Archive for May 3rd, 2007
Fark Headline – Hot-air-balloon enthusiast makes Darth Vader helmet balloon. The dork is strong with this one
Straight from SciFi.com: “If there’s a dorkier combo out there than Star Wars obsession and being a hot air balloon hobbyist, I’m not aware of it. But hey, don’t be ashamed of your passions. No, blow them up to gigantic size so the whole world can see! That’s what Benoit Lambert did, creating this absolutely incredible Darth Vader head hot air balloon.
This seriously accurate recreation of Darth Vader’s helmet is also a fully-functioning hot-air balloon, allowing the passenger to soar in the clouds while really confusing people on the ground. Can you imagine a giant Darth Vader head floating by over your house? I’m not really sure what the appropriate reaction would be to seeing such a thing. Confusion? Awe? Fear?”
Straight from Engadget: “Oh how we wish it were all just a horrific dream, but somehow, the engineers behind Clarion‘s flashy new MAX9700DT in-car navigation unit still felt it necessary to include support for a format that just refuses to die. Granted, the system is loaded to the hilt with features and supported formats, but we have a hard time believing that even the Japanese really still find MiniDisc and ATRAC all that attractive. Nevertheless, the unit also boasts a seven-inch touchscreen display, built-in 1Seg TV tuner, DVD player, a 40GB hard drive, iPod compatibility, 50-watt x 4 amplifier, AM / FM radio, and support for a whole host of audio formats including WMA and MP3. Getting around shouldn’t be too difficult given the expansive screen and “3D maps,” and just in case that 40GB of internal storage isn’t quite enough, you can cram an SD card or Memory Stick into it for a bit more space. As nice as all this sounds, few from crowds other than the elite will be pondering a purchase, as ¥341,250 ($2,868) isn’t exactly bargain basement (or even “good deal”) territory.”
Straight from Slashdot: “The $100 laptop introduced by Nicholas Negroponte as part of the One Laptop Per Child program will end up costing $175, Associated Press says. The demand for the program is apparent as ‘seven nations have expressed interest in being in the initial wave to buy the little green-and-white “XO” computers — Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, Thailand, Nigeria and Libya — but it remains unclear which ones will be first to pony up the cash.’”
Straight from Slashdot: “A couple of weeks ago, there was a nutty idea discussed in The Independent that claimed the electromagnetic radiation from cell phones was causing bees to become disoriented, preventing them from returning to the hive. The flimsy cell phone argument was used to explain Colony Collapse Disorder. Today the LA Times reports that researchers at UC San Francisco have uncovered what they believe to be the real culprit: a parasitic fungus. Other researchers said Wednesday that they too had found the fungus, a single-celled parasite called Nosema ceranae, in affected hives from around the country.”
Straight from Slashdot: “With the furor over the impending rate hike for Internet radio stations, wouldn’t a good solution be for streaming internet stations to simply not play RIAA-affiliated labels’ music and focus on independent artists? Sounds good, except that the RIAA’s affiliate organization SoundExchange claims it has the right to collect royalties for any artist, no matter if they have signed with an RIAA label or not. ‘SoundExchange (the RIAA) considers any digital performance of a song as falling under their compulsory license. If any artist records a song, SoundExchange has the right to collect royalties for its performance on Internet radio. Artists can offer to download their music for free, but they cannot offer their songs to Internet radio for free … So how it works is that SoundExchange collects money through compulsory royalties from Webcasters and holds onto the money. If a label or artist wants their share of the money, they must become a member of SoundExchange and pay a fee to collect their royalties.’”
Straight from Gizmodo: “If you are like me, you are probably
drunk already wondering about how complicated is to build one of those really cool robot kits from Kondo and their like. Is it better to take the easy option because building them looks as difficult as developing self-evolving smartypantsiebots from scratch? Should I just be happy to expand the capabilities of my Robosapien? And can you trust robots who dance better than you?
Well, reading the step-by-step tutorial on how to build a Manoi AT01, at the always fun and surrealist (thanks to Google translation) Robot Watch, building a Mr. Roboto kit doesn’t look too difficult. Sure there are plenty of cables and connections to make, but it seems like a straightforward and enjoyable job. Take a look at the condensed gallery to see the building milestones or jump to the translated version of the article to see the detailed step-by-step instructions.”
Straight from Gizmodo: “Fujitsu will be the latest laptop maker to jump into the shallow waters otherwise known as the UMPC market. Their forthcoming handheld will look like a mini Tablet PC thanks to its rotating screen. Under the hood you’ll find Intel’s Stealey processor, 1GB of memory, and a 40GB drive. Fujitsu also plans on adding an SD card reader. Looks nice overall, though part of me wishes it would’ve looked more like what they showed us at CES.”
Straight from Joystiq: “Licenses? Who needs licenses? Not 2K Sports, who today announced a massive lineup of classic football stars would grace All-Pro Football 2K8. While EA holds the exclusive rights to use NFL trademarks and current player likenesses, 2K has lined up practically every retired player you’ve ever heard of, and probably a few you haven’t, for the roster of their re-entry into the football simulation market.”
Straight from Ars Technica: “When AACS was revealed as the encryption format of choice for HD DVD and Blu-ray, bets were placed on how long it would take for it to be cracked. Since the first HD DVD and Blu-ray discs began shipping, hackers have been hard at work figuring out how to break the encryption; DVD Jon even registered DeAACS.com. We’ve covered both crackers’ efforts and the attempts by the AACS Licensing Authority to keep those cracks from seeping into the public consciousness. Yesterday, all of that came to a head. A submission on Digg which contained the recently uncovered encryption key for HD DVD discs was removed yesterday by the site’s admins after the site was served with a DMCA takedown notice, according to Digg CEO Jay Adelson. Such takedown notices are not uncommon. The AACS LA has issued them far and wide in an attempt to give the crack as low a profile as possible—Boing Boing blogger Cory Doctorow was the recent recipient of just such a notice after students of a class on copyright he was teaching at the University of Southern California posted the key and a link to the infamous Doom9 forum where AACS cracks have been openly discussed.
The futility of the AACS’ actions was demonstrated last night when Digg was hit with a barrage of submissions containing the forbidden key. For a few hours, Digg’s front page consisted of little more than a succession of links to the hexadecimal HD DVD key. After several hours, Digg cofounder Kevin Rose said that the site had received the message loud and clear, pledging that Digg would no longer kill stories and comments containing the key.
Previously, straight from Ars Technica: “The latest attack vector bypasses the encryption performed by the Device Keys—the same keys that were revoked by the WinDVD update—and the so-called “Host Private Key,” which as yet has not been found. This was accomplished by de-soldering the HD DVD drive’s firmware chip, reading its contents, and then patching it. Once that was done, the firmware was soldered back onto the drive.
Despite the technical difficulty of performing this hack, it does offer some advantages in the race to beat AACS copy protection. “They cannot revoke this hack,” said forum member arnezami, who has been at the center of much of the AACS cracking recently. “No matter how many Private Host Keys they revoke we will still be able to get Volume IDs using patched xbox 360 HD DVD drives.”"
For screen grabs of the Digg front page onslaught, head over to Gizmodo for their take on the story: Digg Riot in Full Effect Over Pulled HD-DVD Key Story.
Straight from BBC News: “Scientists believe they have for the first time identified an ancient graveyard for gladiators. Analysis of their bones and injuries has given new insight into how they lived, fought and died. The remains were found at Ephesus in Turkey, a major city of the Roman world, BBC Timewatch reports.”