December 21, 2015

60 Minutes Visits Apple

permalink | December 21, 2015 at 10:31 AM | Comments (1)

December 9, 2015

This May Have A Use

Cortona is Siri-like software from Microsoft that is for the iPhone! After you have recovered from the shock and horror of the idea, you should know this is probably a pretty good idea for iPhone users who are still using Windows devices. It allows the user to sync reminders and other necessary stuff between the iPhone and a Windows PC.

Here is a link to Cortana that might not help you at all. My searches of iTunes and the App Store on my iPhone turn up zilch for Cortana. I can find it in iTunes using my desktop Mac, but that wouldn't help me get it on my phone, which is where it would be used. If anyone has more experience with iTunes and can explain this to me, that would be nice. I don't think this is a Microsoft screw-up. But it could be. I should never over-estimate Microsoft.

Nevertheless, if you follow the link above on your iPhone, you will be able to get Cortana.

permalink | December 9, 2015 at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2015

You'll Love This

Technology that allows phones and tablets to detect what ads you watch on TV and then set up for some customized advertising on your mobile unit. An ultrasonic sound is inserted into the TV ad and then heard by your mobile. Some apps use it and the developer will not disclose which ones. The user is not permitted to opt out.

Here are some workarounds:

  1. Don't watch any TV that has advertising.
  2. Watch TV with the sound off relying on captions.
  3. Use headphones to listen to TV.
  4. Put your mobile devices far enough from your TV that they can't hear it.

permalink | November 15, 2015 at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2015

Coming Next?

Here’s an Indiegogo for a company that dreams of being the next GoPro, like so many have, but this one is interesting. A 3D stereoscopic action camera and accessories. Think of a GoPro with a full 180° lens and then double it. The LucidCam.


A sample, sort of. I'm able to form a crosseye-ed 3D image in the middle of these.

permalink | November 13, 2015 at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

November 4, 2015

UAVs in China

China is rushing right ahead preparing for a drone boom without wasting time on all that pesky regulation. Well, some regulation I guess. You've got to have a license. This will provide an excellent opportunity for American regulators and insurance companies to learn all the ways things can go wrong at much less expense and risk to Americans. Go China.

permalink | November 4, 2015 at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2015

Stanford's Autonomous DeLorean...

…can cut donuts.

News article.

"In our work developing autonomous driving algorithms, we've found that sometimes you need to sacrifice stability to turn sharply and avoid accidents," Gerdes said. "The very best rally car drivers do this all this time, sacrificing stability so they can use all of the car's capabilities to avoid obstacles and negotiate tight turns at speed. Their confidence in their ability to control the car opens up new possibilities for the car's motion. Current control systems designed to assist a human driver, however, don't allow this sort of maneuvering. We think that it is important to open up this design space to develop fully automated cars that are as safe as possible."

permalink | October 21, 2015 at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2015

Tesla Autopilot

With a nervous guy in the driver’s seat.

permalink | October 20, 2015 at 10:39 PM | Comments (1)

October 14, 2015

Hairwashing Machine


He's got a patent in China (does that mean anything?). And this is better than washing with your hands because...why?

It would be good for somebody lacking two arms, if its whole operation can be designed to be worked by something other than hands.

permalink | October 14, 2015 at 12:49 AM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2015

iMac and Accessories Updated

Apple has updated the Magic Trackpad ($129), the Magic Mouse ($79), and the Magic Keyboard ($99). All three get built-in rechargeable (via USB) lithium-ion batteries. More details.

iMacs have been upgraded, too. The 27-inch iMac (starts at $1,799) gets a Retina 5K display and the 21-inch model (starts at $1,499) gets a Retina 4K display. Your new iPhone 6S shoots 4K video, so how're you going to enjoy that without a 4K display?

permalink | October 13, 2015 at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2015

Self-Incrimination Live!

The story of a young woman in Florida who, while driving drunk, thought it would be kewl to use Periscope to broadcast her experience live to the entire internet (or at least those who have loaded Periscope on their mobile device). Viewers reported her to police, but were unable to identify her location or vehicle with any useful accuracy. Worse, of course, was the officers of the Lakeland Police Department did not have Periscope on their phones. One officer downloaded it so they could watch her until they could identify landmarks she passed, so that they could estimate her location and direction. She was stopped by police before anything bad happened to anyone besides herself. Her Miranda warning was fairly pointless by then, except for the part about having an attorney.

The link above includes a video recording of her Periscope broadcast.

I'm pretty sure our DHS Police don't have Periscope either, having learned from Larry Buchanan that they don't even have GPS. Can you believe that? All these new officers and they have to look up addresses on a paper map in order to respond to calls.

permalink | October 12, 2015 at 04:40 PM | Comments (0)

Expect To See More Of These

Besides looking scary, this ghost can come down and actually slice up your face. What Halloween fun!

If you too would like to be the object of lawsuits in your neighborhood, here's how to build one that's a little safer, since the rotors are not close to the ghost.

permalink | October 12, 2015 at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2015

Talk About Broadband!

Suppose you've got, say, 50TB of data you have to get up to the Amazon cloud. How to do it. Amazon's solution is to send you via FedEx a box that can store up to 50TB of data. You fill it up and ship it back. It'll cost you $200 to have the box at your site for up to ten days. After that, it's $15/day. Amazon loads the contents onto their Oregon data center. It's called Snowball. I guess "Really Big SneakerNet" was already taken.

Available only in the U.S. currently.

permalink | October 11, 2015 at 07:51 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2015

3D Printing With Glass

A team from Mediated Matter and MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering developed this precision technique.

Some of the objects created will go on display at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum on Fifth Avenue in New York City next year.

permalink | August 22, 2015 at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2015

If God Actually Smote

Four successive lightning strikes on a Google data center in Belgium resulted in the permanent loss of some data. If God ever decided to get back into the smiting business, this is the sort of precision accuracy I would expect of someone who claims to be almighty. It's much more impressive than, say, sending a hurricane to flood all of Florida just to wipe out some investment property held by a couple of Google employees.

permalink | August 20, 2015 at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2015

The Intended Market For This Ring Is...?

Women with entirely decent boyfriends who want to drive their boyfriends away. (Also, it helps if the woman likes ugly rings.) At a minimum, they've guaranteed that no man will ever buy one as a gift for a woman – although those few guys who consider auto-castration to be a fun activity would probably be an exception to this rule.

permalink | August 14, 2015 at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2015

Video Editing

So, there's this new app called Shred. Throw a video and some music at it and it will edit them down to something short and effective. So I threw about 1½ hours of video from Burning Man at it, plus The Trammps' "Disco Inferno" and this is what I got back:

Not great, but clearly more entertaining than my own edits.

permalink | July 21, 2015 at 01:48 PM | Comments (1)

July 16, 2015

1950s Technology Used To Repair 21st Century HD TV

Is that bat plastic?

I recommend trying this on someone else's TV first, just for practice.

permalink | July 16, 2015 at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2015

An Advance In Precision Prostate Surgery

A plastic and ceramic robot that can perform prostate surgery while the patient is inside an MRI machine.. Communication with the device is via fiber optic cable. This comes from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (not MIT!) and has been tested with a dozen men at Brigham And Women's Hospital.

permalink | July 12, 2015 at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)

July 7, 2015

New, Better GPS

We're not talking about the European or Russian GPS systems, but the plain ol' Murkin one. And it turns out it isn't so "new." With superior antennas far beyond the price range acceptable for a hiking GPS, one can get centimeter accuracy using our existing GPS satellites. This, then, is about a new, better, cheaper GPS antenna that will bring greater accuracy to the wandering masses. And when you can get centimeter precision, you open up GPS use to much more than merely finding a pizza shop.

"The researchers' new system could allow unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver packages to a specific spot on a consumer's back porch, enable collision avoidance technologies on cars and allow virtual reality (VR) headsets to be used outdoors."

And here's your 21st century gee whiz quote: "'Imagine games where, rather than sit in front of a monitor and play, you are in your backyard actually running around with other players,' said Todd Humphreys, assistant professor in the [University of Texas] Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics and lead researcher."

Finally the great breakthrough in games: playing outdoors. Wouldn't our grandparents marvel?

permalink | July 7, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Comments (1)

June 30, 2015

New Property Of Graphene Discovered

Shine a laser or just strong light on it, and it moves. Researchers don't yet know how that works, but think it's possible the laser builds up an electron charge on the graphene until the electrons are released in one direction. They also don't know why the electrons would be released that way, rather than randomly. But even without knowing why, one can see that this could be a pretty fabulous technology to build fuel-less spacecraft able to travel forever.

permalink | June 30, 2015 at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)