Christmas Gift Idea: Toast Printer

How cool is this little gadget? Now you too can print your very own toast. Just a pity it’s only a design concept – I’d so get one if it was a real product!

It’s a concept by Othmar Muehlebach, and it won second place at a design contest in Switzerland last month. [via Crave]

Sorry Google, Chrome has been vindicated!

Last week I ranted on about Google’s Chrome browser hanging my laptop and after non-use of Chrome the problem went away. Well, it seems that I had spoken too soon. The very next day my laptop hung again, and I had not used Chrome since before I wrote the blog post.

So, frustrated with the hanging, I did a little more digging and found out that there was a known problem with one of Microsoft’s Windows updates, MS09-065 (969947), which caused hanging of the OS (with mouse movement still working) for users with Nvidia and ATI video cards. Now, I know, it’s an XP problem but the update applies to Vista as well so I thought it might be exhibiting the same problems with Vista so I removed that update as well as the Nvidia driver update and re-applied the Nvidia driver update again.

It was a short-lived experience, as the problem returned.

So, I gave in and restored my laptop back to it’s clean, factory-install version of Vista and began rebuilding it again. Many, many long hours later and about 1.7GB of various windows updates later, it seems I have a usable laptop once again.

And yes, this post is being written and posted using Google Chrome, again my browser of choice!

Google Chrome – Brand Minus

For a long time now, actually since the very first release of Google Chrome, I’ve been an ambassador for how cool a browser it is and that it’s been my browser of choice ever since they released it. That is up until today when I realised Google Chrome has been the culprit of my Vista OS hanging (note, no BSOD). At first I thought it might have been a Windows Update or one of my other applications, however it always happened while I had Google Chrome also open.

Now, for over a year now I’ve never had any bad experiences with using Google Chrome (either with Windows XP or with Windows Vista). For the last couple of days I’ve explicity NOT used Google Chrome  and lo and behold, I no longer have to hard reboot my laptop anymore. And it seems I’m not alone – nor is it a recent occurance as others have had similar problems.

I guess I’ll have to monitor the news and forums feeds for a resolution before I used Google Chrome again – I sure am going to miss it until then!

VOTD: Best Innovations of 2009

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]

Forget HDTV – UHDTV will be the next big thing

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?

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.

Happy Birthday Google Chrome

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!

Happy 40th, Internet!

Forty years ago, today the first bits of data were sent between a computer and what we today know as a router, over a data cable. One month after that the “Internet” uttered it’s first words, well, word since only the letters L and O (part of the intended LOGIN message) were sent before the system FAILed.

That was the Internet’s “big bang” that started it all. Had they not been successful on that day, would we have such an inter-connected world as we do today? The way the Internet has grown today and the multitude of things that happen we forget (or some simply just don’t know) that it’s all down to tiny little “gates” opening and closing letting through electricity or not, representing the 1’s and 0’s of the data we send and receive.

UCLA’s Leonard Kleinrock explains, in the video below, what they did on September 2nd, 1969 and in the following 3 months thereafter. [via Boing Boing]

Computer Troubleshooting Guide

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

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.