Items of Note:
We’re very happy to welcome Gozer back to the show! It’s great that he’s back with us to geek out!
Don’t forget that we’re bringing back the live-stream & chat room! Since Gozer’s a little camera shy, we’ll be streaming on Monday evenings at 8:30 PM Eastern with Aaron & Allen.
The Geekcast is proud to announce we have a new sponsor: Audible.com! If you’re into audio books, be sure to use our link to check them out!
Back to the Future rant about Nextround.net stupidity – http://nextround.net/2010/05/25/back-to-the-future-mall-sign-ftw/
Geek This Week:
Aaron: Toyota Prius with all the tech goodies! Bluetooth, Nav, touchscreen, hacks & more!
Gozer: Plants vs. Zombies & Super Mario Galaxy 2
Gave in an bought Red Dead Redemption and Alan Wake. Ugh i am pathetic.
Aaron & Gozer: 24 roundtable
Tech and Gaming News:
WWDC: “You Won’t Be Dissappointed”
After the big news from Google last week, MacRumors reader Bryan Websteremailed Steve Jobs: “I hope you have some good WWDC announcements to blow [Google] out of the water”.
To this, Steve Jobs reportedly replied “You won’t be disappointed”. While it’s always hard to authenticate emails sent to and from 3rd parties, Bryan did post headers as an offering of proof.
Apple is expected to be making new product announcements at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference from June 7th-11th. In particular, everyone expects that the next generation iPhone will be introduced at that event. Other rumors have suggested that we may see the iPhone with Verizon this year, though it may not come as early as June.
Software Firm Estimates Google Pac-Man Resulted in $120 Million in Lost Productivity
Rescue Time estimates that 4.8 million additional hours were spent across Google’s user base.
Google’s tribute to Pac-Man turned out to be the perfect distraction for workers across the country.
In a report by the BBC, software firm Rescue Time said that the playable logo boosted search times from 11 seconds to 36 seconds in its pool of 11,000 users.
That might not seem like much, but by extrapolating that figure up to the 504 million unique users who visit Google every day, that figure jumps to some 4.8 million hours. According to Rescue Time, that equates to roughly $120 million in lost productivity.
Google created the game by reworking their logo into a playable Pac-Man course. It was possible to play by clicking the “insert coin” button, but Rescue Time believes that only a minority of players realized that was possible.
Chrome 5 released, browser exits beta for Mac and Linux
By Ryan Paul | Last updated a day ago
Google announced today the official release of Chrome 5 for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. It arrives less than a month after Google made the new version available through its beta channel. This release reflects Chrome’s rapid pace of evolution and Google’s strong commitment to advancing Web technology and performance.
Google has enhanced the browser’s cloud synchronization framework, extending it to support browser preferences and themes in addition to bookmarks. Chrome 5 ships with the Flash plugin included by default, an addition that was made possible by Google’s recent partnership with Adobe.
This release marks a significant milestone for the browser, because it is the first official stable release of Chrome for Mac and Linux. Chrome was previously only distributed for those platforms in the form of beta and developer builds.
“Since last December, we’ve been chipping away at bugs and building in new features to get the Mac and Linux versions caught up with the Windows version, and now we can finally announce that the Mac and Linux versions are ready for prime time,” Google said in a statement on its official blog.
When Chrome was first launched in 2008, it was only available for the Windows operating system. Mac and Linux versions emerged the following year and quickly advanced towards parity with the Windows version.
Although building Chrome for Linux posed some early challenges, the developers were able to deliver an impressive port with native theming and a complete feature set. Chrome development now appears to be largely in sync across all three of the major operating systems. It seems likely that we can expect to see simultaneous cross-platform releases for subsequent versions.
Chrome and the open source Chromium variant are rapidly gaining traction on Linux and Mac OS X. Statistics from popular Linux websites such as OMG!Ubuntu show that Chrome and Chromium are collectively approaching almost 40 percent market share among Linux enthusiasts.
Chrome was a hot topic at the recent Ubuntu Developer Summit, which I attended earlier this month. The Ubuntu developer community elected to include Chromium as the default browser in the next major version of the Ubuntu Netbook Edition. The browser’s excellent performance and highly responsive user interface make it an obvious choice for netbooks, but it won’t displace Firefox yet as the default browser in the conventional desktop version of Ubuntu. One of Google’s Chrome engineers attended the event and participated in the discussions.
Google intends to use Chrome as the centerpiece of its own Linux-based mobile operating system, which could potentially start appearing on devices later this year. The idea of a browser-centric Chrome OS seemed a bit far-fetched when it was first announced last year, but it’s starting to look a lot more attractive as said browser matures.
UK Therapist: Two Hours of Gaming is Equivalent to a Line of Cocaine
Two hours of video games is equivalent to a line of cocaine, UK conselor and therapist Steve Pope estimates in a breathless report on gaming addiction recently published by the Lancashire Evening Post (via GamePolitics).
“Spending two hours on a game station is equivalent to taking a line of cocaine in the high it produces,” Pope says. “It is the fastest growing addiction in the country and this is affecting young people mentally, as well as leading to physical problems such as obesity.”
Pope says he deals with teens who skip school and steal to play games, and that some play for as long as 24 hours straight. He also suggested that game addiction can “spiral into violence” when players “turn their fantasy games into reality.”
Test a Geek: This segment will return on a future episode of The Geekcast
How To: This segment will return on a future episode of The Geekcast
Ask A Geek: This segment will return on a future episode of The Geekcast
Open Source Software: This segment will return on a future episode of The Geekcast
Hack: This segment will return on a future episode of The Geekcast
The Geek’s View: What Mice We Use
The newest mice reviewed
Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX ($80)
Of all the mice we have played with, the Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX stole our hearts most consistently. Most travel mice are too small to use comfortably as an everyday mouse and typically lack the extra controls of full-size mice, but not the Anywhere MX. It’s wireless, about the size of an BlackBerry Curve, and perfectly symmetrical for both righties and lefties. Saying it’s comfortable to use is an understatement if we’ve ever heard one – its wider body fit snugly in our hand, and it felt like its grippy coating melded to our fingers after a week or so.
The MX has a scroll wheel between its right and left clickers with a shortcut button below them, as well as up and down arrows on its left side. We had no issues configuring all those on a Mac or PC with Logitech’s Control Center software. Hands-down, our favorite part of the mouse is the shortcut button, which is preset to activate Windows Areo or Apple Expose. We also love that the scroll wheel can be pushed in to change from a click-to-click scrolling to hyper-fast scrolling, but the latter option doesn’t have quite enough precision. The Anywhere MX also has Logitech’s Darkfield laser tracking technology, which allows it to be usable on most surfaces. That’s no lie, either – it worked just fine on carpet, a glass table, and on rough title flooring.
Microsoft Explorer Mouse ($79.95)
Microsoft was first to market with the BlueTrack system that enables the Explorer mouse to work on any surface, but Logitech wasn’t far behind with its similar Darkfield tech. Still, the Explorer is a standout option, and we’re particularly big fans of its glowing blue aura and inductive charging base (honestly, who has fresh AAs lying around when you need them?). We happen to have small hands, so we didn’t find Explorer’s wider body to be all that comfortable, but when we lent it to a friend with larger mitts he didn’t complain about the ergonomics.
The Explorer is Mac and PC compatible, and there were no hiccups configuring the two narrow buttons on the left edge and the scroll button. But we’re not fans of the mushy scroll wheel — it really should have a clicking option for easier control. On a mouse of this size we’d also expect a few more buttons; we’re not talking 16 more buttons like the WarMouse Meta, but just a few more so you have the option for a few shortcuts. Despite those drawbacks, the Explorer’s still a solid choice for those that are looking for living room or kitchen mouse, as it did work on virtually every surface we slid it on.
MadCatz Eclipse TouchMouse ($59.99)
We won’t lie: when we set up the Eclipse TouchMouse we didn’t know what to make of it. It’s crazily shaped, has a touchpad in place of the scroll wheel, and it look more like a lawn chair than anything else. However, the Eclipse is more comfortable than it looks, although we wish it were raised higher off the ground — like the Magic Mouse, it’s a bit too flat for our liking.
There isn’t much of a learning curve when it comes to using the touchpad. When we paired the mouse with our MacBook Pro it recognized the pad as the scroll wheel, and dragging a finger up or down was quite responsive. We couldn’t get the other TouchGestures working on a Mac, but when we connected it to a Lenovo ThinkPad we were able to swipe left and right on the pad to move forward and backwards in Internet Explorer. Not a bad trick, but oddly, the basic sensitivity on the mouse had to be turned all the way down to achieve normal speeds on both the Mac and the ThinkPad. Unlike the Logitech and Microsoft, the Eclipse can’t sail over carpet, but it held its own on a mirrored table.
Razer Imperator ($79.99)
We couldn’t round up a slew of new mice without including a corded, gaming option. Razer’s long stood out amongst gaming peripheral manufacturers, and the Imperator with its 5600dpi sensor and blue LED accents is what you want to have in hand when tearing through an MMO or first-person shooter. The Imperator really stands out in ergonomics – well, that’s if you’re a righty. Size-wise it’s just right – not too thin or too wide, and the rubber top and scroll wheel feel pretty great in hand. The side grip is covered in a glossy plastic, and though it becomes seeped in fingerprints, it’s still a cozy place to rest your right thumb. There are two vertical shortcut buttons on its face, and another duo on the left side that can actually be slid forward or backward with a switch on the bottom.
It’s annoying that the Imperator doesn’t come with drivers, but it’s easy enough to download them from its support site. (Quick note: no matter how much mice may evolve, we’re convinced that mouse drivers will always be more frustrating than they really should be.) Either way, on both Mac and PC laptops we were able to easily adjust the Imperator’s sensitivity and acceleration, as well as configure the five shortcut buttons. Sure, the Imperator was built for gamers, but it happens to be one of our top picks when it comes to good old fashioned comfort.
Apple Magic Mouse ($69.00)
It seems only appropriate to close with Apple’s Magic Mouse, as there’s no other mouse out there that’s such a hybrid of old and new desktop navigation ideas. When it first launched, we were impressed by its thin, minimalist and unified design, but after a few months of use, most of the Engadget staff agrees that it’s just too flat and not nearly ergonomic enough for general use. And that flatness is even more apparent when it comes to using those unique multitouch gestures; we always want to have our finger propped up higher to scroll rather than keep it resting flat on the mouse.
That being said, we do really like the responsiveness of the gestures, especially the single-finger scrolling and two finger forward / backward swiping. If anything our major issue is that Apple’s mouse doesn’t allow for enough gestures. But there’s always BetterTouchTool, a free program that enables almost anything you want, including the ability to customize three finger Expose, and single / two-finger tapping.
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