Friday, May 14, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Microsoft's Courier 'digital journal'

"We've been dying to know more about Microsoft's Courier tablet / e-book device ever since we first caught wind of it last September, and while our entreaties to Mr. Ballmer went unanswered, we just learned some very interesting information from an extremely trusted source. We're told Courier will function as a "digital journal," and it's designed to be seriously portable: it's under an inch thick, weighs a little over a pound, and isn't much bigger than a 5x7 photo when closed. That's a lot smaller than we expected -- this new picture really puts it into perspective -- and the internals apparently reflect that emphasis on mobility: rather than Windows 7, we're told the Courier is built on Tegra 2 and runs on the same OS as the Zune HD, Pink, and Windows Mobile 7 Series, which we're taking to mean Windows CE 6.

As we've heard, the interface appears to be pen-based and centered around drawing and writing, with built-in handwriting recognition and a corresponding web site that allows access to everything entered into the device in a blog-like format complete with comments. We're also hearing that there will be a built-in camera, and there's a headphone jack for media playback. Most interestingly, it looks like the Courier will also serve as Microsoft's e-book device, with a dedicated ecosystem centered around reading. It all sounds spectacular, but all we have for a launch date is "Q3 / Q4", and we have no idea how much it's going to cost, so we're trying to maintain a healthy skepticism until any of this gets official -- call us any time, Microsoft."

OMG! Awesome! I can't wait to get my hands on one of these, this is what Apple should have come up with, hopefully Microsoft go through with it and all the proposed features. Cost is no issue, I want one!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

'Alone' - Dan Black

This is some creative vid, and one of many great songs off his latest album 'Un'.

Sydney Tower Skin - Laboratory for Visionary Architecture

"An interesting concept for retrofitting buildings in Sydney has been shared with us thanks to Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA). This innovative plan, which is sustainable and cost effective, is known as “re-skinning”, and can easily be applied to other aging icons around the world. LAVA developed a simple skin for the University of Technology [UTS] Broadway Tower that promises to transform it into a sustainable and stunning building. “The speculative project, ‘Tower Skin’, offers a unique opportunity to transform the identity, sustainability and interior comfort of the once state-of-the-art building,” said Chris Bosse, Australian director of LAVA.

The three-dimensional lightweight, high performance composite mesh textile acts as a high performance ‘micro climate’. The skin generates energy with photo-voltaic cells, collects rain water, improves day lighting and uses available convective energy to power the towers’ ventilation requirements. Surface tension allows the membrane to freely stretch around walls and roof elements achieving maximum visual impact with minimal material effort. In the evening time, the Tower Skin becomes a dynamic sculpture on Sydney’s skyline, an intelligent media surface, communicating information such as performances and campus events in real time."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Copenhagen Wheel: the Swiss Army Knife of Bike Wheels

"The Copenhagen Wheel, unveiled by MIT students at the COP15 Climate Change Conference, may not look like anything special. But in reality, it’s a treasure trove of bicycle wheel technology, complete with a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), sensors, a smart lock, and a Bluetooth connection to the rider’s iPhone.

The KERS system is activated when the user brakes. Energy from the braking action is stored in the wheel, where it can be recovered by an electric motor for later use. The wheel’s onboard sensors monitor bike speed, distance traveled, direction, pollution levels, and proximity of friends on the road. All info collected by the sensors is sent via Bluetooth to the rider’s iPhone, which can be mounted on the handlebars for easy access.

Worried about using such a high-tech wheel in theft-prone cities? The Copenhagen Wheel’s smart lock sends a text message to users if someone tries to steal the bike, greatly decreasing the likelihood of a successful theft.

The wheel is expected to go into production next year at a price comparable to that of standard electric bikes. The city of Copenhagen might even use bikes retrofitted with the wheel as a substitute for city employee cars — a lofty goal, but one that could help Copenhagen become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital city by 2025."

NewActon Apartments Aim to Be the Greenest in Australia

"NewActon Nishi is a new apartment complex in the middle of Canberra that is aiming to be Australia’s greenest residential development. But don’t go thinking that this will be a boring ‘green building’. NewActon Nishi will feature a sexy minimalist aesthetic in addition to some exciting eco-conscious features.

NewActon Nishi is currently being developed by the Molonglo Group and was designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects in association with Suppose Design Office, Oculus, and Arup. When it is completed it will be the third in a series of buildings that form part of the very green NewActon Precinct.

The project is a mixed-use development with 280 units and 20,000 square meters in office space, as well as galleries, shops, cafes and, wait for it, wait for it – a sake bar! The building will be a showcase of sustainability and is attempting to achieve an 8.6 NatHERS rating out of 10 (trust me, this is hard), relying heavily on passive design. As part of their sustainability goals, they plan to involve artists, craftspeople and designers in creating the look and feel of an ‘├╝ber-cool’ village."

Eternal Ice Drop - 5.5 Designers for Hennessy

"Encapsulated in a glass drop, the imprisoned water freezes after a few hours in the freezer then spreads its coolness through the glass by finding its liquid state. Beyond its sustainable and reusable aspect, this object has a not unimportant consequence over the moment of the tasting of a good Cognac. Certain consumers, if they like the effect cooling some ice cube on their drink, do not like that by melting ice cubes alter the taste of this one, by dilution. Furthermore, the action of the cold tends to break certain aromas of the Cognac. This mode of cooling, lighter than a traditional ice cube, represents then an ideal solution to lead the cognac to the good temperature of tasting."