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Technology news and commentary by the TechSpot.com staff

Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

TechSpot Weekly = Our Staff Blog

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FYI, we have dropped the use of this blog for posting behind the scene updates on site developments and the staff in general, instead you should check out our semi-regular Monday updates called TechSpot Weekly.

Did you know TechSpot even has its own soccer team? Really.

Written by Julio Franco

September 14th, 2010 at 4:22 am

Posted in blog,techspot,thumbs up

Crysis 2 teaser video, live from Times Square

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Crytek and EA showed this teaser trailer (not coincidentally) at NYC’s Times Square hoping to build momentum for the upcoming shooter. More details are expected in the next day or so, see sosnewyork.com.

Updated (and official) HD trailers from the link above:

Written by Julio Franco

April 8th, 2010 at 4:34 am

Posted in blog,gaming,video

Photoshop on steroids, no skills required

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Adobe will be launching Photoshop CS5 next week and with it a new tool in particular that’s simply amazing. Enter content-aware fill:

Written by Julio Franco

April 4th, 2010 at 4:27 am

The Fuhrer reacts to Fermi – w/video

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Not meaning to take sides or anything, but these two videos are simply hilarious. Thanks to Steve for sending the links…

First the newest one: “Hitler reacts to Nvidia Fermi Benchmarks:”

And here’s the same video with an older caption from the days of the Radeon HD 5000 series launch…

Written by Julio Franco

April 1st, 2010 at 7:55 pm

On the Apple iPad and its real shortcomings

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After reading most comments on our latest Weekend Open Forum I can’t help but feel that many are taking the wrong approach comparing the iPad directly to a netbook or laptop. Apple is trying to squeeze a new category into the market and has yet to prove why we need it. What I do know is that I don’t *need* a full-fledged computer in this form factor — that’s what my laptop is for.

I’m as disappointed as many of you by its hardware shortcomings — there’s no point in listing them again here — but its locked down nature didn’t surprise me at all. Apple likes to have control over what you’re allowed to run on its devices, supposedly to ensure a relatively bug-free experience, and while the more tech-savvy may despise this strategy, to some extent it has been responsible for the success of the iPhone.

Where I really fear the iPad might falter is in having a clear purpose. We’re told it is the best way to experience the web, e-mail, photos, videos and e-books. But I’m not convinced. Laptop and desktop computers, even netbooks are still better for many of those things, while on others the iPad will have to prove itself. Take browsing, for example. It’s ridiculous to call this device the best way to experience the Web when Flash, one of the most ubiquitous and essential web technologies, is not supported.

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Written by Jose Vilches

February 1st, 2010 at 6:14 am

Posted in apple,blog,hardware

How to fix Pidgin issue connecting to AIM, ICQ – receiving ‘unexpected response’

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It was recently brought to our attention that the popular open source IM client Pidgin — and potentially Adium in the Mac — are having trouble connecting to AIM and AOL messaging clients receiving a “Received unexpected response from http://api.oscar.aol.com/aim/startOSCARSession” error. There is a simple fix that has been confirmed to work from one of our staff members:

1. On the top menu click on Accounts
2. Modify your AIM or ICQ account
3. On the Advanced tab, untick the ‘Use clientLogin/Use SSL’ checkbox
4. Save and you’re done

Pidgin unexpected response fix

Pidgin unexpected response fix

The source of the problem is still unknown, however this fix seems to be working for everyone. BTW, going back and forth with previous versions of Pidgin will not work, so just try the above.

Written by Julio Franco

January 13th, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Disable “Windows is checking for a solution…” message after a program crashes

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Introduced in Windows Vista, the infamous “Windows is checking for a solution…” message that appears right after a program crashes is downright annoying.

I’m running Windows 7 now and this behavior has not changed. Admittedly, while running the Windows 7 betas this was rather useful as Microsoft kept up to date information on programs that suffered from compatibility problems and hinted at potential fixes (kudos for that). But now it just gets in the way after Firefox or other well-known program crashes, I just click on Cancel immediately after getting prompted.
Back in the Vista days I had disabled this message and now I’m getting it again after a fresh reinstall of 7, so I thought this time I would document how to turn this off. It’s actually very easy.

checking-for-a-solution

In Windows Vista:
Go to Start > All Programs > Maintenance > Problem Reports and Solutions
In the Problem Reports and Solutions window, click Change settings > Advanced settings > Turn off problem settings

windows7-actioncenter

In Windows 7:
Click on the Action Center (white flag) icon on your taskbar > Change Action Center settings > Problem reporting settings (almost at the end) > Never check for solutions

Alternatively, you can use the Windows search box by clicking start and typing “Choose how to report problems”. That will take you directly to the screen above and select your desired setting.

An updated version of this post and discussion can be found here.

Written by Julio Franco

November 22nd, 2009 at 12:44 am

Posted in blog

New Super Mario Bros. Wii trailer shows off more gameplay

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I was one of those lured by the Wii’s innovative gameplay proposition when the console was launched. If you recall how that went, demand was incessant and Nintendo was barely able to stock enough units during its first year. In fact, I had to buy my console at a premium from eBay.

Looking back, I can’t believe I went to those extremes for a console that is now basically collecting dust after the Wii Sports novelty wore off and after I got my fair share of Super Mario Bros. and Punch Out nostalgia sessions. Long story short, the Wii is now my wife’s console but this could be getting me back for more…

The trailer above was just released and shows new gameplay elements for the upcoming New Super Mario Bros. Wii slated for release this November.

Written by Julio Franco

August 22nd, 2009 at 4:51 am

An editorial on LCD panel quality and what to look for on your next purchase

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This editorial is an open response to AnandTech’s Desperately Seeking Quality LCDs article published last June 17.

For the last 2+ years there have been two developments in the LCD market that I know I’m not alone in disliking:
(1) Glossy panels, you either love them or hate them – I’m in the latter group.
(2) So-called LCD “post processing”, used on many high-end displays.

Furthermore, the response time race also known as the “ms race” has had a very negative effect on LCD quality. This somewhat relates to the megapixel race seen in point and shoot digital cameras, where marketing went crazy for higher megapixel counts at the cost of reduced performance in low-light conditions.

Dell 2209WA monitor E-IPS panel

It is a commonly known fact that 60hz is what most people will find a LCD pleasing to look at, and this is also close to what our eyes are capable of processing. 60hz is also what 99% of LCDs sold today operate at, with very few exceptions.

One second = 1000ms, thus a refresh rate of 1000ms / 60hz = 16.7ms.

What this means is that at 60hz the screen is redrawn once every 16ms. So why do we see LCD displays continuing to push below 16ms when there is no way for it to render that fast at 60hz? The answer is simple: marketing.
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Written by Per Hansson

July 28th, 2009 at 2:56 am

TechSpot’s user survey, show us your support, get a netbook

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Update #3: The prize went unclaimed, so we are picking up a new winner: Congratulations Ben Katz! Same rules as below apply, hopefully someone will claim the Asus netbook this time.

Update #2: Congratulations Matthew Iselin, you are the winner of our survey giveaway. We have contacted you at the email you provided, so we can send you the Asus Eee PC 904HA netbook. If we don’t receive a response in the next 72 hours we will have to select a new winner, so get back to us soon :)

Update: Thanks to everyone who filled the survey! We have collected enough information now to be able to tell we have a very educated audience composed in good part of technology enthusiasts and IT professionals. A majority of you plan to spend money on computer hardware and CE equipment in the coming months and plan to make those purchases online. Wait, we knew that already :).

The Asus Eee netbook giveaway winner will be contacted and announced within the next 7 days. Watch out for that email. Thanks again!

About once a year we ask our readers to help us filling a short survey which will help us targeting our audience better. The best part, we will randomly giveaway an Asus Eee PC 904HA netbook among those who fill the questionnaire.

We use the gathered information to create a profile of TechSpot’s audience, so we can keep offering relevant technology-related advertising on the site. Our business model relies on advertising, so we’ve seen our ups and downs over the last couple of years as you can imagine. But then again, we’ve kept growing strong and just last January we broke our traffic record serving content to a staggering 3.9 million readers.

It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes and make sure you include your email at the end to enter the giveaway drawing. Thanks in advance for your support.

Written by Julio Franco

June 19th, 2009 at 3:34 am