GeekSpeak for 2006-09-09

GeekSpeak Banter with the Geeks

Geeks Lyle Troxell, Sean Cleveland, Drew Meyer, and Miles Elam take your calls and prove the age-old adage, “Keep your friends close and your geek friends even closer.”


! Phone Numbers for Real People
Where do you go to get the secret phone numbers and phone commands of companies to get a real, live operator on the line? There are two services available:

! Microsoft Photosynth

Microsoft is hard at work on a project it calls Photosynth. No release date has been announced. What makes this app so revolutionary and why will it change the way people view their photo colections or even the way they take photos? It incorporates new technology whereby it can take a collection of photos, analyze them, and model them into a 3D virtual scene, placing each photo in their perspective-correct position. This allows users to see where one photo was taken in relation to another photo!

Photosynth allows users to move around in the 3D world, viewing scenes from any angleóregardless of how the photos were taken. Each photo is processed by computer vision algorithms to extract hundreds of distinctive features, like the corner of a window frame or a doorhandle. Then, photos that share features are linked together in a web. When a featureís found in multiple images, its 3D position can be calculated. Itís similar to depth perceptionówhat your brain does to perceive the 3D positions of things in your field of view based on their images in both of your eyes.

! Google News Archive

Google has made a new [News Archive|http://news.google.com/archivesearch] Search available. It provides an easy way to search and explore historical archives. In addition to helping you search, News archive search can automatically create timelines which show selected results from relevant time periods.

! Vista Getting Closer

Microsoft has released Vista Release Candidate 1 (RC1) and is making it available to EVERYONE. The download is 2.6GB in size for the 32-bit version and 3.7GB for the 64-bit version. Microsoft could pull the plug on this at anytime, so it is recommended that you begin downloading it sooner rather than later. You can register to get a product key from the following link (This is not available yet, and will most likely appear later this week.)
You can [download Windows Vista Release Candidate 1|http://download.windowsvista.com/preview/rc1/en/download.htm]

You can try out Vista RC1 for free until June 1, 2007. After that, youíll have to pay for one of four versions of Windows Vista (full/upgrade):

! AmazonUnbox
Amazon has released their video download serviced. It is called Unbox. The [Unbox Video Service|http://unbox.amazon.com/] will allow people to both buy or rent digital videos including full-length movies, TV shows, and sports events. If purchased, the video will be transferred directly to the computer where it will stay. If rented, the video will eventually expire.

! Apple Core 2 Duo

Apple has finally added the Core 2 Duo chip to their entire iMac family. The version of the Core 2 Duo used is the mobile version codenamed Merom and not the desktop version codenamed Conroe. Apple has also lowered prices; the base-level iMac now comes with a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo and costs $999. The biggest change is the new 24" iMac, which is being called the iMac HD. The 24" screen is up to 40% brighter and features a 1920×1200 resolution that also supports native 1080p HD content (with no scaling!) All new Core 2 Duo iMacs are available now although the base model with the new 24" screen requires “2-4 business days” for shipping.
The New iMacs. Faster. Bigger. Brighter.

Extra: [Mac Mini speed bumps|http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/pcs/looky-here-mac-minis-get-speed-bump-too-198807.php] from 1.5 to 1.66 and 1.66 to 1.83GHZ