Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Ariel Atom 2 (Incredibly Fast Street Cars)

I recently watched a video on the Ariel Atom 2, and I was very impressed by this ultra stripped down track car for the road. Because of its powerful engine and light body, it can beat just about any motorcycle or car (yes even the Ferrari).

The car is powered by a supercharged Honda i-VTEC 2.0 engine putting out 300 horsepower on a body that weights about a thousand pounds. What makes this car fast is its power to weight ratio. For example, the Ariel Atom 2 produces about 600bhp per 1000kg, while a Porsche 911 Carrera produces about 237bhp per 1000kg.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Make a 3D Dodecahedron Calendar

Do you want to make your own 3D Dodecahedron Calendar? For those of you who don't know what a Dodecahedron is, its a 12 sided object. This seems like a great project for kids, or something to do when you're bored.

To make your calendar, follow the instruction below:
  • Select the calendar you want to create (either: the regular dodecahedron [which requires glue], or the rhombic dodecahedron [no glue required].
  • Select the year, language, and the day (Sunday or Monday) in which your week starts.
  • Finally select the format (PostScript or PDF). If you don't know which to choose, select PDF. Note: You can modify the PostScript file if you want to add birthdays to the calendar.
  • Press the download button, to get the file.
  • Then print it out, make sure to legal size paper, letter size paper may be too small.
  • Cut out the template, only cut on the solid lines.
  • Fold along each dotted line. Then apply glue to each folded tab and paste the tab underneath the 'petal' next to it.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Cool Product of the Week: MicroOptical

There is a company that I read about at CES that I thought I would like to highlight. Its called MicroOptical, and they make ultra portable wearable displays that you can wear on your glasses.

I have been a big fan of wearable computers for a long time, but have seen them as very impractical, because the display and the hardware was much too bulky. I have watched this equipment shrink in size over the years, and have seen the capabilities increase to a point where its becoming more practical.

The MicroOptical head-up displays are very small, and light (they weigh about 1 ounce), and can accept standard VGA, NTSC, PAL, RS170 and RS-232 signals.

Google Local for mobile

This is one service from Google that I totally missed since it was announced at CES, its called 'Google Local for mobile'. The web site for the service states, "Combining directions, maps, and satellite imagery, Google Local for mobile is a free download that lets you find local hangouts and businesses across town or across the country — right from your phone."

I have not tested it on my mobile phone yet (it's a Nokia 6230, that supports J2ME which is required), primarily because I don't pay for the data services (which is also required). The main reason why I don't use the data services is that IMHO there have not been any worthwhile applications for it until now.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Scientists develop bird flu vaccine (Article)

PhysOrg.com reports: "University of Pittsburgh scientists say they've genetically engineered an avian flu vaccine that has proven 100 percent effective in mice and chickens."

This is great news for our livestock, but what about us humans? The vaccine currently only protects the livestock, which is important because hopefully we can stop that virus at its source. Although, if the virus mutates and passes to humans, were in trouble.

The bright side is that our livestock will live long and healthy lives.

Is the Earth's Magnetic Field Weaking? (Article)

Nova Reports "Like the plot of a sci-fi B movie, something weird is happening deep underground where the constant spin of Earth's liquid metallic core generates an invisible magnetic force field that shields our planet from harmful radiation in space. Gradually, the field is growing weaker. Could we be heading for a demagnetized doomsday that will leave us defenseless against the lethal effects of solar wind and cosmic rays? 'Magnetic Storm' looks into our potentially unsettling magnetic future."

This is an interesting article that discusses the consuquences of the Earth's magnetic field weakening. Which range from the end of the world, to the magnetic field reversing itself.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Disney buys Pixar (Article)

CNET News.com reports: "Walt Disney announced Tuesday that it's paying $7.4 billion in stock to acquire Pixar Animation Studios--a deal that puts Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs on Disney's board of directors."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Cool Product of the Week: Wallet Flash

I am starting a new section in this blog that I am going to be calling the 'product of the week'. These will be products that I find or hear about during the week that I will highlight here.

I am generally amazed about how innovative some USB products have gotten lately. There is a product from Walletex called 'Wallet Flash' that is a USB flash drive about the size of a credit card that can fit into your wallet.

I carry a flash drive with me just in case I need storage. Although I find a I rarely use it, like a boy scout my motto is always be prepared. This wallet flash drive I think is a great idea.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

File Your U.S. Taxes for Free File

When the new year begins all of our thoughts turn towards April 15th, the day the tax man comes. Some people look forward to this time of the year because they know that they're going to get money back, and others dread it because they know that they owe money.

Whether you're getting a refund or owe money this year, did you know that you can file your taxes for free online? The IRS has provided a list of sites where you can file your taxes for free. Although there appears to be a catch, 'Free File services are limited to taxpayers with Adjusted Gross Income of $50,000 or less; or otherwise as noted.' (accourding to the IRS site)

If you're just looking for tax advise or tax forms (requires Adobe Acrobat), the IRS has a lot of free information on their web site. This site has become more useful over the years. I remember using it back in the early 90s, the only useful thing on the sitewas the forms that you could download.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Are virtual assets taxable? (Article)

CNET News.com reports: "...virtual-world community buzzing over a new question: Should online game players' assets--the weapons, characters, clothing and such--they've accumulated but not yet sold for real-world cash be taxable by the IRS?..."

I was kind of shocked to see this article, I didn't know how to deal with the fact that virtual assets can now be taxable. I believe in everyone paying his or her fair share, but part of me wants to think this tax is getting excessive when it comes to virtual items. Most of us are used to paying sales tax on the items we buy (unless you live in a state that doesn't have it), but having to pay a tax on an item that only exists as lines of code a server somewhere is a difficult concept for me to deal with.

Whether the items are real or virtual, real money is being used to pay for these virtual items. So taxing these items makes sense, but this doesn't mean that I have to agree with it.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Privacy in the World Today

Do you worry about your privacy, according to Sun's Scott McNealy, "You have no privacy, get over it." Sometimes it feels like we have no privacy, so I wonder if I should 'get over it'. Here is a funny video about what the world could be like if we truly have no privacy.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Google Launches Personalized Homepage For Mobile Devices (Aticle)

InformationWeek reports: "Mobile users can set it up to automatically display information including stock quotes, news headlines, GMail, local weather, and selected RSS feeds. ... The mobile homepage also provides at-a-glance access to Google Web mail, local weather and handpicked RSS feeds. The content is optimized for the smaller screens and low bandwidth associated with mobile devices."

Friday, January 13, 2006

Predictions for 2006 and Beyond

The future is so bright, you will need a flashlight to see it. The future outlook doesn't look too bright anywhere in the world. It seems that we are running out of a critical resource that drives all the world economies and that is oil (no new news here).

I really believe their might be bright futures in other forms of energy production. I also see continued growth and advancements in consumer electronic products.

Below is a break down of my of what I see happening to following industries:

  • The once powerful gaming industry will start to slow down. Although if you read this Google News page, you might think different. Personally I don't believe that it can keep the momentum it has had over the last several years.
  • PC industry maybe slowing (or its just Dell), and processor companies will continue to confuse customers with their new branding? (I am really begin to miss the days of Ghz ratings, at least you knew what you were buying)
  • Computer attacks (virus, worms, exploits, etc.) will continue to increase and grow in sophistication.
  • The music and movie industry will continue to publish garbage, and then blame pirates for their profits.
  • As consumer audio/video equipment becomes more sophisticated, there will be a lot of confusion among consumers about what hardware to buy. There are several competing hardware standards (i.e.: HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray) right now, and its only going to get worse. People want to buy technology and want it to work well. They don't want to be forced to choose a standard that might not be supported in a few years.
  • We should have put more money into alternative energies after the 1970/1980s energy crisis. We would be much farther a long in finding alternative forms of fuel to power our vehicles and industries.
  • Oil rich countries will use their resources for political purposes.
  • There should be an increase need for nuclear power production. This might scare a lot of people, but right now it might be one of our best alternatives.
  • There should be an increase spending public transportation and ride sharing programs.
  • There should be increase spending on alternative energy production.
World (generally more of the same...)
  • The environment: more natural disasters to come.
  • The older population will continue to rise, and the birth rates will continue to fall in most modern industrialized countries.
  • The population will continue to increase in poorer countries, causing increased war, disease, and shortages of food and other resources.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Mobileplay Advertises Outside the Box to Offer Free Content (Article)

PC Magazine reports: "Mobileplay Inc., a venture backed by Los Angeles-based Rustic Canyon Partners, announced Monday that it has launched a beta version of its ad-based service offering free access to downloadable multimedia content for many mobile device users."

Mobileplay offers a free software download that allows you to access a variety of content on your mobile computing device such as: BlackBerries, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, and Palm OS. This multimedia content includes: news, games, weather, and more. Mobileplay supports itself by running small banner ads within the content. For more information, read the following article.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Google Pack Software

Google made an interesting announcement at CES, they unveiled a new package of software called the 'Google Pack'. This software bundles together several popular applications that you might use everyday into one package, and then helps you keep it up-to-date. Most of these applications are available free by themselves, but what is great about this package of software is that it all comes bundled together.

Below is a a complete list of the applications that are included in the Google Pack:
  • Google Earth
  • Google Toolbar for IE
  • Ad-Aware SE Personal
  • Google Desktop
  • Google Pack Screensaver
  • Norton AntiVirus 2005 SE
  • Picasa
  • Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar
  • Adobe Reader 7
  • RealPlayer
  • Trillian
To download the the 'Google Pack' software, go to the following site.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bye-bye hard drive, hello flash (Article)

Hard drives can consume up a lot of space and power, suck the energy out of your notebook's battery. Flash memory could soon offer a storage alternative for laptops. Cnet reports ,"By about the turn of the decade, NAND (flash memory) could even replace hard drives entirely in some mini notebooks because of the increasing amount of data the chips can hold". For more information read the entire article.