Forget desktops, how about wall…tops

The wall computer.

This is seriously cool. All you wannabe home computer builders can feast your eyes on this feat of human engineering. That’s right. Your desktop isn’t as cool as you thought. You want a cool computer? Dump the LED fans and build that bitch on your wall.

Via: Reddit

Browser update rate is surprisingly high

Browser update rate.

It’s no secret that internet technology advances much faster than most people can keep up. If you asked your average internet user, you can bet they would have no idea what HTML5 is, why it’s important, or what it means for the mobile web. Hell, they might not know what mobile web means.

That’s why this chart from Pingdom.com is so crazy. Look how many people are running the current versions of their browsers. Even though Chrome is a notoriously geeky browser, the 90 percent current version stat is impressive. I’m not willing to give credit to the users for most of this. I think we can all admit that the numbers would be much lower if users were totally responsible for the updates. Developers, on the other hand, have done a great job of encouraging updates or even background updating.

For some people, that’s a problem, but as technology gets more advanced, it becomes increasingly unlikely that the general population will understand it. Until we hit some sort of soft wall, where the next great leap will be like that of the silicon chip, we won’t likely see a general population of users who actually understand what the machine they’re using does. Why do you think your parents call you all the time about pop-ups? It’s because they click things without thinking and don’t understand that the “Whack the Fly!” game is actually an advertisement or a wormbait.

New Macbook Air heralds the death of the disc

Apple recovery drive.

Well, it looks like MG Siegler over at TechCrunch called it. Yesterday, Apple announced the new line of Macbook Air laptops and they’ll ship with the little number you see in the picture. That’s right, that’s your recovery drive.

It’s a miniature USB stick, packed with the data that would normally come on an Apple recovery disc. This isn’t a huge surprise – more like the natural evolution of data storage. DVDs replaced CDs a while back for their superior storage. Flash drives have long since surpassed DVD storage, but they’re still more expensive to make. By stripping away a lot of the plastic and limiting storage, I’d imagine the cost will come down enough that we’ll see this option more and more often.

Aside from the new recovery method, the new Air line is looking pretty good. It comes in 11-inch and 13-inch models and is ridiculously thin. Both models have the unibody design and now sport the multi-touch trackpad present on the Macbook line. For me, 11-inches is way too small, especially if it’s widescreen. My current 13-inch MB Pro often feels too small, if only because of resolution.

Will optical drives soon die?

Optical drive.I read this article over at TechCrunch the other day about the eventual demise of the optical drive. It rung home, not because I haven’t used my optical drive, but because I just used it this past weekend.

I had traveled back to Ohio for a friend’s wedding reception but ended up staying for more than two weeks as my girlfriend lost her grandmother. In the part of Ohio that she’s from there isn’t much to be had in the way of reliable internet. That meant no Netflix and no access to video I have stored on my network drive. I had to…watch DvDs. It was awful.

Seriously, though, using an optical drive can be kinda brutal. It’s hot, loud, and drains your battery much faster than spinning a hard drive does. It can’t be too long before we’ll see widespread adoption of driveless laptops like the Macbook Air. There is still something about that specific machine that makes me a little nervous, but I treat my current laptop with such care I don’t think a change would be too scary.

Laptop thief doesn’t steal data

Laptop with a thumb drive.If you’ve ever had a laptop stolen or watched a hard drive melt, you know how devastating a data loss can be. A Swedish professor almost had the displeasure of discovering that feeling when his laptop was stolen. Then, a week later, he got a thumb drive in the mail, containing all of his data.

Yes, the laptop thief loaded all of the stolen data onto a drive and sent it to the victim. On the day of the theft, the thief also left behind the professor’s credit cards and some cash, all of which was in the laptop bag from which the computer was taken.

When asked about the incident, the professor simply told Swedish press, “this story makes me feel hope for humanity.”

USB 3.0 is here, but to stay?

USB-3.0The title of this post is a little misleading. USB 3.0 has been out for a while, there just haven’t been many peripherals to support it. Several firms finally released USB 3.0 products today, and though they are certainly cool, certainly fast, I certainly won’t be buying any of them.

Why? That’s my question, actually. Why would I? There is precious little I need to drop onto a thumbdrive these days. Even the raid arrays that launched today are fairly unappealing. My main storage device is attached to my router, and I do nearly all of my backups over the air, which USB 3.0 isn’t going to improve. Documents? Pictures? I have Google, Flickr, Facebook, insert-cloud-storage-of-choice. The days of carrying around the few things I really need on a thumbdrive are long gone, replaced by the convenience and security of offsite backups in duplicate or triplicate.

Don’t get me wrong, USB 3.0 will be around and become increasingly prevalent over the next several years, but my guess is the general public will hardly notice. The one thing consumers understand about the new transfer technology is price, and it’s a price that’s hard to justify when it only gives you faster transfer rates on hardware connected devices.

Kingston’s new 16GB thumbdrive is $89. The 64GB, a whopping $270. A USB 2.0 64GB stick can be had for half that price, and when the holidays roll around, likely a fifth. I can think of precious few consumer applications that would require the 60Mbps write speed that USB 3.0 will provide. So few, in fact, that I couldn’t even name one.

Samsung’s Galaxy was looking pretty good until…

Samsung Galaxy…this. See what I’m talking about? How about that 799 Euro price tag. That’s like $1,000 people. For a tablet. For an unproven tablet running Android (which doesn’t cost anything to license, by the way) that’s one hell of a price tag, and it points to one thing: contracts.

A Samsung exec told the Wall Street Journal that the Galaxy would cost somewhere between $200 and $300, which means the rest will have to be covered somehow, presumably via contracts. There is the remote possibility that Amazon got the price wrong – way wrong – but I doubt it. If Samsung is really going carrier contract for the Galaxy, you can bet the only people buying will be very serious Android enthusiasts, likely people hoping to root the device (which could justify the price tag for some).

I’m not going to quit Facebook

Facebook thumb.It’s settled. I’m keeping Facebook. I know it sounds a little conceited, as though you were all sitting around twiddling your thumbs while I decided whether or not I would keep my Facebook. I was thinking about getting rid of it, though, and the reason I decided to keep it is actually kinda cool.

I read an article on TechCrunch just before I moved about ‘social media fatigue’ and what it means about your involvement in your favorite social networks. The author’s basic premise is that fatigue comes when you’re using social media too much, spreading yourself too thin over too many useless relationships.

I really appreciate that, mostly because I’ve always seen Facebook as little more than voyeurism. Yes, it has helped me stay in touch with friends from college, but to this day I get friend requests from people who were never my friends and with whom I haven’t spoken in a decade or more. I can’t stand that stuff, but when one of them has been my friend, I tend to let everyone in, and I shouldn’t have. So today I did my diligence and deleted everyone that I don’t know, everyone that I don’t talk to on at the very least a semi-regular basis, and anyone I don’t want looking at my pictures, my info, my posts.

It’s not just keeping Facebook – I want to get good at Facebook. Better, at least. I want to make better use of the tool for the thing I care to use it for, which is keeping in touch with the people I care about. When it stops serving that purpose, it’s gone.

This guy has the world’s longest…email address

Longest email address.Of all the things in the world to be able to lay claim to as “the longest,” email addresses probably wouldn’t be the first to jump to your mind. For Peter Craig, though, it’s a badge of honor. He currently holds the URDB (Universal Record Database) World Record for the longest email address at 345 characters. Here’s the full address:

contact-admin-hello-webmaster-info-services-peter-crazy-but-oh-so-ubber-cool-english-alphabet-loverer-abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz@please-try-to.send-me-an-email-if-you-can-possibly-begin-to-remember-this-coz.this-is-the-longest-email-address-known-to-man-but-to-be-honest.this-is-such-a-stupidly-long-sub-domain-it-could-go-on-forever.pacraig.com

Why you would want such a thing is completely beyond me, and this is probably the easiest WR to own. Want to beat Peter? Buy a domain, make an absurd subdomain, and voila! Three hundred and forty-six characters here I come.

Source: Laughing Squid

Apple launches a trackpad for desktops

Magic TrackpadAmong Apple’s various hardware updates today, the company launched a trackpad for desktops, officially dubbed the Magic Trackpad. I’m not real sure where the magic is.

Now granted, I tend to prefer the trackpad to the mouse for general browsing, but this is something that seems aimed at power users, not the casual internet browser. Desktops come with a mouse, so people are comfortable using the mouse. Will they really want to drop $69 for a couple gestures, most of which are mimicked by the controls on your everyday mouse today?

My guess is no, but I’m not naive enough about Apple products to think this thing won’t sell. It would definitely be much cooler if it worked like a tablet (yes, there is some third-party software that can help a bit), but as a simple trackpad, I’m just not that impressed.