Microsoft Launches Bing Preview

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Date: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009, 13:59
Category: Microsoft, Software

Having lost the battle to acquire Yahoo! so many times, Microsoft decided it still needed to get into the search engine business, and this weekend they launched a “preview” of the service.

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Called “bing“, the service doesn’t look much unlike Google, except for some prettier formatting. Opinions online seem pretty varied so far, as people try to test the new engine search capabilities. Much like the recent Wolfram|Alpha preview, most users seem polarized from being very impressed, to not at all, with search results of some terms leaving much to be desired. However, as a preview, it seems to do a pretty good job.

Personally, I did not spend a lot of time hammering on the service, but I did find the image search to be very good, and I liked the way the images were displayed where a roll-over would give you the additional details and location of the picture.

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It also seemed pretty fast compared to Google, but maybe bing just doesn’t have enough data to bog it down yet. If there was one thing that really disappoints me about the service, it is that I don’t see anything new or revolutionary. Perhaps that is coming, but it seems like Microsoft is doing the usual thing and just putting their spin on something somebody else has already done. Come on guys, lets see some innovation!

Send us your thoughts in the forums!

Hulu Desktop released for Mac and PC

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Date: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009, 13:51
Category: Software

Last week, Hulu released it’s Hulu Desktop application for Mac and Windows, which allows you to stream it’s library of videos without using a web browser.

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The current release is considered a “beta” while Hulu “[...] plan[s] to gather and incorporate user feedback to improve the service”. The software and it’s interface fill the entire desktop screen, much like Apple’s DVD player application, to provide a menu of available videos and full-screen viewing. The software is designed to be controlled by an Apple Remote or Windows Media remote as well as keyboard controls. At the moment it doesn’t seem like Hulu Desktop offers much of an advantage over the web based version.

If you want to try it, however, you will need a fairly new Mac or PC. The minimim requirements to run Hulu Desktop are as follows:

Minimum requirements for Mac:
Intel Pentium Core Duo 2.0GHz
At least 2.0 GB of RAM
Mac OS X v10.4 (Tiger) or later
2 Mbps Internet connection
Flash 9.0.124

Minimum requirements for Windows:
Intel Pentium Core Duo 1.8GHz
At least 2.0 GB of RAM
Windows XP or later
2 Mbps Internet connection
Flash 9.0.124

And if you have a PowerPC-based Mac, don’t even bother. There has been some speculation that this was the reason Hulu was so intent on shutting down Boxee’s access to Hulu feeds, but that seems odd since Hulu gets revenue from showing the ads, not from the software, so I would think the more programs that can play those ads would be better for them. Plus Boxee can run on PPC Macs, Apple TV, and Ubuntu Linux. No Windows version yet. You can read more about their response on their blog.

Discuss your thoughts in the forums!

E3: Microsoft Demos Project Natal Video Recognition System for Xbox 360

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Date: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009, 08:28
Category: Announcement

In addition to Microsoft’s Bing preview, Microsoft also announced Project Natal, a technology project developed by 3DV which uses a camera technology to function as an input. The core ideas behind the project include motion recognition, complex voice recognition and scanning body features.
And since a picture’s worth a thousand words, here’s what the guys at Joystiq had to offer…




Now if Apple could do something like this with the iSight, that’d be worth seeing…

Apple Releases QuickTime 7.6.2 Update

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Date: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009, 07:09
Category: Software

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On Monday, Apple released the latest version of QuickTime, its multimedia support system for Mac OS X and Windows. The new version, known as QuickTime 7.6.2, is available as a variably-sized download (depending on version chosen through the download page), improves reliability, application compatibility and addresses security issues.
The update requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and can be located and snagged via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

Apple Releases iTunes 8.2 Update

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Date: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009, 07:24
Category: Software

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Late Monday, Apple released iTunes 8.2, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 77.3 megabyte download, offers support for the iPhone or iPod touch with the iPhone 3.0 Software Update. The update also includes many accessibility improvements and bug fixes.
iTunes 8.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and can be located and downloaded via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.