Tuesday, January 22, 2013

And now, a few words...


It's been a while. Since the last post, a lot of things had happend. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to form a new TSK! editorial team and things from my personal life had taken all the time that I had for this blog. Today, I'm announcing the TSK! hiatus, officially. The blog will continue to exist for reference, if there something in particular that it needs to be put here or for the case a new team is formed. In the meantime, I will be blogging on my personal blog and in Spanish on naciónTECH.

Thanks for the support, have a good one.

Juan Vásquez

Monday, January 30, 2012

We're still here...

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It's been a while since our last post. Lots of things had happen in our personal lives that had taken a larger priority than our beloved TSK! Our last post was about the death of Steve Jobs, and that same day, at about 6:30pm eastern time, my stepfather die. A big blow to our family and myself. Then, when we were recuperating from the first loss, my grandfather pass away on January 6, 2012. All this, added to the fact that the TSK! crew has been disbanded for almost a year now; means that we have become a one man show and that man was attending really important personal matters, resulting in some lateness in our regular post schedule.

In the meantime, I will continue to blog in a timely manner, until a new, harder, better, faster, stronger team can be form. Also, you can follow TSK! on Twitter @thesmokingknife for updates on the blog and for every piece of information that we find interesting around the web. Thanks for your patience.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Kindle Fire, the New Amazon Juggernaut

This week, Amazon announce its new entry to the tablet market: the Kindle Fire. Many of us thought that this would be the truly iPad killer, but as it is the case, it is not and it is. Well, if you are kind of person that believe that productivity is key in your devices; well this tablet is not for you. But if you like to consume content, in the palm of your hand, Amazon has a hit.

The idea that makes this gadget a winner is that, for most of us, productivity is done on a regular PC with mouse and keyboard. Tablets for the most part are relegated to entertainment devices, for consuming content. For regular people, aka, non-tech junkies, there is no reason to spend $500+ on a device just for reading, watching or listening stuff; or to replicate, to a lesser degree, the functionality of their computer; and that's where Amazon gets it right. The price for this thing is just $199. Yep, 200 bucks for all that functionality.

So the question is: Why this is so cheap? Well, this is no iPad 2 nor Honeycomb tablet. With it's last-gen processor, weak sounding 512mb of ram and cheap looking/feeling materials; it is obvious where Amazon cut cost. Also, there are no cameras, no GPS radio and no 3/4G data connectivity. But apparently, that is the propose, the things it has are geared towards media consumption while keeping cost down; and that's a big plus.

On the software side, Amazon took the widely us Android kernel and modified to it's desire. Throughout the device, there are no signs of Google to be found; instead, what you get is a nice cover-flow like interface for your books, apps and media and their cloud-based web browser Silk.

All and all, it looks that Amazon is craving a little niche for themselves in the crowded group of tablets. Does this makes it a winner? We have to wait at least for the coming holiday season, only time will tell. Hit more for... more.

Friday, September 23, 2011

How to Enable Timeline on Your Facebook Profile

By now, almost everybody knows about the new features coming to Facebook; like bigger picture displays, reorganization of the news feed, the new ticker on the right that shows what people is doing "right now", media integration (music, movies, tv shows), etc. That's what happens when you have some competition, like G+. But what if you want to experience a little bit of the new changes? Well, here is how to enable the Timeline layout for your profile.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nokia N9, MeeGo last hope?

Today, Nokia introduced the Nokia N9. A flagship kinda phone based on MeeGo; "the first-ever pure touch smartphone that is all about making things simpler". Because a picture is worth a thousand words and a video even more; here is a little introduction (video after the break). If you need more info (of course you do) , go to the Nokia Conversations official blog post to feast on the juicy details or look at the device data sheet right here (pdf).

Two questions though: Is this the indication of the future Windows Phone 7 devices coming from Nokia? If so, when are we going to see the new those new handsets? Also; seeing how good MeeGo looks, why do the partnership with Microsoft? Don't take me wrong, I dig WP7 but this new UI looks awesome. Update:  Nokia N9 hands-on video!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Next Version Of Windows Phone (2011)

Joe Belfiore corporate vice president and head of Windows Phone Team at Microsoft presents the next version of Windows Phone OS, codename "Mango" and some of its new features. With the impression of a corporate giant losing its charisma and sleeping in their laurels, Microsoft needs to shake every part of their business in order to impress not only those bored share holders but also the new generation of tech enthusiast. With a great start but slow update process WP faces an uphill battle against the mighty Apple iOS and the hugely popular Google Android platforms. Is it to late for the software giant?
Video after the break.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The End: Goodbye Beloved Books

With the proliferation of ebooks readers, it seems that regular books are going the way of the dodo. Take for example the Amazon Kindle. Sold for $114 (With special offers and sponsored screensavers) and up, it has taken the business of selling book to a new level. The latest data from Amazon  points to the fact that ebooks are outselling regular books. This is also helped by the fact that with the Kindle app, you can take your book to almost any device. Sony and other companies had made this kind devices for quite some time now, but recently, we have seen mass proliferation and adoption thanks to the fact that competition have made their prices really accessible to "regular" consumers.

I always been a fan of books; of course I love to read, but books as an object are quite appealing to me. Just the fact that so much information can be store in so little space, plus the feeling of a good quality book in the hands are really difficult to beat. Another good thing is the fact that no power is needed to use a book, apart for some light source (big all mighty sun comes to mind) and you have all you need to get the experience that you want.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Our Failing Society

Every intelligent person knows that a good education is one of the pillars of a well developed society. For centuries, the greatest powers of the world had relied on their brightest members to fulfill their plans. With recent example like China and India; and old ones like Mesopotamia, Greece or the Roman Empire, education has been key to the development and subsequent achievement of greatness. Let me explain myself: There is a direct relation between education (higher education) and socio-economical well being; period. What's next, is what's going on with our society right know.

With the economy in the tank, and people going crazy killing each other, figuratively and literally, to secure their income and "well being"; people that still are able to think are scrambling for solutions. Lets not start to talk about the quality of living, but it seems that all the solutions revolve around job creation, more government bailouts (to corporation and to the people), more security (enforcing the rule of law) and more of the peace and love thing. But what about education? Do they forget the kind of power that enlighten minds have?

Friday, March 11, 2011

iPad 2, Today is the day!

Finally, is Here! After a long and anguishing wait...(what?), the iPad 2 is finally here. Version 2.0 of what Apple Inc. calls their magical device, would be on sale today starting at 5 pm at your local Apple reseller of choice and at 1am PST at apple.com. But the question remains, why should I buy the iPad 2? Is it a revolutionary upgrade? Does this means that the iPad that I got for Christmas is already outdated? Well, the simple answer is maybe.

If you care for having the newest gadget or are as fan of Apple products as a Clipper fan, man, you really need an iPad 2. But for the rest of us, here is the important, new stuff:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

AI Controlled Workforce

We have been able to buy the AR Drone for some time now, mostly as a toy; but a team of students from the University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab did something useful and quite interesting with it. With the help of AI, some mods and others tricks, they simulated a swarm of insects building a structure.  Maybe we can say that the "future" is coming, finally. Video after the break.

A Serious Computer for Your Pocket

A couple of weeks ago, at CES, Motorola showed the world their next iteration of the smartphone: Atrix 4G. With its dual-core CPU, capable of running both the phone OS and the individual OS/UIs for different devices (connected via dock), it would be easy to say that the era of the supercomputer in our pockets is approaching fast. Latest promo video after break.