Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Online Comments

Alright, I give up with leaving comments on websites. Whenever I do people get retarded angry and just go to town. I don't want to link to all of the flame attacks my comments got in the past, since blogger.com doesn't have enough capacity on their server. Here's an example, though:

One was a comment on some WW2 videogame's "new" nazi zombie mode, in which I said whoopee - more zombies, WW2 and nazis. Watch out. I got blasted multiple times by retarded people while there were even harsher comments that came before mine.

My comments never get approved for posting on Kotaku or Gizmodo, either. Go figure. I guess it's because I'm older than 20. Seriously, this one comment referred to "my old 98xx ATI card years ago". Years ago? Old? Are you fucking 14? Whatever. If a website wants my goddamn opinion nowadays, they'll have to fucking pay me.

What's surprising isn't even the fact each and every one of my comments draws the anger of retards on sight, but that none of my comments include vulgar language or even objective wording. I state that this is how it is and the buck tooth ass freaks come-a-runnin. There could be 30 posts before mine along the lines of "I dnt thnk So cause fag dyke fuck shit cock hate you all". Then I come along and post a clean well thought out comment and holy crap I'm evil. And it's not that I'm afraid of people disagreeing with me, it's the fact I can't get any rational response to anything besides horrible insults while all the 10 year old flamers bounce around unscathed. I'm just tired of it all.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Acclaim doesn't survive Playdom acquisition

Acclaim doesn't survive Playdom acquisition: "
As of Thursday, August 26, it appears as though Acclaim is over and done for the second time. The company (then called Acclaim Entertainment) died once before in 2004 only to return as online game company Acclaim Games in 2004, which was acquired by Playdom in May 2010.
Playdom, you may recall, wound up on Disney Interactive's 'companies we acquired' list just last month. Based on a farewell message on Acclaim Games' site, it appears that the company didn't survive the move.

We've put out a request for comment from Disney Interactive and from Acclaim to determine if the acquisition is what caused the closure -- or if Acclaim's end was a long time coming. Players of Acclaim's martial arts massively multiplayer online game, 9Dragons. will be relieved to hear that the game is still kicking -- operations transferred to GamersFirst three days ago.


Acclaim Games [via Gamasutra]

Dave's Take: I'm not liking this trend lately. If all the good videogame companies disappear, all we'll be left with is EA, Rockstar and 2K. And who plays their games?!

Japanse holding company dissolves Atlus Co.

Japanse holding company dissolves Atlus Co.: "
Japanese video-game publisher Atlus Co. was dissolved today by its parent company, Index Holdings, according to a report from 1UP.com. A representative for the company says the brand will continue to exist under the merger. What this means for Atlus U.S.A. at this point is uncertain.
GamePro Media asked Atlus U.S.A. Manager of Public Relations and Sales Aram Jabbari on how this moves would affect the U.S. arm of the company. We are awaiting comment.

Gamers know Atlus for its publication of Japanese games such as the Shin Megami Tensei series, Trauma Center, and surprise 2009 hit Demon's Souls. The U.S. arm was founded in 1991.

Atlus dissolved by parent company [1UP.com]

Dave's Take: I can only hope Atlus USA sticks around, as they're one of the few developers left that make quality RPGs.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Overworked, U.S.A.

Americans are overworked and have been for years. Phone calls, logging in and even going in on vacation & days off. Unpaid lunch. Mandatory overtime. UNPAID overtime. Vacation, sick, and family days we're supposed to lump all into 5 days a year the company generously gives us. And just look at the hours we work compared to the Germans and even the British. Americans work and work and have no time for anything else including family time, continuing education, hobbies, relaxation, personal improvement, exercise, eating right (only have time for fast food), the list goes on and on. And despite all of our UNREWARDED hard work, what have we got to show for it? A depression. Yes, a depression. I'm not feeling any recovery since the depression started in 2008, and I doubt anyone else is, either. I recently read a headline that stated the recovery is slowing down. How can something be measured if it didn't exist in the first place?

There was actually a bill that was passed in Congress many years ago but was shot down by the president called the Black Bill. It called for 30 hour work weeks. This bill should be passed, along with a few additions: no unpaid lunches, maximum of 5 days working in a row, no mandatory overtime, a 4-day work week and a minimum of one month time off for every worker. How much more could the average U.S. citizen do with 3-day weekends for life? How much stress would be relieved by this? Not only that, it would create a ridiculous number of jobs. For every 3 full time employees scaled back to 30-hr weeks, that's one extra employee the company can pay salary to at NO ADDITIONAL COST. It would be a wash.

Call me a socialist, call me the devil himself, just give me my time back.

"Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?": America's misguided culture of overwork - Nonfiction - Salon.com

The Black Bill Overview

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Implanted Biosynthetic Corneas Can Regenerate Tissue, Restoring Vision in Humans

Implanted Biosynthetic Corneas Can Regenerate Tissue, Restoring Vision in Humans: "

Biosynthetic Cornea Dr. May Griffith displays a biosynthetic cornea that can be implanted into the eye to repair damage and restore sight. Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

An artificial cornea can integrate with the human eye and regenerate nerve tissue, restoring sight to people with impaired vision, researchers announced today.

It's the first study to show an artificially fabricated material can help regrow damaged eye tissue. The breakthrough could help millions of people worldwide who would otherwise have to rely on transplanted corneas from donors.

The study involved 10 Swedish patients with severe corneal scars. Researchers led by Dr. May Griffith of the Ottowa Hospital Research Institute removed damaged corneal tissue from one eye of each patient, replacing it with a bio-synthetic cornea made from recombinant human collagen.

During the next two years, cells and nerves from the patients' own corneas grew into the implant, resulting in a regenerated cornea. Nerves that had been severed during surgery re-grew, and the hybrid corneas resembled normal, healthy corneas. Even better, the patients did not require any immune-suppression drugs, unlike with most transplants. Vision improved in six patients, was unchanged in two, and decreased in two.

The cornea is a thin, transparent layer of collagen that acts as a protective screen over the eyeball. It refracts light that passes through to the lens and ultimately the retina. Blame the cornea for your itchy contact lenses - nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism are all corneal disorders, which affect about 120 million Americans. Corneal disorders are also a leading cause of blindness worldwide, according to the U.N. World Health Organization.

Corneal transplants are the most common method for treating corneal disorders; about 40,000 Americans receive transplants each year. Transplants are fraught with side effects, however, and they're not as common in developing countries.

An Italian study published earlier this summer showed a patient's own stem cells can be cultured in a lab to help re-grow damaged corneas. And some high-tech vision-improvement therapies use the cornea to improve retinal function, which is impaired in elderly people.

But fixing the complex cornea, let alone duplicating it, is extremely difficult: It has five layers and it has no blood supply, so it gets oxygen directly from the air, for instance.

Designing a cornea copy encouraged the patients' bodies to to regrow some of this complex tissue on their own.

The study caps nearly 10 years of research by Griffith, of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and her colleagues at the University of Ottawa and Linköping University in Sweden. Griffith worked with FibroGen Inc., a San Francisco-based outfit that developed a artificial collagen protein, to produce the synthetic corneas. Collagen is the cornea's main ingredient, and FibroGen is the only company that makes a recombinant form of it.

It involves injecting human DNA sequences into yeast to develop synthetic versions of human collagen proteins. The bio-synthetic collagen is indistinguishable from the native version, FibroGen says.

Recombinant human collagen is a good replacement for naturally occurring human collagen because it doesn't have the problems associated with donor tissue or animal collagen, Griffith says. And in countries without a developed donor network, it may be the only cure for corneal blindness.

'With further research, this approach could help restore sight to millions of people who are waiting for a donated human cornea for transplantation,' she says.

Dave's Take: I'm always on the lookout for cures/remedies for blindness. Not only do I think it's a travesty for those that currently are, but if I should ever lose my sight video games and reading would pose some difficulty. Plan ahead, right?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"ramblings" Tag Phased Out

Now that I'm posting literally less than one third of all the articles I read on here (August compared to July), there's no need for the "rambling" tag. It'll still be up for archival purposes, but that's it.

About page edited to reflect these changes, too.

Organization Overload?

I just realized that whenever I gain or lose a videogame I have FIVE things I update. Five.
  • itrackmine.com collection - for insurance purposes, gives total and individual retail price of collection
  • gamespot.com collection - for easy collection ordering by platform/genre
  • amazon.com wishlist - for the ONE PERSON WHO ACTUALLY LOOKS AT THIS COME XMAS/BDAY
  • personal memory card spreadsheet if a PS1 or PS2 game - since the only firmware updates I get for my PS3 since 0.1 have been useless social networking tweaks as opposed to fixing their retarded Memory Card Utility or at least adding some form of navigation
  • personal "what to play" spreadsheet so I don't have to play 20 questions with guests - seriously, I'm getting a little worn out people asking me "what type of game is this" without turning they goddamnz wrist and reading the back
In retrospect, I might be able to cut out Gamespot now if and ONLY if I keep on that what to play spreadsheet, which is merely a tentative project at this time. But until the internet explodes and we're languishing in the last days, I'd prefer to keep an online inventory of my more expensive/prized investments just in case I get robbed AGAIN. Should they actually fix the memory card utility on the PS3 to accommodate gamers that own more than 4 games, I'll gladly cut that monster.

I played around with the idea of using colored circle stickers to categorize my video games, but I think I'll just categorize them by genre with shelf talkers. Also thinking about using custom-built racks to display all the games on the wall side by side in the house we'll be getting someday. Probably in the game & music room (no sense using two rooms for both if I can just fit it all in one).

People of Walmart

People of Walmart: "
Everyone's favorite collection of blurry-cam photos from the depressing aisles of America's biggest retailer comes straight to your coffee table in People of Walmart: Shop and Awe ($9). This 200+...

Dave's Take: O jeez, now I have to get this for the bathroom. Am I not a gracious host?!

A Protein Killer Could Treat All Cancers, and Possibly All Illnesses

A Protein Killer Could Treat All Cancers, and Possibly All Illnesses: "

Choking a Tumor MRI scans show that blood flow [red] decreases in liver tumors after ALN-VSP therapy, which stops cancer cells from making proteins that form blood vessels. Courtesy ALNYLAM

Since last April, 19 cancer patients whose liver tumors hadn't responded to chemotherapy have taken an experimental drug. Within weeks of the first dose, it appeared to work, by preventing tumors from making proteins they need to survive. The results are preliminary yet encouraging. With a slight redesign, the drug might work for hundreds of diseases, fulfilling the promise that wonder cures like stem cells and gene therapy have failed to deliver.

The biotech company Alnylam announced in June that its drug ALN-VSP cut off blood flow to 62 percent of liver-cancer tumors in those 19 patients, by triggering a rarely used defense mechanism in the body to silence cancerous genes. Whereas conventional drugs stop disease-causing proteins, ALN-VSP uses RNA interference (RNAi) therapy to stop cells from making proteins in the first place, a tactic that could work for just about any disease. 'Imagine that your kitchen floods,' says biochemist and Alnylam CEO John Maraganore. 'Today's medicines mop it up. RNAi technology turns off the faucet.'

Here's another analogy: If DNA is the blueprint for proteins, RNA is the contractor. It makes single-stranded copies of DNA's genes, called mRNA, which tell the cell to produce proteins. In 1998, scientists identified RNAi, a mechanism that primitive organisms use to detect and destroy virus's double-stranded RNA and any viral mRNA. Mammals' immune systems made RNAi's antiviral function irrelevant (although all vertebrates, including humans, still use RNAi to regulate mRNA activity), but researchers found that introducing small segments of double-stranded RNA to cells could trigger the ancient mechanism and selectively halt the production of specific proteins.

That ability makes RNAi a potential fix for many diseases, including cancer, that arise when abnormal cells produce excessive amounts of everyday proteins. In theory, manipulating RNAi to kill proteins is simple. ALN-VSP, for example, consists of synthetic double-stranded RNA designed to match tumor mRNA that codes for two proteins: VEGF, which cancers overproduce to help grow new blood vessels, and KSP, which sets off rapid cell division. The researchers send the synthetic RNA into liver cells, and the body's RNAi system kills both the synthetic RNA and any matching tumor-grown mRNA. Knock out the mRNAs coding for those proteins-which in the liver are produced only by cancer cells-and the tumor stops growing.

'We can turn off any one of 20,000 genes with RNAi,' says Bruce Sullenger, a molecular biologist researching RNAi at Duke University. 'The challenge has been to get a drug into only the desired cells and not harm others.' Researchers have worried that a drug might disrupt normal protein production in a healthy cell, or that the immune system will destroy the drug before it reaches its target.

Alnylam overcame both concerns by packaging the drug in a fatty envelope that is absorbed primarily by the liver. This allowed doctors to administer the drug through the blood, rather than by an injection to one spot, which improves results by ensuring that the entire liver receives an even dose.

The technique's ability to attack single genes could lead to drugs for the 75 percent of cancer genes that lack any specific treatment, as well as for other illnesses. Alnylam is already testing RNAi therapy for Huntington's disease and high cholesterol in cell cultures; other researchers are tackling macular degeneration, muscular dystrophy and HIV. The potential has driven nearly every major pharmaceutical company to start an RNAi program.

Because the approach is fundamentally simple, RNAi therapy could be ready within two years, say experts including John Rossi, a molecular geneticist at City of Hope National Medical Center in California. Alnylam plans to enroll an additional 36 patients in the ALN-VSP trial and increase the dosage, but the early results are good enough to suggest that it could be among the first RNAi therapies to hit the market. 'I think RNAi could work for anything,' Rossi says. 'But even if it only works for liver cancer, it would be pretty good.' For liver-cancer patients who have been failed by chemotherapy and radiation and felt their harsh side effects, that would be wonder drug enough.

Dave's Take: I'm always interested in new ways to cure illness. Too many good people are lost to disease while reality/talent shows and brobags continue to thrive.

Always Question Hospital Bills to Significantly Reduce Final Cost [Bills]

Always Question Hospital Bills to Significantly Reduce Final Cost [Bills]: "

Medical billing, as the recent debate over healthcare has brought to light, is inconsistent at best. Never unquestioningly pay a hospital bill, a simple inquiry can radically lower your your final cost. More »

Dave's Take: Good idea. I've heard some horror stories about $500 teddy bears in pediatric hospitals and what have you. This shit needs to be regulated.

Call of Duty: Black Ops On PC Will Have Mod Tools [PC]

Call of Duty: Black Ops On PC Will Have Mod Tools [PC]: "

Perhaps seeking to undo some of the damage done to the Call of Duty franchise on the PC wrought by Modern Warfare 2, Treyarch has revealed that Black Ops will feature mod tools. More »

Dave's Take: I'll definitely have to look into this game. What is it, the 452nd Call of Duty Modern Warfare Battlefield? Still, I have marginal hopes for the actual game itself. The mod community will be churning out zombie ww2 mods by the fistful or just "50% more damage for pistols" crap. We'll see. I'm still waiting for the perfect mod.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Two Story, Climb Inside Bookshelf Tower

The Two Story, Climb Inside Bookshelf Tower: "
The Ark, designed by Rintala Eggertsson Architects is a book lovers dream - the ultimate bookshelf, one that you can literally climb inside and spend the day in. Talk about getting lost in a good book!

Read Full Post"


Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Good Decision, An Epiphany & Renewed Interests

GOOD DECISION - Back in July, I started the enrollment process for ITT. It felt good, I need to get my career off the ground, as it has plateaued. Fast forward to two weeks ago one morning. I'm checking out ITT reviews online and it turns out they are not an accredited college and the faculty must meet quotas, it seems. This puts more emphasis on the almighty dollar than the students and coursework. Students are passed or failed on whims and quotas. The nail in the coffin was the fact that most employers disregard "degrees" from ITT as anything more than a GED, if that. That would have been an expensive mistake that would have not only affected me but my family as well. Needless to say, I began pacing back and forth and had an anxiety attack. That same day I rushed to Schenectady County Community College to speak with an advisor and she confirmed my trepidation. Everything worked out fine, as I'm enrolled in SCCC to finish my associate's degree this Fall semester.

EPIPHANY - I recently started another project that involved organizing and cataloguing my collection of console videogames so that when company is over I don't have to play twenty questions when they ask me what they want to play. I narrowed it down to 7 genres and 7 traits (exploration, customization, loot, etc.) which had their own color coding. While further looking into videogame traits to add to the list, I came across a big list of videogame concepts. Ninety percent of the traits were garbage and irrelevant, but I cherry picked the ones that were and put them in a spreadsheet under 5 distinct categories. While I won't divulge those categories, my epiphany was that every single videogame has at least one trait in these categories, and that genre standardization can be realized for gamers. I've come up with 14 prime genres that can be reused as descriptor genres like Action RPG. RPG would be the prime and Action would be the descriptor. So right now my main project is writing an academic paper complete with abstract, figures, and appendices entitled "The Case for Video Game Genre Standardization and the *** Method". I'm also looking to start my own wiki that will basically just be a list of all the videogames I can fit on there and the act of categorizing them and adding traits while inviting contributors I can give credit to on the dissertation when it's finally written. That would definitely give a boost to the validity of my concepts.

RENEWED INTERESTS - When I heard Gran Turismo 4 was coming out, I didn't care. Hated GT3. Same with GT5 recently, didn't care. However, an article on Kotaku mentioned an RPG side to it that involves managing drivers and AI and holy crap it looks so good. Torchlight 2 is coming out next year and Runic Games admitted they should have put multiplayer in it, so TL2 is getting multiplayer. It's what TL1 needed, as it's kind of a lame version of Fate. And now that I've collected pretty much all the PS1 & PS2 games I want to own, I can turn my attention to new releases.


RetroZone PowerPak NES Cartridge

Dave's Take: Play all your NES roms on your NES console via an SD card embedded in an actual cartridge?!?!?! YES. $135? NO.

DIY Ultimate Note-Taking Notebook [DIY]

DIY Ultimate Note-Taking Notebook [DIY]: "

For those of us who are picky about what we write on, finding a quality notebook that meets your specific needs can be tricky. Here's how to make your own personalized, customized notebook. More »

Dave's Take: I know I promised a drastic reduction of article volume, but this is nice. I can go through steno books aplenty and the only note-taking application that fits my standards for Windows is Melon Pro. I still am waiting to get an Android OS phone, but I've never come across a phone or pda note taking that has the benefits of pen and paper. The Cornell method looks promising in analog organization of notes using just a $2 8.5"x11" notebook. I have no turtlenecks, so I can't get a Moleskine. Not hip enough. Seriously, look at these pretentious Lisa Loeb and Steve Jobs clones.

160GB PlayStation 3 confirmed, on sale at Amazon UPDATE

160GB PlayStation 3 confirmed, on sale at Amazon UPDATE: "

Dave's Take: With my PS2 and PS1 games outnumbering my PS3 games 15 to 1 (300:20) and the fact I don't use half of my 20GB HDD, there's no reason to get a new slim PS3. No backwards compatibility + additional drive space I'll never use = non sale. On top of that, the cheapest slim is $300, which is what I paid for my 20GB. If I could get my hands on a PS1 & PS2 memory card reader/management system, I'd even stop using the PS3 for PS1/2 games, as the Memory Card Utility hurts my very soul to use.

10 high-tech gadgets I can live without

10 high-tech gadgets I can live without: "

Dave's Take: This article has a few good points, and quite honestly I did fine without everything on his list before they came about. Though the author borders on paranoid and crotchety it was nice to take a step back and re-evaluate just how necessary all this tech is. I'd still like to try some of the things he mentioned, though, like an e-reader and a Droid phone.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hey — Why Aren't There Any Ladders In Fallout? [Fallout]

Hey — Why Aren't There Any Ladders In Fallout? [Fallout]: "

Answer: 'We're game development pussies,' Bethesda's Todd Howard said at a QuakeCon panel on Friday. No really, the engine in Fallout and Elder Scrolls runs into AI problems if ladders are introduced, and the developer just works around them. More »

Dave's Take: Another huge reason Bethesda is one of THE worst developers in gaming history. I yearn for Black Isle.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gadgets : KeyTool Keyring Multi-tool

Gadgets : KeyTool Keyring Multi-tool: " Tiny tool hides around a key, ready to show off its 8 different tools.A tiny tool that hides 8 different micro tools. It wraps around a key on your keyring and swings out for action. Never be without a bottle opener or mini screwdriver again! $9.99"

Dave's Take: This would be a lot easier to carry around than my Leatherman.

Sharpie Liquid Pencil

Sharpie Liquid Pencil: "
Of all the 'magical' products unveiled this year, the Sharpie Liquid Pencil ($2) might just deserve the praise if it lives up to its claims. The unique new writing tool...

Visit Uncrate for the full post."

Dave's Take: Awesome. I have to get Naomi 30 of these.

Makr Studio Work Stool

Makr Studio Work Stool: "
Add a bit of historical style to your workspace with the Makr Studio Work Stool ($690/delivery; $550/pick-up). Built-to-order with a white walnut seat and hand-welded steel body, this inaugural release...

Visit Uncrate for the full post."

Dave's Take: $550?!?!?!?! You can get this at an antique store or a yard sale for $5.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Next Borderlands Add-on May Have Just Been Seriously Spoiled [Rumor]

The Next Borderlands Add-on May Have Just Been Seriously Spoiled [Rumor]: "

Gearbox Software's loot-centric first-person shooter Borderlands recently got an update, one that added Steam achievements and new hardware support. That update also may have laid out, in extreme, spoiler-filled detail, the next downloadable expansion for Borderlands. More »

Dave's Take: I was hoping for Borderlands 2 news, but this will do fine for now. I've completed 7 playthroughs, why not a 9th?

And Another Foxconn Worker Dies [Tragedy]

And Another Foxconn Worker Dies [Tragedy]: "

Foxconn is famous for two things: Manufacturing electronics (the PS3, the Nintendo Wii, the Xbox 360 and the iPhone) and having employees that commit suicide. This year, 12 Foxconn workers have taken their own lives. More »

Dave's Take: If American employers keep listening to business consultants and cramming metrics down everyone's throats, they'll be well on their way to Foxconn's employee "morale" level! GO USA!

Quick 220

Quick 220: "
When I moved into my apartment I found it had a through-the-wall air conditioner sleeve. I ignored it and installed my window air conditioner. When that old AC died about 3 years ago, I was told by the co-op board that the rules had changed and I had to use the sleeve. I guess I should pay more attention to coop board announcements. My problem was that next to the sleeve was a 110V outlet but every AC that fit the sleeve required 220V.

After being quoted over $1000 to run 220V to the sleeve I was desperate to find another solution. Luckily, I found the Quick 220 Power Converter. All it took was the 110V outlet near the sleeve and an extension cord from another 110V outlet on a different circuit. Instantly, I had two 220V outlets. And at $160.00 I was very happy with the price. They also throw in an outlet tester because both 110V outlets must be wired correctly (not something you can assume in an old apartment) for the Quick 220 to work.

Dave's Take: Very useful. Must have! Could have used this plenty of times, but the savings on electrician service would make it sensible even for a one-time use to hook up an A/C.

Is this guy the Web's new rickroll?

Is this guy the Web's new rickroll?: "Have you recently clicked on a link and -- surprise! -- been redirected to a nine-minute YouTube clip of a hip-swiveling saxophone player? Congrats -- you've been 'saxrolled' and seen the Epic Sax Guy.

Dave's Take: I officially hate people. Epic. Sax. Guy. (Don't worry, kids, there's still comedy out there that's on a higher level than 4chan and poop jokes. Louis CK, Bryan Regan, Patton Oswalt...) Stop saying epic.

New phone charging could cut power cords

New phone charging could cut power cords: "When does mobile not feel very mobile? Every time you have to plug in a cord to charge a device. But power cords could become a 20th century artifact (at least for small mobile devices) if wireless charging technology becomes affordable, reliable, interoperable and easy.

Dave's Take: When will the tech pundits ever learn? Along with cloud computing, they're still drooling about wireless technology? And yet they still have to sit on the floor in the corner to get signal on their laptop when they're 3 feet away from the wifi router. Listen to me right now: wifi is convenient, but it will NEVER be reliable. NEVER.

In Europe, one cell-phone charger for everybody

In Europe, one cell-phone charger for everybody: "Cellphone battery dead? No problem: Just borrow a charger from a friend. Oh, wait -- you can't, because your friend doesn't have the same phone as you, and his charger won't work with your phone.

Dave's Take: Wow. The minor annoyance of cell phone chargers is getting a law passed in Europe? How about you remind yourself you're not 6 years old anymore and try this thing called responsibility? You know, bring your charger with you if you need it? And don't forget to grab your sippy cup too cause you're a BIG KID NOW!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Reducing the Flood!

I realized how many articles I publish PER DAY to the blog with no regard for human life. It's horrendous. I spent a good hour or so trying to weed out articles to delete and setting aside ones I could put the "red comment" in, but I gave up.

However, no post from this point on will be without a tag. News articles I publish from Google Reader will have relevant comments added. No more willy-nilly "send to" anymore, I promise. The archives should be a LOT slimmer from Aug '10 on.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Geek Toys : NERF Longstrike Sniper Rifle

Geek Toys : NERF Longstrike Sniper Rifle: " Time to get yourself the longest NERF rifle ever. 3 FEET LONG!Sometimes a small pistol is fun - you can keep it hidden. But sometimes you just gotta break out the big guns. This is the longest NERF gun ever made. You know you want it. $49.99"

Dave's Take: WANT THIS NOW.

360 Panorama does instant, awesome panoramas

360 Panorama does instant, awesome panoramas: "
Shooting panoramic photos with a mobile phone can be difficult. Often times it requires doing all the work in a software app when you get back from wherever you are, as well as trying to make sure that the phone's camera does not change its white balance or exposure between shots.

Occipital, the creators of the popular RedLaser scanning app (which wassold to eBay last month) have a new iPhone app debuting on Friday called 360 Panorama, which is attempting to change that. For $2.99, users can simply move their phone from left to right to capture a photo panorama. The end result is a single, panoramic photo that requires zero post-processing.

360 Panorama app

To use the app, users just hold their iPhone and move from side to side, capturing the area around them.

Screenshots by Josh Lowensohn/CNET)

Behind the scenes the app is actually using the iPhone's video camera, which means that users will need a 3GS or the newer iPhone 4 to use it. The app also takes advantage of the iPhone 4's gyroscope hardware to help judge how quickly you're rotating, so it can figure out what needs to be captured and where you've already been. As it records imagery, it stitches together an image based on your movement, which you can see and track to make any angle corrections. Some modern day point and shoot cameras like Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-W370 are able to do the same thing, though with a larger end result.

Size and distortions are ultimately the two things that limit this app from being as useful as proper photo stitching software. The images it spits out are quite small when compared with the still shots your camera takes. You can see this in the two sample photos I've embedded below (click on each to see it in full size):

A panorama of downtown SF.

A demo shot taken in downtown San Francisco. Normally this would take several shots, but 360 Panorama is able to capture it all at once.

Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET)

And a full 360 of an interior:

A 360 panoramic.

A 360 degree shot taken from inside CNET. (click to see in its original size)

Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET)

The larger problem is the distortion, which Occipital co-founder Vikas Reddy told me is made worse in indoor situations. His team is working on ways to make it better in a future release, but in the meantime shooting outdoors provides for a much smoother and less jaggy experience. Being in the urban jungle of downtown San Francisco, I wasn't able to fully test how well it would work on something like rolling hills or a forest, but as you can see from the shots above it does a fine job until you hit perfectly straight lines where the software is forced to make a stitch by guesswork.

These issues aside, 360 Panorama is an incredibly neat, and genuinely useful app. It may have no business taking over the job of a good crisp, and low distortion still image, but if you want to quickly capture an incredible amount of detail of the world around you, it's tough to beat.
Dave's Take: This looks awesome.

How to Turn Your Android Phone into a Fully-Automated Superphone [Automation]

How to Turn Your Android Phone into a Fully-Automated Superphone [Automation]: "

What if your phone automatically went silent when you step into the movie theater? Texted your significant other when you finished your long commute? Or automatically turned down the volume when a particularly loud friend called? It can; here's how. More »

Dave's Take: SOME of these seem useful.

Turn Off HTC's Sense UI on Your Android Phone and Use the Default Android Launcher [Android Tip]

Turn Off HTC's Sense UI on Your Android Phone and Use the Default Android Launcher [Android Tip]: "

While a lot of people really like HTC's custom Sense UI, many prefer the vanilla Android experience available on the Droid or Nexus One. Reader Duane shows us how to disable Sense on some HTC Android phones. More »

Dave's Take: Less touch more gooder for Daves.

Less Spam, Please Generates Temporary, Anonymous Email Addresses On-the-Fly [Downloads]

Less Spam, Please Generates Temporary, Anonymous Email Addresses On-the-Fly [Downloads]: "

Firefox only (Windows/Mac/Linux): Firefox extension Less Spam, Please adds an item to your right-click context menu to automatically generate an anonymous, disposable email address so you can try out a new service without fear of spam. More »

Dave's Take: This could turn out to be very useful.

Top 10 Tools and Tactics to Trim Your Bills [Lifehacker Top 10]

Top 10 Tools and Tactics to Trim Your Bills [Lifehacker Top 10]: "

Cutting down your cellphone, rent, credit card, and other bills is the gift that keeps on giving, all year 'round. Try these negotiation tactics, savings tips, reminder plans, and other tips to cut down your paycheck killers. More »

Dave's Take: There's a lot of good tips in here.

The No Button Game : The No Button Game

The No Button Game : The No Button Game: "This game was classified by the community with the following category scores - Violence=1/3, Sex=0/3, Mature Content=0/3. The No Button Game is a fast paced button-free platform game that does not require the use of buttons or sticks to be played. Place your wireless controller on a box then tap with your fingers and it is done! Don't you have a wireless controller or a box handy? No worries, there's the one button mode."

Dave's Take: WTF

The KIN phone is dead -- 'buy now!'

The KIN phone is dead -- 'buy now!': "At the end of June, after much hype and a major mass-media ad campaign, Microsoft pulled the plug on KIN, its family of semi-smartphones.

Dave's Take: Thank GOD. That thing was a disaster, as is every other piece of technology/software that relies too heavily or is based on social networking. I cannot WAIT for networking to die.