Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mobile Technology: Distraction-free wriiting with Writer for ipad application...

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY: Distraction-free writing with Writer for iPad application...

The distraction-free Writer for iPad interface

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Ahhh, the glamorous life of the professional writer. Spending untold hours alone in a room staring at a screen awaiting inspiration with no guarantees of attracting the interest of a publisher, let alone readers, after bearing one’s soul on the page. Many successful writers will say, when in the grip of the Muse, they go into a kind of trance with thoughts flowing faster than they can be written down. But inspiration is a fickle thing and, once found, often difficult to hold onto. A new iPad app from Information Architects called Writer for iPad is designed to remove many of the distractions that can send inspiration packing and give writers a better chance of maintaining focus.

Even though word processing programs like Word and Pages are a godsend for editing text, many writers actually still prefer a typewriter or even the handwritten word to get ideas down – at least for a first draft. Others opt for basic text editors such as NotePad or TextEdit because they offer a relatively distraction-free interface. The folks at Information Architects have taken this to the next level with a simplified interface that removes all of the unnecessary distractions of standard word processors, such as auotcorrection, scroll bars and cut/copy/paste.

Focus Mode

To assist a writer in maintaining focus on what they’re writing, Writer for iPad has a feature called “Focus Mode” that combines the best of both the analog and digital world. Focus mode creates a noise-free writing space that blurs out everything except the current three lines of text that are being worked on.

The developers say this approach takes advantage of the limitations of writing text by hand, where there a limited number of words in your field of view and editing is messy. In comparison, text on the screen quickly becomes labyrinthine and can lead to a chaotic loop of crisscross editing that destroys the organic structure of the original thought. The developers don’t suggest writing in Focus Mode at all times, rather, “the idea is to use it when you get stuck, blinding out everything else.”

Read more here:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ghana Slave Dungeon...

Cape Coast CastleImage via WikipediaGhana Slave Dungeon

Built by European traders in the 17th century, Ghana's Cape Coast Castle was the point of departure for the countless numbers of Africans who were sent to the New World as free labor for the colonies. Join Explore founder Charles Annenberg Weingarten on a virtual tour of the slave dungeon, and witness the horrific conditions the captives were forced to endure while waiting to be sent across the Atlantic

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Intellighent clothing could stop boats when fishermen faal overboard...

A foam core life vestImage via Wikipedia WEARABLE ELECTRONICS 'Intelligent clothing' could stop boats when fishermen fall overboard

Hilde Faerevik (left) and the SINTEF Safe@Sea team

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Working as a commercial fisherman is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. There are numerous ways in which they can end up in the water, with their shipmates (if they even have any) not noticing until it’s too late. That, or their boat can simply sink. In any case, fishermen need all the help they can get when it comes to safety, so a 14-group research consortium is developing “intelligent clothing” for them to wear at sea.

The three-year, 4 million Euro (approx. US$5,225,000) Safe@Sea project is being coordinated by Norway’s SINTEF research group, with Norwegian textile manufacturer Helly Hansen Pro as project manager. Other groups taking part in the project come from Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Italy and the UK.

European fishermen have already expressed their needs to Safe@Sea, and the group is now working on addressing them. One of the most noteworthy features of the workwear is a proposed built-in wireless “dead man’s handle.” This will detect when its wearer has fallen overboard, and automatically kill the boat’s engine and activate a locator beacon – an essential feature for fishermen who work alone. Such devices are already available, although they have to be manually attached to clothing, so they could be forgotten or just not used.

Once in the water, the clothing could double as a flotation device. This could either be through solid slabs of buoyant materials, or via “lungs” that automatically inflate when immersed.

Of course, it will all count for nothing if nobody wants to wear the stuff. To that end, the researchers are also working on making it impervious to staining from fish blood and guts, while at the same time trying to keep it soft and breathable. They are also looking into the possibility of self-repairing material that glues up small rips in itself, to make sure it remains watertight.

At this point it’s hard to say how much of the proposed technology will make it into the final product, but the research itself is still valuable. “If we don’t manage to develop such textiles in the course of this three-year project, we can at least hope to create a basis for other materials that will be of value in the future,” said SINTEF’s project coordinator Hilde Færevik.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Touchscreens may soon become old hat - XWAVE brainwave interface for iDEVICES has been unveiled

Star Wars Roleplaying Game (West End Games)Image via Wikipedia
Touchscreens may soon be old hat - XWAVE brainwave interface for iDEVICES has just been unveiled. Talk about Sci fi and Star Wars combined.

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Article Summary:

Until humans evolve huge brains like the Talosians, it seems we’ll have to rely electronic headwear to allow us to control devices with our brainwaves – electronic headwear like the XWave from California-based company PLX Devices. The XWave is the first brainwave interface accessory for the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad that is worn over the head like a pair of headphones. Unfortunately, the device won’t allow you to scroll through playlists or select a contact to call with the power of your mind. Rather, like the Star Wars Force Trainer, it detects your attention and meditation levels for use in games and getting the old gray matter into shape.

Acknowledgements: Darren Quick, GIZMAG

Canada unveils new speed bump: optical illusion of a child...

Canada unveils new speed bump: optical illusion of a child...

Officials in West Vancouver, Canada, apparently aren't satisfied with the driver-slowing properties of traditional speed bumps. On Tuesday, the town unveiled a new way to persuade motorists to ease off the gas pedal in the vicinity of the École Pauline Johnson Elementary School: a 2-D image of a child playing, creating the illusion that the approaching driver will soon blast into a child.

According to Discover magazine, the pavement painting appears to rise up as the driver gets closer to it, reaching full 3-D realism at around 100 feet: "Its designers created the image to give drivers who travel at the street's recommended 18 miles per hour (30 km per hour) enough time to stop before hitting Pavement Patty -- acknowledging the spectacle before they continue to safely roll over her."

You have to wonder if the designers of the "speed bump of the future" considered that drivers might become conditioned to disregard Pavement Patty and her imaginary cohorts, creating something similar to a "boy who cried wolf" effect. Couldn't such conditioning reduce drivers' caution if a real child should cross their path?

[What is an optical illusion? How does it work?]

Asked whether confusing and/or tricking drivers with such images might create such unintended hazards, David Dunne of the British Columbia Automobile Association Traffic Safety Foundation said that pedestrians need to be just as alert as drivers.

"People tune out. It takes an attitude shift for people to change," Dunne said. "Pedestrians need an attitude shift too. They have to realize that just because they are in a crosswalk doesn't mean they are safe. In fact, most get hit while using crosswalks."

[Related: What your child's teacher won't tell you]

As for drivers who become can't process optical illusions, Dunne argued that they have no business on the road in the first place.

"It's a static image," he said. "If a driver can't respond to this appropriately, that person shouldn't be driving, and that's a whole different problem."



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New laser technology could be used to protect helicopters from heat-seeking missile

New laser technology could be used to protect military helicopters from heat-seeking missile

Researchers at the University of Michigan are developing laser systems for protecting military helicopters from heat-seeking missiles. The lasers wouldn’t shoot down the missiles, but would instead jam their sensors, essentially blinding them. This isn’t the first time that laser systems have been used for this purpose, but the creators of this system claim that it is better suited to helicopters than anything that has come before.

The UM system detects incoming missiles, then shoots at them with a mid-infrared supercontinuum laser. While most lasers emit light of just one wavelength, supercontinuums pack a broad range of wavelengths into their focused beam. Although such lasers typically emit a beam of visible light, due to the fact that this is a mid-infrared supercontinuum, its beam isn’t seen but is felt as heat. The resulting broad spectrum infrared beam mimics the electromagnetic signature of a helicopter engine, and causes the missile to lose track of where the actual helicopter is. It is said to be effective up to a distance of 2.9 km (1.8 miles).

One of the big strengths of this system, according to its makers, is its simple design and off-the-shelf fiber optic parts. “The laser-based infrared countermeasures in use now for some aircraft have 84 pieces of moving optics. They couldn't withstand the shake, rattle and roll of helicopters,” said Mohammed Islam, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “We've used good, old-fashioned stuff from your telephone network to build a laser that has no moving parts.”

Islam’s claims may soon be put to the test – his UM spin-off company, Omni Sciences, has recently received US$1 million in grants from the US Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to build a second-generation prototype.

Acknowledgements: Gizmag

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Glade plug-in fragrance fresheners are NOT responsible for houses fires...

The following message that first emerged in 2004 is a total hoax. Tell others you know online that it is so. Glade plugins are not responsible. What the motive for the hoax emails may be, is  completely unknown. The cause of these alleged fires are most likely light bulbs.
A light bulbImage via Wikipedia

"Subject: Safety warning"

i was sent this from a forward this isnt anybody i know however,, its good to know stuff like this


My brother and his wife learned a hard lesson this last week. Their house burned down...nothing left but ashes. They have good insurance, so the home will be replaced and most of the contents. That is the good news. However, they were sick when they found out the cause of the fire.

The insurance investigator sifted through the ashes for several hours. He had the cause of the fire traced to the master bathroom. He asked my sister-in-law what she had plugged in in the bathroom. She listed the normal things. ...curling iron,blow dryer. He kept saying to her, "No, this would be something that would disintegrate at high temperatures." Then, my sister-in-law remembered she had a Glade Plug-in in the bathroom. The investigator had one of those "Aha" moments. He said that was the cause of the fire. He said he has seen more home fires started with the plug in type room fresheners than anything else. He said the plastic they are made from is a THIN plastic. He said in every case there was nothing left to prove that it even existed. When the investigator looked in the wall plug, the two prongs left from the plug-in were still in there.

My sister-in-law had one of the plug-ins that had a small night light built in it. She said she had noticed that the light would dim....and then finally go out. She would walk in a few hours later, and the light would be back on again. The Investigator said that the unit was getting too hot, and would dim and go out rather than just blow the light bulb. Once it cooled down, it would come back on. That is a warning sign.

The investigator said he personally wouldn't have any type of plug in fragrance device anywhere in his house. He has seen too many burned down homes.

Thought I would warn you all. I had several of them plugged in my house. I immediately took them all down.