Who Ya Gonna Call?

Back in the day, the Ghostbuster movies were teh bombage!  I’m glad to finally see Atari Run with a newer version of this namesake with a fresh approach and using the latest in video and programming technology to produce it.  This is a definate must buy for me next June!

Check this awesome HD trailer:

Besides….who would pass up a chance to drive the Ecto-1, arguably one of the most famous vehicles in movie history 😉

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry "First Lady of Star Trek" – RIP

Majel Barret-Roddenberry

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry (23 Feb 1932 – 18 Dec 2008; age 76), the widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry who nurtured the legacy of the seminal science fiction TV series after his death, has died. She was 76 and died of leukemia Thursday morning at her home in Bel-Air.

Majel was a recurring actress in the Star Trek franchise and was the wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry from 1969 until his passing in 1991. This association with Roddenberry and his most famous creation has earned Barrett the title "The First Lady of Star Trek."

Though she played many characters in the Star Trek franchise such as the ship’s computer voice on multiple series as well as the mother of Deanna Troi, I was always fond of her role as Nurse Christine Chapel working side by side with ‘Bones’ on the original series.

Patrick and I attended the Star Trek Convention in Vegas a few months ago and she made an appearance on the main stage, I recall telling Pat at that time that she looked very sick, pale and gaunt in the vendor room where she was trying to sign autographs.

Rest in peace Nurse Chapel.

Nurse Chapel

Firefox 3.0.5 Released

In the same trend as earlier…firefox

Firefox 3.0.5 has been released. It boasts a few minor updates, but does patch up some gaping security holes nicely. Additionally, those of you who speak Bengali, Hindi and Latvian (among others) will be excited to know that you can now have Firefox in your language.

Here’s the brief:

Firefox 3.0.5 fixes several issues found in Firefox 3.0.4:

  • Fixed several security issues.
  • Fixed several stability issues.
  • Official releases for the Bengali, Esperanto, Galician, Hindi, and Latvian languages are now available.
  • Replaced the End-User License Agreement with a new “Know Your Rights” info bar on initial install.
  • When installing multiple signed XPIs simultaneously, previous versions of Firefox would fail.
  • Fixed several issues found in the accessibility implementation.
  • Added the ability to send OS-specific system notes in the crash reporter.

Follow the links to find out everything there is to know.

Source: Firefox Website

Chrome Stealing Ground from IE?

googlechromelogoI came across an interesting article from Ars Technica today. I thought a bunch of my fellow geeks would be interested in the read.

Microsoft is apparently suffering from the effects of Chrome’s success. Not that I’m excited about all that too much; I’m not a huge fan of Chrome and I’ve found IE to be a nice solid browser.

With out further adieu…

Chrome, apparently, will not remain in an indefinite period of beta testing for the rest of its life. Speaking to The Times, Sundar Pichai, Google vice president, stated that the browser will exit beta in January. Google, meanwhile, is exploring its distribution options and examining the various ways it might improve its market share. “We will probably do distribution deals,” Pinchai told The Times. “We could work with an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and have them ship computers with Chrome preinstalled.”

So there you have it… Microsoft is going to be under the gun when the OEM deals start rolling. Could it be that someone is challenging Microsoft on their level for the first time in a decade?

To read the rest of the article, visit Ars Technica.

Royal Navy Completes Windows for Submarines™ Rollout

Windows for Submarines (clicky)

Windows for Submarines is the program undertaken by the Royal Navy and BAE Systems to equip the nuclear-propelled and nuclear-armed warship fleet with a Windows-based command system.  The transition to the Windows for Submarines command system on HMS Vigilant, a Trident nuclear missile submarine, was completed in just 18 days. BTW, Windows for Submarines is not the official name of the program, it’s Submarine Command System Next Generation (SMCS NG). It’s considered “Next Generation” because it’s the first time that commercial PCs and off the shelf software are being used for a system that is at the heart of the submarine’s mission.

From the Register:

The Royal Navy and BAE Systems plc were pleased as punch yesterday to announce that their implementation of Windows for Submarines™ is complete ahead of schedule. Windows boxes on Ethernet LANs are now in control of the UK’s nuclear-propelled and nuclear-armed warship fleet.

The comments on the Register story are pretty good, here’s one of my favorites:

It looks like you are trying to launch a nuke. Are you sure?

**click**

You do not have to correct permissions to launch this application. Please log in as the Administrator

**Clickety Click**

It looks like you are trying to launch a nuke. Are you sure?

**Click Click**

trident_nuke.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. Sorry for any inconvenience. Do you want to send an error report to Microsoft?

4 Apple Related News Stories You Need To Know

Steve Jobs the Grinch

The week is only half complete and already it’s a bad week for our favorite developer of consumer devices – no, not Sony silly, Apple. There are four reasons why it’s a bad week for Apple:

  1. Is Steve Jobs Dead or Dying?
  2. So long Macworld, so long fanboys
  3. France Liberates the Jesus Phone
  4. Apple cancels Christmas

1. Is Steve Jobs Dead or Dying?

Apparently Steve Jobs is dead or dying due to a reoccurrence of his pancreatic cancer and AAPL stock was downgraded overnight because of it. Well, it was partly due to that and partly because Apple is silent on Job’s health and his succession plan. He was looking pretty sickly last Summer at a conference and the rumor mill has been churning ever since.

This has had an impact on the stock, down over 6% so far today. If you hold AAPL stock this is an excellent time to re-evaluate your position.

AAPL

2. So Long Macworld, So Long Fanboys!

MacWorld

Macworld Will Be Apple-less after an 11-year run.

That’s right, not only have they let it be known that Jobs won’t be the keynote speaker for Macworld Expo (adding further credence to the “Jobs is sick again” rumors), Apple has announced that it’s no longer attending the “fanboy con”. This surely leaves a hole in the Apple community according to the blogosphere. In my opinion, by deciding to drop the conference historically used for their big announcements like the iPhone or iPod, they are essentially killing this conference and it may reduce the big bang that occurs at each product launch.

Some speculate that this is a wise decision to cease catering to the fanatics and instead focus more on the developers and on their own release schedule. Here’s relevant snippets from Marketwatch.com on that theme:

Other analysts had a more positive take….noting that Apple has made past moves to pull out of trade events so it can better introduce products on its own schedule.

The Macworld show is owned and operated by media company IDC, not Apple.

“I think Apple wants to get away from the tyranny of MacWorld where it is forced to introduce new products on IDG’s schedule, rather than its own,” wrote Charlie Wolf of Needham & Co. in a report Wednesday.

So without Jobs, will the faithful make the MacWorld pilgrimage?

3. France liberates Jesus Phone from Orange

Jesus Phone

Apple’s ability to deal in exclusive deals seems to have run its course, the latest government to balk is the very liberal French. The French national competition council (Conseil de la concurrence) announced today that the iPhone will no longer be available for just Orange subscribers in that country. Naturally Orange will appeal the ruling to the courts.

An exclusive deal with a carrier was a very smart move on the part of Apple….that is, back when the iPhone was a novelty and unproven. Today this sort of deal just doesn’t make sense unless Apple is essentially raping profits from the carriers through this strategy compared to unlocking it for any supported mobile network.

4. Apple Cancels Christmas

Apple finally showed their hand this week by taking away one of our favorite holidays. Surely there will be a backlash? Is Steve Jobs the Grinch? 🙂

Relish my ghetto image editing skillz?

Steve Jobs the Grinch

Researcher Designs Robot That Jumps Like A Grasshopper

 Jumping Robots

The first robot that can jump like a grasshopper and roll like a ball could play a key role in future space exploration.

The ‘Jollbot’ has been created by Rhodri Armour, a PhD student from the University of Bath. It’s hoped his creation, which can jump over obstacles and roll over smoother terrain, could be used for space exploration or land survey work in the future.

One of the major challenges that face robots designed for space exploration is being able to move over rough terrain. Robots with legs are generally very complex, expensive to build and control, and encounter problems if they fall over. Wheels are a simpler solution to this, but are limited by the size of obstacles they can overcome.

To solve the problem, Rhodri and colleagues in the University’s Center for Biomimetic & Natural Technologies have been looking to nature for inspiration – designing a robot that jumps obstacles in its path like an insect.

You can read much more information on this from the Bath University Press Release.

Umibozu: Your Newest (Meta) Search Engine

Marc Castejon is the main developer for Umibozu, a meta-search engine. He contacted me today to tell you about his public alpha release and see if you can try it out and spread the word. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a meta-search engine think of it this way – have you ever made the same search query at Google, Yahoo and Live while trying to locate something on the web?

And have you wished you could improve the results?

Welp, you can with Umibozu. Umibozu leverages the public APIs provided by Google, Yahoo and Live to query those engines using your one query. It then returns the top results from each and displays them side by side, allowing you to choose the one that suits you, and if you create an Umibozu account you can vote on the results.

Here’s a snapshot of my search for “Geeknews” on Umibozu –

umibozu

 

Well done Marc!

What Is That?

As I sit here in my freezing home (24 degrees, and falling), I have come forth to entertain you once again.  Or, to at least massage your brain with this picture of some random mysterious object 🙂  Appearances may be deceiving, so don’t pop off with your initial answer without thinking about it!

WIT0243       WIT0243a

Drop your guesses in the comments, as usual….

How To Destroy An Inbound Asteroid

How do you keep this…           Asteroid Tara

From turning into this…?           Barringer Crater

 

Don’t bother talking to Bruce Willis for tips, for starters you talk to the Geophysics and Planetary Sciences folks at the Tel Aviv University.

They’re examining asteroids from the standpoint of learning what it will take to deflect or destroy an asteroid that is found to be the harbinger of doom to mankind. More specifically, they’re studying not just the makeup of asteroids and their rotations and direction of movement, but also more esoteric aspects like the “YORP Effect” which predicts an asteroid’s rotation and acceleration influenced by sunlight to gain more clues.

Read more about these scientists.

Microsoft Ventures Into The iPhone App Business

Microsoft released its first iPhone app, it’s called Seadragon and it brings the same smooth image browsing you get on the PC to the mobile platform. It allows you to Deep Zoom, view giga-pixel images or get really close in on a map or photo with a few taps of the screen.

Seadragon Mobile is available for free at the iTunes App Store.

Go to Live Labs to see a video demo. Or check out this CNet article for more details.

Seadragon Mobile

Geek News Links – 12/15/08

Gaming

WoW icon  World of Warcraft restaurant opens [WoW Insider] – A new restaurant has opened up with a Warcraft theme, from the decor to the food. The entrance is designed to look like the Dark Portal, and there’s a recreation of Tel’drassil in the center of the dining room.

Guitar Hero Icon  First look: Metallica gets ‘Guitar Hero’ treatment [USA Today] – The legendary hard rockers are providing the latest riff on Guitar Hero, with a game based on their music expected in stores during the first half of 2009 for Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3 and PS2. I used to scoff at this ‘fad’ until I learned The Guitar Hero franchise did around $1 billion in sales last year!

Wii  ‘Rock Band 2’ To Hit Wii, PS2 Before Christmas [RockBand PR] – Gamers who don’t own a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 — and aren’t expecting one under the tree this year — may still be in for a treat.

Gadgets

John McCain

Buy a BlackBerry and get John McCain’s number at no extra cost! [CSM] A Fox news affiliate in Washington DC bought John McCain’s BlackBerry at a ‘going out of business’ sale. The Blackberry had not been wiped it seems, so the Senator’s e-mail was still on it and some high profile phone numbers were in the contact list.

ATT - Radio ShackRadioShack To Offer $100 Netbook With AT&T [InformationWeek] –  The offering reflects an emerging trend among wireless providers to subsidize PCs and cell phones in return for customers signing service contracts. If you think it’s too good to be true, guess what?

Science

Holiday TreeFlame retardants prove ineffective on fresh-cut Christmas trees [Science Blog] – This Christmas season, think twice about spending money on a commercial flame retardant for your Christmas tree. The good, old-fashioned method—keeping your tree in a container of fresh water—is probably all you need to keep your tree green and healthy.

Breast Icon Why do women with dense breasts have more breast cancer? [ScientificaAmerican] – Doctors know that women who have dense breasts have as much as six times the risk of breast cancer as those who have less dense breasts. But they haven’t been quite sure why until now. Biopsies of healthy women showed differences in the cells of dense and non-dense tissue that may contribute to the development of tumors.

Medical Striking differences between brains of rich and poor [Science-A-Go-Go] – Measuring the brain activity of kids from a variety of backgrounds using an electroencephalograph revealed that the prefrontal cortex activity in the children from poor families resembled that of a stroke victim

Netflix: Good News & Bad News on Silverlight Adoption

netflix

Good News:

Netflix adopted Silverlight to act as their platform for streaming movies via the browser on Windows and Mac PCs. One of their VPs recently announced on the company blog that the Silverlight adoption has resulted in a better user experience with fewer technical problems to be solved – that’s the good news.

Bad News:

As the VP reports, the bad news is that the improved user experience has resulted in Netflix needing 50 fewer Tech Support employees…so Netflix is trimming the support staff in January.

Merry Frakking Christmas! 🙁

What an odd thing to announce in the company’s blog in the tone that it was given in (almost as a point of pride), I hope those 50 folks get an opportunity to stay on at the company in another capacity, that would be a better PR move than this announcement.

While the announcement is interesting yet odd, the comments responding to it are even better. Some of the anonymous comments seem to have more details on the layoffs and may be from insiders.

[found on Jim O’Neil’s MSDN blog]

Scrabble Teaches You The ‘F-Bomb’?

Games

One mother is furious that a Nintendo version of the Scrabble game used by her boy is throwing down dirty words from its dictionary like:

  • t*ts (which Scrabble says is defined as both “a garden bird” and “an informal word for female breasts”)
  • f*ckers (“slang word for chavs”)

Is it operator error on the part of mum and kid or is it failure on the part of Ubisoft and Nintendo?

Oh, if you’re wondering what a ‘chav’, I too was curious. According to Wikipedia a chav is:

Chav, Chava or Charva is a slang derogatory term applied to certain young people in the United Kingdom. The stereotypical image of a chav is an aggressive white teen or young adult, of working class background, who wears branded sports and casual clothing (baseball caps are also common) who often fights and engages in petty criminality and are often assumed to be unemployed or in a low paid job.

Here’s one below. So they’re saying ‘chav’ is equivalent to juvenile delinquent’ which has a slang word of ‘f*cker’ to represent it? I don’t get it.

Chav

Windows Mobile Phone Has Evil Android Twin

i6-Win_Goal

Qigi Future Technology corporation will be manufacturing twin phones for the Chinese Wireless provider TechFaith. These phones will be known as the ‘i6’, one will be based on Windows Mobile known as i6-Win and its twin will be based on Android and known as the i6-Goal.

Both specs are identical except for the OS and I would imagine the applications may be a little different though I’m going out on a limb and assume that the user scenarios will be virtually identical.

The i6 will ship with a Marvel pxa310 proc @ 624MHz, 128/256MB flash, 2.8″ touch display w/ 320×240 res. Will have Quad band, wifi, BT, GPS. The camera will be 2 megapixel.

On the i6-Goal, TechFaith Wireless had this to say in a press release:

TechFaith Wireless Communication Technology Limited, an original developed product provider focused on the research and development of cell phone solutions, and QIGI, a Smartphone brand in China, today announced the launch of i6-Goal, the first Android-powered phone in China. The fast, 624-MHz CPU slim bar-type phone has a touch-screen, business card scanning and GPS functionality. The i6-Goal also provides mobile Web access that includes Gmail, YouTube and Gtalk.

Read the full story with details at WindowsforDevices.com.

If you want to just oggle at the pics, go to ePrice (in Chinese).

Here’s the press release describing just the Android version of the Qigi phone.

My Favorite Lists of the Week

Lists

10 Useful Secrets the Cell Phone Carriers Don’t Want You To Know [Mobile Maven] – Wireless companies push you around, dictating terms you rarely can fight back against. Here’s 10 tips to enable you to “fight the man!” at their own game.

WordPress 2.7 – 20 Must See Features [Mashable] – 20 of the biggest changes coming in WP 2.7, but all together there have been over 400 changes to the program this time around. Any way you slice it, there is a little bit of something for everyone in this release. Take a look through and you’re sure to find something that appeals to you.

Most Underhyped Apps of 2008 [Lifehacker] – Take a look at the least hyped software that launched or saw great improvements in 2008, and give ’em the love they deserve

Top 10 International Products of 2008 [ReadWriteWeb] – They looked for products that were developed outside the U.S., which showed innovation and support for global Web standards. They also tried to choose from a cross-section of countries, although obviously they couldn’t cover all the major countries.

Google Earth Plugin Roundup [Google Earth Blog] – Roundup of the best GE plug-ins out there today. From Monster Milk Truck to Real-Time Satellites and Paragliding Simulator.

10 Useful RSS-Tricks and Hacks For WordPress [Smashing Magazine] – Each section of the article presents a problem, suggests a solution and provides you with an explanation of the solution, so that you can not just solve some of your RSS-related problems but also understand what you are actually doing.

Compilation of Promo’s and Trailers [Lost Spoilers] – OK, it’s not a really a list but a compilation of all the Lost Season 5 promos and trailers.

Mario Can Stick It….

Or is that you can stick it to Mario?  That’s exactly what some college kids in University of the Fraser Valley did, with 17,000 push pins!  After about two semesters of work, a final revision of this awesome art came to being.  My hat’s off to these guys for their creativity and dedication 😉

mariopins01 mariopins02

I don’t think I’d have the patience to do something like this….