Links TechScience Future

Cooking with sound : a combo stove-generator-fridge

ArsTechnica has a cool new post about a tool to help developing nations use their energy more efficiently.

It’s a combination stove/fridge/generator that is ingeniously crafted. Yet, according to Ars, the building and maintenance of the thing itself (that is based on a stirling engine) is not difficult. What it means is that the design was difficult to make, but that the creation, application and maintenance of this new device does not (hopefully) need a highly trained technician.

Let’s hope this goes into production, it’s a neat and very practical idea.

Hardware Links TechScience Future

RFID firewalls are here !

Today I read an Ars Technica article about a new protection for your RFID tags (you know, those tags that are now used for taking stock of inventory, theft protection, and are now showing up in passports).

What great about this new protection is that you can configure which tags you want to allow to be queried – you can even select trusted readers, for example if you have an RFID chip in your card that allows you access to your work building, you can allow that reader to query that tag, but no others.

So far it’s still in development, but if and/or when RFIDs become more and more pervasive, this will come in useful.

Apple Hardware Links TechScience Future

Using RFID to configure your wireless network

Apple has gotten a bright idea (and patented it right away too) : put a Radio Frequency ID (RFID) chip in your networking device, and bring them in close proximity to each other.

They’ll recognise each other, and can then configure the rest of the wireless network setup themselves : an extract from the MacRumors site :

The system describes using RFID tags in networking equipment that would communicate basic configuration settings when the devices got close to one another. The devices would then be able to establish a rudimentary network based on that information and be able to automatically finish setting up a more complex and secure wireless network.

Personally, I think it’s a damn cool idea, one of those “slap-your-forehead and wonder why nobody thought of this before” ideas…

I can already see it before me : you’ve bought a new laptop, you come home and unbox it, and bring it close to your router during the network setup. They see it each other and immediately set themselves up using the correct protocols and keys.

Still, two things need to be cleared up : one, RFID chips in their current state are notoriously unsecure, so Apple will need to secure them in one way or another, and two, there has to be a mechanism to agree on the router that you want to add a new client (a button to press ?).

Gaming Links

So yes, I've got a Wii

A friend of mine sent me this link to a google video. It’s a spoof on the mac adverts, this time between the PS3 and the Wii.

And now you know why I have a Wii.

Blog News Websites Caught !

WordPress plugin : wp-slimstat-ex

Yesterday I upgraded to the latest version of WordPress and in the process I also disabled my bad-ass stats plugin.

The BA-Stats plugin was a good solution that worked for me and answered most of my needs. But it was becoming rather long in the tooth (almost two years now) and is, it seems, no longer supported.

Yesterday I found a new stats plugin that is state of the art : the WordPress plugin for slimstat (ex-panded). It’s based on the original WordPress slimstat plugin made by Mr. Coolman and has been expanded with Ajaxy goodness. That plugin, in turn, has been based on the php package slimstat, which has been based on oldstat.

Open Source at it’s best ! 🙂

The features are amazing : svg graphics, ip-to-country database, top hits, the whole shebang. It’s really nice to be able to find out who all came to visit and especially, what they were looking for. This helps me to find out if some posts are more popular than others, so that I can focus on providing more information about that subject.

For example, two posts are consistently on the top of most visited posts : how to setup a GPS in Windows Mobile and Tips and tricks for Windows Mobile 5.

Hardware Links

Instant lust : the E-ten Glofiish M700

Glofiish M700
I just saw my new dreamphone: the E-ten glofiish M700. It’s got everything but the kitchen sink :

quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE connectivity, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, GPS (SiRFstar III) with TMC, an FM radio, an integrated camera, and Windows Mobile 5.0, the M700 has the added bonus of a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. No 3G support, it seems, but it still looks like a great all-in-one device.

It is supposed to be available before the start of the XMAS shopping season : somewhere in November…

Links TechScience Future Websites Caught !

Cool ! Easing phantom limb pain using Virtual Reality

This seems to be a great way for amputees to ease their phantom limb pain :

The research has focused on a small group of patients who had lost a limb between one and 40 years ago. Two were upper limb amputees and two had lost parts of their legs. They all used the virtual world between seven and 10 times over the course of three months. Each session lasted for 30 minutes.

The patients were fitted with special data gloves and sensors, and their head and arm movements were monitored. They donned virtual reality helmets and entered a world where they could see their missing limb restored.

In this virtual universe, patients can move their fingers, hands, arms, feet and legs. They also have hand eye co-ordination, and can use their virtual limb to play ball games, the researchers say.

The results shocked the researchers: four of the five patients reported improvements in the phantom limb pain, and much faster than the team had expected.

Project leader Dr Craig Murray said: “One patient felt that the fingers of her amputated hand were continually clenched into her palm, which was very painful for her. However, after just one session using the virtual system she began to feel movement in her fingers and the pain began to ease.”

If this actually can be applied for all amputees, this would be a great way to help these people and get rid of the phantom pain for all of them. Bio-feedback at its best.

Blog News Links Websites Caught !

Aaaah – Excellent Cat piccies

Somebody has collected some cat photos and annoted them.

A very good laugh indeed, highly recommended !!

Blog News Links Websites Caught !

Tips for forget-full people (aka cheese-hole brains)

(I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but I keep forgetting it 🙂 )

Have you ever thought of something that you needed to do as soon as you finish your current business, then promptly forgot about it only to recall it again when it is impractical to do it (like, for example late at night while lying in your bed) ?

Do you consistently think of things to do, but can’t seem to get them done ? And you keep reminding yourself and you keep postponing it until 3 months later you wonder what you scribbled on that post-it note ?

Do you have mental anguish and do you berate yourself for not doing all the things that just had to do ?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to one of the above questions, this post is for you !

This is my attempt to write up what I find usefull in dealing with forgetting details/stuff todo/meetings to make/books to read and whatelse in the hustle and bustle that I currently call my life.
I’ve got a variety of methods to deal with these problems, and I use all of them together, depending on where I am and what tools I can use.
Reminding yourself of things todo when they can’t be done at the time

Nothing is so frustrating as thinking of something to do next and then forgetting it when it is time to actually do it and recall it only after any possibility of doing it has gone (ie. in bed late a night). There are a variety of tools and ways to deal with this :

  • Don’t trust your brain to remember it. Write a reminder to yourself the second you think of things todo. Don’t wait, or you’ll lose that thought !
  • Whatever you choose to keep your reminders on, make it a part of your schedule. Even better, think of something you always carry with you and adapt it to fit your needs. For example, keep a pen and piece of paper with you all the time. Alternatively, use a phone with note taking capability or a pda to jot these down. In an emergency, I write things down on my hands (filthy habit, though).
  • If it’s a SIMPLE thing that you can do RIGHT NOW, then do it now. I’ve saved myself hundreds of scribbles and notes and more importantly, mental anguish by doing the thing immediately. It’s actually surprising how much you can procastinate

These 3 points are my guiding principles in trying to keep ontop of all my things-to-do.

Apparently others think about this as well, as I’ve just found this entry on getting impossible things done on Rands in Repose. Excellent food for thought article and a simply excellent site that I am adding to my worthy site list.

Blog News Links Websites Caught !

One Stop Shopping for DNS Stuff « Lorelle on WordPress

Lorelle writes some great qualilty bloggins (and the sheer quantity of it suggests she doesn’t sleep!).

I found a link on her site: One Stop Shopping for DNS Stuff that references a page for all your dns lookup needs.

So noted.