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Current Events

VGA on a Cellphone

vod904sh.jpgFollowing on my previous post on Tivo on the cellphone, if you’re going to do it, you’ll want one of these phones. True VGA on a phone has four times the resolution of the best screens out there as well as some other goodies:

It offers a range of advanced features such as a 3.2 megapixel camera; a Motion Control Sensor (for playing 3D games), and a Face Recognition function that authenticates handset owners by sensing their facial characteristics.

Another interesting feature is the ability to indulge in instant messaging with those in close proximity to you using Bluetooth.

Love the IM over Bluetooth!

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Current Events

Long Live the Aibo!

aibo.jpg We are sad to hear news that Sony, in a cost-cutting measure, is shuttering the robotics division famous for the production of the Aibo robotic dog. They were a little pricey at $2,000 a pop but they were really sophisticated and quite ahead of their time. Sony provided a SDK which could be used to program emotions and face recognition software allowed the dog to respond to it’s owners.

We also will never get the chance to see 60 Aibo dogs dancing in unison to the Bee Gees. (6.6MB wmv file)

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Current Events

Sony Reader shown at CES

Sony Reader

Gizmodo has coverage of a new reader from Sony based on technology licensed from eInk Corporation based up in Boston. Sony had launched an earlier version of this product, the Libre, in the Japanese market but it apparently never took off because of it’s restrictive DRM technology. Since I have to drive to work I’m no longer in the market for such a device but anyone that takes public transportation and finds themselves reading lots of printouts, a device like this could be a godsend.

While the device supports RSS, PDFs, JPEGs, and MP3 files (which, on the Sony site, they take pains to point out are unencrypted), it does not support WiFi and requires the separate purchase of a cradle which you hook up to your PC to transfer files.

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Current Events

Wi- Fi enabled LCD Picture Frame

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I’ve always been a big fan of ambient displays of information as a non-intrusive way of keeping up with the river of information that flows through our lives. Screensavers and scrolling images are one method which shows promise and in our new broadband, always-on world. PointCast was popular because people liked the concept but it was killed by IT departments because it was a bandwidth hog when bandwidth was still scarce.

eStarling makes an LCD screen that, once programmed via its USB port, can update itself via Wi-Fi. It accepts images from email or a Flickr RSS feed. The memory holds up to 30 pictures that are cycled through until new photos replace the older ones.

Some uses:

  • Give one to the grandparents and set up an email account for the device. Have the family email the lastest photos of the kids. You can configure trusted email accounts to keep photos of viagra bottles from making it into rotation.
  • Search a tag or group you like on Flickr, (ie. clouds or squared circle) and have the photo frame subscribe to the latest images.

Available on ThinkGeek. Thanks to Niall for the pointer.

UPDATE: Niall points to a similar device that boasts a larger screen and can connect to other PCs on a home network.

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Current Events

iPod Flea

What if Apple took miniaturization to next level?

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Current Events

Morgan Aero 8

morgan.jpg

My father used to go on and on about how a Morgan would be the perfect car for me. Because of their over-sized, smog-producing, hand built British engines, the old Morgan’s from the 50’s were eventually banned from the US and I never saw one. Morgan, one of Britain’s oldest independent sports car maker has now updated itself and is going to begin selling it’s new Morgan Aero 8 in the US this year. The look has been updated but it’s classic styling remains. I think I understand what my father was getting at. Now if I only had $100k to spend on a car. . .

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Current Events

Skiddaddling Alarm Clock

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Ever had one of those mornings where you hit the snooze bar one too many times and end up having to rush out the door with a bagel in your mouth because you’re late? Gauri Nanda, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab has a device that will solve that for you.

When the alarm clock goes off and the snooze button is pressed, Clocky will roll off the bedside table and wheel away, bumping mindlessly into objects on the floor until it eventually finds a spot to rest. Minutes later, when the alarm sounds again, the sleeper must get up out of bed and search for Clocky. This ensures that the person is fully awake before turning it off. Small wheels that are concealed by Clocky’s shag enable it to move and reposition itself, and an internal processor helps it find a new hiding spot every day.

Problem solved until you’re one of those people with a pistol in your bedside drawer.

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Home

Keen, local footwear

mnewprth2110230mbrn_445.jpgI’ve been seeing more and more of these funky looking mocs around town that I began to wonder if this was some kind of local favorite. Keen Footwear broke onto the scene with such subtle force that it was hard to pin where their fanbase was coming from – it just seemed to be that everyone you met at the local Edison School was sporting a pair.

I saw them again on the cover of the June issue of Business 2.0 where they were featured as one of The New Instant Companies and then again, today in Alameda Magazine where the article goes on to say that they are based in Alameda where they plan to stay, no matter how big they get.

Yeah! I cool and subtle badge to promote my local homies on the Island.

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Current Events

Harley-Davidson, Japanese Engine?

I took my father in law out to visit a motorcycle distributor where he was hoping to get a distributor for the high end wheels made by Dymag, a company he owns. While it’s always interesting to step into a new industry and learn a bit about it, one of the more juicy bits of gossip that I learned was the nasty rumor that the Harley-Davidson is not really as American-built as some would like to believe. Not only are the wheels on most models made by an overseas company called “Inky” but the buyer we met also assured us that if you look carefully on the engines, you’ll see that they’re made in Japan!

He couldn’t remember which Japanese company makes the Harley engines which is a shame. According to him, all the engines are shipped to the US where they are assembled along with all the other parts which are sourced overseas. Makes me wonder if it’s all done under cover of darkness by a secret guild of factory workers sworn to secrecy.

If this is indeed true, it would be quite a scandal for the company that, when faced with cheaper imports from Japan, unsuccessfully tried to trademark the unique sound of their V-Twin engine.

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Office

iPod Scroll Wheel

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Ask any iPod user what they like the most about their device, and most will probably mention the scrollwheel. Here’s the story behind the company that makes it (hint: it’s not Apple).