Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

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The 808 Keychain Micro Camera

Friday, October 15th, 2010

If you’ve ever wanted a “spy camera” or a tiny camera for any purpose, now you can get one. The 808 Micro Camera is becoming very popular online right now, for the reason that it costs less than $10. And even at this price, the video results are amazing considering the physical size of the camera and its price.

There is so much information about this little camera that it’s ridiculous. People are using it for every purpose imaginable, from putting it on radio controlled airplanes and helicopters, to race cars, motorcycles, bicycles, helmet cams, and more. The camera is smaller than most car key fob remotes. It produces 640×480 video, although some models convert this to higher resolutions (that makes the video bigger but reduces quality and distorts the aspect ratio). The video quality is relatively very good, as seen on the previously mentioned website. Most models shoot at 30fps, which is also very good considering the size and price of this camera.

The reason this micro camera costs around $10 is that it’s made in China from unused cell phone camera parts. You can find it on eBay, where prices range from $6 to $50. The cheap ones are the same as the expensive ones, and the reason they’re so much cheaper is because they ship direct from China. The previously mentioned website lists some eBay sellers who sell the good version of the camera.

The #3 and #8 camera is the best. All current 9 versions of the 808 camera use different microprocessors and other components. If you want to buy the 808 micro camera, try to get one of these versions. The eBay sellers that sell these models are listed on the website, but don’t count on receiving the right version. I bought three cameras from user “linjiechong” on eBay, who at first said they were #3 cameras. I got all #8 cameras, one of which doesn’t work longer than about 10 seconds, the other takes very choppy and laggy video, and the third one seems to work normally.

The thing is that the 808 micro camera is so cheap that people don’t get too upset when one doesn’t work, they just buy a new camera. For the size and quality of the camera, at this price, it is worth it. I will be using it on a radio controlled helicopter, my motorcycle, and as a helmet cam for my mountain bike. And I’m sure there will be more uses for it as well.

This isn’t a review of the camera, it’s just an informational post to let more people know about it. You can use it in so many ways. The 808 micro camera is a great keychain cam, and if you want something like a helmet cam but don’t want to pay hundreds for something like a GoPro camera, the 808 video camera is the perfect solution. And if you destroy it, it won’t hurt your wallet too much to just buy a new one. If you have an 808 micro camera and have found a cool use for it, post it below.


Posted in Gadgets, Technology | 14 Comments »

Mosquitoes Getting Fried by Lasers, Literally

Friday, February 12th, 2010

This amazing video shows Intellectual Ventures Lab’s amazing laser system that can target and kill mosquitoes mid-flight. The clip below shows mosquitoes being zapped in this way, their wings vaporizing in a cloud of smoke. A higher quality version can be found on Intellectual Ventures’ website.


 


Posted in Multimedia, Technology | No Comments »

Google Caffeine Update

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Google is rolling out a new update that involves injecting some caffeine into its system. The “Caffeine Update” is rumored to contain a few interesting items.

Speed is now a factor in your rankings. Google will measure how long it takes for your website to load and compare it against the average loading time of other websites. If your site loads faster than the average, you get a tiny boost in your rankings, if it loads slower, then you get a tiny penalty. So this if course raises the immediate question – how do I know if my site is loading at the right speed?

Fortunately, Google Webmaster Tools can answer that question. If you login to Google Webmaster tools, under the “Labs” section they’ve added a new “Site Performance” tool that tells you how fast your website loads compared to everybody else:

Website Speed by Google

As you can see – the site in the above image loads faster than 83% of other websites. I think that’s safe to say this particular website will get a nice boost once Caffeine hits the live results pages. The other nice feature of this new tool is that it identifies ways to speed up your page, a really common suggestion it made to my own websites was to enable GZIP compression, which I am in the process of doing right now.

Another factor that is being speculated about is whether social bookmarking will be used in the ranking of your website. It’s possible that Google will rank your website higher for ranking on sites like Digg.com. Now this does raise the question of social bookmark spamming, and in fact there are services out there that will guarantee your story to appear on the front page of Digg.com for a price (expect these types of services to gain massive popularity when this update goes live).

While we are on the topic of ways to enhance your website, here’s a few optimization tips you can use to give you a small edge in organic rankings with Google:

  • Check for any crawl errors in Google Webmaster Tools. If Googlebot is having issues with your site, it will tell you so you can fix them and stop being penalized.
  • Check for any HTML suggestions from Google Webmaster tools. This is another great feature that gives you some basic tips for optimizing your website in various ways. It will alert you if there are any meta tag problems, duplicate content issues, and such. It can be a real life saver if checked frequently.
  • Another great tool is Web Page Analyzer (by WebsiteOptimization.com). It will crawl a single page on your website and run various tests to measure how fast it responds and how long it will take an average user on various connection speeds to load your page. It also identifies other great features such as really large images or external files that are slowing your site down, and makes recommendations on what to fix so you can enhance your site to it’s fullest.

If you would like more information on the Google Caffeine update, here’s a few useful places to check:

Initial Announcement of Caffeine by Google
Google Caffeine Hits After the Holidays
Interview with Matt Cutts re: Caffeine Update


Posted in Internet, Technology, Web publishing | No Comments »

Global Warming a Hoax?

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

What would you say if all the global warming statements issued by major organizations around the world turned out to be a hoax? Think about it for a minute before answering, and look at the big picture:

  • Companies and governments have spent billions each year trying to reduce greenhouse emissions (see the Kyoto Accord, and its replacement that was planned to be finalized at the upcoming Copenhagen Summit).
  • How much extra tax have you had to pay over the past several years because of global warming? (i.e. greenhouse taxes, environment fees, and even the clean air taxes you pay in major airports now)
  • How about the multi-million dollar projects based around alternative energy? (i.e. tidal power farms that have been created in key locations around the world that came out of your pocket).
Credit: Jonathan DuHamel, TusconCitizen.comCredit: Jonathan DuHamel, TucsonCitizen.com

What if it was all for nothing? Or at least, the data was fudged to make it look like a serious problem that everybody had to take care of?

Thanks to an unknown hacker, several key documents from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (the largest, most funded, and most reputed climate research center in the world) were leaked to the public that implies that global warming might not be as bad as it was made out to be (if it even was a problem). Several emails and documents were leaked which showed several exchanges between high ranking officials in the CRU stating that a lot of the numbers used in their research were faked.

Additionally, large portions of the programming used to monitor and record temperature data from around the world was posted, and numerous programming experts have identified major flaws in the coding (such as it seems to pick a random temperature instead of the actual temperature in some certain situations).

Here’s the kicker – the United Nations (and just about every other major organization that looks at climate change) use the CRU data exclusively in making their decisions about global warming and environmental impacts.

In a nutshell, we have a massive research center that receives grants and investments from all over the world to produce “unbiased” research on climate change. They take the money, make up some numbers to make it look like the world is getting hotter, and then send the data out. This prompts for more funding and research, which results in more money being sent their way. It’s a great racket they’ve setup.

The story was originally posted by CBS, but since then has circulated the globe and has sparked a lot of discussion on blogs and forums around the world, and now a criminal investigation is being initiated. If you would like to read the original CBS story and see their evidence (as well as several of the documents posted by the unknown hacker), head over to CBS News.


Posted in News, Technology | No Comments »

Large Hadron Collider Not a Doomsday Device Afterall

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

It turns out the Large Hadron Collider (LHC for short) isn’t going to kill us all, which is probably a great relief to those of you reading this. You can be rest assured that the experimental device near Geneva, Switzerland, has successfully smashed it’s first protons since the project was launched over a year ago and didn’t kill anybody in the process…never mind destroying the planet like some people were claiming.

The LHC is a gigantic particle accelerator, but its sole purpose is to smash particles against each other at high speeds, rather than just speed them up for less-risky types of physics experiments. It’s the largest (and most expensive…and most controversial…and most reputed…and…do you get the picture that it’s a big deal?) particle accelerator in the world, running a circumference of 27 kilometers (17 miles for those of you on the metric system) and has such a massive radius that it actually dips partially into France along the Swiss border.

This massive physics toy cost approximately 4.6 BILLION Swiss Francs (that’s about 3 billion Euros, which is about 4.5 billion US dollars).

By smashing particles at various speeds, the project was designed to simulate the Big Bang which supposedly created the universe. As cool as that is, there’s several problems with this idea – most notably being that the Big Bang was supposed to be a massive explosion…now I’m not sure about you but I don’t like the idea of somebody in Switzerland playing with a device that could create an entire solar system by flipping a switch – let’s just park it over by Greenland! There’s plenty of space to park a few planets and hundreds of stars!

European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

And that’s what prompted Walter Wagner and Luis Sancho to file a lawsuit against the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN for short) – the creators and operators of this doomsday device. According to Fox News, the device has the potential to cause massive devastation and is extremely unstable. You can read about the details of the lawsuit on the Fox News website when they first covered the story back in 2008: Fox News – Lawsuit: Huge Atom Smasher Could Destroy World.

However, regardless of the risks, the scientists at CERN have spent the past year fixing some last minute problems with their new toy (if you could call a few hundred million Euro’s a last minute problem), and they activated the powerful machine just a few weeks ago.

On November 20, 2009 they proudly announced that their device hadn’t in fact destroyed the planet (that’s great news!), and they had successfully smashed (you’d figure physicists would come up with a more technical term than “smashed”) two protons and had learned a great deal about the nature of the universe. More experiments involving the smashing of protons are planned for the immediate future (which is good…otherwise they just spent close to 5 billion US dollars for something that took a week to actually do).

If you’d like to learn about the LHC and how it could blow up the planet with their next experiment, head over to the official website found here: LHC Official Website.


Posted in Technology | No Comments »

Shape-Shifting Robotic Blob is a Step Towards a T-1000

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

This video shows a robotic shape-shifting blob that can, well, change its shape. It works by inflating itself and unjamming certain cells (parts of its body) to allow them to be flexed. It sounds complicated but when you watch the video it will make much more sense. Very impressive technology, and it looks plain freakish. Not quite a T-1000 though, but we’re getting there.


Posted in News, Technology | 1 Comment »

Scientists Study Brains of Mice Playing Quake 2

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

A mouse was placed on a styrofoam ball, its head enclosed in a stationary helmet, and Quake 2 was projected onto a screen in front of it. The mouse walked around the map, and its brain functions were studied during that time. Read more at Wired. The video is below.


Posted in Gaming, Technology | No Comments »

LG 26LG3000 HD Ready LCD Television

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

The LG 26LG3000 HD Ready LCD Television comes with a top swivel stand and has a 26 inch wide screen. It has the display format of 720p and comes with the resolution of 1366 x 768. This lcd television has a 16:9  Image Aspect Ratio and comes with widescreen modes that include zoom and Just function. It has a dynamic contrast ratio of about 15000:1 and comes with a 500 cd/m2 brightness level. It features a quick response time of about 8ms, which shows flicker free images and is suitable for watching fast action film scenes. It has a Progressive scan with double line facility.

This lcd television comes with a 170 Viewing Angle and has 60,000 hours Backlight Life. It has an analog TV Tuner, NTSC, and comes with a digital TV Tuner – QAM, ATSC. It is equipped with an MTS stereo reception system and it is an HD ready television with input video format up to 1080p. This television comes with five picture status modes such as standard, vivid, game, cinema, and sport. It has colour temperature controls including medium, cool, and warm. It has analog video input with an infrared remote control. You can support other connecting devices such as DVD, VCR, and satellite. This lcd television has 2 speakers with sound output modes and comes with Virtual Surround Sound Effects.

It provides options for audio control and comes with five modes of sound status. It has built in speakers with 2×5 W and comes with 2 HDMI connections. This LG 26LG3000 LCD TV features two Component video inputs, one VGA input, one S-Video input ( 4 pin mini-DIN ) and three Composite video/audio inputs.

It has one Serial ( 9 pin D-Sub ) with audio line-in ( RCA phono x 2 ). This lcd television comes with one Audio line-out with one Remote control and digital audio output (optical).

It has a one year warranty and the overall dimensions are 663.8 x 447.8 x 79, and weighs nearly 8.6 kg. It is beautifully finished with a black glossy finish and has a well built panel frame with wide screen format.

You can find unbiased LCD TV Reviews, Complete Specification details at LCD-TV-Reviews.org.uk.


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Dream Machines Show at Half Moon Bay Airport – Photo Gallery

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

This is essentially a dump of my camera’s memory card. The pictures are resized and compressed for this website. If you would like the original full size photo of something, contact me. All images copyright WordPlop.com. Click on each image to view the full size. Scroll to the bottom for two video clips.


Posted in Auto & Motorcycle Tech, Multimedia, Technology | No Comments »

Headphone controls are useful for the new iPod Shuffle

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Apple’s new iPod Shuffle uses controls located on the headphones. Everyone knows that the stock headphones that come with all Apple products aren’t that good. However, is having easier to reach controls worth it? No, but it’s still a great idea.

It is annoying to reach into your pocket every time to you want to pause the music or change the volume. It’s more annoying when you have a bunch of things in your pocket. Having controls on the headphones themselves fixes the problem of reaching into your pocket to take out your iPod. And that is about the only problem with the controls on the iPod itself.

Having fixed the problem of reaching into your pocket, the issue now lies with the quality of the stock iPod headphones. They’re not as bad as the Sandisk Sansa e250 headphones, but they’re pretty bad and a lot of people upgrade them. Having controls on the headphones won’t let people upgrade, and a lot of people are already complaining about this.

However, according to Gizmodo, Apple will sell an adapter for third party headphones. This fixes the controls being in your pocket problem and the bad quality problem. The adapter will most likely cost at least $20, so that might put a few people off. But even with a price tag, it will be worth it to some people. And Apple will never give a free adapter with the Shuffle or any iPod, because it would cost them money.

So while the stock headphones having controls is a not-so-good tradeoff, third party headphones with controls on the headphones will be a great feature of the new iPod Shuffle. No more digging around in your pocket to find the buttons. Good job, Apple.

On a side note, Apple yet again oversimplifies controls and makes the interface complicated for no reason other than looks. (Apple+click, one button mouse, anyone?)


Posted in Gadgets, News, Technology | 2 Comments »

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