It's a small world, but try telling that to anyone who shares a PC with someone who not only speaks a different language but uses an entirely different character set. Diplomatic relations are possible, thanks to Quick Locale Switcher by Captain Caveman. It's a free Firefox add-on that lets users quickly switch locale-related settings, including languages, spell checkers, context menus, and more. It will even translate complete Web sites automatically, if your browser settings support it. You can configure Quick Locale Switcher for automatic switches or manual function with notifications. Even if your locale isn't listed, you'… Read more
Links from Wednesday's episode of Loaded:
Google launches Boutiques.com for highfalutin shoppers
Google creates Hotspot to help you discover your friends' favorite haunts
Hulu Plus is now $2 per month cheaper and available on the Roku set-top box
Yahoo launches Amazon Studios goes live in a quest for the next big thing in movies
Yahoo Clues lets you track trending search topics
The Emergency Broadcast System is coming to your cell phone
Intel wants to put computer chips in football helmets to measure head trauma
A New York University professor is going to live-stream his life from a … Read more
It's obvious that Facebook sees serious potential in mobile check-in service Foursquare: it tried to buy it for $125 million.
That didn't work. So Facebook started to get into the location game, too. It launched Facebook Places, its own geolocation service. And today, Facebook went ahead and launched a big new suite of mobile features that includes, notably, enhancements to Facebook Places that let businesses easily automate "deals" for when users check in. On the surface, given Facebook's scale, this looks like it could spell difficult times ahead for Foursquare.
Like Foursquare, Facebook's new … Read more
It may be finally occurring to people that telling lots of strangers online that you're not home--and telling them where you live--is not necessarily very smart.
According to several local news outlets in Nashua, N.H., police say they've arrested three young men allegedly responsible for about 50 burglaries in the city last month. More specifically, TV station WMUR notes that the suspects "used social-networking sites such as Facebook to identify victims who posted online that they would not be home at a certain time."
A Vizio in your living room might not have impressed your snobby videophile friends in the past, but the company known for budget LCDs is doing its best to change that. The XVT3SV series, Vizio's third attempt at using a full array of local dimming LEDs to compete with the other brands' flagship LCDs, is in our book its most successful. The XVT3 stands among the best LCDs we've tested in the crucial areas of black level and color, and its matte screen--rare among high-end LEDs today--means superior bright-room performance compared with just about anything available.
It's … Read more
Every big Web publisher, and lots of small ones, too, have tried to figure out how to crack the market for local Web ads. No one's figured it out yet.
But AOL feels good enough about Patch, its take on local, to take a minute to boast about its performance. Tim Armstrong's company is announcing that has now opened up 100 Patch outposts--digital versions of community newspapers, each staffed by a sole full-time editor and aided by a group of freelancers.
That's up from 44 at the end of the first quarter. AOL also noted it plans … Read more
Every so often a marketing fad comes along in digital media that makes companies willing to adopt it so quickly that they wind up bending and twisting their business models like Silly Putty. There were Facebook apps. There were Foursquare-style "game mechanics." These days, short-term retail deals have taken over.
Of course, none of this is new. Following the runaway success of Groupon, which offers a steep daily discount-a-day in dozens of cities around the world, with the condition that a minimum number of buyers must sign on; and Gilt, which has built an empire of low-priced designer … Read more
The last Sony TV we reviewed with superb picture quality was the ultra-expensive KDL-55XBR8 from 2008, which not coincidentally featured the company's last example of a full-array local-dimming LED backlight. That TV's spiritual successor, equipped with a similar backlight, is the ultra-expensive XBR-HX909 series, but all told, its picture quality fares less favorably against the competition. It does deliver deliciously deep black levels, but they come with too many compromises, including issues with blooming and color accuracy, for a TV at this price level.
If you extend your investment to include a pair or more of 3D glasses, … Read more
Sony announced three series of 3D-compatible TVs at CES in January, and on Wednesday the company filled in the remaining details with pricing, availability, and a list of included 3D material. The principal throw-in is "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" on 3D Blu-ray, as well as vouchers for 3D games on the PS3.
Pricing, as with that of rivals Samsung and Panasonic, is pretty high. Sony's 3D models, all with LED backlights, start at 40 inches and $2,100 for the Sony KDL-40HX800. Samsung's least expensive LED-based 3D TV at that size is the UN40C7000 ($1,800), although the similarly-priced 50-inch Samsung PN50C7000 plasma and the non-LED-based 46-inch Samsung LN46C750 LCD (about $1500) both provide bigger screens for the buck. Panasonic, for its part, charges about $2,500 for its cheapest 3D TV, a 50-inch plasma known as the TC-P50VT25/TC-P50VT20.
One of the three Sony series, the flagship XBR-LX900, includes two pairs of the necessary 3D glasses, which is more than Panasonic (1 pair) and Samsung (zero pair). The other two, dubbed HX909 and HX800, require you to buy the glasses ($150 a pair--the same as Panasonic and Samsung) as well as a separate emitter to synch the glasses to the TV ($50--both Samsung and Panasonic build the emitters into their TVs).
Sony does offer the most extensive throw-in bundle of the three at the moment, at least for PS3 owners. According to the press release:… Read more
Updated June 9, 2010 with new model number--HX900 became HX909--as well as pricing, availability and other information.
Among the numerous permutations of LED backlighting, we've consistently experienced the best results with the variety known as local dimming, which typically uses a full array of LEDs arranged behind the screen, not just along the edge. Those LEDs can dim or illuminate as necessary depending on program content, and as a result can achieve excellent contrast, black levels, and overall picture quality.
The superb Sony KDL-XBR8 series from 2008 was the company's last attempt at the technology. Sony skipped LED … Read more