VOTD: Intel i5 commercial

There are many commercials out there for various products and services. Some good, some not and then there are those that stand out, and you remember. You don’t mind seeing them more often, unlike most commercials that you can’t grab the remote and change channels quick enough!

Here’s one that I spotted that was posted on the Cherryflava feed. It’s got that action-movie trailer feel to it. Watch it more than once, you might have missed some subtleties. This one definitely gets two thumbs up from me. Want more, check these out.

Board games of the future?

As you may know, we’re fans of board games and we were recently introduced to the Settlers of Catan board game as well as playing Catan online and having written a review.

I’ve just come across this excellent piece on CNET’s Crave gadget and technology blog.

With OLED technology fast becoming the norm in new Television sets, board-game makers, like Settlers of Catan could very well be looking into using this technology to add “reality” to their game. Many people play games online (computer, console and hand-held) as opposed to normal “static” board-games because of the graphics and interactivity. But with OLED technology and projection the two could very well be merged.

Have a quick read of the CNET article as well as checking out the video demonstration below. I’m sure right now it could be quite expensive but it could very well be a viable option for many not too long from now.

At first glance, the cardboard tiles in the video look like typical white hexagons out of Settlers of Catan. But with the help of an overhead camera and projector, each piece becomes a mini-computer capable of displaying animated video images and even triggering events in adjacent tiles, such as queuing soldiers to attack.

In the video, you can also see what happens when players manipulate the tiles in various ways. When one part of the tile is lifted off the table’s flat surface, troops are offloaded onto shore by “pouring” them. Rotating the tiles can change the perspective on the animated building, tree, or person being displayed.

Isn’t that just awesome?

New Google Chrome v4 released

As you should know by now, I favour Google’s Chrome browser and today (finally), Google have released their latest stable build of the Chrome browser, 4.0.249.78. And as you can see from the screen shot above (if you’ve not already used their beta releases of v4 already) extensions and bookmark syncing are now available.

After my previous problems with the latest beta builds and instability on my laptop I was hesitant to stick to the beta builds and opted to wait for the stable version to be released.

Now, finally, I too can enjoy the benefits of over 1500 extensions and bookmark syncing.

Below is a list of the extensions I’ve just installed and tried out (you can click on any of the images below to go to the relevant extension download page):

Since I use Google Reader to keep up with all my various news/RSS feeds the first extension I’ve installed is the Google Reader one. It downloads and installs in, literally, seconds. If you’re already logged into Google the icon will already show you how many unread items there are. Clicking on the icon shows you unread items at a glance which you can click on the title to read the article or open Google Reader in a new tab.

Next on my list of wanted extensions is the 1-click Weather extension provided by Weather.com which gives you a toolbar icon showing the current temperature in your city and clicking on the icon will give you a detailed weather map as well as a mini forecast. If you’re using Windows Vista/7 you’ve probably already, like me, got the Windows Weather widget on your desktop but this is always using Chrome.

Like many other people, I too have and use my Gmail account, especially when sending emails when away from my own laptop and when sending interesting posts to friends. With this extension I can quickly keep a tab of any new emails arriving and the unread email count in my Gmail account right from my browser toolbar.

If you have a Google Wave, Google Voice account as well as Gmail and use Google Reader you can always opt to use the One Number extension which uses a single toolbar icon to monitor all your Google accounts together.

Even though I read most of what I’m interested in via Google Reader, I occasionally search for something through Google or click through to view the full post on the website, since it may be limited in the feed article. I’m so used to where ads appear and how they appear that they don’t really bother me, but others may enjoy the AdBlock extension (works similarly to Mozilla Firefox’s ad blocker – and it’s customizable too).

Update: for developers and designers out there – I’ve just seen the following post recommending 15 must have Google Chrome extensions.

These are just a few extensions that I’ve showcased here like I said there are over 1500 extensions to choose from. Go and have a browse, try them out, if you find an interesting one and it works well, let me know in the comments. Happy surfing!

PS: Remember you can manage your installed extensions (and their respective options) by selecting Extensions from the Tools menu or type in chrome://extensions/ in the address bar.

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.

VOTD: Speaking Piano

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

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!