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August, 2008

I ♥ MIDs (and so do you)

Friday, August 29th, 2008

I admit, I was among the first to scoff.

When Intel declared, a year or so back, that the next big thing in technology would be mobile internet devices – or “MIDs”, as they’ve inevitably become known – I wasn’t having any of it.

I mean, I already have a phone for on-the-go communications and web browsing. And I already have a laptop for running “proper” applications. I simply didn’t see what I could do with a MID that I couldn’t already do – better – with my existing devices.

And it seemed Intel didn’t really know either. The MID homepage they put up was packed with buzzwords but distinctly light on killer reasons for choosing a MID over an existing device. MIDs didn’t look like an imminent revolution, more like a marketing concept that accidentally got made. They certainly didn’t look ready to go up against the likes of the iPhone and the Eee PC. (more…)

Every sporting event in the world – for free

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

I’m currently sat in the office churning through a Labs, but concentration has never been my strongest point. I’ve just watched the Champions League group stage draw via BBC live text (surely this generation’s Teletext) and now I’m following Andy Murray’s progress in the third round of the US Open. He’s winning.

But it’s how I’m doing it that I love most:

US Open live score


Cheeky Sun throws in OpenOffice with Java

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Sun, which has spent the past decade constantly moaning about the worst excesses of Microsoft’s behaviour, is clearly not averse to employing underhand tactics of its own.

Having spent the past couple of days wilfully ignoring the Java update nagging away in my System Tray, I finally relented and installed the latest version, only to be confronted with the following screen:

Java OpenOffice installer

Admittedly, Sun was only trying to force the OpenOffice installer on me, rather than automatically downloading the hundreds of megabytes that comprise the full suite. But after the furore caused when Apple automatically ticked the Safari installation with iTunes updates earlier this year, it’s amazing that companies are still resorting to such cheap tricks.

A real Space Oddity arrives at PC Pro

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

The Space Cube alongside a PSP and mobile phone.

You may remember that, some time ago, I blogged about an interesting little computer curio called the Space Cube. Quite simply, it’s one of the smallest PCs in the world, with each side measuring around 2 inches square. I wrote that it looked cool, ran on a 300MHz processor and that it probably wouldn’t be sold outside of Japan, if at all.

Well, now, we’ve actually gone and got hold of one – the only Space Cube in the UK that’s running Linux, in fact. In the flesh it’s even more impressive than in pictures, inspiring awe and provoking disbelieving reactions across the PC Pro office. It’s actually quite difficult to comprehend just how small the PC is so, for your delectation, we’ve been taking pictures of the Space Cube next to some everyday objects.


Posted in: Just in


What happened to Premiere Elements 5 and 6?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Adobe Photoshop Elements 7The technology world moves at such a Leopard-like pace that, after only a fortnight off, it’s easy to feel out of the loop.

Yet, when I returned from my cloud-addled holibubs this morning, I was beginning to wonder whether I’d been away two years rather than two weeks. Before I went away Adobe was trundling along on Premiere Elements 4. I come back this morning, and the company’s announced Premiere Elements 7!

Had those crafty Adobe folk launched 5 and 6 whilst I was rain dodging in Devon? No, the lovely PR manager explained, Adobe has simply decided to skip versions 5 and 6 so people don’t get confused when they see Photoshop Elements 7 bundled with its seemingly two-versions-behind video brethen, and think they’re being saddled with old software.

Glad nobody got confused then…

Introducing Intel’s favourite person

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

This is Dave. You probably don’t know him, but believe it or not he’s about to become Intel’s very favourite person in the whole wide world. You see, according to my exhaustive research (well, having my eyes open in StarBucks yesterday), he’s just single handily doubled the sales of MiDs in the UK… by actually buying one.

It was always going to happen. After absolutely slating the concept with a fair degree of gusto on this week’s podcast (which you should listen to because it’s funny, and informative, and I’m northern and sound a bit like Ringo Starr), my best mate immediately goes and buys one, despite the fact that outwardly he appears perfectly sane.

For anybody not au fait with Intel’s current 15 million market terms, MiD stands for mobile internet device, a rather awkward halfway house between a smartphone and netbook which doesn’t so much fall between two stools as dig its own hole between two very useful products and gleefully chuck itself in.


How I broke a world record and had fun doing it

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Before this Bank Holiday weekend I was invited by Microsoft to a preview of Photosynth, a new way of combing pictures into a 3D world which is then hosted online. Photosynth also uses the ‘Deep Zoom’ technology which is in Sliverlight that I have written about in this month’s issue. The trick to creating a good ’synth’ is apparently to make sure that your photos overlap and also take photos of any detailed areas that you might what users to zoom in on.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I attended the ‘NATS’ which is a huge gathering of modded cars, both American and old skool UK cars. I thought that this might be a great opportunity to try my efforts at making a Photosynth.


Viewing images in Google Maps

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

I’d never seen this before, but MapLib allows you to upload a huge image and embed it into a Google Maps interface. This could be a perfect tool for all sorts of organisations to host maps on their own site, or for viewing enormous, high-resolution images as it only loads the parts of an image as they are needed.

Posted in: Random

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1,000,000 keys and a celebratory holiday

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

You may remember that a while ago I reviewed a Logitech keyboard that tracked key presses. Well, I’ve been using it at my desk since then, and I’ve just passed into seven figures. It’s still going strong despite a few coffee-related mishaps, although I’m still not using any of the more esoteric features.

Considering that I only use it in the morning – I tend to migrate to the PC Pro laboratory in the afternoons, like a goose heading South for the winter – that’s a whole lot of typing.

To reward myself I’m going to take two weeks off work and go on my first holiday since time immemorial. Bye.

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Posted in: Random

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Flight of the rocket man

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

There’s nothing quite like strapping a jet-powered wing to your back and soaring over the majestic snow topped alps at 180mph. We at PC Pro do it every morning, in between our 12,000 push ups and warm-up half marathon. Or at least we would, if we didn’t eat quite so many pies and spend half our time lookng for minuscule David Bayon down the back of the settee.

However, there is hope for the jet-powered wing part of this dream thanks to Swiss daredevil Yves Rossy (no idea how you pronounce that), who intends on crossing from Calais to Dover on just such a device. No, rowdy English tourists for this chap, just the clear open skies, smell of jet fuel and the hope of not dying horribly when the wing bursts into flames and sends him plummeting into the icy depths of the English channel.







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