Monday, November 27, 2006

A screen made of fog and much more!

Just got back last week from the IST2006 in Helsinki and I've seen quite some interesting new technologies that may just revolutionize the way we interact with machines.

Check out this Fog Screen technology:

And how about this never ending screen?

This never-ending screen was produced by a set of sequential projectors that were placed in a way such you wouldn't be able to detect where the image of one projector ends and the other begins.

Imagine playing an "in-your-face" game with this kind of screen: enemies everywhere, real action everywhere, 360º view of your environment :-)

I was there to present an innovative emergency assistance technology built on top of the CASCOM infrastructure.

This kind of application allows a user in an emergency (with chest pain, for example) to request for assistance with the medical emergency services by using only a data connection on his/her mobile phone.

By automatically sending relevant data (location-based information, symptoms and personal information such as social security number), the application helps improving the way the emergency assistance system addresses all the requests that are received.

By using this information, the emergency services can allocate the mission to the nearest ambulance and send the received data and also collect more relevant data of the user (such as past medical information), thus improving the action taken by the ambulance physician.

Don't recycle just yet...use your paper again.

Toshiba has made a demonstration on this very interesting technology that allows the re-use of the same sheet of paper(-like) material up to 500 times.

This new printer, which will allow to reduce the use of paper and the amount of waste produced in big companies, uses a polyethylene-based plastic paper.

As it can be seen in the demo movie, the printer heats up the paper and the chemical reaction on the polyethylene allows manipulating the content on the paper, thus providing a way of erasing and printing new content on the same sheet.

Source: Peopleware (Portuguese)

Keen on putting one of those fingerprint locks at your place? Wait up...they're not so secure!

The guys from "Mythbusters" discovered, not only one, but three ways of picking one of these "never-broken" fingerprints locks.

The first two might be difficult to implement as they don't involve simple materials and techniques. But the third one....PLEASE!! A photocopy and a little bit of saliva???

How can you trust this technology now? :-)

Well, alternatives are on their way: finger vein scanners!

These kind of lockers, which instead of scanning fingerprints, scan vein structures in the user's hand/finger, don't actually need to make contact with the hand.

You place your fingertips on the reader, and presto, the door unlocks, assuming your veins match its stored list of 10 authorized patterns.

Source and photos: Engadget post 1, post 2

So, we're back to paper

So many digital standards for storing data (CDs, DVDs, Zip drives, etc...) and now we're back to the simple good old paper!

A student in Kerala has developed a technique for portable data whereby the data can now be stored on an ordinary piece of paper. In order to get the data back to the computer all you have to do is just scan the piece of paper and process it over the created software. Instead of using zeros and ones for computing, this technique uses geometric shapes such as circles, squares and triangles for computing which combine with various colors and preserve the data in images. In order to do this, all kinds of data has to be first converted into a common format called “Rainbow Format.”

Named “Rainbow Technology”, the new technique is the brainchild of Sainul Abideen, who has just finished his MCA at Muslim Educational Society Engineering College in Kuttipuram in Kerala’s Malappuram district.

The extremely low-cost technology will drastically reduce the cost of storage and provide for high-speed storage as well. Files in any format such as movie files, songs, images and text can be stored using this technology. The Rainbow Versatile Disc (RVD) can store 90 to 450 GB.

Sainul has simultaneously developed a scanning drive based on his Rainbow software which will come in smaller sizes to be initially carried with the laptops and later to fit into their bodies.

From: Arab News

Exercise yourself with the new Nintendo Wii

Nothing like some good motion-sensitive remote controllers to get the "lazy" game-console fans to do some exercise. Some of them already consider the new Nintendo's Wii remote controller to be just as similar as a good workout.

However, some reports point to aching backs, sore shoulders and other exertion-related pains. I see two outcomes of these developments: one, parents will finally see their kids stop playing, even though if it's because of the unbearable pain while playing; two, Nintendo should prepare for potential lawsuits on these injuries, if they are proven not to be temporary.

Anyway, the marriage between console gaming and motion-sensitive accessories, might actually be a good thing for those kids who need more physical activity in their lives.

Source: CNET's Blogma

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The PS3 Madness: part III

It's just amazing. The video says it all...

Google Page Creator new features.

Google has released a few upgrades to their instant web site product, the Google Page Creator, including image editing, multiple URLs and automatic mobile versions.

For example, lighten, darken and resize your page's images within Google Page Creator, and also create up to 5 different sites with multiple Google Pages URLs. Also, the Google Page Creator creates automatic mobile-optimized versions of the pages, in order to be seen in mobile phones.

From: Lifehacker

Sorry, not true! Nokia N97 will not have those amazing specs...

Contrary to as previously posted, Nokia N97 is not even a rumor yet, let alone have those amazing features such as the 20Gb HD. It turns out that a member of Nokia's developer forums dreamed up the superphone.

Source: Engadget

Monday, November 20, 2006

Nokia continues the "Multimedia Computer" development wave

Whether it's the N95 smartphone or the newly announced N97, Nokia is really taking the lead on this new wave of mobile "multimedia computers".

You could argue that these phones are no computers at all, but it's kinda difficult to do so, when you look at the N97's specs:

  • 20GB HDD
  • "3D stereo speakers"
  • 3.2 megapixel camera with flash and 2.4x optical zoom
  • 15fps video recording
  • a 3-inch screen
  • FM radio
  • miniSD
  • 400+ hour standby time
  • 4+ hour talk time
  • and 24+ hour music playback
They're getting there...that's for sure :-)

Picture from: Engadget

Apple iPhone: is this for real?

The rumors continue and still not a word from Apple about this... Is the iPhone for real? When will it be released? What are the specifications. I guess the speculation will continue until Apple gives some certainty to this issue.

For now, let's take a look of some of the interesting rumors wondering around in the web on this:

  • Basically, the iPhone will merge traditional cellular capabilities with Apple's legendary iPod digital music player technology
  • Apparently, the product has been finalized, released to manufacturing and will start production in February
  • The device will have a 2Mega-pixel camera
  • It will have a 2Gb storage capability, which stores up to 500 songs
  • It will also have Bluetooth connectivity and will be as intuitive and simple to use as the normal iPod

It's quite appealing, isn't it? Let's wait and see if Steve Jobs will present this soon in an Apple Event.

Source: AppleInsider

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Where the ... is my DLL?

Need a specific DLL and can't find it anywhere? Check here: DllDump.
It's great for those missing/corrupted DLL files in our system.

Tip from: Peopleware (Portuguese)

Online image resizer

Ever needed to resize an image and didn't want to open a whole picture editing program just to do that? Well, why not use ResizR? On their own words:

Often you do not need more than just resizing an image on the fly. Before ResizR you required a desktop software to do this - heavy applications which can do much more than just resizing an image. ResizR changes the game - it's much easier. Select an image - choose the width - rotate optionally.
Website: ResizR
Tip from: Lifehacker

The PS3 Madness: part II

The PS3 Madness continues...

The enigmatic game box from Sony has raised a lot of extreme violence around the people that want to be the first to buy one.

Check out the latest news on this:

Source: Engadget

Football on your Firefox

Install this extension to your Firefox and you don't have to lose another goal of your favorite football team :-)

Website: Footiefox
Tip from: Peopleware (Portuguese)

One commercial app for free each day

Giveaway of the Day gives you one free commercial software application every day. What's the catch? Each program is available for 24 hours only, and you must install it the day you download it.

No, the software doesn't expire after 24 hours. Rather, you have a 24-hour window in which to nab it and load it. But once that's done, it's yours to keep. Great, isn't it?

Source: Lifehacker

PocketPutty: SSH client for PocketPC

PocketPutty is an SSH client which allows to connect to SSH1 or SSH2 servers and Telnet. The interface is quite simple and connection is quick. It allows to launch programs on your computer or to kill tasks when a distant program crashed.

Link: PocketPutty
Source: PocketPCFreeware

Got a 30Gb Zune? Why not have your very own home-made 40Gb Zune?

If an extra 10GB is worth the price and hassle to you, then there's a way to turn your 30Gb Zune into a 40Gb Zune. Turns out the Zune uses the same battery as that of the 60/80GB iPod, and apparently, an upgrade to a 40GB Toshiba drive is relatively painless as well.

Source: Engadget

Friday, November 17, 2006

Add tweaks with Google Desktop

Google Desktop is not only a local-search tool. The new version Google Desktop 4.5 adds tweaks and cosmetic changes to the popular desktop tool, including a sexier Sidebar and compatibility with the latest software.

Google's words on it:

The new Sidebar is transparent, so it fits seamlessly with your desktop environment. Gadgets that fought for attention now look right at home, and content-heavy gadgets get new frames and icons that make it easier to tell them apart. And this version is compatible with all of the latest software, including Microsoft Vista, Office 2007, and Mozilla Firefox 2.0.
However, since I first installed I can't let go the feeling that the CPU and memory are spiking just a little bit too often for my taste.

Anyway, the feeling of control over the desktop, including iTunes playing control, computer resources monitoring, e-mail and photo preview and even a mini notebook where you can just write down some important draft ideas, are an overall satisfaction. And the list of available gadgets is quite diverse.

Homepage: Google Desktop
From: LifeHacker

Hotmail will store 1Gb

Microsoft will expand the storage capability of Hotmail accounts to 1Gb, however this will only be applied to users that now have accounts with 250 Mb capacity.

Also, the unused expiration time for accounts with more than 2 years will now be 60 days, instead of the usual 30 days.

From: CDRWXP (Portuguese)

The PS3 Madness

All you have to do is visit PlayB3yond to start getting that tickling in your thumbs just thinking of the hours you'll be spending playing this new era of console gaming.

BUT is it worth it to wait for hours in line and get shot by an air gun or robbed to be the first to buy one? Or even get inside a war zone and fight your way in?

What about the woman who was nine months pregnant, which was trying to ignore her contractions in order to stay in line? This is so bizarre that I can't even believe it.

Grow up...

Image by Engadget

Zune & Windows Vista: not a match

The new portable multimedia player from Microsoft, Zune, is not yet compatible with the new Microsoft operating system Windows Vista. However, Zune's official site refers that an update to Zune should be released soon, which will fix this compatibility issue.

Source: Peopleware (Portuguese)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Not using your pre-installed windows? Get your refund...

Freelance programmer Dave Mitchell bought a Dell laptop on October and since he was planning to run the Linux open source operating system on the machine, he had no need for the copy of Windows XP Home that had been pre-installed in the machine.

When he started it for the first time, he clicked the box that said "Do not agree" on the Windows license agreement that asked him to agree to its terms. The text of this agreement states users can get a refund for the "unused products" on their new computer if they get in touch with the machine's manufacturer.

And that's exactly what he did. Mitchell contacted Dell and asked for a refund for not using the pre-installed version of the Windows Home Edition. Surprisingly, Mitchell received an affirmative answer just two days from his request. The total refund was for £55.23 (around 80€/$105), which Mitchell took to be the value of a pre-installed version of Windows XP Home.

Even more surprisingly, Dell has not asked for the installation disc to be returned :-)

How about if we all do the same?

From: BBC News

iPods on a Plane

The integration wave of iPod doesn't seem to be slowing down. Apple is teaming up with Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United to add charging, audio and video integration for airline passengers.

This might be interesting for most iPod users, but until I get a more comprehensive list of functionalities I would rather prefer to see some "integration" for my laptop. I use my iPod all the time on flights and since it has such a good battery, I never even need to charge it. This is not the case for my laptop, which if I use while I'm waiting for boarding, I just might end up with no "juice" left in a 3 hour flight.

Source: Engadget

Faster Ethernet Connections

Infinera, the University of California Santa Cruz, Internet2 and Level3 Communications have just demoed a 100 gigabit per second Ethernet connection over a fiber network between Houston, Texas and Tampa, Florida. This will sure trigger a new generation of ethernet routers by, who knows, next year?

From: Engadget

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Control your computer with hand gestures

Here's a new technique that may start the revolution on the human-computer interactions. It's very simple and quite straight-forward. A camera points down towards the user's keyboard from above, letting the user control on-screen windows with hand movements.

Watch the video:

Source: João Bordalo

Windows Vista was cracked...already!

Windows Vista activation process was cracked. The cracked RAR-compacted files that allow activating Microsoft's most recent operating system, should be used in security-mode and will replace certain files related to the activation process and the OS activation key.

Source: CDRWXP (Portuguese)

Do you have a lot of PS1 and PS2 games? Don't go off buying PS3 just now...

The new Playstation3, launched in Japan on Saturday, is supposed to be compatible with game software designed for its previous models. However, it does not run some PlayStation and PlayStation 2 software titles properly, so don't buy it just yet if you have quite a large library of the previous Playstation versions games.

According to Sony, sound is eliminated on some software titles when played on the PS3, while some other titles do not play on the latest machine at all.

Source: Reuters Tech News

Java Open Source

Sun has released its Java software for free to the entire open-source community. With this move, Sun seeks to boost sales of computers, data storage gear and services by making the company's software more widely available.

In addition, Sun has a version of Java that works on portable electronic devices such as cell phones, which it is also making available for free.

Source: Reuters Tech News, IDG Now (Portuguese)

GMail is a virus, according to Microsoft

From late last week until Sunday night, the Windows Live OneCare security software incorrectly flagged the Google e-mail service as a threat. A warning popped up when OneCare users opened the Gmail Web site, telling them that their systems were infected with a virus called "BAT/BWG.A."

According to a Microsoft representative, this was a limited false positive issue with the anti-virus protection, which is now resolved with the release of a new anti-virus signature on Sunday evening.

From: CNET

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The worm wave continues, this time in Google

It's not only Apple and McDonald's that have problems with "worms". Google on Tuesday inadvertently sent the Kama Sutra e-mail worm to the 50,000 subscribers of a Google Video e-mail group. Three postings were made Tuesday evening to an e-mail list that sends out postings to the Google Video blog. Some of these posts contained a virus called W32/Kapser.A@mm--a mass-mailing worm.

W32/Kapser.A is better known as the Kama Sutra worm. Kama Sutra was designed to overwrite files on infected computers on a specific date. However, the worm, which spread under the guise of pornographic content, caused virtually no damage.

From: CNET

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Scrybe: organize yourself online (or even offline)

Scrybe is an online (and offline) organizer with very simple, yet very useful and efficient functionalities. Check out the video below to have a glimpse of what this tool can do:

Source: João Bordalo

Misspellers get bigger page ranks in Google

Here's an interesting story of how an innocent spelling error can give your website a good page rank in Google.

Source: João Bordalo

Your mobile has the Answers

One of my favorite sites for (literally) finding answers has gone mobile. You can now easily find answers in an encyclopedia-like website, directly on your mobile. Just connect to the Internet and go to and you're ready to start getting some answers.

Source: Lifehacker

Check your addiction online

Have you ever wonder exactly how much time do you waste on the web and on which specific sites? Well, now you can check it out with the new Firefox add-on: PageAddict.

This extension gives you a summary of how much time you've spent visiting different sites. Just install the plug-in, surf like you normally do, then return to to see your results. You get the time spent at each site, the percentage of your overall time spent at each site, and the option to apply tags to them.

Source: Lifehacker
Website: PageAddict

The world wide web is not big enough for Google: continued

As posted before, Google is really trying to get in the offline business and this time it's radio. Google is hiring scores of radio sales people and is spending heavily in a bid to expand its position in the $20 billion radio industry.

Google spokesman Michael Mayzel said this week that the company will begin a public test of Google Audio Ads by the end of the year. Advertisers will be able to go online and sign up for targeted radio ads using the same AdWords system they use to buy Web search ads.

From: Reuters Tech News

Monday, November 06, 2006

The world wide web is not big enough for Google

The Internet is too small for the giant corporation that Google is becoming. Google is set to begin helping customers buy advertisements in 50 U.S. newspapers in a test to see how the Web search leader can extend its business into offline media.

Source: Reuters Tech News

Office 2007 ready to be distributed

Microsoft has completed the software code for its Office 2007 suite and will begin to offer the world's most popular package of desktop software to corporate customers on November 30.

By announcing the Microsoft Office 2007 suite was ready for "release to manufacturing," it signals that the product is relatively bug-free and suitable for wide distribution.

From: Reuters Tech News

Wikipedia does not spread only knowledge

The free on-line encyclopedia was used to spread malicious code across users of the Wikipedia.
The entry for the MSBlast worm in the German version of the popular online encyclopedia was altered to include false information about a new version of the Lovesan/MSBlast worm, with links to a supposed fix, which was, in fact, a piece of malicious code.

From: CNET

A virtual Big Brother

The popular internet virtual world Second Life will host the next generation of reality shows, starting with the world famous Big Brother.

Endemol, the original producer of the show, will select 15 international Second Life contestants to spend at least eight hours a day inside a specially constructed glass-walled house for one month. As in the real-world version of "Big Brother," the contestants will be voted off until only one remains.

The winner will receive a virtual island within Second Life, worth about US$1,675.

Source: Reuters Tech News

"Silent Jet" to make airport areas a "quieter" place to live

Researchers at MIT and Cambridge University have unveiled a design for a "silent aircraft" that would radically reduce the noise emanating from airports.
Besides re-imagining the shape of traditional jumbo jets, the 40-person team also moved the engines from under the wings into the body of the plane itself, allowing them to take in air from the top of the wing and minimize the noise heard by people on the ground. The quieter design could result in airports being constructed much closer to residential areas, meaning that passengers would be able to start their two-hour wait at the security checkpoint that much more quickly.

From: CNET, Engadget
Photos: CNET

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Don't sell your (ilegally) downloaded musics, and you're home least in Spain

A Judge in Santander, Spain, has ruled that "non-for-profit" download of musics is not a crime. The defendant was a 48 year old man who downloaded musics from the Internet and shared them with his friends. The accusation wanted the man to be sentenced to pay a fine and compensation to copyright holders.

However, the Judge decided that downloading musics with no intention to have any profit from it, is not a copyright infringement, thus opening a very important precedent in Spain. The defendant walked free without having to pay neither the fine or the compensation.

Source: Peopleware (Portuguese), Diário Digital (Portuguese)