I always liked Tux, the mascot for Linux, which was created by Larry Ewing. Tux has much more personality than the branding for Windows and the Mac OS X. Now, open source fans can start off their kids early by giving them a Tux plush toy. That way, with fond memories of Linux's penguin mascot, they will grow up to contribute code to the Linux kernel.
Do you ever pretend to play piano along to a song on the radio by making imaginary chord shapes on your desk? Yes, don't deny it! I've seen you, pretending to be Jamie Foxx pretending to be Ray Charles. Anyway, this is for you. The eggheads at Digital Information Development have created a virtual musical keyboard for your desktop, so you can actually turn any flat surface into a piano. The keyboard uses two laser modules - one to draw the keyboard onto the desk, and the other to detect your keypresses. It has the ability to detect chords, and has a few different voices too; organ, pipe organ and harpsichord. Excellent for practising on a break at work. I can see the books already - "Learn at lunchtime with Stevie Wonder's guide to laser harpsichord".
The keyboard will be released in Japan by the end of the year, and will cost 15,000 yen ($130).
Via Pink Tentacle
I have always wondered why furniture needs to be so drab and plain looking. What if I could design it with some of my favourite photographs or patterns?
Cloth gives me that choice to print any image, design or pattern onto virtually any surface imaginable. This digital printing technology was originally meant for fashion designers to produce prototypes of their work, and is now being offered to consumers. If you're not sure of the kind of images that will go well with your furniture, their website offers you help with a wide variety of themes. You can even design your entire home using the really simple to use design studio.
The prices are not exactly cheap, but if you've always fancied a Picasso in your living room, this will be a lot less expensive.
The cd-rom drive on my laptop died the other day, and I've been reduced to shuttling files back and forth on a flash drive. I think that getting the iDuck might add a little humor to the experience. It even glows in the dark and comes in other colors, including blue, strawberry and white.
If you feel like roses or chocolate are passe, here is something extra special for your loved one on Valentines Day. You've got 7 months to prepare, which is plenty of time to order and assemble this perfect gadget-oriented Valentine. The LED Flashing Sweetheart Kit produces a 3.0" by 2.75" beating heart made of 28 flashing LEDs. You will need to do some soldering, but that's the price of love these days.
Apple held its World Wide Developer Conference yesterday, and the rubber finally hit the road. Some of the rumors, like the ones about a video store and the iPhone, didnít pan out, but what did come down the pike is very exciting to the nerds of the world. New desktop towers have been released; and theyíre packed full of computing power at a very affordable starting price. Each new Mac Pro will come with two 64-bit Intel Xeon 5100 dual core processors boasting 4MB of shared onboard cache. Speed choices are 2, 2.66 and 3.0 GHz, and the machines support up to 16 GB of fully buffered memory. Apple is claiming that the new architecture is up to twice as fast as the quad G5 systems.
Apple is also planning enhancements for the 10.5 (Leopard!) release of the Mac OS, but claims to be holding all the juicy bits a secret until closer to release. The exciting things that were mentioned are a virtual desktop implementation called Spaces, more powerful search tools through Spotlight, and automatic data backup through Time Machine.
The promised release of Time Machine is hot on the heels of Symantecís announcement that millions of people are in danger of losing their digital photo albums. Desktop data backup has always been a slightly annoying task that required extra hardware and software. Users donít always stay vigilant even with pushbutton external solutions. Time Machine makes a running incremental backup to an external hard drive, and allows restoring single files in the timeline. The intuitive interface reminds me of flipping through a Rolodex file. Time Machine also tracks file revisions, so it will no longer be a big deal when I accidentally save over an important document.
One of my longstanding complaints with Apple is that they spent a decade worrying about their image and not working on new features. Itís nice to see them come full circle and once again concentrate on providing the neat features that make using a computer fun.
Edit: Just to clarify, the WWDC isn't over yet, but the Steve Jobs keynote was the big event for those of us who don't code. Thanks to Angela Mitchell for smacking me upside the head with the reminder.
Suffering from bruised bananas because they get squashed in your lunch bag? The Banana Guard can help keep your fruit scratch-free. Designed to fit 90% of all bananas, it comes in five brilliant colors, including Mellow Yellow. Also features a secure locking mechanism (to keep the apes at bay) and air holes to allow for proper ripening.
Banana Guard is the brainchild of three Canadian emergency room doctors. Apparently their sensitivity to trauma extended to their favorite fruit.
Strangely enough, the only retailer listed on the website for the US is a bicycle parts store?!?!?!? The Canadian network of retailers also includes bicycle parts stores, but adds in golf equipment stores, and even . . . a few kitchen stores . . . imagine that! Guess Iíll stick to ordering online for this one!
Call me a diehard, but I think Iíll be going to my grave using an EnduraPro keyboard.
To those of you who are old enough to remember what typing on an IBM typewriter or an original PC keyboard, youíll know exactly why I stand where I do. To the young ones out there, it means typing on a keyboard that uses IBMís proprietary buckling spring technology. Yes, these are the ones that make the comparatively loud clickety-clack noise with every keystroke. But they are also the ones that give a more positive response, which is proven to improve speed and accuracy and reduce fatigue.
The EnduraPro, offered by Unicomp, comes in several varieties, including models with integrated trackball and point stick devices. Most computers today come with cheap, "throw in" keyboards. Youíve been quick to upgrade your processor to bigger and better. Why not do the same for your keyboard?
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has created, Airhockey Over a Distance. This prototype of "computer-mediated human-to-human interaction" allows you to play an actual game of airhockey with a physical puck (well two of them) over the network. A player with one half of the table sends his puck across the rink. When it reaches the "center," the system catches the puck and records the location, angle and velocity of the puck. Then, it transmits this data to the other table. On the other end, the table ejects its own puck to the opponent and play continues.
I love mods and hacks of old stuff to make them new and useful. This savyy moder turned an old NES controller into television remote control. The directional keypad changes channels, the A and B buttons work the volumn, and the Start button is for power.