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CNET Tech Review
Cat videos? On YouTube? GTHO!This week on the CNET Tech Review, the Samsung Epic 4G has arrived; our favorite pick up and play iPhone games; and of course, the Top 5 cat videos on YouTube...what else?
This weekend on the CNET tech review Samsung's latest 4G phone is truly Epic, a new digital pen that can read your hand writing, we've got an external hard drive that's fire and waterproof, and we countdown the top 5 Cat Videos on you tube. It's all coming up right now. -High everyone, I'm Molly Wood and welcome to the CNET Tech review where we collect our hottest videos of the week and tell you what's good and what's bad in the world of tech plus we offer some unique tech wisdom in the form of the bottom line. Let's start with the good. Sprint's 4G service is still being rolled out around the country, but you don't have to wait to enjoy the many fancy features of a 4G phone or spent a ton of cash to do so. Take a look at the Epic 4G from Samsung -I'm Nicole Lee, Senior Associate editor for CNET.com, and this is a first look of a Samsung Epic 4G for Sprint Nextel. The Epic 4G has the most features and it is most advanced phone out of the Samsung galaxy as family. As you can see here, it is the only galaxy as phone to have a physical keyboard, 4G, and a front-facing camera. It is also the only one with a flash LED on the back. The overall design is very solid. It feels very [unk] in the and it's a quite enlarged footprint that's because on the front it has a very generous and very colorful 4-inch Super AMOLED touch screen display. It is absolutely stunning, vibrant, and brilliant. It has a very wide-viewing angle and it has higher contrast ratios when compared to ordinary LCD displays. Aside from youtube and your own videos, the Samsung Epic 4G will also have access to Samsung's upcoming media hub that lets you rent and purchase movies, TV shows, and other content. We don't know yet who the content partners are, however. The Epic 4G is also the only one where you can download media hub content via Wi-Fi as well as 4G. Like the other galaxy S phones, the epic 4G comes with the new TouchWiz 3.0 interface. This includes widgets like Feeds & Updates for all your social networking content Buddies Now, which is like a favorite list for all your contacts. It's has scrolling menu like with other Android phones. You get a great view with lateral panels. The phone slides up to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard, which we like a lot. It spreads out evenly across phone, thanks to phone's large size. We really appreciate the physical keys for the usual Android controls on the side here as an alternative to touch sensitive controls under the display. The overall keyboard is really nice and tactile and is really one of the best keyboards we've every tried. That's it. The virtual keyboard is great too especially with swipe. There is a 5.0 mega pixel camera on the back, which takes great photos especially with the LED flash. The Epic 4G comes with Android 2.1, which of course brings the usual Google features like G-mail and Google maps. The Epic 4G is also upgradable to Andriod 2.2 in the future. Other features of the phone include Wi-Fi EV-DO Rev. A for 3G and 4G WiMax are available. As we said, there's a front-facing camera on the front here, so you can use it with quick and fring calling services. Other services on the phone include Sprint services Sprint Zone, Nascar and more. The Epic 4G also has 1GHz Hummingbird processor, which keeps it running along very smoothly. You will also be able to use the smart phone as a mobile Hub spot, 3G or 4G for up to 5 devices. The Epic 4G is available for $250 of a new 2-year service agreement and after a $100 mailing [unk]. Like the EVO 4G, however, there is a $10 extra fee for the data plan. That $10 extra gives you 4G access as well as excess to premium data services. I'm Nicole Lee. This has been first look at the Samsung Epic 4G. -Yeah, it is kind of bulky, but that giant slide-out keyboard is huge and therefore awesome. I think I love that phone actually to an epic degree. Next up, we've got a pen. Yes a pen, the kind you write with, also the kind that talks to you and puts all your notes on internet. Here's Donald Bell with the Livescribe Echo -Hey, I'm Donald Bell and today we're taking a first look at the Echo Smart pen from Livescribe. The pen comes in a 4GB version for $169 and an 8GB model for $199. You get the pen, an ink refill, 2 pen caps, a USB cable, and pad of special paper that's required to make it work. So, why spend up to $200 on a glorified ball point pen. Well, the Echo has 3 ingredients that make it special. There is a microphone for recording audio, a speaker for playing back recordings, and a camera hidden in the tip that captures you pen movements. You pair it up with the special paper and you have the ability to take notes and record sound at the same time. It could be a college lecture or an interview, or maybe just like a brainstorm and doodle at the same time. So, here's the magic trick. When it's time to review your notes, the time line of the audio recording is sync to what you wrote down. So, this top section and the audio from the moment plays back through the speaker or the standard headphone jack on the top. -you take notes, sound, it's really for lectures. -A USB port is also on the top of the pen that you can use to sync you notes and recordings back to any Mac or PC. You will need to download free Livescribe desktop software to make it work, but then you can export notes as AAC audio an image file, PDF, or as Pencast file. You also have the option of uploading the Pencast online locker where it can be shared online or embedded into a web page. The same software also allows you to download and install applications that run on the pen such as dictionaries, games, and travel phrases for different languages. Overall, the Echo Smart Pen is very impressive. It perfectly tracts all our notes and smart enough to know when you start a new page or when you write down a new note while listening back to a recording. Is there a catch? Well, you do have to use the special paper, which you can print yourself on a colored printer or buy for around 5 dollars notebook. The cool thing about the notebook though is that you get all these little shortcut controls for the pen and recording settings, a calculator, and quick buttons for record, pause, stop, skip, audio bookmarks, a timeline bar for jumping around the audio, playback speed, and volume control. The pen refills are unique too. It's just regular ink, But the cartridges are shorter than average, so they run out a little faster. A 5 pack of refills is like $5, so no biggy, but they can inconvenient to track down you are on a when you are in a pinch. Also, you have to keep an eye on battery life. Mileage will vary depending on how high you have the display brightness and recording quality settings, but if you use this on a daily basis, expect to charge it daily as well. Finally, remember, it's a pen. People tend to lose pens. The Echo can be personalized for the name and the content can be password protected, but ultimately, if you tend to lose pens, this isn't the way to go. That's said on its merits as a pen alone. The Echo should satisfy those who are picky about those kinds of things. Compared with the first-generation model called the Pulse, the Echo is lighter, more taper design and better balance and a flat edge that keeps it from rolling off tables. So, that's the Echo Smart Pen, a genuinely noble and useful approach for capturing and reviewing audio and handwritten notes. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell -Now, if it only came with a disposable pen cap for you to chew on in class. I don't wanna get slobber in my USB port. Storage prices have been plummeting recently with terabyte hard drives going for less than a hundred bucks. In fact, the data on your drive is probably more valuable than the drive itself. So, it might be worse, spending a few extra bucks to protect your files -Backing up is important, however, in case of fire flap most of the backup drives won't survive unless you have what I'm gonna show you today. Hello, my name is Dong Ngo and this is the SoloPro, fireproof, and waterproof external hard drive from ioSafe. The ioSafe SoloPro is not an external hard drive for everyone. It's huge and it's very heavy, about 15 times the weight of a normal external hard drive. It's also comparatively expensive costing around $250 for 1 terabyte or $420 for 2 TB. To make up for this, it comes with latest protection designed to guarantee the survival your data even under extreme heat and/or submersion. According to ioSafe, the SoloPro can protect that data against extreme heat up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit and/or submersion down to 10 feet for 3 days. Why we don't have the resources to test the drive in extreme condition. I would say I have shown many live demonstrations to prove the effectiveness of the disaster-proof drives. Other than that, this is a simple sort solution. On the front of the Solo, it has a large blue LED light that showed the power status. This light flashes to show the hard drives activities. On the back, it was one USB 2 triangular port, a small ventilation fan, and an on and off switch. You can also buy a SoloPRO with an eSATA port, but then you have to lose the USB 2 triangular port. Unfortunately, there's no option to have a more a 1 type connection. The SoloPRO comes with just 1 USB 2 triangular cable and nothing else. However, it's shipped with 1-year warrantee that includes ioSafe data recovery service, which takes care of getting the data back for you in case of disaster. In case the hard drive is so badly damaged by fire or water and an expensive forensic recovery service is required. The warranty, we cover up to $25,000 of cost. Customer can also upgrade to a 3 or 5 year warranty for $50 or $100, respectively. For more information, check out the in-depth review at CNET.com. Once again, my name is Dong Ngo and this has been the first look at the ioSafe SoloPRO fireproof, waterproof external hard drive from ioSafe. -Oh Dong, I'm disappointed. I really want to see you break out your plane thrower, release, pop that baby in a fish tank, come on. Right now, it's time to check in with Jason Parker to find out, which of the up team is topping is this week. - Hello and welcome to Tap that App. I'm Jason Parker and this is the show where we cover the hottest apps in the mobile space. This week we're showing off a trifecta of iPhone games that are fun, challenging, and easy to pick-up-and-play (and no, we're not talking about Angry Birds). No, this week, we're talking about Skee Ball, Flick Kick Football, and StarDunk. To get started, Skee Ball has been in the iTunes App Store for more than a year now, but remains an excellent way to waste a little time wherever you are. Just like arcades of old, the object of Skeeball is to flick 10 balls down an alley and try to land them in cups with different score values. Hitting lit cups add to your bonus and when you're done you can even spend your winnings on cheap trinkets and other items in the loot shop. Skeeball is a lot of fun and it's 99 cents at the iTunes app store. If Skeeball is not your thing, check out Flick Kick Football. This game challenges you to flick a soccer ball into a goal around stationary defenders and sometimes a moving goal keeper. As you progress through the game, you'll need to hit skill shots near the edges of the goal to earn extra lives so missed shots won't end your game. You can even do curved shots to kick the ball around defenders with a curved swipe of your finger. Flick Football is surprisingly fun and challenging the more you play and you can get it at the app store for 99 cents. Our third great pick-up-and-play game is StarDunk, a basketball shooting game with an arcade twist. Shoot a basket by touching and moving your finger on the touch screen to adjust your shot trajectory, then let go to shoot. Hitting all four bars on the backboard gives you a random bonus that can make the hoop wider or let you shoot multiple balls at once. As you progress, you'll be able to unlock and experiment with different balls with unique properties to see what works best for you. Best of all, you can play online against other players in a minute-and-a-half long shootout to see who gets the high score. StarDunk has no actual slam dunks, but is definitely fun and a steal at 99 cents. To sum it up, let's face it, some iPhone games are made for those times when you need a quick time waster and each of these 3 games fit the bill nicely. If you're an iPhone user, I recommend tapping all three of these apps. That's it for this week's show. If you have any suggestions, send them to Tap That App at cnet.com. I'm Jason Parker and we'll see you next week. -I don't care what you say Jason, I love Angry Birds, but maybe these games will help tied me over until the next levels are released, come on already. Alright, it's time to take a break. I don't know about you, but I am going to use this time to hunt down some more little green peas. We'll right back with more CNET Tech review right after this. Welcome back to the CNET tech review, our weekly video digest of all things good bad we have seen here at CNET TV. Continuing with the good. Just because Apple is in a big fight with the Adobe over Flash that doesn't mean all the Adobe's products are forbidden, you can still use Photoshop on your Mac. You could edit video with Premiere if you really want to, and now Scott Stein is here to show you how to read your PDF files on you iPad. -Hi I'm Scott Stein senior associate editor at cnet.com, and we're gonna show you how to get PDF books on to your iPad. Now, the reason we're bringing this up is because the iPads are fantastic e-reader. There are numbered of e-reading software options on there, iBooks, the Kindle, Barnes & Nobles app and more in fact. And they're all compelling and they're all great except for there's a question of unless you purchase them, how do you get stuff onto it from outside. Well, you may already know that if you have an ePub file, but what if it's something else; in fact, what if it's something that you've written. I'm a writer and other people may be, too, or you may have documents you wanna bring on there and glance at as well. Well for that, PDFs are much easier way to use the e-reader functions on your iPad than ePub. While there some other great PDF readers as well including Good Reader for 99 cents, a very diverse program that allows you to also import directly from the web or even from Google Docs. It can go onto the file server and pull the documents down. iBooks is a lot easier in the sense that it's built in already and it actually looks really nice and pretty. We'll admit it. Step one and maybe the most challenging step is actually saving your document as a PDF. Now, if you haven't done it before you maybe confused as to how exactly to do it. On a Mac, it's that simple. You actually go from the print menu and you can actually save as a PDF from there from any document or any program that you're working on. And it's actually very simple. A lot of modern word processors can save as PDFs, screen writing programs and Google Docs can save automatically as a PDF as well. From there, we find that the easiest way to do it is just e-mail the document to yourself. We just downloaded a free ePub. There are a lot out there. There is David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, a 3.9 megabyte file. Once it's downloaded, you can click on it and it opens a preview within e-mail. Now at the top, there's an open in button. You just tap that and it actually shows you all of the apps that can read that. We'll pick iBooks and it imports it really quickly. And then it adds to a library. That's a parallel library to what's on your book collection on your iBooks app. Now the difference here is that you can't really change the font sizes, and as you notice, there's no pretty page turning. You're gonna have to deal with just side by side scrolling if you can bear it. As far as chapters, they're really aren't that either. If you press the chapter button at the top, it actually brings up all the pages of the PDF which can get a little annoying if you're dealing with a tremendously large file. It's not the greatest for large files if you're reading a novel on that regard although you can search the text within the PDF. Another nice thing about PDF files is they'll retain all of their color graphics as well. So if you have big brochures or digital magazines, those work great too. Now if you don't wanna e-mail it to yourself, you can always simply do it from iTunes the same way you would with ePub or other files. When you connect it within iTunes, you can choose to add it. Within iTunes under the documents area, you can add the files that you want, so that's it. We would love if you able to take notes within the PDFs or be able to do some editing as well. Obviously, that's not available with current technology. But hopefully in the future, that type of cloud document support will become easier and easier to use on devices like the iPad. But for now it's a more diverse e-reader than you think and it's really easy to get files from your e-mail if you're using PDFs. I'm Scott Stein and this how to read PDF ebooks on your iPad. -I didn't say it was gonna be pretty like Scott says you probably won't want read long PDF novels and iBook, but a little pamphlet might be okay. Okay folks get ready for the bad. Earlier, Nicole Lee showed us a phone that exemplifies all that is good in the world of Android phones, but while Samsung's 4G may be Epic, Sony Ericson XPERIA X10 is decidedly less so. Take it way Kent. -Hi I'm Kent German, Senior Editor here at cnet.com. Today, we're gonna take a fist look of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10. This is the X10 for the AT&T service. It does improve a couple. One of the biggest problems we had on the original X10. One is that the virtual keyboard now works in landscape motocross all applications. You also have a cheaper price. You can try 149 with a 2-year service rather than $700 and the date of service is one period. That still doesn't mean we love it, but there are couple of things we had a problem with. One is that it only one Android 1.6, so there's so many devices coming out now with 2.0, 2.1, 2.2. Also, there's that Timescape applications and that's similar to Motoblur since it takes all of your e-mails, text message, multimedia, facebook status updates, Tweets rolls them into 1 steady stream information that sort resembles deck of cards. I like the idea most of the times behind these applications, but But I think the Timescape can be a little overwhelming as there's a lot of information being thrown at you when originally came out it was one of the largest smart phones around. It's great to have that amount of room on a touchscreen phone. It really gets around and maneuver things that you want, get to he menus. You can type easily, so really like that. You do get 3 home screens. You can populate in the normal android fashion with folders, with Widgets, with short cuts, anything you like. It only supports 65,536 colors, so things look okay, but they just could look a little better. On the top of the phone, there's a 3.5 mm headset check, the power control, and the micro USB port. On the side, you'll see there's a volume rocker and we also have a camera shutter. On the back, there's a lens for the 8.1 mega pixel camera and behind the battery cover is the micro SD slot. We don't think that's the best location, but as long as it's micro SD and not Sony's memory stick micro proprietary format, we're gonna let slide on this point. Now X10 does have Sony Ericsson's user interface experience. That's their customize interface for Android devices, a little bit divided on this customize interfaces, but overall certainly attractive, certainly nice and just Sony Ericsson's effort to put a stamp on the phone. Features on the phone are pretty planned out fully. You have the 8.1 mega pixel camera, video. You can get messaging, you can get e-mail. If you want more work e-mail setup for outlook, you'll have go through to a separate e-mail applications. I really love that idea, but at least it's on the phone. I think it's a good entry for Sony Ericsson first Android phone, but with that 1.6 OS on there it's gonna look dated. I'm Kim German and this is Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10. Only Android OS 1.6 and no ability to upgrade, why bother and what a let down. This phone had tons of buzz when it was announced. Alright, now, it is time for this week's bottom line. Like most of you out there, we like to spend at least a couple of hours a day watching cat videos on you tube. Unlike the rest of you, we are able to turn that into work, presenting the top 5 cat videos of all times. -You know, they tell me that youtube gets 1500 new cat videos posted every day. So, I'm glad to hear that because that means I'm not the only one who's crazy. I'm Brian Cooley with the CNET top 5, so shameless, I almost feel guilty about it, almost. It's top 5 Cat videos. We hunted down the top videos of cats, taking out all the compilations and anything that looked remotely like cat torment because we don't roll that way and came with these 5 that have the monster traffic. Coming at #5, it's the Ninja Cat with 12.6 million views. Short, simple & hilarious. This is that video where the cat keeps getting closer to the camera without ever seeming to move. Brian Tong has the same disturbing habit. #4, Nora, the piano playing cat. 18 million views. The London Times describes her music as somewhere between Phillip Glass and free jazz. Yeah, very free. Video of her playing has been studied in scholarly circles, shown on almost every TV talk show and news web site and her playing is featured on a CD. And like all great prodigy stories, hers began with humble roots, a shelter rescue from New Jersey. #3 Kitten Fight with puking, 18.5 million views. This transcendent video is actually a set of important life lessons: First, it's about establishing limits on one's behavior through healthy conflict. Second, it shows that no matter how engaged you are in said conflict that shit stops when someone pukes. #2 Two Talking Cats. 30.5 million views. OK, these cats are talking to each other. Right? Just like I might do with you. I mean look. And then they groom each other, which I don't want to do with you. By the way, before we get to #1, it's not a mystery why there are so many cat videos out there. Cats are the most popular companion animal. Scientific American says there are 600 million living among humans. The Egyptians probably got all this started a relatively short 3,600 years ago. And if you're going to follow their lead, I trust you'll adopt from a shelter. -Oh, you look like a little hanky. -OK, I know you're sitting there, in that cat sweater you knitted, covered in fur, itching to know the world's #1 most popular cat video and this is it. The Mean Kitty Song with 36 million views. You know this one with Sparta the cat, came back in 2007? The music is disturbingly like Men At Work, I get a broad sense of unease watching that guy with his faux hawk and camo pants, but can't mess with 36 million and that is one cute kitty! I'm Brian Cooley; I have 7 cats, and we'll see you next time for another top 5. -The Bottom Line this week, Cooley loves his cats and that is not news, actually so does the rest of the world apparently, although as cute as they are, I've always been partial to this little guy. Oh, by the way, nice shirt Cooley. If that thing is gonna get on you [unk] and that's out show for this week. Join us next time when we'll be back with the brand new tech review until then. There are tons of great videos available everyday at cnettv.com. I'll see you next time and thank you for watching.