Google Launches Toolbar 6 Beta for IE  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Google has launched Toolbar 6 launch for Internet Explorer and has introduced the Quick Search Box (QSB) feature that provides search functionality outside of the browser.


QSB will provide search and website suggestions and relevant bookmarks - as users type - and allow them to launch applications directly from the search box. With use, QSB will customize itself to usage patterns, so over time users will have to type fewer characters to get to favorite sites and applications.


Google is also bringing elements from their search results page directly into the toolbar. They’re experimenting with displaying high-quality website suggestions and sponsored links as users type their query. Clicking on these will take users directly to the website.


They’ve also brought the new tab page to Internet Explorer users. Users can access their most viewed sites, recently closed tabs and bookmarked pages from this new tab page. This update is launching in 40 languages Check it out here. (story Link)

Officially Launched X-mini II Capsule Speaker  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

XMI Singapore has officially launched the second generation X-mini capsule speaker.

 

The X-mini II features a new, larger 40mm driver  and comes with a new built-in rechargeable battery.
The built-in retractable 3.5mm audio cable can be tucked neatly into the base for a cleaner and sleeker look.
The X-mini capsule speaker costs Rs. 1800. (story Link)

Hitachi L32S02A LCD TV  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

It’s been a while since we reviewed a straight up 32-inch LCD - something for the entry level consumers in the HDTV market. The last time we covered Hitachi, it was for their Ultra Thin series, which was superb but pricey. Now we have a no frills 32 incher by them, called the Hitachi L32S02A LCD TV.

Design and Features
It seems Hitachi has cordoned off all their design ideas and fancies to their UT series, as this model is quite a basic looking piece, and could use a bit of pizzazz. It’s got a gloss black bezel, with a old fashioned speaker grille on the bottom panel. This is something that should have been concealed better. There is a silver strip outlining this grille, plus we have the Hitachi logo etched bang on center, also in silver. The stand is oval and of the same gloss black finish.

The back panel is bare, with the input terminal window facing downwards, another iffy for me. Though it’s not such a big deal, a little bending backwards doesn’t hurt. Speaking of inputs, we have 2 HDMIs, one VGA in (mini D-SUB) for PC, 2 component ins and a couple of composite video inputs. There is a set of input on the left panel too: a headphone out and a composite video in. The model might be new, but the design sure seems old.
As for rated specifications, we have native contrast at 1000:1, with a 500 cd/m2 brightness. Response time is 5 ms, and the main thing with Hitachi LCDs that is advertised in bold: an S-IPS panel. This technology boasts very good viewing angles, and they actually do have good angles, though backlight bleed can be an issue, something we have observed in past reviews. (story Link)

GTalk Users Get Phished  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

All doesn’t seem to be going well for Google. Along with the Gmail outage it has been reported that a phishing attack spread through chat sessions, including Google Chat, and directed victims to a Web site called "ViddyHo."
A link to a video is sent to users in IM sessions and the link directs them to a ViddyHo login page that in turn instructs them to enter their Google account information. This info is then used to break into the victim’s account and send the link to other users in the address book.
Google reportedly has blocked the addresses being used to send messages, and that several browsers - including Firefox, Safari and Chrome - were displaying a warning when users attempt to visit the ViddyHo Web site.
Viddyho.com has also been identified as a phishing site in Google’s search results.
Google is asking users who’ve entered information into ‘ViddyHo’, to change their security question and account password. Read more here.

LEGO USB Drives  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , ,

Ahh the USB (Universal Serial BUS) drive, a boon to mankind for its simple, storage option for data transportation and transference. Without the technical jargon it’s just a pen drive to copy stuff off of one computer to another. Piracy you say? I think not!
In this day and age, the USB portable flash-drive has not remained just a transfer-and-tote device and gone are the streamlined designs of the once simplistic device. Of course for most of the branded drives, the form factor hasn’t deviated too much. But companies have begun to make these devices more personal and in some cases rather ridiculous. Here are some of my favorites.
For the Love of TV

Star Wars

A company called mimobot has designed limited edition pen drives, (and those are words I never thought I’d hear in the same sentence till joined this industry) to pay tribute to what could possibly be called the greatest Trilogy of all time - Star Wars. That’s not true any more though, considering the prologued trilogy that came out a lot later than the originals.

 

However this company has designed USB pen drives after some of the famous characters in the films for those true fans. They’re about 2.5-inches tall and 1-inch wide and support USB 2.0. The drives are available in 1, 2, 4, and 8GB capacities. The range consists of characters like Luke Skywalker in his flight suite, C3-PO, R2-D2, Boba Fett, Han Solo and others. The list would be quite incomplete without Vader, so of course he’s there as well, although a lot less menacing than usual. The Data Transfer Force is strong with these.

Disney

The toons have fascinated us since we were kids and some of us just didn’t bother to grow up, but rather just upgrade our likes. For the old school and new Disney cartoon lovers, Buffalo a name that’s become quite synonymous with memory, has a line of USB drives with some of Disney’s more memorable characters. The RUF2-DFNR series of USB drives from Buffalo caught my eye while I was researching this feature. They were equipped with just 512MB of internal memory, which was pretty decent for January 2007, but I have to admit the designs were really detailed and sharp. (story Link)

Apple is facing another iPhone lawsuit, this time focusing on the screen rendering technology Apple uses in the iPhone and iPod touch.

In the suit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, Picsel Technologies claims that the rendering process Apple uses on the iPhone violates Piscel’s patents. Specifically, Picsel said its technology accelerates the process of updating the display on a device.

In the lawsuit filed by Nixon Peabody LLP on behalf of Picsel, lawyers said users would experience long screen update delays if it weren’t for the use of the patented technology. Zooming and panning documents, Web sites, and images would not work on the iPhone as fluidly, according to the lawsuit.

Picsel says its technology has been included in more than 250 million units worldwide. The company counts KDDI, Motorola, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Palm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Sharp as customers.

Picsel is asking the court to order Apple to compensate Piscel for devices already sold with treble damages. (story Link)

BenQ V2400W LCD Monitor  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

BenQ is slowly but surely building a reputation for itself. A consortium of some 10 companies, these guys have been getting higher notches in their reviews over the months, and this time we have a high end 24 inch LCD monitor by them, called the BenQ V2400. Let me also state a point here in the intro itself: this is claimed to be the thinnest LCD monitor in the world.

Design
This particular model, the V2400W has won awards for its design, so I will strip it down and see what the fuss is about. The bezel is glossy black, piano style finish, and does look pretty good. The slim design only exists on the edges and corners of the unit, the center part of the monitor is fatter. The glossy back panel smoothly contours into this convex bulge. BenQ has definitely concentrated on the design.
What I actually do not agree with is the permanently attached, brushed aluminum colored stand, sporting a mild luster. It does not look so good in the overall scheme of things. The bezel is not actually all glossy; it has a thin inner strip of matte black finish, on the screen’s edges. Plus on the outer edge is also a thin strip, similar in material to the stand. This has buttons on the left end at the bottom.

Everything is the asymmetrical about the monitor, the column of the stand, position of buttons etc. This does look pretty nice, plus the fact that the bezel has very less clutter in the form of unnecessary logos. The buttons, when on, have a brilliant blue LED backlight on their labels and edges, and this is what really imbibes class into the design. There is an optional beep sound that occurs when these buttons are pressed. (story Link)

Let us cut to the chase. Will the next iteration of Microsoft’s dominant operating system be any good? After spending a couple of weeks playing around with the beta version of the software, our verdict is that yes, it will be. But why? Windows Vista was a marketing and public relations disaster.

Vista, which was code-named Longhorn , was delayed by over a year and many people who bought machines with the Vista Capable logo on it were horrified to see that Windows Vista barely managed to work on their hardware when they upgraded from Windows XP.

It must be understood that Vista was the first operating system the Redmond-based behemoth launched after the advent of social media blogs, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, Digg and the like. Technology blogs and websites took no time in shredding Vista.

But the fact is, if you have a new computer (with dual-core processor and at least two gigabytes of memory), and not a Netbook, Vista works quite well. The integrated search function on Vista is brilliant if you, like most people, have files spread all across your computer.

It’s now as official as it can possibly get. Nokia’s very first 8 Megapixel camera phone, the N86, is a reality. Although it already seemed like that earlier today, we were just hoping that a release and some higher resolution images would hit the Nokia site soon so we could be 110 percent sure. Thankfully that was a short wait.

"People demand mobile cameras that take excellent pictures in all light conditions," says Juha-Pekka Sipponen, Director, Nokia Nseries. "That’s why the aperture of the Nokia N86 8MP is comparable to that of a high-quality, stand-alone digital camera. Whether it’s running with the bulls in Pamplona or capturing the panoramic beauty of a sunrise over Sydney, the Nokia N86 8MP will take brilliantly clear, wide-angle images that are instantly geotagged to be uploaded onto sites like Ovi Share or Flickr."
The Nokia N86 8MP camera includes a wide-angle Carl Zeiss Tessar lens for panoramic pictures, shorter latencies and variable aperture for super sharp photos in challenging bright and low light conditions. A fast mechanical shutter will help ensure pictures with less motion blur. What could be construed as a disappointment would be the presence of  a dual LED camera flash instead of a Xenon.

"When it comes to taking the best digital photos, it’s the quality of the lens and the sensor that count, not just the quantity of pixels. The Nokia N86 8MP is the first mobile device with variable aperture, adding to the Carl Zeiss Tessar lens for excellent results. It has never been easier to capture special moments in such a great quality," says Helmut Heier of Carl Zeiss.

The handset features -

  • 2.6 inch OLED, scratch resistant hardened glass display with a 240 x 320 pixel resolution
  • Dual Slider
  • 8GB of internal memory (microSD card support)
  • HSDPA, Wi-Fi, EDGE
  • Bluetooth with A2DP, USB 2.0 (micro)
  • GPS with A-GPS support (Nokia Maps)
  • FM radio with RDS and FM transmitter feature
  • 3.5mm AV socket
  • Rear kickstand

With full Ovi integration, users can share their location with personal content like geotagged photos. The Nokia N86 8MP comes with a built-in compass, along with an integrated 3-month license for full voice and pedestrian navigation.

The Nokia N86 8MP is expected to begin shipping in the second quarter of 2009 at an estimated retail price of Rs. 23, 331 (EUR 375), before taxes and subsidies. (story Link)

Canon: PowerShot SX10 IS  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

Zoom levels are getting ridiculously high these days in consumer cameras and I couldn’t be happier. While anything that supports 10X optical zoom and above can be technically classified as a superzoom camera, manufacturers are pushing the envelope with 15X, 18X, and with the new SX10 IS - 20X (28 - 560mm) optical zoom. By adding the IS (Image Stabilization) in the name of the camera itself Canon is reassuring the people that their images at full zoom levels will not end up a blurry mess. After using the camera for a couple of weeks, I can back that claim.

But before we get to that, let’s put first things first and talk about its looks and ease of use.

Build Quality
Even though the SX10 IS has a completely plastic body, it feels quite sturdy and is also a bit on the heavier side at 600g (with 4 AA batteries). The body’s almost as big as an entry-level DSLR camera at 128 x 88 x 87mm. Rest assured, this is not one of those cute pocketable superzooms; it’s a camera that makes it clear that you’re serious about your photography.

The tilt-n’-swivel screen is always an appreciated factor in a camera, and as Canon’s superzoom tradition goes, this one has it too. Compared to some of the giddily consumer-friendly cameras out there, the 2.5-inch screen may not sound impressive, but considering its excellent outdoor performance and the fact that it can move around to adjust to any tricky angle o may want to shoot in, I’ll give the display a big thumbs up. (story Link)

Game: Street Fighter IV Review  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

With a lineage like Street Fighter IV’s, the thick cloud of anticipation that’s been looming over it since its announcement is all but expected. With the numerous successful sub-series and cross-overs the franchise has spawned, there’s been a whole lot of hope and skepticism alike amongst fans. Will the franchise harness the pace of the Alpha series, or will it be the boring sloth fest that EX was?

As you might know, Street Fighter IV moved away from the traditional sprite-based 2D art style and found its way into the arms of 3D cel-shaded character design with full 3D backdrops. It made a lot of us leer and sneer at it, since the last 3D transition of the series - Street Fighter EX - failed miserably. The biggest flaws in EX were that it was painfully slow, and the fact that you could sidestep almost every special attack (since the game played out on a three dimensional plane) made it the least tactical of the lot.

Thankfully though, Capcom hasn’t made the same mistake a second time; so while Street Fighter IV is in 3D, all combat takes place on a 2D plane. It pretty much sticks to what worked best for the franchise, so all you skeptics and purists can breathe a sigh of relief. If you’re looking for the blazing pace of the Alpha series though, you’ll be a little disappointed.

Street Fighter IV has shed the insane pace that the Alpha series popularized, and has instead stuck to the Street Fighter II pace. While I loved the pace of Alpha, this change works incredibly well for SFIV since there are so many layers of tact introduced, that it would be close to impossible for all but the elite to play the game without button mashing if the pace was any faster. (story Link)

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