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									San Jose Mercury News » Monday, April 11, 2011




TECHNOLOGY
                                                                                                                                                                           PAGE 3
                                                                                                                                                                           Larry Magid:
                                                                                                                                                                           Mobile payment
                                                                                                                                                                           technology is
                                                                                                                                                                           moving ahead

   WWW.MERCURYNEWS.COM/BUSINESS » FIND SILICON BEAT BLOG AND BREAKING TECH NEWS                                                                                               111   SECTION C




Blocking
websites
that track
you online
Latest versions of Firefox,
Internet Explorer, Chrome
let users opt out of ads
    Last week, when I wrote about
the new versions of the three
leading Web browsers, I briefly dis-
cussed how each of them now has
a feature that blocks websites and
advertisers from tracking users’
movements online.
    After my column ran, the reaction
from readers was, “Tell us more.”
                       Unfortunately,
                   there’s no easy
                   way to handle
                   that request.
                   Each of the three
                   major browser
                   makers has put in
                   place its own dis-
TROY WOLVERTON tinct anti-tracking
TECH FILES         system. None of
                   them is turned
ONLINE EXTRA on by default; in
Read Troy’s        fact, they can be
previous           quite complex to
columns            activate.
at www.                Websites and
mercurynews.       advertisers keep
com/troy-          track of consum-
wolverton.         ers’ movements
                   online typically
through the use of cookies, small
files that they install within users’
browsers.
    The tracking tools are used by
advertisers and marketing re-
search companies to get a better
understanding of their users, who
are otherwise generally anony-
mous, and to target advertisements
to individual consumers based
on their online activities. Online
marketers argue that tracking
helps them deliver ads that are
relevant and helps support many of
the services such as email or news
that are offered for free to Web
surfers. Privacy advocates have
persuasively countered that online                     For newest on-demand services, ‘cloud’ is the place to be
tracking is far more extensive than
most consumers realize or have                                       By Mike Swift                 Cloud Drive, a service that allows you    new services did find flaws but also
knowingly consented to.                                         mswift@mercurynews.com             to upload music files from your com-       concluded that such “cloud” music
    Firefox browser maker Mozilla                         At their best, the on-demand Inter-      puter and stream them to any device       services offer a valuable alternative to
                                                       net music services Rdio and Mog are         connected to the Internet, including      Apple’s dominant iTunes-iPod digital
     See WOLVERTON, Page 2                             almost like being set loose in a record     Android smartphones. Google and           music platform. The cloud services
                                                       store with a bottomless bag of cash.        Apple are expected to follow suit with    offer freedom from the annoying and
                                                       With record stores getting harder to        similar “locker” services in the near     overly restrictive process of “syncing”
                                                       find, streaming or storing endless tunes     future, where people can upload digital   files back and forth between your com-
                                                       on a smartphone or desktop may be the       files they already own to a personal on-   puter and mobile devices. Nor do you
                                                       closest thing to that audiophile fantasy.   line library and stream their music to    have to worry about losing your music
                                                          Meanwhile, e-commerce giant Ama-         desktop or mobile devices.
                                                       zon.com recently launched Amazon               A two-week test drive of the three               See MUSIC, Page 2
DETAILS ON HOW TO DO IT
Step-by-step instructions on how to
block ads, tracking on three browsers.
                                                                                                                                                           DAYMOND GASCON/MERCURY NEWS ILLUSTRATION
PAGE 2




   Tech Test Drive                                                      Your weekly guide to gadgets, gear and technology
                                                                        Post your comments, events at mercurynews.com/business

Most laptops and desktops you can purchase today come with built-in webcams, but if you’re looking for an HD upgrade for video chatting
using programs like Skype, Google Chat,AOL Instant Messenger or Windows Live Messenger, then the latest batch of 720p cameras from
Microsoft, Creative and Logitech have you covered.Though 1080p webcams are available, we chose lower-resolution 720p models that offer
impressive video quality at more affordable prices.These cams are designed to be mounted on a laptop or a desktop, and the general design
consists of a small lens built into a swiveling base for 360-degree perspectives.




Logitech HD Webcam C510                                           Microsoft LifeCam HD-6000                                          Creative Live Cam Socialize HD AF
    The good: 720p HD video and 8 megapixel snapshots;               The good: 720p HD video quality at 30 frames per sec-               The good: The Creative Live Cam Socialize HD AF
“RightLight” sensor and “RightSound” microphone feature           ond, 360-degree rotation; inexpensive; LifeCam desktop             webcam produces impressive 8-megapixel snapshot pho-
boosts clarity and automatically adjusts for best lighting;       software offers fun 3-D video effects.                             tos and 720p video, and the engaging chat-ready visual
clever video effects enhance fun fac-                                The bad: 4MP photo resolution;                                  and voice effects place this webcam
tor; 360-degree panning.                                          jumpy autofocus; not compatible                                    a cut above the competition.
    The bad: Video quality gets                                   with Mac OS.                                                           The bad: The video lags and
                                              CNET’S RATING                                                   CNET’S RATING                                                     CNET’S RATING
choppy at higher resolutions on                                      The bottom line: The Microsoft                                  struggles to catch up during several

                                            4.0                                                                3.5                                                                  4.0
slower systems.                                                   LifeCam HD-6000 for notebooks                                      of the face distortion features.
    The bottom line: The Logitech                                 offers impressive HD video output                                      The bottom line: We recom-
HD Webcam C510 is an inexpensive                                  quality and excellent sound defini-                                 mend the Creative Live Cam Social-
option for use with computers that             (Out of 5)         tion over previous models for an             (Out of 5)            ize HD AF webcam because it di-             (Out of 5)
don’t come with built-in cameras.                                 overall smooth video-chatting expe-                                rects attention to the subject while
Its 2-megapixel sensor takes 8-                                   rience, but the continual autofocus                                the hardware operates smoothly
megapixel snapshots, and 720p HD           The breakdown          feature can be distracting to your      The breakdown              in the background, allowing you        The breakdown
video performs well with video-            What: Logitech         chat partner. Nevertheless, we          What: Microsoft            to freely engage in uninterrupted      What: Creative
chatting programs like Skype,              HD Webcam              recommend the Microsoft LifeCam         LifeCam HD-                communication with your friends        Live Cam Social-
Google Chat and Windows Live               C510                   HD-6000 if you have the proper          6000                       and family.                            ize HD AF
Messenger. With a handful of extra                                system requirements.
features like one-click uploads to         How much:                                                        How much:                                        — CNet.com        How much:
YouTube or Facebook and fun                $39.95 to $59.99                                — CNet.com       $29.25 to $59.99                                                   $53.99 to $69.99
video effects, the Logitech HD We-         Web: www.logi-                                                   Web: www.                                                          Web: www.
bcam C510 is a worthwhile buy.             tech.com                                                         microsoft.com                                                      creative.com
                        — CNet.com

								
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