Hermann: another round of pulling the perfect pint

Hermann: another round of pulling the perfect pint: "Filed under: Household, Robots
Pulling the perfect pint -- manually or otherwise -- seems to be something of a long standing obsession across the pond, and more than one beer-pouring robot and device has been whipped up in occasion of this grand pursuit. The latest, Hermann, is the fruit of the efforts of one Professor Thomas Weber and his 23 scients students at the Dutch Technical University of Darmstadt, whom set out to design a robot that would cost under £53 ($92 US) that could pull the perfect pint. Can Hermann really do it? Weber says so -- but he's not sharing sharing much in the way of the secret of their success. (The device pictured is David Stevenson's homer, from 2004.)

US Army testing Stryker robot tank

US Army testing Stryker robot tank: "Filed under: Robots, Transportation

Engineers with the US Army recently completed tests on a 20-ton unmanned Stryker vehicle, intended to be used as part of a convoy. In the tests, the robot vehicle was able to follow a manned vehicle at speeds averaging 22 miles per hour, topping out at 40 on straightaways. The robotank was also able to detect obstacles laid down by the lead vehicle and maneuver around them. One of the big advantages of the vehicle appears to be the ability to operate without GPS, instead relying on terrain data sent from the lead vehicle and data gathered from on-board sensors; soldiers will remain in the vehicles for now, but in the future, these mech-warriors could be used for tasks like resupplying forces in dangerous environments.

Pretty view but watch that first step

Pretty view but watch that first step: "The view in from GEO on 4/12/2018

And from the vicinity of the bitter end, 100,000 kilometers out

Higher res versions can be found here (GEO) and here (100,000 k).  The simulated view can’t be beat.

Via Celestia, a steller open-source astronomy application.

Researchers Unlock How Cells Determine Their Functions

Researchers Unlock How Cells Determine Their Functions: "Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have discovered a molecular mechanism directing the fate and function of cells during animal development. The findings could hold promise for the advancement of cancer and stem-cell research.


gizmag Article: Motorola invests in Micro Fuel Cell Power Source for Mobile Products

gizmag Article: Motorola invests in Micro Fuel Cell Power Source for Mobile Products: "November 9, 2005 Motorola has made a strategic investment in North American micro fuel cell developer Tekion with a view to the inevitable rise of the fuel cell as a power source for mobile products. Tekion is driven by the mission to take mobile devices 'off the grid'. By integrating advanced battery technology with micro fuel cell technology, Tekion is creating a new 'personal power source', known as the Formira Power Pack, that will fit inside mobile products and enable consumers to stay connected for as long as needed. Tekion's technology provides a competitive advantage for portable electronic products in the power range of milliwatts to 50 watts and energy range of 10 to 100 watt-hours. Several products and markets fall within these power and energy levels including: industrial handheld computers, satellite communication devices, notebook PCs, and other mobile products.

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Bacteria Turns Styrofoam into Biodegradable Plastic

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Bacteria Turns Styrofoam into Biodegradable Plastic: "Bacteria are everywhere, silently going about their business of breaking down cellulose, fermenting foods or fixing nitrogen in the soil, among a host of other activities. Given their ubiquity and diversity of functions, biotechnologists have been searching for new uses for different strains of the microscopic organisms, such as consuming oil spills or even capturing images. Now biologists at the University College Dublin in Ireland have found that a strain of Pseudomonas putida can exist quite happily on a diet of pure styrene oil--the oil remnant of superheated Styrofoam--and, in the process, turn the environmental problem into a useful, biodegradable plastic.


Quantum computer works best switched off

Quantum computer works best switched off: "A quantum computer program has produced an answer without actually running - can the crazy world of quantum mechanics get any weirder?

Pinnacle PCTV USB Stick puts digital TV on your screen

Pinnacle PCTV USB Stick puts digital TV on your screen: "Filed under: Portable Video

Adding a digital TV tuner to your laptop is now as easy as putting a thumbdrive into a USB port -- if you live in Europe or Australia, that is. Pinnacle Systems has launched the PCTV USB Stick, a tiny digital tuner that looks like a thumbdrive, and comes with a handy remote and software to save shows in DivX and other formats. Plug it into your USB port, and you have full access to terrestrial digital broadcasts using the DVB-T standard, which has been adopted in much of Europe and Australia. The rest of us will just have to settle for BitTorrent.


Magazine in a Bottle

Magazine in a Bottle: "
(image: Gizmag)

Australia's iLove magazine will distribute copies hidden behind the the labels on water bottles. The 32 page A7 magazine will include 10 pages of advertising per issue with the circulation of each edition reaching 2,000,000 by March, 2005 and will be distributed though grocery chains.

Best Slashdot Comment .. Ever

Best Slashdot Comment .. Ever: "Well maybe not ever but it’s pretty good.

Does the firm (that would be Liftport - Editor) have any ideas on how to avoid tremendous death and destruction if this immensely long cable were to fall to the Earth, possibly hitting certain areas twice as badly if it were long enough to wrap more than once around?

Yes. They’re going to deploy a massive cushion [wikipedia.org] around the Earth, consisting of a total of about 5000 trillion metric tons of gas. Roughly 78% will be nitrogen, and 21% will be oxygen.

If the cable breaks, the lower half will encounter this cushion at extremely high velocities, ripping it apart and causing it to flutter harmlessly to the ground.

No news about whether or not they’ll patent the idea.



WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: Xerox PARC Takes on Clean, Green Technology

WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: Xerox PARC Takes on Clean, Green Technology: "The Palo Alto Research Center, the storied Xerox subsidiary responsible for many of the computer world's breakthrough technologies, is making a move into clean technology and sustainable products and services. It's a watershed moment of sorts: the birthplace of today's user-friendly computing wants to be the birthplace of tomorrow's clean and green innovations.

PARC, as it's more commonly known, recent launched a Clean Technology Initiative, focused on key areas of clean and sustainable technologies: solar, energy distribution, energy conservation and efficiency, clean water, air quality, and some paper-reduction technologies (the latter, of course, aimed at Xerox's core business).

The initiative evolved over the past year, like many PARC projects do, as a grassroots initiative based on 'the instincts and interests of PARC's research community,' Jennifer Ernst, PARC's communication manager, told me recently. The group brought in speakers and held roundtable discussions to learn more about the sustainability and clean-tech space. 'We started carving out places where we thought we could make a difference.'

The first result of those efforts, just announced, is a partnership with SolFocus, Inc., which is developing concentrator photovoltaic systems. SolFocus aims to employ PARC technology to cut the cost of solar power

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Unlocking the Secrets of Longevity Genes -- [ BIOTECHNOLOGY ] -- A handful of genes that control the

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Unlocking the Secrets of Longevity Genes -- [ BIOTECHNOLOGY ] -- A handful of genes that control the body's defenses during hard times can also dramatically improve health and prolong life in diverse organisms. Understanding how they work may reveal the keys to extending human life span while banishing diseases of old age: "You can assume quite a bit about the state of a used car just from its mileage and model year. The wear and tear of heavy driving and the passage of time will have taken an inevitable toll. The same appears to be true of aging in people, but the analogy is flawed because of a crucial difference between inanimate machines and living creatures: deterioration is not inexorable in biological systems, which can respond to their environments and use their own energy to defend and repair themselves.

air to water technology goes mobile

air to water technology goes mobile: "February 20, 2006 With around 20% of the world’s population struggling to get adequate supplies of safe drinking water, the rapid evolution of air-water technology (which extracts water from the air) could well become one of the most significant enabling technologies in the history of mankind. We’ve already awarded the invention of the century, but we believe air-water technology is close to being equally as significant as it will enable man to begin to reconsider the cultivation of vast tracts of previously inhospitable land. Believe it or not, there are approximately 4000 cubic miles of water in the earth’s atmosphere, which accounts for why it rains, why air conditioning units extract water from the air, and how Atmospheric Water Technologies’ machinery manages to extract thousands of litres of drinkable water per day from thin air. We wrote up the technology in detail 18 months ago, but things have changed a lot in the short time since that first article. Now the company produces an AW100i model which combines water extraction from the atmosphere with a built-in icemaker to make a unit that can be powered from a generator and produce 50 litre of ice and 50 litres of drinkable water per day. More significantly, the company has now developed a mobile version of its air-to-water machine known as the aw1000m (caution: large WMV video file).

The Segway creator's next entrepreneurial spin - Feb. 16, 2006

The Segway creator's next entrepreneurial spin - Feb. 16, 2006: "San Francisco (Business 2.0) - Dean Kamen, the engineer who invented the Segway, is puzzling over a new equation these days. An estimated 1.1 billion people in the world don't have access to clean drinking water, and an estimated 1.6 billion don't have electricity. Those figures add up to a big problem for the world—and an equally big opportunity for entrepreneurs.

To solve the problem, he's invented two devices, each about the size of a washing machine that can provide much-needed power and clean water in rural villages.
'Eighty percent of all the diseases you could name would be wiped out if you just gave people clean water,' says Kamen. 'The water purifier makes 1,000 liters of clean water a day, and we don't care what goes into it. And the power generator makes a kilowatt off of anything that burns.'

Petabyte disks coming in 5 years?

Petabyte disks coming in 5 years?: "Filed under: Storage
Mmmm, 1.2 petabytes (1,024 terabytes) of storage on a single tiny disk. Just imagine the bragging rights if you sported that kind of er, package in your pocket. Well, that's what inventor Philip Michael Thomas claims to be packing via his non-contact optical spintronics approach to data storage. See Thomas has succeeded in coaxing electrons to spin in the same direction as opposed to current data storage methods which are hapless in the face of electron flip. Controlling the spin allows for smaller, higher capacity devices with prototypes expected in two to three years and commercial products in five. Perpendicular schmerpendicular, bring us spintronics!


Wright This Way: iPod Shuffle RAID

Wright This Way: iPod Shuffle RAID: "So, what do you do when you and some friends are all getting iPod Shuffles? You make a RAID array out of them, of course! Follow along as we explore new depths of geekery...


The top 10 weirdest USB drives ever - Fosfor Gadgets

The top 10 weirdest USB drives ever - Fosfor Gadgets: "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."

First full motion stamp out in The Netherlands

First full motion stamp out in The Netherlands: "Filed under: Misc. Gadgets
The exchange rate between the euro and dollar must have jumped significantly since we last crossed The Pond 'cause TPG Post in Holland just issued two regular-costing 39-euro-cent stamps...with moving images. These unique plastic stamps use lenticular technology to lace twelve film stills together to replay the winning Olympic races of two skating legends (in Holland anyway). These stamps are available now from the Dutch post office. No doubt we'll get some wavy flags any day now.


Scientists develop their own lightning ball machine

Scientists develop their own lightning ball machine: "Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

Apparently we've been missing out in the big city because the real fun seems to be had on the farm where, if you're lucky, you can spy a hovering ball of lightning during a thunderstorm chasing a cow or causing some such mayhem. It turns out this semi-freaky ball lighting stuff is thought to be a result of a lightning strike which kicks up dirt when it hits the ground and then slowly burns off the minerals as a slow moving fireball. Of course scientists can't leave well enough alone, so some researchers in Israel have built their very own fireball machine using the magnetron from a domestic microwave. The device drills into a solid, and when it pulls out it brings with it a 3-cm floating fireball that quivers like a jellyfish and floats in the air, but only lasts a few milliseconds. The developers of the device are hoping they can use the lightning balls for practical applications, but we're looking forward to a little bit of Mario-style Fire Flower firepower.


Elecom's 4GB 0.85-inch HDD thumb drive

Elecom's 4GB 0.85-inch HDD thumb drive: "Filed under: Peripherals

Sure there have been USB flash drives beyond 4GB for a while now, but they'll cost you an arm and a leg, and as the iPod continues to demonstrate -- for now at least -- sometimes a bit of miniature HDD is the best way to go. With that in mind we have the MF-DU204G 4GB USB thumb drive from Elecom, based on a 0.85-inch HDD but still retaining most of that flash drive charm. Too bad we don't know the price, since that's most of the reasoning behind the endeavor, but while Samsung and Apple are busy pushing flash memory prices down, 0.85-inch might be our best bet for a while.

Seagate announces first 12GB 1-inch hard drive

Seagate announces first 12GB 1-inch hard drive: "Filed under: Cellphones, Portable Audio, Portable Video, Storage

We're getting all too accustomed to hard drive makers squeezing more and more data into smaller and smaller spaces, but there's still something really sweet about the news that Seagate's rolling out a new 12GB 1-inch drive called the ST1.3 that's 23% smaller than their current 1-inch drive yet squeezes in 50% more storage capacity. They're aiming these drives squarely at mobile phone makers, so brace yourselves for announcements of a whole bunch of 12GB cellphones in the weeks and months after Seagate starts shipping these things (they're saying it'll be Q3 of this year).

P.S. - Yeah, we know that flash is where it's at for portable devices, but it'll be a while before it's feasible (from a cost perspective) to put 12GB of flash into a cellphone.


So this is the video iPod, eh?

So this is the video iPod, eh?: "Filed under: Portable Audio, Portable Video

Ok everyone, what do you think the odds are that Apple so nonchalantly let loose some images of the full-screen iPod video the very day after ThinkSecret's supposed confirmation on the video iPod hit the wires? Did we mention the Photoshop metadata in the images' EXIF tags? No, we're not at all prepared to call this a 'leak,' but we'll definitely attest to this being a very nice rendering of what we hope could be the 6G iPod.


Swiss Army Knife gets a built-in MP3 player

Swiss Army Knife gets a built-in MP3 player: "February 7, 2006 The Swiss Army Knife has been one of the most sought-after gadgets by technophiles for 115 years, and it’s pleasing to see that Victorinox is still updating and innovating. Not long ago it added USB memory/a to one of the variants and has now gone one step further. The new s.beat digital audio player is an all-in-one 4GB digital audio player and USB storage device incorporated into a full-metal Swiss Army Knife. Built with the same level of precision the Swiss are renowned for, the knife and MP3 comes with a lifetime warranty. Now go try to peel an apple with your MP3 player!..

MobiBlu DAH-1500i: still small, now with 2GB

MobiBlu DAH-1500i: still small, now with 2GB: "Filed under: Portable Audio

Remember that 'world's smallest' digital audio player: the MobiBlu DAH-1500? Well, it just got a bump to 2GB and still includes MP3/WMA audio support, an integrated FM radio, built-in mic for voice recording, and itty-bitty OLED display packed into a 14.4- 0.63-ounce pendant. Not only that, but Wal-Mart lost their exclusive rights to sell 'em so go ahead, click the 'read' link and stick it to the current whipping boys of the free-market by placing your $160 pre-order direct with Amazon. Mmm, feels good.

Pandora's Squeezebox compatibility unleashes freshness on your playlist

Pandora's Squeezebox compatibility unleashes freshness on your playlist: "Filed under: Home Entertainment

We've all done it, gotten in a musical rut with no hope of escape, piling Journey record upon Journey record in a sort of trippy yet destructive cycle. Pandora can create a whole new station of streaming music based on a favorite artist or song, determined by 6 years of research by their crack team of song listeners, which it then describes its reasoning for and shoots out to your Squeezebox for full-on stereo enjoyment. Slim Devices is currently offering a free 90-day trial for Squeezebox owners, who can keep the service going for $36 a year, not a bad price to pay to finally Escape that Infinity rut you've been Captured in for Generations.


Council for Secular Humanism

Council for Secular Humanism:

Please pardon the politics; the list of 14 characteristics was compelling.

"We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities."


TiVo Super Bowl stats: people actually watched the game

TiVo Super Bowl stats: people actually watched the game: "Filed under: Home Entertainment

TiVo has released its annual ranking of Super Bowl viewer data (you know, the stuff they compile by spying on everything you do), and for the first time, more viewers replayed parts of the game than the commercials. According to TiVo, the Steelers' 'gadget play' touchdown beat out all of the commercials for viewership. Meanwhile, despite tons of pre-game hype, Jessica Simpson's steamy Pizza Hut commercial didn't even rank in the Top 10, which was led by Ameriquest's two spots, and also included Leonard Nimoy's Aleve ad and four spots from Anheuser-Busch.

Transistor Laser Functions As Non-linear Electronic Switch, Processor

Transistor Laser Functions As Non-linear Electronic Switch, Processor: "The transistor laser invented by scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has now been found to possess fundamental non-linear characteristics that are new to a transistor and permit its use as a dual-input, dual-output, high-frequency signal processor.

Computer Use Deleted As Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Cause: More Common In Assembly Line Work

Computer Use Deleted As Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Cause: More Common In Assembly Line Work: "The popular belief that excessive computer use causes painful carpal tunnel syndrome has been contradicted by experts at Harvard Medical School. According to them, even as much as seven hours a day of tapping on a computer keyboard won't increase your risk of this disabling disorder.

Coretta Scott King dared to stand out and seek a better way

Coretta Scott King dared to stand out and seek a better way: "Today is Coretta Scott King’s funeral.  Each of us has been impacted by her life.  Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King changed the face of US business by advancing the causes of us all.  Equality and respect are necessary preconditions for participation in government, business, and society.

When faced with a difficult situation, injustice, and unfairness, we have a choice.  The choice is very simple.  Live with the unfairness and the peer pressure.  In short, tolerate the status quo.  Or step up and stand out, dare to say no.

Many people focus on being popular or fear being noticed.  Others benefit from the status quo.  These individuals are incented to tolerate the status quo or fear suggesting a better way.

Coretta Scott King and her husband, Martin Luther King, Jr., looked at what was and dared to dream…  They dared to share their vision.  In sharing vision, they inspired others.  Because of their dream, each of us is better off and has more opportunities. 

Dreams of equality of opportunity help each of us in business.  They spread like wildfire, trickle down, spread upward, and cross-pollinate with other ideas as well as what currently exists.

WebServUSB server on a thumbdrive

WebServUSB server on a thumbdrive: "Filed under: Misc. Gadgets, Peripherals
Here's a handy product for purveyors of online content of questionable legality- the WebServUSB, which lets you host a web, ftp, or mail server from any Windows PC and make a quick, clean getaway in case you start feeling some heat. Available in capacities from 128MB ($90) to 1GB ($400), this thumbdrive supports CGI/Perl, PHP/Python, MySQL, Java/Javascript, Flash, RealAudio, and Windows Media, and doesn't interfere with user accounts on the host PC. You can't really host a multimedia-rich site from one of these, but we're sure there are plenty of legitimate uses for this product - we just can't think of any off the top of our head. Readers?

Blueye merges Bluetooth phones with audio players

Blueye merges Bluetooth phones with audio players: "Filed under: Cellphones, Portable Audio

Unless you use your cellphone to listen to music (and we know you don't, even if you're flashing the SLVR), or use a hydra-headed contraption like the Plantronics MX-100 headphones, you've probably missed a few calls when you've been cranking the tunes. At the very least, you've had to deal with the dreaded headset shuffle, as you frantically swap earbuds or cram your phone over your ear. UK company Mavizen has come up with what may be a better solution, in the form of the Blueye, a Bluetooth device that you connect to the earphone jack of an audio player and then pair with any Bluetooth phone. You then connect a headset to the Blueye, and listen to your music. When a call comes in, Blueye mutes the music and routes the call directly to the headset. Of course, there are some tradeoffs: the music is just muted, not paused, and you're stuck using a wired headset with your Bluetooth phone. But unless you really do use a musicphone as your main source of sounds (and we're not saying there's anything wrong with that), this could be reasonable solution. Or you can just keep missing calls. That's what voicemail's for, right?


Model jet gets all Top Gun

Model jet gets all Top Gun: "Filed under: Transportation, Wireless

Once you watch a scaled-down jet fire its afterburners and push 280 MPH, you can pretty much forget about ever enjoying your dinky little RC model again.

Easy-Glider drags you along while keeping it green

Easy-Glider drags you along while keeping it green: "Filed under: Transportation
Rollerblading always seems like so much fun when we see people zipping through the Park, but the whole self-propulsion thing kind of turns of off, which is why we've been waiting for a device like the Easy-Glider. Basically an electric motor attached to a wheel attached to a handlebar, the Swiss-made Easy-Glider Deluxe propels whatever its towing with 380 watts of eco-friendly power, and even recharges itself while cruising downhill (probably not fully). The less-athletic among us can decide to forgo the 'blades or skateboard altogether and step up to what we'll call the 'touring package,' which attaches a small wheeled footbridge to your ride. Prices range from a steep $1,025 for the Standard without footbridge to an even steeper $1,315 for the Deluxe with, not to mention the hefty shipping charge you'll have to pay to import one from Switzerland.

More Advertising on Band-Aids

More Advertising on Band-Aids: "

I wrote about ads on Band-Aids before, and just came across another nice example done by Arnold for Volkswagen.

The Whiskey PC

The Whiskey PC: "Filed under: Desktops

We know what we're bringing to our next LAN party...


Advertising on Eggs

Advertising on Eggs: "

This is what advertising boils down to (har har): you can now laser-etch your message on eggs, thanks to Egg Fusion. In their own words, 'If the shear number of potential impressions isn't enough to grab your attention (over 50 billion eggs sold in the retail channel each year), the interaction consumers have with your message should.'

The USB Memory Stick stick

The USB Memory Stick stick: "Filed under: Peripherals

Kind of like the ThumbDrive before it, the USB Memory Stick maybe takes things a little literally. They're a little more raw than the Hardwood USB drives, but if there's one thing for sure it's that your stick -- be it 128, 256, 512MB, or 1GB -- won't be the same as your friend's, even if they too have a USB Memory Stick stick. Except, you know, their both being sticks and all. Prices range from EU72 to 189 ($87 - 228 US).

The mighty and mysterious Waterphone

The mighty and mysterious Waterphone: " A while back Peter revealed the orgasm-inducing Blaster Beam as the source of some of the weird noises in Star Trek: The Movie. Other sounds came from Richard Waters' Waterphone, which also makes unearthly noises Poltergeist, The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Richard invented it in the late '60s, and he's hand made over 1,000 since then. It's a series of tuned brass rods attached to a base filled with water. The rods are played with a violin bow, and moving the instrument makes the water shift to bend the notes and create 'acoustic, schiziosonic, modulations'. There are three nice waterphone samples here a the Freesound Project - it's a really familiar sound that you might have never been able to quite place.
There are videos of Richard Waters playing his waterphone here, and intrepid Interspecies Music pioneer Jim Nollman uses his to attract killer whales by playing it in the sea. Unfortunately, the cheapest waterphone Richard makes costs $800...

New design for transistors powered by single electrons

New design for transistors powered by single electrons: "Scientists have demonstrated the first reproducible, controllable silicon transistors that are turned on and off by the motion of individual electrons. The experimental devices, designed and fabricated at NTT Corp. of Japan and tested at NIST, may ha...


The Electronic Bath Water Cleaner

The Electronic Bath Water Cleaner: "Filed under: Household
We love bathtime as much as the next guy, but we usually tend to run a fresh tub full of water before we turn on a podcast and settle in. Well apparently in Japan, bath water is a precious commodity that is passed on from generation to generation, and bathtime isn't used for cleaning, but for relaxation, so we're kind of glad to know that Japanese households have an option like this Electronic Bath Water Cleaner to keep that special liquid fresh and sparkly. The unit can run through 10 liters of water a minute and sells for around $425.

Analog TV shutdown all but set for 2009

Analog TV shutdown all but set for 2009: "Filed under: HDTV, Home Entertainment
Mark your calendar for February 17, 2009. That's the date set by Congress, as part of a sweeping budget-cutting bill, that broadcasters will be mandated to shut down their analog broadcasts (both the Senate and broadcasters had previously agreed to the date, so the bill now only awaits the President's signature to become law). However, if you can't bear to part with that old Philco or Admiral, you won't have to toss it. The government will be setting aside $1.5 billion in subsidies to help consumers get converters to allow older analog sets to receive digital broadcasts. And, no, you can't request a piece of that to pick up a 60-inch plasma, so don't even think about it.

RIP Telegram

RIP Telegram: "

After 145 years, Western Union shut down its telegram service. Here's an obituary. I think they should've announced it in advance and give everyone an opportunity to send their last telegram. Oh well. I actually sent a telegram once, for my grandfather's birthday. By the way, telegrams like the one below were once used for advertising.

Spraypainted Advertising Dogs

Spraypainted Advertising Dogs: "

First dogs, then cows, then this again. A German radio station sprayed its call letters and motto on dogs; The Spunker says the paint is washable.

Hama's new Mobile MediaSafe VSV 2 due for CeBIT '06

Hama's new Mobile MediaSafe VSV 2 due for CeBIT '06: "Filed under: Home Entertainment, Portable Audio, Portable Video

CeBIT is still more than a month away, but we're already seeing a few announcements, and the new PMP offering from Hama doesn't look too shabby among them. The Mobile MediaSafe VSV 2 is a followup to last year's slightly less impressive VSV-20, though it still includes the nice card reading abilities and the inexplicable remote of its predecessor. The VSV 2 has a 30GB HDD, 3.5-inch screen (if our trig serves us correctly), 10 hour battery, and can support Windows Media 10 DRM, along with DivX and MPEG 4. The 1-inch thick player also can act as a DVR when hooked up to your TV, and includes an FM tuner and integrated mic to round out the package.


Combi's "Roanju Auto Swing" maglev baby rocker

Combi's "Roanju Auto Swing" maglev baby rocker: "Filed under: Household

Given our irrational fear of maglev elevators, we sure wish Combi's new maglev-powered 'Roanju Auto Swing' for babies had been around when we still young gadgeteers, as it might have helped us adapt to such a scary new technology. While it's too late for us, at least the modern baby will be able to benefit from nearly silent swinging operation as well as seven pre-loaded tunes, plus an ergonomic design on the deluxe model. Apparently a light push is all it takes to get the Roanju swinging for fifteen minutes, although at $580 for the standard and over $600 for the deluxe, we think we'll just stick to the much cheaper method of harnessing our toddlers to slow-moving ceiling fans (note: the previous parenting tip was brought to you by Blogging Baby).