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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mr. Wizard R.I.P.

Don Herbert, who explained the wonderful world of science to millions children on his Nickelodeon cable TV show "Mr. Wizard's World", has died after a long battle with multiple myeloma. He was 89.

Herbert used basic experiments to teach scientific principles to his TV audience via an in-studio guest boy or girl who assisted in the experiments. Herbert liked to perform his scientific experiments as "tricks" to get the kids hooked, then explain the science behind it later.

Herbert wrote several books, including "Mr. Wizard's Supermarket Science" and "Mr. Wizard's Experiments for Young Scientists."

In recent years, he helped set up his website


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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

iPhone Rate Plans Revealed

Today Apple posted a page detailing the cost of the iPhone rate plans (US). And they aren't as bad as most people had thought. All plans have unlimited data (nice!) - $60 for 450 minutes, $80 for 900 minutes and $100 for 1350 minutes. Existing AT&T customers can add unlimited data for $20 - $40 with a varying number of text messages.

  • All iPhone service plans include Visual Voicemail and unlimited data — Internet and email — so you only have to decide how many minutes and SMS text messages you need. You’ll select your plan when you activate your iPhone using iTunes on your computer.

  • If you’re already an AT&T customer and want to keep your current voice plan, you can just add an iPhone Data Plan with unlimited data (email and web) and Visual Voicemail for just $20 per month.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

YouTube Live Today on Apple TV

Good news for Apple TV and the iPhone. Starting today, Apple TV owners can start watching YouTube content on their TV sets. YouTube content will also be available to the iPhone when it officially launches on June 29th.

Apple TV users can download a free update via the built-in software update option to enable a new YouTube content menu. An option to "check for updates" is listed under the Apple TV settings screen.

iPhone users will be able to enjoy YouTube's originally-created content on their iPhones when they begin shipping on June 29. A YouTube player application on the iPhone will wirelessly stream YouTube's videos to the iPhone over Wi-Fi or EDGE networks and play it on iPhone's 3.5 inch display.

Both AppleTV and the iPhone will play YouTube content that has been reencoded into Apple's h.264 video format. 10,000 of YouTube's videos have been converted so far with the remainder expected by the fall. An Apple press release claims that h.264 was chosen "to achieve higher video quality and longer battery life on mobile devices."

Reports coming out of WWDC 2007 say that one of Apple's justifications of avoiding Flash video playback on the iPhone is improved battery life. The iPhone contains dedicated hardware capable of playing h.264 content, while Flash content would require more intensive use of the iPhone's CPU, resulting in higher battery drain.

You can read a review of the Apple TV here.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

USB Fart Fan

Chances are, you have at least one coworker with a tendency to "let one go" at the office. Hopefully you don't work in cramped cubicle farm. It's not exactly a fun time. Especially when the said fart "lingers" and someone has overkill the room with Axe Body Spray (Paul).

Honestly, we all blow hot air from time-to-time... whether it be talking smack to our boss about how busy we are, or literally blowing hot air after a big Mexican lunch (Chris). In the latter case, it’s good to know we have back up from the good folks at Thanko.

She looks pretty happy. I wonder what she ate for lunch.

The Thanko USB seat vent is designed to cool off that hot seat of yours while increasing air flow to the immediate area. Greg at proudly filed this under useless USB gadgets. That's probably because he doesn't know Chris or Paul.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Security Bugs in Safari for Windows

It's been an interesting few days for Apple and their Safari web browser. On Monday, Apple released a PC version of Safari 3 (beta) at the 2007 Worldwide Developers Conference. But within a few hours, Internet security specialists and hackers had uncovered several bugs capable of crashing the Windows operating system as well as a major security flaw making it possible to remotely take control a PC without the owners knowledge.

Just hours after Apple made Safari 3 available for Windows, David Maynor from Errata Security and independent expert Aviv Raff both blogged about the Safari security bugs they found.
"I can't speak for anybody else, but the bugs [I] found in the beta copy of Safari on Windows work on the production copy on OS X as well... The exploit is robust mostly thanks to the lack of any kind of advanced security features in [Mac] OS X."

"A first glance at the debugger showed me that this memory corruption might be exploitable. Although, I'll have to dig more to be sure of that. Again, this is just a beta version. But, don't you hate those pathetic claims?"

At last count, 6 total bugs in Safari have been recorded despite this claim on the Safari 3 download page: "Apple engineers designed Safari to be secure from day one."

But hell, Safari 3 is just a beta version, it's supposed to have bugs, right?

So why did Apple decide to make their Safari web browser Windows compatible in the first place? Three reasons come to mind:
  • A cross platform web browser will encourage web developers to create web-based programs for the iPhone and make their sites more compatible for existing Safari (Mac) users.

  • A PC version of Safari is an opportunity to expose Windows users to another Apple product. Apple hopes PC users will enjoy their Safari experience and think about getting a Mac the next time they get a new computer. So far, they are off to a pretty bad start.

  • Search dollars. The little search box in the upper right corner of the Firefox web browser is a major revenue generator. Every time you use that little search box, the browser manufacturer makes money off the search ads you are exposed to when you are taken to the results page. I've seen reports that Firefox (an open source project) made around over $50 million dollars from that little search box in 2006 alone.
You can download Safari 3 (beta) from

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Days of Our Lives on iTunes

On Tuesday, the American soap opera, Days of Our Lives, debuted on iTunes (US). Full episodes of the soap will be offered at the standard $1.99, but consumers will be able to shave off 50¢ per episode by ordering a 20-episode multipass for $9.99.

iTunes Link: Days of Our Lives

The producers of the show have had several conversations about including bonus scenes from Days of Our Lives in the iTunes version, though nothing has been decided yet.

Days of Our Lives will now be the most widely distributed daytime soap in the U.S., with episodes available on broadcast (NBC), cable (SoapNet) and online (iTunes).

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Badonkadonk Land Cruiser Review

Every once in awhile I'll find something really random or weird on (can you say Mongolian Goat Hide Pillow?). But I think that a personal land cruiser/tank named after a giant 'ass' takes the cake.

The JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser is a custom made tank modeled after Jabba's Sail Barge from Star Wars. The exterior is a steel shell with a rust patina. Remember this is a "tank" so there's lots of protective armor like fixed slats protecting the windows, and a unique industrial-strength rubberized flexible skirt that shields and protects the wheels to within an inch of the ground, while still allowing for enough flex to give clearance over bumpy and uneven terrain.

And if you wouldn't be noticed enough just by driving around in a mini tank, the Donk features lots of exterior lighting. We're talking head and tail lights, turn signal lights, trim lighting, and underbody lighting (did they have ground effects on Tatooine).

Don't forget to bring your iPod while you're cruising around in the Donk. Inside there's a 400 watt premium sound system with PA system that you can use to blast sound outside the vehicle.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Criss Angel Escapes from Cement Box

If you walked through Times Square this past Tuesday, then you probably noticed American magician Criss Angel suspended in midair. Angel was enclosed for 24 hours in a clear box that was encased in cement as fans and reporters watched. The box was then hoisted 40 feet above the ground in a parking lot just off Times Square.

Hundreds gathered to watch his escape, and a big screen showed Angel inside the box, kicking at the walls and dejectedly holding his head in his hands. When a countdown clock hit zero, the box was sent plunging to the ground.

As organizers called for paramedics and fans went quiet, Angel appeared atop the screen's nearby scaffolding, waving to the crowd and with his hand across his heart.

While much of the crowd cheered, several people were heard asking: "Was he actually in the box?"

"Well, I was in it when I fell -- that's the truth," Angel told Reuters, adding that people should be asking how he got from the fallen box to the scaffolding.

The stunt was meant to draw attention to the third season of his show "Mindfreak," which started airing on A&E this week. Angel said the first episode would reveal how he escaped.

[Source: Hollywood Reporter]

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

SurfDrive USB Flash Drive

Ready to get some digital gear for summer? Nothing would fit that ticket better then a USB 2.0 SurfDrive. With its innovative surfboard design and colorful graphics, you can transfer your files in true nerdy surf style.

The USB SurfDrive is Windows and Mac OS compatible and does not require any drivers (except for Windows 98. Why are you still using Windows 98 anyway?). USB SurfDrives are available in several sizes ranging from 256MB to 2GB with free shipping on

Who says USB novelty items are worthless?


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Monday, June 04, 2007

Age of Love - Details Announced

American broadcast network, NBC, has removed the shroud of secrecy around their new controversial reality dating series called Age of Love.

The series centers on Melbourne tennis champion Mark Philippoussis (age 31) as he's wooed by a group of 13 special ladies. What Philippoussis doesn't know is that these women range in age from 21 to 48. Will he go for one of the younger gals (Kittens), or will he become smitten by someone more mature (Cougars)?

Age of Love's "Kittens" will feature six young, enthusiastic women in their 20's who could probably better keep-up with Philippoussis' fast-paced lifestyle, while the "Cougars" will consist of seven women in their 40's who are more sophisticated and thus probably better equipped to deal with his fame as a tennis pro.

Similar to the manner in which the "geek versus hunks" twists on NBC's Average Joe reality dating shows played out, Philippoussis will initially be introduced to his older "Cougars" suitors. Later, he will learn that the younger "Kittens" -- who will also initially be unaware of the "Cougars" and vice versa -- will also be attempting to vie for his affection.

Once the "Cougars" meet the "Kittens," the claws come out and all the bachelorettes will try to win him over. From there, the field of suitors will be narrowed until Philippoussis picks his final bachelorette.

I guess "Age of Love" just sounds better than "Primetime Catfight," though I would argue the latter is a more fitting title.

Age of Love premieres on Monday, June 18 at 10PM ET. You can see a preview clip of Age of Love on or get more info about the show at

[Via TV Squad]

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Battlestar Galactica to End After This Season

As its fans have feared, Sci Fi's Battlestar Galactica will end its run after this, its 4th season. Executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eik (Bionic Woman) said they will wrap up the show's storyline with these 22 episodes. The fourth season is in production in Vancouver and will premiere in November. The official announcement, planned for Friday, ends months of speculation from the show's core group of dedicated fans.

"We respect the producers’ decision to end the series and are proud to have been the home of this groundbreaking show," said Sci Fi Executive Vice President of Original Programming, Mark Stern in a statement.

"This show was always meant to have a beginning, a middle and finally, an end," said Eick and Moore in a joint statement. "Over the course of the last year, the story and the characters have been moving strongly toward that end and we've decided to listen to those internal voices and conclude the show on our own terms."


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Psychedelic News Promo

Between the psychedelic animation, goofy photo-flipbook effect, saccharine-sweet music, and the all-around goofy news team, this local news promo is everything the movie "Anchorman" should have been.

I guess in the 1970s, even the local news teams were on drugs.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Man Quits Job to Make Lego Art

Hate your job? Wish you could just play with Legos all day? Meet Nathan Sawaya. His daily workspace went from florescent lights and dull paperwork to an explosion of color. Sawaya abandoned a career as an attorney in 2004 to take on Lego sculpting full time.

Just imagine that conversation for a second: "Hi mom. I quit my job as a lawyer, sorry for all that wasted money, but I'm gonna play with Legos...."

So what does Sawaya's workspace look like now he's a professional Lego artist? Basically Sawaya lives and works in a Lego playland. Clear plastic crates stuffed with Lego bricks in every hue are stacked high against the walls. There's a computer on the floor, but it's not functional. It's made entirely of Lego and so is the cash register, monkey, bowl of fruit, and vase of flowers.

His medium may be a beloved kid's toy, but some of his signature Lego pieces are incredibly grown-up. My personal favorite is Sawaya's recreation of Han Solo frozen in carbonite.

Want a closer look at closer look at Sawaya's Lego art? Sawaya's national touring exhibit, "The Art of the Brick," is making the rounds. Its next stop is the Discovery Center Museum in Rockford, Illinois, on June 15; it will stay there until September 3. You can get more info at


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