Technology News – Geekshow Your hub for geek related podcasts. Home of GeekiNtertainment, The BuffCast, Two Geeks, True Believers, MeteorGEEK!, and the AngelCast. Fri, 08 Jul 2016 05:00:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Google changes the game … again Fri, 30 Oct 2009 19:20:58 +0000 Google has proven in the past that they are willing and able to challenge any and everyone in order to move into new territories. They’ve once again decided to enter a new arena this week, as they announced Google Maps Navigation. This is their entrance into the personal GPS navigation battle that has typically been fought with companies such as TomTom and Garmin. But Google is entering with a completely different strategy, and that strategy is extremely Google-like, right to it’s core.

Google Maps Navigation will be available on Android powered devices sporting the 2.0 (“Eclair”) update. This currently only concerns mobile phones. As a result of the specific targeting of mobile phones, Google is able to do something with their navigation software that most companies can’t rely on. They can pretty much count on internet connectivity to power their software. When you decide to navigate to an area, everything is sent to you via that internet connection. Your search results come from the internet. Your maps come from the internet. Your points of interest come from the internet. Anywhere you can access your phone’s data service, you can access Google Maps Navigation.

Google has assured users that the maps program caches several minutes of data, so that service that fades in and out should go unnoticed. The benefits of relying on internet access are numerous, however. For instance, with my TomTom navigation unit, I currently have to sync it to my PC every time I want to update it. With the Google service, it uses the Google Cloud to keep the program up to date. Because Google already has a bazillion different services, it already has the data it needs. It can pull POI (Points of Interest) data such as gas stations, restaurants, businesses, etc from their directories. It can pull it’s maps, satellite views, street views, and traffic data from their respective services.

Google also uses it’s voice search capabilities, which are already present on it’s android devices, to allow users to search for places. You can search by address, by business name, or by a vague description that may be well known on the internet (Such as, “Navigate to the museum in San Francisco with the King Tut exhibit”).

In the end, Google ties everything together with a package that is going to put GPS navigation device makers on their heels. Everything works together very well. Users can place different “layers” over their maps (Such as showing satellite imagery in order to get a better look at the actual layout of your surroundings). They can do searches in the middle of their route (To find gas or food, for example). The options are virtually endless, and exceed all but possibly the most expensive GPS devices on the market.

If the situation wasn’t already bad enough, Google plans to offer this service with the typical Google twist: For Free. Most GPS devices are also free after you buy the device. But you generally have to pay premiums for map updates anytime they become available. My TomTom runs about $70 per map update, with subscriptions available to slightly reduce the price, for example. In addition, some items (such as Traffic and Gas data) cost additional fees, and sometimes require additional devices to work.

Google has a hit on their hands, and the initial stock hits that Garmin and TomTom took show that. For the moment, the only relief exists in the fact that the service is limited to Android based phones. But given Google’s relationships with the iPhone and other devices, that likely won’t last long. My only question in this situation is, How do the phone providers feel about Google stealing their navigation service business? My Sprint plan includes Sprint Navigation, but other providers sell their services at a premium.

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Futurama Returns! With A Totally Different Voice Cast…. Sat, 18 Jul 2009 00:56:28 +0000 Thanks Fox!

It appears that when the cult comedy Futurama returns to TV screens with all new episodes in the Fall on Comedy Central, they’ll be using so without ANY of the central cast.  Billy West (Fry, Professor, and Ziodberg), Katey Sagal (Leela), John DiMaggio (Bender), Maurice LaMarche (Kif Kroker) have all been let go by Twentieth Century Fox due to “salary demands.” Now its up to Matt Groening and David Cohen to find an all-new voice cast for all their main characters.

R.I.P. Dr. Zoidberg

Needless to say,

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Meet the Future of Internet Communication Thu, 04 Jun 2009 12:35:05 +0000 The future is coming, and once again Google sits behind the wheel. At Google’s I/O event last week, they introduced their future technology. And you won’t want to miss this sneak peek at the “what if Email was invented today, rather than 40 years ago” presentation. Bonus points for noticing any/all Firefly references by the Google team. 

The presentation is a bit long, and it gets a little techy. But you can get a great picture of some of the ideas it presents. And you will not want to miss the last couple minutes of the presentation for just one great example of the potential it has.

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MacGeek – Apple announces iPhone OS 3.0 features Tue, 17 Mar 2009 21:19:57 +0000 Copy/Paste and MMS are only a few…

Apple Headquarters in Cupertino, CA housed the iPhone 3.0 preview event. And let me first of all thank Engadget for doing such an amazing job of covering this preview.

Let’s get right into it. The major announcements include:

Cut, copy and paste. This works across apps and with multiple photos in email. Also, shake to undo/redo.

mms_iconMMS at long last! Also forward and delete multiple messages.

Unlocked Bluetooth functionality on 2G iPod Touch.

A2DP stereo Bluetooth.

sdk_icon2Spotlight – Universal search feature added to the left of the main home screen.

Tethering built-in to the 3.0 software, but implementation is ultimately up to the carriers.

Peer-to-peer connectivity over Bluetooth for gaming and other info-swapping. (ie contacts)

sdk_icon1Paid apps will have the potential to be subscription fee-based, and can include optional paid content that can be bought from right inside the app.

Developers can now build apps that call out to Google Maps.

sdk_icon4Turn-by-turn directions with access to Core Data. (Access to Google Maps not included – aka B.Y.O.M)

Devs can also connect with hardware accessories over in their apps now. Connectivity works through the dock connector or over Bluetooth. (keyboard?)

Long-promised push functionality will at last be included, but apps won’t run in the background. (kills battery life)

sdk_icon3Developers can add streaming video and audio to their apps, along with in-game voice use.

Shake to shuffle iPod playback.

A new app called Voice Memos which lets you record notes and reminders.

A revised Stocks app with news stories and a landscape view.

sdk_icon6Landscape view available for Mail, Text and Notes.

CalDAV support has been added to Calendar, along with subscriptions support in the .ics format.

Apple’s major apps have all been expanded with search functionality.

sdk_icon5Note syncing to Mac and PC.

YouTube account support.

Form auto-fill.

Phishing protection.

A developer beta of OS 3.0 is available today, and the 3.0 update will be coming to consumers this summer as a free update to all iPhone 3G customers. It’ll also work for 1st gen iPhone owners, though they won’t receive A2DP or MMS due to hardware limitations. iPod touch owners will be able to update for $9.95, (Déjà vu, anyone?)

sdk_heroDuring the Q & A afterwards Engaget found out that due to “hardware limitations” MMS and A2DP are not going to be available on first gen iPhones.

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MacGeek – Apple Releases New iPod Shuffle Thu, 12 Mar 2009 06:08:22 +0000 The new 3rd generation iPod Shuffles are 4GB and come in black and silver, but that’s not all…

The new design eliminates the click-wheel completely and opts for an earphone cord-based click system. The controls are located a few inches below the right earbud and has 3 parts: + and for volume control and a middle button for the majority of the controls. The new system allows for one-click play/pause, two-clicks track forward, and three-clicks previous track. Holding down the button allows for a completely new experience – VoiceOver. This brand new feature actually speaks the artist and track information by holding down the button. If the button is held down long enough, a tone will sound. After that, the Shuffle will speak the current playlist and the begin listing all the playlists. Simply click again when you hear your desired playlist, and you’re good to go.

With the new 4GB capacity, enough for 1000 songs, it’s no wonder that Apple has finally brought multiple playlists to the iPod Shuffle line.

The new Shuffle retails for $79 and is available in black matte and silver matte, the same color scheme as the iPod Classic.

On the upside is the new, smaller size; the belt clip as a mainstay; VoiceOver; and the larger capacity.

On the downside is the lack of color options and the removal of the click-wheel. While this doesn’t sound like a downside, users who may want to use their own earphones are out of luck. An adapter is said to be in the works, but who really wants to pay more to use their current earphones – effectively driving up the price of the Shuffle?

ipod shuffle 1

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MacGeek – Safari 4 Public Beta available Thu, 26 Feb 2009 06:21:36 +0000 On Tuesday, Apple released the public beta of it’s Safari web browser. There are a few new features including top-tabs, Top Sites, and a faster overall experience.

safari top sites

Top-sided tabs are a little odd if you’re used to the traditional location just above the current window. It may take some adjustment, but it does seem to free up some real estate for the page currently being viewed.

Top Sites is a contact-sheet-style page  that displays the internet’s most popular sites. You can’t add specific sites, but it does learn your visiting habits. Initially it lists sites such as: Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, and eBay, but just visit your favorite geeky site ( of course) a few times and pretty soon it will show up on Top Sites.

You can change the size of Top Sites to display 6, 12 or 20 webpages.

Another nice feature is the ability to search or browse your history in a Cover Flow-style view. Very nice if you want to go back to that one site, and you don’t remember the name, but you remember what the site looked like.

safari history

I’ve been using Firefox for the past few months because Safari 3 was just too slow, and the longer I left it running, the slower it got. The last few days I have basically been running Safari and I have had absolutely no issues. No slowdowns, no bugs, and no crashes.

Available free for MacOSX 10.5 and Windows. Download it here.

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Best Of Mobile World Congress Sun, 22 Feb 2009 12:54:06 +0000 The annual Mobile World Congress took place this week in Barcelona. This conference reveals the latest in phone technology. What was the star of the show? Is Android about to take over the world?

Going into this years Mobile World Conference (MWC) the hottest topics of discussion were new Android phones and new mobile app stores to rival the Apple app store.

So far only the G1 has been available to test the potential of Google’s mobile phone operating system, Android. Although the G1 hardware has had mixed reviews the operating system itself has generally been praised. The market had poised itself for a whole mix of new Android phones to flood the market. So, what came out of Mobile World Congress this year? Answer, the HTC Magic. One phone – not the flood that was expected. It does look like a very nice phone, but then there is nothing else to directly compare it with.

The Apple App store for the iPhone and iPod Touch has been one of the biggest success stories in the past year. Other manufacturers want to get a piece of this very lucrative pie and ‘’ was launched late last year to support the Android operating system. The handset giant Nokia and Microsoft have now announced their own versions of app download markets for their own operating systems.

From May, Nokia will open up the ‘Ovi Store’ to offer apps and multimedia for their own range of phones. Microsoft will launch ‘Windows Marketplace’ later this year to support their range of ‘Windows Phones’.

Below are my top three phones to be announced at this years congress. All are high end phones that have the standards of wi-fi, 3G and GPS. These are the phones that I feel will make it big in 2009.

HTC Magic

HTC Magic 2The phone formally known as the G2 has now been renamed the Magic. This is a slimmer, cleaner version of the G1 and in my view a lot nicer. Gone is the slide out keyboard and this has made the device smaller and lighter. All the other specs are very similar to the G1 with the 3.2″ touchscreen providing the majority of the control for the device. The Android operating system has changed slightly to the ‘cupcake’ version to try and address some of the teething problems with the first version. The device will now also record video.

This device appears to be aimed at the group of people who didn’t like the form factor of the G1 and may like the new body of the Magic. Unfortunately the lack of device options that are on the market may still limit the spread of Android (although it didn’t seem to stop the iPhone!)

Sony Ericsson Idou

sony_ericsson_idou_02Sony have gone for the high end multimedia features for their latest phone. The Idou is packed with a 12.1 MP camera (seems a tad over the top for the size of the lens) and a 3.5″ 16 million color touchscreen (same size as the iPhone). What looks interesting with this phone is that will have a similar interface to what is currently used on the PS3 and PSP. I do like this interface, it is very clear and easy to use. Combined with a touchscreen, this is definitely an interface that could rival the iPhone.

The operating system looks to be a variant of the Symbian S60 so there should be plenty of apps available to compete with all the other app markets that are in development.

Samsung Omnia HD

samsung-i8910-omnia-hdThanks to the iPhone, touchscreen phones are top of the pops when it comes to phone tech. To complete my trio of the best of MWC comes another touchscreen phone, the Samsung Omina HD. Yes the ‘HD’ gives away the Samsung’s killer feature – it can record 720p HD video at 24 fps. It comes with a 3.7″ AMOLED (active matrix organic light emitting diode) display that has the iPhone style capacitive touchscreen technology. This makes the screen very responsive and thanks to the OLED tech, it should look very impressive.

Like the Sony, this phone will use a version of the Symbian S60 operating system so can make use of the solid base of apps available on the market.

Now what could trump all of these phones is the rumour that Apple will be releasing a new iPhone this summer. As with all new Apple rumours, Apple are saying nothing and very little information can be found about what this new version would look like. I personally do not expect anything radical from Apple (there’s not that much wrong with the iPhone design). If Apple do release a new iPhone I would expect more memory (64GB), a weight reduction, color options, a better camera (with video) and some new OS options.

GadgetGeek – Tech Reviews, News, and Future Views

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Amazon Launches a New Kindle Reader Wed, 11 Feb 2009 20:24:36 +0000 Amazon have announced this week that they will be releasing a new version of their popular electronic book reader, the Kindle. The Kindle 2 is slimmer, lighter and has a longer battery life than the original version which was released in Nov 2007. Like the original this new version makes use of the high-speed wireless data network, EVDO, to allow books to be downloaded directly to the device when on the move. 

The Kindle 2 will have 2GB  of internal storage and can be easily expanded via the built in SD card slot. The onboard memory will allow around 1,500 books so more than enough for the average trip on the train.

The screen quality has been increased from 4 shades of grey to 16 shades to allow better reproductions of photos on the 6″ screen.

If your don’t feel like reading then use the ‘Read-to-Me’ function and the Kindle will read the book via the in-built speakers or through headphones.

I’ve been interested in getting an electronic book reader for a couple of years now. In the UK, we only have access to a couple of models including the Sony Reader. I would love to get my hands on a Kindle. The ability to download books and newspapers wherever I am is very appealing. The E-ink displays are very clear and easy to read.

The Kindle 2 should be available from 24th Feb for purchase via the website.


GadgetGeek – Tech Reviews, News, and Future Views

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Circuit City Closing Fri, 16 Jan 2009 23:50:12 +0000 Sixty years after opening its doors, Circuit City is going out of business. The electronics chain announced today that all of their U.S. stores will begin liquidating their stock immediately in order to pay off the company’s creditors. Circuit City stores in Canada will be unaffected by these closings.

From the press release:

“We are extremely disappointed by this outcome. The company had been in continuous negotiations regarding a going concern transaction. Regrettably for the more than 30,000 employees of Circuit City and our loyal customers, we were unable to reach an agreement with our creditors and lenders to structure a going-concern transaction in the limited timeframe available, and so this is the only possible path for our company,” said James A. Marcum, vice chairman and acting president and chief executive officer for Circuit City Stores, Inc.

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Jobs takes a 6-month leave-of-absence from Apple Thu, 15 Jan 2009 00:13:32 +0000 MacNN reported today that the Apple CEO cites “health related issues” for the absence.

In a letter to Apple employees, Steve Jobs acknowledges that his health issues were “more complex than [he] originally thought.” Jobs says he plans to return by the end of June.

(Just in time for WWDC…Coincidence?)

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GadgetGeek – Best of CES Tue, 13 Jan 2009 11:00:11 +0000 The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is complete for another year and has brought along lots of gadget & tech goodness. Here are some of what I feel are the most interesting tech to be announced.

Windows 7

windows7logoThis is the successor to Windows Vista which, as most people will agree, never lived up to all the hype. Microsoft look to be following the Apple philosophy of quick and simple for this new version of Windows. The boot up times are expected to be significantly quicker than previous versions (I hope they also address the deteriorating boot up times you get the older the installation and the more software you install). Both the UI and appearance have been slim-lined from previous versions with the Task Bar now taking on more of a MAC-OS inspired Dock feel. The software has been designed to run on a wide range of machines including cheap netbooks (Microsoft are desperate to get rid of XP and I guess this is their answer!)

The Beta is available now with the full software not expected until late 2009 or early 2010. Microsoft have announced this week that there will be unlimited downloads of the Beta software until January 24th, so go get yours now.

Palm PrePalm Pre

I’ve never owned a Palm, but looking at the pictures and specs on this new one and I could be tempted. It comes with Palms first new O/S in years and looks very tasty. Its form factor is aimed directly at the iPhone and Blackberry designs with a 3.1” multi-touch screen AND a Blackberry style QWERTY keyboard. It has the standard smartphone 3G and GPS and also a 3MP camera and flash. The Pre uses the new Palm Synergy feature to bring your Outlook, Google, and Facebook calendars together for one logical view of your day. And if you have the same contacts in different places, Pre can link them together, making it easy to find the information you need.

No date yet on when this is expected on the market.

Sony X1000 Walkman

Sony X1000This is Sony’s latest Walkman and appears to be created as a direct competitor to the iPod Touch. It comes with a bright 3” multi-touch OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) screen. Which I suspect will become the standard with new screens over the next couple of years. It has Sony’s very good hardware noise reduction built into the device which will enhance the already excellent sound quality that Walkman’s have (in my view better than iPods). Sony Walkman’s have always had excellent battery life and I expect this one will beat the poor battery life of the iPod Touch, especially with that cool OLED screen. The first players will come in the 16 Gb and 32 GB sizes (sound familiar?)

Expect this in the shops sometime this summer.

Asus Eee Keyboard

Asus Eee PCNow this is different. Asus have gone and stuffed all the innards of a PC into a keyboard!

It has a large 5” touchscreen and full wi-fi capability. Just connect it to a monitor or your TV through its wireless HDMI (yes wireless HDMI – I like it). It runs Windows XP Home, includes a 1.6GHz Intel Atom microprocessor, 1Gb of DDR2 DRam and a choice of 16GB or 32GB solid state drives for storage. It doesn’t have a built in DVD player, but if you are only going to use it for the internet and email this would not be a big issue. I like this concept and hope that this works well and has good battery life. I could really see this as a nice addition to my living room.

Expect this around September this year.

If I end up getting any of this cool tech, I will of course give your a much more detailed review.

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Apple Implodes at MacWorld SF ’09 Tue, 06 Jan 2009 20:13:21 +0000 Okay, so it didn’t implode, but Apple definitely leaves its last MacWorld with a wimper rather than a bang.

At the Phil Schiller-presented keynote Apple announced changes to iTunes, iLife, iWork, and new 17″ MacBook Pros.

iLife ’09 – Updates to iPhoto include 2 new sorting options (Faces & Places), Facebook-like tagging, support for uploading directly to Facebook & Flickr, Slideshow themes and more Travel Book themes.

Garage Band has 9 free guitar and piano lessons. Also offering $4.99 Artist Lessons featuring John Fogerty, Sting, Nora Jones, Patrick Stump & Sarah McLaughlan. Garage Band – More like Rock Band.

iWork ’09 – New transitions for Keynote. A Keynote App called Keynote Remote that allows the user to view and control slides from their iPhone or iPod Touch. New features for Numbers were also announced.

Also new subscription-based was revealed. This Google Docs-like feature is in beta. Users of iWork ’09 can choose to upload copies of any iWork-compatible document directly to They can then share it with any number of people, and each person gets a unique URL-link in which to edit the document, in either a current web browser or as a downloaded iWork document, MS Office document or PDF.

17″ MacBook Pro – Starting at $2799, these new aluminum enclosed laptops offer up to 8GB RAM (4GB included), 2.66GHz, and a new non-removable 8-hour battery.

iTunes – New flex price points: $.69, $.99, & $1.29. 8 million songs & music videos are DRM-free as of today with all 10 million by the end of the quarter.

iTunes song are now available for download over the 3G network. Same price, same quality.

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Google Instant Messenger Wed, 24 Aug 2005 16:18:55 +0000 We generally don’t cover a lot of tech news here. But today, some potentially huge tech news surfaced, and I thought I would share it with you guys. Google has released their much rumored instant messanger client today. Despite constant denial, they finally released it at this morning. I haven’t tried it so far, but being as how nearly everything they tough lately turns to gold, I thought it deserved a mention. Let us know how you like it in the messageboards