Inching ever closer to 3D printing
I think it’s a safe bet that at some point in our futures 3D printing is going to be ubiquitous. It will be no more surprising to find the capability at someone’s house than an inkjet printer is today. That future is not today. 3D printing is still very much in the enthusiast/hobbyist niche at this point, but we are slowly moving closer. The release of the Makerbot Digitizer is the next step. Taking the requirement for the running and manipulation of modeling software out of the equation is a big step toward wider adoption. There is more info on the Digitizer, as well as the Replicator, at the Makerbot website.
Will the Ubuntu Edge ever happen?
If you are not part of the Ubuntu herd, you may have missed the news about their smartphone project. In a nutshell, the Edge was slated to be a top of the line smartphone with a clever bit of OS shenanigans running behind the scenes that would let it run a mobile OS, or the full Ubuntu desktop. As you can see from the picture, it’s also gorgeous. This page on the Ubuntu website lays it all out very well.
The rub comes with that bit about crowdfunding. While the project did raise an impressive $12.8 million, that is nearly $20 million short of where it needed to be. So things are on hold for the moment. But Mark Shuttleworth remains confident. The Guardian spoke with him as the fundraising campaign wound down and it sounds like Ubuntu will continue to pursue their plans for Ubuntu mobile.
That doesn’t necessarily bode well for the Edge. Much of the talk is about getting Ubuntu mobile in the hands of device manufacturers to use on lower end phones as an alternative to Android. That’s something I could see happening, but also something I have little interest in using. So, for now, it looks like the Edge was a great concept that will never see the light of day.
Is this the best ad campaign of all time?
That is an actual ad for the ’62 Volkswagen. I think it’s brilliant. And it is just one in a series of very clever ads that Volkswagen used in the late 50s/early 60s. Caught At The Curb has a series of posts collecting many of the original ads and they are well worth a look. As to whether or not this is the best campaign of all time, it is of course arguable. But they are certainly in the conversation, and Advertising Age did deem them just that back in 1999. There is an interesting entry on the VW advertising over at wikipedia.
1939 to 1944, in color!
This is really cool. Generally we see the time of the Great Depression and World War II in black-and-white. That was the more prominent technology of the day. But color photography did exist, and was being practiced by the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information. Now, thanks to the wonders of the internet, a lot of those photographs are available to us. The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division has digitized the original color transparencies and they are making them available on flickr. These are just a few examples. You’ll find over 1600 more at the flickr site.
A reboot won’t fix that!
I’m always a little bit fascinated at the way in which LCD monitors break. To be clear, this isn’t some bizarre form of modern art I’ve created. I didn’t actually punch this monitor into this oddly artistic failure. It’s the result of very poor planning on the part of someone that shipped it. That said, it is kind of fascinating to look at, right?
The Gamers: Hands Of Fate
The internet has coughed up another treat. A new movie, The Gamers: Hands Of Fate, is streaming for free until the end of the month. Just click the play button at watchthegamers.com. And I am not just sending you off to watch a two hour movie on a whim. I’ve already seen it, and it’s really good. The Gamers is a great example of the benefits of the recent changes in movie-making technology. The tools have become so affordable that lower budget projects can now look incredible. That is the case here. The production quality is fantastic. Even better, it’s a well crafted story. And the final bonus… If you are a fan of Seattle’s theatre scene, the movie is packed with actors you will recognize.
Things Are Different In South Korea
If you’ve been to a major-league baseball game, chances are you have seen them trot out some minor celebrity or corporate bigwig for a ceremonial first pitch before the game. It’s usually a rather forgettable part of the rather forgettable pre-game festivities. That’s not the case in South Korea. It seems that the ceremonial first pitch is a bit of a thing. Check out this video of rhythmic gymnast Shin Soo-ji.
Go ahead and watch it again. And again. Just to get your head around that. Interestingly, Shin Soo-ji isn’t an outlier. Deadspin has put together a collection of first pitch shenanigans. And those are just an entry point to another internet rabbit-hole if you start checking out the related videos on YouTube.
We’re gonna need a bigger pocket!
There’s a strange bit of business going on with the design of cell phones. Bigger is better. That is, if you are talking about screen dimensions. If it’s thickness, bigger is bad. Which really doesn’t make that much sense. If you can fit a 6.3″ screen in your pocket, surely a couple more mm of thickness isn’t a big deal.
Yes, I said 6.3″. And that isn’t hyperbole for effect. I chose that number because Samsung has announced the Galaxy Mega 6.3 for release this month. That’s a 6.3″ screen. To put it in perspective, here’s what it looks like next to the iPhone 5.
Aye, caramba! Put the Mega in landscape mode and you might be able to type with all ten fingers. Along with that massive screen, the phone brings some other pretty nice features:
- Android 4.2.2
- Dual-core 1.7GHz proc
- 1.5GB RAM
- 8 megapixel camera
- Micro SD
- Huge 3200mAh battery
- Air View
- Split Window Multi-tasking
- TV Guide
- IR Blaster
Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction
It’s an old saying, and one that sticks around because it pans out again and again. Truth, on occasion, really is stranger than fiction. This is one of those occasions. Let’s say you are a big-shot television executive, and I come to you with a pitch about a princess of Romania (the royal family was forced out by the communists in 1947), who now makes her home in rural eastern Oregon, where she has married a former cop. Oh, and in their free time, they run an illegal cock-fighting ring! You would probably tell me to take a hike. That’s just too outlandish to be believable. Why would a Romanian princess end up in eastern Oregon? Is there actually cock-fighting in Oregon? And isn’t getting a former cop involved taking it a little too far? It all just sounds so fake.
As Mr. Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend.” Let me refer you to this story at the BBC. It seems that Princess Irina, of Romania, and her husband, have indeed been charged with multiple counts of operating an illegal gambling business and conspiracy to violate the federal Animal Welfare Act after a big crackdown on cock-fighting. These are strange days at Blake Holsey High.
I don’t like my cell phone that much
Someone in the marketing department at LG had an idea to put vouchers to get a free phone in helium balloons, and then release them for a crowd to go chasing after. Small problem. Those phones are worth over $800, and the crowds that showed up were highly motivated. And by highly motivated I mean they showed up with BB guns and spears. The resulting chaos left 20 people injured and 7 sent to the hospital. This reminds me of the great Turkey Drop Thanksgiving episode of WKRP.