Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Strange gadget of the day: the e-cigarette

The debate about "smoking in public places" has never been so strong as in the last few days. Well, it has been at least here in Portugal where the new law refrains people from smoking in almost all public places.

To avoid having to feel excluded from some places (since you have to go outside to have a smoke), some folks have actually tried to quit smoking. But everybody knows how hard it can be.

Well, some Chinese people decided to help these folks and invented the E-Cigarette:

"The E-cigarette looks, and in many cases, acts just like a normal cigarette without delivering the harmful toxins and other carcogins in the cigarette. To ensure smokers don’t become addicted to the E-cigarette a measurement device is included in the dispenser which monitors the number of time the cigarette is ’smoked’ and gradually limits the amount of nicotine dispensed. The cigarette tip will flicker if the device is used more than 16 times in a minute, indicating to the smoker that they should stop using the device. With each cartridge delivering the same nicotine as a 30 pack of cigarettes this economical product is sure to become a popular item for those looking to kick the habit."
Source: Gadget News

Crash Internet Explorer

WARNING: Internet Explorer users, do not click on the link that is provided on this post. It will crash your Internet Explorer...For REAL! You have been warned!!

If you really want to show your friends what a crappy browser Internet Explorer is (and what better alternatives are out there), then send them this link:


This website uses a simple code to crash Internet Explorer. And what code might that be? Well, here it is:

<script>for(x in document.write){document.write(x);}</script>

Use with caution :-)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Macbook Air: a genius before his time

On a comment on my post about the new Macbook Air, my former colleague Ana has pointed me to ZDNet's second look on the new Apple's notebook. While I do see how some of those points may be valid, I still have the sensation that the thinnest laptop can be a sort of genius that was born before its time.

I think this is a new concept of computer, that will probably only be understood in a few years: the ultra-portable and wireless computer.

Sure, you don't have an optical drive. But nowadays you don't use a drive that much, do you? Almost all software is "downloadable" from the web. Backups can be done to external drives.

Sure, you only have one USB port. But if even the backup drives are becoming wireless, why do you need so many ports anyway?

Sure, it doesn't have an ethernet port. But if the point of the notebook is to be ultra-portable, then why invest on a "fixed" technology.

Sure, it doesn't have a removable battery. Every innovative small laptop has to make some compromises. And a removable battery is overrated. On my lifetime of "gadgetery" I only had to buy a new battery for a cellphone once.

In conclusion, I won't buy a Macbook Air. That's right, "won't"... but only because it doesn't meet my needs: I don't need a portable computer, I need a powerful computer to work on a desk.

But if I ever turn into a technological travel salesman, I'll sure buy the Macbook Air :-)

How is technology changing us?

2 examples of how technology is changing our society. No comments:

Source: Craptions

How to choose a game console?

If you're having problems choosing a gaming console, I can provide you with a simple chart that can help you decide which one to buy:

Source: here

The Ubuntu car

You probably have heard about the DARPA Urban Challenge, the contest where autonomous ground vehicles conduct a series of simulated military supply missions without any human assistance.

What you probably didn't know was that last edition's winner, the Carnegie Mellon University's vehicle, runs Ubuntu.

This automated vehicle uses a dozen Intel Core 2 processors, but at the bottom of the software stack is Ubuntu 6.06 "Dapper Drake" Linux.

Well, I guess if Ubuntu is good enough to run on a driverless car, then it's good enough to run on your PC :-)

Source: Phoronix

Google Maps: from here to there

Ever wonder what you get if you search for directions from Here to There on Google Maps?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Apple has done it again

UPDATE: you can see the full Steve Jobs keynote here.

The rumors were close and Steve Jobs finally presented the news on the Apple world (while the keynote movie is not available at Apple's site, you can read it at Engadget):

  • There's in fact a new notebook, MacBook Air, the thinnest notebook ever (watch guided tour here)
  • 1,6 or 1,8 GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 2 GB memory, 13,3'' LED-backlit screen
  • Multi-touch trackpad that allows performing iPhone-like operations
  • No optical drive, but a nice wireless feature (Remote Disc) that allows connecting to nearby computers' optical drives

And a lot of other new products were announced:
  • Movie rentals service on iTunes (UPDATE: already hacked)
  • New price for Apple TV and software updates
  • A wireless Time Machine-enabled hard drive: Time Capsule
Apple has done it again :-)

Hitler and Blu-Ray

When Hitler was banned from iSketch, he decided that it was time to enter the High-Definition war. Unluckily for him, he chose to support HD-DVD instead of Blu-Ray:

Source: Diogo Carvalho

The man from earth: science fiction is back

UPDATE: Mr. Eric D. Wilkinson, the producer of "Jerome Bixby's The Man From Earth", was kind enough to leave a comment on this post. From my part, I can only say that it is a pleasure to provide any support to such an excellent film.

Recently, I came across an interesting post reporting that a certain independent movie director, Richard Schenkman, was thanking P2P networks for having helped spreading the success of his low-budget movie "The Man From Earth". He has, in fact, recognized, if it weren't for these networks, his film would never reach the thousands of people that it has so far.

To satisfy my curiosity as to why a low-budget movie would become such a success among the P2P file-sharing community, I decided to have a look at it. It was only then that I discovered that this story was written by Jerome Bixby, a science-fiction writer, known for being the author of a few of the most interesting episodes of the original series of Star Trek.

So, at this point my curiosity was spiking in face of the potential of the film. I mean, what to expect from a movie written by a well-known science-fiction author and that is a huge success among the so-called "geeks"? Guaranteed success, right? Absolutely RIGHT!

The film is a gem of science-fiction and it is impressive how it can "suck" you into a story with such a simple premise: is it possible that a pre-historical man could survive the ages and roamed the Earth for 14000 years?

This simple story takes place at a cabin somewhere in the United States where a group of friends is gathered to say goodbye to John, which has decided to "move on". It is at this setting that John decides to test his friends by hypothesizing that he is a pre-historical man that has survived for the last 14000 years. At first, everyone decides to play the "game" but as the stories that John tells become more accurate, interesting and intriguing, beliefs will be shattered and suddenly the question is out there: is John really a caveman?

I won't spoil the end, of course but I can say that the film is a box of surprises and you must wait until the very end to see them all.

I definitely recommend you all to see the movie. And so does the director, Richard Schenkman, who in face of the surprising success, appeals to all the fans to support him in making the film even a greater success, by donating or spreading the word.

I did both. Will you?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Anime HTML

Do you think you're a good HTML coder? Well, think again. Just watch what this guy can do with plain HTML code (and quite a bunch of patience):

And if you have any doubts that this might be a fake movie...check the result right here.

Source: Paintalicious

Pandora's Box has been opened...again!

On May 2007, Pandora made the unfortunate decision of going "offline" for non-US users. I got very upset because Pandora was my main source for discovering new music (based on my musical taste).

Fortunately, new services appeared (such as Last.fm), which offered similar mechanisms of searching/listening music. However, the engine behind Last.fm was not as good as Pandora's. The Pandora system is connected to the Music Genome Project, a project that has been trying to define the "genes" of music, thus making way to establish more interesting connections between artists and songs.

The project analyzes the similarities of musics by comparing "everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony". It's clear why Pandora works much better than other services that basically connect artists by genre, instead of using the intrinsic properties of the musics.

And now Pandora is back (in Portuguese) with a "global" version that makes it accessible to almost everyone in the world.


Friday, January 11, 2008

A brand new look

If you're a constant visitor of this blog, you'll notice that the layout has changed. I thought it was time for a change and what better way than to present a brand new look. I hope you like it. Feel free to send suggestions/recommendations/criticisms.

Multi-touch trackpad

While Macworld doesn't start and the rumors about a MacBook Nano with multi-touch technology are on all Apple fans' minds, here's a new laptop from a Taiwanese company, which may deliver (somehow) similar features to the iPhone multi-touch screen.

But in this case, the laptop has a multi-touch trackpad that allows users to zoom, rotate, pan and perform other interesting actions with pictures. Check out the demo video:

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Scratched iPod? Bananas to the rescue

I don't actually know if this is true, since I haven't tried it myself, but have a look at this video that shows how to remove the scratches off an iPod by using a simple banana:

Source: ThinkTechno

Handy laptop bags

In a time where the oil reaches historic values, everything that we can do to help reduce the consumption of energy is appreciated. And solar-powered devices can be part of the solution.

Until now, the manufacturers of this kind of technology weren't able to produce anything more powerful than a purse that can charge small devices like cellphones. But the technology is advancing and you can now charge your laptop by using this solar-powered laptop bag.

But what's the point of having to go outside to charge a laptop if you don't have Internet access? Well, with the amount of WiFi hotspots now available (some of them in open sunny spaces) you may be able to find some free Internet access out there. You just have to know where to look for.

And what better way to do it than with a handy laptop bag (or a WiFi detecting t-shirt) that detects surrounding WiFi signals without having to take your laptop out of the bag?

Pretty handy, hum?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Macworld 2008: the rumors

The Macworld 2008 Conference & Expo is almost here (January, 14-18) and the rumors have been rising on the web.

Most of them point out to a new (possibly ultra-slim) notebook with excellent new features, such as multi-touch trackpads (or maybe even screens) similar to the iPhone multi-touch capabilities and a Blu-ray drive or external optical drive.

Other rumors point out to the presentation of a 3G version of iPhone.

But the most surprising rumor is the possibility of Steve Jobs presenting a dual-screen ultra-portable notebook such as this picture on the left shows.

Whether it is a dual-screen or just single-screen, some believe that the most probable innovation to be presented at the Macworld, is a kind of MacBook Touch, where the multi-touch capability and iPhone/iPod Touch-like behavior will be the most interesting feature of the new device.

You can even check out some of the (potential) scripts for Steve Jobs' keynote.

Well, I guess that all we can do is just wait for the keynote on January 15th and see if Apple can surprise us....again. I'm sure they will, but how?

Yet another "Minority Report"-like interface for hand-controlled applications

I've talked here before about some of the competitors of my very own hand-controlled application interface engine, GELToC. But this time, I guess I've been surpassed by this new Wiimote-based technology that allows controlling a Microsoft Surface-like application without actually touching the screen, and by using "Minority Report"-ish technology instead.

Check the video for a demonstration:

Pico Projector Display: a projector for your mobile needs

The projector/cellphone concept has been around for sometime now, but Microvision, a company working on technologies to enable better viewing experiences for mobile device, will now present a real new mobile accessory at CES 2008 that will probably revolutionize the way we share/present content.

PicoP is an ultra miniature projection module capable of producing full color, high-resolution images but small enough and low power enough to be embedded directly into an accessory pico projector that connects to mobile devices.

The projected content is delivered to the accessory projector from common video out connections on cell phones, personal media players, laptops, digital cameras and other mobile devices.

Portal: the console commands list

If, like me, you're totally addicted to the flash version of Portal, then you'll also find this console commands list very useful, and sometimes funny.

Strange gadget of the day: USB mouth camera

Want to do some house-dentist appointments to family and friends? Well, then you'll need one of these: the USB mouth camera.

This handy little camera attaches to your computer via USB to display the insides of your mouth on a computer monitor.

With this kind of devices coming around in the market, soon enough we'll have others coming around too, such as the USB tooth driller... for all your needs when it comes to making holes on your teeth.

An excellent 2007 software guide

The year of 2007 is gone, but there's still a lot of it that can be useful for the new year, such as this wonderful Lifehacker's post on the 2007 Guide for Free Software and Webapps. It's really worth a visit as it is very complete and totally free.


3D House Paintings

Imagine that you enter a room with the odd-looking paintings, as you can see on the image on the left.

Strange, isn't it? And you start wondering why the hell would someone do this...

Well, the answer is in your "point of view". In this case, the "point of view" is literally the answer.

In fact, If you move to a certain point in the room you'll see a totally different picture, such as the one on the right.

Check out more examples here.

Retro-blogging: best posts of January 2007

Previously, on the Tech in Me:

CES 2008: the future gadgets

CES 2008, one of the best technology events of the world, has just started and lots of new gadgets are being presented there. And for the look of it, 2008 will be an interesting, if not revolutionary, year for the world of technology. Check out some of the news and gadgets that are available at the technology fair:

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Cloverfield's monster

One of the most awaited movies of this new year is Cloverfield (watch the trailer here), a movie produced by J.J. Abrams (co-creator of the great show Lost) and that shows the invasion of New York by a huge unknown monster.

And you ask: "Invasion of New York by an unknown monster? But what's original or interesting about that?". Actually, that wouldn't be original or interesting at all, if it wasn't for the fact that the movie was all shot to simulate the point of view of an amateur camera of a guy that is filming a friend's birthday party, when it all happens.

The trailer doesn't provide any glimpse of the monster, but after searching the web for a while, I've discover here this image that shows the artistic concept of what will (probably) be the monster of Cloverfield:

Let's see what the result will be...I hope this is not another Godzilla.

Truth hurts

Imagine that you're already late, stuck in traffic and there's still at least another half hour to get to the office and you see this:

The truth hurts, but at least, it can make you smile :-)

For those of you that don't know what Lemmings are (where were you in the 90s?), check out the post with the game right here on The Tech in Me.

Useless invention of the day

Doesn't this seem a bit overkill? I imagine their slogan: "Let this machine do all the walking for you. All you have to do is ... well, walk!"

Source: Shoot the stupid

Internet Explorer 7's source code

Pssstt, don't tell anyone, but I've got access to Internet Explorer 7's source code. Have a look:

Source: Cesar Rodas

I've got a Multimedia Nokia phone to sell

I've recently bought a new mobile phone, so I'm trying to get rid of my old phone. I've made a few changes of my own, to enhance the functionalities on the phone. In case you're interested here are the specs, plus a recent picture:

  • It can record video/take pictures
  • MP3 player with specific buttons for playback control
  • An extra 512 Mb on an external memory card
  • Bluetooth integrated