Top Tech News

For tech-minded people, there’s been some super-cool news in the last week or so. Here’s a few things that caught my eye…

Microsoft launches “Surface”
Want a huge PC in your coffee table with Minority Report style touch technology? Well, soon you can thanks to Microsoft Surface. Despite being a slow flash-based website, it’s definitely worth a visit to see Surface in action. Object awareness is achieved via barcodes on things like cameras, cellphones and music players. Don’t expect it to be cheap though – US$5-10K and only for commercial customers at first (according to the Scobleizer)…

Google goes offline with “Gears”
The good folks at Google have released an open source browser plugin called Gears that will let web apps work in offline mode. This is not only awesome but a big deal – a significant step in letting Google compete in the desktop environment. Google’s “Reader” (for RSS) got this functionality today, letting you browse your latest 2000 items without an internet connection.

Apple launches DRM-free music with new iTunes
For a little extra cash per song/album, you can now legally buy non-copy protected music via iTunes Plus. This means you can now play your purchased music in other apps and migrate it to other players. One caveat though – your username is embedded in the file so they can track piracy (unless you convert it to an mp3 of course…)

Apple TV to get YouTube and a fat HDD
That sexy little media box called Apple TV is getting pimped out with a fat 160Gb hard drive and will soon not only play your iTunes content (music/TV/movies) but will also stream YouTube videos. Very cool. Now if only they’d open it up to DivX/Xvid content I’d buy one tomorrow.

Second Life gets first embassy
Something a little bizarre to round off – virtual world Second Life now has it’s first government sanctioned embassy from Sweden. While I’ve never experienced Second Life, it’s certainly popular with close to 7 million residents and an insane amount of real money being spent in the virtual world (over US$1 million in the last 24hr as I write this!)


The future of Google…

In the future, Google knows all – don’t just search the web, search your life…


A smile to start the week

Happy boy shows off his teeth again.


And looks like he’ll be hard on gear

Fun rivalry between Microsoft and Apple

Came across this the other day – an iPod amnesty bin, apparently located at the entry of the Zune headquarters – Microsoft’s portable music player and iPod compeditor.

Aargh! Poor little iPod’s… Whether it’s art, a joke or for real, you have to admit it’s funny seeing big companies poking fun at each other. Apple still wins in my opinion though with their “Get a Mac” ads (a couple of which have been seen on NZ TV). Here’s my favourite, poking fun at Vista’s painful “User Account Control” security feature,

If you’ve used Vista you’ll know exactly what that’s like! 😀

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy….

Ah yes, the iconic opening of one of the greatest films of all time. So why post it today? Because STAR WARS is 30! The original film was released on this day in 1977 and is still as good now as it was then.

No doubt there’ll be tributes all over the net today with fans everywhere singing praises for George Lucas. One interesting piece of news that I rate is the following from the Wall Street Journal,

George Lucas, creator of “Star Wars,” has never hesitated to protect his intellectual property, which is why some call him “Lucas the Litigator.” But this week, his Lucasfilm plans to make clips of “Star Wars” available to fans on the Internet to mash up — meaning to remix however they want — at will.

George must be getting soft in his old age! Will be great to see what the fans come up with…

If it’s trivia you’re after today, head for the BBC who, fittingly, have posted 30 pieces of trivia about Star Wars.

For some reminiscing of my own, here’s some of my favourite lines and memorable quotes from the film…

Darth Vader (to Obi-Wan): “When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master.
Obi-Wan: “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.
Han Solo: “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.
Princess Leia: “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.
Luke Skywalker: “I’m Luke Skywalker. I’m here to rescue you.
C-3PO: “Don’t call me a mindless philosopher, you overweight glob of grease.
Darth Vader: “I find your lack of faith disturbing.
Obi-Wan: “The Force will be with you, always.

If you’re curious as to where the cast members are now, visit ABC News who have a slideshow – Star Wars: Where Are They Now?

And to round off, I’ll leave you with the original movie poster,

Yes, in case you hadn’t guessed, I do love Star Wars!


So, it’s quite possible that my mate Russ is turning into an Apple fanboy… Not that I have anything against it, I grew up on old-school Apples after all. Today though, it must be hard organising your stuff when everything has to start with an “i” – iMac, iPhoto, iResize, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb, iLife, iPod, iTunes, iSquint, iSync, iChat, iCal, iPhone… you get the idea! Here’s one more for ya,


Use your favourite apps at work

A while back I posted a couple of methods to access blocked websites at work. Next up, is a method to use your favourite applications that may not be installed on your work computer…

As with last time, I’ll assume you don’t have permission to install software, and thus are forced into using what’s provided – which in most corporate environments means closed source proprietary software and in some cases none at all for the task you want to complete! Often the situation is made worse for those who share computers or use multiple machines with a “roaming profile”.

There is however a solution…

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