City of Heroes: Issue 8 on Test Server

 

NCSoft announced today Issue 8 for City of Heroes and City City of Heroesof Villains is now available on their Test Server for subscribers. To Protect and Serve features Safeguard missions, Police Band missions similar to the newspaper missions of the villains from Issue 7, Pocket D Arenas where heroes and villains can battle each other, a new, reborn Faultline which has become a city zone, and for both heroes and villains a Veterans Rewards Program, which retroactively rewards players for their past active playing time.

More info about Issue 8

How to access the Test Server

Nachos, anyone?

Follow the interesting tale of a U.S. library researcher for the Oxford English Dictionary play detective decades ago in tracking down the antedate and etymology for the word ‘Nachos’.

As the largest city influenced by Tex-Mex trends, San Antonio might possibly yield a clue to nacho…

…how could anyone who has looked at and eaten nachos see any relationship between one of these and the adjective flat-nosed?…

[found via geekpress]

US Army patents a better rifle night scope

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]

Wake-up light for us early risers

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

How to build an igloo (a Microsoft office prank)

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!

Physics Nobel for First Baby Picture of the Universe

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.

How to disarm an atomic bomb

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”

Digital Maps for you and me

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.”

How to beat traffic

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.

Microsoft looking for a few good mobile phone testers (in Seattle)

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.

ActiveSync 4.5 Beta 2

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.