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Category Archives: Software

Oki Electric To Release Iris Recognition For Any Cellphone That Can Run Its Software

oki iris recognition By David Ponce

Whether it’s the result of a CNN induced institutional paranoia or the consequence of real tangible threats, most people these days are concerned with protecting their privacy. And one of the devices that holds the most personal data is a cellphone, so it stands to reason that some people would take to locking their phone with a password. Passwords however are so Mobile 1.0. All the rage these days is with biometrics, and a company called Oki Electric has announced the development of iris recognition technology that uses a cellphone’s regular camera, as opposed to the company’s previous offerings, which required an IR camera.

They plan to release their product in March 2007, and once installed on a compatible phone, should allow the users to unlock the device only when in the presence of the right set of eyes. The technology is allegedly very accurate, with error rates of 1 in 100,000. It is also able to distinguish between real eyes, and photographs. However, rather than seeking a better way to secure the data on phone, the company is looking to boost the security of phone based payment systems, which, if you ask us, is as good a reason as any.

[Press Release] VIA [Pink Tentacle]

HP’s Digital Slimming Effect

digital slimming hp

By David Ponce

Being horizontally challenged is not easy. I’d know. I had to lose 50 pounds, once. It was less fun than watching dry paint get dryer. But you know something? I’m glad I lost it; I didn’t just give up and give in to the sweet, sweet call of delicious fried chicken. And to me, there seems to be something oddly fatalistic about HP’s new “Slimming” feature found in some digital camera models; it’s something that says “Can’t lose weight? Take the digital way out!” You know you’ve lost control over a part of your life when you start finding features, in gadgets, that help you deal with it.

But anyway, it works like this.

You take a picture, and then, right from the camera, you can apply some post-processing. Among the many options, like “Vintage”, “Soft Glow” and such, you can find one that says “Slimming”. Select that, and then proceed to squash your subject. You can control the degree of distortion, presumably so you don’t end up looking like an unnatural spaghetti.

The feature is available on 7 different models, like the M628 and M527.

[HP Digital Camera Slimming] VIA [FayerWayer]

A Windows Themed House

windows house

By David Ponce

The endless possibilities for Microsoft jokes have caused a serious case of writer’s block. I believe it senseless that I should have spent the best part of a quarter hour looking for something smart to say about this. So, I’ll say nothing more than this: here you have a picture of someone, unidentified, who likes Microsoft Windows so much… he went and added a Windows theme to his house. Yes, we’re aware the picture was in this month’s PC Mag, but we didn’t read it, and we don’t know who this fellow is.

So, there you have it. A Window’s themed house.

VIA [Gadgetblog.it]

Tengo Free Promises To Turn You Into Crazy Speedtyper

tengo free logoBy David Ponce

This is an amazing piece of software for your pocket PC or Palm that promises to improve your typing speed severalfold. It uses a clever combination of predictive text input, and six large buttons, each containing a portion of the alphabet, all arranged QWERTY style. Simple as that. Simply press each button that contains the letter you want once, and type in your word. Having six large buttons means your accuracy is improved, and consequently your typing speed.

How fast can you type? Well, if you come inside, you can watch a somewhat freaky video of a Japanse Singaporean/Malaysian (my apologies) lady typing at 72wpm.

The best part? It’s free! The company also offers an enhanced version (nicer UI, more words in the dictionary), which goes between $13 and $25 depending on the device you’ll use it on.

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PrinterAnywhere – The Name Says It All

PrinterAnywhere (Image courtesy Printer Anywhere Inc.)
By Andrew Liszewski

Well here’s a simple yet impressive piece of software. PrinterAnywhere allows you to print a document on other people’s printers anywhere in the world as easily as it is on a locally connected one. The only real requirement is that the other printer has to be connected to a system that’s online.

Sharing a printer takes less than a minute to do and you don’t need to know the first thing about network sharing, complicated settings or any kind of access rights either. As long as you’re able to use your connected printer anyone else online can be allowed to as well.

I originally thought this was more of a neat trick than a useful app but it turns out there are a lot of good reasons to have this functionality. For example it’s far cheaper than a fax and results in a perfect copy of the original document. Other times you may want to provide printed copies of a document to someone but do not want to forward the original files for fear of them being altered. And of course there’s always mom or dad who have no clue on how to use that fancy new inkjet they bought but want to print out photos of the grandkids.

Best of all PrinterAnywhere is a free download available right now with absolutely no service charges of any kind.

[PrinterAnywhere] VIA [The Red Ferret Journal]

Microsoft Live Labs Photosynth

Microsoft Live Labs - Photosynth (Image courtesy Microsoft)

By Andrew Liszewski

Large companies having secret research labs is by no means a new thing but these days they seem more open to showing the public what they’ve been working on even if the technology is far from ready for the average consumer. No doubt we can thank Google Labs for this trend.

Microsoft’s own Live Labs has just released a look inside a new piece of software they’ve been cooking up called Photosynth. The idea of the program is pretty simple. Looking at regular 2D photos is boring so why not assemble a collection of photos of a particular place, person or object into a kind of 3D interactive version? This won’t really work for photographers who just grab a single far away photo of something but if you’re the type who loves to take plenty of detail shots this could prove interesting.

The software basically analyzes a group of images and looks for similar distinctive features across photos. When a particular feature is found in multiple images the 3D positional data can be calculated and the photos can be arranged in an interactive manner like in the above screenshots allowing you to pan around and zoom in or out on certain areas. A more practical use of this technology as suggested by Microsoft would be to grab a photo of a landmark with your cameraphone and then via image analysis similar to what Photosynth uses the name of the place as well as more info could be instantly found online.

Photosynth is not currently available for download but a public beta version is apparently in the works.

[Microsoft Live Labs Photosynth] VIA [Ars Technica]

(Video) BumpTop’s Realistic Desktop Experience

bumptop prototype

By David Ponce

We’ve written about desktop applications that redefine the user interface dynamic before. But I have to say we’re a little smitten with this one: the BumpTop prototype.

It seeks to approximate the way we handle documents in a real world setting. You know what I’m talking about; piles of sheets here, scattered magazines there… Now, I do a pretty bad job of describing this. Instead, come inside and watch a fascinating 6 minute video of an early prototype.

The company says that if they get funding, they’ll grow it into a full OS. I have a feeling money’s on the way.

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Widsets, Widgets For Your Mobile

widsets

By David Ponce

Looks like Nokia is trying to ride the widget gravy train, and it’s calling its initiative Widsets. They’re basically widgets for your mobile.

Like its PC and Mac counterparts, Widsets are tiny apps that enable to do all sorts of things, like get weather updates, get your favorite headlines, etc. And it looks like all you need is the following: Java MIDP 2.0, a 128×128 color screen or higher and internet access on your mobile, though WidSets does not currently work with Nextel, T-Mobile USA or BREW-enabled phones (e.g. Verizon, Alltel, U.S. Cellular), or Palm devices.

Now, if you’re like me, you’ll start looking for the word Nokia on the Widsets site… and have a hard time finding it. This intrigues me. It is there, though it’s buried in the TOS page. Speculation, anyone?

[Widsets] VIA [Xataka]

U3 USB Stick Technology

u3.gif
By Bruce Eaton

Not the newest tech but rather, relevant tech. U3 is a software technology that turns USB sticks into more than just portable storage but actual drives, by enabling them to run software straight from them. The guys over on Gadget Madness bought and used a Kingston Data Traveler 2gig USB Stick with U3[Affiliate link -Ed.] and had nothing but fabulous things to say about it:

One word comes to mind: IMPRESSIVE!

While the Kingston Stick itself doesn’t look all that great, the U3 software did what it promised, allowing for you to take your programs with you. No more using a crappy web-based email but how about Thunderbird with all your settings. They also allow for password protection so only you can access your programs on your stick. Programs can be downloaded from U3 where they have lots of selections such as Winamp, WinRAR, and Skype. Check it out for yourself.

[U3] VIA [Gadget Madness]