Friday, July 31, 2009

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZX1

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Panasonic has launched the Lumix DMC-ZX1, incorporating the world’s first 0.3mm aspherical and spherical lens elements. The super-zoom compact with an 8x optical zoom lens starting at a wide 25mm equivalent, features a 12.1MP sensor and and 2.7 inch LCD. It includes Panasonic's latest Power OIS image stabilizer that the company says offers twice the shake suppression capability of the previous Mega OIS stabilizer.

Zoom range: 25-200mm (35mm equiv)
Weight: 138g
Dimensions: 98 x 63 x 23 mm

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Free fonts - Fell Types

The Fell Types take their name from John Fell, a Bishop of Oxford in the seventeenth-century. During his life he collected an exquisite selection of printing types from all over Europe for use on his printing presses.

Visit Igino Marini's website for "a non-exhaustive history and a modern digitalization of some of them".

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Panasonic has released the Lumix DMC-FZ38 super-zoom digital camera with AVCHD lite HD video recording. Successor to the DMC-FZ28, it features an 18x optical zoom lens (27- 486mm equiv.), the new Power O.I.S image stabilizer and a faster Venus Engine HD processor. The 12.1 MP camera also features a Quick AF system that claims to be twice as fast as the DMC-FZ28.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

Apple Trailers has released a clip featuring the author Maurice Sendak explaining (amongst other things) why he has waited this long to allow his book to be made into a film.

Laptop drives reach 1 Terabyte

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Western Digital has announced the world's first 1TB 2.5-inch drive, a 3-platter Scorpio Blue. It is priced at €205, with a 3Gbit/s SATA interface and have various WD technologies to run quietly, park heads when not in use and withstand shocks.

- - - - -

Brett's 2p'orth: It is a 12.5mm unit, which means it won't fit into most Apple laptops, although some sites report that they can be squeezed into the latest 17" models.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lexus launch posh Prius

Lexus' HS250h is the first model in the Lexus line-up that will be available exclusively as a hybrid. It's not available in Europe yet, but the US version is powered by a 2.4 litre, 147bhp petrol engine, supplemented by a an electric motor connected to a 400V NiMH battery in the boot that can boost the power output to 187bhp.

Lexus claims the HS250h produces 30 per cent better fuel economy than anyee other model in its range. The electric-only performance is limited to when the battery has at least 50 per cent charge and when the car is moving at less than 20mph.

The publicity pictures indicate that the designers have tried their best to make it look less dowdy than the Prius, however some of the less Photoshopped press-releases reveal that it is still no BMW 3-series.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1

Digital Photography Review have an in-depth review of Panasonic's latest video-capable micro four thirds DSLR.

Selected highlights from the conclusions include:

"the 'only' really big news on the GH1 is the HD video mode. However, it's fair to say that this is the best implementation of video on a 'non-compact camera' that we've seen so far."

"The contrast detect auto focus, especially in combination with the new 14-140mm lens, has been optimized for video operation as well. It's much quicker than on DSLRs and actually very usable, which makes the GH1 a much better all round video camera than any of the video DSLRs..."

"The GH1's biggest problem though could be its suggested retail price of $1499.95 (including the 14-140mm kit lens)"

"No matter if you're coming from a compact or DSLR, the entire user interface including menus has an intuitive and concise design and within a few days of shooting with the GH1 you'll know your way around the camera very well..."

"At default settings and at low sensitivities the GH1 produces consistently high quality out-of-cam without a need to alter any of the image parameters. The JPEG output shows natural tones and colors and is free from any kind of processing artifacts. Detail is even slightly better when shooting in RAW."

"Its high ISO images show an appealing balance between noise reduction and detail retention. At ISO 1600 noise starts to kick in much more aggressively (especially 'bands' of chroma noise in the shadows) but even the ISO 3200 output is still usable for smaller prints or web albums."

"The GH1 offers the same ease-of-use and solid image quality as its sister model G1. On top top of that you get the best implementation of a HD video mode that we have yet seen on a large sensor camera. You pay a fairly hefty premium for this feature, but for anyone who is planning to make good use of the camera's motion picture capabilities, the GH1 has to be highly recommended."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Incandescent bulbs fight back

The New York Times reports: [edited]

When Congress passed a new energy law two years ago, obituaries were written for the incandescent light bulb. The law set tough efficiency standards, due to take effect in 2012, that no traditional incandescent bulb on the market could meet, and a century-old technology that helped create the modern world seemed to be doomed.

But as it turns out, the obituaries were premature.

Researchers across the country have been racing to breathe new life into Thomas Edison’s light bulb, a pursuit that accelerated with the new legislation. Amid that footrace, one company is already marketing limited quantities of incandescent bulbs that meet the 2012 standard, and researchers are promising a wave of innovative products in the next few years.

Indeed, the incandescent bulb is turning into a case study of the way government mandates can spur innovation.

For lighting researchers involved in trying to save the incandescent bulb, the goal is to come up with one that matches the energy savings of fluorescent bulbs while keeping the qualities that many consumers seem to like in incandescents, like the color of the light and the ease of using them with dimmers.

Monday, July 20, 2009

USB shades

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Upmarket clothing brand Calvin Klein has designed a pair of sunglasses with a detachable arm concealing... a 4GB USB Flash drive.

If you’re looking for a stylish - or covert - way to carry around pictures, documents or sketches of next season’s catwalk designs, then Calvin Klein’s USB sunnies will be in posh stores from October for $200.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

London-Lincoln-London 18-07-09

London to Lincoln
Natasha - Rufus Wainwright
Right In Time - Lucinda Williams
Once Around The Block - Badly Drawn Boy
Night Time - Mr. Scruff
The Signal and the Noise - Juliet Turner
Til I Am Myself Again - Blue Rodeo
Surfer Girl (live) - Brian Wilson
Love Is All You Need - Kevin Prosch & The Black Peppercorns
Stormy Weather - Billie Holiday
Parting Shot - Vigilantes of Love
Here Come The Night - Them
Wait - The Beatles
Size Too Small - Sufjan Stevens
Ma Ma Ma Belle - Electric Light Orchestra
They Cannot Let It Expand - Midlake
Heaven Is Being With You - Silverwind
Make It All So Real - Steve Forbert
Goodbye Old Pal - Bill Monroe
A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins
Poor Fractured Atlas - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Kathleen - Josh Ritter
Untilt The Dark - Kathryn Williams
Rain - Madonna
Stereo - Pavement
Just Say She's A Rhymer - Mary Gauthier
Fuck The Police - Rage Against the Machine
Fly robin fly - Silver Convention
Blue - Lucinda Williams
Radical - Catie Curtis
Sunshine - Old Man River
Hawa Dolo - Ali Farka Toure
Sweet Talk - Paul Young & The Q-Tips
I'm Travellin' Light - Derri Daugherty & The Choir
Meet Me In The Morning - Mary Lee's Corvette
Tamp 'em Up Solid - Ry Cooder
To the Roof of the Sky - Vigilantes Of Love
Wild Honey Pie - The Beatles
for a few dollars more - Smokie
I Love You (The Smile You Smile) - Van Morrison
In My Life - The Rasmus
L-O-V-E (Love) - Al Green
Once I Was Mighty - Martina Sorbara

Lincoln to London
I Said Never Again (But Here We Are) - Rachel Stevens
1901 - Phoenix
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree (radio version) - KT Tunstall
Johnny reggae - The Piglets
Panic Switch (UK edit) - Silversun Pickups
Magick - Klaxons
Rapper's Delight (Evian Mix) - Dan the Automator
Apache - Sugarhill Gang
Baptized By Fire - Spinnerette
One Week of Danger - The Virgins
The Only One (Mix 13) - The Cure
Audacity of Huge - Simian Mobile Disco
Princess & the Frog - The Jim Jones Revue
Heaven Is A Halfpipe - OPM
I'm So Excited - Pointer Sisters
Dust On The Ground - Bombay Bicycle Club
I Found Out - The Pigeon Detectives
Laughing With - Regina Spektor
Any Way You Want It - Journey
Stay With Me - The Faces
Thunder In My Heart - Leo Sayer
Don't You Want Me (12 inch Dance Mix) - Human League
I Predict A Riot - Kaiser Chiefs
Hey Man (Now You're Really Living) - Eels
Happy Slap - Ashok
Feels Like I'm In Love - Kelli Marie
Raindrops - Basement Jaxx
Wipeout - Fat Boys
Can You Give It - The Maccabees
Last Train to Trancentral - KLF
For America - '87 - Red Box
Kill Your Television (album mix) - Ned's Atomic Dustbin
Red Lipstick (Radio Edit) - Skint & Demoralised
Listen To What The Man Said - Paul McCartney & Wings
Treat Me Like Your Mother - The Dead Weather
The Hampster (sic) Dance (vengaboys mix) - Hampton the Hampster
Lean On Me - Red Box
Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) - Florence + The Machine
Mercy - The Third Degree
Propane Nightmares - Pendulum
I Eat Cannibals - Toto Coelo
Just - Radiohead
Spinning Rock Boogie - Hank C. Burnette

Friday, July 17, 2009

Squaring the circle

Adobe reports: [edited]

Any projection of a 3D scene into a wide-angle image results in distortion. Current projection methods either bend straight lines in the scene, or locally distort the shapes of scene objects.

We present a method that minimizes this distortion by adapting the projection to content in the scene, such as salient scene regions and lines, in order to preserve their shape.

Our optimization technique computes a spatially-varying projection that respects user-specified constraints while minimizing a set of energy terms that measure wide-angle image distortion.

View a demo movie here.

via John Nack

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rocking stool

Core 77 reports: [edited]

Yiannis Ghikas has designed the amazing Monarchy Rocking Stool, designed to rock forwards and from side-to-side, swivelling without turning over.

Promotional video here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Free font - FILE

Fontfabric's FILE is:

"applicable for any type of graphic design – web, print, motion graphics etc and perfect for t-shirts and other items like logos, pictograms."

Available here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Self-watering plant

Wired+ reports: [edited]

Ecologists had been puzzling over the desert rhubarb for years: Instead of the tiny, spiky leaves found on most desert plants, this rare rhubarb boasts lush green leaves up to a meter wide. Now scientists from the University of Haifa-Oranim in Israel have discovered that ridges in the plant’s giant leaves actually collect water and channel it down to the plant’s root system, harvesting up to 16 times more water than any other plant in the region.

“It is the first example of a self-irrigating plant,” said plant biologist Gidi Ne’eman, a co-author on the paper published in March in Naturwissenschaften, a German journal of ecology. “This is the only case we know, but in other places in the world there might be additional plants that use the same adaptions.”

“Even in the slightest rains,” the researchers wrote, “the typical plant harvests more than 4,300 cubic centimeters of water per year and enjoys a water regime of about 427 millimeters per year, equivalent to the water supply in a Mediterranean climate.”

Sunday, July 12, 2009

When all else fails, hit it!

Your old-school iPod has been working fine for years. But one day you try to wake it from sleep, and it reboots (without the backlight) to reveal the above 'sad mac' icon. This icon indicates that there is a hardware failure.

If you are able to force iPod into 'Disk Mode' (click here for more info) then it may not be a hardware issue, and you should try to restore your iPod with the latest software.

However if this doesn't work, there is a simple trick that has a very high success rate. Grip the recalcitrant iPod firmly in one hand and slap its stainless steel back hard against a firm but resilient surface (a magazine placed on a kitchen worktop is ideal).

The best guess is that it reconnects a loose hard drive connection. What I know for sure is that it has resuscitated my 60GB iPod Photo on more than one occasion.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Peel a banana like a monkey

The 'right' way to peel a banana.

Thanks to Jason Clark for the link.

Olympus E-620

Digital Photography Review have published an in-depth review of Olympus' latest Four Thirds format camera.

Some excerpts from the conclusions follow:

"The Four Thirds range has tended to lag a fraction behind the best contemporary APS-C sensor-size DSLRs in terms of absolute performance... this isn't the case with the E-620 - however you look at it, it's up there with the best of them. Built-in Image Stabilization gives it an edge over its rivals if you're buying additional lenses."

"...the E-620 is a well thought-out and laid-out camera that sits comfortably in the hand. The interface has also been well designed..."

"The E-620 is pretty small in DSLR terms, but... it's not tiny."

"...its ability to deliver great images, straight out of the camera hits the spot precisely... from an aesthetic point-of-view, the output is all that you'd want from a camera at this level - bright, punchy and consistent."

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fruity post-it notes

MocoLoco reports: [edited]

Fruit-shaped sticky notes that you can buy individually or in "crates" of six [Japan only, Ed.]. More info & pictures here.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Google to launch OS

BBC reports: [edited]

Google is developing an operating system (OS) for personal computers, in a direct challenge to market leader Microsoft and its Windows system. Google Chrome OS will be aimed initially at small, low-cost netbooks, but will eventually be used on PCs as well.

Google said netbooks with Chrome OS could be on sale by the middle of 2010.

The operating system, which will run on an open source license, was a "natural extension" of its Chrome browser, the firm said.

"We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds," said the blog post written by Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management, and Google's engineering director Linus Upson.

Dick Tracy watch arrives in the UK

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

The LG Touchscreen Watch Phone – also know as the GD910 – will be sold by Orange in the UK for a 'limited time period'.

Orange said that the 'handcrafted' device will be available 'at an exclusive price point' – which is undoubtedly code for 'expensive' – on either pay-as-you-go or SIM-only options.

An integrated camera lets the GD910’s wearer make video calls over a 3G connection of up to 7.2Mb/s. The device also features voice recognition, text-to-speech functionality, Bluetooth, an MP3 player and 1.4" touch-sensitive screen.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Colour blind

The green and blue spirals are the same colour.

For a full explanation, visit Discover Magazine.

Mobile phones with projector displays

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Viewing videos on your smartphone's tiny display may soon be supplemented by the ability to project onto a screen, wall, or even a friend's shirt.

According to a report on Monday by Taiwan-based market-watcher DigiTimes, mobile-technology-and-more manufacturer Foxlink has begun manufacturing tiny projectors commonly known as pico projectors and is working with "a handset client from Europe" to get those projectors into products as early as the end of this year.

The DigiTimes report also claims their sources told them that Nokia, Samsung, and Apple all "plan to launch handsets with built-in micro projectors by the end of this year."

There's no independent confirmation of this rumour, but it's interesting to note that Foxlink's parent company, Foxconn, builds Apple's iPhone and has manufacturing ties with Nokia.

Microvision's ShowWX has the advantage over other pico-projector designs of not needing a focusing lens. The report did not mention which technology its sources claim that Foxlink is using for its pico projector.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Up colour script

Lou Romano has posted a pile of fascinating images produced during the development of Pixar's latest movie.

For development/production images click here

For color script images click here

via John Nack