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Microsoft's BING and Google WAVE hit the stage

Friday, May 29, 2009 by Amber

Rainy days in Boston = lazy hours of staring out streaky windows waiting for the day to brighten. But then again, I'm sure that's everywhere... To help pass the hours until the sun peeks out again, let's check out these headlines...

Who's getting excited?? Digital Trends has a wind-up story on the E3 Show next week! I'm so excited to see all the game peeks we'll get out of this show. Reports have it that it will be back, true to form from its glory days, this year -- a drastic and much-welcomed format change from the booooring show it had become in the last few years.

Have you heard the hype over Bing, the second-gen search engine from Microsoft? Looks like it's won over some pretty tough critics who admit it's better than Google in almost every single way. I totally can't wait to try it! Maybe y'all don't search that often, but I'm constantly on Live.com looking up distinctly non-work-related things, so this'll be a great update for me.

Meanwhile, over in Google-Land, announcements are out about the new Google Wave, a real-time communications initiative by google to speed up Gmail and integrate IM functionality and stuff. Sounds cool, and looks even cooler.

This story would have my 3-year-old in fits of geeky glee -- were he able to rad or properly understand the concepts involved: A group of engineers are totally trying to *make* a working, functioning version of Pixar's dystopian hero WALL-E. Oh man... now for the rest of the day I'm going to doing my spot-on 'Wall-EE!" "Eeee-vah" impressions...

OK, I'm not one for online videos, I've just never latched onto the YouTube sensation -- probably because I know I'd like it too much. But, I was intrigued by the headline on this story from our friends at PopSci: "How Does That Bed of Nails Really Feel?" I took 10th grade Physics, so I understand completely how, through the distribution of weight, a squishy human being can lay atop a sharp bed of nails without turning into a shish-kabob. But, the video accompanying the headline was pretty cool just at the end. Ouch, buddy, that had to hurt.

... And the leaves outside are now glowing with lemony-lime greenness as the sun finally makes an appearance. I'm going to head outside for a walk before the clouds come back, so to all you out there in geekland, have a great weekend and I'll see you Monday!

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Redmond Announces New Zune!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 by Amber

It's been a long week without you all, my friends! Funny, though, seems like everything went into techno-hibernation while we were gone. Let's take a look at some of the few stories out there to check out ...

Looking for some E3 news? Here's a story about a new game that flips the world upside down!

Woo hoo! I knew they had it in them: Microsoft has announced plans for a Zune HD that comes with web-browsing capabilities to finally take on the iPod Touch.

Scientists have gained a heightened understanding of pulsars and now think they could work more like 'galactic GPS.'

First IBM took on the world of chess with Big Blue, now it's battling an even tougher opponent: Alex Trebek. That's right, IBM says it can create a machine that would rock the house of 'Jeopardy' ... and in other news, check out the geektastic ad for DnD at the bottom of the page!

Well, turns out this ep is going to be abbreviated. Until Friday, never split the party! :)

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Today's a Lemonade Kind of Day ...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 by Amber

Hiya! Things are sweet over here in geek land -- I'm working on a few surprises for you all, which you'll be hearing about in the coming weeks.

Next up on my agenda, though, is FINALLY heading up into the wild blue yonder as part of the 'Let's Go Flying' program! On Saturday, I'm stepping away from my precious navy blue Dell laptop for a few hours and piloting a 2-seater plane (with an instructor) for a few hours over my home town. But more on that next week!

Until then ... today's a summery day, so get a bottle of lemonade from the office caf and let's browse some headlines!

Facebook's pint-sized gajillionaire CEO, 25-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, says the social networking site is open to partnerships and investments, but is not going to take the company public for a few more years.

Please indulge me while we visit my bachelor of arts degree in physical anthropology (I so rarely get to use it) ... An early skeleton found in Germany is shedding light on the evolution of
. OK fine, so I'm the only person that finds this interesting...

This is a slightly pathetic list of the top 5 reasons the Zune is dead. Funny, mine still works fine.

Whoa, hold the phone: XBox is coming out with a Wii-style wand controller?

Rumors have it that July 17 will bring a new iPhone announcement from Apple. But in other funny news on Apple products, the company has officially warned users of static shocks from using the iPods and iPhone.

For those of you looking to get a jump-start on Father's Day, our friends at CNET.com have a list of some of the top techy gifts out there for dads ... and grads, too.

Want to vote for the top gadgets of 2009 so far? Visit PopSci.com and check out their list of thinkers and their big ideas!

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Hubble fixes and sexy scientists!

Monday, May 18, 2009 by Amber

Sounds like the Hubble fixes went well over the weekend after a few pretty serious issues. Hats off to the astronauts who battled through the rough spots. Loved the report that astronaut Mike Massimino totally ripped off piece of the Hubble 'Hulk'-style to get the repairs done!

On a sad note, though, the Hubble's 16-year-old camera has been decomissioned after taking it's final, stunningly awesome photograph. We'll miss you!

Share your opinion on the Hubble mission with Captivate on our *new* website -- www.captivate.com. And, while you're there voting in the viewer poll, feel free to browse at the day's top stories!

Other news ...

Holy game-changer, Batman! The folks over at 'Guitar Hero 5' have adopted the idea of changing up the band rules in the newest version of the wickedly popular game. This time around, everyone can play whatever of the four instruments they want -- all on lead guitar, or two on drums and two on lead vocals, etc.

Guess this quoter whose mouth is full of sour grapes:
"I'm a guy who doesn't see anything good having come from the Internet...(The Internet) created this notion that anyone can have whatever they want at any given time. It's as if the stores on Madison Avenue were open 24 hours a day. They feel entitled. They say, 'Give it to me now,' and if you don't give it to them for free, they'll steal it."

Trying to decide whether to go Bluetooth? Stop what you are doing and read this article/review of the most expensive on the market (Jawbone) vs. the cheapest (Plantronics). It's a great look into the culture of those horrible people walking around your office lobby talking to no one -- and whether you want to join in.

Also, here is a fab list of the sexiest on-screen scientists!

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Smattering of top stories!

Friday, May 15, 2009 by Amber

Good afternoon everyone! I've got some great headlines for you today on this beautiful Friday, so let's get right to it:

Our friends at PopSci asked a string theorist if warp speed (a la 'Star Trek') is actually possible...

Interread's COOL-EREver wonder what would happen if an iPod and a Kindle mated? Well, not anymore! A new e-reader is making HUGE waves online -- it's called the Cool-er, and it comes in some great colors. Hopefully, we can get in a review copy to take a look at soon! With a price like that, it's hard not to be totally intrigued!

Whoa, calm down everyone -- Google is finally admitting to some service errors that set the web on fire yesterday.

Lookng to get away form Twitter? Good luck -- since now, not even the vacuum of space is free from 'tweets.'

OK, now let's lighten things up a bit with Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat! -- some funny videos apparently taking the web by storm. It's about a cat playing an ear-worm-worthy song with funny clips of unexpected uncomfortableness. So funny ... we recommend the kid on the slide, the Chuck Norris on and the Sign Guy one.

Finally a viable and awesome option for you iPod users out there who hiz-ate the white earbuds as much as I do: How about matching them to the color of your iPod Nano 4G? Awesome, thanks to TruTunes!

Not to worry -- video game sales are down again, but IMHO that's only because all the cool games are being postponed. Again.

Have a great weekend, and keep your fingers crossed that we'll get a chance to look at the Cool-er!

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Who Wants to Feel Old?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 by Amber

The Goonies original movie posterIn my daily rounds of all the sites I love to visit, I came across something equally disturbing and squeal-worthy: Empire Magazine, with guest editor Steven Spielberg, rounded up the cast of 'The Goonies' for a photo shoot to celebrate the mag's 20th anniversary.

Watch this video now. It brings you back to 1984 faster than a LOST time flash. And it makes me smile knowing that each of these actors who I loved like they really were my friends has gone on to do something great. Yay!

Sorry for the delay -- here are your headlines:

Microsoft is taking aim at the iPod in new Zune commercials -- did you know it would cost $30,000 to fill up a 120 gig iPod with music from iTunes? Assuming you bought it song by song, of course... but that still a freaking ton of money.

The European Commission has fined chip maker Intel $1.45B for violating antitrust regulation after complaints from rival AMD. Ouch. That hurts the wallet.

AOL's newest site, WhereItsAt.com, promises to be a pop-culture enthusiast's playground -- be sure to check it out in your daily wanderings...

Over in Apple land, debate is rising as to whether or not the next-gen iPhone needs to have a real keyboard instead of the touchscreen. The story's online poll was split 50/50 last time I checked, so it's a great debate! Where do you land?

Going back to our original topic of 'How Old Can I Make You Feel Today?' -- Sony is getting closer to debuting it's touchscreen Walkman! Here's a look at the revamped music player. I'd get one just for the name, to be honest...

See you all Friday -- have a good rest of the week!

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Welcome back, Trekkies -- Much to discuss

Monday, May 11, 2009 by Amber

Good afternoon, everyone! I got a chance to see 'Star Trek' and wow -- I'm not sure I've ever seen a movie cast so perfectly! Spock and Scottie were the highlights for me, but I could watch James T. Kirk everyday!

Microsoft had its own way of celebrating the newest edition to what is becoming the 'Star Trek' multi-verse! OMG -- I love it when companies do stuff like this! Talk about employee retention!

OK, on to the news...

-Apple has officially backed down from yet another bad decision in its app store -- you can download the now-approved Nine Inch Nails app anytime you'd like.

-AT&T has bought a ton of land owned by Verizon to extend its service area.

-Microsoft confirmed that it's newest operation system, Windows 7, will be available this year. In time for the holiday shopping season, no doubt!

-The Space Shuttle Atlantis is a go for launch today to help repair the Hubble Space Telescope! Now, this news makes me totally psyched -- those images are so beautiful and important to the forwarding of science... I have no joke, this is what I truly think :)

-Having been an archaeologists in a former life (c'mon, how many people can say that?!), I love this story from our parents at USAToday.com on how archaeologists can help us feel better about our lives based on how crappy life was thousands of years ago. Schadenfreude!

-Good news if you live on the planet Earth -- this year's solar-storm forecast is the mildest in 90 years :) Why do we care about solar storms? Because the blasts of radiation let off by the sun during these storms travels wicked fast through space and, when it smashes into the Earth (happens all the time, don't freak), it causes power outages and serious interference.

-The boys over at the Game Hunters blog have me salivating over Bioshock 2 -- the follow-up to what is possibly my favorite video game, like, ever! Long live Rapture, but let's get that Big Sister, Bubbles!

OK, so send me your reviews on 'Star Trek' and I'll share them with the group! :) Until Wednesday, live long and prosper!!

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Boldy get your vulcan %&#* to the theatres tonight

Friday, May 8, 2009 by Amber

Whooo's going to see 'Star Trek' tonight? If you didn't answer... well, I honestly don't know what to say to you. JJ Abrahms' 'Star Trek' has even the borderline geeks wigging out over the special effects and possible hidden clues -- not to mention the beautiful and perfectly cast actors.Here are a round-up of some cool Trekkie stories to check out:

-CNet.com has a webisode based entirely on a behind-the-scenes peek at the film.
-The New Yorker has a review of the film -- but watch out for spoilers.
-USAToday seems to like it -- and it's garnering extra attention from non-trekkies, too.

In other, non-'Star Trek' news...
Looks like all you smartphone addicts out there have spoken: The BlackBerry Curve has surpassed the iPhone in models sold, followed by the Storm and the Pearl.

I've written a few times to you about the current scientific efforts behind making an invisibility cloak -- and it's getting closer! I know, I know... same old news on this front -- 'Just tell me when it happens, Amber!' -- but I think it's exciting, and this is my blog, so there :-P

Holy Robert Downey Jr. Check out this pic of him on the set of Iron Man 2. Wowza.

See you all Monday!

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Kindle news burns followers

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 by Amber

Hello all -- So sorry I've been MIA for the last week!

After a horrible bout of the stomach flu (And being tested for swine flu) I'm back and ready to go! First on my list is the newest story that has me fuming:

In a press conference earlier today, Amazon.com announced the new Kindle DX, an update to the super-popular e-reader with a screen 2.7x larger than that of the Kindle 2.

Um, Amazon, would it be, like, possible for me to bask in the wondrous non-glow of my brand-freakin-new Kindle 2 for more than 2 weeks before you pull the rug out from under me? Seriously, how dare you intro a new Kindle after you just released an update in February?? That sounds like the worst PR I've ever heard of.

Amazon says the new version is better for reading PDFs, cookbooks and newspapers -- but I say it's a scam. Know how much it costs? $489!! Now, pick your jaw up. There is an upside: The company will be testing the new larger screen version at five colleges this fall for possible use in the sale of textbooks.

On the plus side, if you have a spare $380 (including a carrying case), buy yourself one of those "older" version kindles like I just got *15 days ago* -- it's my new best friend.

See you all on Friday :)

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