Thursday, September 11, 2008

Serena Williams: New World Number One Female Tennis Player

Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American Tennis player, currently ranked world no. 1, who has won 18 Grand Slam titles: 9 singles, 7 doubles along with her sister, 2 mixed doubles and two Olympic gold medals in women's doubles. She is the most recent player, male or female, to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously. In 2005, Tennis magazine ranked her as the 17th-best player of the preceding forty years. She is the younger sister of a former World No. 1 professional female tennis player, Venus Williams. Serena currently resides at Ballen Isles in Palm Beach Garden, Florida.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nano-Chromatic. The All-New iPod Nano

New Design. New Features. iPod nano rocks like never before.

Technical Specifications
3.6 inches (90.7 mm)
1.5 inches (38.7 mm)
0.24 inch (6.2 mm)
1.3 ounces (36.8 grams)

* 2-inch (diagonal) color LCD with LED backlight
* 320 by 240 pixels at 204 ppi

* 8GB or 16GB flash drive1
* Holds up to 2,000 or 4,000 songs in 128-Kbps AAC format3
* Holds up to 7,000 or 14,000 iPod-viewable photos3
* Holds up to 8 hours or up to 16 hours of video3

* Skip-free playback
* Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
* Audio formats supported: AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV.

H.264 video, up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Low-Complexity version of the H.264 Baseline Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; H.264 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Baseline Profile up to Level 3.0 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats.

* Built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery
* Music playback time: Up to 24 hours when fully charged
* Video playback time: Up to 4 hours when fully charged

Input and Output
* Dock connector
* 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Federer Wins Fifth Straight US Open

The footwork was precise, the touch was sublime, the impeccable Swiss timing was back and Roger Federer glided away with a fifth successive U.S. Open crown on Monday.

After a year of disappointments and setbacks, Federer protected his aura of invincibility at Flushing Meadows in devastating style, handing Andy Murray a 6-2 7-5 6-2 masterclass. While Murray's hopes of ending Britain's 72-year wait for a men's grand slam champion were dashed, Federer clutched major trophy number 13.

Once Murray had dumped a weary backhand into the net, Federer celebrated his first grand slam win of 2008 by sinking to his knees, rolling over on to his back and covering his eyes with his
"One thing for sure, I'm not going to stop at 13. That would be terrible," a beaming Federer, who now trails Pete Sampras's overall record by just one, said courtside.

The triumph breathed new life into what had been a frustrating season for the Swiss master. It started with a bout of glandular fever and continued with a semi-final loss at the Australian Open before morale-sapping final defeats at the French Open and Wimbledon. He also lost his number one status.

Monday's victory finally eased those painful memories.

"It definitely feels great. This is a very special moment in my career," world number two Federer said after sealing his 34th successive match win at Flushing Meadows.

"I had a couple of tough grand slams this year, finishing in semi-finals and two finals, one epic at Wimbledon," said Federer, who was beaten at the French and Wimbledon finals by Rafael Nadal.

"So to take this one home is incredible. It means the world to me. I played great. I felt like I was invincible for a while again and that's exactly how you want to finish a tournament."

"I've got a lot of improving to do if I want to win one of these tournaments," said the sixth seed, who had beaten Nadal in a rain-disrupted encounter to reach his first grand slam final.

"I came up against, in my opinion, the best player ever to play the game. I got the better of him the last two times we played. He definitely set the record straight today."

Bad weather forced the men's final into the third Monday of the tournament for the first time since 1987.

While that was good news for Federer, who walked on court having enjoyed an almost 50 hours of rest, Murray was back in the Arthur Ashe Stadium less than 24 hours after beating Nadal.

It took Federer 20 minutes to take advantage of his fresher pair of legs. He sent Murray on the run in the sixth game of the opening set, and three successive errors from the 21-year-old handed the second seed the break.


A gusting wind swirling around the arena only added to Murray's woes and in just 27 minutes the first set had flashed by, a backhand sailing wide to hand Federer another break.

Federer capitalised on his advantage to charge 2-0 ahead in the second set but Murray suddenly found his range and started sprinkling Federer's territory with winners to level at 2-2.

That galvanised the Briton and he had Federer running scared when he went up 0-40 on the Swiss's serve in the fifth game.

However, Federer was fortunate not to be broken when, trailing 15-40, one of his shots landed long. The linesman failed to call it out and Murray, lacking conviction, opted not to halt the lengthy rally to challenge the point using Hawkeye technology.

Murray produced the error to give Federer a second chance and the 27-year-old Swiss duly held serve.

Displaying the tennis that has become his hallmark -- but unsighted for much of this year -- Federer conjured a dazzling array of backhand, forehand and volley winners to claim four successive points and break Murray again for the set.

A cry of "We love you Roger" echoed around the Ashe arena and Federer responded by lifting his game in the third set.

A weary Murray managed to win only three points as the Swiss stormed 5-0 up before the Scot rallied briefly to foil Federer's first attempt at serving out for the championship. One game later, though, he ran out of puff.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google Launches New Web Browser: Chrome

Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.

A fresh take on the browser

At Google, we spend much of our time working inside a browser. We search, chat, email and collaborate in a browser. And like all of you, in our spare time, we shop, bank, read news and keep in touch with friends - all using a browser. People are spending an increasing amount of time online, and they're doing things never imagined when the web first appeared about 15 years ago.

Since we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if you started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that's what we set out to build.

So today we're releasing the beta version of a new open source browser: Google Chrome.

On the surface, we designed a browser window that is streamlined and simple. To most people, it isn't the browser that matters. It's only a tool to run the important stuff - the pages, sites and applications that make up the web. Like the classic Google homepage, Google Chrome is clean and fast. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want to go.

Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today's complex web applications much better . By keeping each tab in an isolated "sandbox", we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built V8, a more powerful JavaScript engine, to power the next generation of web applications that aren't even possible in today's browsers.

This is just the beginning - Google Chrome is far from done. We've released this beta for Windows to start the broader discussion and hear from you as quickly as possible. We're hard at work building versions for Mac and Linux too, and we'll continue to make it even faster and more robust.

We owe a great debt to many open source projects, and we're committed to continuing on their path. We've used components from Apple's WebKit and Mozilla's Firefox, among others - and in that spirit, we are making all of our code open source as well. We hope to collaborate with the entire community to help drive the web forward.

The web gets better with more options and innovation. Google Chrome is another option, and we hope it contributes to making the web even better.

But enough from us. The best test of Google Chrome is to try it yourself. -

I have tried and tested it! It's so cool, safe and more faster and its design is so minimal. And it's for FREE!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gossip Girl: Summer, Kind of Wonderful (season premiere)

"Sex, lies and scandal never take a vacation." - Gossip Girl

Our favorite bunch of tortured and flawed teens is back in action with a season that starts in The Hamptons. To our viewing pleasure, no matter where they go or what time of year it is, sex, lies and scandal follow the Gossip Girl characters around. The season premiere delivered on all three counts and even more!

The small time jump between the first season finale and the season premiere was a nice idea. It allowed characters to grow a bit while we weren't looking but not too much that we wouldn't recognize them. It also gave us (and the producers) a chance to see the bunch in a setting other than school.

Most characters are where I thought they would be after the jump: Serena and Dan moping around and thinking about the other, Chuck and Blair moping around and thinking about the other while trying to entertain themselves with other people, Jenny trying to make her internship work but having a hard time at it.

What I didn't expect (until I've read the spoilers about it a few weeks ago) was to see Nate in the arms of an older woman. When I first heard the news that Mädchen Amick was set to guest star in four episodes as a love interest for one of the male teens, I first thought of Chuck. He has the background for doing such things. But when I heard it was Nate, it took me a minute to make this work in my head mostly because, up to that point, I thought that Nate and Serena would spend part of the summer as a couple. When you think about it, it's not that surprising that Nate hooked up with Catherine. He is a hot young man, she is a hot cougar. He is going through a rough patch (father in hiding, friendship problems, etc.) and Catherine brings to him some needed action and lovin'. She seems to have a marriage that is not bringing her everything that she needs. Mädchen Amick was a good choice to play Catherine. She has the looks and can totally deliver the bitchy lines her character must say (just wait to see her in the upcoming episodes).

My favorite storyline of the season premiere is that of Chuck and Blair. I just love to see them face off and try to be the one who's right. In order not to lose face in front of Chuck, Blair comes back to the States with a new boyfriend. Oh the drama! Not only does it bring drama between Blair and "James," who are not truthful to one another, but it also serves its original purpose of making Chuck extremely jealous. One of my favorite scene is when "James" finds the truth about Blair and Chuck and she replies saying that Chuck uses people and that it's bad so she had to get back at him. But Blair, aren't you using people too? "You two deserve each other," "James" told her. He is oh so right but it's almost best to see Blair and Chuck apart than together.

How Blair-like of her to change her mind about dumping "James" when she discovers that he is named Marcus and that he is a Lord? It's every girl's dream to become a princess so no wonder Blair decided to give the couple one more chance when Chuck isn't able to say the words Blair wants to hear. Chuck is totally the Christian Troy of Gossip Girl. He is a ladies' man who likes the idea of being with someone but can't commit.

I know that I'm supposed to root for Dan and Serena since they are the core couple but I find myself actually rooting for them to be with other people. It's like they are going through the "Rachel and Ross syndrome" on Friends with having the characters hook up, break up, wonder, ponder, hook up, break up, etc. Because I've endured the Ross and Rachel thing for 10 years, it's like I can't cope with it too long nowadays especially when there is one of the characters in the couple that I don't care much for (I'm not a huge Serena fan). It was cute to see Dan show up at the White Party but I just don't care for them together anymore... Are you with me on this?

Other tidbits of interest:

  • Chuck as a P.I. on speed dial!!!
  • Little Jenny has to grow up very fast due to her internship for Eleanor. She has to work with adults and cope with adult problems. If she keeps working for Eleanor most of the season, it wouldn't surprise me if she gets entangled in more grown up problems that can lead up to sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. I don't want Little Jenny to have to face such problems but then again, it may be interesting to see how she deals with those.
  • Rufus went on tour. Did he forget about Lily? And did she forget about him during her honey moon?
  • We didn't see much of Eric in the premiere. What has he been up to? Did he hook up with someone in The Hamptons?