Thursday, June 16, 2011

Breathalyzer Watch Tells You How Sozzled You Are

Tokyo Flash's back with the crazy watch concepts, this time with something that alcoholics should probably consider: a breathalyzer watch. It tells the time, sure, but more importantly gives you a blood alcohol reading so you know your true drunkenness.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

North Korea Getting Very Close to Nuclear Missile According to South Korea

According to South Korea's defense minister, North Korea may have created a nuclear warhead small enough to be launched in a missile. This is a first for those nutters, who had previously only detonated two nuclear devices that were too big for rockets.
Today, a typical thermonuclear weapon weighs about 2,400 pounds (1,100 kg), and has a destructive capability of 1.2 megatons of TNT. Compare this to the 0.013 megatons of TNT of Little Boy, the 9,700-pound nuclear bomb dropped by Enola Gay over Hiroshima.
If South Korea is right, this type of warhead would allow North Korea to create missiles capable of reaching South Korea or Japan just few minutes after launch. These nuclear devices can use their current and tested rocket technology, completely destroying a city as large as Tokyo or Seoul.
North Korea is also working on a missile capable of reaching as far as the West Coast of the United States. According to NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) and USNORTHCOM (US Northern Command), Kim Jong Il and his cronies failed on testing such a rocket in April 2009. However, the Guardian later reportedthat North Korea may actually be able to reach Hawaii. Whatever the outcome of those tests was, what is clear that they will not stop at that failure.
Of course, South Korea has plenty of reasons to exaggerate and pressure the international community, but their neighbor's war efforts and defiant attitude is well known. And, not so long ago, the latter launched an unprovoked attack over the former.
What is clear is that, if true, this development bring very dark and frightening possibilities to the world. And Kim Jong Il legally changing his name to Kim Kaboom is only one of them. 

This Is How You Really Unload Trucks

Apparently, if you are carrying certain goods—like woodchip—in giant nine-wheeled trucks, this is how you unload them: Strap them to a gigantic platform. And then tilt them more than 45 degrees until it empties completely.
Being a complete ignorant about logistics, this simple fact amazes me to no end. Not to talk about the photo. Is this the most efficient way to do it? 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Facebook’s Latest Privacy Settings Shadiness Invades Your Drunk Pics

The Pandora's Box Facebook opened on the privacy issue just keeps spewing forth. This time around they've started changing privacy settings to automatically recognize a user's face in an image ready to be tagged. All without their consent.
The feature is called Tag Suggestions, and Facebook started rolling out the service late last year. It essentially maps your face and detects whether or not it matches us with images amongst your friends' albums. It then nudges them into tagging those pictures accordingly. This would be great for the average beach trip where tagging the same people over and over would be a bother, but it becomes problematic when a well-meaning friend or mistress tags you in something incriminating.
Now Facebook isn't letting users opt out of the feature beforehand, arguing that people would miss out on the functionality if they did. Although you can change your privacy settings back, this move doesn't differ too much from previous decisions they've made that put them in hot water time and time again.
The good news is that it's easy to stop Facebook from from using its facial recognition voodoo on you; Lifehacker's got a complete guide for you here. And the Times notes that the company has admitted some fault, a response on the official Facebook blog saying, "We should have been more clear with people during the roll-out process when this became available to them." But that doesn't change the fact that this misstep is part of a pattern of "change settings and ask questions later" that needs to be fixed.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

PlayStation Suite Makes Lots of Android Phones PlayStation Phones

Sony's starting a new program called PlayStation Suite for non-PlayStation devices—basically, "certified" Android phones and tablets will get PlayStation content. Details are slim, but basically it potentially means better games for baller Android phones. What do  you think of this?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chips That Make Your Cellphone Battery Last Longer!

A start-up by the name of SuVolta has done what other manufacturers seemingly can't, and created processors that consume less power than before. License the technology to bigger companies, Fujitsu is already signed on as their first customer.
It's not just the design of the chips which has enabled SuVolta to make them more energy-efficient. Somewhere within the actual process of making them, SuVolta has radically changed the process—though they are remaining close-lipped for now about the change.
If all goes well, Fujitsu will start creating chips using this technology next year.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

An Origami Phone You Could Actually Use

A phone made of paper that you can fold and actually use. That's the concept Chengyuan Wei designed when he spent some time thinking creatively about the classic telephone.
Wei took apart a corded telephone and noticed it doesn't use many parts. He did away with the plastic and the over-sized circuitry and fashioned a new handset from paper and a few spare electronics. A few minutes of folding and, voila, a phone. Too bad it's just a concept as the idea is ingenious.

Beer and Burger Machine!

I have big dreams for the coming summer. And in one of those dreams, I envision rolling up to some densely-populated hotspot, tossing out a few beers, and grilling up food for the masses. Instant party.
This Bar and Grill on wheels from Alpina, with its beer tap and optional grilling surface, will help make my pop-up bar and grill aspirations a reality. Now I just need to find $11,000. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Would Apple Try to Block Future iPhone Owners From Recording Live Gigs?

In one of the most preposterous filed patents since the toaster/egg-fryer-combo, Apple's looking to protect its relationships with record labels and film studios by outfitting future iPhones with IR blockers, presumably with live venues and cinemas housing IR signal-emitting boxes.
The patent application—of which Apple files many—suggests that iPhones could detect whether a photo or video "includes an infrared signal with encoded data," and actually block the user from shooting. Pretty annoying for the person who's trying to snap a photo of their favorite band, but especially annoying for the person trying to take a photo of their friend who happens to be within the infrared signal.
Just because Apple filed a patent for this technology, doesn't mean it'll actually be seen in future products. I'm sure the uproar from both the bands (many of who enjoy and encourage fans taking photos and video of them) and the users would put any companies off such a restrictive "feature."

The New Cool Touch Interface Of Windows 8!

Windows 8 is a brand new interface for tablets. It looks a lot like Windows Phone Live Tiles. 
The whole point of Windows 8, which is just a codename, is to be one OS that'll run on regular computers or on tablets. So Windows 8 will run two kinds of applications: A standard Windows application ("It's Windows. Everything just runs," says Windows chief Steven Sinofsky) and an almost mobile-like app, written in HTML5 and JavaScript, which Microsoft is calling a "new platform." And of course, there's IE10 underpinning those apps.
All apps can be viewed in this tile-based UI, which  is, very impressive. You can totally see the Windows Phone influence on the interface, from the Live Tiles (which show info without having to open the app) to the touch keyboard, which even has a "thumbs" mode.
The animations and gestures and multitasking are all pretty damn smooth looking, as you can see in this demo video (or you know, up top). Swiping from the right reveals the taskbar, with the Start button, search, share and settings. Swiping from the left switches between apps, the background application zipping in and unfurling like a magic carpet. Snapping lets you have two apps next to each other, simultaneously. The main app takes up most of the screen, while the secondary app is like a docked sidebar; you can swap which you've got snapped very rapidly by swiping from the left to cycle through background applications.
Better still, it requires fewer resources than Windows 7, which is kind of crazy. Which all sounds great. What sounds (and looks) a little dicey is that the awesome, modern tile UI is basically just a skin over Windows, though totally baked in and part of the OS. The rest of the "classic Windows desktop" is still there, looking underneath, albeit adjusted to be more touch friendly with "fuzzy hit targeting," so regular Windows applications will work with touch or keyboard/mouse. You can't turn either of the experiences off—it's always there. The regular Windows is always underneath the new Live Tile start screen. The Live start screen always is on top of Windows. But the two things together looks like a miscreant experience, even in Microsoft's demo. (That said, since old-school Intel Windows applications won't be able to run on the ARM version of Windows—there won't be any kind of emulation layer—maybe this won't be such a problem. And hence the HTML5 and JavaScript apps.)
The idea of running real, full Windows apps on a tablet (or anywhere) isn't a bad one—in fact, a ubiquitous OS that'll run on any device, perfectly, would be totally amazing—but mixing the two looks kinda gross and weird in practice, at least in its current state. Maybe the way Microsoft's gonna translate touch apps to keyboard/mouse and keyboard/mouse apps to touch to achieve this infinite OS will be downright magical in the end. But I'm not seeing this hybrid thing right now, even as impressed as I am by all of the incredibly cool modern interface stuff that's totally designed for tablets. (I really, really want that stuff on a tablet, to be clear.) And beyond that, at least when we're talking about tablets, it looks like Windows 8 still has a lot of the rest of the problems that made the current Windows less-than-good as a tablet OS—or it doesn't have the things that makes the other tablets as good as they are. Namely, utter simplicity. This. Is. Windows.
That said, we'll apparently see a lot more in September at Microsoft's Build conference. So I'm still hoping to be blown away as we get deeper inside Windows 8.