Archive for June, 2010

Latest version of Waze now includes geo-tagging and improved social networking.

We follow Waze pretty closely here. It’s kind of odd really. I don’t really drive that far normally. But the fun that Waze brings to driving (hands free of course) is too much fun to ignore. Today I received an email from Dan letting me know that a new and pretty substantial update was released, adding improved social networking abilities and *drum roll please* — geo-tagging. The latter is a biggie as it lets Waze users reach out and share driving information like never before.

There’s two ways to use the geo-tagging. First, let Waze take care of itself. If you have geo-tagging turned on, tweets will automatically appear on screen when in proximity to locations tweeted about by other users. If you’re going to get all manual with it, simply add the #wazelive hastag to your tweets to alert other users to everything from cheap gas to forrest fires shutting down the interstate. Your tweet will also then show on the Waze map, giving the community a much deeper and “real” interaction.

But Twitter isn’t the only hot spot in this update. Facebook integration has also received a healthy dose of TLC. Namely, profile images and info. But the real treat is that Waze will search through your Facebook contacts and present them on the Waze app, alerting you when you’re close to them. Necessary? No. Though it’s certainly useful.

A big update that will yet again, leave me driving around aimlessly just to conquer my own little part of the world. Bigger screenshot inside…

[Thanks, Dan]

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A small beacon of truth for iPhone 4 reception issues.

Plenty of uproar has been expelled at the expense of iPhone 4 reception issues (among others). While there has been plenty to suggest that it is purely a hardware or software issue, AandTech just published their own review of the iPhone 4, paying special, almost anal attention to the reception topic that’s dominated conversation. The results are rather intriguing, though still leave room for some worry. Specifically, the iPhone 4 signal meter has a solid -40db spread from 5 bars down to 4 bars. But from 4 bars all the way down to 1, a much smaller -25db of signal strength is the sole metric — a considerable difference on either end of the spectrum.

According to AandTech, holding the iPhone 4 in a non-Apple approved manner drops reception by ~-24.5db. So if you’re in a solid 5 bar area, you’re not going to witness any adverse *visual* effects. But travel into more sketchy areas and that -24.5db becomes several bars of loss. That’s precisely why some people are actually seeing bars drop when “holding their iPhone 4 the wrong way” and others are not.

So the dilemma is partially solved, right? Wrong. There’s no question that the exposed antenna was a poor design decision and physically affects iPhone cellular reception. Any software update Apple pushes out will just change the scale at which the signal bars are based off of, not fix any actual issues. In order to do that, a case (such as the Apple-approved bumper cases) or recall/re-design of the antenna is needed. That is something no software patch will be able to fix.

What do you guys think?

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Pushing hard: Palm also waives $99 developer fee — for good!

Looks like Palm is really, really serious with this company turnaround thing. First it was the $50 app submission fee. Today it’s the $99 developer fee allowing totally free access to the webOS dev program. A quick trip back in recent memory will reveal Palm has done this before. Except this time it’s final. Pretty sweet stuff if you’re a Palm dev on the fence, no? But even now, with a fast track to “easy money” as they call it, devs aren’t going to be too motivated until they see a collective initiative between hardware and software. We’ve already seen the software is capable. (Though that was before a chunk of the webOS team jumped ship…) Now we just have to wait and see if HP can get the hardware piece of the puzzle up to snuff.

Any devs out there giving webOS another hard look?
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Meego dev team releases screenshots and video to oogle at, hold us over for the time being..

I had pretty much given up on Nokia up until the point they announced Meego in conjunction with Intel. Don’t get me wrong, Symbian was awesome — 6 years ago. Over the last few years however, several other contenders have surpassed Nokia by leaps and bounds. But there is hope.

The development team behind Meego took it upon themselves to release some new screenshots and video of “Meego Day 1″ in action. I have ot admit, it looks really good for as early of a preview as it is. Some early treats include rotation animations for pictures (Gallery app) as well as some pretty slick menu/page transitions.

Also reassuring is that Nokia is taking the bull by the horns so to speak, by getting serious about this whole consumer experience thing. They’ve already outlined some strict guidelines on how the UI must remain consistent and how 3rd party devs have to oblige. Very Apple-like if I do say so myself. Though it’s perfectly ok by me as long as they don’t go all walled garden on the world.

So come on in and have a look around. The screenshots are big and the video is informative. I’ll be waiting…

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The mouse pad of champions built into chair’s armrest.

Mouse pads may be a dying breed, but there’s no doubt a time and a place for everything. Example: The Chair Armrest Mouse Pad. It’s pretty easy to install this onto just about any office chair, the design is simple and straight forward, and the usefulness is obvious. It’s a comfortable natural position for your arm.

Even if new fangled optical and laser mice don’t need an actual mouse pad, there’s no denying you want one of these on your chair. $43 and it’s yours. Biting?

[Product Page: USB Fever]
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[Update] Android 3.0 (Gingerbread) requirements trickle out!

Froyo is just starting to trickle out to the masses and it’s already “been there done that”. News of Android 3.0 has been floating around for some time now, though specs and any details have been few and far between. But a man with a long track record of nearly spot on assumptions and claims — Mobile-Review’s Eldar Murtazin — goes on to flex his muscle over the upcoming Android 3.0 overhaul. Translating the cryptic Russian podcast which divulged the luscious info was done by Unwired View, so props to them.

Moving on, according to Eldar, the UI revamp that has been heard murmured several times is legit, with Android 3.0 set to take on more styling cues aiken to the Froyo 3D Gallery app. (Intriguing, no?) Perhaps even more eye raising are the minimum requirements: 1GHz+ CPU and at least 512MB RAM. Right now, 1GHz smartphones are what most would call “high-end”. When Android 3.0 drops around the rumored October time frame, even the hallowed Nexus One will become merely “average”….


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13-year old genius creates spiderman suit out of two cheap vacuums.

What’s the ultimate goal of science/geeks/nerds? That’s a pretty wide-ranging and open ended question that’s perhaps too wide to truthfully answer. But if I were to throw out some examples such as “flying”, “being able to stay under water for copious amounts of time”, or “walk up walls”, would it help you hone in on your own choice?

While you sit and ponder the afternoon away, I’ll give you a little motivation by way of one uber talented 13-year old that goes by the name of Hibiki Kono. His creation is nothing short of awesome as it is literally a “Spiderman suit”, allowing him to walk up walls with ease. Using nothing but two cheap Tesco vacuums and plenty of ingenuity, Kono created a device lusted after by so many nerds alike…

My mum thinks it’s brilliant but she won’t let me us it in my bedroom as she is worried I may pull down the ceiling. I’ve climbed up the school wall but I’m not allowed too high. It’s not scary and I completely trust the machine.

And there you go. Video of the Spider Kid in action inside…

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Nifty info graph lays out the search engines of yesteryear and what they’ve become today. [Humor]

Ever wonder what happened to those old staples of the internet such as AskJeeves, Info Search, and so on? Breathe a sigh of relief because you can sleep soundly again thanks to this handy little info graph that shows us (with a little NSFW languague) what was, and what now is. Hop inside for the full-sized image…
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Get your Sony laptops Hot Hot Hot! Sony recalling 500,000+ Vaio laptops for “thermal defect”

Recalls. Don’t ya love ‘em? Today’s featured recall is rather large, affecting up to 500,000 Sony Vaio F and C series laptops sold since January 2010. Apparently a “thermal defect” is preventing the laptops in question from being unable to properly cool themselves, resulting in warped laptops and burned appendages.

According to Sony, downloading a simple patch can make random melting issues cease to exist. Or, you can have Sony come pick up the laptop and do it themselves. (Weird)

If you’re rockin’ one of Sony’s hot Vaios, are you really going to send your laptop off for a downloadable patch?
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