Saturday, November 1, 2008

7 Top Tips and Resources for Google Chrome

by Sam Dean

Google introduced the beta version of its open source Chrome browser nearly two months ago, and issued its third update to the beta yesterday. (The update pushes to you automatically if you're running Chrome.) Although there are signs that the very early popularity of this browser has calmed down somewhat, it's still generating a lot of buzz, Google has confirmed that many extensions are coming for it, and I expect to see it in a mobile version very soon. If you're running Chrome, here are seven tips for customizing and getting the most out of it.

Create and Save Profiles. Google Chrome Backup is a freely downloadable tool that lets you backup and restore profiles you've created in Chrome. It's wizard-driven, to keep the process easy.

Tips for Power Users. Lifehacker's tips for power users of Chrome are excellent. Learn about diagnostics, themes, shortcuts, working with tabs, and more here.

Run Chrome on Mac OS X and Linux. CrossOver Chromium from CodeWeavers can be used to run Chrome on Mac OS X and Linux. You'll find downloads specific to most popular Linux distros. Even CodeWeavers describes this as early "proof-of-concept" more than anything else, but you may want to give it a try.

Surf Anonymously in Chrome. The Chromium open source core of the Chrome browser has been tweaked to produce aersion of Chrome that can allow for anonymous browsing. People in parts of the world where Internet use can lead quickly to jail time may be interested in this, or hotspot users who want an added layer of anonymity may be interested. Iron is based on Chromium, looks and works exactly like Chrome, but introduces several levels of privacy, as we wrote about here. Chrome Privacy Guard is a mini application that removes all client ID information when you use Chrome.

Use the About: Pages. Like Firefox, Google Chrome can pull up a ton of useful diagnostic and other types of information if you type about: commands in Chrome's address bar. For example, type about:plugins to get the list of plugins available for Chrome. The Google operating system blog has a good list of these.

Get a Portable Version of Chrome for Your USB Drive. You can get a lightweight tweak of Chrome based on the Chromium code here. Hat tip to Lifehacker for this.

Here's a Video Featuring 10 Chrome Basics. In case you missed any.

Original here

Futurama’s Anti-Piracy Message, Just Do It

Written by enigmax

The latest Futurama movie, Bender’s Game, is released in a few days and as usual it’s already on BitTorrent. However, Matt Groening has included a nice extra on the DVD - a pretty amusing parody on one of the classic anti-piracy messages.

bender piracyAnyone who watched The Simpsons Movie will have noticed Bart in the intro chalking his famous blackboard with the words “I will not illegally download this movie”. Matt Groening seems to appreciate the comedy anti-piracy message as his latest movie, ‘Futurama: Bender’s Game‘, also includes some mockery of file-sharers or, on closer inspection, possibly some encouragement. Whatever the intention, it is pretty funny.

The movie, the third in the Futurama series and due for release in a few days time, has already leaked to BitTorrent. This is nothing new, but hidden away in the DVD extras is a parody of the infamous movie industry anti-piracy ad, which was previously parodied by the IT Crowd.

Entitled ‘Downloading Often Is Terrible’ or D.O. I.T for short, the animated advert follows the familiar “You wouldn’t steal…” structure, but with more unusual content. Whatever the ad suggests that Bender wouldn’t steal or do, is followed up by Bender doing just that, starting with “You wouldn’t steal a spaceship”, which of course, Bender would, along with lots of other amusing things.

Although Bender is stealing physical objects in his 2D animated world, lots of people disagree with the use of the word ’steal’ to describe the act of copyright infringement. Australian lawyer Brendan Scott certainly doesn’t believe it. When someone downloads movies or music illegally, they make a copy, he argues. The original is still there, and legally speaking nothing is stolen. Scott concludes: “To use the infringement-as-stealing meme demonstrates something of a lack of respect for language and consequently a lack of respect for the people to whom you are speaking.”

But maybe Bender himself provides the truth. The copyright lobbies often paint the fight against piracy as a “matter of life and death” so it seems fitting to utilize the phrase to illustrate the chasm between stealing and copying. Having watched the clip and noted the final stolen item produced from Bender’s chest, I immediately thought about where that came from, the state of the gentleman in question, and where I could find him for a chat.

Because if anyone in the world knows the difference between copying and stealing, it’s got to be him. Or Lucy Liu’s milliner. Enjoy the clip.

If you go back 3 months on YouTube, it appears that even this parody got leaked ahead of time. Cammed too, you couldn’t make it up.

Original here

Double the viewers, double the TV

By Carolyn Giardina

Here's a classic dilemma: You are home for the evening. You wish to watch, say, a comedy, on TV, but your family member would rather watch something else.

Texas Instruments, the maker of the DLP Cinema chip, is developing technology that might reduce the common problem by allowing two people to simultaneously view two different programs -- on the same TV.

The company outlined some of its early developments that use 3-D technology for home entertainment, on Thursday at the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers Technical Conference and Exhibition in Hollywood.

One development, which TI expects to begin to preview at year's end, is processing technology that if incorporated in a third-party home entertainment system could allow for 2-D, 3-D or "dual view mode" on the same TV. Dual view mode, similar to 3-D, combines two images, but they are two different images.

TI's Tim Simerly said that each viewer would wear different glasses -- one exposing only program "A," and one allowing the viewing of only program "B."

Simerly added that at least one of the viewers would need to wear headsets in order to get the correct audio.

Original here

Microsoft parks "I'm a PC" recording booth outside Apple Store

By Sam Oliver

Microsoft Corp., engrossed in multi-million dollar marketing blitz to counter comical ads from rival Apple, Inc., is now using a portion of its budget to fuel guerilla retail tactics near the Mac maker's stores.

AppleInsider reader Tom submits the following photo, which shows a large Microsoft-branded kiosk parked outside a shopping center-based Apple retail store.

"It's a friggin booth where you can record your own I'm a PC video," he said. "This is outside the Apple Store, Bullring, Birmingham, England." He added that a trio of Microsoft staffers will be on hand to turn patrons off from the Mac for the next three days.

The move is an extension of the Redmond-based software giant's $300 million advertising campaign aimed at cleaning up the image of its Windows Vista operating system, which has been tarnished at the hands of Apple's long-running "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads.

Last month, Microsoft tapped advertising firm Crispin Porter & Bogusky to use Apple's assault as a foundation for a direct counter-strike with its own series of "I'm a PC" ads, which open with a John Hodgman lookalike character who declares that he's been "made into a stereotype."

As part of the campaign, Microsoft invited visitors to its website to upload videos and photos that demonstrate "how they, too, are PCs." The company has since select a handful of those clips for inclusion in television commercials that can be seen airing on network television this week.

Microsoft now appears to be taking its initiative to the streets.

The "I'm a PC" ads are actually a second phase of the company's rebuttal efforts. An initial series of ads was dominated by a pair of offbeat teaser skits (1, 2) featuring Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Those efforts were postponed indefinitely amid mixed reviews.

Guerilla retail tactics

Ironically, market research data cited by AppleInsider earlier this week revealed that the first series of deliberately eccentric ads dwarfed both Apple's and the new "I'm a PC" ads in viral views, suggesting Microsoft may have been better off sticking with Gates and Seinfeld.

Original here

Apple fanboys vs. Microsofties: A scientist's verdict

Posted by Chris Matyszczyk

Since embracing Incorrectness, I have noticed that the passion of those who love either Microsoft or Apple seems even to exceed a Goth's passion for black eyeshadow.

The more I have come to know the two sides, the more their mutual stand-off resembles the kind of love-hate continuum embraced nightly by those two remarkably large-headed souls, Fox's Bill O'Reilly and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.

Now, research led by Professor Semir Zeki of University College London may help to illustrate and explain the inflamed emotions that surround two mere technology brands.

It appears that, although love and hate seem to be rather opposing feelings, some of the same nervous circuits in the brain are responsible for both emotions.

The lovely thing is that the two radical heights of intensity both seem to involve two of the most pornographically named parts of the brain's sub-cortex: the putamen and the insula.

(Credit: CC AndiLeBlanc)

But here's what the study, which involved delving into the darkest parts of 17 deep haters, suggested was the main difference between love and hate.

Hate is more rational.

"This may seem surprising since hate can also be an all-consuming passion like love," Zeki told the Independent. "But whereas in romantic love, the lover is often less critical and judgmental regarding the loved person, it is more likely that in the context of hate the hater may want to exercise judgment in calculating moves to harm, injure or otherwise exact revenge."

This surely suggests that those who love Apple and Microsoft have utterly lost their minds to each brand. But when it comes to the loathing, they coldly find the most vicious yet factual criticisms to stir their negativity.

Love, it seems, is blind. Whereas hate has GPS.

So the more rational reasons an Apple enthusiast finds to hate Microsoft, the more intense his (or her) hate becomes. (Might this, perhaps, be related to the entirely unscientific fact that there seem to be a few more Apple-loving Microsoft-haters than Microsoft-adoring Apple-haters around at the moment?)

What Zeki's interesting analysis doesn't seem to cover, though, is whether hate for a thing, person or brand, given that it comes from the same cranial regions, actually reinforces love of another thing, person or brand.

Does hating Microsoft reinforce an Apple fanboy's love of the brand that bore the iPod? Or could the strangely close neuroscientific relationship between love and hate actually hide a reluctant and dangerous admiration for the hate-object?

I only ask because when I watch Olbermann skewer O'Reilly on a nightly basis, I wonder whether he secretly covets his ratings. Or his salary. And when I watch O'Reilly, I wonder whether he covets Olbermann's penchant for saying what he really thinks.

Similarly, is it possible that Apple fanboys secretly covet something about Microsoft? And that Microsofties are desperate for some of Apple's pips? What might be the object of their hidden, painful admiration and desire?

Microsofties and Apple fanboys, please examine your putamen and insula immediately and let me know.

Chris Matyszczyk is a multi award-winning creative director who now advises major global corporations on content creation and marketing. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET.

Original here

FireWire-to-USB: MacBook Redeemer?

by Darrell Etherington

Apple’s decision to axe FireWire from the MacBook line is not sitting well with many users, to say the least. For high-quality audio and video transfers, FireWire is the standard for professionals and hobbyists alike. Though USB is technically capable of faster transfer speeds than FireWire 400 (480 Mb/s vs. 400), FireWire has greater effective speed and power distribution because it doesn’t depend on a computer host port.

So what can be done about, short of severe DIY case-cracking, mother-board soldering changes that could result in death and/or dismemberment? One option shows potential. According to, Pixela offers a FireWire to USB DV transfer cable, designed specifically with digital video transfer in mind.

Don’t go ordering one just yet, though. Currently, the cable only officially supports Windows XP (no Vista, either). So unless you’re running Boot Camp, or virtualization software, you’re out of luck. That said, given the sheer volume of dismayed MacBook owners (and those unwilling to upgrade until they find a solution), it’s likely that OS X support is on the way. Whether that comes in the form of a third-party driver, or (don’t hold your breath) official support and/or hardware from Apple, remains to be seen. When we contacted Pixela, a representative told us that OS X support has been discussed by their planning committee, but no firm decisions to go forward have yet been made.

There are a few problems with this type of workaround. For one, you give up on the fast transfer speeds and power distribution capability of FireWire. Pixela’s cable apparently uses “micro chip” technology to ensure the quality and integrity of the DV transfer are maintained, but this probably doesn’t entirely make up for FireWire’s high sustained transfer rates. And it looks like Pixela might require you to use their proprietary software to perform any transfers, no desktop mounting or destination application selection. There’s also price, since the cable costs $119 before tax. High price to pay for Apple’s omission.

Still, it’s less clunky than analog-to-digital video converters, and prices could drop if demand is high enough and other companies start making similar devices. Apple may also be less than cooperative if the decision to kill FireWire on the MacBook was meant to force people up to the MacBook Pro. We can only hope that, as with the microphone support finally included in the new iPod Touch, Apple eventually sees that hamstringing lower-end devices isn’t the only way to get people to upgrade.

Would you buy a Mac version of this cable, or will it take more than another peripheral to fix this problem?

Original here