Friday, January 28, 2011

Sony announces 'Next Generation Portable'

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

The successor to the PSP, or 'Next Generation Portable', has been revealed in Tokyo, and Sony claims it's as powerful as the PS3.

The NGP has a high-res OLED touchscreen as well as a touch-sensitive back panel. It features front- and rear-facing cameras, dual analog sticks and tilt-sensitive controls.

There is huge emphasis on network play and the device now packs a 3G connection, as well as WiFi. Every game will feature LiveArena, a communication system for chatting with other gamers through the Playstation Network.

It also features Near, a method for sharing game information between local users and offers an option for virtual link-up. The NGP has a proprietary Flash memory card system, which Sony claims will provide super high capacity game cards.

Third-party developers showed 'Yakuza 4' and 'Metal Gear Solid 4' on the system, while Activision announced a new 'Call of Duty'. The Playstation Suite platform, which will appear on mobiles as well as the NGP, is backwards compatible with PSP games and has support for PSone titles and Android-based games.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Forget jetpacks, vacuum tubes are the future!

Wired reports: [edited]

Building a “traffic internet” of vacuum tubes that zip drivers to anywhere on earth in under an hour and circumnavigate the globe in two hours might sound like science fiction, but work on vehicles capable of tube-travel is already underway.

The vacuum tubes won’t be around during our lifetime, but cars built in this decade could lay the groundwork for a future transportation infrastructure.

With new cars must come new roadways. By 2050, Maskus thinks elevated tracks will separate high-speed Acabions from antiquated automobiles, just as horse-drawn carriages aren’t allowed on interstates. Elevated tracks over highways would be automated, much like high-speed rail but with individual cars. And when the elevated highways end, Acabion users can still drive on existing roads.

Next up is a network of intercontinental vacuum tubes — a “traffic internet” — that probably sounds as far-fetched today as an undersea telegraph cable did in the 1850s.

“Two tubes between New York and Paris, 1.5 meters in diameter each, maglev driven and fully automatic controlled, will move three times more people between America and Europe than all airplanes do today,” Maskus said.

If you’re itching for a taste of that future, we suggest you check out the current Acabion lineup. It consists of custom-made streamliners that Maskus is aiming at customers bored with their Veyrons. For starters, the Acabion GTBO borrows an engine from the Suzuki Hayabusa, has a top speed of 340 mph, can get 100 mpg at 100 mph and has a $2.5 million price tag.

Image courtesy of Acabion

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

RunKeeper Pro

RunKeeper reports: [edited]

RunKeeper makes tracking your workouts fun, social, and easy to understand so that you can improve the quality of your fitness. Join the RunKeeper community and have fun with the easiest way to track, measure, and improve your fitness!

The iPhone App is available free (usual price $9.99) until 31 January 2011. It's available on the Android platform as well.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Todd The Vinyl Junkie Portable Slim amplifier

cnet reports: [edited]

The Todd The Vinyl Junkie Portable Slim amplifier ($349) really works and will take the sound of an iPod, or any portable player, to the next level. The amp's chassis is a similar size to an iPod Classic.

The Slim's rechargeable lithium ion battery provides 15 hours of playback time. It recharges in about 2 hours from a USB port or a USB wall charger; you can also operate the amp while it's plugged in. The Slim hooks up to an iPod's multipin connector, or other types of players' headphone jacks.

The amp uses a microprocessor analog-stepped rotary volume control. Each of the 32 steps changes the volume level by a precise 2dB. The volume setting is indicated by the color of the front-panel LED (red at low volume, green at moderate volume, then light blue, then dark blue, and so on). There's also a switch to select 0dB, 10dB, or 20dB of gain to accommodate all sorts of headphones.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Information is Beautiful have published an excellent 'infographic' using the most common words used in star sign predictions. The similarity of the words used is striking. There is also a handy meta-horoscope reading.

via kottke

Friday, January 21, 2011

Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo's latest portable game console will go on sale in Europe on 25 March, list price £220. The US gets it two days later for substantially less ($250, c. £156).

For all you need to know about the new machine, Register Hardware have published an excellent overview.

For Nintendo's glossy online brochure click here.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Intelligent Life for the iPad

Intelligent Life reports: [edited]

"Intelligent Life is the quarterly lifestyle and culture magazine from The Economist. It covers the arts, style, food, wine, cars, travel and anything else under the sun, as long as it’s interesting."

And, for a limited time, the iPad version is available for nowt.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Negative Space

theroxor reports: [edited]

There are millions of logos in this world, which makes it even harder for companies to stand out from the rest. Some designers try to tackle this problem by using negative space in their logos.

They are able to link this negative space to the brand so it becomes an important aspect of the corporate identity. In this case, the negative space of the logo forms some kind of ‘hidden message’. In this article you’ll find 25 examples of the creative use of negative space in logo design.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pompadour - Free Fat Numerals

Andy Mangold reports: [edited]

I have finally gotten around to wrapping up the numeral set I finished a year ago into a nice, downloadable .eps to share with the internet. I hereby dub it ‘Pompadour.’ I have licensed it under the Creative Commons, so feel free to download, use, modify, and share the numbers as you see fit, just please give props where props are due.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Weekend Reading, 14-01-11

Stuff that I have found enjoyable/challenging/thought-provoking:

"In his new book 'The Price of Everything: Solving the Mystery of Why We Pay What We Do', Porter explores the surprising ways prices affect every aspect of our lives, including where we live, who we marry, how many kids we have, and even how religious we are."


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Egypt's Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as "human shields

Heartwarming stuff.

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Part One of a five part series investigating the relationship between sedentary behaviour and health.

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The last words of Bill Zeller

Bill Zeller was a talented programmer who decided to take his own life. He left behind a carefully-written 4000 word piece explaining why he made this decision. Be prepared to be disturbed and moved in equal measure.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lego iPhone 4 case

SmallWorks reports: [edited]

Our 12 year old is a LEGO Brickmaster, with many multi-day, multi-thousand brick builds under his belt. So it wasn't too surprising when he came up with this idea:

"This phone would be cooler if it had LEGO bricks on the back."

The BrickPhone4 retails for $19.99 and is available from in black, white and clear.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Misa Digital Instruments reports: [edited]

The digital party has been going on for some time. The studio engineers were invited. The keyboard players were invited. Even those damn drummers were invited. While the guitarists have stood waiting for the call.

We all know the reasons. Those pesky strings are tough to digitize. MIDI guitars are too temperamental. If guitars were really meant to be digital, they’d have buttons instead of strings.

That’s why we created Kitara.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sudan voting day, in pictures

The Big Picture has published an excellent photoset recording events surrounding Sudan's 9 January polling day.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ion Book Saver

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Ion, the company best known for its USB turntables, is readying a gadget that will help you digitise your paperbacks, hardbacks, magazines and comics.

Called the Book Saver, it's a large frame into which you place an open book. Tap the Scan button and the spread is digitised and dropped onto an SD card, ready to be transferred to your computer. Each page is saved separately, thanks to the unit's two flash-equipped cameras.

Book Saver angles the tome to prevent as little as possible pressure being placed one the spine. You don't have to hold the pages down to get a flat, even surface.

The upper section sits on top of the book. When a pair of pages have been snapped, just lift Book Saver up, turn the page, and put it down again to take the next shot. Scanning a spread takes around seven seconds, Ion said.

The gadget will come with character-recognition software, allowing you to extract the text from the images.

Book Saver is due out in the March-April timeframe. No price has yet been set.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Casio Tryx

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Every once in a while a camera comes along that causes a bit of a stir. The original Flip video camera was certainly a game changer and at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Casio unveiled Tryx, a camera that has every chance of achieving a similar response.

While the 12.1Mp CMOS sensor and Full HD video and wide-angle 21mm lens don’t exactly offer anything new in the way of imaging, what makes the Tryx different is in its handling. Rather than having an articulating screen anchored to a camera body, the 3in LCD touchscreen on the screen moves within that body that effectively frames the display as well as housing the lens.

This variable frame can act as tripod, propping up the camera like a photo frame or used like a half open book. You can even hang the camera up from it or hold onto it as you would a camcorder with a typical flip-out panel display. The difference here though is it can be configured for use in either hand.

Tryx also has a motion sensor so you can trigger the camera’s self-timer with a gesture. Other features include sweep panorama, slow motion video (captured at up to 240fps at 432 x 320) and touch shutter control that focuses on the area you tap on the screen before shooting.

Also on-board is Casio’s new HDR-Art. This is an interesting adaption of conventional HDR (high dynamic range) shooting that combines multiple images are captured over a range of exposure settings to deliver the best image from a composite. With HDR-Art, those multiple images can be processed with different saturation and colour options with eye-catching results.

The Casio Tryx will be on sale in April for $249.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Samsung WB700

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Samsung has released the WB700 ultra-compact with 18x optical zoom. The camera offers an equivalent zoom range of 24-432mm, optical image stabilization, RAW format shooting, P/A/S/M shooting modes and Smart Filters. It can also shoot 720p HD movies in H.264 format.

Available from April 2011. Price: £249.99.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

ArtRage for iPad

Mail Online reports: [edited]

Using the ArtRage app, Kassan, whose Realist portraits are often mistaken for photographs, has embraced a new method of painting. Painting with just your finger has its benefits - no mess and, of course, the invaluable ability to effortlessly correct a mistake or undo the last stroke.

But, says Kassan, it can never replace 'real' painting: 'There are a number of concept painters who only paint using digital tools, and they make some really amazing work. But I think I'd miss the tactile feel of an oil painting and its luminosity too much to go completely digital.'

Monday, January 03, 2011

Resolutions 2011

1. Study Genesis - Deuteronomy using commentaries.

2. Begin design/building work on house.

3. Get Pilates progress professionally assessed.

4. Improve guitar-playing skills, at least 30-minutes per week.

5. Continue de-cluttering of house.

6. Continue to work at not picking at fingers.

7. Work through two 'expert' books on use of Photoshop.

8. Complete, frame and hang 'kidz kanvas 2011'.

9. Watch 24 movies.

10. Watch 3 television series.

11. Continue book/DVD purge.

12. Do 3 of Andrew Duncan's 'Favourite London Walks'.

13. Develop/mix-up/improve Pilates & weight-training.

14. Digitise mum & dad's 35mm slide collection.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Resolutions 2010 assessed

1. Get building work done on house
Nope: ongoing insurance company negotiations prevented this.

2. Clear out remaining clutter from house
Partial success, consider an ongoing project.

3. Write a piece on 'inhabiting space' concept
See 2.

4. Watch or dispose of the unwatched DVDs in my collection
See 2.

5. Work at ways of not hating weight training/running

6. Book at least one 'proper' holiday

7. Stop biting/picking at fingers
Biting: yes, Picking: no.

8. Read through Bible using iPhone
Yes: moved to using iPad mid-year.

9. Read at least one novel
No, unless graphic novels count.

10. Supplement journaling using iPhone

11. Work on '66 Books' blog
Yes. Although, in doing so decided that other people do it a lot better than me, so will not be pursuing it as a public project.

12. Update Bible commentary collection
Yes. Now got to read them!

13. Develop understanding and practice of Pilates

14. Learn how to use Dreamweaver CS4
Yes. Still loathe it though.

15. Gain a greater understanding of CSS, PURLs, etc
See 14.

16. Redesign X1 web site

17. Build time into journeys to allow for taking photographs

18. Complete a large painting with kidz
No. But have a plan for what to do.

19. Practice guitar for at least 30 minutes per week

20. Design & produce Christmas card