Monday, December 6, 2010

Statesman Texas Social Media Awards 2011

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Statesman Texas Social Media Awards

Do you know a social media rock star who lives in the Lone Star State? Make a nomination!

Nominate your favorite person, company or group, and we'll pick the Top 25 social media winners and throw a big bash for them in March (much bigger than in years' past). An overall winner will also be named at our awards party. All of our past winners came from public nominations, and it's no different this year. Check out the list of the 2009 and 2010 winners.

The nominations period will run through Jan. 12, 2011.

Please do not vote for me, there are plenty of people other than me that could really use it.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Have you been wondering why I look like Rick James?

This is my second year doing Movember. If you are not familiar with it, you can read about it here:

Movember is a movement to raise money and awareness for men's health issues. Specifically prostate and testicular cancer. My team and I are chronicling our journey on our blog here: and on twitter here:

There is only two days left in the fundraiser and today is almost over. I have been a little slow in getting the word out, for that I am sorry. What you can do to help is donate just $1. I am only asking for $1 because I need more participation rather than the amount of the donation.

All it takes is a $1. Thank you again, and here is the link to donate:

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Q: How much of this video is CGI? (Spoiler Alert A: 100%)

Alex Roman is some kind of wizard. I suspected it when I saw his jaw-dropping CGI mini-movie The Third & The Seventh, but after watching his new 100% computer generated commercial, there's simply no other explanation. My brain is goop.

In the comments of the Vimeo video, Roman explains:

Asking your questions; yep, it's all CG -same process as T&S- I tried to put some live-footage shots but i run out of time so CGI did the trick :P

Whole production was 2 and a half months for the initial concept to the final editing; two people: Juan & me.

While Hollywood CGI is getting more and more impressive every day, you can almost always tell that it's not real. Some microscopically incorrect movement will betray the artifice of the image, or the light won't play off something in quite the right way. That is not the case here. There was nothing in this clip that raised in me even a hiccup of doubt that I wasn't looking at the world which I inhabit. The real world. And this guy is sculpting it, by himself, on his computer. Nuts. [Vimeo

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Dress Your Lady in Tubes and Neon Water

You could describe Charlie Bucket's Fluid Dress as "flowing," but not in the usual sense—it's a garment made from six hundred feet of knitted tubing, pumped with neon water that dances in a beautiful ballet. It's kinda unbelievable.

Of course that incredible choreography comes courtesy of a backpack-sized pump that has to be attached to the dress at all times, perhaps taking a bit away from the elegance of the ensemble. I imagine it might be hard to Foxtrot with an ectoplasm-pumping Proton Pack strapped to your back.

Dress Your Lady in Tubes and Neon Water

From the looks of things, Charlie's been working on the dress since June 2009, but seeing it in action it was definitely worth the effort. [Casual Profanity via BoingBoing]

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Can you trust Klout's accuracy?

For those of you not familiar with Klout, in short, it is a service that rates the influence and reach of someone in the social media space. Klout looks at Twitter and Facebook accounts, and will soon add LinkedIn to determine a user's Klout score.

There are several companies out there trying to quantify people so that companies know who to target to get the best results for their marketing efforts. A PR friend of mine directed me to a recent post from Peter Shankman (of HARO fame), who praises Klout on providing "real information." Real? Really? I'm just not convinced. But maybe it's me.

I knew that the system wasn't perfect, but the issue that really put things into focus for me was on October 29th when I went to Klout's homepage at and was presented the following image:
If you see the image in the square on the far right, with the name RYE_BREADY, it may look familiar. Anyone who has been on twitter for a while will recognize it as a spam bot.
I wanted to verify if this was indeed a spam bot, and how they were able to get such a high Klout score, so I clicked through. The profile link was here, but has been removed by Klout after they were made aware of its existence: I took some screenshots before it was removed.

Her stats are on the thin side. She also only has one badge. This gets even stranger, and also adds weight to my argument that this might be a spammer. I checked out her twitter profile.
That's right. It's suspended! Makes you kind of wonder about the scoring huh?

From speaking with other members that have a Klout account there are more discrepancies that add doubt as to the accuracy of the service. The "influenced by" and "influencer of" sections. Many people have told me that they are very wrong, if never updated. I for one have person in the "influenced by" section that I haven't had contact with in months. When I contacted support for assistance they where not able to resolve this error after three tries.

The mystery on how they get their scores and determine who influences who makes it impossible to verify or reproduce. The service and its algorithms are a black box. There is no way to tell where the service is, where it was, and if there are any improvements in the future.

Through a personal contact at Klout I was introduced to Megan Berry who is a Marketing Manager there. First off, I would like to say that Megan was extremely helpful and very responsive. She informed me that the problems with spam accounts is something that Klout is very aware of, and is a problem they are still trying to solve.

I am not sure exactly if the examples I have given above negates all the work that they have done to quantify clout, but it does show that they do have a way to go before their numbers can be fully trusted.
I hope that the people at Klout take their accuracy seriously. Phil Hotchkiss, the Chief Product Officer,  has made accuracy his number one mission, but he has yet to reply to my inquires. If you have used Klout please share your experience in the comments below.

Special thanks to the following for all their help with this post:
@ckieff @aqiylah @MisoHungry @davidgiesberg @TheJenATX @luannsaid @gregarious

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Movember catch-up post. Please help :)


This is my second year doing Movember. If you are not familiar with it, you can read about it here:

Movember is a movement to raise money and awareness for men's health issues. Specifically prostate and testicular cancer. My team and I are chronicling our journey on our blog here: and on twitter here: 

We are in our second week and I am way behind. I have been taking a picture each day, but haven't had the time to post them till today. As you can see the mustache is coming in nicely. Some of you helped me out last year and now I ask you again for your help. If you have it in you to donate please use the link below to give what you can.

For all my friends that have not given yet, I would love to have you involved. 

All it takes is a $1. Thank you again, and here is the link to donate:


Seriously folks. If you think $1 is not enough you're WRONG! Donate $1 and I'll love you forever.


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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Smokey Robinson Breaks Cracker Barrel Color Barrier With 'Now and Then' Album - Spinner

Smokey RobinsonRick Diamond, Getty Images

Though commonly thought of as a Southern eating institution, Cracker Barrel has recently been offering up exclusive country music release to its customers -- until now. This week, legendary R&B singer Smokey Robinson becomes the first African-American artist to put out an album with the restaurant chain, which has faced plenty of charges of racism and discrimination over the years. Naturally, the feat that isn't lost on Robinson.

"I'm the first black artist they've ever done," Robinson tells Spinner. "It's like a milestone for me and for them. They're trying to dispel their image of being bigots and all that stuff. They've had that image and they're not really like that. I went to Nashville, which is their headquarters, and their employees and hiring practices are very diverse. But they started out being just a white thing. I don't know, back in the day when they first started out, they could've been prejudiced."

Cracker Barrel

Listen to Smokey's 'Now and Then' Free

For their first offering, Robinson put together an album called 'Now and Then,' which culls six tracks from his 2009 album, 'Time Flies When You're Having Fun,' as well as six recently recorded live renditions of classic Robinson tunes such as 'I Second That Emotion,' 'The Tracks of My Tears' and 'The Tears of a Clown.'

"When you're a singer, you voice is your instrument, and when you take care of yourself, everything else will fall in line," the 70-year-old Robinson explains of his longevity. "I run, I walk, I've always had a good diet all my life. I haven't eaten any pork or red meat since 1972."

Indeed, Robinson has been quite active over the last year. Check out his performance at Spinner's SXSW Soul Revue and you can see that it seems like he's probably passed on plenty of free biscuits and gravy offerings.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

To @LarryChiang, a direct complaint regarding the "Reverse VC Pitch Party" #reverseVC

I went to Larry's Reverse VC Pitch Party at SXSW 2010. It was one of the worst events I have ever attended. The expectations for the event was set early, right on the registration page.

VCs are here to charm you.
Normally, you pitch VCs. Well at this event the VCs will be pitching you. Think of it as Sadie Hawkins night for entrepreneurs.

From the quote above and the name of the event I thought, for some strange reason, that VCs would pitch me. If you don't know what a VC is check out this Wikipedia entry:

In general the VCs invest in young companies with the hopes that when they grow up the companies will make them a lot of money. So really if all goes well it's a win-win situation, theoretically.

Now back to my experience. I paid close to $60 for my ticket for this event. Seeing as I wanted to get my money's worth I showed up about 20 minutes early. The Pitch Party was held in the back room of Roy's, a restaurant next to the Austin Convention Center. As I made my way to the back room I noticed Larry Chiang sitting in the restaurant with several women. I figured he was finishing up a dinner meeting before the party. At the registration desk there where two lovely ladies that help me sign in.

Neither of them knew what the agenda was for that night. That's because it was never given to them. I figured I was early and that Larry should be in shortly to give all of us the skinny. As I waited, more and more people showed up. We talked and we ate the food that was provided, but nothing other than that was going on. After 15 minutes after the start of the event I decided to talk with the registration desk again. There was no new information, but it was suggested that I speak with Larry, who was still sitting at his table in the restaurant.

I took their advice and walked up to the table. Here is what transpired.

Me: Larry I just have a quick question.

Larry: No! You had plenty of time to text me before this! This is my time now!

Me: I just wanted to know...

Larry: Give me a minute. Give me a minute! Give me a minute!!! GIVE ME A MINUTE!!!!

He was obviously going through something, so I walked away. I waited by the registration desk and gave him a minute. I waited another 15 minutes, and he never approached me. While I was waiting two women came out of the event and join me at the registration table. I over heard them talking. One wants to leave, and one wants to stay to see if any others will show up. That's what happened, one left and one stayed.

I chatted up the lady that stuck around. Turns out that she was one of the sponsors for the Reverse VC Pitch Party. She was part of a group that supports women entrepreneurs. She wanted to see if any more of her members would show up. She was not at all happy with how things were going. We discussed weither we should leave or stay. That's when I chose not to just sit back and take it. I was going to go back  into that room and make VCs pitch me, and she was with me.

I came up with a plan. Walk up to the attendees and if they where a VC to go to the front of the room, and if they where an entrepreneur to go to the back of the room. That's just what I did, and told them that the pitching would start in 15 minutes. I was almost done with talking to everyone in the whole room when I felt someone grab my arm. It was Larry.

Larry: What are you doing?

Me: Organizing your event.

Larry: When you throw your own event then you can organize it. This is my party. VCs are telling me that they are going to have to start pitching. I told them that they wouldn't have to do anything.

Me: Well isn't that the point?

Larry: Either stop what you're doing now and we can be friends, or leave now.

Me: I came to have VCs pitch me, and that's what I want to happen.

Larry: Did you pay?

Me: Yes.

Larry: How much did you pay?

Me: I don't know, about $60.

Larry: I'll give you $100 to leave right now.

Me: Um... Okay.

Larry: Fine, here's $100. Now leave.

(He then grabs my arm again and pulls me towards the door)

(I wiggle free)

Me: Hey! You don't have to man-handle me. I said I'll leave.

Larry: Then leave.

(I start to work my way through the crowd, then I remeber my helper. I really need to tell her I'm leaving.)

Me: Oh, I need to tell...

Larry: No leave now!

(He puts his hand on my back and pushes)

Me: Okay, okay!

(We make it to the front desk. I lean over and say...)

Me: Thank you for all...

Larry: LEAVE!

(He grabs me, and now we are on our way through the resteraunt. A few feet from the front door, he jolts me to a stop.)

Larry: Let's take a picture.

(There was a photographer in the lobby and she takes a picture.)

Larry: Now that's what it looks like to be kicked out of my party.


I left. That was the first time I have ever been thrown out of a party. I was mad, but at least I got a story out of it, and made money at the same time. I moved on to the next party. I talked to some people later that night that knew Larry. I wanted to get their take on the guy. The person I talked to had some mixed feelings about him. He was described as really bad at times and great on other occasions.

The next day I was back in the Convention Center. I was in the hallway talking to one of the SXSW volenteers when around the corner Larry comes around.

Larry: Did you like that?

Me: Like what?

Larry: Me kicking you out of my party.

He then walked away. That was his last words to me. His Reverse VC Pitch Party was not as published. It was just an unstructured networking event in which he charged VCs, entrepreneurs, and took money from sponsors. To me, that sounds like a scam.


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Friday, October 29, 2010

Thank you @Klout for the shirt

Last month I was one of the winners of a twitter contest run by Klout. You can see the rest of the contestants that won here:

I have had nothing but good experiences with Klout. They are very responsive via twitter and e-mail. If you don't already have a Klout account i would get one today. Sign up here:

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Baby Works iPad Perfectly. Amazing Must Watch!

Talk about a manufactured artist - This Rocking Lead Singer is a 3D Hologram (video) | Singularity Hub


Hatsune Miku isn't real, but her popularity is.

The internet is such a big place that sometimes I stumble onto huge trends that I’ve never even heard of before. Case in point: Hatsune Miku. She’s a Japanese pop diva who’s just started to play massive stadium concerts to sold out crowds. Her hair is blue, she dresses like Sailor Moon, and she’ll only appear in concerts via a 3D ‘hologram’. Oh, and did I forget to mention that she’s completely fictional? Created by Crypton Future Media, Hatsune Miku is a virtual singing avatar that you can purchase for your PC and program to play any song you create. She and her virtual colleagues have gone on limited tours in Japan and virtual avatar song writing is a growing trend all over the world. Surprising? Perhaps, but the thing that really blows me away is that I actually like her songs. Check out Hatsune Miku’s performance of Stargazer in the video below. Not bad for JPop.

Watching Miku sing live is pretty amazing. The 3D ‘hologram’ isn’t that impressive, it looks to be a modern version of the pepper’s ghost illusion we’ve seen before, but the crowd reaction is intense. I’ve been to concerts where the band’s fan base was considerably less enthusiastic. How must it feel to be a musician and see this virtual character getting way more love than you? Hatsune Miku and her ‘friends’ may only have played a few tours, but there’s little doubt that these guys are rock stars:

In order to create a character that sounds believably human, Crypton uses a real person’s voice as the basis for the avatar’s distinct singing style. The adaptation of someone’s singing voice into a character that a user can program to sing anything has lead to controversy. Real musicians have been loathe to step forward and submit their voices for fear that they’ll be replaced by a virtual copy of themselves. Instead of professional singers, Crypton has hired cartoon voice actors to provide the basis for their avatars. Miku is reportedly created from the voice of Saki Fujita.

The technology for Crypton’s Hatsune Miku program comes from Yamaha’s Vocaloid software which provides the means to create a realistic synthesized singing voice. You can hear samples of the raw Vocaloid synthesizer (which hasn’t been styled to fit any particular character like Hatsune Miku) on its website here. Miku and other avatars retail for ¥15,750 (~$193) and allow users to compose music and connect it to vocals note by note. You can share the songs you create via sites like Piapro (JP). Writing music for virtual avatars has become so popular that Crypton has established a music label, KarenT, and you can see many of the associated music videos for these songs on their YouTube channel.

It’s hard to quantify how large of an impact Vocaloid software is having on popular music. Yamaha doesn’t directly market the software itself, instead relying on licensed developers like Crypton (in Japan) and Zero-G (in the UK) to sell various products based on the technology. There are many sites like Piapro where users can share their work, and many simply skip forums and go straight to YouTube. There are various blogs and sites dedicated to discussing the Vocaloid phenomenon (I recommend you start with Vocaloidism), and there are karoake and music-composing video games featuring some of the most popular avatars.

It seems clear that virtual characters like Hatsune Miku are on the upward swing of their popularity. Crypton’s avatars have played several live concerts in the past year. Miku’s first ’solo’ performance took place on March 9th, and was titled Miku no Hi Kanshasai 39’s Giving Day – this is where the Stargazer performance was recorded. DVD and Blu-ray copies of the performance are set to be released globally, and there have been screenings of the concert in San Francisco and New York. The tour coincides with the release of the Hatsune Miku Project Diva video game from Sega.

Having just been introduced to the Vocaloid scene, I’m sort of in awe. Not by the quality of music – some of it is good, but mostly it’s pretty generic mainstream stuff. No, I’m impressed by the possibilities created by such virtual avatars. YouTube is already full of videos where users mix and match songs to various pieces of art, and remixing/sampling is a global music phenomenon. Now, these secondary source musicians have a whole other tool in their belt. They can have high quality virtual characters sing whatever they want. Modern technology is merging producers and consumers of art into a new being – the prosumer. Avatars like Hatsune Miku are accelerating that process, allowing us to generate more quality content on our own, and share that content with anyone via the web. In the future we will all be a part of this exchange of creative prosumerism. Ask not for whom the 3D hologram pop star sings – it sings for thee.

[image credit: Segabits]
[video credit: Miku39GivingDay]
[sources: AnimeNewsNetwork, Crypton, Vocaloidism]

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Finally!! A Look At Chris Evans In His CAPTAIN AMERICA Costume!! -- Ain't It Cool News

The cover of this week's Entertainment Weekly brings us a look at Chris Evans as Captain America - in costume.

The images originates HERE, where EW previews what you can expect from their upcoming coverage.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Walgreens Sells Android Tablet for $99 : AndroidSPIN

Walgreens, the pharmacy that acts as a last minute shopping stop for Christmas, is now going to be known for selling a cheap Android tablet. Maylong, famous for their GPS units, has introduced the Maylong M-150 Android tablet. This tablet is only available for purchase online for a whopping $99 from Walgreens.  The Android based tablet will have a 7 inch LCD resistive touch screen.

M-150 Specs

  • Android   1.6
  • Cpu ARM9(VM8505+)
  • Memory    256MB DDR
  • WIfi  802.11b/g
  • Display  800×480 pixels
  • Built in speakers
  • Sd card slot, not micro sd.
  • Weight 12oz.

For more information on the M-150 tablet, check out the Maylong Group website.  Sources are saying this tablet will not see anything more than Android 1.6, but that is not for sure. If you are interested in more information please check out the source below.


What do guys think, is it worth the $99 price tag or will it just be another gadget that collects dust?

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Synapse-Phones Introduces configure and build to order Android phones

Synapse One

299,00including VAT
The Starting Specs are:
Operating System:
Android 2.2
10.16cm, 4,0-inch SuperLCD multitouch-sensitive screen with 480x800 WVGA resolution
Three built-in microphones
(Telephone, camera and noise-reduction)
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
Accelerometer sensor
Four capacitive buttons under the screen
Power button
Two volume buttons on the left side
Camera button on the right side
Expansion Slot:
microSD memory card(SD 2.0 compatible)
Up to 32GB card support.
Body material:
Aluminium with ambientlight
In Box Content:
Main unit
Battery (as selected)
MicroUSB Cable
Charger (Voltage range/frequency: 100-240V AC, 50-60Hz)
RF Brochure
Product Safety & Warranty Statement
Quick Start Guide

3 years worldwide warranty
Shipping starts in the middle of Q1 2011.
We are shipping to the EU, U.S., Canada.
And now it is your turn to select the Hardware you want.

How it works

Step 1:

Think about for what you use your smartphone and what you will do with it. For example if you are someone who loves to take thousands of pictures, you can choose the 12MP camera and a xenon flash for taking pictures at night or under bad lighting conditions or if you want to store your whole music collection on your smartphone just choose a high amount of memory.

Step 2:

So now that you know what you want, go to "Configure/Preorder now" and select everything you need.

Step 3:

And this is our turn to build your smartphone and deliver it to you.

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Kinect for Xbox 360 - The official launch TV ad campaign.

Will the changes in Google Groups move people to Facebook Groups?

Google Groups feature changes

Google Groups owners have received an email from Google today that details some changes that are going to happen in a few months. And sadly there are no feature additions -- they're all things that Groups will be phasing out.

So, starting in January 2011 you will no longer be able to create or edit customized welcome messages, pages or files. Such content already on your groups will become read-only. By February, these features will be turned off altogether.

Google has created an easy way for you to export all this content into a ZIP archive. You can do so by going to your pages or your files homepage on your groups and clicking Download all pages or Download all files.

As for alternatives, while you clearly won't be able to find one for customizing welcome messages, Google does recommend using Google Sites for page creation and Google Docs for file storage. Pages made in Google Sites and files uploaded to Docs can be shared with the members of your groups. While these solutions probably require a bit more work than the features that are in Groups today, and may not integrate as well with Groups, at least they're still under the Google umbrella -- if that's worth anything to you.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

VA Textbook Claims Blacks Fought For South In Civil War. Source? The Internet. : NPR

civil war memorial

The American Civil War Memorial. It carries the names of over 208,000 African American Civil War veterans. They fought for the Union.

A new Virginia textbook for 4th graders claims that "thousands" of African Americans fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, a claim that nearly all historians of the era reject. From the WP:

The issues first came to light after College of William & Mary historian Carol Sheriff opened her daughter's copy of "Our Virginia" and saw the reference to black Confederate soldiers.

"It's disconcerting that the next generation is being taught history based on an unfounded claim instead of accepted scholarship," Sheriff said. "It concerns me not just as a professional historian but as a parent."

The writer of "Our Virginia: Past and Present," Joy Masoff, defends her work. When questioned by the Post on her sources her publisher provided three web links. All of them citing work by Sons of Confederate Veterans, a Tennessee group that has long claimed Blacks fought for the South in large numbers. Their argument is really based in the idea that the war was not about slavery, but rather southerners defending their homes and way of life. Huh.

It is only one sentence in the book, "Thousands of Southern blacks fought in the Confederate ranks, including two black battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson." Every single historian contacted by the Post found the claims, well, repellent.

"It's more than just an arcane, off-the-wall problem," said David Blight, a professor at Yale University. "This isn't just about the legitimacy of the Confederacy, it's about the legitimacy of the emancipation itself."

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson of Princeton University said, "These Confederate heritage groups have been making this claim for years as a way of purging their cause of its association with slavery."

Now, I'm not saying the Internet doesn't know everything, but when you're writing a history textbook, checking your sources might be a good idea. I'm just saying.


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

‘Diminished reality’ software removes objects from video in real time | KurzweilAI

Diminished reality: before and after (Technische Universit├Ąt Ilmenau)

Researchers at Technical University of Ilmenau in Germany have developed “diminished reality” software that can delete an object from live, full-motion video.

The software first reduces the resolution of the object, removes the image, and improves the result (similar to using a smudge tool in Photoshop), then incrementally increases the resolution, improving the result, until the original resolution is restored.


To remove an object from a video, just draw an enclosed loop around it (from video by Jan Herling)

It repeats that for each frame of the video in real time, delivering the final image in 40 ms.

Applications include city planning, interactive film and television, and engineering design. The software is initially available for Windows.

It will be introduced at the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR) in Seoul, October 13 to 16.

Adapted from materials provided by Technische Universit├Ąt Ilmenau

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Friday, October 15, 2010

OpenPandora: The hand-held console emulator


Welcome to the official website of the Pandora Handheld

The most powerful gaming handheld there is.

  • ARM® Cortex™-A8 600Mhz+ CPU running Linux
  • 430-MHz TMS320C64x+™ DSP Core
  • PowerVR SGX OpenGL 2.0 ES compliant 3D hardware
  • 800x480 4.3" 16.7 million colours touchscreen LCD
  • Wifi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth & High Speed USB 2.0 Host
  • Dual SDHC card slots & SVideo TV output
  • Dual Analogue and Digital gaming controls
  • 43 button QWERTY and numeric keypad
  • Around 10+ Hours battery life

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Official Google Blog: Google says Goodbye to: 1-800-GOOG-411

Back in 2007 we launched 1-800-GOOG-411, a voice-powered directory assistance service that connects you quickly to businesses across the U.S. and Canada. On November 12, 2010, we will shut down the service.

GOOG-411 was the first speech recognition service from Google and helped provide a foundation for more ambitious services now available on smartphones, such as:

  • Voice Search - search Google by speaking instead of typing.
  • Voice Input - fill in any text field on Android by speaking instead of typing.
  • Voice Actions - control your Android phone with voice commands. For example, you can call any business quickly and easily just by saying its name.
Our success encouraged us to aim for more innovation. Thus, we’re putting all of our resources into speech-enabling the next generation of Google products and services across a multitude of languages.

If you don’t use a smartphone, and you’re trying to call a business, you can send a text message with the name and location of the business to 466453 ("GOOGLE") and we’ll text you the information, or on Gmail you can use the new phone-calling features to call any U.S. business free of charge. Also, if you don’t have the free voice search app pre-installed on your phone, you can download it here.

Thanks for all the calls, and keep an eye out for all the innovation to come.

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AT&T’s early upgrade smartphone program detailed. Spoiler: they made it $125 more expensive « Boy Genius Report

Here is what we have just found out… AT&T recently modified their early upgrade program for smartphones, and due to smartphones becoming “increasingly more sophisticated” — and the cost of the devices increasing — AT&T has increased their $75 early upgrade fee to $200. That means a BlackBerry Bold 9700 that would have cost you $275 will now cost you $399. Quick messaging and basic phones are not subjected to the new change. AT&T told employees that, “This change to our exception pricing is necessary to maintain our ability to provide customers with the best selection of devices and maintain our leadership in the Smartphone category.” And hey, with Verizon charging a $350 ETF for advanced devices, it was only a matter of time before AT&T started exploring their options.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cricket Changes the Game with Low-Cost High-End Android Phone

Android phones come in two flavors: high-end and low-end. High-end phones usually end up with a price tag between US$500 and US$600 off-contract. If you want them cheaper you can generally get them subsidized when you contract with your carrier for two years. Generally that brings your price down to the US$150 to US$250 range.

Low-end phones can be had for around half the price of their high-end siblings.

On the larger carriers, that two year contract generally includes signing up for a data plan, which is likely going to cost you around US$50 to US$70 per month, plus voice, plus text, plus some "privilege of being their customer" fees.

Cricket, on the other hand, is a different kind of carrier. They don't force you into a contract, and they have a flat monthly cost. The catch? The phones aren't subsidized and the coverage isn't as broad as the larger carriers.

Regarding the phones, generally Cricket phones have been regarded as "cheap". They get the job done, but that's it. Why? People don't generally want to fork out a big chunk of change when they sign up for a phone -- apparently they'd rather have much more than that squeezed out of them over time.

What does this have to do with Android? According to Market Watch, Cricket is changing the game with their newly announced phone, powered by Android.

The phone in question is the Huawei Ascend, which is being touted as "the first low-cost Android device to hit the Smartphone market in the United States".

The Ascend will be available in mid-October for around US$149.99. That doesn't sound all that great until you realize that it's off-contract. You don't have to commit two years of your life to a carrier that you may end up hating. You're free to leave at any time. Additionally, your monthly bill will be astoundingly low: US$55, which gives you unlimited talk, text, 411 information, navigation, and unlimited 3G data.

The Ascend sports a 3.5" HVGA touch-screen, WiFi, 3.2MP camera, and runs on Android 2.1.

I've got to admit, I'm impressed.

Posted via email from Wesley83's Posterous