Have you heard that Google has it's own browser now? We here at NAV just downloaded the beta version and we've got to say we like what we see so far. The browser interface is clean and the browser seems pretty fast.
One thing we got a kick out of is that you can change the default search engine. Wacky!
We'll put it through it's paces and let you know what we think. In the meantime, you can download your own copy from Google.
Here's some news that's going make some Comcast customers mad, especially those downloading heavy amounts of movies. Comcast is going to limit bandwidth and will even terminate your service for a year if you're a repeat violater. According to Yahoo.com:
Comcast said it was setting a monthly data usage threshold of 250 gigabytes per account for all residential high-speed Internet customers, or the equivalent of 50 million e-mails or 124 standard-definition movies.
"If a customer exceeds more than 250 GB and is one of the heaviest data users who consume the most data on our high-speed Internet service, he or she may receive a call from Comcast's Customer Security Assurance (CSA) group to notify them of excessive use," according to the company's updated Frequently Asked Questions on Excessive Use.
Customers who top 250 GB in a month twice in a six-month timeframe could have service terminated for a year.
Comcast is the bad guy at the moment but we're pretty sure all the other cable companies will follow suit soon.
This is kind of interesting, AT&T is going to compete with Best Buy's Geek Squad by offering in-home tech services. According to CNET.com:
Move over Geek Squad, AT&T is launching a new in-home support service that will do everything from setting up home computers and Wi-Fi networks to installing home theater systems.
On Thursday, the phone company announced the new service called AT&T ConnecTech, which will be in select markets across all 50-states. The company described the service as an "all-encompassing home services care program that is designed to take customer service, and the company's own support capabilities, to the next level."
The service, which is available only to residential customers, provides customers with a slew of services from home theater planning and consultations to new hardware installation and notebook repair. Specifically, AT&T technicians will be available to mount flat-panel TV's on walls, install and set-up new PC or Apple computers, including setting up email and virus protection; repair computers, including parts and hardware replacement; and install and trouble shoot home networking issue. The service will be offered both in-home and over-the-phone with next next-day service installation available seven days a week.
The rates are expensive but still cheaper then the big-box electronic stores. Still we're not convinced we really want the phone company touching our high-end entertainment system. What do your think?
Okay, we don't usually cover cellphones here at NAV but we had to show you this incredible video we found at the DivX Labs of the unboxing of the Samsung I900. Trust us, it's worth watching the whole minute and a half video.
We at NAV really hate wires so we're pretty excited about the Wireless USB Docking Station for Kensington. According to Kensington's press release:
The Kensington Wireless USB Docking Station is a universal docking station that works with all Wireless USB-enabled notebook PCs. It has five USB ports, a DVI-I, and a speaker port to connect to peripherals, an external monitor and speakers. The wireless connection between the dock and Wireless USB-enabled notebook brings wireless connectivity to the home or office environment, empowering users to stay connected to their devices. There is no complicated set up required and cable clutter is eliminated.
"Our entire smart made simple design philosophy is about giving users the easiest, most intuitive computing experience," said Frederic Frappereau, Global Product Manager, Kensington. "We're especially proud to be the first to introduce a universal wireless docking station because nothing could be easier or more intuitive than having your accessories spring to life as you approach them with your notebook. We know that Wireless USB notebook users are extremely busy mobile professionals who appreciate every efficiency they can gain, so they can stay productive at all times."
The basic specs break down like this:
Access an external monitor wirelessly, for greater productivity
Print, use your keyboard and mouse, access your external hard drive and more, wirelessly
Five USB ports let you connect your most used peripherals
Wireless connection gives you the freedom to work in comfort anywhere you want within the 15 foot range of the docking station
Audio out port for external speaker
1 DVI port
5 USB 2.0 ports
Stereo out port
Works with widescreen monitors up to 1680x1050 and standard size mornitors up to 1280x1024
Compatible with Certified Wireless USB enabled adapters and computers running Windows® XP or Vista®; 32 bit versions only
Of course the Kensington Wireless USB Docking Station won't do you much good until you get a Wireless USB enabled computer but you have to start somewhere, right?
The device will be shipping in a few weeks at around $230 bucks.
Kensington Wireless USB Docking Station Press Release atKensington.com
Kensington Wireless USB Docking Station Product Page at Kensington.com
We've mentioned a few million times in the past about how much we love Pandora radio but even our love may not be enough to keep Pandora afloat. For the last few years, internet radio has been on a pretty shaky ground due to the ridiculous licensing fees but it looked like Pandora might make it through. Now according to TheStandard.com:
Pandora, the excellent music recommendation and streaming service, may be closing its doors in the near future over royalty fees paid to SoundExchange, an organization that represents artists and record companies in royalty negotiations.
Founder Tim Westergren told the Washington Post the company was "approaching a pull-the-plug kind of decision." Pandora will pay 70 roughly of its projected revenue of $25 million in music royalties, a level which Westergren says is unsustainable. "We're funded by venture capital. They're not going to chase a company whose business model has been broken," he says.
There is some hope that a last minute deal can be negotiated by Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA) but we're not real hopeful. So if you're a Pandora radio fan, you may want ot lock yourself in a room and lsiten until Pandora goes silent.
Man, I love the Madden football series, as I know most gamers do! There's been a lot of excitment about the new Madden NFL 09 and we've found a 8 minute in-depth video review of the features and gameplay.
Overall the graphics look a lot like Madden 08 but there's quite a few new featrues mentioned in the review that you may want to check out. We know it just came out a few days ago but If you've gotten Madden 09 yet, drop us a comment and let us know what you think.
Ever spend an hour trying to figure out what to delet from your TiVo so you'll have enough room to record a classic episode of "Simon and Simon"? Well you might want to check out a DVR Expander. According to an article at USAToday.com:
TiVo fills up even faster when I record programs in high-definition. HD claims roughly 10 times the amount of space as standard-definition recordings.
The Iomega DVR Expander Drive and Western Digital My DVR Expander drive I've been testing promise to increase your DVR's storage capacity, so you won't have to fret about it for a long time.
The Iomega and Western Digital boxes both cost $200 and have 500 gigabytes of storage, equaling about 300 extra hours of standard-definition or up to 60 hours of high-def programming. By adding the Western Digital drive to my TiVo, I upped its capacity to up to 927 standard-definition or 98 high-def hours. You'd have to watch an awful lot of TV to exhaust that much storage.
The important thing the article points out is why a typical external harddrive may not be the answer:
You may ask: "Why do I need a DVR expander when I've got an unused external PC hard drive? Couldn't I just plug it into the DVR's USB port?"
It's not that simple. The USB ports on TiVo, for instance, cannot be used for external storage. Instead, the DVR expanders connect to a different port, called eSata, which TiVo says is more reliable and robust. (I use the USB on my TiVo for a Wi-Fi adapter.) If you do have an eSata drive, you can probably make it work with TiVo by employing an easily found online hack -- except there are no guarantees, and you won't have TiVo's blessing.
At around $200, it's a drop in the bucket to be able to save every episode of the classic "Simon and Simon".
Here's some news that'll make some Netflix users unhappy. If you prefer Blu-ray DVDs from Netflix, you'll probably start paying more soon. According to Information Week:
Netflix on Monday confirmed that it's testing premium pricing for subscribers who want access to the DVD renter's high-definition library.
While the company hasn't said when or how much it would charge for Blu-ray disc rentals, a Netflix spokesman said it is in the process of trying to determine a pricing model that would be palatable to customers.
"Netflix is testing prices around Blu-ray right now, and we don't have anything else to report," company spokesman Steve Swasey said. "There's nothing being done across the board."
Swasey declined to give details, but tech site Engadget reported that some Netflix subscribers have said they are being charged $1, and sometimes $2, a month more for access to Netflix's Blu-ray disc movies.
A dollar or two more a month seems reasonable to us but we're sure some will still complain. Do you think Netflix has the right to charge more for Blu-ray? Leave us a comment and let us know your opinion.