Technology


The people over at Instructables.com have come up with a new application for a laser – cutting meat! No, it’s not like whipping out a lightsaber and slicing away (but that would be awesome). Rather, it’s more of a method of programming a small laser attached to a grill. Still, it’s wicked cool!

And what do they do with their accomplishment? Why, cut out the word PETA from a giant slab of meat, thank you!

I’m not sure this counts as irony, but since I’m in the animals-are-food camp it did make me laugh.

Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc. out of [Arnold_Accent=”on”]Cal-i-for-nee-uh[Arnold_Accent=”off”] has developed a flashlight for Homeland Security that can make you throw up.Puke Saber

Yes, throw up.

It’s a multiple LED flashlight that can shine at you while varying the wavelengths of light, causing disorientation, nasuea and even vomiting. FoxNews.com referred to it as the “Barf Beamer”, while the snippet I saw on Slashdot more eloquently called it the “Puke-Saber.”

Personally, I think Puke-Saber is the better name… but either way it would make the old “Train”* prank more interesting!

Still, I think the Homeland Security folks, while I’m sure are quite excited about this new toy, have forgotten one major consequence… this thing makes you barf! Guess having seniority in the DHS just became a little more important, eh? “Oh, man… we had to use the puke-saber again… where’s Karl, the new guy? We need someone to clean this up!”

* Train prank: while someone is sleeping, take a (preferably heavy feather) pillow and flashlight up to them, shine the light into their eyes while simultaneously hitting them with pillow and screaming, “TRAIN!

So I saw on Ars Technica that Blockbuster has decided to back Blu-Ray by opting to only stock Blu-Ray discs in stores now. They are, apparently, still allowing their online customers to choose between DVD, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, though. Which confuses me somewhat… my Boss, for example, uses their Total Access to rent. He gets HD-DVD titles, currently, from their website and at the store when he returns his online rentals and swaps out for a new title. He also does NOT own a Blu-Ray player.

Kinda sounds like their not really wanting to keep all of his business with this new announcement. Sure, you can rent HD-DVD from the web, but if you want Hi Def content at the store, go get a PS3. BUZZZZ!

I just don’t see why enterprises such as Blockbuster – or even the movie studios for that matter (excepting Sony, of course) – want to say, “We choose THIS one!” You immediately alienate a portion of your clientele, forcing them to seek other venues where they can spend their money. Why not keep both formats, if you’re a store? Sure it might cost a little more to stock both (and I’m sure this is BB’s primary motivator), but just purchase a few less copies of each. No one needs to stock 50+ copies of Norbit – in ANY format!

The same goes for those studios who’ve decided to only put out their titles on either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD exclusively. How many households out there in suburbia have both HD players available to them? Scant few, I’m sure. Opting to only release Ghost Rider on Blu-Ray discs eliminates those houses with HD-DVD only. Likewise, putting the Matrix Trilogy out on HD-DVD only robs several hundred (thousand?) movie enthusiasts of the option to own these films in high definition.

Personally, I’m favoring HD-DVD, mostly because I own an HD-DVD player and don’t have a Blu-Ray machine. I’ve talked with a few friends who do and they complain about the quality of the video on their Blu-Ray titles – that even new films like Apocalypto look “grainy.” Regardless of my personal bias and considering the fact that the median price for HD discs is $25 versus the $15 standard DVD bring in, wouldn’t you, as the rental business and/or movie studio¬†want as many opportunities as possible to rake in the lucrative cash that our “Entertain me!” society is so ready to spend?

hddvdbluray1.gif

Everyone now knows about High Definition (HD) content. And this past year the format war re-ignited with HDDVD and Blu-Ray. I’m not going to go into it all but suffice it to say I like HDDVD better than Blu-Ray. Not because it is a higher quality image. People’s eyeballs can’t see the difference if both are properly encoded. Like those “3-D” posters of the dolphins when you take your eyes out of focus; if they say they can see it — they’re lying. But because it makes more sense. It’s cheaper to convert manufacturing. Cost of entry for consumers is lower (if you call $500 for a set-top player lower). And the cases are that cool reddish color. But since the movie houses are split the consumers will have to purchase one and guess who will win.

Until now. What’s changed you ask? The answer my friend is Porn. I don’t mean the amateur videos you see posted on all the dirty YouTube clones. I’m talking about the $14 billion a year “Adult Entertainment” industry. Depending on which tale you subscribe too you get a different reason but the gist of it is that originally they chose Blu-Ray but then received rebuffing from the Blu-Ray distributors about not wanting to license the discs to that type of material. Another version is simply that HDDVD is cheaper to produce. So porn companies are taking their money to HDDVD. Blu-Ray should have played nicer. An almost identical situation occurred back with Betamax and VHS. Betamax was the better quality but the Porn industry went with VHS and so now everyone who bought a Betamax has to keep it in the garage next to their laser discs. The other thing for Sony (the creators of Blu-Ray) to keep in mind… where porn goes, consumers follow. Porn has always been the pioneers of new technology. Does anyone think the Internet would have evolved so quickly without everyone downloading dirty pictures? What force other than maybe Xbox Live has driven so many consumers to adopt broadband connections? It ain’t the Food Network.

Regardless what puritans may think, people like looking at other people naked. That coupled with the fact that people vote with their money (and if it’s cheaper they can vote more often) are indicators that HDDVD has a very good chance of winning. So, whoever can get below the $250 price point first (HDDVD is kinda there with the Xbox 360 addon) and supply movies showing the naughty bits will win.

It’s simple sexonomics.

Last week Apple announced their new iPhone at MacWorld. Everyone cheered. I was a little skeptical. First strike against it? It’s only set up to work on the Cingular (AT&T) network. My wife works for Verizon Wireless. Plus, I used to work for Cingular. Now I mostly just hate them.

Still, the phone seems pretty cool – a cell phone, iPod and PDA-like device all rolled nicely into one well-designed package. Just the way Apple operates. Then I heard the price – $500 for the 4GB model and $600 for the 8GB model… and that’s WITH a 2-year contract!!!

Screw that –¬†they can keep the damn thing for that much money!

Then I saw this video that does an amazing job of demonstrating the product and its many uses.

While I still won’t be purchasing one until they make it available on a reliable cellular network, I have to admit there is a high lust factor for this little gizmo. Well done, Apple, well done indeed.