Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hitachi works up new stereoscopic vision display technology

Details are a bit hazy on this one, but it looks like Hitachi is readying a new "small sized stereoscopic vision display technology." Measuring in at 7.9- x 7.9- x 3.9-inches and weighing 2.2-pounds, the mysterious device apparently utilizes an array of mirrors and projects imagery in a manner than gives off a three-dimensional illusion. Reportedly, the new "synthetic image" device is similar in design to its larger "Transpost," and Hitachi hopes to implement the technology in locales such as schools, exhibitions, museums, etc. Nevertheless, the outfit is slated to show off the unit at SIGGRAPH 2007, so if anyone happens to drop in, do let us know how impressive / unflattering it really is in person. [Via Impress]


First "real" snapshots of Meizu's M8 supposedly surface

We'll be the first to admit that the first "real" photographs of Meizu's M8 still appear mighty doctored, but hey, so long as the final product looks this good, we'll be content. Nevertheless, the firm has made available three supposed snapshots for us to drool over, and while we're far beyond the point of actually believing anything these guys say in regard to a release date, the latest news on that front has the finalized unit ready for testing by the year's end. 'Course, there's still no set date for actually getting it into the needy hands of consumers everywhere, but the most recent price estimates peg the 4GB M8 at 2,380CNY ($314) and the 8GB version at 2,880CNY ($380). Per usual, feel free to peep the other two snaps after the jump.

[Via MyMiniOne]


OLE pill bug robot concept could fight forest fires

German researchers at the University of Madgeburg-Stendal have developed a concept for a robot shaped like a pill millipede that could potentially detect and fight forest fires. Were the "OLE" a real robot, it would be able to scuttle around the forest floor at speeds of around 6 to 12 MPH, using infrared and "biosensors" to detect fire sources. If it gets into trouble, it can curl up just like a real pill bug and be fully protected thanks to a ceramic-fibre compound shell that can withstand temperature of 1,300 Degrees Centigrade. According to the researchers, 30 of these OLEs could protect a forest area as large as 2,700 square miles, whilst simultaneously freaking out hundreds of forest animals.

[Via GearFuse; thanks, Steve]




Google-backed Gbox online music store uses Universal's open MP3s

Google, Universal, and a new start-up company called gBox are teaming up to sell music exclusively through an ad based format, bucking the iTunes style method of selling music online. The partnership works out with Google referring users to gBox, where they can buy DRM-free copies of Universal's music catalog for 99 cents. Universal still has to pay Google for the ad space, which begs the question, why couldn't Universal simply distribute the music itself? But hey, at least it looks like the whole DRM-free thing's working out for Universal and Co. Your turn, Mr. J.



Kingston offers up 4GB Class 6 miniSDHC cards

Although Kingston's latest trio of 4GB miniSDHC cards aren't first on the scene per se, that Class 6 iteration is sure sitting at the head of the class. Partnered by Class 2 (2MB/sec) and Class 4 (4MB/sec) versions, the Class 6 miniSDHC card boasts an impressive minimum sustained data transfer rate of 6MB/sec, which ought to be more than sufficient for those unexpected video captures on your mobile. Most interesting, however, is the pricing scheme for the aforementioned devices, as the 4GB Class 6 card runs just two bucks higher ($66) than the Class 4 version ($64), and a mere four dollars more than the lowly Class 2 ($62) sibling, so it's a pretty safe bet that you'll be going for the speed on this one.


Samsung readies the Bang & Olufsen Serene II and F330 music phone

If you've got the kind of photographic, instant-recall memory that we here at Engadget do, you'll probably remember our brief mention of the Bang & Olufsen Serene II (or apparently "Serenata"), a Samsung developed mobile phone that made its way to the FCC in May. Well, the phone-elves have been busy tinkering in their workshop night after night, and we've managed to get a look at a real / fake picture of their otherwise-named SGH-F310 (pictured left). Rumor has it that the phone will arrive as a UMTS / EDGE / HSDPA (1.8 Mbps) device, with a 240 x 240 touchscreen, 4GB of memory, and all kinds of media playback support. Additionally, Samsung appears to be readying the F330 music phone for widespread dispersion, which will be rocking EDGE / HSDPA (3.6 Mbps), Bluetooth and USB connectivity, a 240 x 320 display, 2 megapixel camera, and a microSD slot. Of course, this is all rampant speculation at this point, but don't say we didn't warn you. Read -- Samsung F310/B&O Serenata music phone Read -- Samsung F330 music phone


Fujitsu gets official with U810, T2010 tablet PCs

Thanks to the oh-so-disclosing FCC, we already knew that Fujitsu's U810 and T2010 were headed this way, but now the firm is making things official. The 1.56-pound U810 will boast a snazzy LED-backlit display, last up to 5.5-hours on a single charge, will don the "world's smallest tablet convertible" label, and will be available for you to cuddle next month. The larger T2010 (pictured) weighs in at 3.5-pounds and also manages to pack a LED-backlit screen, but this pen-enabled convertible boasts a whopping 11-hours of battery life on the extended cell, or an impressive 9-hours on the standard iteration. Best of all, folks interested in the latter machine can get their orders in now starting at $1,599, and those eying the cutesy U810 will be coughing up a minimum of $999 when it's available. [Via Wired]



Researchers develop bendable, paper-based battery

Nah, the researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute won't be crowned the first to develop a flexible (or paper-based, for that matter) battery, but their minuscule prototype "is an integrated device, not a combination of pieces" as others typically are. The battery uses "paper infused with an electrolyte and carbon nanotubes that are embedded in the paper," and could eventually be utilized in combination with solar cells or "scaled up and shaped into something like a car door, offering moving electrical storage and power when needed." Currently, however, the wee samples can release just "2.3-volts, or enough to illuminate a small light," but the idea of using these things to power pacemakers and the like isn't that far fetched.

[Via BBC, thanks to everyone who sent this in]




Philips to launch Ambilight successor Aurea

Philips AureaConsumer electronics manufacturer Philips will demo their successor to Ambilight -- the ambient lighting technology that generates light effects on the sides of a television -- at European expo IFA on August 30. The new technology, named Aurea, will be featured using a film by director Wong Kar called Seduction by Light. From early photos, the new sets incorporate the lighting directly into the frame, instead of using the previous method of a glass frame around the set.



Fiire's Linux-based media center ties it all together

A clever group of whippersnappers have got the right idea when it comes to home entertainment, namely, LinuxMCE-based systems that don't break the bank but offer a pretty stacked feature set. Fiire, a company which manufactures and sells modular media boxes and remotes aimed at unifying your media center has a few items it'd like you to see. The whole shebang is based around the FiireEngine, a $799 box that acts as a central hub to your media world, and features an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ processor, 1GB of RAM, 160GB hard drive, RAID support for six eSATA drives (for a total capacity of 6TB), and an NVIDIA 6200 graphics chipset. The system has DVI, VGA, component, and S-Video outs, but strangely no HDMI -- which might be a deal-breaker for some. The Engine is meant to be accessed through the company's FiireStations ($499-899), set-top boxes or wallmount units that stream media from the FiireEngine to any location you want, using low voltage processors and a frugal selection of hardware. Finally, to control the open-source system, the company offers the FiireChief ($149), a multi-function remote which can "follow" a user from room to room, allowing you start a video in one spot, move to another, and have the players automatically switch locations. All in all, a fairly interesting package from a somewhat unknown company, though how integrated the system is remains to be seen, and the lack of HDMI support is a little troubling.



SINGLE Network card crash leaves 17,000 stranded at LAX

According to reports, a single computer crash yesterday in the Customs office of LAX caused hours of delays for more than 17,000 airline passengers. US Customs officials say that a malfunctioning network card on a single desktop created a "domino" effect with its other computers, leading to a total system failure that caused massive wait times. According to a Customs spokesman, "We lost access to our national systems, as well as our local area network." He went on the claim that it took over ten hours to diagnose the problem, halting screening operations and leaving passengers stranded on planes or in the airport -- unable to enter or leave the US. From the sounds of it, Customs need to hire a handful of Engadget readers, who we're pretty sure could have located the source of the problem in considerably less time.




Reuters caught in embarrassing misuse of photo/footage


Reuters gets that sinking feeling

Leigh Holmwood
Friday August 10, 2007

Russian submarines in the Arctic Ocean
Titanic error: Reuters issued this film still with a story about the Russian flag being planted beneath the North Pole. Photograph: Reuters
News agency Reuters has been forced to admit that footage it released last week purportedly showing Russian submersibles on the seabed of the North Pole actually came from the movie Titanic.

The images were reproduced around the world - including by the Guardian and Guardian Unlimited - alongside the story of Russia planting its flag below the North Pole on Thursday last week.

But it has now emerged that the footage actually showed two Finnish-made Mir submersibles that were employed on location filming at the scene of the wreck of the RMS Titanic ship in the north Atlantic some 10 years ago.

This footage was used in sequences in James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster about the 1912 disaster.

The mistake was only revealed after a 13-year-old Finnish schoolboy contacted a local newspaper to tell them the images looked identical to those used in the movie.

Reuters has admitted that it took the images from Russian state television channel RTR and wrongly captioned them as file footage originating from the Arctic.

RTR had also used the footage to illustrate stories about the North Pole expedition, but it is thought as library footage, and it never claimed it was actually of the flag-planting.

The pictures were first broadcast by RTR when the Russians were still several hours away from the North Pole.

Reuters distributed a package of clips that included the scenes from Titanic, alongside computer animations and footage of ships on the surface at the North Pole.

In its piece on the subject, two of the four Reuters pictures were from the Titanic filming.

Reuters has now apologised for the error and has made changes to its video material on the expedition, with captions denoting the various origins of the file footage used.

In a statement, Reuters said: "On August 2, 2007 in a TV story about two Russian submersibles planting a flag on the seabed under the North Pole, we used file shots of MIR submersibles as part of this story.

"Reuters mistakenly identified this file footage as originating from the Arctic, and not the North Atlantic where the footage was shot.

"This footage was taken during the search for the Titanic and copyright is held by Russian State broadcaster RTR.

"This location error was corrected as soon as it was brought to our attention. A still image of the submersibles was also taken from the footage and put out on the Reuters photo wire. The caption has been corrected."

The incident is doubly embarrassing for the agency since it follows a case in August last year in which it published an image by a freelancer of Israeli bombings in Lebanon that had been dramatised using photo manipulation, with the addition of smoke rising from allegedly burning buildings.

After that gaffe, Reuters promised to tighten up its controls on material being put out in its name.

· To contact the MediaGuardian newsdesk email or phone 020 7239 9857. For all other inquiries please call the main Guardian switchboard on 020 7278 2332.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Passwords: Get a random password from PassPub

PassPub.png Stop using your dog's name as your password for everything! Web app PassPub randomly generates a bunch of different passwords that can be used for WEP and WPA keys, and for basic passwords with lengths of 6 to 12 characters. Although similar to the previously mentioned Strong Password Generator, what makes PassPub particularly convenient is that it can create passwords that follow "easy" to remember keyboard combinations, chemical elements, and mnemonics. Don't get me wrong, these passwords are tough to crack—you're not going to find P@ssw0rd on this list. Don't think having a tough password is important? See how easy it is for Adam to crack Windows passwords. Does anyone know how to generate random passwords from the command line? Please share in the comments. Thanks, Martin!


Skype on iPhone. No, seriously.

OK, this has to be the coolest news this morning. SHAPE Services, a Stuttgart, Germany-based company, well-known for making mobile IM clients, has just announced Skype for iPhone, an iPhone-optimized Web site that allows you to access Skype via the browser on the iPhone. You can try out this for free for a limited time.

It took me less than two minutes to get up and running. Sending messages was as simple as typing SMS messages. I am guessing that, since they ask you for your mobile number when you log in, there is some kind of call-back service built into the app. After all, the company says you don’t need WiFi.

IM+ for Skype works with BlackBerry RIM, Windows Mobile Pocket PC, Palm OS, Symbian and J2ME devices. The application works in any network and doesn’t require WiFi, the company says.


Dahan T&S shows off 42-inch widescreen multi-touch LCD

Just months after displaying Dahan T&S' 120-inch multi-touch panel, the firm is now showing off its 42-inch widescreen LCD that incorporates the same technology. This living-room-friendly display contains "multi-dot recognition functions to control image size and direction by [using your] fingers," meaning that a single press will translate into a left-click, while using two fingers will replicate a right-click. No word on resolution, price, or a release date just yet, but click on if you're down with a couple more pics.

Continue reading Dahan T&S shows off 42-inch widescreen multi-touch LCD


NewerTech intros Mac mini-lovin' miniStack NAS

As if there weren't enough options to cram underneath your Mac mini, here's yet another. NewerTech is introducing its miniStack NAS enclosure, which can be pre-configured with as much as 750GB of storage, and should fit quite well above or below your mini. The box sports Ethernet / USB 2.0 ports, PC and Mac support, Ximeta's NDAS 2011 network chipset, LED status lights, auto power on / off, and "intelligent thermal monitoring for minimal fan power consumption." For those interested in adding their own HDD, the device itself can be snagged for $79.99, while ordering with a hard drive already included will run you up to $329.99 depending on capacity.



GM mulling battery rentals for the Chevy Volt

Tossing out the idea of renting / leasing the battery of an electric car isn't exactly revolutionary, but it sounds like GM may be hitching a ride on the ever-growing bandwagon. Reportedly, the firm is mulling the idea of allowing Chevy Volt buyers to "rent the vehicle's battery as a way of pricing the automobile at a comparable level to a traditional, petrol-driven family [motorcar]." Apparently, GM is hoping to get ten years of life from the battery packs and to price the Volt like a "traditional mid-market car." Notably, no further information regarding potential contracts or sales strategies were divulged, but considering the launch date for this sucka is just around the corner, we're sure relevant decisions will be made soon enough. [Via AutoblogGreen]