Tag Archives: highpants

AppBlaster, Alien Blasting iPhone Fun…

When aliens invade your living room there is only one weapon to reach for, your trusty AppBlaster. The AppBlaster rifle – AppGun – may appear to be a simple plastic imitation laser rifle, to the untrained eye. Don’t be fooled though it is your best friend when Aliens start popping out from behind your TV or crawling down your walls.

With your iPhone mounted on the AppGun, Alien Attack game installed and running its time to start dispatching the invading alien horde. Watching your iPhones screen Alien Attack will reveal the Aliens not visible to the naked eye. Using the two triggers you are tasked with clearing the room.

Part of a new generation of video game AppBlaster is one of the first augmented reality video games. Augmented Reality melds real world footage from your phones camera with computer generated graphics, in this case Aliens just asking for a butt kicking. Alien Attack isn’t location specific either, no matter where you are it will reveal the hidden alien invasion.

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HP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition Laptop…

HP the largest laptop maker in the world – for the moment – has reset the value equation for laptops yet again. HP has endowed the humble value laptop with a split personality, The Hooker and the Housewife. Once the standard full sized laptop wasn’t a great performance proposition, eventually we all ended up trading power for value. Compromise no longer, the everyday, everyman PC has a new meaner streak. HP’s introduction of the latest Quad Core CPU technology into the value 15.6″ dv6t Quad Edition and 17″ dv7t Quad Edition laptops changes the equation. HP has returned to what it does best, reliability and value, they threw in the good looks and performance for free. Not as sexy as the high end gaming rigs these are the laptops we spend time with, our window on the virtual world for the next few years. HP new laptops are just at home during late nights on gaming’s mean streets as it is doing the little day to day tasks.

The HP’s Quad Edition – QE – laptops are a classy almost classic looking design with slim straight lines giving it a modern accessory feel, especially the Umber – brown – brushed metal finish. Along with the classy looks is the split personality a clever combination of new CPU technology, a low power second GPU and software. When in undemanding situations the CPU is able to shut down idle parts, a second low power GPU is used instead of the faster but power hungry discreet GPU – AMD 6490 or 6770 -.Making this a good road warrior and comfortable every day laptop. The 8Gb of Ram should keep even the heaviest multi-taskers happy. In situation that require some processing power, gaming or video processing HP’s software turns up the juice. All of this adds up to 5 hour battery life with the standard battery and 9.5 hours with the 9 cell extended battery without having to compromise.

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The Native Union Play: Video Messaging Comment Bubble…

Video is invading all corners of our world, YouTube has brought the short clip to the masses. Now Native Union has made video personal again, demonstrating their Play personal video messaging system. The comment bubble shaped device houses a 2.4″ LCD and a video camera. At the press of a button it can record a message to be played back by the next person to pass the fridge at home or at the office.

Messages are recorded with the built-in video camera, microphone and with enough memory for up to 3 minutes of video the Play is simplicity itself. Keep recording messages until the Play is full, clear it out and start again. Make a whole series of annoying one word messages that need to be played one after the other to hear the full message. Even the shape of the Play is simplicity, a comment bubble to contain your messages. Native Union has even included a flashing LED to indicate a new message. The magnetized back makes a Fridge the natural home for the Play but many other places will learn to make the Play at home, in the office a quick note on how to turn on the video projector sits on the wall or record the ten most common answers in your job and leave Play to cover for you. Now if they can build in a label maker they may well take over the world

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Samsung’s Smart Media Hub. SE-208BW, The Swiss Army Knife of Optical Drives…

It was easy to miss Samsung’s new SE-208BW Optical Drive announced this week. Drowned out by all of the noise at the IFA gadget festival in Germany Samsung’s new drive is a game changing device non the less, this a whole new class of device being created before our eyes. Samsung’s new drive is the Über can do drive, like all great super hero’s this is a split personality device. As a mild manured Optical Drive it run’s flawlessly and looks great to boot, but there is another side to the SE-208BW, connect it to a network and it becomes the Wi-Fi Superman gadget. Able to backup entire smartphones in a single click, serves files faster than a Google’s farm and handier than a box full of Swiss army knives. You will wonder why we have all put up with plain old external drives.

Not forgetting that at it’s core this is an external DVD, as such it does the basics very well. Specifications include 24X CD-ROM, 24X CD-RW, 8X DVD reading and 8X DVD±R, 5X DVD-RAM, 6X DVD+R Dual Layer, 6X DVD-R Dual Layer, 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW recording. The drive boasts Buffer Under Run technology to prevent errors that may result from writing speeds that exceed data transfer speeds, while also enabling PC multitasking. Bootable through USB for those annoying Windows installs.

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Phase Change Memory, The New Storage King…

The battle over the next storage technology is heating up. IBM scientists this week demonstrated a working practical version of their Multi-bit Phase Change Memory. PCM combines speed, endurance, non-volatility and density into a single chip. This is Flash memory part 2 and may be the first technology to threaten hard drives. 100 times faster than flash with read/write durability of 10 million cycles this is what Flash always wanted to be. PCM is the little prince who one day may become the king of storage.

IBM developed a 200,000 memory cell test chip to prove the technology. The chip was developed using older 90nm CMOS fabricating technology – Intel is just about to start using 22nm technology – , the cells consists of an alloy between two electrodes, top and bottom. When voltage is passed between the electrodes the alloy heats up and changes once it hits the right temperature. This change in structure affects its electrical resistance and this is used to represent 1’s and 0’s. The alloy itself belongs to a class of materials called chalcogenide compounds, materials that change their internal structure from crystalline to amphoras under certain circumstances. DVD-R disks use a similar material but they use light to read and write, changing the refractive index.

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Artificial Skin, Getting That Robotic Touch…

Skin a wonderfully tactile and complex part of the human condition that often goes unnoticed. Scientists this week have demonstrated the most complex artificial skin for robots yet produced. Containing infra-red, heat and accelerometer sensors this is an intelligent hard shell for our robotic creations. Still lagging a long way behind human skin this new robotic facsimile is a huge advancement on previous technology that will eventually be able to include other sensors to enhance our robots sense of touch.

The skin itself is made from a collection of small hexagonal circuit boards – 5 square centimeters each– that are connected to form the skin. Each circuit board contains four infra-red sensors to detect objects within a few centimeters of the skin, six temperature sensors for heat / cold and an accelerometer. The circuit boards have their own processor and communications hardware used to form a network of skin cells.

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Mother Earth, The Sun is Not Your Father…

After much number crunching and analysis NASA boffins have announced the Sun is not our Father.

Data returned by NASA’s Genesis space craft and analyzed around the world suggests that Sun and Earth were formed separately. Like a giant paternity test scientists studied matter collected from the oldest part of the Sun and compared it to samples from the Earth. Sorry Sun you ARE NOT the Father, time for some more tests.

“We found that Earth, the moon, as well as Martian and other meteorites which are samples of asteroids, have a lower concentration of the O-16 than does the sun,” said Kevin McKeegan, “The implication is that we did not form out of the same solar nebula materials that created the sun — just how and why remains to be discovered.”

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The Artificial Leaf on Silicon Trees…

Scientists at MIT have demonstrated the first practical artificial leaf.

This doesn’t mean the oak tree out the front of your house should be worried, these leaves will never hang from a branch. Nor do they look like a leaf, with a silicon cell immersed in a cylinder of bubbling water they are more laboratory ready than they are garden ready.

Instead of simply using the solar cell to produce electricity the cells use a special coating on the silicon, along with the power from the cell to split the water into its hydrogen and oxygen components.

Being able to directly convert water and sunlight into storable gas provides solutions to the biggest problems with solar power, no light no power. At night the gas could be fed to a fuel cell to convert the gases back into electricity and water. The holy grail of renewable power just got one step closer.

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Kilobots: The New Swarm to Take Over the World…

Kilobots to take over the world, $14 dollars at a time!? A Harvard University research group – Self-Organizing Systems – have designed and made available an extremely simple and cheap robot capable of working as a collective, a team. Looking like a peice of 1950’s electronics the Kilobot is able to move, sense and react. Is this the most dangerous robot ever invented or an essential tool for investigating robotics ?

Intended to be a research tool for programmers developing control logic for self organising robots, with $14 worth of parts they are cheap enough to allow testing of 1000’s of robots in a swarmcollective group of robots working together -, something even the big research groups like MIT couldn’t afford to do without Kilobot. The Kilobots require a hard surface to operate so we are all safe, until the world is laminated that is.

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Solar Flare Cycle MIA, Solar Slumber…

Ever since the first caveman was forced to get out of bed early the Sun’s cycles have been of studied with interest. From the timings of our daily lives to the coming of Santa each year the Sun’s timing permeates every part of our lives.

Scientists recently met to discuss the 11 year solar flare cycle. Meeting in New Mexico for the American Astronomical SocietyAAS – Solar Physics Conference, 320 scientists gathered to compare notes, share information and generally schmooze about the Sun.

Tuesday – 14.06.2011 – the scientist announced their findings and predictions for the next solar cycle. It looks like jumpers and scarfs are in and speedos are out, solar flare activity between 2013 and 2024 may be almost completely absent. The impact of this sustained level of low solar flare activity is still being debated with effects ranging from another mini ice-age, slight mitigation of global warming to some that expect zero impact on the Earths weather.

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