Eric Steil

Comparing cameras: iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S

Avoiding the lines of dozens upon dozens who showed up at Apple Stores early this morning, our server engineer Eric Steil pre-ordered his new iPhone 3G S. It arrived at 9:54 am EDT -- early enough today for Eric to catch a few rays of fleeting sunlight on this otherwise dreadfully wet day in the northeast, and capture some test images from the backyard and around the house at just before noon.

Click the cat for more iPhone 3G vs 3G S comparison shots.

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TiVo Users Love Funny Super Bowl Ads

TiVo's yearly analysis of the top Super Bowl commercials revealed that Ameriquest's ads "Friendly Skies" and "That Killed Him" were the most commonly replayed ads in TiVo households Sunday. TiVo said that its analysis showed that humorous ads seem to garner the most attention by its customers, with nearly every commercial in the top ten using some kind of humor to deliver the message.

However, in an exception from past years, a play on the field nearly eclipsed replay and rewind activity for the most popular commercials. Two plays earned that distinction -- a controversial second quarter touchdown by Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and the score that clinched the Steelers victory. An analysis of usage showed TiVo users hit replay, pause, or rewind an average of 100 times during the game, and the replay button alone 30 times.

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New iMac Makes Paris Debut

After months of speculation and rumor, Apple officially unveiled the iMac G5 at Apple Expo in Paris. Designed by the iPod team, the new iMac integrates an entire computer into a single flat-panel display, which Apple touts as the world's thinnest desktop computer.

The iMac G5 is two inches thick, with a 17- or 20-inch widescreen LCD. "Just like the iPod redefined portable digital music players, the new iMac G5 redefines what users expect from a consumer desktop," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "A lot of people will be wondering 'where did the computer go?'"

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HP Unveils Branded iPod, Skins

Friday, HP introduced its branded iPod, along with customizable skins for the audio player called HP Printable Tattoos. Originally announced in January, the "Apple iPod from HP," has identical specs and design as the Apple version, unlike the blue-colored prototype shown in January.

The Apple iPod from HP is available in a 20GB model for $299 USD and a 40GB model for $399 USD - mirroring Apple's own pricing. They will be available at major retailers as well as online.

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Microsoft Finalizes Windows XP Service Pack 2

On Friday, Microsoft announced the release of Windows XP Service Pack 2 to manufacturing. The RTM build, 2180, is available now for testers, with a general release next week. Users with Automatic Updates turned on will begin to receive the service pack starting Tuesday.

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RealNetworks Harmonizes with iPod

RealNetworks has announced its new Harmony technology, which allows purchased music to be played on many digital music players, including the iPod. The technology supports translating between Apple FairPlay, Windows Media and RealNetworks' DRM systems. With Harmony, the RealPlayer Music Store supports over 70 devices. A beta version of RealPlayer 10.5 with Harmony can be downloaded from Real's Web site.

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Microsoft Releases SQL Server 2005 Beta 2

On Monday, Microsoft released SQL Server 2005 Beta 2, featuring support for the 64-bit AMD Opteron processor. In addition, this release includes security enhancements along with new management, development and business intelligence tools. The Beta 2 release is available to MSDN subscribers from the MSDN web site. The final release of SQL Server 2005 is expected early next year.

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Apple Sends iPod Mini Worldwide

Apple announced on Wednesday that the iPod mini music player will be available worldwide on July 24. Originally announced in January, high demand in the US delayed the international release. The iPod mini can be ordered in one of five colors from the Apple Store. More information can be found on Apple's site.

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Andromeda Online Open Beta Begins

Aepox Games has opened the beta program for its online starship war game Andromeda Online to anyone wishing to participate. Scheduled to run through September 30, the beta offers clients for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. The game allows players to command a fleet of ships in a battle of up to 10 players. Client downloads, account sign-ups, and more information are available at the Andromeda Online site.

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Microsoft Patches IE Flaw

On Friday Microsoft released a patch for the flaws exploited by the recent Download.Ject attack. The patch is labeled a configuration change, and prevents an ActiveX component from writing to the system. While the flaws have been known for over 9 months, only recently have they been exploited. The patch is available through Windows Update. More information can be found on Microsoft's site.

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Microsoft Releases Visual Studio 2005 Express Beta

Microsoft has made downloadable versions of the Visual Studio 2005 Express beta available to the public. As previous reported the Express edition is a lightweight version designed for hobbyists and students. The Visual Studio products available in the Express edition are Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual C++, Visual J#, Visual Web Developer and SQL Server. The individual betas can be downloaded from the Microsoft Developer Network web site.

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Apple Unveils Tiger, Displays

During his keynote address Monday at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced Tiger, the next version of Mac OS X, as well as a new lineup of displays. He previewed a handful of the new features in Tiger, including the Spotlight search technology and updates to iChat. The displays were updated with a new enclosure and a 30-inch model.

The new Cinema Displays range in size from 20 to 30 inches and feature an aluminum enclosure with a thin bezel, dual USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 ports on the display, and use a DVI connection instead of the previous ADC connection. The 20 and 23-inch models may be used on both Mac and Windows systems, while the 30-inch model requires a new graphics card that supports DVI Dual Link and its 2560-by-1600 resolution. All three models have a 16:10 widescreen aspect ratio.

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Microsoft Finalizes OneNote Update

In a post on his weblog, Microsoft Group Program Manager Chris Pratley announced the completion of OneNote 2003 SP1. The release features increased stability, real-time sharing of documents, integration with SharePoint and numerous other improvements based on user feedback. Availability of the final release has not been announced, but the preview release may be downloaded from FileForum.

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Microsoft Readies Visual Studio 2005 Beta

At TechEd Europe this week Microsoft will announce the first beta release of Visual Studio 2005. The release will include the Team Architect edition of Visual Studio Team System, with more of Team System expected in future releases. Also expected to be announced are Express editions of its tools, aimed at hobbyists and developers. MSDN subscribers should have access to download the release by the end of the week.

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Apple Unveils 20-inch iMac, Dual Power Mac

Apple has announced a new revision of its iMac consumer desktop system, as well as a new dual Power Mac.

The updated iMac features a whopping 20-inch flat-panel LCD display with a resolution of 1680x1050. It contains a 1.25G Hz PowerPC G4 processor and NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 graphics chip.

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