So a big typhoon named Ketsana has hit the northern part of the Philippines, stranding thousands within the capital Metro Manila, and forcing the government to declare a “state of calamity” for at least 26 different areas.
And while families are forced to retreat to the roof to avoid the rising water, and while power and infrastructure failure accompany the typhoon’s destruction, at least one Filipino has found the time and resources to capture the flooding up-close—and share it with the rest of the world online.
Here are those snapshots below, with the low quality of the cell phone camera made obvious …read more
According to Arbor Networks, an internet security firm based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, internet traffic in the US peaks around 11PM eastern time. Or for those who live on the west coast, 8PM. Arbor looked at weekdays during last July, gathering traffic data from internet service providers that account for half of internet activity in the US.
What does this mean exactly? Either most Americans like to surf more at home, like to download more away from the office, or leisurely activities simply require more bandwidth. Think about it: how large are office documents compared to say, movies and music?
Speaking of media, …read more
Beer Below Zero (BBZ) markets itself as technology that solves a long-standing problem: how do you keep beer cold without freezing it? Any avid drinker knows what a buzz-killer warm beer is, and frozen beer isn’t exactly any better.
The BBZ setup is basically a proprietary freezer chest that keeps stored beer just above freezing temperature. According to Luigi C. Nuñez, the president of the company responsible for inventing, patenting, and marketing the product, another key to the process are the so-called beertenders, who regularly visit the chests know how to move the bottles inside the freezer for optimum cooling. Nuñez …read more
The US of A isn’t anywhere near the top ten countries by average download and upload speeds. Top honors belong to South Korea (20.88 Mbps download speed) and… Lithuania?! (8.83 Mbps) But America enjoys a pretty decent average download speed of 5.1 Mbps, with the proud state of Delaware at the top of the curve at 9.9 Mbps.
Ultimately however, such performance is piss poor, especially when you consider that the US average has increased only by 1.6 Mbps since May 2007. A practical no-show for a country responsible for many of the innovations that characterize how we use the Internet …read more
Uh-oh, looks like wasting time on the Internet is easy for us to get into, at least biologically. Worse, our biology also chemically rewards such behavior.
To make a long story short, dopamine—the same neurotransmitting checmical linked to feelings of happiness and fulfillment—also rewards us when we successfully make “intellectual connections” and divine “meaning”. In other words, that’s why you feel so compelled to follow links in Wikipedia, or Google for new terms as they enter your consciousness. Dopamine makes you feel good whenever you discover the history of your favorite TV show, or the scientific processes that drive a microprocessor.
There’s …read more
Even those who aren’t blind can appreciate the benefits of the Haptic Reader (HR). It’s basically a flat tablet users can plant on book pages to scan. The reader converts the scanned text into Braille, raising the surface of the opposite side for blind readers to touch-read. The gadget was designed “by researchers at Handong Global University and Keimyung University, both in South Korea,” and can convert the scanned text into voice as well. I’m assuming the HR should be able to save scanned pages?
Too bad the Haptic Reader isn’t available on the market yet, being a design concept and …read more
We all know about Jay Leno’s collection of old cars. More interesting for gadget geeks is that he relies on a 3D scanner and printer to keep his antiques in tip-top shape.
Need a replacement part for a decades-old or exotic car? All Jay Leno does is get the part he wants to replace, and use a 3D scanner to convert into information his 3D printer understands. He then waits a few hours while the printer reproduces a plastic facsimile. After printing’s done (which can take as long as 33 hours), Leno checks if the newly-fabricated plastic part fits as a …read more
This is what happens when you’re rushing to catch your flight: you end up leaving behind something as valuable as your laptop.
According to a study commissioned by Dell last year, over 12,000 people misplace their laptops at US airport, per week. That adds up to approximately 624,000 incidents a year!
The trend’s hotspot? LAX, featuring 1,200 absent-minded laptop owners a week. The laptops are usually lost at security checkpoints, with people trying to go through them as hastily as possible. Here’s sound advice from an airport manager, who’s probably witnessed laptop-loss numerous times:
Besides geek-squad mantras to encrypt and back up data, …read more
Apparently workers of the Keihin Electric Express Railway have to go through daily smile scans, a routine designed to increase their customer service aptitude.
The system, running on software developed by Japanese company Omron, scans the worker’s face (presumably through a webcam) and creates a smile rating of 0 to 100. The assessment is based on an analysis of the worker’s “facial characteristics, from lip curves and eye movements to wrinkles.”
Obviously, the aim is to get workers to smile more:
For those with a below-par grin, one of an array of smile-boosting messages will op up on the computer screen ranging …read more
So yesterday, here’s what happened on Twitter: First, Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton says she lands in Jakarta:
And her friend, the Kim Kardashian, has a question:
I have an answer for you, Ms. Kardashian: Indonesia! Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia!
Seriously though, here’s where Twitter can work against celebrities. You’ve got personalities sharing their personal thoughts and lives through computers, laptops, and mobiles, and 140-character status updates can be very revealing of people like Shaq.
At least Kim Kardashian’s career seems to be based on looks. A geographer twitting their confusion about Jakarta’s location would be very shameful indeed!
(Thanks to …read more