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Archive for the ‘Geek News’ Category

Displax Film Could Turn Nearly Any Surface into Touchscreen

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It seems more and more apparent that our technology is heading towards a keyboard-less world. Displax, a company based in Portugal, has succeeded in using a projector and project any image on glass and make that surface a touchscreen. [Via Engadget]

Light Blue Optics already blew our minds up with its touchscreen-creating projector, but it looks like Displax will be the one to really turn the touchpanel into a modern day commodity. The Portugal-based company is trumpeting a new polymer film that can be stuck onto or just under glass, plastic or wood in order to transform a vanilla surface into one that responds to touch and airflow. Furthermore, the tech can be overlayed on curved panels, and it also plays nice with opaque and transparent surfaces. As the story goes, an array of nanowires embedded in the film recognizes your digits or pointed breath, and it then passes the information along to a microcontroller and software suite that transforms the inputs into reactions on your system. In its current form, the solution can detect up to 16 touch points on a 50-inch screen, and if all goes well, the first Displax-enabled wares will start shipping this July. Huzzah!

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Written by Brando P

February 5, 2010 at 9:01 AM

My Interview with Steve Jobs!

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

Written by Brando P

February 3, 2010 at 1:04 AM

Posted in Funny Clips, Geek News

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PS3 Has been Hacked!

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The man behind the jailbreak iPhone app has hacked the impossible, the Playstation 3. [via Kotaku]

George Hotz, the man responsible for “jailbreaking” the iPhone platform, has released the “coveted” PlayStation 3 exploit he announced last week, the one that means the console is essentially “hacked.”

So begins the cycle of homebrew developers finding new ways to run custom code on the PS3 and Sony Computer Entertainment engineers attempting to squash exploits that enable said homebrew (and the piracy that tends to go along with it). We’re sure that Kevin Butler, VP of Locking Shit Down, is already on the case.

Just don’t count on Hotz continuing his pursuit of keeping the PlayStation 3 hack ready. And don’t expect anything profound to come out of Hotz’s efforts any time soon.

“Hopefully, this will ignite the PS3 scene, and you will organize and figure out how to use this to do practical things, like the iPhone when jailbreaks were first released,” Hotz writes on his blog. “I have a life to get back to and can’t keep working on this all day and night.”

Hotz says his exploit is “known to work with version 2.4.2 only, but I imagine it works on all current versions.”

While there’s still an incredible amount of work for the “scene” to do for PlayStation execs to worry about rampant PS3 piracy, now three-plus years into the console’s lifespan, we’re guessing it won’t take long for something substantive to come out of this effort.

Here’s your silver platter [On The PlayStation 3]

Written by Brando P

January 29, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Posted in Games, Geek News

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Apple iPad is Finally Here

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If you have been living underneath a rock for the past few months then you might have missed the ‘super-sized me’ iPhone that Apple just announced. Pretty much a more powerful tablet that offers $30/month 3G service. It turns out a lot cheaper than I thought it would be. The cheapest model at $600 and the most expensive one at $900. [via Gizmodo]

Only way to interpret the launch of the iPad? Apple has declared the PC dead. Well-crafted but closed devices are their future of consumer computing. And if no one else can match the iPad experience, they may be right.

“In many ways this defines our vision, our sense of what’s next.” – Jonathan Ive

PCs will be around as expert devices for the long haul, but it’s clear that Apple, coasting on the deserved success of the iPhone, sees simple, closed internet devices as the future of computing. (Or at the very least, portable computing.) And for the average consumer, it could be.

It’s the “internet device” vision of a decade ago all over again, except now Apple can offer what is arguably the best user experience for internet and media consumption combined with a very reasonable (for a brand new gadget) price.

It may not be good for you, because you’re an internet dork who wants to do heavy video editing or run Photoshop. (Or, you know, multitask.) But for the average person off the street walking into a Best Buy, their laptop money may now be going to an iPad.

What happens when they find the iPad is all they needed in the first place? They never buy a laptop again.

In the meantime, here are a few things to think about for we full-time dorks.

Does it kill netbooks?

If there’s anything that you can take home from today’s announcement of the iPad it’s this: from here on out the battle between physical keyboards and touchscreen ones has moved beyond smartphones and into every other area of computing. Get ready to hear someone say “I touchtype just fine on a soft keyboard on my PC” very soon.

I’d be lying if I said the giant bezel doesn’t ward me off a bit, even if I understand why it’s necessary to be there. But it isn’t as sexy as it could be, all things considered.

But a 1.5-pound device with a (theoretical) 10-hour battery life? Done and done. Heck, I’ll haul two.

Yet I will buy the dock! Perhaps, even if I am frustrated to no end that they are not simply supporting the Bluetooth keyboard. But I suppose that is that—this really is what Apple imagines the future of laptops to be.

Belay that! A couple of you have pointed out that the Bluetooth keyboard is in fact supported! I am a’flutter.

But it’s a lot more likely I’ll carry around an iPad than a netbook.

What about the add-on keyboard, though? I sort of love it, but it is so very un-Apple to have a keyboard attachment. And all the dongles. And only a VGA output, not DisplayPort! It seems like the iPad came from an alternate dimension.

Productivity

If typing on the iPad’s soft keyboard is even slightly faster or more comfortable than typing on an iPhone, they could have a productivity winner here. But I sort of doubt it’s going to be comfortable enough to use for hours of typing at a time.

For emailing, attachment browsing, and the like, though, I think it’ll be a pretty powerful little device. Its form factor is perfect for pulling out of a little executive bag to check mail or show off a PDF to a coworker.

The new cloud-based iWork looks amusing, but who really wants to switch from Office to iWork? Email and other web-based tech is still the most portable solution. On the other hand, a functional iWork is what convinces your CTO that you can use the iPad to display Powerpoints.

Screen Aspect Ratio

There was never going to be a perfect size, especially since movies are widescreen, but a single page of a magazine or book is decidedly not. Yet the aspect ratio, which is something close to 4:3 (if not exactly), surrounds widescreen movies with a lot of black, especially when you include the bezel. I would expect future iPad models to lengthen ever so slightly, but not much.

3G Access

250MB for $15 a month; unlimited for $30. No contracts. Unlocked SIM slot. Completely reasonable.

Of course, it uses AT&T, so if you’re in NYC or San Francisco you’re screwed. But it also means you could switch in other carriers’ SIM cards if you like.

And the free Wi-Fi access in an AT&T hotspot—presumably only if you’ve paid for some AT&T access—won’t hurt.

That the iPad is unlocked, though, also means that T-Mobile could potentially roll in with a 3G option for even less money.

Pornography

It’s simple: You can hold something that weighs 1.5 pounds in one hand.

Relaxation

A few have mentioned how sitting down with an iPad may feel casual, less prone to send one into “work-mode”. I can buy that—but that will also serve to delineate use-cases between laptops and iPads, making the iPad seem more like a toy.

Reading

Don’t call it a Kindle killer. Books on iPad will probably be more expensive than Kindle’s titles, at least at first. And there’s nothing about the iPad’s screen that will make it better for reading than, say, a laptop. But having a dedicated iBooks store? That’s good for everybody, including iPhone and iPod touch users.

And for anything color—comics, children’s books, magazines—the iPad will destroy what e-paper can do.

Multitouch

Here is the thing to know: When it comes to multitouch, consider the iPad the harbinger of all the interface tricks that will be coming to iMac and MacBooks in the relatively near future.

VoIP

It has a microphone. There’s no reason to think it won’t be able to do VoIP.

All in all, I think they’ve got a category-straddling winner here, but it’s a bit of a gangly pseudopodal mutant at the same time. It doesn’t kill the laptop or the PC quite yet, but you can at least see how Apple intends to choke the life out of those markets.

Don’t like that? Better get to work on a better tablet.

Written by Brando P

January 28, 2010 at 12:20 AM

Posted in Geek News

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Google Voice Heads to iPhone

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Although you can’t download an app from the App store Google has made a nifty web app version that has all the functionality. You can make calls, send texts, listen to voice mails, and change your settings to make your contact list. It’s a fully functional web app and your Google phone number will appear whenever you make a call. Pretty cool…[via Gizmodo]

What’s the solution to Apple’s stinginess about Google getting an official Google Voice app on the iPhone App Store? A webapp that has about all the functionality, but usable on any HTML5-capable smartphone.

The webapp mimics the functionality of hitting up Google Voice on your desktop. You can make calls, send texts, listen to voicemails, change your settings and access your contacts all from your phone’s browser. It syncs up with your Google account’s contact list—not your iPhone’s contact list—so you’ll have to make sure to sync your contacts to Google first. The Pre however, if you already have your GV account as one of your contacts, should have a more transparent process.

Unlike the Google Voice app now, which calls your phone first and then connects the other party, you actually dial out directly into the Google Voice service, which then hooks you up with who you’re trying to reach. It’s going to be like the 406 numbers that Google Voice users are used to using for shortcuts to their contacts, but possibly not 406, since Google has a pool of numbers they are using.

Google also tells us that you can add dialing credits directly from the phone if you want to make overseas calls, saving you the trouble of having to get on a computer.

All in all, the experience is solid and fluid, mimicking an iPhone app as best as possible on a web interface. If we had any gripes, it would be that when you’re texting someone from your contacts list, it only grabs the phone number and doesn’t display the name after it. Also, that you can’t text multiple recipients. But calling from your contact list is fluid and takes only one more step than regular dialing from your iPhone.

It’s not as good as a native app, but it’s more than adequate. [Google Voice]

Written by Brando P

January 27, 2010 at 12:14 AM

Posted in Geek News

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iCooly Dock for Your iPhone

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If you were waiting for a dock for your iPhone for any reason at all, wait no more. These bad boys are available for $30 which is $10 off of the original price. You can shop for yours here.

Written by Brando P

January 10, 2010 at 11:39 PM

Posted in Geek News

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Samsung’s 14-inch transparent OLED laptop

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This is the world’s first and largest transparent OLED prototype. The panel is up to 40% transparency when it is off opposed to industry average of 25%.

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Written by Brando P

January 7, 2010 at 11:41 PM

Posted in Geek News

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