By Gregory MonePosted 11.07.2007 at 10:54 am 7 Comments
The British group Radiohead recently launched a somewhat daring Internet sales experiment, offering its fans the chance to download its latest album for whatever price they felt like. Including $0. And how did that work?
According to research firm ComScore, Inc., 62% of listeners who downloaded the album in the first four weeks paid nothing. The other 38% paid an average of $6. U.S. customers paid more, shelling out $8. Don't cry for the rockers, though. They still might have made up to 10 million dollars, and they'll be selling a higher-quality CD, for more money, before long.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 11.06.2007 at 1:55 pm 1 Comment
One of the winner's of this year's PopSci Invention Awards, a sensor-laden glove that shows people how to correctly perform CPR in emergency situations, just won the top prize from the Collegiate Inventors Competition at CalTech.
The two inventors, Corey Centen and Nilesh Patel, who struck on the idea after reading a few frightening statistics about failed CPR, have also launched a startup, Atreo Medical Inc., to move their life-saving glove from the engineering lab and into the real world.
By Gregory MonePosted 11.06.2007 at 1:54 pm 2 Comments
The controversial new game Manhunt 2, in which players take the role of a mental patient who has to hack, stab and maim his way out of a deserted insane asylum, will keep its Mature rating, and not be bumped up to Adults Only. The game has attracted attention from the ratings board, and numerous advocacy groups, for its uber-violent content. The game's publisher censored some of the content to keep its Mature rating, but hackers figured out a way to unlock some of that hidden code, and bring back a bit of the banished madness. All the details weren't released, but one of the reported hacks involves removing a blurring-type effect—added in to keep that Adults Only rating at bay—in a certain kill mode. Though this is good news for publisher Rockstar Games, the mediocre reviews probably aren't raising too many cheers at HQ.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 11.06.2007 at 12:28 pm 2 Comments
It might not sound like much, this 78 mile flight, but the recent journey by the Pterosaur Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was actually a record-breaker.
Powered by hydrogen fuel cells, the Pterosaur flew 28 miles farther than the previous record for micro-UAVs, which weigh in at around 11 pounds or less, and its developers say it only used a fraction of the fuel in its tank. Eventually they claim it should be able to go 310 miles. Singapore-based Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies developed the propulsion system in conjunction with scientists at several U.S. universities.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 11.06.2007 at 12:26 pm 8 Comments
Though it looks like an unmanned drone, and probably a tiny one at that, the Waterspout is no flying shrimp. The autonomous craft is designed to fly up to 80 miles, pick up two passengers, and return to its starting point on the open ocean.
The small helicopter, designed by a team from Technion University in Israel and Penn State, would be able to launch from a submarine swimming 50 feet below the surface. The craft would float to the surface, deploy its blades, take off even in rough seas, and fly autonomously to pick up its passengers. And, naturally, it would also use stealth technology, since you can imagine that this robo-chopper won't be deployed for run-of-the-mill pick-ups.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 11.06.2007 at 12:24 pm 0 Comments
If you don't feel like following the crowd and buying an iPhone, and can't get your hands on an iClone, either, don't worry your little tech-obsessed heart, because a number of companies are doing their best to bring the top features to other platforms.
The San Francisco Chronicle has a good round-up of the different offerings, including Palm's newly released Centro, a smaller version of its Treo smart phone. Sprint is pushing the HTC Touch, which boasts, yep, you guessed it, a nice touch screen interface. Nokia, the 800-lb gorilla of cell phone manufacturers, has been working on several fronts, and recently debuted its N810, an Internet tablet with a slide-out keyboard and enhanced multimedia features.—Gregory Mone
By Gregory MonePosted 11.06.2007 at 12:23 pm 0 Comments
NASA's planned effort to repair a torn solar panel on Saturday was slow, daring and ultimately successful. The ISS's robotic arm held tight to one end of a 50-foot-long boom. At the far end of the boom, astronaut Scott Parazynski's boots were locked into an extension, and the spacewalker stretched out as far as he could to sew together the ripped panels.
Crew members inside the station operated the robotic arm, while another spacewalker, Colonel Douglas Wheelock, looked on from a different vantage point outside the ISS. As if this facet of the operation weren't complex enough, the repair job itself was far from simple: there was a risk of electric shock from the live panels. The success is yet another testament to the ingenuity of the space community, but it's also a reminder that setting up an outpost on the Moon or Mars is not going to be easy.—Gregory Mone
After months of speculation, Google's mobile phone plans have just been officially announced: under the guise of the "Open Handset Alliance," Google will be partnering with 34 industry heavies from around the world (including Samsung, Motorola, T-Mobile, HTC, Intel, NVIDIA, Japan's NTT DoCoMo, and China Mobile among others) to create an open-source, developer-friendly software platform (akin to Windows Mobile or Palm OS) called Android. Google hopes the new platform's open-source foundation, granting all alliance members full (and free) access to the source code and the ability to
customize it, will revolutionize the closed, carrier-controlled approach common in the U.S. that often leads to frustrating feature-crippling.
It's an interesting albeit predictable move for Google, mirroring the development of the company's search technology. On today's conference call announcing Android, Google founder Sergey Brin likened it to the open-source projects that he and co-founder Larry Page used as the foundation for their innovative search algorithm, noting that today's mobile phones are often equally if not more powerful than the computers they used to build Google just ten years ago.
The first Android-equipped phones are expected to roll out in the second half of 2008. On the PPX front, Google neither confirmed or denied plans of for long-rumored Google-branded "G-Phone" hardware, stating that if it were to be developed, Android would be the platform. GPHON is currently tumbling, but reports are still circulating of a true Google Phone developed in-house by the big G.
And for a look at the competition Android will face, take a look at today's Fall Cellphone Preview. —John Mahoney