Category Archives: Crazy Tech
Spaceship Two: First Commercial Space Penetration Will Be By a Virgin. Ironic?
Of course I had to be in a class when Virgin Galactic finally cranked up the engine on their long-awaited Spaceship Two. I’ll comfort myself with the fact that after having waited this many years to get to see something like this happening, an extra couple of hours won’t make much difference. Suffice to say, I’m stoked, but what do you think? Check out the video below and share your thoughts after the break!
Xbox 360 Solidifies Position as Media Console Leader…Again
Microsoft has, for at least the past couple of years, banged the drum of “Media hub” when talking about Xbox 360. Each year the “core” gamers have moaned as Microsoft increasingly focused on building up Xbox 360′s street cred as a legitimate living room jack-of-all-trades, but for the most part it’s worked out well for the big M. Truth be told, it’s worked out well for gamers, too. We’ve gotten the ability to cheaply stream gobs of content from the likes of Hulu, Netflix and other sources to any TV, all while continuing to enjoy a wealth of high end games content and a great online service that still can’t be beat by any other console. So it should come as no surprise that this E3, while bereft of surprises and relatively light on new games franchises or non-sequel IP, has nevertheless delivered a plethora of cool stuff for the media consuming masses. I’m gonna take a moment to summarize a few of these right after the break, and I invite you to join me and share your thoughts on Xbox 360′s latest bounty.
Fast As Light Chips to Arrive Soon, Go Both Ways
People who are clearly far more brilliant than I make me jealous. They also inspire and leave me in a state of awe, which is appropriate, because this is pretty awesome. An engineering team at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a new type of computer circuit that operates by light rather than electricity. The nano rods from which this new circuit is made can be configured to behave like traditional electronics such as capacitors, resistors and so on. Unlike traditional devices, the new circuits are faster, smaller, cooler and lighter (pun absolutely intended). Perhaps coolest of all, though, is that these new circuits are able to flip orientations to perform different kinds of functions; the same chip might be able to act as both a CPU and a GPU, simply by switching functions on the fly. Pretty cool! Now we wait. It’s a shame patience isn’t one of my virtues.
Who knows–someday these just might make it into your next generation computer system running whatever OS the world seems to like most at the time, and be able to decode and encode 4k video with 20.1 audio in real time while sipping battery life like a sweet mimosa!
Source: Penn State University
Smart Is As Smart Paint Does!
Man, oh man, is this interesting: smart paint that can detect problems in structures painted with it. Something I constantly tell the people in my life is this: “Technology will save the world.” I really believe that’s the truth. Yes, there are drawbacks we discover while learning to manufacture various technologies. Yes, we run into unforeseen problems. But at the end of the day, technology enables more people to enjoy a greater degree of safety, comfort, freedom and health. These things improve our odds of living happily, and that’s worth our effort. Read on after the jump for more!
A friend sent me this very cool video of how Intel makes processors, so of course I thought, “Hey, that’s some Nerdy stuff!” And sure enough, it is. Check it out, it’s darn cool!
Let me tell you for the record, I am not a smoker. I have the good fortune to have been born allergic to tobacco, and learned that at the curious age of 5 when I begged my mother for a drag off her cigarette, only to be rushed to the hospital with an almost totally closed breathing dealabob thingy. Since that day I’ve never had so much as the faintest inkling of desire to smoke anything whatsoever. Until now.
There’s a new Windows Home Server device in town (by the way, WHS is a PHENOMENAL product!), but this one’s a bit different from the devices on offer from HP and Acer. Aside from the fact that it’s a bit less capable and expandable (due to lack of space for hard drives), this is a product that blends two things I would never have thought to blend: A Humidor and a Server.
That’s right, the new Home Servidor (seriously!) offers you the ability to serve up stinky death via a top mounted humidor, thermally isolated from the server guts below it, while simultaneously ensuring that your computer’s data, pictures, documents, etc are handily backed up. When you die a choking, coughing, gasping-for-air death…your data remains safe and secure. It’s brilliant! This, my friends, is the fucking key to immortality.
If you’re one of those few elite who truly must have the finest in craftsmanship, this lovely little box of safety and doom is hand crafted at the time you place your order, by the King of Irony himself. If you’re in the market for a Home Server for Home Server purposes, you can get a lot more oomph for a lot less money, but friend let me tell you, you’re gonna have a helluva time finding anything more ironic to decorate your house with.
I…almost want one!
Today Apple, in what appears to be a vicious pattern of flogging my wallet until it cries, introduced the new iPhone 3G-S, which will launch in just shy of a week and a half. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some hot iPhone action and I’ve been in a perpetual state of enthrallment with my current iPhone 3G since I got it in December. Nevertheless a gurgling, hissing voice has arisen with me and several heads have turned as I’ve uttered (uncontrollably) the words “We wants it, precious! Give it to us, it’s ours!” Yes, that’s just the kind of day I’ve had, thank you very much, Mr. Jobs.
So, beyond the obvious shiny, what does the new iPhone 3G-S bring to all those patient consumers who decided to tough it out? Here’s a quick and dirty chart to show you the difference and what you can expect to pay for that difference. Note also that the chart reflects todays price drop of the existing 8GB model iPhone 3G to 99 effing dollars.
Nevertheless, even the iPhone 3G remains an amazing device that can offer you the ability to be much more productive in your daily doings, so if the price has been what’s holding you back you no longer have any excuse. Unless I’m horribly mistaken (a distinct possibility, I haven’t done the research), this officially makes iPhone 3G the cheapest non-refurb Smartphone on the market.
|Device||iPhone 3G||iPhone 3G-S|
|Storage & Price||8GB ($99)||16GB ($199)
|Features||Cut, copy, paste
|Cut, copy, paste
Faster performance (2x!)
Post straight to Youtube
My Effing Envy
Tap to Focus (dammit!)
|Battery Life||Good||Better (I can’t bare to rub any more salt in the wound)|
So, this was a couple of days ago now, but I’ve been so busy over at E3 and blogging at our sister publication All That Gaming Stuff, that I haven’t had time to drop a note about it here. Project Natal is, in a word, the single most advanced motion control system ever devised or introduced for a home game console (OK, so that’s not a word, it’s more of a…phrase-like construct…thingy). And yes, that includes Sony’s newly announced Wiimote Duo (and yes, you should check out the Demo, it’s actually very cool as an evolution of the Wiimote concept).
So what does this sucker do? Well for starters it detects your entire body and the motion of 48 of your joints. It also detects your face–and will automatically log you into your profile when it sees you. It can detect your voice–and distinguish it from those of your friends, your family and even the game or movie characters you’re watching or playing. It can rapidly scan real world objects and convert them to real-time objects in a game as you can see in both the above video and in Lionhead’s demonstration of its advanced AI character Milo. But the most impressive thing shown with regards to Natal so far is that it enables the game software to do something that no game software has ever done before–it can recognize your emotional states by reading your facial and vocal patterns. No other system on the market or announced for a home console has this capability, and what it can mean for games where characterization is of great significance (RPG lovers take note) is simply off the charts.
Sadly, Microsoft has yet to announce a release date for this impressive new device, but given that they’re now in a race against time to beat Sony’s new Wiimote to market, to say nothing of Nintendo’s Wii Motion Plus, which is already on the market, it’s likely that this device has already been placed onto a priority track in Redmond. I wouldn’t be surprised in the coming months to hear of a massive internal push by Microsoft to get developers up to speed with this technology, retrofit high profile existing games for which it will make sense, and get the device into the hands of consumers as soon as possible. If they’re smart, they’ll also bundle it with consoles moving forward to ensure a reasonable amount of developer support, but we’ll just have to keep our eyes peeled.
What do you think of Natal? Next-Gen or gimmick (or both?) Let us know what you think in the comments!
Update: And it’s gone again. On the bright side, mine from the last deal arrived a couple of hours ago, so I’ll be posting my impressions in the next day or so!
Just a quick blurb to let you know, that Acer Netbook deal from TigerDirect is back! $199 is a killer deal!
As if you didn’t know it already, our wonderful friends in Britain continue to have really bizarre senses of comedy. Funny as hell, though, so I dare not complain, but check out the oddness of it for yourself. It’s as if one of the popular gadget podcasts got into a train wreck with the Benny Hill show!