Subverting Austrian government spycams

Subverting Austrian government spycams: "Filed under: Digital Cameras
Instead of standing around using the same old channels to affect change or whining about what a violation of civil liberties it is that Austrian police can install closed-circuit surveillance cameras in public spaces without a court order, activist group Quintessenz took it to the streets to fight back, both high tech and low. Before moving on to more advanced methods, Quintessenz's early efforts merely blinded the cameras with lasers and balloons, but they've since upgraded to techniques that scramble camera signals and even intercept their video feeds and automatically place Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap-style black stripes over peoples' eyes. Way to subvert, boys and girls -- ain't no fire worth stoking like the Big Brother civil liberties violations fire.

Vocera brings 'Star Trek' to the enterprise | InfoWorld | News | 2005-12-28 | By Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service

Vocera brings 'Star Trek' to the enterprise | InfoWorld | News | 2005-12-28 | By Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service
: "If you've always thought the communicator badges on the original 'Star Trek' TV series were cool, now you can use a device almost exactly like it. However, you'd better be comfortable around needles, because a hospital is where you're most likely to find one.

The crew of the classic science-fiction show's Starship Enterprise wore small devices on their chests that they could tap to communicate instantly with their colleagues. Vocera Communications Inc.'s Vocera Communications System is uncannily like those science-fiction gadgets. It uses hands-free, voice-activated devices that users can carry around their necks to talk with co-workers any time, anywhere within range of the enterprise's Wi-Fi network."

Minox DMP-2 media player and MPEG-4 recorder

Minox DMP-2 media player and MPEG-4 recorder: "Filed under: Home Entertainment, Portable Audio, Portable Video

Minox is best known for their quality cameras, and uniquely for those mini espionage shooters immortalized by WWII spies. So it feels a bit odd to tell you about yet another stretch for them into the media player market. First, they brought us the DMP-1 'image-player', now they announce the DMP-2 personal media player. Sure, they pack in a superb 2.5-inch 960 x 240 pixel display capable of 262K colors in a PMP capable of both MPEG-4 playback and recording at up to 640 x 480 pixels. That's right, recording, but it's tough to get overly excited since you'll be limited to either 128MB of internal memory or up to 2GB via SD expansion...which you must purchase separately. If you're still with us, this PMP also sports a couple of flip-out mouse-ear speakers for use in a pinch, TV-out, AV-in, MP3 and WMA playback support, FM tuner with recorder functionality, and about 3 hours of video playback on battery which is about as good as it gets in a smaller package than both the current iPod and Zen Vision:M. No details on pricing or availability yet.


The Newton Museum closes shop, auctions off collection

The Newton Museum closes shop, auctions off collection: "Filed under: Handhelds

Some people look at devices like the Apple Newton and dismiss them as poorly designed, outdated crapware; we, on the other hand, get just a little giddy everytime we see people giving love to Apple's doomed PDA, whether by modding them to perform new functions or assembling a thorough collection of the handhelds and their related accesories. Well The Newton Museum has been fulfulling this latter task admirably by displaying their impressive collection of Newtons and peripherals, but as Boing Boing's Xeni Jardin (fresh off her victory as Sexiest Geek of 2005) reports, the museum is unfortunately closing its virtual doors after seven years. The public's loss, however, could be one lucky person's gain, as the museums entire collection is up for sale on eBay. This motherload of all things Newton contains 13 of the PDAs (some still boxed) including at least one of every model manufactured, seemingly every peripheral and piece of software ever released for the platform, and various developer kits and manuals for the hardcore fan. We'd love to see whoever wins this auction network all of the Newtons into a grid to create the world's most powerful palmtop supercomputer unable to perform satisfactory handwriting recognition.

Monolith Premium MX7000 rugged MP3 player

Monolith Premium MX7000 rugged MP3 player: "Filed under: Portable Audio
If you find yourself replacing your portable audio player every few months because of a tendency to, say, drop it down flights of stairs, off of rooftops or out your car window, you may want to rethink your behavior. Or, you may want to check out the Monolith Premium MX7000, from South Korea's eStarLabs. The $150, 512MB flash player has all of the usual features, including support for MP3, WMA and OGG files, FM radio, color OLED display and 18-hour battery life. But what really sets this apart (and, we assume, helps to justify the premium price) are the manufacturer's claims that it's nearly indestructible, with a fused case and the ability to withstand being run over by a car, smashed against a wall or shot with a BB gun. Pretty impressive, but what we really want to know is whether it can handle being thrown onto the tracks of the New York subway system and handle being crushed by an oncoming train — if they ever start running again, that is.

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Wired News: Diebold Hack Hints at Wider Flaws

Wired News: Diebold Hack Hints at Wider Flaws: "Election officials spooked by tampering in a test last week of Diebold optical-scan voting machines should be equally wary of optical-scan equipment produced by other manufacturers, according to a computer scientist who conducted the test."

The Transperformance Performer self-tuning electric guitar

The Transperformance Performer self-tuning electric guitar: "Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

There's not a whole lot one can really say about the Transperformance Performer -- Transperformance has spent the last 16 years perfecting the self-tuning guitar technology the guitar elite have shredded on since its inception. But it doesn't just carry perfect pitch, it can also store 240 custom tunings; granted, it costs thousands of dollars to get installed and sufficiently uglies up your axe, but hey, anything that gets Jimmy Page's personal seal of approval is quite alright by us.

Evergreen's DN-CLMP128 clip-on MP3 player

Evergreen's DN-CLMP128 clip-on MP3 player: "Filed under: Portable Audio

Looking a whole lot like a bad orthopedic shoe in this pic, the DN-CLMP128 clip-on MP3 player from Evergreen is set to hit Japan December 22nd. At 1.0 x 2.1 x 0.89-inches and weighing in at just 0.7-ounces, they only manage to 'pack in' a mere 128MB of memory and a meager 5-hours of MP3/WMA playback. But for a US equivalent of 35 dollars you can afford to snap up a few for the kids, eh? Or just wait a few weeks for it to be Hello Kitty-fied as a pink MP3 barrette or puppy bow-tie... you know it will be.


Advertising with WinAmp Skins

Advertising with WinAmp Skins: "

Product websites these days offer all kinds of downloadable stuff, from desktops and screensavers to IM buddy icons. How come so few of these websites offer customized WinAmp skins? The one pictured above and installed on my computer mimics a pack of Wrigley gum (you can get it here), but was done by a fan, Denis Bernard. Movie publishers seem to be ahead of the rest; there are skins for Narnia, Corpse Bride, Batman Begins and Troy and a few others that seem to be commissioned by the studios. Pepsi and Powerade seem to get it, too. Most of other branded skins - very good ones, too - are made by fans. There are skins styled after iPod nano, Pioneer, Sony, Puma, Pizza Hut, Nokia.

I think this by far beats advertising through browser skinning.

WinAmp's latest 5.1 version has been downloaded over 4.5 million times. That's only one version for one operating system (Windows) on one site Downloads.com. The first WinAmp was released in 1997. The install base for this thing should be huge by now."

PhotoViolationMeter takes cash, cards... and your picture

PhotoViolationMeter takes cash, cards... and your picture: "Filed under: Transportation

The next time you’re hauled into court to argue over whether you were parked illegally, there might be an unusual witness backing up your claims, or those of the cop who left a gift on your windshield: the parking meter itself. The PhotoViolationMeter is a new smart parking meter that includes most recent smart-meter innovations, such as accepting payments via smartcard or cellphone, and adds a new twist: a camera that can take pictures of your car and upload them to authorities, store them locally, and make decisions based on how long you’ve been parked. Park for too long in a one-hour spot, and the meter can automatically let the police know you’re still there, no meter maid required. The meter even takes away one of the few perks left to users of other meter systems: the ability to use time left over by the previous parker. Once a car leaves, the PhotoViolationMeter automatically resets itself to zero, forcing each new parker to pay all over again. Isn’t technology grand?


New Scientist Breaking News - Civilisation has left its mark on our genes

New Scientist Breaking News - Civilisation has left its mark on our genes: "Darwin’s fingerprints can be found all over the human genome. A detailed look at human DNA has shown that a significant percentage of our genes have been shaped by natural selection in the past 50,000 years, probably in response to aspects of modern human culture such as the emergence of agriculture and the shift towards living in densely populated settlements."

Disappearing Advertising

Disappearing Advertising: "

So, this is like the self-destructing text messages, only on paper:
'This invitation to a free screening of the latest Harry Potter film was sent by Coca-Cola to executives fo important Spanish companies. You had to rub the surface with a wet cloth to see the text. After a while it would disappear again.' (McCann-Erickson Spain, 2005 Silver Gold Medal at New York Festival.)

And while we are at it, here's where you can buy 'black light' paint, that is paint visible in black light but transparent otherwise."

Gamer pillow raises heads, lowers posture expectations

Gamer pillow raises heads, lowers posture expectations: "

Those 24 hour gaming sessions might be great for pumping up our Xbox Live stats or practicing speeds runs through Mario’s Time Machine, but those jello neck muscles and deformed spine of ours can get in the way of true domination. Enter the gamer pillow from Japan, which promises to prop us up by the chin and put us in prime gaming form to send Bowser straight to 9993 BC where he belongs. Looks great, but where’s the cup holder? We’re seeing some solid hands-free caffeine action potential.



IsraCast: NANO-ARMOR: PROTECTING THE SOLDIERS OF TOMORROW: "An Israeli company has recently tested one of the most shock-resistant materials known to man. Five times stronger than steel and at least twice as strong as any impact-resistant material currently in use as protective gear, the new nano-based material is on its way to becoming the armor of the future."

Wired News: Secret ID Law Goes to Court

Wired News: Secret ID Law Goes to Court: "SAN FRANCISCO -- A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Thursday on tech entrepreneur and internet freedom fighter John Gilmore's challenge to a secret government order forcing airline passengers to show identification or submit to a pat-down search.

The hearing pitted a matter-of-fact government attorney against Gilmore's impassioned, podium-banging lawyer, James Harrison, in a closely watched legal battle over government secrecy and antiterrorism measures that has federal officials defending a rule whose existence they will not admit in open court."

Advertising on Blackboard T-shirt

Advertising on Blackboard T-shirt: "

If you already have a blackboard mug, you will definitely need a matching blackboard t-shirt. Who needs CafePress with their black tees, when you can have a new design every day.
-- via Red Ferret; you can find a few other things with built-in chalkboards here."

Zen Photo gives Ipod Nano run for its money

Zen Photo gives Ipod Nano run for its money: "CREATIVE Labs has been long known for its Zen series of MP3 players. It's got small, it's got big ones, and it's got microscopic ones. It’s the only direct competitor to fruity manufacturer Apple. Creative Zen Photo can give the Ipod Nano to run for its money.


Affordable headphones block out jets

Affordable headphones block out jets: "BACK AT Cebit 2005 we had a chance to try Creative Labs' new marchitecture. The company managed to develop quite nice headphones aimed at frequent travellers. It's made a very interesting and functional HN 700 Noise cancel headphones. We first tried the prototype at Cebit and now we've ended up with the real thing. CeBIT is a very noisy place but once you turn the active part of the headphones all the noise becomes very much more quiet. Plus you can't hear Mike Magee screaming at you, as an added bonus."


Gadgets » The top 10 weirdest USB drives ever

Gadgets » The top 10 weirdest USB drives ever: "USB drives comes in thousands of designs and colors, but these 10 are extraordinary weird. Or what do you think? Go ahead, check them out. They are weird! Promise. Hehe."

The diamond-encrusted iPod nano

The diamond-encrusted iPod nano: "

You know we won’t rest until we see every gadget either diamond-encrusted, gold-plated, or both. Do you hear us? Never! This iPod nano case sports 580 diamonds set in white gold, and luckily the $12,495 price tag includes a 4GB nano in the bargain.

[Via Gadgette]

Dupont's Self-Charging Smoke Alarm

Dupont's Self-Charging Smoke Alarm: "

Even though most new houses these days are pre-wired for smoke detectors (devices we’d hope would alsohave battery backups), there are countless dwellings with battery-only devices that probably go unchecked, let alone all those houses out there with poorly positioned working alarms. But Dupont’s Self-Charging Smoke Alarm kills two birds with one stone by integrating a smoke detector with rechargeable battery with a pass-through light bulb socket, so you can stick one in every room if you so choose. Apparently you can even test the thing without busting out the ladder — just flip the switch twice (or flip three times to silence the alarm and reset the device).

[Via Popgadget]

Sega's iFish coming in 2006

Sega's iFish coming in 2006: "

We were kind of hoping Sega’s feel good robot of the fall, the iDog, might be followed up by something even more cuddly and innocuously pointless, such that we might continue adding more iAnimals to our desk, bobbing their heads and wagging various tails and ears to the beat. But the iFish? We’re not saying Hasbro’s not gonna bring it over, but for something that could easily pass as an iTrilobite will be a helluva lot harder sell in the US than, say, an iCat or an iBunny.

[Via Spong]

Quanta to manufacture Negroponte's OLPC

Quanta to manufacture Negroponte's OLPC: "

We were wondering when they’d sign off a manufacturing deal: today Quanta announced what could be one of their biggest, most difficult, lowest-margin laptop manufacturing contracts they’ve ever landed — no, we’re not talking about Dell (though Quanta’s done their machines for a while, as well as Apple, Compaq, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, IBM, Sony, Sharp, and Siemens laptops). We’re talking about Negroponte’s and the MIT Media Labs’ OLPC $100 laptop for developing nations. Quanta, who inked another deal with MIT earlier this year, says they’re aiming for a 5 - 15 million unit launch by Q4 2006 (aggressive, aren’t we?), with a million or more units destined for Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Nigeria, and Thailand. No word on whether this is an exclusive manufacturing contract, but they are officially looking into a commercially developed version of the machine to subsidize costs. (Remember, OLPC is a non-profit.)

[Via TG Daily]

The $415,000 DVD box set

The $415,000 DVD box set: "

A well-known Japanese musician named Masaharu Fukuyama is receiving some rather odd star treatment: a company called “GINZA TANAKA” will release a solid gold replica of his DVD box set to celebrate the 15th anniversary of his debut. Only one replica will be made, but we completely understand why; measuring about 5.7 inches all around, the 24-karat gold cube weighs a cool 33 pounds. You could be the lucky owner of this conversation piece for a mere ~$415,000 USD. It doesn’t even come with any actual DVDs, but if you’re such a fan to spend so much on a solid gold cube of a DVD box set, we suppose you already own the real deal.

onair solutions' "USB HDTV" external HD USB 2.0 tuner

onair solutions' "USB HDTV" external HD USB 2.0 tuner: "

We always enjoy bringing you products that manufacturers bill as the world’s first something-or-other, so we can learn in comments that it’s totally not the case. Well today we have the rather uninspiringly-named “USB HDTV” from onair solutions, which claims to be the world’s first external HD tuner to support USB 2.0. This tuner features both digital and analog RF inputs, as well as composite and S-video for piping in other content, and even has QAM support for digital cable data and 5.1 audio if your sound card has SPDIF. You also get PVR functionality here, thanks to bundled software and an IR remote, which is further enhanced by image capture functionality and an online program guide. If you already have a nice display for your PC, at $250 this seems like a super-cheap and easy way to get HDTV plus recording—available now in the US through Autumnwave, a stateside partner.

Philips spinoff iRex plans ebook reader

Philips spinoff iRex plans ebook reader: "

The latest ebook reader that won’t take the world by storm is apparently coming soon from a Philips spinoff called iRex Technologies. The Dutch company showed off a prototype earlier this month, and plans a launch for early next year. According to reports, the iRex will use E-ink technology (not surprising, since Philips helped develop and fund E-ink), and has also been put together by some of the same developers who worked on Sony’s mega-successful Librie. No info yet on pricing or specs. We like E-ink, and would certainly like to see ebooks take off in a real way. But face it, until readers are cheap, easy to use, have color displays, and have a common platform for software and DRM (not to mention a critical mass of available books), they’re going to remain expensive novelty items.

Witnessing The Flash From A Black Hole's Cannibal Act

Witnessing The Flash From A Black Hole's Cannibal Act: "An international team of astronomers reports the discovery of a third short gamma-ray burst, associated with a nearby elliptical galaxy. The low level of star formation in such galaxies and the detection of a second long-lasting flare indicate that this gamma-ray burst is most likely the final scream of a neutron star as it is being devoured by a black hole."

Stretchable silicon could be next wave in electronics

Stretchable silicon could be next wave in electronics

More on Loc8tor personal tracking system

More on Loc8tor personal tracking system: "

When we first heard of the Loc8tor a few weeks ago, we were a little dubious of the tracking device, which claims it can locate pretty much anything that you can slap a tag on, within a 500 foot range. Of course, we didn’t have a lot of info back then. Now that it’s getting close to its unveiling at CES, some more details on the Loc8tor are starting to trickle out (ah, those PR folks; they love to trickle that info), including the fact that the device can work with up to 24 tags simultaneously, the tags themselves (pictured, above) are about the size of a postage stamp (also pictured, above), and tags can be affixed to both objects and people, the latter of which can use a panic button to alert the person holding the base unit. Pricing is set at $99.99 for a version that doesn’t include panic-capable tags, and $169.99 for one that does. We’re still not sure how well this works in the real world, but we’ll do our best to snag one at CES to do a scavenger hunt test run, and will report back to you.

Imation's plush "Furry Flash" USB drives

Imation's plush "Furry Flash" USB drives: "

It’s been awhile (too long, we know) since we brought you a totally goofy USB peripheral/thumbdrive ala the sushi drives or the spaghetti drive, so here for your mocking pleasure are the three plush Furry Flash drives from Imation. Not only do the dog-, croc-, and hippo-shaped drives defeat the whole purpose of pocketable data, but at a scant 128MB, these items hold very little data in the first place. Still, for only $30, this might not be a bad gift for the budding secret agent; in fact, we bet these will start showing up on the CIA for Kids website in no time.

[Thanks, Michael]

"One of a kind" synth-guitar on eBay for $5K

"One of a kind" synth-guitar on eBay for $5K: "

With a starting bid of $5,000, this “one of a kind guitar” may not attract too many eBayers (at this writing, there are no bids), but that doesn’t mean the builder (who isn’t the seller) shouldn’t get some props. According to the seller, the guitar has a synth in the base, and uses buttons instead of strings or frets. It was apparently custom-built in 1970 for a guitarist named Scott Cromwell, and has been moldering in an attic somewhere since Cromwell’s death in 1975. No word in the seller’s description about whether this still works or not (though the seller says he plans to keep the patent and “all rites”), other than a claim that it can “make you sound like Hendrix himself.” Okay, we’re sold — though we assume we can get our money back if that doesn’t quite prove to be the case.

[Via Music Thing]

NEC Develops Paper-Thin Mobile Battery

NEC Develops Paper-Thin Mobile Battery: "NEC has developed the ORB (Organic Radical Battery), a flexible battery only 300 microns thick made out of 'organic radical polymer' and that recharges in under a minute. NEC said it initially would be used in applications such as smartcards and ..."

Future: Packaging Made Of Electronic Paper

Future: Packaging Made Of Electronic Paper: "

Wired: 'Electronics maker Siemens is readying a paper-thin electronic-display technology so cheap it could replace conventional labels on disposable packaging, from milk cartons to boxes of Cheerios. In less than two years, Siemens says, the technology could transform consumer-goods packaging from the fixed, ink-printed images of today to a digital medium of flashing graphics and text that displays prices, special offers or alluring photos, all blinking on miniature flat screens.'

Add sound to the mix, too.

Study: Packaging Design Patterns Friday Special: Museum of Packaging Simpill: Packaging with SMS Reminder Flashback: Cereal Box Carboard Records Ethnographic Research on Packaging Usage
(Pictured above:A Citizen employee unveils the world's first flexible digital clock which is as thin as camera film and can be bent around the curve of a wall; Yahoo.)"

Xmultiple FlashPoint MP3 SharePlayer

Xmultiple FlashPoint MP3 SharePlayer: "

We just received a press release from Xmultiple announcing a “new breed” of digital audio players created by the natural union of their FlashPoint thumb drive with an MP3 player. Their new SharePlayer not only pumps out compressed audio but also features Xmultiple’s Sharing-On-The-Go firmware allowing you to download files directly from another USB MP3 player by simply “attaching the devices and pressing a button” — no need for a pesky PC in the middle or electrical outlet son, thems for fools dig? And that good SOTG works just as well for downloading photographs or data from your USB equipped digicam or cellphone. We’re not clear if they still require data to be stored in the “load” directory for all this “computerless” download lovin’ but there’s no denying SOTG’s (aka, USB On-The-Go) potential convenience. Available in 512MB and 1/2/4GB capacities sometime early next year in fabulous white, black, and gray models — ‘cause anything beyond grayscale is just so yesterday.

Pixela pocket TV with digital tuner

Pixela pocket TV with digital tuner: "The Pixela pocket TV has looks that remind us of those bulky audio guidebooks you pick up at museums, but with a 2.17-inch LCD grafted on. Despite its ungainly design, the portable, due out in Japan next spring, has a few interesting features, in particular, a built-in digital tuner to receive Japanese over-the-air digital broadcasts. The unit will also, apparently, be able to pick up both analog and digital FM radio broadcasts, along with broadcasts using H.264 and 5.1 surround (which, of course, is converted to two-channel output). Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have any storage capabilities, so you’re limited to viewing what you can receive in real-time. And, somehow, we’re not quite sure you’ll really be wowed by digital TV when you’re watching it on a 2.17-inch display.

[Via Akihabara News]


OHSU Discovery Sheds Light Into How Stem Cells Become Brain Cells

OHSU Discovery Sheds Light Into How Stem Cells Become Brain Cells: "Researchers discovered one key gene that appears to control how stem cells become various kinds of brain cells. The scientists wanted to determine if the process can be controlled and used as a possible therapy. What amazed them is a single gene may be responsible for this important task The finding has significant implications for the study of Parkinson's disease, brain and spinal cord injury, and other conditions or diseases."

Ancient Glaciers Still Affect The Shape Of North America, Say Scientists

Ancient Glaciers Still Affect The Shape Of North America, Say Scientists: "Long after the disappearance of the glaciers that once covered much of North America, the land they rested upon is still recovering from their weight - and the slow movement of this recovery includes horizontal motion never seen before, say Purdue scientists. The research team, led by Eric A. Calais, has found that a large swath of territory in the Northeast is slowly moving southward in relation to the rest of the continent."

Hack your Wal-Mart Singing Santa

Hack your Wal-Mart Singing Santa: "

We know you’re already regretting that impulse buy of a certain Saint Nick that is currently ho ho hoing up a storm in the corner. Well redeem yourself with this sweet hack to get that perennial chuckler laughing to your lame Christmas slogans. The hack a day reader responsible modded his Santa up with drunken antics — be sure to peep the videos — but surely you wouldn’t be so coarse. This is not a hack for the timed or weak minded, but we’re sure there are certain inherent qualities in anyone brave enough to bring a 5-foot animatronic Santa home to the wife.


MIT's robo snail!

MIT's robo snail!: "

Researches at MIT have built a robotic snail to test mathematical models of how snails move and stay stuck to surfaces. The device is able to climb slime slathered vertical walls and ceilings by a process which loosely imitates the real deal. See, the artificial gastropod has five movable segments on it’s underside. After each has advanced, the body itself slides forward allowing the robot to inch forward on a surface covered with a 1.5-milimeter layer of Laponite (aka, slime). While slow, this means of locomotion allows the device to crawl over just about anything. The “secret” is to “keep the snail as light as possible (31.6 grams), while ensuring the Laponite has just the right stickiness.” Er, that’s not a secret folks.

The MoGo MouseBT stows away in your PC card slot

The MoGo MouseBT stows away in your PC card slot: "

If you’re tired of storing loose change in your laptop’s oft neglected PC card slot, Newton Peripherals has a new one for you. They’ll be unveiling their MoGo MouseBT at CES this year, and it is just that: a Bluetooth mouse that stows away in your PC card slot and includes a kickstand of sorts to make operation somewhat ergonomic. We’ll have to wait and see just how ergonomic in January.


Jens of Sweden MP-X (aka Qoolqee X) reviewed

Jens of Sweden MP-X (aka Qoolqee X) reviewed: "

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about the Qoolqee X, that tiny, display-free, ruggedized player from Korea’s Hantel. Turns out, though, the folks at Jens of Sweden have been hard at work, and have rolled out a black-clad version (the Qoolqee version comes in red, blue or yellow), packed in a slim black box (kept slim by Jens’ oh-so-clever ploy of making you buy a headset separately). Fosfor Gadgets has a review of what is now known as the Jens of Sweden MP-X, and found it to have “excellent” build and sound quality (though the reviewer points out that the Jens logo rubbed off after a couple of days of use — so much for rebranding). The reviewer also found the controls to be straightforward — though setting the equalizer was a bit tricky — and called it a “perfect match” if you’re looking for a small player for workouts. Specs include support for MP3, WMA, WMA w/DRM and OGG, and a claimed battery life of about 12 hours. At under $100 for the 1GB version, it’s priced pretty competitively, and we can live with having to pay extra for headphones, since we typically just chuck the included cheapo earbuds as soon as we open a new player.

Instant Messenger as Content Delivery Platform

Instant Messenger as Content Delivery Platform: "

Not only can chat bots push ads, they can also intelligently deliver content on demand, and the bot for MAKE magazine is the first on the field:

'The MAKEbot is a AIM/iChat buddy you add to your buddy list. When you type latest, he will give you the latest news from Makezine.com. You can type 'subscribe 1' and he'll deliver the latest news each hour. If you type 'photos' you'll get the latest photos from the MAKE photo pool, type 'bookmarks' you'll get our latest bookmarks, type 'Instructables' you'll get the latest how-to projects. Lastly - if you type keywords like psp, welding, ipod or whatever he'll search the MAKE site, the pages from MAKE and give you a link from our search engine to help you find what you're looking for.'"

Unpacking the Pez MP3 player

Unpacking the Pez MP3 player: "

It’s here! Yes, it may not be the most technically advanced portable audio player on the market. But just in time for the holidays, one of the year’s most eagerly awaited MP3 players has arrived: The Pez MP3 player, testament to the power of sugar-fueled nostalgia and one man’s dream, is everything we hoped it would be. Ours arrived by mail today, and we’re ready to (virtually) share it with you.

Yesterday, we received an e-mail from Pez MP3 impresario Pat Misterovich, letting us know that the first batch of players had shipped. Sure enough, when we opened our mailbox today, there it was. Talk about fast service! In the first picture above, you can see everything that comes with the player, including a carrying strap, ear buds, USB cable and owner’s manual.

As you can see, the player is blister-packed, with the front of the pack marked “1st Edition.” Whether or not that means these early versions will be worth a bundle on eBay at some point in the future remains to be seen (though, just in case, we ordered two — and, yes, we paid for them!). Also on the blister pack: word that this holds “120 candies songs.” Personally, we would have liked it if Pat had found a way to squeeze the player into the shell and keep the candy, but ma"


Why this brain flies on rat cunning - Science - www.theage.com.au

Why this brain flies on rat cunning - Science - www.theage.com.au: "It sounds like science fiction: a brain nurtured in a Petri dish learns to pilot a fighter plane as scientists develop a new breed of 'living' computer. But in groundbreaking experiments in a Florida laboratory that is exactly what is happening.

The 'brain', grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a single rat embryo, has been taught to fly an F-22 jet simulator by scientists at the University of Florida.

They hope their research into neural computation will help them develop sophisticated hybrid computers, with a thinking biological component."

How To Create Post-It Art

How To Create Post-It Art: "

A very detailed step-by-step how-to on how to create amazing wall art from Post-It notes."

iubi PMP2010 100GB PMP

iubi PMP2010 100GB PMP: "

Korean manufacturer iubi has packed a solid 100GB of storage space into its new PMP2010 portable media player, along with a 4.3-inch widescreen LCD, Linux OS, and USB 2.0 connectivity. We’ll have to wait and see how this model stacks up against Archos’ 100GB monster, the AV500, but at only 175 grams and $400, the iubi certainly has a head start in several categories. This model plays back MPEG-4, DivX, and XviD files, along with MP3, WMA, and OGG tunes, and JPEG pictures.

[Via MobileKorea.tv]

Flavored Magazine Inserts

Flavored Magazine Inserts: "

Are you print adverts in good taste? (Sorry, couldn't resist). Anyway, the NY Times Magazine runs its traditional 'The Year in Ideas' feature, and besides mentioning a bunch of MIT Media Lab's gadgets, it features flavored paper. Check this out:

'At Chicago's trendy Moto restaurant, a 20-course tasting menu can begin with 'sushi' made of paper that has been printed with images of maki and wrapped around vinegared rice and conclude with a mint-flavored picture of a candy cane.

Homaro Cantu, Moto's executive chef, has essentially combined a high-end kitchen with a Kinko's. Using a modified ink-jet printer and organic, food-based inks, he prints images of food (and other objects) on specially designed paper made of modified food starch. Recently, he began creating flavored inserts for magazines.'

Other notable mentions include forehead billboards and scientists auctioning off names of obscure organisms to outfits like Golden Palace."


New Scientist Breaking News - Chameleon scarf coordinates with your outfit

New Scientist Breaking News - Chameleon scarf coordinates with your outfit: "Interwoven into the scarf material are pixels containing red, blue and green light-emitting diodes (LEDs), so adjusting the brightness of each type of diode turns the scarf a different overall shade.

A small sensor embedded in the garment also enables it to identify the colour of the nearest item of clothing. A microcomputer then selects a suitable colour for the scarf itself to adopt."

TPF engineers achieve planet-detection milestone

TPF engineers achieve planet-detection milestone: "For the first time ever, engineers working on JPL's Planet Detection Testbed have demonstrated that they can separate light as faint as that from a distant Earth-like planet from the blinding glare of its parent star."


E-Paper Display in Tokyo

E-Paper Display in Tokyo: "

'A new display set up at Tokyo station makes interesting use of e-paper. Six A4 sheets of e-paper are on display for commuters in a snazzy transparent blue housing — allowing them to see how thin the e-paper is. The sheets of e-paper are being fed with the latest news stories via a wireless Internet connection and are updated with new content every five minutes.'
-- Gizmodo "

gizmag Article: BodyBoard - the lie-down electric go-kart

gizmag Article: BodyBoard - the lie-down electric go-kart: "February 15, 2005 The BodyBoard rider lies head first in a harness, getting a speed sensation blast just centimeters above the tarmac. Propulsion comes via the powerful electric engines inside each wheel that are powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. The BodyBoard also has the lowest centre of gravity possible - it's below the axle line. Along with the bird's eye view and four powerful inside-the-wheel electric motors with linear power delivery are big fat sticky racing tyres, offering G-forces not possible in anything this side of a Formula One car."

gizmag Article: EasyGlider

gizmag Article: EasyGlider: "One of the more interesting personal transportation devices we have seen in recent times is the German-made EasyGlider - an electrically-powered wheel with a handle that offers a quite unique motive experience, exhilarating speed and a range of 35km on each charge.

After several years of development of the EasyGlider, the final production version is nearing readiness and the company plans to deliver the first vehicles in September with mass production due to begin in October 2004.

So strong has been the interest in the eco-friendly EasyGlider that the company is holding firm orders for more than 2000 at the retail price of EU890 (AU$1430).

The final Glider will be the fifth redesign of the machine on its way from concept to market as 'an individual transportation device for the future.'

Think of the EasyGlider as a cross between an electric scooter and water-skiing. The single driven wheel acts in the same way that a water-ski boat does, pulling the user along behind, though in this instance the accelerator and brake are hand-controlled by the 'skier.'"

gizmag Article: Aprilia Magnet: Hybrid three-wheeler with supercar performance

gizmag Article: Aprilia Magnet: Hybrid three-wheeler with supercar performance: "Take a Formula One driving position, three wheels, a high-power 550cc v-twin engine designed for motocross, put an additional electric motor into each wheel, and an ingenious tilt system. Finnish student Heikki Naulapaa designed this vehicle as the main project in his design degree at the Royal College of the Arts in London. It landed him a dream job in the design department at Aprilia and maybe, just maybe, the adventurous company might build this excitement machine. With specs like that and a low aerodynamic profile, the hybrid would match any 1000cc superbike in performance and blow a Ferrari into the weeds."

gizmag Article: The Wheelsurf - calling all thrillseekers

gizmag Article: The Wheelsurf - calling all thrillseekers: "February 6, 2005 The Brazilian-made Wheelsurf is one of the most distinctive vehicles on the planet -- a US$2500 single-wheeled , ride-inside conveyance that's sure to get you noticed. Riding the Wheelsurf is not for those seeking transport alone as it has no conventional steering mechanism and requires adept throttle control. The throttle and the brake are located on the rigid handlebars and steering is done by moving your centre of gravity (i.e. YOU) to the inside of the corner. Too much throttle and the inner body, with you on it, starts to rotate backwards. Back off the throttle to slow down and you need to lean backwards so you don't rotate forwards within the wheel. Grab a handful of brake and ... errr"

gizmag Article: BUSHPIG 20mph Motorised Skateboard

gizmag Article: BUSHPIG 20mph Motorised Skateboard

UPDATED March 2005 Somewhere between a mini-motorcycle and a motorised-skateboard lies the Wheelman BUSHPIG, a new form of motorised transport that utilises motor and frame supported at each end by a spokeless wheel into which feet can be inserted whilst standing upright. The use of wheels without axles not only adds to the intriguing design but also provides a very low centre of gravity , strength and a significant saving in weight as well as giving you somewhere to put your feet. Check out the new video of the BUSHPIG in action inside!

gizmag Article: Embrio One-Wheel Concept

gizmag Article: Embrio One-Wheel Concept

This hydrogen fuel cell powered, gyroscopically balanced, one-wheeled recreational and commuting vehicle provides an extraordinary vision of the kind of personal transport we could be using 20 years from now.

PlasticLogic Develops Large E-Ink Display

PlasticLogic Develops Large E-Ink Display: "

'Plastic Logic has developed the world's largest flexible organic active matrix display. The display consists of a flexible, high resolution, printed active-matrix backplane driving an electronic paper frontplane from US-based E Ink Corporation. The displays are 10' diagonal SVGA (600 by 800) with 100ppi resolution and 4 levels of greyscale. The thickness of the display when laminated with E Ink Imaging Film is less than 0.4mm.'
-- press release "

RSStroom Reader concept prints up toilet paper news

RSStroom Reader concept prints up toilet paper news: "

The next time you’ve got to spend some quality alone time on the throne, make sure you’ve got an RSStroom Reader handy to print you up some multi-use news items. We can’t quite tell if it’s outputting some two-ply quilted feeds, or if it plans to keep us up to date with that generic single-ply brand, but with wireless connectivity, RSS 2.0/Atom compatibility, and a browser based control panel, it should get the job done. Sure, this gag isn’t for reals, but c’mon, you know you want one.

[Thanks, Duncan]

NEC's paper thin, rapid recharge batteries, "ORB"

NEC's paper thin, rapid recharge batteries, "ORB": "

NEC has debuted some ultra-thin and flexible quick charging batteries named ORB, for Organic Radical Battery. We’re having a hard time deciding what is the coolest part about these; their 0.3mm thickness that allows them to be flexible, or the fact that they can be recharged in about 30 seconds. The organic radical materials inside the battery are in an “electrolyte-permeated gel state,” which is supposedly about halfway between a solid and a liquid. This helps ions make a smooth move (no, the other one), reducing resistance, allowing the batteries to charge faster. 1 square centimeter will give you about 1 miliwatt hour. That’s not enough to power your laptop, but according to NEC, one recharge of this battery allows an active RFID tag to transmit tens of thousands of signals. NEC plans on further developing the technology so it can one day be used in IC cards, RFID tags, electronic paper, wearable computers, and other such technologies stepping up to the plate in the coming decade.

'Data-in, data-out' signals quantum breakthrough

'Data-in, data-out' signals quantum breakthrough: "Harvard University and Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have succeeded in transferring quantum information between 'quantum memories' -- from atoms to photons and back again. Both teams employed powerful laser pulses to extract quantum..."

ESI's JamMate UG-1 USB guitar

ESI's JamMate UG-1 USB guitar: "

If you’re going to be rocking out in those nerd-boy threads, and without a guitar strap to support your axe, you might as well go all the way and make sure it plugs in via USB. ESI professional, over in Korea, are busting out the JamMate UG-1 in ‘06 that does just that, and they’re selling it for a nice $199, though that price straight up guarantees a fairly low quality instrument. They’re bundling some “Amplitube” amp modelling software to mess with your tone, and hope to release a USB bass and USB drum set to round out your 3-piece punk outfit.

EyeBall cameras can be chucked in for remote surveillance

EyeBall cameras can be chucked in for remote surveillance: "

Sometimes the posh life at the Engadget southern winter estate bores us and we look for excitement by spying on our ritzy Floridian neighbors. Up till now, that has required tossing interns over the electric fence and assessing their screams for any info, but now it seems ODF has a solution in their EyeBall wireless cameras that should save us a bundle on HR and lawsuits. The rotating spheroid camera weighs less than a pound and is protected by rubber and polyurethane, which means we can chuck it through a window or bounce it off a garden statue to get the device properly situated to transmit the dirt. The battery lasts for two hours, and is rechargeable if we ever retrieve the device, which we hope to, since it’s $4,800 for a pair of EyeBalls and the receiving equipment. The kit is actually targeted for use by the Police and other such “betterment of humanity” type endeavors, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have our little fun.


Cyberhand spotted in the wild

Cyberhand spotted in the wild: "

The Cyberhand’s been getting a lot of attention the last few days, and it’s no mystery why. A functional opposable thumb, touch-sensors, and wireless nervous connection to the host? Looks like that $1.8m in research went to good use for the prototype — but let’s get real, if they’re ever gonna sell these things, they’re gonna need, like, a really great marketing tagline. We were thinking something along the lines of Cyberhand: strong enough to crush your opponent, pH balanced to hold a Lays potato chip.

Teac's new 1.8-inch USB 2.0 portable hard drives

Teac's new 1.8-inch USB 2.0 portable hard drives: "

Well, Teac has some new 1.8-inch 20GB, 40GB, and 60GB hard drives they’re tossing into a few USB 2.0 aluminum cases, and they’re hoping to ship ‘em to you, dear consumer. They don’t need no stinkin’ external power source, with USB power, and that aluminum casing is supposed to dissipate heat or some such goodness, so you can do the file transfer mojo all night long. No word on price, but the drives should be up on their store anytime now.

[Via MobileWhack]

Glide's TwistTogether LED lamps, um, twist together

Glide's TwistTogether LED lamps, um, twist together: "

Those snazzy LEDs have given lamps, and their lamp shadiness, a whole new lease on life. A new take on the illumination action, from Brooklyn’s Glide design studio, is the TwistTogether Lamp. These hand-cast resin lamps hook together, support weight, and power each other, for some sweet looking setups. Of course, you’re not going to score all this jazz for free, try $399 for four, or six for $585. Ah, the price of fashion.

Secret ID Law to Get Hearing

Secret ID Law to Get Hearing: "Internet freedom fighter John Gilmore is about to get his day in court, challenging the Bush administration's covert laws demanding travelers to show identification papers. By Ryan Singel."


Square-wheeled robot design will help propel MEMS, not CARS

Square-wheeled robot design will help propel MEMS, not CARS: "

You probably won’t see this “breakthrough” tech at your local Beemer dealership anytime soon, but researchers from Troy, NY-based Distributed Robotics have (please excuse the pun) stumbled upon a new method of locamotion that uses a rotating weight to slowly propel a vehicle with square wheels. Now more than just the subject of humorous Far Side cartoons, the prototype square-wheeled crawler uses a motor to horizontally drive a weight around each of the four interdependent wheels (which are slightly offset from one another), moving the vehicle foward as the wheel underneath the weight falls flat to the ground. Rather than trying to get NASCAR interested in their technology, Distrubuted Robotics and partner Global Composites envision a more nano-scale, MEMS-use for this system, which when scaled down could also theoretically work using hydrodynamic, magnetic, electromagnetic, or electrostatic forces instead of gravity.

[Via RPTT]

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Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 for PSP

Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 for PSP

ion's iTTUSB USB turntable

ion's iTTUSB USB turntable: "

Now we don’t think that this product will appeal to hardcore DJs due to its, um, rather plasticy nature, but for an easy way to transfer grandma and grandpa’s old Big Band records over to the digital format of their choice (and most likely cheaper than the Phono CD Recorder), ion’s iTTUSB turntable might just be the way to go. With no annoying drivers necessary, the plug-and-play iTTUSB is just as happy hanging with Windows as with Mac, and includes Audacity recording software for presumably pain-free content transfer. Non-techies can also use this ‘table sans PC with the built-in RCA outputs, but the real draw here seems to be the high-speed USB recording feature. The ion site lists numerous retailers who stock their products, although there is no mention yet of the iTTUSB on any of the sites that we checked.

[Thanks, John W.]

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Physicists Describe Strange New Fluid-like State Of Matter

Physicists Describe Strange New Fluid-like State Of Matter: "University of Chicago physicists have created a novel state of matter using nothing more than a container of loosely packed sand and a falling marble. They have found that the impacting marble produces a jet of sand grains that briefly behaves like a special type of dense fluid."

iTunes now offering NBC, SciFi, and USA television for download

iTunes now offering NBC, SciFi, and USA television for download: "

Well, now we know why NBC is thinking of suing TiVo over their announced PSP and iPod support — as expected they want you to pay for the content. So those rumors were true, Apple is now offering NBC programming in addition to SciFi (Battlestar Galactica) and USA (Monk) networks for $1.99 a pop to your iPod just like the ABC offerings of yore. Not only can you download current Must See (yawn) NBC shows like Law & Order, the office, and Surface in addition to Conan and Leno, you also gain access to some pretty sweet vintage NBC including Dragnet, Adam-12, Hitchcock and the all singing all craptastic Knight Rider which spawned the mantra inducing title: trust doesn’t rust. Indeed Michael, indeed.

[Thanks, Jay-B]

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Nissan develops self-repairing paint

Nissan develops self-repairing paint: "December 3, 2005 Nissan has developed the world’s first clear paint that repairs scratches on painted car surfaces, including scratches from car-washing machines, off-road driving and fingernails. “Scratch Guard Coat” contains a newly developed high elastic resin that helps prevent scratches from affecting the inner layers of a car’s painted surface. With “Scratch Guard Coat” a car’s scratched surface will return to its original state anywhere from one day to a week, depending on temperature and the depth of the scratch..."

Hello Kitty Stratocaster guitar by Fender

Hello Kitty Stratocaster guitar by Fender: "

Seemingly perfect for either up-and-coming Bikini Kill-style riot grrl rockers or androgynous Marilyn Manson-style glamfreaks, the Hello Kitty Stratocaster Badtz-Maru Bass and guitar from Squier by Fender are curiously being marketed to pre-pubescent girls, whose role-models today seem to mostly eschew musical instruments in favor of skimpy clothing and “back-up” tapes. Anyway, the Kittycaster features the little cutie herself on the pickguard, comes in pink or black, and costs a very non-indie $230. This hot Kitty action has definately put us in the HK mood, so don’t be surprised if you see a little more Kittypr0n before the day is over.

[Via Luxist, Sonicflare, and Techie Diva]

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The ROBOTIS modular robot system

The ROBOTIS modular robot system: "

Just when you thought we were through with this IREX ‘05 robotic insanity, we bring you this little trained assassin. Of course, he might look totally insane right here in, um, doggie mode, but you could make the ROBOTIS look like a skilled ninja since it’s totally configurable. Kind of like a Lego set for robots, ROBOTIS carries all the individual parts on their website you’ll need for making whatever walking, crawling, scurrying, lounging, or kick butting robot you can come up with — or afford. The parts, they ain’t cheap though; a hand can run you $260 dollars, and they’re not exactly giving away the other stuff. There’s also no telling how the software compares to Lego’s Mindstorm offerings, but there is definite potential here.

[Via Akihabara New]

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New nano material is far tougher than diamonds

New nano material is far tougher than diamonds: "Israeli scientists have have discovered a material 40 times harder than diamonds. Polyyne, a superhard molecular rod, is comprised of acetylene units. ..."

Mouse Sighted Aboard ISS

Mouse Sighted Aboard ISS: " Editor's note: Look at the extreme upper left hand corner of this image: 'ISS012-E-08727 (16 November 2005) ISS crew work at the Simvol-Ts / TORU workstation in the Zvezda Service Module of the international space station during onboard training for relocation of the Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft.'. Mickey has been on orbit for a while. You can see him velcroed to the wall in this image - between the fire extinguisher and laptop - during expedition 11."

Optical Vortex Could Look Directly At Extrasolar Planets

Optical Vortex Could Look Directly At Extrasolar Planets: "A new optical device might allow astronomers to view extrasolar planets directly without the annoying glare of the parent star. It would do this by 'nulling' out the light of the parent star by exploiting its wave nature, leaving the reflected light from the nearby planet to be observed in space-based detectors. The device, called an optical vortex coronagraph, is described in the December 15, 2005 issue of Optics Letters."


Rivers on Titan, one of Saturn's moons, resemble those on earth

Rivers on Titan, one of Saturn's moons, resemble those on earth

Recent evidence from the Huygens Probe of the Cassini Mission suggests that Titan, the largest moon orbiting Saturn, is a world where rivers of liquid methane sculpt channels in continents of ice. Surface images even show gravel-sized pieces of water ice that resemble rounded stones lying in a dry riverbed on Earth.

Physicists invent plastic diode

Physicists invent plastic diode: "Ohio State University researchers have invented a new organic polymer tunnel diode – an electronic component that could one day lead to flexible, low power plastic computer memory and plastic logic circuits on computer chips. Today, computer chips use mainly inorganic silicon."

Phylotaxis / for Seed by Jonathan Harris

Phylotaxis / for Seed by Jonathan Harris

Graphic news interface. Quite interesting!

Wired News: Science Makes Sex Obsolete

Wired News: Science Makes Sex Obsolete: "In the Nov. 1, 2004, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team led by Ralph Brinster at the University of Pennsylvania managed to grow mouse 'spermatagonial stem cells' in a dish. Also known as SSCs, they are the type of stem cells that eventually become sperm.

It gets even more interesting when you learn what Brinster did with sperm stem cells in 2001. In that study, he and his team changed the genetic program of SSCs. Because these are sex cells, any changes scientists might introduce to their genes will be carried from generation to generation. This is called a 'germ line' change, and it's a line that the majority of bioethicists agree should not be crossed, because it raises the specter of DNA eugenics.

So in theory, this technology could lead to a way to make sperm for infertile men, which most people would agree would be a great outcome. But scientists would also have the ability to alter the sperm genes so every succeeding generation would carry the change.

'SSCs provide an alternative method to modify the germ line of animals,' Brinster and his team wrote, adding that changing the soup the cells soak in could change their genetics, and 'identical or similar signaling mechanisms and culture requirements are likely to be applicable to other species,' including humans.


Harder than Diamonds

Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World


Military develops a Star Trek-like phaser

Military develops a Star Trek-like phaser

A sugar-cube-sized competitor to iPod

A sugar-cube-sized competitor to iPod: "It's said that in electronics, smaller is always better. If that's the case, the iPod may have found a challenger for portable music-playing supremacy."

First step toward making “little sun” as limitless energy source reported

First step toward making “little sun” as limitless energy source reported

Just another ten years or so....

The 2005 Geek Gift Guide

The 2005 Geek Gift Guide: "More than 100 super cool gadgets for the technophiles on your list -- impossibly tiny phones, incredibly sharp digicams, toy robots that don't suck and revolutionary home appliances. From Wired magazine."

Hey! It's my Christmas list!

Radar reveals ice deep below Martian surface

Radar reveals ice deep below Martian surface: "The first ever underground investigation of another planet also finds tantalising hints of liquid water pooling in a buried impact crater"

Seiko Spectrum, first watch with e-ink technology

Seiko Spectrum, first watch with e-ink technology: "

A few more details about that E Ink wristwatch from Seiko Epson are coming in from Japan. The watch will be called the “Seiko Spectrum,” and it’s set to be released on January 27, 2006 in Japan. Save your money for this one — pricing is set at 262,500 yen, or around $2,200 USD. Or just, you know, wait until they get cheaper. At least it’s a step in the right direction; there’s not really much room to argue against the advantages electronic ink provides over conventional displays for these kinds of applications. By the way, if you do want one of these watches, get moving: only 500 will be produced.

The Virtual Air Guitar - all you need is a rock'n'roll attitude

The Virtual Air Guitar - all you need is a rock'n'roll attitude: "December 1, 2005 As computers learn to enhance and augment every human endeavour, it was only a matter of time before talentless, uncoordinated individuals such as your humble writer could indulge their musical ambitions and produce sounds to match those of their dreams - and the Virtual Air Guitar project is well on the way to setting would-be musicians free, without the need for even an instrument. Playing the Virtual Air Guitar is simple. You pull on a pair of orange gloves (for the image tracking to recognise what your hands are doing), and strum a big chord and that's exactly what happens - you hear a power chord with punchy distortion. Now move your left hand along the imaginary neck and strum again - it's a different chord. You can't play any 'wrong' chords here - they have been pre-selected for you. When you're ready, press the switch pedal to change from chord mode to solo mode and you suddenly have a pentatonic minor scale on the three top strings, with fret slides and vibrato. Play hard enough with feeling, and you start getting screaming distortions. It's easy enough that you can pick it up in ten seconds, but especially the solo mode has just enough freedom for every solo to be different. You don't really need to know anything about guitar solos, except for how rock guitarists perform on stage. And there'"

CarChipE/X with Alarm alerts teens of driving indiscretions

CarChipE/X with Alarm alerts teens of driving indiscretions: "

There’s nothing so easy as making a quick buck off an overprotective parent, but at least the CarChipE/X with Alarm offers up some pretty interesting data for your paranoia cash. The device has been around for a while, mounting under your dash and tracking all sorts of things like car speed and RPM, sudden braking and acceleration, distance traveled, and fuel usage, which it stores in a 300 hour log. You can then take the CarChip and pull the data to your PC via USB and check on what your car has been up to. Now they’re adding an alarm functionality to alert the driver when they go above preset maximums for speed, braking, and acceleration, which we’re sure will annoy that drag racing teen of yours. They’ll thank you someday though, we’re sure of it.

[Via The Gadgets Weblog]

I think I'm getting old. This sounds like a good idea.

Failing ocean current raises fears of mini ice age

Failing ocean current raises fears of mini ice age: "The warm current that gives western Europe its relatively balmy climate has recently fallen by 30% – experts worry that it may fail entirely"

Failing ocean current raises fears of mini ice age

Failing ocean current raises fears of mini ice age: "The warm current that gives western Europe its relatively balmy climate has recently fallen by 30% – experts worry that it may fail entirely"

In Depth: Tide out on Titan? A soft solid surface for Huygens

In Depth: Tide out on Titan? A soft solid surface for Huygens

For the man with everything - the V8 snowblower

For the man with everything - the V8 snowblower: "December 1, 2005 If you’re tired of anaemic, one-lung snowblowers with their slipping drive belts, you might consider Kai Grundt’s V8 snow blower which raises the bar on the traditional snow blower in every respect. With electric start, electric block heater, antifreeze heater and eight cylinders, it has no drive belts to freeze up and you’ll never get bored with the job as the 454 cubic inch big block Chevrolet V8 produces 412 horsepower, 430 foot pounds of torque and can throw snow 50 feet at just 3500 rpm. Nor will you get cold as the machine has been ingeniously designed to route the engine coolant through the handle bars, with the rear mounted, enclosed radiator keeping the operator nice and cosy. .."

Yale Scientists Decipher 'Wiring Pattern' Of Cell Signaling Networks

Yale Scientists Decipher 'Wiring Pattern' Of Cell Signaling Networks: "A team of scientists at Yale University has completed the first comprehensive map of the proteins and kinase signaling network that controls how cells of higher organisms operate, according to a report this week in the journal Nature. The study is a breakthrough in understanding mechanisms of how proteins operate in different cell types under the control of master regulator molecules called protein kinases."