New iPod Nano will be more ‘nano’ than ever

iPod Nano comparison.Do you remember your reaction when you saw the first iPod Nano commercial? Those two hands fought over something that seemed, at the time, ‘impossibly small.’ By today’s standards, that first Nano would look commonplace – some people might even mistake it for a new iPhone. All signs point to a Nano announcement at this week’s Apple event, and from all the leaked pictures and accessories, we know it’s going to be small.

This picture, which comes from Apple Insider, shows an old Nano up against a render of the new, touchscreen version. There have been some concerns raised about controls – that screen is awfully small to comfortably navigate your music library. Apple could be headed toward an inline control system, similar to that of the iPod Shuffle. Personally, I hate the idea. I want to be able to use my own headphones without worrying about a stupid control dongle.

From the looks of things, I’d say Apple also scrapped the crappy little camera it added to the most recent generation of the Nano. Thank god. That thing was the laughing stock of Flip SD owners everywhere, to say nothing of all the portable HD handcam owners of the world.

Microsoft dumping piles of money on Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7Just how much money does it take to elbow your way in between Apple and Google in the mobile market? Remember, you’ve also got to beat back RIM while you’re at it, and hope none of those three develop anything you didn’t expect. Got a number? Is it in the billions? That’s what Microsoft may be betting to make Windows Phone 7 work.

According to TechCrunch, Microsoft could spend into the billions on development and marketing for the new mobile platform. It’s a huge figure, made to look even larger by the estimated expense of marketing the Droid series of Android phones.

The $100 million Goldberg estimates that Verizon, Motorola and Google collectively spent on marketing helped turn the Droid line of phones into a serious stable of competitors against the iPhone. (Compare that to Google’s fizzled Nexus One launch, where the search giant pinched pennies on marketing.)

To spend 10 times that amount could be either a great idea or the world’s worst gamble. Microsoft has completely scorched consumer bridges with its previous mobile offerings, none of which will transition to the new system very smoothly. Even with a billion dollars behind it, Windows Phone 7 could be too late.

iSkin Back-to-School contest offers $1000 in prizes

iSkin BTS Contest

I’ve covered some iSkin products here in the past and been very pleased with them, so I’m happy to pass along the news about this upcoming Back-to School contest from iSkin. By entering your name and the school you’re headed for in the fall, you could be eligible to win up to $1000 worth of iSkin products to furnish that new dorm room.

Here’s what you win:
- Apple iPad 64GB 3G
- iSkin Vu for iPad
- iSkin silo Messenger Bag
- iSkin Eartones
- iSkin Cerulean RX

That’s a hell of a prize package if you ask me. The contest is only available to US and Canadian residents.

Streaming costs Netflix 10 times less than mailing a DVD

Netflix StreamingNetflix streaming is just about the greatest thing around (yeah, it’s better than Hulu) for video content. The interface is clean, easy to use, and the selection is good enough for my $10 a month. Streaming has also saved Netflix a whole lot of money.

To stream a movie in HD costs Netflix around 5 cents, 3 cents for standard def. That’s it. Now granted, that doesn’t account for licensing and all that, but it sure as hell beats the pants off sending things through the mail. That cost could even go down as more competitors enter the back-end market responsible for supporting the Netflix streaming system.

My question – why aren’t more things available for streaming? If it’s so cheap, that extra revenue could be kicked back in part to studios for freeing up more streaming content. Everyone wins.

Source: Business Week

Google Goggles is coming to the iPhone

Google Goggles.It seems like I get asked this question nearly every time a tech challenged person sees that I have an iPhone. “Do you have that app that lets you look stuff up by taking pictures of it?” The first few times it took a while to figure out what the inquirer meant. Now, I answer before the sentence is done – Google Goggles? Sadly, no.

It’s not that I want GG all that badly. From a functionality standpoint, it’s not all that great. It does have great wow factor, though, so I was thrilled to find out that the camera-powered search would be coming to the iPhone this year. The app has been Android-only since release, but Google will be developing a proprietary app for the iPhone, not just some crappy port.

From here, it’s just a matter of getting it to work all the time.

Cleveland’s ‘smart bins’ will track residents’ recycling habits

Cleveland recycling.Cleveland’s trash collection services are about to get a major overhaul, including some high-tech methods for monitoring residents’ recycling habits. The program is supposed to roll out next year, and will include RFID-equipped bins for monitoring trash disposal.

The simple idea is this – every time your trash is collected the truck scans your bin’s RFID code. If your recycling bin doesn’t make it to the curb for a couple weeks, an auditor takes a peek at your trash can. If more than 10 percent of your trash is recyclable material, you get a fine. It seems like an odd system, and one that could be easily gamed, but then why go through the hassle if you could just recycle your waste. It is nice to see the city trying to encourage community involvement in green activity.

What’s FaceTime really like?

Apple’s advertising for FaceTime is already being lauded as some of the best ad video the world has ever seen. It’s personal, evocative, and total bullshit. I think we all know that working with technology is rarely as smooth as those FaceTime ads make it out to be. For that reason, I bring you this video, courtesy of Funny or Die. This is what FaceTime is really like.

Snoop commemorates Mafia Wars by blowing up a truck

Mafia Wars Logo.

You probably know Mafia Wars as one of two things – the game you’re hopelessly addicted to or the game that constantly spams your Facebook news feed with annoying updates. In either case, you know Mafia Wars is a big deal, big enough to draw attention from Snoop Dogg, no less.

Just a month ago, Mafia Wars launched it’s newest iteration – Mafia Wars: Las Vegas – and the game has already hit the 10-million-visitor mark. To commemorate the event, Snoop Dogg will be in Las Vegas to blow up a four-ton armored truck. That isn’t blow up like your cell phone, that’s blow up like a bomb. Bullz-Eye’s own Will Harris will be on site for the event.

Instead of Luke’s Lightsaber, here’s this

Picture 9

I wanted to put together a post today about the recently announced Blu-ray set of all six Star Wars films. The set includes never before seen footage, an exciting clip of which was shown at the Star Wars Celebration event. The clip showed Luke in a cave, creating his green lightsaber. Unfortunately, Lucasfilm has been crazy about removing it from YouTube and the like, so in it’s stead, I give you this – one of the funniest Star Wars spoofs I’ve ever seen. Thank you, Robot Chicken.

Sorry, folks. Adult Swim disables embeds.

Booq makes a purty iPad bag, too

Boa push iPad bag.I haven’t really tried to hide the fact that I love Booq’s line of products. The bags are stylish, classy, and functional in a way that makes your laptop bag never want to show its face at laptop bag school ever again. Booq’s gone and made a slick little iPad bag for all the tablet lovers in the world, too.

Here’s the official feature list:

booq: Boa push features include:
• Elegant and compact way to carry your iPad, iPhone, credit cards, and other necessary items
• iPad compartment lined with non-scratch fabrics, exterior pocket sized perfectly for the iPhone
• Equipped with easy to use snap button flap closure and super-comfy seatbelt nylon shoulder strap
• Made from genuine Nappa leather and durable booq Twylon
• Equipped with Terralinq service, helps reunite you with your lost and found bag
• Available in sand or gray

The Boa push iPad bag is available for $89.95 at www.booqbags.com.