Guide to Hacking Motorola Vxxx Phones

November 28th, 2004

Pretty decent guide for people with a V-series Motorola phone. Definitely useful if you want to get rid of your cell phone carrier’s logos plastered all over a phone.

Why Microsoft is No Apple

November 22nd, 2004

Creative PMC PVP
So you buy a $500 Personal Video Player, and you get home all excited to play with it and watch stuff, right? BZZT. Not exactly. Besides having to install apps from the included CD, you have to go online and download MORE Windows Media components, which according to Wired, can take 30 minutes, even on broadband. What kind of idiotic thinking is that? Anything you need to use the PVP with your PC should be included on your CD! And that folks, is why Microsoft is no Apple. I remember opening my iPod mini, installing iTunes on my PC, and dragging over MP3s, and voila, I could listen to stuff on my iPod mini. Really though, what kind of product manager thinks up this stuff?

The latest portable media players strive to be the Swiss Army knives of digital content, giving you mobile access to your entire video and audio libraries. The Creative Zen Portable Media Center and the Datexx Pavio take very different paths to (almost) reach digital nirvana.

As with many other Windows-based devices, the PC controls the content of Creative’s Zen, which uses Microsoft’s just-released Portable Media Center and Windows Media Player 10 software. Before you connect the player, you have to install applications from the included CD and download the latest Windows Media components, a process that takes more than 30 minutes on a broadband connection and considerably longer using (gulp) dialup.,1452,65720,00.html

Pacers Pistons Brawl

November 20th, 2004

I just can’t get enough of it, and hey, ESPN is milking it for all it’s worth. Thanks for the entertainment, Indiana and Detroit!

Pictures and link to video

Keyhole by Google

November 19th, 2004

1001 5th Ave Keyhole Shot
Just saw the link from Google tonight. Keyhole (recently acquired by Google) allows you to zoom in on metropolitan areas around the world and see a bird’s eye perspective arial shot. Free 7-day trial, I’ll be trying to the software soon.

UPDATE: Pretty good software, not that I have much use for it myself, but still cool technology none the less. Above is a screenshot of the area around 1001 5th Ave, in downtown Seattle.

Kodak Nears Sony in Digicam Market Share

November 19th, 2004

I’d never thought Kodak would come back, as there was quite a lull in their digital camera offerings a few years ago and I didn’t know anyone that purchased a newer Kodak cam for some time. I also would have never guessed that Sony is on top of the digicam world right now, with a 20% market share, slightly edging out Kodak. I’m not too much of a fan of Sony when it comes to digicams, but I did just buy the small-sized 2-megapixel Sony DSC-U30 just last month or so, to carry around with me 24/7 in case something interesting pops up, which has happened. So in my family, we have at least one camera from each of the top four digicam manufacturers, an old Kodak DC265 (sitting around not being utilized), an Olympus D40 (my main camera) & C3000 (Dad’s), a Canon Elph S500 (Mom’s), and the Sony DSC-U30, with three different memory card formats. For performance and price, Compact Flash can’t be beat right now.

The research firm’s survey of third-quarter U.S. camera sales, released on Friday, found that Sony sold 1 million units to command 20 percent of the market. Kodak shifted only 10,000 fewer, to grab 19.8 percent of the market.

Canon was third, moving 800,000 units for a 16-percent market share, followed by Olympus, with sales of 600,000 and market share of 12 percent. Link

And You Thought Your Spam Was Bad…

November 18th, 2004

Hahah, 4 million and only ‘most’ are spam? For the record, it’s if you wanna spam Bill Gates there.

SINGAPORE (AFP) – Internet junkies, take heart: Microsoft chairman Bill Gates (news – web sites) receives four million e-mails daily, most of them spam, and is probably the most “spammed” person in the world.

But unlike ordinary users, the software mogul has an entire department to filter unsolicited e-mails and only a few of them actually get through to his inbox, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said here Thursday.

Yahoo Link

Netflix Site Redesign

November 18th, 2004

Netflix Queue Redesign
They’ve added a weird looking blue to the My Queue page at Netflix, and they’ve FINALLY added a Search box on the My Queue page (which was there a few years ago, but they took it away in the last redesign). I’m not really digging the blue, and there’s definitely some space issues (see area between Genre and Shipped). They need to correct the spacing a bit. But I’m quite happy with the Search box, I hated having to go back to Browse to look for additional movies to add. But I’m not a big fan of the blue, since it doesn’t go too well with the Netflix red (which they are known for) and the gray tabs. The new arrow at the right is to move the listed title to the top of the Queue.

What do you think of the resdesign?

Mark Cuban Wants Simultaneous Format Movie Releases

November 17th, 2004

I really don’t remember the last time I stepped foot in a theater, perhaps it was The Matrix Reloaded at the Cinerama in downtown Seattle. I’d like to see a lot more new releases, but just haven’t felt the rush to, knowing that DVD releases are only a few short months away and that I can sit my ass comfortably at home instead of trekking all the way to the theater, paying ridiculuous amounts of money for popcorn and pop, waiting through ads before the movies (and I don’t mean the previews either), and having obnoxious kids and cell phone talkers annoy me with their chatter.

So thus, I would probably be willing to watch the movie over satellite via Pay-Per-View or if the DVD release came out the same day, I’d get it or Netflix it. I know there’s VCDs or other illicit methods of watching new release movies, but I just can’t stand the quality of VCD myself. I wonder if we’ll ever see the day that this happens, with simulatenous releases of new movies at theaters, on PPV, and DVD the same day. I can only hope, no?

For example, Cuban and Wagner plan to buck the Hollywood system of releasing movies over many months, through separate windows for theaters, pay-per-view, DVD, and broadcast TV. Instead, Cuban said, they intend to attempt “day-and-date releases,” in which their films premiere simultaneously on Landmark screens, HDNet, and DVD. “We think it’s a way of maximizing our revenues, controlling marketing costs, and adding value to our brands,” he said. “And we don’t think giving people alternatives to going to the theater will hurt us at the box office. It’s just like with the Mavericks: We still sell out the games even though they’re on free TV.”

Business 2.0 Link

Hidden Symbols in Logos

November 16th, 2004

FedEx logo
Big Ten logo

Yes, I’m so easily amused. I see the FedEx logo probably everyday, but I’ve never seen the subliminal arrow until today, and of course a website pointed it out for me. Also above is the Big Ten logo, which added an 11th team a few years back, thus you can see a subliminal 11 in their logo.

Good interview with the FedEx logo creator guy at TheSneeze.

Why choose to keep the arrow so subtle? It seems to show remarkable restraint. Weren’t you or the people at FedEx ever tempted to make it more obvious with an outline or a different color?

A good question and one that I am frequently asked. An arrow, in and of itself, is one of the most mundane graphic devices in visual communications. Truly, there is nothing unique or particularly strategic (marketing-wise) in using an arrow as a brand identifier. Early on, before the brand rollout in mid-1994, FedEx’s public relations agency was preparing to emphasize the arrow as a secondary graphic to underscore the “speed/precision� positioning. They proposed to leverage this in their FedEx communications. Landor put its foot down and said, “No way.�

MPAA Sues P2P Users Moviesharers

November 16th, 2004

While we’ve seen Paramount Pictures threaten a BitTorrent user back in February, now the MPAA has gone ahead and followed the music industry in suing its users. No details were mentioned on how many lawsuits they filed or on which file-sharing networks the users were on, but it seems likely they would target BitTorrent users. So beware, next time you load up your P2P client, they may be watching…

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A trade group representing seven major movie studios filed a first wave of lawsuits against individuals they say are offering pirated copies of films using Internet-based peer-to-peer file sharing programs. The Motion Picture Association of America announced the federal court suits Tuesday, but did not say how many defendants were sued or where the lawsuits were filed. The group also did not immediately make available a copy of the complaint.

The lawsuits seek injunctions against the defendants. The copyright law also provides for penalties of up to $30,000 for each motion picture traded over the Internet, and up to $150,000 if such infringement is shown to be willful. The MPAA said it would also make available a computer program that sniffs out movie and music files on a user’s computer as well as any installed file sharing programs.