Archive for March, 2012
Freelance filmmaker James Miller could hardly spend a week with his shiny new Canon 5D Mark III before tearing it apart and removing one of the camera’s low-pass filters to try and get all the sharpness he could from its full-frame, 22.3-megapixel sensor. While the teardown photos are sure to terrify you, some of Miller’s final results look promising. The comparison shots below (which were taken at two different times of day) clearly show more detail in the roof shingles. Low-pass filters sacrifice a bit of clarity to avoid moiré, but in the couple of samples provided by Miller it doesn’t look to be a problem. While we’d hardly recommend anyone take a screwdriver to their 5D Mark III yet, it’s worth noting that this isn’t an unheard of..
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Filmmaker removes 5D Mark III’s low-pass filter for increased sharpness
We’ve swooned over BMW’s i3 and i8 plug-in gasoline electric hybrids for some time now, so naturally our hearts raced today when the company announced its latest addition to the series, the i8 Concept Spyder. What you’re looking at is essentially a sportier version of the i8 Coupe , with the appropriate accents and design tweaks to match. So, what’s different in this variant of the nearly gull-winged wonder with a 96 kW / 131hp electric motor up front and 164 kW / 223hp gasoline engine on back? BMW notes that the vehicle features a shorter wheelbase and overall length (all while maintaining its 50-50 weight distribution ), a slighter darker interior and refreshed paint job on its exterior, topless roof and even a pair of matching folded kickboards(!) that stow in the back
Facebook is the epitome of centralized order. Its features are created and released with a certain technocratic paternalism, an insistence that it be allowed to protect you from the tacky excesses of MySpace. And to some extent, this is exactly what’s best about it when it works — people may dislike being pushed into Timeline, but they detest being spammed with social gaming invitations. It’s also the reason why a page like Glitchr is so much fun. Glitchr is a collection of hacks and tricks that push the limits of what can be confined to the Facebook format
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Glitchr, the Facebook page designed to break Facebook
Three times a week I get up early to go lift weights with a colleague. One of the main motivations for getting out of bed is the knowledge that I’ll have ample coffee throughout the day to keep me going post-workout. In the past I’ve carried the previously reviewed Contigo (which is still the best
Thermos-Nissan 61-oz Insulated Bottle
We may not be any closer to conclusively finding the elusive Higgs Boson , but Michael Falk’s Ms. Particle-Man gives you a chance to look for it in the form of a retro iOS and browser title. The titular bow-adorned character must make it through three different colliders, collecting energy and battling the lepton, gluon, and quark “boss particles.” Gameplay is challenging, unforgiving, and quite satisfying. It’s $0.99 on the App Store, but you can head over here to play it for free with the Silverlight plugin
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Find the Higgs Boson in ‘Ms. Particle-Man’ for iOS and browsers
A group of researchers at Drexel University have demonstrated a method of recovering credit card details and other sensitive information from used Xbox 360s, even after they have been “reset to factory defaults.” The method is straightforward and uses readily available tools. Ashley Podhradsky, one of the Drexel researchers, says, “Microsoft does a great job
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It’s easy to get credit card numbers off used Xbox 360s
We’ve had some time to play with Angry Birds Space , but even our hands-on didn’t go into how exactly the physics of space differ from the birds’ natural terrestrial environment. Rhett Allain, Wired’s resident expert on angry bird movement , has now calculated the forces that act within the bubble-like region outside asteroids. After going through the first level, Allain found a constant force that acts as a sort of gravitational pull, along with a constant frictional force that pulls in the opposite direction as the bird’s velocity. The birds are launched at a similar speed as on Earth (25 m/s in space as opposed to 23 m/s), but Allain suspects they get a slight speed boost as they enter the “air” around the asteroid. You can go ahead and…
Analyzing the physics of ‘Angry Birds Space’
Well, it appears that April Fools is in full effect — at least if you ask Google. Today the company introduced its “latest” build of Google Maps , dubbed Google Maps 8-bit version, tailored specifically for the Nintendo Entertainment System . According to Google, this Dragon Quest spoof version of Maps will come in the form of a special NES cartridge that can connect to the internet via dial-up.
At the end of 2012, diplomats will meet to renegotiate the International Telecommunications Regulations, deciding whether the UN treaty should be expanded to cover the internet. According to Vanity Fair’s Michael Joseph Gross , such a decision would force countries to consider whether the web should remain the way it is — “run by a small group of technical nonprofit and volunteer organizations, most of them based in the United States” — or whether global governments should be able to place restrictions on how citizens access information. In a more general sense, however, this battle has been going on for years between parties with different methods and vastly divergent aims. Repressive governments, copyright holders, anonymous users,..
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The battle to control the web: SOPA, LulzSec, and Organized Chaos
Designer Christian Annyas has assembled a gallery of “100 logos from American and Canadian railroad companies,” dating from 1845 to 2000. They show a microcosm of a century and a half’s worth of evolution in design sensibility, but they also show just how lovely and evocative many of the logos of these forgotten railroads once
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Railroad company logos, 1845-2000
Deborah sez, “This landlord of an abortion clinic has turned the tables on anti-abortion protesters. His army of volunteers calls the anti-abortion protesters at home and say thanks for your concern but he’s just a landlord and can’t do anything about it. Very nice turning of the tables on the anti-abortionists.” Jezebel’s Cassie Murdoch tells
Still haven’t updated your Facebook business or organization page to include Timeline? About a month after giving Pages users the option to switch to Timeline format, Facebook has officially started migrating all remaining Pages as of 11am PT (2pm ET) yesterday. ZDNet got in touch with Facebook, which confirmed that updates would be “rolling out throughout the day… Don’t have a timeframe to share on when everyone will have it.” Many major organizations and public figures have already started using Timeline, including the White House .
Facebook Timeline features now coming to all brand Pages
Google’s position as the dominant search engine doesn’t come without a price. Smaller search sites have already tapped on the EU Commission’s door to register their complaints about how they are ranked, and Microsoft has also let its feelings on the matter be known . Now, we can add the Redmond spin-off, Expedia, to that list of sore losers disgruntled firms. The travel search site claims it has specific details outlining how the search giant has violated European anti-competitive laws. A Google spokesperson issued a statement saying “We haven’t seen the complaint yet, but we’ve been working to explain how our business works, cooperating with the European Commission since this investigation began.” The EU Competition Commissioner says a decision will be made after Easter, at which point Mountain View will either be charged, or the investigation will be dropped
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Expedia adds to Google’s EU antitrust woes, decision expected after Easter
Google has been working hard on Maps lately, but some have questioned its decision to forgo developing for the extremely popular NES platform. Now, the company is looking to catch up with a custom cartridge that allows NES users to enjoy all the benefits of Maps in 8-bit form. After inserting the cartridge and connecting to the internet, users can search for destinations or get directions just as they would in the web version. They’ll even see some exclusive features, like using the microphone to search.
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Google Maps coming soon to the NES
Not like we haven’t seen this dog-and-pony show before , but Flurry’s latest round of analytics — which measured revenue of 11 million daily active users from mid-January through the end of February 2012 — shows Amazon’s Appstore pulling in a shocking amount of revenue given the short life that it has lived. Apple’s strength in sales has been well documented , but the latest report shows that for every $1 generated in the iTunes App Store, $0.89 is being spent in the Amazon Appstore. Looking more broadly, the numbers show that just $0.23 are generated in the Google Play halls for every $1 spent in the App Store, but that’s hardly a new phenomenon; the ease of sideloading (amongst other factors) has raised complaints from Android developers for years now. Flurry’s conclusion is that Google’s core strength simply isn’t in running a store — something it’s about to do once more with Android slates — while both Apple and Amazon excel in doing just that. Curiously, Windows Phone and BlackBerry were left off of this report, but we’re hoping to see those cats thrown in the next ‘go round.
BB pal Gareth Branwyn sez, “Just wanted to alert you, in case you were unaware, that my old cyberpal John Shirley’s seminal series A Song Called Youth just came out in a new omnibus edition with a new introduction by Richard Kadrey and a biographical note by Chairman Bruce Sterling.” In a near-future dystopia, a
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John Shirley’s seminal "Song Called Youth" back in print
Film director James Cameron made the world’s first solo dive to the depths of the Mariana Trench last weekend, and he’s received top billing both for making the journey as well as for helping design the Deepsea Challenger craft that got him there. One of the other parties behind the vehicle’s creation is industrial design firm Design + Industry, who helped craft the cockpit interior of the 12-ton submersible. Consisting of a spherical chamber, the design underwent multiple mock-up and prototype iterations to arrive upon a combination that worked for Cameron, providing him enough room to control the vehicle while also leaving room for “a banana and muesli bar.” The cockpit itself had to shrink when Cameron reached the ocean’s floor, with…
Sometimes it seems like the only way to escape the bombardment of information from the digital and physical world is to flee into the countryside, far from the reach of broadband lines or cell signals. Apparently designer Joe Doucet isn’t satisfied with the idea of holing up in the mountains to get away from it all, and has come up with an artistic solution. The “One Sense” headphones not only cover the wearer’s ears, but a bright red band of spikes wraps around their face to shut out the visual world and discourage outside interruptions. Sure, they probably aren’t very practical, but the point is to make a statement about the ever-increasing distractions from technology, advertising, and the modern world in general
Not content with speeding up web browsing and hosting federal data , Amazon Web Services are now helping in the fight against disease. Bezos’ crew is donating a chunk of free cloud storage to the 1000 Genomes project, which aims to make it easier for scientists to search for genetic variations linked to diseases. These gene-hunters can also use Amazon’s Elastic Cloud Compute service to analyze data and discover patterns, although those functions won’t come gratis. The DNA sequences of 1,700 mostly anonymous Homo sapiens from around the world have already been logged, but the project needs another 1,000 samples before it meets statistical requirements.
Here’s Kevin Smith discussing his success as an independent, and rebutting critics who say that his go-it-alone strategy for his Red State (which is, by the way, excellent) was only possible because he’d made a name for himself: Anyone that tells you “oh he could do it because he’s Kevin Smith”—tell ‘em horseshit, man. That’s
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Kevin Smith on why you, too can be an indie success
Microsoft’s Windows Phone Challenge isn’t without controversy , but apparently it’s also popular enough to warrant going on a few extra days. The contest was set to end on March 29th, but Microsoft is extending it until April 5th, with a few tweaks to the prizes. For each remaining day of the contest, only the first 100 people to lose the challenge at each Microsoft Store will be eligible for a free phone. The next 500 will be offered a $25 gift card if they lose, but won’t be required to recycle their “smoked” handset to get the card. If anyone can manage to pull out a victory over Windows Phone, there’s still that $1000 Hunger Games -branded laptop up for grabs
Apple is already the top mobile phone vendor in Japan , and now it’s also the highest rated consumer brand in the country. According to a brand evaluation survey from Nikkei BP Consulting, the iPad maker was the highest rated out of over 1,000 different brands — up from 11th place during the year prior. 52,000 adults were questioned as part of the survey, which took place during November and December of last year. But it’s not just regular consumers that like Apple — in a separate survey of Japanese business people, Apple took second place behind Toyota in the brand rankings
Care to take a walk down memory lane by way of the information superhighway? Good, because 21st century digital natives and Luddites alike could stand to benefit from some virtual navel-gazing. In what’s essentially a ‘look at how far we’ve come’ exhibit, My Life Scoop , Intel’s “connected lifestyle” site, has a collection of the more notable experiments that’ve sprung from our surprising interactions with the internet. Starting from the dial-up days of the mid-90′s and working up to the near present, curious users can peep the wacky ways we’ve used the web as a tool, ranging from a remote community gardening project (The Telegarden) to a stock index that auto-adjusts dress hemlines (Stock Market Skirt) to an interactive, Arcade Fire-soundtracked film made to showcase Google Chrome (The Wilderness Downtown).
In a speech at the Rural Cellular Association’s Spring Expo in Orlando, a Sprint executive flashed the above slide and Sascha Segan of PCMag snagged a shot of it. What you’re looking at is a map of Sprint’s 4G LTE coverage circa 2014, when it intends to have completed its “Network Vision” plan . Areas in dark green represent direct LTE coverage while the light blue would be handled by roaming agreement. It’s a rosy picture of a nationwide network, especially since the company has yet to launch LTE anywhere yet. However, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio are all slated to receive Sprint’s LTE first, by the middle of this year, so we shouldn’t have too long to wait to see if Sprint is on its way to filing out this map without the..
Sprint’s target 2014 4G LTE coverage map revealed