Steampunk Keyboard

Steampunk…a genre in a category all its own. Riding the coattails of both old fashioned and sci-fi, this slick keyboard is sure to capture the essence of this growing revolution.  Jake von Slatt spends his spare time making steampunk creations out of all sorts of everyday items, the best (in my opinion) being this keyboard.  He documents his construction process on his webpage, including a video showing it’s use.

 Steampunk Keyboard

I never was one to jump on this bandwagon, but after seeing this, I might be convinced it’s worth looking into!

Regardless, I would love to see the looks I’d get if I toted this into my next LAN party 😉

Plethora of Links

A plethora of links, some geeky, most for fun but again I’m short on time as I head into the office so I’m just relaying the good stuff below:

– From one of my all time favorite developers Raymond Chen, ‘The Notepad file encoding problem, redux

– Apple announces the iPhone is still on schedule for a June release.

– 12 Ways to be a Security Idiot [via GAS]

– The Ultimate Geek Boxer Shorts

– This should have the ‘Obvious’ tag: “Nanoparticles can damage DNA, increase cancer risk”

– A teenager was inadvertently jailed for 12 days due to mixup over recent DST changes

– New Red Hawk 4.2 release of real-time Linux scales up to 32 cpu cores!

– I recently stumbled on LyteByte, check them out if you’re interested in tips and tricks. Here’s a recent post on how to ‘Remove the shortcut overlay in Windows Vista

– Last, but not least (via OSNews), one of my favorite topics recently regarding obsolete computers and the fun and profit you can have with them.

Mobile Phone Mania

We live for our cell phones.  Don’t deny it, you’re probably talking on it right now, or expecting a call!  And as such, the major market companies know it – so they do their best to develop the most intuitave and technologically packed units they can.  Plus – it doesn’t hurt for them to look good as well 🙂

Here’s a few examples of current newly released, or concept phones I’ve seen lately that show the current trend of cell phones, and future perceptions of our favorite mobile buddies.

Here’s the Butterfly, a visually pleasing concept phone created by a 15 year old with a obviously well thought out and tech-packed design.

Butterfly Cell

Modelabs  presents three different future designs that offer a circular alphanumeric keypad, a forcefeedback thumbwheel and a tachyometer/heart rate meter.

Modelab Designs

Now I’m a sucker for protptype designs, which is why I absolutely love Nokia’s idea of a “scrollable touch screen” phone. The idea is use a scrollable screen that features touch screen technology. The design calls for one main button that controls all the primary functions; while other interactions takes place on the screen. The flexible e-paper technology isn’t as far away as we think.  It’s called the “Nokia Open” and it’s the winning design of Nokia’s recent 4G concept cell design contest.

Nokia Open

Another resource, Egy Studio, although not a manufacturer, has developed some quite interesting designs for their ideas on future cell phones.  Check out the gallery in the link above!

Egy Studio Design

All of these designs have one trend in common – showmanship.  It’s all about presentation, and if it’s not cute, sexy, or just plain bizarre, it’ll be lost in the mass market like another pebble in the techno river.  It’s going to be interesting to see if designs like these become the standard.  We will just have to wait and see!

Toyota Prius can’t pass Georgia’s emissions test

It seems the Prius has found a weekness in the emissions control tests in at least one state.

Every Toyota Prius tested has failed the state of Georgia’s emissions test because the vehicle is required to idle its engine during the test. The Toyota Prius shuts off its engine instead of idling, so the automated test instantly fails the hybrid car.

This presumably affects any car with an engine stop function at idle. It’s just now been discovered because the 2004 model of Prius’ exposing this are just now being required to go through the test to be re-registered.

Twingly Screensaver Beta

Are you a bloghound?  I know alot of you out there are.  Surfing blogs for your favorite subjects, etc.  I’m always finding it difficult to locate any good sources for info on my favorite subjects, and have always wished there were a primary localized resource for overviewing a large amount of blogs for the information I want.

Blogosphere

Primelabs.com has a small solution for this very thing.  The Twingly Screensaver has been developed for just this reason, and allows you to visualize global blog activity in real time.  All that is required is a Windows PC with OpenGL compliant video.

Twingly is an aggregation of the global blogosphere into a single database. The immense power of this data will be made available to our customers through a number of applications. With sustained innovation over a long period of time we are continously improving the tools available for connecting to the blogosphere.

There you have it.  Now the blogosphere is at your fingertips..literally!  An awesome tool indeed 😉

Free Ride Is Over: IRS To Start Taxing Online Sales

From the downloadsquad article Monday:

As if there wasn’t enough to complain about with the IRS, add this to the list. The US Treasury Department is making a charge at forcing Internet auction sites to turn over the identities and social insurance numbers of their users to the IRS so they can keep tabs on income made through these types of sales. Sometimes you read a story and you don’t even know where to start directing your anger.

[via Digg]

Does Today Suck?

Ever have that feeling ‘Today is a great day!’ or ‘Man, today sucks’, even though nothing particularly great or sucky occured to sway your gut feeling?

Well, “Does Today Suck?” is a blog that may help answer where that feeling comes from. Each day is a high level review of events in history on that day with either a ‘Good’, ‘Bad’, ‘Cool’ rating. Sum up all the ratings and that day in history gets an overall rating.

Here’s an example for April 16th in review:

746 – 1,600 men are killed in the Battle of Culloden. – BAD

1780 – The University of Munster is founded – COOL

1946 – Syria gains independence. – COOL

1947 – 600 lives are claimed in an explosion aboard a freighter, in what would be known as the Texas City Disaster. – BAD

1963 – Martin Luther King, Jr. pens his famous letter from Birmingham Jail. – COOL

Notable Births:

Louis the Pious, Henry George Chauvel, Wilbur Wright, John Millington Synge, Ernst Thalmann, Charlie Chaplin, Spike Milligan, Peter Ustinov, Kingsley Amis, Pope Benedict XVI, Dick Lane, Dusty Springfield, Margrethe II of Denmark, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Belichick, Billy West, Rafael Benitez, Ian MacKaye, Martin Lawrence, Selena, Fredrik Ljungberg, Cat Osterman

Notable Deaths:

George Villiers, Francisco Goya, Alexis de Tocqueville, Rosalind Franklin

OVERALL DAY RATING: COOL

What Is That??

Wow!  There were some good guesses for the last picture post 🙂  Noone got it, but the right answer is the speaker for a Blackberry 8700g.   Too tough for you?  Well it’s only going to get harder!  Perhaps I can even convince my editor to pony up a small prize for correct answers on these….I’ll keep you posted.

This week I was removing everything from my kitchen (including the sink!) to do that once a year cleaning job that is always a very daunting activity.  You know…getting all that stuff that fell behind the oven, dust under the fridge, etc.  Not a pleasant or anticipated task, I assure you!  So, in a break from all that nifty cleaning, I saw this little gem.  Drop your guesses in the comments..I’ll be watching 🙂

What Is That??

Einstein Was Right After All

For the past three years a satellite has circled the Earth, collecting data to determine whether two predictions of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity are correct. Sunday, at the American Physical Society (APS) meeting in Jacksonville, Fla., Professor Francis Everitt from Stanford University provided the first public peek at data that revealed whether Einstein’s theory has been confirmed by the most sophisticated orbiting laboratory ever created.

This is the longest project in NASA’s history, has cost over US$700M and started in 1963. It went on so long that the project was canceled 7 times and of course revived each time. To get a layman’s explanation of the project, listen to the NPR story on Gravity Probe B that was first aired shortly before it was launched in 2004.

From the Stanford Press Release this weekend:

Gravity Probe B has been a great scientific adventure for all of us, and we are grateful to NASA for its long history of support,” Everitt said. “My colleagues and I will be presenting the first results today and tomorrow. It’s fascinating to be able to watch the Einstein warping of space-time directly in the tilting of these GP-B gyroscopes—more than a million times better than the best inertial navigation
gyroscopes.

The GP-B satellite was launched in April 2004. It collected more than a year’s worth of data that the Stanford GP-B science team has been pouring over for the past 18 months. The satellite was designed as a pristine, space-borne laboratory, whose sole task was to use four ultra-precise gyroscopes to measure directly two effects predicted by general relativity. One is the geodetic effect—the amount by which the mass of the Earth warps the local space-time in which it resides. The other effect, called frame-dragging, is the amount by which the rotating Earth drags local space-time around with it.

According to Einstein’s theory, over the course of a year, the geodetic warping of Earth’s local space-time causes the spin axes of each gyroscope to shift from its initial alignment by a minuscule angle of 6.606 arc-seconds (0.0018 degrees) in the plane of the spacecraft’s orbit. Likewise, the twisting of Earth’s local space-time causes the spin axis to shift by an even smaller angle of 0.039 arc-seconds (0.000011 degrees)— about the width of a human hair viewed from a quarter mile away—in the plane of the Earth’s equator.

Additional References:

  • Website for the Gravity Prove B project
  • Wikipedia page on the Gravity Probe B
  • Discovery Channel representations on what the gravity effect would ‘look’ like. Pic1, Pic2

Rogue Apple Dev With An Anti-War Message?

[Update: See the Doctor’s link in the comments, looks like it’s not Apple’s fault after all]

Macenstein has talked to Oxford University Press about the Anti-War and Anti-President definitions in Apple’s Oxford Dictionary widget. It appears that a rogue dev at Apple snuck in some not so nice easter eggs.

Here’s just one example below. You can read the investigation over at Macenstein; while you’re there, check out April’s Mac Chick.

Apple Dictionary Widget

Sun Acquires Java Based Mobile Phone OS

Jasper Phone

Looks like Sun is getting into competition with Symbian, Microsoft and Linux in the mobile space.

Deviceforge.com is reporting that Sun has acquired the assets of SavaJe Technologies. SavaJE developed the OS from the kernel on up and is deployed to the Jasper S20 mobile phone which won ‘Device of the Show’ aware at last year’s JavaOne conference.

The SavaJe mobile platform is an open standards based Java platform and enables operators and handset OEMs to rapidly brand and customize the mobile phone.

[Via Linuxdevices]

My Idea Of A TV

Now this is my idea of a plasma tv – The Waterfall Plasma Television.

The one shown here would make a great demo machine if you plug in a DVD with your sales pitch. One application here that is to put it in your lobby, it’s sure to draw attention with the water cascading around the 42″ or 60″ plasma screen.

Check out the manufacturer’s site for more custom waterfall fountains.

Waterfall Plasma

Domain Tools As Crystal Balls

DomainTools Blog has an interesting article. It shows that by monitoring the registered domains of a Web heavy corporation such as GOOG, you may get insight into their strategy.

Oct 2000 – Sergey Brin.com Defensive Registration of a co-founder but they forgot to get Larry Page.com.
Oct 2001 – Schoogle.com Perhaps an alternative name to Google Scholar.
March 2002 – Fourth-Party.com Why would Google register this?
May 2002 – Fire Hunt.com Looks like Google quietly bought this company.
June 2002 – Blazing Search.com Related to Fire Hunt
July 2002 – Cobra Search.com Related to Fire Hunt
Jan 2003 – Charity Visa.com & Charity Debit Card.com – Perhaps Google wants to get into the Credit Card business.
Feb 2003 – Got Google.com Marketing department wanted to make bumper stickers or shirts.
Feb 2004 – Google MasterCard.com Google wrestled this away from the copycat
May 2004 – Google Time Warner.com – Just in case they bought Time Warner back in 2004.
Feb 2005 – Every Classified.com – Google’s alternative name to Google Base.
June 2005 – Free-Wifi.info – But they don’t own the non-hyphen version or the .COM, bad tip off they want better names.
April 2006 – Participating Store.com – Two months before Google Checkout launches.
June 2006 – Bay Area Burritos.com – Maybe a Google local search sample site that never launched.
Aug 2006 – Image Labeler.com & Google Image Labeler.com – One day before launching they bought the domain.
Aug 2006 – Bench-Index.com – Secret Benchmark Utility?
Aug 2006 – Beach Wood Car Care.com – Maybe another future Google local search sample site.
Sept 2006 – Search Mash.com – Registered twenty days before they silently launched this new search engine.
Feb 2007 – Guxiang Com.com – A miss-spelling of a chinese portal

Most of those domains are dormant but notice how the tool revealed GOOG’s plans early wrt Scholar, Wi-Fi and Google Checkout?

So now the question is, based on the recent purchases, what are their plans? Well, clearly they have intent to get into Mexican dining.

Four Reasons To Use Multithreading

Marc Jacob’s has a developer centric blog and has recently posted a fairly high level article on the four reasons that you should be multithreading your applications. The focus of the article is an observation that many developers he’s worked with over the years are adding threading to their projects without full consideration or the concept of *why* threading would be helpful.

The four subsections of the article are:

  1. Keep a Process Responsive
  2. Keep a Processor Busy
  3. Keep Multiple Processors Busy
  4. Simplify Coding of Cooperating Tasks

From An ‘A’ to ‘DD’ With The Winerack

OK, maybe this isn’t exactly ‘geeknews’ but sometimes it’s just, erm, interesting or immature fun? In any case…

Old News: You’ve probably heard of ‘The Beerbelly‘ which is a large bladder that you wear around your gut under a shirt; this bladder is filled with beer that you can easily smuggle into the sporting arenas that would charge you an arm and a leg for a cup of mead.

New News: Now the laddies can get into the act with the ‘Winerack‘. Whether your an A or a DD, now the girls can sneak in that bottle of wine or flask of her favorite beverage!

winerack

Note, this is likely a spoof but we’ll keep our eyes peeled! 🙄

[Via my new favorite girl geek Techie Diva]