A whole different kind of sea snakes…

They look cool, and could potentionally provide “green” (or is it “blue” ? :o) ) power for thousands of households: The “Wave Snakes”.

Wave energy graphic

Portugal is one of the first countries to actually use the technology. Check out the BBC News article.

The new technology has been inspired by the way fish swim, consists of cylinders positioned horizontal to the water flow and attached to springs.

As water flows past, the cylinder creates vortices, which push and pull the cylinder up and down. The mechanical energy in the vibrations is then converted into electricity.

Cylinders arranged over a cubic metre of the sea or river bed in a flow of three knots can produce 51 watts. This is more efficient than similar-sized turbines or wave generators, and the amount of power produced can increase sharply if the flow is faster or if more cylinders are added.

A “field” of cylinders built on the sea bed over a 1km by 1.5km area, and the height of a two-storey house, with a flow of just three knots, could generate enough power for around 100,000 homes. Just a few of the cylinders, stacked in a short ladder, could power an anchored ship or a lighthouse.

Systems could be sited on river beds or suspended in the ocean. The scientists behind the technology, which has been developed in research funded by the US government, say that generating power in this way would potentially cost only around 3.5 USD per kilowatt hour, compared to about 4.5 USD for wind energy and between 10 USD and 31 USD for solar power. They say the technology would require up to 50 times less ocean acreage than wave power generation.

The system, conceived by scientists at the University of Michigan, is called Vivace, or “vortex-induced vibrations for aquatic clean energy”; in Portugal they call it “Pelamis”.

Similar ideas:

A similar idea uses rubber “snakes” and the movement of the waves alongside of them:

December 4, 2008 at 12:26 Leave a comment

Kick-ass Video manipulation from Adobe

The Whiz-kids from Adobe’s R&D labs have been playing around with really nifty video technology…

Although there are no immediate plans to build this technology into any of their existing products, it is clear they have a couple of nice surprises in their sleeves.

Check out this movie:

As they explain it them selves on http://www.adobe.com/technology/graphics/video_visualization_and_interaction.html

Existing approaches to interaction with digital video are complex, and some operations lack the immediacy of interactive feedback. Our research in video annotation, visualization, and interaction harnesses computer vision to aid users in understanding and communicating with digital video. We are developing new approaches for computing the motion of points and objects in a video clip, and interactive systems that utilize this data to visually annotate independently moving objects in the video. We have applied this interface to construct visualizations of a short video clip in a single static image, using the visual language of storyboards. The principal advantage of the storyboard representation over standard representations of video is that it requires only a moment to observe and comprehend but at the same time retains much of the detail of the source video. The layout of the storyboard can be optimized to place the elements in a configuration that maximizes the clarity of presentation. We also explore novel interaction techniques for random video frame access using the natural spatial dimensions of a storyboard representation or an individual video frame.

December 2, 2008 at 13:22 Leave a comment

Fancier than a multi-touch user interface ? Check this out…

If you’re an über-geek, you probably spent waaay to much money on an iPhone. (I admit, I’m guilty as charged) Is it so ? It wouldn’t surprise me that you got pulled across because of it’s fancy multi-touch user interface.

It gets more interesting though…

Microsoft, together with HTC, demonstrated what they call “SideSight”.

A set of Infrared emitters/receivers embedded in the side of a handheld device, “looking” (hence “…Sight”) sideways and detecting finger movement.

The device could even be covered whole the way around to enhance the experience.

SideSight proof of concept

SideSight proof of concept: turn a picture.

Interesting for small screen PDA’s and certainly an alternative for the stylus-operated handhelds.

This technology could even allow you to scroll up & down with your left finger while you’re typing with the right hand…

Check out these other innovative user interface concepts

Source: http://news.cnet.com

Magic Lenses

"Magic Lenses", allowing overlap

Magic Lenses

"Surface" is going to be available soon

Magic Lenses

Manipulate 3D objects

Magic Lenses

A "Sphere computer"

Or, you can combine all of these technologies:

touchscreen-touchpad on notebook (Might be mockup)

touchscreen-touchpad on notebook (Might be mockup)

October 24, 2008 at 15:14 Leave a comment

Run Internet Explorer 6 and 7 next to each other

So… you’re a web developer and you MUST test your creations on Internet Explorer.

That’s a fact of life. So, get over the shock (You’re all Firefox users, right ?), and start fiddeling around on your tweaked PC, and… horror… find out that you only have Internet Explorer 6 installed. Darn… and your customer reported he’s using Internet Exploder 7 (sorry for the typo’s 🙂 )…

No problem,  just upgrade to Internet Explorer 7. Tadaaaa…. You’re done. Right ? Not.

Aaaargh… you just realized after rebooting (installing a browser actually requires you to… reboot ??) that the good (?) old (!) Internet Explorer 6 has vaporised from your system !!! Not nice.

Multiple IEsFortunately, we’re not the only ones with this problem.

Drumroll… Enter “MultipleIEs”…

The nice folks at Tredosoft released a tool that allows you toinstall multiple Internet Exploders (I do it again… ah, these typo’s) on your machine.

Oh, and if you haven’t made the mistake of upgrading already to IE7, they also have a solution to install IE7 as a standalone browser next to your existing IE6…

Check it out !

October 22, 2008 at 10:11 Leave a comment

Why didn’t I think of this ? PleaseFixTheIphone.com :o)

iphoneIf you are a happy (?) iPhone owner and finally got over the pain of spending waaaay to much money on it, it’s time to become disgruntled and moan about missing functionality.

The guys behind http://pleasefixtheiphone.com took the challenge and list all of your complaints.

I wonder if Steve is checking the site now and then ?

Top of the wish list right now:

1. Copy and paste
2. Email in horizontal mode
3. Flash in Safari

Check it out !

October 21, 2008 at 15:03 Leave a comment

USB memory Madness

Who hasn’t got a USb memory stick nowadays ? Plenty of people, right ? I bet it is boring.

(trumpets) There’s a solution ! Throw out those boring USB sticks, and opt for one of these:

Weirdest USB drives ever

USB drives comes in thousands of designs and colors, but these 10 are extraordinary weird. Or what do you think? Go ahead, check them out. They are weird! Promise. Hehe.

iduck10. The iduck
We start off with the least weird USB drive, and it’s the iduck from the Japanese company Solid Alliance. They are available in six different colors and the version on the picture even lights up when it’s plugged in. It’s cute so it’s not that hard to understand why it’s popular, right?
iduck [Dynamism.com]

USB Sake9. Sake bottle
Now it’s starting to get weird. A USB drive shaped like a Sake bottle? Does that sound like the next big thing? Hehe, I wonder how many of these actually was produced! It’s so weird that it’s cool.
USB Sake [Akihabara news]

USB Sushi
8. Sushi
If you already have bought the USB Sake, you definitely got to have a set of Sushi drives. They come in lots of different models and look really authentic. Don’t eat! Weird, eh?
USB Sushi [Dynamism.com]

Mikan Seijin USB memory7. Mikan Seijin USB memory
Ok, now it’s starting to get really weird, don’t you agree? This drive is called Mikan Seijin and if you translate that it means ‘Mandarin Alien’ – a popular Japanese TV show from 1994. It’s a relly horrible product. Hehe.
Mikan Seijin USB memory [Engadget]

Big tiki drive6. Big Tiki Drive
Standing almost 4″ tall, the Big Tiki Drive is a really weird product. What’s the connection between Hawaii and storage? Once again, a product that is so weird that it becomes cool.
Big Tiki Drive [Thinkgeek]

USB Food
5. USB Sushi Dimsum This is just another dimsum Sushi USB drive, but they look so authentic that they deserve a better position in this Top 10 list. They even looks sticky! Only 5 weird USB drives to go, hang on!

USB idisk
4. idisk
The product description of this really strange product says it all: ‘It’s so small you can have it in your ear‘. Hehe, ok! How on earth should can you avoid not misplacing this really tiny (and very weird) product?
iDisk Diamond, even in your ear [Akihabara news]

USB Shrimp3. USB Shrimp
Once again: why? Why on earth would you want to have a little fish shrimp sticking out of your USB port? If you want to make it REALLY weird, combine this one with the USB Spaghetti plate port and you have a truly wild combination.
Wild USB combo [Engadget]

USB Thumbdrive2. USB Thumb
The USB thumb is our runner up in the Top 10 weirdest USB drives ever. Having a thumb sticking out of your computer is really, really weird, and it also gives a completely new meaning to the expression ‘thumbdrive’.It looks very realistic, so you can probably use it in some pranks to your friends and colleagues.
USB Thumb [Dynamism.com]

USB Barbie
1. Barbie
Yes, at last – the most weird USB drive ever – the USB Barbie. Rip the head off the cute Barbie doll, and plug it into your PC. This is as weird as it gets this time! Enjoy!

October 21, 2008 at 14:40 Leave a comment

Wireless data transfer via LED light

The whizzkids at Boston university have developed a new cool way of data communiation: Wireless date transfer via LEDs. The idea itself dates back many years: think about the morse code, a set of short or long light flashes.

The technology they’re working on — the “next generation of wireless communications technology” — is based on visible light instead of radio waves. It is nicknamed SmartLighting.

“Imagine if your computer, iPhone, TV, radio and thermostat could all communicate with you when you walked in a room just by flipping the wall light switch and without the usual cluster of wires,” said BU Engineering Professor Thomas Little. “This could be done with an LED-based communications network that also provides light – all over existing power lines with low power consumption, high reliability and no electromagnetic interference. Ultimately, the system is expected to be applicable from existing illumination devices, like swapping light bulbs for LEDs.”

This initiative, known as the Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center, is part of an $18.5 million, multi-year NSF program awarded to Boston University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of New Mexico to develop the optical communication technology that would make an LED light the equivalent of a WiFi access point. This innovative alternative may one day replace most of today’s lighting devices.

Rensselaer and UNM will work on creating novel devices along with systems applications to better understand the proliferation of smart lighting technologies plus materials needed for wireless devices to interface with the network. Together with BU, the three partners will have 30 faculty researchers plus students, postdoctoral researchers and visiting industry engineers as regular contributors to the research conducted by the Smart Lighting ERC.

Boston University researches will focus on developing computer networking applications, notably the solid state optical technology that will form the network’s backbone. Funding for the BU portion of the program is expected to total about $1 million per year for the next 10 years plus additional funding from industrial partners and possibly the formation of new businesses by entrepreneurs.

More info:



October 9, 2008 at 13:12 Leave a comment

Why is Steve Jobs so stubborn ?

It’s official: Adobe is indeed working on Flash for the iPhone.

Only problem: It’s up to Apple (and Steve Jobs) to allow it to be officially available… So far, Steve Jobs thinks Flash sucks

“At the Flash On The Beach (FOTB) conference in Brighton, Sr. Director of Engineering at Adobe Systems Paul Betlem, confirmed that Adobe is indeed developing a Flash Player for the iPhone. However, Apple calls the shots as to when it’ll be available.”

More info at FlashMagazine.com

The same applies for other tools such as Firefox…

Recently Wired posted an interview with The Mozilla CEO John Lilly. Towards the end of the interview Wired asks the question.

Wired: Are you going to develop a version of Firefox for the iPhone?

Lilly: No. Apple makes it too hard. They say it’s because of technical issues — they don’t want outsiders to disrupt the user experience. That’s a business argument masquerading as a technological argument.

October 1, 2008 at 12:45 Leave a comment

Bi-directional Sync between Thunderbird/Lightning and Google Calendar — Now with free tips a tricks :-)

The end resultWho hasn’t been looking for a long time for a rock solid calendaring system, accessible both at home, work and when traveling ?

When Google Calendar appeared, it looked very promising… with tools like GooSync, you could sync your Google Calendar with your mobile phone/PDA, but not yet to your desktop client (Thunderbird/Lightning) to do your email / organisation…

Queue Lightning, the calendaring extension for Thunderbird which brings the desktop email application one1 step closer to becoming a viable alternative to Microsoft Outlook.


September 26, 2008 at 12:04 29 comments

So, have you downloaded Google Chrome yet ?

To be honest, I tried to do so

I was able to download the installer just fine, but since I’m stuck behind a company firewall, the installer can’t get  to the actual installer .exe file. (more…)

September 3, 2008 at 21:05 Leave a comment

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