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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Barack Obama is #1 on Twitter

While John McCain is still learning how to use email (we're not kidding), his U.S. Presidential competition has completely mastered the micro-blogging service Twitter.

This month, American presidential candidate Barack Obama dethroned Kevin Rose from and became the most popular person on Twitter. According to Twitterholic, a website that measures the "followers" of Twitter accounts, Barack Obama has over 58,000 followers.

Obama's closest Twitter competitor is Kevin Rose with 56k followers. Robert Scoble, CNN Breaking News and Leo Laporte help round out the top 10.

Someone not in the Twitterholic top 10... John McCain. In fact McCain isn't even in the top 100. The only serious McCain Twitter account we found has a little over 1,000 followers. A truly pitiful showing for someone who is running for president.

Here's a 101 primer on Twitter and tips on how to explain it. If someone who personally knows John McCain is reading this, please print the article out for him (because you can't email it to him yet).

Tutorial: How to Explain Twitter to Your Grandma

And if you are feeling wild, you can follow @methodshop on Twitter here.



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Interview with ROCKETON Founders

Steve Hoffman and Eric Hayashi are certainly well-rounded interactive entertainment executives. Their bios are full of so many impressive entertainment and gaming companies that it will make your head spin. Combined, Steve and Eric have worked at Vivendi Universal Games, Virgin Interactive, Infospace, Hasbro Interactive, Sega and Atari.

So what did Steve and Eric do with all that experience? What was the culmination of this vast interactive knowledge? In 2007, Steve and Eric joined forces with Naomi Kokubo and co-founded ROCKETON, a new type of multiplayer social experience that spans the entire web.

Instead of having to go to a separate site or use a specific application like Second Life, ROCKETON turns the entire Internet into a virtual world for browser based avatars. Think of ROCKETON like Second Life + PMOG with a twist of Facebook and a dash of StumbleUpon. It's a Web 2.0 evolutional twist on virtual reality.

MethodShop was lucky enough to get some time with Steve and Eric and grilled them pretty hard about ROCKETON. A link to the full interview is below. Enjoy.

Interview: ROCKETON's Steve Hoffman and Eric Hayashi


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Monday, July 14, 2008

iPhone 3G Launch Problems

The long awaited iPhone 3G was released on Friday, July 11th. But what should have been a happy and joyous day for iPhone fans, ended up being an exercise in frustration for many.

After waiting in line outside of Apple Stores for hours (or even days), some consumers then spent up to 7 hours inside because of "network problems" that slowed or even halted the activation of new iPhones.

The iPhone 3G line outside the Manhattan Apple Store on 14th Street at 12:52PM.
Estimated wait time was ~4 hours.

Apparently Apple's authentication servers weren't prepared to handle the amount of global network traffic from new iPhone 3G activations. Network slowdowns were first reported after stores opened in Europe. The network then came to a halt after US East Coast stores opened. By the time American West Coast stores had started selling iPhones, Apple's servers just couldn't take it anymore and started crashing. It was AT&T's insistence that all phones get activated in the store that caused the problem. During last year's iPhone 1.0 launch Apple had everyone activate their own phone at home through iTunes.

>>>Continue Reading

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008 Launches New "Recommendation Engine"

Digg is rolling out a new recommendation engine this week. The new feature's goal is to help users discover content from like-minded individuals amid the clutter of the 16k+ stories submitted to each day.

You know how when you are browsing and the site suggests related products based on what you are viewing and what you've already purchased? This new Digg feature works kind of the same way. It analyzes your previous "diggs," or stories you've voted for, then lets you know what other users with similar tastes have recommended.

If you want to know more, Digg execs Kevin Rose and Anton Kast go into detail about how it works on the Digg blog.

Rose will also probably explain the new feature during his next Diggnation podcast.



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Loopt Coming Soon to the iPhone 3G

Wish you knew where your friends and family were at all times? Have you heard of Loopt yet?

Loopt is a mobile phone application that enables users to spy on see the location of their friends on an interactive map (see image below). The application also allows you to message friends in your general area and setup automatic alerts to notify you when friends are nearby.

In the last few months, Loopt has published several BlackBerry versions of its software for all major American cellphone carriers including T-Mobile, AT&T, Alltel and Sprint. Loopt also demonstrated an Alpha version of their software for the 3G iPhone at the 2008 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). You can sign up to be notified when the full iPhone version of Loopt is released here.

If you have a Jailbroken iPhone, then the function and features of Loopt might sound similar to Twinkle. Twinkle is a native Twitter client for the iPhone that pairs your GPS location with your Twitter posts. Twinkle also gives you the ability to add images to your Twitter Tweets.

But whether or not you use Loopt, Twinkle or Twitter.. it's not any fun unless all your friends are also using the service.


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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Developers and Consumers Get Ready for Apple's iPhone App Store

A massive new online business is scheduled to launch on July 11: Apple's App Store - an online hub for third party iPhone and iPod Touch applications.

Beginning later this month, developers will begin to upload apps to the store accessible by iPhone users or to a new section of the iTunes Store, sharing revenue from app sales with Apple in a 70/30 split. These apps will be in addition to the 1,700-odd apps already developed for the iPhone's Safari web browser.

One of the games people are looking forward to playing is Super Monkey Ball. Sega's Ethan Einhorn showed off Super Monkey Ball on stage at the WWDC. According to Einhorn, after 8 weeks of development, the developers have created 110 stages.

The new 3G, GPS-enabled iPhone should open up a world of possibilities for clever developers in the realms of gaming, entertainment and enterprise applications.

In related news, the AOL Radio app for the iPhone won for Best Entertainment Application at the 2008 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), providing users free access to over 350 online radio stations (including 150 local CBS radio stations) and more than 200 AOL Radio channels.

Other WWDC iPhone App winners:

Best iPhone Game:
Enigmo by Pangea Software

Best iPhone Social Networking App:
Twitterrific by the Icon Factory

Best iPhone Productivity App:
OmniFocus by the Omni Group

Best iPhone Healthcare & Fitness App:
MIM from MIMVista


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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

iPhone 3G and WWDC Announcement Predictions

There's no doubt that an iPhone update is imminent. But while nearly everyone has agreed on that, nobody knows anything definite about the specifics... except that the new iPhone will be compatible with the Microsoft Exchange email services. There's a link on the main iPhone page where you can apply to be a beta tester.

In regards to the iPhone, here's what we know today:
  • lists the iPhone as “Currently Unavailable.” Stock is so low that you can't buy it. Usually a good sign that a new model is coming out soon.

  • Apple continues to make iPhone sales deals across the globe. Netherlands, Hong Kong, Singapore, India and Australia were all announced with the last few months.

  • A 3G settings screen was found by hackers in the latest firmware update for the iPhone.

  • The new iPhone will most likely be unveiled during Steve Jobs’ keynote speech at Apple’s WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) on June 9th.

  • AT&T is prohibiting retail-store employees from taking vacations between June 15 and July 12, claiming that they’re expecting a “heavy selling period”. They implemented a similar policy last year for the iPhone launch.

  • AT&T executives have said numerous times that all of their smartphones (the iPhone is one of the) will support 3G networking soon.

  • The Apple Stores have been out of stock of the iPhone for weeks. And people are forming daily lines outside Apple stores that still have a few iPhones in stock.

And here' are some rumors about what Steve Jobs might announce at the WWDC on June 9th:
  • Rumor: The new 3G iPhone will be about 20% thinner.

  • Rumor: The new 3G iPhone will have built-in video chat that would allow you to video chat with other iPhones or even computers with webcams.

  • Rumor: The Apple TV is going to get an add-on USB camera that will turn the Apple TV into a video chat system (see item above). How would it work? A picture in picture effect would happen if you were watching a movie on your Apple TV when someone tried to “video call” you from an iPhone.

  • Rumor: Just like the iPods, the new iPhone will come in several colors including black [pic] and white [pic]. Several colored iPhone photos have already surfaced on the Interweb. There's no doubt that black would be an extremely popular iPhone color.

  • Rumor: The new iPhone will have built-in GPS (it's about time).

  • Rumor: Apple will also announce a new, wireless keyboard specifically for Apple TV, with multi touch capabilities. Basically it will be a super remote control.


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Friday, May 23, 2008

New Weezer Video Features YouTube Celebs

The band Weezer posted their new music video called "Pork and Beans" on YouTube. The video features a huge collection of "internet stars" from Tay "Chocolate Rain" Zonday to Chris "Leave Britney Alone" Crocker. Weezer even plays in front of a huge deluge tribute to "Coke + Mentos".

Weezer's new self-titled "Red Album" comes out June 3rd, 2008.


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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

3G iPhone Launch Set For June 9

According to Gizmodo, Apple is set to unveil the 3G iPhone on June 9 at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco.

Here's an excerpt from the Gizmodo post:

"We all suspected it, but now it is confirmed: someone very, very close to the 3G iPhone launch has told me [Gizmodo’s Jesus Diaz] that Apple will announce their new model at the WWDC Keynote on June 9th. The second-generation iPhone will be available worldwide right after the launch, and not at year’s end, as previously thought. The new model will also herald new sales policies in some countries.

In Spain, for example, the 3G iPhone will be available for sale at the June 18th grand opening of Telefonica’s megastore—an Apple Store-like shop located in the company’s historical building in Madrid’s Gran Vía— with nationwide availability the next day or after a few hours. The other European countries with iPhone availability will have similar launch schedules."

The 3G iPhone will also supposedly do away with fixed-price iPhones. Apple will be adopting a more traditional subsidized pricing model. This means that certain carriers can offer discounts and subsidies on the Apple handset. This also means that large companies will probably be able to purchase iPhones in bulk and offer them as part of their companies internal wireless plans.

What will this new 3G iPhone look like? Rumors say it might come in multiple colors including black (see a mockup above). There's no doubt that a black 3G iPhone would be extremely popular.

Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, first promised a 3G iPhone at a London press conference in September 2007. Sine then, it's been a guessing game trying to figure out when the 3G iPhone would be released. In April, hackers found a 3G toggle switch in the iPhone's 2.0 beta firmware hinting that a 3G iPhone release was imminent.


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Monday, May 12, 2008

iPhone 3G Settings [pic]

Still doubt that the 3G iPhone is coming soon?

This settings screen with a 3G toggle switch (see image) was found in the latest beta release of the iPhone's 2.0 firmware.

Why would you want to turn off 3G? Because 3G drains cell phone batteries very quickly. In this screenshot, Apple has included a toggle setting to turn 3G off, and use AT&T's slower but more battery friendly EDGE network instead. Probably a very useful feature if you are almost out of juice.

When can we expect to see a 3G iPhone and how much will it cost?

Continue Reading>>>


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

IT Through The Decades - Olivia Munn

Olivia Munn, the foxy geek hostess from Attack of the Show (G4 TV) and Playboy Magazine (Feb 2007), is in a new viral YouTube video for Dell Computer called "IT Through The Decades."

The clip helps promote Dell's servers by poking fun at all the poor IT related decisions companies have made the past few decades (1978-2008). In the clip, Mike the IT guy suggests "new" technologies like databases and bar codes and gets made fun of by his colleagues.

Olivia doesn't have a ton of lines but she definitely adds some sex appeal to the YouTube clip. Warning: It's a little long (especially for a "viral" clip). Olivia fans will also probably get a kick out of seeing her dressed up in retro 70's and 80's outfits. You can save this clip off YouTube by following these instructions.

If you're looking for more Olivia Munn, just Google search her name. YouTube is full of clips of her doing things like riding a Hawaii Chair, seductively eating hotdogs and recovering from a baby oil slip. Too bad she's dating that turd biscuit Bryan Greenberg from One Tree Hill.

Here's a link to the clip on YouTube in case the video above doesn't load.


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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Podcasting Audience Soars

The U.S. podcasting audience reached 18.5 million in 2007, according to eMarketer and was projected to top 65 million by 2012 with 25 million listeners downloading one or more podcasts a week.

Ad spending on podcasts in the U.S. is also expected to creep up, from $165 million in 2007 to $435 million in 2012.

Major podcasting networks like Revision3 are growing with the medium's success by revamping their websites and adding new programming.

If you're not already a podcast consumer, then check out the podcast section in iTunes. There's a lot of great stuff from tech shows to yoga workouts. And they are all free. I usually watch 5-10 podcasts a day on either my iPod Touch or Apple TV. Makes the bus ride to work much more enjoyable.

Here are a few favorites:
  • Diggnation - weekly rundown of the front page stories on
  • Tiki Bar TV - drinking games
  • Unboxing Live - take a new gadget, and open it up while the camera is rolling
  • Midwest Teen Sex Show - explores topics concerning teen sexuality from gym class to syphilis
  • The Totally Rad Show - movie, comic books and game reviews
  • Make Podcast - how to tweak, hack, and bend technology any way you want
  • Play Value - the history of video games
  • NBC Nightly News - the full TV broadcast sans commercials


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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Apple TV - Take 2 and iTunes Rentals

Steve Jobs announced an update to the Apple TV at Macworld San Francisco this week as well as iTunes Movie Rentals, which were already rumored to be part of his Macworld keynote speech.

Jobs admitted that Apple's online video plan had been a disappointment and that users didn't take to watching online video the way Apple had expected. When Jobs first announced the Apple TV last January, Apple's initial video plan was too complicated for many people. Getting a movie or TV show onto your Apple TV required customers to buy the video from the iTunes Store, download it to their computer, then sync/stream the file using an Apple TV.

Although Apple has already sold 7 million movies, Jobs said: "That’s more than everyone else put together, but it did not meet our expectations."

Apple plans on overhauling their strategy by making 2 major changes:

  1. Adding a new online movie rental service
  2. Updating the Apple TV's software so that viewers can stream movies direct from the internet sans (that's Latin for without) computer.

Jobs thinks that viewers would prefer to rent movies, not buy them. As a result, the new Apple TV software will allow users to rent first run films from every major movie studio including Fox, WB, Paramount, Universal and Sony in HD. Jobs called it "A better way to provide movies to our customers." Blockbuster and Netflix can't be happy right now.

1000 films ready for rental will be available on iTunes starting in February. Going forward, movies will be available to rent 30 days after they are released on DVD. Broadband users won't have to wait for these giant movie files to download. Moments after you rent the film using your Apple TV, it will be watchable immediately via streaming. How much are movie rentals? $2.99 to rent older titles, $3.99 for new releases. Add one more $1 to those prices if you want to rent the movie in HD.

Thomas Lesinski, president of Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment, joined Jobs on stage at Macworld and called the rental service a "defining moment" for the distribution of digital video content. "This is really going to take things to the next level," he said.

The new Apple TV software features will be included in a free Apple TV update scheduled to be released in February. You can update your Apple TV by selecting "Update Software" from the Settings menu.



Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Steve Jobs Announces the MacBook Air

I hope you didn't buy a new Apple laptop recently. Steve Jobs announced the MacBook Air at Macworld today.

The MacBook Air is the "World's Thinnest Notebook" - even thinner than the Sony TZ, which is 0.8 to 1.2 inches thick. It's so thin it fits in a manila envelope. Seriously. See the image below! Apple's goal was to make a high performance 3 pound laptop, with a full size keyboard, and large display.

The MacBook Air is so thin, it only has 4 ports: USB 2.0, Micro-DVI, headphone jack and a MagSafe 45w power adapter plug.

So what did Apple leave out? An optical drive. If you really want one, Apple is selling an optional external USB powered SuperDrive for $99. So how do you install software or get files off of CD/DVD? Apple has a new piece of software called Remote Disc which can be installed on any Mac or PC on your wireless network and will let you borrow that machine's optical drive.

MacBook Air features:
  • Magnetic latch
  • 5 hour battery
  • multi-touch gesture trackpad
  • 13.3-inch widescreen
  • LED-backlit display
  • built-in iSight for videoconferencing
  • full-size keyboard
  • 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • 2GB RAM standard
  • 80GB drive (1.8-inch hard drive. Same as in iPods.)
  • 64GB SSD option
  • 802.11n standard WiFi (N is the most advanced wireless on the market).
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

You can pre-order the MacBook Air today. Apple starts shipping them in 2 weeks.

In addition to the MacBook Air, Steve Jobs also made the following announcements at MacWorld today:



Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Paramount Drops HD-DVD

UPDATE:Paramount spokeswoman Brenda Ciccone made this statement in response to reports that Paramount is abandoning the HD-DVD format: "Paramount's current plan is to continue to support the HD-DVD format." The statement didn't specify if Paramount would also produce Blu-ray DVDs in addition to HD-DVDs. It will be interesting to see how this story pans out.

I just gave the bad new to one of the guys in the Toshiba booth at CES. He wasn't happy. Their HD-DVD focused booth looks a little silly now.

According to the Financial Times, Paramount is going to drop their support for Toshiba's HD-DVD after Warner Brothers pulled out of the HD-DVD camp last Sunday night. This will most likely put the final nail in the coffin of the HD-DVD format and end the biggest home entertainment format war since Betamax vs. VHS.

Why the sudden switch? Why did Paramount go over to Sony's Blu-ray so quickly? Insiders are saying that a clause in Paramount's contract allowed the company to drop HD-DVD in the event that Warner Bros decided to back Blu-ray.

Continue Reading>>

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Monday, December 31, 2007

iPhone 1.1.3 Leak [video]

Here it is... video evidence of the new unreleased iPhone 1.1.3 software improvements. The embedded video below is a nice and thorough walk-through of the unreleased iPhone 1.1.3 feature updates hosted by Andru from Watch it fast before Apple's lawyers take it down.

Anyone still think it's fake?

If the embedded video above doesn't load, then click here.


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Thursday, December 20, 2007

The World’s Most Famous Photoshop Fakes

All professional photographs are usually touched-up a tiny bit. Sometimes specks of dust need to be removed, maybe the image needs a little bit of color correction or even a dose of red eye reduction.

Then there are images that get completely 'shopped (aka Photoshopped). For example, look at the terrible image of Oprah to the right from a 1989 issue of TV Guide. Oprah's head doesn't even look natural transplanted on Ann-Margret's body. It's ridiculous!

While "Photoshopping" an image might be a creative opportunity for artistic photographers and designers, for news editors, it can all be a bit of a nightmare once the public finds out.

Here are 7 of the most famous Photoshop fakes according to

methodshop | digg story


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Crowd Farms Offer Alt Energy

The band takes center stage, the fans surge forward and the sheer power of the crowd’s excitement amplifies the sound of their favorite songs - providing enough energy, in fact, to move a train.

It could happen in the Crowd Farm, a conceptual design by two graduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that seeks to milk the mechanical movement of hundreds or thousands of assembled people to produce electrical power.

In principal, a large-scale version of the setup could harness the collective energy of commuters bustling toward subway stations, shoppers marching through mega malls or fans dancing at a rock concert. Already, the students have shown how the simple act of sitting on a stool can generate enough power to turn on four LED lights.

The Crowd Farm team takes inspiration from an old anecdote about Thomas Edison and a simple but effective turnstile. When visitors toured Edison’s summer property, the inventor allegedly asked them to pass through a peculiar turnstile. In response to their bemused queries, Edison would tell them good-naturedly that they had just helped him pump several gallons of water from his well into his storage tank.

Read More:


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Helio adds TV Guide Mobile

TV Guide and mobile content provider Helio introduced a new service offering TV show information, program listings, search functions and daily recommendations to Helio users.

Text-based program alerts can be set to remind yourself and friends of what's coming on the tube. TV Guide Mobile is available to Helio subscribers for $2.99/month, in addition to carrier data charges.

BeSocial: methodshop


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wall Street Journal Hearts Digg

This morning The Wall Street Journal announced a new program that will enable its users to submit articles to This will also allow Digg users to view content previously only available to subscribers. Coincidentally, this news comes around the same time Rupert Murdoch suggested that he might take down the Wall Street Journal’s online subscription pay wall.

"The Wall Street Journal Online provides in-depth reporting, commentary and analysis on the most important economic and political issues of the day, and Digg users are enthusiastic consumers of news and information," said Daniel Bernard, general manager of The Wall Street Journal Online. "We're excited to partner with Digg to offer our users a way to share Journal articles directly from our site, as well as expose new audiences to our content on Digg."

So what does this mean? Every article on The Wall Street Journal Online will now include a "Digg This" icon that enables users to Digg the article. Once someone Diggs a article, it will then be accessible to users.

With approximately 25 million visitors a month, Digg has become the leading destination for people to discover and share the best content on the Web. From the largest online destinations to the most obscure blog, Digg surfaces the best content as voted on by the community.

Perhaps you'll want to Digg this?

BeSocial: digg story | methodshop


Monday, October 29, 2007

AT&T Offers Free Wildfire WiFi

Due to the California Wildfires, AT&T has stated it will be offering free T-Mobile Hot Spot Wi-Fi services to San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Orange and Ventura counties.

About 600 locations total will participate. The offer began on October 27th and will last a several weeks.

It's a very nice gesture, especially for people who lost their homes and need to reconnect online and get their life back in order. But I'm not exactly sure why AT&T is offering T-Mobile's service for free. Weird right?

Photo Credit: Malkoff

Did another major telecom merger happen and I missed it? Or is AT&T just offering other people's products for free? Maybe I'll take a walk down 5th Avenue at lunch time and tell people that AT&T says they can get a free copy of OS X Leopard at the Apple Store.

Think it will work?

BeSocial: digg story | methodshop


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Insect Robot Spies Spotted at Political Rallies

The next time you are talking trash about American President George Bush or planning a political protest in the US, you might want to check the room for bugs... seriously.

According to an article in the Washington Post, insect like robotic drones have been spotted at political events in Washington and New York.

Bernard Crane, a Washington lawyer, saw one of the drones in person. "I'd never seen anything like it in my life... they were large for dragonflies. I thought, 'Is that mechanical, or is that alive?' "

Who made these robotic insects? Are they being used as high-tech surveillance tools? So far, no American agency in the US government admits to having made or deployed insect spies. A defiant Gary Anderson, from the Defense Department's Rapid Reaction Technology Office had this to say, "If you find something, let me know."

But even if the US government didn't make the bugs, you can bet they are at least trying. There are even rumors that the Department of Homeland Security is growing live insects with computer chips in them. In theory, the robotic insects could follow terrorists, listen in on conversations, guide missiles to targets or navigate wreckage to find earthquake survivors.

Is it even possible to have a robot fly like an insect? I've never seen any military or commercial aircraft flutter around like an insect. But Pete Valentine, a miniature airplane hobbyist, combined 2 robotic bird kits and made a dragonfly-like hybrid [watch video]. And just last month, researchers at Cornell University published a physics paper clarifying how dragonflies adjust the relative motions of their front and rear wings to save energy while hovering.

So should we all get really paranoid and starting killing every insect in sight? Even if the the government does have insect spies, you probably have a bigger chance of getting recorded on someones cellphone camera.

BeSocial: methodshop


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Urine Powered Batteries

Before you flush the toilet, you might want to check the power level in your batteries. You could be flushing away a free source of energy.

In 2005, Scientists in Singapore developed a battery powered by urine. The Scientists were able to produce electric power using liquid as a catalyst thanks to a special mixture of magnesium and carbon inside the batteries.

Now, a Japanese company has brought this urine powered battery technology to market with the NoPoPo (Non-Pollution Power) Aqua Batteries. Just use the included plastic pipette to inject urine into the battery chamber. Grossed out by pee? You can also use other types of liquid including beer, apple juice, cola, and saliva and of course urine. When I first heard about the NoPoPo, I thought it might be a joke. Making silly inventions is a popular hobby in Japan called Chingdogu. But the NoPoPo is no joke.

A single urine powered AA battery can power a flashlight for about 20 hours (500 milliamp-hours). Not exactly the most powerful battery on the shelf, but it's a great start for this environmentally friendly energy technology. The NoPoPo aqua powered batteries are currently only available in both AA and AAA sizes, but the company has future plans to produce all common battery sizes.

Off the top of my head, here are just a few reasons why you should love the NoPoPo:
  • used batteries contain mercury and are bad for the environment
  • using your own body fluids to power batteries will save you money
  • it's a reliable source of power for life saving tools like flashlights and radios
  • people who live in remote areas and don't have access to fresh batteries can now use battery powered gadgets and technology
Unfortunately the NoPoPo can currently only be purchased in Japan. Hopefully one of my Japanese readers will send me some.

BeSocial: | digg story | flickr


Friday, September 07, 2007

MySpace's Tila Tequila Gets MTV Show

MTV's latest reality show - A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila - is built around the dishy, scantily clad singer/model who is reputed to have the most friends in the history of MySpace (2,009,335 at last count).

Tila's career began at the age of 18 when she was discovered at a shopping mall by a Playboy scout and was offered a chance to model nude for the magazine and did a test shoot. Tila was featured as Playboy’s Cyber Girl of the week on April 22, 2002, and a couple weeks later became Playboy’s first Asian Cyber Girl of the Month.

Besides MySpace and Playboy, Tila is also known for her photo spreads in Stuff, Maxim, and her role as host of the popular Fuse TV show Pants-Off Dance-Off.

MTV ordered 10-episodes of Tila's elimination-format dating show. It's slated to premiere on October 9th on MTV (USA).

BeSocial: methodshop

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Wi-Fi iPods Expected

Though it is not official, those in the "know" say Apple is just hours away from announcing a new Wi-Fi enabled iPod designed to receive digital radio along with an option to buy content from the iTunes Store. It is not known whether the same functions will be included in the iPhone.

Other rumors about the new Wi-Fi iPod line suggest the inclusion of a wide-screen touch-screen interface like the iPhone, larger storage capacity, Flash based hard drive and a new version of the iPod Nano that can handle video.

On a personal note, I'm ready for a wide-screen iPod. Watching wide-screen formatted movies that I've ripped off of DVD on the small iPod screen has been giving me a headache.

Since the iPod's release in 2001, the hand-held music player has gone from a fun toy to a cultural icon. But it may be time for a revamp. Last year Apple's iPod sales dipped for the first time since 2002.

BeSocial: digg story | methodshop

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sparky - Alexa Firefox Toolbar

Like to see how websites rate against each other while you browse the Internet?

Alexa, a subsidiary of, has been providing information on web traffic since 1996. Once you install the Alexa Toolbar, you can then view traffic trends, reach and rank, of any site you visit on the Internet. The toolbar then feeds traffic data of the sites you visit back to Alexa. There are billions of people on the Internet and only a minor portion of them have the Alexa Toolbar. This population provides a "sample" of users that Alexa uses to measure web activity and page popularity.

But their toolbar has only been available for PC users with Internet Explorer. For example, here's the Alexa Internet Explorer PC only toolbar. Macintosh and PC users with Firefox have been left out of the Alexa sample... until now. An Alexa toolbar called “Sparky” for Firefox was finally released last week.

Why should you care about the Alexa Toolbar? Most people don't. But if you want to support your favorite websites, then you might want Alexa to track what sites you visit. Many webmasters use Alexa ranking to set advertising rates.

If you are interested, you can get the Alexa Sparky Toolbar for Firefox here.

BeSocial: digg story | methodshop


Monday, July 09, 2007

Toddler Calls 911 300 Times

Authorities tracked down a 4-year-old girl who called 911 nearly 300 times last month by offering to deliver McDonald's to her suburban Chicago apartment.

Unbeknownst to her mother, the girl used a deactivated cell phone to call dispatchers 287 times in June — sometimes as often as 20 times a shift. Apparently the toddler was given the old cell phone to use as a toy.

Dispatchers heard the child's voice but could only track the phone's signal to the apartment complex. So authorities used a ruse to pinpoint her.

"We asked (the caller) what she wanted. She said she wanted McDonald's," said Steve Cordes, executive director of QuadCom's emergency center, which covers Carpentersville.

"We talked with her and we convinced her if she told us where she lives, we would bring her McDonald's," he said. "She finally gave us her address. So we sent the police over — with no McDonald's."

After police arrived, the girl's mother took away the phone, Cordes said. Maybe mom should invest in a book called "It's Time to Call 911" which teaches children when it's appropriate to call 911.

Under federal law, deactivated cell phones still must be able to access 911. Many deactivated phones will contact an emergency call center if the user holds down the nine key.

[Source: Yahoo]

BeSocial: digg story | methodshop


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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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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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Google Adds Facial Recognition to Image Search

It looks like Google's 2006 acquisition of Neven Vision, a company specializing in facial recognition software, is finally starting to pay off. Google Blogoscoped, a blog dedicated to everything related to Google, got a tip from a Google engineer that Google had secretly added some facial recognition abilities to its image search this week.

The feature remains unofficial and unannounced, but you can add a small query string to the end of your Google Image search URL to see the facial recognition software in action.

For example, do a normal Google image search for "Starbuck Battlestar" and your image results should produce images from the American SciFi TV show Battlestar Galactica. Then try adding "&imgtype=face" to the end of the URL. Your new search results will only contain photos of people and tight shots of their faces. Cool right?

Last August, Google Picasa product manager Adrian Graham had this to say about Google's acquisition of Neven Vision in the official Google blog:
"Neven Vision comes to Google with deep technology and expertise around automatically extracting information from a photo. It could be as simple as detecting whether or not a photo contains a person, or, one day, as complex as recognizing people, places, and objects."

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Animated Google Korea Page

Google has launched a new home page for Korea that departs from Google's "classic," minimalist home page approach. The new look features animated product buttons below the search box and will become the default home page in the country, a move Google is comfortable with given the near universal presence of broadband.

The new, animated Google Korea home page is intended to help Google better compete in the country where it seeks to gain market share.

When you roll your mouse over the colored dots, icons appear. You can see the animation on the live Google Korea page.
"It was important where our classic minimalism wasn't working that we adapt," Marissa Mayer, Vice President, Search Products & User Experience at Google, said in a briefing earlier today.

BeSocial: digg story | methodshop | flickr


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Porn Blog Has State Trooper in Hot Water

According to ABC, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has suspended a state trooper who allegedly received a sexual favor from a porn star and recorded the act with a camera from his cruiser in return for ignoring her possession of illegal painkillers.

The woman, who goes by the stage name Barbie Cummings, said that at a traffic stop on May 7, trooper James Randy Moss found illegal painkillers in her car, but decided not to bust the Knoxville woman in return for a sexual favor.

The incident came to the attention of officials when someone filed an internal complaint against the veteran trooper, according to Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman Mike Browning.

Browning told ABC News that he could add few details beyond a press release issued Friday that announced Moss' indefinite suspension. But a blog maintained by the woman, which recounts sordid details of the alleged escapade, has drawn additional attention to the case, and the department is investigating whether Moss may have violated the law while on duty.


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Monday, May 21, 2007

Microsoft to Acquire aQuantive

Last week, Microsoft announced the largest acquisition in its history, purchasing Seattle-based interactive ad firm aQuantive for $6 billion in what it describes is the next step in the evolution of its ad network.

aQuantive is the holding company for several online ad firms including Atlas, DRIVEpm and Avenue A/Razorfish, one of the largest interactive ad agencies. The deal is the latest in a string of large acquisitions in the internet ad space (Google/DoubleClick, WPP/24/7Real Media, Yahoo/Right Media) as online advertising increasingly becomes the lynchpin of many new web-based businesses.

Microsoft, which lost out on the bidding for DoubleClick, will pay an 85% premium over aQuantive's closing share price on Thursday, the day before the deal was announced.

aQuantive CEO Brian P. McAndrews added, "Microsoft has set a leading example in prioritizing industry partnership, transparency, measurement and quality, and we look forward to combining forces and bringing the value of our combined assets to bear for the benefit of advertisers, ad agencies and publishers."

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Google Universal Search

This past Wednesday, Google unveiled a new "universal search" function that integrates text, photos, video, news, scanned books and blogs in a single list of results. The search engine will automatically check Google Video's archive and allow users to click on a "watch video' link that will embed the video right on the search results page.

Other video sites publishing clips or full-length versions also appear. Several companies have been working to improve video search on the net, but none with Google's pedigree or market share.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How NOT to Ship a HDTV

The person who packed up and shipped this TV must have been a professional... idiot. They might as well have shipped this HDTV using bowling balls or, I dunno, hammers as padding.

For future reference, here's a photo tutorial on how NOT to ship a Plasma or LCD HDTV.

More Photos: How NOT to Ship a HDTV

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Paris Hilton Says She Is Too Beautiful For Jail

Terrified that her 45-day prison sentence for drunk driving will plunge her into a world of daily beatings, group showers and a total absence of anything that's even vaguely "hot," Paris Hilton is doing all she can to get out of jail before she even goes in.

So what does Paris have up her sleeve? What is she doing to stay out of the Century Regional Detention Facility?
  • Expensive legal advice from a team of the world's most expensive lawyers? Nope.
  • Displaying genuine remorse for her crime in order to show the appeals court that she's learnt her lesson? Are you kidding?
  • A half-baked MySpace petition? Bingo!

The 'Save Paris Hilton from Jail MySpace Petition', calls on California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to terminate her jail sentence because she "provides beauty and excitement" to everyone's lives. This is what the petition says:
"Paris Whitney Hilton is an American celebrity and socialite. She is an heiress to a share of the Hilton Hotel fortune, as well as to the real estate fortune of her father Richard Hilton. She provides hope for young people all over the U.S. and the world. She provides beauty and excitement to (most of) our otherwise mundane lives… We, the American public who support Paris, are shocked, dismayed and appalled by how Paris has been the person to be used as an example that Drunk Driving is wrong… This petition is to ask Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to pardon Paris Hilton for her mistake. Please allow her to her return to her career and life."
If you are interested, you can sign the 'Save Paris Hilton from Jail MySpace Petition' here.


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Gmail Users are Younger, Richer, Good in Bed

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the latest stats show that Gmail users skew younger and richer than those on Yahoo Mail and Hotmail.

Gmail opened up to all comers in February, with Gmail’s market share of US visits climbing 17% from February 2007 to April 2007. However, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail are still much bigger by comparison, says Hitwise: Yahoo had 13x the market share, and Hotmail had 6x the marketshare of Gmail.

The good news, if you’re a Gmail user, is that you may be part of the elite: while Yahoo and Hotmail users are decidedly average, Gmail users tend to be young, have a high income, and be early adopters of technology. 54% of users are between 18 and 34, while 18% have an average annual household income between $100,000 and $149,999 (compared to 15% for Hotmail and 13% for Yahoo Mail).

Another stat, probably related to the young age of GMail users: they’re more likely to be Facebook users than those on the other services.

As for performance in the bedroom - well, we kinda lied. In fact, the stats show that solitary Gmail users are far more likely to Google themselves.


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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Presidental Hopefuls Meet Googlers

The Google Interview could become the 21st-century equivalent of the candidate's pilgrimage to the General Motors plant. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was first, in February, followed by McCain on Friday. The company has extended invitations to all the major candidates and expects more campaign appearances in coming weeks.

"I like to think of (seeking) the presidency as a job interview with the American people," Schmidt, who moderates the sessions, told McCain. "And you're also sort of interviewing with Google. It's hard to get a job at Google."

The company famously demands college transcripts and high grades; Schmidt's staff whooped at the indirect praise. "I know I have my work cut out for me," John McCain replied. After apologizing for his mind-bending opening inquiry, Schmidt, a regular Democratic political donor, heaped praise on his GOP interviewee. He asked a series of gentle questions about McCain's Vietnam War combat and POW experiences, a chapter virtually no one in his audience was old enough to recall.


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Monday, May 07, 2007

Did MySpace Buy Photobucket

Talk about a love/hate relationship. It looks like the high-profile feud between MySpace and Photobucket might have jump-started a romance between the two companies. MySpace's move to block content from Photobucket originally got the two parties together in the same room. After that, the two companies stopped fighting with each other and started talking about a partnership... and even a possible merger. The value of the reported merger is estimated to be somewhere around $250-300 million. Photobucket had been shopping itself around for a buyer since late February.

MySpace is smart to make nice with PhotoBucket. According to web stat company Hitwise, "Photobucket Accounts for 73% of MySpace’s Photo-Related Traffic." And many savvy web users have been using Photobucket as a web marketing tool.

Rumors of the deal first surfaced last weekend on the tech gossip site Valleywag. The deal hasn't been confirmed yet by either party.

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