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Archive for December, 2006


Yeah it’s completely off topic but I saw this earlier and couldn’t resist the gag!

Britney wants to follow in the footsteps of Angelina Jolie and Madonna by adopting a boy called Wang from Bali, a child orphaned by the Asian tsunami of 2004.

Get the story here. Poor silly slapper!

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Amazon.com has just released it’s Best of 2006, featuring sections like Best Sellers, Most Wanted and Favourite Gifts across all it’s product ranges. You can view the release here.

AmazonDotCom Bestsellers 2006

It contains a few surprises to say the least and gives a good insight into the buying public, and the lousy gifts some people have ended up with this Christmas!

While it’s no surprise that the various incarnations of iPod were top of the electronics list (note the distinct lack of a mention of Zune!), the popularity of the Nintendo DS Lite (in must have Polar White!) is a bit of a shocker, and who’d have thought the Tony Bennett album “Duets: An American Classic” would top the most popular music gift? Where’s poor Britney? Oh yeah off somewhere flashing her goodies instead of in the studio making anything for Amazon shoppers 😉

I’m a bit surprised our Snow Patrol or U2’s “U218 Singles” didnt make top of the music lists. Has America bought enough U2 greatest hits albums ? Mmmm.

There’s some weird stuff on there and no mistake…what’s with the Pampers Cruisers? I would have thought the “Sims Pets” would have been on more people’s wish list and not “Sims Open for Busines” as the pets are so damn cute !

You Americans eh!

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Have you just got broadband connectivity over the Christmas period, maybe one of those plug and play “no wires and no fuss” jobs from Irish Broadband or ClearWire? Maybe you’re finding it’s not all it was made out to be as your movie and music downloads crawl?

I posted a few months ago about a site called Speedtest.net and that post still gets quite a few hits so if you haven’t seen this site you might like to give it a go before reading any further.

Maybe you’ve already got some numbers from there, and now you’re asking how we can improve on it and squeeze some more out of that line ( or widget if you’re on a wireless gadget!). I just came across a piece of software called TweakMaster Pro and frankly it’s a must have for anyone serious about getting some bang for your broadband bucks.

TweakMasterPRO_Main


It boasts an impressive feature set and is the first application of this type I’ve tried that actually delivers on it’s promises. Prior to installation, my connectivity tests from several sites including SpeedTest came out as follows :

Download : 1681 Kbps , Upload : 215 Kbps , Throughput : 113 Kbps

After a quick installation and just 1 run of the Connection Optimization Wizard, several test sites report a significant improvement in download speed and a throughput of 144Kbps, a gain of 31Kbps.

SpeedTest.Net Results

Now while that may not seem like a hell of a lot, it’s not so long ago we were all living with that kinda speed on dial-ups everywhere ! Plus, this software lets you try 5 Wizard based configurations and allows manual tweaking for the hardcore folks out there who like to dig deeper, so there’s lots more potential gains to be had when you have a little time to invest.

So, dont hang around, install TweakMaster Pro today and get that new connection humming!

Get the full version here.

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Now you can have all the Britney Spears you want for your Zune running on the RTM release of Vista. Yesterday Microsoft released a (long awaited in some cases) hefty software and firmware update to v1.2 that makes the Zune unit compatible on Windows Vista. Fixes include imrovements in video loading speed too apparently.

So if you’ve had a Zune stuck in a drawer since you bought it cos Vista wouldn’t play nicely it’s time to dust it off. You can get the update via the Windows Update service or via this direct link.

Note, this update is not for Vista RC releases, you’ll have to wait til Jan 30th!

Full story here from ZuneInsider.com.

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WebJam has just gone live and launched at the LeWeb3 event in Paris. Natali has the lowdown on it at TechCrunch.You can get a feel for it’s capabilities from the demo below. It looks like a Ning killer to me!

“It’s very powerful because it’s bringing the power of communicating tothe next level,” said Yann Motte, co-founder and managing director ofWebjam. “Sharing is fine, but so what? We will make people better byallowing them to build on the communities of what Webjam is doing. Ifyou have no clue on how to run a Web site, you can go to Webjam, pickone you like, and just replicated it.”

Is this the future of web based portals and user generated content type sites? There’s been a lot of buzz about de-portalization this week (the death of portals) and this may just start a few new ones.

Give it a go and let me know what you think. Is it easy to learn and produce respectable looking results? Are we about to see an explosion of more imaginative user generated content sites pulled from all over the web? Is this the start of a copycat epidemic or the infancy of Web 3.0?

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It’s funny sometimes what your visitor stats can reveal. A glance at mine this morning shows an early morning hit from a Microsoft Ireland employee reading my “Zune is Rubbish” related post.

MS_BlogVisitor-Zune

I wonder if it’s someone involved with European marketing of the Zune trying to gauge opinion / market perception of the unit from the blogosphere. I wonder if they’re thinking about a different approach to it’s marketing in Europe, particularly in Ireland where the iPod is so huge. Let’s hope they get rid of those ridiculous “Join the social” ads. The Zune tag line just had to include the word “social” since the whole direction of the web changed with the social networking explosion of 2006 didn’t it! Someone at Redmond thought so anyways.

Perhaps even more curious is the unknown Windows version registered for the same hit. Is BlogPatrol not registering hits from machines running Vista? Has Microsoft already (probably long since) rolled out Vista internally?

If you know, please leave a comment and let me know !

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Scroll down the end of the YouTube home page today and you’ll find a new link. It seems Google is further helping to shape the direction and hone the creativity of YouTube development by giving it the Google Labs treatment with the release of Test Tube.

YouTube_TestTubeLink

It’s the same deal as Digg Labs and others, an incubation area for new site features. Unlike the main site though, you do need to sign up for a YouTube account to gain access.

YouTube_TestTubeHome

Go sign up right now because the Stream idea just might be worth a look. Stream allows you to chat with the people online who are watching the same videos that you are. It’s Flash based  and slow to load (forgiveable for Beta!) but worth a look.

The odd thing about it is the very low key mention of it. I’d have had the logo on the main video site, but I guess Streams cant handle the traffic volume the main site gets on a daily basis right now, so don’t tell too many folks ok!

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