Oct 19, 2010

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.

Oct 10, 2010

This Door Is Supposed To Save Lives During Earthquakes

When an Earthquake hits, what do you do? Typical Earthquake 101 tells you to run to the nearest doorway to protect yourself under the "strongest frame in the house". This bendable door is supposed to improve on that thinking.

However! Recent theories suggest that standing underneath a typical doorway is no better than being any where else during an earthquake. They now teach people to drop to the ground, go underneath a table and hold on. This concept door from student Younghwa Lee kind of mimics being underneath a table while being underneath a doorframe, which in a way, sorta blends the two Earthquake schools of thought together.

If you haven't been in an Earthquake before, well damn, you're lucky. Get some practice before 2012.

NASA caught Photoshopping an image of Saturn's moons. What were they trying to hide?

A conspiracy theorist noticed that an image in NASA's Astronomy Picture Of The Day had noticeable Photoshop brushstrokes in it, when you turned up the contrast. Is there a mysterious object hiding near Saturn's moons?

As quoted by Fox News, DominatorPS3 said: "More solid proof of NASA/ government cover-ups. And this is recent. You can do this yourself!!"

Dominator PS3's tell-all YouTube video has been taken down, allegedly because he received death threats. NASA's Emily Lakdawalla, who was responsible for the photoshopping, explained it over at

What do you think? Did NASA really try to hide evidence of extraterrestrial life by photoshopping a picture — and then making that picture is Astronomy Picture Of The Day, just to confuse us further? It's so crazy, it might just be true!

Today Is 101010: The Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question

Today is October 10, 2010. 10/10/10. In binary, that's 42. And 42 is The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. Or at least, that's what Douglas Adams says.

Many people wonder what Adams exactly meant by 42, the answer given by the supercomputer Deep Thought in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Why did Adams pick that number? Is there a connection to something the world doesn't know about? Is the CIA and the MI6 involved in all this? Real aliens, perhaps?

On November 3, 1993, he gave an answer on

The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations, base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk, stared into the garden and thought '42 will do'. I typed it out. End of story.

Later, talking to BBC Radio 4 Iain Johnstone, he explained that the number was chosen by none other than John Cleese as the punch line for one of his skits. The famed Python thought it was a funny number, and Adams borrowed it for his book, turning it into a recurring integer through all his work.

But that comment wasn't the end of the mystery. Stephen Fry—a friend of Adams—also jumped into the debate, claiming that the latter explained to him why it was 42. Fry will not reveal the secret, but he says it is "fascinating, extraordinary and, when you think hard about it, completely obvious."
Whatever it is, it sure has had a deep impact in geeklore. One example: The Allen Telescope Array—the radio telescopes system erected by Microsoft's Paul Allen for the SETI program—has 42 dishes in honor of Adams. And in Lost, 42 is the last number in the sequence that has to be entered on The Swan's computer, which is also the sequence picked by Hurley for his winning lottery ticket, and Kwon's number in the cave. In a Lostpedia interview, one of the show's producers confirmed that this was indeed a homage to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Oct 9, 2010

Google Is Road Testing Cars That Drive Themselves

This is not a Google Street View truck. It's actually a self-driving car. The car is part of a new research initiative that Google's been road resting: Artificially intelligent cars that drive themselves.

Self-driving cars are admittedly a lofty, almost far-fetched prospect. Even the most optimistic people behind the Google team say it's at least eight years away from reaching consumers. But the promise it holds! With self driving cars on the road, researchers say road capacity can double since robots will drive at closer distances from one another. Plus, robot cars can theoretically react faster than humans and with the right sensors, can see the road from a 360-degree perspective. Not to mention they never get drunk, sleepy or text while driving either.

Google's been working on these self driving cars in secret but are actually testing them right now, right out in the open. The NY Times saw one of these cars in action:

A Prius equipped with a variety of sensors and following a route programmed into the GPS navigation system nimbly accelerated in the entrance lane and merged into fast-moving traffic on Highway 101, the freeway through Silicon Valley.

It drove at the speed limit, which it knew because the limit for every road is included in its database, and left the freeway several exits later. The device atop the car produced a detailed map of the environment.

The car then drove in city traffic through Mountain View, stopping for lights and stop signs, as well as making announcements like "approaching a crosswalk" (to warn the human at the wheel) or "turn ahead" in a pleasant female voice.

Ideally, there's a driver sitting at the steering wheel, ready to take over whenever anything goes awry. Once you hit a red button, move the steering wheel or tap the brake, the car is back under your control. I was never a big fan of driving so I'm hoping these self-driving cars become reality in my lifetime.

Designing Herman Miller's Golden Gate Bridge-Inspired Sayl Chair

The aim of the Herman Miller Sayl Chair, designed by Yves Béhar, is to maximize comfort while minimizing materials. For inspiration, Béhar looked to the suspension bridges of San Francisco.

It took Béhar and Herman Miller two and a half years to perfect the chair, which employs a novel "3D Intelligent Suspension Back" instead of a traditional frame. A special new type of urethane is used for the frameless back, which is injection molded with different degrees of tension for the various areas of the back and is held in place by a new Y-Tower suspension tower.
The novel suspended structure not only allows for a comfortable, ergonomic sitting experience but also greatly reduces the materials needed to produce the chair, in turn lessening its overall environmental impact. 93% of the Sayl's materials are recyclable. If you're interested in introducing your butt to a host of new innovations in chair engineering, the Sayl is available in a variety of colors and finishes over at Herman Miller.

Oct 8, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 won't be in 3-D after all

Imagine that — a studio realizes that a movie will look poopy in 3-D, so they decide not to do it. Warner Bros. decided the first half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be 2-D only.

Said Warners in a statement:

Warner Bros Pictures has made the decision to release "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1" in 2D, in both conventional and IMAX theaters, as we will not have a completed 3D version of the film within our release date window. Despite everyone's best efforts, we were unable to convert the film in its entirety and meet the highest standards of quality. We do not want to disappoint fans who have long-anticipated the conclusion of this extraordinary journey, and to that end, we are releasing our film day-and-date on November 19, 2010 as planned. We, in alignment with our filmmakers, believe this is the best course to take in order to ensure that our audiences enjoy the consummate "Harry Potter" experience.

We knew Harry Potter had amazing powers, but the ability to vanquish the trend towards last-minute, eye-bleeding 3-D conversions? That's incredible.

What Happens When You Smash Nitroglycerin With a Hammer in 600x Slow Motion?

Nitroglycerin, first discovered in 1846, is the explosive essence of dynamite. Even slowed down 600x, the reaction—detonation—is so violent, so fast, it still happens in less than the blink of an eye.

The 3DS' Battery Won't Last As Long As The DS'

While Nintendo is yet to release concrete figures on the battery usage of the 3DS - not that you can ever trust official figures - company president Satoru Iwata has hinted that it won't last as long as the DS.

"As for the battery, it is inevitable that Nintendo 3DS will be a device which requires more frequent recharging than Nintendo DS" Iwata said during a recent Q&A session with investors. "This is why we are going to include the cradle, which is a dedicated battery charger. Perhaps we may need to dispatch to our consumers a message, something like, 'Please place your Nintendo 3DS on the cradle as soon as you return home with it'."

That first sentence is the key: it means you won't get the same battery mileage from the 3DS you do from a DS. It's not a surprise, of course; extra horsepower and 3D capabilities will drain a battery faster than a DS game would, and packing one in that could withstand a lot of 3D play would have driven the cost of the handheld to a point Nintendo normally doesn't sell hardware.

Still, it's interesting to see Nintendo take a backwards step on battery life, since it's normally been such a concern for the company's handhelds.

Oct 7, 2010

Is the Verizon iPhone Really Happening in Early 2011?

The Wall Street Journal is claiming that the Verizon iPhone is imminent. Again. They say that Apple will start mass production of a CDMA iPhone by the end of 2010, starting sales in early 2011. However, there's something weird here.

Originally, the Wall Street Journal vaguely reported this story early in the morning, but they have just updated the article explicitly stating that the Verizon iPhone is happening. However, they haven't changed a couple of points that raise a red flag.

First, the introduction date is weird. Apple always introduces their new iPhones in the middle of the year. It seems unlikely that Apple will break that yearly cycle trend, although you never know. Perhaps this new phone will be an exception.

Then, the WSJ claims that it will be a CDMA iPhone, even while Verizon's CEO Ivan Seidenberg specifically categorically told the WSJ that there will not be a CDMA iPhone in 2009. In fact, Seidenberg told the WSJ that, if the Verizon iPhone happens, it will be for theirnew 4G LTE network. Last month, Seidenberg said that the iPhone will not come in the near future.

But maybe Apple changed his mind and he just doesn't want to spoil the surprise. Perhaps the fabled Verizon iPhone will appear once and for all (hopefully, with a fixed antenna design). Perhaps the Wall Street Journal is right this time, but they really meant that the new iPhone will run on Verizon's newly deployed LTE network. Whatever it is, we will know in a few months.

Rumor: Sony Pulling Plug On PSP Dev Kits

According to a report on French site PSPGen, Sony has informed those in the relevant communities that come November 15, they won't be able to order development kits for the handheld any more. Wonder why that would be?

The news reportedly comes via a message Sony Computer Entertainment sent to PSP developers, part of which read:

SCEE will no longer be selling the PSP Development Tool (DTP-T2000A) or Testing Tool (DTP-H2500A) past November 15th. Please order in advance if you require these development units.

We will advise you when a new model becomes available.

Now, if this is correct, it could just mean that new models of the current PSP's development kits are on the way. That's one scenario. The other, of course, is that dev kits for the existing models of the PSP won't be needed when Sony begins sending out those for a new PSP.

Concept Phone Made From Copper Charges in Pockets Using a Thermogenerator

What would you sacrifice for a phone that charges by inducting heat from your body? An OS? A brand-name you can be proud of? A touchscreen? That's the question I pose to you, after spotting this concept Nokia phone.

It's been dreamed up by English designer Patrick Hyland, who envisions the phone to be made from copper and capable of drawing heat from your body (or something like an overheating laptop), converting it to energy. That's by way of a thermogenerator that's been placed in the copper E-Cu phone ("E" for environment, and "Cu" for copper, naturally).

I'm not so sure the increasing prices (and demand) for copper will ever make this phone a reality, but in the meantime it's nice to see someone use the Nokia name for good. Unlike, err, Nokia.

Oct 6, 2010

Intel's Leaked 25nm SSD: 600GB Storage With Four Times the Lifespan

Expected sometime either late this year or early next, Intel's third generation, 25nm process SSD should provide twice the capacity of the current model at the same price. In addition, you can expect sequential performance read/write speeds of up to 250MB/s and 170MB/s, respectively, and a total lifespan of up to 60TB. If you're still not sure why all this is exciting for a 2.5-inch SSD

LEGO Leica Camera Works, But Won't Fool Anybody

Save yourself $5k by making a Leica M8 out of LEGO for $50. It's a good way to dodge those red-dot taxes, but I'll warn you: the 3MP camera will hardly hold up to your phone, let alone a Leica.

MOCPages user Schfio Factory used a $50 LEGO camera as a base for the camera, sticking black LEGO bricks all over it until it resembled one of the most recognizable cameras in the world today. It'd make a great gift for a child who is always wanting to use Daddy's Leica, but I have a feeling that for most Daddies, this LEGO camera is more in their price-range than the real thing.

Motorola Droid Pro: It's Like a BlackBerry Impregnated by Android

The Motorola Droid Pro on Verizon isn't what we expected: It's a like a Motorola Droid, but with a BlackBerry keyboard bolted on the bottom. Or like aBlackBerry Torch that's permanently stuck open, running Android. Take your pick. Weird.

The Droid Pro's runningAndroid 2.2, and it's a world phone, so it's definitely aimed at the dissatisfied BlackBerry user looking to make a switch. More on it as we get it.

Official specs from Verizon: 3.1-inch screen, 1GHz processor, 4GB memory, 5MP camera (but only "DVD quality" video, 3G hotspot powers, DLNA compatibility. For the suits, it's got QuickOffice pre-loaded for Office docs, remote wipe and AuthenTec IPSec multi-headed VPN integration, with device and SD card encryption coming early next year.

Oct 5, 2010

Would These Concept Power Cables Make Your Life Easier?

Despite making almost everything we use every day of our lives work, power cables are despised, and we haven't innovated our way out of them yet. This nesting concept cable, however, aims to tame the jungle. But would it work?

The Line Block cables click and seal together like a Ziploc bag—the idea being that you can lock a whole cluster of them together into one electricity snake, rather than the rat's nest of wiring I have behind my TV right now. It looks good on paper—as many concepts do—but some are skeptical, worrying that power bricks and outlets would split up the linked wiring. Hard to say based on nothing more than a rendered image, but we salute any attempts to maintain order.

Skype Lands on Android Phones Running Eclair or Higher

It seems unfathomable that Skype didn't have an app for Android until now*, but it's true. Phones running Android 2.1 or 2.2 can download the free app now, for free Skype-to-Skype calls, IM and more.

Just like with the iPhone version, you can call over Wi-Fi or the network (3G is included), both of which work well judging by the brief play I've had with it today. It's worth noting though that Skype only works over Wi-Fi in the US.

You can instant message Skype contacts—even a whole group of 'em—and synchronize contacts with your phone book too. It's a 14.23MB download, and worth doing if you have even one contact using Skype.

The 3D Sound System With 62 Channels is the Death Star of Audio

This isn't a Death Star model to go with your AT-AT. What's lurking behind it is a clue. Have you got it? It's a sound system, only with a twist—it has 62 channels for 3D sound.

It's from the Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology(NICT), a research firm which is responsible for looking after Japan's frequencies and time standards, and also tests marine radar and maritime safety systems. Amongst doing all those important deeds, they've obviously found the time to jump upon the 3D wagon, with this sound system that is the first of its kind in the world today.

With 62 channels, the sound is meant to be a full replica of the original audio, so you genuinely feel that the singer is right there in the room with you. In 3D. It's being shown off at CEATEC this week, and while it's unlikely to go on sale (especially outside of Japan) it's fascinating to see what technology is capable of. Don't stop at 62 next time, NICT.

Oct 4, 2010

This Is Russia's Next Space Station for Tourists

Looks like the space tourism industry is heating up. RSC Energia—the designer and manufacturer of the Russian ISS modules—is creating a new space station for tourists, scientists, and evil genius wannabes. Construction could start as soon as 2012.
No price for the tickets yet, but the station will be prepared to accept spacecraft from any manufacturer.

Sharp's New Japanese Android Phone Has a Retina Display Equivalent

Sharp's new IS03 Android handset has a 960 x 640, 3.5" screen, putting it toe to toe with the iPhone 4's super crisp Retina Display. Oh, and then there's the 9.6MP camera and the TV tuner.

The IS03 employs an Advanced Super View display in lieu of IPS for keeping things visible from all angles, and its 9.6MP camera has autofocus and image stabilization. The 1seg TV tuner and Osaifu-Keitai contactless payment system are just the icing on the cake. It'll be available on Japan's KDDI network soon, but hopefully the rest of the world will be able to feast their retinas on the display sometime in the future.

Zoom Q3HD Handy Video Recorder Shoots 1080p and Has Stereo Mics to Match

While pocket cams video quality has improved incrementally from "good enough" to really actually pretty damn good, audio quality has largely been ignored. The new Zoom Q3HD combines 1080p, 30fps video with stereo mics for the full pocket cam package.

Zoom is known for their audio recorders, and the Q3HD is a nicer-looking refresh of their Q3pocket cam. It shoots 1080p video in 30fps or 720p in 30fps or 60fps, has an HDMI port, and runs on two AA batteries.

But what sets it apart are its built-in stereo condenser mics, capturing 24-bit/96kHz audio that can hold up even if you're at a concert hoisting the thing above a mosh pit. Audio meters let you check your levels while you're recording, and gain can be switched between high and low settings or left on auto. The Q3HD will be available this fall for $299.

Oct 3, 2010

The Future of Cargo Transport Is a Slow UFO

The future of heavy cargo transportation looked positively eco-friendly and blimp-like earlier this summer, so it's really no surprise that Australia's Skylifter cargo blimp is making the Internet rounds this weekend.

Theoretically capable of lifting about 150 tons, this massive 500-ft prototype blimp features a flying saucer shape so that it can combat heavy winds and still deliver its cargo at a breakneck speeds (playful sarcasm) over distances of up to 1,200 miles.

Skylifter, which is also the name of the company that builds it, plans on having these airborne within the next three years.

3D Hologram App For iPhone 5

Chicken Nuggets Are Made From This Pink Goop

This is mechanically separated chicken. Chickens are turned into this goop so we can create delicious chicken nuggets and juicy chicken patties. It's obscenely gross and borderline alien but it's not going to stop me from eating nuggets. They're too good.

The process works a little something like this:

There's more: because it's crawling with bacteria, it will be washed with ammonia, soaked in it, actually. Then, because it tastes gross, it will be reflavored artificially. Then, because it is weirdly pink, it will be dyed with artificial color.

Yeah, that's just disgusting. But I can't shake my roots.

Oct 2, 2010

The Verizon HTC Merge Is a World Phone With a Slider Keyboard

Android Central got their hands on a new Android phone: the HTC Merge, an 800 MHz Android 2.2 phone headed to Verizon. It's a World Phone that uses HTC Sense and has a sliding keyboard similar to the T-Mobile G2.

Truthfully, the Merge isn't anything out of the ordinary. Other than having a decent looking physical keyboard, the Merge's specs—3.7" screen, 800MHz processor, 5-megapixel camera, 720p video—seem to be in line with the average Android phone. On the software side, it's running HTC Sense and because it's on Verizon, it uses Bing for search. I'd be smitten with this device if I loved Sense and needed a physical keyboard, though.

It's sort of amazing how many Android devices Verizon has and continues to put out, you'd think they'd be overlapping each other by now. But unlike the other phones, the Merge can be geared towards world travelers since it comes with a rest of the Earth-friendly SIM card slot. As the Merge hasn't even been announced yet, there's no release date or price point set.

16 Year Old Internet Addict Beaten to Death in Chinese Boot Camp

After refusing a direct order, 16 year old Chen Shi was beaten to death at a boot camp for troubled youth in China. And it's not the first time this has happened to teenage internet addicts.

A day at a typical Chinese internet addiction boot camp begins with a 6:20am wake up call and morning exercises. The day continues with a strict regiment of military drills, lectures, martial arts training, and sessions with psychologists. Lights out is at 9:30 sharp. Some boot camps employ the use of electric shock treatment, while others, like the Beiteng School in Changsha that Shi unfortunately attended, enjoy beating their students with a plastic pipe, a wooden baton, and handcuffs. And parents pay thousands of dollars for this.

Internet addiction among Chinese youth is a bit of an epidemic—1 in 10 teenage internet users are estimated to suffer from the problem. US internet addiction rates run at 3-8% for the entire population (which, apparently, is mostly comprised of our Giz readership).

Shi's mother had initially been informed that he was in critical condition after "possibly" suffering from a sunstroke. He had been enrolled in the program due to his fear of hardship, weak willpower, and lack of self-confidence. It seems that a change in attitude, an increase in parent-child interaction, and some harsh regulations are in order to prevent more such deaths from occurring in the future.

Sh*t Talkin

Oct 1, 2010

AT&T Selling Windows Phone 7 Devices Nov. 8th?

The WSJ reports that you'll be able to get your hands on a Windows Phone 7 device in the US the week of November 8th. That's a month after WP7's official unveiling, and weeks after the rumored European launch.

As for hardware, AT&T will feature offerings from Samsung, LG, and HTC from day one.

Those of you on Verizon and Sprint wondering when your WP7 devices are rolling through are going to have to sit tight; Microsoft's not pursuing a CDMA version of the phone until next year. And those of you on AT&T wondering why—apparently—Europe gets first digs? Well, chalk that up to life's unremitting unfairness, I guess.

Facebook's Rolling Out High-Resolution Photo Sharing

As big fans of photo-sharing site Flickr, one of the most frustrating things about the popularity of photo sharing on social-networking site Facebook has always been the relatively terrible quality of Facebook's highly compressed photos. Starting today, that's changing.

Over the next few weeks, Facebook will be rolling out support for high-res pictures for free to every user:

We're increasing the size of the photos stored from 720 pixels to 2048 pixels on the largest edge, for an 8 times increase overall. I'm really excited to be launching this feature. To see the quality of these pictures, you can view National Geographic's "Top-Rated Your Shot Photos (September)" album or Sports Illustrated's "Football Across America" album. Download high-resolution photos by clicking the "Download" link.

They're also updating their photo viewer with a new lightbox interface (think Flickr's new galleries—dark background with the image popping out in the forefront). Chances are you're not seeing any of the updates in your account yet, but the rollout starts today, so if you aren't, you can expect it in the near future.