In a surprising move, the New York Times today announced that they'll be introducing a new "Best Seller" category for ebooks. Sorry, I should specify: It's not surprising that they'll be tracking ebook best sellers, it's surprising that they hadn't been until now.
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.
The pursuit of machine intelligence means we have to come up with ways to communicate with our computers in a way both entities can understand. But while computers process verbal commands in a straightforward fashion, humans tend to use more sophisticated speech forms, employing slang or symbols to convey an idea. So an Israeli research team has developed a machine algorithm that can recognize sarcasm.
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.
Once upon last May, the Kindle DX seemed like a great academic tool for Princeton University classrooms. But students and professors have since begun to voice some discomfort.
"I hate to sound like a Luddite, but this technology is a poor excuse of an academic tool," said Aaron Horvath '10, a student in Civil Society and Public Policy, in a Daily Princetonian interview. "It's clunky, slow and a real pain to operate."
Barnes and Noble first tipped their hand in July, when they announed their new e-book store and its 700,000 titles would be made available on the iPhone and BlackBerry platforms. Then in August, the bookseller announced a partnership with e-reader maker iRex, in addition to love for Plastic Logic and their devices. And today (drumroll, please) the company officially announced the iRex DR800SG reader, the first e-book reader with access to the Barnes and Noble catalog.
This week I put some face time in with Amazon's latest print assassin, the Kindle DX. I was a big fan of the original recipe, despite what I'd call some minor design flaws. But I always felt like it was missing some important features.
Today, Amazon announced a new Kindle e-reader that has a bigger screen -- 9.7 inches diagonally -- and a bigger price tag: 489 smackeroos. So should you fork out $130 more than the last Kindle for the new version? We can't say for sure until we get to play with it for a while, but here's a preliminary guide based on the specs and our quick demo at today's press conference.
After a trip to the Amazon jungle, President Teddy Roosevelt famously reported seeing a pack of piranhas devour a cow in a few minutes. It must have been a very large school of fish—-or a very small cow. According to Ray Owczarzak, assistant curator of fishes at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, it would probably take 300 to 500 piranhas five minutes to strip the flesh off a 180-pound human. But would this attack even happen?
Make no mistake about it: The original Kindle ebook reader was an amazing device -- the first ereader to engender feelings of love. Tying a lightweight screen to Amazon's book collection with a free 3G wireless connection was genius, and easily earned our Best of What's New kudos.