Remember Chumby, the squishy Internet appliance with a 3.5-inch touchscreen display and WiFi connectivity? Basically a glorified alarm clock, Chumby could also stream news feeds. stock quotes, photos, weather info, and whatever else could be imagined through widgets.
Well, Chumby's back, this time without the squishy exterior and renamed the 'One.' The new model puts a bigger focus on radio features with Pandora support and the ability to access other internet radio stations. And like the original, you can install widgets, of which there are about 1,500 to choose from. The One touts a faster processor, bumping up from 350MHz to 454MHz, but otherwise the specs look to be the same.
Look for the One to retail for about $100 in a month or so.
From a distance, the Windows 7 GUI resembles its predecessor, Windows Vista. However, the closer you look, the more you'll see that Windows 7's take on the GUI is a big improvement, adding more power, more customization, and better ways to open frequently-used programs and files. Join us after the jump to learn how you can tap into the power of the Windows 7 desktop, Taskbar, and Start menu.
Gadget lovers have a device for everything. We often have 15 different ways to check the weather, 10 for email, and at least 5 with built in cameras. What we don’t have is an unlimited supply of USB ports, and we often struggle to keep our army of doohickey’s charged and ready to go. This can become an even bigger challenge when we’re on the road.
That's why we were so enthusiastic when we stumbled across the Super Travel A/C USB Wall Charger. This $25 adapter can power up to 5 devices at once with the 4 built in female ports, and sports an additional 5 pin male connector for smartphones. I just ordered one for myself, and devices like these remind us why we here at Maximum PC are such big fans of devices that charge via USB.
Beleaguered Japanese electronics giant Sony is mulling drastic changes to its corporate structure, according to the Times of London. It is on the verge of shutting down many of its Japanese factories and important divisions. The world is gradually becoming inured to hearing about job cuts – if not job cuts themselves - as the global economy sinks deeper into an apparently abysmal financial quagmire. And it is very likely that the next major news of job cuts will come from Sony; it had announced last month that it was going to hand pink slips to 16,000 employees.
Sources within Sony told the Times of London that Sony’s Japanese operations will bear the brunt of the radical changes. The changes might take effect after the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in the profligate city of Las Vegas. But analysts, especially who have been calling for an overhaul for a long time now, fear that the changes might just be too late in the day.
They want Sony’s boss Howard Stringer to enjoy greater power, if the company is to extricate itself from its old ways. The road ahead is pocked with impediments for the company as it will also have to outmaneuver the global financial crisis.
Malware-infected PCs have for long betrayed their users’ most precious financial secrets to internet robbers. But researchers at IBM have developed a USB device to ensure that online banking transactions remain unaffected by malware infections. The device, which is called Zone Trusted Information Channel, can also repel man-in-the-middle attacks.
It secures online transactions by establishing a direct channel to a bank’s online transaction server through a computer’s USB port. As the transaction at the user’s end is made on ZTIC’s own hardware - no reliance on any PC-based software, it is not vulnerable to malware or man-in-the-middle attacks. The prototype is now ready to undergo trials.
Although the idea of a stand-alone security/authentication solution isn’t entirely new – Paypal already offers a stand-alone security device to its users, IBM’s endeavor is slightly different as it looks to be keen on offering a universal solution.
For the all the benefits organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) have to offer, high costs have kept the technology from becoming commonplace. And when OLED devices do emerge, they tend to command a premium, putting them out of reach for mainstream consumption. But while the world waits for a breakthrough to bring low-cost OLEDs into the marketplace, Toshiba and Matsushita (Panasonic) might already be there.
According to a report from Japan's Nikkei BP, the two tech giants say they are poised to become the first Japanese companies to mass-produce OLED screens. Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co. (60 percent owned by Toshiba and 40 percent by Matsushita) appears ready to churn out 1 million 2.5-inch organic screens per month by fall of 2009, and will target mostly handheld devices like mobile phones and GPS navigators.
The 2.5-inch screen size remains the sweet spot for many portable devices, and if the two companies' claims turn out to be true, we could see a deluge of OLED devices rolled out in a very short time period starting in late '09
Cell phone technology has come a long way since it was first introduced, and just as we can't help but snicker when catching a glimpse of the old beige bricks that started it all, it won't be long before today's mobile phones will be considered equally rudimentary. But even with the rapid pace of technology, it took Apple's iPhone to change the game, ushering in what's sure to be a new era of nifty must-have functionality. But what exactly will the post-iPhone cell phone be capable of?
Popular Science whips out its crystal ball so you don't have to, and what they've come up with are five different features that are all destined to come to future cell phones no later than 2009. More than just a wishlist, Popular Science explained the reasoning behind each category and which companies are at work on each technology. PC-grade computing and graphics by late 2009? Sign us up! The list looks sound, but one must-have feature noticeably absent is Sprint's crime deterrent system.
What features would you like to see in tomorrow's cell phones?
Usually when a company releases a product containing with a worm, it's not a good thing. But when that WORM comes in all caps, the nomenclature takes a whole different meaning. In this case, SanDisk has developed a card that can be written to only one time, after which it becomes a read-only card. That's not something that will appeal to home users, but SanDisk's WORM (Write Once Read Many) media means police and courtrooms no longer need to reject SD cards as evidence for fear of tampering.
Potential uses for WORM cards include police witness and suspect interviews, cash registers, electronic voting, security cameras, in-flight 'black boxes,' medical devices containing patient information, and anything else where a permanent one-time write would be desirable. Once written to, SanDisk claims the new cards will retain the data for up to 100 years. "As digital media volume has grown and surpassed traditional analogue media such as film and audio cassettes in the consumer market, law enforcement agencies and other professionals are facing rising costs and lack of supply," said Christopher Moore, director of product marketing for OEM memory cards at SanDisk.
The SD cards currently come in 128MB versions, but beefier WORMs are expected later this year. Yummy.
Amazon’s proprietary wireless reading device Kindle has been rather successful. It remained out of stock for months after being launched in November, 2007, despite being criticized heavily for its lack of WiFi, ugly design and limited PDF support. Now it is fast emerging as a popular electronic book reader, if a Time magazine report is to be believed.
A source inside Amazon told Time that Kindle accounts for 12% of sales of the roughly 130k titles that are both available physically and as Kindle downloads. Kindle’s share has doubled from May, when Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos had claimed it to be 6%. It is good to hear that digital distribution threatens to change the landscape of the books publishing industry as well. However, Kindle is far from perfect and its design and features need nothing less than an overhaul.
So here's the good news; Google has officially released its Google Talk application for the iPhone and iPod touch browsers. That means you can text away to all your gFamily and gFriends and look trendy doing it. And you needn't install anything, either. The application runs completely from within the Safari browser. Just head over to www.google.com/talk, sign in, and start mashing away while being careful not to spill your Starbucks Latte.
Ready for the bad news? Don't you dare try to do anything else while holding a conversation. As you might have already surmised, Google Talk "needs to be open in your Safari browser. When you navigate away to another browser window or application, you status will be changed to 'unavailable' and your Google Talk session will be restarted when you return." Giving your undivided attention would be considered good social etiquette in a face-to-face encounter, but must the same manners apply in a virtual environment?