Archive for February, 2007

PS3 Movie Downloads

Posted in Digital Video,News,PS3,Sony by Darrin Olson on February 20th, 2007

Sony PS3 has movie downloads comingIn a recent interview with 1UP Phil Harrison, president of studios worldwide for Sony, said that the long term plan for the Playstation3 is to add digitally downloaded content to the existing built-in hard drive, including movies and TV shows.

Harrison stated that having the downloaded content was part of a 10-year plan, but also noted that the technology is already there to make this possible and its likely that it will come to fruition soon. This media download service would put the PS3 in direct runnings with the Microsoft Xbox which currently has a similar service, and could help its running against the Nintendo Wii which does have internet based interactive content through the Wii Channels, but does not download media to the game console.

“Well we made a very conscious decision in putting a hard drive in every machine and …

Crackdown On 360

Posted in Games,Xbox 360 by Chetz on February 20th, 2007

Crackdown for Xbox 360 hit shelvesHitting store shelves today is “Crackdown”, the first of 2007’s highly anticipated new games for the Microsoft Xbox 360. Developed by Scottish game company Real Time Worlds and from the mind of the same programmer that created the original “Grand Theft Auto”, “Crackdown” lets you explore the futuristic crime-filled streets of Pacific City and attempt to bring law and order to its frightened citizens.

You can roam all across the massive city and carry out mayhem using a wide array of weapons and vehicles but “Crackdown” has some new tricks that you won’t find in any “GTA” games. For starters there’s a co-op player mode that lets two gamers get involved in the action. There’s also the ability for your character to develop their skills to make them stronger, faster, tougher; the more you play, the better your character gets. And …

Hasta la Vista

Posted in Microsoft,News,Vista by Chetz on February 20th, 2007

Steve Ballmer talks about sluggish sales and piracy with Microsoft VistaIn a Monday conference call to investors Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that sales expectations for the company’s new operating system, Windows Vista, had been “overly optimistic” – but not by the software titan that made the program. Instead, Ballmer dumped blame on aggressive expectations by analysts who had stars in their eyes rather than reasonable sales expectations. “Some of the Windows revenue forecasts I’ve seen are overly aggressive,” Ballmer was quoted as saying. “You shouldn’t think of a huge surge in fiscal year ‘08 relative to ‘07. There are a few who think we are going to do so much better than PC growth.”

After five years spent in development Vista launched to retail at the start of this month. Microsoft has reportedly spent around half-a-billion dollars alone to market the latest version of Windows to …

Nikon COOLPIX L11

Posted in Coolpix,Digital Cameras,Nikon by Darrin Olson on February 20th, 2007

COOLPIX L11 digital CameraToday Nikon has announced a number of new cameras to their COOLPIX line to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brand, and a new COOLPIX logo to boot. The COOLPIX L10 and COOLPIX L11 are similar and simple point and shoot cameras targeting the beginner.

The COOLPIX L11 is a 6.0 megapixel camera that features 3x zoom (4x digital zoom), automatic light sensitivity and the ability to automatically recognize and focus on faces when they are in frame. Nikon also states that the L11 is compatible with AA batteries. This can certainly be a convenience for the times you forget the charger, but it is also a way for Nikon to sell a camera without rechargeable batteries or a charger; both of these items are optional add-ons that come separately. A set of alkaline AA’s do come in the package, though.

The L11 also comes with …

80′s Brick Cell Phone

Posted in Mobile Phones by Darrin Olson on February 19th, 2007

1980’s Brick Cell PhoneSince the first flip phone came out in the early 90′s mobile phones just haven’t been the same, and it just wouldn’t be right if the Brick passed up reporting on this retro style 1980′s cell phone. A brick can mean a number of different things; solid and reliable, some gadget rendered useless by time or technology and of course a great big heavy cell phone that makes you taste pennies and forget your name after more than 15 minutes of continuous use.

The 80′s Brick Cell Phone model FY8850 is an actually working mobile phone replica that looks old but has modern technology. It’s unlocked and works on any GSM network (900, 1800 or 1900 but not 850). There is no wireless headset, Bluetooth, car charger or USB connection since that would just go against how this phone should be used. A large cell …

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Released

Posted in Adobe,News,Software by Darrin Olson on February 19th, 2007

Adobe Photoshop LightroomAdobe has released its 1.0 version of the Photoshop Lightroom software which will bring the product out of its year-plus beta period and available for retail purchase. The Lightroom software is a digital photographers ‘toolbox’ used for managing, developing and presenting a digital photo library.

The product is available initially for $199, but will go up to $299 starting in May. If you are currently using the beta 4.1 or previous, it will expire at the end of February and you will have two months to take advantage of the $100 discount.

Lightroom 1.0 has some additional features which help filtering through large collections of photos by keywords and a new Key Metadata Browser for key information tags. It also has an improved ranking system with colored labels and a feature to pick or reject items. The Develop module has some new features for comparing versions of …

Sirius and XM Satellite Radio Announce Merger

Posted in News,Sirius,XM by Paul Patterson on February 19th, 2007

Sirius and XM Satellite Radio Announce MergerSirius Satellite Radio and rival XM Satellite Radio have announced a $13 billion all-stock merger of equals. Press releases on both companies’ Web sites confirm the merger.

The terms of the agreement state that XM shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 4.6 shares of SIRIUS common stock for each share of XM they own. XM and SIRIUS shareholders will each own approximately 50 percent of the new company.

The merger is expected to provide greater programming and content choices for subscribers as well as accelerated technological innovations. Subscribers will now have ready access to entertainers such as Oprah Winfrey and shock-jock Howard Stern.

The name newly merged company and the location of its headquarters has not been disclosed. Media executive Mel Karmazin, the current Sirius CEO, will lead the new company as CEO, while Gary Parsons, now chairman of XM, will …

Stranded Mt. Hood Climbers use Mountain Locator Units

Posted in GPS,News by Paul Patterson on February 19th, 2007

Stranded Mt. Hood Climbers use Mountain Locator UnitsThree climbers stranded on Oregon’s Mt. Hood after falling from a snowy ledge on Sunday are equipped with Cellular Phones and Mountain Locator Units to aid rescuers.

The three climbers – two women, a man, and a Labrador – are able to maintain contact with rescue officials with a cell phone. The climbers also have at least one mountain locator unit with them to assist rescuers.

Mountain locator units or Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) are lightweight devices that attach to clothing and emit a signal which can help rescuers pinpoint the location of missing or stranded climbers. When activated, the beacons send out a distress signal that allows the beacon to be located by the satellite system. The devices can transmit GPS coordinates in the emergency satellite transmission.

The devices can be rented for as little as $5 at mountaineering outfitters …

USB Sound Flash Drive

Posted in Flash Memory,USB by Chetz on February 19th, 2007

USB talking flash driveRemember how cool flash drives were when they first came out a few years ago? As the storage capacity of the drives gets bigger and the technology needed to make one gets more miniaturized, there is now room for adding more features to the standard pocket-sized driver.

Enter eNECESSITIES, a company that will brand your slogan or message to their line of products so you can hand them out as company Christmas gifts to the employees or tech swag to clients that visit your firm’s convention booth. eNECESSITIES’ latest novelty is the USB Sound Flash Drive, a little innovation that could drive you insane if it falls into the wrong hands. Plug this USB into your computer and an audio message (up to 20 seconds) is played from the unit’s integrated speaker. Some people will load on their favorite song or a cute message …

Get The Big Picture On The Cinemassive MasterPlex

Posted in CineMassive,Displays,LCD by Chetz on February 19th, 2007

CineMassive MasterPlex 21TLet’s just admit it: we would all love to have our dream computer desktop that looked more like something from the starship Enterprise rather than something from the display wall down at Office Depot. Well, there’s a monitor making company called CineMassive that is out to make our Captain Kirk wish fulfillment come true with an impressive six monitor set-up that turns your desktop into a drive-in.

The heart of the beast is a 21.3-inch Premium Digital Samsung LCD monitor (1600 X 1200 SXGA) that is surrounded to its sides and top by five 17-inch versions (1024 X 1280 SXGA.) Crossbars in the back support the weight of the upper monitors When this Godzilla-sized display is unfurled you get a whopping 44-and-a-half inches of screenage.

With over 8 million pixels in the package (and CineMassive guarantees that not one will be dead or else they …

Japanese Cellular Breakthrough Grows Teeth

Posted in News,Science by Paul Patterson on February 19th, 2007

Stem Cell Breakthrough Grows TeethScientists in Japan have discovered a method to grow teeth from single cells in lab dishes and transplant them into mice.

The method involves the use of primitive cells that are injected into a collagen mold. The cells were taken from the tooth germ – a mass of tissue that has the potential of developing into a tooth. The cells eventually mature into a structure that shares the qualities of teeth, including dentin, enamel, dental pulp, blood vessels, and periodontal ligaments. Once transplanted to a mouse, the teeth grew and developed normally.

This is a significant breakthrough in regenerative therapies and demonstrates the possibilities of developing bioengineered organs to replace organs failing from age, disease, or injury.

Stem Cell research is the source of great controversy and heated debate due to the techniques used to obtain and use them. With current technology, starting a stem …

Cuban Search Engine Indexes Castro Speeches

Posted in News,Websites by Paul Patterson on February 18th, 2007

Cuban Search Engine Indexes Castro SpeechesA new search engine in Cuba will allow you to search anything as long as it is one of Castro’s speeches.

The new Cuban Internet search engine does not connect users to the World Wide Web, but instead runs on Cuban servers limited to a Cuban Intranet. With the website, users can navigate through Cuban news media, government sites, and a special section containing the speeches of President Fidel Castro.

The sale of computer equipment is strictly regulated in Cuba. The Cuban government passed laws back in 1996 as soon as the Internet increased in popularity to control Internet access and monitor e-mail.

To access the Internet, Cubans must have official permission. Government Internet centers have been set up that allow Cubans to access their e-mail and browse a special Intranet consisting of websites chosen by the authorities. To use these public …

Indestructible Flash Drive – IronDrive

Posted in Flash Memory,Security by Darrin Olson on February 18th, 2007

IronDrive Flash MemoryAny concerns about losing the data on your USB flash drive due to damaging it would be dispelled with this IronDrive from R&D Electronics. The rugged flash memory device has been tested to withstand moisture, vibration, shock testing from all angles, caustic agents, EMI, and even nuclear effects.

The IronDrive comes in different capacities from 32MB to 4GB and can be customized if needed. The device connects via a 12 inch USB 2.0 cable and is able to transfer data to and from Windows XP/POS/CE as well as Linux and VxWorks. It is also rated to operate from -40 C to +85 C. The first concern that came to mind was whether or not the memory would last as long as its enclosure, and the IronDrive has a MTBF (Mean time between failures) of 4.66 million hours and is rated to 5 million write and erase …

Dandella GPS Wands Point Where To Go

Posted in Concepts,GPS by Darrin Olson on February 18th, 2007

Dandella GPS points in the direction to goThis GPS concept locating device is a concept from Singapore designers Yong-kai Tan and Priscilla Lui which won the top prize at a recent International Design Competition. The device is called Dandella and could be used for finding your way home or to another person holding a Dandella.

The concept GPS wand, when activated, lights up and physically points in the direction to its home, or too another Dandella wand depending on what it was programmed to do. The idea is that the GPS device would connect in a wireless charging unit that looks like a pen holder cup, and could be programmed with its home location or what other wand it should try to find. It would be programmed with the appropriate settings from a computer through a wireless Bluetooth connection. An embedded GPS chip would be aware …

Robotic Cameras Search for Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

Posted in News,Robots,Science by Paul Patterson on February 18th, 2007

Robotic Cameras Search for Ivory-Billed WoodpeckerThe Ivory-billed Woodpecker has long been considered by bird-watching enthusiasts to be “The Holy Grail” of bird watching. The bird is an extremely rare member of the woodpecker family, and is officially listed as an endangered species and even considered extinct by many people.

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker made headlines back in 2004 when a kayaker in Arkansas reported seeing one. In 2005 a team led by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology also reported spotting the elusive bird. In September 2006, a team of ornithologists from Auburn University and the University of Windsor also published a paper detailing evidence for the existence of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers in northwest Florida. In 2006, a $10,000 reward was offered for any information that leads researchers to an Ivory-bill nest.

In order to get conclusive evidence that the Ivory-Billed is not extinct, scientists …