The Week in News – 1-18-09

News Link - BSG  The Final Cylon revealed at last! Did you see it coming? – [Entertainment Weekly] See the video interview of the person that portrays the fifth cylon. Beware – the interview reveals a couple of very minor spoilers.

News Link - YHOO  The on-again off-again affair between MSFT & YHOO is on again? – [ComputerWorld] Fer crying out loud already, will it ever stop?!

News Link - Plane Crash US Airways  Mobile phone photo flashed around the world – [TimesOnline] – Someone twittered the first photos of the recent plane crash in New York.

News Link - Mars Life  New evidence of life on Mars spotted by NASA – [SFGate] Methane detected on the red planet may signal there is life. This life on mars theme is starting to get really old.

News Link - sexting  ‘Sexting’ surprise: Teens face child porn charges – [MSNBC] 3 school boys in Pensylvania, USA are facing sexual child abuse charges because they received nude photos via text messages of 3 girl schoolmates. The girls who sent the pictures of themselves are also accused of sending child pornography.

News Link - Youtube  YouTube Muting, Removing Videos Involving Warner Music – [Slashdot] YouTube has started muting videos uploaded by users that use ‘unauthorized copyrighted music’ in response to Warner Music’s threat over royalties.

News Link - FFXIII  FFXIII not coming West until 2010 "at least" – [arstechnica] Square-Enix has been extremely tight-lipped about Final Fantasy XIII. Aside from the odd scanned Famitsu page or brief recut trailer, very little is known about the new game other than the fact that it features some gorgeous graphics and will hit the PS3 and Xbox 360 simultaneously in the West after April 2010.

EmuWiki.com – The Encyclopedia of Emulation

 wiki

EmuWiki.com launched Jan 1 2009 and is already vying for the location of choice on everything related to software emulators. The admin for the wiki contacted me and provided some very interesting points about the site. The intent of the site is to:

  • Provide the user with quality information and quality emulators.
  • Preserve, collect and classify the artifacts of the emulation scene.
  • Produce interactive software that will allow browsing and analyzing the historical events that lead to the creation and existence of the emulation scene.

In the mail I received I learned the following about their focus on history:

So instead of just allowing leeching Emuz & Romz like most site, what I’m looking for is a true historical perspective on emulation. The Emulation Timeline is the part of the site where this perspective is most apparent; every event in emulation history is placed on a timeline… So I can ask : what were the news released about emulation on January 3rd 1999 ? What emulators running on Dreamcast were released between 2003 and 2004 ? What YouTube videos about NES were released in 2007 ? Of course the timeline is far from complete. As data is added to the encyclopedia through history pages of certain emulators like this one : http://www.emuwiki.com/index.php?title=History_of_Final_Burn, the data is automatically added to the timeline. So in 1 or 2 years, at my current pace and if I find some people to help me build the project, we should have a complete timeline of all emulation-related events from the 90’s, or even before, up to now.

The great thing about this particular wiki isn’t just that it’s your typical user-generated content site. It’s also hosting thousands of emulators, videos, documents, archived news items and more:

And at the same time of being a good tool for historical preservation, EmuWiki is just a huge emulation website for the everyday user. I’ve been working on it pretty much by myself for a year, and it only opened officially on January 1st, 2009, but the encyclopedia already contains 4280 archived emulators, 839 documents, 500 videos, 1869 current emulators, and 1321 Emulation Camp news archived (we’re trying to archive and classify all news of emulation websites that are not online anymore and emucamp just disappeared so we started with this one). Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Drop And Give me CAT5, Soldier!

Ever wonder what your company IT’s are up to in their spare time?  Bored, and have some extra CAT5 to play with?  Well this guy was quite ingenious with his time, creating an army with weapons to behold!  Check out the gallery HERE.

ethernet_cable_soldier05

So in my opinion, this is badass, and quite imaginative.  I think I see some CAT5 stripping in my future!  Have you ever done anything like this?  Drop us a note in comments and tell us all about it 😉

Burger King vs. Facebook, Who Ya Got?

Burger King vs Facebook 

Wow, that Burger King marketing team really knows how to get publicity. Last month it was the cologne(“Mmm, Smells Like Beef (New Burger King Cologne)”. A lot of people turned up their noses at that one, but it seemed to generate a lot of buzz.

Now they’re offering free burgers to Facebook users that delete 10 online friends. Guess who’s not liking that joke?

From Computerworld:

A Burger King spokeswoman today told Computerworld that Facebook took exception to the Whopper Sacrifice campaign and after days of negotiations, the fast food chain halted it. On the Whopper Sacrifice site, Burger King now says simply: "Facebook has disabled the Whopper Sacrifice after your love for the Whopper sandwich proved to be stronger than 233,906 friendships."

Watch the MST3K Cast….Live On The Web Jan 15

MST3K 

On January 15th, 2009 at 6:00 PM PST and 9:00 PM EST, RiffTrax will be hosting its inaugural RiffTrax Live! Webcast, featuring the former stars and writers of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Mike Nelson, Kevin “Tom Servo” Murphy and Bill “Crow” Corbett) doing what they do best—sitting in front of a terrible movie and making fun of it.

With all luck, viewers around the country and the world will get a free, live look at how these three comedians practice their craft, courtesy of UStream.tv’s webcasting technology.

The film to be screened is the 1951 short, “Self-Conscious Guy,” one of those unintentionally hilarious informational films. Afterwards, Mike & Co. will participate in a live question and answer session with viewers.

Full details and the event itself will be available at: www.rifftrax.com/live

Fans can also submit advance questions for Mike to the RiffTrax Facebook page.

Klingon Keyboards Are Here, Bring On Vulcan

Klingon Keyboard

The Cherry Keyboard blog tells us that they’re making available a fun accessory in the form of a Klingon keyboard that carries the letters of the Klingon alphabet.

Other than the unique characters, this is a standard 105 key, PS/2 keyboard. But I’m sure a lot of Star Trek fans or Klingon enthusiasts familiar with the language would love to have this novelty.

The blog article teases with:

Rumours of Romulan, Vulcan and other variants are not without substance – though time will tell…..!

Gotta have one? It’s £43.99, order it here.

[via boingboing]

Dick Tracy Watch Phone Appears At CES 2009

Dick Tracy Watch Phone

In 1964 Detective Tracy upgraded from a thirty year old 2 Way Wrist Radio to a 2 Way Wrist TV.

Here we are 45 years later from CES 2009 and the arrival of the LG Watch Phone. It has a touch-screen user interface, stereo Bluetooth, a speakerphone, a built-in music player, and a not-at-all-unattractive design, with tempered glass and metal casing.

Tracy himself would be jealous.

 LG Watch Phone

Latest Science News – 1/12/09

It was a productive week in Science. From a medical use for Tetris, to bizarre behavior in Mars rocks and a female Pharaoh recently pulled from a new pyramid interested in a cure for baldness.

News Link - Tetris Doctor: You’re medically traumatized? Play Tetris – [FOX] Playing Tetris, rated one of the greatest video games of all time, immediately after traumatic events appears to reduce flashbacks that plague sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder

News Link - Mars Strange rock formations on Mars explained – [MSNBC] Rocks on Mars in some areas are scattered in a strangely uniform fashion, puzzling scientists for years. Now they’ve figured it out. And believe it or not, they’re rolling *against* the wind.

News Link - RacismStudy: Non-blacks silent toward racism – [UPI] You as an individual help define society’s values. It takes conviction in your own values to stand against racism, but according to a report on a recent study, we’re not likely to do that.

News Link - Mummy4300 Year Old Female Pharaoh found in newly discovered pyramid -  [Bloomberg] While her name was not found anywhere in the tomb, all the signs indicate that she is Seshestet. Queen Seshestet was the mother of King Teti, who founded the Sixth Dynasty and is believed to have ruled Egypt for over a decade. In papyrus texts referencing this queen, she apparently made a request to doctors to find her a cure for hair loss.

News Link - MedicalClimbers log lowest blood oxygen levels – [The Age] British doctors scaling Mount Everest have measured the lowest human blood oxygen levels ever recorded, according to a study. This data could help critical care doctors re-evaluate treatment for long-term patients suffering from respiratory distress syndromes, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, and other serious illnesses, many of which force their hosts to adapt to low oxygen levels in the blood.

News Link - Astronomy Astronomers view heavens through Galileo’s eyes – [Register] Astronomers are celebrating 400 years since Galileo made his famous observations, which were fundamental in proving the heliocentric hypothesis, by pointing a replica of one of his original telescopes at the heavens to recreate his original stargaze.

Yellowstone Quakes May Be Supervolcano Awakening – Everybody Panic!

Dont Panic

Hundreds of small earthquakes at Yellowstone National Park in recent weeks have been an unsettling reminder for some people that underneath the park’s famous geysers and majestic scenery lurks one of the world’s biggest volcanoes: the Yellowstone Caldera.

Begin the countdown, begin the evacuations, this may be one of the signs of the apocalypse. To give an indication of what a supervolcano is capable of, when the Lake Toba supervolcano erupted 76,000 years ago it plunged the Earth into a volcanic winter, eradicating about 60% of the human population.

Physorg has the full story.

Playmobil Security Check Point Toy? WTF?

How in the world a toy company thought this would make for an interesting plaything I’ll probably never know. But here it is, available on Amazon for US $55 in all it’s Homeland Security glory. The only thing missing is the ATF, the cavity searches, the torn locks on the luggage and the latex gloves.

The review comments are simply hilarious! Here’s just one great sample where some serious flaws were uncovered:

I was a little disappointed when I first bought this item, because the functionality is limited. My 5 year old son pointed out that the passenger’s shoes cannot be removed. Then, we placed a deadly fingernail file underneath the passenger’s scarf, and neither the detector doorway nor the security wand picked it up. My son said "that’s the worst security ever!". But it turned out to be okay, because when the passenger got on the Playmobil B757 and tried to hijack it, she was mobbed by a couple of other heroic passengers, who only sustained minor injuries in the scuffle, which were treated at the Playmobil Hospital.

You like this, eh? That’s nothing, how about the Playmobil Safe-Cracker?!

Plymobil Security checkpoint

Robotic Submarine Explores Antarctic Ice Shelves on 5000 D Cells

Autosub

The British have developed and are deploying a robotic submarine, called Autosub, under the Pine Island ice shelf in Antarctica.

The Autosub has a top speed of 3.4 knots and can dive to 1,600 meters and oh by the way, is powered by 5,000 batteries. Yes, that right, it’s powered by 5,000 D cell batteries. As in  the kind used to power flashlights!

The unmanned boat can travel up to 400km before requiring a return trip to pick up 5,000 fresh batteries from the mother ship.

Get the full story from Reuters.

[via UberReview]

Rolling In Style

It’s been a while since we’ve posted anything related to table gaming, so I thought I’d drop these in here. I saw this in a forum where interesting and unusual items are displayed.  How awesome would it be to have a set of six siders like these at the gaming table?  Being Diamonds, I’m sure the cost of these would be astronomical….but who said fun didn’t come without a price? :)

blackdiamonddice

The dice (total weight 32 carats) and solitaire (just under 4 carats) not only look fantastic but roll very well! The dice are an exclusive design by Coster of Amsterdam.
The black diamond, also known as Carbonado, is a natural polycrystalline diamond found in alluvial deposits in the Central African Republic and Brazil, they look black and are highly porous. A study by Stephen Haggerty and Jozsef Garai, both of Florida International University, analyzed the hydrogen in black diamond samples using infrared-detection instruments at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and found that the mineral formed in a supernova explosion.

Bragging rights for owning a set of these would be enough to seal the deal 😉  Could you imagine having a full set…d4,d8,d10,d12,d20…..that would rock!

WoW GM Gets Teen Arrested

 Lootless Dwarf

The World of Warcraft GMs are watching and listening to you on their servers to help maintain fair and quality play, but in a recent incident the GM’s role went above and beyond. As learned from Loot Ninja today, a teenager was chatting with a WoW GM online recently and the teen made suicidal comments in an effort to play on the GM’s sympathies hoping to get some loot.

A 17-year-old Fairfield Twp. teen pretended to be suicidal when he became frustrated with an online video game, Fairfield Twp. police reported.

The teen…typed that "he was suicidal and that the game is the only thing he has to live for," according to the report.

The company representative called 911.

The GM did the smart thing and called the cops in the off-chance the kid was truly suicidal, so of course the police and paramedics show up at the young man’s home.

The juvenile told police it was a joke "to try to get what he wanted for the game," according to the report. He was then handcuffed and placed in a patrol car.

Isn’t this just sad?

Let’s hope the young man has learned his lesson that you have to work and invest something of yourself to get ahead in the world, that part of growing up is trying and failing, learning from your errors and growing from it. But it really seems that this teen’s attempt at ‘pity loot’ is a classic symptom of the typical "Trophy Kids" (aka "Generation Y") that have been raised to think everyone is a winner and even losers deserve a trophy.

Well, the loser of this story has won himself a minor criminal record.

The news article originates from the Middletown Journal and has the full story.

Footballer Wants To Change Name To Show His Love of WoW

Chris Kluwe

A punter for the American Football Team Minnesota Vikings says that he loves playing World of Warcraft so much that he’s tossed around the idea of changing his name. His name (for today at least) is Chris Kluwe, his teammates know of his love of WoW and they’ve already given him an appropriate nickname but he is considering taking that name to the next level.

Here’s his discussion of the topic on his weekly radio program (original article from Star Tribune):

“I think more people like to hear me talk about playing video games than football,” said Kluwe, an expert at many video games. “I’ve played video games since I was 4 years old. I play them a lot more than I kick a football. I kick the ball about 45 minutes a day. I play video games about five or six hours a day. But that’s OK. I don’t watch TV.”

“Back when [Bengals receiver] Chad Johnson changed his name to Ocho Cinco, I told the guys at 93X that I was going to change my name to Chris ‘World of Warcraft,’ ” Kluwe said. “They said that’s too long. So they started calling me Chris ‘Warcraft.’ I could make a lot of money if I changed my name to that.”

He’s doing pretty well for himself. He recently renegotiated his contract for $8.3 million over the next 5 seasons.

According to his wikipedia page, he plays a troll rogue on the Kil’jaeden sever, keep an eye out for him. It’s unknown whether he plays a female or male char :-)

 

[via Gaming Angels]

DIY – Colored Balls For Your Blackberry Pearl

I’ve seen several different DIY posts for changing the LED color of the Blackberry Pearl trackball.  Some informative, some not very much so.  After some experimentation on my own, I managed to make a simple modification to my Blackberry Pearl 8130 trackball to change the LED color.  I must say it looks rather nice, and adds some flair to an otherwise drab looking smartphone.

My Blackberry Pearl 8130:

1229081917

Before attempting this mod, I would recommend that you power off your phone!  First step is to remove the trackball assembly.  Use a pair of tweezers to hook into a small slot in the chrome retainer ring, located directly above the #2 key on the keypad.  Gently pry up the ring until the ring pops loose, and remove it, exposing the trackball assembly underneath.

1229081838 1229082015 1229082016

Set aside the chrome ring, in a safe place.  It is plastic, so make sure not to bend or break the catches on the underside.  Use the tweezers to remove the trackball assembly – it’s self contained, so don’t worry about it falling apart.  Set the assembly aside along with the chrome ring.  Now you should see this:

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Now comes the easy part!  The LED that lights up the trackball is on the lower right, indicated in the picture by the bright red circle.  Grab yourself a fine tipped permanent marker (I used a Staedtler Lumocolor fine tip in Red) and lightly coat the LED in your chosen color.  As a side note, you can apply several coats of the same color to achieve darker shades of the same color to your desire.  Just make sure you give a few minutes to dry between each application.  I applied four coats to give myself a nice scarlet red color.  After your final coat dries, put everything back together!  Make sure you settle the trackball assembly in all the way, and align the Chrome ring in the socket the same way it was when you removed it.

That’s it!  Turn your phone on, and you should see something like this:

1229081835

Congrats on your newly modded phone :)  I personally really like the dark red color because it gives me that “HAL 9000” type feeling!  Now if you want to change the color, follow the same steps as before, and use a q-tip with a light application of rubbing alcohol to gently remove the marker ink.  Let dry, and apply the new color of your choice.

If you try this, be sure to tell us about your experience!

EDIT– Many People have suggested using the “Blingball” or “Color Pearl” apps for the Blackberry Pearl.  The model 8130 does not possess the polychromatic  LEDs necessary for those apps to function correctly or at all.  That’s why I wrote this DIY in the first place.  Carry on 😉

The Bro Code

What is this, you ask?  Some lame attempt at chauvinism?  An awesome codex of life for your fellow man?  No, my friends.  This is a book that carefully details the rules that all Bros must live by; a subtle collection of clarity and wisdom passed down through the ages by your fellow Bro, and all contained within the pages of a single book.  This lexicon of empowerment can help you solve such situations as “A Bro will, in a timely manner, alert his Bro to the existance of a chick fight.” or “A Bro only claims a fart after first accusing another Bro (Exception: “Pull my finger.”).”

brocode

I asked my wife to get this for me during the recent holidays, because I felt it was time to rebolster my “Inner Bro” – He has been beaten down and oppressed for a while now, and now I feel it is time to let him shine through!  Women, buy this for your man!  Men, embolden yourselves, and claim your Bro status for all eternity :)

Based off the musings of Barney Stinson in “How I met your mother” TV show.

Buy this at Amazon.

Outstanding Warcraft Fan Video

Here’s one of the best machinima videos I’ve ever seen: “The Craft of War: Blind“.

I don’t have much in the way of constructive criticism other than the transition in music early on didn’t seem appropriate, but the song used for a majority of the vid (Hide & Seek by Namie Amuro) added to the vibe the animator was trying to set.

The lighting was spot on, the use of WoW models was brilliant, the SFX are great, the plot had me hooked and I’m anxiously awaiting to see more on this assassin vs. Dragon theme.


The Craft of War: BLIND from percula on Vimeo.

Unique Test Of The Microsoft Mouse Bluetrack Technology

[Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from my sister Beth, who is *not* a geek. :-) She received a rechargeable Microsoft Explorer Mouse w/ Bluetrack technology for Christmas this week, this is the latest and greatest in mouse tech. Here’s her initial usability report, with a unique test of this supposedly ‘more precise imaging’ Bluetrack technology. -andy]

This is my first experience with a wireless mouse and I have to say I am impressed. Easy to install and quick charging. The ergonomic feel to the mouse is pleasing, but I find the weight of the mouse a little much. I’m sure with time it will feel normal but for now it feels like I’m dragging it around my desk.

I have to admit that when I read on the case it came in that you could use this mouse on the carpet, desk, granite countertop, concrete sidewalk, park bench or wood walls, I had to put it to the test… The mouse worked on my office’s rough wood walls, my upholstered computer chair, the carpet on the floor, my daughter’s arm, and yes, even on my cat’s belly.

-Beth & ‘Bella the cat’

Bella cat testing Bluetrack Mouse

Eartha Kitt (Catwoman) – RIP

Cat Woman - Eartha Kitt 1 

Eartha Kitt passed away today at the age of 81. If you don’t know her by name, you may remember her as one of the women to play Catwoman, a super nemesis of Batman in the TV series from the 1960’s. She was also the only black villain to appear on the show.

From ABC News:

Eartha Kitt, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, has died, a family spokesman said. She was 81.

Kitt, a self-proclaimed "sex kitten" famous for her catlike purr, was one of America’s most versatile performers, winning two Emmys and nabbing a third nomination. She also was nominated for several Tonys and two Grammys.

BTW, the other 2 women to play Catwoman on the TV series is Julie Newmar and Lee Meriwether.

Catwoman - Eartha Kitt 3  Cat Woman - Eartha Kitt 2