Thursday, December 27, 2007

USB gloves for typing in the middle of winter

Just in case you ever find yourself outside in freezing weather and you must type an email or send some IMs you can now use USB gloves. USB Heating Gloves will warm your hands to 52 degrees Celsius/ 125 Fahrenheit in five minutes -- talk about having some hot hands!

While this is a little too hot handsy you just have to wonder how long will it be until someone creates gloves that can detect when someone is lying or when you can pull on some gloves and cook an egg in the palm of your hand.

# Features: Cut finger design allows your fingers to take action easily.
# De-forsting your hands for gaming, typing and mouse controlling.
# Glove made of wool and connects individually to a USB port.
# 2 level heating controls.
# Works under any device with USB port, e.g. PC, Mac, PlayStation or Xbox 360.
# Each glove built-in 2 warming pad.
# 5 minutes 10°C rise.
# Maximum 52 ~ 53°C
# Size : 17 cm x 8.5 cm

# A pair of Heating Gloves
# 2 USB heating level controller


How To Get a Job At A Magazine

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Parking For Charity

Parking Meter Collects Donations For Local Charities

Change for Charity Meter Program is a parking meter that collects donations for The Greene Community Foundation Fund. You put the money in and some of those quarters to the non-profit organization providing youth and family support in the greater Miami Valley area.

In addition, The Greene Community Foundation Fund also has Park For Perks

From the website:
The Greene has developed a parking incentive program to introduce our customers to all of the available parking in our GARAGES. Throughout the week photos will be taken of random cars parked in all levels of both garages. These photos will be posted every Friday at Guest Services. If you identify one of the vehicles as yours you will go into a drawing for $100 gift card for The Greene!

Parking Garages (FREE)

Why doesn’t Los Angeles do this!?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Gear For Technomads

The Truck AirBedz is an inflatable air mattress with a rechargeable, flush-mounted air pump that fits around and over the wheelwells of your truck or SUV. Great for road trips or when tent camping loses its outdoorsy appeal, the Airbedz can also be used in the home just like a conventional air mattress.

Source:Nomad Gear

Versatile Boom Box

Blaupunkt’s completely portable sound system, dubbed the Velocity V2Go, pulls double duty as a boom box and a car audio component.

Self-Dimming Clip-On Mirror

Based on innovative Liquid Crystal Technology (LCT), this highly functional rearview mirror automatically dims its amber colored surface to protect the driver from the glare of high-intensity lights.

Seat Back Storage Solutions

On-the-go families will appreciate the expanded organizational storage capabilities of the G.E.A.R. seat cover from Smittybilt.

LED Dome Light Kit

Enjoy the added security of a well-lit interior with a LED Dome Light Kit from Putco. These OE-quality kits are application-specific for each vehicle, providing 18-times greater brightness than the factory dome lights.

From Hobos To Technomads

Monday, November 19, 2007

Food company's annual report needs to be baked before reading

SOURCE: Boing Boing

Croatian creative agency Bruketa & Zinić have designed an annual report for food company Podravka that has to be baked in an oven before it can be read.

Called Well Done, the report features blank pages printed with thermo-reactive ink that, after being wrapped in foil and cooked for 25 minutes, reveal text and images.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New PoliceDevice: Shake, Rattle and Roll

SOURCE: Washington Post

With his lights and sirens blaring, D.C. police officer Lou Schneider raced to an emergency call, past dozens of startled onlookers standing on the crowded streets of the city's Chinatown area.

The ground beneath Schneider's patrol car literally was quivering.

"You know when this is coming up behind you," said Schneider, one of a few dozen D.C. officers who are using the department's newest sirens -- the ones that people can feel as well as hear.

"It vibrates everything," he said.

Meet the Rumbler.

The high-tech blaster is being used along with the traditional siren. It is aimed at grabbing people's attention and getting them to make room for officers responding to emergencies, helping police navigate through traffic faster and safer. People can feel it from about 200 feet away.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Technology's pipeline becomes lifeline for fire victims

SAN FRANCISCO — Technology is proving crucial as Southern California residents fight raging wildfires.

They're using text messages, video, blogs, Google maps and databases to describe the chaos, find missing people and share strategies.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

What is Blog Action Day
Encourages bloggers to write on one specific topic on a specified day of the year.

Where to buy Recyclable Products

BTC ELEMENTS Reclaimed Harley Tube Tops, Rebuilt Levi Skirts, Vintage Kimono Purses, Recycled Cashmere Tops, Reclaimed Furniture

CHECK GALLERY CHECKS Are Printed with Soy-Based Ink on Recycled Paper. Check Gallery isAmerica’s Leading Environmentally-Friendly Bank Check Printer.

DAX STORES 100% Recycled Plastic Lumber Patio Furniture, Adirondack and Traditional Styles

EARTH FRIENDLY GOODS Recycled Vegan Hemp Shoes, Bags, and Accessories

ECO-ARTWARE.COM Gifts from Recycled, Reused and Natural Materials for All Occasions and Pocketbooks

KENCODE COMPUTING Save $$, Reduce Waste. Have Your Inkjet Cartridges Professionally Refilled.

KWYTZA CHOPSTICK ART Products Made with Recycled Bamboo Chopsticks

Recyclable Art (ideas)

Recyclable List

Aluminum Cans
Beverage Containers
Brown Paper Bags
Cereal Boxes
Dry Cardboard
Dry Cartons
Empty Aerosol Cans
Juice Bottles
Junk Mail
Magazines / Catalogs
Milk Jugs
Paper Bags
Pie Tins
Plastic Bottles
Plastic Products #1 - #7
Steel & Tin Cans
Telephone Books
Water/Soda Bottles
White/Mixed Paper


Auto Parts
Disposable Diapers
Drinking Glasses
Pet Waste
Plastic Bags
Plastic Toys
Plumbing Parts
Pyrex Glass
Rubber Products
Waxed & Soiled Paper
Window Glass
Window Glass/Mirrors

Where Can I Recycle?

1-800-CLEAN-UP or Web Site

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

High-Tech Shopping Carts

U.S. technology services company EDS outlined a concept that would create a grocery cart that would warn shoppers them if they're buying too much junk food. The high-tech cart will be fitted with a computer screen and barcode scanner. This way a shopper can scan each product's individual code to give customers information about calories, nutrition, ethical sourcing and the environment.

On behalf of EDS, international food and grocery expert IGD conducted a study of grocery consumers.

· 95% of people want nutritional information
· 93% want ethical information
· 92% look for environmental information

Other survey information:
· 22% of people want information on country of origin of fresh products (fruit, vegetables and meat). A similar number
. 21% want information about locally and regionally sourced produce
· 19% of people requested information on whether their products were free range
· 15% of people wanted to see a Fairtrade logo on the fruit and vegetables that they buy
· 78% of people say they prefer to get information from on-pack labelling.
· 46% of shoppers want retailers to cut back on unnecessary packaging.

EDS says the screens would reduce the need for extensive packaging which would help stores to tackle environmental concerns and provide consumers with products that have less packaging. In addition, the barcode readers will calculate the nutritional content and ingredients.

It’s high-time that the humble barcode is recognised as a practical and cost-effective solution to consumers’ thirst for information. RFID chips will have an important role to play in the future as information about individual items becomes more important. But retailers don’t need to wait for RFID chips to come down in price before responding to consumer information demands. We want to work with retailers to give shoppers the information they need to make informed choices sooner rather than later.

- Sion Roberts, EMEA Industry Leader for Consumer Industries & Retail, EDS

However with connivance comes commercialism. Imaging grabbing a cart to do a quick grocery shop for a week worth of work lunch and snacks and hearing a lovely voice tell you that there's a nice white wine in Aisle 6 that would go perfectly with your park picnic lunch meat. Or “jazz up your lunch with your favorite brand of salami which just happens to be on sale and, by the way, it's been six weeks since you bought toilet paper.”

Other companies including Fujitsu and Hewlett-Packard are also working on similar shopping cart consumer assistance technology products. IBM's Dan Hopping said a shopping cart could eventually be outfitted to interact with the shelves so a shopper could see an ad or an offer about chicken noodle soup just as he heads into the soup section.

Kathryn Cullen, a technology specialist at Kurt Salmon Associates, a retail-consulting firm, said "This is a very sensitive topic. I may not want the store to be broadcasting what I bought last time I was in here. You're getting closer and closer to being inside my home. On the other hand, consumers have a history of eventually acceding to such intrusion for the sake of convenience. “

The Concierge system provides shoppers with a wireless, touchscreen computer which can provide interactive advertising and other content to shoppers. The system can be set up to automatically display relevant products after scanning a bar-coded frequent shopper card. It can also scan products in the cart, letting shoppers keep track of their shopping list and their current cart total. The Concierge can also be set up to allow for self-checkout in your cart, and can be outfitted with a wireless credit/debit card reader to facilitate purchases without waiting in line. Other features include an live product search, store directory and a recipe database.

One company has found a way to do what parents cannot – keep their children quiet at the grocery store. TV Kart is a creation from Publix Super Markets in Atlanta, Georgia which are still testing out a new high-tech shopping cart for kids while their parents are doing the grocery shopping.

The TV Kart is a small, car-shaped cart with a TV screen that plays children's shows, such as The Wiggles and Bob the Builder. The carts are electric and have brakes built in, but parents will have to pay $1 to use them - for the convenience of keeping their children quiet and oh I don’t know avoid the dirty looks and nasty comments from other shoppers? Could I pay a parent to use it?

In contrast, it's only a small jump from children's TV programming to advertising - and once the kid is in the cart, the battle cry to get the parents to buy whatever the child wants is nearly won.

On the horizon, is the day when every product is tagged with an RFID, or radio frequency identification chip, instead of a bar code. The chips, which would no longer have to be scanned, would allow shoppers to leave the store without checking out at all and get the bill on their credit card or store account.

The next ten years should be interesting as technology advances in new and exciting ways to advertise commercial products to us in new and fancier ways.

Information Engineer

Monday, October 8, 2007

SaY Phone: A Phone For Klutz

Most of us know the dreaded feeling when we drop our phone. Or at least I do because I seem to drop it often… Yea I’m a klutz and I always wish cell phone manufactures would build a phone that was more durable, one that could take the beating of my lifestyle. Throw in a backpack, toss into the car center organizer, and drop it from juggling too many objects at once while trying to talk on the phone.

One company has figured out that a durable phone needed to be made and so SAY came up with the SaY phone. The SaY phone has a rubberized exterior that makes it resistant to drops and bumps. It features include a 4 mega pixel camera and a pair of stereo speakers to annoy everyone with your latest MP3 Justin Timberlake ringtone.

No idea how much the phone is and I couldn't locate a shopping area to learn the price. But if it's affordable, I'm a buyer!

SOURCE: Yanko Design

Monday, October 1, 2007

BetaVoltaic Power-Cells

Laptops may potentially have a continuous power battery that will last longer than the laptop itself by 30 years … and do it without a single recharge. The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is funding a research project regarding a new battery technology. The breakthrough betavoltaic power cells are constructed from semiconductors and use radioisotopes as the energy source. As the radioactive material decays it emits beta particles that transform into electric power capable of fueling an electrical device like a laptop for years.

The new battery technology doesn’t use a chemical processes to produce energy which mean it does not produce any hazardous waste. How it works is a little beyond my technology ‘know how’ but the size of the batteries looks to be quite small and thin. An absorbent silicon material is used to collect the hydrogen isotope tritium, which is generated in the process. The reaction is non-thermal which means laptops and other small devices like mobile phones will run much cooler than with traditional batteries such as the lithium-ion power batteries. The reason the battery lasts so long is that neutron beta-decay into protons is the world's most concentrated source of electricity, truly demonstrating Einstein’s theory E=MC2

Environmentalists should be thrilled at the prospects of the new technology. When the new batteries eventually run out of power they are non-toxic.

Source: Next Energy News

Friday, September 28, 2007

Chicago's OEMC and IBM's Smart Surveillance System

How many times do you drive in circles looking for a parking spot on a Saturday night? How many of us have left our purse, backpack or suite case sitting on the backseat of a car? In today’s ‘go go go’ lifestyle a lot of commuters not only take a brief case, backpack or a personal bag but also a gym bag, miscellaneous errand stuff, extra clothing if we have plans that night or a bag of stuff to donate to Salvation Army – and it sits on the back seat or in the trunk of our car for eight plus hours. Such things go unnoticed in big cities every day but that may change and you may need to keep your car box and bag free in the future.

Chicago looks to be a pioneer with a new video surveillance system that would recognize such behavior as anomalies and alert authorities to take a closer look. They’re working with IBM who is developing a futuristic video surveillance system designed to scan the city streets looking for anything suspicious and everything from bombs to traffic jams. Operation Virtual Shield is intended to give the city's emergency response coordination agency the ability to remotely keep track of emergencies in ‘real time’. For the past few years Chicago has been rolling out thousands of video surveillance cameras linked by fiber-optic cables. However, the new technology is based on IBM’s Smart Surveillance System, where the software could recognize a package that had been left in a public park or a car parked where no car is supposed to be, said Kevin Smith, a spokesman with Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC).

One key factor to the success of the project is Firetide, an IBM business partner whose wireless network infrastructure supports a wide range of fixed and mobile wireless public safety applications including covert and overt video surveillance, traffic control, VoIP communications, and rapid database access. Firetide's wireless technology is instrumental in allowing the city to deploy a large number of additional cameras in the exact locations required. Firetide's unique technology allows real-time video to be transported wirelessly, thereby saving taxpayers millions of dollars in wired infrastructure costs. IBM is also testing mobile technology utilizing Firetide's infrastructure to allow first responders access to the video system via mobile vehicles such as police and fire.

According to Sam Docknevich, a Digital Video Surveillance National Practice Leader with IBM, IBM is now talking to different metropolitan cities about utilizing similar projects as IBM’s Smart Surveillance System.

About the City of Chicago The Office of Emergency Management & Communications (OEMC)

The Office of Emergency Management & Communications (OEMC) manages and operates the city's public safety communications systems that coordinate the response of police, fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) resources giving police and fire personnel, on the street, valuable information to help them respond quickly to emergency situations.
The OEMC's Emergency Management Team acts as the coordinator for the City's efforts to develop, plan, analyze, implement and maintain programs for disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. The Emergency Management Team is also responsible for directing the activities of City departments and other agencies at disaster scenes.


IBM software to scan Chicago streets

IBM Smart Surveillance System

Learning to live with Big Brother

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The World’s Largest Chocolate Fountain

Not technology but it is unusual.

Pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury has created the world's biggst chocolate fountain.The fountain is 27 feet tall and it pumps 2,100 pounds of melted white, milk and dark deliciousness at a rate of 120 quarts per minute. Location: Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Get More Frozen Custard By The Sound of Your Voice

Demitrios Kargotis unwrapped his Mr./Dr. Whippy machine at the Ars Technica festival in Linz Austria. Mr./Dr. Whippy is a self-serve frozen custard machine that scoops out portion sizes based on the amount of misery it detects in a voice-stress analysis. The sadder you are, the more ice-cream you get (the more ice cream you need.)

The project, developed by Demitrios Kargotis, was partly funded by the Royal College of Art-Platform 11. Technical Assistance: Bjorn Franke. Images courtesy of Noam Toran. A few more taken in Linz.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Future Of Parking Meters

SOURCE: (Business 2.0)

The new PVM parking meter will allow for payment by credit card and extra minutes without having to return to your car. 50 percent of parking fines go unpaid, according to one San Francisco study, so city halls have been on the lookout for a more convenient - and effective – parking meter.

Fred Mitschele is has designed the new generation of parking meters. Not only does his Photo Violation Meter allow you to swipe a credit card rather than hunt for quarters, but it will also call your cell phone when your time is up and give you the option of putting additional minutes on the meter via your cell phone.

"It really restores fairness to the whole system," says Mitschele, CEO of Photo Violation Technologies, based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Mitschele has partnered with IBM (Charts, Fortune 500) to finance a $1 million trial. About 300 PVMs are currently installed in Niagara Falls, San Francisco, and Vancouver.

If all goes well and the cities buy the PVM when the trial ends in July 2008, Mitschele anticipates making as much as $200 million in five years. Scofflaws, beware: If you fail to pay, the PVM will snap a photo of your license plate.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Realistic Robotic Human

Zou Ren Ti runs the Xi’an Superman Sculpture Research Institute (XSM) in China which develops realistic robotic human displays for museums and exhibitions.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Transparent Toaster

This transparent toaster allows the bead toaster to see the bread while it’s toasting so you're never surprised by toast that comes out too dark. You can see it being burnt as it happens! The transparent heating glass featured is the basis for the product but apparently the glass does not currently get hot enough to toast bread. So the picture is a teaser only.

There was a Black and Decker toaster a while back that was similar to this, only it didn’t look nearly as cool. Plus I don’t believe it had a usb port what’s up with that? The difference between neatly brunt toast and smoke alarm toast is how long the usb cord is.

Concept by Inventables Concept Studio.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hyper-Intelligent Coconuts Demands Silence

MIT Media Lab researcher Tad Hirsh has designed electronic coconuts to be deployed as noise sensors in San Jose, California, an area which is subject to aircraft from San Jose International Airport, Oakland International Airport, and San Francisco International Airport...


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Solar Panel Cell Phones

HiTech Wealth Telecommunications has just begun selling the S116, the world’s first solar panel cell phone.

  • A 1.3 mpx camera, and an MP3 player
  • Charge the battery in any amount of light, including indoors (or even by candlelight),
  • Battery life is 2.5 times longer
  • An hour of direct sunlight will give users 40 extra minutes of talk time.

Currently only available in China HiTech Wealth will be releasing six more solar phones within the year and has promised 30 solar models before 2009.

Monday, July 23, 2007

$100 laptop' production begins

Story Highlights

Five years after the concept was first proposed, the so-called $100 laptop is poised to go into mass production. Previously, the organization behind the scheme said that it required orders for 3millon laptops to make production viable. The first machines should be ready to put into the hands of children in developing countries in October 2007.

Silencing Critics

Getting the $100 laptop to this stage has been a turbulent journey for the organization and its founder Nicholas Negroponte. Since the idea was first put forward in 2002, the low-cost laptop has been both lauded and ridiculed. Intel chairman Craig Barret famously described it as a "$100 gadget" whilst Microsoft founder Bill Gates questioned its design, particularly the lack of hard drive and its "tiny screen". Other critics asked whether there was a need for a laptop in countries which, they said, had more pressing needs such as sanitation, water and health care.

Professor Negroponte's response has always been the same: "It's an education project, not a laptop project."

Functional Design

Using open source software, OLPC have developed a stripped-down operating system which fits comfortably on the machine's 1GB of memory. The XO is built to cope with the harsh and remote conditions found in areas where it may be used, such as the deserts of Libya or the mountains of Peru. For example, it has a rugged, waterproof case and is as energy efficient as possible.

"The laptop needs an order of magnitude less power than a typical laptop," said Professor Bender. "That means you can power it by solar or human power."

Because it may be used in villages without access to a classroom, it has also been designed to work outside. In particular, the green and white machines feature a sunlight-readable display.

The XO will be produced in Taiwan by Quanta, the world's largest laptop manufacturer.

Field testing is being done in countries such as Nigeria and Brazil. However, the names of the governments that have purchased the first lots of machines have not been released.

The XO currently costs $176 although the eventual aim is to sell the machines to governments for $100.

BBC News
By Jonathan Fildes

Monday, July 16, 2007

Cyber Tracker - Rhinoceros or Natual Disasters?

South African conservation scientist Louis Liebenberg (and helped by former University of Cape Town computer scientist Justin Steventon) have developed a software for PDAs that assist Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert from being trackers to being cyber trackers. While most of the Bushmen cannot read or write, they are able to interpret the icons on their PDAs.

The PDA screen displays more than 40 animal species and plants. Anther set of icons cover activities such as drinking, feeding, running, fighting, mating and sleeping. Pressing an animal icon and than an activity icon records a sighting and or other finding. This digital recording which records time, date and exact location is than sent wirelessly to a computer server by satellite. That information is than processed on a base-station computer to create maps and charts of animal movements and feeding habits.

One tracker might record up to 300 observations in a day and has now been downloaded over 25,000 times in more than 50 countries. While not everyone may have the need to track the activities of a rhinoceros, the software can be used for other purposes than nature conservation. For example it can be applied to social surveys, organic farming or integrated pest management. In addition, the software allows a user to create unique icons to adapt it for tracking other kinds of things, such as monitoring disasters in local areas. All that is needed is a laptop or a PDA, a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver is said to be optional.

For more information, CyberTracker hardware and CyberTracker

Source: ZD Net - Roland Piquepaille
(Photo Credit: CyberTracker).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Underwater Merry Go Round

Manhattan's Battery Park will have the tourist attraction they wanted. But tourists, adults and children will be the ones that will get the most joy from the future under the sea carousel ride. Translucent dolphins, turtles, and other marine life will not only go round and round but will have an unobstructed 360-degree view inside a shell shaped structure featuring windows that darken during the three-minute ride to simulate the experience of diving to the ocean floor.

Architects at Weisz + Yoes is the firm behind Sea Glass, a high tech ride with an aquatic theme — a nod to the waterfront setting. Unlike a traditional carousel, which spreads out from a center column like an umbrella, these creatures will be supported from below on a turntable. As riders dive towards the ocean floors, multiple projectors will fill the interior with images of marine life that slowly change to match what you'd actually see during a descent.

Construction is set to start this year, with completion by summer 2008.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Annoy, fascinate or scare the wits out of guests that visit you at your home.

There are some geek stereotypes that are genuine -- such as ordering pizza instead of cooking and impatiently waiting for the next coolest gadget to arrive via FedEx. One of the new cool think outside the tower Think Geek gadgets is for those who have doorbells.

The Think Geek USB Doorbell connects to your computer via USB cable and will store thirty second MP3 sound clips. Even if your not a tech geek, you could have some fun playing mischievous Doorbell clips.

Doorbells have either being boring or annoying. The USB Doorbell is neither. It replaces your current wind chime bells with your favorite audio clip whether it's your favorite song or the theme music to one of the best sci fi films. Who wants to knock when they can hear "We will assimilate you"

To see the ring in action Think Geek created a cheezy promo using the Star Wars theme song.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Cyborg Technology

Israeli researchers Itay Baruchi and Eshel Ben-Jacob at Tel-Aviv University discovered and have demonstrated that it’s possible to store multiple simple memories in an artificial culture of live neurons – the first potential step towards cyborg-like integration.

While some people may be disturbed by the cyborg’s first baby step there are legitimate positive medical uses for artificial intelligence, which may be crucial to learning about memory formation in living organisms. An electrician who lost both his arms was the beneficiary of a 'bionic arm' created by scientists at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. His unique experience may help other disabled individuals lead more active lives in the near future.

“Many believe that complex patterns of neuronal firing are templates for memory, which the brain uses when storing information. Imprinting such "memories" on artificial neural networks provides a potential way to develop cyborg chips,” says Ben-Jacob.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wacky Health Gadgets

Without plastic surgery?
Why massage your head when you can massage (and enhance) your breasts. The 2-in-1 Breast Enhancer and Massager ($29.99) is small, pink and sports an LCD screen. What information the screen displays, I don't even want to know. But the massager is said to "improve the firmness and natural curve of your breasts" and is powered by two small AAA batteries.

* Enhances blood circulation
* Comfortable design for easy portability

Well, theres one worry taken away from me when I'm on vacation. It's portable!


Not a lot of words can not desrcibe least not my words because I would get in lots o trouble. The OSIM iGallop Core and Abs Exerciser ($499) Like riding a horse except, without the horse. Choose from three different fitness levels, including Trot, Gallop, and Race.

It's Fertile Time!

Time to get pregnant and with the plastic LAKS Baby Boom Pregnancy Clock watch ($114) it tracks a woman's fertile days. Once a woman is pregnant, the watch will tell her what week of pregnancy she is in, along with a name finder to choose the right baby name. Guys: Next time your on a date look at her wrist.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Weird & cool computer cases


Standard desktop cases are either boring or ugly. With most d people who have real homes with nice decor, demand for stuff like this is going to go up.

This was made by one
individual so I am not able to provide a buy it here link.

Sansun’s Batman tower – a computer tower every nerd has to have! (“nerd" in a
good way that is).

Guess where the computer tower case is?

When IT and taxidermy collide. Kasey McMahon, 34, from Los Angeles, spent three months creating his Compubeaver.

Shoebox by Rebels

Seeing the 'how they made it"
puts ideas of becoming a Network Engineer in my head.

Blackmesa HL² by piloux

Monday, June 11, 2007

Magic Mouse - 3D Mouse

Wave your hand in the air use and your finger to tap the share ware -- because that's how ya gonna do it in the future with a gadget like Magic Mouse. A 3D mouse worn as a ring and allows the user to do some of the same operations as a traditional mouse.

Designed by a team of five tech students, they recently invented what they are calling Magic Mouse. A tiny device worn as a ring that lets a PC user move objects on a monitor simply by waving a finger like a magic wand. The magic Mouse is one of 10 inventions honored with the inaugural PopSci Invention Awards and is the cover story in the June 2007 issue of Popular Science.

The computer mouse was invented more than 40 years ago but the design and functionality has never changed dramatically since that time. The basic mouse operates in two dimensions — a user can move the cursor about the screen, click right and left for specific options. Recent developments in 3D software have tested the limits of the basic design adding anther scroll wheel to make zooming possible in certain applications. However, the user cannot move the cursor and zoom in / out at the same time like the Magic Mouse.

Users can move the cursor about the screen simply by pointing and moving their index finger. Move your hand closer to the screen and you zoom in, or move your hand back and the cursor zooms out. Since both clicking and zooming can be done simultaneously, the mouse makes it possible to work easily in three-dimensional applications such as 3D maps or manipulating objects in computer-aided design (CAD) drawing packages.

How it works

It works with five carefully positioned ultrasonic microphones, picking up signals from the ring and judging its position in 3D space. The basic principle behind the MagicMouse is called time difference of arrival (TDOA), the same principle that enables the GPS system to determine your position on Earth. Making the transmitter small enough to be worn as a ring proved to be one of the student's major challenges. The final prototype is one inch square and weighs less than 10 grams; a flexible, rechargeable lithium-polymer battery forms the band of the ring, and can power the transmitter for more than two weeks of continuous use.

The inventors also suggest that the 3D capabilities of the Magic-Mouse might inspire new types of computer applications. In their report, they say, “With a new interface like this, third party developers could design new applications that would take advantage of the intuitive connection between user input and motion on the screen. This device could pave the way for a new revolution in computer input technology.”

The MagicMouse team has not yet sought to commercialize the device, and instead is focusing on adding gesture recognition and extending the capabilities. For example, the working prototype doesn’t incorporate the functions of the traditional mouse buttons, but they are working on changing that.

Although it can appear awkward to point your hand at your monitor, this is a nod to the future. Fingers and wrists can often ache for those who work with multiple monitors, use their mouse continually throughout an eight plus hour workday or for those unable to operate a traditional pointing device.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Bright Eyes

An Ocularist is an eye specialist who designs, makes, and fits artificial eyes. The ocularist shows the patient how to handle and care for it and provides long-term care through periodic examinations.

I watched the Ocularist Kim Erickson video and was impressed, shocked and amazed at how important and how many details truly go into designing and fitting an artificial eye for someone. It's not like the artificial eye in Pirates of the Caribbean where you just popped it out, popped it in. There is both a science and an art to the craft.

This specialty combines an understanding of color and artistry with expertise in the science of ocularisty. However not everyone who is fitted with an artificial eye is an adult. Some babies are born with a condition called anophthalmia. Which means one or both eyes didn't form during the early stages of pregnancy.

Each artificial eye is molded, sculpted, polished and painstakingly painted to match the patient’s natural coloring. The finished product is so lifelike that I would hesitate to pick one up.

Powered Alcohol For The Person On The Go

Can you "powder" alcohol? I'm just stuck on the idea that you can make your alcohol out of pixie dust. Sounds kind of urban legendish to me. I don’t know how I missed reading about this, but it seems that powered alcohol has been on the consumer market for years. First in Germany (with large hoopla of controversy) and than a similar product snuck into the US under pit bull consumer activist’s awareness.

In the US market, it was ( I couldn’t find any place to buy it) classified as a flavoring, despite being 60 proof, and didn’t require any kind of license or special handling for purchase. It was marketed as a as a flavoring for different recipes. However, as far as I could tell it is now off the market in the US. Similar versions still exist in Germany and now the Netherlands.

The latest developers are Dutch students who say their product can be sold legally to minors, at least in the Netherlands. I did some research on powered alcohol and apparently if you can get the alcohol molecule to bind with another molecule such as. sugar it will combine and become powered alcohol. When you add water, the sugar dissolves, and the alcohol is released into the liquid.

The 3% alcohol powder has been baptised Booz 2 Go. A project member happily announces their marketing aim.

"We are aiming for the youth market. They are really more into it because you can compare it with Bacardi-mixed drinks," 20-year-old Harm van Elderen said.

Anther project member said
"Because the alcohol is not in liquid form, we can sell it to people below 16," said Martyn van Nierop.

The legal age for drinking alcohol and smoking is 16 in the Netherlands.

So what’s next? How about a smokable version of vodka or rum -- better yet make me some Midori Sour Altoids, all the flavor and giddiness in a sucky adaptation. I guess that whole "water into wine" miracle wasn't so miraculous after all, was it?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Driving Computer Centers

We log into the net from home and from our office. Some log in on the daily commute on the bus or commuter trains. Too many people even log into the net at nightclubs and bars via crackberries. Where else could people possibly log in from? Our cars.

Today’s cars are using more computing technology. While the computer technology is primarily for engines and safety reasons, they are being adapted for other uses such as plugging in your iPod. So why not turn our cars into movable computer centers utilizing a mobile network?

UCLA engineers are working on such a possibility. According to computer science professor Mario Gerla and researcher Giovanni Pau this driving mobile network would just need the relatively low-cost addition of sensors to the vehicle’s roof and bumpers.
They say their mobile networking platform (MANET) would allow ‘moving vehicles within a range of 100 to 300 meters of each other to connect and create a network of cars.’

Mario Gerla explained, “We have all of these computer devices as integrated systems inside our cars. It’s time to extend that concept. Computers are already being installed in many vehicles, and wireless capability will soon follow, so a mobile network deployment would only require the relatively low-cost addition of sensors to the vehicle’s roof and bumpers and configuring the computer with new ‘mobile’ applications.”

Giovanni Pau added that the UCLA’s team was using existing technologies. “We use standard radio protocols such as Digital Short Range Communication, or DSRC, combined with wireless LAN technology to create networks between vehicles equipped with onboard sensing devices. These devices can gather safety-related information, as well as other complex multimedia data, such as video. The most essential aspect of this network is that it is not subject to memory, processing, storage and energy limitations like traditional sensor networks. It relies on the resources of the vehicle itself, along with those vehicles around it.”

Of course, not every driver wants to be part of the network -- privacy is a major concerns. The ULCA team plans to use the first mobile networks in emergency response vehicles such as police cars, ambulances and hazardous materials response units.’

The team has already built a vehicular testing unit to explore these issues and to study car-to-car networking experiments under various traffic conditions and mobility situations. With successful field tests completed, Gerla’s team has further plans to develop a UCLA Campus Vehicle, (or C-VeT) through a wireless testbed environment called WHYNET.”

Some high-end luxury cars already have small computer stations installed in the computer. However advancing technologies will some day make it possible that people will be able to check email using voice recognition, surf the Web and do all of the tasks that are normally done at the office from their cars.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Green Technology

Green technology can mean anything from the way vendors design and manufacture products to how efficiently those products operate to the ease of recycling them.

In December of 2006, Congress passed a law requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to put together a report regarding power consumption in information technology data centers by mid 2007. The goal of the report was to outline potential incentives and voluntary programs that would promote energy-efficient computer servers and data centers. In other words, Congress wants corporations to go Green with environmentally friendly technology.

In July 2007, the government will launch the upgraded Energy Star 4.0 standards, which is a tougher rating system that will help users measure their computer’s energy efficiency. The Environmental Protection Agency says the upgrade will prevent the same amount of ozone-depleting greenhouse gases that is annually released by 2.7 million cars. In addition, Energy Star 4.0 will also help companies lower their electric bills-by enough to light 730 million square feet of U.S. commercial building space each year, according to the EPA.

While the new standards may seem annoying, the information highway’s fast-growing power consumption has already been forcing companies to adopt green energy practices. Technology experts say the power consumption of data centers doubles every five years or so, making them one of the fastest-growing leeches of energy in the U.S.

"The IT industry is where the automotive industry was 20 years ago," says Rakesh Kumar, research vice-president at consulting firm Gartner (IT). "We are so backwards when it comes to using alternative-energy and energy-efficient technologies."

Green light for Green technology

On May 10, 2007 IBM took the LED spotlight with their plans to invest $1 billion a year in products and services that will help reduce IT power consumption in data centers while doubling the computing capacity of its data centers. A hefty goal that other IT companies such as HP is also committing to.

Soaring electric bills for power-hungry data centers has companies creating energy-efficient products such as chips, desktop computers and servers. Last year, an industry consortium of IT companies called the Green Grid was formed to address the growing problem of power consumption in data centers.

One small data center in Romoland, Calif., has figured out how to run on only alternative energy. "We use no electricity from the power grid," says Phil Nail, chief technology officer of Web hosting company The company operates its 2,000-square-foot data center with solar energy captured via ground-mounted solar panels. But right now alternative energy is not a viable option in most cases… not yet.

Green PCs

HP Compaq dc7700 Convertible Minitower PC
Watts in Sleep Mode: 2.34

HP Compaq dc5700 Microtower PC
Watts in Sleep Mode: 2.60

Dell OptiPlex Model #745 Mini Tower
Watts in Sleep Mode: 2.66

Tech Networks of Boston
Watts in Sleep Mode: 2.66

ClientPro 434
Watts in Sleep Mode: 2.70

Friday, May 25, 2007

Woodsy Digital Cameras

Three-dimensional wood molding technology from Olympus is taking Japanese Cyprus wood and compressing it so it's harder than industrial plastic. A nice finish and little artist know how and presto, a wood that's moldable for manufacturing yet hard enough to be used as casing for standard consumer electronics such as digital cameras.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gas prices too high? Don’t complain

European cities pay more than $5 a gallon!

Drivers in Amsterdam pay appx $7 per gallon and France has gas prices staying steady between $5 to $6. The contrast in prices raises the question: Is Europe a glimpse of the future for Americans?

There's little evidence that US drivers are adopting conservation strategies. The average light duty vehicle on US highways gets 21.6 miles per gallon (m.p.g.), according to a study by the Paris based International Energy Agency (IEA), while in Paris, its European counterpart gets 32.1 m.p.g. America has built its entire society around the car, versus European cities that have more compact centers where cars are often not practical.

US consumers want sleek and or pretty muscle cars, manufacturers make what the consumer wants, and the government panders to both spoiled brats It's a vicious cycle.

An Associated Press-AOL poll of 1,000 adults found that 64 percent say gas prices will cause them money problems in the future.

Sales of gas guzzling cars such as SUVs have been dropping steadily. Bio-fuel and hybrid cars have been gaining popularity and eletric cars are raising hopes of cutting down a huge monthly gas bill.

A new two seater all electric car called the Tango is one of the potential hopes.

Two decades ago Tango designer Rick Woodbury was constantly stuck in Los Angeles traffic jams. While sitting in one of the average traffic congestions he looked around at all the other cars and thought up a crazy dream of a narrow car that could double up in lanes or even travel between lanes, like a motorcycle.

Soon after that crazy thought Rick Woodbury and his son Bryan created the Tango. The Tango seats two passengers, one in front of the other and is small enough to park four to a parking space. Top speed is 130 miles per hour and about 80 miles per charge.

It takes three hours to completely recharge in a dryer socket or 10 minutes to recharge 80 percent in a high-current, 200-amp socket. It has jet-pilot seat belts and a racing-regulation roll cage. It doesn’t weigh much more than 3,000 pounds, which is about the same as a Toyota Camry, including 1,100 pounds of Yellow Top batteries under the floorboards as ballast, so it's not tippy on turns.

The storage is small, enough room for a couple briefcases and workout gear or a baby seat, umbrella stroller and diaper bag or 12 sacks of groceries. The cost is currently eighty grand for hand-assembled, leather-lined luxury models with 400-watt Nakamichi sound systems. They’re hoping to bring the price down to approximately $20,000 or less with a mass-produced consumer version.

In 2000 in the Seattle-Everett area, traffic jams on peak commuter roads delayed the average commuter 82 hours. In 2002, 92 million people drove to work alone, according to a transportation study at Texas A&M University of the nation's 75 most congested areas. Specialized cars such as the Tango could ease traffic jams, make better use of roads and save hundreds of dollars every year.

Engineers and executives at GM's Research and Technology Division, were at first ecstatic when they first saw the Tango and tentatively offered parts at cost as well as potential distribution through a GM dealer network. The potential of a $5 million fund was considered to get the project started, pending a solid business plan and market survey. In addition, the Tango business development project could have given GM credits under a California state law requiring 10 percent of cars sold by major automakers to meet zero-emission standards. But they withdraw the earlier this year and decided to sue California over the 10 percent rule.

An SUV is not needed to get groceries, buy hardware, shop at Nordstrom or even just commute to work. These things can be done in a small car and the savings can go towards something more important.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lose weight sitting at your desk?

I go to a gym and exercise regularly, so the "Lose weight without exercise!” ads are not only misleading and straight out false, but just plain annoying. You can not just sit around and lose weight, that’s not how it works. But what if you could? What if enough people dreamt of a way to sit at they're desk and actually lost weight came true?

Possibly with the Jedi force, Geek-a-Cycle may have possibly heard enough dreamers wishing they could do just that and have come up with Exercise Workstation.

What is it?

A recumbent exercise bicycle built with an ergonomic designing which allows the bicycle to comfortably sit under a Geek-a-Cycle desk. You can order just the bicycle by itself and they do provide the measurements to ensure the bicycle will comfortable fit under the desk to provide maximum work-station productivity.

New work / exercise fusion ideas such as these are starting to pop up across the innovative business world. Fifteen obese office workers participated in a study where they walked and work at a vertical computer workstation on a treadmill at the slow pace of 1 mile per hour. On average, they burned approximately 100 calories per hour. If they used the treadmill workstation for 2-3 hours a day, the researchers estimated they could lose 44-66 pounds per year. British Journal of Sports Medicine: "The energy expenditure of using a ‘walk-and-work’ desk for office workers with obesity." Original study article

Things to keep in mind

Walking at 1 mph is tougher than walking at a normal walking pace of two to four mph (miles per hour). Those using any type of treadmill need to have proper footwear to prevent additional health problems. In other words, just because your sitting down doesn’t mean you can wear heels, sandals, or dress shoes.

Recumbent exercise bicycle users must be careful of Plantar fasciitis, a partial or complete tear in what is called fascia (fibrous connective tissue) -- the bottom of the foot. Also, if you do work at a desk for eight plus hours a day, there’s always the risk of carpal tunnel… so always keep physical safety in mind regardless of how minor or unlikely it may seem.

Proper posture is also important, whether at a desk or on a treadmill workstation. If you are hunching over the keyboard, you are. This is one of my bad habits I don’t notice until my back muscles have just about had enough of that. I was reminded of this again last night as I was standing up for more than ten minutes and notice I was resting my weight on my back muscle, which was putting strain on it. Not good for someone with back problems. Throughout the standing up time, I constantly had to remind myself to stand properly or get tired more quickly. Good posture is the main principals in ergonomics which helps prevent shoulder, neck, and back problems.

Pay good attention to your posture so you aren't leaning or hunching. If you can't get the right angle with the screen, you might have to order the custom treadmill workstation or find a friendly handyman to put one together for you. For a short span of time, you can try a DIY (do it yourself) exercise desk such as this maker. The DIY exercise office

Monday, May 14, 2007

Geek Squad Hospital – Open For Business & Needing Repairs

The Geek Squad subsidiary of the Best Buy Company didn't pick Silicon Valley or any other high-tech hub to build its pc hospital. Instead, it choose Kentucky countryside.
The 165,000-square-foot Geek Squad City warehouse is located south of Louisville with the primary goal of cutting the time it takes to repair and return PCs and specifcialy laptops.

"This is all about giving the customer a better experience," said Michael Rodgers, Geek Squad City's "ambassador," or spokesman.

Not too far away is a UPS air field, Louisville & Brooks has a work force ready to work and the state offered tax benefits worth up to $9.3 million was the bow on the present the company was looking for in making it’s final location decisions.

Inside the facility Geek Squad's "agents" fix several laptops a day and estimates that boost that 700,000 PCs will be repaired this year. Quick computer repairs are crucial with customers who don't or can’t wait the standard one week turn around time for non store available services. .

Geek Squad was originally founded in 1994 by Robert Stephens and offered various computer-related services. In addition to the in-store service, the company offers on-site and 24-hour telephone support. In 2002, Stephens sold it to Best Buy who has than expanded the services.

Conversely, there are some original Gek Squad employees ad former employees who say that GS has lost the “cool” factor it once had. The Consumerist website reports that Robert Stephens built a top notch award-winning company that earned a reputation for being the best; but when it was sold, the service it had so richly earned didn’t stay.

There has been a variety of complaints from former employees and interviewees regarding Salesman not techies. Several reports of former and interviewees reported that Geek Squad hires only Salesman and turns them into Tech Fixers rather than hiring people who know what they’re doing and training them in Sales.

Customers also notice a downgrade in service. Many times, Geek Squad “Agents” either show up a hour or more late or they simply do not show up. At the Tech Support Guy forums, one Tech Support professionals says s/he has fixed enough of Geek Squad’s wireless network setups ‘hack jobs’ that s/he has given them a vote of incompetence –followed by others who supported the vote with they’re own experience.

In addition, Geek Squad has had two separate (known) lawsuits filed against them within a year. In April, 2006, the Geek Squad was accused of allegedly allowing they’re employees to use unlicensed versions of software before obtaining the offical rights. This year, a Geek Squad employee was arrested for covertly recording a 22 year old woman in her shower and later placing the camera phone in her 13 year old sister's bedroom while on a service call -- The suspect was arrested.

Many people who have laptops store incredibly sensitive files, financial data and even more personal photos. Laptop owns must feel absolutely confident that the service they use can be trusted and will respect customer confidentially 100 percent. However, too many Geek Squad “Agents” seem to abusing the basic principals of business ethics and not enough corporate assurances have protected customers. In my opinion, it seems as if Best Buy’s Geek Squad is succeeding in unwarranted business and souring the public's opinion of the help desk / information technology repair service industry in general.

While it is completely understandable that Best Buy wants Sales People, they should keep in mind that word of mouth advertising in today’s online world travels and never really disappears… eventually one byte leads to anther in (loss of business revenue) virus corruption.

Sources Include:
Tech Support Guy
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Stop smoking with an E


It looks like a cigarette, shape, smoke, nicotine and a glowing light - but it has no tobacco.

A Hong Kong based company has developed the battery-powered "e-cigarettes" as an alternative to nicotine gum in an attempt to help smokers stop smoking with a more smoke-like experience. The "e-cigarettes" sell for around 1,600 yuan ($208 US Dollars) a piece and are already available in China, Israel, Turkey, and a number of European countries, but not yet the United States.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

One billion is offered for biotech program

In the most sweeping policy announcement of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick administration, Governor Patrick proposed a $1 billion life science initiative on Tuesday May 8th 2007 at the biotechnology International Convention. The initiative will potentially cement the state's reputation as a global powerhouse of medicine and biotechnology scientific research.

In addition to research, the 10-year initiative would fund start-up companies, as well as create a stem cell bank at the University of Massachusetts for newly created lines of embryonic stem cells, a controversial arena of research currently barred from federal funding.

"We want Massachusetts to provide the global platform for bringing your innovations from the drawing board to the market, from inspiration to commercialization, from ideas to cures," said Patrick.

Patrick was joined on the platform by Senate President Therese Murray, who wore a yellow bracelet in memory of family members who have died of cancer, and House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi. Both pledged support for the proposal.

If approved the plan would dramatically increase the biotechnology research industry and create hundreds of new jobs.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

VisualWare's 3D glasses

From Tech Japan

A company called VisualWear will be the Japanese representative for Icuiti of America's "Video Eyewear" display system.

Icuiti will likely be releasing this same product here in the USA, but as the product has not yet been announced domestically.

VisualWear o­n the 25th presented their "Video Eyewear" glasses-style wearable display system that supports 3D display to members of the press.

This product, developed by Icuiti in America, will be sold in Japan and Asia through VisualWear. It will be officially announced and displayed at the "3D Video Exposition 2004" to be held from December 1st at Pacifico Yokohama, and sales will begin that same day -- but before that, they held a preview event today.

Video Eyewear is consists of a glasses-style display part and controller unit about the size of a pack of smokes. The controller unit features NTSC video and audio inputs, as well as analog RGB input, and can display up to 640 x 480 dot (VGA) resolutions.

The displays themselves are two 1cm square displays, which provide the effect of a 42" display when seen from a distance of 2m. They also feature stereo earphones.

Also, the displays feature 3D display capabilities, and can represent 3D video from any standard parallax source. However, they cannot convert conventional video to 3D video. From two AAA batteries, the glasses can operate about 5 hours.

Video Eyewear is listed as Open Price, but the actual retail price is said to be less than 70,000 yen. Sales will be conducted o­nly o­n Visualwear's website.

Additionally, Visualwear is developing a shutter system to allow conventional DV cameras to record 3D video, as well as a 3D video editing kit for PCs; both will be sold to contents makers.

Mr. Masashiro Yamachi, CEO of Visualwear, said that Video Eyewear "is a new display that compares with the auroras." He said that the 3D technology could be applied to sightseeing video, introduction videos, and sports videos.

Also proposed is a system that can be combined with the video output o­n cellular phones, and a demonstration of this concept was conducted.

Future plan s for Visualwear include a single-eye type (no 3D support) display, as well as inserting storage and/or memory card slots into the controller unit.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Poppy quarter causes a spy alert

From: The Associated Press


An odd-looking Canadian coin with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a U.S. Defense Department false espionage warning earlier this year about mysterious coin-like objects with radio frequency transmitters,

The harmless "poppy coin" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. Army contractors traveling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them.

The silver-colored 25-cent piece features the red image of a poppy — Canada's flower of remembrance — inlaid over a maple leaf.

The supposed nano-technology actually was a conventional protective coating the Royal Canadian Mint applied to prevent the poppy's red color from rubbing off.

"It did not appear to be electronic (analog) in nature or have a power source," wrote one U.S. contractor, who discovered the coin in the cup holder of a rental car. "Under high power microscope, it appeared to be complex consisting of several layers of clear, but different material, with a wire like mesh suspended on top."

The confidential accounts led to a sensational warning from the Defense Security Service.

Meanwhile, in Canada, senior intelligence officials expressed annoyance with the American spy-coin warnings as they tried to learn more about the oddball claims.

"That story about Canadians planting coins in the pockets of defense contractors will not go away," Luc Portelance, now deputy director for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Intelligence and technology experts were flabbergasted over the warning when it was first publicized earlier this year. The warning suggested that such transmitters could be used surreptitiously to track the movements of people carrying the coins.

The Defense Security Service never examined the suspicious coins, spokeswoman Cindy McGovern said. "We know where we made the mistake," she said. "The information wasn't properly vetted. While these coins aroused suspicion, there ultimately was nothing there."

"It's not uncommon at all," Pike said. He added that the coin's protective coating glows peculiarly under ultraviolet light. "That may have been a little bit suspicious," Dennis Pike of Canadian Coin & Currency said.

Some of the U.S. documents the AP obtained were classified "Secret/Noforn," meaning they were never supposed to be viewed by foreigners, even America's closest allies. The government censored parts of the files, citing national security reasons, before turning over copies under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

Nothing in the documents — except the reference to nanotechnology — explained how the contractors' accounts evolved into a full-blown warning about spy coins with radio frequency transmitters.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Get Off The Computer!

This would do it.

Douglas Engelbart created the computer mouse, Christy Canida and Noah Weinstein created the Mouse mouse.

Canida and Weinstein, both regular contributors to the Instructables website has put together this "Fully functional and furry" case mod. You find all the instructions to make your Mouse mouse at Instructables which is a community site devoted to making geeky cool stuff. This one was created using the skin of a real mouse - bought (already dead).

I was totally fine with the idea being weird, but it was just creepy to read the comment of fan saying

"have four pet rats at home and I would love to do this to one of them if it dies. It's pretty simple for me really. This is not some gory, sick fetishism, its purely something to remind myself of my pet and how much I love(d) it."

Product Development

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

1900 to 2000 - A Century of Predictions

Here’s something I never thought I would write: I just read a fascinating article in The Ladie's Home Journal

An article by John Elfreth Watkins, Jr. titled “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years” is a list of predictions from December 1900 to the year 2000. Despite the fact that at the time, they must have sounded like pure science fiction, some come true with amazingly accuracy.

In the article, Mr. Watkins writes “These prophecies will seem strange, almost impossible. Yet, they have come from the most learned and conservative minds in America.

Here is a look at some of the technological and society predictions.

What came true & exceed the prediction:

Prediction #5: Trains will run two miles a minute, normally; express trains one hundred and fifty miles an hour. Cars will, like houses, be artificially cooled.

Prediction #15: No Foods will be Exposed. Liquid-air refrigerators will keep great quantities of food fresh for long intervals.

Prediction #18: Wireless telephone and telegraph circuits will span the world. A husband in the middle of the Atlantic will be able to converse with his wife sitting in her boudoir in Chicago. We will be able to telephone to China quite as readily as we now talk from New York to Brooklyn. By an automatic signal they will connect with any circuit in their locality without the intervention of a “hello girl”.

I wouldn’t be a surprise to see these prediction in a similar magazine article published a few years ago or in the near future:

Prediction #16: There will be No C, X or Q in our every-day alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary. Spelling by sound will have been adopted, first by the newspapers. English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas, and will be more extensively spoken than any other.

Prediction #17: A university education will be free to every man and woman.

Than there are the prediction that have turned out to be inevitably dead wrong, even laughable:

Prediction #17: Etiquette and housekeeping will be important studies in the public schools.

Prediction #27: Few drugs will be swallowed or taken into the stomach unless needed for the direct treatment of that organ itself.

Wish it were true:

Prediction #3: Gymnastics will begin in the nursery, where toys and games will be designed to strengthen the muscles. Exercise will be compulsory in the schools. Every school, college and community will have a complete gymnasium. All cities will have public gymnasiums. A man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling.

Prediction #11: No Mosquitoes nor Flies. Insect screens will be unnecessary. Mosquitoes, house-flies and roaches will have been practically exterminated. Boards of health will have destroyed all mosquito haunts and breeding-grounds, drained all stagnant pools, filled in all swamp-lands, and chemically treated all still-water streams. The extermination of the horse and its stable will reduce the house-fly.

Prediction #15: Storekeepers who expose food to air breathed out by patrons or to the atmosphere of the busy streets will be arrested with those who sell stale or adulterated produce.

Second Life: Ima goin to the courts

Monday, April 30, 2007

Police Officials - New Crime Detection & Prevention Technology

Random gunfire has continued to be a significant problem in several large cities throughout the United States. However, city police stations are now entering a new realm of crime fighting and prevention with Gunshot Detection Systems.

Gunshot detection systems use sensors designed to detect the sonic boom of a bullet that travels faster than the speed of sound. Others use sensors that pick up the optical characteristics of a muzzle blast, the explosion that propels the bullet out of the gun barrel. Shot Spotter, a system deployed in Washington, D.C relies on an acoustics based and GPS-equipped system that automatically locates the origin of the shot and notifies authorities. A series of acoustic sensors picks up the sound waves of a muzzle blast that radiate outward from the barrel in all directions.

The devices are mounted on telephone poles in what has been deemed 'High Crime' neighborhoods. They listen for the distinctive sound of a gunshot and immediately alert a police dispatcher when one is detected. A video camera in the device allows the dispatcher to keep an eye on the scene until officers arrive.

If the police department has installed video cameras with the detection devices, either the device or a dispatcher can angle the video camera in the direction that the gunfire came from. Dispatchers can also listen to a recording of the sound on their computers to make sure it's not a false alarm, as might be caused by a firecracker or other explosion.

The devices are still being geared in perfecting the sound recognizing process. Shot Spotter devices were tested originally in Texas & in Redwood City, CA which indeed accurately detected 80% of test shots. However, when the devices were first turned on, they got a detection of gunshots, so police rushed to surround a senior citizen in his old back firing truck.

Even with the few misguided / mis recognized sounds, police officers say they are amazed to learn just how often guns are actually being fired in their cities. Police have said that they can now respond to incidents they may never have known about before and to events of multiple calls much quicker and accurately. In one city, police responded to a Shot Spotter alarm that went off two days after the network was installed and found two men firing shots from a stolen pistol. According to police reports, it took the officers only three minutes to arrive at the location of the incident. The pistol had been stolen just 15 minutes earlier.

In Redwood City, law enforcement officials recorded nearly 400 gunshots on New Year's Eve in 1998. Most are thought to have been "celebratory" shots fired into the air. On New Year's Eve 2002, the city recorded fewer than 10. With the gunshot detection systems, crime has decreased and it has been attributed to a combination of the gunshot detection systems and a widespread campaign to let residents know that they could get caught, said Chris Rasmussen, executive director of the Redwood City Police Activities League.

The FBI brought a Shot Spotter system into Franklin County in an attempt to catch the alleged Ohio sniper wanted for a number of shootings in the area. Though the system did not directly lead to the arrest of the suspect, an FBI representative said he wished his department could have kept the system after the investigation. "It's an incredibly good system," he said. "It gave us the ability to respond very, very quickly to shots fired.... You never knew which one could have been the right call."

Following what was said to be the most violent year in Boston, Councilor Rob Consalvo proposed that city officials look into installing gunshot detection systems because only 20% to 30% of gunshots are reported to authorities because people fear the repercussions for reporting the shots.

Conversely, public safety does not come without a high price tag. The systems can cost tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on how many devices are being installed and what the unit's capabilities are. Police departments can decide whether they want to make them bulletproof and whether they want to make the units conspicuous so residents know the devices are in the area. In the Chicago units, they have large police stars on the side and blue lights on top that flash when the system is activated. But is that a good thing? Do they really want to announce to the criminal suspect that police are on the way and they should leave or hide to avoid being caught?

As America continues to enhance homeland security measures, it is interesting to find out that PDAs may soon play an important role in early detection of a problem. The company Proxity is working on the development of the On Alert Gunshot Detection System (GDS) that will allow a device to capture data related to gunshots and send it to law enforcement officers via a wirelessly connected PDA for a faster response. Future versions may also include the ability to pick up people's screams or natural disasters to provide for faster emergency response.

Safety Dynamics, Inc. has been continuously working on advancements and continually adds sound signatures to be part of the DSNN library of recognized sounds. Training the DSNN to recognize other signatures, like a running diesel truck engine, is under way. What will set this technology apart will be the level of recognition even when background noise levels are high.

While the new technology is fascinating and reassuring that police crime fighting and prevention have not lagged behind in the cave man progression of technology there are questions to be considered.

Can technology in the software truly tell the difference between sounds of gun fire and trucks / cars that back fire?

Will the units know the difference between a shoot out and some immature malicious people driving around throwing firecrackers out the window?

Are we, as the public they protect willing to accept that our safety comes with a high price tag and are we willing to pay the price?

With so many negative police articles, discussions, debates and even witnessing police present tickets for the least harmful of civil offenses, sometimes on a daily basis... we still need a structured police force with the capability to respond to criminal offenses.

Employment positions that need to be filled by police and detectives is expected to grow as much as 30% in the next 7 years.

However, there is a debate in our security conscious society that could do us more harm than good if we continue to work against police instead of with them and vice versa.

As a result, some city police forces are having trouble filling vacant positions with qualified candidates. As we demand that police do more about drug related crimes, an increase will rise for police services. The police of today needs the technology of 3 years from now in order to prevent criminals who have tomorrow's technology yesterday.

Law enforcement jobs provide a great deal of security after you pass probation. There is job security, the pay is good, the benefits are on average very good, and there is an excellent pension plan and there is always a step on the career ladder. In addition, Police Officers have a career that makes a real difference in people's lives and helps to make communities safer.

It's definitely not the glamour career of celebrities, but it does allow you to know you are making a difference and you are part of something valuable...even if there are a few dings in the shield.