the Lara Croft outfit, of course.
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net phone10.jpgT HEY are no longer called mobile phones. They are "multimedia devices" that will become the portable computer you carry around, according to Nokia. Just take a look at these devices featured in CommunicAsia by different manufac turers this year. They all sport colorful and bigger-than-usual screens that wi ll allow you to view on-demand video and television shows. phone6.jpg phone3.jpg phone1.jpg
By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net ericsson-mobile-tv.JPGWHAT I'm holding is a prototype mobile TV handset by Ericss on. This was taken during the demonstration of the unit at CommunicAsia 2007 in Singapore. Unlike mobile TV handsets by Nokia or Samsung, this one does not receive TV sig nals via DVB-H (Digital Vid eo Broadcasting-Handheld). That's because Ericsson's vision of mobile TV runs on another standard called MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service). Think of it as some sort of super-fast video streaming on 3G. Ericssonâs vision for mobile TV runs still on much-improved mobile networks. On the other hand, mobile TV on DVB-H runs on a separate parallel network. Anyway, to get some perspective, I asked Jan Wareby, head of Ericssonâs multime dia business unit and a former VP of Sony Ericsson, how he would describe mobi le TV alongside IPTV. Ericssonâs vision of the future home network apparently connects your mobile phone with your TV and your home server. So you can whip o ut your ultra-connected mobile phone and show your latest YouTube discovery to anyone interested.
TECHNICAL experts from Nokia Siemens Network gave media a glimpse of Long Term Evolution, a next-generation mobile network technology that will allow the stre aming of high-definition video to mobile devices. Video taken by INQUIRER.net reporter Erwin Oliva on June 19, 2007 in Singapore during Nokia Connect 2007 and CommunicAsia 2007.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net hires_zens_blue.jpgIT'S not surprising that Creative will try again to come up with innovative products that aim to ou tdo Apple, particularly in the MP3 player space. Incidentally, for those who remember, Creative did revolutionize the MP3 player business and was actually one of the more prominent brands in the late 1990s a nd early 2000. That was until Apple decided to squeeze in with its iPod players that swept the world off its feet. Now, Creative must try to outdo Apple. Surprisingly, it took Creative another three years before it realized that the business for minuscule MP3 players was particularly strong, especially after Ap ple introduced the extremely popular iPod Shuffle mini player that came with no more than the forward/backward, play/pause and volume controls. It didn't need any LCDs. Apple then introduced the new form factor of the iPod Shuffle that w as so small it could get stuffed down a drain. But the world still loved it. Now, Creative wants a piece of that pie and it is willing to pay for half of th at slice of the market just to get back on its feet. It recently introduced the Zen Stone, the company's smallest M P3 player -- not to mention the cheapest. It is also the first from Creative to lose an LCD, as opposed to its much larger brethren. Not even the Creative Zen MuVo could outclass the Zen Stone in size. It is also weighs in at just 18 gra ms -- so light users wouldnât notice it inside their pockets. It has a 1 gigaby te memory that can contain up to 500 songs, depending on the coding of each son g file. The Zen Stone may also be the best Creative MP3 player that sticks to the idea of Zen as it has nothing more than a round audio control at the front and the s lide button on top. The attachment for the headset is on top of the unit while the USB-mini USB connector is at the bottom. The Zen Stone is curved in all cor ners and coated in shiny hard plastic that actually makes it look like a pebble . It also comes in six colors to attract a variety of users. It also has an LED diode integrated into the casing to indicate battery life. Speaking of the controls, these are very basic and actually look like Apple's o wn round controls for the Shuffle; the forward/backward buttons are from left t o right, volume is up or down and the play/pause button is in the middle. The s lide control on the top of the device can either shuffle the songs or put the s ongs in continuous playback. Attaching and synchronizing the unit to your PC is also a breeze, though it doe s require a USB-mini USB cable that comes with the box. To put songs into the Z en Stone, there wouldn't be any need to install software. It's as simple as dra gging and dropping songs from a PC folder into the Zen Stone. However, for better controls and conversion of songs, a user may have to downlo ad the Creative Media Lite software from the website. It's also easy to use and would not automatically synchronize and erase files in the Zen Stone. Creative Media Lite can transform and organize files, convert some files to be playable for the Zen Stone (as well as other Creative MP3 players), and rip CDs. It can also create and organize folders in the Zen Stone that the player can identify so that it will only play songs according to preference. This is good so that the user can just flick through folders and choose the songs applicable for the mood. Perhaps the single biggest problem for the Creative Zen Stone is its volume. Wh ile it does deliver a fairly decent sound quality, it can't seem to go higher t han half the volume of the iPod Shuffle. It may be an oversight of the makers o r perhaps intentionally done to prevent people from becoming deaf while playing loud music in their players. Still it would have been good if the Zen Stone co uld increase the volume of the music by just a few notches. Another problem with the Zen Stone is the lack of a clip. Whereas the new iPod Shuffle is actually a clip itself, the Zen Stone only has a small hole to fit a wrist strap. Users would have to buy a silicone skin that has its own clip, or other accessories that will allow it to stick on a person's wrist or arm. While the Apple iPod Shuffle may look good in more ways than one compared to th e Zen Stone, the latter could still have a fighting chance in the huge market f or small form factor MP3 players. It does have the same playability as the iPod Shuffle and is actually cheaper, costing no more than half the price. The Zen Stone's price tag is already extremely low at $40 or around P2,000, compared to the iPod Shuffle at P5,000. Filipinos might want to choose the Zen Stone -- if they can get past the low volume issue.
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net SINGAPORE--An executive from Nokia Siemens Network said today's mobile phones a re no longer mere telephones. They are mobile or, better yet, multimedia device s. That may sound like a marketing ploy meant to reintroduce what was once called smart phones. But newer handsets unveiled during the CommunicAsia 2007 offered multiple functions other than making calls, sending text messages, taking video or photos. Mobile phone vendors showcased mobile devices that had bigger screens that were designed for better viewing of on-demand or pushed content. It was also eviden t that Internet browsing is becoming a standard feature. Subscribers now expect multiple functionalities, said Mauro Montanaro, vice pre sident for Nokia's customer market operations in Southeast Asia Pacific. Mobile phones are now doubling as cameras, he said. But citing some market studies, Montanaro said users are using mobile phones to browse the Internet. In a showcase here in Singapore, Nokia featured emerging applications, such as mapping and navigation merged with mobile search applicat ions on the mobile handset. Tero Ojanpera, chief technology officer and executive vice president of Nokia, observed that today's kids now carry their mobile phones as if they were their boom boxes. Vendors like Sony Ericsson and Motorola have introduced small speakers designed to be plugged to a mobile phone player that can now hold gigabytes of music. Nokia has also introduced widgets, or small programs designed to run a specific application, to mobile phones. Calling them "widsets," Nokia said they already have different kinds of widgets that offer traffic information, news, among ot hers. Ojanpera said that vendors are now trying to change the notion of 'browsing the Internet on a mobile phone is not a good experience." He in fact believes that there will be more Internet-rich features on mobile ph ones. "Full Internet browsing is now possible, but the experience is not yet the same as using a computer," he added. All these functions are slowly becoming a reality because of the availability o f faster, broadband wireless connections. During CommunicAsia 2007, vendors demonstrated what is now known as Long Term E volution (LTE), a faster version of 3G, which other label as 4G or fourth-gener ation mobile networks. In a demo, Nokia Siemens Network showed that LTE will eventually allow content providers to stream high-definition video to mobile handsets.
By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net IT'S been a bumpy ride for 3G so far in the Philippines (How many people have y ou seen making video calls? My point exactly.). But this early, network bigwigs like Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks are al ready dropping the bomb on 4G. A new standard called Long Term Evolution or LTE promises almost 150Mbps download speeds on handsets. I asked Ericsson technical solutions director for Southeast Asia Folke Anger (h e's Swedish, of course) what he thinks of gigabit speeds for mobile. Here's wha t he had to say. For more videos, check out iVDO.
By Alexander Villafania INQUIRER.net SINGAPORE--Internet services firm Yahoo! announced today that it will be launch ing a beta version of its new mobile phone-based application called Yahoo! Go M obile 2.0 in 13 countries, mostly in Asia and Europe by Friday this week. Yahoo! Go Mobile 2.0 is an updated version of the company's previous phone-only application, which is basically a service delivery client that can be customiz ed by users. Speaking to reporters at Communicasia 2007 in Singapore, Yahoo! Connected Life Asia vice president and general manager David Ko said Yahoo! Go Mobile 2.0 will be available in 13 countries through telecommunications providers. These are i n Canada. Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, Thailand and Vietnam. Ko said that Yahoo! Go Mobile 2.0 was already made available in the US just rec ently. "Yahoo! Go Mobile 2.0 will have better capabilities in terms of deliverable ser vices and relevant content to both the customer and the service provider. We're fine-tuning these services to enrich the experiences of the customers," Ko sai d. He added that the market for phone-based content delivery will be higher in the coming years as more people, particularly in Asia, would prefer to use phones rather than their PCs for access. In fact, Ko said that by 2010, there would be 4 billion mobile phones worldwide , compared to just 1 billion for the PC market. "There are massive opportunities in Asia, which are still untapped. We're creat ing opportunities for content and service providers by having them more reachab le to people through their mobile phones," Ko said. Along with Yahoo! Go Mobile 2.0, Ko also announced the company's partnership wi th mobile phone operators in six countries to launch Yahoo! oneSearch, a servic e within Yahoo! Go Mobile 2.0. Yahoo! oneSearch, with is basically a mobile phone-based search engine, will be introduced by Globe Telecom in the Philippines, Idea Cellular Limited in India , LG Telecom in Korea, Maxis Communications Berhad in Malaysia, PT Telekomunika si Selular in Indonesia, and Taiwan Mobile.

Not your usual TV

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By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net SINGAPORE--Imagine TV sets talking to one another. In the case of IPTV, Ericsson's technology incorporat es instant messaging. So you and your buddy can rave about your favorite charac ters while watching "Heroes ." not-usual-tv-1.JPG In this demo, the guys are showing how the technology can link up to an Interne t-connected mobile phone and command the IPTV set-up box to record a show or bl ock another user from watching a program. Thatâs as on-demand as IPTV can get. not-usual-tv-2.JPGThe set-up boxes come in either the one on the left that has a built-in hard d rive (thus, more expensive) and the smaller one beside it that looks like an ac cess point, which just routes content onto your TV set -- granted of course, co ntent is hosted the carrier's network. And thatâs the Kaiser Chiefs performing live; check them out as theyâre one of the hottest UK bands around. There are an estimated five million IPTV subscribers but that is expected to gr ow once broadband becomes faster. No wonder Ericsson just acquired this company called Tandberg that aggregates content specifically for IPTV. And yes, it rec ently announced a deal to host content from Turner Networks (which runs CNN, am ong other channels). The only question really is whether the kind of broadband youâre getting in yo ur home is good enough to keep from buffering the moment Sylar makes another ki ll.
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net yehba.jpgSINGAPORE--A Philippine software developer ha s bagged a deal to develop an instant messaging and short messaging system (SMS ) service for Microsoft, executives told INQUIRER.net. Wilfredo dela Cruz, president of D3 Systems, said a visit by a Microsoft execut ive from Redmond, Washington has blossomed into a sweet deal for the company th at has been attracting partners from the region. "We've developed a system for Microsoft," said Dela Cruz in an interview here. D3 Systems Inc. was among the local companies that joined the CommunicAsia 2007 , the biggest telecommunications event in Asia Pacific. Early this month, Microsoft said it was looking at forging deals with local sof tware companies that are using open-source technologies to develop applications for the Windows platform. Roger Delgado, vice president for technical operations of D3 Systems, said the company has come up with a open source-based system that would allow Microsoft Outlook users to interact with mobile phone users using instant messaging or SM S, and vice versa. Dela Cruz, for his part, said the deal between D3 Systems and Microsoft involve s no direct investment from both companies. The executive said revenues will be generated through Microsoft's use of the lo cal company's "system gateway." Bill Hilf, general manager for platform strategy at Microsoft, met with D3 Syst ems this June to strike deals with a number of independent software vendors. Th is was, as Hilf described, an effort to strengthen ties with the "open source c ommunity." D3 Systems has developed a mobile instant messaging solution called YehBA*, which also works on other exis ting mobile instant messaging platforms currently available in the market. Dela Cruz said that D3 Systems is testing the system at the National Computer C enter's computer laboratory. D3 Systems has been actively looking for partners outside the Philippines to re sell its mobile phone client. YehBA* has been downloaded in countries like India, US, Bangladesh and Brunei a month after the software was made available on the Internet, according to Delg ado. YehBA* was launched in December 2005.
SINGAPORE--Nokia shows Asian media a real-time mobile TV application during its Nokia Connect 2007 event in Singapore. Video taken by INQUIRER.net reporter Erwin Oliva on June 18 at Raffles Plaza.
By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net voice-commodity.JPGSINGAPORE--From a technology perspective, talk is cheap already -- if you take communications to mean literally voice alone. Unified communications, as a concept, basically means more than just voice, but spicing it up with other means like instant messaging or other PC-based applic ations like Skype. As a concept, though, it would depend on how which vendor is selling it -- Microsoft sees it from a software perspective, HP more on integration of these various applicati ons. Ericsson, meanwhile, is taking it from a mobility perspective. Or in simpler terms, UC makes sense if y ou can do all these things outside of the office. Rhajiv Bhatia, product manager from Ericsson in Sweden (pictured above during a n interview with journalists) thinks of UC as way for companies to utilize exis ting fixed lines (that one sitting on your desk) more by merging them with mobi le networks. He thinks carriers need to shape up and shift focus away from voic e and look for ways to drive revenue out of data. Bottomline, with unified communications, you will be doing more than just talki ng to your boss or colleague on your mobile phone. It will make the mobile phon e of the future a lot smarter than it already is today.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net hires_zenstone_black.jpgSINGAPOREAN music peripheral maker Creative Technology launched in the Phi lippines its cheapest MP3 player called the Zen Stone, which will also compete with the new clip-on Apple iPod Shuffle. The Creative Zen Stone, so named for its curved pebble-like design, nearly has the same design concepts as Apple's new iPod Shuffle, including the 1 gigabyte model and different color schemes, form factor and even the operational control s. However, its main come-on is its price, which is $39 or roughly P2,000, less th an half the price of the iPod Shuffle. Creative Technology Asia associate sales manager Mack Hee said the Zen Stone is targeted mainly at price-conscious buyers who do not have the budget to buy th e more expensive iPod Shuffle. Hee also said the Zen Stone is easier to use with drag-and-drop controls for th e PC. However, a special software called Creative Media Lite, downloadable from the Creative website, could be necessary to rip songs from CDs. Hee added that the entry-level audiophile market in the Philippines for Zen Sto ne is big enough to compete with the iPod Shuffle, as well as other MP3 players in the same category. In particular are Taiwanese-made 1GB MP3 players that go between P2,000 to P3,000. Meanwhile, Hee said that Creative's more expensive MP3 player, the Zen Neeon se ries, is performing well in the Philippine market, despite the presence of Appl e's iPod nano MP3 players and other similar devices. "We're expecting growth this year as we aggressively push for our hardware," He e said. Creative's official distributor in the Philippines is Axis Global.

More 'bang' for your buck?

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By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net A KOREAN businessman has put up the country's first true "PC bang," a stylized Internet and online gaming café made popular in South Korea. iHooked, built by Sabiclub Corporation, is located on Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City fronting Ateneo de Manila University. It is also right in the middle of an area popular for its Internet gaming shops. The new shop has over 60 high-end computers, a wireless Internet lounge and a s itting room for non-PC using customers who can order food and drinks at the bar . The entire place has been designed to look like a living room area of a house than an Internet café. "The idea behind iHooked is to give comfort to everyone; video game players, th eir friends and family members and for anyone who just wants to rest for a whil e," said Sabiclub president and CEO Dong Hun Lee. Dong Hun said the concept of iHooked came from his previous venture into the In ternet café business called Station 168, which was primarily aimed at foreigne rs. "I took the idea of Station 168 and made it into iHooked but this one is for a bigger market, composed of the general Filipino gamers and Internet café users . Itâs supposed to be a comfortable place to be in for gamers, Internet surfers and students who want to study while waiting," Dong Hun said. He also added that they initially charge P36 per hour for Internet access or ga ming, though the pricing could be different depending on the location of the iH ooked café branch. "We're planning to put up 20 more branches. The next one will be in De La Salle University in Taft Avenue, Manila. The other locations will be up for review," Dong Hun said. Likewise, Dong Hun said they will conduct tournaments for the different online games that are available in the market. The competitions are expected to draw m ore crowds of players to their Internet café.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net AMONG the Taiwanese laptop makers, Acer is one of the most prolific, perhaps ne xt only to Asus. In fact, both Taiwanese products compete toe-to-toe in almost every aspect of their products and this is most noticeable when they licensed t wo of the most well-known luxury car brands: Asus got Lamborghini while Acer go t Ferrari. At any rate, Acer churns out model after model of notebooks, usually the Travel Mate and Aspire series, and in each series at least six new models come out eve ry year. The company was gracious enough to lend its TravelMate 3272NWXMi model that comes from the 3270 series. It targets at least two user groups: the mult imedia fanatic and the casual gamer. First of all are the innards of the TravelMate 3272NWXMi; it is among the first models in the series to use the Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 (1.6 Ghz per core) proc essor running on an Intel Mobile 945GM chipset. It also has a 1 Gigabyte DDR2 m emory and an NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300 video card with up to 256MB TurboCache. For most PC enthusiasts, using a Core 2 Duo processor, a 1 Gb memory and a newl y launched GeForce Go graphics accelerator could heat up the entire unit and co nsume much of the battery life. Unfortunately, it does both. However, hardware and software design highlights in the 3272NWXMi ensure that these do not pose t oo much of a problem to the user. First of all, the exhaust fan for the processor is on the left side of the mode l. While most laptops do have their fans on the same side, the grills of the 32 72NWXMi are large enough to draw out the heat from the unit. Second is the use of the Acer ePower Management software that controls the laptop's power consump tion from the hard disk, LCD monitor and CPU. There are profiles that can be se t for specific users, depending on the applications that are needed to be run. The lithium ion batteries last from as long as two hours to as short as 40 minu tes. Still, the unit does get hot under prolonged use. The 3272NWXMiâs LCD screen is at 14.1" and uses the Acer GridVista feature that allows a second monitor to be attached to the computer allowing the user to ac tivate several applications and moving them to each of the screen as necessary. The bright LCD can also render widescreen movies with aspect ratio of 16:9. Th e good part about this is that the LCD is as good as a home entertainment syste m. But the surprisingly bad part about this model is the audio -- the sound qua lity makes it seem that these are just P500 stereo speakers. The only time this model would sound good is by attaching a headset or at least a 2.1 channel spe aker set. Simply put, this isnât much of a good choice for audiophiles. Among the main advantages of this model are the drives, particularly the huge 1 20Gb hard disk drive that is integrated through a series of springs into the un it's frame. This is the proprietary Disk Anti-Shock Protection (DASP), which pr events the hard drive from being shaken around. There is also a multi-double la yer DVD writer that reads and burns most DVD optical disks. It also has a singl e slot for different flash drives, such as SD cards, MMC, XD and Sony Memory St ick. However, it does not support the much older CF card, which is still heavil y used by several digital camera brands. A novel feature of this series of notebooks is the Acer OrbiCam, an ordinary we bcam attached to the upper edge of the LCD screen that can be rotated to look t owards the back when the screen is raised. Other laptop manufactures have integ rated webcams before but Acer included a software called VisageOn that tracks t he subjectâs face and changes the color tone for a more natural look. But then again, the problem with this is that the subject has to avoid moving too often as the camera can only process no more than 20 frames per second making it part icularly slow to process. The best feature of the 3272NWXMi apart from the Core 2 Duo processor is the NV IDIA GeForce Go 7300 graphics accelerator, which is as good as a desktop-level 128MB video card. This graphics accelerator can render some of the latest video games. In some cases, video games played on this unit have to be tweaked to lo w to medium graphics to ensure playability. The last notable feature of this unit is its wireless connectivity, its Bluetoo th and wifi function that enhances the antenna signal, which it calls SignalUp. While this works if the user is in wide spaces or if there are only thin walls , it does not mean that the Internet connection becomes faster but rather has b etter reception. One of the biggest letdowns of this feature-packed TravelMate (apart from its t inny sound) is its weight. At 2.4 kilograms it is one of the heaviest among m ainstream notebooks. But saved perhaps by its purpose as a mid-level multimedia and video game model, as well as its comparably lower price than similar model s from different brands, the TravelMate 3272NWXMi stands out as a good buy.

Capture that moment

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By Joey Alarilla INQUIRER.net IF you want clear proof of how much technology has changed our lives, think abo ut how we take camphones and video phones for granted when these were the stuff of sci-fi just a few years ago. Now that they're very much a part of our lives, think about our first reaction whenever we see something interesting. Yup, we instinctively whip out our phone s and take a pic or video. Like this one I took of a green mime when my wife Ellen and I were doing the gr oceries with our five-year-old daughter Sam. Remember those old jokes about stereotypical Japanese tourists who took picture s of everything with their film cameras (well, it was the Dark Ages, heh)? Guess what? We're all turning Japanese! And what's even more interesting, is that the natural urge nowadays, especially among the youth, is not just to take a photo or video just to record the momen t for posterity, but to share it. And I don't mean just share it with friends and family. We want to share it wit h the whole world, by uploading the videos to sites like YouTube and Yahoo! Video (our partner for our iVDO service). Heck, sometimes we even refer to these as "YouTube moments." Like this dog here and his coconut, heh. Anyway, these embedded clips show moments I've captured using my Nokia N90 and uploaded to iVDO. If you think about it, it's funny how we've become so used to having our lives publicly documented, and watching the lives of others. It's l ike "The Truman Show" and "EDtv" for real. So don't be shy. Share these moments. These days, you don't have to be on CNN t o know the world is watching :)

Waiting for a green PC

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By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net THE QUEST conti nues to produce the cheapest computers people can lay their hands on, which pit s rival chipmakers Intel and AMD in a rather different ballgame. Intel is coming up with a number of designs such as the Classmate PC, while AMD is making $100 notebooks for MIT's One Laptop Per Child campaign. But for a change, is anyone making a "green" PC? I asked Chris Hines, SVP for r esearch at Forrester, whose photo is shown here, that question during a recent Singapore summit by HP. He told me to wait for maybe a year or two. Chris flew halfway around the world from Boston to lecture about the benefits of going green in order for CIOs to sell IT projects to CEOs. As for my green PC question, it somehow piqued his interest. Non-toxic PC parts ? Maybe. Or one that's made of "harvested" materials from old computers. Maybe cheaply-made green PCs then intended for use in Third World countries. On that note, with so many surplus computers flooding the market, the Philippines alrea dy is a hardware junkyard. But a green PC for retail? Chris and I agreed that would require a massive supp ly chain overhaul. The challenge lies in making all suppliers adhere to standar ds. Who knows? Maybe someone like Apple or even IBM can do it. These companies are good at branding, anyway. If some people already drive a Toyota Prius, why not lug around a green laptop?

Friendster loves Google

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By Joey Alarilla INQUIRER.net AS I've previously blogged in @play, Friendste r is huge in the Philippines (and readers have sent in comments to explain why that's so). Sadly, however, elsewhere around the world Friendster has been overtaken by other social networking si tes. But this could change now that Friendster is back in the news after finali zing a deal with Google for search and targeted advertising. Friendster launched on June 8 Google search for its more than 44 million users in over 75 countries. Here's an excerpt from the press statement:
Friendster users will benefit from Google's powerful search technol ogies and targeted advertising, and Google's advertisers will have greater acce ss to one of the largest online social networking communities in the world. Use rs can easily search the Web via a Google search bar from the top center of eve ry page of the Friendster.com website. Google search results are presented with in a Friendster page with natural search results and sponsored links clearly no ted. As a result, users can save time by not having to navigate off Friendster to conduct web searches, and get to use Google's powerful search technologies t o do so. This launch of Google search on Friendster marks the completion of the integrat ion and deployment of several Google advertising offerings that are the focus o f Friendster's global advertising agreement with Google. Friendster had previously announced in March 2007 both the agreement and the su ccessful integration and global launch of the keyword-targeted text and display advertising components of the deal. "As the 17th largest website in the world with over 6 billion page views a mont h and over 22 million monthly unique visitors, we are pleased to have deployed Google's best-in-class Web search in Asia and worldwide," said Aaron Barnes, vi ce president of global sales and business development at Friendster. Lori Sobel, Head of Sales for Google Singapore, serving Southeast Asia, added " Google is focused on helping users access information quickly and easily, and w e are pleased to offer our search technology to the Friendster community."
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net TAIPEI, Taiwan- -It is extremely crowded everyday and smells of that distinctively strong Taipe i street food that is sold in some obscure corners but Guanghua in the heart of Taipei may perhaps be the best place for technology buffs and bibliophiles. Guanghua is just one of the many shopping areas strewn all over Taipei and it i s also the oldest, having been around for over 20 years. Guanghua is located in a stringy area of Taipei and is usually overcrowded due to the small streets t hat were just enough to fit two lanes of people. It has recently been "relocate d" with the demolition of the old Guanghua bridge last year and some of the sma ller shops were moved a few meters away from the old area. In fact, the city government plans to permanently move all of the shops to a ne w seven-story supermall nearby. The move was said to be necessary for better cr owd control and to attract more foreign tourists and buyers. Regardless of w hat happens to Guanghua, its appeal is its sidewalks that are also used to disp lay thousands of books and electronic parts. Even the pillars holding up some o f the older buildings are carved out to become display boxes. Most of the books are in Chinese but there are a few in English. The bookshops cater to mostly Chinese-speaking foreigners and according to one shopkeep their novellas are the most popular items. The other foreign books only comprise of about 10 percent of what they have but then these are also second-hand items re sold to them or exchanged for another title. On the other hand, Guanghua's most ubiquitous items are computer parts and they are among the cheapest. There are dozens of retail outlets selling nearly ever y computer brand imaginable, not to mention every single component that makes u p a computer. There are shelves upon shelves of the latest computer processors, motherboards, graphics cards, memory modules and computer casings. There are p arts being sold for DIY experts who regularly solder non-standard components in to electronic boards. center-of-guanghua.JPGAnd the prices are extremely low; a regular 1 gigabyte mem ory module that would normally cost P4,000 in Manila's famed electronics area o f Gilmore but in Guanghua, the same item would sell no more than P3,000. Comput er processors that cost P15,000 in Manila will be sold here at just a little ov er P10,000. In another section of Guanghua are the laptop resellers. Prices of these produc ts, depending on the brand and specifications, can be cheaper by as much as 20 percent. The prices here are so low that a computer builder can set up an entir e computer for less than P10,000. Top that with a widescreen LCD monitor that c an go for as low as P9,000. Other electronic gadgets such as cellular phones, digital cameras and MP3 playe rs (mostly Taiwanese-made) are also cheap. LCD TVs, even those that are in the 37" and up range, cost around P50,000, which is almost one-third cheaper than w hat can be bought in Manila. All of the big-name brands are available in Guangh ua. While it is difficult to communicate with the local resellers, just point to a product and they would type the price in their calculators. Sometimes, a few wi ll have some basic English proficiency but even they would rarely give discount s. Besides, asking for discounts may not be necessary since the prices here wou ld already save so much. (Editor's note: Check out Alex Villafania's Tales of th e Nomad blog entry for a look at some of Taiwan's tourist attractions.)
By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net INTEL is donating specially designed "Classmate PCs" to at least 15 public scho ols in the Philippines. The Classmate PC, Intel said, is meant for use by Kinde rgarten to Grade 12 students. A Classmate PC shown to journalists was equipped with an Intel Celeron processor with 1GB of f lash memory instead of a hard drive. It comes with a blue leather-like casing t hat resembles an ordinary lunch box. It runs Windows XP (with basic Microsoft O ffice applications like Word) and carries specially designed e-learning softwar e. Intel gave away 50 Classmate PCs to an elementary school in Muntinlupa City dur ing a visit Wednesday by Intel executives Sean Maloney and John Antone. The company is working with the local Department of Education in pr omoting its "1:1 e-Learning" initiative, which basically espouses one PC for ev ery teacher and student. The Classmate PC is an original Intel design and made by an OEM partner, which Antone declined to reveal during a briefing. Here's a photo I took of the Classmate PC. The cool dude testing it is Jing Garcia, the Tech T imes editor of Manila Times. Intel is not making the Classmate PC available for retail although it reportedl y costs less than $400. The company is expected to announce at the Computex trade show in Taiwan a low- cost laptop jointly designed with Taiwanese maker Asustek that costs below $200 . Antone said this laptop design also targets the same user base as that addresse d by the Classmate PC. He expects similar low-cost notebook designs to join thi s category. "Lack of (broadband) access, however, is still a limiting factor," he said.
By Joey Alarilla INQUIRER.net ronnie-latinazo.jpgWE know what a gigabyte is, but what the heck is an exabyte? Well, you'd better get used to the term, as the amount of digital content that' s out there is growing at such a rate that "gigabyte" will seem ridiculously sm all in the near future. Ronnie Latinazo, country manager of EMC Philippines, pointed out that the digit al universe in 2006 reached up to 161 exabytes of digital content (that's 161 b illion -- yes, billion, gigabytes). INQUIRER.net reporter Lawrence Casiraya took that photo of Latinazo using a cam phone. We're here at the Renaissance Hotel for the EMC press briefing, and I'm blogging this via our PLDT WeRoam office account. OK, now we know what an exabyte is, and how awesome it is that we're able to cr eate all this digital content. Like what we're doing now. What's even more inte resting is that 70 percent of this content is created by individuals, Latinazo pointed out. Yup, us. We're talking about the photos and videos we take with ou r digcams and camphones. Latinazo said EMC commissioned the International Data Corp. study "The Expandin g Digital Universe: A Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth Through 2010 ." It's something that's already happening all around us. We know it, as Netizens and bloggers and YouTubers, but the great thing, as Latinazo pointed out, is th at IT execs are finally taking notice of what we consumers have known all along . The creativity is within us, but we need the IT infrastructure to make it hap pen. Plus businesses need to find a way to monetize all this, right? This is the digital world in which we live, where we'll be creating more digita l content than all the books that have been written. Where over a billion songs are downloaded a day in MP3 format. Where 100 million video streams are shown on YouTube everyday. Welcome to the digital universe. Welcome to our world.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net TAIPEI, Taiwan--The Computex 2007 IT trade show featured hundreds of PC periphe rals from nearly all of the major brands with blaring signs and hundreds of mar keting materials. However, in one corner of the sprawling event was a small gro up of tech geeks who were putting computer components into various levels of st ress tests. The group, calling itself XtremeSystems, is arguably the world's biggest and most well-known overcl ocking organization, recognized even by the component manufacturers themselves. For the novice PC builder, overclocking is the process of pushing a computer pa rt to run beyond its intended speed. This is usually done by tweaking through s oftware or changing the settings through the BIOS. While this enables a PC comp onent to run much faster, a wrong configuration would burn the component itself . Overclocking can then be likened to putting nitros in a car to make it go much faster, but at the cost of blowing up the engine. charles-wirth.JPGHeadi ng the XtremeSystems group in Computex is Charles "Fugger" Wirth, one of the mo re prominent overclocking experts in the organization. He and a few of his coll eagues have set up two of the most extreme overclocked computers ever and in on e setup, he uses liquid nitrogen. That's a pic of Wirth. In an interview with Tech Addicts, Wirth said overclocking has been around as e arly as the days of the first computers. That is because research and developme nt divisions of the first computer companies would try and push their component s to run faster. In their setup in Computex, Wirth explained that they are using Intel Core 2 Qu ad processors with two gigabytes of the latest memory modules. One of the setup s uses a regular cooling system that can be bought from computer shops. o
verclock1.JPGThe other, however, uses a nonstandard system composed of a tank of liquid nitrogen that cools the processor to negative 196 degrees Celsius. "We were able to push the processing speed of the Core 2 Quad from 2.3 Ghz to 4 .7 Ghz. The fastest we've recorded for this particular system was 4.9 Ghz," Wir th said. As crazy as it sounds, Wirth said overclocking is an activity done by almost al l computer developers. Because today's computer parts are highly configurable a nd are actually made of readily available components, do-it-yourself enthusiast s are given opportunities to speed up the processing power of these components. But even if it is nothing new, Wirth said electronics manufacturing firms do no t fully support overclocking and will not cover the insurance of any component that burns out. Incidentally, some manufacturers would put the word "overclocki ng" in their marketing kits implying that their products are good enough for th e most enthusiastic DIY fanatic. Ironically, many computer parts manufacturers rely on overclockers to test thei r machines prior to being sent out to the market. Manufacturers then get inform ation from these testers and make the necessary changes to the components. The bonus for this is that professional overclockers will get a chance to test out many new components even before they reach the market. "Some of us even become consultants to the manufacturers and we're among the fe w people who ever get into highly secure laboratories. I've personally been ins ide the secure R & D laboratories of component makers and I share informati on to them on how a PC should work from a user's point of view," Wirth said. He added that the goal is to encourage component manufacturers to develop their products to be compatible with the rest of the industry. "Overclockers may be geeks but they tell the industry what can be done." Wirth said the overclocking community is becoming stronger by the day. "There a re thousands of overclockers worldwide, some are occasional and others are prof essionals. In XtremeSystems, we have 53, 000 members and we're growing our memb ership by 100 per day," Wirth said. For the novice overclocker, Wirth said they have to be ready for the consequenc es. No overclocker has ever experienced a perfect record of good overclocking. In fact, overclocking can be very expensive as burnouts can happen quite often. "This is what we do and we spend on time and money to just make components run a little faster than normal. However, the rewards can be more than worth the ex pensive risks." (Editor's note: Check out Alex Villafania's Tales of th e Nomad blog entry for a look at some of Taiwan's tourist attractions.)
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net TAIPEI, Taiwan--Computex is also home to hundreds of new innovations churned ou t of the research and development division of many electronics firms. These inn ovations can either still be working prototypes, soon-to-be launched products, or already commercially available. These are just among the few that were found in Computext Taipei 2007. multimedia-video-eyewear
.JPGMultimedia player eye wear: If users are ever bored with using their handheld multimedia pla yers, perhaps they can try out multimedia eyewear. This product has two small L CD monitors as well as earphones. Video can be fed through a cable attached to a traditional multimedia player, such as the iPod Video. The main problem for t his is that it does not have any batteries and so has to be attached to an exte rnal power supply. Perhaps it would have rechargeable batteries before it is la unched in other Asian markets. iWalk: a headphone made by Taiwanese manufacturer Lobos that h as a small slot for the iPod nano. It has a small opening that allows the user to manipulate the player's click wheel. It has a stereo attachment for other mu ltimedia players. usb-car-transmitter.JPG USB car music transmitter: No handheld MP3 player for your car ? Attach this device to your car's power plug in the dashboard, attach any USB flash drive with some MP3s, and play any songs on your carâs stereo. This simpl e device transmits radio signals to your car's audio system so you can play son gs. Portable DVD burner with card readers: Burning videos or photo s on DVDs can be a major pain for ordinary users who need to switch on a PC, se t the parameters for burning, and wait for the burning to finish. A company nam ed EZPnP developed a single device that can burn multimedia files on a DVD stra ight from various flash devices such as USB thumb drives, memory sticks, SD car ds, XD cards, and MMCs, among others. This way, the device can still be attache d to a PC and used just like any external DVD drive. solar-powered-bag.JPGSolar-powered bags: A backpack with a crystal s olar panel allows a person with several devices to charge them. The sensitive s olar panels are laminated in tempered glass to prevent damage and the devices c an be charged using a selection of attachments. While the bags do not look as g ood as the more expensive counterparts, it is still expensive at almost $300 fo r the most basic one. 3D monitors: Ever wonder how it feels to watch IMAX films at h ome? Better yet, want to make your movies and video games look like IMAX? PC pa rts manufacturers Zalman and Chimei both are developing new monitors that are a ble to split ordinary images into distinct colors. When a 3D glass is put on, t he images come together but the background remains flat, allowing the middle im age to "float" outside of the screen. These 3D monitors will be available in th e market sometime in the end of the year. Waterproof devices: Water is the worst enemy for any electroni c devices. Not anymore; I saw waterproof USB drives, water-resistant keyboards, and a monitor that doesn't get wet. A notebook computer and personal digital a ssistant were even sunk entirely in water but kept running. (Editor's note: Check out Alex Villafania's Tales of th e Nomad blog entry for a look at some of Taiwan's tourist attractions.)
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net p1010206.
JPGTAIPEI, Taiwan--The Computex T rade Show is arguably the biggest technology trade show in Asia. For this year, the Taiwanese government made sure that the event will be as flashy as it coul d be not just to entice potential business partners, but also to capture the im agination of computer and electronics enthusiasts looking for the latest gadget s, some of which are not yet even available in the market. This year's Computex 2007, from June 4 to 8, is the biggest that Taiwan had to offer with 1,333 exhibitors and 2,926 booths sprawled in four huge halls surrou nding the world's tallest skyscraper, the 1,670.68-foot Taipei 101. Taiwan External Trade Development Council chairman Gary Tseng said they are exp ecting 30,000 buyers and would grow the trade show's revenues by at least two p ercent. High-tech opportunities The five-day exhibit started off with the exclusive opening day for business pa rtners from all over Asia and Europe and international press who have an unobst ructed tour of the entire event. However, the event is so big that a person tou ring just one of the halls will have to take four hours to see all of the booth s and the electronic gadgets in the place. Everyone can enjoy free wifi access and information booths are placed in strate gic areas for easy access to information about the event. These information boo ths are equipped with one computer and a location access point where a user can ask where they are and how to get to a specific booth. Indeed, the place is so big that it would be easy to get lost. Apart from the access point, visitors c an also grab a copy of a comprehensive information book that is as thick as a p aperback novel. If not, a big map also provided in the event for free would be good to get. The exhibitors are divided into original equipment manufacturers, original desi gn manufacturers, systems integrators, distribution firms and smaller electroni c service providers. In each of the buildings there are business pavilions wher e potential buyers and partners can discuss future opportunities. Gadgets galore Thousands of gadgets and devices are present during the event, coming from the most well-known brands to startup firms. Among the most prolific products to be seen during Computex 2007 are USB-related products such as USB-powered ambient lamps, USB hubs in the shape of vases or pen holders or USB electric fans, and even teddy bear alarm clocks attached to USB slots. There are also thousands of new designs for the ubiquitous flash drive. Most ar e smaller than the normal flash drives available commercially and a few are as small and as thin as five millimeter metal strips. Not surprisingly, the capaci ties of these flash drives are getting bigger every six months. While the most current size is at four gigabytes, there are new models that go as high as eigh t gigabytes. It would be no surprise when next year, there would be 16GB flash drives. There are also various types of multimedia players that are just as small as th e iPod nano and these can play music as well as videos, with capacities almost twice as that of Apple's own product. PC innovations Half of the products in the event are PC-based peripherals. Video cards have al so come a long way since the days of the AGP slot and the new PCI Express cards are starting to take center stage. With speeds and memory capacities five time s as that of the old AGP cards, the latest graphics processing units (GPUs), pa rticularly those from stiff rivals ATI and NVIDIA, also consume almost 100 watt s of power. Thus, there are new models of computer power supply units; the lowe st are usually 500 watts of power while the rest are over 1, 000 watts. Both AMD and Intel, the giants of the computer processing business, are also ne ck and neck in selling their products, particularly their new multicore process ors. Intel is the first to lay claim to the multicore domination with its newly launched Core 2 Quad processors. AMD has yet to launch its answer to Intel so while in Computex, the company rallied its major motherboard partners to introd uce several models that are ready to accommodate the AMD Barcelona quad core pr ocessor. Wireless homes Wireless communications also played a major role in Computex. There were produc ts that work both for PCs and notebooks but there were novel devices that appli ance manufacturers to attach wireless antennas to home electronic appliances, f rom refrigerators to television sets to the vacuum cleaner and the washing mach ines. These technologies are at hand to accommodate the widespread use of IPv6 (Internet Protocol version six), which can give trillions of devices an address to connect to the Internet. Computex will be open to the public from June 5 and some companies will have ac tivities where visitors can win various prizes. The event will also feature sem inars from technology experts open to the public as well as private partners wh o may want pursue their goals of joining as developers of new technologies or s imply to be awed as consumers. Here are some more photos: Microsoft's long line of manufacturing partners for its Windows Mobile operatin g system. microsoft-mobile-pcs.JPG Intel creates two walls of motherboards from various manufacturers, all of whom are adopting the Intel Core 2 Duo and Quad processor series. core
-2-duo-ready-motherboards.JPG USB hubs are not unfashionable gray or black boxes anymore. Some have been inco rporated into table items such as lamps, pen holders and even an aquarium. usb-hubs.
JPG A DIY computer geek's dream come true. ultimate-pcs.JPG Hall One of Computex Taipei 2007 with over 400 exhibitors in a single building. There were four buildings as well as special exhibits in the nearby Grand Hyat t Hotel right beside the world's tallest building, the Taipei 101. building-1-of-computex.JPG (Editor's note: Check out Alex Villafania's Tales of th e Nomad blog entry for a look at some of Taiwan's tourist attractions.)

A look back at NAB 2007

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By Jose B. Javier, Contributor INQUIRER.net AS the publication Euromedia puts it, "If it's April, it must be Las Vegas. And if it's Las Vegas, it's the NAB" or the National Association of Broadcasters of America Convention. The latest annual gathering of broadcasters from around the world was held at t he Las Vegas Convention Center from April 16-19. The buzzwords in this year's gathering were "interoperability" and "re-purposin g content" as manufacturers of broadcast equipment tried their best to demonstr ate why and how their systems were the natural choices if the networks wanted s eamless delivery of production outputs. For the second straight year and in wha t has become a "high-definition"-bound world, HDTV equipment from content acqui sition, post-production, management and delivery dominated the exposition. Representatives of Philippine broadcast networks, including ABS-CBN, ABC, RPN, NBN, Dream TV and local suppliers, were among the 100, 000 professionals who at tended the convention. 1,400 exhibitors from 130 countries showed their latest products and participated in about 15 conferences to discuss wide-ranging issue s such as the transition to high-definition, mobile video and IPTV (internet pr otocol broadcasts) and new technology in content creation. These are interesting times indeed as the world changes from satellite transmis sions of structured networks to the world of web-sharing of content. Nowhere is the shift from traditional media distribution to web-sharing more evident than the popularity of sites such as YouTube. They enable every individual to be a station owner, cinematographer, program host, editor and broadcaster all by him self. To the networks, however, it provides another revenue stream. As Susan As hworth of TV Technology says, "The trick, it seems, is to find the right busine ss model and to keep a close tab on lucrative copyrighted content." YouTube also moved the NAB to a different direction somewhat this year with the emphasis on video compression. Cameron Francis, CEO of the US division of Norw ay's Network Electronics predicts that "people will eventually expect to see a similar quality over the Internet as they do on their home TV screens." For the record, however, the MacTV group has been podcasting in high-definition for ne arly a year now and the video is simply amazing. The display of hardware at the NAB is always dazzling, from new high-def camera s from Sony, Panasonic, JVC, Canon to media management tools from Harris Corp., Microsoft and even comebacking IBM. The duel in post-production systems contin ue to be between Avid and Final Cut Studio. Apple unveiled the new Final Cut St udio 2 suite at the NAB which includes really impressive additions to Final Cu t Pro, Motion, Soundtrack and Compressor. Recalling that I had an interesting experience at an AVID session with Jabez Ol ssen, one of the editors of the movie "King Kong," at last year's NAB, I sat in , this time, on the session with Virginia Katz, A.C.E. who edited the award-win ning film "Dreamgirls" which starred Beyonce and Eddie Murphy. Katz showed the sequence on Murphy's song number with the girls doing the backup when their car eer was just starting up in the film. Katz told the audience the materials on t he song number alone took her three days to scan because of the complexity of t he shots. It also gave us an indication of the ratio of footage Hollywood studi os shoot against the length of film actually used in movies. Katz avoided techn ical jargon and emphasized the importance of story-telling in all aspects of fi lm production. Anyone with a good story, she said, ought to know how to tell it . For the news-oriented, there is a Radio and Television News Directors (RTNDA) c onvention being held at the same time at the Convention Center. This year, the RTNDA honored Christianne Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent of CNN, with its highest award, the Paul White Award, named after the first news direct or of CBS network. Amanpour was cited for distinguishing herself in the covera ge of conflict zones and disaster areas from the ground, independently, to ensu re that viewers get the unvarnished truth. Back at the NAB, the world of graphics and animation seems still secure in the hands of the leaders in the industry, namely, Chyron, vizRT, Quantell, Miranda and Da Vinci among others. NAB 2007 also saw the launch of the Adobe Creative S uite 3 which includes the popular editing softwares Premiere and After Effects. Adobe products are equipped with new plug-ins, enough to satisfy professionals and aspiring editors alike. More than high definition TV broadcasts, which will entail a lot of transition expense for the networks, mobile video appears to be the imminent future for th e Philippines. For one, competing local firms Philippine Multi-Media Systems, Inc. (PMSI) and Smart were then gearing to launch digital broadcasts of content to mobile phones that double up as receivers. Both PMSI and Smart (PLDT) deleg ates to the convention were seen in separate informal meetings with Composite T echnology, Inc. head honcho Rick Padrinao at the convention. Cellular companie s, such as Samsung, Motorola and Sony Ericsson also displayed their mobile vide o wares at the show. The world has hardly had a fill of high-definition TV, with the Philippines sti ll to that technology take off, when what do the Japanese do but introduce a ne w one! Ultra-high definition TV. High definition TV resolution is 1920 x 1080 p ixels, which is why its video is known either as 1080i (for interlaced video, o r lines on your screen being scanned alternately) or 1080p (for progressive vi deo or lines being scanned one after the other so it is sharper). NHK, the gian t Japanese TV network, launched a system developed by its Science and Research Laboratory which it called Ultra High Definition. People, including this writer , queued for the preview of the system and what a fantastic experience it was. Two people in hang gliders swooped over the ocean and hovered on different sce nes including an NFL All-Star game in Hawaii and whale watching in the Pacific, with never-before-seen clarity. Hold on to your seats folks because UHD TV has a resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels, four times the quality of the current HDTV ! For the preview, NHK used one of the very first 4K digital projectors in exis tence scanning 4320 lines. The audio for the event was piped through a mind-bo ggling 22.2 multi-channel system using 3 vertical layers of speakers. The soun d system was developed specially for UHD TV. Indeed, the world is headed towards a clearer, if not brighter, broadcasting fu ture. But one recalls the adage among broadcasters that "content is king." If n othing else new is imagined at this time, Mark Gray, of SAMMA systems, a New Yo rk-based media preservation firm, says, "There is an infinite amount of broadca st content sitting on analog tapes that need to be digitized and monetized." I completely agree with him because even as I am exposed to new technology every day of my working life, my favorite programs are still on American Movie Classi cs, old black-and-white movies that have been re-mastered and never looked or s ounded better than before. In fact, just before I wrote this piece, I bought a new DVD copy of the movie " The Grapes of Wrath" with Henry Fonda and watched it. That, to me, is what's go od about digital technology. I still hope to watch "Casablanca" in UHD TV somed ay. Then everything old will really be new again. (Editor's note: The author is the director for Allied Businesses and Specia l Projects of broadcast network ABC-5.)
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net dopod838pro_1.jpgI HAVE a love-hate relationshi p with personal digital assistants that use the Microsoft Windows Mobile operat ing system, largely because it keeps crashing and eats up battery life. Plus, t here's already an obvious sense that once you see a personal digital assistant with Microsoft Windows Mobile, everything else is just the same, with only a fe w minor differences in terms of software included. However, some rare breeds of PDAs make use of Windows Mobile for what it should be⦠or rather compensate for some of the troubles that Windows Mobile would c ause. The Dopod 838Pro i s one such PDA. First of all, the Dopod 838Pro is one of the top-of-the-line units from the Tai wanese mobile manufacturer. It is powered by a powerful Samsung 400-megahertz p rocessor and uses the latest Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0. Because it is supposed to be a jet-setting businessman's mini-laptop and commun ications device, the 838Pro is itself a world traveling device; it can support cellular communications from GSM, 3G, HSDPA and EDGE. It also has Bluetooth and 802.11 a/b/g wifi connectivity, ensuring the owner any type of connectivity vi rtually anywhere. Likewise, the unit has an integrated 2.0 megapixel camera but it only has up to 5x digital zoom. The screen allows you to control all the camera functions, fr om lighting, flash and resolution, among others. The unit can be held on its si de when using the camera and a small button on the side of the upright unit can be used to take a snapshot. There is also a small camera in front of the unit for video calls. The entire screen can accommodate the video but it can also cr eate a smaller viewing window, depending on user preference. dopod838pro_2.jpgDesign-wise, the Dopod 838Pro has one of the sleekest looks among most mobile devices in the same class; the buttons do not jut out and are seamlessly integrated. The stylus is well-hidden underneath the unit but can still be easily pulled out. Owners can use the sty lus to tap on the screen or the scroll wheel on its right side. Surprisingly, t he scroll wheel is mostly found in BlackBerry mobile devices (in fact, it's the BlackBerry that started using the scroll wheel and is the only one that has su ccessfully made it work). Perhaps Dopod wanted users to have an option to either use one hand in navigati ng through applications, or two hands for the stylus. But what sets the 838Pro apart from the rest is its QWERTY keyboard that slides out from underneath the unit. When the keyboard is pulled out, the screen's or ientation immediately changes to horizontal position and the keyboard can be us ed as an input device, though the stylus can still be used. The user can access the other desktop applications, particularly Pocket Word, P ocket Excel and Pocket PowerPoint. The Dopod 838Pro becomes a fully functional PC in this respect. One of the applications that is better suited for the Dopod 838Pro is a mobile version of Skype. For the uninitiated, Skype is a voice over IP application use d by traveling businessmen. For the Dopod 838Pro, making both VoIP calls with v ideos will be relatively easy. A microSD slot is placed on the side of the Dopod 838 Pro and it can accommodat e up to 2 gigabytes of memory. The microSD would serve as the users' hard disk since the internal memory of Dopod 838Pro is just a measly 64MB (I still wonder why manufacturers have not increased PDA memories to even at least 256MB). Bec ause of the size of the external memory that can be accommodated in the Dopod 8 38 Pro, this model can serve as a video and audio player as it also includes mu ltimedia player software. While the Dopod 838Pro is a great addition to a businessman's item list, it sti ll has some problems inherent in all Windows-based PDAs and that is the short b attery life. Users that make at least two hours of phone calls a day will expec t their devices to die out in less than 12 hours. Even without phone calls, the unit will drain its battery after a full 24 hours. Not even the fast charging time of 40 minutes can compensate for the short battery life. Fortunately, the unit has not frozen up on me even once in the two weeks that I've tested it. So far, so good⦠Likewise, the Dopod 838Pro is very heavy for its type. Even big users would hav e difficulty fitting it in their pockets because of its weight and dimension. Overall, the Dopod 838Pro is the best breed of Windows Mobile-based PDAs. It wo rks as well as it looks and is somewhat worth the P49,000 price tag -- that is, if you're a businessman-on-the-go. At some point, it may even replace a busine ssman's laptop.

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