Friday, November 30, 2007
After recently improving their Gmail and chat, it's time to do some simple but effective improvements to their online feed reader Google Reader.
So, if you're tired of searching for new feeds, you can now just head to the discovery page. The feeds you see there, are dynamically calculated according to your currently subscribed feeds, as well as you search and web history use. Hopefully you'll find those "interesting".
Last but not least, you can drag'n'drop your feeds on the feed list, changing their order and in and out of folders. Simple and effective! No more need to dig deep into the management pages.
This is something that should have been there from the start - but hey, better late than never.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
They have now released the some procedures for you to check if your ISP does the same.
I don't even need procedures for mine - I'm already sure they do!
In addition to providing evidence of network interference, the EFF study also explains how Comcast's selective degradation of BitTorrent traffic undermines future Internet innovation. "The Internet has enabled a cascade of innovations precisely because any programmer--whether employed by a huge corporation, a startup, or tinkering at home for fun--has been able to create new protocols and applications that operate over TCP/IP, without having to obtain permission from anyone," the EFF wrote. "Comcast's recent moves threaten to create a situation in which innovators may need to obtain permission and assistance from an ISP in order to guarantee that their protocols will operate correctly. By arbitrarily using RST packets in a manner at odds with TCP/IP standards, Comcast threatens to Balkanize the open standards that are the foundation of the Internet."[ArsTechnica]
The EFF also published a second report (PDF), which provides detailed technical instructions explaining how to use Wireshark to reproduce their study and test for ISP packet injection.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
According to the independent firm Media Control Gfk International, Blu-ray has sold over 1 million discs this year, which represents 73% of the total number of HD discs sold.
These number do not include Blu-ray games, which according to them represents 21 million discs.
As this war is far from over, it would be safe to assume that the opposite side will soon come forth showing new numbers and reports showing it isn't so...
And while both HD camps keep fighting a silly war no one asked for - the rest of the world realizes: why don't I just download the HD movies directly into my Media Center and forget about this entire disc nonsense?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Are we doomed into using keyboards and mouses for the rest of our lives?
Or is there something exciting waiting for us, just around the corner?
There are a lot of innovative projects: from MS Surface, which may very well revolutionize computer interaction, to PhotoSynth (a truly sci-fi idea made real), to holographic displays like Cheops360.
To know more about it just head to Smashing Magazine and watch a lot more photos and videos about it.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Well... it took them over 20 years but I think they finally got it!
Just watch it:
I definitely want one of those for Christmas! :)
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Here's some nice optical illusions, found on Marcofolio.
This is a classic brain teaser:
Just try reading out aloud the color of each word...
Harder than it seems, right? But don't worry, with practice you can say it out loud as fast as the first couple of lines.
This one is pretty amazing, and requires no introduction:
Now, quickly read the image below:
What word did you read? Most people see "evil", but some will see the good in life at the first time. (I saw "good", in case you're wondering :)
A nice T-Shirt to impress your friends:
Depending on whether you look to her or to her reflection, you'll read either Love or Hate.
Let's tease our brain a little bit more, look at the picture:
Again, what word do you see below?
This one is trick. Look at the blocky image below...
How about you try closing your eyes a bit an reading through your eyelashes... the message will become clear.
What word do you read next?
Read aloud the text in the image below:
You probably read I love Paris in the springtime, right?
Wrong! Go read it again more carefully and see what you've missed.
The following four pictures show faces. Those faces are indeed created with two opposite words. Can you recognize the faces and read the words?
I love this one:
Count the "F's" that are in the following text.
FINISHED FILES ARE THE RE
SULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTI
FIC STUDY COMBINED WITH
THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS.
How many "F's" did you count?
I'm sorry.. but it's wrong!
There are 6 F's in there - go and check it, letter by letter.
How could you miss those? It's simple. Your brain usually bypasses the processing of the word OF. If you've found the six F's at the first try, congratulations: you're a genius!
Most people only count 3, and only a few count 4.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
It has sold 14 million units in just one year, and there are no signs that it will stop selling.
So, can you make it print some money to you too?
Definitely you can!
In the UK, stores like Play are selling the Wii for £300 ($617 !), and nearly the same is being asked for used systems on Amazon, while GAME is completely sold out except for their £360 ($740 !!!) bundle.
And people used to say Sony PS3 was expensive! :)
So, if you can put your hand on some Nintendo's be sure to consider selling them on Ebay to our friends in the UK for a nice price...
This Christmas seems to be hard time to get a Wii in the UK - just like it happened last year.
Friday, November 23, 2007
City 7: Toronto Conflict, is an action packed Half-Life 2 mod with a variety of unique levels and game play. Explore what has become of City 7 in areas like Dundas square, Eaton Center , Mel Lastman square, St. Michael's Hospital and TTC system under the Combine rule. This version features Gordon Freeman as the main character, stuck in Toronto due to a teleporting accident in Kleiner's lab. Try to escape this war torn city by finding any type of teleporting technology and send him back to City 17.
Despite our small development team and short production time, we managed to get halfway to the CN tower and have already created 2-3 hours of fun and action packed game play! We want to finish this mod the way it was intended it to be, as a glimpse at what happen to a part of North American during the Combine invasion.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Don't you know you can easily ask it to make simple calculations for you?
Just try it: ask it how much is 2+2, or 16*44. Amazing isn't it?
Of course, Google is known to make common utilities a lot more useful, so...
You can also convert different units like:
How many meters are in a mile?
How hot is 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit in Celsius?
And even ask for exchange rates:
How much is 1000 Dollars in Euros?
So, now that you know this... it's time to get creative:
-How long can you play a 40GB iPod without repeating a song? Answer: 24.27 days
-How much hard drive space does one hour of 128kbps MP3s consume? Answer: 56.25 megabytes
- How many seconds are in a decade? Answer: 315,569,260
- What's the answer to life, the universe and everything? Answer: 42
- What's the speed of a Delorean going back in time? Answer: 47,600,819,200 m3 kg/s4
Amazing what Google calculator can do for you, isn't it?
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
For now it's impossible to say if it's due to a simple maintenance issue, or if something serious is happening (with so many other torrent trackers being shutdown left and right, one might suspect the worst).
I'll keep you posted as soon as we have more info.
Update: it seems to be back online - just a minor glitch apparently... :)
Do Not Open: An Encyclopedia of the World's Best Kept Secrets by John Farndon, is a book about everything a curious mind would ever think about:
unexplained mysteries, great escapes, secret codes, optical illusins, the best hoaxes - all the stuff that is sure to keep you entertained for a long time.
I can assure you, just open this book at any random page, and you'll have something to talk and think about for quite a while.
Definitely a good book to have on your coffee table when you invite some friends over. :)
THE MYSTERY OF THE MARY CELESTE
On the afternoon of December 5, 1872, the sailing ship Dei Gratia was gliding calmly across the Atlantic towards Portugal. The weather was fair, and Dei Gratia’s captain, David Morehouse, was surprised to look out and see a ship he recognized as the Mary Celeste. This ship had left New York City a week before him, so it should have been far ahead. As he watched, Morehouse saw the Mary Celeste swing around suddenly in the wind as if out of control. This was very strange, for he knew the Mary Celeste’s captain, Benjamin Briggs, was a good seaman. He tried hailing but there was only silence.
For two hours, Morehouse surveyed the Mary Celeste sailing west, all apparently fine except for its strange yawing to and fro. Eventually, Morehouse could watch no more, and sent his chief mate, Oliver Deveau, across in a small boat to the other ship. Climbing aboard, Deveau found the Mary Celeste absolutely empty. There was no sign of Captain Briggs, his wife Sarah, their two-year-old daughter, or the crew. Yet, aside from some water between the decks and a couple of hatch covers missing, the ship appeared in good condition. Where were they all? That question has intrigued people ever since...
After discovering the Mary Celeste was deserted, Morehouse put three men on board. In a sad mood, they sailed her on to Gibraltar. Immediately, an inquiry was launched to discover what had happened. Morehouse hoped at least to claim salvage for the Mary Celeste, but soon found himself in the dock—since the attorney just could not believe they had found the ship drifting unmanned. He was eventually cleared, but the inquiry came to no firm conclusion. So what did happen?
• Two hatches were open.
• The ship’s clock was upside down and had stopped.
• The sextant (instrument for celestial navigation) and chronometer (shipping timepiece) were missing.
• The Captain’s bed was sodden and there was water between the decks.
• Under the bed was the Captain’s sword, with red stains.
• The lifeboat was missing, leaving a frayed rope.
• The cargo of 1,700 barrels of pure alcohol was intact, except for nine empty barrels.
• On board, there was food to last six months.
• The last entry in the ship’s log was about a week old.
Theory: The crew became angry with Briggs’ leadership and murdered him and his family, then escaped in the lifeboat.
Evidence: The red-stained sword, the missing lifeboat, and the deserted ship.
Problems: Briggs was renowned for being a good and fair captain. The stain on the sword turned out to be rust and not blood. Even if there was a mutiny, this does not explain why the crew would jump into a lifeboat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Theory: The crew murdered the captain and his family to get at the alcohol in the cargo, then escaped in the lifeboat.
Evidence: The stained sword and the nine empty barrels, which had contained alcohol.
Problems: The cargo of alcohol was undrinkable and, like the captain, the crew had an admirable reputation. As we know, the stain on the sword was rust, and the crew would have faced great danger on a small lifeboat in the turbulent Atlantic.
Theory: The entire crew was swept overboard by a giant wave.
Evidence: The water between the decks.
Problems: It seems highly unlikely that a single wave would have caught everyone. Even if it had, you would expect a lot more items to be missing than just the sextant and the compass.
Theory: The crew thought the ship was sinking, so took to the lifeboat to escape. This was the theory decided by the court hearing at the time.
Evidence: Water in the hold.
Problems: The ship’s pump was working well enough for the sailors from the Dei Gratia to pump out the water and take the Mary Celeste safely back to port.
Theory: Briggs and Morehouse conspired in a scam to get the insurance money.
Problems: The ship and its cargo would have to be lost for there to be an insurance claim. Instead, everybody on board was missing but the cargo remained largely intact. So who was supposed to claim the insurance, and for what?
Theory: They got ergot (a fungus) poisoning from the rye bread they were eating. This drove them insane and they left in the lifeboat.
Evidence: The bread on the Mary Celeste was rye and is poisonous if made from ergot-infected grain.
Problems: All the bread found by the Dei Gratia crew was fine. Even if they did go insane, why would they want to flee together in the lifeboat?
The Bermuda Triangle
Theory: The crew was abducted by aliens in the Bermuda Triangle.
Problems: The ship was sighted near Portugal and so was nowhere near the Bermuda Triangle.
ExplosionYou’ve seen the evidence and you’ve read the theories, so what do you think happened on board the mysterious Mary Celeste?
Theory: Alcohol leaking from some of the barrels exploded, frightening Briggs and his crew into abandoning the ship temporarily. The lifeboat then separated from the Mary Celeste during a heavy storm.
Evidence: The nine barrels may have exploded, blowing off the hatch covers. The missing sextant and chronometer would have been helpful in the lifeboat. The frayed rope that trailed the Mary Celeste could have been used to tie the lifeboat to the ship. The water on board could be evidence of bad weather. Recent scientific tests have shown that alcohol can explode without a fire.
Problems: There was little evidence of an explosion anywhere on the ship.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
For instance, some of Philips peripherals allow ambient light to change (similar to their ambilight technology used in their TV sets), wind to be blown (either a gentle breeze or a stronger wind), and vibrations and rumble to be felt.
Now, Philips has just signed a deal with id Software (the company that brought us Doom and Quake) to provide an amBX enable mod to Quake 4.
A multi player amBX mod has been already demoed at QuakeCon convention in August, and Philips says it was its success that helped inspire this new mod.
Even though some games are already amBX enabled (such as Supreme Commander, DEFCON, TOCA Race Driver 3, among others) Philips is constantly negotiating with other companies to expand the amBX game portfolio.
As for Quake, for instance, whenever someone uses a scoped weapon, lighting changes with a gradual dimming from the back lights; damage indication is provided by a multi directional red light and rumble, and long jumps are rewarded with wind blowing in your face.
Similarly, power ups cause different ambient lighting scenarios, such as a blue aura for Quad Damage, green ambient for Health, and pulsing yellow for Haste.
Definitely worth a try. :)
Asus could easily turn the Eee PC into the perfect Eee PC!
Just think about it... what would you add/change to make it just perfect?
Obviously, the screen would be the first thing to change: a thin framed 10" LCD would fit perfectly (and ditching those ugly speakers next to it)
Memory wise, 1Gb is adequate - 2Gb would be better, but it would also drive the cost up. I would leave that to its next version.
As for the flash SSD, 8Gb is enough for me - but it would be nice to have an upgrade path to those needing more space.
And last but not least, the thing they already have in their R50:
GPS, 3.5G connectivity, and touchscreen.
These are a must to turn it into the perfect mobile mini-laptop.
C'mon Asus, would it be so hard to deliver this?
Monday, November 19, 2007
According to Asus,
The R50A is the first UMPC that reaches the full potential of the platform. Only with the R50A do users get GPS, a webcam, 3G/ 3.5G connectivity, and full notebook functionality, making the R50A the one indispensable gadget for everyone.Some reports indicate it will have an advanced pen/stylys with erase capability as well as left/right mouse button clicking.
As expected, inking has not been forgotten either:
With ASUS InfoPen software, users can record and edit on the R50A’s 1024 x 600 screen as easily as they could on a piece of paperSpecifications are expected to be:
- Menlow based ( 900Mhz Intel )
- 4.8″ 1024 x 600 touch screen
- Wifi, BT, 3G e 3,5G
- TV tuner
- Fingerprint reader
- Mouse pointer and d-pad
- 160 mm x 85 mm x 20 mm
- No Keyboard
With all the previous experience Asus had with the R2 series, one would expect this to become one of the best UMPCs of all times.
(Don't forget Apple has chosen Asus for manufacturing their future Tablet PC, the iPad! :)
Sunday, November 18, 2007
The Asus Eee PC will be available in a lot of different colors (portuguese article) but the black model is available now - at no extra cost.
For me, this black Eee PC model looks a lot better than the white one. The speakers next to the screen are a lot less noticeable - which is a big plus!
Better than that would be ditch those and stuff a 10" LCD screen in there - that would be just perfect!
Come on Asus, listen to your customers.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
This cataclysm puzzled scientists for the last 100 years, since it was first studied. On June 30,1998, scientists believe a ball of fire exploded 10Km above ground in the Siberian forest. The blast was a thousand times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima, flattening 60 million trees in an area of 2.000 square kilometers.
Although they suspected a comet or a meteor to have caused this, no fragments were ever found to support this theory... until now.
A team of Italian scientists has now used acoustic imagery to investigate the bottom of Lake Cheko, about eight kilometers north of the explosion's suspected epicenter.
"When our expedition [was at] Tunguska, we didn't have a clue that Lake Cheko might fill a crater,"
"We searched its bottom looking for extraterrestrial particles trapped in the mud. We mapped the basin and took samples. As we examined the data, we couldn't believe what they were suggesting.
"The funnel-like shape of the basin and samples from its sedimentary deposits suggest that the lake fills an impact crater,"
This was never noticed before because, unlike traditional impact craters with it circular deep basins and steep walls, Lake Cheko has an elongated and shallow crater.
"We suggest that a 10-meter-wide [33-foot-wide] fragment of the object escaped the explosion and kept going in the same direction. It was relatively slow, about 1 kilometer a second".
"It splashed on the soft, swampy soil and melted the underlying permafrost layer, releasing CO2, water vapor, and methane that broadened the hole, hence the shape and size of the basin, unusual for an impact crater. Our hypothesis is the only one that accounts for the funnel-like morphology of Lake Cheko's bottom,"
However, some specialists still have their doubts - William Hartmann, senior scientist of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona puts it:
"It's an exciting result that might shed new light on the Tunguska explosion,"
"But it raises a question in my mind: If one large fragment hit the ground, we would normally expect thousands of smaller fragments also to hit the ground along the path, and many searches have failed to find such meteorite fragments. So, why no smaller pieces?"
A new trip to Siberia is being planned by Gasperini and his colleagues to try and solve this ancient puzzle once and for all:
"We want to dig deeply in the bottom of the lake to definitively test our hypothesis and try to solve the Tunguska mystery,"
Source [National Geographic]
Friday, November 16, 2007
Vuze has filed a petition to the FCC to set rules for ISPs network managment, and prevent them from blocking P2P traffic.
Broadband providers often promote their services as being necessary for watching video online, but then they slow access to a service like Vuze's, said John Fernandes, Vuze's vice president of marketingAt least one other Comcast customer has also filed a class-action lawsuit against the company traffic blocking policy. And I wouldn't be surprised to see more people joining in.Hopefuly this will show ISPs around the world they can't do whatever they want without consequences.
(...)"The ISPs cannot decide unilaterally what to do with third-party Internet services such as us," added Gilles BianRosa, the company's CEO.
Jon Hart, a Comcast subscriber from California couldn’t take it anymore and decided to take legal action. He filed a class-action lawsuit on Tuesday and demands that Comcast stops the BitTorrent traffic interference. In addition he wants Comcast to pay him, and all other Comcast customers in California, damages for not giving him the “crazy fast speeds” they advertised.
It will be interesting to see how this works out.
This may very well be a decisive step in whether we'll have a free, all-protocol uncensured internet access, or a ISP traffic-shaping policy allowing just the traffic they decide to let by.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Considering that, only now Bluray movies are starting to use the 1.1 Profile (mainly the Picture in Picture feature), it's sad for thousands of people around the world to find out that their $1000 plus Bluray players are unable to play those discs.
Even worse, even though a few select players and the PS3 can be upgraded as soon as its manufacturer decides to release a firmware update, the vast majority will never be able to update their players. You'll end up with a $1000 paper weight! Is this the Ultimate HD experience Bluray wants their customers to have?
The HD-DVD camp is a lot happier when it comes to that, their specs have been set in stone since the very beginning, meaning any player can play any HD-DVD disc without problems.
This also means upgrade capability (with internal flash memory) and internet connectivity, something that will only be mandatory in the upcoming Bluray 2.0 Profile - to add to the confusion.
It's only safe to assume that most studios will prefer to keep their Bluray editions to the bare minimum, to prevent possible law suits from angry customers unable to play their discs - favoring HD-DVD with their enhanced HD editions.
With this in mind - If you had to choose between a Bluray or HD-DVD standalone player, which one would you choose?
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
This time, we escalate from a former Governor to Dennis Kucinich, a Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful, which may have been ridiculed for saying he had seen a UFO. For some former military pilots and other observers, unidentified flying objects are no laughing matter.
An international panel of two dozen former pilots and government officials called on the U.S. government on Monday to reopen its generation-old UFO investigation as a matter of safety and security given continuing reports about flying discs, glowing spheres and other strange sightings.
The panelists from seven countries, including former senior military officers, said they had each seen a UFO or conducted an official investigation into UFO phenomena.
The subject of UFOs grabbed the spotlight in the U.S. presidential race last month when Kucinich, a member of Congress from Ohio, said during a televised debate with other Democratic candidates that he had seen one.
Former presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter are both reported to have claimed UFO sightings.
Most turn out to be misidentified aircraft, satellites or meteors. A panelist who once worked for Britain's Ministry of Defense said 5 percent of incidents cannot be explained.
But the sightings are often dismissed by authorities without proper investigations, UFO activists say."It's a question of who you going to believe: your lying eyes or the government?" remarked John Callahan, a former Federal Aviation Administration investigator, who said the CIA in 1987 tried to hush up the sighting of a huge lighted ball four times the size of a jumbo jet in Alaska.
The panel, organized by a group dedicated to winning credibility for the study of UFOs, urged Washington to resume UFO investigations through the U.S. Air Force or NASA.
"It would certainly, I think, take a lot of angst out of this issue," said former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington, who said he was among hundreds who saw a delta-shaped craft with enormous lights silently traverse the sky near Phoenix in 1997.
The Air Force investigated 12,618 UFO reports from 1947 to 1969 in what was known as Project Blue Book. Investigators concluded that the incidents posed no threat and there was no evidence of space aliens or a super technology in operation.
"Since the termination of Project Blue Book, nothing has occurred that would support a resumption of UFO investigations," the Air Force said on its Web site.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
We were the first ones to have this info, several months ago, but had to keep it a secret until last month.
Then, it was once again denied by Asus that they would launch a bigger screen version of the Eee PC.
(It broke our hearts to hear it - we sure would love a LCD screen filling the entire frame of the Eee PC, instead of those side speakers)
Now, the rumor jumps back to life once again. In Germany, Asus told some reporters that the 8Gb version for Europe would come with 1Gb Ram and a larger 10" LCD display.
That all I wanted to hear! Sign me up for one of these!
If this ends up being confirmed, this will be indeed one of Internet's Best Kept Secrets.
UFO is probably the world's most famous acronym, meaning Unidentified Flying Object. So, whenever you look up to the sky and see something unidentified, you're looking at an UFO.
This is not to say that we're talking about alien spaceships - most of the time these strange objects are nothing but planes, clouds, birds, balloons, etc. and have perfectly logical explanations.
However, every now and then a sighting pops up that is scientifically unexplained... and that's where the alien word seems to be the only possible explanation.
Nonetheless, although thousands of people around the world claim to have witnessed these sightings, it's still rare to see someone like a governor to come forth and talk about it.
As reported by CNN:
Former Arizona Governor Fife Symington will be moderating a November 12 event at the National Press Club where he will discuss the Phoenix Lights incident. He says he will be joined by 14 former high-ranking military and government officials from seven countries who will share evidence from what they call their own UFO experiences and investigations.In the governor's own words:
The "flares" explanation was the one stated by Air Force when they claimed responsibility about the incident.
I witnessed a massive delta-shaped, craft silently navigate over Squaw Peak, a mountain range in Phoenix, Arizona. It was truly breathtaking. I was absolutely stunned because I was turning to the west looking for the distant Phoenix Lights.
To my astonishment this apparition appeared; this dramatically large, very distinctive leading edge with some enormous lights was traveling through the Arizona sky.
As a pilot and a former Air Force Officer, I can definitively say that this craft did not resemble any man-made object I'd ever seen. And it was certainly not high-altitude flares because flares don't fly in formation.
But as the Symington puts it:
I was never happy with the Air Force's silly explanation. There might very well have been military flares in the sky that evening, but what I and hundreds of others saw had nothing to do with that.What we can be sure is that, every now and then, this type of sighting is witnessed by hundreds or thousand of witness, just like the Chicago's O'Hare International Airport sighting, nearly one year ago.
We want the government to stop putting out stories that perpetuate the myth that all UFOs can be explained away in down-to-earth conventional terms. Investigations need to be re-opened, documents need to be unsealed and the idea of an open dialogue can no longer be shunned.
Can this be the first step to take us close to an answer - at last?
Monday, November 12, 2007
Welcome to Japan, the land of the rising sun, and upskirting innocent looking teenage school girls.
While in the U.S. Jack Thompson complains about any graphic violence in video games (while not worrying about much worse Hollywood movies), in Japan things are quite different.
Just check this Arcade machine:
The object of Boong-Ga Boong-Ga is to score points by spanking or performing kancho (anal probing) on a model of a human posterior embedded in the game’s cabinet. A plastic finger is attached to the machine for players to perform the latter.
The game features eight characters players can “punish”: “ex-girlfriend”, “ex-boyfriend”, “gangster”, “mother-in-law”, “Gold-digger”, “Prostitute”, “child molester” and “Con-artist”. During gameplay, the facial expression of the chosen character is displayed on a monitor.
The game also dispenses cards that rates players on their “sexual behavior”, and for players who perform exceptionaly well the machine will dispence a small plastic trophy in the shape of pile of feces.
Think this would be huge sucess all around the world, don't you think?
Sunday, November 11, 2007
First of all, you now have two extra layers: "Weather" and "MDG Monitor", but that's not all ...
Data layer organization has been completely revamped (it was about time!). You can now easily manage the smaller set of layers instead of scrolling back and forth to find the one you want.
Basic information such as roads, 3D buildings, and Weather are at the top. If you are looking for interesting things to do or places to visit, expand the "Gallery" or "Places of Interest" folders and you will find a wide selection of interesting data layers for you to explore.
And if you're a fan of everything Egyptian:
... you can now turn on the "Egypt Tourism" layer to see a collection of destinations to visit. You'll even find intricately designed 3D models of some of the famous landmarks.
I'll leave some of the new improvements for you to find out for on your own... :)
But this should keep you even more time "playing around" with Google maps... right?
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Their paramagnetic iron oxide paint polymer is still under development, but it will allow your car to change color using electric current. According to Nissan, this technology can be out on the streets by 2010 - let's hope so!
I'm sure it will be fun to describe your new car to your friends: "... it's red.. on mondays and fridays; green on weekends; blue on the other days..." :)
Friday, November 9, 2007
Make sure you don't get ripped off!
Source [Download Squad]
Major League Baseball has deactivated a DRM license server used to verify your worthiness to play back video of games you purchased online.
Due to an earlier decision to switch DRM providers, MLB's new content and old content are managed by different license authentication servers. After making the switch, MLB has arbitrarily decided it has no intention of honoring its earlier commitments to fans who purchased downloaded games under the old system, thereby rendering many fans shut-out.
Claiming the full-game downloads were "one-time sales", MLB is completely unapologetic to fans who've lost their purchased content to the horrors of DRM death. Quoted on Boing Boing, baseball super-fan and author Alan Wood writes, "Just got off the phone with a MLB customer service supervisor. [who said] 'MLB no longer supports the DDS system' that it once used and so any CDs with downloaded games on them 'are no good. They will not work with the current system.'"
Shame on you Major League Baseball, this is fraud. We've warned Download Squad readers that buying DRM "protected" media is a crap-shoot, but when issuing those warnings we were mostly concerned about smaller media sales outlets going out-of-business in an ever evolving digital media landscape. This goes so far beyond those fears, with an active and profitable business making a clear and informed decision to yank the DRM rug out from under your purchased content.
Is it any wonder non-drm downloads via P2P are so popular? It's not simply about "free" in the base, capitalist notion of how much money changed hands, it's more pointedly about "freedom", the freedom to do what you wish with the content you've collected. If consumers aren't given options which allow them to get their content free as in freedom, they'll take that content free as in beer.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Having to work with (i.e. fix) other people web pages - many without end tags, and with double and triple body sections(!) I can relate to that!
Fortunately, you can always use HTML Tidy to sort things out without going crazy.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
1940: The newly completed Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses during a windstorm. The collapse is filmed, helping it to become one of the more conspicuous engineering failures in American history.
The suspension bridge, spanning Puget Sound in Washington state between Tacoma and Gig Harbor, was the third longest in the United States when it opened to traffic on July 1, 1940, three years after the Golden Gate Bridge.
Following the practice of the day, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built to be aesthetically pleasing as well as structurally sound. Its towers were slender and graceful, and the narrow roadbed and its shallow trusses made the span very flexible. Too flexible, as it turned out. The lack of longitudinal rigidity led directly to the collapse.
The bridge's tendency to sway, even in moderate winds, earned it the nickname "Galloping Gertie" and motorists came from miles around to "get seasick" on the drive across.
Concern was expressed about the bridge's instability even during construction, resulting in the installation of hydraulic buffers to control stresses, but no one could have predicted the catastrophic failure that occurred on Nov. 7.
That morning, the center span began swaying between three and five feet in winds of only 35 to 45 mph. The bridge's construction and the effects of the winds upon it created a phenomenon known as harmonic vibration, that caused the center span to roll. It was severe enough to alarm officials, who closed the bridge to traffic at 10 a.m. The violent twisting continued -- a support cable at center-span snapped and the span was now undulating up to 28 feet -- and pieces of the roadbed began breaking off at around 10:30. The center span finally collapsed just after 11 a.m. and plunged into Puget Sound.
There were no human casualties but a dog, left behind in the only car abandoned on the bridge, perished. The remains of the bridge were left on the bottom of the Narrows, where they continue functioning as a reef.
As a result of the collapse, the methods for testing and building bridges -- including the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge that opened in 1950 -- were radically changed. Further studies also led to new theories of vibration, aerodynamics, wave action and harmonics as they apply to bridge design.
(Source: Northwest Rain)
Their plan was to track falafel sales, hoping that it would lead them to secret Iranian agents.
The brainchild of top FBI counterterrorism officials Phil Mudd and Willie T. Hulon, according to well-informed sources, the project didn’t last long. It was torpedoed by the head of the FBI’s criminal investigations division, Michael A. Mason, who argued that putting somebody on a terrorist list for what they ate was ridiculous — and possibly illegal. A check of federal court records in California did not reveal any prosecutions developed from falafel trails.
Can it get any weirder than this?
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
This time, a new touchscreen tactile feedback system was revealed (and actually tested) by RedFerret.
As we all know, one of the most "uncomfortable" things to do on a touchscreen is to type. That's the reason why so many handheld devices come with foldable or sliding keyboards.
If Nokia is capable of providing a real typing feeling on their touch devices, lots of customers will certainly appreciate it.
This haptikos system has been in development for over 10 years on Nokia's Research Lab and aims to provide the same feeling as if you were typing on a real keyboard.
“The basic technology is not that difficult,” said Roope Takala, Senior Program Manager at Nokia’s research labs while demonstrating a hacked Nokia N770, “We inserted two small piezo sensor pads under the screen and engineered in a 0.1mm movement in the screen itself. What’s taken the time has been fine tuning the movement and response to mimic exactly the sensation of pressing a real key.”And although it may come as a surprise...
“Funnily enough, although you think you’re typing faster than normal because of the feedback, in actual fact you’re not,” said Takala, “There’s just some sort of mental satisfaction that comes from typing with a tactile response.”Glad to know Nokia is working to keep us mentally satisfied! :)
This technology is expected to show up on the upcoming S60.
If it's as good as advertised, I don't doubt it will be the next evolutionary step in mobile touchscreen devices.
Monday, November 5, 2007
The platform is called Android () and belongs to the Open Handset Alliance.
This Alliance is no small deal, consisting in many heavyweight such as Google (of course), Intel, Nvidia, Samsung, LG, Motorola, SiRF, Synaptics, among many industry leaders and cell phone operators.
Also, there are some high-profile "non-members" as Microsoft (as expected), but also Nokia, Sony-Ericson, Apple, and AT&T. Which side will "win"? My bets are on the open-source side, even though I'm surprised not to see Nokia in the Alliance (they have been pushing linux on their MIDs since the 770).
The software development kit is due to be released next week, and we'll finaly get into the details of this Android open source platform.
One thing is certain: this time next year, we'll probably be using a "real" Google Phone! :)
Although the accusers wanted a 48 year old man - who downloaded songs from the internet for himself and to share with his friend - to be fined and pay for damages, the judge ruled that a crime against intellectual property must involve profit, which was not the case.
Finally, someone with good sense!
This may be a nice precedent for other similar cases.
Source [Diario Digital] (in Portuguese)
As we all know, Google last barrier is to overcome the traditional communication operators, that insist in old-fashioned tactics, making communication harder instead of simpler.
Femtocells may very well be just the first step that will take Google to be the future world leader in internet access and all types of communication.
People need to access the internet, anywhere at anytime. Traditional operators charge a lot, trick their customers by shaping/blocking/filtering data traffic, and impose unreasonable data transfer amounts.
Is Google finally on the way to reach us and help us?
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Originally a proprietary Microsoft format, it was best put to use as a standard that everyone can use for free and without royalties.
This new standard allows for even better compression, extra resolution and color information than possible with the current Jpeg implementation - used by millions of people around the globe.
It may still take a while for Jpeg XR to catch up with its older sibling, but evolution is underway - and no doubt we will soon look at the old Jpeg just as we remember stuff down memory lane.
But, things change - and change is happening faster than ever these days. Today, Internet is surpassing TV use; and people all around the world are more used to downloading the songs and movies they want than going to a real outlet.
This is the dawn of the online content, and it won't take long for "old" concepts like Blockbuster's to fade away.
Don Resinger seems to think that way too, as he cleverly put it in his article Say Goodby To Blockbuster.
If you feel nostalgic, go grab some movies while you can, because in a couple of years... it will probably be gone.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Human cells have a built-in timer, that affects its age. When you grab some cells from your body and place them in a laboratory dish, they'll begin to divide, getting weaker, and eventually die.
But the cells of Henrietta Lacks possess a disconcerting anomaly... When place in a laboratory dish, they keep divinding, dividing, divinding... and never die! Her cells are biologically immortal.
And don't think this is a recent discovery - she died over 50 years ago, in 1951.
In fact, her cells have been used in the development of the polio vaccine. You may very well be alive today because of her - many millions are.