Skype Founders To Launch Web TV!

The founders of Skype, the internet calling powerhouse, and the old KaZaA peer to peer file trading service, are planning to launch an advertising-supported internet TV network in the coming months.

With shades of a higher quality, P2P YouTube, the project that’s code named “Venice” will allow amateurs and professionals to put their TV programs online for anybody to see. They haven’t said how they’re going to prevent copyrighted material from being placed on the service, which means people can most likely share actual TV programs from TV, just as they’re being shared on BitTorrent now.

If their track record is any indication - KaZaA was a major disruption for online music and Skype was a major disruption for traditional landlines - this Venice will be a kick in the nards for traditional broadcast networks. Will it be the thing that finally brings TV trading to the masses? We hope so.

Continental Phone Cards

Motorola RIZR Z3

You might know it better as the Motorola Capri but it’s now to be called the RIZR Z3. The RIZR Z3 is Motorola’s first attempt at a slider phone. Now we have to say that Motorola are a bit late with the release of the RIZR Z3 silder but is this a clever move to see how well they have sold.

Coming packed with a 2 Mega pixel camera and storage (MicroSD) of up to 1GB you can’t really say that they haven’t made the effort with the RIZR Z3. Sporting A2DP (advanced audio distribution profile) it’s a posh way of saying that you can you use a wireless stereo headset with the RIZR.

It also has the built in music player which recognises the following file formats MP3, AAC, AAC+ and eAAC+.

The best bit is the revised phone book with a new search feature and more supported data fields and support for Motorola’s new MotoSYC.

Well the Motorola RIZR Z3 looks to be a big hit like its predecessors, lets hope it doesn’t let us down. The RIZR should be hitting stores late 2006.

Mitsubishi PocketProjector

I have been watching the development of the Mitsubishi Pocket Projector with interest for over a year. It is a tiny (4.85" x1.85" x 3.85"), one pound, DLP projector that uses LED bulbs instead of regular projector bulbs. This means there is no heat, instant on and off, and is rated for 20,000 hours of use (5 hours per day for 10 years)!

It is not the brightest projector on the market at 250 lux (more about that later), but is supposedly able to be used in a dimly lit room without a problem. It can even be used with batteries (with an optional 2.5 hour battery pack) for a truly portable experience!

According to the spec sheet, it can project at SVGA 800x600, and can project a 12" to 60" (diagonal) image.

Now to the technical stuff. Most projectors we have in schools are measured in lumens, not lux, so we are used to seeing really high numbers for the brightness capacity of the devices. Lux is defined as a measure of illumination, and here is a formula that describes the relationship between lumens and lux.

Light Output (Lumen) = Illumination (Lux) x Screen Surface (square meters)

I did find some information which stated that a bright office is about 400 lux, so, with a 250 lux projector, such as this one, it is evident the lights would have to be turned down low to use this device.

So, after all is said and done, is this device the "killer device" that gets video projectors into every classroom? Will it work with an interactive whiteboard? The price of $799 is higher than was originally published for this device, but, if one takes into consideration the ease of use (no wiating for warm-up or cool down), no replacement of expensive bulbs, and the fact it can throw a decent size image from a close distance, perhaps turning the lights down low is not the end of the world...

America is the victim of her own success in the Global War on Terror

By all accounts, the US success abroad and at home in fighting terrorism has decreased the threat to the point of debating its existence. Freedom is on the march across the Middle EastSyria is out of Lebanon, Libya has abandoned its WMD program, Saudi Arabia’s terror funding has been exposed, and terror groups everywhere are now on the run from the local governments now aided in their search by the powerful West. Saddam Hussein, the worst dictator in the region, was defeated and humiliated in front of the world, and the Taliban was routed from Afghanistan – democracies, though young and weak, now grow where evil once had deep roots. At home, America has not turned into the police state many believed would be required to prevent another 9/11. Far from it - terror plots have been disrupted and civil liberties remain strong to the point of debating whether it is ok to tap a phone conversation with a known terrorist. Yet all of this success has left us utterly unwilling to press the fight, exploit our victories, and finish this war once and for all.

In tactical terms, an attack consists of three elements, all of which play a decisive role in the success of the team. There is an assault element, a fixing element, and an exploitation element. The fixing element makes contact with the enemy and engages them, for the purpose of attrition and distraction. While the enemy is fixed, the assault force maneuvers to its flank and “attacks through”. At this point, the battle is technically over. Either the defenders won, or the attackers did. However, battles are small components of larger engagements, and that brings into play the third element, the exploitation force. Doctrinally, the exploitation force is usually equipped with the most fire power, mobility, and support. Why? Because exploiting the success of the attack is a combat multiplier that often makes the difference in the outcome of major engagements. If you destroy a battalion, you’ve off-lined a 700 man unit. If you destroy a battalion and exploit the attack, destroying the BSA (Brigade Support Area) - all of a sudden, you’ve off-lined a 4,000 man unit. In the Soviet order of battle, the CAR (Combined Arms Reserve) was always viewed as a high priority target for US artillery –because it was comprised of tanks, helicopters, SP Artillery, and mech units. It was essential that the CAR be identified and targeted because of the danger it could cause by exploiting a victory on the battlefield.

I posit that America today has employed a fixing force, and an assault force on the global terrorist enemy. We pinned them down in Afghanistan, and then Iraq, then our assault force attacked through and destroyed the enemy. Now, three years later, we’re still mopping up our “actions on the objective.” The problem is, that since we won that initial battle, many at home believe it is time to pack up the operation and ship it back to Fort Bragg. However, America still has that Combined Arms Reserve idling somewhere in the rear- that- if unleashed could exploit our victories on a strategic scale and finish off the global terror networks once and for all. On the battlefield, sending in the CAR is called a “decision point” for the commander. Committing the reserve is a huge risk for the commander- sending in the reserve at the wrong time can lead to defeat, or it can lead to great victory.

Since many battles are smaller parts of larger campaigns, tactical engagements can be won, but the outcome of strategic engagements is not totally dependent on this (you can win all the battles and still lose the war). Right now, the US has won two major battles with its assault element and its fixing element, and the enemy is bloodied. The exploitation force, the knockout blow, has yet to be called out. Unless these victories are exploited on a strategic scale, the enemy will endure.

America’s success in the fight against terrorism has led many to believe that 9/11 was just an isolated incident rather than just an escalation in the attacks against American interests by militant Islam that began with the attack on the American embassy in Iran in 1979. Since then we had Beirut, Somalia, the 1st WTC bombing, the embassy bombings in Africa, Khobar Towers, the USS Cole, and finally 9/11. But after 9/11, briefly, America saw its existence at stake –and when one finds its existence at stake, one acts decisively. Since that Tuesday in September, no enemy rounds have exploded over our cities. Our military and domestic security services have kept us all safe, so much so that the terror attacks of the past seem to be a fuzzy memory. Few images are shown from past attacks by the radical Islamists on TV or in the media, and half of the country seeks a foreign policy that will somehow return us to the days when the deadly terrorism was just a “nuisance.”

Because of our success, at this point we cannot deploy our exploitation force. In many ways, that force was the most “highly targeted” by the enemy in the first place. Some of the units of action in the exploitation force that have become combat-ineffective do to enemy targeting include the Media and Hollywood. Once upon a time, the media viewed themselves as Americans, and reported on US troops like they were citizens of the same country. Now our reporters are “citizens of the world” who routinely give “US Versions” and “Insurgent versions” of events on the ground. The enemy has been so successful that they have convinced the Media not to even call them by their real name: terrorists. Hollywood, the same that once pulled off global information operations while solidifying the home front behind the war effort, now cowers as terrorists revoke free _expression where they can, and portrays America as the bad guy on the world stage. Overall, our exploitation force is comprised of the military, diplomatic, economic, and cultural forces that can be unleashed onto the terrorist enemy that will destroy him.

Because of our success, and the perceptions it has caused, our options are now very limited. We cannot push the fight (covertly or overtly) into Syria and Iran, the real trouble-makers in Iraq now. We cannot rally ourselves to become energy independent, break our ties with true terror-enablers like Saudi Arabia, or cut off 100% funding to actual terrorist organizations like Hamas. We still go to the UN to push sanctions on places like Sudan, where actual genocide is occurring by the hand of a hostile government. Many Americans still see the UN as a reputable, legitimate international organization instead of the den of corruption it has become. In the end, our successes are causing us to wrap up this fight before it is complete, and that will only lead us to go to war again, ten years from now or, perhaps, less. Some see pressing this fight as a move toward an “endless war” –I don’t- endless war will be the result of NOT finishing the fight now, while the enemy is vulnerable. We can either end this war on terror now, or after an American city is a radioactive crater sometime in the near future - but I think that decision point has already been passed.

Ultra-Mobile PC

Microsoft, Intel, and a few hardware vendors announced the ultra-mobile PC at the CeBit Trade Show in Germany on March 9th.

This device, which runs an enhanced version of the TabletPC operating system, is estimated to be in the price range of $499-999US depending on the features included. An UMPC models launched yesterday are in the 2 pound range, have a 900mHz processer, have 30 or 40gb hard drives, a 7" screen, Bluetooth and wireless, and assorted USB and even a VGA port. The battery life is estimated at about 3 hours at this point. There are posts that state that the viewing of movies can occur without launching the entire operating system, but I have not verified that as of this point. There is a unique, software-based, thumb-usuable overlay keyboard on the screen of the device as well as enhanced menus and scroll bars that allow fingertip access. (This can only mean these devices have a passive digitizer screen which I have on my current TabletPC and it works very well, for those who are wondering.)

The impact for schools? At this price point (about 1/2 the price of the current small TabletPCs on the market), imagine a lab setting that only has keyboards, mice, and monitors...the students all have their own UMPC and simply hook it up as they come into the lab via the VGA and USB connections. They have the same set-up at home, and can easily have a full operating system...the great OS of the TabletPC, whereever they are!

Just my first thoughts on the subject?

Links to check out if you are interested:

V is for Vendetta

Hollywood, why why why do you keep doing this to us???

I love the Wachowski brothers' movies. I was ready for this flick man, excited about a movie that could capture my imagination in the same way that the Matrix Trilogy did.

So why did I hate V is for Vendetta? In short, it was more of a preachy, self-righteous, anti-war flick than Fahrenheit 9/11. Michael Moore couldn't have done a better job if he tried.

Originally a graphic novel designed to whine about Margaret Thacther's Great Britain, V is for Vendetta is set in Orwellian England sometime in the near future. I'm not going to go into the movie too much, other than to say it's chock full of attacks on conservatives, Christianity, the war on terror, and other tired cliches used exhaustively by today's anti-war movement.

What really pissed me off after watching V is Hollywood in general. Would it kill them to make a somewhat patriotic film for a change? Why does every single movie that comes out of that rat hole have to be about how brave people are for having an ideology that is anti-American, anti-Christianity, and anti-military?

I love movies. I realize that they're there for entertainment value. And I don't get into huge hissy fits over gays, or abortion, stem cell research, or any of the other hot liberal vs. conservative debates of our current era. And I sure to hell don't offend easily.

But there's only so much you can expect someone to take. Vendetta didn't just attack my beliefs as a patriotic, church-going American, it ridiculed them, spit on them, and lectured me on how those beliefs make me an enabler of fascism.

I don't know if it was the pedophile Catholic bishop, or the American and British flags embedded with the swastika, or the lectures on how "the former United States" started its decline with its war on terror. Whatever made me snap made me snap hard.

My friends who were with me, a nice couple from Alabama, decided that enough was enough and walked out halfway through. How much of the "you're a stupid fascist" diatribe did the Wachowski brothers expect them to sit through?

Why does Hollywood continue to hero-worship this cult garbage? Don't they realize the potential of a patriotic, flag waving, hero kills the terrorist, and gets the girl apple pie flick? 80% of Americans self-identified Christians, and I bet you a buck that even more of those folks are self-identified patriots. The Passion of the Christ demolished the box office, wasn't that a strong enough message to ruling movie elites that America has a thirst for films that satisfy their core ideology?

I don't know why the Wachowski brothers decided not to let me sit through a popcorn thriller filled with cool fight scenes and gee-whiz special effects, something that they're damn good at. Instead they decided to take out all their anger and aggression about the evils of the United States and organized religion on me, the innocent movie-goer.

Hollywood, if any of you guys have the guts to make a movie about real heroes - our American fighting men and women - I'll go see it. But for now, I want my seven dollars back.

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