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Tuesday, 16 Jan 2007

I've Moved... again... sort of... :)

Hi!

If you've been pointing directly to http://www.manoogian.net/blog/blogx, change your pointers starting today. I've offcially moved my blog to http://www.paulsblog.net/.

This blog has been pointed to from that link for a while, but it's now officially over there for the taking. This site will remain up and running since plenty of articles are here that are referenced, but all of those articles are at the new site, as well. Actually, articles dating back to the first version of this blog (10/2004) exist at the "new" blog URL. So, there's even more goodness!

At any rate, thanks for reading, and start reading and feeding over at the new location! It's much better looking and offers more options for readers, including great new bookmarking functions for your favorite feedreaders.

Thanks so much!
-Paul

Friday, 5 Jan 2007

It's The New MACRO-Bolic!

So a good PR friend of mine pointed out something amazing to me; Macrovision acquired Mediabolic! I was in total shock. Now, I usually get the skinny on Mediabolic with Press Releases delivered to my "door" by their wonderful PR/marketing guy, but I got left off of the list, and maybe others did too. Which, to me, is just wrong, but I digress... I'm guessing that the folks at Macrovision didn't find me special enough. Oh how wrong they are...

The press release describes the buy-out as an "Acquisition to Drive Consumer Access to Digital Content on Entertainment Devices throughout the Home."

Personally, I think Mediabolic was doing just fine in this area, making great strides in the industry, and pushing some envelopes in many other places. As I've said before, I really like what they have to offer and thought that their success was more than wonderful.

But then, there's this:


SANTA CLARA, Calif. January 3, 2007 Macrovision Corporation (MVSN) today announced that, effective January 1, 2007, it acquired Mediabolic, Inc., a leading provider of software solutions for connected consumer electronics devices, such as televisions, set-top boxes and digital video recorders. Founded in 1999, Mediabolic was a privately-held company based in San Mateo, California.

The acquisition of Mediabolic extends Macrovision's capabilities in the delivery and enhancement of digital content to a wide variety of connected consumer electronics devices, a strategic priority for Macrovision and its customers. Mediabolic's open and intuitive entertainment networking software platform is an ideal complement to Macrovision's industry leading content protection, enhancement and delivery technology, which is used by Hollywood studios and other owners of high-value content around the world.

"Consumers want to interact with media and digital content whenever and wherever they want. Mediabolic is a key enabler of that experience and we believe in its innovative technology," said Fred Amoroso, CEO of Macrovision Corporation. "Mediabolic's software is a strong fit with our roadmap to help content owners transition from the world of physical media to the digital world on the strength of our technology and partner ecosystem."


Which is all well and good, but I'm a little concerned about what Macrovision will do to a very good, clean, easy-to-use marketplace which is being filled by companies like Mediabolic. I think the consumers enjoy the freedom of their music, movies, and other fine digital stuff, without the lock-downs of copy protection schemes built in. Most devices deal with the DRM already, so I'm not exactly sure what happens to content that may be "backed-up" from people's private collections. I think everyone deserves the right to "rip a copy" of their movies to their hard-disk and stream it to a TV somewhere in the house, using some kind of hardware/software to deliver it. It makes things easy.

Macrovision has been the policing agent for keeping illegal copies of movies from existing by making it hard to copy movies. Granted, people have gotten around this in many ways (and we all know it will continue), but I understand their purpose. Movies are expensive to make, so the investment needs to be protected. But you have to wonder what this type of move is going to do to the streaming entertainment environment? Maybe it's going to allow us to legally download movies (which can't be copied) to our Xboxs, PS3s, and PCs/NAS. Or, maybe it's going to keep us from being able to playback stuff through our own private networks in our homes. Only time will tell, I guess...

I wish Mediabolic the best, as always, and I hope to hear great things coming from this acquisition. ... and I hope to remain a "key contact" for Macrovision as things move ahead.

[Via: Mediabolic Press Release]

Thursday, 4 Jan 2007

Mobile Advertising Gets Busy

Today, Waterfall Mobile, is debuting its MSGME mobile marketing service. It is a mobile messaging platform that gives content owners the ability to add mobile interactivity to their current marketing - online, print, broadcast, or in-venue. It utilizes an easy-to-use web interface to help make publishing effortless, and gives content owners the power to create flexible mobile campaigns, customize their content delivery and send broadcast messages.

Their service is built on LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) architecture and they also offer a Developer Toolkit which allows for dynamic publishing, integration of external applications to mobilize any business, and exporting analytics.

The company is privately owned, founded by some former E*Trade guys – the CEO, Matthew Sechrest, also helped found E* Trade’s venture arm, ArrowPath Venture Capital. Their VP of Engineering is Madhavan Rangarao, formerly of Enigmatic, BEA, and TIBCO. Current clients include the SF Film Society, Youth Noise, and E*Trade among others.

So, just for fun (or if you're bored), you can send a message to MY paulsblog keyword from your phone and you'll get a response back. I'll try to keep it updated so you guys can play with it.

Here's what you do, you break out your shiney mobile phone, and send a text message to MSGME (that's 67463), with the message text: paulsblog That'll get you a response. If you send a message with this text: paulsblog latest That'll get you one of my latest news articles. Eventually, I'll have it send you a whole bunch of RSS stuff, but for right now, I'll manually update it. I'm also currently working on a poll for you to answer though this method. This may add quite a good bit of new interactivity to Pauls Blog! Comments are certainly welcome!

[Via: ANW Networks for Waterfall Mobile - Thanks Lish!]

Samsung's New Generation Refrigerator

The smart guys (and gals, of course) over in South Korean's Samsung Electronics, in 2008 or 2009, plan to launch a new generation refrigerator, equipped with RFID, which detects when its contents are running low or approaching expiration dates.

The new 'fridge will sense when its inventory needs replenishment: such as when the milk is running low. It's expected that Samsung's refrigerator could even send a shopping list to its owner's cell phone or to the supermarket. Which is great, 'cause then my wife doesn't have to call me or text me... Now, inanimate objects can do that for me.

Samsung's spokesman Chae Hee-kook had this to say: "We are working on refrigerators wired for RFID. Technologically speaking, there is no barrier to come up with the new items. The refrigerator will be able to connect to cell phones for various new-concept applications."

It's even thought that the new generation device will also offer recipes using available food products. Which I honestly think is a very cool use of technology. Imagine the possibilities of what you could have. In fact, if it knows when certain things are low, it can even tell you what you might need to make something for dinner. Outside of creating and cooking for you, this would be the next best thing in applicance architecture.

[Via: del.icio.us]

It's 2007: Where's The Podcast Chapter Tool For Windows?

It's already January of 2007, and I have yet to see someone who has created a "Chapter Tool" for Podcasts (basically, for iTunes/iPod users) that runs on Windows. I'm truly confused by this. I mean, a company comes up with a thread of some thought of an idea, and in three days some code-junkie has this thing written, running, and selling it; only to have it cracked in another two hours! So, what's the hold up on the Chapter Tool for Windows?

I haven't done my own Podcast in a while, but I host a site for kids to do their own Podcasts. I would love to be able to tell them how to have their Podcasts produced like a pro, but unless you have a Mac (which most of them don't), they can't do this cool thing to their 'casts.

Now, of all of the great podcasting (and total tech-junkies) out there, Kevin and James should have stumbled on this by now. ;) I've seen specs on Wikipedia for how the format looks, but seriously, I'm not going to painfully hand-code XML and sliding through my audio files to find index times for each chapter. Even MAKE magazine hasn't gotten this worked out in a software form.

By now, I would have thought that the great Sony would have managed to include this simple feature into their ACID 6.0 product as an update. I just downloaded the latest version (6.0d) and it doesn't seem to support it, yet. Maybe they're a little behind with this, or maybe they're coming up with their own BetaMax version of it, or something... I don't know. The truth is, this should be a simple, free, tool for people to use to create their Podcasts with chapter indexes. Like an add-on for Audacity or something.

I've been following this issue for something like 15 months and I haven't seen anything, yet. Maybe I'm just not that good at "the Google," or I'm too impatient to sift through the five-hundred-million results, but I'm coming up empty.

So, if anyone is out there reading this... Clue me in!

Wednesday, 3 Jan 2007

The Daily Oliver Inspires

Maybe you love dogs, maybe you don't. Maybe you love poodles or labs, and maybe you're more just into fish or, a lawn, peace and quiet. Personally, I love dogs. ... and maybe this is one of those "nonsense" posts, but admittedly, it's also a fun technology post, too. You'll see...

We have two dogs. One Chocolate Lab (mmmm, chocolate...) and one very cute Weimeraner. He's a "blue." These aren't the "proper" breed of Weims, but he is the cutest dog ever. We, of course, love them both. Well, as I was flipping through some fun blogs, I stumbled on this one called "The Daily Oliver." It's a webpage devoted to this one man's two Weims. These dogs are beautiful and the scenery in the pictures is just gorgeous. I encourage you to check it.





Maybe I'll feel inspired enough to start my own page... "The Daily Max!" Though, I think I would go with my original page name idea (even long before I saw Oliver's page), it was "Max the dog." ... soon to be a children's book and video game.

[Via: TextDrive]

Child's Play Charity Organization

I am a huge fan of helping people out. In fact, I love to donate time and resources to as many organizations as I can; especially those in need of health or food.

Child's Play is a charity based in Seattle that donates toys, games, books, and even cash to sick kids in children's hospitals around the US and the world. 100% of all donations go directly to the kids and the hospitals. What makes this charity different than most is that it is supported by gamers and game companies. So unbeknownst to you, your game-playing teenagers may have been doing some good deeds while hunch over their keyboards. My kid, my wife, and I play countless games on many systems, so it's really nice to know that what I would consider a possible "time killer" is actually something that could be saving lives.

Childs Play have raised $963k this year and would really like to make it to one million dollars. Maybe you can talk to your CPA and get them to fudge your numbers a little get in a 2006 donation. I'd have told you guys sooner, but I just found out about it today! If nothing else, they could get a good start for next year.

They have a huge list of corporate sponsors, and countless people from around the globe have already donated. If you're a gamer or if you know one, get your game on and help out some kids in need.

[Via: BloggingBaby]

Wednesday, 20 Dec 2006

Pandora's Jar: DL The Social

OK, so it's big news that Pandora now has all this tie-in to "the social" (a phrase that is so bad, but gets such attention that it's doing it's job). Since they've "joined the social" and welcomed many with their ever-cool Pandora streaming custom radio service, their deal with Slim (recently purchased by Logitech), and now this new thing where you can get some socialization features (a la similar to Last.fm), there's something even cooler for those of us that want to walk away with a little music too.

Check out the coolness of Pandora's Jar: Windows only.






You can save streaming Pandora tracks as MP3s with Pandora's Jar, which is a cool new Java-based utility. It has a little bit more finese than the other popular 3tunes, a similar program. Pandora's Jar has an interface (unlike 3tunes), and one that appends itself to the Pandora player (which, in and of itself, is kind of neat). You can save your currently playing tracks with just a click of the "Grab This Track" option, or enable "cruise control" to save all tracks automatically.

Pandora's Jar can also optionally integrate with last.fm (which, to me is almost redundant, but is neat to share your stuff from one place - and maybe I'll turn my last.fm thingy on again) to fetch artist bios, track stats, album art, and other info. There's even an option to automatically add saved tunes to your iTunes library, which, to me, is a serious plus since that's where I keep all of my stuff. Then you can use iScroggler (or whatever it's called) to pick up your changes to iTunes from Pandora's Jar and send them to Last.fm. Whoa! Circular reference!

[Via: TechCrunch]

PS3 Commericals: W3ird B3yond

If you're not a fanboy, rich enough, or someone who survived getting shot at a game store parking lot or Walmart during November, you probably don't own a PS3 right now. If you're one of the ones that thinks it's cool, wants one bad, or can't wait until that million units gets shipped from Sony's manufacturers, then maybe you can hold yourself over with the latest PS3 ads.





If you haven't been lucky enough to see the baby laughing manically, or crying tears of blood, fire, and video games, then you just haven't had the opportunity to view these really weird TV ads; which happen to be available in HD.

If you think you're ready to brave the strange, check out Sony's latest ads in HD, on their website.

[Via: PS Underground Press Release]

JL Picard, XMen, and now TMNT

On the "ever popular" (I'm not sure I've been there before, but I know I'm going back!) PatrickStewart.org, they are reporting that "Sir Patrick" himself will be the voice role of Max Winters in Kevin Munroe's CG animated TMNT.






The movie's plot is described there, as follows:
In this film, after the defeat of their old arch nemesis, The Shredder, the Turtles have grown apart as a family. Struggling to keep them together, their sensei, Master Splinter, becomes worried when strange things begin to happen in New York City. Tech-industrialist Max Winters goes mad after he was wrongfully fired and begins amassing an army of ancient monsters. Realizing his plan is succeeding, he is no longer satisfied with vengeance against his ex-employer, but now has thirst for World Domination.

TMNT is expected to be gracing our theaters on March 30. I'll bet if you have kids, or you're old like me, you can't wait to see what they've done with this classic cartoon, movie, and video game!

[via: comingsoon.net]

Biology Gets a New Symbolic Language

Those folks up in the cold Canadian north have some scientists at Blueprint, led by Dr. Christopher Hogue at Mount Sinai Hospital's Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, who have created a new symbolic language called OntoGlyphs.

This new collection of glyphs has 34 functional, 25 binding, and 24 location categories populated with Gene Ontology (GO) terms. It appears that with this awesome new visual language, scientists of the world will now be able to more quickly identify the attributes of proteins, particularly those in the BIND database.



About The Blueprint Initiative
The Blueprint Initiative is a research program of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute (SLRI) at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Blueprint has recently opened an affiliated node in Singapore. Led by principal investigator Dr. Christopher Hogue, Blueprint develops, hosts, and maintains public biological databases and bioinformatics software tools such as BIND, SeqHound, and Distributed Folding. For more information on Blueprint, visit www.blueprint.org.

[Via: Bioinformatics]

MS Virtualization Training is Here

If you're an Microsoft fan, and I can be, you'll find that they've got just as many good ideas as the next guy, and then sometimes even more. I love that Microsoft has finally decided to really get behind virtualization. I mean, there are many companies that have done this before, but being able to do this with a native technology from Microsoft, on Microsoft operating systems, is just excellent.

Don't just sit there, get in the game and check out what's new with MS Virtual Server Training. Learn everything you need to know about the Virtual PC and Virtual Server, with this awesome training.





You'll learn great stuff like:
- Learn About Virtualization. What options are out there? How does it work? Why would I use Virtual Machines?
- Install Virtual Server and Virtual PC for FREE.
- Learn what you need to know before setting up your first Virtual Machine.
- Administer your VMs remotely .

If you're interested in MS Virtual Server Training, and you'd like to see a well done video, take a look at this link for a quick demo tour:





[Sponsored Post - Disclaimer]

The Page View is Dead?

In a recent article over at Blogma, there was discussion about whether or not the Page View and Stat Counter are dead items. In some ways, I think this is true, in others, not really. One has to look at the different ways the numbers are counted. If you have some strictly written HTML and nothing dynamic (like AJAX), then page counters and view counts seem to work pretty well (with the exception that people hitting Refresh seriously boosts your numbers). When you move on to technologies similar to AJAX and other dynamic page functions, you loose the sense of what's going on.

Blogma: Page views, along with unique-visitor counts, are currently the main way to measure Web site traffic. But new technologies like AJAX allow users to get more information from a Web page without reloading, which can throw off traffic data. Now, some industry figures are calling for new metrics.



"The bottom line is that the page view has outgrown its usefulness. The industry needs to embrace change and develop new metrics that measure this new world more accurately," Peter Daboll, Chief of Insights at Yahoo, wrote on a blog.

So the question that Blogma had, and I have too, is this:

Is it time to move on from page views? And if so, what comes next?

[Via: Blogma]

Apogee Search Marketing: Bigger and Better

The Search Engine Marketing genius of Apogee has gotten even better in the recent past. As of late, they've just joined themselves to the ranks of SEMPO; a non-profit professional association working worldwide to increase awareness and promote the value of Search Engine Marketing. They've also gotten qualified as an AdWords company through the power of the monsterous big-daddy of all search Google (now a household verb!).





If you're out there looking for ways to use technology to improve your website traffic, I suggest you take a look at Apogee Search. They are known to use marketing solutions which drive qualified, targeted visitors to B2B and B2C websites, and they will generate more leads, customers, revenues and profits for your site than through the simple click-through methods. We all know how ambiguous the visibility is when you're using those methods. I'm not a huge blog, so I can tell you for certain, it's tough getting by with just click-throughs.

If you want the numbers that actually determine sales and profits, you should check out Apogee-Search.com

[Sponsored Post - Disclaimer]

A Twisty Tangle Of Sound

If you like your music twisted, or if you just like to see your music coming out of something twisted, then Tangle has a brand new pair of portable speakers for you!

Visibly they keep their namesake by featuring two speakers which are supported above the speaker base by four twisty, well... Tangles.





The ability to twist the Tangles in virtually any direction, ensures that you will be able to achieve optimal sound no matter where you are seated in the room. These beauties are formally known as the Tangle DNA Sound iPod Speakers. They are likely to be compatible with other devices such as portable DVD players, MP3 players, and portable media players.

Pricing is currently a Mystery

Tuesday, 19 Dec 2006

Optics For The Geek In Your Life

You don't have to be a tech-geek to enjoy optics technologies, but it sure helps!

If you're into these kinds of things (and maybe some things you might not even know are out there) you should check out www.OpticsPlanet.net for their HUGE selection of gifts, and best deals on telescopes, microscopes, spotting scopes, and Digital Binoculars.





They've got everything for the hunter, the dreamers of the night skies, flashlights, and even ballistic goggles. You should check out these wiley x goggles.

But they don't stop there. They've got other stuff, like MP3 players and GPS units, too. Best of all, their selection is HUGE and their prices are excellent! Most items are blown out at 50% off of the list price!

If you're still doing some last minute shopping for the season, or even if you're just ready to get a great new pair of lenses, click on over to www.OpticsPlanet.net!


[Sponsored Post - Disclaimer]

Bill Gates Says DRM is Bad, MmKay?

The genius Cory Doctorow, from Boing Boing, reported about an interview with bloggers concerning Bill Gates' thoughts on DRM. Apparently, it was received a little strangely, considering his position on the whole thing. Understandably, though. I mean, if Bill Gates is against the way DRM is being handled, and Microsoft JUST opened up the "gates" allowing people to purchase music for their latest foray into the online music sales business, what does this actually mean for the consumer?

Mr. Gates admitted that putting anti-copying technology into media makes it worse. He concluded by advising everyone to just forget about the DRM, by buying CDs and ripping them. Gates also included the statement that no one is satisfied with the current state of DRM, which "causes too much pain for legitmate buyers" while trying to explain the difference between legal and illegal uses. He claims that no-one has done it correctly at this time. He also asserts that there are "huge problems" with DRM. and "we need more flexible models," such as the ability to "buy an artist out for life."

Gates also had criticism for DRM schemes which try to install intelligence in each copy so that it is device specific. His advice for now was: "People should just buy a cd and rip it. You are legal then."

For more on this story, check out the details at Techcrunch

[Via: BoingBoing]

Wednesday, 13 Dec 2006

Improve Your Image: Stop Image SPAM

As if you weren't being bombarded enough during the holidays. Spammers have invented even more interesting ways to find their way into your mailbox. It's not enough to just send you an email message anymore, now they've got SPAM with images in them. Sure, they even look like other messages you've received and even you can't figure out why your SPAM Protection didn't pick it up.

The reason why nothing caught it was because image spam is a technique where the spam message consists of an image and a small amount of text that looks like a text-based message. While all image spam messages may look the same to your eyes, spammers employ techniques to automatically create each image to have slightly different coloration, speckle patterns, or fonts. This causes messages to appear unique when received and processed by spam filters.

So, what do we do about image spam? Well, you can check out BorderWare's MXtreme! They have a neat little solution to help solve your image spam problems. They've developed a product called Intercept Image Analysis.

Intercept Image Analysis inspects over thirty attributes about each image, including positions and relationships to other message characteristics. It's designed to adapt and learn about new image spam campaigns and to defeat known and emerging spam threats including:


  • Word salads used to defeat content filters

  • Randomization and speckling used to evade bulk detection and fingerprinting

  • Tiling and splicing and animated GIF images used to confuse OCR



That sounds pretty good to me! Considering how much more of this type of SPAM I'm receiving, I'm interested to see how their product performs. You can request an evaluation for yourself to make your own judgement. Of course, I'd love to hear from you to get your thoughts!

It's always good to see companies out there trying to kill the spammers!



[Sponsored Post - Disclaimer]

The List: Your Blogleberty Status

With all of the great stupidity in the blog world, it's only natural that we've reduced an interesting form of communication to something with absurdity.

Bring on the A-List of the blogsphere! Don't worry, this little blog isn't going to be in the top of the Technorati pages, or on Paris Hilton's blog-roll, but I can tell you this: Being a D-list blogger still kinda stings. That's right, it's a shallow attempt at creating Black's fashion world for blogs. But, you can definitely have some fun with it and see where you rank.






Check out this great little Mash-up of technology that brings you this world of Tech AND Nonsense (something near and dear to my heart!). In the world of Entertainment, Pop-culture, and Lifestyle, Kineda brings us the list of the Blogleberty. Which, I'll warn you, is a pain to type, as techno-words go.

[Via: ProgrammableWeb]

The Mash-Up-able Web!

A friend pointed me to a site that I thought was pretty cool. It showed a matrix grid (sans Neo), that contained a huge list of sites and services which have been mashed-up together to make a whole bunch of new services. Sure, we've all seen the mash-ups of Amazon and something else. Yes, we all want that RSS feed and Google map of where our packages are when they're shipped with a tracking number. But, the trick is finding these services, or better yet, tapping into the APIs of such things!

Well, the Programmable Web does just that. There you'll find a full matrix of some of the best mash-up stuff out there. If you're like me and you like to code, you'll find you can do some neat things with services you never really thought could mash.

Check it out, it's cool!

[Via: IceOpera]

Tuesday, 12 Dec 2006

Protect and Beat Your iPod

Since I'm a drummer, I totally love stuff like this... well, in a way.

Blue Beatz created this cool iPod case that doesn't just protect your precious pod, but - when you flip it over - has a full beat-box for you to bash and add your own beats to the tracks your hearing.





For around $16USD, you can annoy yourself, or your friends (with speakers connected), with some crazy bashing with your tunes. If you're a DJ, a drummer, or someone with decent rhythm, this could be a lot of fun. But, real friends don't let friends break beatz without skillz. But, with a couple of AAA batteries and the Blue Beatz box, you're on your way!

[Via: UberGizmo]

Friday, 8 Dec 2006

ncNatural Deals: More Than Coupons

Who doesn't dig a good deal? I mean, really, if you're shopping, you may as well get the price, or at least a lower one than the next guy, right? I like when things are easy, when it comes to finding deals and using them. Playing around with lots of coupons isn't always ideal, but sometimes the pay-off is seriously worth it. Of course, I'm not good with scissors, so maybe that's something else to consider!





My wife and I both make use of Online Coupons on a regular basis. So, it's only "natural" that you get used to using a great site over and over again.

Let's say you like stuff from BestBuy. One of the coupons on this site a $100 gift Card on Apple desktop, notebook, or Monitors. Maybe you're more into biking equipment. So, you alphabetically find the deals for a place like Nashbar (one of my favorite deal places for cycling equipment!).

I've found some great stuff, and I'm sure you will too! Why not check out one of the newest sites for dishing out awesome deals and making them easy to find?

Head over to NCNatural's Coupon Site!

[Sponsored Post - Disclaimer]

Tag Heuer Monaco Says Love

Given the watch lover that I am, I would - of course - request a watch for the holiday season of gifts. My loving wife would - of course - grant my request based on whichever watch I gave her the picture to see. ... and some link to something like Amazon. Well for a mere $3200.00, on Amazon, you can grab this beauty.

The Tag Heuer Monaco has that true classic look for men. It actually got a bit too popular, as prices came down under two grand. But there is a way out of this. Have a look at this limited Edition Tag Heuer Monaco watch.





From this Steve McQueen Tag Heuer Monaco (CW2118.FC6207) only 4,000 have been made. The self winding automatic watch features a red, white and blue styled dial.

[Via: i4U]

The Living Logo

Here's an interesting idea: You make a logo for your company. OK, maybe that's not that interesting. How about you make that logo changes based on the state of your company? Now THAT'S interesting!

That's exactly what Michael Schmitz' thesis and presentation theorized at the UDK digital media class. See, this guy has a history of mashing up different kinds of technology, biology, graphics design and all kinds of cool stuff; like he did for his example fonts called "GenoTyp." But this time he took the idea farther (or maybe just in a different direction).


Looking for a suitable design solution, Mika soon learned cellular automata, especially Conway's famous Game of Life, subject of many art pieces. His software basically follows the same rules in creating a dynamic logo for MPI-CBG in time, but the parameters are coupled to certain factors: number of employees = density, funding = speed, number of publications = activity. Different logos are being "bred" and then picked by fitness in relation to the parameters or voted for by the employees. Thus, everytime the logo is displayed on a website as an animated icon or printed out on a letter, it reflects the current state of the lab as a living organism.


How cool is that? Imagine if you used your face as the starting point for the drawing? Either way, I think this particular piece of technology meets art meets Geo-life will be inspiring to other ideas, going forward. in and of itself, I don't imagine this idea will "stick" but I believe the thinking behind it will someday prove benficial in some way.

[Via: WMMNA]

Tuesday, 14 Nov 2006

Laser Etched Flash Drives For Cheap!

Here's a great new idea for your holiday shopping list: Flash Drives! Not just your plain old flash drives that you get with some manufacturer's logo on them, Laser Engraved drives with your own message on them, or someone's name! Pexagontech.com are selling these great custom flash drives with Free - that's righ you heard me - FREE laser engraving. Who needs anything more than data storage, these days, right? Just think, this goes right back to my article about how kids could take their stuff back and forth from school!

Each Store-It Thumb Drives comes in choices of 512MB, 1GB, 2GB or 4GB of portable storage, in an a seriously small package, in your choice of 5 exciting colors. They're made of a durable, aluminum design so you don't have to worry about it being tough enough to drag around. They even come included with security software to password protect the contents of the drive!





You might want to get over there and buy one of these flash drives quick, 'cause they've got some specials going on. you can get a 1GB Thumb Drive (any color) for $20.99, with FREE laser engraving, and 2GB Thumb Drive (any color) for $38.99 also with FREE laser engraving. That's a pretty sweet deal! Inexpensive and monogramed!

So check out these thumb drives from Pexagontech.com!


[Sponsored Post - Disclaimer]

Friday, 10 Nov 2006

New TabletPC Review Site - Check It Out!

I just got wind of this great new TabletPC Review site. Since I know I mentioned that I have a tablet PC and love what I can do with it, I'm always curious what's out there for Tablet PCs as well as what others have experienced using the same piece of equipment. Well, now I have another great source for Tablet PC Reviews!

I was checking out the site and saw their easy navigation dropdowns on the right side of the page. I found my manufacturer and the model and let the site do the work. It quickly came up with a few models, with details, to choose and I clicked on the actual model number/configuration that I had.





Once I picked my equipment, I was presented with a very clean and easy-to-read interface that showed me the information I wanted to see. I could click on its tabbed interface to look at prices, opinions, and owner reviews; that was the real meat, for me. So I took a look and was thrilled to see what people had to say about what I owned. Some people have had some bad experiences with their tablets and now I knew what to look out for when I'm using my own. Hey, who says you can't use reviews for more than just making the initial decision!?

The navigation of the site is simple and pleasing to view (the color scheme worked for my old eyes!), and things were categorized nicely. There are forums with plenty of topic areas, and even a tab for finding great tablet deals, when you're in the market for something new. This is a very cool site!

Check it out: Tablet PC Reviews!


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Sony Shows Us The Consistency

With all of the 80,000 folks in Japan sitting outside of stores praying to who-knows about their possibilities of actually getting their hands on a PS3, Sony has gone ahead and recently posted the PS3 manual on their site.

At least the interface between the PS3 and the PSP (and other Sony products, as of late) has been matched. The icons are the same and they actually mean the same things; that's something for the greater good! People identify pictures faster and more accurately than words, so the visual consistency is a definite plus.






Shack makes a good comment in that he says "Got any questions before you spend a half a grand and don't want to listen to a salesperson? look at the manual first!"

More product sites should show us the details of their wares for which they're trying to get us to drop some cash. Why not post a manual, some good pictures (with close-ups?) of the products? Like Shack said, if I'm looking at spending a half-of-a-grand on something, I should at least have a fair idea of what it does; from the gift horses mouth.

Granted, though, these great blogs wouldn't have anything to offer if we didn't get to see all of the groping and unboxing that these folks do for us. In reality, they probably give us more honest (if not tremendously biased) answers relating to the products they blog.

[Via: Shack's Blog]

Razz Your Friends For Fun!

There are so many fun things out there on the web. There are those great MeMes that everyone does, there are phone blogs, text blogs, and journals that teens love. Why not spice up your pages with a little fun? Who doesn't like to hear the sound of their own voice, right?

Well, if you want to say something witty, stupid, or just silly, you can make a recording with something and post it. But what if you want to actually change the sound of your voice and add some neat effects? Maybe you're like me and don't actually LIKE the sound of your spoken voice. ... or maybe I'm a liar and do my own podcast and don't mind hearing myself talk? Either way, why not check out this fun little toy for that MySpace generation: The RAZZ Mixer.





A slick little interface with loads of fun tools to make your friends and family smile and hear that perky voice of yours... or maybe listen to your dog bark! How about you tell them how much you dig 'em, like this:



Make your own Razz!

You can even tell your peeps on your buddy list that they've been Razzed with a custom link to your Razz sounds.

Just record your stuff, click save, and BANG!... you're linked:


Pop your link on your myspace page and you're givin' people a piece of you, with a little spice!

If you'd like to give it a go, click here: Try the RAZZ Mixer Yourself.

Fun and novelty awaits you!

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Technology and Education

The other day, I was reading an article about whether or not it made sense to use more technology in the classroom. Some of the arguements for it were that it would be easier to deal with carrying so many books around and always having the content at your fingertips, along with the ability to do research very quickly.

Digital classroom learning tools might have made it easier for my near-sightedness growing up, as well. Imagine being able to actually SEE what's "on the board" right there in front of your face? Imagine being able to interact with the teacher more easily, and not have to walk up to the board to jot your answers, but to write or draw from your desktop. The best part? How about, you've already got the notes from the board which you can translate into digital text, rather than just a graphic. ... and you didn't even have to type/write it! Now that's cool! Imagine also being able to always have the latest updates to your history books?

The argument on the other side is how difficult it would be for kids to keep from destroying this equipment and who it would cost when these things did get destroyed. Kids notoriously drop things. Things break. Books can weather that storm, but notebook computers and tablet PCs can't. So, what's the alternative? Don't ever update to technology, or find a way to reduce the cost of hardened pieces of equipment? I mean, come-on, we use these things on shop floors, manufacturing plants, and on construction sites. It's obvious that we can overcome these issues. Of course, the other side of that is how heavy they are... hmmm... back to square one, aren't we?

So, I was just reading one of my favorite blogs, JKonTheRun (with my pals James and Kevin!), and Kevin pointed out a piece of technology that should have made perfect sense to me, since I was already using it for something like this: Digital Magazines on a stick! I thought, "Duh! I have the simple answer, in my hands!" Why not give the kids their books on USB drives? THAT's a whole lot lighter than those gigantic science and math books my kid brings home! Besides, you can even change the size of the type to make it easier to read, for us old folks when we're helping out with the homework.

It doesn't solve the whole problem, or question, I mentioned at the top of this post, but it does bring us a little closer to what makes some sense. With PCs in the classroom, and PCs at home, kids can really get what they need and not need a chiropractor from lugging those books around! (no offense to you back-doctors out there!) Besides, the teachers can certainly send the kids home with encrypted notes for the parents to read, and we could digitally sign-off on homework and the like. Lesson plans could be delivered this way, too.

There's a world of good technology out there for education, why don't we use it? What's your take?

Right Up urAnime!

You're like me, I know you are. You like to play MMORPG games and you like to have everything on your PC reflect that you do. I love games like World of Warcraft and Guildwars, and I also really love Anime stuff; it's so cool!

If you're interested in checking out a free anime download blog and forum for MMORPG stuff, you should check out Trickster Online and the urAnime forums with Free Anime Downloads.

They've got all kinds of stuff out there, including forums about Naruto, One Piece, Gundam, and Bleach. You can get pictures, manga, wallpaper, music, downloads and have great discussions (of which some are really intriguing, I might add) on the site. You can even catch up on an Anime Blog that they've got.

So, if you like Anime (and you KNOW you do, you pwned haxorz!), you should check out some anime download stuff at urAnime and Trickster!

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