Thursday, March 30, 2006

Interview: Alienware on the Dell acquisition


After I heard of the Dell acquistion of Alienware (the official news) I immediately was interested in the acquistion and what it could mean for both companies. I was able to fire a few questions at the Alienware team and here it is:


1. How will Dell's acquisition of Alienware affect Alienware innovation?
  • A: The acquisition will allow Alienware to continue its unrelenting commitment to innovation by using the capital saved, through Dell’s efficiency in supply chain and financing, and putting it right back into product development.
2. Will Alienware and Dell share trade secrets and people with each other or will the two be kept separate?
  • A: The companies will remain two separate entities – Alienware is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dell. However, Alienware will now be able to take advantage of Dell’s well known efficiencies such as supply chain and financial services.
3. After Cingular's acquisition of AT&T wireless they stated that there would be no job loss for at least a full year but eventually it did occur. Dell has issued a statement saying that there will not be job loss between either company, but is this realistic?
  • A: We cannot speak on behalf of Dell but as for Alienware, there are no plans to cut any jobs.
4. How will the acquisition affect the Dell XPS gaming systems? Will they be discontinued or will they just be kept as is?
  • A: The Dell XPS gaming systems will continue to be sold. The product lineup for both companies will not be changing.
5. What do you think Dell can bring to Alienware, a company that has such a great reputation in the gaming community?
  • A: Dell brings Alienware it’s efficiencies in supply chain management, logistical operations, its vendor relationships, financial services, and its ability to expand Alienware geographically at a quicker rate.
6. Will Dell maintain its role of only using Intel chips or possibly change that because of Alienware?
  • A: We cannot speak for Dell but Alienware will remain agnostic to any one vendor. You can expect to see Alienware still offer AMD and Intel on its systems.
7. Alienware has a very loyal following of course. Do you think that this acquisition will diminish that loyalty?
  • A: Not at all. Because Alienware is a wholly owned subsidiary, nothing will change so loyal Alienware customers will continue to see the commitment to quality, service and innovation they’ve come to expect. In fact, customers will benefit through better financing options and shorter lead times, just to name a few.
8. Do you think the gaming fan base will respect Dell as the overall company of Alienware or possibly look for other alternatives?
  • A: We think the gaming fan base will understand and respect Dell for acquiring Alienware and eventually realize this ultimately a very positive move for both companies and the consumer.

Friday, March 24, 2006

iPod tells you to lose weight


Now you can get nutritional facts about fast food restaurants right in the palm of your hand. NutriFacts on the GO is now available for use on the iPod and Pocket PC. It displays basic nutritional facts, definitions, and guidelines for your favorite fast food meals.

Before you take a bite out of that juicy looking Big Mac, you can now whip out your iPod and notice that the Big Mac will eventually give you a heart attack and of course (hopefully) you'll opt for that salad instead.

This is just another way that the iPod is being used to transport information to the average consumer on the go.

For more information (including screenshots, a free trial and much more) click the title above or click here.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oblivion: First Impressions

Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 10/10
Sound/Music: 9/10
"Fun" Factor: 10/10
Overall: 10/10

Like many other gamers, I got a copy of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion yesterday. Oblivion is the sequel to the award-winning Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and many of the features that made Morrowind so successful are apparent in Oblivion. Like all the Elder Scrolls games, Oblivion takes place in the huge and detailed world of Tamriel, specifically in the capital province of Cyrodiil and the demonic plane of Oblivion. The Elder Scrolls games have always been about self-guided adventure, and Oblivion continues this. There are bandits, abandoned forts, ruins, and many other things sitting in the unmapped wilderness, and the only way to find them is to explore. One of the complaints with Morrowind was that it was too open, and the main quest did not play a large enough role. From what I've seen, Oblivion tries to change this without losing the original aspect of adventure. The game throws you into the plotline right from the start, and you aren't at a loss for what to do. Another very nice feature is the ability to try out different classes and weapons in the tutorial before having to choose a class. If you don't like some choices you've made, you can redo them before entering the main world. The gameplay is excellent, and combat is more interesting than Morrowind's button-mashing but still simple enough to learn.
The thing I haven't mentioned so far is the graphics. Incredible. That's about the only way to describe it. Oblivion is the best-looking RPG ever released. Not only that, but it can still run pretty well on a mid- to high-end system. Be sure to check the system requirements before buying it. I'm running it on a 2.0ghz Athlon 64 with a gig of RAM and a Radeon X800XL with pretty high settings and a ~25fps framerate, to give you an idea. It will definitely benefit from a ultra-high-end card, but it isn't required. The one graphics issue I have with the game is that the high-quality environments only appear close to you, so you see bushes and trees appearing from nowhere as you approach. Oblivion uses the Havok engine, which means that most things in the world can be thrown, hit, or most other things you can think of. This isn't true for everything, but it's pretty impressive to shoot an arrow and see an effect when it hits. As far as music and sound go, I've always liked the music for the Elder Scrolls games, and that's true for Oblivion. The sound effects are appropriate and they don't get too annoying. Also, every dialogue has a voiceover. That's right, every dialogue. If you've played Morrowind, you know how much that is. Everybody has something to say, and they say it.
My recommendation: If you have an XBox 360 or a decent PC and you like RPGs, buy this game. Even if you don't normally like RPGs but you liked Grand Theft Auto, give it a try. It's the same type of open world.
The only negatives I can say about this game so far are the relatively high system requirements and a few changes that I don't like from Morrowind, but neither of those diminishes the overall success. Bethesda should congratulate themselves on a job well done, and you should spend a hundred or more hours of your life playing Oblivion.

Disclaimer: I will update this post if I find anything later in the game that conflicts with what I've said.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Official: Dell acquires Alienware



Dell has officially acquired Alienware for an undisclosed amount. According to the Yahoo article:
"Alienware Will Operate as a Wholly Owned Subsidiary Under Existing Management
"

Basically, what this means is that Alienware will operate just like it is right now but Dell will own them (gaming reference) and basically provide the paychecks and roll in the profits.

Alienware is a top-of-the-line company that delivers high-end gaming PCs and Laptops.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Google Finance up for Trading


Google Finance is now officially open. Of course, like with all new Google services, it is in beta. The first thing that you notice is how god-awfully bland the front page is. Yahoo's Finance page has a spectacular front Finance page in comparison to Google Finance.

Like that old 90's Toyota Camry, the exterior isn't great but under the hood it's pretty dang nice.

First, what I noticed is that you don't have to go through the horrible symbol lookup that you have to with some other Finance sites. Basically, if you type in Google you get Google. If you type in Apple you get Apple without having to know the GOOG or AAPL.

Also, there is built-in AJAX into this thing which is just wonderful. You can scroll around the stock's history without having to constantly upload etc. Basically, it has the scroll that you get from Google Maps for the stock's history.

Also, it has got some nice peek-a-boo links. Of course that is not the Tech term for it but it is just what I like to call them. When you scroll over certain links such as the company leaders then you get a little extra info peeking out.

Overall it is a good product and I personally am going to switch to it and I give it my thumbs up.

Vista delayed until 2007


Windows Vista gets another new feature? No. Vista gets Aero finally? No. Well then that means Vista finally is going to be completely safe, secure, and the best browser. Right? NO. Well then what does Vista get?

Delays. Even more delays. Vista has been delayed until January of 2007. Previous to this delay it was slated just before the holiday season.

Don't be surprised if Vista has another delay up its sleeve.

All it means is that narf and blanka have to wait a little bit longer before they hack it and put it on a Mac.

Win XP on a Mac


Alright folks it has been done. Windows XP is now on a Mac. Of course not officially but with a great little tutorial you can do it. The link is here.

The coders narf and blanka were the ones that came up with the solution and basically you have to make a custom XP install disc and then you have to repartition your Mac and put XP on the other half of your hard drive. The tricky part is that XP does not run on EFI. It runs on BIOS which basically complicates the whole thing.

The whole process is about 95% automated but do not try it if you have n00b in blood because you will fail and screw up your Mac.

You will need Windows XP to create the install disc and also the current solution is in beta right now so there are still a lot of kinks to work out. Also, there aren't a lot of drivers but there has been a huge community that has sprung up so hopefully it will get done soon.

Finally though, you can put XP on a Mac! Hip Hip Hooray for narf and blanka

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

iTunes to offer Madness

iTunes will soon roll out with condensed versions of the NCAA March Madness games. In partnership with CBS, iTunes will offer these games for just $1.99 or you can get all 63 games with the new Multi-Pass for just $19.99.

Hopefully this leads to future CBS shows on iTunes.

Monday, March 13, 2006

France tells iTunes to open up or Shut up


The French government is now pushing through a law that will require Apple Computers to open up the DRM on iTunes' songs or else! This will enable users to download an iTunes song and then legally convert that song into any format they please. Also, it would make software to do such a task legal, and it would make the process completely legal.

For this to happen Apple has to open up the AAC format so that users can convert the songs.

Apple currently has no comment on the situation. It is possible that Apple could shut down its iTunes France branch.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Guide: How to add a DiggIt and Del.icio.us button to blogger

For many bloggers out there the most concerning thing related to your blog is traffic. To help generate traffic there are two great tools out there that you can use. One is Del.icio.us and the other is Digg. For those of you that don't know what either does then just Google it to find out.

Both can help drive in users to your site which is great. Only problem is how do you make it easy to get your visitors to use the two?

Well after searching for different ways to do this I couldn't find a solution that would work with blogger. After discovering some different methods for other services I decided to tinker with the code and eventually I got it to work. Here is how you can put some quick and easy links to help out your visitor:
_________________________________________________

First, the way this code will work is that it will take your reader to the site and automatically insert in some information such as the article link and title making it easier for them to digg or tag your site. Because of this you need to put it where the links will show up under each and every post.

Go to ----> Edit Template. Next scroll down and find your bar that has the comments button and your name and link on it.

Scroll past --->
/*
-----------------------------------------------
Blogger Template Style
Name: Rounders 3
Designer: Douglas Bowman
URL: www.stopdesign.com


Keep going until you see a code that looks like this:
<p>
<$BlogItemBody$>
</p>

</div>

<p class="post-footer">
<em>By: <$BlogItemAuthorNickname$><a href="<$BlogItemPermalinkUrl$>" title="permanent link">Permalink</a></em>
<BlogItemCommentsEnabled>

Should be about half-way down the page although it will change for everyone.
Right before "<BlogItemCommentsEnabled>" just enter in:

<a href="http://digg.com/submit?phase=3&url=<$BlogItemPermalinkUrl$>" Title="Submit To Digg" target="_blank">DiggIt!</a>

<a href="http://del.icio.us/post?url=<$BlogItemPermalinkUrl$>&title=
<$BlogItemTitle$>" Title="Del.icio.us" target="_blank">Del.icio.us</a>

Please note that the code above is two seperate codes. One for Digg and the other for Del.icio.us. They should be put in one right below the other. Also, I suggest that you make both one line of code. So the digg code would be just one line of code and the del.icio.us code would be just one line of code.

Also, if you want the two links to be seperated by a "|" then just add "nbsp;|& nbsp;" wherever you want it.

Here is what the final product will look like:



Enjoy! P.S. if you do choose to use this guide then could you at least link somewhere on your site to this specific post so everyone in the blogger world will have it! Thanks!


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Daily Show & Colbert Report in iTunes!


The Daily Show and the Colbert Report have recently been added to iTunes.

Now why would you pay $1.99 for a Daily Show episode that is only 20 minutes long when you could just get Lost or some other show? Well you don't have to.

Apple has come up with the "Multi-Pass" system. Basically, you pay $9.99 for 16 episodes. So say I were to go in and buy an episode right now. I would just pay $9.99 up front and they would give me the latest episode. Then for the next 15 new episodes to be released they will be automatically downloaded to my computer.

This system is in effect right now for the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Origami Pics


New Origami pics are out and official. Origami is like a tablet device that is designed by Microsoft and has been really hyped by the WWW. Personally, I think it looks like something out of the 80s and not something from the 21st century. It is just so bland. The black isn't even the glossy black that you now see. It just looks like the ragged old black from an old PC case. O well, you be the judge.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Video Ipod Video

This is pretty hard to argue with...

EDIT: The TechWrap has learned that this is a fake video.



Also, a pretty good looking pic of a supposed "iPod AV"


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Video iPod Rumored Pics




Take these photos with a grain of salt no matter how good they look. Just thought it was interesting and wanted to share. Also, note at the pic below the little display next to the click wheel does not gel with previous iPod model looks.





Saturday, March 04, 2006

Funny Video: Steve Jobs on Microsoft

Occasionally, everyone once in a while there is always a funny tech video that pops up on the web. I've decided to make a series of this videos and just post them here for you to video.

The post for today:

Not to spread any propoganda or anything (well maybe just a little) but I found this funny video (or at least I thought it was) of Steve Jobs talking about Microsoft. Whether you're a Mac addict or a Winboy you should like this:



Tags: , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 02, 2006

New real VIDEO iPod??

According to ThinkSecret, "Apple's forthcoming "true" video iPod will feature a 4-inch display with a quarter-inch border, allowing the device to maintain dimensions typical of previous iPods, further sources have confirmed."

Click the title for a long artice but that basically sums it up.

iTunes Movie Store


If interested by the picture then click the title and it'll take you to the article. Sorry guys, too many articles today....

Free ABC shows!


Walt Disney Co. is expanding the availability of its hit broadcast network shows via Web site ABC.com as part of its plans to create “the network of the future.” Company CEO Bob Iger gave details of the soon to launch product called My ABC which will provide consumers with the opportunity to download hit ABC shows free of charge.

Bear Stearns conference
Speaking at the Bear Stearns media conference in Florida this week, Mr. Iger said: “Mike Shaw [ABC president ad sales and marketing] announced today we are going to take a product to market in May. Viewers will have the ability to access shows such as “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” on ABC.com. They will be ad supported, free to the consumer.” Ads that accompany the video offering would not necessarily be the same as those that appeared alongside ABC’s hit programming, he said.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Week at the Opera: Finale


Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I stand before you here today trying two different internet browsers. On one hand we have the Firefox browser and on the other we have the Opera browser. Now throughout the course of this series I detailed many different positives and negatives of Opera in comparison to Firefox.

Let me list the different characteristics of Opera.

Positives:
  • Address bar panel
  • Zoom
  • Wand
  • Sidebar
  • Lots of keyboard shortcuts
  • Voice
  • Good clean interface
  • No memory leaks
Negatives:
  • Cache
  • Not being able to post through blogger
  • Not as fast
  • RSS reader
  • No standard Ctl+T for Tabs
  • Voice not technologically up there yet
  • Not as great of a community as in extensions and skins
The Opera browser is an amazing browser but does however need some tweaking. I absolutely love some of the things that it brings to the table such as voice which really is a good foundation for the future.

As you know the reason for this experiment was because I hated the Firefox memory leaks. When I first started this series I honestly thought that I would give it a shot but in the end go back to Firefox. Opera, to its credit, has made it extremely difficult for me to think so.

For me I live off RSS feeds and speed. Those, however, are the two things that Opera is lacking. I've decided to stick with Firefox HOWEVER if Opera were to fix these two problems than I would jump at them in a heartbeat.

The Opera browser really is a great browser. I love it, however, I love Firefox more. The reason for the speed differences may be my internet's fault. Everyone has different types of internet and my happens to time out a lot. Theoretically, speed may not even be a Opera problem just my problem.

I noticed from some of the comments that some people do prefer the Opera RSS way of doing feeds. I think Opera should allow you to switch between the two to make the experience even better.

I just would like to say thank you to everyone that followed the TechWrap's first ever series and I just hoped you enjoyed reading it as much as I loved doing it.

Final Verdict: Firefox