Battlestar Propaganda Posters: So Say We All

via geeksugar — Geek is chic. by geeksugar on 3/31/08

My BSG obsession has hit an all time high now that I’ve not only re-watched the third season, but have also seen the ten webisodes (did you know about these!?) and checked out the movie Battlestar Galactica: Razor (spoilers if you haven’t seen all three seasons!). So it would be fitting that I scoop up one of these BSG Propaganda Posters ($30) just in time for the season four premiere this Friday. Thanks to Petty Officer Calamari for bringing these to my attention, I’ll be prepared and my apartment will be fully dressed for the BSG party I’m planning on April 4.

Coming together in a pack of five, these posters – officially approved by Laura Roslin, of course – are made of heavy duty 100 pound satin paper and are a whopping 22-inches by 17-inches wide, for maximum viewage. This is no joke people, this is war. We can use all the soldiers we can get.

Microsoft Joins Forces With Top Social Networking Sites

via geeksugar — Geek is chic. by geeksugar on 3/31/08

Microsoft may have missed the mark on their Parental Street Cred Videos, but we’ll let it slide this time since they’ve just launched some great new services that are sure to make our lives a bit easier. Thanks to On 10, I’ve just learned that Microsoft has partnered with LinkedIn, Facebook, Bebo, Hi5 so users can easily import their Windows Live contacts into these sites. Utilizing Microsoft’s Windows Live Contacts API, you can now go to sites like Bebo or Facebook and see all your friends — kinda like what Adium and Pidgin did for chat, except with social networking sites.

Not only that, but Microsoft has just introduced a new website called Invite2messenger where people can invite their friends from these “partner social networks” to join their Windows Live Messenger contact list.

OK Microsoft, I take back everything I said about your street cred videos!

Large Hadron Collider Won’t Destroy Earth. Of Course Not, say Scientists

via Gizmodo by Kit Eaton on 3/31/08

Contrary to the somewhat feverish claims laid out in an recent lawsuit, when our favorite particle-smashing, Force-finding Large Hadron Collider is switched on soon it will not result in the destruction of life as we know it. Such claims are “complete nonsense” say the scientists at CERN, in response to the suit. They should know: it’s their machine, they designed it and they’ve been telling everyone for a while that their research shows it’s safe.

The lawsuit filed by a group of Hawaii residents is alleging that not enough safety checks have been made by CERN to prevent disaster when the LHC goes live in the coming weeks. It may “create unsafe conditions of physics” which may have disastrous effects. How? Well, you may imagine a micro black hole gobbling up everything unstoppably, while a strangelet (a hypothetical clump of particles including strange quarks) may run amok converting all nearby matter into strange matter, also wrecking the Earth.

James Gillies, a CERN spokesman, suggests this is rubbish in this response to the New Scientist: “The LHC will start up this year, and it will produce all sorts of exciting new physics and knowledge about the universe.” It’s no threat at all, he says: “A year from now, the world will still be here.” The LHC is actually designed to probe the boundaries of physics, and while a 2003 safety study did conceed that micro black holes or magnetic monopoles may be formed, they would be short-lived and offer no threat.

CERN physicists will be talking about safety in an open house discussion on April 6. [New Scientist]

Comcast stomping HDTV signals to fit three channels into the space of two

via DVICE by Charlie White on 3/31/08


No sooner had Comcast relented on its BitTorrent spoofing scandal than we see the company cutting corners elsewhere, now compressing HDTV shows so much that blocky noise is plainly visible on most of its HDTV channels. The company’s doing this to fit three HD channels into a space occupied by two just a few weeks ago.

The eagle eyes at AV Science Forum compared Comcast HDTV images with the same frames received over competing video service Verizon FiOS, and demonstrated a readily apparent drop in quality of the Comcast signal over the past few weeks. Apparently Comcast hopes none of its viewers will notice the reduced picture quality, and will be more impressed with the increased quantity of HD channels.

We’re wondering if Time Warner isn’t compressing its signals a bit more, too, because when watching the CBS coverage of March Madness basketball this weekend, we noticed a lot of suspiciously grainy-looking HDTV. So is HDTV picture quality going the way of cell phone sound — with companies stomping on the quality as much as they can get away with? Anyone else notice this? Follow the link below for more damning evidence.

via AV Science Forum

LG Vu further slides into view

via Engadget Mobile by Ryan Block on 3/30/08

Those eagerly anticipating the LG Vu now have a little more to go by — at least visually, anyway. The specs floating around jibe with everything we’ve heard, and apparently include a nice 3-inch 400 x 240 display. Head on over to Phone Arena for more.

Ofcom gives cellphone use on planes the big thumbs way, way up

via Engadget Mobile by Sean Cooper on 3/30/08

Prepare to be annoyed — well maybe prepare to prepare to be annoyed is more fitting — as Ofcom, the UK telecom regulator thinks flying and talking is fine for UK-registered aircraft. The technology will rely on a pico cell on the aircraft — that’s activated once the plane passes through 10,000 feet — that links you up to the rest of the telecom world via satellite. Of course, (un)fortunately roadblocks still exist, as any airlines that want on board will need to have any equipment installed on aircraft checked out by the European Aviation Safety Agency. We love all things cell, as some may have noticed, but we shudder a wee bit at the prospect of being stuck next to a loud talker for a long-haul international red-eye. Non-talking section anybody?


BlackBerry 9000 spotted in the wild – WiFi and HSDPA in enterprise

via IntoMobile by willpark on 3/30/08

BlackBerry 9000 in the wild - RIM likes iPhone style

The RIM BlackBerry 9000 was supposed to take the Canadian company’s push-emailing handset lineup to a whole new level. In the face of increased enterprise pressure from other handsets, like the iPhone, RIM has been a company to watch with their BlackBerry 9000.

So, it was a bit of a surprise when I first laid eyes on the BlackBerry 9000 in the wild. At the time, I didn’t know that it was the BlackBerry 9000. The device was only referred to as a new 3.5G BlackBerry that was going through its paces in RIM’s R&D labs. I speculated that the device could be the 9000, but alas, it was too early to put a metaphorical “period” on the matter. Now that said handset has been confirmed as the BlackBerry 9000, the device’s reveal is all just a bit anti-climactic.

BlackBerry 9000 in the wild - RIM likes iPhone styleThe device is curvy and sleek, something that can’t really be said for the rest of RIM’s smartphone lineup. The bezel is trimmed in iPhone-esque chrome and the screen looks nice and crisp. But, as much as the BlackBerry 9000 is an improvement over current BlackBerry design, it still lacks the stylish “oomph” that was widely expected from the BlackBerry 9000. The keyboard is more of the same from the BlackBerry lineup (if it ain’t broke…) and the 9000 makes use of the popular and, dare I say, “fun” little trackball that first made an appearance on the BlackBerry Pearl.

The revised slide-deck interface is a refreshing take on RIM’s tired menu/icon setup. More pizazz would have been nice, as would a larger display, but with HSDPA, WiFi, and GPS in tow, the BlackBerry 9000 should do just fine in the enterprise market.

I’ll take a 3G iPhone over the BlackBerry 9000 any day. RIM had better hope I’m one of the very few that see things the same way.

BlackBerry 9000 in the wild - RIM likes iPhone style

BlackBerry 9000 in the wild - RIM likes iPhone style

Align CenterBlackBerry 9000 in the wild - RIM likes iPhone style

[Via: Engadget Mobile]

Bungie brings back the SWAT

via Xbox 360 Fanboy by Xav de Matos on 3/28/08

Red team go! Bungie has announced that they will be reactivating Team SWAT for Double XP this weekend in Halo 3 social matchmaking after the original playlist was removed last week. Beginning at today at 2PM PST and ending on at 2AM PST on Monday. In order to balance the playlists Team Hardcore has been removed to make way for the upcoming MLG playlist that is set to go live as soon as the Double XP weekend ends on Monday. Time to get tactical folks!

[Thanks to everyone and their dog for sending this in!]

Gamerscore cheaters get punished and branded

via Xbox 360 Fanboy by Dustin Burg on 3/25/08

Fresh from his much deserved vacation, Major Nelson sends word that last night, Microsoft dealt with Gamerscore cheaters / boosters with a highly concentrated dose of punishment.

Those gamers who Microsoft targeted as being the greatest Gamerscore abusers have just had their entire Gamerscore wiped to a more appropriate 0GS. This wipe also prevents abusers from being able to go back and earn Gamerscore from already unlocked achievements, but they’ll still be able to live a pure life and earn new achievements in the future. But we have to say the best punishment of all is the fact that all Gamerscore cheaters will now carry a mark of shame (seen above) that’s branded on the cheater’s Gamercard. How fashionable. You can learn more about the punishment, how cheaters are targeted and what goes down over on Also, be sure to heckle anyone you see sporting the mark of shame. Give it to ’em good, make ’em cry!

Fast is better than slow

via Official Google Mobile Blog by Lawrence Chang on 3/19/08

By Robert Hamilton, Product Manager, Google mobile team

A few weeks ago, we launched a plug-in for Symbian devices that put a Google search shortcut onto the phone’s home screen. This shortcut reduces the time it takes for you to get answers from Google by eliminating the initial search steps (e.g. finding the browser application, opening it, and navigating to before entering your query). The same plug-in has been available for BlackBerry devices since last December. Today, we’re making this available for Windows Mobile devices too.

If you’re a Windows Mobile user, browse to on your device to download the plug-in and start searching faster than ever. Once you do, we think you’ll find it so much faster and easier that you’ll start conducting more mobile web searches than you ever had before. How do we know this? Well, when we look at the combined usage numbers for BlackBerry and Symbian versions of this plug-in, we see that users are able to get Google search results up to 40 percent faster. And, BlackBerry and Symbian users with the plug-in installed search 20 percent more than those without it.

We saw something similar after we launched an updated interface for Gmail on the iPhone during MacWorld earlier this year. Lots of iPhone users tried the new interface (hence the bump in Gmail pageviews between January and February), but they didn’t stick around like we hoped they would. Over the course of the next few weeks, we made some tweaks to drastically improve the speed of the product, and Gmail pageviews on the iPhone not only stabilized, but began to rise, as the graph below shows:

This link between increased usage and a faster user experience — be it search or mobile Gmail — reinforces something we at Google have known for a long time: Fast is better than slow. With mobile applications, we’re seeing that fast is much better than slow. Although this may seem pretty intuitive, it’s always nice to see new data backing this up. Moving forward, we’ll continue to focus on bringing you the fastest and most compelling mobile experiences that we can. So stay tuned!