Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
PopSci reports: [edited]
Today at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society researchers from MIT’s Nocera Lab, led by Dr. Daniel Nocera, claimed that they’ve created an artificial leaf made from stable and inexpensive materials.
The artificial leaf looks nothing like the natural leaf that it mimics, but its inputs and outputs are the same. Made of silicon, electronics, and various catalysts that spur chemical reactions within the device, the artificial leaf uses sunlight to break water into hydrogen and oxygen which can then be used to create electricity in a separate fuel cell.
Placed in a gallon of water and left in the sun, these artificial leaves could provide a home in the developing world with basic electricity for a day, Nocera said.
Scaled and mass produced, something like the Nocera Lab’s leaf could be the key component to shifting toward a hydrogen-based economy. In the nearer term, such technology could at the very least power parts of the globe that are currently off the grid with clean, plentiful, and easy-to-come-by energy.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Kiwi Fruitware reports: [edited]
Convert almost every input file. Convert avi, wmv, mkv, rm, mov and more to other formats. Some files aren't supported by ffmpeg, but can be decoded with QuickTime®. Media Converter uses movtowav and movtoy4m to decode them.
Media Converter comes with presets to convert to popular video and audio formats. These presets can be fine-tuned in the Preferences. You also can create your own presets.
Media Converter is free and open source.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Register Hardware have published a FAQ on Nintendo's recently released portable console.
"The battery life on the 3DS is pretty shoddy, with an average span of 3-5 hours. When playing 2D DS games, that figure increases to between five and eight hours, but it's still a far cry from the DSi, which had a battery life of up to 14 hours."
"All DS games will work on a 3DS, provided they didn't use the Gameboy Advance slot."
"All 3DS consoles are region-locked for 3DS games. DSi enhanced games also remain region-locked, but Nintendo DS games are still region free."
Friday, March 25, 2011
Digital Photography Review has published an in-depth review of Panasonic's latest update to their flagship Micro Four Thirds camera.
Excerpt from the conclusion:
"...we're confident in saying that it is the best mirrorless system camera that we've ever tested, bar none. Although the GH2's Micro Four Thirds sensor is smaller than those found in cameras like the Canon EOS 60D and Nikon D7000, it runs them both pretty close. Up to ISO 3200 in fact, we'd say that the GH2 can hold its own against any of the current crop of APS-C format cameras on the market, which is high praise indeed."
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Brett's 2p'orth: I've been using the DMC-G1 since June 2009, and it is the best compromise between image quality and portability that I have ever owned. Anyone want to buy a G1 body?
Thursday, March 24, 2011
guicocoa.com reports: [edited]
- Sends pictures to Dropbox as they are taken.
- Uploads continue if app is closed.
- Uploads multiple photos from photo library.
- Retains standard camera features (except HDR, Ed.)
- Customisable upload path and photo quality.
- Photos have their metadata preserved.
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Brett's 2p'orth: Works as advertised, now my default iPhone camera App.
Addendum: Conrad has brought to my attention that QuickShot doesn't support HDR mode.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
guardian.co.uk reports: [edited]
It is all the rage in Holland, where it was introduced in 2009, and has since sold a million copies. A version has just been launched in Spain, France is next, and the flipback reaches UK shores in June, when Hodder & Stoughton will treat us to a selection of 12 books. They will cost £9.99, and include David Mitchell's 'Cloud Atlas' and Stephen King's 'Misery'.
I am keen to see what the hype is about so I take a pre-released copy on my travels: Chris Cleave's 'The Other Hand'. Nearly 370 pages long in its original format, the flipback version has more than 550 – but still fits easily in my pocket. It's so small that I can perch it in one fist, and keep my other hand free for shopping. How? The paper is wafer-thin.
Unlike an ordinary paperback, the book lies open without intervention on my part, due to its special spine. It's handy on a rush-hour tube, too. Page-turning with paperbacks will see you elbowing your neighbour in the pancreas in no time. But the minuteness of this little beauty, with its pages that flip rather than turn, help me keep my elbows to myself and pancreases everywhere safe.
Is it the new Kindle? Obviously not. It can't hold 1,500 books. But if you want something that doesn't need recharging, and slips into your pocket as easily as a phone, the flipback is worth a try.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
MyZeo.com reports: [edited]
Your quality of sleep is central to your quality of life. Zeo is designed to help you analyze your sleep and improve it, so you can be your best every day.
Imagine knowing both the quality of your sleep and the reasons behind it. Every morning, Zeo will tell you your ZQ — a number that summarizes your sleep’s quantity and quality — and lots of other information about your sleep. If you can measure it, you can improve it.
Your ZQ Breakdown shows how your ZQ is based on your total sleep time, your time in restorative Deep and REM sleep, and the disruptions in your sleep. A sleep graph shows how much time you spent in Deep sleep, in Light sleep, in REM sleep, and awake.
Zeo Personal Sleep Coach will help you understand and minimize the factors that negatively affect sleep, so you can take control of your nights. You can use the visual web-based tools to see trends and cause-and-effect patterns.
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Brett's 2p'orth: Caveat Emptor!
Monday, March 21, 2011
ResizeIt is OSX donationware that allows you to change the size of multiple images simultaneously. It can also convert file formats at the same time. It supports multi-core processors.
For a review, click here.
Available from the App Store, or from the developer's website.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
New Scientist reports: [edited]
A special diet is all it takes to make a silkworm produce fluorescent silk of a particular hue. After feasting on a mixture of mulberries and fluorescent dye, the worm pictured above produced threads of bright pink silk.
According to researchers at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) in Singapore, the process is "simple and cheap enough to be translated to an industrial scale". Producing such "intrinsically coloured" silks would provide a more environmentally friendly approach for the silk industry, reducing its vast consumption of water and dyes.
Aside from environmental advantages, the technique could also have medical applications. The researchers suggest their work could help create functional silk with antibacterial, anticoagulant or anti-inflammatory properties for use in wound-dressings.
Image: Dr Natalia C. Tansil
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Vetted reports: [edited]
Formed in the summer of 2010 by graphic designer Antonio Carusone, Vetted evolved from a overwhelming obsession and passion for well-designed objects.
We provide a curated collection of simple, modern, unique, and sometimes hard to find products that are hand-picked for their superb level of design, function, style, craft and content. Only the best products are sought after, ranging from local brands to companies half way around the world.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Engadget have published a full review of the iPad 2.
"It might frustrate the competition to hear this, but the iPad 2 isn't just the best tablet on the market, it feels like the only tablet on the market. As much as we'd like to say that something like the Xoom has threatened Apple's presence in this space, it's difficult (if not impossible) to do that."
"Is the iPad 2 a perfect product? Absolutely not. The cameras are severely lacking and its operating system still has significant annoyances, like the aggravating pop-up notifications."
"There's little to argue about in the way of price, and in terms of usability, apps like GarageBand prove that we haven't even scratched the surface of what the iPad can do."
"For owners of the previous generation, we don't think Apple's put a fire under you to upgrade. You've still got a solid piece of gear that reaps plenty of the benefits of the latest OS and apps. For those of you who haven't yet made the leap, feel free to take a deep breath and dive in - the iPad 2 is as good as it gets right now. And it's really quite good."
Monday, March 14, 2011
voltitude.com reports: [edited]
The Voltitude bike takes the best from city scooters.
- Low gravity centre makes it easy to ride
- Wide wheels adapted to urban hazards
- Powerful hydraulic disc brakes
- Rear-wheel drive
- Integrated anti-theft lock
- Built-in front and rear lighting
The Voltitude bike takes the best from e-bikes.
- Electric pedal assistance
- Zero emission drive
- No license, no registration, optional bicycle helmet
- Free to use all bike lanes
Even though its size and wheelbase is comparable to a normal bicycle, the Voltitude bike can be folded into a very small space such as a locker, cupboard or car boot. Two Voltitude bikes can be stored in a space similar to a European washing machine.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Stuff that I have found enjoyable/challenging/thought-provoking:
Esquire on a man who spent nearly 30 years in jail for a crime he didn't commit. Moving, troubling and inspiring.
Wired on how new surgical methods make professional fighters less prone to skin damage.
John Gruber on the iPad 2.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Epitonic reports: [edited]
First launched on March 8, 1999, the site was one of the first ever music discovery and editorial sites. Epitonic posted free and legal MP3s available for streaming and download, working directly with thousands of artists and labels. All of the music was selected, written about, and posted by a staff of young DJs, touring artists, record collectors, and music lovers based in San Francisco and Chicago.
Due to financial difficulties the site went dormant in 2004. A couple of companies tried to revive it but it remained inactive until one of the original founders Justin Sinkovich reacquired rights to the site in 2010. Epitonic then brought together dozens to help revive the site including many of the original staff and dozens of new contributors.
After almost a year of planning and building, Epitonic is officially back, once again helping fans to discover the best in cutting edge music.
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
ArsTechnica have published an extensive review of Motorola's new tablet.
"Motorola's Xoom tablet is the first device to ship with Android 3.0, codenamed Honeycomb, a highly anticipated new version of Google's mobile operating system. Honeycomb introduces a sophisticated new user interface that was designed for the tablet form factor — a major step forward for Android. Motorola has matched Google's software with a compelling piece of hardware that delivers great performance and reasonable battery life."
"Although the Xoom has a lot to offer, the product feels very incomplete. A surprising number of promised hardware and software features are not functional at launch and will have to be enabled in future updates. The Xoom's quality is also diminished by some of the early technical issues and limitations that we encountered in Honeycomb. Google's nascent tablet software has a ton of potential, but it also has some feature gaps and rough edges that reflect its lack of maturity."
"The Xoom's 10.1-inch capacitive multitouch display has a 16:10 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1280x800 pixels. The device has 1GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage capacity."
"The Xoom has a pair of cameras: a 2MP front-facing camera for video chat and a rear-facing 5MP camera with an LED flash. The Xoom's battery is rated for 9 hours of Web browsing and approximately 14 days of standby time. During our tests, we got roughly 7 and a half hours during of battery life during mixed intensive use. The Xoom is launching on Verizon's network and comes with an EVDO-enabled CDMA radio. The device has also has WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity."
"If you are looking for the best tablet available today, then look no further than the iPad 2. If you are an Android enthusiast and you want a good tablet that runs the same software as your phone, you should wait a few months for everything to solidify before you decide which Android tablet you want. Don't jump for the Xoom just because it's the first — they rushed it out prematurely hoping to capitalize on exactly that."
via Daring Fireball
Monday, March 07, 2011
Wired reports: [edited]
The evolution of wingsuit flying, beginning with the extended free fall of a parachutist, has now reached the point where glide ratios of 2.5:1 (which means that it can glide 2.5 feet forward for every foot it descends) are possible. This doesn’t allow wingsuit fliers to travel very far or stay aloft more than a handful of minutes, but they are starting to achieve better control and are beginning to stretch their flights out farther and farther.
For anybody who has had dreams of flying through the clouds, this video gives us an actual glimpse of what it is like. Filmed in California, Florida, Nevada and Puerto Rico, the six-minute clip gives a look at some wingsuit formation flying and the simple joy of human flight.
Video: Richard Schneider
Friday, March 04, 2011
Ryan Olbe reports: [edited]
Here's my newly redesigned PayPal Fee Calculator, a free web-based tool that allows people to calculate what their PayPal fees would be to receive a certain amount or to reverse calculate their fees to determine what amount a person would have to send them for them to receive a certain amount after fees.
Thursday, March 03, 2011
- 33% thinner
- 15% lighter
- 2x faster 'a5' processor
- 9x faster graphics
- 2 cameras
- 1080p video-mirroring
- 10-hour battery life
- and a cover that is so clever it made me smile out loud
For more details, click here.
For a hands-on, click here.
For more stuff on Apps and OS updates click here.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
The unoffical SXSW 2011 music bittorrent, comprising 792 files is now available.
For iTunes cover artwork click here.
If you fancy listening to the tracks via the web, visit shoutcast.com.
For more information on the SXSW 2011 events, click here.