Friday, October 29, 2004


Cool tool: Photo Story 3 for Windows

Looks like a great free tool from Microsoft; Photo Story 3 for Windows

It creates a WMV video slideshow from your pictures with special effects, titles, captions, soundtracks and voice narration. A lot more interesting than a basic slideshow.

I say looks like as it doesn't install on Win2k3 since it requires a "Genuine Windows Validation". My parents will have to survive with a normal jpeg slideshow of the grandchildren this year as well.

Via [Larry Ostermann's WebLog]



Free .info domains at Dotster

Get up to 25 .info domains for free at

Caution: AutoRenew of the new domains are on by default. Turn it off unless you want to pay automatically for the domains after 1 year.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Cool tool: Restoration

A college was looking for an undelete tool for Windows. I found several but all were shareware or required installation (a big no-no for undelete utils). Mike came to the rescue and pointed out Restoration. Pretty cool as you can copy the tool to a SD Card or a floppy and run it without installing anything. It restores files in "copy mode" so you can restore the deleted file to a different drive. Works with FAT, NTFS, removable drives like SD cards, digital cameras etc.

It found loads of very old files on my machine that has since been overwritten. Scary that it finds all the old file names even after a complete defrag…
Anyone know of a tool that can delete such 'historical' info on NTFS?


Historic Gaza vote

Sharon wins historic Gaza vote. Great news that hopefully helps end a conflict instead of starting a new one:

Israel's parliament last night voted for the first time in 37 years of occupation to remove Jewish settlements from the Palestinian territories in a historic move that Ariel Sharon said paved the way to the end of the conflict.


Some opponents have accused Mr Sharon of "caving in to terrorism" and of being a traitor because he is considered the godfather of the settlements and oversaw the massive expansion of Israel's West Bank and Gaza colonies during the 70s and 80s.
But the latest opinion poll, in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, shows overwhelming public support for the withdrawal, with 65% of Israelis in favour and 26% opposed.

Via [Guardian]


iTunes in Italy!!!

iTunes is finally available in Italy and a whole bunch of other countries. It has tons of music, you can burn as many CDs as you want of the songs you buy, including MP3 CDs. Buying the new U2: Vertigo single now and can't wait for the whole album to be released. Cool Or What?

I tried earlier this summer but was very disappointed when I couldn't buy a couple of songs on any of the big stores:

  • MSN Music has loads of music but they only sell to the US :-(

  • Rhapsody requires a $9 monthly subscription for streaming. It is possible to download an burn songs but you pay an additional + $0.79 for each song. This makes sense if you buy tons of music or can listen to the streaming the whole day. I'm usually stuck behind some http proxy so I can only listen at night :-(

  • Wippit has some UK movies but not the big names :-(

Guess I'll swap my Rhomba for an iPod sooner or later. Maybe the new U2 special edition iPod 

Or the iPod Photo edition


Monday, October 25, 2004


Konfabulator for Windows!

I spend my days on the command line prompt or in Visual Studio .NET full screen . Konfabulator looks just gorgeous so I guess I'll have to change my ways and write a command line widget whenever it is released for Windows.

Konfabulator is a JavaScript runtime engine for Mac OS X (and Windows :-) that lets you run little files called Widgets that can do pretty much whatever you want them to. Widgets can be alarm clocks, calculators, can tell you your AirPort signal strength, will fetch the latest stock quotes for your preferred symbols, and even give your current local weather.


The format for these Widgets is completely open and easy to learn so creating your own Widgets is an extremely easy task.

For the "skinning" crowd, Konfabulator is a dream come true. You can easily change the look, feel, layout, even functionality of a Widget so that it matches your lifestyle, your desktop, or the pants or skirt you have on that day.


[Jeff Sandquist]



Total Lunar eclipse 27/28 October 2004

Unless you are living in Australia that is. The lunar eclipse map shows where the Lunar eclipse 27/28 October can be seen.

The local weather forecast is for clouds (27th) and rain (28th) so I probably can't see it :-(


Yetisports part 7: Snowboard freeride

Yetisports part 7: Snowboard freeride has been released.  Somehow I missed the release of part 6: Big wave so I have plenty of penguin fun to look forward to.

Friday, October 22, 2004


Shhh! Even more quiet

When the TV-B-Gone is not enough to satisfy your needs, it is time to get out the heavy arms:

Thursday, October 21, 2004


Finally some peace and quiet

Shhhh! Don't tell my wife about the TV-B-Gone. It promises to turn of thousands of models of TVs with a single click in a few seconds.

I must confess I am the one that leaves the TV on, tuned in to the KISS player, playing a Web Radio station or my MP3 collection. Add the cell phone jammer to your toolkit and you can finally get some peace and quiet wherever you go.

All I -really- want is a mute control for my PHB...



Moto GP 2005 returns to the United States

The Moto GP Schedule 2005 is ready. Moto GP returns to the USA after many years and it will race in China as well:
10th April - Jerez, Spain
17th April - Jacarepagua, Brazil
1st May - Shanghai, China
15th May - Le Mans, France
29th May - Mugello, Italy
5th June - Catalunya, Spain
19th June - Donington Park, Great Britain
25th June - Assen, Netherlands
10th July - Laguna Seca, United States
24th July - Sachsenring, Germany
28th August - Brno, Czech Republic
11th September - Sepang, Malaysia
18th September - Motegi, Japan
1st October - Doha, Qatar
16th October - Phillip Island, Australia
30th October - Estoril, Portugal
6th November - Valencia, Spain

I hope it will be as exciting as this year!

Go! Vale

Via []

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


1GB keychain USB for $49.99

It's coolissimo that has a Lexar JumpDrive 1 GB key chain for $49.99 but it sucks major time that only ships to the US

Via [The Furrygoat Experience]

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


A weekend trip to London for 30 euro

What's the point of flying to London for a few euro via RyanAir or easyJet if you have to spend more than a 100 euro to get a clean place to spend the night? easyHotel aims to solve that problem:

A central London bed from £5 a night
easyHotel represents the easyGroup entry into the budget hotel sector and will be found in the centre of international cities. Customers can book their rooms at this website with a credit card on the basis of the earlier you book, the less you pay and periods of high demand will cost more than less popular periods.

Via [Wired Magazine]


Laserpod and other cool lights

Lava Lamp 2:

Using the latest in laser, LED and crystal optics, Laserpod brings science and nature together to create ever-changing organic lightforms of profound beauty.

With the diffuser in place, the Laserpod is a meditative ambient lamp; remove the diffuser and these effects can be projected onto a wall or across an entire room.

Plugg in... Switch on... Tune out.

ThinkGeek lights:


 Electra Lamp

Thanks Mike

Monday, October 18, 2004


BrainGate: Mind over matter

Cool but scary:

An pill-sized brain chip has allowed a quadriplegic man to check e-mail and play computer games using his thoughts. The device can tap into a hundred neurons at a time, and is the most sophisticated such implant tested in humans so far

The BrainGate allowed the patient to control a computer or television using his mind, even when doing other things at the same time. Researchers report for example that he could control his television while talking and moving his head.

Not for me. My PHB would have fired me a loooong time ago if I wrote what I think. Better to let mails with flames cool down in the Drafts folder before I send them.

Via [OnlineBlog]


Valentino Rossi MotoGP champion 2004

What a race!  

Yamaha is turning 50 next year and got its first Moto GP title in 12 years when Valentino Rossi won yesterday. Valentino came from Honda last year and was the first rider ever to win back to back races on machines from two different manufacturers this spring. The president of Yamaha, Toru Hasegawa, has put even higher goals for the next year;

As Yamaha Motor Company prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding next year, we dedicate ourselves to continuing the challenge of achieving even higher goals - such as winning the MotoGP World Manufacturers Championship title. By doing so, we hope that we can continue to bring you all that special blend of excitement and deep felt satisfaction that we at Yamaha call "Kando", while helping to promote the awareness and popularity of motorcycling worldwide.

Should be feasible as Colin Edwards will replace Carlos Checa in the Yamaha Factory Racing team in 2005. Yamaha and Honda are very close this year with Valentino winning most of the points by himself (one race remaining):
1 Honda 335
2 Yamaha 303
3 Ducati 153

A lot of the honor goes to Jeremy Burgess which mangaged to put together such a great bike in no time. Let's hope Ducati gets their stuff together earlier next season so Capirossi has a chance to fight for the title as well.

More info:

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Google Desktop Search (beta)

The Google Desktop Search beta is out:

Google Desktop Search is how our brains would work if we had photographic memories. It's a desktop search application that provides full text search over your email, computer files, chats, and the web pages you've viewed. By making your computer searchable, Google Desktop Search puts your information easily within your reach and frees you from having to manually organize your files, emails, and bookmarks.

Screenshots of the new Google Desktop beta.

Via [Google Labs]


Make Magazine

I can't wait for the first release of Make magazine, scheduled for early 2005. I'm a great fan of the O'Reilly books and I hope the magazine keeps up to the standard.

Make brings the do-it-yourself mindset to all the technology in your life. Make is loaded with exciting projects that help you make the most of your technology at home and away from home. This is a magazine that celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your own will. 

Coming early in 2005, Make is a hybrid magazine/book (known as a mook in Japan). Make comes from O'Reilly, the Publisher of Record for geeks and tech enthusiasts everywhere. It follows in line with the Hacks books and Hardware Hacking Projects, but it takes a highly visual and personal approach.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


New Cool & Quiet Laptop Harddrives from Western Digital

Western Digital has launched the Scorpio line of mobile hard disks. They come in the standard versions of 40gb, 60gb and 80gb with 5,400 rpm. The good news is that they claim to have fixed noise, heat, power consumtion and shock problems:

To keep sound levels low, Western Digital teams its SoftSeek algorithms (which quiet the clicking typical in drive seeks) with its WhisperDrive technology (which includes fluid dynamic bearings and a specially dampened top cover). The company claims that models in the Scorpio line are the quietest mobile hard drives on the market. Heat won't be a problem either, according to spokesman Darrin Bulik. "Scorpio has run cooler in our tests than the competing 4,200-rpm and 5,400-rpm models we've compared it to," he said.
Aside from heat issues, power consumption is perhaps the biggest concern for notebook computer users. Western Digital reported that Scorpio drives should be very miserly in their use of energy, taking roughly the same amount of power as 4,200-rpm drives while running far faster.
The Scorpios should be hard to squash as well. Each drive comes with a strengthened cover that stands up better to top-down pressure (as might happen if someone were to lean heavily against the notebook's palm rest). Mobile hard-drive shock resistance has generally improved in recent years, and Scorpio drives are rated to withstand 250 Gs while operating and 900 Gs of nonoperating shock. The company expects its DuraStep Ramp technology to enable the drive to perform at least 600,000 load/unload cycles without contaminating the drive's clean internal atmosphere.


A real world MacGyver

Sometimes keeping it simple pays of. Wired has the story on  Amy Smith, A MacGyver for the Third World,  that got $500.000 from the McArthur Foundation for her brilliant work.

An engineer who is uninterested in advancing technologies is, to put it mildly, a rarity. So rare, in fact, that the MacArthur Foundation awarded one such engineer $500,000.

Mechanical engineer Amy Smith, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology instructor, joined the MacArthur fellowship fold last week, receiving the so-called "genius award" and a colossal cash prize. Her award-winning feat? Using old technology in fresh ways to improve the lives of entire communities. 



RSI Mouse Pad from D-Mail

I wonder if this mouse pad from D-Mail is good against Repetitive strain injury or could cause it in males?

Thanks Mike

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Glass Window Wallpaper

I usually use family or astronomy pictures as my desktop but when I found the Glass Windows Wallpaper by DivineError, I just had to change.  It looks just great on a 1680x1050 LCD.

Via [Michael Swanson's Blog]


Shocking Tanks

Wonder how fast the Shocking Tanks at GadgetShop go (and how fast my PHB can run :-) .

These little vehicles are silver in appearance and have real tracks, not silly rolling wheels like other remote control tanks, so they look authentically rugged. Which is important when you're going into a war zone. At the front of the tank there's a firing arm for punishing your opponent. Each tank has 6 lights running across the top of it, which light up to indicate the number of lives that the players have. All you have to do is pop the tanks on the ground facing each other and press the reset button on the tops of the tanks to get going

Thanks Mike


DUH? Dilbert's house

Dilbert's House is online. It has been designed buy thousands of Dilbert fans with features only a nerd can think of.

First, let me give you some background. As you probably know, most of the people who design houses hate your guts. For example, they know you'll never use the formal living room, yet they include it so you'll have to pay extra. They tease you with a fancy-schmancy dining room, making you fantasize about hosting important dinners for heads of state, despite the reality that you eat your meals directly from the refrigerator.

Wonder if it is too late to make some more suggestions:

  • Japanese style toilet with auto wash and auto dry so you're free to use your PDA/laptop at all times. A voice controlled one would be cool but I guess it could cause problems with foreigners on visit or people who swear a lot?

  • RFID tag everything, including the guests. Make sure they don't get lost or run of with your latest and greatest gadgets

Friday, October 8, 2004


Free copy of Microsoft Creature House Expression™ 3.3

Microsoft released the free Microsoft Creature House Expression™ 3 download a few months ago. I guess I'm not the only one that missed the announcement of the Expressions 3.3 preview.

From the Expression product page:

Creature House Expression™ 3 is an innovative vector-based illustration and graphics tool that provides exciting creative capabilities for designers working in print, web, video, and interactive mediums

Microsoft acquired the Creature House technology and development team in 2003.  As a service to the many loyal users of Expression, a free download version is available to existing users of the product for either Microsoft Windows or Mac OS.

I'm no graphics expert so I leave the judgement to the Expression 3 review on Critical Depth

I found Expression 3 to be a great program and fun to use. After using this product steadily over the past three months, I believe it could give the industry “standards” a run for their money -- for a lot less money. The program is stable, and only crashed a couple of times. One nice feature: Expression has an auto save feature on crashes to keep your loss to a minimum. The system I used to test this product is running Windows XP with 512MB of RAM.

Via []


Trust USB 2.0 harddisk case

I have an old USB 1.0 external HD from from DataFab but I have not found any drivers that work on Win2k3 or Win98. In the end I gave up and bought a small, thin and great looking USB2 HD case from Trust

Technical Specifications
* External hard disk case for compact 2.5" size harddisk
* USB 2.0 interface (40 x faster than USB 1.1)
* Downwards compatible with USB 1.1
* Speeds supported: 480Mbps, 12Mbps and 1.5 Mbps
* Easy to assemble, strong, durable and light aluminium housing
* Power provided to hard disk via USB cable
* Suitable for Macintosh and Windows (Plug & Play)
* Product size (HxWxD in mm): 135 x 77 x 13 mm

It works like a charm on all the computers I have tried it on so far; Win98 desktop, XP desktop, Win2k3 laptop and a Win2k laptop. I was worried that it would overheat but I have not had any problems so far, not even during a full defrag of the disk.

Thursday, October 7, 2004


Hellacious inbox: 100GB available space

Got a mail this morning from Hellacious Riders this morning explaining that they had a huge backlog and they asked me to resubmit the request for the mailbox. A couple of minutes later I had a brand new mailbox with 107374182.4 Mb (~102GB) available space:

I have sent some test mails and the service works like a charm. The GUI is simple to use, fast and -without- advertisements (at least so far).

The only thing I don't like is the port of the web mail, 8383, as my proxy server at work doesn't support it :-(
I hope I can convince their technical support to use a standard port like 80 or 8080


Wednesday, October 6, 2004


Dilbert Newsletter

The Dilbert Newsletter 57.0: "A Little Ray of Bitter Sunshine" arrived a week ago and I usually drop everything to read it ASAP. This time I decided to save it for a plane trip to London so I had something to keep me happy during long waits. Good thing I did because flying in/out of Italy was an adventure today. A great read like as usual and a must for any Dilbert fan.

Scott Adams just released The Religion War, a follow up to the God's debris. A shame he didn't release it online like he did with "God's debris".

Enter your e-mail address on the Dilbert site to subscribe to the newsletter:

Tuesday, October 5, 2004


SpaceShipOne did it again

Cool Or What? They did it again. The same space ship went to space twice in less than a week.  It is just fantastic that we have gone from the moon landing to a private space launches with live web casts in half a life time.

Last weeks space launch was exiting with the unexpected roll while SpaceShipOne went to space. It shows the dedication, and balls, of the test pilot when he decided to continued burning the rocket until he was sure he would break the 100km mark even if ground control suggested aborting the mission earlier. Stuff you only see in the movies.

I'm really glad I found the time to watch the web casts live. I realize it's not sputnik or the moon landing but I still think it was a great moment. I don't expect to take a private shuttle trip around the earth anytime soon but I can at least dream.

The launches shows several things I believe in firmly:

  • You can if you want: 62 (going on 63) when you fly(?) the first private space ship to space

  • KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Same cockpit and very similar flying behavior between SpaceShipOne and White Knight. Pure genius if you ask me.

As a 'space nut' I think it was a very nice touch of Burt Rutan to schedule the price winning flight for the 4th of October: the anniversary of the Sputnik I flight.

More info:

Monday, October 4, 2004


Adobe Acrobat 2.0 for Pocket PC

Adobe Acrobat 2.0 for Pocket PC is available in available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and adds some new features:

  • Mobile data entry: Submit form data using handheld devices over a wireless connection. If you are working offline, the data is temporarily stored, then submitted once a connection is established. Send forms by e-mail or directly to the destination server using a cradle or cable.
  • Wireless printing: Print directly from a handheld device to a remote printer
  • Slide show viewing: Easily share Adobe PDF slide shows generated by Adobe Photoshop® Album software on handheld devices in portrait or landscape mode.
  • Downloading digital editions: Download digital editions of your favorite books in PDF format to handheld devices and read them anywhere. 

One nice thing about the Pocket PC version is that you disable plugins you don't need without modifying the Acrobat plugins by hand. It loads quickly and you can read documents that are displayed in "reflow mode" without problems. Documents with tables etc are best displayed in landscape mode so you don't have to scroll right/left so much. Click and hold the document to get the popup menu that let's you choose "Full Screen view" so you can see even more of the document.

The GUI looks unfamiliar as they don't use normal menus but use small toolbar buttons for everything. It leaves more space for displaying the document but it's unusual to press the ^ button to get the menu. All toolbar buttons can be customized using the "Customize toolbar" option on the main menu.
I still prefer Microsoft Reader for reading eBooks but Acrobat is handy for watching reference documents, schedules etc that I have saved on SD cards.
Via The Unofficial Microsoft Weblog

Friday, October 1, 2004


55 Gb/s in the London Underground

I read the numbers, did a quick calculation and read them again. London is currently the hottest hub of them all, passing 55 Gigabit per second



Improving Adobe Acrobat 6.0 load time

I noticed the Get Acrobat Reader to open up faster post a while back but I didn't try it before today. It works like a charm and Adobe Acrobat loads -a lot- faster.

The splash page that lists the impressive list of patents hardly displays anymore.


Tired of seeing your neighbor?

Make your own view following the instructions in the The Virtual Window Project