Friday, November 16, 2007

Three Words: "Sexy," "Washing" and "Machine"

flexible_distance.jpgThis is probably the first time the word "sexy" has ever been used to describe a washing machine—but this concept piece from designer Simona Luculano is definitely worthy of such an adjective. Unlike traditional washing machine eyesores that must be hidden in a garage or behind sliding doors, the Flexible Distance washing machine could actually be used as a decorative piece.

flexible_distance2.jpgPlus, it is as functional as it is attractive, with touch controls on the outer ring of the wash well and an LCD screen on the lid to monitor the progress of your crusty underwear. It even conforms to low power and water consumption standards—or at least it would if it ever made it into production. [Yanko Design]


iPhone Malware Demo Freaking Me Out, Man [Apple]

PopoutMaybe it's the eyes. Don't be too alarmed, but this video shows the iPhone being accessed by terminal using a program installed by a webpage. Since the program, like all unofficial apps, runs as root, they've got access to data stores for mail, call lists, contacts, and voicemail, which are served up via terminal. And no, that guy isn't hacking your ghost with those piercing eyes. I think.

This is why a managed SDK with sandboxed apps like the one Jobs proposes for February is going to be a lot better than opening up the device outright, like it or not. Since this is a hack done via a website, it's likely the 1.1.1 TIFF exploit that can be patched by a) installing Apple's 1.1.2 patch or hacking your 1.1.1 iPhone using the installer website. The guy runs all this on a LAN, knowing IPs, but it wouldn't be hard to have malware ping home, either. Nothing to scoff at, but also not surprising given the unofficial nature of the apps developed so far, and maybe nothing to freak out over. [FC via CrunchHickey]


Take Walmart's $199 PC Operating System for a Test Drive

gos.pngIf Wal-Mart's recently released $200 PC sounds like a potentially great deal but you're not sure about ditching your current operating system for the inexpensive, Linux-based Ubuntu box, head over to the developer's web site and download the bootable gOS LiveCD (or rather DVD, at 728MB). The gOS operating system sports an emphasis on web applications, with desktop shortcuts to tons of Google Apps, Facebook, Wikipedia, and other webapps built directly into the desktop. If you've given gOS a try, let's hear how you like it in the comments.


The $8 billion story/scam

In case you had any doubt that human beings are irrational creatures, driven by stories, consider the case of the gift card.

Christmas has become a holiday about shopping, not about giving. Case in point: the $100 gift card, now available from banks, from stores, even in a rack at the supermarket.

Last year, more than $8,000,000,000 was wasted on these cards. Not in the value spent, but in fees and breakage. When you give a card, if it doesn't get used, someone ends up keeping your money, and it's not the recipient. People spent more than eight billion dollars for nothing... buying a product that isn't as good as cash.

Along the way, we bought the story that giving someone a hundred dollar bill as a gift ("go buy what you want") is callous, insensitive, a crass shortcut. Buying them a $100 Best Buy card, on the other hand, is thoughtful. Even if they spend $92 and have to waste the rest.

The interesting thing about stories is that the inconsistent ones don't always hold up to scrutiny. Consumer Reports and others are trying to spread a different story. One that sounds like this:

Gift cards are for chumps.

If enough people talk about this new story, people will be embarrassed to give a gift card. It's a waste. It's a scam. It's a trap for the recipient.

The irony is that the gift card companies could easily spend, say, half the profits and create a wonderful, better story... where every $100 gift card also generates two or three dollars for a worthy cause. That would resonate with a lot of people... But I think it's unlikely.

If I were a creative non-profit, I'd start marketing alternative gift cards. They would consist of PDF files you could print out and hand over to people when you give them cash. It could say,

"Merry Christmas. Here's your present, go spend it on what you really want. AND, just to make sure we're in the right holiday spirit, I made a donation in your name to Aworthycause."

Stories come and go. It's up to marketers to spread the good ones.


Andy Dick Look-alike Develops Device to Supercool Beer in Seconds [Boozetech]

huski2.JPGLeave it to a 22-year-old college student to develop what could be the best thing to happen to beer in centuries. The device, dubbed Huski, has a cooling capacity that is almost four times greater than regular ice. Plus, Huski won't water down your drink, and it is completely portable.

The inventor, Kent Hodgson, describes the science behind the device thusly:

"You have plastic cooling cells which are pressed down into the dock which houses the liquid carbon dioxide. The liquid CO2 expands and is pressurized into dry ice in the base of the cooling cells ... in a moment."

After that, it is a simple matter of dropping Huski into your drink, consuming the beverage, and waking up hours later in a dumpster with nothing but your boots on —just like any other Saturday. Hodgson also explained that one canister can fill thirty 330 ml bottles at a cost of 7 cents each. He plans on patenting the Huski and selling them for around $50. Not a bad deal if you hate lugging around ice and a gigantic cooler to the beach. [nzherald via InventorSpot]


Wind Dam Design for Russian Lake is Spooky, Awesome [Wind Dam]

wind_dam_in_situ_ready_sq.jpgThis innovative, ghostlike structure is a wind dam, a sail-like structure to harness wind energy, and thought to be the first of its kind in the world. If the project is given the green light, the $5 million dam, which is designed by British architect Laurie Chetwood, will be going up next year on Lake Ladoga, in the northwest of Russia. More pics and details below.

The dam consists of a spinnaker sail, similar to the mainsail of a yacht, which captures the wind, funneling it through a turbine and generating energy. Measuring 75 meters wide and 25 meters high, the dam may be joined by a second one in a gorge further up the valley.

Mr Chetwood, the dam's creator, thinks that the sail looks like a bird dipping its beak into the water. "It will be much less of a blot on this beautiful and unblemished landscape," he claims, adding that the sail will be more effective than other methods of harvesting energy. "It replicates the work of a dam and doesn't let the wind escape in the way it does using traditional propellers." [Building Design via Dezeen]


Nanosolar PowerSheets Promise Cheap Solar Power Everywhere, Unlimited Gadget Energy

nanosolar.jpgWinning the Green Tech Grand Award and "Innovation of the Year" nods from Pop Sci, Nanosolar PowerSheets pack a whole lot of potential into their Paris Hilton-cheap, Nicole Richie-thin panels—we're talking solar power for 30 cents a watt, compared to the $3 it costs now, without silicon or laying the panels on glass. "You're talking about printing rolls of the stuff—printing it on the roofs of 18-wheeler trailers, printing it on garages, printing it wherever you want it." If you wanna know more about the black magic coating the panels, check out Pop Sci's spectacularly detailed coverage. [Pop Sci via BBG]


Duracell PowerSource: Impressive Portable Power For All Your Gadgets

duracell-powerpack100.jpgDuracell's new PowerSource Mobile 100 could be the new best friend of anyone who tends to carry a lot of gadgets around. It can extend the runtime of just about any portable devic—and even provide up to two hours of additional juice for your laptop. If that wasn't enough, it also has one AC outlet and two USB charge ports so you can charge multiple devices simultaneously. I would completely fall in love with it if not for the $140 price tag. Unfortunately, convenience never comes cheap. [Product Page via Ubergizmo]


Seiko High-Res Super-Thin EBook Reader [E-Ink]

seikoattachment.jpegMore E-Book News, this one a prototype from Seiko Epson, makers of the cool E-ink watch. The device's form factor is at least as thin as Sony's Reader, but it has a 1200x1600 display. That's a lot of res on that 6.7-inch screen. UPDATE: Res independence, good point brilliant readers. [MobileRead via TechnoBob]

* Terminal measures 180x120mm (B6 size) * Thickness: 3mm * Weight: 57g * Contrast ratio: 8:1 * Reflectivity: 43% * Redrawing time: 0.7s * Battery: one CR1220 button cell battery (1'400 screen redraws)


ONFi 2.0 sets the stage for 133MB/sec NAND performance

Flash memory just keeps getting bigger, faster and more irresistible -- and that's just the way we like it. Now, the Open NAND Flash Interface (ONFi) working group is announcing the availability of the 0.9 draft of the ONFi 2.0 specification to member companies, which is a tell-tale sign that the updated spec will be officially loosed in just two months. What's important here is the newly defined NAND interface, which promises to deliver up to 133MB/second compared to the 50MB/second that the legacy NAND interface is limited to. As if that weren't enough to get you all jazzed up, ONFi 2.0 will also be backwards compatible, and infrastructure is reportedly in place to "reach 400MB/second in the third-generation." And just think, soon you'll be chuckling at yourself for asserting that 133MB/sec was "quick" -- onwards and upwards, we say.

Read |


Samsung's 8 megapixel CMOS sensor for phones -- another world's first

You know all those 3 megapixel cameraphones out there? Well, they're about to achieve 8 megapixel ubiquity. Samsung just announced availability of their 8 megapixel CMOS sensor which shares roughly the same 10.5 x 11.5 x 9.4-mm girth of its 3 megapixel cuz. Just make sure you've got plenty of light to frame those shots if you're expecting anything close to a quality image.



Engadget founder Peter Rojas's new digital music site RCRD LBL launches

Those paying close attention won't be surprised to find out that today marks a special day in the history of Engadget. It brings us no small amount of pride to help announce a dear friend and cohort's new venture: Peter Rojas, who founded Engadget, Joystiq, and Gizmodo, is launching his latest company today, RCRD LBL. A joint venture with Downtown Records (who retain such acts as Gnarles Barkley and Cold War Kids), RCRD LBL represents a completely fresh take on the distribution structure of music, offering all-digital, all-free music for streaming or download without DRM. Yeah, seriously, free, unrestricted, legal music downloads. RCRD LBL's catalogue already has music from partner labels like Warp and Dim Mak, too, with tracks from a few artists you may have heard from like Mos Def, Bloc Party, and The Stills. Of course, anyone who knows Pete knows he's one of the few people in this world fanatic enough about both technology and music to pull something like this off. So feel free to head on over to RCRD LBL and show some love -- and try not to blow up their servers too badly, ok? It's only day one for these guys. -Ryan


miShare enables iPod file swapping, Apple is so pleased

from Engadget by

There's virtually zero information on the company behind this, or about the actual workings of the device itself, but if this miShare thing could be pretty hot if its creators can get it to market -- and the word is that it's in production in China as we speak. The concept is straight forward enough, involving the little $100 miShare unit with dock connectors on each end, allowing for speedy file transfers from iPod to iPod. We've seen similar devices for traditional USB drives, but the iPod compatibility makes this a whole new ballgame. How exactly you select what gets transferred and what doesn't remains to be seen, but we know one thing for sure: Apple's not going to be happy about this, given its insistence on limiting your iPod to one library at a time. We can only hope that this spurs the company to get song sharing going on the iPhone and iPod touch sooner rather than later, but in the meantime it looks like we can have some fun swapping tracks in a physical fashion whenever this thing becomes available. Update: We chatted up miShare's Nathaniel Wice who clarified the product a little bit. The unit is actually running a lightweight Linux installation and is using open source tools to access the iPod as a mass storage device and open up the database files. You can set the miShare to transfer music, video and pictures, and when in music mode it'll automatically transfer the most recently played song, or if you hold the button it'll transfer everything marked in your On-the-Go playlist. [Via Vanity Fair]


PhotoVu's 17-inch RSS-enabled digital photo frame, the 1765W

Filed under: , ,

We've seen a few WiFi and RSS enabled digital photo frames from PhotoVu in the past, but they've all been overly large for our city-sized living spaces, which is why we're happy to see the somewhat more reasonable 17-inch 1765w make its debut. The 16:10 frame reads all the obvious digital camera formats, but unlike most other frames, it includes plugins for popular apps like Picasa and iPhoto that let you handle file management directly inside your photo app, instead of having to play the scale-and-export game. Like all of PhotoVu's other frames, the 1765w also features an RSS reader and web server for completely remote administration, and integration with services like Flickr, SmugMug, and .mac. Of course, all this hotness is going to cost you -- the 1765w runs a steep $699 direct from PhotoVu.



Textual ads destined to hit shopping cart handles

from Engadget by

As marketers continue to search for (and exploit) places in which you'd never think to find an ad, it makes sense to scroll a few plugs through an item that the vast majority of us spend at least a few hours per week touching. That item, dear friends, is the handle of the tried and true shopping cart, and apparently, Modstream is hoping to install bars with scrolling displays onto buggies and allow companies to beam in messages wirelessly. The system works by allowing outfits to access a web-based profile, enter in a given message, and transmit the ad to participating stores. As an added bonus, the setup enables said companies to change up their messages on a whim and keeps us shoppers guessing as to what clever line is coming next. Now, who's down with hacking this thing to scroll through our favorite RSS feeds? [Via Textually]


E-Ten's Glofiish M800 with VGA, HSDPA, WiFi, and GPS -- now official

Why hello hello Mr. M800, thanks for officially joining the QWERTY party. Hot on the heels of their X800 launch comes the keyboard totin' M800 sharing most of the same goodies included that 2.8-inch, 480 x 640 (VGA!) touchscreen. If you love WinMo 6 Professional powered by a 500MHz Samsung S3C2442 CPU and riding atop quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, tri-band UMTS/HSDPA data, SiRF Star III GPS, WiFi b/g, Blutooth 2.0+EDR, and a 2 megapixel camera then this is about as good as it gets. Someday, as no price or ship date is mentioned, although it's listed on Expansys for $750 unlocked. A few more shots after the break.

[Via Pocket PC Thoughts]

Read -- Expansys


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Faster, Cheaper Mobile Browsing with Opera Mini 4 [Featured Mobile Download]

Java-enabled phones: Opera Mini 4, a mobile browser that brings full web pages to your phone screen, is out of beta. New features (at least new to non-beta users) include the Opera Link bookmark synchronization function, a two-click switch to "landscape" views, and a virtual mouse for easier scrolling. And like its predecessors, this version of Opera compresses content before it reaches your phone, saving the pay-by-the-kilobyte crowd a few bucks. Opera Mini 4 is a free download and requires a Java-enabled phone. Photo by Kai Hendry


Wired offers a primer on portable apps, but ...

Wired offers a primer on portable apps, but if you're serious about living the portable life, check out our guide to your life on a thumb drive or to running a PC-on-a-stick, Windows or Linux versions.


Lock Up Your Passwords with MyPasswordSafe [Featured Linux Download]

mypasswordsafe_scaled.png Linux only: Free security application MyPasswordSafe offers a single space to store usernames and passwords for all your desktop and web applications. All your password info is locked away with the Blowfish algorithm devised by security expert Bruce Schneier. When called up, the passwords are passed into your clipboard without being displayed, defeating over-the-shoulder hackers. MyPasswordSafe can generate random passwords (as recommended by Bruce), and dual-booters can also store their safes in a format compatible with the Windows equivalent. MyPasswordSafe is a free download and available in most popular Linux repositories.


De-Pixelize Your Images with VectorMagic [Image Editing]

Web site VectorMagic turns virtually any image into vector art that can be resized as much as you want without any nasty pixelation—perfect for creating your scanned signature, for example. The site is free and simple to use, but for a bit more detail check out their howto introductory video. Whether you are trying to perfect your scanned signature or you've got a logo or design you want to be able to resize indefinitely, VectorMagic will do the trick. VectorMagic can be used on photographs to interesting effect, but count on losing some detail . Thanks Torley!


Add Movies to Your Netflix Queue from IMDB or Amazon with Movie Dude [Featured Greasemonkey User Script]

Firefox with Greasemonkey: The Movie Dude Greasemonkey script links popular movie sites to one another so that—for example—you can quickly add a movie to your Netflix queue after you've read about it on the popular movie web site IMDB, or after you came this close to buying it on Amazon. Likewise, say you're thinking about adding a movie to your Netflix queue but you want to read some reviews on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes first—just click through with The Movie Dude. While the link list is a little large and a bit on the ugly side, the interlinking of all of these sites is actually very handy.


Use PicURLs to Find Buzzworthy Photos [Photography]

picurls.pngFlickr is not the only place to find really good photographs. You can also use PicURLs, a site that aggregates the most popular (or buzzworthy) pictures from a variety of social networking/bookmarking sites (Digg, Reddit,, etc.). Each picture is thumbnailed with a quick link to the originating site and article. Note: not all the images on the front page of PicURLs are work-safe, so keep that in mind when viewing the site at the office.


Listen to Music On-Demand with Songza [Music]

Search and play a wide variety of popular music for free with web site Songza. In a nutshell Songza is a search engine for music—most of which is live—that can stream songs as soon as you click on them and create and organize playlists on-the-fly. Beyond that you can share songs via email, with a simple link, or embedded on a web site (as I've done above). Songza isn't the first site aiming to fill the YouTube-of-audio shoes (see Hype Machine, which is incredible), but if you've got limited options for listening to music at work and recommendation sites like Pandora aren't really your thing, Songza is worth a look.


Teen Steals Over $5K in Virtual Furniture, Gets Busted By Very Real Cops [So Real]

Kid_Stealing_Furniture.jpg Police arrested a Dutch 17-year old and questioned five other 15-year-olds for the alleged theft of over $5,000 worth of furniture from Habbo Hotel, a virtual hangout with more than 6 million visitors from 30 countries. "The six teenagers are suspected of moving the stolen furniture into their own Habbo rooms," says the BBC story. Reality just got bent.

Like in many virtual worlds, Habbo Hotel lets you buy furniture to deck out your pad. The kids apparently perpetrated the theft through a phishing scam: by creating websites that mimic the Habbo login, they could trick the victims into unknowingly surrender login IDs and passwords. The crooks could presumably just swing by their room and transfer whatever they wanted to their own accounts. Says a spokesman for Sulake, Habbo Hotel's operator:

"It is a theft because the furniture is paid for with real money. But the only way to be a thief in Habbo is to get people's usernames and passwords and then log in and take the furniture."
Of course, you know what we're thinking: anyone gullible enough to spend thousands on virtual furniture might be a prime target for trickery. I mean, not to get off on a rant, but when you think about it, who stole whose money in the first place? [BBC News]


Sandy's Your Personal Assistant via Email

sandy.jpg If you live out of your inbox and don't have the luxury of a human assistant, check out newly launched webapp Sandy, an information tracker you interact with via email. Register for a free account and you'll get an email address you can send your to-do's, contacts, bookmarks, notes, and appointments to in keyworded messages. Sandy receives the email, parses, stores, and organizes the information, and emails you back reminders and agendas only when you need 'em.

For example, a message to your sister that cc:'s Sandy and reads:

Remind us to call Mom on her birthday on 9/16/07 @yearly @birthday

Will set up yearly email birthday reminders for Mom from Sandy. Here are a few more ways Sandy can remember important items you want to get off your mind.

All your lists and reminders are available on Sandy's web site as well as via email, and you can set up SMS and Twitter access to Sandy, too. Formatting messages Sandy understands is very easy; you'll see from this cheat sheet the language is natural, as if you were talking to an actual human.
Those of us already getting more email each day than we can handle should configure Sandy to send just the messages we want. Opt in or out of replies to every Sandy command, specific item reminders, and a daily digest of appointments and to-do's. The best part about Sandy is the messages you get back from "her"—helpful and fun, the tone truly makes you feel like you have an assistant backing you up.

Sandy's yet another example of how the command line's making a comeback—except the "command line" is a new email message, not a terminal window, and the commands and responses are in readable, natural language. Overall, Sandy's one of the most evolved reminder systems and remote command line apps available today.


Microbes Churn Out Hydrogen at Record Rate

FiReaNGeL writes to mention that Penn State Researchers have improved on their original microbial electrolysis cell design bringing the resulting system up to better than 80 percent efficiency when considering all energy inputs and outputs. "By tweaking their design, improving conditions for the bacteria, and adding a small jolt of electricity, they increased the hydrogen yield to a new record for this type of system. 'We achieved the highest hydrogen yields ever obtained with this approach from different sources of organic matter, such as yields of 91 percent using vinegar (acetic acid) and 68 percent using cellulose,' said Logan. In certain configurations, nearly all of the hydrogen contained in the molecules of source material converted to usable hydrogen gas, an efficiency that could eventually open the door to bacterial hydrogen production on a larger scale."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Open Source Video Player Miro Hits 1.0 [Video]


Windows/Mac/Linux: Cross-platform, open source video application Miro is now available in a full-featured, bug-fixed 1.0 version. The program formerly known as Democracy Player plays almost any kind of video file, but its real value lies in its content fetching and organizing features. Miro can subscribe to video podcasts, grab from YouTube channel feeds or BitTorrents (letting you make your own season pass) and keep video libraries organized, amongst other features. Miro is a free download for Windows, Mac and Linux.


Extreme Hi-Tech Log Cabin Would Make Al Gore Cry (Gallery)

EH_Log_Cabin.jpg Ahh, the great outdoors. Wouldn't it be nice to get out to the woods, to a log cabin far from the things of man? Naturally, you'd still need motorized Lutron Sivoia QED window shades, a "corporate-style" phone system from Panasonic, a whole-house music system and an AMX home control system to bring it all together. Oh and...

...a Meridian sound system with Vidikron Vision 90 DLP projector and a 130-inch screen for the home, I mean cabin, theater. And what about two kitchens, one for you and one for your guests? After all, you're not a caveman. Speaking of caves, it might pay to replace some of the natural rocks around the property for high-end speakers that just look like rocks, am I right?

So how much for this 10,000-square-foot relax-o-dome located (I believe) near Fort Collins, CO? You know the drill: If you have to ask, you'll never know. For more shots of decadence, hit EH's article. [Electronic House]


Thumbplay On The Block: $500M For Ringtones?

thumbplaylogo.jpg We hear that Thumbplay, the NY-based ringtone startup that's been growing at a supercharged rate, has hired Morgan Stanley to quietly shop itself around.

We gather this is more of a market-testing exercise than a full-blown sales pitch; apparently Thumbplay's investors (Bain Capital Ventures, SoftBank Capital, i-Hatch Ventures, Redwood Partners, New Enterprise Associates and Meritech) are more interested in raising some additional capital and eventually taking the company public.

But if Thumbplay did want to put itself on the block, it might be able to get a substantial price: We hear that the company is doing more than $100 million/year in sales, and that a conservative multiple would be 2x - 3x and an optimistic one might be as high as 5x.  The latter would make the two-year-old company worth more than $500 million.
One potential hitch: Some data we've seen suggests that the ringtone market is flattening. Perhaps this is why Thumbplay is eager to move into other markets such as full-blown music sales.


IBM's BlueGene/L: world's fastest supercomputer, 3 years running

The TOP500 supercomputing list was just announced and IBM's BlueGene/L system has kept its crown. In fact, IBM's and the Department of Energy's co-developed monster at Lawrence Livermore has occupied the number 1 position since 2004. Of course, an upgrade was required boost the Linpack benchmark to 478.2 TFlop/s from the 280.6TFlop/s the machine was clocking just 6 months ago. The top 10 swath is dominated by the US, Sweden, and Germany with India breaking into the list for the first time at the number 4 position with its HP Cluster Platform 3000 BL460c system measuring 102.8TFlop/s.


Intel said to be planning 45nm Diamondville CPU for low-cost PCs

It looks like Intel's not done with its 45nm processors just yet, as Reg Hardware is now reporting that the company is set to release yet another model, dubbed "Diamondville", that is apparently intended specifically for low-cost desktop PCs. That processor will apparently be part of the so-called "Shelton" platofrm which, among other things, will be able to operate without a fan, meaning the systems based on it should definitely be on the small side. The folks at Reg Hardware go one step further than that, however, speculating that the Diamondville/Shelton combo could in fact be the basis for Asus' forthcoming desktop Eee PC -- a possibility given a bit more credence given that Shelton is designed to work with 2 to 4GB of flash storage. Either way, we should be hearing plenty more about it soon enough, as the platform is supposedly set for a 2008 release.


SanDisk's Vaulter Disk: flash-based drive module for laptops

Details are light, but apparently SanDisk will be announcing a device called the Vaulter Disk next year, which will basically be something like an SSD intermediary -- a large bank of fast flash memory for speeding up platter-based drive access. Sounds a lot like the lovechild of RAMdisk and a hybrid hard drive, but we won't know more until a later date.

Update: We've got more details! It'll come in 8GB and 16GB sizes, and is intended to host the laptop's operating system and select user data, leaving apps, media, and everything else to the platter drives. So calling it an SSD intermediary is pretty accurate. It'll be available to OEMs early next year.


LG uncovers 47-inch 47LG75 LCD TV: LED-backlit and oh-so-thin

We knew LG was cookin' up a LED-backlit LCD TV behind closed doors, and it's quite the treat to hear that all that work has paid off in the 47LG75. This 47-inch set touts an uber-slim design, oh-so-sexy frame, 1080p support and hidden speakers to boot. Unfortunately, we're not privy to actual specifications just yet, but we are told to expect a "high contrast ratio" to go along with the automatic brightness and color optimizing technologies. We've also got a sneaking suspicion that this beauty won't be one of the sets ringing up for next to nothing on Black Friday, but we certainly hope LG fleshes out a few more details by then, anyway.


Permalink | Email this | Comments


Polaroid and Zink develop Digital Instant Mobile Photo Printer

Filed under:

We'd heard through the grapevine that the Zink portable printer camera would be getting boxed up and sent out to eager customers late this year, but now it seems as though Polaroid has jumped in for a bit of the action. Realistically, you shouldn't be too surprised that the former king of instant photography is syncing up with Zink, and we must say, this whole partnership conjures up some pretty fond memories of shakin' snapshots in tense anticipation as we waited for the scene to develop. Nostalgia aside, the firm's Digital Instant Mobile Photo Printer does indeed sport the Zink logo, and sure enough, it produces borderless 2- x 3-inch color prints instantly when fed images from a digicam or cellphone. We don't have a firmed up release date in front of us or anything, but all signs are pointing to soon -- very soon.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Free Rice -- How many grains did YOU donate?

more importantly how many hours did you spend? :-)


The moment of truth

Today in the lunch line I was waiting for a custom tossed salad to be made for the person in front of me and I was surveying the sundry items available to add to my salad.

I decided for health reasons I was definitely getting the haricots verts (fancy french for green beans). Then moments later when it was my turn to name 5 ingredients to go into my salad and was rushed by the salad-tosser-guy i just rattled off avocado, corn, alfalfa, artichokes, and tomatoes. After I got back to my desk and started eating, I noticed I had no green beans. I realized I had gone with "my usual" or what was familiar and safe.

So, in marketing, even if the marketing were so successful to have gotten a product in my consideration set and I had already decided to buy it, even then at the moment of purchase some other distractions may come into play that ultimately defeats the intended purchase.

How does marketing impact the moment of purchase and make one product "win" over another?


Alienware's Area-51 ALX CF the first to use 45nm processors

Well, that didn't take long -- just a few hours after Intel confirmed that those hot new 45nm Penryn processors are shipping, Alienware blasted out a press release announcing the Area-51 ALX CF, the first machine to use the new chips. The QX9650-equipped machines can be ordered overclocked up to 4.0GHz, and Alienware also bumped the graphics to dual CrossFire ATI Radeon HD 3870 cards. All that power won't come cheap, though -- the CF line starts at $5499.


ndroid UI Screenshots [Android Screenshots]

android.jpg The SDK included an Android emulator. Here are some screenshots from the software gPhone. •There's a browser (no flash, but still better than the shipping Windows Mobile browser), address book, maps. •Missing are YouTube, Gmail and Calendar apps. •There are demos for OpenGL/3D, autocomplete, scroll bars, alarms, and pop-up notices with images. •You know you can download and run this yourself, right now, for free. Right? Go! •There's also a coverflow and grid type view for photos. [Android SDK]


Dealzmodo: $20% off at Kmart Means PS3 For $319, Xbox 360 Premium For $279 [Deals]

kmart.jpgThe folks over at the forums found a great Kmart coupon that gives you 20% off on any one item. Being Blu-ray fans, they naturally threw their cash at the PS3, which will be $319 after said 20% discount. Not interested in the PS3? You can print out the coupon and try your hand at the Xbox 360 Premium ($279) as well, or even stuff like HD DVD or Blu-ray standalone players! Coupon works in store only. [Blu-ray - Thanks Dom!]


T-Mobile's $18 Phone Upgrade Fee is Confusing, Stupid [Cellphones]

t-mobile.jpgAccording to an email shared by a source with our friends at the Consumerist, starting today T-Mobile will begin charging existing customers an $18 fee when they buy a new phone. Apparently the new fee will help underwrite the cost of selling subsidized phones to new customers. Now here's the confusing part — if an existing customer is upgrading their phone, but not extending their contract, the fee will not be assessed. Perhaps they feel that any potential anger resulting from this charge will subside after a fresh two year contract expires. Hopefully we will learn more when we receive some confirmation on this issue. [Consumerist]


you can't get any more Darwinian than this - Circuit City vs Best Buy

this is on Fifth Avenue between 43rd and 44th streets in New York City.

In thinking about retail ... this helps illustrate the tremendous challenges they face.

- online switching costs are pretty much zero -- just type another URL; these two stores are physically touching -- just walk next door

- they carry much of the same inventory from plasma TVs to computers to home stereo equipment to software, CDs, DVDs, etc.

- they both sell Apple iPods; consumers have already decided to buy an iPod for Christmas (for some reason), which store do they walk into? what differentiates the store with the blue awning from the one with silver letters? they both have "black friday" discounts but the price ended up to be about $1 from each other; both have geeks on staff, one called Geek Squad and the other Fire Dog

- and then there's which is tax free and offers free 2nd day shipping so you can shop from the comfort of home or in pajamas if you choose.

hmmm ... since I live on 38th and Fifth Ave and I can walk north to reach these stores, do I walk into the Circuit City because I reach it first and it's front door is about 100 steps closer than the Best Buy?

THIS is a challenging marketing problem for retailers such as the ones pictured!


AFP Hack Gives Read/Write Access to iPhone, iPod Touch [Apple]

iphonefsGI.jpgAn iPhone hacker, known as Core, has managed to finalize an AppleTalk Filing Protocol hack that enables full read/write access to either an iPhone, or iPod touch, via Finder. Unfortunately, the work has just been completed, and as yet, it is not available via If you fancy trying it manually, you can find the complete instructions after the jump, courtesy of the great guys at TUAW.

To install by hand, use sftp to copy the tar file into /opt/iphone. Extract the archive on your iPhone or touch--the tar archive program is part of the BSD program; use tar xvf name-of-archive.tar--and run /opt/iphone/afp/ &. The ampersand lets the program run in the background. (You will need to restart it after reboots.)

Once installed and running, go to Finder. Choose Go > Connect To Server, and enter the afp address for your iPhone, in my case afp:// Just use the afp:// prefix with the local IP address of your iPhone. Enter your user id (root) and password (alpine) and your iPhone or iPod appears in the sources list for your Finder windows... To add new applications, just drop them into the Applications folder. To back-up your personal data, just copy /var/root/Library

To get cracking, hit the link to download the necessary file. Be sure to opt for the newer package, named afpd.with.registered.users.tgz. If you are not willing to get messing all up inside your iPhone or touch, wait a little while longer, as this awesomeness is bound to appear in in the not too distant future. If you do give it a try, be sure to let us know how you get on. [Wickedpsyched via TUAW]


Tree-inspired PC wins Dyson design award

One of the main arguments that Windows users offer during those habitual debates with Macheads is that PC boxes are much easier to upgrade; instead of buying a new machine every year, you can simply swap out components ad hoc. Well a graduate of Ireland's National College of Art and Design imagines taking this convenience a step further, with a tree-shaped rig -- known as Cultivate - the Sustainable Living Computer -- whose CPU, RAM, hard drive, and other swappable parts extend from the motherboard-packing "trunk" inside removable "branches." Designer Laura Caulwell won a cool €2,000 $2,929) for her concept, and also earned the right to compete for January's annual International James Dyson Award in Australia, which offers up £15,000 ($31,476) in prizes.

[Via The Register, photo courtesy of Electric News]



Know Your Rights: Does T-Mobile really own magenta?

Filed under: ,

Know Your Rights is Engadget's new technology law series, written by our own totally punk copyright attorney Nilay Patel. In it we'll try to answer some fundamental tech-law questions to help you stay out of trouble in this brave new world. Disclaimer: Although this post was written by an attorney, it is not meant as legal advice or analysis and should not be taken as such.

Hey, does T-Mobile really own magenta? I was just about to redesign my blog, and that was going to be the main color.

Really? Maybe T-Mo should sue you.

Come on, I've been hearing this everywhere. 1265 Diggs can't be wrong.

Well, they're not wrong, they're just less than right. T-Mobile's disclaimers certainly do say that "the magenta color" is a T-Mobile trademark.

So there you go! That's so stupid! The system is broken! Everyone is corrupt! How can a corporation own a color?! I've already skipped down and begun flaming!

Chill out, Sparky. T-Mobile doesn't "own" anything here, least of all a color. That's the part everyone seems to have missed. T-Mobile has what appears to be a German trademark on that specific magenta color (RAL 4010, specifically) as it relates to their branding, but that doesn't really affect the average consumer.

Besides, this isn't some radical new development. Lot of other companies have registered color trademarks -- Owens-Corning has a trademark on the use of pink for insulation, Tiffany & Co. has a trademark on that certain blue color it uses for jewelry boxes, and UPS has a trademark on brown. Interesting you haven't seen UPS suing Microsoft over that itty-bitty Zune thing, no?

Continue reading Know Your Rights: Does T-Mobile really own magenta?


New helmet allows fighter pilots to peer through the jet

Filed under:

No, the headgear in the photo above wasn't some unused prototype created for The Terminator; rather, it's a snazzy new helmet designed to give fighter pilots a better look at their surroundings. Within the tinted faceplate are two projectors which sync up with plane-mounted cameras and display images from the outside for the pilot to view. Essentially, this enables the operator to view high-resolution images (yes, even at night) of areas previously imperceptible without a warplane constructed entirely of plexiglass, and onboard sensors make sure that the imagery reflects exactly where the pilot is looking at any given moment. Furthermore, computerized systems can even feed in "essential flight and combat data on to the display," as well as target symbols of friendlies / enemies. The new visual system is apparently just one amenity on the oh-so-sophisticated Joint Strike Fighter, which the British are planning to pay £66 million ($139 million) apiece for after it hits the production line.


Motorola prepping Palm OS-based Q2 for Sprint?

Palm began life as a software company (anyone remember bailing out their Newton's testy handwriting recognition by installing Graffiti?), and who the heck knows -- perhaps a software company again it will be. Okay, okay, it's way too early to be sounding the death knell on Palm's hardware operations, but let's be honest, wouldn't a Motorola Q9 running Palm OS instead of Windows Mobile make for an absolutely fabulous device (read: Treo / Centro killer) for the Palm OS faithful? We think so, and this Sprint promotional site makes mention of a "Q2" that, by all appearances, seems to be the aforementioned Palm-based Q9. We can't verify the legitimacy of this thing for a couple reasons: one, we've heard nary a peep about a Q2 on Sprint's or Motorola's roadmaps, and two, this same site makes no mention of the Q9c, a device that we do know is coming to Sprint in the next few weeks. Who knows, maybe this is all some well-executed ruse by a Sprint staffer -- but if not, we say kudos to Moto, Sprint, and Palm (and ACCESS, for that matter) for putting together what may be the best Palm handset on the market come the holidays.


HTC's Touch Cruise with GPS gets official

HTC just went live with their Touch Cruise. "Touch" as in that TouchFLO interface, "Cruise" as in GPS-enabled. The third addition to HTC's Touch lineup packs HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, a 3 megapixel camera, microSD expansion, and a 2.8-inch touch-screen lying on top of a Windows Mobile 6 foundation. Oh, and it's loaded with TomTom Navigator 6 software to make the most of that GPS receiver. Yup, everything mostly what we thought it would be. Available this month from European retailers or SIM-free direct from HTC.

Update: We're still digging but HTC was a bit unkind by not providing specific country launch information or supported radio bands. At the moment, this looks like Europe-only.