Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gates vs. Jobs: the face-to-face

After Apple's CEO Steve Jobs said at D5 (check the entire interview at Engadget) that allowing iTunes to run on Windows was like "giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell", he was still able to share the stage with Microsoft's Chairman Bill Gates and have a friendly conversation/interview (check out the highlight video here).

The session started with a couple of nostalgic videos on the two businessmen when they were still able to work together.

The discussion then began with a simple challenge: each one would talk on what the other's biggest contribution was.

Jobs started by stating that the Microsoft top man "built the first software company in the industry" and that "the business model turned out to be one that worked very well for the industry. Bill was really focused on software before anyone else had a clue."

Gates first replied by stating that he is not in fact the author of the popular Fake Steve Jobs satire blog and then praised Jobs for pursuing the idea that the computer could really be a mass market idea and then for betting heavy again on the Mac.

After this nice exchange of complements, the conversation was not so peaceful. From this point on, subtle jokes and remarks were being pulled from both sides, as expected. The discussion on the "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" ads was inevitable :-)

But all in all, it was a nice interview and it was nice to see that the couple that was able to "keep the marriage a secret for over a decade now" (Steve Jobs' words) doesn't regret anything about their difficult friendship/competition.

Jobs even ended the talk with a phrase of the "Two of Us" song by the Beatles: "You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead".

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Microsoft Surface: "touching" the computer

Nothing like a big event such as D5 to allow Steve Balmer to show off the new multi-touch technology by Microsoft: Microsoft Surface. Check out here for the complete interview.

Ok, we seen this before in academia research for a few years now, and also the iPhone promises to deliver similar features, but it seems like Microsoft (yeah, I have to admit) has stepped up by allowing not only the human-computer interaction, but also by introducing an immersing-like feature with everyday objects such as mobile phones.

Check out the teaser:

And a more complete demo video:

Friday, May 25, 2007

Wii can take you to some angry places

Looks like a fairly cute blue-eyed 3-year old, ain't it? But Adam McConnell is in fact a kid with a lot of anger inside...for his Nintendo Wii!

While Daddy McConnel was out in the kitchen to get himself a drink, his "soon-to-become more-or-less of a criminal" son, was getting a little bit impatient with his new Wii by being unable to win the Tennis match he was playing.

Unfortunately for Daddy McConnel, these few seconds that he took to get the drink off the kitchen, were enough for his "cute" son to smash the TV with the Wii remote.

Can you say "Anger Management", Adam?

Source: Engadget

A flexible TV Screen

Sony has just announced their new "baby": flexible paper-thin displays.

They have been working on screens made with organic light-emitting diodes for some time now, in order to create this new generation of displays that not only will allow to save energy, but will also allow to embed these "flexible TVs" almost everywhere.

Sony claims they have been able to create this by developing a new technology that uses plastic instead of glass to make OLED screens that can actually bend. Its 2.5-inch prototype weighs only 1.5 grams.

The ideas for this kind of product are endless. Just use your imagination...

Source: CNET's Crave Blog

Friday, May 04, 2007

Map My Name: let's count the number of people on the Internet

Let´s help these guys in the University of Aveiro count the number of Users in the Internet? Just go to the website Map My Name, register and then spread the word to 3 friends.

Check the video for details:

The music industry is killing itself

I've just received an email from Pandora stating that I'll no longer have access to their streaming services because I'm a non-US citizen (for those of you who don't know what Pandora is, check out their website here - but only if you're on US).

Pandora is a free on-line streaming service for music based on the tastes of the User. It's really simple to use, all you have to do is choose some artists you like and then Pandora will create playlists based on those choices, allowing you to know similar/related artists.

I already got to know 4 or 5 artists that were completely unknown to me and that are about to make me spend several 0,99€ on iTunes to buy their musics.

Now, can someone explain me how blocking non-US citizens will help the music (copyright) industry? What's the point of restricting use to a service that is, in fact, a good business model, which brings some revenue by helping Users discover new artists, thus spending more money on music?

Even though the restriction against users with foreign IP addresses can be easily removed by using some proxy service (such as ProxyBlind), it is still sad to see that the music industry is shooting itself on the foot.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Stumble upon the Internet

I'm completely addicted to StumbleUpon. All you have to do is click on the "Stumble!" button on the StumbleUpon Toolbar (for IE or Firefox) and you'll be acquainted with the most interesting websites, videos, photos and more based on your interests.

Basically, each user, when surfing the web gives thumbs up (or down) for that content that he/she liked (or hated) and categorizes that according to some hierarchy of subjects.

Then, after providing some info on the subjects that you like, just click on the "Stumble!" button and you'll be surfing the interesting Internet.

Check out some of the things I've already stumbled upon:

11th Annual Webby Awards

11th Annual Webby Awards Nominees & Winners are here. Enjoy!

Must-have Free Apps for Ubuntu Users

If you're on to the trend of using the new Ubuntu distribution, then these set of free apps (tip from Free Geekery) might be quite useful for you:

  • AllTray - dock any application without a native tray icon
  • amarok - music player that was built specifically for the Unix/Linux user
  • Automatix2 - create a way to install other apps like Skype, Picasa and Google Earth with ease
  • Beagle - search tool that basically "ransacks" your personal information space to find what you have stored there
  • Beryl - provides the new user with an interface that can closely mimic the Vista interface
  • CheckGMail - checks a Gmail account for new mail
  • Cinlerra - provides users with the ability to capture, composite, and edit audio and video with sample level accuracy
  • Deluge Torrent - BitTorrent client
  • Flash - a Flash player for Ubuntu Feisty
  • Gimp - photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring
  • Gnomebaker - burn your music and videos to CD or DVD
  • KMyMoney - open source personal finance software app
  • MythTV - allows you to turn your desktop into a full-fledged media center/DVR with capabilities to pause, fast-forward, rewind and capture any live television program
  • Opera 9 - Internet browser
  • Scribes - text editor that works with the Gnome desktop
  • Thunderbird - e-mail client
  • VLC - media player

VirtuSphere: the new platform for immersing in virtual reality

VirtuSphere is a new idea for creating virtual reality fully-accessible worlds without the limitations of a room with obstacles.

On their own words:
The VirtuSphere platform consists of a large hollow sphere that sits on top of a base and allows the sphere to rotate 360 degrees. Wearing a wireless, head-mounted display, users can step inside the sphere to fully interact in immersive virtual environments. The VirtuSphere enables 6 degrees of freedom – one can move in any direction; walk, jump, roll, crawl, run over virtually unlimited distances without encountering real-world physical obstacles.

So, it's easy to perceive the advantages of such technology and how/where it can be used:

  • Military, law enforcement, dangerous occupations – safe training, simulation and mission rehearsal
  • Health, exercise, sport – fitness clubs; bridge between classical and cyber games
  • Entertainment market
  • Education, museums
  • Architecture, construction, real-estate – site model walk-troughs
  • Virtual travel and tourism
  • Home gaming and exercise
Source: VirtuSphere

CD2Web: potential law suit?

Who hasn't created a CD with a fancy presentation of your organization/project and then placed some hyperlinks to web sites or on-line documents? Every company or organization has done it and apparently, now is the time to face the "charges".

Remember Acacia? It's the patent hoarder that buys up random questionable patents and then sues lots and lots of companies. The latest is about to get a lot more attention. It's officially a patent for an information distribution system, but which Acacia claims actually covers having a hyperlink on a CD-ROM that links to a database, such as the web.

Acacia has a subsidiary, called Disc Link, who is "monetizing" this patent by suing a ton of software companies, such as Oracle, SAP, Borland, Business Objects, Compuware, Corel, Eastman Kodak and Novell among others. Considering how many companies distribute CD-ROMs with links to the web, you can imagine how many companies can now be sued.

From: Techdirt