Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Find your first computer at the Computer History Museum

June 28, 2009

Fun.  See your old Commodore 64 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

Official website of the Computer History Museum

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Turn your iPhone into a “flute”

January 6, 2009

Ocarina is an application for your iPhone that turns your phone into a “flute.”  Check out the video below to see play the Zelda theme.

Thanks to Izzy, via Wired

Bluetooth Handgun handset for the iPhone

July 15, 2008

Instructables.com brings you a guide on how to turn your Bluetooth handset into a potentially disastrous modification.

How to turn an airsoft handgun and a bluetooth headset into a fun, fully functional handset for your iPhone. Pull the trigger to receive calls and to, um, end them. Listen through the barrel, and talk into the grip.

I think everyone has made the thumb and forefinger gun-to-the-head sign when someone unpleasant shows up on their caller ID. Eli and I thought it would be fun to make an actual gun handset, and it turned out to be surprisingly straightforward. No glue or powertools were required.

Even though it’s not very practical, there’s something so satisfying about ending a call with this handset. Pow.

Naturally, this handset works with any cell phone. You just feel like pulling the trigger more if you own an iPhone.

View all the steps necessary to get the cops to hassle you here.

How a pizza delivery man went on to develop concealable body armor

July 6, 2008

A bit on Richard Davis, a one-time pizza delivery driver in Detroit, MI, who used his brush with death to help create concealable body armor.

Sharp’s 108” LCD TV on sale for $185,000

June 25, 2008

Sharp recently announced that it will begin selling its 108” LCD TV in the U.S. in September and if you are planning on buying Sharp’s 108” TV you may want to hold off on that next Ferrari.

Big TVs always have been expensive. If you are looking beyond mainstream you are quickly in the five figures, which can be hit with 63”-65” plasma and LCD TVs. High-end premium TVs such as Sony’s 70” Bravia XBR currently sell for about $30,000, while Panasonic’s 103” plasma TV has held the top spot with about $70,000 for more than a year. Adding inches on top of that will cost you quite some cash, at the tune of $23,000 per inch.

Retailers have begun selling (link to German website) Sharp’s LB-1085 108” LCD TV in Europe with prices starting at about 120,000 Euro – about $185,000 at the current exchange rate. Expect this TV to be a very special order, as you cannot simply pick it up (which will be quite difficult considering the TV’s weight of 430 pounds), but will have to wait 16 weeks until the device will be delivered.

Besides its large size, the TV does not provide unexpected technical features (sorry, no quad HDTV). The resolution is 1920x1080p, the brightness 400 cd, the contrast ratio 1200:1 and the response time 6 ms.

Sharp maintains that the LB-1085 will hit these shores this September and we are quite certain that the TV won’t cost $185,000 here. But plan on spending about $150,000, our sources indicated.

Source

The piling on continues: Should Google sell off Youtube?

June 21, 2008

Do you remember the good ol’ days of YouTube? Back when a private company owned it and you could post and view whatever you wanted up there and no one would say a word because, well, it was practically bankrupt and copyright owners knew they wouldn’t get anything out of a lawsuit? Those were the days, weren’t they?

Now, after a $1.65 billion buyout by Google, YouTube is not only a veritable junkyard for all the crap we didn’t watch a couple years ago, but a bloated mess that costs too much to operate, has a huge lawyer target on it, and barely incurs revenue.

And to make matters worse, Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, has no idea what to do about it.

Speaking to The New Yorker, Schmidt said that it “seemed obvious” that Google should be able to generate “significant amounts of money” from YouTube, but so far, it has no idea what to do.

“The goal for YouTube is to build a tremendous community….In the case of YouTube we might be wrong,” he said. “We have enough leverage that we have the leverage of time. We can invest for scale and not have to make money right now, he said. Hopefully our system and judgment is good enough if something is not going to pay out, we can change it.”

More here

Mars Phoenix lander collects soil samples, transmits images

June 14, 2008

About three weeks after it landed on Mars, the Phoenix lander has collected particles that offer a snapshot of millions of years of life on the Red Planet, the team behind the probe said Friday.NASA’s 420-million-dollar lander has also possibly located ice and is half way to offering scientists on Earth a 360-degree view from its landing site in the Martian polar region, with rocks and hills fading into the dusty distance.

“We’re getting about twice the data volume we were told to expect,” said Peter Smith, Phoenix principal investigator at the University of Arizona.

The team is hoping to find evidence of the existence of water and life-supporting organic minerals in the polar region, on the basis that the similar areas on Earth preserve traces of climate change and signs of life.

More here.

This is exciting, but are we really so arrogant that we forgot what happened the last time NASA received images from Mars? We never learn….

RoboGames 2008 going on as we speak

June 14, 2008

Unless you’re Michael Bay can you ever go wrong with combat robots? Geeks come up with some awesome stuff.

Source and more info. found at RoboGames (formerly ROBOlympics).

RoboGames is the world’s largest open robot competition (even the Guinness Book of World Records says so!) We invite the best minds from around the world to compete in over 70 different events. Combat robots, walking humanoids, soccer bots, sumo bots, and even androids that do kung-fu. Some robots are autonomous, some are remote controlled – but they’re all cool! As an open event, anyone can compete – this means you.

This is the only event in the world that both Geeks and Jocks agree on:

The Best Ten North American Geek FestsWired Magazine
SportCenter’s Top Ten – ESPN SportsCenter

Watch our Videos to see how cool RoboGames is! No matter what your favorite robot sport is, the best bots in the world come to San Francisco every June. The stands are filled with people watching 340 pound robots shoot flames and smash into each other, androids cart-wheeling down the soccer field, and even Canadians with hockey playing robots.

Watch this video shot at the 2006 RoboGames to get a good idea of how crazy this competition is.

Exoskeleton to be used to one day help the elderly and parapalegics to freely walk again

June 14, 2008

I heard an amazing story on NPR today. Please see the excerpt below. While Skynet will one day destroy humanity, it’s refreshing to see that not all technology is out to kill Sarah Connor.

Full story: NPR’s Weekend America: Monty’s Lifesuit: From Science Fiction to Fact
This weekend, San Francisco hosts the 2008 RoboGames. Last year’s event attracted more than 3,000 spectators — they came to see robots and their human inventors compete in races, weightlifting and all-out robo-smackdowns.

But one returning champion from Seattle has a bigger mission in mind. Reporter Jeremy Richards has the story:

Like any good superhero story, Monty Reed’s journey starts with a single terrifying event. In 1983, fresh out of high school, Monty joined the Army, eventually securing a place with the elite Airborne Rangers. He had 38 successful jumps. But something went wrong on his 39th jump.

“We were doing a night jump,” Reed says. “It was battalion-wide, so it was hundreds of parachutes in the air, and somebody’s parachute came too close to me, and that stole the air. So my canopy collapsed, and I hit the ground.”

On impact, Monty broke his back in several places. He spent a year recovering at a hospital in Ford Ord, Calif.

“While I was in the hospital, paralyzed legs, fingers on both hands paralyzed, the doctors told me your condition is permanent and it will get worse. So get used to it.”

Monty didn’t accept this. He took out a pad of paper and wrote across the top: “Monty Shall Walk.” To distract himself from the pain, he found solace in science-fiction novels. That’s when inspiration hit:

Watch the results of his inspiration. More info. available at They Shall Walk.

New BMW is just like a real-life Transformer. Sadly, it doesn’t have any weapons. Thankfully it doesn’t have Michael Bay.

June 11, 2008

Full story at Wired.com

Instead of steel, aluminum or even carbon fiber, the GINA Light Visionary Model has a body of seamless fabric stretched over a movable metal frame that allows the driver to change its shape at will. The car — which actually runs and drives — is a styling design headed straight for the BMW Museum in Munich and so it will never see production, but building a practical car wasn’t the point.