All posts by Patrick Allred

Life is simply amazing.

A View of the Heavens

Every self-respecting nerd/geek I have known has spent their fair share of time gazing into the night sky and imagining just what its like on other worlds, or just travelling through the stars. Not everyone has a unfettered night sky view from their location because of city lights, trees, etc. So have I got a site for you! Nasa hosts a picture website that displays a new astronomical photo every day, along with a technical description by a guest professor. Here is the picture for today:

Janruary 30, 2007

I’m fortunate enough to live in an area where, on a cloudless night, I can see a million stars above me. But, for those times that aren’t so weather friendly (which is most of the time), I go here, and check out the newest nebula, pulsar, or supergiant.

Transformers Are Everywhere!

Indeed, this is a true statement. With the upcoming release of the new epic movie “Transformers”, media and manufacturers alike are pumping out the robot goodness in every facet of product catagories imaginable. When I was a kid, there were cars, guns, casettes and airplanes that could morph into some fearsome looking automatons. Now, as I was rifling through some of the goodies you can get now, I spotted this unusual item for sale.


I don’t know about you guys, but if I were a transformer, I think i’d rather be something a little more significant than this. Next thing you know, we’ll see transformer cigarette packs, whos only defense is blowing smoke at you ūüôā

Find It With Your Cell Phone

My editor tells me that cell phones are of intense interest to our readers, so I couldn’t resist the challenege to find you the newest technology for our little buddies.¬† Of current development, is a great new business locator program that is currently in beta called “Tellme“.¬†

TellMe banner 

Find any business in America by talking or typing.
Thumbs tired of typing? Now you can use the power of your voice to find a business.
Just say what you’re looking for and get the address, map, and directions. And it’s all free.

Now don’t count your ringtones before they go off….there is a catch.¬† Since the program is in beta, there are a limited amount of cell phones it will function on, AND it is availble only on the Sprint and Cingular networks.¬† I’d like to test this myself, but¬†currently Verizon Wireless is sucking the life out of my bank account.¬† Fear not though, they do have a form you can fill out with your info to inform you when their service is available to you.

What Kind of Rave Dancer Are you?

A friend sent me this link today, and by god, I tell you that they hit the nail on the head.¬† Check this place out, and discover just what kind of rave dancer you are!¬† Personally, I’m more like #8, the fridge guy.¬† If you think they left any out, let us know here in the comments section!

Rave Dancer

I think they left out the “shocked with 10,000 volts of electricity” dancer ūüôā¬† Party on!


Pandora – By the Music Genome Project


All geeks love music – whether its the atonal rhythmic booming of some indie band, or the soothing flow of instrumental jazz.¬† Whatever your tastes, if you’re like me, you’re always searching for more of the same kind of your favorite music.¬† Search no further my friends –¬†the folks over at the Music Genome Project created Pandora, an intelligent web-based free service that take your minimal input about your favorite music,¬† then builds¬†and plays a¬†comprehensive list of¬†songs it thinks you’ll like.

Pandora is a music discovery service designed to help you find and enjoy music that you’ll love. It’s powered by the Music Genome Project, the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. Just tell us one of your favorite songs or artists and we’ll launch a streaming station to explore that part of the music universe.

We take your input (artists, songs) and feedback (“I like this”, “I don’t like this”) and use the Music Genome Project¬†to create stations that play songs that are musically similar to what you’ve told us. That’s it; only the music counts. We don’t care how popular the artist is, who’s backing them, and we don’t care which genre bin they usually belong in. Only the music matters.

This is the real deal, my friends.¬† I input several different genres of music/artists/titles, and I wasn’t disappointed yet.¬† A definate plus is that their music database is quite vast, as I haven’t been played the same song twice…EVER.¬† I’m definately keeping this earmarked for regular use, as an alternative to iTunes Radio or Live365.

Al Capone (Dead Jan 27th 1947)

Al “Scarface” Capone was an American gangster who rose to power during the Prohibition era¬† when the United States banned the production and sale of alcohol. His vicious career¬†demonstrated the power and influence of organized crime in the United States.¬† Despite popular beliefs, Capone did not bring Italian strongarming over to the US; during his rise in the streets of Brooklyn, he stylized his own code of ethics, using criminal activities to achive his own widespread success.

Al Capone

Eventually due to tax evasion, treasury agents took him into custody and he was duly sentenced to ten years hard labor in a prison at Atlanta, Georgia, and ended in Alcatraz Island in San Francisco.  After release, he lived out the rest of his days in his estate on Palm Island, Florida, where he eventually died on January 27, 1947.

Vivid Leads The Way

The adult entertainment giant says it will start selling downloadable movies that viewers can burn to DVD and watch on their TVs.¬† Wow!¬† This announcement came late last year, however no great strides have been made to bone up on this deal.¬†¬†But…if you’re looking for technical innovation in the motion picture industry I’ve got bad news for you.¬†Two companies, Cinema-Now and MovieLink, announced they signed a¬†contract to¬†distribute digital copies¬†of¬†videos online. The catch was that these downloaded copies could not be burned onto DVDs or copied in any way other than on the computer on which they were downloaded.¬†Now Vivid Entertainment Group has taken the initiative a step further.

Vivid Entertainment Group

Vivid will distribute its adult movies, including all the special extras included on DVDs, through CinemaNow. The difference: Vivid’s downloaded files will be burnable onto DVDs so people who purchase the files can watch on their televisions, or portable devices which play DVDs. The price, $19.95 per movie, is roughly the cost of actual DVDs¬†in stores. They’ve taken the next logical step in making thier business model workable, we can only hope that “legitimate” Hollywood will follow the adult industry.

Third World Dumping Ground For Worthless Computers

In the recent past, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a call out to people to donate their old computers and related equipment for the use in developing nations..¬† However, it seems that the majority of the equipment being received is useless or non-functional, resulting in being dumped in various locations ‘en mass’.¬† A report by Basel Action Network, a Seattle based environmental organiztion, claims that much of the used computer equipment sent from the United States¬†is creating enormous environmental problems.

Computer Dumping

According to the report US corporations are avoiding recycling costs and making people believe that their used equipment is being placed for noble causes.

In various locations of Africa dumping of computer equipment has caused uncontrolled release of components, including cancer-causing chemicals and substances that disrupt human hormonal and immune systems. A typical computer and monitor contain several pounds of lead, plus toxics like arsenic, mercury, copper and cadmium according to the report.

Yeah, I’m not an enviromental freak either, but there is something to be said here.¬† Perhaps if the ‘developing nations’ want the equipment badly enough, they should also prepare for its waste disposal as well?¬† There are dozens of safe ways to get rid of various pieces of computer equipment without causing any enviromentally unsafe byproducts.¬† Only the future will tell.

Imagining The Tenth Dimension

This book looks amazing.¬† I encourage you to click over to this website and view the 11 minute animation that represents the core information of this book.¬† Rob Bryanton, though a new author to me, has made a name for himself writing theoretical texts in the past several years.¬† If the animation is an accurate representation of the book content, I’d call it a real page turner for the scientifically minded.¬† I’m going to order this book in the near future for sure.¬† If you have read this book, send me an e-mail with a brief review and what you thought of it as a whole.¬† I’d be very interested in hearing from you.

 Imagining The Tenth Dimension

On a seperate note, though, this author fancies himself a musical artist as well, having produced many vocal songs following the book concepts.¬† I’m not a professional music critic, but some of these songs are just plain awful.¬† I recommend that you stick with the written content, avoid the music, and you should be fine!

Hamburger Mouse?

Cylo Technology in Australia has developed this ergonomic mouse, that for the life on me, looks like a small hamburger.¬† Designed to utilize the different muscle groups in your hand, this mouse is quite effective in¬†mundane and some specilized tasks.¬† But, as it’s target DPI is set to 800, gamers would be out of luck for¬†it to be a gaming tool.¬† Honestly, without trying one myself, I couldn’t say if it would be usable or not.¬† It ‘looks’ uncomfortable to use for anything more than just a few minutes at a time, which precludes its use in any long term projects, etc.¬† Cylo Technology plans to have this badboy available by Q3 2007, at a hefty $120 bones.¬† Keep an eye out for it.


Geeks With Bling

March√© Noir’s Computer Key Rings are spring mounted to accurately reproduce the action on your favorite key – so you can hit it whenever you need to reboot your cool.¬† Most geeks I know like to wear jewelry, and this, my friends, is the penultimate in tech-wear!¬† As soon as I saw this, I begged my wife to let me get an “ESC” ring.¬† The answer is forthcoming ūüôā¬† I can wish, can’t I?

Computer Key Rings

I’d be proud to wear a set of these to my next LAN party…I know I’d be the envy of the room!¬† Though the prices are nothing to sneeze at ($38-$50) I think they are reasonable considering the effort that goes into making these spring loaded wonders.¬† I’ll keep an eye out…maybe he’ll design a Apple or Windows key ring.

What is this?

I have fond memories in my childhood of trying to figure out puzzles and feeling a bit of warm self-satisfaction when I was able to figure them out on my own.  One of my favorite puzzles in particular was in a famous gaming magazine that had a monthly section in which they would feature several close-ups of objects, and you would have to figure out what they were from the visual perspective they provided.  I thought I would try something of the same, but geared only toward technology.  Below is a picture of such an object.  Please submit your guesses in the comments section, and the first person to guess correctly will have their name featured as the winner in the next puzzle picture!  (Geeknews staff are excluded)  Good luck!

What is this??

Zombie Invasions!

In an effort to aquire some material for another article, I stumbled across this amusing site, called the “Zombie Preparedness Initiative”.¬† They present a lighthearted view on how to gear up for¬†an imminent zombie incursion on the world.¬† You can find all sorts of advice here – from escape plans and safe encampment locations, to self defense and general life saving tips.


Now, aside from the fact that I find this most humorous, and right up there with the UFO groups that litter the world, some people may find informative and useful information contained within.¬† All I can say, is that if zombies begin overrunning the streets, I’m most likely a goner anyways…so good luck with your zombie plans!

Virtual Freedom

Virtual Reality has been a well covered subject in the past¬†two decades.¬† Prime examples of VR are in movies like “The Lawnmower Man” and “TRON”, TV shows like “VR.5” and “Harsh Reality”, and cult favorite books such as “Necronomicon” and “Otherland”.¬† All of these examples have one theme in common that reality does not…full freedom of unrestricted movement within a virtual environment.

VirtueSphere, Inc. is going to take us there.

Transparent VirtueSphere

The VirtuSphere platform¬†is a large hollow sphere that sits¬†on top of a roller-type base and allows the sphere to rotate 360 degrees. Wearing a wireless head mounted display, users can¬†climb inside the sphere to fully interact¬†with intuitive virtual landscapes. The VirtuSphere enables 6 degrees of freedom ‚Äď one can move in any direction; walk, jump, roll, crawl, run over unlimited distances without encountering real-world physical obstacles.

I’m sold!¬† Send mine via Geeknews, please ūüôā¬† Seriously though, this is an incredible achievement, and a immersive means with which to train soldiers, or have alot of gaming fun.¬† I’d recommend taking a stroll around their website, the applications for this technology are “virtually” limitless!¬† (Pun intended)

The Wii-mote, A Breakdown In Motion

Okay, so perhaps this is a stretch.¬† If in your infinately turmoiled mind you happened to think to yourself, “Just how does that thing work anyways?”¬† We have an answer for you.¬† Two writers from the New York Times collaborated to bring us a breakdown of the dynamics of the wii-mote innards, and just how it works the way it does.

Wii-mote Dismantled

¬†Not that the slideshow goes terribly in-depth on the controller, but at least you get an idea on how it functions in relation to the Wii and in the various games it controls.¬† I’ve never used one myself, but the die-hard Nintendo Kiddies I know say they wouldn’t trade their treasured console for anything…right up until the first time the Wii-mote strap breaks and takes out¬†a TV, stereo, window, etc.¬† I’ll wait for someone to develop a type of ultra-sensitive motion detector for a console, so that way I can flail my arms about without the encumberance of holding a 2lb plastic missile ūüôā

A Real HALO Suit

Canadian inventor Troy Hurtubise, is famous for creating the well known “Bear Suit” that was built to withstand the attack of a grizzly bear, and also proven to take to ramming of a moving vehicle.¬† Continuing on with this legacy, he has created a HALO like suit designed for use by¬†soldiers in the¬†Canadian and US military(s).

 HALO Suit

He has spent two years and $15,000 in the lab out back of his house in North Bay, designing and building a practical, lightweight and affordable shell to stave off bullets, explosives, knives and clubs. He calls it the Trojan and describes it as the ‚Äúfirst ballistic, full exoskeleton body suit of armour.‚ÄĚ

Now that’s what I call an impressive piece of hardware.¬† Even though he expects to make a living out of producing these suits, I’m curious what the DoD would have to say about it?¬† Also, alot of blogs, and the such have been tagging this as a suit designed off of the popular game “HALO: Combat Evolved”. Though this may be true, a few seconds of looking at the picture above will convince you that perhaps the funcationality might be the same as intended in the game, it bears little resemblance.¬† All that aside though,¬† if I could afford one, and I could fit my¬†hefty butt into it, I’d get one just to trudge around my sleepy little town scaring the heck out of people!

Logitech¬ģ diNovo Edge‚ĄĘ

If you put a premium on your keyboard having both function and style, here is the keyboard for you!¬† Logitech flew right past just mere functionality with its high-tech silent-spring keys, to the¬†efficient touchdisk for alternate mouse control.¬† The navigation features of the Logitech keyboard are carefully designed to deliver premium performance, whether with a PC in the office or in the living room ‚ÄĒ using all the different flavors of Windows,¬†even the upcoming Windows Vista operating system. The keyboard has a special start key that launches the Vista start menu, and an F-key search button provides one-touch access to Vista‚Äôs search feature. The Logitech diNovo Edge keyboard is expected to be available in the U.S. and Europe beginning in November. Its suggested retail price is a hefty $199.99


 Logitech diNovo Edge with charger   Logitech diNovo Edge side view

Now I’m a serious ergonomic freak when it comes to keyboards, and I find it difficult to “come down” to a standard keyboard when called for.¬† However, Logitech products have always served me well enough in the past, that I just might buy this unit.¬† The functionality alone makes the purchase well worth the consideration, and the slick lasercut plexiglass face, with brushed aluminum chassis makes this unit a practical showpiece for any person’s computer.¬† Regardless, I think i’ll wait until I can pick this up for under a hundred turtlebacks.


Your Car Can Be A Wi-Fi Hotspot

We are a mobile oriented society, plain and simple.¬† Whether it’s your cellphone, laptop, blackberry or pager, we’re all connected to a global network of communication that allows instant contact between people.¬† To further this cause, the unique individuals over at AutoNet Mobile have introduced¬†a new solution for on-the-go folks like you and me.¬†

AutoNet Mobile   AutoNet Mobile Coverage

AutoNet makes it easy for any wireless device to connect to their broadband mobile network, and let car passengers check email, surf the web, game or communicate globally.  So devices ranging from laptop computers to mobile media players, from Wi-Fi cameras to Wi-Fi phones like the VoIP Skype Phone, and from stationary videogame consoles to handheld gaming units like the Sony PSP and the Nintendo DS, internet action on the road never became easier.

I applaud the advent of this technology, regardless of the pricetag, because I’m a gamer at heart.¬† If I can frag my friends while travelling along I-5, then bring it on!¬† I’ve seen enough of those lucky people in japan that can use their laptops in the subways and train networks, I want some of that action too.

What’s unique about Autonet Mobile is our Patent Pending TRU Technology that performs session, link and content management on the network so you don’t experience disconnects while in motion.

Think of it as having your own built in personal agent in the box managing your connection. This technology enables us to provide you continuous connectivity so you can have a rich multi-media experience in the car.

We run over both 3G and 2.5G (EVDO, 1xRTT) cellular Data networks. Simply plug the in-car router into your cigarette car lighter, connect your WiFi device(s) and surf the net.

¬†I would really like to give this a try.¬† Although they claim a 95% coverage in the US (see picture above), I can think of a few heavily mountained and well¬†wooded areas that can give this service a run for it’s money.¬† If you have any experience with this service, let us know how it works for you!