Saturday, September 30, 2006

Video: Alan Wake footage on Intel's new Quad Core CPU

See Intel's Core 2 Quad processor (a quad core CPU) in action, its a pretty impressive graphics demo.

Video: How to Talk Like a Pirate

A classroom educational film on the language of Pirate.

Note: The video is a little long (6+ minutes), but its funny. Its also not too work place friendly, so be careful where you watch it (i.e.: no nudity or language, but some in appropriate comments).

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Intel Previews Potential Replacement for Flash

eWeek reports: "Intel literally has, in hand, the first prototype of a new type of nonvolatile memory chip that its executives think could someday supplant flash memory and thus change the face of the industries such as cellular phones, music players and possibly even PCs."

Basically the PCM technology can be used as a type of non-volatile NAND (storage) or NOR (code execution) Flash memory replacement. Hopefully this will open up new applications for USB Flash drives, and other technologies...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Allen Brain Atlas (Now online)

Excerpt from the site: "The Allen Brain Atlas (ABA) is an interactive, genome-wide image database of gene expression in the mouse brain. A combination of RNA in situ hybridization data, detailed Reference Atlases and informatics analysis tools are integrated to provide a searchable digital atlas of gene expression. Together, these resources present a comprehensive online platform for exploration of the brain at the cellular and molecular level."

Wired reports: "Scientists have mapped every gene in the mouse brain as part of Paul Allen's Brain Atlas project launched in 2001. While brain maps until now have been similar to a traditional encyclopedia, the Allen Brain Atlas is more like Google Earth."

Intel pledges 80 cores in five years (article)

CNET reports: "Intel has built a prototype of a processor with 80 cores that can perform a trillion floating-point operations per second."

Think about this, if they're able to release desktop computers that can perform 1 TeraFLOP (Trillion Floating-Point Operations Per Second), what will the super computers be able to do?

Intel's Otellini: Terabyte per second (video)

CNET has a video from Intel's Developers Forum where Intel's Otellini announced the Core 2 Quad (quad-core processor) that will be released in Q4 of 2006.

White & Nerdy (Weird Al Music Video)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Protecting Yourself in the Information Age (Free eBook) [beta]

In life you learn how to protect yourself and valuables. Although, when you first start using the Internet no one teaches you how to protect your computer and personal data. Find out how to defend yourself against viruses, spyware, Identity Theft, and more. This book is written for people of all different computer skill levels (from novice to professional).

I am hoping people will give this book to their friends, family, and associates.

Please let me know if this book helps you...

Download my new free eBook:

  • Protecting Yourself in the Information Age (PDF)
    • Notes:
      • This is a pre-released beta version of the eBook, I am seeking comments, corrections, reviews, and any other suggestions. (Use the Send Comments link)
      • If you have a product that you would like me to consider for inclusion in future versions of this eBook please contact me. (Use the Send Comments link)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Dance Dance Extreme (now with Fire)

I recently just learned about 'Dance Dance Immolation' (DDI) an art installation at Burning Man 2006 (so I am a little behind the times). DDI is basically DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) with fireproof suits and flamethrowers. If you make a mistake you get flamed, literally. For more information check out this site.

Warning: Do not try this anywhere.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Miniature Linux Devices (article)

LinuxDevices reports: "A small company has begun building its line of tiny, gumstick-sized single-board computers (SBCs) into miniscule packaged PCs that displace around 68 cc of volume and come with Linux pre-installed. Suggested apps for the teeny 'Netstix' Linux PCs include webservers, printer servers, IP-telephony servers, security appliances."

I am really fascinated by the potential applications for these tiny computers, but personally I still need to find a really good application for them before I would buy one. As a file server, they would not have a enough storage. Although, You could turn it into a really cool portable web server that you could put on your network?

Here are the technical specification for the device:
  • 200MHz Intel XScale PXA255
  • 64MB of RAM
  • 16MB of flash memory
  • 10/100 Ethernet port (WiFi is available)
  • Type II CompactFlash (for use with a microdrive)

Gonzales: ISPs must keep records on users (article)

CNET reports: "Gonzales asked senators to adopt 'data retention' legislation that would likely force Internet providers to keep customer logs for at least a year or two. Those logs, often routinely discarded after a few months, are intended to be used by police investigating crimes."

Taking passwords to the grave (article)

CNET reports: "William Talcott, a prominent San Francisco poet with dual Irish citizenship, had fans all over the world. But when he died in June of bone marrow cancer, his daughter couldn't notify most of his contacts because his e-mail account--and the online address book he used--was locked up."

This is just one of those things I guess most of us don't think about until its too late. People are storing more and more information electronically, and we are securing it with a password. As we get older, this is just one more thing that we are going to have to start planning for.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

PodZinger: A Real Podcast Search Engine

I am a big fan of Google, and Microsoft Live. These are the two services that I use the most, but if I need to search through the contents of a podcast then I will use a service called PodZinger, this is the best search engine that I found for it.

PodZinger uses Speech-to-Text technology, to make audio and video searchable. Most search engines rely on the metadata provided by the shows creator, but it doesn't allow you search the audio of the podcast itself.

Another very cool feature of the site, if you want to listen to the search results all you have to do is click the link and it will take you to that point in the podcast. You can also listen to the whole podcast if you want.

WorldCat: Searchable Book Catalogs from 18,000+ Libraries Worldwide

If you're a book reader you're going to love this article. has a searchable book/media catalog that spans over 1 billion items, from 18,000+ libraries worldwide (part of the OCLC cooperative).

From the home page you can search the catalog, by title, subject, person, etc. I did a search for Douglas Adams on of my favor authors, and I found his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books, DVD, audio, and more.

The main problem with any online library catalog (including WorldCat) is that the material you're looking for might not be available. All you're going to be able to see is the catalog entry for the item.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Intel, UCSB Develop Hybrid Laser (article)

ExtremeTech reports: "Researchers at Intel Corp. and UC Santa Barbara said they have successfully integrated a light-emitting laser component with the silicon necessary to guide it, a step forward toward optical data conduits within PCs."

The real question is, will optical based computers one day replace the silicon based ones we use today? They have been toying with this technology for a little while, I remember it first being discussed in the 1980s. I am really surprised I have not seen a lot more advancements in this field.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Can an Electric Car beat a Ferrari and Porsche (video)

Can a Wrightspeed X1 electric car beat Ferrari 360 Spider and a Porsche Carrera GT, and costs half as much? Watch the video to find out...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pump Up Your Home Network (article)

PC Magazine: "Anyone reading this probably lives in a digital household. But are you getting the most out of your network? Sure, you're sharing an Internet connection and maybe swapping files. If you're one of the technorati, maybe you're even streaming music. But how would you like to double the speed of your network? Stream TV from your TiVo or cable box to any TV in the house - or even to a laptop while you're on the road? Check on your home while you're away? Control your home's lights, curtains, and temperature with a remote? If you're ready to take your LAN to the next level, read on."

If you're the type of person who likes cool gadgets for the home, or looking for some DYI electronic projects for your house. Check out this article, it might give you some ideas of some things that you might want to try. Some of the topics covered are, different types of wired and wireless networking, home security, streaming TV, and home automation.

When Beetles Attack (video)

Here is a funny animation video of a beetle harassing some flies and a spider. You might notice some Star Wars influences.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Brown Engineers Build a Better Battery – With Plastic (article)

According to Brown University: "It's thin, light, flexible - and plastic. Brown University engineers Hyun-Kon Song and Tayhas Palmore have created a prototype polymer-based battery that packs more power than a standard alkaline battery and more storage capacity than a double-layered capacitor. Their work, published in Advanced Materials, will be of interest to the energy, defense and aerospace industries, which are looking at more efficient ways to deliver electricity."

IHMO: One of the key technologies that will drive future development, are better batteries. There are some many things that we can't do because we don't have really good battery technologies to leverage (that are also mass producible, and economical to build). Hopefully this and other recent advancements (such as: capcitors or maybe even fuel cells) we have seen in batteries might start seeing some cool next generation technology that are able to leverage it.

Once in a Blue Moon

Here is a complete waste of time, but it's interesting. Go to Google, and type "once in a blue moon" and you will get the results below.

The reason for this is that a Blue Moon is also mathematically defined as 1.16699016 × 10-8 hertz, since a blue moon occurs every 2.71542689 years. (according to the Wikipedia)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Stability control technology could reduce auto deaths (article) reports: "A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that crash deaths on American roads could be reduced by one third if all vehicles were equipped with the Electronic Stability Control."

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems have been around since 1995, and were first used on Mercedes-Benz and BMWs. These systems are pretty amazing, because for the most part they're glorified anti-lock brakes with intelligence. Basically if the car detects the tire is slipping it compensates for it by applying the brakes. If you want to know more how they work, read the following Wikipedia article. The amount of lives this technology can save seems amazing, I hope the statistics are correct.

Now all we need to do is get the government to make the Collision Avoidance Systems (CAS) mandatory (Toyota is already releasing this technology in their new Lexus in Japan). Like ESC, the CAS takes advantage of the anti-lock brakes to slow the car down if it gets too close to another vehicle. Back in the early 80's I saw an early proof of concept for this technology on a show called 'That's Incredible'.

Microsoft unwraps Zune for holiday season (article)

CNET "Microsoft took the wraps off its Zune media player on Thursday, though what's underneath is largely what enthusiasts had come to expect. ... The device, which the company anticipates will be ready in time for the holidays, will come in three colors and be capable, via its built-in Wi-Fi, of sharing full-length songs with other nearby Zune devices, the software giant said. As had been revealed through regulatory filings, it includes a 30GB hard drive as well as a 3-inch screen. The Zune will come in black, brown and white, but the company has declined to reveal any pricing information."

Personally I am not a big media player fan, I have my Dell 51v the worlds most powerful PDA (IMHO) and that is all I need. I can play music, video, pictures, then use it for other useful things. If I want to I can add GPS, hard drives, cameras, etc. Lets see a media player do that...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Happy Birthday Hard Drive (50th Anniversary)

The Past
The IBM RAMAC 305 (the world's first hard drive) was officially announced today (September 13, 1956). In 1952, in San Jose IBM opened a research lab managed by Rey Johnson, and one of its first assignments was to create a magnetic storage system that could hold 5MB of data.

Johnson's group coated platters with magnetic material and stacked them on top of each other. Data was fetched by a head that traveled up and down the stack of rotating platters.

Note: There is no sound in this video.

The Present
For comparison reasons, here is a more modern hard drive in action. In all ways the current generation of hard drives are far superior to the first generation (they're smaller, better, cheaper, faster, and have a greater capacity).

The Future
Hopefully in the not too distant future all these drives will be replaced by ones that use flash RAM (or something better). Its already in the process of happening, some first generation solid state drives are already shipping, but they're expensive (roughly about $30 a gigabyte).

For example, earlier this year Samsung started selling a 32GB NAND flash hard drive. The drive is about half the weight of a conventional hard drive, has reduced power consumption (uses about 5% of the power of a mechanical drive), and has no moving parts. It can read data three times faster and write data 1.5 times faster than mechanical drives.

Security: Update QuickTime Now!

The QuickTime media player has multiple security flaws that is putting your Windows computer (and if you have a Mac) at risk for malicious attack according to Apple. Hackers can create maliciously crafted movie and image files that could be used to execute harmful code on vulnerable machines by utilizing a buffer overflow error.

QuickTime 7.1.3 has been released as a high-priority update. This update fixes all the recent known vulnerabilities. If you have not already updated your computer, I would highly recommend that you download it and update it now.

Bonus Tip: If you select the 'QuickTime 7.1.3 for Windows 2000/XP' option on the download page, you can get Quicktime without iTunes.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Old Glory Robot Insurance (Humor, Video)

Do you fear robots? Old Glory is now offering robot insurance for $4 a month to protect you and your family. No health check, or age consideration.

"For when the metal ones decide to come for you, and they will..." ;-)

Flying-car firm releases simulator, takes deposits

CNET reports: "Terrafugia, a "roadable aircraft" developer that emerged out of MIT, has devised a flight simulator for its aircraft (which can be downloaded here). ... Potential buyers can also now plunk down $7,400, or 5 percent of the anticipated $148,000 purchase price, for a deposit on a Transition. The planes will come out in late 2009."

For those of you who have been waiting years to see a real production flying car (or a 'roadable aircraft' as Terrafugia wants it called) your waiting is almost over (well in maybe 2-3+ years). Hopefully Terrafugia will be able to deliver what they're promising, unfortunately I am not holding my breathe, I have heard these promises before and have been let down.

For example: Moller International SkyCar, was suppose to be the first vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle ever. It was also suppose to cruises at a smooth 350 mph, has a range of 900 miles, gets around 28 miles to the gallon. Anyone seen a SkyCar lately? IMHO: The Moller International SkyCar looks better the Terrafugia Transition.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bird That Uses Cars as a Nut Cracker

An amazing video of a bird (or birds) in Japan (I think) that are useing cars to crack open nuts for food.

Before the Simpsons, there was the Simpsons

The Simpsons is one of the longest running cartoon series (the series premiered January 14, 1990). I remember first watching it on an obscure Fox comedy called 'The Tracy Ullman show' (1987-1989). The Simpsons were short cartoons that were featured in every episode before and after the ad breaks.

Simpson Crazy is now offering the ability to view these early episodes. One thing that you might notice when you watch these episodes is the crude animation and character voices. It sometimes will throw you off when you first watch them.


Friday, September 08, 2006

Darth Vader Calls The Emperor (Humor, Video)

Darth Vader Calls The Emperor after the death star blows up.

(Note: This is a very funny video, but its not for children. Also if you get offended easily don't watch it.)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Chad Vader - Day Shift Manager (Episode 3)

If you have not yet already watched "Chad Vader - Day Shift Manager" episodes 1 & 2, you may want to watch them to get the background story. I have included links to these videos below:
Episode 3
The continuing story of Chad Vader. Chad is Darth Vader's less-talented, less-charismatic younger brother, who is the day shift manager at a local a grocery store. In this episode Chad Vader returns after being demoted to night manager and tries to enact a plan to regain the day shift.

Microsoft Research Builds 'BrowserShield' (article)

eWeek reports: "Researchers at the Redmond, Wash., company have completed work on a prototype framework called BrowserShield that promises to allow IE to intercept and remove, on the fly, malicious code hidden on Web pages, instead showing users safe equivalents of those pages."

IMHO: I have to say that this is an innovative idea that will probably get copied by the other browser's in their on going war to add new features and gain more market share. I have heard it said that 'imitation is the greatest complement', but I know a great deal of people who will argue that point. Now I have to wait for my chance to try this out, and see how well it works.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Google Image Labeler

Have fun and help Google improve it's image search results relevance, so that other Google visitors can get accurate search results. When you press the Begin button on the page, you'll be randomly paired with a partner who's online and using this feature.

Then over a 90-second period, you and your partner will be shown the same set of images and asked to create as many labels as possible to describe each image that's displayed. When the labels match, you earn points and move on to the next image until the time expires. After the time expires, the images you've seen will be displayed with link to the web sites where they can be found.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Original Star Trek Getting a CGI Makeover! (article)

There are rumors that CBS may have secret plans to bring back the original Star Trek TV episodes with new state-of-the art CGI visual effects, and is HDTV enhanced. Personally I think it would be interesting idea, but I will wait until I see it before I draw any conclusions.

I wonder if Star Trek purist will boycott the changes to the updated show? Look what happened when George Lucas added enhanced CGI effects to the original Star Wars movies, a lot of fans were not happy.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Scam Alert: Jury Duty Scam

Snopes reports: "Identity thieves trick the unwary into revealing their personal details by telling them they've failed to report for jury duty and warrants for their arrest are being issued."

It has gotten to the point where we now can't trust information from any of the sources of communication that we have come to rely on (i.e.: e-mail, regular mail, and phone calls) to run our everyday lives. Every form of communication that we trust has now been corrupted.

To protect yourself, you now have to double-check the validity of each message that you receive to make sure its real before you should give out any of your information.

Also make sure to check out the following article for more information on how to protect yourself.

Google: These books are free (article)

CNET News report: "Google Book Search now offers PDF files of scanned books that can be downloaded and printed for free ... Readers can find the books by choosing the "Full view books" option on the Google Book Search home page before they activate their search. Once they have chosen a book from the results page, a download button is clearly visible on the top-right corner of the page."