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”

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.

Slide rule heaven

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.

What happened this day, Sept 26 1964?

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

Vista Icons

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 

 

A playable piece of art from Capcom

Capcom’s latest game for the PS2 is Okami. The big deal around town is that they’ve taken a decidedly different approach to making games more visually appealing. Instead of trying to make it more lifelike, they’ve delivered a fantasy game rendered as a traditional Japanese watercolor painting.

Gamespot has tons of screens to revel in the old and new art forms blended together, here’s their Okami site with gameplay videos and very favorable reviews. Enjoy.

Okami thumbnail