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Finally a method to actually get free Microsoft points. Bing recently launched a reward system that allows you to redeem points you earn simply by using their Bing toolbar, you can then redeem these points at the reward center where you can pick from a list of tons free stuff and one of them being 100 Microsoft points. Signing up earns you 250 reward Bing points which also translates into 200 Microsoft points!! How cool is that? And earning points is easy, all you do is click the links in the offers section of the tool bar and you already have another 100 Microsoft Points! That totals 300 Microsoft Points just for singing up. Of course Microsoft being Microsoft, one of the ways you can earn points is if you make Bing your default search provider, and each day you keep Bing as your default search provider the more points you earn.

I usually am not an advocate about Microsoft’s sneaky tactics but who can resist free Microsoft Points?? You can download the Bing toolbar here.

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Officials in West Vancouver, Canada, apparently aren’t satisfied with the driver-slowing properties of traditional speed bumps. On Tuesday, the town unveiled a new way to persuade motorists to ease off the gas pedal in the vicinity of the École Pauline Johnson Elementary School: a 2-D image of a child playing, creating the illusion that the approaching driver will soon blast into a child.

According to Discover magazine, the pavement painting appears to rise up as the driver gets closer to it, reaching full 3-D realism at around 100 feet: “Its designers created the image to give drivers who travel at the street’s recommended 18 miles per hour (30 km per hour) enough time to stop before hitting Pavement Patty — acknowledging the spectacle before they continue to safely roll over her.”

You have to wonder if the designers of the “speed bump of the future” considered that drivers might become conditioned to disregard Pavement Patty and her imaginary cohorts, creating something similar to a “boy who cried wolf” effect. Couldn’t such conditioning reduce drivers’ caution if a real child should cross their path?

[What is an optical illusion? How does it work?]

Asked whether confusing and/or tricking drivers with such images might create such unintended hazards, David Dunne of the British Columbia Automobile Association Traffic Safety Foundation said that pedestrians need to be just as alert as drivers.

“People tune out. It takes an attitude shift for people to change,” Dunne said. “Pedestrians need an attitude shift too. They have to realize that just because they are in a crosswalk doesn’t mean they are safe. In fact, most get hit while using crosswalks.”

[Related: What your child’s teacher won’t tell you]

As for drivers who become can’t process optical illusions, Dunne argued that they have no business on the road in the first place.

“It’s a static image,” he said. “If a driver can’t respond to this appropriately, that person shouldn’t be driving, and that’s a whole different problem.”

Original story can be found here

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Did you know?

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As more and more new technologies emerge, companies will always try and find a way to profit from the unsuspecting consumer. Perhaps the most recent ridicules invention was the 3D TV for your home. It was a great idea to add 3D technology in the Movies but now for your home? If you think about it, the idea of a 3D TV is quite silly. You have to wear a pair of 3D glasses just to watch TV? and what kind of long-term effects will this have on your vision? What about people with glasses, I would imagine that having a second pair of glasses over your eyes would cause some extreme discomfort over time.  All these questions have been ignored by TV manufacturers and should be addressed. With that said, on to 5 reasons why I think 3D TV’s will not last and why YOU shouldn’t get one:  
  1. 3D Glasses are expensive. 3D glasses can cost consumers anywhere between $150 –$ 200 bucks per-pair, a pair of Samsung 3D glasses go for $200 bucks at Buy.com. There are no universal 3D glasses as of yet, as each one is unique to the TV you purchased. However, according to a CNET article, a company called XpanD hopes to create a universal pair of glasses, most likely major companies will not like this idea and probably do their best to make their 3D TV incompatible with them.  On top of 3D glasses being expensive, they also require batteries. Yes you have to put batteries in your glasses! Meaning that you will have to replace the batteries depending on how much you use them. Sony 3D glasses can last up to 100 hours whereas Samsung batteries can last up to 400 hours with rechargeable batteries and even less time with non-rechargeable batteries.
  2. 3D Glasses are inconvenient. Let’s face it people are lazy and most people hate looking for the remote and now they have to look for their 3D glasses too. Let’s picture a real world scenario on average working consumer. You’re working all day and you are looking forward to come home and enjoy that amazing 3D TV you just bought a couple weeks ago. You come home and can’t find the 3D glasses, then after spending 10 minutes you finally find your 3D glasses, great. You put them on and realize that the batteries are dead because you’re not the only person who uses them, doh!  Now what? If you were lucky enough your 3D glasses have the option of rechargeable batteries, if not then you have to wait until the next day to get batteries, if you do not have any on hand already. Or if you’re TV supports it, some 3D  TVs have different 3D modes and one of them being that you can use the simple red and blue 3D glasses without the battery powered capabilities, but of course you will not get the most out of your expensive $2,000 3D TV. At this point you probably are fed up and just decide to turn the 3D option off because you just want to relax and enjoy your show.
  3. Not great for large family gatherings. The typical 3D TV comes with only 1 pair of 3D glasses, and maybe you decide shell out the extra $150 to get a second pair, great. Unless you purchased a Samsung 3D TV, according to their site, “See all the jaw-dropping 3D action through Samsung’s sleek Active Glasses (sold separately). “.  So now you invite all your friends and family so that you can show off your 3D TV, but wait, you only bought 2 pairs of 3D glasses (which cost you nearly $400 bucks) and you invited 20 people to your house! Imagine sitting there having to share 3D glasses with everyone, yes it will be fun for the first half-hour, but people will soon want to watch TV with a good picture as well, so you once again decide to turn the 3D option off.
  4. Replacements, so a year passes by and you haven’t really had many problems watching your 3D alone with the two pairs of glasses you own, you also notice that your rechargeable batteries in your 3D glasses are starting to die more often and you have to charge them every other day now. So you decide to buy another rechargeable battery, you go to your manufactures website only to find that the rechargeable lithium-ion battery costs a whopping $100!! That’s almost the cost of your 3D glasses! At this point you decide to possibly replace the batteries but now you decide to not allow anyone in your house hold to turn on the 3D option or limit the use of the 3D option, because you want your newly invested 3D glasses to last longer.
  5. Wear and tear, if you only have one pair of 3D glasses and you or other people in your house hold are heavy TV users then your 3D glasses will get worn out quickly, because of course the TV is the most used house hold electronic. Not to mention the glasses will probably be made out of cheap plastic and plastic always breaks with excessive use.  And if the 3D glasses break and they’re you’re only pair, you not only have to dish-out another $100-$200 bucks for your new 3D glasses, you also have to once again turn off the 3D option.

Remember how popular MySpace and YouTube were when they first came out? Everybody had to have a MySpace account or upload a YouTube video because it was the thing to do, well it is no different with this new 3D technology in TV’s. In a few short years 3D technology will more than likely phase out because consumers will truly become fed up with having the technology in their homes. Clearly TV manufactures are pushing 3D technology for your home because it is a lucrative money making market. So please do yourself a favor and do not jump on the band wagon or you might end up looking like these guys:

So lets keep the 3D technology where it belongs: the movies.

Article written by:

Ibrahim G. Yusuf

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Boxee Box is the new Apple TV

A project called Boxee Box, manufactured by D-Link, is currently under development that will allow users to stream video directly to their TV. Unlike Apple TV, Boxee Box has no restrictions media types, and users will be able to stream content out-of-the-box from their PC to their TV. Some external features include: HDMI, Optical Audio, RCA Stereo Audio, built-in WiFi (802.11n), Ethernet, 2 USB Ports (possible flash drive support for videos), SD Card Slot, RF Remote w/ QWERTY Keyboard. Look for it sometime in November!

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The Arab List

Check out my latest project called The Arab List, at TheArabList.org. Arab list features a classifieds for the arab and middle eastern community, users can post social events, post ads on things they want to sell or just connect with other arabs. This site is also open to anyone so anyone who is interested in post! Stay tuned for my next project that will involve assisting people with disabilities!

~Ibrahim G. Yusuf

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“Google me” sounds like a lame pickup line delivered near closing time, but it might also be Google’s latest attempt at becoming relevant in social media.

Kevin Rose, of Digg fame, got the speculation rolling Sunday with a tweet that Google was working on a social service called Google Me that would compete with Facebook, perhaps Google’s biggest rival for attention on the Internet. On Tuesday, former Facebook executive and Quora founder Adam D’Angelo took things a little further by declaring on Quora that “this is not a rumor. This is a real project. There are a large number of people working on it. I am completely confident about this.”

So what might Google Me actually be? No one seems to really know. But it does appear to be somehow related toone’s Google Profile, a service that got a shot in the arm with the debut of Google Buzz earlier this year. Google Buzz lets users share links, pictures, and thoughts with friends who find them through their Google Profile, but Buzz hasn’t exactly put a dent in Facebook’s growth.

That could mean something that mimicked Facebook’s news feed within a Google Profile, with status updates, new pictures, and ultimately a fair amount of requests for pitchforks or other digital farming equipment could be in the works at Google. A company representative did not immediately return a call seeking further comment.

Social media has been one of Google’s most elusive goals. The company just hasn’t produced anything that has moved the needle on social media: Orkut is probably having a good month with the Brazilians in the World Cup quarterfinals, but it doesn’t resonate anywhere else. Google Buzz caused a huge privacy flap upon its debut and does not appear to have caught on with the general public once Google fixed those issues. Google Latitude has a decent user base but has been eclipsed by a location start-up–Foursquare–that it actually had the blueprints for in-house after acquiring Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley’s earlier start-up, Dodgeball.

But Google has attempted to hit reset on its social strategy in 2010, and Google Me could be the first project designed entirely by that new group. If Google Me does come to pass, expect Google to do its homework on the privacy front (finally) and pitch the service as the anti-Facebook, with clear privacy controls and easily exported data.

Source: CNET

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Google has finally announced its long-rumored TV efforts at Google I/O. Senior product manager Rishi Chandra said during the Thursday keynote that “video should be consumed on the biggest, best, and brightest screen in your house, and that’s the TV,” and that it hoped to combine the Web and TV-viewing experience in ways that others have yet to do.

Up front, Google TV will come either in the form of a set-top box or will be built into certain TVs (launch partners include Intel, Sony, and Logitech). The OS is based on Android and the built-in browser is a version of Google Chrome with the Flash 10.1 plugin. Google plans to open the source code for Google TV and add its own set of APIs so that it can be further extended by developers. The hardware will all be Atom-based, and it should start appearing on store shelves in the fall of 2010.

The experience will be search-driven, which is unsurprising given that, well… it’s Google we’re talking about. Users can enter search terms and get results from the Web and what’s currently being broadcast on TV, as well as videos from YouTube and other sites. There will be a “home screen” where you can add bookmarks to your favorite channels, shows, websites, music, photo albums, and so on. From the looks of it, the home screen will have a very Boxee-like interface, with a list of your applications, watch list, and more on the left.

That’s right: as expected, third-party developers will be able to write Android-based apps to run on the Google TV, again similar to the Boxee interface. Some companies (like Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand) have already created native apps to run from the Google TV home screen.

Rishi said Google decided to go ahead with the Google TV because the TV world is currently separate and isolated from the rest of the world. The TV world is a simplified and analog recreation of what’s happening in more interactive mediums, like the Web. As such, users are forced to choose between accessing the Web (via mobile devices, tablets, or their computers) or TV, which is a loss for users.

Google wants to combine the two into a “single seamless experience” by allowing users to turn their TV into an interactive experience with the Web. And, at least according to the demo at Google I/O (which encountered some technical difficulties due to an overloaded WiFi network), it looks like Google TV will offer users plenty of options when it comes to consuming content. A search for a popular show like House will return results for the show on Hulu, Fox’s website, individual show downloads on Amazon, or the regular TV schedule—if you want to record it on your DVR, you can do so right from the Google TV interface.

Naturally, Google TV will also come with a giant, TV-optimized YouTube interface called “YouTube Leanback.” Designed to be used from a couch, it won’t just be limited to the Google TV (though that’s the obvious reason for its existence); the beta interface will be rolled out on the YouTube website within weeks so that non-Google TV users can use it from their HTPC boxes or wherever.

As usual, Google is not making any of the hardware itself. In typical Google form, the company has instead implemented a remote control protocol that will allow third-party developers to build their own software for controlling Google TV from other devices. During the demo, Google showed an Android phone app that utilized the OS’s built-in voice search to activate a feature on the Google TV box—say what you want to look for and the TV will automatically display it. Clearly, this opens up many opportunities for controlling devices to fit every user’s preferences, and you can even have multiple devices associated with Google TV at once if you so choose.

Clearly, the company is throwing a lot of weight behind Google TV, and so far, it looks very promising for the geek crowd. This is basically a way to combine all of the extensive benefits of an HTPC into a set-top box without most of the downsides—interfaces made for computer use instead of couch use, and limited control interfaces, to name a few. And, of course, because of the openness of the OS, there’s potential for Google TV to be turned into a healthy game distribution platform as well.

The real measure of success will come if and when the mainstream crowd catches on to Google TV—there are so many options available that it may be overwhelming for the average TV viewer. Still, we’re excited about the possibilities and are looking forward to giving Google TV a test run when it becomes available.

Watch the video here:  Google TV

Source: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2010/05/android-based-google-tv-coming-to-living-rooms-this-fall.ars

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