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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Sony Pulling Same Proprietary Stunt As Ever With PS Vita Memory Cards

By David Ponce

While it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, we find it frustrating to discover that Sony will likely be selling overpriced, proprietary and (worst of all) sometimes required memory cards with the upcoming PS Vita. Prices will range from $30 for a 4GB card, all the way up to $120 for the 32GB version. Bad as this is on its own, 7 of the 21 launch titles (in Japan) will not work at all without one of the memory cards. A standard 32GB SD card costs somewhere in the $40 to $60 range. Prospective owners of the PS Vita are going to get gouged, once again.

This is nothing new, as anyone who’s been watching Sony over the last few decades well knows. From the failed Betamax, to MiniDiscs to freaking MemorySticks, Sony always goes its own ways and follows no standards. While there was a time when they could almost get away with it, the consumer electronics landscape is changing and we look forward to the day when these clearly abusive and arrogant tactics come back to bite them in the ass.

The PS Vita launches December 17 in Japan, and February 2012 in the US.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Geek.com ]

DIY Privacy Monitor

By David Ponce

An Instructables user by the name of dimovi has created a privacy monitor in a most ingenious way. He basically disassembled the monitor, removed the polarizing film and glued a cutout made from this film to an old pair of glasses. Once reassembled, only people with the special glasses can see what’s on the screen while everyone else just sees a white monitor.

Of course, people will think you a little strange for staring at a white screen for hours on end, but that sort of stuff never stopped you before, did it?

There’s a more detailed step by step at the link below.

[ DIY Privacy Monitor ] VIA [ Hackaday ]

Siri Hacked To Remotely Start A Car

By David Ponce

One enterprising hacker has devised a way to use Siri to start and turn off his car remotely. Here’s how he did it:

I created a new ruby plugin that is used by plamoni’s “Siri Proxy”, a proxy server for Apple’s Siri assistant. This proxy server allows for the creation of custom plugins that can intercept recognized speech and perform virtually any function imaginable (programmable, scriptable).

The “Siri Proxy” plugin I wrote handles interaction with a php script that runs on my web server. The php script, which I developed months ago for personal use, allows me to send commands to my car which has a Viper SmartStart module installed.

Current commands accepted are: “Vehicle Arm”, “Vehicle Disarm”, “Vehicle Start”, “Vehicle Stop”, “Vehicle Pop Trunk”, and “Vehicle Panic”.

–UPDATE: Now it also responds to more conversational commands such as “Start my car”, “Lock my car”, “Pop my trunk”, etc…

The thing is, you clearly still need to have your car starter remote around, so why not just press the button? Clearly this is just a proof of concept and isn’t meant to be a standalone application (even if it had been an unsupported one). But it does make you wonder how things can and most likely will evolve with Siri and voice commands.

[ Fiquett.com ] VIA [9to5mac ]

Alarm Lets You Know Your House Is Burning Down Through SMS

By David Ponce

We’re not entirely sure what would be better: to come home to a house in ashes or to be texted of this fact as it’s happening. If you’re the type who’d rather know, the FireText fire alarm can be setup to send a predefined text message to up to 4 recipients. It’s quad-band GSM and is battery powered so there’s no wiring needed.

It’s £90 or about $140.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Geeky Gadgets ]

Hypnotizing Video Of The World’s Smallest V-12 Engine Being Assembled

By David Ponce

The video above shows craftsmanship and engineering prowess of such a degree that I remained transfixed for the duration of the 10 minute video. It shows a Spanish man machining every single part of a tiny V-12 engine and then proceeding to assemble the thing. Here are some details on the engine:12 cm3 of displacement (making it a… 12mL engine?), the diameter of the cyllinder is 11,3 mm and the stroke of the pistons 10mm. It runs on compressed air though it could conceivably run on gas; the guy didn’t want to “contaminate” the air with combustion gasses. There are 261 parts, 222 screws and it took him 1,220 hours to complete. It’s a one-off creation, is not for sale and is meant to instruct viewers on the inner workings of such an engine.

VIA [ BoingBoing ]

Wacom Bamboo Capture Multi-touch Tablet Reviewed, Verdict: Loaded Bargain.

There are two types of technology advancements that make headlines; new things that no one has ever seen before and breakthroughs in price that generate novel ways to implement existing technology. The Wacom Bamboo Capture tablet is the latter, thanks to its groundbreaking low price. At under $80, this will be the first tablet that many aspiring artists can afford. Most pressure sensitive graphics tablets start well over $500 and that price can keep people using pen and canvas. The combination of software and hardware package with the Create is impressive.

Somehow, Wacom has managed to stuff high end graphics tablet features in this inexpensive package. The tablet responds to both the included pen and finger touch. It can detect up to 1024 distinct levels of pen pressure for dark or light strokes on the fly. It has 4 buttons that are programmable but unfortunately not application aware. The big value-add shows up in the software that’s included with the tablet. Besides the custom Wacom that’s included, you also get Adobe Photoshop Elements 8. The list of software and features goes on. If you’re interested in what else is included or how it performed, check out the review at Everything USB.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

This Is Allegedly The World’s Smallest Camera

By David Ponce

Don’t sneeze when you take it out, it might just fly out of your hand and disappear it’s so darn small. Even though it’s been out for a couple of months now, we just recently came across this little thing from Hammacher Schlemmer. It claims to be the world’s smallest digital camera, and at 1 1/8″ L x 1″ W x 1 1/16″ in size, it might be. It weighs only half an ounce and yet is capable of taking pictures at a 2MP resolution (1600 x 1200), and video at 30 fps and 640 x 480. The camera comes with a 2 GB microSD card but supports up to 32 GB.

It’s $100.

[ Product Page ]

Tipping Teacup Is Smartly Designed

By David Ponce

Nearly 7 years ago when OhGizmo! launched, it had an emphasis on design. It was just me back then and I remember being amazed at products that were elegant and ingenious in their design. And while I shifted focus somewhat after a while (smart design turns out to be pretty rare), I still get excited when I come across things like this Tipping Teacup.

The teacup has an unusual angled bottom that allows it to rest in two different positions. On one side is a screened compartment in which you place your favorite loose tea leaves. Pour hot water through the screen and allow it to steep. Once it’s done, simply tip the cup in the other direction, lifting the leaves up out of the water. The cup’s large size is perfect for cradling between your hands as you enjoy the warmth of your drink. Screen is removable for simple clean-up.

One cup holds 6 oz. and though it’s made out of plastic, it is not dishwasher safe. It comes in black or white and is $20.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ LikeCool ]

Bean Bag Sled Cushions Your Heiny

By David Ponce

Sledding is fun. We like the part where we slam into innocent bystanders loitering at the foot of the hill, only to run away hysterically when they threaten us with bodily harm. We enjoy the hard packed snow on our posteriors a little less, especially when all we have to get down that hill is a garbage bag. Don’t laugh, you’ve been there. But we’re thinking of investing in this here Bean Bag Sled. The bottom is double coated in PVC while the inside contains two things: a bunch of 2mm polystyrene spheres and an air bladder (hand pump required). Two straps make you feel like you could steer the thing, but the complete absence of any hard edges to carve into the snow pretty much ensures these are just decorative.

At $300, it’s definitely on the expensive side of sleds. But years of garbage bag sledding have allowed us to save up for this.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]