Monday, November 30, 2009

LG announces GW820 ‘eXpo’ smartphone w/ 1GHz processor and optional projector

LG has announced a new Windows Mobile 6.5-based smartphone, the eXpo. But unlike other 6.5 smarties on the market, the newest member of the LG family is packing just about everything but the kitchen sink including a 1GHz processor, a built-in fingerprint sensor, and an optional Pico Projector you can slap onto the back with an 8-foot projection distance.

The projector adds another 1.8 ounces, and as you can see, a bit of an ass to it. Besides the 1GHz goodness, the slider's running Windows Mobile 6.5, has a 3.2-inch touchscreen and a 5MP camera for $200 on contract. Specifically a "minimum $69.99 plan." The projector add-on's $180, though it'll follow the phone's Dec. 7 drop date by a few weeks.

Scientists Grow Pork Meat in a Lab, Annoying PETA People To Disappear Soon [Food]

Scientists in the Netherlands have successfully synthesized some real-deal pork meat without having to kill any pigs. Sure, it's not quite edible yet, but they predict you'll be eating labmeat in a mere five years.
What they made this time is what they're calling 'soggy pork,' which is fake pig muscle that's pretty gross because it's never been exercised. But once they figure out how to tone it up in the lab, you'll be looking at guilt-free pork chops.
And it's amazing news, really. Not only will vegetarians get to enjoy the deliciousness that is meat without guilt, but it'll do wonders for the environment. Do you realize how horrible the beef industry is for ol' Mother Nature? Very, very horrible. If we could replace all those factory farmed animals with slabs of meat rolling off an assembly line, we'd be doing the planet and animals a whole lot of good.
That is, provided it tastes good. If it doesn't, no one will eat it, and this will all be for naught. So make sure it's succulent, scientists!
[Gizmodo via Telegraph via Boing Boing]

GlucoTrack Ear Lobe Non Invasive Glucometer [Diabetes]

Amy Tenderich of DiabetesMine recently met a representative of Integrity Applications, an Ashkelon, Israel firm that has developed the GlucoTrack non-invasive blood glucose monitor. The device, which we profiled about four years ago when it was still in prototype stage, uses ultrasound, conductivity and heat capacity in an ear clip sensor to take glucose readings in a matter of seconds. Integrity recently received European approval for the GlucoTrack and is now waiting for FDA's blessings to market in the US.

From DiabetesMine:

But even on the existing non-continuous model, the key question of course is how accurate is it? That’s the deal-breaker, because who’s going to switch to something less accurate than what we already have? The bottom line is that right now, Integrity’s data show that GlucoTrack is more accurate than other non-invasive technologies, but not as consistently accurate as current fingerstick meters.
“We’re working to improve that. Our technology uses three different measurements simultaneously, and then correlates and averages the results for more precise readings,” Avner tells me.

“Fine,” I reply, “But the big advantage of a device like this is doing away with the need for test strips. That only works if you’re accurate enough so people (who take insulin!) don’t need to do fingersticks alongside the ear measurements.”

Naturally they’re feverishly gathering data. Even with improved numbers, they cannot predict whether the FDA would move GlucoTrack out of the “adjunctive therapy” category (a device to be used for extra information only).

Read on at DiabetesMine...

Product page: GlucoTrack...
Flashback: The GlucoTrack


LEAK: The Google Phone "Is a Certainty" [Rumors]

According to a trusted source who's seen it with their own eyes, the Google Phone 'is a certainty.'
And by 'Google Phone' we don't simply mean another Android headset. We're talking about Google-branded hardware running a version of Android we haven't yet seen.
Over the next few weeks, Google Phones (most probably in early, prototype form) will flood the Mountain View campus. They'll don large LCDs while running a new version of Android—either Flan or the version of Android beyond it—which our source spotted running on Google's handset as well as a laptop. (Whatever the software was, it most certainly wasn't Chrome OS, we were assured.)
But maybe the most intriguing bit is what someone said to our source offhandedly, that the current Android, the we all know and love, is not the 'real' Android. So what makes for a 'real' version of Android?
Our best guess is an Android OS with Google Voice at its heart.

Sony: World’s first TransferJet-compatible LSI for fast data exchange are ready [Wireless]


TransferJet is a close-proximity wireless transfer technology that was introduced by Sony in 2008. Toshiba announced during IFA in Berlin this year they are planning to use the technology in their products soon. The idea is to let two electronic devices quickly exchange data, theoretically at up to 560 Mbps, just by bringing them close together (touch is possible, too).
And today, Sony announced in Tokyo [press release in English] that the first LSIs supporting the standard will be shipped to manufacturers before December starts. The “CXD3267AGG” (pictured on the left) and the “CXD3268AGW” will cost $17.45 each. Sony says they managed to optimize the technology so that TransferJet can now be integrated into smaller electronic devices, too. The LSIs can be used by makers of cell phones, digital cameras, computers and HDDs.
Toshiba and Sony are just two of the 19 companies of the so-called TransferJet Consortium Promoters. Other members include powerhouses such as Panasonic, Sharp or Samsung so it’s possible we’ll get to see a slew of new TransferJet-compatible electronic devices next year.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Buffalo announces world’s first 12x Blu-ray burner (and it’s USB 3.0, too)

USB 3.0 is just around the corner (kind of), and the first computer hardware manufacturers are getting ready to deliver products supporting the new standard (even though there were some backlashes along the way). Last month, Asus announced the world’s first USB 3.0 + SATA 6.0 PCI-E card. In May, NEC said they’re going to release the first USB 3.0 host controller.

And now Japanese computer hardware company Buffalo has announced [JP] the world’s first 12x Blu-ray burner, which supports USB 3.0 on top of that. The BR-X1216U3 is backward compatible with USB 2.0 but will burn your Blu-rays with “just” 7x speed in that case. You can only use it with a Windows machine (XP/Vista/7).

But actually there are no Blu-ray discs which could be used with a 12x burner and no USB 3.0-equipped computers out there at this point, but Japan is known to be a tad quicker than the rest of the tech world sometimes.

Buffalo says they will roll out the burner at the beginning of next month. Japanese street price: $460. The company hasn’t said anything yet about international sales.

Yoomi Baby Bottle Heats Milk For You, No Cartridges Required [Food]

Self-heating containers aren't a new idea, but rarely are they as practical or reusable as the Yoomi baby bottle.
You simply push a button on the bottle and wait 60 seconds. The milk will be heated to the perfect, baby-friendly temperature.

But unlike, say, those self-heating mocha lattes you can buy at the store, the heating element can be 'recharged' by tossing it in boiling water. The liquid inside becomes solid, and the chemical reaction renews for next time. (This works about 100 times before you need another heating pack.)
The Yoomi is on sale in the UK now for $35, though I expect we'll see it reach more retailers over time. This bottle is neat.
[DVICE, Gizmodo via MailOnline]

The Best Gadgets According to Gizmodo [Bestmodo]

The Best Gadgets [Bestmodo]: "

'What gadget should I get?' is a timeless question. To answer it, here's our leaderboard of favorite gadgets, from smartphones, laptops and cameras to vacuums, rechargeable batteries and earphones.

Last updated Nov 25th, 2009 but we'll update this list as the new stuff replaces the old and crusty. We read and write reviews so you don't have to!


• The Best Smartphones: We like the iPhone, the Motorola Droid because it runs Android 2.0 operating system, and the Palm Pre for people who have stuck with Sprint. We do not like anything Symbian or Windows Mobile 6.5, for the time being. (But are excited for Windows Mobile 7.)

• Cheapest Android Phones: Droid Eris and HTC Hero.

• The Best Smartphones, By Carrier: We sorted out theses answers on Nov 24th, but this category moves quickly so stay sharp when researching.

• Best Windows Mobile Phone We Wish Didn't Run Windows Mobile 6.5: The HTC HD2

• Best BlackBerry: If you're into phones with exceedingly reliable push email, the Bold 9700 is your phone. (We don't like Blackberry's touchscreen interfaces, so the Storms are no good.)

• Non-Smartphones: You mean dumbphones? No thank you.


• Netbook: If you must get one of these small, cheap and utterly slow machines, the HP Mini 311 with ion graphics is a good one.

• Netbook for Hackintoshing: Dell Mini 10v (and it must be the v) is the top choice. Here's our guide to making it run OS X.

• Laptop: Our bias for OS X and Windows 7 becomes apparent in our choice of hardware that can run both without hacking. Macbook Pros. (Plus, we like unibody construction.)

• Best Non-Apple Laptops: Dell's Adamo XPS may not be fast but it is 'insane,' raising the bar on design and quality outside of Cupertino. We also like Thinkpads in general, like the X series and the new multitouch t400s. (It's probably also worth noting that Asus and Toshiba recently came out on top in reliability.)

• Gaming Laptops and Desktops: Our friend Will Smith at Maximum PC likes these two laptops and two desktops. I personally like Xbox.

• All in One: We like the iMac, the HP Touchsmart and although we haven't used it yet, the Sony Vaio L because it can double as a TV even when the PC is off. The PCs here have infrared touchscreens, so they do multitouch, but in a really shoddy way.

• MIDs: We hate MIDs. Always have, always will. Intel said they had the tech to make them; but the world never had the need. It either fits in a backpack and lets you do real work on a real screen and keyboard, or it fits in your pocket. There's no real need for anything inbetween.

• Operating Systems: Windows 7 or Snow Leopard

• Network attached storage: We like the HP Mediasmart series with upnp, iTunes and Time Machine servers among other things. But the Iomega NAS is only a little less fancy and costs half the price.


• The Best receiver under $1000: We haven't tested one in awhile, but we're going to go out on a limb and say we like Onkyo, Denon, Yamaha and Pioneer gear. While some of our own testing is in progress, we'll go with what our friends at Sound and Vision like: The Onkyo TX-SR706 7.1 receiver with 4HDMI ports and THX certification for $900.

• The Best High-End Portable Media Players: Zune HD and the iPod Touch. We Like the Zune pass system a lot, which allows you to keep 10 songs a month out of your unlimited downloads, even after you stop subscribing. But the iPod Touch's large app library makes it a powerful little computer.

• Best high-capacity media player: iPod classic is pretty much the only one left, since Zune has been discontinued and Archos is a mess.

• Flash Media Drives: We've always loved the screenless shuffle's utility, but there are other drives to be had with more functionality for cheaper. Especially now that the buttonless iPod shuffle is sort of annoying to use. We like the Sandisk Sansa Clip+.

• Surround Soundbar: There's only one series of soundbars that uses cold war submarine tech to bounce soundwaves off your walls for surround, and they're made by Yamaha. I tested the YSP-4000.

• iPod Speaker Dock: JBL OnStage 400p (A winner from last year — I'm almost certain we should be retesting this category)


• Best HDTV under $1000: Panasonic's X1 series plasmas, and four more here.

• Best HDTVs, period: Here.

• 1080p Projectors Under $1000: The Vivitek H1080FD is one we like, although we have not tested many.

• Best Monitors: If your'e a Mac user, the 24-inch Cinema Display has a built in magsafe adapter. The Asus 23-inch VH236H is good deal at about $230, but Samsung and Dell are our solid choices for monitor brands, as well.

• The Best Pocket Projectors: There is no such thing, friend. Wait a generation or 3.

• Blu-ray player: The LG BD390 with WiFi with Netflix and DivX playback is awesome, but we'll never leave out the PS3!

• Media Streamers for People Who Hate iTunes or Love Piracy: The WDTV Live is a good one for people who like it easy, but hackers will probably choose Popcorn Hour, both which did well in our battlemodo. (Stay tuned, cuz that $99 Asus O!Play may soon be the champ.)


• Best Entry-Level Video-Capable DSLR: Canon T1i

• Best Midrange DSLR: The Nikon D90 has the same sensor as the D300 at a better price.

• Best Prosumer DSLRs: The Canon 7D is great at shooting video and has great low light performance for an 18MP camera.

• Best Flash Camcorder: The Flip Ultra HD.

• Best Quality Point and Shoot: We like the Canon G11 (which is pretty big, but pretty wonderful.)

• A Camcorder We Like: We haven't tested any in awhile, but we tend to like DSLRs that shoot video or cheap flash camcorders. If you must have a camcorder, our friends at CamcorderInfo liked the Panasonic HDC-TM300 for ~$1000.

• Best Point and Shoot: We like the Canon S90, even though we're sure there are slimmer cameras. This uses the same sensor as the G11 and a faster lens, so it takes great shots for a slim.

• Best Rugged Cameras: The Pentax W80 is the best all around camera because of it's depth and temperature ratings and size. The Lumix has the best picture quality but is a bit of a wimp with low thresholds for dives and temperatures. Canon's the best for water only because of its huge nose. And the outstandingly rugged Olympus has a fatal flaw, which is its terrible video.

• Best Helmet Camera: We love the GoPro Hero HD Wide because it mounts anywhere, is really waterproof and lives in a protected case. Plus, 1080p for $250 bucks.

• Best Slow Motion Pocket Camera: Casio EX FC100

Random Stuff

• The Best iPhone Apps: Here's our monthly list of iPhone Apps, as well as our weekly roundups of the best new releases.

• The Best iPhone GPS Apps: Motion X GPS is our favorite value GPS app, but ALK's CoPilot is another cheap champ. Navigon is still the classiest, but it costs a lot. (We're hoping for free Google Maps with Navigation to come to iPhone.)

• The Best Android Apps: There aren't as many Android apps out, but here are the ones we think are worth checking out.

• Ebook reader: Until we review a Nook, the Kindle 2 is still king.

• USB drive: The Patriot Xporter is fast, but if you have cash to spare, the Corsair Voyager GT is slightly faster and has 128GB of space.

• The Best Video Game Console: Xbox 360

• The Best Video Service: Anything, really, combined with Hulu and Netflix (for free old stuff).

• Best mid-tier office chairs: Herrman Miller Setu and Steelcase Cobi.

• Vacuums: We will always be loyal to Sir James Dyson because he tried to sell bagless vacuum tech to big vacuum corporations and they shut him down motivated by the profitability of bag sales. Then he started his own company. His machines are loud, but you can't argue with their industrial design. Here's his latest handheld and ball vacuum.

• Routers: D-Link Dir685. I know it has a digital picture frame built into it, but it also has a HDD and a bittorrent client. And Jason says it's been more reliable than the top line Linksys he tested it against. I also like the Time Capsule, but haven't yet tested the one with 2x the wireless performance.

• The Best Headphones: For in ear buds, we like the Shure SE110/SE115, Ultimate Ears and Etymotics hf5 won our tests. (The Last updated August 2008, so look for updates to winners.) We like the Klipsch Image S4i earbuds for people who want to use the iPhone's voice control or iPod shuffle's Voiceover function. For Bluetooth stereo headsets, we like the Motorola s305.

• Rechargeable Batteries: Duracell destroyed Energizer, and kept up with the legendary Sanyo Enerloops.

• Mice: For gaming, the Microsoft Sidewinder X8. The Logictech MX1100 for regular mousing. And the Magic Mouse is not amazing, but it's pretty good if you have a Mac—the best mouse Apple has ever made.

• Keyboard: We like the Logitech DiNovo.

Suggestions? Requests for review? Leave em in the comments or email us!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Else Intuition OS Looks Pretty Sweet on First Phone Expected Q2 Next Year [Cellphones]

This video is the best-look yet at the slick OpenGL-accelerated OS from Else (formerly Emblaze) and Access (who developed a next-gen Palm OS before Palm ditched it for their own). The big news: The First Else phone arrives next-year.
Confusingly, the name of Else's first phone is actually 'First Else'. As we mentioned in October, the phone has a 3.5-inch (480 x 854-pixel) touchscreen display, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and 5-megapixel camera (capable of 480p video at 30fps). It's also very likely to have a TI OMAP 3430 processor, a 1450mAh battery, up to 32GB internal memory, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Apparently, it may only support HSDPA 3G and EDGE (no Verizon).
As for the Linux-based OS, it uses a one-thumb wheel that avoids digging through menus, has GPS aware reminders, can record voice calls/messages and store them along with when the call was made, and straight-up looks sci-fi.

It seems that Linux-based mobile operating systems like Android and webOS will soon have a new competitor.
ELSE INTUITION™ is a complete mobile platform developed by ACCESS and Emblaze Mobile. Thanks to the combination of ACCESS Linux Platform v3.0 and an advanced user interface engine, jointly developed by Emblaze Mobile and ACCESS, ELSE INTUITION™ delivers a highly compelling and differentiated user experience, coupled with state-of-the-art hardware, accelerated 2D/3D graphics and elegant transition effects. ELSE INTUITION™ takes advantage of ACCESS Linux Platform v3.0 to provide advanced flexibility and configurability, enabling users to run multiple applications simultaneously, switching between them with ease. All data and content, including contacts, appointments, videos and photos can be rendered anywhere, not just within a single dedicated application, giving users faster, easier and more consistent access to their information
 [Gizmodo via First Else via Pocket-Lint and SlashGear]

This Car Will Run at 1,000mph [Cars]

Bloodhound is a car being designed to run at a swooshing one thousand miles-per-hour. That's 1,609 km/h, which is way faster than the speed of sound. As the video shows, it'll have more thrust than the Eurofighter combat jet:
Of course, the car has yet to be built, let alone break that record. But the effort is quite serious, these people are not amateur, and they have serious sponsors. It will use one EJ200 jet like the one used by the Eurofighter—hopefully a real one, unlike the one I got into at Dubai two years ago—alonside a one 18" hybrid rocket, and a V12 piston engines. The 6500-kilogram Bloodhound—which is being built in Bristol—will have a 47,000lbs trust, with a top speed of 1050mph.

The driver will be former RAF Wing Comander Andy Green, who broke the landspeed record in 1997.
[Gizmodo via Bloodhound via Techradar]

New PillCam Colon 2 May Be Viable Alternative to Colonoscopies

Given Imaging out of Yoqneam, Israel is releasing a new version of PillCam Colon, an endoscopic capsule designed for imaging of the large intestine. The PillCam COLON 2 has recently received European approval and was just unveiled at the Gastro 2009 Conference in London, England.
From the press release:
The Company also announced that independent investigators presented results of a 98-patient feasibility study. The investigators concluded that PillCam COLON 2 is a safe and effective method to visualize the colon and detect colonic polyps. An article discussing the study has been accepted for the December 2009 edition of the journal Endoscopy.
Results of the study comparing PillCam COLON 2 to colonoscopy, showed a sensitivity of 89 percent and a specificity of 76 percent in detecting polyps greater than or equal to 6 mm and a sensitivity of 88 percent and a specificity of 89 percent in detecting polyps greater than or equal to 10 mm. Conducted by clinicians at five hospitals in Israel, the study evaluated the performance of PillCam COLON 2 in 98 patients who had risks or warning symptoms of colon pathology. Like Given Imaging's other PillCam capsules, PillCam COLON 2 does not require the use of sedation, intubation or air insufflation during the procedure, offering physicians and patients a convenient way to visualize the colon.

  • Bi-directional communication between PillCam Colon 2 and the DataRecorder enables tracking of the capsule's motion in the GI tract so that the image capture rate can be adjusted to maximize colon tissue coverage.
  • Adaptive Frame Rate adjusts the image capture rate from four frames per second to 35 frames per second, enabling creation of a smooth, continuous video.
  • Polyp Size Estimation is a new research tool that allows clinicians to estimate the size of polyps.
  • Superior Imaging Compared to COLON 1
  • Advanced optics for enhanced image quality and polyp detection.
  • 172 degrees field of view from each imager offers a near 360 degrees view of the colon.

It should also be mentioned that last year FDA has rejected Given Imaging's 510(k) application to market the original PillCam COLON in the United States, citing a 'not substantially equivalent' applicability of the device.

Press release: Given Imaging Launches Next-Generation PillCam(R) COLON 2 at GASTRO 2009 Conference...

Product page: PillCam COLON...

Flashbacks: PillCam Colon; FDA Rejects PillCam Colon

[Medgadget via Globes Online]

Space Invaders Redesigned [Faces]

Classic 8-bit Space Invaders as re-imagined by designer Logan Walters. Brilliant. Hilarious.
[technabob via Retro Thing]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Swype vs QWERTY: FIGHT!!!!! [Touch Screen]

QWERTY is pretty much the king of smartphone text input. But there's a new challenger on the horizon. It's called Swype, it works with one-hand input and, yeah, it is pretty fast.
Yes, the first thing you may notice is that Swype technically uses a QWERTY layout. But instead of pushing each key individually, you drag your finger from letter to letter.
It's tough to tell if the speed gains are legitimate, given this video has been created by the Swype camp. I will say, however, given that this demo is one hand vs. two, the technology certainly holds its own. What do you think? Would you be willing to part with traditional QWERTY to spell words through nonsensical doodles?
Swype will debut in Verizon's Samsung Omnia II arriving early next month before making its way to an unnamed Android phone next year.
[Gizmodo via Swype via TechCrunch via OhGizmo]

iPhone and Android Are Taking Over the (Mobile) Internet [Smartphones]

So, what does it take to snatch a combined 75% of US mobile internet traffic? Two operating systems, a handful of phones, and one great browser core.

That the iPhone is a massive source of online traffic isn't a surprise—that's been apparent since the week it launched. What's interesting here is Android's rise, which is dramatically quickening, already accounting for a fifth of mobile traffic in the US, when the real marketing push for the OS, starting with the MyTouch ads and the massive Droid launch, is only recently starting in earnest. What is a surprise, or at the very least a Sad Thing, is how poorly Palm is faring. Their tiny sliver of market share might seem understandable since they really only had one new phone for the duration of the survey, but this phone was supposed to be their savior; in the year since it was introduced, their mobile traffic actually fell.
Google and Apple's stark gain in the stats, collected by mobile advertising firm AdMob, is a little less spectacular worldwide, mainly because Symbian's established, but waning, 40% smartphone market share helps it snatch about 25% of mobile web traffic. Still though, two things are clear: Android and the iPhone are who mobile web developers are going to have to cater to, and WebKit, which Symbian uses in its browser too, is basically it.

Anyway, how about a bonus chart! Ever wondered how common the different Android handsets are, which is most popular, and which don't register? Well hello, extra pie:

The G1 is the predictable star here, but the Droid is exploding.
[Gizmodo via AdMob via Techcrunch]

Monday, November 23, 2009

Super-accurate ultra-micro copter is almost like the real thing

Super-accurate ultra-micro copter is almost like the real thing
The minute we gazed upon this $180 E-flite Blade mSR RTF Electric Mini Helicopter, we wanted one. It's about the same size as those nearly-impossible-to-steer styrofoam model choppers, but its accurate controls set it a world apart. It weighs less than an ounce, and its 4-channel 5-in-1 control unit gives you the ultimate micro-flying experience.

There's nothing to assemble on the Blade mSR RTF (the RTF means ready to fly), and E-flite includes two batteries so you can fly twice as long. The company touts the micro-copter's unique rotor head design, providing 'the perfect balance between the speed and agility of a single rotor heli and the reassuring stability of coaxial rotor heli.'

It's hard to believe how sophisticated these little helicopters have gotten. With a little practice, you could probably fly it upside down. Just thank your lucky stars you're not a miniature human being sitting inside.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Snaefell hybrid car-motorcycle: why? why not? [MotorCarCycle]

What’s red, shiny, goes fast, and looks like a vehicular accident? The Pontiac Aztek, that’s what. I’d rather have the Snaefell, Fran├žois Knorreck’s lovingly handcrafted car-motorcycle hybrid. It’s easier to think of it as a motorcycle with a car-like sidecar, because I don’t think that you can drive – or steer – with the car half.


Knorreck reportedly spent 10,000 hours and €15,000 (approx. $22,300 (USD)) to build this one of a kind vehicle. The Snafell is a combination of a Laverda motorcycle which Knorreck bought in 1976 and had already modified to be a sport bike, and the custom-built carbon fiber and polyester sidecar. The sidecar’s parts were culled from various automobiles, including a Volkswagen Golf GTI, a Citroen Xantia and an Audi 80.


The Snaefell – which incidentally is also the name of three volcanoes in Iceland – is powered by the Laverda’s 1000cc engine. I barely know anything about vehicles, so I don’t know if the triple exhaust is necessary, but damn if it doesn’t add to the quirkiness of this ride.


The sidecar has a gull-wing door and has a car seat, complete with seat belts. Say what you will about the Snaefell, but it’s sidecar might just be the most comfortable and safest one on the planet.


There should be more pics at Knorreck’s website, I just don’t know for sure because Internet fame has brought down the site. I really want to see it in action! Man this thing is weird.

[Technabob via designboom via kneeslider]

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Google Chrome OS: speed, simplicity, security

Screen shot 2009-11-19 at 1.31.58 PM

Well kids, Google has just released some serious information about the much anticipated Chrome OS at today’s webcast, so grab some popcorn and buckle up, ’cause here we go. Google Chrome OS has a radically different approach to computing, and assumes that most of what you want to do on your computer involves your web browser and internet connectivity — and when we think about it, are they so wrong? Those of you who were expecting an Android type interface are going to be sorely disappointed, as the Chrome browser, in a nutshell, is Chrome OS. So let’s just get this out there right now: this isn’t going to be an OS designed for video editing, Photoshopping, or 3D modeling. This is a lightweight conduit for access to online information and utilities. No doubt all of this has piqued your interest, so hit the jump to check out the full story.

Main UI

Google has said flat out they designed the Chrome OS with three things in mind: speed, simplicity, and security, so we are going break down some of the finer points they touched upon under these pretenses.

Several times Google engineers stated that turning on your Chrome OS powered netbook should be like turning on a television; hit the power button and within a couple seconds you should be browsing. They have been focusing on this and working hard to improve upon it. Currently Chrome OS’ cold boot time is 7 seconds to the login window, with an additional 3 seconds for user login making for a total boot time of 10 seconds. Not bad. Google is hoping to have that time shaved down even further by the time they are ready for release.

Your information is stored in the cloud. No user bits are going to be stored on the modest solid state hard drive that all Chrome OS netbooks are going to come with. While this may be a terrifying prospect to some, it does afford Google some flexibility to rework the traditional computing work flow. There are no application updates to be installed, no backup solutions needed, and no maintenance operations to perform. When you login to the could you can be sure that your Chrome OS netbook is up to date, patched, and ready to go. The main interface, to the shagrin of many we’re sure, is also very simple in that it’s a Chrome browser window. You can customize shortcuts and favorites, but the foundation UI isn’t going to blow anyone’s socks off with eye candy.

This was really getting hammered upon. Security is accomplished in two main ways: architecture setup and the cloud. First and foremost there are three partitions setup on the Chrome OS’ SSD drive, a root partition (which is read-only and holds the OS), a user partition (which by default is encrypted), and a swap partition. When you boot Chrome OS it checks the integrity of the OS and if it finds that your OS has somehow been corrupted or compromised by maleware, it simply re-downloads a fresh copy of the OS from the intertubes. All on its own. Again, your information is in the cloud and the system is technically stateless, so the OS can be restored at point in time without any detriment to user data.

We know that a lot of you have some burning questions and want to see the UI in action, so have a couple videos queued up. Go ahead, we know you’re curious.

[Boy Genius Review]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It Takes 147,456 PowerPC Processors To Out-Think a Single Stupid Cat Brain [Science]

Also on IBM's cat-sized-brain-simulation materials list: 143 terabytes of RAM, miles and miles of cabling, a million watts of electricity, 6675 tons of air conditioning equipment, and an acre of floor space.
Cats: they're kinda dumb. They only seem smarter than dogs because they're not so friendly, and our society judges kindness harshly. It's true! an interesting theory! Which is why, after mice, simulating a feline-sized brain on a BlueGene/P supercomputer was next on IBM's to-do list. But for all the kitty talk here, this project wasn't specifically about creating a computerized house pet; it's part of a larger, ongoing project to eventually simulate a full human brain. The cat equivalency, derived from the number of virtual neurons and synapses the simulation can manage, at 1.6 billion and 9 trillion, respectively, just gives a sense of how far along the project is: today, despite being the biggest simulated brain ever, it's only capable of simulating the human visual cortex, or as PopMech so delicately puts it, 'the wrinkly outer layer' of the human brain.
So how long before a supercomputer can simulate (roughly—since these computer simulations don't have the same neural patterning and learning capabilities of a real brain, among other things) an entire human cortex? Weirdly soon, says the project's lead scientist:
To [simulate a human cortex], he'll need to find 1000 times more computing power. At the rate that supercomputers have expanded over the last 20 years, that super-super computer could exist by 2019. 'This is not just possible, it's inevitable,' Modha says. 'This will happen.'
People need to stop getting worked up about the future, honestly: Before we have to worry self-aware robot uprisings, we're going to have to deal with decades of extremely dumb, extremely expensive fake pets. Enforced caution, I believe this is called.
[Gizmodo via Popular Mechanics]

Qualcomm Ebook Display Ups the Ante with Full Color and Video [Ebooks]

Qualcomm has developed a 5.7-inch (1,024x768) display for ebook readers that not only renders color and video; it does so with enough power efficiency to challenge a black and white, still-frame Kindle.
The 'mirasol' technology mimics iridescent butterfly wings by deploying charged, color-inducing membranes over a layer of mirror. It's a technology that, if integrated into Kindles today as-is, would increase battery life by an estimated 20%.
Instead, Qualcomm uses that extra power efficiency to drive color and higher refresh rates for smooth video. They contend that a Kindle with their more media-capable display could run about a day with its current battery.
The catch? The lead photo is a non-functional prototype (housing a functional, frozen-image display). Qualcomm is offering the tech to third party partners, and they expect you to see mirasol tech on the market by late 2010.
[Gizmodo via SlashGear]

Casio's EX-G1 Super Slim Shooter: Shock-Resistant and Waterproof [Digital Cameras]

At just 0.78-inches thick, Casio claims the 12.1-megapixel EX-G1 is the world's slimmest ruggedized camera. The first in a new Exilim G line, it has a reinforced 2.5-inch rear LCD, non-extending 3x optical zoom lens, microSDHC expansion, and intelligent autofocus.
Essentially, the EX-G1 is the type of camera you'd take with you when you go snowboarding. It's designed to withstand multiple drops from 7 feet, work underwater at depths of 10 feet for 60 continuous minutes, and has a number of action-shooting modes. It also records wide-format movies at 848 x 480 resolution (30 frames per second).
The EX-G1 will be $300 in December, and available in either black or red. Just in time for snow season.

ATI Radeon HD 5970: The World's Fastest Graphics Card [Graphics Cards]

The ATI Radeon HD 5970 slaughters the competition in pretty much every benchmark thrown at it. It's outrageously fast. We're talking five teraflops here, people. Teraflops.
MaximumPC put the 5970 to the test, and found that it lives up to its promise. The 2GB dual-GPU card is the first to support DirectX 11, and basically doubles its wholly respectable predecessor (the 5870) in specs, capable of delivering nearly 5 teraflops of raw processing power. It's a massive card, about a foot long, designed mostly for heat dissipation, at which aim it apparently succeeds. It's also got easy access to overclocking via AMD's OverDrive, and can drive up to three displays simultaneously with a maximum resolution of 7680x1600. So it's pretty much the greatest thing ever, and it's got a pricetag to match: $600 upon its undisclosed release.
[Gizmodo via MaximumPC]

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ultrafast Lab-on-a-Chip for Detection of Disease Biomarkers [Biology]

Researchers from IBM Research in Zurich and the University Hospital of Basel in Switzerland developed a microfluidic device that uses capillary action to detect the presence of protein biomarkers for various disease types. The five square centimeter silicon-based lab-on-a-chip takes only 15 seconds to perform its analysis.
Here are the five functional stages of the device:

  • Stage 1: A one microliter sample, 50 times smaller than a tear drop, is pipetted onto the chip, where the capillary forces begin to take effect.

  • Stage 2: These forces push the sample through an intricate series of mesh structures, which prevent clogging and air bubbles from forming.

  • Stage 3: The sample then passes into a region where microscopically small amounts of the detection antibody have been deposited. These antibodies have a fluorescent tag and similar to the antibodies within our body, they recognize the disease marker and attach to it within the sample. Only seventy picoliters (a volume one million times smaller than a tear) of these antibodies are used, making their dissolution in the passing sample extremely fast and efficient.

  • Stage 4: The most critical stage is called the 'reaction chamber' and it measures 30 micrometers in width and 20 micrometers in depth, roughly the diameter of a strand of human hair. Similar to a common pregnancy test, in this stage the disease marker that was previously tagged is captured on the surface of the chamber. By shining a focused beam of red light, the tagged disease markers can be viewed using a portable sensor device that contains a chip similar to those used by digital cameras, albeit this one being much more sensitive. Based on the amount of light detected, medical professionals can visually confirm the strength of the disease marker in the sample to determine the next course of treatment.

  • Stage 5: Less a stage and more a part of the entire process is the capillary pump. The capillary pump, which has a depth of 180 micrometers, contains an intricate set of microstructures, the job of which is to pump the sample through the device for as long as needed and at a regular flow rate, just like the human heart. This pump makes the test accurate, portable and simple to use. IBM scientists have developed a library of capillary pumps so that tests needing a variety of sample

  • More from IBM Research: IBM Scientists Reinvent Medical Diagnostic Testing ...
    Abstract in Lab on a Chip: Toward one-step point-of-care immunodiagnostics using capillary-driven microfluidics and PDMS substrates

    Grace is called the world's first E-Bike

    Grace is called the world's first E-Bike
    Build an aluminum electric bike with euro-fighter and Formula One parts, power its 1300-watt motor with lithium-ion batteries, and you have Grace in motion. The company is calling Grace "the world's first and finest E-Motorbike," and while we beg to differ with that slogan — we've ridden a few profoundly exciting electric bikes ourselves — we have to admire the stylish build and cool power of this conveyance that looks like it came from the next century. And this is beyond just a bicycle — it's almost fast enough to be called a motorcycle.

    Because this is all very high-tech and handmade in the company's Hanover, Germany shop, you'll have to plunk down €5877 ($8742) for the privilege of gracing yourself with this electro-bike when it ships in January. But then, the company claims that Grace is somehow 'really cheap compared to a car.' Maybe they have a point. If your commute is moderate, that might be true, with Grace's 18 to 31-mile range (depending on your weight), 40mph top speed, and one-hour battery recharge time. If it just went a bit faster and lasted a little longer, we'd call it amazing.

    Xperia X10 Looks Much Snappier in New Hands on Video [Rachael]

    Appears that Sony Ericsson have made inroads optimizing the X10 Android phone for its 1GHz Snapdragon processor. The pre-pro handset shown earlier this month ran the Rachael interface in slow-motion, but this new prototype looks much more responsive.

    The Timescape social networking app and Mediascape multimedia manager finally look like something you might want to get your hands on in February. No price or carrier info has come out yet. And yeah, the super dramatic music at the start of the vid made me laugh, too.
    [Gizmodo via HDBlog via SlashGear]

    Fusion-io IoXtreme SSD: Fastest Consumer SSD on the Market [SSDs]

    HotHardware took a look at this consumer-focused PCI-Express SSD from Fusion-io, and found that while it's pretty damn expensive at $900 for 80GB, it's blazingly fast, hitting 700MB/s read and 300MB/s write speeds.
    Unfortunately, in addition to the expense, it can't be used as a bootable drive quite yet, although Fusion-io claims that feature is coming. And we probably shouldn't gloss over the expense—yeah, it's a "consumer drive," and it's cheap compared to similar drives, but it's still $900 for 80GB. But it's a cool look at where storage could be headed, and if you've got enough money to snag one (available at Amazon), well, I hate you lots.
    [Gizmodo via HotHardware via Engadget]

    Bomb-Proof Wallpaper Is Stronger Than the Wall It Papers [Home Decor]

    Holy crap, you guys, bomb proof wallpaper. This stuff is strong enough to keep very heavy flying objects from breaking walls—in tests, one thin layer was enough to keep a wrecking ball from knocking down a concrete wall.
    The X-Flex wallpaper is really a layer of Kevlar-type material, in between sheets of "elastic polymer wrap," which provides both flex and strength so that the projectile doesn't knock the wall down. It seems really effective—check out Pop Sci's video here for evidence—and the US Army is considering using it for bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's also incredibly easy to attach, being basically a rollable sheet, although I'm not sure if it can be unattached and reused. Still, its effectiveness is really impressive.
    [Gizmodo via Pop Sci]

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Casio's Exilim EX-FH25: 40fps High-Speed Burst Shooting at 9-Megapixels [Digital Cameras]

    You might remember Casio's EX-FC100 and EX-FH20 as two Exilims capable of 1000fps slow-mo video. Both 9.1-megapixel cameras are getting a 10-megapixel CMOS sensor, and the FH25 (a 20x superzoom) does 40fps high-speed bursts at 9-megapixels (up from seven).
    Everything else on the EX-FH25 looks to be the same. Similarly, the EX-FC150 will keep its 5x optical zoom, and sensor-shift image stabilization. Both cameras will continue to do 720p video at 30fps.
    The new models arrive in Japan on November 27th; we'll keep you posted on their U.S pricing and availability. [Akihabara News: EX-FX25 | EX-FX150]