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Saturday, January 26, 2008 

Show #66

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[Download Show #66 as MP3]

News
  • Sun Buys MySQL
    • (Sun / NASDAQ: JAVA) The acquisition accelerates Sun's position in enterprise IT to now include the $15 billion database market. Today's announcement reaffirms Sun's position as the leading provider of platforms for the Web economy and its role as the largest commercial open source contributor.
    • LAMP
    • The Price? 1 billion dollars, with a "B", or nine zeros -- in total "consideration"
    • MySQL development community standing behind the purchase
    • However the sector is not:
      • Potentially a disaster for the entire sector.
      • In perspective:
        • It's the most competitive and biggest threat to Oracle Corp., if for no other reason than it's cheaper, and in many applications, more practical.
        • It's used extensively by the open-source community and is the engine that runs almost all the blogging software -- including the successful WordPress, which is used as the blogging-content back end for the New York Times, among other large commercial enterprises. Google Inc. (GOOG) and Yahoo! Inc (YHOO) use MySQL.
      • From a different perspective:
        • You have to wonder why MySQL was sold in the first place and who orchestrated this deal.
        • If anyone actually knew that MySQL was up for grabs, I expect that Google, Yahoo and certainly Microsoft Corp. would have been interested.
        • There should have been a publicized bidding war resulting in a much higher price than $1 billion
        • Part of this silence stems directly from the fact that MySQL is a Swedish company, and heaven forbid the Swedes announce their intentions or do anything that would appear flamboyant or be interpreted as (gasp) bragging!
      • Conclusion:
        • Oracle probally wanted to buy MySQL to kill the product
        • They can't pull that stunt off alone, it would be too obvious, especially to European Union regulators.
        • Sun and Oracle have been strategic partners for years.
        • Sun cannot actually afford to spend a $1 billion on a company producing a mere $60 million in revenue and working outside its core competencies.
        • So who can afford it? Oracle, that's who. This deal stinks from top to bottom.
      • Good News:
        • The only good news is that since MySQL is an open-source initiative, an immediate development fork will occur with a new open-source relational database appearing within a year or two, based on aspects of the original code.
        • The original MySQL will simply vanish over time, along with Sun's billion. Exactly how painful this transition will be for current users of MySQL remains to be seen.
          As far as anything good happening from the Sun acquisition, I don't see it, except for the shareholders of Oracle.
  • Rock Band & Guitar Hero Drive Digital Song Sales
    • http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSN1934632220080120?rpc=64
    • 2.5 million songs downloaded
    • and rock bands only been out... what 2 months now?
    • over 5 mill sold for guitar hero 3 since early november
    • BUT took four months to sell 1 million regular music tracks
    • basically most americans would rather pay more for a game than a song
  • Yahoo Throws Some Weight Behind OpenID
    • Yahoo! Implements OpenID
    • Public Beta January 30th
    • Today only 120M OpenIDs, with Y! joining their 250M that number is roughly 3X more
    • Plaxo and JanRain will start allowing the new OpenID signins Jan 30th
  • This Tech Job's Paycheck is a Steal...Literally
  • Wikipedia Gets Videos
    • I have not used Wikipedia enough to know they didn't have videos before but I can't imagine them ignoring the boom of video on the Internet
    • There are plenty of things that are more easily described using a video instead of just written information or printed pictures
    • Wikipedia is working with a video service called Kaltura to make this happen...You can check out a demo site at wiki educator .org
    • plus eventually these videos can be created and edited by anyone
    • so the site will remain truly collaborative
  • Picnik Flash Image Editor
    • Cool Flash-based (that means in your web browser) image editor
    • Tweak your photos
    • Add special effects

Techie Educational Materials
  • WikiEducator.org
    • WikiEducator is a dynamic and exciting community of educators who believe passionately that learning materials should be free and open to all.
    • And it's FREE, our favorite price.
  • O'Reilley Sufari
    • An eBook library focused on IT professionals and programmers
    • O'Reilly, Pierson, Microsoft,
    • $23.99/mo or $252.99/yr for a 10-slot virtual bookshelf*
    • $42.99/mo or $472.89/yr for unlimited access*
    • To subscribe or see current rates, you should go here.
  • Books 24x7
    • $695/yr*
      • AnalystPerspectives
    • $459/yr*
      • ITPro
      • EngineeringPro
      • HospitalityPro
      • BusinessPro
      • FinancePro
    • $90/yr*
      • OfficeEssentials
    • To subscribe or see current rates, you should go here.
*prices shown are at time of press

Software / Hardware / Power Web Picks
  • Get your Yahoo! Mail in a standard e-mail client
  • iPod Nano circa 1970s a.k.a. Nanoscope (Hardware / Gizmodo)
    • Remember those old slide viewers?
  • CarTorrent
    • I didn't have enough time to cover this as much as I wanted to on the show
    • Toyota and BMW are backing this project
    • The wireless network would allow moving vehicles within 100 metres and 300 metres of each other to connect and create a network with a wide range. The network would then allow drivers to download information from internet access points simply by driving by, and then share that information with other cars on the road.
    • By far the most essential aspect of this network, though, is that it is not subject to memory, processing, storage and energy limitations like traditional sensor networks. Instead, it relies on the resources of the vehicle itself, along with those vehicles around it.
    • Under the scheme, cars would be able to use their onboard radios to exchange three categories of information: safe navigation (such as reporting on icy road conditions, traffic jams and possible collisions ahead), content distribution (locally relevant information, advertisements and videos of upcoming attractions) and urban surveillance (collecting information which could be used later by police for forensic investigations).
    • With costs currently estimated at around $500 per car for the implementation of the equipment required to connect to the network, drivers probably won't be clamouring to get the kit. Drivers enamoured with high-tech features will immediately embrace this technology. Probably a sizeable fraction of the population will be reluctant to embrace the technology at first. That, of course, could present a problem for the growth of CarTorrent: for as anyone who has tried using BitTorrent will know, there's no point in being the only person on a peer-to-peer network. Being the first car to use CarTorrent will be an expensive and pointless exercise. But like a telephone - and the internet - it's the sort of technology whose benefits will multiply rapidly as long as more people use it.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008 

Typing Speed Winners - keybr.com

[Download Show as MP3]
Looking for the last show's notes? Show #65


Power of Information Animated keybr.com Capture
Grand Prize: Me! (no errors, ~95 wpm)


Winner: Raynstarr (1 error, ~59 wpm)


Runner-Up: Bob the Code Builder (1 error, ~48 wpm)

Take a look at the show this contest was from, Show #64


Monday, January 21, 2008 

Show #65

[Download Show as MP3]


[Download Show #65 as MP3]

News
  • Universal Won't Support HD-DVD Exclusively
    • The end of the war is near: Hollywood insider Daily Variety has confirmed that Universal will no longer exclusively support HD DVD. Following Warner's defection to Blu-ray and reports on the clause that allows Paramount to publish Blu-ray titles too, the end of Universal's exclusivity deal may be one blow too many for HD DVD. However, Universal is not going to stop publishing movies in the latter format
    • According to Variety "Universal is committed to a series of HD DVD promotions in coming months." At this time, only Universal and Paramount support the format but no longer exclusively. Sony, Disney, Fox, Lionsgate, Warner, New Line and HBO are all behind Blu-ray. Variety also argues that, with all those studios behind the format, retailers won't dedicate "premium shelf space to a dying format."
  • Sony/BMG to Sell DRM-Free Tracks Through Amazon
    • Last week Michael told you that Sony was going DRM-Free
    • He also told you that they would not be selling those tracks online
    • Well Amazon has announced that they will have Sony/BMG tracks in their Mp3 Store by the end of January
  • Melinda Gates Gives Rare Interview
    • Now this is incredibly interesting because it highlights Melinda's accomplishments and sort of stacks her up next to Bill
    • When most people think of Bill Gates they think "most successful" or "highly intelligent" and with that sort of status- its easy to overshadown anyone.
    • But Melinda has done more than just be at his side and raise his children
    • The article shows how she has been a driving force in Bills life, filling the gaps where he was lacking; and even though they already have a foundation worth over 35 billion, they are both now spending more time than ever on philanthropic work (mainly because of her)
  • Music Industry's Last Stand Will be a Music Tax
    • It is becoming more and more difficult for the music industry to ignore the basic economics of the their industry: unenforceable property rights (you can’t sue everyone) and zero marginal production costs (file sharing is ridiculously easy). All the big labels have now given up on DRM. They haven’t yet given up on trying to charge for their music, but it’s becoming more and more clear that as long as there is a free alternative (file sharing), the price of music will have to fall towards free.
    • But before that happens, the music industry is going to make one last stand to preserve their “bloated bureaucracies.” And that is going to be a call for a music tax to create guaranteed revenues.
    • Nine Inch Nail's Trent Reznor called for it this past week, saying “I think if there was an ISP tax of some sort, we can say to the consumer, ‘All music is now available and able to be downloaded and put in your car and put in your iPod, and put up your ass if you want, and it’s $5 on your cable bill.’”
    • Michael's Article on Trent Reznor's Saul Williams experiment can be found here, Trent Reznor, NiggyTardust, & the ISP Music Tax
  • FCC looks into Comcast "delaying" BitTorrent Traffic
    • What is BitTorrent?
      • Its a software, a protocol, and the name of a company
      • Started in 2001
      • BitTorrent is a method of distributing large amounts of data widely without the original distributor incurring the entire costs of hardware, hosting and bandwidth resources. Instead, when data is distributed using the BitTorrent protocol, each recipient supplies pieces of the data to newer recipients, reducing the cost and burden on any given individual source, providing redundancy against system problems, and reducing dependence on the original distributor.
      • There are many programs that you can use to download torrents, here is a pretty comprehensive list.
    • Started in November by Net Neutrality Advocates
    • The Federal Communications Commission has officially opened a pair of rule-making proceedings over network management in the wake of the discovery that Comcast occasionally blocks some BitTorrent and other traffic (Comcast calls it "delaying"). The proceedings are not unexpected, seeing as how FCC Chairman Kevin Martin promised an investigation last week at the Consumer Electronics Show.
    • What can you do? If you're interested in weighing in on the rule-making proceeding, you can use the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (referencing WC Docket no. 07-52). The deadline for submitting comments is February 13, 2008, and replies are due on February 28.
  • While I'm at it: Comcast charging for service changes
    • $1.99 to add or change service!
  • Free Cell Phones from MySpace
    • MySpace is launching a free, ad-supported cell phone through its parent company News Corp.
    • The hope is to gain more advertising for mobile web sites. Fox will also be offering specialized mobile phones with versions for FoxSports, the gaming site IGN, AskMen and other local TV affiliates, as well as Photobucket , which will come later. With existing branded-options through At&T and Helio, MySpace has long been interested in gaining a large mobile audience. Now that the numbers have reached a good height, it’s only natural that an ad-supported mobile phone would be the next step for the large social network. Not to mention, MySpace is getting an early-mover advantage here over companies like Google.
    • MySpace Mobile Optimized thanks to partnership with T-Mobile
      • Back in October 2007
      • A custom version of MySpace: a new user interface that offers a centralized location for accessing new messages, friend requests and comments on the home page.
      • Navigation simplified.
      • Optimized for use on the Sidekick.
  • MacWorld 2008 Announcements
    • Numbers Game
      • iPhone
        • 4 million iPhones sold
        • 19.5% of Smartphone market, second only to RIM
      • iTunes
        • around 4 billion songs sold total to date
        • 20 million songs in one day (Christmas Day) new one-day record
        • 125 million TV shows sold
        • 7 million movies sold
        • way above competitors but did not meet expectations
    • New "Time Capsule" Airport Extreme with "Server Grade" hard drive (500GB & 1TB at $299 and $499), this is primarily so Time Machine (the automatic backup software in OSX 10.5) will work better on laptops
    • New iPhone updates, Google Maps with Location, Web Clips (think of Opera's Speed Dial function), and Lyrics. SMS Multiple people and customize your home screen
    • New iTouch Apps: Mail, Stocks, Notes, Weather, and Maps (20$ upgrade for existing users)
    • iTunes Movie Rentals with ALL major studios on board (Touchstone, Miramax, MGM, Lionsgate, Newline, FOx, WB, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Sony all on board)
      • Over 1000 movies (available 30 days after DVD release)
      • Watch anywhere (Macs, all current iPods, and iPhone)
      • Rules: 30 days to start watching, 24 hours to finish
      • Prices: Library titles: $2.99, New Releases: $3.99
      • Launched this week in the US, International coming later in the year
      • Firmware updates to iPods and iTunes forthcoming
    • New Apple TV released, no computer required
      • Rent movies on the Apple TV
      • DVD quality AND HD + Dolby 5.1
        • HD rentals are $4.99. 100 titles today
      • Podcasts = audio and video
      • Photos from Flickr & .Mac
        • Photo "Screensavers"
      • Sync with iTunes is still available
      • Music can be bought from the device as well
      • For existing Apple TV users, the software is a free upgrade and will be available in about 2 weeks
      • Apple TV price drop: entry price is now $229
    • Fox Movies introduces DVDs with iTunes compatible copies
    • New Notebook line: MacBook Air (aka "World's Thinnest Notebook")
      • The thickest part of the MacBook Air is thinner than the thinnest part of the Sony. It fits inside a envelope
      • Steve Jobs showed one on stage during the keynote and man is this thing small
      • 13.3 inch widescreen display
      • iSight is built-in
      • MacBook-like keyboard, but with an ambient light sensor
      • Multi-Touch Trackpad
      • 1.8" hard drive
      • 1.6Ghz default with a 1.8 option
        • Intel shrunk the Core 2 Duo by 60% for this device
        • "Thick as a nickel and as wide as a dime" - Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel
      • 2GB RAM Standard
      • 80GB standard drive or 64GB SSD ("pricey but fast")
      • 1 USB 2.0 port, Micro-DVI, Audio Out, 802.11n + Bluetooth 2.1/EDR
      • No optical drive, but a Superdrive accessory is available for $99. THere is also some software that allows you to "borrow" a Mac or PC's optical drive. Not sure how that works but I'm sure we'll see some reviews in the coming weeks
      • 5 hours of battery life
      • Price: $1799, shipping in 2 weeks
Software / Hardware / Power Web Picks
Security & Privacy
Gamer's Corner


 

Power of Information LIVE!

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Friday, January 11, 2008 

Show #64

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[Download Show #64 as MP3]

News
  • Apple & 20th Century Fox Sign iTunes Movie Rental Deal
    • There are numerous rumors going around the internet about Apple and Fox coming to a deal on iTunes Movie Rentals
    • This goes against Steve Jobs earlier desire to sell movies rather than rent them
    • While the feature of movie rentals within iTunes has been long requested, one wonders how it will be done and how it will be handled when it comes to iPods
    • We will know more next week after the MacWorld event that takes place this coming week
  • Sony/BMG Plans to Drop DRM
    • To quote the TechCrunch website, "Ding Dong the Music DRM Witch is Dead"
    • Early last week, Sony/BMG announced plans to go DRM Free on their digital music
    • They later explained the plans to sell cards at brick and mortar stores for DRM-Free tracks via a special website. Think iTunes cards but for DRM-Free Sony albums.
    • This means that the last of the top four record labels is going DRM-Free
    • What does this mean for us? Well we can not get just about every artist in DRM-Free Mp3 downloads
    • While it will probably take a while for all the catalogs from Sony/BMG and Warner to make it out to Amazon, this is still a major deal
    • The next step in squashing DRM? Movies & Television shows
  • Bill Gates introduces "Microsoft Surface," a virtual reality table
    • http://gizmodo.com/338568/gizmodos-most-popular-hits-of-2007
    • Uses computers and cameras to quickly respond to touch (like a giant iphone) which makes information and entertainment easier to use and quicker to access
    • Can set digital camera on it (wi-fi), files immediately show up on table screen with no extra software, cords
    • See them in restaurants first, where you will be able to order your food by touching the tables surface and even divide tickets, add up tips and pay your bill
    • It's really exciting b/c it shows how close we are to actually being able to design and use programs like (in that tom cruise movie "Minority Report"- not the 'seeing the future' part) the part where where an entire wall size area was completely interactive...almost like pulling the information out of thin air... and is used by companies for presentations and everyday work
  • Warner Bros. Goes Blu-Ray Exclusive
    • After this announcement was made, HD-DVD consortium canceled it's CES appearance.
    • New Line Cinema has announced that they will follow Warner Bros' and go with Blu-Ray exclusively

Software / Hardware / Power Web Picks
  • Spicebird - Mozilla Based Collaboration Outlook Killer
    • Everyone knows what Microsoft Outlook is
    • Several people know what Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird are
      • Mozilla Firefox is an open source desktop web browser
      • Mozilla Thunderbird is an open source desktop email client
    • Well some folks are working on a Mozilla based open source email client that will contain calendaring and task functionality in an attempt to bring about an open source Outlook like program
    • While one of these already exists in the Linux world (its called Evolution), this is something that is severely lacking on the Windows front.
    • However, I doubt that it will sync your calendar/contacts with your mobile device so until it can do that, it really will not "kill" outlook
  • Keybr.com
    • Improve your typing speed
  • Open Source Living
    • ke.
    • The folks over at the Open Source Living website are there to help you find the best piece of open source software to do what you need to do
    • The website is divided into sections for the different types of programs (Audio, Video, Web Development, Graphic & Photo, Content Management, and several more) so you can easily find the piece of software you are looking for
    • While this website does not offer a comprehensive list of applications, it is a great start and a nicely designed, easy to navigate, no frills website.

Gamer's Corner
Editorial ("Power Up")
  • Why Today's Music Sounds Like S**t
    • While surfing Digg, I found a link to an article that discusses why music today sounds horrible
    • No, this is not why there is so much bad music out there but rather about the fidelity and overall sound quality of music
    • Turns out that because more people are listening to their music on their iPods or other media players that the record labels are essentially forcing engineers to increase the volume of the masters and compress the overall tracks so that they "sound better" when converted to compressed audio files (ie Mp3 files)
    • It goes on to mention that because of this, we as consumers are suffering from ear fatigue more often because all music is mastered louder in general and so you no longer hear the highs and lows in the overall "experience" of the music. In other words, the "quiet" parts are still loud. We have lost the dynamics.
    • I think that this is a result of both the industry and the consumer not being overly educated.
      • I think that the consumer doesn't realize that encoding at the default iTunes values or even Windows Media Player values, leaves you with a low quality encoded track (usually 128bit)
      • The article mentions that to the average person, audio tracks encoded at high bit rates (around 224) are indistinguishable from the source CD audio. This is most definitely true.
      • As a result of this "bad learnin'" the customer is encoding at low quality rips and as a result the record companies are trying compensate.
    • This proves that the record industry has lost their way. Rather than focusing on the music and the dynamics inherit within that music, they are worried about a product.
      • Also, if the record companies would master the music for the CD and not worry about the digitally encoded tracks, they would have a better overall product
      • To top it off, if they did focus on mastering for the CD, the low quality rips that show up on MOST download sites would sound bad and people wouldn't want to download them
    • The article goes on to give examples and show graphical representations of several tracks help people understand how things have changed
    • Folks, if you are going to rip your music using iTunes or Windows media player, use the "High Quality" settings rather than the default settings. You want something that is at least 224kbps encoding to get a quality rip.


Saturday, January 5, 2008 

Show #63

[Download Show as MP3]


[Download Show #63 as MP3]

News
  • Warner Music Goes DRM-Free
    • Warner Music Group has announced that they will begin offering DRM-Free tracks via Amazon.com's Mp3 Store
    • DRM stands for Digital Rights Management and can limit how many copies and on what devices you can play a purchased music track
    • This means: EMI, Universal, and Warner all offer DRM-Free tracks leaving BMG/Sony the lone hold out.
    • This is a big deal for DRM-Free music, and it should mean that BMG/Sony isn't far behind
    • The Warner Group's announcement however does not make mention of releasing these DRM-Free tracks to other services like iTunes. So right now, it's Amazon only.
  • The RIAA's Target in 2008: You
    • So last year the RIAA won a court case that shook the grounds of the industry and the defendant ended up having to pay a large sum of money (they are currently in the appeal process)
    • However the RIAA's next target is anyone who takes a CD they have legally purchased and rips the tracks to their computer so they can listen to the track on their computer or iPod (or other portable digital device)
    • The RIAA lawyers are stating that digital rips of music from a CD that you have purchased are considered "unlawful"
    • The RIAA already has one case in court about this very issue.
    • Basically what this boils down to is that the RIAA wants you to buy a copy of every album/song for every type of use.
    • If the RIAA manages to win this case, it will totally change the concept of Fair-Use laws in this country
  • Wal-Mart Shuts Down Movie Download Service
    • On Dec. 22 of last year, Wal-Mart shut down their movie download service, however no one noticed until after Christmas
    • The service that launched in Feb. of 2007 offered Windows Media Files for download to PlayForSure devices
    • Not much information is given as to why they shut the service down, but it can probably be attributed to HP ending support for the technology that supported the service
  • Netscape Bows Out
    • AOL has announced they they will stop development on the Netscape Navigator web browser if early Feb.
    • This means the first mas market browser will fall away into obscurity
    • It is important to note this event because Netscape ruled the browser world before the likes of Internet Explorer
    • Also, because of Netscape, we got the Mozilla Browser suite which eventually led to the release of the Firefox Browser and Thunderbird email client.

Our New Year's Resolutions

PowerCast Technology
You hardly think twice about connecting your wireless laptop to the Internet, but you still have to fumble for a power cord when your battery runs out. How quaint. Soon those cumbersome power bricks will be a footnote in your grandchildren's history books, as being able to wirelessly charge devices becomes a .

What is it? Currently there are two technologies that accomplish wireless charging, one requires contact with a pad the other simply requires close proximity. Obviously not having to touch something makes the "coolness" factor go up, and makes it feel safer at least to me, which method will win out is not yet clear, but in either case you'll be able to simply place your laptop, phone, and music player onto a universal wireless charging pad that will immediately begin juicing them up. An adapter for your existing devices: $30. Not having to fumble for a power cord: Priceless.

When is it coming? Later this year both inductive and conductive charging technologies will emerge onto the market. WildCharge expects to roll out its first conductive-charging, the one that touches, notebook product in time for this year's back-to-school season, while eCoupled is pushing to get its inductive technology into cars, countertops, and desk surfaces by 2009. Look for wireless charging to become commonplace by 2010, after major phone and laptop vendors sign on to support it.


Octagon CPU
Regardless of what Moore's Law has to say, there's not much point in increasing processor speeds or doubling the bit paths in a CPU if the system bus can't carry the traffic. The problem is, processors today leak power, and the faster a chip goes, the more power it leaks in the form of heat. Both AMD and Intel have decided to focus on increasing the number of processor cores on a chip instead of increasing processor speeds.

The centerpiece of any given computer is it processor, which is responsible for the calculations that make the that make all of your software run. Placing multiple cores on a single chip dramatically increases the number of calculations that can be performed, without having to raise the clock speed of the chip itself. This way chip makers overcome the inevitable overheating problems that come from all that leaking power. And the more cores a manufacturer crams onto a single chip, the "faster" the CPU can go. However, the performance boost isn't one-to-one. Intel's four-core Q6700 performs just 26 percent faster than its same-speed, two-core E6700 on certain applications. (see the results of PC World tests) So while you will see improvement with eight-core CPUs, the speedup won't be as dramatic as it might sound.

When is it coming? Before AMD can start selling eight-core chips for the desktop, it needs to get its quad-core Phenom chips to market in this year. Intel has been selling quad-core desktop processors for about a year now, and it has announced eight-core chips for servers in 2008. Expect OctoCore--or whatever the company ends up calling it--to come to desktops in 2010.


Printer right on your digital camera (Zink.com)
Forget about running home to print out your photos or--gasp!--ordering prints online. The next generation of mobile devices will come with their own built-in printers.

What is it? Zink (short for "Zero Ink"), its a spin-off of Polaroid, and they've been working working for years on a new way of making photo paper. Zink paper, has a crystal substrate sandwiched between its layers that colorizes as it passes through a slim-profile printer. The printers themselves are so small that you can slip one in your pocket, and they can easily be built into cameras, laptops, or other devices.

When is it coming? This year, Zink will partner with a major camera vendor (name not announced) to release the first pocket-size digital camera with a built-in printer. This early model will produce 2-by-3-inch photos. At the same time, the company will begin selling a tiny handheld printer (probably for about $99) for camera phones; it'll print adhesive-backed photos that will likely grace the school binders of many eighth-graders. Two or three years after that, the technology may be integrated into laptops and other mobile devices.


Put Your HDTV Anywhere
Despite the wireless revolution happening all around your home, your high-def television remains shamefully hard-wired in place. Wouldn't it be great if you could put your TV anywhere you wanted, without worrying about where the cable jack was, and still get top-notch video quality? Soon you'll be able to do just that.

Wireless High-Definition Interface (WHDI) is a cable-free replacement for HDMI that uses a 5-GHz radio transmitter to send an uncompressed 1080p, 30-fps high-def video signal from a WHDI-equipped DVD player, game console, or set-top box, for example, to a WHDI-equipped TV across a distance of up to 100 feet. Because the WHDI signal is compatible with HDMI, you'll be able to buy HDMI wireless adapters for your existing entertainment gear--and that means you can finally rearrange your furniture the way you'd really like it, without having to run additional cables through your walls.

When is it coming? Amimon, which manufactures the WHDI chip set, released the technology to electronics makers at the end of August of 2007. Now the race is on to bring WHDI to market. TV makers have already begun demoing new wireless-equipped HDTV models at trade shows, and fans of bleeding-edge tech should be able to get their hands on hardware by anytime now. WHDI is expected to add about $200 to the cost of a new TV, so expect to pay a premium for the technology in throughout this year. WHDI adapters for your existing hardware will likely cost $300 to $400 for a pair of adapters (you need at least two--a receiver for the TV and a transmitter for your set-top box, for example--to get started). The Amimon Vice President of Marketing Noam Geri says, "In a few years costs should drop to about $10 for inclusion in a TV and $60 for the adapters".


Take Your Presentations Anywhere
Watching video on a cell phone is a pain. Even if you find the content you want, the tiny screen makes enjoying the program difficult. Before long, however, you'll be seeing shows right-sized again, thanks to your projector-equipped cell phone.

Microvision Pico projectors employ light scanning technology to generate a complete, full-color image from a beam of light. Inside, it is simply a single red, green, or blue laser bouncing off a tiny mirror onto a wall as large as 120 inches, from 12 feet away in a darkened room. By using a single beam of light rather than three beams, Microvision is able to make the projectors small enough to fit into cell phones without appreciably increasing the size of the phones. And the company even expects the integrated projectors to play a feature-length movie on just one cell phone charge.

When is it coming? Microvision has partnered with Motorola to build Pico projectors into mobile phones, the first projector-equipped model is expected to debut later this year or early next year. Right now the company is designing an accessory for PCs and game consoles that should be available by the middle or end of this year. Built-in projectors might add as as much as $150 to the price of a phone initally, and the the accessory projectors will likely cost around $200. But who wouldn't pay that for a Google-enabled Wi-Max Projector phone.


Five Terabytes Per Drive

Even if you're not a digital pack rat, you probably still manage to cram a lot of data onto your hard drive. Digital photos, movies, music, and overflowing e-mail folders can pile on the gigabytes before you know it. But don't worry: Way bigger hard drives are on the horizon.

Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording, or HAMR (and a nearly identical technology called Thermally Assisted Magnetic Recording), uses lasers to heat the surface of a drive's platters, making it possible to pack a terabyte of data onto a single square inch of drive surface, roughly twice the current limit.

When is it coming? HAMR is still very much a research project, but it should be coming to market in the next several years. Seagate expects to introduce 5TB HAMR hard drive by 2011, with capacities of up to 37.5TB to follow a few years after that.


A New Better Internet

TCP/IP, the technology on which the entire Internet is based, is no spring chicken. The current version of the Internet protocol, IPv4, has been around for more than 25 years. The old technology suffers from some serious limitations--including a shortage of addresses for all the computers that use it. Internet Protocol version 6 will change all that.

What is it? Unlike IPv4, which uses 32-bit addresses like 155.54.210.63, IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses like 2001:0ba0:01e0:d001:0000:0000:d0f0:0010. This small, simple change permits every person in the world--and even every computer in the world--to have a unique IP address. In addition, IPv6 features network-layer encryption and authentication, enabling secure communications between parties.

When is it coming? IPv6 is here right now, and has been for several years, but almost nobody is using it yet because the hardware needed for it remains more expensive than that for IPv4, and few network administrators are trained to manage it. However, the United States government has declared that it will move all of its networks to IPv6 by the summer of 2008, which even at government speeds means the technology should arrive in time to pick up the slack when the pool of available addresses runs out around March 2011. The depletion of addresses should also induce your ISP to update its network before long.


Tech Predictions

Gigabit Internet (2012): Dogged by the speed of your home broadband service? With a gigabit Internet connection over a fiber-optic line, you'll be able to download the latest movies in less than a minute at speeds up to 1 gbps.

Mobile fuel cells (2013): Now in development, hydrogen fuel cells will power your laptop for a week at a time using store-bought fuel cartridges.

Smart homes (2014): We've heard for years about the smart home--a house chock-full of computer-driven appliances that cater to your every need. As homes with built-in ethernet wiring become more common in several years, central home PCs will control everything from the thermostat to the lighting to the security system.

Probe storage (2015): Code-named Millipede, the probe storage system being developed by IBM will use atomic force microscopy (think itsy-bitsy dots) to store more than a terabyte of data per square inch on a polymer surface. An array of thousands of little probes will be able to read and write large amounts of that data far more quickly than today's drives can.

Nano lightning systems (2015): It has "lightning" right in the name, so you know it's cool, but it's really about cooling off your hardware. Microscopic nanotubes will use an electrical charge to generate tiny wind currents on the surface of your chips to cool them down without the aid of fans.


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