Jan 31, 2012

This Folding Bike Helmet Is an Urban Cyclist’s Dream Come True

Cycling in cities is a great idea: it's quick, cheap, and you even get some exercise. But the number of people that don't wear a helmet is frankly terrifying. Maybe this folding helmet will help change that.

Designed by French studio Agency 360 in 2010, but going into production this year, this folding helmet is called Overade. According to Patrick Jouffret, the designer, who worked alongside engineer Philippe Arrouart, it offers as much protection as a standard helmet but folds up when not in use. 

OK, it doesn't fold up to be tiny, but it's small enough to not get in the way. It'll definitely fit in a bag easily. I normally clip the chin strap of my helmet around the strap of my bag when I'm off my bike, but that's a real pain in the ass, and this could be a solution.

But where this helmet really comes into its own is in cities with bike sharing schemes. When you're not certain you'll be able to get a bike, and when there's zero possibility of being able to lock your helmet to a bike when you leave it, there's currently little motivation for people to take a helmet with them. That's dangerous, and hopefully something like this will help solve the problem. More here.

Jan 30, 2012

APK puts Windows 95, 98 and XP, plus Linux on the EVO 3D

And here you thought Microsoft bringing Windows 8 to ARM was big news. Turns out, a member of the xda-developers forum has managed to make an APK that puts a variety of Redmond's x86 operating systems on the HTC EVO 3D and its 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon silicon -- Windows 95, 98, XP and even your favorite flavor of Linux are all available for the three dee-equipped handset. 

All you need to do is install the Bochs Pentium emulator APK and the OS disk image of your choice, modify a couple files, and you'll be doing yesteryear's desktop computing on a handheld in no time. Feeling nostalgic? Detailed instructions how to do it yourself and the necessary files can be found here. 

Does it do the blue screen of death or the force close dance when things go awry?

Sony’s Underwater Cybershot TX200V Is the iPhone’s Fat Photo-Taking Cousin

Sony's new glass-faced TX200V is a decidedly opulent stab at something we've been asking for around here: a waterproof camera that doesn't sacrifice optics and design. It's just that it does it at a pretty painful price point.

The TX200V has Sony's new 18.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor, which has the hugest resolution in any point and shoot. It's also got a new processor, and has the superfast 0.1 -second autofocus of the TX55, and lowered low-light autofocus to 0.2 seconds. It shoots Full HD 1080/60p video, has 5x (35mm) optical zoom, a range of f3.5-4.8, and a 1,229,760-dot TruBlack OLED screen. The 16-foot waterproof spec is about half that of other rugged cameras right now, and it doesn't feature the shock-proof or drop-proof specs of those other cameras either.

It's also a good deal fatter than you're used to from Cybershot cameras, sort of resembling a morbidly obese iPhone from the front.

It's out in March for $500, more here.

Jan 29, 2012

The Spice Grinder Improved With Grade School Science

Remember when you first learned about the power of levers? And how (in theory) you could even use one to move a mountain? Well Kuhn Rikon has applied the same principles to a spice grinder, but on a smaller scale.

Instead of using a twisting motion to grind salt or peppercorns, the company's $20 Ratchet Grinder has a long arm you crank back and forth, making it easier for everyone from kids to the elderly to operate. It also uses high-grade ceramics for its internal mechanisms, resulting in more consistent results whether you're after a fine powder or coarse chunks, and eliminating the corrosion that can hinder metal components. More here.

Jan 28, 2012

One Of History’s Greatest Minds Can Now Store Your Cat Videos

Mimobot has been doing the character-based flash drive thing for a while now, focusing on superheroes and other fictional personalities. But their new Legends of Mimobot Series will instead feature the "stars of the human race," starting with Albert Einstein.

Arguably one of history's greatest minds, the man who thought up the theory of relativity can now be used to store your own physics homework, or more likely, the stupid videos you've downloaded.

Available now in capacities ranging from 2GB for $23, to up to 64GB for $120, the drive comes pre-loaded with Einstein-themed accessories like desktop wallpaper and icons. And removing its cap reveals the physicist's lighter-side, from that famous photo hanging in dorm rooms across the country where he's sticking his tongue out. More here.

Jan 27, 2012

Scratch ‘N Sniff Raspberry Scented Jeans Means You Never Have to Wash Them

These jeans look like any other pair of denim you'd see on a fashionable twenty something. Dark, slim fit and cut perfectly, heck, I wouldn't mind buying these myself. But unlike other jeans, this pair is made with scratch 'n sniff raspberry scented denim. Yes. Scratch and sniff. On your freaking jeans! This is awesome.

Made by Naked & Famous Denim, one of the craziest jeans company in the world, the scratch 'n sniff effect is created by using a coating of micro capsules that hold a bit of 'perfume' which is baked into the surface of the jeans. Scratch it and the scent is released. What's even crazier is that Naked and Famous say the raspberry scent even works after washes (they've washed it 5 times and it's still smelling fresh).

I'm just excited about the possibility of never having to wash my jeans ever again. When it starts to smell, I'll just scratch like mad and release the scent of a 5-year-old fat kid. YES. More here.

Jan 26, 2012

February 1 Is Change Your Password Day

If you are like me—and of course you are, right? we are all gingers inside—you probably have password security that ranges from awful-like-Batman-Forever to thoroughly mediocre.

Also if you are like me, you might've bought shoes from Zappos once—Keen Coronados in India In/Black Olive, to be precise—and been informed that some jerk might've stolen your password. Which, in my case, means they've got one of a series of root passwords that could potentially access one of my other accounts. And, boy, I've got a lot of accounts, I realized as I was counting up all the password changes I needed to make.

And then, a nanosecond later came the realization that this is going to keep happening, every year, every month, maybe every week. It's already happened a bunch—a hearty wave to you PSN players and Senatorial Twitter users—so it's time to get a password manager and give every account a unique, hard-to-crack password. Some password managers are here and here.

Quantum Dots Could Increase Fiber Optic Bandwidth up to 10 Times

Nothing screams World of Tomorrow quite like quantum dots. Alongside the possibility of paint-on solar cells, the technology could also multiply optic fiber bandwidth by up to ten times. The Photonic Network Research Institute at NICT has been able to crank up the capacity of the data transmission system by combining a light source and photonic crystal fiber.

The quantum dots act as the light source, and via the NICT's new "sandwiched sub-nano separator structure" [above], they can be tweaked to work at 70THz -- far in excess of the 10THz frequencies typically used. Aside from optical communications, the potency of these high frequencies allow it to pass beyond skin, opening up the use of quantum dots to medical scanning and high resolution cell imaging. Is there anything these dots can't do?

Jan 25, 2012

Windows 8 Adds Sensor Support

Microsoft is slowly turning its stalwart desktop OS into a mobile powerhouse. The company just keeps rolling out improvements and features for Windows 8 aimed at really making upcoming tablets competitive with their Android and iOS-based market mates. After cramming mobile broadband tools into the tile-happy OS, now Redmond is turning its attention towards sensors. 

The next version of Windows will offer integrated support for gyroscopes, accelerometers, magnetometers and ambient light sensors among other things. Devs will even be able to use multiple sensors in conjunction for more accurate interaction.

Wikileaks Announces Julian Assange TV Show, World Governments fire up Their DVRs

Ready or not, Julian Assange is heading toward a TV set near you. Wikileaks announced this week that its controversy-embroiled founder will be getting his own TV show, in which he'll be interviewing "key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries." Information on the series is light at present -- the largely unknown Quick Roll Productions will apparently play a role in its creation. 

The show is set to begin airing in the middle of March and will run as ten 30 minute weekly episodes. Assange for one, clearly has grand ambitions for the series, stating that it "will explore the possibilities for our future in conversations with those who are shaping it. Are we heading towards utopia, or dystopia and how we can set our paths?" 

Jan 24, 2012

eye3 Hexicopter Helps your DSLR Take Flight for $999

Your camera wants to take flight -- it does -- and an ambitious new project aims to make your DSLR's aeronautic ambitions a reality. The eye3 hexacopter is a six-armed carbon-fiber unmanned arial vehicle (UAV) that hopes to make aerial photography accessible to the masses. Designed by a couple with a hankering for robotics, the flying machine is modular (for easy repair) and navigates using a combination of Google Maps and open-source code. 

Those without a pilot license need not worry: the eye3 utilizes the oft-improving APM2 software for a "compact yet powerful" autopilot experience. The UAV can carry a payload of five to ten pounds, boasts three CPUs and has a 350-watt motor strapped to each tentacle. More here.

Jan 23, 2012

In the Wake of Megaupload Crackdown, Fear Forces Similar Sites to Shutter Sharing Services?

The Feds put the smackdown on Megaupload and its whole executive team last week, charging the them with criminal charges for copyright infringement and racketeering in addition to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and money laundering. As a result, it appears that several other cloud locker companies have curbed their sharing ways to avoid similar DOJ entanglements.

FileSonic and Fileserve have eliminated file sharing from their service menus, and is no longer available to those of us in the US. Naturally, none of these companies have said that Megaupload's legal problems are the reason for the changes, but the timing suggests it's more than mere coincidence.

Untethered Jailbreaker for iPhone 4S and iPad 2 Now Available for Windows

Last week, the first untethered jailbreak for iPhone 4S and iPad 2 was announced — but it only worked if you ran OS X. Forunately, the Windows version is now ready.

The tool, built by Greenpois0n and called Absinthe, works on the iPhone 4S running iOS 5.0 and 5.0.1 and the iPad 2 running iOS 5.0.1, and it will either work really well or you'll end up bricking your device. Still, worth a try. You can download the Windows version of Absinthe. More here.

Jan 22, 2012

Grass Flip Flops Make Every Day a Walk In the Park

Krispy Kreme (of all companies) created a similar kind of sandal as part of a promotion a few years ago, but Kusa's grass flip flopshave two distinct differences. They're made with artificial turf, and you can actually buy them.

While it very much looks like real grass, the thick layer of green stuff on Kusa's sandals is actually a synthetic material known as Syn-Turf. It not only looks the part, but I bet it feels pretty similar to the real thing, without leaving grass stains on the bottom of your feet.

The material does need to be fluffed from time to time, but that's far easier maintenance than weeding, mowing, and fertilizing. And the sandals are available now in small, medium, and large sizes for about $31 here.

Jan 21, 2012

University of Vienna Researchers Quantum Leap Into the Cloud, Ensure Privacy for Distributed Computing

Afraid of the cloud? You're not alone, as rising concerns surrounding the security of distributed computing have led University of Vienna researchers to seek out quantum mechanics as a privacy fix. The team's findings, soon to be published in the journal Science, prove that an end user's data can remain encrypted throughout its journey to and from remote servers, essentially rendering the quantum computer's calculations as "blind."

So, how exactly does this evasive entanglement work? Qubits (or quantum bits) containing the pertinent information are transmitted to a central facility where they're processed according to a specific set of measurements, leaving the resultant computations readable only by the original user. More here.

Jan 20, 2012

Microsoft Sells More Windows 7 than Every Mac, iOS, and Android Device Combined

If it doesn't have "8" or "Phone" after it, nobody thinks or cares about Windows anymore. But let's not forget that Microsoft is still selling a gargantuan tower of operating systems every second—and it matches everything else combined.

Dan Frommer put Microsoft's recently reported 525 million Windows 7 licenses in perspective:
Since...October, 2009, Apple has likely sold about 35 million Macs, possibly 250 million iOS devices, and Google has seen almost 250 million Android activations.
We may have our eyes on mobile software and operating systems that don't yet exist, but an enormous chunk of the human race still looks at (and buys!) regular old Windows every single day. Every, single, day.

Apple’s Value Reaches $400bn, Worth More Than Greece

On Thursday, Apple's value on the stock market reached an all-time high of $400 billion. That figure makes it worth more than Greece, Austria, Argentina and South Africa. And, come to mention it, quite a lot of other things, too. More here.

Jan 19, 2012 has Been Shut Down!

According to the Associated Press the worlds largest file-sharing sites,, has been shut down. As it stands right now, the website is completely inaccessible.

Federal prosecutors have accused the owners of Megaupload with violating piracy laws, possibly exceeding 500 million dollars in pirated content. One the 13th most popular website in the world, operating as a free file hosting service for any kind of content, is potentially gone forever. staff claims they were always on top of complaints about material that might have been pirated, but for now the service and the content stored within are gone. Currently, there are no answers available as to whether or not the legitimate content stored there will be released.

For users who had previously used Megaupload, some alternatives to the service are RapidShare, MediaFire, DropBox, or

New Kindle Fire Update Unleashes Full-Screen Web Browsing

Amazon rolled out the second update to its Kindle Fire 6.2.2 firmware today. In addition to a few minor bug fixes and performance tweaks, this update grants Amazon's Silk browser access the Fire's entire seven-inch screen. It does also bork rooted devices like November's update did, so get ready to re-root if you need. The update is being pushed live now.

Jan 18, 2012

Why Android Handsets Are Bigger Than the iPhone

The iPhone screen is, and probably always will be, 3.5 inches. But Android handsets have gotten enormous over the last year or two, to the point where 4.3 inches feels standard, if not a bit small. Why is that?

Android OEMs and Google responded to the 3.5-inch 960×640 Retina display by improving the pixel format to 1280×720. But because Android renders text and graphics like Windows or OS X, increasing resolution above 320 ppi means smaller UI elements. The display had to grow in size to compensate for shrinking UI elements. 

Basically, the way iOS uses its increased resolution is to increase the clarity and sharpness of what it displays. Because of the way Android's rendering engine is currently set up on most phones, matching the iPhone's resolution but keeping the same 3.5-inch screen size would make the icons and text about one fourth smaller. (Note that it is possible for Android devices to rival the retina display clarity, and some recent phones like the HTC Rezound have higher pixel density than the iPhone, but they're in the minority.)

That would make text uncomfortably small and reduce the size of on-screen tap targets. To match iPhone resolution and maintain usability, while still using the same rendering techniques, Android phones will always have to be bigger.

One final thought: with the iPhone still market-leader, I think it's fair to say that people neither desperately want nor need massive screens on their phones. Size: it doesn't matter, guys.

Jan 17, 2012

How To Access Wikipedia During Tomorrow’s Blackout Protest

Wikipedia may be going dark within the hour in protest of SOPA/PIPA but that doesn't mean it's going offline completely. With very little work, you'll be able to access the online encyclopedia tomorrow—even if that does mean going against the entire spirit of the protest.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a Wikimedia spokesman confirmed today that the mobile version of the website will remain online at Also, any API that pulls information from the Wikipedia servers will remain active as well. That means you'll also still be able to access Wiki content through Facebook.

The Best Features Required of Windows 8 Hardware

Microsoft dropped the hardware requirements for Windows 8 a month ago, but may of the choice bits were buried amongst the 1000-page sea of technical jargon and general obscura. The brave souls over at WithinWindows ostensibly just emerged from the depths with the choicest pearls of compatibility wisdom.

What can we expect from devices running Windows 8?

• Touch devices: all will be required to detect five points of touch, which is good for 99% of most multitouch uses.
• NFC devices: all will be required to have a designated (read: a visual) zone for functionality. That way, your father won't be rubbing his phone along the back of his laptop phone in search of a link.
• Tablets and convertible PCs: Allwill have five—and only five—hard buttons. Power, rotation lock, Windows button, volume up, volume down. Any devices without keyboards must support Windows key+power as the new Ctrl+Alt+Del. Oh, and all screens will be 1366x768!
• Intel-based devices: all must resume in under two seconds.
More here.

The Steve Jobs Action Figure Is Canceled

In Icons, the company responsible for thefreaky-awesome Steve Jobs action figure, is stopping production because of legal threats from Apple and Jobs' family.

In a statement, Tandy Cheung, the Hong Kong businessman behind the doll said:
"Though we still believe that we have not overstepped any legal boundaries, we have decided to completely stop the offer, production and sale of the Steve Jobs figurine out of our heartfelt sensitivity to the feelings of the Jobs family."
One thing is certain: these dolls are now going to be super expensive. One is already for sale on eBay for $2,500; expect that figure to grow in the future. More here.

Jan 16, 2012

Is the Nokia Lumia 900 Coming in March?

You'll be able to get your mitts on the gorgeous Nokia Lumia 900 in March according to a newsletter published on the Nokia Developer website. Details here.

Jan 15, 2012

This Magnetic Mount Is a Stylish Alternative To Soap On a Rope

Whether you're at home or stuck in prison, dropping the soap in the shower is something you'll want to avoid altogether. So once again magnets have improved the human condition with this soap holder that ditches the rope.

Now I will admit, it doesn't have quite the same alliteration as "soap on a rope", but this magnetic soap holder is far more aesthetically pleasing. And it won't look like your shower is frequented by lumber jacks.

One section of the holder attaches to the wall, while you simply jam the other into a bar of soap until it sticks. The two are connected via a magnet, and I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume they're made from stainless steel so they don't immediately rust after your first. At $40 it's unfortunately quite a bit more expensive than a short length of rope, but totally worth it for those of us with slippery hands. More here.

Adorable Tool Tank Totally Out-Cutes Your Swiss Army Knife

The term 'cute' and 'tool' aren't often associated, but I can't think of a better way to describe this tiny screwdriver designed to look like a miniature tank hanging from your keyring.

The Tool Tank's barrel accepts one of the three screwdriver bits stored in its tracks, which are held in place through the magic of magnets. The barrel also raises, letting you—you know—actually use the Tool Tank as a screwdriver, while its large base provides plenty of grip when you've really got to tighten something down.

It's unfortunately not as well equipped as a Swiss Army Knife, but it will also sell for just $15when it's available come February. More here.

Jan 14, 2012

Quirky’s Invisible Drawer Locks Only Open With a Magnetic Key

Unless you work at the Pentagon, the key locks on your desk drawers are probably easy to compromise. So with their new Covert, the folks at Quirky figured that a drawer lock can't be picked if it can't be found.

The sliding locking mechanism comes with adhesive tape for a temporary solution, but if you were hoping for any kind of real security you'll want to screw them in. Once installed on the inside of a drawer the mechanism is completely invisible, and the only way to open it is with an included magnetic key that lets you slide the latch across.

Of course it's not the perfect solution. The magnetic key is only going to work through a certain thickness of wood panel, and once the lock is discovered even a desktop toy can be used to access your drawer's contents. But until the gig is up, you'll have co-workers wondering what manner of sorcery is protecting your pens and sticky notes. More here.

Jan 13, 2012

WOWee and MicroVision offer 200-inch Viewing and 'booming sound' on your Mobile

Despite all the product rivalry at CES, a little romance was inevitable -- WOWee, purveyor of the ONE portable speaker, has paired up with MicroVision and its dashingPicoP laser projector technology (shown above) to create a "marriage of sight and sound." It looks like the two companies will start out by simply bundling their respective wares, which will be available together in 120 countries from this quarter, rather than rushing to announce a hybrid device straight away. A wise decision, no doubt. More here.

Are Those Laser Keyboards Finally Usable When Embedded In an iPhone Case?

Short answer: Nope, still not.

If you have even a passing interest in tech you've seen these types of contraptions before. A laser is used to project a virtual keyboard onto a flat surface, while a camera detects the position of the typist's fingers to register keystrokes.

If it worked as awesome as it sounds, laser keyboards would be a fantastic tool for doing long form writing on a portable device. Particularly when it's integrated into a $180-$190 iPhone case. But the sad reality is that they're almost unusable for any kind of real work.

Not only is the lack of tactile feedback a huge stumbling block for touch typists, but the hardware used to track your finger motions isn't accurate enough for any kind of real speed. 

Jan 12, 2012

Google Just Made Bing the Best Search Engine

I just switched the default search engine in my browser from Google to Bing. And if you care about working efficiently, or getting the right results when you search, then maybe you should too. Don't laugh!

Google changed the way search works this week. It deeply integrated Google+ into search results. It's ostensibly meant to deliver more personalized results. But it pulls those personalized results largely from Google services—Google+, Picasa, YouTube. Search for a restaurant, and instead of its Yelp page, the top result might be someone you know discussing it on Google Plus. Over at SearchEngineland, Danny Sullivan has compiled a series of damning examples of the ways Google's new interface promotes Plus over relevancy. Long story short: It's a huge step backwards.

A lot of people are crying foul, and even "anti-trust." Sure, it does seem pretty transparently designed to drive traffic and users to Google Plus, and to make Google Plus brand pages the go-to place for a company's social media presence. And it's true that results from Facebook and Twitter in particular have been noticeably kicked down.

But I didn't switch for political reasons, or as an act of protest. I don't care if Google hurts Twitter or Facebook—or even Friendster for that matter. Boo-hoo. I only care if it hurts me. And this does. Google broke itself.

For years, Google Search has been the highest quality web product I've ever used. It has remained consistently essential as an information-delivery mechanism. I typically hit it hundreds of times a day—on my phone, tablet, laptop and desktop. But with one update it wiped out all those years of loyalty and goodwill it had built up. Sure, I can opt out of social results with a click—but as with all things I don't want to have to opt out. I don't want to have to make that extra click. I want to enter a query, and have the most relevant results returned to me as quickly as possible. (And if Google genuinely doesn't think it's a big deal for people to take the extra step oft opting out, why has it focused so relentlessly on optimizing speed for so many years?)

The great thing is, of course, you can just switch. Hit up your browser preferences, and swap your default to Bing. I know, I know, but yes I'm serious. Sure, Bing had a rocky start. But if you haven't seen it recently it's worth another look. It has a super clean interface. It's fast. And operators work the way you expect them to. Best of all it's relevant.

In short, it's a lot like Google. Not the Google of today, but the Google you fell in love with, the one that put your search results above its financial ones. The Google that delivered.

Reddit is Having a Blackout on 18 January in Protest Against SOPA

The web's been grumbling and muttering about SOPA for a while now, but we've not really seen any big gestures made. That's changing: Reddit admins have announced a blackout to protest against the act.

On 18 January, visitors to Reddit's usual wonderfully chaotic home page will instead be greeted by "a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit", according to a blog post written by the Reddit team. The blackout will last 12 hours.

As well as that message, the page will link to resources where people can learn more about SOPA, and suggest ways in which people can take action. They'll also feature a live video stream of the House hearing where Internet entrepreneurs and technical experts will be testifying that day.

In the same blog post, the team said:
The freedom, innovation, and economic opportunity that the Internet enables is in jeopardy. Congress is considering legislation that will dramatically change your Internet experience and put an end to Reddit and many other sites you use everyday... There are powerful forces trying to censor the Internet, and a few months ago many people thought this legislation would surely pass. However, there's a new hope that we can defeat this dangerous legislation.
A blackout is a bold move on Reddit's part, and probably the biggest statement we've seen made against SOPA so far.

But I don't think it's enough. There's an element of preaching to the choir here: most Reddit users are tech-savvy and, probably, already oppose SOPA.

What's needed to make real impact is for some of the big boys, like Google or Facebook, which both oppose SOPA, to do something similar. The chances of that are very, very slim — but without it, the message just isn't loud enough.

Jan 11, 2012

Apple Has 250 Ninjas Spying the Competition At CES

Don't think Apple is not at CES. They are there, everywhere. You can't see them, but 250 stealth Apple employees are at CES 2012. They are not there to show things. They are there to voraciously analyze the competition.

Paid Content's Tom Krazit bumped into none other than Greg Joswiak, head of iOS product marketing for Apple:
Greg Joswiak, head of iOS product marketing for Apple, was just outside of Sony's booth. Joz, as he's known within the Apple community, grinned sheepishly upon being recognized by a reporter and stopped to chat for a few minutes.
 "A common misconception about Apple is that the company doesn't pay attention to the competition and remains aloof from what's happening in the rest of the industry." Sure, paying attention is one thing. All companies pay attention. All companies send scouts to other companies' booths and events. But sending a small army—according to Elgan, Apple registered 250 employees for the show—to comb the halls at CES is a lot more than just paying attention.

So yes, Apple may ignore CES for show and tell. But they are not ignoring what's cooking in Vegas. They are very interested in it. To see what's hot, what's wrong, where everyone else thinks things are going. If you are at CES, look into their badges.

Jan 10, 2012

Sony Now Makes a Portable Blu-ray Player. Why?

I'm sure there are 3.5 people out there who will put Sony's portable Blu-ray player to great use. It has a 9-inch screen, 4.5 hours of battery life, and 1080p output via HDMI. But for the rest of us, The Sony SX910 is an extremely niche-y, borderline unnecessary piece of tech.

99.99% of us would be better served with a tablet and a Netflix account, because Blu-ray's 1080p resolution is basically wasted on a screen so small. But I sort of get it. Hypothetically there is a Blu-ray enthusiast out there who also spends a lot of time on the road, and really doesn't want to waste their time obtaining digital or DVD copies of movies they already own.

The Portable Blu-ray player will be available this Spring.

Jan 9, 2012

The New Canon ELPH: Tiny and Cheap Just Got Faster

The ELPH 520 HS has a 10.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, and a 12x optical zoom lens packed into a skinny package. Those specs aren't anything mind-blowing for a $300 point-and-shoot camera, though. What's really exciting about this camera is that it's powered by Canon's new Digic 5 processor, which improves the camera's low-light performance and auto-white balance—all in addition to making the camera a generally faster, more responsive package. A scaled back Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS Digital Camera features 5X optical zoom, and 16-megapixel sensor. Both cameras shoot 1080p video.

Both units feature new additions to Canon's Smart AUTO, which detects 58 different types of scenes. The tech has a new parent-friendly face ID feature, which prioritizes between different people in the scene based on whether they are babies, children, or adults. When the feature is on, the camera will adjust to focus on and properly expose the youngest person in the scene.

The 500 HS will be available in March for $300, the 110 HS will be available in February for $250.

Ubuntu TV Will Be In Your Living Room This Year

The geekiest of the operating systems is branching out into entertainment. Ubuntu TV is the open-source answer to your living room set-up, and you could have a TV running the software by the end of the year.

Ubuntu TV is a TV-optimized version of the desktop OS, based around the Unity UI. It feature full-on media center and DVR features, including movie, TV and music stores, and a YouTube app. The idea is to make the OS free for manufacturers to package with their TVs, and Ubuntu says there will be TVs on shelves by the end of the year. There's a working Ubuntu TV at CES. More here.

Jan 8, 2012

People Flag Facebook Photos Because They Look Ugly, Not Because They’re Offensive

Oh my god! Is that a zit on my forehead? Where did that third chin come from? Why am I sweating so much? Was I that drunk? What is my boss going to think? What is my mom going to think? What do I think? I need to get rid of this photo on Facebook. NOW. Let's flag as offensive! Click. Unflattering picture, gone.

That's the internal monologue of most Facebook users when they click the Flag photo button on Facebook. Seriously, Facebook found out that the majority of photos that are reported as offensive weren't really offensive at all. In most cases, it was just people flagging pictures of themselves because the photo was taken at unflattering angles or compromising situations or just didn't make 'em look cool. We've all been there, right? How many times have you told your friend to pull down the picture of you half-naked, praising the toilet gods for mercy?

Facebook tweaked their flagging options last summer to accomodate these 'issues' people have with their photos. Which is to say, they included options to choose 'I don't like this photo of me', 'It's harassing me' or 'It's harassing a friend'. The complaints are meant to generate some sort of compassion in the poster to take down the ugly photo. I just say, make better friends.

Jan 7, 2012

Victorinox’s 1TB Flash Drive Makes It Easy To Lose a Thousand Gigabytes

You might think they only make knives, but Victorinox also makes some of the best flash drives on the market (they're certainly my favorite.) They're well-built, extremely fast, and in a few days might be available in one terabyte capacities.

Yeah, you read that right. One terabyte! In addition to more storage than you'll ever really need hanging on your keychain, the USB 2.0/eSATA II drives will include 256 bit AES hardware/software encryption, and what appears to be a built-in monochrome LCD display. Presumably providing details on the drive contents, and available capacity.

Of course what would a product from Victorinox be without some added functionality? So it looks like the drive will come in a version packing a knife and scissors, and one free of bladed tools so you don't have a terabyte of data confiscated by airport security. Availability should be unveiled once CES officially opens in a few days, including what will probably be a very hefty price tag.

Cook Anywhere You Please on This New Induction Range

Be it gas, electric, or induction, ranges have held onto a vestigial limb—a finite, unmovable set of areas to do the actual cooking. This new induction cooktop from Thermador, however, is smart enough to heat anywhere there's a pot.

The new Freedom cooktop bills itself as the first induction appliance whose entire surface acts as a heating element. Its "natural-mapping" interface allows users to add, remove, and shift pans around while they cook and should allow chefs a greater degree of flexibility in their meal preparation.

Induction cooking employs a copper wire running under the clear ceramic surface and a strong AC current to create a magnetic field which then transfers an electric current to the cookware. This heats the pot itself while keeping the range cool to the touch. It's more efficient than both gas and traditional electric methods.

The Freedom also includes a 6.3-inch display that recognizes the pot's shape and size, as well as controls the unit's power settings and cook time (begone, egg timer!). Its surface accommodates pans up to 21 x 13-inches and will retail for $5000 when it hits the market in July. More here.

Jan 6, 2012

Someone Is Paying $3,000 For This Computer With a 700MHz Processor and 128MB of RAM

What is this, the 1990s? No, not really. The computer in question is one of the first from Raspberry Pi. It's a tiny PC on a single circuit board – and the proceeds from its sale will help encourage kids to code.

The Raspberry Pi, not yet in full production, is supposed to sell for $25. It features a 700MHz ARM11 processor, 128MB of SDRAM, HDMI video output, a USB 2.0 port, and can run an OS like Ubuntu. It can even handle Quake III.

This $3,000 Pi, however, is one of the first ten pre-production units to be made, all of which are being auctioned on eBay in order to raise money for charity. The Raspberry Pi foundation plan to plough the money they raise into delivering the tiny computers to schools. The idea is to encourage kids to get to grips with coding and open-source software, which is an amazing idea. More here.

Jan 5, 2012

Instagram Now Integrates Even Deeper With Facebook

If you are a heavy user of Instagram and Facebook, good news! When you choose to share your Instagram snapshots on theSocial Network, photos now wedge themselves onto the site in better, more accessible, more meaningful ways than ever before.

Instagram photos will now appear in your Facebook news feed at full size, meaning your days of squinting are over. They'll also automatically pop up in your timeline, making the the new design that much more visually appealing. And finally, there's now a dedicated Facebook album for all your Instagram shares, which so that all your uploads can be viewed in one convenient spot.

Logitech outs C920 HD Webcam, Lets you Skype in 1080p

If you were impressed by Logitech's C910 back in June, you may want to take a gander at the newly unveiled HD Pro 920. While it's the first webcam to offer 1080p video chatting with the latest version of Skype, the C920 can also capture 1080p video while offering 720p for Windows Live Messenger. You'll be able to upload your full-HD clips and 15MP shots at warp speed at the hands of H.264 advanced compression technology -- making those YouTube uploads that much faster. 

Internally, the C920 implements Logitech's Fluid Crystal Technology, Carl Zeiss optics and a 20-step autofocus. For audio capture, two mics are position on either side of the shooter for stereo recording. If you're looking to snag one, it'll set you back $100 starting this month.

Jan 4, 2012

Android 2.3 Continues Soaring Upward, now Installed on 55 percent of Google Devices

Google's monthly Android distribution charts may be the most visual piece of evidence that the mobile OS is riddled with fragmentation, but at least Gingerbread has clearly become the dominant player -- and it continues to build momentum at a healthy pace (for now, at least). 

As always, Google reviewed which devices accessed the Android Market during a 14-day period of time in the month of December, and found that over 55 percent of those units were running a version of Android 2.3, a ten percent turbo boost from October and an increase of seventeen percent over three months.

Froyo devices -- many of which are likely older phones or tablets sentenced to a upgrade-less future -- numbered over 30 percent, and Honeycomb still amounts to a meager 3.3 percent. Cupcake and ICS are tied for last place, but it's expected  to climb rapidly as soon as it's, y'know, officially available on more devices.

Microsoft Celebrates IE6’s Death with T-Shirts

How do the people responsible for IE6—a slow, buggy, security nightmare of a browser—observe IE6's demise? With commemorative tees, of course. If only IE6 were as clever as the piece of clothing recognizing its overdue drift into oblivion.

The shirt, cooked up by the Internet Explorer team, almost makes me a little sad. And then I realize what death we're talking about, and that these people are probably glad the desiccated corpse is blowing away in the wind. Now let us pretend IE6 never happened and only think about IE9. IE9 is all there has ever been. Everything is OK. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. More here.

Jan 3, 2012

Ask Ziggy: Siri for Windows Phone

People love Siri. Well, unless they have anaccent or a slight speech impediment. What's important is that Apple really wants everyone with an iPhone 4S use Siri to schedule appointments and look up coffee shops. The Android Market is already filled with enough Siri clones to keep Apple's lawyers busy for years. It's time for Windows Phone to get in on the talk-to-your-phone-in-public fun with Ask Ziggy.

What's it do?

Ziggy is Siri for Windows Phone. Hell, the app even looks like Siri. In addition to using the app to call contacts, send tweets, solve math problems, and update your Facebook status, the app can switch from female to male. Like Siri, the app needs access to the Internet in order to fetch the information needed for your query.

Why do we like it?

If you can get Siri to work for you, it's actually pretty great. The same can be said for Ziggy. Need to call a friend but don't want to search through your contacts? Ask Ziggy. Need the weather in Wichita, Kansas? Ask Ziggy. Need to find a Mexican restaurant because you must have a taco right now? Well, you get the point.

Retrode 2 Retro Gaming Adapter Brings SNES / Genesis Support to your PC for $85

As the story goes, the product shown above is the result of some three years of toiling, with the second iteration handling cartridges for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. In fact, there's a pair of ports on here, enabling one cart from each console to be loaded up and carried around. Users need only to find and install an emulator on their machine, plug a cartridge and / or an associated controller into the device and then connect the Retrode 2 to one's computer via USB. Once you've loaded a ROM into your emulator, configured your controller and canceled every appointment on your calendar for the next 48 hours... well, you're in for quite a weekend of retro gaming nirvana. Get it here for $84.99, with shipments expected to begin on January 23rd.

Jan 2, 2012

Internet Explorer Holds Onto top Browser Crown While Chrome and Firefox Tussle Over Second Place

Both Net Applications and StatCounter have released their figures for browser market share for 2011 and it makes for largely unsurprising reading. Internet Explorer's full share has dropped but it still maintains the top spot -- a 52 percent share according to Net Applications and 39 percent according to StatCounter. Meanwhile, second place remains tantalizingly within reach for Chrome, which has made headway catching up with Firefox, whose growth had apparently stalled during 2011.

According to Net Applications, Firefox held a 21.8 percent share of browser users this month, while Chrome reached 19.1 percent, up just under 8 percent and capping off a second year of impressive growth. Meanwhile, StatCounter pegs Google's browser at second place for the end of the year, claiming 27.3 percent versus the 25.3 percent share grabbed by its vulpine rival. Unsurprisingly, the Windows Team Blog takes a different slant on recent browsing trends, trumpeting that its latest version, Internet Explorer 9, continues to grow on Windows 7. This is, however, balanced out by a corresponding drop in the users of its predecessor, IE 8. Better luck next year, eh, Microsoft?

This Is One Ridiculously Over-The-Top iPhone Camera Case

Made from 32 individual polycarbonate parts, the case includes an optical viewfinder, a shutter button that presses on the iPhone's volume button, a mock-lens with a mirror in the center for taking easy self-shots, a tripod mount, and even a non-functioning micro hot shoe. All so it looks the part. You can even swap out the included faux lens for some flat pancake glass, if you've got photographer friends to impress.

The case also provides a mount allowing you to use a miniature fisheye or macro lens with the iPhone's camera, so there's at least some level of added functionality when using it. But enough to justify the $65 price tag, plus $30 for a neck strap and $45 for the extra lenses?

Jan 1, 2012

Genius Scale Only Shows You How Much You’ve Gained Or Lost

When you're battling the bulge, your bathroom scale can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. So instead of displaying your actual weight, which can be discouraging, this scale only tells you how much you've lost or gained.

The first time you step on the $78 Quantum scale it registers your weight, but still keeps it a secret from you. And after that it simply gives you a plus or minus reading depending on if you've gained weight since your last reading, or lost some.

Admittedly it's not the easiest way to tell if you're making weight loss progress unless you're keeping tabs on your up and down measurements on a daily basis. But if you're dedicated to the cause, it should make the morning routine of weighing yourself a bit less dreadful. Get it here.