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CNET Tech Review
CNET Tech Review
Facebook trust issues
>> This week on the CNET Tech Review Facebook faces the music, a brand new color e-book reader, the Sony Dash brings Twitter to the bedroom, and yes, this is the Android you're looking for. It's all coming up right now.
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Hey everyone, I'm Molly Wood and welcome to the CNET Tech Review, the show where we bring you the good, the bad, and the bottom line in tech videos from the week. Let's get started with the good stuff.
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Now, I love my Droid, which finally got the Android 2.1 update, but even so, I'll be the first to admit that the Android OS has plenty of room for improvement, so I've been anxiously awaiting 2.2, and here's Jessica Dolcourt to tell you all about it.
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>> Google has announced some major changes coming up in version 2.2 of its Android operating system. I'm Jessica Dolcourt from CNET. Let's take a look at some of the new features on an Android running version 2.2. First, you'll notice that the home screen has new dedicated shortcuts for the phone, application launcher, and the web, plus new navigation soft keys and tips widget that you can easily delete if you decide you don't want it. Android 2.2 is noticeably faster than version 2.1 in all that you do on the phone, thanks to some new chip architecture. The browser also got a kick in the pants on the speed front. Android 2.2 phones will also support Adobe flash player 10.1, which means thought you'll be able to stream videos and play flash games directly from your browser. It works best on sites that are optimized for mobile phone access; otherwise you may not be able to pan around. Tethering is another major addition, which means that when you plug the phone into your laptop, you can use the phones data service to power the Internet. Some Android phones, like the Nexus One, can be turned into a Wi-Fi hotspot that can power up to eight different devices. Google has revised the cameras menu system with a layout that lets you select camera options with just one hand. The LED flash has also now been enabled for video mode so that you can film in low light settings. Android 2.2 has multilingual keyboard options that let you switch among keyboard languages when you slide your finger along the spacebar. There are even more features coming to Android 2.2, like a quick search box to search for apps and data within apps, an option to update all apps in your market at once, better integration with Microsoft exchange that includes a global address book, support for the exchange calendar, and remote wiping for company issued phones. There will also soon be a reworked online version of the Android Market that will let you automatically load things like apps, music, and maps from the web to your phone. Mobile carriers will upgrade the Android 2.2 operating system over the air at different times, so if you've got an Android phone, keep your eyes peeled. I'm Jessica Dolcourt, and you've been looking at the version 2.2 operating system for Android phones.
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>> I've started a personal countdown to when Verizon is going to give me the pro, yo. Don't make storm your offices, Verizon. I need that one-click app update thing, now. Of course, once you get the update, you might as well stock up on some new games, too. Here's Brian Tong with some of his favorite free games for Android phones.
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>> Oh, welcome to Tap that App. I'm Brian Tong and this is the show where we cover the hottest apps in the mobile space. Now this week, we're showing games for Android. Earlier, we did a 99 cent games for the iPhone platform, but there really aren't many 99 cent games in the Android Marketplace, so we're going to find out the best free games that are more than just demos for paid games. And honestly, the free games are probably the ones that will work the best across all the different Android phones out there. So first up is Bonsai Blast. The idea here is to shoot colored bubbles at a moving chain. When you get three in a row, it breaks the chain, and you can move the shooter around. There's other bonuses, and it's a good one. Now, we loved Doodle Jump on the iPhone, but it's $3.99 on Android, so check out the free game called Abduction. You're a cow. Your herd has been abducted, and using the accelerometer, it's up to you to reach the top where a UFO has taken your friends. Now, if you want a retro old-school feel, check out Radiant. This game pays homage to Space Invaders. You have power ups and you have asteroids and space aliens to destroy, and it's a smooth running time waster. There's also Bejeweled on Android, but it has performance issues, and it's $4.99, so check out Jewels, which is fee. You swipe to create chains of Jewels that break, and you'll also be able to post your score to a global leader board. Now, if you want a tower defense game, you'll want to take a look at Robo Defense. The free version goes up to 10 levels, and you'll need to prevent enemies from crossing the screen the screen. Place your different defense towers down, and upgrade them as well. And finally, Paper Toss is one of our favorites, and it made it to Android. Flick paper balls into a garbage can while a fan blows at different speeds, and it's probably one of the most addicting games of this group. But if I had to choose my favorite out of the bunch, I'm probably going to have to pick radiant and Robo Defense, but all these apps are free, and that alone makes them Tap worthy. Now, if you have any apps you'd like us to check out, or a theme for a show, send us your suggestions to Tap that App at CNET.com. I'm Brian Tong, and we'll see you guys next time.
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>> Okay, so maybe the iPhone is still wining the games war, but hey, they're free. Moving on Asus, the inventor of the netbook, has a new EPC, and this one actually has some cool tricks, like HD video on a netbook. Check it out.
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>> I'm Dan Ackerman, and we are here with the Asus EPC 1005 PR. I know what you're asking. Another EPC? Another 1005 model? What does the PR mean? I don't know what the PR means, but this guy is different from all the other EPCs we've looked at recently in two very important ways. Number one, even though it's a 10-inch screen, it's a high resolution, 1366 by 768 display. We haven't seen that on a 10-inch [inaudible] before. And it's got the Broadcom HD video accelerator chip in it, which helps you play video files and makes this much more of a multimedia machine that's not quite as good as having a version with the NVIDIA Ion, which does that and also plays some games, but there aren't a lot of NVIDIA Ion netbooks out there right now. The Broadcom chip is pretty much the only game in town most of the time. Now, if you're planning on using your netbook as a movie watching or video watching device, you're obviously going to be very interested in how this Broadcom chip works. When you're playing video files, WMV files, MOV files, whatever, from your hard drive, even 720P and 1080P ones, it seems to work pretty good. Here's an example right here. So even at full screen, it plays pretty smooth, definitely impressive for a netbook if you didn't know it had this Broadcom chip in it. Now, unfortunately, when you're trying to watch HD videos on line, whether it's through Hulu or YouTube or anything like that, that's where you run into some more trouble. Even though the latest Flash update from Adobe is supposed to work better with this Broadcom chip, it's still not quite perfect yet. Here's a 720P video file played through YouTube. So as you can see, it plays, but it's a little bit stuttery, not really a great experience overall. This is the 720P file. Regular standard resolution Flash video files play fine. So when it comes to the video playback with the Broadcom chip, you know, some good news, some not so good news there. Everyone's always promising smoother online video streaming with every Adobe Flash update and every driver update for Broadcom. Hasn't really happened yet. Other than that, this is a very standard EPC, INTEL Atom N450 Chip, one gig of RAM, Windows 7 starter. Now, usually these systems come in at around $299.00 for a very basic netbook. To upgrade to the Broadcom chip and the higher resolution 10-inch display, it's only another 100 bucks, $399.00, making this overall a pretty good deal if you're looking for a 10-inch netbook that can do just a little bit more than your average, everyday netbook. I'm Dan Ackerman, and that is the ASUS EPC 1005 PR.
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>> Wow. Seems pretty snazzy for $400.00. And yes, I said "snazzy." Now, I don't know about you, but I am not a huge fan of waking up in the morning. It has a lot to do with the sound of my alarm, although from the looks of the Sony Dash, I bet I could find something a little more appealing. And here's Donald Bell to tell us more.
>> Hey, I'm Donald Bell for CNET.com, and today we're taking a first look at the Sony Dash. This is a tabletop, touchscreen device that connects to the Internet over Wi-Fi and displays a customized mix of news, games, music and video. It's a bit of a misfit, a web device that doesn't have a web browser, and a media streamer with only a handful of options, but at $199.00, it does enough cool stuff that tech fans should take notice. The Dash is shaped like a wedge with a seven-inch resistant touch screen on the front, built-in stereo speakers, and a menu button up top along with volume controls. There's a port on the bottom for the included power adaptor, and a little door on the side here that includes a headphone output and the USB port. At its most basic level, the Dash can be set up as a bedside clock with multiple custom alarms, a detailed description of the local weather, and the ability to dim the screen completely. There's not battery backup, but there's also no power switch, which means if there's a temporary power outage, the Dash will turn back on as soon as power is restored. That said, it's a bit of an overkill as an alarm clock. Personally, I found this much more useful at the kitchen table. After installing a dozen or so apps out of the hundreds that Sony licensed from the folks at Chumby, I could use the Dash to glance at headlines, browse Tweets and Facebook updates, and see new photos on Flickr. You can't engage with the services the same way you could with a home computer, but the smaller footprint of the Dash makes it a nice, geeky distraction while you're eating breakfast. Also, the extra screen size compared to something like a Chumby makes it easier to glance info at a distance. Some other unique advantages of the Dash include the ability to stream video from Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Crackle, CBS, video podcasts, and more. You also get streaming audio option from Slacker, Pandora, and "New York Times" podcasts. As a touchscreen Pandora radio tuner alone, I think the Dash is a decent value at $199.00, although I do wish you didn't have to run audio out from the side just to connect this your home stereo because the built in speakers really don't do the sound any justice. So that's the Sony Dash, an affordable, adaptable Internet media streamer, with a relatively base screen and plenty of potential. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell.
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>> I don't know. Maybe it's not that great, but I guess if you can't get out of bed in the morning before you check your Twitter feed, then this is the alarm clock for you. This is the alarm clock for me. Okay, on that embarrassing note, it's time to take a break, but don't go anywhere. We've got tips on how to fix your Facebook privacy settings when we come back.
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>> Hey folks, Brian Cooley from CNET.com. Now, when we check the performance of a piece of tech, we check the performance of a piece of tech. If you love videos of cars in all their high-tech and high-performance glory, check out the CNET car tech video podcast, CNET.com/cartechtv.
>> Welcome back guys. I'm Molly Wood, and this is the CNET Tech Review. We've seen some pretty good stuff this week, but our luck can't hold out forever. It's time for the bad.
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Since so many smartphones have GPS built in these days, I'm starting to wonder about the value of stand-alone navigation devices. But if that's still your thing, take a look at this First Look video from Antuan Goodwin. Just don't look too closely.
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>> RightWay is back, this time with updated hardware, updated software, and significantly less NASCAR gimmickry. But does the new RightWay 550 Navigator have what it takes to go up against the heavyweights from Garmin and TomTom. I'm Antuan Goodwin. Let's take a First Look and try to find out. The RightWay 550 features much nicer hardware than the Sputter Dale, Jr. edition we tested last year. Now, it's got the same 4.3-inch color touchscreen, and the dimensions are about the same, but it's got a much more powerful Surf Atlas 4 processor and an updated SurfStar 4 GPS receiver that should be more accurate than the older SurfStar 3 and should acquire satellite lock much faster. The 550 is also running the newest version of CoPilot embedded navigation application, CoPilot 8. This application features a 3D map view with cool POI icon overlayed, the ability to add multiple destinations, text to speech, and multiple routing modes. It features a customizable interface that displays a ton of information. However, the amount of information verges on information overload and crams the map data into a smallish 3.25-inch chunk of the whole 4.3-inch screen. We think it would be very easy for a novice navigator to get lost in the bevy of maps creating options, not to mention the confusing menu structure. Then there's the underlying Windows CE operating system. That further adds a level of complexity. With competitors Garmin and TomTom making huge strides to simplify their interfaces, RightWay and CoPilot's set up seems like a bit of a blast from the past. Then again, sometimes a little bit of flexibility goes a long way, and if you like the idea of a customizable interface, then the CoPilot-powered 550 may be the device for you. To find out how well this GPS device got us from point A to point B and to learn about a few of the hidden features, check out the full review at CNET.com. Until then, I'm Antuan Goodwin with your First Look at the RightWay 550 GPS Navigator.
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>> Right way, huh? Because it sounds like the wrong -- no. I can't. Even I cannot make that joke. You can just fill in the blank. Any who, ever since it came out, many Kindle fans have been asking when we're going to see a color version, and earlier this week, Jeff Bezos of Amazon confirmed that they have no immediate plans to add a color screen. So if you're desperate to do your reading in color, and you don't want to shell out for an iPad, you might want to try out the new Novel eReader from Pandigital. The key word here, "might."
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>> Hey, I'm Donald Bell for CNET.com, and today we're taking a First Look at the Pandigital Novel. This is an eBook reader with a seven-inch color touchscreen, and a low price of $199.99. The main menu offers a view of the integrated bookstore, your own book library, and a dashboard of apps. Out of the box, you get options for music, photos, videos, as well as a web browser, calendar, and email. One of the most notable features here is the ability to browse and shop for eBooks from Barnes and Noble.com. You can connect the novel over Wi-Fi, but unlike eReaders such as the Kindle or Nook, there's no cellular capabilities built in. You also don't get the anti-glare benefits of reading an eInk display since the Novel uses a color LCD. That said, for $199.00, the Novel packs a surprising amount of features in a thin, lightweight design. On the top here, you'll notice an SD card slot that accepts up to 32 gigabytes of external memory to complement the one gigabyte of memory that's built in. You also get a headphone jack, volume control, and a USB port. When you connect this to your computer, you can transfer any eBooks or documents you have in an ePub, PDF, or HTML format. You can also load any MP3s, photos, or a handful of video formats. As an eBook reader, you can perform common tasks such as enlarging the font, highlighting text, and bookmarking. You also get a built in dictionary and a nighttime reading mode that inverts the text color. So that's the Pandigital Novel, a full color, $199.99 eBook Reader running the Barnes and Noble Bookstore. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell.
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>> Now, admittedly Donald was using a pre-release version of the Novel for his video, so hopefully it gets better before it goes on sale in June. Until then -- now, the moment you've been waiting for, this week's bottom line.
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This week Facebook finally came clean and admitted that their privacy settings left something to be desired. They'll be rolling out some changes in the next couple weeks, and Seth Rosenblatt is here now to show you how to set everything up just right.
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>> Once again, Facebook has changed its privacy settings. Unlike the last time this happened, today's improvements are a mixed bag. Hi. I'm Seth Rosenblatt for CNET, and in this how-to, I'll be showing you how to navigate the rocky shoals of Facebook's new privacy settings. First, let's take a look at the old settings because when you compare them side-by-side, it appears that the new ones are much easier to navigate. The old is a text wall of options from which you need to click through to get to even more options. The new one is a clean, easy-to-read chart, but don't let that deceive you. Not all privacy settings access here get equal weight. To get to the settings, go to the account tab on the upper right of your Facebook page, and then hit "privacy." You're new settings are automatically based on your previous ones. If you did any tweaking in the old system, they'll be imported as custom settings on the left and other on the chart. Also on the left are several preset options: everyone, friends of friends, friends only, and recommended. It's not accident that the recommended settings are the second-most permissive ones on the list. Now, you can customize your privacy by hitting the small "customize text link" below the chart. The customize page looks like the text-heavy list of dropdowns from the older settings, but it does unify all those previously disparate settings in one place. Some things are new here such as "edit album privacy" and "toggling wall posting." Everyone means that all Facebook users can see your information, while friends only is the most restrictive, except that, this being Facebook, it's not the most restrictive. If you choose customize, you can further restrict your privacy settings to either specific friends or just yourself. Still, most major privacy tweaks are now on this one page. Blocking apps is a big new feature, but Facebook decided to be a little clever with it. instead of making it as easy as possible to adjust Facebook app settings, for example, they could have just made sliders to control everything, you have to click on a text link below the main settings chart to adjust apps. It shows you what you've approved and through another text link allows you to selectively remove or block all apps. Game activity gets Facebook's standard four options, but the info option here is ridiculous. It refers to your information that your friends' apps can access through their profiles. It's a backdoor for apps that you have no control over getting at your data. No, really, really. I recommend marking all these off because if you don't, the only other way to do it is to kill all app access, which includes useful apps such as Facebook on your smartphone. Instant personalization is a new feature that lets Facebook's partner sites get at your data that you've allowed everyone to see. Thankfully, this is set by default to off for now. The public search option is slightly less customizable than it was under the old privacy settings. The old settings split Facebook search from public search engine queries, but now you can only toggle the public search engines option. The new privacy settings definitely take a step in the right direction, organizing the settings under a more comprehensible scheme. There are serious flaws, though, such as the information that's accessible through your friends, and perhaps worst of all, there's no way to block those damnable Farmville and Mafia Wars updates. So until somebody makes those games an offer they can't refuse, these are your best bets for how to manage your new Facebook privacy settings. For CNET, I'm Seth Rosenblatt.
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>> Now, hopefully these changes will help put you in more control of your info on Facebook, but the bottom line this week -- you can't trust those people. I'm sorry, you just can't. And that's our show for this week. We'll be back again next week with a whole new batch of videos, including this year's top five gifts for Father's Day. Until then, you can find more great videos at CNET TV.com. See next time and thank you for watching.
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