As we approach the start of April, expect all those practical jokes to crop up online. In the meantime, check out what proved most popular from last week:
The original purpose of The Sound Advice Project is to help parents convey support to their kids in their own special way, apparently to help them avoid falling into (or further into) the drug addiction trap.
But the project’s sound wave bracelets, generated by getting out the waveform of spoken words and turning it around its axis to create three-dimensional beads, is also really cool in a geeky way. In a digital-processing-results-in-a-physical-thing kind of way. Heck, I’d even send these as gifts to those who’ve managed to stay away from drugs. Just say no people, just say no.
Oh, and the bracelets definitely save you from the cost of having your special message engraved on your gift. It’s just too bad the site didn’t seem to work for me, leaving me unable to purchase my customized wrist decorations.
More electric motion goodness is coming our way soon, with Tesla announcing that their new S Sedan will cost $50,000. Somehow, the manufacturer has managed to bundle efficiency, good looks, and a high top speed into a package normally associated with combustion-based engines. A clear sign that electric locomotion for the mass market is on its way to reality.
But there’s still a long way to go. No doubt, Tesla has made some pricing progress with the S. Yet 500 Benjamins is still way beyond the reach of the majority of the US auto market, which is where I’m assuming the S will make its debut once Tesla finalizes everything. Then again, the manufacturer is marketing this sedan as an “environmentally friendly luxury saloon”.
So you come up with the Aptera 2e, a really efficient two-seater, three-wheel car. Even better, it runs as much as a hundred miles on one 8-hour charge from your standard wall outlet. Even even better, the car draws energy from the friction generated by its brakes, and its built-in solar panels.
Even even even better, you’ve got at least 4000 people who’ve actually paid for the car! So why can’t manufacture Aptera Motors rely on the government for some badly-needed cash to push its ideas further?
Here’s the thing: the US Department of Energy’s $25 billion loan-program for alternative-energy cars only covers cars that run on four wheels. This face-to-palm moment becomes more apt when you learn that bailout-hungry GM has managed to secure $8 billion from the same fund. Repeat after me: face-to-palm.
To be fair, that’s a reality that can be changed through some legislative-wrangling. Aptera should let all members of Congress take a ride in their creation. The absolutely cool electronic hum generated by a running 2e is sure to win converts.
Well more like in a place trying to break away from Russia, but totally awesome nonetheless. Apparently some Chechen troops hiding in the woods had no electricity to charge their cell phones, so they made a manual-powered one from wood. That’s because you can’t really wage war without keeping in touch with friends and family, or even texting insults to the enemy (that reportedly happens between Philippine government and rebel troops).
Anyways, it’s hard to decipher the Russian, but from all appearances, the wooden cell phone charger contraption converts human energy into electric through some dynamo-thingy. And if I’m not mistaken, those are old-school and latest edition Nokia chargers plugged up to the whole setup. Thanks to English Russia for sharing the awesomeness with the English-speaking world! (and for the image as well)
So what do you get from the collective wisdom of hackers bunched within the same area? Why, tips on safer computing of course! Software security engineer Jeff Forristal asked people during the last pwn2own what your average user can do to better protect Internet Explorer from hacker activities. Here’s what they came up with. [Read more]
Basically, OnLive brings cloud computing to gaming. In non-geek speak, the planned service will stream games to customers’ PCs, Macs, or TVs. OnLive runs the games on its own high-end servers—independent of the users’ hardware—while accepting controller inputs and streaming video of the gameplay through the internet. So conceivably, customers will be able to play the latest graphics-driven first-person shooter, even if they’re doing so on a two-year old computer barely creaking by.
Fans of Daft Punk—and sample pad enthusiasts—will find iDaft entertaining. Basically, iDaft is a website that presents samples from Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger in a clean grid format. Each cell plays an individual sample when clicked on or its corresponding keyboard shortcut is pressed. It’s cool being able to imperfectly replicate the intro of Kanye West’s Stronger, which by the way, used samples from Daft Punk’s original.
This isn’t really something that will change your life or boost your productivity tremendously. But like I said, it’s cool. What’s amazing is that no one’s attempted to turn this into a mobile app! I can imagine iPhone and iPod touch users need another reason to back-up their gadgets’ professed superiority, though it wouldn’t hurt to see a Java version of this online app, made for mobiles.
Also, it would great to see other versions of iDaft, like iBritney iJustin, or whatever you can think of.
(image is screenshot of iDaft)
So PETA finds animal cruelty in a video game. Yes, there are parts in Call of Duty: World at War where you have to shoot dogs to progress. Yet PETA’s complaint is a good example of the misunderstanding plaguing video games: the lack of understanding that video games are all about context. PETA sees dogs dying and immediately attacks Activision for animal cruelty.
From 0s and 1 s to the latest hardware-powered affairs, video games have always been about progressing, fulfilling a certain set of conditions to achieve objectives and ultimate victory. The best games turn this formula into a memorable and entertaining affair, while sucky ones make it feel like a chore. [Read more]
Perhaps within our lifetimes, the kinds of gadgets out there will become so many that it will become hard to keep track of all of them. But I also think that my Nokia E63 and my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS3 will continue being my important gadgets.
In other words, I believe the cell phone and camera will remain crucial in my life, regardless of whatever gadget-related developments we’ll face over the next few years.
Obviously, cell phones allow people to communicate with each other. And who wouldn’t want to take snapshots of important events in their lives for posterity? I bet a lot of you agree with in this regard, and would feel a bit naked without their mobile and camera.
On my own “most important gadget” list, the laptop follows the two items mentioned above. That’s because, as someone who makes a considerable living online, being able to access the internet wherever connectivity is available is very important.
But enough about me. I’m actually interested in you. What are your most important gadgets, and why? You can list only one item or five, just be sure to explain yourself!