DIY: A Tin Can Waveguide WiFi Antenna

From Turnpoint.net, a dummies guide to building your own tin can antenna.

Got no dough for a commercial WiFi antenna? Looking for an inexpensive way to increase the range of your wireless network? A tin can waveguide antenna, or ‘Cantenna’, may be just the ticket. This design can be built for under $5 U.S. and reuses a food, juice, or other tin can.

Go from this:

nalleyscan

To this:

insidepringles nalleyscantennabig

What Is That? 6-22-07

[Update: The device revealed]

What is this thing?

Full reveal to be posted if no one can guess it correctly in the comments. The hints are in font color white, drag your mouse to reveal the 2 hints. I have no idea if this hint method will work in the feed <crossing fingers>

Hint#1:[ it’s not for making coffee but is for ‘making something’.]

Hint #2:[ it’s about 100 years old.]
WIT-6-17-07-partial

New iPhone Specs From The Onion

In light of the recent goofiness this week with Apple having to update the specs and claims about the iPhone’s capabilities versus its competitors we have this update revealed by the Onion, so you know this is laughing out loud funny, eh?

Here’s two of the specs but you need to go read the whole thing:

  • nanotechnology enables it to reassemble itself when thrown against a wall
  • exclusive link to ‘google street view’ so you can watch yourself using your iPhone at all times.

Step By Step: Boot Ubuntu From Your USB Flash Device

ubuntu logo

Pendrivelinux has some great tutorials on booting a wide array of linux distros from UFDs (USB Flash Devices), aka Pen Drives.

For instance, here’s the Ubuntu instructions to make your UFD bootable for Linux and to get the Ubuntu OS onto it. Though it’s 16 steps their fairly straight forward and detailed enough that it appears you don’t need to be a linux aficionado to understand and implement.

Disclaimer – I haven’t run through the steps yet, my UFDs are 32MB and 128MB, yeah I know I’m pathetic. Anyone want to give it a try on their 1GB+UFD and report back on how it went?

iRiver’s NV Player Unveiled, iPods & Zunes Geared For Fight?

iRiver-NV

iRiver has just added a new product to its lineup by announcing the NV Player. Click the pic above to view this sexy thing. According to iRiver this audio/video device will be launching in Korea first before releasing worldwide.

This player sports a very generous 7″ LED at 840×480, several SD card slots, T-DMB television, 1.3 megapixel camera and more (including a remote!).

And oh BTW, it has GPS integrated!

If you’re not familiar with these devices they’re compatible for MP3, OGG, WMA, WMV, MPG, XviD and H.264. To top it off it also includes an FM tuner.

So what’s the price? Unknown, the manufacturer is mum on that for now.

Companies And The Customers Who Hate Them

Before you skip this article thinking it’s not geek related, it is, sort of. Interesting to mobile phone geeks and financial geeks perhaps?

Check out the Harvard Business Review’s terrific article ?Companies and the Customers Who Hate Them? that has some details on the business practices at most cellular service providers. 

Here’s a choice snippet:

Sometimes all it takes to trigger a mass defection from a company-centric firm is the appearance of a customer-friendly competitor?one that puts customer satisfaction and transparency first.

Example: Virgin Mobile USA offers a pay-as-you-go pricing plan with no hidden fees, no time-of-day restrictions, no contracts, and straightforward, reasonable rates. It has nearly five million subscribers and a customer churn rate well below the industry average. Customer satisfaction hovers in the 90th percentile. And more than two-thirds of customers reported recommending Virgin to friends and family.

You’d think that was a no-brainer right? Apparently not, it’s all about the immediate gratification of revenue coming into the coffers right now, not in the long run. This is what I don’t like about working in the tech industry.

Pink Lipstick Subs As 1GB Pen Drive

Far be it for me to provide fashion advice, especially for the girls, but If the wife was just a little geekier I’d definitely get this for her. Perhaps make a great stocking stuffer for the holidays.

It’s perfect for the fashion conscious ladies that also need a 1GB USB 2.0 drive in their handbag ‘just in case’.

Pink lipstick pen drive

Link to the product page on Monkey Nose.

And if your girl is not a geek and has no need for a pen drive, then maybe something like these cute little pink designer dog speakers for her PC or iPod?

bow wow pink

Review : Ades Design "Color Picker"

Okay, so your surfing the web, and you come across the perfect shade of a color you haven’t been able to recreate yourself to save your life.  Maybe you’ve found a special metallic turquoise blend only found in the starry eyes of David Hasselhoff, or that perfect hue of dirty orange for your virtual model of the “General Lee” (Dukes of Hazzard).

Color Picker

In steps “Color Picker“, a new offering from Ades Design.  Using Color Picker, you can click anywhere on your screen, and capture any color you desire for future use on web design, templates, charts, or presentations.  This powerful, yet small utility can store a database of colors you’ve captured, where you can change, convert, or even export colors in several different formats in just mere moments.  This is a must have utility for the serious and casual web developer alike!

Check out some of their other cool offerings over at Adesblog.com

GOOG Unleashes Public Policy Dog, er Blog

goog

GOOG has launched a public policy blog in its efforts to join the big boys of Apple, Microsoft, Sun, Oracle, Intel, et.al.

The goal is to focus more attention on US gov’t legislation and regulation, an effort that began in 2005 . Recently it has called on Congress to pass net neutrality rules and have also joined the debate in how the FCC should auction 60MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band being abandoned by TV stations.

They’re also focusing on issues like privacy and copyright protection.

<rant>

Privacy” in the sense that they want to be able to retain your IP logs longer than is typical or reasonable and not be criticized for it and “copyright protection” in the sense that GOOG wants to parse copyrighted books and make the entire contents searchable for free without the author’s consent or performing due diligence in tracking down that consent.

Of course, GOOG’s director of public policy and gov’t affairs, while trying to sound fluffy and lovable, says in the new blog:

“We’re seeking to do public policy advocacy in a Googley way”

I love how the word ‘googley’ tends to come out in GOOG’s speeches when trying to deflect criticism or soften the blow of the hammer to your head or to your freedoms and especially when trying to show the ‘non-evilness’ of what they’re doing, never mind that they’re following in the footsteps of MSFT, IBM, ATT and every other behemoth before them. They’re not different. They’re a corporation, they have needs, they have wants, why don’t they ‘man up’ and tell us the truth and that is ‘in order to generate more revenue, gain greater market share, this is not being done on behalf of our customers, rather it’s on behalf of the shareholders’.

The truth is that GOOG is really no different than MSFT, no different than Lockheed, no different than IBM. That when you break it down, they’re just another corporation, a corporation causing a braindrain in Silicon Valley and inducing fear, uncertainty and doubt into the software market around them and that they’re no longer the loveable googley little startup they once were.

Admit it Google, you’ve grown up, you’ve flexed your muscle, realized you’re no longer the little pipsqueak that gets sand kicked in it’s face. You’re one of the big men on campus and get to dictate how things should be.

So again, man up and drop the cuddly googley old image and show us what a terror you really can be. Bring it on, effect some real change in public policy like donating algorithms to AIDs research for instance, not this piddly stuff on your policy agenda.

</rant>

Love,

Andy

PS – I do appreciate GOOG creating the blog in the first place, it’s a start.

Pocket Heroes – A Mobile RPG

Pocket heroes1

iO UPG announced recently the release of Pocket Heroes, a step-by-step strategy game with RPG elements inspired by the King?s Bounty and Heroes of Might and Magic. Visit Pocketheroes.org for all the details. You can install a demo version for free but has limited maps and you can’t Save or Load a game. The full version costs just US$19.95.

Pocket Heroes is a fantasy turn-based strategy (TBS) with role-playing game (RPG) elements. It has just about everything you could need from a strategy game: a complex fantasy realm with lots of castles, monsters and heroes that can equip artifacts and fight for domination of the world.

Pocket heroes3

Features:

  • 6 races, each with its own particularities, advantages and disadvantages: Knights, Barbarians, Wizards, Warlocks, Sorceress and Necromancers.
  • 36 heroes (6 for each faction) with 4 different attributes (attack, defense, spell power and knowledge) and a total of 22 secondary skills to chose from.
  • 7 types of resources (wood, ore, crystal, fur, gems, mercury, and gold).
  • 36 creatures (and 9 neutral), each one with its special skills and abilities.
  • 4 schools of magic (earth, air, water, and fire) that include over 40 spells.
  • 73 unique Artifacts.
  • More than 68 map locations
  • 35 maps and 5 difficulty levels to measure your playing skills.

    Minimal System Requirements:

    • Windows Mobile 2003 or later
    • 5 MB free space
    • 6MB free memory
    • 240×320 touchscreen

    Pocket heroes2

    Resolutions supported:

    • 240×320
    • 480×640

    Interested in other mobile strategy games? Here’s several dozen from ClickGamer.

  • Microsoft.com Now Fully Hosted on Windows Server 2k8 Beta3

    vista pearl icon

    From Anna Liu’s blog on MSDN:

    “…we?re extremely proud to announce that the www.microsoft.com site is running 100% on our next generation web platform!!”

    For those of you curious about the scale and availability of www.microsoft.com:

    • MSCOM is made up of more than 20,500 URL’s and hosts 16 million pages and is available in more than 30 languages.
    • Nielson rates Microsoft.com  as the 4th most visited website in the world, capturing approximately 9% of the total global internet audience.
    • Availability YTD ? 99.83% (Measured by Keynote Systems, Inc.)
      • 0% Impact to Availability during upgrade to Beta 3
      • 99%+ of hosted App?s upgraded without any change required
    • Audience Reach: #4 in U.S (65M UU) & #5 worldwide (287M UU) 
    • Hosting Model: 2 Internet Data Centers &  80 Web Servers
      • 500+ Vroots, 350+ IIS Web Applications & 12 Application Pools
      •  10,000 Requests/Sec & 300,000 Concurrent Connections

    This is what’s known as Dogfooding your own builds and confidence in the stability and robustness of the interim public Beta builds. Of course, making announcements like this is sure to invite hackers and crackers alike to take a shot, right? 

    Want to obtain Server 2008 Beta 3 for yourself? Here’s the Link.

    References to learn more on Server 2k8:

    Gleemax Is MySpace For Tabletop Gamers

    Wizards of the Coast is in the process of creating its own social networking site dedicated to gamers of all kings. It’s called Gleemax and while it isn’t open yet, they’re answering some basic questions about the direction and scope of the portal.

    Appears it’ll be geared towards gamers ranging from RPGs, TCGs, board games, turn-based, miniature war games, just about any type of tabletop game you can imagine.

    Below I’ve summarized most of what’s up there to be gleaned, but if you want to check for yourself here’s direct reference links:

    SUMMARY-

    About the Community:

    We want to give all gamers their own personal pages with tons of features that make it convenient to talk about games, find people to play games with, and get more out of the games they choose to play. We’re not just talking about Wizards of the Coast games either. We see this project as an investment in growing the entire strategy gamer culture.

    About the Content:

    …You can expect a ton of blogs from Wizards insiders and a real dialog between us and our fans (that would be you). And like I said before, this isn’t just about our games. It’s about all games, so you’ll be able to talk about anything you want.

    About Games:

    I don’t want to give too much away yet, but imagine an Indie Strategy Games Portal filled with the coolest independent games, vetted by us, and given the Wizards Seal-of-Approval for fun, strategic game-play. Then think about a Board Game Portal featuring classics from our Avalon Hill catalog, as well as new games we don’t even know about yet! Plus Magic Online and our original computer game Uncivilized: The Goblin Game (take a peek: www.wizards.com/goblinz). And that’s just a start.

     

    [Found via Treasure Tables]

    Unboxing And Gesturing Demo Of The HTC Touch (iPhone Killer?)

    This video from On The Go Solutions is a great demo of the touch and gesturing capabilities of the new HTC Touch. 

    [youtube W8-wMtuWT8o]

    The site also has the unboxing which is interesting as well, you can view it on youtbue here.

    Here’s more on the Touch:

    Why Are Some Programs Being Filtered From The Start Menu?

    The Start menu for Windows XP and Vista automatically displays the user’s most frequently used programs (called a most frequently used list). Only shortcuts to .exe files are displayed in the list.

    Have you ever noticed that not every program you access goes into that list on the Start menu? Well one easy answer is that if the program is already pinned to the top of the start menu, it won’t be duplicated on the Start menu. But wait, there’s more! 😀

    If any of the following strings are included in the shortcut name, the program is not displayed in the most frequently used list:

    –  Documentation
    –  Help
    –  Install
    –  More Info
    –  Readme
    –  Read me
    –  Read First
    –  Setup
    –  Support
    –  What’s New
    –  Remove

    The preceding list is located in the AddRemoveNames value at the following registry location:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Explorer\ FileAssociation

    The following list of programs are also excluded from the most frequently used list, if you’re familiar with Windows and/or a computer geek then most will appear to be obvious:
    –  Setup.exe
    –  Install.exe
    –  Isuninst.exe
    –  Unwise.exe
    –  Unwise32.exe
    –  St5unst.exe
    –  Rundll32.exe
    –  Msoobe.exe
    –  Lnkstub.exe
    –  Msascui.exe

    The preceding list is located in the AddRemoveApps value at the following registry location:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Explorer\ FileAssociation

    Programs can also be registered to be excluded from the most frequently used list by creating the following NoStartPage string value:

    (The REG_SZ string value must be empty or blank) HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ Applications\ <Appname.exe>

    The following programs have the preceding setting by default:
    –  Explorer.exe
    –  Icwconn1.exe
    –  Inoculan.exe
    –  Mobsync.exe
    –  Navwnt.exe
    –  Realmon.exe
    –  Sndvol32.exe