Archive for the ‘nifty gizmos’ Category

Michael Dell’s New Toy

January 28, 2010

TechCrunch has a video of Michael Dell showing off a new device. It’s 5″, runs on Snapdragon arch powered by Android, has a 5MP camera, 3G ready, etc.

And a rumored price tag over $1000 before subsidy. Look for it “soon.”

Price and size notwithstanding, this would appeal to me more than the iFad since the iFad lacks various things (multitasking, a camera, a real keyboard, etc.) and its size makes it similar to toting around a real laptop or netbook once I’d pack the various things I’d use with it. If Dell were to come out with a similar “pad” in the 7-9″ range, I’d be all over it.

Forrester Surveys Find Momentum for Green Computing

December 4, 2007

In Search Of Green Technology Consumers by Christopher Mines – Forrester Research:

A distinct segment of green technology consumers ready to put their dollars behind eco-friendly product choices is becoming visible. Forrester’s Technographics® surveys reveal that consumers who care about the environment and the environmental impacts of their technology purchases and usage tend to be female, older, and somewhat less well-off than those who are not sensitive to environmental issues. With 12% of US adults already “bright green,” and another 41% poised to join them, marketers and designers of consumer technology products and services must change product marketing and product design to embrace green principles like lower-impact manufacturing, longer product life cycles, and recycleability.

Extending hardware lifecycles should be paramount. I have a Mac that’s fully functional but abandoned by Apple. I have computers that can’t run XP or higher, abandoned by Microsoft. The latter are still useful thanks to Damn Small Linux and FreeBSD.

The Mac is a dead end product and a testament to Apple’s non-green approach. Apple’s quirky and non-standard configuration, from NuBus slot to their funky connections, may have been targeted at consumer-friendliness but insured that customers were locked into Apple-centric computing. I can’t update the hardware (very much), and OSX won’t run on early PowerPCs. Unfortunately, the quirkiness of the component selection also means there’s not much in the way of support with NetBSD or Linux, either.

Standardization in the PC market, though, assures me of a steady supply of parts for most of my old computers. And constant development of DSL assures that my old computers can benefit from a modern OS with a small footprint suitable for those older machines. That keeps them out of the landfill. The one drawback is they’re not as energy efficient as some of the new computers, especially ITX-based boxes with lower power demands.

Another shameless plug for the Damn Small Machine: fanless, low power demand, portable, and it can run off a USB stick so there’s no moving parts or sound from it. Cool.

Morning Update 20070919

September 19, 2007

First up this morning, a long-overdue paradigm shift to trusted computing whereby security is set upon levels of explicit trust rather than reactive policies that attempt to cover holes. I’ve increasingly done a similar thing on my computers via the content blocking add on for firefox I wrote about a couple months ago (I’ll edit the link later; meantime, search: favorite firefox extensions).

Secondly, it looks like Google will roll out their phone some time next year. That’s when excitable Google fanboys can stand in line for days and then throw tantrums a few weeks later when the prices drop. Wait, wrong company. Only Apple’s brain-dead cultists do that.

Moving Security from Blacklist to Whitelist:

Under the current system, a security firm discovers a new threat, adds it to its black-list database and updates its customers’ anti-virus software to combat the problem. A “white list” would instead compile every known legitimate software program, including applications such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat, and add new ones as they are developed. Every program not on the list would simply not be allowed to be function on a computer. “This is the future of security technology,” Murphy said at a presentation of the company’s twice-yearly security report on Friday. The trick is to develop a “global seal of approval.” A white list would likely require co-operation and funding from a majority of players in the technology industry. Industry observers think it is a good idea, but it raises several issues. The oversight body would have to be neutral, mindful of open-source software — which is quickly and often modified — and speedy in its approval process.

Google Gphone still on the way, say sources:

Although market rumors previously stated that Google is likely to use an EDGE solution developed by Texas Instruments (TI) for its planned handset, recent developments indicate that Google is also evaluating the possibility of launching a 3G handset initially. TI’s handset chipsets will find their way into the Google phone should the company decide to roll out an EDGE-compliant handset, but Qualcomm could turn out to be the winner if Google decides to bet on a 3G model, the sources noted. However, the choice of a 3G platform might force Google to postpone the launch of the so-called Gphone to the first half of 2008 instead of the latter half of this year as expected due to the change of platform and problems related to licensing of patented technologies, the sources indicated.

Skype Gets Competition

September 18, 2007

And the cool part is you use real phones. Yes, it’s proprietary. So is Skype.

Free phone calls with startup’s $399 box:

A Silicon Valley startup will begin selling $399 gadgets Wednesday that consumers with broadband Internet service can use to make unlimited free domestic phone calls.

the future?

Various News Articles: 2007-09-09

September 9, 2007

In the news today:
Apple restricts user freedom. More about Apple’s kowtowing to pressure from blithering idiots who wasted their lives standing in line to be among the first to buy iPhones and who whine when Apple had their first price decrease — gosh, I wonder if Dell will rebate part of the nearly $4000 I spent on my 286 way-back-when. And the cool gadget of the day (complete with pics and video): super-cool hacked espresso machine — I want one!

Apple attempts to block free ringtones with iTunes update:

Apple has released an update to iTunes that blocks users from creating free custom ringtones and then syncing them to an iPhone. Despite Apple’s best efforts to thwart users, a workaround has already been found and posted to the Internet.

Media-Savvy Apple Reacts to iPhone iCut Crisis:

“Maybe there is a lesson for consumers, particularly mainstream consumers, that the first day a product is introduced isn’t necessarily the best day to buy it. This is the nature of technology.”

Rancilio Silvia “PID PIC NES” mod: (by way of

I have long admired the pioneering work of Rancilio Silvia owners in modding their espresso machines. Here, I present my Silvia given a PIC 16F876 microcontroller brain, a 20 character VFD display, nintendo controller, three zero-crossing solid state relays, IC thermometer, laser cut acrylic top, cold cathode ground effects and shot light. This project has stretched out for quite some time, and will likely continue on as I pick away at it some more.

Monday Morning Wrap Up

August 20, 2007

Skype outage caused by download update:

A two-day outage that left millions of Skype users unable to use the popular Internet phone service was caused by an abnormally high number of restarts after people had downloaded a Windows security update, the company said Monday.

iRobot sues Robot FX over alleged patent infringement:

It looks like Robot FX has run into a bigger obstacle than it’s bargained for, with the company now facing not one but two lawsuits from iRobot over alleged patent infringement.

Ballmer, Chambers and Charlie Rose:

Today’s joint CEO conference clearly was meant to allay concerns on numerous fronts, whether it be customers, partners or shareholders. Make no mistake: These companies are on a collision course in the enterprise, and no amount of Ballmer-Chambers huggy, kissy talk is going to change that.

T-Mobile UMA Service Rolls Out Today

June 27, 2007

T-Mobile begins offering US customers unlicensed mobile access (UMA) today. This merges WiFi with cellular, enabling better indoor reception via wireless router (so it requires you to have broadband) as well as connection at T-Mobile’s hotspots.

The initial pricing scheme allows users to add unlimited At-Home service for $10 (regular price will be $20). Family plan prices are $10 a month higher ($20 promotionally, $30 regular). Minutes on WiFi are unlimited and calls started on WiFi and then switched to cellular are also free (so start your calls at Starbucks using WiFi and then carry the discussion over as you roam to cellular coverage).

T-Mobile is offering two different routers that are free after $50 rebate, but the service will work on any WiFi router. T-Mobile says the approved routers they sell gives calls a higher priority, so there won’t be any conflict between power users downloading large files and throttling bandwidth so much that it affects (or drops) calls.

Quality is said to be constant, and calls automatically switch between WiFi and cellular. T-Mobile’s approved routers (the ones they sell) encrypt calls at the touch of a button and without having to enter a password; no word yet about a similarly easy way to encrypt calls through your own router.

Portable Apps

May 11, 2007

I’ve added this page about PortableApps.

Open-Sourcing of Java Almost Complete

May 8, 2007

Sun is announcing today that they’ve completed re-licensing — to GPL version 2 — the core of Java. With this move, Sun hopes to get some help with the rest that isn’t yet GPLed:

Sun hopes the open-source community will help it resolve the issue of Java source code that remains “encumbered,” where Sun doesn’t hold enough rights to release the code under GPLv2, according to Rich Sands, community marketing manager for OpenJDK community at Sun. While he declined to put a percentage on how much of Java’s 6.5 million lines of code are encumbered, Sands said the issue was primarily with Java 2D graphics technology, particularly around font and graphics rasterizing. While open-source alternatives are already available, they don’t currently support all the necessary features of the Java 2D API (application programming interface).

This is a good move by Sun to get Java embedded in scaled Linux (i.e., handhelds and smartphones) projects, as well as by distros like Ubuntu.

Ubuntu Going Mobile

May 8, 2007

Intel is working with Canonical, Ltd, to get Ubuntu on their forthcoming mobile platform.