Saturday, December 31, 2005

iPod - The Invisible Shield

Some pics comparing an unshielded ipod and my ipod, which has "the invisible shield".

Visit Site

Oxford mathematician knighted

Professor John Ball, a world-renowned mathematician from the University of Oxford, has received a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.

He is president of the prestigious International Mathematical Union (IMU), which promotes co-operation between mathematicians around the world.

The Oxford professor is also active in supporting the advancement of mathematics in developing countries.

He has also received numerous awards for his research.

Professor Ball told the BBC News website the honour had taken him by surprise.

"I hadn't given it a moment's thought," he said.

Professor Ball studied for his undergraduate degree in mathematics at the University of Cambridge, and obtained a D.Phil in 1972 at the University of Sussex.

From 1982 to 1996, he was professor of applied analysis at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and is now Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford.

10 Games That Actually NEED A Sequel

Wouldn't it be nice if publishers would release sequels of games that have had one lone installment, but are both treasured by fans and could greatly utilize newer hardware? Here are 10 games that would benefit most from current-gen sequels. Includes games from Nintendo, Sega, Square/Enix, and many others.

Visit Site

Watercooling the XBox 360

Steering clear of jokes about overheating power supplies, one company is claiming to have constructed a watercooling kit for the XBox 360. HEXUS.gaming has obtained pictures of the product, seemingly attached to an XBox 360, though how it works and how it is installed remains something of a mystery.

IPod designer called 'Most Excellent'

Jonathan Ive, the designer of Apple Computer Inc.'s wildly popular iPod music player and iMac computer, on Friday was named a commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

London-born Ive, 38, is senior vice president of design at the Cupertino computer company, where he has worked since 1992.

"I am delighted that out of the many Brits working in Silicon Valley, Jonathan has been honored in this way," British Consul General Martin Uden said in a statement. "His creation of these icons of modern life places him head and shoulders above his contemporaries and shows the relevance to us all of excellence in design. ... This is a rare honor to be given to Britons overseas."
The CBE award was granted Friday by the queen in her annual New Year's Honors. The commander's rank is the third-most-senior rank in the order, which was created by King George V in 1917. It is awarded to individuals in recognition of the contribution and service to British interests worldwide.

In 2003, Ive was named designer of the year by the Design Museum in London. He is responsible for the look and feel of all Apple hardware products.

A new year, and new message, for new AT&T

The new logo and advertising message from AT&T will be hard to miss when it's rolled out New Year's Eve:

You'll see it plastered on a billboard at New York's Times Square behind the ball that drops to signal the arrival of 2006, and a television ad will premiere during several telecasts, including "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2006'' on ABC.

The advertising will be the largest campaign that either AT&T or SBC -- the Baby Bell that acquired the old Ma Bell this year -- has ever sponsored, the San Antonio company said Thursday.

"It's like taking an aircraft carrier, turning it around and pointing it in a different direction,'' Adamson said. "A lot of what (AT&T) is promising'' -- meaning the full range of communications and entertainment services -- "is hard to tangibly demonstrate and differentiate, since all the other competitors are promising the same bundle of services.''

SBC closed on its acquisition of AT&T on Nov. 21 and took the name AT&T, "a brand with considerably more brand equity than SBC,'' said David Stewart, professor of marketing at USC's Marshall School of Business.

California was one of 13 states served by SBC before the merger, and consumers in those states will see region-specific advertising that "reassures these customers that while the company's name has changed, its people and commitment to service have not,'' AT&T said Thursday.

14 Tips To Keep Your Mind Active

You're working hard at a satisfying career. You're settled, more or less, in a longtime relationship, and enjoy a fulfilling social life. You've established a comfortable routine with your family and friends. Life in general is going great.

Visit Site

Everyone hates IE, even Microsoft

Even Microsofts own Emplyees are getting furious at how "horribly behind the times" Internet Explorer is. This story quotes four MS employees expressing their opinion about Windows' default browser.

Microsoft employee Rory Blyth:

I think IE is horribly behind the times. When every other browser on the planet that's worth a damn supports tabbed browsing, it's just crappy that I still have to have different copies of IE open to have multiple sites open at once.As of right now, my favorite browser on the planet is Apple's Safari.

All this doesn't suprise me at all.

Visit Site

Friday, December 30, 2005

Super Mario 64 beaten in 16 minutes!!! (Video)

That's 4 minutes faster than the previous video.

2005 a Bad Year For Security

According to CNN, 2005 was a record year for security breaches, with cybercrime netting an estimated $105 billion and the Department of Homeland Security getting its cybersecurity budget cut 7%, to $16 Million. Apparently the government, just like private industry, doesn't pay attention to security until something bad happens to it.

100 things we didn't know this time last year

You can learn alot of stuff in 365 days. Thankfully, the BBC has compiled a list of 100 new things that have been learnt over the past year.

Visit Site

Christmas Lights Show

This is the coolest light show ever, matching the lights with the music.

EasyPay a "big success" at Apple retail stores

After running a pilot program at its retail stores this past holiday shopping season, Apple Computer has deemed its EasyPay checkout systems a "big success" and plans to further integrate the devices into its retail experience, according to an online report.
  • The iPod maker began deploying the wireless, paperless credit card scanners at its retail stores earlier this year as part of its iPod Express checkout experience. Apple Geniuses equipped with an EasyPay system can process purchases from customers anywhere on the showroom floor -- effectively bringing the checkout counter to the customer rather than the other way around.

Visit Site

Mac Users and the Macs They Use

When you read the articles and weblog posts by prominent Mac users and Mac pundits, do you ever find yourself wondering what kind of computer setup they're using? Giles Turnbull does. He recently contacted a spat of Mac professionals and asked them what they depend on. Here's what they had to say.

Visit Site

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Anatomy Of A Hack - Step-By-Step Pen Test of a Windows Network

In this article Windows security gurus, Jesper Johansson and Steve Riley, examine in rather excruciating detail how a network may get hacked. A smaller and less detailed version was originally published in TechNet Magazine to rave reviews. Now a full chapter for their new book, it is yours for FREE. Enjoy and learn.

Visit Site

FBI looking to hire IT workers

The FBI is looking for a few good IT professionals to operate and maintain a robust, secure global IT infrastructure environment for the agency.

In an announcement last week, the agency said that it’s seeking to fill critical IT positions including computer scientists, computer engineers, IT specialists and IT project managers. Annual pay for the positions ranges from $35,452 to $135,136, based on experience and qualifications, with recruitment bonuses for the candidates who possess the most critical skills, the FBI said.

Visit Site

The Winning Ticket

After a fake craps dice prank on Thad during Haasfest 2004 was so successful, we had to come up with something for Haasfest 2005 that would top it. The idea was to pre-record a Texas Lotto drawing and save it on the TIVO.

Sand Game

Draw lines to alter the flow of various substances. Surprisingly addictive

Replacing the hardrive of an iPod

iPod a technology innovation that has taken the world by storm. Be it a technologist or a 5th grader everyone is using this small mp3 player to play their songs, yes now they can even play videos. However an iPod does not come with unlimited warranty if dropped. So here is a step-by-step guide on how to replace the hard drive of an iPod.

1. When I would start the ipod, I would get an icon of a folder and a warning sign. The ipod would then make a bunch of clicking noises. That make me think that the hard drive was crapped out.

Visit Site

Medicare drug benefit could do harm to poor, elderly, and disabled

A perspective article by Stephen Soumerai, professor in the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention (of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care), suggests that the new Medicare Drug Benefit may be harmful to the health of the poor, elderly, and disabled, the so-called "dually eligible" beneficiaries enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. This article appears in the Dec. 29 New England Journal of Medicine, and was lead by Rachel Elliott, a Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow at DACP.

The short time frame that dually eligible beneficiaries, currently about 7.2 million people, were given to choose and transition to a new drug formulary--only six weeks--raises several concerns, Soumerai writes. This includes the risk that beneficiaries may have difficulty transitioning and navigating the complex system.

"The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should commission rapid studies to examine the impact of formulary restrictions and changes in cost sharing on the use of essential medication and health outcomes," Soumerai writes. He suggests that CMS should also modify policies that cause underuse of essential medications or harmful health effects.

From Harvard medical School

Google Founders Invest in Movie

SFGate writes:

“[Larry Page and Sergey Brin] are executive producers of a low-budget, independent film to be released next year, ’Broken Arrows,’ written and directed by a friend of theirs, Reid Gershbein.”

Google is going into movies, they are every where.

Rain Design announces iWoofer for iPods

Rain Design has announced a new iPod speaker system for iPods. The iWoofer features an iPod dock with charging and synchronization, 2.1 Subwoofer speaker system with digital amplifier and bass control, FM radio with auto scan tuning, preset station and last station memory, telescopic antenna, blue halo lamp, AC or battery powered (4 AA), USB and audio in. The iWoofer comes in two models; iWoofer and iWoofer nano. The standard iWoofer fits all docking iPods including the iPod video, iPod mini and iPod shuffle. The iWoofer and iWoofer nano cost $129 and pre-orders are being taken with an expected ship date in the 2nd or 3rd week of January. [via iLounge]

Bay Area wages highest in nation

The Bay Area, heavy with technical and business management jobs, leads the nation in wages, with workers in the region earning 17 percent more than the national average, the U.S. Labor Department reported Wednesday.

The 10-county region -- which is also one of the most expensive places in the country to live -- has scored No. 1 in each of the studies conducted by the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics since its inception in 1988.

In the latest study, which examined the relative pay of jobs in 78 metropolitan areas in July of 2004, the Bay Area set the pace in four of nine occupational classifications, including "management, business and financial" and "professional and related" categories, which together encompass most high-tech jobs.

Bureau economist Amar Mann says paychecks of Bay Area workers are higher because the region's employers are heavily reliant on skilled workers, most of whom are highly educated. He says the region has a 60 percent higher concentration of jobs in the business and professional sectors than the rest of the country.

"The Bay Area's most heavily represented industries here are in management of companies and enterprises, professional and technical services like scientists, engineers and high-tech folks and in the information field like Web portals," Mann said. "We have more of those jobs here, and they tend to be higher-paying jobs."

But the high pay extended beyond such traditionally well-paying jobs as business managers and engineers. The Bay Area was also No. 1 in the office and administrative support and the installation, maintenance and repair categories. And it was second nationally in the service sector. [via]

PlayStation Graffiti Ads Spark

Sony Corp. scouted out an unusual place to advertise its PlayStation Portable before the holidays: the side of an abandoned building in a gritty North Philadelphia neighborhood.

The black-on-white graffiti shows wide-eyed cartoon characters riding the PlayStation like a skateboard, licking it like a lollipop or cranking it like a Jack-in-the-Box.

But there's no mention of the Sony or PlayStation brands -- nor any hint the wordless display is an ad.

The stealth marketing campaign has popped up in San Francisco, New York and other large U.S. cities. "It's all about hip-hop, urban and all that. They're just trying to get into the teenagers' minds," said Eddie Torres, 29, who works at a nearby furniture shop.

"I think it's sharp." Anti-blight advocates think otherwise. "They're breaking the law," said Mary Tracy, who runs the Society Created to Reduce Urban Blight, a watchdog group that fights illegal or ill-advised billboards in Philadelphia.

Tracy said Sony ignored the zoning process that regulates outdoor commercial advertising in the city. Philadelphia Managing Director Pedro Ramos on Wednesday faxed a cease-and-desist letter to Sony Computer Entertainment's U.S. division in San Mateo, Calif.

He could seek modest fines allowed by city code or sue to recover any profit the ads produced. "My fines aren't going to scare Sony," Ramos said. "What will worry them is what the parents and their users will think.

This really flies in the face of everything we've been trying to do with our anti-blight initiative." The Sony division did not immediately respond to the letter or to a telephone message left by The Associated Press.

However, Sony spokeswoman Molly Smith told an Internet news site earlier this month that Sony was hiring artists in seven cities -- Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago were the others -- to spray paint the pre-drawn designs.

"With PSP being a portable product, our target is what we consider to be urban nomads," Smith told Wired News. In San Francisco, the ads were defaced soon after they appeared as word spread that Sony was behind them. "Get out of my city!!!" and "Fony" were written on one.

NYC prepares for New Year's Eve

While another year comes to an end with change being the only constant, a few traditions still stand the test of time, such as the Times Square New Year's Eve crystal ball.

It is a tradition that is roughly 100 years old, with the very first New Year's Eve ball lowering celebration atop One Times Square taking place in 1907, while the first Times Square New Year's Eve celebration was held in 1904.

On Wednesday (December 28), a few days before the New Year's Eve, workers atop One Times Square installed the final light bulbs on the crystal ball. The exterior of the ball is illuminated by 168 Philips Halogena Brilliant Crystal light bulbs, exclusively engineered to enhance the crystal.

Watch the video

Fantasy vs. Reality - The truth about internet users

It's easy to be anything you want on the Internet -- this article takes away the disguises and helps get to the real person underneath.


Man buys his own stolen camera on eBay.

A German businessman whose camera was stolen was relieved to find the same model for sale on eBay. When it arrived after he bought it however, he discovered it was his OWN, stolen camera!

Visit Site

Dead or Alive 4 Slams into Stores

After a tumultuous and tortuous torrent of delays, the Xbox 360's premiere and sole fighting title, Dead or Alive 4, is finally scheduled for a definite release. The title will ship to stores on December 29, 2005. The Dead or Alive series had been the stalwart sovereign of the Xbox's fighting genre, and hopes to continue that tradition on Microsoft's newborn console.

For fans this should come as welcome news. After the initial tide of speculation and wonder quelled as the Xbox 360 finally released, Dead or Alive 4 was the next big thing on the horizon. The numerous delays and increasingly nebulous release date stirred a growing sense of frustration among gamers eager to play Tecmo's flashy fighter. With the announcement of an actual, official release date, fans need fret no longer.

From all the media that's been released it's obvious that DoA 4 is a particularly pretty title, but it also boasts a wide range of Xbox Live functionality. The game will feature simultaneous four player tag battles and up to 16 players online at once.

Earbud Headphones May Cause Hearing Loss

According to an AP report, the earbud headphones that are so popular for ipods and other portable devices may lead to hearing loss. From the article: "The big culprits aren't the devices themselves, but the tiny 'ear bud' style headphones that the music players use. 'Unfortunately, the earbuds are even more likely to cause hearing loss than the muff-type earphones that were used on Walkman and portable CD players.

Google 2006 Card

"Google tries to make some AdWords users happy by sending out New Year’s Cards. Gerard R. took a snapshot." [via Google Blogoscoped]

XM To Offer HD Sat Radio Stations

If you love your XM Satellite Radio now, you may fall deeper with the news of XM HD Surround stations and hi-def programming. Coming in March of 2006, with just a little more hardware from hardware companies like Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc., and Yamaha. you’ll be able to get 5.1 audio from the satellite radio company. Officially called XM HD Surround, it provides content with six discrete channels of digital full fidelity audio powered by Neural Audio technology. [via gizmodo]

Sites exploit Windows image flaw

Computer users are being alerted to a new flaw in Microsoft Windows which can be used to attack a PC.

The US net watchdog, the Computer Emergency Response Center (Cert), and security firms have issued warnings about certain types of image files called Windows Metafiles.

Experts said numerous websites were taking advantage of the flaw to sneak into computers and install spyware.

Microsoft has said it is looking into the issue.

Visit Site

Insult Apple

Apple Humor - This video contains explicit language, if you are under the age of 18 years, watch this at your own discreation. I do not take any resposibility of what happens after you watch the video.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

360 could have more games than ps3

This is based on the past history of consoles.

The reason ps1 and ps2 a;ways had so many games is because of popularity and developers saw it as easier to create for.

Now the 360 has that position, Most developers have already said the 360 will be alot easier to develop for than the ps3, and the 360 has an early start.

What this means is that sony won't have the upper hand in this next generation if MS plays their cards right.

360 is already getting alot of recognition in the development community as an easy less expensive console to create games for, and the ps3 will be more complicated and more expensive and time consuming to develop for.

Seeing how MS already has a good lineup of games ready, and MGS4 and a few of their other high profile titles probably won't come out on launch day, the future looks bright for the 360.

Lets hope MS has a battle plan ready.

Halo 3 is set to launch with PS3

I wonder about the validity of this article, since Halo is a Microsoft product so is the Xbox 360.

There has been more than a handful of rumors started up relating to how the release date of Halo 3 is planned with the release date of the Playstation 3 in the US. Xbox360Galaxy has just received some exciting information from what we believe to be a trustworthy source to help eliminate the vast amount of rumors.

Originally, back in the days before the Xbox360 launched, somehow the rumor began that Microsoft will attempt to release the latest version of their Halo series - Halo 3 - on the same day the playstation 3 releases, in order to create hysteria, as well as to try to hinder the sales of playstation 3's.

Next, it was believed that development of Halo 3 had been far behind schedule, and was not expected to be released with the playstation 3 in the spring of 2006, but rather in late summer or early fall of 2006.

Now, from our confidential source, we believe that product for Halo 3 is set to release alongside the playstation 3. There are still several questions that need to be answered, and when we asked our source, he would not answer them. The main question I am sure everyone wants to know, is how does it go from being months behind schedule, to being able to release so early?


Nissan and Microsoft Create Video Game Car

The Register reports that Microsoft and Nissan have created the first integrated gaming system within a vehicle. Not just in the vehicle, but the vehicle becomes part of the gaming system. From the article: "Conceived by Nissan Design America Inc. (NDA) and equipped with the Xbox 360 next-generation video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the Nissan URGE concept car allows drivers (while parked) to play 'Project Gotham Racing 3' using the car's own steering wheel, gas pedal and brake pedal while viewing the game on a flip-down seven-inch LCD screen," Nissan and Microsoft said in a statement.

US Govt. uses bit torrent?

Adam sez, "First Bittorrent hosted off a .gov domain. Tracks the releases of World Wind since it was saturating the bandwidth of the direct download." Link

[via boing boing]

15 Most Influential Games of All Time

An influential game is much more than the inclusion a new gameplay feature that then is duplicated in future games. An influential game must establish a paradigm that reforms entire genres or sets a precedent that is so advanced that future game developers are forced to follow it. When considering games that have been released within the last few years, it is important to separate those that were a novelty or only influenced a small sector of the video games industry from those that truly revolutionized and influenced all games.

With these prerequisites in mind, Pong is undoubtedly the most influential of all video games. It brought video games into the home for the first time and also established video games as a viable form of entertainment. Pong is the obvious first choice and therefore we've decided not to include it in our Top 15 list. You will find that our shortlist is composed primarily of older or pioneering games that were birthed in the arcades and whose concepts have withstood the test of time. There are countless modern games that will undoubtedly make the list a few years from now, but it's impossible to predict if features that we've found innovative in recent years will ever catch on with the mass market.

The List

NSA Web Site Puts 'Cookies' on Computers

The National Security Agency's Internet site has been placing files on visitors' computers that can track their Web surfing activity despite strict federal rules banning most of them.

These files, known as "cookies," disappeared after a privacy activist complained and The Associated Press made inquiries this week, and agency officials acknowledged Wednesday they had made a mistake. Nonetheless, the issue raises questions about privacy at a spy agency already on the defensive amid reports of a secretive eavesdropping program in the United States.

"Considering the surveillance power the NSA has, cookies are not exactly a major concern," said Ari Schwartz, associate director at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a privacy advocacy group in Washington, D.C. "But it does show a general lack of understanding about privacy rules when they are not even following the government's very basic rules for Web privacy."

Don Weber, an NSA spokesman, said in a statement Wednesday that the cookie use resulted from a recent software upgrade. Normally, the site uses temporary, permissible cookies that are automatically deleted when users close their Web browsers, he said, but the software in use shipped with persistent cookies already on.

"After being tipped to the issue, we immediately disabled the cookies," he said.

Cookies are widely used at commercial Web sites and can make Internet browsing more convenient by letting sites remember user preferences. For instance, visitors would not have to repeatedly enter passwords at sites that require them.

The government first issued strict rules on cookies in 2000 after disclosures that the White House drug policy office had used the technology to track computer users viewing its online anti-drug advertising.

Even a year later, a congressional study found 300 cookies still on the Web sites of 23 agencies. In 2002, the CIA removed cookies it had inadvertently placed at one of its sites after Brandt called it to the agency's attention.

Firefox Gets File Sharing Extension

Firefox finally has a good P2P extension.. "[It] incorporates peer-to-peer capabilities into the browser via a sidebar. AllPeers "combines the strength of Firefox and the efficiency of BitTorrent" to add media sharing to the long list of available extensions.

Sixth iPod nano lawsuit filed; Apple seeks to consolidate

A Baton Rouge, Louisiana woman has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple over the iPod nano’s proneness to scratching. Plaintiffs have now filed a total of six similar iPod nano lawsuits in California, New York and New Jersey.

“Apple marketed the nano—because it’s small and streamlined—to be used in outdoor activities and athletic activities,” said the woman’s lawyer, Philip Bohrer. “But these devices are not designed to withstand even routine use. There’s a flaw in the design that needs to be changed.”

In a memorandum seeking to consolidate all six federal class-action lawsuits and transfer them to the Northern District of California, Apple lawyer Penelope Preovolos said the company “denies that the iPod nano scratches excessively absent user abuse. The iPod nano is an extraordinarily popular and successful product and is free of defects.”

Class Action Lawsuit for PowerBook 15" RAM Issues

If you've had trouble with your PowerBook 15 Inch's RAM not being recognized with certain versions of OS X, be sure to check out this possible class action lawsuit. The problems seem to occur with the lower of the two memory slots in only the 15 inch models of PowerBooks. Many users first noticed this problem with an update to OS 10.3.9 and fewer reported problems with 10.4.0 and 10.4.1 all using automatic update. Apparently, the second memory slot becomes physically damaged with the upgrade. [via tuaw]

Woman May Not Have Meant to Swallow Phone

A woman who police thought deliberately tried to swallow her cell phone during an argument with her boyfriend was apparently the victim of an assault instead, authorities said.

Police have a suspect in the bizarre incident that sent the 24-year-old woman to the hospital last week, Sgt. Allen Kintz said. Police would not say whether the boyfriend was the suspect and would not explain exactly what they believe happened.

"It appears she didn't voluntarily swallow this phone," Kintz said. "It's not quite the way it was first portrayed."

Early Friday, police responded to a call from a Blue Springs man who said his girlfriend was having trouble breathing. Police arrived to find a woman with a cell phone lodged in her throat.
Police were initially told the boyfriend wanted the phone and the woman tried to swallow it so that he could not get it.

10 Biggest Microsoft Surprises of 2005

The Microsoft Watch has a top 10 list of the biggest Microsoft surprises of the year. Among the surprises are Internet Explorer rising from the dead, Microsoft gets RSS and Microsoft Office team blogging. From Microsoft Watch: MS 'gets' RSS: While some folks were less than overjoyed that Microsoft was tinkering with the "little orange RSS box," Microsoft ended up looking like a company with a clue when it came to outlining its company-wide RSS strategy in 2005. RSS support will be built into not just Internet Explorer 7.0, but also Outlook 12 and Windows Vista itself. Almost all Microsoft blogs and sites have RSS feeds these days. RSS is gospel in Redmond these days.

Xbox 360 costs $715 to make

Microsoft is losing upwards of $300 per console sold. "It costs Microsoft approximately $715 to make, the manufacturing costs are still too high, another reason why they’re producing relatively small quantities.'”

Visit Site

5 Very Good iTunes and iPod Hacks

Hadley Stern, author of iPod and iTunes Hacks, has chosen five useful hacks to help you push the envelope of your iPod's capabilities. Your favorite toy just got better; learn how to turn your iPod into a universal remote, install it in your car permanently, and run Linux on it. In addition, make smart playlists and tame iTunes with AppleScript.

Visit Site

Criminals target viruses for cash

At first glance 2005 looks like it was a quiet year for computer security because there were far fewer serious Windows virus outbreaks than in 2004.

According to figures gathered by security firm Symantec, there were 33 serious outbreaks in 2004. These are incidents measured by the number of people a virus infects or the severity of the damage they inflict.

In 2005, there were only six such incidents.

"We're talking about a substantial decrease in worldwide pandemics," said Kevin Hogan, senior manager in Symantec's security response team.

Visit Site

What googlers do for fun.

What do you do when you work for google and you get bored? Order silly putty of course!

Visit Site

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

LG to make IT products more affordable

MUMBAI: K R Kim, the head honcho of the Korean durables major LG India for nine years, will continue as the managing director of the company.

Confirming the move, Mr Kim told ET that the next growth agenda for the company includes capturing leadership positions in communication and IT products like mobile phones, laptops, PCs, monitors and other peripherals by implementing an affordability strategy used for driving growth of its durables brand.

The market had been abuzz with speculations of Mr Kim taking up an assignment in Korea, China and even the US. The parent company was expected to announce the appointment of M B Shin, currently deputy managing director, as the new managing director.

The Rs 6,500-crore Korean chaebol had recently done away with its affordability strategy and implemented a premium strategy in the durables market following a global directive to chase value growth and improve profitability.

The Korean chaebol has formed a core team named the Blue Ocean strategy department in India, which will look at untapped opportunities in various segments in the quest for next phase of growth.

Coke + Coffee = Coca Cola Blak

According to a news release from Coca-Cola, they are about to launch a new soft drink in January starting in France. I’m a bit sceptical to this mix between coffee and cola, but the bottle is beautiful.

Coca-Cola Blāk [fosfor]

Scientists Discover a Gene That Regulates Lifespa

Genes that control the timing of organ formation during development also control timing of aging and death, and provide evidence of a biological timing mechanism for aging, Yale researchers report in the journal Science.

“Although there is a large variation in lifespan from species to species, there are genetic aspects to the processes of development and aging,” said Frank Slack, associate professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and senior author of the paper. “We used the simple, but genetically well-studied, C. elegans worm and found genes that are directly involved in determination of lifespan. Humans have genes that are nearly identical.”


Europe set to launch Galileo era

Europe's global satellite-navigation system, Galileo, comes a step nearer on Wednesday with the launch of its first demonstrator spacecraft.

The demonstrator, built in the UK by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, will test key components in the Galileo network, notably its atomic clocks.

It also has the job of securing the radio frequencies allocated to the project under international agreements.

The Galileo project is costing some 3.4bn euros (£2.3bn; $4bn) in public and private finance. It is the biggest space project ever undertaken in Europe, and will eventually comprise a constellation of 30 satellites.

Giove-A has been designed and built by SSTL in under three years, a remarkably short timeframe for what is essentially an experimental spacecraft.

"Three years ago I did a sketch of what I thought we could do," recalled John Paffett, projects director with SSTL."

The 30 satellites- 27 active spacecraft and three spares - will be put in three orbital planes straddling the globe.

"We are aiming to provide one-metre, worldwide accuracy through Galileo's 'open' service - this is not possible today without regional or local augmentation," said Esa's Galileo project manager, Javier Benedicto.

Analysts expect there to be a boom in sat-nav markets as the functionality and internet-linked applications are incorporated into mobile phones.

"With this first satellite, we can say Galileo is on track," said Giuseppe Viriglio, Esa's director of European Union and industrial programmes.

"We will be able to test the most critical technologies that are required if we want to get the performance we are looking for. This satellite will also mark the first step in a long list of launches.

New era heralded for mobile TV

TV on mobiles is being touted as the next big thing, with supporters predicting it will offer a new genre of programmes.
  • While some have expressed doubts about whether people will want to watch TV on their mobiles, handset giant Nokia and leading independent TV producer Endemol are convinced it will be a winner.
  • Initial signs, both say, are that mobile TV will be a huge hit with consumers, a big money-spinner for content providers and mobile operators as well as a means of transforming TV as it currently exists.

Visit Site

Need a OBD-2 Program to pull Toyota codes using the ISO-COM cable

Is there any shareware out there that will let me pull codes from a Toyota RAV4? I have the OBD cable for my laptop and the VAGCOM shareware for the VW. Does the same type of program exist for Toyotas?

Answer -
  • Generic OBD-II functionality is "Supported" only on VW, Audi, Seat, and Skoda cars. It will likely work on many other brands of cars. We'd be happy to receive feedback as to what other brands and models of cars it does and does not work on, however, we do not feel obligated to make it work on other manufacturer's cars.
  • Generic OBD-II functionality is limited to cars using ISO 9141-2 ("CARB"), ISO 14230 ("KWP-2000") and ISO-15765 ("CAN") protocols. Our interfaces do not support the SAE J1850-VPW and J1850-PWM protocols used by most US-market GM and Ford products, so this cannot work on those cars. Most early (1996-2000) OBD-II compatible Chrysler cars used ISO-9141-2. Many newer Chrysler cars use SAE-J1850 and are incompatible. Most European and Asian cars use ISO and should be compatible. In US models, Generic OBD-II compatiblilty was required as of model year 1996. In Canada, 1998. In the European Market, 2001 (gasoline-powered) and 2004 (diesel-powered).

iPods push to best holiday season ever

With iPods dominating its electronics section, said that this year’s holiday shopping season was its best ever. The online retailer said the black 4GB iPod nano, the black 30GB video iPod and the 512MB iPod shuffle were the top three best-selling electronics products. Amazon also said more than 108 million items were ordered for the holiday season, noting that its busiest day was December 12th, when 3.6 million items, or 41 items per second, were ordered.

GT legends - One of the best car racing games

10tacle studios today announced that GT Legends, the new racing game in the works atSimBin, will hit the store shelves at the beginning of October 2005. Trying to recreate the period of great racing adventures of the 60s and 70s, the game is built on a new engine, hence improved graphics and features over 90 GT and touring cars of the past generations, like the Austin Mini Cooper S, the Ford Capri or the Mercedes 300 SL.

Britain to monitor EVERY car journey

Two recently syndicated articles by journalist Steve Connor serve to highlight just how far the British Government has progressed in its quest to monitor the movements of its citizens.

The articles entitled Britain will be first country to monitor every car journey and Surveillance UK: why this revolution is only the start begin by detailing the UK Government’s plans for a network of tens of thousands of cameras that automatically read the number plate of every car passing them, hence constructing a massive database of every vehicle’s movements so police can analyse any journey a driver has made in the previous five years – computers capable of adding together thousands of exact times and locations of a vehicle every time it takes to the roads.

Within three months, the computers will be storing 35 million number-plate reads per day and the plan calls for the network to be massively increased in the number of data collection points, with service stations, local traffic authority cameras and supermarket carparks to be added. The second article suggests the scheme will inevitably be broadened to incorporate facial recognition and a much greater number of data points.

How to rip a DVD: A Tutorial

"Ripping a DVD to xvid or divx avi is really quite easy, if you have the right tools. You’ll first need to download DVD decrypter and auto gordian knot (autogk). DVD decrypter allows you to rip the raw DVD video and audio data off of your disk drive, decrypt the CSS protection, and finally remove any other protection schemes, such as Macrovision. AutoGK is a package of codecs and a GUI interface that will take the raw DVD data through an AV processing pipeline to produce a single windows video file."

Visit Site

Xbox 360 spurs hackers

Those hackers from team PI have released the Xbox 360 experience kiosk demo disc as an ISO. They say this demo contains no media protection and therefore it will run on the Xbox 360 when burned to a DVD-R disc. The disc contains playable demo's on the disk such as Call of Duty 2, which could also be hackable, as PI speculates.

Top 50 Inventions - Scientific & Technological

In the past half-century, scientific and technological advances have transformed our world. PM convened a panel of 25 experts to identify innovations that have made the biggest impact, from the hospital to outer space to the kitchen. Here, then, are the breakthroughs of our time.

Visit Site

25 Most Interesting Web Cams of 2005

These Web Cams have been selected from a vast pile of cams. From the list it definitely looks like these fortunate 25 deserve this acknowledgement.

Visit Site

Amazon reports record holiday sales

Online retailers are enjoying a cheerful holiday season, with industry leader reporting record sales during the period.

Through Dec. 22, sales for the industry were up 24 percent from the previous year to $17.5 billion, according to ComScore Networks Inc. By the end of the month, Internet sales are expected to reach $19 billion.

Amazon, the online retailing giant in Seattle, said Monday that it sold a record 108 million products from Nov. 1 to Dec. 25, boosted by big demand for such items as Apple iPod portable music players and "The Chronicles of Narnia" paperback book set. The company did not report holiday sales figures last year.

Sales peaked Dec. 12 with a single day record of 3.6 million items ordered, equal to 41 items per second, according to Amazon. The date illustrates a trend in online retailing for busy Mondays, apparently reflecting people's tendency to shop by computer at work after a weekend spent at bricks-and-mortar stores.

Amazon topped the list of most visited e-commerce sites during the holidays, followed by Best Buy,, eBay and Target, according to a survey by Majestic Research.

Amazon's happy holidays

As electronic commerce boomed this holiday, reported a record 108 million orders. Some of the season's highlights:

-- Busiest day: 3.6 million orders on Dec. 12
-- Number of countries shipped to: 200
-- Number of gift certificates: 600,000
-- Most expensive item sold: $94,000 diamond earrings
-- Big sellers: Apple iPods; "Star Wars, Episode II - Revenge of the Sith" DVD; candy cane shower gel from Philosophy


Panasonic begins pilot production of 50-GIGABYTE Blu-ray Discs

Panasonic has modified its existing pilot production line for single-layer Blu-ray Discs, called BD-ROM, so that it is able to replicate dual-layer BD-ROM discs with 50 gigabytes (GB) of storage capacity. The 5 TB drives are still five years away, but the new pilot replication line is happening NOW at the Panasonic Disc Manufacturing Corporation of America, located in Torrance, California and is sure to be one of the talking points of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week (January 5-8, 2006). Single-layer Blu-ray Discs have 25 GB of storage capacity for holding video and other data, while current DVD discs have 8.5 GB of storage at most.

The doubling of BD-ROM disc storage capacity is enabled by spin coating technologies developed by Panasonic that create two recorded layers on a single side of a Blu-ray Disc. In the process, readily available inexpensive UV curable resins are used in the creation of the space layer, cover layer and hard-coat, resulting in a reduction in disc replication costs. Video and other data is then embedded in the layers for playback later using a blue laser-equipped Blu-ray Disc player, recorder or BD-ROM drive-equipped PC.

The Torrance pilot production line is able to produce dual-layer BD-ROM discs with the attachment of a dual-layer replication line module to the existing single-layer line. Single-layer BD-ROM discs are currently being produced on the pilot line with more than 80% yield rates. Panasonic expects to provide sample dual-layer BD-ROM discs to the industry for testing by the end of this month.

The additional capacity will allow movies and other High Definition video titles to be stored, along with value-added features, on a single Blu-ray Disc. The BD-ROM format is expected to succeed DVDs as the preferred medium for High Definition movies and other packaged entertainment content for the home as the nation moves from analog TV to digital and High Definition Television. [via gizmag]

Red Vs Blue

Episode 61 of the fourth season of Red vs Blue -

Gmail Celebrates The Holidays

Google has created a “Yule Log” for Gmail, saying, “This holiday season,we hope yule log-in to Gmail.” Corny, but sweet.

Below the Flash animation, it says:

  • Here’s to making our world a little smaller, a little warmer,and to bringing all our friends and family a little closer.
    Happy Holidays from the Gmail Team!

[via Inside Google]

The Pleasure-o-Matic

What if there were a device that could bring you instant euphoria at the push of a button, with none of the chemical side effects of drugs? Such a device exists, but it's not something we're allowed to have. Should happiness be just a push-button away?

Visit Site

Apple Wireless Earbuds?

We're not really quite sure what this means, but it could be a clue as to what Jobs and Co. have up their sleeves for MacWorld Expo in two weeks. A TUAW reader visited the Apple Store in Japan recently and found the employees all wearing maroon T-shirts with the slogan, "Luck is in the Air". On the computers in the store was a screensaver displaying the same theme with a picture of an iPod as the middle of a flower and earbuds floating away from the center, as a flower releases pollen. [via tuaw]

Top 10 tech trends for 2006

Once again, it's time for's annual look into a crystal ball for technology trends in 2006. Never mind that the smartest people in tech wouldn't dare make serious predictions about what innovations will catch fire next year. We make a humble try anyway.

Video -- in the form of your favorite TV dramas or Hollywood hit movies -- will come to the big screen in your living room and to the small screen on your cell phone. Whenever you want it. No need to mess around with time-shifting TV devices or mail-order flicks.

Wireless networks, already common, will spread so rapidly in 2006 that it will blanket entire cities like San Francisco and Philadelphia. Although WiFi will still dominate as the most common way to connect your laptop computer to the Internet, WiMax will emerge. Already being tested extensively in the United States and abroad, WiMax can carry Internet signals across miles, rather than hundreds of feet as with WiFi.Some predict we'll live in a world served by a global WiMax network that connects us all 24/7.

First there were WiFi hotspots, then hot zones. Now entire cities such as Philadelphia and San Francisco are working to offer free or cheap WiFi to all their residents in 2006.


Top 10 tech trends for 2006

Once again, it's time for's annual look into a crystal ball for technology trends in 2006. Never mind that the smartest people in tech wouldn't dare make serious predictions about what innovations will catch fire next year. We make a humble try anyway.

Video -- in the form of your favorite TV dramas or Hollywood hit movies -- will come to the big screen in your living room and to the small screen on your cell phone. Whenever you want it. No need to mess around with time-shifting TV devices or mail-order flicks.

Wireless networks, already common, will spread so rapidly in 2006 that it will blanket entire cities like San Francisco and Philadelphia. Although WiFi will still dominate as the most common way to connect your laptop computer to the Internet, WiMax will emerge. Already being tested extensively in the United States and abroad, WiMax can carry Internet signals across miles, rather than hundreds of feet as with WiFi.Some predict we'll live in a world served by a global WiMax network that connects us all 24/7.

First there were WiFi hotspots, then hot zones. Now entire cities such as Philadelphia and San Francisco are working to offer free or cheap WiFi to all their residents in 2006.


Intel unveils first 65nm processor Pentium D 955

Today, Intel announced the flagship of the upcoming second-generation Pentium D 900, code-named Presler: The Pentium D 955 rings in the transition from a 90 to a 65 nm production process and the final stage of the aging "NetBurst" architecture.

Prices of retail versions of the 65 nm processors range from about $270 for the Pentium D 920 to about $660 for the Pentium D 950. The flagship, named Pentium Extreme Edition 955, is listed from about $1100.

However, sales representatives for several stores told us that the processors are "not in stock," but are expected to be available soon. "Typically, when we put a product online in this fashion, it means that we will be shipping it within 7 to 10 days," a PCMall sales representative said.

These prices reflect slight premium of Intel's OEM pricing, which considers pricing of processors in 1000-unit quantities. According to sources, Intel will sell the 3.4 GHz model 950 for $637, the 3.2 GHz 940 for $423, the 3 GHz 930 for $316 and the 2.8 GHz 920 for $241. The Pentium Extreme Edition 955 is expected to cost $999.

Rumors spreading across the blogosphere regarding Macworld 2006

Macworld an event that not only gives us valuable resources that helps us use our “Macs” to its fullest potential, but also keeps us informed of the latest, newly announced products at this # 1 event. Other than this it also provides a unique atmosphere offering forums and other opportunities to network with like-minded Mac enthusiasts and Professionals.

Well as the Macworld is getting closer and closer there have been a lot of rumors that have been spreading around, let’s clarify –

Intel iBook – There is a very high possibility of the next gen Apple iBook to be unveiled at the Macworld event. Next iBook which is expected to be much cheaper and a whole lot faster, with a longer battery life, also which is supposed to be much lighter and slicker. There is also another noticeable change in the screen size, which is coming down from a 14” screen to a 13” widescreen, but the 12” is supposed to stay the same.

iWork 06 – Also iWork an application which is a bit more easier to use, compared to iLife 05 is also set to be introduced at the Macworld. Numbers, an application that used primarily as a spreadsheet app, is also expected to be introduced at the Macworld and is said to be bundled into iWork 06.

Mac Mini update – Moreover an interesting update to the Mac Mini by allowing it to record TV shows, in some form acting like a TIVO. Moreover there are chances that it may include an iPod dock, which may be a Media Center Mac Mini. Let’s wait and watch if this is unveiled.

iSight – This is going to be upgraded at Macworld. Steve Jobs has mentioned that the iSight which is inside the iMacs, even though they are much smaller in size than the normal iSight, it has better functionality when compared to the Normal iSght.

Smaller iPod Shuffle – Another change in their iPod line!! Apple is reporting that they are out of stock of the 1 GB shuffle, and will not be able to ship until mid-January. The new iPod Shuffle is supposed to be a little smaller when compared to its elder brother, but when it comes to memory there won’t be any signs of change.

Niftier Might Mouse – Might Mouse which had been released on August 2nd, was sleek and looked cool when it came out, not anymore. There have been a lot of positive as well as negative reviews about this next gen “Mouse”. Many are complaining that the “Side buttons are too firm”. Also some features that could be added would be to make it wireless – Bluetooth compatible. Come on we live in a wireless age, that wouldn’t be to much to ask for!!

Intel Powerbook – Apple lovers definitely want to see a better upgrade done to the Powerbook, since it is bound for one. But would we see one, probably not at the current moment. Apple would upgrade them during the late half of 2006 or during the early phase of 2007.

GPS Finds the Mainstream

New York-based Mexens Technology LLC announced this week the official launch of its peer-to-peer GPS network Navizon, which the company has been testing since August.

Navizon enables drivers and pedestrians to navigate cities wirelessly. It works by synchronizing Wi-Fi and cellular signals to a central repository, offering public access to GPS data for major cities in the United States.

The software-based positioning service doesn't require a dedicated GPS device. It is compatible with Windows Mobile devices—including Pocket PCs and PDAs—or on cell phones that use Symbian Ltd.'s operating system.

Once installed, the application automatically maps the local landscape by calculating specific locations for all wireless access points and cell phone towers in the area.
At the same time, the software syncs to Navizon's Network Server to retrieve data from other users.

"Instead of satellite signals typically used by GPS devices, Navizon uses signals from nearby Wi-Fi and cellular towers," said Cyril Houri, founder and CEO of Mexens Technology. "By looking at the surrounding wireless landscape, the device knows where users are located and can thereby offer location-based services."

Navizon utilizes a P2P system to make available a communal database that houses positioning information for most major metropolitan areas in the United States. Each time a user synchronizes with the system, any new data is instantly saved.

The Navizon software is available to consumers as a free download. Mexens also offers a Solo Pocket PC Client application for customers who don't want to share data through the member network. Navizon Solo retails for $19.99.

The Hard Drive Coffee Table

The Hard Drive Coffee Table might itself be amazing enough as is, were it not for the fact that it's actually a proper Control Data Corporation 6603 Disk File Controller from Bryant-Excello circa 1967. And if you used some hot compression, you might even be able to fit all the data from this very post on that 19.5KB 27-inch platter, assuming you could prevent head crashes and managed to keep your coffee saucers from spinning off. Ok, who got the WOPR baker's oven?

[via Engadget]

Nokia Sees 3G Handset Sales Doubling in 2006

HELSINKI (Reuters)—Nokia expects good growth in third generation (3G) mobile handset sales next year with global volumes set to double, Chief Financial Officer Rick Simonson said on Friday.

"We expect the devices to double in volume in 06," Simonson said in an interview with CNBC, when asked about the outlook for 3G handsets, which enable fast data connections and more sophisticated functions like video calls.

U.S.-based rival Motorola Inc.'s mobile devices head Ron Garriques said in an interview published earlier this week that he expected increasing sales of 3G phones in 2006, but did not see it as a breakthrough year for the 3G market.

Simonson also repeated the Finnish company's forecast for handset sales volumes overall to grow by more than 10 percent in 2006.

"You're looking at approaching 900 million plus units next year," he told CNBC.

Nokia has forecast global mobile phone sales from all handset makers to total 780 million units for 2005.

ATI Radeon X800 GTO Mini Roundup: Sapphire, Connect3D, and PowerColor

Mid-range graphics cards are becoming more and more abundant on today's market from both NVIDIA and ATI. The market has become a little bit congested with cards like the X800 GT, X800, X800 XL, and four flavors of the scarce X1600. Many might want to read about hardware on the high-end, but what most people are actually buying is in the mid-range. And thus, we are taking a look at one of the best mid-range cards around. With all the clutter and options out there, it can be hard to figure out what to buy. Nevertheless, those who subscribe to the "more-is-better" philosophy will appreciate yet another mid-range graphics card from ATI called the Radeon X800 GTO.

For this review, we'll take a look at four different variations of the X800 GTO, two of which are by Sapphire, and all interestingly different from each other. The first is the Sapphire X800 GTO Ultimate, which is a silent version of the GTO; the second, the Sapphire X800 GTO2 (pronounced GTO "squared"), a limited edition part that has received a lot of attention due to its alleged overclocking abilities. The third and fourth cards that we'll look at are the Connect3D X800 GTO and the PowerColor X800 GTO 16. All of these cards are excellent graphics solutions, but most of them have features that set them distinctly apart from the eachother.

The GTO has been out a little while now and we've been interested in taking a look at some of them. We can assure you that they are pretty decent, but we'll let you know just how good these cards really are considering the performance and cost. Value is what it's about and we will be looking at how each of these four GTOs stack up against each other and some other graphics cards as well. As usual, we will be doing extensive performance tests, as well as overclocking and power consumption tests to see what these cards are capable of.

Now without further ado, let's look at the cards.


Bad days ahead for GM

General Motors Corp. said Friday it is expanding an earlier recall of sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks to include another 553,000 vehicles because of potential problems with brakes.

Unwanted application of the anti-lock brake system in some vehicles can cause increased stopping distances during low-speed braking, GM spokesman Alan Adler said.

GM in August recalled 804,000 full-size pickup trucks and SUVs in 14 states for the same problem.

Visit Site

Apple juggernaut shows no sign of waning

Apple introduced its video iPod in 2005. The MP3 player holds 150 hours of video on a 2.5-inch color display. -- January 11: Introduces the iPod shuffle, Apple's first flash memory-based audio player; introduces the book-sized $499 Mac mini.

Visit Site

Sirius Tops 3 Million Subscribers

Satellite radio provider Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. said Tuesday it recently topped more than 3 million subscribers to its service and expects a strong finish for the year.

Sirius sells more than 120 channels of commercial-free music, talk shows and other programming to subscribers. The company, which recently launched a Martha Stewart channel and agreed to a multimillion deal with Howard Stern, didn't provide additional information about its subscriber count or expectations for the year in its statement Tuesday.

Rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. has more than 5 million U.S. subscribers.

[via Chicago Tribune]

City of San Francisco asks for Wi-Fi proposals

San Francisco, California is looking for bids to build a city-wide Wi-Fi network, which will be used to provide residents with affordable--possibly free--Internet connectivity. The proposals from ISPs are due to the city by February 21, 2006.

The Request For Proposal (RFP) leaves it open to how the network will be operating, and whether it will be municipally owned, privately owned, or a hybrid. The network would cover at least 95% of the city, with a minimum bandwidth of 1Mbps per user. Regarding security, the city is looking for both WEP and WPA support. Other services would also be allowed over the network, left at the disposal of the winning ISP.

Shake Rocks Ape

If all you wanted for Christmas was a giant ape holding a beautiful woman atop a landmark building on a superwide screen, this holiday has certainly turned out for you. “King Kong” roared into theaters just in time for the holiday, carrying big name talent, Oscar buzz and eye-bending special effects.

The visual effects were created by Weta Digital, the same company that did the effects for Kong director Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. And as it did for “Rings,” Weta used Shake as its primary compositing tool on “King Kong.”

Welford, who has used Shake since it came out, says the product was perfect for their task. “Personally, I’m a big fan of the node-based compositing. It’s a lot more logical and it allows for you to change things quickly, so you can experiment and jump around to different parts of the tree.

You’re not locked into pre-rendering elements and then working on those pre-renders.”

Another advantage of Shake was its ability to work with independent bit depth images.”You can have an 8-bit file, a 16-bit file and a float file and Shake will resolve and comp them all together,” he says.

[via Apple]

All Peers - Best thing to Happen to Firefox

All Peers is a firefox extension(tetsing phase) that lets you - unleash your online experience and add multimedia sharing capabilititie;share private photos;share your videos without uploading. Nice Gui, Private and Secure.

Visit Site

Astronomers spot rare meteor collision on Moon

Astronomers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., have recorded a small but powerful meteoroid strike in the night on the moon’s surface.

On Nov. 7, using a 10-inch-diameter telescope, astronomers recorded a tiny blip northwest of Mare Imbrium, the moon's "Sea of Showers." Such impacts are not uncommon, but it was only in 1999 that scientists first recorded a lunar strike as it happened.

"People just do not look at the moon anymore," said Dr. Robert Suggs, Space Environment team lead in the Natural Environments Branch of the Marshall Center's Engineering Directorate. "We tend to think of it as a known quantity. But there is knowledge still to be gained here."

As NASA plans to return to the moon, the agency has a need to understand what happens after lunar impacts in order to protect lunar explorers. On Earth, the atmosphere vaporizes most small meteoroids, leaving nothing behind but a brief streak of light. The vacuum environment on the moon, however, means there is nothing to slow incoming meteoroids before they strike.

"The likelihood of being struck by a meteoroid on the lunar surface is very, very small," said Bill Cooke, an astronomer in Marshall's Meteoroid Environment Office. "The challenge is learning what happens to high-velocity ejecta, the debris kicked up by a meteoroid strike, which is not hindered by atmospheric friction or Earth gravity. What threat does that debris pose to humans or equipment?" + Bill Cooke discusses the lunar meteor strike (MP3 audio).

Suggs, who heads the impact study, used commercial software tools to study the video frame by frame, and spotted a very bright flash. The burst of light diminished gradually over the course of five video frames, each 1/30th of a second in duration. Suggs called in Cooke, and both scientists agreed that the bright light was an impact flash, captured by video from some 248,000 miles away.

Immediately, the team began ruling out other possible causes. Two telling characteristics won out -- the gradual diminishment of the flash rather than an on-off "winking" effect, and its motionlessness. A flicker of light from a moving satellite, Cooke noted, would have appeared to shift perceptibly, even in five brief frames of video.

Suggs and Cooke next consulted star charts and lunar imaging software and determined the meteoroid was likely a Taurid, part of an annual meteor shower active at the time of the strike. Based on the amount of light produced the object was roughly five inches in diameter, traveling more than 60,000 mph, and may have gouged a crater nearly 10 feet in diameter out of the moon's surface.

The Taurids, which approach Earth from the direction of the Taurus constellation, are believed to be ancient remnants of comet Encke, which orbits the Sun every 3.3 years.

NASA scientists previously studied lunar meteor strikes during the Apollo moon program, but lacked the sophisticated video cameras and high-powered image processors to capture the tiny, telling flashes. Now, however, as NASA readies its next-generation spaceship to carry explorers back to the moon for potential long-term stays, Suggs and Cooke say lunar impact research is more vital than ever.

[via NASA]

10 Secret Ways Of Getting Your Website Listed on Google

"These ways of getting listed on (tm) the quick and easy way are the fruits of my labor since I started way back in 1993 on the Internet. I should have sold these secrets to you and make a couple of bucks. But I value what God had said to me that if I give I will receive.. good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. So those are the terms when you use this article God will pay me for it. So here are 10 secrets on how to get listed on"

Visit Site

How To Log On To Windows If You Forget Your Password

"It is not something that happens very often but it might happen to you at some point. if you forget your Windows XP password or your password expires and you cannot create a new one there are several ways you can regain access to your computer, from using password reset disc, thru changing passwords via a different account to password recovery and password cracking tools."


How to become an independent programmer in just 1068 days

Becoming a programmer is not an easy task, regardless to say being an independent programmer is even harder. One has to set objectives, and of course accomplish them during the process. Well here is a true story of a person who did just that, he went on to becoming a self-employed programmer.

Here is his story -

If you watch the Evening at Adler video you'll come across a part where some of the guys on the panel talk about how much it costs to make the transition to doing the independent macintosh programmer thing. Specifically Jason Harris who apparently went deep into credit card debt when making the jump. He's out of debt now, but.... yikes.

When I started writing software on the side for fun, it never really crossed my mind that I would be able to to support myself and do it full time. Of course, the dream was there in the back of my head, but I didn't think it was actually attainable. I figured my best bet was to become a good enough programmer to work for a decent mac company some day.


Justice Department Reveals Social Security Numbers

A document on the Justice Department Executive Office for Immigration Review's site listed the name and Social Security number of a woman involved in a 2003 immigration review case. Other searches of the site yielded more Social Security numbers and identifying information.
  • The federal government is responsible for issuing Social Security numbers, but it may not be doing enough to protect these critically personal pieces of information on its own Web sites. Acting on a tip, InformationWeek was able to access Web pages that include the names and Social Security numbers of people involved in Justice Department-related legal actions. It's a discomforting discovery at a time when identity theft and fraud are on the rise.

Visit Site

Monday, December 26, 2005

Faceplate for Xbox360 controller

Xtreme Enterprise has come out with this top case replacement for those Xbox 360 controllers in some cool names :
  • Fantasy Bleu East (semi-transparent)
  • Fantasy Clear West (semi-transparent)
  • Fantasy Black North (opaque)
  • Fantasy Crimson South (opaque)
  • Fantasy Plata Mid (Liquid chrome)
  • Fantasy Platinum D (Liquid platinum)

They are made from a composite ABS (for durability) and polycarbonate material with chrome and platinum furnishings. You can even add your name on it on the Gamertag section.

  • The Xbox Live Gamertag slot allows you to stick your printed gamertags on to define your online identity and also to make sure that your beloved controller does not get mixed up with your friends. A cool and necessary feature for all Xbox Live fans.

Project Fantasy360 Faceplate for Xbox360 controller site

Flickr blocked in Dubai

Bad news for Middle East bloggers, favored photo-site of the blogosphere Flickr has been blocked by government censors in Dubai. No official word yet as to why, but try typing words like Porn and Sex into Flickr for a better idea….interesting that people knock Google Base for hosting porn and yet no one ever seems to mention Yahoo!

(via Joi Ito)

Top 10 interesting people in the Blogosphere in 2005

Did you make it on the list -

A revisit of 2005 in a list of the Top 10 interesting people in the Blogosphere in 2005.

you have to read the rest.

iTunes: Easy to use, or not?

iTunes review from a user's perspective.

OK, I never expected to post anything on Christmas, but my wife is putting the kids to bed, so I turned on the PowerBook and found an interesting debate. First, Dave Winer posted a fairly accurate criticism of Apple iTunes, which he berated for being inscrutable. I like and use iTunes, but Winer's right:

  • The user interface on iTunes is awful. It’s the worst piece of crap I’ve ever used. People would tell me when I was a Windows user that it was because the Windows version of iTunes is crap but the Mac version is easy. Well, both programs are head-up-butt impossible to figure out. The user model makes no sense.

Visit Site

Top 10 Things You Don't Want to Forget before You Build

There's no worse time to realize you've forgotten something than when you need it in order to be able to proceed with the job. Things seem to be coming together well and you feel you're on a roll, and then you find you need something small but important, and the job is delayed until you can get it. Not having everything ready can cause big delays. At minimum, it's a delay until you can take a trip to the local computer store; at most, it's a wait of a few days while you have to wait for it to be delivered. A wait of a few hours is disruptive enough, but a wait of a few days can really put your PC project off course.

So, be prepared and get everything ready before you start. In this feature, we're going to look at the top 10 things people forget when building a PC.

This feature is to prepare you so that your build doesn't get delayed by making simple mistakes!


Debut of the Original Ipod

Ever wonder what it would be like to see the Ipod's debut online back in 2001? Well here it is courtesy of the Wayback Machine.

Visit Site

Google buys Amazon? Microsoft buys Friendster? The WWW in 2014

Very nice 8 min flash movie by the Museum of Media History. It shows the development of the www from the 90s till today and goes on till 2014. They predict that Google joins forces with Amazon - GOOGLEZONE.


Ten HDTV Myths

The world of high-definition television can be as confusing as it is alluring. If you're ready to make the leap, we have the facts you need.

Plasma TV sets start out bright and beautiful, but burn out to an early death. Every single high-definition television program looks equally crisp and gorgeous. The higher resolution of a 1080p high-def set means that your shows and DVDs will always look better than on a more ordinary 720p set.

Are these gospel truths about HDTV? Nope. Just a sampling of the many popular factoids, half-truths, and myths that can make choosing and enjoying a high-def television set complicated and confusing--and in some cases, needlessly expensive.

Visit Site

Dancing Robots

Four dancing robots bust their moves to some music. Technology ROCKS!!!

Visit Site

Understanding Tsunamis

The tsunami that devastated parts of Asia on December 26, 2004, brought worldwide attention to a dangerous natural phenomenon. To give your students a scientific perspective on tsunamis and a geographic understanding of Asia, Discovery Education has prepared video resources and discussion topics to use in the classroom. Incorporating this material into your instruction will help you answer many questions students may have about this historic geological event.

Take a look at the video on,

How Tsunamis are formed

Xbox 360: Back to the Drawing Board

After a month with the Xbox 360, I'm ready to talk about all the mistakes that the Microsoft Xbox 360 team made in developing their console. The feedback is designed to be constructive.

View the drawing board

Coolest gadgets of the future

Here's looking at some of the technologies, which are likely to dominate the technology landscape in future...

Nokia Strapup

Nokia Strapup isn't really a phone. It's a device that you program with personal movements or gestures to trigger relevant text messages. For example, when you dance, your motion prompts the transmission of text that lists nearby nightclubs to friends. The idea is to allow you to communicate without wasting precious time talking -- or typing.

Some other cool gadgets

Intel may get a new tag line

Motherboards don’t look, I’m changing! ‘Intel Inside’, the iconic logo of the world’s most dominant semiconductor manufacturing company, which has imprinted itself on the consciousness of consumers across the globe, is likely to undergo a transformation early in the new year, according to industry sources.

The new identity is expected to be unveiled in the first week of January, most likely with a new advertising campaign. The change will be announced worldwide simultaneously. A section of Intel’s top brass is expected in Singapore after January 3 to oversee the changes in the Asia-Pacific region, including India.

Some sources in Intel whom ET spoke to say that a change is in the offing, and internal documents are learnt to have already started using the new logo.

“It’s very hush-hush, but a major rollout of the new logo will be under way in the first week of January,” said an industry source.

The ‘Intel Inside’ logotype was introduced way back in 1991. The new design looks similar, with some slight changes in the way the circle is designed, and the removal of the word “inside” from the logotype.

Software Notebook: Designing people-friendly systems

At the University of Toronto in the 1970s, Bill Buxton made a point of choosing a very technical name for his computer science initiative -- the Structured Sound Synthesis Project.

"It was getting funded from science money, so we couldn't call it a music synthesizer," he explained, laughing. "It was a really awkward way of saying music. But it sounded very scientific."

Given the outcome, the people who funded the project would probably forgive him. The creation of that early digital synthesizer turned Buxton from a career in music to one in human-computer interaction. He became a leading expert in that field, working with Silicon Graphics, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and others.

Now, he'll be applying his expertise to projects at Microsoft, where he was named a senior researcher last week. The company, which has lost some key talent to Google and others during the past year, trumpeted the hiring of Buxton as an important addition to its research unit.

Buxton said he had opportunities to work for other companies -- "some of the obvious candidates" -- but decided that Microsoft was the right place.

Among other things, the breadth of Microsoft's research efforts suits Buxton's expertise. His work over the years has dealt with a variety of novel and intuitive ways of using computers.

For example, one of his projects, a two-handed method of controlling a PC, arose from his frustration at needing to move a mouse back and forth repeatedly between the text of a document and the scroll bars to the side.

As part of the project, Buxton and a student equipped a computer with a traditional mouse on one side and a touch pad on the other -- letting users move a finger across the touch pad to scroll the document vertically, horizontally and diagonally, while using the mouse in the other hand to point and click.

Buxton is still hoping the technique catches on more broadly. He called the common one-handed mousing approach an example of how modern computer design often falls short.

"My litmus test for what's good design or bad is how well the technology reflects me as a human," he said, citing motor-sensory, cognitive and social skills in particular.

Gamers console themselves with hardware windfall

The video gaming industry is ending this year with a big bang, as Microsoft attempts once again to become the dominant player with its hot-selling Xbox 360 consoles.

The $24 billion industry this year also saw an explosion of video games in cell phones, Sony's entry into the portable gaming market and another chapter in the continuing controversy over sex and violence in games.

The Xbox 360 marks Microsoft's second attempt to gain supremacy in the industry; the softwaremaker came in a distant second behind Sony's PlayStation 2 in the last round of console wars.

Both Sony and Nintendo are set to release their next-generation consoles next year.

Since its release in November, consumer demand for the Xbox 360 in the United States has easily outstripped supply, with gamers clamoring to pay $299 or $399 at retail, and hundreds of dollars more on online auction houses like eBay.

The new round of competition comes at a time when video game manufacturers have been working hard to come up with more realistic graphics, improved surround sound audio and more-intricate story lines to grab the attention of gamers, from adolescents to adults well into their 30s.

The industry has been growing steadily from $17.6 billion in combined hardware and software sales in 2001 to an estimated $24 billion for 2005, according to Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities. The analyst expects the industry to grow at an even faster rate in the next couple of years.

It's too early to say just how Microsoft's bid for supremacy in the video game industry will pan out. While retailers in the United States are having trouble keeping enough Xbox 360 consoles in stock, sales in Japan, the world's second-biggest video game market, have not been going nearly as well.

GoogleMaps + Craigslist + Amazon + IP Localization + RSS =

"Its a classifieds site with a Web 2.0 twist, mashing up Google Maps, Amazon Product data, IP localization, and customizeable RSS feeds to offer a streamlined user experience for buyers and uses Google maps for primary navigation. This allows to you search as local or as global as you'd like, anywhere in the world"

Visit Site

Microsoft Legal Working Overtime

As usual, Microsoft's legal department is working overtime at the end of the year in an attempt to tie up some loose ends. On Thursday, Microsoft and Google announced they had come to a private, mutually satisfying settlement over Google's hiring of former Microsoft research vice present Kai-Fu Lee. Meanwhile, Microsoft execs on Thursday also lashed out at the European Commission's threat of a $2.37 million a day fine on Microsoft for allegedly dragging its feet in complying with licensing terms required as part of the EU antitrust case against the Redmond software maker.

300 Invades the Web

December 22, 2005 - Warner Bros. has launched the official film site for the big-screen adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel 300. Many of the site's major attractions, such as video journals and downloads, are still listed as "coming soon" but there is conceptual art and director Zack Snyder's production blog available.

In the site's inaugural production blog, dated December 15, Snyder says, "This week concludes our 9th week of principle photography on the film and so far, it has been an incredible journey. Four more weeks of shooting to go and I'm sure they will prove to be just as challenging, but more importantly, just as rewarding."

The concept art section of the site shows comparisons between frames from Miller's comic, the film's storyboards and the final shots from the movie.

300 is being filmed on sound stages in Canada with digital effects being used to recreate ancient Greece. [via]

10 Things You Should Know about WordPress 2.0

Aaron Brazell is from Baltimore, Maryland and leverages his influence as a blogger at various blogs to develop his (sometimes) convoluted opinions. He writes about Web 2.0 topics at Emerging Earth and keeps a personal and political blog at

If you’ve been seriously blogging for any bit of time at all, you’ve heard of the juggernaut that is WordPress. WordPress, of course, is the most popular self-hosted blogging platform utilized by independent writers. The official launch of WordPress 2.0 is upon us and, no doubt, the blogosphere will be buzzing about its launch. As a tester of the product since the early days of the WordPress 2.0 alpha builds, I’ve watched, participated and even assisted in the development of this software.

While this entry might get a bit technical, it is only because thecoolest new features are under the hood. For new users who don’t feel like tinkering with code and expect a shiny new piece of software out of the box, fear not… you will not be disappointed. The software provides a much more interactive and user-friendly interface. And for those of you who love the color blue, you’re going to love the new admin panel!

Visit Site

New neurons take baby steps in adult brain

In experiments with mice, scientists from Johns Hopkins' Institute for Cell Engineering have discovered the steps required to integrate new neurons into the brain's existing operations. For more than a century, scientists thought the adult brain could only lose nerve cells, not gain them, but in fact, new neurons do form during adulthood in all mammals, including humans, and become a working part of the adult brain in mice at the very least.

VP Cheney's iPod takes precedence on flight

On a return flight from a four-day trip to the Middle East, U.S. vice president Dick Cheney used one of the only working power outlets on Air Force Two to charge his beloved iPod, frustrating reporters who were trying to file stories.

“Working passengers began lining up their laptops to share the power from a couple of working outlets—particularly the reporters who urgently needed to prepare their articles to transmit during a quick refueling stop in England,” reports the Associated Press. “But when Cheney said his iPod needed to be recharged, it took precedent above all else and dominated one precious outlet for several hours. The vice president’s press staff intervened so a reporter could use the outlet for 15 minutes to charge a dead laptop, but then the digital music device was plugged back in.”

Netflix wins round in online DVD-rental fight

When the head of Netflix said rival Blockbuster threw "everything but the kitchen sink at us," the world's largest video-rental chain responded by sending him a kitchen sink.

The message from last January's interchange was clear: Blockbuster, with $6 billion in 2004 revenue and 5,500 domestic stores, intended to own online DVD rental, an $8 billion industry pioneered by Netflix.

"This year was about Blockbuster taking a run at us," Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings recently told Reuters at the company's Beverly Hills offices. "They chopped price. They emptied their balance sheet."

Visit Site

2006 full of broadband promise

In the Chinese calendar the symbol changes every year. 2006 will be the year of the dog but in the world of technology, broadband has remained top dog for the last five years.
  • Next year looks like continuing this trend, with more people turning to broadband, even more increases to the speeds available to people and a wider variety of broadband-enabled services.

Visit Site

Only a Few Days Left To Submit Words to the Banished Words List

Lake Superior State University decides to banish words from English each New Years' Day. You have only a few days left to submit. “We’re über-serious about this list,” said one committee member, who noted the committee would issue its list through a traditional press release rather than using a blog or webinar.

Visit Site

Make IT More Enjoyable

Some senior managers in IT think the answer to boosting morale is to have more fun on the job. The IT managers interviewed for the article claim making people laugh contributes to successful businesses and reduces turnover. How do you have fun? According to the article, Dale Sanders, head of IT at Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, 'has posted photos on the intranet of staffers caught in awkward moments installing cables or servers, for instance. Sanders encourages others to add funny (and tasteful) captions.' John Wade, CIO at Saint Luke's Health System Inc., sometimes dresses in drag and encourages other unusual behavior.

Paul Allen the 'Accidental Zillionaire'

The Sydney Morning Herald has an interesting story about Paul Allen, "the accidental zillionaire". Allen is the owner of the world's biggest private yacht and a huge landowner in the Seattle area in addition to his traditional accolades of helping to found Microsoft along with several other companies and foundations.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Mathematicians Solve Old Problem That May Have New Applications

"A twisted soap bubble with a handle? If you find that hard to visualize, it's understandable. Experts had thought for more than 200 years that such a structure was not even mathematically possible. But no longer."

Visit Site

Most Spectacular Mars Photo Yet!

"Scientists and engineers celebrated when they saw the first pictures NASA's Opportunity sent from the rim of a stadium-sized crater that the rover reached after a six-week trek across martian flatlands."

Visit Site

Happy Holidays

This was emailed to me on a listserv that I am on. I think it goes along with the whole idea of saying happy holidays versus merry christmas, and I got a kick out of it. I figured I would post it on here...So lets be politically correct and maybe follow the following:

"Happy Holidays"

Please accept with no obligation, implied orimplicit, my wish for an environmentally conscious,socially responsible, politically correct,non-addictive, low stress, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within themost enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasionof your choice, as well as the secular practices ofyour choice, but with full respect for thereligious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious orsecular traditions at all.

And further, please accept my wish for a fiscallysuccessful, personally fulfilling, and medicallyuncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2005, but not withoutdue respect for the calendar of choice of othercultures whose contribution to our diverse society hashelped make this country great (not to imply that USA is necessarily greater than any other country, andwithout regard to the race, creed, color, age,physical ability, religious faith, veteran status orsexual orientation of the wisher, wishee or theirthird party beneficiaries).

These wishes are limited to the customary and usualgood tidings for a period of approximately one year,or until the issuance of a subsequent holidaygreeting, whichever comes first.

Use of the term "Holiday" herein is not intended to, nor shall it be considered to be, limited toJudeo-Christian celebrations or observances, nor tosuch activities of any organized or ad hoc religiouscommunity group, individual or belief (or lackthereof). In particular, the word "holiday" is used herein without reference to its etymology.

Note: By accepting this greeting, you are acceptingthese terms. This greeting is subject to clarificationor withdrawal, and is revocable ab initio at the sole\n discretion of the wisher at any time, for any reasonor for no reason.

This greeting is freely transferable provided thatthere is no alteration to the original greeting text.Any transfer is to be at the risk of the transferor\nwho, by making such transfer, thereby agrees to holdthe wishee harmless from any and all adverseconsequences resulting from such transfer.

This greeting implies no promise by the wisher toactually take any action or fail to take any action to\nimplement any of the wishes for the wishee her/himselfor others, or responsibility for the consequenceswhich may arise from the implementation ornon-implementation of same.

This greeting is void where prohibited by law, custom\nor policy and is offered irrespective of any card,hard copy greeting or embarrassing self-indulgentletter summarizing achievements in 2004, howevermendacious, which may or may not have been purveyed by\nmyself or any member of my extended family.

Best (sorry, reasonably endeavored) Wishes