Monday, October 29, 2007

BBspot - Microsoft Debuts Update Update Suite

A funny article from BBspot - you've got to love articles that do a quality job of making fun of Microsoft's horrible product names, while creating an imaginary product that...well, I could see the use ;-)

The success of WGA and OGA has convinced us to extend our Genuine Advantage platform to Windows Update Update. Called Windows Update Update Genuine Advantage, the mandatory add-on will check to insure that Windows Update Update is Genuine. If it is not, it will ask you to call a number (available from the intuitive slui 4 /pirate command). Microsoft Homeland Security agents will take down a trifling amount of personal information, including SSN and a valid CC number. Photo ID may be required; you may be instructed to stand outside and wave your arms until the agent's copy of Google Earth has loaded.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Absolute zero speed in space

Just ranting and thinking out loud here...I came up with this yesterday in the shower and I just have to get it down to get my mind around it. I'd be interested to get feedback on this, too (I'll enable comments on this post).

As I understand it, it's very difficult to determine when you're 'not moving' in a spacecraft, because the question is always, "in relation to what?". Frequently, for craft originating from Earth, the speed is relative to the surface of the earth, so geo-stationary satellites are considered to be "not moving". However, I believe it's also common for satellites that leave Earth orbit (think the Voyager crafts) to begin using the Sun's position to determine their speed - the sun considered to be stationary in this case. However, the Sun is orbiting the center of our galaxy in one of its arms, right? And the galaxy itself is moving away from the center of the universe rapidly, along with all the other galaxies out there. So how can you determine what is actually standing still? A guess on my part...maybe it's that point at the center of the universe.

But something else I believe I understand to be true is that the speed of light in a vacuum is a constant, regardless of the speed and direction of the object that gave off the light. That's something that seems simple at first, but when you start thinking about the applications and implications, it's actually pretty profound. Think of it this way...if you're standing in the back of a truck that's driving 25 mph, and you throw a ball forward at 50 mph, ignoring air resistance, the ball will actually be traveling at 75 mph, assuming that you consider the surface of the earth to be your stationary reference point. Likewise, if you throw it backwards at the same speed, the ball will be traveling at 25 mph, but the opposite way. However, to the person in the truck, it looks like the ball is leaving them at 50 mph both times, because they are their own stationary reference point. Basic with me so far?

OK, now think of a flashlight on some space vessel. If they're going impossibly fast, say 1/2 the speed of light, and give out a beam of light, the light still "only" goes the speed of light, no matter which way you shine it. That means that if the light is traveling in the same direction as the craft, it would only leave the craft at 1/2 the speed of light, since their speed is also 1/2 the speed of light in the same direction, but a person floating in space (assuming they're "not moving") would see the light traveling at the speed of light, and the craft at 1/2 that speed behind it (assuming you could see a beam of light in a vacuum, which you can't).

Interesting, but where am I going with this?

One more bit of data I want to throw out there is (if I'm not mistaken) the Sun is approx. 93,000,000 miles from the earth, and we travel the circumferance of the circle described by that radius in around 365 days, or around 8,760 hours. That means that the mass of Earth is orbiting the Sun at somewhere around 66,705 mph. The speed of light is around 670,616,629 mph.

I know it's possible to measure the time light takes to travel a known distance, even on Earth, though you have to account for the matter the light is traveling through. It seems to me that, at midnight at a point on Earth, you're traveling about as fast as you ever do on Earth, since you're adding around 1,000 mph at the equator to that above speed for the Earth's rotation. Now, say at midnight you were to measure how long it look for beams of light to travel exactly 50 miles, and get reflected back to their origin, when emitted in at least each of the four cardinal directions (though ideally this would be done in all six cardinal 3-d directions from a geostationary satellite). If the speed of light is a constant, you should see a time difference in how long it takes the light to return from each of the directions, since the light going West can be expected to actually leave your station 67,705 mph faster than the one going North, and 135,410 mph (twice the above number) faster than the one going East, since that point on the surface of the earth is traveling that fast toward the East, and the velocity of the light emitter does not impact the speed of the emitted light. The motion of your base station on Earth has actually closed some of the distance toward the light that started out going East while it was in transit.

That all assumes that the Sun is stationary in the universe, which we've already established it is not. Therefore, it seems to be that by analyzing discrepancies in the time it took the light to cover that distance in each direction from the analysis above, you should be able to triangulate the direction toward the point in the universe that, according to the beams of light, is actually truly stationary. Maybe it's been done, I don't know. It just seems logical to me.

Edit: Oops, I mis-spoke here. I didn't mean to say that you could triangulate an object which was itself absolute-stationary, I meant that you could use the vectors to figure out which direction and how fast you'd have to travel from the point and time you took the measurements to be absolute-stationary yourself.

One more implication the absolute speed of light has is very much rooted in the theoretical - bodily light-speed travel. If we accept for a moment that lightspeed is an absolute inviolatable boundary of speed, let's assume that we can develop craft to travel at 1 mph slower than the speed of light. The interesting thing is that since neither Earth, nor the Sun, nor our galaxy are absolutely stationary, there would appear to be an 'upstream' and a 'downstream' direction to space travel. It wouldn't matter where you launched from, since you're going at near that theoretical (and absolute) speed, it would take you longer to travel from some point A to point B than back from B to A, since though they are stationary with respect to each other, they are actually moving along the same vector with respect (speed and direction) to absolute stationary. Unless, of course, both points B and A are themselves at absolute stationary, which is highly unlikely in this universe of ours.

So at what speed of craft would traveling from B to A change from taking the same amount of time as from A to B over to taking different times? I suppose it's at whatever speed your craft is being physically prevented from going faster by the speed of light barrier, rather than by function of limitations in its design (engine thrust, etc). At that point we'll need a new way of talking about speed. Of course, that's quite a while from now :) And of course, throw the theory of relativity in there and start telling me that it would take the same amount of time because time actually slows the faster (is that absolutely faster or relatively faster?) an object is moving, and the whole second part of this monologue just disappears.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007 News : Who's Making Games for Nintendo Systems? Everyone!

After a few days of absolutely nothing interesting popping up, I found a week-old article listing upcoming Wii games, and it's quite a list!

Oct. 1: MLB Power Pros from 2K Sports
Oct. 1: Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire from D3Publisher of America
Oct. 2: Crash of the Titans from Sierra Entertainment, Inc.
Oct. 5: Balls of Fury from DSI Games
Oct. 8: Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast from Nintendo
Oct. 9: FIFA 08 from Electronic Arts
Oct. 9: Bleach: Shattered Blade from SEGA
Oct. 10: Arctic Tale from DSI Games
Oct. 15: Sea Monsters from DSI Games
Oct. 16: Thrillville: Off the Rails from LucasArts
Oct. 22: EA PLAYGROUND from Electronic Arts
Oct. 23: Backyard Football from Atari, Inc.
Oct. 23: The Sims 2 Castaway from Electronic Arts
Oct. 23: Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis from Rockstar Games
Oct. 23: The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night from Sierra Entertainment, Inc.
Oct. 23: NARUTO: Clash of Ninja Revolution from TOMY Corporation
Oct. 25: M&M’S Kart Racing from DSI Games
Oct. 28: Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock from Activision
Oct. 29: Battalion Wars 2 from Nintendo
Oct. 30: Ben 10: Protector of Earth from D3Publisher of America
Oct. 30: Showtime Championship Boxing from DSI Games
Oct. 30: NEED FOR SPEED PROSTREET from Electronic Arts
Oct. 30: THE SIMPSONS from Electronic Arts
Oct. 31: Manhunt 2 from Rockstar Games
October: Spider-Man: Friend or Foe from Activision
October: Bee Movie Game from Activision
October: Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground from Activision
October: Ultimate Duck Hunting from Detn8 Games Ltd.
October: Mercury Meltdown Revolution from Ignition Entertainment
October: Namco Museum Remix from NAMCO BANDAI Games America
October: Code Lyoko: Quest for Infinity from The Game Factory
October: Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Burning Earth from THQ
October: Bratz: The Movie from THQ
October: Cars: Mater-National from THQ
October: Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots from THQ
October: SpongeBob’s Atlantis SquarePantis from THQ
Nov. 5: Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn from Nintendo
Nov. 6: DanceDanceRevolution Hottest Party from Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.
Nov. 6: LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga from LucasArts
Nov. 6: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games from SEGA
Nov. 12: Super Mario Galaxy from Nintendo
Nov. 13: Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3 from Atari, Inc.
Nov. 13: Godzilla Unleashed from Atari, Inc.
Nov. 13: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary from Eidos, Inc.
Nov. 13: BLOCKS from Electronic Arts
Nov. 13: MEDAL OF HONOR HEROES 2 from Electronic Arts
Nov. 13: LUXOR: Pharaoh’s Challenge from MumboJumbo
Nov. 13: Geometry Wars: Galaxies from Sierra Entertainment, Inc.
Nov. 19: Link’s Crossbow Training (packaged with Wii Zapper) from Nintendo
Nov. 19: SMARTY PANTS from Electronic Arts
Nov. 20: Jenga World Tour from Atari, Inc.
Nov. 20: Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords from D3Publisher of America
November: Trauma Center: New Blood from Atlus USA
November: Star Trek: Conquest from Bethesda Softworks
November: Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey from Disney Interactive Studios
November: Hannah Montana: Spotlight World Tour from Disney Interactive Studios
November: High School Musical: Sing It from Disney Interactive Studios
November: Garfield Gets Real from DSI Games
November: Furu Furu Park from Majesco Entertainment
November: AMF Bowling: Pinbusters! from Mud Duck Games
November: Ghost Squad from SEGA
November: WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 from THQ
November: Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 from Ubisoft
November: CSI: Hard Evidence from Ubisoft
November: My Word Coach from Ubisoft
November: Petz: Catz 2 (name not final) from Ubisoft
November: Petz: Dogz 2 (name not final) from Ubisoft
November: Petz: Horsez 2 (name not final) from Ubisoft
November: Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 from Ubisoft
Dec. 4: Alvin and the Chipmunks from Brash Entertainment
Dec. 4: The Golden Compass from SEGA
December: MX vs. ATV Untamed from THQ
December: Super Swing Golf Season 2 from Tecmo, Inc.
December: Rygar: The Battle of Argus from Tecmo, Inc.
December: Cranium: Kabookii from Ubisoft
December: Nitrobike from Ubisoft
Holiday 2007: NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams from SEGA
Winter ’07: SoulCalibur Legends from NAMCO BANDAI Games America
Jan. 21: Endless Ocean from Nintendo
Feb. 10 : Super Smash Bros. Brawl from Nintendo
Feb. 15: Yamaha Supercross from DSI Games
Feb. 19: Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity from SEGA
February: No More Heroes from Ubisoft
February: Wild Petz Tigerz from Ubisoft
March: Obscure: The Aftermath from Ignition Entertainment
Q1: LUXOR 3 from MumboJumbo
Q1: One Piece: Unlimited Adventure from NAMCO BANDAI Games America
Spring ’08: Mario Kart Wii (name not final) from Nintendo

Yikes...that's quite a lineup! I'm excited about DK's Wii debut, LEGO Star Wars, Super Mario Galaxy (of course) and Mario Kart particularly. I'll be interested to see how the Petz lineups are...Kyla may like them. I'm intrigued by the Duck Hunt title, and that DDR is on this list...are they actually coming to the Wii!!? Link's crossbow training sounds interesting...but I'll wait to see if it's a game that has replay sounds like something that will lose its interest after playing for a bit.

Titles like Puzzle Quest, Jenga and Geometry wars sound intriguing on the Wii's unique platform. Who knows how they'll actually be, but it's good to see game makers realizing the potential for quasi-educational, fun quick games on the Wii. Anything that has the potential for building hand-eye coordination better than just pushing buttons, all while stimulating your mind just a bit while you're at it, sounds like the right idea to me!

I'll be glad when they start releasing Wii games in the Mario Sports series...hopefully there will be a little more time invested in them than in the bundled Wii Sports...I'd love to play a good game of Wii Mario Golf where the controls worked like you expected!

On a related note, I was at a friend's house last night, and we got to talking about the Wii. He's got Madden '08 (I have '07, but not this one), and he told me that he plays head-to-head using the internet connection. I couldn't believe it at first...I thought there were only two such games so far; Pokémon and Super Mario Strikers. I looked at the box, and indeed, it doesn't have the Nintendo Wi-Fi emblem on it, but it advertises internet play! What did they do, throw it in without telling Nintendo? Or does the emblem mean that the game uses Nintendo's servers, and the Madden game is run through their own servers? I didn't know the game makers could access the internet connection directly without going through Nintendo...sounds like a stupid move that might have security implications (if I'm right, of course). Fortunately, it's not too easy for people to distribute homebrew Nintendo software (they can't exactly stick them in Target for people to get duped into buying, only to find out it's got a trojan or virus, and you can't download anything from the internet onto your Wii directly), so maybe that's what they're relying on...they probably thoroughly check out all the Nintendo games that actually get marketed to make sure they're clean.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

ImageMagick: Convert, Edit, and Compose Images

I've been looking for something like this...I haven't tried it, but if it works as advertised, then I'll be home free on a few projects. Free Command-line image manipulation!
ImageMagick: Convert, Edit, and Compose Images

Update: I tried it, and it does everything I wanted and so much more. The COM dll is 6mb (or 12 as an AutoIt #include file I made), but even using the #include file, the programs compile down to around 4mb...not bad for the power it brings! If I had Visual Studio I could compile a custom version that only has the functions I need to save room. The only other thing I'd like to figure out how to do is compress the include file by marking repeated characters in the hex string and rewriting them with a simple looping function. Should be easy, but RegExp drives me nuts!

In case you're wondering, this is how I finally got my image publisher for our pictures vista-compatible...I was able to call this to get it down to a Vista-displayable size. As a bonus, I got to throw in some neat effects options too!

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Wii menu 3.1

I love it when I get up in the morning and the blue disc slot of our Wii is glowing blue - it means there's a "Wii-mail" waiting, and usually that means Daniel's left us a message. This morning however, after I got over the disappointment of, "Oh, it's just a message from Nintendo", and we realized there were three messages, not the normal one, I started to pay attention.

Wii menu version 3.1 apparently was released last night, and includes some hope-inducing updates, at least for me. I don't know if the functionality or look of the menu changed at all, as I haven't played with it yet, but here's the line in their message I was excited to see:

You can now use a USB keyboard on the Wii menu

What...really? People have been looking for hacks to do this for a year now, and you're just making it work!!? Awesome!

The reason it gives me hope is this: I've been hoping that they could make devices work on the built-in USB ports just with a system update, because I'm pulling for some kind of additional storage for the Wii's hard drive. I've got a number of classic games from the Wii shop, and I'm almost out of room! I can move games to an SD card, but you can't PLAY them from there - you have to copy them back to the Wii's internal memory before you can play them - a ridiculously time-consuming process. I'd love it if they allowed external storage - even if it was only by having to buy a Wii-branded jump drive that could actually bolster the Wii's memory. I'm not talking about doing it transparently like extending the Wii memory's partition onto the jump drive - you'd need to have three different memory spaces (Wii, SD and External), but when you plugged the jump drive in, it would scan for and display games contained on the drive right on the Wii menu, allowing you to play them right from the jump drive.

Obviously, I don't know the technical ins and outs of this, but since they're suddenly enabling USB keyboards, I have hope it might be coming...

One of the other messages from Nintendo this morning told users that we need to update the Everybody Votes! channel to work with the new menu, but when I went to the store after updating the menu, I noticed the Internet channel also has an updated version. Makes sense, if you want to use a keyboard on the Internet channel, right? Well, I don't know, because I had to leave for work this morning before it was done downloading (and before I could even look around the 'new' Wii menu, since I rushed right into the Store channel once it was updated), but when I chose to download it, I was informed through the usual message that,

The Internet channel only works with the Wii remote

Interesting. Maybe that's a left-over notice, or applies to controllers only (classic, nunchuck, etc), and not to keyboards, but if I can't use the keyboard on the Internet channel, what's the point? I can only use it when composing Wii-mails? Lame. But as I said, I don't know. I'll update this when I find out. Now I need to figure out if wireless USB keyboards will work, otherwise (again), what's the point? The Wii is all about wireless; I don't want to have to be attached through the keyboard!

On a side note - I had around 400 blocks of memory left yesterday, but the Internet channel was around 360, leaving me almost nothing - probably not even enough for the new Everybody Votes! channel download. I'm hoping that it will delete the old Internet channel, freeing up the space it was taking, and giving me back my memory, otherwise my classic gaming is done!

Update: I found a page on Nintendo's website that talks in greater (though not great) detail about this upgrade - it seems that USB keyboards will be useable on the new Internet Channel, as well as when composing messages. I can't find for sure if wireless keyboards will work, however. The update to the Everybody Votes! channel is just an 'improved display for National results by region'.


Monday, October 8, 2007

Latest Virtual Console downloads

It's taken me a while to get around to it, but over the weekend I finally downloaded two Virtual Console offerings that I saw and wanted - Kirby's Avalanche and Wave Race 64.

Kirby's is even more fun than I remember, though I'm not nearly as good at it as I used to be. Kyla and I even spent a few minutes playing against each other, and she said she'd forgotten how much fun it is - it's a perfect 2-player game if you've got 10-15 minutes to kill. Of course, the first thing I had to do was play at least up until I heard them announce, "Squishy!". Classic. I actually got all the way up to Paint Roller before biting the big one.

Wave race is one game that...I just like, I can't explain why. It's not incredible graphics (obviously) or really superb physics (though they're not bad)...but it's a fun game. Interesting though- I noticed that they changed some of the graphics. Remember how N64 games started having billboard ads for Nintendo products, especially around racing games' courses? Well, to me it looks like anywhere they'd advertised a gameboy before, they replaced it with a banner for DS lite, and about half the places they had an N64 banner, it now just says Wii. I don't think I like the change, though it's cute. Even though I'm sure they just swapped out the graphics in the ROM, I'd still prefer they offer just the completely original software. But that's just my opinion.

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Weekend activities

It's hard to believe this weekend is already over!

The fall colors have been turning absolutely stunning in the last two weeks or so, so on Saturday we took a drive up to the mountains - it was amazing. It's still just a little early for all the leaves to have changed yet - I'd say about 20% are still green, but it's been windy enough that I think by the time they all change, the ground will be the only place you can see the colors!

Interesting though, usually only a tree or two here and there turn bright red or orange, but this year on the way up, we could see entire regions where it looked like ALL the trees were that red/orange hue! Anyway, the colors were stunning, and we'll try to get some pictures up on the website for your viewing pleasure soon. We didn't end up getting out of the car much - the wind was icy on top of the 36-degree temperature, and we didn't know if Kate was bundled up enough for it. But I hopped out at one point near a pond and took some shots that hopefully turned out nice (I was going for some desktop wallpaper-quality shots)!

Quickly after that, we had to get ourselves off to church - Kyla's worship team was on this week, so I was doing lights too. So that was Saturday evening and Sunday morning. One cool thing this weekend was we decided to go public with the podcasts and publish them in the iTunes store - you'll be able to find them by searching for our church soon! We're only publishing the Audio and Notes podcasts so far - we still have kinks to work out on the video side, but we'll get there eventually.

Sunday afternoon we cleaned up the house a bit, visited with my grandparents when they popped by, then it was back to church for dinner - this has been the kickoff weekend for the new building campaign, and they wanted to get all the leaders in the church involved early. So now we're praying about how much to commit to give toward the new building. The walkthrough turned out much better than I was afraid it might - though they got a lot of the exterior looks wrong, the inside is pretty darn accurate. It might be a tool we can use at work to prompt us to tweak a few areas so they work better, too. However, Kyla thought that my initial fear after seeing the 'teaser' trailer for the walkthrough 4 weeks ago proved to be well-founded - she liked the wireframe version of the building better than the rendered version. They really did a great job with the wireframe building overview - I'm going to have to study it to see how they made a wireframe model legible to laypeople...

The only other stuff that happened this weekend was a little more work on the website - notice I got a guestbook of sorts running, based on this technology. The only problem is that I'm having to rely on third-party apps to embed it in the homepage, which always brings with it ads for their service. In my downtime at church, I was playing on my laptop trying to write my own JavaScript to do this, and I actually got it working, but when I tried it on Vista, I'm getting access denied errors - looks like IE7 is more strict on Vista than XP, so I'm afraid I'll have to either keep using the third party apps, or figure out how to use ASP on Vista's new IIS, which I find extremely dense to get into, by the way. This is probably the only thing in Vista that I actually don't see why such a drastic change was necessary - the other similar things are mere annoyances, but this is such a change that I can't find a way around it, and it's limiting its functionality! Oh well. Have a great Monday, everyone! ☺


Friday, October 5, 2007

Fun with the Onion

Some of my favorite old articles from The Onion:
(if you don't know The Onion, it's a fake online news source, so YES, all these stories are fake).

Apple Unveils New Product-Unveiling Product

Apple's New iPhone
(this was from the initial iPhone launch)

Hillary Clinton Tries To Woo Voters By Rescinding Candidacy

(Update: I forgot this one in my original post)
Non-Doping Cyclists Finish Tour De France

And last, this one's not from The Onion, but BBspot is very similar in that it publishes satire, but for the tech world:

Apple Stores to Begin Charging Entrance Fee

Have a great Friday, everyone!


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Zune 2 Preview

There's an excellent preview on the new Zune releases at Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows :

Looking back over the past year, I fault Microsoft for two things. First, the company completely blew its chance for a big entry into the market, and there's no way to undo that now. Second, after promising to move quickly on new features (podcasting support anyone?), Microsoft instead let the Zune sit and simmer all year. Sure, we got new colors over time, augmenting the white, black, and weird brown Zune 30s that debuted back in November 2006. But the software never really improved, and thus the Zune owner's experience never really improved either. Now, a year later, I can tell you that this happened so Microsoft could focus on the announcements discussed here. But it was a tough time to be a Zune owner. Hopefully, news of what's coming this year will perk things up a bit.

That's because Microsoft is getting ready to launch its second generation Zunes. There are new devices, new capabilities (all of which, yes, will be ported back to the original device), new PC software, a completely redesigned Zune Marketplace, a completely new Zune community service, and even new accessories (that, yes, will also work with older Zunes). The one promise that Microsoft made early on, and appears to be making good on now, is that they are not abandoning this market. They are in it for the long haul. And while Zune 2.0, as I think of it, is obviously not good enough to suddenly push Microsoft's device beyond the iPod, it may just be good enough to help it snag some market share and move things forward. You never know.

This new device actually looks really interesting to me - it'll still take a long time to catch up to the iPod (or realistically, it probably never will), but what this device may do best is force Apple to continue to innovate. The iPhone and iPod Touch devices are along the right ideas, but they're both a bit half-baked (forgive me, I know they're a first-gen product, but usually Apple does better, even with first-gen devices. Microsoft, on the other hand, historically does a terrible job on first-gen devices [read: the first generation of Zune]). This new Zune seems to have worked out a lot of the kinks from the first generation however (if it performs as well as the early reviewers say), so hopefully Apple will just start to feel a nagging alligator behind them, pushing them on.

It's not dissimilar to what Apple does to Microsoft in the OS area - Microsoft has a HUGE lead on market share compared to Apple, but Apple does a lot of things very well, forcing Microsoft to keep up and keep innovating. What happens when there's a lack of this motivation from another company? Products stagnate. For proof, look no further than Internet Explorer 6 post-Netscape (for what, 6 years?)

But back to the Zune, I've got to say...pushing the new features to the old generation? Genius. That's the right way to do it. I'll be interested to see how these new devices fare, and hoping that Apple will take a cue from some of the new Zune's features. (And maybe match offering 'pure MP3's? Well, we can dream).


Cellphones: Verizon's LG VX10000 Voyager Revealed and Groped (with Gallery) - Gizmodo

I saw this first on the Wii's news channel last night:
Cellphones: Verizon's LG VX10000 Voyager Revealed and Groped (with Gallery) - Gizmodo close! It looks awesome (though obviously a rip-off 'me-too' device), and I like some of its features better than the iPhone (read: a Qwerty keyboard), but... NO WIFI!!? Seems like they just should have slapped a better GUI on a Windows Mobile OS - like Media Center within XP or Vista. Give me wifi, internet explorer, office apps, etc WITH some of these very cool features.

Sorry to say, I don't think this device will cut it. It's along the right lines however, I'll sure be keeping my eyes peeled for the right phone for me. Maybe it's closer to reality than I was afraid!

(BTW, in the meantime, my XV6700 is still the best alternative out there, hands-down. The new firmware upgrade, along with Vista, took care of all my issues I used to have with it, except I wish it natively synched over wifi...)

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Intelligent image Redimensionnement

Don't watch this expecting to be entertained, but if you ever manipulate images, take a look at the future!

This is some really cool software - I'd love to get a copy!

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Microsoft Live Labs: Photosynth

This is extremely cool, and it'll sure revolutionize jobs like mine whenever it's released! Microsoft Live Labs: Photosynth

Photosynth is a piece of software that gets fed tons of different images of the same area or thing, then analyzes all the photos to find similarities, in order to determine where the camera was when the picture was taken, in relation to the subject. Then it finds points on the subject that are in multiple photos (thousands, usually), and creates a 3-d 'cloud' of points of the original subject!

It's really amazing - the free demo is definately worth the install. I found the 'Shuttle on the Launch Pad' to be the most impressive - how can it find the same point in multiple pictures on, say, the External Tank, when it's round and pretty much the same all around!!?

Anyway, I can just imagine only having to go to a building we're remodeling, taking a hundred or so pictures, then coming back and feeding them into photosynth, then taking the generated cloud and letting a 3-d modeling software make faces from it that I can cut down to a 2-d floorplan! The day is coming, I have no doubt, but I sure would love to get my hands on that software! The viewing interface needs a little work, however...they need to allow you to freely 'walk' or 'fly' around the model, rather than only jumping from one picture vantage point to the's hard to ever get out to the view you want, though the 'fly around' button helps.

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Apple - iTunes - iTunes Store - Podcasts - Technical Specification

Apple - iTunes - iTunes Store - Podcasts - Technical Specification
Just for me, because I'm always having to search for this

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NASA - Pioneering NASA Spacecraft Mark Thirty Years of Flight

I know I'm the only one who finds this quite as cool as I do, but I love this story and want to mark it.

NASA - Pioneering NASA Spacecraft Mark Thirty Years of Flight:

NASA's two venerable Voyager spacecraft are celebrating three decades of flight as they head toward interstellar space. Their ongoing odysseys mark an unprecedented and historic accomplishment.

Voyager 2 launched on Aug. 20, 1977, and Voyager 1 launched on Sept. 5, 1977. They continue to return information from distances more than three times farther away than Pluto.

It's just amazing they're STILL receiving data from these craft! I've got to say it though, the sheer arrogance of humanity to do this:

Each of the Voyagers carries a golden record that is a time capsule with greetings, images and sounds from Earth. The records also have directions on how to find Earth if the spacecraft is recovered by something or someone.

is really astounding. "how to find Earth"!!? Based on what, exactly? And while audio on a record is completely analog, therefore theoretically easily decoded, how would they understand what is being said? Because it's in 9 different languages? And I don't think anyone on Earth could figure out how to pull images off a golden record, even knowing they were images! How are aliens to do it? We should have sent bronze engravings of pictures, if we really wanted to send images.

'Nuff about that. This is cool. Way to go NASA!


My first blog post - global warming backlink

Global Warming doesn't add up

That was fun...anyway, I'm just kicking off this blog - we'll see if it turns into something useful for me.

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