Archive for Apr 29, 2011

Connect A Sketch is a networked Etch A Sketch

Connect A Sketch is a networked Etch A Sketch

I would bet that everyone has used an Etch A Sketch at some point in their life. I remember having one when I was a kid, I was always making stairs on the screen or having dueling light cycle fights after Tron came out. I always wished that you could have another set of knobs on top for some two-player Tron style battles on the toy. A cool new device called the Connect A Sketch will let me do just that.

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Square launching new iPhone card reader this summer with encryption at read head

Square launching new iPhone card reader this summer with encryption at read head

Of all the iPhone credit card readers that are available for mobile card payments today, the one that is most visible is the Square card reader. This is the one you can get now in the Apple Store and then start taking credit card payments right from your smartphone. Square made a big announcement this week with credit card heavyweight Visa making a strategic investment in the company. Mobile payments on a device as popular as the iPhone is huge for Visa and will give the credit card company one more source of revenue.

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Swedes get iZettle in June for iPhone credit card payments

Swedes get iZettle in June for iPhone credit card payments

Here in the US we have a bunch of different credit card readers and associated apps to use for taking credit card payments right on your iPhone. One of the most popular that you can get in the Apple Store right now is the Square Reader. All the US card readers I have seen so far have the same thing in common, you have to swipe the card to get the data or manually enter it. Many of the credit cards today have integrated sensors so you don’t have to swipe.

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German Aerospace Agency DLR creates Rollin’ Justin robot

German Aerospace Agency DLR creates Rollin’ Justin robot

Robots are really cool. They also hold the promise of freeing humans from the drudgery of menial chores like vacuuming and cleaning in the future. A robot with the dexterity and agility to mimic human motion and our ability to manipulate tools is a big deal in the space industry. If we can get a robot that can work tools with fine motor control, we can use robots in instances where the environment is too dangerous for humans. This is one of NASA's goals with the Robonaut 2 robot that is aboard the ISS right now.

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Logitech update for Revue Google TV box rolling out now

Logitech update for Revue Google TV box rolling out now

I was excited when the Logitech Review set top box for Google TV was first announced. At the time it was launched the device could stream all the cool video content that was online, including Hulu making it a very nice offering indeed. Shortly after that launch Hulu blocked Google TV users from being able to stream content for the website and then most of the large TV networks blocked Google TV as well making the device much less useful.

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Amazon details AWS failure: 0.07% of volumes in downed zone lost

Amazon details AWS failure: 0.07% of volumes in downed zone lost

Amazon has released a lengthy explanation of its recent Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) and Relational Database Service (RDS) downtime, blaming "stuck" data volumes and the system's inability to work around them for the failure of Amazon Web Services. According to the AWS team, a network change in an "Availability Zone" in the US East region caused the nodes in that zone to get "stuck", refusing to read or write data. Other nodes then became stuck themselves, when trying to access those initial stuck nodes.

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Manual update instructions for Google Nexus S to Android 2.3.4!

Manual update instructions for Google Nexus S to Android 2.3.4!

I'm many things and none of them is patient. I want what I want right now. Don’t judge, you know you are the same way. If you have a Nexus S smartphone and you have been checking over and over to see if the OTA update for your device to Android 2.3.4 was available for you yet, you can stop waiting. The official 2.3.4 update file has been found and you can get the directions for installing it manually below.

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Google patent app puts fragmented social networks and services in one place

Google patent app puts fragmented social networks and services in one place

I'm not that big on social networking, but for many people social networking is a huge deal. Google already has a myriad of offerings that are social in nature, even if they aren’t Facebook, which many think of when they hear social networking. Many of Google's various services have a social edge to them. The catch is that many of the services are accessed through their own portals making the act of following them tedious.

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LG MeeGo smartphone and tablet demo coming next month

LG MeeGo smartphone and tablet demo coming next month

I hardly think I am alone in thinking that when Nokia pretty much abandoned MeeGo to tie up with Windows Mobile that MeeGo was dead. As it turns out MeeGo is still alive and kicking and LG is apparently going to be showing off a tablet that runs the OS along with a smartphone really soon. Whether or not the devices will be cool enough to grab any attention remains to be seen. I have strong doubts in a world dominated by iOS and Android.

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Project iKinect adds iPhone to Kinect gaming for boosted control [Video]

Project iKinect adds iPhone to Kinect gaming for boosted control [Video]

The great Kinect hacks continue, and next up is a way to bypass Microsoft's limitations on micro-movement recognition by throwing another controller into the mixture: namely an iPhone. Project iKinect is a PC-based co-play system which allows for more complex gameplay, using the Kinect motion sensor to track general movement and the iPhone's various sensors and touchscreen for micro-movement recognition.

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