Monday, November 26, 2007

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Truck Driver Joke

A young man just had his first customer, which turned out to be a BIG BURLY truck driver.

The young man walked up to the table where the truck driver was sitting and asked; can I take your order sir?

The truck driver replied, sure kid I want three flat tires and two headlights. The young man was very puzzled and said, I beg your pardon?

The truck driver said again, look kid; I want three flat tires and two headlights. The young man was still puzzled, but replied; yes sir, whatever.

The young man then took the request to his boss who was the head cook. He told him about the truck driver's order, and that he wanted three flat tires and two headlights, “I think he's in the wrong place.”

The head cook said, I know what he wants, he wants three flap jacks and two eggs sunny side up; the truck driver is just trying to be smart, I know him.

The cook said to the waiter here, take this bowl of beans, give it to him and say this.

The truck driver said, Listen kid, I didn't order this, I said I wanted three flat tires and two headlights.

The waiter replied, Well sir, the head cook said while you wait for your parts, you can gas up!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Amazon Kindle: Hands-on first impressions

The slow drip of rumors and leaks about the Amazon Kindle e-book reader exploded into a full-blown flood over the weekend, once it was revealed as this week's Newsweek cover story. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos filled in all of the remaining blanks (or most of them, anyway) at this morning's New York press conference that officially introduced the product to the world. Some relevant details, finally confirmed:
Measurements: The Kindle weighs 10.3 ounces and is about the size of a trade paperback book. It's both taller and thicker than the
Sony Reader.
Connectivity: The Kindle connects to the Web via the "Amazon Whispernet," a free high-speed cellular wireless network (Sprint EVDO). Books and other content are available for direct download, without the need for connecting to a PC (though a USB port does provide PC connectivity for transferring files). The Kindle's internal memory can store up to 200 books, and it's expandable via an SD slot (which can also be used to load additional media).
Books: Once you're online via EVDO, electronic books are available directly from Amazon for up to $10--just click on the title you want, and it's downloaded (and you're charged) in about a minute's time. Amazon is currently offering more than 90,000 titles, including 90 percent of the current New York Times bestsellers. The first chapter of most books can be previewed on the Kindle for free. Amazon keeps track of your purchases, so you can delete the file on the Kindle (to make space for more content) and then download it again later for no additional charge.
Newspapers and magazines: The Kindle can also be used to subscribe to a variety of periodicals, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Le Monde, and Forbes. Newspaper subscriptions are $6 to $15 a month, and magazines are $1.25 to $3.49. Dailies are automatically delivered to the Kindle overnight, and each periodical includes a free two-week trial. (There appears to be no discount for existing subscribers of these periodicals.)
Blogs: The Kindle also offers more than 300 blogs, including Slashdot, The Onion, BoingBoing, and Techcrunch--but these are customized Kindle versions that cost at least $1 a month. Moreover, unlike your RSS feeds, you can't add your favorite blog--if it's not on Amazon's list, you can't subscribe to it.
Web browsing: The Kindle can also browse the Web at large (it has its own QWERTY keyboard directly below the screen), but--unlike the Kindle-ized premium content listed above--most standard Web pages are something of a disaster. The CNET home page, for instance, was rendered as 18 separate pages. Likewise, don't expect support for any plug-ins such as Flash.
Notation and bookmarks: You can bookmark key passages of what you're reading, and (using the keyboard), make, edit, and export notes. The Kindle also saves your place when reading anything, so you can always pick up where you left off.
Price and availability: The Kindle reader is now available from for $400.
CNET got one of the first review samples, and we've gotten a chance to put it through its paces. What do we think so far? Here's a quick and dirty appraisal, based on just a couple of hours of use:
The Good: Excellent high-contrast screen does a great job of simulating a printed page; large library of tens of thousands of e-books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs via Amazon's familiar online store; built-in "Whispernet" data network--no PC needed; built-in keyboard for notes; SD card expansion slot; long battery life.
The Bad: Design is ergonomic, but not very elegant; pricing for nearly all the content seems too high, especially considering the periodicals and blogs are available for free online; black-and-white screen is fine for books, but less impressive for periodicals and Web content; lacks a true Web browser; included cover is clumsy and poorly designed; yet another dedicated device you'll need to lug around with you.
The Bottom Line: With its built-in wireless capabilities and PC-free operation, Amazon's Kindle is a promising evolution of the electronic book (and newspaper, and magazine)--but overpriced content could be its Achilles' heel.

Mozilla releases Firefox 3 beta 1

A few months later than had been planned, Mozilla on Monday night released the first beta version of an overhauled Firefox, the widely used open-source Web browser.
Firefox 3 beta 1 includes a number of significant features that Mozilla said should improve security, ease of use, rendering of Web pages, and location of previously visited Web pages. And for the new era of rich Internet applications, the browser can run Web-based applications even when the computer is disconnected from a network.
The software is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux at
Mozilla's download site in 20 different languages.
Although Microsoft's Internet Explorer remains the dominant Web browser, the open-source rival has achieved a critical mass of users--
Firefox has been downloaded more than 400 million times--and it's now common for designers to make sure their Web pages work with the browser. Even Microsoft has bowed to the reality, testing its Web sites with Firefox and helping with technical issues such as playing Windows Media files from Web pages.

Samsung's VP-HMX10A HD camcorder makes retail premier

Samsung's VP-HMX10A camcorder is now on sale. No, not in North America or Europe, but S.Korea-only at the moment. ₩799,000 (about $870) nabs this 720p recorder with 2.7-inch LCD and 4GB of internal flash storage for all your H.264 recordings (SD expansion for more) in a 310-gram barrel. With any luck these will go global on the quick.
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