I heard through the grapevine that the Mal Valve Head Amp Three takes headphone sound to the next level, so I had to check it out for myself. I brought two of my best headphones to the Audioarts NYC showroom to audition the amp, and it really was an ear opener. "Space" was the first thing I noticed, the Mal Valve decodes spatial cues in recordings better than any amp I've heard to date; and the resolution, clarity, and purity of the sound were all superlative via my Audeze LCD 3 headphones. The Mal Valve frees up … Read more
Wharfedale is an 80-year-old speaker company, not to mention one of the oldest names in British audio. They make high-end and affordable speakers with prices starting at around $300 a pair. I recently checked out the Wharfedale Diamond 10.5 towers; their curvy cabinets cut a nice figure in the sound room at the In Living Stereo store in NYC. I listened to a few LPs on the stunning new Rega RP8 turntable. The tower speakers sell for $950 a pair.
The Diamond 10.5 is a three-way design with a 6.5-inch woofer, a 2-inch dome midrange, and a … Read more
EU regulators are looking into competition concerns surrounding a joint venture in mobile payments by Everything Everywhere, Vodafone and O2.
The UK's biggest cellular operators said in June that they were creating a clearing house for mobile payments, which would act as an intermediary between advertisers, banks and retailers. However, Three complained to the European Commission that it had been shut out of the deal.
Although the commission did not cite Three's complaint, it did say in its announcement of the investigation late on Friday that there are "potential competition concerns in the nascent markets of mobile … Read more
Former Microsoft employees who worked on the ill-fated Courier dual-screen tablet and started their own mobile-development house have found some early success.
Developer FiftyThree announced on its blog yesterday that its sketchpad and ideas app Paper has hit 1.5 million downloads in its first two weeks of availability. In addition, the company said a total of 7 million pages have been created so far with the app.
"To say the response has been overwhelming would be an understatement," FiftyThree wrote on its blog. "For a tool that we made for ourselves, we're thrilled to find … Read more
Paper, by developer FiftyThree, is free and offers only a handful of features initially, but it's just enough to make you want to sample some of the in-app purchases for more tools.
Upon launch you're presented with a welcome screen that outlines the simple set of tools. A tap opens a book, and swiping horizontally lets you turn the 3D pages. The feel of the app is very fluid, and it even accounts for your swipe momentum, so a stronger flick turns several pages until they slow to a stop. Details like these make the simple interface impressive, even without many bells and whistles. From there you simply tap on a page to start editing.… Read more
The spirit of the Courier -- Microsoft's dual-screen tablet that never made it to market -- is alive and thriving...on the iPad. And a number of members of the disbanded Courier team are the ones keeping it so.
FiftyThree Inc. -- the developer of a new content-creation app for the iPad called Paper -- is led by a roster of former Microsoft Courier and Xbox designers and developers. Another new Courier-like app launched this week from Tapose, a company backed by former Microsoft Courier champion J. Allard.
Courier was the dual-screen tablet that was being developed as a … Read more
After five months at sea, British adventurer and environmental advocate Roz Savage made landfall this morning in Mauritius, completing her solo row across the Indian Ocean and becoming the first woman to row solo across the "big three": the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian.
Savage, 43, set off from Australia five months ago in her 23-foot rowboat. After rowing more than 4,000 miles, she arrived in Grand Baie, Mauritius, today.
In total, she has rowed about 15,000 miles and spent more than 500 days at sea. She completed the Atlantic row in 2005, and then went on … Read more
Happy birthday, IBM PC. Thirty years ago today, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, IBM launched its first mass-market personal computer.
The IBM 5150 PC was not the first personal computer. The Apple II was on the market then, as were computers from Commodore and Atari and from several vendors selling CP/M micros. But it was, by any measure, the most important.
Although not for technical reasons. IBM designed the computer architecture, for example, but neither the CPU nor the operating system. Rather, what made the IBM PC such a watershed was that, first, it came from IBM, the company that had computing technology already installed at just about every major company. Second, it was the first successful open computing platform. The PC-compatible era gave us Compaq and then hundreds of "clone" vendors. It gave us the software industry as we know it. And today, the vast majority of desktop and laptop computers that the world uses are direct descendants of decisions made at IBM in 1980.
In this Reporters' Roundtable, we're going to talk about how the PC came to be today, as well as look at where it is and where it's going, with two guests I think you're really going to enjoy hearing from.
First, a previously recorded interview with David Bradley, one of the engineers on the original IBM PC project. He wrote the BIOS code and is famous for creating the Ctrl-Alt-Delete reset command. Bradley retired in 2004 after more than 28 years with IBM. He has also been an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University and North Carolina State University. Bradley received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Purdue University.
After that interview, we'll talk with Michael J. Miller, former editor in chief of PC Magazine, and now senior VP for technology strategy at Ziff Brothers Investments. I worked with Michael in 1988 when he was my boss at InfoWorld. He is extraordinarily knowledgeable about the history of computing, and has a sharp eye for what works in technology, and why. Michael still writes the Forward Thinking column for the PC Magazine site. This week, he wrote several stories about the IBM PC's birthday.
Ford's been taking advantage of its EcoBoost forced-induction technology to downsize engines across its line. V-8s give way to turbocharged V-6s. V-6s give way to turbo four-bangers. Continuing the trend, Ford has just announced the smallest engine it's ever built: a 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine.
Besides the obvious fuel savings from its lower displacement, Ford's new tiny terror packs in all sorts of economy-boosting technologies. For example, Ford's split cooling system helps the cylinder block to warm faster which helps to save fuel during the least efficient warm-up phase, especially in cold weather. The three-cylinder'… Read more
Last month, an unknown San Francisco publishing start-up had just about the best debut imaginable. Byliner's first product became an instant best-seller and seriously called into question the reputation of an international sensation a decade in the making--all in less than 25,000 words that never touched a printing press.
The tiny operation released Jon Krakauer's "Three Cups of Deceit"--a scathing deconstruction of alleged fraud and mismanagement at the hands of world-famous do-gooder Greg Mortenson of "Three Cups of Tea" fame--as a free PDF in mid-April. The launch got a big boost from a story that aired last month on "60 Minutes" about Mortenson, based largely on Krakauer's research. (Disclosure: "60 Minutes" is broadcast by CBS, publisher of CNET.)
"Reaction has been extraordinary," Byliner.com founder John Tayman told CNET. "In the 72 hours it was available as (a) free download, more than 70,000 readers downloaded a copy. It then moved to the Amazon Kindle Singles store, and it went to No. 1 within six hours."
As of this writing, the 75-page narrative--a riveting account despite being based largely on a review of financial records and interviews with people with ties to Mortenson's nonprofit--remains in that top slot (even as Mortenson's supporters, including one of his former climbing partners quoted by Krakauer, have come to his defense).
Now, Byliner is looking for a repeat performance with its follow-up release in its "Byliner Originals" series--20,000 words from award-winning author William T. Vollmann titled "Into the Forbidden Zone: A Trip Through Hell and High Water in Post-Earthquake Japan." Byliner commissioned Vollmann, who has written about Japan in the past, and paid for his trip to the triple-disaster area to gather stories of survivors, the aftermath, and implications for the future.
"We want to take advantage of the swiftness that digital publishing allows to get these great reads in front of readers," said Tayman, himself a writer and editor who has worked at Business 2.0 and Outside magazine. "Our first two titles are excellent examples of that approach. These are stories that have complexity and currency, tackled by two of the most acclaimed writers in America."… Read more