Leo Laporte
The Tech Guy
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Sunday 20 July 2008

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Tech News

E3. Broo-chee.

Leo says that the annual E3 gaming convention isn’t all that exciting these days. It’s only press conferences about game sequels with very little innovation. But in general, game sequels are just the opposite of movie sequels. Game sequels get better thanks to technical advances. That makes them more profitable as well.

Social gaming is getting bigger. The PS3 needs some serious games.

Check out game trailers here.

The Wii is HUGE.

Everyone seems to be buying a Wii these days. 10.9 million units so far this year. About 660,000 in one month alone. Best selling console in America now. They’ve sold more than the XBox 360. Games are socially oriented which is becoming very attractive.

More on the iPhone.

Sold 1 million in one weekend. Major selling point was “lower” price. Activation problems were rampant. But they’re pretty much behind that now. The new crisis is availability as most stores are sold out at the moment.

But in spite of their success, they still aren’t approaching the success of Blackberry. And the Samsung Instinct gives you about 80% of the iPhone’s functions for less. Unlimited data plans, too.

Google looses search ground in June.

Google’s share of the web search market is down to 61%. What is that other 49% using?

Prices of hard drives keep dropping.

Leo bought a 750GB Hard drive is now less than $120! In fact, computers in general are dirt cheap. But the downside of paying less for hardware is tech support is either useless or non existent. You can still bought hi-end tech support, though.

Update on Roz Savage

She’s half way across the Pacific now. It’s been quite a dramatic and interesting experience. Follow it at twit.tv

Hour 1

Q Scott - Problems synching with iCal

His new Palm Centro won’t synch to iCal. It will synch to his desktop. Mark Space has a utility called “Missing Synch,” which is very successful in getting smart phones to synch. Another is Pocket Mac.

Q Anne - Picking a TV for her elderly mom.

Three choices. SDTV (which was about 380 lines, interlaced), EDTV (about 480p) and HDTV (720p and above). What’s coming? 4K video. So clear, you could almost walk through the screen. If you don’t really have a need for HiDef, there’s no real need to get one, ED would work fine for here. But we’re at a point where it’s hard to find an older model anymore. Leo recommends a 27–32″ LCD TV.

Switchover won’t really be an issue for over the air if you’re using cable or satellite. Sharp, Toshiba, Phillips are all good choices.

Q Fred, Statesville, NC - Advice for starting a podcast.

You need a USB Headset. Laptop. That’s about it. But if there’s more than one individual, you need a central mic. Leo recommends the Blue Snowball, which can be set to omnidirectional recording. But if you’re doing it on Skype, then use Plantronics USB headsets. What’s tricky is recording at both ends. Leo recommends recording using Pamela. James uses Callburner.

Avoid Skype using supernodes by connecting directly. If you really want to get the studio sound, have both record locally and mix it.

The real trick is consistency. Your audience will expect to hear it every week. So don’t let them down.

Fred’s podcast is the The Iron Sloth and Jewbacca Show.

Q Heather, Huntington Beach, CA - What about Apple Care warranties?

She wants to know if she should get Apple Care for her daughter’s laptop? Extended warranties are a real profit generator for companies. But with laptops, it’s a good idea. But read what it covers. AppleCare does NOT cover breakage.

Q Keith, Burbank CA - FCC comes down on Comcast?

The news is that the FCC came down hard on Comcast for violating Net Neutrality in creating different levels of Internet access. But Comcast is still breaking bittorrent connections using SandVine though. And they’re posing as users to do it and that’s just not cricket.

Also, uses the Plantronics Pulsar 590A Headset. 10 hours battery life (although Keith says he’s gotten as much as 14 hours), interrupts for phone calls. Leo thinks it’s a nice lookin’ unit with a nice small mic, looks comfortable. Sounds like a regular phone too. Gonna try it.

Hour 2

Q Halle - Marketing services on the Internet?

Halle’s got the calling and wants to take it online. What to do? Start with talking to people who share your interest. Leo says that Father Rodrick out of the Netherlands uses podcasting to spread the Good News.

Should she blog? Yes. A blog is an update that’s updated regularly. WordPress (free), LibSyn for podcasting, Feedburner for creating your RSS feed. Perfect for just starting out.

Getting other sites to link to you will make you move up the Google search rankings. Make legit connections and you’ll be building a community.

Q Chris, Canada - Getting the iPhone in Canada

Rogers has been screwing over Canadians when it comes to iPhone Data access. But after receiving thousands of complaints, Chris says Rogers has finally released a PROMO price of $30 for 6GBs of data. (which Leo says is plenty). But get it NOW, you have to activate by August 31.

Q John, Alameda, CA - Tons of SPAM!

His email is getting tons of SPAM, but can’t change his email for business reasons. The longer you use an email, the more SPAM you will get. The easier your email is “guessable” by spambots, the more spam you’ll get. The more listserves you’re with, the more SPAM you’ll get. Leo, for instance, gets over a million spams a month! Here’s Leo’s 3 stages for Spam management: 1) use an external service. Leo uses MailRoute.net. There’s also onlymyemail.com. These are for pay services that block out spam. 2) Use Spam Assassin on your server. 3) Finally, a local solution like Mail Washer.

Also wants an Anti Virus Software suggestion - Eset.

Q Jason, New Hampshire - Verifying information before hand.

More SPAM. Has his own domain and wants to know if you can authenticate information before receiving it? This was the great hope of Email authentication by Yahoo and Microsoft. There are several schemes, but you may miss some email as a result and most ISPs are set up for it or want to do it.

Hour 3

Q Jason - Building a PVR

Jason hangs on and he wants to build a Linux based personal video recorder. Leo says MYTHTV is the best utility to work for and suggests MySetTopBox.TV for downloading KnoppMyth and also checking the database of available hardware that works for it.

Best video tuner card for his project is the Hauppage WinTV PVR 150.

Q Sandy, Westminster, CA - Property management software recommendation?

Very specialized. You could use QuickBooks. It has a property management module. It makes invoices, pay reports, etc.

She’s also looking for a simple sports printing program. Leo says you can do these online. You can also use Photoshop Elements.

From the ChatRoom -RentManager.com, Tenant Pro, PropertySolutions.com, Property Tracker (this one’s web-based). For the Photo Album - Picasa! It’s free from Google.

Q Pat, New Mexico - Digitizing 35mm Slides suggestions

Plustek 7500 Optic Film Scanner. Multi pass scans, scans in the IR to see in shadows. It’s slow, but very cool.

Q Rob, Santa Clarita, CA - What happened to news groups?

Many ISPs like Verizon are now shutting off access to Newsgroups in a vain attempt to stop video and audio piracy. Most of the ALT news groups are gone in New York and California is working to do it as well. The party line is that it’s a means to shut down child porn. Leo is ABSOLUTELY against child porn, but in reality, he suspects it’s a covert attempt by the MPAA and RIAA as they toss tons of cash towards politicians in office.

Q Tony, Dallas, TX - Using iTunes library on a network

Copy the iTunes folder onto the network att’d folder and make sure the folder is mounting automatically on all computers. Then point each copy of iTunes to that library folder.

RSync and ChronoSync will sync all folders to make sure they match.

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