Nov 20, 2011

Siri, Coming To Android?

We already know that Siri does most of its processing server-side, and that Apple's claims of hardware as a limiting factor are tenuous at best. But new research from French developer Applidium reveals that Apple is truly full of it.

They've managed to completely reveal the entire process used for communications between the iPhone 4S and Apple's servers. In doing so, they discovered that the only thing keeping Siri from running on Android (or just about anything with a microphone and an internet connection) was a single line of code. Furthermore, they suggest that it's entirely possible to create a third-party Siri client that could fool Apple's servers into thinking they were talking with a normal iPhone 4S. Unfortunately, it's that single line of code that could severely hobble any attempt to capitalize on this discovery.

As it turns out, that code is unique to each individual iPhone 4S and as of now, there's no way to replicate it. So in order to get a third party-client working, you would either have to sacrifice a large number of iPhones, or risk easy detection by the Apple Gestapo. Basically, the only thing standing between you and a Siri-equipped refrigerator is a string of random characters.

Nov 19, 2011

Most of Einstein’s Brain Is Now Concentrated in New Jersey and Philadelphia

What, you didn't think academia would just let the finest mind in science rot do you? When Einstein died in 1955, his grey matter was preserved for posterity. Now, 46 slivers of his thinking cap have been donated to Philadelphia's Mütter Museum.

Lucy Rorke-Adams, a neuropathologist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, donated the slides yesterday to the museum, part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Rorke-Adams received the slides in the mid-1970's from the widow of a physician who helped arrange their preparation.

While some of the slide sets have been lost over the decades, a majority of his brain remains at Princeton University where the autopsy was performed and where researchers have spent the better part of 50 years inspecting them for physical clues to Einstein's genius. The Mütter slides "are a very important part of medical history," said Rorke-Adams.

Kingston HyperX is an SSD Soul Stuck in a Flash Drive's Body

The performance is pretty impressive, getting 225MB/s read and 135MB/s write -- making it Kingston's fastest ever flash drive (and a tempting shot at expanding the solid state storage on a laptop). The setup is capped off with a sturdy rubber cover and keyring hook, although we wouldn't fancy putting gear this expensive at the mercy of our car keys. Kingston isn't saying when the devices are coming out, but expect the 64GB model to set you back $193, with 128GB running up a tab to the tune of $377.

Nov 18, 2011

I Want to Take a Bite Out of the Most Insane-Looking Camera Ever

Pentax, longtime king of the hideous/genius technicolor DSLR, has lost its throne. This custom job looks like someone took a Canon and dipped it in Willy Wonka's exposed brain. Only... delicious!

It has sprinkles, chocolate sauce, advanced imaging circuitry, and perhaps some sort of homage to Dippin' Dots? At any rate, it's extremely rad looking, and I wish more cameras dared to be more than black or grey. Maybe not candy store nervous breakdown, but a tad more expressive. More here.

Yup, Some People Are Already in Line for Black Friday

I don't know what's in the water in Florida but the same exact Best Buy location that got ridiculously early Black Friday line ups last year is getting ridiculously early Black Friday line ups this year. Yep, people are in line RIGHT NOW.

More than a week early! Skipping Thanksgiving! Who needs to work? YAY WE GET LAPTOPS AND TVs FOR A LITTLE BIT LESS EXPENSIVE THAN USUAL. The magical Best Buy where they must pump fairy dust and heroin through their vents is located near the Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg, Florida. Last year, that Best Buy awarded the family who camped out early free iPads for their dedication. There's no mention of such luxurious treatment this year. Aww.

Christine Orta actually set up her tent (and motorcycle?) on Wednesday and is coordinating a stakeout strategy with three other families. Orta and her cohorts are all students which well explains a lot—save money, waste time, be crazy.

Self-Healing Plastic

By adding some extra ingredients and a pinch of a zinc compound to a traditional epoxy resin, a team of French researchers have made a plastic whose chemical bonds continually break and reform. When it's cold, the material is pretty rigid, maintaining its shape. Warm it up, though, and the plastic becomes malleable, allowing the material to heal small scratches and dents.

Normally synthetic plastics fall into two types: thermoplastics and thermosets. The former can be heated and remoulded but are weak, and the latter can only be processed once but are strong. This new plastic sits in the middle: it's possible to remould it, but it's also strong. It even maintains its properties when it's ground up and recycled.

It sounds too good to be true. Maybe it is. But I want everything plastic I own from now on to be made out of it.

Nov 17, 2011

Your Next Phone Might Be Fuelled by Liquid Metal, More Like Terminator

This week rumours have circulated about HTC launching a blisteringly quick 2.5GHz quad-core phone. But that will soon seem paltry, when our mobile devices are fuelled by liquid metal.

IBM have been working out how to use liquid to simultaneously fuel and cool processors - and they've managed it. In their Zurich Research Laboratory, the team have taken their inspiration from the human brain.
"The human brain is 10,000 times more dense and efficient than any computer today. That's possible because it uses only one, extremely efficient, network of capillaries and blood vessels to transport heat and energy, all at the same time," IBM's Bruno Michel told New Scientist.
First, this bunch of IBM engineers stacked hundreds of silicon wafers on top of each other to create three-dimensional processors. Nothing particularly new there: after all, Intel's new Ivy Bridge processors, to be launched in 2012, do just that.

But IBM have created channels between the wafers which allow liquid metal - vanadium, to be precise - to run through the entire processor. Because the liquid is metallic, it can be used to carry charged particles that power the chip. As the vanadium loses its charge, it also absorbs heat, meaning the fluid acts as a coolant, too.

The knock-on effect? Far high efficiency, and far higher clock speeds in tiny devices. Which could leave the 2.5GHz HTC quaking in its boots.

Nov 16, 2011

Google Music Drops beta, MP3 Store and Google+ Integration Along for the Ride

Been dutifully uploading music to Mountain View's cloud since Google I/O? Might want hit pause for just a sec, while you tune to Google's beat here in Los Angeles, as it's just gone and launched its own music store integrated with Android Market. Best part is, the service still free, though you can now purchase millions of songs from the store to expand your collection of tunes. 90-second track previews are available, and all songs are high quality 320kbps MP3s. And for those with an aversion to waiting, which should be all of you, uploads can now be nixed entirely, provided tracks in your possession jive with Google's master copies. The company is now on equal footing with Cupertino and Amazon's music offerings, who both offer direct sales coupled with a cloud component that allows for unlimited redownloads. Yet it more closely resembles the latter, as unlike the former there isn't a $25 yearly free as all tracks can be streamed for free.

Naturally, a new version of the Google Music app is already available in the Android Market, and a fresh look for Music Manager will follow in the next few hours. Unsurprisingly, Google Music sans beta brings tight integration with Google +. You can now share songs on your friend stream, and not just samples, either -- your buddies can listen to full tracks or albums one time through without ever leaving your profile.

Nokia to Release Windows 8 Tablets This June, top Drawer Lumia in the Works?

There's some intriguing Nokia news coming out of France this morning, thanks to Paul Amsellem, head of the company's Gallic outpost. In a recent interview with Parisian daily Les Echos, Amsellem described Nokia's aspirations to regain some of the market share it's lost within France, explaining that his firm is squarely targeting the 60 percent of French users who currently don't own a smartphone. More salient, however, is what the exec had to say about Nokia's plans for future releases. 

According to Amsellem, Espoo will unveil a new Windows 8 equipped tablet by June 2012. Unfortunately, that's about all he had to say on the subject, but it's certainly enough of a carrot to raise our heart rates -- as are Amsellem's comments on the Lumia 800, which hit French stores yesterday. Comparing the handset to a BMW 5 series, the chief went on to say that Nokia "will soon have a full range with a 7 Series and 3 Series." 

Nov 15, 2011

Ballmer didn't say Windows 8 is Coming to Phones

Oh, what a difference punctuation makes. Speaking at the company's shareholders' meeting earlier today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a remark that set more than a few geek hearts aflutter. According to various reports, he said "We've got broad Windows initiatives driving Windows down to the phone with Windows 8."

Turns out, that's not how he said it. A Microsoft rep confirmed to us that if transcribed correctly, Ballmer's remarks (documented in the recording below) should read, "We've got broad Windows initiatives driving Windows down to the phone. With Windows 8, you'll..." By "Windows," then, he meant the overarching family of software bearing the Windows name, and not Windows 8 specifically. 

This Edison Bulb with an LED Heart Makes Us Love Incandescents Again

Like an obnoxious great uncle who's overstayed his welcome, horribly inefficient incandescent bulbs are still lingering around because we're just used to them. So Panasonic has designed a new LED alternative with a visible filament and clear glass that looks like the classic Edison bulb, while still being remarkably more energy efficient.

There's no word on when you can get your hands on one, or how insanely expensive they'll initially be, but Panasonic's new LED bulb goes a long way to bridging the psychological gap that keeps people buying inefficient incandescents because they prefer the way they look. Using just 4.4 watts of power, the LED filament in this bulb is rated for up to 40,000 hours of use. So if you were to install one just after you were born, you wouldn't have to change it until your 40th birthday, with just a few hours of use every day.

Besides the energy saving benefits, LEDs aren't as harmful to the environment as CFLs, which contain mercury and need to be disposed of properly. And they reach full intensity as soon as they're turned on, making them better suited in places like bathrooms where you don't necessarily want to have to wait for the lights to warm up. The development won Panasonic a2011 Good Design Award, and hopefully convinced the powers that be that these are certainly worth putting into production. Even if only those of us on the bleeding edge are willing to spring for them.

Nov 14, 2011

Shimano Showcases the Ultegra Di2 Electronic Bike Gears

How much would you spend for an upgrade to smooth shifting on your next road bike? If $8,000 is in the ballpark, then Shimano-powered electronic shifters may be in your future. Outfitted with the company's newest Ultegra 6770 Di2 series of gears, the shifters give a taste of technology normally reserved for Tour de Francers -- at new, more affordable pricing. So what was it like to be the envy of cyclists everywhere?

Many aspiring Lance Armstrongs will tell you that the future of bike technology is all about electronic gear-shifting. Unlike the traditional lever shifter, the electronic variety uses a motorized derailleur to move the chain from cog to cog. Thought by many to be faster, smarter and easier to use than a regular shifter, the electronic version only requires the click of a mouse-like button. The handlebar controls move both the front and the rear gears, giving the rider enhanced control over the ride with minimal effort. The shifter is powered by a removable lithium ion battery, which requires a 90-minute charge every 1,250 miles or so.

Even an amateur bike rider will be able to feel the difference between Shimano electronic gears and those on a standard road bike. The super sensitive shifter only requires a light press to move the chain in the front or rear derailleur and find the perfect gear. There's no sticking or bumpy shifting, making the action smooth and effortless -- getting the shift right every time. Of course, moving between gears may not be that big of a deal for those of us used to a Huffy, but when it comes to winning triathlons and road races, a smooth shifter is one of the key components to copping a gold medal to compliment your Lycra bodysuit. Expect to see Shimano's new line of electronic gears in various bikes in the coming months.

Impossible to Destroy Hardshell Backpack

This super slick hard shell backpack, called Solid Gray and made in the Netherlands, is cut and shaped from a single sheet of polypropene block copolymer. It's supposedly so strong that even if you bend it a million times it will never break or tear.

The material made to create the Solid Gray backpack was previously only used for industrial purposes but is now finally being used in a consumer product for the first time. The Solid Gray backpack has a special strap to hold a laptop in place (15.6" and under) and is water resistant. Get it here.

Sunken Pedestrian Bridge Parts The Waters Without a Miracle

Designed for tourists visiting a fort in the Netherlands, instead of being a means for the ancient Israelites to escape the Egyptians, this Moses Bridge sits below the water line of a moat so it visually disappears. Recreating what the fort and surrounding area would have looked like back in the 17th century,

Originally built in the early 1700s to protect the Netherlands from invasion by France and Spain, Fort de Roovere was surrounded by a shallow, muddy moat that prevented armies from crossing it, even with boats. But now that those threats are mostly gone, the fort is opened to tourists. And since an elevated bridge would have taken away from the aesthetics of the fort's design, this sunken bridge was designed instead.

It's made from sustainable Accoya wood treated with a non-toxic waterproof coating that protects it from decay, and since the moat is too shallow for boat traffic, there's little risk of waves splashing up over the side. But, it also finally provides both France and Spain with an easy way to cross the moat, so I'm hoping that the Netherlands hasn't let their guard down too early.

Nov 13, 2011

Apple iPhone 4S now Available for $99 in Puerto Rico

Sure, you can now purchase an unlocked iPhone 4S within the US officially, but folks in the outlying territory of Puerto Rico have some tempting options if they'll go the long-term contractual route. The region's division of carrier, Claro, is now selling the Siri-packed device starting at the low, low price of $99 for the 16GB model on-contract -- those scared of commitment can also snag it unlocked, albeit for a slightly pricey $670 (which as 9to5Mac points out, is up $20 from Apple). 

The carrier also lists the 32 and 64GB variants as "expected soon," marked to sell at $199 / $299 with a two-year commitment and $770 / $870 unlocked. Notably, you'll have a choice of four monthly plans featuring unlimited talk and text ranging from about 65 to 85 bucks, with data allotments starting at 250MB and peaking at "unlimited." Apparently, Claro isn't offering the 4S for purchase online, but it does list a number of retail locations you can grab one from if you're interested. More here.

These Keychain Multi-Tools Prove That Nothing Is Cooler Than Milled Titanium

I couldn't tell you why, but CNC-milled titanium seems to invoke the same testosterone pumping response as watching a grizzly bear fight a bald eagle. 

At first glance I'm not quite sure what to make of these supposed 'multi-tools.' Despite having edges designed for prying and a nonadjustable wrench on the Barbar, neither of them have any dedicated screwdrivers, pliers or even a blade. So they don't appear to be particularly useful as actual tools. But at the same time, they're friggin' beautiful! It's as if someone gave Picasso a CNC machine, a chunk of titanium, and told him to make a keychain. Plus, there's a bottle opener, and let's be honest, that's the only tool you really need. Get them here.

Nov 12, 2011

Genius Vented Candleholder Provides Easy Access For a Lit Match

Since your fancy gooseneck lighter always seems to be out of fuel, you might want to pick up a set of these vented tea light holderswhich are a stroke of genius. They feature a slit down the side that lets you easily light a candle with even the shortest of matches, reducing those burns that have become a holiday tradition for me.

Created by Form Us With Love, the Match Candleholders are fortunately actually available from Design Within Reach in green, blue, purple, and grey. But unfortunately, a set of four will set you back a whopping $75. So with an ever growing credit card bill around Christmas time, I think I'm going to stick with bandaged fingertips and an extra $75 in my pocket this year. Get them here.

HTC Rezound Starts Shipping Early Because you can't Stop the Beats

When HTC took the wraps off the Rezound, it tipped us all off to a November 14th launch for Verizon'sBeats Audio-branded device. Now, it appears that those of you who jumped on the pre-order bandwagon are getting premature access to the red-and-black-tinged goods, with some units arriving as early as today. 

How'd this come about? Well, it seems a few eager beavers lucked out during the purchasing process, selecting overnight delivery and receiving the phones toute de suite. I have a feeling Dr. Dre would approve.

Nov 11, 2011

Why Do Crocodiles Eyes Shine So Beautifully at Night?

Those little bright lights belong toyacarés—caiman latirostris. They are broad-snouted caimans, crocodilian reptiles typical of eastern and central South America. Why do their eyes shine in such a pretty way?

It's the crystals inside their retina, inside a layer called tapetum. This tissue reflects light in such a way that makes these yacarés and the rest of the crocodiles have night vision. Oh, little crocodiles, you are so pretty!

These were photographed by Daniel Fox at the Yacaré Pora farm in Ituzaingo, Argentina. He probably thought they were too pretty to ignore. Lewis Carroll agrees:
How doth the little crocodile
Improve upon his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!
Next time you are in the zoo, don't forget to put your hand between the bars of the crocodile cage and give them whatever food you have. They like it all and they are such gentle, grateful beasts!

It’s 11:11 11-11-11! You Know What That Means

In binary, 1111 11 11 11 means "The world is ending right now and I'm still in bed wearing my Wolverine underpants." Good bye my friends.

Apparently nothing happened. Maybe it will mean that tonight at 11:11pm. STAY TUNED.

Adobe Releases final Flash Player Version for Android, BlackBerry PlayBook, Promises Future Updates

When Adobe announced the death of Flash Player on mobile devices earlier this week, it did so while promising to issue a final version for Android devices and the BlackBerry PlayBook. Now, that promise has come to fruition, with the release of version 11.1. Like pretty much every Adobe update, this latest refresh promises to patch up a host of security flaws -- 12 "critical" ones, to be exact. More intriguing, however, are Adobe's plans for future security support. 

In a blog post published Wednesday, company exec Danny Winokur confirmed that Adobe will "continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations." This sentiment was echoed in a Twitter post yesterday from Brad Arkin, senior director of product security and privacy: "Adobe will continue to ship security updates for Flash Player mobile after the final feature release." But neither Winokur nor Arkin have specified how long this patch distribution will continue, and the company has yet to offer any sort of timeline for future tablet and smartphone updates. For more information on the latest release, check out the source link below, or hit up the coverage link to grab the Android version for yourself.

Nov 10, 2011

Pork Molded into a Piglet Is Disgusting and/or Awesome

I love pork. I like pigs. They're cute, and fun to eat, and intelligent among mud-dwelling beasts. But what I don't like is for my dinner to artificially resemble the killed animal from which it was derived. This is gross.

Or is it amazing? The shrink wrapped pseudo-pig, a pork roast molded into the vague form of its prior self, is certainly a feat of food engineering. I'd expect nothing less from Costco, the Ikea of edibles. But will pork taste more like pork when it's compressed into animal form? Chicken nuggets are absolutely better in dinosaur shape, but there you have a sort of perverse species incongruence. Would the pork roast be delicious and aesthetically acceptable if it were molded into the shape of, say, a cat, whale, or amoeba? Does anyone out there have a hydraulic press and an ample supply of raw meat?

Stanford Is Building the World’s Biggest Digital Camera

So just how much can a digital camera the size of a Hyundai see? Hopefully, if you're the Stanford team building it, enough to answer some fundamental questions about our galaxy.

It will be the world's largest digital camera by a good margin, built by the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope—a large aperture survey telescope designed to find and photograph faint astronomical objects from its perch high atop a Chilean mountain. Specifically, the LSST will investigate astronomical phenomena including dark energy, dark matter, and near-Earth asteroids, as well as inventory the solar system and explore the transient optical sky.

The features and specs of the new LSST surpass any current telescope, either land-based or orbital. Its 8.4-meter-diameter mirror will be able to scan large swaths of the night sky while generating 3D maps via 800 15-second exposures every session—nearly 50 times as much area as the moon takes up in the sky. The LSST's 3.2-gigapixel camera will consist of 189 CCD ultraviolet, visible, and infrared light-sensitive sensors, cost roughly $170 million, and have enough resolution to spot your car's headlights at a distance of 400 miles.

Nov 9, 2011

Apple Says Siri Never Coming to Older Phones

If you've been looking forward to a non-jailbroken build of sassy Siri to land on your old iPhone, abandon hope. Apple officially has no plans to take Siri beyond the 4S, says Michael Steeber. It's Apple bullshit, but totally expected.

After one Cult of Mac reader pestered Apple tech support over a paid Siri upgrade for non-4S iPhones, he says he received this in response, which he forwarded to CoM's Steeber:
Engineering has provided the following feedback regarding this issue:
Siri only works on iPhone 4S and we currently have no plans to support older devices.
Which, as noted, is bullshit—we've seen proof that Siri can run just fine on older hardware. Apple's 4S restriction is an arbitrary roadblock. But should we expect anything else? Siri is the big 4S hype factor, and without that, Apple would have a hard(er) job convincing anyone the upgrade is worth it. Without any physical difference between the 4 and 4S, being able to bring up Siri at a party and ask her to count your farts is the 4S owner's only way of standing out. Apple's not going to give that up.

Tango Video Calling app Prances its Way into Windows Phone Marketplace

The video calling service finally hit the Marketplace today, more than a year after launching on iOS and Android, and barely a month after expanding to PCs. Compatible with Windows Phone 7.5 or higher, Tango for Mango allows users to make free phone and video calls over 3G, 4G and WiFi connections, including free international calls to fellow Tangonians. Users can also chat with Tango members across other operating systems and platforms, which should help tide them over until that Skype integrationbecomes a reality.

Nov 8, 2011

Ziiiro Celeste Watches Tick off the Hours in Multi-hued Fashion

Ziiiro is one of those companies that consistently finds its way on to the wish lists with watches like the Orbit and Gravity. Celeste is its latest offering, which represents your linear travel through the fourth dimension as a pair of overlapping colored disks. As the partially transparent bands circle about, they blend together to create dynamic hues of blue and gray, on the Mono models, or green and blue, on the Colored editions. The watches are housed in matte-finished stainless steel in chrome, gunmetal or black. You can pre-order the Celeste Mono and Celeste Colored now for €149 ($205), and they'll start shipping on November 18th here.

Scientists Create the Definitive Flu Killer

University of Texas Southwestern's scientists have created a new flu vaccine that can protect us against any kind of flu, not just one type. Unlike the current type of vaccines, this can even protect us if the virus mutates.

That's the big problem of the current vaccines: every year, medical experts guess what's going to be the dominant flu strain and create a vaccine using a weakened version of that virus. When it gets injected, our body gets to know the weakened virus safely, producing cells that can neutralize that virus if a real attack occurs. The problem is that, if that virus mutates, this prevention becomes useless. That is why people may get the flu even when they are vaccinated.

The team led by Dr. Beatrice Fontoura took a completely different approach:

What we are doing is something different. We are actually stimulating our own response which is already there – boost it – to fight an infection.

Their solution boosts our natural immunological system, targeting a protein in our bodies called REDD-1. Fontoura's team discovered that, when REDD-1 levels are low in a cell, the flu virus can easily infect the cell. The vaccine increases the protein's levels, creating a shield that is impossible for the virus to penetrate.

According to the team, the new vaccine is so effective that it can even protect us against the Spanish Flu, the H1N1 influenza virus that killed between 50 and 100 million in 1918, mostly healthy young adults. Another deadly H1N1 virus was the Swine Flu, which may have infected 11% to 21% of the world's population in 2009.

Sadly, the vaccine is still not ready for mass distribution yet. They have to complete the usual FDA procedures to be introduced in the market, a process that may take years.

HAL Suits Could Help Support Nuclear Cleaners

A Tungsten vest provides its wearer fantastic protection from radiation's damaging effects. Problem is—said vest also weighs about 132 pounds. So how does the Haz-Mat crew of tomorrow gird their loins in this radiation-resistant element? Exo-suits, obviously.

Cyberdyne (the real Japanese company, not the fictional LA firm responsible for Skynet) has adapted their Hybrid Assistive Limb, or HAL (oh, come on), to support these heavy tungsten tunics. HAL suits monitor the body's electrical impulses and attempt to support the user by anticipating his movements. "This new type of HAL robot suit enables their wearers to work on the site without feeling the burden," the company said in a statement. "It is hoped that this will reduce risks of working under harsh environments and contribute to early restoration operations by humans in the wake of disasters."

And, when used in conjunction with the conventional Tyvek suit, which is designed more for keeping radioactive materials from melting into your skin than protecting you from actual radiation, workers will be effectively protected. The company has not said whether these devices will be used at the Fukushima plant where roughly 2,000 workers daily struggle to sanitize the site.

Nov 7, 2011

EZmouse Packs a Backup So It Never Runs Out of Batteries

They lost their annoying USB cables, but in the process wireless mice also gained an appetite for batteries. Recently they've been put on a power diet, but Digitz's EZmouse goes double deuce on the rechargeable batteries so you never need to hunt down a fresh AAA ever again.

The mouse's main rechargeable battery is good for about four to five weeks of use before it needs to be removed and connected to a USB port on your computer for charging. And to ensure you can keep on wirelessly mousing while the main battery's powering up for two hours, a smaller, non-removable backup provides up to three days of additional use. When the main battery is topped off and re-inserted into the $50 mouse, the backup then automatically recharges itself so it's ready for the next time it's called upon. A feature I wouldn't mind seeing added to digital cameras and other devices with removable rechargeable batteries.

LG's thin and Mighty P330 Laptop Surfaces at Korean Retailer

The Core i7 processor has been replaced by an i5-2435M running at 2.4GHz, but that's hardly a deal breaker -- and it's possible a higher specced variant will eventually see daylight too. The other key credentials are all intact: an NVIDIA GeForce GT555M taking care of the visuals, a 40GB / 640GB SSD and HDD combo for snappier performance, and an IPS display built into an all-metal 1.7kg (3.6-pound) chassis. The price is listed as ₩1,364,000, which converts to a hefty $1,220

Nov 6, 2011

iOS 5 Battery Help Is Almost Here

A few days ago, Apple admitted that there's an unknown issue with the iPhone 4S's battery performance, and two days ago it seeded a beta for iOS 5.0.1 to developers to try to address the problem. Now Beta 2's already been pushed out, which shows that Apple's taking this battery business seriously.

Dell Latitude S Tablet Available for Pre-order, Might just Arrive Before Christmas

Serving as further evidence that the stylus really is back, Dell's coy enterprise slate, the Latitude S is now available for pre-order with an estimated delivery date of November 29th and an $859 price tag. If your too impatient to wait for Windows 8, this one's sporting Microsoft's seventh generation, weighs a hefty 816g -- nearly twice as much as the BlackBerry PlayBook -- and contains a 1.5GHz Intel Atom Z670processor.

Nov 5, 2011

A Leopard-Print Garden Hose Cover for Your Summer Home at the Jersey Shore

I'd imagine this is the sort of hose Snooki would own—were I to also imagine Snooki capable of fathoming the whole "watering plants" concept. The "Hose Clothes" cover slips onto hoses up to 5/8-inches in diameter and costs $24 for 25 feet or $34 for 50 feet at Dirt Couture.

Korean Bendy Memory Could Make Plenty of Trendy Tech

Flexible displays aren't much good unless there's flexible memory alongside. It's been attempted before, but bending memory pushes the individual transistors so close that they begin to interfere with one another -- causing degradation and shortening the device lifespan to just a single day. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has solved the problem by pairing transistors with memristors, which are immune to such annoyances. By fixing both inside a flexible substrate, you can push them as near as you like without any electo-radiation spanners jamming up the works. This also means that the flexible RRAM behaves just like flash memory; maybe in the future it won't just beantennas sewn into our clothes.

Magically Transform Brown Eyes to Blue with Lasers

There is something about blue eyes that can pierce another person's soul while also acting as a revealing window into your own. Brown eyes? Not so much. What if you wanted blue eyes, though? Color contacts? Meh. Try this new laser surgery that'll permanently transform your brown eyes to blue.

Brown to blue, permanently. That's what Dr. Gregg Homer from Stroma Medical in California says he can do. His Lumineyes procedure uses a laser tuned to a specific frequency to blast the brown out of eyes into blue. The process only takes 20 seconds too and it literally removes the melanin—the brown—from a person's eyes, which in turn reveals a blue color in two to three weeks (of course the blue isn't real, natural blue eyes have lower melanin in the front of the iris—the blue color in blue eyes come from the same effect as to why the sky is blue).

Dr. Homer says he still needs about $800,000 to complete clinical trials and if all goes to plan, the procedure will be available in 18 months outside the US and 3 years inside the US. The process is expected to cost around $4,800.

Nov 4, 2011

Microsoft-Approved Windows Phone 7 Unlocker Goes live

Let the great Windows Phone 7 unlocking begin! ChevronWP7, the Microsoft-sanctioned Windows Phone unlocker, went live today. The project is aimed at "hobbyist developers," giving owners of WP7 handsets the ability to run and test unsigned apps on their phones. Interested parties need a Windows Live ID and $9 to sign up -- that price'll give you unlimited unlocks on a single phone. You can grab more info and an unlock here.

How to Securely Wipe Your Data from Any Phone on Any Platform

It's phone upgrading season, and if you're industrious, you might be looking to sell your phone on eBay or craigslist or pass it on to your snot-mouthed little brother. Whatever, it's going; it's gone; fare thee well, you old piece of junk!

But please oh please oh please don't forget to wipe your data before your phone changes hands. Here's a quick guide for anyone who might need it, so you're not fumbling through options and settings for half the day.


  • First, you should probably back up your phone using iTunes
  • Go to Settings
  • From there, go to General
  • Now go to Reset
  • Select Erase All Content and Settings
  • You'll be prompted to enter your passcode at this point
  • It will take a few minutes, unless you've got a fairly ancient iOS device

  • Android

  • Backing up for Android is relatively straightforward; just connect your phone to your computer via USB and drag all of your files into a new folder.
  • Pull down your Menu and go to Settings
  • Scroll to Privacy
  • Click Factory data reset

  • Windows Phone 7 and 7.5

  • Back up with Zune software if you're on Windows, but there's currently no way to totally back up your SMS texts for Windows Phone, so keep that in mind if you like to keep hang onto your messages.
  • Go to Settings
  • Tap About
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap "reset your phone"
  • Press "yes" when the warning prompt appears
  • Warning: You won't be asked to confirm your password

  • BlackBerry OS 6

  • Use BlackBerry Desktop Manager to back up your phone
  • Go to Options
  • Scroll to Security
  • Now scroll to Security Wipe
  • Select all options (Email & Contacts, Applications, Media card)
  • Type the word "blackberry" into the box and hit confirm

Nov 3, 2011

Cheaper Android Phones Are Crap Compared to iPhone and BlackBerry

Fandroids say that iPhones, Blackberries and Windows Phones are way too expensive. Anyone can buy a cheaper Android! Now a study covering 600,000 support calls has found that these cheap Androids are exactly that: Cheap. And cheap phones break.

According to this study by wireless service company WDS, hardware failures are more common in Android handsets than in the more expensive competition. Makes sense: The culprit is not Android itself, but Google's OS licensing. Since it's so easy to license Google's OS, inexpensive phones are common. And inexpensive phones do not put as much of an emphasis on construction as expensive ones.

But the thing is, these are not cheapo phones from the developing world. The study's 600,000 support calls come from Europe, North America, South Africa and Australia—primo mobile markets.

It makes sense: while top of the line, more expensive Android phones from Samsung or HTC are solid, the inexpensive phones that are helping Google take so much market share are also its Achilles Heel. According to WDS' Tim Deluca-Smith: "At the moment, Android is a bit of the Wild West." Giddyup.

OpenBSD 5.0 Offers More Hardware Compatibility, Less Bugs

Fans of the Unix-based OpenBSD can crack open a bottle of their favorite open-sourced champers because the operating system has launched version five-point-oh. More evolutionary than revolutionary, this version has been given plenty of nudges in the right direction, with broader hardware support, OpenSSH 5.8 and improved network capabilities. The full change log also includes a plethora of stability improvements and bug fixes too. The volunteer-run OS can now be grabbed from OpenBSD's FTP servers or as a paid-for CD set if you're feeling a little noughties.

Nov 2, 2011

Internet Explorer Does Less than 50 Percent of World's web Surfing

It's been a long and winding road for Internet Explorer, Microsoft's venerable web browser, and for over a decade it's been the browser of choice for most netizens. According to Net Marketshare's latest numbers, however, IE now enables just under half of the world's total -- meaning mobile and desktop combined -- web traffic after owning 95 percent of the browsing market seven years ago. The decline is at least partially due to a rise in mobile web browsing and an increasing Chrome user base. Of course, Microsoft's finest still has a healthy 52.63 percent desktop market share, which gives it a sizable lead over the competition from Firefox (23 percent), Chrome (18 percent), and Safari (five percent). There's plenty more graphs and charts to show you exactly how the browser war is going, so hit the links below for the full pie-chart treatment.

Apple Admits Battery Problems: It’s iOS 5’s Fault

All those problems with evaporating iPhone batteries? Looks like it's not the hardware's fault—Apple's 'fessing up to a buggy iOS 5 release that's sucking more juice than it should, The Loop reports.

Apple confirmed the problem in a message to The Loop, stating "A small number of customers have reported lower than expected battery life on iOS 5 devices. We have found a few bugs that are affecting battery life and we will release a software update to address those in a few weeks."

Looks to us like it's more than "a small number of customers," but either way, we hope the battery-fixing update arrives ASAP. I've got so many stupid Siri video ideas I need to execute!

The Cleanest Way to Get Pomegranate Seeds into Your Mouth

Every pomegranate is composed of exactly 840 seeds. To extract every last sweet morsel, you could either spend a half hour picking at the husk with crimson-stained fingers or just knock them clean out of their skin with the ART.

The Arils Removal Tool (ART) from the Shoham company comprises a collection cup, grate, and cover. After splitting and de-crowning a pomegranate, you set the half on a grate that sits over the collection bowl, cover it, and rap the top soundly with a heavy spoon. This knocks the arils (the seed itself and the red, fleshy sac it sits in) free of the pith, allowing them to pass through the grate to the collection cup. The ART retails for $16 on EBay

Nov 1, 2011

A Majestic Bench That Records Your Ass Heat

You! You're full of body heat. Your blood is boiling. Maybe just figuratively. But you're not just a pile of molecules, you're throbbing with vitality. This bench by Australiandesigner Jay Watson shows it to the world. Thermochromatic assprint.

It's a handsome modern bench set, sure, but the thermochromatic coating is why we care. Any body part that touches the surface will change its color, leaving a mark behind. From the photos, this looks cool and frankly kind of gross.

Nokia Lumia 800 to hit the UK on November 16th

The Lumia 800 will be making its way to the UK in November, the confirmation that Nokia's "first real Windows Phone" will indeed be available within the UK on November 16th, just a day before Samsung unleashes its Galaxy Nexus handset to British users. Last month, the company confirmed that the device would be priced at €420, though there's no word yet on what that price tag may look like in sterling.