Archive for April, 2013

Microsoft’s video of the IllumiRoom makes me want it for my Living Room

I don’t know if you remember when I reported on the IllumiRoom the first time, but this was shortly after CES. I have heard that it made an appearance at the big trade show, but I didn’t see it.

Man, after watching this video, I wish that I would have seen it. What you are seeing on this video has not been touched up at all, and you can see that the gaming experience is so intense that it is literally spilling out of the screen.

So how is this possible? Apparently, it is easy as just putting this projector on a table, and you can see the backgrounds sync up with it. I personally think that the backgrounds look blurry, and I think it is interesting that the video shows furniture to the left and right of the TV. I mean, they could have shown a TV in front of a blank wall, and I think this would have made the effect all the more better.

I can’t help wonder if this IllumiRoom will be included on the new version of the Xbox. Something has to make Microsoft’s Xbox stand out, and this IllumniRoom really makes it stand out, literally.

Source 1 and Source 2

Posted by on April 30th, 2013 No Comments

Leap Motion, and how it will change a lot of things

leap-motionDoes anyone think it is odd that video games like the Kinect and the Wii are almost completely motion-controlled, but your computer still uses a mouse? Why not adopt Leap Motion?

If you are not familiar with Leap Motion, it is like a touchscreen without a touchscreen. It has so many uses like drawing in the air for an art program. Then there is the FPS that uses your fingers for a controller.

The Leap Motion controller uses a small USB peripheral device, two cameras, and three infrared LEDs, and you have a 1 meter hemispherical area to work your magic. It’s like Tom Cruise’s interface from Minority Report, but without the gloves!

If you want to get in on this action, it should be available in late July for a price of $79.99.

Source

Posted by on April 30th, 2013 No Comments

Virgin Galactic SS2 makes first successful test flight

ss2tstflght897adfaklWhat you are seeing is Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, or SS2, which completed its first test flight today.

Sir Richard Branson is certainly pleased as can be, and the SS2 took off at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. A carrier craft known as WhiteKinightTwo towed it 47,000 feet into the atmosphere and then the rockets kicked in to go faster than the speed of sound. It reached a height of 55,000 feet before came to a landing that was not a splashdown.

So, I suppose that we are on the way to space tourism, which is of course the end goal here. I don’t know how long it will take for all of us to have access to the expensive world of space travel, but Virgin Galactic predicts in 2015.

Source 1 and Source 2

Posted by on April 30th, 2013 No Comments

Enter Morephone, the smartphone of the future!

MorePhoneBigI think it is interesting that most of us have cellular phones so we can be reached anywhere, but somehow, I miss most of my phone calls. Part of it is my fault, as I often mute my phone during an event and then forget to unmute it later.

Imagine if your cellular phone gave you a more visual cue that it was ringing. I am not talking about something on the screen that flashes, like the Sonic-Connect 2 we reported on before.

I am talking about a phone that will literally wave at you to get your attention. It isn’t because it has a hand, but the phone is so flat that it will bend and curl to get your attention.

Yes, this means that you have to have a phone that is a lot thinner than the one that you carry now. Considering the way things are going with phones, I don’t believe that it will be long before your phone is this thin.

So is the Morephone (or morph-phone) the future? I’m guessing no, but I like the idea that you can customize the wiggle of the phone. So it bends in a corner when you have a text, and some other shape for a phone call. The possibilities are somewhat limitless.

Source

Posted by on April 29th, 2013 No Comments

Speculative Fiction Friday: Speed Racer

large_uUghF3MtOX7e6HhDAewFul0zohDLately, I have been watching these videos from the Nostalgia Critic. If you aren’t familiar with him, you can find him on over 300 videos on YouTube, and he really gives bad movies a roast that most of them richly deserve. I really admire Doug Walker’s very animated style that reminds me of “Weird-Al” Yankovic. I have decided to sort of do the opposite this time, as I want to take a film that was a flop, and praise it.

This is the case of Speed Racer, a 2008 summer film that lost Warner Brothers a whole lot of money, about 70 million dollars worth. It made very little on its opening weekend at 20 million, and I some ideas on why it didn’t succeed which I will explain later. I went to this film and had an incredibly good time, and I don’t see why in the world the rest of the world didn’t share in my experience.

In case you are totally unfamiliar with Speed Racer, it is based on an anime show of the same name. I grew up watching this show, and it is rather dated. The show was about a professional race car driver named Speed Racer (serious, that was his name) who would embark on cross country races that would end up being adventures. Sometimes the race would be the adventure, but most of the times, it was like Murder, She Wrote or Hart to Hart, where Speed Racer would stumble into adventure inadvertently. I’m going to give some spoilers in the next few paragraphs, so you might want avoid reading the next part.

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Posted by on April 26th, 2013 No Comments

Kia Forte’s new ad campaign is quite disturbing

I’m just going to assume that you watched the video here for the Kia Forte 2013, and you can watch another video after the jump for the Kia Forte 2014. Both of them feature a robot girl that I find to be…incredibly creepy.

I guess it is a robot. Perhaps it is some sort of cyborg. I mean, you see metal on the shoulders and in other places. I suppose the flesh is there just to make her look glamorously, but if you look on her back in the second video, she has an odd metallic seam. All I can advise to this is a quote from the comic Y: The Last Man: “More Blade Runner, less Westworld“.

I’m not certain what really bothers me about this ad campaign. Part of it is because I don’t like the idea of techno-authoritarianism that is this ad. I think we all know from science fiction that robots could be our overlords, but a robot beating up a spectator of the Kia Forte for not “respecting the tech” is simply unwarranted. It’s not like the guy was hitting the car with a hammer or something, and even if he was, it would not justify this type of defense. Geez, he could have been killed!

I also don’t like the kind of techno/sadistic/masochistic feeling I get when I watch this. I mean, it almost looks like the guy likes being beaten up by this robo-dominatrix. And then in the second video, is the guy on a date with this robot? Man, that is bringing up some issues that I don’t really want to discuss.

In short, I can’t help but feel that there is something wrong with these ads, and I mean morally.

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Posted by on April 26th, 2013 No Comments

Microsoft planning to unveil the next generation of Xbox on May 21st

xbox-720-early-april-unveilingThe one thing that you can count on when it comes to big tech companies is that there is always an announcement before a big announcement. Case in point, Microsoft, who has apparently stated that the next version of the Xbox is coming.

This announcement is set for May 21st, at the company’s corporate headquarters in Redmond. I don’t know what the new features will be, as we had to use this shot of a controller as an image. I’m not certain whether this shot is from the current or future generation of Xbox. We have some rumors, like the fact that it requires an always on Internet connection as well as an OS based on Windows 8. I would not be surprised if the latter rumor is true, as this would allow developers a platform for a variety of devices like the PC and Windows tablets.

The real funny part is that although the announcement is scheduled to take place on the 21st of May, it will not be “fully unveiled” until E3 in June 11-13. That doesn’t surprise me, really, and I would imagine if I am going to go this year, than I will be trying out their games.

As far as when someone can actually buy the new version of the Xbox, I believe that it will be available in November (just in time to be the latest X-mas gift with the PS4). The price is rumored to be about $499.

Source

Posted by on April 26th, 2013 No Comments

Bluetooth Breathalyzer made for the iPhone

12a6_bactrack_mobile_breathalyzerI have seen a lot of iPhone accessories of all types, but this is the first time that I have seen a Breathalyzer.

The BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer is designed to fit on an iPhone, and a special app can track your Blood Alcohol Level. I believe that most Breathalyzers just tell you how drunk you are, but the application tells you when it is actually safe to get behind the wheel.

Granted, you might be too drunk to follow the app’s directions. The application has some other bonuses like taking pictures of drinks and even starting a personal “drink diary”.

So I suppose this will help alcoholics, and it is available for about $150 for iDevices.

Source

Posted by on April 25th, 2013 No Comments

PLAiR wirelessly beams video content to the television

PLAiR-1If you are like me, you are addicted to video content, but I don’t really have it where I want it…on my TV.

PLAiR is a micro-computer that allows the user to wirelessly transmit HD video to any HDMI-equipped display or projector. According to my Source, this is platform agnostic, which means it is good to go for Windows or Mac content.

My Source also says that it is really easy to use. Apparently, all you need to do is plug PLAiR into a television, then plug it into a power source, and connected it to Wi-Fi. You can then beam videos instead of the usual HDMI tethering to your laptop.

You should be able to get the PLAiR for about $99 in black, red, or blue.

Source

Posted by on April 25th, 2013 No Comments

Pizza Hut is now available on the X-Box 360

pizza-hut-xbox-360-1366687580I still remember when I was watching that Sandra Bullock movie The Net and thought it was odd that she was ordering a pizza on the Internet.

I’m sure that this tech was available at least a year before that 1995 film, and I was really surprised that Pizza Hut has just created an application made for the Xbox 360.

Seriously, we didn’t have this tech already? I mean, the next version of the Xbox will probably be announced later this year, and why should I spend time on the phone calling and ordering a pizza while playing Halo when I can just order it directly from the Xbox.

Not only can you order a pizza from the Xbox 360 Dashboard, you can even go through Kinect. I have no idea if Subway or other order-from-home businesses will come to Xbox, but I say: “why not?” I wonder if there is any plans on pizza or other food deliveries on the PS3 or Wii U.

Source

Posted by on April 24th, 2013 No Comments