Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

HP’s Magic Giveaway – your chance to share the magic

We’re one of fifty blogs that have been chosen to participate in another super duper giveaway from HP. This time round, it’s bigger and better, with a new twist: we’ll ask the eventual winner to share the magic — $6,000 in HP gear, Microsoft software, and accessories. Included in that bundle are a few items that will particularly resonate with last100 readers, including the new HP netbook and a neat looking media extender. That’s in addition to a couple of other laptops and more.

(Visit the official HP Magic Giveaway site.)

The full list of kit:

  • HP TouchSmart IQ816 PC with Windows
  • HP HDX 18 series Premium Notebook PC with Windows
  • HP MediaSmart Connect
  • HP Pavilion dv4-1145go Entertainment Notebooks with Windows
  • HP Mini 1000 series with Windows
  • HP Photosmart C6380 Wireless AIO
  • HP 564 Series Photo Value Pack
  • Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007
  • Kung Fu Panda widescreen DVDs

Stay tuned for details on our contest and be sure to check out each of the other sites — after the jump — to enter their contests too.

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Last100 has left the ReadWriteWeb building

Dear readers,

It’s true, we’ve been “dumped”!

Or more accurately, last100 is no longer part of the ReadWriteWeb (RWW) Blog Network.

In fact, Richard MacManus, founder of RWW, has decided to disband the ‘network’ altogether in favor of focusing on expanding the RWW brand itself. So what this means is that last100 is now an independent entity. While it would be convenient to blame the downturn, it’s actually a decision that was made some time ago as a result of a change of strategy. That’s not to say that we won’t be immune to the hard times but, luckily, we have modest overheads and can hopefully ride this out with the best of them.

Moving forward, you’ll likely notice little difference editorially as Richard took a very respectful hands off approach in that regard. Therefore, it’s mostly business as usual. Having said that, now that we’re ‘indie’, we’re more open to offers on collaboration or even investment 🙂

Thanks for your continued support – and thanks Richard for a fun ride.

– Steve

Sony continues to plug along, introducing promising third-generation eBook reader

Sony announced its third-generation electronic book reader this week at the same time it appears that the iPhone has overtaken the Kindle as the industry’s No. 1 reader.

Stanza, a book-reading application available through Apple’s App Store, has been downloaded more than 395,000 times and continues to be installed at an average rate of 5,000 copies a day, according its developer Lexcycle [via Forbes].

Forbes notes than Citigroup has estimated that Amazon will sell around 380,000 Kindles in 2008, making the iPhone — at least in loosely-defined terms — the No. 1 eBook device. Titles available for Stanza are mostly public domain, not best-sellers.

Sony, which entered the eBook market long before Amazon or Apple (through third-party developers), isn’t expected to sell nearly as many Readers as Kindles or approach as many users as Stanza on the iPhone. Even so, with its third-generation Reader Sony continues to plug along and, in nearly every respect, has the best eBook device.

Without actually seeing and using the device, it’s hard to say if the new Sony Reader will live up to its specs and is worth $400, but the improvements seem substantial with a few exceptions.

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Taking aim at Apple and Sony, Nintendo announces new DSi portable media device

Meet the Nintendo DSi.

As expected, Nintendo announced its latest portable gaming device, dubbed the DSi, at its fall press conference. The DSi is not a game-only device, however, as it includes browsing capabilities, Wi-Fi, a 3-megapixel camera, and other enhancements that bring it more in line with Apple’s iPod Touch and iPhone and Sony’s PlayStation Portable products. In fact, the DSi is not considered a replacement for the current DS Lite line but a complement, or “third platform.”

The juicy DSi details, brought to us by the folks at Kotaku, include:

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Why Chrome is a win-win for Google

For those that have been off-line for the last few days and without access to a television or other forms of old media, Google has announced and released the first version of its own web browser called Chrome (see ReadWriteWeb’s extensive coverage).

But do users and developers alike really need another browser? Google says that Chrome recognizes and builds on the best innovations of its competitors, but more importantly has built a web browser from the ground up to cope with the shift towards cloud computing in which the web has “evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications.”

“What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build”, says Google.

A few examples of how Google has put this into practice with Chrome include a faster JavaScript engine called V8, and “multi-threading” so that if a web app running in one tab crashes it won’t impact on the performance of other open pages/apps.

It’s highly debatable, of course, whether Google can be any more successful than others who have tried to grab market share from Microsoft who bundle its own Internet Explorer with the various flavors of its Windows operating system.

It could be argued, however, that whatever Chrome’s eventual market share, it serves as a win-win for Google. Here’s why:

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Hofstetter proves digital distribution works for indie comedians; lands spot on late-night TV

When we last left Steve Hofstetter, last100’s favorite digital comedian, Steve had offered up his latest album using the pay-what-you-want-model.

So how did that work out for him?

Not bad. Not bad at all.

In addition to making more “take-home” money on this album than the previous two, Hofstetter has landed a spot on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” his first late-night appearance. Hofstetter’s segment, taped at the end of July, will air the night of Sept. 3 (check local listings for airtime).

Hofstetter’s recent success doesn’t end there. Hofstetter, a small, independent artist far from the superstar status of Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, embraced digital distribution and alternative business models, and they’ve embraced him.

Just last month, iTunes picked Hofstetter’s second album, “Cure for the Cable Guy,” as a staff pick and one of its top 15 favorite comedy albums of the past five years. “And it’s not even my favorite,” Hofstetter says.

Hofstetter continues to prove that indie artists of all sorts can build impressive careers using alternative distribution methods and business models, social media, and social networks like MySpace and Facebook. In addition to “The Late Late Show” and iTunes, Hofstetter has two scripts in the works — one for a sitcom, the other for a sports comedy show — that are getting attention.

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Kindle 2.0 is looking more like Kindle 1.5

Peter Burrows of BusinessWeek today wrote an even-handed post about the coming of Kindle 2.0, the much anticipated update to Amazon’s much ballyhooed eBook reader. And while he feels the Kindle revolution is “awfully evolutionary,” he also questions just how evolutionary it really is.

Burrows says he can confirm that McAdams Wright Ragen analyst Tim Bueneman [via Seattle Post-Intelligencer] has been saying recently: Amazon will unveil a larger-screen Kindle aimed at college students in the coming months. Burrows also says there will be an upgrade to the Kindle base model, which will be thinner, with a better screen, more stylish, and will include fixes to some of the user interface quirks from Kindle 1.0.

Burrows quotes a source who has seen Kindle 2.0 as saying it is a big leap from its predecessor as the iPod mini was from the first iPod. “They’ve jumped from Generation One to Generation Four or Five,” the source said. “It just looks better, and feels better.”

Wow. Kindle 2.0 must be one heck of a device.

But I, like Burrows, wonder.

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Despite projections, eBook readers are not going to be next iPod without changes

As a voracious reader I am happy to see the success of the Kindle, Amazon’s electronic book reader. But no matter how many devices Amazon or others sell, the whole eBook reader thing is fundamentally flawed.

Let’s be honest. Electronic reading devices mostly suck. The platforms or ecosystems eBook readers are built on — from content purchase and management to DRM — are awful.

So when I read that Mark Mahaney of CitiGroup says that Amazon is expected to sell about 380,000 Kindles in 2008, I applaud. I desperately want eBooks and eBook readers to be as successful as the iPod — and that’s millions of units sold, not just a few hundred thousand.

But eBook readers will never be as successful as the iPod. Not the way that the publishing industry works today. Not the way eBooks are designed and manufactured.

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"Mole" says Microsoft will sell sub-$200 Xbox 360 this fall

A “mole” — the informant kind, not the small furry burrowing animal — told Ben Kuchera at Ars Technica that Microsoft is planning to further cut the prices of the Xbox 360 in September.

The Xbox 360 will come in three flavors:

  • The Arcade: no hard drive, $199
  • The Pro: 60 GB hard drive, $299
  • The Elite: 160 GB hard drive, $399

The “mole” also whispered that hardware and game bundles will be available for the Arcade, Pro, and Elite models in the 4Q, just in time for the holidays.

The last time the “mole” met Ben in some parking garage he told him that Microsoft was going to release a 60 GB Xbox 360, “and he was right on the money with that one,” Kuchera said. “I’d be very surprised if this wasn’t accurate information.”

If the “mole” is correct, Microsoft will be the first company to release a major gaming console for less than $200, which may truly reach the mass market for gamers and home theater enthusiasts alike.

Nintendo’s Wii, the top-selling game console, retails for $249, when you can find one, and Sony’s PlayStation 3 costs $399 for the 40 GB model (an 80 GB model for the same price may be introduced this fall).

At $199, the Xbox 360 arcade would be a compelling purchase, especially if you can attach your own hard drive to it.

Roundup: Apple still hasn't cleaned up its MobileMess

Not only has it been a rough two weeks since the disastrous introduction of MobileMe July 10-11, it’s been a miserable last three days for Apple and its “Exchange for the rest of us” product.

First, up, the Wall Street Journal

Well-known personal technology columnist Walt Mossberg, a big fan of Apple products and services about 99.99 percent of the time, said in his first complete review of MobileMe on Wednesday:

“Unfortunately, after a week of intense testing of the service, I can’t recommend it, at least not in its current state. It’s a great idea, but, as of now, MobileMe has too many flaws to keep its promises.”

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