Friday, February 29, 2008

The Ebb and Flow of Movies: Box Office Receipts 1986 - 2007

The New York Times reports: "Summer blockbusters and holiday hits make up the bulk of box office revenue each year, while contenders for the top Oscar awards tend to attract smaller audiences that build over time. Here's a look at how movies have fared at the box office, after adjusting for inflation."

Its probably the weirdest graph I have ever seen. Although it is fascinating at the same time.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Google Tackles Team Web Publishing With 'Sites'

PC Magazine reports: "'Google Sites is a new collaboration tool that allows anybody with Google Apps to create sites with just one click,' Scott Johnston, product manager for Google Sites, said in a video demonstration. 'Your content is instantly searchable using Google search technology and you have full control over who can access your information. You can use this no matter what size your organization.'"

I am sorry to say but Google Sites has a long way to to be any real threat to SharePoint. SharePoint is a great application if its implemented correctly.

How We Test HDTVs

PC Magazine reports: "At PC Magazine Labs' consumer display testing lab in San Francisco, we've devised a rigorous, repeatable, and objective test methodology, as well as a challenging set of relevant subjective inspection tests."

Find out what equipment PC Magazine uses to analyze new HDTV sets. I was pretty amazed by the sophistication of the hardware that is used to examine these devices.

Although in the end its still a very subjective process because the information that this equipment gives you still requires interpretation.

Terrorist Robots Pose Latest Militant Threat

eWeek reports: "Killer robots could become the weapon of choice for militants, a British expert said on Wednesday.

Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, said he believed falling costs would soon make robots a realistic option for extremist groups."

Any technology can used or abused for any purpose, terrorist use cars as weapons all the time. Why choose to be scared or robots?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Intel's Dunnington: Six cores on one chip

CNET reports: "After months of deriding rival Advanced Micro Devices' strategy of cramming four cores onto one chip, Intel is set to take that concept a step further.

A leaked presentation authored by Sun has shed some light on Intel's plans for its Dunnington processor, which appears to be a six-core server chip where all six cores are part of a single chip. Intel had previously hinted that Dunnington would have four cores or more, but it hadn't been clear whether the company would reuse its multichip module strategy of cramming several distinct chips into a single package."

Six cores. Very cool...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bunny Animation

Beatboxing Dog

Tele2 in Sweden has a beatboxing dog that you can control to make your own custom music track that you can share with friends. The site is in Swedish, but you will figure out the controls by playing with them (hint: the spacebar starts the recording).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Rogue Spy Satellite Blast

Footage of a rogue spy satellite destroyed by a Navy SM-3 missile.

Juan Enriquez: Why can't we grow new energy?

Juan Enriquez offers a glimpse of some ground-breaking research to explore the potential of bioenergy. Our current energy sources -- coal, oil, gas -- are ultimately derived from ancient plants -- they're "concentrated sunlight." He asks, Can we learn from that process and accelerate it? Can we get to the point where we grow our own energy as efficiently as we grow wheat? (Less than a month after this talk, his company announced a process to do just that.)

After you watch this, make sure to watch "
Amory Lovins: We must win the oil endgame

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Photos: Missile shoots down falling satellite

CNET "What do you do when a spy satellite goes kerflooey and starts to fall back to Earth? Call in the U.S. Navy. That was what President Bush decided to do to take out said defunct satellite before it could crash-land, with the potential, the government says, of spewing a toxic fuel called hydrazine in a populated area."

I was worried about this plan succeeding. When you consider all the variables, it probably had a much greater chance of failing then working.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Amory Lovins: We must win the oil endgame

Energy guru Amory Lovins lays out his plan for weaning the US off oil and revitalizing the economy in the process. It's the subject of his book Winning the Oil Endgame, and he makes it sound fairly simple: On one hand, the deadly risks of continued dependency, and on the other, some win-win solutions.

For more information.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How close are we to Star Trek technology?

blah blah! technology reports: "So when did science fiction become science fact, eh? After reading this, you may just discover that we’re a lot closer to the technology in Star Trek than you might think…

Being the sci-fi fan of old, I couldn’t resist writing this article. In fact, I’ve been looking forward to it for quite some time!"

When science fiction becomes fact...

Blu-ray victory means royalties, royalties, royalties | Tech news blog - CNET

CNET reports: "Forget about customer satisfaction or superiority of image quality. The real issue in the war between Blu-ray and HD DVD was about royalties.

With the competition gone, the Blu-ray consortium now has the opportunity to persuade PC makers and consumer electronics makers to adopt Blu-ray drives as their optical drives of choice. It will also get studios and disc makers to deliver Blu-ray discs to consumers. And every time one of those drives or discs leaves a factory, the Blu-ray Disc Association will get a royalty."

Anyone who has been following technology for a little while can tell you about how Sony lost one of the most remember format battles. It was Betamax vs. VHS, which happened a few decades ago. Although now it has come full circle, Sony won the HD format wars between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD.

U.S. issues notice on downing of satellite - reports: "The U.S. Navy likely will make its first attempt to shoot down a faulty spy satellite Wednesday night.

The U.S. government issued a formal notice warning ships and planes to stay clear of a large area of the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii."

It seems if it's not deadly meteors threating the earth, its our own satellites... ;-)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Photos: Ecomodders make fuel good to the last drop

CNET reports: "Don't be fooled by this vehicle's alien looks; an ordinary 1992 Honda Civic CX is under the shell. Michael Turner renamed his car the 'Aerocivic' after radically reshaping it to improve fuel economy.

He is among some 437 members of, which launched in December. The site typically sees about 2,700 visitors each day, according to its founders."

It's amazing what a few physical changes to your can do for your gas millage. It may not look cool, but who cares...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Can Sugar Substitutes Make You Fat?

TIME reports: "When it comes to dieting, most of us are willing to resort to a trick or two to help us curb our appetite and eat less — drinking water to fill up when we're hungry, for example, or opting for artificial sweeteners instead of sugar to get the same satisfying sweetness without the offending calories. But new research suggests that the body is not so easily fooled, and that sugar substitutes are no key to weight loss — perhaps helping to explain why, despite a plethora of low-calorie food and drink, Americans are heavier than ever."

I have been hearing this for years about artificial sweeteners making you gain weight. It's fascinating to see Time write an article about it.

The 20 Worst Foods in America:

Men's reports: "To further enlighten you on the prevalence of preposterous portions, we spent months analyzing menus, nutrition labels, and ingredient lists to identify the food industry's worst offenders. Our primary criterion? Sheer caloric impact. After all, it's the top cause of weight gain and the health problems that accompany it. (As you read, keep in mind that 2,500 calories a day is a reasonable intake for the average guy.) We also factored in other key nutritional data, such as excessive carbohydrates and fat, added sugars, trans fats, and sodium. The result is our first annual list of the worst foods in America."

It is pretty scary what is being served, the sad thing is that it looks good...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Intel Skulltrail Review with Benchmarks

ExtremeTech reports: "When you get down to brass tacks, Skulltrail is an engineering workstation with some added chrome to be a pretty high-end gaming system. But its primary mission in life is to bring eight cores to bear on tough computational problems. The added chrome is welcome, however. Last year, we looked at a Xeon workstation built around the Intel S5000VXN. This was purely a system for work, however—its ability to run games was somewhat limited, partly due to lack of SLI support and partly because of memory bandwidth issues."

I don't report on a lot of hardware, and especially motherboards. Although, this is the coolest motherboard I have seen in a long time.

Cracking open the HP Blackbird 002 DE LCi gaming PC

TechRepublic reports: "For hardcore computer gamers, there is no such thing as too much power when it comes to their personal computer; there is only the question: How much can I afford? The Blackbird 002 DE LCi is definitely in the 'money is no object' category. Sporting dual ATI Radeon X2900 XT video cards, each with 512GB of GDDR4 SDRAM, an Intel Core2 Extreme Quad-Core 3.0GHz QX6850 CPU, 2GB 1066MHz Corsair PC2-8500 SDRAM, three hard drives in a RAID array, and liquid cooling for the video cards and the CPU, this PC is a gamer's dream machine. And at about $6200, for many gamers, it will remain only a dream. HP loaned us a Blackbird 002 to review, and we just had to take a look inside."

If you have $6000+ you would like to send on a gaming PC, then this is one that you want to check out. TechRepublic has a complete photo gallery, for those of us who just want to look at it.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

World of Warcraft Boot to the head!

A World of Warcraft machinima spoof, made to the Frantics’ classic audio comedy piece called "Tae Kwan Leep". A Shaolin master teaches a very annoying student that about Tae Kwan Leep.

Video: All your smurf are belong to smurf

What do you get when you combine “all your base are belong to us” slogan, with the Smurf language, mixed in with the $100,000 Pyramid? Watch to find out...

Friday, February 08, 2008

Why a Geek Will Steal Your Girlfriend in 2008 reports: "Chances are, this is the year that a geek steals your girlfriend. Don't believe me? Check out a website called Their blog post got our researchers all excited. After they changed their pants, they offered up this highlight list of the reasons you'll soon be crying in your beer because a Geek took your woman."

Thursday, February 07, 2008

No More Trips to the Bank

ABC News reports: "Online banking service provider CheckFree Corp. is rolling out technology that could mean consumers will no longer have to go to a bank branch to deposit checks."

Pretty soon we won't need physical bank branches...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Overhaul of net addresses begins

BBC News reports: "The first big steps on the road to overhauling the net's core addressing system have been taken. ... On Monday the master address books for the net are being updated to include records prepared in a new format known as IP version 6."

The average person may never know that this conversion happened. Until today in the near future they may turn off IPv4 support. Then older operating systems which don't support IPv6 will stop being able to function properly. They will need special gateways that make the conversion between the two version of the protocol.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Serendipity: 10 accidental inventions

Pocket Gadget reports: "As anyone with a knack for clich's knows, necessity is the mother of invention. However, it could also be said that while good inventions are often the product of necessity, great inventions are accidental. To demonstrate the importance of serendipity, we’ve put together a list of 10 examples of unintentional discoveries that too often we find ourselves taking for granted. In no particular order."

Some of these stories of accidental inventions I have heard before, and others I didn't.

Nine Secrets Health Insurers Don’t Want You to Know reports: "Health insurance companies like to keep secrets. And they like to save money. Example: You have surgery, and weeks later you get a bill for using an out-of-network anesthesiologist. Ridiculous, right? You didn’t choose who put you under, so you shouldn’t have to pay extra. But your insurer sent the bill anyway, hoping you wouldn’t notice."

It can be scary what you have to do sometimes to get those medical bills paid...

Finding the Best Deal on Travel (Updated)

Are you looking for some easy ways to save money on your travel? Well in my experience it takes work and luck to save any real money. There is no magic web site, phone number to call, or person to talk to. Its all the above, and its all about research.

General advice for getting the best discounts:
  • Reserve your ticket as earlier as you can (about 4-6 weeks) to get the best price and seat availability.
  • Indirect flights are generally cheaper then direct flights, but varies from destination to destination.
  • Be flexible about the dates you travel, traveling during the week can be cheaper then the weekend. Also being willing to stay over on a Saturday night might help reduce the cost.
  • If you're older then 55 or have a child under 12, check for senior or child discounts.
  • If you fly a lot leverage your frequent flyer miles when you purchase your tickets.
  • Sometimes choosing a different airport depending on the destination can save you some money.
  • According the following article, the best time to buy tickets is: "Wednesday from midnight to 1a.m. in the time zone of the airline's 'home base.'" Read the article for more information.
Below are sites that you can use for finding the best deals related to air travel:
  • Farecast: General airline price comparison site.
  • Kayak: General airline price comparison site.
  • Mobissimo: General airline price comparison site.
  • Wegolo: Airline price comparison site for low-cost European carriers.
  • Priceline: Bid on your tickets and hotel. (General rules of advice for using this site, bid close to the date that you want to go to your destination. Also search the lowest price and then bid 30%-40% below that.)
  • Uses real people instead of computers programs to find you the best deal.
Below are some additional travel related sites that may help you to prepare to get to your destination:
  • FlightAware: Get free live flight tracking.
  • Wikitravel: A free worldwide travel guide. If you're traveling in Europe and looking for the the cheapest flights, check out the following Wiki page called "Discount airlines in Europe."
  • National Traffic and Road Closure Information: The title says it all, but only applies to the U.S.
  • TripAdvisor: Provides recommendations for hotels, travel guides and more.
  • VirtualTourist: A travel community where travelers and locals share travel advice.
  • EuroCheapo: Reviews of cheap hotels in Europe.
  • Check out this article about 'Rule 240', if your flight is delayed or canceled find out what your rights are. (they might not tell you)
  • SeatGuru: Find the best seats on a particular type of airplanes flown by different carriers.

Ten myths about nuclear power

spiked (UK) reports: "‘It's dangerous, wasteful and too expensive!’ Greens are busily putting the case against nuclear, but there is not a spark of truth in their arguments."

Interesting article about nuclear power vs. other types of 'green' technology.

The Miniature Earth

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Howstuffworks Videos "What If I Shot My TV?"

Howstuffworks reports: "Have you ever been so upset at your TV. or Computer that you wanted to shoot it? Watch this HowStuffWorks video and learn what would happen if you shot your television."

Interesting video. I was alway told that CRTs would implode if you broke the screen. Find out what really happens...

Snowboarders vs. Subaru Impreza

Ken Block and the DC snowboard team combine a rally car with snowboarding at New Zealand's Snow Park NZ resort in September 2007 for DC's snowboard video Mtn.Lab 1.5. A photo from this shoot was featured on the cover of Snowboarder Magazine, and the story was featured in an article in 0-60 Magazine.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Aquaduct: Mobile Filtration Vehicle

The Aquaduct is pedal powered vehicle that transports, filters, and stores water for the developing world. A peristaltic pump attached to the pedal crank draws water from a large tank, through a filter, to a smaller clean tank. The clean tank is removable and closed for contamination-free home storage and use. A clutch engages and disengages the drive belt from the pedal crank, enabling the rider to filter the water while traveling or while stationary.

The Aquaduct is the winning entry in the Innovate or Die contest put on by Google and Specialized. The contest challenge was to build a pedal powered machine that has environmental impact. Please see the website ( for more details.

360 Degree View of an Airbus A380 Cockpit

Check out this incredibly interactive view of an Airbus A380 cockpit.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Nissan Maxima Pigeons Commercial

This is a great commercial from the 1997. Hope you enjoy it...

New cable cut compounds net woes

BBC News reports: "A submarine cable in the Middle East has been snapped, adding to global net problems caused by breaks in two lines under the Mediterranean on Wednesday."

There is a great graphic on the page that shows what one of these cables looks like. Although, it seems too strange that all these cables broke in such a short period of time.