It's finally possible to piss off your pregnant wife, annoy your Twitter followers, and brand your unborn son as the kid with the dorkiest dad on the block all at the same time. Making it all possible is the Kickbee, the first gadget to enable Twittering from the womb.
"The Kickbee is a wearable device made of a stretchable band and embedded electronics and sensors," creator Corey Menscher wrote on his blog. "Piezo sensors are attached directly to the band, and transmit small but detectable voltages when triggered by movement underneath. An Arduino Mini microcontroller transmits the signals to an accompanying Java application wirelessly via Bluetooth. (a SparkFun BlueSMIRF v2 module that communicates serially with a Macbook Pro)."
The wearable waistband isn't likely to start any new fashion trends, but then again, anyone interested in the concept of unborn Twittering probably isn't into fashion anyway.
Google continues to improve its Gmail service, which has seen several upgrades this past year ranging from new themes to Mail Goggles. Gmail's newest trick is the ability to view PDF files on its own without the need to load your installed PDF viewer of choice.
"When I get sent a PDF, sometimes I just want to view it -- I don't always need to download and save it right then," Google wrote in a blog post. "So starting today, you'll see a new "View" link next to PDF attachments you get in Gmail."
Once you click on 'View,' the option to view the PDF file in plain HTML returns via a link at the top of the new viewer. You can also download the file straight away or from within the integrated viewer.
According to Cnet, Google.com search results will be next to get the updated PDF viewer. Until then, you can still skip the long load times inherent with Adobe's Acrobat by switching to Foxit Software's leaner and much faster PDF Reader.
Asus today has added to its Eee family with the new Eee Box B203. The new nettop shares much of the same DNA as the company's previous version, except Asus traded in Intel's Atom processor for a Celeron 220 CPU instead. Asus also expanded the storage options, now offering a 120GB and 160GB version alongside the 80GB offered in previous versions.
Familiar specs include up to 2GB of DDR2 memory, four USB 2.0 ports (two each on the front and back), a flash card reader, a DVI output, onboard graphics, and Ethernet and wireless-n connectivity stuffed into a box weighing just over 2 pounds. Running the system is Windows XP.
No word yet on price or availability, but the low-power Eee Box will likely carry a slightly lower price tag than the Atom version.
Articles have been sprouting up around the web in response to Google’s admission that staff will help hand pick search results displayed to users. Many of these articles are rather opinionated, but we will leave it up to you to decide if this is really the end of search as we know it.
For years now Google has washed their hands of all responsibility for its search results using variations on a phrase that has been prominently posted at the bottom of sites like news.google.com for years now. “The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program”. In general however, our belief that Google’s results were a 100 per cent derivative of the page rank system was mostly one of faith. Under this system popularity is determined by counting links from other popular pages around the web as a way of gauging an articles creditability. Presumably some human intervention was used to prevent people from gaming the system, but that’s about it.
This week Google’s Marissa Meyer explained that going forward “editorial judgments will play a key role in Google searches”. Mayer also hinted about the possibility of using the data supplied by users using the new wiki search. Currently changes made using this method only influence your own search results, but it’s hard to argue that it might not have some practical use in crowd sourcing the relevance of certain searches. But with the abuse we have witnessed in the past, such as the anti spore backlash that was unleashed on Amazon, would human oversight be required to help moderate the impact of such user submitted data?
Assuming Google doesn’t abuse its power when interfering with the page ranking system, is this really such a bad thing? Hit the jump and let us know.
eSATA ports are starting to become more mainstream in mid to low end motherboards, and OCZ thinks the time is right to start adding on non hard drive based peripherals. Its new lineup of memory sticks will do just that and come in 8, 16, and 32GB capacities. The new drives will both communicate and receive their power from the eSATA port. To ensure backwards compatibility they have also included a rear mounted mini USB connection which will allow users to plug the device into laptops or other USB only machines.
No official benchmarks are have been taken by us, but the company is reportedly boasting read speeds of up to 90MB/s, and writes speeds as fast as 30MB/s. No comment has yet been made on pricing, but it will likely be in the same ballpark as its USB brethren.
It certainly is an interesting idea, but I can’t help but wonder if this type of device is really necessary with USB 3.0 right around the corner. USB 3.0 has a maximum theoretical throughput of 4.8Gbps which would easily max out most flash memory keys several times over.
Would you be interested in an eSATA flash drive? Hit the jump and let us know.
The Windows Live team has been pretty busy lately, and they certainly aren’t resting on their laurels with the launch of yet another web 2.0 service called “Thumbtack”.With Thumbtack users are able to save, edit, and share copies of online articles from web pages by either pasting them into the interface, or using the optional bookmarklet. The content is then hosted in an online storage bin for easy sorting and searching. Though this service has been done before by companies such as Evernote, Thumbtack’s current offering of free unlimited storage provides an excellent alternative for web scatterbrains such as myself who have always found bookmarking articles cumbersome and often tend break over time. After creating a note in Thumbtack you can click the article to access the original page, but if it’s vanished from the web, your clipping remains intact. It is also worth noting that competing free services such as Evernote only offer 40 MB of storage per month.
Currently browser support for the service is limited to Internet Explorer and Firefox. While compatibility for web kit browsers such as Chrome and Safari is noticeably absent, it’s also worth pointing out that some features have been stripped from the Firefox interface as well.These features include mass copy and paste between collections and the canvas view mode which gives users a virtual workspace. Even though this service may not be entirely unique per say, it is a promising addition to the Live Service lineup and in my case, and excellent alternative to bookmarking for archiving my favorite articles.
Is Microsoft winning you over with its online services? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
Well, looks like EA finally came to its senses. After waving away the issue by, uh, talking about it, the mega-publisher finally popped a wedding ring on Tim Schafer and co.'s baby. Schafer, naturally, is super stoked.
“This is awesome news!” he said. “The quality and creativity of the games EA Partners has been involved with make it a perfect home for our baby, Brütal Legend. Some people were starting to wonder if the saga of Eddie Riggs would ever see the light of day, but now I think it’s clear that this game, like Metal itself, cannot be killed!”
Bit of an odd match, if you ask us -- but then, we're talking Tim Schafer here; only a publisher owned and operated by hundreds of other Tim Schafers would fit his curves.
Really though, we just hope EA doesn't pull a Microsoft before things are all said and done. Our poor hearts are still retching from the last rollercoaster ride.
With pirates closing in on all sides, many publishers abandoned PC gaming's ship as though it were already a potential set for Little Mermaid 9: I Don't Want to Be A Mermaid; I Want to Be A Boat. PC Gaming Alliance president Randy Stude obviously wasn't one of those naysayers, but he does have a few choice words for them.
"If someone wants to leave the PC market [because of piracy], we’ll miss you," he told Gamepolitics. "We’ll watch with admiration as your titles ship in a diluted fashion without a whole lot of game play innovation, at least until you copy the innovation that occurs on the PC. We'll find the great games on PC and we’ll play those."
On top of that, Stude believes PCs and consoles aren't so different from each another, and thinks the two walks of life will end up meeting somewhere down the road.
"The guts of every console should tell you that the capability is there for the PC to act as the central point for all the consoles," he said. "If you bought a PC and as part of that equation you said, Okay, when you’re on the phone with Dell, 'Hey, Dell, on this PC, this new notebook I’m buying, can you make sure it has the PlayStation 4 option built into it?'"
"Well, why not? Why shouldn’t that be the case? [Sony is] certainly not making any money on the hardware. I mean, can’t they create a stable enough environment to specify that if Dell’s going to sell that notebook and say that it’s PlayStation 4 [compatible] that it must have certain ingredients and it must meet certain criteria? Absolutely they could do that."
Sony’s latest addition to the Walkman line is slated for a 2009 debut at CES. The supposed touchscreen Walkman will come in 16GB and 32GB flavors, sport an OLED screen, and even feature some Wi-Fi capabilities! You know, so you can watch YouTube and other completely original tasks for a internet-capable touchscreen MP3 player.
It’s suggested that the software of the Walkman will remain essentially the same, and there won’t be much difference between the menu structure of current Walkman players and the expected arrival. It’ll support MP3, WMA, AAC and PCM audio codecs along with AVC, MPEG-4 and WMV video.
Heck, the player is so advanced that it even features a fully featured music store, a web browser, and to help set it apart from anything else on the market that might bear any resemblance, an FM tuner! Booyah!
It’s rare that in today’s market you’ll see fresh and original pieces of technology like this. It’s always great when a big company like Sony takes it upon themselves to really break the mold. I wonder what Appl--- err, Sony will come up with next?
Straight out of the “really?” file, it looks like a Russian businessman that goes by the name of Oleg Teterin is claiming that he owns the trademark for the ;-) emoticon.
Mr. Teterin is looking to go after corporations that are using the emoticon for profit - or any others that resemble it, including :-), ;) or :). “Legal use will be possible after buying an annual license from us,” stated Mr. Teterin. “It won't cost that much - tens of thousands of dollars.”
Many critics doubt the legality of the trademark because the emoticon has been in the public domain for so many years. One opponent of the claimed trademark is the president of the Russian social networking site odnoklassniki.ru, Nikita Sherman. She’s been quoted as saying “You're not likely to find any retards in Russia who'll pay … for the use of emoticons.”
And it doesn’t help that Mr. Teterin isn’t the first Russian to lay claim to the emoticon. Sadly, he might end up :’(, instead of :-D.