Mozilla has released the latest version of their monopoly-fighting open-source browser Firefox 1.5. The latest release includes faster browsing, better security, more customized interface, improved pop-up blocker, and enhanced privacy (read: ability to hide the naughty bits in your history). The most interesting feature is the “live bookmarks” feature that scans your favorite sites for updates and shows the fresh content right in the bookmark icon. Pretty cool.
In another interesting twist, Mozilla has gone dotcom. That’s right, you won’t find the new version at Mozilla.org – all you’ll find there is a redirect to the new Mozilla.com website. The new corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to support the development of the Mozilla software suite. So the new corp is supported by the non-prof, which in turn feeds the profits back to the foundation? I’m confused. But I’m happy as long as somebody’s getting rich other than Bill.
Sony has updated the firmware of the Play Station Portable, now up to version 2.6. The new version adds support for WMA audio files (though apparently not the “Plays For Sure” kind), and adds an RSS reader to the mix as well. Most telling though is the addition of support for encrypted video files.
Could this be the first step towards an iTunes-like /musicvideo store from Sony? They certainly have enough content of their own to push out to consumers, and they have started a digital video download service in Japan, though their ties with Japanese TV are a little closer than US TV. Keep in mind though that Sony produces huge amounts of TV shows on DVD, and probably has relationships with numerous insiders. Hopefully this firmware upgrade is a foreshadow to the launch of a US media store for PSPers that would allow downloading of content from anywhere there’s an open WiFi connection. I’d take that over video iPod any day.
*note that the new firmware upgrade, just like previous ones, will prevent you from runnning unauthorized software on the PSP, which really stinks.
Our sometimes annual Street Tech Holiday Gift Guide is now online, in our Reviews section. Read about recommended products that we’ve actually tested ourselves, most of which we paid our own hard-earned gold pieces for. This is “sucks less” holiday buying, stuff we’re certain (in our not even remotely humble opinion) does what it’s advertised to do, and does it well. So get ready to part with account numbers and follow us…
Hack-a-Day has a nice first impressions piece on the Xbox 360 from a hardware hacker’s perspective. Their conclusion:
I think the best plan would be to wait till next year to make the purchase: the console will be cheaper, the selection of games will be broader, used games will be available, you’ll know the Playstation 3’s features, the Xbox 360 games will be making better use of the console’s power, Microsoft will have most of the bugs ironed out and you might be able to run Linux.
The Xbox 360 is barely out of the box and hackers are already gearing up to accomplish the inevitable: porting Linux to the next-gen game console. That’s what the Free60 project is all about, it’s a wiki-format site for collecting efforts to get the open source OS working on the new system.
Wanna take bets on how long it’ll be before this feat is accomplished?
Not since the d20 dice tattoo have we been so tempted to fly our geek colors as with these 20-sided fuzzy dice for your car (or for hanging from the cube farm mirror you have on your monitor so that dweeb from sales can’t sneak up on you). These are definitely going in the Street Tech Holiday Gift Guide (coming soon). US$10, from ThinkGeek.
According to a piece on MacDevCenter.com, it’s actually possible to connect a video iPod to an A/V TV input with a conventional A/V Red/White/Yellow cable. All you need is such a cable with a 1/8″ plug on the other side . The trick is that you need to switch the Yellow plug (normally video) with the Red plug (normally audio-right). Did Apple switch these connections just so you’d think you had to buy their special proprietary cable? Bad Apple!
So the Xbox 360 launched last night amidst great fanfare. There were the now-routine site of people suffering outside Walmarts and Gamestops around the country (get a clue people: if you’re a gamer, move to Florida for console launches!).
ST Labs was of course on the list to get a half-dozen review units, but, er, Microsoft got the address wrong and the Xboxi were delivered to the Pizza Hut down the street instead. They refuse to let us have them until we pay off our $1847.65 tab.
So are there any readers out there who would like to submit a quick and dirty review? Best review to come in before Thursday gets published, and we’ll put together a package of cool swag for the winner too.
Okay, multitools may have official jumped the shark with the introduction of Stanley’s Wristwatch Tools. Actually, they’re not really multitools at all, each watch bears a different tool: a flashlight, a tape measure, a hex wrench, screwdriver, etc. Maybe they SHOULD make a multitool version. It’d certainly be less silly than a watch with a single tool. When your watch is a screw driver, every component looks like a screw (or something like that). Our favorite is the watchtop vice, ’cause you never know when you’re going to need a handy pair of thumbscrews.
Only available in Japan so far, no word on US availability or pricing.
Wapedia is a site that offers the content of Wkipedia in a more mobile device-friendly format. Just point the browser on your PDA or web-enabled phone to wapedia.org and you’re good to go.