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! 

Star Trek: The Animated Series, Remastered

Star Trek The Star Trek animated classic from 1973 is back, digitally remastered and features the voices by William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan and George Takei. You can read the excellent and lengthy review on Scifi.com, then go out and drop your US$55 to get these 22 episodes.

Snippet from the review:
“Star Trek: The Animated Series is the last of Star Trek’s episodic television adventures to make it to DVD, and the resulting digitally remastered four-disc set is a time capsule—one with 22 more journeys of these legendary characters, frozen in time asST_TAS two-dimensional animation cells. The 22 episodes immortalized here offered a way for Kirk, Spock and McCoy to gallivant through the galaxy once more, before the events in the movies.”

Here’s the link to Amazon for the DVD.

An Introduction to Planetary Defense: A Study of Modern Warfare Applied to Extra-Terrestrial Invasion

Is an alien attack possible? Of course it is. Statistically speaking, almost anything is possible. The better question to ask is “what is the possibility of an alien attack”?

That is the beginning of a serious scientific book called “An Introduction to Planetary Defense: A Study of Modern Warfare Applied to Extra-Terrestrial Invasion (links to Amazon). It contains a lot of the strategies, tactics and alternatives to assemble missions to mount an effective defense on a planet-wide scale in the case of an alien assault.

The authors and contributors all have experience and/or degrees in aerospace and involvement in some aspect of the space program, from the SpaceLab to designing experiments in space for the Space Shuttle crews. So all four authors bring an incredible amount of serious space science to these questions. Dr. Taylor has a variety of experiences working for the Department of Defense and NASA. Dr. Boan has been an active member of the space community for over a quarter of a century. Dr. Powell is a professor with specialties including space trajectories, attitude dynamics, and numerical analysis

This book provides a serious look at defending the planet in the event of an extra-terrestrial invasion. Travis Taylor, et al, have written the definitive book on the defense of earth against a potential alien incursion. Whatever your beliefs on the subject, the book serves as an important primer on the potential future of warfare on every level. It is tightly grounded in current day realities of war and extrapolates thoughtfully but closely about future potentials. It should be on the reading list of anyone who is serious about national security and the future of war.

The authors carefully make their case from every angle beginning with the statistical probability of an alien invasion. Chapter two discusses possible weapons, tactics and strategies for defense. This is followed with a look at what might motivate such an attack. And finally, who should know about preparations for defense, what a first and subsequent responses should be, and how we should be preparing and funding our defense.

Planetary Defense

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]

Robotic Dog Treat Dispenser, triggered from IM

Make magazine profiles a fellow (by the alias ‘Nbolt’) that wanted to be able to remotely give his dog a treat. So he came up with an interesting solution that includes a robot, an audio converter and MSN instant messenger running on a laptop in the house with the dog. When you see this thing you won’t quite think of it as a ‘rube goldberg machine‘ type device, but it is, erm…interesting.

When a user types ‘treat’ into the IM window, the other end of the IM conversation is running on a laptop tied into this configuration, then a device connected to the laptop is activated to generate a tone. That tone is the ‘trigger’ for the Lego MindStorms NXT robot to activate; it will then pick out a dog treat from a bin, then drop it from a table into the dog bowl, resulting in “one happy dog”.

The inventor says “I have also setup some basic commands so you can IM “sit” “come here” and “speak,” and see if she does them before giving the treat, but so far she doesn’t listen to any of them”.

Here’s the YouTube video of the end to end demonstration, with dog.

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]

CSI:Rome, Solving a 400 Year Old Murder

As rulers, art connoisseurs and financiers of kings, one family, the Medici family, survived for hundreds of cut throught years wheeling and dealing and forming alliances in old Europe, providing four popes and ruling first Florence then Tuscany from about 1430 to 1737.

Its most famous members include Lorenzo de’ Medici, or “Lorenzo the Magnificent”, who supported Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli. At least two Medici women — Catherine and Maria, who was Francesco’s daughter — married kings of France, and the Medicis’ former home, Pitti Palace, now houses an important art gallery.

Francesco de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, ruled from 1574 until his death at age 46 on Oct. 17, 1587, 11 days after he fell ill and a few hours before his wife also died.

Rumors abounded that Francesco’s brother, Ferdinando de’ Medici, poisoned his brother and sister in-law, but the official cause of death was malaria after an autopsy had been performed.
3 scientists have looked into this mysterious death recently, collected evidence from the grave site and have announced their findings. Read the LiveScience article with all the backstory from the 16th century, the scientific studies, the evidence discovered and what the new official cause of death appears to be.

CyberDefender Corp. Donates Proceeds to Kim Memorial Fund

I just received a press release that you can also view here. It explains how and why the CyberDender Corporation is donating the first 30 day’s direct sales of its Early Detection Center Security Suite to the James Kim Memorial Fund.

From the release:

“Mr. Kim’s sudden passing is a reminder to us all of how important life and family is,” said Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Alan Wallace, who was a friend of James Kim. “And, as James honored us all with his sense of purpose, we now honor him and his family with an award that we hope will carry on his sole mission – to care for his family.”

Officially launching at Showstoppers during CES/Las Vegas on January 8, 2007, the Early Detection Center is CyberDefender’s ad-free Internet security suite designed to provide rapid detection and protection against the latest fast-moving online security threats.

MySpace Gets Goatse’d!

Jason Scott of textfiles.com found some happy go-lucky folks were hotlinking to a picture (see below, i’m not hotlinking 🙂 ) on his site of a cheery Grim Reaper and figured, no big deal and considered the bandwidth to be a little donation back to the community.

Around April it was d/l’d 16,000 times, June 118k, July 150k, August 212k….December it was up to 414,000 times. That’s 414,000 in just December alone. Obviously it was going to get much much worse if something wasn’t done.

Read his account of what happened, it’s fairly long but his analogies of the situation, the fallout and effect he’s potentially had on thousands of newbs is just hillarious. I giggled and snickered throughout.

Enjoy. (oh, and if you’re reading this Mom, for the love of all that’s holy, be careful of the links you click on if you read his post :-))

Grim Reaper

Blasphemy Challenge On YouTube

Snippets from this MSNBC/Newsweek article: “Hi my name is Lindy and I deny the existence of the Holy Spirit and you should too.

With that five-second submission to YouTube, a 24-year-old who uses the name “menotsimple” has either condemned herself to an eternity of punishment in the afterlife or struck a courageous blow against superstition. She’s one of more than 400 mostly young people who have joined a campaign by the Web site BlasphemyChallenge.com to stake their souls against the existence of God. That, of course, is the ultimate no-win wager, as the 17th-century French mathematician Blaise Pascal calculated—it can’t be settled until you’re dead, and if you lose, you go to hell.

The Blasphemy Challenge is a joint project of filmmaker Brian Flemming, director of the antireligion documentary “The God Who Wasn’t There,” and Brian Sapient, cofounder of the atheist Web site RationalResponders.com. Their intent was to encourage atheists to come forward and put their souls on the line, showing others that you don’t have to be afraid of God. The particular form of the challenge was chosen because, by one interpretation, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, a part of the Christian Trinity, is the only sin that can never be forgiven. And once something you’ve said gets posted on YouTube, as any number of celebrities can attest, you never live it down.

You can get details from the Blasphemy Challenge website. Their tagline: “Do you have a soul you’re not using?”

Top 10 F/X Scenes in Movie History

Popular Mechanics has their top 10 list of biggest breakthroughs in digital F/X history.

Here’s two from the list:

#6 Forrest Gump (1994)
While most filmmakers in the early ’90s used digital effects to create fantasy, the creators of Forrest Gump altered history. Using Kodak’s Cineon system, they digitized archival footage, and composited Tom Hanks’s character into historical clips.

#8 Lord of the Rings (2001)
For the huge battle scenes in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the filmmakers created Massive, a computer program that generates crowds of artificially intelligent individuals “who make their own decisions based on behavior patterns,” Knowles says. This makes for more realistic battles.

Found via Digg

Apple Security Flaw Exposure Begins

As of Jan 1 2007, two security researches started posting a bug a day related to Mac’s OSX. They’re doing this in an attempt to force Apple to be more transparent and active wrt their flaws and fixing their flaws. As of Jan 2 they’ve posted one Media Player Format String Vulnerability and one Quicktime Buffer Overflow in its URL Handler.

This work is being carried out by independent security researcher Kevin Finisterre and a hacker known only as LMH.

While some of the bugs might be lower security risks, some will be significant risks, including exploits in the kernel. Besides OSX, they will also be targeting iTunes, Safari, iPhoto and Quicktime.

For more details you can check out this PCWorld article, or even better yet check out the MOAB’s FAQ page (MOAB == Month of Apple Bugs).

Word of the Day: Heisenbug

A heisenbug is a computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when it is researched.

One common example is a bug that occurs in a release-mode compile of a program, but not when researched under debug-mode; another is a bug caused by a race condition. The name “heisenbug” is a pun on the “Heisenberg uncertainty principle,” a quantum physics term which is commonly (yet inaccurately) used to refer to the way in which observers affect the measurements of the things that they are observing, by the act of observing alone (this is actually the observer effect, and is commonly confused with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle).

One common reason for heisenbug-like behavior is that executing a program in debug mode often cleans memory before the program starts, and forces variables onto stack locations, instead of keeping them in registers. Another reason is that debuggers commonly provide watches or other user interfaces that cause code (such as property accessors) to be executed, which can, in turn, change the state of the program. Yet another reason is a fandango on core. Many Heisenbugs are caused by uninitialized variables. Once you have identified the problem as a Heisenbug, it is usually easy and trivial to find the error and fix it.

In an interview in ACM Queue vol. 2, no. 8 – November 2004, Bruce Lindsay tells of being there when the term was first used, and that it was created because Heisenberg said, “The more closely you look at one thing, the less closely can you see something else.”

From Wikipedia

Undark and the Radium Girls

Alan Bellows on DamnInteresting.com has a terrific historical/medical article called ‘Undark and the Radium Girls‘. Here’s the setup below, if intrigued, go check it out!

In 1922, a bank teller named Grace Fryer became concerned when her teeth began to loosen and fall out for no discernible reason. Her troubles were compounded when her jaw became swollen and inflamed, so she sought the assistance of a doctor in diagnosing the inexplicable symptoms. Using a primitive X-ray machine, the physician discovered serious bone decay, the likes of which he had never seen. Her jawbone was honeycombed with small holes, in a random pattern reminiscent of moth-eaten fabric.

As a series of doctors attempted to solve Grace’s mysterious ailment, similar cases began to appear throughout her hometown of New Jersey. One dentist in particular took notice of the unusually high number of deteriorated jawbones among local women, and it took very little investigation to discover a common thread; all of the women had been employed by the same watch-painting factory at one time or another.

French Space Agency To Post Its UFO Archive Online

Jacques Arnould, of the French Space Agency called ‘National Space Studies Centre’ (CNES), said they will post their database of approximately 1,600 UFO incidents.

They are planning to post this UFO archive in late January or February of 2007. This archive consists of statements and documents collected over the last 30 years in their studies of this phenomenon.

These 1,600 incidents in the database comprise about 6,000 documents.

It’s expected that the database would be posted to their web site, here’s the English version of CNES.

Secrets of Stradivarius Violins Finally Being Uncovered

Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 1737) was an Italian maker of violins. His instruments are regarded as amongst the finest stringed instruments ever created, are highly prized, and still played by professionals today.

His violins are revered today because of the uniqueness of their tone, so highly revered in fact that on May 16, 2006, Christie’s auctioned a Stradivarius called “The Hammer” for a record US$3,544,000. It is the most paid at public auction for any musical instrument

However, it was not truly understood how his violins obtained this uniqueness, it was just generally accepted that there was something about the wood or wood glue that set these instruments on an entirely different level than anyone else’s.

Unknown until now, or at least part of the puzzle is finally in place. Dr. Joseph Nagyvary made some bold claims in the 1970’s with his theory but was ridiculed by his collegues. He made it his life’s work over these last 30 years to prove his theory. He finally has.

Read about his story and what he has discovered on ScienceDaily.

A Directory By Any Other Name

There’s an interesting article by Raymond Chen on Technet; it’s mostly interesting trivia and backstory explaining some of the commonly asked questions about folder names in Windows.

For instance, why is it ‘Program Files’ instead of ‘Programs’? And why were the docs and settings moved out of the Windows folder into its own ‘Documents and Settings’ root folder, and why was the Ampersand (‘&’) removed from ‘Documents & Settings’?

If you’re interested in more like this, check out Raymond’s blog. He’s a wealth of knowledge with Windows history.

Why You Can’t Get iPods At A Discount

Slate explains why “You can’t get ipods at a discount“.

This is a very thought-provoking article, not so much because it relates to Apple and the iPod, but goes into some of the interesting details of marketing and advertising that enable me to understand some of the influences at play behind the scenes when I’m making a purchase.

Here’s an example where the 8GB iPod nano costs $250 everywhere while prices for most other electronics like this Sony Digital Camcorder fluctuate wildly giving the buyer a better deal ‘somewhere else’.

The author sets it up by explaining away some of the mystery to how retailers advertise and set prices through ‘price dispersion‘ and explains Apple’s “accepted, if controversial, tactic, a retail strategy called minimum advertised price, to discourage resellers from discounting“.

iPod nano

History Geek: ‘The Odyssey’

[This is for you tech geeks, a condensed description of ‘The Odyssey’ in just a few paragraphs :-)].

The Odyssey is one of two Greek epic poems written by Homer. I found an excellent interactive map of Odysseus’ journey to supplement the story.

Homer’s epic poem ‘The Odyssey’ tells of the travels of Ulysses, King of Ithaca and hero of the Trojan War. Following the epic ten-year war, Ulysses wandered for a further ten years, suffering many hardships and adventures in his quest to reach home.

Ulysses and his crew narrowly escaped being eaten by the giant one-eyed Cyclops Polyphemus, by blinding him. Polyphemus’ father, the sea-god Poseidon subsequently took revenge on Ulysses by creating storms to send him off course. Following one of these storms Ulysses was shipwrecked on the island of Calypso, having lost all his crew. Calypso fell in love with Ulysses and kept him with her for many years, though he yearned for home. The gods finally persuaded the reluctant Calypso to let him go, and she gave him wood for a raft and provisions.

When he finally reached Ithaca, Ulysses found his palace overrun with suitors for his wife Penelope. He disguised himself as a beggar and with the help of his son Telemachus suggested an archery contest to win Penelope’s hand. Ulysses’ bow was used, which only he could string, and he won the contest. He then revealed his true identity, had all the doors to the palace locked, and slaughtered all the suitors.

Homer

(above: bust of Homer)

BG3 coming Jan3

BG3 is not Battlestar Galactica season 3 (that’s ‘BSG3’, duh), we all know it’s on hiatus in its mid season break. I’m referring to the “Beauty and the Geek 3” reality show is back Jan 3 for probably another 7 episodes. You can see some of the previews and interviews. I’m rooting for the kid that recited Pi for over 2 hours as part of his audition tape. 🙂

If you’re not familiar with the show, here’s the deal –

This cycle will remain true to the series’ format – pairing eight gorgeous but academically impaired women with eight brilliant but socially challenged men to test intellect and social skills – for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize. Among the challenges, the guys will be required to deliver a stand-up routine in a comedy club and test their artistic abilities when they sketch a drawing of a nude model. The women will brush up on current events for a television newscast and research history books when they act as museum tour guides.
During each competition, the geek tries to pass brains on to the beauty, while the beauty helps the geek overcome social awkwardness. At the end of the eight-week series, each contestant comes out a changed person, and one couple will walk away with a quarter of a million dollars.
Beauty and Geek