Jan 31, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 30, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 29, 2012

The Spice Grinder Improved With Grade School Science

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

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

Jan 28, 2012

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

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

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

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

Jan 27, 2012

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

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

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

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

Jan 26, 2012

February 1 Is Change Your Password Day

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

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

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

Quantum Dots Could Increase Fiber Optic Bandwidth up to 10 Times

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

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

Jan 25, 2012

Windows 8 Adds Sensor Support

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 24, 2012

eye3 Hexicopter Helps your DSLR Take Flight for $999

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

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

Jan 23, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 22, 2012

Grass Flip Flops Make Every Day a Walk In the Park

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

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

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

Jan 21, 2012

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

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

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

Jan 20, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 19, 2012 has Been Shut Down!

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

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

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

New Kindle Fire Update Unleashes Full-Screen Web Browsing

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

Jan 18, 2012

Why Android Handsets Are Bigger Than the iPhone

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

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

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

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

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