CNET Tech Review
We will, we will, Roku!This week on the CNET Tech Review: Google's Chrome OS beta explained; how to create your own time-lapse videos; the top Twitter trends of 2010; and Roku vs. Apple in an all-new Prizefight.
-This week on the CNET Tech Review, get a look under the hood of Google's Chrome OS, how to travel through time in your own time lapse videos, top Twitter Trends for 2010, and a set top Smack Down in this week's prize fight. It's all coming up right now. Hi 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 and offer some unique tech wisdom in the form of the bottom line. Let's get started with the good. Last week, Google gave us a glimpse of what's to come in their new Chrome OS. And as an added bonus, those in the audience got a special Google laptop, the CR48, so they could try out the OS at home, or more likely back at the office. Here's Seth Rosenblatt with his First Look at the new OS. -If you love Chrome, the browser, you're about to fall in love with Chrome, the operating system. I am Seth Rosenblatt for CNET Download.com. And in this First Look video, I'll be showing you around Google's Beta release of the Chrome OS. There's not a whole lot new here. Chrome OS feels and looks almost exactly like Chrome, the browser. The CR48, Google's demo notebook prototype of what consumers can expect in the summer of 2011, and the computer we've got here, is powerful enough that the operating system wakes from sleep instantly. Currently, Chrome OS is running the stable version 8 of the Chrome browser and that's expected to change as the browser updates. Extensions, Bookmarks, Settings- anything that you've synced in Chrome will be instantly available in Chrome OS. The Settings window has been expanded to accommodate the requirements of a full operating system. Although there doesn't seem to be a way to change the clock to 24 hours. Chrome Web Apps play a big role in the Chrome OS. The Apps become essential quick links from your new tab window to your email, your productivity suite, notepad, instant messaging, video and voice calling and other programs that most people are used to being separate from the browser. The Chrome Web Store link gets you access to even more. Another nifty feature of the operating system is the log-on procedure. When you first open the laptop, it asks for your Google username and password, and then takes a photo of you with a dedicated webcam. Chrome OS supports multiple accounts and has a Guest account option that opens the entire OS in incognito mode. Chrome's Trackless Browsing option. The CR48 laptop- the only computer that currently ships with Chrome OS comes with keys that are indelibly tied to an operating system that's also a browser. The function keys have been replaced with dedicated navigation buttons- back, forward, refresh, full screen and next window controls. Yes, you can not only open a new browser tab, but a new window as well. The Caps Lock key has been replaced by a dedicated Search key that opens a new tab and puts the cursor in the location bar. You can change this back to Caps Lock if you're really into it. There are a ton of hotkeys that have been mapped to this laptop, and they make a huge difference. Hit Control, Alt, and question mark to see an overlaid map that reveals them all including ones for taking screenshots, revealing the task manager and printing. Right now, Chrome OS is only available on the CR48 laptop. Of course, you can download and install Chrome OS's open source parent, Chromium OS on most laptops or desktops. For CNET with a First Look at Chrome OS, I'm Seth Rosenblatt.] -Not lots of people were stunned by the news that Google intends to get rid of the Caps Lock key. But never fear, holding down the Shift key with your pinky will let all those psychos out there keep shouting in all caps. Thank goodness. Of course, you may prefer the feel of a classic keyboard to some of the more modern designs you find on laptops. Or maybe it's just that old timey clickety-clack sound that you fell in love with. In [unk] case, Justin Yu has one just for you. -Hi. I'm Justin Yu, Associate Editor for CNET.com with a First Look at the Das Keyboard Model S Professional keyboard. But, before we get into the review, here's a brief history lesson on mechanical keyboards. The first IBM model M keyboard was manufactured in the 1980's and quickly became cult products with typing peers that preferred buckling spring keys as opposed to the thin laptop keys we type on today. Now, as a result, some keyboard manufacturers like Das Keyboard are making updated versions of the model M that bring back the same mechanical key switches and the click-clack sound, hence the term mechanical keyboard. The Das Keyboard Model S is finished in a glossy black base, and the frame is made of a heavy plastic to withstand a lifetime of typing. And typing on the Das Keyboard is completely new, if you've never used a mechanical keyboard before. The secret is in the mechanized switches underneath that give the right amount of resistance and springboard action that almost makes it feel like the board is helping you type. It's kind of hard to Describe, but the clicky sound also helps some people type faster than normal. And we actually noticed a slight improvement in typing speed and accuracy after using it for just 2 weeks. On the other hand, the noise may drive your co-workers and roommates crazy. So Das Keyboard also has a silent model that's exactly the same but sounds more like a clack rather than a click. Again, the $135 price tag may deter casual users that see it next to $50 models. But power typists and real nerds will find comfort and nostalgia in its performance. You can read more in our full review on CNET.com. But that's gonna do it for me. I'm Justin Yu. This is the Das Keyboard Model S Professional Mechanical Keyboard, and that feels pretty good to me. -How awesome would it be if it had a little bell that dinged whenever you got to the end of the line? What, not cool at all? Heck with you. I still want that. Next up we have a handy how-to for all you budding experimental filmmakers out there. As Antoine explains time that lapse photography is a fairly simple process. But it can be quite time consuming. Luckily he also has some suggestions for things you could do to amuse yourself while you wait. -Now, most of us have seen those cool time lapse videos that compress all those imperceptibly slow events in the short videos, seemingly speeding up time before your very eyes. But, how are they made? And more importantly, could you make one on your own? I'm Antoine Goodwin with CNET.com, and I'm here to show you how. You'll need a few things before you get started- a camera that can shoot still photos at timed intervals; we're using the GoPro HD Hero, photo editing software with a batch edit function; we're using IrfanView on the PC which can be found over on download.com, and some sort of video software to stitch your photos together. In this video, we're gonna be using Quicktime Pro, its cross platform software. Step one, you're gonna wanna familiarize yourself with your camera's interval photography mode. Now, for some of you, this will be as simple as selecting a mode on your camera. For others, it may mean taking advantage of custom hardware, software or firmware. The exact process for this step will vary depending on the make and model of your camera. For this video, we're gonna be using the GoPro HD Hero. Now, load up an empty SD card, select the time between the shots. Here, we have the choice between 2, 5, 10, and 30 second intervals. Mount your camera, depress the shutter and go find something to do while the camera snaps away. Now, you could point your camera at anything you'd like. But I'm a Car Tech editor, so I aim right out of the windshield of the car on a trip from LA to San Francisco. Step two, once you've got all your photos captured, you'll need to treat them. However after hours of shooting, we have almost 5005 megapixel shots. Now that's way too big of a picture for even the nicest HD TV on the market, and way too many photos to be individually resizing. You'll need to find a way to batch process these photos. Now, you could use software like Adobe Photoshop. But we'll be using the free IrfanView Software on the PC. From the file menu, select Batch Conversion Rename. Then, navigate to the folder that contains your images, and add them all to the batch. Now you'll need to do 2 things. Under the Batch Conversion Setting heading, click the Advanced button in the dialog box that appears. Check Resize and set a value for the long side of each image, then click canvas size and apply a value to be cropped. Now what you're aiming for is an HD-friendly dimension of either 1280x720 pixels or 1920x1080 pixels. Now, the exact numbers that you're gonna use to get there, will vary depending on the image size captured by your camera. So you're gonna need to do a little math here. We're going with a 1280 width, and a 240 pixel crop for our 720P video. Now, select the folder for your resized images. Click Start Batch and go find something else to do while your photos process. Step three, once you've got all your images resized up, fire up Quicktime Pro. And from the File menu, select Open Image Sequence. Now, navigate to the folder that contains all of your resized images, select the first one. You'll have to select the frame rate. Here we chose 24 frames per second. Click OK, and then go make yourself a cup of coffee while Quicktime stitches the images together into a video. Step four, when Quicktime Pro is done, you'll have a working preview of your time lapse video. But you'll still have to export a final file for use in other programs. Go to File, then export to bring up the Export menu. Now, under Options, select Size and make sure your dimensions are set to your liking. Now, in addition to the HD sizes, there are also presets for mobile devices like the iPhone. So choose the one that works best for you. Now give your file a name and hit Save. You'll probably wanna go grab a movie or something at this point, because this is the longest part of the process. It can take anywhere from several minutes to a few hours, depending on your computer's processing horsepower. Once everything is done, you'll have a completed time lapse video that you could share with your friends on video sites like YouTube or Vimeo. Time lapse photography is a great way to document natural events like the blooming of a flower or as we've done here, capture an entire road trip in just a few minutes. Now these same steps can also be applied to stop motion photography for those of you who wanna get in touch with your inner Ray Harryhausen. So, there you have it- time lapse photography in just a few easy steps. I'm Antoine Goodwin with CNET.com. -Okay, I can't wait to try one of these, and I hope you do, too. Just promise me you won't make another video of animals decomposing or food rotting, 'cause please we get it. It's gross. December is often a time for reflection, as we look back at the year that was, ponder the important moments of the past 12 months. And then write numbered lists of things and put them on websites. As Natali Morris found out, it's no different over at Twitter- where they've compiled a list of the Top Twitter Trends of the year. Take a look. -The Gulf Oil Spill, FIFA World Cup, and the movie Inception were the Top 3 Trending Topics on Twitter this year, followed by the Haitian Earthquake, and the infamous Bubuzela. On Monday, Twitter released its Top Trends of 2010. They do this every year, and according to Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, the results are always surprising. -One of the things that strikes me about these overall trends, when you look at things like, you know, the World Cup is a great example. I mean, obviously that's gonna trend. It highlights the fact that Twitter can- it just makes the world seem that much smaller. -The questions is, how much do these Twitter trends reflect what the rest of America or the rest of the world for that matter is thinking? -According to a recent study, only 8% of Americans who are online use Twitter. Yet, the number of people on Twitter has skyrocketed in the last 2 years. -If we look at December of 2008, we had about 3 million registered accounts on Twitter the whole service. And December of 2010, we now have over 175 million registered accounts. And many of those were done in this past year. -With 65% of accounts being created outside of the United States, Twitter Trends reflect a global conversation. Josh Lowensohn, Editor of CNET explains. -People have tragedy, and they love celebrities. And they love lots of both. So we're seeing things like the oil spill and Justin Bieber in massive quantities. -Earlier this year, there were rumors that Twitter had to buy more equipment to handle all of the tweets about Justin Bieber. Turns out that was not necessarily true. -I think we had an ongoing measurement called the Bieber Index which we were measuring like, you know, the mentions of Bieber internally. But we didn't actually have any separate servers or anything like that. -For CBS News, I'm Natali Morris, CNET.com in San Francisco. -Of course, we here at CNET are preparing plenty of our own yearend countdowns and retrospectives. We'll go easy on the Bieber. But we will have a special CNET Tech Review Yearend Review coming up for you next week. But that's a whole week away. And we haven't even finished this show yet. So hold your horses. We're gonna take a quick break right now. But we'll be right back with more Tech Review right after this. Welcome back to the CNET Tech Review, our weekly video digest of all things good and bad we've seen here at CNET TV- continuing on in the good. Dr. Dre hasn't put out a new album in years. But somehow he seems to have plenty of time to debut a new set of headphones or ear buds every couple of months. Just in time for Christmas- the Pro Edition of the Monster Beats are the boldest sets so far. -Hey I'm Julie Rivera, and today we're gonna take a look at the Monster Beats Pro by Dr. Dre. So far the most expensive pair of headphones from the Dr. Dre line. The first thing you'll notice is the sheer size of these things. They're big and they're heavy. About an hour or so of continuous use, the Pros eventually cause some discomfort and pinching despite the leather-like padding on the crown and the ear cups. The large padded headband which is not so subtly emblazoned with the Beats signature moniker, attaches to adjustable brushed aluminum sides, ending with full-sized ear cups that rotate upwards for storage. The build quality is solid and extremely durable. I've knocked it around a bit, dropped it a few times, and tossed it to the side once or twice. And barely a scuff nor scratch has shown up. The Beats Pro feature input and output audio ports on each ear cup- allowing for some daisy chaining action. It looks a little dorky, but it beats sharing that single ear bud with your friend on the train. You guys know what I'm talking about. Each ear cup has a flip-up design. Rotate towards the back of the head, and you've got an ear available- remaining focused on your DJ set, while monitoring the outside environment. Each ear pad is also removable in case you wanna swap them out for denser or lighter ones in the future. The single red audio cable cord is thick and rubberized with a very tightly coiled section at the bottom, to which a quarter inch gold plated adapter is studded to. The detachable cable locks into place on the bottom of each ear cup, and can be swapped to either side of the ear cups as well. One last thing, we were surprised to find that only a travel pouch was included in the packaging, as opposed to a hard shell carrying case like the Pro's predecessors. With a $450 price tag, we expect to have these babies protected. I'm Julie Rivera and this was a First Look at the Monster Beats Pro by Dr. Dre. -You hear that, Monster? Get that girl a hard case for those headphones. She's not messing around. And while you're working on that, let's check out the bad. Earlier, we saw the Top 5 Trends on Twitter this year. But who needs to wait for December for a Top 5 list? Brian Cooley has a new one every week. Take that, Biz Stone. This week, Brian's counting down the Top 5 places with the worst reputations for protecting your social security number. Unfortunately, most of them are worthless unless you're willing to hand it over. -Top 5 Worst Entities To Share Your Social Security Number With. Unless of course you just have too much money, in which case this video just got renamed, Top 5 Really Cool Ways To Lighten Up Your Finances. I'm Brian Cooley. This list was compiled by the folks at McAfee Security, after they analyzed reports of social security number breaches from January '09 to October 2010, using data from 3 major clearinghouses. Number 5- any of those medical businesses, like those diabetes or invalid care supply houses. You see them advertising on daytime TV. We'll send it all to you and bill Medicare. Turns out, they're leakier than an off brand adult diaper. But note this ranking is not the same as for hospitals- oh we're still gonna get to them. Number 4- the government. Yeah, it doesn't matter- local, state or federal. The folks who really ought to know better are among the worst at protecting your social security number. A big part of this is the huge number of systems and agencies that collect, and share all that data- how would they know what they're doing with it? They're not that good at IT. Number 3 would be a hospital. Yeah, head in there sick, come out a little less so, but now broke and very possibly with your ID ripped off by some credit scammer. Small wonder that adverse health events are a leading cause of bankruptcy. Number 2 is ironic- Banks. But just try not giving them your social security number. No problem. You can just skip having things like bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, direct deposit- just live off the grid. In fact, there's a nice refrigerator box down in the alley here by CNET. You can set-up housekeeping there. Before we get to our number one lousiest entity at preserving your social security number, know that you'll find little help in the law when you refuse to give it to that weird little dude behind the counter at the local video rental place. Federal law throws you to the wolves- saying your social security number shall be recorded for just about any kind of license- from medical to marriage. And that it can be recorded by creditors as well. In fact, these days, its relationship to social security is almost a footnote. Okay, the number one place or entity with whom you should not share your social security number if you want it to be kept secure is by far a college or a university. Apparently such institutions aren't new to concepts like restricted database access, good network security, even shredders. And yet, I wonder how many of them also offer courses in data security. Well that's it for this Top 5. Sleep well. For more like it, check out top5.cnet.com. I'm Brian Cooley. See you next time. -So, I guess if you really wanna be safe, you should keep all your money in a mattress, forget about going to college and never get sick- sounds fair to me. Maybe there's some good news waiting for us in the Bottom Line. If you've decided you're ready to dive into streaming video on your TV, you're 2 best choices are the Roku XDS and the Apple TV. Given that they're both priced at $99, you can't really rely on price to help you decide. But you can depend on Brian Tong to judge a fair price bite. And this week, the 2 set-top boxes go head to head. -What's up, price bite fans? I'm Brian Tong. And we've got a battle for streaming box supremacy. It's a prize fight throw down showdown between the Roku XDS and the Apple TV. Our judges for this fight are Senior Editor John "Bad to the Bone" Falcone, Senior Editor David Carnoy, and yours truly "All Night Long Tong". We'll take all 3 judges' blind scores and average them out to the nearest 10th each round. The final prize fight score will be an average of all rounds using the same decimal system. Let's get this party started Round 1 in design. Both of these boxes are small and black. And you really won't notice them next to your TV set. The Roku XDS is simple and clean, but its fabric tag belongs on a T-shirt more than it does on a set-top box. Apple stays true to tradition, and can even make a streaming box sexy. It's the smallest component you'll have. It's about 50% smaller than the XDS, and its remote is just as sleek. Apple TV starts the fight with a perfect 5, and Roku gets a 4. Next round is interface and navigation. The Roku XDS has a simple interface that's very utilitarian. It won't wow you visually, but it gets the job done. It's also easy to customize by adding channels for your favorite content and the remote doesn't get in the way. The Apple TV interface is clean and elegant just like you'd expect. Animations are smooth, and its interface feels polished. You won't get any real customization here, but its remote is simple and easy to use. The big A gets another perfect 5, and the Roku gets a 3.7. So after averaging 2 rounds, Apple leads by over a full point, but it's still too early to get excited. Round 3 is features. With a media box, you want options and the Roku XDS connects to any TV with HDMI up to 1080p, component video, and composite. There's also a USB port for potentially streaming content off a connected thumb stick or hard drive in the future. Plus, you're getting dual band 802.11n and an Ethernet port for connectivity. Now, the Apple TV is pretty limited here. It brings HDMI at only 720p, and that's it. It won't connect to any non-HD television sets. Networking options include Wi-Fi and Ethernet but it's pretty slim picking. Roku strikes back with a perfect 5 of its own, and Apple gets a 3. Next round is content. With media streaming boxes, content is king. Netflix is the flagship service on both boxes. But you know us, we're hungry for more. Now, the Roku shines with over 100 channels of content, like Amazon Video On Demand, Hulu Plus, Pandora for music discovery, and streaming music from the Cloud with MP3tunes. Plus, there's on-demand sports for Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League and none of these services are currently available on Apple TV. Now, beyond Netflix, Apple's box has access to content from iTunes, but key shows like House, Fringe, or Modern Family aren't even available at the moment. It can stream iTunes from PC's on your local network, and you can watch YouTube. You can use AirPlay to view content from iOS devices on the big screen, but not all media content can be viewed, like videos playing in Safari or movies you recorded on your iPhone. It's a killer innovation but it's still not fully baked. The Roku gets another 5 with its myriad content solutions and the Apple TV gets a 3. So after averaging 4 rounds, Roku has taken the lead by four tenths of a point. This one is still close, and the final round that decides it all is value. For $99, the Roku XDS brings the best video and audio streaming services on the web with every connectivity option you can think of. The Apple TV is also 99 bucks, and if you live in an Apple dominated ecosystem, you'll feel right at home with iTunes integration, but you'll be missing out on a whole lot of content. In the final round, Roku gets another perfect 5 and Apple gets a 4. So let's average out all 5 rounds, and in a battle where the big A dominated from the start, the Roku XDS came back with 3 perfect rounds taking this face-off 4.5 to 4 and is your prize fight winner. Both of these streaming boxes will continue to mature with new features and content. But the decision really comes down to your desire- to stay in the Apple world or experience all the services that Roku has to offer. I'm Brian Tong. Thanks for watching. I'm gonna catch you guys next time for another prize fight. -The Bottom Line this week, Roku like a hurricane. All right, unless you're totally committed to an Apple-centric lifestyle, you really can't go wrong with the Roku for all your streaming needs. And I'm sure our corporate parents at CBS will forgive Brian's promotion of ABC's modern family, especially since we know their writers are fans of our site. -Oh, I apologize for breaking the world's worst remote, that you bought. Stupid. -Excuse me, but the experts of CNET.com rated it the best remote. They gave it 3 and a half mice. -Wow. I have an idea. Let's invite the gang from CNET over, and your old buddies from cheerleading, and we can have a nerd party. -I give that 5 mice. I mean, stars. All right, that's it for this episode. But come back next week and we'll have a very special yearend edition of the show- our CNET Tech Review Yearend Review. And until then, there are tons of great videos available everyday at CNETTV.com. I'll see you next time, and thank you for watching.