Sunday, November 30, 2008

LittleBigPlanet - still brilliant

LittleBigPlanet was brought back to my house for the weekend. Apparently it had been played a lot during its two weeks with Chris (Cyan's boyfriend), and seeing them playing it with Zak this afternoon reinforced my suspicions that this is a genius game.

Needless to say, it has returned to Lincoln for another two weeks.

Friday, November 28, 2008


VuNow reports: [edited]

Verismo's VuNow is the only solution that provides everything a consumer wants [!!? - Ed]. Access to the broadest online content, simple to use, easy to install, and compact in size — all at an affordable price.

- A Standard and a High Definition model of the VuNow PoD

- Support for wired or wireless connectivity

- Navigation using a TV-friendly user interface

- Watch YouTube videos on TV

- Search for videos with the built-in search engine

- Download videos using BitTorrent

- Watch videos directly from popular websites by categories

- Watch live TV channels from around the world

- Access to personal media such as video, music, and photos

- No subscription fees

Thursday, November 27, 2008

iTunes search tip

I use the 'comments' section of iTunes (highlight track/file/get info/info) to put any details about the track that links it to other tracks.

So, on the Chi-lites 'Are You My Woman?' I have typed, 'Sampled by Beyonce, Crazy in Love', and vice versa. That way, if I search for 'Crazy in Love', I will also get the Chi-lites song (and vice versa).

Well, I did, but somewhere along the line, iTunes seemed to stop including 'comments' in its search criteria. However, there is a simple solution. Make sure that the comments field is displayed in the playlist you are searching. Result!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

iPhone NumberKey

Balmuda Design reports: [edited]

NumberKey will turn an iPhone/iPod touch into a numeric keypad for your notebook.

Choose from 4 skins - Black, White, Silver and Classic. System requirements: iPhone or iPod touch with software version 2.1 or later. Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.5 or later.

via Daring Fireball

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sony BDPS350 Blu-ray Disc Player

This year has been a good one for Blu-ray. It is now the only hi-def disc format, after HD DVD waved the surrender flag in February. Prices of the discs are falling. And there is a growing range of titles to choose from.

If you are thinking of taking the plunge before Christmas, then the purchase of a Playstation 3 is still the best value option. As well as an excellent gaming platform, you get a 1080p Blu-ray disc player, with WiFi access for updates and USB ports and a hard disk drive to store and play a wide range of media formats.

However, if you aren't interested in anything else but playing Blu-ray discs, then Sony's latest player is a better, and at £150, less-expensive choice.

Monday, November 24, 2008

DR Congo

The Big Picture reports: [edited]

Eighteen days ago, I published an entry titled "Conflict in Congo, refugees on the move", which showed some of the initial chaos resulting from the war erupting once again in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the days since, the civilian population has endured continued fighting amongst multiple factions, cholera outbreaks, separation from family members, hunger, and further losses (of life, property, safety and trust) as both rebel forces and government soldiers have committed many acts of theft, rape and murder while thinly-stretched UN forces have been unable to provide much help.

The organization Doctors Without Borders has recently launched their own multimedia initiative to "bring global attention to the humanitarian consequences of the intensifying war in eastern DR Congo, called Condition:Critical, please take the time to visit and hear the voices that reflect what is seen in the photos.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Polaroid Pogo printer

Register Hardware have published a review of Polaroid's pocket-size implementation of Zink's inkless print technology.

Summary: Cool idea, but expensive, not-very-good-quality prints.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Educational podcasts

From Tolkien to Quantum Nanotechnology, History of Art to Forced Migration, there is enough stuff at Podcasts from the University of Oxford to keep your ears busy for millennia!

And if that is all a little highbrow, there are gigabytes more on a bewildering range of subjects at iTunes U

via Kottke

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Star Trek

Paramount synopsis: From director J.J. Abrams (MI:III, Lost and Alias) and screenwriters Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (Transformers, MI:III) comes a new vision of the greatest space adventure of all time

This Star Trek explores the early Starfleet careers of future Enterprise officers Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Amanda Grayson (Winona Ryder), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), McCoy (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho), and Chekhov (Anton Yelchin). A Romulan, Nero (Eric Bana), and a much older Spock (Leonard Nimoy) are influences, as well as Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood), the second captain of the USS Enterprise.

Click here to watch the latest trailer.

Mac Pro Ultra Mini has crammed a 13" MacBook into a Macally hard drive enclosure. If that kind of thing fascinates you, the blog makes a good read.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

10 most over-used phrases

Wired reports: [edited]

University of Oxford researchers keep track of linguistic mangling and overused buzzwords in a database called the Oxford University Corpus. The voluminous record keeps track of books, magazines, broadcast, online media and other sources, watching for new overused, tiresome phrases and retiring those that fade from use (or misuse).

The great hierarchy of verbal fatigue includes:

1 - At the end of the day
2 - Fairly unique
3 - I personally
4 - At this moment in time
5 - With all due respect
6 - Absolutely
7 - It's a nightmare
8 - Shouldn't of
9 - 24/7
10 - It's not rocket science

Monday, November 17, 2008


I blogged on this much-anticipated game back in May 2007, and finally got to play/watch it being played this weekend. And unlike Spore (good, but not as good as people hoped), this interactive, 3D platformer lives up to the hype.

For an in-depth words and video review visit, but, in-brief, Media Molecule have created one of the most original, creative and joyful games for a long, long time. It is one of the few games that has you in tears of laughter as you desperately try to work out how to get your (cute, but ever-so-slightly menacing) characters to the next level.

Like the best Nintendo titles, this is a cute and offbeat game that is child-like, without being child-ish. My 17-year-old daughter is not a big gaming fan, but she asked to take it home so she can play it on her boyfriend's console. I'm going to miss it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

You're never alone with an INQ1

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

The INQ1 is a slider designed with just one thing in mind: social networking. It features access to a series of communication apps, including Facebook, Windows Live Messenger and Skype.

Scrolling icons on the main menu provide direct access to said social networking apps, a very basic web browser and Google tools. Facebook’s layout is different from the website's design, but proved easy to navigate.

For example, INQ automatically adds contacts from Facebook to its address book – and from other apps – so that a user’s avatar appears when they call you. A Facebook friend’s status, such as “Will is eating chicken”, will also appear in your INQ1 contacts menu.

When we tried the phone out at its London launch, we found the 2.2in, 320 x 240 screen difficult to read text on. It's not touch-sensitive, either.

The INQ1 will be available free on a £15-per-month ($25/€20) 3 contract which gets you unlimited web, texts and 75 minutes of calls. It’ll cost £80 ($150/€100) on a pay-as-you-go basis. An availability date hasn’t been confirmed yet.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Build your own Muppet

FAO Schwartz have built a site where you can create your very own Muppet. Brilliant fun. I especially enjoyed the 'Pick a nose' heading (cue Ernie-style snigger).

via Daring Fireball

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Photo opportunity

Engadget reports: [edited]

An ad campaign shot entirely on a mobile phone camera? Well, Sony Ericsson - claiming to be the first - has done it, using the C905, ostensibly to prove what an awesome (8.1-megapixel) camera it boasts.

The results can be found exclusively in December's issue of FHM, and are what Sony Ericsson Marketing Director David Hilton calls an "amazing opportunity" to "show off the capabilities" of the Cyber-shot.

So let's just get this straight: your ad uses a professional model, a fashion photographer, professional lighting, and makeup, not to mention all that retouching, and we're supposed to be impressed with the camera? Okay, we'll admit it: we're pretty impressed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Quicktime versions of Disney/Pixar's next movie have just been posted at Apple Trailers.

Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 Bluetooth stereo headphones

Register Hardware has posted a review of Sony's high-end bluetooth stereo headphones.

Excerpts follow:

"Review Sony Ericsson has a lot riding on these tiny wireless headphones. Barely bigger than wired earbuds, they're a flagship product for a company known for its quality peripherals, and SE wants these boys to cement its reputation."

"[They] are very small. The buds fit into the ear canal and stick about 1.5cm out of it, so each headphone is about twice the length of a regular bud earphone and slightly bulkier towards the back."

"Bluetooth stereo is, of course, dependent on both the headset and the handset supporting the same codecs - the standard only mandates a very basic wireless stereo coding, so manufacturers tend to implement their own but are generally reluctant to talk about it for fear of confusing consumers."

"The difference was audible when we tested the HBH-IS800s with a Sony Ericsson Walkman handset and non-SE phones, but the quality was very acceptable with Nokia and Samsung handsets we used."

"The HBH-IS800 is close to perfect - if you want wireless stereo then there's little reason to chose any other product. The only drawbacks emerge if you're planning to go jogging, or are very cost sensitive. (final price is still unknown, but this will be a premium product). Everyone else will be happy to see wireless headphones as they ought to be seen: compact, comfortable to wear and as user-friendly as wired 'phones."

Monday, November 10, 2008


From the 'once-in-a-while-they-get-it-just-right', The Onion.

Click here for the full 'infographic'.

Two-wheeled sculpture

Wired reports: [edited]

Chicara Nagata was 16 when a motorcycle accident nearly killed him. He endured eight months of intensive therapy and several blood transfusions during his recovery, all the while wondering why he should survive so horrible an accident when so many others haven't.

Nagata decided to honour those who had died, and those who saved him, by creating art. He became a graphic designer in 1982 and launched his own studio a decade later.

Nagata hand-crafts everything but the drivetrains. He's built 13 bikes so far. Nagata won the grand prize in the 2006 AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building for Chicara Art I, a sleek retro-ride powered by a 1939 Harley-Davidson U motor. He took second place last year with Chicara Art II, which features a 1942 Harley WLA motor.

- - - - -

Brett's 2p'orth: Take a few minutes out to visit Mr Nagata's site to browse the images of his intricate and stunningly beautiful creations.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Rat stats


- can gnaw through concrete and metal.

- are incapable of vomiting.

- copulate 20 times a day.

- can reach 3 feet long.

- cause 7% of British house fires by chewing electrical cables.

- are the only animals the SAS are banned from eating.

- hate peaches (the fruit, not Mr Geldof's daughter).

- eat dog faeces.

- have a bite pressure of 7,000lb per square inch.

- can run faster than humans.

- can jump up to 6 feet.

- collapse their skeletons to get through narrow gaps.

- are cannibals, always starting with the brain.

info taken from Daily Telegraph, via The Week

Thursday, November 06, 2008

2009 Ducati Streetfighter

Hell for Leather reports: [edited]

We can reveal official information on and images of the new Ducati Streetfighter and Ducati Streetfighter S. Both models share the same 155bhp, 87.5lb/ft 1099cc v-twin and even though the S gains lighter 5-spoke Marchesini forged aluminum wheels and Öhlins suspension front and back we think it's the standard traction control and data acquisition that will really set the S model apart.

We really like the Streetfighter's looks, which manage to capture purposeful aggression in a shape that's both immediately Ducati but strikingly different from the rest of the company's range. Priced somewhere in the $14-15,000 range, it should come as no surprise that this is a high-spec bike, but we're still impressed by the beefy quality of the Streetfighter's parts, just check out the massive triple clamps for evidence.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wheelchair back flip

Las Vegas Sun reports: [edited]

Aaron Fotheringham went into the record books as a pioneer in wheelchair sports Saturday. Guinness World Records recorded the Northwest Las Vegas resident, in front of a crowd of more than 300 at Doc Romeo Park, as the first to complete a back flip in a wheelchair.

"It feels awesome to get this," said Fotheringham, 16, who performed the flip before the Vegas AmJam skatepark competition.

To achieve the trick, Fotheringham, rolled down a skatepark ramp to generate enough speed. He then went up another ramp and landed his flip on flat ground.

After getting the record, Aaron Fotheringham competed in the Vegas AmJam finals, and took first in the BMX advanced division. AmJam coordinators allow him to compete with his wheelchair in the BMX division.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Cheap iPod touch, iPhone stand

Darrin Hudson reports: [edited]

My co-worker Jerry got crafty and made this dope little iPhone stand... out of a binder clip! This is great because i can just leave it in my bag and bring it with me everywhere I go.

I know there are third-party companies that make stands for the iPhone, but they're all ugly as sin and bulky. This is classy, simple and costs 2 cents.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Signs and blunders

BBC reports: [edited]

When officials asked for the Welsh translation of a road sign, they thought the reply was what they needed. Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh:

"I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated".

So that was what went up under the English version which barred lorries from a road near a supermarket.

The blunder is not the only time Welsh has been translated incorrectly:

- Cyclists between Cardiff and Penarth in 2006 were left confused by a bilingual road sign telling them they had problems with an "inflamed bladder".

- In the same year, a sign for pedestrians in Cardiff reading 'Look Right' in English read 'Look Left' in Welsh.