Monthly Archives: August 2012

Grand Theft Auto IV goes Back to the Future with new Mod

Grand Theft Auto IV gets an amazing Back to the Future facelift with this new Hill Valley Mod. You get to drive the DeLorean, plus it has a new skin in the shape of Marty McFly. You can even go time jump when you hit 88 MPH.

An incredible amount of work has gone into this Mod and its creator, seedyrom34, does stress that you do have to do quite a bit of editing for the Mod to work.

You can watch the full trailer below. Read the rest of this entry

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NASA’s Smartphone Nanosatellite

At the moment NASA are in the news with the Mars Curiosity Rover and with the sad news that the first man on the Moon, Neil Armstrong, has passed away. He was 82. The cause was complications from heart surgery three weeks ago.

NASA do have many more projects on the go.

One involves micro satellites that use Android phones as their core component.

NASA’s PhoneSat project will demonstrate the ability to launch the lowest-cost and easiest to build satellites ever flown in space – capabilities enabled by using off-the-shelf consumer smartphones to build spacecraft.

A small team of engineers working on NASA’s PhoneSat at the agency’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., aim to rapidly evolve satellite architecture and incorporate the Silicon Valley approach of “release early, release often” to small spacecraft.

To achieve this, NASA’s PhoneSat design makes extensive use of commercial-off-the-shelf components, including an unmodified, consumer-grade smartphone. Out of the box smartphones already offer a wealth of capabilities needed for satellite systems, including fast processors, versatile operating systems, multiple miniature sensors, high-resolution cameras, GPS receivers, and several radios.

NASA engineers kept the total cost of the components to build each of the three prototype satellites in the PhoneSat project to $3,500 by using only commercial-off-the-shelf hardware and keeping the design and mission objectives to a minimum for the first flight.

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Samsung have to pay Apple $1,049,343,540

The ongoing court battle between Apple and Samsung over various patents and design issues is now over.

Samsung lost.

They lost big time.

Check out the full list.

Almost every Samsung device in question has been found to infringe on Apple patents and their software interface ideas (namely bounce-back scrolling and gestures).

The following devices have been found to infringe upon Apple’s “front trade dress” or way it looks – Fascinate, Galaxy S, S 4G, S 2 ATT, S2 i9100, S2 Tmobile, S 2 Epic 4G touch, Skyrocket, Showcase, Infuse 4G, Mesmerize, and Vibrant.

Samsung willingly infringed upon multiple Apple patents said the jury.

Samsung didn’t prove that a single one of Apple’s contested patents is invalid.

The jury found that Apple violated zero Samsung patents, and owes Apple nothing so far.
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iTypewriter makes a lovely typing sound

While we all sit in offices that are filled with the silence of people typing on keyboards or iPads we can remember how it must have been when typewriters where king. The air was filled with the clickety clack of reports being typed, news paper stories rattled off, classic stories being captured on paper and more.

This mechanical accessory can help recapture that feeling of yesteryear. Although everytime it hammers against the iPad I wince a little inside.

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Are Samsung teasing the Galaxy Note II in new trailer?

This delightful teaser trailer features film maker Wim Wenders walking around Berlin for the Mobile Unpacked event, which will be held in Berlin on August 29.

It is possible that it could be teasing us with the Galaxy Note II.

Curiosity’s landing from the Point of View of one of its creators

This excellent video takes us through the emotional journey of one of the creators involved in getting Curiosity to Mars.

Very inspiring.

I was able to work on NASA JPL’s Curiosity Mars Rover for 7 years. This video is an attempt to capture what it felt like to have 7 years of your life vindicated in the 7 minute landing. Honestly one of the coolest moments of my life so far.

Skydrive gets a makeover

Hotmail recently became Outlook with a whole new look and feel to it. Now Skydrive has had a similar makeover.

SkyDrive now has a new, more modern web design, refined SkyDrive apps for PCs and Macs, a new SkyDrive app for Android devices, and improved developer offerings. These updates bring SkyDrive out of preview and ready for a billion users – in time for the upcoming releases of Windows 8, the new Outlook.com, and the new Office.

  • SkyDrive.com – New, modern design for desktop and tablet browsers with instant search, contextual toolbar, thumbnail multi-select, drag-and-drop organization, and HTML5 sorting
  • SkyDrive for Windows desktop & OS X – Faster uploads for people around the world and tons of bug and performance improvements under the hood
  • SkyDrive for Android – A new app that lets you access, upload and share from Android phones
  • SkyDrive for developers – Apps built using our SkyDrive API can now store or access any type of file in a person’s SkyDrive, plus there’s a new, easy-to-use file picker API for websites (similar to our file picker for Windows 8 apps)

You can now quickly search for a file anywhere in your SkyDrive, including the content of Office documents such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. There is a contextual toolbar to make common actions and commands easier. You can select multiple files in thumbnail view, rearrange your photos the way you want, and drag and drop files and folders.

More info here.

Random Bits – Tech news

– Google chiefs could face UK MPs over tax avoidance schemes – The Independent

– The image on the left is from the world’s highest-resolution colour printer. It looks grainy because it is an extreme close-up of an image that measures just 50 micrometres across. That is the same width as a human hair. Each pixel in these ultra-resolution images is made up of four nanoscale posts capped with silver and gold nanodisks. By varying the diameters of the structures (which are tens of nanometres) and the spaces between them, it’s possible to control what colour of light they reflect – Nature

– Judge orders Apple and Samsung counsellors on the patent infringement trial to meet face to face. Samsung designer, Hyong Shin Park, had been barred from giving testimony – CNet

– Google updates search algorithm to demote piracy sites – Hexus.net

– Five Best Desktop Keyboards – Lifehacker

– Twitter reports that they had over 150 million Tweets about the Olympics over the past 16 days.

– Google confirms 4,000 Motorola Mobility job cuts – NY Times
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Do you want to buy a Hoverbike?

Chris Malloy has been working on making a hoverbike a reality for a few years now.

The video below shows a working scale model of the final bike and Chris also plans on releasing a remote control version of this size.

There is still a long way to go before we can buy one, but you can put your order in or make a donation which gives you the chance of getting the prototype version.

When will I be able to buy a Hoverbike

  • We would like to you buy a hoverbike now, but lets be honest – this takes time to get right. To help speed this up so you can own one, we need funding and man-hours. This bike was built over 2 1/2 years by one person in his car garage after work and studies, and building it is only 10% of the way there. Testing testing and testing needs to be done and we need collective help from you!
  • If you would like to buy a prototype now, and do your own testing, please feel free to contact us to discuss.

How much will it cost

  • We are not in the production phase yet, so we cannot give you a finalized price structure, but as a guide, when we can sell at least 100 units a year the cost with current material prices and labor will be $45,000AUD +/-$5000. As with all goods, economy of scale will bring the price down. At 1000 units a year the cost will be similar to a performance motorcycle! (on-going development cost due to testing may vary this a little)
  • If you would like to buy a prototype now, and do your own testing – or just to help us quicken the development time with extra funding, please feel free to contact us to discuss.

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Fooling the sense of touch with tactile technology

This type of technology has been talked about for a while, but usually in connection with touch screens. A team of Disney researchers have shown that the technology can be used almost anywhere.

REVEL is a new wearable tactile technology that modifies the user’s tactile perception of the physical world. It can add a layer of artificial tactile texture to almost any surface or object, with very little if any instrumentation of the environment. As a result, REVEL can provide dynamic tactile sensations on touch screens as well as furniture, walls, wooden and plastic objects, and even human skin.

REVEL is based on Reverse Electrovibration. It injects a weak electrical signal into anywhere on the user’s body, creating an oscillating electrical field around the user’s skin. When sliding his or her fingers on a surface of the object, the user perceives highly distinctive tactile textures that augment the physical object. Varying the properties of the signal provides a wide range of tactile sensations.

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