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Posts Tagged ‘Technology

2009 In Gadgets, Gadget Freaks Picks For 2009, Part 1

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The Olympics are over, the 3G iPhone, MacBook Air and first phone with a Google Android operating system has been released.

2008 is officially over.

It is time again for everyone to dust off their crystal balls and see if they can be as wrong about 2009 as they were about 2008.

Here at gadget freaks we firmly believe that you should never be afraid of a humbling experience (they build character we’re told) so we decided that we would try to make our picks for 2009.

So, without further ado…

High definition and high resolution gadgets will continue to gain in popularity

It wasn’t so long ago that, if you wanted a high definition TV or a HD camcorder you almost had to take out a second mortgage on your house to afford it.

With the latest developments in technology that has all changed.

sony-oled

HDTV technology like OLED is finally making some inroads with Sony’s OLED TV… oooh pretty (source Gizmag)

It is now completely reasonable to find a HDTV for under US$500 and a high definition camcorder for around US$200.

It goes without saying that more and more will be buying high definition 1080i TVs, HD camcorders and high resolution cameras in the coming months as even more mid-ranged products go high res.

Digital TV will take off

The world isn’t only in the middle of a perceived financial tightening it’s also going through a digital television revolution.

Much of the world is changing from analog to digital TV.

The DTV process started in 2003 and the first wave of countries converted is expected to finish the process between 2012 and 2013.

digital broadcasting standards

A map showing the spread of the first and second waves of digital TV standards in the <a href="Digital TV changeover(source Chinavasion)

US is going through a forced change in 2009 and many other countries in the developed world are proceeding swiftly through their transitions.

As a result, interest in digital TV (which has quickly been dubbed DTV) is constantly growing.

While many do not fully understand the division of digital TV standards (Chinavasion has put together a handy DTV FAQ) they are actively searching for the televisions Digital TV tuners and peripheral devices that enable them to continue to watch TV in the new millennium.

This trend towards digital DTV is going to continue into 2009.

Projectors will gain in popularity

The world appears to be nesting.

Not so long ago you would be hard pressed to find a projector designed for the home theater and even harder pressed to find a market for them.

Developments in technology and massive reductions in price have changed all that.

It is now possible to get a multimedia projector or a LCD projector for less than US$300 and there are several pico projectors on the market that can be put into peoples’ pockets.

Hell, Chinavasion has even brought out a cell phone with a projector tucked away inside, and it looks like some of the bigger phone companies are catching on with the display of the Samsung MBP200 and well known??? Logic Bolt.

Here’s the projector phone that we found in June

The growing popularity of the home projector and projector home theater is going to continue through 2009 as projector gets more coverage and consumers make their nests more comfortable.

Blue Ray will get closer towards the mainstream.

For 2008 much of the high definition home theater news focused around the battle between the two HD titans…HD and Blue Ray.

By CES 2008 blue ray was declared the winner by many of the film studios but not much happened after that.

That wasn’t strictly true.

More and more content started appearing on Blue Ray and some major players began offering blue ray equipped players at bargain basement prices.

2009 will be the year when almost everybody makes the shift to Blue Ray.

Cell Phones will continue to grow steadily in developing markets.

In the developed world there wasn’t too much going on in the cell phone world last year apart from big releases (the 3G iPhone and the HTC G1, the first phone with Google’s long-touted android OS)

HTC G1

The shape of things to come? the HTC G1, the first phone to feature a Google Android OS

This was perhaps reflected in sales with handset sales increasing by just 3% in Europe and the US last year.

It must almost be getting to the point where everyone in the western world has a mobile phone, really doesn’t want one, or is just going to the cell phones shop to get a replacement phone.

It’s quite a bit of a different story in developing nations though where cell phones are no where near as commonly seen. In China cell phones are one of the hot ticket items with no contract cell phones being the most popular.

The popularity of the prepaid phone and the unlocked phone will continue through 2009 and in the foreseeable future.

Most customers wanting to buy unlocked cell phones are looking for phones that give them high degrees of freedom and networks don’t tend to have the data support and features that companies like AT&T and Orange do.

The GSM phone and GSM in general is likely to reign supreme as a result.

There will be a new level of importance being placed on the international phone as well, largely because of the wider market. The quad band phone and quad band telecommunication device will be an almost essential item for anybody looking for a cell phone wholesale company because they want to start a mobile phone business.

Features like the cell phone camera, WAP and MMS will become increasingly common as the world moves from cellular technology 2.0 to cellular technology 3.0.

Don’t forget to check back for part two of this predictions blog

F1 2008 Round 6 Race Review. Monaco Grand Prix.

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Well race fans the Grand Prix of Monaco for 2008 must go down as one of the more interesting and dramatic races in recent memory. With an all Ferrari front row for the race it looked as though the Monaco drought may end for the Italian marque. However, rain began to fall as the cars sat on the grid with all teams switching to intermediate tyres. One team though tried to hang on just that little bit too long to see what the weather was going to do. That of course was Kimi Raikkonen’s team. They had not fully fitted their tyres within the regulatory ‘3 mins before the start of the warm-up lap’ and the Fin was hit with a drive through penalty. This was to be just the start of his troubles for the race. Without the aid of traction control and other banned driving aids this was going to be a race and a half, and we weren’t dissapointed here at Gadget Freaks at all!

Massa led off the start with Lewis Hamilton edging by Raikkonen with a great start, almost getting alongside Massa into the first corner. As rain began to fall the field miraculously managed to get around the opening lap  without incident, quite a feat at Monaco.

The order did not last long as incident after incident brought chaos and drama. Alonso was driving like he was in Nascar causing several collisions due to being over optimistic. Still it was nice to see some competitive overtaking on the street circuit! Lap 6 and Lewis Hamilton hits the armco barrier with his rear wheel destroying the tyre but nothing else. He was able to pit and hence change his race strategy. He rejoined the race in a good position and when on lap 16 Massa went off handing the lead to Robert Kubica, Lewis was looking good. 

 The conditions out on the circuit were treacherous as the number of front wing replacements would testify. Hamilton had found his way to the lead after the first round of pit stops and appeared to get some extra speed, leaving the rest in his wake ( or should that be spray? ) Kubica had passed Massa at the stops relegating the Brazilian to third with Adrian Sutil in the Force India car a brilliant fourth. Sutil was driving the race of his life and it looked as though the new team would not only get points but were perhaps in line for a podium finish. Sutil was racing the two Ferraris ! However, exiting the tunnel Raikkonen lost control under braking, his car weaving and skidding out of control smashing into the back of Sutil. Both cars sustained damage with Force India having to retire, much to the disdain of all watching. Raikkonen rejoined the race to finish in ninth place.

So at the checkered flag it was a jubilant Hamilton from Robert Kubica then Massa with Australian Mark Webber fourth, continuing his good run of points finishes this year. All in all it was a great race which saw Massa slip up again and Hamilton regaining the lead in the 2008 Championship. Raikkonen had a day to forget and was slammed in the press by former 2-time F1 Champ Niki Lauda who said, ” I cannot understand how the highest paid driver can have a race as stupid as that.”

After the excitement of the F1 Monaco race we here at Gadget Freaks are looking forward to the race of the year! The Moto GP Grand Prix of Italy at Mugello, June 1st 2008.

Top 5 Gadgets That Could Save The Planet!

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The Planet is in Peril!!! So it’s up to us Gadgeteers to do something to save it. We here at Gadget Freaks have become totally freaked out at the rapidity of the decline of species. Recently the polar bear, the largest terrestrial carnivore is now on the endangered list. In Australia ( a continent which has one of the worst rates of faunal species extinctions ) the hardy Tasmanian Devil has been listed on the endangered list. Ultimately it will be us, Homo sapiens that will be facing extinction. So let’s take a look at some gadgets and gizmos that may help to save the planet.

1- Seastead Project

First up on our list is this awesome concept house/construction. With this dwelling you can have energy self-sufficiency via wind,wave and solar power. Also you’ll have a steady supply of seafood,you can build a seal platform and a seabird rookery as well as using the support structure as a reef habitat.
Patri Friedman and Wayne Gramlich’s are responsible for the Seasteading project, which was originally conceived as a way to experiment with “diverse social, political, and legal systems.” Can’t really figure out what all those aspects have to do with floating spars topped with habitats, communications relays and solar panels, gathered into huge suspended gadget homes. They say these structures can result into self-governing enclaves. The home design is actually based on the same ballasting system that some older oil rigs used.

Each Seastead construction consists of a concrete-reinforced main pillar and tethered ballast weights. Adjusting the water in the ballast raises or lowers the spar in the water, while the small cross-section makes it resistant to strong waves, if you ever decide to place one in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Around 300 square feet of space on the upper platform can be used for residential purposes and the provided image even shows an Aeolian turbine that is able to provide the needed energy. Presumably there is enough room for many out-doors home appliances. Predicted costs are a few hundred million dollars to build a Seastead for a few thousand people, not that much considering how much it may potentially help the environment.

via Techpin

2- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

This whacky way out gadget could really help save the planet. All we need is one environment saving looney megalomaniac to round up all those that refuse to denounce greed and persist with profiteering at the expense of our fellow earth inhabitants. By simply deactivating the part of the brain that inspires greed we can rid the world of those that harm the planet.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a process in which you run an electromagnet over parts of the brain, which essentially turns them off. You may have LOL’d at the idea of Kirsten Dunst and Mark Ruffalo erasing Jim Carrey’s brain while dancing around in their underwear, but this brain altering technology is no joke. While effects don’t appear to be permanent or long-standing, doctors and researchers think it could show how the brain recovers from traumas such as stroke. Though the technology might run a teensy-weensy risk of causing epilepsy, that’s all. The video below shows grown men reciting nursery rhymes and turning into stuttering messes. [Daily Telegraph via Medgadget via io9]

3- Solar Powered Handheld MP4 and Nintendo Emulator

Here’s a third-party Nintendo emulator that doesn’t look like total garbage. Though it has the typical generic name of Solar MP4, this little device actually has some impressive features. It can play MP4 files up to 320×240 in size on its 3.5 inch TFT screen, it also has built-in emulators for NES, GameBoy and GameBoy Color games. Of course you have to use ROMS loaded via an SD card, but those are easy enough to find. It can even function as an e-Book reader with the ability to read out loud any text file as long as it’s written in English or Chinese.

Did I mention that it has a USB port to charge your other gadgets?

Via Slipperybrick

4- Surreal Spanish Solar Tower

 

The BBC has a report on the Europe’s first commercial solar power station. 600 giant concentrated heat boils water into steam to drive turbines. mirrors focus the sunlight onto a 40 story white concrete tower where the super-

I’m remembering the old joke about solar powered torches here, but even though the plant will only work for an hour after sundown, the main power draw in the south of Spain is air-con, and this station pumps out enough daytime juice to power 600 homes, with future expansion to 600,000 (that’s every home in Seville).

It doesn’t get much greener than this, but a side benefit is in the surreal beauty of the place. BBC science correspondent David Shukman paid a visit:

A concrete tower – 40 storeys high – stood bathed in intense white light, a totally bizarre image in the depths of the Andalusian countryside […] In fact, as we found out when we got closer, the rays of sunlight reflected by a field of 600 huge mirrors are so intense they illuminate the water vapour and dust hanging in the air.

It sounds like a tourist destination in the making. Remember to take your sunglasses.

 

Via Wired Blog

5- The Single Most Important Environmental Innovation

One word………….. CONDOM !!

The problem of population was first really explored by Thomas Malthus in a paper published in 1798. His idea was that, unfortunately, populations increase exponentially until all available resources are used up. Then competition and starvation halts the growth of the population. This, Malthus predicted, would happen to the population of humans alarmingly soon.
What he didn’t count on was our unique ability to create more resources from the land. We could rip up more, create machines, burn stored carbon, pave the world, manufacture powerful chemicals and otherwise subdue and control the Earth. We did it all because, by the very nature of life, we hate to see our children die, and we can’t stop, y’knowmakin‘ babies. That is the heart of our ecological crisis, and, without effective means of controlling Malthusian population dynamics, the Earth was screwed.

When effective, simple and reliable birth control was invented, first in the form of the latex condom, and then through various hormonal contraceptives, our species was given the ability to control this vicious system. For the first time in the HISTORY OF LIFE on this planet, a species is choosing not to use up every available resource and, instead, control it’s own population without the looming prospect of starvation.

Condoms aren’t solar powered or reusable or even recyclable, but they’ve made the environmental revolution possible. As simple birth control continues its spread across the globe, it leaves behind happier healthier societies with significantly less impact on the planet. That is the power of true innovation.

via Ecogeek

Written by gadgetfreaks

May 21, 2008 at 9:02 am

The Weird & Wonderful World of Motorcycles!

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We here at Gadget Freaks just love motorcycles and motorcycle racing of all kinds( esp. Moto GP). Throughout the ages there have been some amazing motorcycle designs and some monster creations. Some of these have caught on while others just kind of fade away and pop up in a museum somewhere. The golden era of the 50s and 60s saw some of the best and worst in bike design especially in competition machinery with some crazy aerodynamics. However, the entrance of the Japanese manufacturers in the 1970’s saw somewhat of a homogenization in bike design. These days though there many new designers bringing out some awesome concept bikes and radical new designs and as with the past some will be groundbreakers while others will just be bank breakers.

One of the legendary competition bikes that really set tongues wagging was the 1975 Yamaha TZ750 Dirt Tracker ridden by none other than the legend himself, Kenny Roberts. When they wheeled this thing out for the 1975 AMA series most people( including Roberts himself) thought they were joking. King Kenny had won the 73 and 74 series using Yamaha 4 stroke twin engines but 1975 saw Harley Davidson pull back the advantage. So Yamaha decided to take the TZ 750 4 cylinder two stroke road race motor and slot it into the dirt track frame! Pure insanity! The machine spawned one of the most famous quotes in the history of motorcycle racing.” They don’t pay me enough to ride that thing”, said Kenny Roberts. Read More……. 

 

Who could forget the movie ‘Easyrider’. That iconic flick where Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper go in search of America on motorcycles. As ‘iconic’ as the movie itself was Fonda’s Captain America chopper. Starting life as a 1952 Harley Hydra Glide which Fonda bought at a police auction, only the original HD pan head engine was retained while everything else was chopped stretched or twisted to make the final bike. Read More……..

 

Going way way back now to the dawn of motorcycle racing in The US. Back in 1908 if you were looking for a supersport bike for racing this is probably what you would have ridden. This 1908 Indian 1000cc twin was the state of the art back then and would have cost you US$360. It weighed 120 Lbs and had a top speed of 65 mph. Pure history. Read More…….

 

Well after looking at 3 of the classics we have this rather strange looking cycle! Almost a hyrid Segway/motorcycle this Uno Cycle looks like it has one wheel but in fact has two. Controls are quite simple as it only has an on/off  switch and its electric motor is controlled much in the way a Segway is. That is push forward to slow/stop, lean back to accelerate. Looks sporty enough but will it stand the test of time. Read More…… 

Gadget News and Reviews: Pleo Destroyed At Maker Faire 2008

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We here at Gadget Freaks were shocked and appalled this week when we heard of the vicious and wanton destruction of an innocent and defenseless Pleo at Maker Faire 2008.  

Makers of Pleo, Ugobe have distanced themselves from the stunt and have stated they had absolutely nothing to do with this despicable act. Ugobe reps at the fair said they were, “shocked and appalled” at this act which was perpetrated by a so-called ComBot known as Vicious Verdict.

 

                                                        How Could Anyone Harm This?????

We here at Gadget Freaks had a sinking feeling when we heard this news and and were truly sickened when we viewed actual video footage of the incident. Funny how human nature works. We know it’s a robot but because Pleo is cute and a baby but somehow our protective instincts kick in as if it were a living animal. More as news comes to hand!

Written by gadgetfreaks

May 10, 2008 at 10:11 am

Crazy Clocks!

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It seems the gadget world has gone crazy clock crazy! Here at Gadget Freaks we are constantly fascinated at the wierd and wonderful array of gadgety clocks coming out of late! This Bulbdial concept clock is a combination of lamps and sundials. Using the ancient sundial principle it uses electricity and shadows to great effect to display the time in a unique way. Developed by Ironic sans this design has one drawback in that it won’t work in direct sunlight. Guess that’s why it’s called a Bulbdial !

 

This cool clock projects the clock face onto a wall or other surface. With a range up to 7 metres it has a funky, junky, 1930’s sci-fi look about it! Tiltable to 45 degrees and with manual focus this kooky design makes a great bedside gadget. You won’t even have to move to see you are late for work!

 

 Another cool trend in clocks is the retro gear style model inspired by Steampunk. There are a whole bunch of these around, some better than others, but cool nonetheless! With a metallic look and exposed gears these clocks are great for educating youngsters about simple mechanics and give a neat feel to your living room. This rectangular wall clock is an awesome design combining industrial chic with functionality. Gotta love the big second hand.

 

Written by gadgetfreaks

April 14, 2008 at 6:53 am

Gadgets That Came In From The Cold.

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The very word ‘spy’ conjors up images in our minds of intrigue, romance, danger, sex and gadgets. U2 Spy Planes, poison-tipped umbrellas, microfilm, all the other Cold War Era spy paraphernalia; as well as men in hats and long trench coats in cold wet doorways smoking a cigarette — this is the image most of us have of the world of espionage. James Bond, with his stylish gadgets explained so thoroughly by Q, and pursuit of leggy lovely female spies worked with the idiosyncratically bumbling Maxwell Smart ( Agent 86 ) to create a highly romanticized image of a secret agent. There is a large fictional collection of stereotypical characters in the movies, on TV and in modern literature to help us form a fairly solid image of what a spy should be like. Of course, in reality, most spies are rather ordinary. They will probably be a consular official, or belong to some other profession, that blends in with the landscape.

Now this is our kind of Spy!

Like most people, we here at Gadget Freaks are fascinated with spies and such so it’s only natural that we love spy gadgets. There’s never a dull moment around GF Central ( our office ) as someone is always testing some spy device on a poor unsuspecting victim, getting into a game of ‘ Find the Spy Camera”, or even going on a field trip to the local Starbucks armed with a pocket cell phone jammer just for fun.

One sneaky gadget spied recently was this Wireless Spy Camera Pen. Looks like an ordinary pen, feels like an ordinary pen and writes like an ordinary pen but in fact it is a rather nifty spy cam. The kit includes an MP4 wireless receiver and a solar charger.

wireless-spy-camera-pen-with-solar-charger.jpg

I don’t know about you but I always wonder why whenever Secret Service Agent or the like on TV or in a movie they always stick a finger in their ear when they get a message. It’s like saying, ” Hey look at me I am Secret Service.” Anyway here is a little gadget that may come in handy in a whole bunch of situations.

This tiny device allows you to receive communications without anyone else being any the wiser. Makers say the invisible receiver fits right inside the ear. As it is wireless there are no tell tale connections hanging around to blow your cover.

earpiece.jpg

However, not everyone is content to get their spy gadgets off the shelf. Some would rather be Q than 007. Welcome to the world of DIY Spy Gadgetry! Also known as ‘ circuit bending ‘ to some. The art of modifying circuitry and components to transform a device enabling it to perform functions it was not originally designed for.

For those DIY spies there is a great series of books available that can show you how to make your own night vision camera or even a spy device detector. With titles like ‘101 Spy Gadgets for the Evil Genius’ and the ‘imaginatively-titled’ ‘More Electronic Gadgets for the Evil Genius’ there is a wealth of information and projects here to keep any Gadget Hacker locked away in the lab for an eternity!

review_spy_gadgets_book.jpg

So if you are into Spy Gadgetry there are so many sites on the net to get you salivating. I would suggest that Spyreview.co.uk would be a great place to start. So get out your hat and trenchcoat because The Eagle Has Landed !

Written by gadgetfreaks

February 20, 2008 at 6:55 am