Though unlocked phones offer you the freedom of switching carriers on a whim, they can require a bit of tinkering before you can roam around the world. In most cases, you'll have to program the phone with the necessary multimedia settings to browse the Internet and send an e-mail or multimedia message.
The settings are available from your carrier, but if you prefer not to talk to a person, there are options available online. Sony Ericsson offers a very handy tool on its Web site that lets you configure your phone in a just a few minutes. After entering … Read more
Roku announced this week that it signed on with Major League Baseball to deliver MLB.tv Premium to its set-top box. It's the first live content that the device, which is best known for its Netflix streaming, will offer.
But like many other set-top boxes on the market, the services the Roku box offers aren't unique to that device. Netflix streaming is available on a large and growing number of devices, including TiVo DVRs, the Xbox 360, and all newer LG and Samsung Blu-ray players and home theater systems. In addition to the Roku, MLB programming is available on the PC, through Boxee, and through various cable and satellite TV packages.
Indeed, many TVs, Blu-ray players, DVRs, and home theater systems now have a baseline configuration that makes it relatively easy to add streaming services via postpurchase firmware upgrades. At this point, adding content seems almost as simple as calling the content provider and having lawyers work up an agreement between the parties.
The problem is, those partners are not necessarily working together. The hardware providers want those streaming or download services to be exclusive to their boxes. The content providers want their entertainment to be made available on as many devices (STBs or otherwise) as possible. Those very different goals are causing set-top boxes to provide most, but not all, the services that consumers want.… Read more
Boxee, a New York-based start-up that makes "media center" software, announced Wednesday that it has raised $6 million in a Series B financing round led by General Catalyst Partners. Existing investors Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital also participated in the round.
Boxee raised its series A round, to the tune of $4 million, last November. With the new financing the company hopes to ink more deals with media companies and set-top box manufacturers, as well as hire more employees to keep building out its technology (which includes a developer platform). Currently in an alpha test phase, Boxee … Read more
Migrating applications from one computer or operating system to another can be a hassle. Doing so for e-mail clients can be particularly frustrating. However, this dandy little utility lets you breathe easy by making the Outlook move a simple process.
BackRex Outlook Backup loads an easy-to-access icon onto your desktop. Launching the utility opens a small dialog box from which you can choose the Outlook components to back up and the destination location for the resulting package. This handy utility performed well in our tests, and selecting options was simply a matter of a few clicks. Navigating its processes was … Read more
The Palm Pre, like all smartphones, comes with a variety of features and software as well as the ability to purchase third party applications. In this post I'll discuss a few of the built-in features.
Screen Lock and Location Services
What I want my screen lock to do is, of course, lock the screen, but I also want a little flexibility. I can set the screen to turn off after 1, 2, or 3 minutes, and I can set the screen unlock password as off, simple PIN (numbers only), or Password. However, if I manually turn off the screen, it automatically locks the screen after about 2 seconds. So, if I want to use a PIN or password, the screen is either off and locked, or on and unlocked. I would like turn off the screen and be able to set the time before it locks. It might sound a little nit-picky, but I think about it everytime I use the phone.
The Location Services include the ability to geotag your photos. The problem here is that it's either on or off, and the setting is separate from the camera feature. I'd like to see an option to toggle the photo tagging on the camera screen. … Read more
FireTune for Firefox optimizes Firefox's performance on your computer by allowing you to configure its speed and connection settings. However, we found little or no difference in our computer's performance after we put it to the test.
Right off the bat, we noticed that some of the features this add-on includes, such as the autocompletion of URLs, are features that Firefox already has built into in its current version. It does, however, allow you to set up other optimization features, such as the caching of objects shared over a secure connection, autocomplete for URLs, and optimization of memory … Read more
Q: As an AVS forum member, I have to tell you we really look forward to your reviews. They are often cited when discussing the various brands and models. I am writing to you however to make a suggestion on how to make your reviews even more effective for the videophiles and those thoroughly researching new TVs. I understand you at one time included service menu calibrations, but now you do not. There are those of us who would like you to access the service menu during reviews, enabling you (and us) to gauge what the real potential of what the TV being reviewed is capable of. Why don't you?
--Dean from Oregon
A: Thanks for writing Dean. I appreciate the suggestion, I understand your reasoning, and I agree that calibrating the service menu is often, depending on the model and its available user-menu controls, the only way to fully realize the potential of the TV.
For the uninitiated, the service menu contained on most TVs is typically only accessible by inputting a string of specific button-presses that aren't described in the manual. It usually contains advanced settings that control all aspects of the TV, from color points to grayscale controls to noise filter thresholds to bulb life countdowns. Some of these controls can be tweaked to improve the picture beyond the controls available in the TV's user menu. But for people unfamiliar with service menus, they can be a minefield of potential screw-ups, and in some cases an incorrect adjustment can completely disable a TV. Moreover, most service menus lack a "reset" button to take everything back to the default values.
It's pricey. The "Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1: 1963-1972" Blu ray box goes for $349; the DVD is $250; and the CD set a mere $100. The Blu-ray box contains a sprawling 11-disc collection. Young's been working on this set for what feels like decades; was it worth the wait?
There's a beautifully bound, embossed-"leather," covered book with tons of cool pictures. Hard-core fans will love it, everyone else will look through it once and be done with it.
There's only one unreleased live disc, "Live at the Riverboat 1969." The Blu ray box also includes "Live at Canterbury House" (not a Blu-ray, just a DVD and CD), "Live at the Fillmore East 1970," and "Live at Massey Hall 1971," which have been individually released over the past couple of years. I already bought them, as I'm sure many fans have. What a rip off to make us buy them again.
Most discs have music running times of under 60 minutes, so why oh why didn't Neil fill up more of the discs' capacity, or did he just need to justify an exorbitant MSRP? $350 for 11 discs? Strange, Hollywood movies that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make retail for under 20 bucks a pop, so why does Neil charge $31 for a disc for music he made nearly 40 years ago? Rip off.
The Blu-ray features ultrahigh resolution 24-bit /192 kHz stereo sound, which you can play over some newer AV receivers, but I'm not so sure that any high-end electronics can access the superduper-sounding PCM tracks. Surround sound? Only one disc has surround. Blu-ray sound quality is about the same as the previously released 24 bit/96 kHz sound on the DVDs that came out years ago. Don't buy the Blu-ray box for the sound; the DVDs are fine.
I had a rough time navigating the Blu-rays' stupidly designed menus and accessing some of the "bonus" material and "hidden" tracks. Hey, I paid my money, why do I have to go round and round to find the music I paid for?
As for video "content," I don't know about you, but watching an LP playing on a turntable or reel-to-reel tapes spinning gets old really fast. Reading pages of text off my TV is also less than entertaining. The photo galleries are nice.… Read more
Free Fire Screensave sets users' monitors ablaze, igniting each window and icon in translucent flames. It's a cool effect, and the intuitive interface allows for just the right amount of customization; users can personalize their settings without being overwhelmed by options.
The features that users can tweak include the speed of the flames' flickering, whether the screensaver fades out or ends immediately upon exit, and the program's sounds and music. Users can choose between two built-in pieces of music (Romantic and Melancholic), set the program to use other music from the computer, or turn the music off entirely. … Read more