The iPhone 3G - Comparing The Old With The New
Written by Erik Neff   
Friday, 13 June 2008
iPhone 3G Thumbnail

A year and a half ago, several colleagues and I had a riveting discussion about the relative merits of a brand new handheld device, potentially being named the "iPhone" (pending of course the timely resolution of a trademark dispute with Cisco over the iPhone name).  At the time, I thought the device was revolutionary, but still, I was very critical of it for its myriad shortcomings.

Since then....
Is Linux Ready For The Mainstream? Testing Ubuntu 8.04
Written by Erik Neff   
Friday, 25 April 2008
Kubuntu Desktop Screenshot
It's been almost 2 years since my last product review, technology blog post, or news update.  In that time, I've been very busy building websites, moving, and learning how to surf.  When I read an announcement about the release of a new version of Ubuntu, I felt compelled to awaken from this blog-less slumber and write this article.

The article I read was about the release of the 8th version of Ubuntu, codenamed "Hardy Heron".  If you're wondering why they chose that name, they did it because it's now quite trendy to make a two-word alliteration with the letter that corresponds to the next release number - 8 in the case of Ubuntu, or, H.  Anyways, my plan was to test two variations of this new release - Ubuntu 8.04, which runs the "Gnome" window manager by default, and a special version of its twin brother, Kubuntu 8.04 running the brand new KDE4 window manager by default.

I downloaded and burned a LiveCD for each, booted them up one by one, and attempted to answer two important questions: Is KDE4 better than Gnome, and most importantly: Is Linux Ready For The Mainstream?  Here's what I found:
Just Add Power - Building a Portable Media Center/Theatre
Written by Erik Neff   
Saturday, 21 October 2006
Along with the onslaught of HDTVs, a plethora of pretty cool 'alternative' hardware has come along that can enable consumers to do some very powerful things.  The point of this editorial review is to show you how to skip the T.V. entirely, and go straight to a laptop-based media center with a wall projector for around the same price as your buddy's cool new HDTV, only 3 times bigger, more portable, flexible, and functional, (oh, and thanks to Microsoft being thrown in the mix, 3 times less reliable, but that's for another topic of discussion, that being, this topic of discussion).

Anyways, the question on the chopping block for today is this: How can one build an affordable, yet portable, 10 to 20-person theatre for watching movies, tv, or playing video games.

The Future of Digital Photography
Written by Erik Neff   
Tuesday, 03 October 2006
"The next wave in digital photography is pictures that are self-aware".  Hmm, that's not entirely accurate, let's try again.

"The next wave in digital photography is pictures that are smarter than human beings".  Uhh, that's a little misleading too, but not entirely incorrect.  Err, at least in one particular way it's not.

What I'm talking about are pictures that know precisely where and when they were born.  Specifically, they know where on earth in latitude and longitude the camera was when the picture was captured.  Hidden metadata within the picture's image file header known as "GeoTags" are now being used to store the exact location the camera was when the picture was taken.

On the surface, it's not entirely obvious why this is such a good thing, or why people would want this.  However, it turns out that there are already a plethora of existing, and even more planned ways of using this information in powerful ways.  Most of these ideas center around the integration of sharing pictures on the web, with online mapping tools.  But being able to see where you were when you took a picture has many more uses than just triggering memories about the trip at a later date.  In fact, through the use of Google Earth and Google Picasa, you can make a flowwing, automated 3-D slide-show of the path you took on a trip, with picture thumbnails superimposed over the 3-D globe.

Here is a great tutorial on how to GeoTag your pictures using existing (relatively) cheap hardware...

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