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Archive | September, 2010

iPhone free case program ends today, did you order yours?

Remember iPhone 4 antenna issues? In case you lived on a different planet, you probably heard the whole brouhaha that ultimately forced Apple to offer a free case to alleviate the antenna problems. The program lasted for a while, but it ends today, so you better hurry if you didn’t order yours yet. Here is how to do it:

1. Go here iPhone 4 Case Program app and download the application
2. Start the application form your iPhone
3. Choose the case you like the most. There are several actually good options available
4. Wait for a number of weeks until you get it

Depending when you bought your iPhone, it might be too late already. If you got yours before July 23, you are out of luck.

qnap-1000p-media-streamer

QNAP launches NMP-1000P media streamer 1080p/24

Joining the already large crowd we have a new media streamer box from QNAP. Known more for its storage solutions, QNAP forays into the streaming market with their newest product NMP-1000P. At its heart there is a Sigma Designs SMP8643 SoC CPU, at  667MHz paired with a igh performance Wolfson WM8524 stereo digital to analog converter for high sound quality. Among the video formats supported are AVI, MPEG/MPG, VCD (ISO, MPG, NRG), DVD (VOB, IFO, ISO, NRG), WMV, ASF, TP, TS, TRP, M1V, M2V, M4V, M2P, M2T, M2TS, BDMV/ BD ISO, MTS, MOV, MP4, RMP4, MKV, MOD, 3GP (so pretty much everything under the sun)

The NMP-1000P is capable of full HD 1920 x 1080p (including 23.976p and 24p frame rates), can access your network shares, has a wired Ethernet connection (and an optional wireless one), supports FTP and Bit-torrent and can also work as NAS with a maximum of 16 concurrent connections. A fairly capable box we would say, which can also display movie covers and metadata.

NMP-1000P also supports several web clients like Flickr and Picasa photos, Apple movie trailers, Internet radio, Mediafly™, weather forecast. Unfortunately there is nothing mentioned about Netflix which is a pity.

Check after the break for photo gallery and additional specifications. Read More…

HDCP exploit gets real through an open source software implementation

Remember when we thought you’ll need some kind of specialized hardware decoder to crack the recently found HDCP exploit? Boy, we were wrong. Researchers from Department of Computer Science of Stony Brook University just released an open source piece of software that can decode encrypted 1080p HD streams in real time provided you get a reasonable beefy machine. The source code includes the block cipher, stream cipher and the hashing algorithms needed for the HDCP handshake and video decryption. Currently the software is not optimized yet and it can only get video at 640×480 frames per second using a 2.33 Ghz Intel Xeon. Not fast enough yet to do 1080p using a single core but since it is open source I’ll give it a few days until better versions (using some parallel code execution) will come up now that the proof of concept is out of the box. And with the new graphic accelerators I can see most of the heavy lifting performed right inside your GPU.

The new Kobo Wireless eReader available for pre-order at Borders

Kobo just updated their eReaders family with a new, improved and wireless version. Beside adding extra features, the new Kobo eReader is also cheaper than the previous one, selling for $139 which seems to be the new standard for eReaders set by Amazon. The eReader features Borders library (where you can buy books straight from the device) and it will be available in all Border bookstores by the end of October.

Technical specs:

– size: 4.7 x 7.2 x 0.4 inches, less than 8 ounces weight

– 4 way directional pad with center select navigation

– 1GB internal memory and 4GB additional memory via an SD card

– faster page turning (twice as fast than predecessor)

– three colors (black, white, lavender)

– EPUB and PDF

Check after the break for additional images and the full press release.

Read More…

Kindle here, Kindle there, Kindle everywhere – Kindle eReader Beta for the Web launches

Since having Kindle eReader software available on all popular hardware platforms including iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, Mac and BlackBerry (phones and recently launched PlayBook tablet) is obviously not enough, with the latest launch Amazon’s Kindle availability jumps fairly close to 100%. Why? Because the company just launched Kindle for the Web and that soon will include your toaster (because Web browsing on your fridge is certainly 1999-ish at this point).

The new Kindle for the Web application runs inside your Web Browser, it lets you read eBooks and it even includes some sort of social functionality by offering the ability to embed book samples on blogs in a YouTube-esque manner.

The good thing is that you don’t need to download/install any additional software. The bad thing is that it is currently available only by invitation and only to the ones enrolled in Amazon affiliate program. But it will be universally released soon.

Among the standard features, the Web app matches fairly well the standard set of specifications found on other platforms including synchronization (in case you left your Kindle 3 at home) between multiple devices and adds sharing buttons for Twitter, Facebook and e-mail.

In case you are curious, the book I am currently reading is “The Evolutionary Void” by Peter F. Hamilton,  the last part of the excellent Science Fiction series “The Void Trilogy”. Highly recommended ;).

Check after the break so see Kindle for the Web in action (you can also embed your reader into your website).

Read More…

AOL buys TechCrunch

An interesting news in the world of technology blogs  – AOL acquired TechCrunch (and their related properties – CrunchGear, MobileCrunch, and TechCrunchIT) for anywhere between $25 million to $40 million, depending which source you choose to believe. The acquisition was jointly announced during echCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong and TechCrunch Founder and Editor Michael Arrington. With TechCrunch acquisition, AOL’s portfolio contains now TechCrunch, Engadget, Switched, TUAW and Download Squad, quite a hefty collection of technical blogs and resources.

The only question at this point is how exactly TechCrunch impartiality will be kept under the new lead and what kind of involvement will AOL have in controlling the published content.

Hulu Plus also comes to TiVo Premiere DVRs

Hulu is hard at work to become the Netflix equivalent of TV streaming and a little competition is good for everybody. After finding its way to Roku media streamer boxes, Hulu Plus signed also a deal with TiVo people and it should be available shortly on your premium DVR. If you want it, it will set you back $10 but it might well worth it to get you away from your cable subscription. Currently, Hulu Plus and Netflix cost around $19 and if you don’t have TiVo, you might want to get one of the new Roku boxes for far cheaper.

What do you think? Is Netflix + Hulu Plus combination enough to make you kill your cable subscription?

Check after the break for the full press release. Read More…

Hulu Plus coming to Roku media streamers this fall

Roku media streamer boxes get better and better and Roku might just see their wish come true and have at least one Roku unit in each house. Today, they announced yet another partnership in media streaming, this time with Hulu. Starting later this fall, the popular $10 streaming service will be available on all Roku boxes, the cheapest one being the Roku HD at $59. All the new Roku boxes include wireless adapters and HDMI output. The cheapest box at $59 outputs 720p, the other ones ($79 and $99) care capable of 1080p playback. You can pre-order them now at Amazon.

Beside Hulu, Roku streams a large number of web services including Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand , Pandora, MLB.TV, Ultimate Fighting Championship, etc. Check after the break for the full press release. Read More…

Deal of the Day – $95 – Western Digital 2 TB Caviar Green SATA 64 MB Cache

This is the best deal I have seen this year for a Western Digital 2TB Caviar Green Hard Drive. Amazon has it for $95 shipped and no taxes in most states, which, at least for California beats any NewEgg prices. Caviar Green drives are famous for the low power consumption and I currently use several of them in my media server. While not recommended as a boot drive because it often enters in stand-by while not in use, it is perfect for long term storage and media servers. I replaced all my hard drives with the exception of the boot drive with this model and the server is very cool now. While the drive is in stand-by, you can still browse its content and it comes to live when you are actually trying to open a file. Excellent reviews at Amazon as well.

Amazon to release Kindle App for the recently announced PlayBook Tablet BlackBerry

For those of you that for one reason or another don’t like dedicated eReaders lie Kindle 3 or Nook, Amazon is still happy to sell you as many books as they can, so they are busy at porting their Kindle App on any device they can. Until today, they did a pretty good job to support iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, Mac and BlackBerry. Soon they will support yet another BlackBerry device, and this time is none other than the recently announced BlackBerry tablet – PlayBook.

The application will be of course free and will have the same capability as their other implementations including buying eBooks from Amazon’s store, synchronize your reading state across multiple devices using WhisperSync technology, and, of course, reading!

PlayBook won’t be able, at least in the initial models, to be able to access Amazon’s eBook store by itself since the launch models won’t include a cellular modem, but if you already own a BlackBerry, you’ll be able to use it to tether. PlayBook does come with 802.11 wireless network so it certainly doesn’t lack connectivity.