Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Been a while...

Greetings, netizens,

I'm back after a long absence, lots of new stuff happened in the meanwhile, changed jobs and perspectives a bit.

Working on a brave new project at the moment, can't say much about it except it's trying to redefine the video community perspective, even before it really started to become a standard. I'm frantically studying Google Video to see how they managed to obtain such a good quality / bitrate ratio for their encoded content.

Been reading about the video plugin they use, which is supposedly a VLC player derivative, as Jon Lech Johansen writes in his blog. I wonder why the need for a plug-in would arise, given the easy-to-build Flash-based ActionScript Flash Video players and the way they integrate seamlessly in most browsers, given the immense penetration of Flash 7 technology (around 90% according to Macromedia's own statistics).

Of course, lots of speculation on the 'net, but I'm betting they went with it in order for them to support their "my house, my rules" attitude (which I believe also explains their use of the ffmpeg codec technology instead of the Flash Media Server). More to come as the future unfolds!

On a side note, I just read that Dell plans to add 3G support in its future line of European laptops. While GSM providers in Central and Eastern Europe still charge big for GPRS connectivity and both Orange and Vodafone offer this service along with a PCMCIA card (that costs approx. $250 with a 1-year contract and the minimal Mobile Office subscription), it still means a move toward integration, which is always a good thing when thinking "light and portable".

And speaking of laptops, people are catching on to a new trend. Overclockers, beware: undervolting is here. While not something people will recommend on desktops, it's a miracle worker for notebooks, increasing battery life and lifecycle, lowering temperatures and quite possibly something that won't affect you performance-wise, if done properly. Definitely a must-read if you're the proud owner of a notebook.

Love the new iMac. Although many Apple fans view this as a sign of the Apocalypse, I believe Steve Jobs finally did the right thing moving to Intel processors, even if it meant stepping on many fanboys' egos. The new Macs are definitely competitive products, especially in their price segment ($1,300 for the 17" Widescreen iMac is quite compelling, even more so with the oh-so-easy-to-obtain Apple Student Discount). I like to think about the new iMac as what ECS was actually trying to do with their "desknote" products a while ago - except that the iMacs actually look good. It's practically a laptop without a battery and except the fact it's not a breeze to change stuff inside, it can get upgraded pretty heavily. Not to mention that most notebooks featuring equivalent Duo Core processors start around $1,600. Ok, I know it's not exactly apples-to-apples, but I believe it's fair to say that the iMac is pretty portable.

That's about it for now, will come back as soon as time allows with more rants. Thanks for reading :)

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