Now though the project seems to be back in earnest. Codenamed “Buffy” (which is odd considering Buffy was a TV character that slayed things that were better off left dead), the smartphone’s hardware is reportedly going to be worked on by HTC Corp, while Facebook will internally handle the software development, which could include an independent operating system. To help get the phone out by its alleged 2013 target date, reports are that Facebook is looking for former Apple and other high end smartphone developers to add to the team, of which they may have already hired almost half a dozen.
Everything revealed so far has suggested that Facebook is taking this project very seriously. The word around the company is that Mark Zuckerberg is worried that if Facebook doesn’t make a play to start its own phone service, that it will become just another mobile app and get lost in the shuffle of the new world order of smartphone superiority. Not to mention that Facebook could lose out on advertising revenue if it starts being accessed primarily through a third party device.
Facebook still carries a lot of name value, and its internal app market could potentially be very popular if kept exclusive to its new phone, but I still think this sound like a case of overreaching. If the initial conclusion was that smartphone development was going to be too complex just a year ago, I don’t know what could have changed their minds in the meantime. Well, besides that slightly embarrassing public offering fiasco of course. But if this is all an effort to extend Facebook’s reach enough for them to wipe some egg off of their face, things could turn ugly.
Since spearheading the Android App Market and launching the Kindle Fire, Amazon has seemingly been on a mission to promote themselves as the kinder, gentler Apple alternative. While stopping shy of ever viciously calling out their rival, the message is clear that they believe themselves to be more of a service “of the people” than their counterpart. One of the ways they have done this is by offering a Free App of the Day service that allows its users to snag a free download of an app selected by Amazon. Ranging from games to useful services, it’s a must have feature that, until now, has provided Android owners with another feature to rub in the face of the iMasses.
I say “until now” because it looks like the empire has caught on to the rebel plans.
Yes, its happy days again Apple owners. Apple is now offering its own free app service, only this one will be a free app of the week and not of the day. The good news is that the first app of this service is the brilliant and addictive “Cut The Rope: Experiments“ game, which went from “should be essential” to “no conceivable reason not to download” courtesy of the new promotion. Not content to just borrow from one rival, though, Apple has also introduced an “Editor’s Choice” feature (seemingly a replacement for their staff picks and game of the week features) that highlights the newest and best apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The initial showcases are Facebook Camera, “Extreme Skater,” “Air Mail” and Sketchbook Ink.
Of course, all jokes about theft are actually jokes. Developers have been running their own free app promotions since the start of the market, and independent sites have been offering the same, as well as highlighting the best new apps for the same period of time. In truth it is refreshing to see Apple offer these services on their own, and considering that the Apple app market is richer and fuller than that of its rivals, even an app a week instead of one a day is an astoundingly good deal that should produce something of must have quality each outing.
Although it should be noted that the “App of the Week” feature hasn’t officially been confirmed as a permanent addition. However since they’ve launched a new Twitter tag for it, not to mention those large banners for the service on their site, things look good. It’s going to be interesting to see if Apple looks at the success of this initial offering to judge if it will continue in the future. It’ll be interesting because we can’t know if Apple will look at giving away lots of free merchandise as a positive marketing ploy, or the root of all known evil.
When you’re really fearless, nothing fazes you. So, you’ve still got the NES you’ve had long enough for it to be an antique. Who cares what everybody else thinks? So, you still work a job that’s embarrassing to mention when people ask what you do. Who cares if you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do? The point to remember is that no one is going to PWN you because yours is the attitude of victory.
Some people think that being victorious is an external thing, and is all about validation. You grind constantly, and then you form a group and do the same mission that a million other people have done before you. While that is one technical way to “win,” that’s not real victory. Real victory is something much deeper than that. In a sense, you have to walk a path that nobody else is either willing or able to go down if you want to really make it as an individual. Champions have to be different enough to not need a group in the traditional sense, and it can get a little lonely.
The Individual Path
Being undefeatable isn’t about doing what other people have done before you. It’s an entirely different mindset than the one a lot of folks take into their games. In a sense, it’s almost hard to describe what a real individual’s path can be like, both because it’s so potentially variable and because it’s so rare to see. You don’t have to think about yourself by anybody else’s rules or put anybody else’s tape measure up to how far you’ve gone. You have to “do you,” as DMX once said.
Naturally, when you strike out on your own individual path, you’re going to have to face a lot of resistance. Initially, you might be concerned about what other people think when you try something completely different. This is reasonable because you’ll probably get some static for it. Whenever you climb to the top of something, even if it’s just an idea of being better than you used to be, you’re going to have people trying to detract from it. Remember that they don’t really care about what you’re doing, other than the fact that it points out how deeply worn the path they’re taking is.
Abandoning the Labels
Who cares about labels? Are you a nerd, a geek, or perhaps the increasingly rare dweeb? Or are you something different? When you strike out on an individual path, you begin to change in a way most people are never going to understand. You become a force of nature that the world rarely sees, and even more rarely knows what to make of at first. Welcome this change, as it heralds a whole new set of exciting challenges. It’s like when you use Droid phones and discover the vast ocean of possibilities that an open source environment creates. It’s a little scary having basically unlimited options, but it gives you an incredible amount of room to grow.
Gaming and Personal Development
When you game, it isn’t just about having a good time and seeing your friends in a place where you can beat them with mythical weaponry. While those are great parts of the process, they’re not the whole thing. Ultimately, the way you game is the way you live, and you can change both at the same time. To be the unpwned gamer, you’ve got to change the whole way you see yourself. Victory and self-improvement have to become the new fundaments of your very nature. If they aren’t in place, you’ve already PWNed yourself.
For a peripheral that is somewhat overpriced, underutilized, and in general vastly inferior to the Nintendo Wii console it seemingly got most of its motivation from, the Xbox Kinect has made quite a splash in the motion based control field.
There are of course the Guiness Book of World Records worthy initial sales figures to back this up, but the real proof of this impact is evident in the creativity this device’s impressive technology has inspired in its users. See while game developers can’t seem to make a good Kinect game that isn’t a dance simulator or Wii sports rip off if their jobs depended on it, the Kinect users have managed to hack into the device to make the basic technology that runs it do some incredible things. These include the entertaining (light saber simulators), the sci-fi worthy (robot controller), and the practical yet cool advancements in basic human interface:
Motion controlled interface has been a dream of sorts for consumers, especially since it was popularized in the movie “Minority Report.” With devices like the Kinect and iPhone, we have gotten closer and closer to this goal, but have yet to fully realize it. Even the impressive demonstration in that video was marred by the fact that the movements needed to actually control the system had to be very blunt, and required full body commitment to make even the simplest of motion commands.
San Francisco based company Leap Motion thinks they might have the inevitable solution. Their device (called the Leap) is about the size of an iPod and works through a USB input your PC or Mac. It reads a space four cubic feet in size, and is supposed to be 200x more accurate than anything else on the market. This means accuracy to within 1/100th of a millimeter, which should allow for subtle finger movements (instead of whole hand and body motions) being able to produce the desired results.
The extraordinary video the company released seems to back that up.
We’ve been promised the moon with motion sensors before, but I have to say that given the advancements in the motion field over the past few years, I see no real reason that the Leap shouldn’t function in the way it claims to. My only real red flag in that video is the video game controller sections. I still feel that we are a ways off from total motion control in games without the use of any buttons, especially in titles designed with mouse/keyboard in mind. Of course in menu heavy titles like Real Time Strategy Games or RPG’s, I could see this device making formerly monotonous navigation somewhat enjoyable.
Even if it’s not yet perfect, at a modest retail price of $70 (pre-orders are being taken now), many consumers might give this device a shot and find their own ways to make use of it when it’s released early next year. After all, that’s the only explanation as to why the Kinect is doing so well.
Confused by the headline? Well, it’s about to get stranger.
That’s thanks to this new invention called the MaKey MaKey. It’s another project that’s finding success on Kickstarter, and its goal is to inspire the creative side out of everyone that uses it, and try to turn the world into inventors.
And it’s achieving that with little more hardware than a circuit board and some alligator clips.
If you couldn’t watch that video (or if you were just as befuddled as I was when I saw it), I’ll elaborate. The Makey Makey is a small circuit board that provides inputs meant to function in place of your basic mouse and keyboard set up. You simply plug one end of the alligator clips into the inputs you desire and then attach the clips to any item that can conduct any form of electricity (bananas seem to work very well, but a pencil drawing, Play-Doh, or a million other items would theoretically work), and that item now functions as the input device.
Examples shown so far include a series of bananas substituting for the keys of a piano, Play-Doh being formed into the shape of a controller to play Super Mario Bros., and four buckets of water filling in for a Dance Dance Revolution dance pad. But from the looks of it, anything is possible.
Again the device’s main goal is to inspire creativity in its users and to try to blossom the inventor in everyone. It’s seems to be meant mostly for artists, amateur creators, and of course children, where it might ultimately find its biggest success in the toy market.
Of course just like another hot invention of recent times, The MakerBot, I think that the Makey Makey’s biggest contributions lay in the technology the invention is based off of and not the actual invention itself. Still with almost $130,000 dollars raised so far for the Makey Makey, it looks to find success in one field or another immediately, whether or not there is still more promising things it can lead to down the line.
The real Nikola Tesla is a strange historical figure. His works in the field of electricity, particularly his groundbreaking work in alternating currents, laid a foundation for countless technological advancements that would follow. Yet he’s more famous these days for his reclusive nature, wild beliefs, and his many failed (yet utterly fascinating) inventions and prototypes. The combination of these attributes have led many people to dub him a true “mad scientist,” and his place in pop culture revolves almost entirely around that distinction
Take for instance the graphic novel “The Five Fists of Science.” It’s a steampunk world tale of the fictional adventures of Tesla, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, and other historical figures. In it, Tesla regularly wields two lighting guns that allow him all sorts of abilities and chances to dominate his enemies. Most anyone reading this story would look at this invention and either say “That’s awesome!” and silently wish for a pair, or merely think nothing of it at all and write it off as one of those “comic book things.”
Inventor Rob Flickenger is the rare third type of person. He read this book, and saw those guns, and said, “Why not?”
What that no doubt perfectly sane and well adjusted man is holding is, for all purposes, a lighting gun. Or, as he would prefer it be known, The Tesla Gun. It’s very real, and it certainly works.
While the design is different than the inspiration, it’s no less impressive. Especially considering that the body of it is simply a Nerf Gun that’s wrapped in aluminum. From there the blueprint gets slightly more complicated, but not so tricky that the creator is afraid to post the basic recipe of one on his blog for all to see (though to be fair, even he recommends some pretty extreme caution).
The process is one thing, but what really matters are the results. And whether you’re looking for simple light show, or just need to stake your claim of the city of Metropolis, this thing definitely gets results. Specifically it can produce over 20,000 volts of electricity in the form of a brilliant grouping of electrical arcs. If you’re wondering, this is certainly enough to kill a man, including the user.
So what is the long term implications of this invention? It has none. What moral questions does it raise concerning science? None that I can think of. Does this represent the future of weaponry? Most definitely not. It is simply an entertaining example of how both the evolution of technology, and the persistency of human ingenuity, have led us into an era where we now get to question the possibility of even the most ludicrous sci-fi inventions.
And to think the inventor just made it to accessorize the lab coat his fiancé got him for Halloween.
Tech developer ADR Studios has revealed a new concept design, that is sure to make the many Instagram users in the world gather their pitchforks and torches (or just start a cause on Kickstarter) and plead for someone to make this a mass produced reality.
Meet the Instagram camera.
That is a digital handheld camera that can print an instant photo from the model, complete with all of the features the Instagram app allows. What strikes me right away about this project is:
A. That’s a beautiful camera. Not just “hipster cool” but genuinely well designed.
B. This is an incredible marriage of times gone by charm (the polaroid this whole thing is based off of) and new technology (Instagram, obviously), that wouldn’t look out of place in a 50′s sci-fi where a vague idea of what future technology might hold, was paired with a current product to create something that’s just kind of out there.
C. Far from a novelty, this thing could actually make a practical investment considering its’ list of features.
• 16 GB mass storage.
• Wifi and Bluetooth.
• 4:3 touchscreen.
• 2 main lens, first for main capture, second for 3D filters, webcam applications and QR Code capturing.
• Optical zoom.
• LED Flash.
• Internal printer to make your Instagram photos real.
• Paper cartridge with Instagram Paper Sheets.
• Dedicated 4 colors ink tanks.
• InstaOs 1.0, which put together Facebook and Instagram App feature.
Now again, this is still a concept and as of now, no one has plans to make this thing on a retail level. Still though, with the mass popularity of the Instagram app, and the many social networking friendly features this thing has, someone with the ability to make this would be a fool not to considering it’s almost literally a license to print money.
Choosing the right laptop can be rather confusing for those without a great depth of technical knowledge – even those who have it can find deciding a challenge. For the same price you can get a desktop PC with more power and a higher specification, but more people are embracing the quick convenience and mobility that laptops offer for their home computing.
There are a range of options out there on the market, with online deals on laptops from Misco and other web retailers bringing more and more computing power to the sector at a lower price. But before you start looking at the specifications, it is important to consider exactly what you need the device for. This Which? guide provides some helpful tips, but internet novices and those who only intend to use their laptop for basic tasks – web surfing, email and writing documents – will find their needs more than met by an entry-level model, which usually retail for under £450. The devices have less RAM available and less storage space, but it’s surprising how far 250GB of the latter actually goes. Good value examples include the Toshiba Satellite Pro series and the Acer TravelMate.
For those wanting a bit more power, desktop replacements provide the processing power of a PC in a portable laptop. Ideal for gamers and those who want to edit videos, these devices will pack in upwards of 4GB of RAM and contain a separate graphics card and faster processing chip. The downside of these devices is that battery life is notably reduced by running these more complex programs, but good examples include the Samsung Series 7 and HP DV7 ranges.
Straddling the two groups are the likes of the Samsung Series 3 and Acer Aspire, which are good for families which want a versatile device without spending too much. Alternatively, if you just need quick internet access, a small netbook, such as the Toshiba NB500 or Dell Inspiron, could be just the ticket.
Researching laptops can be confusing and occasionally frustrating, but it pays to persevere in the same way you would when buying a car; you don’t want to overspend and be left with computing power you don’t need, or find out your new device is insufficient and be forced to upgrade.