The action packed, technology advanced and attractive TV show 24 has finally arrived. I was the fan of the show since 4 years ago. And I am once again intrigued by the pictures this time. After a long delay because of writers’ strike last year and the recent burnt down of the 24 set in the Universal Studio LA, the first 4 episodes have finally arrived at the beginning of 2009.
I am a fan of technology, so I was constantly seeking what the new changes are from last seasons, let’s use some shots from Episode 1 and 2 to illustrate the point
1.A Large Touchscreen! It seems that after Apple has popularized multitouch with its iPhone and Jeff’s multitouch demo at TED, these touchy device starts to get very popular, even CNN were using them.
Touchscreen on TV Monitor
2.Dell. I can’t say if there are more dells visible in the scene, but those giant words definitely popped right at my eyes!
3.Apple Cinema Display, no more iMacs, no more. There are no more iMacs running some kinda of customized operating system (it might be purely VFX, who knows), instead, they have placed only Apple Cinema Display there to show the schematic.
Apple Cinema Display running Vista
4.Windows Vista Everywhere We can from nearly all the shots I captured here have some Vista imprint. Some are for sure windows vista operating system, some might be a vfx effect, but nevertheless, it might the cost of Microsoft Vista’s adversiting budget into this.
After Touched the Screen
Field Monitor - Vista on the right
You can watch the TV series through the Fox On Demand, if you know how.
I came across this chart on the Internet today, which explains the popularity of the different social networking services around the globe. The accuracy of this chart might be in doubt, but the data still has interesting data for me to muse on.
Japan, Netherlands, Poland and Russia has its own dominating social networking website ( China has xiaonei.com as the primary one)
None of American social networking websites was popular is Japan and Russia.
Yahoo ditched the Mesh, while maintaining 360º , for it is still popular in 5 out of the 17 places mentioned.
Google is still losing to Yahoo in India market
One more thing as one of the most discussed topics in the web:
Chrome, the Google Browser is out, after using it for a while and reading the making of Google Chrome, I realize one thing this browser is best for: Surfing all Google Product Website – Google Reader, Google Email, Google Calendar. Simply perfect. For the rest of the web, Rocks.
After talking with the HP product manager Daniel for TouchSmart IQ500 in Singapore, and tried first hand on the set. I’ve discovered that there are 10 things you might not be aware of HP TouchSmart through merely looking at the Ads or some online review, here they are:
No Apple-like multi-touch yet, which means no pinch to zoom nor three fingers to go back, but the multi-touch screen is designed to be object-sensitive rather than pressure-sensitive, so you can actually use your fountain pen to write on the screen.
The native screen resolution is 1680 * 1050, which means you can view HD1080p with large amount of pleasure due to its clarity because of many pixels are present, but you can’t take the advantage of the full resolution of 1080p because it still lacks quite a number of pixels according to that.
The keyboard and mouse came with the computer are both wireless. To me they feel just alright comparing with those magnificent ones on my MacBook Pro and my Logitech DeNovo Edge. And the wireless duo doesn’t come with a dock + charging station like that of DeNovo Edge – Yes, you need to replace the battery.
Don’t eat KFC and play with the screen at the same time! the screen is not oil-proof, though it could resist a certain amount of normal grease on your fingertips.
The PC comes with a remote control, which is designed for Windows Media Center rather than the HP TouchSmart Center, which is the piece of software HP developed for this TouchSmart PC.
TouchSmart Center can’t do TV, nor could it easily help you to transfer photos from your memory card to computer just yet. And yeah, you can’t delete the photos or videos through the interface either, which might be a good thing for people who like to press the X button all the time.
The plainly washed white and bright ambient light makes me want to buy a nice lava lamp and put beside the PC to create some nice ambience instead
They are many pieces of pre-installed software on the PC. Many are quite useful, unlike that of Sony. But for that many games installed, you have only 4 free credits to play, so pay more to play them all.
HP software does not use the native resolution, which causes screen to flick and computer to hang for a period when switching out of the TouchSmart center program using Alt+Tab
Vista still hangs now and then, and many applications take a while to start.
And here are the ten things you might know about:
HP produces some of the best Ads in the market today, including a nicely composed tune
The product looks really nice from afar, a giant photo frame sitting there.
You can use your stylus to write on the screen and play ink ball with your thumbdrive
Playing Solitaire and BeJeweled with fingers are really neat with friends together, a multi-user hot-seat scenario.
Coverflow on the machines is nicer than that of Apple, there is more context visible when spreading like a fan instead of vertically stacked.
You can watch TV on your desktop without bothering to buy TV cards and install them
They have wooping 4G RAM pre-installed to use on the system
It runs a 64-bit Windows Vista!
Telling Mom how to use the computer has never been easier, MA, just use you hand to press that red button!
It has built-in audio and video recording capability, you can do audio notes and voice memo easily.
Check it out for yourself when this coming July, you just find the perfect PC to sit in your living room.
PS: I think Apple’s iMac 24 inch’s look is cool comparing with this as well, but it lacks the Touch function and many more. And there are manyreviewsoutthere, if you will, take a look at them as well. But you really gota touch this HP TouchSmart IQ500 first to experience for yourself.
If Last.FM is the music meta browser, then Toluu is the RSS feed meta browser.
On the profile page, it displays all the RSS feeds you are subscribing to currently (I imported all my RSS feeds through Google Reader’s OPML export function), all the contacts of yours and some really great feeds(regardless if you have subscribed to them or not)
On clicking on each single feed, you can see recent posts in the feed, what popular posts are, as well as how many people have subscribed to this feed in Toluu.
One more thing about Toluu is that when clicking on one of your contact, you are able to see how many feeds do you have in common, which is kind of fun if both of us are feed junkies.
If you want an invite as well, send me a direct message d dusenyao on Twitter with your email address and name.
Windows Search 4.0 has just released to the public, here are some of my first impressions. When downloading the software from Microsoft Website from the new Opera 9.5 , it shows it requires Silverlight to download the piece of software, so I have to switch to IE based software Maxthon to download the .exe file.
It takes a while to install the application. After which it displays a search bar at the bottom of the screen, as well as a button in the tray to pause indexing etc.
And clicking in the text field will pop up a menu like this, unlike the big fat Google Desktop search bar which displays a huge truck in the middle of the screen.
Previous version of the Windows Desktop Search didn’t do too much good as it slows down my computer too much sporadically, which is annoying.
The newer version of Windows Desktop Search works with Office 2007, as the component indexing for Outlook and OneNote. The experience so far as I am using it is that I feel the searching speed is fast, comparable with that of Spotlight on my Leopard.
I am going to keep it around for a while until it slows down my computer again.
My MacBook Pro + Nokia E61i phone for a while, and some of them I find particularly useful:
Home Zone : If you have used “Proximity” before, this is an advanced, more polished version. It creates different zones using wireless base stations, bluetooth device as well as ethernet addresses. Any changes to these three components will cause the application to perform some actions, like running an AppleScript, a shell script, or even a C program. I use this piece of software to lock&unlock my computer in conjunction with BluePhoneElite.
BluePhoneElite : First of all, this is still a piece of buggy software. Sometimes it crashes internally and quit running, sometimes it could not recover when the bluetooth connection to my phone is disrupted, and sometimes the single one of the important features of the software: the talk-through function is not functioning. That feature allows me to the handsfree profile from the phone and let it connect to my computer as the transceiver in the car. I was only able to manage to get it running now by first disabling all the services in the phone and then enabling them. But still, when my phone reboots, it is frustrating, I have to run through all the sequences again. Nevertheless, I love to use it more and more everyday to process my SMS and calls in the office without even pulling my phone out from my pocket.
OmniFocus & OmniOutliner: These are the two essential tools for me to manage my projects. They help me clear my thinking and arrange my work in order. OmniFocus has implemented the GTD concept, where I can file different actions I have thought of into an inbox and categorize them accordingly to different projects I have in hand. And I use OmniOutliner to sort out my thinking related to one problem in the project, listing all the aspects and the corresponding actions to those aspects, with all kinds of sub-points to support main argument
Afloat : I totally love this application, it is a very concise application that manages most of the window effects in my MacOSX. I do a lot of programming job, and I would love to see my console floating on top of the all the things I run at the background, perhaps with a little transparency to see what is going on at the background.
Not very long time ago (about 40 days, as I counted, for I fasted from Facebook for 40 days), there were just numerous invitations of Facebook applications. I could still remember the time when I logon to my Facebook account, frowning at the number of application requests at the right-hand column. Even after I tried hard adding all the possible applications online (you can click to all my applications in the following snapshot, but from the sheer length of this snapshot, you know how many things I have there), I could still receive over 20+ requests everyday. I had no idea why I still received those requests, and I still have no idea about the mechanism they used.
With the recent addition of the “Ignore All” option for me, the job of clearing away all the requests become much much simpler, what I’ll do it just to remove those applications requests and then look through the event invitation and friends invitation one by one.
I know that is certainly not the best way of handling requests in life, but I think so far it has worked out really well for me. I am still able to explore all the events, friend relationships and wall posts through my newsfeed, which itself is a great application by far leading the rest of social networking sites by a large margin.
Still I am not satisfied, because there are indeed great Facebook application written over the time, but buried under tons of other junks written for trial and fun. I want to discover and use those applications and use them properly in order to maximize the potential of the platform. Weighted ratings like those on IMDB might work, but again, starting with 20040 applications is not quite easy, but I guess they have already begun the work on it.
But recent discoveries of mine show that they are fewer and fewer application requests from people, as well for the notifications. My question now is rather:
Are people getting gradually bored of the Facebook application, or Facebook has started massive “weeding out junk” movement?
(The sadness in the new media communication today)
That day is not far from reality, says Microsoft Photosynth. This is a brand new service Microsoft is building, the aim of which is to stitch all the photos taken in the world together (from flickr, photobucket, etc.) to form one big picture where each part consists of photos taken by someone in the world.
First demonstrated in TED 2007, powered by Seadragon technology, Photosynth in undoubtedly my favorite photo browsing experience on the Internet so far. I love to see adjacent photo being combined to form a huge 3d collection, it’s like a panoramic photo in 3D without human interference(or the minimum).
It looks something like this:
is the first big corporation to endorse this idea, so together with Microsoft Research, they’ve built a collection of future photography for you to view, check it out and you’ll be amazed how Artificial Intelligence has advanced up to today’s standard.
Microsoft Surface? Cool enough, but that all are wireless with bar codes is killing me
Palm Foleo? Well, I love it, but the price tag has set up the barrier.
Apple iPhone? Somebody tell me if it’s gonna work in Singapore.
By the way, check out Microsoft Lab, they do have interesting projects which you will see in 5 years’ time (Vista SP2? )