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Archive for January, 2010

Stephen Colbert Delivers Grammy for Song of the Year From His New Apple iPad [Grammys]

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Comedian Stephen Colbert is hosting the Grammys, and to mark the occasion of “Song of the Year” (Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)), he pulled out his shiny new iPad.

Notable because it’s one of the first out in the open (is he “the first?”). Also notable: No iPads in those obscene celebrity gift baskets people get for attending these things (Jay-Z didn’t even get one, Colbert mocked).

And yes, this looked to be the real deal, as you could see the screen changing from portrait to landscape as the moved the iPad around.

Update: Now with video.


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Portland Government Plans 200-ft. Tall Energy-Saving Plant Wall [Green]

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Portland, Oregon is so into the green movement that they’re going to cover their federal building from floor to ceiling with a 200-ft. wall made from living, breathing vegetation.

The living wall is more than just a pretty facade, however, as city officials claim it will lead to savings of about $280,000 per year in energy costs. Add in some solar panels (also part of the overall $133 million plan), and the building will use about 60-65% less energy than a similar-sized office.

And, being a plant, the multi-fin wall is seasonal. Designers say that in the summer its foliage will provide cooling shade; in the winter months the wall will thin, providing light when the weather cooperates.

One issue yet to be tackled by architects is irrigation. Rainwater from the roof is one suggestion, while water recycled from the building’s plumbing is another.

Another issue is cost. Senators John McCain of Arizona and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma have both criticized the project for being a complete waste of economic stimulus money (see also: The Bridge to Nowhere). Even so, the project is on track for completion in 2013. [New York Times]


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Stephen Colbert rocks the Grammys with an Apple iPad

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

We didn’t think we’d see an iPad surface so soon… If you were keeping up with the Grammys, you were probably just as shocked as we were when Stephen Colbert pulled one out to present Song of the Year. And of course, the iPad’s cameo wouldn’t be complete without a little gloating from Colbert himself. “Jay Z, did you not get one of these in your gift bag? Am I cooler than you?!” Bravo, Stephen Colbert. Hit the break for a video clip.

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Motorola Backflip spotted in the wilds of China

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Motorola’s Backflip has yet to springboard itself over to AT&T, but those who call China home can hop on the bandwagon right away. Said phone — which sports a full touchscreen and a physical QWERTY thanks to the horizontal clamshell design — is now available from Moto’s Chinese portal for 4,298 Chinese yuan (in unlocked form), which translates to right around $630. While the rest of the world awaits the phone’s launch later this quarter, you can hit up Mobile.163.com for a downright beautiful gallery of in the wild shots. Go on, it’s safe. We think.

[Thanks, Me]

Motorola Backflip spotted in the wilds of China originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 31 Jan 2010 23:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Unwired View  |  sourceMotorola China, 163  | Email this | Comments

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Armatix pistol / wristwatch combo tells time… to stay put

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Armatix has apparently been working on its so-called “smartgun” concept for quite a while, but it’s now finally shown up at the Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT, naturally) with its first actual product: a .22-caliber pistol that relies on a wristwatch as a safety. As you can probably figure out, the gun will only unlock itself when its in close proximity to the watch, which sends a “wireless arming signal” that, of course, also activates some green LEDs for good measure. Previous incarnations of the company’s concept also relied on a fingerprint ID as an additional safety, but that seems to have been left off this production model, which will run €7,000 (or $9,700) when it starts shipping next month.

Armatix pistol / wristwatch combo tells time… to stay put originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 31 Jan 2010 22:11:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Technabob  |  sourceDanger Room  | Email this | Comments

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White Goat Turns Worthless Office Reports Into Functional Toilet Paper [Toilet Paper]

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Boss: “Jensen, I wouldn’t wipe my ass with your TPS reports, such is my disdain for your work.” Jensen: “That’s too bad, sir, because you just did in the restroom!” You see, readers, this scene unfolded thusly because of this:

It’s a machine that recycles paper into toilet paper! And surprise, this quirky bit of tech is from…Japan!

Called White Goat, possibly because someone in the inventor’s office saw one eating some paper one day and then do what animals do naturally after eating such things, the machine creates a roll of TP in about 30 minutes using 40 sheets of office paper:

The $100,000 machine goes on sale in Japan this summer, and is expected to save about 60 trees annually. Your job, on the other hand, may still be beyond saving. [Ubergizmo via Born Rich]


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Sir, You’ll Have to Check Your Bags and the Navy Guidance System [Odd]

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

The Unclaimed Baggage Center, a real, live place where—wait for it—unclaimed airline baggage goes to market, is a smorgasbord of eclectic lost gadgets, guidance systems and diamonds, oh my:

For those gadget lovers amongst us, there’s a $250,000 Navy guidance system. Maybe all the military transports were full that day? Also, there’s a camera designed specifically for the space shuttle. Perhaps someone at NASA was delivering it to a buyer (if that’s the case, we doubt the engines will be “mailed” in quite the same way). Just add some unclaimed weaponry and the Unclaimed Baggage Center might be comparable to the armies in some third world countries.

For movie buffs, the original Hoggle puppet from Labyrinth was also lost and found by the Center, as was a real, live snake on a plane (rattlesnake).

Indiana Jones might have been flying the day a suitcase full of Egyptian artifacts was lost and never claimed. There were also a number of unclaimed diamonds and jewels, with some of the former having been found hanging out inside a loose sock. [Mental Floss via Consumerist]


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Steve Jobs disses Adobe and calls BS on Google

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Picture 1

If you had any doubts about Steve Jobs’ confidence and convictions after returning to Apple from his sick leave, it’s time you leave those at the door. The revered CEO announced a hotly anticipated device last week and followed up by burning the competition. On Google, Steve Jobs said that its motto “Don’t be evil” is bullshit (Steve’s words, not ours). Clearly, Steve-o isn’t phased by the Nexus One while he boasts the three billion apps sold from the Apple app store. Regarding Adobe, Steve apparently went on to say they’re lazy and are squandering so much potential. Wow. And Flash? According to Steve, no one will be using Flash in the future; it’s going to be all about HTML5.

Is Steve Jobs’ boisterous attitude completely without warrant? Or is he just telling it like it is? Let us know your thoughts.

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BlackBerry Curve 8910 actually not meant for just Asian markets?

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

We haven’t confirmed this yet, but one of our connects just let us know that the BlackBerry Curve 8900 might be seeing a status change pretty soon.

So, if our tipster is to be believed, the BlackBerry Curve 8900 on T-Mobile might be going on an end-of-life plan. What better device to replace the BlackBerry 8900 than the BlackBerry 8910? RIM sure knows how to slip in those minor refreshes…

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Entelligence: Lessons from the iPad launch

Sunday, January 31st, 2010
Entelligence is a column by technology strategist and author Michael Gartenberg, a man whose desire for a delicious cup of coffee and a quality New York bagel is dwarfed only by his passion for tech. In these articles, he’ll explore where our industry is and where it’s going — on both micro and macro levels — with the unique wit and insight only he can provide.

It was quite the week for Apple, first with its best-ever earnings and then the launch of the iPad. While Apple didn’t create this category of device, it did answer the fundamental question of why this form factor needs to exist. The meta lesson is that the story told is as important as the hardware, software and services being sold — and while everyone may not be convinced, I do think Apple will win over the majority of a skeptical audience with high expectations. But there’s also four important lessons that Apple taught the market this week, as it enters a space that’s been mostly a failure.

1. Define what your product does. The first thing Apple did was answer that question immediately and then define what the product needed to do. Apple explained what capabilities need to be in the this class of device and then went on to show how each of those features not only worked but were optimized for the iPad. That’s something we’ve seen lacking in this category to date.

2. Leverage what you’ve done before. I believe the iPad is likely to do well with consumers as it leverages Apple’s previous successes with the iPod and the iPhone. At the base level, that’s compatibility and synchronization with iTunes as well as backward compatibility with existing applications. That’s important — as a user I can use my existing content library and my application collection. It also means that iPad has 140,000-plus applications at launch. But it’s more than that. Apple is not only leveraging its ecosystem of devices and software, it’s leveraging the lessons it spent a decade teaching consumers. Apple taught its market about MP3 players, digital music, smartphones, capacitive multitouch screens and mobile apps. It can now go directly to selling the form factor, as well as new features such as productivity and e-books.

Continue reading Entelligence: Lessons from the iPad launch

Entelligence: Lessons from the iPad launch originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 31 Jan 2010 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sony’s John Koller: Apple’s entrance into gaming market drives consumers to PSP

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Um, okay? Just days after Apple introduced its exceedingly underwhelming iPad while simultaneously attempting to convince that masses that said product was the portable gaming device they had been waiting their whole lives for, Sony’s own hardware marketing honcho has come forward and extolled Cupertino’s decision to finally make the gaming leap. In a recent interview, John stated the following:

“Apple’s entrance into the portable gaming space has been a net positive for Sony. When people want a deeper, richer console, they start playing on a PSP.”

While we can’t seem to shake the suspicion that Mr. Koller is drawing links that probably don’t exist (at least fully) in reality, research firm NPD does show that sales of the PSP have “nearly tripled since the iPhone went on sale in June 2007.” Of course, it’s not like the PSP has gained functionality, become the home of more than a few killer titles and spawned a UMD-less sibling since the heydays of ’07, but hey — who are we to question the suit?

Sony’s John Koller: Apple’s entrance into gaming market drives consumers to PSP originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 31 Jan 2010 15:17:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Joystiq  |  sourceFox Business  | Email this | Comments

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Spongy Steel Won’t Soak Up a Mess, But It Could Save Your Ass in a Firefight [Science]

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Future comic book heroes may be referred to as Men of Spongy Steel if one researcher’s experimental metal makes it out of the lab and into real-world applications.

There’s no fancy name attached to this stuff yet, so we’ll just call it steel foam for now. Name or no name, its various applications (tested in the lab) still sound incredible:

Rough traffic accident calculations show that by inserting two pieces of her composite metal foam behind the bumper of a car traveling 28 mph, the impact would feel the same to passengers as impact traveling at only 5 mph.

Then there’s the smash test, wherein researcher and materials scientist Afsaneh Rabiei takes a piece of steel and a piece of foam steel and smashes them both into a base plate at high speed. After the test, there’s a clear indentation in the traditional steel, while the foam shows no damage whatsoever. Energy absorption, and all that.

As the article notes, metal foam isn’t exactly a new invention, but these tests show Rabiei’s may be the strongest version yet. Already scientists’ minds are swimming with applications for this super spongy steel, most notably body armor, artificial limbs, boats and airplanes. [Live Science via Neatorama]


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Macmillan CEO Officially Confirms Amazon Deletions Were Due to Price War [Ebooks]

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

The writing was on the wall as recently as 2 a.m. this morning, and an open letter from Macmillan CEO John Sargent has confirmed everything we suspected: Macmillan books were pulled from Amazon store as part of a strong-arm tactic in the coming eBook price war. [Publishers Marketplace via Boing Boing]


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Full version of Firefox Mobile finally released for Maemo 5

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Mozilla Fennec Logo

Nokia N900 owners are now the envy of the mobile world having been given the privilege of being the first group of people to use the official finalized version of Firefox Mobile. Firefox Mobile will run on the Maemo 5 platform and incorporates many features seen in the desktop version of Firefox including the Awesome Bar, add-ons, tabbed browsing, location-aware browsing,  and safe browsing which provides you with an instant web ID and allows you to  your easily customize your security settings. Mozilla also introduced Weave Sync, a feature which allows you to sync your tabs, history, bookmarks, and passwords between your desktop and mobile device. Anyone rocking a N900 want to share your first impressions with us?

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8.9-inch ExoPC Slate has iPad looks, netbook internals, Windows 7 soul

Sunday, January 31st, 2010
8.9-inch ExoPC Slate has iPad looks, netbook internals, Windows 7 soul

Yes, we realize that it’s hard to provide too much visual differentiation between tablet PCs with large, ebony bezels, but we can’t help but think that this 8.9-inch multitouch tablet looks a lot like another, recently announced 9.7-inch multitouch tablet. Nevertheless this one’s quite different on the inside, delivering “the web without compromise,” meaning full browser support with flash courtesy of Windows 7 on an Atom N270 at 1.6GHz, with 2GB of DDR2 memory and a 32GB SSD with SD expansion. Yeah, those specs are familiar too, and while we’re not thinking this will deliver the sort of snappy performance seen on the iPad, it will certainly be a lot more functional. Battery life is only four hours, but at last it user-replaceable, and a price of $599 matches the 32GB iPad. Likewise it will be available in March — or you can get a non-multitouch prototype for $780 right this very moment. If, that is, you speak enough French to manage the order page.

[Thanks, Jean-Baptiste]

8.9-inch ExoPC Slate has iPad looks, netbook internals, Windows 7 soul originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 31 Jan 2010 10:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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MSI’s new CX420, CR420 and CR720 laptops put Intel’s new processors to good, workaday use

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Smell that? That’s a smell of a real man’s budget computer, doing real manly things like task processing and pixel churning. MSI’s new CX420, CR420 and CR720 laptops aren’t much for looks, but under the hood you can find new-gen Core i Series processors across the board and ATI Radeon HD5470 graphics in the CX420 (pictured). Sure, there’s only Intel integrated HD graphics in the CR420 and CR720, and the 1366 x 768 14-inch displays in the CX420 / CR420 are a bit of a letdown, but knowing MSI we’re sure the prices for this trio will more than make up for any mild disappointments on the spec sheet. Hit up the PR for the full breakdown, but there’s no release date to be found just yet.

MSI’s new CX420, CR420 and CR720 laptops put Intel’s new processors to good, workaday use originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 31 Jan 2010 09:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Laptoping  |  sourceMSI CX420 / CR420, MSI CR720  | Email this | Comments

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Amazon pulled Macmillan titles due to price conflict — confirmed

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Macmillan’s US CEO, John Sargent just confirmed that Amazon pulled its inventory of Macmillan books in a powerful response to Macmillan’s new pricing demands. Macmillan offered the new pricing on Thursday, just a day after Apple announced Macmillan as a major publishing partner in its new iBookstore — a revelation that certainly factored into the discussions along with Skiff and other emerging e-book distribution and publishing models. During the meeting with Amazon in Seattle, Sargent outlined what he calls an “agency model” that will go into effect in early March. Under the terms offered, if Amazon chose to stay with its existing terms of sale, then it would suffer “extensive and deep windowing of titles.” Amazon’s hardball response was to pull all of Macmillan’s titles from its Kindle site and Amazon.com by the time Sargent arrived back in New York.

Macmillan claims that its new model is meant to keep retailers, publishers, and authors profitable in the emerging electronic frontier while encouraging competition amongst new devices and new stores. It gives retailers a 30% commission and sets the price for each book individually: digital editions of most adult trade books will be priced from $5.99 to $14.99 while first releases will “almost always” hit the electronic shelves day on date with the physical hardcover release and be priced between $12.99 and $14.99 — pricing that will be dynamic over time. So when Steve Jobs said that Apple’s and Amazon’s prices would be the same, he was almost certainly referring to the $12.99 to $14.99 e-book pricing originally rumored by the New York Times — not the $9.99 price that Amazon customers have been enjoying so far. Funny how Jobs, the man who once refused to grant the music labels’ request for variable pricing on digital music so that Apple could maintain a low fixed $0.99 price per track, is suddenly the best friend of a new breed of content owners. Guess the old dog just learned a new trick, eh?

Amazon pulled Macmillan titles due to price conflict — confirmed originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 31 Jan 2010 04:06:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink BoingBoing  |  sourcePublishersLunch  | Email this | Comments

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