Monday, April 28, 2008

Wacom makes strides in Touchscreen Tech

Wacom, on Friday, announced they've engineered a more sensitive capacitive touch screen. Using newly designed low-power circuitry and a patent pending technology that they've dubbed Reversing Ramped Field Capacitive (RRFC) touch.

What this means to a touchscreen interface is that even with a less than optimal battery level the RRFC touchscreen still delivers precise and drift-free cursor performance.

Other innovations of the RRFC touch, touted by Wacom, include the screen's superior optical performance, increased sensitivity, and durability through use of a non-glass surfaces.

Apple's multi-touch displays use older capacitive touchscreen technology, but in a more inventive way. With Wacom's new capacitive touchscreen you can use tablet with the screen and get dual touch action, but it's not the same at all.

If only Wacom and Apple would develop products together without patent restrictions, they might be able to realize an interface that conforms to us.

The video (tap Read More!), from last year, shows the direction we could be going.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Car Electronics are on the On Ramp to the Information Superhighway

or Computers to Replace Common Sense

Black Chrome Emblem Kit

Today Honda announced their newest GPS units will let drivers know if they're about to leave their economically viable ride in an economically challenged area.

The new system alerts drivers if they have picked a less than desirable spot to park, places were the chances of the car coming out unscathed are slim to none.

The GPS’ calculated decisions are made by accessing local police records for any specified area. A crime rating is issued for each area you park in that has a higher than normal level of crimes against cars. Using the law of probability, the GPS alerts you when the chips are stacked against you and your car.

Don’t expect this system in the US anytime soon, on the fly access to local US law enforcement data systems seems like a logistical nightmare. Not to mention the cries of socioeconomic profiling that will be sure to follow.

Implementing this system should prove to be a good incentive to clean up crime ridden areas, especially if people started avoiding certain places based on this new GPS’ recommendations, which they will.

People are very willing to give over thinking to a computer as the folks in Wedmore, England know all too well...International Herald Tribune.

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..via AFP..
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Archos 605 Becomes the Ultimate Travel Companion

Archos 605A week from today, Archos plans to announce they'll be adding GPS to their already feature heavy personal media player, the Archos 605.

Unfortunately, for those of us in the New World, the news of this announcement comes from the island nation of Great Britain, via Pocket-lint. So, you shouldn’t expect this GPS functionality stateside until at least the end of the summer; by then the ‘hommes et femmes’ over at Archos should be able to hammer out an agreement with a GPS provider, in the United States, to become their partner in mapping.

Who knows really? We’re talking about a French company after all. They might get too caught up drinking wine and eating baguettes to remember about us silly Americans.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Portishead and Pull 'a Radiohead'

Portishead ThirdThe heads have it. Radiohead, back in October, shocked the digital media distribution world by offering "In Rainbows" online, before its hard copy release, with no set price. Instead asking fans to pay what they felt the albums was worth.

They pulled the files after December 10th, but understandably, the trick work like a charm; the blogosphere was ablaze with the news of a free album direct from the artist and the recording, once released on CD, enter the charts at #1.

Portishead, another English based band that saw major fame starting in the mid nineties and have also had quite the long hiatus, are set to release their latest effort "Third" on, later this month.

The release won't be a free download. However, fans can listen to the entire album before they buy; not just clips of songs...ehm, Steve you hearing this, bro. has always let music fans hear their catalog of tracks in their entirety; however, this is the first time they have had an exclusive release.

Portishead has a special place in's heart. They spearheaded by being the first artist the founder, Martin Stiksel, uploaded, and his affinity for Beth Gibbons, Adrian Utley and Geoff Barrow of Portishead is shared by millions. Mainly, because they rock in a slow and oh so melancholy way. Happy listening.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Fame in the digital age

An AP report titled, “Video of teen beating raises questions”, sure does. The trend of becoming famous for nothing in particular, that has its roots firmly cemented in reality television and is proliferated on video sharing sites like YouTube, has morphed into some young people seeking fame by committing heinous acts of violence against anyone that they think won’t fight back.

Brazen teens are nothing new; videoing acts of violence, vandalism, or stupidity it’s new either, but prior to the YouTube revolution, videos of this nature were quietly circulated within tight lipped communities of teens. Because of this, worldwide infamy wasn’t even a possibility. They may have become the stars in their particular town, but the perpetrators’ identities or acts of distaste would have never be disclosed. Unless a nosey parent happen stumbled across the VHS tape.

Most likely, degenerates (at least at the time of filming) produce these kinds of videos because they have no motivation to achieve anything that will bring them actual praise. Instant fame; no work needed. They figure putting their freedom or well being, or both, on the line is an acceptable risk for being considered cool by the cool kids. After all, they aren’t rational humans, they’re teens.

Nevertheless, it’s not YouTube’s fault for providing the service, or even for keeping these videos up so long. Even though their “general policies call for the removal of clips that show someone getting ‘hurt, attacked or humiliated’”, YouTube seems much more diligent when it comes to taking down videos depicting acts of sex, or copies of copyrighted material. They do still have a responsibility to alert the authorities when an illegal act is depicted on amateur video. Did they?

Another important question is, if no way to distribute these clips worldwide existed would these types of videos still get made?

The lure of easy fame definitely motives some to act out of character, and apparently, blinds them to the fact that the clip might be seen by cops. Though, this problem is enigmatic of our society as a whole, in these United States, and may reflect the failure of a nationwide experiment that was perpetrated by the medical establishment on this country’s “disturbed” youth. Not to say the teens shouldn't be held accountable.

I don’t want to come off too crazy here, and this is a simplistic view, but really the pharmaceutical companies defined, or invented a disorder, ADHD, through funding research. They then formulated the “cure”, Ritalin a central nervous system stimulant, described by critics as “Kiddie Cocaine”. Ritalin’s job is to increases the level of dopamine the brain has access to in much the same way as Cocaine. Continued use of Ritalin can lead to depression due to depleted levels of dopamine which, in turn, is treated with drugs like Zoloft. Anti-depression drugs increase the level of serotonin the brain has access to, hoping to reverse the other drug’s depressive effect; basically, this puts patients in a drug dependency cycle for life.

Side effects of Zoloft type drugs can include agitation and confusion. This fact has led some to believe these practices are the cause of the rise in violence at schools and homes perpetrated by disturbed, now drug addicted youth. Add to this the fact that the government divvies up monies for education depending on how many ADHD kids a school has in their population, and you have a system that thrives on misdiagnoses, numerous kids in the crossfire, and parent’s who blame themselves.

Now that I’ve thoroughly brought you down go here to cheer up.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Micro SD Card Projectors are More Fun than Function

Micro SD Card ProjectorMaking tiny projectors isn’t a new concept. In general, miniaturization is a consistent theme in electronics.

Cheap, on the other hand, is not. Cheap is definitely not something usually associated with the latest tiny tech. Yet, you’d be hard pressed to come up with a more accurate adjective than cheap to describe this Micro SD Card Projector. This fact seems to be ok; it’s designed to be inexpensive.

The resolution is viewable at best, but really this product is all about portable projecting fun. The SD card slot plays flicks, music, and videos, and the RCA inputs lets you run gaming systems or DVD players through the pint-sized projector.

There is an inherent advantage to having an ultra portable projector like this; you can share snaps and videos instantly with a large audience, but don’t expect this little guy to handle a five hour session of Halo 3, the 4 AA batteries that power the projector might not hold out that long.

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Pandigital Touch Panel Digital Photo Frames: PanTouch

PanTouch Digital Touch Screen Picture FrameTouch screens have been making their way into all types of devices lately, so it stands to reason that digital photo frames manufactures would eventually get into the touch interface game. Frames are usually with reach anyway, on our desk or sitting on an end table.

Remotes have worked up until now, but this added tactile aspect makes viewing photos in these frames reminiscent of flipping through album pages.

Pandigital, in May, will debut their new PanTouch series touch panel digital photo frames. Now if you’re like me you might be thinking, wouldn’t a touch screen picture frame mean fingerprints over the pictures? Wouldn’t the pictures be affected? Of course, this was considered.

Wisely, the matte around the pictures is where the touch sensor resides. The patented sensor responses to swipes or taps, and display icons point out all function controls for reference, if needed. Intuitiveness was a goal in this frame's development so learning the controls placement is reportedly a quick process.

PanTouches will be available in three flavors all of which incorporate image optimization (resizing) software, 6-in-1 memory card reader, and USB 2.0 speed:

  • 7”, 482x234 pixel display, holds up to 800 images, MSRP 119.99
  • 8”, 800x680 pixel display, holds up to 3200 images, MSRP 169.99
  • 10.5”, 1024x768 pixel HD display, holds up to 2000 images, MSRP 249.99

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NapTV Concept Gives TV as Babysitter New Legs

How many times have you been lying in bed taking in a little television when you've thought to yourself I wish my TV was on the ceiling?

Lying down is not an optimal position for TV viewing, so this TV/stool concept was birthed. A crafty Korean student, Sung-kyu Nam, has posted this "NapTV" concept in the portfolio section of, a web resource for companies looking for new creative and designers looking for work.

Pandering parents should go gaga over this tantrum taming tech; TVs have always been babysitters. Although, the name “NapTV” seems too tame, and it makes no sense. Who watches TV while napping? He should rename it “My First Babysitter” and provide a 24/7 Sesame Street feed.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sony Redefines the Handycam; Now they're Really Handy

High Definition Handycam Camcorder HDR-TG1Small is the most valuable asset in the world of electronics. We’re so in love with tiny tech the consistent miniaturizing of electronics has even been spoofed in comedies. Remember Derrick Zoolander’s (Ben Stiller) phone; it was so tiny it was unusable.

This will never become a real concern. Though, it does address the fine line manufactures have to straddle when developing smaller form devices. Does the size impede the functionality?

The HDR-TG1, Sony’s latest addition to the Handycam line, has all but perfected this formula. The pocket-size (1.3”x 4.7”x 2.5”) lightweight (10oz) is heavy on features like full 1920 x 1080 HD resolution video, 5.1 surround sound recording, 2.7” LCD touch panel display, intelligent face detection…the list goes on and on. Really, all that matters is this is the smallest most versatile Handycam to date. Which, of course, means bragging rights for at least the remained of the summer.

It’s targeted to vacationers; however, the causal traveler may discover their inner auteur when they get their hand on this Handycam.

Available for preorder this camera will ship sometime in May and will run you about $900 bucks.

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Wind Powered Handheld Device Charger: MiniWiz's HYmini

MiniWiz HYminiSolar powered chargers for portable devices make on-the-go sense but say you don’t live in Nevada; what then?

MiniWiz’s HYmini give those of us in cloudier locales the added option of harnessing or creating wind to supply voltage to a 5v handheld via USB (or one of the five adapters).

The built in wind turbine is really for supplementing the solar panel (not included) or wall power. Wind alone won’t fully charge the HYmini battery, but wind can be created, sunlight can‘t.

Good thing, because it takes a 9mph gust to get this power producer revved up enough to create a usable current. So if it’s clam and cloudy out, strap the HYmini to your handle bars for a current creating ride or lash it to your arm for a jog; reinvigorate yourself and your electronics.

You’ll achieve the needed wind velocity while burning a few calories to boot. Talk about your hippie devices; this is like an environmentalist badge of honor. West Coast folks will love this one.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Go Blu-ray with the Denon dvd-3800bdci

Denon dvd-3800bdci
Denon has always meant serious A/V performance. While other manufactures are more worried about how much Blu-ray blue the can get on the front of their latest players or how to price it for the causal movie viewer, Denon worries more about things that actually concern videophiles.

In other words, the Denon DVD3800BDCI Blu-Ray Disc/DVD/CD Player actually advances the industry by integrating exclusive Denon developments such as rock solid multi-layer case construction which minimizes extraneous noise and a vibration suppressive stabilizing disc drive that ensures quiet accurate disc playback. Denon also decks out their disc jockeys with the most advanced A/V chipsets around then pairs these advancements with the newest HDMI standard 1.3a.

What the Denon DVD-3800BDCI sends out over that HDMI is key; it's 36-bit deep color on the picture end and Dolby true HD or dts-HD Master Audio on the sound side of things. As far as upscaling goes, standard def dvds are output at 1080p/24fps; pixel-by-pixel and digital noise reduction processing results in no degrading artifacts or jaggies. Making your entire catolog look as good as possible.

This bleeding edge Denon hardware provides its owners with a unique immersive cinematic experience that is so striking it will have other manufactures scrambling to compete.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Textbuyit Makes Bargain Hunting Obsolete

TextbuyitSo there you are in the local Ma and Pa bookstore contemplating that literary purchase when think to yourself, ‘screw the local economy I want the cheapest price.’

Enter Amazon, the quintessential online bookseller and oh so much more. The mobile payment department, over there, launched on Tuesday Textbuyit. Phone texting is Amazon's newest way to help you give into your every whim, at discount prices of course.

Just text the title or other identifying features to 262966 or Amazon, seconds later you’re presented with options from different sellers at various prices; reply by texting 1, 2, or m (for more options).

When you’ve found the right item, at the right price, from the right place you simply text your email and zip code (only initially). One of Amazon’s computers then calls you to complete the purchase over the phone. No human interaction required (unless you answer the mailman when he rings the bell).

Betting that this will take purchases away from bookstores isn’t one I’d make, but as far as large electronics or heavy things, I could easily see city dwellers hitting this service up after probing the brick and mortar offerings.

Inevitably, Textbuyit will have some impact on brick and mortars, but getting shoppers to buy from a computer when the product is right in front of them would be quite the accomplishment.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Gmail Custom Time: April Fool's or a Real Feature

Gmail Custom Time

Gmail, Google's email service, last night released a new feature named "Custom Time". Made live around midnight the feature seems surprisingly unethical and would serve to undermine the whole basis of email time stamping. It supposedly allows up to 10 email time alterations a year. Allowing thoughtless jerks and procrastinators to fib about their poor time management skills by predating their email.

Google has taken this a step further by added the ability to mark the altered email read or unread. Seriously, as if you wouldn't notice an unread email dated from three days ago suddenly popping up in a sea of read messages. Is the introduction date of this feature a strange coincidence or clever April fool's prank? Considering you can't really use this feature when composing an email on gmail, I'm betting on the latter.
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