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  • Large Hadron Collider got banged!
    By on September 12th, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    The $8 billion dollar Large Hadron Collider, a system that will help test and answer some of the universe’s questions such as the Big Bang theory, was hacked last Friday. The system that was hacked was reportedly “one step away” from a control computer but did not cause any major damage.

    There were many people rejecting the machine and the experiment because they believed if something went wrong, it would create black holes that would eat up the earth. Well I don’t blame them since not everyone is a scientist. Well, we are still alive after the initial test. :)

    I just checked the CERN web site and it wasn’t working for some reason. Hacked again? Or too much traffic?

    Scientists invovled in this experiment have been receiving death threats from phone calls and emails.

    Source: news.cnet.com

  • Shopping with a robot!
    By on September 9th, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    ASIMO, a robot that can run, walk as well as conducting a symphony orchestra (the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in May) developed by Honda was and is still a breakthrough in intelligence technologies. Now another japanese robotic company tmsuk has also been developing robots,the most recent being the TMSUK-4 humanoid and was showcased in one of the department stores in Japan.

    The demonstration was about an immobile grandmother unable to shop with her granddaughter physically, so she controled the TMSUK-4 with a built in camera so she saw what the robot saw so she could shop with her granddaughter. While this is interesting, I don’t think you can use this for anything shopping. What I mean is, it can be used to shop for groceries, you cannot use it for shopping for clothes or shoes. The purpose of this robot is somewhat limited, at least for now.

    I wonder if I would live long enough to see Gundams flying around :)


  • New PSP coming out in two months (Japan)
    By on September 2nd, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    Sony PSP-3000 will be released in Japan on October 16th. The newest version features faster response time, higher contrast and color depth that result in better display quality. It also has an anti reflective screen, I’m guessing its something similar to the TFT technology on most of Sony Ericsson’s cellphones starting from the T630. Video-out option now supports outputting to analogue televisions as oppose to only progressive televisions.

    Display improvement aside, a built-in internal microphone will also included in the new PSP located just below the screen which supports Skype.

    The new PSP will come in three colors – Piano Black, Pearl White (my favorite) and Mystic Silver. Again in two trims – the basic version with the PSP, AC adapter and a battery while a value pack will have all those plus strap, cloth for cleaning the screen, a nice pouch (specially the white one) and a 4GB Memory Stick Pro Duo which is something extra. It used to come with a 256MB one if I remember correctly.

    I am happy Sony is adding so much more features to the PSP, features that will actually be useful! Unfortunately I’ve already got one, the oldest version in Pearl White.

  • Lucky Japanese PSP owners get free WiFi access
    By on August 25th, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    Sony, BestBuy and Spanish based WiFi provider FON have joined forces to provide free family wifi access for PSP owners in Japan. Imagine surfing the net, watching streaming music and movies on the go! But in Japan only, which is somewhat expected since Japan has a history of keeping the goodies to themselves. For those lucky enough to be in Japan and own a PSP, they will also be able to download custom Dissidia: Final Fantasy themes which the game itself will be released in December. I wouldn’t have heard of a new Final Fantasy release if it wasn’t for this WiFi deal.

    It would be great if this offer became available to us in North America, but chances are pretty slim in my opinion, at least it won’t be free. One reason is that Japan is much smaller than say, Canada, so setting up those hot spots is much easier and less costly. They are already setup in Japan which made the setup even easier. Its just a matter of integrating with each other’s system.

    Although we will most likely not get this free WiFi access anytime soon. It is still good news to those living in Japan, again the Japanese always gets the goodies. :) Think I have one more reason to go to Japan since I have a Japanese version PSP.

  • Looking for an HD TV? Here’s a guide for you.
    By on August 21st, 2008 | 1 Comment1 Comment Comments

    As we are approaching the end of analog signal for television which will happen on the 17th of February 2009. There is no better time and excuse to get yourself an HD ready TV. But there are so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming for some to figure out which TV to buy. Often people will end up buying something different than what they were originally looking for. So I have decided to write this guide to help those who are interested in or are planning to purchase an HD TV. I’m no professional mind you, I just want to transfer any knowledge that I’ve gathered during my research and ultimately a purchase of my first TV. Feel free to correct me!

    The first thing on your list should be your budget, just like purchasing a house or a car. How much are you willing to pay for a fancy TV? I suggest buying from one of the more known and popular brands like Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, Samsung and LG. Why? These brands have been around longer than another other small brands that just popped out recently so buying known brands are safter in terms of quality and reliability. And you can justify that because, say you are spending $2000 on a new TV, most of you will be watching this same TV for at least 10 years. Therefore if you spread the money into 10 years, you are only paying $200 per year or roughly $17 a month! So when purchasing TV, or any other electronics, please try not to be TOO cheap or there will be a chance the TV will haunt you with broken this and broken that. For now, the average you can expect is somewhere around $1000 for a 37 inch. THere is also companies that offer affordable air conditioners like Direct Electrics air conditioning, but you can also buy them at www.buy4less.co.il.

    Second on the list will be the size, this can also be factored in when you are deciding on a budget though. Size matters but that does not mean the bigger the better. Say you are living in a normal size apartment, with 20 feet or less between where you sit and the wall where you will be putting your new TV in the living room, it doesn’t make sense to purchase a 52 inch LCD or Plasma TV. With that viewing distance, chances are you won’t be enjoying watching TV because its almost the same feeling as going to theatre and watch a 3 hour movie sitting at the front row! The recommended TV size should be roughly 7 to 8 feet away from you and make sure you can view the entire TV without too much eye movement as that will just stress out your eyes by looking all over the screen.

    This next item on the list can also be tied into budget and size – HD or Full HD. HD stands for high definition as most of you should know by now. HD ranges from 720p to 1080i and Full HD is 1080p which is the best quality there is in the market right now. Without going into too technical about i (interlaced) and p (progressive), I will pick 1080p as an example. 1080p means 1920 horizontal x 1080 vertical resolution in a 16:9 aspect. To simply put, you have 1080 horizontal scan lines covering each frame, so the more lines you have, the finer the image.

    Aside from the size of the TV, you should also know a bit on the technical side. You should ask yourself questions like these:

    - Do I watch these mostly for sports or anything with fast movement?
    - Am I planning to get other electronics that are HD capable?

    I think the first question isn’t as important but its good to point out. In general, HD TVs nowadays, except the newer models run in 60Hz, which is the refresh rate for displaying. So the faster it is, the smoother the transition between frames. 60Hz is the most common speed right now in the market, you can also get 120Hz with the newer models but the price will be higher, obviously. I believe 60Hz is more than enough for most people.

    Second question is more critical because you should always plan ahead for the future and again the TV you will buy soon should last you roughly 10 years, there are what they are called HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) inputs. HDMI is basically the HD version of your components cable and normal AV cable (remember the yellow/white/red cables?) that can output 1080p quality. Say you have a PlayStation 3, which supports 1080p output, that will take up one HDMI input from your TV, you should think ahead of how many you need and will need. In general, having three inputs should be sufficient. Again, you should really think about this because buying an HDMI router/switch with 3-4 inputs now will cause you hundreds of dollars on top!

    Last but not least, although these are not really questions to ask yourself, but rather to watch out for. Generally you want an HD TV with high contrast ratio. The bigger the contrast ratio, the greater is the difference between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks which means better display quality. But you don’t need extremely high number as you will hardly be able to notice any difference, I suggest anywhere around 10,000 to 15,000:1 ratio is more than enough, at least for now.

    And finally, please pay attention to HD and Full HD TVs, HD only goes up to 1080i while Full HD supports up to 1080p. Don’t be fooled by salesmen lying to you about a Full HD TV with 720p for example.

    Now that you have a budget and you know what kind of TV you want, I suggest paying an actual visit to store like BestBuy. It has tons of TVs on display so you can really compare side by side the quality of the TVs. Its really hard to just look at one and judge if its good because you have nothing to compare it with. Again I recommend buying one of the five brands I mentioned if possible. You should also consider buying a TV with at least 1080i since I still cannot find any noticeable differences between 1080i and 1080p on my own Sony Bravia 40 inch LCD (for those interested to know the model number, its KDL-40W3000), because again you won’t be buying a TV every year, it is good to invest on something better. The difference in prices is minimal these days. But try not to buy yet, I know you are now all hyped up and want that TV more than ever. But unless you know exactly what you want, I suggest you don’t rush into getting it just yet. Take some time to “digest” what you have seen in the store and be sure to take down notes for each model just in case you forget about each one’s specs. One last thing, you cannot have the ultimate set-up without having good soundbars for all TV’s you purchase.

    Now you should be ready to finalize and choose which TV suits you the most in terms of style, pricing and capabilities. After reading this, I hope this guide has helped you, at least a bit, regarding how to buy an HD TV.

    Special thanks to Charlie Bradley for giving me ideas for this article!

  • ThinkPad X301 – new notebook from Lenovo
    By on August 18th, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    Apple came out with the Mac Book Air a while ago and it is extremely thin. Although very lightweight, thin and with a user friendly keyboard. It does not have a lot of guts inside such as no built-in Ethernet port and no built-in DVD drive to name a few. Don’t get me wrong though, I love the MBA, I would even get one if it gets cheaper and has more built-in hardware inside.

    Lenovo announced its own version of thin labtop, for sure not as thin and sleek looking as the Air. But being able to carry a smaller and lighter labtop is always welcome. The ThinkPad x300 is getting a make over and will be named to x301.

    The specs:

  • ULV Intel Core 2 Duo U9300 (1.2GHz) or U9400 (1.4GHz) processor
  • 13.3-inch LED display
  • DDR3 memory
  • 64GB solid state drive (SSD) and 128GB SSD as option
  • WiMAX support
  • It will start at $2,599 and be launched on Aug 26. I hope the SSD technology will improve to the point where it can support 500 and up GB, nowadays I don’t think even a 128GD is going to last long.

    I use a Lenovo T61 at work, its not exactly the greatest looking piece of hardware, but I think it is light enough for me to carry around comfortably. Since it does not have a full keyboard, it still feels cramped (I was given a full size one though, so problem solved). I really want to get my hands on an X series and compare side by side with the T series. But unless my company starts replacing them, my dream will probably not come true unless I pay from my own wallet which will not happen either. :)

    Check out some Lenovo ThinkPad deals on eBay

  • I don’t understand HD ready labtop!
    By on July 30th, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    Maybe I am missing something but I don’t get why someone would want to watch HD content on a labtop, even equipped with a 17 inch wide screen monitor. What or how much HD content will you actually notice? It is like buying a 24 inch LCD screen with 1080p capability (just an example, I doubt there is any 24 inch LCD with 1080p). I have a 40 inch Sony Bravia W3000 with 1080p capability. I honestly cannot find any difference when running Call of Duty 4 in 720p and in 1080p.

    Based on the article, there are two models offered, one from Sony ($2,599CAD) and the other from Toshiba ($2,679CAD). With that price, you can get a very good 46 inch Sony LCD with 1080p AND 120hz refresh rate (only new models are 120hz, anything else are 60hz).

    I still believe the purpose of a labtop is to provide mobile access and perform tasks you

    Sony VAIO AR

    normally perform with a desktop. It was built based on the idea of mobility. But high end labtop, like the two mentioned in the previous paragraph, has either Blue-ray or HD-DVD drive. I understand being able to watch movies on the go is almost a must if you travel alot, I don’t think I can live without my PSP if I am on a 15+ hour flight on the plane. But do you actually notice the quality difference between HD and non HD movies on a 17 inch monitor? I have never seen on a 17 inch but I’m pretty sure I won’t.

    Just a thought.

    Source from: thestar.com

  • You want better music? Custom-made ear buds might be ...
    By on July 25th, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    There is always a market for customization, from customizing the leather color for high end luxuary cars to a customized avatar in the virtual world of Second Life because everyone wants to be unique. A Canadian company has introduced custom-made ear buds that plug the person’s ears completely as to block out any external noise.

    Such customization comes with a cost of $199CAD (since its a Canadian company, I assume it charges CAD) which is roughly ten times more expensive than tradiation ear buds (my JVC ear buds cost me around $15CAD after tax). This company has been utilizing the same technology for producing hearing protection for industry workers and now they are applying this for everyday use.

    The technique for creating custom-made ear buds is really simple as well, it involves filling a membrane fitted in each ear with silicone that forms into exact shape of the person’s ears. Within minutes the person can have his/her own custom-made ear buds.

    In the future, I hope there will be flexible ear buds as oppose to just customizable ones where a person does not have to have his/her ears filled with silicone, not that it can damage that person’s ears but rather to save both the customer’s and company’s time. I think it will elimiate the need of that fitting step and potentially cut the cost of the ear buds. My idea of flexible ear buds would be ones that can enlarge or contract based on a person’s ear size. Not sure hot it will work, if I did I would have proposed to the company. But I am pretty sure this idea is being looked at.

    Source from: thestar.com