Tuesday, August 31, 2010


seashore.sourceforge.net reports: [edited]

Seashore is an open source image editor for Mac OS X's Cocoa framework. It features gradients, textures and anti-aliasing for both text and brush strokes. It supports multiple layers and alpha channel editing. It is based around the GIMP's technology and uses the same native file format.

However, unlike the GIMP, Seashore aims to serve the basic image editing needs of most computer users, not to provide a replacement for professional image editing products. Also, unlike GIMP, Seashore has an all-new Cocoa UI that will fit right in on Mac OS X. Seashore was created by Mark Pazolli who led the project until the end of 2009.

For a designer's perspective on the program, click here

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sony SLT Alpha A55

Digital Photography Review has published an in-depth review of Sony's latest 'mini-DSLR'.

Excerpts from the conclusion follow:

The A55's 16.2MP CMOS sensor is new, and in collaboration with the camera's image processing, it offers excellent image quality. JPEG image quality is promising, and - for normal viewing magnifications, remains useable up to ISO 12,800.

At lower ISO settings the A55 is able to resolve almost the same amount of visible detail as the Canon EOS 550D, which is currently the highest resolution camera in its class. Dynamic range is excellent too, at almost 9EV, which matches the best of the competition.

In use, the A55 feels like a cross between a good midrange DSLR and a high-end 'bridge' model, but its focus system and large, high-resolution viewfinder surpass our expectations of both types of camera. Because the A55's EVF is so large, it easily matches most optical viewfinders for clarity.

Price: US: $749 • EU: €850

Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Digital Camera

pluggedin.kodak.com reports: [edited]

In December of 1975, after a year of piecing together a bunch of new technology in a back lab at the Elmgrove Plant in Rochester, we were ready to try it. “It” being a rather odd-looking collection of digital circuits that we desperately tried to convince ourselves was a portable camera.

It had a lens that we took from a used parts bin from the Super 8 movie camera production line downstairs from our little lab on the second floor in Bldg 4. On the side of our portable contraption, we shoehorned in a portable digital cassette instrumentation recorder.

Add to that 16 nickel cadmium batteries, a highly temperamental new type of CCD imaging area array, an a/d converter implementation stolen from a digital voltmeter application, several dozen digital and analog circuits all wired together on half a dozen circuit boards, and you have our interpretation of what a portable all electronic still camera might look like.

It took 23 seconds to record the digitized image to the cassette. The image was viewed by removing the cassette from the camera and placing it in a custom playback device. This playback device incorporated a cassette reader and a specially built frame store. This custom frame store received the data from the tape, interpolated the 100 captured lines to 400 lines, and generated a standard NTSC video signal, which was then sent to a television set.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Samsung Galaxy Tab

An excellent illustration of 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery'.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Trufocals reports: [edited]

Seeing clearly everywhere, from up close to infinity, is finally possible.

With just a simple finger motion on a small slider on the bridge, you can go from reading a newspaper to viewing a TV set to scanning a distant vista. That’s a major improvement over multifocal glasses that are in focus only at certain fixed distances so your vision between those zones is blurred.

And, with TruFocals, the whole lens is in focus so your entire field of view is sharp, not just a portion as with bifocals or progressive glasses. That means:

- no distortion, lines or blurriness anywhere in your field of vision. Vision is as good on the edges as it is in the centre.

- being able to read an entire newspaper page without having to fold it or bob your head up and down to find the right part of the lenses.

- greater safety on stairs and curbs where an out-of-focus step can lead to a bad misstep.

Watch our informational video and learn more about how TruFocals can change your view of the world forever.

Monday, August 23, 2010

One of the many things I didn't know...

Greek statues were painted, and with really nasty, gaudy colours!

io9.com reports: [edited]

Although it seems impossible to think that anything could be left to discover after thousands of years of wind, sun, sand, and art students, finding the long lost patterns on a piece of ancient Greek sculpture can be as easy as shining a lamp on it.

The colors may fade over time, but the original materials – plant and animal-derived pigments, crushed stones or shells – still look the same today as they did thousands of years ago.

Infrared and X-ray spectroscopy can help researchers understand what the paints are made of, and how they looked all that time ago. Spectroscopy relies on the fact that atoms are picky when it comes to what kind of incoming energy they absorb. Certain materials will only accept certain wavelengths of light. Everything else they reflect. Spectroscopes send out a variety of wavelengths, like scouts into a foreign land.

Inevitably, a few of these scouts do not come back. By noting which wavelengths are absorbed, scientists can determine what materials the substance is made of. Infrared helps determine organic compounds. X-rays, because of their higher energy level, don't stop for anything less than the heavier elements, like rocks and minerals. Together, researchers can determine approximately what color a millennia-old statue was painted.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sofa Bunk

Resource Furniture reports: [edited]

The DOC Space Saving System consists of a comfortable sofa that becomes a practical, sturdy bunk bed with one simple lifting motion. It includes a completely integrated ladder which also functions as a bed support and a safety rail for the top bunk.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nikon D3100

Digital Photography Review have published a preview of Nikon's major update to the entry-level D3000.


"The D3100 is built around a 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor (quite possibly the one seen in Sony's NEX cameras), bringing not only live view but also Full HD video capture to Nikon's entry-level model. This not only makes it the company's second-highest pixel-count SLR (after the D3X) but also makes it the first to offer 1920x1080 movie recording."

Price (Body + 18-55mm VR Lens): £580

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Smells Like Rockin' Robin

Excellent mashup of The Jacksons' 'Rockin' Robin' and Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'.

Via Kottke

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vintage Calculators

Vintage Technology reports: [edited]

1970s Vintage desktop and pocket calculators listed by company (128 identified brands, 583 calculators). I am slowly revamping the images and descriptions - and have another 100+ calculators to put on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Edgar Wright’s adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels looks like it is going to be a lot of fun. Think 'Dude Where's My Car' meets 'Kick Ass'.

To view the trailers, click here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

LG 50PK990 Infinia 50in plasma TV

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

With edge-lit LCD sets redefining what slim means when it comes to TVs, many of today’s plasmas are starting to look rather chunky in comparison. Or at least they were until LG’s 50PK990 put in an appearance. Despite packing in a Full HD 50in panel and oodles of features, its chassis is a mere 52mm deep making it one of the slimmest plasmas on the market right now.

But it’s not just the svelte chassis that impresses, as the set’s Infinia design also means that the front of the TV is made from a single sheet of glass, so that the edge of the screen blends seamlessly with the outer bezel. Simply put, this set looks absolutely gorgeous.

Around the back you’ll find plenty of connections for hooking up your AV gear. Alongside the four HDMI ports, you find a set of component sockets and a Scart input. There’s also a CI slot, two USB ports and a digital audio output for feeding audio from the Freeview tuner to a surround sound system. Naturally, Ethernet is present too and, as LG includes a Wi-Fi USB dongle in the box, you can also hook the set up to your router wirelessly, if you like.

The 50PK990 puts the Ethernet port to good use as it features built-in DNLA media streaming, so you can stream photos, movies and videos from a connected PC or Nas drive. Unlike many of its rivals, it actually has good format support and will happily play high definition MKV files as well as Divx and Xvid videos.

The set has a Freeview HD tuner so it can pick up the HD services from ITV, Channel 4 and BBC, as long as HD signal are being broadcast in your area. These channels are tuned alongside the usual standard definition Freeview stations and also appear alongside them in the easy to use eight-day EPG.

Some LG plasmas have appeared to struggle to deliver really deep blacks, but the 50PK990 is noticeably better in this department. The screen has LG’s TruBlack filter which, as well as reducing some screen glare, also helps to deepen the apparent black level. What’s also impressive is that it manages to work its magic without any apparent loss of shadow detail or brightness.

Colour reproduction is also excellent and more natural looking than some of LG’s previous plasma offerings. Motion is also silky smooth and the set’s impressive scaling means it flatters standard definition material rather than drawing out its weakness, as some lesser models do.

Price: £1500

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Muro is an HTML5, Flash-free painting app from Deviant Art. Which means it plays nice with the iBrigade. It even accepts input from Wacom drawing tablets.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Devour reports: [edited]

Around 25 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. It would take you approximately 1700 years to watch all those millions of videos. So good luck trying to find something worth watching on your lunch break.

Devour is here to help. Using a scientifically technologically artificially intelligently awesomely robotically humanly system (we hand-pick every video on the site), Devour sifts out the best videos and posts the well-curated collection every weekday. Fewer cute kittens, fewer skateboarding nutshots, fewer tween heart throbs, and lots more awesome.

Oh, and did we mention that every single video on Devour.com is in HD? And that every single video plays on the iPhone and iPad? Yep. We did, however, leave out one thing — comments. So enjoy the peace and quiet of not having to wade through all the brilliant critiques from this great nation's junior high masterminds.

via Daring Fireball

Monday, August 09, 2010

Hawk Eye RC Helicopter

Gizmodo reports: [edited]

Flying an RC helicopter? Sure, that's fun for a little while. Flying an RC helicopter that can shoot both video and still photos? That's good for a lifetime of creepy stalking memories.

The Hawk Eye RC chopper will be coming out this fall, and while the length and quality of the video it shoots — up to five minutes at 320×240 — might be lacking, it's still pretty incredible for the $65 price tag.

You can also take a few hundred 620x480 still photos. Files can be transferred from the Hawk Eye to your computer with a USB cable.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Salamander Genes Builds New Mouse Muscle

Wired reports: [edited]

By temporarily turning off a pair of genes identified in research on limb-regrowing newts, researchers turned back the biological clock on mouse muscle cells, allowing them to divide anew and form fresh tissue.

In most animals cells stop dividing when they’ve attained their mature, tissue-specific form. Chop off a limb or carve up an organ, and it doesn’t grow back. A few creatures, however, including newts and axolotl salamanders, break those rules. They can regrow new limbs, even organs.

Katz (one of the researchers, Ed.) cautioned that much remains to be determined about regeneration, and that it likely requires a complex, varying and as-yet-unknown mixture of cell types and stages. “There are enormous numbers of possibilities,” she said.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Nintendo 3DS

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

The 3DS is like nothing I've seen before with 3DTV. For starters, no glasses are required. The screen employs an autostereoscopic parallax barrier.

The difference was immense - it really felt like I could reach into the screen. As opposed to the 2D layer effect that comes with its television counterparts, the 3DS has an almost true 3D effect with excellent depth.

On Pilot Wings Resort, a franchise you may remember from SNES days, the depth when flying through hoops was remarkable and definitely adds to the game.

Metal Gear Solid was by far the most impressive demo. The sense of depth through the long grass was second to none. When the snake pounced at the screen, I jumped out of my skin.

The size and weight is similar to the DS, and the 3DS is backward-compatible with DS games. There is a switch to turn the 3D effect on and off.

The 3DS is scheduled for release early 2011.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Just Mobile UpStand

Just Mobile reports: [edited]

Precision engineered from aluminum, the UpStand’s supporting grips are finished in rubber to hold your iPad firmly in place and keep it pristine. It's compatible with most iPad cases, too.

The UpStand holds your iPad at just the right height for desktop use - it's perfect for working with a Bluetooth keyboard, watching movies or using the iPad as a digital picture frame.

Price: c. £50.00

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Miniature Pencil Sculptures

Telegraph reports: [edited]

Many artists have used pencils to create works of art - but Dalton Ghetti creates miniature masterpieces on the tips of pencils. Dalton, who works as a carpenter, has been making his tiny graphite works for about 25 years

Dalton uses three tools to make his incredible creations - a razor blade, sewing needle and sculpting knife. He refuses to use a magnifying glass and has never sold any of his work, only given it away to friends. A standard figure will take several months.

The longest Dalton has spent on one piece was two and half years on a pencil with interlinking chains.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Intel promises affordable optical

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Intel has announced the development of an integrated, end-to-end, silicon-based optical system that it says may drive down the cost of high-speed, error-free interconnects to under a dollar per port.

The prototype "concept vehicle" that Intel unveiled Tuesday is essentially a two-chip system that can optically transmit and receive data at 50Gbps.

A transmitter chip uses four hybrid silicon lasers running at 12.5Gbps each and operating at different wavelengths, modulates them into data-carrying pulses, then multiplexes those pulses into a single stream of light that it beams through an optical-fiber cable.

At the other end of that cable, a receiver chip demuliplexes the photon stream, distributes it to four germanium-silicon photoreceptors, which convert the pulses to electrical digital signals and sends that data on its way.