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Making It Cliq: Motorola’s New Cliq Touts Social Power 14 September 2009 at 5:25 pm by

Motorola has come out with a phone, the Cliq, targeted at a specific market and utilizing the power of Google’s Android platform. It is the first of a family of new Motorola phones, where the Cliq stands at the patronymic fore.

As far as features go, Cliq is doing all right. The phone is complete with a decent camera (5 megapixel), video capability, sweet media tools, a spacious allowance for microSD memory, voice-activated search features, and easy access to Google Maps (street view), Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Picasa, Gmail, Microsoft Exchange, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and all the rest. It comes with a (teeny) Qwerty keyboard, a thankfully accurate touchscreen, and an eye-catching titanium body.

But the way that those features are bundled is what makes the Motorola Cliq standout. It uses Motoblur, which is Motorola’s catchy name for a new cloud-based social-everything service. Motoblur tries to lasso everything social in someone’s life and put it into one snazzy portable format. According to one of Motorola’s marketing slogans, “You can stream your music, why not your friends?”
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Xobni Gets Upgrade By 15 July 2009 at 5:36 pm and have 2 Comments

For Microsoft Outlook users unfamiliar with Xobni, pay attention. The venture-backed company’s first piece of software, not even two years old, is a powerful advancement for e-mail organization, Outlook style. Wednesday, the new version of the tool is available, Xobni1.8 which provides additional power. In addition, the previously free plugin is offering an advanced version, Xobni Plus, which costs $29.95.

Xobni, which is “Inbox” spelled backwards, is still ultimately a free program. The free version, obviously, is a lightweight version of the tricked-out version of Xobni, which gives high-level e-mail users complete control over their inbox. As a VC-backed organization, Xobni needed something to build revenue. Jeff Bonforte, CEO of the startup explains that a paid service helps people “feel better that money is coming in because they know that you’ll be there tomorrow to support them.” What he may not realize is that money coming in to his company means money coming out of consumer’s pockets-an experience that trumps warm and fuzzy feelings of support. However, Xobni Plus is a handy tool that may be worth the $30.
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Verizon Becomes Nation’s Largest Wireless Carrier By 09 January 2009 at 7:50 pm and have No Comments

Ever since June of last year there has been talks of Verizon and Alltel merging, but now it is official. Verizon wireless has now become the largest mobile carrier with over 83 million subscribers. Alltel will continue to run under the Alltel name until a complete merger of the two brands later this year. Now you have fewer options on which carrier you can go with, between Verizon and AT&T taking up most of the mobile stock. We will now see a new breed of annoying mobile carrier commercials that you cant help to hate. Here is a Press Release from Verizon today with some more details.
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Pioneer’s Super Multi-Layered Disc By 02 December 2008 at 3:30 pm and have No Comments

Pioneer has released a statement saying they have developed a Super Multi-Layered Disc that will play using current Blu-ray players. The disc consists of 16 layers that can hold 25GB of data each, which totals a 400GB Disc. They plan on having a read-only disc available by 2010, a rewritable by 2012, and a 1TB disk by 2013, according to Pioneer.

The technology of the super multi-layer read-only disc is based on Blu-ray Disc (BD) with a breakthrough in material of reflective layers, according to Pioneer High Fidelity Taiwan. The specifications of the pick-up head (PUH) of the disc are the same as those for the PUH of blank BD discs, and therefore the Pioneer discs can be read on BD players.

So because they both use the same PUH they are compatible with BD players but the track pitch is set 10 to 15 nanometers off. So hopefully when they release this new Super-disc in the next couple years we want have to buy a new Blu-ray Player. Here is a chart comparing the two formats.

[via DigiTimes]

How to Block Ads in Google Chrome [Google Chrome] By 09 September 2008 at 4:04 am and have No Comments

One of the biggest reasons most Windows users are sticking with Firefox over Google Chrome is its extensibility—and the most popular Firefox extension by far among Lifehacker readers is Adblock Plus. If annoying web site advertisements are the only thing holding you back from using Chrome, a user at the Geekzone forums explains how to block ‘em without an extension. In short, you use the free Privoxy web proxy software, which blocks web sites serving ads, and configure Google Chrome to use the proxy. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Download and install Privoxy.
  2. Click on the Wrench icon in Chrome in the upper right corner.
  3. Choose options>Under The Hood>Change proxy settings.
  4. In the Internet Properties dialog’s Connections tab, click on the LAN settings button.
  5. Check off “Proxy settings” and in the address setting add and in the port 8118.
  6. If you have the option, you can also check off “Bypass proxy for local settings”.
  7. Click “OK,” close Chrome and restart it.

Privoxy’s default installation blocks ads from coming through it, so from there you’ll notice ad-free web pages. After I installed Privoxy I got an error going to Gmail, but a refresh fixed the problem. However, I’m still seeing Google text ads in Gmail at least. Have you given Privoxy a try for ad blocking? Let us know how it went in the comments. Thanks, xint!

Rumor: Xbox 360 To "Relaunch" On Sept. 25 With TV Ad Blitz, Free Games [Microsoft] By 08 September 2008 at 11:40 pm and have No Comments

A poster on the VGChartz forums (yes, I know) has posted alleged details of a rumored Xbox 360 “relaunch,” the specifics of which even the author writes are “batshit crazy.” However, the supposed Fall marketing push is specific enough to the point where it could be grounded in reality — and makes some amount of sense in light of new price drops, the arrival of the “New Xbox Experience” and impending holiday purchases.

According to the forum posting, on September 25th, Microsoft will take over basic cable channel G4 with a five-hour infomercial, culminating in the launch of the New Xbox Experience at midnight. The arrival of the new look and feel for the Xbox 360′s dashboard will also bring with it three totally new services, six free games and twelve new exclusives.

Similar to the launch of Netflix streaming via Xbox Live, also rumored to launch is a collaboration with Sirius Satellite Radio which will allow subscribers to stream stations through their Xbox 360s. This streaming service is also said to be accessible in-game, as a custom soundtrack.

Just as wild is the rumored announcement of a music download service, one that lets you pay with Microsoft Points.

Finally, a service known as “Mad Lib” is said by the poster to arrive alongside the New Xbox Experience. The source speculates “it has something to do with a picture within picture function.”

On the games front, the Xbox 360 “relaunch” is said to come with a dozen game announcements, including a new Assassin’s Creed title, more Halo games, plus details on expansions for Mass Effect, Grand Theft Auto IV and Halo 3. The dirty dozen are said to be codenamed Apricot, Burden, Conker, Dramatis, Error, Fender, Gargoyle, Hiroshima, Ignorance, Jeremiah, Kyoto, and London, if you feel like wildly speculating.

Even better? Six Xbox Originals are rumored to join the line-up — for free.

How plausible does this all sound? It certainly looks like a heaping pile of stinking fanboy fantasy, but we suppose it could happen. It’s allegedly planned just prior to the Tokyo Game Show, a move that could help Microsoft’s chances and reinvigorate slow console sales. We’re contacting Microsoft to see what they have to say about the whole thing, but consider this one a rumor with a capital R for now.

September 25th rumor. [VGChartz Forums - thanks, Blake!]

Rip Full DVDs to your Hard Drive without the Nasty DRM [DVDs] By 08 September 2008 at 11:00 pm and have 1 Comment

The obsolete dinosaur of proprietary media players, RealNetworks, introduces a new DVD-copying tool today called RealDVD. The upshot: For $30, RealDVD can make simple, DRMed backups of an entire DVD—menus, special features, and all—on your hard drive. RealDVD has gotten a lot of attention for this application, but fact is, you can already do all of this for free with the right tools. If you don’t feel like dropping $30 to get RealDVD’s functionality, let’s take a look at how you can get the same functionality for free.

We’ve shown you how to turn your PC into a DVD ripping monster,so if you want more details, check out that post.

Rip Full DVDs to Your Hard Drive

First, to rip DVDs to your hard drive—menus, special features, and all the rest—you’ve got two great options:

These apps provide simple tools to rip an entire DVD to your hard drive. The main difference between the two is that DVD Shrink can compress the rip so it takes up about half the space on your hard drive (around 4GB rather than 8GB for standard DVDs, for example). If you want to make ripping DVDs to your hard drive a dead-simple, one-click affair, check out our DVD Shrink helper application, DVD Rip.

Play Back Ripped DVDs

When you rip a DVD to your hard drive using one of the tools above, you’re left with a folder on your computer with other folders inside with names like VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS inside—meaning there’s no obvious double-click-me-to-play file. Instead, you need to learn to play back these DVD folders. We’ve shown you how to play ripped DVDs with VLC (our favorite open source media player), but it’s a bit of a pain. If you really want to make it easy (and browse your ripped DVDs with cover art), check out DVD Play, our VLC helper application for playing back DVD rips (watch the video below to see it in action).

Burn Ripped DVDs Back to a DVD

Last but not least, you can burn these DVD rips back to a DVD if your original DVD is damaged with free application ImgBurn.

What’s the Difference?

The main reason RealDVD is getting so much attention is that it’s the first “legal” application to rip your DVDs in this fashion. The New York Times article makes the legality of RealDVD appear questionable—at least relative to its already free counterparts (DRM is its attempt to circumvent legal issues, but whether or not that will work is up in the air)—so the only major difference I can see is that RealDVD wraps all of the features of the above programs into one attractive tool. But at a $30 pricetag for a tool that adds DRM to your rips, the free alternatives seem like a better option for most. Also, if full menus don’t matter to you, popular tools like HandBrake can rip videos to popular file formats.

Still, we’re curious: Are you interested in buying something like RealDVD? Would the DRM hold you back? Share your thoughts in the comments.

RealDVD [via NYT]