Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wishes for 2008


Wishes for the future often accompany the celebrations that ring in the start of a new year. And for technology fans, there's plenty to put on the wish list.

For while 2007 was a big year for product rollouts, in some ways it was transitional: offering us mere glimpses of the better things that might come. Here are a few.

--- An iPhone for the rest of us

Apple's iPhone was clearly a hot item in 2007, but there was just one problem: only those with deep pockets could justify the splurge. In addition to paying around 500 dollars for this stylish, versatile device, some had to switch cell carriers, since Apple did not have agreements in place with most network providers.

Could we actually see a cheaper iPhone in 2008? Some think it's inevitable if Apple hopes to achieve wider market penetration. The company does, after all, have a history of making a hot product more affordable. The iPod MP3 player was followed-up by the less expensive Nano and other models. Why not an iPhone Nano?

--- A better Vista

Here's to hoping 2008 is a "do over" year for Windows Vista. Although Microsoft's biggest product offering of 2007 is selling well, that's mostly because computer makers are delivering it by default on most new PCs and notebooks. Sales of Vista at the retail level and to corporations have been relatively weak. The reason: Vista just doesn't offer enough compelling features to warrant an upgrade from Windows XP.

To make matters worse, Vista's interface overhaul means that users need to put in some significant time relearning things that were second nature in XP. Performance and compatibility have also been widely criticised.

But Microsoft has a chance to make things better with Service Pack 1 of Vista, available now in a beta (pre-release) version. The final Service Pack 1 of Vista is due early next year and will reportedly address concerns about sluggishness and compatibility.

--- Faster wireless

The 802.11n wireless networking protocol has not yet been ratified, but it's close. 2008 is expected to be the year that 802.11n - which provides wireless networking speeds that easily rival those of today's common wired networks - is finally made official and interoperable products start appearing.

The advantages of 802.11n are significant. With ultra-fast wireless connections, users will not only be able to stream video and music from hotspots around the world, but worthwhile in-house networks can be formed that allow all computers to share files and be backed up safely and quickly. Current 802.11g wireless connections are good for checking e-mail and surfing the Internet, but not much more. May 2008 be the year that 802.11n truly frees networked computer users from wires.

--- An end to the high-def wars

Blu-ray versus HD DVD: the war over a high-definition video standard has been raging for years now, and there's no apparent end in sight. The real victims are consumers with high-definition television sets but no affordable way of playing high-def DVDs on them. Buying a Blu-ray or HD DVD player means two things: locking yourself into one standard over the other and paying a big price premium for the privilege. A typical Blu-ray DVD player costs between 600 and 1,000 dollars, compared to your average DVD player of just around 100 dollars.

It's true that hybrid Blu-ray/HD DVD players are starting to appear - but again at a price premium. Some pundits predict that the movie studios will pressure the players on either side of the standards war to come up with a single format in 2008, since no one believes that wide consumer adoption of players will occur until there's a unified standard. Here's to hoping those pundits are right.

--- Ubiquitous Internet

Thanks to wireless hot spots, it's getting easier to be online no matter where you are, but we're still not there yet. Existing wireless hot spots needs to be upgraded to 802.11n as soon as it's available, since it offers not only faster wireless speed but also much wider coverage. And public venues such as airports and coffee shops need not only to offer wireless but also to do so at no cost to the user. Quite simply, people will prefer locations that offer free, fast wireless, and there's an obvious commercial advantage in attracting people. Here's to hoping that venues come to understand that in 2008.

--- A surge for open source

There's good reason to hope that 2008 is a watershed in open source software, a period when computer users learn that there are realistic alternatives to fee-based software. Open source products such as OpenOffice.org (http://www.openoffice.org) have proven that free software can be not only as powerful as the big-name products from Microsoft, Corel, and others, but they can be entirely compatible with those products as well. Today, a computer user can outfit a machine with virtually any productivity application at no cost whatsoever. Open source can put the power of computing in more hands than ever before.

--- A pause for thankfulness

Personal computer technology has advanced at a rate unimaginable when the first PCs were introduced to the public. A little over 20 years ago, a typical computer user was sitting next to a large, expensive 8088-based PC with 256k of RAM and two floppy drives, staring at a green or amber monochrome screen on which flickered a text-based application, probably a word processor or spreadsheet.

The goal was usually the same: printing out work on roll paper using a loud, slow, dot-matrix printer. The computer and printer would have lightened a person's wallet by some 5,000 dollars, and the next year would have brought newer technology that all but made the current machine obsolete.

Now your typical computer user sits in front of a large, thin flat-panel monitor, multitasking, communicating with people around the world, shopping, or talking for free over the Internet. And all of this capability is powered by a machine that not long ago would have made a rocket scientist green with envy. The total cost is typically less than half that of the old green screen, box, and printer.

So while a new year is for wishing and more gadgets are typically what gets a tech fan's attention, it's helpful to take some time out to reflect upon how far we've come. It's not that difficult, after all, to be thankful that technology has given us the ability to do things that a generation ago would have been unthinkable: sending e-mail, accessing the world's store of knowledge online, crunching numbers, compiling mounds of music and video digitally, working "virtually," and much more. Without the technology we have, the world would be a much less flexible place. And for that there's cause to give thanks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nokia N81


YAY!!! Nokia have brought out a new phone! Who would have thought?
Not just any phone though, a Multimedia device that lets you "live in the internet". Nokia have also launched OVI, meaning "door" in Finnish. Nokia are hoping that we will open the door for them and create a whole new internet world.
We will be able to buy "all the music in all the world", they say. I cannot wait to see what the South African music industry will have to say to that.

Games are on the way too. Costing between 6 and 10 Euros, which in my book is not cheap, but who am I to judge this one, kids of today are the gamers and daddy has more money thatn you and I will ever have.


On the right of this post is the new Nokia N81. VERY PRETTY, all say ooooohhhh.
8GB of onboard memory, new graphic interface and touchy feely buttons. Nokia are promising touch screen soon, do we really need that?
All will be revealed from October!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Censorship is alive and well in South African Companies


South African companies are beginning to follow their international counterparts in blocking workers' access to popular social networking site Facebook.

They cite concerns over productivity -- but some experts defend the site, saying it holds huge potential as a business tool.

Standard Bank is among those who have moved to include it on its list of the company's blocked leisure sites to prevent people spending non-productive time on non-work related issues, said bank spokesman Erik Larson.

And, according to Absa, the banking group has done the same although it will consider access based on individual requests.

"We don't see any business need for Absa staff to access the site," said a spokesman.

"Under certain circumstances we do grant permission to have access, but look at each case on merit so they are not totally cut off."

Facebook users also report that Wesbank and a number of smaller companies are following this trend.

According to the site's own research, its 31 million active users spend an average of 20 minutes a day interacting with their "friends".

But, most newcomers to the phenomenon, which has at least 170,000 users on the South African network, say they are addicted and spend far more than that interacting with their "friends" locally and globally

Website traffic monitor www.alexa.com ranks Facebook as the second most visited website in South Africa, next to Google, and Facebook ranks South Africa in the top 10 user countries.

"I can completely understand why they are restricting access to Facebook and Youtube (a video sharing site, also popular)," said Alan Levin, chairman of the Internet Society of SA.

"They can be incredibly addictive and in 99 percent of cases it is not productive. Corporate companies are grappling with the decision (to block it)."

The impact on infrastructure could be established by determining which business model a company has chosen -- whether they have a constrained pipeline or a system capable of handling higher traffic volumes.

But, said Levin, Facebook forms part of the global knowledge economy, and compnies are beginning to recognise and explore the possibilities beyond the purely social, for their own uses, as well as the potential it holds for research and development.

The site gives users a chance to list their likes, dislikes, interests, religious and political beliefs, schools, colleges, workplace and profession, as well as birthdate and hometown.

A keyword search for "journalism" for example, will bring up a list of all Facebook members who have included journalism in their profile details.

The user can then opt to ask someone to become their "friend".

This can be accepted or denied by the targeted friend and if accepted, they are listed on a group of friends with an accompanying picture -- and can communicate with each other on their common interest.

It began as a social network within the US's Harvard university, accessed through a student number, and has been rolled out gradually internationally.

Users can reconnect with long-lost friends already on the network by joining existing groups -- like an old school group -- or create groups where they interact with people with the same interests by writing on a "wall" or through private messaging.

People selected as friends can also see each other's personal details and wall posts, although privacy settings can fine tune that.

Users can also use or create a group and invite others to join. These range from ex-university pals and support groups, to quirkier groups like the local "Harry Pather and the Order from Phoenix" or "I don't care how comfortable Crocs are, you look like a dumbass".

"There is such a big market -- Facebook's target market is 18 and 35 --and this market is highly desirable. These issues have to be weighed up," said Levin.

Eric Edelstein, who runs an affiliate networking company www.trafficsynergy.com said: "It can hamper productivity, but, it is also a fantastic marketing tool."

He related a story of how he had tried unsuccessfully to make contact with a potential business partner in the US. As a last resort, he searched for the person's name on Facebook and sent them an instant message.

"Within five minutes he replied," said Edelstein. "It allows you to find the right person in a company very quickly. A lot of people are now using Facebook as a means of contacting people for the workplace."

He added that when he is about to meet a new business partner, he looks them up on Facebook and reads their profile to prepare for the meeting.

He also enthused about the possibilities the Facebook data base holds for companies, and the way the site allows outside users to add their own applications.

One of these has just been launched by local company Fontera which, through an application called Nudgemii, allows Facebook users to send free SMS messages to their friends all over the world.

Steven Ambrose, who heads the strategy division of technology researchers World Wide Worx, likens Facebook to the village fountain where people gathered to chat.

"It's taken off like crazy in South Africa," said Steven Ambrose, who heads the strategy division of technology research company World Wide Worx.

"It's in everybody's face."

Although its function is still mainly social, companies are making a lot of contacts and getting a lot of information from it.

"Companies are establishing a presence on Facebook which makes it quite compelling -- it's all part of the new interaction on the web," said Ambrose.

Regarding productivity, he points out that this needs to be compared with other time-consuming work-time activities like smoke breaks.

The biggest impact is bound to be on the company's bandwidth but, if users are just chatting, the impact should be minimal.

However, loading videos and songs could have a huge impact. It would certainly help chew up the limited bandwidth available for home use.

As with all networking sites, privacy is an issue and concerns have already been raised about possible risks to minor's safety.

"Young and vulnerable people shouldn't have totally uncontrolled access to the web," advised Ambrose.

Meanwhile, a quick search reveals that my deputy editor is on Facebook --mmm better quickly check my wall posts...

Monday, April 02, 2007

IBURST GIVES VOIP THE THUMBS UP

Affordable voice communication in South Africa today received a boost with the launch of iCall, a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service from iBurst.

iCall enables iBurst subscribers to make calls at competitive rates to any cellphone or landline in the world using their modems and VoIP devices which can be purchased from iBurst.

Compared to using a traditional fixed line phone, iCall subscribers will save 17% on calls to South African cellphones, 15% on national calls and in excess of 70% to many international destinations. With iCall, it is cheaper to call a landline number in Australia, China, the UK, USA and most of Europe than it is to call Cape Town from Johannesburg from a traditional landline.

The wireless broadband provider is emerging as a surprise player in the VoIP market. Already, iBurst is the only wireless broadband provider not to penalize subscribers who make VoIP calls across their networks.

“iBurst doesn’t have any traditional voice revenue to cannibalize so we’re quite happy to encourage the adoption of VoIP,” said Thami Mtshali, CEO of iBurst.

The deregulation of the telecommunications industry announced by Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri in September 2004 means that dozens of ISPs are beginning to take advantage of this cost-saving technology.

“VoIP allows individuals and organisations in particular to direct their savings towards priority areas,” added Mtshali.

Upon iCall signup, subscribers will be allocated an iCall number. The process is password-protected to verify calls being made and ensure accurate billing. The applicable rate for the destination and the duration of the call will determine how the subscriber's voucher is depleted.

Strict security protocols will ensure that calls are only made with the allocated username and password issued during signup. Subscribers are required to pay a subscription fee of R50 per month including VAT after which pre-paid vouchers need to be purchased as an additional top-up option for using the service. These are currently available in R100 and R200 denominations. The subscription allows for unlimited free calls between iCall subscribers which is ideal for inter-branch communication, amongst other uses.

An itemised bill will be mailed to subscribers electronically ensuring that they are aware of their monthly usage. iBurst also offers telephonic and e-mail support to ensure that all queries are dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Interested parties are invited to signup for their iCall service using http://www.iburst.co.za/, where they will also be able to access the applicable rates, terms and conditions along with further information.

iBurst’s wireless broadband service, which will cost as little as 12 cents a megabyte from 1 April, is up to three times faster than 3G and 17 times faster than dial-up. iBurst’s most affordable package from April is “Play Intro” offering 200 megabytes of data at R149 per month.

iBurst continues to lead the way by offering unrestricted VOIP, data-carryover, month-to-month contracts and great customer service.

For further information regarding iBurst products, the company's call centre can be reached 24 hours a day either via telephone (0860 IBURST or 0860 428 778) or email (sales@iburstgroup.co.za).

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

EA SPORTS FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 3 GETTING READY TO PACK A PUNCH ON MOBILES


Electronic Arts announced today the launch of EA SPORTS™ Fight Night Round 3. The critically acclaimed boxing game franchise will become available for download from April 2007 allowing mobile fans to be able to build and customize their boxer’s look and fighting style and fight their way from no name contender to champion of the world.

EA SPORTS™ Fight Night Round 3 is an action-packed mobile game for diehard and casual boxing fans alike and is the closest thing to being in the ring without actually getting punched! Featuring ten of the most famous and notorious boxers of all time, gamers can take on the ring style of champions from Ricky Hatton to Oscar de la Hoya whilst enjoying breathtaking graphics, up to five different fighting venues, and an opportunity to create and design their own boxer to use in the ring.

From the pre-fight press conference and weigh-in to fitness and skills training, EA SPORTS™ Fight Night Round 3 ensures no boxing fan is ever left outside the ring. The gameplay has been especially adapted for mobile and features a high-risk, high-reward punch system where gamers will put down their opponent or go down for the count. Jabs, hooks, haymakers, special moves, combos, counters and knock downs add to the fierce action. EA SPORTS™ Fight Night Round 3 is quite simply the most realistic and graphically impressive boxing game available on mobile.

“The Fight Night franchise has been hugely successful for EA SPORTS™ and we’re delighted to be able to bring the passion and drama to mobile gamers across Europe – we’re certain it will be a knock-out!” said Javier Ferreira, VP European Publishing, EA Mobile.

To learn more on EA SPORTS™ Fight Night Round 3 please go to www.eamobile.com

VIA Launches Most Powerful, Most Efficient and Most Media-Rich Nano-ITX Mainboard


Next generation VIA EPIA NX first to feature the power efficient 1.5GHz VIA C7 processor, or the 1.2GHz VIA Eden for the fastest fanless Nano-ITX, plus the VIA CX700M2 system media processor for the richest visual experience

Taipei, Taiwan, 13 March 2007 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of PC platform solutions, today introduced the 12cmx12cm VIA EPIA NX-series mainboard, the highest performance, most power efficient and feature-rich Nano-ITX platform ever.

Designed for ultra compact embedded systems with demanding digital media requirements, such as slimline LCD PCs and digital signage, small yet powerful set top boxes and next generation car PCs, the VIA EPIA NX takes the Nano-ITX mainboard to the next level, boasting the latest generation VIA processors based on the ‘Esther’ core offering the VIA V4 bus, highly effective power management and the world’s most advanced hardware security.

Available with the 1.5GHz VIA C7 processor, or the 1.2GHz VIA Eden processor for the fastest fanless configuration, the VIA EPIA NX offers a host of advanced multimedia features through the VIA CX700M2 system media processor. This all-in-one digital media IGP chipset integrates the VIA UniChrome Pro II 2D/3D graphics core and an extensive array of high end audio and video technologies, including Vinyl Multi-channel HD audio, hardware MPEG-2/-4 and WMV9 video decoding acceleration, and a built-in HDTV encoder up to 1080i for the richest entertainment experience.

“Better multimedia within increasingly smaller, slimmer packages is clearly the main trend in consumer information and entertainment systems, and defined the design of this latest generation Nano-ITX mainboard,” said Daniel Wu, Assistant Vice President, VIA Platform Solutions Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. “The powerful, feature-rich EPIA NX will help fulfill the Nano-ITX ‘New Vision’ by enabling quieter, more space-saving and reliable embedded systems, further promoting the adoption of the x86 platform in everyday systems.”

The VIA EPIA NX-series Nano-ITX mainboard will be on display at the PressExpoUSA press event on Friday 16 March at the Messe Convention Centre during CeBIT 2007; learn more about this event at: www.via.com.tw/en/company/events/cebit2007/index.jsp.

About the VIA EPIA NX-Series Nano-ITX Mainboard

Measuring just 12cm x 12cm, the powerful, feature-rich yet highly power efficient VIA EPIA NX Nano-ITX mainboard is available with either the 1.5GHz VIA C7 processor or fanless 1.2GHz VIA Eden processor supporting the 400MHz VIA V4 bus and integrating the VIA PadLock Security Engine, combined with the VIA CX700M2 advanced system media processor with its support for a wide range of digital media technologies and I/O appropriate for the consumer electronics market.

The VIA CX700M2 system media processor features the VIA UniChrome Pro II 2D/3D graphics core, and boasts the VIA Chromotion CE video display engine, including an integrated HDTV encoder that utilizes an advanced ASIC with VIA’s Advance ProScale® Technology to scale the input resolution for 640x480 up to 1024x768 encode for 1080i, 720p standard HDTV resolution output, as well as hardware decoding acceleration of MPEG-2/-4 and WMV9 video. The latest high definition audio is supported through VIA Vinyl 8-channel HD audio, and a rich range of display options includes an integrated LVDS connector plus a DVO pin connector for an additional LVDS panel through an appropriate daughterboard, plus a TV-out connector for S-Video, Component and Composite display outputs for unparalleled flexibility.

The VIA EPIA NX Nano-ITX mainboard has two Serial ATA connectors for full featured native SATA II RAID 0, 1, 0+1, configured using the VIA DriveStation SATA RAID with the VIA CX700M2, an Ethernet port for seamless broadband connectivity with the optional upgrade of Gigabit Ethernet, and supports up to 1GB of DDR2 400/533MHz SO-DIMM memory.

More details about the VIA EPIA NX-series Nano-ITX mainboard may be found on the VIA website at:

http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/mainboards/motherboards.jsp?motherboard_id=470 while information on the VIA CX700M2 system media processor can be found here:

http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/chipsets/c-series/cx700m/

VIA EPIA NX-series Nano-ITX Availability

The VIA EPIA NX-Series Nano-ITX mainboard is available now for developers, and will be available through authorized distributors shortly. For pricing and availability, please contact your local VIA sales representative or send an email to: embedded@via.com.tw.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Local War has Started


As you see in the article below this one, the PS3 gets launched in South Africa on 23 March. That is just a few days away now. On the 14th of March, the people that bring out the XBox here in South Africa are having a press function. Perfectly placed, 9 days before the launch of thier biggest opposition here in South Africa, what do you expect Microsoft to be doing on the 14th?

If they are lucky, thier press function and news will come out at the same time as the PS3 launch news, maybe just a little before. I am imagining that the news will be the launch of XBox Live which, until now, has not been avaialable to people with South African addresses.

The PS3 has some sort of wireless network and I am sure, is able to connect to the WWW without too much of a fuss. Until now, the XBox has not been able to do that.

The war is on.

Or is it?

At Look & Listen last night, I saw the price of the PS3! Are they insane? R6000 for a console that can play DVD's that aren't in South Africa yet? I think not!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Official Specs for PS3 in South Africa


Sony announced last week that PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) to be launched in the PAL territories, which includes South Africa, on 23 March 2007 would utilise a new hardware specification.

The local PS3 will feature the Cell Broadband Engine™, 60 GB hard disc drive, Blu-ray Disc player, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and SIXAXIS™ wireless controller. It also embodies a new combination of hardware and software emulation which will enable PS3 to be compatible with a broad range of original PlayStation®(PS) titles and a limited range of PlayStation®2 (PS2) titles.

“PS3 is first and foremost a system that excels in playing games specifically designed to exploit the power and potential of the PS3 system,” said David Reeves, President of SCEE. “Games designed for PS3 offer incredible graphics quality, stunning gameplay and massively improved audio and video fidelity that is simply not achievable with PS and PS2 games. Rather than concentrate on PS2 backwards compatibility, in the future, company resources will be increasingly focused on developing new games and entertainment features exclusively for PS3, truly taking advantage of this exciting technology.”

Some additional PS2 titles will become compatible on the PS3 system through regular downloadable firmware updates, which will be made available through the PLAYSTATION®Network, from www.playstation.com or via PS3 game discs, with the first update planned for the launch date of the 23rd March 2006.

Users will be able to check whether their titles are compatible with PS3 at http://faq.eu.playstation.com/bc. This site will be available on 23rd March to meet launch day.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Motofone F3


How much can you take out of a phone to make it cheap yet still be used by the "cool" people?

The Motorola Motofone F3 hs gone the opposite of all cell phone companies and created a pretty phone, thin and light, that is difficult to use!

As you can see, it's thin, very thin. But as you can see, no colour screen and no camera. It wasn't too long ago that people were asking why a camera was in a cell phone. These days, people NEED that camera. I know people who don't own a stand-alone camera and use just thier cell-phone camera. In an attempt to create a cheap phone, Motorola have dropped the camera.

The phone comes in a pretty tin-type-container. Massive manual which you HAVE to read. Unlike modern phones, you can't just pick it up and useit. There is no menu, but a left/right key to chose highlighted icons. You havr to know what these icons mean t be able to select them. They just didn't make sense to me.

No MMS, no E-mail, no MP3. All the things I expect from a modern phone. Remember, it is thin.

The spec sheet from the Motorola site lists the things it can do, like Voice Prompts. Now that is cool. The phone tells you what to do. Good when you are alone, not so good when at work or in a noisy area where you can't hear it.....

Otherwise not much to say except I used it for one evening and HAD to change it. I am not the target market for this one.

You can buy one from Bid-or-Buy for R459 but the price is R549. Cheap, very cheap.

Microsoft's Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000


I have been working on the 4000 for a couple of weeks now and didn't like it, at first. This review is being typed on a regular keyboard, Microsoft's fingerprint reader. Now that I am on a regular keyboard, I have to say that the Ergonomic one is a little better. Already my wrists are not as comfortable and I have nothing to rest on. How lazy have we become that we need something to rest on while type?

Let's start at the beginnig...

The Ergonomic 4000 is a USB keyboard, which is strange, I would have thought that everything would be wireless these days. Plug it in and it works. I am running VISTA at the moment and all seemed to work well.

The one thing you will notice about the keyboard is that it tilts down to the monitor unlike EVERY other keyboard ever made, that tilts down to the user. According to Microsoft, this is a better posistion in which to type. Strange that someone only thought of that now, my music teacher could have told them that in the 80's. The angle does take some getting used to as finding a key at the top of the board, there the Function keys are is a challenge. You kind of have to peak over the hill, as it were.

The Keyboard is a split one. Some letter on the left and some on the right. For a typist like me that only uses one finger on his left hand to type, this was not right. I felt as if the B was in the worng place and I had to cross over a few times to type something. I found that I made more mistakes when typing on the 4000.

The keyboard has a GREAT wrist rest, made of what feels like, fake leather. Very pretty in black and doesn't make you sweat at all like a plastic rest would.

The keyboard comes with all the expected added exras, like a zoom knob, multimedia controls and shortcut keys. You can find out all the details at thier site.

For a regular typist, I am sure that this keyboard would work fantasically. Some one who doesn't have to look at the keyboard while thy type. My PA would love one. As for the regular home user, I think that the cost of $60 is a little high for a pretty dekstop attachment.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

How Much is Too Much


In computing, is there ever such a thing as too much? Too much speed, too much memory, too much space? How about too many screens? Seems not.

Check out what this guy has done to his office. I must say that I WANT ONE!!!!

ROGUE WIRELESS OPERATORS DEGRADE RADIO SPECTRUM


Rogue wireless Internet Service Providers (ISPs) providing Internet access to consumers in contravention of the Telecommunications Act put extreme pressure on South Africa’s scarce radio spectrum.

“Ultimately, people must decide whether they want to be customers of the Enrons and Masterbonds of the Internet industry,” said Thami Mtshali, CEO of iBurst. Only certain operators such as iBurst are licensed to build their own public communications networks.

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) has already warned illegal wireless ISPs that some contraventions of the Telecommunications Act are criminal offences and that it has decided to establish a “working relationship” with the South African Police Services (SAPS).

“We hope that consumers will not be seduced by unrealistic promises and remember that doing business with potential criminals will harm South Africa’s war on crime,” said Mr Mtshali.

Degradation of the available radio spectrum in a certain area will inevitably result from the operations of illegal wireless operators reselling unreliable, saturated and high latency ADSL lines.

Already, rising demand from licensed mobile and fixed-line operators, broadcasters, ISPs and others is causing ICASA to reevaluate the procedures and criteria for awarding the precious national resource that is radio spectrum.

Illegal operators using the public 2.4 GHz frequency band for commercial purposes not only degrade the spectrum they deny ICASA revenue in the form of license fees which could be used to provide the regulator with the resources it is currently lacking.

Consumers who didn’t carefully choose wireless ISPs with solid track records now face disconnection as ICASA cracks down on illegal operators. ICASA’s view is that all wireless operators outside of wireless hotspots in specific areas and limited in size are illegal.

License conditions stipulate certain minimum service standards and make operators liable for contraventions. Consumers are therefore at risk of paying unlicensed operators for a sub-standard service. ICASA has taken a hard line with non-compliant wireless ISPs by either shutting down their operations or confiscating equipment.

Consumers unsure of whether or not a certain ISP is operating legally should call ICASA’s Licensing, Enforcement and Numbering (LENA) Department on 011 321 8200.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

PS3 Date for South Africa, AT LAST!!!!


The revolution has started… Following widespread speculation, Ster-Kinekor Games has just announced that Sony’s PLAYSTATION®3 home entertainment-console (PS3) will be on sale in South Africa from 23 March 2007 – in conjunction with the console’s launches in the UK and Australasia. An expected one million PS3 units will be made available during the initial launch period.

PS3 is one of the most highly anticipated & sophisticated home entertainment systems to hit the international gaming market. Its features are the first of its kind and also revolutionize features usually associated with gaming consoles. Launching in a sleek black casing designed to enhance the contemporary home entertainment-lifestyle, the PS3 enables games & multimedia to be viewed & experienced in an unparalleled High-Definition environment with top-end audiovisual potential through BlueRay DVD. The system’s revolutionary sensor-sensitive Sixaxis controller can connect up to 7 gamers wirelessly via advanced Bluetooth technology.

Apart from being able to play games with the BlueRay DVD system – the next generation of DVD created for High-Definition (HD) TV systems – the PS3 also acts as a standalone high-end BlueRay DVD player (with a 60GB harddrive), provides storage space for personal photos, videos & music, has more speed than the best PC available commercially and also links to the Internet for downloads & gaming interaction.

A stellar launch line-up of game titles has been confirmed for PS3, including eagerly awaited titles published by Sony Computer Entertainment such as Resistance: Fall of Man™, MotorStorm™, Genji™: Days of the Blade, FORMULA ONE CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION and Ridge Racer™ 7. An exceptional range of titles in every genre will also be available at launch from the world’s leading third party publishers, including Electronic Arts, Activision, Namco Bandai, Sega, Take 2, Ubisoft, Vivendi Universal, and Sony Online Entertainment.

In addition to games on disc, an exciting range of fully-featured downloadable games will debut on the PLAYSTATION®Network. These will include gaming icons such as Tekken®: Dark Resurrection and Gran Turismo® HD Concept; the fully-featured PS3 debut of the best-selling franchise Gran Turismo, realised with full HD (1080p) visual quality. Created by Polyphony Digital Inc and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, Gran Turismo® HD Concept has been downloaded by more than 350 000 users since it was released in December 2006 in North America and Japan.

Also available on the PLAYSTATION®Network will be brainteasers such as Go! Sudoku and Go! Puzzle, and innovative games such as Blast Factor™ and flOw™, designed exclusively for PLAYSTATION 3 and delivering on the promise to provide original content created by non-traditional developers and publishers.

Selected Sony movie titles are already available in the BlueRay DVD-format. This format is expected to be the preferred format for delivering media in the future. BD-ROM (Blu-ray Disc ROM) has a maximum storage capacity of 54GB (dual layer) which stores 77 times more information than a CD and six times more than a double layered DVD, which means it can hold over 50 000 high resolution photographs, 15 000 music tracks, store full High-Definition movies and games, enabling delivery of entertainment content in full High-Definition (HD) quality, under a secure environment made possible through the most advanced copyright protection technology.
PS3’s console design, features and general iconic status again signals progression in terms of the PlayStation brand’s legendary penchant for stylish, sexy, cutting-edge product design. PS1, PS2 and PSP games (linked via the PSP console) are compatible with PS3.

Responding to a major retail and consumer demand, it has been confirmed that initially only the 60GB model would be available, with the 20GB model to follow later in the year dependant on demand.

Concurrent with the launch, a new System Update to further enhance the entertainment potential of PS3 will be issued.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bigger and Brighter Navigation from Garmin


When it comes to the screens on navigation devices, you can’t be too big or too bright. The latest in-car navigation models from Garmin follow that maxim, with more map display space and clearer viewing in bright ambient light.

Avnic Trading has announced the release of the new nüvi 660 and 610 models in the popular nüvi family of GPS navigators and Personal Travel Assistants which feature a new super-bright, 4.3” (109mm) widescreen display for an even clearer navigation display, media player and picture viewer applications. The screen is 480x272 pixels with a white backlight, and is touch-sensitive. All interaction with the units, other than the power button, is through an exceptionally easy to use touch screen interface.

The nüvi 660 and 610 have a further great new feature: both offer Bluetooth® wireless technology for hands-free calling when paired with compatible phones, turning the nüvi into a Bluetooth car kit. An external microphone jack is provided if you want to use a separate microphone.

Top GPS performance is ensured by the high-sensitivity integrated GPS receiver. Navigation instructions are both audio and visual, and the 660 features Text-To-Speech which gives you the full street names – for example “Turn right on Main Street” instead of just “Turn Right”. You can choose between overhead 2D views (track up or North up), or a 3D perspective view. A Points of Interest (POI) loader program lets you set up proximity alerts for school zones, safety cameras, or any other POIs you chose.

Internal memory available for supplemental maps, MP3s and audio books is approximately 700MB, and an SD memory card expansion slot allows you to add even more capacity.

Both units are supplied with Garmap Southern Africa Version 1 on CD and SD card, vehicle suction cup mount and dashboard disk, carrying case, USB interface cable, 12-volt adapter cable and sample MP3s and Language Guide content. The nüvi 660 additionally includes preloaded City Navigator Europe for travellers abroad and an AC charger.

The units weigh just 176g with built-in Lithium Ion battery that gives 3 to 7 hours use.

For further information, please contact Dealer Sales Queries info@garmin.co.za or call 0861 GARMIN / 0861 427646

Monday, February 12, 2007

LG demonstrates next-generation mobile technologies at 3GSM World Congress


LG Electronics today announced the unveiling of its latest products and future technologies which will take place at the 3GSM World Congress 2007, in Barcelona, Spain, from 12 to 15 February 2007.

One of the main highlights of this congress will be the launch of LG’s second model in the premium “Black Label” series, which will be made known to the consumer as the LG “Shine” phone. The “Shine” will initially be launched in Europe and is expected to arrive in South Africa during May this year.

This range of striking new mobile phones with revolutionary technical features and luxurious designs will be launched under their theme “Born to Shine: the shining moments in your life.”

“In 2006, LG established its reputation in the world market with the Chocolate phone,” said Mr. K.W. Kim, President of LG Electronics – Middle East and Africa. “The European market is experiencing rapid growth in the demand for products with the latest technology and trendy designs, making it a vital market for mobile phone manufacturers around the world”.

“LG will make take a huge leap forward as its premium brand in the mobile industry will be the star of this event. We will introduce some of the most advanced technology that LG has employed to date in order to showcase these masterpiece handsets,” he added. “The models demonstrate how we continue to innovate across our range of products and in so doing, cultivate an unsurpassed customer experience.”

LG’s booth will feature the stunning new “Shine” handset, embodied in exquisite real-metal with a mirrored style. This new phone is the second installment of its premium Black Label series, and has been predicted another bestseller, as was the case last year with the Chocolate phone.

LG and Nortel will also demonstrate long term evolution (LTE), an almost-4G technology, which features data-transfers at twice the speed of HSDPA.

LG will display its second commercialised HSDPA phone and showcase its HSPA (HSDPA, HSUPA), WiMAX and mobile broadcasting (DVB-H, MediaFLO and DMB) during this event in Spain.

The 3GSM World Congress is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, featuring mobile operators, vendors and content owners from across the world. Last year, the event hosted over 50,000 people who attended this unique experience.

LG’s booth is located at Hall 8, 3GSM World Congress in Fira de Barcelona, Spain.

Friday, February 09, 2007

MICROSOFT COMES DOWN HARD ON SOFTWARE PIRACY

Microsoft Corporation says it will continue to “come down hard” on software piracy after reaching a multi-million dollar settlement with French company, MPO Group, linked to the distribution of thousands of counterfeit copies of its server software.

Disc replicator MPO Group admitted that its Thai subsidiary inadvertently replicated thousands of Microsoft server software discs after relying on a fake licensing agreement. MPO agreed to a multi-million-dollar settlement, and cooperated in the investigation. Details of the agreement have not been disclosed.

Microsoft SA’s Mark Reynolds, Microsoft SA Group Manager: Small Business & Transactional Partners, says that even though MPO “stepped up and did the right thing” by cooperating with the investigation and acknowledging its responsibility, Microsoft felt it had little choice but to insist on a substantial settlement.

“Microsoft cannot stand by when counterfeiting and piracy undercuts the work of honest and responsible resellers and partners whose prices are compromised by the introduction of counterfeit software into the market,” said Reynolds.

“There’s no question that software piracy is a global problem for the industry. By addressing the trade in counterfeit software at the manufacturing level, we are effectively shutting down illegal operators down to the point of production.”

According to MPO, its Thai office manufactured 20,000 counterfeit copies of Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server products in July 2003 on the basis of what turned out to be forged documentation from a third party that purported to have a license to distribute Microsoft software. In fact, Microsoft does not license its software to be reproduced and distributed in this way.

Reynolds continued to say that Microsoft would continue to identify and investigate organisations that manufacture illegal software, with several suspected South African pirate operations under surveillance. The company has been dogged in its pursuit of software piracy, launching the Genuine Software initiative to educate customers and resellers about the tell-tale signs of piracy.

According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the software industry lost US$34bn to piracy in 2005 globally, amounting to 35% of all software used worldwide. This figure was up US $1.6bn from 2004. In South 36% of business use illegal software.

“In the last 18 months, Microsoft and law enforcement agencies around the world have seized more than 675,000 units of fake Microsoft software and components. This represents a loss to Microsoft of $84 million,” concluded Reynolds.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

MASSIVE HACKER ATTACK SLOWS BUT FAILS TO BRING DOWN INTERNET

The biggest attack in years on the Internet's backbone servers, which slowed traffic but failed to bring down the Web, used infected computers around the world as "zombies," security experts said Wednesday.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at the London-based firm Sophos, said Tuesday's incident "seems to have been the most serious attack against these domain name servers since December 2002."

Cluley said three of the 13 domain name system (DNS) servers that control global Internet traffic were hit with a so-called "denial of service" attack, which means they were bombarded with information requests in an effort to bring them down.

He said that since the 2002 attacks, "the system has become more resilient and is well set up to bounce back from these attacks."

Mike Poor at the US-based SANS Internet Storm Center said experts at the computer security institute were "aware of the attacks," and trying to get more information about them.

Cluley said a big part of the attacks was linked to so-called "zombie" computers that are infected by spam e-mails, leaving them open to control by hackers.

He said some reports traced the attacks to South Korea, but added that "it doesn't mean the hackers are based there ... the bad guys could be based anywhere in the world."

BBJ Sport Guy: ATHLETES' BLOGS COME UNDER OLYMPIC SCRUTINY

Seems that new rules need to be made by the IOC, and I am not talking about doping this time.....

BBJ Sport Guy: ATHLETES' BLOGS COME UNDER OLYMPIC SCRUTINY

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

PlayStation 2 Beats PlayStation 3 Sales in Japan


The Sony PlayStation 2 sold 20,995 units while the PlayStation 3 sold 19,996 units from Jan. 22 to 28, according to numbers from Media Create. This marks the first time that the PS2 outsold the PS3, though the PS3 has only been available for a couple of months.

The digital entertainment analyst uses the sales data from 3,000 stores to estimate nationwide sales of all Japanese retailers. Sony plans on shipping more than 6 million PlayStation 3 game consoles worldwide before April.

The PlayStation 2 offers a lower price tag, more variety in video games, and higher availability to consumers, which contributed why it was able to sell more units than the PS3. The Nintendo Wii sold 83,000 units in the same time frame -- the Microsoft Xbox 360 sold 7,365 models. Analysts still believe the PS3's superior technology over its competitors will make it the viable console in the long-run.

Reports claim Sony's games divison could see losses as high as $2.57 billion USD for its fiscal year, which ends in March.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Apple: Wait on Vista

Apple has urged PC users running iTunes wait for a new release of the jukebox software before upgrading to Windows Vista.

The iTunes maker has released a small repair tool that solves one compatibility issue between its jukebox software iTunes and Microsoft's newest version of Windows, but says PC users are better off waiting for the next version of iTunes before upgrading to Vista.

The latest version of iTunes, 7.02, may work with Vista on many typical PCs, but Apple knows of a few incompatibility problems, including some that are serious.

For instance, users who remove their iPod from their computer using the "safely remove hardware" feature in Vista may corrupt the contents of their iPod, Apple says. In addition, users may not be able to make changes to their iPod settings, synch contacts and calendars with the iPod, or play songs they've bought online from the iTunes Store.

Apple offers a support document with tips for customers who do decide to upgrade to Vista before the new iTunes release, including reinstalling the latest version of iTunes. Apple is also now offering the repair tool which should help customers who are having trouble playing songs they've bought from the iTunes Store.

Still, Apple recommends that customers wait until a new release of iTunes becomes available in a couple of weeks before upgrading to Vista.

Microsoft, which launched the long-awaited operating system last week, recommends just the opposite.

"We're committed to ensuring that all partners, including Apple, get all of the resources they need to ensure that their applications work with Windows Vista. Customers shouldn't feel that they need to wait to adopt Vista for these reasons," Microsoft said in a statement.

Microsoft offers software partners a variety of resources to ensure that their products will be compatible with Vista, it said.

Iomega expands storage capacity of two popular storage products


Iomega Corporation, a global leader in data storage and protection, has announced new versions of two of its versatile storage products: the high-end Iomega UltraMax desktop hard drive with expanded capacity to a towering 1Terrabyte, and a new stylish black small form-factor Iomega dual interface portable hard drive with 120Gigabytes of storage capacity.

Designed for Mac OS X users, Iomega’s popular UltraMax desktop hard drives deliver secure, high-capacity storage in a rugged enclosure that complements the Apple Mac Pro and Power Mac series of computers. With RAID 1 and a built-in FireWire and Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0) hub for future expansion, Iomega’s UltraMax drives excel in digital content creation, graphic design, and other disk-intensive tasks.

“Apple’s Mac Pro is a thoroughbred personal computer that needs an external storage system that can keep pace,” said Bobby Kennedy, Key Account Manager for Iomega in South Africa. “With FireWire 800, the Mac HFS+ file system, and RAID 1 performance, Iomega’s new UltraMax drive has incredible power right out of the box, and its interface choices and RAID options will enhance your workflow whether you’re connecting it to Mac Pro, an iMac, or a MacBook.”

In addition to the default mode of RAID 0, which stripes data across the UltraMax drive’s two 7200-RPM SATA hard drives, other drive settings include RAID 1, ‘spanned’ (both hard drives are treated as a single volume), and ‘simple’ (each hard drive is treated as its own drive letter). For ease of use, the new Iomega UltraMax Desktop Hard Drive has a manual RAID switch, allowing the user to turn off the RAID configuration and use the drive configured as JBOD.

The Iomega UltraMax Hard Drive is preformatted with Apple’s HFS+ file system for Mac OS X users. HFS+ makes more efficient use of large hard drives and supports journaling under Mac OS X, which makes it easier to recover data in case of a problem.

The stackable UltraMax drive enclosure complements the new Mac Pro series of Apple computers as well as the older Power Mac series. The enclosure is metallic grey with a mesh grill, an echo of the Mac Pro computer’s industrial design. Its three interfaces include FireWire® 800, FireWire 400, and Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0), and it provides users with a three-port Hi-Speed USB hub for easy expansion. Cables for FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 operation are included with the drive.

Fashionably thin at just 0.5 inches (12.7 mm) and an incredibly light 5.8 oz.(163 g), the Iomega black portable hard drive 120 GB Hi-Speed USB 2.0/FireWire is packed with ideal features for mobile users. It is the perfect storage companion for a Mac notebook, including host-powered operation and Drop Shock technology. The drive’s 2.5-inch hard drive delivers fast 5400 RPM performance and comes with both FireWire 400 (1394a) and USB 2.0 cables.

“Host-powered products are great for mobile users because they eliminate the need to bring along a power adapter and find a wall outlet for it,” said Kennedy. “The Iomega black portable hard drive gets all the power it needs from the USB or FireWire cable. Choice of connectivity combined with 120 Gigabytes and a stylish little package make the new Iomega black portable hard drive an ideal portable hard drive for road warriors and others that need more freedom and versatility in their storage products.”

For secure storage and worry-free backup and disaster recovery, Iomega also includes EMC Retrospect Express software with the new UltraMax Drive and the new Black Portable Hard Drive. Retrospect Express delivers automated, reliable, cost-effective protection for Windows® and Mac® users. Its award-winning design makes it easy to set up and manage highly efficient backups on any personal computer, greatly simplifying disaster recovery. Users can back up open files, verify backup integrity during the backup, have scheduled backups proceed even without logging in, and recover individual files or a complete system to any point in time.

A single Iomega 120GB Dual Interface Black Portable Hard Drive can hold up to 480,000 photos, 2,220 hours of music, or 180 hours of video.

The Iomega UltraMax desktop hard drive 1TB Triple Interface is compatible with Mac OS X 10.1 or above on Apple computers with an Intel processor or G3 processor or higher. The UltraMax Drive can be reformatted to NTFS or FAT32 for use with a PC (instructions included), making it compatible with Microsoft® Windows® 2000, Windows XP Home and XP Professional editions, as well as the upcoming Windows Vista. FAT32 format allows cross-platform use.

The Iomega portable hard drive 120GB Hi-Speed USB 2.0/FireWire is compatible with Mac OS X 10.1 or higher, as well as Windows 2000 Professional/XP Home/XP Professional and Windows Vista.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Speech recognition

Okay. There are some things that are more important than typing. For example you might want to have a beer in your hand. I have had Windows Vista installed for one. I've just discovered a fantastic new thing and that his speech recognition. This whole entry on this story is done by voice recognition. When you read it supposed to be faster. I have been here for a good 5 minutes and store them struggling to get this thing written.

When I wanna do for now one is not do any corrections. Any mistakes you C and the rest of this paragraph is simply that made by the computer. I promise you I haven't type of thing. I enjoy using Windows Vista so far and I think that I could deduce that. I was talking to a friend of mine today and we were wondering what the big hype was. Shelley, there shouldn't be a big help. That is supposed to be hyper not help. Even that was not supposed to be hyper just hype. There we go. It only took three times to work out what I wanted to say. Back to the Windows-based the hype.

Windows is ubiquitous. There is nothing we can do about. I guess they could be better and want to fight with other operating systems. I like windows because when you do something it just works. There is no having to mess about worth codes and things. Take the speech recognition for example; all I did was plug in my headset, typed in speech recognition and here I am typing a blogger to the world. And when assayed tapping I mean talking.

So what about speech recognition? A little known while. Theez for now. Another mistake. But as for now, I'm going to have to learn to speak correctly. At least my spelling is correct.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Windows Vista is HERE!!!


I have a copy of the 32 bit and the 64 bit Windows Vista. I have had it for a day now so I thought that I would link to a few other sites that have done reviews on the new operating system and then I will write something up later.





OSNews.com

Vista Hunt.com

Coreno.com

Most of the reviews same the same thing. Now we wait and see.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

In Box Support for VIA in Vista


VIA Technologies today confirmed the most comprehensive and flexible range of core logic solutions for Vista-based systems across all the major processor platforms for motherboard, PC, server and device manufacturers.

Five of VIA’s leading edge IGP chipsets have received the Windows Vista Basic logo from Microsoft: the VIA K8M890 and the VIA P4M900 for the latest mainstream AMD and Intel desktops respectively, the VIA K8N890 for AMD processor-powered notebooks, the upcoming VIA CN896 for VIA C7™ processor desktop and embedded systems, and the brand new VIA VN896 mobile chipset for VIA C7-M and Intel Pentium® M processors. All these PCI Express chipsets feature the latest VIA Chrome9™ integrated 2D/3D graphics processor supporting DirectX® 9.0 and the Chromotion™ CE video display engine.

The certification of these chipsets ensures that VIA customers can build desktops, laptops and ultra mobile devices with confidence that they are ready for the highly anticipated new Vista operating system. The testing involved in the certification process guarantees a reliable and trouble free installation and usage of the Ultimate, Enterprise, Business, Home Premium and Home Basic editions of Microsoft Windows Vista.

VIA also boasts leading edge discrete chipsets such as the VIA PT890 and the VIA K8T900 that, combined with DirectX 9.0 PCI Express graphics cards such as the S3 Chrome S27, make the ideal platform to power high-end systems that can really take advantage of the stunning visual effects of Windows Vista™ Premium.

“With the much-anticipated release of Microsoft Windows Vista, we are pleased to support it through our portfolio of feature-rich chipsets covering so many market segments, from the highest performance gaming PCs to handheld ultra mobile devices,” said Chewei Lin, Vice President of Product Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “Our chipsets offer proven and certified building blocks for Vista™ Capable and Vista™ Premium Ready PCs, allowing end-users to enjoy the full Vista™ experience and optimal system performance.”

Support for VIA chipsets is provided in-box with Windows Vista, while additional drivers for VIA Ethernet controllers, VIA Gigabit Ethernet, VIA HD audio, VIA Envy24 Family audio controllers, IGP chipset WDDM drivers for certified chipsets and VIA SATA/RAID controllers are additionally available for download from VIA’s International Technical support website, VIA Arena at http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=2&Type=1

Friday, January 26, 2007

VIRTUA FIGHTER 5 OFFICIAL SITE LAUNCH


SEGA Europe Ltd. are pleased to announce the launch of the official website for Virtua Fighter 5, the hotly anticipated fighting game for the PlayStation3 computer entertainment system. www.sega-europe.com/virtuafighter5 offers a range of content for both fans of the highly acclaimed series and gamers new to Virtua Fighter.

www.sega-europe.com/virtuafighter5 includes a range of material covering everything from a game information section describing all the aspects of Virtua Fighter 5 to a detailed character section explaining everything there is to know about fighters old and new. An extensive media section allows visitors to view a selection of movies and screenshots, going great lengths to prove the undeniable beauty of Virtua Fighter 5 and also includes a variety of wallpapers and icons for fans to download.

Visitors wanting to brush up on their Virtua Fighter knowledge can browse through the history section of the site to get the inside information on the critically acclaimed and much loved game, helping to make www.sega-europe.com/virtuafighter5 the perfect site for fans of what is hotly tipped to be the world’s greatest fighting game.

For more information on Virtua Fighter 5 please visit www.sega-europe.com/virtuafighter5

PS3 arrogance and a great site


I sat back yesterday after reading international web sites and realised that I have no idea when the PS3 will be hitting our sunny South African shores. Why do I not know when the PS3 will be hitting our shores? That is a damn fine question. Remember, all of this is happening in my brain, not out loud, that would be sad.

So after reading these international websites on the launch of the PS3 and how much it will cost and that only the expensive version will be available in Europe, I thought that I had better do some research. By the way, us lowly, bandwidth challenged South African form part of Europe. The Japanese might love our animals, and our animals love eating Japanese, but we are still European to them.

I clicked on www.playstation.co.za and followed the link to the PS3 Website. 1st: I hate pop-up windows! Don't do it! But they did and I went, so I moved on. After waiting for 3Kb of Flash movie to load, I saw that the SA launch is in March 2007. WOW!!! Same as Europe, just no date.

Next step, I went to the Ster Kinekor website to phone the people who release all the PS's to South African stores. There are no contact details on the PS3 site. Again, be warned, you have to wait for pretty animation to launch. HAVE THESE PEOPLE LEARNED NOTHING FROM GOOGLE?

The only number you can find on the Ster Kinekor website is Ticket Line. I would love to copy & Paste it here, but the site won't let me. I can also not Skype it as it's all graphic. Anyway, I called the number and told them my story and they told me to call another number. Which I did.

Once I got to that number, a lady tells me to hold, which I did and I get through to a voice mail box that says it's full. GREAT, now what? No option to go back to the operator, so I call again and tell her that the voice mail box is full. She puts me through to another person who seems to know a little more than the ticket line guy.

All she can do, though, is take my details and promise that someone will call me back.

That someone did call me back, yes, I know, it's amazing! She tells me that I am no longer on the mailing list and will check with her PR company if I can get on the list. HELLO!!! I am on a national radio station and run a blog and influence millions, if not tens.

So now I wait.

What I can tell you about the PS3 is what IOL are running this morning. I didn't want to put it up on this site as all of the numbers will be wrong.

But onto better things.

I found this GREAT site named AfriGadget. It features all of those "Boer maak a plan" things that clever minds in tough conditions come up with. You think that your new iPhone is cool, check out what people make when they HAVE to.....

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Web Browsing and Mail Retrieval Alternatives for your smartphone

I've just been investigating how to best view my Gmail account on my Nokia N91 smartphone.

I've had the Gmail/mobile app installed for a while, and I thought it was a godsend. Unfortunately, it's FULL of limitations that makes it completely unsuitable for business use.

Here are the key Gmail/mobile limitations in my book:

1. It's not possible to save attachments in email you've received.

2. There is no way to resize downloaded photos, and they're actually not downloaded. They're simply in a view window that you can't save from.

3. When replying to a message, you cannot see the original text you're responding to. This means that if you're responding to a complex business message, you have no way of verifying what you're answering, until AFTER YOU'VE SENT THE MESSAGE!!!

4. There is no way to 'save a draft' of a message you're writing.

5. Gmail arbitrarily decides on a message-length limit, at which point, it simply truncates the message, without giving you any means to view the truncated part. So if someone sends you a long message, you most likely will not be able to read the entire thing.

6. If you've got the free document viewer loaded (this is a non-Gmail app available from Microsoft), Gmail applies the same arbitrary truncation rule to that. So, if you've received a big Word document, and you're viewing it, it's cut off at the point Gmail decides. And because you can't SAVE the document -- you can only VIEW it!!!! -- there's nothing you can do about this until you get yourself to a real computer.

7. Gmail prevents you from seeing any quoted text. So if I've responded to a message of yours using the traditional email quoting system, you actually cannot see the context that I'm quoting. Gmail strips it out. With no way of seeing it.

I'll give you an example...

Here's what I've typed to Mike...

Mike said:
>I really love the way your last Creativity Seminar ran, Roy

Roy replies:
Cool, dude! It was a pleasure!

This is what Mike actually SEES on his Gmail/mobile app on his phone:

Mike said:
Roy replies:
Cool dude! It was a pleasure!
Aaaaaargh!

NOT acceptable!

So far, the only way round this on a Symbian phone such as mine was to use the built in web browser. which is an authentic nightmare. It's the WORST web browser I have EVER encountered. And I've been on the internet since the very beginning.

So what's the answer?

Prabhu has it solved on the Gmail Help Forum. Here's his solution...

Dear All,
"Gmail mobile in India"
Is a big topic right now I just give small and very inportent
information to all gmail user in India

Option 1:-
Download "OPERA MINI" to your mobile
URL:- www.operamini.com
Start opera and type www.gmail.com
Enter your User id and password in gmail window
And surprise your mailbox is open save this page as a bookmark on
starting window
Note:- you have to refresh this page every time for new mails as its
working great
And its free

Option 2:-
Download "Flurry" in you mobile
URL:- www.flurry.com (you have to register with flurry and its free)
Enter your email id and password on flurry.com up to 5 Accounts
Once you email address and password verified you can read and send your
email to others

Please try it and enjoy
I am using SE W700i with Airtel NOP service and it's great for me.

Thanks and best regards,
Prabhu

Thank you Prabhu! You've saved my life. And you've saved my phone. I LOVE my phone, make no mistake about it. But every single time I get a truncated message on my Gmail app, I have to restrain myself from flinging the phone against a wall.

I've just installed the free operamini webbrowser, and it's a dream. I see EVERYTHING in my Gmail account. Including the quoted text.

Blue skies
love
Roy

VODAFONE UNIT TO OFFER FULL INTERNET PHONES IN GERMANY THIS YEAR

Arcor, a subsidiary of phones multinational Vodafone, is to offer German customers from March a telephone service that uses the internet only, without traditional phone circuitry, the company said Wednesday in Hamburg.

Spokesman Michael Peter said Arcor would be the first major phone company in Germany to offer home customers the all-internet-protocol (IP) service. Arcor demonstrated a white box the size of a large paperback book which will connect existing phones to the network.

Arcor is Germany's number-two fixed-line phone provider after former monopolist Deutsche Telekom and is 74.9-per-cent owned by London-based Vodafone. Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Bank own the rest.

Peter said Arcor was currently signing up about 200,000 new customers per quarter in Germany, Europe's biggest market.

Unnoticed by most consumers, many phone companies around the world have completely converted their backbone networks to IP, whereas home and small office customers have been hooked up through old-fashioned analogue phone lines or an ageing technology known as ISDN.

Arcor executive Zoltan Bickel demonstrated the white box, manufactured in Asia to Arcor specifications, which automates the complex task of reconnecting existing phones to the new technology.

He said new customers would be offered the "next generation network" from the time of the Cebit computing trade fair to be held in Hanover, Germany from March 15 to 21 and promised there would be no deterioration in voice quality.

Combined phone and internet access charges would remain the same as at present. There would be no compulsion: users could retain traditional lines if they preferred. Arcor also announced Wednesday a new television service using its broadband connections.

VIA Announces PCI Express Chipset for Vista-Ready Mobility


VIA VN896 with VIA Chrome9 IGP core supporting DirectX® 9.0 and Chromotion™ 3.0 offers rich visual Hi-Def™ experience for notebooks and ultra portable devices

Taipei, Taiwan, 24 January 2007 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today announced the launch of the VIA VN896 digital media mobile IGP chipset, certified Vista Basic-ready by Microsoft and designed to provide users with unsurpassed visual clarity for notebooks and the new breed of ultra mobile devices.

The VIA VN896 chipset features the VIA Chrome9™ HC integrated graphics processor (IGP) featuring a DirectX® 9.0 3D accelerator for high performance and a 2D accelerator for productivity applications. The 3D graphics engine of the VN896 chipset offers the industry’s only simultaneous usage of single-pass multitexturing and single-cycle trilinear filtering, providing stunning image quality without performance loss.

Also integrated is the latest generation Chromotion™ video display engine, featuring advanced video processing, including acceleration for MPEG-2 decoding, and picture enhancement through adaptive de-interlacing technology and video deblocking, all executed in hardware to offset the processor workload. The VIA VN896 also features versatile LCD panel, CRT and TV-out support, to as high as 1080i high definition, while separate display engines enable two outputs to display at the same time, with different information at different resolutions, pixel depths and refresh rates.

By passing the Microsoft® Windows Vista™ 32bit/64bit Basic logo tests, customers can integrate the VIA VN896 PCI Express chipset into their products with the assuredness of digitally signed drivers and trouble-free installation of Microsoft Windows Vista, including Ultimate, Enterprise, Business, Home Premium and Home Basic editions.

“As computing increasingly goes mobile, the VN896 mobile chipset offers unparalleled visual quality for a rich digital media experience,” commented Chewei Lin, Vice President of Product Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “Coupled with its advanced power saving features, it’s an excellent choice for notebooks and even smaller, ultra mobile devices requiring superior performance and extensive peripheral connectivity.”

The VIA VN896’s robust graphics controller implements dynamic CKE and clock grating to minimize DDR SDRAM power consumption and achieve maximum power savings.

Details on the chipset can be found here...

Garmin’s Two-Wheeler GPS Announced

Avnic Trading has announced the availability of the first full-featured, no compromises GPS navigators designed specifically for motorcyclists, the all new Zūmo 500 and Zūmo 550.

Motorcyclists have particular requirements that standard automotive navigators fail to meet: they wear helmets and gloves, and they and their equipment are exposed to the elements. The new Zūmo units use Bluetooth1 to link to compatible cell-phones and in-helmet speakers and microphone, allowing the rider to place hands-free calls or answer by simply tapping on the screen. Navigation prompts are also given over the Bluetooth link, announcing full street names so you can keep your eyes on the road. The screen is designed to be used left-handed, with riding gloves, with oversized icons and menus on a high-brightness, sunlight readable and UV-resistant display. The device comes packaged in a rugged waterproof casing (industrial rating IPX7) with a choice of silver or black caps with other optional colours available to match your bike’s colour scheme (and attitude!). An optional external microphone is available.

For entertainment on long trips, an MP3 player is included: songs are loaded onto the Zūmo just by dragging and dropping – no special software is required – and for additional storage there is an SD card expansion slot.

A locking motorcycle mount securely attaches the Zūmo to the bike with a standard 4 hole AMPS mounting, and is supplied with special security screws and screwdriver. Further security is provided by the Garmin Lock anti-theft feature: when enabled you need a PIN to use the device, which is de-activated when you are within 50 meters of a security location that you designate. The 550 additionally comes with a car suction cup mount with built-in speaker and a car power cable, so you can use it with four wheels as well as two.

A console shows trip information, including a re-settable fuel gauge, and proximity alerts can advise you of custom Points of Interest (POIs) such as safety cameras and school zones. If you are interested in knowing exactly where you have been, and possibly sharing that with others, you can export and view routes in Google™ Earth and join in online rider communities through MotionBased.com.

The units are supplied with carrying case, removable Lithium Ion battery, and AC charger, motorcycle power lead, USB data cable and the Garmap Southern Africa Version 1 CD and pre-loaded SD card for immediate use. The Zūmo 550 also includes City Navigator® Europe NT data and DVD.

Monday, January 22, 2007

“Gears of War” Juggernaut Continues With More Than 3 Million Units Sold


Gears of War®” has gone triple platinum, reaching the 3 million-units-sold milestone in just 10 weeks on store shelves, ending 2006 as the top-selling game among all platforms during the month of December.

Expanding upon its reign as the fastest-selling title of 2006 and the fastest-selling original exclusive Xbox® game of all time, “Gears of War” has captivated gamers across the globe with its action-packed single-player campaign.

“Like blockbuster titles from Microsoft's ‘Halo®’ franchise and the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ and ‘Zelda’ franchises, ‘Gears of War’ is tracking to be one of the best-selling video games of all time and has established itself as the most successful new IP of the next generation,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of Global Marketing, Interactive Entertainment Business Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft Corp.”

“Gears of War” continues to wow consumers and critics alike, garnering more than 20 nominations for game of the year. The game is a truly global phenomenon: prestigious Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu recently gave “Gears of War” the coveted Platinum award; “Gears of War” joins “Blue Dragon” as the second Microsoft Game Studios title in the past two months to receive this high honor.

Not just a gaming sensation, the acclaimed “Gears of War: Mad World” cinematic trailer was featured in Advertising Age’s Book of Tens as one of the top creative concepts of 2006. With more than 2.4 million views of the trailer online, the campaign has inspired not only tremendous sales, but also a number of hilarious parody videos currently circulating around the Internet.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

LG Show Up the new iPhone


Do we really need the iPhone? My answer is "No". The capital letter is there on purpose.

Check out Engadget's new article on the KE850 PRADA from LG. I like it, I like it a lot!!!