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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Need to know when buying a Tablet Computers

Need to know when buying a Tablet Computers

this year. After Apple broke open the tablet market with the iPad in early 2010, nearly every major manufacturer announced its own plans to make a flat, keyboard-less wonder.

That’s not surprising, since tablets have much to recommend them.

Thinner and lighter than a netbook, tablets easily pack into a small bag or purse. They offer super-simple browsing and e-mail reading capabilities. While they lack keyboards, they’re easier to type on than a tiny smartphone. And they can stream audio and video, making them excellent portable media devices.

However, navigating the tablet market can be tricky. The difficulty of making a usable, well-built tablet with long battery life is illustrated by the many months it took manufacturers to come up with credible alternatives to the iPad.

And while the iPad still leads the market by a mile, there are now options if you want to get a device that wasn’t conceived in One Infinite Loop.

If you’re shopping for one of these portables, here’s a quick rundown of buying decisions and features you should consider before pulling the trigger.

Screen is, arguably, the most important factor in your purchasing decision. In general, you’ll probably be more comfortable typing and tapping on a larger screen — even a half-inch bigger can make a significant difference. However, some users might want their tablets to be more portable, and a big screen adds more weight and bulk. Dell’s Streak comes in on the smaller end of the scale with a 5-inch screen, making it more of an oversized smartphone, while the Samsung Galaxy sports 7 inches. For those who want as much real estate as possible, the Archos 101 has a 10.1-inch screen that outsizes even the iPad’s generous 9.7-inch screen. Meanwhile, Toshiba’s Libretto sports dual 7-inch displays in a funky clamshell design.

You should also look at dot pitch, or the screen’s native resolution measured against the size. More pixels per square inch generally means a sharper picture for movie-watching and clearer text for reading. Of course, how a screen looks is largely dependent on color depth, contrast and brightness.

Outside of stated specs, which can be misleading, try to take a tablet for a test-drive to check the screen’s capabilities. Definitely check to see how responsive the screen is to your touch — after all, you’ll be poking at it constantly. Make sure brightness is turned up all the way so you’re evaluating each tablet at its best. Lastly, keep in mind that a sleek, glossy screen might look great in even lighting, but can cause horrible glare in bright light or sunlight, especially once you’ve smudged it up with your fingers.

Tip: A clear adhesive screen protector can mitigate some glare, as well as protect the screen from scratches. If you plan on replacing a laptop with a tablet for heavy-duty daily use, consider carrying a microfiber cloth and some screen-cleaner fluid for more stubborn spots. Wiping your tablet screen with tissues or napkins (or on your pants) can make smudges worse and leave behind lint.

Wireless Connections
Nearly every tablet is Wi-Fi-capable, but check which: Some models only support the 802.11b/g spec. This probably won’t be a big deal if you’ll just use your tablet for general computing, but if you plan on doing media-streaming and heavy-duty downloads, look for 802.11n.

A tablet with a 3G cell connection on top of Wi-Fi will let you stay in touch even when you’re out of hotspot range. But consider the coverage in your area, as well as the details of the contract.

The iPad 3G patches into AT&T, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab is available through Sprint. The upside? You can get online anywhere that wireless service provider has a signal. The downside? The data plans are costly and sometimes (but not always) come with a contract.

You also might want to consider a model with GPS, since a tablet’s larger screen size makes it an easier-to-read travel companion than a smaller GPS-enabled phone. If you’re looking at the iPad, you’ll have to shell out for the 3G model if you want the GPS.

Bluetooth can be useful, as well. For one, it offers easy wireless data transfer. Connecting a Bluetooth headset or headphones can also be useful for chatting and listening to music. You may also want to use a Bluetooth keyboard for longer typing chores.

OS and Apps
The main choices here are Apple’s iPhone-proven OS and Google’s up-and-coming Android. Each has advantages and drawbacks.

Apple’s iOS offers a massive app store as well as rock-solid hardware and software integration, but lacks support for Adobe Flash, limiting the web experience a bit.

There’s a better selection of Android tablets to choose from made by a variety of companies, but the OS isn’t quite as refined as Apple’s. In addition, the Android app market has a lot of great apps, but the quality control isn’t as tight as Apple’s. This cuts two ways: There are plenty of great apps that are the same as, or similar to, offerings for the iPad, but Android apps can be buggy.

The one thing that will always be true about storage is that you can never have enough of it, especially if you plan on using your tablet as an entertainment device for movies and music. Yet the flash-based RAM used in most tablets is expensive, meaning you’ll have to settle for a few GB at most. A tablet with an SD or microSD slot is a big boon, since it will let you upgrade your storage by adding a removable memory card.

Inputs and Outputs
Since tablet PCs are fairly lean devices, connections are usually restricted to the usual 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB port. Apple’s vaunted iPad doesn’t even have a USB port, so you’re limited to gadgets that work with its proprietary iPod connector.

A select few will have additional ports like HDMI out, letting you show videos or photos on a TV. Ask yourself if you’ll be using your tablet as a desktop/notebook replacement. If the answer is yes, then these additional ports will probably come in handy.

If a tablet you want doesn’t have all the connections you desire, there are a handful of external port adapters for tablets. For instance, the Archos 9 tablet offers a detachable port replicator that gives you VGA out, ethernet and a couple of USB ports, while Apple has a dock-to-VGA connector for connecting to a full-size monitor, and a camera connection kit for uploading images from your camera to your iPad.

Sure, most folks use headphones, but there will inevitably be times when you’ll want to keep your ears unplugged. Built-in tablet speakers won’t sound great, but if you’re shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, take the speakers for a spin to see how far you can push them.

Even if you already have one on your phone (which you’ll probably have with you, anyway), an extra camera is always handy. Editing photos on a tablet’s larger screen is also inherently easier. Measuring a camera by mexapixels is one thing, but remember that real video and photo quality comes from accurate color and the ability to change camera settings for a particular shot. The Samsung Galaxy Tab even has two cameras — one front-facing, one rear-facing — so you can video chat or simply record yourself. The iPad, however, does not have a camera at all.

It Won’t Replace Your PC
Tablets might be the future of portable computing, but we interact with them in a profoundly different way than with smartphones or laptops. Tablets are ideal for web-surfing, watching films and TV shows, doing some light e-mail, reading magazines and newspapers. They’re fit for consuming.

But for creating content they’re lackluster and underpowered compared to even the most bare-bones laptop.

Tablets may revolutionize the way we interact with the web and other media. Just don’t expect one to serve as your primary computer.

Acer launch round-up: tablets, 4.8-inch smartphone, and more

Acer has taken the wraps off a range of new tablet devices and a content platform as part of an ambitious effort to rival Apple’s iPad and capture a good portion of this still nascent market. The new lineup includes a 4.8-inch "smartphone with the soul of a tablet," 7 and 10-inch Android tablets, a 10-inch Windows-based variant, and a unique dual touch screen hybrid between laptop and tablet. Here's a quick rundown of the key features disclosed so far:

The social-networking giant: Facebook allowed to Trademark the Word 'Face'

The social-networking giant: Facebook allowed to Trademark the Word 'Face'

Facebook Plans to Trademark the Word 'Face'
The social-networking giant was just given a green light in its efforts to trademark the word "face." The company's efforts have moved Facebook's pursuit of face past the opposition period, according to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office, and a "Notice of Allowance" has been issued. And it looks like the application will be approved, Neil Friedman, a partner at law firm Baker and Reynolds who regularly practices trademark law, told

Facebook now has six months to file a statement of use (SOU), which is a sworn statement signed by Facebook attesting to use of the mark in commerce, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Without the SOU, the application will be abandoned.

The document says that Facebook provides "telecommunication services, namely, providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter, none primarily featuring or relating to motoring or to cars" – so, no Facebook Motors, then?

The effort to trademark "face" goes back to 2005 when CIS Internet Limited, a U.K.-based company, tried to trademark "face" for its site. Facebook bought the application from CIS in 2008.

Even without the official "face" trademark, Facebook has already gone after companies using "face" – as well as "book" – in their business names.

In August, the company sued Teachbook, arguing that "book" is a term associated with Facebook. Selecting "book" was a completely arbitrary choice and "pilfers a distinctive part of the Facebook," Facebook said. Travel site PlaceBook also changed its name to TripTrace after Facebook contacted the site and said its name was confusingly similar to its own.


"At the end of the day, will they have protection in this space? Yes," Friedman said.

A trademark may help Facebook throw the book at the competition -- and Facebook faces a wealth of it., the world's largest domain name registrar, told that it has 53,000 domain names containing the word "face" in its databases. The company estimated that the Internet has 89,000 domain names containing the word "face" just in the .com world.

So put on a happy face, Facebook, that trademark may need to be put to use.

A trademark can cover a variety of things, from the audible jingle in T-Mobile commercials to words or phrases, letters or numbers -- even something pictoral like the Nike swoosh, Friedman explained. Even a color. In Facebook's case, the trademark would cover "telecommunication services, namely providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter, none primarily featuring or relating to motoring or to cars."

Cars? What could that mean? A spokesman for Facebook declined to comment on the trademark pursuit, but Friedman has a theory: "My guess is that they've been rejected by somebody that has face already for something related to cars," he said.

The unusual patent may be probably partly explained by its history: The social network picked up a trademark application originally filed in 2005 by U.K. company, run by British company called CIS. Tech news site Engadget explains that the original application covered everything from festival planning to dating services to text message systems -- though that doesn't explain the car thing.

Around October of 2008 CIS filed to split the various categories into separate applications -- one of which was for online chat rooms. That application was taken over by Facebook on November 7, and on November 17 Facebook officially swapped in its attorney.

This doesn't mean that Facebook has won the battle for the word just yet, however. The company must first pay an issue fee, and submit a statement explaining how it uses the word face. Besides, Friedman noted, there are several other trademarks already filed that use the world face.

"In this category, there are already 34 other trademark applications that have a face component," he told "There's one for streaming video on the Internet -- mymusicface. And there's facefirst for monitoring security of others," for example.
"If someone else were using face by itself, yes, they'd be able to block that. But in the real world, that will have to be taken on a case by case basis," Friedman told

So Facebook won't be able to block all other faces -- because Mark Zuckerberg doesn't have the very first face.

Other prominent faces: Apple's newly launched video conferencing service Facetime may be the most high profile service to feel the brunt of Facebook's patent, though it may not be covered by the trademark. (Apple has filed its own trademark application for Facetime, though its efforts have been rejected.) And Facebook has already filed suit against a pornography company with the similar name FacePorn.

The company's efforts are also interesting in light of the current litigation surrounding the other half of the its name -- the "book" part, that is.

Facebook has been embroiled in a spate of trademark-fueled litigation in recent months, most recently a back and forth with parody site Lamebook. The company has also sued Teachbook and Placebook in an effort to protect its identity following the social network's astronomical rise in popularity in recent years.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rare Apple computer sells for $210,700

. Computer the unlimited doors to technology . Now Talk about a smart tech buy. An Apple computer purchased more than 30 years ago has sold for 425 times its original selling price.

An Apple-1, one of only about 200 such machines built in Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' parents' garage, sold at Christie's auction house in London today for 133,250 pounds (about $210,700). The Apple-1, which didn't include a casing, power supply, keyboard, or monitor, originally retailed for $666.66 in 1976. Apple discontinued the model in 1977.

Christie's called the computer a "historic relic" and said the auction included all the original components, including its 8K bytes of RAM, in its original shipping box, as well as a signed letter from Jobs to the original owner.

The winning bidder was Italian businessman and private collector Marco Boglion, who made his offer over the phone, according to the Associated Press.

In a time when most personal computers were sold as self-assembly kits, the Apple-1 broke new ground as the first personal computer sold with a fully assembled motherboard.

Fellow Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who attended the auction in London, threw in an autographed letter with the sale. Wozniak said he was proud to have his work auctioned alongside such technologically notables as an Enigma, the World War II German code-making machine, and documents from British mathematician Alan Turing, a pioneer of modern computing.

"Today my heart went out as I got to see things auctioned off like the Turing documents and the Enigma machine--and the Apple I," Wozniak reportedly told journalists after the auction. "It really was an important step, (even though) I didn't feel that way when I designed it."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

World's first optically correct 3D glasses

World's first optically correct 3D glasses
Weekly high-tech product releases: World's first optically correct 3D glasses, light-powered keyboard, e-ink phone

Designer sportswear and eyewear maker Oakley has created the world's first optically correct 3D glasses, the Oakley 3D Gascan. Not only are they a lot more fashionable than the majority of existing 3D glasses on the market, the Gascan's optimize the wearer's 3D viewing experience by eliminating ghosting and providing a wider field of view without visual distortion. The glasses are priced at $120 and will be released later this month.

A keyboard that is powered by the sun (or your desk lamp)
Logitech has unveiled its first ever solar keyboard, the Wireless Solar Keyboard K750, giving users the ability to reduce their power consumption. The innovative, 7.5mm thick solar keyboard is powered by any light source (from both indoors and outdoors) and can work in total darkness for up to three months. The Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 will start shipping in the US and Europe from January 2011 for €79.99.

An innovative mobile phone that uses an e-ink keyboard
Samsung's Zeal is a dual-hinge messaging phone with a morphing e-ink keyboard. The unique e-ink keyboard lets users swap between QWERTY, numeric and alpha-only keyboards for easier text entry. It also comes with a 2 MP still and video-capable camera, Bluetooth, support for Exchange email, social networking, and turn by turn navigation. The Samsung Zeal will be available on November 11 for $79.99 on a two-year agreement after a $50 mail-in rebate.

An intelligent portable wireless speaker and speakerphone
The Jambox is mobile technology company Jawbone's first wireless speaker and speakerphone. Users can connect their digital gadgets via Bluetooth and seamless play music and audio associated with the movies, and games playing on their device. The Jambox can also be used for hands free phone conversations and can be updated with apps, software and new features available on Jawbone's MyTALK platform. The Jawbone Jambox is priced at $199 and is available from November 16.

A dual-screen tablet for students
The Kno is a dual, 14.1 inch touchscreen tablet designed to meet the needs of students. It gives students up to 6 hours of normal use and access to digital textbooks. It comes with WiFi, Bluetooth, 1080p video playback, support for Adobe Flash and touch or stylus input. The Dual Screen Kno is priced at $899 for the 16GB version and at $999 for the 32GB version. A single screen version is available for $599 (16GB) or $699 (32GB). All version of the Kno will be available from December 20.

A mirrorless camera that's lighter, smaller and easier to use
Panasonic's latest Micro Four Thirds camera, the Lumix GF2, is smaller and lighter than the company's existing models whilst still offering powerful features. It has a newly designed and easy-to-use interface, a three inch touchsensitive LCD screen, video recording and a range of auto focus modes. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 will arrive in stores by January 2011. Pricing will be announced in December.



The police department is now equipped with tracking computers to combat vehicle theft.

The department demonstrated the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery Network Wednesday morning, that was donated by the LoJack Corporation.

Four patrol cruisers are now equipped with a police tracking computer to locate and recover stolen cars, trucks, motorcycles, and construction equipment.

"With stolen vehicles speed is of the essence. The shorter time the officer has of recovering vehicle the quicker the vehicle will be recovered with less or no damage at all," says Phillip Rivoli, a law enforcement liaison for the LoJack Corporation.

There is a 90% recovery rate of stolen vehicles that are equipped with LoJack.

Residents can purchase the LoJack system for their car at participating auto dealerships or direct from the company.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

International Game Technology Swings To Profit

International Game Technology Swings To Profit
International Game Technology 4Q
Slot machine maker International Game Technology reported a fourth-quarter profit, compared with a loss a year earlier, but its net income was not as high as Wall Street expected.

The Las Vegas company reported net income of $19.9 million, or 7 cents per share, on $496 million in revenue for its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 30. That compares with a net loss of $28.6 million, or 10 cents per share, on $512.3 million in revenue a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, International Game Technology earned 18 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who typically exclude one-time items, on average expected the company to report earning 19 cents per share on $488.2 million revenue.

For the full year, International Game Technology reported net income of $186 million, or 62 cents per share, on $2 billion in revenue. That compares with net income of $126.8 million, or 43 cents per share, on $2.1 billion in revenue for the prior year.

Excluding one-time items, the company reported full-year earnings of 85 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson on average had expected adjusted earnings of 85 cents per share on $2 billion in revenue for the full year.

The company said it ended its fiscal year with an installed base of 57,000 gaming units, a decline of 4,300 units from a year earlier.

International Game Technology said the results reflect a shift toward lower-yielding machines, and it said sales of new gaming units fell as fewer new casinos opened in the U.S., a drop that was only partly offset by rising sales overseas.

The company's shares slipped 3 cents, or 0.2 percent, in regular trading. After hours, the stock fell 32 cents, or 2 percent, to $16.

International Game Technology Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2010 Results
Fiscal 2010 Highlights (compared to last year) - Consolidated gross profit margin increased 100 bps to 56% - Global operating income increased 28% to $433 million - Consolidated operating margin increased 600 bps to 22% - International revenues increased 21% to $559 million

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Good News :Google Instant Preview- improves search

Google on Tuesday announced yet another upgrade to its search results pages intended to provide more information so that users don't haphazardly click away: Instant Previews. These previews are as simple as a small magnifying glass icon next to a search result, which users can click upon to see a visual snapshot of the linked site. These snapshots may also include search terms highlighted in orange where they appear in the resulting page. That's about it.
"Instant Previews provides a graphic overview of a search result and highlights the most relevant sections, making finding the right page as quick and easy as flipping through a magazine,"
After searching for something, Google will return search results as usual, but next to the star icon that lets you favorite a link, there will also be a small magnifying glass. Hover over that icon and Google will pop up a preview of the page in question. Those without a mouse can see the preview by hitting the right arrow key; hit the down arrow key to continue seeing results.

The option will help people navigate results faster and not waste time waiting for pages to load, Krishnan said. Google will also highlight in orange the text that matches your search query to locate relevant content as fast as possible.

"Not long ago simply downloading an image could take 20 or 30 seconds, and even today many Web sites take four or five seconds to load," he wrote. "With Instant Previews, we match your query with an index of the entire Web, identify the relevant parts of each Web page, stitch them together and serve the resulting preview completely customized to your search—usually in under one-tenth of a second. Once you click the magnifying glass, we load previews for the other results in the background so you can flip through them without waiting."

During testing, Google found that people using Instant Previews were 5 percent more likely to be satisfied with the results on which they clicked.

The feature is rolling out now and should be available in more than 40 languages in the next few days, Krishnan said.

The release comes several days after Google Instant was added to mobile devices. Instant, which debuted in September, provides search results as you type.

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