Thursday, 16 December 2010

PrimeSense's OpenNI provides the best Kinect drivers

We've been so wrapped up in Kinect hacks lately that we actually missed a Kinect non-hack that emerged last week. PrimeSense, who built the initial Project Natal reference hardware for Microsoft, has released its own open source drivers for the Kinect. PrimeSense is working with Willow Garage (best known for its open source ROS robot operating system), and Side-Kick (a motion gaming startup) through a new OpenNI organization it set up, and the trio will be combining their powers for good. The OpenNI framework will cover low-level hardware support (drivers for actual cameras and other sensors), and high-level visual tracking (turning your body into a 3D avatar that kicks ass in a virtual world). This should be a boon to an already vibrant Kinect hacking community, and if the video above is any indication, we aren't far from Kinect-level interaction and gameplay on our lowly PCs.

From Engadget...

I will post some personal opinion and some experiments in few weeks. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

DIASPORA* Invites (2 left)

I've obtained an invite for Diaspora* Alpha Test.
Comment or E-Mail me to this post to obtain an invitation ticket.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

4chan rushes to WikiLeaks' defense, forces Swiss banking site offline

The forces of Anonymous have taken aim at several companies who are refusing to do business with WikiLeaks. 4chan's hordes have launched distributed denial-of-service attacks against PayPal, Swiss bank PostFinance, and other sites that have hindered the whistleblowing site's operations.

A self-styled spokesman for the group calling himself 'Coldblood' has said that any website that's 'bowing down to government pressure' is a target. PayPal ceased processing donations to the site, and PostFinance froze WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's account. The attacks are being performed under the Operation: Payback banner; Operation: Payback is the name the group is using in its long-running attacks on the RIAA, MPAA, and other organizations involved with anti-piracy lawsuits.

From Ars Technica

Microsoft rolls out free Office Web Apps to 15 additional countries

office web apps

Microsoft began previewing Office Web Apps (OWA) back in September of 2009, and today the Office team has announced expanded availability of the free-to-use OWA. Originally available in just 11 countries, the total number has been more than doubled and is now open to users in China, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and Taiwan.

All you need is a Windows Live account, and it's well worth signing up for one if you haven't already. Office Web Apps are fully compatible with their desktop counterparts, and while they're somewhat feature-limited you can use them in good conscience without having to pay a single cent.

Google unveils Cr-48, the first Chrome OS laptop

We've had plenty of pre-knowledge on this, but surprisingly this is our first actual glimpse of Google's new unbranded 'Cr-48,' the very first Chrome OS laptop. Google will distribute the laptop through its Chrome OS Pilot Program, in a sort of public beta. You actually have to apply to join the program, and there are going to be a limited number of the laptops available -- retail Chrome OS models from Acer and Samsung will be available in the middle of 2011 for the masses. Google's doing a number of little promotions to give away the devices to interested users and businesses which will provide feedback, and it looks like there's no way to actually pay money for one right now. Now, for the specs:
  • 12.1-inch screen.
  • Full size keyboard.
  • Oversized clickpad.
  • Qualcomm Gobi 3G chip for Verizon data in the US, your carrier of choice internationally.
  • 802.11n dual-band WiFi.
  • 8+ hours of active use.
  • 8+ days of standby.
  • Webcam.
  • Flash storage.
The keyboard is the one we uncovered last week, with no function keys, but a full row of Apple Keyboard-style actions. The caps lock key has been replaced with a search button, which will enrage internet trolls and screenwriters alike. Branding-wise... there is none. The 'Cr-48' refers to an isotope of the material chromium, there's no logo and no design frills on the laptop itself, and it only comes in black. It seems Google is going out of its way to make it clear that this isn't a mass market device, with Chrome OS still in the beta stage, and no apparent intentions to compete with third parties in the hardware space. Still, we gotta say: we wish more manufacturers would take a page out of this no-frills book. The murdered out Cr-48 looks like pure sex to us.

From Engadget

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Windows Tip - Mount folder as Drive

Would you like to "mount" a folder as virtual drive?
Here it is the solution:

subst [drive letter] [path to folder]

To un-mount:

subst [drive letter] /d

Hope it helps.

Google Cloud Print hands-on

Google Cloud Print just launched, and we're glad to announce... it works! At least from the Chrome test page.

Google are expected to launch cloud print-enabled Android apps later today, which will mean you can print from your phone direct to your printer -- or indeed any printer that's connected to Google Cloud Print.
The gallery should walk you through each of the steps. It took a while for the document to be printed (a few minutes) but it did eventually print -- that could merely be a connection issue on my end, however.

Original from DownloadSquad. Read more here.

Nexus S and Gingerbread (2.3) Officially Announced

As expected, today Google announced Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the Nexus S. Android 2.3 is the latest iteration of Google’s popular smartphone platform, and includes a number of immediately apparent graphical changes to the Android 2.2 UI, and a host of under the hood features for developers.

Alongside the Android 2.3 announcement came official confirmation of the Nexus S, which appears to be architecturally very similar to the Galaxy S line of devices, with the notable inclusion of near field communication (NFC) hardware, a 4' curved display, and front facing camera, 16GB of memory. Read more here...

In Wired, they explain what to expect from Android 2.3 (and related devices). The NFC feature will enable new earning paths to Google. In my opinion it will be exploited firstly in US.

If you're feeling brave, dive right into the Android 2.3 Platform Highlights. It's aimed at developers, but most of the main features are spelled out in plain English. Here's a taster:

  • Faster, more intuitive text input -- the default keyboard has been significantly improved, and multi-touch 'key-chording' means faster input

  • UI refinements for simplicity and speed -- the UI has been simplified, with menus and settings now easier to find. It looks like the whole thing will be quite bold and 'primary colored'

  • One-touch word selection and copy/paste -- this one's quite hard to explain, better to look at the two pictures

  • Improved power management -- apps will be automatically closed if they steal a lot of CPU time, and users can now see at a glance which phone components and apps are taking up the most power

  • More ways to communicate -- Internet calling (VoIP/SIP), Near Field Communication and video calling with the front-facing camera are now possible

There's lots of other low-level changes, but I won't bore you with them. It's safe to say that, as I write this, app developers the world over are drooling on their hairy feet. To put it another way, that Sony PlayStation phone that you've seen on Engadget -- it's only possible because of some big changes in Android 2.3's architecture.
With regards to availability, Gingerbread will be open-sourced in the next few weeks. The Nexus S will be available to buy in the US from December 16, and in the UK from the 20th.
There are videos of the phone itself, and some developers getting their nerd on, after the break.

Continue reading Android 2.3 Gingerbread SDK and the Nexus S announced by Google on Download Squad

Thursday, 2 December 2010

NASA discovers arsenic-born organisms, search for life gets broader parameters

If you were hoping NASA was going to announce the very first tweet from an extraterrestrial being, sorry to break your heart -- it is astrobiological, but the findings are actually borne of this rock. Researchers in Mono Lake, California have discovered a microorganism (pictured) that uses aresnic instead of phosphorous to thrive and reproduce. The latter, as far as human life is concerned, is a buildng block of life along with carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur, integral to DNA and RNA. Arsenic, meanwhile, is generally considered toxic to life as we know it. In other words, NASA's proven that life can be made with components different than our current assumptions -- both locally and beyond the stars. That sound you hear is a thousand light bulbs popping up as science fiction writers everywhere conjure up brand new super villains. The press conference is still going on, we're listening in and will let ya know what else we hear.

Read more from engadget or wired.

Back To The Future 3 500GB USB HD

Submitted by: tugbote
Posted at: 2010-11-26 14:30:02
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