Friday, March 31, 2006

More from MTN in HSDPA

MTN continues to make broadband available to over 10 million subscribers with the national roll-out of commercial High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) or 3G Evolved services. HSDPA went live on the MTN network on March 22, the first mobile operator to launch in South Africa.

‘’With one of the lowest mobile data rates in the world and easy to understand tariff packages, MTN subscribers are enjoying a fresh, seamless mobile experience with uncomplicated bills each month,’’ says Bernice Samuels, General Manager: Marketing and Corporate Affairs, MTN South Africa.

3G Evolved is ideal for applications such as mobile and interactive TV, enhanced video telephony, multiplayer gaming and information sharing. HSPDA or 3G Evolved will enable users to work faster and smarter through enjoying improved business and home mobility.

From an entertainment point of view, MTN customers will get the very best mobile 2006 FIFA World Cup content delivered near real time directly to their cellphones using video, MMS and SMS during the soccer showpiece in Germany this June.

‘’Go out and get a variety of MTN data cards that offer 3G Evolved services and also support 3G, 3G Evolved, EDGE and GPRS. These cards are available on the market in time for Easter,’’ Samuels says.

MTN is investing in excess of R600 million this financial year in its 3G network as it advances the roll-out of sites across South Africa.

‘’To date, we have activated HSDPA on our highest usage 3G sites, making commercial HSDPA available to subscribers in most urban areas. Our extensive 3G coverage also offers subscribers the ability to make relevant connections across our extensive footprint,’’ Samuels says.

MTN’s services on the network include voice calls and data connections. There is seamless movement between HSDPA, 3G, EDGE and GPRS at different speeds.

MTN subscribers enjoy 3G coverage across Gauteng and in Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein, and Port Elizabeth. Services include High Speed Data, Video Calling, 3G content downloads from MTNLoaded, Streaming JamCams and VideoMail.

HSDPA or 3G Evolved services will be available initially in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

Is Eskom pulling wool blankets over SA's eyes?

In an article in the Cape Times dated 6/3/2006 Eskom offers as energy-saving measures to supply "five million energy-saving lights, low-flow shower head and geyser blankets to retailers at a subsidised price".

They'll say anything just not to recommend solar water heaters.

This approach is even more strange as DME, Eskom's 'bosses' are aware of the significant potential of solar water heating.

In a Cape Argus article a speaker from the Department of Minerals and Energy's renewable energy branch was quoted as saying that fitting solar geysers to all commercial buildings and homes would save eight percent (8%!) of South Africa's total energy consumption.

South Africa must accept the reality that waiting for Eskom to lead the country out of the coal era would be a bumpy road. Eskom is in the business of selling electricity and could not be expected to promote competition.

Government should take the responsibility to inform the public about the true value of solar water heating and other forms of renewable energy options. Then the government should implement its policies of encouraging the public to switch to renewable technologies for the benefit of the individual homeowner and the country as a whole.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

City of Cape Town launches Smart Access Truck

The City of Cape Town, which recently celebrated the outstanding success of its Smart Cape Access Project, has also launched the Smart Cape Access Truck – a unique pilot project designed to bring internet connectivity to those marginalised areas that do not currently have access to this powerful facility.

According to Mymoena Sharif, the Manager of E-Governance for the City of Cape Town, the Smart Cape Access Project was designed with the aim to give communities access to the internet and has reached a significant milestone with approximately 60 000 people accessing free internet connectivity in nearly 100 public libraries around the city.

“We wanted to ensure that - as far as possible - all citizens of Cape Town have access to basic computing infrastructure and the Internet. In this light the City has also launched the Smart Cape Access Truck, a mobile unit that is the first of its kind.”

The truck will operate on a rotating basis across poverty stricken areas, providing wireless internet connectivity and also present various other needed services. Connectivity is being sponsored by Vodacom SA.

“The City of Cape Town, in endeavouring to provide services to all but, in particular the poorest sections of the city, has to innovate and provide smart solutions,” says Sharif. “The notion of mobile services provides that innovation and it takes into account the needs of marginalised communities.”

According to the Sharif, the rationale for the mobile service stems from the need to extend existing services to areas of need, taking into account the resource constraints, thus maximising limited capacity within the City of Cape Town by integrating the delivery of those services. Furthermore the mobile service centre is created with the goal of serving all localities in the City with the same quality found in fixed units.

“The Mobile Smart Cape Access Unit further empowers the citizens of the City of Cape Town to use ICT to prepare CV’s, find employment, improve business practices, complete school projects or run owner-managed businesses, computer literacy and online content creation amongst other things.”

This unique, one-of-a-kind vehicle is a pilot project and, based on its success, the City of Cape Town will assess whether or not to launch additional trucks to service the communities.

Sharif concludes that the City of Cape Town is the leading African City in respect of connectivity and ICT progress, and that this is an achievement of which they are extremelly proud. “We hope that the City will continue to maintain this trend in the future.”

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Nokia N70

I love the Nokia N70. After bad reviews, by this writer, of the Nokia N90, the company have done themselves proud with the N70. I still have no idea what Nokia were thinking when it came to the N90 but all of those problems have been solved in the N70. It is small, lightweight, comfortable and it is 3G!

Of all the features on the phone, the 3G wins it for me. Cameras are a dime a dozen these days but the 3G wins every time.

The music features are great and, if you have a big enough memory card, the stereo headset works very well to keep your tunes coming all day. It's not an iPod, but can can your iPod make calls? With 3G?

The phone also has a radio which Nokia dropped a while ago and have revived with thier new visual radio feature. We can't use it in SA yet but you can if you are reading this in the UK or USA or another real 1st world country.

The N70 has 3D games, did I mention it has 3G? Ski boarding and a new take on Snakes are on the phone but downloads are easy, I just couldn't get the downloads to work on my phone, but it isn't the phone's fault.

Short review, but check out some piictures from the phone here.

The Daddy of All Fighting Games….in the Palm of Your Hands

Ten years after its arrival on PlayStation®, Tekken™, the daddy of all fighting games, arrives on PlayStation® Portable (PSP) later this year - giving you the ability to do battle wherever and whenever you are.

Tekken™ Dark Resurrection brings to PSP more than 30 customisable characters including new arrivals Dragunov and Lili, favourites from the arcade version and the long awaited return of Armor King. Not only will you have all the characters in the palm of your hand but also a great choice of game modes including Time Attack, Gold Rush and Dojo - and the option for multiplayer mayhem in Ad Hoc Wireless Mode.

  • Tekken Dojo: Are you good enough to take the title of ‘Tekken Lord’? The going is bloody as you fight your way to the top in a selection of different Dojos based on a private island owned by Mishima Zaibatsu.

  • Arcade Battle: Earn your purse of fight money as you defeat ghosts matching your current level. And each test you pass sees you elevated a rank in the fighting hierarchy.

  • Quick Battle: Choose from 1-on-1 battle or team battles against the CPU for quick and deadly mayhem. Alternatively form a team of up to eight players in team battle mode for a massive knock-out tournament.

  • Network: Challenge friends, or enemies, to a duel via Ad Hoc Mode, exclusive to PSP.

  • Story Battle: Get under the skin of your character in the new story mode and uncover your history.

  • Time, Survival and Gold Rush: Beat your previous best score with a choice of three attack modes: Time Attack as you go against your opponent and the clock; Survival as your stamina is put to the test and your work to defeat as many opponents as possible and Gold Rush which allows you to earn fight money for damage dealt within the time limit.

  • Practice: All new practice mode includes tutorials, freestyle training and command training covering both attack and self-defence.

Dark Resurrection continues Tekken 5’s feature of character customisation. Create a profile and spend your fight money on cool gear for your fighter. You’d better get saving though as there are now twice as many items to purchase than in Tekken 5. Those who are cautious about going into battle will welcome the opportunity to check-out the opposition’s profile before the fight by reviewing opponent’s battle history and high scores.

Tekken: Dark Resurrection is a PSP essential and will be out later this year.

LG introduces fingerprint security with Express Dual Series notebooks

Global and regional digital leader LG Electronics has launched biometric notebook computers using advanced fingerprint sensors from AuthenTec, the world leader in fingerprint sensor security. LG has selected AuthenTec's EntréPad 2501A sensor for its M1, P1, S1 and the Red dot Award-winning T1 EXPRESS DUAL notebook models.

The EntréPad sensor supports LG's total security solution for its new range of notebook computers.
A fingerprint sensor replaces the need for passwords and PIN numbers. It allows only authorised users to access information stored on the computer by simply sliding their finger across the sensor surface. The fingerprint reader can also be used to encrypt files and folders for an additional layer of security. The biometric scanner also reduces the risk of fraud or identity theft.

"Biometrics is moving quickly from fiction to reality and is being widely incorporated in many electronic devices," says Shaun Michell, IT National Sales Manager, LG Electronics South Africa. "It is considered a reliable solution for protecting the user's identity as it recognises a unique and unalterable feature. By adopting world class technology, we will accelerate our product leadership and introduce products that serve genuine and relevant customer needs."

LG's Express Dual notebook uses AuthenTec's award winning TruePrint technology, the only 'sub-surface' based solution on the market today. TruePrint-based sensors read fingerprints even below the skin's surface and are less affected by common skin complaints that can impair the ability of other sensors to take accurate fingerprint images. AuthenTec has been voted the number one company for fingerprint biometric solutions for three years in a row by international industry analysis and consulting company Frost & Sullivan.

Michell added: "Notebooks with biometric functions are not widely accepted because of the frequent failure of the technology to recognise the user's fingerprint. But it is set to become the preferred method of identification, and it is perfect for those who tend to forget their PIN's and passwords."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

B-Boy, featuring Hip-Hop legend ‘Crazy Legs’ of the Rock Steady Crew

Whether you’re a toprock master, a power move monster or you just can’t stop freezing, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) will have you breaking some serious dance moves with B-Boy™. Developed by FreeStyleGames, in collaboration with Crazy Legs and DJ Hooch, B-Boy is due for release in September 2006 on PSP™(PlayStation®Portable) and PlayStation®2.

B-Boy uses a dynamically controlled fighting system to help you battle the best b-boys on the planet. Over the course of an in-depth “B-Boy Life” mode, players build up a crew and battle against real-life superstar b-boys including in-game host Crazy Legs, the legendary and original b-boy, who worked closely with the development team to ensure the game’s authenticity.

B-boy culture is one of the four core elements of hip-hop, and the team SCEE and FreeStyleGames have managed to put together this game in a way that means the hip-hop community can be sure that the integrity and art of b-boying won't be compromised,” said Crazy Legs. “It's great to know that they have actively sought out the real b-boys that make the scene what it is today to make this game happen.”

Players must learn, develop and master more than 800 motion captured moves as they progress from street battles to the world championships, gaining style and respect as they battle their way around the world, visiting 21 realistic venues.

As their reputation increases they’ll encounter a host of licensed b-boys who feature in the game and represent the pinnacle of the b-boy scene, including Kamel, Ivan “The Urban Action Figure”, Crumbs, Hong10, Lillou and Mouse. 40 rival B-boys appear in the game in total to challenge and battle the player.

Those looking for instant action can head for the arcade modes for battles against rival b-boys or multiplayer face-offs using PSP’s Wireless functionality. B-Boy also allows players to create their own b-boy and upgrade and customise their breaker and, includes more than 40 licensed contemporary hip hop and classic funk tracks, mixed and scratched on the fly by in-game DJs.

B-Boy will be available on PSP and PlayStation 2 in September 2006.

It's an online musical battle -- Song Fight! gives you a title and two weeks, and you've gotta come up with a winning song

Song Fight! is a site for musicians to put their mouths where the money is. All you get is two weeks, and the title of a new song. Then you go off, write the song that matches the title, record the thing, and hope like hell that the web public likes it better than any of the other offerings.

What do you win if you win? Bragging rights. And an appreciative public.

Thanks to Paste Magazine for alerting us to this one.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Can games make you brighter? Find out what Wired writer, Clive Thompson has to say about it...

Clive Thompson, a writer at WIRED magazine, writes about how gaming actually makes you smarter. He argues the link between intelligence tests in which shapes are presented to a viewer to determine intelligence, and a slew of games that use that exact notion to improve said intelligence.

Read his article. Do it. It's bound to make you smarter.

And go and buy yourself a Nintendo gaming console and a copy of Brain Age. You'll also want to hunt down your copy of PQ: Practical Intelligence Quotient, a game for the PSP (Playstation Portable) consisting of grids and cubes to stretch your logical abilities.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Everything a small business PC should be

HP has announced the HP dx5150, a strong, reliable, everyday small-business PC offering exceptional expandability and flexibility.

Fast and versatile, the HP dx5150 is coupled with the futureproofing and hardware-based virus protection that the AMD Athlon 64 platform offers.
“Delivering increased performance and investment protection by supporting 64-bit processors, this machine can be designed to suit the specific needs of any small business, with the flexibility to choose between a range of configurations and processor speeds,” says Nadia Hufkie, HP’s Personal Systems Group (PSG) desktop product manager.
The HP dx5150 includes the latest AMD Enhanced Virus Protection (EVP) technology that works with Microsoft Windows XP SP2 to protect against viruses. Other security features available include a hood cover security loop with optional cable and lock, and a Kensington cable lock slot. An integrated RAID controller provides hassle-free automated back-up and recovery, minimising the impact of hard disk failure.
“The HP dx5150 is also whisper quiet, something for businesses to consider in a service center or other noise-sensitive environments,” says Hufkie.
It comes standard with award-winning AMD Athlon 64 and Sempron processors, an ATI RADEON XPRESS 200 chipset and ATI RADEON 9600 Integrated Graphics, delivering outstanding quality and performance as well as increased productivity through standard dual-display support. It also provides advanced features including the AMD AthlonTM 64 processor 3000+, 40 GB hard drive, 512MB Synch DRAM, 48X CDROM and Windows XP Pro Operating System.
Coupled with support for the new Microsoft Windows XP x64 Edition 64-bit operating system, dual-channel DDR400 memory, high-performance serial ATA hard drives, and an x16 PCI-Express slot, the HP dx5150 is ready to handle all business applications. The system also features AMD’s Cool ‘n Quiet technology, which reduces processor power consumption and fan noise.
AMD64 Technology - The power behind innovative business computers

IBM Milestone Advances Effort to Enhance Semiconductors through Nanotechnology

IBM's researchers have built the first complete electronic integrated circuit around a single "carbon nanotube" molecule, a new material that shows promise for providing enhanced performance over today's standard silicon semiconductors.

Bevan Lock, IBM South Africa Systems Evangelist, says the achievement is significant because the circuit was built using standard semiconductor processes and used a single molecule as the base for all components in the circuit, rather than linking together individually-constructed components. This can simplify manufacturing and provide the consistency needed to more thoroughly test and adjust the material for use in these applications.

"Carbon nanotube transistors have the potential to outperform state-of-the-art silicon devices," Lock says. "However, so far scientists have focused on fabricating and optimising individual carbon nanotube transistors. Now, we can evaluate the potential of carbon nanotube electronics in complete circuits - a critical step towards the integration of the technology with existing chip-making techniques."

For around 50 years the semiconductor industry has relied on the ability to pack increasing numbers of electronic circuits on a single silicon chip to make those chips more powerful. This was achieved largely by finding ways to build circuits smaller. With scientists seeing an end to that capability looming, the use of nanotechnology is being explored as a means to keep the industry moving forward.

The field of nanotechnology involves the synthesis and assembly of new types of molecules and structures with dimensions measured in billionths of a meter. Looking like a microscopic roll of chicken wire, carbon nanotubes measure 50,000 times thinner than a human hair. Yet they have unique properties that may allow them to carry higher current densities than the 'pipes' currently used in today's transistor and, with their smaller size, might allow for further miniaturisation.

The circuit built by the IBM team was a ring oscillator - a circuit chip makers typically build to evaluate new manufacturing processes or materials. The circuit stresses certain properties that can give a good indication of how new technologies will perform when used to build complete chips.

"By integrating the complete circuit around a single nanotube, the IBM team observed circuit speeds nearly a million times faster than previously demonstrated circuits with multiple nanotubes. While this is still slower than the speeds obtained by today's silicon chips, the IBM team believes that new nanofabrication processes will eventually unlock the superior performance potential of carbon nanotube electronics," Lock says.

The IBM scientists will now use the ring oscillator to test improved carbon nanotube transistors and circuits, and to gauge their performance in complete chip designs.
The report on this work, "Integrated Logic Circuit Assembled on a Single Carbon Nanotube", by Zhihong Chen, Joerg Appenzeller, Yu-Ming Lin, Paul Solomon, and Phaedon Avouris of IBM's T. J. Watson Research Centre, Yorktown Heights, NY; Jennifer Sippel-Oakley and Andrew G. Rinzler of the Department of Physics, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; and Jinyao Tang and Shalom J. Wind of the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, New York, NY is published in the March 24th issue of the journal Science.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Dark and Brutal World of Greek Mythology Comes To Life Again

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe announced today the upcoming Q1 2007 release of God of War II, available exclusively for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. Developed by Sony Computer Entertainment America’s Santa Monica Studios, God of War™ introduced a groundbreaking, combat action-adventure videogame based on Greek mythology, and went on to capture more than a dozen “Game of the Year” Awards, including the prestigious Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences “2005 Overall Game of the Year Award.” In God of War II, players get reacquainted with the vicious ex-Spartan warrior Kratos and embark on the continuing epic odyssey.

Famed award-winning God of War creator David Jaffe will continue to oversee development of God of War II and comments, “In the gaming world, it’s rare that a sequel equals, let alone eclipses the original, but I think this is going to be the exception to the rule in terms of quality, gameplay and story. I always said that God of War was my dream game, well no longer, God of War II really is the game I’ve always wanted to play.”

Storyline Description for GOD OF WAR II

God of War saw Kratos, a mortal warrior, set upon an epic quest to dethrone a God. But his journey did not end there. In God of War II, Kratos sits atop his Olympus throne, as the new God of War – far more ruthless than Ares ever was. To end his continued torment, Kratos must journey to the far reaches of the earth and defeat untold horrors and alter that which no mortal, or god has ever changed, his fate. God of War II sets an epic stage for a devastating mythological war to end all wars.

Gameplay Description for GOD OF WAR II

In God of War II, players retake the role of Kratos. Armed with the deadly blades and blistering rage, players will be aided by new breath-taking magic and new brutal combat moves. The journey will take them through vividly striking environments where they will be faced with a labyrinth of challenging puzzles and mini-games intricately woven into the story. The violent world of Greek mythology will come to life in gory detail as Kratos encounters new mythical characters, and compete in epic boss battles in his quest.

SMS 32335 to Stop SPAM

Cellphone users fed up with receiving unsolicited commercial SMS messages, or spam, can now SMS the number that has been spamming them to 32335 and Mira Networks will contact the spammer to demand that spamming cease. The cost is just R1 per SMS.

“It is highly frustrating to receive SMS spam with no way of knowing how to stop it. Spam Stop is a positive development in the fight against spam and will achieve tangible results for the consumer,” said Sean Conde, CEO of Mira Networks.

The only remedy previously available to spam victims involved a frustrating process of calling the cellular networks, the spammer’s technology or content provider as well as the offending company itself.

Although jail time and fines are sanctions, many spammers flout Section 45 of the Electronic Communications Act regulating the transmission of unsolicited commercial messages by not providing an opt-out mechanism or contact details in their SMS messages.

The website was launched by the cellular networks and the Wireless Application Service Provider Association (WASPA) last year to enable cellphone users to identify and contact spammers.

“With only 3.5 million Internet connections in SA, remains largely inaccessible. Consumers need an SMS solution to an SMS problem. The explosion of mobile content services that automatically subscribe consumers hastened the development of Spam Stop,” explained Mr Conde.

South Africa’s three cellular networks recently launched a Code of Good Practice aimed at the WASP industry. However, the escalation procedure outlined in the code for spam victims to follow is lengthy and numerous telephone calls are required for mobile users to be taken off spam databases.

Mira Networks is a leading aggregator WASP offering other WASPs and corporate clients connectivity to the customers of all three South African cellular networks across a wide range of technologies such as SMS, MMS, IVR and more.

South Africa currently has some 25 million cellular users with market leader Vodacom alone carrying a quarter of a billion SMS messages on its network monthly.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Guinness Surger (It's trademarked, don't steal)

I want to get something off my chest at the start of this post. I LOVE BEER!!! I love all beer, except for that crappy Newcastle Brown Ale.

I have been to Dublin and I have tasted the real McCoy Guinness and it is 'loverley'. If you don't like Guinness, move on, you are a sad, lonely little man.

But let me digress. An internet survey held at the end of 1999 asked users what the best invention of the 20th century was. Remember that that century brought us the microwave oven, the PC (and the Mac), the interet and television. The number one invention, according to these internet users, that most changed the 20th century was THE WIDGET!!! That little thing in your can of draught beer that shoots little bubbles of nitrogen through the nectar of the gods to create the ultimate glass of beer that looks and tastes like the pub pull.

As you might have guessed by now, Guinness have bettered that with a cool new gadget called the Surger. We all love new gadgets, at least I do, and this is the ultimate beer gift. It's only available in the UK at the moment but you cannot say that you own a pub at home unless you own a Surger. Wait for the video download to see the Surger in action. It's magic. It's beer magic. Does it get any better than that?

Friday, March 17, 2006

MP3 Shoes: The Player for Players?

By jlewin

Just when you thought that they'd put an MP3 player into everything, LL International Dada Shoes has announced the Code M MP3 Player Shoes.


The Code M System is a proprietary wireless technology application for footwear that delivers both audio and data. The initial application of the System is a shoe that delivers music to a wireless headset. The delivery system consists of two key components built into Dada shoes, offering easy access to music with no wires and no digital music device to carry.

The Code M system is integrated into the shoe’s heel and tongue. Its memory gives the device the ability to hold up to 100 songs with a six-hour battery life. A USB port on the lateral side of the shoe allows downloading of music and re-charging of the battery. Another important element in the system is the wireless headset, which picks up music from the shoes as far away as 30 feet.

The company plans to sell Code M products primarily through the company’s normal retail outlets, but Willis also intends to market the shoes through electronics retailers and catalogs where consumers are comfortable buying technology-based products. Suggested retail for Dada’s basketball line employing the Code M system will be $199.99.

Source: Dada Footwear

This story verbatim from Podcasting News.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Mobilecasting Update: New App Publishes Podcasts from Pocket PCs

By jlewin

audiobay_publish.gifAcroDesign Technologies today released AudioBay,
a podcasting application for Windows Mobile Pocket PCs. The software
lets users record a podcast episode using the Pocket PC’s
built-in recorder and upload it to a Web over a wireless Internet
connection for immediate access by the public.

“We are excited to release the first software to allow mobile
users to create and publish podcasts,” said AcroDesign's Scott
Thibault. “AudioBay enables anyone to become a broadcaster with
their own portable recording studio.”

The software publishes podcasts to AcroDesign's servers. 12 months free hosting is included in the software purchase.

is the creation and distribution of audio files using RSS feeds,
letting users download individual podcasts or subscribe to a podcast
feed. AudioBay is designed to make this process simple and mobile:
users can record podcasts from anywhere and the software saves the
audio in a file and then uploads it to the AcroDesign
Technologies’ hosting service. As soon as the podcast is uploaded
it will be available to the public as an RSS feed to download and play
on desktop PCs or mobile MP3 players.

AudioBay retails for $24.95 and is available immediately

This piece verbatim from Podcasting News.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More on the PS3

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. announced today that it would launch PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3) in early November 2006 in Japan, North America and Europe simultaneously. With a monthly production capacity of one million units, SCEI will push forward a powerful product launch to spread the platform rapidly throughout the world, together with a strong and attractive lineup of PS3 game titles.

PS3 incorporates the final specifications of BD (Blu-ray Disc), and with the overwhelming computing power of PS3, it enables to playback BD software at a high bit rate.

With a maximum storage capacity of 50 GB (dual layer) and robust security, BD is a highly
anticipated storage medium that delivers digital entertainment content such as games and
movies at an unparalleled level of image quality.

PS3 is compatible with a vast lineup of television sets currently out in the market,
from standard-definition TV to full high-definition TV.

Users can also connect PS3 to high-speed broadband network through Gigabit Ethernet and comfortably enjoy a wide-range of rich and exciting content and services over the SCEI, together with the support and cooperation of game content creators around the world, will strongly promote the creation of a new world of computer entertainment

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Origami tale unfolds -- Microsoft's Ultra-Mobile PC revolution

Pic: Origami creator, Otto Berkes

Microsoft has just revealed details of its new gadget, the Origami. It's what Microsoft is calling an ultra-mobile pc, that operates entirely with a touchscreen. It's a fully-fledged computer, running Windows XP Tablet Edition, with superb handwriting recognition.

The machines will be able to run any of the normal software you know and love, including the life-changing MS OneNote. (Thanks Chris Pratley and team!)

The touchscreen responds to any kind of stylus, including your fingernail, which makes it very different from most of the tablet pcs on the market today (those all require special electronic stylusses). The screen on these babies is a 7", full-colour, 800x480px wunderkind. The machine weighs in at around a kilogram, and you can pretty much just chuck it in whatever bag you like. (Unlike a palmtop, it's not quite small enough to fit in a standard pocket.)

Though it doesn't have a built-in keyboard, you'll be able to use the bluetooth and wifi capabilities to link to one. Pop out the little stand, and the machine stands to attention, ready for you to treat it as if it were a standard desktop device.

Various companies will be manufacturing the units, including Samsung and`Asus

You can take a look at a video shot by the Microsoft Blogger, Robert Scoble.

I'm already a die-hard fan of the tablet pc, and own a Toshiba Tecra M4. But I've GOT to have an Origami. Gimmmmmmmmmmme one right now! (Robert Scoble, please take note!)

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator

From the outside, it's a security grill over your window; from the inside, it's handmade lace

Tired of being straitjacketed into your home by security products? Sweet Dreams Security in England offers a quirky alternative. The burglar bars people see from the outside are actually simply a lace curtain made to LOOK like burglar bars!!! They call the product 'Mrs Welcome'.

Technorati Tags: , ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator

Absence makes the glass glow fondly

LONDON (Reuters) - Researchers have come up with a novel way to keep long-distance lovers in touch -- high-tech wine glasses that glow warmly however far apart the pining couple are.

When either person picks up a glass, red light-emitting diodes glow on their partner's glass. When one puts a glass to their lips, the other glass glows brightly.

Distance is not a problem as liquid sensors and wireless links have been built in to the glasses.

Jackie Lee and Hyemin Chung, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's media lab in Boston, said communal drinking is a vital part of social interaction that lovebirds miss out on when separated.

Lee, whose findings were reported in New Scientist magazine Wednesday, said the wireless glasses really do "help people feel as if they were sharing a drinking experience together."

The loving cups are to be unveiled next month at a conference in Montreal on computer-human interaction.

Technorati Tags: , ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator


With one Flash memory stick being pretty much the same as another, manufacturers are coming up with nice add-ons for their latest models. SanDisk introduced a new technology platform called U3 with their recently announced Cruzer Titanium and Cruzer Micro flash drives. U3 technology will benefit those who work on more than one PC, because it creates a personalised workspace on each PC you plug your U3 Smart drive into. This personalised workspace includes software programs, personal preferences, personal files and data.
When plugged into a PC the U3 Launchpad is activated. From there four pre-installed U3 programs can be accessed, plus there is a link to the SanDisk U3 website to download other tried and trusted U3 applications.
A good example how these smart drives work is the SKYPE voice over internet protocol (VoIP) software that is loaded on the SanDisk U3 drives (SKYPE is software that can be used to call to any other SKYPE user’s PC for free. For a much reduced fee you can also make calls to overseas landlines and cell phones- go to for more info). Instead of having to install SKYPE on each PC you work from, you only need to plug in your SanDisk memory stick and activate SKYPE on the Launchpad to be good to go. No mess, no fuss.
Apart from SKYPE three other U3 programmes are also included. With CruzerSync you can copy your Microsoft Outlook data and email and write replies to them. As soon as you get back to your PC you only need to sync the programme with Outlook and all your mail will be sent. Avast! Antivirus software ensures virus-free data on your drive while SignUp Shield manages your passwords so that you only need one password to access all your secure sites.
Die-hard Mac fanatics won’t like the fact that the U3 software only works on Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP enabled PCs, but you’ll still be able to access your other data stored on it. When it comes to storage space the SanDisk range puts other memory sticks to shame. Their new range is small and light-weight with the Cruzer Micro model storing up to a massive 4Gb worth of data. The Cruzer Titanium is recommended for those living the hard-knock life, seeing that it’s made of a Titanium alloy that is crush-proof to more than 900 kilograms. It comes in a 1Gb and a 2Gb model.
There are currently more than 67 member companies involved in creating new U3 applications, so you should see more and more of these U3 smart drives in the near future.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The World’s Most Exotic Animals Join the “Zoo Tycoon 2” Family in 2006

Africa aficionados, Jurassic fanatics and aquatic admirers alike have cause for celebration as Microsoft Game Studios today confirmed the upcoming releases of “Zoo Tycoon® 2: African Adventure” and “Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania®” E10+ rated expansion packs, and downloadable “Zoo Tycoon 2: Dino Danger Pack” for Windows®, also E10+ rated, developed by Blue Fang Games LLC.

“With more than 5 million franchise units sold since the launch of ‘Zoo Tycoon’ in 2001, we are looking forward to shaking up the animal simulation space with these exciting new additions,” said Mike Fischer, general manager for global marketing at Microsoft Game Studios. “These expansion packs provide a fun and enlightening opportunity for families to game together, while also providing fresh and innovative content for current ‘Zoo Tycoon 2’ enthusiasts.”

“Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure,” available in May 2006, will allow virtual zookeepers to adopt and care for 20 new African animals from eight biomes, such as the adorable meerkat or the endangered Ethiopian wolf. Gamers of all ages can customize their dream zoo with dozens of new buildings, objects and gift items, including the full desert theme pack.

The new “African Adventure” expansion pack will also enable a safari-like adventure for the entire family as they view the animals in their exotic habitats in Zookeeper, Zoo Guest and Photo Safari modes, first introduced in “Zoo Tycoon 2.” Gamers can further extend the safari experience by venturing into their zoo in the new Jeep® Liberty vehicle with outrageous, optional animal-skin paint jobs. As always, children and parents can broaden their knowledge of the animal kingdom with the Zoopedia feature, which provides entertaining and interesting animal facts

“Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania” expansion pack and downloadable “Zoo Tycoon 2: Dino Danger Pack” will further expand the “Zoo Tycoon 2” experience later this year by introducing entirely new scenarios and themes. With a single click of a mouse, players will soon be able to transport the world’s most unique animal species into their homes.

“Zoo Tycoon 2,” the sequel to the wildly popular, award-winning “Zoo Tycoon,” continues to provide the ultimate zoo experience, challenging gamers to design and build the most vibrant zoo possible while working to ensure animal happiness, customer satisfaction and profitability. Allowing players to step directly into their zoo where they’ll be face-to-face with animals and guests, the sequel introduced a new zoom feature and immersive 3-D graphics. Since its launch in November 2004, “Zoo Tycoon 2” has continued the award-winning legacy of its predecessors and has been recognized by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, Children’s Software & New Media Revue, and Scholastic Parent & Child.

Monday, March 06, 2006

MyWireless Flexi

None of us like unpleasant surprises, and one of the most annoying is an unexpectedly high telephone bill at the end of the month.

Through a service called My Wireless Flexi, Sentech is eliminating spiralling Internet access charges with a range of services that allow users to manage these costs on a day-to-day basis – yet still enjoying the benefits of the high-speed, portable connection.

My Wireless Flexi contains data packages that include free megabytes –the amount of data allocated to the user- ranging from as low as 200mb up to 10gb or more. Users are able to choose the package that best suite their usage needs, subscribe and be online in minutes.

But because My Wireless Flexi provides an easy-to –use top-up service (with reminders if you are running short of capacity) extra capacity can be purchased at anytime without a penalty. That way, you have the flexibility to tailor the service to your personal needs, and the confidence in knowing that you are only paying for what you use.

Playstation 3

It's easy to understand why many gamers still don't know what to make of the PlayStation 3. To this day, Sony still swears up and down that the PS3 will be released this spring, and yet here we are in March, and much about Sony's next-generation console remains a mystery. What will the system cost? How powerful will it be? What kind of online structure will it have? Some of the answers are still elusive, but little by little the picture is becoming clearer, and as the console's release approaches, it seems like a good time to regroup and look over what we know, what we can speculate, and what we can only guess about the PlayStation 3.

What follows is a summary of everything we know about Sony's machine, and our best guess at what we can expect to hear more about later this year.

More with plenty details on the world's most wanted toy from the guys at


Well done to Tsotsi on bringing the Oscar home for best foreign film at the 78th Annual Accademy Awards. But this is a tech blog, so why am I talking about that? My mates at Engadget have a story on just how many cool toys these movie celebs get given for Oscar night. I am not sure why they do it, but I guess if you see a celeb snapping pics with a Kodak camera then you might go out and buy one yourself?

Read what these spoilt brats got last night...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

iPod Hi-Fi Review

Following the press release from Apple South Africa that we featured a couple of days ago, Gismodo has got his grubby hands on one and has a short review for you to read before you lay out your hard eraned cash.

On another note, there is talk that the new music cell phones could dent the Apple iPod's current lead in portable MP3 players. I know many more people who already have phones that can play music on headphones. All they need are better headphones and Bob's your Uncle. Why splash out another three grand for an iPod when your phone is just as good.


I have been using the PVR for over 2 months now and I can't imagine watching TV without it! Everything you read about it is true. It can do anything you imagine with it. Record while watching two channels, record while watching a recorded programme. If you want to do it, you can.

Hopefully in the future one will be able to plug a DVD writer into the unit so that one is able to back up recorded programmes, especially series.

One great thing is that you never have nothing to watch on TV. Even on Friday and Saturday evenings when the channels try damn hard to get you out of your home, you are able to catch up with everything that you have recorded.

I am still to use more that 30% of the 80 hours of hard drive space on the PVR and it's so easy to use, even my 5 year old son knows how to record, play back and pause live TV.

Sports fans will love the PVR as you can hit record on your favourite channel and watch another or go out or whatever you want.

Drawback? No backup, yet. Also, the hard drive is on all the time unless you set it to go to sleep. If you watch TV during the time the drive is asleep, it takes a couple of minutes to switch on. I don't like waiting. Another problem is that if two programmes overlap by a couple of minutes, you can't set it to start the 2nd programme a little later, so you tend to not be able to record it at all.

I would also like a search funtion in the programme menu and I would like to be able to set the PVR to record all of a programme. For example, when ER is on, record it! You have to do it all manually which is not great as I miss programmes.

If you have the cash, buy one!

Friday, March 03, 2006


Great news. From Wednesday, 8 March, there will be massive prizes being given away here on The Technology Circle. Symantec have given us a huge amount of software to give you for being such loyal fans. Be sure to come back next Wednesday to win big prizes to make you machine just that much safer.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Vodacom is rewarding its loyal Prepaid customers by introducing Vodacom Talking Points - a loyalty awards system whereby recharge points can be accumulated to exchange for call discounts, SMS bundles and free cellphones.

"As of January this year Vodacom's South African customer base comprised of more than 15.8 million prepaid customers, reflecting an increase of 12.2% since 30 September 2005. This kind of growth rate was made possible by our Prepaid customers' loyalty and with Vodacom Talking Points, we are saying thank you to all these customers", says Shameel Joosub, Managing Director of Vodacom South Africa.

Every time customers recharge with Vodacom's Prepaid recharge vouchers, they earn Vodacom Talking Points. Customers have been earning Vodacom Talking Points since 1 November 2005 and can find out how many Vodacom Talking Points they've earned by calling 082 2411 082 (free from a Vodacom cellphone) or by registering online at Customers will be able to exchange Vodacom Talking Point for rewards from 5 March 2006 onwards.

Another way Vodacom is rewarding its customers, including Contract, TopUp and Prepaid customers, is with the Yebo Millionaires competition. The Yebo Millionaires competition rewards customers with a chance to win up to R1 million a week and to win prizes such as R500 000 in cash, a Ford Focus car or recharge vouchers. Vodacom customers receive two free SMSs per week to send any 9 letters of the alphabet to 32082, the Yebo Millionaires SMS line. During the TV show, the winning letters will be announced and the customer who has a 9 letter match can win R1 million.

Vodacom Talking Points can accumulate for a period of 18 months in monthly buckets similar to Free Bundled Minutes. Any Talking Points that are older than 18 months and that have not been exchanged for free rewards will be forfeited.

"To become a Vodacom Prepaid customer, customers can buy any one of the Vodacom Prepaid starter packs at various participating outlets and start recharging as soon as possible," Joosub says.

SiteAdvisor plug-in warns surfers of dodgy sites

Web surfers can now get a little free advice on the trustworthiness of the sites they visit, thanks to a new browser plug-in released Wednesday by Boston's SiteAdvisor Inc.

The SiteAdvisor software, which works with both the Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers, draws on information compiled from millions of automated Web site visits to let users know whether visiting these sites is likely to yield annoyances such as spam, spyware or computer viruses.

SiteAdvisor warns users when they are visiting untrustworthy Web sites by placing a red "X" in the bottom corner of the browser. A yellow exclamation mark means that users should be cautious because tests have revealed some issues with the site, and a green checkmark means that the site is trustworthy.

With the Google, MSN, and Yahoo search pages, SiteAdvisor actually superimposes its ratings icons right on top of items in the search results, making it easy for users to see when they may be on the verge of clicking on a dubious Web site.

SiteAdvisor believes that unwitting Web surfers make more than 1 billion visits to untrustworthy "red" sites every month.

Cape Town and free internet

It's the fuiniest thing I have ever read. Western Cape Premier, Ebrahim Rasool spent the morning this morning in Delft in the Cape telling all who would listen, just how brilliant Cape Town is for becoming the 1st city on South Africa to offer free internet access in all public libraries. BRILLIANT. NOW IF YOU COULD JUST GET THE ELECTRICITY TO WORK!!!


iPod Hi-Fi

Apple today announced iPod Hi-Fi, an all-new highfidelity works seamlessly with the iPod to redefine the home stereo system. iPod Hi-Fi delivers breathtaking acoustic performance and room-filling sound unlike any other speaker system designed for the iPod in an innovative, all-in-one design that can be powered from a wall socket or by batteries. iPod Hi-Fi is easily controlled by the Apple Remote for an amazing stereo experience in any room in the house.

iPod Hi-Fi has been designed and engineered by Apple to deliver unrivaled sound quality, realistic sound imaging and optimal audio performance. Its clean, all-in-one design features a unique isolated enclosure system that includes two custom designed wide-range speakers and a tuned, ported bass system, minimizing vibration while maximizing sound quality and allowing users to listen to their favourite music as it was intended with amazing sound clarity and rich, deep bass. iPod Hi-Fi features handles to easily transport your stereo anywhere, a removable front grille with precision-mounting clips, touchsensitive volume control buttons, the Apple Remote for easy song and volume control from anywhere in the room, a universal power supply incorporated into the all-in-one design so there’s no bulky power brick to weigh it down, and the
ability to power iPod Hi-Fi from batteries for true portability.

Featuring seamless integration with all iPods with a dock connector, iPod Hi-Fi automatically recharges your iPod while docked and displays features of iPod that maximise the iPod Hi-Fi experience such as Tone Control, Large Album Art mode and volume mirroring. iPod Hi-Fi includes a dual-purpose 3.5-mm auxiliary input that accepts either analogue or digital signals for easy connection to a wide range of audio sources. iPod Hi-Fi is compact and can be powered by batteries, providing more flexibility than any traditional home stereo and is perfect for use not only at home, but just about anywhere you go without compromising sound quality.

Apple today also announced new luxurious leather cases designed specifically for the fifth generation iPod and iPod nano models. The Leather Case for iPod is made with fine, hand-crafted Italian leather and features a soft and durable interior lining for a secure fit, making it the perfect carrying case for iPod or iPod nano.

Pricing & Availability iPod Hi-Fi includes the Apple Remote, a removable grille, an AC power cord and 10 Universal Dock adapters, and is available for R2 999.00. The Leather Case for iPod is available in 30GB and 60GB models as well as an iPod nano model, each for R880.00. iPod Hi-Fi and all models of the Leather Case for iPod will be available soon through the South African Authorised Apple Online Store (, Apple Centres and Apple Authorised Resellers. ( Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning desktop and notebook computers, OS X operating system, and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital music revolution with its iPod portable music players and iTunes online music store.