Thursday, June 29, 2006

Vodacom customer service gets it very badly wrong -- what will they do to rectify this?

Wow. What appalling service from Vodacom. I'm so angry I can hardly type.

Here's the chain of events that started this...

I'm sick in bed with flu right now. An incoming sms beep woke me up. 'Cool,' I thought, 'my girlfriend.'

It wasn't my girlfriend. It was Bogart Rosebank, a clothing store, with the following message:

'Our Winter Sale has started at Bogart Rosebank and Woodlands Pretoria, All shoes up to 25% and selected clothing items, offers at Eli, selected items up to 25%.'

Now this is not the first Bogart sms I've received. I've probably gotten at least 20 of them in the past months. Now I've phoned Bogart before to ask them to remove my cellphone number from their spam list. Aside from the fact that I didn't ASK to receive their spam in the first place, I'm not in their target market, and I despise their clothing.

So today when this sms came, I tried replying to the sms. But for some reason, that option wasn't
available. 'Odd,' I thought.

I checked message details. Instead of a number in the number field, a company name appears. It's a company called Logic SMS.

I phoned Vodacom's directory listings service, and asked for Logic SMS's telephone number. It doesn't exist. I phoned Telkom and asked the same thing. Logic SMS doesn't exist in their books.

So I decided to do the next best thing. To cut this off at the source. Vodacom is the
company ALLOWING these spam smss to get through, so they're obliged to make them

I was on hold for 17 minutes before a pleasant lady called Rowy spoke to me.

'Hi Rowy,' I said. And I explained that I wanted Vodacom to stop this spam from being allowed to get to my phone.

She couldn't help me. At first she suggested that I should phone Autopage Cellular, my service
provider. I explained that this has nothing to do with me or my service provider, and has to do with the company allowing sms spam to get through the lines, namely Vodacom. She saw it differently. 'You need to phone Bogart themselves,' she explained.

'May I speak to your supervisor?' I said.

And I got through to Charlton. He was also very pleasant. But he was toeing the party line. 'Vodacom isn't responsible for the sms. Bogart is. You need to speak to them to get you off the list.'

'Nope. You guys are the people who let the spam through, so you guys are the ones who need to stop it. I do not have any opt-out options, which you guys are obliged to provide. So I'm
holding you responsible. May I speak to your supervisor please?'

So I got through to Nita Rudman. 'Nita,' I said, 'I am receiving spam smss from a company, and I'd like Vodacom to make this stop.'

'Impossible,' she said. 'You have to phone the company that's sending the smss.'

'May I speak with your supervisor, please?'

'Can you explain WHY you want to speak to my supervisor?'

'Yes. I'd like your supervisor to take action and make the spam smss stop.'

'I've already exlpained to you that it's not Vodacom's responsibility to do this...'

'May I speak to your supervisor please?'

'Only if you explain why you want to speak to my supervisor.'

'I've already explained, and I've now been on the phone for thirty-seven minutes, and I want to speak to your supervisor please. What is your supervisor's name?'


'May I speak with Xavier, please?'

'Only when you've explained what you want to talk to Xavier about.'

This continued, on and on and on. At a certain point, I said, 'Nita, are you familiar with a technique called 'broken record'? That's where I repeat my request over and over until you put me through to Xavier?'

'Yes, I'm familiar with the technique and I can also use it,' she said. And proceeded to use it.

I got her name. And asked for her email address. 'I'm not going to give you my email address,' she said. 'I'll give you the email address of customer care.'

'I don't need customer care's email address, Nita, I need yours, because I want to cc you into the correspondence I have with your superiors.'

'Well you can't have my email address. You can have my employee number. It's 9177.'

'Is this call being recorded?' I asked. 'Cos I hope your superiors listen to it.

And then I put the phone down.

And composed this blog post, which I'm emailing to She's Group Executive -- Corporate Communications at the company, and I'm sure she'll be saddened by the
poor training her staff are receiving at dealing with customers such as me.

Dot... here are my requests:
1. Please stop Bogart/LogicSMS spam from entering my phone. The number is 082 659 3165.
2. Make it possible for all South Africans to opt out of spam.
3. Train your staff to handle queries like this.
4. Please listen to the phone recording of my chat with Nita, and note how awfully she treated me.
5. Please ask Nita Rudman, 9177, to email me an apology for the way she spoke to me.
6. Please get back to me with news about what's being done.

Thanks very much.
Blue skies

This post appears on Coffee-Shop Schmuck and The Technology Circle.

UPDATE: Friday 30 June 2006, around 3pm: I get a phone call from a service technician at Vodacom. He asks me for all of the details that were on the spam sms. I get the message up on my phone, and give him what he needs. I still haven't received any official communications from Vodacom besides this one. I'll update as and when.

Another iBurst Plan....

If thier last idea with the dashboard was a little hocky, the this one actually makes sense!!!

Wireless broadband provider iBurst is the first South African broadband operator to implement Additional Data Carry Over (ADCO). This enables customers to carry over the unused portions of their monthly data top-up bundles to the following month.

ADCO is available immediately meaning all unused additional data bought in June 2006 will be carried over until the end of July.

"We're listening to our customers to determine how to provide a better deal for them and South African broadband customers in general," said Thami Mtshali, CEO of iBurst.

ADCO does not apply to the data included as standard in iBurst packages, but rather to any additional data bundles purchased as data top ups.

iBurst sells additional data in bundles from 512 megabytes to 3 gigabytes costing between 11c and 27c per megabyte, depending on the bundle and volume purchased.

"That a company only 15 months old is the first to implement what should've been obvious to any broadband provider interested in providing a fair deal to customers speaks volumes," said Mr Mtshali.

Data can only be carried over to the month following that in which it was bought.

iBurst provides high-speed wireless broadband Internet access so reliable that many of its subscribers have been connected continuously for over six months without a single disconnection.

For further information regarding iBurst and its range of value-added services, the company's call centre can be reached 24 hours a day either via telephone (0860 IBURST or 0860 927 4357) or email (

A Power Socket for Coach Class (Do It Yourself)

With airline perks going the way of the dodo, here's one way to get a little extra for the price of your ticket. The Inflight Power recharger uses the trickle of electricity coming from your airplane seat's headphone jack to charge iPods and other portable devices.

The Inflight Power cable has a 1/8-inch headphone plug on one end and a U.S.B. jack on the other. When plugged into your seat's headphone jack, the cable turns the electricity coming from the plane's audio system into usable power. Adapters compatible with iPods, BlackBerries and any of about 700 other devices allow you to recharge almost every hand-held gadget known to man. Your devices will charge much more slowly than when connected to a regular outlet, but if the flight is long enough that may not matter.

The cables start at $35 for a basic U.S.B. jack similar to the ones found on laptops and PC's. A version that includes an iPod adapter costs $45. The cables and adapters are available online at

While coach class may be cramped, you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that you are getting a similarly downsize version of the free power sockets enjoyed by the passengers in business class.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Put the Sun to work

As a huge fan of renewable energy, Popular Mechanics have an article on how you can build your own Solar Water Heater.

As millions of Capetonians will attest, there’s only so much electricity to go around. When grid power is interrupted for whatever reason – perhaps as a result of huge urban growth, or when a stray bolt falls into a nuclear reactor – things start falling apart, sometimes literally.

At times like this, the most unlikely people speak darkly of an imminent breakdown in society, start hoarding cans of baked beans, and speculate on the practicality of a cabin in the woods powered by solar energy and biological waste.

That is from the site that will tell you what you need, how to do it and even where to put it. ON YOUR ROOF!!!

Check it out....

IBM are fast, VERY FAST!!

IBM systems account for 243 of the 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world and more than half the total processing power according to the just-released Top 500 Supercomputer Sites list. IBM's Blue Gene/L at Lawrence Livermore tops the list with an unprecedented sustained performance of 280.6 Teraflops, or trillions of floating point calculations per second.

Bevan Lock, IBM South African Systems Evangelist, says IBM's industry-leading performance was propelled by its strength across diverse computing platforms: growth in the number of Blue Gene systems (from 19 to 25, compared with the previous list), Opteron clusters (from 8 to 33), and System p-based machines (from 54 to 58), including the debut on the Top 500 list of the first announced BladeCenter JS21-based supercomputer - the 15 teraflop system at Indiana University.

Joining Blue Gene/L in the TOP500 list's top three slots are IBM's own Blue Gene Watson system at 91.29 Teraflops, and the recently unveiled ASC Purple supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with 75.76 Teraflops.

In related news, on June 22 the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced that their scientists had used the world's most powerful computer, Blue Gene/L, to run a scientific code at a sustained performance level of 207 teraflops - the highest performing application ever run in the history of computing.

The application is used by Livermore scientists to understand the complex interactions of metals at the subatomic level and is a key element in the NNSA's ASC mission to protect and maintain the safety and efficacy of the United States' nuclear stockpile.

Other key indicators of IBM's supercomputing leadership include:

· IBM Leads the list with world's #1 supercomputer (BlueGene/L for US Department of Energy/NNSA/LLNL - 280.6 TFlops)

· #2 BlueGene/W at Watson Research

· #3 ASC Purple at LLNL

· Leads list with 243 entries (48.6%)

· Leads installed aggregate throughput with over 1,514 out of 2,790 Teraflops (54.3%)

· Most systems in Top 10 by any single vendor (4)

· Most systems in Top 20 with 11 systems (55%)

· Most systems in Top 100 systems with 46 (46%)

· Most cluster systems with 179 of 360 (49.7%)

The 'Top 500 Supercomputer Sites' is compiled and published by supercomputing experts Jack Dongarra from the University of Tennessee, Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of NERSC/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim (Germany). The entire list can be viewed at

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Engadget reports on something we need in South Africa... to keep tabs on crooked cops!!!

Engadget reports on Britain's innovative use of technology to track down illegal drivers. Can we ask the UK police to make a special version for South African's to track down crooked cops?
-- Note by Roy Blumenthal

U.K. uses license plate scanners to crack down on illegal drivers

By Donald Melanson

streets are about to get a bit less welcoming for anyone driving
illegally as soon as a planned fleet of vans packing license plate
scanners hit the roads. The vans, operated by the NCP car-parking
group, will be on the hunt for vehicles belonging to owners who haven't
paid their car taxes, and will follow a zero-tolerance policy, clamping
and impounding cars on sight, and crushing them if the driver doesn't
cough up the £80 release fee within seven days. Ouch, couldn't they
just sell 'em? At least then the owner can buy back his or her car for
thousands of pounds more than the release fee, but for thousands of
pounds less than what a new vehicle would set them back. Deets on the
specific system being used don't seem to have been made available, but
it sounds similar to the so-bad-it's-good-named Mobile Plate Hunter 900 put to use last year in California to catch stolen cars.

This story brought to you verbatim from Engadget.

Engadget -- Robots on guard duty at World Cup

By Donald Melanson

It seems that not all of our robot friends are lucky enough to be able to kick back and play a bit of soccer of their own
in Germany this month. No, some are stuck with the lowly task of
protecting us humans, with eleven Linux-based robots from Robowatch
Technologies providing both indoor and outdoor surveillance at Berlin's
Olympic Stadium every night until the final World Cup game on July 9th.
The outdoor robots, known as ORFO, use GPS to patrol an area up to two
kilometers away from the control center and pack thermal cameras able
to detect intruders by their body heat. Alas, it appears they are
unarmed -- which is probably for the best, you know, in the grand
scheme of things. The indoor robots, dubbed MORSO, are deployed
throughout the stadium, equipped with video cameras, radar sensors,
temperature gauges, and infrared scanners able to detect movement or
any changes to the stadium. The robots also use 3G technology to
communicate with the control center and, presumably, to watch some TV
on their breaks. Here's the full story.

We scored this piece verbatim from Engadget.

Engadget -- Migraine zapper stops headaches before they start

By Donald Melanson

BBC reports
that a group of researchers lead by Dr. Yousef Mohammad of
Ohio State University Medical Center have developed a device that can
stop migraine pain at the first signs of a headache -- and, no, it
doesn't work by clobbering someone over the head with it. The device,
called the TMS, actually works by creating a short-lived
electromagnetic field that interrupts the "aura phase" of a migraine
before it leads to a serious headache. The researchers also say that
they device can be effective in treating nausea, and noise and light
sensitivity, but that further study is necessary before the device gets
put into widespread use. Still, the early results look fairly
encouraging, with 69% of the patients treated with the TMS reporting
mild or no pain, compared to 48% of those in the placebo group.
Stranger still, however, is the 2% of the control group who experienced
exploding-headitis when using this device. Eh, go figure.

This post
reproduced verbatim from Engadget.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Keyboards, like you have NEVER seen...

So, you think you know a thing or two about keybards. The ones you type on, not the musical ones. That would be Ninjah's job. He is a little slow, I know.

This site has a list and then some, of some of the newest and wierdest keyboards out there. From Floating Arms to the Kinesis Maxim, if you want to know more about alternate ways of getting letters into the PC, or MAC, then this site is the spot to visit....


Electronic Arts announced that Need for Speed™ Carbon is in development and will hit the streets this November. Developed by EA Black Box in Vancouver, British Columbia, Need for Speed Carbon delivers the next generation of adrenaline-filled street racing and will challenge players to face the ultimate test of driving skill on treacherous canyon roads.

“We pride ourselves on our ability to reinvent the franchise and continually uncover new and exciting trends in car culture. Canyon Racing is a real test of a driver’s skill and we think it provides a fantastic game play opportunity to lean into,” said Larry LaPierre, the game's executive producer.

What starts in the city is settled in the canyons as Need for Speed Carbon immerses you into the world’s most dangerous and adrenaline-filled form of street racing. You and your crew must race in an all-out war for the city, risking everything to take over your rivals’ neighborhoods one block at a time. As the police turn up the heat, the battle ultimately shifts to Carbon Canyon, where territories and reputations can be lost on every perilous curve. Need for Speed Carbon delivers the next generation of customization giving you the power to design and tweak your crew’s cars in every way using the ground-breaking new Autosculpt™ technology. Represent your car class, your crew, and your turf in Need for Speed Carbon, the next revolution in racing games.

Need for Speed Carbon will be available for Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and Wii™ as well as the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® videogame system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube™, Nintendo DS™, Game Boy® Advance, PSP™ (PlayStation Portable) handheld entertainment system, PC and mobile. More information can be found at

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Use your Gmail account as an external harddrive for backup or data-portability

Have you backed up your data recently? Have you done the right thing and backed it up off-site?

Let's paint you a picture of what happened to a friend of mine. He backed all of his stuff up on DVD-roms. He put these DVD-roms in a shelf next to his computer. Then went to Cape Town for a month. When he got home, burglars had cleaned the place out. Including the backup disks.

Now what was ON those backup disks, you might ask?

All of the music he had ever written and recorded over a period of twenty years.

The lesson? Back your stuff up OFF-SITE! Somewhere the burglars or the fire or the flood can't reach.

Here's a little hack that allows you to do this using my favourite paradigm-shift of the decade... Gmail. Someone's written an application that converts your Gmail account into a harddrive.

If you don't know anything about Gmail, the one-line summary is that it's a free online email service, like Yahoo or Hotmail, but it's run by Google, is awesomely innovative and paradigm-shifting, and allows you around 2.5gigs of storage online, and this keeps on increasing.

This hack works by seamlessly sending emails to Gmail containing your data, and then offering an interface in your file-explorer window showing Gmail as just another one of your harddrives. You don't even realise that it's interfacing with Gmail. It all happens in the background. As far as your computer is concerned, it's just like any plug and play external media you might plug into your computer.

Which brings up a very good point... what happens if your computer is stolen with the hack on it? How do you access your Gmail-harddrive from another computer? Easy... just pop the hack on your USB memory stick, and install it on some other computer. Whammo! That computer will see your Gmail drive as if it never left home.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

iBurst have a new Toy

iBurst subscribers are now able to connect to wireless broadband in retro speedster style after the operator launched its new dashboard. The dashboard is the software interface subscribers use to connect to the iBurst network.

"The racing car theme reflects the maximum iBurst download speed of 1Mbps that subscribers regularly experience," said
Thami Mtshali, iBurst CEO

The dashboard also provides subscribers with shortcuts to frequently-used applications and websites. Shortcut buttons include "Launch Internet Browser", "Launch iBurst Website", "iBurst Webmail", "Purchase Additional Bandwidth", "New Email" and "Additional ISP Services" like domain hosting and additional mailboxes.

The dashboard experience centres around three primary gauges using the kind of needles commonly found on motor car dashboards to indicate download speed, upload speed and signal strength. "Because iBurst is a transparent company we've made it easy for subscribers to control their broadband costs by effectively monitoring their total, current and previous data usage," said Mtshali.

Mtshali noted that iBurst subscribers are able to determine connection speeds available to them by performing a quick network speed test at

iBurst provides high-speed wireless broadband Internet access so reliable that some users have been connected continuously for over six months.

For further information regarding iBurst and its range of value-added services, the company's call centre can be reached 24 hours a day either via telephone (0860 IBURST or 0860 927 4357) or email (

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

We are so backwards here in SA

Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC) increased the speed at which its subscribers can connect to the Internet in an effort to protect its customer base.

The Bethpage, N.Y., cable provider said in a press release Wednesday that its Optimum Online customers will be able to download information off the Internet at 15 megabits a second, up from a prior speed of 10 Mbps. The upload speed also doubled to 2 Mbps. In addition, Cablevision unveiled a premium 30 Mbps offering called Optimum Online Boost.

In the ongoing battle for high-speed Internet customers, the cable providers are taking a different tact than the telephone companies. Whereas the Bells have aggressively slashed the prices of their digital subscriber line service - AT&T Inc. (T) has gone as low as $13 a month - the cable companies have been more resistant to price moves and have instead opted for increased speeds.

Cablevision's Optimum Online service costs between $45 and $50 a month, although there is a $30 introductory offer. Optimum Online Boost costs an additional $9 to $15, depending on what other services are bundled along with Internet access.

The cable and telephone companies have been increasingly encroaching in each others' territory, with the cable companies offering a Web-based phone service and the phone companies investing in a rival video service.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Siemens equips high-tech stadiums for the Soccer World Cup

With all eyes centered on Germany for the 2006 Soccer World Cup, here in South Africa, the focus lies on the next one in 2010 - and the preparations necessary for the country to successfully host and stage this premier event in world football.

One company that is able to offer solutions and services required is Siemens Southern Africa, whose German parent has installed a Siemens safety management system in nearly every World Cup soccer stadium in Germany. As the official technology partner of the German Football Association (DFB), thanks largely to other innovations from Siemens, the 12 World Cup stadiums are among the most modern in the world.

Siemens has combined fire, smoke, and motion detectors on a single, centrally-controlled platform in its new safety management system. The modular system can be configured and adapted to the individual needs of each stadium.

Adapting and integrating new technologies isn't always easy in every stadium, as the experience with the communications technologies in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin proved. During the modernisation of the sports arena, which first opened in 1936, strict historic building codes had to be observed, and the new technology was not permitted to detract from the original appearance of the sandstone building. As a result, the modernisation is nearly imperceptible.

Thanks to Siemens engineers, the membrane ceiling of the stadium conceals the sound system, which consists of 2,300 loudspeakers, along with the bulk of the safety, media and communications technology with its more than 300 kilometres of cable.

Also invisible, but nonetheless highly effective, is the communications system installed by Siemens in the World Cup stadium in Dortmund. Using a WLAN system, visitors can surf the Internet with their pocket PCs or use other special services. And soon, visitors will be able to access the latest Bundesliga information and order drinks right from their seats.

Journalists will also be able to take advantage of other services immediately following the big event. A special multimedia system developed by Siemens allows reporters to use their mobile equipment to transmit images and sound directly from the stadium. A broadcasting van, which used to be necessary to link the journalists to their networks, is no longer needed.

Monday, June 19, 2006

DVB-H, do you need it?

Do you need to carry a TV around in your pocket? THat was the 1st question I asked myself when I was given a demo Sagem Mobile TV device from Multichoice to test thier new Mobile TV offering.

The answer, in a nutshell, is NO. Unless you wait around in public transport for hours or you are one of those proffesional que waiters, then there isn't enough time. We don't have the public transport that Europe or the US has and I am not a proffesional quer. (Is there such a word?)

The screen is too small to view while driving, in fact, the screen is too small to see the score on the top left corner while watching a soccer match. Maybe I am a radio man at heart but I found that I woud rather listen to the radio commontary of a soccer match than watch it live on a tiny tiny screen.

The offerings from Multichoice is limited at the moment with the Fashion TV Channel being changed to a news update from the SABC. Watching or catching up with news is great on the device, but the picyire is too small, again, to reade any of the additional information that the news channels scroll across the screen.

Don't get me wrong, the picture quality is supperb. The images are sharp and the resolution is great. It's just too small. Elswhere in this blog, I wrote about what these small screens will do to our eyes. Maybe SAGEM should have had a look at that before releasing this phone.

As a phone, the SAGEM, My Mobile isn't great. I am a dedicated Nokia man and the change to Sagem was difficult. To put it one way, it's CUTE. I don't like CUTE phones. I am a business man, I don't want clever boops and bops when I press the buttons. I don't want silly ringtones or cute pictures on my screen. All I want ia a ring and a phone that I can watch TV on.

Signal coverage is limited at the moment with only the inner ring of JHB getting a signal and that is weak at the best of times. Unless you are standing in the Multichoice building, actually, outside the building. The phone struggles inside.

I have a free one, would I pay for one and what will the paying structure be? Who knows.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Top 10 Strangest Mini-Sized Devices

Who says that the world is getting smaller? TecheBlog does. Here they list the 10 strangest mini-devices. They really are strange but rest assured, you will be seeing them in you home and office very soon.

My favourite is the miniPC. Measuring 2x2 inches, it comes with all of the bells and whistles. The onoy problem is that you might lose it!

Friday, June 16, 2006

From Podcasting News -- iPods on a Roll for Better or Worse by jlewin

Atech Flash Technology has introduced a new iPod accessory that may make you wonder if maybe there just aren't enough iPod accessories already.


The iCarta is a toilet paper dispenser and iPod
player in one. You'll be relieved to know that the dock comes with two
USB ports and also works as a recharger, letting charge your iPod and
listen to music while you download.

Unless you're flush, though, you may want to think twice before taking your iPod to the bathroom.


  • 4 Integrated high performance moisture-free speakers deliver exceptional clarity and high quality sound
  • Charges your iPod while playing music
  • Audio selector allows you to play iPod shuffle or other audio device
  • Integrated Bath tissue holder that can be easily folded as a stereo dock
  • Requires AC Power (AC Adapter included)
  • Easy to remove from Wall Mount


Dimension (W x H x D):

8.25in x 3.68in x 7.12in

210mm x 93mm x 181mm

Power Requirements:

12.5 V, 1.25A AC adapter


2 x tweeters for highs

2 x woofers for lows

The iCarta retails for $99.95 and is compatible with all iPod with dock connectors.

This story comes to you unedited straight from Podcasting News.

From Podcasting News -- Jeepers Creepers: Video Display Peepers by jlewin

ezGear, a manufacturer of portable audio accessories, has introduced ezVision Video iWear, portable video display glasses for video iPods and video gaming systems.


The eyewear is designed to connect to any VCR, DVD player or
portable video player and provide personal audio and visual playback.


  • Wide Screen View – according to the company, ezVision video
    glasses simulate a 50 inch wide screen view at an 8.5 foot distance.
  • Light Weight – Weighing in at a mere 68 grams, the ezVision can be taken anywhere.
  • Privacy
    and Courtesy - The ezVision is easy to connect to any VCR, DVD player,
    cable or satellite box, or portable video player. Using the ezVision,
    you can enjoy them with out bothering others.
  • Built in Stereo
    Audio – The ezVision also includes high quality audio earphones giving
    the ezVision the complete multi-media experience.
  • Eight (8) hour Battery Life – According to ezGear, you can watch movies, music videos, or TV shows for up to 8 hours.
  • iPod Ready – The ezVision comes with a iPod interconnect cable so you can connect your iPod Video to the unit.
  • Video Gaming – You can use the ezVision with the Xbox, NES, or Sony systems.
  • Privacy
    – The ezVision offers great privacy. Whether it is on a plane, at home,
    in your college dorm, or the soldier’s barracks, you can watch
    anything, anytime in complete privacy. The ezVision is also great for
    watching outdoors. The private screen is free from glare from sunlight,
    making it easy to see the screen day or night.
  • DVD Players –
    Using the ezVision RCA cable, the ezVision can also be used with any
    DVD player. Great for long trips, flights, or for your kids in the back
    of your car.

The ezVision Video iWear retails for $399.98.

This post comes to you direct and unedited from Podcasting News.

Look Out Apple....

Software giant Microsoft Corp. is laying the groundwork to compete against Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod digital entertainment device and iTunes service, sources familiar with the discussions and plans said on Friday.

Microsoft has held licensing discussions with the music industry to create its own music service, the sources told Reuters.

The Redmond, Washington-based developer of software that runs most of the world's PCs is also demonstrating an entertainment device that plays videos and music, the sources said.

It is unclear when Microsoft plans to launch, they said.

Microsoft's software technology has provided the copyright framework for a handful of subscription music services globally. But these services have failed to topple Apple's dominance in music and device sales, despite well financed backers including Yahoo Inc..

Apple and Microsoft were not immediately reachable for comment.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Lifehacker -- Download of the Day: FEBE and CLEO for backing up important Firefox stuff

Windows only: The Firefox Extension Backup Extension (FEBE) lets you backup all of your extensions, themes, bookmarks, preferences, and even cookies (you can pick and choose if you don't want to backup everything), while it's counterpart, CLEO (Compact Library Extension Organizer) bundles everything into a single .xpi file that you can install on any installation of Firefox.

FEBE and CLEO together do the job of my recent Firefox extension packs feature - but the whole process seems a bit easier. The extensions are still a little buggy (I had trouble getting CLEO to work), but this is a nice step forward in making extension packages that are easy to move around and install. You can package up all of your extensions, save them some place handy (I'd probably keep one in my Gmail), and install the .xpi any time you've got a fresh profile or install of Firefox.

Windows only, for now. Firefox Extension Backup Extension (]

The PocketMod -- the free, disposable personal organiser

I'm a total sucker for useful gadgetry, especially when it involves paper-folding.

The PocketMod is housed on a website that allows you to use a single sheet of A4 to make a thoroughly useful and useable personal organiser. (Naturally, this is for people who are particularly keen on using paper instead of electronic diaries.)

When you head to the site, you get to custom-design your own organiser, suited to your particular needs. It's a drag and drop site, using Flash as its backbone. So you'll need to have a Flash Player plugin installed. (It'll help you install one if you don't have one.)

The best thing about this little 'booklet' for me is that the centre pages have a little 'pocket' for you to store parking tickets and stuff like that. Beautiful use of high-tech for low-tech ends.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Siemens develops small telephone network with peer-to-peer

Siemens has developed a telephone system that doesn't require a switchboard and will make costly installations and maintenance work on telephone systems a thing of the past.

Intended primarily for small companies with up to 16 telephones, the HiPath BizIP telephones are directly connected to one another and communicate much like participants in an Internet file-sharing service (peer-to-peer, P2P) where computers exchange data without detours through a central server.

The developers at Siemens shifted the switchboard function to the telephones themselves, where users simply connect BizIP-410 model phones to an existing network. The phones recognise one another via the integrated peer-to-peer protocols and automatically configure themselves. New telephones connected to the network will send an electronic notice to the other phones, and each telephone receives the next free internal telephone numbers. The configuration data is stored on the telephones.

The P2P protocol requires only 400 kilobytes of memory. If one telephone fails, the data that was stored on it is provided by other phones, which makes the system very reliable.

The telephones offer the usual functions, including three-line conferencing, call forwarding and call hold. Users can also place calls with voice-over-IP. An Access Device from Siemens connects the existing company network with the Internet, making it possible to download updates onto the individual phones. This small box - called BizIP AD 20 - provides an Ethernet connection for broadband Internet access.

In addition to a VoIP-compatible router that gives all phones access to a VoIP provider, the BizIP Access Device also features two ISDN ports, allowing users to place and receive calls via a conventional fixed-line network. Analog devices also can be hooked up to the system: two ports are available for connecting a fax machine or a door intercom.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The HP Compaq dx2200 Microtower is HP’s most affordable entry level business PC yet

In line with HP’s commitment to empowering South Africans through its Advanced Local Configuration (ALC), the company has launched its newest addition to the 2000 Series in the business desktop lineup, the dx2200. Made possible through its partnership with BEE company, Matomo Technologies, the locally assembled PC gives customers access to the reliability and international quality of a tier one brand coupled with the high-standards of local manufacturing that highlights the abundance of solid local skills.

According to Stefan Minihold, ALC Programme Manager, HP, 70% of the company’s desktop build is through their BEE partner. “To accommodate increasing production demands, Matomo has recently moved to new premises,” says Minihold. “The larger premises have provided more opportunities for more South Africans to offer their skills. Of course, the local support that HP is able to offer its customers is a key factor in the success of the ALC,” says Minihold. “The fact that Matomo assembles the PC enables HP to react faster to customer needs. So, South African customers ordering the dx2200 can select from one of several pre-determined configurations, or build their own customised version, and have it delivered within a 72 hour turn around time!”

The HP Compaq dx2200 microtower delivers a workhorse of a PC comprising great technology, outstanding performance and versatility to the commercial PC market. “The dx2200 raises the benchmark for entry-level computers and, because it’s assembled locally, goes above and beyond what is typically offered by PC vendors in this price range,” says Minihold.

Ideal for small and medium sized businesses with tight budgets and real-world demands the dx2200 packs in a full menu of benefits in power, reliability, and task-oriented components:

  • Intel Pentium 4 processors with Hyper-Threading Technology, 65 nano-metre architecture, and a full 2MBs of level 2 cache can speed through daily office tasks. This next generation PC can also be configured with Intel’s Celeron line of value-oriented processors.
  • Microsoft Windows XP operating systems help ensure the system stays up and running 24/7 and offers the application programs necessary to handle the most demanding business needs.
  • A full range of the latest optical drives, including a DVD writer featuring the HP Lightscribe technology, is all a part of the dx2200 arsenal.
  • The dx2200 includes integrated graphics from ATI. For graphic requirements that go beyond the basics, the dx2200’s PCI Express x16 slot can accept a variety of the latest single- and dual-head graphic cards.
  • An optional 16-in-1 media reader offers quick access to digital files from a variety of media types.
  • In a tasteful industrial design and carbonite colour, this compact microtower fits easily into any workspace or office setting, while conveniently located access ports keep wires and cables in place.

In addition, the dx2200 takes the mystery out of PC set-up, since the desktop is optimised to be unpacked, plugged in, and turned on. “The operating system sets itself up automatically; all the user has to do is answer a couple of questions to be up and running in just a few minutes,” says Minihold.

“Considering the caliber of technology and features found in this plug and play PC, coupled with the really affordable price points this ALC hits, we’re very excited about the HP Compaq dx2200 Business Desktop,” concludes Minihold. “With its combination of price, performance, quality, and focus on the needs of business users, the dx2200 will enable our South African customers to not only outfit their businesses with updated computers, but rely on them for years to come.”

Pricing and availability
The dx2200 starts at R3999 and is available immediately.

PC user base in SA reaches 5m

The number of Personal Computers in use in South Africa will pass the 5-million mark for the first time this year, according to a new study released today.

“PC Users in South Africa 2006”, a study by World Wide Worx of the installed base of computers in South Africa, shows that the 4,5-million mark was reached at the end of 2005, and it is expected to grow by 17% to 5.3-million by the end of 2006.

Conducted by Kirsty Laschinger and Arthur Goldstuck, the study moved beyond conventional counting of computer sales to establish how long PCs, laptops and servers remain in use once they are in the market, and how many are in active use. This has for the first time provided a clear picture of the size of the PC user base in South Africa.

“We found that PCs have a life span ranging 3 to 6 years, while laptop computers tend to be used for only up to three years,” says Laschinger, who interviewed most of the country’s major PC manufacturers and distributors for the project. “It was an eye-opener how many vendors of computers expect all users to replace their PCs every two to three years, when the reality is many users ‘sweating their assets’ to get maximum value from the purchase.”

The result is that booming sales in PCs means not only more people than ever before using new PCs, but also that PCs already in the field will remain in use for a longer period, further boosting the user base. However, this trend may change once laptop computers overtake desktop PCs in popularity a real possibility in the coming year or two.

“Laptop computers cannot be upgraded as easily or as cheaply as desktop PCs, so they have a shorter useful life,” says Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx. “You can upgrade a PC bought more than five years ago to accommodate current software, but it’s unlikely you could do that with most laptops. The result is that old laptops are more likely to be discarded than passed on, while old PCs are more likely to have a second life once the user upgrades.”

The net result is that booming laptop sales will not have the same cumulative effect on the total user base as do PC sales. Nevertheless, growth will continue, but at a slower pace, in subsequent years.

Factors that will drive this growth include:

Continued strong economic growth;
The emergence of the black middle class;
Improved education levels, including computer literacy;
The evolution of the distribution channel;
Improved affordability of PCs, both as a result of cheaper product and new financing options;
Convergence of voice and data;
Technology improvements;
Demand for more server/ storage capability to meet higher levels of corporate governance requirements.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Nokia N91

If you are a regular ready of this website, you will, I am sure, have seen the article of how to NOT launch new cell phones. Why is it that Nokia get it right every time?

The Nokia N91 has a cute little 4 gig hard drive on board to store your music. The quality of the output is fantastic. DJ Freshm who currently has no job, and Sasha from 5fm, played and mixed tunes with 4 seperate N91's through nightclub speakers and it worked!

The phone is small enough to fit in your pocket and it can take pictures with it's fantastic camera. Try that with your iPod. Regular headphones can plug into the device and if you plug in the sound canceling Senheizers, what more would an audiophile need?

What about robustness? When I went to the original launch, I tested the phone by dropping it on the floor while a song was playing. Nothing happened. It carried on playing, no problem.

When it came to upgrading the other day, I found myself staring at my new N91. Music, pictures and everything else you need is a handy sized 'device' from Nokia.

Features of the Nokia N90 include:

  • 3G smartphone (Symbian 60 operating system)
  • 2 megapixel camera with 20x digital zoom
  • Video recorder (MPEG 4; also supports playback in 3GPP)
  • Display: 262k colours, 176 x 208 pixels
  • Music player (supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, Real, WAV, WMA, M4A, AMR-WB, True Tones, AMR-NB formats)
  • Visual Radio
  • Voice recorder
  • Integrated handsfree speaker
  • Polyphonic ringtones, True Tones
  • Voice dialling & voice controls
  • Messaging: SMS, MMS, Email
  • Compatible with Nokia Wireless Keyboard (sold separately)
  • Java applications
  • Advanced personal organiser features for S60 including calendar, contacts and to-do list
  • XHTML web browser
  • Memory: 4 Gbytes hard drive
  • WAP, EDGE(236.8 kbps), WCDMA (384 kbps)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 1.2, USB 2.0, WLAN 802.11b/g
  • Triband plus 3G
  • Size: 113 x 55 x 22 mm
  • Weight: 164 g
  • Talktime: 3- 4 hours
  • Battery standby: 170 - 190 hours
  • Music playback: up to 10 hours battery life
BTW, for pictures from the evening, click here and you can also read more from

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A handy little drag-and-drop website that allows you to plan a room to your specifications

I think the word I need to use is, 'Wow!!!' has a page that allows you to plan a room -- any room -- online. You get full drag-and-drop action, with all the furniture, windows, doors, knicknacks you need. Whatever you can visualise for your space... you can create it.

It's like one of those expensive CAD packages that architects use. Except it's free and fun. You can prepare multiple rooms, and you can print everything. Only thing lacking is the ability to save your design. But hey... it IS free and easy.

It took me three minutes to kit out my fantasy loft apartment in New York. (It's simple with me... a bed, a surface to put my tablet pc onto, and 14 bookshelves, crammed to the gills with books.)

I was alerted to this story by LifeHacker.

Another U2 iPod

Apple® have introduced the new iPod® U2 Special Edition as part of a continued partnership
between Apple, U2 and Universal Music Group (UMG). The new U2 iPod is based on the fifth generation 30GB iPod and holds up to 7,500 songs, 25,000 photos or over 75 hours of video and features a distinctive, all-black stainless steel enclosure, red Click Wheel and custom engraving of U2 band member signatures.

“We’re thrilled to continue working with one of the greatest bands in the world to bring U2 fans a special edition of the world’s best digital music player,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of worldwide iPod Product Marketing. “With its distinctive new design, including an all-black stainless steel enclosure, the new U2 iPod is sure to be a hit.”

Featuring seamless integration with the iTunes Music Store and the iTunes digital music jukebox, the new U2 iPod features Apple’s patent pending Auto-Sync technology that automatically downloads digital music, podcasts, photos, audiobooks, home movies, music videos and popular television shows onto the iPod and keeps them up- to-date whenever the iPod is plugged into a Mac® or Windows computer using USB 2.0. The new U2 iPod features up to 14 hours of battery life for music playback.

Pricing & Availability
The new 30GB U2 iPod will be available soon for a suggested retail price of R3 699.00 through the South African Authorised Apple Online Store, Apple Centres and Apple Authorised Resellers. The new U2 iPod includes earbud headphones, USB 2.0 cable, a case and dock insert.

Everyone is talking about it, so will I....

FIFA will be using computer technology to clarify whether a goal is an own goal or not for the first time when the World Cup starts on Friday.

Holger Osieck, the head of FIFA's technical study group, told reporters on Thursday that for the first time all 13 members would see detailed technical images of any dubious goals downloaded to their laptops.

A verdict from the group would then be made as soon as possible.

"Previous tournaments have been dotted with decisions about what constitutes an own goal which appeared to lack clear guidelines," he told a news coference.

"On the basis of fairness and positive approach the benefit of the doubt should always be given to the attacker."

Andy Roxburgh, UEFA's technical director and a member of the FIFA technical group added: "No matter where a member is in Germany, he will get images of the goal on his laptop and the decision will be made by the whole group as soon as possible.

"If a goal has been awarded wrongly, the decision will be rectified by the next day at the latest."


FIFA clarified new regulations on own goals in 1997 and Roxburgh added: "There are three clear guidelines on what constitutes an own goal -- or who should be credited as the official goalscorer.

"If a goal-bound shot accidentally bounces off a team mate into the opponent's goal, the goal will be awarded to the player who struck the ball towards the target in the first place.

"If a goal bound shot is intentionally re-directed into an opponent's net, the goal will be credited to the player whose action produced the change of direction.

"If a shot is going wide and is then deflected or re-directed into the opponent's goal by a team mate or an opponent then this player will be credited with the goal.

"So if it just brushes your team mate's leg and goes in, or hits an opponent and goes in, the player attempting to score is credited with the goal. If it obviously has changed direction, then it is either an own goal, or your team mates."

Own goals are rare in the World Cup; there have only been 24 in the 644 matches played in the finals since 1930.

The most infamous and ultimately tragic own goal was scored by Andres Escobar of Colombia against the United States in 1994.

He was murdered when he returned home a few days later after gamblers in Colombia blamed him for their heavy losses following Colombia's 2-1 defeat in the match.

As well as deciding on goal-scorers, the study group, established in 1966, will also be observing new trends and innovations in the game and nominating the players for the various FIFA Awards made at the end of the tournament including the All-Star team, the 64 Man of the Match awards and the Young Player of the tournament.

It also compiles the list of outstanding players from which journalists choose the Golden Ball winner for Player of the Tournament.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

IBM Researchers Set World Record in Magnetic Tape Data Density

IBM researchers have demonstrated a world record in data density on linear magnetic tape, a dramatic indication that one of the computer industry's oldest and still most affordable data storage technologies has the potential to provide increased capacity for years to come.

The researchers at IBM's Almaden Research Centre in San Jose, California, packed data onto a test tape at a density of 6.67 billion bits per square inch - more than 15 times the data density of today's most popular industry standard magnetic tape products. To achieve this feat they created several new data-recording technologies and worked with Fuji Photo Film Company of Japan to develop a next-generation dual-coat magnetic tape capable of storing high-density data.

According to David Chancellor-Madison, Storage Manager, IBM South Africa Systems & Technology Group, the demonstration shows that magnetic tape data storage should be able to maintain its cost advantage over other technologies for years to come.

"When these new technologies and tape become available in products - projected to be in about five years - a cartridge the size of an industry-standard Linear Tape Open (LTO) tape cartridge could hold up to 8 trillion bytes (terabytes) of uncompressed data," he says.

This is 20 times the capacity of today's LTO-Generation 3 cartridge, which is about half the physical size of a VHS videocassette. Eight terabytes of data is equivalent to the text in 8 million books, which would require 57 miles of bookshelves.

"With analysts projecting tape automation revenue to grow 8% annually through 2011, our customers are storing increasing amounts of data to manage their enterprises and to address the compliance requirements of laws such as the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (FAIS) and the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA). Greater data density and cartridge capacity enables them to store more data in less space, helping to keep magnetic tape as the most cost-effective form of data storage," Chancellor-Madison says.

Businesses use magnetic tape to store large volumes of important data that are used infrequently or don't require sub-second access times. These uses include data archives, backup files, replicas for disaster recovery and retention of information required for regulatory compliance. Such data are often contained within automated tape libraries where one or more read-write units service dozens to thousands of tape cartridges.

High-end tape libraries can thus store petabytes - millions of gigabytes - of information. On a per-gigabyte basis, tape systems are currently about one-fifth to one-tenth the cost of today's hard-disk-drive storage systems, depending on their size. Moreover, tape cartridges consume no energy unless they are being accessed - unlike spinning disks, which need occasional use to remain operational - providing another area of potential cost savings.

IBM's record-breaking demonstration trumped its 2002 recording of a terabyte of data onto a single 3592-sized cartridge at a density of 1 billion bits per square inch. Over the past two years, Almaden researchers worked closely with Fuji Photo Film Company engineers on the development of a new dual coat magnetic tape media capable of high-density recording.

The Almaden researchers also developed technologies to dramatically improve the capabilities of read-write heads and the methods for positioning the heads and handling the tape to enable data tracks one-tenth as wide as in current products. Scientists from IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory developed a new coding method that improved the accuracy of reading the tiny magnetic bits.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Move over Excel, here comes Google Spreadsheets

Google plans on Tuesday to release a free online spreadsheet program that signals the company’s increased incursion into the office software space dominated by Microsoft.

Google Spreadsheets will allow users to import and export spreadsheets in the .xls format used by Microsoft Excel and the more generic .csv (common separated values) format, the company said late Monday. Through a Web browser, users in remote locations will be able to view and simultaneously edit data. The software is platform-neutral, meaning it can be accessed using a number of browsers, including the open-source Firefox, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or Apple’s Safari.

Google will accept sign-ups at from a limited number of beta testers starting at 9 a.m EDT/1 p.m. GMT Tuesday, a Google spokeswoman confirmed.

“This further proves the legitimate usefulness of software-as-a-service applications,” said Tom Snyder, president of iNetOffice Inc. The Kirkland, Wash. startup makes a free Web-based word processor called iNetWord.

Charlene Li, an analyst with Forrester Research, said next-generation Web applications such as Google Spreadsheets and Writely, an online word processor acquired by Google in March, provide much of the functionality of Microsoft Office but are not yet credible replacements.

“Google Spreadsheets is not an effort to replace Excel. And if you tried to print out stuff you wrote in Writely, it would come out all ugly,” she said. “Look at Web-based e-mail. We’ve had it for 10 years, but Outlook still reigns supreme.

“Eventually these products will get there, but not today.”

Google was not the first company to release a Web 2.0 counterpart to Excel. A startup called iRows also offers a free online spreadsheet program.

San Diego-based Ajax13, a startup founded by Internet entrepreneur Michael Robertson, also has a beta of a free Web spreadsheet editor called ajaxXLS.

AJAX13 is the closest so far to having a full lineup of productivity applications that can challenge Microsoft Office. Besides ajaxXLS, the company also offers an online word processor called ajaxWrite, a drawing program called ajaxSketch and a hosted video editor called eyespot. It plans to release a PowerPoint-like presentation program by the middle of the year, according to Robertson, who founded and is also chairman of desktop Linux provider, Linspire.

Robertson said that AJAX’s applications are gaining fans — more than 10,000 unique users a day — because Microsoft is stuck: reluctant to cannibalize existing Microsoft Office revenues by cutting prices or by beefing up its Office Live family of Web-based applications, which despite their name, don’t yet provide any of the features of Microsoft Office.

“The beauty is that we are attacking Microsoft right at their heart,” Robertson said.

Unlike AJAX13, which is marketing its wares directly at end users, Snyder hopes to sidestep competition from Microsoft and Google by inking partnerships with other hosted software providers who need word processing capabilities within their applications.

Lifehacker offers a resource for those who want legal downloadable music

CCHits Creative Commons-licensed MP3 index


New social web app CCHits is a digg-style directory of Creative Commons licensed music tracks.

CCHits encourages users to submit links to known CC-licensed music,
where other users can vote on the track (ala digg), share, download,
stream and comment on it. Looks like a great way to sample and download
fresh, new, distributable and reusable music without those recurring
nightmares about The Killer in an RIAA teeshirt chasing you through the
halls of your old high school brandishing a machete.

Wired Magazine gives us news of a brain/robotics interface

Brain Waves Make Robot Move

researchers develop a "brain-machine interface" that links an MRI
machine's output to a robotic hand, allowing a human to "think" a fist
into existence.

This snippet lifted wholesale and unedited from Wired Magazine.

How To Cripple Your Computer With Totally Irresponsible Surfing Habits

Wired Magazine offers this gem of a story about a guy who sacrifices his computer for our benefit. He goes about systematically exposing his machine to all the risks of unsafe surfing... and chronicles how long it takes for his computer to self-implode. Dip into this delightful 'Diary of a Spam-Hungry Madman'. It's a short read. And I hope you'll learn a thing or two about responsible computing from it.

Wired Magazine lets you in on the secrets of how to be a blogger

Build a Great Blog With WordPress

to create a professional-looking blog? In this beginner-level tutorial,
Tim Ziegler shows how easy it is to set up a custom WordPress blog
using templates, tags and a little bit of code. In Webmonkey.

This snippet lifted unedited from Wired News.

If ya wanna wear your iPOD out...

Koyono Updates Line of iPod Clothing

By jlewin

Koyono has introduced new Made for iPod clothing to their line of items for Spring and Summer 2006.

The new additions to the BlackCoat line of outerwear, named Work,
Sport, and Surf, each include ElekTex, a smart fabric technology from
Eleksen Group that has been integrated into the lapels as iPod control
pads. This allows you to leave an iPod tucked away inside a
specially-designed pocket while giving you full control over all
aspects of the iPod, including volume, track changes, and even the
power switch. Each of the four new jackets includes advanced water
protection and pocketing for commuting or travel.


"Adding the ElekTex controls to this line creates what I call Wah-Wah Fashion,"
said Koyono President, Jay Yoo. "Just like Jimi Hendrix used the
Wah-Wah pedal to finesse his tone, you can use the controls to finesse
your environment. Every situation can now have the perfect soundtrack."

Experience Officer, Jim Haviland adds, "Our customers are looking for
ways to better integrate work and play, clothing and technology,
without either defining them. These new hybrid forms that Jay has
created really accomplish that."

The new line includes the following pieces:

BlackCoat Surf Edition offers the benefits of
outerwear but in a shape and weight that can be worn all through the
summer. Worn over a t-shirt or tank, Surf gives you a place to stow
belongings you would otherwise have to drop in a bag. $199 USD Retail

BlackCoat Sport adds sporting cred to the staid
sport coat form. Made from Nextec Flathead nylon with Epic
waterproofing technology, this hybrid sport coat - overcoat is light
enough to wear all day and cut with enough industrial elegance to be
tucked away in a bag. $299 USD Retail

BlackCoat Work is a hybrid between the classic jean
jacket and a sport coat and is made from lightweight stretch cotton
with Nano water repellant technology. $245 USD Retail

BlackCoat Work Premiere Edition is the same cut as
BlackCoat Work but made from waterproof, breathable Nextec Flathead
nylon with Epic waterproofing technology. $275 USD Retail

These coats are available now through
and will be available this month from,, PopXpress in the UK,
iStuff in Italy and Additional retail availability
announcements are expected this month.

Lifehacks: taking a one-minute audio holiday... from your desk!

One-minute audio vacations

In Vacation

Take a one-minute vacation right at your desk with the Quiet
American, a site that has put together three years of sixty-second,
unedited recordings of various vacation spots throughout the world.
Listen to the marimbas play at the Jalisco, Mexico open-air
market..springtime in the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland...or
the sounds of nature in the Coast Range of Oregon. You won't get any
frequent flyer miles, but your peace of mind will definitely get a nice

Comment on this post

Related: Vacation Tip: Stay in touch when traveling abroad

(This article brought to you straight-up and unedited from the uber-geeky Lifehacker.)

Monday, June 05, 2006

New Lexmark X7350 Complete Business Solution All-in-One makes multi-tasking easy for SOHO

Lexmark International South Africa today introduced the Lexmark X7350 Complete Business Solution All-in-One printer, designed to provide cost-conscious small office/home office (SOHO) customers with an easy-to-use combination of performance, functionality and photo features.

The Lexmark X7350 offers photo capabilities along with the ability to print, scan, copy and fax at business-class speeds, as well as manage and share colour documents and photos. Users can print directly from their PC or a PictBridge-compatible digital camera.

SOHO customers are the ultimate multi-taskers, and they need printers as versatile and hard-working as they are. Lexmark’s new X7350 Complete Business Solution All-in-One printer is a feature-rich choice, with office and photo capabilities that make it easier for SOHO customers to be more productive on a budget,” says Hans Horn, Managing Director of Lexmark South Africa.

Featuring a compact design, the Lexmark X7350 delivers business-class speeds of up to 25 pages per minute (ppm) black and 19 ppm colour, as well as an automatic document feeder capable of handling a maximum of 50 pages for hands-free faxing and copying.

Like other Lexmark printers, the Lexmark X7350 features superior ease of use, both in standalone operation and when using a personal computer. Intuitive buttons help simplify processes, making tasks easier to execute. The device comes with Lexmark’s exclusive Productivity Suite Software, making it easy for users to manage a variety of different print and electronic document formats, including creating and searching PDFs and scanning printed documents into editable text.

The Lexmark X7350 is network capable, with optional Ethernet and wireless network adapters, giving users the flexibility to position the printer virtually anywhere in the home or office for access by multiple users

Pricing and availability
The Lexmark X7350 has an estimated street price of R 1 599.00 (incl. VAT), and will be available in all major retailers, as well as independent dealers from 19 June 2006.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

D-Link Announces DSM-G600 Wireless G Network Storage Enclosure

D-Link, SMB and enterprise markets, introduces the MediaLounge DSM-G600 Wireless G Network Storage Enclosure. Connect your own hard drive* to the home or office network and create additional storage space with the DSM-G600 Wireless Network Storage Enclosure. With the DSM-G600, you can conveniently share documents, files, and digital media such as music, video, and photos with everyone on your home or office network.

The DSM-G600 can be used with an internal 3.5” ATA/ IDE hard drive, giving you the flexibility of choosing the storage capacity required for your network. And with two additional high-speed USB ports, expand your storage capabilities even further as your network needs grow by adding your own external USB drives*!

In addition, the DSM-G600 also functions as an Access Point. Create an 802.11g wireless network when you attach the DSM-G600 to your wired router.

By adding your own hard drives to the DSM-G600, conveniently store, retrieve, and share digital content with everyone on your home or office network. As a central storage location for data, the DSM-G600 is an organized solution for the network.

Since the DSM-G600 is visible and available to everyone on the network, you can use it to share files or collaborate on projects.

* Hard Drive not included.


Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) announced that it would launch PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3) in “Clear Black” throughout mainland Europe and Australasia on November 17, 2006, as part of a worldwide simultaneous launch.

PS3 is the most advanced computer system that serves as a platform to enjoy next generation computer entertainment contents in the home, realized through the combination of Cell and RSX™ processors, in addition to the playability of a vast catalog of PlayStation® and PlayStation®2 software titles.

Having Giga-bit Ethernet and a pre-installed hard disk drive (HDD) as standard in PS3, users will be able to download a variety of contents as well as access on-line games and services over the network.

Equipped with basic input/output ports, PS3 supports a broad range of displays from conventional NTSC/PAL standard TVs to the latest full HD (1080i/1080p) flat panel displays, offering the joy of the most advanced computer entertainment contents to homes around the world. For use in living rooms, maximum heat and noise reduction has been achieved with a PLAYSTATION 3 Launches on November 17, 2006 Across Mainland Europe & Australasia noise level equivalent to that of the current slim-line PlayStation 2.

With the overwhelming computational power of the Cell processor, PS3 is capable of playing back content from Blu-ray (BD) disc at a bit rate of multiplex 48Mbps with ease, the maximum bit rate defined in BD standards.

The new controller for PS3 has been created by refining and improving the world’s most popular PlayStation controller which has shipped more than several hundred million units worldwide. The controller for PS3 employs a high-precision, highly sensitive six-axis sensing system that is capable of processing all parameters within the controller itself, thereby eliminating the need for any additional settings on the display system. By applying this technology, it will become possible to freely control the PS3 system over the network.

While further enhancing the joy of entertainment on PlayStation 2 and PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable), SCEE will vigorously promote PS3 as the next generation computer entertainment platform.