Archive for Technology

VOTD: Best Innovations of 2009

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , , on Tuesday, 17 November 2009 by Deems

 It’s interesting that all of the innovations in this clip from Time Magazine’s  Top 50 Innovations of 2009 are all geared towards a greener planet. How many of them do you recognize? Of those in the video, I only remember hearing about the Energy Meter.

You can read more about them here on Time’s website or click here for the actual list. [via CherryFlava]

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Forget HDTV – UHDTV will be the next big thing

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, 5 November 2009 by Deems

With Blu-Ray slowly taking it’s place in the digital video market as the preferred digital versatile disc medium due to it’s superior storage capacity and audio and visual quality over run of the mill DVDs the current “in” technology are HD television sets.

With more and more public and private broadcasters in various countries around the world switching off their analogue signals and purely broadcasting digital signals they’re fast becoming the norm. Never mind the on-going battle between technology experts about which HDTV display is better, Plasma or LCD (oh and let’s not forget OLED displays too).

If that wasn’t enough to confuse most people – there’s something “new” on the horizon. Ultra High Definition Televisions or UHDTV (also known as Super Hi-Vision). I say “new” since it’s not really new but just not very well known, yet. Japan Broadcast Corporation (NHK) already demonstrated this technology back in 2005 at the World Exposition in Aichi, Japan.

I’ve been into technology and it’s awesomeness as far back as I can remember but being a parent, having a mortgage and working as a software developer (who doesn’t work for the government) sometimes, okay most times, cost comes into the equation and usually overrides the wow factor. I have some decent audio visual equipment but neither Blu-Ray players nor a HDTV (yet) or satellite television (yet).

Okay so give it up – more info on the UHDTV already!

Well, Ultra, it definitely is. To put it into perspective. Current HDTV is broadcast in a 1920×1080 resolution whereas UHDTV will be broadcast in a resolution of 7680×4320. What? Okay, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here goes. The turquoise rectangle is the current HDTV resolution and the big blue outer rectangle is the UHDTV resolution. Click on the image for a higher resolution version.

UDTVComparison

Get the picture? That’s seriously huge! But it’ll be a few years before this becomes commercially available and viable. Possibly in the next 7 to 12 years. Along with an amazing high resolution image you’ll also get superb 22.2 multichannel surround sound. You read that correctly, 22 satellite speakers and 2 sub-woofers. Huh? Where do all those speakers go? Well in a configuration as follows:

  • 9 speakers above ear level
  • 10 speakers at ear level
  • 5 speakers below ear level

I guess we’ll need a bigger lounge then.

You can find out more in the various links in the post above or here. Thanks to Jon for the heads-up of this article on Hot Hardware.

Below is a short video about Super Hi-Vision/UHDTV from IBC Channel News.

Want to walk on air?

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , , on Monday, 2 November 2009 by Deems

alterg-treadmill

What would it be like to walk on air? Well, Lisa Katayama over at BoingBoing got to experience just what it’s like.

She got a chance to review the new AlterG treadmill. It’s no ordinary treadmill though, but a specialized treadmill that encompasses the lower half of your body in a sort of vacuum. Through a control panel you can control the air-flow in the tube surrounding your legs to tighten or loosen the pressure giving you the feeling of an up to 80% drop in body weight giving you the feeling of walking on air or in a lower gravity environment.

I doubt you’ll be able to buy one over the TV anytime soon since they’re selling from $24,500. Apparently, some physical and sports therapy centers that have their own, are offering 30-minute sessions for you to purchase. Yes, the ardent runners will say, well you can run outside, for free – but I think the main aim would be to help the disabled and overweight get a fuller cardio-vascular workout with less impact on their bodies.

You can read Lisa’s full review on this BoingBoing post or find out more details information about this product at Alter-G’s website.

Take a look at the video below to see one in action.

VOTD: Speaking Piano

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on Sunday, 11 October 2009 by Deems

You know some people look at a piece of art and say it “speaks” to them – could it be the case with music too? Apparently so since Austrian composer Peter Ablinger has made a talking mechanical piano. Take a look at the video below (it’s in German but if you leave annotations on they’ll act as subtitles). [via Crave]

Happy Birthday Google Chrome

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , on Thursday, 3 September 2009 by Deems

It seems to be a week for birthdays this week. First the Internet turned 40, and now the Google Chrome browser, which I’ve blogged about a number of times already, is a year old. I raved about it when it was just released and today it’s still my default browser of choice, at home and at work.

The team at Lifehacker have put together a nice little roadmap of the last year from Google Chrome’s release to the public and where it stands today.

Happy Birthday, Google Chrome!

Computer Troubleshooting Guide

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , on Tuesday, 1 September 2009 by Deems

So, down under, here in the Southern hemisphere, it’s the first day of Spring, although looking outside the office windows at the dark and gloomy day and remembering the drive into work this morning through rain, one wonders if the powers that be are playing a cruel joke on us.

Anyway, I digress, but sometimes on days just like this one things go wrong, with either your own or a family member’s computer and since you’re probably (like me) one of those in the family or circle of friends that knows more about computers than the rest, you’re the one they come to.

I’ve been working with computers for about 24 years now and yet you still find times where you’re completely stumped as to what the problem could be and either give up, throw it out, or find an even smarter tech-savvy person to help you out.

As long as the computer boots into the operating system and has an Internet connection (or you have another Internet enabled and working machine to use) you can probably find helpful answers by Googling the problem, as demonstrated by the following XKCD comic.

tech_support_cheat_sheet

But sometimes you don’t have a separate machine or Internet connectivity or Google just doesn’t come up with the right answer. Or maybe you’re fed up at reinstalling the OS over and over again, to no avail.

Well, today on Boing Boing they posted a diagnostic flowchart (well, a set of 8 of them) to help you fault-find computer hardware/software related problems. For most of us who’ve been working with computers for so long a lot of these are part of our own fault-finding processes but it’s still a handy guide to keep and refer to.

video-thumb-flowchart

Foner Books has a set of interactive flowcharts that can be found here which allow you to click on the various steps to take you to the correct next step/flowchart to help guide you through the process of troubleshooting. There’s even a 30″ x 30″ printable poster you can download here. Or a handy PDF e-Book for you to download and keep here.

Robotics: Be afraid, very afraid

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , , on Sunday, 30 August 2009 by Deems

This is both fascinating and scary at the same time. Fascinating that they’ve managed to make robotic devices not only so smart but now very fast too. That T-1 can kick your ass they claimed – you bet your ass it can! Check out the video below. [via Boing Boing]

You can find out more about this type of robotics and view other videos here.