Saturday, October 31, 2009

Digital Cinema - Spot the Differences

Digital cameras are constantly improving, and the recent batch of DSLRs like the Canon 5D Mark II with its excellent low light performance, some film makers are now replacing their trusted film cameras with these digital intruders.

For instance, Shane Hurlbut has worked in films like Into the Blue and Terminator Salvation, and is now challenging us to spot the differences in his latest trailer.What parts were shot with digital cameras (5D Mark II and Sony 950) and what parts where shot on film with a Arri 235? Can you tell the difference?

And next year, the 5D Mark II will also be able to shoot FullHD 1080p at 24 and 25fps with a firmware upgrade. :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Domain issues fixed?

Well, I think it's safe to assume the custom domain issues my blogger blog was plagued with are now fixed and everything is working again (albeit the main url now has "www" while before it was just ""

If you notice something weird please do let me know, as I sure would like to know you people are still reading my posts - even after those few days "offline".

Wish you all a nice weekend! :)

HTC Magic Virtual Reality Goggles

A piece of cardboard, one HTC Magic, and the result is: probably the first virtual reality goggles anyone can afford. :)

Watch it in action:

How to Write Upside Down Text

Ever came across a piece of text that looks like this: ʇxǝʇ uʍop ǝpısdn ?

Yes, that's upside down text, and you'll find it scattered around the internet, whenever someone thinks it's funny to play around with their friends (or just to annoy someone ;)

But today I'll reveal the secret behind this strange flipped text and how you can do it yourself.

The trick behind it is that we'll be using special characters and symbols that look like inverted letters - and if it "looks" like it, it's as good as real inverted letters, right?

How can you write flipped upside down text? It's actually quite easy:

You just need to visit any of the websites that do all the hard work for you, sites like:

You'll just need to type your message, and then copy the resulting flipped text and paste it wherever you want.
(Just keep in mind they'll need to support unicode characters - or else you'll be restricted to just the "plain letters.")

¿ɹoɟ ƃuıʇıɐʍ noʎ ǝɹɐ ʇɐɥʍ

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

In case you forgot about it, Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala" is out.

Next in line is Ubuntu 10.04 LTS - Lucid Lynx, available 6 months from now.

HTC HD2 [Video]

No one can deny this HTC HD2 sure looks sexy. It's a pity they don't give us the chance to choose from Windows Mobile and Android. I'd certainly feel tempted to buy an Android 2.0 version of this HD2.

But, if Windows Mobile is your thing, then I don't see anything keeping you from wanting one of these.

Google Music Search

Good news for all you music lovers out there, Google now shows music results whenever relevant.

It even works if you type a couple verses from a lyric - which will prove very useful when we're trying to find a particular song we know nothing else about.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Google Maps with Navigation in Android 2.0

Wow! And I do mean WOW!

Google just dropped a bomb in the GPS navigation market: we'll now have Google Maps Navigation in Android 2.0.

Unlike traditional GPS navigation software, this one is free and offers quite a number of attractive features: like voice input, all the power of Google's search engine to find what you want, streetview imagery to make your navigation easier than ever, traffic info, and lots more.

Now... let's see how TomTom and the other software navigation companies react to this "threat"...

Not to mention the major "plus" this will be for all Android devices. This Google Maps Navigation alone will be enough to attract thousands of customers who value GPS navigation more than anything else.

Hands-on video:

update: Garmin and TomTom have already felt the heat in their shares.

Google Chrome OS beta Download

Can't wait to try out Google's upcoming operating system?

[Check updates below]
Well, no need to fiddle around, Google Chrome beta is now publicly available! 

I'm already firing up a cirtual machine to try it our, and I recommend you do the same.

In fact, they even provide you with a ready-to-run virtual appliance so you can save the installation time.

Update: It seems this Chrome OS is unrelated to the real Google Chrome OS. From the download page:
"Chrome OS is not related to Google. Service provided by SUSE Studio. See the license."
In fact, the site has already been disabled by Google (it was using Google hosting services, which erroneously provided some reassurance this might be an official product.)

Surface with Physical Keyboard

Here's an amazing project that uses Surface's digital projection with real world elements like mouses and keyboards.

It's the perfect example showing why we need to break free from the assumption that "one computer" equals "one keyboard, one mouse."
In the following video you'll see the amazing possibilities these new interfaces hold.

Prototype by Bjoern Hartman at UC Berkeley.

[via @Johnny Lee]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My ISP - Speedtest

Nothing like assessing your internet connection from time to time - I'm not willing to pay for a service that is less than what it's advertised.

Thankfully, my ISP has been up to the advertised speeds - although it's a 20Mbits/1Mbit connection, I consider the Speedtest to fall within the accepted variation:

Ping-wise, things are not so bad either:

What about you? Are you getting what you're paying for?

Android 2.0

Right in time for the new Android devices scheduled to launch in the next weeks/months, here it is: Android 2.0.

Here's a video showing some of the new features (including better mutiple resolution support like 800x480 and 854x480, Bluetooh 2.1, SMS searching, multitouch keyboard, enhanced browser with HTML5 support, etc.)

SnapIt Screen Capture for Windows

It's surprising to see how modern Operating Systems often lack simple features that we often need, and that force us to do laborious boring and lengthy work to get it done.

Remember my SenderClipboard program that easily allows you to past a list of file names into a document?

Today I'll be talking about a similar program but for screen captures: SnapIt.

It's incredible how - after all these years - we're still missing a tool to easily manage screen captures in Windows. Sure you can press PrtSc at any time to grab a screenshot of your current screen. But effectively using it is an entirely different matter. Usually it involves something like: opening an image editing program (like MS Paint), pasting it there, saving it somewhere, closing the program, going to whatever other program you wanted to insert it to, and finally embed it or send it.

If you happen to need several different screenshots, the workload becomes increasingly complicated, repeating most of these steps over and over again.

With a small program like SnapIt, this task is immensely simplified.
After installing it you'll get a new icon on your system tray.

After that you can adjust it to your needs, selecting the hotkey you want to use, if you want to save it to files, etc.

This allows you to easily capture a sequence of screen grabs just by repeatedly pressing PrtSc (or any other hotkey of your choosing) and then simply grabbing the resulting image files.

While it isn't free, you're free to try it for 14 days before making your own decision.

Batch Convert to PDF using Google Docs

Have a lot of documents you want to convert to PDF but haven't a suitable program nearby? How about letting Google Docs do the work for you?

That's right. You can use Google Docs to batch convert multiple docs to PDF.

It's quite easy and simple. Just create a new folder where you'll upload all the  documents you want to convert into.

Google Docs recognized formats are:
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt, .pps).
  • Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx), OpenDocument (.odt) and StarOffice (.sxw).
  • Microsoft Excel (csv, .xls, .xlsx)  and OpenDocument Spreadsheet (.ods).
Then, just choose the convert, zup and download files option for that folder:

... and select PDF as the output.

Couldn't be easier. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blogspot Custom Domain Troubles

For the past 4 days, this blog has been unavailable through the usual domain:

I tried reaching help&support, but after all these days I still haven't had a single answer. My only option was to disable the custom domain option in the blogspot settings and go back to using the link.

I apologize for being "away", and I'll try to restore the usual custom domain as soon as possible. Until then, please bare with possible broken links. :/

With all this mess I've already lost the chance to keep using the naked domain (without the "www") which was available when I started using the custom domain feature but has since been removed. (Something that really nags me.)

It's a pity there seems to be no real way to ever get in touch with someone real that could explain me why my perfectly working blog suddenly stopped working...

Let's see how the next days will play out.

(And if anyone has a clue on why this happened - or how to fix it - I would sure appreciate the help!)

Dell Solar Parking Lot

This is how all parking lots should look like:

This new solar parking lot at DELL has 512 solar panels, and provides shelter for 56 cars, and can generate up to 131,000 kWh per year.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hammer-Proof OLED Display

If you're worried about breaking your LCD screen you'll be pleased to know that in the future you won't have to worry about that with OLED screens.

At least, that's what we're made to believe with the following video showing how an LCD and OLED react to... a hammer.
While the LCD is immediately shattered, the OLED keeps on going like nothing happened, even when bent back and forth multiple times. 

I want one of those! :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

How Dyson Bladeless Fan Works

Until now, it was unlikely we would be able to get rid of the fans in ventilator fans... But Dyson proved we were wrong.
Check how Dyson's bladeless fan works:

It's just a pity it isn't more affordable.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lego Pop-up Temple

If you -like me- thought you mastered the construction of Lego models, prepare to be sorrowfully proven wrong as you watch the following video.

EZTV is Down once again

We can't say EZTV web life has been easy.

This popular torrent site dedicated to TV shows has been through ups and downs and ups.

Unfortunately, it seems to be down again without any explanation.

It might be a simple technical problem - or - it can be one further action against any and every torrent site.

In EZTV's case, all content are just TV shows that can be freely recorded from TV - and then shared among friends; just like people did back in the Beta/VHS days. I still recall having friends shipping me TV shows recorded in VHS tapes from overseas so I could enjoy classic TV shows like - Knight Rider, V, Galactica, etc.

When will they understand the world has changed and we no longer can put up with "geographic restrictions" that keeps millions of users away from their favorite TV shows just because they live in the "wrong" region?

EZTV is providing a public service - TV producers would better take advantage of it instead of fighting it.

[Update: looks like it's a maintenance thing. EZTV will be back soon :]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Windows 7 Launch Day

Microsoft's latest Windows 7 is finally out on the streets.

A lot has been said about this new Windows, rushed to market after Vista's inability to attract customers - which preferred to stay with their trusted old Windows XP.

Most people are talking about how great this Windows 7 is - but let's not forget the same thing happened with Vista.
But two things have changed since then... Hardware has evolved - while computers with 2GB Ram were not that common when Vista came out, today 3 and 4GB RAM is the norm - and Windows 7 really does seem lighter in older-spec machines (they say it will run as well as XP; which I seriously doubt, as though Windows 7 is a fine-tuned "Vista", it's still a "Vista" nonetheless.)

So, while many Vista-pre-installed-computer users quickly reformatted their computers and switched back to Windows XP, this will now be less likely to happen with Windows 7.

But the real question is: will Microsoft be able to "lure" enterprises to upgrade thousands of computers to Windows 7? Even with the virtualized "XP-mode" to minimize migration problems, most might feel better served with their current systems - or, faced with the inevitability of changing, shouldn't they consider other free alternatives (like Ubuntu) as well?

And fear not the ominous warnings from Microsoft that "XP" will end soon... While they do that in "public", they're also reassuring OEM parterns they'll keep selling them Windows XP until... 2016!

Also keep in mind that the "lightness" of this Windows 7 is relative. For instance, a clean install of any of its versions easily takes about 10-13GB of disk space:

Around here Windows 7 costs:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium - 219,99€
  • Windows 7 Professional - 349,99€
  • Windows 7 Ultimate - 364,99€

Now... you can forget about the record braking pre-order stunt (that was for severely discounted offers of Windows 7) and tell me: would you prefer spending 219-364 euros in a new OS -or- using it in something like this Asus Eee PC S101 that is currently on sale for 249 euros? :)

To each his own decision...

Hard disk and Ram Disk Benchmarks

I finally got to benchmark the hard drives in my new PC. (I should have done it, but things keep popping up delaying my "plans.")

Well, here it is now, the disk benchmarks with HDTune.

Both 500GB Seagate disks behave approximately, averaging about 100MB/s transfer rates:

The other 1TB Seagate doesn't stray away from it too much.

Now, I still haven't decide if I go back to using a Raid 0 setup and double the transfer rates; or if I delay it a bit more and then go for a SSD drive... (decisions, decisions...)

Whatever the case, nothing will come close to my 4GB Ram drive:

 3.8GB/s transfer rate and 0ms access time! Now that's how all storage devices should be! :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Barnes & Noble Nook eBook Reader

Looks like today is eBook Readers day!
After Spring Design's Alex Reader, now its time for Barnes & Noble "Nook" eBook Reader: - another potential Kindle-killer.

It does seem a bit more attractive than the Alex Reader, but in the end it will all come down to real practicality (after all, they're both running Android.)
This Nook offers some interesting things, like the possibility to "lend" books to friends for a couple of weeks, and you can read a book for free when you go into a B&N store, just like you could pick up any book and start reading... Nice touches - and certainly very different from the remote-wiping Kindle that deletes books without your consent.

So, who will you bet on? This Nook eBook reader from Barnes & Noble, or the Alex Reader? :)

Alex Reader from Spring Design

If you haven't heard about this eBook reader before, here it is:

I present you the Alex Reader from Spring Design. This eBook reader makes the Kindle look... plain old boring. It has dual screens (an eInk one and a color LCD with touchscreen) and - perhaps best of all - it runs Android.

Maybe the time when digital books really take over "paper" books in schools isn't that far off...

Now all we need is a launch date and... (let's keep our fingers crosse)... an highly competitive price. That will be the secret to its success.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Motorola Droid

After being a telecommunication pioneer for decades, Motorola lost its edge and quickly disappeared from the face of the earth (cellphone-wise.) Even though they've always assembled good hardware, they fell behind on the software side... and as we all know, good hardware is nothing without good software running it and showing an attractive and easy-to-use interface for people to use.

But... is Motorola ready to return to the limelight like a phoenix reborn from its ashes?
Looking at this Motorola Droid - it seems so.

It runs Android 2.0 like no other device does, thanks to its Texas Instrumens OMAP3430 processor, which is why it impresses everyone who tries it.

Looks like the "Android battle" is finally heating up... :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

SpinRite - Hard Drive Data Recovery

Its incredible how, after so many years, we still have to rely on years old software to analyze and recover data from one of the still most critical computer components ever: the hard drive.

Just a few days ago, one of my own external USB hard drives I use for backup stopped working. 1TB of backup data... that's a lot of data.

That's why I now take this opportunity to tell you about SpinRite.

This amazing piece of software from Steve Gibson digs deep into the lowest hardware levels and does thing that once were considered impossible to do: low level reformating and sector interleave optimization... in a non-destructive way.

If you rely on S.M.A.R.T. to assess your hard drive data quality, you better check this software before you get a nasty surprise.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

BMW Simple

Similar to Nissan's Land Glider concept, BMW is also working on some concepts that mix the comfort of automobiles with the performance and fuel efficiency of motorcycles.

Check this amazing BMW Simple.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Man-Computer Interface Reimagined

We've all grown watching computer user interfaces change over the years. From text-only terminals to graphic user interfaces with its multiple windows.

But, as things keep evolving, is it time to re-think even those basic concepts?

Watch the following video on how things might look like in the not so distant future.

10/GUI from C. Miller on Vimeo.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Google Building Maker

How do you model every building in the world in 3D? It's actually quite easy... You get everyone to help.
But if you want that to happen, you need to provide easy to use tools that anyone can use... and that's what Google just did.

With Google Building Maker anyone can now easily model 3D buildings in seconds without ever leaving their browsers.

Just watch the video to see it happen:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Glide TV Navigator Remote

Are you still looking for the perfect remote control for your media center PC?

If you haven't found a suitable remote/keyboard/mouse, how about giving this GlideTV Navigator remote controller a try?

It's a pity it costs $149/€129/£119... but it sure will look trendy in any home theater room, that's for sure.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Projection Mapping in Spain

One more amazing example of what you can achieve with projection mapping.

This time in Spain at Festival Ingràvid.

Telenoika Audiovisual Mapping @ Ingravid Festival, Figueres 9/2009 [FULL] from Telenoika on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Magnetic Effect on a CRT

Though we now live in a world where LCDs and Plasmas are now relatively common, just a few years back CRT screens were the norm.

The image was created by carefully manipulating a magnetic field to guide an electron beam to the screen.
If you happen to introduce a strong external magnetic influence... the result is this:

MIT TEch TV video.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gryoscopic Bicycle Wheels

Remember learning how to ride a bike? Have you used those dreaded support wheels? Well... soon your kids won't have to!

Check these self-supporting gyroscopic wheels. :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Are you one of those people who can't draw or do anything "right" in image processing software?

Worry not, this PhotoSketch will save the day!

At last we'll have computers actually doing artistic work for us.
All you need is to draw a rough outline of what you want in your "perfect picture" and the computer will search for the best images and compose it all together. Although there are still errors that need ironing out, most of the time the results are amazing.

PhotoSketch: Internet Image Montage from tao chen on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

RollTop Foldable Computer [Concept]

Here's a nice concept for a rollable multi-purpose computer you might use in the future.
This RollTop concept can be used as a regular laptop, as a "surface" computer, or even serve as a TV/monitor.

Let's hope technology can make it real before long. :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Google Quick PDF View

How many times have you been annoyed by having search results linking to a PDF file?
Fortunately, Google has decided to lend a hand and you can now view a pdf file inside your browser without any extra PDF plugin/viewer.

No more struggling with an unresponsive browser or PDF viewer plugin that grinds your computer to an halt.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Power Generating Backpack

If you spend most of your time outdoors away from an electric power plug, recharging your gadgets becomes... complicated.
And while this might be annoying if your GPS or cellphone dies in the middle of your trekking, it might have far more serious consequences if it happens to a soldier in hostile territory.
That's why this power generating backpack was originally conceived for the military.

This backpack system can generate up to 8W while walking, and an amazing 44W while running

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Google Bar Codes

If you happen to visit the most famous web page in the world, you'll find a rather original logo:

That's right,  Google is commemorating the bar code invention with a bar coded logo. :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bitlet - Instant Torrents

You've certainly heard of torrents before. BitTorrent is a protocol that efficiently transfers large quantities of data without requiring a large distribution infrastructure.

However, it's not uncommon for someone to find a torrent file and know nothing about how to actually download its data.

If you don't want to worry about installing and configuring a torrent client, you can simply use BitLet.

You just browse to page, paste/select the torrent file you want to download... and it's done.
(All you need is a java-enabled browser.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bumptop 3D gets Multitouch support

Remember Bumptop? This amazing 3D desktop environment just got better now that it supports multitouch gestures.

Check the results in the following video:

Lots of gestures were developed by  Bumptop, and you'll probably see it popping up in the future, as multitouch hardware becomes more common:

To try it out, just download Bumptop and show it off to your friends. :)

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