Saturday, August 15, 2009

Algae-Powered Transport Truck


This is a vehicle, for the world, to transport goods around the world, with a lot less pollution! Sounds great, doesn’t it? It’s able to drive on the road, get aboard some train tracks, travel really far (on ALGAE fuel cells!), get off the tracks, and go to where it needs to be! Fun, yes?

This particular vehicle also brings into light the GPS tracking system as mapped unto railroads (which will of course become standard once all cars are rail-efficient).

The flexibility of the road and the environmentally sound capabilities of rail travel. And it transports one of those HUGE storage containers, too!

This is Chiron

Designer: Benjamin Cselley, Jupin Ghanbari, Jessica Covi, Erol Kursani





Chiron Algae-e-motion by Benjamin Cselley, Jupin Ghanbari, Jessica Covi, Erol Kursani


Da Balloon Light


Tis a variable volume lamp, the variable volume lamp you’ve always wanted! Aïssa Logerot inflates the lighting business with this thing called the “Lampad'air.” It’s an inflating lamp on a tiny tube with an inflating device attached. The light is intense. When the lamp inflates, the triangles move away from one another. When the triangles move apart, the light that can escape from the lamp increases! Wacky.

What’s really wacky is the fact that this balloon lamp does not float… unless you modify the air pump to include helium. Another OFFICIAL thing I should mention, (ie this is really real,) is that the air pump includes a program that allows the lamp autonomous fluctuation of its volume.

Oh my goodness.

That will go very well for that lady there, who is very obviously drinking absinthe. Very very thick and non-watered down in the least… absinthe.

This particular model was realized with Matthew Marino, who is definitely the dude to see if you want to roll with new interactive designers in Paris.

Designer: Aïssa+Logerot

Lampad'air Inflating Lamp by Aïssa Logerot






âTikk, tikk⦠tekk!â The Special Sound Of Measure


No more approximations, not even if you're blind. A reassuring sound of "Tikk, tikk… tekk", two fingers and some Braille embossed cylinders, mix them up and you got yourself the Tikk-Tekk Rainbow! It's a low-cost universal measuring tool that uses a string (ranging from 1cm to 100 cm) wrapped within the casing, and is extended between the finger tips. Kinda like how you use your hands to gesture an estimated distance; only Tikk-Tekk gives you the exact numbers.

Designers: Guopeng Liang & Yun Li

Tikk-Tekk Rainbow Measuring Instrument by Guopeng Liang, Yun Li





Resize My Photos Batch Resizes Photos Quickly [Downloads]


Windows only: Sometimes you just want to quickly resize photos without retouching or cropping. Resize My Photos aims to do just that—and quickly.

Once installed, Resize My Photos adds an entry to your right-click context menu when you click on any single photo or multiple photo selection. Once you fire it up, you can add/remove files, add/remove directories, and change options—resize method, naming method, image quality, and output directory. Choose your preferences, click start, and Resize My Photos quickly takes care of the rest.

Resize My Photos is freeware, Windows only.


Gadgets Available Today [Now Available]


MSI's C-Series notebooks are getting an upgrade with the new CX600, CX700, CR600-017 and CR700 models. The 600 models are fairly light at 5.4 pounds, the 700 models are slightly beefier tipping the scales at a bit over 6 pounds.

Both the 600 and 700 models have 16:9 widescreens with 16" and 17" displays respectively. The CX600 and CX700 notebooks both contain the ATI Mobility Radeon HD4330 discrete graphics card while the CR600 and CR700 models pack NVIDIA's GeForce 8200M GPU. Folks looking to future proof their purchase can opt for the CR600-017 which boasts an ungraded processor and a Blu-Ray drive, the new C-Series notebooks start at $549.99. [I4U and Hot Hardware]


How would you change Nokia's N97?


It's the phone that Nokia should've used to introduce the world to Symbian S60 5th edition, but is it the "hero"-type device that it was marketed as? Nokia's N97 is undoubtedly expensive, debatably beautiful and thoroughly polarizing (as two of our own found out). While it's impossible to say the handset was introduced to go head-to-head with Apple's iPhone (the whole "only sold off contract" thing kind of hampers that), there's little doubt that this phone was Espoo's most significant attempt yet to make a name for itself in the full-touchscreen smartphone market. If you handed over the handful of C-notes required to take this bad boy home, why not tell us exactly how you feel now that you're an owner? What would you like to see changed on Nokia's next attempt? What measures up? What falls short? You've got one shot (maybe two, depending on the mood of our comment system) -- don't screw it up.

Filed under:

How would you change Nokia's N97? originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 15 Aug 2009 02:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments


The MacBook Micro is here, also might have a camera


Guys, the MacBook Micro has been announced. You're going to love it. It's three things: a Powebook from 1998, a student's art project, and a really short email. We hear it may boast a camera, too. Check out the gallery below to see this wonder of modern technology doing its thing... you will not be disappointed.

[Thanks, James]

Gallery: MacBook Micro

Filed under: ,

The MacBook Micro is here, also might have a camera originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 15 Aug 2009 05:08:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments


Friday, August 14, 2009

China and Portugal Agree: Next-Gen iPods Will Have Cameras [Apple]


A Portuguese online store has let slip on two more genuine-looking cases designed for the fifth-gen iPod Nano, and third-gen iPod Touch—and their camera placement perfectly matches the legion of made-in-China cases Cult of Mac spotted recently.

A rumored September keynote (when iPods tend to be announced), apparent iTunes 9 details emerging, mounting case leaks? New iPods are a comin', and it's looking more and more like they'll have cameras. And the tablet? Not until 2010 apparently. Probability Thing-o-Meter back to 70 percent!

New: JIVO TPA Case Blue for iPod Touch 3G

New: JIVO TPA Case Blue for iPod nano 5G

One of more than a dozen case shots that Cult of Mac obtained:

[Obrigado fanático das maçãs for the store tip!]


Shoulderbrella: Because Holding Your Umbrella Is Haaaarrrd [Accessories]


Just when you begin to consider the world a cold place where ingenuity couldn't exist without a touchscreen, a Japanese inventor busts out the Shoulderbrella.

Adhering to the end of any stock umbrella, the $25 Shoulderbrella is a flexible, pipe-cleaner-like accessory that wraps around your body to hold your umbrella for you while leaving your two hands free for lugging groceries, holding the hands of children or starting bare-knuckle street fights with those other umbrella jerks who are always poking you in the face. The tables have turned, haven't they Mr. Anatopistic Golf Umbrella? [Shoulderbrella via RedFerret]


HTC Leo rendered again -- maybe by HTC, more likely by fans


So here's what we know about the Leo with some certainty: it's going to be awesomely high-end. Other than that, though, the sky's the limit; no spec is too wild, no physical design too outlandish until we actually get some official information (or at least some really solid leaks). We wouldn't call these latest renders "solid" by any stretch -- in fact, we're willing to bet it's the result of a daydreamer with some graphic design background -- but we want to believe, especially since the front is basically consistent with what we've seen previously. Imagine a rounded-off Touch HD with WinMo 6.5, a 1GHz Snapdragon, and a 5 megapixel cam accompanied by two high-output LEDs. We love the stylish "Pro.Three" branding (and we guess we're going to forgive the "lorem ipsum" gibberish beneath it since this is a rough, unbranded render), but there are a few holes in this story: for one, we still don't know how this dovetails with Firestone; two, the Touch Pro2 just came out, so we're not sure why they'd release a device with the conflicting "Pro.Three" name so soon thereafter, particularly in a different form factor; and three, this might make more sense as one of HTC's inaugural WinMo 7 devices. Given the rumored pie-in-the-sky October availability date, we'll get this sorted out soon enough.

Filed under: ,

HTC Leo rendered again -- maybe by HTC, more likely by fans originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 14 Aug 2009 13:18:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments


LG X130 goes from dawn till dusk on standard 9-cell battery


12 hours. That, according to LG, is the new benchmark by which all wannabe long-lasting laptops will have to measure up. Of course, we've seen similar aftermarket solutions before, but it's good to see a manufacturer stick a flag in the ground -- and a big rump on the back -- in the race for the highest endurance netbook. And boy is the X130 a netbook: 1024 x 600 resolution, 10-inch screen and the predictable Atom N270 et al. Koreans can grab one now for 789,000 Won ($639), with almost worldwide availability to follow shortly. Check out our review of the X120 for a flavor of LG's history in the market, while we go look for actual benchmarks undermining that legendary battery life claim.

[Via Trusted Reviews]

Filed under:

LG X130 goes from dawn till dusk on standard 9-cell battery originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 14 Aug 2009 13:42:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments


Qik Brings Video Sharing App to iPhone 3GS [Downloads]


Qik, a streaming video app that's already shown up on Android and jailbroken iPhones, has an official app for the iPhone 3GS out. It's Wi-Fi only, and without live streaming, but the developers say that will change.

In the meantime, Qik does have at least one truly notable advantage over the native video capture tool—allowing for video captures in portrait or landscape modes. There's also location capturing for videos, and easier sharing tools for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and simple email sends. Qik can also share videos already stored on your video roll. In other words, if you've dug Qik's functionality on another platform already, and you don't mind the Wi-Fi-only and streaming limitations, you'll probably dig Qik for the 3GS. It's a free download for iPhone 3GS only.

Qik [iTunes App Store (direct link) via Gizmodo]


In A Tight Economy, Outsourced Developers On oDesk Work 100,000 Hours A Week



The economy may still be trying to pick itself up, but one beneficiary of tighter budgets is outsourcing marketplace oDesk. Web developers and software engineers looking for project work can find jobs on oDesk, and employers can post jobs. Workers download PC-monitoring software which lets employers keep track of exactly how long they are on the job, even if it is in their pajamas at 3 AM.

As a result, oDesk publishes aggregate data on the “oConomy” and how many collective hours a week are being billed through its service. In July, the hours worked on oDesk surpassed 100,000 a week for the first time, and $65 million worth of work was posted on the site. In contrast, oDesk workers are earning about $6 million a week (because the value of job postings is for the entire job and not all get filled). oDesk takes a 10 percent cut, implying an annual revenue run rate of $7 million or $8 million.

That is still a drop in the bucket of the overall tech economy, but it is an indication that outsourcing is growing in the down economy. Competitor Elance, which covers a broader set of industries, shows similar trends.

oDesk is backed by Benchmark Capital and has raised $29 million, most recently a $15 million round last year.

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0


Twitter Is Revamping Retweets, Launches A Retweet API


In its developer Google Group, Twitter has just made the announcement that it is releasing an early preview of a brand new API: The retweeting API. And that’s not all, Twitter is in the process of completely revamping its retweet functionality.

From the looks of it, this could mean some pretty big changes on Twitter. As you can see in the mock-ups above and below, the retweet (written as “RT” in most tweets) is no longer a part of the actual tweet itself, but rather is a link below the tweet. While that certainly is a cleaner way of doing things, it will be interesting to see if this makes retweeting less or more enticing. And it could potentially help users find new people to follow (more on that below).

But as co-founder Biz Stone notes on the Twitter blog, the current method of retweeting on is a cumbersome process of copying and pasting. They want to change that. He calls this “Phase One” of “Project Retweet,” and notes that it is going out to developers first so they can be ready for the change, and indicates that it’s not quite ready for prime-time:

We are still sketching out exactly how this feature and its API counterpart works. Sharing our thoughts before launching means developers will have the opportunity to prepare their applications. In a few weeks or so we’ll launch the feature on our web site and because app developers had a chance to prepare, it should become available across most of the Twitter ecosystem about the same time. This way, we can all enjoy retweeting—however we choose to access Twitter.

retweetAnd the ramifications of this are potentially even larger. With the new method, all of your friends will see the original tweet you’re retweeting in their timeline (unless they have this option turned off). So if I’m not following @ev (Twitter co-founder Evan Williams) in the example that Stone drew to the right, I will still see his tweet in my stream because Stone retweeted it. This seems like a great idea for new follower discovery.

Stone notes that the new retweet look will launch to a limited group of users first for a set period of time so the team can test how it will work on the system. It will then get a wider roll-out in a few weeks.

Writes Twitter developer Marcel Molina in the Twitter developer Google Group about the new API:

Retweeting has become one of the cultural conventions of the Twitter experience. It’s yet another example of Twitter’s users discovering innovative ways to use the service. We dig it. So soon it’s going to become a natively supported feature on It’s looking like we’re only weeks away from being ready to launch it on our end. We wanted to show the community of platform developers the API we’ve cooked up for retweeting so those who want to support it in their applications would have enough time to have it ready by launch day. We were planning on exposing a way for developers to create a retweet, recognize retweets in your timeline and display them distinctively amongst other tweets. We’ve also got APIs for several retweet timelines: retweets you’ve created, retweets the users you’re following have created, and your tweets that have been retweeted by others.

Below find some screenshot mockups of what this will look like.


Information provided by CrunchBase

Crunch Network: CrunchBase the free database of technology companies, people, and investors


SCVNGR Lets You Build Awesome Scavenger Hunts For Any Mobile Phone


For many people, the term “Scavenger Hunt” conjures childhood memories of running around the neighborhood on a quest for knickknacks like thimbles and socks — an experience that loses its luster beyond the age of ten or so. But as it turns out, they’re big businesses: major corporations and universities have successfully used more elaborate scavenger hunts as team building exercises, and a well-designed course can be extremely fun. SCVNGR is one young startup that’s managed to tap into this niche market very successfully, and today it’s launching a new consumer platform that will allow anyone to build their own scavenger hunts, which will work with any mobile phone. The new platform, called XPLR, is now in private beta, and the first 100 TechCrunch readers to go here and enter the code ‘TECHCRUNCH’ will be able to sign up and build their own missions.

In conjunction with the news, the company is also announcing that it has closed a $750,000 funding round from Highland Capital.

SCVNGR is still a very new company, making its debut last fall as part of the DreamIt Ventures incubator program. But it’s already seen use by over 300 universities, including Harvard and Princeton, as well as corporations, who have used the company’s enterprise-grade game builder for things like employee team building excercises and orientation events. It’s a fantastic idea for a number of reasons: games are easily deployable with little to no cost outside of licensing the platform, it works on any cell phone, and games can be tweaked with a minimal amount of effort.

XPLR (pronounced ‘explorer’) is meant to serve as a more accessible framework to build these games. And, unlike the more robust SCVNGR builder, XPLR is free. It comes with a number of restictions: you’re limited by how many people can play the game simultaneously, you can’t tell which users have been playing (as you might want to in a commercial app), and the platform is only for non-commercial, non-institutional use. But if you wanted to set up a tour of your hometown, or perhaps a barcrawl for your friends to follow, this is exactly what you’d want to use. You can see a screenshot of the editor below.

So how do the games actually work? If you’d like to try one out for yourself, there’s a free application for the iPhone that includes a training game, but here’s the gist of it: the service sends questions to the phone, oftentimes alongside a text, audio, or video clue to help figure out the answer. Once you think you’ve solved it, you type in your solution and if you’re right, you proceed to the next question. The system works fine as a basic puzzle game, but it’s far more engaging when it’s used for scavenger hunts, with questions that require you to actually walk to a certain landmark. For example, there are a number of SCVNGR missions set up for the city of Boston, which guide users through some of the city’s most well known landmarks. Here’s an example series of questions, taken from a Philadelphia tour:

Clue: Which is greater? This stairs in this famous staircase in Philadelphia or the sequels in this never-ending saga?
Answer: Rocky Steps
Challenge: Great! Now run there and tell me, on the statue of Rocky at the top, what size shoes is he wearing?
Answer (obtained by looking very carefully at Rocky’s shoes): 9.5
An alternate challenge could have been: Now take a photo of your and your team doing the Rocky Pose at the top! Send in the photo to move on!

SCVNGR offers apps for iPhone and Android, but they’re also playable on more basic phones too using SMS (just sent a special keyword to the company’s shortcode and the game will start sending you clues). That said, the smartphone experience is definitely better: some games include multimedia clues, and there are also special photo missions that ask users to submit pictures of themselves doing various tasks. These photos get uploaded to the site’s server, and whoever is running the mission can then distribute them as mementos later on.

SCVNGR is really doing a great job with its service, and its impressive roster of customers is a testament to that. We’ll be keeping an eye on them in the future.

Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.