Oct 112006

The US Army has filed a patent for a thermal site that mounts to a rifle. Big deal you say? Well this one doesn’t require the soldier to peek through the scope potentially exposing his head to enemy fire.

The patent proposes that a remote visual display, attached to the helmet via a cable, which in turn attaches to the night scope. As the drawing below illustrates, the user does not need to expose him/herself in order to sight the target.

Army Patent for better night scope

[Found via NewScientistTech]

 Posted by at 7:11 am
Oct 102006

Positivesharing.com has a great sampling of 10 really cool workplaces that are creative and innovative and bound to keep most any “worker bee” happy and working at their best. These work environments are well designed and the complete opposite of the trend towards cramming more people into smaller places.

Check it out, the article has tons of pics including the ‘conference bike‘ which has to be seen to be believed.


 Posted by at 6:00 am
Oct 082006

Phillips’ Lighting division has a new wake-up lamp, which emits light that gradually increases to the intensity you have selected, simulating the rising sun in your bedroom, gently preparing your body to wake up.

According to Phillips,

“the light falls on your eyes and sends your brain a message to reduce the production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.  Over 30 minutes, the natural light gradually increases to reach the optimal intensity to wake you up at the set time, in a pleasant manner that leaves you feeling energized and ready to wake up. The light intensity can also be adjusted to your own personal preference.”

Wake-Up Lamp

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Oct 072006

Check out this video of a bunch of geeks trying to prank their coworker who’s off getting married. Good stuff.

Note: If you’re a developer and don’t already follow Josh Ledgard’s blog, you should save his rss feed, he gives a great insider’s view to the Developer Division at Microsoft and the developer community efforts he’s involved in. I found this via Sara Ford’s blog, another one worth saving!

 Posted by at 6:00 am
Oct 062006

Two scientists, George Smoot and John Mather, have been selected to receive the 2006 Nobel for Physics for their detection and analysis of evidence that gives us a ‘shapshot’ of the universe approx 380,000 years after the big bang. The big bang occurred over 13 Billion years ago.

They leveraged NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer satellite to detect cosmic microwave background that is widely believed to be a remnant of the Big Bang.

 Posted by at 8:20 pm
Oct 052006

This slick little number is a concept phone from BenQ called ‘Black Box‘ that’s basically one big touchscreen. This little number would have no push buttons, not sure how I would react to this as I like a little tactile feedback.

Again, this is just a concept phone so you probably won’t be seeing one for several years at the earliest (if ever).

 Posted by at 10:09 pm
Oct 032006

Wired has a funny and only vaguely helpful article on how to disarm an atomic bomb. At a high level the steps include:

  1. Disconnect the wires
  2. Remove the neutron trigger
  3. Remove the conventional explosive
  4. Seperate the U-235 mass

And if you’re interested, we have ‘How to Make an Atomic Bomb” from The Journal of Irreproducible Results. You know it’s gonna be fun when Step 1 starts with
   “First, obtain about 50 pounds (110 kg) of weapons grade Plutonium at your local supplier”

 Posted by at 8:37 pm
Oct 022006

Wired has a neat article (‘Map Quest‘) on the processes used by companies to put together the digital maps used by in-car navigation devices, GPS’ and computers.

From the article: “It’s geeky data miners vs. old-school drivers in the pitched battle to provide digital driving directions to the likes of Google and Garmin. May the best map win.”

 Posted by at 6:00 am

How to beat traffic

 Just geeky  Comments Off on How to beat traffic
Oct 012006

Traffic is the bane of all commuters. This article on OmniNerd by Brandon U. Hansen analyzes a year of data to determine if minor tweaks to departure times can significantly impact commute length – or if it is all out of the driver’s control. For a full year he kept track of the departure and arrival times both to and from work & home, the results are very interesting.

Sep 282006

Microsoft’s Usability team is looking for smartphone or cell phone enthusiasts in the Seattle area to evaluate devices for them. Get the details on Andrew Nickels’ MSDN blog. Participating in usability tests is pretty cool because you get early access to some of the latest and greatest hardware and software sometimes a year or more before the public sees it. Plus you go home with a free piece of SW or HW as a gratuity.

 Posted by at 10:35 pm
Sep 282006

You can now download the public beta of ActiveSync 4.5.

Microsoft ActiveSync 4.5 is the latest sync software release for Windows Mobile-powered devices. It appears that most of the benefits will be for WM 5 powered devices and benfits for Enterprise scenarios using Exchange.

 Posted by at 10:22 pm
Sep 272006

OK, this isn’t news, we’ll get to that in a moment, but wow, check out this huge personal collection of slide rules, 143 rules in all. I guess you could call these an ‘old school gadget’.

If you’ve ever used a slide rule you’ll probably spend a minute or two browsing through this collection reminiscing. Ah, the good ole’ days. If you’re not familiar with how they operate, here’s a primer on the theory and operation of a rule.

You’re welcome.

 Posted by at 8:57 pm
Sep 262006

What happened today 42 years ago? Here’s a hint:

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
a tale of a fateful trip.
That started from this tropic port
aboard this tiny ship.

That’s right, we can’t let the day end without honoring the debut episode of one of the greatest shows ever: Gilligan’s Island.  With the exception of Seasame Street, more kids in the 60’s/70’s/80’s were probably raised watching this drivel than just about anything else.

RIP Gilligan and Gang, we loved ya but don’t miss ya…As far as castaways are concerned, GI is old and busted, ‘Lost’ is the new hotness!

Gilligan's Island

 Posted by at 10:51 pm
Sep 252006

Ran across a tutorial on creating Vista icons. Vista has a new GUI and the really cool shell theme ‘Aero’. Check out some of the examples on that page, but even better you can browse and click on samples at this page from rw-designer.com.

From there you can view the default Vista system icons in varying sizes/resolutions like the example below. Though if you look close enough, it appears that the smallest rendition of this icon appears to never wrap around the *front* of the device like all the others. File a bug!

Vista Icon 


 Posted by at 8:45 pm