All posts by Patrick Allred

Life is simply amazing.

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 – 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 🙂  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 🙂

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 “first ballistic, full exoskeleton body suit of armour.”

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® diNovo Edge™

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 — 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’s 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!

 

Amiga OS Making A Comeback

Remember when computing was fun?  Amiga, Inc. and Hyperion Entertainment revitalize an old OS, and with a complete makeover, new programming, and state of the art memory management, unveiled the new AmigaOS4.0
AmigaOS4.0

Whether you are one of the thousands of dedicated enthusiasts for the platform, an ex-user curious to see what’s going on, or are completely new to the Amiga experience, you can be sure that this new ressurection of an old favorite is sure to provide a unique perpsective to your computer.

The last time I saw an Amiga computer, I was still trolling BBS’s on my Apple 2e with a 2400 baud modem!  After strolling through their website, I think they might have something there.  I’m not positive it will offer a serious alternative solution to the current main players in the OS market,  but it certainly will be an entertaining and refreshing view to something different.

Asus XG Station

Another goodie from the CES Pre-show is the Asus solution to weak laptop video adapters.  The XG station provides laptop users an external unit in which you can plug in your favorite aftermarket video card and pump pixel goodness into your laptop’s screen.  Due out the first quarter this year, I’m anticipating this will be a well sought after item for gamers with underpowered or non modular video adapters.

Asus XG Station

Initial reviews of this product seem good at this point.  We’ll see how the XG Station holds up to normal abuse when gamers and video enthusiasts get their hands on it.

A “Windows” to the Past

Occasionaly, you come across something from the past that makes you just sit back and think…”what the heck were they thinking??”  Some ideas were meant to stay on the drawing board….and this video, my friends, should have been one of them.  But, prepare yourself for a laugh – this video is mundane until about the seven minute mark, then….well, you’ll just have to see for yourself.

Windows\386

Windows 386 Promo Video

If you survived watching the entire video, I congradulate you 🙂

Yet Another PMP To Choose From

Yep.  This little jewel was dropped in my box today.  I know what you’re thinking….”Yippee, another PMP joins the well beaten market!”  Personally, I feel that way.  A year ago, I would have looked on AOL and Haier’s offering as just joining the personal media bandwagon.  But now, sadly, dropping this unit in the field this late in the game won’t cause much of a stir.

 AOL PMP

Wifi, Bluetooth, Touchpad navigation etc. The Wifi on this player goes a bit further than Microsoft’s Zune implementation, You can purchase music, transfer music wirelessly and stream internet radio stations.

This device has a 30gb HDD, and supports mp3, wma, acc, wav, Mpeg-4, WMV, H.264, and AVI …and will retail for $249.99

A Sneak Preview – The Orb

Have you ever wanted to see a spectacular colorful display of lights spinning at a rate of 1600 rpms?  Then check out this beauty!  Here we have an ingenious design by James N. Sears, a designer and programmer of impressive talent.

 Orb Ring  Orb Earth

The Orb is a large plexiglass ring laced with a series of powerful multi-color LEDs, and mounted on a large mechanical arm.  Pair that with a formidable industrial motor, custom electronics and programming, and you have an impressive display of lights that can portray a striking array of visual effects.  According to the creator, it was a long journey to get where it is today, but the efforts were definately worth it in the end.

Score one for an artist with a cause!

Jetcast Broadcasting

Jetcast Logo

The folks over at Jetcast have developed a new service that provides a nifty way to broadcast audio and video over the internet. With their simple player, anyone can become a broadcaster, minus the costly equipment and massive bandwidth.

Jetcast is an optimized network, which is great for broadcasting. Every viewer in the Jetcast network is also a broadcaster or partial broadcaster. The original broadcaster provides bandwidth bursts for the first level viewers, and the first level viewers share their data that feeds other viewers. All the viewers construct a mesh network. Each viewer has a couple of neighbors who established a direct connection with it and shares data with its neighbors. All the while, everything is optimized using the Jetcast server farm.

After several hours of viewing audio and video channels, it seems that Jetcast lives up to its name. I didnt experience a single inturruption in service, nor any of the traditional “net-burps” or extensive loading times.

Although this service is still in its infancy, and by no means overshadows similar popular services, I’d keep an eye on them. I have a positive feeling that Jetcast will surprise us all in the near future.

Primera BravoPro SE Review

It’s 6am Monday morning, you’re exhausted from the all night brainstorming session with your co-workers, guzzling the nasty coffee from the company cafeteria, and you’ve got less than an hour until you have to stage a full presentation to company board members, complete with enough CD/DVD copies of your material to spread around.  What’s a tech to do?  Burning copies one at a time on your computer simply won’t do.  Time is of the essence here!

BravoPro SE

Enter the new Primera BravoPro SE Autoprinter.  This sleek, compact unit saves the day by rendering a small portion of your desktop into a crazy fast mass producing CD/DVD factory.  With a few clicks on your computer, this disc duplicator produces stunning color, highest quality discs that scream professionalism and organization second to none.  Whether you just want one copy or dozens, the BravoPro SE can independently fabricate unique disc tasks while you’re away taking care of other business. 

Burning and printing media for business has never become easier.  Simply select the files you want to copy and print, choose the amount of discs to be produced, and lets the job runs its course.  With high speed 16x DVD+/-R and 40x CD-R recording, and integrating dazzling high color 4800i printing capacity, you’ll have state of the art quality media ready to be distributed at a moment’s notice.

The BravoPro SE doesn’t stop there either, oh no!  Primera pulled out all the stops with first rate internal componentry, such as Primera’s patented “Accudisc” Technology.  This includes precise electronic coding and software that carefully control the disk picking, using a modern LED optical system, opting out of conventional mechanical componentry.  Benefits of this unique technology include preventing feeding more than a single disc at a time into the recording drive; a common problem plaguing other comparable disc picking systems.

Primera outdid themselves this time.  Being the big brother to the BravoPro II was no small issue, and this unit pulled it off in no uncertain manner.  In my opinion, the BravoPro SE delivers amazing professional results at a price you can’t beat. ($1400)

Read the excellent review by Lonewolf over at ExtensiveMods.Com.

Visit Primera and check out disc printing nirvana! 

NES Retro DVD Player

Amidst my random wanderings on the net, I came across this website featuring a very cool NES MOD.  One of the website owners, Brandon, decided one day to rip the guts out of an old NES and replace it with the internal workings of a standard DVD/MP3 player.  The results, while mudane looking on the outside, are quite ingenious.  The DVD tray pushes out through the NES cartridge flap, and closes the same way.  While controlled by the original DVD player remote, Brandon wired the on/off switch to the NES power button.

NES DVDNES DVD 2

I’ve had a bunch of ideas for modding equipment in the past, but I just don’t have the patience or the dedication required for such endeavours.  My hats off to you modders out there…go on with your bad selves, and show us how it’s done!

Are you a Mod Junkie?  Do you have an awesome new Mod you’ve made and want to show it off to the world?  E-mail us here at GeekNews, and tell us all about it!

Found via [MilkMyCow.com]

The Coolest Chair In History

The picture speaks for itself, folks.  This has got to be the most fascinating chair i’ve ever seen.  I would be proud to have this in my home, and show off to my friends and family as vigorously and often as possible.  For war enthusiasts and gamers alike, this would be the crown jewel or throne of any collection.

AK-47 Chair

This Throne of Weapons is a chair made entirely from decommissioned AK47 rifles that had been used in the Mozambique civil war. It was exhibited at the Herbert as part of a British Museum touring exhibition last year.

The pure fact of its coolness aside, I find this a remarkable tribute to the men, women, and children that fought for the right to maintain their land, and keep free of the tyranny that loomed before them. 

Found via [Hellinahandbasket.com]

Get Your Own “Boom Box”

 Self Destruct USB Hub

Inject some urgency into your debonair character with the Self-Destruct button USB hub that is bound to elicit more than a telling glance from your co-workers. There is an aura around somebody who looks and acts dangerous, and what better way than placing this device on your desk? It looks like it was taken directly from a movie set with all the necessary trappings, with the added bonus of an additional four USB 2.0 ports. Pressing the big, red, round button will elicit a “Kill! Kill! Kill!” audio response.

Now is that not just the most awesome geeky device you could ever receive?

Take a peek at the real thing at GeekStuff4U.

Ring! Ring! It’s the Bananaphone!

Bananaphones

San Francisco prankster Laird Rickard has figured out a way to make obnoxious cell phone use funny: he makes it look like you’re talking into a banana. Laird’s company Nanaco produces Cellfoams, squishy foam covers in wacky shapes that protect your phone, and more importantly, make you look silly when you’re talking on your phone instead of rude. Nanaco’s premier product is the banana shaped cell phone cover, playing off that classic gag of pretending a banana is a phone. It was hilarious when Groucho Marx did it and the joke is still, ahem, appealing today. Attractively priced at about $12 bucks at a variety of local retailers, this is a great way to make light of a technology whose convenience barely compensates for its invasiveness. If you were looking for a way to say “I’m just bananas about talking on my cell phone!”, this is it.

Eco-Friendly Laptop

We all know that major companies have been searching for more environmentally safe ways to maintain our 21st century lifestyles.  For the most part, its rather expensive to create the electronics that would allow this.  But, LG – A company more well known for their cellular phones, has developed an ecological laptop called an “ebook” that is powered by liquid fuel cells, rather than the standard battery.

LG ebook

The LG’s future laptop uses organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels for display instead of the current liquid crystal display (LCD) panel. This concept notebook received a Red Dot Award nomination for “Best Concept Design” for 2006.  Unlike LCD, OLED does not need a frame around it, and it consumes less electricity. The keypad will also be made of a singe OLED panel, like the one used in LG’s Chocolate Phone, according to the report.

Although quite expensive to construct at the moment, LG promises that leading technologies will be used to keep this notebook environmentally clean, and cheap.

Sounds good to me!  If it is indeed not that expensive when they roll them out on the floor, I’ll be there to claim one of the first as mine!

Art Deco Speakers

Art Speakers

Art Lebedev creates electronic eye-candy that would make any computer enthusiast pant. While his Optimus keyboard was flattering enough, the Mus2 pointer-shaped mouse was pure genius. Design mobs take heart, as Art Lebedev Studios‘ has an uber-sleek Sonicum speaker system up for pre-order, and besides eliciting all sorts of geekish lust, the 2.1 computer-minded setup boasts dual 5-watt NXT speakers, a 15-watt subwoofer, and a few design cues that set it apart from the rest. The satellites bear a striking resemblance to a speaker cone silhouette, the subwoofer’s bass knob is cleverly marked with a smiley, and each simplistic piece is branded with Art’s own barcode logo.

For just $126.60, you can claim your Sonicum rig now, but unfortunately you’ll be waiting until next April to hear Lebedev’s latest masterpiece in person.

Wii Have a Problem Here

Nintendo

Now just when I thought I had heard it all, along comes a class of gamers that make you wonder just how far a person will go to play their console games.  Well, the Wii has been out for a bit, and as always, there are horror stories to be told about user experiences.  By far, the most prominent complaint yet has been the malfunctioning strap for the WiiMote. (pictured below)

Wiimote

This device is used in a number of ways, swinging or lunging while holding it, to mimic the use of a sword, or sports equipment, etc.  To many players demise, the strap that is supposed to hold the WiiMote to your wrist while flinging around at mach speed, breaks quite easily, and has damaged or outright destroyed many TV’s, Laptops and windows across the US.  Nintendo has agreed in many cases already to replace the wrist straps, hopefully with something a bit stronger!  Too bad they won’t replace a 60 inch plasma TV, in the case of one dismayed gamer, or a 10ft piece of picture window glass in the case of another.

A group of kids in Tokyo, Japan have taken a insane initiative, and have superglued the WiiMotes to their hands.  They see it as a status symbol, and show them off in public.  Parents have dismissed this as a wacky and bizarre action, but are wary of the problems it can cause.  Some gamers in the US have taken to using duct tape or strong rubber bands to keep the device from slipping out of their hands.  In the extreme, some doctors have claimed they have been approached with proposals of having the device surgically implanted in their hand!

Now come on folks…  I’m all for playing some new games on a new console.  But to be a slave to a conotroller is just going way over the line here.  Can you say “Nintendo-Borg”?

[Found via BBSpot.com]

 

Mission Impossible: E-Mail

E-Mail ExplosionCheck this place out for some serious e-mail action.  The Owner of 10 Minute Email states you can claim a temporary e-mail address through his site, which you can use for any number of reasons, not least of all, registering with websites that require validation (when you don’t want to give out your real e-mail address).  After the ten minutes expires, so does the temporary e-mail address.  Rinse and repeat as many times as you need.  Be wary though; they are currently being slashdotted, so as popularity rises with this service, websites may ban the 10minute domain to avoid your anon status.