Aug 31, 2011

Facebook to Launch Music Service on September 22

CNBC is now confidently reporting that Facebook is set to launch a music service of some sort on September 22nd, which conveniently lines up with the company's F8 developer conference. Could that service also include a dash of Spotify? Maybe some Vibes?

The Sony Reader Wi-Fi

The Sony Reader isn't all that much presence in the States, where the market is largely dominated by Amazon, and, to a lesser extent, Barnes & Noble. The Sony Reader Wi-Fi does go a ways toward keeping up with the competition, offering up WiFi, an touchscreen, and the Pearl E-Ink display seen on past versions. 

The hardware is nice, though it doesn't feel quite as natural in the hand as the Nook or Kobo. The software also zips along quite nicely, and pinch to zoom functionality is certainly a welcome addition in the e-reader market. Unlike many other Sony Readers, the thing also does well for itself pricewise, at $149.

Samsung Launches YP-R2, YP-Z3, MP3 HD Compatible PMPs

Samsung has had its sights set on a PMP with MP3 HD support for some time now -- first announcing (and later killing) the IceTouch in 2010, and now launching the YP-R2 and YP-Z3 in markets including Russia and Korea. Claiming that the lossy/lossless HD MP3 sound is five times better than the standard variety, the company will put it to the test with access to Melon, Korea's largest 2.2 million song music store.

So far, Samsung has only confirmed the R2 has a 3-inch WQVGA full touch display, is .3-inches thick and weighs around 52 grams, while the Z3, on the other hand has a 1.8-inch display and measures in at 36 grams. The music players also support photo and text viewing, FM radio and 5.1-channel surround sound. 

The R2 comes in black and silver and costs 149,000 KRW ($140) for 4GB, and 169,000 KRW ($160) for 8GB. The Z3 comes in white, pink and blue and costs 89,000 KRW ($83) for 4GB, and 119,000 KRW for 8GB ($110).

Aug 30, 2011

Razer BlackWidow Stealth Keyboards Keep the Mechanical Keys, Ditch the Noise

You know what's great? Mechanical keyboards -- what with their satisfying clicks. You know what's less awesome? Having to listen to that obnoxious racket all day. Razer claims you can have your cake (in this case, tactile feedback) and eat it too (blessed silence!) with its BlackWidow Stealth Editions.

These are, more or less, the same boards that debuted last August, but with quieter switches and a matte finish. Both models are available now, with the same programmable keys and on-the-fly macro recording, while the Ultimate version adds "extreme anti-ghosting" to its already impressive noise pwnage. The standard model will run you a cool $80, while the Ultimate weighs in at a hefty $140.

Sony MDR-DS7500 Headphones Promise 3D Sound

Are you settling for non-3D sound to go with all of your 3D movies? You should be ashamed of yourself. Thankfully, Sony's looking out for you. The company's new MDR-DS7500 headphones promise 3D surround sound, thanks in part to the inclusion of Dolby Pro Logic IIz technology. 

The headphones have a number of different sound settings, serving different audio needs, including Cinema Mode, Game Mode, and Voice Mode. Also, that extra padding assures that they'll play nicely with your 3D glasses. The headphones will be hitting Japan on October 10th, running ¥49,350 ($643) for the full package and ¥24,675 ($321) for additional headphones. Extra dimensions don't come cheap, after all.

Windows 8 Explorer Tweaks Adds ribbon User Interface

Lots of things are getting tweaked, if not completely overhauled, for Windows 8. That includes the ever-present Windows Explorer. Just like many other Microsoft apps, the file manager will be adopting the slightly more finger-friendly ribbon interface.

But don't freak out about your precious screen real estate, the next version of Explorer will actually display more files than Windows 7 could by moving the details pane to the right-hand side and tweaking the padding. The up button has also returned and a slew of new keyboard shortcuts are being introduced.

Aug 29, 2011

Another Purported Chunk of the iPhone 5 or Is It the iPhone 4S?

Someone could cobble together a solid DIY iPhone 5 kit with all the purported next-gen parts leaked. The latest? A front panel part labeled N94, like previous supposed prototype parts. It looks just like the iPhone 4.

Which keeps the question alive: Is this for the true iPhone 5—which'll bear striking resemblance to the iPhone 4, at least from the front—or the expected cheap-o iPhone 4?

GScreen's Spacebook Begins Shipping this November, Doubles Your Laptop Editing Fun

Twins, like cupcakes, are universally regarded as a good thing. So, it stands to reason that GScreen's attempt to double your laptop's screen size would be an equally appealing idea. Turns out, duping a display took the Alaska-based company a wee bit longer to fully flesh out, but the time has finally arrived for its debut. Shipping this November, the aptly-named Spacebook will bring a capacious, portable desktop solution to on-the-go creative professionals.

The girthy, 10-pound rig won't be winning any style points from the svelte is better crowd, but that's easy to overlook given its dual 17-inch 1920 x 1080 screens, choice of a Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 8GB DDR3 RAM, 500GB of storage, NVIDIA's GeForce GTS 250 (1GB) and DVD burner -- all encased in a magnesium alloy frame. You can grab the entry level model for $1899, but the higher-end, two-headed beast will cost you $2099. Get it here.

The 9/11 Memorial App

The ten-year anniversary of the World Trade Center bombing is approaching fast and writer-director Steve Rosenbaum is preparing his 9/11 Memorial app to commemorate this occasion.

Rosenbaum made a semi-controversial decision to develop the 9/11 Memorial: Past, Present and Future app for the iPad only. Rosenbaum believes the iPad "was simply the best device on which to display it." Apple may have appreciated this exclusivity as Rosenbaum's app made it through the App Store approval process in a record 36 hours.

The 9/11 Memorial app will be free from September 1st to the 12th and will jump up to $9.95 when this promotion is over. It has hundreds of photographs and hours of video that details the event itself and the creation of Michael Arad's World Trade Center Memorial and 9/11 museum.

Aug 28, 2011

Galaxy S II LTE and Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE Announced

Well, if you thought Samsung was done tweaking the Galaxy S II, you were very mistaken. The Korean company is getting ready to unveil the Galaxy S II LTE at IFA in Berlin this week, alongside an LTE version of its still elusive Galaxy Tab 8.9 -- and we'll be there to get some hands on time. Both devices are sporting an updated dual-core processor running at 1.5GHz, while the S II is also getting a size bump and moving up to a 4.5-inch screen. The Tab remains otherwise unchanged, rocking the same 1200 x 800 screen and super-svelte (8.6mm thick) design.

Diamond Planet Catches Astronomers' Eyes

If you thought Kim Kardashian's engagement ring was a ridiculous rock, you haven't seen the ludicrously large diamond planet, J1719-1438. Scientists at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne recently spotted this celestial body that's so dense, it's believed to be crystalline carbon -- i.e. a ginormous diamond similar in size to Jupiter. Since the 60s, astrophysicists like Marc Kuchner have theorized that carbon-heavy stars can burn out, crystallize and form diamonds under the right pressure.

Supporting the idea, a white dwarf star spotted in 1992, BPM 37093, had cooled and crystallized over the course of 12 years -- even copping the nickname "Lucy" after the Beatles jam. Although astronomers in Australia, Britain and Hawaii have all identified the newly spotted precious planet J1719-1438, they are still unsure if the crystallized carbon rock will be all sparkly mountains up close -- dashing the hopes and dreams of material girls everywhere.

Aug 27, 2011

The Largest Camera Sensor In the World

At 8 x 10 inches, the Maxback is the biggest camera sensor in the world. It was commissioned by professional photographer Mitchell Feinberg and it costed as much as "a good size house." Why spend so much money? He explains:
The development and production of two backs (I wanted to have a spare) was equal to the cost of a good size house – before the housing crash. I know it sounds insane, but the financials on it are not so bad: I used to shoot on average 7.5 Polaroids per photo, and I shoot between 400 to 500 images a year. That's at least 3000 Polaroids. At 15 bucks a pop. Or about 50K per year, minimum. Polaroid was at one point my highest single cost. I am depreciating the back, charging clients for its use, and I was eligible for the technology investment credit. I also took out a loan based on the projected income from the back, so I did not have a huge hit on my bank account.
It is certainly not a fantastic rate of return, but the back is designed to last a very long time, so it should generate a strong profit over the long term (And that is not including the all-important photo-related issue that my clients love receiving 8×10 film).
If you are wondering how big this thing really is, compare it to the largest digital camera back in the market today, which is only 1.77 x 2.36 inches. The difference is absolutely ridiculous. Feinberg says that now he has the quality of film with the immediacy of digital film—at these sizes, the immediacy of digital film is 30 seconds to take a photo!

LG and GM Team up to Build Next Generation of Electric Cars

Abbreviation loving multinationals Lucky Goldstar and General Motors have entered into an "Electric Vehicle Cooperation" agreement to build the next generation of EVs. The partnership follows a successful dating phase where LG supplied the batteries for the Chevy Volt. 

Now, teams from both companies will collaborate on key components, vehicle structures and architectures -- it's a more substantial proposition than just battery sharing. The plan is to meet the new US fuel economy targets by 2025, so the design phase for the new autos will kick off soon. Let's hope this new venture bears some fruit that's faster than a flying banana.

Apple Stops Renting TV Shows in iTunes, Could be Working on a New Kind of Video Service

Apple has pulled the plug on TV episode rentals via iTunes, abruptly leaving customers with only the option of purchasing per episode -- good thing you can watch those on your Apple TV streamed from the cloud -- or a Season Pass where available. 

This was in response to customers that "overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows." Making the timing of the move particularly curious are once-again renewed rumors of an Apple HDTV and a WSJprofile of new CEO Tim Cook that indicates the company is "working on new technology to deliver video to televisions, and has been discussing whether to try to launch a subscription TV service."

Like Google, any move depends on its success in negotiating a new delivery model from the networks, who so far have been averse to anything that threatens their existing relationship with pay-TV providers.

Aug 26, 2011

Google+ Just Got a Little More Antisocial

Google+, the antisocial social network, just got another tool to keep annoying people and their vapid crap out of your virtual life. You can now Ignore people who you have in your circles instead of blocking or unfollowing them.

Ignoring someone isn't a total friendship embargo—they can still comment on your posts and tag you in stuff—but it's a good way to deal with friends you added in the nascent days of the network and don't quite have the heart to banish completely.

Next Generation iPhone Parts Uncovered?

The new iPhone release is near! REPENT and prepare your DOLLARS! And, in the meantime, take a look at the inevitable leaked photos of parts already arriving to the Chinese part resellers.

Some of them are labeled N94, suggesting an evolution from the original iPhone 4 (N90) and Verizon's iPhone 4 (N92). Would this be the fabled cheap iPhone 4 that would complement an all-new, all-amazing, all-magical iPhone 5 with built-in lasers, teleporting unit and burger synthesizer? Perhaps. Would Apple release an iPhone 4s and get done with it? Maybe.

What you can be sure of is that these parts, from the batteries to the backs to the new antennas, are real.

Why Is This Guy Holding His Giant Ear? Oh Because It’s a Giant Ear iPhone Case

If you ever wanted to start a conversation with an iPhone case, here's a sure-fire way: buy this giant ear case for the iPhone 4. It'll look like you have elephantiasis on your ear.

I can appreciate a cleverly hilarious idea and I don't see anything more OMG CLEVER than rolling down the street, smoking endo, talking on my earphone case (or sipping gin and juice, whatever). It's a case for everybody!

For normal people: a conversation starter. For the hipsters: irony. For the suits: a sense of humor. For the old people: humor. For the jocks: a giant ear to match their giant hands. For the nerds: because it's geektastic. For the freaks: it's a giant ear, what's more freaky than that.

Aug 25, 2011

Facebook Sets Sights on Instagram Users With Photo Filter Integration

What now Instagram? You wouldn't sell to Facebook and now ol' Zucks is moving on without you. That's right, friends... the social network genius himself is scheming alongside his engineers to integrate photo filters within the company's mobile application. 

The CEO hopes to lure users away from the popular photography app and keep them tethered to his site via mobile handset. Apparently the tech has been ready for a bit, but the boss wants his team to add more editing options before the feature is released into the wild.

LG Unveils A530 3D Gaming Laptop

LG is taking its Cinema 3D Gaming Festival on the road and delivering demos of it three-dimensionalprowess to 20 different countries. To celebrate, the Korean company is unleashing a brand new laptop for those with itchy virtual trigger fingers. The LG A530 sports a 15-inch 3D, HD display with up to a 1920 x 1080 resolution, your choice of Core i3, i5, or i7 processors, an NVIDIA GeForce GT 555 GPU, up to 8GB of RAM and either an HD webcam or dual cameras for capturing 3D video. 

There's also one of those fancy hybrid hard drives with 4GB of solid state storage packed in to help bolster the performance of its 750GB worth of platters. The company was strangely mum on price, but the new notebook is expected to land in Europe, the Middle East and Africa this month -- American consumers will just have to wait.

Combat Cavities By Re-Growing Your Decaying Teeth

A team of researchers at the University of Leeds' School of Chemistry is developing a pain-free method to combat cavities.

The technique uses a fluid called P 11-4 that has a fiber-like peptide. When the fluid is applied to a damaged tooth, it fills the tooth's cavities and forms a gel matrix that attracts calcium.

Slowly, this matrix will rebuild the damaged part of the tooth. Best of all, there's no Novocaine, no drilling and no maniacal dentists involved.

Aug 24, 2011

Why Steve Jobs Chose the Perfect Time to Resign

The only thing surprising about Steve Jobs's resignation—which Apple had telegraphedseveral times already—was the timing. Why now? Because of health concerns, maybe. Or maybe because now, right now, is the perfect time for the company to transition.

Apple has literally never been stronger. A month ago they reported record quarterly earnings in a period with no significant product releases, no back to school or holiday boost, all amid what turned out to be a grotesquely challenging three months for competitors like Dell and HP. They were, for a brief period, the most valuable company in the world. Incredible.

And a month from now? They'll be releasing their next iPhone on America's three major carriers. And very possibly something altogether new: an affordable iPhone, a handset for the masses. If that device does emerge, Apple will have transitioned from yuppie luxury to unprecedented populist value.

So that's where Apple sits now, cratered between two mountainous achievements. If they'd waited any longer, the iPhone 5 announcement would've been fully shrouded in memories of Jobs; with a month's distance, new CEO Tim Cook has a chance to stand on his own. He can bask in the reflected glory of the iPhone instead of languishing in Jobs's shadow. The company will feel like it's in good hands. Because it is.

What's easy to forget is that companies have long, long product cycles. The iPhone 5's been done for months; ditto, likely, iPad 3. And iPhone 6 plans are well underway. They'll all have a touch of Jobs in them. Even products with a longer horizon, future generations of MacBooks with sick-skinny bodies and flash storage and no optical disc, AppleTVs teeming with apps, will have Jobs's imprimatur. Especially since, uh, guys? He's staying on as Chairman of the Board. He's involved.

So yes, there is a chance that Steve Jobs is resigning now because his medical situation has become so severe that he has no other choice. Because this feels calculated, in the best possible way, to happen at the best possible time. Now.

Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple

A major development out of Cupertino: Apple CEO Steve Jobs has stepped down, the board naming Tim Cook as his replacement. The company said "Steve's extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world's most innovative and valuable technology company."

Steve himself published the following letter:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Apple has confirmed that Jobs will stay on as Chairman.

What a Black Hole Devouring a Star Looks Like

Back in late March, NASA's Swift satellite detected a strange and unusual energy explosion in the constellation Draco. NASA now knows what it was: "the awakening of a distant galaxy's dormant black hole as it shredded and consumed a star."

This simulation shows how it works:

As a star falls toward a black hole, it is ripped apart by intense tides. The gas is corralled into a disk that swirls around the black hole and becomes rapidly heated to temperatures of millions of degrees.
The innermost gas in the disk spirals toward the black hole, where rapid motion and magnetism creates dual, oppositely directed "funnels" through which some particles may escape. Particle jets driving matter at velocities greater than 80-90 percent the speed of light form along the black hole's spin axis. In the case of Swift J1644+57, one of these jets happened to point straight at Earth.
According to the researchers, the black hole may be "twice the mass of the four-million-solar-mass black hole lurking at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy".

Yesterday’s Earthquake Caused More Twitter Traffic than Bin Laden’s Death

What happens when you mix a relatively mild seismic event with an extremely dense population of the tech-savvy and self-centered east coast? Twitter-splosion! Yesterday's quake let loose 5,500 tweets per second, beating Dead Osama and tying Fukushima's 9.0. Priorities!

Between the marble and brick federal egocentrism of DC and the media self-fellation of New York, it's no wonder there were 40,000 tweets regarding the 5.8 tremor within one minute of it happening—and that they reached us in New York before the ground started to shake. People love talking about themselves, especially when they are shaking because of an earthquake.

But still—the fact that yesterday trumped the surprise killing of the most wanted, most heinous terrorist in the history of the world and a unfathomably powerful earthquake that triggered an ongoing nuclear disaster says something about Twitter. It's at its most popular when it gives us a mirror to look into. And next to that mirror is a megaphone to scream at everyone about it. And nothing makes for a good ego screamin' like a non-dangerous earthquake.

LG Announces LSM-100 Scanner Mouse, Saves Valuable Desk Space

Simply by holding the Smart Scan button, you'll be able to save or drag and drop scanned images as large as A3 paper size in a variety of formats -- PNG, JPEG, TIFF, and PDF, just to name a few -- by swiping the mouse over it.

If that wasn't enough to entice you, the peripheral also features Optical Character Recognition that converts text from said images into an editable Word document. Perhaps lost in all this is the fully functioning mouse bit which you'll probably need as well. This bad boy is already available the UK for £89.98 (around $148), get it here.

Aug 23, 2011

A Whole New Way to Floss

Dentists and moms alike might agree you're supposed to floss after every meal, but there isn't a patient or descendant in the world who has ever enjoyed flossing. More often than not, it's painful and uncomfortable, despite how important it is for your gums. Luckily, the new doesn't use a single piece of terrifying string, but is just as effective and way more comfortable.

By forcing a burst of both air and water directly between teeth, plaque, film and other disgusting things that just don't belong there are blown away without any of floss' painful tug and pull. The microburst technology is designed specifically to act like a miniature power washer and strip away all the grime while still leaving your enamel intact. AirFloss' reservoir can even accommodate mouthwash so the microburst is even more powerful.

An on-board Lithium ion battery means it's easy to charge and use, while the angled nozzle guarantees clean gums in every part of your mouth in less than 60 seconds.

Cheap 8 GB iPhone 4 Arriving "Within Weeks"

The mythological "cheap iPhone" is coming, according to equally mythological "people with knowledge of the matter," reports Reuters. And it's coming soon, they say: a less expensive 8 GB version within weeks.Run, rumor, run!

Does an 8 GB version make sense? Sure—Apple already sells a budget 8 GB 3GS for a mere $50, so when the new hotness arrives, they'll probably want to phase out that old bag and replace it with a new econo-phone. And an 8 GB iPhone 4 would sit nicely beside a shiny, expensive new iPhone 5. But we'll wait and see! Only those "with knowledge of the matter" know for sure.

Why Time Passing Can Seem Like Torture

Why some moments can sometimes painfully drag on is still a mystery to brain scientists. But a recent study found some neurons seem to develop expectations that can make time pass more slowly.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, scientists identified channels of neurons that adapt to perceive certain lengths of time. The researchers exposed study subjects to a series of beeps and flashes of the same duration. When they increased the duration just slightly, the subjects perceived that the signals were way longer than they actually were.

When the beeps and flashes were significantly longer, the subjects were better at predicting the duration.

The study seems to reinforce the idea that expectations often lead to disappointment and frustration. It does not, however, explain why an hour-long massage always seems too short.

Along those lines, a researcher named David Eagleman looks at how to slow time down when it feels like the days are flying by too fast. One suggestion: keep new experiences in your life. Familiar information is easy for our brains to process, and the harder we make our brains work the slower time seems to pass.

Aug 22, 2011

What’s More Fun Than the Fail Whale? This Dinky Whale Speaker

How cute is this little-widdle whale speaker? It wraps around iPhones, and plugs right into the audio jack with its trusty 3.5mm jack. Unfortunately he's native to the Korean waters, but hopefully he'll swim over to the US where he'll sell for around $30. Get it here.

iOS 5 Turns Japanese iPhones Into Earthquake Alarms

Following the devastation wrought by the recent Japanese earthquake, Apple has hooked the country's early warning system into iOS 5. The tectonically-volatile nation has the most sophisticated alarm in the world, delivering life-saving warnings seconds or minutes before disaster strikes.

 iOS users already had access to this functionality via apps like Yurekuru, but iOS 5 will bring it directly into the operating system. The service can be activated in the Notification Center settings pane, accompanied by a warning that the constant connection will deplete your battery faster -- a fair exchange if it saves your life.

Sony Ericsson Unveils Live with Walkman Handset for Music-loving Android Users

Four months after unveiling the relatively bare bones W8, Sony Ericsson has now taken the wraps off yet another Walkman phone, known as the Live with Walkman. Powered by a 1GHz processor, this Android handset features a 3.2 inch, capacitive touchscreen, a five megapixel AF shooter with 8x digital zoom, and a front-facing VGA camera capable of capturing HD video in 720p. 

The petite, Gingerbread-equipped device also packs a lackluster 320MB of RAM, provides up to 32GB of microSD storage, and offers either tri-band 3G support (HSPA+) at 850, 1900 and 2100MHZ, or dual-band 3G at 900 and 2100MHz, depending on the model. And, as you'd expect, Sony Ericsson has placed a special emphasis on the music phone's media capabilities, beefing it up with enhanced audio and Qriocity integration.

Aug 21, 2011

RIM to Unleash Redesigned BlackBerry App World 3.0 on August 22nd

Hot on the heels of releasing its new device arsenal, RIM is prepping to roll out a brand spanking new BlackBerry App World. Scheduled to launch Monday, version 3.0 features a retooled interface for quick perusal of apps, games and themes -- if the beta release is any indication. Another added feature is the My World storage folder that keeps all of your downloads on the home screen and lets you wirelessly reinstall them should you accidentally delete one or upgrade devices.

 Sure, there are rumblings that the BB music service will be a part of this release, but as Reuters reported, that announcement isn't expected until early September. Although, this update would complete the new smartphone trifecta rather nicely: new device, new OS and new app store. Well done, RIM, now if you could just get your advertising in order, you'll be all set.

Google+’s New "Verified Profiles" Feature: Redundant?

Looks like Google+ is following Twitter's lead on the whole "Verified Account" thing, letting you know for sure if you have the real Kim Kardashian in your circle or not. But, considering their stringent "real names" policy, what's the point?

The new feature gives the network's big names a "verified user" badge next to their name. CNN wrote last month that celebs might have to send a copy of their driver's license to get the new badges. First, it doesn't look like Robin Wauters at TechCrunch did anything of the sort to get his new cred. Second, do you really think Mark Zuckerberg or Bono is sending a copy of his ID to Google? Now, it could also be PR folks and consultants working with Google to get the perks, which is probably more likely.

But the reasoning? My only guess is that this is a grab for popularity on Google's part. A larger, more obvious celebrity presence would bring more people in. And those same celebs could make Google+ seem less like a wasteland to new users. If that's the case, then it's shrewd on Google's part. Shallow, but shrewd.

Hitler Reacts to WebOS’ Death

BlackBerry Music to Serve up 50 Songs for $5 a Month?

Well, it looks like BlackBerry's banking on another BBM to pull it out of the enterprise-only lurch, and this one should be like music to your ears. Earlier this week, RIM was readying a new music service, and now the tentatively titled BlackBerry Music. The publication says $5 a month will give users access to 50 songs that they can share with their BlackBerry-toting friends (also signed up for the service). 

What's more, it could be officially pumping the jams to the UK, US, and Canada as soon this fall, with other territories to follow in 2012. Rumor also has it that users won't be able to port the music to other devices, unless they happen to have a PlayBookhandy.

Aug 20, 2011

Mobiado's Grand Touch Phones Ditch the Nexus S Plastic for a Precious Metal Finish

Nothing quite screams money to burn like last year's tech gilded in pricey, CNC-machined metals. Purveyor of mobile extravagance, Mobiado, has recently rolled out the red carpet for two new additions to its Grand Line -- the Grand Touch and Grand Touch GCB. These high-end exercises in wireless hauteur are merely gussied up versions of Samsung's Nexus S, sporting the same ol' 1GHz Hummingbird processor, 16GB of storage, 512MB RAM, 4-inch Super LCD display and front-facing VGA / 5 megapixel rear camera. 

Available in either anodized aluminum or solid brass with gold plating (take a guess which is costlier), the sapphire crystal-backed duo comes unlocked with quad-band GSM, and tri-band UMTS / HSDPA radios, so you can stay connected aboard that yacht in St. Tropez. Get is here.

You Can Rent Movies on Facebook Now

Man, things just are not looking good for Netflix: Universal is experimenting with movie rentals on Facebook. First foray? The Big Lebowski, which you can rent for 30 Facebook credits—that's $3—right now from the film's fan page.

Aug 19, 2011

Glucose-Measuring Implant Glows Like a Christmas Tree When Sugar Levels Increase

Instead of putting up with a mild pin-prick whenever your blood sugar levels need testing, Japanese scientists have invented a little implant that glows when the levels change. No pain, and a free glowstick for raves—high five, science!

The Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo found that a fluorescent fiber sensor with a diameter of just 1mm can be inserted under the skin of a patient via injection, and then removed with tweezers. As you can see from the image, it's a tiny thing, with the glowing quality of the implant highly visible through the skin when glucose levels rise. I foresee just one issue—I think I'd want my levels to fluctuate to get full value, if anything.

YouTube Adds Google+ Hangout Button, Lets You Share Videos With a Click

Hangout video sharing is one of Google+'s more appealing features -- not that we use it often, but when it comes to things to do in an online social gathering, watching YouTube clips would certainly rank near the top. 

Now you can launch Hangouts directly from YouTube, rather than heading over to Google+ and pasting in a link. Sure, it's a simple tweak that probably took less than an hour to code, but it's a clever addition nonetheless.

Sony Digital Recording Binoculars

How does $1,399 for a pair of binoculars sound? When they also shoot 1080p HD video and 7.1 megapixel stills -- perhaps slightly less ridiculous. Sony's launching a new category of high-end binoculars with its new DEV-3 and DEV-5, which offer camera-like features and are priced at $1,399 and $1,999, respectively. Each pair includes two Exmor R CMOS sensors for native 3D video capture, dual f/1.8-3.4, 0.5-10x optical zoom lenses, and a pair of 1,227-dot viewfinders. 

While the pricier model adds a 10x digital zoom, GPS, and accessories like a carrying case and neck strap, those features don't really justify a $600 jump in price -- if you can live without GPS, it probably makes sense to skip the DEV-5. There's also Memory Stick Pro Duo and SDXC support, stereo microphones with an audio input jack, and HDMI out, but if you've been looking for a way to record while bird watching, catching close-ups of the action at a game, or whatever it is you look at through your apartment window, then look for these to hit stores in November.

Aug 18, 2011

Logitech’s New G300 Is $40 of Ambidextrous Awesome

The G300 supports three separate configuration profiles—three games or three people, however you prefer—which are conveniently color-coded to avoid confusion when flipping load outs between rounds. It's got nine configurable buttons to match your play-style and fragging needs. 

It doesn't matter if you play left-handed or right for a particular game, the lack of a thumb button means you just need to slide the mouse to the other side of your desk. It also features a 2500-DPI optical sensor that tracks both fast and slow movements on most surfaces for better precision when you need it and quicker acceleration when you don't. The G300 will retail for about $40 when it's released in September.

Google Maps Adds Current Weather Conditions

Here's a nice little addition to Google Maps -- current weather conditions. The feature is live now on the site, accessible by clicking the weather layer on the upper right hand corner of a map. 

Selecting the feature will overlay conditions culled from, anywhere in the world. The results include the temperature and icons for the sun, rain, clouds and the moon, when that part of the world goes dark. Also new is cloud coverage from the US Naval Research Lab.

Windows 8 Will Have an App Store After All

Talk of a Windows 8 app store has swirled around like the approaching fall leaves, but Microsoft's never broached the subject—until now, on their new blog.

It's back to the Windows Live Division President, Steven Sinofsky, who introduced the core team of engineers working on next year's release. Running through the list of teams, Sinofsky included an app store team, along with app compatibility and device compatibility; applications and media experience, and app experience.

It's that first one which intrigues as the most, as it's the first time Microsoft has pretty much confirmed the existence of an app store in the next iteration of Windows.

Aug 17, 2011

How Researchers Fit a Blu-Ray of Data Onto a Millimeter of Glass

Researchers at Southampton University have devised a way to bend light passing through a glass wafer so it can store and read 50GB of data in the same way that fiber optic cable does.

The process uses minuscule dots called voxels etched in the molecular structure of pure silica glass that bend light to store information (the light itself changes direction as it passes through one depending on thelight's polarization orientation.) The data can then be wiped and rewritten by re-etching the voxels.

Glass has a lot of advantages over other non-volatile memory. In particular, it can withstand temperatures up to 1800F and, since the etchings are located within the structure of the glass itself, the information lasts quite literally forever with no noticeable data degradation.

As research team member, Martynas Beresna, said:
We have developed this memory which means data can be stored on the glass and last forever. It could become a very stable and safe form of portable memory. It could be very useful for organizations with big archives. At the moment companies have to back up their archives every five to ten years because hard-drive memory has a relatively short lifespan.
Other uses include cheaper and more compact medical imaging, precise manipulation of atom-sized objects, and even high-resolution imaging far beyond what we see today.

Logitech Has a Solar-Powered Keyboard

Logitech released the PC version of their wireless solar-powered keyboard last year, and now there's a Mac layout, too. The keyboard supposedly gets 3 months of battery life from a single full charge, even in complete darkness, and it gathers light and power from either the sun or indoor lighting. It's on sale now for $60.

The Wii Gets a Redesign

This Christmas, the Nintendo Wii is a getting a slight, wait for it, Wii-design. I mean redesign!

According to The Official Nintendo Magazine, the tweaked Wii will be released in the UK this holiday season (no word about a US release).

The change is that this Wii is designed to lay flat and has a slightly reconfigured design. The original Wii was supposed to sit vertically. The upcoming Wii U console sits flat, so the tweak could be to bring cohesion between the two machines. Or it could bring confusion.

The biggest difference is that this console cannot play GameCube games like the current Nintendo Wii.The redesigned console comes packed with a Wii Remote Plus, a Nunchuk and, according to this photo from Eurogamer, copies of Wii Sports and Wii Party.

Aug 16, 2011

An iPhone 4 Backing That Magically Changes Colors When You Touch It

Ordinary fingerprints on your iPhone 4? Passé. Fingerprints that can morph your iPhone 4 into a color changing chameleon!? Psychedelic.

These heat sensitive backings, made by RF Laserworks, magically turn a variety of gnarly colors depending on the temperature. Get it here.

Sunscreen + Caffeine = Skin Cancer Killer?

Caffeine has previously been correlated with a reduced risk of cancer. But the latest research-aided theory coming out of Rutgers University is that putting caffeine intosunscreen will reduce that risk even more.

The Guardian UK says that when combined with sunscreen, caffeine, which inhibits a gene crucial to melanoma growth, will actually promote the death of cells damaged by UV rays.
Allan Conney of the department of chemical biology at Rutgers University in New Jersey wanted to find the specific molecular mechanisms behind it. He suspected that the response might involve a gene called ATR, which is suppressed when caffeine molecules are around. This suppression encourages the death of DNA-damaged cells.
Conney tested the idea by creating genetically modified mice whose ATR genes were deficient and exposing them to ultraviolet light until they developed skin cancer. After 19 weeks of UV exposure, he found that these mice developed 69% fewer tumours than those that had fully functioning ATR genes. In addition, tumours in the GM mice developed three weeks later than in standard mice.

ViewSonic ViewPad 10pro: a Windows 7 Tablet That Also Runs Android

Life would be so much easier if you could just switch operating systems depending on what you need, wouldn't it? That's the thinking behind ViewSonic's ViewPad 10pro, a "dual OS" tablet that runsWindows 7 and Android 2.3. The Wi-Fi enabled device comes with Intel's new 1.5 GHz Atom Z670 CPU, a 1024 x 600 display, 2GB of memory, a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, HDMI capabilities and a microSD slot. 

The base model comes with Windows 7 Home Premium and a 16GB SSD for $599, while some extra bucks gets you Windows 7 Professional and a 32GB SSD. If you want one soon, best get a move on, as "limited numbers" are currently available. Get it here.

Aug 15, 2011

Mojang Offers Limited Edition Minecraft Xperia Play on eBay

There may not be many people willing to pay over $1,000 for an Xperia Play, but it turns out there's at least a few willing to go nuts when there's some Minecraft involved. That limited edition model pictured above will be given away to a few lucky winners at the upcoming Gamescon conference in Germany, but Minecraft developer Mojang has decided to let one loose on eBay beforehand, where the bidding has already topped a grand with a full six days left.

Adding a bit of extra incentive for those with deep pockets, Mojang says that it will also donate all the proceeds from the auction to an as yet unnamed charity. Get it on eBay

Google buys Motorola Mobility

Happy Monday to you, and happy Monday to Motorola Mobility, which Google has announced is about to become its next acquisition. This comes hot on the heels of a $56 million Q2 net loss for Moto -- and CEO Sanjay Jha's less than subtle hints about going fishing for Android-related patent royalties. Now, at a price of $40 per share for a total of about $12.5 billion, Big G will be making Moto a "dedicated Android partner" to "supercharge the Android ecosystem" and "enhance competition in mobile computing."

Larry Page had this to say about the deal:

Motorola Mobility's total commitment to Android has created a natural fit for our two companies. Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers. I look forward to welcoming Motorolans to our family of Googlers.
What happens next? While this will of course strengthen the ties between hardware and software, Google is pledging to continue offering Android as an open platform -- Moto will license it and others will be able to as ever. Additionally, Google will continue to operate its new toy as a separate business and not morph it into an in-house hardware wing. But, one has to wonder what this means for companies like Samsung, which partnered closely with Google on the Nexus S, and of course HTC, which released the Nexus Oneand the iconic G1. And then there's the big question: just where does Moto Blur fit into this equation?

Peter Chou, CEO, HTC:
We welcome the news of today's acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem.
Bert Nordberg, President & CEO, Sony Ericsson:
I welcome Google's commitment to defending Android and its partners.
Jong-Seok Park, President & CEO, LG:
We welcome Google's commitment to defending Android and its partners.