Jun 12, 2011

Is Google Getting Old and Slow Like Microsoft ?

According to an ex-googler, the search giant may no longer be the quick-moving, innovative company we have grown to know and love.

Former Google engineer Dhanji R. Prasanna claims Google has become your typical large company. It has a corporate culture that rewards developers for protecting old code instead of creating new code. Some projects fail to reach their goal, because of this mindset. It's not a place for nimble hackers to work, he warns.

And the software infrastructure that powers its services is now ten-years old and very much obsolete, he claims. Software components are described as "ancient, creaking dinosaurs" and projects as "sluggish, over-engineered Leviathans". It may just be me, but that sounds a lot like *cough* Microsoft.

Jun 11, 2011

Extraordinary Hubble Photo Shows a Gigantic Exploding Death Star In Space—or Homer Simpson

Astronomers are in awe as they witness the evolution of Supernova 1987A using the Hubble Space Telescope. I don't blame them. It's awesome indeed. The actual explosion was first detected in February 1987, in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Supernova 1987A—NASA, can we call this Flabbergasting Giganormous Pink Glitter Ring of Glowing Awesomeness?—is "the closest supernova explosion witnessed in almost 400 years." The debris sprayed by this extremely violent stellar event started to fade away as it moved out of the center, but now it's impacting the surrounding ring "creating powerful shock waves that generate X-rays observed with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory."

These Shoes Tell You What’s Wrong With the Way You Walk (But Not Your Fashion Sense)

This footwear might look like the spawn of a three-way with shoes, stilts and a computer, but the super-awkward ForceShoe is actually a smartie, telling you exactly how you walk.

Developed by researchers at University of Twente's MIRA research institute, the ForceShoe contains four sensor modules at the heel and the front of the foot to analyze the precise movements of your feet. Like how much force your foot is exerting on the ground at any given moment. The shoe was initially developed to assess rehabilitation in stroke patients, but researchers are now looking at using it in high-level sports analysis.

Keep Yours Keys Safe and Cut Things to Shreds With a Bladed Carabiner

The Bounty Hunter carabiner packs blades into its silver body. Convenience andcutting! If you're using it for pocket key duty or rappelling, you might find yourself in need of a blade. Or nail file! Or scissor! The Bounty Hunter carabiner has you covered either way. Really, nothing ruins a day on the side of a cliff like an uneven nail. Or, if you encounter a very small bear, you'll be properly equipped for self-defense.

Jun 10, 2011

Where Did the Word "Sexting" Come From?

Sexting starting off like one of those stupid terms nobody actually uses, like netiquette. But now it's on CNN nigh daily. So where'd this strange neologism come from? The internet has an answer!

The Atlantic Wire did some digging, and the first utterance they could come up with was way back in 2004, when penises weren't being beamed across Twitter with quite the same frequency as today: "For many people, 'sext messaging' has a disinhibiting effect, like having a couple of cocktails," said Canada's The Globe and Mail.

Since then, the term's become completely informal, losing its quotation marks and "messaging" suffix. Of course, this hasn't stopped the media clueless from struggling to understand this zany wave of hormonal phone-wielders trying to express their urges via electricity-powered machinery.

But sexting isn't even related to SMS anymore—the term's flung around every time a dong appears on Twitter or Facebook. 

The Eatensil: For All Those Times You Need a Pizza Cutter on the Go

The Eatenisil combines seven tools which make eating easier—a spoon, fork, knife, pizza cutter, chopsticks, bottle opener and wooden chip fork—all in a Swiss Army Knife-type casing. Novel indeed, but I have to ask: why?

I could see the need for something like the Eatensil if a person were going on some minimalist camping trip that required as light a load as possible. 

The Lightest Olympic Torch Ever

It's being referred to as a "golden cheesegrater" in various circles. The public seems to hate it. Still, at 800 grams, this is the lightest Olympic torch yet. And that's important, because a lot of people are going to carry the thing a long way.

Reuters says the design ties in London's Olympic history:

Ignoring the unwelcome comparisons, the designers said its triangular shape symbolises the three times that London has staged the Games in 1908, 1948 and 2012, the faster, higher stronger motto of the Olympic movement and the sport, education and culture triple vision of the 2012 Games.

Designed in London and manufacured in Basel, the torch is 800mm high and has 8000 holes, representative of the 8000 mile journey and the 8000 people who will carry it throughout the UK.

According to the UK Independent, original designs for the aluminum torch included an eco-friendly, torch with low-carbon emissions, but the designers weren't able to find a suitable propellant for the flame in time. Instead, it will burn a more traditional gas concoction. The journey will begin next may in Ancient Olympia and end July 27 at London's Olympic Stadium.

Jun 9, 2011

IBM Outs Integrated Circuit Smaller Than a Grain of Salt

Graphene's the thinnest electrical material, comprising just a single atomic layer. In addition to its electrical, thermal, mechanical, and optical properties, researchers dig it because it has the potential to be less expensive, more energy-efficient, and more compact than your garden-variety silicon.

So imagine IBM's delight when a team of company researchers built the first circuit that fits all the components, including inductors and a graphene transistor, on a single wafer -- a setup that consumes less space than a grain of salt. The advantage, scientists say, is better performance than what you'd get from a circuit combining a graphene transistor with external components. 

Ricoh Waterproof, Dirt-resistant PX Camera For Outdoorsy Photographers

This small warrior packs a 16-megapixel CCD sensor along with a 5x optical wide zoom lens and is capable of booting up in just 1.4 seconds. The device also supports subject-tracking and face-priority auto-focus features, in addition to a host of shooting modes, including toy camera, soft-focus and high-contrast black and white, among others. Most alluring, however, is its resilience. According to Ricoh, the PX can survive drops from an altitude of up to five feet, remains waterproof at depths of about ten feet, and is impermeable to dust, sand and dirt. There's also a 2.7-inch, scratch-resistant LCD on its backside, meaning you won't have to worry about casually tossing it in your backpack as you make your way along the trail. 
More flamboyant hikers, meanwhile, can add their own personal touch to the PX by wrapping it in a protective silicon sleeve, available in five, vibrant colors. If you're interested, you can grab a PX of your own when it hits stores later this month, for$317. 

Samsung Spinpoint M8 Puts 1TB Drives On a Diet, Just In Time For Bathing Suit Season

The trouble with high capacity hard drives is that they're about the size and weight of a brick, and just as bad for throwing in glass houses or ultrathin laptops. Samsung is slimming up the beastliest of disks though, with the just announced Spinpoint M8. Inside this 1TB drive are a pair of 500GB storage platters, instead of the three 334MB ones found in most storage solutions of this size. By using AFT, Advanced format technology, Sammy was able to up the storage density and trim its latest Spinpoint to a svelte 9.5mm thick (your average 1TB drive is 12.5mm). 

As an added bonus, the increased density also boosts performance and power efficiency since the drives heads need to move less. If you want to slap one in your notebook you can pick one up for $129.

Jun 8, 2011

Will It Blend? - Justin Bieber

Not Just Any Old Bottle Opener Case, It Also Tracks Which Drinks You Guzzle

Bottle opener cases have been kicking around the block for ages, but the iOpener case is a lot cleverer than it looks. It actually contains an accelerometer, which detects when it's being used, and then opens a drink-tracking app.

The app, BevConX, lets you input the drink you just opened with the bottle opener, with the time and location also recorded. You even have the option of updating your Twitter or Facebook friends with the fact you just opened a cold brewski. Of course, not all your drinks consumed will come in a bottle—nor be opened by your fair hands—but for any serious drinker, that blind eye being turned by the app is probably for your own good.

On sale now for $30, it's only available for the iPhone 3G or 3GS—apparently an iPhone 4 model is coming soon.

Retrieve Lost Balls With the Golf Ball Wrangler

Somewhere in our extended circle of friends and family we all have a golfer who loves to talk about the many balls he lost in water hazards and the crazy ways he's retrieved them.

He's probably tried a few visual ball finders, but they don't work underwater. Before he rents some scuba gear, you should tell him to checkout the Golf Ball Wrangler.

The Wrangler is low-tech, but it gets the job done. It's basically a series of plates mounted on a spindle. You toss the Wrangler in the water, pull it across the bottom of a pond, and the balls get trapped between the plates. It's simple and brilliant.

Jun 7, 2011

Woman Gets Massive Tattoo of All Her Facebook Friends’ Faces

The latest edition of absurd Facebook-related tattoos: This lady got a tattoo of her 192 Facebook friends' faces on her arm. Ugh. If this is going to become a trend, then Facebook needs to add a privacy setting that lets you not allow people to get your Facebook profile picture tattooed on a person's arm.

Japan Scores Official Bluetooth PS3 Keyboard For ¥5,000

If you've ever seen a Bluetooth keyboard there isn't much surprising here, though it does feature a PS button for powering the console on and off. Instead of a touchpad Sony went with a Thinkpad-style nub which will be loved by some, but loathed by others.

And don't worry, pairing this thin one-pounder with other devices should be quite simple. Folks in the Land of the Rising Sun can pick one up on June 30th for ¥5,000 (about $62), but there's no word on a stateside release.

The Wii U Controller, Revealed!

Woah! The rumors turned out to be true: a 6.2-inch screen will be built into the controller for Nintendo's next-generation Wii U console. It'll also feature a microphone, a gyroscope, dual analog controls, two shoulder buttons and two triggers, a front-facing camera, a stylus, and yes, it's a touchscreen, too! The Wii U's controller was "not designed to be a portable game machine," even if it shares some characteristics with handhelds. You will, however, be able to game and video chat even without a TV. The Wii U controller is backwards compatible with all current Wii accessories.

Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel Will Arrive in Early October for $60

Microsoft's Kinect motion controls may be infiltrating all sorts of games this, but the Xbox maker isn't neglecting those in need of a more tangible control scheme. A new Wireless Speed Wheel has just been revealed, with a reasonable $60 price tag and an early October launch date. 

As you see above, it's technically three-thirds of a wheel, but that does allow for extra green bands of lights to be applied and, slightly more importantly, a set of directional and action buttons to be added to the handles of this steering implement. There's a rumble pack inside for force feedback and a pair of trigger buttons on the underside for smashing the gas or dabbing the brakes.

Jun 6, 2011

Test Your Browser’s IPv6 Readiness With a Simple Web Page

In preparation forWorld IPv6 DayGoogle's set up a simple test page to allow users to check whether or not their current browsers, systems, and networks are set up to handle the impending changeover. 

What’s Apple Hiding on This WWDC Mystery Banner?

OSX Lion is coming. iOS5 is coming. iCloud is coming. The banners for these products are already flapping in the air conditioned wind at Moscone Center. But what is behind this mystery banner, shrouded in black?

Full size would it be a new iPhone? A new Time Capsule?Some other, unforeseen One Last Thing?

HTC EVO 3D launches on June 24th for $200, joined by EVO View 4G tablet at $400

The HTC bonanza that Sprint has been cooking up for a while now has its official launch date: June 24th. That will be the day when the 4.3-inch EVO 3D and its tablet buddy, the 7-inch EVO View 4G, launch on the Now Network, both equipped with WiMAX radios and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) as their OS. The 1.2GHz dual-core EVO 3D costs $200 on contract, with pre-orders available right now provided you buy a $50 Sprint gift card, whereas the 1.5GHz single-core EVO View 4G will set you back double that, at $400, while still requiring a two-year contract.