Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Future gadgets concepts

We've all seen our share of strange gadgets, which don't seem to have any special purpose other than to make you look like a silly person (as Monty Python would say). But every now and then you get to see some interesting gadgets concepts, such as the Projector/Cellphone and the mini MP3/CD Player.

The future of technology is all about these concepts and it is always entertaining to see where some of these ideas are heading. Check out the following images:

Here's a phone that takes the concept of "hanging up" too seriously:

What about this Nokia phone that looks more like a small sheet of paper?

Feel free to detach your laptop and work at a distance:

And what about this holographic display laptop from Sony Vaio?


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lemmings: the insanity is back

Continuing the wave of addictive games, who doesn't remember Lemmings, the stupidest creatures on the entire Universe that needed help to get from one door to another?

Well, now you can play it again, no matter which OS you're using, because the game is available on-line here.

Hitler and the iSketch

DISCLAIMER: the author of this post cannot be held responsible for the consequences that may be derived from the knowledge that you acquire by reading this, such as (but not limited to), the total and absolute addiction to iSketch, which ultimately may lead to the total loss of your social life. You've been warned. Continue at your own risk.

If you don't know what iSketch is, then it is best that you remain ignorant about it. Nevertheless, if you choose to continue, do so at your own risk (see DISCLAIMER).

iSketch is like an on-line Pictionary with the difference that you can play with people from around the world. It is highly addictive, very stressing but most of all, super-fun.

But as any addiction, the absence of the natural addictive element may have brutal consequences. To this day, people still think that the role of Hitler in WWII was due to some hatred towards Jewish people.

I was able to travel back in time and obtain the necessary proof to show you what the real reason behind Hitler's rage was:

The XBox Laptop

Just when you think you've seen all the geekery out there, a guy comes along with a crazy idea of turning a regular XBox 360 into a gaming console laptop:

Yeah, I know what you're thinking: "bahh! This is only a picture of a plastic-made pseudo-laptop photoshoped to make it look like an actual XBox 360 game is being played!"

Well, folks, you couldn't be farther from the truth. This is as real as taxes. This guy actually made this spectacular transformation of an XBox 360 into a laptop that you can carry around and play whenever you feel like it. And the best of all: he made a complete guide off of his 3-month experience:

And if you're still having doubts about it, check out the video below:

Monday, November 26, 2007

BSOD in Frankfurt Airport

I was browsing along my photo library searching for some work-related photos and I ended up finding this masterpiece:

This was taken the last time I passed through Frankfurt Airport towards some connecting flight, which was last summer.

I sure hope airplanes' auto-pilots are not equipped with the same software as these airport flight timetable displays :-)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Google Trends: what people are looking for on the Internet

Google Trends is a tool from Google that allows you to check the history of a specific term's search on Google in recent years. Such a tool allows us to perceive the tendencies of Google users throughout the years and in specific times of each year.

Interesting conclusions can be reached. For instance, if you search for the terms "stop smoking", this is what you'll get:

You can see that this search has more hits in the beginning of each year. Funny how people always try to quit smoking as a new year resolution :-)

A similar behavior can be seen through the term "diet":

People don't change: every new year's resolution are the same, either quit smoking or go on a diet :-)

What about if we search for other terms or people? For example, if you search for the "crazy socialite" Paris Hilton, this is what you get:

The highest point on this information search was in the beginning of 2005. That was due to the rumor that a certain "intimate" video of Paris Hilton and her boyfriend at the time was traveling around the Internet.

The other highest point was in the middle of 2007, when she went to jail because of being caught driving under the influence of alcohol.

If you search for the term "pope", this is what you'll get:

Funny how this term is relatively ignored by most Google users throughout the years and then suddenly it reaches a high point when the Pope John Paul II died (C) and then another high point when Benedict XVI was named the new Pope (D). After that, the term "pope" vanishes again from Google searches, only to rise once again when the new Pope decides to offend the Muslims (E).

But there are also things in Google Trends that don't really make sense. For instance, searching for "yogurt" will give you this result:

Can anyone explain why the term "yogurt" becomes uninteresting while close to the end of each year, only to rise again in the beginning of the following year????

And to end this already long post, why not search for something like "love":

No, it's not a coincidence that this term is most searched for by valentine's day :-)

No comments...

Source: here

Listen musics on the Internet? That's easy...

...go to Songza. There's millions of musics available, but for listening only.

You can also use it to post musics on your site such as this "hit" from Supermen Lovers:

The blind spot

We all have the so called "blindspot", an area in our field of vision that it's not processed by our brain. So, any element that is positioned in that specific area will appear invisible to our brain.

Don't believe me? Take the test then.
Cover your left eye with your hand and look at the star. Then slowly approach the screen while keeping your eye focused on the star. Don't look at the ball. As you approach the screen, you'll notice that there's a specific point where the ball will no longer be visible to you.

The all test and explanation is available here.

There's a person on this image...

... and he's famous. Can you figure out who?

I'll give you a clue: it's a man...singer...famous...already dead. Still can't guess who he is? Well, try backing up from the computer a bit. Ahhh, now you see it, right? :-)

Source: Bits & Pieces

Force Safari to open new window on a new tab

One of the things that annoy me on Safari is the impossibility to change Safari's behavior for opening links in new windows.

I got used to using tabs for everything on a web browser. So, Safari's behavior of opening "_blank" links in a new window was difficult to accept. After searching the web browser's preferences and being unable to find such an option I decided to look for a solution on Google.

I ended up finding this neat plugin that, besides showing a sidebar with thumbnails of the currently opened tabs (as the picture on the left shows), allows tweaking some of the options of Safari, including the behavior to open links in new windows.

To install this plugin, just download the ZIP file, unzip it, and (with Safari closed) copy the SafariStand folder into ~/Library/InputManagers. Then open Safari and you'll notice a new Menu Item next to the "Help".

On this new menu choose "SafariStand Setting..." and in the General tab choose the option "Open '_blank' Link in New Tab". This will avoid new window links to actually open on a new window :-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

P2P leads to more Music CD sales?

It seems that there is a clear link between P2P music sharing and the increase of music CD sales. Well, at least in Canada. A study (available here) shows that the use of P2P applications to share music, helps users get access to new music, which ultimately leads to an increase of CD sales.

The study concluded that about half of all P2P downloads were done because users wanted to hear an album before purchasing, or because they did not want all of the songs of an album.

Even though I may relate to that (because the 30 seconds available for each song on iTunes are just not enough), I hardly believe that this is the behavior of the common P2P downloader. It may be the case for the Canadian P2P file-sharing community, but then again maybe that's why Canada is such a great place :-)

Source: Michael Geist

GMail and Microsoft

Quick question: what if GMail had been designed by Microsoft? It probably would look something like this:

Source and Image: Blogoscoped

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Geek challenges

Today I have two geek challenges for you:

  • First, a very simple one. Do you think you type fast on a computer keyboard? Take the test and know your ranking...
  • Second, a more difficult challenge. Or should I say, "set" of challenges? Project Euler is a website that challenges users to solve mathematical problems by programming them in any desired programming language. Users are rated according to the number of challenges for which they find a solution. There's even an international score board where you can see where all the users stand and how many challenges they have solved.
Have fun!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Are you a heavy P2P-downloader? Maybe you should be insured!

Apparently, a company in Sweden is offering file-sharing insurance. But what's "file-sharing insurance", anyway? It's simple, you pay around $19(13€)/year and the insurance company will pay your fine in case you get sued by a copyright-holder company or representative such as the RIAA in the USA.

This might actually be a good business for both sides, since the probability of being sued by RIAA is 1 in 1840. So, the insurance company may end up with a lot of money but you pay only a small yearly amount and you have a "jail free" card, just in case...

Source: boingboing

A different kind of game...

The gaming industry is constantly evolving and new concepts are emerging that may revolutionize the way we interact and play games. Playstation's motion camera EyeToy and the motion-awareness Nintendo Wii's gamepads are just two of the most recent examples.

Augmented reality, a concept that exists for a few years now, may be the key to deliver new gaming experiences as the mix between the reality and computer-generated data promises to deliver new ways to interact with games.

A New Zealand digital artist, Julian Oliver, is working on a cool game that blends the electronic universe with the real world. By using a cube with special symbols and a webcam to film it, he presents an interesting game where the user must help a digital player move around in a 3D maze. Check out the video to get a full understanding of the technology:

Source: Technabob

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The multiple personalities of Prince

From now on, Prince will be known as The-Artist-who-formerly-liked-the-Internet-but-decided-to-sue-the-fans-for-copyright-issues-

Catchy, isn't it?

Apple Store in Portugal...or is it in Spain?

Now that we have an official Portuguese Apple Store, hopefully we'll have the same opportunities and support as in other countries.

But this Apple Store doesn't seem to be that much Portuguese. It looks more like a bad translation from the Spanish store. Here are a few snapshots of the website where you can see that a few Spanish words can still be seen and that Spanish sentence formation are still present even though the text is already in Portuguese:

Update: And here are a few more:

Interesting how a store that only has one day, already shows advices about what other users have Spanish:

And this one is particularly interesting since it joins Spanish and English, in a "Portuguese" store:

Oh good, let me be the first to comment a product...maybe I'll do it in Spanish:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The end (or the beginning) of the world is close!

The launch of the most complex scientific instrument of all times, which was due this month, is now scheduled to May 2008. The Large Hadron Collider, a 27-km ring tunnel built deep underground between the Swiss and French borders, promises to recreate the conditions right after the Big Bang. By revisiting the beginning of time, scientists hope to unravel some of the deepest secrets of our Universe.

Since on March this year, a pressure test of one of the "inner triplet magnets" (whatever that is) failed, the team decided to extend the experiment to make sure everything goes as planned. And they better make sure that everything will work as planned, because otherwise, we might be looking at a new Big Bang and I'm pretty sure that wouldn't do wonders to France and Switzerland's landscape. Or the Planet's, for that matters.

Nevertheless, the successful ending of this experiment might reveal the answer to the ultimate question: how was the Universe created? While some authors have interesting theories about the beginning of the Universe, we can only wait to see if the most complex experiment of our world will shed some light on the subject.

If you're interested on knowing a bit more about this experiment, check out these videos:

Large Hadron Collider - part 1, part 2 and part 3

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Quick tip for importing addresses into Thunderbird

I recently needed to import my Address Book to Thunderbird, but using CSV format was a real pain in the "bottom" and a lot of errors were showing in the final result.

If your previous Mail program uses a vCard format it's better to use this one as it is widely accepted. And yes, I know that Thunderbird doesn't support it. That's where the tip comes in :-)

Use this on-line conversion tool to convert your vCard-formatted address book into the LDIF format which is accepted by Thunderbird. Guaranteed success :-)

Tip from Thunderbird Help Documentation