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Awesome 3D Video Capture with Kinect #hacking #video

I saw this video of scientist, Oliver Kreylos, a few days ago. It's amazing how with some cool software hacked together to work with Microsoft Kinect, Oliver and others may have opened up some interesting possibilities in 3D image production, computing and virtual reality.

Here's the video:

What Do You Use Your Dell Computer For? #funny #video

I found this on YouTube a short while back. I don't think I need to say much about the video. Just watch and enjoy.

"New Baby" - a fun & heartwarming video (from Google) #video

I found this video on YouTube about a soon-to-be first-time dad going through the motions of preparing for well... being a first-time dad.

The Google Search guys have made some really clever videos in the past for their Google Search Stories series, and this one is funny and heartwarming at the same time.

Personally, I would stop at one, but hey, with Google search, anything can happen and plans can change. :)

Enjoy the video.

What Will It Take To Match The iPad?

The year 2010 does look like the year of tablet computing, especially after the iPad changed the course of history with its release not too long ago. Already we're seeing "iPad killers" hitting the market, although how well these will do against Apple's latest brainchild remains to be seen.

But what DOES it take to stand up to the iPad? Many are expecting the darned thing to flop at the market after its rather underwhelming debut (and after the Internet began buzzing about a rumored "iPad mini," to be named the "iTampon").

Then again, it's Apple we're talking about. It's marketing ideas are more than enough to make up for the iPad's many limitations. And I'm willing to bet if you ask people about their choice of tablet/e-readers, one of two people are going to want one with an Apple logo at the back.

I just read about the latest e-reader to hit the market, the ASUS DR-900. The DR-900 is ASUS's first-ever e-book reader, and most of its bells and whistles are meant to shine where iPad's fall short. But is it enough to woo e-book fans?

Networking, check. The DR-900 has both Wi-Fi and 3G. And it's got enough battery life to let you read 20 average novels when wireless is turned off.

Storage, so-so. It only has 2 to 4GB worth of storage, but comes with an SD card slot.

Form factor, disappointing. I doubt anything's going to match up to the iPad's sex appeal anytime soon, but ASUS could have at least tried to make the DR-900 ergonomic. All of its buttons are on the right and bottom-right sides, which obviously favors right-handed e-book fans.

Another problem is its feature set -- it looks to be much more powerful than the iPad. That may seem like a good thing, but when you have to price your product any higher than the leading device in the market, you're 99% doomed to fail.

So yes, it's likely to be priced lower than the iPad -- although we don't know much about pricing and availability at this point.

We'll have to admit, Apple really knows how to corner the market with a so-so device. It'll be interesting to see other tablets, tablet-laptops, and e-readers try to enter the already-saturated market and knock the iPad off its lofty pedestal, and believe me, there'll be lots before Fall rolls around.

The Internet To The Rescue

The world watched in shock as Chile was hit by an earthquake 800 times stronger than the one in Haiti -- and it happened even before the sun went up. But while governments around the world scrambled to get moving, social media was already saving lives.

It's amazing what social media can do where traditional media and emergency methods often fall short. While we commend the Chilean people for building strong buildings and having solid disaster control methods in place, we can't help but notice how social media platforms such as Twitter quickly began putting things together again.

Case in point: Sheryl Breuker, who yesterday shared her personal story with Her sister-in-law was in Santiago, Chile when the earthquake struck, and there was no way of getting in touch with her. Most communication lines were cut. But a vital line to the Internet stayed on, so they began contacting locals via Twitter.

Sure enough, just a couple of hours later, a number of locals found Sheryl's sister-in-law, safe and sound. And I'm pretty sure she wasn't the only missing person that Twitter helped track down.

Similarly, Facebook users around the Pacific rim stayed up late that night, tracking the resulting tsunami threat and relaying information hours before their respective government agencies did. Google also launched their "Chile Earthquake Finder" service, allowing users to choose between "I'm looking for someone" and "I have information about someone."

There wasn't much damage caused by the tsunami, but seeing how coastal communities all over the Pacific rim responded by evacuating quickly and systematically made me feel like a proud father.

Social media's role doesn't stop there -- now that Chile is picking up the pieces, heroes all over the world are sending money, aid, and manpower. And I have little doubt that social media is going to play yet another big role when the next natural disaster rolls around.

And I'm also pretty sure that the conservatives will be sitting in their sofas bitching at their TV's every time they see their heads of state offer aid to Chile. They'll still be saying, "Why help Chile? Chile will never help us back! Stop sending aid!"

Oh, let them be idiots. In the meantime, the rest of us will continue using today's tools to help make the world a little better than yesterday -- as they were meant to.

News In The Google v. Microsoft Saga

While the Google v. Microsoft saga seems likely to stay a one-sided battle for the next few years, it still comes up with some of the most interesting news in cyberspace. I'm not a fan of Microsoft, but I do try not to be biased with their efforts in cleaning their tarnished image. Really, I do. Watch:

The (sorta) GOOD news - Microsoft and Yahoo finally close the deal

It's been several months since the Microsoft-Yahoo merger was suggested, but the two giants ultimately sealed the deal over the weekend. "Microhoo" (not its official name) will start finding ways to chisel away at Google's dominance in search, although it's likely we won't see Bing take over Yahoo search until late 2010.

The OK news - Google trounces Bing in poll

While the merger should heighten competition quite a bit and ultimately improve the search experience for everyone, it's clear that Microsoft and Yahoo have their work cut out from them. In the latest Faceoff poll, Google trounced Bing 78% to 19% (with 3% either way) when users were asked what the best search engine was.

Still, snagging almost one out of every five searchers isn't bad. After all, it's Google we're talking about here.

The BAD news - Google adds a dictionary feature

One of the niftiest Google tools is the "define: ___" feature, where you can get definitions for most terms you've never heard of before. Google very quietly upgraded the feature with its own dictionary. You can go to to get definitions for words in 28 languages.

That's another item on Bing's checklist.

The TERRIBLE news -- Bing goes down.

It was only for 30 minutes last weekend. But it was enough to whip up a small storm in the social media scene, with tortured cries permeating Twitter throughout the darkness. Actually, it was just an upgrade gone awry -- the guys at Bing immediately rolled things back, and users were able to use Bing again soon after.

Okay, so maybe I AM just a little biased. But I do know that things are starting to look up with Gates and company, especially with the... ahem... mostly-successful release of Windows 7. (According to another poll, slightly more users prefer Windows 7 over Apple's Snow Leopard OS). Let's hope the trend keeps up -- if only to expect stiffer resistance from Google.

YouTube Debuts 'Lite' Version

Image credit: Adapted image from YouTube's Feather beta signup page

I like YouTube for two different reasons -- one, it helps keep me up-to-date with the latest trends in film and media. (After all, watching videos can sometimes be easier than reading some bad article.) The other reason is, quite simply, it's a fun way to schmooze. I still haven't gotten tired of the "sneezing baby panda" video, for instance.

But YouTube does (or rather, DID -- more on that later) have its pitfalls. In Singapore and the surrounding region, ISP's are pretty slow in offering higher-bandwidth offerings owing to the relatively slim competition. So, yup, we deal with a quite a bit of buffer time and staring at that annoying "loading" wheel indicator.

Thankfully, Google does listen to its users, and has recently launched the beta version of YouTube Feather. This feature of YouTube strips down YouTube pages to the bare essentials -- minus ads, ratings, bells and whistles, and simply presents the video with as little latency and bandwidth-hogging as possible.

This means good news for casual viewers -- you can now spend more time watching and less time groaning while on YouTube. This is particularly important in bandwidth-starved areas of the world, such as Southeast Asia, where there are people who actually still use Dial-up (or broadband with Dial-up speeds).

But is it bad news for content creators? After all, content creators rely on ads and "subscribe" features on their videos to grow their businesses.

Thankfully, content creators don't have to worry -- when YouTube knows the video comes from a content creator, it reverts to the regular YouTube, complete with all its functions (including HD).

When YouTube Feather goes live, it should make it much easier for people to appreciate and enjoy the benefits that YouTube brings to the computing experience. You can activate and use YouTube Feather by clicking this link.

Yeah, it seems not a day passes by without an update from Google. One worth mentioning is probably Google's crusade to create a "new" Internet -- or at least a faster one. Google is still asking for more community feedback and participation in its development of SPDY -- if you haven't heard of it before, it's going to be the next big thing in the Internet. It'll replace HTML one day, already being at least 50% faster in development stages.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is scrambling to deal with report after report after report of the Black Screen of Death plaguing Windows 7 users. Kinda shows you what's up in the Microsoft vs Google wars.

Holiday Shopping?

Happy Thanksgiving. It's been a tough, tough year for most of us, which makes the pessimist wonder what's there to be thankful for. But I'm too cool to navel-gaze, so I'm kicking off the year with a few tech shopping tips. We don't really celebrate Thanksgiving in these parts, but hey, December is just around the corner.

#1 - Netbooks? I know it's a rising trend, but do you really want to get cramps working the tiny keyboard? (I don't.) If you're really fixed on getting a netbook, get one with the features that you need, as well as a full keyboard. Otherwise, I recommend getting a thin, light (and sleeker) notebook.

#2 - TV's? To enter the new year with a brighter perspective, I suggest you (finally) go flat-screen. LCD and Plasma TV's are all good, and they come in small enough sizes that fit your budget. For longevity, go at least 1080p.

#3 - DVD players? Whoops, hold on. We may not exactly have Netflix yet, but believe me when I say it's going to land in Southeast Asian shores in the next two years or less. Skip the one-trick DVD players and go Blu-Ray. Better yet, look for a device that can play Blu-Ray and DVD, in addition to streaming HD movies from the Internet.

#4 - iPod Touch? Definitely a must-buy -- Steve Jobs wasn't kidding when he said it was the "funnest" iPod ever. It's only a sidestep away from an iPhone, and with the App Store handy, it should give you thousands of hours of fun throughout its lifetime.

#5 - Windows 7? Also a good upgrade, although "good" is relative when it comes to Microsoft. While Microsoft finally got things right, going Mac might be the best "new beginning" you can have, especially with the robust Snow Leopard OS doing very well.

#6 - Printers? Don't make the mistake of buying a one-trick printer this year -- they're already overshadowed by printers that offer more features. Find out what your home office needs (Scanner? Fax machine? Photo printer? All of the above?) and find printer models that solve most, if not all, your deficiencies.

#7 - Gaming Consoles? The Wii is still tons of fun, but the Xbox 360 and slimmer, sexier PlayStation 3 are very quickly catching up. These consoles also have HD movie streaming offerings, which can do away with your DVD needs, as well. But if you're willing to wait another year for a gaming console, you might want to watch out for Microsoft's Project Natal.

#8 - E-book Readers? They're easy enough to get, but it's going to be tough getting books from e-libraries for a while. Singapore, for instance, still isn't on Kindle's global list, and there's no way of knowing when the mobile carriers will get their heads out of their behinds and comply with Amazon's requirements. Best put this off until next year.

What would YOU want for Christmas?

Newer, Deadlier Worm Hits Jailbroken iPhones

Image credit: Found on - Link -

Been hearing the buzz on this for the past 48 hours.
Recently, the first ever iPhone worm spread from Australia to the rest of the world. The worm, which only affected jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches, subjected users all over the world to the horror of looking into Rick Astley's cold, cold eyes. Other than that, the worm was mostly harmless.

The first worm was a far cry from the second one, which was only very recently discovered by iPhone watchdogs around the world. This new worm scours the jailbroken devices for bank account, credit card, and other private information, and routes the data back to an IP address that researchers have traced to Lithuania.

This newer, deadlier worm uses the same exploit that the Rick Astley worm used. Jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches have a security hole that lets hackers change the root password and create unique ID's for themselves, essentially accessing the devices remotely.

Several fixes have already been suggested on the Internet, so it's rather easy for stricken users to address the problem. But experts have predicted that the worm can do much more damage in the near future, and are keeping a close eye on developments.

What's worrying about this new worm is that, as of yet, there's still no way of knowing whether or not un-jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches can be affected by it. So far no legitimate user has reported an infection, but if that changes in the next few days, it's going to cause a ripple of panic among Apple users all over the world.

Apple's no doubt on the case, but it's likely they won't do much for users of jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches. Perhaps this is just another indication of a lesson that's never learned -- you shouldn't really tinker with other people's intellectual property and expect to go scot-free. Somehow, in some form, the bad juju manages to find its way back to you.

The same goes with pirated software, the use of which is still pretty rampant in this part of the world. Sure, you can get pirated Windows OS's almost free, but without the proper updates and protection, you leave yourself vulnerable to attacks -- and stand to lose much more over the long run. Frankly, if you're on Windows in the first place, you've probably already lost the war, but that's my humble opinion.

So, again and again, respect intellectual property -- only buy legitimate devices and software, and only use them according to the makers' specifications. At the very least, it's one less thing to worry about.