23/04/2010

Geek'n'Rolla the best bits

Last Tuesday was Geek'n'Rolla and event run by Mike Butcher of TechCruch Europe.

There was a mixture of talks, panels and pitches. All of the talks and panels were interesting, but some were better than others and some were really extraordinary. The afternoon ones seemed engaging than the ones in the morning.

Ewan McLeod gave a great talk on mobile development in terms of the market size and platforms (similar to an earlier talk at DevNest), the results are quite surprising, Apple iPhone may not be the best platform for development (though it's still the sexiest).

Andrew J Scott of Rummble gave a fantastic talk on the "Dirty Dozen" things to worry about when "doing a start-up".

Alicia Navarro of Skimlinks gave a great talk on trying to get funding in the US / West Coast.

However the highlight of the day was definitely Morten Lund's talk (he was an early Skype investor) made a huge amount of money, then lost it all. Some parts of his talk are what they call NSFW.

Though the quality of the pitches was good, some of the companies weren't too strong and it was surprising they made it to a TechCrunch event.

Sandisk 64GB Ultra Backup mini review

The Sandisk 64GB Ultra Backup is a USB memory device with a difference, it can automatically back-up items at the push of a button and encrypt everything it stores. It's USB 2.0 so reasonably quick.

Unfortunately the back-up and encryption are only available on Windows system (XP, Vista and Windows 7), to Macs or Linux/UNIX systems it just looks like a 64GB storage device.

Sandisk use their U3 technology to perform the back-up which actually runs software from the USB drive itself and stores any data back on the drive. Once the drive is removed, any all the software and configuration settings go too. There's a fair bit of software available from U3 that's been made U3 aware (which allows it to be safely run for the USB drive without storing anything in Windows permanently).

You may not want to have the U3 software at all (which is likely if you're using a Mac) and Sandisk nicely offer U3 removal software which is available for Mac and PC.

You can purchase a Sandisk 64GB Ultra Backup from here.

Please can we clean the Internet

The Digital Economy Act (and various European bodies) would like to see web filtering mandated. This is similar to the old 'Cleanfeed' system that has been implemented by ISPs in the UK (for consumer Internet anyway).

In the UK the Internet Watch Foundation or IWF as it's known maintains a list of dodgy URLs (that they define as dodgy) and ISPs maintain filters based on the IWF block-list. Of course this system is easily circumvented by use of VPNs and other technologies that real criminal might use.

Anyway there's a great new video doing the rounds that shwos why all the Internet should be filtered and it can be seen here Cleanternet.

Google buys a mis-spelt Linux

Google has acquired Agnilux a silicon foundry made-up of ex PA Semi employees who jumped ship when Apple acquired PA Semi in 2008 (for $280m).

PA Semi design ARM based CPUs and their fruition of their work is meant to be the A4 processor which is the heart of Apple's new iPad (and probable forthcoming iPhone 4G as leaked by Gizmondo).

Little is known about Agnilux but it seems that as well as ex PA Semi employees, there's a few ex Cisco employees too and it has a partnership with Cisco.

Rumours are that Google will use the Agnilux technology to drive a new generation of Google tablets, though the Cisco relationship could mean it's more of a network processor or for video, in which case Google could use it for building into set-top-boxes and such like (which would then run Android).

Another rumour is that they are producing highly scalable low-power ARM designs which could be used in datacentres - which would also suit Google who have lots of servers and reducing the power footprint while increasing their CPU capacity would mean huge savings in the long term for them,

19/04/2010

Sansa Clip Plus mini review

The Sandisk Sansa Clip Plus is a tiny MP3 player that's about 2" by 1 1/3" by 1/2" and weights 0.85oz. It comes with either 2GB, 4GB or 8GB of Flash memory and in a choice of black, blue or maroon.

It supports a variety of audio formats including MP3, Microsoft's WMA, WAV, FLAC, Ogg and Audible (for DRM'ed audio books).

There's a small OLED display which shows up to 4 lines of blue or orange text. It's all driving by a basic menu system and you can jump back to the home menu by pressing the 'home' button anywhere. Music can be selected by just playing everything or selecting album, artist, genre, song or playlist (though there's no alphabetic search).

There's also a voice recorder with built-in mic and FM radio with 10 presets (but no RDS), you can record from the FM radio into WAV files (as with the voice recorder).

The Clip+ also supports SanDisk's SlotRadio cards (through the micro SDcard slot) which also takes standard micro SD cards up to 32GB.

The unit is good for sports due to its size, but the supplied earphones aren't up to much and even with sensible in-ear phones it sounds weak compared to an iPod even with EQ emphasis like dance or bass boost.

You can buy the 8GB version from the Sandisk Sansa Clip+ 8GB MP3 Player / Black for £54.99 though it can be cheaper elsewhere.