Reports all over the world confirm the worst: the best Windows error ever was just the beginning of a planetary invasion by alien forces using time-space-twisting software code. There's no other explanation for this gallery of demoniacally absurd errors:They are even trying to trick us. What the hell does "Error, the operation was completed successfully" means. And when a computer asks you "Are you sure you want to send Recycle Bin to the Recycle Bin?" can't you see it's an evil—EVIL I say—trap to disintegrate this dimension?
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
An iPod Touch developer has just created a SIP-based VoIP app (which works with Asterisk and other open source free and paid VoIP providers) that was ported from an older app called SvSIP. The upside is that iPod Touch users that have the pre-amped mic addon that plugs into the dock connector will be able to actually talk on their iPods. iPhone users won't need the addon to talk (obviously), and should be able to get in on this action soon as well. We'll update when we know more. [Touchmods via TUAW]
Posted by Augustine at 11:10 PM
Salt and pepper shaker collectors will be interested in this innovative way to dispense those table staples, looking a whole lot like nuts and bolts. They're actually constructed like a Slinky. Bend one of these bolts, and the gaps between its coils get wide enough to release your chosen seasoning. Good thing there's an "S" and a "P" inscribed on top, or we'd be totally screwed. The stainless steel variety is $55, or save some money on the black ones for around $40. [Gadgets UK, via Spluch]
Posted by Augustine at 10:10 PM
from Gizmodo by Matt Buchanan
While we sorta groaned at the Latitude XT's $2500 base-model pricetag along with everybody else (cause it's expensive!) we didn't piss and moan too much because we knew that the DuoSense technology making it the only input device on the market that combines a pressure-sensitive pen with multitouch into a single surface is new, hot shit. And that's never cheap. But Dell is a little touchy about the feedback, so they've publicly defended the price on their Direct2Dell blog, with a chart showing how much more awesome it is than other tablets and quips like "we are talking about cutting-edge technology here."
The sorta interesting claim about the price itself is that it's only "a slight premium to our competition (emphasis on the word 'slight')," which is based on the math its "non-standard features" only carry a 13 percent premium over the competition. If you're still not convinced it's worth it, they're going to be following it up with more posts explaining why you're wrong.
The problem is that however much it surpasses other tablets, when you come down to it, $2500 is still two-and-a-half grand, and that's just for the base model. You bump the processor to dual core, the RAM to 2GB and expand the hard drive to 80GB, you're talking closer to $3,000 for what's really the acceptable spec configuration. And that kind of money makes most consumers antsy, however fancy your wares. We know we'll be waiting for it to plunge to more plebian prices, though we do appreciate the tech inside, Dell. [Direct2Dell]
Posted by Augustine at 9:50 PM
Posted by Augustine at 8:33 PM
from Engadget by Thomas Ricker
Toshiba just announced its membership in an alliance to develop system chips using 32-nm circuitry. That's well below the existing 45-nm processes used in manufacturing Intel's Penryn, for example. The alliance includes IBM, AMD, Samsung, Infineon, Freescale, and Singapore's Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing. No surprise really, what with Tosh already in bed with IBM to develop chips using 32-nm processes. The agreement is good until 2010 and covers design, development, and the production of the itty bitty circuitry. A move which should reduce manufacturing costs for the alliance with the savings passed along to us consumers.
Posted by Augustine at 8:32 PM
from Engadget by Thomas Ricker
Remember that VoIP hack for the iPod touch. Right, the one that requires an external mic. Well, mark your calendars Jailbreakers, the software will be available for download on New Year's Day. SIP-VoIP is free, but your donations will gladly (and rightfully) be accepted.
Posted by Augustine at 8:28 PM
Posted by Augustine at 8:25 PM
We've heard plenty of promises about low(er) cost solar panels, but it looks like the heavily-funded upstart Nanosolar is actually getting around to churning out what it says is the "world's lowest-cost solar panel." As The New York Times reports, that feat was achieved by taking a different approach to lowering the cost than most -- namely, by reducing the manufacturing cost instead of trying to increase the efficiency. As a result, by using a new process that effectively "prints" photovoltaic material onto an aluminum backing, the company says they can profitably sell the solar panels for "less than $1 a watt" or, as The Times points out, the price at which solar energy becomes less expensive than coal. What's more, while Nanosolar itself is hanging onto one of the first panels for exhibit, and one is being donated to the Tech Museum in San Jose, Nanosolar is auctioning off one of the first three panels to be produced on eBay, where the bidding currently stands around $1,000. Anyone looking to actually put it to use may want to think twice, however, as the panel is being sold "as-is."
[Via The New York Times]
Posted by Augustine at 8:23 PM
Monday, December 17, 2007
According to legend, Skynet went on-line August 4th, 1997. Human decisions were removed from strategic defense. Skynet began to learn at a geometric rate. It became self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they tried to pull the plug. It was too late: Skynet retaliated by launching millions of Lokulokus, pigs made out of a gelatinous plastic material that could be squashed against the floor, be completely destroyed, and magically regain their original shape in seconds. And we got the proof, in video:
Posted by Augustine at 9:10 PM
Rayzer may be one of the few car tuning parts that could be actually useful (after animated LED car rims and car spoilers made out of Boeing 747 flaps): a set of auxiliary HID Xenon lights that can be installed inside the car, between your windshield and the rear-view mirror. Swedish manufacturer Visualeyes says that the Rayzer activates wirelessly when you turn on the high-beams and claims that "Rayzer triples your visibility at night." Judging by the test images, it looks like they are right:
You don't have to turn them on: the Rayzer's lights are wirelessly synchronized with the car's high-beams. For you of those thinking about those idiots who travel all the time with their high-beams and anti-fog lamps on, you will be glad to learn that it has a traffic detection function that will automatically turn the light off if it detects cars in the distance.The Rayzer will start distribution in 2008, so if you travel through roads with no or little illumination, these may be perfect for you.
Posted by Augustine at 9:07 PM
The ZCam is the first low-cost, consumer videocamera that can capture video with depth information and probably the first real challenger to Nintendo's Wiimote: with its 3D capture abilities it will allow you to play Wii-style without using any controls whatsoever. In fact, it is so precise that it will even recognize your finger gestures to fire a weapon or manipulate your computer like in Minority Report, but without gloves or any other external device:
The camera has sensors that are able to measure the depth for each of the captured pixels using a principle called Time-Of-Flight. It gets 3D information "by emitting pulses of infra-red light to all objects in the scene and sensing the reflected light from the surface of each object." The objects in the scene are then ordered in layers in the Z axis, which gives you a grayscale depth map that a game or any software application can use.
According to manufacturer 3DV Systems, the depth resolution is quite good: it can detect 3D motion and volume down to 0.4 inches, capturing at the same time full color, 1.3 megapixel video at 60 frames per second. While there have been professional cameras with depth capture in the past, this is the first time that a device of such characteristics is cheap enough to be built into any game system or computer.
As you can see in the video, the ZCam is completely different from the EyeToy or any other normal 2D webcam. Even while it's not as precise and flexible as a real full 3D motion tracking system, the videos show that it can indeed provide with a new level of interactivity in video games and any application—like computer user interface manipulation.
While the results could be quite impressive, I'm not convinced about some of the applications. The flight simulator, for example, seems to work great. However, unlike boxing, I have the feeling that I wouldn't be able to control a plane without actually grabbing something. Of course, I can pick anything to give me that feeling, just like a Nintendo Wiimote. But then again, in flight simulator games you want an actual joystick, so the "phantom" feeling of not having force feedback is the same for the ZCam and the Wiimote. For any other game, like first person shooters, this kind of technology could be really good if it lives up to its promise and developers can fully exploit it.
Its virtues could be even easier to apply in computer applications. The demonstration in the video, with the guy manipulating Vista with hand gestures, gives you a very good idea. As I use my iMac 24 to type this, I wish I can just wave my hand in the air quickly to consult a PDF, like Minority Report's Tom Cruise but without jumping in the sofa and scaring Oprah. Or touching, moving and clicking the mouse.
Since the ZCam is a piece of circuitry that can be integrated anywhere, and without taxing the CPU, I don't see why companies like Apple or Dell wouldn't adopt them for future desktop and portables. However, the technology has just been officially announced this week and it's too soon too tell. Whatever happens, it's good to see such a device coming to the market. Hopefully, we will see it in action with real world applications soon. In the meantime:
Posted by Augustine at 4:53 PM
from Seth's Blog by Seth Godin
In a new study released in today's Times, it turns out that the typical NY police officer only hits 34% of the time she fires a gun. Even from a distance of six feet or less, it's 43%. Obviously, Bruce Willis is the exception.
I wonder how it changes your decision making when you discover that you're only going to be successful one out of three times. Never mind blasting a weapon out of an assailant's hand, we're talking about hitting the target at all... How does a cop have the guts to even pull a weapon knowing that most of the time, it's not going to have its desired effect (my guess is that the threat and the noise and chaos is as positive an outcome as an actual hit...). I know I would never have the guts to do that job.
Salespeople have a harder time with this than marketers. Marketers have lots of 'bullets' and they don't notice the ones they miss (I usually miss 99.5% of the time online, and more than 99.999% of the time selling books). We just reload and blithely continue on. But salespeople have to deal both with personal rejection and the expectation of the boss.
The poor hit rate of selling explains call resistance. Non-professional salespeople almost aways wash out because they can't keep at it, day after day, once they realize that most of the time, they fail. I guess my point is that if a policeman can risk his life doing it, we can probably find the nerve to go on one more sales call.
Posted by Augustine at 1:05 PM
Forget about YouTube debates.
The future of politics looks just like what Cory did to the Canadian DMCA the last few weeks.
One person, with just a few hard-working people in the field, managed to derail a bill that lobbyists spent millions of dollars on.
Sure, it helps that it was a lousy bill, that Cory co-writes the most popular blog in the world and that the bill was about something that blog readers care about. Doesn't matter. Because as readership grows and issues start attracting loyal readers, what this proves is that Tip O'Neill was wrong. All politics isn't local. All politics is about permission. The permission to share your views with people who want to hear them, people who take action, people who tell their friends.
Nice work, Cory. Who's next?
[Right issue, wrong guy, I'm told! Cory was the one I noticed, but Michael was the point man.]
Posted by Augustine at 12:43 PM
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Posted Dec 13th 2007 7:19AM by Thomas Ricker
Posted by Augustine at 10:30 AM
Posted by Augustine at 10:25 AM
[Thanks, David] Read
Posted by Augustine at 10:23 AM
Intel, clearly not wanting to be left in the dust by the slew of new wireless technologies that are starting to converge, nasty-like, inside our shiny new devices, has begun testing on a chip which can effortlessly swap between WiFi, WiMAX, and DVB-H. The idea is that the chip's radio would talk to your WiFi at home, hand over the data to WiMAX if you hit the road, and also allow you to pull down digital television while staying mobile -- without having to use an array of separate radios or silicon. This should open up a whole new vista of possibilities for time-wasting activities, so whenever manufacturers want to get this into our phones / laptops, just say the word. We're ready.
Posted by Augustine at 10:22 AM
from Engadget by Darren Murphsuccessor to the A1200 MING. Granted, we've no proof to go along with it, but the design sure fits the mold. According to Chinese-based eNet, this bugger will sport quad-band GSM connectivity, a 3.2-megapixel camera (with autofocus), WiFi, assisted-GPS, a couple of built-in games, a "talking dictionary" and a Linux-based OS. Interestingly enough, that last tidbit certainly conflicts with other reports we've heard, but we suppose time will tell (look for a February launch) what system really ends up running the MING 2 show. [Via UnwiredView]
Posted by Augustine at 10:20 AM
Posted by Augustine at 10:17 AM
from Engadget by Nilay Patel
We've already seen laptops like Sony's Vaio SZ include integrated graphics alongside much more powerful (and power-hungry) dedicated chips, but AMD's looking to make such setups all the more commonplace with new chips capable of hybrid CrossFire. AMD recently demoed the tech to PC Perspective, showing off a 2.2GHz Phenom machine with both unreleased RS780 integrated graphics and a RV620-based card labeled HD Radeon 3450. Running games like Call of Duty 4 and Unreal Tournament 3, frame rates jumped from 30-35fps to around 55fps when hybrid mode was enabled. That's pretty respectable, although the system is limited to speedups of the slowest chip times two, so bigger gains are probably not in the offing. However, there can still be benefits to using chips of drastically different horsepower: the integrated chips can power down the heavy hitter to save power when not needed, and totally switch over when required. That's a pretty solid compromise, we think -- and with AMD aiming for the initial batch of hybrid CrossFire-capable cards to be priced around $50, it looks like we'll be seeing these setups a lot when AMD starts shipping these early next year.
Posted by Augustine at 10:15 AM
Posted by Augustine at 10:12 AM
Hot on the heels of that flexible color e-ink display we saw a couple days back, here comes a flexible 10.4-inch LCD display that's less then 10mm thick. The display is being developed by Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), and features two plastic substrate elements instead of a traditional glass one. ITRI says the display can reproduce 57 percent of the NTSC color gamut, but there's no word on when we might ever see these in production.
[Via TG Daily]Read
Posted by Augustine at 10:09 AM
from Engadget by Paul Miller
Posted by Augustine at 10:08 AM
Posted by Augustine at 10:07 AM
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Sachin writes - "I have few thousand email messages inside Microsoft Outlook (a pst file) organized in various folders. I know it is possible to download emails from Gmail to Outlook using POP3 or IMAP but is the reverse path possible."
Sachin is looking for a trick to archive all Outlook email messages (and folders) to his online Gmail account for two reasons - one is secure backup and two, he will be able to access his old emails from any computer.
Solution: It is quite easy to transfer Outlook emails to your Gmail mailbox. Here's a step by step guide:
Step 1: Enable IMAP in your Gmail account and then configure Outlook (or Outlook Express or Windows Live Mail) to sync with your Gmail address via IMAP. Read this guide.
Step 2: Import your Outlook PST file into a Personal folder that is different from your default Gmail Inbox.
To import, click File -> Import And Export -> Import from another program or file. -> Next -> Personal Folder File (.pst) -> Next.
Select the PST file that contains your email, then pick the email folders that you want to import in Outlook and click Finish.
Step 3: Select the Personal folders that you want to backup online and copy them your Gmail Folder in Outlook (see screenshot).
In the Folder List, right-click the folder you want to copy and click Copy Folder name. Click the Gmail Folder in Outlook to copy that folder in that location. You can repeat the steps as needed for other folders.
That's it. Your Outlook email will soon become available inside your online Gmail Inbox.
Caution: The migration from Outlook to Gmail can take a long time if you have very large Outlook pst file or if your internet connection speed is slow. Therefore, consider removing all large emails before moving them to your Gmail via IMAP.
Related: Is Your Outlook+Gmail Slow ?
Posted by Augustine at 9:47 AM
Sunday, December 09, 2007
CarbonRally applies gaming and social networking concepts to environmental activism by challenging participants to take positive steps against carbon emissions.
Boston based CarbonRally offers a series of carbon reducing challenges, such as not drinking bottled water, dumping shopping bags and leaving your car at home, whereby users can compete against others to become the most carbon friendly participant. Current users include Google's offices in Boston and Pittsburgh who are openly aiming to beat one and other.
The competition is all in good fun with no prizes offered, however CarbonRally is looking at corporate sponsorship of challenges in the future.
If you're passionate about carbon emissions, CarbonRally providers a fun and friendly forum from which you can join others in saving the world.
Posted by Augustine at 12:08 AM
With all the talk about Amazon's Kindle, there's a bigger revolution taking place and those who studied classic literature will be horrified. In Japan, half of the top ten selling works of fiction in the first six months of 2007 were composed on mobile phones.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, mobile phone novels (keitai shousetsu) have become a publishing phenomenon in Japan, "turning middle-of-the-road publishing houses into major concerns and making their authors a small fortune in the process."
One book, Koizora (Love Sky) about high-school girl who is bullied, gang-raped, becomes pregnant has sold more than 1.2 million copies since being released.
The mobile internet has a role in this growing phenomen in Japan, with another book Moshimo Kimiga (420,000 copies) starting with installments uploaded to an internet site and sent our to "thousands of young subscribers."
Notably, at least when considering the Kindle, is that the Japanese market happily pays for mobile books as well; we've quoted hard copy figures here but there are many more Japanese viewers paying to read this content online via their mobile phones.
I can't see anyone in Western nations waking up tomorrow and seeing mobile phone composed novels on the top seller lists, but usually Japan is years ahead on many tech fronts; mobile phone data services were available and popular in Japan years ago as the rest of us are only now catching up. Perhaps the NY Times best seller list in 2012 might consist of keitai shousetsu, stranger things have happened.
(image: Wikimedia Commons)
Posted by Augustine at 12:03 AM
Jared Kopf thinks that ad networks should be more like social networks. A member of the PayPal mafia (he also helped start Slide), Kopf is now CEO of Adroll, a social ad network that launched in private beta last week. (The first 100 TechCrunch readers to register and type in the promo code "Crunchroll" will get a beta invite).
The last thing the Web needs is another ad network, but Adroll is at least trying something new. It lets niche publishers self-organize into communities of interest so as to have a better shot at attracting advertisers. For instance, in the "Surfing Ad Community," there are currently eight surf sites that collectively attract an audience of half-a-million per month. There is also an "Alt Music Community" of music blogs. Any publisher can create their own community or ask to join an existing one. Kopf explains this to me in an e-mail:
(Communities can be a) Open, b) Members Can Invite, and c) Only Leader Can Invite)
This actually allows publishers to form communities that are exclusive, or semi-exclusive. So you could form the TechCrunch Ad Community that is made up of smaller tech-focused blogs that you rep. Or a community of "Breaking News Sites." Sites can join by "friending" you…and you approve (or deny) their admission.
The big point of differentiation for us is that we . . . use a "social-networking"-style matching system to enable publishers to create their own networks, and help publishers to sell more, at higher CPMs by working together.
Well, that's the idea. You create your own adroll, just like a blogger would create a blogroll with other related blogs. Except that advertisers can buy ads across that blogroll. They can also buy ads across a tagroll. When publishers set up their profiles they choose tags to describe their site, like "surf," "celebrities," or "web 2.0." And advertisers can buy those tags. Advertisers also have their own profiles, with their own tags. So publishers interested in attracting a certain advertiser need only look at its tags, add them to their own profile, and hope for a match. Thus, the tagrolls could end up being so easy to game as to render them useless.
The bigger question for Adroll is whether advertisers will bite at all. Do they actually want to reach the Long Tail of surfing sites, or just stick with the most popular ones they already can get through other ad networks? The bigger the adroll, the more appealing it will be to advertisers. But become too big and generic, and the communities lose their targeting advantage. Also, most advertisers are used to spraying ads at certain demographics, but Adroll communities are organized by interests. That could be another problem.
The bulk of advertising still goes to the top handful of sites on the Web. So anything that gives niche sites more of a fighting chance is worth trying. Adroll is offering them a new way to band together. Whether advertisers will care depends on how cool the publishers can come across. The same as any other social network.
Posted by Augustine at 12:02 AM