Significant news items regarding Python are recorded here.
Graphics in Python, including 2D, 3D and gaming, here.
Programming with wxWidgets, 2005, by Julian Smart, Kevin Hock
Stefan Csomor, ISBN: 0131473816. wxWidgets is the toolkit that wxPython
is based on, as such this book is not essential for the use of
wxPython, but it does help to fill in some of the gaps, If you are
considering using wxPython in a major way this book would probably also
prove useful to have on hand.
Of course, if you are using wxWidgets directly, rather than indirectly
from Python, then this book would be very useful to have on hand. I got
my got of this because the wxPython
in Action book was not available at the time I started to use
wxPython and found that it was quite useful to have on hand.
The Unofficial Python Tutorial
Wiki and the Unofficial
Python Reference Wiki
things to be aware of if you are moving to Python from another language.
Python is available for the Nokia 770 and 800 Intrnet Tablet devices,
this is the PyMaemo
Simple Directmedia Layer
has Python bindings,
this is a cross-platform multimedia support library (its even used in
the Linux port of "Civilization: Call to Power")
- Pmw - Python Mega
GUI toolkit for building hiher-level compound widgets, including
interface to the BLT graph package
is a diagramming widget based on GTK+
File, a nutrition program written in wxPython, this can be downloaded
from Google Code.
- pygame, a Python game
development toolkit. Here is an
article that shows little about using it for text and sprites.
A Python implementation of the Mandelbrot Set,
implemented using pygame.
- Pyglet, is a cross-platform
windowing and multimedia library for Python. Mentioned here.
This can provide video
playback with assistance from avbin. It now works with Python 2.5 with no external dependencies. In the 1.0 beta 2 version 3D positional audio appeared. Available here on PyPi. Pyglet can make use of OpenGL.
PGAPy, a Python
wrapper for the pgapack, parallel genetic algorithm library
memcached, is a
distributed memory object caching system aimed at speeding up dynamic
web applications by reducing database load. This looks like it might be
useful if you have a model that generates data and a number of users
that needs to see portions of that data (perhaps with overlapping
views). One reference to using this is here (3-Oct-06).
- The Twisted networking
framework, has a book: Twisted:
Network Programming Essentials, available in Oct'05.
There are a number of projects
implemented with Twisted, these include Twisted Web (an HTTP
server), Twisted Mail (SMTP, POP and IMAP clients and servers),
Twisted News (an NNTP client/server), Twisted Lore (a documentation
generator with HTML and LaTeX support), Twisted Runner
(for process management and inetd replacement). Allegra is an
alternative to Twisted, here are some comments on Twisted vs.
Allegra. An article
that introduces some client-side programming using Twisted. Another comparison
of Allegra and Twisted. Another mail server based on Twisted. A series of articles on using the Twisted Web in 60 seconds.
Myghty has been used
to host the bittorrent.com website (50 million page views per day).
Some more on Myghty.
palabre, a Flash XML
multiuser socket server
Extracting data from Garmin GPS devices using Python, via the PyGarmin toolkit.
(home page) downloads
random images from the web and mixes them, applying various effects
(like emboss, negative, mirror...) this can also be used as a screen
saver or desktop wallpaper.
planner, a resource planner that takes CSV files as input and can produce Gantt
charts as output (in HTML pages)
a program that assembles tiles into patterns and perhaps explains why
the arrow of time only points forwards
- How one might correct
typos (in URLs or words) by
looking for closest
distance matches. And a Python module called Levenshtein
to solve this. This recipe contains bktree.py which implements Fast Levenshtein distance (Wagner-Fischer algorithm) and the BK-tree. A recipe for calculating the Levenshtein distance between two strings.
Taking advantage of multi-cpu
systems from within Python and the GIL.
Got All Media, a
free PVR package
of RISK with Google Maps, and of course, its now been shut
GoogleMaps to allow you to enter a route (by just clicking on a series
of places in the map) and it shows you to total distance from the start
of the route. A nice way to plan a running route in a town (here is the
DinoDash 10km road race route and the Forzani
Mothers Day Run in Calgary).
An article about click
fraud and how it is affecting Google, Yahoo and the internet
Gadgets, dynamic applications for use on web pages
In Mar'07 Google acquired
a statistics tool called Gapminder
Blur style drop shadows with PIL
function base genetic algorithm in Python which is a solution to
the first problem in this Genetic Algorithms
in Plain English tutorial.
a cairo graphics surface from numpy for use in pygame.
help protect drinkers against cirrhosis, of course if you're
drinking 4 or more cups of coffee a day what's probably happening is
you go to the bathroom so often that a lot of the alcohol you consume
gets eliminated by the kidneys before the liver gets to work on it.
Organ and limb
regrowth observed in lab
mice in Australia.
Disinfecting using an oxygen plasma
stream, discussed here
Computer games may be an addictive
Some genes have been found that set
the life expectancy of yeast, could the same apply to higher
A money tracking
turns into a way to study human
movement that can contribute to the spread of disease
games may help keep the brain young
Do it your self ultrasound?
Possibly the start of a new trend, by splitting medical diagnostic
equipment into a sensor and software, and then connecting the sensor to
a standard computer through a safe wireless interface (especially one
based on a recognized standard like BlueTooth or WiFi) the cost of
diagnostic equipment could be greatly reduced. So what's next?
Home ECG/EKG? What about automated chemical analysis? Or maybe a
small MRI solution - actually one that was small enough to just take a
knee joint would be a good seller to doctors and sports medicine
headaches with an electromagnetic pulse (probably also works well
to erase mag-stripes on credit cards)
Scientists Regrow Teeth, and bones
too apparently. Works by applying low-intensity, pulsed ultra sound
to the tooth root - so perhaps would not work when the root is damaged.
The FDA has approved the Exogen
4000+ from Smith & Nephew for use at home to stimulate bone
A Calgary biotech firm has developed a process to produce
human insulin from genetically modified safflower oil
Sulphide gas can be used to induce a hibernation-like state in mice
cure for cancer based on using special sugars (ManNAc) to deliver
butyrate into cancer cells (where it apparently interferes with their
growth) is being developed.
According to this
article (Calgary SUN 11-Feb-2007), bird flu may not greatly affect
the elderly (or those born before 1969). It appears that nearly 90% of
the people who have been diagnosed with H5N1 so far have been under 40
years old. This is to be reported in a letter to the "Journal of
Emerging Infectious Diseases" by Matthew Smallman-Raynor and Andrew
Sheep that may be 15% human, the idea is to use them to grow
organs for harvest
D deficiency my be a contributor to some cancers. Discussed here
A team at the University of Michigan are working on an auditory
nerve implant that could bring hearing to the deaf
Finally, a good use for old business cards (appart from
writing little shopping and todo lists on them). Ned Batchelder has a
good write up on making cubes
out of them, and Paula's Orihouse goes
further into the realm of origami.
WinImage is a disk imager
for floppies (and other disks) rather like the old DMS from Amiga days
BZFlag is an
open sourced, free, multi-player tank shoot-em-up game
MAME the arcade game
gets interactive with this fight pad from Thrustmaster
- DOSBox a project
to allow DOS games to run under newer operating systems. Even in 2009 this is very popular and will soon be getting an update.
site that is dedicated to games that used to be commercial but have
since been released for public distribution
VOIP Insurrection another VOIP artical is discussed here
ecology simulator somewhat reminiscent of the original game of life
Online Pokerbots may
take over the game
gaming is still alive and kicking
How-to: Stream almost
anything using VLC, from Engadget. VLC is a cross-platform media
player and streaming server
- ImageMagick, is
a free image manipulation program it is described in: The
Definitive Guide to ImageMagick, by Michael Still, ISBN 1590595904. Some resources related to ImageMagick:
Engadget examines the
for Windows 2003 Server, the html
version from Google's cache. This talks a bit about additional
registry settings that might need applying to Windows to make a gigabit
LAN really perform well. This sort of tuning is also discussed here.
for work take design cues from video games? Discussed here on
sort of a solitaire version of scrabble 
the cure for the joke
that is CSS , the DVD copyright/encryption scheme. And a
number that amounts to the same thing.
More competition for Garmin, the GH-601
and GH-602 GPS Wristwatch from Globalsat (looks a lot like the
Garmin Forerunner 201)
Things to settle
cubicle disputes with, or maybe a way of getting that annoying
testing department to stop filing bug reports against your perfect code
Wage war against your fellow Cubites with this tank
(not for kids)
The Great Gadget
Smack Down, an overview of the battle for the embedded (gadgets!)
market share between Linux and WindowsCE
to the Roomba may be sold in Germany
Another competitor to the Roomba, the Robo Maxx
iKey is a portable digital audio recorder deck that uses external
USB drives (flash drives or hard drives) to store the audio it
digitizes. Its similar to the Edirol R-1.
How to walk on water, with the SeaJogger
BlueTooth-based, stereo ear bud headsets reviewed
A memory-stick based video recorder
for athletes, such as the Garmin 201. Here is plenty of additional
information on the Forerunner 201 and 301, including the rather
hard to find instructions on doing a hard reset (in case it locks up on
you). To do a hard reset you hold down the RESET button and while
keeping it pressed you press and hold the POWER button. Garmin's Edge
series is targeted at cyclists. There is also a Yahoo
Group for these Garmin devices. Use your Garmin to go on a geocache
run, search for targets here. If
you are using the Training Center
application with your Forerunner, then the database for this is
probably located in C:\Documents and
Settings\All Users\Application Data\GARMIN\Training Center\
inside this directory you will find a file called Users.bin (which most likely
contains the names of the users for the various garmin units you have
attached to the computer) and for each of these there is a numbered
sub-directory like: 3305683801,
in this you will find a few files which contain all your workout
data. If you have to reinstall the software, perhaps because you
are moving to a new computer, you can install the Training Center, then
shut it down and stop the "G"
icon on the tool bar, and then replace the whole "Training Center" directory tree with
a copy from your old machine. Then when you restart the Training Center
application you should have all your workouts back. If on restart you
still are seeing just the most recent few workouts (check the map data)
that were re-loaded from your Garmin's memory, then you did not shut
down all the Garmin software, look in your system tray for any Garmin
applications and shut them down and try again.
display for eBook type use
Logitech's Harmony 520
universal remote control, a bit less expensive than the previous
versions. A review of it is here.
wire in tape form, great for attaching to walls in an invisible
fashion. Now if only someone did this with CAT-5 network cables!
Bibio Jukebox, (also see Engadget)
is a mini-stereo MP3 player and Internet-Radio Tuner component that
attaches to your LAN and stereo (it also has a 40GB drive inside).
Lots of portable
media players from MSI
Engadget discusses a
portable, hand crank powered, recharger
the NexConcepts Mobile
Note Taker, which is reviewed
here. Also reviewed on Popular
Mechanics and PC Mag.
Also discussed here.
This tracks your pen as you write and stores the result for later
download over USB to a computer. Unlike some other similar products, it
does not require special paper. They also have a version that must be permanently
attached to a PC, to facilitate hand written input.
A working gauss pistol.
is a portable media player based on 2.5in hard drives, which outputs
video in up to 1080i resolution
media player based on a 2.5in (or even a 3.5in) hard drive, this is
- MviX MV-5000U
is a nice media player enclosure for use with a 3.5in hard drive, it
by Toms Hardware, it is available from ThinkGeek. The MX760-HD can connect to a LAN and output at up to 1080p. The MX-780HD is another model.
cuff links, suitable formal attire for a geek
is a 60GB 2.5" drive equipped with video output
Mobile Video HDD, is an external 3.5in hard drive case with the
media playback features, including composite and component video output.
audio throughout the house using power line LAN technology.
HN-700 noise cancelling headphones
Put a PC
in your wall, well into a typical electrical wall box - make that a
"fat" electrical box, looks like this
may become real later in 2006
Portable, person powered, recharger
recorder that writes to compact flash and memory stick
activated, air propelled, darts for use at work
modular robot system looks pretty neat
- A LP
turntable that interfaces with your computer through USB. The Engadget articl seems to have moved, perhaps this TTUSB05 from ION is the device?
A collection of odd USB devices
for the desktop
block is a similar building block approach to building basic
circuits out of snap together parts
LTB Audio Systems makes a pair of wireless headphones
that use the 2.4GHz band that got mention here
on Engadget. Available here
will be introducing digital control of model railroads
HP is building an interactive
coffee table based on a large LCD or plasma display
Systems MBridge, seems to be a device that allows one to move files
between various types of USB connected devices and over wireless LANs.
IBM is working on a voice recorder with built-in
speach recognition capabilities
of the G-sat BTH-820 and BTH-830 Bluetooth audio headphones.
The Sondigo Sirocco wireless
audio bridge device.
A battery pack for charging
USB devices on the go.
batteries, are smaller batteries that contain a concealed USB plug
that is used to recharge them, then they can be used in place of a
regular AA type battery.
Novation has a small
Synth that is equipped with MIDI and USB
records video onto flash cards
video recorder from Evergreen, records directly to flash media.
The KNC HR-2800,
is a PMP device with camera and an NES/GBA emulator for only $130 (Oct'06)
charges your USB gadgets from an AC wall power
The Vex Robotics System is going to partner
supports streaming HD from hard drive or over the LAN or WiFi to your
TV. It provides video output over: composite, s-video, component and
EchoView FM is a set top box that receives content from your
computer via a WiFi or wired network and then displays it on a
television through composite, component or DVI connection with up to
720p resolution. Supposed to be available in Feb'07 for about US$199.
Entertainer HD EVA8000, is a digital media adapter from Netgear
on Slashdot) is another digital media adapter, supposed to be about
are some more pictures.
The MediaGate MG-35,
MG-25P and MG-350HD are all media adapter devices
The D-Link DSM-750
MediaLounge is another media adapter device
N35 from IGS is another media adapter device, this one can take 3.5
inch hard drives up to 1TB in size and has both DVI and component video
JetStream is an MP3 player with wireless earbud headphones which
are unique in that they don't use Bluetooth (apparently allowing them
to run at 1/10th the power consumption) and they don't need a cord
joining the two earbuds.
S10 is getting a Bluetooth connection and will be available in a
bracelet form factor for a nice wireless MP3 experience. It would
be nice if they made a version in stainless steel with a link-style
watch strap which a man could ware as a watch
GPS watch from Globalsat
Team Xtender has
announced a component
video to VGA adapter box. This is intended to allow you to view
your game console on a standard VGA monitor.
from Wowwee, I want one! Reviewed here
on PC Magazine.
The Panasonic DMW-SDP1
(appeared in Feb'07) is a photo player with 1080i component video
output, this allows display of your digital photos from SD cards at
full HTDV resolutions. Now if they only made a version with VGA, DVI or
HDMI output I could hook it up to more things.
Recharge your tech toy while on the road (or on the beach)
with Solar Technology's Freeloader.
This is solar (or USB) powered and has its own lithium battery on board
and includes about 10 different power connector adapters so it can
charge a lot of different devices.
For the world traveler the Talk Abroad
global phone from National Geographic might be useful, discussed
here on Engadget.
Beats, like a mouse pad, but with groove. Sure to annoy your
Xacti DMX-CG65 is a 6MPixel digicam with a 5x zoom that also does
H.264 video recording (so up to 6 hours at the high quaity setting on
an 8GB card).
Mate Scaler and video switch, allows for scaling ina switching of
two component and one DVI input to one DVI output at up to 1080p. At
$349 its a bit out of the inpulse buy range - still that's probably
less expensive than most of the other competing products.
a media player (both wired and wireless) that includes a DVD drive and
a removable 3.5in hard drive.
from IOGEAR is an automatic 2 into 1 HDMI switch box, just gotta wonder
why these people don't release something more like a 4 into 1 unit.
Boombox is a 60W aplified speaker that can be driven either by A2DP
Bluetooth or by a wired RCA connection to give your digital audio
player some kick. I've found that 5W or more computer speakers actually
work quite well for this sort of thing.
light, a little wind-powered LED toy, though at $20 a pop its
pretty expensive, now if they were a few dollars each they would make
fun garden ornaments. Still they could be fun on a birthday cake...
Zoom H2 SD from Samson, is a rather high-end voice recorder that
used SD flash cards. And a couple of years later the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder is due to be released for about $99.
maxi t.u from TrekStor is a external hard drive with component
video output capability
1000 is the Swiss Army Knife of personal electronic
gadgets, combining camera, video camera, media player, radio, game
player, text viewer (poor man's e-book?) and a calendar (but it looks
like it does not have any PDA capability).
Looks like you can use an Xbox for digital
A classic, analogue
alarm clock which you load its ringer sounds via a USB connection
Samsung's YV-150 a voice
recorder crossed with a DAP
Box M-4100SH is a hard drive based media player with networking
capability that can output at up to 1080p on component or HDMI, mentioned
here on Engadget
ES7001 looks like a competitor to Yamaha's YSP
The Fly pentop computer may
be reworked into an adult version; afterall, why should kids have
all the fun?
To carry your gadgets there is now the hipHolster
from Urban Tool. What I really want is the gadget bandolier,
instead of a series of small loops for ammo it would have a series of
small pockets for PDA, cellphone, DAP, multi-tool...
- The Archos
TV+, announced in June'07 might make a good replacement for a
PVR, it looks
like it does not have a cable tuner built in and that, while it has
an HDMI output, it does not go beyond 720p. This became available in Jan'08, starting at $229. FutureShop carries it at a rather inflated price.
BT-Q1000 GPS data logger, a GPS without built in display
Camileo Pro is a 7MPixel still camer combined with a digital video
camera that will shoot 640x480 video in MPEG-4 onto SD cards
universal solar charger to keep your toys juiced up on the road (or
trail), this also has a built in battery that the actual recharging is
done from (the solar cells charge the battery and then the battery is
used to charge your device), and a 110-240V AC power adapter which
(presumably) can be used to charge the device when wall power is
Sega Toys is making a clock called the Private
Ocean which looks rather neat, if it could act as an alarm clock
and as a digital picture frame it could be quite a good device
MusicPal is a WiFi
radio that can play tunes from internet radio stations and your own
collection - it also can act as an alarm clock, it even has an RJ45
connection for hard wired networks and a line out so that you can
connect it to your stereo.
While not really a toy, it certainly is tech, HP is
releasing a vastly
updated version of its HP-35. What a blast!
from D-Link looks like it might be
a good media player to bridge the gap between PC and TV, this will
do 1080i output over HDMI and has both wired and wireless LAN
HDC-SD5 is a 3CCD, full 1920x1080 resolution camcorder that uses SD
flash cards for video storage. The Panasonic
HDC-SD7 is the smallest (Aug'07) HD camcorder
HDMI switch from IOGEAR
WID110 is a receiver/gateway that allows a standard VGA
monitor/panel to be used as a remote display. They also make the VPX110 Qiksign Media Player,
which looks like a dedicated small form factor computer to drive
digital signs. These sort of things could be used to make nice,
high-end, large size digital photo frames for the home - though as they
don't list any prices and are declaring these to be "corporate
solutions" they are probably quite expensive.
wearable camera from Twenty20, a mini video camera for sports
- The SPOT
personal GPS tracker, a portable OnStar for the outdoor adventurer,
lets your next of kin know where to find your body... A new version is being released in fall 2009, with basic service at $99/year (with a few options like progress tracking at $49/yr) its not too pricey. An alternative to this is to get a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) which is an international rescue service and does not require an annual subscription, but the devices cost considerably more than a SPOT (say about $600) and do not have the ability to send intermediate progress reports. In Canada the PLB needs to be registered at the National Search and Rescue Secretariat.
have a digital
pen that uses utrasonics to track the movement of the pen as it
writes on regular paper and record this to a small USB stick device
that you clip onto the paper. I wonder if this would work on a larger
surface, say a white board? Then you could just tape the sensor
to the white board you're using, and tape their digital pen to a white
board marker and doodle away. They are also offering a version of this
to laptop builders so that it can be integrated directly into a laptop,
and then what you write on a sheet of paper near the laptop can be
directly received by the laptop.
with built in digitizer, the G-Note 7100 from Genius.
is another pen with a digitizer that does not need special paper or a
special clipboard to function, though it looks like this must always be
attached to a PC to work (so its not as versatile as the digital pen
from EPOS Technologies)
Samsung will soon
be selling a pair of small, flash memory based, HD (720p)
camcorders (VP-HMX10 and VP-HMX10A), these look like being in the $800
TVs from Loewe, their "Connect Series"
- Sanyo's Xacti DMX-HD1000
is a 1080i HD video camera which records to SD flash media using an
MPEG-4 codec. More pictures of this are here. TrustedReviews takes a look at the Xacti VPC-HD1000, it records 1920x1080i and 1280x720i at 12Mbits/sec using MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression (so about 5.4GB per hour) and can also record at lower sizes. They think the video quality is lacking compared to Canon or Sony and there is noticable grain in lower light situations.
Princess Auto in
Calgary (with other locations across Canada) has lots of tools and
mechanical parts and some surplus stuff
More chances to extract hard
drives from MP3 players, this time from the MuVo2 FM
Sharp is going to make an electronic
dictionary with a full aphabetic keyboard and a colour LCD display,
I wonder if someone will be able to hack this to run Linux...
Turning a GameBoy
into a controller for Lego Robotics, apparently a competition
based on these will take place
Does your office elevator
have an undocumented "express mode"
laptop battery packs
bringing Linux to the Xbox 360 game console
A re-implementation of the Amiga chip set
in a single fpga chip. Wow!
Build a wireless
music player out of a Netgear router
A Slashdot discussion
of low voltage power adapters, why are these not standardized? It
certainly would make a lot of sense to have a low power DC plug
standard so that you could plug any of your portable electronics into
the same wall power adapter - making travel with gadgets a lot simpler!
reading analog gauges, (original
artical) using edge extraction and the Hough transform
Commodore 64 computers are showing
up in embedded games, these can be modified
to fully functioning C64s
Using a Nintendo Dual Screen as a virtual
terminal, by installing some VNC-like software
Build your own reflow
soldering tool for changing surface-mount components.
Building a super
dock for an iPod
The 2006 Maker
Building an IR
Remote Control for your computer
Building a flash drive into a Lego
phone lines to carry VOIP phone
Doing evil things with the Staples
How to make
a component video switch out of a computer KVM switch
- The Neuros
OSD Linux Media Recorder is a commercial product designed to be
hacked, the first limited production run is being sold by
ThinkGeek. This is discussed
here on Slashdot. It appears here on Engadget.
examines this from the developers perspective. The New York Times gave it some coverage (discussed here on Slashdot) while discussing how open source hardware could be beneficial to consumers.
Engadget how-to: Make
a simple sound mixer, if you have multiple computers, let them
share one sound system.
- Another product that is intended to be hacked: the Chumby "clock
radio" replacement. The main web page is here. An Aug'07 the Chumby was
getting ready to ship to customers. An initial look at one is here
from Engadget. Ross Rubin writes out Chumby. LinuxDevices.com has more information on this. A new version of the Chumby, perhaps with a $100 price tag, may appear in late '09. This was added to their web store in Nov'09 at $99.95, it is called the Chumby One (I guess the first version must have been the Chumby Zero), progress is being made but you still cannot buy one in Canada. The Chumby One gets reviewed by Engadget. A kit of Chumby's guts is now available so you can build it into your own projects. The Chumby One gets taken to pieces in this ifixit teardown.
How to build
your own USB cable for the new 2GB iPod Shuffle. Three other
things, Apple should have used a standard mini-USB connector (like is
found on some cell phones), or else they should have used a regular USB
plug like memory sticks do. The third thing is that cable manufacturers
should sell some short (as in just a few inches long) USB cables of
various types for applications like this where the device is going to
sit right beside the computer.
Pro Tool Kit from Zoozen, lots and lots of wierd screw driver bits.
to consolize an arcade game, talks about the process of taking an
old commercial arcade game and extracting its guts to hook up to a TV
in your living room
Build your own USB
controlled gun to keep office coworkers at bay
The Olympus M:Robe MP3 player has been hacked
to run Linux, announced on the unofficial
M:Robe fan site.
Engadget's guide to combining
GPS data with satellite photos
to build a solid-state A/V switcher from Engadget, this is based
around a Bus-switch IC from Digi-Key (part #568-3619-5-ND).
Build your own laptop
TV is getting hacked a lot, now OS
X has been made to run on it (discussed here
on Slashdot). In July'07 it was hacked to allow for storage
expansion by attaching USB drives.
a USB port to the Sweex LB000021, a Linux based router
Using a CNC
hot-air gun to draw on toast.
Turn the empties from your soda
or six-pack habbit into a solar
air heater. While the "pipes" that are formed by the cans may look
like they function by heating on the outside and then transferring that
heat into the air that rises up inside them I suspect this is probably
not the case and the hot air that comes out the top is really just air
that flowed over the outside of the cans between the cans and the
glass. The presence of cans will serve to restrict airflow up the box
and allow more time for heat exchange to take place. The use of
black paint intended for BBQs is probably a good idea.
While hardly "hacking" this
article discusses adding a second hard drive to expand a Series3
Tivo by using the external eSATA port. This has been verified to take a
Tivo up to 1TB.
beambots, little robots
that follow the sun which you can build from scrap parts.
- The ybox is an open hardware
and software project for an internet connected set-top box (seen here
created by the Uncommon
Projects group. This uses a rather neat embedded processor chip
called the Propeller
P8X32A-D40 (data sheet here),
which contains eight separate processors in a 40-pin DIP package along
with shared RAM and IO (including the ability to drive TV or VGA
video). The Hydra
game console is based on the Propeller chip as well. The YBox2 takes the concept even further. But when are they going to add a DVI or VGA output? A VGA port can be added to a YBox2, here it is used to run a graphics demo.
Garmin is opening
up access to their APIs
- Bug Labs is looking
to make a series of u-build-it DIY gadgets, more coverage on what
these modules do here. Some 3D photo renders that give a better idea of how Bug Labs is intending their modules to interconnect. Engadget takes a look at some actual pre-production modules.
A built-it-yourself clone
of the Segway is being built
Building a video pong game (microPONG)
out of an 8-bit micro controller chip, pretty impressive especially the
hack to get the video output working. This is a follow up to an earlier
project called microSCOPE,
which makes a low bandwidth oscilloscope out of an 8 bit controller
- The Crowd Spirit product development project is entering beta. 
- Some people do some amazing product hacking, this project involved salvaging fpga chips from some surplus or defective HDTV video processing equipment and then building a system to allow them to be used as a hardware based SHA-1 cracking machine. According to the comments this is about 2000 times as fast as an Athlon 3400 class processor. 
Gateway may have this touchpad
The OQO unit, which is sort of
a large palm top, but with all the power of a full laptop. In June 2004 this
has started to be demoed, here
is a review. Oct'04 brings the release of the OQO, Engadget has
compiled a number of reviews. It gets reviewed
13-Jan-04, here is a palm-top
type machine from OQO, with
an 800x480 display, 256MB RAM, 20GB disk and a 1GHz Transmeta
processor. In Sept'05 they started shipping the OQO+ which
raises it to 512MB and adds USB2.0
The new (Sept 2004) Creative PortableMediaCenter
nearly reaches the spec for a web pad, it doesn't look like it has WiFi
at this time. It gets reviewed by
- The Pepper Pad
2 looks promising
at US$800 (pre-order pricing) its the only thing I have seen that has
an 800x600 display, WiFi, 256M RAM, hard disk, a reasonable means of
user input... In fact the only two things that I have noticed as being weak are the USB connector is only
v1.1 and the media slot does not do Compact Flash (although I presume
one could hook up a compact flash reader to the USB port if needed). It
also does not have VGA output, but it does have composite video out.
This made an appearance at the DEMOmobile 2004 show in Sept'04 and gets
on Slashdot. In Aug'05 it is starting to get some coverage and appears
to be shipping
at last, see pepper.com. In
June'06 the PepperPad
3 was announced. In Oct'06 the PepperPad 3 is due
to ship. Here is a pretty positive review of the PepperPad3. Engadget reports that the Pepper Computer company is struggling.
might be usable as a webpad
Could a Windows CE based laptop be
the way to go?
Maybe something like the Giga-Vue
Pro could be transformed into a web pad? Although with only a
320x200 display this model would not be good enough.
Another nice looking unit from Motion Computing, the LS800,
capable but still too much for casual browsing on the couch or at the
Universal is a Windows Mobile based cell phone that's rather large
and includes a keyboard and VGA screen and WiFi support, it might
even make a small web-pad.
Electrovaya has the Scribbler
SC-3000 Tablet PC, discussed here.
Librie, not really a full webpad as its just an ebook reader, has
been patched to have an english OS. This unit, if one was to add a WiFi
interface and a browser might make for a very good webpad, even if only
grey scale. In Dec'05 Sony started talking about releasing
a version of this for the US market. Some other competing models
are mentioned in this artical.
More details on the Sony
Reader. This gets discussed
on Slashdot. And on Wired.
Pricing is now expected
to be in the US$350 range.
Sharp's, Linux-based, SL-C3100
might almost do the trick
The Unication Linux-based Magpie PDA
Motion Computing's LE1600 tablet
has a 12" screen, very nice, but at around $2000 its too expensive for
a home webpad
Lifebook P1500 can now be obtained with the Windows XP Tablet
A 733MHz Celeron powered
tablet from Tatung
Jinke's Hanlin eBook
gets closer, this time showing a 10.1" (tablet sized) display
770 has been released in Europe and is due for a North America
release on 10 Nov 2005. This has a 4.1" 800x480 display and WiFi and
Bluetooth for networking. It is reviewed here.
Expected price is under US$500. Some pictures
comparing the Nokia 770 to other small devices. This is due
to be released in North America on Nov 17th, for US$359. A review
of the 770 by Ars
Technica, discussed on Slashdot.
In early Jan'06 Nokia announced
on Slashdot) there was a 2 week waiting period to get a 770. It gets reviewed
here on InfoWorld. Some more
info on the USB port here, it appears to be client-mode but can be
tricked into being host mode. Here's a review of it by
Mark Davis. In late Oct'06 information about a successor device started
to appear, such
as this from the FCC site. Here are some photos of the new Nokia
870, the successor to the 770. In Jan'07 the Nokia
N800 started appearing on store shelves, it looks like it might be
replacing the N770. The N800 gets discussed
on Slashdot. A round up of various
N800 reviews. The N800 is reviewed on the CoolTechZone.com
with discussion on Slashdot.
may get a WiMAX version in 2008.
an Intel reference design prototype, is a compact PC the size of an over-sized PDA.
If its ever produced it might make a good web pad.
NEC introduces the first full laptop with no hard drive,
instead it packs 3GB of flash RAM. This results in a reduction in
weight and power, plus should also make the unit more durable. Now we
just need a good web pad built along the same lines.
In Mar'06 many rumors of the "Origami" device from Microsoft
started to circulate. This appears to overlap with Intel's UMPC prototype.
Intel is talking about the first production versions of this in 2006
costing about $1000 (with 3 hour battery life) and in 2007 delivering a
version in the $500 range with all-day (probably 8 hour) battery life.
of this from Samsung is to be shown in March at CeBIT.
Q30 laptop, which uses a solid-state disk drive, actually looks
like a good fit (though the price is probably high), and weighs about
How about this wrist-mounted
Perhaps this W10
unit from iRiver?
- The iLiad
eBook reader from iRex, looks pretty nice except for an insane
650euro price. This is supposed
to ship in Europe in June'06. This gets a review from ars technica. A new version of this < ahref="http://www.engadget.com/2008/05/07/irex-launches-new-iliad-book-edition-e-book-reader/">was launched in May'08, still very expensive though at $770.
v23i, is a very small and pricey laptop
P70S and T70S look like they might do a good job.
AHI UMPC (might be available in fall 2006) adds a built-in keyboard
to the UMPC form factor, so it might work well. In June'06 some more information
about this appeared. The keyboard is going to be compact, but should be
adequate for filling in web forms and sending short emails.
Citizen has produced an LCD
that retains the image even when power is turned off, this could be
useful in eBook type applications.
V7110 UMPC has arrived in the US for $900
reviews of the UMPCs are not good.
Flybook has an interesting screen mounting designed to make it
easier to view the screen in a typical airline's scum class seating, especially
useful when the person in front of you reclienes its seat for the whole
flight. This sort of arrangement might make for a bit more comfortable
web surfing when reclined on the couch. The V33i version of this is reviewed
Versa L1100 13.1 inch screen ultra-portable laptops weigh in at 2kg
(4.4 lbs) so a lighter than the MacBook (5.2 lbs).
makes some small (10 and 12in display) notebooks that might be good web
pads. The AV2260-EK1 gets reviewed here.
from SODIFF, is a UMPC-like device with a keyboard.
The C1 is
UMPC-like, but with a higher spec.
from Sony includes a keyboard, but is even more expensive than the
regular UMPCs. Reviewed by MobileTechReview
and discussed here
II is a nice looking 10.4 inch unit
Amazon is preparing to release an e-book
reader of their own to go along with a new store called "Kindle" on
e-book reader is starting (Sept'06) to appear in reviewer's hands.
Engadget got a hands
on look. Here are a
few more reviews of it.
flip-and-fold UMPC will have a reasonable sized keyboard, possibly
available in 2007. In early Jan'07 it appears to have shipped.
Engadget gets their hands on it
Digital Vega, a viable UMPC
Panasonic may release an ebook reader with a colour display
called the Words
Gear. Here's a more detailed
look. In late
Nov'06 this was given an official launch date of 20-Dec (in Japan)
and a price of only $355 which makes it quite interesting.
Fujitsu is developing a colour
XNote looks like it might make a nice webpad
At 1.98 pounds and with a 6 hour battery life Sony's
Vaio G might make a very nice web pad type laptop. If only it was 1/2 the price.
SA1F00 looks like it could make a nice web pad and at a more
reasonable price, it gets reviewed
here. Here is an english
review. Engadget gets their hands
on it at CES in Jan'07.
from Samsung might make for a very portable web device with a
reasonable sized folding keyboard, it is due
to appear in Dec'06.
The Fujitsu T4125
and P1610 would be nice. The P1610
gets reviewed here.
The Sony VAIO VGN-TXN15P
A first cross-over device, the Archos
604 WiFi brings web
browsing to a portable media player. Naturally keyboarding is going
to be a problem here, but it's an interesting change of territory, it
would be nice to see this sort of thing happen with a portable DVD
player device, given the larger screen size those tend to have.
In Nov'06 Fujitsu launched its Stylistic
ST5100 Tablet PC units, nice
another approach to the web pad niche would be a wireless tablet
client, such as Viewsonic's
V212, but still, at $1500 that's really about three times as much
as it should be.
A portable electronic dictionary that runs WinCE and has WiFi
capabilities and a browser and a keyboard... neat, but only
available in Korea.
iRiver has shown (Jan'07) their E-BOOk
reader, which has a nice dual screen setup
EdgeTech has a mobile
internet palmtop that looks like a large PDA or small electronic
dictionary that they call "The Edge"
Photos of all the UMPC units
that were at CES in Jan 2007
from Fujitsu would make a nice web pad with a 10 inch display and
weighing only 2.6 pounds.
and the larger US701 and US702 look like they might make good UMPC type
The STAReBOOK is reviewed
here, according to this
article it is Linux based so maybe someone will start hacking it to
provide an alternative firmware with more Geek-appeal?
Athena might make a good webpad
705 might work as a webpad, we'll see in June'07. The Archos
704-WiFi actually shipped in Mar'07 and it looks
like it might make a useful webpad, there is an unboxing here
and Engadget coverage
here. An additional review
of it is here.
Z1 might actually be a useful web pad
T83 is a UMPC with a keyboard and swivel screen
Advantage is a very compact (5.4 inch screen) device, and will
be available in the US
Shift is a UMPC with a keyboard
In Mar'07 the OQO
Model 02 started shipping
Quanta is planning
to produce a model of the OLPC for developed countries to target
the $200 price point. Such a beastie might make for a good webpad. In
late Apr'07 there was talk that the OLPC might
also be sold to schools in the USA.
VAIO G1 with a 12.1 inch display and weighing only 1.89 pounds now
has an SSD drive which bumps its run time up to 12.5 hours - that would
make a nice web pad!
Q5 PMP (with an 800x480 display) might make for a limited web pad
as well as a media player.
In April'07 Intel
started showing UMPCs based on Linux to try to get some interest in
the consumer section of the marketplace. Might be a good way of shaving
a $100 or so off the retail price.
- The Classmate PC might make a usable web pad, according
to Engadget Asustek will be building these in mid-2007 at prices
between $199 and $549. More news
on this, Asus is now looking at a range of $249-$549. In Mar'08 the Classmate PC started appearing for sale in the Philippines under the name Neo Explore X1 for about $400. Intel is officially planning to sell the Classmate in North America and Europe, they are still talking about sub-$300 pricing. Intel is launching a second generation of the Classmate.
and P50WN from Fujitsu mike make good web pads if their
price is right, these are lightweight (2.2 pounds) and have 8.9 inch
XL43 UMPC might be a reasonable web pad
CX UMPC from Data Evolution is step up like a laptop with a swivel
screen and at $799 is at the more reasonably priced end of the UMPC
Ultra is Samsung's second generation UMPC to be released in May'07.
Another unit targeting the $799 price point. This gets a video
review from Walter Mossberg, which concludes that it is a
significant improvement over the first version of the Q1 to the point
of actually being useful for a limited audience (which would include
webpad type usage) now.
iBook eReader is a Linux based e-ink device with WiFi, perphaps
thins might also function as a webpad?
On 20-May-07 the OLPC
project got coverage on the US TV news journal show "60 Minutes",
while a lot of the focus was on the strife between OLPC and Intel,
Nicholas Negroponte was asked when Americans would be able to buy these
for their children, to which he replied that, this was planned for but
you would have to buy two: one for your child and one for a third world
child. Here's the quote from the
show: "If you’re wondering if the One Laptop will be available in
right now Negroponte’s in talks with some states and school districts.
He says it will be sold commercially in the future, but you’ll have to
buy two: one for your child and one for a child in a poor country."
At the end of May'07 Palm
announced their new Foleo Mobile Companion, which has a 10 inch
display, 1024x600 pixels, real keyboard, weighs 2.5 pounds and
will run for 5 hours doing WiFi. Engadget has coverage,
including some hands on. Slashdot discusses this here.
In Aug'07 Palm
announced that this would be powered by Wind River Systems Linux.
specifications were released in early Aug'07.
- The Everun
UMPC from Rayon has a thumb pad style keyboard on only one side of
the screen, with the keys lettered at an angle so it can be read in
either portrait or landscape orientations. In late June'07 a preview
video of this appeared, should be available in July'07. A year later it looks like this might finally become available in Sept'08. They now want $879 for these, good luck with that. The Everun Note gets a positive review here, it is quite a bit smaller than the alternative netbooks, but it also has a more powerful CPU and graphics processor which allow it to perform a wider range of tasks. So the extra $300-400 this costs may well be worth it to some people. It looks like Raon Digital has closed up shop for good.
FMV-U8240 UMPC, quite portable, a cross between a notebook and a
UMPC, though still quite pricey.
In June'07 Via introduced a new reference design for ultraportable
laptop computers. Looks like it is targeted at the same price point
as the Palm Foleo but with more functions. FIC (known as Everex in the
USA and Packard Bell in Europe) will be making these, expected
to ship in Aug'07. Here is what the FIC
CE261 UMPC looks like, and some preliminary specs. iDOT is planning
to make two NanoBook
In June'07 Asus announced the Eee
PC 701 which is a compact mini-laptop (more full-featured than the
Palm Foleo) and claimed to be targeting an entry level price of $200!
Wow! There is a Wikipedia article here. Even if
these really cost $400 by the time you've added a few
options they will sell like hot cakes. From the comments in this article
it appears the screen might be quite low resolution (and certainly is
smaller than the available case size suggests), still this might only
be the case for the lowest price version. Later comments on this
indicate that there may be two screen sizes offered (for the same case)
a smaller 7 inch and a 10 inch size. It gets another look at here
Review, since this is a full (but very small) notebook with 8GB (or
16GB in a more expensive model) of flash drive, and a bigger screen and
a keyboard for less than the Nokia N800 it will be giving the Nokia a
stiff battle. HotHardware looks at it here.
would be a nice unit, this is also going
to get an SSD drive.
605 WiFi unit might make for a good webpad, along with PMP, its got
an 800x480 display with WiFi.
Slideshow PDAs could stir things up at the low end of the market,
especially if they really do get sold for $150.
- The PocketSurfer
2 from DataWind is a
compact mobile web surfing device, sounds like it uses a GSM data hookup. This started shipping in Europe in Oct'08. The UbiSurfer and PocketSurfer3 are coming to the US in Oct'09, hopefully with a nice data plan like the Europeans get.
- Could this be the next
generation of the Nokia N800? A press release has let it slip that the next Nokia will be the N810 and is to be shown in public on Oct 23/07, there also has been a recent drop in price on the N800 and remaining stock of the older N770 was blown out in Aug'07 by various vendors.
July'07 Tatung launces the 10.4 inch WebPad
TX-3000 in Thailand.
announces its B1 UMPC, this is a smaller device that uses a split
thumb-board type approach (like the PepperPad) to the keyboard. It also
adds a touch sensitive pointing pad to the right side for mouse
control. Currently the price on this makes it one of the most
attractive UMPCs, at about $700. It get's unboxed here so you can get a better idea of it - I think the ASUS Eee PC is a better way to go. Here is a hands-on report from CES'08.
Aug'07, Samsung has added three
new models to the Q1 lineup, still expensive though
SPH-P9200 is a little portable computer that folds up from three
- The CE260 and CE261 from FIC have appeared on the FCC web site which means that they should become available in North America. 
Snowy Owl at the Calgary Zoo
Snowy Owl at the Calgary Zoo
- Google Earth now includes a flight simulator as an Easter Egg. 
- Is creative bring out a PMP with full screen HD video output capabilities? If so, this might be a neat way of taking a slide show of photos along with you. 
- The BlackBox from Gear4 is a big black (and a small black) portable powered speaker system that can be driven through a Bluetooth connection.
simple ? "A Century of Controversy Over the Foundations of Mathematics"
and the Omega
number (a Pi for the new century)
rebel against journals, and about time too! Scientists
quit from the editorial board of a journal.. Nature
debates the issue of electronic access to scientific literature,
on Slashdot. Apparently the US Congress is considering having all government funded research
published in an open way. Mar'05 the IEEE wonders who will pay the costs of open access. Now some open access journals
are being funded by accepting a payment from the author for publication. The
Royal Society wants to keep papers off the web. The Association of American Publishers
to work against scientists publishing freely. The European
Commission may be providing some funding towards making a free
scientific library. Nature is going
to allow open online access to pre-publication works in Nature Proceedings, something similar to arXiv.org. The physics journal Physical Review may reconsider its position on copyright now that some scientists are writing to tell it that they are unhappy with the current restrictions that will be placed on republication of their works.
In Are Academic Journals Obsolete Slashdot discusses the journal issue - perhaps they are only useful for evaluation of professorial job performance? In Oct'08 the arXiv system reached 500,000 publications. Current science publishing methods are being called problematic. The MIT faculty have voted in favor of making all their publications open access. Perhaps the final solution to this problem would be to abolish copyright protection on academic works. Now the University of California faculty might boycott the publisher of Nature, seems to me all they would need to do is self-publish their own papers in a peer-reviewed section of Wikipedia. 
distance model airplane (11 pounds and 1 horse power peak, plus a
gallon of fuel to cross the Atlantic ocean)
high speed photography site
for Game Developers, an O'Reilly book
gas turbines, eventually to replace batteries?
a new twist on game preserves?
with magnets, including a rail gun
West Nile virus is showing up in breast milk
Now the first real use of stem-cells is at hand: growing
relacement teeth. Once this procedure
starts happening in public the politics of stem cell research are going
to change dramatically as there will be the very real possibility of
growing replacement organs and even limbs.
fusion through intense electric fields that strip the electrons
from deuterium atoms allowing them to fuse at near room temperature.
Cold fusion again?
nanorods form a new material harder than diamond
Powering a glider
via a laser, the objective would be to make a permanently airborne
platform possible. Of course if this could be done with a
commercial aircraft then the cost of flying could be reduced by not
needing to carry such a large fuel payload for thousands of miles.
has been slowed to about 6km/s
Using a 2kW
laser (helium neon laser) to heat coffee
Navy is supporting some fusion research by Dr. Bussard (who gave a
presentation about this at Google)
Pumps & Systems
is an online magazine for pump users
- Prolink's new PixelView PlayTV media box will be able to play and record video and other forms of media. It has a built in flash card reader and it does not have a built in drive (you add whatever you want with a USB interface which is a great idea). It might (the docs are a bit sparse) only have composite video output, which would be a real dumb move.
- HD VMD is due to ship its first high definition DVD player and movies in Oct'07. This is a late to the table competitor to HD and Blueray, but given their much reduced pricing (at introduction about 1/2 of HD DVD's price for a player) this may stand a chance of gaining a foot hold this Christmas. Even if it is a flop, it could cause the prices of HD and Blueray to drop dramatically. 
- The Savit Micro Cinedisk CD26HD is a media player built around a 2.5 inch drive, it can output to 1080i, though only over component video cables not HDMI. 
- Wammu is a mobile phone manager, the front end is written in wxPython and the back end is Gammu. 
- The Canadian Music Industry's levy on blank media (mainly cassettes and CDRs) has finally come full circle and the industry is realizing that they have pulled their own teeth by implementing this. Effectively they have established that it is ok (in Canada) to copy recordings that you own a copy of onto whatever media you want so long as you don't sell or further distribute them, this is fine because they have forced you to pay a fee up front to cover the expected lost revenue do to this. Its now becoming more confused, because as everyone in Canada is forced to pay this it could be argued that, as long as a fee is not charged, it is ok for individuals to exchange copies. I think that's a bit of a stretch but the Copyright Board of Canada appears to be reasoning this way:
First, the Board has stated, in obiter dicta, on several occasions that the Private Copying regime legalizes copying for the private use of the person making the copy, regardless of whether the source is non-infringing or not. Therefore, according to the Board, downloading an infringing track from the Internet is not infringing, as long as the downloaded copy is made onto an 'audio recording medium'
the key here would be that to be legit you need to save a copy of the song to an audio recording medium, i.e. you need to burn it onto a CDR on which you will have paid the levy.  
is trying to prevent "unauthorized links" to its site. Of course the only way
they can really enforce this is to remove their web site from the
internet... There is also some
information on related case law in the US where this idea was
tested on the basis of being a copyright infringement, but was thrown out
since the Judge found that it was "akin to a card cataglogue index system in
a library". Here is a similar
decison based on a lawsuit that Ford brought against 2600. This article
talks about the legality (US Law) of thumbnails and linking to images
on other sites.
- I wonder if anyone tried to copyright the classic Nigerian
419 scam? Here's a few more sites that exploit
the scammers for some fun. Here's another attempt at scammer
baiting, and another.
is home to an updated unclaimed lottery winnings form of this
scam. Finally someone's been arrested
garbage, oddly enough this happend in Australia. A Canadian nearly got
arrested for doing this to an American, but the charges were
dropped. Here's a site dedicated to baiting
these scammers. Sometimes someone gets
taken by these scammers. Now it looks like you don't even need to
travel to Nigeria to collect,
just head on over to Scottland... In July '04 the scammers
decided to switch to a form of extortion (almost sounds like
something from Thieves'
World). Some 419 scammers have finally be brought to justice. The state of Utah got taken for $2.5M on a classic Nigerian scam. It looks like the UK justice secretary may have been phished. After many years late 2009 saw some progress in actual attempts at shutting down some scammers.
The EFF now has taken
up arms against junk patents and are running a patent busting project.
The FTC is going to investigate the US Patent
approval process. Just think 95% of all applications are currently
How Forgent is exploiting
the JPEG patent situation. The JPEG Patent is being
challenged. Another challenge against the JPEG patent,
this time from PUBPAT.
The US is examining
the copyright system again
Mega Bloks won
their trademark battle with Lego in Canada.
Another case of a very bad patent,
this time over the concept of a flip phone with a touch screen -
apparently patented after commercial products already existed
The US Patent office is so disorganized they cannot even
Looks like Toyota may have violated
some patents when building their Prius, then again, you would think
that there would be plenty of prior art in this area.
versus NTP, now it looks like NTP might loose. At the end of Feb'06
to look like NTP might loose their case against RIM over the
Blackberry. In the end NTP won (or at least they came to a settlement
and Blackberry paid out a lot of money), but in mid-April 2006 the New
York Times started to bring attention to some earlier works, which
apparently NTP knew about and did not disclose... sounds like time for
a class action share hold lawsuit against NTP.
In Nov'06 NTP started
to sue Palm over patents, Palm is going
to fight this. NTP is getting
sued by Oren Tavory who once worked with NTP's founder Thomas
The legality of
combinatory patents (those that combine previously known ideas to
make something else that may or may not be obvious) is going to be
examined in court
The Columbia Science and Technology Law Review writes an article
about trademarks for Engadget
Some patents on stem cells held by the University of
Wisconsin (WARF) have
been ruled against
gets sued over using XML to organize and store the structures
relating to a component based .NET GUI.
Microsoft is now
claiming that various free software systems violate 235 patents
that they hold. Covered on Slashdot
Still, there's probably not much of a business case to be made by
trying to extract payment from free software over this - its more a
matter of generation of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about open
source software to try and reduce its acceptance in areas that
Microsoft could provide solutions in. Linus Torvalds has
responded to this. And now Microsoft says it has no immediate
plans to sue anyone.
In Aug'07 Apple
got sued over their use of a touch screen keyboard on the
iPhone. There's gotta be prior art on this one!
has defeated Forgent's patent challenge
- Possible wireless keyboards for a DVR include these units from BTC: BTC 9019URF and BTC 9029 (specs here). The remote keyboard from Microsoft is also a possibility, but it's even larger! This is a product niche that manufacturers seem to have missed. The point of a media center keyboard is that it is primarily a pointer control device (so needs a trackball or touch pad integrated with it), secondarily a remote control replacement (so it needs some dedicated keys for volume, mute, play, pause, channel up/down) and a distant third a text entry device. You're not going to compose novels on this thing, just edit program titles for videos burnt to disk and enter URLs to search the web and do YouTube, so a full sized keyboard is not important. A small thumb board like design (such as on a PDA) might well be just the ticket, then the whole think could be a 3x6 inch device instead of taking up half the couch! Brando has introduced (late 2008) a hand-sized, back-lit, wireless, mini-keyboard which would be perfect for an HTPC application - except it does not include a pointer control. Brando does sell this keyboard which is a bit larger and includes a trackball, but does not have illumination. Engadget asks its readers What's the best wireless keyboard for the living room? The Fly Mouse is a small keyboard (exactly how small is difficult to say) that includes a built in gyroscope so it can also be waved in the air as a mouse pointer controller. The iPazzPort is a small keyboard with an integrated multi-touch control pad. IOGEAR will be selling some wireless keyboards with integrated trackballs that should be good for HTPC applications. 
- Now SOHOWare is
NBG800 (reviewed here)
which is the first I have seen that claims to have stateful packet
(which is something that GNATBox has had for a long time). This Slashdot
article looks at this sort of equipment. GigaFast
makes a 4 port router with a built in printer server. The Compex
NetPassage is another NAT firewall/router unit, with wireless
ISB Pro800 router
with NAT sounds nice.
Yoggie makes a small,
Linux based, security
computer which acts as a firewall and malware scanner on the LAN
connection between your computer and the net. In May'07 they announced
a newer version called the Pico
which is discussed
here on Slashdot.
The SANS Institute runs incidents.org
which tracks the progress of some worms and things (including the Code
Red Worm). Caida.org has some dynamic
graphs of the code red worm's progress. And in the end even Microsoft (hotmail) got hit by the worm. A script that can be used to notify
the victim of code red that their system is infested. Another
script, this one will shut down
the infested system to prevent it from further abuse. Another script,
this one is in python and it just
parses your web server's access log to find the sites to notify (the way it
notifies them is to start a browser on them pointed to a web
page about code red). Some thoughts on what the next
generation (Warhol Worms) of worms might be like.
- Tricks that
are possible with caller ID via VOIP, so soon I won't be seeing any
more Toll Free Calls on my
caller ID, instead they'll use a database
of all my contacts and pick one of these names at random. There is now
(hopefully, for only a short time?) a
service that enables anyone, using any phone, to make a call with
any desired caller ID. The US has made this practice illegal and in May'08 the first set of such telemarketers were found guilty in New Jersey - now if only Florida and Nevada would stop calling me...
can applied to executables too.
A Slashdot review of: Steel
Bolt Hacking, by Douglas Chick, ISBN: 0974463019, which addresses
the question about how secure locks are. The
Lockdown: Locked, but maybe secure, an article on the security of
typical home and business key locks.
SSH to achieve more secure online web surfing and email. More
information on this. An
Commander wireless router is equipped for monitoring network
- Printers are now spying on you... well, cunningly recording unique identifying marks on the pages they
print. The EFF has compiled a list of printers which have implemented these tracking dots.
The Net Cowboy infra-red web
tags for Homeland Security purposes? I wonder if someone will
remember the old spy trick of implanting a pellet into someone using an
The European Galileo GPS Satellite has been cracked
making access to its data available.
A USB-powered disc-scratcher
designed to distroy CDs and DVDs.
- OpenID is a decentralized
identity system, it is discussed here
on Slashdot. In Feb'07 Bill Gates
announced that Microsoft will support it too. More discussion on OpenID, Yahoo, IBM, Microsoft, VeriSign and Google have all joined its board and there are now 250M OpenIDs in use. Here is a brief description of the process of getting an OpenID. MySpace has joined the OpenID coalition, adding a few more users. OpenID gets mentioned here in reference to attempts to move away from passwords to other means of authentication. Ned Batchelder found OpenID hard to get started in and dug up these discussions: OpenID is Why I Hate The Internet and The problem(s) with OpenID that talk about the difficulty of using OpenID and the apparent flaws in it. Microsoft has added support for OpenID to Windows Live, discussed here on Slashdot. OpenID for non-SuperUsers talks about setting up OpenID to use delegation. Not to be left out, Google is also supporting OpenID, but they have decided to fork development to address some of their concerns. More on Google's OpenID project here. Some sites are dropping support for OpenID. 
- Fujitsu's LifeBook U1010, built with a 5.6 inch 1024x600 display and an 800MHz processor looks like it might make for a nice, compact, mobile unit. A video review can be found here. The U810 model looks like it might be rather nice and is priced at $1000. Some pictures of the U810 by Engadget taken at CES'08. 
- Ponoko is a you-design it and we-build it operation, you upload plans and they will build and potentially sell the finished product. 
- A new round of potential webpads are being shown by Intel, now they are calling them MIDs for Mobile Internet Devices - looks like they might finally be getting it. Here is a closer look at the MID from BenQ. 
allows for up to 70Mb/s and 31 miles of service. More on WiMax
from XG Technology.
Then there's the curiously named ZigBee
low-power, short range (though longer than BlueTooth), low-cost,
wireless networking system. Slashdot
reports on it. The idea for this is to eliminate the need to wire
your home for control systems, and other similar devices (like alarms).
According to Slashdot,
Cyprus Semiconductors is developing a similar technology. Here's more
on the Cyprus WirelessUSB
technology. May 2004: an update
this from Slashdot, they are looking at volume shipments in Oct
2004, which means this will start to become common in 2005 or 2006. In
Mar'05 an SD card format Zigbee controller was announced, which would
allow a PDA to participate in a Zigbee home LAN. In Sept'06 AMX announced a ZigBee
wireless remote control system.
the Linksys WRT54G, Cringely takes a
look at it. More follow
up on this and also on hacking the Hauppage Media
Using an iPod to
broadcast on FM radio
The FCC may make it legal to exchange
your WiFi antenna for a better model, or one more suited to your
IDBLUE a blue tooth equipped RFID reader
equipped data collection from Dust Networks
Oct'04 It looks like the HAMs finally lost
the battle against powerline broad band radio noise. The question
now is what other applications get hurt by this?
long distance cordless phones - up to 130km claimed
does Skype and regular land line calls
this might be the ultimate in wireless communications, very low power,
up to 22km, penetrates buildings well and does not need a dedicated
slice of the spectrum. In Feb'06 they have received
some FCC approval based on transmitting a 3.67Mbps signal 18 miles
with only 35mW of power.
Panasonic has produced a low-power, bi-directional, radio
communications module for use in the 400MHz band.
haul wireless LAN stuff
Rulers, have application in sonar and radar
Seagate is due to ship wireless
USB hard drives in early 2006. This got revised a day later to say
that Seagate were still just showing a proof of concenpt with no firm
plans to ship in 2006.
Intel claims they will
ship WiMax cards in 2006.
USB was demoed at CEBIT in Mar'2006.
generation of RFID may be based on a magnetic approach, there is
now an IEEE working group to develop this RuBee protocol.
cell modem does HSDPA, 3G UMTS, EDGE and GPRS data communications
Various enterprises are starting to make money providing
WiFi access throughout the world. Boingo.com
has about 60,000 hot spot locations around the world. Canadian Hotspots agregates
the hotspots of a number of providors across Canada.
troposcatter communications from Raytheon, for the millitary today,
but who knows tomorrow?
Intel is developing a long
range (up to 100km) wireless solution based on WiFi
Tzero produces a ZeroWire
ultrawideband chipset for use in short range high-speed wireless
links (probably wireless USB) and also over cable connections.
Bluetooth has adopted Nokia's Wibree
system for short range, but much lower power, connections
In Aug'07 UWB was approved
for use in the UK
In Aug'07 the FCC
rejected attempts to use the white space (gaps between the regular
TV channel bands) as a free wireless internet band. 
- MSDN Magazine talks about extending the CLR for more support for dynamic languages like IronPython. 
- GE's DECT 6.0 phones will get the ability to display internet content via its InfoLink service. 
- Make your own stereoscopic display out of an old ViewMaster slide display 
- The Klimantiris Gallery, an online showcase, nicely done. 
- Is Google planning an undersea cable for the Pacific? 
- The Asus R3 UMPC is getting closer to market. 
- The Asus Eee PC 701 gets its first review a translation is here. 
- ASUS is updating their UMPC offering again, this time the R2E will get a better processor, more disk and RAM and an HSDPA connection.
- The Cybook Gen3 (by Bookeen) is a nice looking ebook reader. It gets reviewed here (with some discussion of the e-paper technology used in these devices) with more discussion on Engadget here. 
Wireless hot spots
FreeCycle.org is a
free, online, used goods swaping service, this is their Calgary area
- It seems to be relatively easy
to install games on an XP Pro box under
the administrator account, and I seem to be having pretty good success
at getting them to run. However, they will often not work under other
accounts on the same machine. Part of the trick at getting them to run
seems to be to give the other accounts "Power User" group rights.
However my old NT 4.0 Domain server does not have the "Power users"
group, so it looked for a while like I would have to create local
machine accounts with membership in this group. A bit of web searching
turned up this
page that suggested there was a way to make the NT4 domain user
group appear to be called the power user group and this would have the
same permissions. The trick was to go to the workstation where the
power user group is needed (actually it sounds like this will apply to
all machines) and execute this command:
net localgroup "power users" /add "DOMAIN\Domain Users"
once I did this it became possible to install software as a regular
user and a lot of the programs that refused to run under other accounts
will now work.
When rebuilding an XP box that had developed a corrupted network stack
I was able to do a back and restore to another hard disk using Acronis'
drive imaging software. Then, I was able to safely experiment with the
copy until I had figured out what I needed to do. As part of the final
step of rebuilding this machine I used the
Linux Knoppix distribution to:
- create a FAT32 partition on the spare space on the test
(Windows XP Home will only let you create NTFS partitions)
copy a bunch of files off the original NTFS boot disk
(which was reinstalled in the computer as a second drive) onto the FAT32
partition. I did this because under XP an administrator of the newly
installed operating system cannot get access to all the files from the
original drive (which is certainly not the case with Windows NT, but
may also be true for Windows 2000). Once you are in Linux you appear to
have access to all files again.
Also see this for
what to do if Windows Update keeps downloading the same patch again and
How to get Windows XP File Search to Really Work (again).
The search function of Windows XP (from the start menu "Search") is by
default not set to search the contents of most files. In order to turn
this on you can follow the steps in method #2 on
this page. A similar writeup exists in Microsoft's KB309173.
If you have ever used the "search for text in files" function and it
has failed to find what you were looking for, but you know that the
search should have worked it is probably because the behavior of the
searching changed greatly between Windows 2000 and Windows XP. By
default Windows 2000 would search in all files, but Windows XP will
only search in certain "known" file types (probably .txt. and .doc and
not much else). The fix for this is quite simple, though remarkably
hard to find. Here's what to do:
note that despite the fact this setting is controlled through the
Indexing Service, you do not need to start the Indexing Service running
for this to work.
- open the control panel
then go to administrative tools and open the "Computer
Management" application, set the display to show both the tree view (on
the left) and details list on the right, (the 4th icon from the left on
the tool bar) and the do the following steps in the tree view
under "Computer Management (Local)" you will find "Services and
Applications", and then "Indexing Service"
do a right click on "Indexing Service" and select "Properties"
from the popup menu
the "Indexing Service Properties" window will appear, this has
two tabs, in the tab called "Generation" you will find a check box
labeled "Index files with unknown extensions", you need to check this
and then click the OK button and that is it
- Windows Vista now collects
a lot more data on the people using it
probe keeps on running
A galaxy without
A star flung
out of the galaxy
Ring, where the gravity of one galaxy bends light to produce a lens
through which a more distant galaxy may be observed
recliner chair for the casual night sky observer, a better look here
Building an aluminum binocular
mount which allows people of different heights to view the same
object (without having to re-aim) and includes a counter weight to
balance the binoculars
A new wide
angle telescope in Chile, based on a 3 giga-pixel sensor, is going
to make it possible to take a complete picture of the night sky every
three nights, this should help in the search for more asteroids
planet orbiting the star Gliese 581 has been found and it appears
to be a rock rather than a gas giant and it is orbiting in the
Aurigids, a rather rare meteor shower may appear again 1-Sept-2007
Homestar Pro planetarium, view the sky without worrying about the
Pilot Planets) which is shareware, its more polished than AstroInfo and
also has a night vision mode. I run a copy of this on my Sony SJ30
(which has a colour hi-res display) and the night vision mode (which
sets the display to use shades of red) works very nicely (you just use
the screen's brightness control to set the level that's right for you).
I have used this in Rome (Italy), Calgary (Canada) and Kauai (Hawaii)
(but only for naked-eye observing) so I'm confident the corrections for
observing position and time zone work! Very nice software. By the way,
Hawaii has great skys for naked eye observing, they are very clear and
there is little light pollution to worry about.
- This curiously named Blog Tang A+ PMP personal media player even has composite video out - but when are these going to have component or HDMI outputs? 
- The Asus Eee PC has been spotted in pre-order mode again. 
- A new wireless messenger from Zipit, the Z2.
DigitalLife is selling a number of tween-targeted tech toys: photo frames, clocks and cameras.
- A cell phone jammer from Brandos, targets nearby GSM phones. 
- Some pictures of the Slingbox SOLO from Sling Media. 
- A new approach to email authentication is being proposed, which would help in the fight against spam. 
- Improved leak detection for space ships, this detects the propagation of vibrations along the surface of the craft. 
Aunt Abigail's Photo
Album layout program
NoiseNinja2 gets reviewed
Noiseware, from Imagenomic,
looks like a good noise reduction package for high ISO shooting. This
is quite impressive at what it can do with ISO 800 shots from a Minolta
A2 (which are quite noisy). Have a look at this gallery for
some examples that have been processed by it. Also have a look at these
images I processed with it. It gets reviewed
The PictSync group is trying
to standardize photo sharing.
3 is a standalone image colour corrector package, it also supports
batch processing. It is based on technology from PictoColor Corporation who make
a standalone package called iCorrect EditLab Pro,
which looks very similar to the BullZeye 3
package, yet sells for half the price. There is a demo version (fully
functional but puts watermarks into the saved output) of EditLab that
you can download to test, I played with this a bit and found that it
worked quite well, as long as there was something white or grey in the
frame to base the colour cast correction on. In Apr'08 PictoColor started to beta test an online version of iCorrect, it's not clear at this point if they intend to charge for this service.
A new algorithm to reduce camera motion
approach to deblurring pictures.
from iView is image management software for annotating, organizing and
distributing digital files.
- SONY BMG thinks that copying a track from a CD that you purchased onto your MP3 player is piracy. At least this is what the RIAA got them to say in court. Sounds like the RIAA's lawyer's just loaded the shotgun and passed it to their witness who then promptly shot them in the foot of public opinion. But the RIAA won the case in the end. Additional coverage of this case on Slashdot and also on Engadget. 
- The new PSP Slim can output video to composite or component TVs, apparently games can only be played in component mode. This might make it a useful photo slide show device. 
- Here's how one person took the BlueTooth receiver out of one set of wireless headphones (that had broken) and transplanted it into another conventional headset to make it wireless. This is not the first time this has been done, but its useful to see how to do this in case you ever want to try. 
- Bill Gates must be getting worried about his health, now Microsoft is wanting to make a user-controlled health care historical database. While such a system could be of great benefit to patients (the users) by centralizing all their records and ensuring whole sections don't get lost when a doctor's office moves or closes, and it could also be of great benefit for researchers who could get anonymized access to query the system, there is still the risk that such a system could be very tempting to Big Brother and so it's privacy should also be shielded by strong acts of law.  
Calgary area restaurants
- Kauai - the
isle (new page: here)
C I Host has some
packages for a reasonable price
Canaca.ca is offering
some multi-gigabyte web hosting packages
Nov'05, possible inexpensive hosting providers: BlueHost.com, LunarPages.com, HostGator.com, LiquidWeb.com,
after reviewing these and a number of other providers I switched to LunarPages. Some of
the things I considered or looked at were:
- various reviews were positive, there were some negative
comments, but most of these seemed to be about a year old
they have a good set of support pages, including open
which you can review before hand
the feature set offered (for the price) was more
"believable" than some
download and connection speeds seemed good
they allow you to use one account to host multiple web
sites, on their basic plan you can host two domains without additional charges
and they even include the annual DNS registration fees for the first
their support is pretty responsive, and even responded to
questions and setup the account on the US Thanksgiving weekend.
- Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 gets more features, but still could be made more user-friendly. This version added panorama image assembly (which compares well with Ulead PhotoImpact) and the new Group Shot feature is designed to allow one to make a single photo containing the best elements out of several group poses. This version also has support for producing photo books, which need to be uploaded to Kodak for printing. There are some other places that do photo books: Picaboo and ShutterFly.  
- Researchers have developed a super-strong transparent plastic that incorporates clay nanosheets for the strength of steel. 
- The Python Magazine, a monthly magazine for Python people. 
- The book Beginning Game Development with Python and Pygame (by Will McGugan) is offering a preview by way of a free chapter on Artificial Intelligence. 
The Kodak Gallery service offers photo book and poster production services.
- CanvasPress.com does printing to canvas including stretch mounting (both regular and wrap-around gallery style).
- This all-in-one PC from XtremeNotebooks would make the world's largest webpad. Well, it would be really too large to be comfortable, especially the 22 inch model, though the 19 inch model might just work - if they made a 10 - 12 inch model that would be great. The little prop-stand that allows it to be placed on a counter top easily might make for a nice recipe display device for a kitchen (though an e-book would really be better).
- myPhotopipe.com offers a variety of photo finishing services including photo books, gallery wrap mounting, printing to canvas and fine art papers and panoramic printing.
- Canada's Information and Privacy Commissioner gave a talk called Privacy by Design that addresses how to design software that protects the user's privacy. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
Here are some very
small PC designs (for home made MP3 players), and this
based on a set-top box.
is a small case design that even has a custom front panel display, its
intended for use in home entertainment type applications. It is
by Motherboards.org. One thing that bothers me about this is MSI's
statement: "Due to proprietary mechanical design, MSI only guarantees
the compatibility of the MEGA PC with MSI's own Optical Storage
Devices". Another thing that bothers me is in Motherboards.org's
review they note that the hard drive mounting bracket actually
positions the hard drive upsidedown
and suggest drilling a new set of mounting holes to correct this.
by SFF TECH, they also have a forum with some feedback about it and a knowledge
base thread on it. Technology Review has a collection of links to
other reviews of the MEGA. Apparently there will be an AMD chipset
version of this box in the fall of 2003 as well. 3DVelocity reviews it here.
MSI's MEGA-400, which is an AMD based version of the MEGA-651 will
be appearing soon, AMDboard.com had a preview of it.
In Feb'06 Shuttle started to show a new
entry to the small form factor category, their XPC X100 box looks
like it has about the usual foot print (width by depth) but its only
2.13 inches tall.
While not small, the home theatre-size PC case is another option.
Zalman makes one with a built-in
7in LCD for a control display.
The SA800 from MiniPC is an interesting concept, a computer that is
meant to be expanded
by stacking additional modules onto it.
is building a mini-ITX based machine for the Chinese market, the
EC280, which would be quite nice for a small home appliance type
ComputerGate has mini-ITX
In Jan'07 Via announced their Pico-ITX
super small motherboard, only 3.9x2.8 inches, discussed here
on Slashdot. This board has most of its IO on pin headers (just the LAN
and VGA are on conventional connectors). I would have thought that this
is a step backwards, and some USB and audio (and perhaps also a
composite, or component or DVI video) connectors on the board would
have made a lot of sense for the typical sort of things this board
would be used for. Here's one stuffed
inside an old Game Boy case. A review of the VIA EPIA PX10000
Pico-ITX format motherboard.
- n May'07 Gigabyte announced a DTX form
motherboard (along with a proposed case design), this is based
around an AMD chipset.
AOpen one of my clients
uses a number of AOpen's highly integrated motherboards for management and
secretarial machines, seems to be a good solution unless you need to push the video
beyond 1280x1024 resolution. They had some problems installing the NT
drivers, but that's pretty common. In late 2004 AOpen introduced a motherboard
that uses the Pentium-M (mobile) chip, this allows one to build a much
more power-efficient workstation as one of these chips uses between 3W
and 20W when running instead of the more typical 100W of the current
Pentium-4 and Athlon processors.
IWill again, no personal
experience with these but they often have a nice feature set
Gigabyte only limited
experience with these, had some problems with the Celeron II until the BIOS was
updated, still having some problems with the USB port though.
Tyan makes some nice
motherboards, their Thunderbolt S1837 makes a great workstation or server box. Tyan so far
is the only manufacturer to make a dual Athlon mother board, their
first model was very high end and required an expensive custom power supply,
this new Tyan Tiger MP S2640
too, and here and here
as well, and at AnandTech
too) looks like it could open the flood gates for AMD.
A7N266 is an nVidia nForce 420 based single Athlon motherboard, its
a bit odd since ASUS went with the basic audio and for some reason did
not connect up the built-in ethernet port...
More dual Athlon boards are due out soon (start of 2002?), this
picture is the MS-6501 (or K7D
Master I from MSI) and is reviewed
here and here
and mention of the ASUS
A7M266-D (which is also to be seen here
and reviewed here).
The Tyan Tiger S2466 is an AMD dual-cpu MPX chipset mother board,
In Aug'06 ABIT
launched their AW9D
motherboard, based on the Intel 975X chip set that is said to be quad
core (Kentsfield) ready. Apparently these chips
will be available in Nov'06.
With some high end dual processor motherboards you can install
two of the new quad-core CPUs to get a total of 8 processors.
Here's a review of Intel's
A rather fancy front panel IO
port add-on that installs in a free drive bay, includes flash
readers, USB and Firewire, fan controller and temperature monitoring
and audio IO ports
rackmounts out of houshold wire kitchen racks, but something like
this rack for
instrument modules might be better. musiciansfriend.com
has a number of rack rails and small rack cases. Rack rails are also
available from smarthome.
comparision of Dual
Xeon and Dual Athlon CPU systems under Linux
now that the 2GHz Pentium 4 is out Intel seems to have regained
the lead over AMD, according to this article
at least. Where the Athlon 1.4GHz seems to be lagging the most is in
CODEC type applications, which this article talks about a lot.
Oct'01: AMD has released multi-processor versions of their new
compares it to the original 1200MHz version. And is there any real difference
between the Athlon and Athlon-MP chips?
How does the VIA
C3 (socket 370 compatible) chip stack up against the Celeron and
Duron? Apparently not very well.
In case you are confused by Intel's
recent entry against AMD's 64 bit processor, it appears that Intel
has finally copied what AMD did, so the two processors will be able to
run the same software.
a quiet gaming system, discussed
on Slashdot, this used an Antec Sonata II case and lined it with a
pre-cut acoustic foam solution from AcoustiPack.
AcoustiPack also makes quiet rack mount cases.
in Jun'06 AMD announced their 4x4 chips, which really will be dual
processor, dual core motherboards - so a 4 CPU "consumer"
workstation will soon be possible. These are being targeted at gamers
as they will support a pair of dual GPU graphics cards (for 4 times the
rendering power). I wonder what size of power supply you'll need to run
a high end system?
CPU from Intel will contain 4 cores on a single chip and ship in
Nov'06, this will run in existing 775 socket motherboards and looks
like it will bring quad-CPU functionality to the desktop. Here is a preview
of the performance that can be expected. The Core 2 Quad got launched
in early Jan'07.
In Aug'07 Tilera
announced their new 64 core processor the TILE64. While this is a
RISC chip (rather than an x86 processor) it may make its way to the
desktop by some Linux variant.
- In Sept'07 Toshiba
announced their SpurEngine video processing chip, this is based on
the Sony Cell processor technology used in the PS3, it looks like they
are going to integrate this into some of their future laptops to give
them a boost in the video editing (trans-coding) department. This could
be a significant advancement, I wonder if anyone is going to make a
PCI card to allow a video processing accelerator to be plugged into
existing systems. This could also help with power consumption, as its
possible that one of these chips could consume less energy that a
general purpose CPU to do the same overall task, which would be good
for laptops. LeadTek's HPVC1100 puts a SpursEngine in a small external enclosure for connection to a laptop (or perhaps some other computer).
- ASUS's new P5E3 Deluxe motherboard (reviewed here) will include an instant-on Linux desktop environment built into the BIOS so the computer can even be used for web browsing and VoIP without booting into a full operating system. Earlier attempts at this sort of thing have been limited to CD Audio and DVD play back. Discussed here on Slashdot. Engadget has some more information about this. In mid-2008 ASUS announced that it intends to start shipping Splashtop on all its motherboards. 
- The YSP-500 compact sound projector from Yamaha is a smaller version of their single-speaker sound projector speakers. 
Energy Technologies Ltd. (in Calgary) is working on inverters to
allow solar cells to be directly connected to the grid (according to a radio
interview on QR77 12-Feb-03 they have already been talking to Calgary
Council about making allowances for net electric metering).
catalysts for converting biomass to hydrogen gas, in this case a
Ni-Al-Sn alloy that out performs Pt.
- Here's a bus that uses
in-wheel electric motors for drive, along with a battery pack that
is continuously topped up by a small diesel generator system that runs
continuously. They seem to be making a big deal of placing the motors
in the wheels, but I think that's been done before in big construction
vehicles (wavecrest is
doing this in bicycles). While the in-wheel motors sound like a great
thing because they eliminate the weight and inefficiency of the drive
train, they may well be less desirable because they increase the mass
of the wheels (requiring suspension redesign, possibly offsetting some
of the drive train weight savings - older racing cars used to place the
brakes at the end of the drive shafts furtherst from the wheels for
this reason, this was called "in-board brakes"), they now expose the
motors to a much worse environment (lots of road shock, water and
debris), and installing a liquid cooling system on the motors is now
more difficult (which may not be a big problem if they get enough air
cooling, but it eliminates using the motor's waste heat to warm the
passenger compartment in the winter...). Also, given you now have these
larger rotating masses there will be more rotational inertia in the
vehicle (which means slower acceleration and braking, but this might
not be significant). E-Traction is going to modify a number of buses to use in-wheel electric motors along with a hybrid diesel-electric power system, they are claiming up to 50% better fuel economy that normal buses.
A Slashdot review
of the book Out
of Gas by David Goodstein, ISBN
to produce bio-diesel,
into this is underway. Apparently some alge could yield 5000-20000
gallons per acre per year (that's 75-300K BBL per square mile per year,
which is pretty impressive).
Small fuel cells are getting a power increase
from sodium borohydride
Nickle Manganese oxide batteries, may outperform NiMH batteries in
electric car applications.
power research. Wave power is being applied in Portugal
In Europe automated
bicycle rental is being introduced so that you can rent a bike when
and as you need it.
The USA has some tax-rebate
programs to encourage conversion to solar power, some of the
individual states have very good incentives
Organisms that use solar energy to produce
This is probably not as good as claimed, but if it was
very significant, the H2N-Gen
takes water, uses electricity from the cars battery to create some
hydrogen and oxygen, then injects these into the fuel that the car
burns. The claim is in doing this overall fuel consumption is reduced
by 10 - 40% and emissions are also reduced. Apparently someone else who
has a patent for something similar is already suing...
Honda has shown a concept
car that uses hydrogen and achieves a 560km range, they have also
shown a home fueling station for it that produces the hydrogen gas from
methane and also have arranged for the waste heat this process
generates to heat the house and provide some electricity.
windmills for small power applications, a neat idea although a
small solar panel would probably be more reliable for most applications
BMW is developing a steam
engine add-on to use waste heat from gasoline engines, increasing
the overall efficiency by about 15% (or about how much gasoline prices
will go up next year...).
Improve your fuel economy by installing ScanGauge,
this attaches to your car's diagnostic plug and provides you with fuel
usage information and other things.
Algae to clean power plant emissions
- Ultracapacitors based
on nanotubes may be the batteries of tomorrow. Graphene may also find application in the ultracapacitor problem.
Power Plants are being built again
from cow dung using high temperature and pressure, discussed
on Slashdot. Of course there is a secret
ingredient: the catalysts used are not revealed. But perhaps
more exciting is that another research team has synthesised vanillin
from cow dung, just what you want for your baking pleasure!
Wheel, an replacement front wheel for bicycles that contains an
integrated 23cc motor for 200MPG cycling
A residential windmill
Biofuel production could lead
to water shortages, largely due to increased irrigation needs
SolarLab has some very
elegant designs for solar powered boats, yachts and structures
- Slashdot discusses how to measure
the electric consumption of single devices. ThinkGeek has the Kill-A-Watt,
which is a power meter with a digital display. There is also this power
watt meter, from Germany with a UK style plug and socket.
CanadianTire (in Canada) has the 52-8851-2, EM100
Electronic Energy Meter. The EnergyHub is another power monitoring device, this has a base station with LCD interface and monitoring modules that you plug in to track the power usage of each device of interest - probably a great deal of overkill but it looks nice.
yacht is going to attempt to cross the Atlantic entirely on solar
power. The MW-Line Sun21 solar powered catamaran has
crossed the Atlantic on solar power, from the Canary Islands to the
offshore to keep them out of site and also to allow for more power
GM is developing a hydrogen
filling station for the home, though as its electrically powered
its not really an advantage over just buring fossil fuel directly in
the car - unless you install a set of solar cells to power it.
EnerAge is building a small
(25W) fuel cell that will run off a variety of hydrocarbons.
discusses a new solar
panel technology, this is much less expensive to manufacture but is
less efficient. This is called CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide).
There are several companies that are entering this field (anyone know
what the patent situation on this is?) Miasole is going to be producing
cells in 2007. DayStar
is another. Also entering the field are Nanosolar (which is aiming to
build the biggest factory) and HelioVolt. In Dec'06 Honda
announced they are going to open a plant in the fall of 2007 which
will produce these cells too.
wind turbine design from Quiet Revolution
powered house that gets 100% of its energy from solar and does long
term storage of excess energy by storing hydrogen gas (produced from
electrolysis of water) and then using the hydrogen to power fuel cells.
This allows the house to capture excess power in the summer for use in
the winter (when the solar panels do not provide enough power). While
largely funded for research purposes the intent is that others
should be able to repeat this for a price of about US$100,000 (which is
still probably beyond economically justifiable).
from wind, an Australian claims to have invented a windmill that
extracts moisture from air. Doing this should be possible by expanding
the air (which will chill it) and one could just take a conventional
windmill, use it to drive a compressor (which will compress a stream of
air), then cool the compressed air back to ambient temperature (perhaps
using the waste heat to heat your house or hot water) and then expand
the compressed air back to normal atmospheric pressure and a lower
temperature, which will cause the water in it to condense (and cause
the expansion nozzle to get cold causing water vapour in the normal air
passing over the outside of the nozzle to condense). This is pretty
much the standard thermodynamic cycle used in refrigerators around the
world, except in those a special fluid is used that switches state from
liquid to gas and back as it goes around the cycle making the process
of microbes might be able to make them convert sugars into diesel
Storing methane in a tank lined with carbon
briquettes made from corncob waste may allow natural gas to be
stored in a more compact fashion than current pressureized cylinders.
A new method for storing
hydrogen gas, this time in a solid form
wind turbines for electric generation anywhere.
Solar Tower in the UK is plastered with 7244 Sharp 80W solar panels
(at a cost of $11M so about $1500 per panel, as that's at least two to
three times what the panels should cost they must be including
installation and all the peripheral equipment - still an interesting
metric: "$18/W fully installed with all support systems").
The Spanish are building
a solar tower that could eventually power the city of Seville. This
is similar to a plant called Solar Two near
A new advance
in the internal combustion engine may increase fuel efficiency of
gasoline engines by 15 to 20% and greatly reduce nitrous oxide
separator module, this will take methane and separate the hydrogen
from it, presumably producing CO or CO2 as a byproduct along with waste
heat (which can probably be used for space heating or hot water
heating), the hydrogen gas can then be used in a fuel cell to produce
electrical power for the house, to charge an electric car or could be
bottled for use in a hydrogen fueld car. The advantage with this sort
of approach is that enables a more efficient use of fossil fuel by
allowing the waste heat to be used for household purposes. Since a
central power plant that burns fossil fuel to produce steam to turn a
turbine to turn a generator to produce electricity which must then be
shipped some distance (during which some energy is lost) cannot be more
than about 30% efficient, most (about 2/3rds) of the fuel that it
consumes is wasted as heat - so for people who need space heating and
hot water heating using this waste heat (a process called
co-generation) instead of throwing it away is a big gain.
The UK has a Code for Sustainable Homes that will go into
effect in 2016, this home
design meets the level 6 requirements
microwaves to turn plastics and other hydrocarbon based material
into oil and gas. Would this work on complex organics like
cellulose or starches?
for the home, this little horizontal axis unit can be mounted on a
that can only produce 46 microwatts, one might ask what is the
point? However, this sort of cantilever mounted coil design might
also prove to be applicable in other applications, perhaps some wind or
water powered generator that uses the oscillatory motion of a cable
being strummed by the flow as a less expensive generator.
solar project (covering 640 acres) is to be completed in California
Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology has developed
a plastic solar cell that is only 6.5% efficient, but can be
produced for a very low cost of about $0.10 per watt, which would be a
good thing given current silicon based cells are about $2.30 per watt.
They think these could be available commercially by about 2012.
from cellulose, a new plant to produce ethanol from cellulose
(rather than sugars) is to go online in 2008 in Georgia USA.
solar cells (DSSC) are being developed at Ohio State, these promise
to produce power for about 1/4 the cost of conventional cells.
Coli have been reprogrammed through genetic modification (by LS9 Inc.) to produce a form of crude
oil from which other hydrocarbons (like gasoline) can be readily
refined. Other companies, like Amyris
Biotechnologies are try to do similar things.
The first concentrating
solar power station to be built in the USA in a long time started
to provide Las Vegas with 64MW in the summer of 2007, cost is estimated
algae may someday produce hydrogen gas for use as a fuel - or
escape in to the wild and cause global meltdown.
A plan is in place for storing excess
wind power output as compressed air in underground caverns. This
would certainly be safe and stable as the natural gas industry have
been using underground formations of this type to store compressed
natural gas for years.
Here is a small, collapsible, electric
People are now starting to modify
hybrids, such as the Prius, to allow them to run further on
batteries alone. How about extending the
economy of the Prius by adding solar panels to the roof.
HyMotion is going
to produce a add-on battery pack for the Prius and Ford Escape to
allow these hybrids to function in an electric-car mode for longer
(meaning you can do short trips on electric alone).
- The Twike (see Engadget)
battery and human powered two seater car. There is some information on Wikipedia here. The Canadian site is here, I wonder how it fairs in snow?
While not as fast as a Ferrari, and probably not even as fast as
a Lada, the Microcar
Zenn is an all-electric car that would be suitable for a lot of
in-town work and is to be commercially available in 2006, for as little
At the other end of electric based performance is the Human
Powered Car, this seats up to 4 and also has some electric drive
and wind-powered electric car. Not life in the fast lane. More news
about it going into a limited
One man's successful conversion of a Jeep
Cherokee to electric power, the range is not much but the operating
costs are quite low (less than when gasoline powered)
Schwinn is going
to produce a new line of electric powered bycycles with about a 40
from Silence brings a future hot-rod design to the electic car
- More talk of the compressed
air powered car. MDI in France is close to making this work. Air France and KLM are going to do a six-month trial of this car, mid-2009 is the current target for production (the car will only do 50km/hr for up to 215km). Slashdot discusses a recent study that finds that compressed air cars may have a greater carbon footprint that alternatives.
- July'07, a Norwegian car company is building
a compact electric car called the Think City that may be brought to
the US in 2009. Discussed here on Slashdot. Their plans have firmed up somewhat and in Apr'08 announced the first cars would go on sale to the US public in 2009. Discussed here on Engadget.
- Zero Motorcycles has made an electric
dirt bike with about a 40 mile range, they are looking at producing
a street ready version too. This is getting very close to production now.
Fuel efficient roadster,
or return of the Reliant
- Generating electricity directly from biomas, a proof of concept from a team of MIT students. 
- AMD has introduced some new 45-watt processors, which would be useful in lower power appliance (i.e. such as DVR) computers that don't need super-fast processors but do get a lot of run time. 
- Is Google trademarking Google PC? If so, why? 
- A prototype 700MHz WiFi card has been announced by Ubiquiti, this has been tested with a range of up to 31 miles at 50Mbps. With the potential of such long ranges its easy to see why the 700MHz auction that will happen in Jan'08 may be very important to the future of mobile broad band. 
- The Samsung SPH-9200 UMPC (the cute flip and fold split keyboard design) is getting closer, its manual has been leaked. 
AJAX Programming, by Prabhakar Chaganti, ISBN 1847191002.
A New Approach to Web Applications, by Jesse James Garrett
asks some of the prominent Gurus of the AJAX world: What's so
Special About AJAX?
- The ASUS Eee PC is due to be shipped in October'07; BestBuy and Newegg are expected to be carrying it. ASUS stated that they have received contract orders for over 1 million units already. 
- Fire Pictures - from
the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). Not necessarily digital
but there are some amazing pictures here.
Building your own infra
red filter out of junk
Pantone makes a colour
calibration system, and in Jan'06 they announced
another called Huey.
Here is a review of the hueyPRO
which improves upon the original Huey.
Mar'06 a review of the Pantone Eye
One Display LT colorimeter and the Huey
low cost calibrator. Another review of the Huey here.
London Drugs stocks the Huey
and the Eye
Breaking the gigapixel
barrier, using a 6MP camera and stitching a large number of images
together. The result is quite amazing. This also has some (simulated)
comparison between this resolution and other real resolutions. This
sort of resolution is not really so far away as one might think,
consider that the current resolution size is about 10MP, so multiply
this by just 100 and you have 1GP. Now a factor of a hundred sounds a
lot, but since sensors are not lines, they cover an area, so all that
needs to be done is to multiply the number of sensors in each dimension
by a factor of 10. This could be done today by making the sensor
larger, roughly 4 to 8 inches across would do it (but then you're
looking at a pretty big camera - but such large format cameras have
been used before), or else if the sensor was made more dense we would
have to wait about 6 to 9 years (circuits shrink by about a factor of 2
every 2 to 3 years). Sensor noise might be one limiting factor here,
but I would think we would hit some sort of optical limit before this
This article has a
good explanation (and demonstration) of why colour information in
video (and also photographs) is less important to our eyes than
luminance and especially that we really don't see blue very well at all.
for photographers, at least for the USA. More information
on this subject. PhotoPermit.org
is a site dedicated to this issue. A site from Tomas Hawk that is collecting
information about photo policies in privately owned, public spaces.
Is photography becoming illegal in the
Could the compound eyes
of insects be applied to photography? A camera with about 90,000
microlenses has been developed as a thesis project.
The effect of megapixel counts and print sizes, this
article demonstrates that 5Meg (or more) can produce apparantly
identical results at a 16x20 print size. In my experience with printing
8MP images (all shot in JPEG) from my Minolta A2 at 13x19" size (on a
Canon i9900 printer), its pretty much impossible to see any evidence of
their digital origins - about the only chance is if you can pick out a
sharp edge between a light and a dark object, then you might be able to
make out a narrow band of lighter area intruding onto the dark region
(which is probably a JPEG artifact). I have done a 13x19 print from the
Minolta A2 of trees in autumn standing in a field of long dry grass,
and even on the grass I cannot make out stair casing. I did some
test prints once from my 3MP Canon G1 and printed a 16x20 as a tiled
8x10 set (which means that the printed pixels were about 100 pixels per
inch) and in those you could see pixelization on the edges of things,
but if you viewed from a reasonable distance you could not see them. My
conclusion is that 5MP should be good enough for most people,
especially if you get a camera with a larger sensor to reduce the
sensor noise. Of course if one is purchasing a camera with less than
about a 5x optical zoom then more pixels might well be useful to allow
for additional cropping before printing.
Wraps, a frameless mounting technique for prints that have been
made on some sort of fabric media.
Digital Camera Magazine
Only Batteries has
a lot of rechargable batteries, including true C and D cells (i.e. not
the typical AA concealed in a C or D size housing).
box from vacuumsaver.com
that might be useful for drying out cameras in damp environments
WPi, a 6M Pixel 3x optical zoom waterproof digicam
More on kite
photography from Engadget, this includes how to modify your camera
so it shoots a steady stream of pictures, one per second. Another article in
Vintage Visuals is a
used equipement specialist n Calgary, Canada
Wearable Digital camera might be a suitable camera for kids, its
only 640x480 and fixed focus.
Some cows and a grizzly
bear in Kanaskis Country (near Calgary)
Some photos of Nose
Hill Park, in the north of Calgary
Valley Provincial Park, About 80km west of Calgary, Alberta
the street, June 2004
Next the Feds are extending profiling
of airline passengers, gathering data on individual habbits and
looking for out-of-the-norm activity
there's the eye on Britain
brother at waldomart? And in casinos
too... and at a personal
, someone's listening... Here's some more information on this from Mitnick's
testimony on telephone security.
a good year to be a microbiologist, they are dropping like flies.
Times debunks this.
SRV-1 robot can crawl around your home taking pictures
Making sense of the brave new world of digital
Battlestar Galactica (the new series) episode
guide, another guide
that prints a bit better.
- WinBook makes a very reasonably priced 30 inch LCD TV
BenQ has announced LCD-TVs with
built in network connections to allow display of content direct
from your computer LAN
The Yamaha YSP-800 Digital Sound
In Aug'05 Dell announced their 5100MP, a
high-end SXGA+ (1400x1050 with a 2500:1 contrast ratio) projector, with
all the video ports one is likely to need for home theater use
Samsung has produced a 40in OLED TV
(also mentioned here), not
that it will ever make it to North America. One wonders what's
happened to all the OLED displays that are in the range of 4-39 inches,
seems like no one has bothered with OLEDs for that market yet.
to ship the first 50in SED based TV in March 2006, apparently these
have a 100,000:1 contrast ratio.
Acer will be entering the US
market for big screen LCD displays in 2006, apparently they are
already using Canada as a market test site.
Sharp has announced
their new range of LCD TVs for 2006, very nice, but still way too
pricey, looks like they are keeping thier sets in the same price range
as 2005 and trying to justify this by making them all 1080p capable.
Someday all displays will be like this,
only much less expensive. 102inches of special holographic film covered
glass acting as a projection screen
Dell's new (Oct'05) 37 inch LCD, W3706MC
HD projector does 1280x768
Engadget asks what's the best
Engadget has seen
the light, and its SED, apparently 2006 will see the first SED
technology based displays and the current demonstrations are very good.
Do it your self video
scaling and de-interlacing
is entering the large screen market (Mar'06)
VSX-516 receiver includes the ability to play digital audio files
from a USB interface
Yamaha is upgrading their Digital Sound Projector, to the new YPS-1100. 
- Toshiba's RC-XS54 has
250GB of storage and network connectivity which is strangely crippled
(they won't let you copy from a PC onto the DVR, but will go the other
player from Conceptronic is like a portable USB drive with video
The Panasonic DMR-E85H is quite a nice DVR, it has a 120GB drive
and the TV Guide on-screen function (which works quite well). It looks
like this was available in the 2003-2005 timeframe and has been
replaced by some other models. From time to time it will "crash" (for
me this ocasionally happens when I insert a blank DVD-R to do some
dubbing, maybe about once a month), sometimes when it crashes it looses
the contents of the TV Guide memory buffer, so you may have to wait for
a day or two before the TV Guide is available again. A number of people
have reported U99 errors (especially with use of the divide function),
I've only seen this problem once. See this artical for some
discussion of the U99 issue, including a remark about the owner having
put a 160GB drive into the DVR, but the DVR only used the first 120GB
of it (maybe it would be possible to remove the drive after it has been
formatted and then extend the partition?), there is also discussion of
some additional hidden menus. The AVS
Forum also has some
postings on these subjects. There is also some information
on the forums at afterdawn.com.
to build a practical home theater PC
Pioneer (Mar'06) is launching some PVRs with the ability to add extra
hard drives via USB ports.
Buffalo is making the PC-MV72DX/U2,
which is a video capture and playback device that includes a TV Tuner.
This does not have internal storage, it can be attached to a PC or a
NAS device to make a full-blown PVR.
- The Sony e-Book Reader PRS-505 is shipping now. 
A neat idea for visualizing
web server traffic. Presents it rather like an old 2D video game. 
Thoughts on picking
a CMS - Content Management System to help with your web site
discusses the legality of meta search engine mashups. How does
copyright apply to an aggregator type site?
CAPTCHAs are the little images that contain some text that
the user must enter correctly to access a feature of a web site, these
are intended to prevent robots (especially spam droids) from gaining
access. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon are using these to digitize old
texts now. 
- The FitPC a low-power design (drawing only 5W) gets reviewed here and discussed here on Slashdot. fit-PC has introduced another version, the fit-PC Slim which is available in a very small case (probably less than a bare 3.5 inch hard drive). This is priced from $220 to $335 depending on the options selected and the operating system. The new version gets reviewed here. A new version of this gets an Atom processor for a bit more speed. More details on the fit-PC2 here with pricing starting at $245 for a disk-less model.
- Beaming solar power from space in the form of microwaves has been talked about in the past for a long time, but now it seems to be getting more attention. The collection efficiency can be improved (versus land-based) because there are no losses due to clouds or atmospheric pollution and potentially a collector can be kept in full sunlight 24 hours a day (though this would mean it needs to transmit its output to different sites on earth as the world turns) the raw cost per watt would be less for space based collectors than ground based ones. Of course, that would get massively reversed once the cost of lifting the collectors into space is factored in.
The real drive behind this might be the need for power in the military (though that does not make a lot of sense as the power will be off during the night, and the batteries the military would need to store power for use overnight would likely be bigger than the oil fueled generators they replace). It might be the military sees this as a way to get a new weapon in the sky, consider their recent work with the "pain ray", a microwave gun that causes intense pain by stimulating the nerves of the skin, perhaps such satellites (which use microwaves to relay their collected power to the ground) could do double duty and be used to cover large areas of a battlefield with pain rays, thus, knocking enemy troops out of action prior to an attack. 
- ASUS has finally announced the specifications of the first Eee PC models to be shipped. The prices appear to be $245, $304, $335, $420 according to this site. 
- The MagicJack USB to phone to VoIP adapter is discussed along with the competing V Phone from Vonage. 
- The ASUS Eee gets official USA pricing, from $299 to $399. What's the bet, given that the fully equipped item is only $100 more than the entry level, that the $399 unit outsells the smaller units by a long way? 
- The Nokia 810, the successor to the N800, is now official. The biggest visible change is that it has a slider-style keyboard. And more news about this, including a price of $479, so this will be a tough sell against the ASUS Eee at $399. The Nokia site's page on the 810. This article has a good set of photos which even comapare the N810 to the iPhone, the N810 almost looks like a slightly larger version of the iPhone and does not seem to be that much thicker. Discussed here on Slashdot. Here are some first impressions of the N810 and some information on the micro USB plug it has. 
- An electro magnetic (home web site) can crusher. This demonstrates magneforming (the application of magnetic pressures) - something similar might make for a good science fair project. 
- The Chumby finally goes on sale. A product that was designed to be hacked. 
- More rumors of a GPhone, this time with HTC being the phone manufacturer. 
- The Garmin ForeRunner 300 series training GPS units are getting some competition from Pyxis new GPS watches. 
- The EM-X270 module from Compulab is a Xscale CPU module that can be used as the basis for handheld devices. 
- Canada's copyright board has approved a tax on muxic downloads. 
The UM150 EV-DO USB modem for wireless internet. 
- SanDisk is working hard at figuring out more ways to increase the demand for flash memory, their new TakeTV is an 8GB USB drive that enables video playback. Apparently it has a docking station that provides video output (though why you need such a bulky memory stick for this is still unclear - perhaps they have put the video chips into the same package as the flash drive rather than putting them into the docking station)? Engadget takes a more detailed look at it here. I think they are still missing the best market opportunities by not including support for hi-def playback and by not including support for playback on DVI-D LCD panels (then this could be used to make a large photo frame out of an LCD panel). Switched On discusses the TakeTV.
Well it didn't take long for this to die, it lasted from about 30-Oct-07 to 15-May-08. Let's hope SanDisk learned something here and come back to the table with something capable of playing HiDef. 
- The International Music Score Library Project has been hit by a copyright cease and desist. The Project Gutenberg site may be hosting some of this material while the IMSLP sorts out the legal issues.  
- The Oriental Palace (near the Bow river in north west Calgary), here's
their take out menu: page1
- Saffron, Fine Indian Take Out, opened in north west Calgary in Nov'06,
in nearly the same spot that the "Palki" used to be. Their web
site is www.saffrontakeout.ca.
They are a true take out, you show up pick a few
dishes and they package it up and you go. Their menu has a different
set of 4 entrees per day along with a few dishes that are offered every
day. Some quite nice food. Their address is:
Dalbrent Professional Plaza 
136, 3604-52 Ave. N.W.
Calgary, Alberta, T2L 1V9
Phone: (403) 441-7700
- GreenChili is another Indian
restraunt in the north west part of Calgary (in the strip mall on the
east side of McMahon Stadium near Banff Trail C-Train station).
- Tumbleweed Bison,
is a buffalo farm near Calgary if your taste for meat extends beyond
- The Surya Restaurant is East Indian (menu from fall 2007) and has a lunch time buffet that is quite good. It is located in the south west part of downtown Calgary across the intersection from the South West corner of the Calgary COOP on 11 Ave. 
- Stepic, image steganography implemented in Python. 
- Some observations on using Python to power the BeContrary web site. 
- A study now shows that a recent reduction in violent crime in the USA is well correlated with the phasing out of leaded gasoline that started in 1973. The question is, will this be repeated for the UK and Australia who did not switch to unleaded until the 1980s? Is leaded gas still used else where, Africa perhaps? 
- SanDisk has launched a patent lawsuit against 25 companies relating to flash memory patents. 
- The Asus Eee PC 701 gets reviewed by Laptop Mag, discussed here on Engadget. There's at least one 701 in the UK getting passed around the reviewers and its being received favorably. CNet's Rory Reid got his hands on it and quite liked it, a Slashdot discussion of this review revealed that ZDNet was to have reviewed the machine after CNet, but that CNet had messed it up by trying (and failing) to install XP on it. However, Rupert Goodwins the the ZDNet reviewer then fixed the problem by installing the new Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon release on it. Since the standard Ubuntu installed with only minor issues I'm guessing that this little laptop might receive a lot of attention from the Linux community which should be a good thing for it. There is also an unofficial Eee PC forum at www.eeeuser.com along with lots more news and some unofficial specs (like the VGA port supports up to 1600x1280). NewEgg appears to be the first to claim to have stock of these in the USA. Engadget has a round up of the latest post-release reviews. This review from Notebook Review is especially noteworthy has it includes instructions on dissecting your new laptop and also on upgrading the RAM to a maximum of 2GB. 
- gasp, (Graphics API for Students of Python). A library built on pygame that enables absolute beginners to write 1980's style
arcade games as an introduction to python. 
Pegasys makes the TMPGEnc
DVD Author package.
How to convert
a DVD for viewing on an iPod, this article uses DVDx, also has some
other suggestions for similar software.
- VideoReDo is a
powerful tool for extracting and deleting scenes from MPEG1 and MPEG2
files. This has a pretty convenient batch edit function that can also
be used to split a single file into a number of smaller files (perhaps
you have a few hours of vacation tape to edit, and you want to start by
extracting the dozen or so interesting scenes into separate files so
they are easier to work with). What you do is explained
on their FAQ (its not immediatly obvious from the help file or
program's controls that you can do this). Since the FAQ is a little
vague, here's a recap:
- You will probably need to set some program options first, in the "General Parameters" select "Queue to batch clears cut list" and set the "Editing Mode" to "Scene Mode".
- enter the Batch Manager, and select a destination folder,
then enter a "_" (underscore) into the "destination modifier" field, finally
hit the "Done" button
- now pick the scenes you want in each separate file (you
can select several per file if you want), by finding the start of the
scene, clicking on the "Sel. End" button, then finding the scene's end
and clicking on the "Sel. End" button and at last clicking on the "Add
Selection" button. Repeat as needed.
- once your list of scenes is complete you hit the CTRL+B
key (or use the File / Add Edits to Batch Queue... menu item)
- a dialogue will appear that shows you the file name it
will save those scenes to, this should be in the destination directory you
selected, the file name should start with the original file's name and
then have an "_nnn" extension, where "nnn" is a number that starts with
001 and automatically increases each time you hit CTRL+B. Answer "OK"
to the dialogue if the name is correct.
- once you have finished your selections you select the
Tools / Start Batch Manager menu item again, check the "Run Silently" check box
(this doesn't seem to do much) and then press the "Save and Execute"
button and it will build the new set of scene files without needing
further user interaction.
- Panasonic is getting
serious about their combination DVD-R and Hard Drive TV recorders,
they have now announced models with up to 400G drives. Their DMR-E85HS
is more reasonably priced and has a 120GB drive, it also has a built in
EPG (electronic program guide) that picks up its information from
signals provided over basic cable (works in Calgary, Canada with Shaw
Cable in Dec'04). Its biggest limitation is that it only writes to
DVD-R and DVD-RAM, but that's not too bad - however, almost all the
competition also write to DVD+/-RW media. When it writes to DVD-RAM it
creates VRO format files, apparently these are just MPEG files and are
like VOB files (see this reference)
except missing some indexing information. The LG Super Multi DVD drive
has no problem reading these, and if you just change the extension from
VRO to MPG they will play.
- DataPlay - these guys may be about
to give Iomega a serious bit of competition in the removable media world
IBM and some other players are introducing (5 June 02) the iSCSI
system to allow for a disk-less PC that uses remote storage
devices. This sounds like something they could just do over some other
conventional interface like FireWire, USB2 or GigaBit Ethernet, so we'll have to see.
The next time you think your hard drive has died, perhaps
its the software that's to blame, Seagate is providing some tools
they call SeaTools to
help you determine this before sending your drive back (these tools are
supposed to check drives made by other manufacturers too)
2004 Seagate announced that they were going to increase their
warranty period to 5 years for most drives (even those for the desktop
Maxtor announces (Sept'04) their 300GB external
In April 2005 Hitachi announced
plans for hard drives based on perpendicular magnetic storage, this
should mean that drive sizes will start to climb again.
At 155GB this is a seriously large
solid state disk drive, but BiTMICRO
makes smaller units too.
to IDE (both 3.5inch and 2.5inch connectors) cable,
little gadget to have
in your tool drawer
Would you dare open
your drive to get it to move its heads again?
of big hard
drives, including USB connected units
will have a 500GB drive
for 2006 include a 200GB 7200RPM 2.5in laptop drive, a 120GB 1.8in
drive and some high spin rate serial attached SCSI drives.
Hard Drives will combine flash memory and conventional hard disks
to reduce power consumption and perhaps improve drive performance. In
June'06 Seagate announced
its first laptop hybrid drive with a 256Meg flash buffer.
Seagate shipped its first
perpendicular drives in April'06, and announced their new 750GB
fluids may be used to achieve super high storage densities<>
In Jan'07 Seagate
revealed plans to achieve 30TB drives in the next decade using
heat-assisted magnetic recording (HARM) and Hitachi is planning to be
the first to ship a 1TB drive (aiming for the first quarter of 2007).
The Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 was the first terabyte drive to ship and
In May'07 Toshiba announced their NC-MR
technology saying that it could bring a ten-fold increase in
storage capacity in the next few years.
Seagate is planning to stop
manufacturing IDE hard drives by the end of 2007
Western Digital is now promising 3TB
drives by 2010.
- A cute SATA
external hard drive attachment dock. Neat design, but why, if
this is SATA only, didn't they make it connect with an eSATA cable
rather than a USB cable? The issue of no external SATA cable has been corrected.
- In Feb'06 SanDisk increased memory card capacities, yet
again. While these cards may not sound like "mass storage" today,
consider that a Windows XP with Office can still be comfortably
installed on a 10GB disk, so it might well be feasible to run a Windows
desktop off a flash card, and now SanDisk has read and write speeds up
to 20MB/sec this might well be quite speedy.
Kingston has a secure flash drive that will automatically
erase your data after 25 failed password attempts.
be releasing a 64GB SATA 2.5 inch flash drive in Aug'06.
The MR-C11 and MR-C10 flash
card readers from Elecom, one even has the ability to dub directly
between two different cards
a 32GB solid state disk in a 1.8" drive form factor in Jan'07
has announced 16GB and 32GB solid state disks starting at US$169,
to start shipping in Q2 2007
has announced a 64G solid state disk with an SATA connector
has announced a 128G solid state disk (SSD) drive, put 8 of those
together with RAID and you've got a terra-byte SSD solution.
it yourself SSD adapter, essentially an IDE to SD flash interface
that can hold up to 4 SD cards for a maximum of 8GB capacity in a 2.5
inch drive form factor. Currently quite overpriced.
In Feb'07 Lexar introduced their UDMA
CompactFlash cards, rated at 300x speed, in the right reader these
can hit write speeds of 45MB/sec
Adtron announced (Feb'07) a 160GB
SSD and they claim up to 70MB/sec read/write performance.
In Mar'07 Sandisk introduced
a 2.5in 32GB SSD for about $350
Talent will have SATA
Flash Drives in 1.8in, 2.5in and 3.5in form factors in sizes up to
128GB in 2007. They also have regular IDE interfaced SSD units.
In Apr'07 SimpleTech announced 256GB
and 512GB SSD drives in a 3.5 inch format.
- A CF
to SATA hard drive adapter, built around the 2.5 inch form factor
allows you to make your own flash drive out of a standard CF card. This
model is from Addonics.
They also have CF to IDE adapters, including
this one that holds two CF cards, for a pretty reasonable $29.99. A review of one of these adapters is here.
In June'07 SanDisk announced
an increase in size to 64GB for their SSD units (1.8 and 2.5 inch)
makes the mDrive a rugged USB flash drive that has a very small
form factor, this is only slightly wider than the USB port it sticks
Buffalo will be building a 56GB
USB attached SSD in a small form factor (about credit card sized)
for those who need a portable data drive that is larger than the
USB-stick type drives.
test of several SSD drives
another flash format could be appearing, this time it is to be the
one format to rule them all.
- A super-fast flash
drive that is packaged as a PCIe card from Fusion-io, with up to
320GB of storage on it and speeds in the 600-800Mb/sec range. The entry level version is priced at $2400 for 80GB, that seems rather a high premium seeing that SSD drives of similar size are well under $1K.
is making some
is going to produce a small NAS unit
with capability to take 2 IDE drives internally and also combine them
with either RAID-0 (to increase the size) or RAID-1 (for redundancy),
on Tom's Networking. It also includes a built-in USB print server.
The Silex SX-2000U2 is a
network-attached USB device sharer, in effect its a little computer
you put on your LAN somewhere, then attach USB devices to it (including
things like scanners and hard drives) and then you can access these
from other computers across the LAN. Its certainly no where near as
fast as attaching the device directly to a computer, but it might be
useful since the device can be accessed from several places. Details on
how these devices contend with being accessed by several computers at
once are not reported... There is a review of it here.
(Sept'05) is now making a NAS box that has a built in media-server
function and USB ports to attach additional hard drives or even
printers. Maxtor's Shared Storage Plus gets reviewed.
In Summer'06 this is being increased
to the 1TB capacity (or 500GB as a RAID-1).
NA-1400 is a home tera-byte RAID storage server
The Buffalo HD-HTGL/R5 TeraStation gets reviewed by
Hawk and is found to be rather slow
SC101 is a network file server that can be configured for RAID1,
you can buy
it without disks and add your own IDE drives of any size. This is
being superseded by the SC101T
in early 2007.
Thecus also makes the N4100,
which is a NAS device with 4 bays that supports RAID 0, 1, and 5 as
well as a gigabit ethernet port.
In June'06 Thecus announced the N5200
that gives you a 5 drive NAS enclosure, this is reviewed here
and discussed on Slashdot.
The LinkStation is an external NAS box that can
be modified to include the ability to run P2P protocols
WL-700gE media server gives you a nice mix of storage, web server,
FTP server as well as BitTorrent support. And it is expandable by
adding external USB drives. More information about this on Slashdot here,
at at Tweaktown.
(see their product
page) is a gigabit network storage box with bays for two SATA 3.5in
drives (and RAID-1) and has a USB print server port.
640GB RAID drive
HP is going to market a consumer
NAS drive with RAID-1 capability, this gets reviewed
here by ExtremeTech, this unit can also use up to 3 externally
attached USB drives or printers. There is a thrid party FAQ on this
Duo from Buffalo is a RAID-1 capable NAS
The Infrant ReadyNAS
NV+ has gigibit ethernet and will hold up to 4 drives.
The BitTorrent company is developing a line
of NAS server devices with embedded BitTorrent capabilities
In Nov'06 I-O Data announced
its Giga LANDISK, a 750GB NAS with gigabit LAN and an eSATA and USB
ports for expansion.
PL-35U2BS is a dual-drive enclosure that attaches via USB
LinkStation from Buffalo, supports DLNA
from I-O Data supports up to 1TB
The I-O Data LANDISK
Tera NAS has 4 bays and will do RAID-5 with up to 2TB of storage at
from Planex has built in BitTorrent functionality
NAS from Hammer, up to 2GB in a 2 drive NAS
- Drobo is a
4 drive enclosure that has a disk management processor built in and
appears to allow for hot swapping. More
details on this unit. Engadget reviews it here. Drobo appears to be popular amongst photographers, here is a review by one who uses it on a Mac network. Drobo has been opening up to running additional applications and now have an SDK.
Jack in the Box media servier from Planex, is a dual-drive NAS
(RAID-1 capable) with a BitTorrent client, DLNA and iTunes media
servers and front panel USB and SD card slots so you can directly load
files onto it.
from WiebeTech, this is a 5 drive RAID enclosure which has
FireWire, USB and eSATA connectors, but its far to expensive at $1700
without any drives.
MAXimus from NewerTech
is an external USB/FireWire attached two drive RAID box, it is
available with or without drives.
D400 and D800 Fusion RAID systems will do RAID-5 across either 4 or
network hard drives, which include some additional functions like
Active Directory and UPnP media server capability
is a four-bay NAS from Lanner
is a two-bay NAS from QNAP
DriveStation units are getting a "turbo USB" feature to improve
is a 500GB NAS from Princeton Technologythat includes iTunes server and
be introducing some low cost NAS devices starting at about $150
Home Server is a Windows Home Server in a cute form factor, with
low power operation.
Cube-R multimedia hard drive has video in/out functionality, a
memory card reader and has composite and component video out.
A few Windows
Home Server type boxes, from HP, MaxData, Medion and Fujitsu
Cube Station CS407, a nice looking 4 drive NAS enclosure with
gigabit LAN and some built in web server software (PHP, MySQL and
NAS drives from LaCie appear to be dual drive RAID NAD housings
T7-HSA is a fanless and low-power file server box built around a
custom housing and Windows Home Server.
Edition Personal Media Server, is a single drive (500GB) NAS unit
that has DLNA support and a gigabit ethernet port.
IoMega has released a new
set of external drive units, including some with up to 4 drive bays
Oct'07 from Engadget: Norco's (I thought
they made bicycles) new DS-520
home NAS is a pretty advanced unit. Its got five hot-swappable
bays, can run a number of different operating systems (including
Windows Home Server and various Linux solutions) and has dual
gigabit ethernet ports plus ports to attach additional drives via USB
and eSATA. At a price of about $620 this initially appears expensive,
as that's quite a bit more than the typical 2-drive home NAS solution,
but its a lot less than a lot of the heavy duty 4-drive solutions
currently out there. In fact, if you were to try and build something
equivalent you'd probably blow your budget with just the purchase of an
equivalent hot-swap case and a SATA RAID controller card with more than
4 ports. Their spec sheet shows you have a choice of processor speeds
and also the amount of RAM that is installed, and it appears to be
available without an operating system as well. 
- InPhase Technologies has announced
their 300GB Tapestry holographic drives will ship in 2006. Now InPhase
is saying they will be shipping a 600GB write-once system in the
fall of 2007, while the disks are not cheap at $180/each the drives are
insanely expensive at $18,000. Looks like a big flop to me. They have kind of missed their shipping date, they have shown the 300GB drive at NAB in April'08 and claim that it will ship in May'08 (about 2 years late). But it's still the ridiculous $18K for a drive and $180 for a 300GB cartridge, so that's not price competitive with a 3.5 inch 300GB hard drive in an external USB enclosure. Even if you were to write copies to a few drives for redundancy it is just not competitive. And in Aug 2008 we started hearing about layoffs at InPhase. InPhase delays their 300GB holographic drive until late 2009, by which time it will be beyond obsolete - however, the article also mentions that GE is developing something that might compete in the 300GB disk field. In Feb'10 the InPhase saga came to an end.
A CD/DVD drive with robotic changer
to allow for automated ripping of up to 25 CDs at a time. 
the BR-PD 23U2
which is a Sony Professional Blu-Ray burner that can store 23GB of data
Sony is planning on taking the BlueRay disks to 8 layers for
200GB, that'll keep the pirates at bay.
blue-ray burner is about to enter the market (Aug'05)
NEC (Sept'05) has announced the HR-1100A, a better HD-DVD
The first reviews of Blu-ray burners are starting to appear
in late Jan'06, this
one covers the Samsung SH-B033 which was able to burn a 25GB disc
in about 43 minutes and should be able to burn dual layer discs as well.
There may be a 40GB
version (called EVD) of the conventional DVD drive appearing to
compete with Blu-Ray. They are working on a single sided, 10-layer disk.
It might be possible to increase
the storage of DVD (including Blu-ray) by about a factor of 3 by
In Apr'06 TDK began
shipping 25GB Blu-ray media in the $19-$25/disk price range.
In Apr'06 TDK reported
that they have made a 200GB recordable Blu-Ray disk (using 6 layers)
In June'06 a new technique for making narrower laser beams
(based on existing lasers) was announced
- this could result in another large step in optical disk storage
Sept'06, LG's GBW-H10N Blu-ray burner gets reviewed
BW1000, a dual layer Blu-Ray recorder capable of writing 50GB to a
single disc has been released in Japan.
In Sept'07 JVC announced the first rewritable single-sided
dual-layer DVDs, I guess these are DL
- I have used a Yamaha 426 SCSI (4x
write, 2x re-write, 6x read) drive for over two years now with very few
problems. In December 2000 I added a new drive, a Plextor
PX-W1210S which does 12x burn, 10x rewrite and 32x read. I chose the
Plextor over the 16x Yamaha because the Plextor has the new Burn-Proof system
(from Sanyo), this system will pause the burning process before a buffer
under run occurs, and once sufficient new data has arrived it will resume
burning. This means that you can safely use the highest writing speeds even when
burning in a challenging environment (like gathering files from across
a LAN). So far I am quite happy with the Plextor and have even started
to use the CD-ResQ backup image software that came with it.
The first consumer DVD-R drives are starting to show up now,
here is a review of the Pioneer
DVR-A03 DVD-R/CD-RW unit. This Slashdot artical asks for user
experiences with recordable
DVD drives. A DVD and CD compatibility
chart, and another one here
in the DVD demystified FAQ. Meritline.com has blank
Toshiba is going
to work with the Optware holographic technology, first generation
disks are expected to be in the 100-200GB range. 
- Arizona State University has developed a new type of flash-memory like storage, called a programmable metalization cell. This has been licensed to three companies already and they are expecting to see products based on this in about 18 months (so maybe in 2009). 
- Vegas Pro video editing suite makes good use of dual and quad core CPUs.
- Google is promising to reveal its mobile phone plans in the next two weeks (so by mid Nov'07). Slashdot discusses Andy Rubin, the man behind the Google Phone. 
Getting the spacing right can have an strong
influence on image sharpness when using a add-on converter lens.
This Gary's Parries article talks about this with the Raynox 6600 0.66x
wide converter used with the Canon A95.
Tiffen for filters
and addon lenses, their new MegaPlus
series includes a 2x and 0.75x lens pair.
Rob Galbraith's compact
flash performance database
PhotoTracker is a low-tech solution to the GPS photo tagging
problem, this relies on its clock being in sync with your camera's
clock and then you use some software they provide to merge their GPS
tag data back into your photographs.
view finder adapter for digicams that do not have an adjustable LCD
you choose a prosumer digicam or a DSLR for your next camera?
In Jan 2006 Sony announced a new
CMOS sensor that they claim will increase the pixel count without
reducing image quality
this is an SD card with an integrated WiFi interface that you will be
able to put into a lot of digicams to allow them to upload their photos
by a WiFi connection, it will also work with a CompactFlash adapter to
allow it to be used in a lot of the D-SLR cameras. Engadget writes (Oct'07) that the Eye-Fi is now shipping and will include 2GB of storage. Engadget takes a first look at it here, and finds that this is a case of a tempting tech tool that doesn't really solve any problem we are interested in. Reviewed here on dpreview.com, they have a pretty good write up on how it is configured and used, along with its somewhat disappointing speed of about 10-15 seconds per photograph. The other problem with this is that you need to attach the card to a computer in order to enter access point information, so unless you have brought a computer along you can't just walk into a Starbucks and have it upload your photos when traveling. Perhaps they could provide a small keyboard device to allow you to do this while on a trip, but even then you might just be better off buying a couple of blank 4GB SD cards or bringing along a mini laptop like the ASUS Eee PC. One user of this card has written some Python software to take the place of the standard Eye-Fi server (also here on Engadget), this could be the start of making this card more useful.
aerial photography using a four-rotor helicoptor platform
DIGIC-II based cameras have had their firmware hacked to enable a
number of hidden features, including a RAW mode.
Philips is introducing (Sept'05) a new photo frame, the
7FF1AW is reviewed
here, while quite expensive for a 4x6in display apparently it is
well thought out, fast and their use of a rather high resolution LCD
results in a very nice display
Samsung has announced
(Jan 2006) a digital photo frame. This model
was shown at CEBIT in Mar'06
The PhotoVu PV1955
is a 19 inch digital picture frame accounced in Jan'06. PhotoVu has a few
digital frames, including 17 and 19" models
some new digital picture frames (Aug'06)
Philips is adding a 9in
photo frame to its product line up (Sept'06)
Pandigital has announced
some new photo frames (from 5.6 to 9.2 inches, and the ability to play
MPEG3 sound and maybe video too) for the 2006 Christmas season. In
Jan'07 they announced
a 10.4 inch photo frame.
An 8in digital photo frame from ARTMU, the ePHOTOZIP
DEF080PM announced in Dec'06
Ziga USA has 7 and
8in digital photoframes
has announced 8 to 15 inch photo frames for 2007
Pandigital is going to ship the PAN-150
digiframe (15 inch) in Apr'07 for $299
- Living Pictures Momento
photo frames also have WiFi. i-Mate are shutting down their Momento Live update service.
Photo 8W photo frame, is an 8in frame with 720x480 resolution for
Creative Zen Vision, a photo display device
is now offering a 10.5 inch photoframe for about US$199, the
MediaStreet has added bluetooth
connectivity to their eMotion photo frames
In July'07 Pandigital
announced a series of digital picture frames that can be customized
by changing various modules, including WiFi, Bluetooth and battery packs.
inch photo frame from PhotoVu, at $1200
its rather expensive, why doesn't someone just put the brains of one of
these into a little box with a DVI plug for output and then leave it to
the user to hook it up to whatever LCD panel he wants?
digital photo frame shootout, compares a five of the current
digital photo frames and has a feature comparison chart at the end.
Gigantor, a 15-inch frame at a reasonable price
Philips will be offering some
new photo frames, including a 10 inch unit, in time for Christmas 2007.
While not a photo frame the Kodak
HDTV Dock (announced
Sept'07) allows you to display photos (from SD cards, USB drives or the
docked Kodak camera) on your huge HTDV. While this is not the first
such product its appears the be the first with HDTV output (though only
at 720p resolution through component video) and the ability to show
photos from more than just the docked camera. According to their online
documentation you can use this to copy from the SD card slot (or
camera) to an attached USB device and you can use the doc to print
photos to a USB-attached PictBridge-capable printer. If this had DVI-D
or VGA output you could use it to turn a LCD monitor into a very large
710 photo frame from Transcend,
this will play background music, has a musical alarm clock and has
clock and calendar modes.
announced an 11
and 15 inch pair of photo frames at prices of $200 and $300 -
cenOmax (a LiteOne spin-off) is getting into the photo
frame business with their 7 inch F7012A. 
A Sept'05 review
of five scanners, including two for slides/negatives. The Nikon
Coolscan V LS-50 ED sounds like it might be the best choice.
100 Mega Pixel cameras out of old scanners. 
- Here's an interesting twist, for $199 you can buy a mini-ITX motherboard, RAM and disk drive from Walmart, what you do is purchase their Everex green PC, and then gut it for the mini-ITX motherboard that it contains. This gets discussed here on Slashdot. A review of this PC along with more discussion on Slashdot. PCMag didn't find much to like about this system. 
- A USB to DVI adapter from Sewell, this is mainly aimed at allowing laptop users to add another monitor (or a monitor with DVI input) but it could also be used to add a second or third monitor to a desktop system without installing an additional graphics card or changing the existing one. 
- dpNOW.com reviews the Epson PictureMate 290 printer, which is a standalone unit with a 3.6 inch screen dedicated to making 4x6 prints. This also includes a built in CD/DVD writer that can be used to archive photos from memory cards (and you can also read photos from CDs for display and printing). Printing costs could be as low as $0.41/print (20p UK). PCMag.com reviews the Epson PictureMate Dash, which is the same printer without the CD burner, they quote a per-print cost of as low as $0.25. TrustedReviews has also reviewed the PictureMate 290 and found with the largest media pack a printing cost of 14.7p UK per print. BlankDVDMedia.com in Canada stocks the paper and ink packs for these printers and it currently works out at $0.45/sheet. PC Magazine reviews the Epson PictureMate Zoom which is very similar to the Dash. 
- The EZfetch (mentioned here on Engadget) is a LAN (wired or wireless) connected media player for your big screen TV. It has DVD (includes a DVI to HDMI adapter too), S-Video and composite video output. It can obtain its material from either a server on the LAN or a USB-attached device, such as a flash drive. 
- The ASUS Eee PC gets dissected. 
- Engadget discusses What's the best Bluetooth stereo headset out there? 
- The BUGbase and BUGmodules from Bug Labs get some hands-on treatment. 
- Beginning Game Development in Python and Pygame, will be reviewed here someday. 
- An example of why tag clouds look better when sorted by popularity. 
- Microsoft's HD Photo format has been picked as the basis for the next generation of JPEG standards, to be called JPEG XR. Its probably another year before the standard is finalized (so maybe by late 2008). According to this article the new standard will allow for a much larger colour space (exceeding the human eye's range) and will even allow for floating point colour specification. 
- BestBuy will be getting the Eee next week. If you're in Alberta you can get one from MemoryExpress in Calgary right now, I saw one in their store on 3-Nov-07 and its pretty nice. The keyboard is small, but most people should be able to still touch type (but with more errors than on a full sized keyboard). The main thing is that its a light and very portable general purpose computer, so I think it has some significant advantages compared to a high end PDA or something like the Nokia N810. 
Turning a GameBoy
into a controller for Lego Robotics
A Lego robotics
competition in 2005. This also includes a link to VEX Robotics
that looks a lot like a grown up version of Meccano. Here's a bit more
about the VEX
system, which is available from RadioShack. The MythBusters TV show
people gave VEX a try, here's the write up
(Slashdot discussion here),
it gives a pretty good introduction to VEX. They also talk quite a bit
about some new components (tracks and ultrasonic range finder) that
will be available in the VEX system soon.
your own Lego kit
Building a Babbage
Difference Engine out of a lot of Lego
Building a automatic, page-turning, book
scanner out of Lego
The Toy Brick
Brigade sells used Lego
Sumo Robotics, push your opponent out of the ring, I guess flame
throwers are not allowed?
Making a Segway-like
model out of Lego Mindstorms NXT
pet-dog (sort of like the Sony Abio)
train-robot that lays its own tracks and picks up the track it once
Five robot (from the movie Short Circuit) constructed from Lego.
toilet flusher constructed from the Lego NXT set. 
- A crop harvester built of Lego. 
- ZigBee is getting more serious about the home automation market. Now if only ZigBee control became common place in home entertainment equipment. 
slide better? Better than negative or digital?
great digital prints, Gary Stanley
Composition, Gary Stanley
the technique of making a long exposure photograph and within it
drawing with a light (such as a handheld flashlight) is rather fun, I
did this once (back in the days of film photography) for my high school
yearbook (1978 I think). Now with digital photography this gets easier
as you can check your work right away and try again to correct
mistakes. It is also being used as an animation
A review of the book: Scanning
Negatives and Slides: Digitizing Your Photographic Archives, by
to completely remove noise from your photos, this article describes
a technique whereby two exposures are made of a scene, the exposures
are separated by a 4 F-stop gap and then the darker areas of the first
photo graph (which are underexposed and noisy) are blended with the
second photograph (where they received 4 F-stops more light). The end
result is to eliminate "noise in the shadows". I thought this was the
process that others were calling "high dynamic range" photography.
- The Google Phone is for real, it will be Linux based with a layer of Java, target date is Spring'08. It sounds like it will be open for developers to produce new applications (which makes sense as a lot of what Google has been doing includes providing public use APIs). Wake up iPhone, time to open up or die. Slashdot discusses the Google Open Source Mobile Platform. Engadget has a lot of coverage of this: live coverage" of the announcement, Google and HTC's dream phone, a letter to Palm, and Palm's vague response, how Symbian, Nokia, Microsoft and Apple don't want to play, and a quick summary of all this. Microsoft's Ballmer calls Android a mere press release, guess Microsoft might be a bit concerned about the impact of this on Windows Mobile licensing. Dvorak says the gPhone is doomed - so it must be a good thing!
- The ASUS Eee PC gets unboxed, for those who really want to know what's in the package. 
- The Last Starfighter arcade cabinet built at last. They apparently have a copy of the game for download too. 
- Intel's Entry Storage System SS4200 will be a Windows Home Server based NAS that can house 4 drives internally. 
- Nokia may be participating in the Google Open Handset Alliance after all. 
- The ASUS Eee PC is going to be available in black as well, in case you don't want to be pestered by MacFanBoys. 
- Buffalo's LS-WTGL/R1 NAS will hold up to 2TB in 2 drives, priced between $490 and $1100 depending on storage size. 
- Chris Lomont has a number of nice looking screen savers (lots of variations on the Mandelbrot curve) and games (particularly puzzle type ones) here. 
- Buffalo's new Link Theater HD media streamed support output to HDMI and composite, but do not do DivX. 
- While not strictly mini-ITX in form factor, the gOS Dev Board is a micro-ATX board based on the Via C7 processor, so it has the nice low power characteristics of a mini-ITX board, but it has more slots and it is roughly 1/2 the cost of an equivalent mini-ITX board. So unless you want to put it in a very small case this might be a good choice. Since it has both ATA and SATA connectors if you have a defunct PC you could just remove its motherboard and pop one of these in its place. If this board had DVI or HDMI output it would actually make a reasonable media PC for quite a low price. Discussed here on Slashdot and here on Engadget. 
- 1TB hard drives" compared, they are all currently on par. 
- AMD announces the FireStream 9170, a dedicated stream processor capable of up to 500G Flops. 
- The LTE trial has achieved 100Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink speeds for mobile communications. 
- The ASUS 2G Surf Eee PC is due to be available in Jan'08 for $299. 
- Philips' AJL308 is a clock radio combined with a photo frame. From the product brochure and owner's manual it appears that you can select a song to wake up to. 
- A free game called Ping Ball 
- Consumers are starting to think about fixing gadgets, discussed here on Slashdot. But what about small and large appliances? 
- ASUS is thinking of introducing a desktop version of the Eee PC in 2008. 
- Engadget asks: How would you change Asus' Eee PC? 
- EDGE Tech will be producing a 12 inch photo frame for about $130. 
- fibra (home page here) is a package that provides cooperative concurrency using Python generators. This article describes it as a task scheduling module. A benchmark comparison (graph here) of Stackless, Kamaelia and Fibra. Improving the handling of exceptions in fibra. Some thoughts on generator co-routines and Kamaelia components. 
- A review of the book: Programming Collective Intelligence by Toby Segaran, ISBN: 978-0596529321 which includes sections on similarity calculations, text search engines, optimization, neural networks, document classification and spam filtration, decision trees and genetic programming. 
- Google's new Android SDK made its first appearance 12-Nov-2007, Engadget discusses it here and Slashdot covers it here. In Sept'08 the Android v1.0 SDK was released. 
Pocket Essentials is a Mah-Jongg solitaire game for the Palm
The Sony Clie PEG-VZ90,
perhaps the most expensive Palm device in the world - and its got an
A portable bluetooth
keyboard and the Stowaway
Keyboard and one from Brando
In Sept 2005 the sale of
PalmSource to Access (A Japanese cell-phone software company) was announced,
is this the end of the road for Palm-based organizers?
Feb'06 thoughts on where
the PalmOS might be headded. Early Mar'06 and some more
information on this. In Dec'06 a delay until the first half of 2007
announced for the new Access Linux Platform.
Softick makes a Bluetooth Audio Gateway that
allows one to listen to stereo audio generated by the Palm on a pair of
wireless Bluetooth headphones. Sounds pretty neat, wonder if it really
works. Still at $269 for a pair of the Plantronics
headphones you really got hate the old cable to want to do this.
Palm and PalmSource may be going
separate ways in the future, with Palm once again developing the
Loops, a music studio in a box that runs on the Palm, like the
Tungsten 3. Get if from Chocopoolp
- StyleTap has built a PalmOS
emulator that runs on Windows Mobile, so now you can move to
different hardware and keep your Palm apps. This is confirmed here
In Aug'07 Engadget sent a public
message to Palm in the hope of waking them up
- The Nokia N800 can now run Palm Garnet OS applications via an emulator. 
- This book ripper is a specialized type of scanner designed to make scanning the contents of a bound book relatively painless. I would think someone should be able to make such a jig in a home shop (or out of Lego) for a lot less.  
- MIT has released the source code to the old MULTICS operating system. As an undergraduate student at the University of Calgary I used one of these in the early to mid-80s, then as a graduate student enjoyed the privilege of moving to UNIX on SUN and VAX systems (which were so much faster). Still, there were some things MULTICS could do better at the time (like have really, really, really long device names). I can't see why someone won't be able to brew up a hardware emulator for the old MULTICS CPU and disk system that will allow you to run it on a modern PC. 
- Samsung is updating its Q1 UMPC to the Ultra Premium edition.
- ASUS's A501 looks like it will be a PDA-style UMPC (perhaps targeting the Nokia N800 series?). Engadget got their hands on one running Windows Vista at CES'08. 
- Here's a hands on look at the Chumby from Engadget. While the display is a bit small, this could make a nice photo frame combined with alarm clock, MP3 player and other functions.  
- ASUS confirms that the 8G version of the Eee PC will have a 10 inch screen, to be shipped in 2008. Turns out the 10 inch model had been shown at Computex, and AKIHABARANEWS.com took pictures, though it also has a slightly larger case which is contrary to current statements from ASUS. 
- Apparently the N810 firmware can be installed on the N800 Nokia units. 
- The PCSport Power Stepper is a small, USB-attached stepper that can be placed under your desk to get some exercise while working. Slashdot discusses it here. Given that it is going to be rather limited in range of motion, and that your knees will be quite bent while using this in a typical sitting position (unless you are on the edge of a rather high seat) I doubt this will burn many calories per hour and I'd be a bit worried it might lead to some odd new joint injury (due to the odd position for the knees). Still it might help keep the circulation going. 
- It is possible to run the Mac Leopard OS on an ASUS Eee PC. 
- Once terrestrial TV broadcasts stop the spectrum that will be freed up will become available for use in mobile services, in the USA this should happen around 2009. The US has been pushing at the UN level to make this consistent across the world, which would be a good thing. 
- Google is getting serious about acquiring access to some of the 700MHz spectrum.  
- Everex's CE260 and CE261 ultra-portables my provide ASUS's Eee some competition in early 2008. They are also planning models with larger 9 and 11 inch displays.
ASUS is denying plans for a 10 inch Eee PC "...at the moment". I guess that will change when Everex brings out their first 9 inch model. 
- Some very compact USB charging adapters from Brighton, plug one into an AC socket (110-240V, 60/50Hz) and then plug the USB device into the adapter. 
- Engadget asks: How would you change Windows Home Server?, from the comments it appears that this cannot act as a domain controller (though some of the betas might have been able to) and it does not use RAID - rather it has some sort of file based redundancy. 
- Amazon's Kindle e-book reader will also provide the ability to access the web through EVDO-like wireless connectivity. This may start a shift in the design of other e-book readers towards something that can act more like a web pad. From the official release presentation Engadget has more information on the Kindle, here, here and here. Some more reviews have appeared and are discussed here on Slashdot. 
- The Gigabyte M704 UMPC will have a slide out keyboard (rather like the Nokia N810). 
- PCMag reviews the Epson Perfection V500 Photo, this is an LED illuminated flatbed with film and negative scanning capability. This can scan 4 slides at a time and includes the Digital ICE dust and scratch removal system. A slide scan takes about 77 seconds, but with ICE enabled this rises to 150 seconds.  
- There is some indication that SanDisk may be introducing a "write-once" type of lower cost flash memory, aimed at the digital photography market. There is probably a large group of photographers (consider the Grandmas of the world) who may prefer to keep their photos this way, rather than the more complex process of transferring them to a computer and backing them up to CD/DVD ROM. Consider the casual photographer who before going digital shot about one roll of film a month (so about 300 photos per year). Let us say that after going digital they now take 10 times as many pictures, so about 3000 photos per year. For further argument lets say that their photos are on average about 3MB each, so that's 3000x3 = 9GB per year. Given that you can currently (Nov'07) buy 2GB SD cards for $25/each that's about $112 per year to just buy new cards whenever they fill up and never reuse them. Note that at about $15 to buy a 24 exposure roll of film and develop and print it, this photographer was already paying about $180 a year, so even at current memory prices, never reusing flash cards actually will make sense. And given that memory prices will drop by another 30-50% in the next year it will make even more sense - even if SanDisk does not introduce this new type of card. In fact, unless SanDisk really prices these low I cannot see much point in using them at all. 
- Slashdot has another of its periodic discussions of NAS storage for the home, this comment is worth noting and investigating further if you are using the D-Link DNS-323 NAS device. Ximeta is also suggested. 
- StructArray is a module that lets you define large arrays of objects and then provides the ability to apply various operations to attributes of all the objects at once - this is sped up from what you could do in Python by applying the operation through C-code extensions. This is obviously useful in some types of games, such as 3D graphics, but it could also be useful in manipulating lare data sets. 
- Some Linux users are complaining that the ASUS Eee PC violates the GPL by not including the required source code. Of course the GPL just calls for that source code to be made available somehow, so presumably ASUS will at some point make it available on their web site. It looks like ASUS has addressed this issue and is saying it was a mistake. 
- Hyperion plans to build a factory to manufacture small nuclear power modules (they call them batteries). These would be hot tub sized devices capable of producing about 27MW. These have a uranium hydride core surrounded by a hydrogen atmosphere and need to be connected to a steam powered generator. It is supposed to be self regulating with no moving parts. They now claim to have a backlog of $2G worth of orders for more than 100 devices (discussed on Slashdot) and one potential application is in providing power to tar sands oil extraction (which could also reduce green house gas emissions by replacing the natural gas that is used for this today). 
- MagLev applied to wind turbines to make some massive devices that could generate power in winds as low as 3mph. 
- It is now starting to look like Google may introduce a gDisk Service. 
- The IOTEK ezSECU ez850 drive enclosure adds keypad activated security to an external 2.5 inch drive, possibly never to be sold in the West. It sounds like the device is actually encrypting/decrypting data on its way to/from the hard drive, but we'll really have to wait for an English review to see. 
- SageTV is going to market a Media Extender (STX HD-100), a set top box like device to allow you to play your digital media on a regular TV at hi-def resolutions. It looks like it will do S-Vidoe, Component and HDMI, plus it has a number of USB ports so maybe it can play from locally attached drives or flash cards too? 
- Compal is going to enter the UMPC (MID) market in 2008. Looks like the ASUS Eee has attracted some attention from competitors. 
- Adding an internal Bluetooth module to the ASUS Eee PC. The basis of this hack has also been used to add a 16GB flash drive as well as a Bluetooth module to an Eee. Really, it would make sense for ASUS (or other manufacturers) to include a small empty bay inside the laptop with a couple of USB jacks in it for internal expansion. 
- Google will be bidding on the new 700MHz spectrum in Jan'08. 
Issues with XP and roaming
Problems with capitalization
in the account names during migration
live CDs for classic arcade gaming
Damn Small Linux,
at the 50MB image. This artical describes using
it to revive older computers (discussed
on Slashdot, and again).
Linux now allows you to write your data back to the CD you booted
from - it appears this would work with CDRW, but only the same way as
CDR media is treated (so free space is gradually lost, one session at a
time as you use it. When the CDRW is full you could presumably erase it
and reuse it again. Apparently this should also work with DVDR, and at
$0.30/disk this would be the way to go! You'd probably damage the DVD
physically before filling it...
A distro that can turn a laptop into an OLPC
system is available
A Slashdot book review of: Moving
to the Linux Business Desktop, by Marcel Gagne, ISBN: 0131421921,
discusses the various issues that face someone trying to use Linux to
replace a Windows desktop for business desktop use.
sounds like a nice, fast, Linux install (I got good download speeds
The documentation is available at knoppix.net.
There are even specialized
versions of Knoppix for particular applications such as bioknoppix and clusterknoppix. And KnoppMyth for MythTV. And Quantian which
focuses on numerical analysis tools. And KnoppiXMAME for
arcade game emulation. June 2004 and another
Knoppix release is due soon. March 2005 and Knoppix 3.8 is almost
ready to appear. Looks like Knoppix 3.8 has
been released and could even run within Windows.
Linux, (cited here) a USB
Linux device that includes its own processor and RAM, this system uses
the PC it is attached to for its display, keyboard, mouse and network
connection. Gets reviewed here.
Competition for the BlackDog is the iD3
- Linux based GP2X
portable, from gbax.com,
the second generation Linux game pad. Here's a possible view of Pandora, aka the GP2X. A view of the development board for this in action.
FingerGear's computer on a
stick, is similar to the BlackDog Linux system.
Neuros is planning to
some of their hardware development
Linux has been installed
on the iPod nano, details on ipodlinux.org.
Zonbox is a small machine made by Zonbu (with a good array of
the cost of $99 must be partially offset buy a monthly
subscription-based update service. Currently (May'07) this appears to
be in a closed beta program and their
website requires an account to sign in. They have some information about
this now. A review of this can be found here,
and is discussed on Engadget here.
your own firewall box using Devil Linux
Asterix@Home is a Linux-based
phone PBX system, this artical
gives a simplified overview. Some more information on Asterix.
- The ASUS Eee PC 8GB Flash/1GB RAM version is expected to go on sale for $499 in mid-Dec'07. 
- The Microsoft wireless (radio) keyboards are insecure and keystrokes could be easily sniffed. At this time it is not known if the similar Logitech keyboards suffer from the same problems. This gets further discussion here on Slashdot. 
- This ES 750 UPS unit from APC has an interesting feature, there is one socket you plug your computer into, and three "slave sockets" you can plug additional devices into. Then the UPS monitors the power consumption of the computer socket and when that drops to near zero (probably something below 5-10W) then the UPS automatically turns off power to the slave devices. This would be useful for saving energy on things like external speakers, monitors or external USB devices that are not needed when the computer is off or in hibernate mode. 
- The PhotoPlayer 1080i from Hama is a photo flash card player that displays on hi-def televisions. It can read from most flash cards or from an attached USB drive. It connects to the TV through component or composite cables. A bit better photo of it is on Engadget. 
- ASUS says not to worry too much about breaking the "warranty void if sticker removed" seals that are plastered over the back of your Eee - unless you're opening it to solder something in place. 
- VIA has announced ARTIGO a ultra-compact barebones system based on the Pico-ITX motherboard, for about $300 (including case). 
- The Everex Cloudbook could give the ASUS Eee some competition in early 2008. Which would be a good thing if it encourages ASUS to release a 10 inch Eee. 
- Toshiba's new SCiB batteries are an improved Li-ion design that can take a 5 minute charge (to 90%) and last for 5000 cycles (about 10 times what a conventional lithium battery does). These are being targeted at the new hybrid and electric vehicle markets. At 5000 cycles, even if you only got 100km on a charge that would be 500,000km of driving out of one car - so these will probably outlast most of the cars they get installed in. Which means there might actually be a significant used battery market. 
- A university team in Japan has developed printed solar cells, which wile low efficiency devices (say 6%) are much less expensive to produce. A company called Fujimori Kogyo is to produce these starting in Feb'08.
- A class for propagating uncertainties in numeric quantities through a series of calculations. 
- The TS-409 NAS from QNAP will provide up to RAID-5 and may not need tools for drive replacement. More information on this here. 
- A version of Ubuntu has been squeezed onto the ASUS Eee PC. 
- If only this iriver D27 e-dictionary was a full computer, it would make a great pocketable laptop replacement. 
- How to stuff Windows Vista onto the ASUS Eee PC. Yikes, I can sort of understand putting Windows XP onto one of these, but Vista is way overkill. 
- The .Mac web interface (which allows Mac users to check the contents of their iDisk from a remote location) does not have a logout button - so potentially anyone who uses the public computer after you are done could gain access to your files. 
has an outlet in Calgary.
Gastronomy, the science of what makes things taste good.
Vista's Photo Gallery embeds
image annotations into the image (at least for JPEGs) as XMP
formatted XML data.
Slashdot discusses Flexible
Photo Organization Software
is a web gallery generator
- The iTablet T221 UMPC from Amtek looks like a nice 12 inch unit, but the price is currently unknown. 
- Nanosolar (partially backed by Google) is beginning production of cost reduced solar panels (discussed here on Slashdot) that are made by "printing on to aluminum plate", they claim that these will sell for less that $1/W. If true, this changes the economics of the entire solar (and even other alternate power sources) industry by making raw solar power less expensive than grid electricity at $0.12/kWh. Consider the following calculation:
You take $1000 and use it to purchase a panel capable of 1000W. You take out a loan at 10% to do this, so you are paying $100/yr in interest.
You live in an area where you can get 6hr/day of good light over 200 days of the day, so your 1kW panel produces 6*200*1 = 1200kWh in each year.
The cost of this (to you, is $100) so the cost of this electricity is $100/1200 = $0.083/kWh,
which is competitive with grid electricity.
Granted I've oversimplified things a bit (no installation cost, no DC to AC converter and grid adapter) but I'm also quoting a higher interest rate than you would be paying and I'm pretty conservative on the sunlight hours per year, and in a lot of areas you can get a credit from your utility company for the energy that you push back into their grid - and this credit can be at a much higher than normal grid rate. As well, there can be some tax savings for doing this.
The important point is that before Nanosolar came along the cost per watt was at least $5 for solar power - so the drop to $1/W is an industry-changing event and suddenly makes solar attractive to a whole new market place.  
- An example of pulling stock quotes from Google Finance appeared in the Python Papers. 
- The Creative Digital Darkroom by Katrin Eismann and Sean Duggan ISBN: 978-0596100476. A book that looks at how light and shadows can be worked to influence the mood of photographs. 
- Service pack 3 for Windows XP is expected in mid-2008, though a release candidate has already been made available. 
- California is going to get a small wave power generation farm. Since this is in the sea shouldn't that be a "shoal" or "reef"? 
- Would Sony's rumored mylo 2 make a good web pad? Engadget got a hands-on with this at CES 2008, and here is the official feature list. This is now on sale. Sony now is providing some additional widgets for the Mylo 2 and developers should soon be able to make additional ones. Sony has even decided to change the name of this, now they are calling it the mylo Internet Device 
- The Asus Eee PC model 2G Surf is now available (and there are some case colour choices).
Some thoughts on how the Asus Eee is changing the laptop market at 20000 units per month. Its rather ironic how close to this success Palm came with their abandoned Foleo, if they had dropped the emphasis on it being tied to a mobile phone and had priced it around the $400 mark they would have been a viable competitor to the Eee - especially with the larger screen (which is still the Eee's main weakness). 
- A rear view monitor for your bike. 
- The Aptera Electric Type 1, is a pretty exotic looking 3-wheeled electric car, due to be sold first in California in 2008. Google has invested $2.75 million to help get this rolling. It is a bit late, but now (Jan'09) Aptera has reached the pre-production stage and are promising first shipments in October, they have an "interested" list 4000 people long. Now how do you fit a pair of 200cm skis into one of these? More info on this is leaking out. In Oct'09 it looked like Aptera might get some of the energy-efficient vehicle grants to commercialize it. 
(Cartes du Ciel) software for viewing the sky
a good set of pages on the use of CCD imagers, including some nice
shots of Jupiter (including the SL-9 impact)
Ah, the home
observatory, or obsession...
hunting with internet connected
Deep Space Imager, looks like
a nice little package
- The PIXXA photo frame from Ality is an 8 inch 800x600 unit with WiFi can the ability to sync with various web based services. There is also a Photo Messanger feature that allows photos to be pushed to the device. 
- NetGear, which has acquired Infrant, is adding some more boxes to its ReadyNAS line with sizes from 1.5TB to 4TB, gigabit LAN, and RAID 0/1/5 and X-RAID support on up to 4 drives. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- The ASUS Eee shipped 350k units in its first quarter. 
- A device to isolate and analyze circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from the blood. 
- The GPS Photo Finder from ATP is a geotagging device, you insert your memory card into this device's flash reader and it will then update all the photos it can find with GPS coordinate information. 
- The island of Antigua has been fighting the USA over online gambling since the US pretty much banned it. Now the WTO has agreed with Antigua and awarded against the US, including as part of this an exemption to US copyrights, allowing Antiguans to copy up to $21M worth of copyright materials per year. 
- Digital Foci is introducing a new set of photo frames at CES 2008. Also mentioned here, the 8 inch unit uses an LED back light. The Image Moments 8 frame (which has LED back lighting) shipped in time for Mother's Day. 
- Some Kindle easter eggs may make the Kindle a lot more appealing. The Google Maps page looks pretty nice. 
- More Eee hacking, this time to add a 3G HSDPA interface inside it. 
- The AMD Phenom is supposed to be compatible with AM2 motherboards (perhaps after a BIOS upgrade) but Tom's Hardware tested 10 boards and found this to be true of only 2. 
- The ClearStream CS615 HD media streamer from Ziova, this has HDMI, component, s-video and composite outputs. It also has two USB ports for hooking up removable storage and a bay for a user-installed 3.5 inch hard drive. 
- SportTracks is a replacement for Garmin's TrainingCenter software, it is thought by some to be much better (and after playing with it a bit, I would have to agree). It includes a view of your workout routes superimposed over Google street maps or satellite images and it has easy to use integration with Google Earth.  
- The DSM-330 is a new HD media player device from D-Link that will play DivX encoded media at 1080i resolutions. In Dec'07 it was in beta test. This started shipping in July'08 for $299. 
- The Noahpad from E-Lead Electronic is another very small laptop, similar to the ASUS Eee - it is supposed to be shown at CES in Jan'08. It did get shown and it has a rather unique approach to the small keyboard problem. 
- A DIY time lapse intervalometer for triggering the shutter on your digicam. 
The Calgary Area
money fast with geocaching, some companies are actually using
geocachers to recover their lost property.
And the painstation,
now you can participate in games like "Total World Domination"...
- Liquid Image has built a digicam into a snorkel mask - well as its only rated to a 15 foot depth they can't really call it a scuba mask. 
- The Chief Technical Officer of OLPC has quit to start a for-profit company to commercialize some of the technology developed for the OLPC project. While the trade articles suggest this will be a blow for OLPC, unless OLPC looses the rights to use this technology (which is rather unlikely unless they had some very unconventional employee IP agreements) it probably will not have any noticeable impact. According to this article She is heading up a new project (Pixel Qi) to produce a $75 laptop. They showed a hybrid e-Ink/LCD screen at Computex'09. Turns out this new display does not use e-Ink for for the black and white mode, rather it reverts to a monochrome LCD mode which makes more sense and still allows for fast display updates. In June 2010 the Pixel Qi display was shown at Computex, including on a prototype from Innoversal. Engadget used a Pixel Qi display replacement kit from MakerShed to add this display to their Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2 netbook. 
- Pharos will be producing a geotagging GPS package for use in digital photography. 
- The SP3200 from Smartparts will be a 32 inch photo frame with 1366x768 resolution. 
- The D-Link MediaLounge PC-on_TV DPG-1200 mirrors your PC's display onto you TV, so you can couch-surf or do other remote computing at 1280x720. 
- The Forerunner 405 is a watch-sized version of the Forerunner 305. While many people are enthusiastic about the smaller size I would actually prefer something that provides a larger display than the 305 - so it is easier to read when running. Consider the original 201/205 form factor was pretty good (its only slightly larger than the 305, now if they installed a display that covered the whole of the surface of a 201 then that would be much more useful. 
- The FlyWire from Belkin will be a wireless high definition TV interface device allowing content to be sent from one device to another via WHDI at up to 1080i. At about $500 per device it sounds rather expensive. 
- The LaCinema Premier from LaCie is a media player USB drive that has composite, S-Video and component outputs at up to 1080i. Unfortunately it does not output on HDMI and it does not have a USB input to allow devices like a flash reader to be attached. 
- The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) project is getting some funding from the Charles Simonyi Fund and Bill Gates. The LSST is designed to survey the entire visible sky once a week which will help with the discovery of asteroids and rapid onset events like supernovas. 
- Back in 2004 the idea of online tournament-style games (using black jack as an example) was patented (though the original filing dates to 1996), and now the patent holder is using this as the basis to sue a number of companies. The EFF is going to fight this patent, one of their counter examples will be Netrek. 
- Logitech's diNovo Mini is a small keyboard with built in mouse support that communicates over Bluetooth for media center control, a demo of it is was here. 
- The DSM-210 is a 10 inch photo frame from D-Link. This includes WiFi (or wired) ethernet support and has support for RSS. It also has a rechargeable battery in case you want to pass it around the room 
- Westinghouse is going to produce a wireless HDMI adapter based on Pulse-Link's technology. 
- Adding an internal (well, nearly) USB flash drive to a PSP. This also needs an additional interface board to allow the drive to act as a USB host as the PSP can only act as a USB slave - which makes this hack more significant than it appears at first glance. 
- Bug Labs announces the pricing and availability of the BUGbase and BUGmodules. 
- Netgear's new ReadNAS Duo system looks quite nice. These can hold two SATA drives in a RAID configuration (with hardware acceleration of X-RAID). Plus they have a number of additional software features like support for BitTorrent, an HTTP/HTTPS server for remote access and UPnP. Here is Engadget's hands-on article. 
- By super-heating cobalt ferrite to 2600F one can force it to release trapped oxygen, then by cooling it to 2000F it will capture an oxygen molecule from CO2 or steam. This can be used to make CO (carbon monoxide, which can be used as an organic chemistry building block) or hydrogen gas. This is being proposed as a way of reducing CO2 emissions from power plants (discussed here on Slashdot) by obtaining the necessary power to heat the cobalt ferrite from concentrated sunlight. However, much of the captured energy is not needed for this process due to the high value of the lower process temperature (i.e. 2000F) so the ultimate efficiency will be quite low and one probably would be better just using the solar power to generate steam to drive turbines to generate electricity and by doing so just reduce the amount of fossil fuel that must be burnt in the first place. 
- Westinghouse is introducing a number of new photo frames in 10, 14 and 15 inch sizes at the 2008 CES. 
- The SDR-SW20 is an SD-based camcorder from Panasonic that is waterproof to 5 feet. 
- The PyMOTW takes a look at the weakref module that lets you refer to a large object without preventing it from being garbage collected. These are potentially useful in object caching situations. The article also includes some informative examples on Python's garbage collection system.  
- ViewSonic will be entering the digiframe market in 2008. 
- The Digital Message Centers (more info here) from Audiovox, some more photo frames intended for mounting on the refrigerator, one even has a built in webcam for recording short video messages for later playback. 
- DirecTV is going to produce a PC satellite tuner box, apparently it has dual tuners and hooks up to your PC via USB (but it also has an ethernet jack, so maybe it can do more?). 
- At CES'08 a version of the Eee PC with WiMax was demoed as part of Sprint's XOHM network presentation. As well ASUS mentioned that there would be 8 and 8.9 inch versions of the Eee in the second quarter of 2008. 
- A video from CES showing some of the Bug Labs products. 
- The PackardBell EasyNote XS makes an appearance at CES'08. From the pictures it appears to have an external DVI port. This appears to be the same as the Cloudbook from Everex, which will be available from Walmart in the US starting 25-Jan-08. Looks like ASUS will need to do some revising of the Eee to stay ahead of the game, while not feature for feature identical they do target the same price point with some significant feature differences which is likely to split the market that ASUS has to itself at the moment. 
- Some new photo frames from Ceiva, with the largest being 19 inches. 
- Shuttle is going to produce the KPC a low end small form factor box intended for use with Linux, complete at $199 and barebones at $99. Discussed here on Slashdot. There is some more information on this here, the complete system will have a Celeron processor, a 945GC chipset, 512MB of RAM and a small shard drive. From this it sounds like it might be using something like the Intel D201GLY2 mini-ITX form factor motherboard. Tom's Hardware has a look at this here. Some more coverage of this on The Tech Report. The Shuttle web site on the KPC, looks like it has gigabit ethernet and 5.1 audio but no DVI monitor port - just VGA. The KPC is finally ready to star shipping, Engadget reports it at $299 for the full unit (which originally was supposed to be $199), the Shuttle site does mention a $199 version but does not give any details yet. A review of this can be found here. Building a small home server with a KPC system. 
- An HSDPA equipped UMPC prototype from LG, this has a 4.8 inch display and runs Vista.
Some pictures of the 8 inch Eee PC have emerged, looks like it will still have the same pixel size as the original 7 inch display though. Let's hope the 8.9 inch display increases the resolution. 
- How the compressed air car made by Tata India can get 120 miles of range - one horse power. Just keep it on the flat. 
- The Spykee robots from Erector, not sure why they need iPods though. 
- The fate of the pod-people, getting crushed as they dance into on-coming traffic. The use of the iPod's cable headphone for the chalk outline is particularly effective. 
- An ASUS Eee PC has been seen running the SplashTop instant-on Linux in BIOS (which ASUS provides with some of its motherboards). 
- USB 3.0 is starting to materialize, looks like the specification is supposed to be completed in mid-2008, so it probably means the first hardware might show in 2009 (Engadget says 2010). The new cable will include additional wires for the faster 3.0 transfers (up to 4.7Gbps, that's 10 times the speed of 2.0) and at the same time allow for complete backwards compatibility with 2.0 and 1.1 devices and cables. Engadget has some pictures of the connectors from CES'08. At CES'09 more details of USB 3.0 were released, including the fact that it's protocol design anticipates going as fast as 25Gbps (but that may need an optical link). According to NVIDIA, motherboard chip sets from Intel will not support USB 3.0 until 2011, possibly because Intel wants to shift to a new optical interconnection system it is developing with Apple.
- An Amiga laptop at last! The Amiga Forever emulator) people have hacked an OLPC to run the Amiga OS, which is great as the Amiga software always made good use of display real estate. 
- The LimePC series from THTF of lightweight portable computers, these are Linux based, so might be quite low cost if they make it to market. 
- Google's Android platform has been hacked to run on some real hardward, typically a number of Sharp devices.  
- The Time-Style, its a watch crossed with a photo frame. So if you like a really large watch you can now take your family photo album along in really small format. As displaying photos on PDAs never really caught on, I can't see this doing any better. 
- The $2500 car from Tata India is shown here and discussed here on Slashdot. My gut feeling is this will be a disaster for India, already their roads are over crowded and converting masses of small motorbikes to hordes of small cars is only going to make the situation worse - welcome to the 24 hour grid lock India! This car is due to go on sale Monday March 23, 2009 - another small step down the world to global crisis. In mid-July the first Nano was actually sold, they had to hold a lottery to select the first 100,000 purchasers. 
- Actiontec's zControl home automation gateway, this uses Z-Wave wireless control technology to control household electronics. 
- In the first picture of this IRiver tease-fest series there is a rather nice looking micro laptop or webpad type device. The other pages have a number of interesting looking devices, probably made from unobtanium. This video clip demonstrates what one of these devices is all about, basically a small stereo/media player integrated with web phone and browser along with remote webpad-style display and control of media and a little keyboard that is concealed in a WiFi phone - but not until 2009.  
- One of the posters from CES'08, the porcupine girl, is a pretty funny way of getting the intellectual property protection message across.  
- Slashdot discusses file servers for the home (again). 
- An article about a simple way to implement a plug-in (plugin) system to allow user-written extensions to software.  
- dot-ca-registry is another Canadian domain registrar and hosting provider, their servers are located in Calgary in DataHive's facility. 
- A Linux Qtopia environment can be installed on the Archos 5 and the 604WiFi personal media players. 
- French fries don't fatten kids, video games do! Well in what will probably be a much regretted corporate quote that's what the UK CEO of McDonalds is saying.  
- In the photos that follow this Engadget CES'08 article there are some interesting things, this item appears to be the swappable GSM radio module (which looks like you put your GSM SIM card into it and then put the module into whatever device you want to activate with GSM). An e-book reader, and another view. And another of these unobtainable Korean more than a dictionary devices that might function as a small webpad (it may be something like this model: MD8500). Some sort of net TV viewer with WiFi support. The company doing this is apparently GroupSense.   
- AgfaPhoto is producing the AF5080W a Linux-based digital photo frame with WiFi. More info on LinuxDevices.com. This has clock, calendar and alarm functions and can play mpeg video. 
- Is iriver working on an e-book device? Or are they just floating some product ideas to try to gage market response? 
- The "iPod tax" that has been proposed by the Canadian Copyright Music Tax board has been overturned in a Canadian court. 
- How to load Ubuntu Linux onto an OLPC.  
How to get
the DOS console showing up (again) on your Windows application so
you can see output from printf and cout.
is out, Subversion is in - a comparison of CVS to Subversion
Links to a number of
articles comparing CVS to Subversion
- Work is underway to standardize a power over eSATA cable that will allow external SATA hard disks to be powered by the eSATA cable. 
- ACER is expected to enter the ultra portable laptop arena to compete with the ASUS Eee in the second quarter 2008. At CeBIT in Mar'08 they claimed to be on target for a Q2/Q3 release, though that's pretty vague sounding! ACER is claiming that its first 8.9 inch laptop will be priced in the $350-400 range, making it up to $150 less than the $500 ASUS is intending to charge. More information on this is leaking out. Pictures of the Aspire One appeared at the end of May-08. Engadget got their hands on one of these at Computex in June'08, talk is US$399 pricing and available in Sept'08. Acer has provided official specifications for this. Acer talks a bit about the role Linux is going to play in this market place and mentions a $379 version of the Aspire. The Tech Digest got their mitts on one. Laptop Mag reviews the Acer Aspire One. The Aspire One gets hacked to add an internal Bluetooth adapter. In late Aug'08 Acer announced price cuts to the Aspire One making it the lowest priced of the 9 inch display models (and even reduced the price of the model with the extended battery. 
- Using ball bearings to control a beat sequencer. Pretty cool until someone bumps your table and the balls go flying.  
- Hasbro is using the DMCA to attempt to stop some online games modeled after some of its board games. According to the US Copyright Office there is not much about games that can be placed under copyright protection. 
- Build your own night vision system out of old camcorder parts. 
- Everex is expected to release an Eee competitor with a 9-inch display in June'08 - which hopefully will cause ASUS to do something similar. In March'08 at CITA more specifications for this were released it looks like this will keep the pressure on the ASUS Eee line. They are calling this version the Cloudbook MAX, here are some hands on photos. 
- WindowsGames has a number of games (simple arcade style and board type), including versions that run on various hand held devices. 
- The Mysore Palace, an East Indian restaurant in the west part of downtown Calgary, they have a pretty good buffet for lunch.
View Larger Map 
Some projects, like the Denver
Airport's automated baggage system, end up abandoned
- GIT (main
page here) is the revision control
system initially developed by Linus for the Linux kernel (manual page here), he
mentions it briefly in this article. A
talk by Linus on GIT is here,
in which he rants against CVS and SVN (some of which is quite well
deserved) and even Google. Currently it it requires Cygwin to run under
Windows, and as
such, it runs slower under Windows than on a Linux host. GIT gets
here along with a discussion of branch merging in Subversion. A brief
comparison of mercurial and git. Another comparison that
talks about how git's branching is more powerful than mercurial's. GitPython is a Python library that can work with Git repositories, so if you need to do something tedious or complicated there is a chance you could automate it with this and some Python code.
- GigaByte is planning to enter the low cost computer market as well - and since they are talking about 7 and 9 inch displays its likely they want some of the Eee action too. 
- A Lawyers view on what is meant by a derivative
work, he argues (correctly in my opinion) that a program that uses
a library cannot be called a derivative work of that library. When I
read up on the LGPL
the papers from the FSF describing the
intent of that license also took this approach, but when I tried to
read the actual license I could not convince myself that it actually
said this. For example they actually say this: "When a program is
linked with a library, whether statically or using a shared library, the
combination of the two is legally speaking a combined work, a derivative of the
original library." and the second and third paragraphs of their section
5 are rather bothersome:
5. A program that contains no derivative of any portion
of the Library, but is designed to work with the Library by being compiled or
linked with it, is called a "work that uses the Library". Such a work,
in isolation, is not a derivative work of the Library, and therefore
falls outside the scope of this License.
However, linking a "work that uses the Library" with
the Library creates an executable that is a derivative of the Library (because it
contains portions of the Library), rather than a "work that uses the library".
The executable is therefore covered by this License. Section 6 states terms
for distribution of such executables.
When a "work that uses the Library" uses material
from a header file that is part of the Library, the object code for the work may be a
derivative work of the Library even though the source code is not.
Whether this is true is especially significant if the work can be linked
without the Library, or if the work is itself a library. The threshold for this
to be true is not precisely defined by law.
article references some other articles that seem to be similarly
concerned with section 6 of the LGPL.
Another developer, Floris Bruynooghe, has attempted to make sense of this too. 
answers the question: how do you manage IT requests in your
We all know you cannot believe everything you read on the
but you can't even trust
the printed word.
planner, a resource planner that takes CSV files as input and can
produce Gantt charts as output (in HTML pages)
The hidden cost of outsourcing might be loss
of customer satisfaction and then loss of customers, discussed
on Slashdot. After spending more than 2 hours on the phone one Saturday
with Norton's support centre (obviously based in India) trying to fix
my Norton Antivirus 2005 I gave up and removed it from all my computers
and switched to a competitor.
The Organization of
Software Vendors, was started in June'06, one of the charter
sponsors is Lunarpages,
which is my web host. Discussed
here on Slashdot.
The theory of the "free
electron" programmer. I fully agree with this article, these people
exist, they are pretty rare and they can be difficult to direct and
apply to specific tasks, but once they are engaged on something you
will get more out of them in a few days than you can get from most
programmers in a month. When interviewing new candidates you should try
to see if any of these get caught in your net, look for evidence of
self-motivation in computer projects at an early age, look for people
who've written their own libraries, engines or toolkits. Once you have
one on staff your problem will be keeping them amused and preventing
other project managers from press-ganging them and putting them to
"good use" just fixing bugs.
Quake3's fast InvSqrt() function
is one strange piece of C code. Discussed here
on Slashdot. Its even made it to a paper.
is Hard, a discussion of money, motivation and what good people
can't achieve when they have too much of one and not enough of the
other. It might not be the software that is hard, but the process of
figuring out what you actually want to do.
- The possibility of using ray tracing for interactive game graphics is discussed here. This is something I have been expecting for some time, it appears that once computer speeds get to the 100G flops point this should be achievable (for scenes of some degree of complexity). 
- If you don't have your DVD collection list loaded on your PDA then maybe one of these Groqit bar code scanner devices might be the solution to your memory problems while shopping for more DVDs.  
- The LifeBook P1620 from Fujitsu would make a great web pad, pity about the price though.
More rumors about the next generation of ASUS Eee PCs.
- An advanced lead-acid battery is being developed that could increase the battery pack life span by 4 times and the power capacity by 2 times, this would keep lead-acid in the game. 
- The FON Google map based locater application works well, hidden in it is the ability to download POIS (points of interest) files which can then be loaded into your GPS. These contain the current list of fonspots for a single country which you select. The official way to get at this data is from the FON maps page, then go to the "Tools" link in the "Menu" box on the left side of the page. Under "Tools" you will find "download to navigation gizmo", click on this and you get to a small form that allows you to pick the country of interest and the file format you want. This only worked for me from the Mozilla Seamonkey browser, both Firefox and MSIE failed to download the file.
You can get this to work by directly entering a URL like this one for Canada. It has a format that looks like:
http://maps.fon.com/main/downloadPois?country_code=ca&format=csv, you can select the different file formats by changing the "csv" at the end (I picked CSV because I wanted to search for all the fonspots in one city) and you can change the country by replacing the "ca" with the country code you are interested in. A note of interest, as of 20-Jan-2008 Canada now has 850 FONspots listed and Calgary has 27. 
- The FCC is going to do a second test of prototypes that transmit wireless internet in the unused portions of the television spectrum. The first round of tests failed due to interference with the neighboring TV signals. Discussed here on Engadget with more links to the previous failed trial. Google claims the FCC rigged the tests to make sure they would fail. 
- Slashdot discusses the CIA's claims that cyber attacks have blacked out cities, including one in the US. While this sounds pretty far-fetched, the claimed approach of attacking the SCADA system (which is the brain and nerves of the whole system) is plausible, especially when coupled with lax security practices (like installing WiFi on the internal LAN). Additional coverage on Engadget too.  
- Here is an Eee PC that has been extensively hacked to include GPS, Bluetooth, 802.11n, an FM transmitter, modem and SDHC card reading.  
- Canadian law professor Michael Geist is organizing the fight for fair copyright laws in Canada, in part through a Facebook group. 
- The SPOT Satellite Messenger is a GPS device crossed with emergency satellite communications. This looks like the first product version has some serious flaws, but could still be useful to a number of wilderness trekker types. 
- Lumiram makes the ECOLUME full-spectrum fluorescent lights. These have a 5000K colour temperature, which is in the natural daylight range (these might be available at some Canadian Tire Stores). GE makes a similar product which has a 6500K temperature (unfortunately GE's web site is not well suited to linking, so this will not work, instead you'll need to search their products for "GE Daylight Energy Smart" or a product number like 85394 or 89095)which I have found at both Canadian Tire and Walmart in Calgary. 
- Denon's DHT-FS5 X-Space soundbar is a new competitor to Yamaha's soundbar speaker systems. 
- Coskata is attempting to make ethanol for about $1/gallon from almost any organic waste using a bacteria based process. 
- Let the law suits begin: a company has patented the idea of combining mobile entertainment and communications into one device. How hard can it be for the patent office to look in their pockets and say - hey that covers my cell phone. 
- The Seattle Flickr Strobists get to use an aircraft hanger as a makeshift studio to practice flash strobe light photography. Apparently they have been known to use underground parking garages as cheap studio space too. 
- The Maha MH-C9000 WizardOne is an intelligent AA/AAA battery charger. This has four independent charging circuits, so different sizes and capacities can be charged at the same time. It also has a number of special cycles, including a discharge, a refresh (combined top-up, discharge, recharge) and a break-in cycle (for batteries that have lost their full capacity). It is reviewed here and here. In Calgary it is available at MemoryExpress.  
- Canadian songwriters are looking to cut out the middle man (i.e. record companies) altogether and just want $5/month from all high speed internet subscribers to fully legalize file sharing without financial gain. 
- The Windows XP retail cut off date is currently 30-June-2008, beyond that point in time the only way a consumer can get a new license would be to buy a new PC with Vista from a major vendor (probably Dell) who offers a downgrade option. 
- This PMP/Game handheld from Chinavision has a built in solar charger that is quite nicely done. Personally I would have thought it would make more sense to put the controls and screen on the inside (like a Nintendo DS) and put the solar cells on the outside (i.e. on the top and bottom surfaces) then the cells would be capturing energy all the time, even when you are using the device. 
- MSI is getting set to enter the Eee PC market, probably in Q3 2008. 
- Sony is going to be producing some photo frames (DPF-V900 and DPF-V700) that have HDMI outputs. This means that you could hook up a photo frame to your large screen HDTV and have a classic slide show evening. 
- The Digi Connect WAN 3G is a router that will allow a local network to share an HSDPA or EV-DO wireless link for internet connectivity. Now if only cell phone data plans would get sensible data rates in North America... 
- Sony's GPS-CS1KASP device (picture on Engadget) can log GPS coordinates every 15 seconds for geo-tagging purposes.  
- The nuvifone from Garmin combines GPS navigator, phone, PMP, web browser, WiFi and BlueTooth into one sleek touch screen controlled device. Start saving now for a Q3 2008 release. Since it does WiFi one would presume that when a WiFi link is available you can browse the web through it. Does this have any PDA functionality? If it did then it might be a reason for Palm owners to switch. Is the platform open enough to allow 3rd party developers to write applications for it? 
- The HumanCar, for $15K you can have a bicycle built for four. From the description it sounds like it includes additional power assisted drive for when your kids refuse to pedal anymore. 
- The E-Lead Noahpad is taking some innovative steps (but probably not popular) in the keyboard and mouse controller design area. They have combined the two functions by enlarging the touchpad and then placing "keys" on it. It looks like the surface of the touchpad is still smooth, so this could be a problem for touch typing. They have also revived the idea of a larger virtual display (1024x768) that the user pans the physical display (800x480) across. Since the act of panning has always been problematic they have set up a second touch pad (which has the left half of the keyboard on it) which is dedicated to moving the display. I'm still thinking a better solution would have been to have installed a 10 inch (1024x768) display instead of the little 7 inch display. It looks like the Noahpad might be getting revised, it was shown at Computex in June'08 with a somewhat larger keyboard. 
- Using a USB interface to drive traditional analog dial gauges from a PC.  
Time-Warner who controls a lot of cable internet service is looking at charging for bandwidth used, though this looks a lot like a pre-emptive strike against Apple's attempts to distribute high-definition media (which would eat into their DVD type sales).
- Linus figures that Microsoft is only bluffing about using its patents against Linux. 
- While not a CPU, the Curta was probably the first hand-held calculating devices capable of long multiplication. It was also a pretty neat device that had a wonderful feeling to it, rather like using a Nikon F1. 
- The ultimate, monster, super-sized webpad, or just a hoax? I'm guessing a hoax.
Some videos of the new Garmin nuvifone in action, including one showing the email and web browsers. 
- validate is a package for validating values (usually strings) against a specification, and transforming them or doing type conversion. 
- Panasonic is working on a sensor that will facilitate high dynamic range (HDR) photography, they do this by getting the sensor to take a sequence of three photographs with three greatly different exposure times and then combining the data. They have been able to expand the dynamic range from 60dB to 140dB with this technique, note that dB scales are logarithmic so this is not a simple factor of 2.3 increase, with each 3dB the linear range is doubled (i.e. an f-stop or factor of 2 change in shutter speed) so that's an exposure range increase of 26 f-stops (or changing from , with this you could probably set up a manual shutter speed and f-stop indoors and then go outside into sunlight and shoot without changing anything and still get a usable photograph. If you hold your f-stop fixed this range is equivalent to changing your shutter speed from 1/8000th of a second to over 8000 seconds. Of course their test sensor is only 177x144 pixels, but there's no reason this sort of technique could not be applied to a modern sensor pretty soon. 
- Build your own motion activated home event recorder camera. 
- How to use pygame in a headless mode, which you might want to do to use some of its features for something like a web server.  
- The Thor Shield is a form of body armor designed to stop Taser bolts, I guess the idea is to prevent the bolt from reaching the skin and, probably, to short it out. A layer or two of corrugated cardboard covered in tin foil might do the trick as well. 
- Congratulations ASUS, you know you've made the big time when hackers have found a vulnerability in your product, in this case the Eee. 
- The DreamBook is another hopeful contender to the ASUS Eee, but it looks like it has the same limitations and is bigger and costs more. 
- The PF-D240 digifram from Mustek combines a number of functions (clock radio and photo frame) in a useful way but skimps on the size of the display. A redesign with a 5 to 7 inch display size would make this much better. 
- While not a true photo frame the Cowon A3 PMP has slide show capabilities as well as component video output so it could be used as a portable presentation tool for showing slides on a large screen TV instead of using a laptop computer.  
- The utimate 56-inch LCD display, with 4K x 2K resolution, one of these days this will be affordable. 
- Geocaching takes a turn for the scary, and the bomb squad responds. 
- The Annoy-a-tron, from ThinkGeek, possibly the world's worst stocking stuffer. 
- Texas Instruments will be shipping an Android development platform this spring. Talk about the ultimate geek cell phone (though not exactly pocket sized)! 
- Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the waters, the SCO patent zombie has been resurrected by The Carlyle Group with a $100M business plan to pursue SCO's legal claims. 
- Using CompactFlash in an SATA adapter as a replacement for a regular laptop hard drive instead of using a dedicated SSD device. This article gives some speed comparisons based on running Windows XP off a few different compact flash cards, and found that by using a faster compact flash card one could out perform a low end SSD drive. 
- Now there's a kid-ridable triceratops, when does the backyard play-raptor make an appearance? 
- The Chumby is now available for the general public to purchase. But it is still only for sale to addresses in the USA. 
- NVIDEA is looking at using a physics engine to CUDA port to allow any GeForce 8 GPU to provide PhysX support. 
- The Insignia photo frame virus is much worse than originally thought. 
- In a rather strange computer crime an investor hacked into a computer at IMS Health from which he stole a future earnings announcement, then he took a gamble and bought short expiry put options (which would have been virtually worthless at the time) in the company's stock. Once the earning announcement went public the following day the options grew in value by a factor of 5 and he sold them. The SEC figured that this must have been insider trading so halted his account and investigated. Now a judge has decided that while it was a crime to steal the earnings announcement it was not a crime under current US law to make money off the trade. 
- Solar cell technology that directly produces from hydrogen (without first producing electricity) is being developed. 
- The $200 laptop returns, this time from Elonex in England. This is thought to be the Chinese "Simple PC". Just for fun it moves all the heavy electronics and batteries from under the keyboard to behind the display, which makes it look rather unbalanced. The Register has a press release and says it should ship June'08, they also say it's going to be based on a 300MHz processor with 128MB of RAM (so should be slower than the Eee) and only has a 1GB SSD and has a removable keyboard. Pretty much the same info from The Inquirer. Here is a video of it in action - this shows the removable keyboard function, by removing the keyboard you turn the device into a webpad tablet (though not touch screen) which you control using a couple of mouse buttons and a thumb stick that are built into the back of the screen unit. This tablet conversion idea looks like it might work. In the video you can also see that the "unbalanced" nature of the device (when in keyboard attached mode) is addressed by a little pop-out stand behind the display. Now lets hope they make a version with a larger display and a faster CPU and more RAM... ITWire looks at this here and Slashdot discusses here. 
- Rumors of the HP UMPC 2133 look pretty good, it is roughtly the same size as the ASUS Eee but it corrects the greatest problem with the Eee, the screen size. The HP has an 8.9 inch display running at 1366x766 resolution. Unknown price and availability at this point, but maybe this will stir ASUS into bringing out a 9 or 10 inch version of the Eee at a reasonable price. According to Engadget this is to go on sale 7-Apr-08 for prices from $549 to $749. The lowest price model comes with Linux, while for $600 and up versions of Vista are included. This might put some more downwards pressure on the new ASUS Eee 9 inch model's price. The Mini-Note has now been released, the HP press release is here and Engadget has a collection of reviews here. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- The Software Freedom Law Center's (SFLC) Legal Issues Primer for Open Source and Free Software Projects gets discussed on Slashdot. 
- The Linutop 2 mini PC is another entry into the small Linux based green computing platform - though its more expensive than some of the competition like the Koolu. 
- Microsoft has announced a new strategy to embrace the open source world - and smother it to death under 30000 pages of useful documentation! Plus they are going to let people use their patents for reasonable fees (or even nil if its being used in a non-commercial way). One response to this calls it: don't compete and Microsoft won't sue and points out that it is unclear what is meant by "non-commercial distribution".  
- Modern DRAM chips can actually hold their data for a long time, and if they have been cooled this could even be in the range of minutes. This represents a potential security threat. One of the main reasons this attack works as well as it does is that current operating systems do not clear memory that is no longer in use (though Windows 2000 and up appear to clear it before allocating it to another process for use). Because of this it also is possible to boot a system from another drive (such as a USB drive) and then read the contents of memory left over from the last run. 
- The 2pad Online Gallery is a photo sharing site that emphasizes user control of who has access to your photos. 
- Panasonic is getting into the electric bicycle business, their Titanium Flat Road EB looks pretty close to a normal bike (though the electric range is rather small). 
- A startup company Solazyme is working on developing a process to use algae to produce fuel, this is discussed here on Engadget. The interesting thing about their approach is that they are growing algae in the dark, having found that this gets the algae to produce more oils. They can feed the algae with sugars and even cellulose which has the potential to improve the overall yield of the biofuel synthesis cycle by reducing the amount of wasted plant material. 
- munkres.py is an implementation of the Munkres algorithm (also known as Kuhn-Munkres or the Hungarian algorithm) which is used to solve the Assignment Problem. The assignment problem is used to determine the best way to use n workers to do n jobs at least cost when the cost to complete a particular job depends on which worker does it. pyLAPJV is another approach to this problem, this implements the Jonker-Volgenant algorithm.  
- The Popcorn hour networked media player is now shipping in limited quantities at $179. This supports up to 1080p (both component and HDMI) as well as composite and S-video. It also has two USB ports for adding devices as well it supports an IDE internal drive for more storage. It supports a pretty wide set of CODECS. There's more information on this on the Networked Media Tank support wiki. In May'08 this started to ship in volume, comments from early adopters are pretty positive. A very good review of the Popcorn Hour with some internal pictures, this review has been updated a number of times as the author has worked with different firmware versions. Engadget asks its readers how they would change the Popcorn Hour. The next generation of this (the A-110) went on pre-order in Aug'08 and they are also making a mini-ITX motherboard called the B-110 for home theater applications. CNet takes a look at the A-110.  
- Green Freedom is a project to extract CO2 from the air and turn it back into fuel. They don't say where they are getting the energy from that will be needed to turn the CO2 (along with water) back into hydrocarbons, but as their press release is liberally sprinkled with the word "nuclear" and this is a team that is headed by Los Alamos National Laboratory it's a safe bet they are planning to use electricity from nuclear power plants - so this is really no different from the typical "hydrogen economy" babble. 
- Simple infra red head lamps could foil common security camera systems. Or at least mark the wearer as a person of significance (and quickly lead to a close encounter with a tac team).  
- The Palm has been emulated on an iPhone, what a way to upgrade your Palm. This sort of approach might make sense for the Palm company - just sell a Palm OS emulation package that runs on different hardware packages, leaving the low-margin high-risk hardware development and manufacturing to other companies. 
- The haptic input device, this is a "braille-like" touch pad that is located on the back of a hand-held device (like a PDA). You can then use it to operate the device one-handed by touching this pad with a finger from the hand that is holding it. A rather interesting idea, I've always found the few direct access buttons that Palm devices have to be a quick way of doing a few things, and by virtue of them being near the edge of the device they can be used one-handed (though it is a bit awkward). The Sony Clie Palm devices had a scroll wheel and a button that were situated on the side at the top left allowing one to control some functions with the thumb if you were holding it in the left hand. This worked quite well, except support for the scroll wheel was rather limited. I would think that a row of small buttons down one side would also work well.  
- A new version of the Compact Flash memory card format is being worked on, for introduction in late 2009 to 2010 time frame. This is to replace the IDE conection with an SATA type connection allowing data rates to hit 375MB/s. The specification (see the CompactFlash Association)for this is due to be published in May'08. 
- TuxFighter is an implementation of the classic Astroids game in Python using the pygame module. 
- Ars Technica looks at building a green PC, discussed here on Slashdot. They build a lower power (say under 150W) box for game playing and then try to build an extreme green box which uses something in the range of 20-30W. On the extreme box they went overboard on the hard drive and used a 32GB SSD unit which cost $725, they would have done better to have selected a 2.5 inch laptop drive for about $100 (which would have used almost the same power) or found a way to use a 1.8 inch drive (or the kind intended for PMP devices), or use a 16GB CF card mounted in an IDE adapter (they talk about doing this later). 
- Arizona is going to get a 280MW solar power plant. 
- USB flash drives built into basic Lego-style bricks.  
- Gauss-Jordan elimination in Python for solution of systems of linear equations.  
- The Celrun is a networked media player and recorder with HDMI and component output. 
- One Eee user has hacked it by upgrading the processor to a Pentium-M.  
- In Feb'08 MediaGate announced their MG-450HD media player, which updates the MG-350HD to add HDMI output, should be available for $249. This started shipping in late April'08, along with a price drop to $229. 
- Hacking the Everex CloudBook has started, the first steps are to dissect and inspect one.  
- A project to build your own geotagger for a Nikon D200, this is based on a SiRF Star III GPS module. This is a seemingly simple project because the Nikon's firmware already includes the ability to read GPS NMEA formatted data from the camera's external interface port and embed it into the EXIF data area of the photos.  
This patent, for a handheld device with sliding keyboard, proves that the patent examiners are kept on a prison island and denied all access to modern technology and news. 
- Mitsubishi's corrosion-resistant DVD-R disks promise about twice the lifespan of conventional DVD-R disks. 
- excrement to energy, a biogas producing digester for the third world (or maybe your Manhattan roof-top loft). 
- So you're happily coding away on some dialogs and have some special need to use SetFocus() and TABSTOP to get the tab key sequencing through the controls in exactly the right fashion. But sometimes you notice that the focus rectangle is not getting drawn on the control that has the keyboard focus and you think this is a problem in your code and you start to tear out the few remaining hairs on your head.
If you are using Windows XP or Vista this might not be a problem with your code, it appears that some UI designer (who's brain was obviously too big and has a full head of hair) at Microsoft decided that the keyboard focus indicator was too distracting and ordered it turned off by default. But to make life more confusing the focus box will get drawn when signs of keyboard activity are sensed (such as when you press an ALT key or perhaps the left or right arrow keys - but NOT the TAB key). Then, just to make matters even worse, the Vista team rearranged the way this option is hidden in the Windows preferences system, so even if you found the instructions on how to re-enable this behavior under XP you'll never find the control for it under Vista - this article has a good guide to where to find the setting under both Vista and XP. In short for Vista you need to:
for Windows XP you need to:
- right click on the desktop,
- select the "Personalize" menu item,
- then click on the "Ease of access" link,
- then click on "Make keyboard easier to use",
- then check the "Underline keyboard shortcuts and access keys" option
- and (finally!) hit the "Save" button.
- right click on the desktop,
- select the "Properties" menu item,
- then click on the "Appearance" tab,
- then click on "Effects..." button,
- remove the check from the "Hide underlined letters for keyboard navigation until I press the Alt key" option
- and (finally!) hit the "OK" button.
- There will be a 9 inch version of the ASUS Eee PC, full details are to be release 5-Mar-08. This new screen will have a 1024x600 resolution which will make using the Eee a bit easier. It looks like there will be a Windows XP version of the 9-inch Eee, perhaps because Vista would be too slow. More details on this from the ASUS CEO, it will have an SSD drive (rather than straight flash) and be using the newer Intel Atom chip set, priced at US$499 at launch (in May). 
- While not really a webpad size device, the VA1500V laptop from Everex is the same price as an ASUS Eee and brings you a 15 inch screen at the cost of about 3 pounds more weight. Clearly the $399 price point is becoming significant. 
- The Mobile Digital Scribe from IOGEAR is another digital note taker, an alternative to just scanning your pages of freehand notes. The Switched On column takes a look at this here. 
- Iomega's Rev Disk system is finally getting a capacity boost (from 70GB to 120GB). But given that the price of the individual cartridges are currently about $1/GB while a normal bare IDE hard drive is $0.25/GB and a 120GB laptop drive in a USB-powered case can be had for $0.83/GB, one really has to ask why are they still selling these?. In Apr'08 the 120GB drives and cartridges started shipping, the external USB interfaced drive (including a cartridge) costs $499 and a 5-pack of cartridges costs $325. So for the cartridges alone the price is $0.54/GB. At this time I can buy a 500GB IDE drive and an external USB case for less than $160 at our local computer shop which works out at $0.32/GB, so I still have to ask why anyone would bother with this REV stuff? 
- The Altos easyStore NAS from Acer, is a 4 drive RAID unit that can currently hold up to 3GB. Engadget spots one at CeBIT'09. 
- Konarka Technologies have developed a solar cell that can be manufactured by inkjet printing techniques all without the expensive requirement for a clean room. As they don't ever mention efficiency one must presume that these are rather low efficiency devices, but if they are inexpensive enough then that's often not a problem. 
- Beautiful Code, by Andy Oram, Greg Wilson, ISBN: 978-0596510046. is a book on software development. 
- The ECS GIL10IL is an 11-inch sub notebook (additional pictures) that might compete against the Eee, but because the specs are somewhat higher I'd expect a higher price too. This update says it will come in 8.2 or 10.2 inch versions. This got a hands-on review at Computex in June'08. This is now expected to be available in Sept'08 and starting at $399. Here is a brief look at one. 
- The Wizplat NAS-20 is a 2-drive, gigabit NAS box from Sarotech. It has built in iTunes, NitTorrent and print servers and its case looks like one of the OLPC designers paid them a visit - perhaps this would get some attention at a LAN party? 
- GE is investing in the electric car maker Think and the A123Systems battery maker. 
- The MSI Wind is another competitor to the ASUS Eee - this will have a 10 inch display at 1024x768 resolution and sell in the UKP299 to UKP699 range. Now MSI is talking about June'08 for first shipment of the 8.9 and 10 inch Wind devices, for prices in the range of $470-1099. MSI has posted its official specifications for the Wind, the 8.9 and 10 inch displays will be 1024x600 and be LED-backlit, so battery life may be better than a similar sized Eee. Engadget reports that this is to be $610 for a 10-inch screen, 1.6GHz Atom processor, 1GB RAM and XP. MSI has finally announced that the price for the 10 inch version will be $399 (with Linux) and $549 (with Windows XP). At $399 it really under cuts the 9-inch Eee and provides more features than the 7 inch Eee (which is also about $399) so ASUS will have to rethink their pricing a bit - isn't competition great! A Chilean gets to review an early version of the Wind and quite likes it. The UK site Mobile Computer reviews the Wind and Slashdot discusses it here. CNET takes a hands-on look here with followup on Engadget here. Another pre-release preview here. LaptopMag reviews the MSI Wind, and likes it. More reviews of the Wind and questions about why the Advent 4211 (which is the same machine under a different label) is less expensive. 
- Understanding MFC's CCtrlView which is used in the CTreeView and other MFC classes. 
- the EB-100 and EB-300 from Netronix (who also manufacture e-ink displays) are a 6-inch and a 10-inch pair of new e-books. 
- The Logitech diNovo Mini Bluetooth keyboard and mouse emulator is finally shipping, a cute but rather expensive small wireless keyboard for a home theater PC system. There are a number of less expensive alternatives including: a wireless RF keyboard with joystick and this Adesso WKB-4000US  
- The KORG DS-10 synth meets the Nintendo DS - result: cool music device.  
- A discussion of how to update the state of controls within MFC programs, including enabling and disabling menu items, by using the ON_UPDATE_COMMAND_UI messages. 
- The FRLN from Frontier is a 12.1 inch ultra portable laptop that weighs in at 2.7 pounds (only about half a pound more than an Eee). At $1260 it's a lot more than an Eee, but that's also a lot less than other similar laptops. One flaw is that it's using an 800MHz A110 processor, so it will not be super fast - however this probably helps reduce its power requirements, and so probably helps keep its battery weight down. 
- Virgin Mobile, inexpensive cell phones and sassy adverts pay tribute to the Spitzer scandal. 
- At last, a photo frame that crosses over into TV and other spaces from Pandigital. I wonder if they include the under the cabinet mounting hardware in the $399 proce - or is that a $99 option? For this sort of functionality the thing must have a computer embedded in it, I wonder when it will get hacked? 
- This study confirms my own experiences that productivity increases with monitor space. Of course as this is a paid-for-by-industry type study you should take it with a grain of salt, but consider what happens if you are using Microsoft's Visual Studio to do some C++ work. It likes to do everything in one window broken up into a number of panels (for organizational and navigational purposes). This often leaves me with a coding window of about 1000x600 pixels out of a 1680x1050 (20 inch wide screen) resolution monitor. If I need to look at two files side by side, that drops to 500x600 for each, which is pretty small. With a second monitor this is much easier to do. Also, when you start running the application in debug mode (especially when working on a GUI problem) you have to fight with the two applications to get them to share the screen space and yet still have enough room to see your local variables, call stack and source code windows. If you have a second monitor, or one wider than 1680 pixels (though I doubt 1920 is really that much wider) then you can give each application (Visual Studio and the one being debugged) its own monitor and work in a much easier fashion.  
- RFID based access control cards may be very insecure. 
- One Journalists view of laptop security and the issue of border crossings - where you may be without any legal protection against search and seizure. 
- Engadget asks: How would you change Chumby?" 
- The ASUS EP20 could be a new low-cost small form factor PC for the home. It seems to be Linux based and possibly priced at about $300. 
- NorhTech is planning a sub $300 laptop to join the competition with the Eee. This first laptop was not a success, too expensive for what you got, they are looking at a second attempt with a 8.9-inch screen and a $200 price point, which if realized would be a good seller. They appear to have achieved this with their Gecko EduBook which is $199 F.O.B. Thailand. This uses the Xcore86 CPU at 1GHz (only using 1.2W, so it has no fan), has an 8.9 inch 1024x600 screen, has a replaceable CPU module and is also powered by eight AA batteries (either NiMH or lithium) for 4-6 hours. It also has an internal USB socket intended to be used by OEMs to customize the Gecko for particular applications (allowing telcos to add a particular radio system). Here is a look at one showing the AA based battery pack, the SD card boot disk and the CPU module. 
- Zebrafish may provide clues to the organ regeneration problem. 
- pysfst a set of Python bindings to the Stuttgart Finite State Transducer Tools. 
- A new wheat fungus has spread from Uganda in 1999 to Iran in 2007, as it affects 80% of wheat varieties it could prove a serious hunger problem. Now why is wheat being grown in Uganda, sounds like a good way of making new diseases? 
- The CloudBook (made by FIC branded as Everex) has made it to Japan. Curious thing is that with exactly the same model number as the US version it now has touchscreen, 802.11a and Bluetooth. And has increased in price to $600 (though that might just be for the Japanese market). Whether this will ever show up in the first world has become doubtful as Everex has been acquired by NewMarket. 
- The BBC's Yes, Minister and the followup Yes, Prime Minister are some of the best political satires every to appear on the small screen. Notable quotes from these can be found here, including my favorite about the minutes of meetings:
It is characteristic of all committee discussions and decisions that every member has a vivid recollection of them, and that every member's recollection of them differs violently from every other member's recollection; consequently we accept the convention that the official decisions are those and only those which have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials; from which it emerges with elegant inevitability, that any decision which has been officially reached would have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials, and any decision which is not recorded in the minutes has not been officially reached, even if one or more members believe they can recollect it; so in this particular case, if the decision would have been officially reached, it would have been recorded in the minutes by the officials and it isn't, so it wasn't.
- Sir Humphrey, Man Overboard (Yes, Prime Minister)
- There has been some talk that Intel might enter the Eee competition with something called the Netbook, here are some possible pictures of this. And some more views of it, where it's being called the Eco PC. It has appeared in Malaysia where it will be called the SmartBook and is made by FTEC and there is about a $40 difference in price between the 7 and 9 inch screens. It is also going to be made by CTL and will be called the 2go PC. 
- Sony is introducing two stand alone photo printers with built in displays and HDMI output ports so they can be used for showing slide shows on large screen TVs.  
- How Apple got Everything Right by doing Everything Wrong discussed here on Slashdot. Handy tips for the evil manager. 
- A build it yourself kit electric (battery/solar panel) car, reminds me a bit of very old ice cream carts... 
- A little USB gadget that gives you an additional 2 inch colour LCD display to unburden your primary desktop. 
- The ASUS NOVA LITE Mini 2L is a low-end small form factor PC, there are several models, the lowest has a DVI output and one has an HDMI output as well, so these might be a good choice for a low end media display unit. 
- The MYKA TorrentTV is a small media player with built in hard drive that it fills via BitTorrent downloading. It supports HDMI, Component, S-Video and composite video for play back. Prices start at $299 depending on how much hard drive space you put in it. This has reached production, so possibly shipping around the start of March 2009. 
- The eLite LED kits from Lifelites add LED lighting to Lego models. 
- The ASUS 8.9 inch Eee PC will include a touchscreen system. 
- The ASUS 9 inch Eee makes an appearance on the FCC website. 
- Kodak adds Quick Touch borders to its photo frames, allowing for easier interactive use. 
- 1366 Technologies is looking to commercialize a process for high efficiency multicrystalline silicon solar cells that should initially cost about $2.10/watt and drop to $1.30/watt with some planned improvements. Their eventual target is to hit the $1/watt price point. 
- Nokia has let slip that a new version of their N810 is just around the corner (which would explain the recent price drop of the current N810) and this will include WiMax. The N810 WiMAX Edition gets official. 
- HotHardware takes a look at the Windows XP equipped version of the ASUS Eee PC which starts shipping about April 9th. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- ControlThink is in the Z-Wave business, and have USB adapters that are firmware upgradeable. 
- The Sony HDR-SR12 is a hard-drive based hi-def camcorder (reviewed here) with a 5M pixel CMOS sensor which is supposed to bring a significant improvement to low-light noise levels. 
- How to save images as PNG from older versions of PyGame by using PIL. 
- Buffalo's LinkTheater HD is an hi-def media streamer for use with a wired ethernet, supposed to be about $199 and had HDMI and component video outputs. 
- Google's Android could be appearing on the W.E. Phone from Koolu. 
- The PanTouch series of photo frames by Pandigital will feature touch sensitive screen mattes for control. This is like these Kodak QuickTouch screens, so should help to keep the display free of finger prints. 
- Loose weight and gain speed, perhaps on a 10km distance you can get about 12 seconds faster for every pound you loose. 
- The SONY HDR-TG1 Handycam (which will be the HDR-TG3E in Europe) is a very compact full 1920x1080 HD camcorder that writes to memory stick flash media (needing about 4Gig/hour in LP mode). It can also act as a 4M pixel still camera. Discussed here on Engadget. An unboxing and quick look at it in video form are here. Engadget starts to take a look at one. 
- The ASUS R50 UMPC is a 5.6 inch handheld device, that's supposed to sell for something over $500 starting in June'08. 
Why the music
industry has such screwed up pricing
Internet Success Story, and how
not to make money on the net.
How to build your own satellite
ground station (I seem to recall that Elektor magazine once (around
1980?) had a similar project)
cancer scanner looks a lot like it uses one of the scanning wands
used in airport security checks. It may offer a fast, inexpensive, way of
screening for presence of any cancer in your doctor's office. If this is fast,
cheap and efficient it'll never be welcomed by the medical community, they'll
claim something like "it has too many false-negatives to be safe to
Of course the cancer scanning that is currently carried out on all
patients on their regular doctors visits is running about 100% false negatives
right now... That is to say practically everyone who visits a doctor for an
annual medical leaves his office with a false feeling that they are healthy
(i.e. cancer free).
up nuclear waste with bacteria
sculptor, what are the Italians thinking? A David in every garden?
light sticks, make for
trendy garden decoration?
camera snooping device
- CTL's 2go PC is an implementation of the Intel Classmate PC, this will be available through Amazon and priced in the $300-500 range. There is a review of it here. CTL also makes the IL1PC which is a direct competitor to the ASUS 7-inch Eee, discussed here on Engadget. 
- Buffalo's DriveStation Combo4 external hard drive will have USB, Firewire (400 and 800) and eSATA interfaces. 
- What's playing and where at CalgaryMovies.com
of Calgary public golf courses
Flights at YYC
The Calgary Zoo,
lots of stuff for an afternoon or a day.
The Calgary Science
Centre (and Planetarium)
Danny Wai, a local Re/Max
real estate agent who deals in the Brentwood/Triwood area of Calgary
Hoven Farms produces
organic beef in Alberta
Callebaut makes some of the best chocolates in the world, right
here in Calgary.
The annual electronics
recycling (E-cycle) event in Calgary. The 2004 event was very well
organized and handled the long stream of cars at a remarkable rate.
Habitat for Humanity
A web based version of the GNATS
bug tracking software, and QM
Test, a testing tool, also the Software
Carpentry project is attempting to organize the development of more
coding and testing tools.
for the development palnning process of new LRT
for the Calgary web site
The City of Calgary home
City of Calgary Tax
Assesment property valuation web site.
- New Alberta Canada
taxes, this may be clever propaganda and blatant mass purchase of votes, but that's
a big part of democracy ain't it?
- Microsoft is now going to keep supplying Windows XP (sounds like the Home version) until at least 2010 for devices like the ASUS Eee.  
- So far the e-book market is very small, perhaps about 0.1% of the publishing market, but it appears to be growing now.  
- Hacking an old Minolta SLR lens to work with modern Sony Alpha series cameras, pretty amazing. 
The Underdogs bring
you long lost games
BargainFinder.com is a
good place to look for anything used
Looks like the Greeks have overturned
their recent law that banned all computer based games
illegal music by matching to a sample database
from disposible cameras to power a gauss gun
on capacitors and how they work
is it possible to file your own patents at a reasonable
cost? Could this be used as a for of protest against all the
obvious and trivial patents that companies are filing these days?
- The Datto Backup NAS is a NAS that includes software to pipe a copy of the data to an offsite storage service (which you need to pay an additional annual fee to use). An interesting concept, but perhaps a better idea would be to sell a simple remote backup server in-a-box that could be placed at another site (say in the CFO or CTO's basement) and that would be the destination for the offsite storage. But then the vendor won't have a nice recurring revenue stream in his business plan... 
- According to Bill Gates, Windows 7 should arrive next year (2009). Of course that will probably turn out to be the first beta, but this will probably convince a lot of people to stay out of the Windows Vista murky waters. But Microsoft says that Windows 7 is still slated for 2010. 
- The Everex MyMiniPC is a small (Mac Mini like) PC with a 1.86GHz Pentium and DVI output, running the gOS flavor of Linux. 
- A European answer to the Eee? Van Der Led is going to produce the Jisus laptop for about €299 which will incude an 8.9 inch display (though only 800x480 resolution). 
- The 7-inch ASUS Eee is now available at Best Buy with Windows XP pre-installed for $399. Given this, shouldn't the Linux versions take a drop in price? 
flashlights, I got mine from the Calgary MEC
store. These work well off NiHM rechargeable batteries too.
Gattaca may now
be found in California (getting your DNA
scanned for defects)
jet pack, home built, but will he ever have the nerve to fly it?
phones to monitor road traffic congestion. All that's needed is a
bit of GSM and some phones that are turned on (they don't have to be in
This has some interesting possibilities: it could be used to determine
approximate traffic volume (based on the simple statistics of the
of people who have cell phones) in real time (which would be far more
than other car counting techniques used today). It could also be used
to determine how fast the traffic is going, of course they cannot use this
to issue you a speeding ticket as they don't know that you are the
but it would be useful for planning enforcement activities (even on a
personal nature - if someone does some serious speeding on a regular basis the
police could stake him out and follow him to catch him in violation). Ok,
maybe that's not a particularly good way to spend a limited policing
resource, but how about monitoring phones that leave bars at closing time and
then take a "drive along the back roads" in an attempt to avoid check stops,
this might save some lives? This sort of location ability might be useful
for tracking down potential witnesses to crimes (imagine the police serving
you a summons on the basis that you were "in the vicinity" of a
as well as gathering a list of potential suspects (better have that
turned off when you go to do evil - or better yet, leave it on, in some
other part of town, to establish your alibi).
amazing stuff, take your paper
folding into the galaxy
Calgary Real Estate News, the
online home of Calgary's free real estate weekly newspaper.
apparently gathers feedback about various online merchants.
Aquadisplay, rendering images in a water fall
How about a hydrofoil
Make a garbage can or 55-gallon drum into a supersized cyclonic
dust collector for your shop vac, just add the Veritas
weeding device, this sort of thing could be a great way of reducing
the amount of chemicals used in modern farming, plus it should be
possible to make a robotic insect hunter to keep some pests under
Part car, part motorcycle, this 3 wheeled
vehicle allows the passenger compartment to tilt in the curves
vehicles (discussion on engadget)
could become popular tools of terrorists. Given that these can also be
hard for radar to detect, and that they will often fly at very low
altitudes, could they become popular with smugglers? Heck, with a
payload of 110 pounds some of these could already smuggle people.
is Big Brother's first name, in Sept'06 it was announced that
Disney World will soon be taking finger prints of all patrons. Big
steps for the the land of the ACLU.
makes your mountain bike into a half-track,
it puts a ski on the front and a short caterpillar tread extension on
the back. Obviously this does not give enough floatation to ride on
unpacked snow, but it appears to work on something like a ski slope.
to build houses out of a mix of concrete and gypsum. The
technique is roughly to erect a massive frame at the site and then run
a robotic concrete delivery system on it and "spray" the house into
existence. The plan is to build a house this way in the spring of 2007
in about a day. More on this including a video of a small
The US Navy has demonstrated an 8MJ (mega-joule) rail
A self-stabilizing electric
Sony is helping Big
Brother build a gigapixel imaging system that would be capable of
watching car movements through an entire city at once.
tornado at the Mercedes museum.
- VTech Phusion
is a little organizer and black and white digital camera combined in one.
Sources for parts
for building robots around Calgary
the bedside computer, a WiFi equipped alarm clock on steroids.
- The ASUS 8.9 inch Eee may not wait for the Intel Atom to ship. 
- Alligator blood my be a source of new antibiotics, it seems that several hundred million years of evolution have given the gators the ability to defend against microorganisms that they have not been previously exposed to. Of course this could just be a case of them having DNA that already contains a large arsenal of previously tried and true solutions, or it could be they recognize their own cells and attack everything else by default. 
- IOGEAR is introducing a new Portable Media Player which comes with a remote and various TV outputs (no built-in display) including component video to 720p. Although at $350 they are up against a number of less expensive, similar, solutions. 
- Google's Android has been made to run on the Nokia N810 web tablet. 
- Dell may be entering the 9 inch laptop market. With HP (Compaq) already there and Dell entering the waters in June (along with several other smaller fish) ASUS is going to either have to innovate or reduce prices to keep its market. 
- The Pico USB drives from Super-Talent will be pretty small (only 31.3mm from end to end and 12.4mm wide and 3.4mm thick) flash drives. They look to be a bit smaller than the OCZ mini-Kart drives were (which actually were a rather nice size). Imation have also announced some similar-sized thumb drives. 
- The Yamaha Tenori-on could be described as Lite Brite meets a music synthesizer. I'm sure kids of all ages will love it. These finally went on sale in the US in June'08 for $1200, guess I'll wait for someone to do this in software on a PSP or dual screen.  
- Viewsonic announces a new set of 7, 8 and 10 inch digital photo frames for spring 2008. 
- The Iomega ScreenPlay HD 500GB multimedia drive has HDMI output (as well as composite and component video) and run at 720p or 1080i resolutions for $219. 
- A Chumby hack to give it a VGA screen. Yikes, a lot of work! Even to soldering under a microscope. This includes a section on making a nice fancy bezel out of clear acrylic plastic. 
- A Micro SD Card video projector, at $99 it'll probably not be much good, but maybe a more serious manufacturer will do this sort of thing with better quality parts. 
- At about $1500 the Kohjinsha SR8KPO6S is a UMPC mini-laptop with a 7 inch display and a built in DVD burner - which makes it pretty unique for this form factor. Still a $1000 premium for the DVD drive is pretty steep, so this is hardly a threat to the ASUS Eee. 
- The ASUS Essentio CS5110 is a small form factor box with plenty of capability, it would make an excellent PVR box if it had room for a TV tuner card - you could probably use a USB attached tuner instead. 
- How to capture and do nothing (i.e. block) on the use of special keyboard keys (like the Windows key). This example is specific to pygame. 
- How Calgarians caught a car thief by working as a group via the internet (and without GPS tracking too!). The cloud has eyes and they are watching you!  
- Ultra is suing a number of power supply manufactures over making power supplies with detachable cables. This is a good example of a patent that should never have been granted because it was "obvious to a practitioner of the art". The only reason people were not building "modular" supplies would have been cost - the cost of two extra connectors per cable would have made the supplies more expensive and thus less competitive in a very cut-throat market. In fact, for many years all power supplies did already have one such "modular" cable: the AC power cable. This has been detachable for pretty much the whole history of the modern personal computer to allow a single power supply to be used in different countries by changing the AC cable. Thus, the "prior art" that should invalidate this patent is even built into the device, and even a blind patent examiner should have spotted that art. 
- Robust topological sorting and Tarjan's algorithm in Python talks about sorting graphs in the presence of cyclic links, this could be useful in things like garbage collection, dependency generation and revision control.  
- The Datacask from Fukato looks like an attempt to compete with the original Eee, but at a higher price. Why bother? 
- wibree the next version of Bluetooth with ultra low power use will be changing its name to ULP (Ultra Low Power) Bluetooth and should start to appear in 2008. This could use 1/50th of the current Bluetooth's power while transferring data, so should make for some very long battery life equipment. 
- Pylot is a testing system for web applications, it has a test case recorder that can log HTML requests made by your browser as you navigate a site. 
- The Eco-Marathon high mileage automobile competition achieved 2843.4 miles on a gallon of gasoline. It's interesting to see the internal combustion engine approach still beating vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells. 
- New electric bicycles from OHM. 
- The Indian company HCL is going to make a Windows XP based small laptop similar to the ASUS Eee, and are targeting $429 for it. One nice feature is that it will have a screen that converts to tablet mode. 
- Seagate is starting to sue other SSD makers, so we're going to find out if Seagates patent claims are valid. 
- The DataTraveler BlackBox drive from Kingston features a 256-bit hardware AES encryption processor and has been inspected by NIST in the US and the Communications Security Establishment in Canada. I wonder how long it will be before hackers open one up and find there's a trivial way to defeat this drive's security, like so many of the competing products. At $424 for an 8GB drive it would probably make more sense to buy a conventional drive and an ASUS Eee to run TrueCrypt> on it.  
- For those who need privacy while working on their laptops in public places, or who like to surf the web in a park at -20C, or who view life as performance art, how about this knitted privacy screen?  
- The launch of the ASUS 9-inch Eee 900 starts now (in Hong Kong and the UK). Looks like being about $500 for both the Linux and Win XP versions, but you get 8GB more SSD in the Linux version for the same price. The US release of this is to be on May 12th for $549. There are reports that the first batch of Eee 900 machines to be sold in hong Kong have included a 4400mHh battery pack rather than the 5800mAh unit that was in the reviewers' units. ASUS is going to be replacing the 4400mHh batteries with 5800mAh units. 
- Windows XP SP3 (service pack 3) is due to be released starting April 21/2008 (for special customers) and April 29 for the rest. 
- The first reviews of the ASUS Eee PC 900, a collection can be found here on Engadget and more discussion here on Slashdot.
The HP 2133 Mini-Note will be getting a Windows XP option. 
- gheat a Python heatmap for Google Maps, this creates and superimposes a thermal layer on top of a Google Map. Some of this is done using PIL. In a later version Pygame was used to accelerate the rendering process. 
- A fluorescent putty-like substance promises to make lights that are more efficient than conventional fluorescent lights. 
- The Sanyo Xacti DMX-CA8 is a waterproof (up to 1.5m depth), SD flash video recorder, it gets reviewed here.
The Panasonic HDC-SD9 HD is a SDHC flash card hidef camcorder with a 3 CCD sensor. The individual sensors each have an effective resolution of only 520,000 pixels which seems way to small for a camera that is supposed to record at 1920x1080 (which is 2M pixel) so either the review is wrong, or there is some serious extrapolation going on (effectively they are doing a 2x digital zoom to go from 520K to 2M: since each sensor will record one RGB colour channel you put the three sensors together to get the equivalent of a single 520K pixel RGB sensor to start with and then you need to expand that 4 times which is twice in width and twice in height - hence a 2x digital zoom) and this is really not much better than S-video. 
- Rumors are circulating that the next step in the ASUS Eee dance will be taken in June'08 with the introduction of an Intel Atom-based Eee. This would improve performance while also increasing battery life, both of which are weak spots for the current 7 and 9 inch Eees. 
- Birds may be exploiting the quantum Zeno effect in their magnetic navigation sense. If this is true, then a new way of controlling certain chemical reactions might just have been invented. 
- ACER NT-150 Set
Freeciv is a
game, released under the GNU General Public License
another way to run your Amiga on a PC
Using stem cells to build a working thymus
How about a remote control
mixed in with an MP3 player? 
harnesses the power of the web to digitize books. After about a year this gets discussed again, and they have made some significant progress in digitizing old texts with this.
a spam filter written in Perl for Qmail. This is an
of this algorithm
was cited in this Slashdot
article. Here's another
implementation of this idea. And another follow
up on this on Slashdot. And now is has been added to Mozilla's
- The ASUS Eee PC 900 gets dissected.
ASUS has revealed there will be an Intel Atom processor version of the Eee PC that will launch in the summer of 2008 (it is expected this will improve battery life) and that there will be a 10-inch screen size later this year. 
- In early 2008 Microsoft began publishing information about its various protocols, as well it started to identify what features are patented. Centrify has done some investigation of this data to come up with a preliminary map of what patents apply to what protocols and finds that about 80% of the protocols have no patent coverage. There is some more analysis of this here and further discussion here on Slashdot. 
- Researchers at UMass Amherst have developed a process that uses catalysts to convert cellulose into a hydrocarbon liquid similar to gasoline. Their initial tests run at about a 50% yield. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- An SATA adapter from Century that will convert up to 3 CompactFlash cards into an SSD hard drive. A nice idea, but at $192 without any CF cards it seems a bit expensive - though using this may still be less expensive than buying an off the shelf SSD drive. A video review of this is here. This adapter will do RAID 0 or 1 when two flash cards are installed and will do RAID 5 if three are installed. 
- The Akoya Mini from Medion is another potential competitor to the ASUS Eee 900. 
- Will Microsoft wake up smarter and extend the retail lifetime of Windows XP beyond 30-June-2008? Dell has announced they will provide copies of XP Pro past the cut off date, this is being done under the Windows Vista for Business downgrade license program, so you need to buy a Dell machine with a Vista for Business license and they will supply an install image CD for XP Pro (in case you want to downgrade to XP) or on some models Dell will even pre-install the downgrade at the factory. Microsoft says that XP will still stop selling in June. There are some on-line petitions to save XP and there has been an attempt to demonstrate that people still want XP by calling in to Microsoft's support lines en-masse. More on Dell's XP Pro downgrade offering, looks like it will only be available on a few of their machines, and it may cost you $50. Microsoft said in late June that there would be no reprieve for XP, but that local OEMs may still continue to buy XP through to 31-Jan-2009, they also say that support for XP will last until 2014. This article claims that Microsoft's software license allows customers who purchase a copy of Windows to install and run a previous version of the OS at no additional cost, I wonder what really happens when you enter a Vista license key into an XP install... 
- Non-Transitive Dice also known as Efron's dice makes a rather rigged game. 
- Slashdot discusses the FTC's Red Flag program requires businesses that handle private consumer data to check its customers and suppliers against databases of known online criminals. Looks like someone has figured out a way to build a distributed big brother network in the USA. 
- The Uno Electric Unicycle, I can't wait to see these in a modern movie about urban jousting. 
- An electric bicycle where the motors and maybe the batteries are built into the wheel hubs. At $3500 quite pricey, but it makes for a very clean looking bike, maybe a few competitors will enter the field and drive the prices down a bit. 
- Experiments are being made (discussed here on Slashdot) with adding good old kaolin clay (think kaopectate) to bandage gauze to greatly increase the speed of blood clotting. 
- Memory Express is a great place (in Calgary and a few other cities in Western Canada) to shop for computer parts and toys for geeks.
- The Triac, a three-wheeled electric car that is claimed to be highway-capable may appear soon. Though it would probably be more at home on the streets of Rome. Some more information about this is here. 
- One Californian has built his own electric car, he converted a eight seat bicycle to be driven by an electric motor and fitted three solar panels to the roof. 
- Slashdot discusses an article about how after market inkjet inks hold up with time. Turns out some fade a lot in only a year. There also seems to be some dependence on the type of paper that is used. My only experience with using third party inks was in an Epson printer, I tried them once and found the colours to be quite poor so returned to Epson inks. These days I use a Canon i9900 printer and am quite pleased with the quality of output and so far have noticed no problems with fading of prints over about a 2 year period (though I do not hang any where they would be exposed to direct sunlight). 
- The i-station UDC from Digital Cube is another Korea-only cross between an electronic dictionary and a PMP, but this one gets pretty close to a webpad, including a 4.3 inch display and 30GB drive.
The Aris Kira 740 is another ASUS Eee clone, this one has a bit bigger case. 
- Another blow against the RIAA. 
- EverNote is thought tracking and organization software with both a desktop and a web component to allow you to get at your "extra brain" from anywhere. Here is a review of it. It has a rather neat feature of being able to scan your photographs for included text and then being able to search on this text. 
- Fixing a dead USB Flash Drive, in this case the drive stopped functioning because some of the memory chip's pins had come unsoldered. Initially the author did not realize this was the problem and had just opened up the drive to see what it looked like. After it had been poked and prodded by various people it became obvious that one side of the memory chip was not soldered in place any more. Then the author actually soldered it back on and found the drive to be working again and the data to be intact. 
- The MV-2500U HD multimedia drive from Mvix lets you turn a 2.5 inch hard drive and TV set/monitor into a media player. 
- The WALL-E robot toy looks pretty neat, I wonder how many home robotics projects will start with one of these? Perhaps it can be taught to weed the garden? A short video clip that demonstrates a lot of what it can do is here, unless you want to have a few of these around the house, best to not let your kids see this movie!
A mini wireless video camera that can be easily added to your toys (or pets) to get a different perspective on life. 
- pixie dust derived from the lining of a pig's bladder helped to regrow a finger tip. This may be a hoax, or strange luck but it's certainly the direction most people want this stuff to go. A talk about why we can't grow new body parts. 
- A mobile DJ MP3 mixing station, lots of buttons, knobs and sliders, looks like great fun. And only $99.  
- A power bar with built in power consumption monitoring. 
- Fresnel lens-based concentrating solar cell modules may become commercially available at a cost of about $0.07/kWh. Other researchers are pursuing a system that uses some of the core components of biological photosynthesis, and potentially could be much cheaper to produce. 
- Microsoft is abandoning its "plays for sure" customers, this article points out that if Microsoft cannot afford to keep the DRM servers going then who could? Microsoft has extended the demise of its DRM servers for MSN Music, until 2011. 
- The ultimate multi-monitor setup, a 3 high by 10 wide display system. 
- The STARAY S from Radion is a 2.5 inch, USB drive enclosure with integrated security (and a keypad to allow entry of the pass code). Like a lot of these products the details on the actual cryptographic methods used are missing (they just say "proprietary 64-bit" which is usually a bad sign), so probably best avoided until more is known. This is now available.  
- DViCO's PCIe FusionHGTV7 is a dual HDTV tuner card with support for regular video too, priced at $140. 
- The data on a 400GB Seagate drive survived the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, this goes to how how tough it is to erase a modern drive. 
- EVGA is introducing two new USB graphics adapters at an under $100 price.  
- Google is starting to fight to make sure Verizon does not violate the open-access stipulation on the 700MHz band. Verizon says they are going to be good.  
- From the when pigs fly department: the MARS floating wind turbine (which floats about a thousand feet above the ground) has got off the ground in an early test. These things are going to be big, but its hard to see how something that must be constructed with very lightweight materials is going to produce so much power or be durable enough. 
- Super Talent is adding a few new SSD drives, in the 2.5 inch laptop drive form factor, for as low as $299 for a 30GB drive (which is finally a bit less than CompactFlash cards on a $/GB basis). 
- The ASUS Eee 900 is now available for pre-order in the US with delivery set to start on May 12. Apparently Costco will be carrying it. 
- The Yinlips Micro PC YDP-G77 is another Eee competitor. 
- Switched On talks about the opportunity Linux has due to the growing market for low cost ultra-portable laptops started by the ASUS Eee.  
- The Poulsen Hybrid car conversion kit (discussed here on Engadget) could be a smart way to make the commute more efficient. It would be interesting to see how well one of these does when attached to a diesel powered Smart car. 
- MSI's Titan 700 mini-PC is a mini-ITX based PC that uses a 2GHz VIA processor and has a 2.5 inch hard drive and DVD burner for $458. It looks like it has VGA, DVI and TV outputs; if so, this might make for a good media player computer, though it probably would not be up to full HiDef decoding. 
- More pricing information on the HP 2133 Windows XP configurations. 
- A home ethanol fuel brewing station. 
- Google, Sprint, Intel, Comcast, Clearwire and Time Warner have formed a consortium to compete against Verizon and AT&T in the wireless internet market. 
- Get a view from the cockpit of your remote controlled plane or helicopter.  
- Oolite is a implementation of the old Elite space game for Mac OS X, Windows XP and Linux. 
Numerical Recipes in C++, byt Bernt Arne Odegaard. Bits of this
have been implemented in Python in the pyFinancials package, announced here.
How a sneaky bill cost investors billions, the US starts to
online gambling (of course market theorists would argue that the
markets should already have priced this into the affected stocks...)
International Currency Index, this artical confirms something I
have suspected since the 1980's, that the British Pound is way over
valued. In my trips to England from Canada I have always observed
that when in Britain I "spend pounds just like I spend dollars back in
Canada", so a person living in Britain must earn far more dollars to
have the same standard of living as a Canadian (or American). When
relatives from Britain have come to visit they have the reverse
impression, they are always amazed at how far their pounds go when
spent in Canada. The classic example of this (though largely a tax
artifact) is that the price of gasoline in the UK (in pounds) is the
same as in Canada (in dollars) - and this has held true since about
- Another product based on nano-tech aimed at rapid blood clotting. Now all they need to do is package it in an aerosol spray for rapid application. 
- Lumeta's stick-on solar panel system is aimed at speeding the installation process. 
- The StorX PX-NAS500L and PX-NAS1000L NAS drives from Plextor have lots of LED status lights. 
- Caching RSS Feeds with feedcachetalks about using the feedcache package to better aggregate data from a number of RSS feeds in Python.  
- 3K Computer's RazorBook was the Longitude 400, it is supposed to compete in the 7-inch Eee market segment, but currently appears to have a slower CPU and less RAM than its competition at the same price. Well maybe that will give it better battery life? A brief initial look is here, thee unit currently is pretty limited in expansion, just 3 USB ports and no VGA or DVI ports (and no WiFi on the review unit, though there might be on the final units). 
- The ASUS Eee Box B202 is another small form factor PC from ASUS. Here are some photos of it. An early pre-production version gets reviewed here and discussed here on Engadget, it appears that the 1.6GHz Atom cpu does not have enough power to do more than 720P so you are not going to be using this as a HD media display device. This is supposed to be available in July'08 for a price of $299 with 1GB RAM, 80GB hard drive and Windows XP (probably Home). A review of it can be found here. Another review here clearly shows it running 720P video but not being up to the task of 1080P. 
- A small wind turbine that combines multiple blades on a single shaft to achieve much greater power output. 
- Hotsync 6.0.1 when running under Windows Vista may one day fail to finish transferring your calendar data. When this happened to me I did some searching and found that a common cause of this was that either one of the databases had become corrupt or that there were a large number of deleted items on the Palm (and as these get deleted once the hotsync is done, so the problem never clears up).
There is a tool called DbFixIt you can install and run on your Palm to check to see if you have any database errors. This will also report the number of deleted records in each database. The registered version of this tool will also fix common database errors. By the time you need this you might be in a Catch-22 position where you cannot hotsync but you need to hotsync to install the tool. So to install the tool you will need to configure your hotsync manager (on your computer) and tell it not to synchronize the applications that are causing it to hang (the calendar in my case). When I ran the tool it told me that all the databases were fine and there were no records to delete. Later I tried hot syncing on a Windows XP machine, and much to my amazement the hotsync finished, but it did report an error:
Some handheld records were not copied to your PC. Your computer may be full or you may have reached the maximum allowed records on the desktop. To correct this situation, delete some records and perform a HotSync operation again.
So my problem was that I had exceeded some fixed maximum number of records in the calendar. To test this theory I deleted a few records from the Palm's calendar and synced again, this time without incident. I then synced on the Windows Vista machine, and again, the sync ran without any issue.
Desktop = 6378, Handheld = 6375
So now the question is: is 6375 the maximum number of calendar records, and can this be changed? 
- The EPIA PX5000EG is a fan-less Pico-ITX board. 
- The Triac from Green Vehicles will launch in July - finally an affordable electric car. 
- The Astak Mentor e-book reader series has a 5-inch model that will sell for under $200. Will that be enough to wake up the sleeping e-book market? 
- The Movie Cowboy is a 2.5 inch drive enclosure and media player docking station with video (HDMI, component and composite) outputs. This can do up to 1080i resolution. 
- A patent troll has won a judgment from Nintendo. 
- The ASUS Eee 901 will be based on the Atom processor, some initial pictures here. This is going to be available 3-June-08 for $650 and will include built-in Bluetooth. For me the Bluetooth is not an essential, but there are some nice wireless headphones that use it, so if it supports the advanced audio distribution profile (A2DP) it would be a nice feature. ASUS released some pricing and specification of these in June'08 along with the 1000 series, look for the 901 to be $550 and the 1000 to be $650. The official pricing for this is now US$599 (a bunch of reviews are here too), though I would expect this to drop quickly as soon as the competing MSI Wind and ACER Aspire One reach the market as these are claiming $499 and $399 prices which makes ASUS's price hard to justify. 
- The ASUS Eee has some subtle differences in the keyboards between the white and black models - the black keyboards are reported to have more travel. 
- The OLPC will be getting a Windows XP version. 
- Chicago's big brother CCTV network is getting software from IBM that will allow the computers to monitor the cameras for specific activities or objects (like unattended back packs). 
- The G2 portable fuel cell power source from Angstrom power, still made from unobtainium - maybe available in 2010. This sort of thing would be handy for running electronic gizmos on long trips.  
- Robotic brain surgery with the NeuroArm is a success in Calgary. 
- An excellent alligator skin Xbox 360 case mod. A bit like the Monster book of Monsters in the Harry Potter movies. I wonder if there are teeth in the drive tray? 
- Intel has added an Atom chip to the D945GCLF mini-ITX motherboard, this should improve the CPU performance of the board, perhaps to the point it can play hidef video? It is available here and gets mentioned here along with some other boards (the DG45FC) that might support DVI and HDMI outputs and also here. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- The Arduino Nano is a small 16MHz embedded micro controller, for when you need some brains in a project. Getting Started with Arduino by Massimo Banzi ISBN: 9780596155513, is a short book on the Arduino platform. An open source BlackBerry built out of various Arduino parts, including wireless connection via XBee. 
- The Linux based OS replacement for the Palm might be available in Summer 2009. 
- Mike's Flying Bike, a project to turn bicycle into simulated airplane control system to control the Google Earth flight simulator. 
- Oilman T. Boone Pickens has seen the way the wind is blowing and is starting to invest in wind power generation. More information and discussion about this and Picken's push to get a wind power generating corridor built that would provide about 20% of the USA's electric needs. This project ran into a snag in July'09, after placing an order for $2 billion worth of wind turbines they came to realize that getting the power to the grid was going to be too difficult, so are now looking for other places to place the wind turbines when they arrive. So if you want a 400 foot tower in your back yard, give him a call! 
- A simple function to create image colour gradients in PNG files. Another solution to this problem using PyGame that can generate more complex gradients. 
- Green Plug is an attempt to create a universal charging standard for electronic devices. They have signed up Westinghouse as the first potential producer of products using this. Slashdot's coverage of this has a good discussion of the limitations of doing this sort of thing using USB (including that USB devices must negotiate for more than 100mA to a maximum of 500mA). After a year this universal power adapter initiative is struggling for support. 
- Intel's Atom processor may not be offering a big performance boost to the low-power market. 
- The gdium EM-PC mini-laptop from Emtec is set to compete with the ASUS Eee 900, but with a price closer to $400. 
- The Alpha 400 from Bestlink is targeting the low end of the mini-laptop market segment with a price of $250. But to meet that price you must drop the CPU to a 400MHz unit, drop the RAM to only 128MB and the flash RAM to 1 or 2GB and add on WiFi support externally, so it really does not seem such a good deal when compared to the ASUS Eee 2G Surf model which sells for $299 and has 512MB ram, a faster processor, 2G of flash and built in WiFi. Engadget's Switched On column takes a look at this unit. The main problem seems to be that the 400MHz processor is just too slow. 
- A US District Court has found that the first sale doctrine applies to software. So now there should be a way to buy old Windows licenses to fill in the gaps when Microsoft stops selling new copies. Another court has found that the doctrine of first sale applies in the case of promotional CDs, which might also mean this can be extended to promotional and review copies of text books. 
- The EVOLUX LED light bulb from EarthLED is an LED based light designed to provide the same light output as a 100W incandescent bulb, but only requiring 13W. It's expensive and appears rather large, but it might still be a good choice for some applications. Discussed here on Engadget. 
- The Inventec V10 is a 10 inch display laptop that claims to be about $230 in China. 
- Talk of a successful cold fusion experiment by Yoshiaki Arata in Japan. A bit more here on Engadget. The source article includes some comments, one of which links back to this video (which though sensationalist, might be worth a watch). 
- Life in the fast lane, the Wrightspeed SR-71 electric car. 
- The ASUS Eee 900 is being delivered with the lower capacity 4400mAh battery in the UK. This may also be the case in Canada. A UK review of the Eee 900 mentions this. Now ASUS is offering an upgrade to the larger battery in the UK for £10 and also a BIOS update that should add some run time to the current systems. 
- The CS1T and CR2T adapters from Sans Digital turn CF cards into 2.5 inch hard drives and can do RAID 1.  
- A solar powered speed boat. 
- Via has issued a new reference design for mini-notebooks called the OpenBook, this design looks very similar to the Eee machines and replaces Via's previous NanoBook design attempt (which the Eee's crushed). Engadget has a hands-on here. Sony may be making one of these. 
- More internal details of the MSI Wind laptops and desktops. Apparently the Atom chipset will be enough to do 720P video but not 1080P - it was using 50% CPU to push out 720P. One nice thing about the Wind desktop board is that it is cooled by a passive heatsink - no more CPU/Chipset fan noise (though there may still need to be a case fan)!  
- A Singapore company tries to patent the web (and succeeds), specifically they have patented the idea of a search engine that returns images of or from the target sites. Which is pretty much the idea of Google's image search function. So the legal battle is likely to be short lived and amusing. 
- ASUS is gearing up for war against its challengers like MSI's Wind. Now it looks like the ASUS 10 inch laptop (Eee PC 1001) could become real. While ASUS will be launching this at Computex in early June, it sounds like they do not plan to ship it until Nov-08, which means that MSI's Wind will have that section of the market to itself for a long time. 
- A very small Bluetooth keyboard from I-O Data. Too bad it does not have a built-in mouse substitute (such as a touch pad) because if it did it might make a good PVR input device. 
- The Corkboard Mac, a Mac laptop that suffered case damage, so got dissected and reassembled on a cork board. If used as something like a digital photo frame this would classify as a product hack, but if the components and wires were arranged with a bit more thought this could be viewed as art. One wonders how much RF interference something like this causes.  
- Dell is entering the mini-notebook market with their mini-Inspiron competition is sure to get fierce now. It also makes an appearance here. Some more details about this laptop are here, sounds like it will be shipping in time for school to start in the fall of 2008. Engadget has a bunch of info on this, including that Dell intends to price the entry level version (which has an 8.9 inch display) at only $299 - this should put a stop to the price increases that ASUS has been pushing and should require that the Eee 700's price be lowered substantially (or else just dropped from the market). In early 2009 the Mini-9 price dropped as low as $249. 
- From time to time you hear of disputes over trademarks, but T-Mobile's claim to exclusive use of the colour magenta is particularly bad. Luckily this dispute has been settled in court and the judge found it to be unfounded and T-Mobile ended up paying all costs. 
- From time to time you hear of disputes over trademarks, but T-Mobile's claim to exclusive use of the colour magenta is particularly bad. Luckily this dispute has been settled in court and the judge found it to be unfounded and T-Mobile ended up paying all costs. 
- AnandTech looks at building a home theatre PC in 2008. One goal for this is to be controlled via a web browser from some other wireless device (like an iPhone). 
- MediaDefender has been caught launching a prologued denial of service attack against Revision3 who are a legitimate user of BitTorrent; in addition, they appear to have admitted that they have been using Revision3's servers for their own purposes for months prior to this without any authorization. 
- Using an Ikea Helmer filing cabinet as a massive computer case. 
- ystockquote.py is a module for gathering stock quotes from Yahoo, example is here. 
- The Gigabyte M912 could add some new features to the low cost mini-laptop market with its twist and flip touch sensitive display. Here's a hands-on from Engadget, this also looks at the 7-inch M724 version (which is supposed to be only available to the education market). The M912 is expected to cost $656 while the M724 is to be $556 - which is probably a factor of 3 less than anything else that's ever had "tablet" in its name. In July'08 this got unboxed, so its shipping somewhere. It gets reviewed here and is priced at $699. 
- The UFOTO UF735 digiframe from ASUS may also act and a secondary display when connected to a computer. Now if someone would just wise up and add a photo display hardware module into a series of regular LCD computer monitors we could have nice large photo frames for only a little more than a standard LCD monitor. 
- The Green Machine from ElectraTherm converts waste heat (for example 200F water) into electricity. With a current minimum size of 30KW its a lot larger than a typical home could use, but if they were to produce a smaller module in the 1-5KW range then it is conceivable that one could use conventional solar hot water collector panels to supply the "waste" heat and maybe this would be less expensive than a photo-voltaic solar system. They are claiming a 30KW output from 200F liquid at an input flow rate of 100 gallons per minute, so a smaller module (say 3KW) might have a 10 gpm flow rate which sounds plausible. 
- Hitachi Maxell is working on a nano-tech lithium ion battery that might be able to store 20 times the energy of current Li-ion cells. 
- Starbucks and AT&T are collaborating to bring free WiFi to the coffee drinking hordes (up to 2 hours per day) in exchange for some email spam. 
- Microsoft has become more official about their new program to extend the life of XP for low-power machines (and prevent Linux from owning that marketplace). 
- AMD has entered the mini-notebook arena, their design saves space by not using a trackpad, rather some sort of optical touch sensor is used. This announced the mini-ITX 2.0 platform, this increases the specification to the point where HiDef home theatre PCs could be built with mini-ITX components. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- 100K cell phone users were secretly tracked (for academic purposes) in space and time by their cell phones. 
- Deep Packet Inspection and Injection is going to become a contentious issue on the web, one that legislators are probably going to have to face soon. I suspect that at least in those countries that have the common carrier liability exemptions this problem may not develop very far, because for a carrier to start inspecting the contents of packets passing through its networks in order to slip in advertisements that earn it some money, it would be demonstrating that it is capable of reviewing the contents of the data and thus could be liable for the transmission of illegal or copyright controlled data. This common carrier exemption greatly simplifies (and reduces the operating costs) of these companies so it is a status they will seek to maintain at practically any cost. 
- Slashdot discusses How to turn a PlayStation 3 into a Linux PC. 
- The Flip Video Mino is a very small camcorder designed for those who want to be able to carry something in a pocket all the time. As it only has a 2x digital zoom it will be pretty limited, so maybe a compact digicam that has a video mode would be better? Creative's Vado is competition for this. 
- The Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments from MAKE Magazine (ISBN: 978-0596514921, discussed here on Slashdot. 
- Big brother wants to see your underwear, the millimeter wave full body scanner system went live in June'08. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- A wireless input pen from SMK that communicates with Bluetooth and does not need special paper. 
- The US Supreme Court has finally ruled against patent royalty double dipping. Further discussion of this is on Slashdot. 
- While the video quality probably won't match a Canon the Aiptek HDV21X is breaking ground by bringing 1080p HD video to Wal-Mart for $199. 
- Engadget gets to play with the Samsung SC-HMX20C full 1080p flash camcorder. Engadget HD has a short review and sample clips here. 
- The ethanol-induced changes in agriculture are likely to be with us for some time, Cringely writes (discussed here on Slashdot) about a a new engine fuel called SwiftFuel that is made from ethanol and is currently intended for light aircraft use, but could be readily used in automobiles. This fuel has a slightly higher octane that regular gasoline and does not exhibit the seal corrosion problems that regular ethanol blended gasolines can do. 
- The Grab'n GO media streamer from Conceptronic is a media player device with support for 1080p HDMI and component video output. Looks like this might be about 200 euros. 
- pyGAPI is an API to Google Analytics to handle authentication and automatic download and parsing of any Google Analytics data and reports.  
- The digitalFAQ.com site has a number of guides to digital video, I used this one to convert VCD to DVD. In my case I was able to take a simpler approach, all the necessary data was in the first track, so I just used the Windows File Explorer to copy the *.DAT files from the CD's MPEGAV directory to my hard disk. Then I renamed them to *.MPG and verified that they really were MPEG-1 video files. Then made a regular DVD out of them using Nero 8 to build a simple DVD table of contents, transcode the MPEG-1 files and finally burn them to a DVD. I did this so I could play an old VCD in a current DVD player as the only device I have left that can play VCDs is an old Commodore CD32 game console.  
- The RF4CE consortium is attempting to develop an RF standard for entertainment center controls based on IEEE 802.15.4.  
- Hunting memory leaks in Python talks about tracking down a memory leak caused by unintended global references keeping things alive (this sort of issue is really easy to hit in Java). This article uses the Graphviz utility to make a graph of all the objects currently being tracked by the Python garbage collector and then visual inspection can be used to find unexpected references that are causing problems. The author follows this up with another article that talks about how he used the gc and inspect modules to obtain the information from the garbage collector - a rather helpful discussion of this rather esoteric topic. Further discussion of object graphs using graphviz. Another problem is finding leaks in extension modules called from Python, for this something like Valgrind can be used. 
- Pure Electric Vehicles is trying to build an electric car for $10K, looks rather like it's carved out of a block of styrofoam. 
- The Korg nanoSeries are a few small, USB-attached and powered, input and control devices for working with music on a laptop. Really cute and if reasonably priced are bound to be very popular. Would go great with an ASUS Eee... The UK prices for these are in the £49 to £59 range, which probably means US$99 and they are expected in Oct'08. I wonder if you can add multiple keyboards to the same PC so that you can build the organ of your dreams? A preview of these appeared in late Sept'08.  
- An old virus (Gpcode) that encrypts your files for a ransom has been updated in mid'08, its use of crypto has been fixed and the only defense against this is a good backup system (possibly coupled with some tests to see if an unusual number of tiles have had their contents change). 
- An inclined floor cushion for using your lap top while lying on your belly, a much better idea than Engadget thinks. 
- zoomii books takes a Google Maps approach to navigating an online book store. The days of wandering little twisting passages decorated with merchandise and populated by monsters may not be far away... 
- The ZvBox from ZeeVee takes an alternative approach to the problem of streaming media from your PC to you HD TV for viewing. This box connects to your VGA port (with a pass through so your monitor still works) and it then makes a HiDef RF signal which can be sent through regular cable coax to your TV(s) for viewing. At $499 it sounds rather expensive for what it's doing, but who nows what the market will think? Engadget HD gets their hands on one. 
- The Eee 901 gets dismantled, in case you're curious. 
- The Panasonic HDC-SD100 and HDC-HS100 are HiDef camcorders which use a three CMOS sensor design to achieve greater low-light sensitivity and reduced noise levels. The SD100 unit records to SDHC flash cards, while the HS100 unit has a 60GB hard drive built in. The HDC-SD100 gets a review here. 
- Engadget discusses a multi-function USB hard drive docking device, this one only supports 2.5 inch (IDE and SATA) hard drives, so it is more compact than the usual designs. It also includes a Compact Flash socket. 
- CherryPal has announced a very small computer that runs debian and only consumes 2 watts. Might be just the sort of thing to drive a PhotoFrame that also serves as a simple document/web portal. 
- Nanosolar is making progress to their goal of a $1/watt solar panel, they have their first cell printing press working. 
- RawSolar is a new start-up who are entering the concentrating solar collector market. 
- The AeroCam windmill from Broadstar Windsystem is claimed to hit the $1/watt price point for a 250kW system. These could be mounted along the roof ridge line of a house to provide power. I did some lab work in the early 1980's on a similar system, except it was mounted vertically. 
- Has Taser been lying about the safety of their Taser Guns? A Canadian news study of the Taser usage reports that the RCMP keeps, is showing about a third of their victims needed medical attention, while Taser's study claimed few trips to the hospital were needed. 
- The Chevy Volt climbs in price to $40K and has a 2010 expected release date. 
- Dell is going to be introducing a SFF PC with HDMI, DVI and S/PDIF output, which could make for a good media center PC. 
- The Onada VX777+ touch screen PMP has a TV ouput. 
- An almost fully enclosed electric motorcycle, it won't get you a date but it might keep the rain off. A recumbent seating design would look a lot neater. 
- The ASUS Eee PC 1000H gets torn down by TweakTown with discussion on Engadget here. It is also getting a $100 price drop to $549 only a week after becoming available in the US. 
- The Midify board adds a MIDI port to the Nintendo DS hand-held game machine.  
- Numpty Physics, a simple graphical physics game. 
- It appears that some prior are for doing gateway-based virus scanning has been found.
Typhoon Touch Technologies has some patents in the area of touch screens and are now embarking on a program to sue everyone in sight, should be interesting. 
- It appears that the MacBook Air SuperDrive can be hacked to allow it to work with anything by replacing its IDE to USB bridge. 
- An offshore wind park project for the state of Delaware. Though at a cost of $1.6G to supply 50000 homes, that's an average cost of $32K/home which seems rather high. Slashdot discusses this here. Note that the 50000 homes is actually what will be powered by one half of the wind park's output, so the price per home is about $16K, which is more reasonable. 
- Sharp will be providing the panels for two new Japanese solar power plants, claimed cost to be about $1.6/W which is very low. 
- The Spore Creature Creator program embeds the meta information about the creature (the DNA for it) inside the PNG image of the creature it saves. However this information is no included as a text record within the PNG, rather it appears to be saved (the article takes a look inside the PNG file using PIL) using steganography. Quite a neat idea, except if you modify the image you destroy the DNA embedded within (though that could be viewed as a feature).  
- The Image Fulgurator, projects graffiti onto other peoples photos as they take them. 
- A home electric motorcycle conversion project (discussed here on Engadget), achieving a 20 mile range off four lead acid batteries and a reasonable 45MPH top speed. With lithium cells this could probably get something in the 50+ miles range. 
- The ZAP Alias electric car is starting to be assembled - at least a prototype of it. 
- Unitek's SATA hard drive dock includes a flash card reader and USB hub functions too. It supports both 2.5 and 3.5 inch drives. But why no floppy disk reader? 
- Canada goes asteroid hunting: the NEOSSat is a mini satellite is being designed (total of 65kg) that will house a 6 inch telescope dedicated to searching out near Earth asteroids. 
- Rapamycin which is used to help prevent organ rejection has also been found to reverse some learning disorders and mild retardation in mice. 
- VW plans to get into the electric car game with a hybrid based on the Golf, this will feature an electric system as the primary drive with a gas or diesel backup power plant. They are targeting the first working road tests in 2010 but some time after that for production. 
- Schedules Direct is a non-profit organization that provides US and Canadian TV listings in XML form for about $20/year. They have a listing of DVR media player type packages that can use their schedule data. 
- The Federation of American Scientists have released a video game that is intended to teach immunology to high school students. 
- Another reason to stay away from GoDaddy, one of their Vice Presidents has been caught bidding against their customers in their own domain name auctions. 
- Mercedes-Benz is hoping to stop shipping petroleum fueled cards by about 2015. 
- The A-Pad (from Aware Electronics) is a tablet-convertible style mini notebook that is targeting the $300 price point. This is still on its way to release. 
- ASUS is planning to release at least three more Eee PC 900 series models. 
- Underground caverns can be used to store energy (perhaps generated when excess solar or wind power is available) for later use by pumping compressed air into them. A similar thing is done already to store excess natural gas production during the summer months for later sale in the winter. Another possibility would be to use the cavern and a surface reservoir as a high-head hydro-power facility, when excess power is available using it to pump water out of the cavern to the surface, and then when power is needed allowing the water to flow back into the cavern - this could also be done between two levels in a cavern. 
- Hitachi expects to have a 5TB hard drive by 2010. Better start your downloading now... They have now achieved a recording density of 610Gb / sq. in. which is 2.5 times the current amount (mid-2008) so achieving their claim of 5TB seems pretty likely. 
- The Roku Netflix Player is starting to receive some attention, a portion of its code is available as open source. 
- A current review (July'08) has found that most SSDs are not saving power when compared to the mechanical drives they replace. Tom's has redone this review and are now finding that some SSD drives are going to save you power. The Tech Report has also done a similar power consumption review. 
- A number of large companies are pooling their patents through a new organization called Allied Security Trust to help prevent patent trolling. 
- Tube-based wave power generation, called the Anaconda. The Pelamis wave power generator sounds similar and is being tested in Portugal. 
- The Wind and Aspire get ripped apart. 
- The Acer Aspire X1200 is a small box that is suitable for home theater PC use. 
- The second generation Drobo box is now (July'08) appearing. It still needs an extra NAS hosting module to turn it into a proper NAS device. 
- The Aurora open source DJ mixer includes both audio and lighting controls. 
- The GejBox has been renamed the "Connected". This is a network media player unit. 
- Seagate announced the first 1.5TB hard drive in July'08 and expects them to be available in Aug'08. So will we see the first 2TB drives in 2008 or have to wait until 2009? 
- The AOC 2230Fm HD3 is a computer monitor with an integrated media player that could also function as a 22-inch digital photo frame. About time! About the only thing it could do with adding are a few video inputs (it has DVI-D and HDMI but no analog inputs) or a LAN port. Engadget has already spotted one flaw, the built in media player did not play back HD video they tried to test it with. Discussed here on Slashdot. It gets reviewed here.  
- Engadget discusses how to archive DVDs, with to many means ripping them to a large hard drive and compressing them to a more space efficient format (like H.264). 
- Kodak's new (Sept'08) Theatre HD Player is a disk-less media player with HDMI and component video outputs for playing media from your LAN, flash cards and USB devices. Looks pretty nice, but at $300 might be a bit pricey. It also might only do 720p and be more limited in the range of media file formats it supports. This gets reviewed here, the remote for it is very nice - perhaps better than the Wiimote. 
- Elonex has released a second mini-note, their One T netbook will be about $255 and has a 7-inch 800x480 display and a 400MHz processor. 
- BMW is planning to offer 490 electric Minis for sale in California, looks like they'll need a lottery. 
- MIT has developed a dye-augmented concentrating solar cell system, in it light hits a flat glass sheet that has been coated with a dye. The dye accepts part of the light and re-emits it sideways towards the edge of the glass. The solar cells are mounted along the edge of the glass to receive the re-emitted light, thus receiving a concentrated stream. Engadget has a picture of what this looks like. 
- The AccuNAS AN2L is a two-bay NAS from Sans Digital, it has media server and BitTorrent client capabilities too. 
- Fujitsu is going to get into the netbook game, this has taken them a long time, especially considering some of their other small laptops. 
- Tiffany has lost a case against eBay in which it was trying to prevent eBay from allowing the sale of anything that might be fake Tiffany. 
- Don't buy a mininote until later this summer, it looks like Dell is going to try for the $299 price point on its Dell E laptop. If they do this they will be forcing ASUS to slash their recent prices in half and will cause MSI to drop their Wind price by 25%. 
- Add stick on knobs to your LCD panel to give it controls with a "real" feel. 
- The Neo FreeRunner is a Linux-based smart phone from OpenMoko. As of Aug'08 it is now possible to run Debian's ARM port on this phone. More news on this. OpenMoko is also working on an Android-based handset. 
- The 2008 Solar Car Challenge is underway, it is a 2400 mile drive from Dallas to Calgary. 
- Shelby is going to try to build the world's fastest electric car. 
- Texas wants to blow away all other states in the development of wind power. Slashdot discusses the new green and windy outlook of Texas.
The Fresno-Yosemite airport is now about 40% solar powered. 
- Engadget readers discuss what is the best under $400 LCD monitor. 
- Someone has gone to the effort of getting Windows 3.1 to run on the Nokia N810. 
- The Photo Safe II from Digital Foci can download photos from flash cards to a hard drive in the field. The full press release is here. Of course with current flash prices being roughly $10/GB the typical consumer probably does not need this for still photography, but if you are shooting with a HiDef flash-based video camera this device might still be quite useful. 
- Slashdot discusses liquid metal based CPU heat sinks which will probably be the next fad in CPU cooling. Perhaps these are using alloys based on gallium, some of which melt near room temperature. Bismuth and indium can also be used in these low melting point alloys. 
- Another blow has been dealt against cold fusion. 
- There have been some reports of false matches in the typical DNA tests that the FBI uses, but the FBI does not want to open its databases to independent investigation. 
- The SC3 from Kohjinsha is a tablet convertible UMPC. 
- The CherryPal, a small PC based on a 400MHz processor and 256MB RAM. Slashdot discusses this very low power (2W consumption) device, apparently it is a minimized Linux to reduce local storage needs and will download additional applications and includes 50GB of storage on the Net. 
- A 37 year long experiment has solved the problem of toxic algae blooms. The cause of these is elevated phosphorus. The effect of nitrogen levels has also been investigated and found not to be a cause, so attempts to control nitrogen levels will not help. 
- Window panes with built in solar cells, reduce the sunlight entering the house while generating a few watts and emptying your pocket book. 
- LG wants MSI to build their X110 netbook, and wants to sell it in the $625-790 range. With prices like that LG better include a docking refrigerator. 
- The Twist Freedom DX from Giant is an electric bicycle with up to a 75 mile range (depending on sweat input). 
- The Mini Chocolate from Ripple is a small, low power computer based on the Atom processor. 
- Following Microsoft's lead the Yahoo! Music service will be closing for good in Sept'08, another DRM controlled music service that is about to leave its customers with junk bits instead of tunes. Discussed here on Engadget. It looks like Yahoo intends to compensate those who purchased songs through this system in some way. 
- Sandberg has a rather large wireless (2.4GHz radio) keyboard with integrated touch pad . They also make this rather odd looking PC Remote which is an infrared connected mouse. 
- The Amilo Mini from Fujitsu Siemens, is another mininote device, this is supposed to be in the $475 - $634 range. Engadget poked one in the flesh and found it to be too weakly built. Here are the specs on this unit. 
- Engadget asks its readers how they would change the MSI Wind. 
- If it ever ships at the promised price of $99 the JL1000 mini laptop from J-PRO (discussed here on Engadget) might actually prove to be a popular webpad device. There is some talk that Linux might be possible on it too. Heck, at that price it's competitive with many digital photo frames... This Slashdot article discusses some similar products. 
- Matsushita is aiming to sell a 40-inch OLED TV by 2011, perhaps the long wait for large screen OLEDs is almost over? 
- ASUS is planning up to 23 more versions of the Eee PC, possibly with two new form factors. 
- Dell's Studio Hybrid PCs are quite small desktop units. 
- Brando's SATA HDD Multimedia Dock adds a card reader and a media player (with composite and s-video outputs) to a SATA hard drive docking device. After a year Brando added an HDMI output to this dock.  
- Dutch researchers have used RFID pills to monitor the core body temperature of people on a long distance walk. 
- The Gamma and Error functions are being considered for addition to the Python 2.7 standard libraries.  
- A technique that uses microwaves to help form lithium iron for use in lithium batteries could result in reduced manufacturing costs. 
- Sylvania is rebranding a Cloudbook and targeting a price of $299 for an 8.9 inch (1024x600) screen driven by a 1.6GHz Atom processor. Here is a little more information on the G Netbook Meso 8.9-inch model. Here is another short review. It looks like Sylvania's g netbook MAGNI (which is a 10-inch model) will be a rebranded MSI Wind. 
- One attempt at building your own 9-cell super capacity battery pack for the MSI Wind. 
- An electric tricycle based on a recumbent bike design looks a bit like the return of the Reliant Robin. 
- Lenovo is entering the netbook market with their IdeaPad S10 which will have a 10-inch screen and are talking about a $399 starting price. CNet Taiwan gets their hands on one, just views of the exterior since the device would not boot. A 45 minute long hands-on session left this reviewer happy with the S10. There will also be a smaller version called the S9, priced around $370 (in Dec'08 this became available in the US for about $350). The S10 gets reviewed here. Another review of it is here. Another version of this is the IdeaPad S10-3t that converts into a tablet. 
- The infamous RIAA versus Jammie Thomas trial that resulted in a $222K award may be going into mistrial. In late Sept'08 a District Court Judge dismissed this verdict. So what's next in this saga? 
- In Aug'08 Olympus and Panasonic announced the Micro FourThirds lens system. The objective of this is to bring the larger 4/3rds sensor size and interchangeable lenses into a small (perhaps point and shoot sized) body by eliminating the optical view finder and mirror box. Since the sensor remains the same size existing 4/3rds lenses will be able to be used on these new cameras by an extension tube style adapter. This design will also result in a reduction in size of the lenses, since the rear optics can be much closer to the sensor. About a month later Samsung announced plans for a similar system called Samsung Hybrid based on the larger APS-C sized sensor. I wonder when Canon or Nikon will try the same thing, perhaps introducing a sensor that is smaller than APS-C (yet larger than the typical digicam sensor to reduce noise), this way they can introduce a new line of smaller lenses to sell to a new consumer group. This way your initial $200 digicam purchase gradually builds to $1000 as you buy a few lenses and, when you replace the camera in a few years, you stick with the same company because of the set of lenses you now own.
The Panasonic Lumix G1 (also here on PhotographyBLOG) will be the first of the micro 4/3rds cameras, it will have a flip out 3 inch display (it looks like it is fully articulated and can be turned face in to protect it, yeay! this was a feature I really loved on my Canon G1) with a 460K pixel resolution (which still might not be enough for manual focusing). It has a very high 1.44 million pixel resolution viewfinder (so that might be enough to do manual focusing on, but I found that the 900K pixel view finder on the Minolta A2 was not enough for this so I am expecting this will will not be enough, however Panasonic is using a different technology which effectively stacks the RGB pixels so it might be a much sharper display than the traditional pixel count implies.). It got HDMI output too, so you can inflict painful hours of slide shows on your friends and relatives. Digital Photography Review has a preview of it here.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 started shipping at the end of Oct'08 (actually a little ahead of schedule) and the first full review of a production model is here. 
- Pioneer has found that a 20 layer version of the Blu-ray disc (yielding 500GB) is feasible. They are targeting something in the 2010-2012 time frame to head off competition by holographic storage systems. 
- The Dutch are working on a kite power system, one test generated 10kW. 
- The Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link is a small media player that does HDMI, component and composite video output at up to 1080i. The press release makes it sound like it might not actually play HiDef media as it talks about achieving 720p and 1080i output through upscaling. 
- A new loop in the carbon cycle has been uncovered, turns out the deserts of the world have a significant role in reclaiming carbon from the atmosphere. Perhaps there is some catalytic system like the air purifying concrete or pollution-cutting asphalt taking place here? 
- The TASCAM GT-R1 is a nice little flash-memory portable audio recorder aimed at musicians. 
- Addonics Portable Dual Drive enclosure is a USB or eSATA attached drive housing that can hold up to two 2.5 inch drives and run them in either RAID-0 or RAID-1 modes. Given this is a portable setup the most likely cause for failures would presumably be physical damage (dropping it) which would probably put both drives at equal risk of failure, so perhaps this is really a gimmick? 
- Canon updates its HiDef camcorders, including the flash-based HF11 which also gets reviewed here. 
- A rather impressive black tower case built out of Lego (that's a lot of bricks). Now only if there were some standard Lego bricks that offered USB, FireWire, eSATA and 3.5mm audio jack connectors.  
- Fantastic Contraption, an online physics puzzle game. 
- A new refrigeration system based on polar polymers that change their state from disorganized to organized on the application of an electric field has been demonstrated. 
- A DIY SSD adapter that takes 6 SDHC cards and combines them into a 2.5 inch SATA drive. 
- The Harbor Wing AUSV is a catamaran sail boat that is propelled by a vertical wing that can be rotated to get the best wind power. They are also planning to make this use hydrofoils to increase the top speed. While this is being developed for autonomous or remote control missions the basics of the wing, hydrofoils and wing control should be applicable to make a rather nice pleasure craft. 
- NVIDIA has released some free PhysX and CUDA software for users of GeForce 8, 9 and 200 series graphics cards. This also includes some CUDA applications like a Folding@Home client and a trial version of the Badaboom video transcoder. There is a discussion of Badaboom here. When I tried this on a 5 minute MPEG2 clip of some recorded TV I found Badaboom taking 338 seconds while a StaxRip run took 240 seconds, this was on a Q6600 machine with a GeForce 8600 GT card, so not much use for me (except that it off loads the CPU during the encode). Perhaps they will speed things up by the time it is commercially released. MaximumPC takes a look at Badaboom and compares it to Handbrake. Tom's takes a look at five applications that use the CUDA engine to speed up processing. 
- The SLIMstage40 is a surround sound bar from soundmatters. 
- py-nnma provides non-negative matrix approximation functions.  
- NVIDIA's Quadro Plex D CUDA desktop systems bring supercomputer powers (up to 480 CUDA cores) into the $10K price range. 
- The nanoantenna is small enough to capture infrared radiation and turn it into electricity. 
- Looking a bit like Snap Circuits these littleBits are little circuit fragments that can be easily snapped together to prototype electronic circuits. 
- Multithreaded FIFO Gate is a module that allows a set of running tasks to be paused and resumed in a coordinated fashion. 
- A new theory about the formation of gas giants calls for them to spiral inwards through their solar systems (this explains why so many solar systems are being observed with gas giants in near-sun orbits). If this is correct, then solar systems like ours might be quite rare as the gas giants would naturally tend to sweep up any smaller planets as their orbits gradually shrink. 
- The A2B electric bike from Ultra Motor has the batteries built into the frame and looks like it has the motor in a wheel drum. It should have a 20 mile range. This is now available and Engadget took one for a spin. 
- Interactive ray tracing has been made possible (in Aug'08) by the assistance of NVIDIA's Quadro GPUs. So by about 2010 the sort of power needed to ray trace at 30fps at resolutions of up to 1920x1080 will be appearing in the high end gaming graphics cards. 
- A little balancing robot (micro-Segway) that you can build. 
- The Powabyte X-6 is an electric-assist commuter bike. 
- Palm OS 2 appears to have slipped again, this time to the first half of 2009. 
- MSI is making a small bare-bones desktop, this uses an Atom chip set and for $139 you get everything except the drives, RAM and OS. 
- FLARE is a fluorescent marking dye that can be tagged so that it is ingested by cancer cells, this causes the cancerous cells to glow allowing surgeons to see exactly what they need to remove. 
- The Fujutsu U2010 (also known as the U820) should be able to get 5 hours run time from its standard battery and 11 hours from its extended battery. 
- Viliv showed the S5 MID and S7 UMPC at the IDF, these are small form factor devices that would be nice as webpads if priced reasonably. There is something strange about the picture of the S7, the keyboard is missing the "P" key. The S7 got shown at CES'09 and it is compared to the new SONY VAIO P here (oh, and they have put the "P" key back on the keyboard). Viliv has added a larger version of the S5 called the X70. The S5 will be available for pre-order on May 8th at $599. It gets reviewed here apparently it has a video output jack that can provide VGA, component and S-Video and it can be used with Bluetooth mice and keyboards - might make a good replacement for my aging Palm PDA. The X70 device gets a short demonstration on video here. The X70 is going to be imported to the US for about $599. The X70EX is now (Sept'09) available at NewEgg, pricing starts at $599. Their S10 Blade is a netvertible (netbook that converts to a tablet) that should launch in Nov'09 starting at $570 which is pretty inexpensive for a tablet. This is now available through Best Buy and gets a review here, price is now around $889. Their N5 UMPC looks rather nice. 
- In Aug'08 Intel started showing the third generation of its Classmate PC. This can be used tablet-style and has a nice resistive touch screen system. An unofficial review of the prototype that Intel was showing at IDF in Aug'08 is here. This made an appearance at CES-09, here is a hands-on video. The CTL 2go Convertible is a version of this design, priced around $499. 
- Shuttle's X27 mini PC is a small Atom-powered desktop unit. This should be priced at $189. 
- Kodak may be bringing OLED technology to photoframes. In Sept'08 Kodak announced their first OLED picture frame, its going to be expensive at $999 and it's got a bit of an odd base. 
- The history of the glory days of Atari. 
- Certain forms of skin cancer could emit scents that could be detected by some form of sniffer. 
- Denis O'Brien has been making a profit at installing cell phones in the third world, usually competing against the government monopoly and in the process helping improve these societies by opening up the lines of communications. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- ZPower claims its Silver-Zinc batteries have 40% more capacity than lithium-ion. 
- The ASUS N10 is another 10 inch screen netbook, this looks like it is using a larger case so may have a better keyboard. ASUS is pricing this at $849, so it looks like they are trying to reverse the downwards trend on netbook pricing by raising prices... guess that will leave lots of room for Dell to introduce a 10" netbook. 
- The Tee PC from Albatron is a mini-tablet PC powered by a 400MHz ARM processor running WinCE 6.0 and hosting a 7-inch 800x480 touchscreen. 
- Engadget looks at 
- A new photoframe from picwing is based on Linux, this is at the public prototype stage. 
- Engadget asks the question: what is the best portable internet device? 
- gaeo is a simple web framework for the Google Appengine. 
- A long open security hole in the border gateway protocol (BGP) has been publicly revealed. This works by convincing a target router to reroute packets to the attacker so he can play man-in-the-middle and other eavesdropping games. 
- The Peek is a remote email device that does nothing but email and requires a $20/month T-Mobile service fee. This device has been recognized as being quite innovative, but can it survive with a $20/month service fee? Peek has been performing an experiment, they have been selling two versions of this, the "cheap" $44 (plus monthly fees) version and a $399 (lifetime subscription) version at Costco and have found the lifetime version was outselling the cheap version. This is rather like what Tivo found with the popularity of their lifetime subscriptions too. Now if only they could add some web browsing to the device they would really sell a lot. 
- The SiRF GPS chip which seems to be used in every modern GPS device has been found to be violating patents held by Broadcom. 
- In late Aug'08 more news about the Android phones started to appear, the Android Market application store and the winners of the Android Developer Challenge. 
- A home RFID reader from Nabaztag Violet. 
- Tiled is a tile map editor that can be used with various tiled map style games. It is free software written in Java. 
- Sometimes politics, health and market place special interests don't mix well. When Alberta had its mad cow scare (starting in May 2003)the government and majority players in the industry only wanted to tighten procedures somewhat and make sure the appropriate standards were being complied to. A minority voice in the industry argued that 100% of cows should be tested for BSE, regardless of the international or US criteria, and that doing so would help rebuild trust in the product. As the cost of doing this probably was less than $100 per animal it would not have raised prices of the beef greatly. This idea was ignored and it took something like 4 years to get Alberta beef fully shipping back into the US and during this time the industry suffered greatly. Now one American company is wanting to test 100% of their beef that is targeted at some particular markets (such as Japan) and their competitors are using the USDA to stop them from doing this - for fear that other consumers will start to demand the same standards. Beats me why they are worried, all they would have to do is to pass on the increased costs of testing to the consumers who would be willing to pay for the better meat (probably less than $0.50/pound, if the tests were $100/animal and you get 200 pounds of meat from one animal). Of course the conspiracy theory for this is that the producers know they have a problem with BSE and by inspecting 100% of the animals this will soon become obvious... 
- The MSI Wind U90 will be the the 8.9 inch display version of the MSI Wind. This is to ship in Europe around the beginning of Oct'08 for about 339 Euros. 
- The French have used lasers to burn out brain cell tumors on 6 patients - with apparent success in 5 of them. 
- The Toshiba Multi Tool contains two 3.5 inch LCDs, one of which can be configured as the keyboard. They have also show their SD Photo Editor which is a 5-inch display based unit designed to do on-the-go photo editing. Both are supposed to cost around $300. 
- Hi-Tec (who make some good light hiking shoes) have done a deal that gives them access to ion-mask water proofing technology that is supposed to be better than Gore-Tex. Let's just hopes its not as expensive. 
- The 2go nettop is a small form PC that uses the Atom processor and has a case that is large enough to hold an optical drive for $149 to $299. 
- This study of planetary formation concludes that our solar system is special and that formation of similar systems would be less likely than previously thought. Then again, maybe they got a sign wrong or typed a zero instead of a nine somewhere. 
- Perhaps monogamy could be genetic? 
- Commodore has shown some prototypes of new portable devices at IFA in Sept'08. Including two that are Pocket PC designs that include keypads, so might actually make for good, small, webpad devices. 
- The Sanyo Xacti E2 (and here on Engadget)is the second waterproof standard definition camcorder from Sanyo. This records to H.264 MPEG4 on SDHC cards, so can fit 8 hours on one 8G card.
The Sanyo Xacti 1010 will shoot 1920x1080 (30fps progressive) onto SDHC cards. It also has a 300fps slow motion mode. 
- Dell has let loose its Mini 9 (also discussed here on Slashdot), with pricing that start at $349 and climbs to about $499. Time for most of the recent netbooks to get repriced (though the Acer Aspire One and MSI Wind are pretty competitive with this). Engadget has a collection of early reviews of the Mini 9. The Dell service manual for the Mini-9 has been posted online, let the modding being. An unboxing of it here includes some good comparisons with other laptop and small devices to give you a feel of its size. Engadget asks its readers how they would change the Mini 9. The Mini 9 has been hacked to run Apple's OS X, so if you want a mini Mac notebook this might be a route to take. 
- A tale of how a robot tried to attack one blogging site. 
- The Sony VAIO CP1 seems rather pricy at $299 for a 7 inch photo frame, but it has some additional features (networking, music playing, RSS feeds) that may make it worth the extra cost. Engadget gets a look at one in the flesh. If only it had a web browser. 
- A rather odd looking ball-shaped wind turbine from Sweden. This article has a better view of the blade shape. 
- Engadget asks its readers how they would change the Acer Aspire One. 
- Baby steps with the Google App Engine talks about starting to deploy a web site under GAE. 
- E Ink makes it to the cover of Esquire magazine. One man opens up his Esquire to see how this was done and intends to hack this further. More information about this here. 
- Plastic Logic is finally getting ready to launch an e-book reader based on its flexible E Ink device. But don't hold your breath, this has just reached the "first half of 2009" stage. This has now slipped into 2010. 
- It looks like prions (much like any other disease organism) are capable of crossing the species barrier. 
- Perhaps Dell's recent entry into the netbook market has caused a drop in ASUS's Eee sales already, as by Sept. 8th ASUS had repriced two machines already, the Eee PC 901 dropped to $500 and for some reason the 6-cell Eee PC 1000H dropped to $449. I rather bet the original 7-inch devices will be hitting $199 for Christmas. 
- Samsung intends to enter the netbook market with an 8.9 inch model. There might also be a 10-inch model. The Samsung NC10 gets reviewed here and is showing a battery life in the range of 5 to 7 hours, which if confirmed would be the best of all the netbooks. 
- Tikitag is producing an RFID tag system for the home. Though they don't seem to be small enough to implant in Barbie Dolls or Lego bricks. They should have a key-fob tag so that you could at least sweep your house for missing keys. 
- Could the NSA be gathering real time location information on millions of Americans through cell phone usage? It rather sounds like this is already being done elsewhere. 
- Plastic Logic is building an e-book reader based on a plastic display system. They have selected an 8.5x11 screen size to match standard North American paper and appear to be targeting business users (which probably means their device will initially be quite expensive). Still, it looks quite nice. 
- The LP 2 FLASH from ION is a LP turntable that records music from vinyl directly to flash cards. 
- In Sept'08 Buffalo introduced the FTD-HD2232HSR/BK which appears to be the first 22-inch LCD monitor with a 1920x1200 resolution. Hopefully this will appear at a real price of under $300 soon. 
- One attack against a SCADA system has now been published. Some of the Slashdot discussion gives a hint of how frequently these systems may actually be connected to the Internet rather than being completely isolated as one might at first think.  
- Engadget asks: which digicam takes the best video, which is an interesting question since some of the flash-based camcorders are more expensive than most digicams and combining the two devices into one might be a good way to cut some clutter and weight when traveling. 
- The PicoLCD SideShow display adds a few lines of text to your computer. This only has Windows Vista and Linux drivers (no XP support), no why can't someone just configure one of these things to look like a small USB drive and then applications could just write "files" to it, which would be displayed and paged through by the user. Then each time you need the display to update, the application just updates the file. That way a user could even just drag and drop a file onto it for display. This idea would work really well for a device that can display photos. The Slashdot discussion of this includes links to other similar solutions and instructions for working with character based LCDs. A Python interface to this is here. 
- Now you can read your morning news paper and eat it afterwards, just burn the headlines onto scrumpy hot buttered toast. Beats a Talky Toaster any day. I really cannot see a USB port actually powering the toasting element. 
- The Toshiba NB105 adds another netbook to the crowd. This might actually be the NB100. 
The EasyPC E760 attempts to sell a 480x272 display plus keyboard running Windows CE for $89, if this is real, how much are they paying for the WinCE license?
The Joybook Lite U101 is a netbook from BenQ, this is a 10 inch unit and a 8.9 inch unit is also planed. Let the price avalanche begin! 
- cocos2d is a framework for building 2D games, demos and applications in Python. 
- Magnetic field refrigeration (here on Slashdot and here on Engadget) uses a fero-polymer that becomes ordered when a magnetic field is applied (thus releasing heat) and getting cooler, then when the field is released the polymer can pick up more heat from its surroundings, cooling them. The same sort of thing should be possible with polar molecules that align in an electric field, like those found in LCDs. 
- Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) is a new attempt at creating a copy protection system that would allow a purchaser of DECE protected media to use the media on any equipment that he owns, or remotely via a browser. Engadget has more information here. 
- HotHardware reviews four of the current (Sept'08) SSD hard drives from OCZ, Super Talent and Mtron. With prices now reaching $200 for a 64GB unit (for the lower performance drives) these are becoming more relevant to the regular consumer. 
- Some GPS navigation devices can be unlocked to reveal functions of the PDAs they are built on. 
- Casio is adding the EX-FH20 (also here on Engadget) to complement their EX-F1 high-speed camera. The new model will have a wider zoom range and reduced size and weight. 
- The df1000 and df300a1 are a pair of new photo frames from HP, the df1000 is a 10 inch unti and the df300a1 is an update to their 3.5 inch portable unit. 
- Android is getting closer to reality, in Sept'08 Google did a live demo of a real phone running Android. Video of it can be found here. 
- The Kaliho KU860 is a UMPC convertible between laptop and tablet formats, it will probably made available under other brand names. 
- The Ruby Cipher hard drive kit from Addonics seems to provide on-the-fly full disk encryption (AES 256 bit) through a hardware engine and stores the key in a removable keyfob. At last it looks like someone has done this correctly, now if only some independent security team would take a look to make sure the device is really encrypting the disk blocks properly and not just faking it with a simple XOR against some content in the keyfob... 
- Neuros is releasing a new version of their OSD device, this adds support for HD video encoding (including recording 720p from component inputs) and is built around a mini-ITX sized motherboard and enclosure. For the $250 price its actually pretty good value just for the case, power supply and motherboard alone. Note, this is not a general purpose motherboard, but does have a processor with 256MB or RAM and flash built in along with 100MHz LAN and hard disk interface so could well be used for other sorts of computer appliances. A good look at the inside of the device is here. The Neuros OSD 2.0 wiki has more information.   
- The Canon SX1 IS will offer a 20x zoom, 10M pixel sensor and the ability to shoot true 1080p video. 
- Using a Nintendo DS to control a Canon DSLR.  
- Ion Audio's SLIDES 2 PC is a small slide scanner. While at $100 its going to be no match for a Nikon scanner, it may prove to be better than the typical flat bed scanner with slide scanning capabilities. 
- In Use Mercurial, you Git! the argument is made that Git is too complex. A rebuttal to this argues that for the most part, if you stick to simple use cases the two systems are very similar and the added complexity only appears if you need to do something exotic in Git (which you might not be able to do in Mercurial at all). For me the biggest deciding factor in choosing Mercurial over Git was that Git really did not work well on Windows machines while Mercurial worked well on both Windows and Linux. Another, short, note on choosing between Git, Mercurial and SVN. Smashing Magazine has a fast overview article: 7 Open Source Version Control Systems Reviewed. 
- Using GAE to provide authentication to a desktop application. 
- From the evil ways to abuse the patent system department steps Apple, from a recent application it looks like they are trying to get a patent on an idea that is already used by a company they would like to see disappear. The strategy might be to get the bogus patent then get an injunction against the annoying competitor, effectively weakening or killing them off. It might even be possible to seek the injunction before the patent is actually granted (which might take a couple of years) thus attacking the target much earlier. Perhaps Apple should apply for a business methods patent on this process to protect themselves? 
- The Linux-based Porient H12 UMPC might make for a very small webpad. This uses a 4.8 inch, 800x480 display. 
- Added article on building an HTPC using a Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard and Antec NSK2480 case.
- Nagare is another Python web framework. The project homepage is here. 
- At 32 inches the Smartparts SP3200WF digiframe is about as big as photo frames get. 
- Brando has introduced a very small keyboard which with two changes would be great for a HTPC or PVR. It needs to be wireless (preferably using radio not infrared) and it needs to have a built in pointer control, such as a trackball, pointer stick or touch pad. They have now added another keyboard which includes a trackball and uses radio wireless. 
- The Tech Report asks Can a sub-$100 graphics card get the job done? They take a look at power consumption, temperature, cooling fan noise, game and Blu-ray video performance on a number of low-end Nvidia (like the 9600GT) and ATI cards (like the Radeon HD 4670) and find almost all of them will do the job. Further discussion on Slashdot here. 
- A rather nicely built rubber band gun, constructed from stainless steel, with built in light and laser sight. 
- SimpleTech will be shipping an external dual-drive with up to 3TB of storage in late 2008. 
- Is Google Maps actually blurring out any sensitive locations? I think there must be something super secret happening under cover of the Nakiska Ski Resort. 
- The SuperKid 4-port USB hub, Gumby hits the new world age.  
- Nero in partnership with TiVo has introduced TiVo PC, this is a TiVo remote, Hauppage card and TiVo DVR software in a box for use on a PC. The software is also available separately. EngadgetHD gets its hands on this and gives it a review. 
- In The Direct Attribute Configuration Pattern some of the ways that program configuration information is organized is discussed. 
- The Western Digital ShareSpace is a 4-bay NAS device available in 2TB and 4TB sizes. More about it here on Engadget with links to some reviews. 
- Panasonic's EZ Touch remote control puts the buttons on your TV screen. 
- In Oct'08 Corsair introduced the 64GB Flash Voyager USB drive for only $199. 
- A new internet-based denial of service attack may have been found. Slashdot discusses it here. After some thought it appears this form of attack probably isn't against a new weakness, rather it is a better way to launch a common type of denial of service attack allowing each client machine (i.e. attacking resource) to inflict more damage. 
- The HD-0310 is a 1080P digital photo viewer, made by PIE United. It has an HDMI output for connection to a TV and has card slots for regular flash media and a USB socket for thumb drives or portable hard drives and can display both photos and movies. Engadget notices it here.  
- The D-Link DNS-343 is a 4-bay gigabit NAS with capability to do RAID5. At $450 for a bare unit it may seem expensive but that compares well with the cost of building a small computer and installing a Linux RAID system on it. 
- Vehicle to grid (V2G) is an idea to allow the electric grid to use electric cars as a power source during peak demand times. Researchers at the University of Delaware are conducting V2G trials for The City of Newark. 
- Intel has modified an Eee PC to boot a new Linux variant in only 5 seconds. These changes will be going back into the general Linux pool, so expect to see this sort of capability start showing up in other netbooks. 
- CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide) is a thin-film solar technology being developed by a number of companies, such as Solyndra. This has some potentially large cost advantages over silicon-based solar cells. This photo on Engadget gives a better view of these devices, they really do look a lot like fluorescent tubes. 
- The Peugeot HY motion3 Compressor is a semi-enclosed, three-wheeled, scooter than can do 118MPG. 
- Super Talent is going to sell 16, 32 and 64GB SSD modules for mini PCIe netbooks such as the ASUS Eee PCs. At $53, $79 and $149 they are sure to get some use. 
- GE is getting into OLEDs as a replacement for conventional lighting technologies. They are planning to start commercial production in 2010. 
- The FCC appears to be reversing its position on wireless access via the White Space. Also here on Engadget. 
- The Cowon O2 looks like a rather nice PMP. This is now available in the US, now how about Canada? 
- Wireless networking security is now under attack by Nvidia GPUs. Elcomsoft has written a system that can use these cards to accelerate the cracking of WPA and WPA2 keys by a factor of 100. Discussed here on Slashdot and also mentioned here on Engadget. A new attack on WPA-TKIP has been announced that can lead to some compromise in security in as little as 15 minutes. Here is a more detailed discussion of the attack (with further discussion here on Slashdot), along with some useful background material on WEP, WPA and WPA2. 
- Personal Music Players are (again) being linked to hearing loss. 
- The MDI air car, this looks so odd it will never get approved for use on North American roads... The AIRPod gets closer to the roads, apparently this oddity has a 90 mile cruising range and can reach 50mph. 
- The Hahnemuhle Gallerie Wrap System is designed to make mounting prints in the gallery wrap style easier. 
- A 4.3 inch USB-powered monitor, but at $197 rather too pricey. 
- The Crammer from LeapFrog, puts electronic flash cards into your pocket. 
- The StorCenter ix2 NAS from Iomega will be available in 500GB and 1TB RAID-1 versions with gigabit LAN. 
- The FCC has now approved a free wireless band. Engadget has more on this change of position. 
- Dell is getting ready to push the netbook into laptop sized territory with their Mini 12. Still, a 12 inch screen in a laptop that only weighs 2.73 pounds is going to attract some interest. 
- MIMO is a 7-inch USB-interfaced monitor from Nanovision. These will be available in two versions, the $150 one will have touchscreen capabilities (which might make it quite useful for a programmable toolbar or function keyboard) and the $80 version will just be a plain display. At these prices they would be worth considering over a digital photo frame for your desk at work. This gets tested here as it is starting to make it to the USA. Engadget took a look at this and rather liked it. 
- The Alaris 30 Desktop 3D Printer would be a great way of creating small custom project cases, of course its probably super expensive as no price is mentioned and the supplies won't be cheap. But in another 5 years perhaps? These devices could be used to make small metal parts through the lost wax process, so they are potentially a game-changing device in the design to manufacturing world. 
- Elmo Live! gets stripped, now what creations can be based on him? 
- While not a portable webpad the Eee Top from ASUS is an all-in-one machine that has a touch screen display, so it might work well as an advanced photo frame or a PC for showing video or recipes in the kitchen. 
- One programmer's experience on writing and publishing a commercial iPhone game. He did this initially for Android and then converted to iPhone. 
- VIA is getting into the GPGPU game. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- The SQA-5H home server from Tranquil PC it a compact 5-drive bay NAS server with the ability to be extended to 10 bays. 
- People like numbers that go up starts by talking about an idea for a game without numbers and then talks about how numbers often motivate people (and some of the problems this causes). 
- Thinking of using a small PMP as a webpad? Here's a comparison of the Archos 5, iPhone 3G and the Nokia N810. It is possible that the slower load times for the Nokia 810 were due to it being run in "power saver mode", but the 810 does have the slowest processor of the three (400MHz versus 600MHz) so that's going to count against it too. 
- The Pandora could be a mini-webpad, this is offered as an alternative to the iKIT from IMOVO, which gets discussed here and here. 
- Ear buds shaped like angels and devils (just be careful with the horns), they also made a set shaped like pigs... 
- Denon's DP-200USB is a turntable that can rip vinyl to MP3 files which it can save to a USB attached drive. 
- The PlantBot walks your plants around the room in search of sun and fun. 
- A simple solar powered electric car, that claims to be able to drive up to 150km on a 30 hour charge. 
- Slashdot discusses open source hardware, in particular the Arduino controller project (which was featured in this Wired article). 
- An electric motorbike is about to go into production, made by Electric Motorsport this will have a 100kph top speed and about 100km range. 
- The US DARPA is developing a special bleed control cuff that uses ultrasonics to determine the location of the bleed and then applies more sound waves to speed coagulation. While the military applications are obvious this sort of thing might be very useful to EMS crews attending to traffic accidents. 
- pybox2d is a Python interface for the Box2d game Physics library. 
- Some recent studies show that telecommuting is still a good thing. 
- Implanting a 3G radio into an Aigo P8860 and getting it to run Android. 
- HP is getting ready to sell their next netbook, the 10-inch Mini 1000. This is now available for about $399 (including XP) and has a 10.2 inch 1024x600 display (a smaller 8.9 inch display is also available for less). Here is a hands on look and a round up of a number of reviews. 
- Learning FreeNAS is a book on the FreeNAS system. 
- The MvixBOX is a gigabit connected NAS with two drive bays for about $299, this includes a variety of server functions and Torrent capabilities. 
- An open-source portable game console development system based on the Arduino. 
- The Thecus N3200 Pro NAS has three drive bays and can run RAID-5. It also has an LCD status display and software for various server functions. 
- Finally! A robot that can do some household chores. 
- The Aigo P8860 MID is a small x86 based webpad. 
- Engadget gets asked: What's the best digital photo frame out there? 
- The WD TV HD Media Player from Western Digital is a small media player box that you hook up to a TV via composite or HDMI (1080P supported) cables and then hook up a USB hard drive (or flash drive) and use it to play the media files from the drive onto the TV. It has appeared at Buy.com and BestBuy. A little video review is here. Another short review is here including some pictures of the insides. Western Digital now has some pages about it here on their site. Some people are now hacking the firmware of this. WDLXTV is a user-enhanced version of the firmware that adds support for networking and other features. A new version of this which includes a network port, should be appearing in late 2009 (starting to show up on Best Buy in Oct'09).  
- postmarkup is a bbcode (bulletin board code) rendering engine for Python. It allows users to enter a text with restricted markup codes that it then converts safely to html. 
- Slashdot discusses portable solar chargers for gadgets. 
- AROS is an API-compatible reimplementation of the Amiga operating system. 
- SanDisk has been working on a new file system driver that will allow Windows to do random writes to SSD devices at up to 100 times faster than the current approach. 
- Pico is a pocket sized projector, perhaps the start of a new gadget trend? 
- A couple of odd video camera announcements: the MovieStick from Swann, is an integrated camera and storage device about the size of a packet of gum, might be useful for extreme sports recording or attaching to your dog. The USB Digital Endoscope, perhaps the less said the better. 
- The Porte HDD enclosure is a neat version of the quick-insertion hard drive cradles. 
- The Honda walking assist machine looks like something that Wallace and Grommet might have invented. 
- TakeNote is a cross-platform note taking and organizing system, also available here on PyPI. 
- The Chinese automaker Changan is looking at supplying some electric cars to the Canadian market with Electrovaya providing the part of the system. Still I would prefer the electric Mini or an electric version of the Smart. 
- The Mikey iPod microphone. 
- Seagate is increasing its family of AES-encrypted hard drives and so too are Hitachi and Fujistu. 
- A project to add a trigger to a bicycle that will trigger the induction vehicle sensor coils at traffic lights. 
- Another possibility for a Linux-based NAS machine would be to use unRAID from Lime Technology, their hardware compatibility page is here. This is reviewed by SmallNetBuilder and here is another approach. unRAID is somewhat like RAID-4 in that it uses a single parity disk, but it also does not stripe the data across multiple disks. This causes it to loose some potential performance due to the lost striping, but it provides some important gains in flexibility. You can upgrade existing data disks much faster (as the only data regeneration is to reload the contents of the replaced disk) and there are fewer limitations on the sizes of the individual disks. There is a long support thread on the LIMEtechnology unRAID product here. A video review of unRAID can be found here, they gloss over some of unRAID's biggest advantages: it can make a fault-tolerant array out any random assortment of IDE and SATA drives (they don't have to be all the same size, this also allows you to easily upgrade old (small) drives by just unplugging them and replacing them with a larger new drive) and if you have the bad luck of having two drives die at the same time the data on the other drives in the array is still usable (which is not the case for RAID-1 or RAID-5). Another video on unRAID, this goes through reasons for using it and a full build, further discussion here. 
- The P71-A2-JP from Keian Japan combines both a photo frame and a printer. 
- Piaggio is claiming up to 141MPG from a hybrid scooter. This is to reach the USA in early 2010. 
- The LincVolt electric car conversion company. 
- The Hyperion Power Module is a micro nuclear reactor capable of powering 10,000 homes for 10 years on a single supply of fuel. That works out at $250 per home per year which is a lot less than most people pay of electricity these days. So what's the catch, do they charge you $250 million at the end to dispose of it? Or is their idea of a single home something like 100kWh per month? 
- Seagate has a problem with its new 1.5TB drive freezing for 30 seconds at a time. More on this from Seagate. If you have one of these drives you can call Seagate's 1-800 number and they will check to see if you can get a firmware update (if you file a service request they will just ignore you - you need to phone them). There are also reports that some of their 1TB drives may be failing too. Slashdot discusses this here and there are links to some of the information (potentially affected model numbers) but no list of affected firmware versions. The 0GB (or BSY mode) bug gets discussed here (after the thread was deleted from Seagate's support forum - it appears the thread is still here), some people appear to be attempting to use the drive's serial diagnostic port to probe this issue further. This page contains the first results of connecting to the serial port. Seagate released a firmware update on about 20-Jan-09 only to find it caused more problems so the update has been recalled. Here is a possible unbricking procedure which uses the diagnostic serial port, it needs a bit more work to fill in some of the details (like which pins are TX and RX on the 4 pin connector - in this article it looks like they are the two pins closest to the SATA data connector, and RX is the one beside the SATA data connector). Seagate is offering free data recovery for those affected. This appears to have most of the details. This is another version, it shows the trick of using a small insulating strip to isolate the drive's power connector from the control PCB. The serial mode commands are listed here.
I encountered the "busy drive" bug while checking to see if any of my Seagate drives might be affected. Quite ironic, you shutdown the system to check the serial numbers and drive labels; and then, when you power up the system again one of the drives is no longer responding to the BIOS. Seagate now has a few online tools that you can use to find out if you need new firmware - the best is to get the drive's serial number and enter it. If your drive is one that is known to be at risk they will send you to a page from which you can download a small ISO image that you can burn to CD and then boot from to flash the drive.
Seagate's firmware upgrade procedure is described here, if you have an X86 PC which can boot from CD then it is pretty simple to flash the drives (just detach all your other drives first to be on the safe side).
I was able to unbrick my drive that had entered the busy state by following this procedure. If you just unscrew the screw near the drive power connector a few turns, then you can slide some insulating material (say the corner of a business card) between the connector and the controller board quite easily. I used one of these RS-232 to TTL level shifters (here from www.robotcraft.ca) and used a pair of AA batteries to power it at 3 volts. For the connector to the RX/TX pins I used a piece of cable from an old computer case, one of the two pin headers that is used to connect the front panel (lights or switches) to the motherboard. This had the correct pin spacing but was slightly too thick to insert into the drive's socket, so I used sand paper to thin it down a bit. Once I had found a serial cable (which I have not used for many years) I was able to connect the drive to the computer and verify that it did have the "busy error" symptoms (the drive will keep sending, about once a minute, a string like "LED:000000CC FAddr:0025BF67" to the terminal). At this point things worked up to issuing the "Z" command to spin down the drive. For me as soon as I issued that command the drive would enter the busy error state. The command sequence looked like:
In the end I reviewed the various drive commands (a list is listed here) and noted that the "Z" command was also available at other "levels", so I gave level 8 a try and this worked. The output from my command session looked like:
Spin Down Complete
Elapsed Time 0.161 msecs
Spin Up Complete
Elapsed Time 9.250 secs
Max Wr Retries = 00, Max Rd Retries = 00, Max ECC T-Level = 14, Max Certify Rewr
ite Retries = 00C8
User Partition Format 5% complete, Zone 00, Pass 00, LBA 00004339, ErrCode 000
User Partition Format 5% complete, Zone 00, Pass 00, LBA 00008DED, ErrCode 000
00080, Elapsed Time 0 mins 10 secs
User Partition Format Successful - Elapsed Time 0 mins 10 secs
After I had done this I was able to remove the drive, test it and confirm that it was working fine. I then did a firmware update which took it from SD15 to SD1A.
And one more thing, my drives were "made in China" so this problem was not just with the drives from Thailand.
- The Flip MinoHD, at $229 will probably bring HiDef recording to the pockets of a lot of people. It gets reviewed here 
- Another entrant in the small laptop race, this time from UMID, their super mini laptop weighs in at only 315g and has a 4.8 inch 1024x600 touch screen so must be similar in size to the Nokia N800 series (though its a nice clam-shell design). This is getting closer to reality, now they are talking about a $500 price. A video of it being handled has appeared here, with its smaller keyboard, small screen and no space lost to track pad and palm rests it ends up being the size of a large PDA. The price on the UMID mbook M1 seems to have climbed to about the $1000 point. A review of it is here, it is a very small device and has some odd quirks (like not having standard headphone or USB jacks - so one must use adapters to plug many things in). The UMID mbook M1 began general shipping in late May'09 at a price of %659 with Linux or $765 with Windows. This appears to have been rebranded by Kohjinsha who are calling it the PM series UMPC and are wanting about $650 for it. UMID's new for the end of 2010 mbook M2 should start at about $499. 
- Proteins that control the evolution of organisms have been discovered. How long before athletes start taking these in the search for better performance? 
- The RED DSLR is going to be the most versatile and probably most expensive SLR camera system in the world. Will this shake up the rest of the market? This article includes some discussion of the various sensors (including a comparative size illustration) that will be available from RED and notes that the high end units will be capable of up to 13 stops of dynamic range - which is much more than the competition. 
- From Korea comes a new twist on lithium battery design, they have found that by replacing the graphite in lithium batteries with silicon a new cell can be made with eight times the capacity. While this would be great for laptops and other portable electronics, it would be market changing for the electric car industry as it would allow the range to be increased to something like 400-800 miles which would make even a long road trip (with overnight recharging stops) quite practical. It also means that a car with "commuter range" specifications of 100-200 miles could be built at a much lower cost and weight. 
- Korea claims to have developed a new way to separate hydrogen from water that only requires 1/30th the energy of electrolysis, most likely this is going to end up being bogus. 
- The iGala wireless digital picture frame from Aequitas gets some praise from Engadget. Still, at $239 that's nearly as much as the low end Eee PC. 
- The classic Atari joystick, now with a USB connection. 
- The ThinkPad USB Portable Secure hard drive is a USB drive with a built in keypad for entry of a password to unlock it. This is supposed to have 128-bit AES full disk encryption. 
- The Meggy Jr RGB is a small game platform based on the Arduino. This is a kit that you solder together and then write the code for. Steven Read has built a Donkey Kong clone that runs on this. 
- The Dynamic ECD display from Funai is expected to start shipping in 2009 and will use about 1% of the power of conventional LCD displays. This is based on colour changing dyes and functions without backlight (and is easy to view in daylight). They are also talking about it costing about 1/3rd of what an LCD costs. Should be great for netbooks and perhaps will cause a shake up in the e-book reader market too. 
- A safe made from Lego, including a combination lock system. 
- Another approach to wave power generation, this one looks rather like a toilet float. 
- Blockbuster is going to be selling the 2Wire MediaPoint set top player which delivers an HDMI display connection, USB ports, an SD slot and network connection for $99. The questions are: is this only available with a subscription and can it be hacked? Apparently it runs Linux, so as soon as someone figures out how to re-flash it the hacking will commence. This has received a rather scathing review. 
- At last, a leisure suit that will never get wet (no matter how many drinks get split on it), well currently just the fabric has been made and its based on nanotech. Another company is going to produce swim-wear that does not get wet. 
- The Netgear EVA9000 might be a good set top box media player. It has all sorts of video output, wired and wireless ethernet and can take a SATA hard drive. Looks like this will be in the $400 range. 
- The MSI WindBox (also here) will be a small desktop system designed to be VESA-mounted to the back of an LCD monitor, priced in the $199-299 range. This is getting closer to shipping. Engadget spotted it at the 2009 CeBIT. 
- MSI is adding the Wind U110 and U115 to its netbook product family. The U115 has been found to have up to 15 hours of battery life. MSI is claiming a 9-hour battery life for the Wind U110. 
- Another look at the hydrogen powered economy and how it is not likely to happen. This time by Gary Kendall who worked on this for ExxonMobil. 
SageTV has launched the HD200 media streamer which is a set top box media player with integration for use with a SageTV server. This is about the third device Sage has put together to do this and it appears this model may have the ability to play from locally attached media that the previous versions did not have. 
- Windspire's vertical axis turbine for the housing market claims to be able to provide about have the average household's electric power (though the cited figure of 2000kWh annually seems rather low). 
- Pioneer has developed a 16-layer 400GB Blu-ray disc. They think that re-writable versions will become available in the 2010-2012 time frame. Of course by then you'll need 10 to 20 of these to backup a single SATA disk, so our backup problems are not solved. 
- The MovieStation pocket c.uc portable hard drive from TrekStor can output video to composite and component TVs and also has a built in memory card slot. 
- A window-cleaning robot prototype that actually sucks itself onto the glass. 
- VIVACE is a power generator that may allow useful power to be produced from slow moving currents by the action of shed vortices. 
- At last, a UMPC called LLUON Mobbit that may sell for less than $500. 
- Progress is being made on porting Google's Android to the Nokia N810. 
- The Alpha 400 might be the first netbook to break the $200 price barrier. The Alpha 680 adds a tilt and twist screen for tablet mode operation to this, it looks like it will be Android-based. 
- The OpenCL API specification has been released (also on Engadget), this is an open API for executing general purpose code on GPUs. More on OpenCL here. 
- The VIA ARTIGO A2000 (just like the old Amiga 2000...) is a small form factor bare bones unit that will be selling for $299 (see LogicSupply). 
- Addonics' USB to NAS adapter is quite literally a small black box that will take any USB drive and make it into a NAS drive for $55. I would guess it must contain a small Linux-based computer so its likely someone will get to hacking this soon (like the old NSLU2). The PogoPlug (reviewed here) is another attempt at the same thing, though for somewhat more than Addonics.  
- United Keys is producing a lower cost OLED display keyboard and keypad, at $200 it is still rather pricey but it is a significant reduction in cost from the previous attempt at this (the Optimus).  
- Slashdot discusses options for long term data storage. This comment lists some of the previous related discussions that have happened on Slashdot. The consensus seems to favor multiple copies on hard drives with periodic testing and migration to new drives before failure takes place. This article gives a formula for calculation of the Mean Time To Data Loss (MTTDL) for multi-drive arrays based on the number of drives, their expected mean time to failure, the degree of redundancy (one or two independent parity channels) and the time to replace a failed drive and rebuild (which can be measured in days if you don't notice a failure right away). With this approach, using the Seagate 1.5TB drive with a quoted annual failure rate of 0.34% less than 2% of these drives should fail in 5 years (the warranty period) so taking 5 years as the mean time between failures should be very, very conservative. Then, if you have a RAID array with 3 data and 1 parity disk (or a 4 drive RAID 5 system) and it takes you a week to detect and replace a failed drive then the MTTDL would be (working in days):
(5*365)*(5*365)/(4*(4-1)*7) = 39650 days
or about 108 years before you had 2 drives die within the 1 week replacement window and lost your data. Alternatively you might use each drive as a simple redundant copy of some data, so if you have 3 drives you put the same data on each, then once a month you check each to see if it is still fine (perhaps you put more data on it at that time as well), then using the same conservative 5 year MTBF you would have:
(5*365)**3/(3*(3-1)*(3-2)*(31)**2) = 1,054,178 days
or 2888 years before you had all three drives die within the same 1 month window and lost your data. So it looks like just putting your important data on two or three external hard drives which you periodically test and refresh should be safe enough, and the more copies you have then safer you will be. Of course, with multiple copies you can place some of them in off site storage which will help protect against fire, theft, flood and other catastrophes.
- Work on pygame.midi has started, which allows midi in and out from within Pygame.  
- iRiver is getting into the photo frame market, this 7-inch unit appears rather like a current one from Sony and has a number of features including playing video. 
- Michael Geist has produced a documentary on the fight against DMCA in Canada. 
- Adventure game interfaces and puzzle theory.
- Slashdot discusses great games to put on a free PC. One reader suggested looking at the Wikipedia List of freeware games. 
- Slashdot discusses the article: Are biofuels still economically feasible?. It looks like gasoline needs to be above $2/gallon for these fuels to brake even. 
- The eSlick eBook from Foxit, is about the size of a medium paperback, 0.4 inches thick, has a 6-inch 800x600 display and an MP3 player built in for about $250. This runs an embedded Linux OS, so will it get hacked and enhanced? 
- The US auto industry is waking up to the demand for electric vehicles and also has started to realize that the most expensive component, the battery, is not made in the USA. Naturally, they now want a government handout to rectify the situation... 
- It appears that Psion controls a trademark on the term "netbook" (discussed here on Slashdot) in a number of countries (for example in Canada) so its time to switch to some other term for this section of the computer market. How about webpads or porta-books? Dell is fighting back over this issue. Intel is also returning fire over this issue. Psion claims it really is still selling its netbook. In June'09 it appeared that Psion had relented. 
- Microsoft extends the end of XP's life, yet again. This time until May 2009. And in June'09 they extended the downgrade to XP option out to about 2011. 
- Tunable eyeglasses have been invented, essentially a sandwich of two plastic lenses with a variable amount of clear silicon liquid between them. They probably cannot do anything for astigmatism, and the frames need some work, but in a few years who knows? One application for these might be in diving masks and swimming goggles (or even in skiing goggles) where the currently bulky frames would not matter much and perfect vision adjustment is not too important. 
- The Android Cupcake can be run on the Nokia internet tablet devices like the N810. 
- A new MSI Wind CD100-JP desktop system (that looks a lot like a Wii) is now available in Japan. This includes a slot-loading DVD drive. 
- In Mixins considered harmful Michele Simionato attempts to make a case against using mixins; however, I think what he's really arguing against are large class hierarchies. Mixins are really just multiple inheritance, and ideally they just introduce new methods in an orthogonal fashion. In the Java world they split the idea of inheritance in a rigid (but useful) fashion by introducing the concept of an interface, which lets you add a useful set of methods to a class to give it certain behavior (but without introducing new member variables). To me a well designed class hierarchy presents classes that are useful at every level, so if you learn how to use the core functionality you can reuse this knowledge when using any derived class, and you only need to concern yourself with learning what's new and useful about each new derived class. I prefer to see classes that are intended to be used as mixins to be small, self-contained, tools that are intended to provide just a specific function or service. The second, third, and fourth articles in the series. 
- Using a BASIC Stamp to add a network interface to an old washing machine to allow remote monitoring of wash status. 
- The Kaleido R7 wireless digital photo frame from IPEVO looks like it might launch some new trends in how wireless capabilities are implemented in photo frames. 
- The GiiNii Movit Mini WiFi Android tablet is a real webpad. With a small 4.3 inch display it is perhaps too small, but they are also planning a 7 inch version. Looks like the 4.3 inch version will ship in Oct'09 and the 7 inch unit in Jan'10. 
- The Palm Pre gets introduced at the 2009 CES show. At last, something new from Palm. Some views of the user interface, both static and in action. 
- With the Eee PC T91 and T101H models ASUS is adding touchscreen and swivel into tablet configuration abilities to their netbook collection. A marketing video of this is available here. Engadget reviews one here, at $499 it is really quite cheap for a tablet PC - and it can be a real netbook as well. Engadget reviews, but does not really like, the Eee PC T101MT.
Mio has shown a compact netbook that runs Windows Mobile, this replaces the trackpad with a trackball for a more compact design.
- Engadget compares the VAIO P to the 7 and 10 inch Eee PC models. It looks like SONY might have created a winner here (except for the price); hopefully, some of the competition wakes up and builds something similar in size for (way) less. More coverage on the VAIO P and a hands on. Engadget has a 
Google's Android has been coaxed into running on the HP Mini-Note 2133 and on an Eee PC. 
- Pretec has taken the CompactFlash physical form factor and given it a SATA interface to allow for much faster flash storage. What would be really neat would be to have a SATA interface at one end of the card and the old CF IDE interface at the other end, then you could use the same card in old and new devices. 
- BugLabs are introducing some new modules, including a keyboard. 
- Another generation of SD cards is approaching, this time the SDXC cards which will support capacities of up to 2TB. 
- The ASUS EEE D200 is a medium sized NAS box with a couple of twists, it includes a router and LAN switch (for connecting 4 other computers), has DVI and audio outputs, and also has a LCD display on the front. From a look at the back panel it appears this is not using a standard form factor motherboard/case (there is no conventional IO panel area and no expansion card slot) and the power supply is an external brick. 
- The LG X120 is another 10-inch netbook, this has an instant-on "LG Smart On" OS mode.
- Pegatron (an ASUS spin off) is looking at producing Freescale ARM-based netbooks. These should achieve a more useful 8 hour battery life. They are targeting the $199 price point. This has been sighted in Nov'09. 
- LG is adding a digital photo frame mode to some of their TVs in 2009. They claim that when in this mode the TV will also consume only 10-15% of the power it normally does.
Samsung is partnering with Chumby to make a new digiframe that can provide a greater variety of functions. Maybe this way we will finally be able to get a Chumby-like device in Canada. 
- The RIAA has finally given up on the Atlantic vs. Brennan case - which was where the court decided that there was no protection against making available for distribution under the US Copyright Act. 
- Make Magazine are taking a shot at a television version, this is shown on PBS and they are making episodes available for torrent download (see legaltorrents.com). The first episode was reasonably interesting, reminding me a bit of the old Junkyard Wars - except without the competition.  
- Seagate's Free Agent Theater HD (available in a few versions) is another hard drive media player solution, starting at $129. The demo video gives an example of the use of the device for showing photo slide shows, performance looks pretty good.  
- The Polk SurroundBar SDA includes sub-woofer that has a wireless audio connection. 
- The new (summer 2008) Radio Frequency for Consumer Electronics (RF4CE) standard aims to replace infra red with radio control. Hillcrest Labs will be making some devices for this. 
- StyleTap is making a Palm OS emulator for the Symbian OS, so maybe you can upgrade your aging Palm with a Nokia device? 
- Western Digital has won the race to deliver the first 2TB drive. 
- The NVIDIA Ion platform may bring us some new, higher-performance, single board systems capable of playing most forms of video. 
- TechCrunch is building a prototype of a true webpad (see CrunchPad.com). This gets discussed on Engadget and Slashdot. This prototype is based on a 12-inch LCD. Let's hope someone actually builds this. In Apr'09 some more pictures of this CrunchPad appeared that look pretty slick. The team behind CrunchPad talk a bit about how the project is going (also here on Engadget and here on Slashdot). The CrunchPad edges closer, the first working prototype is expected in July'09. Some more videos of the CrunchPad in action have been released, the one about the unboxing has been pulled, but the one showing it in operation remains and it looks rather nice. More discussion about the CrunchPad, they are expecting to unveil it by the end of July'09. In Nov'09 more details of the CrunchPad's progress were revealed, now looks to be in the $300-$400 price range. And at the start of December it looked like the CrunchPad may never make it to market, discussed here on Slashdot. 
- The KanaMicro digital audio player is packaged like a USB thumb drive, you really can't get an MP3 player much smaller than this.  
- The TS-639 Pro Turbo is a 6-bay NAS system which can do the usual RAID 0/1/5 plus it can do RAID-6. They also have a smaller 4-bay version called the TS-439. At CDN$1300 it is pretty pricey for home use, but it does have a lot of capabilities. 
- A USB digital microscope from Brando, for about $75.  
- 12 Useful Techniques for good User Interface Design in web applications. 
- Neuros is adding support for the Wiimote to their LINK.   
- Slashdot discusses a GAO report on the 2008 bailout and how some firms are setting up in offshore tax havens. 
- Slashdot discusses geothermal home heating and cooling. I know of one house that has done this in Calgary, Canada. And their heating costs are a lot lower, though with the amount of effort that went into installing the system the up front capital cost must have been pretty high. 
- Shelby's Aero EV does 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds, proving that elevtric cars don't have to be boring. They are also claiming a 10 minute recharge time, which would give you just enough time for a coffee and a doughnut while recharging. 
- Apple's monster (358 page) patent of the iPhone interface has been approved. Just in time for the Palm Pre and Android wars to start. Engadget gets some legal input on this - looks like Apple has already been violating some of Palm's patents, so there might be some negotiating to do... Do I hear "cross licensing agreement"? Apple may also have neglected to mention some prior art by one of the inventors of this idea. 
- Full disk encryption is expected to drop in price (to near zero) and become available on most new drives, but when? With this approach a drive must receive the appropriate password before it will load any data, so you end up entering the password before the computer starts to boot. But what happens if you forget the password? Will you be able to overwrite the old disk with a new data set using a new password, or is the drive rendered inoperative to protect the encrypted data on it? Or, is there an administrative password you can enter to reset the user password? Or do you have to ship it back to the manufacturer to be unlocked? Or is there even a secret back door - say for customs to use? This gets discussed here on Engadget and here on Slashdot.  
- Rob Galbraith takes a critical look at the display quality of a number of laptops and finds he does not like what glossy displays are doing. However he does quite like the Dell mini-9 and found it to have one of the best performing displays and the gloss was only minimally troubling.  
- moblin is a Linux distro that Intel is tailoring for netbooks that use an Intel chip set. A video demo of this on a Samsung NC10 is here, it looks pretty snappy. DesktopLinux.com takes a look at this (discussed here on Slashdot) and quite likes where it is going. Version 2.0 of Moblin appeared in May'09.  
- The GigaPan Epic is a motorized mount for taking panoramic photos, this provides an automatic pan, tilt and shoot function. Engadget takes one for a spin. 
- The ASUS Eee PC 1000HE will have a 9.5 hour battery life. At last, a netpad that will last a day! A review roundup is here. 
- RFID passports have been cloned (discussed here on Slashdot) through a war driving rig. What would he have got if he had just parked in the airport parkade for an hour? He points out that one of the potential issues with the widespread use of RFID tags (for things like drivers licenses and credit cards) is that it would allow the movements of individual people around a city to be easily recorded - just set up these RFID scanners at choke points (office tower front doors, subway station entrances, parkade pedestrian access and car entrances etc.) and you can now track the movements of individual people - and with access to one of the RFID databases (like the driver's license information or a credit card database) one can find out who went where and when. Of course this could be very handy for generating an initial list of possible suspects, so expect banks to have RFID scanners at their doors - and to detain anyone who tries to enter the bank without an RFID tag on them... Another attempt at gathering passport numbers via RFID is discussed here on Slashdot.  
- The SR-7 and SW-7 from AMEX Digital are 7 inch photo frames that include additional functions for time and weather. 
- The Tazzari Zero is a Mini-like electric car for city driving.
- The Progressive Automotive X-Prize is starting to produce some results, including some eye-catching car designs. 
- The Mission One electric motorcycle can hit 150MPH for a crazy $69K. 
- The Linux Defenders Network is a new organization formed to help in the fight against patent trolls. 
- The LBA-D300 Bluetooth mini-keyboard from LG is intended to give you a portable QWERTY keyboard for use with a cell phone, but maybe this could also be used with an HTPC? Its a pity it does not include a pointing device as well.  
- The Archos 10 netbook gets reviewed and fails to measure up to the competition. 
- Cuba is building its own Linux version in an attempt to keep Microsoft out. So if you you have a big beard, smoke massive cigars or like rum this could be just what you're waiting for. 
- The CIA once booby trapped pipeline control software that the Russians were illegally purchasing, this lead to a large pipeline explosion in 1982. I wonder what the SAT procedures for this feature were. 
- The Literacy Bridge sub-$10 audio computer might make an inexpensive micro-controller. 
- The new Battlestar Galactica is much better than the original.
- Google's Android gets hooked up with an E-Ink display this is running on a Beagle Board (using an OMAP processor). This was done by the Moto Development Group. 
- The ARGUS eye-in-the-sky system uses a 1.8 gigapixel imager to keep an eye on up to 40 square kilometers of the ground. At an altitude of 5000m each pixel represents about 15cm on the ground, which would certainly be small enough to track individual people. Of course if it flies lower the it could well track smaller objects. 
- A collection of links to various versions of Python for mobile devices, such as Palm, Garmin, iPod, iRiver, Zaurus, Pocket PC and even Flyweight for 8 bit processors with only 64K. This page was suggested in this discussion of running Python on a cell phone. 
- Using the SDL library (via PyGame) to draw bezier curves in Python. 
- A Lego camcorder, get two for the eyes of your next robot. 
- The new (and expensive) Intel X25-M flash drives have been bench marked with very fast write speeds, but these appear to fall substantially after the drive has been in use for some time. Discussed here on Slashdot. Intel says this is not so. Intel has investigated these claims and found the cause and issued a firmware update that addresses the issue (and also suggests the possibility that these drives are actually even faster internally, but are limiting their speed for marketing reasons). Another round of firmware updates in Oct'09 had some problems. 
- The QNAP TS-809 Pro Turbo is an 8-bay NAS box. This can do RAID 1, 5 and 6 and includes a number of server functions including the XDove mail server. Certainly a nice looking piece of kit. 
- The famed patent troll, IP Innovation, are trying to collect from Red Hat and Novell over a multiple workspace patent they obtained from Xerox/PARC. This sounds rather like the old Amiga's multiple screens system, where applications could open their own independent display surfaces and the operating system provided navigational aids (both keyboard shortcuts and optional graphical gadgets) for the user to switch between workspaces as he needed. 
- The Top 35 Web Design Galleries on the Internet in case you are in need of some inspiration. 
- 100 Beautiful Free Textures, some of these are rather interesting and might inspire you to try photographing your own. 
- Could a dual-screen (no-keyboard) "laptop" design be the ultimate webpad? 
- Laser-bonding could be used to heal surgical incisions. 
- Michelin and Valeo are working on e-wheels, these are a full electric drive and suspension system built into the wheel allowing for a simpler electric car design. I wonder if these will refuse to roll if another manufacturer's tires are mounted on them. 
- ARM is thinking about the netbook market with their A9 processor which is a multi-core version of the Cortex A8. 
- The Wheego Whip is a small, all electric, car for city commuting that should be available to the American public by May'09. They are starting to take orders now. 
- Galaxy Zoo is a project to get the public's assistance in classifying galaxies. Discussed here on Slashdot. With billions of galaxies is observable space, there are lots to go around! 
- Could we get some solar power collection happening in space in the next decade? I don't see this being very likely, given the costs of getting things into orbit and the fact that earth-based generation has lots of room to grow and will keep getting less expensive with time. It appears that PG&E is about to purchase power (also here) from Solaren who are planning to start beaming power back to Earth in 2016. They are going to build a photovoltaic system illuminated by concentrated sunlight. More news on it here. 
- Engadget discusses choices for underwater point and shoot type cameras. 
- China's Cherry Automobile has announced their S18, a small, battery-powered car with up to a 150km range. 
- The Nintendo DSi might make a good webpad. 
- Chumby's widgets may be appearing on HDTVs and other network connected display devices soon. 
- GooeyPy adds a GUI system to pygame. 
- Kodak started it by suing LG and Samsung, now counter suits are being filed. 
- The SheevaPlug is an embedded Linux device from Marvell Semiconductor that will deliver a low cost, low power, platform for working with ethernet and USB devices. It gets discussed here on Slashdot, here on Make and here on SlashGear. It is what the Pogoplug is based on. Attaching something like phidgets to it would allow for some home automation functions to be implemented, but as the device contains some IO lines it would make more sense for someone to build a version that includes analog and digital IO interface circuitry. This is now available (see GlobalScale and PlugComputer.org), Slashdot discusses what to do with it. It appears that Seagate is making a NAS adapter for their FreeAgent portable drives that is based on the Pogoplug system. After about a year the second version of the Pogoplug got announced. An updated version with a 2GHz processor was announced at the start of 2010. 
- Microsoft is starting to try to collect on some of its patents, first target is TomTom. This looks like it might be an attack on Linux as well, more details here. More theories on this, including that this might actually be an attempt to force TomTom to stop using Linux by forcing them to violate the GPL license's terms. It appears there should be a simple resolution to this one: TomTom should be able to license FAT without violating the GPL. It had to happen: TomTom has returned fire and it is counter suing Microsoft for patent infringement. Possibly it is just a coincidence, but while this has been going on TomTom has become a Linux licensee. This case came to a close quite quickly and TomTom has now settled with Microsoft, though TomTom still must remove some functionality to comply. 
- Gigabyte will be launching a new set of netbooks in early 2009, these are the M1022, S1024 and T1028. Of these the S1024 ThinNote looks pretty thin. 
- Fungus is a scene based game engine based on pyglet. 
- The Hornet from Acer might be one of the first new Ion-based media PCs. 
- The GreenWheel is a replacement hub assembly for bicycle wheels that contains an electric motor and batteries. This allows just about any bicycle wheel to be converted into an electric drive system. It claims to have a range of up to about 25 miles (which should be more than enough for most city use). Hopefully they have designed this so that the guts can be easily accessed in case service (i.e. battery replacement) is needed, otherwise a design that does not integrate the battery would be far superior. One advantage of this approach is that you could put two of these on a single bicycle for two wheel drive, which might be useful in winter cycling. 
- The SunCat battery, just wrap some flexible solar cell around a battery to give it a built-in trickle charge capability. Of course this would work better if the battery had a flat, thin, rectangular shape. 
- Printable Electronics are starting to get to point where they can be used for some real devices. This sort of process would be great for hobby electronics too, when will we see this happen? 
- Palm has released a webOS Mojo SDK Tutorial for those who want to learn about application development for the new Pre. 
- The Authors Guild is up in arms over the text-to-speach function that the Amazon Kindle 2 includes. Amazon will be "updating" its Kindles to disable the text to speech function on a book by book basis. Slashdot discusses the remote kill flags that the Kindle has. 
- The Neuros Link (discussed here on Slashdot) is a small form factor HTPC running a custom Ubuntu Linux distro. It will be priced at $300, which is pretty much at the low end of what you could build yourself. The system I build around the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H board works very well as an HTPC, and as the Neuros system is based on a very similar motherboard I would expect that (with the right device drivers) it also works very well. 
- A rather amusing automatic sandwich maker, the bread "auger" works quite well for extracting slices from the loaf, but the cheese dispenser needs more work. 
- The Robin Z510 and Z530 computer modules are credit card sized computers that have an Atom processor, up to 7 USB ports, and on-board video, 2GB flash disk and 512MB of RAM for $164 to $227. 
- The Brammo Enertia electric motorcycle will be sold at Best Buy. 
- A recommendation of Beginning Python Visualization by Shai Vaingast, ISBN: 978-1430218432. A Slashdot review of it is here. 
- The Touch Book from Always Innovating is to be an ARM powered unit with a detachable touch screen. The screen part can be used as a tablet when detached, so maybe it is more appropriate to say it has a detachable keyboard? Supposed to be available in the spring of 2009 starting at $299. A more detailed write up on this. In July'09 this started production and should ship in August, they are pricing it a $299 for the screen (with brains) and another $99 for the clip on keyboard. This appears to now be shipping (Sept'09) and can (if you dare) be magnetically stuck to your fridge door - just don't slam the door too hard! 
- More on the formula that killed Wall Street, the so-called Gaussian copula function. 
- The ASUS Eee Keyboard puts a different twist on the small form factor PC by packing the PC into a keyboard. It also includes a small 5-inch touch sensitive LCD instead of the number pad. 
- VMware MVP brings virtualization to mobile devices like the N800. 
- Presto from Xandros is a commercial instant-on Linux operating system for laptops. This is designed to be installed on a PC alongside an existing Windows environment without any need to repartition or reformat (so you have access to the same files under both environments). Mentioned here on Engadget. This has reached the public beta stage and is expected to be released in April for $20. 
- The NMP-1000 from QNAP is another network media player. It appears to have reached North America in Oct'09. 
- The Eee Box 206 is an update for the ASUS Eee Box small form factor PCs which brings the ability to play HD content. This can be mounted on the back of an LCD display. This will likely be followed by the Eee Box B208 which will have a dual core Atom and ATI Radeon HD 4350 graphics, so could function quite well as an HTPC. It looks like the Eee Box 206 is not up to the task of playing high-def media. 
- Samsung's Q1 series gets a new model for 2009, the Q1EX which has a 4.5 hour battery life and will sell for $775. 
- OCZ is joining the netbook game with their Neutrino. This is supposed to be available in two versions, a basic one that the user will populate with RAM, drive, etc. and a fully tricked out model. This is getting closer to shipping, with a target of mid-April for $269 (without operating system, RAM or hard drive). 
- ScummVM is a virtual machine emulation system designed for running old graphic adventure computer games, discussed here on Slashdot. 
- Disk on Module (DOM) drives are flash drives that are packaged with a standard interface (IDE, SATA or even USB) in a form that allows them to be directly plugged into a motherboard. They appear to be somewhat more expensive that a typical USB thumb drive, but they might be built to take a larger number of write cycles. MSI appears to be using one of these for their Winki instant-on OS. Of course one could probably get about the same effect by just mounting a regular USB thumb drive inside the computer's case an running an adapter cable from its external USB plug to the USB header on the motherboard. Since such an adapter is just a simple 4 wire passive device it would seem pretty trivial to do. 
- StarGate SG1 episodes list. 
- The state of the homebrew gaming scene in 2009. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- The Linpus distro is used on the Acer Aspire One and boots pretty fast. 
- The Oyster Wave Energy Converter looks like a large wall of barrels that sways in the surf. The Oyster 2 is a more effective version of this concept. 
- It looks like Lenovo might be about to copy Sony's VIAO P design. More pictures of this Pocket Yoga have leaked, apparently it is a 2 year old design concept. 
- A new design for lithium battery electrodes could greatly increase charge and discharge rates (perhaps by more than a factor of 10). This change does not require any new materials, it is just improving the way the materials are physically structured to allow for faster flow of ions. Discussed here on Slashdot, here on Engadget, announced here by MIT and discussed here on Technology Review. 
- The 12.1 inch tablet convertable Lenovo ThinkPad X61 would make a nice webpad, and in Feb'09 it went on sale for $649 making it pretty competitive with regular small laptops. 
- The Toshiba Camileo S10 at a $200 price point could put 1080p into everyone's pocket. 
- The Caustic Graphics ray tracing processor board sounds like it might pack a lot of horse power, perhaps this could also be used as a general purpose processor? Discussed here on Slashdot. A picture of the prototype board along with some samples are here, note the current board is only doing 3-5 frames per second so this is a ways off the necessary 30-60 FPS. 
- Lasers may be the next defense against mosquitoes. 
- This Bluetooth GPS Watch looks like it could function as a club in a pinch. Still, at only $85 for what Garmin charges a couple of hundred for, it might sell well. 
- SmartDevices may have just made a game-changing breakthrough in the MID/netbook market with their SmartQ 5 MID. This is an 800x480 4.3 inch display device (so much like the Nokia 800 series) running an ARM chip (for low power use) and Ubuntu Linux. They appear to be targeting 899 Yuan (or about US$130) which would place it in a class by itself. It get's unboxed here. 
- Fujitsu's FLEPia is an e-book with a full colour display. At about $1000 it is a lot more than the grey-scale competition. 
- Amazon is now getting the taste of annoying patents, they are getting sued by Discovery Communications over a DRM for e-books patent. 
- Zymetis has genetically modified a bacterium to improve its ability to break down cellulose and produce sugars. 
- The ThumbTack microphone from SwitchEasy is a neat way to add the microphone that should have been built into your iPod in the first place. 
- In 2009 the US electric car industry received a $2.4G stimulus package, most of which was directed towards battery manufacturing. 
- Elgato's Turbo.264 HD is a video conversion accelerator housed in a USB stick. This is a MAC product. From the product sheet it is hard to say if it would still work (at increased speed) for transcoding between MPEG2 and H.264 without dropping the resolution. Given that it's power consumption is quite small (less than 2.5W for USB power) it is hard to believe that this really would out perform a fast desktop CPU. 
- In Mar'09 news of an 11.6-inch version of the Acer Aspire One was released. Netbooks are climbing into the laptop domain. 
- The Samsung N110 is the successor to the NC10. 
- A 3D scanner has been built from Lego. 
- Samsung's new N120 netbook is attempting to make a netbook as large as a laptop. The end result seems to be you get something the size of a small laptop (one with about a 12 inch screen) that only contains a 10 inch screen (with a large display bezel) and perhaps a longer battery life (due to the lower power components typically used in netbooks). 
- The mintpad from Mintpass (which is part of iRiver) is a small PMP type device that includes WiFi and web browsing (even with Flash support). This is available in Korea for about $150 and will be entering the US market soon. It uses a touch screen (probably resistive as it is operated with a stylus) for input and has a number of built in functions (camera, scheduler, paint, chat, ...). In Sept'09 this went on sale in the UK. 
- Another report of hackers penetrating control systems. This mentions the Bellingham Washington gasoline spill, but that was not due to hackers.  
- An outfit called MONEC Holding Ltd. is now suing Apple over the iPhone infringing their patent on an e-book reading device. 
- IOGEAR's 4-port USB Net ShareStation allows you to attach up to four USB devices and share them across a network. 
- Seagate's 6TB BlackArmor NAS is a 4-bay RAID 0/1/5/10 device aimed at small business LANs. It includes support for a number of services, including Microsoft Windows Server Active Directory. Since they are claiming an 8TB version will be due out in May it is probably a safe bet that Seagate's 2TB drive is going to start shipping then (or they are going to populate these with WesternDigital drives) which is a lot sooner than the Q3'09 they had previously announced... 
- From the department of "they'll never sell one" comes the Mercedes-Benz F-CELL Roadster. In a word: daft! 
- Cotton swabs contaminated with the DNA of one worker have caused investigators to think a number of crimes across Europe were committed by the same person. 
- The EcoDrain is a heat exchanger that allows warm waste water (like from a shower) to be used to preheat cold water before it enters a water heater. 
- AnandTech takes a critical look at SSD drives in early 2009, including two interesting surprises, that all SSDs will slow down (some very significantly) with use and that performance on small random writes is making most of the drives behave poorly as Windows system drives. 
- The Garden Video Camera is designed to be planted and take months-long time lapse videos of your plants growing (or being eaten by bugs). 
- Samsung has introduced the HT-WS1 soundbar. 
- The Thecus N0204 miniNAS is a NAS device that takes a pair of 2.5 inch hard drives instead of the more normal 3.5 inch drives. This makes it physically smaller and probably reduces its power consumption. 
- The PalmOS may live on in emulation mode on the Palm Pre, now if only the Pre were sold without a phone contract. 
- Could the Python import mechanism be broken beyond repair? I can't say I have really had to struggle with it to the extent this article describes, so I'm probably in the large group who find it does the right thing most of the time and in the rare cases it causes problems some thought (and perhaps recoding) is enough to avoid the issue. Still, I would not argue against a better design where even the edge cases work easily. 
- Engadget readers discuss the best solution for Bluetooth stereo audio. I find the Jabra BT320s to be pretty good. 
- Google's street view causes a stir in an English village, pitchforks get waved. 
- The first Snapdragon-powered PurseBook weighs about 0.8kg and has an 8 hour battery life. 
- The DroboPro is an 8-bay version of the Drobo storage system. While they have added a gigabit LAN port to it, they have not provided the normal NAS server software - very odd. Its also rather expensive at $1299 without any drives, so you'd be better off with an unRAID box. 
- The Fonera 2 will be shipping in spring of 2009, it adds a USB port which can be used to hook up a variety of devices to the router, including hard drives. The firmware includes a variety of server functions that can make use of these devices. It took until Oct'09 for this to become available in North America. 
- The Scarpar is a motorized skateboard with tracks instead of wheels for off-road use. 
- How to use Linux to simulate a slow LAN connection by injecting latency on packet propagation. 
- A new conductive resign has been developed that might replace indium tin oxide (ITO) as the transparent conductor used in OLED panels. 
- The Sansa Clip gets a lot of recommendations for being a good choice for an MP3 player to use for workouts. 
- The PeaPod is a neighborhood electric vehicle with about a 30 mile range, a short video clip of it is here and a photo gallery is here. They are talking about a $12K price for this which might produce a lot of demand as most of the other electric car solutions are much more expensive currently. While some might call this a golf-cart, it really shows a lot of thought about providing a fresh solution to short-trip driving (which is what the majority of miles probably are). Some of the steps they have taken to reducing weight (and increasing usable space) like the "thin seats" are quite clever and very appropriate. I'm not thrilled about the massive sunroof though, that's going to get quite hot in the summer - to the point of needing air conditioning. 
- Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric car is due to ship first in Japan in the summer of 2009 and then enter the US in 2011. 
- The CUBE B52HD is a PMP with 1280x720 video output capability. Wow, just the ticket for some portable slide show action. 
- A comparison of current (April'09) netbook battery life. 
- In Canada there are a few dealers who sell electric bicycles, including JV Bike (in Vancouver) and eBikes (in Regina and Lethbridge). Some Canadian Tire stores also carry some electric bikes. Power in Motion is in Calgary's Eau Clare Market. 
- A scathing test of small windmills, the Dutch put a number of small windmills (1m to 4m designs of various types) to a year-long real test to see what they would actually produce. Discussed here on Slashdot. The study may have been somewhat flawed as the average wind speed at the site was only 3.8m/s (13.7km/hr or 8.5mph) which is considered by many to be too low for wind power generation. That said, their large windmill did produce useful amounts of power in the same conditions for a reasonable cost ($1.71/kWh over one year, so if amortized over 10 years would provide power for about $0.18/kWh). 
- If an electric bike is not quite your thing, and a Segway is too pedestrian, how about an electric unicycle? 
- PyCap is a Python game writing framework that is based on the PopCap Game Framework. It gets a recommendation here. 
- At least one netbook running Android is in the works, see: I-Buddie shows a prototype. Skytone is also going to produce an Android-powered ARM-based netbook, this one in a tablet-convertible format at a price of about $250 which sounds a bit high but it is for a convertible so they have much less competition than the standard netbook form factor. 
- The Sharp Mebius PC-NJ70A replaces the touch pad with a touch sensitive LCD to allow for custom controls as well as general pointer movement. A video of it in use is here. This is certainly a pretty neat idea, especially if they make it easy for ordinary applications to make use of this. 
- The H100HD PMP from Cube has both 720P and 1080i video output capabilities, which seems amazing for a media player that may cost under $100. 
- The British Bee.One electric car, which is scheduled for 2011 production, looks like it gets a few things right. It has a substantial 200 mile range and an 80MPH top speed (so I could actually take one on ski trips) and it has a reasonable $18K price tag and has four doors, so should seat at least 4 people. 
- Zotax makes a number of mini-ITX motherboards (available here) and are now going to offer some Atom+ION solutions too. A number of reviews of the IONITX-A motherboard (which appears capable of BluRay playback) can be found here. 
- Two heavy duty electric plugs for charging electric cars are in the late phases of being standardized. Looks like there will be two designs, one for North America, Japan and markets which have 110V power and another for Europe and other markets that have 240V power. This will mean that EVs cannot be moved between those markets easily and that there will be multiple power controllers for each model of car. 
- The Steampunk Segway, cute, very cute! 
- The Robard RB-100 is a micro controller based on the Vortex86DX which is an x86 system on a chip. For $255 it delivers a lot of IO in a small package. More details and discussion here. 
- More cheap PMPs for China, this time from MSI and even one with 720P TV output. 
- An implementation of the Game of Life in XAML/WPF using embedded Python. 
- Windows 7 (in the more expensive editions) is to include an XP mode which will run in a virtual machine and will include a fully licensed copy of XP Pro to support this. More information on this here. The Register has taken a look at the virtual XP mode, this gets discussed here on Slashdot. 
- Turns out the problems with the modern patent system (trolls, litigation...) are not new, all this happened over a century ago during the early days of the sewing machine. 
- Engadget takes a look at Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 which is to become widely available on May 5th. This version is to expire in June 2010 so people will have a year to get used to it. 
- The next wave of netbooks might be powered by ARM processors as this would allow their power consumption to be greatly reduced, but this would also force manufacturers to stick with Linux as the operating system. There are some hints that Microsoft (in a strange echo of Windows NT's distant past when it could also run on the DEC Alpha and PowerPC chips) might make a version of Windows 7 that would run on ARM to address this. I find it more plausible that Microsoft would just try to push Windows CE into that role instead. 
- regobj is another module for working with the Windows Registry. This one presents the registry as a set of keys from which you can navigate using dotted attributes. 
- The DDRdrive X1 is a DDR RAM based drive that has NAND flash for backup, it interfaces via a PCIe-X1 slot but it can only expand to 4GB and is much more expensive than some of the alternatives like Gigabyte's older GC-RAMDISK and the more capable HyperDrive5 type hardware from HyperOS Systems. 
- A very small MicroSD card reader from EagleTec. Should be easy to loose or leave behind! 
- Removing the carbon atoms from methane to produce hydrogen gas and carbon black. 
- At last, a real webpad! The Smart Q7 is a 7-inch device that actually calls itself an "internet tablet". If only the price is right. This has been spotted in the wild and the price is believed to be about $190 in China, which would be quite good for this sort of thing, it is like a low end netbook, but with less bulk and some lost functionality, so if you don't need to enter a lot of text it might be the better choice. A good video review of this device. 
- Engadget discusses what is the best small camera with good video. 
- A hand-held coil-gun that can be battery powered. A guide to building your own. 
- A long exposure view of roomba's cleaning path reveals some strange patterns. It would be neat if at some point it took the time to spell out "roomba"... 
- A side by side comparison of Flash and Silverlight. In July'09 Silverlight 3 introduced H.264 streaming with GPU support, which probably puts it ahead of Flash in video delivery. 
- Photo frames will soon get smarter as Android is being ported to some. 
- The Interead COOL-ER e-book reader looks a lot like an iPod Nano, and since it does not have any of the wireless functions of the Kindle it will be a lot less expensive (plus its smaller and lighter for the same size display). 
- The Sonix7 Media Pro PMP is made in England and beats the iPod Nano for features. 
- Another case of a web site being hacked and both the server and its backups destroyed. This happened to avsim.com (discussed here on Slashdot) in May'09. Again the lesson being taught is that backups must be external to the servers. It is also important (though this might not have been the issue here) that new backups do not immediately replace old backups, otherwise a few failed backups (or a few successful backups of a corrupted server) will wipe out any useful backup data. 
- The iUnika Gyy is a netbook that should end up costing about $176, it runs a 400MHz MIPS processor so no Windows XP here. 
- The OCZ Z-Drive is a high speed flash drive on a PCIe bus card. Initial tests are showing write speeds of up to 400MB/s. 
- The DisplayLink USB video adapter can now be used with OpenWrt to turn a small router box into a solid state PC. 
- Lancos Gamma Approximation.   
- Blurring an image by convolving with a Gaussian function.  
- Using Google Earth as an environment for a Ship Simulation game. Perhaps this will lead to a massively multi-player conquest game like RISK? 
- The MSI Wind U200 extends the netbook into laptop territory with its 12 inch screen. 
- Acer's easyStore AH340-UA230N is a 4-bay NAS for about $400. 
- An Australian lab has developed a technique for five-dimensional optical encoding that could allow a single DVD-sized disk to hold 1.6TB of information. This would be great for backup if they can keep the cost per disk below $100. 
- Engadget discusses portable photo storage and backup solutions. Though in these days of 2GB memory cards for $10 it is rather hard to make a good case for a separate device, why not just buy a few memory cards? If you are shooting HiDef video or want to view photos in the field then your best bet is probably a small laptop computer. 
- The Sharp RD-PM10 electronic dictionary would make a pretty neat webpad. 
- A new rechargeable battery technology that uses oxygen from the surrounding atmosphere to increase the capacity by up to a factor of 10. If this can be commercialized it would be a game-changing event for battery power, for example typical electric cars currently get a maximum rage on the order of 100 miles, with a factor of 10 this could reach 1000 miles which is more than almost anyone would drive in a day. This is called STAIR for St. Andrews Air. Engadget discusses it here. 
- Microsoft has revised its list of limitations for computer vendors to qualify for the Windows 7 Starter edition low-cost license. The key points seem to be that the screen sized cannot exceed 10.2 inches and the processors can only be single core, up to 2GHz and not use more than 15W. 
- The IdeaPad S12 from Lenovo pushes the envelop for the netbook market with its 12 inch 1280x800 display (driven by an Ion chip set), but if you don't mind the larger size and slight increase in weight it would be quite attractive at $449. A preview of this unit with some videos that demonstrate gaming and HD video performance, and a $499 price tag. 
- Here is another take on the idea of building computers into furniture, in this case a computer desk. Putting one in a desk drawer might be a good idea, then you could just pull out the drawer to change components. 
- The Toshiba Biblio e-reader stays with a regular LCD display, so potentially could be used for other tasks. 
- The Great Ethanol Scam, another take on the issue of adding ethanol to gasoline - this time the trouble it might be causing for the cars that use it. 
- HP is adding some more netbooks to its Mini line, these will have 10-inch screens and either 3 or 6-cell batteries, plus an optional enhanced video accelerator for 1080p video. Pricing to start as low as $279. 
- The Spider Camera Holster is a belt clip plus a attachment bolt for your camera's tripod hole, this allows the camera to be easily attached and removed from your belt. It's not a bad idea, I have an old SLR case (designed for an SLR with a short zoom or telephoto) that I often wear on my waist, this allows me to simply drop the camera into it when I'm done and pull it out quickly. It is also pretty comfortable to wear for hours at a time. 
- Some reviews and sample footage from the Canon VIXIA HF200 (a HiDef 1080i/p capable camcorder with SDHC flash card storage).
, this got down converted to SD. Probably about 300W of incandescent to illuminate a kitchen and dining area.
- Day and night, this was shot with the HF20 (which is the same thing as the HF200, except with some built-in flash storage), the day time shots are in a cactus garden, so there is a lot of sharp detail visible. It also gives you some idea of the depth of field on closeups. The night time views were probably shot during and after sunset. So provide a range of lighting levels. There also appears to be some use of the built-in video light to illuminate a child in the foreground of some of the shots.
- A discussion on low light performance on the AVForums.
- A positive review from infoSync. This one likes the low light performance:
Not only were video clips sharp and highly detailed, but noise levels were also minimal across the board, even in low light. In fact, there were some instances where we preferred the Vixia HF20's low light performances to the formidable Canon Vixia HF S10's.
and provides a few still samples of the low light performance.
- Camcorderinfo.com's review finds low light performance to be poor. It appears that the previous model (HF11) had a larger sensor and could reach 50 IRE in about 1/2 the illumination of the HF20.
- Google is planning to get into the e-Book market, discussed here on Slashdot and here on Engadget. 
- The O!Play HDP-R1 is a hidef media player from ASUS. The second version of it is called the HDP-R3 and adds in WiFi and a card reader. 
- Brando adds an HDMI and component video output to a hard drive docking unit. 
- A bunch of new netbooks are being introduced at Computex'09 including the Toshiba NB205, a bunch of products based on NVIDIA Ion, the Tegra-based Mobinnova elan, the ECS T800 running Android, and an Eee PC running Android on Snapdragon. 
- It looks like the film industry has lost another round in the battle over Cablevision allowing its customers to keep copies of the shows they want to watch on Cablevision's servers. 
- The Jolicloud OS is designed for social networking on netbooks. 
- HP has developed a new low-power reflective display system. This might become a competitor to e-Ink. 
- With an 11.6-inch screen the BenQ Joybook Lite U121 pushes the upper limits of the netbook form factor, but might be a great small laptop. 
- The LaCinema Classic Bridge is a media player from LaCie that can play media from a USB attached hard disk or from an internal (user-supplied) hard drive at 1080P resolutions. Priced at $99 it has HDMI and composite outputs but no component or S-video and no networking capability. 
- A mini-laptop made out of a PSP and 360 Chatpad. 
- Building a WiFi radio out of the ASUS WL-520gU router. Mentioned here on Engadget. This uses OpenWRT as the Linux operating system. It shows how to add a serial port to the router, uses it to drive an LCD display and uses a SYBA USB Stereo Audio Adapter to add the audio outputs. 
- An explanation of what the twisted txAMQP library is used for. Turns out this is a form of messaging middleware used in large business applications. carrot is another AMQP implementation for Python. The Electric Duncan waxes poetic about txAMQP in a three part discourse: part 1, part 2, part 3. Some more discussion about AMQP and the Python py-amqplib module, apparently JPMorgan Chase was the original developer of AMQP and Goldman Sachs is involved too. 0MQ is a similar (but simpler) thing. 
- A 7-inch Android-based webpad from Kinpo. 
- The Archos9 will be a Windows 7 based tablet with a 9-inch display, which will make it a pretty serious webpad if the price is right (though currently they are thinking of 450-500 euros). A longer look at the capabilities of this device is here. This is due to start shipping Oct 22nd with a US$499 price tag. It gets a brief review where it is found to be too big and too slow. 
- The Agility SSD range of drives from OCZ Technology are expected to bring the flash drive pricing down into the $300 (or less) range. 
- MakerBot Industries is selling their CupCake CNC rapid prototyping machine that builds parts out of molten plastic. Priced at $750 as a kit or $2500 ready to go. 
- The Compal KAX15 UMPC is a small device with an 800x480 display and a slide out keyboard. 
- The dMedia M0 is a pretty small webpad device, using a 4.3-inch 800x480 screen, but without a keyboard. It runs Windows CE. 
- Google's deal with the Authors Guild over out of print books is getting further scrutiny. This is now official. Buy Aug'09 various parties were having second thoughts about the Google Books Settlement, Slashdot discusses it. 
- The Econo-Keys EK-76-TP is a small portable keyboard that includes a track pad. There appear to be several things wrong with this: at $146 is is not economical, it is not an RF interfaced device (so is useless for HTPC applications) and the track pad is underneath the keyboard (although that may prove to be a brilliant idea once you get used to it). 
- Brando is selling a wireless HTPC keyboard with an integrated trackpad. Only problem with it is that it is full-sized so would be rather large to leave on the coffee table by the couch. Its a pity they don't make a trackpad version of their tiny keyboard with trackball, which at about 8 inches wide, is more appropriately sized. 
- The episode guide for Stargate Atlantis. 
- The J&W Minix 811 netbook is very thin and looks like it might be a decent competitor to the Eee and others. 
- The Palm Pre might be off to a good start with independent developers, with the root image of webOS leaking out, also here on Engadget. Apparently flashing new firmware onto the Pre is quite simple. A NES emulator and Doom have been ported to the Pre. Unfortunately Palm says the webOS SDK will not be available until the end of Summer - this reminds me of the early Amiga days when the ROM Kernel Manuals were a long time coming. Despite the lack of an SDK some developers have figured out how to install applications on normal Pre phones. Installing small apps can apparently be done through email. 
- Could the music industry's decline of sales be caused by the rise of the gaming industry? 
- Imagine a wall of electrical sockets. Now hook up your home theatre. Oh, but what to do about the UPS? 
- A Homeopathic cold remedy called Zicam (made by Matrixx Initiatives) which contains zinc is suspected of causing loss of the sense of smell, this is being investigated by the US FDA. 
- The Ion 330-BD nettop from ASRock appears to be a pretty capable small form factor device. It gets a positive review here. 
- The Guardian newspaper in the UK is looking to use crowd sourcing to dig up the dirt on MP's expenses (discussed here on Slashdot). A proposal to do something similar in the USA. This article goes into some depth about how they accomplished this and were able to role it out in a very rapid manner using Django (a powerful Python-based web framework) and Amazon's EC2 cloud of servers. 
- Slashdot discusses DIY biology, the next plague could come from your neighbor's garage lab. 
- The ASUS Eee 1005HA gets reviewed here and is found to be a good improvement over some of the other Eee netbooks. 
- Even students can get something done in the alternative energy sphere, this algae-powered energy system won a scholarship. 
- Laser activated brain cells have been created by splicing genes from light-sensitive algae into human brain cells. While this is being used to study brain function I can't help but think this would be useful for interfacing sensory implants. 
- Buffalo has made a 16GB flash drive in the super-small 5mm format that has been showing up recently in the Bluetooth module market. Talk about easy-to-loose drives! 
- The Mvix Ultio is an HD media player which can take an internal drive and has LAN connectivity for $179. Mentioned here on PhotographyBLOG as this sort of device would be useful as a digital slide projector. 
- The muvi micro DV camcorder is a small video camera that records to micro SD cards at 640x480 resolution for those who want to record while cycling or skiing etc. From the comments this is a rebranding of an existing camera. 
- ATT is going live with the TerreStar sat phone service after July'09, this will cover the whole of North America and Mexico with satellite coverage and the phone will switch to an available GSM network to save costs. Might be just the ticket for an emergency phone for those who wander beyond standard GSM coverage. This satellite was successfully launched on July 1st (talk about Canada Day fireworks!) and will be activating soon, it appears that coverage will be limited because of line-of-sight from the ground to the satellite, so it might not work if you are on the wrong side of a mountain (or shielded by a nearby building). 
- The OLPC Sugar on a Stick project is a special distro that can be installed to a USB drive to give you an OLPC Sugar computer, discussed here on Slashdot and here on Engadget. After a year this project reached version 3.0. 
- The PhotoFast CR-7100 MicroSDHC adapter will turn a micro SDHC card into a Type 1 CF card. 
- The Palm Pre SDK for webOS is leaking into the wild. 
- The VholdR ContourHD wearable HD camcorder gets tried by Engadget, with sample videos. 
- The orbit of the Sun around our galaxy is thought to have a connection to the periodic mass extinctions of species that occur about once every 62 million years. But there are others who think that it cannot be the cause of the 140 million year cycles in Earths climate. 
- The "deep-linking" issue may be returning in a different form, a US Court of Appeals judge thinks that linking to copyrighted material without consent should be illegal. 
- A new wave energy system being developed by Annette von Jouanne at Oregon State University is a simple design with much promise. It has a float (of course) that acts to raise and lower a magnet that moves within a wire coil that is fixed to the sea bed. In effect this is rather like one of those shake-a-light self-charging flash lights, but on a much larger scale. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- A 5-inch Android-powered webpad from Archos is due to be released on Sept 15, 2009. 
- The Solar Impulse HB-SIA is a solar powered plane that will make an attempt at flying around the globe. Now who'll be the first to drive across all the continents in a solar car? 
- Cell phone history data (including geographic position information from connection towers) is becoming more popular with crime investigators. 
- OCZ's next generation of SSD will be their Vertex Turbo drives which are expected to see read speed of 270MB/s and more importantly write speeds of 210MB/s. 
- As a side-effect of dismissing a class-action suit against Microsoft for violating privacy by collecting IP addresses a Judge has ruled that IP addresses are not personally identifiable. If you think about it, this sort of issue has been recognized in the past with radar camera issued speeding tickets, where the license plate cannot be used to identify the driver of the vehicle. 
- A new laser treatment appears promising for age-related macular degeneration, one of the most common forms of blindness. Kings College Hospital are using radiation beams as a treatment technique. 
- Google is planning to enter the netbook or webpad markets with its new Chrome OS operating system, it has some industry partners lined up. Engadget's Switched On column tries to make sense of this. 
- Samsung is going to produce the SpinPoint N3U, a 250GB drive that only has a USB interface. This is a potentially small cost saving measure for the external drive market, but when someone does this with USB3.0 the impact could be much more significant. 
- Hitachi's SimpleNet USB Drive Network Adapter allows you to attach two USB drives to a 10/100Mbit wired LAN for $79. 
- Not content with breeding fat mice scientists are now introducing genes from bacteria into mouse livers to convert fat to carbon dioxide. These genes have also been introduced into cultured human cells and found to do the same thing. What happens is an alternate metabolic pathway is introduced which prevents fats from being converted to sugars (for possible storage), rather they are converted directly to CO2. Now what happens to the energy produced by this? Do the cells get hot? Do Eskimos have this ability? 
- Android has been built for x86 processors and is now being packaged on a LiveCD. There is also the livedroid project which may have better networking support. To get new Android applications the Cyrket server might be of help. 
- A wooden computer workstation, probably non-functional but some WoodPunk somewhere will make a working one soon. An interesting idea that blurs the line between machine and furniture. Of course the little catalog browsing podiums that Chapters has installed based on Macs with a keyboard that is built into (and is flush with) their desktop surface are quite similar, just made from plastic and metal instead of wood. 
- Bill Gates has bought and put the Feynman physics lectures on line. 
- McDonalds is having a look at offering ChargePoint electric vehicle charging stations. 
- Will the hydrogen economy reek of urine? A possible source of hydrogen gas is from the electrolysis or urea, which takes less energy than water. 
- Disco is an implementation of the Monte Carlo UCT technique for playing the Game of Go.  
- The Plustek OpticFilm 7600i is a 35mm slide and negative scanner than has LED lighting and an infrared channel for dust and scratch removal. The 7600Ai version includes Silver Fast Ai Studio Software. 
- Weather Modification inc. is seeding storm clouds in the Calgary to Red Deer region of Alberta to reduce the damage caused by summer hail storms. They have some current radar information about what the recent conditions are and what they are doing about it. 
- Searching for solutions to the game "muggins" or "fives" that is played with dominoes.  
- The UK's National Portrait Gallery is in a copyright dispute over the rights to photographs of paintings that are old enough to be in the public domain. One way of looking at this is that a photographer has copyright over the pictures he takes, but if these are done in a "technically accurate" fashion then they would be just simple copies of the original, and hence, there would be no separate copyright on the copies. It appears that there may be some US laws that address this, but that it may not be the same in the UK. What fun! 
- Amazon has just demonstrated a good reason for not buying digital products that are DRM protected: they just remotely deleted every Orwell e-book that Kindle owners have purchased. 
- There are now at least two experimental drugs that seem to protect cells against radiation sickness. One is known as CBLB502 and the other gets discussed here on Slashdot. 
- Bill Gates (and others) are looking at stopping the formation of hurricanes by cooling the upper waters of the sea. Of course as soon as they do this it probably will have some unintended consequence of great impact, like reversing the Gulf Stream. 
- What happens when you cross a clock with a white board and an eraser brush? The Trace of Time clock erases deadlines as they pass. Now if only someone would add a pen to this as well so the clock can write new tasks too. 
- The MinMax algorithm in Python. This is an algorithm used to search the move space in complex games for minimizing the maximum possible loss.  
- In Trapped in Python Package; Send Food Jesse Noller talks about difficulties with Python package installations (primarily on OS/X and Fedora Linux) and how virtualenv can help address them. He also takes a look at building a python megapack package with all manner of useful things in it. 
- Engadget takes a stab at building an HTPC with Blu-ray for under $1000, in fact they suggest ways of building a less-capable machine for about $500. 
- Using the ETag feature of HTTP with Django to let the web client know that its copy of a page is still current. 
- Viewsonic is going to get into the media player market (and also offer some netbooks and nettops too). 
- The HTC Click is to be an Android powered phone, and for some reason an unlocked version is supposed to be reasonably (for a phone anyway) priced. Perhaps this sort of thing might make for a good replacement PDA for an old Palm user? 
- The M2TV from MediaGate is a media player that has 1080P output over component and HDMI. It looks to be going after WesternDigital's HD Media Player. 
- The medical community is starting to fight against certain types of medical patents. 
- Amazon has messed up on the Kindle's management of content a couple of times now, which is annoying some people. Amazon has apologized for how it handled the issue of forcing the return of copies of 1984. 
- More large wind farms are being proposed for Texas. This time Baryonyx is looking at a few sites capable of producing 750MW. 
- A new bio fuel production process claims up to about a factor of 10 improvement over current approaches, allowing it to reach 20,000 gallons of fuel per acre per year. 
- The RIAA doesn't have a problem with DRM rights servers ceasing to exist and thus orphaning the content you have purchased. Again, as a consumer, you need to watch out for DRM protected content. 
- To add to the confusion about Windows 7 pricing Microsoft has decided to offer a number of upgrade options, including a special family 3-pack offer. Some more licensing options are discussed here including student editions and special subscriptions like the Action Pack and BizSpark program (intended to get small businesses hooked on Office). 
- The OCZ Colossus line of SSDs will reach 1TB (if you have the cash!), still that's significant as it means that very soon SSDs will overtake conventional hard drive in capacity as well as speed. 
- In August 2009 Nikon announced the Coolpix S1000pj, a rather standard compact digicam with one major twist: it has a built in projector, capable of throwing whatever you've shot up onto a convenient surface at up to a 40 inch size. The days of the slide show are back! In all honesty I would prefer a small projector that could play photos from flash cards or a USB drive without needing a computer, but the Nikon is certainly very portable and cool. 
- In Aug'09 Sony announced two new e-book readers, to be priced as low as $199, which might open up the market a bit. Though I think we're going to need to see the $149 or even $99 price point before this market takes off. 
- A study by Siemens of the whole bulb life cycle (from manufacture to disposal) is showing that LED and compact fluorescent bulbs are now about equal in energy usage. They expect that LEDs will continue to improve in the future so should eventually use less total energy. 
- Sony's Party-shot IPT-DS1 is a automatic pan-and-tilt stand that turns a DSC-WX1 or DSC-TX1 camera into a snap-happy robot. Discussed here on Engadget. 
- A small wooden speaker with a built in MP3 player that can play from SD flash card or a USB drive. It even has a battery so it can act as a boom box. 
- The ChecfStack is an automatic pancake maker. Currently a rather expensive $3500, but with the speed products advance I expect to see this under $200 in 2011. 
- A new e-book reader called the EZ Reader Pocket PRO from Astak will be available at the $199 price point. I would expect that price to drop as Sony has also announced a reader for $199. 
- An article that outlines how flash drives store and erase data and a discussion of recent improvements on Slashdot. 
- The Samsung YP-R1 portable media player has a composite video output, though if the new Zune HD players will do both composite and hidef video output (and it looks like this is the case, but that you need to buy the optional $90 dock kit or $49 dock without cables kit to do so, raising the price to at least $270) Samsung is going to have a problem. 
- Windows 7 adds support for booting from virtual hard drives (hard disk images stored in VHD files). Some articles on this are:
- A comparison between the NVIDIA CUDA and ATI Stream GPGPU systems with a focus on the video transcoding problem. 
- Shaw Cable is blocking the firewire output on its hidef PVR boxes again. 
- The Nissan Leaf electric car is claimed to get an equivalent of 367 miles per gallon. The US DOE has a formula for calculation of the equivalent gallons of gasoline that a pure electric or hybrid vehicle would use, it is discussed here. Essentially what they do is to use a conventional vehicle dynamometer to measure fuel consumption in simulated driving (just like they do with any other vehicle) and then they take that measurement (which is actually in Watt-hours per mile) and convert it from an electric energy value (a Watt-hour is just 3600 Joules - which is a true energy unit) to a gallons of gasoline by using the factor 82049 Watt hours per gallon of gasoline (which would be 295.4MJ/gallon). The odd thing here is that published energy content for gasoline (also here) is about 45.8MJ/kg which would result in about 124.6MJ/gal... 
- Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is a Rogue-like dungeon game. 
- The legal limits of anonymity for bloggers are being defined in the US courts. 
- Lightning also shoots up into the high atmosphere. 
- Slashdot discusses ways to track stolen gadgets and some of the privacy issues that arise. 
- The Sharp PC-Z1 NetWalker might make for a good webpad and PDA. It runs Ubuntu Linux, a short video of it is here. It gets unboxed here and a first impressions review follows here. Sharp has a tablet only version called the PC-T1 as well. 
- Google has opened up access to a about a million public domain books in both PDF and EPUB formats. Their main site is books.google.com. Google is offering its scanned books to rival stores. It will also be teaming up with On Demand Books to print single copies as needed. Microsoft is calling the Google Books deal an illegal joint venture. It looks like the DoJ is not going to allow the settlement to pass without some changes being made. 
- So IKEA is owned by a charity and uses this to effectively reduce its take rate to about 3.5%, sounds a bit like the game of shell companies that Commodore used bake in the 1980's. 
- Protective wrappers for your tech toys, do you really need them? This article about the use of non-Newtonian goo in a product called iBand, while I don't believe that the small amount of material they are using in the iBand could really do much to protect something, the test video they have of an iTouch being thrown against a wall and dropped about 10 feet onto gravel is pretty impressive. The skeptic would suggest they just stopped the video and switched the shattered device with a good one... Still, if you can get your friend to demo it to you. Some more info on the d30 orange goo. 
- gasp is a simple procedural graphics API for Python. 
- Smartbook AG is attempting to defend the term "smartbook". I guess now that Nokia has talked about making a smartbook they want to get a slice of Nokia's pie. 
- Another comparison of 2.5 inch form factor SSDs, this time (Aug'09) all the devices have improved controllers and are getting read speeds in the 200MB/s range and even some write speeds in the 200MB/s range. 
- There is a way (maybe) to figure out which side of the vehicle the gas tank is filled from (apart from the obvious choice of sticking your head out the window and looking). Apparently the fuel symbol on your dashboard will have a hose on the correct side, or have an arrow that points to the side with the gas cap. Wonder what it looks like for a car with the gas cap located in the middle of the back of the car. 
- The Toshiba JournE (and here)looks like it might actually be a real webpad. Too bad its running WindowsCE. It might also have an IR port to allow to to be used as a massive remote control. 
- The Aegis Padlock Secure portable USB drive from Apricorn has a built in number pad for entering the pass code and does AES-128 or 256-bit drive encryption. They have updated their USB attached secure drive offering to include one based on an SSD drive. 
- brite-View's CinemaTube is a network capable media player that can do 1080p output. 
- The Garmin Edge 500 GPS brings a lot of power to the bicycle computer system, including heart rate monitoring and (if you can afford the sensor package) real time power measurement through something like the Quarq CinQo 
- Engadget liked the Wi-Fire long-range WiFi adapter, but a number of the comenters were not impressed by their experiences with it. 
- The YikeBike (discussed here on Slashdot) is a rather bizarre, folding electric bicycle. The short distance urban commuter market that they are trying to tap is real, lots of people would benefit from something like this (especially as you could carry the bike onto a train or bus without issue and you can take the bike into your office for storage) but this design is just too wacky (and expensive) to be of any use. Also, its an electric only solution - once its out of power you get off it and walk. Engadget gets a chance to take one for a spin, it just seems like a strange riding position! 
- How the music industry in Britain came up with their claimed figure of 11 million illegal file sharers (from a survey of 1176 households) and then got the government to cite this as an official statistic. 
- More patent madness, this time the US patent office has granted a patent on an e-book reader. 
- The Canadian Private Copying Collective is again pushing for a copyright levy to be collected on all iPods.  
- The US military is looking into an injectable brain gel, the idea being to help protect and then stimulate healing in the brain after trauma. Might also be useful for university students around exam times. 
- Netgear's EVA2000 Digital Entertainer Live is a network connected media player that can output to HDMI and composite video. It gets reviewed here, one drawback is it is only 720P capable. 
- The Sinchun UMPC-501 is a 5-inch tablet running XP that might become available at about $450. 
- New pictures from the Hubble after its 2009 repairs. Some really amazing sights! 
- Using a patent claim to gain access to Facebook's source code through the court system. I wonder if anyone has tried this on Microsoft? 
- A $358 million patent judgment against Microsoft has been overturned, though its not yet over as Microsoft was still found to be infringing but the damages were too large. 
- A pilot plant to transform plastic waste into fuel is being developed by Envion. Now all they need to do is to put this on a large barge and scour it Pacific Ocean's garbage dump for their plastic. 
- A rather nice case cabinet that allows a computer case to be disguised as an end table. Now if only Ikea would think about doing this sort of thing. 
- Microsoft has filed some civil lawsuits against some of the malvertisers - those who try to trick you into installing malware through online advertisements. 
- DFI will be releasing a motherboard that contains two systems, a conventional socket 775 Pentium system and an Atom-ION low power system, on the same motherboard. They also include a built in LAN and switch (so the two can communicate without additional hardware) and a KVM and USB port switcher. The general idea is that you can keep the low-power system always powered up to do long downloads and provide network services, and save on your power bills by only having the high-performance system powered up when needed. 
- Silicon Ink solar cells from JA Solar and Innovalight are supposed to be less expensive to manufacture and deliver up to an 18% conversion efficiency. Initial commercialization expected in 2010. 
- It is thought that gravitational waves may stretch and squeeze space as they travel through it, if this is true then this effect might cause distant pulsars to shimmer. 
- Carbon nanotubes could be used to make solar cells. 
- Silicon-free, semi-transparent solar panels that >a href="http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/21/colored-solar-panels-work-without-direct-sunlight-double-as-par/">use nanoparticles to gather light along the edges of the cell. Currently these are only about 12% efficient, but they are supposed to cost half as much as silicon cells to make. 
- MSI's MT-V656 will be a 3 inch PMP unit that should hit China at about $50, will MSI be making more variations of this with larger displays and WiFi? 
- Paraplegic rats have been trained to walk again, there appears to be a local control system in the lower spine that will move the legs, even with a damage spine. However the brain cannot control this, so its not a "cure". I wonder how much of our daily repetitive tasks are also handled in a similar manner: locally controlled with only minor supervision by the brain? Perhaps walking, running, climbing stairs or even things like touch typing? 
- Modern SATA hard drives are built to a set of standard block sizes which are available from a number of manufacturers. This generally makes replacing a failed drive in a RAID array (where the exact drive size must match) quite easy. However, some recent motherboard "features" may actually reserve some space on the hard drive to store a copy of the BIOS for backup purposes. When this happens the motherboard sends special commands to the hard drive to tell it to change its reported size so that regular operating system partitioning software will not see the reserved area (the so called Host Protected Area - HPA). This issue was discussed here when it showed up on some Gigabyte motherboards to do with their Virtual Dual BIOS. If you connect several drives to one of these motherboards you may find that only one of them gets its size changed (probably the one on the lowest numbered SATA port), so even identical drives may no longer be identical. 
- POWDER is a Rogue-like game, built for the Gameboy DS and later ported to other platforms. 
- Sept'09 saw the first USB product to get certified. 
- ESL, electron stimulated luminescence, may bring us light bulbs that are better than LED bulbs. 
- Poor Microsoft, can't even host a party these days without getting lampooned. 
- Honda is taking a kick at the electric unicycle idea, looks pretty neat. 
- The RAmos Android-based W7 MID looks interesting, it looks like there may be some other screen sizes too. 
- The CRTC is out to eliminate ISP competition by allowing the telephone companies to deny access to the infrastructure. This way back to the 80's. 
- Windows 7 Media Center will get support for the Copy Freely flag. This will go well with CableCard (such as the multi-stream tuners from Ceton Corp) being made available for the end-user to install. DISH Network may also be bringing out a tuner, which might be hooked up via a LAN connection. 
- Slashdot discusses scanning books for use on a PDA by photographing their pages using a camera and software to flatten the resulting images. From the Slashdot comments: Snapter is one such package. Make Online mentions a book scanner a project to build a books scanner from the instructables. A tutorial on stitching flat scanned images with Hugin. Prizmo is OCR software to do this sort of thing. Scan Tailor is a free software package. More discussion of book scanning here on Slashdot of a rather nice camera-based unit which can be found on diybookscanner.org. 
- The Zipit Z2 Wireless Messenger can now run a Linux distro. 
- An 800 megapixel view of the night sky roughly as the human eye can see it. 
- Another twist to copyright law, computer games have been found to be expressive works which allows them to include portraits of real people from things like sports. The NFL and NASCAR are going to be upset about this. 
- The ACER Aspire Revo is a nettop computer built around the NVIDIA Ion chip set for improved video performance. At $199 it is a pretty low-cost system. 
- Python: Aggregating function arguments talks about the various ways to call functions and how to receive and process those arguments. 
- The Smart Devices SmartQ5a is an Android-running MID priced at $199, may never get outside of China though. 
- GE has shown some 1TB holographic optical discs. But who knows when they might become real products? 
- Engadget talks about using a wireless PMP for audio streaming. Of course that's going to be hell on its battery, and a number of commenters suggest that the better approach is to leave the streaming up to a PC and use the PMP to control it instead. Apparently the combination of iTunes and an iPhone or iTouch running remote control software will do the job well. 
- Gyroscopes are showing up everywhere, now you can replace the training wheels on a kid's bike with a special front wheel that contains a gyroscope. Well its pretty simple really, its just a wheel with another wheel inside of it (covered for safety) that is kept constantly spinning by an electric motor. All it really does is to replicate the normal gyro stabilization that bicycle wheels produce once they are turning quickly enough, but it does so at a low road speed allowing the novice rider to stay upright more easily at low speeds when they are learning to ride. Heck, the Steam Punks could build one of these with a clock work, coil spring driven, mechanism and you'd use a big brass key to wind it up before each use. Now that would be awesome! 
- Dow Chemical will be making easy to install POWERHOUSE solar roofing shingles. These will start to reach the US market in mid-2010. 
- the HP Mini 311 is an ION-based, large (11-inch screen and 3.2 pound weight) netbook that has much-improved graphics performance. 
- The UK wants to open up access to their CCTV cameras to the general public who will catch criminals and win cash prizes for doing so. 
- The argument against flattening lists: if you need to do this you've built your list wrong. 
- This is not a webpad but two screens on a laptop would be great. 
- With Security Essentials Microsoft dips its toe in the muddy waters of virus detection, mocked here on Slashdot. 
- In Oct'09 T-Mobile's Sidekick users lost their data because of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger (I guess a name change to Microsoft/Safe will be on its way soon). This calls into question the practice of trusting your data to the cloud. Slashdot discusses the Sidekick issue here and has another discussion of problems with cloud storage here. It looks like the finger of blame is being pointed at outsourcing. Microsoft may be able to recover this lost data. Looks like most of the data has been recovered. 
- Fuel from algae may be a decade or more away (getting to sound like nuclear fusion). 
- The Robin returns, now BMW is looking into a 3-wheeler. 
- This probe could be crawling around inside your guts soon. 
- The BeBook Mini is a nice, no-frills, e-book device for about $199. 
- A kilometer-long gun could be used to fire payloads into orbit. 
- AmigaOS continues to struggle on, it looks like the last lawsuit over it may finally be put to rest. 
- The year 2010 will bring us the Google Editions ebook store. 
- How to connect a PS/2 keyboard to an iPhone. 
- A group of execs from IBM, Intel and the Galleon Group hedge fund have been arrested for insider trading. 
- Carbon monoxide could be useful as a medical treatment in some diseases (like malaria), controlling inflammation and in reducing organ transplant rejection rates. 
- Will Google be launching a music service too? 
- The Dell Streak is a 5-inch Android-based MID. This sort of thing might stand a chance against the iPhone for those looking for a larger display for mobile web work. This has a dock that can output HDMI video. 
- The World of Goo is a remarkable dynamic puzzle game, somewhat like the classic Lemmings. In October'09 they did an experimental sales promotion, discussed here on Slashdot. 
- Toshiba is finally releasing its Dynario fuel-cell battery replacement and charging device. This is a direct methanol fuel-cell system.  
- Nokia wants a piece of the iPhone pie, and they are suing Apple for patent infringement to get it. Engadget takes a closer look at what may be happening here. 
- The Entourage eDGe combines a netbook with and e-reader to give us a portable dual-monitor device. This gets a bit more coverage here. And some more coverage here. A hands on is here. 
- The ODROID is an Android-base hand-held device with WiFi. 
- The Google Translator gadget can be added to your website to provide on-demand translation. 
- The Evil Maid attack against encrypted file systems - pretty much amounts to: if you leave your laptop anywhere there is a chance someone could install some sort of key logger on it, and then you're toast. 
- Well done Dell! Dell has made one of its parking lots "green" by installing solar panels that also act as sun shields for the cars parked below. There is a lot of space in parking lots around the world, lets hope others follow suit. 
- How to turn a Dell Mini 10v into a Snow Leopard Netbook, a good Hackintosh experiment. Looks like Apple is intentionally making OS X not run on Atom chips, this gets further discussion here on Slashdot. A good video that shows how well a Dell Mini 9 works as a hackintosh. A hack to allow OS X to run on Atom chips has been released (and according to the comments there are some other approaches that work too). 
- The GlideTV Navigator is a remote control touchpad device aimed at HTPC use, though at $150 its pretty pricey. Another approach might be to use an iPod Touch running a remote control app to do the same sort of thing. 
- So who's flying the plane these days? The case of a Northwest Airlines pilot and his copilot so lost in discussion of "scheduling software" that they went 150 miles off course. 
- Could e-book lending make libraries popular? One thing's for certain, it would make returning books much easier and eliminate overdue fines - just preset the loaned license to expire on the return date. 
- ReVolt is looking at starting production of small capacity zinc-air batteries in 2010 which are to have more than double the energy density of lithium cells and cost less. 
- ASUS is thinking of launching a $180 ARM-based smartbook in Q1 of 2010. This could be $30-50 cheaper than any current netbook just by dumping the Windows tax, and it can probably be another $30-50 cheaper by reducing the size of the battery pack since an ARM chip uses less power than an Atom. So the sub-$200 price is feasible without a quality sacrifice. If they stick with the $199 price point they are going to sell a LOT of these. 
- In Oct'09 ASUS became the first to ship a mother board and an expansion card with USB3.0 and SATA 6G. The P7P55D-E motherboard has two USB3.0 ports and their U3S6 controller card can add another two USB3.0 and two SATA 6G connectors to a PCIe 4x card slot. Discussed here on Slashdot. While the SATA 6G does not give much of a performance boost the USB 3.0 connection gives performance improvements from 3 to 5 times over USB 2.0 connected external hard drives - which would be a significant boost for people who use external hard drives for backup storage. 
- Sanyo's Eneloop batteries are supposed to maintain up to 70% charge after 3 years of storage and last 1500 charge cycles. Engadget has mentioned these a number of times, including this comparison review. 
- Isomyr is an isometric gaming engine for Python based on Pygame. 
- Bridgestone could become a significant player in the e-book / e-reader marketplace in 2010 with their Liquid Powder flexible, colour, display technology. 
- Super Talent introduced the first USB 3.0 flash drive in Nov'09. 
- A man in the middle attack against SSL/TLS has been discovered. More coverage here. 
- The VMP70 from ViewSonic is a 1080P capable media player (without network support) for less than $100. 
- Motorola looks to be getting into the Android-powered MID game. 
- Engadget tried out the PowerGenix NiZn rechargeable batteries and liked them a lot. Note these have a higher peak voltage than normal NiMH batteries. 
- The BoEye MID700 might make for a nice webpad, especially if they can make the $300 price that is being talked about. 
- Windows 7 may not be good for battery life, some tests with the commercial version are showing it drains a laptop's battery in 16% less time than Windows XP. 
- The Sony S-Frame DPP-F700 (see here also) combines a digital photo frame with a printer, which might be a good thing for someone who does not have a computer in the house.  
- Seagate thinks that conventional hard drives will remain the cheapest form of mass storage for at least the next decade (say to 2020). 
- Altera makes FPGAs and offers a USB attached BeMicro evaluation board and software. 
- The Vega tablet will be running Android 2.0 on Tegra and in 7, 11 and 15 inch sizes for a mystery price. 
- Origin's Data Locker encrypted external hard drives. 
- Patriot's Box Office is a 1080p media player with LAN support for about $130. 
- The HD8800 is a PMP with a 4.3 inch display that has 1080p output capability as well. 
- The iFrame will be an Android-based 7-inch touchscreen tablet from Hikari. 
- The X02 Urban Transformer is an electric scooter that can be folded for storage or transport. This is to be build by XOR Motors. 
- If you really want a portable electric mobility device (EMD) then perhaps an battery-powered skateboard would be you thing? 
- The Viewsonic VPD400 and VPD500 are PMPs with 4 and 5 inch screens. These have some component video hidef output capabilities. 
- It is now possible to run Chrome OS in a virtual machine to have a play with it. Discussed here on Slashdot too. A version of this that boots and runs from a USB key has been prepared and appears to be well-received. A reduced size version that will fit on a 1GB USB key. 
- Some of the market pundits (such as Nouriel Roubini) are not doing very well calling against the 2009 bull market, while others like Thomas Lee (here and here) are getting the trend. 
- OCZ is trying to outrun Intel with their new Colossus SSD, this appears to have a RAID-0 set up inside to give it extra speed (also here on Slashdot. 
- Microsoft's Windows 7 Media Center now supports digital cable tuners, so if you have CableCARD you can record on your PC.  
- The ASUS Eee PC 1005HR has a 10.1 inch display with 1366x768 resolution, which makes display of web pages a lot nicer than the previous 600 pixel high displays. 
- TI's eZ430-Chronos is a wireless development platform that is contained in a sports watch, and at $49 might become a popular toy. 
- The ProFORMA software from Cambridge does 3D scanning using images from a stationary webcam. More details about this here and here on Slashdot. 
- Microsoft and Murdoch's News Corp are looking to take all the News Corp material off of the Google search system and bring it to Bing exclusively. Obviously News Corp is going to receive compensation from Microsoft (who want to do this to attack Google), but maybe Microsoft has other plans: perhaps the loss of search traffic will hurt News Corp even more, depressing its value and allowing Microsoft to acquire it for a song... Slashdot discusses an article about this that suggests that Murdoch may be trying to instigate a rebellion amongst publishers to get them to shut out Google as a group. Gaming theory calls this the Prisoner's Dilemma. 
- A new Wireless USB Keyboard and Touchpad has started appearing on a number of gadget merchant sites. Brando has it for $60. This could make a very nice HTPC remote control device. A review of it is here. 
- Plasma might be useful in eliminating bacteria from surfaces, skin and wounds. Further discussion here on Slashdot. 
- Norway's Statkraft is attempting to use osmotic pressure developed across a membrane between fresh and salt water to create electric power. More on this here. 
- Engadget looks at how to get music, video and photos off your iPod or iPhone and back onto your computer. 
- The Top Gear team from the U.K. takes a home-made electric car for a test drive. Certainly a project worthy of a win in Junkyard Wars!  
- The British national DNA database now contains 5 million DNA profiles, and a claim has been made that their police have been making arrests just to gather DNA samples. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- Could algae hold the key to ultra thin batteries? 
- The Imaging Source is now selling CCD cameras for astrophotography equipped with gigabit ethernet and capable of exposures from 60 seconds to 1/60th of a second. 
- I wonder why Apple never put an infrared receiver and transmitter in the iPhone/iTouch, as with it they would make very nice universal remote controls. You can "fix" this problem with the RedEye base which the iPhone talks to via WiFi and the base then sends the appropriate infrared controls to your home theater system. But still, its not a portable system and it costs nearly $200, to provide functionality that was standard in earlier PDAs like the Palm and probably costs about $0.25 to manufacture. An IR dongle type attachment (along with a universal remote application) has been announced, of course this probably makes more sense for use with the iTouch. The L5 iPhone IR dongle was shown at CES 2010. Logitech has released an app for the iPhone that turns an iPhone into a wireless trackpad or keyboard - this might make the iTouch a rather nice HTPC remote controller. The New Potato's FLPR IR dongle is another IR controller for about $80. The RedEye mini will bring the IR remote dongle down to about $49, it gets reviewed here. The i-Got-Control IRB1 is another entry into this market. 
- There appear to be some loop holes in the legal system in the US that are allowing seemingly large amounts of cell phone GPS data to be collected by law enforcement (and perhaps other parties). Discussed here on Slashdot, here on Wired and here is the EFF's take on the matter. Now that Sprint has a web interface for this one wonders if a lot of these requests are happening without the appropriate authorization, perhaps once one is granted access for a case then Sprint does not get in the way of you checking any phone's movements? The potential for this sort of monitoring is pretty amazing, especially if one can get the numbers that a particular phone calls or receives calls from and then trace the movements of those phones. Or perhaps one could do a time and space bounded query: "give me all the phones that were in a 2 block radius of this location between the hours of interest on this date". Yup, big brother is watching you now. 
- Slashdot discusses adding additional headers and error correction codes to files to protect against bit rot. I would prefer an approach that builds this into the file system so that everything on a disk partition that is formatted this way is protected. 
- Touchscreen gloves that you can use your iPhone with may be as simple as a bit of gold thread. 
- The LifeBook UH900 is another mini with a 5.6 inch screen that would be nice and portable, but probably on the pricey side. It appears to be available now for about US$850. 
- Now that CableCARD systems are finally becoming more accessible it looks like the FCC is admitting CableCARD is a failure. 
- Western Digital is going to start introducing hard drives that are formatted with 4K byte sectors rather than the current 512 byte sectors in 2010. This will apparently allow for improved error correction while slightly increasing storage density. This will potentially cause a performance issue for Windows XP (and older systems) due to these older Windows versions creating the first partition in a way that it is misaligned to the 4K blocks on the drive (sort of an off by one type error). WD has two solutions for this, one is they provide a jumper on the drive that can compensate for the off by one misalignment (but it is only good for drives with a single partition) and the other is a utility that will realign the partitions on the drive. More discussion here on Slashdot. The first of these drives from WD will have "EARS" as part of the model number. An article about the issues with these 4K sector drives causing bad performance under Linux, both the Reiser and EXT3 file systems can have severe slow downs on writing small files if these drives are not installed correctly at the current time. 
- The CRTC are going to allow Globalive to enter the Canadian cell phone market. 
- ThinkElectric an electric car start up in Norway got shutdown, now it might be restarting. Looks like this is going to ship in New York in 2010. 
- Could the ASUS Eee Pad be coming soon? More rumors on this, including NVIDIA Tegra. More rumors about this, perhaps it will be shown at Computex in June'10 with a sub-$500 price point (all of that will change when the iPad enters the scene shortly). 
- Dell might be entering the tablet wars. 
- The Libre eBook Reader PRO from Aluratek is an e-reader device that is built around a monochrome LCD rather than an e-ink display, this gives it a much lower $179 price and faster page refreshes. Maybe this might have an open source software core? 
- The H2O Audio case turns your iPod nano 5G into and underwater camcorder. Now if only the nano had a good still photo mode. 
- The Lisse H10 from MyRacer is a 5-inch PMP with a 1280x720 display and an HDMI output. 
- The Barnes and Nobel Nook got dissected and rooted by NookDevs within days of shipping. What's rather neat about this hardware is that they are using microSD cards (rather than built in flash chips) to store the operating system and any user-downloaded data. This makes modifying the system somewhat easier as you can just pull out the microSD card to read/write it with a PC. The 1.1 update to the Nook firmware does not affect the first rook hack.  
- Wind Mobile has just entered the Canadian cell phone market place. One thing they are offering is free calling between Wind phones within their "home zone" areas (which currently are just Calgary and Toronto). They also offer an unlimited data plan and are upfront about telling you that if you use more than 5GB a month they will throttle your connection (but won't shut you off or charge you more). 
- CherryPal are producing a $99 netbook called Africa, this is going to run Linux or Windows CE on a 400MHz ARM processor with 256MB of RAM and a 7-inch display. That price is going to turn some heads. This kept inexpensive by assembling it from odd lots of inexpensive components. Augen is selling a $99 smart book called the GenBook 74 through Kmart in the US which looks very similar to the CherryPal unit. 
- If the supervolcano in Yellowstone park ever blows we're not going to have to worry about green house gasses. 
- The ICD Ultra will be an Android 7-inch tablet, perhaps with a $249 price tag. 
- The Cowon V5 HD is a 5-inch PMP with 720P video playback and output to HDMI and composite video. 
- 2009 saw the small form factor PC niche expand a bit with the nettop computer category, such as the Viewsonic VOT132 which has an ION chip set for 1080p video. 
- Sandia National Laboratories are experimenting with very small solar cells. More discussion here on Slashdot. 
- Yes, it is now possible to (somewhat) develop applications for the iPhone using Python. The game "Elephants!" was coded in tinypy, translated into C++ and then compiled with Xcode for the iPhone. 
- Finally, a way of working an iPhone from a Bluetooth keyboard - right now only for jailbroken phones. 
- The OLPC outfit is showing us what 2012 might bring, with their XO-3 tablet-like computing device. Certainly looks very nice. 
- A stem cell treatment where healthy cells from one eye were grafted into the other eye has been used to treat limbal stem cell deficiency. 
- In Canada "responsible communication on matters of the public interest" can be used to defend against claims of defamation and bloggers are now eligible for this protection.  
- At the end of 2009 Lenovo started selling an oddly shaped RF wireless mini keyboard (model 57Y6336with built in trackball and multimedia controls. This looks like it might be a good design for the HTPC system. 
- A new tablet called Adam from Notion Ink which is supposed to use a Pixel Qi low-power display is being developed in India for a June'10 release. The $321 price tag sounds a bit high for the Indian marketplace though. 
- Looks like Google may be going to sell some netbooks that run Chrome OS directly.  
- Looks like 2010 will be the year of the HiDef PMP, the iToos M6HD will output at 1080i (and has a 1360x768 4.3 inch display) for less than $90. 
- The Fujitsu MH380 looks like a nice 10 inch netbook. 
- The NorhTec Gecko Surfboard is a keyboard PC, so I guess that makes it the ultimate SFF PC. At $99 for the Linux version its certainly in the impulse buy range and has an Xcore86 1GHz processor with 512MB of RAM. Might make for a reasonable kitchen PC. 
- The Camangi WebStation is a 7-inch Android tablet, it gets unboxed here and found to be sluggish here. 
- The Popbox is a follow on from the Popcorn Hour media player. 
- The ARM processors could bring us smaller (lighter and thinner) netbooks (or smartbooks) with good battery life and at reduced prices. 
- The iConnect from Iomega allows you to connect up to 4 USB drives or printers to your LAN. 
- How to add the Apple in-line headphone remote control to a set of regular headphones. 
- A look back at the Amiga along with some of the active projects for it in 2010. I still miss custom screens, SMART_REFRESH and windows that do not pop to the front as soon as you click in them. 
- A bio-printer could be used to assemble replacement tissues. 
- Paradigm Shift is selling 5 and 7 inch e-book readers based on conventional colour LCD displays, it looks like the 7-inch unit will work as a webpad and PMP too. 
- A slight twist on the smartbook, this prototype has a detachable screen that works as a tablet, or perhaps it is a tablet with a keyboard docking station? Generally I like the idea of a netbook type device that can either convert into a tablet by rotating the screen or just pulling the screen off altogether. 
- A number of "secure flash drives" that claim NIST certification to the FIPS 140-2 standard have been found to be easily cracked. Turns out that while they may actually use AES 256 bit encryption inside the way the password authentication is done can be trivially bypassed so that any of these drives can be unlocked without the correct password. Schneier discusses it here. NIST is investigating this issue. The known vulnerable drives are:
- Kingston DataTraveler BlackBox
- SanDisk Cruzer Enterprise FIPS Edition
- Verbatim Corporate Secure FIPS Edition
- Cannondale is experimenting with real-time control of bicycle suspension systems, using an accelerometer to pre-sense the road surface (in the short time when the tires are reacting to the bump) and a computer controlled valve system to adjust the shock absorber. This way they can give you a firm ride that will still soak up a bad bump. It is also a lot easier to "tune up" this shock absorber for the desired ride characteristics. Downside is that it is currently a heavier system (not to mention it will need battery power), but that will improve with time. 
- Another case of a stolen electronic device turning in its captors. This time the photo backup service of an Android phone delivered photos of the crooks. 
- Wind Mobile is saying that they will provide customers with phone unlock codes after 3 months. 
- The Light Tough from Light Blue Optics is a laser projected, touch screen system that can project a computer display onto a flat surface (such as a desk top) and then track touch interaction with it. 
- An interesting twist in the application of virtualization software: Iomega's v.Clone turns you computer into a portable, bootable virtual image, so you can take its spirit with you, use it on a foreign computer and then when you return synchronize the changes back. 
- Looks like Monsanto's GMO corn may not be safe for rats to eat, causing liver and kidney damage after only 90 days of feeding. 
- The Korg Kaossilator Pro - I don't know what it is and I wouldn't know how to use it, but I want one! Knobs, buttons, flashing lights, MIDI, USB, audio jacks, SD cards, wow!  
- One curious outcome of the attacks on GSM cellphone encryption that were published around the start of 2010 is that the GSM association actually moved to a weaker encryption algorithm (called KASUMI) from the previous MISTY algorithm. 
- Aceeca is trying to release (in 2010) some PalmOS based PDAs. 
- Hexxeh has been producing various ChromiumOS builds, discussed here on Slashdot and here on Engadget. 
- The Trexa EV development platform is a complete chassis, drive train and suspension system for building electric vehicles on. Now if this sort of thing got adopted by a few manufacturers and picked up by the kit car market, things could get really interesting, fast! 
- When blood from young mice was mixed into older mice the bone marrow stem cells of the old mice were rejuvenated. The cause of this is not yet known. 
- A new electrode design could result in lithium-ion batteries that can handle 10,000 charge cycles. 
- The ExoPC Slate is a webpad with an 8.9 inch screen that runs Windows 7. A look at its hardware is here. This is now expected in the Summer of 2010. 
- Unity is a programming system and engine for writing 3D games with the ability to publish to the PC, Max OS X, web browsers, iPhone and Wii (xbox 360 support is in the works). In Oct'09 they changed their licensing to < href="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/25840/InDepth_Unity_Launches_Free_Option_Announces_Xbox_360_Support.php">introduce a free license for developers who make less that $100K/year. 
- It is possible to control a Lego Mindstorms robot from an Android smart phone like the HTC Hero. 
- A study of 60,000 people in Singapore over 14 years looked to see what health risks might be associated with soft drinks. They found an 87% increase in the rate of pancreatic cancer among those who drank soft drinks. This is thought to be caused by sugar. 
- Skewworks is making an operating system for the Arduino that can provide a GUI interface. Not really that amazing since the Arduino processor is probably way faster than the old 6502. 
- The Dell Mini 5 is a small Android-based webpad, might be a good choice for those who think the Apple iPad is too large or restrictive, or who want something bigger than an iPhone. Engadget takes a look at this and rather likes it. 
- The Chuck Norris botnet is attacking weakly secured routers, DSL modems and even satellite TV receivers. Given that devices like DSL modems and cable modems are often only configured by the ISP there's a good chance for poor practices on the ISP's part (like using one user name and password on all of the modems it controls) to lead to massive hacks. Even though this attack is only against the router or modem, there is a nasty issue here in that a compromised router could be set to divert DNS look-ups to a bad DNS server which could serve up the wrong IPs for the some common internet services (like Facebook or some of the advertising suppliers) which could divert the user's browser to sites that try to install malware. 
- Bank card skimmers have been found hiding in gas pumps at 180 service stations in Utah. 
- Pixel makes a number of remote control devices for DSLRs, including the LV-WI Wireless Live View Remote Control which allows you to compose the photograph on the remote display. They also have some timer/remote control devices and have an interchangeable connection system so you can change the connector cable to suit your camera. 
- The Bloom Box is a fuel cell system (discussed here on Slashdot) that is being put to test by a number of companies in the US. Current prices are rather high so it does not make much economic sense, the hope is that its cost can be significantly reduced in the future. The Bloom Box compared to solar. 
- The HP Mini 210 HD gets reviewed by Engadget. They rather like it, though HD video playback only works properly with the included player. Unfortunately this unit only has VGA output. 
- Mozilla debates whether to trust the Chinese certificate authority. An interesting debate because a compromised certificate authority could facilitate attacks against SSL connections. 
- The US military has been testing a trash to fuel system built by Green Power Inc that sounds rather promising. Green Power has been given the green light to build a commercial trash-to-gas plant in Washington. 
- ARCHOS is getting ready to introduce some new 7 inch Android-based PMP / FDA / MID style tablets. The first announcement is here and then this article refers to them as the Archos 7 Home Tablet and Archos 8 Home Tablet. The Archos 7 Home Tablet is due to ship in June 2010. Engadget takes a look at the Archos 7 Home Tablet but finds it somewhat lacking, still for $199 it might be a good choice for some users. 
- A new type of solar panel made from silicon wires embedded in plastic has been developed. Initial reports claimed a very high conversion efficiency, but a later article corrects this back to the 15-20% range. Further discussion here on Slashdot. Still these panels may be much less expensive than current designs as they only require 1% of the silicon that a conventional cell would use and as they are flexible could be manufactured in a high-volume roll-to-roll process. 
- The Tata Nano EV will be an electric version of the Nano for the Indian market, this should lead to a melt down of the Indian electric grid. 
- The Rii Mini Wireless Keyboard combines both a small keyboard and a touch pad for mouse control in a small format that makes sense for the home theatre PC. It is about the size of a larger remote control. 
- Artificial photosynthesis from Sun Catalytix is looking at a better way of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using a cobalt-based catalyst. 
- Will 2010 be the year of the tablet? At CeBIT low end tablets are appearing aimed at a price point of about $100. Apparently more than 50 ARM-based tablets are currently in preparation, so the later parts of 2010 could see a lot of activity in this market sector. I'm guessing that manufacturers are looking at this "new" segment and thinking they had better not miss it like the early days of the netbook segment which allowed ASUS to run away with that market. It looks like Toshiba is thinking along the same lines and is getting back into this market segment. 
- Gas and electric utilities are starting to get worried about the amount of wind power that is coming on line in the USA. 
- The MD500 Android tablet from Hott might make it to market in the $100-130 range. If it does then it is sure to have a big impact. 
- The ASUS Cine5 is a compact five-channel speaker for smaller rooms. 
- An article that looks at how the various components of a desktop PC contribute to power consumption. 
- The Telava 3G Broadband Bullet is a 3G modem that comes without a long term contract - you can use one for a month at a time, which would be nice if you are traveling to another country and you need good data access. 
- MSI will be selling the Air Keyboard a wireless keyboard that uses motion sensors to control the mouse. One article says it is 14.2 x 8.8 inches, which is a lot larger than the photos of it look. 
- The case against vaccine induced Autism continues to get stronger. 
- Marvell (the chip maker) is looking at building a $99 Moby Tablet that would have a 10 inch screen and be capable of running 1080p video. Of course they are following the ridiculous idea of the OLPC people of only selling this into education, while they could sell tons of them if they sold to the general public. The Hanvon Touchpad BC10C sounds pretty similar to this except its running a 1.3GHz Celeron and they are looking at $877 for it (but it does have an HDMI port). Marvell is getting closer and will be showing off a 10-inch Android tablet soon, some photos of it are here. 
- YouTube versus Viacom copyright fun that'll take the courts some time to figure out who really did what to whom and for how long. Guess Google is just going to have to buy up all the copyright holders to settle this. 
- A new version of the Arduino, the Arduino Nano 3 makes things smaller, faster and more easily used. 
- For $155 the Enso zenPad is probably the least expensive Android-based tablet yet. Its a small device built around a five-inch 800x480 display (so the same resolution as the Google Nexus One phone). Looks like this one is vaporware. Or maybe not vaporware, but just disappointing. 
- It is possible to perform hydrolysis to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen gas using zinc oxide crystals and mechanical vibration. I would not think this can produce significant amounts of power, but perhaps the crystals can be used in a more effective way? 
- The Google Nexus One Phone does work on Virgin Mobile in Canada. As of 26-Mar-2010 I was able to successfully connect my (ATT/Rogers style) Nexus One to the Virgin Mobile network in Calgary, Canada. It runs fine and with the data plan activated it works over the 3G (HSDPA) network quite nicely. Getting connected was much more painful than it needed to be. Here's the story:
- It all started when I heard from a couple of friends that the unlocked Nexus One was now available to Canadians and that they had taken the plunge. So I did a bit more research and found that there were now two variants: one (the AWS version - for "3G on T-Mobile USA") would only work on the Wind network in Canada and the other ("compatible with 3G on ATT and Rogers Wireless") should work on Rogers, Fido, Telus, Bell and Virgin. I ordered the ATT/Rogers version because it offered me more carrier choices in Canada.
- After researching the various carrier offerings (and rediscovering that the thinly-disguised monopolistic cell phone price fixing conspiracy was still alive and well in Canada) I decided to stick with Virgin Mobile where I already had a pre-paid phone.
- I then called Virgin's support to see if they thought the Nexus One was compatible, they confirmed that the specifications were a match and stated that: as this was not a "supported phone" they could not guarantee data would work. They said when I got the phone to take it to one of their stores and get hooked up using their GSM SIM card.
- I then paid a visit to their North Hill mall booth (they don't really have "stores" just booths in Calgary) only to be told "they only do CDMA phones". Of course Virgin has only recently begun handling GSM/3G type phones, but you'd think their staff training would have mentioned the fact that now they are carrying the iPhone and offering SIM cards and that they had joined the GSM/3G service crowd (like the rest of the Virgin operations around the world). I also visited the Bell booth (Virgin runs on Bell's network in Canada and shares network towers with Telus, competing with Rogers and Fido) and they were ready to try right away.
- Undaunted I called Virgin service the next day, reconfirmed that the phone would work and that I would be able to port my pre-paid phone number and remaining balance to the new plan and then settled back to wait for DHL to deliver the phone.
- Once the phone arrived I returned to the Virgin booth, this time it was staffed by someone who did know that they did more than CDMA, so we got set to the task of hooking up. After about 15 minutes of credit check, verifying that the phone's IMEI number was listed in their database as compatible (for the 3rd time!) we got to the part where they scan in the SIM card's number and associate the phone by its IMEI number. At this point we got a rather odd error from their system saying something like "the SIM card is incompatible with the selected plan". The salesman called his support line and they got the same error and after a few minutes they just gave up. The salesman gave it another shot (this time starting as if I did not have an existing account, in case the pre-paid legacy account was messing things up) and even used a different SIM, but still got the same error. As I was running late, I just called it a day and left.
- The next morning I called Virgin support and told them what had happened, they went through the same registration process (again checking the IMEI for compatibility) and ran into the same error (using a SIM card on their end as I had been unable to purchase one). This time support called their support, and after a few minutes on hold, they returned to say they had got around the error and we could proceed, but that I would have to now buy a SIM card from one of their stores. However, all the account stuff had been done and I had a new (non-working) phone number and once I had the SIM I was to call back and they could complete the process.
- So at lunch time I went SIM shopping, its just a little $5 card that all the Virgin retailers carry and there are several a short ways from my office, so I checked stock levels at The Source (as the Virgin Booth is further away) and walked over. On my way I passed "The Telephone Booth" which had a big Virgin Mobile display at the front of their store, so I went in and asked for a SIM, they wanted $42 for it (unless I registered through them) so I resumed my search for The Source.
- At The Source they said no problem, they had the SIMs but needed to check the phone first, so they checked the IMEI against the database and then got out their "test SIM" (which was from Bell), popped it into the phone and declared it good. So then they proceeded to sell me the Virgin SIM, but at some point in the checkout process they have to have a Virgin Account number (to sell the SIM against), so they wanted to go through the registration process (again!). I told them this had already been started and it was on hold pending purchase of the SIM. They called Virgin, and after about 10 minutes of back and forth (and another IMEI check, credit card check and photo ID recheck) they got the account number out of Virgin and were able to complete the sale. All in all, about 25 minutes to make a $5 sale - how do these guys stay in business?
- Later that day, SIM in phone, I call Virgin back again to resume the process. After about 10 minutes on hold I get an operator and after a brief description of what I need to do she decides another department needs to handle the call, so back on hold. After about 30 minutes more on hold I hang up and call back to the support line again, this time I get through and after about 5 minutes we have completed the next step. The SIM and the IMEI are now associated! So now I have to power off the phone, pull out the SIM, reinsert it, power up the phone and then wait for 2 hours for the phone and network to connect up and then call them back to finish the data configuration step.
- After 2 hours I check the phone and the it appears to be on the GSM network (I don't see any 3G indicator), I can make a phone call with it and I have received two text messages from Virgin welcoming me to the party. Things are looking good, so I call them up, wait for about 15 minutes, talk to someone in support who curtly tells me the phone is not supported by them so 3G ain't going to work, your phone's only going to do what its doing now, goodbye. I hope Virgin reviews their call recordings on that one... Muttering to myself I dig through my accumulated net-searches on Virgin 3G lore and find this helpful article where the author reports the same sort of grief. He mentions that the solution is actually documented on Virgin's site (note: Virgin has since removed this page from their site and when I pointed it out to them they denied it even existed, you can get the information you need from Bell's site, since Virgin just resells Bell's service) in a cunningly concealed section of the page on their SIM cards. I found that following the setup (under the misleading heading "What Do I Get?") for the iPhone 3G/3GS eventually worked just fine. These are the settings that worked for me, there are some other settings that I didn't enter anything for.
To get to the data entry page on your Nexus One go into the Settings menu, then "Wireless & networks", then "Mobile networks", then "Access Point Names", then (for me) it says "virgin pda.bell.ca", I click on this and it gets to the "Edit access point" menu.
Initially it did not seem to do anything, but after a few minutes I thought "what if my phone's too smart, perhaps when it is connected via WiFi it does not display the 3G indicator?". So I shut down my WiFi connection and the 3G icon popped into view, a quick test confirmed that data was flowing through 3G and all was well!
- APN: pda.bell.ca
- Proxy: web.wireless.bell.ca
- Port: 80
- MMSC http://mms.bell.ca/mms/wapenc
- MMS Proxy: web.wireless.bell.ca:80
- MCC: 302
- Well that should have been the end of the story, only the next day I realized that in all of this Virgin never actually shut down the old account and ported the number, so I had to call them again (20 minute hold) and go through the number porting process. This required another SIM remove/replace and wait an hour or two cycle, but now things appear to be working.
- I just have to wait a few days and check that their accounting department did move the unused balance from my pre-paid phone to the new monthly (one month term contract) plan. Oh joy, another half hour of hold time ahead. And yes, they did transfer the remaining balance from the pre-paid plan, so nothing was lost there.
- Novatel's NovaDrive is a cloud-based file storage service. 
- The PlanetSolar boat is a pretty neat solar powered boat intended to sail around the world. It is a fairly large craft, it might take a little time before you notice the two people standing on the deck in the photo - then you can appreciate how large it is. If it was painted black it would not look out of place as the villain's ship in a 007 movie. 
- The 3200mAh battery for the Nexus One, for those that want even more run time per charge, up to about 30 hours. 
- A short guide to using Handbrake to re-encode video for playback on the Nexus One phone. Once you have converted some files transfer them across the USB cable to the flash card and then use the built-in "Gallery" application to play them. 
- The Pasen MID5 is an interesting mix of webpad and PMP, this one packs a 720P HDMI output and runs Android for an OS, so might be priced around $200. 
- A Xacti ICR-XRS1020MF Sound Recorder from Sanyo that looks rather nice, it can record direct to MP3 or Linear PCM formats. 
- Data Robotics has finally released a true NAS box, called the Drobo NAS. 
- The Tegra 2 powered Gemini will be an 11.2 inch tablet running Android OS. 
- A real nice remote-controlled excavator model, with a few more attachments this could make weeding the vegetable patch child's play. I want one! 
- Hitachi may have some new chemistry to improve the longevity of lithium-ion batteries. 
- The Lenovo Skylight is a snapdragon powered smartbook that should be available in the summer of 2010. 
- FreeMind is mind-mapping (thought organizing) software. Sort of a Pensive for Muggles. 
- Thoughts after a couple of weeks. I have owned a Google Nexus One for a couple of weeks now and I thought it would be a good time to record some first impressions. In a word BETA. Yes, in keeping with Google's fine tradition of apparently never finishing anything, this is most certainly a beta product. Now given the intended audience (geeks) of the Nexus One this is not a particularly bad thing, but Android is being billed as a mass-market phone (and appliance) operating system and I am finding the smart phone platform is falling short of what a consumer would need, want or expect.
The hardware is quite good, the device looks and feels nice. The screen is very nice, except in bright sunlight. The digitizer generally works quite well, it certainly feels like the iPhones I have played with. The sound quality is good for both phone and media functions. The battery life is good for this sort of device, I'm getting about two days of use out of it by which time the battery level is at about 30%, but I don't do many calls and maybe log about an hour of web surfing, an hour or two of MP3 playback and about 2.5 hours of GPS use in that time. I leave the WiFi and Bluetooth radios on all the time. The fastest drain is when I use the GPS (using Google's Latitude and the MyTracks route tracker applications). I like the fact the battery is user-swapable and there is a microSD card slot.
The only issues I have with the hardware so far are:
The software, this is the part of the phone that's really beta. I have not had any real problems with the underlying OS, I have not had to reboot the phone to get it to function properly or anything like that. My gripe is with the included applications. One of the things I wanted from this phone was a unification of the functions of my old phone plus my old Palm Tungsten T3 PDA, so that I would be able to replace two devices with one and have more functionality at hand too (like the GPS and browsing on the go). So far the places I find that fail are with the basic PDA functions. Here's how I see it:
- The ringer volume (as is mentioned here along with other issues) is too low
- the back cover is rather hard to remove, they could fix this quite easily by including a ridge or slot to get a grip on, or better yet a small latch.
- I would prefer that the microSD card slot was exposed (i.e. externally accessible on one side) so one could change cards without having to power down the phone, remove the back cover and battery and the reassemble everything. My little Samsung flip phone did this quite well. Perhaps there should be two slots, an internal one that is used as fixed storage and an external one that is intended for user-swapping?
- the dock connector appears to only provide a power connection, any other connection must be either through the USB port (which is limited) or via Bluetooth or WiFi radio. This may be a good thing, but at the moment it limits what other things the unit can be used for. Perhaps someone will make a WiFi player dock for it so that the device can be used to play video to an external monitor or TV.
- For a few cents more why didn't they put an infrared transmitter/receiver on this so that it could also be used as a programmable remote control?
- The GMail client is pretty good, its an effective way of doing email triage on the road (train) and the unification of your email into the Google GMail cloud is very well done. You do something on either the GMail web client (at home or at the office or where ever) or on the phone and it's auto-synchronized in a seamless fashion. For anyone who needs to deal with email while on trips this would be worth it alone.
- The contacts manager is also very good, again it pulls off a nice, seamless two way synchronization All you need to do to make this useful is to import your contacts into the GMail contacts lists. I had to do some work on this one because GMail does not have a direct import from Palm devices, you have to export to a CSV and then upload to GMail, which is ok, except GMail import does not understand a lot of the columns that the Palm export provides so it just tosses a lot of stuff into the "Notes" section.
- The todo (tasks) list is missing. Total fail, GMail has a todo list on the web, but to get at it from your Nexus One you must visit a web page! Todo lists have been standard on PDAs since the beginning, so why is this missing?
- The Note taking function is also missing. It seems obvious that this should have been implemented as something that interfaced with Google Docs on the web, in fact there is a third-party free application called GDocs that attempts to fill this void.
- While the device does have a media player that does a reasonable job of MP3 playback and video playback this is a very basic implementation. It lacks the glitter of what the world has come to expect from the iPhone, so it's just basic marketing that this needs to be improved. Note the video formats this can play appears to be pretty limited, so expect to transcode anything you want to view here. Given there are a lot of inexpensive media players that are based on Linux that do a great job of playing just about anything without using super powerful chips one wonders why this cannot be done on this phone?
The last issue is with accessing the microSD card over the USB cable to load or unload data. As a geek I can understand why they have done what they have done, but surely there must be a better way! Here is what the user sees:
In my view what should happen is that when you plug in the USB cable the phone should immediately do all the mounting, the fact it can detect the connection and then prompt you, tells me that there's no real reason why it could not have just done the mounting right away. The mounting attempt might fail if some phone application current was using the SD card (though I have not seen this happen yet), in which case it should notify you of the problem. Then Windows would have quickly opened the drive and you could get onto the important business of dragging over some more MP3s right away. Once you are done with the drive in Windows, you should just use the Windows eject function as normal. Then the phone would detect the end of the session (as it currently does) and instead of bothering you with some more UNIX voodoo it should just silently umount the drive and return it to the normal phone mode - only if there is a problem should it prompt you for anything. This would make the whole process plug and play, the only voodoo left is on the Windows box when ejecting the drive at the end, and that's now accepted as "normal".
- Upon connecting his Nexus One to a computer via the USB cable he gets a notification that says the USB was connected.
- He then drags open the notifications list and touches the USB notification.
- Then a dialog appears saying: "You have connected your phone to your computer via USB. Select "Mount" if you want to copy files between your computer and your phone's SD card." and it gives you two buttons: "Mount" and "Don't Mount". This simply reeks of geek, and not just any geek, we're talking about 50 year old UNIX geeks with massive beards that wear old hiking boots to work in case they need to climb things in the server room! Mount, don't talk to me about Mount! Steve Jobs must find this hilarious!
- Once you hit "mount" your microSD card becomes accessible from the computer and then you can use it until you use the Window's remove USB devices tool to eject it (in a way equally mysterious, but in this day of USB thumb drives something that most people know how to use).
- Once you do this the Nexus One gives you another notification titled: "Turn off USB storage", tapping this gets you another dialog that reads "Before turning off USB storage, make sure you have unmounted the USB host. Select "Turn Off" to turn off USB storage." and gives you to choices "Turn Off" and "Cancel". Again the mountains appear on the phone.
- A new bicycle path map for Calgary has been released along with a plan to expand the bike pathways. 
- OCZ is going to take another shot at the fastest SSD drive title with their Vertex 2 d Agility 2 drives. 
- Intel has constructed a single chip with 48 processors on it, this is going to be made available to universities for research purposes. 
- The VIA ARTiGO A1100 is a nettop aimed at DIY home PC builders. This is built around a VIA Nano processor with their VX855 media processor which can produce 1080p output over an HDMI connector. 
- The Pirate Party of Canada is now an official national political party. 
- GGN is an income trust that is in the gold sector. 
- The WePad is an 11.6 inch Android-based web pad, at that size it's not that wee. 
- Lithium-sulfur batteries could offer 4 times the capacity of lithium-ion cells. 
- Denmark is launching a new offshore wind and sea power platform called the Poseidon. 
- Maybe the next great webpad / tablet device will be from Leapfrog, we'll know on June 7, 2010. What's the bet that it only has a 3 inch display? 
- With HTML 5 the question of patent encumbrances of H.264 video suddenly became more important, Engadget explains and Slashdot rants and how this relates to IE9. 
- The N700 7 inch Android tablet with HDMI output (using a Tegra 2) for $300 from Aigo. 
- How to convert a SIM card into a microSIM card by a bit of careful cutting. Discussed here on Slashdot. A small gadget called Cut My SIM has now been built to simplify this process. 
- A rather nice looking 8-drive NAS box that is home built.  
- In the middle of a market correction on 6-May-2010 there was a tremendous spike down, initial reports were suggesting that a single miss-entered trade may have caused this event. Whatever the cause the noise from this is going to be heard around the markets of the world for some time. This event has become knows as the "Flash Crash" and is now thought to have been caused by delays in quote processing on the NYSE (see this analysis by Nanex, discussed here on Slashdot) perhaps intentionally caused by some party transmitting large numbers of quotes, very rapidly, in a sort of denial-of-service type attack. More discussion of this here 
- Organic Light Emitting Transistors (OLETs) might out perform OLEDs. 
- Dichloroacetate (DCA) has been found to be effective against some brain tumors in a very small trial. 
- 2010 will see the introduction of the first 3TB drives, but there may be some issues with older operating systems (like XP) and motherboard compatibility problems due to LBA mode BIOS issues. 
- Getting some basic digital IO happening over a USB connection using some low cost devices from FTDI and their BitBang mode. Updated to drive some LEDs. Updated again to drive an LCD status display. 
- Martin Gardner is no more, I'd like to say thanks as some of his articles in Scientific American helped shaped by life path. The Gathering for Gardner convention. 
- The Kodak PlaySport Zx3 is a little waterproof HD camera. 
- A DIY tablet with a carbon fiber shell. 
- The Shogo 10 inch Linux tablet from Realease, probably in the $300 range. 
- Mobilicity is a new cell phone provider that started service in May'10 in Toronto Canada. Their plans are all "unlimited" the only difference between them being the features carried. Unfortunately this means to get data from them one has to get all the other features too, meaning for any data you have to pay $65/month, even if you don't do much voice. 
- While not really what one would normally call a distro, one can actually boot webOS on a PC. 
- Slashdot discusses formatting SD flash cards to get them to function again. It appears that A-Data may be having quality issues, in fact of all the flash cards (SD or CF) and USB flash drives I have owned the only one that I ever had issues with was an 8Gig USB flash drive from A-Data (this would occasionally lock up while being written to). The SD card association has an SD card formatting utility. 
- British Chiropractors have dropped their lawsuit against Simon Singh who has called a number of chiropractic treatments bogus. 
- The US GAO is now recognizing that most media industry piracy claims are not founded in fact. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- Ren'Py is a visual novel engine to support the programming of graphical games and stories. Perhaps one might be able to use it to story board software prototypes? 
- HomePipe and DoubleTwist offer some media playing and streaming solutions for Android. 
- The Dell Streak superphone may be sold unlocked in the US. 
- A felt tip pen based printer implemented in Lego, also discussed here on Slashdot. 
- The ASUS Eee Pad tablet PC is rather neat, perhaps at their $199 price it will find some market share against the more colourful iPad? 
- Seagate has confirmed that they will be shipping a 3TB drive in 2010. One issue with these is that most current motherboards (with the exception of those that use the rather rare EFI BIOS system) will not be able to boot an operating system off one of these drives. However, if you boot off a smaller drive then you should be able to access the full 3TB drive from a current 64 bit operating system (i.e. not Windows XP though). 
- Nero has filed an anti-trust complaint against the MPEG Licensing Association. 
- Pandigital's 7-inch Novel is an Android-based e-reader that uses a conventional colour LCD. At $199 it would be competitively priced and with Android on board perhaps it might be hackable for other uses? In june'10 it appeared this would become available for $149, which would open up a whole new market price point for both webpads and e-readers. 
- DARPA, in its never ending quest for SkyNet, has a new project called SMITE which is to give computers the ability to identify anomalous behavior patterns. 
- A Daihatsu Mira, modified by the Japan Electric Vehicle club, has achieved 623 miles on a single charge. This uses 366kg of li-ion cells. 
- The fashion industry does not enjoy the protection of copyrights, yet somehow it survives. 
- The Onkyo DX1007A5B stretches the meaning of netbook by giving it two screens! Try opening that on your regular fare, airline seat back table! 
- Coulomb Technologies is going to build electric car charging stations in a number of US states. 
- A PlayStation emulator for Android phones, drain your batteries faster! 
- USB flash drives concealed in cufflinks, wow! Perhaps one of them should be some sort of personal data recorder, like a GPS unit or small camera? 
- A team of students at Imperial College in London have built an electric car with a 248 mile range and are planning to take it for a spin on a 15,000 mile trek down the Pan American Highway (and it sounds like a TV show may document the adventure too). 
- In 2010 Linaro was formed to share development costs and resources required to bring new hardware capabilities to Linux. 
- A USB Host Driver has been demonstrated for the Nexus One. 
- One venture capitalist is lobbying against software patents. 
- The MIDIbox Hardware Platform brings a modular set of components to the DIY MIDI music industry, some of these are available as kits and have been used to implement some big projects like this Station MIDI controller.  
- Building a Direct to Garment (DTG) printer out of a used inkjet. Now what happens when you wash the t-shirt? 
- Engadget discusses how to stay connected when traveling internationally. Probably the best option is to buy a prepaid SIM card when you get to the country you want to visit, companies like Mr. Simcard specialize in doing this. 
- Monster Chess a large chess set built out of about $30K worth of Lego. Wow! 
- An iPad clone based on Android might be just the thing for an inexpensive webpad. 
- Gathering Leads using MTurk talks about using the Amazon Mechanical Turk project to gather data for a web site. 
- Another breakthrough in stem cell culturing, this new technique enables the cells to be cultured in a chemical environment free of any animal products - so 100% inorganic! 
- The Logitech Revue is going to be the first Google TV box. 
- A DIY tablet kit, now you can build your own replacement for an iPad, of course for only slightly less cost you get a lot fewer features... reminds me a bit of the old days of HeathKit. 
- Firmware hacks are starting to appear for the Panasonic GH1 and GF1.  
- More clues that oxygen depletion could be important to suspended animation. 
- Google may be going to set up a music store in the later part of 2010. What's the bet that if this happens they will also be addressing the video market with a tie-in to their Google TV system... 
- The Pan-STARRS panoramic survey telescope is now running, this uses a 1.4 Giga pixel sensor to search the sky for asteroid and comet threats to earth. 
- The Insignia Infocast Internet Media Display is a lower-priced clone of the Sony Dash, based on the Chumby system. 
- A live map of the current location of all the trains in the London Underground has now been constructed - this is what I'd like to see on Calgary transit's LRT system. Then we will be able to watch drivers play "follow the leader" or "tag", where the lead train is the slowest at each station (as it has the most people getting on and off) and the trains behind it play "catch up" rather than staying back and keeping service evenly distributed. And don't tell me this doesn't happen, I see this very often as I walk past SAIT in the evening and see three or four trains head north within a period of less than 10 minutes - sometimes with only a single minute between trains. 
- Toshiba is going to try the Android/ARM based smartbook market with their AC100. Now, if only it had a twist around display that could convert it into a tablet. Engadget takes a look at one here. 
- Toshiba is going to try to pick up on the idea of a dual display netpad with their W100. Engadget has taken a preview of this in advance of the Aug'10 shipping date, and while they were great Courier fans they have not flipped over this unit. Plus the $1100 price seems a bit high - but Toshiba has never been one to aggressively price laptops. 
- PyFilesystem is a module that attempts to provide a unified interface to many different file system types including such things as an in-memory file system, an FTP server file system and the Amazon S3 file system. 
- The skin that HTC applies to Android to make things pretty has some security issues, in the Droid Incredible phone it saves screenshots of the user's browser to internal memory, to make this worse these are not deleted by resetting the phone to factory defaults. 
- Amazon is at it again, now they are patenting social networking. 
- The Blaze tablet from TI which will be sold to developers in Aug'10 looks rather nice. Since it is ARM-based I wonder if it will be Android friendly? 
- CleverCSS is a small markup language for CSS that is Python-ish, a somewhat reorganized version of it is here. 
- The ASUS Eee Pad might be a competitor to the iPad, except they are thinking of using Windows 7 and it won't be out until 2011. Here's some more information on the EP101TC and EP121. 
- The ASUS Eee Tablet is ASUS's next attempt at an e-reader. 
- Google Voice has now been opened up to anyone in America, and for some strange reason the Peoples' Free Republic of Tar, Oil And Gas (aka Alberta, area code 403) has some access to it at this point in time. Perhaps because three Nexus One phones have been sold to Albertans. 
- The Huawei S7 is a 7-inch Android tablet / media player powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon. 
- HomePipe is a media streamer for Android. 
- Leaking electrolytic capacitors have been a problem in computers and other home electronics. Dell got hit pretty hard by this in the 2005-2007 period and perhaps as many as 97% of some of their OptiPlex machines failed due to this. 
- It looks like Nokia will be entering the tablet market soon. 
- A hormone gel is being developed that could stimulate tooth regrowth. 
- One big problem with electric cars is the time it takes to recharge them. JEF Engineering is developing a quick charging system that they claim will be able to recharge batteries to 50% in only three minutes. 
- An article on resizing cell phone SIM cards and changing the phone's APN when traveling. 
- How to get Ubuntu running on the Nexus One 
- Perhaps a 6kW array of solar cells can generate enough hydrogen for 30 miles of driving per day. 
- A cute little marketing slip, Sony (or at least the pro photographer they hired) used a Canon DSLR to take some of their product press photos. How embarrassing!  
- Some new Android-based webpads are starting to appear around the $199 price point for a 7-inch screen, such as the Cruz Reader from Velocity Micro, the SmartQ T7 and the Pandigital Novel. 
- It looks like Google is going to stop selling the Nexus One directly to end users. While this might make short-term business sense in North America I think this is rather short sighted on Google's part, if they had let the program run longer, perhaps with another few models being released they might have found more significant results to the effort. Well only about 5 days have passe since Google issued their warning and now the last stock is gone, further discussion here on Slashdot. I still think Google should have stuck to the program on this one, perhaps allowing it to be purchased in more foreign countries (which are less dependent on the carrier-subsidy model that distorts the US market) and perhaps they could have offered lease to own type purchase arrangements, so that Americans could have bought the phone on a "low monthly payment". 
- Some new keyboards have recently appeared for Android, the Swiftkey is another take on the conventional on-screen keyboard but with somewhat different handling of word completion and this Palm Graffiti implementation is very nice, though probably slower than a keyboard. 
- Windows XP is not going away any time soon, apparently 74% of work PCs still use it. 
- The US Army is getting close to manufacturing artificial blood. Wonder if they are going to call it True Blood? 
- An attempt to genetically engineer viruses to seek out and tag cancer cells for destruction. 
- The prices of electric cars should fall over time as batteries become less expensive. 
- A Wall-E robot made out of Lego. 
- A $150 Android tablet is to be sold by Kmart, it's rather limited in RAM at it only has 256MB. 
- The Sony VAIO P now has a Chinese clone twin, selling for under $300. 
- A rather elegant wooden computer case, designed as a tall side-table. 
- There might be a lot of Earth-like planets and the Kepler Space Telescope team might have already found some. 
- Perhaps the iPod Touch can be made more useful by adding 3G connectivity to it. 
- The Ewee-PT is a Segway-like electric walker, this is a lot less expensive. 
- How Apple restricts the iPhone charging game. 
- The Augen Gentough 78 gets a preview from Engadget, this is a 7 inch 800x480 tablet that runs Android 2.1. Its very inexpensive at $150, but pretty sluggish. Still, it shows how low the price of tablets is going to go in the future once there is some competition in the market. 
- The DMC Copia color e-reader, at $99 for a 5-inch unit and $129 for a 7-inch unit shows where the price is going. 
- The Rollei DF-S 190 SE is a negative and slide scanner that uses a 9 megapixel imager to shoot one frame at a time to a flash card or memory stick. 
- The Zotac Zboxes, reasonably priced are small devices that are media-friendly through an Ion chip set. 
- PocketBook is making a touch screen, Android powered e-reader. Their ProBook 603 and 903 units will have 6 and 9 inch screens. 
- These strange exploding lakes trap volcanic gasses (including methane and CO2) and occasionally release them in large bursts (smothering life nearby). One in Rwanda might get tapped as a source of methane. 
- Boxee Box will have a remote control with a QWERTY keyboard. 
- Radical Breeze makes a visual programming tool called Illumination Software Creator that produces programs that can be run on Windows, Linux, Mac, Maemo, Flex and Andriod. There's an interview with the creator of Illumination Bryan Lunduke on the Python411 Podacast here that's quite informative. It sounds like it might be a good way to introduce kids to programming (even sounding a bit like AmigaVision) and Illumination might even make for a good prototyping tool.  
- The automotive X prize has found a few vehicles capable of over 100MPG. 
- Can an ETF Collapse? looks at the strange world where an ETF has more shorts on it than there are shares. Might such an ETF implode someday? 
- Buy including "share this" type links on their website the Las Vegas Journal Review may have granted an implicit license to copy. 
- Garbage heaps may be a good solution to the carbon sequestration problem. 
- Quantum refrigeration, perhaps this will be the way to the "reverse microwave oven", imagine being able to chill a beer in a minute. 
- Could Google's Android logo have its roots in an old Atari Lynx game called Gauntlet: The Third Encounter?  
- Yojimbo is a personal information organizer package - just put stuff in it, tag it, browse or search it and export it. 
- Britain has started up the world's largest offshore wind farm, at least for 2010. 
- The same week that copyright license fees drove Pandora out of Canada brought Netflix to Canada at a price that was a dollar a month less than what Americans pay (although they can get physical VD delivery too) and saw Blockbuster file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Strange times indeed. 
- Most litigated patents tend to lose nearly 90% of the time, so patent trolls need to get their victims to settle before going to court. 
- Oracle is suing Google over Java patents that are being used in Android. Of course this is all baseless.  
- Sometime security is just about the bleeding obvious, screen smudges on your cell phone display could give away your unlock pattern or code, just as wear patterns on your alarm system touch pad could make cracking your PIN easier.  
- Engadget puts forward the case that copy protection (especially when poorly implemented) may hurt a product's sales. 
- In 2010 Toshiba developed a 1TB optical disk prototype, this was done by leveraging Bluray technology and building a disk with 32 layers, each with 32GB capacity. Another large optical storage device that will never make it to market? 
- Squarehead Technology's AudioScope is a 300 microphone phased array that uses computer control to "zoom in" on particular sound sources, allowing conversations to be isolated from within a crowd. The spooks must have been doing this for years by now. This sort of thing was done in a very crude sense, by analogue means, in the film The Conversation, which is a great watch for those into spy themes. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- The LaCie MosKeyto is a very small flash drive, but perhaps it could be made thinner. 
- Are the markets headed for a correction, this mentions the overbought breadth reading and the McClellan Summation index as market topping signals. 
- The Netduino Plus from netduino is a high powered Arduino system with on-board ethernet and a 48MHz ARM7 processor. 
- Thinking of programs as being your servant or butler, they should be helpful, responsive and unobtrusive. An interesting thought to keep in mind when building your next edifice. 
- The Recompute cardboard PC is a computer, built from conventional components, except the case is made of cardboard. I recall that HP once did some experiments with building server units where the modules were mounted within some sort of foam inlay within the main case - this helped improve airflow for cooling and isolate vibrations. 
- Pioneer has announced a 128GB BDXL burner (BRXL-6FBS-BK). 
- WiFi Direct will allow WiFi equipped devices to directly communicate (sort of like BlueTooth pairing) without the need for a router. 
- Cooking brain tumors with MRI-guided laser beams. Next they'll be sucking them out with a straw (see You want to suck out my brains with a straw, like you did the rest of them.). 
- The Calgary Nordic Training Group is a Nordic style ski training group in the Calgary area. 
- Work is being done towards getting a subset of Pygame to run on Android.