Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Where to Recycle Your Cell Phone

Want to learn how to recycle your old cell phone, PDA, cell phone batteries, chargers, or other accessories? When you recycle these electronics, valuable materials can be recovered which can help reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Check out the US EPA 'Plug-In To eCycling' web site.

LiveScribe Smartpen

AllThingsD reports: "In a demo this afternoon, Walt and Kara got a tour of a hand-held microcomputer, the LiveScribe Smartpen. This is another in a string of attempts, Walt notes, to add a simple computer to a penlike device that records words and can pinpoint their location in the recording when the user taps the handwritten version on a sheet of paper."

This looks like a cool pen, but I am not sure how well it works. Although its not cheap, its $200. Watch the video below to see a demo, or visit the company's web site.

TV Converter Box Coupon Program Website

Did you know at midnight on February 17, 2009, all television stations in the U.S. will stop all analog TV broadcasts and switch to full digital broadcasting. Congress created the 'TV Converter Box Coupon Program' for households wanting to keep using their analog TVs past February 17, 2009. The Program allows U.S. households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, that can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes.

For more information, check out the web site.

Cell phone directory rings alarm bells reports: "An online directory that claims to provide 90 million mobile telephone numbers is raising concerns among cell phone users and privacy advocates about unwanted callers who rack up the minutes on their calling plans and the difficulty of opting out of the list."

If your number is on their list, they don't make it easy to opt-out of this service. Personally I would not be comfortable giving them the information that they're asking for.

Photos: Golden anniversary--U.S. enters space race

CNET reports: "After some spectacular failures, the United States successfully launched its first satellite, Explorer 1, into Earth's orbit on January 31, 1958. It was an important step for the United States in the Cold War and its first response in the space race after Russia had successfully launched two satellites. Sputnik 1 began orbiting Earth in October 1957 and Sputnik 2, which carried a dog, launched in November 1957."

Everyone has heard about Sputnik, but have you ever hear about the Explorer 1?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

10 Years of Mozilla

eWeek reports: "This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Mozilla browser, the most successful open-source product created from a previous commercial product. For this anniversary, we're taking a look back at some of the key moments in Mozilla's history."

Hey Mozilla, thanks for Firefox, it's a great browser. If want to read a very brief history of Mozilla, check out this slideshow.

Creepy Cyberpunk Fantasies Come to Life in Christopher Conte's Sculptures

Wired reports: "As an artificial limb designer and hobbyist robotics engineer, artist Christopher Conte rarely uses blueprints or sketches to craft his elaborate biomechanical sculptures. Instead, the New York-based machinist relies on his imagination. 'I just get a vivid idea in my mind of what I want to make and start hunting for the parts,' he said. 'I have a large inventory of antique parts, so I'll often play with them like Legos and see what comes together.'"

Some very interesting and some creepy creations...

KDE Targets Windows, Mac

eWeek reports: "With release 4 of KDE, also known as the K Desktop Environment, officially announced Jan. 11, the developers of the free software environment said support for Windows and deep support for Mac OS X are on the horizon, with some pieces ready for evaluation now and others to be available by the summer."

It will be interesting to see KDE on Windows, I might check it out but I really doubt if I would ever switch to it. Although, if I used Linux as my primary OS then that a different topic.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The OLPC XO Sugar OS

TechRepublic has a photo gallery of images of the
OLPC XO Sugar interface that is running in a VMWare image. Here is an article about the subject, "Emulating the XO"

Refurbishing an old approach to PC recycling

CNET "There is an easy, cheap, and environmentally friendly way to recycle PCs, cell phones, and other electronics, according to Jeff Ziegler, CEO of Austin's TechTurn: reuse them. The company, one of many that specialize in disposing of old electronics, says refurbishing offers the most efficient alternative to dealing with the world's growing mound of e-waste. Energy doesn't get wasted pulling old computers apart and melting down components into raw materials. Additionally, energy and natural resources aren't consumed for a new PC because the old one has effectively usurped demand for it."

Computer recycling is slowing turning into a lucrative market for a few companies. Although, it comes with its own hazards (such as properly disposing of this toxic waste).

Photos: A golden anniversary for Lego | CNET

CNET reports: "On Monday, Lego is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the day it filed its first patent for the iconic plastic brick. Since the beginning, Lego sets have been themed, and the very first theme was space. Not long afterward, Lego added castle and pirate themes. One of the first major elements of the 'System of Play' was the Lego Town Plan. To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the company is releasing a new, updated commemorative Town Plan this year. While updated, it includes '50s-era elements like a gas station, car wash, and garage, plus a movie theater and, of course, a town hall."

Lego were a big part of my childhood, and now they're major part of my son's childhood. There are very few products I can really say this about. I hope Lego goes on for many more decades...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Startup Says It Can Make Ethanol for $1 a Gallon, and Without Corn

Wired reports: "A biofuel startup in Illinois can make ethanol from just about anything organic for less than $1 per gallon, and it wouldn't interfere with food supplies, company officials said. Coskata, which is backed by General Motors and other investors, uses bacteria to convert almost any organic material, from corn husks (but not the corn itself) to municipal trash, into ethanol."

I can only remember paying under a buck a gallon for gas once in my life, and that was about 8-9 years ago (in the Southern part of the US).

10 stunning ultra-geeky home cinemas

deputydog reports: "as time goes by there seems to be a growing trend amongst those people lucky enough to afford it / mental enough to spend all available cash on it: home cinemas. huge screens, incredible sound systems and luxurious seats are popping up in seemingly spare rooms and basements larger than my entire flat."

IMHO: Some of the most home cinemas create to date...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Photos: LEDs in your contact lenses

ZDNet reports: "Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have developed a prototype contact lens that incorporates an imprinted electronic circuit and lights. The prototype is a step toward creating a form of bionic vision, the researchers say."

These is a weird technology and equally weird photos...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

China-Taiwan Showdown Involves Politics, PCs

PC Magazine reports: "So why should you care? Here's why. Because if things fall apart and a Tom Clancy scenario unfolds in the Taiwan Strait you can forget about upgrading your PC or laptop for a while. The hundred miles of shallow seas separating Taiwan and China happen to be the most important yet most precarious link in the global ICT supply chain."

This is something that I have not seen in the mainstream press. As the song goes, 'it's a small world after all'...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

75 Tips to Keep Your Car in Top-Notch Condition: Operating Your Car

Reader's Digest reports: "We've compiled our best expert advice, surprising tricks, and maintenance and fix-it tips to prolong the life of your car!"

Here are some interesting ideas for taking care of your car...

Russia warns of nuclear defence

BBC News reports: "Russia's military chief of staff has said Moscow is ready to use force, including pre-emptively and with nuclear weapons, to defend itself."

Are you we getting ready for a new Cold War v2.0?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Running the Numbers - An American Self-Portrait reports: "This new series looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 426,000 cell phones retired every day. This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. My underlying desire is to emphasize the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming."

These are some very interesting images, worth checking out...

Netflix expands Internet viewing option

Yahoo! News reports: "under a popular plan that charges $16.99 per month to rent up to three DVDs at a time, Netflix customers could watch as many as 17 hours of entertainment each month on the streaming service, dubbed 'Watch Instantly.' ... With Monday's change, virtually all Netflix subscribers will be able to stream as many movies and TV shows as they want from a library containing more than 6,000 titles. There will be no additional charge for the unlimited access."

The online movie rental wars are getting heated between Apple and Netflix, and there is no clear winner in site. There have already been a few causalities, such as Walmart (and maybe a few others pretty soon [just a guess]).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Macworld 2008 reports: "Macworld 2008 is under way, and CNET's fleet of editors is blogging the keynote, scouring the show floor, and digging up the best and most novel Apple announcements, gadgets, hardware, and software coming from Macworld 2008."

For the latest news from MacWorld, check out the 's site. To watch Steve Jobs keynote, go to Apple's site.

Drobo unveils NAS add-on at MacWorld reports: "Last week, while I was at CES, I had the chance to talk with Data Robotics, Inc. CEO and co-founder Geoff Barrall about a new product the company was planning to announce at MacWorld this week. ... Today, the company officially announced a hardware add-on called DroboShare that adds network-attached storage functionality to the Drobo, their popular backup solution that I reviewed last year."

Drobo is a popular external storage solution. What makes this device popular is how it handles hard drives. You can literally increase the capacity of the device on the fly by swapping out an existing hard drive for a larger one. Also if a hard drive fails all you have do is replace it and not worry about losing your data.

One of the big criticisms of this device was that it had to be connect to a computer in order to work. Well, they have solved that problem with a new add-on. Now all they have to do is bring down the cost.

See the article for more information.

Comcast's Tru2way Technology

Comcast announced Tru2way technology at the 2008 CES, they describe it as: "Tru2way™ technology is the new name for the “OpenCable Applications Platform” (OCAP) that’s being built into televisions, set-top boxes and other electronic devices". They also state on the site: "With tru2way technology, cable companies, content developers, network programmers and consumer electronics companies can quickly and easily deliver the interactive services consumers want. Because of tru2way technology’s open standards, developers only have to write one version of an application, and it will work on almost every cable system in the United States as well as in other countries."

I have a wait and see attitude on this technology. Personally I hope it pans out, but I feel a little let down by the CableCard technology with its on again, off again acceptance.

PC Magazine's CES 2008 Photo Blog

Check out PC Magazine's slideshow of the sights and technology on display at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show.

Monday, January 14, 2008

GM CEO: U.S. needs 10 times more ethanol stations reports: "One of the big complaints from consumers who buy General Motors cars that run on E85 ethanol is the lack of places to fill up. ... GM CEO Rick Wagoner, in a meeting with reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show taking place in Las Vegas this week, says he has received hundreds of e-mails from customers who have bought such cars and are frustrated they can't find ethanol stations."

I agree this is a major problem for ethanol and when they hit the hydrogen powered vechicles.

Photos: Airplane recycling taking off

CNET reports: "Airplane graveyards throughout the American Southwest will welcome an influx of retired planes in the coming decades. But these boneyards may increasingly serve more as a stopovers than final destinations."

Photographer Taryn Simon Shoots America's Best-Kept Secrets

Wired reports: "Taryn Simon photographs some of the most top-secret, highly restricted areas in the world. Her latest book, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, took four years to assemble as the photographer gained access to research facilities and government offices hidden from the public. 'I felt like I was discovering a new landscape in America, a new terrain, morally and politically,' she said."

Some of the photographs were interesting. My favorite was the stainless-steel nuclear-waste capsules contain radioactive material, the blue glow was cool...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Frogfather

The Dark Knight 1966

Switchgrass-to-ethanol comes out clean in study

CNET "A large-scale test on the effectiveness of switchgrass to make ethanol gave the native grass high marks on energy production and greenhouse gases. ... Switchgrass is a favorite of politicians and cellulosic ethanol advocates who say that the grass, which can grow to nine feet, is a better feedstock than corn--the source of most ethanol made today."

Its seems like switchgrass is hot new green technology dejour. Although, its pretty impressive as a green fuel goes.

USB 3.0 in the flesh - Engadget

Engadget reports: "Get ready, speed freaks. USB 3.0, the oft-rumored, much-discussed, rarely seen new standard heading our way has been spotted, sliced, chopped, and diced at CES 2008. Actually, we just got a chance to check the connectors and compare with the old 2.0 standard (which the reps tell us is backward compatible, of course). With speeds of 4.8 Gbit/s (600 MB/s), and a powering system which intelligently cuts the juice when you're not using a device, we have a feeling you'll want. Too bad we all have to wait till 2010... the year we make contact... with USB 3.0."

If you're interested in the new USB 3.0 standard you might want to check out these pictures. Although, there is not a lot of information in the 'article', and some of the pictures are hard to make out.

New rules on licenses pit states against feds reports: "Residents of at least 17 states are suddenly stuck in the middle of a fight between the Bush administration and state governments over post-September 11 security rules for driver's licenses -- a dispute that, by May, could leave millions of people unable to use their licenses to board planes or enter federal buildings."

You can draw your own conclusions as far as this story goes...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cool Stuff: Star Trek Home Theater

SlashFilm reports: "Someone thought it would be a good idea to model their home theater after the Enterprise NCC-1701D from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The result is super geeky, but actually rather cool. Named the best theme theater installation at CEDIA 2007, this Palm Beach County, FL home features motion-activated air-lock doors with series sound effects, and a “Red Alert” button on the Crestron TPMC-10 controller to turn all of the LEDs bright red and flashing."

This is really an amazing home theater. I would love to something like this...

Conspiracy of Science - Earth is Growing

Neal Adams uses animation to explain his theory about how the Earth is growing.

CES: Gadgets galore at Microsoft booth

TechRepublic reports: "At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, ZDNet blogger Ed Bott looks at new hardware extenders for Microsoft's Media Center software, enabling users to move digital media files from a PC to a TV. He also learns about new partner hardware products launching for the company's Windows Home Server."

Photos: Tata's $2,500 car

CNET reports: "You've undoubtedly heard of the iPod Nano, and may even have the tiny music player tucked in a pocket or hanging from a lanyard around your neck. You can't tote the Tata Nano that way, but New Delhi-based Tata Motors is hoping its new subcompact has as powerful an effect on the automotive market as Apple's iPod did in media gadgetry."

Sometimes innovations like this in countries with very large populations that are becoming more modernized can be scary from a world resource perspective. Although, I really have no right to talk because in the U.S. we think cars are a birthright. Also in the U.S. we consume more resources then any industrialized country (for example see the following site).

With the U.S. depleting the world energy reserves like we are, what is going to happen when several million (or even worse hundreds of million) more cars hit the road? What I am trying to say, expect the future to be very interesting as far as energy and environmental issues go in the next decade or two. I expect that is when we will really start to realize the dramatic changes that can happen.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Knight Rider: New Clip From New Knight Rider

Jalopnik reports: "Yes, sure, there's plenty more moments of the new Shelby-fied Ford Mustang GT500KR-powered KITT in action and there's the new shots of the new Hoff-ness, Mike Tracer. There's even some great ignition sounds of the big 550-HP 'Stang -- but there's certainly no boost of a turbo nature. Although we hear Ford's working on that."

I hope new series is good.

Monday, January 07, 2008

CES 2008: Alienware's Monster Wraparound Gaming Monitor reports: "Alienware plans to sell humungous wraparound DLP rear-projection monitors to gamers, sporting 2880x900 screen resolutions and a surprisingly modest footprint."

Its a very impressive screen.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

LG Watch Phone at CES

New Year's Resolution Song

VoIP Services (Making Free or Cheap Calls)

Windows Tip of the Day reports: "Landline and pay telephones have been dying a slow death since the popularization of cell phones and VoIP (Voice of IP) services. You probably have heard the term VoIP, and may know what it means but for those who don't. All it is, is using your computer and your Internet connection to make a phone call either to another computer or to a landline telephone."

Avoid These Debit Card Traps

Readers Digest reports: "When Brad Lipman took his family out for dinner in July 2006, he had no idea it would end up costing him $1,800. Lipman paid for the $60 meal with his debit card. After the waiter took the card, someone swiped it through a portable 'skimmer.' This handheld electronic device allowed the thief to copy Lipman's account information and security codes, and clone his card."

Protect yourself with information...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Simpsons Opening Sequence (Star Wars-Style)

Pretty Amazing to Watch

3D Printing

Printing a cocktail snack from your desktop?'s Andy Jordan explores how that is possible with a cheaper form of 3D printing.

Omni Directional Wheels

For more information on Omni Directional Wheels.

The 25 most innovative products of the year

ComputerWorld: "Make no mistake, the Web is taking over. Applications are moving to browsers en masse, and technology to take Web apps offline promises to smooth the road ahead. And let's not forget breakthrough devices advancing the Web-anywhere world: Apple Inc. has redefined the phone, and One Laptop per Child's sub-$200 laptop is delivering Internet-style collaboration to children in developing nations."

A review of innovative products of 2007...

The Legacy of the Netscape Browser - Me Want Cookies

eWeek reports: "Web cookies have often been derided as invaders of Web surfers privacy, but this Netscape technology made it possible for sites to track visitor movements and helped enable key e-commerce capabilities such as shopping carts."

With the announcement that AOL is killing any new Netscape development. eWeek looks back on the some of the important developments (i.e.: cookies, SSL, etc.) that were popularized by the browser.

Exploring Sulphur Hexafluoride Gas

Mainstream Media Commercial

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Video - Gmail: Past, present, and future

TechRepublic reports: "ZDNet Executive Editor David Berlind interviews Keith Coleman, Google's Gmail product manager, about the current status of Gmail and the future of this popular Google app. Coleman also covers other Gmail issues, including the rebuild of the Javascript engine and how strongly Google feels about users' data."

What Your Phone Knows About You

Technology Review reports: "A couple of years ago, Sandy Pentland, professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, handed out about 100 Nokia cell phones to MIT students and faculty. The phones were equipped with software that helped Pentland's team log interactions between the people carrying them. Based on phone calls and the devices' physical proximity to other people's phones (as measured by Bluetooth), Pentland and researcher Nathan Eagle developed social-network models that were more accurate and more nuanced than those constructed from the subjects' self-reports. A paper on the study is currently under review at the journal Nature."

IMHO: You have to sacrifice to privacy for this type of service in my opinion. If you read the article you will understand my last comment.

A reverse engineer finds Kindle's hidden features

CNET reports: "A significant amount of skill with a soldering iron and some custom firmware has revealed a number of interesting features hid within its Kindle e-book reader."

Has some interesting reading if you're an Amazon Kindle owner, or are going to soon be one. It's also fascinating to see how deep some people can and will reverse engineer a technology.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What Girl's need to know about their geek Boyfriend

Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht discuss an email about a geek about to marry a girl that just wont understand him on diggnation episode 129.

The Original Human TETRIS Performance

What to Do if a Fluorescent Light Bulb Breaks

Fluorescent light bulbs (also known as CFL) contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines.

SecondRotation (Get Money for Your Old Tech)

Wanting to get rid of your old electronics (i.e.: cell phones, game consoles, MP3 players, etc.) Check out SecondRotation they seem to offer a fair price for your old electronics.

Defending Windows Vista

Microsoft Watch reports:"This is a post I never imagined writing. But with so many year-end reviewers panning Vista, somebody other than Microsoft must make the defense. ... Vista is so important an operating system that I'm writing not one, but two year-end reviews."

I personally use and like Windows Vista. Although I realize its not a perfect operating system for everyone. For example it has a lot of great new features, but it is more resource intensive then Windows XP. If you have a slower computer, you might want to stay at Windows XP.

Some say it took Windows XP, a service pack or two to work out the bugs. The same might need to happen with Vista.

The also article makes a good point that from a journalist perspective that its chic to bash Vista.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The great fall of China

Los Angeles Times report: "The most important story to come out of Washington recently had nothing to do with the endless presidential campaign. And although the media largely ignored it, the story changes the world.

The story's unlikely source was the staid World Bank, which published updated statistics on the economic output of 146 countries. China's economy, said the bank, is smaller than it thought."

Very interesting article, has a lot of information that I have never seen before. Personally I would like to see all countries of the world proposer equally and peacefully at a sustainable rate, but the way the world looks that is not going to happen anytime soon.