Steve Jobs Windows 7 Party Box unboxing

Steve Jobs (well a look-a-like) gets an unexpected Windows 7 Party Box delivered to him. He is so excited with the thought of holding a party, so after this unboxing he will be busy putting together his guest list in time for his party next week.

Adobe Media Player - iTunes Challenger

Adobe announced the planned launch of Adobe Media Player later this year. This new player offers multi-format playback, along with the ability to deliver paid for content. It will also enable the playback of high quality flash-based content, and certainly sounds (on paper) to be a strong challenger.

Quote: "Adobe Media Player is developed using Apollo, the code name of Adobe’s recently announced application runtime that empowers content publishers and web developers to build and deploy rich Internet applications (RIAs) on the desktop using technologies such as Flash, PDF, and HTML. Adobe Media Player is planned to be available as a free beta download from the Adobe Web site later in 2007 with full availability expected by the end of the year, from Adobe and a wide range of media and technology partners."

You can check out the full press release here.

Gizmo Project 3 Released - VOIP alert

Gizmo Project 3 has been released for both the Mac and PC platforms. Having been a long time fan of Skype, the slightly lesser known Gizmo has been in my dock for the odd dabble. This new version 3 brings with it some very interesting new features.

The new Meta-voice capabilities of Gizmo Project 3.0 allow users to call four of the most popular Voice and IM networks. All your calls to Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live, Google Talk, and Gizmo Project users are free. This is a superb addition and will prove very popular. Another new feature is being able to customise your avatar by picking a personalized graphic. Your avatar is the picture used to represent yourself in Gizmo Project.

Gizmo Project 3 now supports file transfers via the Jabber protocol. This means you can exchange files with anyone using a jabber client! The new chat history (which has been around in other IM clients for a long time) allows you to save all your past IM conversations, plus you can now chat with several users at once.

This is a very worthy update and well worth checking out.

Google update Picasa Web Albums

Today, Google updated its Picasa Web Albums service. There is a whole host of new and improved features, that sound so good it has tempted me to take a look over the next few days. This new release includes the ability to search community photos, an upgrade to the amount of free storage to 1GB with the ability to upgrade, plus it is now easier to link to an album in email, or perhaps into an existing web page.
Good news for users of Blogger, is that all photos uploaded through Blogger now appear in My Photos. The titles of these Blogger web albums match the titles of their respective blog posts. Full details of the update can be found here.

Apple iTunes now works with Vista

Apple Inc today made available version 7.1 of iTunes for PC users. It addresses the issues that users of Microsofts Vista operating system caused with the software and many peoples iPods. There are still a few remaining issues that Apple is working on, but most have been resolved. You can find full details here.

Mediafour Launch MacDrive 7

Mediafour today launched version 7 of its MacDrive software which allows PC users to access Macintosh hard drives and disks just as though they were PC volumes. This new version add Vista compatibility, plus the ability to analyze and repair Mac disks. You can even create Mac CDs, DVDs and even format hard drives. Another nice feature is that when viewing a Mac volume on your PC the files get the correct icon, but also display a small apple icon to let you know where the files are stored. This sounds very impressive and I really hope to be able to bring you a review of MacDrive 7 soon.

Windows Vista Voice Recognition

If you are a regular visitor to geekanoids you will know that I have been using Windows Vista for the past few weeks. I thought it would be interesting to bring you a review using the new speech recognition feature of Microsoft's new operating system.

This short article has been dictated using the new feature, with a minimum amount of corrections necessary. It is very strange to be speaking to the computer instead of rattling away on a keyboard, so strange in fact that I am sitting here twiddling my thumbs, feeling as though I am not really working. It is also not very common for me to praise the windows environment, but with a small apology to all the Mac users reading this article, I must say that I am impressed.

The windows speech recognition feature takes you through an animated tutorial that guides you through the most common features, with some very nice examples. After this initial tutorial you are then given the option to complete some voice training, which promises to improve accuracy. I did this and so far I have only had to reach for the keyboard once during this article.

The gimmicky part of speech recognition, for me anyway, is navigating between applications and getting windows to save files without touching the keyboard. I guess this is because that when using the Mac OS things just seem so easy anyway, so why complicate things by trying to learn a new way of controlling the computer. It is probably because it feels so unnatural and after a while I am sure that horrible get used to it. There is an application called dragon naturallyspeaking available for the Mac that this has made me want to take a look at, I will try and bring you a review of that at a later date.

In summary this article has only now involved me touching my keyboard twice, so well done Microsoft you have gained a small percentage of my interest and I will keep revisiting your new OS in a hope that I can at least bring my readers the opportunity to try something different. Still have a Mac man, I won't be switching, but at least when using Vista I am smiling a little.

Vista update - part two

I wanted to give you a quick update on my Vista experiences. Today I took delivery of some extra RAM for the Toshiba A100, so it now has a respectable 2GB of memory. With this new upgrade Vista seems to perform a lot happier, with not as much writing to the hard disk.
It is still far from perfect, the OS seems to take for ages to load, and applications take a while to load too, but once everything is running, the whole is experience is a lot snappier.

I also installed Trend Micro's Internet Security 2007, which comes in a Vista Certified version. Although I hate the necessity of installing such an application (being used to not having to on my Mac), I must say that Trend Micro's product installed very smoothly, updated with not a single hitch, and offers some very nice features. I will be publishing a full review of Internet Security 2007 on Geekanoids soon.

PC Laptop OK - Vista Sucks

Yes, I know I am biased towards the Mac, but as a writer I am confident that I can detach myself for part of the day. So, just yesterday I took delivery of a Toshiba Satellite A100-596 laptop, complete with Vista installed. For those who need to know, it was Vista Home Basic, so the least taxing on a system. The laptop is a CoreDuo, running at something like 1.7GHz. I bought this because I felt that if I was reporting news to you on PC software and what is happening in the Windows world, I felt I should experience it first hand.

Now, I am not going to write this article and slag off the PC (and Vista) at every opportunity I get. What I will do is tell it like it happens. So here goes...

The Good
The Toshiba A100 is actually pretty good. The 15.4-inch screen runs at 1200x800, the same as my MacBook. It is nice and evenly lit, and goes up to a nice brightness. The keyboard is a little noisy, but has a good responsive feel to it. The trackpad is tiny and I have a little trouble scrolling with it, but in normal use it is accurate and does the job. In use the fans kick in now and again, but for the past 2 hours it has been a very quiet experience. Battery life is looking good, I have been doing my normal surfing, emails, and this article for around 1 hour in this session and I still have 4 hours left, so I am impressed if it last out this long.
Things I still have to do is install Nero, so I can then test writing a DVD with the dual layer DVD writer. I will report on this at a later stage.

The Bad
I am so used to opening a new Mac, turning on, and within about 5-10 minutes OS X is ready to go. Turning on the A100 (with Vista) was a different matter. I left the machine for about 30 minutes configuring the software, it then restarted. Thinking this was it, the real deal, was a big mistake. I hovered my pointer with anticipation, but clicking did nothing. The screen went blank, refreshed, and the system was still doing something. Well, I finally got to click on something and whilst Vista was downloading some updates (you even have to do this on a Mac from time to time), I configured my system a little. Then I was prompted to restart so the updates could finish installing, which I did, and waited about another 10 minutes.

The Ugly
Back up and running I wanted to install Quicktime. I downloaded it and clicked to install, well actually I double-clicked ! Now, I had heard about the new security features in Vista and ironically had just finished watching the new 'Security' ad from Apple just before I started this install. Vista asked me to 'cancel or allow' the installation, which I did, then 20 seconds later it asked me again, so I clicked 'allow' yet again. Then QuickTime was trying to install something, did I want to 'allow' it... no of course not, that is why 2 minutes ago I double-clicked the install icon. I am not exagerating this at all, during the Quicktime saga I had to click allow 6 times! I think this is taking things a bit far, there has to be a better way.
Even after the install was complete I found that Firefox worked fine, but Internet Explorer 7 still refused to playback Quicktime content.

So, I will persevere, after all Vista does look prettier, and I am sure when I put 2GB of memory into the A100 laptop it'll work a little smoother. I will keep you posted.