Technology news and commentary by the staff

Archive for the ‘the web’ Category

Why every guy should buy their girlfriend Wii Fit

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Nintendo Wii + Hot chick = viral video. It was only a matter of time…

Written by Julio Franco

May 29th, 2008 at 4:56 am

Posted in blog,gaming,the web,video

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gets egged by protester

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Every once in a while we get to see these kind of rare occurrences, and when I say we, I mean the millions out there that can browse the web. Thank god there is Youtube.

BTW, I happen to like Ballmer. I believe he’s much smarter and upfront businessman than he’s given credit for.

Written by Julio Franco

May 20th, 2008 at 4:06 am

Posted in blog,humor,the web,video

(Unusual) Domains registered by Google

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With the kind of financial backing that Google has, it’s not at all surprising that they have registered at least a few dozen typo domains and the like, but ones like or are a bit more unusual.

Here at TechSpot we have had a few problems with other people registering regional domains, but what can you do about it. What we do have done is trademarking our brand to at least cover some basis (it’s a nice name you have to agree ;)).

Written by Julio Franco

April 23rd, 2008 at 5:47 pm

Posted in blog,the web

Speed up Vista using Firefox 3 Beta

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If like me, you spend a sizable amount of your computer time on a web browser, you can forget about RAM or processor upgrades, it’s software where the hole was all this time.

First let me tell you that I’m an avid fan of trying new web browsers, or at least new versions of today’s traditional browsers like Firefox, Opera, IE and Safari, that includes betas and release candidates. But because I had grown so comfortable with my Firefox extensions and overall set up, I was ultimately drawn away from using experimental builds on a daily basis. It’s not until lately that I have seen a large number of Firefox add-ons ported to the Beta version (currently Beta 4) and so I thought it was time for another spin.

Seriously, the browser is speedy. I had previously experienced the improvements in Beta 1, I got a few random crashes then, but no more. I can tell you that on my desktop machine that is currently running Windows Vista on an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, I’m feeling a difference in speed that is way more palpable than when I upgraded from a dual core Athlon CPU, I had less RAM and was running on an older platform. I also have most of my extensions installed, so the comparison is more or less apples to apples. With a load of tabs divided in two windows, and many other programs running at the same time, the mere change in browser suddenly is making for a much smoother working experience.
In fact, I’m currently writing this on Firefox 3 Beta 4 Portable which let’s me run a standalone copy of the browser without sacrificing my older Firefox 2 install, so in case I want to roll back, it’s a non-issue.

I have also tried Internet Explorer 8 in Vista and it does offer similar speed improvements. Likewise, Safari 3.1 on OS X also welcomed me with better performance, but neither of those can replace Firefox for me. Opera lovers must also forgive me but I have not downloaded the latest Opera version yet, although just this past weekend I saw fellow editor Erik Orejuela running a gazillion tabs on it, probably more than Firefox 2 can handle without crashing (he switched after the 2.0.11 fiasco).

My recommendation, give Firefox 3 beta a try now and see how it works for you. Many of the most popular extensions are now usable on the beta (BTW, there is a newly revamped add-ons site). Somehow it seems all browser developers felt the need for speed on this iteration, so you can choose your browser flavor if FF is not your thing.

Written by Julio Franco

March 31st, 2008 at 4:55 am

Crazy, crazy funding for a web startup

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Just like a bad habit or a reality TV-like guilty pleasure, over the past few weeks I have grown accustomed to check out startup-related blog TC once a day just to see what’s popping around the web. It’s been exciting times for a while on the web now, the late nineties bubble is well forgotten, and a massive wave of very useful and profitable services based on the Internet are here with even more on the way.

That’s not to say there aren’t crappy ideas and lots of copycats popping up as well, all of which are usually covered by TC, but that’s just part of the nature of a fast growing industry. There seems to be a lot of excitement from investors as well, so demand for more potentially viable businesses is quite latent despite of recession concerns in the US. But something that quite shocked me this last week, and that’s what I wanted to share today, was the announcement of a $15M funding for blog widget ShareThis.

Now, I won’t call it undeserving because it’s a very cool widget that works quite well with many blogging platforms, and I may even implement it here at some point, but for a widget that has a very limited scope and has yet to come up with a way to make any money, that’s a huge figure that will rarely become justified.

Revisiting some of my thoughts from last year, I don’t want to scream it’s an Internet bubble all over again. For starters, the web today is already a hard proven medium that is competing hand in hand with television and newspapers. Also, for an Internet-based business like TechSpot, a second dot com bubble on top of an imminent US recession would just be terrible, terrible news.

But once again I wanted to raise a red flag regarding stuff like this that in my opinion poisons somewhat the realistic scenario of where the web stands today and where it will belong a few years from now. If for a moment I thought investors should know better, I will think again.

Edit: I just realized that the post title “Crazy, crazy funding for a web startup” could imply saying that $15M is too much money for ANY web startup, which is by far not the case, not does that reflect my thinking. What I meant was, too much money for THIS specific startup.

Written by Julio Franco

March 16th, 2008 at 1:27 am

Say hello to TechSpot Mobile

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Now you can catch up with the latest technology news from your cell phone using our new gorgeous looking mobile portal.

Although we already offered RSS feeds that are mobile friendly, and depending on your device Opera Mini could let you render the full fledged frontpage, this is even better. We used the tools from startup company MoFuse to build an optimized mobile site that is much friendlier, faster and easier on the eyes. The result is that you can now get our full news coverage (not just headlines and an excerpt, but the full text) from the latest 15 topics covered.

If you are using an iPhone, you get an optimized version, here’s how that looks:


You can access the new TechSpot Mobile using the following address:

Written by Julio Franco

March 9th, 2008 at 1:31 am

Posted in blog,techspot,the web

Do you Twitter?

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I know I’m months behind the trendy web, but just recently I thought I would try one of these micro-blogging platforms, and Twitter is by far the most popular out there, so I opened an account and I have been micro-blogging since yesterday.

So far so good, although nobody is reading my stuff but me for now :). I’ve heard numerous stories of how people are connecting using Twitter just because it’s an open and flexible platform, so you can update from your cell phone, and it integrates very well with other web services like Facebook.

We will see how it goes a week or a month from now… if you Twitter, feel free to add me to your friends list.

Written by Julio Franco

February 26th, 2008 at 9:24 am

Apple prepares new MacBooks, release set for tomorrow

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Edit #2: Announcement made, full story here.

Edit: Forgot to mention this story from the Financial Week on how Apple is currently sitting on a pile of cash estimated at $18.4 billion.

There is an inexplicable enthusiasm for whatever Apple has to announce next, and while the hype behind products like the iPhone is more than justified, sometimes a mere speed bump on its laptop line can produce massive amounts of rumors on the web, but hey even I’m writing about it as a confessed Vista lover, perhaps because my MacBook Pro will no longer be part of Apple’s latest line of products.

We have to hand it to Apple though, ever since they joined the leagues of the PC (using Intel CPUs), they are always using the very latest mobile technologies on its laptops. The rumor is, new MacBook Pros are coming out tomorrow, with the possibility of more model revamps as well. Watch our frontpage news coverage tomorrow for details.

Also here’s another good resource for everything Mac rumor related, and their nicely put buying guide.

Written by Julio Franco

February 25th, 2008 at 11:10 pm

Interesting poll results on PC gaming and sales

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When time came to think about a new topic for TechSpot’s biweekly poll, I thought that doing something about the state of PC gaming and how sales are being generated was very timely considering the many recent headlines about just that…

The results have been very surprising to an extent:


The poll is not over yet and we are not closing it until later on, but there are a few things that I wanted to point out based on the results already in from 3,000+ voters:

+ First big shock, 30% are not PC gamers. Wow. So, TechSpot is about more than just PC gaming, I get that ;). But still quite a large number of people that are simply stating, “no, we are not here for the games.” And to be completely clear about it, this doesn’t imply that these people are gaming on consoles either.
Even when I consider myself a PC gaming evangelist, I have to admit I’m very happy to see this trend going on here, as it describes in part a prominent future outlook for TechSpot with or without gaming built into the equation… it’s also about the technology, the hardware, and the innovation on the field.

+ The largest group of people (36%) still prefer to buy games at the store, hmm?

+ A minority of 7% buy games through digital distribution. I expected something in this range considering the many, many games not using this medium yet, however for a PC enthusiast site it could still be considered a low share. Personally, I don’t belong in this group either, although I bought the Orange Box through Steam, I still prefer to keep around my shiny box of Crysis and physical DVD just because…
This also gives some weight – even if minor – to the select few who pointed out a few weeks ago how PC game sales are not being measured correctly because those don’t include digital distribution. Agreed on that, also for non-hardcore casual games that are very much ignored despite of growing sales. The pain is still felt however when major development studios focus more on consoles than the PC.

+ 10% do online and boxed. Here’s where I stand, although for the Crysis case above I ran to the local BestBuy on the launch date.

+ 15% pirate games, most likely using BitTorrent. Thank you for your honesty! And no, we don’t collect your IP addresses or anything like that =)

Written by Julio Franco

February 21st, 2008 at 6:29 am

3dmarks per $

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The guys at Futuremark (developers of the popular 3dmark benchmark) emailed me late last week letting me know of the launch of a new service available through their YouGamers portal that gathers submitted benchmark results, system specs, and ultimately pricing information to build a table of the best values in videocard and processors.

There are obvious shortcomings inherent to the way data is being gathered (all user-submitted, 3dmark tested only, features are not considered), but from a quick glance I took to the stats, it’s at the very least an interesting thing to watch.

An obvious miss I thought was the “Best Bang for the Buck” graphics card where the GeForce 8600 GT is sitting on top, and we know this has never been a product of our particular choice, even when considering the price. But yet, the thing costs less than a hundred dollars nowadays, so perhaps we should revisit those budget choices. The quad-core CPU best value went to the Core 2 Quad Q6600, no surprises there, although it appears to be AMD Phenoms are not even getting listed yet.

You will be surprised when you see the Athlon 64 X2 3600+ getting the most CPU Marks per $, in fact all Athlon X2s were on top of Intel Core 2 Duos, which are generally better choices for gaming but perhaps this is not reflected as dramatically in 3dmark.

While there, I recommend you also check out statistics gathered for the most popular hardware used by 3dmark users in the past 12 months. Nvidia GeForce cards dominate 9 of the top 10 positions (#1 GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB/640MB), while the Core 2 Duo is also comfortably on top of the CPU chart.

Written by Julio Franco

January 28th, 2008 at 12:13 am