Geek News Roundup: 8-7-7


How To Beat Google To Tech Talent
If you talk to people who have worked inside Google’s recruiting operation–or people who have competed against it–they’ll tell you that the Silicon Valley’s ultimate hiring machine can be beat. The trick: use Google’s consensus-driven decision-making process–and exacting standards–against it.

Sensory organ holds key to hot mouse sex
Female mice became sexually voracious and tried to mate like males after scientists disabled a small sensory organ, casting fresh light on how gender-specific behavior develops in animals.

Bluetooth to gain “audiophile-quality” sound
Audio transmitted across Bluetooth could provide “perfect, audiophile-quality sound” as soon as next year, according to Open Interface North America Inc. (OINA). The company claims its proprietary, patent-pending “SOUNDabout Lossless” Bluetooth codec to be capable of delivering remote digital audio that is “bit for bit” faithful to the original.

Zimbabwe: Researchers Urged to Simplify Scientific Terms
A cabinet minister has urged researchers in the country to desist from writing research findings in scientific terms that cannot be understood by the ordinary people.

Sunspot Abundance Linked To Heavy Rains In East Africa
Terra Daily
A new study reveals correlations between plentiful sunspots and periods of heavy rain in East Africa. Intense rainfall in the region often leads to flooding and disease outbreaks. The analysis by a team of U.S. and British researchers shows that unusually heavy rainfalls in East Africa over the past century preceded peak sunspot activity by about one year.

Chinese Navy To Build Two Carriers With Russian Help
Kanwa, a Hong Kong defense news agency, said Friday purchases by China of Russian aircraft carrier components suggested that Beijing was planning to build one or two aircraft carriers, possibly by 2015.

PayPal Is Old And Busted / Amazon Flexible Payments Service Is The New Hotness


[I like this old-school logo I found for Amazon. Yes, i’m easily amused by little things like this. And by shiny objects]

Look out PayPal, Amazon is in the payments business now and it’s looking like it’s more extensible and developer friendly.

They’re calling it Amazon FPS (Flexible Payments Service) and it’s not tied to purchases of product advertised or sold through their online stores or partner’s stores. This is a set of APIs designed from the ground up specifically for developers.

The set of web services APIs allows the movement of money between two entities, humans or computers. It’s built on top of their reliable and scalable payment infrastructure so you know it’s already robust and trust worthy.

Check the FPS – Beta page for details such as transaction fees, rules developers can apply to transactions and a good high level overview of the FPS functionality.

From that page you can also sign up for their Beta program and you can enter the FPS Sandbox. The FPS Sandbox is a test environment where you can use the Amazon Flexible Payments API without sending real money or providing real financial information.


Drag ‘n Draw Light From Phillips

Phillips continues to innovate and dazzle us with new light technologies. Take for instance this demonstration via Youtube that enables you to draw on a vertical surface using a ‘magic wand’ of sorts.

Not only will the lighted drawing persist, but the device rendering it on the surface captures the shape and can use it in another setting, including applying motion to it.

[youtube b146_atvG4g]

[via Clips4Geeks]

Transmogrify Man To His Alien Descendant?

Some alien enthusiasts speculate that aliens called ‘The Grays’ may not be aliens at all. Rather the claim is that they’re descendants of man, hundreds of thousands of years from now traveling back through time as opposed to a race of beings traveling through space to visit this backwater planet.

This video doesn’t necessarily try to show how the similarities are more than the differences between the two, but it would appear to help bolster that claim the two species may actually be one in the same…not that there’s anything wrong with that. 

See for yourself.

[metacafe 732947/alienating_a_human]

[via Destination Creation]

Wired Presents: The Greatest Gadget Of All Time. You Decide! with are presenting a wide array of gadgets going head to head and you decide between the two which is the greatest, most influential, gadget between the two.

It’s a bracket system similar to the NCAA Final Four, you work through many head to head comparisons in 4 divisional brackets until you have the best of the best in each division going against each other in the Final Four.

You start in Division 1 with the Apple iPod (2001) vs. Apple iPhone (2007). Of course the iPod wins there.

In any case, for me the winners broke down like this:

 Div 1: Sony Walkman (1979)

 Div 2: Apple // (1977)

 Div 3: Western Electric 500 Phone (1949)

 Div 4: John Bird Sextant (1757)

Final two head to head for me were (clicky):

Greatest Gadget of all time

And my choice for greatest gadget was….The Sextant!

Here’s the game, pick deadline is Aug 8th and the results will be tallied. You can submit your choices for a chance to win an iPhone.

Exposed Undercover Reporter Flees DefCon

Snippet from the Physorg article:

DefCon spokesman ‘Priest’ and DefCon founder Jeff Moss, whose hacker name is ‘Dark Tangent’, lured [the undercover Dateline reporter Michelle] Madigan to a packed conference room by putting out word they were going to have hackers finger federal agents in a game called “spot the fed.”
After she was in the audience, it was announced the game was actually “spot the undercover reporter.”

Without naming Madigan, Moss condemned her stealth tactics from a stage. Boos and jeers erupted from hundreds of hackers, one calling for her to be tarred and feathered.

Madigan shoved aside a DefCon “goon,” one of the volunteers working at the event, and dashed from the room as the mob called for her to be booted from the premises.

Madigan’s flight was followed by hackers and reporting peers openly disapproving her methods.

Geek News Roundup: 8-2-07


The Mobile TV Wars
Qualcomm’s MediaFlo and MobiTV are set to duke it out in the battle for this emerging business. The mobile TV shakeout has begun: Modeo, a subsidiary of cellular tower operator Crown Castle International, has shut down its one broadcast network in the New York City area, leaving the emerging business of delivering live TV programs to just a handful of players.

SGI and NASA Ready Most Powerful Linux Computer Ever
NASA has selected an SGI Altix supercomputer to help it meet future high-performance computing requirements. The new system will be the first supercomputer to operate 2,048 processor cores and 4 terabytes of memory under control of one Linux kernel, creating the world’s largest single-kernel Linux system.

Super-Ego Gets Inflated
Haven’t heard of Super-Ego Games? They hope to revitalize the industry with comedy adventures that feature rich real-time speech.

Microsoft Develops Biometric Recognition System for Ads
Microsoft has applied for a patent for a system designed to determine the identity of someone looking at a display and deliver personalized ads to that user.

AMD Claims Intel Made $60 Billion in ‘Monopoly’ Profits
San Jose Mercury News
Offering a glimpse into the antitrust case it will present in federal court in Delaware, Advanced Micro Devices indicated Wednesday that it will claim Intel pocketed $60 billion in ill-gotten, or “monopoly,” profits from a decade of anti-competitive behavior

Disney Buys Popular Kids’ Networking Site
Walt Disney Co. has paid $350 million to acquire Club Penguin, a popular online hangout that offers a mix of games and chatting tools for kids ages 6-14.

15 Year-old Parallel Processing Patent Threatens Sony, PS3

Looks like Sony is headed back to court over yet another patent infringement lawsuit, this time for its Cell CPU, the brains of the PlayStation 3. A company known as Parallel Processing Corporation, filed suit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas alleging that the Cell infringes on a patent for “synchronized parallel processing with shared memory.

This is all referring to patent 5056000 filed in 1989 during the i486 era, today this patent is owned by Parallel Processing though it was originally filed by International Parallel Machines, Inc.

Snippet from the patent’s abstract:

A high speed computer that permits the partitioning of a single computer program into smaller concurrent processes running in different parallel processors…


Read Ars Technica for more details.

Hitachi’s Brain Machine Interface


Hitachi’s “brain machine interface,” which it showed an AP reporter in June, might soon allow a user to don a hat and turn an appliance on or off by merely thinking about doing so. Until now, such thought-controlled instructions could only be done by people with devices implanted.

It operates by monitoring slight changes in the brain’s blood flow and translates brain motion into electrical signals. Since 2005, Hitachi has sold a device that lets paralyzed patients communicate “yes” or “no” but now they’re anxiously trying to identify the many commercial applications for such as device.

Here’s an idea: Think ‘TV remote controls’! 🙂

Get more coverage on Sci-Tech Today including the description of how the AP reporter controlled a train with her thoughts.

Pixels Are The New Pies?

Anil Dash observes:

An interesting infographic trend: Square blocks of color are now being used to represent percentage-based statistics instead of the traditional pie chart. Some recent examples are shown here.

Is the square format more familiar to readers now because of the preponderance of the pixel in pop culture?

Finally, a productive use of all that time spent playing Tetris?

Below are graphics from recent NY Times and Wired stories.


Here’s another example of real usage of this form is this carbon emissions pic:

Carbon Emissions

Vista Upgrade Prank

For your entertainment, RJL Software has something for you to prank your friend or coworker, it’s an EXE called the Vista Upgrade Prank.

The Vista Upgrade Prank starts by emulating the Windows Update service screen followed by what appears to initiate the Vista Upgrade Advisor. It will scan the system (actually does nothing) to ensure the computer is ready to upgrade to Vista, it completes within 15 seconds and informs the user their computer is able to run Windows Vista.

The prank utility enters a ‘fake’ Upgrade mode for a while with lots of flashy icons and flavor text about the wonders you’ll experience in Vista. After closing the upgrade a full screen Vista logo appears with the Vista startup sound making it appear as though the system is running the new OS. After some load time the user is presented with a Mac OS X desktop with a little bit of Windows flavor.

Enjoy, you can download it here.

What Is That??

So you thought you were rid of me?  Think again sucka!  Just when you thought it was safe to read this blog, the WIT Bandit sneaks in and steals some bandwidth 🙂

I’ll just jump into it this time, and toss you a image:


Looks like something straight out of a “Terminator” movie 😉

Let’s have some guesses!

Geek News Roundup: 8-1-07

Newspaper news

Hidden order found in a quantum spin liquid
An international team, including scientists from the London Centre for Nanotechnology, has detected a hidden magnetic ?quantum order? that extends over chains of 100 atoms in a ceramic without classical magnetism. The findings, which are published today by Science, have implications for the design of devices and materials for quantum information processing.

Gene for left-handedness is found
Scientists have discovered the first gene which appears to increase the odds of being left-handed. The Oxford University-led team believe carrying the gene, called ‘LRRTM1’ may also slightly raise the risk of developing psychotic mental illness such as schizophrenia.

Area 51 Expanding and prepares for UFOs?
The Air Force’s secret testing facility at Groom Lake is expanding and Defense Technology International Editor-in-Chief Bill Sweetman (and dogged Area 51 investigator) suggests it may be that we’re finally seeing UFOs. No, not Unidentified Flying Objects, but Un-Funded Opportunities that companies like Lockheed Martin saw after 9/11, and that Sweetman says may have now blossomed into secret aircraft.


Near Realtime Images Of The Sun As Your Screensaver

Sun - Sol

A new computer screen saver made available by the European Space Agency now allows computer users to watch spectacular, almost real-time images of our Sun. The images, coming directly from 1.5 million kilometres away in space, will flash on your computer screen courtesy of ESA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

Every time your screen saver kicks in it will look, via the Internet, for the most recent images SOHO has sent to scientists. A few seconds, and the show begins.

You get to witness exciting events as they happen on our star: huge expulsions of matter called Coronal Mass Ejections; sunspots, now growing in number as the Sun reaches the peak of activity in its 11-year cycle; and even the demise of the so-called sun-grazing comets, as they disappear forever into Sol.

Downloads below. You can also find this list below from the NASA site here:

  • Windows version (1.2 MB exe file)
  • Macintosh version (2.1 MB hqx file)
  • Mac OS X version ( 39K, dmg file)
  • Linux version


  • Showing More Geek Love

    Here’s a little more geek love for some fellow geek bloggers (you too could be listed here!). If you comment and would like a link to advertise your site, please holler.

    Average Joe Blogger
    Average Joe Blogger is the journey of one blogger on a quest to become a “Pro Blogger”. Oh, and he says he’s one handsome dude. 🙂

    King Kong Blog
    Because if a monkey with a keyboard can’t help you, no one can.

    Review: HTC S710 Slide-Out QWERTY Smartphone

    2 mobiles

    You may have seen me mention here before that I’m a big fan of the candy bar style smartphones, I just don’t like having a QWERTY keyboard mixed with my numeric keypad as the primary interface to the mobile device. The keys for that style are too small for my ‘Fred Flintstone like fingers‘, while I think I’d like to have QWERTY capability, it’s just not a must have for me since T9 on the numeric keypad works just fine thank you very much.

    You probably have not heard me talk about how I’m an HTC snob, I’ve had really good experiences with their devices and I’d rather stick with them as opposed to moving to another manufacturer with everything else being equal.

    Well, their latest device, HTC S710, is being reviewed at MobileBurn in a 6 page usage report and it’s looking like it may just be the ticket to get me onto a device with QWERTY, it’s a ‘slide out’ so this appears to be a win-win for me.

    It has a huge 2.4″ QVGA screen for a relatively smaller than average mobile device, has better than average battery performance for this class of device, great support for contact management, runs Windows Mobile 6, GPRS/EDGE/WiFi/BT (no 3G), 2MP camera.

    Link to the report, it’s very thorough. 


    HTC S710


    [via Smartphone Thoughts]

    Geek News Roundup: 7-30-07

    News and Coffee in the morning

    Futurama Returns! (Watch the video promo!)
    Speedbump Studios
    Greetings Earthicans! As you may now know, the return of Futurama is officially imminent, barring any unscheduled Apocalypses, Second Comings or alien attacks from disgruntled lizard-like races (you know who you are). It’s true! Comedy Central will begin airing all new episodes in 2008 (or 3008, for viewers on Omicron Perseii Eight, so keep your capes on).

    Mars Rovers on low-energy diet as global dust storm continues to rage
    A global dust storm at Mars continues to veil the two surface rovers and their solar panels, the situation grew steadily worse after the first storm started in mid-June. NASA officials reported the other day they expect the robots are capable of weathering the tempest.

    iPhone “Hello World” binary released
    Tuaw, via Digg
    The busy beavers of the #iphone IRC channel, whose collective efforts have built the first unauthorized iPhone GUI application (in true coding fashion, it displays “Hello World” and does nothing else), have released the source for the demo app, buildable with the community-built toolchain and UIKit.

    Nepalese ‘goddess’ is reinstated
    A 10-year-old girl who is worshipped as a living goddess in Nepal has had her title reinstated after defying tradition and visiting the US. Temple authorities at her home town say that she will not be stripped of her title because she is willing shortly to undergo a “cleansing” ceremony.

    Technorati Tags: , , , ,

    Ajax Web Developer: $240k Per Year…With One Catch

    Job posting on Career Builder: Link.

    Title: Web Developer (must have secret clearance)
    Job Type: 3 month contract (could go shorter)
    Salary: $20k per month
    Location: Iraq
    Start date: ASAP with 2 weeks training (one in Washington DC and another in Ft. Bening GA)
    # of Openings: 1
    Summary: A principal Department of Defense agency is looking for programmers, developers or coders to code, support field deployment and maintenance of a new database application which will be used by Army units in Iraq. Scope These are full-time positions (12/7) located at one of the major US Bases in IRAQ. Deployment will be period of 3 months. Training on the application software will begin prior to deployment and will take place in Virginia. These positions are available for full time employment or for independent contractors. These positions are available now

    -A Department of Defense secret clearance within last 24 months
    -Willing to work a 3 month contract in Iraq at US military bases
    -2-4 programming experience preferably with JAVA or HTML
    -US Citizen
    -Knowledge of database systems preferably SQL
    -Familiarity with military networks and systems is desired, but not required.
    -Relevant military background ( e.g. hands-on engineering background in S6 or G6 shop or MOS 25B or 74B is desired but not required.)
    -AS or BS Degree in Computer Science minimum

    If you’re qualified then this really is a great deal. Just because there’s a skirmish going on in the region, don’t let it weigh too heavily in deciding whether to take on the job and the adventure. Ajaxian has some interesting comments on this.

    If you know CSS/XHTM and some PHP, then Authentic Jobs has another great opportunity to travel to Baghdad as a Front End Developer.

    [via reddit / ajaxian]