Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Personal blimp

Join the birds for a quiet moment in the skies with your own Skyacht Personal Blimp:

Since early 2002 Skyacht Aircraft, Inc. has been developing a new type of aircraft called the Personal Blimp. The goal of this work is the creation an aircraft capable of silent, steerable, sustained, and affordable flight. No such craft exists today.
The Personal Blimp uses hot air (rather than Helium) for lift and virtually silent electric motors for propulsion. To put it another way: the Personal Blimp is a hot air balloon that can be maneuvered about in nearly perfect quiet. Passengers in a Personal Blimp have a serene experience of flight unavailable in any other type of aircraft.

It is not practical for getting to work but wouldn't it be great to hover at will? Most other ways of flying require either loud machinery or constant attention to ride the air currents. A blimp with quiet electrical motors sounds like the perfect anti-stress medicine after a long day at work.

Via Sci Fi Tech

Friday, August 25, 2006


9, 12, or 8 planets?

Pluto has always been controversial as a "planet". It has a strange orbit but it no longer meets the requirements of a planet according to IAU.

The decision at a conference of 2,500 astronomers from 75 countries was a dramatic shift from just a week ago, when the group's leaders floated a proposal that would have reaffirmed Pluto's planetary status and made planets of its largest moon and two other objects.

That plan proved highly unpopular, splitting astronomers into factions and triggering days of sometimes combative debate that led to Pluto's undoing

Now, two of the objects that at one point were cruising toward possible full-fledged planethood will join Pluto as dwarfs: the asteroid Ceres, which was a planet in the 1800s before it got demoted, and 2003 UB313, an icy object slightly larger than Pluto whose discoverer, Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology, has nicknamed Xena.

Pluto now belongs to a new Trans-Neptunian family of planets that still have to be named. Wikipedia impressed me again as it did not take long before all Pluto related articles were updated. A community effort like Wikipedia will always have problems with vandalism but the benefits compared to a normal bookshelf encyclopedia is enormous. Kids will continue to learn about Pluto The Planet for many years (decades?) to come.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Free Nokia firmware updates using your PC

Why pay to have the firmware of your mobile update at a service center when you can do it yourself with the free Nokia Software Update service?

The service is available for the following Nokia phones at the moment: Nokia 6131 (supports over-the-air updates), Nokia N70, Nokia N72, Nokia 6630, Nokia 6680, Nokia 6681, Nokia 6682.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Solar powered Bluetooth GPS

No reason to be a cable jockey and contstantly switch the 12V charger in the car between the GPS and the phone/PDA with the solar powered HBTGPSOL Bluetooth GPS receiver:

The solar cells can charge the device when it is off and they increase the normal operating time by 50% to an incredible 30 hours if the GPS is on the whole time.

The HBTGPSOL comes with:

  • GPS antenna

  • Quick Start Guide (English and Italian)

  • Cd-rom with utility and manual

  • USB cable

  • AC-DC power adapter (5V-500mA)

  • 12V DC car charger

  • Li-Ion rechargeable battery


IE 7.0 beta 3 works on Windows 2003

Not only does it install, but it works like a charm! I played around with the Windows Live Toolbar for a week but it is a major kludge compared to Internet Explorer 7. The upgrade from IE 6.0 went without a hitch and it kept all my favorites, saved passwords and cookies.

I have not used the RSS reader yet as it is unable to import the OPML file I exported from Bloglines but the other features have been worth the "risk" of upgrading to a beta;

  • Tabbed browsing with "quick tabs" preview

  • Microsoft finally fixed printing: IE7 automatically scales the web page so that it is not wider than the paper it will be printed on.

  • Page zoom


Friday, August 11, 2006


Mobiblu B153 = 153 hours of battery life!

The Mobiblu B153 (aka DAH-1900)  is not as small as the Mobiblu DAH-1500, but it has some impressive features:

  • 153 hours of playback on a single charge

  • World's first Podcast Ready ™ - enabled MP3 Player

  • Supports MP3, WMA, and “Protected” WMA (DRM)

  • Bright and easy to read OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display

  • FM Tuner with recording support

  • Voice Recording (Built-In Microphone)

  • Line-In Encoding (Direct Recording)

  • Clock (View Time) Display and Timer Functions.

  • Pivot Display (Rotate Display 180 degrees)

Amazon.com only has the 512MB and 1GB versions but I hope they will get the 2GB version soon.


Belkin AC Anywhere for road warriors

The Belkin AC Anywhere is a great gadget if you spend your time on the road or go camping. It plugs into the standard 12-volt DC vehicle cigarette lighter socket in cars and campers and lets you power laptop computers, PDAs, and other AC appliances wherever you go. They come in different flavors depending on how much power you need:

  • 50W   : smaller devices such as electric shavers and PDAs.

  • 140W  : medium-size devices, such as laptops or CD players.

  • 300W  : laptop or printer, TV/VCR/DVD, video camera, or camping equipment.


  • Automatic overheat shut-off at 150F

  • Low-battery alarm at 10.6V and automatic shut-off feature at 10.6V

  • Overload protection

  • Replaceable fuse included

  • Power LED indicator

  • 3-Year Warranty

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Skype 2.5 supports SMS

I have not used Skype since last year after I moved to VoIP. My Skype credit was about to expire so I downloaded the latest client and was surprised to see that it supports sending SMS. The sender of the SMS can either be the skype id or any mobile phone you have verified with Skype.

Writing long messages with the keyboard in Skype sure beats entering it on a small keyboard on a mobile phone. Skype also lets you send the same message to multiple contacts. But the best feature of them all has to be the price; the messages are a lot cheaper. A quick comparison for the countries I sent most messages to:

  • Italy: Vodafone Italy 0.150 euro, Skype 0.102 euro
  • Norway: Vodafone 0.300 euro. Skype 0.086 euro

Since the sender appears with my mobile number it is transparent to the recipient that I sent them from Skype. Coolissimo!

Wednesday, August 9, 2006


SanDisk 4GB Secure Digital card

SanDisk recently announced a 4GB SD High Capacity card that comes with a MicroMate ™ USB 2.0 reader 


  • Speed performance rating: Class 2 (based on SD 2.00 Specification)

  • High Quality SDHC card backed by 5 year limited warranty

  • Built to last, with an operating shock rating of 2,000Gs, equivalent to a ten-foot drop

  • SanDisk SDHC 4GB card ships with Bonus MicroMate USB 2.0 SD/SDHC Reader, to ensure compatibility when downloading pictures or other digital content

Note: The card can only be read by devices that support the SDHC standard which allows up to 32GB to be stored on a single card.