Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The 100 Best Products of 2008

This year's tech gems--as picked by PC World editors and readers--will leave you more productive, connected, and entertained.

The 100 Best Products, in Ranked Order
Hulu Review
Apple iPhone Review Check prices
Facebook Site
Microsoft Windows XP Review Check prices
Lenovo ThinkPad X300 Review Check prices
Flock Review Download
Eye-Fi Review Check prices
Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1 Video review
Harmonix Rock Band Video review Check prices
Wikipedia Site
Netflix Site
Microsoft Xbox Live Site
Apple iPod Touch Review Check prices
Craigslist Site
Scrabulous Site
Nintendo Wii Review Check prices
Apple Mac OS 10.5 Leopard Review Check prices
Apple HD Cinema Display Site
Twitter Site
Pioneer Kuro PDP-5010FD Review Check prices
Mozilla Firefox 3 Review
Apple Safari Review Download Site
Adobe Photoshop CS3 Review Check prices
Google Maps--Street View Site
Apple MacBook Pro (Penryn) Review Check prices
Google Docs & Spreadsheets Site
Apple Final Cut Studio 2 Site
Linksys WRT600N Review Check prices
Flickr (Yahoo) Site
Sony Bravia KDL-52XBR4 Review Check prices
Intel Penryn News and reviews links
Apple iChat Review
Creative Zen Review Check prices
Verizon FiOS Site
Pandora Review
Canon EOS 40D Review Check prices
LG Electronics L196WTY-BF Review Check prices
TiVo HD Review Check prices
Data Robotics Drobo DRO4DU10 4 Bay Hard Drive Array Review Check prices
Google Gmail Site
Electronic Arts Rock Band controllers Video review Check prices
Mozilla Thunderbird Review Download
Dell XPS 420 Review Check prices
Washington Post Site Site
Nikon D60 Review Check prices
The Consumerist Site
AdventNet Zoho Review
OpenDNS PhishTank Site
Western Digital VelociRaptor Review Check prices Site
Motorola MotoRokr T505 Car Speakerphone Review Check prices
SanDisk Cruzer Titanium Plus Site Check prices
Dash Express Review Check prices
Panasonic TH-42PZ700U Review Check prices
Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ Review Check prices
Symantec Norton IS 2008 Review Check prices
RIM Blackberry Curve 8300 Series 8300 Review 8320 Review Check prices (8300) Check prices (8320)
Vimeo Review Site
Alienware Area-51 m15x Site
Microsoft TellMe Review
Amazon MP3 Site
Samsung SyncMaster 305T Review Check prices
Apple Logic Studio Site Check prices
Gateway XHD3000 Review Check prices
HP Photosmart C5280 Review Check prices
USB Safely Remove 3.3 Download
Samsung LN-T4061 Review Check prices
nVidia GeForce 8800GT Site Check prices
Cerulean Studios Trillian Download
Creative Aurvana X-Fi Review Check prices
Olympus SP-570 UZ Site Check prices
Apple iMac Review Check prices
Samsung 2263DX Review
Canon Vixia HF10 Site Check prices
Mint Review
VMWare Fusion Site Check prices
Apple TV Take 2 Review Check prices
YouTube (Google) Review
Chestnut Hill Sound George Site
Microsoft Office 2007 Review Check prices
Intel SkullTrail Review Check prices
Canon Pixma MX700 Review Check prices
AT&T Tilt Review
Canon Powershot SD1100 IS Review Check prices
Vizio Gallevia GV42LF Review Check prices
Apple MacBook Air Review Check prices
Ubuntu Linux Review Download
The Orange Box (Valve Corp.) Site Check prices
Digg Site
Asus U2E Review Check prices
Meebo Review
HP Blackbird 002 LCi Review Check prices
Partition Logic Download
Palm Centro Review Check prices
Audacity Download
Lifehacker Site
Jing Project Site

Reference :,146161-page,12-c,electronics/article.html#

Via Releases Laptop Design as Open Source

Via Technologies released the hardware design for a low-cost laptop with WiMax support under an open-source license on Tuesday, a move intended to make customization easier and shorten design cycles for system makers.
The CAD (computer-assisted design) files for the OpenBook reference design can be downloaded for free and made available to anyone under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license. The terms of this license allow the CAD files to be freely copied, shared and modified.
The only requirements are that use of the design is attributed to Via and changes made to the design can only be distributed under the same license or one that has similar terms.
"We're hoping we'll get some interesting feedback, and look forward to seeing what the community thinks about this concept," said Richard Brown, vice president of marketing at Via.
The OpenBook is based on Via's 1.6 GHz C7-M processor and VX800 chipset. The design includes an 8.9-inch screen with a resolution of 1,024 pixels by 600 pixels and calls for a hard disk with a capacity of 80G bytes or more. The basic wireless module included in the design supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Optional modules include Assisted GPS (AGPS), WiMax, and support for high-speed cellular networks based on EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized), HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access), and WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access).
Other features of the 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) OpenBook include a full-size keyboard, up to 2G bytes of DDR (double data rate) memory, a 2-megapixel camera, a memory-card reader, and a 4-cell battery that offers up to three hours of life. The laptop is designed to run Windows Vista, Windows XP, or Linux, including G/OS, SuSE Linux, and Ubuntu.
The OpenBook design is similar in appearance to Everex's CloudBook Max unveiled at the CTIA Wireless exhibition in April, but the two designs are different, Brown said, pointing to subtle design changes made to suit the requirements of Sprint, the operator that commissioned the CloudBook Max.
Depending on the exact configuration, OpenBook systems will likely cost between US$500 to $800, Brown said, adding that the first products will likely hit the market during the third quarter.
Via isn't the first company to release a hardware design as open source. In March, Openmoko, a company set up by Taiwanese hardware maker First International Computer (FIC), released an open-source smartphone design, the Neo 1973. The handset, which runs Linux, supports GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) networks, and includes Bluetooth and AGPS.
Like Via's OpenBook, the Neo 1973 hardware design was released under a Creative Commons ShareAlike license.

Reference :

Adobe previews Creative Suite 4.0 with new beta releases

Adobe on Tuesday offered a sneak peek at the next release of its Creative Suite design bundle by releasing limited public betas of new versions Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Soundbooth.The San Jose-based software developer said the Dreamweaver beta for Web design and development, the Fireworks beta for prototyping, and the Soundbooth beta for creating and editing audio, demonstrate a new direction for Creative Suite in which new features and technologies will simplify and streamline design and development workflows across all media types.“Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Soundbooth are the major applications we’re unveiling as public betas before the next release of Creative Suite,” said David Burkett, vice president of product management for Adobe Creative Suite. “This early release software gives our loyal customers a taste of the radical workflow enhancements that we have in store, as we redefine how designers and developers collaborate to deliver stand-out digital experiences.”Dreamweaver CS4Adobe said the Dreamweaver public beta includes a new Related Files Toolbar and Code Navigator feature that allows users to dive deep into complex pages that include HTML files, links to JavaScript documents and integrated XML data. Users can see related files in the Related Files Toolbar and with Code Navigator make changes to code that appears in various parts of a document just with one update.
The update to Dreamweaver also features a new Live View Mode, which is based on the open source rendering engine Webkit from Apple, and enables users to see content in real-world, real-time environments without having to leave Dreamweaver to preview in a browser. The feature also gives users the ability to freeze JavaScript language to debug interactive pages as well as view and interact with Flash content.Fireworks CS4Meanwhile, Adobe said fresh features in the Fireworks beta include a new user interface that is now consistent with other applications within the Creative Suite, making it easier for users to switch between applications that now have a universal look and feel. In addition, Fireworks beta now allows users to export design comps as high fidelity, interactive, and secure Adobe PDF documents for enhanced client communication.
Fireworks beta is also now compatible with Adobe AIR, HTML, Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex Builder so users can create their design once and deploy to whichever application platform is required by clients.Soundbooth CS4For its part, the Soundbooth beta showcases a host of new features aimed at allowing creative professionals to complete their audio production tasks more efficiently, including the new multiple track support which allows users to edit multiple audio clips on a number of tracks, and the new ability for users to match volume levels across audio files.
Also included is the capability to preview MP3 compression settings before saving them and a new speech recognition technology that lets users create transcripts of dialogue tracks quickly and search them for words and phrases within a timeline.How the betas workAdobe says the three betas, once downloaded and launched, will be active for 48 hours after which time only CS3 customers will have extended access. Existing CS3 license holders will be able to use their CS3 product serial numbers to unlock the betas and use them for free until the next version of Creative Suite becomes available. Adobe added that the betas will give users an opportunity to deliver feedback to the company, via Adobe Labs, for future product development

Reference :

Delicious Library 2.0 Adds Dozens of Features

Delicious Monster has released Delicious Library 2.0, a major upgrade to their cataloging software for Mac OS X. Priced at US$40, it's a free upgrade for registered users.
Delicious Library helps you maintain an up-to-date catalog of CDs, DVDs, books, video games and other material. It can read barcodes from packages, either by using a barcode scanner (sold separately) or using an iSight camera or other webcam, if connected. You can also input the information manually, if you need to. The software connects to to get bookshelf information, but keeps it all stored locally in its own database.
Version 2.0 adds dozens of new features, such as one-click Web publishing to .Mac and connectivity with Transmit; many new categories; rules-based "Smart Shelves;" better performance for large libraries and fast graphics with Mac OS X v10.5.3; export to iPhone; Bonjour sharing; improved iSight scanning; auto-pair and auto-connect for Bluetooth scanners; autocomplete improvements; currency conversion; new cover graphics; new fields for items and many other changes.
System requirements call for Mac OS X v10.3 or later -- certain features now depend on Mac OS X v10.5 "Leopard," and some new graphic features require Mac OS X v10.5.3, which had not yet been released as Macworld posted this article.

Reference :,146368-pg,1/article.html

Join a New Windows Live Community

Aaron of Windows Live Team has posted this on 'Inside Windows Live Messenger Blog' :
"We here at Windows Live love to create software that makes keeping in touch with your personal community fun and exciting. If you love to chat on Windows Live Messenger, use Windows Live Writer to post to your Windows Live Spaces page and post photos from Windows Live Photo Gallery then we have just the community for you.
We are looking for people to share their stories, tips or tricks, or product reviews of Windows Live with others. We’ll show the world what amazing things you can do with Windows Live........

Reference :

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Sony Alpha DSLR-अ३५० Overview

The Sony A300 and A350 also have a new pop-up flash, rather than the old "pull-up" type. Now these consumer cameras can deploy the flash in auto modes when necessary. Like most other digital SLRs, the user deploys the flash with a button on the left side of the lens mount housing, by the big orange Alpha logo.

Perhaps it was a feint, perhaps it was just a matter of introducing the right camera to the right audience, but Sony's Alpha A200 introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show early this year was a very minor upgrade to the A100. The more buzz-worthy news came with Sony's announcement of the Alpha A300 and A350 at PMA. Both incorporate a new Live View mode, with a unique mechanism that no one has yet tried: drawing an image from inside the optical viewfinder with a special tilting mirror.

While the A300 is essentially an A200 with an articulating LCD screen and Live View mode, the A350 also raises the resolution from 10 megapixels to 14.2 megapixels.

Like the A200, Sony says that improvements to the A300 and A350's AF have made focus acquisition 1.7 times faster, thanks to the high-torque AF motor and improved AF sequence borrowed from the A700. Autofocus in Live View is also as fast as it is in optical viewfinder mode, a major breakthrough among digital SLRs.

Shaped to better match the sensor's 3:2 aspect ratio, the Sony A200's 2.7-inch "Clear Photo" LCD has an anti-reflective coating for easy viewing in the sun, and 230,000 pixels, but the version on the A300 and A350 tilts up and down for easier viewing while shooting low or overhead.

The same LCD-based function menu that appeared on the A200 earlier this year replaces the old dial-based function menu on the Sony A100, and many of the menu items and systems from the Sony A700 have made their way into the Sony A300 and A350.

Sony DSLR A350

The old battery icon has been augmented with a "percent remaining" indicator on the Sony A300 and A350. It now reads "100%," in addition to displaying four bars to indicate battery status. Sony's new vertical battery grip (VG-B30AM) already announced for the Sony A200 also works with the new digital SLR cameras, duplicating many of the controls necessary for vertical shooting, and holds two InfoLITHIUM batteries, making all three cameras capable of shooting up to 1,500 shots.

Eye-start Autofocus, also from the A100, starts up the autofocus system so the camera's ready before you even match your eye up to the viewfinder in most cases. Super SteadyShot stabilizes images with any lens mounted. Sony claims up to 3.5 stops of extra exposure with their body-based image stabilization system. Anti-dust is also built in, with a static-free coating on the CCD's filter that is shaken each time the camera is powered off.

Expected to ship in April, the 14-megapixel Sony Alpha A350 will ship in April for $800 body only, $900 with the 18-70mm lens, and $1,088.99 with the 18-70 and a 55-200mm lens.

Sony A350 User Report

by Shawn Barnett

The Sony Alpha A350 measures 5.25 x 4 x 3 inches (130.8 x 98.5 x 74.7mm), and weighs 24 ounces (682g) with a memory card and battery. That's just two ounces heavier than the Sony A200.

Look and feel. As on the Sony A200, a Function button on the back of the A350 brings up a simply worded Function menu for easy access to commonly changed items. The A100 had a Function dial on the top deck that was a little more difficult to use. Now you just press the Fn button and the menu appears on the LCD.

Another new button on both the Sony A350 and A300 is the Smart Teleconverter 2x zoom button. Active only in Live View mode, pressing this button first zooms the live view by approximately 1.4x, then to 2x. According to Sony literature this gives the camera's 70mm kit lens the equivalent of a 200mm zoom. Essentially, on the A350 it's cropping the image from a 14.2-megapixel image down to a 7.1-megapixel and 3.8-megapixel image, respectively without incurring the blur normally associated with digital zoom. The button does nothing else in regular Record mode or Playback mode.

The LCD is a little wider to match the 3:2 aspect ratio of the Sony A300 and A350's sensor. Note the new battery indicator icon with the numerical percent-remaining display. This LCD also swivels out away from the body to tilt down or up for easier overhead or low-angle shooting.

Essentially identical to the Sony A200, the top deck of the Sony A300 and A350 have one unique feature: the Live View/OVF (Optical ViewFinder) switch. This switch engages the Live View mode and may even move the front element of the Pentamirror forward. When compared to the Sony A100, the Sony A350 has a new ISO button, and the mode dial has moved to where the Function dial used to be.

Grip. The Sony A350's grip is different from the A200, as it has no distinct divot for the middle finger, just a soft curve. At left you can see the CF and video out door.

Left side. The Remote control and DC-in sockets are now together, covered by a rubber door that opens from the front. Upper left in the now-traditional location is the manual flash release button, which activates an electronic switch to let the flash pop up. Lower left is the autofocus selector switch.

Missing from the front of the Sony A350 is the depth-of-field preview button, which was present on the A100. Sony might have thought it wasn't worth the extra cost for a feature that most consumers won't know how to use. Frankly, I seldom use the feature myself on other SLRs. It's hard to see much difference in such a small viewfinder, and it's easier to just snap a shot and zoom in on the larger LCD screen. Whatever the reason, it's good to consider if optical depth-of-field preview is important to you. Though that begs for such a feature with the Live View mode, I doubt the tiny secondary sensor would do much better than my eye with the lens stopped down.

Sony A350/A300 Live View

Sliding that Live View switch forward does several things at once. First, it moves the mirror to reflect the light to the secondary sensor inside the pentamirror housing. Second, the same motion closes a shutter inside the optical viewfinder to prevent stray light from entering and affecting either the Live View image or the exposure. (Other manufacturers have this as an optional separate step, which I think is a mistake, because it's too easy to forget to close the shutter.) Finally, it turns on the Live View sensor and the LCD to give you a real-world live image that's in-keeping with the spirit of the SLR. The beauty of the system is that the Sony A300 and A350 only use the secondary sensor to get a live image to the LCD, not for autofocus. Since it happens in the normal SLR pathway, the normal autofocus system is not interrupted as it is on Live View systems that use the main capture sensor, so there's no blackout, and autofocus is as fast as the system can produce regardless of the viewfinder mode.

Optical Viewfinder. A normal pentamirror arrangement reflects the light out the optical viewfinder eyepiece.
Sony Live View mode. With a simple shift of one of the mirrors, Sony deflects the image up to another optic that reflects the image onto a secondary sensor. Because no partially silvered mirrors are used, the image is fairly bright.

The only disadvantage could be that if the Live View sensor or its optical components are slightly out of alignment with the main sensor, what you see in Live View might not be what you get in the final image.

Sony A350 Live View with Tilting LCD

Sony Swivel LCD. Though it's a shame it doesn't face more angles, the Sony A350 and A300's LCD is very sturdy, while most Live View digital SLR cameras don't even have a swiveling LCD; certainly none in this price range.

The other major difference between the Sony A200 and the more expensive A300 and A350 is that they both have a tilting LCD. First it tilts down not quite 45 degrees, then it tilts up beyond 90 degrees. It's not as nice as some models that also swivel left, right, and even forward, but those cameras are quite a bit more expensive than the A300 and A350.

Like all Live View SLRs, I'm surprised when I actually use the feature, and pleasantly surprised when I remember that a given camera has a swiveling LCD. The truth is that up and down are the main ways you're going to shoot with Live View, at least in horizontal format, and the Sony A350 delivers good results. But I still do shoot vertically a lot, and it would be nice to swivel left and right for low angle kid shots and even overhead shots that include a tall building or other subject where I want a different perspective.

What's positive about this design is that it's pretty solid, and seems less likely to break in heavy use than the more versatile swivel screens.

You also don't have to choose which Live View mode you want, as you do with many competing Live View SLR designs. You have one choice, and it works just like it does when you look through the optical viewfinder.

An image of the AF points is displayed on the LCD, and when you half-press the shutter button, the chosen AF points are surrounded by green brackets. It works like a digicam does, and it works like an SLR does.

There is no alternate mirror-flip-up mode where the phase detect AF takes a stab at focusing while the screen goes blank, and you don't have to wait for Contrast detect to work, either. There is no Contrast-detect. Instead, Phase detect is always available in the usual way: through the partially-silvered main mirror, which reflects light via a secondary mirror to the AF sensor below the exposure chamber. (See the cutaway image below.) This new system makes autofocus in Live View as fast as AF through the optical viewfinder. Sony has found the holy grail of Live View mode.

Cropped and soft. You do end up with a cropped view of the final image, however, when composing via Live View mode. In fact, it's more cropped than the optical viewfinder. While the optical viewfinder gives 95 percent coverage, the Live View mode gives only 91 percent coverage. The Live View display is also slightly soft, especially indoors or in low light, making pre-shot focus verification more difficult. I'm most often pleasantly surprised, though, once the picture pops up crisp onscreen after capture.

Optical Viewfinder. Of course, there's still the Optical viewfinder, which I shoot with more often. Unfortunately, compared to the Sony A200, the optical viewfinder of the Sony A350 appears dramatically smaller, thanks to the Live View sensor in the latter models. Both vignette in the corners when I look through the viewfinder with my glasses, but I do get a bigger image with the A200, which is better for seeing detail. For reference, the Sony A350's viewfinder appears about the same size as the Rebel XTi's, whereas the A200 appears just slightly bigger than the new Rebel XSi. My one major complaint about the XTi after using it for awhile is its small optical viewfinder, so I'd have to apply the same complaint to the Sony A350. It's certainly not a deal-breaker, but is a notable tradeoff for the Sony A350's Live View capability.

Still, the benefit of Sony's implementation is real, making composing and focusing in Live View mode as natural as doing so through the optical viewfinder. Even when shooting outdoors at night, I found the Sony A350 as simple to use in Live View as a digicam, but with the speed of an SLR.

I still get startled when I put my eye to the Sony A350's optical viewfinder and see blackness. First I check for the lens cap, then I remember the Live View switch.

The LCD is usable outdoors in bright sunlight, but you have to work at it. Unfortunately, it's in style to have a beautiful glossy cover glass over LCDs these days, so you have to look through a very sharp reflection to see the softer, transflective LCD image. It works in bright sunlight, but you sometimes have to move your head to avoid reflections for a better view, because the reflection of the sky, for example, can overpower the LCD. And beware reflections of the Sun, because the beautifully glossy cover glass will give you a pretty faithful view of that bright orb, making it even harder to see that LCD beneath.

Flash. For the intended market, it's good that Sony made the A350's flash a pop-up design. The old one had to be lifted into place. Here you press a button on the left of the camera's pentamirror housing and it pops up. What that means is that the auto exposure modes can activate the flash when they deem it necessary, rather than suggesting the user raise the flash. The flash doesn't go up as high as the one on the A100, however, and that's probably because the bodies of the A200, A300, and A350 are molded to make room for the Live View mode components in the latter two cameras. The flash on the A100 is hinged much further back, where the A350's is hinged about 3/4-inch forward. The flash bulb also ends up a little more forward, but that still means you'll have trouble with some lenses and lens hoods, which will block the short little strobe's light over much of the frame.

Sony A350 Interface

Buttons, dials and switches. Most of the external controls on the A350 are quite good, with an emphasis on buttons. I like how the buttons give a distinct "pop" when depressed, letting you know you've sent the message with tactile feedback. The one exception is the Controller disk, which is a little mushy.

The Mode dial sometimes rests between modes, unfortunately, rather than moving on to the next mode detent if accidentally nudged.

I'm a little disappointed with the feel and position of the Live View switch. It's doing a lot rather efficiently, closing the optical viewfinder door, and maybe even moving the mirror, but I think a button would have made more sense here: with linear motors driving the door and mirror movement. I also wonder about whether dust and sand will eventually get under this switch and make movement sloppier and noisier over time; or else cause a jam.

Menu. The Sony A350's menu is also very easy to use, functioning like a tabbed menu and a scrolling menu. When you get to the bottom of the first tab's list, it automatically switches to the top of the next tab. This design makes it easy to scan through the items looking for what you need. If you see that a given tab isn't what you need, regardless of where you are in the list, you can press the left or right arrow to move between tabs. It's a little confusing if you've been using a Nikon, where pressing the right arrow often selects a menu item, but it's not hard to get used to using the center button instead.

Live View LCD. In Live View mode, the viewfinder shows most of the information that the optical viewfinder shows, but with more room, it's spread out over more of the screen area, rather than only across the bottom. The most critical component, besides the shutter speed and aperture, is the Super SteadyShot meter, which appears in the lower right corner of the screen, just as it does in the viewfinder.

Pressing the Display button brings up the histogram view, which includes a small, semi-translucent histogram in the lower left corner along with basic information across the bottom. There's also a mode with nothing overlaying the image area.

Function Menu. Pressing the Fn (Function) button brings up a simple menu for adjusting most of the important items. Just use the Arrow pad to navigate to the desired option and press the center button to select your mode, in this case, the AF Area mode.

White balance. Of particular interest is the Sony A350's White Balance menu, which offers a very simple approach to a complicated subject. It's actually identical to the A100's White Balance system, but the interface is slightly easier now. Just use the up and down arrows to pick a white balance method, and use the left and right arrows to adjust the color bias of that particular setting. If you've chosen Tungsten, for example, but your light source is just a little off from the norm, hit the left arrow button to make the image a little bluer, or to the right to make it a little more yellow or orange.

If you know a little more about color balance, you can switch to Kelvin mode and dial in the right color temperature, and add green and magenta filters. You can use the Sony A350 as a gauge by moving to Custom mode, which will ask you to take a picture of a white or neutral object and dial in the correct temperature and filter setting to match. There are no pretty graphics to accompany the adjustment, as is more common on other cameras, but it's straightforward in practice.

Dynamic Range Optimization. Dynamic Range Optimization's purpose is to prevent highlights from blowing out and shadows from plugging, and it comes in two varieties. The Standard DRO attempts to optimize the tone curve across the entire image, and Advanced DRO applies its algorithm differently in each area of the image if necessary. You'll find more highlight and shadow detail in the Advanced DRO images but overall image contrast can actually decrease, depending on the subject. (These images below are from the Sony A200.)

DRO off

Standard DRO

Advanced DRO

Subtle differences. DRO wasn't exactly designed for well-lit test targets, but here in the cloth swatches on our Still Life target you can begin to see some differences. With Dynamic Range Optimization off, the camera had to make a decision between rendering the black cloth above to preserve detail or keep detail in the white cloth instead. To my eye, the black cloth won. Standard DRO looked at the entire image and made the opposite decision, bringing more detail to the white cloth, and boosting contrast in most of the mid-tone cloths -- in fact, making the white cloth more mid-tone than it actually is -- and obscuring detail in the black cloth. In Advanced DRO, we see a mixture of the two approaches, preserving the general contrast of the non-DRO image while boosting contrast in the midtones.

Storage and Processing. The Sony A350 uses a compact flash card for memory storage. At left you can see the USB port, which is only revealed with the card door open.

The top ISO on the A350 is 3,200. The Sony A350 applies noise reduction in the RAW file at both ISO 1,600 and 3,200, according to Sony, and then applies it again after the usual image processing. Think what you like about the method, but the ISO 1,600 shots from this 14-megapixel sensor can produce decent 8x10-inch prints, and ISO 3,200 prints actually look good at 5x7. That's quite an achievement.

Lenses & Accessories. The Alpha lens line includes 24 Sony-branded lenses that will work with the A350, plus dozens of older Minolta branded lenses that should also be compatible. You're probably better sticking with the newer designs, which are optimized for digital capture, and are designed to work with these latest cameras, but it's nice to know that you can use some of the old lenses, especially if you already have a bag of Minolta lenses at your disposal.

Twenty-Four. Sony Alpha cameras are backed up by 24 current lenses, plus two teleconverters.

Accessories for the Sony A350 include the Vertical Grip (VG-B30AM), three conventional bounce flashes, plus a Macro Twin Flash Kit and a Ring Lite for macro and close-up work. Those interested in macro work might also want to look at the Angle Finder and Magnifier options.

The Vertical Grip features the unique modified shutter release placement, first seen on the vertical grip for the Minolta Maxxum 9, a professional film SLR. This allows you to hold the camera and lens vertically with the same feel you have with the horizontal grip. It does make the vertical hold a little top-heavy, but I like the way the relationship between my right and left hands stays the same regardless which way I'm holding the camera.

Image Quality. The Sony A350's kit lens and its imaging sensor are of pretty good quality, competing favorably with its Nikon and Canon rivals. More impressive is that its quality holds up well despite the small pixels on the A350's 14-megapixel sensor. Below is a sample comparison between the Sony A350 and the Canon Rebel XSi, both at ISO 1,600.

Sony A350 vs Rebel XSi at ISO 1,600. The Sony A350's ISO 1,600 performance is quite good, especially considering the very small pixel size at 14-megapixels (top image). The Canon Rebel XSi below retains a little more detail at 1,600, but the larger pixel size of its 12-megapixel sensor may be a factor in its favor.

Silhouette? I tried to force a silhouette shot out of the Sony A350, but only managed the tree, thanks to the A350's Standard DRO setting. Still, the result is pleasing to my eye, and I can tweak it in either direction on the computer, because I have detail to work with.

Shooting. There's something odd about reviewing a camera that just works: There's not that much to say. Sony's former Minolta team has hit on a design with all three of the latest cameras that is so easy to approach and use that it's hard to come up with anything clever. It reminds me a lot of the switch between PC and Mac. I used to love tweaking MS-DOS and Windows to eek out a little more speed, but the Mac just worked, and worked well. Suddenly I had to focus on getting stuff done with my computer, rather than messing with settings to make a window pop up faster. The consumer Alpha cameras are a lot like that.

Detail. It's a little soft, but there's plenty of detail in this 14-megapixel image.

What struck me most about my Sony A350 shots, especially in bright daylight, was the extraordinary detail this 14.2-megapixel sensor can deliver. Yes, zoom in all the way, and there's a slight softness; but look at the bike shot at left. This is hanging about 15 feet up on the wall, as the window and angle should tell you, but if you zoom in on the photo, you feel almost like you're standing right next to it.

As I walked around Las Vegas, I was mostly taking snapshots. I tried out a few modes, but just wanted to see what the camera could do if I shot like a tourist. I got the better shots when I didn't do much tweaking. Adding a +0.7 EV seemed to help the night shots pop a little more, though. Super SteadyShot made up for a lot of camera movement on my many handheld shots. And the basic kit lens once again proved its mettle, performing well enough day or night.

Night. I wanted to capture the unique formations in the fountains, which worked well at f/3.5, 1/6 second, and ISO 400.

I used Live View with the fountain shots, which let me set the camera on the wall for more stability without having to crouch down to see through the viewfinder. If you look at the background of some of them, focus is soft, but that's because I was trying to focus on the fountains. Of course, they look soft too, thanks to the motion of the water. A little higher ISO could have let me stop down a bit more, bringing the lights into better focus and still capture the fountains; maybe next time. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the results.

When action shooting, I wasn't overly impressed with the A350's focus tracking ability, but I did manage to get a few sharp shots at the relatively slow 2.44 second speed of Continuous mode. What I was impressed with was the Sony A350's AF speed. Whether in Live View or via the optical viewfinder, the A350 can autofocus in 0.18 second. Prefocusing results in a shutter lag of 0.08 second. Very fast.

For more on Image Quality, please see our full analysis of Optics and Exposure for the Sony A350, and see the Gallery for more of my own shots with the Sony A350.

Analysis. Having reviewed several digital SLRs in the past few months, I can summarize the Sony A200 and A350 in two sentences: They're simple to use and take good pictures, and you don't have to wade through complicated menus to use them. It's refreshing.

Despite the addition of Live View, a swivel screen, and a 14-megapixel sensor, the Sony A350 is quite similar to the A200. It's a little slower to save, thanks to the larger image file sizes, and the optical viewfinder is tighter; but other than that, you'd have no trouble switching between the two. Given the relative printed image results, the A200 and A350 are very similar, though those extra four million pixels do deliver more detail at the lower ISOs.

ISO 3,200 is good as well, despite the early noise suppression in RAW that many enthusiasts will distrust. The printed results at 3,200 are good enough for a good 5x7, which is what most consumers will want. That's pretty rare from any camera.

As was the case with the A200, the A350's short blackout time makes people photography easier, as does the fast autofocus. I also like that the 18-70mm kit lens stands up so well to the 14.2-megapixel sensor, something uncommon among kit lenses. That it reaches out to 70mm instead of just 55mm makes it a very good value.

As I said of the A200, the Sony A350 is easy to recommend to just about any consumer photographer wanting higher quality in their images. Using the Sony A350 is a convenient and easy way to learn more about photography, and get great shots of the family to boot.

Sony A350 Basic Features

  • 14.2 MP Super HAD CCD delivering resolutions as high as 4,592 x 3,056 pixels
  • 3.88x Kit lens, 18-70mm (27-105mm equivalent), f/3.5-5.6
  • Optical viewfinder
  • 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD Screen mounted on a tilting base
  • ISO Sensitivity: 100 to 3,200
  • Shutter speeds: 30 seconds to 1/4,000 second
  • Compact Flash Type I, II, Microdrive
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Dimensions: 5.25 x 4.0 x 3.0 inches (131 x 99 x 75 millimeters)
  • Weight: 24 ounces (682g) with lens, battery, and card

Sony A350 Special Features

  • Tilting LCD
  • Live View mode
  • Super SteadyShot in-camera image stabilization offers from 2.5 to 3.5 stops of compensation
  • Bionz Image Processor
  • Dynamic Range Optimizer: Normal DRO improves detail using standard gamma curves for fast shot-to-shot response time. Advanced DRO adjusts dynamic range area-by-area
  • Anti-Dust Technology
  • Auto Pop-Up Flash with four main operating modes and a variable Slow-Sync function
  • External, proprietary flash hot-shoe for Sony accessory flash units
  • Built-in support for wireless TTL flash exposure with certain Sony flashes
  • Eye-Start Autofocus System
  • 9-Point Center Cross AF Sensor
  • Auto and Manual focus options with Single and Continuous AF modes
  • 40-segment honeycomb metering system, plus Center-Weighted and Spot metering options, with AE Lock function
  • Scene Selection Modes: Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Sunset and Night Portrait/Night View situations
  • Creative Style Settings
  • sRGB and Adobe RGB color space options
  • RAW and JPEG file formats
  • Contrast, saturation, and sharpness adjustments
  • Adjustable White Balance setting with presets and a manual option, as well as a full range of Kelvin temperature settings
  • Index and Slide Show Display
  • High-Resolution Thumbnails for PhotoTV HD Viewing
  • Function Guide Display
  • Continuous Burst Mode at 2.4 frames per second
  • "Storage-Class" USB 2.0 High-Speed interface
  • USB 2.0 High-Speed cable and interface software for connecting to a computer and downloading images
  • NTSC or PAL selectable video output signal, with cable included
  • Optional wired remote control accessories
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format), Exif 2.2, Print Image Matching III and PictBridge compliant

In the Box

The Sony A350 Kit ships with the following items in the box (it is also available body-only):

  • Sony A350
  • DT 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom lens

  • NP-FM500H rechargeable battery
  • BC-VM10 battery charger
  • Video and USB cable
  • Body cap

  • Lens caps
  • Shoulder strap with eyepiece cap and Remote Commander clip
  • Instruction manual
  • Software/USB Driver CD-ROM

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Sony A350 Conclusion


  • Articulated LCD screen allows more comfortable shooting from above or below
  • Live View mode doesn't affect AF speed at all
  • Good body size, solid feel
  • Easy to learn and use
  • Great grip
  • No-nonsense design
  • 14.2-megapixel sensor
  • Function button makes access to commonly used functions easy
  • Good menu design for quickly moving among selections
  • Dynamic Range Optimization works well, preserving detail in highlights and shadows
  • Infrared sensor detects approaching eye and starts autofocusing
  • Super SteadyShot stabilizes images regardless of lens attached
  • Auto pop-up flash great for full-auto shooters
  • Very good high ISO performance
  • Very good low light performance
  • Excellent printed results
  • Fast autofocus
  • Good shot-to-shot times
  • Excellent shutter lag numbers
  • Good optical viewfinder accuracy
  • Excellent harsh daylight performance
  • Sensor holds onto detail very well, without significant noise suppression at low ISOs
  • In-camera JPEG performance is good
  • Very good flash range for an on-camera flash
  • Very fast USB transfer speed
  • Excellent battery life

  • Smaller optical viewfinder than A200
  • Kit lens is slightly soft in the corners
  • Advanced DRO slows camera down when shooting rapidly
  • Pop-up flash doesn't go very high
  • Infrared sensor activates AF system when you don't want it to, like when you're just holding the camera
  • Proprietary flash hotshoe
  • Card write light is blocked by your thumb when holding the camera
  • Slow startup and shut-down times
  • Soft macro performance from kit lens
  • Marginal Auto White Balance performance in incandescent lighting
  • Flash coverage at wide angle was poor
  • Flash must be raised for AF assist

Sony's Alpha A350 is the company's top-tier consumer SLR for 2008, offering a high resolution 14.2-megapixel sensor, Live View like no one else has, and an articulating LCD screen. It's a very complete package for the experienced and inexperienced alike. Dynamic Range Optimization successfully makes up for common shortcomings in digital capture by rescuing highlight and shadow detail, and Super SteadyShot optimizes every lens in the line with sensor-shift image stabilization technology that delivers clearer images. The Sony A350's high ISO of 3,200 has noise and softness due to noise suppression, but you can actually get a decent 5x7 from this output, which is impressive.

Autofocus speed is not only improved in the Sony A350, it's not at all slowed down by the camera's Live View mode; no other digital SLR on the market can make that claim. Viewfinder blackout time is quite good, allowing you to better keep your eye on the subject between shots. The Eye-Start AF sensors really do help you acquire focus more quickly, though I do wish it could be activated in concert with a grip sensor as on the A700 to avoid the AF system coming on when the A350 hangs around your neck. Optical performance from the Sony A350's kit lens is actually better than most kit lenses, and the lens has a good quality feel to it.

Though shot-to-shot performance was good, it was a little bothersome when the Advanced DRO mode slowed the camera's frame rate down significantly. We recommend using Advanced DRO sparingly, or only in situations where rapid capture is not important. It's a slight disadvantage that the Alpha line uses a proprietary flash hot shoe, because common flashes, cords, and accessories that you may already have will not work with the Alpha cameras. Adapters do exist, though, so there's a way to make it work.

The only real dilemma presented to those interested in a Sony digital SLR is which one to pick. Though the Sony A200 has an advantage in its low price and larger optical viewfinder, the A350 has the very fast AF in Live View mode with that nice tilting LCD screen. So the true bargain may be the 10-megapixel Sony A300, available for $200 less than the A350 and only $100 more than the A200 when each is purchased with the 18-70mm lens. As for resolution, though the A350 does give you a higher number over the A200's 10.2 megapixels, the printed results are actually pretty similar across the ISO range. Whatever you choose, though, the Sony A350 is a well-rounded package, offering the best of all worlds in terms of usability, resolution, and intelligent design, all of which earns it a Dave's Pick.

Click here to visit B&H's website

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Microsoft: June 30 not end of Windows XP support

Concerned that customers are confusing the impending end of Windows XP retail availability with the end of support, Microsoft Corp. has reminded users that the aged operating system will be supported until early April 2014.
Jared Proudfoot, a manager in Microsoft's support life cycle group, reiterated the final support dates for Windows XP in a post to a company blog.
"Recently, there have been a number of posts in the blogosphere about Windows XP and the upcoming end of direct OEM and retail license availability," said Proudfoot. "Some people are interpreting this as the end of support for Windows XP."
Not so, Proudfoot said. Windows XP will remain in what Microsoft calls "mainstream support" to April 14, 2009, and continue in "extended support" though April 8, 2014, he added. The former delivers free fixes -- for both security patches and other bug fixes -- to everyone. During the latter, all users receive security updates, but nonsecurity hot fixes are given only to companies that have signed support contracts with Microsoft.
Those are not new dates, Proudfoot reminded customers last week. In early 2007, for instance, Microsoft extended support for Windows XP Home and XP Media Center to the 2009 and 2014 dates to match those already set for Windows XP Professional.
Reference :

Handwriting recognition interface appears in iPhone Software 2.0

The latest private beta of Apple's upcoming iPhone Software v2.0 includes a handwriting recognition interface for the Chinese language, according to a new report.AppleInsider reader Kenneth notes that build 5A258f of the impending software update adds several new Chinese input methods under the international keyboard settings, including handwriting recognition."Unfortunately, handwriting recognition is only avaliable in Chinese (Traditional and Simplified) and doesn't support English," he told AppleInsider.In his own write up on the subject -- translated -- Kenneth posts several screenshots from the software, which show the handwriting interface functioning in both portrait and landscape modes.As the user draws symbols on the screen, the iPhone's handwriting recognition interface begins to suggest possible character matches in a column to the right of the input area. Apple had previously posted a job listing for a handwriting recognition engineer, and AppleInsider reported last year that the company's upcoming Newton/Web tablet would arrive with support for the input technology.

A recent patent filing has also suggested that Apple is working on a next-generation multi-touch 'surface' that would combine typing, pointing, scrolling, and handwriting capabilities into a single ergonomic design aimed at replacing traditional input devices such as the keyboard, mouse, and drawing tablet.

AMD Jumps to 12-core Chip, Skips 8-core Chip Plans

Advanced Micro Devices plans to release processors with 12 cores, which changes its product road map and kills earlier plans to release 8-core chips.
The 12-core processor, code-named Magny-Cours, will be targeted at servers and is due for release in the first half of 2010, according to the company's updated road map announced Wednesday.
The chip will include 12M bytes of L3 cache and support DDR3 RAM, according to the road map.
AMD is jumping from a 6-core chip code-named Istanbul, due for release in the second half of 2009, straight to a 12-core chip the following year, an AMD spokesman said.
Until last month, AMD officials repeated plans to ship the 8-core server chip, code-named Barcelona, in 2009. Montreal has now been replaced by Istanbul, followed by a 12-core product in 2010, the spokesman said
Twelve-core chips will handle larger workloads better than 8-core chips and are easier to manufacture, said Randy Allen, vice president and general manager at AMD, during a conference call.
AMD is also planning to release a 6-core chip code-named Sao Paulo in 2010. The chip will include 6M bytes of L3 cache and support for DDR3 RAM. Sao Paulo chips could meet the need of systems that don't require 12 cores, Allen said.
The new chips will be more power efficient as they will be manufactured using the 45-nanometer process, an upgrade from the 65-nm process currently used to manufacture Barcelona.
AMD, which is struggling financially, is making financial and technical considerations in jumping from 6-core to 12-core chips. said Dean McCarron, an analyst with Mercury Research. That should allow the company to dump more cores on chips while delivering better product margins and lowering manufacturing costs.
AMD's 12-core chip will include two 6-core processors on separate chips in a single processor package, McCarron said. That is a more realistic goal than including 12 cores on a single chip, which can be expensive to manufacture, McCarron said.
The shift also allows AMD to avoid competition with Intel in 8-core chips, McCarron said. Intel is shipping a 6-core Xeon server processor, Dunnington, in the second half this year, after which it plans to jump to 8-core processors.
Even with AMD's altered road map, Intel will remain formidable. Intel shipped 78.5 percent of chips in the first quarter of 2008, while AMD held a 20.6 percent market share, a slight gain from the 18.7 percent market share it held in the first quarter of 2007.
The new product road map is a way for AMD to bounce back from recent chip and supply issues, said Gordon Haff, principal IT advisor at Illuminata.
AMD's most recent server chips, the quad-core Opteron processors code-named Barcelona, started shipping late last month after multiple delays and bugs.
"Obviously, AMD had some missteps over the past year, but they have a staple of OEMs and routes to markets with their processors. What you're seeing is much more public focus on what's going to happen in the next 18 to 24 months rather than longer term," Haff said.
AMD has had a string of recent problems. The company last month reported its sixth consecutive quarterly loss and plans to lay off 1,650 jobs by the third quarter.
Reference :

MySpace Makes Data Portability Move

Responding to the momentum around data portability, MySpace has launched its own "Data Availability" effort with big-name partners Yahoo, eBay, Twitter, and fellow News Corp. unit Photobucket.
The initiative's goal is to let MySpace members share their public profile data outside of the walls of the social-networking site.
"Today, MySpace no longer operates as an autonomous island on the Internet, by allowing the data that creates the engaging and collaborative experience that is MySpace to now be shared across all the sites our users visit," said Chris DeWolfe, CEO and cofounder of MySpace, during a press conference.
Enter Information Only Once
As the popularity of social networks keeps rising and people set up multiple profiles in such sites, they are demanding the ability to carry their data, content and connections from one site to another, so that they don't have to re-enter all that information again.
This is what the MySpace initiative aims to address, DeWolfe said. "Your personal online social profile will become your Internet address. Social activity isn't about creating a walled garden. Socially dynamic Web destinations should be portable and allow users to import and export aspects of their platform," he said.
The functionality will become available at some point in the coming weeks to both users and third-party sites. At the core will be privacy and security controls so that users retain tight control over what data they share and in which site.
"The initiative is founded first and foremost on allowing users to have comprehensive control over their own content and data. Users will have complete control over what information they share and who they share it with," said MySpace Chief Operating Officer Amit Kapur.
Outside of MySpace
Data and content that users will be able to carry outside of MySpace will include public basic profile information, like their bios, interests, favorite music and movies, as well as their photos and videos.
Changes made to these elements on their MySpace profiles will be dynamically updated on the third-party sites. This also includes decisions to drop a site from their network of updates, which is key to privacy and security principles, MySpace officials said.
"Rather than populating new profiles and updating information across every Web site ... users can now update their status on MySpace and dynamically share that information with the other sites they care about," Kapur said.
MySpace will make this functionality available not only to large Web sites like the initial partners, but to sites of all sizes, including "mom-and-pop" ones with little technical know-how.
The main tool for MySpace members will be a control panel where they'll be able to manage their "data availability" parameters. The granularity of the controls in this panel will increase over time. Meanwhile, MySpace will also release client-side and server-side tools based on open standards for third-party Web sites that want to participate.
Part of the initiative includes MySpace's joining of the DataPortability Workgroup. Data availability is MySpace's first step toward embracing all aspects of data portability, said Jim Benedetto, MySpace's senior vice president of technology.
Asked whether Facebook would be welcome to participate in this initiative, DeWolfe said that the rival social network would indeed be able to participate, as well as any other site on the Web that's interested.
Reference :

Windows 7 to add native support for Virtual Hard Disks

Out of what little we know of the next version of Windows, this feature might just be the most interesting yet. A team at Microsoft is hiring developers to work on adding native support in Windows 7 for Virtual Hard Disks (VHD) - Microsoft’s semi-proprietary specification for single-file virtual machine hard disks. Their job posting reads,
Do you want to join the team that is bringing virtualization into the mainstream? In Windows 7, our team will be responsible for creating, mounting, performing I/O on, and dismounting VHDs (virtual hard disks) natively. Imagine being able to mount a VHD on any Windows machine, do some offline servicing and then boot from that same VHD. Or perhaps, taking an existing VHD you currently use within Virtual Server and boost performance by booting natively from it.
Do you want to have the opportunity to work on a great Core OS team at the heart of Windows? If you have big ideas and want to implement them, if you love writing code, if you love delving into operating system internals, if you want to work on high visibility projects with direct consumer and customer impact and still work in a very technical environment, then you will feel right at home in this team.
Virtualization technology has been a great success with Virtual Server and Hyper-V. With native OS support on the horizon it will become an even greater hit. Our team is making this a reality in Windows 7. Consider the simplicity of backup using a VHD, or the portability of a virtual disk backed by a single file. These are a few reasons why this technology is poised to be one of the greatest features in Windows 7–come help us achieve this goal.
Whilst “one of the great features in Windows 7″ might be a bit much, this is right up there with the new multi-line Calculator. No seriously, this has rather interesting implications for IT administrators and even home users.

Reference :

Thursday, 22 May 2008 Beta Fails the Office 2007 Test

The free office suite's support for Microsoft's XML-based Office 2007 file formats leaves much to be desired।

I'm not embarrassed to admit it: I'm a big fan of Office 2007. I think Microsoft got a lot right with its latest release, starting with the ribbon interface and including any number of tweaks and improvements that make my day easier. I can't say I'm thrilled about the price of the suite, however; nor the countless SKUs to choose from. Plus, I'm also a big Linux fan. That's why I always try to keep my eye on the current state of, the open source office suite founded by Sun Microsystems. 3.0 has just entered public beta, and it promises plenty of improvements from the previous version. Mac users, in particular, will be pleased with the new native Aqua UI. Unfortunately, however, the one feature that I was really looking forward to on the Windows side -- compatibility with the Office 2007 XML file formats -- could still clearly use a lot of work.
As an experiment, I saved a simple Word 2003 document in Word 2007 format. Office 2007 opened it just fine, but Writer only got as far as the first two lines of the text; instead of skipping the next line, the rest was truncated. An Excel 2007 template fared no better. Calc preserved labels, numbers, and formulae; macros, embedded graphics, and page layout options disappeared. A plain .xlsx file created with the same template yielded identical results.
I'm very disappointed to have to say it, but's support for the Office 2007 file formats simply isn't ready for prime time. I haven't had time yet to do a full review of the suite, but the tests I tried were extremely basic import/export operations on documents that were not in the least bit complex. Unfortunately, the beta struck out.
It's strange, if you think about it. Wasn't the whole point of XML file formats for Office to make the documents more compatible with other software? Isn't XML a self-describing, human-readable file format that should make reverse-engineering a breeze (compared to the old, binary Office formats, at least)? And isn't OOXML, the Office 2007 file format, a public ISO standard?
But then, if you've been following the news, you know that there's more going on with OOXML than meets the eye. Not to mention the fact that Office 2007 itself reportedly doesn't conform to the published standards.
The final release of 3.0 is still a few months away (and, to be fair, the developers do not recommend the current beta release for production use). There may still be time to get involved and help iron out the bugs with Office 2007 support -- but I doubt it। For now, my recommendation remains the same: If you're an Office 2007 user, like me, you'll probably want to keep saving your documents in Office 2003 format -- at least until OpenDocument becomes more mainstream.
Reference :,145667-pg,1/article.html

Samsung Launches HD Flash Camcorder With Slow-motion Video

Samsung has launched a high-definition (HD) video camera that can also snap high-resolution digital photos and take smooth slow-motion video.
The HMX20, which was shown in prototype form at CES in Las Vegas in January, can manage 1080p full high definition (1,920 pixel by 1,080 pixel resolution) and 8-megapixel images. It's also capable of snapping pictures while video is being recorded -- a feature that is becoming popular on cameras but is still not standard.
To frame shots there's a 2.7-inch widescreen monitor that swings out of the side of the camera much like most other camcorders.
A special feature is the 300 frames per second (fps) shooting mode for slow-motion video. Video is usually recorded at 30 fps and becomes jumpy when slowed down, but by recording at 300 fps it can be slowed down by as much as 10 times and still appear smooth.
The camera has a round body and is designed to be easily held in one hand. Its compact size is aided by the lack of a tape or optical storage disc drive. Instead it stores video and images on flash memory. It has 8G bytes of built-in memory and this can be extended with an SD or MMC memory card.
The camera has been announced for South Korea where it will cost 899,000 won (US$857)। Launch details for other markets have not been set yet.
Reference :

Apple sued for callings its mouse Mighty

A small accessory maker is taking Apple and CBS to court because it wants the Mac maker to stop calling its standard desktop computer mouse the "Mighty Mouse।"
Landover-based Man & Machine, Inc. (M&M) filed the 14-page formal complaint in a Maryland district court on Tuesday because it claims to have introduced a computer mouse under the same name in March of 2004, more than a year before Apple's device hit the market. M&M's mouse is different from Apple's in that it is water resistant or water-proof, which has made it particularly well suited for use in hospitals, medical laboratories and industrial environments. However, the accessory maker argues that since the device is similar in appearance to Apple's version, there could be confusion in the marketplace. The little known firm goes on to further accuse Apple of intentionally buying up search keywords on the phrase "Mighty Mouse" and proliferating the code on its webpages with the trademark in an effort divert customers looking for M&M version of the Mighty Mouse and website to its own internet properties. "Because of Apple's size, fame, and large advertising budget, Apple's use of the Mighty Mouse trademark has and will continue to overwhelm M&M's use of its Mighty Mouse trademark and will cause M&M to lose the value of that trademark, including the goodwill and reputation resident therein, and will hinder M&M's ability to move into additional markets and/or further into those markets in which it already conducts commerce," attorneys for M&M wrote in the lawsuit. Since Apple licenses the Mighty Mouse name from CBS, which owns trademarks associated with the Mighty Mouse cartoon character, M&M has also named the television network as defendant in its complaint
Although CBS has a pending application to extend its trademark to "Computer cursor control devices, namely, computer mouse[s]," the dates of first use claimed on the application are substantially later than when M&M first began selling its own Mighty Mouse, the accessory maker argues। "It thus appears that Apple purports to have received from CBS Operations a license to use the Mighty Mouse trademark in connection with computer mouses," the suit says। "Any such purported trademark license is invalid due to M&M's preexisting, superior rights to use the Mighty Mouse trademark in connection with computer mouses."M&M, whose own application for the Mighty Mouse trademark is still pending, is seeking an injunction barring Apple from further use of the mark, damages, and attorneys' fees.
Reference :

Apple sued for callings its mouse Mighty

A small accessory maker is taking Apple and CBS to court because it wants the Mac maker to stop calling its standard desktop computer mouse the "Mighty Mouse।"
Landover-based Man & Machine, Inc. (M&M) filed the 14-page formal complaint in a Maryland district court on Tuesday because it claims to have introduced a computer mouse under the same name in March of 2004, more than a year before Apple's device hit the market. M&M's mouse is different from Apple's in that it is water resistant or water-proof, which has made it particularly well suited for use in hospitals, medical laboratories and industrial environments. However, the accessory maker argues that since the device is similar in appearance to Apple's version, there could be confusion in the marketplace. The little known firm goes on to further accuse Apple of intentionally buying up search keywords on the phrase "Mighty Mouse" and proliferating the code on its webpages with the trademark in an effort divert customers looking for M&M version of the Mighty Mouse and website to its own internet properties. "Because of Apple's size, fame, and large advertising budget, Apple's use of the Mighty Mouse trademark has and will continue to overwhelm M&M's use of its Mighty Mouse trademark and will cause M&M to lose the value of that trademark, including the goodwill and reputation resident therein, and will hinder M&M's ability to move into additional markets and/or further into those markets in which it already conducts commerce," attorneys for M&M wrote in the lawsuit. Since Apple licenses the Mighty Mouse name from CBS, which owns trademarks associated with the Mighty Mouse cartoon character, M&M has also named the television network as defendant in its complaint
Although CBS has a pending application to extend its trademark to "Computer cursor control devices, namely, computer mouse[s]," the dates of first use claimed on the application are substantially later than when M&M first began selling its own Mighty Mouse, the accessory maker argues. "It thus appears that Apple purports to have received from CBS Operations a license to use the Mighty Mouse trademark in connection with computer mouses," the suit says. "Any such purported trademark license is invalid due to M&M's preexisting, superior rights to use the Mighty Mouse trademark in connection with computer mouses."M&M, whose own application for the Mighty Mouse trademark is still pending, is seeking an injunction barring Apple from further use of the mark, damages, and attorneys' fees.

The 10 Best Games You Won't Find on Your Mac

Some computer games never appear on the Mac. Sometimes the game makers don't think the limited Mac market is worth it. Other games depend so much on Windows-specific technologies that it's not feasible to port them without major reengineering. Whatever the reason, here are my ten top reasons you might want to install Windows on your Mac.
Note: For running games, Boot Camp is a much better bet than Parallels or Fusion. Some of these games won't run at all in the latter two.
Company of Heroes
It's not particularly cutting-edge, and it's been out for a while on the PC. Why a Mac game company hasn't yet published a Mac version is beyond my ken. But Company of Heroes ranks as one of the best real-time strategy (RTS) games out there. Set during World War II, it puts you in control of Allied military units, starting out with charging Omaha Beach during D-Day and continuing with the destruction of Nazi forces in France. The game scales marvelously on faster hardware but still looks good on slow machines; the audio is realistic and the soundtrack is good--it's just an almost perfectly executed RTS from start to finish.
You're Nomad, a superpowerful soldier whose Nano Muscle Suit is all that stands between you and the forces of North Korea and, oddly, extraterrestrial enemies. Far Cry makers Crytek developed this first-person shooter game, and it has set the newest standards in realistic game play and special effects. It features hyperrealistic physics and spectacular graphics (the latter thanks to Windows DirectX 10). Unfortunately, neither Parallels nor Fusion currently supports DirectX 10; but given the features race between the two, I'd bet one or the other will have it eventually.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Widely regarded as one of the best role-playing games (RPGs) ever released for a computer, The Elder Scrolls IV is a fantasy-based RPG that features a huge, open-ended world to explore. You begin the game in a filthy dungeon, but you're soon swept up in events as the emperor picks you as a champion to rescue his illegitimate heir. The game leaves the where and how of fulfilling that mission entirely up to you; you can use weapons, you can use magic, or you can use stealth as you make your way through a stunningly massive world.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Maybe the idea of this controversial game series hitting the Mac leaves you a bit cold; it's been the pariah of many antigaming activists and legislators for its glorification of street violence and thuggery. While some of that criticism is deserved, Grand Theft Auto is also a fantastically well-crafted game. Your job is to become a top criminal boss, but you don't have to follow any specific path to get there. The game is open-ended, providing you with an entire city to explore and letting you find your own way to the top. The '80s theme doesn't hurt, either: it's like playing a sprawling episode of Miami Vice.
Guild Wars
This online RPG at first seems like it's cut from all-too-familiar cloth (a fantasy realm filled with muscular men, scantily clad women, and fearsome beasties). But Guild Wars really sets itself apart from the competition. The game features fast, action-RPG style game play (think Diablo as a massively multiplayer game) and a character-building system that lets you either create a role-playing character or jump into player-versus-player combat. Guild Wars has also won high praise from gamers for being rock solid, fast loading and frequently updated.
The Orange Box
The company that produced The Orange Box, Valve, is one of Mac gaming's most-loathed nemeses. Why? Because it's the company behind Half-Life, a landmark first-person shooter series that has never come to the Mac. Its science-fiction backstory takes place in a dystopian world where the Combine, an alien race, has taken over Earth. The Orange Box combines five Half-Life 2--based games in one box: Half-Life 2; its first two expansions, Episode One and Episode 2; Portal; and Team Fortress 2. The games all look fantastic, with realistic physics and spectacular graphics.
If you have a PC and you missed this one, don't feel bad: I've seen Psychonauts on more than one "best games you've never played" list. It's a 3-D--platform action game set in a summer camp for kids with psychic powers. Playing with those abilities adds some neat twists to what could be a pretty much by-the-numbers action game. It helps that Tim Schafer, whose bona fides include a long stint at LucasArts, designed the game; he was responsible for the great humor in the Monkey Island games, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango.
Rome: Total War
An epic strategy game set during the Roman Empire, Rome: Total War is divided into a turn-based game in which you conquer cities and areas, moving your army to expand your empire, and massive real-time battles in which you command thousands of troops and send them charging across the battle plains in giant formations. There's also political intrigue: as a member of one of Rome's major families (the Julii, the Scipii, or the Bruti), you need to surround yourself with loyal family and friends, and your success or failure in battle will affect your standing in the Senate. Beautiful 3-D graphics and cinematic sound create an epic atmosphere like that of a Cecil B. DeMille movie.
Sins of a Solar Empire
The Mac hasn't seen a good space-based strategy game since Aspyr's release of Homeworld II a few years ago. This new one for Windows is already winning rave reviews, but hasn't found a home on the Mac yet. You start out with control of one world, exploring nearby planets and systems, exploiting resources you find, and building research to create new fleets of more sophisticated vessels. Eventually you're building fleets of warships, battling pirates, and conquering enemy systems. Despite its massive scale, Sins of a Solar Empire is pretty easy to get into.
World in Conflict
In this real-time strategy game, set in an alternate version of history, the Cold War ended not in perestroika but in World War III। In this vision of 1989, the Soviet Union attacks Western Europe, and the United States is immediately drawn into the conflict. The Soviets respond by invading the West Coast. Maybe you'll have to drop some tactical nukes over the Space Needle to shut the Russkies down. Or maybe you'll need to call in air strikes or set up artillery batteries in New York City. World in Conflict is amazingly well executed and gorgeous to boot.

Nasser Hajloo
a Persian Graphic Designer , Web Designer and Web Developer

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