Wednesday, June 29, 2005

VroomBox - Will be sold at Wal Mart

Everyone's been to the Wal Mart auto sections and has seen those cheap plastic 14" hubcaps they market as "Bling Rims" and even those Shift Knobs that look like they've been carved out by a monkey with ADD, but nothing beats the VroomBox.

We've all wanted a ride with a powerful engine under the hood that makes everyone stare at the traffic light. Sadly this is as close as close to it, as some of us are ever going to get. The VroomBox is a digital sound generator that is connected to your cars tachometer. It is then wired through to different subwoofers and can apparently make your car sound like virtually any other car. This is even worse than those hubcaps Wal Mart sells and here we were thinking nothing could get worse. Who in their right mind would buy this. For starters you have to really crank this thing up to get this fake digitalized sound, otherwise someone simply needs to step close to your hood and they can hear your lousy engine underneath. And once your past that, you might get the sound, but where's the rumble and the feel. You might as well have a bumper sticker on your car saying "My other car is in the wash." Before you ever consider visiting the Wal Mart auto section just consider leaving your car the way it is. No one is going to laugh at your ride if its perfectly stock, but as soon as pull up the the light with your VroomBox and "Bling Rims" even grandpa in his OldsMobile is going to be laughing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Backyard Ballistics

Those crazy guys at Super Soaker Central have taken the passion for water guns up to the next level. These streams will hit you at around 100 psi so you might want to be a little careful when you shoot the cat but it's all in good fun right?

Want something with even more power, then you definitely need to check out spud guns. These potato cannons are crude ballistic devices made out of PVC pipe and propel potatoes around 200 yards. Sound crazy...Did we mention you use hairspray as fuel and anything is lethal when you ram it down this barrel. Go check out Spud Tech for more info.

If you want something a little smaller and that you can build in minutes then try making a matchstick rockets. Apparently these things can travel over 12 feet and are only made out of foil and a match. Otherwise visit Public Missles for bigger rockets.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Radio Frequency Identification - A.K.A RFID

Radio Frequency Identification isn't really a new technology, yet its applications and the mere power of this 4 letters seem to go unnoticed throughout the industry. RFID or Radio Frequency Identification is a term used to describe an object that can wirelessly transmit an identity (in the form of a serial number) of an object or person using radio waves. RFID is commonly grouped under the category of automatic identification but what uses does this technology really have.

Bar Codes, optical scanners and even biometric and retinal scanners are all useful in today's world. A bar code is simply scanned and immediately the computer is able to display all the information about that object. Biometric scanners will scan the fingerprint of the user and Retinal scanners will view the retina of one's eye and immediately a human being is identified. But all this technology has one thing in common. They require the user to manually scan each barcode over, or require the user to press his finger down on a pad, whereas RFID is very different. With Radio Frequency identification, all this is immediately done automatically. For instance take the task of shopping at the grocery store. Each object will simply have an RFID tag located somewhere on the packaging. The user then goes about his or her shopping and when it's time to checkout they no longer need to wait as an attendant manually scans each object. Instead your groceries will actually send a signal to the cashier indicating how much the item costs. This will take only a couple of seconds as each grocery "talks" to the scanner and immediately you are ready to make a payment. Lines will no longer form and the task of buying groceries is no longer daunting. Losing keys will also be of riddance if an RFID tag is attached onto your keychain. Simply running a program on your home computer will locate the exact position of keys anywhere in the house and this tag will cost only around a dollar or so. We can even see the application of these tags in our road transport services. Toll highways all collect information about your car through a transponder which in fact is an RFID tag. Even gas stations employ the use of the "speedpass" which is nothing but an RFID tag. Its applications are endless in today's world from the tracking of lost objects to a convenient payment option, but it's only a matter of time before RFID tags will take over. It's only a matter of time before human beings will have RFID tags implanted in them which will contain all their information. Passports and Photo ID will disappear and so will wallets as a wave of your hand will send out all information and can even make a payment.

For more information visit the RFID Journal

Sunday, June 26, 2005

High Tech Beverage - Google Gulp

Everyone's heard of the ever so popular Google search engine. But recently other search engines are employing similar Google technology which they obtained through reverse engineering. So instead Google is staying one step ahead of the game, in many different ways. For instance take the Google Gulp, which is actually a Google beverage that will maximize your surfing efficiency by making you more intelligent, yet less thirsty.

Google Gulp is a drink that Google claims will actually speed up response times in your brain. Your brain processes data by sending neurotransmitters between billions of neurons via axioms running between synapses. This is exactly like a bus traveling on its route between several stops. At each stop someone new will board the bus and someone else will exit. The molecular compound that is found in Google's beverage actually speeds up this process and they claim will make you think faster and even feel better. They then employ an Auto-DrinkĀ™ feature which is installed into the lip of the bottle. As your lip makes contact with the bottle, it will actually "take a picture" of your genetic profile, and reconfigure its molecular composition on the fly, and will also subtly alter your brains patterns to facilitate in even faster cognitive processing. In plain English this means that every time you make contact with the lip of the bottle, sensors will actually read through your base pair genetic data and will alter the molecular composition of the drink, it will then also send out neurotransistors to alter your brain patterns. This means that in theory the drink will taste slightly different for each of us, and everytime you have a sip, your brain is actually slightly altered. As dangerous as this brain chemistry sounds Google claims it is very safe, but they also allow the user (drinker) to turn AutoDrink off. Google is further protecting itself legally by employing a feature by which as soon as you break the seal in the cap of the bottle you send a wireless signal to Googles servers indicating your acceptance of their terms and conditions. Wait, so pretty much this drink has a wireless transmitter built into it, along with nanotechnology to alter a substances molecular composition and the ability to alter your brains chemistry. Sound crazy,that's because it is...Who in their right mind would think of installing these features into a simple beverage. Granted the engineers at Google are simply put "Geniuses" wouldn't it be better if they spent their time curing the world of AIDS or even curing Cancer. Whatever the case Google is still employing its viral marketing used in Gmail which means that the only way you can get a sip of this High Tech Bev is if you are invited to the service. And that can be done only if your one of your friends was previously in the service and they then give you a Google Gulp Bottle Cap. Keep in mind this technology is also still in Beta, but with the power of this technology maybe it is a bit dangerous. Google Gulp hacking will soon come along whereby someone on their computer will be able to hack into your drink and change its composition for the worse, or even obtain your base pair genetic data profile and "hack" into your mind. Crazy....Damn Straight it is. Go cure cancer or AIDS Google.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Gadgets For Geeks

ThinkGeek::Stuff for smart masses

Yes, that is a camera. Yes it is in a Zippo lighter case. Anymore questions? Yes, it is the coolest thing I've seen so far. No seriously though, this thing is the smallest GOOD camera on the block. Granted your not going to be taking high-res pictures of the moon, this thing's not too bad. With 8MB of storage and video and audio recording, all in a small stylish case, it might be a bit pricey at $79.99, but let me remind you, you are getting a camera in a Zippo Case. James Bond Stealth Camera

ThinkGeek is also good for other things....Geeky things though like T-Shirts that say "Theres no place like" and even "I read your email." They even sell an Evil Genius Lab Coat and the regular stuff like watches and ties. How about a device that can turn any smooth flat surface into a speaker ( Sonic Impact Sound Pads) and even a Tape deck that fits into a regular 5.25" drive bay (Plus Deck). So in closing because I'm sick of writing long blog entries, just go check out ThinkGeek.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Size Does Count...Well Not Exactly, It's More The Power

Moore's Law

/morz law/ The observation, made in 1965 by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore while preparing a speech, that each new memory integrated circuit contained roughly twice as much capacity as its predecessor, and each chip was released within 18-24 months of the previous chip. If this trend continued, he reasoned, computing power would rise exponentially with time.

In plain English, all he's trying to say is that every 18-24 months, your going to see another product out on the market that has double the technology at the same cost. But the "what if" factor really kicks in here, as this law really only applies to our good friends at Intel and AMD...Or does it. Well here's some facts that you don't really care about, but will still be added to as filler into this entry. In 1971 Intel created its first ever microprocessor, simply dubbed the 4004. This chip had about 2,250 transistors packed into it. Now the year after that, Intel created another chip called the 8008. Anyone see a pattern here. But no unfortunately this chip did not have 4500 transistors in it but instead only had 250 more. So basically Moore's law really didn't apply here as, in one year they were only able to add 250 more transistors into the chip, but if you take a look at there other stats, this theory is broken. In 1974 the 8080 chip was created with 5000 transistors in it. Just 4 years later, they created the 8086, with a whopping 29,000 transistors in it. That's a 240% increase over a period of two years, and therefore proves Moore's law as correct. The number of transistors packed into a chip will grow exponentially over a period of 2 years. When Intel created the Pentium 4 processor in 2000, it had a grand total of 42 million transitors in it. Then two years later, they created the Intel Itanium Processor with 220 million transistors in it. But this time the increase in transistors jumped to 520% over 2 years. This means that Moore was absolutely right when he stated his law. But what he did not know is that his law also exponentially doubles. First we saw an increase of 240% over 2 years, and then we saw an increase of 520% over 2 years. So who cares, that's just a bunch of numbers you say. Well, this means that 20 years from now technology will get 5 times better as each year goes on. Let's skip ahead 20 years and say you want to purchase a new laptop. According to Moore's law the average laptop on the market should be clocking in at around 40 GHz. But simply wait a single year, and a new laptop at the same price will clock in at 60 GHz. Sound too good to be true. Well it probably is, but just go ask Gordon Moore. He proved it once, and it's just a matter of time (20 years to be precise), before it's done again.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Easy Living - A House of the Future

You have to admit, that in today's world we do have it pretty easy. With media centre computers and intelligent washing machines entering our households, our life seems to get easier and easier every day, at what cost. Well a hefty price tag and also time taken to setup the device to function exactly the way you want it, and we can complain that it does take a long time to set up, yet it's difficult to say that these devices really don't make our life that much easier.

And so enter into the house of the future. A place where time taken to setup devices will be the only chore to complete, but don't expect to wake up tomorrow and see this house on the market. It will be a long while since we ever even see a model of this house, but it's safe to say that our trusty geeks are working quite hard at it. So what about this house, what really makes it special. The whole house will be controlled by one central computer, but instead of loading up this computer with state of the art hardware, it will collectively control other resources around the house to harness its computing power. This will control everything from the very basics to the most complex things. For instance, take the simple motion of turning on lights when you enter a room. Now completely erase that action as your door frame will have multiple sensors installed in it. Simply walking into a room will send a signal to your mainframe demanding that the lights be turned on. The mainframe will then simply check with local dusk/dawn times and synchronize its lights that way. Walking into a room when its sunny outside will not turn on any lights, but at night your mainframe accepts all these decisions and allows lights to be turned on. Did we mention all your rooms are installed with microphones in them. This allows almost every device to be individually controlled via user set voice commands. Sitting in the room and feel like watching some TV...Simply say "TV On" and immediately your TV will power on. Feel free to then exclaim "Channel up" or "Channel down" to change your channels or even "Volume up" or "Volume down" for volume commands. Now imagine controlling every single device like this, and immediately the ease of use comes into play. There is no more getting off the couch or bed to open a window, but merely speaking a simple voice command will complete any action of your choosing. Your TV will also view your patterns and learn about the kind of media the viewer likes to watch, that way your TV will now advise you on what channel to watch incase you can't find anything and it will even record all your favourite shows for you. How about your kitchen now. Well your refrigerator/freezer will have a computer of its own. During set-up you merely have to input a list of essentials into the computer. Then through camera imaging your refrigerator will know whenever you take an item out of the refrigerator. As soon as an empty container is thrown in the trash your trash can will simply "ask" the refrigerator if it has the item inside the fridge. If it responds "no" it will then go through the process of ordering the groceries online and have them shipped to you the next day. If you feel like eating some pizza or take out Chinese, it no longer includes placing an order on the phone, but merely a visit to the fridge's computer display. There you will place your order with the fridge and your fridge will call up the local pizzeria and have your order delivered. This house of the future will also implement a new thermostat system and will no longer check individual house temperature, instead it will detect body heat in a room and adjust temperature that way. With no individuals in a room it will let the temperature drop as to save you some money on your next bill. At night the house will also switch into a secure mode. This way if anyone does break in, weight scales in the foundation of the house will immediately spot the sudden addition to overall weight and will then send this signal to the mainframe. Your motion detector and infrared cameras will also go through their own security checks. If any of these checks fail and the mainframe agrees that an attempt at intrusion has been made, a signal will be sent to the local police. While this is happening all the doors in the house will lock, all lights will turn on and your bed will vibrate to awake the house owner and its patrons. You are now in a secure mode and there is absolutely no way an intruder can enter any rooms at all and the police are already on their way. Your house will also take care of the other smaller details. For instance the mere task of taking a shower will be converted into an easy process. Your house will learn about its various patrons and will learn the temperature that they like to shower at. Once that's been done you just need to pull back the shower curtain and immediately the water will turn on to the set temperature. Vacuuming is no longer a chore as mobile robots will take care of that for you. Objects in the house will also be sprayed with special poly-carbonates that will keep them clean and will not allow dust or grime to set on them. This way, vacuuming your floor is the only cleaning task that needs to be done, and even that will be done by a robot. This house will be a dream to every tech-savvy user. By a mere voice command a computer screen will be projected onto a wall and the user has a virtual computer anywhere in the house. Some are greatly bothered by this fact though, as threats to software flaws and virtual intrusion attempts are very real. But it's still a long while since we'll see something like this on the market. Then it's just upto our fellow geeks to make sure the mainframe doesn't have any version of a Microsoft Operating system installed on it. There's nothing like sitting down to watch the game, and instead seeing the blue screen of death on your TV asking you to push Ctrl - Alt - Del. It will be a long wait though, but when it finally gets here, it will definitely be an exciting life style.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

iPod - It's Just a Phase

iPod this, and iPod that just about everywhere you look and as Apple puts it, it's a 5000 hit wonder. Yet what makes this product just so different from others, and how come every corner you turn, you see the familiar look of white wires trailing up someone's chest and his thumb scrolling along around the dial.

The iPod is definitely something almost everyone has heard about, and one that almost everyone owns. This little device is can be simply dubbed as a hard drive in a case with a cool little touch pad , yet how come everyone has to have one. The iPod mini comes in a 4GB version and also in a 6GB version and retails for around $199 with 18 hours of battery life. It's bigger brother, The iPod retails for around $299 with a 12 hour battery life and allows you to store around 5000 songs. Next in the list is the iPod U2 special edition which is in fact just a regular iPod, looking like it's just starred on the next home makeover show. We then come along to our next release of this iPod story, known as the iPod shuffle. The iPod shuffle is really nothing but your standard old mp3 player, except it looks like a block of lego and is missing a digital display. Why it's so common is the biggest mystery as it clearly isn't loaded with the latest bells and whistles, which makes you wonder why its even out in the market. And finally we have the latest in the addition which is the new iPod Photo. The iPod Photo is your standard Ipod on steroids with a cooler set of shades. Ringing in at $349, this monster has a crisp colour display and ships in 2 models of 30GB and 60GB.

And so we come to an end in the iPod product line (for now atleast, until Apple decides it's time to upgrade the hard drive and maybe even include a walk-in closet in the next iPod), but not yet to an end in my rant. Sorry folks but the only problem I have with this thing is the fact that it's not even that good. I'd understand everyone on the block wanting to own the best product out there but the only thing the iPod does is lighten your wallet. Examining our other options, we have the Creative Zen and even the Zen Micro. The Creative Zen is Apple's biggest competitor as it offers the same 20GB harddrive except in a cooler package. With its eerie blue glow and FM radio, this obviously is already better than the iPod. Then we get the Zen Micro (anyone noticed a pattern yet) which just like the iPod mini, ships in a 4, 5, and 6 GB version and even ships in 10 bright colours. Did we mention that the Creative line of products definitely looks way better than anything the folks at Apple could come up with. The Zen Neeon is next in this crazy line of products, but is something that most of the market hasn't even heard about. Slightly larger than the iPod shuffle yet this beast ships in a 5GB version and compared to the shuffle. Yet the people said no, and this had the folks at Creative banging their heads on the wall trying to figure out what it is that the people want. And then it came to them and on the 8th day Creative "created" the Zen Touch. With a handy little touch pad, just like the iPod and 20GB and 40Gb versions the Zen Touch is the perfect competitor for iPod. As if this isn't cruel enough to the folks at Apple, Creative decided it wasn't done just yet and came up with the Zen Nano, Zen NX, Zen Xtra and Nomad Jukebox. This really angered the folks at Apple and left them in the dust so some wiseguy decided he could outdo Creative with his genius idea of the iPod Photo. Creative got mad and once again kicked Apple in the face with the Zen Portable Media Center. This thing has a 20GB harddrive but is basically a portable TV as you can watch your downloaded videos on it too. Even Dell decided it would like some of the action and joined in to create the Dell Digital Jukebox and the Pocket DJ. So before you set out for yet another portable media device, just do yourself a favour and examine your options more carefully. As can be clearly seen, the iPod is nothing but a phase.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Making the Switch - Mozilla Firefox

Annoyed yet by the millions of pop-ups and hundreds of toolbars that just seem to magically install themselves into internet explorer. Is your browser just getting too messy, and you just want something that's cleaner. If that's you, or even if that isn't you seriously need to consider Mozilla Firefox.

Internet Explorer is a serious safety issue on anyone's computer, and is the reason for almost 95% of all spy-ware on your computer. So in theory, eliminate the use of the Explorer browser and out goes your spy-ware. Yes it is that easy, and Firefox is just the browser you need. Firefox empowers you to browse faster, safer and more efficiently than any other browser and currently has over 64 million users. If your worried about losing your favorites and your settings saved on IE, then Firefox even solves that by giving you the option to import your favorites and settings. Explorer is still the only browser that yet hasn't employed the use of tabbed browsing into its browser and once you discover that feature there is no turning back. You no longer need to have multiple browsers open to surf multiple pages, but instead you have a single browser open that will tab back and forth through many pages. With pop-up blocking and enhanced privacy and security, you can pretty much say goodbye to those ever so common pop-ups and self installing toolbars for free rebates. It even contains a small search field, built right into your toolbar so you can immediately search sites through google or even use other search engines. Hassle free downloading and live RSS feeds are yet another reason why Firefox comes out at top. It is time to make the switch and get rid of that ghastly Internet Explorer. Firefox will allow you to customize just about every single feature and even allows you to install themes that will change the look of your browser. Overall, Firefox will definitely speed up your browsing experience and with the setup file just rounding in at 4.7mb, what's the harm in giving it a shot. It's completely open source meaning this has been created by the people, and for the people, say goodbye to commercial marketing schemes, and hello to your best browsing experience.

Mozilla Firefox
Visit the Firefox Tweak Guide in order to speed up your Firefox Browser.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sony Playstation 3

Sony is yet another competitor in this crazy market of entertainment that is going through some drastic changes. We are going to see a fairly large jump when XBOX 360 is released, but Sony actually has a slight advantage as it will release its console after the new XBOX is released. That being said Sony plans to release the PS3 around spring of 2006, but we all know how reliable those dates are.

The PS3 boasts a gaming engine that will be almost 35 times more powerful than the PS2, and will even support upto 7 wireless controllers. Immediately it's obvious that fragging 6 of your friends is going to definitely prove to be a wild night, but that means that each gamer only gets about 45 pixels of the screen (Don't bother with the math, I know its wrong). So the PS3 also will contain wireless support for upto 2 wireless outputs. If you're lost, let me help you. You have one PS3 in the house that will wirelessly connect to 2 TV's / Displays. Now upto 7 people can connect their controllers wirelessly to the console and play on their respective screens. This adds up to 3 people playing on one screen and 4 playing on another. Did we mention that you only need 1 console. Yes it's amazing but sure does make you wonder why they only configured support for 7 controllers and not 8, this makes for odd number of gamers per team when you play. It also supports the usual 1080i and 720p resolutions, which means high-def is supported and is fully backward compatible with old PS and even PS2 games. Another feature added is the ability to use your PSP device either as a controller or an additional screen, to view tactical or statistical information that will tie into your game. The PS3 will also ship with a hard drive and a storage bay to allow users to store data and profiles into a memory card just like XBOX 360. Unfortunately they, Sony is yet to release specs on the hard-drive, and rumor has is it, that they might even scrap the whole hard drive idea in order to save money and allow gamers to buy and upgrade their own Hard Drive. The PS3 interface will even allow users to access the internet which is a nice little touch that has been added, and the gaming console will also ship with a wireless Ethernet port for 802.11b and 802.11g, but unlike the XBOX 360, will not support the faster version of 802.11a. Compared to XBOX 360 though the PS3 lacks in processing power as it contains only a single processor clocking in at 3.2 GHz. Right now at this stage though, it is indeed very difficult to say for sure which console will come out and rule our markets of today with an iron fist, but it is obvious that Sony has the advantage due to its release date, whether or not they use this is now left upto them.

Update: Words out that Microsoft is planning to relase Halo 3 when PS3 releases in order to keep up with the competition.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Yet another XBOX 360 post

Out came Sony's PS2 and Microsoft's XBOX, and did it ever shock the market upon release, yet this season we see another unveiling of the wheel re-invented. This season XBOX 360 is going to be released and is currently in its design phase, yet Microsoft has released some of its features.

The new 360 will have full high-def support with both 720p and 1080i resolutions. The 360 will also have wi-fi support for 802.11a (backwards compatible ofcourse) meaning you will be able to transfer music and video files straight to your gaming console for entertainment. As for the actual unit, gamers will be able to physically customize the face of the unit as to change the look, and will also be able to create and use new skins in the user interface. Getting to the main feature, the 360 will contain, not 1, not even 2, but a grand total of 3...Yes count em, that's 3 microprocessors running at a speed 3.2 GHz. With 3 times the power and a custom ATI graphics processor, were going to see nothing less than perfect gameplay running on this gaming console. The hardware seems to be the only weak point in the system as it ships in at only 20GB but that is in fact upgradeable. You will aslo be able to access XBOX live right out of the box, that is FREE, but they will still offer a gold service by which you gain access to more live content. Microsoft is even tending to the smaller details as they allow for custom playlists in every game and the ability to stream live audio, along with a memory unit which will allow the gamer to save his/her profiles and unique features and then transfer them to any other compatible 360 unit. Also set for the release is the XBOX live camera which will open up video messaging into your gameplay experience. Overall though the XBOX 360 will definitely hit our raving entertainment market by storm, and is a must buy for this holiday season.

Update: Words out that Microsoft is planning to relase Halo 3 when PS3 releases in order to keep up with the competition.