Everybody got some nice new toys for Christmas, right? A new MP3 player, like an iPod Nano, or a Zune, a new phone, PDA, any number of small electronic gadgets that will need protection from scratches and scrapes. If this is not your first gadget, cell phone, or iPod, then you know how quickly you can get scratches on it. If you carry them around in your pockets with your keys, it’s not a question of if, it is a question of when it will get scratched up. So, how do you protect them? The Invisible Shield from the Shieldzone.com.
I’ll admit, this is my first shield of any kind for any of our gadgets, but I can’t imagine there could be a better one, unless, someone has one you can just spray and it dries instantly. The Invisible Shield, all of them, operate the same way. The Invisible Shield is made from a film originally created by the military to protect the leading edges of helicopter blades from wear and tear while traveling hundreds of miles per hour, so it is tough. All you have to do is watch any of the scratch test videos below to see that. People scratched the heck out of their gadgets to test the shield, and not one scratch has shown up. It is really easy to apply because it comes with a liquid you spray on the shield first, and since it starts out wet, you can move it around to hit the exact spot. You squeegee it off with the plastic squeegee they send, and that is it. I don’t remember seeing any big bubbles on mine at all, and I installed it on three devices, I do have one tiny bubble on my Sony Kitana phone, but that was because I didn’t spray enough of the liquid on it and couldn’t slide it around. So take note: Make sure you coat the film very well so it is easy to adjust.
I covered my iPaq with a shield, my Kitana phone and my iPod Nano, and all three devices work great. On the iPaq, I just installed the screen shield, I have a case I carry it in. On my Kitana, I did the front and back, the kit included shields for the sides, but I did not install those, and the Nano was covered totally, as it rides in my pockets, sometimes with my keys and needs the most protection. The phone already had some scratches, so I’m not going to include any pictures of it, but I have to say, I love the way it feels now. It feels so much better than the phone itself, and, when I lay it on my console in my truck, it doesn’t slide off anymore when I hit the brake! Bonus! I will post a pic of the iPaq and the iPod tomorrow evening, as soon as I replace my digital camera that was stolen on my last flight out of town.
I am not doing any installation videos because I found one from Mobility Today that is perfect. It shows you step by step how to install it, about a 10 or 15 minute process, and you do have to wait 24 hours for it to settle and dry. The video is here. You will notice once installed there looks like there are ridges in the Invisible Shield, but that is just some kind of reflection, and it only occurs at extreme angles, and not head on, so it does not interfere with the video at all and you cannot feel them. A video below demonstrates this so you can see it is only a minor issue.
They have Invisible Shields for about all of the electronic gadgets available, Car Electronics, Cell Phones, Digital Camera LCDs, Dive Computers, Gaming Systems, GPS, Heart Rate Monitors, iPod Accessories, iPods, Laptops, Mac Mini, MP3 Players, Multimedia Viewers, PDAs, Portable DVD Players, Satellite Radios, Smartphones, Watches and more, and you can even get custom made Shields.
Here is the best video I have found to demonstrate the scratch test on your gadget with an Invisible Shield, click here. It makes sure you can see the surface by making it glare a little, so you can see if there are any scratches or not. This truly is a great product, I am preparing to order one for my 1st generation iPod, my wife’s phone, and I might get one for my laptop, I bet it will make if “feel” a lot better. I am also going to try out their Applesauce Polish on my son’s first generation black iPod Nano, the ones that scratched when breathed on them, it is supposed to bring back the shine and remove the scratches, and if that works well, I’ll slap an Invisible Shield on it as well. Try one out for yourself today from the Invisible Shield, and I bet you buy one for every gadget you have.
Oh, I almost forgot, they have a lifetime guarantee, if it ever scratches or peels off they will replace it. If you have to send your gadget back in for service, simply peel the film off and send it back to them, and they will send you a replacement shield free of charge. Beat that! It is a piece of cake to remove, you simply grab a corner and peel it off like a sticker.
And they mention it in the release, just so you know. The Yahoo Musci Blog announced the release of the Sandisk Sansa Connect, the Wifi enabled MP3 player that will free you from your USB cables, at least until you need to charge it. You can listen to personalized radio, share music over Yahoo Messenger, view photos from Flickr and download music. They are offering unlimited downloads from Yahoo Music Unlimited for only $12 dollars a month, but I see no mention if they are cutting a similar deal of DRM less MP3′s from EMI.
For me personally, the SanDisk Connect has put me in a completely different mode of portable music listening and discovery. I didn?t even connect mine to a computer for a week. I fired it up, started listening to personalized LAUNCHcast, and as songs I loved would play I?d grab the whole album. Then it was time to leave the house so I walked out the door and into the car, connected it to the line-in, and backed out of the driveway. The device elegantly said, ?um, lost the connection to Wifi, dude?, so I flipped over into ?My Library? and hit ?Shuffle All? to start listening to the many songs I?d downloaded. Then when I got home the device was smart enough to wake up, realize there was Wifi available again, and restart my downloads. Simple and genius management of limited connectivity. Source: Wifi-Enabled SanDisk Sansa Connect Features Yahoo! Music Unlimited, LAUNCHcast, Messenger, and Flickr
This device becomes part of your entire music setup, when you update songs on your Sansa Connect, you add your music to your Music Jukebox as well, when you create a playlist in the Jukebox, they show up on your Sansa, when you rate songs on the device it affects your Launchcasts you listen to on the web.
I’m not buying any more MP3 players, with three different iPods, a Zune and various generic MP3 players, I don’t think that me or my kids needs another, but if someone wants to send me one for review, I’d sure like to try one out. Maybe someone should send one to Microsoft so they can see what their wireless should look like.
Lots more sites are posting stuff about the Sansa Connect; here is a little rundown of some of the other coverage.
A New Wireless Player
Hopes to Challenge iPod A new wireless MP3 player called the Sansa Connect — the result of a three-way collaboration among Yahoo, MP3 player and storage device maker SanDisk Corp. and technology start-up Zing Systems Inc. — hit store shelves on Friday. The $250 device, crafted to work closely with Yahoo’s Internet music and other online services, has a novel twist: It’s designed to download music from the Internet wirelessly when the user isn’t necessarily near a personal computer and wants to get fresh batches of songs.
Yahoo/Sansa?s Music Player Foray: 100M iPods too Late? If I am Sandisk – #2 at 9% in digital music players – or Yahoo! – #2 in search with 30% market share – I?d look for an iPod killer/Google killer respectively, and seeing how the iPhone will rightfully or wrongfully get much buzz upon launch this year, I?d make sure I?d have plans to turn this into a phone/PDA/web browser pretty soon. Who knows, maybe that?s already in the works.
SanDisk and Yahoo, a Love Connect-ion? Back in September, it appeared as the Zing, a Flash-based Wi-Fi-enabled music player with the un-Zune-y ability to download tracks wirelessly from an Internet service. At CES, it was re-named Connect and announced as part of SanDisk’s successful Flash-player lineup. Now it’s shipping?4GB of internal flash memory, 2.2-in. TFT color screen and a microSD slot for expansion up to 8 gigs, for $250. Today’s news is that it comes with a bunch of Yahoo-related perks.
SanDisk and Yahoo! Music Partner on Unique Music Experience for Sansa Connect Wireless Internet MP3 Player This is the official press release. The Sansa Connect player is designed to work seamlessly with a wide range of popular music formats such as MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) in both unprotected and protected files. While optimized to work wirelessly with Yahoo! Music Unlimited to Go, the player supports all Microsoft PlaysForSure subscription music via a PC connection.
Ryan Shrout at PC Perspective has done a great review comparing the performance using the latest video drivers from NVidia and ATI for Windows Vista and comparing them to performance of the same cards on Windows XP. While AMD came to them to ask what their testing plans were, he said he had to pry a driver from NVidia and said you could tell AMD had been working on theirs longer.
Because of these dramatic changes to the graphics system, both NVIDIA and AMD have had to spend significant time redeveloping their graphics drivers to work with the new Windows Vista operating system. Both NVIDIA and AMD (and ATI) have been working on Vista development for YEARS and we have been hearing claims of having the best “Vista Support” from both camps nearly as long. But now that the day of redemption is actually here, who will come out on top?
I decided to take the retail version of Windows Vista Ultimate, got the latest drivers from both AMD and NVIDIA as of Friday and began to spend my weekend testing. What is important to note here is that my intention is NOT to compare the ATI Radeon cards against NVIDIA GeForce cards — rather it was to compare the gaming experiences provided by ATI and NVIDIA on both Windows XP and Windows Vista.
Should gamers worry about upgrading to Vista right away or should they wait for driver stability and performance to catch up with the Microsoft vision? Read on to find out. Source: Windows Vista Gaming Performance – NVIDIA and ATI Compared
The review says in conclusion don’t be scared by all the doom and gloom you have read concerning video gaming in Windows Vista, as the number are comparable to the XP numbers, and while NVidia had the edge in performance over AMD, this is mainly because NVIDIA has the GeForce 8800 series of cards available and AMD’s R600 has not been released yet, so the poor driver performance did not hurt them in this test, but will probably be a different story once the new card from AMD has been released.
If you have read any of Paul Thurrot’s reviews on any of his sites, you know they are usually detailed, in-depth reviews, and the Office 2007 Review is no exception, as a matter of fact this is part 2 and part 3 will be coming sometime in the future. The short of it, he says upgrade, it is well worth, if you are already a power user, you may have to relearn a few things, but it is worth it, and if you aren’t a power user, the upgrades Microsoft has made will put you well on your way.
Some of the most popular Office 2007 applications–Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and, to a lesser degree, Outlook–have been updated with the new Ribbon user interface (in Outlook, only sub-windows like Mail Message have been updated). These applications have a pleasant graphical sheen of newness about them, but the improvements are not just skin deep. Unfortunately, these new Ribbon-based applications also make the non-updated applications–and, actually, Outlook–look sad by comparison. Once you’ve used the Ribbon, going back to a menus and toolbars-based UI is actually pretty painful. Hopefully, the rest of the Office suite will be updated to the new UI in a future update.
As a writer, Web developer, and heavy email user, I’ve always looked forward to the evolutionary improvements in each new Office release. With Office 2007, the improvements, for the first time ever, are revolutionary and will impact all users. The new Ribbon-based user interface is the key improvement, and will make the power previously hidden inside Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint more readily available and accessible, thus turning a generation of casual Office users into power users. For this reason alone, I strongly recommend that new and casual Office users consider upgrading as soon as possible. The Ribbon is an absolute win for all users, however: Though today’s power users will have a bit of relearning to do, the results will be worth it. If you thought you knew any of these applications inside and out, think again: You’ll be surprised to discover new and interesting functionality yourself. Source: Microsoft Office 2007 Review Part 2: What’s New?
Here is a screenshot, it looks great, I can’t wait to get a copy of it.
Couple Windows Vista posts today I wanted to comment on, the first is a rebuttal, of sorts, to a previous post about 10 reasons not to buy Windows Vista. This post, 10 reasons to buy Windows Vista seems like it is just trying to pull people in to get them to go to more specific articles on his comments.
10. Face it, you have no choice
When Microsoft brings out a major renovation to Windows, you can choose to ignore it for a year or two, but then the device drivers start drying up for older versions of Windows, your friends start asking questions about their new PC that you can’t answer, and even if you use Linux, you’ll inevitably need familiarity with Microsoft’s latest interoperability blockers. Face it: your arse belongs to Redmond. Source: APCmag
There are a few good reasons though, games being made specifically for DirectX10 will probably be one of the big ones in pulling some gamers over, since Microsoft has said it will never be made for Windows XP. The encryption will be a big reason for some people, as even computer forensics people were worried about how Microsoft would allow them to find scumbags data, but I’m sure someone is already working on, if not already cracked it, and then programs will be soon to follow that allow you to read, etc, encrypted files.
The other post is called The 5 sins of Vista and is all about things he has a problem with in running Windows Vista and some of them are in direct contrast to what the first article said. This guy is a big fan of Microsoft and develops for Windows, so he is on it a LOT, and has posted his 5 user interface rants, a couple of which are because they have changed the way a function works, not because they suck.
When I first started using the new start menu I loved it. I usually have 100s of programs installed, and the new interface makes it much easier to navigate. But there is something also I do with the run command on the start menu.
If I want a specific folder to launch in explorer I just type it out. Click start, then run and type c: Press enter, and the folder will show up.
Not anymore. If you forget the trailing backslash it will launch a program that is the closest match to that word. So for me, when I type c: It launches Remote Desktop! Argg! I must still make this mistake about 10 times a day. It would be so easy for them to check and see if the folder exists before launching an application. Source: IntelliAdmin
These guys are pretty sharp, I know I have posted about them and a couple of their programs before, but have not searched to see which, call me lazy. He says search is broken still, the first article likes it, the first article says it has better file navigation, the second says it is broken. The second article also complains about copying files in Windows, which has always sucked, how many times have you grabbed a bunch of files and folders and copied them somewhere just for it to break half way through and you have no idea what was copied and what wasn’t. That is why I use the good old command line to copy stuff, go Xcopy!
But, I guess the main point is, most things you have to try for yourself, if you go on how somebody else feels about something all the time, you could miss out on some stuff you really like as well as stuff you don’t.
PCWorld did some testing and the end of the year, comparing Windows XP and Windows Vista running on the same machines, from an older Pentium 1.8Ghz notebook to a 2.4-GHz Core 2 Duo E6600 and Radeon X1600 graphics card. As always Microsoft has said Vista will run faster, but they have always said that in the past, and everytime, you usually had to have better hardware to run the same speed. Things to note, at the time of the testing, graphics card manufacturers were still testing and tweaking their drivers, so expect some improvement there, and they used an updated version of Photoshop for Windows Vista, so, it wasn’t exactly the same.
With Microsoft’s Windows Vista finally released to manufacturers and on the verge of making its way to retail, we can at last get down to the business of examining precisely how well the new OS performs. In our first tests, we discovered that while Vista’s hardware requirements may be steep, it should run just fine–even with the Aero bells and whistles active–on machines that meet Microsoft’s Premium Ready specifications (1GB of RAM, and a DirectX 9-capable graphics board with at least 128MB of dedicated memory).
- Vista is generally slower than XP, but it’s better at multitasking on dual-core PCs.
- Your PC should have 1GB of RAM at the bare minimum.
- Aero won’t slow you down if you use a discrete graphics processor and enough memory.
- Apps run slower on the 64-bit version of Vista, but adding RAM closes the gap.
Some of their conclusions say they did not see any improvements with Readyboost, the system actually slowed down some. The Dual Core machine had a big difference in the multitasking tests, Microsoft had already said there would be a difference because Vista was better at running multiple threads of code. The multitasking and gaming tests did not show much of an improvement in going from 1GB to 2GB of memory, but the comparisons to 512MB showed them to not go under 1GB of memory. The real difference will be whether you are using an integrated graphics card, a decent video card or a high end card, they concluded you should not run Aero if you are using an integrated card, while using a graphics card it did not affect the performance of the machine at all. So, PC’s from the past couple years should run it pretty good, but may need more memory if it is less than 1GB.
Gizmodo has made a video demonstrating one Zune sending an MP3 to another Zune using the wireless sharing feature. It seems pretty fast and easy to do, also, the receiving Zune defaults to no on the accept screen, so that should keep accidentally accepting things from others really hard to do.
Here are some other videos from Gizmodo.
Microsoft announced today that they will be adding three new ways to for customers who want to buy, upgrade or license multiple copies of Windows Vista. Windows Anytime upgrade will allow them upgrade their copy of Vista, anytime and anywhere by simply clicking on the option in the start menu, pick the edition you want, and pay for it, of course, you get your key and follow the instructions. Some downloading will definitely have to happen, so probably shouldn’t try it on dialup.
They will make Windows Vista and Office 2007 available for purchase and download in the Windows Marketplace, and here is the kicker, you will be able to get a Family discount when purchasing for multiple pc’s, in fact, it will only be $49.99 for each additional copy. It says on the website that you will have to enter one valid full or upgrade Windows Vista Ultimate key from their retail boxed product, so it looks like you will have to purchase a couple and then get the discount. They linked to a site for more info, but it redirects to the Windows Vista page without any info on the Family discount.
Microsoft Corp. today detailed three new methods for customers looking to buy, upgrade or license multiple copies of Windows Vista, the new operating system that will be available worldwide on Jan. 30. Windows Anytime Upgrade, Windows Vista Family Discount and Windows Marketplace will provide customers with greater flexibility in obtaining the new operating system and will ensure they have the edition of Windows Vista that matches their needs.
?With the consumer launch of Windows Vista so close, we?re excited to announce three new ways to make the purchase and upgrade experience easier than ever,? said Brad Brooks, general manager of Windows Client Marketing at Microsoft. ?These new programs give our customers more flexibility and choice to ensure they get the edition that?s right for them.? Source: Microsoft Unveils New Ways for Consumers to Get Windows Vista
The Windows Vista Team blog has more info, it says that they created the family discount because people complained that it was to inconvenient to upgrade every node on their network. And it looks like you will have to order one copy of Windows Vista Ultimate for every two copies Windows Vista Home Premium you want, unless I am misreading it.
On the Family discount:
Buy a retail copy of Windows Vista Ultimate (full or upgrade version)
Between 30 January ? 30 June, order up to two copies of Windows Vista Home Premium online
Pay only $49.99 for each copy of Windows Vista Home Premium
Valid in North America (US and Canada)
And on the Anytime Upgrade:
Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP) to upgrade from a more basic version of Windows Vista are:
Home Basic –> Home Premium: $79
Home Basic –> Ultimate: $199
Home Premium –> Ultimate: $159
Business –> Ultimate: $139
Source: Multiple announcements today
The Wall Street Journal had a review of Windows Vista today, he said it was the best version of Windows ever, but said it was largely unexciting because you pretty much use it the same as you do Windows XP.
After months of testing Vista on multiple computers, new and old, I believe it is the best version of Windows that Microsoft has produced. However, while navigation has been improved, Vista isn’t a breakthrough in ease of use. Overall, it works pretty much the same way as Windows XP. Windows hasn’t been given nearly as radical an overhaul as Microsoft just applied to its other big product, Office.
There are some big downsides to this new version of Windows. To get the full benefits of Vista, especially the new look and user interface, which is called Aero, you will need a hefty new computer, or a hefty one that you purchased fairly recently. The vast majority of existing Windows PCs won’t be able to use all of Vista’s features without major hardware upgrades. They will be able to run only a stripped-down version, and even then may run very slowly. Source: Vista: Worthy, Largely Unexciting XP Successor Doesn’t Break New Ground on Ease of Use, But It’s Best Windows Yet.
He has posted a video review here.
I just finished posting a bunch of Gears of War videos, from some of the original demos and commericals, video demos of glitches, some reviews, tutorials, Gears of War Tips, and just good old fashioned ass kicking from all kinds of different users. If you have any of your own, be sure to upload them and share them with everyone else.
Someone even posted the ending. If you haven’t beat it yet, do you want to see it?
Check out all of our Gears of War posts.
Engadget has done a great video walk through of the Zune MP3 Player from Microsoft. He goes through all the features and you can watch his screen, it’s almost like being there! Well, not quite, but it’s a great video. We’ve added 12 or so other Zune videos as well, check out the Zune play list. Even better, check em out in wide screen.