Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Microsoft's complaint reads like a sincere and plaintive cry for help against the Google Overlord. Microsoft lists no less than six damning reasons why Google's behavior is anti-competitive -- from Windows Phone 7's incompatibility with YouTube, to its nefarious handling of Google Books -- and finishes with a wide-eyed plea to the European Commission to please find Google guilty.
For those of you that have been following Microsoft's own antitrust troubles over the last decade, don't worry: MS is quick to point out the irony in the situation. "There of course will be some who will point out the irony in today's filing. Having spent more than a decade wearing the shoe on the other foot with the European Commission, the filing of a formal antitrust complaint is not something we take lightly. This is the first time Microsoft Corporation has ever taken this step. More so than most, we recognize the importance of ensuring that competition laws remain balanced and that technology innovation moves forward."
It sounds like Microsoft, having well and truly gone through the wringer, wants Google to be held similarly accountable. That's fair enough, right?
Heads up, audiophiles! Here's a little gem we spotted at the Hong Kong High-End Audio Visual Show over the weekend. Dubbed the Ultrasone IQ, these turn out to be the German company's first ever in-ear headphones, and luckily they're more than just ordinary buds. You see, packed within each aluminum alloy capsule is a combo of a traditional dynamic driver and a balanced armature driver, with the former taking care of the bass plus lower-mids, and the latter covering the rest -- specific frequency response to be confirmed at a later date. The technology isn't new, of course, but it's all about the fine-tuning to match the price tag -- we've been told to expect around HK$6,000, which is about US$770. This author was fortunate enough to try the pictured prototype at the event and was left impressed by its definition, but the final product will apparently perform even better when it hits the market in late September. Just to seal the deal for hardcore users, these buds feature MMCX connectors, meaning you can swap the original cables with the bundled headset kit (for iPhone and major Android devices) or other third-party wires.
Launched alongside the IQ were the Signature DJ and two new additions to the Edition 8 line: Romeo and Juliet, which seem like a nice idea for audiophilic couples. Alas, details are light here in terms of prices and availability, but at least Romeo and Juliet will perform identically as the original Edition 8. The new DJ cups, on the other hand, await official specifications. For now, hit the gallery to take a look at all of Ultrasone's new offerings.
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A big drawback at this point is that it doesn't integrate with Web browsers to help you analyze how you spend your time on the Web. Still, if your work doesn't require constant Web app use, knowing how long you've used a browser overall might be enough to help you manage your time.
We got our not-so-mysterious invite earlier this month, and now Samsung's "Meet the new way" event is just a day away. Will we see the much-anticipated Galaxy Note 10.1? Given that Sammy already pulled the curtain on the global model, all signs point to yes. As always, we'll be on hand to serve up the details as they unfold tomorrow from Jazz at Lincoln Center (might we expect a full-blown orchestra a la the Galaxy S III launch, we wonder?).
Our liveblog goes down at 11 AM tomorrow, and you'll want to park your browser here for the full play-by-play.
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The site lets you select one of five dictionaries - Scrabble International/US, Lexulous International/US, and Words With Friends. Some people might say this constitutes cheating -- I think if the other side knows you're doing it, it's definitely not cheating. And it doesn't take the challenge out of the game, because implementing Scrabble Helper's suggestions and deciding which words you'd like to connect with still takes a fair bit of thought.
Very handy, though perhaps not one for the Scrabble puritans in the crowd.
Researchers measure 3D objects using just a camera and projector, can tell if you've ironed your shirt (video)
For years the projector and camera have served us well, performing their respective tasks. Now, researchers at Japan's Advanced Industrial Science and Technology institute are using them together to measure 3D objects. By projecting a special pattern onto the subject and then using the camera to "read" the amount of distortion in the image, a three-dimensional model can be constructed. This thing is accurate, too, with precision down to 1 - 2mm which means it can measure wrinkles in clothes, or even details in hands. The technology can even be scaled to work with microscopes. The creators say that it could be used in video games (much like Kinect), and even for tracking athletes' movements thanks to its ability to capture fast-moving images -- something existing systems can struggle with. Jump past the break to see the tech in action.
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There has always been an argument over whether the iPad was a truly mobile device; well the folks from Double Robotics have certainly put an end to that particular debate. Say hello to the Double teleconferencing robot, it aims to take teleconferencing to a whole new level. Its main feature is the fact that it is a mobile teleconferencing system that is controllable from one iPad while a second iPad sits on top and becomes the systems eyes and ears. It then portrays images and sound as if you are there in person. It could be used for virtual museum tours, advertising and even visiting the in-laws without actually having to be there.
Double is the simplest, most elegant way to be somewhere else in the world without flying there. The minimalist design and intuitive touchscreen controls allow you to freely move around without inconveniencing others. You can stay at eye level, whether sitting or standing, by adjusting your height remotely, which makes conversations fluid and real. Retractable kickstands will automatically deploy to conserve power when you are not moving around. Efficient motors and lightweight design give Double the ability to last all day without recharging the battery.
Modern teleconferencing would be perfect if every important conversation happened in the conference room. Double allows you to move around and join people in any location, so you can participate in the conversations that happen in the lunch room or at the water fountain. Because Double simply improves upon existing teleconferencing, you can use it in all the same places as those old systems too.
The Double will set you back around $2499 when it becomes available at the end of this year. If you are prepared to pre-order you can get a piece of the action for just $1999.00. When you consider what you are getting, the price really isn’t that bad. Batteries are included in this particular robot but what you do need to remember is that iPads aren’t.
Could you see a usage case for the Double? Can you see these types of robotic teleconferencing systems taking off in Schools, Museums etc?