Friday, January 18, 2008

GeForce 8800 GT upgrade causes headaches for some Mac Pro users

MAC PRO geforce upgrade thumbnail imageIt looks like Mac Pro users wanting to get in on some of the latest and greatest action without ditching their old system altogether are still out of luck, despite a recently released "upgrade kit" from Apple that got some of their hopes up, and caused some consternation for anyone that actually took the plunge on one. As a number of users have reported on various discussion forums (one of which is linked below), the $349 GeForce 8800 GT upgrade kit only works in the newest Mac Pros, and not the older models, due to their lack of support for PCI-Express 2.0. That little detail was indicated as requirement by Apple, although many apparently assumed the cards would work because of the inherent backwards compatibility in PCIe 2.0. As you might expect, many users are none to pleased with Apple actions on the matter, with some claiming that the company's interested only in getting customers to buy a new system instead of prolonging the life of their old one.

Update: Nvidia's Director of PR emailed us to let us know that the company is "in the middle of bringing out an upgrade kit based on the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTsolution for all Intel-based Mac Pros." What's more, this upgrade kit "should be out in a few weeks."


Lego Master Completes 30-Pound Star Wars Starship Model

After a mammoth building session, Lego master Mark Kelso has just recently put the last brick on his model of the Invisible Hand, General Grevious' ship from Star Wars Episode III. Yes, that photo of him and his model is to scale—it's frickin' massive. It took an equally massive 9 months to build too:

The completed ship is 231 studs long (that's almost 73 inches, for us non-Lego-geeks), 41 studs wide and weighs about 30 pounds. It's packed with attention to detail that has to be seen to be believed, down to different antenna sizes dotted around the tower and complex engine-plumbing. Mark's decision to avoid too many exposed studs must have added considerably to both the expense and building time, but has resulted in something that looks almost like a prop from a Lucas' set.

Whether you think "dedication to hobby" or "Lego nutcase in action," you've got to admit its pretty awesome.


Super Smash Bros. Brawl Trailer - Challenger Approaching

Super smash brawl trailorWith the official Super Smash Bros. Brawl release date nearing, the trailers just keep on getting better. Continue reading to watch "Pit, Snake, Sonic and Wario enter the fray."

What's fantastic about Smash Bros. Brawl is this whole new sense of discovery. Yes, a lot of the game remains the same from Melee, but there are so many new items and enhancements to uncover, including those Assist Attack capsules.


MacBook Air processor situation gets explained

Macbook air processor comparisonWe already knew the basic details about the processor at the heart of Apple's MacBook Air, but those itching to know exactly how Apple and Intel managed to cram everything into that oh so small package may want to head over to AnandTech, which has pieced together a fairly thorough report on the matter. As the site reports, the processor is based on Intel's 65nm Merom architecture and packs an 800MHz bus, yet it uses the significantly smaller chip package that Intel had originally only planned to debut with the launch of its Montevina laptop platform later this year. That combination, along with the Intel 965GMS chipset with integrated graphics, allowed for a 60% reduction in total footprint size, and a TDP rating of just 20W, as opposed to 35W from the regular Core 2 Duo processor.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Monkey Controls Humanoid Robot Using Only its Mind

Monkey robot imageResearchers at the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) have successfully used a monkey's brain activity to control the real-time walking patterns of a 5-foot tall humanoid robot.


Japan's Sega news- Mega arcade in Dubai

Japanese game company Sega said Thursday it will help build a massive game arcade in Dubai in an under-construction shopping mall which purports to be the largest in the world once it opens.

Sega, a unit of the Sega Sammy group, said it had signed an agreement with Emaar Malls Group LLC of the United Arab Emirates to build the two-floor arcade inside the Dubai Mall later this year.

Under the license agreement, Sega will offer development and management know-how to Emaar Malls Group, which will build and operate the facility.

The arcade will occupy some 7,000 square meters (75,350 square feet) of the shopping mall, Sega said.

Sega became a household name with popular arcade games such as "UFO Catchers" and in 1998 won a fan base with its Dreamcast machine. But it stopped producing the Dreamcast in 2001 under fierce competition from Sony and Nintendo.

The company has since focused on arcade machines, software and theme parks. It saw a new lease on life after merging in 2004 with Sammy Corp., Japan's top maker of pinball slot machines.

Sega in a statement said it hoped the Dubai deal would open up new opportunities as Emaar Malls plans eventually to build more shopping malls in the Middle East, India and other emerging markets.


iPhone Getting a Business/Corporate Plan on January 21st

iPhone with corporate planHere's some good news for those of you who want an iPhone but have sold your soul to the corporate overlords: AT&T is said to be announcing iPhone compatibility to corporate and business accounts on January 21st.

The "business iPhone" is the same as the regular iPhone, but it has a slightly different pricing setup for its plan and is eligible for a $25 per month corporate discount.


"Study" finds half of Americans want to be Bill Gates

Young bill gates picsAccording to a highly dubious study recently released by a maker of paper-shredders, 47% of Americans said they would "like to be Bill Gates." The other 53% said they preferred being powerless, poor, and not knowing what to do with Visual Basic.


Hands-On with Motorola ROKR E8- The Touch Keypad Music Phone

Motorock E8 hands onAt just 115 x 53 x 10.6mm, the Motorola ROKR E8 features a 2-inch TFT display, 2GB of internal memory, 2.0-megapixel camera, miniSD slot, Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP, and a nifty touch-sensitive keypad.


Samsung intros well-spec'd SyncMaster 2493HM / 2693HM LCD monitors

Samsung LCD monitorsBelieve it or not, Samsung took the opportunity to unveil a couple of newcomers at Macworld, proving that there was indeed something left in the tank after CES. And on paper, this pair is one to be reckoned with. Up first is the 24-inch SyncMaster 2493HM, which features a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution, 10,000:1 (dynamic) contrast ratio, five-millisecond response time, 400 cd/m2 brightness, 160-degree viewing angles and DVI / HDMI inputs to boot. As for the 25.5-inch 2693HM, it mimics its smaller sibling in most every way, but does include a VGA input and steps the dynamic contrast ratio down to 3,000:1. Both units also include built-in multimedia speakers and stunning good looks, and best of all, they can become yours right this moment for $599 and $699, respectively.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Zoran guitar concept- Designer Amit Zoran

Zoran guitar conceptThe Zoran guitar concept from designer Amit Zoran allows musicians to customize their sound using a CAD/CAM process. By assembling different sound cells (i.e. the physical parts of the instrument designed in CAD/CAM), users have complete freedom of design. For example, each string can have its own bridge and each bridge can be linked to different cells.

Each of these cells, when created in a 3-D printer, can be made in any size or shape —or with any material in order to achieve a custom sound. Zoran also envisions a website with recommended sound cell designs that musicians can use to get started. I'm not sure how plausible all of this is, but I certainly like the idea—not to mention the look of the instruments he has come up with.


iPhone v1.1.3 reviews- Causing major issues with SMS message order

Apple iphone reviews- SMS conversation out of orderApparently, a lot of iPhone users are experiencing issues related to out of order SMS conversations.

A lot of people were pretty damned stoked about the SMS improvements Apple unleashed upon iPhone owners yesterday with firmware v1.1.3, but it's not all turning up roses. However more than 4 million iPhones have already been sold.


Hands-on with iTunes movie rentals: quirky and restrictive, but dead easy

Hands on image demo with iTunes movie rentalsPerhaps overshadowed by yesterday's MacBook Air announcement is Apple's big move into movie rentals. The fact that all the majors have joined the on-line offering makes it a compelling service to say the least. That is, if it's as easy to use as they say. Is it? Read on for the first hands-on.

iTunes movie rentalSo here we have the new Movie rentals section in iTunes. By our count, 150 films are available to rent at the moment. We'll chalk that up to the initial ramp up with an expectation of a far beefier catalog in the hours and days ahead.

iTunes movie rental imageHey, where's the HD version Steve-o was showing off during the keynote? Oh right, HD flicks are only available when rented from Apple TV. What a gyp. Ah well, clicking "Rent Movie" anyway to see what we get for our $3.99 new release.

iTunes movie rental image2Yippee Ki-aye muther... we love debt!

Done. But not really. Nothing happens. No download, no activity, just back to a blank page. Huh? Let's go back and click "Rent Movie" again.

After that hiccup, we're back in action. The movie has been added to the Downloads queue.

iTunes movie rental image3After 3 minutes and 100MB of data transfered to our disk we're prompted with an option to start watching the film. Let's do it.

Uh, we hear the audio but there's no film. What the hell? Did we just burn lunch money for audio?

After fumbling around looking for the video in Spaces and Expose, we found it. Where? In that little corner window of iTunes. Obvious if you use iTunes regularly for video, not so for the vast majority of people who will be trying this for the first time. A click on the arrow will eventually bring up the Now Playing window.

Click the Now Playing window to expand.

iTunes movie rental image4Ah... full screen on a 30-inch, 2560 x 1600 pixel LCD display. Honestly, it looks and sounds surprisingly good. Certainly better than we had expected.

The download continues. Video playback remains smooth throughout.

30 minutes later, the 1.5GB file is down over our 10Mbps DSL pipe.

A new "Rented Movies" directory shows up in our iTunes library. Clicking "More Info" gives you some more information about your rental. The expiration time appears in the upper-right corner. The 24-hour viewing clock is already ticking since we started watching the film during download. Really, who can wait the 30 day maximum before watching a film they just rented?

Don't worry, Apple is happy to nag you about your rentals.

Despite the few quirks we experienced, the steps required to rent from iTunes were dead simple and the ability to play the movie after just a few minutes of clicking "rent movie" was a big plus for our Type A personalities. Assuming you have the bandwidth that is. Sure, we're not talking HD video or 5.1 audio here. Nevertheless, the quality was surprisingly good when displayed full-screen on our 30-inch, 2560 x 1600 pixel display -- even when sitting at keyboard-length from the monitor.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Apple investors miss one more thing

Apple stock market share
Hey, you can't announce a new iPhone every year.


First Macbook Air multi-touch control panel screenshot

Macbook control panel screenshotThat's right, it's like you're looking into some crazy crystal ball, one which is showing you how all your future interactions with your Mac will be carried out... probably. Feast your eyes on this glimpse into the soon-to-arrive apocalyptic nightmare-world of gestures.

Control panel image

Apple Time Capsule Server for Wireless Time Machine Backups

Apple Time Capsule Server imageAt Macworld 2008, Apple just announced Time Capsule, a full Airport Extreme base station with 802.11n wireless and four Ethernet ports, plus server grade hard drives to back up all of the Leopard Macs in the house. Did we call this or what? OK, minus the leopard spots, that is. Yes, all signs suggested that something like this would happen, but little did we know it would come with such a reasonable price tag: 500GB for $300; 1TB for $500. Click here for our Time Capsule hands-on at Macworld, or jump for details, plus the official press release:

The Bare Facts:
  • After setup, all Macs on network are automatically backed up wirelessly and constantly.
  • USB port is so it can act as print server; no word on whether you can attach addional USB disks.
  • No hidden bricks: The sleek design includes a built-in power supply.
  • Full three-port Gigabit Ethernet router (fourth port is for WAN); 802.11n network supports up to 50 users.
Official Press Release:
Apple Announces Time Capsule

Wireless Backup for all Your Macs

MACWORLD SAN FRANCISCO--January 15, 2008--Apple® today introduced Time Capsule, a backup appliance that automatically and wirelessly backs up everything on one or more Macs running Leopard™, the latest release of Apple's Mac OS® X operating system including the amazing Time Machine™ automatic backup software. Time Capsule combines an 802.11n base station with a server grade hard disk in one small package. Simply plug it in, then easily set up automatic wireless backup for every Mac® in your house to a single Time Capsule with just a few clicks. Time Capsule offers the benefits of a full-featured 802.11n Wi-Fi base station, and comes in two models: a 500 gigabyte model for just $299 and a 1 terabyte model for just $499.

"Bring Time Capsule home, plug it in, click a few buttons on your Macs and voila--all the Macs in your house are being backed up automatically, every hour of every day," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "With Time Capsule and Time Machine, all your irreplaceable photos, movies and documents are automatically protected and incredibly easy to retrieve if they are ever lost."

Built to work seamlessly with Time Machine, Time Capsule lets users wirelessly back up all of the data on their Macs, find lost files and even restore all of their software. In the event a file is lost, users can wirelessly search back through time to find deleted files, applications, photos and other digital media and then instantly restore the file. If it's ever necessary, Leopard can also easily restore an entire system from the Time Machine backup on Time Capsule.

In addition to being the best way to back up a Mac, Time Capsule is also a full-featured Wi-Fi base station with the latest 802.11n technology. Delivering up to five times the performance and twice the range of 802.11g, 802.11n* is built in to Apple's iMac® desktop and the entire Mac notebook line up, including MacBook®, MacBook Pro and the new MacBook Air. Time Capsule features a sleek design with a built-in power supply and connections to print wirelessly to a USB printer. With Time Capsule, it's very easy for users to create a secure, wireless network for up to 50 users and set security restrictions such as Internet access limits for children's computers.

At $299 for a 500GB model and $499 for a 1TB model and a fully integrated 802.11n AirPort Extreme® Base Station, Time Capsule can serve as a backup solution for multiple computers as well as the backbone for a high-speed, 802.11n wireless network, making it effortless and affordable for everyone at home, school or work to protect their digital files.

Additional Time Capsule features include:

dual-band antennas for 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequencies;
three Gigabit LAN ports;
one Gigabit Ethernet WAN port;
one USB 2.0 port;
Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA-2), 128-bit WEP encryption; and
a built-in NAT firewall supporting NAT-PMP for features like Back to My Mac.
Pricing & Availability
Time Capsule will be available in February through the Apple Store® (, at Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $299 (US) for a 500GB hard drive and $499 (US) for a 1TB hard drive.

*Time Capsule is based on an IEEE 802.11n draft specification. Actual performance will vary based on range, connection rate, site conditions, size of network and other factors.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.

iPhone 1.13 Firmware Demonstration from MacWorld

iPhone 1.13 firmware demonstrationYes, Apple officially announced today the availability of firmware 1.13 for the iPhone. Most notably, the "web bookmarks can now be saved as home screen icons, including zoom and location information."

You'll get to witness the miracle of icon rearranging, the joy of Google Maps location finding, and the unending pleasure of homescreen Safari bookmarks.


StreamMyGame Lets You Play PC Games on Your PS3, Reduces Need to Ever Leave Your Couch

We almost did not believe it, but those guys at StreamMyGame have included a video in which they are playing Crysis on their PS3, all streamed from their PC. There is no visible lag, and the resolution is user definable. In short; it looks crisp. Check out the tutorial above, but skip through to the money shot at 07:55, unless you are setting it up, in which case you will need to go through it all. The best thing about all this streaming wizardry?

It is free. That's right; by hitting up the link you are able to get your hands on all the software required. Your PS3 will need to have Linux installed (either Ubuntu or Yellow Dog), and your PC will require Windows Vista or XP. The StreamMyGame Server does the rest, converting the game's video and audio into a "Game Stream" that is then sent across your local network. The device you stream to can be a PC, laptop, PS3 or Linux device. The machine being streamed to does not need a copy of the game installed, but does need the StreamMyGame Player, which is also free.

The CEO, Richard Faria had this to say about the development:

"Playing the latest PC game on the PS3 is now a reality at HD resolution and fast frame-rates. I have a PS3 in my living room and PC in my office and my two kids both have old PCs in their bedrooms. Now we can play games anywhere around the home. StreamMyGame's technology networks the power of a main PC so it can be used to play high end games on other PCs, PS3s and Linux devices".

In the pipelines is remote streaming across high bandwidth broadband connections, as well as Windows Mobile and Android versions. If that does not get your pants wet, we'll have to send Jason in with his dildos (NSFW.) Follow the link to get streaming, and let us know how you get on.


Getting ready for Andrioid: demonstration by a la Mobile

Andrioid demo by a la mobileA company I’ve not heard of sent in a press release about their demonstration of Andriod on a HTC Qtek 9090. WTF is a Qtek 9090? Well, it looks like a la Mobile jumped in the wayback machine to dig up this Linux OS unit. Thankfully, this story is not about the phone; just like the G-Phone wasn’t about the phone.

A la Mobile whipped up a GUI complete with your standard fare: “browser, phone dialer, audio player, maps, camera, games, calendar, contacts manager, calculator, tasks manager and notes.” This doesn’t seem to revolutionary right? But someone had to get out there and do it.

“As the leader in mobile Linux, we believe it is our responsibility to take the initiative to allay the ‘mystery’ and dispel any skepticism surrounding Android by first demonstrating a complete mobile Linux system stack, including drivers, middleware, and a suite of Android-based applications running on an existing advanced smartphone manufactured by one of the premier handset vendors in the market.”

Android is not an off-the-shelf solution, rather an open one in which a la Mobile just learned a heap about. They hope to leverage their knowledge and offer a “one-stop, commercial-grade complete Linux system stacks for mobile devices: integrated, customized, certified, supported and maintained”. Let’s hope the telecoms are paying attention.


Mitsubishi Concept-RA Unveiled

Mitsubishi concept RAMitsubishi has just unveiled the Concept-RA, an "all-wheel-drive, diesel-powered sports coupe that sends 201 hp and 310 lb.-ft. of twist through Mitsubishi's S-AWC system."

MITSUBISHI Concept-RA is powered by a new, high output, high-efficiency 2.2-liter 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve turbo diesel engine with MIVEC4. This clean diesel's MIVEC system incorporates valve lift control with low and high-speed cam profiles actuating the intake valves.


Monday, January 14, 2008

NewerTech intros USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter

USB universal driveSure, we've seen similar adapters in the past, but NewerTech's latest is quite a few rungs higher on the attractive scale than its most formidable rivals. The inelegantly named USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter allows users to easily connect any 2.5-, 3.5- or 5.25-inch HDD / optical drive to a computer via USB, enabling folks to transfer critical data or backup an internal drive altogether without having to hunt down some snazzy external chassis. Notably, the adapter plays nice with IDE, ATA and SATA (among others), has no qualms dealing with OS X / Linux and will set you back just $29.95.


Desktop Boxer: The Most Advanced USB Toy of 2008?

Desktop boxer The 2008 toyAccording to the product page, the Desktop Boxer is the "most advanced USB toy of 2008" thanks to fully interactive software and realistic boxing ring sounds. Users can control the boxer's punches and movement via their keyboard, and the device will keep track of successful hits on the speed bag. Personally, I think that I will withhold judgment on the "most advanced" claim until we are further into 2008. Available for £29.99 or around $59.


Lawsuit forces Microsoft to stay mum about Xbox Live status

Xbox Live logoIt looks like we won't be seeing another barrage of Xbox Live status updates like we saw in the past few weeks anytime soon, at least as long as that little lawsuit is going on down in Texas. That unfortunate word comes from none other than Major Nelson, who said in his podcast that Microsoft can no longer update gamers on the situation due to "legal issues." Those constraints apparently even extend as far as the Major's Twitter page, leaving gamers in the dark in the event of yet another Xbox Live outage. In case you missed it, the lawsuit in Texas was filed after the outage in December by three disgruntled gamers, who claim that Microsoft knew activity would be at a peak during that time of year but "failed to provide adequate access and service to Xbox Live and its subscribers."

No word on any progress in that suit just yet, but we're guessing that Microsoft and Xbox users alike are hoping it gets wrapped up as soon as possible.


Toyota announces plug-in hybrid for 2010

Toyota plug-in hybrid in 2010According to reports, roost-ruling, green automaker Toyota has confirmed plans to launch a plug-in hybrid by 2010. Our man in Japan Katsuaki Watanabe (company president) dropped the bombshell at this year's Detroit Auto Show while detailing the automaker's plans for tackling environmental concerns. Apparently, the new lithium-ion-equipped vehicles will first be made available to Toyota's commercial customers -- such as government agencies. Watanabe gave no indication of when a general consumer rollout would occur.

The vehicle, which is a modified version of the ultra-popular Prius, is capable of achieving fuel efficiency of 99.9 miles-per-gallon in EV mode, though it can only sustain pure battery power for about seven miles. The announcement will no doubt come as a total bummer to GM, which has plans to sell its own plug-in, the Volt, around the same time -- though the Chevy vehicle is said to be able to make trips of up to 40 miles on a six-hour charge. It's about time we saw some healthy competition in the green-auto-game -- let's just hope consumers reap the benefits.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ceramic microneedles to make injections painless

Micro needle imageRest assured, we've "seen" methods of delivering injections sans pain, but we've yet to actually experience this phenomenon ourselves. If Dr. Roger Narayan has anything to do about it, however, we may not feel even a pinch the next time the blood drive comes calling.

A team of researchers led by the aforementioned individual has reportedly been able to use "two-photon polymerization of organically modified ceramic (Ormocer) hybrid materials to create microneedles resistant to breakage," and they can also be made in a wider range of sizes than metal counterparts. It's said that these very needles would be "so fine that patients wouldn't feel them piercing their skin," and while that sure sounds delightful, we've no idea how many more visits we'll make before finding one of these in the nurse's hand.


The Truth About Cellphone Reception Bars

The reception bars on your cellphone represent EC/I0 values, which is the scientific measurement that signifies how much of a cellphone's available reception is actually usable. Well, according to the chaps at Ask Metafilter, the bars that are actually present on your cellphone are a watered down representation of the true values. Why so?

Truth about Cellphone Reception BarApparently, the EC/I0 readings are far from stable and fluctuate many times a minute. Due to this fact, the approximation that is employed is largely meaningless. On the flip side, if you are constantly in an area with strong reception, the deviations in readings are not going to be large, so the vague representation shall be accurate enough. Still, you conspiracy whores, get your hats off and do some sweating.


New "No More Heroes" (Wii) Trailer is Action Packed

New No More Heroes Wii TrailerUbisoft has just released a new "No More Heroes" trailer, showing off its action-packed gameplay. Expect to shell out $49.99 for this game when it's released on January 22.

No More Heroes hopes to pull you in with a very stylistic experience, mixing well-modeled characters with cel-shading and tons of particle effects to deliver a very visceral (though still somewhat tasteful) experience that is above-all totally unique.