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Archive for October, 2009

Internet Finally Getting Non-Latin Domain Names [Internet]

Monday, October 26th, 2009

The ICANN, the folks who set some guidelines that make the Internet go ’round, are in the final stages of passing a proposal to introduce non-Latin characters to web addresses. Finally, there’ll be some non-porn-based multiculturalism on the Internet.

Seriously, this is incredibly huge. Aside from being one of the single biggest changes to domain names since the “creation” of the Internet, more than 40 years ago, it also finally takes into consideration that more than half the Internet’s users’ native languages contain non-Latin characters. In a sense, it truly represents the liberty of the Internet.

It’s taken many years to get here, but if plans are approved as expected, on October 30, then applications for these new domains can start flying in as soon as November 16. I’m definitely crossing my fingers and hoping that there aren’t any let downs, because, as Brian remarked, this proposal shows that the white man doesn’t own the Internet anymore. [BBC]

Photo by Infosecurity



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The Cheapest Way To Smash An iPhone For Fun [IPhone]

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Oddly enough, a website called iPhonedummy.net is selling realistic looking but completely non-functional iPhone dummies for $20 apiece. As stupid as that sounds, there are a million and one uses for this thing.

The most obvious use would be as a cheap, smashable/stompable/blendable/microwaveable prop for film of home videos. I would imagine that practical jokers and modders might also find reasons to spend $20 on a dummy instead of blowing money on the real deal. At any rate, if you have a creative idea for an iPhone shell, you had better get on it before Apple unleashes the hounds. [iPhone Dummy via MobileCrunch]



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Mercedes 2010 E-Class: technology evolved

Monday, October 26th, 2009

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Recently I visited Mercedes-Benz’s headquarters in Montvale, NJ to see their all-new 2010 E-Class vehicles. You might be thinking we’re pulling an Autoblog, but we’re not. If you knew the amount of technology and engineering in the new E-Class… well, you’re actually about to.

When you begin to look at how much effort, planning, design, testing, and money goes into creating a line of cars, you realize it’s not an easy task. Forget about competition from other manufacturers, just hearing and seeing the process of how it’s done was an incredible experience for me. We’re going to focus on just some of the technological features in the E-Class which is more than we could ever imagine, so once you add that in with every other component in a car, it’s really amazing. I was lucky enough to get a whole sense of how the process works and how it’s executed. I also test drove two 2010 E-Class vehicles, the E550 Coupe and the E63 AMG Sedan. Read on for my experience and an overview of some of the amazing stuff in the E-Class.

Disclosure: Mercedes-Benz North America is a past and present advertiser on BGR.

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The E-Class has a feature called ATTENTION ASSIST which is amazingly cool and incredibly brilliant. Mercedes told us that people who drive when they are tired and drowsy get into car accidents roughly 100,000 times a year, almost as much as driving while intoxicated. What Attention Assist does is monitor around 70 different parameters to get a baseline of your habits and then compare it in real-time to your current driving habit. So, you turn on your car and go off for a drive on the highway. For the first 20 minutes, the intuitive system automatically is monitoring different things that you do. Stuff like how aggressive you are with the steering wheel, braking patterns, and much more. Once that baseline is measured, the system then can decide if your patterns changed for the worse and it wants to alert you. There’s an audible alert as well as a visual one in the instrument cluster.

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Mercedes told us that in testing, Mercedes drivers typically have a heart-rate that’s reduced by 5% compared to other drivers of other brand vehicles. The reason they said is because of how much attention they pay to the cabin and the entire experience of making the driver feel like a driver, and a driver that’s driving comfortably.

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Something else intelligent the new E-Class does is called Adaptive High Beam Assist. It uses a camera that sees oncoming headlights and taillights of cars in front of you. It then automatically softens the headlights as cars pass by you to ease the lighting and not blind them. It will even switch between high-beams and low-beams automatically. But the best part is that it’s all automatic and will auto-adjust your headlights to compensate for 1,000ft of road (including vehicles) in front of you.

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The E-Class cars we saw were equipped with a bag load of safety features and it’s really great to see these things start to get implemented faster and faster on different cars from all sorts of manufacturers. PRE-SAFE Brake is another one of these technological achievements that you might wonder why it isn’t available until now. It makes use of something called DISTRONIC PLUS feature (basically think of it as adaptive cruise control that uses radar to see if another vehicle in front of you has stopped while you’re cruising at 75MPH), and what it does is actually stop the car for you in emergency conditions. We’re not talking about just slowing it down and slightly breaking, we’re talking 100% braking power. It works by sensing an impending rear collision (you about to hit another car in front of yours) and will sound about three warning tones.

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If you’re listening to Bubba Sparxx too loud on your iPod and don’t hear those tones, and you don’t see the visual alerts because you’re emailing BGR a tip (not smart), the car will be able to detect that you’re a moron and apply around 40%  partial braking to the car to slow you down 1.6 seconds prior to impact. But if all the aforementioned things fail, besides the fact you probably shouldn’t be operating a moving vehicle, the car will apply 100% full braking power 0.6 seconds before impact which will create an “electronic crumple zone,” dramatically reducing the impact for you. It doesn’t mean you won’t crash, but it’s an amazing safety enhancement that Mercedes is confident will reduce serious accidents on the road.

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What about night vision? Well, Mercedes said they’re one of the only manufacturers to use an actual camera for their night vision implementation, and instead of detecting heat, it works as does a regular night vision product; it shoots out IR light and the IR camera captures it. We were told it enables you to see more or less 500ft in front of you which is unbelievable if you think about it. There’s also a person detection feature that will put people in boxes so you can accurately view them.

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If you know me personally (funny guy, aren’t I?) or even follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I absolutely love cars. So mix that love of tech, gadgets, mobile devices, and everything else with cars and you can get an idea of why the E-Class is so interesting and incredible to me. It’s the most advanced vehicle I’ve ever driven and one of the most exciting just from the technology aspect itself. But, who are we kidding. The E63 would have had me excited if there was a rotary phone strapped to it. Just look at it.

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The car can also pair up to 5 mobile phones via Bluetooth and will give you much-loved signal strength indicator in the COMMAND display as well as load in your entire phone address book if you’d please. The navigation system actually shows a lot of POI data as icons now, so you’ll literally see a Sunoco sign if there’s one close to you, or a McDonalds, or what have you. Completely unnecessary yet surprisingly enjoyable. Something else interesting is that DVD-based navigation is no longer necessary in this vehicle as it uses a built in hard drive to store everything. There is also around 4GB of free space for you to copy MP3 files to and play back at your leisure.

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Another great feature for us phone freaks is that pretty much all Mercedes have dedicated phone number pads.

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What about suspension? Isn’t there some tech in there, too? Definitely. There are two different suspension options on the E-Class. One is a spring-suspension system and the other is AIRMATIC suspension which lets the driver select either comfort or spots mode at the touch of a button to fine turn their driving experience. We would have preferred even more control on the suspension, maybe four modes, like some other cars offer, but oh well.

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There’s literally so much technology in this car — obviously why I jumped at the opportunity to do this article — that we could go on and on for a pretty long time. If the car senses an incoming collision the seats will move automatically to a more favorable crash position to try and protect the occupants, if the car is about to roll over, the sunroof and windows close automatically, there are up to 11 airbags in the car (9 standard) and a whole lot more. What’s great about all this technology though, is that it’s configurable. We often asked if you could disable almost every new feature they briefed us on, and the answer was always yes. We’ll be following up with a video post on the E-Class that will give you a more visual look at the car’s styling and design elements as well as a nice walk-through from our friend Bart Herring who is Product Manager for the E-Class series at Mercedes-Benz.

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Netflix and Sony partner up to allow streaming movies on PS3

Monday, October 26th, 2009

All you movie addicts who own the PlayStation 3 no longer have to envy Xbox 360 users. Sony and Netflix are teaming up to bring movie streaming to the Ps3. The bonus for those on the PlayStation Network is, since your PSN accounts are free, all you need is a Netflix account to watch movies whereas Xbox 360 users need a $50-per-year Xbox Live Gold membership. The service will launch in November and if you decide to use your PS3 to access your Netflix account (why wouldn’t you?), Netflix will send a Blu-Ray disc that will allow you to access its library. It might seem like a hassle to pop in the disc every time you want to watch movies, but Netflix says it’s working on a software update for the PS3 that will do away with the need for a disc. It looks like you gamers and movie buffs are about to see double the couch time.

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HTC confirms it has Android 2.0 handsets in the works

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Of course nobody expects Motorola and Verizon to be the sole benefactors of Android 2.0′s Donut-ey goodness in the long run, but in an age of increasing Android ubiquity it seemed odd to see them as the only ones with a more-or-less-confirmed Android 2.0 handset on the way. Well, Sascha Segan over at Gearlog did some digging and while Samsung wouldn’t confirm any Android 2.0 work, HTC was forthcoming in saying that it’s had Android 2.0 around for a while, and is working on it for future phones. Perhaps the HTC Desire (dubbed Droid Eris) or the Passion will be one of those phones? It would be odd to see Verizon introduce a 2.0 handset from Motorola and only 1.5 or 1.6 handsets from HTC, but we’ll just have to see how it all goes down next month — Motorola sure seems buddy buddy with Google on this one. But if Dell could track down a copy, we don’t see how far behind HTC could be on this one.

[Via SlashGear]

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HTC confirms it has Android 2.0 handsets in the works originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 26 Oct 2009 19:18:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Microsoft ditches Family Guy special… for being Family Guy

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Face? Meet palm. Microsoft’s decided to pull out of its co-sponsoring of “Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex’s Almost Live Comedy Show” after execs attending the taping came to the sudden conclusion that Family Guy-caliber jokes were to be told, tackling such topics as “deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest.” We’re not sure how 10 years and over 120 episodes of offensive precedence bypassed Redmond’s radars, but man, that’s gotta be some strong personal bubble. A Microsoft representative said of the taping, “it became clear that the content was not a fit with the Windows brand.” The show will still air November 8th, pre-recorded Microsoft references in tow, but with a new as-of-yet unnamed sponsor. All we have of the now-doomed partnership is this brief video from the Windows “741″ student site — it’s after the break.

[Via The Raw Feed]

Continue reading Microsoft ditches Family Guy special… for being Family Guy

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Microsoft ditches Family Guy special… for being Family Guy originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 26 Oct 2009 18:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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On That NYTimes Editor’s Mention of the Apple Tablet [Media]

Monday, October 26th, 2009

A lot of people are writing up this video of the NYTimes Editor “leaking” the Apple Tablet (see 8:20 in the video) in this supposedly off record talk. But this isn’t proof of anything.

It could easily just be that Bill Keller reads rumors, too. But what if that was a whoopsie letting loose a secret that Bill knows with first hand knowledge? So what? We already know it’s coming, having talked to people who have seen and heard things first hand. And we do know the NYTimes is involved with the project. So that’s just more of what we already know, but in a way that’s not really more proof.

Silly. [gawker]



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Internet Speeds and Costs Around the World, Shown Visually [Infographics]

Monday, October 26th, 2009

This awesome infographic shows the internet costs and speeds around the world for the top 20 nations in the ITIF Broadband Rankings. Unsurprisingly, we don’t compare too well.

Number one is, predictably, Japan, where the average broadband speed is 60mbps and they pay $0.27 per 1mbps. We, in comparison, average 4.8mbps and pay $3.33 per 1mbps, putting us at #15. Be sure to click the above image to see it in its full glory. [Zach Klein]



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Blackra1n RC 2 released for your jailbreaking pleasure

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Blackra1n Splash

Our favorite iPhone outlaw, geohot, has released an update to the iPhone jailbreak software blackra1n. Dubbed RC2 the update addresses several issues including:

  • Fixes 3G signal issues
  • Tethered jailbreak for 3.1 OOTB iPod touch 8GB and new 3GS’
  • Fixes issues with package software”Icy
  • Versions for both Windows and Mac now available

No need to rerun blackra1n if you already applied RC1 successfully, but for those of you who have not been able to crack into your iPiece take RC2 for a spin. Let us know how it goes!

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Palm Pixi landing on Sprint November 15th for $99.99

Monday, October 26th, 2009

palm-pixiOn the same morning that Verizon announced the availability of Wi-Fi packing BlackBerry Storm2, Sprint has come out and announced that the Wi-Fi lacking Palm Pixi will go on sale in just under three weeks time. Available from November 15th and onwards in stores, online, over the phone and through retailers like Best Buy, RadioShack and select Wal-Marts, the Palm Pixi will set early adopters back $99.99 on contract after factoring in $150 worth of instant and mail-in rebates. If you ask us, it’s a lot of money to ask for what it offers considering the iPhone 3G can be for the same price (oh, boo and hiss all you like) and the flaghship Pre is only $50 more. And did we mention no Wi-Fi?

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Police to auction off nitrous-fueled, motorized La-Z-Boy

Monday, October 26th, 2009
We’ve seen plenty of strange motorized chairs in this space, including those controlled by Wii Nunchucks and even brainwaves, but rarely do they become available for sale. The handiwork of Minnesota resident Dennis Anderson, this La-Z-Boy mod features everything the manufacturer left out, including: stereo sound system, nitrous oxide booster, parachute, headlights, a steering wheel, and a sticker that reads: “Hell yeah, it’s fast.” The vehicle, which will reach speeds of 20 MPH, was seized by the state when the driver crashed into a parked car — he was on the way home from the bar (of course) and ‘fessed up to consuming “eight or nine” beers prior to the incident. Anderson may be roaming the streets with a two-year suspended sentence, but his chariot can be yours! Keep an eye out on eBay, where it’s due to appear this week with no reserve price.

[Thanks, Scooterde]

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Police to auction off nitrous-fueled, motorized La-Z-Boy originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 26 Oct 2009 13:07:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GlideTV Navigator gets a thorough hands-on and critiquing

Monday, October 26th, 2009

If you’re not down with snapping up an HTPC-centric keyboard with an integrated trackpad or trackball, controlling the likes of Hulu, Boxee and ZeeVee’s Zinc TV viewer can be a real chore. Dave Zatz was able to wrap his paws around the problem-solving GlideTV Navigator, and while he deemed the actual remote trackpad “the best he’d ever used,” he couldn’t unequivocally say that this beauty was worth a buck-fifty. He also found that the remote could be used one-handed with a bit of practice, and he expressed understandable concern about this thing’s ability to stay functional as the software around it evolves. If you’ve been waffling on pulling the trigger here, you owe it to yourself to give the read link a look.

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GlideTV Navigator gets a thorough hands-on and critiquing originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 26 Oct 2009 12:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Apple Tablet Rumors: NY Times Exec Mentions "Impending Apple Slate" [Apple Tablet]

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Two fresh rumors for you…First up: did Bell Keller, Executive Editor of the NY Times let slip on the still unconfirmed Apple tablet in a speech last week? Video after the jump. Meanwhile, is this the tablet’s SIM card tray?

Bill Keller speaks to the digital group at The New York Times from Nieman Journalism Lab on Vimeo.

The New York Times speech comes from an internal “all hands” meeting at TheTimesCenter, which was intended to be off the record. However, the video was also provided to the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. Skip to about 8:20, and you’ll hear:

We need to figure out the right journalistic product to deliver to mobile platforms and devices. I’m hoping we can get the newsroom more actively involved in the challenge of delivering our best journalism in the form of Times Reader, iPhone apps, WAP, or the impending Apple slate, or whatever comes after that.

Given the matter-of-fact way Keller refers to the slate, it sounds like a done deal versus a hypothetical. What do you think? Interestingly, we’ve previously reported that two sources related to the NY Times have told us the paper was approached by Apple to talk about a “new device”.

Elsewhere, the SIM card tray you see pictured up top is supposedly designed for the Apple Tablet, and is built by Foxconn (the device’s rumored manufacturer). It’s definitely larger than the current iPhone SIM tray, but it could probably also be used anywhere. Either way, it goes on sale October 23 for $14.05. Yeah, not so sure about that one, but the NY Times video is definitely a conversation starter. [Gawker and China On Trade via Engadget]



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Steve Ballmer: The Uncut Interview [Ballmer Interview]

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Most of you may not have 16 minutes to spare on this, and probably don’t care anyway, but I promised to post the full video, if only so you can understand the context of our five highlighted segments.

Watch it, share it, do what you like. And if you just want the short and sweet, here again are our five featured bits (shot and edited by Mike Short):

Steve Ballmer Exclusive Interview Series:
Part 1: Ballmer Talks Natal, Says Blu-ray Add-On for Xbox Coming
Part 2: Ballmer on the Smartphone Race: “It Doesn’t Matter What the Critics Say”
Part 3: Ballmer on Zune: Sometimes You Get It Right The Third Time?
Part 4: Ballmer on Those Crazy Ballmer YouTube Videos
Part 5: Ballmer Optimistic About Win 7, But Says Vista Is “Very Popular”



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TELUS to launch HSPA network, iPhone 3G/3GS on November 5th

Monday, October 26th, 2009

telus_logo

We just got an an email from one of our connects and we’ve got some great new for all you iPhone-lovers. We’ve been told in just a couple hours, Canada’s TELUS will officially announce that its nation-wide HSPA network will go live on November 5th. Not only that, but on that very date, TELUS will start selling the Apple iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The iPhone pricing structure for TELUS will be the same as it is for Rogers (and Bell, for that matter) with the 3G going for $99.99/$599.99 and the 16 and 32GB 3GS going for $199.99/$699.99 and $299.99/$799.99. Beyond that, TELUS doesn’t appear to be in any rush to come forward with specifics on its plan pricing and other handsets. All the presses hints at is “TELUS will offer a number of exciting new devices from HTC, Huawei, LG, Nokia, RIM, Samsung, and Sierra Wireless in time for the holidays, including some on an exclusive basis.” That’s more or less in line with the line-up we’ve already told you.

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Verizon Storm2 on October 28th, BlackBerry OS 5.0 for original Storm out now

Monday, October 26th, 2009

If you have an original Storm purchased through Verizon then first, our condolences. At the risk of rubbing it in (since you’re still on contract) we have to tell you that the second generation Storm2 — the full-screen BlackBerry you should have waited for — just got an official $179.99 (after $100 mail-in rebate and 2-year contract) October 28th release date as expected. Storm owners can, however, take solace in the BlackBerry OS 5.0 update now available for download that boasts several improvements including those keyboard and general usability enhancements we already knew were coming.

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Verizon Storm2 on October 28th, BlackBerry OS 5.0 for original Storm out now originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 26 Oct 2009 07:17:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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CE-Oh no he didn’t! Part XLV: Symbian’s Lee Williams rips into Android, implies Google is evil (video)

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Strap yourselves in, folks, we’re about to launch the Mudslinger 3000 again and figure out if any of it sticks. Lee Williams of Symbian starts off with a few attack volleys relating to Google’s “fragmentation” of UI elements, and the resultant closed APIs being a nightmare to code for. With so many divergent UI elements and styles, he argues, developers would suffer, and the consequence would be a less vibrant app ecosystem. His major gripe with Google’s mobile OS, though, has to do with the pervasive “cookie-ing” of customers, which raises the specter of privacy concerns. When asked directly by our buddy Om Malik whether he considers Android “more evil” than Apple’s iPhone OS, Williams replied:

“I don’t view Apple as evil, they’re just greedy… Google, come on! When you have to say in your motto that we’re not evil, right away the first question in my mind is, ‘why do you have to tell me that?’”

All this must be tempered by the knowledge that Android is set to overtake large swathes of the mobile OS space, and some retaliatory trash talking is probably to be expected from the incumbent smartphone leader. Om does ask another sage question, in querying why Williams thinks companies are making such large investments into Android, and you’ll find the answer to that and much more in the video past the break.

[Via MobileTechWorld; Thanks, fido]

Read – Lee Williams interview with GigaOM
Read – New York Times: ‘Big Cellphone Makers Shifting to Android System’
Read – PCWorld: ‘Android, Symbian Will Own Smartphones in 2012′

Continue reading CE-Oh no he didn’t! Part XLV: Symbian’s Lee Williams rips into Android, implies Google is evil (video)

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CE-Oh no he didn’t! Part XLV: Symbian’s Lee Williams rips into Android, implies Google is evil (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 26 Oct 2009 07:06:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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