If your video store isn’t already six feet under, XStreamHD will finally put it there. The company is launching the first set-top system able to download movies that are the exact quality of Blu-ray discs: 1080p high-def, near-flawless images, and 7.1 surround sound. Subscribers can rent or buy 200 best-selling titles starting this month, with the full high-def film and TV catalogs of all major studios not far behind.
Today was supposed to be a great day for the Web. As of March 1, 2010, Google will no longer support Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 browser—a decade-old dinosaur engineered to navigate the Web as it existed in the year 2000. Why would this be cause for celebration? Because IE6 is barely capable of navigating the modern Web and a total nightmare to build sites, services and applications for.
But ten years after its release, it's still being used by an estimated 20% of surfers. And while Google's move is one in the right direction, I'm not breaking out the whiskey and noisemakers for IE6's funereal wake quite yet. Sadly, IE6 isn't going away for good anytime soon.
Remember that groundbreaking Apple Super Bowl ad from 1984? The one where the woman throws a hammer at Big Brother, signifying a new era of freedom that would be ushered in with Macintosh? My, how times have changed. Here we are more than 25 years later and the despotic, all-knowing face up there on that giant screen now belongs to Steve Jobs—and Big Brother Steve is holding an iPad.
There goes 2009, and what a year she was. Let's see, the iTunes App Store eclipsed one billion downloads, Google surprised us all with the announcement of Chrome OS, Windows 7 sent Vista to the big Blue Screen of Death in the sky, Verizon and AT&T started fighting dirty and the e-reader market exploded. But instead of looking back at the year that was, we of course always find it a lot more fun to look forward. So, here's what's on my wish list for the year to come in gadgets and tech.
I tend to think of my cable bill kind of like my health insurance premium. Every month, I begrudgingly pony up the funds necessary to continue this so-called "service" wondering the what the heck it is I'm actually paying for--especially since most of what I regularly watch can be found online in some form--all the while deathly afraid of the consequences should I ever stop wiring in my money.
Every month, I consider amputating cable from my bottom line once and for all. But what's holding me back is that I think I might actually miss it.
Besides world peace and a visit from the Publishers Clearing House van, the one thing I want in life is an always-on Internet connection—and, I want it affordably. More specifically, I want always accessible, reasonably priced, quick and dependable wireless Internet. After all, my broadband connection through the cable company is technically always on, but it's worthless once I walk out of the house. It stands to reason, then, that only a mobile provider will ever be capable of fulfilling this wish.
It dawned on me while on vacation recently that I actually already have what I've always wanted. The problem is that it's a last-generation definition of what Internet access is and needs to be.
This week, Uncle Sam's gas-guzzler gold rush was officially put to sleep. With some 800,000 fuel-efficient cars sold in the months of July and August, you'd be hard pressed not to call it a success. I don't own a car myself, and so the hysteria surrounding Cash for Clunkers was lost on me. But it did get me thinking about all the clunkers I do have in my life: my aging, decrepit tech.
I've got an old 12-inch Powerbook that can barely play online video and is incapable of running Snow Leopard. I've got an almost two-year old LG Voyager phone that only half works. I've got a functioning digital camera going unused, a dead iPod, and drawers full of old chargers and cables. Why can't I score some government cheese for this old crap?
Though whispers of an Apple tablet device practically predate Australopithecus, this week they've reached a fever pitch. It's been reported by several news outlets that the supposed iTablet will feature a 10-inch touchscreen, both Wi-Fi and 3G data, and a custom ARM processor. It's already been priced at $800 and even greenlit by none other than His Majesty Steve Jobs for a September release. Not one iota of this has been officially confirmed, but the prospect of a Mac Tablet seems more within reach than ever before.
This is not a good thing. If an Apple tablet is ever actually released, we should all be very concerned for the future of what most of us take for granted today: our digital freedom.
When Google pulled the lid off of Chrome OS last week, most of the tech world rejoiced. Our suspicions were correct! Death to the desktop OS! Yay Web 4.0! (or whichever version we're on currently!).
But as I pored over the official Google post on Chrome, and then over the hundreds of articles providing instant analysis of the announcement, I realized just how scant the facts and details were. So, I called Google for some background and got some interesting answers. The company is still being cagey with specifics, but there's one thing for certain: death knells for Microsoft and Apple are exaggerated. Here are ten copmuting tasks that Chrome OS, as it is currently understood, won't do better than your traditional desktop PC.
Welcome to another installment of The Grouse's semi-annual lambasting of poor practices on the Web. When I compiled my first list of all things online and terrible six months ago, I thought I'd been fairly comprehensive. CAPTCHAs, tooltip ads, bottomless dropdown menus and audio ads were among the archaic and ill-conceived online "experiences" thrown on the fire. But just six months later, I find myself with a host of new grievances to air.