Next year’s science fair project for the kids: a home-made multi-touch Surface, and what else I’ve read this past week

You can always tell when it’s been a particularly busy week at home and at work… the reading list looks a little thin.  Project reviews, meetings and prep for all sorts of things.

And it’s already June.  How time flies.

New Scientist Technology Blog: Build your own multitouch pad — “Haven’t got $10,000 to buy a Microsoft Surface? The video below shows you how to build your own from an old cardboard box. I like the kindergarten-style construction here – it’s all sticky back plastic and pieces of paper.” 

Next year, my guess is that we will move beyond the standard clay-made volcano with vinegar and baking soda eruptions. 😉


Eee PC-like ultraportables – name that product category – Engadget says that “to the best of our knowledge we’ve all yet to have any normalized, agreed-upon name for these kinds of devices. Yes, they’re technically “ultraportables” (which we usually define as being any relatively small laptop and under four pounds)”

NetflixMC Media Center PC Plugin — A plug-in for watching streaming movies from Netflix via the Windows Media Center PC. (This software is for Windows Vista Media Center and Windows XP MCE, where MyNetflix is Vista only.)

Several European Microsoft engineers talking about their jobs (Tom’s MSDN Belux Corner) — In a previous post Tom “wrote about Microsoft’s European Development Centers. There are several videos on their International Tech Jobs blog that might give you some insights on what they do in those Microsoft development centers…”

OneNote Testing : Life in testing: more about meetings at Microsoft — John shows one side of life at MS, as “about 40% of [his] time was taken by meetings. That’s probably normal for a manager here… Outside of each room is a small screen which shows the room’s agenda for the day…”

DOD close to issuing guidance incorporating the Microsoft SDL (Georgeo Pulikkathara’s Microsoft Blog) May 29, 2008 — Georgeo highlights “steps taken by Microsoft and other industry leaders to help standardize secure software development. The DOD is very close to issuing guidance that will incorporate large portions of the Microsoft SDL…”

Overheard at Dulles Posted by Rick KlauMay 16, 2008At the table next to me at Max & Erma’s in Terminal B last night at Dulles, I heard this voicemail left by a guy who is apparently with a defense contractor…

Teens say they were banned from Apple stores for life, company denies it – The San Jose Mercury News reports that “Four Palo Alto teenagers raised in the heart of Silicon Valley got the scare of their lives when they thought they might be banished from all Apple stores worldwide, for life.”  Ouch.

How To: Search The Consumerist Directory Of Company Email Addresses And Phone Numbers — “Are you trying to escalate a complaint within a company and want to see if we’ve posted any inside email addresses or phone numbers? Try replacing “companynamegoeshere” in the following URLs with the company you’re looking for.”

Something from Dell at D6: Low-cost, mini mobile PC (Dell Blog) — “It’s cute, it’s red, it has a Dell logo, and for many, it’s enough.” “Brian Lam of Gizmodo… caught Michael roaming the halls… “It’s cute, it’s red, it has a Dell logo, and for many, it’s enough.” Brian Lam of Gizmodo… caught Michael Dell showing a new PC…

Early pictures reveal Acer’s next sub-notebook (BetaNews) — By Tim Conneally, BetaNews, May 29, 2008 — Acer’s low-cost sub-notebook lacks firm specifications thus far, but the screen looks to be 8.9″ with 1024 x 768 resolution. Further information is expected to be revealed at the Computex trade show in Taipei…

FileForum | ConvertXtoDVD — ConvertXtoDVD is a software to convert and burn your videos to DVD. In only a few clicks you can backup your movies to DVD playable on any home DVD player. It supports the most popular formats such as Xvid, MOV, VOB, Mpeg, Mpeg4, MP4, AVI, WMV, DV…

Russinovich’s Windows toolkit goes live, quite literally (BetaNews) — Thanks to Mark Russinovich: Sysinternals has made its entire library of .EXE executables and .CHM help files very, very live… from any Windows XP- or Vista-based computer. Go into your command prompt, type \\\tools\procexp.exe

Windows 7 multi-touch SDK being readied for PDC in October (BetaNews) — By Scott M. Fulton, III, May 28, 2008 — “As details continue to emerge about Microsoft’s evidently well-made plans for its next operating system, we learn that full documentation for how multi-touch capabilities will work in Windows…”

EU is second largest videogaming territory (GamesIndustry News) 5/28/08 — According to research compiled by Nielsen Games, the European Union is the second-largest videogaming territory in the world. Gaming generated EUR 7.3 billion (USD 11.4 billion) in the European Union during 2007, compared with EUR 7.4 billion…

Xbox 360 Fanboy blogs

LucasArts teases Wii, DS-exclusive Star Wars games – Joystiq — Our boys are Clone Wars cartoon fans, so happy to see that LucasArts “slapped an ad for a new Wii and DS Star Wars game on the flip-side of the LEGO Indiana Jones manual.”

New Digital Cameras for Amateur Astro-Photographers | Picture Snob – — “The Imaging Source just announced an offering of affordable, low noise astronomy cameras that will help you capture quality images of the night sky… with USB or FireWire connectivity. You can mount them to telescopes for amazing images.”

The 75 Skills Every Man Should Master (Esquire’s list on MSN Lifestyle) — “A man can be expert in nothing, but he must be practiced in many things. Skills. You don’t have to master them all at once. You simply have to collect and develop a certain number of skills as the years tick by. People count on you to come through.”

Customer Service Hall of Shame – MSN Money 528/2008 — Four ‘winners’ from MSN Money’s inaugural list are back — 3 with scores even worse than last year’s. See the 10 companies Americans love to hate. By Karen Aho.

How Truly Scary Are These Common Health Concerns? (MSN Health & Fitness) — Protect yourself and your family, By Dr. Mark Liponis, PARADE Magazine — “We all want to keep our families safe and healthy, but knowing what’s worth worrying about can save your nerves from fraying and help keep you healthier.”

Microsoft Comes To The Senses: Demo at D Conference – — At “All Things Digital” conference, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer demonstrated features in the next OS, Windows 7, “including a touch screen that could be used to manipulate photos, trace routes on a map, or paint pictures.”

Followups: UPS Can’t Find Your Lost Computer, So They’ll Honor Their Insurance Policy — reports that “UPS smashed up his insured computer and then refused to provide any compensation… UPS’ public relations folks reached out [and] agreed to refund $300 of Nick’s shipping costs and to issue “a goodwill payment to him…”

Executive email carpet bombs on — Consumerist provides email addresses for corporate executives that you can use to launch the mighty and feared Executive Email Carpet Bomb.

Executive Email Carpet Bomb: Home Depot’s Extraordinary Service Leads To Free $800 Appliance Upgrade — “Michael launched an Executive Email Carpet Bomb after Home Depot twice failed to deliver an undamaged washer and dryer. Home Depot’s CEO Frank Blake quickly replied and worked with a local store to resolve the issue.”

Microsoft Startup Zone — We cover specific market areas described below on an international basis. Check out our international programs and the exciting new startups from around the globe.

Jie Li’s GeekWorld : Why the clock under Windows 2K/XP/2K3 show “four quick seconds and one slow second”? — “If you click the clock at the right-bottom corner of Windows, it will open a small animated clock, which has seconds showed on it. But if you watch it carefully for a few moment, you will notice that every four seconds are the same length…”

Phoenix Mars Mission – News — May 26, 2008 A telescopic camera in orbit around Mars caught a view of NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander suspended from its parachute during the lander’s successful arrival at Mars Sunday evening, May 25.

USB DJ Plasma Tube gadget — USB DJ Plasma Tube utilizes the latest plasma technology. When music plays, Plasma light will dance along with the rhythm. Get one for your DJ Light show!

Marketplace: Beamz lets you try your hand at music — “A new musical invention for the masses called Beamz is following the popularity of the video games Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace tries it out with G4’s Kevin Pereira.”

Mac Mini gets Steampunk’d – The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) — This Mac Mini was Steampunk’d by “one Dave Veloz for his wife – takes on a Mac Mini and forges a machine that Captain Nemo would be proud to use.” Makes me yearn for metal shop and a free weekend.

aTV: plug and play Apple TV hacking – The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) — A report on aTV Flash, “a USB flash drive [patch] preloaded with software to modify the Apple TV OS [that] hacks your Apple TV to add multiple codec support, SSH access, the Couch Surfer browser, and much more.”

FCC may auction another 25 MHz of spectrum — “The FCC’s Kevin Martin scheduled a vote on rules for another major spectrum auction, one that would encompass 25 megahertz in the 2155-2180 MHz advanced wireless services band and require the winning bidder to offer free broadband service…”

Microsoft’s LaserTouch prototype brings hand control to any display – Engadget — Engadget’s initial coverage of LaserTouch, a prototype from Microsoft Research which “allows people to retrofit any display (monitor, projector, etc.) so that they can use their own hands to control the on-screen action.”

The Cable Show 2008 roundup – Engadget’s reviews of the Cable Show, the cable industry’s biggest event, with a rundown of our coverage.

Rumors indicate Eee Box will be called EBOX, coming June 3 – Engadget — The Inquirer reports on a new desktop PC called the Asus EBOX, thought to be revealed on June 3 at Computex. Specs are hearty: 160GB HDD, 2GB RAM, and a Linux OS. I speculate that like other offerings, I bet it will (eventually) run XP.

Tags: misc, articles, what I read

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