Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Skyfire iphone Browser

Skyfire iphone Browser - Skyfire for iPhone ($2.99) may be one of the shortest-lived apps in the iPhone App Store, surviving only five hours today before Skyfire pulled it from the marketplace after noticing strain on their servers that resulted in poor user experience.
"The servers haven't crashed," a Skyfire spokesperson said, but they did stutter as customers who bought the browser streamed Flash video. The Webkit-based Skyfire app (also available for Android) delivers Flash video to users--ordinarily forbidden by Apple--by streaming it through their own servers first in a process known as proxy browsing.

Skyfire issued a press release earlier tonight declaring that the app has "sold out," and that the company will issue "a new batch" of downloads once Skyfire increases its server capacity. In reality, video streaming demand was too much for the Bay Area-based Skyfire's servers, delivering a sub-par video experience to users. Skyfire didn't provide CNET with its first-day download numbers, which Apple should make available tomorrow. In the meantime, Skyfire is "working around the clock to get the servers back up," CNET was told.

This is hardly the first time Skyfire has attempted to dodge slings against its ability to scale the proxy service. Browser-competitor Opera has been calling Skyfire's bandwidth into question since the early days when Skyfire was a green startup for Windows Mobile phones, just enlisted in the browser wars--and Skyfire has predictably averred its readiness since then. We had hoped that years of seasoning had taught the company to prepare their back end for this demand.

Skyfire iphone Browser

Thailand Floods Kill 122

Thailand Floods Kill 122 - The death toll from Thailand's crippling floods has risen to more than 120, officials said on Thursday, after the weeks-long crisis spread south and affected tens of thousands more people, including tourists.

Rising waters began to inundate the southern region late on Monday after days of heavy downpours, leaving eight dead in Songkhla province, two in Pattani and one each in Satun and Surat Thani provinces.

Thousands of soldiers have been dispatched to the area to help people stranded in their homes after flash floods swept through Hat Yai, a city of more than 150,000 people.

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A further three people were also killed in northern areas, where the flooding began on October 10, bringing the nationwide toll to 122, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said.

So far more than six million people have been affected, with homes submerged and farmland or cattle destroyed, in what Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has described as "a huge natural calamity".

Waters have receded in most parts of Hat Yai, a city popular with tourists from Singapore and Malaysia.

But more than 100 foreign visitors remained stranded in their hotels early on Thursday, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The government has sent two naval ships to the southern region to provide medical and logistical support for the relief operation.

Thailand Floods Kill 122

Free Neti Pot

Free Neti Pot -
Get a free Neti Pot when you "like" the NeilMed Neti Pot page on Facebook. The pot comes with two salt packets. Share your name, address, phone, e-mail and answer about a dozen multiple choice questions about using a Neti Pot. The form must be completely filled out to get the free Neti Pot. One freebie per address. Request requests will not be honored.

A Neti Pot is a plastic, mini-tea kettle used to rinse your sinuses with salty water. Some people swear it keeps colds at bay, others are so grossed out they can't even use it.

Caveats: the Neti Pot takes about 30 days to arrive in the mail.

Free Neti Pot

Kinect Review

Kinect Review - First presented to the world as Project Natal at E3 2009, Microsoft's Kinect sensor peripheral has since been positioned by the software (and hardware) giant as the next phase of Xbox 360's evolution as a platform. A combination of hardware and software, it's been billed as a means for users to interact with their consoles and play games without using a physical controller, using natural gestures, voice commands and face recognition.

I've had a final retail Kinect unit at home for a little over a week now, and have had ample time to put the shiny new gadget through its paces. Is it as magical as expected? Will it transform gaming? Or, more importantly, does it even work? Read on past the break for my in-depth review of this ambitious apparatus.

Kinect is a single piece of hardware, yet it incorporates several distinct technologies. There's an infrared emitter that floods your play space with invisible light, paired with a CMOS sensor that then looks at how it's reflected back and passes that data to the console -- as a grayscale image -- so that it can determine the depth of the scene, most importantly your movement in 3D space. Then there's an RGB camera that's used for facial recognition, in-game snapshots and video chat. The sensor contains four capsule microphones that, in combination with an audio processor, can "pinpoint" your voice, picking it out from background noise and even determine which direction it's coming from. Finally, there's a tilt motor, which automatically move the sensor up and down depending on the current user's height and distance from it.

Kinect Review

GOP Capitalizes On Social Media

GOP Capitalizes On Social Media - In the final minutes of one of the most watched and fiercely contested races of Tuesday's midterm elections, the campaigns of both Sen. Harry Reid and the Republican challenger to his Nevada Senate seat, Sharron Angle, were working social media.

"Thirty-five minutes to go-every vote is needed!" read Angle's Facebook page shortly before polls closed. "You, your neighbor, your mother-in-law ... GET OUT & vote, NV!"
Reid, who was also exhorting his followers to relay his messages online, ultimately prevailed. But the postings showed that at the most crucial moments in the 2010 election, social media was in the thick of it.

For an entity that effectively didn't exist just years ago, social media has rapidly flourished as a political force.

"This is the election when it became more deeply embedded in the rhythms of campaigning," says Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project. "It's not so much that as a single thing it influences people's votes but that it's now so inextricably a part of the political communication landscape."

The 2010 elections may also have been when Republicans truly embraced it. The change was evident at the finale, when House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner tweeted congratulations to a litany of triumphant Republicans and fellow Twitter users.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin played an active role in the elections with posts on Facebook that were instant news; the 10 most popular political videos on YouTube were all Republican videos.

"There was much hand-wringing over whether the Internet was a fundamentally democratic or liberal platform for communication, versus a conservative one," says Steve Grove, the head of news and politics at YouTube. "We always felt like the reason that it was more used by Democrats was just they weren't the party in power, and parties not in power look for innovation when trying to communicate with voters in new ways."

GOP Capitalizes On Social Media

Kitzhaber Oregon Governor

Kitzhaber Oregon Governor - He looks every inch the rangy outdoorsman with his trademark bluejeans and boots, but physician-turned-politician John Kitzhaber won his third term as governor of Oregon with the votes of city folk.

Kitzhaber, a Democrat, came from behind to defeat Republican Chris Dudley, a former center with the Portland TrailBlazers. He did it with late votes from populous Multnomah (Portland) and Lane (Eugene) Counties.

The Kitzhaber victory extends 24 years of Democrats' control of the governor's office in Salem. They have elected four different people to the office. Kitzhaber will be returning to a job he held from 1994 to 2002.

Kitzhaber is a native of Colfax, Wash.. He was an emergency room physician in
Roseburg, Ore., before entering politics, and has more recently held a post at the Oregon Health Sciences University.

Kitzhaber is a supporter of several high profile (and controversial) Oregon initiatives, from the state's death-with-dignity law to the Beaver State's comprehensive land use planning law.

He was also an outspoken backer of the Stateline Wind Energy Farm, a forest of wind turbines that sit atop hills along the Washington-Oregon border above the Snake River south of Pasco.

Kitzhaber has, at times, been a less-than-obedient Democrat.

He backed Bill Bradley over Al Gore for the 2000 Democratic presidential nomination. Gore returned the favor this year by appearing at a fundraiser for Kitzhaber's Democratic primary opponent.

Kitzhaber Oregon Governor

Cotton Clothing To Become More Expensive

Cotton Clothing To Become More Expensive - Cotton clothing is getting more expensive, so perhaps it's time to stock up now on the "fabric of our lives" while it's still somewhat affordable. According to the Wall Street Journal, shoppers will have to pay more for clothing next year as increasing cotton prices are forcing companies to take their chances with price increases.

Hanesbrands Inc., Jones Group Inc., and VF Corp all said they will raise their prices for clothing by as much as ten percent. Cotton prices are climbing up to $1.3426 a pound Tuesday, making it a record high. That's up eighty-four percent from July.

Not only will cotton clothing cost more, but even other changes will take into effect as a result of the increase in cotton prices. CNN is reporting that buttons will also get smaller to conserve cotton. Furthermore, companies will look to alternative fabrics to keep prices down.

According to CNN, this is a result of the simple rule in economics: supply and demand. More demand crossed with a lower supply results in more expensive cotton.

"The world has radically changed," Richard A. Noll, chief executive of Hanesbrands, said in an interview, according to the Wall Street Journal. "There is a clear understanding that prices need to go up in this kind of environment."

Cotton Clothing To Become More Expensive

Obama Cops A Shellacking In Elections

Obama Cops A Shellacking In Elections - U.S. President Barack Obama says opposition Republicans' major gains in Tuesday's midterm elections show that Americans are frustrated with the country's economic problems. The president also pledged to work with Republicans to solve those problems.

President Obama faced reporters Wednesday, and blamed the sluggish economy for Democrats' big losses at the polls.

"Yesterday's vote confirmed what I have heard from folks all across America," said President Obama. "People are frustrated, they are deeply frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery and the opportunities they hope for their children and their grandchildren.

Most of the hour-long White House press conference focused on the economy, and the president accepted responsibility for the slow recovery.

"Over the last two years we have made progress, but clearly too many Americans have not felt that progress yet, and they told us that yesterday," said Mr. Obama. "And as president, I take responsibility for that."

Obama Cops A Shellacking In Elections