Monday, 31 January 2011

NASA's Sustainability Building, the government's greenest building, opening in California this year

You may or may not have heard about NASA's project to build the most sustainable federal building in Moffett, California. The project began about two years ago, and will supposedly be finished this May. The experimental, earthly 'space station' cost $20.6 million to build, and includes 50,000 square feet of work space on two floors. The building also includes radiant ceiling panels, heating panels on walls, and radiant concrete flooring. When completed, the Sustainability Base will use 90 percent less potable water than a regular office building of the same size, and it will be able to create 22 percent more energy.

NASA's Sustainability Building, the government's greenest building, opening in California this year originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 31 Jan 2011 16:51:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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No, Seriously, the MacBook Air Is This Light [Video]

Sure, I could tell you how light the new MacBook Air is. But there are some things you really do have to see to believe. And a MacBook Air suspended from nothing but a balloon is one of them. More »


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Slash Boom is a fun, easy physics time waster

slashboom
Slash Boom is one of the easier time-wasters I've played recently, but I still enjoyed it. The rules are very simple: Your goal is to blow most of the structure off the screen. At each level, you get two "slashes" and one "boom". The "slashes" are click-and-drag motions you make across the structure, which cut it. Once you've placed two strategic cuts, it's time for the "boom": simply click anywhere on the screen to strategically detonate a bomb.

You can either click on the structure itself or next to it; if you placed your "slashes" strategically enough and picked a good spot for the bomb, a significant chunk of the structure will fly off the screen.

You will probably fly through the first few levels, but then the shapes become a bit more complex, and the game gets harder. I like it that they made the game harder by making more "difficult" shapes, rather than just making them larger (and thus more difficult to explode off the screen).

Bottom line: It's a quick, fun brain-teaser.

Slash Boom is a fun, easy physics time waster originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 20 Jan 2011 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorola teases Xoom Super Bowl ad: '2011 looks a lot like 1984'

Moto hasn't been shying away from the Apple jabs this year, and it's got another one in store for the Super Bowl this week with a commercial that'll poke fun at Cupertino's 1984 Macintosh ad, perhaps the most famous Super Bowl spot of all time. In it, the company says that "2011 looks a lot like 1984" with "one authority, one design, one way to work" while showing Planet Earth wearing a pair of shiny white iPod / iPhone buds. Boom, here comes a new planet -- a red, gaseous one with an "M" logo on it -- that pimps a bunch of wild features we'll be seeing in the Xoom like a dual-core processor, upgradeable 4G, and Honeycomb out of the box. In closing, Moto says "it's time to live a free life." We would've liked to have seen Motorola follow a format closer to that 1984 commercial, but it's a pretty well-played jab nonetheless -- and it's conceivable that this is just a teaser for the actual ad that'll air next weekend. Follow the break to check it out.

Continue reading Motorola teases Xoom Super Bowl ad: '2011 looks a lot like 1984'

Motorola teases Xoom Super Bowl ad: '2011 looks a lot like 1984' originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 31 Jan 2011 12:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Access files on your Android via Wi-Fi with Samba Filesharing

Want a nice, simple way to access files on your Android smartphone over a wireless network? Check out Samba Filesharing, an easy-to-configure app which lets you browse your SD card contents in your favorite desktop file manager.

After you install the app, launch it and create a password -- the default username is SDCARD, though you can change that if you wish. Once your changes have been made, tap your Back button to return to the main screen and then tap Menu to bring up the four action buttons. Disable and re-enable SMB services, and you'll receive a notification with the path to your device -- such as \\192.168.0.100 and \\ANDROID.

You can also configure the NetBIOS name (the ANDROID bit) if you want to use something a bit more personal. The app also features a 'wakelock' which keeps your Droid from dozing when you're trying to access files.

Root access is required, and you'll also need Superuser or Superuser Permissions installed (find one with a quick Market search).

Download Samba Filesharing for Android [AppBrain - QR code after the break]

Continue reading Access files on your Android via Wi-Fi with Samba Filesharing

Access files on your Android via Wi-Fi with Samba Filesharing originally appeared on Download Squad on Mon, 31 Jan 2011 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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1Password brings secure password, notes, and credit card storage to Windows Phone 7

1Password -- the popular secure password, note, and wallet app for Mac, iOS, and Windows -- is now available for download from the Zune Marketplace. If you've got a Windows Phone 7 device and have been waiting for a way to tap into your Dropbox-synced 1Password data, now you can!

Once you've signed in to your Dropbox account and entered your master password, you'll have access to all your securely-stored data. Logins, notes, credit cards, software product keys -- it's all there for your perusal. 1Password for Windows Phone 7 is a free download, while the Windows and Mac versions run $29.95 and $39.95 respectively.

Scan the Tag after the break to install the WP7 app.

Continue reading 1Password brings secure password, notes, and credit card storage to Windows Phone 7

1Password brings secure password, notes, and credit card storage to Windows Phone 7 originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 19 Jan 2011 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Intel briefly shows off Medfield-based smartphone

Intel promised way back in 2009 that we'd be seeing Medfield-based smartphones in 2011, and it looks like those have now gotten one step closer to reality. While there's unfortunately few details to be had, that's apparently a Medfield-based smartphone of some sort in the hand of Intel's Anand Chandrasekher above, who apparently showed off the phone (possibly a prototype) ever so briefly at the company's sales and marketing conference last week. Could it be a sign of things to come at MWC next month? Maybe, maybe not, but we'll be there to find out.

Intel briefly shows off Medfield-based smartphone originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 31 Jan 2011 11:39:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Water-propelled jetpack is no dream, can be yours for $99,500 this March (video)

It's taken a long time since that 2005 patent was filed for, but Raymond Li is now finally ready to bring his water-propelled jetpack to the money-spending world. Nailing down a March 2011 launch date and a price of $99,500 hasn't been easy for the inventor, who says his efforts to procure capital and prototyping quotations were mostly met with incredulity -- "almost everyone thought I was crazy." His JetLev personal transporter relies on an engine and fuel tank (which remain on the water's surface) to pump H20 into a backpack that then shoots out streams of the drinkable stuff to keep your airborne. Top speed is 22MPH, max height is nearly 33 feet, and the fun factor is somewhere off the scale, whether you're talking metric or imperial. Levitate past the break for a video demonstration.

[Thanks, Suraj]

Continue reading Water-propelled jetpack is no dream, can be yours for $99,500 this March (video)

Water-propelled jetpack is no dream, can be yours for $99,500 this March (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 31 Jan 2011 08:15:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How Apple?s Steve Jobs out-Sony?d Sony

How Apple’s Steve Jobs out-Sony’d Sony is a story by TiPb. This feed is sponsored by The iPhone Blog Store.

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$91 Worth of Rubber Bands From One Recycled Inner-Tube

Let’s say that each of these Plattfuss Rubber Bands, made from old bike inner-tubes, is 2mm wide. You get around 70 in a pack, which requires 140mm (5.5-inches) of OG bike tube to make them. The sizes in the pack are assorted, from different tube sizes, but to keep things simple let’s assume they come [...]

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PS3 firmware 3.56 hacked in less than a day, Sony's lawyers look confused (update)

Sony's taken some strong steps against PS3 cracking in the past week -- not only has it taken to the courts and won a temporary restraining order against Geohot and fail0verflow for cracking the console, but it also released firmware 3.56, which locked things down again. Unfortunately, that restraining order doesn't mean anyone else has to stop a-crackin', and wouldn't you know it: 3.56 was cracked open in less than a day by KaKaRoToKS, who was behind one of the first 3.55 custom firmwares. Now that the 3.56 signing keys are out, we'd guess updated custom firmware is soon to come -- and we'd bet Sony's lawsuit will just inspire an entirely new wave of people to jailbreak once those hit the scene. Way to put that genie back in the bottle, Sony.

Update: We're hearing that new custom firmware isn't on the table quite yet, because Sony changed most of the locks, and is reportedly actually storing the all-important ECDSA private key with random-number cryptography this time around. Be warned: if you upgrade to 3.56, there's no easy way back down. In related news, Github complied with a DMCA takedown notice to remove KaKaRoToKS's repositories, so you'll have to head on over to Gitorious (at our more coverage link) to get at the fail0verflow tools.

[Thanks, Tomi R]

PS3 firmware 3.56 hacked in less than a day, Sony's lawyers look confused (update) originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 29 Jan 2011 14:35:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink CVG, Edge  |  sourceKaKaRoToKS (Twitter)  | Email this | Comments

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The Video Game Controllers You Might Not Want... Until You Use Them [Power A]

The people who make unusual game products like a Wii Remote that can be customized with LEGO blocks—one of their more successful video game controllers—can sometimes make a controller better than Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft, I've learned. More »


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Sunday, 30 January 2011

Meetup Feels The Wrath Of The Crowd After Radical Changes

Meetup, a long time go-to place to create local online groups, has undergone a major re-launch in the past day. However, it may have missed a trick: not consulting the meetup organizers who pay through the nose for the service. There now appears to be something of a revolt going on amongst some organisers, who are vociferously protesting about the changes. The reaction of annoyed organisers and members has turned into two, count-em, Twitter hashtags: #newmeetup and #meetuporganizersunite. Alternatives to Meetup like BigTent are being touted, as is GroupSpaces ? a startup which last year raised $1.3 million from the likes of Index Ventures and Angels like Dave McClure and Chris Sacca. It is is already gunning for ?FormerMeetupOrganizers? with its own group and a blog post on the subject.

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Ejector Plug Makes British Sockets Pensioner-Friendly

This curious plug-ejecting power-socket has just won first prize in the The Future Perfect Company design competition. The brief: Come up with “attractive and aspirational” designs that help people carry on as normal when they get older.
For most of the world, pulling out a plug is as simple as yanking a cord. Arthritis? Wrap the [...]

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Focus the taskbar and switch windows with the arrow keys in Windows 7

This week, we're running a series of keyboard tips and tricks that help you make the most of Windows 7. To see the previous tips, check our Tips index.

The taskbar seems like it was meant to be used with the mouse only; it's a very visual thing, especially in Windows 7. But it turns out there's a way to "switch" to the taskbar and then work with it using the keyboard only! Hit Win+T to focus the taskbar, and then use the arrow keys to cycle between the icons. Whenever the focus switches to an application that's currently running, its Aero Peek pane will show up. To start an application that isn't running, press Enter.

What's nice about this system is that it takes your taskbar's orientations into account: for a vertical taskbar, Up/Down will switch windows, while Left/Right would activate the Aero Peek thumbnail pane; for a horizontal one, Left/Right would switch windows and Up/Down would activate the thumbnail pane.

This little nugget concludes our weekly Keyboard Tips series. I hope you've enjoyed it, and maybe even learned some new tricks! Check out Sebastian's list for a comprehensive rundown of many other hotkeys.

[Image credit: orangeacid]

Focus the taskbar and switch windows with the arrow keys in Windows 7 originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 07 Jan 2011 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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3DBoard bringing 3D home screens to iPhone [Jailbreak]

3DBoard bringing 3D home screens to iPhone [Jailbreak] 3DBoard uses the iPhones accelerometer and gyroscope to present a “3D” view of the Springboard/Home Screen icons and it looks pretty nifty. Sure it’s pure eye candy and not as functional a tweak as SBSettings or LockInfo, but cool has to count for something, right? It’s coming to Cydia soon and will cost $4. Anyone [...]

3DBoard bringing 3D home screens to iPhone [Jailbreak] is a story by TiPb. This feed is sponsored by The iPhone Blog Store.

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With Ubuntu's shift to Qt in 11.10, an attack on the mobile sector must be imminent

Ubuntu tablet
Qt, come the end of 2011, is to become a standard component of Ubuntu 11.10. Ubuntu currently, and in the upcoming 11.04 Natty Narwhal distribution, uses Gtk+, a competing toolkit maintained by the GNOME Foundation.

When Canonical announced Ubuntu's shift away from the GNOME desktop manager in 11.04, the switch to Qt was almost a foregone conclusion; GNOME requires Gtk+, but Unity doesn't -- so why stick around? A better question to ask, though, is why Qt?

The odd, but overwhelmingly likely truth seems to be that Ubuntu is moving into the mobile sector. Unity was originally designed as a netbook or small-screen interface; and there's no denying that Unity 2D, without its shiny bells and whistles, is designed for very low-powered devices, like cheap tablets and smartphones.

Qt

That's where Qt enters the equation: Qt is the application framework used on Nokia's Symbian and Maemo phones. Qt is also fully cross-platform, with support for Windows, Mac and Linux. With Qt, developers could write a single program for Ubuntu, and have it run on desktops, laptops, tablets, and even smartphones.

But why oh why does Canonical even want to go into the mobile market? Has someone at the top lost their marbles?

Continue reading With Ubuntu's shift to Qt in 11.10, an attack on the mobile sector must be imminent

With Ubuntu's shift to Qt in 11.10, an attack on the mobile sector must be imminent originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 21 Jan 2011 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BlackBerry PlayBook may be able to run Android apps, thanks to Dalvik

When RIM acquired QNX, it was all but certain that the days of Java-powered BlackBerry OSes were drawing to a close. That doesn't mean RIM plans on ditching support for all those legacy BlackBerry apps developed for use in the enterprise, however. Boy Genius Report has received information that RIM intends to support those apps by way of a virtual machine -- and what better Java VM to use than Google's Dalvik (which drives Android)?

In theory, a Dalvik VM running on a BlackBerry device could be capable of running an Android .APK. However, since most apps are closely tied to OS-specific APIs, there's also a very good chance that most Android apps wouldn't do anything noteworthy on future RIM devices. Still, the possibility is an exciting one -- and the ability to handle Android apps would definitely make BlackBerry a bit more enticing to both developers and users.

BlackBerry PlayBook may be able to run Android apps, thanks to Dalvik originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 27 Jan 2011 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Facebook to empower its massive mobile platform with HTML5

Facebook, which now has 125 million active iPhone and Android users, will set its focus on the mobile part of its platform this year. CTO Bret Taylor, speaking at the Inside Social Apps conference, said that emphasis will be on HTML5-powered solutions, to maximize impact across all of the smartphone platforms.

Both iOS and Android have Web browsers capable of HTML5. The BlackBerry browser supports some HTML5, and Nokia/Symbian should really have an HTML5-capable browser sometime in 2011. The advantages of developing an HTML5-powered mobile site are clear: not only is there at least 125 million users just waiting to enjoy interactive HTML5 content on their phones, but it would also mean that Facebook could spend its time creating a standards-compliant and cross-platform mobile website, rather than developing individual apps for each of the smartphone platforms.

Don't forget the developers, either: imagine writing an HTML5 app or game that works across every smartphone. It would bring a whole new level of immersion to FarmVille and CityVille players -- you could play it on the train, in the bathroom, or in bed!

Facebook to empower its massive mobile platform with HTML5 originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 26 Jan 2011 06:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Freaky Cows is an aquatic-themed bovine Time Waster

freakycows
As you may know, cows do not float. They tend to be heavier than water, so they sink. Not being a creature of the sea, when a cow drowns, it ceases to live. So if you like cows and encounter a bunch of cows that are on the verge of drowning, you might be moved to save them --and that's pretty much the premise of Freaky Cows.

You get a queue of objects and when you click the screen, the next object appears. The first thing on every level is some sort of a floating platform - it may be a long plank, or a bunch of logs loosely bunched together (these can float apart, as you can see in the screenshot).

Once the first floating object is in the water, the next click usually drops a cow on it, and it happily floats. Of course, saving just one cow isn't enough. Cows are social creatures, so you have to save the whole herd. When you drop the next cow on the floating plank, it changes the balance and causes the plank to sink deeper into the water. If you're not careful, the whole plank might tip over -- and there go the cows! You may receive extra planks later on, which you can use to bolster up your platform.

There are bulls, too, and a bull weighs four times as much as a cow -- so you need to be extra-careful with them. Happily, though, you don't have to save every cow. I mean, every cow is precious, but you can usually get away with saving only nine out of twelve or so and still pass the level.

Freaky Cows is highly recommended, and I greatly enjoyed the frantic mooing in the soundtrack.

Freaky Cows is an aquatic-themed bovine Time Waster originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 07 Jan 2011 12:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Panasonic adds Sandy Bridge to Let's Note J10, N10, S10 and B10 laptops

You can rest assured that hundreds -- if not trillions -- of new laptops will be rolling off of production lines this quarter with Intel's Sandy Bridge platform inside, and those looking for a little love over in Japan won't have to wait much longer. Panasonic has just updated its Let's Note line with four new Sandy Bridge models: the B10, S10, N10 and J10 have all been blessed with new silicon. The B10 in particular ships with a Core i5-2520M, 4GB of memory, a 15.6-inch 1080p display, HDMI output, Blu-ray drive, SDXC card slot and 802.11b/g/n WiFi. The N10 and S10 are outfitted in similar fashion, while the J10 goes diminutive with a 10.1-inch panel. There's also a higher-end J10Q variant that steps up to a Core i5, 128GB SSD, 2GB of RAM, WiFi, HDMI output, inbuilt WiMAX model and an SDXC slot, with the craziest aspect being the claimed 12 hours of battery life. Hit the links below if you're hungry for pricing clues and ship dates, but it looks as if the whole gang should be out and about by the close of March.

Panasonic adds Sandy Bridge to Let's Note J10, N10, S10 and B10 laptops originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Jan 2011 20:43:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Netbooks Review  |  sourceImpress, Akihabara News  | Email this | Comments

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Honeycomb booting on the Nook Color!

The turn-around time between source releases and dev community releases seems to be shrinking more and more these days.  Just two days after Google released the Honeycomb SDK Preview, dev deeper-blue now has a (very early) port of it running on his Nook Color.

Originally describing it as a "zombie" without any touchscreen or hardware acceleration, he later reported that he has the touchscreen working and hopes to work on acceleration over the weekend.

While this won't be able to escalate into full-blown Honeycomb on the Nook until after Google releases the full source (presumably sometime after the release of the Motorola Xoom), this could be quite a treat for those itching for the buzz of Android 3.0.   [xda-developers]

Honeycomb booting on the Nook Color! posted originally by Android Central

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