Sunday, August 31, 2008

Canon EOS 50D

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Canon has announced the 50D, which wraps a 40D body around a newly-developed 15 megapixel sensor. Canon is claiming that the new sensor's design (new manufacturing processes, redesigned photo diodes and micro lenses) mean that despite the higher resolution the noise is actually lower than the 40D. The other big change is the inclusion of a 640 x 480 pixel screen.

There are various other changes and added features, with many of them stemming from the first appearance of the Canon's Digic 4 processor.

£1,200 (body only).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Molecular gastronomy

Discover has an excellent article on how cutting-edge science is an integral part of modern cheffery. Here are some hors d'oeuvres...

"Molecular gastronomy aims to apply the piercing clarity of science to the culinary arts. Already in France, which takes the pleasures of the table seriously, molecular gastronomy is an officially recognized, government-funded science."

"Writing in 1825, Brillat-Savarin envisaged a discipline that would meld the physics and chemistry of food and cookery with the physiology of eating and especially with the glorious, sensual world of taste."

"The standard way to hard-boil eggs in Europe and America - 10 minutes in boiling water - is not ideal... the trouble... 212 degrees Fahrenheit is far higher than the temperature at which the egg whites and the yolks coagulate."

"Egg whites are made up of protein and water (yolks contain fat as well). As eggs cook, their balled-up proteins uncoil into strands, and the strands bind together to form an intricate mesh that traps water. In essence, the proteins form a gel, a liquid dispersed in a solid. Boiling causes too many egg proteins to bind and form dense meshes, so there is less sensation of water in the mouth... Voilà: rubbery egg whites and sandy, grayish yolks."

"Cook meat at high temperature to seal in the juices?'s not true. Use only eggs at room temperature for making mayonnaise? Not true either. Season steak with salt before cooking, or salt it afterward? Makes no difference, as the salt doesn't penetrate the meat."

via kottke

Friday, August 29, 2008

Exercise, lifestyle & nutrition basics

Over the past months, I have compiled a compact, irreverent and utterly non-canonical list of hints and tips based on my ongoing exploration of staying healthy and sane with the minimum of time, pain and effort.

If you fancy a read, click here to download the A5 PDF.

Thanks to Sky for performing proof reading duties

Crayola QWERTY keyboard

The Crayola Store reports: [edited]

Teach your little one how to type with the Crayola EZ Type Keyboard. Works alone or with other Crayola computer accessories.

System Requirements: Windows 98SE, 2000 Me, XP or Vista, Mac OS X 10.1 or later. USB Port. Recommended for Ages 3 and up.

£16.93 (currently out of stock)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Samsung release MacBook Air rival

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Based on Intel's Centrino 2 technology, the 16.7-30.9mm-thick X360 will come with a range of Core 2 Duo ultra-low voltage processors, one to four gigs of Ram and integrated graphics.

The Air/Sony-esque lozenge-style keyboard is coated with an anti-bacterial coating in case you lend it to someone with personal hygeine issues. It's not backlit, though.

The X360 sports a 13.3in, 1280 x 800 LED-backlit glossy wide display and ports a-plenty: ExpressCard 34, seven-in-one card reader, three USB, VGA, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and analogue audio. But it's also dockable for extra portage. Handy, that, because there's no built-in optical drive.

802.11n Wi-Fi comes as standard. So does Bluetooth 2.0+EDR. And Samsung promised WiMax and HSDPA connectivity in new models that will ship toward the end of the year.

The whole thing weighs 1.27kg when it's fitted with a 64GB or 128GB SSD and the standard six-cell battery. Samsung touted a headline battery life of over ten hours, though executives admitted that falls to just over six hours' "real world usage".

The X360 will ship with Windows Vista in October aound Europe and the world. Pricing will range from €1500 to €2000.

Two nations, separated by a financial authentication protocol

BBC reports: [edited]

Self-checkout systems in UK supermarkets are being targeted by hi-tech criminals with stolen credit card details.

The thieves claim to have comprehensive details of US credit and debit cards passed to them from an American gang who tapped phone lines between cash machines and banks.

The gang plans to copy card details onto the magnetic stripes of fake cards and then use them in UK stores. In the discussion on the card site those co-ordinating the fraud say they are seeking places to "cash out", meaning strip funds from the bank accounts using fake cards.

In the forum they are asking for information about Asda and Tesco stores in which it is possible to use self-service systems that mules could visit with the fake cards to get at the cash.

The fraudsters are looking for self-service systems to avoid contact with store staff who may spot the fake cards. The funds would be split between the mules who actually carry out the transactions, those organising the mules and the hi-tech thieves who stole the original card numbers.

Representatives from both Tesco and Asda argue that payment systems automatically contact the banks when a card is swiped instead of using chip-and-pin. The banks must authorise the acceptance of a signature.

"If the card has not been reported as having been cloned, yes, it can go through," said a spokeswoman for Tesco. However, she pointed out that swipe and sign transactions represent a tiny fraction of the supermarket chain's trade.

Nikon D90 hands-on review

Chase Jarvis has published a review of Nikon's latest DSLR. He loves it.

New waterproofing process

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

UK company Plasma Product Innovations (P2i) today demonstrated a chemical process it claims can render any material 100 per cent waterproof.

"Ion-mask surface-enhancement nanotechnology can treat everyday objects without altering the look, design or feel of the material," said P2i's Dr Ian Roberts. "The plasma process enables water-repellent molecules to chemically bond to the fibres of the footwear on a sub-microscopic scale rendering the product either waterproof or hydrophobic."

Nikon D90

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Two years after the D80 was announced comes the D90. First and foremost there's a new CMOS sensor, which Nikon claim produces D300 quality output at up to ISO 6400 and - one of several features to 'trickle down' from higher models - the 3.0-inch VGA screen as the D3/D300.

It has Live View with contrast-detect AF and a dust removal system. More surprising is the inclusion of the world's first DSLR movie mode (720p HDTV) and HDMI output. A lot of the core photographic spec is the same as or very similar to the D80, though there is a new shutter and an implementation of the 3D tracking AF seen on the D3/D300.

The D90 is intended to appeal to the broadest audience of any Nikon SLR, from first-time 'step up' customers moving from a compact to serious amateurs wanting comprehensive photographic control without the cost and weight of a D300.

£700 (body only).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Flexibin reports: [edited/poorly translated]

A concept design in order to give a blow of young person to the aspect of the dustbins. Indicated by Li Jianye, one notes the use of a framework in flex-wire in order to adapt to the various sizes of the bags. Simple and practical.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


SpinVox captures voicemails and converts them into text. It then delivers the text to the destination of your choice.

For a positive review visit Stephen Fry's Blog

Monday, August 25, 2008

Beijing 2008 - picture roundup

The ever-reliable Big Picture delivers the goods again. Visual joy.

Samsung Omnia unboxing

Click here for a twist on the ubiquitous geeky 'unboxing' video.

Olympic posters

Colour Lovers has published a series of Olympic posters from 1896 to 2012 along with some games facts.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beijing Water Cube

The New York Times has produced an excellent interactive 360˚ panorama of the Beijing Water Cube, as viewed from the 10-meter platform, complete with a voice-over by Thomas Finchum, an American diver competing in Beijing.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Digitised 78s

Wired reports: [edited]

Thousands of recordings that had been largely consigned to the realm of prehistory in the digital age have gained a new life, thanks to the tireless efforts of one man.

Cliff Bolling didn't realize what he was getting into when he picked up a copy of the first record he ever owned (Cliff Steward's "Aba Daba Honeymoon") and realized soon after that "there's a whole world of music that you don't hear anymore, and it's on 78 RPM records."

As things stand now, the 57-year-old Portland, Oregon, native has uploaded 3,739 MP3s, with plenty more in the pipeline.

"A lot of younger people go to the site, and it's amazing that they hear songs today that originally were recorded 75 years ago. It's pretty cool that people get to listen to this stuff. As far as copyrights, apparently I'm okay, because nobody's come to shut me down or anything."

- - - - -

Brett's 2p'orth: Sadly, Bolling's site has been a victim of its own success, with hundreds of greedy downloaders sucking the entire 10GB of files off the site for their collections, Yahoo shut his site down. So, for now at least, the site is merely listing the songs, with a token 'free track' available for download. Shame.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fabulous fruit and vegetable labels

Box of Apples reports: [edited] is the online museum (and gift shop) of fruit crate labels from the early 1900s to 1950s. Back in the days of our grandparents and their parents, people did their produce-shopping at markets that were more like a farmers' market than today’s grocery stores.

The fruit and vegetables would be displayed in their shipping crates somewhere near the railroad tracks, probably under a big shed. Each crate would have a label (up to a foot square) showing the name of the packer, and a colorful design to differentiate the brand.

Fruit crates disappeared with the advent of self-service supermarkets and cardboard boxes, but thousands of vintage labels have survived in mint condition, rescued from warehouses and print shops, mostly on the West Coast. Beautifully printed by stone lithography with eight- or twelve-color inks, they are now collectors' items with a big following on eBay. On this site you can see dozens of different designs, and buy large-format, high-quality reproductions for home or office.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Photosynth reports: [edited]

Imagine being able to share the places and things you love using the cinematic quality of a movie, the control of a video game, and the mind-blowing detail of the real world. With nothing more than a bunch of photos, Photosynth creates an amazing new experience.

It can capture the sweeping scale of a mile of the Grand Canal in Venice, and focus in on the exquisite rot at the waterline of a beautifully decaying palazzo doorway.

Want to share your amazing new room with your friends — after all what justice do a bunch of thumbnails do for a room that took you a month to decorate? And it’s not just for spaces and places. Photosynth is an amazing way to share the full juicy details of the stuff in your life.

- - - - -

Brett's 2p'orth: This is a Microsoft Live Labs project, using 'Seadragon', a technology that identifies common features in multiple photographs and uses them to work out how the images relate to one another before stitching them together as a 3D map.

For more about the technology, click here and for a 'hands-on' report click here.

Wine trials

Osteria L'Intrepido di Milano reports: [edited]

My name is Robin Goldstein, and I’m the author of a new book called The Wine Trials. Lately, I’ve become curious about how Wine Spectator magazine determines its 'Awards of Excellence' for the world’s best wine restaurants.

As part of the research for an academic paper I’m currently working on about standards for wine awards, I submitted an application for a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

I named the restaurant “Osteria L’Intrepido”, I submitted the fee, a cover letter, a copy of the restaurant’s menu (a fun amalgamation of somewhat bumbling nouvelle-Italian recipes), and a wine list.

Osteria L’Intrepido won the Award of Excellence, as published in print in the August 2008 issue of Wine Spectator. (Not surprisingly, the Osteria’s listing has been removed from Wine Spectator’s website since I posted this.) I presented this result at the meeting of the American Association of Wine Economists in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, August 15.

It’s troubling, of course, that a restaurant that doesn’t exist could win an Award of Excellence. But it’s also troubling that the award doesn’t seem to be particularly tied to the quality of the supposed restaurant’s “reserve wine list,” even by Wine Spectator’s own standards.

Although the main wine list that I submitted was a perfectly decent selection from around Italy meeting the magazine’s numerical criteria, Osteria L’Intrepido’s “reserve wine list” was largely chosen from among some of the lowest-scoring Italian wines in Wine Spectator over the past 20 years.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Sony Ericsson's eagerly anticipated Xperia X1 Windows Mobile-based smartphone looks set to be released early October. In a recent promotional email, retailer Expansys said that the phone’s “release date is set for week 41 (Oct 6-12)”. Expansys also said the "arc slider" handset will cost £590, SIM-free.

Xperia X1 has a 3in display, from under which a full Qwerty keyboard slides out. It provides 3G HSDPA and HSUPA connectivity, in addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. A 3.2-megapixel camera and Micro SD card slot are built-in too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Dag Ågren reports: [edited]

The Unarchiver is a more capable replacement for BOMArchiveHelper, the built-in archive unpacker program in Mac OS X.

The Unarchiver is designed to handle many more formats than BOMArchiveHelper, and to better fit in with the design of the Finder. It can also handle filenames in foreign character sets, created with non-English versions of other operating systems.

Supported file formats include Zip, Tar-GZip, Tar-BZip2, Rar, 7-zip, LhA and StuffIt.

The Unarchiver is free, and works with Panther, Tiger and Leopard.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sega Megadrive handheld console reports: [edited]

The Blaze Portable console is a handheld video game player pre-loaded with 20 classic SEGA games. It has an A/V connector and with the included cable the player can be connected to any TV set. Enjoy playing classic SEGA games anytime, anywhere with the new Blaze Portable video game player.

Cost: £29.99

Thanks to Julie for the link

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tears of the Sun

When this movie was initially released, it received negative reviews, based mainly on the fact that its star and producer were Bruce Willis, and that it focused on fictional atrocities in a real country.

I rented it partly because IMDB had some good reviews, and because it is available in Blu-ray format. And I'm really glad I did.

Bruce Willis plays Navy SEAL Special-Ops commander Lieutenant A.K. Waters who takes his squad into the African jungle to rescue Dr. Lena Fiore Kendricks (played sensitively and convincingly by Monica Belluci) from a missionary hospital about to be attacked by the soldiers of a tribal coup.

Ms Kendricks manages to convince Lieutenant Waters and his men to rescue not only her but 70 of the most able-bodied members of the hospital. This is the where the credibility of the plot is weakest, but after this the film goes from strength to strength, with some intriguing twists.

I make no claims to be any kind of expert on African politics. But I do know that there is a lot of very bad stuff happening there. Tears of the Sun manages to highlight the atrocities and some of the reasons behind them without ever caricaturing or glorifying them.

The SEALs play their parts well, with a convincing mix of professionalism and emotional involvement. The fight scenes are particularly well handled, with the true awe and horror of modern warfare being powerfully portrayed.

The escaping civilians are also excellently portrayed, displaying an affecting mixture of desperation, weariness, fear and bravery.

Even the denouement, often the weakest part of an action movie, is well handled. There is no triumphalism, only a sense of relief that some good has come out of an impossible situation mingled with deep sorrow for all the carnage that has preceded it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ingenious toilet solution

The Economist reports: [edited]

People cross the street to avoid Baby, a sweet-faced young woman dressed in a cherry-red salwar kameez. It is the wide iron pan and wire brush she carries that mark her out as someone to be avoided: these are the ancient tools of the 'manual scavenger', a euphemism for those who clean up the faeces from houses that lack flushing toilets.

Manual scavenging was banned in 1993 by a law that also forbade the unplumbed toilets that necessitate it. But implementation has been slow. So several hundred thousand scavengers are still at work.

Unlike many of India’s social ills, manual scavenging could be eradicated fairly easily. Most of this work is done in towns and cities, where the scavengers have a reasonable chance of finding other work.

And affordable, hygienic toilets are available: Sulabh, a charity, has developed an ingeniously simple one, costing around $100, that empties into one pit, and then, when it is full, another. It flushes with two litres of water, compared with the ten litres required by a standard cistern toilet. It takes ten people two years to fill one pit, by which time the waste in the other has turned into composted manure, clean enough for growing vegetables.

Sulabh has built 1.2m of the latrines across India and helped 60,000 scavengers find new work. “The toilet is a tool of social change,” declares Bindeshwar Pathak, a (high-caste) brahmin.

So indeed it seems at Sulabh’s training centre in Alwar, in western India, where dozens of scavengers have learned cleaner ways to earn money. One of their best-selling products is the tiny white wick used in the oil lamps of Hindu temples.

Lalita Nanda, an ex-scavenger who is bundling the wicks into bags, says with a grin that they are all bought by priests who until recently would not let her cross the threshold of their temples.

via Defeating Global Poverty

Friday, August 15, 2008

Spore goes gold

Market Watch reports: [edited]

The wait is almost over! Electronic Arts Inc. and Maxis today announced that Spore has gone gold and will be available for the Mac and PC at retailers September 5 in Europe and September 7 in North America and Asia Pacific.

Spore Creatures for Nintendo DS and Spore Origins for mobile phones will also be available globally September 7.

Players who preorder Spore or Spore Galactic Edition from participating retailers will receive a coupon good for $10 off their next purchase of custom merchandise at Zazzle.

For the ultimate Spore fan, the limited Galactic Edition will contain the 'Making of Spore' DVD, 'How to Build a Better Being' DVD (a 50 minute National Geographic Channel documentary DVD hosted by Spore mastermind, Will Wright), 'The Art of Spore' hardback book, an exclusive Spore poster, and a premium 100-page Galactic Handbook.


Blurb reports: [edited]

Blurb is a company and a community that believes in the joy of books – reading them, making them, sharing them, and selling them.

Holding a finished book with your name on the cover is one of those experiences everyone should have. As software people, designers, and publishing professionals at the top of our game, we realized something both incredible and obvious: there’s no good reason why it should take tons of time, technical skills, big bucks, or friends in high places to publish a book. Or a zillion books.

So we put our minds together, and developed a creative publishing service simple and smart enough to make anyone an author - every blogger, cook, photographer, parent, traveler, poet, pet owner, marketer, everyone.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lenovo enters 'biggest, ugliest laptop' competition

Rob Galbraith reports: [edited]

Lenovo today has unveiled the ThinkPad W700, a widescreen 17 inch Windows laptop that has been developed expressly for the working digital photographer. In addition to CPU options that include Intel's new mobile quad core processor, a maximum of 8GB of RAM, up to three internal hard drives (two if you don't want to forsake the optical disc drive) and top-end Nvidia Quadro FX 3700M graphics, the W700 features an integrated screen calibrator and mini Wacom tablet plus both SD and CompactFlash card slots.

The ThinkPad W700 has many of the accoutrements you would expect from a premium performance, 8.3lb (3.77kg) desktop replacement. As mentioned, it can be configured with Intel's newest and most powerful CPU for portables, a quad-core mobile processor in the Core 2 Extreme line, plus up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM and up to three 320GB, 5400 RPM hard drives (the third in the computer's user-swappable Ultra Bay).

The W700's 17 inch display is available in two resolutions; the higher resolution one is 1920 x 1200 pixels and incorporates twin CCFL (rather than LED) backlighting for a promised wide colour gamut that comprises about 72% of the Adobe RGB colour space. Maximum brightness is rated at 400 cd/m2. Graphics options are the new Nvidia Quadro FX 3700M with 1GB of VRAM, or the Nvidia Quadro FX 2700M with 512MB of VRAM.

Also available in the W700 is a 128mm x 80mm Wacom tablet, embedded into the right side of the palm rest. While optimally placed for right handers, the computer includes the ability to detect when a left handed person is rubbing the side of their hand over the trackpad and keys, ignoring that and instead recognizing only the tablet input.

Homer Euro

Reuters reports: [edited]

A one euro coin has turned up in Spain bearing the face of cartoon couch potato Homer Simpson instead of that of the country's king, a sweetshop owner told Reuters.

Jose Martinez was counting the cash in his till in the city of Aviles, northern Spain, when he came across the coin where Homer's bald head, big eyes and big nose had replaced the serious features of King Juan Carlos.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Dell laptops claim 19-hour battery life

electronista reports: [edited]

Dell has launched the new Latitude line, ushering in a significant refresh of its business systems. The new models have a new streamlined design with the choice of multiple shell colors and take cues both from recent PC designs like the Studio as well as the MacBook Pro; the new systems now have backlit keyboards, a magnesium shell designed to be strong, and an extra-thin design.

The mainstream models are the thinnest ever in the mid-size class, the Texas-based company claims, while its ultraportable E4200 model weighs as little as 2.2 pounds.

The company also claims to have set a record for battery performance using a combination of proprietary software as well as Intel's Centrino 2 platform. The mid-grade Latitude E6400 with an extended 12-cell battery can last up to 19 hours on a single charge, according to Dell.

Batman: Gotham Knight: Review

Batman: Gotham Knight is a collection of 6 Batman stories, produced in an Anime style.

The opening episode sets the scene, with four skateboarding oddballs giving their account of their encounters with Batman. This is the most impressionistic episode, with a primitive and exaggerated drawing style that reinforces the 'urban myths' that these kids are creating.

The next five are more 'classic anime', with exaggerated perspective, dramatic lighting and massive fight scenes. At around 16 minutes apiece, there is not time for character development or any real story, but the pacing is excellent, and the character voicing is convincing and appropriate. Batman's voice is brilliantly handled by Kevin Conroy, who has been the voice of Batman in nearly every animated form since the 1990s.

Image quality on the Blu-ray disc is exemplary and the soundtrack moves from brooding to explosive, introducing, complementing and reinforcing each episode.

The disc also contains a generous helping of 'extras' including an informative commentary; a fascinating documentary on Batman's creator, Bob Kane and an intriguing 'first peek' at the impending Wonder Woman movie.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Free David Byrne/Brian Eno song download

David Byrne reports: [edited]

Brian Eno and I recently finished our first collaboration in about 30 years. For the most part, Brian did the music and I wrote some tunes, words and sang. The name of the new record is Everything That Happens Will Happen Today and the music will be available on this Web site on August 18th, free for streaming and available for purchase as both a download and in physical formats.

If you'd like to be updated as this story unfolds, and get a free download of the single 'Strange Overtones' click here.

Ostrich Eggs

Clarence Court reports: [edited]

Eggs at Waitrose have gone supersize. Weighing in at nearly 2kg, an ostrich egg is roughly equivalent to twenty-four large hens eggs and can take up to two hours to hard boil.

Ostrich eggs have a distinctive, light flavour and texture, making them ideal for cooking. For the culinary-minded, that’s almost one hundred meringues or thirty-two soufflés.

Eggs are available in selected Waitrose stores during the ostrich-laying season of April to August.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Nikon Coolpix P6000

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Nikon has announced its flagship compact, the Coolpix P6000. Built around a 13.5 megapixel, 1/1.72 inch sensor (0.41 square cm), the camera has a 4x zoom starting at a respectably wide-angle - equivalent to 28mm.

It also records RAW files in NRW format that can be converted in-camera or with the forthcoming Windows version of View NX or Windows Imaging Component compatible applications. The other stand-out feature is the inclusion of built-in GPS logging of the locations at which images were recorded. It is expected to start shipping in September for around £430.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's an ill wind...

For a beautifully-written explanation, visit Mr Gnome's Blog.

Gravity's Rainbow

As someone who doesn't read many novels, I made Thomas Pynchon's most critically aclaimed novel my 'Summer Holiday Challenge'. And a challenge it proved to be, in fact its 900 pages of opaque and beautifully written prose eventually defeated me and I found myself skip-reading the last 300 to finish the book before the holiday ended.

It is a bizarre and sprawling work, broadly following the fantastical life of Tyrone Slothrop, the victim of a Pavlovian experiment involving plastics that end up being used in the V2 bomb.

The storyline moves seamlessly (and frustratingly) from dream to reality to paranoid delusion as Slothrop struggles to discover who he is and what is and isn't real in the world he inhabits.

It is a tragedy and a farce. Religion, technology, psychology, sex, evil and truth are wrestled with using a surreal palette of physics, engineering, pornography and scatalogical humour.

I can't say I enjoyed the book, but I'm glad I waded through it. And I'm impressed enough with Pynchon's writing style that I'm going to read 'Mason & Dixon' next.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Lenovo IdeaPad 'netbook'

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

The IdeaPad S9 has an 8.9in screen, the S10 sports a 10.2in display. Both netbooks are designed primarily for surfing the web, emailing, listening to music and running basic applications, such as Microsoft Word. The keyboard is 85 per cent of the size of a full-function notebook PC’s keyboard. An energy-efficient LED backlight display helps to lengthen battery life. .

Wi-Fi connectivity and an Express Card slot feature on the duo, and a web-cam’s been installed above the display. Only two USB ports are included, but users have the benefit of a 4-in-1 memory card reader.

Lenovo has only released the full specifications for the S10, which runs on a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, comes with 2GB of memory and has a 160GB HDD. Users have the option of either a three or six hour life battery.

Two speakers are integrated into the S10 netbook, and the built in webcam has a snap quality of 1.3-megapixels. Users can choose between Windows XP or Linux.

The S10 will retail for £319 and the S9 for £279, with both PCs scheduled for UK release in October.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Surf pix

The Big Picture reports: [edited]

Riding big waves or small, or riding the wind and catching some air, people across the world have been busy surfing over the past few months - in competitions, as therapy, or for serious fun.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Free font

For a limited time, FontShop is making the medium weight of Siegfried Rückel's Nuvo available for free download.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Creative signage

Alex Peemöller is a designer who has "developed and designed way-finding systems, books, brochures, magazines, annuals, icons, typefaces, corporate identities, photoshootings, enviromental graphics, posters, retail stores..."

"In Melbourne I developed a way-finding-system for the Eureka Tower Carpark. The distorted letters on the wall can be read perfectly when standing at the right position. This project won several international design awards."

For more pictures, click here.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Possibly the best coffee table in the world is selling this 70kg bundle of joy for a mere £1,259, loaded with 48 8-bit games including 1942, Centipede, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Galaxian and PacMan. Also available in vertical format.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Samsung NV100HD

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Samsung has expanded its NV compact range with the launch of the NV100HD, which also sports the world’s only 28mm wide angle lens with 14.7 megapixels.

It's touch-sensitive too. A 'Matrix Menu' allows a photographer to execute functions with their fingers, rather than a stylus. For example, if you want to delete a shot, then drawing an 'X' on screen sends the image to the bin.

Samsung’s gone one better than standard image stabilisation and included "Dual Image Stabilisation" on the NV100HD. The feature combines optical and digital image stabilisation to create what Samsung claimed will be “vastly improved image quality” and “outstanding shots without the blur, even in low light conditions".

Videos are recorded at up to 30 frames per second at 720p resolution. There’s an HDMI port on the camera for connecting the snapper your HD TV.

All the usual settings are featured, ranging from face and blink detection to smile recognition. However, a mode dubbed "Beauty Shot" claims to retouch the subject’s facial skin for a “brighter and smoother skin tone”.

Samsung’s NV100HD will be available in the UK next month for £230.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


One of the reasons I have held off purchasing an iPhone is that I can't use it as a modem with my PowerBook.

Wired have published a blog about a $10 program called NetShare that enables this feature, along with a 'how-to' guide for setting it up.

It would appear from the comments that there is some ambiguity as to whether Apple are happy with this, but if you have a 3G iPhone, and want the modem facility, it is worth checking out.

OLED displays

The Christian Science Monitor reports: [edited]

In the 2002 movie “Minority Report,” director Steven Spielberg painted the future as a place where no surface was still. Newspapers updated in readers’ hands and advertisements talked to passers-by. Even cereal boxes were animated.

Such gadgets and displays offer several potential advantages over silicon-based electronics – chief among them, they can be manufactured by a cheaper and less energy-intensive process, they’re potentially more energy efficient, and they can bend.

So-called organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) – 'organic' because, like all known life, they’re carbon-based – are poised to change everything from visual displays to ambient lighting.

Unlike liquid crystal displays (LCDs), OLED displays have no backlight. Each OLED pixel emits its own glow. This saves materials, energy, and space, allowing for ever thinner electronics. It also permits flexibility, viewing at obtuse angles, and, in some cases, visibility from both sides.

An OLED’s ability to go on a flexible surface – plastic or metal foil, for example – is a major selling point for those seeking improved portability. (OLEDs are already common on cellphones and PDAs throughout Asia.)

Making plastic displays doesn’t require parts so much as base materials. So, the electronics can be “printed” roll-to-roll like a newspaper, rather than assembled piece-by-piece like the much more energy intensive process that’s used for LCD displays.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Panasonic has today announced the Lumix DMC-LX3. The camera is aimed at DSLR users who are looking for a compact camera to complement their existing SLR gear. Consequently the LX3 comes with comprehensive manual controls and a fast F2.0-F2.8 24-60mm (35mm equivalent) Leica DC Vario-Summicron lens. Images are captured on a 1/1.63-inch CCD sensor sporting 10.1 million effective pixels. The Lumix DMC-LX3 will be available in the UK from August at £399.99.

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Brett's 2p'orth: With its larger-than-usual-for-a-compact-camera (LTUFACC™) image sensor and fast lens, this promises to be a very desirable piece of kit. The main issue for me is that I would really miss the long zoom range of my DMC-TZ3. And the range of available 'bolt-ons' is the reason I stopped using a DSLR in the first place.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Photoshop Express upgraded

MacWorld reports: [edited]

Last week Adobe’s online photo sharing and editing web site, Photoshop Express had been temporarily closed to add new features. Adobe has now detailed some of those new features.

The Photoshop Express Uploader enables photo uploading from the desktop of any Internet-connected computer.

Another feature is the ability to drag and drop photos directly from your photo application into Photoshop Express.

Dynamic slideshows can now have music created exclusively for Photoshop Express. For organizing, the addition of tags allows for easy viewing and searching by name, party, venue, subject and anything else you find useful.

A one-click Resize tool with presets for mobile, Web, e-mail or online Profiles is now available and you can now download photos from anyone’s public album and keep a collection of their favorites.