Tag Archives: Technology. Electronics

Verizon’s Samsung Galaxy Nexus gets Android 4.1

Jelly Bean on the Galaxy Nexus: Better late than never, right?

(Credit:
Verizon)

Nearly two weeks after Sprint announced its Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for their Galaxy Nexus, Verizon has followed suit.

The carrier announced today that it will start rolling out Jelly Bean to
Galaxy Nexus phones.

As is the case with other
Android 4.1 updates, the Galaxy Nexus will benefit from enhanced notifications, Google Now, smarter widgets, and more. Verizon has a support page set up for users which outlines all of the minutiae and might be worth a quick glance for those not up on their Jelly Bean game.

It’s frustrating for some that Verizon has taken this long to deploy 4.1 to the phone, especially considering that the carrier was the first in the U.S. to offer the then-cutting edge phone. Nevertheless, the JRO03O update is finally here and ready to download. Galaxy Nexus owners are advised to connect to Wi-Fi and navigate to Settings About Phone System Updates to start the update process.

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‘World’s thinnest house’ gets closer to big opening


Etgar Keret’s House is situated in the crack between buildings on 22 Chlodna St. and 74 Zelazna St. in Warsaw, Poland.

(Credit:
Centrala)

Good news for giraffes! Construction has started on a house that’s being called the world’s narrowest.

The dwelling — located in a passageway between two buildings in Warsaw, Poland’s Wola district — measures 47 inches at its widest point and 27 inches at its thinnest.

Polish architect Jakub Szczesny of the architecture collective Centrala conceived of the super-slender abode for acclaimed Israeli writer Etgar Keret, who will live and work in the space for part of the year.

When Keret’s not using the home, artists and intellectuals from around the world will be invited to stay there for days and weeks at a time.

The home’s steel exterior looks like a capsule lodged between two buildings. Inside, amazingly, inhabitants will find all the amenities — except, of course, for a 60-inch flat-panel TV.

Nearby buildings will provide electricity, and the little roost will rely on an independent, boat-inspired water and sewage system, according to Architizer. Remote control stairs will flatten against a wall and pop out when inhabitants want to venture outside for a yoga class.

Szczesny says living in Etgar Keret’s House will require a “spaceship-like adaptability.” But that’s why it’s being built for artists and thinkers, as it’s “intended to stimulate the inhabitants with the unusual feeling of being restricted by their surroundings,” explains ITN News.

Etgar Keret’s House is slated to open in mid-October. It probably won’t prove a comfortable venue for parties, unless the guests have really expansive minds and can hold their breath.

Amazingly, Etgar Keret’s House has several distinct rooms.

(Credit:
Centrala)

This is what it looks like when the steel frame of a super-slim house gets carried by crane.

(Credit:
Centrala)

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Oppo unveils two new Blu-ray players

The updated BDP-103 now includes HDMI inputs with MHL compatibility for devices like the Samsung Galaxy S III or Roku Streaming Stick

(Credit:
Oppo)

Rewind the clock back five years and Oppo was the “go to” brand for DVD players, with the Oppo DV-981HD one of the best models available at the time. Then Blu-ray happened, and Oppo saw little initial competition for its first Blu-ray player. But since 2009, the Blu-ray player market has shrunk: titans like Sony and Panasonic no longer make premium players and instead opt for cookie cutter “wedges” with plasticky build quality, and yet good performance and cheap prices.

Oppo has stuck to its design and philosophical guns, and has now released its third set of players, the BDP-103 and BDP-105. Like before, the two 3D players are universal and play pretty-much-everything-but-LaserDisc and will also stream many file types from your network (MP3/WAV/FLAC etc).

Another thing that hasn’t changed is the price, with the BDP-103 the same $499 the first BDP-83 was, while the upgraded BDP-105 is even more costly than before at $1199. These prices could present a challenge to customers now used to buying Blu-ray players at the supermarket.

The 4K resolution is all the rage, and the players will upscale to the new resolution and incorporate a good deal of picture processing with custom dual-core SoC and the latest Marvell Qdeo video processor.

The Oppos also include smart TV streaming functionality with access to Netflix, VUDU, Film Fresh, Pandora and YouTube, and the company promises more services are on the way.

As universal players, the focus on Oppo machines has always been on both audio and video quality, and that hasn’t changed. The BDP-103 provides a 7.1 channel analog output and this actually quite uncommon on competitive players as they have shrunk in size.

The biggest change, though, is to the BDP-105 which now sports two ESS Sabre32 Reference DACs, a newly designed Toroidal linear power supply, dedicated stereo outputs with both RCA and XLR balanced connections, and a headphone amplifier connected directly to the DAC. The Oppo BDP-105 can also be used as an external DAC with two HDMI inputs (rare on a DAC) and an asynchronous USB input as well. In addition, the cheaper BDP-103 also includes dual HDMI inputs and if you’re looking to buy the new Roku stick, or have a phone with Mobile High-definition Link (MHL) capability you can connect it to the front-mounted HDMI port on both devices.

The BDP-103 is expected in October while the BDP-105 is not anticipated to arrive until the end of 2012.

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Emoticon celebrates 30 years :-)

This screensaver by 3D Smilie Guys has stylized modern animations of all types of “emoticons.”

(Credit:
3D Smilie Guys)

Simple typography thatΒ  started out as a colon, dash, and parenthesis has now grown up and blossomed into a massive array of features, moods, and gestures. Who would have thought that a happy face πŸ™‚ could ever lead to rock horns m/, or tongue-tied :-, or just a simple heart 3?

Today, the emoticon turns 30.

In was on September 19, 1982 that Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott Fahlman first typed out the emoticon happy face on an online computer science board, according to Carnegie Mellon.

This is precisely what he wrote:

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:

πŸ™‚

Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use

πŸ™

The idea caught on and spread to other universities and eventually to the rest of the Web. And not only did it spread, it morphed into hundreds of different emotions, like grumpy, drunk, and embarrassed. There are even impersonator emoticons, like Elvis, John Lennon, and Homer Simpson, and they’re found on Gmail, the iPhone, and most other typeface platforms.

It’s safe to say that today the emoticon is truly ubiquitous. Fahlman never imagined that what he started 30 years ago could ever grow to become so incredibly popular.

“It was ten minutes of my life,” he told the Telegraph earlier this month. “I expected my note might amuse a few of my friends, and that would be the end of it.”

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iPhone dock extender solves the problem of bulky cases


Finally, a simple way to solve the problem of bulky iPhone cases.

Finally, a simple way to solve the problem of bulky iPhone cases.

(Credit:
All4Cellular)

All the hullabaloo over the iPhone 5’s new dock connector reminds me of a problem I had long before Apple’s Lightning struck.

See, my
iPhone 4S lives inside a case just bulky enough that it won’t fit in most docks. Consequently, I can’t easily charge my phone or listen to music via one of the many speaker docks scattered around my house. I’d have to take the iPhone out of the case every time, and that’s way too big a hassle.

So, what, am I supposed to switch to a smaller case? Or go with no case at all? (That’s a gravity-powered disaster waiting to happen.) Help me, universe!

Here’s help: the Apple iPhone/iPad/iPod Dock Extender, available from All4Cellular for $6.95 (plus $2 for shipping). It’s available in your choice of black or white.

True to its name, this little adapter adds a little space between your case-ensconced dock connector and the dock itself, thus making it possible for an iPhone,
iPod Touch, or even an
iPad to get connected.

Not bad for nine bucks, eh? Actually, if you scope out eBay and don’t mind waiting on international shipping, you can find similar adapters for as little as $3 shipped.

If you’ve had any experience with these dock extenders, good or bad, leave a comment. I’m still waiting for mine to arrive, but it looks to me like an ideal solution to a nagging problem.

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Sony unveils super slim PlayStation 3


The newest PlayStation 3 on the block. (Click to enlarge.)

(Credit:
Sony Computer Entertainment America)

Sony unveiled a smaller, lighter PlayStation 3 at the Tokyo Game Show on Friday, a redesign of its aging console that sports a thinner look and larger hard drive capacities.

Two flavors of the redesigned
PS3 arrive this fall in the U.S.: a $269 250GB super slim PS3 option lands on September 25 that includes Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (game of the year edition) and downloadable content for Dust 514; a $299 500GB slimmer PS3 version sneaks in on October 30 and comes bundled with Assassin’s Creed III.


The new PS3 comes to the U.S. first in a 250GB Uncharted 3 bundle. Take note of the new silver stand for vertical placement. (Click to enlarge.)

(Credit:
Sony Computer Entertainment America)

According to the PlayStation blog, the new PS3 design sits 20 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than the existing model. Think of it as a lovechild between the previous two hardware iterations. The aesthetics appear rather low-key, with minor gloss near the edges and a ridged top panel. For the first time, the new PS3 does not use a slot-loading disc drive but instead a sliding door panel to top load discs.

Meanwhile, in Europe, gamers can buy the aforementioned packages on September 28, with an additional region-specific super slim PS3 that contains a 12GB flash hard drive (and room to expand via an official mounting bracket). No word if that SSD-equipped model arrives in the States, which seems unlikely as it went unmentioned by PlayStation’s U.S. arm. We also spotted a white super slim PS3 coming to Japan in late November with no word of release outside of Sony’s motherland.

The emergence of a slimmer PS3 verifies a leak from the Brazilian FCC that emerged in July, which also accurately stated the hard drive capacities that arrived today.


Another angle of the redesigned super slim PS3. (Click to enlarge.)

(Credit:
Sony Computer Entertainment America)

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