Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Interview with RoboSapien inventor Mark W. Tiden

Get the story behind the Robosapien in the interview with RoboSapien inventor Mark W. Tiden. I didn't know that early test versions could see distant objects when it had infra-red LEDs in his pamls and that they had to reduce the arm strengh so it didn't hurt anyone.

RoboSapiens 2? Top secret. I can say soon no calculator will be safe. Moo ha ha. However, all will be revealed at the New York toy Fair, Feb. 05. Watch the skies, watch the skies.

One of the really great features of the RoboSapien is that you can hack it anyway you want: A single screwdriver takes the RS completely apart, and inside everything is labled, colorcoded, and socketed for convenience. Furthermore, we heartly support any third party additions or modifications, and have supplied all the necessary info through many websites.

A "smarter" RoboSapien using Pocket PC

Via [Robots.net]



WikiNews is still a demo but it should move to its new home http://en.wikinews.org/ soon:

Welcome to Wikinews, a free-content news source. We embarked on this journey in November 2004, and have written 94 articles. Our mission is to create a world where citizen journalists report the news on a wide variety of current events.

Anyone can help with Wikinews. If you see a headline linking to an empty story, you can create it. If a story needs to be moved to a new title as events develop, please move it. If you know of a headline story from other sources but don't have time to write a story, don't hesitate to add that headline without a story. Learn how to write a Wikinews article here.

Everything here is under construction, so please give us some time to sort out the policies and procedures before relying on Wikinews as a source.

People have a hard time agreeing on some of the facts in WikiPedia. I will be interesting to see how WikiNews handles political, and other, news that are subjective. A shame it didn't cover the US Presidential election...

Via [Wired]

Thursday, November 25, 2004


Using DRM protected eBooks with a Pocket PC

My wish came through: another business trip so I could get a chance to read Gods Debris and the Religion wars

I spend most of yesterday night going crazy buying the eBook:

  1. I went through the purchase process on http://www.Amazon.com/ but in the end it told me that it can't "ship" the eBook outside the US.

  2. Same result on http://www.Amazon.de/ and http://www.Amazon.co.uk/. They're worse than the US site anyway as they don’t offer Microsoft Reader support and they cost more now that the Euro is very strong

  3. www.eReader.com requires it's own custom reader :-(

  4. In the end I found www.eBookMall.com which offers Microsoft Reader as well as Adobe Acrobat formats 

  5. It was getting late so I decided to get the Acrobat as it offers printing if the author allows it and I thought it could be read on the Pocket PC

  6. Acrobat refused too download the eBooks giving the following error: The 'Updater' plug-in has been removed. Please re-install Acrobat to continue viewing

  7. Fixed the problem by undoing my previous Adobe Acrobat 6.0 optimization

  8. Successfully opened both eBooks on my PC. Hurray!!!!! God's Debris can even be printed!

  9. Can't open the DRM protected eBooks on my Pocket PC. Buuuu!

  10. Found the Link to DRM Activation with the Adobe Reader 7.0 Beta post in the Adobe forums. Looks like the Pocket PC is supported in Acrobat 7.0. Hurray!!!

Now I'm facing a big dilemma: do I download what should be a beta of Adobe Acrobat 7.0 from a Chinese site and risk loads of trojans or do I wait for the thing to be released?


Flexible solar power

Flexible solar panes in different sizes

They have loads of adapters and charger packs so you can; charge your Lithium, NiCad, or NiMH batteries (AA, AAA, C, D), power your wireless electronics, and charge or direct power 12V systems.

Via [The Red Ferret Journal]




I have "broken" 2 phones in one week and damaged the screen on a third. Looks like I will have to start buying phones at Retrofone instead of using the latest and greatest gadgets. Old phones for close to nothing:

Thanks for the tip Marco


Tuesday, November 23, 2004


1001 free fonts

1001 Free Fonts has tons of free creative fonts for creating eye catching documents and presentations.

Via [Kevin Kelly Cool Tools]


Monday, November 22, 2004


Google Scholar

Looking for some academic paper or doing some research? Google Scholar is now in beta:

Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web.


Sunday, November 21, 2004


The Religion War is available as an e-book

Scott Adams has released The Religion War, a follow up to the God's debris as an e-book. It's available for $4.95 on Amazon in Adobe Reader and Microsoft Reader formats.

Unless I have more luck with my business trips I'll have plenty of time to finish all his eBooks

Thanks for the tip Scott!

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Grouper beta

Finally a program that allows you to share music/pictures/films securely and privately with the people you choose. With Grouper only members of your private group, that you invited, can access your shared resources.  All traffic encrypted with  AES using a 256 bit key. There is no global network or index so only your friends know what you share. More of a Friend To Friend (F2F) than a Peer To Peer (P2P). It also has a encrypted chat that works in user and group modes.

It should be more politically acceptable than waste as you can stream, but not download, copy protected MP3's an WMAs. Computer savvy users will get around the restriction by sharing zipped versions. You can limit the number of parallel downloads but it does not support bandwidth throttling. I have not tried it, but it should be possible to limit the upload bandwidth using NetLimiter. Http proxies are not supported yet but they are working on it.

A great way to share my resources with friends and family that I only see once a year!

Via [Scobleizer]


Wednesday, November 17, 2004


MSN Web Messenger beta

The MSN Web Messenger beta looks just like the real thing. Pretty neat for accessing MSN Messenger if you use a public computer or another computer that doesn't have Messenger installed.

Very unstable so far today as I get signed out after a minute or so.

Via [MSDN Student Flash


Cool Tool: ieSpell

I do my best to write mails, posts and documentation without spelling mistakes. The Microsoft Office spell checker is OK but it does not work where I need it the most: web applications. In particular; Outlook Web Access and my blogging software.

So far I have worked around the problem by writing them as a tasks in Outlook and cutting and pasting without formatting.

ieSpell solves the problem. It is a free spell checker that integrates with Internet Explorer and adds a spell checking button on the toolbar and a “Check Spelling“ option when you right click in a text field. It spell checks all text fields in Internet Explorer.

Note: the ieSpell option does not appear if you right click in a HTML edit window (like the body field in OWA). The workaround is to either use the toolbar button or right click and choose “Check Spelling: in any normal text field. It spell check all text fields, including the HTML editor.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Cool Tool: PureText

I write a lot of mail and frequently cut and paste text from various programs to Outlook Web Access. OWA accepts whatever formatting the source program used so I frequently end up with ridiculously small fonts and other strange formatting errors. So far I have used notepad as a clip board cleaner; paste the text (Ctrl + v), select the text (Ctrl + a), copy the text again (Ctrl + c). A pain, but not painful enough for me to write a software to fix. Especially since most other programs have a "paste special" option that allows pasting the plain text without formatting junk.

Michale Swanson had the same problem and found PureText after writing his own tool. PureText adds a little PT icon to the task bar that you can click to clean the text or you can use the customizable Windows + V shortcut to paste the cleaned text. Works like a charm, especially for mails and blogs. Added to my Startup menu (which is getting pretty crowded)

Last minute update: Today is a day for celebration. I can finally synchronize my office mail via HTTP using Outlook 2003. It's not great, it's better, it fantastic! I think I'll take a screenshot of OWA, print it and bury it.


Toolbelt for heavy gadget pants

The perfect belt to go with the gadget pants. Not only does it keep the loaded pants up but it also has the tools to fix broken gadgets.

Contains Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, 8, 10 & 11mm wrenches as well as a bottle opener.

Via [Gizmodo]


Too many gadgets and not enough pockets?

Then the Scoot eVest Hidden Cargo Pants is for you.


  • Magnetic closures on front and back pockets

  • 12 hidden pockets

  • Patent-pending Personal Area Network (PAN) licensed by TEC®

  • Casual styling

  • Teflon coating

  • Internal drawstring

  • Pocket in pocket

  • Zippered pockets

PocketNow has a detailed review of the pants 

Via [Gizmodo]

Monday, November 15, 2004


Palm Tungsten T5

The palmOne Tungsten T5 Handheld looks nice. I hope for their sake it's more stable than the Tungsten W


  • 256MB flash memory (160MB of them is a flash drive that doesn't loose data even if it runs out of power)
  • Transfer files and folders back and forth to your desktop
  • Use like a flash drive with another computer2
  • Stunning 320x480 display, landscape or portrait mode
  • Edit Word and Excel docs, view PowerPoint files
  • View photos, videos3 and play MP3s
  • Built-in Bluetooth® wireless technology
  • Powerful Intel® 416MHz XScale processor
  • Palm OS® 5.4



Lots of Robots

The Lots Of Robots DVD volume 2 two is ready:

Something wonderful happened today, I finished the LOR Volume Two DVD. Now I only have to sit back and watch it to make sure all is well. If everything goes according to plan, it should be in your hands by December 1 2004.
The LOR animation is 14 minutes long and the tutorials add up to just over 96 minutes.

You can also watch the video online (Quicktime)

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Cool Service: WatchThatPage

WatchThatPage is a free web based service that watches the URLs you configure. The cool thing is that it sends you a daily summary mail with the changes. Note that it doesn't send you the list of changed URLs, but it sends you the actual paragraphs of new text. You can even configure the delivery time. I get mine delivered in the morning before I synchronize my mail.

I used it a lot before RSS got popular and I still use it for some sites that do not have RSS feeds (like the Konfabulator forum).

Tip: use the Add to WatchThatPage javascript to quickly add a new URL to your watch list.


Saturday, November 13, 2004


MP3 player with 100h battery life and bluetooth

The XDM-S710BT bluetooth mp3 player by Sony Aiwa has several cool features:

  • It's small: 88.6 x 24.6 x 24.3mm (W x D x H), and it weighs about 37g (60g with battery).

  • It is powered by a standard AA battery so there is no problem finding a replacement battery.

  • It supports the Bluetooth headset profile of mobile phones so you can receive calls on your MP3 player. Cool Or What?

More info and review on TechJapan


Cool Tool: Crap Cleaner 1.57.078

Get rid of crap like the list of Most Recently Used documents, the Internet Explorer cache etc with Crap Cleaner:

Cleans the following:

  • Internet Explorer Cache, History, Cookies, Index.dat.

  • Recycle Bin, Temporary files and Log files.

  • Recently opened URLs and files.

  • Third-party application temp files and recent file lists (MRUs)
    Including: Media Player, eMule, Kazaa, Google Toolbar, Netscape, Office XP, Nero, Adobe Acrobat, WinRAR, WinAce, WinZip and more...

  • Advanced Registry scanner and cleaner to remove unused and old entries.
    Including File Extensions, ActiveX Controls, ClassIDs, ProgIDs, Uninstallers, Shared DLLs, Fonts, Help Files, Application Paths, Icons, Invalid Shortcuts and more...

  • Backup for registry clean.

This software is completely Freeware and contains no Spyware or Adware.

Friday, November 12, 2004


Konfabulator for Windows 1.8 released

It is definitely worth the wait. Be sure to visit the Widget Gallery to download the latest and greatest widgets. I tried DesktopX earlier but I didn't like it too much. Konfabulator feels more stable and it looks just great.

Download Konfabulator for Windows


Thursday, November 11, 2004


New Microsoft search goes "live"

MSNBC reports that Microsoft debued its new search technology today:

SEATTLE - Microsoft Corp. finally debuted its own Web search technology on Thursday, hoping to challenge Google Inc.’s long dominance of the field with results tailored to a user’s location and answers from its Encarta encyclopedia.
Google signaled that it is ready for a fight, announcing Wednesday that it would nearly double the amount of Web pages available to search through its site.

The Microsoft search engine, offered in 11 languages, will initially be available on a special “test” site. Gradually, some users visiting Microsoft’s MSN site may find that the existing search bar uses the new search engine, said Adam Sohn, a director with the company’s online division.

But a full rollout, perhaps with new features, isn’t expected until early next year

I guess the “special test site“ is beta.search.msn.com


A real USB Thumb Drive

In all senses of the word! Someone molded a plastic thumb on a USB drive.

It went for $39.95 to the only bidder on eBay (link).

Via [Gizmodo]

Wednesday, November 10, 2004



IM Smarter is a neat idea. No software to install on the client; you just point your IM client to the IM Smarter proxy server and it takes care of everything. It proxies your messages to the people you're chatting with and saves the log on the server so you can access them later, no matter which client you used. It also adds a handy reminder feature. Just send  "remind me in 10 minutes to do something" or "bug me" and the proxy will set up a reminder:

Even if you sign off and sign on somewhere else, the system will let you know when it's time to remind you. If you're logged off at the time of the reminder (or not logged on through the proxy), the system will hold on to the message and show it to you when you next log on.
We like to call this system "microscheduling", since it's for things you'd never formally schedule or put on your calendar. Think of it like having hundreds of labelled eggtimers without having all the ticking driving you insane. :)

My problem: I already use a http proxy at work to connect to the internet so I can't use the IM Smarter proxy :-(

Via [BoingBoing]

Thursday, November 4, 2004


Cool tool: Daemon Tools

Daemon Tools for Windows is a great little utility. It allows you to load the majority of ISO images (.iso, .cue, .nrg, …) as a virtual CD/DVD on your PC.

Great for:

  • DVD production. You can load the image file created by your video production software and view it in a DVD player on your computer without burning it first

  • Software survival kit. Carrying around loads of CDs which I usually do not need, but it's an emergency when I do, is a pain. So I usually rip the CDs to .iso images and then burn them all on a DVD as files and load the iso with Daemon Tools when I need them. One DVD fits tons of .iso images as very few CDs are completely full.



StarWars III trailer

The teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith  premieres worldwide in the early afternoon today  (US time). It will be available for high quality QuickTime to members of Hyperspace.

It will also screen in front of  The Incredibles movie starting Friday in US/Canada.

The rest of us will have to wait until Monday, November 8th when it will be posted on StarWars.com for all to enjoy. 

Cool Or What?

Monday, November 1, 2004


USB card reader (16 in one) for 14.98

LIDL Italy sells the SilverCrest 16 in one USB 2.0 card reader for 14.98 euro

Technical info at the SilverCrest USB reader site.