Saturday, September 30, 2006


Xbox 360™, the new generation entertainment and gaming system from Microsoft®, is now available in South Africa at leading retail stores. Xbox 360 was unveiled at midnight at rAGE, the gaming and entertainment Expo held at the Coca Cola Dome in Northgate. Local celebrities, Microsoft EMEA representatives and media were amongst the 360 VIP guests that attended the launch event.

“The initial reaction of the South African public has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Cindy White, Xbox Group Marketing Manager. “Hundreds of local gaming enthusiasts were queuing from late yesterday afternoon to be the first to purchase their very own Xbox at leading local retailers, some of which stayed open until after midnight for its launch on September 29.”

“Xbox 360 leads interactive entertainment, and has brought the industry’s best entertainment experiences, storytellers, franchises, and the most-anticipated IP to the platform. We’re offering something for every interest, budget and age,” added White.

”With Xbox 360, gamers can enjoy high-resolution gaming experiences, best-quality DVD capability, and great media features such as the ability to stream video, music and photos from a PC to the living room,” said White. “But perhaps the most important thing we are offering is choice – it’s at the heart of what we offer gamers this generation, and we enable consumers to have the gaming and entertainment experiences they want to have.”

“The white, green and grey console has a high attraction factor and is a great fashion accessory for any living room. The movie-quality, high-definition graphics and spine-tingling surround sound makes this a must-have purchase for those seeking an extreme gaming experience,” she added.

“More than 50 gaming titles are available for Xbox 360 to meet all tastes and age groups. The most popular gaming titles will be available at launch and in the coming weeks and months, including Project Gotham Racing 3, Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero, Gears of War, Crackdown, Viva Pinata and Forza 2.”

“We have worked closely with our partners to ensure Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 Core System offer great value to consumers, whether they are recreational players or serious gamers,” she concluded.

The Xbox 360 is available at all major retailers including CNA, BT games, Reggies, Toys R Us, Makro, Look and Listen and Incredible Connection at an estimated retail price of between R2 699 for the core system and R3 699 for the Xbox 360. Xbox 360 titles carry an estimated retail price from R199 to R550.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Lenovo and IBM Announce Battery Recall

Lenovo and International Business Machines Corporation, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today announced the voluntary recall of approximately 526,000 lithium-ion batteries manufactured worldwide by Sony Corporation. In the interests of public safety, Lenovo will offer customers free-of-charge replacement batteries for all recalled batteries.

Although no make or model of battery is immune from some overheating or failure, Lenovo has confirmed that these batteries can be subject to overheating, posing a potential fire hazard, and Lenovo is advising customers to check if they are using one of the affected batteries as follows:

The recalled batteries were sold with or sold separately to be used with some models of ThinkPad notebook PCs.

T Series (T43, T43p, T60)

X Series (X60, X60s):

R Series (R51e, R52, R60, R60e)

Battery Part/model number


92P1072 92P1073

92P1088 92P1089

92P1142 92P1141

92P1170 92P1169 or 93P5028

92P1174 92P1173 or 93P5030

Additionally, since these batteries work with any T4x Series or R5x Series system, customers who ordered an extra battery or received a replacement battery for any T4x or R5x Series notebook PC between February 2005 and September 2006 may also have a battery subject to recall.

IBM and Lenovo sold these batteries with new notebook PCs or as replacement batteries between February 2005 and September 2006. Customers can continue to use their notebook PC by turning off the system, removing the battery, and plugging in the AC adapter and power cord to power the system. Customers should use only genuine ThinkPad batteries obtained from either Lenovo or an authorized reseller.

Following reports of an incident at Los Angeles International airport, Lenovo has reacted swiftly, announcing this recall less than two weeks after the incident was first brought to the company’s attention. Lenovo estimates that between five and ten percent of ThinkPad notebooks sold during period of February 2005 to September 2006 are affected by the recall.

Sony has agreed to financially support the recall.

Customer Contact Information

Customers should contact Lenovo to determine if the battery used in their notebook PC is subject to this recall. Please visit International support numbers are available at

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mobile Leaders Join Forces

Leaf Wireless and HTC (High Tech Computer Corporation) have today announced that Leaf Wireless has secured distribution and marketing rights to the HTC Smartphone’s and PDA Phones in Southern Africa. Leaf will provide full service HTC brand management and distribution of HTC’s leading edge Microsoft® based Windows Mobile® 5.0 devices.

Brandon Leigh, CEO of Leaf Wireless (SA Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year), says: “There is little doubt that Windows Mobile will be the operating system of the future. HTC is the acknowledged global leader of Microsoft Windows Mobile devices, and Leaf has strong credentials in the same field, as evidenced by being the first South African company to be awarded the Microsoft Mobile competency award (in August 2005) and the winner of the Microsoft Windows Mobile Distributor challenge. We share a commitment to and a deep understanding of the same technologies and solutions, and greatly look forward to working with HTC.”

Kevin Chen, Executive Director EMEA of HTC, states: “Leaf were chosen because of its leadership position in the mobile market in Southern Africa, its Microsoft Mobile Partner status and proven expertise, demonstrated ability to add value through delivery of content, application development, and systems design capability. We see our relationship with Leaf being a very close one, a virtual subsidiary.”

Leaf have already many proven mobile achievements behind them, including the development of MTN Loaded and FNB’s InContact system.

Leigh continues: “With the HTC partnership, Leaf will be bringing the widest range of leading mobile product platforms to both the consumer and business users. The phones are remarkable. People around the world are already familiar with the Windows platform. And the beauty is that everything that is on their computer is now accessible on these phones – and more. Such as built-in HSPDA for immediate wireless access as well a built-in Global Positioning System (GPS).”

“We are also fortunate to enjoy outstanding relationships with Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Virgin, Nashua Mobile and Autopage and indeed all of our close partners. We know that with their support we can make HTC the leading brand in this country.”

Business Week recently rated HTC as the 11th fastest growing global technology company in the world.

Nokia 5300 XpressMusic leads a fresh lineup of new music handets

In a relaxing event overlooking the beauty of the Cape Town beach front, Nokia today launched an exciting new range of music phones. Headlined by the Nokia 5300 XpressMusic which features a stylish slide design and holds up to 1,500 tracks, these music phones combine the best of mobile communication and mobile music, making it easier than ever to carry a single device. With today’s announcement, Nokia broadens its portfolio of music-driven mobile products giving consumers an array of choice. The new products announced today will begin shipments in select markets within the next weeks.

“With today’s launches we are reaching out to a broad range of people who want all the features of their mobile phone AND their music player in a single, stylish device,” says Tomi Paatsila, Vice President, Sales and Market Operations, Mobile Phones, Middle East and Africa. “The Nokia 5300 XpressMusic offers a comprehensive feature set, including up to 2 GB of memory and dedicated music keys at an accessible price. Never has it been easier and more affordable for consumers to own a mobile phone that offers a first-rate music experience -- comparable to any stand-alone music player. With this product launch, we are emphasizing the XpressMusic brand, which clearly labels those Nokia devices that guarantee an outstanding mobile music experience.”

Nokia 5300 XpressMusic heads up the charts

The Nokia 5300 XpressMusic can hold up to 75 albums worth of music (approximately 1500 tracks) on a 2GB microSD card. Thanks to the dedicated music keys, consumers can control the playback of their music separately from all other functions such as texting, browsing or taking pictures. For an even better groove, consumers can also plug in their favourite headphones or external speakers with a 3.5mm headset jack by simply using the inbox adapter. With a micro USB connector, the Nokia 5300 XpressMusic swiftly syncs playlists, albums and music collections with PCs. When traveling, consumers can use the Nokia Wireless Audio Gateway AD-42W to stream their CD collection and favorite playlists wirelessly to any home or party stereo from their Nokia 5300 XpressMusic.

No one-hit wonder, the Nokia 5300 XpressMusic also comes with the latest messaging functionalities complemented by a 1.3 megapixel camera. Incoming calls can be announced with video ring tones on the high resolution display. The Nokia 5300 XpressMusic is expected to retail for approximately 250 EUR, before taxes and subsidies.

In addition, Nokia today revealed two other music devices, the Nokia 5200 and the Nokia 3250 XpressMusic. Featuring a similar lifestyle-inspired slide design as the Nokia 5300 XpressMusic, the Nokia 5200 puts forward an exciting combination of music and messaging functions and is a more achievable handset for young and sociable consumers. The Nokia 5200 is expected to retail for around 200 EUR, before taxes and subsidies.

Also unveiled today was the Nokia 3250 XpressMusic, which gives an updated look and feel to the popular Nokia 3250 which was unveiled last year. In addition to its unique “twist” design, the Nokia 3250 XpressMusic has doubled its music capacity to up to 1500 tracks (supports microSD cards up to 2GB) and is expected to retail for around 400 EUR, before taxes and subsidies.

Music Phones ready to GO!

Each of the Nokia music phones launched today include the Yahoo! GO application which adds Yahoo!’s popular instant messaging functionality directly to the handset. This application complements the messaging functions of the mobile phone by offering simplified access to Yahoo! email accounts and messenger functions.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The New Nokia N Series

Nokia have just released thier new "Mulitmedia Personal Computers". At an international function in Cape Town this afternoon, Nokia have released thier new N95. You can see pictures of the new devices here...

What is new? Wi-Fi is old hat but it's the added features that make this device more than just a phone. During the launch and presentation, the word "phone" wasn't used once. They are now officially a Multimedia Computer. Seems so simple but why has it taken so long?

Nokia have a new music system that allows us to access music, with David Bowie's help. He will be releasing a podcast every week telling us what is hot and what isn't AND we will be able to download these new tracks. At a price, I am sure, but it seems like a good idea.

I have been promised that all of the services on the new N95 will be available in South Africa. I highly doubt it but I have been wrong in the past and I hope that I am this time.

Sharing pictures, news and information is going to be much easier as is surfing the web on your phone using HSDPA, WiFi or even GPRS if you are so backward. Nokia have created a new browser, which they say, is as good as any browser you may use every day. They have even solved the problem of viewing a large website on a small screen.

Price starts in the 200 Euro range, so it's not cheap, but if is does what they say it can, they buy one now!!!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

My 1st XBox 360 Experience

I was given a demo model XBox 360 yesterday morning. As any avid gaming fan, I ran upstairs, plugged it in and was keen to play a game. I want to run through some of the negative things I have experienced in the 1st couple of days first, then I will try and find some positives....

  1. The power plug was a European version. (Maybe that was because it was a demo) There is nothing worse than wanting to play your game and you have to run around finding the right addaptor.
  2. The optical digital audio out was hidden away wth any mention of it in the manual. I needed to mail a friend of mine in the UK to find out if the Xbox even had a digital audio out for all of this amazing sound that it was advertising. After finding the plug, it was great.
  3. The power transformer is HUGE!!! It is almost as big as a toaster. Not a good idea if you are trying one of these modern, minimilist lounges or game rooms.
  4. One of the big draw cards for the Xbox is the Xbox Live. A place where you can go online and chat, play and interact with other players around the world. Again, maybe because I have a demo, there is no South African option. This means that the postal code I enter when I register isn't accepted and the whole thing falls apart. Will we get Xbox Live in South Africa when the console launches next week?
  5. One of the demo games just doesn't work. There is a warning that it only works in PAL 60 areas. It starts up fine but you can't get the game started.
  1. Graphics and interaction is fantastic.
  2. The wireless controller is the BEST!!!!
  3. Audio, once you find the plug, is extreme. Forget the fake surround from PS2, this is real Dolby Digital Surround.
  4. I have one driving game and the one thing that I love is the crowd around the track. Normally, these are just static figures with a camera flash or two. In Gothom, they interact with the car. Crash into the barriers and they move away, then start taking pictures.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I am delighted to inform you that the micro site for LG DVR Time Machine TV is now available. The purpose of this site is to introduce the DVR to the customer, while demonstrating the benefits of this system which include pause or rewind functions, live TV and one-touch recording, through interactive contents.

The DVR Time Machine will be available from approximately mid-October 2006 at LG outlets and participating retail stores.

Please visit the address below to experience the incredible LG LCD DVR Time Machine:

Pricing of the XBox

Microsoft Xbox 360 will have more than 50 game titles readily available when it launches on September 30 in South Africa, with a price tag to suit all pockets.

“Xbox 360 will be following an aggressive pricing strategy and consumer retail prices for the games will range from R199.00 for classic gaming titles, with a R499.00 ceiling price for triple A collectors editions,” said Cindy White, Microsoft Group Marketing Manager for Xbox 360.

The plethora of available games meets all tastes and includes Project Gotham Racing 3, Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero, Gears of War, Crackdown, Viva Pinata and Forza 2 which will be available early in the New Year.

“We have worked closely with our third party partners to keep pricing consistent across the board and the Xbox game pricing is aimed at attracting people within all gaming categories, from recreational players to serious gamers,” adds White.

“We believe that the range and the variety of the games will offer something for everyone and will enable South African’s to enjoy the new-generation gaming experience at all levels,” she concludes.

The games will be available at all the major retailers including Incredible Connection, CNA and Look and Listen from 30 September.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Garmin’s ‘X’-treme handheld makeover

The popular Garmin GPSMAP 76CS has been upgraded with new functions to make it even easier to use, keeping you on track in the great outdoors. The tough new GPSMAP 76CSx is a fully portable GPS device with a rugged waterproof housing, so your Garmin can go wherever you do.

On the inside, the GPSMAP 76CSx features a microSD slot inside the waterproof battery compartment, with a removable microSD card for detailed mapping memory. The high speed USB connection allows for fast map data, route and waypoint transfer.

On the outside a new highly sensitive GPS receiver acquires satellites faster, letting you track your location through challenging terrain like heavy foliage and deep canyons. The GPSMAP 76CSx also incorporates a barometric altimeter for highly accurate elevation data and an electronic compass which displays an accurate heading, even when you are standing still.

The large colour TFT display is sunlight readable, and the unit floats when dropped in water, so you can find your way in any conditions. The microSD card can be loaded with Garmap’s Topo and Recreational maps, BlueChart® marine cartography and South African street maps.

Weighing in at only 215g, the GPSMAP 76CSx comes standard with a blank 128MB microSD card, USB interface cable, MapSource Trip and Waypoint Manager CD, a lanyard, owner’s manual, quick-start guide and Garmap South African Streetmaps.

The GPSMAP 76CSx can also be customised with a variety of optional accessories to suit any lifestyle, including marine, automotive and handlebar mounting brackets, data cables, AC adaptors and carrying cases.

For further information or contact or call +27 11 704 6147 JHB, +27 31 301 9790 KZN or +27 21 788 9015 CPT.

IBM Details Next Generation of Storage Innovation

In an announcement led by projected advances in intelligent storage devices and storage-class memory, IBM has detailed the future of the data centre.

David Chancellor-Maddison, Storage Manager, IBM South Africa Systems & Technology Group, comments: “This announcement coincides with the 50th anniversary of IBM’s introduction of the 350 Disk Storage Unit and the 305 RAMAC computer, regarded as one of the most significant products advancing storage and information technology.”

The key projects outlined by IBM’s scientists and researchers included:

Storage-Class Memory – A new approach to creating faster storage, IBM’s Storage Class Memory (SCM) project is focused on the creation of low-cost, high-performance, high-reliability solid-state random-access storage that could compete with or replace disk drives and/or flash memory. Possible applications of this technology would include rapid-booting PCs, which could start up a second or two after power on, not in minutes like today’s current systems.

Intelligent data storage: Future storage systems will be more than repositories for data. They will also include a wide variety of modern data management and analytic features that will enable more efficient management and utilisation of data, which will allow storage systems to help companies with fraud detection and identity recognition.

Storage systems that compute: Smart movement of computing power is enabled by logical partition (LPAR) technology, which allows virtual servers to be created on the storage server. This can accelerate applications by harnessing storage server resources.

Advances in storage management; where virtualisation and autonomic computing intersect: Managing the proliferation of data is becoming a huge, expensive headache. IBM solutions are based on open standards that use autonomic policy-based protocols to manage heterogeneous storage infrastructures efficiently and economically from a single point of control.

IBM also detailed technology advancements that have enabled tape to remain the most cost-effective method for storing massive amounts of business and personal data. While pundits have forecast the impending death of tape for years, IBM and its partners are enabling it to thrive today and for the foreseeable future.

“IBM helped kick off the storage revolution 50 years ago this month with the introduction of the 305 RAMAC computer,” Chancellor-Maddison says. “Today, we’re working on the next generation of advances that will drive storage innovation forward for the next 50 years.”

The storage needs of businesses are growing dramatically. When IBM introduced the IBM 350 Disk Storage Unit in September 1956, its five megabytes could store an image of DaVinci’s Mona Lisa painting. By comparison, the IBM System Storage DS8000 Turbo, introduced this August, can store up to 320 terabytes of information, which is the equivalent of all the images held in the Guggenheim, the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and more.

Another example, in 1956 the 350 Disk Storage Unit could hold the digital equivalent of the collected works of Shakespeare, while today’s DS8000 can hold more than 76 million copies of Shakespeare’s works.

The IBM 350 Disk Storage Unit was introduced on September 4, 1956 and the 305 RAMAC computer was introduced by IBM on September 12, 1956.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Vodacom launches Dell notebook with embedded 3G HSDPA card giving you the freedom to connect anywhere

Vodacom and Dell have launched the first laptop with an embedded 3G HSDPA card, to the South African market.

Customers can purchase a Dell Latitude D620 notebook with built-in 3G HSPDA data card linked to Vodacom’s 3G HSDPA network. Customers simply need a Vodacom SIM card and a data contract subscription in order to access the Internet or their company network at super fast access speeds.

“In partnering with Dell, Vodacom is the first operator in South Africa to launch this new mobile connectivity solution which provides our customers with even more flexibility and accessibility to information, while at the same time increasing productivity on the move ”, says Shameel Joosub, Managing Director of Vodacom South Africa.

“To get connected, a customer will not require a separate 3G HSDPA card or software disk. The solution is compact and easy to use. Pairing the card with the extended battery life of the notebook means Vodacom customers have the freedom to work from anytime, anywhere,” he adds.

Dell™ is the first major personal computer supplier to announce multiple wireless carrier partnerships in multiple regions, including agreements with Vodafone™ initially in France, Germany and the UK - and now also with Vodacom in South Africa.

“This laptop is designed for users who seek performance, mobility and convenience. Combined with an embedded 3G HSDPA card, it is truly a multi-functional computer that does away with the inconvenience of separate external devices - answering every expectation of technological advancement. Customers also get a 3 Year International Next Business Day Warranty – combined with onsite support”, says Stewart van Graan, Managing Director of Dell South Africa.

The Dell Latitude D620 redefines the mainstream corporate notebook with an innovative new wide-screen design, improved reliability, smart security and extended wireless options. It is great for users requiring performance, mobility and convenience in the workplace. The embedded 3G HSDPA solution is compact and neat - no more PCMCIA cards, wires or antennas.
With its build-to-order capability, Dell aims to expand customers' wireless connectivity options by delivering built-in access to Vodacom’s high-speed mobile data network. This new service will mean users will have readily available access to email, Internet and servers through the Vodacom mobile broadband data network.

The ease of use is apparent, as with this new technology Vodacom and Dell are enabling corporate companies, small businesses and home office users to be more productive through connectivity which is not only fast, but also extremely suitable to the needs of mobile workers.
"This is another important step in providing world-class mobile broadband technology to Dell customers," said Van Graan. "Dell's collaboration with Vodacom demonstrates Dell's on-going strategy to deliver innovative technology solutions to market to meet customers' requirements.

With Dell and Vodacom working together in South Africa, customers can benefit from built-in, easy-to-use technology which provides access to the 3G wireless network deployed worldwide."
With this solution customers are connected beyond traditional hotspots. Customers can expect to experience genuine mobile productivity with the Dell Latitude D620 notebook.

Thanks to the built-in 3G HSDPA from Vodacom customers can download complex files and large email attachments at speeds up to 4 times faster than existing 3G solutions and connect to their company network with a secure VPN solution. Intel® Centrino® Duo Mobile Technology ensures that customers get the best possible mobile performance while using less battery power than previous-generation technologies.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Hard Drive Turns 50

Today, the hard drive is found everywhere--from the PCs we use daily to MP3 players and memory keys so small you can toss them in your pocket and forget you're carrying around a hard drive. But when the hard drive was first introduced on September 13, 1956, it required a humongous housing and 50 24-inch platters to store 1/2400 as much data as can be fit on today's largest capacity 1-inch hard drives.

Back then, the small team at IBM's San Jose-based lab was seeking a way to replace tape with a storage mechanism that allowed for more-efficient random access to data. The question was, how to bring random-access storage to business computing?

Want to know more? Click here....

PS3: The good, the bad, the costly

It’s set to be released on Nov. 17 and for some that will be enough. After all, it is the new Sony PlayStation.

I could tell you that it was designed by Josef Mengele and powered by the souls of abandoned children, but some of you will still step over your grandmother and sell her medication just to afford one. After all, it’s PlayStation. It’s the new hotness, right? It’s powered by the mighty Cell processor, the result of years and years of combined work by some of the greatest minds at Sony, Toshiba and IBM. It’s got a monster graphics chip designed by NVIDIA, 512 MB of total system memory, a built-in hard drive, and, of course, Blu-ray.

Yes, Blu-ray, the disk format that Sony hopes will make you re-buy your movie collections all over again.

It’s built for high definition, the keyword for all electronics makers. And let’s not forget the games. PS3 will be home to Metal Gear Solid 4, Final Fantasy 13, Grand Theft Auto 4, and every other major game under the sun (well, at least the ones not produced by Microsoft or Nintendo). Shouldn’t all that be enough?

If you’re still reading I guess it’s not. Or, you have more questions, like the inevitable “How much will it cost?” Well, don’t shoot the messenger, but here it goes: either $499 or $599.

The PlayStation 3 will launch with 2 different models, a basic and a premium, just like the Xbox 360 did last fall. The Basic Model PS3 will feature a smaller hard drive (20 GB vs. 60GB), lack the SD/Compact Flash/Memory Stick reader (meaning no memory cards) and Wi-Fi receiver (the Premium PS3 has a built-in wireless card for online gaming). Finally, the Basic PS3 will be without a HDMI port - the next-generation media cable format that will be necessary to watch the highest definition media in the future. At launch, only 20 percent of the units available will be of the Basic Model, so the decision between the two might just be made for you.

And what games will you be able to play on day one? And how much will they cost? The PlayStation is going to continue the atrocious practice of the Xbox 360 in pricing most games at $59.99. (Nintendo’s Wii games are planned for $49.99.)

The lineup is still up in the air at this point, as it usually is near a new system’s launch, but you can expect the full complement of Electronic Arts games ("Madden," "NBA Live," "Tiger Woods," "Need for Speed," "Fight Night," etc.), and some big names from other third-party publishers ("Call of Duty 3," "Tony Hawk’s Project 8," "Ridge Racer 7," "Sonic the Hedgehog," and others).

As for Sony’s own efforts, the amazing-looking first-person shooter "Resistance: Fall of Man" - from Insomniac Games, the developers of the original "Spyro the Dragon" game and the "Ratchet & Clank" series - has been positioned as a lunch title for a long time, but the rumor mills are abuzz with notions of a delay. This would mark the arcade air combat game "Warhawk" and the feudal Japan stylized beat ’em up "Genji: Days of the Blade" as Sony’s sole contributions to the launch party.

This leaves Nov. 17 as a day full of seemingly interesting games, but lacking in a true “killer app,” the same problem that tends to plague most launches. So while PS3 will have no exceedingly compelling content for the rest of the year, Xbox 360 will have had a year to build up its arsenal, in addition to its heavy hitters already set to come out this holiday season.

Wii, on the other hand, will be launching with none other then a full-blown "Zelda" game in the form of "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess," in addition to several other interesting pieces of software.

So let’s discuss this issue of competition. Released late last year, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has already established itself with compelling games and a fantastic online service in the form of Xbox Live. Retailing for either $299 or $399, it will cost significantly less than the PS3, and, truth be told, the games will graphically look pretty much the same. Microsoft is also positioning the Epic-developed (the guys behind the Unreal series) "Gears of War," a sci-fi themed third-person shooter, as the must-buy game of the holiday season.

Then there’s Nintendo and their Wii, a modestly priced and comparatively underpowered system that relies on its innovative motion sensing controls to provide a new experience to the user. It is expected to come out sometime in November for somewhere around $200.

So, the choice is yours. The PlayStation 3 will certainly offer next-generation graphics, sound and High Definition movie playback, but for a, frankly, rather insane price. If you have the desire and the means, I doubt you will be disappointed. However, the cheaper Xbox 360 might be a more attractive option for you, and Wii will certainly be a gaming experience not to miss, and at a mass-market friendly price to boot.

One final thing to keep in mind: last week Sony announced that, due to production problems related to the blue laser diode used in the Blu-ray disk drive, only 400,000 units will be available for the North American launch of the PS3 and only a total of 1 to 1.2 million units will reach American shores this calendar year. This may seem like a lot, but I promise you, it is most assuredly not. Better start lining up now…

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Apple Introduces the New iPod

2006Apple today introduced the new iPod, the best digital music player and most popular portable video player in the world. The new iPod features a 60 percent brighter and more vibrant 2.5-inch colour display perfect for watching TV shows and now Hollywood movies right in the palm of your hand. The new iPod features seamless integration with iTunes 7 which now includes over 75 Hollywood movies, 220 television shows and popular video games designed specifically for the fifth generation iPod. The new iPod is available in a 30GB model at the new low price of R2 999.00 and an 80GB model, which holds up to 20,000 songs or 100 hours of video, for R3 999.00.

The worlds best digital music player has evolved into the worlds most popular portable video player too, said Steve Jobs, Apples CEO. The new iPods brighter and more vibrant display and longer battery life make it perfect for watching Hollywood movies and TV shows right in the palm of your hand.

The new iPod features Apples patented Click Wheel for precise, one-handed navigation, and is seamlessly integrated with iTunes 7 which now features gapless playback for enjoying albums the way they were intended to be listened to. iPods new Search and Quick Scroll feature makes it even easier for music fans to find exactly what they are looking for and Apples patent pending Auto-Sync technology automatically downloads digital music, podcasts, photos, audiobooks, movies, music videos and popular TV shows onto the iPod and keeps them up-to-date whenever the iPod is plugged into a Mac or Windows computer.

With its stunning high-resolution colour display, iPod allows users to view album art and photo slideshows while playing music, or watch video and play games in full colour.

The 30GB model features up to 14 hours of battery life for music playback and up to three and a half hours of video playback, and the 80GB model features up to 20 hours of battery life for music playback and five and a half hours of video playback.* The new iPod features brightness control allowing users to easily change the brightness.

Skype for MAC's

Skype, the global Internet communications company, has released the beta version of its popular communications software, Skype for Mac 2.0, which gives any Mac user with an Internet connection the ability to make free video calls to anyone else on Skype(TM) regardless of whether they use the Windows or Mac platform. Skype's new cross platform support allows its extensive international community of more than 113 million users to make free video calls to people across the globe using both Windows and Macintosh computers.

Mac users can now enjoy one-on-one video calls, viewed within the Skype window or on the full computer screen. Skype video for Mac also includes a small window for users to view how they appear to the person they are calling. Connecting seamlessly across Windows and Mac operating systems, Skype for Mac with video offers users free, high-quality video calling regardless of platform. This means that, for the first time ever, Mac users can connect with and view friends, family and colleagues using Windows without downloading any additional software.

"Skype's goal is to make Internet calling streamlined and simple for everyone by providing innovative features and an intuitive design," said Stefan Oberg, director of product management for Skype.

"Our community is made up of both Mac and Windows users. We couldn't be more excited to bring these two groups together, literally face-to-face."

With Skype for Mac 2.0 users enjoy completely free calls to other Skype users, no matter where they are. Calls to traditional and mobile phones can be made at extremely low rates.

With Skype for Mac, students can stay connected with their parents while they are away at school or studying abroad; grandparents can watch their grandchildren grow before their eyes with easy to use video calling and business travelers can keep in touch with colleagues and save on calls home while away.

In order to make video calls Skype for Mac OS X 2.0 requires a Macintosh computer with Mac OS X v10.3.9 Panther or newer, a G4, G5, or Intel processor running at a minimum of 800 MHz, 512 MB RAM, 40 MB free disk space, and an Internet connection. In addition to the release of Skype for Mac OS X 2.0, Skype announced today the release of Skype for Mac OS X 1.5 Gold.

LG introduces 42 inch LCD DVR TV to the South African Market

Global leader in digital television, LG Electronics, is set to launch its new and innovative 42 inch ‘Time Machine’ LCD TV: 42LC2RR. The multi-functional 42 inch LCD TV with the time traveling function will be launched throughout the Middle East & Africa in the spring of 2006.

LG recently successfully launched the 42 inch LCD TV with time traveling function in the Korean market and it is leading a big business with a new digital trend according to ‘the laws of plus 5 inch’. This propensity indicates the obvious tendency to buy 5 inches more of the LCD TV screen size in view of the size of the consumer’s living room.

This has in turn allowed LG to saturate the global market, standing on 37-42-47 inch LCD TVs which are 5 inches larger than the flagship product base on 32 inch LCD TVs, which are considered a worldwide standard. In fact, the 37-42-47 inch LCD TVs have an excellent lead in the global market share with those of the competitors’ 40-46 inch LCD TVs.

The LG Time Machine TV is also referred to as a 37/42 inch HD-ready LCD TV for ‘traveling through time’ with BUILT-IN a Digital Video Recorder. With this revolutionary function, viewers can stop live broadcasting anytime they wish. Users have the ability to pause, rewind and replay live TV, skip commercials or other sections of programs, watch shows without missing a scene and watch them indefinitely.

Just like LG Time Machine plasma TV with built-in DVR (42PC1RR), the 42-inch HD Ready LCD TV (42LC2RR) with built-in DVR has the ‘Time Shift’ function’ that automatically starts to record TV program for 1 hour whenever the television is switched on or the channel is changed. This means that users can pause and rewind live TV to search the exact scene they’ve just missed. It is very useful to watch fast moving scenes such as football games and action movies.

Moreover, with 80 GB HDD, the user can instantly or manually record their favourite TV programmes as well as external content like from a DVD player or a set top box of up to 40 hours with basic quality or 20 hours with high quality. This way viewers won’t have to the decision of which programme to watch at any given time, while two shows are being broadcast simultaneously. The LG Time Machine TV with built-in DVR is much simpler and easier when compared to complex separate external HDD DVR devices. The priority given to this product was to improve user convenience, connecting freely with peripheral devices through digital interface and share contents with other devices.

When compared to the ‘TiVo-box’, a portable storage device with external HDD, it was spotlighted as a piece of equipment able to keep various contents in storage and play the recording programmes at a later stage. However, for HD sources it was legally restricted to record and play HD contents through an external HDD. In light of this, LG has the confidence that built-in DVR will be adequate for HG contents rather than the external DVR. Moreover, in terms of user convenience, the built-in DVR has made the installation and cable connection easier and simpler comparing to the difficult and complex experience with external equipment. With one remote control, all the functions can be controlled, from normal watching to the recording of various programmes.

After initiating this development, it has been 2 years since the first TV with built-in DVR was launched in the world. The reason for this was that it was difficult not only to assemble HDD within the plasma or LCD TV sets (which are less than 14 cm thick), but to operate HDD smoothly and without collision with the other core chips. Also, HDD will eliminate heat and noise. Thanks to endless research and development to overcome these obstacles, LG has succeeded in producing the current HD-ready plasma TV with built-in DVR.

With this innovative and creative product, LG is expecting to boost its sales and enhance premium images for any doting sports enthusiast. If one does not want to miss any of matches, the built-in DVR TV will be optimal choice. With the DVR built-in TV, users can enjoy every match with no worry to miss any of important scenes. Viewers can simply use the ‘Time Shift’ function, search for the exact scene they have missed and replay the programme at a later stage. After checking out of the recorded programme, the viewer can also switch back to live TV and go to the past scene.

According to Mr. James Tae, Managing Director of LG South Africa, “LG will lead the market for 40-inch or larger flat-panel TVs by maintaining its strong competitiveness on cost and technology. We will keep our spot as the number one plasma panel maker this year and become the largest LCD TV maker in 2008.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

One Web Day

It seems that EVERYONE wants to have thier own day. Now along comes One Web Day. Why?

"The mission of OneWebDay is to create, maintain, advance, and promote a global day to celebrate online life: September 22, 2006"

Check it out yourself and see if the web is still worth gettingt excited about....

Monday, September 11, 2006

4th rAge Expo locked on target - 29th September to 1st October 2006

rAge, the ultimate computer, gaming and technology expo is locked on target - the Coca Cola Dome in Northgate from the 29th of September to the 1st of October 2006.

2006 will see rAge in its fourth year of showcasing the most popular and cutting-edge computer and video games, technology, gadgets and products. With 60% more floor space and the biggest ever gaming LAN in South Africa (1200 gamers), the expo is set to be bigger, better and louder than ever before.

rAge will highlight the latest in games and computer technology, and those who attend the expo range from IT professionals, to gamers, to gadget hunters, to families just looking for a fun day out. Activities taking place during the weekend include live local performances, loads of prizes and giveaways, celebrity appearances, PC gaming competitions, sneak peeks at some of the hottest gaming titles to be released in the upcoming months, a sneak peek from Games Emporium at Magic The Gathering’s new release called Time Spiral, and the South African launch of Microsoft’s Xbox 360™.

Gaming is one of the fastest growing sectors of the entertainment industry – after only thirty years in existence, global revenue for video games (PC, Sony PlayStation, Game Boy etc.) is already around 30 billion dollars a year, and is expected to reach more than 35 billion by 2007. When Halo 2 (an Xbox console title) was released on the same day as the Spiderman 2 movie in the US, it outsold the movie release! In fact, the film industry, which has been going for around 100 years, only has a global revenue 50% larger (at $45 000 000 000) than that of the video game industry. With figures like this to back them up, predictions that by 2008 video games will be the second most popular form of entertainment, having overtaken music, don’t seem all that far fetched.

Even in South Africa, where a large proportion of the population does not have access to computers, gaming and interactive computing are growing at an enormous rate. In the youth market alone, over 25% of South Africans spend more than 3 hours a day either watching TV or playing video games!

In addition to the rapid rate at which the number of gamers in South Africa is growing, the number of South Africans taking gaming more and more seriously is also growing. More and more people are starting to see that there are careers gaming, both in professional gaming and in game development.

Three of the exhibitors at rAge 2006 are training or educational institutions that offer some sort of game development-related training - Learn 3D (an accredited AutoDesk Media & Entertainment training centre for 3D animation and visual effects), Boston Media House (one of South Africa’s leading schools for animation, graphic design and media studies) and City Varsity (one of South Africa’s leading schools for design, multimedia and entertainment production) all offer training and courses that can prepare students for a future in game design and development.

And for anyone who thinks that gaming is just a guy thing, think again, because girlz Of destruction (g.O.d.), an international 7-member all-girl gaming team who are widely regarded as the highest level professional female QUAKE™ 4 players, are going to be kicking ass at the VIA Technologies stand and in a number of on-stage exhibition matches at rAge!

But rAge isn’t only about gaming. The products and technology on show this year include ready-built PCs, notebooks, PC hardware components, LCD monitors, optical storage, data storage and communications, networking equipment, wireless technology, VoIP technology, gaming accessories and other peripherals, entertainment software, consoles and console games, MP3 players, PDAs, Magic the Gathering role-playing cards, comic books, anime figurines, music and DVDs among others.

So whether you’re shopping for a new graphics card to improve your gaming experience, on the look-out for an specialist IT company that can bring your company further into the 21st century, looking for a PDA to simplify your life or an MP3 player to listen to at gym, looking for some case fans to mod your new PC, dying to see what releases your favourite game developer is working on, on the hunt for a few expo bargains or just there to be blown away by developments in entertainment technology, rAge will have something for you.

Doors will be open from 10:00 to 18:00 on the Friday (29th September) and Saturday (30th September), and from 10:00 to 16:00 on the Sunday (1st October), and tickets will cost R30.00 per person.

For more information about rAge, visit

IBM to Build World’s First Cell Broadband Engine-Based Supercomputer

The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has selected IBM to design and build the world’s first supercomputer to harness the immense power of the Cell Broadband EngineTM (Cell B.E.) processor aiming to produce a machine capable of a sustained speed of up to 1,000 trillion calculations per second, or one petaflop.

The ‘hybrid’ supercomputer, codenamed Roadrunner, will be installed at DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory. In a first-of-a-kind design, Cell B.E. chips – originally designed for video game platforms -- will work in conjunction with systems based on x86 processors from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

Bevan Lock, IBM South Africa Technical Evangelist, explains that the cell processor is the most sophisticated chip ever created. “Effectively a supercomputer on a chip, it is expected to dramatically improve the use of visual graphics in the entertainment, medical imaging, aerospace and defence industries,” he says.

Designed specifically to handle a broad spectrum of scientific and commercial applications, the supercomputer design will include new, highly sophisticated software to orchestrate over 16,000 AMD Opteron processor cores and more than 16,000 Cell B.E. processors in tackling some of the most challenging problems in computing today. The revolutionary supercomputer will be capable of a peak performance of over 1.6 petaflops (1.6 thousand trillion calculations per second).

The machine is to be built entirely from commercially available hardware and based on the Linux operating system. IBM System xTM 3755 servers based on AMD Opteron technology will be deployed in conjunction with IBM BladeCenter H systems with Cell B.E. technology. Each system used is designed specifically for high-performance implementations.

Designed also with space and power consumption issues in mind, the system will employ advanced cooling and power management technologies and will occupy only 1115m2 of floor space, or approximately the size of three basketball courts.

Roadrunner’s construction will involve the creation of advanced ‘hybrid programming’ software which will orchestrate the Cell B.E.-based system and AMD system and will inaugurate a new era of heterogeneous technology designs in supercomputing. These innovations, created collaboratively among IBM and LANL engineers, will allow IBM to deploy mixed-technology systems to companies of all sizes, spanning industries such as life sciences, financial services, automotive and aerospace design.

Roadrunner’s hybrid design will allow the system to segment complex mathematical equations, routing each segment to the part of the system that can most efficiently handle it. Typical compute processes, file IO, and communication activity will be handled by AMD Opteron processors while more complex and repetitive elements –that traditionally consume the majority of supercomputer resources - will be directed to more than 16,000 Cell B.E. processors.

“This new supercomputer demonstrates a commitment to achieve a major advance in technological capability that will help scientists and businesses solve the most challenging problems,” Lock says.

Marty Seyer, Senior Vice President, Commercial Segment, AMD, comments: “This installation with Los Alamos and IBM demonstrates the compelling benefits from industry leaders innovating around an open platform; in this case IBM and AMD collaborating in the use of AMD Opteron and the Cell B.E. processor to build powerful systems for highly specific Los Alamos Labs workloads."

IBM will begin shipping the new supercomputer to the DOE facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory later this year, with completion of the installation and acceptance anticipated in 2008.

Based on the Power Architecture, the Cell B.E. processor was developed in collaboration with IBM, Sony Corporation, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (Sony and Sony Computer Entertainment collectively referred to as Sony Group), and Toshiba Corporation.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Xbox South Africa Website is launched

The Xbox 360 official website has been launched for South Africa at

The site keeps South African consumers who are eagerly awaiting the September 30 launch up to date on all aspects of the console, along with news, views and forums. This is the only official website and will carry trustworthy news direct from the source.

I have found the correct SA site without you having to fart around on the USA site, then go international etc. etc. When will these people learn?

You do have to download a 1Meg Flash Video which doesn't tell you much, so fast forward past that. I tried, but then the link sent me to the UK site, GREAT!. You actually HAVE to sit through the download and watch it to get to the SA site.

Once in, the page tells you how long have 'till release in SA, at time of writing you have 22 days, 15 hours and 55 minutes to wait. Will we wait in ques like they do in Japan and the US? I doubt it.

You can't seem to order on-line yet, but if you have a look around this page, there are some Google Ads where people are saying that you can pre-order, so make use of them if you can. There is a list of stores where you can purchase the XBox 360, click here...