Saturday, January 19, 2008

Not Just Science Fiction Any More

Every kid (well, me, at least) has dreamed at some point of having contact lenses that can display things on them. Think about it- you could have the world at your fingertips through Internet connectivity. You could instantly check email, blog, look up weather or sports or information that you lack. You can call up pictures, videos, et cetera right in front of your eyes. It would bring a whole new dimension to gaming. Now, that future just might be possible. Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered a way to place an electronic circuit on contact lenses, and they tested the lenses on rabbits for up to twenty minutes, with no ill effects appearing. The electrical circuits are created from components that are only a few nanometers in width (a human hair is about 80,000 nanometers) and they're built so that only the correct components fit together, so there's no need to solder or use other toxic substances to get the circuits to stay together (because nobody wants arsenic or lead pressed up against their eyes). The contacts would be powered by radio waves and solar energy (that means if you closed your eyes for too long, your contacts' displays would die), so they won't need to develop really tiny batteries or anything.

Reports say this new technology could be commercially available soon (in the technology world, that means about ten years). Me being a wearer of corrective contacts, this would be totally awesome. I could have my vision corrected and be wirelessly connected to the world at the same time! With pocket tools that you would also carry around, you could turn your lenses into a computer that follows you everywhere. A pocket keyboard or, even cooler, a pen that can recognize letter strokes and transform them into text- this could also double as a mouse; a small hard drive embedded in your watch or your shoe, a wireless Internet card in your wallet; and speakers embedded in your teeth would make your body the ultimate device in the modern world. How cool would that be?

http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/01/self-assembling.html
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,323929,00.html

*EDIT:* Oh, dear. We've finally achieved more than fifteen blog posts, so the very first post to this blog has now disappeared into the land of the blog archive. I guess that's a good thing, because that means I've been posting fairly semi-regularly lately and I hope I'll be able to continue that! Don't forget to check the blog archive from time to time to see if there's anything good in there...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Return Of The Weekly Links!

I've decided to expand the topic to a weekly link to cool stuff in general, because writing a post to a cool site like XKCD like I did or a cool video or something is relatively pointless. Other blogs do it, but I won't. What Jman--8 posts is, of course, up to him (he actually is working on a post right now, but there hasn't been anything added to it in over a week), but I'm just going to stick everything I found that I think is cool into one weekly post. This blog is about interesting and thought-provoking technology and video games and concepts, not just a drain for us to pour all the cool things we find into. Henceforth, I will be posting all the cool things I find that don't quite merit an entire blog entry into this weekly topic. Soon there will be a whole big long list of weekly cool stuff links to search through! (Jman--8, you're more than welcome to add your own weekly links to cool stuff if you feel the need.)

First off is a cool blog I found awhile ago but haven't mentioned anywhere before, and I just realized that. It's called the Weekly Geek Show and they talk about all things geek. They have a podcast and lots of separate categories and reviews and opinions on things. It's pretty cool, but it can be slightly profanity-laced sometimes, so read with discretion. http://weeklygeekshow.com/

Next up is a hilarious music video I discovered a while ago. It's called "Bathtime In Clerkenwell" by "(The Real) Tuesday Weld" and animated by Alex Budovsky. It's awesome - the tune is catchy and addictive, and the video adds even more hilarity to the mess. http://youtube.com/watch?v=awuTkVytgYs

Lastly, just in case you missed the original hype, it's not too late to get hooked on Line Rider. It was originally created as a deviantART project by Bostjan Cadez (a Slovenian art student), but inXile Entertainment bought the rights to the game. They've claimed they were going to release a version for the DS and Wii, but the "tentative release date" was over a year ago and nothing has happened with it other than a video by TechDawg (Line Rider's most prolific rider) showcasing a new version of Line Rider. It's still fun to play the old Beta 2, however, but I recommend downloading the Flash File to your hard drive by clicking "File -> Save Page As" in your browser, because playing it online is slow and full of advertisements. http://linerider.com/play-line-rider-online

Well, that's all for today, because I didn't have a list of stuff that deserved mentioning. I'll start collecting things for next week's starting right now, though. There'll be a better variety next time. Promise.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Flu Season... For iPods?

I've noticed this with both of the iPods I have owned and I can't find anything on the Internet about it, so I guess I'll be the first to bring this up.

I've owned two iPod Nanos - one 4GB 2nd Generation and my current 8GB 3rd Generation (I returned the 2nd Generation one because I bought it ONE WEEK before Apple released the new line of iPods. How annoying is that?). Anyway, out in the cold I've noticed that the left channel earbud will make popping, squeaking, and crackling noises, usually when I take a step with my left foot. This is probably just the earbuds, since I'm just using the standard iPod earbuds that came with my iPod. However, they're two different pairs. The first pair I had and my current pair both made crackling and squeaking noises when it was cold outside. The current pair makes the popping noises as well. I realize that the iPod earbuds are crap, but they could at least make them work a little better than they do right now. I realize that the cold plays weird games with electronics, but speakers are just two drums vibrating together. Surely the cold can't cause too many problems with things like that? I went skiing yesterday and it was below freezing with wind and snow the entire time, and my iPod headphones barely worked. They were covered up beneath my coat, a neoprene mask, goggles, and a fleece headband, but I still had to turn the volume up and live with crackling and squeaking.

Also, the cord connecting the earbuds to the iPod is way too thick. When it's cold, the wires stiffen up and become less pliable, so if you have them in your ears, there's a big thick chunk of metal connecting you to your tunes and that gets annoying. Thinner wires would allow for more flexibility even when they're stiff and cold.

I guess I'm just ranting. I don't expect Apple to do anything about this relatively minor problem, and if I don't like it, I should go out and get some decent earbuds. Until then, though, I will continue to whine about my earbuds (just not on the blog any more).

Friday, January 4, 2008

Something That Must Be Shared

A buddy of mine recently emailed me a link to a site called xkcd. It's "A Webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language" by its own billing, and it's absolutely hilarious. If you hover the mouse over the image for a few seconds a little comment from the author will pop up, and they normally add to the hilarity. Read with discretion, however. Some of the comics contain fairly strong profanity and other things, but most of them are clean. Don't say I didn't warn you, though. Below is a list of my favorite comics. Don't forget to mouse-over!


And finally, one that you shouldn't read if you want to avoid the rude and crude aspect of the comic, but is funny anyway: http://xkcd.com/72/