Oct 31, 2010

Angry Birds for Halloween This Year

Selling millions of copies to happy customers is one of the more important milestones for any software developer, but when you inspire a Halloween costume, well, that's the real gravy, isn't it?

How Russia Stopped One Fifth Of the World's Spam

There are official 20% fewer penis enlargement emails hitting your spam folder, thanks to the efforts of the Russian government. How'd they do it? By making an effort.

Russian authorities this week cracked down on one Igor A. Gusev, "suspected spam kingpin:"

Moscow police authorities said Mr. Gusev, 31, was a central figure in the operations of, which paid spammers to promote online pharmacies, sometimes quite lewdly. suddenly stopped operating on Sept. 27. With less financial incentive to send their junk mail, spammers curtailed their activity by an estimated 50 billion messages a day.

Gusev and had both been operating openly in Moscow for several years until Russia decided to step up its enforcement. And sure, there are still 200 billion unwanted emails blasting off every day. But paring them down by a fifth is a more than decent start.

Oct 30, 2010

Concept Butter Package Packs A Butter Knife In The Lid

Single servings of butter are almost always a pain to use. This concept packaging would revolutionize single s
erving butter because you don't need a butter knife. The lid of the package is the butter knife.

The idea is really simple theoretically could be extended to anything that's served in single packaging.

There's a USB Stick In The Brick Wall

Across New York, there are USB drives embedded in walls, buildings and curbs. The idea is to create an anonymous, offline file-sharing network in public space. The drives are completely public and anyone can plug in to drop and download files.
It's part of an art project called "Dead Drops" by Aram Bartholl and I have to say, it's pretty awesomely creative. I mean, if I saw a USB stick stick out of a random wall, I'd be dying to know what's in there. I'd have to plug in. It'd also be interesting to see what people would anonymously share on the public drive, well, until some jackass decides to upload a virus to screw up everybody's computer.

Limited Edition HDJ-1000 Headphones Get Fine-Tuned and Painted Gold by Pioneer

Big, brash and gold—Supposedly they've also fine-tuned the audio formula, with better low-bass frequencies and even clearer playback in the midrange too.

They'll go on sale in December for a spot over $200, but if you don't like the gold there's also a rare black model to be had too.

Oct 29, 2010

Antoine Dodson's Sex Offender iPhone App Uses Augmented Reality to Find the Creeps

"Are you still hiding yo wives, hiding yo kids and hiding yo husbands?" asks Antoine Dodsonof bed intruder fame, oblivious to the fact he's using his sister's misfortune to shill this $2 sex offender augmented reality app.

It may sound like a joke, but the app is real and actually works. Well, I assume it works—I haven't downloaded it myself—but developer has used its background checker database as the basis for the augmented reality app, which displays red dots when in the proximity of known sex offenders' locations.

5 per cent of the sales are being donated to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), and the app's available for both iPhone and Android. You'd have to be pretty paranoid to download it, but I guess for some it's a valuable tool to add to their apps-toolbox if they're concerned about some neighbours.

Hands on the Nexus Two by Samsung

The Nexus Two is real. It's made by Samsung, and a friend of ours got to play with it. It's not going rock your face like the Nexus One did. But it will record it with a front-facing camera.

It's black and shiny, built with glossy plastic. Up close, though, it's "got this curve to it." While the screen, which our source thinks is the same 4-inch AMOLED affair from the Galaxy series, is flat, the front is "sort of concave" with hard edges. And the back is curved. The tapering makes it feel thinner than Galaxy S, though it might be about the same thickness. "It feels really similar to the Galaxy S in a lot ways."

At first blush, it's a little disappointing that Google possibly isn't pushing things forward in the same way they did with the Nexus One, since it seems like the Nexus Two is a refreshed Galaxy phone. On the other hand, it says a lot that the Android ecosystem is so stocked with high-powered phones, from the Evo to the Droid X, that even Google won't radically jump ahead of its partners with a new flagship. Hopefully their plan for selling it is a little better.

Oct 28, 2010

Girls' Generation Hoot MusicVideo

Oakley's 3D Glasses Arriving Just in Time For Tron Legacy

Personally, I'm hoping all this 3D business will just go away if I ignore it long enough, but if you're riding the wave, you might want a decent pair of 3D spectacles. Oakley's new Tron-branded pair should be suitably futuristic.

The Tron:Legacy Oakleys, the first in their line of passive polarized 3D shades, will have some neon Tronesque doodads on the side but will also purportedly offer greater peripheral viewing and a better 3D alignment than most glasses.

You'll have to pay $150 for that fidelity when the Oakleys are available later this year, so if you're prone to losing your glasses, as I am, investing in one of those neck lanyards might not be a bad idea.

Sennheiser's New Gaming Headsets Will Make Your PC Games Sing

Sennheiser's expanding its gaming headset lineup with four new sets o' cans—the flagship Sennheiser PC 360, the surround sound PC 333D and PC 163D, and the PC 330 G4ME. Hey, if they're good enough for your music...

Then they probably will make your games sound pretty great too. The flagship PC 360s have been available overseas for awhile, but now they're making their way stateside for $299. They use Sennheiser Open-Aire speaker tech, have a volume control on the right ear cup, and their mic can be muted simply by lifting it up. Easy.

Oct 27, 2010

BlackBerry Bold 9780 Runs OS 6.0 and Has A Better Camera

Not much has changed between the 9700 and 9780, save for the jump from 3.2MP to 5MP camera, and the latest OS version it's running, which is the multitasker OS 6.0

There's a tad more RAM too, going from 256MB to 512MB. It's on sale globally from November, and while it's not that different to the previous Bold (which it itself wasn't much different from the 9000), it'll be a nice jump-up for BlackBerry users wanting an upgrade but who are not quite ready for the scary future of touchscreens just yet.

White iPhone 4: Delayed, Canceled, or Both

According to Reuters, the white iPhone 4 has been put off until next Spring. According to Boy Genius Report, it's been canned altogether. Who should we believe? Honestly, it doesn't really matter at this point.

One thing both sources agree on is that we're not going to hear another peep about thewhite iPhone 4 until next March. That's when Apple will either finally sell it, or push back the release date again until summer and quietly let it die. But with Apple releasing a new iPhone like clockwork every June/July, even if the iPhone 4 does hit the shelves it'll be old news—though appealingly discounted—in a matter of months.

Who would buy one then instead of just sticking it out for iPhone 5? And what incentive is there for Apple to crank on a lame duck device?

So for all the rumors about why and when and how the white iPhone 4 might or might not come out, the calendar's been pushed so far back that by now the point's pretty much moot.

Military Tactical iPad App Looks Like a Real Life Starcraft II

This is the SoldierEyes map, a tactical application for iPad that shows friends and foes' real time positions in the battlefield. It isn't a game, even while it looks like an RTS, similar toRaytheon's Advanced Tactical System (RATS).

Like RATS, the encrypted SoldierEyes network uses smartphones or iPod touch units to gather the information and distribute it. Soldiers can even use an augmented reality app to capture terrain and enemy data to share automatically with other units. All that information is displayed automatically on the iPad and relayed to commanders anywhere in the world.

Sounds like a neat game to play, until you realize the system requirements include actual bullets and mortar fire.

Oct 26, 2010

Casio G'zOne Ravine: The Phone that Survives It All

The rugged Casio G'zOne Ravine phone has undergone rigorous military testing, so the stresses and strains of life—like your everyday, run-of-the-mill immersion, blowing rain, shock, sand/dust, vibration, salt fog, humidity, solar radiation, low pressure, high & low temps—won't phase it at all.


Don't drop everything just because you have to make a call—open and talk on the Casio G'zOne Ravine with one touch. And with noise cancellation, you won't miss a word of your conversation on the job site or in the jungle. The 2.20", 240×320, 65K, TFT LCD screen makes it easy for you to see who's calling in, say, a dense salt fog.

Messaging, Data, and Camera

Threaded texts keeps your SMS, EMS and MMS messages organized for easy access. Enjoy V CAST Video and music—you can store up to 322 GB of media files. The 3.2 megapixel camera has an LED flash and video capabilities.

Fun Stuff

The Casio G'zOne Ravine has a triple sensor for G'zGear that acts as a pedometer, compass, and thermometer to keep you informed of your level of ruggedness at all times. The VZ Navigator capability provides audible maps, turn-by-turn directions, and the ability to share location information for more than 14 million points of interest. Truly a phone for the adventurers among us. Price: $199.99 on Verizon.

Laser Pointer Prank Lands Teen in Federal Prison

19-year-old Nathan Ramon Wells last year saw a California police helicopter and decided to aim a laser pointer at it, causing the pilot to suddenly change course during a burglary investigation. Now he's going to federal prison for 15 months.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in June 2009 Wells was in his car in Cathedral City, California aiming the green laser pointer at the cops and, after diverting the crew from the investigation, the pilot spotted him. He was arrested when police found the laser pointer in his car. What an idiot. He could have at least thrown it out the window when he noticed the police helicopter tailing him. Or maybe he didn't notice the chopper tailing him or the patrol cars called in for backup. Either way, now he's going to federal prison for 15 months, and will be on supervised release for three years afterward. That's harsh, bro.

Here's video of a British police helicopter being viciously targeted by a laser pointer from the crowd at a music festival. You can clearly see that it's dangerous, but 15 months in federal lockup seems like overkill.

Holy Cheap! Get a Froyo Phone For 30 Bones

Look, I'm not saying the LG Optimus T is the fanciest phone in the world. But it's hard to argue with a $30 entry point to the latest and greatest version of Android.

The T-Mobile offering requires a two-year contract and use of a $50 mail-in discount to hit the $30 mark, and the phone itself is a pretty standard decent-not-great 3.2-inch capacitive touch job. The HVGA resolution and 3MP camera are middling if you put them up against the top Android offerings out there, but those'll run you six times as much. The Optimus T also comes pre-loaded with Swype, for you speed-texters out there.

The phone and deal are available November 3rd.

Oct 25, 2010

This is the Droid You Were Looking For. For Halloween, At Least

It's the age-old conundrum. To go as something sexy, or something full-on nerdy and embarrassing. I go as the latter everytime (this is the woman who dressed as Bill Gates once), but I think this swimsuit solves the problem nicely.

What do you think, guys? Best Halloween costume yet? It's around $80 USD. Just be careful with nearby lightsabers

There Is No Escape From Cows

This is a message to all vegetarians and vegans out there. From rubber to adhesives to anti-aging creams to medicines to shampoo to instrument strings to plastic to charcoal to wallpaper to air filters: You can't run from beef!

PSP2 Will Be Bigger, Out Fall 2011, Currently Overheating

Around the time of the Tokyo Game Show, Sony held a private meeting at its offices in Tokyo's Aoyama. The purpose was to show off the PSP2.

Several sources have confirmed to Kotaku that the PSP2 does have a previously rumoredtouch panel on the back of the hardware. The touch panel was described as looking like a big mouse trackpad. When Sony showed the PSP2, it did not provide concrete details regarding how the trackpad will be implemented in games and instead is leaving that to the discretion of game developers.

The screen itself is not only sharper than the current PSP's, but about an inch larger. The larger screen means that the PSP2 will be larger as well. In the private meetings, Sony is touting the screen as "HD".

A larger PSP should not be that big of an issue for Sony — especially in a mobile environment with large tablets like the iPad. It also shows that Sony realizes it is no longer simply competing with Nintendo, but also Apple.

It is unclear whether this is the same handheld described by the Wall Street Journal. According to the the paper, Sony is working on a device that mixes a game player, an e-book reader and a netbook computer. In late September, there were also reports that the PSP2 hardware was in the hands of "numerous" developers.

Currently, the PSP2's hardware is not finalized, and Sony is having problems balancing battery, power and heat. There are apparently overheating issues, but Sony is, of course, aiming to have those issues corrected by the time the hardware is publicly shown.

Sony set the PSP2's goals, but is still tinkering with the portable's innards. The PSP2's tech specs are expected to change. Sources tell Kotaku that the PSP2's release window is fall 2011. Sony is not yet talking openly about the PSP2.

Sony did not offer a comment in time for publication.

Oct 24, 2010

Brand Logos, Simplified

The images in the picture may just look like circles and dots but they're really simplified logos of famous brands. It's amazing how the strongest brands can be seen even through basic shapes. How many brands do you recognize?

Google, Target, and NBC are pretty easy. Dunkin Donuts and Subway too. If you want to test yourself, you can find all of the simplified logos at Unevolved Brands.

How To Unlock All The Stages In Angry Birds Android & iPhone Game

In the Android version of Angry Birds, you can unlock the different worlds of the game without having to beat each level. And since some of those pigs are impossible to smash, you'll probably end up doing this.

Here's how to do it:

1. Go to a World Select Screen
2. Center a locked world on your screen
3. Hit the back button on your Android phone until you exit Angry Birds
4. Load Angry Birds back up
5. When you see the 'Play' button, tap the button repeatedly
6. You're now inside a locked world

You still need to beat each level to advance in the world but with this method you can start new worlds without finishing the old ones. Howeva be warned! You might not feel the same accomplishment the rest of us honest, hard working folks feel.

Oct 23, 2010

The Asteroids Closest to Killing Us, Visualized

You can call them "near Earth objects" if you want to. I'll stick with "asteroids hellbent on obliterating our planet and all we hold dear." Here's the lineup of the space rocks closest to killing us, and where they are.

As a bonus, designer Zachary Vabolis has taken the liberty of listing the recorded objects that have or will come closest to impact. And these are just the 1,000m diameter or wider crowd. So, hey, it's been real everybody! I just hope when we get got, it's a meteor with a cool name that does it.

Oct 22, 2010

People Spend 927 Million Hours Per Month Playing Facebook Games

This is truly crazy data: 290 million people play Farmville and other Facebook games—five of the top 10 are by Zynga—every month. Combined, that's 4,406 years worth of play time—or 105,878 man-years milking virtual cows.

Cabinet-Mounted iPad Docks Are Cheaper Than Plasmas, I Suppose

What luxury to have cabinet-mounted iPads! What luxury to have an iPad at all, really. At $70 (plus the cost of an iPad) lazy recipe-readers could have one under every cupboard in the kitchen. Sign me up for 10.

Griffin's cabinet mount dock is probably not intended for holding an iPad permanently, but I like to imagine people will have one in the kitchen, the garage and even the bathroom. Stuff prising it out of the brackets every time you want to use it, right? Amirite?

The mount's arm rotates by 360-degrees, and the whole 'pad can move 90-degrees so it aligns flush under a cupboard, and then can be pulled out when in use. In the US it's $70, and in the UK it's £50, available now.

Over 7,000 People Tagged in One Facebook Photo Wins a Guinness World Record

36 ultra hi-res photos taken with two Hasselblad cameras at this year's Glastonbury Festivalin England were stitched together to create a 1.3-gigapixel image. Of the 70,000 people captured, over 7,000 dirty revellers have tagged themselves on Facebook.

This has awarded the pictured, created by mobile network Orange, a Guinness World Record for most people ever tagged in an online photo. No idea what the previous record-holder for this would've been, but I imagine this is a new entry to the book.

The two Hasselblad H4D-50 cameras used cost around $30,000 each, and have 50MP sensors which resulted in the 36 photos taken in under a minute flat, and later stitched together for a photo hi-res enough for people to zoom in on every single individual, to search for themselves and friends. I wonder how many girlfriends discovered their boyfriends copping off with someone in a cider-fuelled frenzy behind their back from this photo?

Oct 21, 2010

This Is the Oldest Space Object Ever Found

This is the oldest object we've found yet in space. It's a galaxy whose light traveled more than 13 billion light-years before it was visible to Hubble. And it's only 600 million years younger than the universe itself.

What you're looking at above is an artist's rendering of UDFy-38135539, the most ancient space object we've been able to locate to date.

It's about 160 million years older than the previous oldest galaxy, which was found back in 2006. The most exciting part? Astronomers speculate that the oldest galaxies formed as early as 200 million years after the Big Bang, meaning we've got a whole lot of discovering still ahead of us.

Flip Phones Made Cool: Japan's Transparent X-Ray Phone

See-through things are cool. Anyone who ever pined for a transparent Game Boy (or was lucky enough to own one) knows that. Even if flippers are unfashionable, I still want to hotfoot it over to Japan to scoop this up.

Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka's x-ray phone is actually going on sale in Japan under the KDDI brand's iida range, where it's made from polycarbonate with glass fiber to give it that retro-futuristic transparent look. The 7 x 102 dot-matrix LED strip just heightens the dorky coolness of the phone, with caller ID flashing up along with new messages and the time.

It may look like something from the '80s, but there's an 8MP camera strapped on, 1-Seg TV tuner and is also NFC-payment compatible. I've no idea how much it's going to sell for in Japan, but I do know that I want an Android version pronto.

These Awesome Tron Watches Will Only Exist If You Want Them Enough

When there are so many actual Tron accessories that demand contempt, is it so much to ask for these kickass concept watches to become real? Fortunately, this time it's within our power to make these happen. Solidarity, people. Here's how.

Thse LED watches, designed by Scott Galloway, are currently up for vote over at Tokyo Flash, known proprietors of ridiculous timepieces. But this one's not even that ridiculous! In addition to looking badder than badass, they're also remarkably easy to read: the outer ring tells the minutes, the inner ring the hours. Simple.

So please, do your patriotic duty to make these happen in time for the holidays. I've got a few stockings to stuff, and I'd much rather do it with Tron watches than desk calendars.

Oct 20, 2010

New MacBook Airs: Faster, Lighter, Instant On, 30 Day Standby Power

It's been two years since the last MacBook Air refresh, but Apple's made up for lost time: the redesigned MacBook Air comes in 13.3 and 11.6-inch flavors with complete unibody construction. And a storage secret.

The smaller Air won't have an SSD or an HDD. Instead, it's got an SSD card that a bit like a stick of RAM. Why's that important for you? Instant on. Because the Air relies on flash memory, the boot times are near zero. Other guts? Intel Core2Duo processors inside along with Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics. Apple's also done the right thing by adding an SD card reader and a second USB port.

The MacBook Airs will come with a FaceTime camera—notably not an iSight camera—along with a full-size keyboard and multitouch trackpad. The 11-incher has a 1366x768 display, while the 13-inch rocks 1440x900. They weigh just 2.3 and 2.9 pounds, respectively, and both thankfully include stereo speakers.

The battery life is a huge story here as well: the 13.3-incher will last 7 hours with active use, and a full month on standby. The 11.6-inch gets 5 hours and that same 30 day standby time. The batteries are said to be good for 1,000 charges, and can be replaced for $129.

Both are available today starting at $1000. That'll get you the smaller Air with a 1.4GHz Core2Duo and 64GB of storage, while for $1200 you can upgrade to 128GB with the same processor. The 13.3-inch MBA starts off at a 1.86GHz processor and 128GB of storage for $1300, and opting for 256GB bumps the price to $1600. The base models start at 2GB of RAM but are upgradeable to 4GB and it looks as though they provide you with a USB stick with the OS.

Mac OS X Lion: The Best Features

Mac OS X 10.7 Lion is here. It's a beautiful evolution of the previous version, with a more elegant interface. Here's everything you need to learn about it, a visual guide to its best features.

Mac OS X is going in the same direction as the iPad. Mac OS X Lion is another step in the road to a new—or better said, renewed—computer interface paradigm: Modal computing. And along the way, they are taking some of the most successful parts of iOS, like the App Store—with automatic installation of applications—and the springboard—rechristened launchpad in Lion. They are also introducing new user interface elements, like Mission Control.

All apps would be able to have Full Screen mode integrated. That doesn't mean windows are disappearing (yet), but this is clearly enabling the way to full modal computing—which is clearly indicated by the user interface in iLife'11.

HTC Goes Off-Piste With Forest Green Gratia Android Phone

Have you ever seen an Android like this before? Unfortunately it's only destined for Europe, and while the specs aren't quite as high as HTC's recent Androids, it's running Froyo and comes in three delicious colors.

Really, it's no contest though—that forest green is just too nice for words. I'd love to see them roll that colorway out across some of their other models, like the Desire range, if possible.

The Gratia has a 3.2-inch 320 x 480 display, and will include a 600Mhz processor, 512MB ROM and 384MB RAM, and has a 5MP camera on the back, with a VGA cam lurking on the front there. It's got all the usual features too, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a g-sensor, digital compass, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, and microSD card slot. It weighs 115 grams, and measures 103.8 x 57.7 x 11.7 mm. It'll be on sale in November, across Europe.

Oct 19, 2010

This Is the Largest SATA Drive In the World

It just looks like any other, but this WD Caviar Green is three terabytes, using 750GB-per-platter. At just $240, it comes just in time to upgrade my backup storage unit.

WD® Now Shipping the World's Largest Capacity SATA Hard Drives

WD Caviar® Green™ 3 TB Hard Drives Support the Continuing Demand for Increased Capacity in External Storage and Advanced PC Applications

LAKE FOREST, Calif., Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ — WD® (NYSE: WDC) today announced that the company is shipping the world's largest capacity SATA hard drive. As the latest addition to its WD Caviar® Green™ family of SATA hard drives (photo), the new hard drives deliver up to a massive 3 terabytes (TB) of storage capacity on a single drive. WD is leading the industry in capacity for SATA hard drives by utilizing 750 GB-per-platter areal density and Advanced Format (AF) technology.

WD Caviar Green drives are an eco-friendly storage solution with WD GreenPower Technology™, which reduces power consumption by enabling lower operating temperatures for increased reliability and decreases acoustical noise for quiet operation. The WD Caviar Green 2.5 TB and 3 TB hard drives are designed for use as secondary external storage and next-generation PC storage in 64-bit-based systems.

Drives with capacities in excess of 2.19 TB currently present barriers for PC hardware, firmware and software. To satisfy the new set of requirements of which users must be aware to successfully integrate larger capacity drives, WD is bundling its WD Caviar Green 2.5 and 3 TB hard drives with an Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI)-compliant Host Bus Adapter (HBA), which will enable the operating system to use a known driver with correct support for large capacity drives. For more information on solving the 2.19 TB drive barrier, please see the WD information sheet at

"WD remains a leader of hard drive capacity and low power innovation. With our WD Caviar Green drives, we enable energy-conscious customers to build systems with the highest capacities that deliver the optimal balance of system performance, ensured reliability and energy conservation," said Jim Morris, executive vice president and general manager of WD's client systems storage group. "Customers will be able to take advantage of this breakthrough capacity point now for secondary external storage in legacy 32-bit systems that run on Microsoft® Vista® or Windows® 7 platforms."

Price and Availability

WD Caviar Green 2.5 TB hard drives (model number WD25EZRSDTL) and 3 TB hard drives (model number WD30EZRSDTL) are available now in the U.S. at select resellers and distributors. MSRP for the WD Caviar Green 2.5 TB hard drive is $189.00 USD and the 3 TB hard drive is $239.00 USD. WD Caviar Green hard drives are covered by a three-year limited warranty. More information about WD Caviar Green hard drives may be found on the company's website here!

The Most Popular Phone in the World

Nokia has problems. Smartphone problems. Software problems. American problems. But to fully understand what's wrong, we've got to understand what's been right, or to put in another way, what's distracted Nokia. Meet the most popular phone in the world.

It has been said that more of the world's population has access to a cellphone than to a sanitary toilet. But of the planet's estimated 5 billion cellphone users, a privileged minority have smartphones; a paltry few, iPhones.

If you spend hours thumbing through pages of apps, scoffing at less-than-perfect software upgrades and grousing about screen resolution and pixel density, it's easy to forget that the very concept of a mobile phone is a miracle. It's a device that shrinks your day to day world into a single point, making you simultaneously accessible to and able to access nearly everyone you know, instantly and everywhere.

The Instant Coffee Straw

The Open It! instant-coffee-in-a-straw kind of makes me hurt inside. But it is very clever!

Oct 18, 2010

BlackBerry Style 9670 Clamshell

Running on OS 6.0, the flipper has two screens—one 2.7-inch QVGA on the inside, and on the outside there's a 2-inch QVGA. New messages and caller info is displayed on the outer, with the inner being the screen you'd mostly use. Sadly RIM hasn't used the Torch's touchscreen tech on the Style, but considering this phone is going to be firmly aimed at the young'uns, I imagine that was a sensible pricing decision.

There's a 5MP camera with flash, GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and comes with an 8GB microSD card. On sale October 31st at Sprint, it'll cost $100 after a $100 mail-in rebate.

Happy 25th Birthday, Nintendo Entertainment System!

It's not just Super Mario Bros. turning 25 this year. Today, October 18, marks the 25th anniversary of the Nintendo Entertainment System going on sale in the United States.

While a widespread release of the console wouldn't take place until 1986 (the same year it was released in Europe), it was in late 1985 at the FAO Schwarz in Manhattan, New York (as part of an advance market test) that the first of millions of the machines would pass over the counter of an American retailer.

The first games available were, in hindsight, some of the strongest launch titles in console history, including classics like Excitebike, Ice Climber, Duck Hunt and Baseball. The first consoles, meanwhile, were built by nice ladies.

Interestingly, according to 1UP, Nintendo's advertising boss at the time Gail Tilden reckons that first console was sold not to an American consumer, but to a representative of a "Japanese competitor".

The venerable old machine lasted ten years on the US market, with Nintendo ceasing production of the NES in 1995. In that decade it gave birth to many of gaming's most cherished franchises and characters, from Super Mario Bros to The Legend of Zelda to Metroid.

Metal iPhone 4 Cover Protects Your iPhone 4 Without the Bulk of a Case

The iPhone 4's glass backing is remarkably fragile—even more so than the other iPhone models. If you'd like to keep it protected without making the phone bulky with a case, consider replacing the back with this metal back cover instead.

For a mere $12, you can save your iPhone from accidents by replacing the back cover with this nice, beveled metal one. It still wouldn't be too casual about dropping your iPhone, but if you're prone to accidents and don't like big cases, this is another great way to go.

Oct 17, 2010

Inexpensive Solar Power Comes to Lego Mindstorms NXT

For $90 Dexter Industries will sell you a solar panel that provides enough juice to power an NXT control brick and one servo. Surely, Lego Mindstorms Mars missions aren't far behind.

The 9V/250mA panel seems to sync up with your Mindstorms kit easily enough, and if you want expand beyond that the company also offers a bunch of NXT-compatible capacitor packs, battery packs and a connector that lets builders daisy chain up to three panels on a single build.

Holy Military Secrets, Batman! Google Maps Revealed The Air Force's Hidden Weapon!

Thanks to Google Maps and an eagle-eyed Reddit user, we now know that the United States Air Force is hiding very special weapon on a military base in Okinawa, Japan. Oh yes, they're working with him.

Now can someone figure out where the Bat-Signal is hidden?

The PS3 Can Be Used As A Bed For Your Pe

SCORE! Finally! I've found a use for my PS3 Fat. Gut out its insides and turn it into a pseudo cage/pet bed for a ferret. Sounds like a plan. Now I'll need to get a ferret.

This gadget turned pet bed isn't as cute as the CRT Monitor Dog Bed but that's probably cause ferrets are rather ugly. I wonder if PETA or Sony approves of this.

Oct 16, 2010

The Newer, Smaller MacBook Air: The Storage Is the Secret?

An intriguing detail from AppleInsider about the new, 11.6-inch MacBook Air that's expectedto be revealed next week: It's not going to use a hard drive or an SSD for storage. It's going to use something else.

Instead, says AppleInsider's sources, it'll use "something described as an 'SSD Card'" for storage that's more like a stick of RAM than a traditional hard drive, a proprietary SSD alternative designed by Apple. It's almost like an SSD that's shed the bulk of a hard drive enclosure (since SSDs are basically just bundles of memory chips inside of a hard drive casing), but integrated, so it'll take up less room in the notebook.

It makes a lot sense, actually, to dump a hard drive enclosure's weight and bulk, particularly in a machine that's supposedly only 11.6 inches (and presumably even lighter than the original Air). It's a lot like when Apple ditched replaceable batteries in the MacBook Pros. Using only flash storage would also mean that the Air would be instant on, and more like an iPad in that regard.

Old Spice Guy Betrays Old Spice to Sell Windows Phone 7 in Australia?

Meme treachery! Viral video legend Isiah Mustafa appears in a new video, where he not-so-subtly alludes to the Windows Phone 7 launch, and an apparent ad campaign starring himself. I always thought advertising was a loyal business—how disillusioning.

While we will always be big fans of our pal Isiah for so kindly answering our tech query back in the Old Spice glory days, we wonder whether he'll be able to recapture the magic of his previous, heavily scented tenure. Is Windows Phone 7 sexy enough? Can he capture our hearts, and our libidos, with a tile-based interface? We have a feeling he'll find a way—and it will probably involve him ripping his shirt off a lot, and an ice cream cone filled with rubies or something.

Next Android Release To Be Named Ice Cream?

According to what ARM President Tudor Brown has been telling Forbes writer Elizabeth Woyke, the Android release following Honeycomb will be dubbedIce Cream. There's no confirmation from Google just yet, but the name would fit the pattern well enough.

But for fun, let's guess what other dessert names starting with the letter I Google might choose. Italian Cheesecake? Irish Cream Truffles?

Oct 15, 2010

Expensive, Yet Fast Describes Iomega's USB 3.0 SSD Flash Drives

USB 3.0 is fast. Faster than standard 7200 RPM disks can handle. So how do you make external storage faster to better fill up the transfer pipe? By putting an SSD inside.

As expected, these USB 3.0 SSDs are both costly and small, compared to your normal USB 3.0 disks. You're getting a 1.8-inch drive in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB sizes for $230, $400 and $850, respectively. Normal folks that only need external backup of their photos and music for traveling on the road will want to stick with non-SSD type drives, but pros and people who need fast drives to supplement their laptops will find these useful. And at 1.8 inches, they're about phone-sized and can fit nicely into pockets.

All three drives will be released in early November. Iomega tells me that these SSDs are about twice as fast as 7200RPM USB 3.0 drives, and 10 times as fast as USB 2.0 drives.

Korean Pizza Hut Commercial

If the video is not available in your country just search on YoutubeKorean Pizza Hut Commercial.

Put Your Camera on Canon's Prototype Dock and Watch it Magically Charge and Share

Well, it's inductive charging, not magic. But Canon's Cross Media dock looks like a particularly sweet implementation, letting you not only juice up to three cameras or camcorders sans wires, but suck down and share your pics and vids too.

As soon as your camera is placed on the prototype's surface—and don't expect it to be anything more than a prototype for at least a couple years—the box will pull over your content and send it to your TV via HDMI, where you can browse at your leisure. Sure beats having to mess with memory cards, no? Now just give us a universal version of this that works with any camera brand (and phones!).

Oct 14, 2010

Skype 5 Integrates Facebook Phonebooks, Makes Group Video Semi-Official

Windows: Skype is out with an official version 5, making the group video chat seen in previous sign-up betas an official option, and linking up with your Facebook account for status updating and quick calls to friends' Skype or landline numbers.

So this release, beyond the usual bug and performance fixes, mainly makes official the group video chat we found a bit wonky in a real-world test—although Skype still labels the group video function as "beta." The Facebook integration, at least from the contacts-with-Skype perspective, is pretty convenient. Now you just have to bug your friends to list their Skype names on Facebook.

New also to this version is an automatic call recovery feature, which you can set to automatically re-dial and reconnect calls whenever they drop out. It won't be a great idea for every situation, but very handy in the right circumstance.

Skype 5 is a free download for Windows users only. Presumably, Skype will push out the group video features to other clients, as it's a Windows-only feature at the moment.

This Bridge Looks Like It Can Fly to Space

The Paik Nam June Media Bridge project—in Seoul, Korea—is more than a kilometer long (0.67 miles). It has museums, libraries, and shopping malls, but what it really needs are anti-gravity engines so it could fly to orbit.

Those ramps are not engines of any kind, however. They just lead to gardens by the river and ship docks:
Each of the bridge's floors has horizontal gardens. The building uses solar panels for energy, as well as water from the river for climate regulation.

Japanese Scientists Teach World's Creepiest Robot to Sing

Meet HRP-4C, a singing "divabot" who mimics human singers' facial expressions and breath patterns. What a beautiful song she's singing! Can't wait to hear it again, in the nightmares we will have about her and her creepy corpse eyes.

Oct 13, 2010

Hoodies with Headphones Built Into the Strings

HoodieBuddies are a blend of fashion and technology that will save space in your pockets and prevent you from the dreaded tangled headphone cord situation. This normal looking hooded sweatshirts actually have headphone earbuds built right into the strings. The other end of the cord goes through the pocket, so you’d plug your iPod in via the pocket.

 Now you won’t have to carry around a pair of headphones to listen to music on the go. Sure you may seem a bit odd to look at dancing down the street with sweatshirt strings in your ears but people are probably looking at you funny anyway, you freak. They’re available soon for around $45.

Apple "Back to the Mac" Event Oct. 20: New OS X and MacBook Air?

Is that a Lion lurking in Apple's invite for a "Back to the Mac" event on October 20? It looks like a brand new version OS X. I hope they call it Simba. But what else?

The surprise could be a revamped MacBook Air. At least, that's what Daring Fireball thinks:

A "sneak preview of the next major version of Mac OS X", and, I'm just guessing here, the brand-new way-cooler MacBook Air.

The other update that is long overdue is iLife. However, it seems unlikely that they will introduce a new Mac OS X (which will take at least one hour to present), a new "way-cooler" computer, and iLife. We'll find out a week from today.

Grown Man Drives Girlfriend Off the Road For Taking His PlayStation Away

Darren Suchon even at 42 years old, he doesn't understand that it's wrong to drive your live-in girlfriend off the road just because she took your PlayStation away. Especially when you're using her Porsche to do it.

Suchon is, as one might guess, unemployed, and apparently spends most of his day playing video games. Understandably frustrated with the situation, Colleen Frable took Suchon's console with her to work last Friday. Which in turn prompted Suchon to follow Frable from their home to somewhere up Route 248, where he forced her car off the road and rear-ended her. Classy guy. And it gets better!

When he was initially confronted by the police after the chase, Suchon's response was that he "didn't know what the big deal was." According to reports:

He told police, "I just wanted the game, I would never hurt her. I just wanted the game."

He'll probably have to do a little better than that when his court date comes up; Suchon's been charged with simple assault, reckless endangerment, harassment, disorderly conduct, reckless driving and driving with a suspended or revoked license. So assuming he doesn't come up with the $25,000 in bail money any time soon, he's likely bleeped his last bloop for quite some time. No word on what PlayStation it was, but if it was a PSP they should seriously consider life without parole.

Oct 12, 2010

Virgin Atlantic Fantasy Flying vs Reality

Virgin Atlantic has a new ad out! And it makes flying look like something between attending the VMAs and a scene from 300. But let's keep it really real here, Virgin—you're cool, but flying is not like this.

The full ad—which, to its credit, is well done, as far as travel porn goes—can be viewed in its entirety below. Slow motion! Sultry flight attendants! Gourmet shrimp—in slow motion! It accomplishes something between making me want to run out and buy a ticket to anywhere right now, and making me feel a lot less cool about myself.

Mario's Creator is Embarrassed by How Super Mario Bros. Looks In HD

I'm sure you'll agree that half the charm of playing Super Mario Bros, nowadays is that it's so completely different to realistic games like Fallout 3. To its creator, Shigeru Miyamoto however, it's just plain ol' embarrassing.

Even though the Wii doesn't output at full-HD, Miyamoto feels that the resolution of the original Mario game doesn't quite hold up to today's standards. He told Earthbound's designer Shigesato Itoi that "When I see this [Super Mario Bros.] so clearly, it's a little embarrassing back then, with tube televisions, it was a little blurrier and the images weren't quite so sharp. The places where we tried to fudge it a bit really stand out!"

Doesn't his concern just make you love him even more? If Super Mario Bros. was made today, he would smooth out some of the mistakes kept in the game, he said, though he does admit that "those rough places are a part of the game and even well-received." Damn right they are, Shigsy!

Will It Blend? - Old Spice

Oct 11, 2010

Are Google's Driverless Cars Legal?

Google's project to design driverless vehicles raised several questions about the future of driving. But it also raised a more topical question: Are Google's heavily-modified driverless vehicle prototypes even legal? We found out.

Researchers have been working on driverless vehicles since the late 1970s; European governments spent nearly $1 billion in the 1980s and '90s on automated vehicles, including a Mercedes sedan that passed other vehicles on the German autobahn in 1995 at speeds of 110 mph without human input.

In revealing its project Sunday, Google said it had racked up nearly 140,000 miles in its vehicles on public roads, including the Pacific Coast Highway and famous spots such as San Francisco's twisty Lombard Street. The computing giant says it alerted local law enforcement officials whenever testing took place.

According to California officials, there are no laws that would bar Google from testing such models, as long as there's a human behind the wheel who would be responsible should something go wrong. Google says its test vehicles always have at least three passengers: a driver behind the wheel and two technicians to monitor the software and systems.

Google's software "would be just a big step up from cruise control," said Mike Marando, a spokesman for the California Department of Motor Vehicles. "If the vehicle goes too fast, or strays across the line, the human would be responsible for operating the car legally."

And sadly, modern vehicles have been replacing drivers with technology for years. Adaptive cruise control is standard on many luxury models; Ford and Lexus vehicles can parallel park on their own with only brake inputs from the driver, and more advanced systems engage braking controls automatically if they sense a crash is imminent.

For now, there's no legal limits keeping Google or other researchers from developing their cars on public roads as long as there's a human behind the wheel. Going beyond that will make the legal questions as challenging as the technical ones.

Dell Venue Pro Hands On: A Solid First WP7 Slider

Dell's WP7 phone may have gotten a name downgrade—Dell Venue Pro just doesn't have quite the cachet of Lightning—but after some hands on time, the slider at least looks and feels every bit as promising as we'd hoped.

The Venue Pro has a bit more heft than some of the other WP7 devices launching today, but it's not overly bulky. It just feels solid, durable. Likewise the portrait slider keyboard: good spacing on keys, a sliding mechanism that seemed capable of enduring an extended SMS barrage. The 4.1-inch multitouch AMOLED screen is bright, crisp, and responsive. I can't wait to see how pics from the 5MP camera look on it. One quibble: the phone's already so long that the added hight from sliding out the keyboard vertically makes it look and feel a little gawky and off-balance. But it otherwise seems, so far, like a warhorse.

It's a promising start for Microsoft, and a pretty clear indicator that their strict guidelines for hardware partners is paying off. It's also a fresh start for Dell, who between the Venue Pro and the rumored Thunder Android phone are going to quickly make Aero a distant memory.

LG Slips Early With Optimus 7 Windows Phone 7 Handset

Admittedly it's not like we didn't know LG was going to announce the Optimus 7, consideringthey've already shown it off several times themselves. However, their blog went live with the details today, showing off the panorama photo-shooting phone.

The screen is a 3.8-inch WVGA display, with the overall phone measuring 125 x 59.8 x 11.5mm. Inside, there's 16GB of storage, along with the usual Bluetooth 2.1, accelerometer, proximity sensor, GPS, digital compass and light sensor.

Clamped onto the back is a 5MP camera which can shoot video at 720p resolution, but also snap 360-degree panorama photos. That'll be a nice trick to furnish your Flickr accounts with.

While it's running Windows Phone 7, LG (like many other manufacturers, we're sure) has added some of their own apps to the tiled interface. We already knew of the DLNA streaming, but there's also voice-to-text for Facebook, Twitter and email; not to mention Scansearch which is their own take on the whole "take a picture of a barcode, see if you can find it cheaper elsewhere" shebang which we've used several times on other devices, only to grow bored and revert back to Amazon.