Thursday, March 25, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010


When residents of Shizuoka were trying to figure out how to top last summer's Gundam statue, they did the obvious. Look for the new, lightsaber version this summer (OK, technically "beam saber"—but we know the truth)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Cell phone radiation. Some consider it a heath-hazard of paramount importance. Others couldn't care less. Whichever camp you're in, there's some perverse satisfaction in clicking through CNET's countdown to see which is the most mind-melting gadget on the market.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Researchers have discovered that increasing production of a protein called RGS-14 could significantly boost visual memory. They are currently investigating the exact effects on humans, but all I can think is: Photographic memory in pill form.

Sure, we don't really know how the human brain would be affected, but there are certainly great results with mice already:

Mice with the RGS-14 boost could remember objects they had seen for up to two months. Ordinarily the same mice would only be able to remember these objects for about an hour.

The only trouble if similar effects occur in humans and if the magic memory pill of my dreams could be created is that there would have to be a counterpart for forgetting. Because sometimes there are things you really don't want to remember all too well or all too long.

I wonder if their are side affects to taking too many. But it is a pretty cool pill.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Google and China's dirty laundry has been airing in public since mid-January when Google refused to continue censoring search results in the country. A resolution could be nearing though, with Google rumored to be pulling censorship this month.

Their clash of values has been well-publicized, with Google halting the release of certain Android phones and even canceling a developer event over there. Eric Schmidt from Google warned that "something will happen soon," with the Wall Street Journal claiming sources have tipped them off that they may stop censoring search results this month.

Li Yizhong, a Minister of Industry and Information Technology in China, responded with "if you don't respect Chinese laws, you are unfriendly and irresponsible, and the consequences will be on you" when asked about how China will retaliate if Google stayed true to its word.

However, the rather boring (for spectators, at least) conclusion might just be for Google to work with individual agencies and sectors within China, censoring and un-censoring as they see fit. [WSJ via Reuters]


Thursday, March 11, 2010


This may be a concept, but I want someone to actually make it for any present or future tablet out there: An optional foldable keyboard that acts as phone handset. This is how the it works:
The keyboard is physically independent from the tablet itself, just a peripheral device that you can carry around folded in your pocket. However, it doesn't have any independent functionality. It can only work while connected wirelessly to the tablet. And that's the beauty of it: I can imagine myself carrying the iPad 3G on my backpack, ready to receive calls, and then this cellphone-keyboard in my pocket. In fact, if you add a full screen to its outer shell, it could even act as a secondary display for the tablet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

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I spoke to Imagination Technologies—maker of the PowerVR chip that powers smartphones like the iPhone, Droid and many others—and they said, definitively, that you'll have graphics comparable to the PlayStation 3 in 3 years.

They know this because these are the chips they're designing right now. The way the development process works for phones is that Imagination comes up with a chip, which they license, and that works its way through development cycles and people like Apple or HTC, which then incorporate them into their phones, which they in turn have to productize and bring to market. The whole thing takes three years. But in three years, says Imagination, you're going to have a PS3 in your pocket. And that's not just running at the 480x340 resolution that most phones have now, that's PS3-esque graphics on 720p output via HDMI to a TV. Hell, some phones in three years will have a 720p display native.

But there are going to be some interesting things between now and then. Imagination is still working on support for the products out now—the chips in the iPhones and the Droids and the Nokias that use PowerVR. The two most interesting things are Flash acceleration in hardware and OpenCL support, which enables GPGPU computing.

I love the graphic concepts.

Monday, March 8, 2010


While PlayStation still hasn't confirmed whether its motion controller will be called the Arc, the rumor mill has gone one step further this week with a forum-poster claiming it'll work alongside a Wii-like nunchuk.

GDC is kicking off over in San Francisco this week, so if ever there was a venue to announce a new add-on—or even confirmation of the name—that would be it.

The forum-poster at NeoGAF, by the name of Ichinisan, reckons the pictures he saw of the nunchuk included an analog stick, plus X and O buttons, along with L1 and L2 buttons under the D-Pad. The wand-shaped Arc meanwhile apparently has "one very big button on top" (no word if s/he meant the big glowing globe, or something else), and X, O, triangle and square buttons. The trigger is the 'T' command, according to this mysterious poster—who could very well be full of shit, as he's just a junior member of the forums. He does comment that "it's actually long, not like the Wii Nunchuk"—which measures 22.9 x 17.8 x 5.7cm. [NeoGAF via VG247 via TechRadar]

Send an email to Kat Hannaford, the author of this post, at

Friday, March 5, 2010


At the moment, our choice of lighting is fairly committal. We drill holes in our ceilings for permanent placements of bulbs. But LEDs open all sorts of other possibilities. It's not hard to imagine a ceiling covered in RGB LEDs, like Seo Dong-Hun's Draw the Lights concept. Equipped with a few sensors, a laser (or IR) pen could "paint" an array of light, allowing you to customize your entire living space in a manner not unlike a Philips LivingColors lamp...only a lot more immersive. [Red Dot via Yanko Design]

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Publisher Activision announced today new "strategic plans" for the Call of Duty franchise, announcing a new developer for the shooter franchise and confirming the departure of key Infinity Ward staffers.

Activision announced it will form a "dedicated [Call of Duty] business unit that will bring together its various new brand initiatives with focused, dedicated resources around the world." It plans to expand the Call of Duty brand "with the same focus seen in its Blizzard Entertainment business unit" placing a focus on "high-margin digital online content and further the brand as the leading action entertainment franchise in new geographies, new genres and with new digital business models."

As previously announced, Activision will release a new Call of Duty game from series co-developer Treyarch, responsible for Call of Duty 3 and Call of Duty: World At War, this fall. Developer Infinity Ward is still scheduled to release two downloadable map packs for Modern Warfare 2 this year.

In 2011, Activision will release another new game in the Call of Duty series from an unspecified developer. It also announced plans for another Call of Duty-based title from developer Sledgehammer Games, the recently formed studio lead by Dead Space creative leads Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey. The Sledgehammer-helmed title will "extend the franchise into the action-adventure genre."

The previously mentioned Call of Duty business unit will be led by Philip Earl, who currently runs Activision Publishing's Asia Pacific region. Activision Publishing's Steve Pearce, chief technology officer, and Steve Ackrich, head of production, will lead Infinity Ward on an interim basis. Former studios heads Jason West and Vince Zampella are no longer with Infinity Ward, officially.

"Activision doesn't comment on HR matters related to its studios," said reps when asked for comment about the departures and allegations of insubordination. The two former Infinity Ward heads are said to have butted heads with their publisher creatively over the direction of the Call of Duty franchise.

Activision Publishing also announced that the company is "in discussions with a select number of partners to bring the franchise to Asia, one of the fastest growing regions for online multiplayer games in the world."


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you want some cycling practice but you're worried about all of the reckless drivers out there. You don't want to resort to one of those lame stationary bikes, either. The solution? Free motion bicycle rollers. Updated: More danger!

I would love to bike more often, but the thought of cycling here in New York City is utterly daunting. This alternative, however, seems even more terrifying.

If you want to brave your unfinished basement on two wheels, a free motion set up only costs about $35 in parts and can be assembled by following this Instructable. Just don't say I didn't warn you. [Make and Instructables]

This is pretty cool and dangerous !

What people think of Sony



The new Sapphire Radeon HD 5970—based upon the acclaimed ATI HD 5970 chipset—is the new world's fastest graphics card. Its 3DMark Vantage score is an insane 22,000.

The overclocked ATI GPU runs at 850MHz, which is supported by 4GB of DDR3 RAM (itself, clocked at 1,200MHz). And all this hardware necessitates three fans an a massive heatsink, making it thicker than your average video card. Outputs include two dual-link DVIs and one mini DisplayPort. Weird that there's no HDMI on here, like the 5870 has.

AMD expects that we'll see the HD 5970 from a variety of different manufactures, which is good because while we have no idea what the thing costs, it won't be cheap.


Monday, March 1, 2010


You're probably relatively confident in your various machines' integrity against hackers. Repeat Pwn2Own hacking competition victor Charlie Miller would like you to know that you're wrong.

In an interview with OneITSecurity, Miller picks off questions about hacking and security with just enough ease and nonchalance to make me queasy. Like, you know how Mac OS exploits are supposed to be tougher to root out than Windows exploits? Not quite! And they're both vulnerable:

Windows 7 is slightly more difficult because it has full ASLR (address space layout randomization) and a smaller attack surface (for example, no Java or Flash by default). Windows used to be much harder because it had full ASLR and DEP (data execution prevention). But recently, a talk at Black Hat DC showed how to get around these protections in a browser in Windows.

And obviously, Linux is fortress, right? Again:

No, Linux is no harder, in fact probably easier, although some of this is dependent on the particular flavor of Linux you're talking about. The organizers don't choose to use Linux because not that many people use it on the desktop. The other thing is, the vulnerabilities are in the browsers, and mostly, the same browsers that run on Linux, run on Windows.

And within a given operating system, surely you can ensure immunity from exploits by choosing a secure browser like Firefox. Surely. No? GUUUGHHH.

[The safest browser is] Chrome or IE8 on Windows 7 with no Flash installed. There probably isn't enough difference between the browsers to get worked up about. The main thing is not to install Flash!

So the guy who consistently prevails Pwn2Own, a competition where hackers demonstrate exploits for sport, says that Flash, which is installed on about 98% of computers on the internet, unifies all browsers in insecurity. The slightly better news is, despite inherent insecurities that he doesn't bother to elaborate on, mobile smartphone platforms are relatively secure as compared to their desktop counterparts. So there's that.

The full interview is definitely worth a read, even for the tech disinclined—it's a good reminder that you (and you!) can never completely avoid online security threats. So, stay on your toes, and look out for... something? [OneITSecurity viaCrunchgear]