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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Halo 3 Sales Smash Records

Microsoft is reporting that sales for its much hyped game, Halo 3, generated $170 million during the first 20 hours of its release. Not only does this top the $125 million sales record set by Halo 2, but it also surpasses the opening-day US box office record of $59.8 million set by Sony's "Spider-Man 3" in May. In fact, Halo 3 made more money in 24 hours than Spider-Man 3 made during its three-day opening-weekend ($151 million).

So far, more than 1 million players have logged on the play the networked Xbox Live version of Halo 3.

The game is expected to give a huge boost to the Xbox 360. Lately, the runaway success of the Nintendo Wii has been a thorn in the side of both Microsoft and Sony.

You can read our review of Halo 3 here.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

20 Internet Acronyms Parents Should Know

What does "POS" mean? How about "SorG"? Don't know? LOL. If you're a parent, you might want to find out what kids are saying to each other online. Here's a sideshow of 20 Internet Acronyms All Parents Should Know.

You also might want to check out this list of common chat room acronyms.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Halo 3 Sickness Feared

The 3rd and final edition in the Halo video game trilogy got released Monday night at midnight. Microsoft expects to sell an estimated 4 million copies of Halo 3 (read review) in the U.S. during the next 30 days according to Think 4 million seems a lot for a video game? Keep in mind that "Halo" (2001) and "Halo 2" (2004) sold 14.5 million copies worldwide.

But because there is so much anticipation and hype around Halo 3, corporate employers and school systems are fearing that their staff and students will spontaneously be calling in sick this week.

Here are a couple quotes I found on USA

"I've already talked to my teachers and got my assignments for Tuesday. I don't plan on going to class," says Dane Mitchell, 20, a Cincinnati State and Community College sophomore. "I'm going to pick up the game at midnight from GameStop, go to a friend's house, and play it for 36 hours," he says.

Like Mitchell, Neil Godwin, 21, of Milford, Ohio, reserved his copy more than a year ago. He's taking a vacation day Tuesday from his job as a Kroger computer help desk analyst to play Halo 3 all day with his brother.

Corporate sponsors are also helping fuel the hype around Halo 3. Even if the last video game you played was Pong in the 1980's, Microsoft still wants you to know about Halo 3. Everyone from Burger King, NASCAR, Pontiac and even Mountain Dew have promotional deals with Microsoft for Halo 3 that rival such theatrical franchises as Harry Potter. Last night I even saw a 'limited edition' Halo 3 Mountain Dew 12-pack labeled as "Game Fuel." I guess there's probably enough sugar and caffeine in a 12-pack of Mountain Dew to even keep a Polar Bear up all night.

Beyond the corporate sponsors, promotional advertising blitz and the Internet buzz, Halo 3 is special to gamers because it's the final chapter in the Halo series. It's the last time fans will get to see their beloved Master Chief in action. Halo 3 is equivalent of how important "Return of the Jedi" or "The Return of the King" was Star Wars and Lord of the Rings fans. It's the end of a saga.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Do you know what today is? You might have noticed that several major websites like have added pirate flags to their logos.

That's right, today is "International Talk Like a Pirate Day." The parody holiday was invented in 1995 by John Baur ("Ol' Chumbucket") and Mark Summers ("Cap'n Slappy"), of the United States, who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate.

For example, an observer of this holiday would greet friends not with "Hello," but with "Ahoy, me hearty!" The date was selected because it was the birthday of Summers' ex-wife and consequently would be easy for him to remember.

What's your pirate name? Find out here.

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3G iPhone Confirmed for 2008

Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, has confirmed that there is a 3G iPhone in the works and it should be ready by 2008. Jobs made the following statement at the "Mum is no longer the word" press conference at the Regent Street Apple store in London this week:
"You can expect a 3G iPhone later next year... We are working on the next iPhone already, the one after that and the one after that."

The news comes as a 2G EDGE-enabled iPhone will be available in the UK on November 9th. When asked why the current model didn't have 3G, Jobs blamed power issues saying that the 3G chipset would be too much of a drain on the unit's battery life which promises 8 hours of call time, but said that future models would have the technology.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Unresponsive iPod

Do you have an iPod that is unresponsive? Occasionally an iPod may freeze or fail to respond to your commands. There are a few things you can do to troubleshoot this.

Here's an email from a reader about an unresponsive iPod:

"I'm using a 40GB click-wheel iPod in Windows 2k. It is unable to fully boot up. When I turn it on, the Apple symbol comes up and the hard drive sounds like it begins to spin, and then it stops. Occasionally it gets to the folder w/exclamation point screen and then the hard drives stops and then starts again, going back to the apple screen. The iPod update application either doesn't detect the iPod or it freezes my whole computer. I have tried resetting, and since Windows/iPod update don't detect it, I can't restore either (even in disk mode). I have been unable to get the disk scan working." ~ dan

You most likely dropped your iPod or hit it pretty hard. This happened to a friend of mine (Bill) when he threw his backpack on the floor. His iPod was inside the backpack and the jolt from hitting the floor physically damaged the iPod's hard drive.

Unfortunately, if your hard drive is physically damaged, there's only one way to fix it - get it replaced. If your iPod is still under warranty or you purchased extended AppleCare for your iPod, then have Apple replace or repair your iPod. If your iPod is out of warranty, there are several third-party companies that can fix your iPod like these guys.

But before going through the hassle and cost of sending your iPod off to be repaired, try these free iPod troubleshooting tips first. Good luck!

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

iPod Nano Commercial with "1234" Song

If you were watching any of the American football games this past Sunday, then you probably saw the new 3rd generation iPod Nano commercial. The ad features the upbeat and catchy song "1234" by Canadian singer/songwriter Leslie Feist.

Here are the lyrics to "1234" used in the iPod Nano ad:
One Two Three Four
Tell me that you love me more
Sleepless long nights
That is what my youth was for

Old teenage hopes are alive at your door
Left you with nothing but they want some more

Oh, you're changing your heart
Oh, You know who you are

You can watch Feist's full video for "1234" here [link] on YouTube or check out her new album "The Reminder" on iTunes. The commercial is no doubt doing wonders for Leslie Feist's name recognition. Everyone is talking about it online (like me).

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Tearful Britney Fan Is a YouTube Hit

A tearful Britney Spears fan named Chris Crocker posted a passionate video called Leave Britney Alone! on YouTube after the pop star's disastrous MTV Awards performance. Crocker's video has become an instant YouTube hit and has gotten about 4 million views.

In it, Crocker defends Britney's widely-criticized performance at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, in which the troubled pop star appeared out of time and out of shape while miming the words to her new song "Gimme More." It reminded me of Ashlee Simpson's SNL un-synced disaster.

Crocker berates the media for their treatment of Britney since the awards show and says fans should be thankful she decided to perform. Here's a transcript of his rant:
"How f**king dare anyone out there make fun of Britney after all she's been through. She went through a divorce, she had two kids ... and now she's going through a custody battle. All you people care about is readers and making money off of her.

She's a human. She hasn't performed on stage in years. Her song is called Gimme More for a reason - because all you people want is more, more, more, more, more ... leave her alone. You're lucky she even performed for you bastards. Leave Britney alone ... please."
Crocker, who has posted other YouTube videos about Britney Spears, said on the Howard Stern radio show yesterday that he was "not acting" and was "really crying."

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tron movie sequel in the works

Good news for Tron fans. According to the Hollywood Reporter, commercial director Joseph Kosinski is in final negotiations to direct a sequel to the 1982 cult movie classic. Steven Lisberger, who co-wrote and directed the original film, has signed on as a producer.

Kosinski, who last month signed on to the remake of "Logan's Run" for Warner Brothers, will oversee the visual development of the project and have input on the script, which is being written by "Lost" scribes Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Story details are being kept secret.

In case you didn't see the original film or have forgotten the plot (after all it's 25 years-old now), Tron was about a computer programmer who gets sucked into a virtual world and forced to fight in his own video games. In 1982, the special effects used in Tron were groundbreaking. It was the first movie to use computer generated images (CGI) in conjunction with live action. Sources also say that visual effects personnel, for many of whom Tron was an inspiration to enter the business, are already are jockeying to work on the film.

Before Disney green lighted Lisberger to make the original film, he had to shot a test reel, financed by the studio, of the deadly Frisbee battle. It looks like Kosinski will have to do the same thing, but this time the studio wants to see a test sequence involving the movie's Light Cycles. I can see why. The arcade game based on the Light Cycle scene was so popular in the early 1980's that it earned more money than the movie.

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Urine Powered Batteries

Before you flush the toilet, you might want to check the power level in your batteries. You could be flushing away a free source of energy.

In 2005, Scientists in Singapore developed a battery powered by urine. The Scientists were able to produce electric power using liquid as a catalyst thanks to a special mixture of magnesium and carbon inside the batteries.

Now, a Japanese company has brought this urine powered battery technology to market with the NoPoPo (Non-Pollution Power) Aqua Batteries. Just use the included plastic pipette to inject urine into the battery chamber. Grossed out by pee? You can also use other types of liquid including beer, apple juice, cola, and saliva and of course urine. When I first heard about the NoPoPo, I thought it might be a joke. Making silly inventions is a popular hobby in Japan called Chingdogu. But the NoPoPo is no joke.

A single urine powered AA battery can power a flashlight for about 20 hours (500 milliamp-hours). Not exactly the most powerful battery on the shelf, but it's a great start for this environmentally friendly energy technology. The NoPoPo aqua powered batteries are currently only available in both AA and AAA sizes, but the company has future plans to produce all common battery sizes.

Off the top of my head, here are just a few reasons why you should love the NoPoPo:
  • used batteries contain mercury and are bad for the environment
  • using your own body fluids to power batteries will save you money
  • it's a reliable source of power for life saving tools like flashlights and radios
  • people who live in remote areas and don't have access to fresh batteries can now use battery powered gadgets and technology
Unfortunately the NoPoPo can currently only be purchased in Japan. Hopefully one of my Japanese readers will send me some.

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Popstar Feets - Celebrity Shoe Blog

The next time you do a Google Image search of your favorite musician, don't be surprised if a picture of their shoes ends up in the results. Who do you have to thank for this unusual honor? Her name is Helen Lawrence and her blog, Popstar Feets, might be one of the most original blogs ever created. When getting an opportunity to take a photo with popstar, most people like to shoot from the waist up. Not Helen. She prefers to angle her camera a little lower and checkout the celebrity footwear. Then she blogs about it.

Here's an interview with Helen Lawrence from Popstar Feets complete with an exclusive ;) picture of Adidas sneakers that belong to Chris Martin from Coldplay.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

MySpace's Tila Tequila Gets MTV Show

MTV's latest reality show - A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila - is built around the dishy, scantily clad singer/model who is reputed to have the most friends in the history of MySpace (2,009,335 at last count).

Tila's career began at the age of 18 when she was discovered at a shopping mall by a Playboy scout and was offered a chance to model nude for the magazine and did a test shoot. Tila was featured as Playboy’s Cyber Girl of the week on April 22, 2002, and a couple weeks later became Playboy’s first Asian Cyber Girl of the Month.

Besides MySpace and Playboy, Tila is also known for her photo spreads in Stuff, Maxim, and her role as host of the popular Fuse TV show Pants-Off Dance-Off.

MTV ordered 10-episodes of Tila's elimination-format dating show. It's slated to premiere on October 9th on MTV (USA).

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

An open letter to iPhone owners from Steve Jobs

This week Apple announced new iPods and lowered the iPhone price by $200. But what if you were one of the millions of people who bought an iPhone 2 months ago? You'd probably be a little pissed off right? Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, got so many emails from angry customers that he wrote an open letter on the Apple website today. The letter says that every customer who purchased an iPhone from either Apple or AT&T will receive a $100 Apple store credit.

It's a brilliant move by Apple. This rebate will placate the angry early iPhone adopters who are feeling cheated, still keep the money in Apple's pocket and generate lots of press (like this article).

Here's the open letter from Jobs:

To all iPhone customers:

I have received hundreds of emails from iPhone customers who are upset about Apple dropping the price of iPhone by $200 two months after it went on sale. After reading every one of these emails, I have some observations and conclusions.

First, I am sure that we are making the correct decision to lower the price of the 8GB iPhone from $599 to $399, and that now is the right time to do it. iPhone is a breakthrough product, and we have the chance to 'go for it' this holiday season. iPhone is so far ahead of the competition, and now it will be affordable by even more customers. It benefits both Apple and every iPhone user to get as many new customers as possible in the iPhone 'tent'. We strongly believe the $399 price will help us do just that this holiday season.

Second, being in technology for 30+ years I can attest to the fact that the technology road is bumpy. There is always change and improvement, and there is always someone who bought a product before a particular cutoff date and misses the new price or the new operating system or the new whatever. This is life in the technology lane. If you always wait for the next price cut or to buy the new improved model, you'll never buy any technology product because there is always something better and less expensive on the horizon. The good news is that if you buy products from companies that support them well, like Apple tries to do, you will receive years of useful and satisfying service from them even as newer models are introduced.

Third, even though we are making the right decision to lower the price of iPhone, and even though the technology road is bumpy, we need to do a better job taking care of our early iPhone customers as we aggressively go after new ones with a lower price. Our early customers trusted us, and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like these.

Therefore, we have decided to offer every iPhone customer who purchased an iPhone from either Apple or AT&T, and who is not receiving a rebate or any other consideration, a $100 store credit towards the purchase of any product at an Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store. Details are still being worked out and will be posted on Apple's website next week. Stay tuned.

We want to do the right thing for our valued iPhone customers. We apologize for disappointing some of you, and we are doing our best to live up to your high expectations of Apple.

Steve Jobs
Apple CEO

Once again Apple has proven why they are so loved by their fan base. But, hey Steve, shouldn't it be a $200 store credit?

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Apple Unveils Wi-Fi iPods

Apple unveiled its new line of iPods yesterday including a model with an iPhone-like touchscreen interface and Zune-like WiFi access. The "iPod Touch" sports a 3.5-inch widescreen and a Safari browser, creating a mobile YouTube delivery device that essentially replicates the iPhone browsing experience for non-AT&T subscribers. It's going to run $299 for an 8 GB model and $399 for a 16 GB version, scheduled to ship later this month. You can pre-order the new iPods from

The former Video iPod has been renamed the "iPod Classic" with a slimmer design and a bigger hard drive.

Although the new iPod Touch is very impressive with its Wi-Fi and touch-screen, the fact that it only has a 16GBs sucks big time. I like to keep my current iPod Video full of movies and TV shows that I ripped from DVD for my morning commute. The new smaller hard drive is a major sticking point for me. The reason the new iPods have smaller hard drives is because they are Flash memory based (no moving parts) and are able to withstand an occasional bump or drop better than traditional hard drives.

Apple is also teaming with Starbucks to allow customers to browse a new WiFi iTunes store for free inside of its coffee shops. Go near a Starbucks and an icon pops up. Click on it and you can buy Starbucks' current music selections.

Steve Jobs also announced he was phasing out the entry level iPhone and cutting the price of the upper-end model from $599 to $399.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Wi-Fi iPods Expected

Though it is not official, those in the "know" say Apple is just hours away from announcing a new Wi-Fi enabled iPod designed to receive digital radio along with an option to buy content from the iTunes Store. It is not known whether the same functions will be included in the iPhone.

Other rumors about the new Wi-Fi iPod line suggest the inclusion of a wide-screen touch-screen interface like the iPhone, larger storage capacity, Flash based hard drive and a new version of the iPod Nano that can handle video.

On a personal note, I'm ready for a wide-screen iPod. Watching wide-screen formatted movies that I've ripped off of DVD on the small iPod screen has been giving me a headache.

Since the iPod's release in 2001, the hand-held music player has gone from a fun toy to a cultural icon. But it may be time for a revamp. Last year Apple's iPod sales dipped for the first time since 2002.

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