Friday, March 30, 2007

Sony Ericsson introduces new handsets

Sony Ericsson announced on March 26 its new W580 slider Walkman phone and Z750 clam shell handset, the company's first Tri-band HSDPA phone for the North American market.

The W580 Walkman phone is a 2.5G, Quad-band EDGE device (850/900/1800/1900) and features a 2-inch color screen. At 14mm thick, the phone features a 2.0-megapixel camera and a built-in FM radio with RDS. The W580 ships with a 512MB Memory Stick Micro (M2) and comes in white or gray with orange color accents and light effects along the sides.

The Z750 is a tri-band HSDPA (850/1900/2100), Quad-band EDGE (850/900/1800/1900) phone and is Sony Ericsson's first handset to offer push email, according to the company. The phone features a 2.0-megapixel camera a 2.2-inch screen, and like the W580, comes with a built-in radio with RDS. The Z750 comes in grey or pink.

The Z750 is Exchange ActiveSync enabled and supports wireless synchronization and direct push email, calendar and contacts. Moreover, it also includes support for Java push mail solutions provided by third parties and leading email standards, such as POP/IMAP, according to Sony Ericsson.

The Sony Ericsson W580 will be available in selected markets from the third quarter of 2007 while the Z750 will be available first in North America before wider distribution to other global markets later in the year.

Mobile Phones Technology News by techzonez

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Xbox revamp aims at digital home

The long-awaited revamp of the Xbox 360, designed to store and display high definition video, has been launched.

The black Elite console has a 120GB hard drive and will go on sale in the US in April for $479.99 (£255). No details of a UK release were announced.

Updating the white 360 is the latest move by Microsoft in the battle to take control of the digital living room.

It comes just days after rival Sony completed its launch of the high definition capable PlayStation 3 (PS3).

The premium version of the PS3 costs £425 (599 Euros) in the UK and comes with a 60GB hard drive. It also contains a high definition Blu-ray player and an HDMI port, to connect the console to high definition TVs and display games in their full graphical glory.

However, neither premium nor basic versions come with an HDMI cable to connect the console to a display.

Digital home

In contrast, Microsoft has said it will include the necessary cables with its Elite machine. But users will have to pay extra for a high definition HD-DVD player, currently costing £129.99 in the UK.

"With a separate drive, the cost is very similar to the PS3," said Paul O'Donovan, principal analyst at research firm Gartner.

The HD-DVD player was launched in December 2006 for the original Xbox 360, which is already capable of playing high definition content.

However the machine was limited by its ability to store the large files on its relatively small 20GB hard drive. An average high definition film would use up more than a quarter of the machine's capacity.

Both Sony and Microsoft have been criticised for shipping their consoles with such small capacity hard drives.

Microsoft said its new offering was in response to customer demand.

"Today's games and entertainment enthusiast has an insatiable appetite for digital high-definition content," said Peter Moore, corporate vice president for Microsoft's games division.

The hard drive on the new Xbox machine is six times bigger than the current high-end Xbox.

Microsoft has said it will sell the Elite alongside existing Xbox 360 systems and it will offer the detachable 120GB hard drive for $179.99 (£90).

Sony has said it has no plans to increase the size of internal hard drives, but users can add extra space by attaching an external hard drive.

Game focus

The companies moves into offering downloads straight to the living room also puts them into competition with the likes of Apple, who launched its Apple TV box to stream content downloaded from iTunes to a TV screen.

"Apple TV is a great way to move content," said Mr O'Donovan. "So this maybe a response to the Apple TV rather than the PS3."

Earlier this year Microsoft also announced plans for a version of the console capable of being used as a set-top box for Internet Protocol TV, or IPTV.

This would allow the console to tap into offerings from telecoms and cable TV companies to pipe high-definition movies and television into homes.

However people like Mr O'Donovan believe that these features will not be enough to sway gamers to buy one system over another.

"Gamers buy these consoles to play games. Everything else is a bonus," he said.

Both consoles allow users to download content such as game extras, images and video to the hard drives.

PlayStation users can use the PlayStation Network, while Microsoft runs the Xbox LIVE online service.

Xbox Technology News by BBC NEWS

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Microsoft Vista sells 20M copies in Feb

Microsoft Corp. said Monday it sold 20 million consumer copies of the new Windows Vista operating system worldwide in February, but analysts said the data shed little light on the program's popularity during its first month on the market.

Vista's predecessor, sold 17 million copies in the two months following its 2001 launch, Microsoft said.

"It's a stronger than expected start," Bill Mannion, a director of product marketing for Windows, said in an interview.

But given that the personal computer market has nearly doubled since XP launched, Vista sales "probably should be more," said Michael Silver, vice president of research at Gartner, a technology research group.

The analyst said 51 million PCs were sold to consumers worldwide in 2002; this year, the research group predicts 96 million consumers will buy a computer.

Starting in late October, PC makers included coupons for free or low-cost Vista upgrades that could be used once the software became available at the end of January. Microsoft's February sales total includes those promised upgrades, in addition to licenses ordered by PC makers to install on new computers, shrink-wrapped copies sold in retail stores and downloads from the Windows Marketplace Web store.

Silver estimates PC makers sold between 12 million and 15 million PCs with Windows XP Home Edition over the holidays — a significant chunk of the 20 million total, depending on how many included Vista coupons.

While Microsoft wouldn't say how many Vista upgrades were ordered in that time frame, Dell Inc. spokesman Bob Kaufman said about two-thirds of its holiday PC shoppers registered for the upgrade.

"That would say that those (Vista sales) numbers aren't all that great if that includes all that backlog," said Silver.

Shipments of Vista to U.S. retailers in February lagged XP's first-month shipments by about 56 percent, according to the NPD Group, which tracks retail software sales.

Microsoft declined to break out the number of Vista copies sold at retail, though it has said in the past that 80 percent of Windows revenue comes from sales to PC makers.

The retail channel may not be the most important for Microsoft, but NPD analyst Chris Swenson said the decline is an indicator of consumer behavior overall.

"That's kind of a big deal," Swenson said. "Our thesis was, every review of Vista talks about how strenuous the hardware requirements of Vista were. I think customers got the message."

The analyst also said he thought Microsoft's advertising strategy, which he said was light on TV commercials, was partly to blame for the drop in retail sales.

"Microsoft should have more TV ads selling Vista than Apple has criticizing Vista," he said, referring to a popular series of Apple Inc. commercials that, among other things, portray the Vista upgrade as a grave surgical procedure.

Shares of Microsoft rose 20 cents to close at $28.22 on the Nasdaq Stock Market

Microsoft Vista Technology News by

Hi-tech 'threat' to private life

Bombs triggered by the presence of people with specific biometric traits may soon be feasible, warns a report.

Written by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the report looks at how technology is eroding personal privacy.

It shows how abuse of technology can expose people to harm by, for instance, terrorists crafting bombs that use the biometric data stored on passports to target specific nationalities.

It urges people to get more involved in the ways data about them is gathered.

Fail safe

Professor Nigel Gilbert, one of the report's authors, said the idea was not to scare people but to show what could happen when novel technologies and personal privacy interact.

"No technology is 100% perfect, and no engineer will tell you that any technology is 100% perfect," said Professor Gilbert.

"We need to think very carefully about contingency plans," he said, "about what can go wrong and what we are going to do about it when it does go wrong."

Instead of simply accepting that technology erodes privacy, the report suggests that designers, individuals and governments should work harder to find ways of making life more secure.

For instance, said Professor Gilbert, it is accepted that buying via an electronic transaction means surrendering information that allows an individual to be identified.

In truth, he said, all a merchant needed was an assurance that the customer was old enough to buy a particular good or service and that they had enough funds to pay.

Similarly, with supermarket loyalty cards, customers are forced to hand over information that identifies them individually. This was despite the fact, said Professor Gilbert, that all the store really needed to know was what items were being bought.

"These are apparently similar things, and are all cases where it would seem people are being required to give up more identifying information than is necessary," he added.

In a bid to combat abuse, the report recommends the creation of a digital charter that outlines the rights an individual has to manage, share and protect the data being collected about them.

Properly engineered technology should increase both privacy and security, said Professor Gilbert.

Among other recommendations, the report calls for the beefing up of penalties for people and companies that flout data protection laws. At the moment, warned the report, the penalties were "close to trivial".

It also calls for people and communities to get involved with the way that data is gathered, and how intrusive technologies are policed.

It suggests that CCTV cameras could be overseen by the communities they serve or the people they watch.

Technology News by BBC NEWS

YouTube names best video winners

Video-sharing website YouTube has named the winners of its first annual awards.

US pop band OK Go won in the "most creative" category for a video featuring the performers on treadmills.

Comedy series Ask a Ninja, a video promoting a Free Hugs Campaign and a performance by singer Terra Naomi were among the winners in seven categories.

YouTube said the winners had "changed the landscape of how a 'star' is defined". A YouTube awards trophy is due to be unveiled at a later date.

'Most adorable'

Other winners were Thewinekone for best commentary, and double act Smosh for best comedy with their video of a man apparently stranded on a desert island.

The animation Kiwi! was named most adorable video.

OK Go frontman Damian Kulash told the AFP news agency: "It's incredible how quickly and completely YouTube is changing culture. We can't wait to get our trophy."

Success on the site has previously been defined largely by rankings of the most-viewed or most-discussed videos.

The award-winning videos are now gathered in a special section on the site.

Jamie Byrne, YouTube's head of product marketing, earlier said: "We wanted to call out some of the most popular videos and let the users choose which ones deserve some additional recognition."

He added: "We've seen and continue to see exciting new developments in the online video space where genres are being created."

YouTube Technology News by BBC NEWS

Blog death threats spark debate

Prominent blogger Kathy Sierra has called on the blogosphere to combat the culture of abuse online.

It follows a series of death threats which have forced her to cancel a public appearance and suspend her blog.

Ms Sierra described on her blog how she had been subject to a campaign of threats, including a post that featured a picture of her next to a noose.

The police are investigating while the blogosphere has launched its own enquiry.

One of the issues raised is the question of how women bloggers are treated online.

Ms Sierra, author of popular blog Creating Passionate Users, began receiving death threats four weeks ago.

While blogging feuds are common, she believes the campaign against her is more likely to be because she is a woman in the male-dominated technology world.

Not social commentary

Some supporters have temporarily suspended their blogs in a show of support while others are discussing the need for a bloggers' code of conduct.

It is unclear who the authors of the threats are but Ms Sierra said she was particularly disturbed that some of them were hosted on blogs that are authored by or owned by a group that includes some prominent bloggers.

She said the campaign of terror has changed her life forever. She abruptly withdrew from a keynote speech she was due to deliver at the ETech conference in San Diego on Monday.

"I have cancelled all speaking engagements. I am afraid to leave my yard, I will never feel the same. I will never be the same," she said on her blog.

Change the culture

She said she was questioning whether she would ever post again, saying she did not want to be a part of a blogosphere where such threats could be made.

Apologising to those expecting to hear her speak at the ETech conference, she called on them to enter the debate.

"If you want to do something about it, do not tolerate the kind of abuse that includes threats or even suggestions of violence (especially sexual violence). Do not put these people on a pedestal. Do not let them get away with calling this "social commentary", "protected speech", or simply "criticism"," she said on her blog.

Much of the blogosphere has rallied round in support of Ms Sierra.

Robert Scoble, author of popular technology blog Scobleizer, condemned the campaign against her.

"It's this culture of attacking women that has especially got to stop. I really don't care if you attack me. I take those attacks in my stride. But, whenever I post a video of a female technologist there invariably are snide remarks about body parts and other things that simply wouldn't happen if the interviewee were a man," he said

In response, he has decided to temporarily stop blogging and has turned off functionality that allows people to post anonymously.

Technology News by BBC NEWS

Friday, March 23, 2007

Apple TV Could Take Living Room by Storm

With 110 million iTunes users, Apple TV already has a foot in the living room door. Apple has also taken care to stay in line with its emphasis on simplicity in designing the device. This could add up to a big start for the soon-to-be-released set-top player, of which the company is expected to sell 4 million in 2008.

Apple TV hasn't shipped yet, but Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster thinks the home theater box is already poised to steamroll over Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Media Center. He commented, "We believe iTunes is a Trojan horse media center, which will give Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) a significant early lead in the digital living room."

Munster estimates there are about 110 million iTunes users -- the key market for Apple TV. In comparison, there are only about 12 million Windows Media Center users, even though the software is pre-installed on about 23 million PCs. Based on those figures, Apple already has a 10x head start over Microsoft in gaining control over digital home entertainment.

"With a wireless media streaming device, simplicity is key, and Apple carried its focus on simplicity to this product," he said. "During our tests of Apple TV at Macworld we found it very easy to use with a simple remote and intuitive navigation."

That ease of use will likely translate into sales for Apple. Wall Street is estimating Apple will sell 4 million Apple TV units in calendar 2008, generating about US$1.2 billion in revenue.

Munster is rating Apple as "Outperform" with a target price at $124. Apple is currently trading in the pre-market at $89.40, down 0.17 cents (0.19 percent).

Apple TV Technology News by technewsworld

Friday, March 16, 2007

TV to come through mains supply

Soon you could be piping digital TV around your home via power sockets.

At the Cebit technology fair, German hi-tech firm Devolo is showing off home networking technology that can handle signals from a set top box.

While many firms are working on ways to route data via the mains power circuits in the home, Devolo is among the first to use it to send TV signals.

Further improvements to the home networking system will help it handle cable and satellite TV signals.

Although many people are connecting up all the digital devices in their home via dedicated computer cables, increasing numbers are choosing networking technology that route data via the same

Data network

The systems typically work using a specially adapted plug that acts as a mini-hub to route data to devices around the house.

As a data network this system can be used to stream video to devices in other rooms or to route internet-based TV to displays or gadgets.

Now Devolo has found a way to route standard digital TV signals over the same infrastructure.

"It connects to the set-top box and converts that TV signal to an IP signal," said Andre Jansen, a spokesman for Devolo.

IP, or internet protocol, is a standard for sending data across networks.

"The adapter has a range of 200m," he told the BBC News website, "and that's enough for a normal private household."

Devolo has yet to announce prices or availability of the home TV network system.

At the moment the system can only route a single digital TV channel over the network but Devolo aims to improve this soon so people can watch different channels in different rooms.

Next year Devolo hopes to have ready a technology that can pipe satellite and cable TV pictures around the home.

Technology News by BBC News

Flickr targets Hong Kong market

Popular photo-sharing site Flickr has announced plans to launch a version in the Chinese language.

The move from Yahoo-owned Flickr is part of its attempts to localise and increase the accessibility of its websites, especially in Asia.

The site, using traditional Chinese characters, will initially target users in Hong Kong.

The next target market will be Taiwan, it said. Yahoo did not mention any plans to build its China user-base.

The Flickr in Chinese will offer all the main features which are available on the English-language version, a spokeswoman said.

Although Beijing often censors online information it considers to be politically sensitive, Flickr is accessible in China.

Figures from iResearch indicate that Yahoo China has 9% of China's online photo-sharing market.

China has about 137 million web users - making it the second-largest online market.

Technology News by BBC News

Monday, March 12, 2007

Palm® GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 2

Palm® GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 2

Palm® GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 2 Features/Specs

Featuring TomTom® NAVIGATOR 6 software - voice guided, turn-by-turn directions help keep your eyes on the road. You can navigate using the latest Tele Atlas® maps covering the United States and Canada, including millions of points of interest to help you find fuel, restaurants, parks, airports and more. Automatic route recalculation puts you back on track if you take a wrong turn. Friendly user interface and touch screen operation make navigation simple and fast.

Setup is simple. Palm® GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 2 includes a 1GB memory card pre-installed with a map of the continental United States and Canada. Simply insert the pre-installed memory card into your Treo™ 650, 700w, or 700p smartphone to launch TomTom NAVIGATOR!

The device cradle holds your Treo smartphone securely in place and within reach. GPS Navigator includes a SiRFstarIII™ powered GPS receiver with Bluetooth® technology, software, memory card, vehicle device cradle with windshield mount and charging system. Now, there is no need to re-fold maps!


  • TomTom NAVIGATOR 6 software
  • 1GB* Memory card with map of the continental United States and Canada
  • GPS receiver powered by SiRFStarIII™ with Bluetooth™ technology
  • Vehicle device cradle with mounting bracket and suction cup pad
  • Vehicle power adapter
  • USB memory card reader
  • Documentation


  • New SiRFstarIII™-powered GPS receiver with Bluetooth technology for better - and faster - location performance
  • Better coverage with the latest Tele Atlas maps with coast-to-coast, cross border, door-to-door navigation between USA and Canada
  • Arrival time-based planning so you can calculate when you'll reach your destination - even factor in delays
  • Speed limit information for the roads you're traveling so you'll always know the limit, even between signs
  • 1GB memory card is pre-loaded with maps of the U.S. and Canada - no synching or downloading required
  • Improved point-of-interest searches help you find nearby restaurants, gas stations along your route, attractions in the town you'd like to visit, and more, with greater speed and ease
  • Safety Lock lets you view fewer menu options while driving for better safety
  • Supports over 30 voice instructions and 18 User Interface languages, with Spanish and French included

NOTE: Installation and software activation require a PC with a DVD-ROM drive running Microsoft Windows 2000, XP or Mac OS X 10.3 and an Internet connection, or a smartphone with a wireless data plan.

Palm® GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 2 Technology by

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Nokia 6110 Navigator features

Nokia 6110 Navigator

Nokia 6110 Navigator

3GSM World Congress 2007, Barcelona -- Nokia 6110 Navigator: A navigation-enabled mobile phone designed for the mass market. The Nokia 6110 Navigator brings together GPS (Global Positioning System) and AGPS (Assisted Global Positioning System) functionality with always-on mobile connectivity in a feature-rich, compact device. The Nokia 6110 Navigator is expected to begin shipping in the second quarter of 2007 with an estimated retail price of 450 Euro before subsidies or taxes.

The Nokia 6110 Navigator features full personal navigation experience with integrated maps, routing and navigation available with the click of the phone's one-touch Navigator key. With the Nokia 6110 Navigator, consumers can quickly and easily view their current location on the map, search for destinations, find specific routes, or locate services such as restaurants, hotels or shops that are nearby. Featuring full turn-by-turn 3D navigation, the Nokia 6110 Navigator suggests the best route to follow to reach a location by car or on foot. Clear instructions by voice guidance and turn arrows on a map ensure finding the fastest way to the destination.

The Nokia 6110 Navigator comes with a local map pre-installed on the memory card ready for immediate navigation. Additional maps and content - such as traffic information, weather services and travel guides - can be purchased online. Additional maps can be conveniently transferred to the phone by using the Nokia Map Manager application included.

The maps also show thousands of points of interest, such as restaurants, hotels, shops or other services nearby the location, including phone numbers and web addresses for calling and browsing directly with the phone. And, because the map's information is located in the mobile phone, it can be shared with family or friends with the touch of a button.

Moreover, the Nokia 6110 Navigator enables fast and seamless access to online information with HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) up to 3.6 Mbps. Emails can be handled in real time by push email, which also supports attachments as well as features a Message reader function to read aloud your emails.

The smart Nokia 6110 Navigator is an ideal tool for 3G multimedia, enabling real time video sharing and video calls, as well as a 2 megapixel camera with a dedicated capture key, panorama mode, and integrated flash. Video clips can be enjoyed with full screen view, and maps and images are clear and crisp to see on the large and bright 2.2" QVGA screen, offering up to 16 million colors. For extra protection, the camera lens is covered by a protection slide, keeping the images crystal clear.

The Nokia 6110 Navigator is Nokia's first dedicated smartphone aimed specifically towards the navigation market. This device is another example of the commitment Nokia has to location based experiences such as mapping, navigation and local search and joins the already announced Nokia N95 and Nokia E90 in Nokia's integrated GPS device portfolio.

Based on the world's leading smartphone software S60 on Symbian OS, the Nokia 6110 Navigator enables access to a wide range of S60 applications such as Mobile Search or S60 games for additional entertainment and productivity.

Key features of the Nokia 6110 Navigator include:
- Fully integrated GPS Navigation with one touch Navigator key
- Local map pre-installed on the memory card for immediate navigation
- HSDPA for fast web browsing and downloading
- WCDMA 2100 HSDPA, GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
- 2 megapixel camera with integrated flash, 4x digital zoom and panorama mode
- Real-time video sharing and video calling
- 40 MB free internal memory
- Support of microSD memory card up to 2 GB

The Nokia 6110 Navigator phone offers a talk-time of up to 3.5 h (GSM) and 2.5 h (WCDMA), and a standby time of up to 11 days (GSM and WCDMA).

Also available for the Nokia 6110 Navigator is a range of enhancements including the Nokia Mobile Holder CR-48. Introduced at 3GSM, the Nokia Mobile Holder CR-48 is specially designed for the Nokia 6110 and keeps your phone securely in place in the car. Stylish and practical, the holder also charges the battery of the Nokia 6110 Navigator whenever the phone is placed in the holder.

Nokia 6110 Navigator Technology by mobiletechnews

Friday, March 9, 2007

Palm Treo 750 Review

Palm Treo 750

Palm Treo 750 Introduction

When Palm announced that it would be introducing a Windows Mobile handset in late 2005, there was a collective gasp as the company that had always before seemed to want to fly in the face of convention had finally bowed to it.

It was not long after the introduction of that first Windows Mobile Treo, the 700w on Verizon, that people started to say that it had done something with the Windows Mobile platform that other makers had not done: created a usable device that simply met the needs of its users.

The follow-up model, the Treo 700wx, addressed issues with memory and performance. However, there was still not a Windows Mobile Treo that ran on GSM networks, shutting out most countries. Then in the fall of 2006 Palm introduced the Treo 750v ('v' for Vodaphone) in Europe and most knew that it was a matter of time before the Palm and Windows Mobile formula would be spread to other parts of the world.

This brings us to the here and now. The Palm Treo 750 was released on Cingular in January and for the most part has had a lukewarm reception. Whether it is because of the price, or similar feature set to the previous 700w and 700wx models, the 750 doesn't seem to have garnered the press that the other Windows Mobile Treos have.

And maybe that is a good thing. The 750 on Cingular is a solid device with very few issues. However, at the end of the day it is a smartphone that tries to do a lot of things, and does only a few things well.

Let's dig into the device and how I've used it over the past month so that you can see where this opinion on the 750 has been made.

Read More

Palm Treo 750 Technology by brighthand

Sunday, March 4, 2007

BlackBerry 8800 reviews and technical

BlackBerry 8800

BlackBerry 8800

As stylish as it is powerful, the BlackBerry® 8800 smartphone is designed to let you do your best work from wherever you choose. It gives you phone, email, organizer, web browsing and instant messaging. And then it goes a step further, providing GPS for enhanced access to location based applications and services, including the pre-loaded BlackBerry® Maps application. A media player for your video clips and music. Expandable memory to ensure you've got the room you need for your media files. And a high-capacity battery to allow you to make the most of it all.

•Quad-Band: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz GSM/GPRS, EDGE + Wi-Fi

•Phone and SMS
•Corporate Data Access
•Wireless Internet
•BlackBerry Maps
•Trackball, ESC key and Menu key
•Integrated earpiece and microphone
•Integrated speakerphone
•Bluetooth v2.0; headset, hands-free and serial port profiles supported
•Polyphonic, MP3 & MIDI ringtones, vibrate, on-screen or LED indicator
•Embedded RIM wireless modem
•Supported by version 4.2 or higher
•Ultra Thin
•Full QWERTY keypad
•Large 320 x 240 screen
•Full multimedia feature set
•Possible on some versions of the 8800 (Camera - 1.3 mp, 5x digital zoom, flash and maybe even video recording)
•Media Player - audio and video playback (Built-in streaming*) stereo headset compatible.
•64 MB Flash, expandable memory (Micro SD)
•Great phone experience w/ Advanced noise and echo cancellation
•Voice activated dialing, speakerphone, Bluetooth 2.0

BlackBerry 8800 Technology by taume

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The rise of technology addiction

The seemingly exponential growth of portable technology has sparked fears that people are becoming addicted or swamped by gadgets and their uses.

One major consequence of this phenomenon is that the line between work and private life is much more blurred, now that e-mail and phones provide a 24-hour link between employers and staff.

Experts believe that even the decision-making process of the average person can be adversely affected.

However, others think that the bombardment of various communications can enhance the brain's ability to process information.

Addiction symptoms

Nada Kakabadse, a Professor at the Northampton Business School, said: "Your judgement is impaired. Equally your decision making processes are impaired.

"It's like losing your spatial judgement, so instead of walking through the door you walk in to it. You're more prone to have a car accident if you drive."

Prof Kakabadse added: "It's addiction to portable technology, which you take with you practically to bed, the cinema, to the theatre, to a dinner party. The symptoms are, like with any other addiction, that people spend more time using their technology than spending it in socialising or in family time."

The growing importance of the issue was highlighted at a gathering in Geneva, Switzerland, for the LIFT 07 technology conference.

One of the conclusions reached by experts was that "tech overload" is the price people have to pay for always-on communication, where the line between work and play has become blurred.

In fact, there is even some evidence that being bombarded with information from all directions is actually beneficial.

Professor Fred Mast, of the University of Lausanne, said: "I think that we can become overloaded. It depends on the situation, but I think we are underestimating the brain's capacity to adapt to new challenges.

"Studies have been done showing that people can actually enhance their cognitive abilities, which helps them to process more information at the same time. And their performance even transfers to other tasks."

Experts have also noted how different types of technology have developed their own etiquette.

For instance, an e-mail can wait two days to be answered but a text message demands an almost immediate reply.

Stefana Broadbent from Swisscom said: "E-mail is considered the most formal. At the other end of the spectrum SMS is the most personal of all.

"That's where we find all those little exchanges, little endearments, what we call grooming, which is sending: 'I think about you. How did it go? How did you sleep?'

He added: "That is actually given by the number of characters. With such few characters, you have to have a lot of mutual understanding and mutual knowledge."

Prof Kakabadse added that prioritising was a vital way to prevent communication overload.

She said: "I really think it is the responsibility of the individual to prioritise. Even if an employee pushes the boundaries, do discuss with the employee in a constructive way how we can do things better without being overloaded."

Technology News by BBC

Friday, March 2, 2007

Net firms tackle Vista headache

Windows Vista is causing problems for some new PC owners hooking up their machine to a broadband connection.

Some old installation discs that simplify the task of configuring a PC for broadband have refused to work on machines loaded with Vista.

One reader was warned by Virgin Media that it would be "weeks" before its software worked with Vista.

Other net service firms have also admitted that the appearance of Vista has caused some hiccups for users.

Disc delays

Microsoft launched the consumer versions of Windows Vista on 30 January and anyone buying a PC since that date is likely to have it installed on their brand new machine.

Many are thought to have suffered the same problem as Swansea-based Rob Evans who found that he could not use his existing Virgin Media account with his new PC from Tesco.

After ringing Virgin for help he was told that Vista support may not be forthcoming for some time.

A spokesman for Virgin Media, formerly NTL/Telewest, admitted that its discs did not yet work with Vista but added that Mr Evans was now using his broadband service.

"We can get people online without the installation disc," he added. "It's not that it does not work, it's just the disc."

The spokesman said that other net service firms were also known to be taking time to get to grips with Vista.

"It's such a big product that to train staff up on it fully and make sure all your services are tested and compliant takes time," he said.

A spokesman for BT said: "I think we are now supporting it though we did have some issues with it."

In particular, he said, Vista was conflicting with the Norton security software that BT sells with some of its broadband bundles.

"That's now been ironed out," he added.

The spokesman said BT had created a help page devoted to Vista to make it easier for people to get their PC connected.

Net service firm Tiscali advises its users to back-up important data on their Vista PC before attempting to connect it to broadband.

Andrew Ferguson, editor at Think Broadband, said: "I suspect Vista is going to break a lot of things as it makes some major changes to how things are done in Windows."

"Many places aren't up to speed with Vista yet," he said.

Windows Vista Technology by BBC

Walking robot steps up the pace

A humanoid robot is teaching itself to walk and eventually run around a California research lab.

Dexter took its first tentative steps only a few days after it first discovered how to stand upright.

Dexter's designers say their robot differs from commercially available predecessors because it can learn from its mistakes.

It is the culmination of six years' work by Anybots, an independent research group of three engineers.

Founder, Trevor Blackwell, said: "When we started out Dexter had a very general idea of what a walking motion should look like.

"The first time it [tried] it just fell over right away.

"100 times a second we record about 200 different things: the position of the joints, the forces on the feet, and also the equivalent of what the inner ear measures: the way the body is tilting."

Jobs humans do

Dexter then analyses this information to modify its movements.

Dr Blackwell said walking robots currently on the market, such as Honda's Asimo, differ because their creators programmed their movements before they were switched on.

He said he was talking to industrial companies to develop Dexter for jobs people usually carry out in protective clothing.

The aim is to design a robot that can adapt to several environments and roles, like a human does, rather than requiring specific programming.

Before Dexter is ready for work it has to develop in a similar way to a child - with some coaxing but plenty of self-motivation.

'Running within months'

The developers are setting it new tasks all the time, said Dr Blackwell.

"We're trying to work like trainers do," he explained. "We think no, no, you've got to do that faster."

Anybots hopes Dexter will have taught itself to run within a few months.

If it does it will be following in Asimo's footsteps. The Japanese cousin mastered the art of speed more than two years ago and can run at a three kilometres an hour.

Robot Technology by BBC