Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The HTC Touch Pro

Call it Raphael no longer! HTC has officially thrown the cover off its Touch Pro today -- the QWERTY slider sibling of the recently-unveiled Touch Diamond -- which should cover the bases for those who loved the Diamond's keen looks but decided they'd go our of their gourds without a full set of physical keys at their disposal. Under that glossy black shell lies WiFi, HSPA with a solid 7.2Mbps on the downstream, Bluetooth, 2.8-inch VGA display, Windows Mobile 6.1 featuring HTC's TouchFLO 3D interface, a 3.2 megapixel camera, a half gig of ROM, and 288MB of RAM. It's not going to win any "world's thinnest" records with an 18.05mm waistline, but those five rows of textual healing don't come without a price. The first batch of devices will be Europe-bound in "late summer" with 900 / 2100MHz 3G alongside the quadband GSM and EDGE; North and Latin American versions are promised for later in the year.

10 Steps to Guarantee You Make the Digg Front Page

As I sit here writing on the world’s greatest personal computer (The Mac Pro Quad Xeon 64-bit workstation with dual 30 inch monitors):

Dual 30 inch Mac

I can’t help but pity you Wal-Mart shoppers who still use software from the Antichrist (Microsoft) and can’t figure out how to get on the front page of Digg (Idiots!).

So, I did some statistical analysis, using my Open Office Firefox plugin, of all the stories that made the front page of Digg in the past year and have come up with:

The 10 Steps to Guarantee You Make the Digg Front Page

Hopefully, you will be able to use them before we all die because of global warming next year . . .

1. Make A List or Tutorial Headline. Your Headline should make it seem like the reader’s online success is just a 5 minute read away. Remember, the average digger has the attention span of a gnat on crack. Diggers want the fast, easy answer that will solve all their problems. Your headline must appeal to people with severe ADD or most people won’t even read your article - let alone Digg it.

*In the past year, a “top 10” or “top 100” list has made the front page on average once every other day.

2. Write about Digg. Could a site be any more narcissistic? I think not. Digg likes itself so much that Paris Hilton looks about as humble as a Nun by comparison. People must be sitting at their computers going “OMG Look it’s a story about Digg! That’s sooooooo cool! I’ll totally digg that!” Bonus points if you mention Kevin Rose.

* In the past year, stories with “Digg” in the submission have made the front page a whopping 554 times and mentioned Kevin Rose by name an average of once a week.

3. Appeal to the Apple fanboys. Did you hear from someone who knows someone who served a Cream Chai Latte to Steve Jobs about some Mac Rumor? Well that’s front page Digg Material all the way! Don’t know why, but if Apple lets out a fart, diggers can’t wait to comment on the rosy smell.

* Stories with “Apple” in the Submission have made the front page a mind blowing 1225 times in the past year.

4. Doom and Gloom about how Global Warming will destroy us all. Who cares if we only have real data that covers about 1/20,000,000 of the earth’s history? (unless you’re a creationist, then it’s like 1/40th). So what if there is nothing but anecdotal evidence to support almost every claim? Does it matter that world’s best meteorologists can’t even tell me if it’s going to rain tomorrow?


Diggers don’t really like to DO anything about global warming, but feel guilty about it despite a lack of conclusive evidence. In that sense, I guess it’s kinda like “Religion 2.0”. Diggers will Digg Global warming Doom and Gloom stories so they can “feel” like they “did something” to “help mankind.” All while consuming more electricity, more oil and more natural resources than the 80% of the world’s population that doesn’t even have a computer.

* A junk science, doom and Gloom story about Global Warming will make the front page of Digg on average of once a week.

5. Write about how great Firefox is. When it comes to Firefox, no story is too lame, no plugin is too useless and no article can praise Firefox too much for the front page of Digg. Sure, it’s just a freaking browser. Sure, it leaks memory faster than . . . umm . . . some kind of leaky thing leaking much faster than usual. Sure no one really needs YAFFFP - but who cares?!?

* In the past year, a firefox story has made the front page on average once every day.

6. Remember: Walmart, George Bush, and Fox News have NEVER done ANYTHING right. Everything they do is because they are 100% evil to the core. This REAL Axis of Evil delights in the clear-cutting of forests just for shits and giggles, the sadistic torture of children, and is right now plotting the Next 9/11 attack on America. Here’s a link to a Jon Stewart Video that proves it’s all true!

* * actually, I’m not a fan of George Bush; but his coverage on Digg is more rigged than a Diebold voting machine. Maybe he should ask for a Digg recount?

7. Repeat after me: “Microsoft sucks, Microsoft Sucks, Microsoft Sucks.” So what if 97% of all computer users use their products? Ignore that they’ve been the most consistent winner for the last 25 years in a space littered with failures. Who cares if their founder has given more to charity than any human in the history of mankind? They suck! And they are evil! Why? Because it’s cool to say so.

Don’t believe me? Check out this screenshot of the most recent Digg front page Microsoft Stories. I was going to parody it up, but there’s no need!

* 94% of the front page articles that mentioned Microsoft in the past year cast the company in a negative light.

8. Make up outrageous statistics that you have not researched. State your opinions as fact. Sure, they might get vetted by some geek who has nothing better to do, but that probably won’t happen until you’ve already made the front page.

9. Insult as many groups as you can. Flamewars are popular for a reason. Throw out bombs that dare people to comment on your story. If you haven’t pissed off half your readers by the end of your article, it’s probably because you don’t have the balls or you’re too stupid to figure out how.

10. Include the word’s slowest loading Plugin so people can Digg your Story without leaving your site. If you manage to type 1000 words, there’s at least a chance that it will finish loading before the reader has finished reading your article. Then if you’re lucky, about 5% of your lazy-ass readers might actually click the button to digg your story:

Official iPhone Tool

Apple even over-packages paper clips.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Funny iPhone Parody

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Do Digg Users Read Past the Headlines?

For some of the people who leave comments at Digg, it's shoot first, ask questions later.

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity. As an editor and Web writer, I tend to agree. Anything that gets attention for my articles and sends traffic my way is a blessing. That's why we at Technology Revieware always pleased when users of news-aggregator and discussion sites such as Slashdot and Digg post links to our pieces.

It's an especially lucky day when we get mentioned at Digg.Technology Review articles that win enough diggs to rise to the front page of Digg's technology section routinely get two to ten times more page views than average.

But while the extra visitors are always welcome, I cringe a little when I read some of the thoughts people express in the comment sections of Digg posts.

Frankly, it's clear that some users don't even read the articles they're digging (or burying) before they spout their opinions. And that makes me wonder whether many of the readers who come to TechnologyReview.com after reading a few comments at Digg have mistaken expectations -- and may leave without really engaging with the site.

Case in point: A story I wrote yesterday saying, in essence, that social-networking giant MySpace doesn't play well with others. I noted that companies like eBay and Google, not to mention Amazon and even Microsoft, make it easy for third-party software developers to create applications that leverage those companies' databases or software to offer "value-added" services the companies wouldn't have created on their own. But far from offering the programming interfaces that would facilitate the growth of a mini-economy around its site, MySpace seems to prefer to serve outside startups with cease-and-desist letters.

The story's headline -- "How MySpace Is Antisocial" -- was meant to be a play on the fact that MySpace is a leading social-networking site. I'm sorry I have to spell that out. But many of the folks who commented on the story, once it had been dugg, apparently took the headline more literally. They assumed -- obviously, without reading the story -- that it was about MySpace somehow making its users more antisocial.

The very first comment, from a user named bntphoretwunny, made this mistake: "I completely agree. Kids sit on their computers all day looking for friends and waiting for comments, instead of actually going out and interacting with people."

I am very thankful to another Digg user called teradome, who posted a response to bntphoretwunny attempting to clear things up: "Interesting opinion, but you might want to actually read the article. It's not about MySpace users being anti-social with other people, it's about the business itself being anti-social with other businesses." I am also grateful to the other diligent Digg users who voted to bury bntphoretwunny's comment and promote teradome's. As of 4 p.m. EDT on Friday, the mistaken post had 26 negative diggs while the correction had 29 positive diggs. The fact that Digg users can vote on comments, and not just stories, helps to screen out inane comments, and it's working in this case, at least to some extent. (Comments with enough negative diggs eventually get buried and appear in the comment list as "hidden.")

Unfortunately, teradome's comment didn't come soon enough to prevent the Digg discussion from going off on a long, rambling tangent about the general merits -- well, mostly the demerits -- of MySpace. It shouldn't be a surprise, I guess, that a lot of people get very worked up about MySpace. It's so big and dominant that criticism is inevitable. But it does surprise me that so many commenters chose to engage with bntphoretwunny's original comment and argue about whether MySpace is a waste of time, rather than responding to the content of the actual article.

I'm not saying that Digg users are lazy and illiterate. I'm just raising a few questions that ought to concern anyone who takes the trouble to publish substantive articles and essays online, or who cares how readers find their stories. How many Digg users actually follow a link and read an article before they digg it, bury it, or comment on it? How much of the discussion on Digg is about the substance of the dugg articles, and how much of it is froth? Is getting dugg always good publicity -- or is it possible that much of the traffic Digg generates is low value, unlikely to lead to more page views or cogent discussion?

If this blog entry gets posted at Digg, maybe we can have a useful discussion about those questions. Or maybe not.

Coolest… Lamps… Ever…

There's pretty much no info on these, and I can't find any way to purchase them, but god damn, these have got to be the coolest lamps I have ever seen. All I can gather is that they were designed and created by Frank Buchwald, who happens to be German. Does one of our German-speaking readers want to see if they can't dig up a way to acquire these? Me wanty. 

frank buchwald

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

iPhone 3G is finally official, starts at $199, available July 11th

It's been a long, leak-filled wait, but Apple finally took the wraps off its 3G iPhone. Thinner edges, full plastic back, flush headphone jack, and the iPhone 2.0 firmware -- Apple's taking a lot of the criticisms to heart from the first time around. Obviously 3G is at the forefront, but they're also making sure it's available all over internationally, works with enterprises, runs 3rd party apps... and does it all for cheaper. Apple claims its 3G speeds trounce the competition, with pageloads 36% faster than the N95 and Treo 750 -- and of course it completely trounces the old EDGE data speeds.

Battery life isn't getting put out to pasture though, with 300 hours of standby, 8-10 hours of 2G talk, 5 hours of 3G talk, 7 hours of video and 24 hours of audio. GPS is also a go. Apple is using A-GPS, which supplements regular satellite GPS data with info from cellular towers for faster location. (WiFi data is also worked into the mix, which should give users a pretty solid lock on where the heck they are on this planet.) Unfortunately, as expected there's no front-facing cam, and while its edges are thinner than before it's still about a millimeter thicker at the center (12.3mm over 11.6mm before). Apple hopes to launch in 70 countries this year, with the black 8GB going for $199 and 16GB for $299 in black or white. (Both price points require a contract, of course.) Apple will be hitting the 22 biggest markets, including the US, on July 11th. More info after the break.

Update: Just bought an iPhone? Listen up: "Customers who purchased a 2.5G iPhone on or after May 27 and want to swap it out for a new iPhone will be able to do so without incurring an additional handset charge for the new device. They will of course need to turn in their 2.5G iPhone." And for the rest of you, AT&T says there's no way to buy it without agreeing to a contract. So sorry. More details here.

5 Games that MUST Come to the iPhone!

With WWDC 2008 underway and tons of information being released about the new 3G iPhone, I thought it was necessary for the community to put out ideas for games that should be ported to the iPhone. Here are 5 games that seem to be logical choices for the iPhone platform, some of which may already be underway. If you have any ideas of games that you think should be made for the iPhone, please let us all know in the comments, or write an article yourself. If you like it, please Digg it and "Approve" it on the right.

1) Spore

The news of Spore on the iPhone dropped during a conference at Apple's headquarters in which the company detailed the release of the iPhone software developer's kit. Speaking on the possibility of game development on the platform, Apple revealed that Spore is already in the works.


The title will make heavy use of the phone's touch screen and accelerometer capabilities. Apple also pointed out that the iPhone port of Spore is not a scaled-down version but that all 18 levels, from the microbial to cosmic, are represented in Spore's iPhone incarnation. Though the video demo of Spore at the SDK conference didn't show much, we are sure to see much more in the near future.

2) Super Monkey Ball

Super Monkey Ball was also showcased at the iPhone SDK conference. Gamers familiar with Super Monkey Ball know that the objective of the main game is to guide a monkey character encased in a ball (hence the name "Monkey Ball") across a suspended series of platforms and through a goal.


The control of the monkey ball has typically been through analog sticks, but the iPhone's accelerometers make it more intuitive by allowing players to control the ball by simply tilting the iPhone. From the video at the Apple SDK conference, gameplay and controls seem very intuitive and fun!

3) Portal

While there is no official word of a Portal-type game to be released for the iPhone, I think it would definitely suit the phone's capabilities. The touch screen would be perfect for placing portals in a 3D environment. The accelerometers would work great for moving a player around in a 3D level, in much the same way it was used in Quake 3.


There are quite a few 2D versions of Portal that have been floating around, but with the iPhone's 3D capabilities it wouldn't make sense not to go ahead and create a full 3D version.

4) Lunar Lander

Yes, I know this is totally old school, but I can't help but imagine how addictive a Lunar Lander game would be on the iPhone with its accelerometer capabilities. I image it as tilting the iPhone to control the direction of flight and tapping the screen to fire the thrusters. It would also be very neat if people could create their own levels and upload them for others to play. Unfortunately my office productivity would definitely decrease several fold if this were to become a reality. Give this Java version of the game a try and I'm sure you will agree that this one would be awesome on the iPhone.


5) Tie Fighter

A space flight shoot-em-up game called "Touch Fighter" was premiered at Apple's SDK conference that should serve as proof that an official Star Wars Tie Fighter game could and should be created. In the demo, firing was initiated with a screen touch and the player could steer the spacecraft by simply tilting the iPhone.


I don't see any reason why the same control scheme shouldn't be used, but I'm definitely all for a complete Star Wars themed Tie Fighter game on the iPhone, not just a knock-off.


I have heard some suggestions from various people which include a golf type game or a racing game such as Need for Speed. Both sound like viable options for great games to me. I know I have definitely not covered all the potentially outstanding ideas for games on the iPhone platform, so you guys help me out by thinking of some more! If there are any suggestions in the comments or at Digg that seem to be being voted up, I'll try to add the game to the list.

Digg.com User Suggestions

1) Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble - Branchex


2) AudioSurf - gio92


3) Loco Roco - fmello


4) Katamari - bbqsalad


5) Pata Pon - protogenxl


iPhone Economy: Application developers swarm to iPhone

Can someone explain how so many developers are going to make money exactly? Or is this a typical herd effect that won't benefit anyone but Apple?

read more | digg story