Tag Archives: Toys

Shave a tarantula with Weird Al Yankovic app

Weird Als When I Grow Up

Let Weird Al read your kid to sleep with a bedtime story.

(Credit:
Harper Collins Children’s Books)

From the same man who brought us the songs “Nature Trail to Hell” and “Trigger Happy” comes an iOS app geared for kids. The Al Yankovic: When I Grow Up app expands on the Weird Al children’s picture book of the same name.

The picture book portion is chock full of interactive Easter eggs that can be found by swiping, tapping, and turning the device. The story itself is a breezy and creative look at a young boy considering his career options. Snail trainer? Giraffe milker? Anything is possible.

Choose between the read-it-yourself option or have Weird Al read the story in his own enthusiastic way. This may or may not scar your kids for life.

There are several mini-games built into the app that are just challenging enough to keep an adult occupied for a few minutes. I sucked at being a masseuse for gorillas, but I pulled off the tarantula shaving pretty well.

The introductory price for the app is set at $2.99. You’ll get the most bang for your buck with the iPad version. The extra screen space gives you room to explore the illustrations and tackle the games.

It’s OK if you download this app even if you don’t have kids. Just crank up “White Nerdy” and try your hand at the Xtreme Snail Race.

Weird Al tarantula shaving game

Tarantula shaving: Don’t try this in real life.

(Credit:
Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET)

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20073408-1/shave-a-tarantula-with-weird-al-yankovic-app/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

Amazon’s tablet to launch in August?

It appears Amazon will have its much-anticipated
tablet on the market to challenge Apple before the end of the year.

Taiwan-based component makers say the online retailer will launch a tablet PC as early as August, with global sales for 2011 pegged at 4 million units, according to a report from tech site DigiTimes. With monthly orders expected to hit 700,000 to 800,000 units a month, the tablet’s launch is timed to take advantage of the pre-Thanksgiving shopping rush, DigiTimes’ sources pointed out.

Taiwan-based Quanta Computer has reportedly already received orders from Amazon to build the retail giant’s first tablet PC. The new tablet will apparently use E Ink’s Fringe Field Switching LCD technology, suggesting it will be a color LCD touch panel (a departure from the black-and-white E-ink Kindles we’ve seen to date).”

Sources said that Amazon has been under pressure to release a tablet to compete with the
iPad since Kindle sales haven’t done well outside of North America and Europe. A new tablet would also tap into Amazon’s recently opened AppStore and its new Amazon Cloud Drive.

When asked last month by Consumer Reports about the possibility of Amazon selling its own tablet, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos cagely replied, “stay tuned.” Bezos also said during the interview that if Amazon were to do a tablet, it wouldn’t replace the Kindle but be sold alongside it.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20073171-93/amazons-tablet-to-launch-in-august/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

Researchers getting closer to ‘everlasting battery’

Electrical energy could one day be generated from touching piezoelectric thin films.

(Credit:
Advanced Functional Materials)

Smartphones,
tablets, and other devices have advanced significantly in power and functionality during the last decade, yet one draining issue remains: battery life.

Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne and Australian National University have made a crucial advancement in the quest to create a perpetual battery.

In a report published in the June 21 issue of Advanced Functional Materials, the group–led by Arnan Mitchell, with assistance from Madhu Bhaskaran, Sharath Sriram and Simon Ruffell–demonstrates how applying mechanical pressure to thin piezoelectric film can generate electricity for a wide range of portable electronics.

According to the report, the combination of piezoelectric nanomaterials and thin-film technology creates a massive opportunity for humans to naturally deliver energy to power-hungry equipment.

Can you imagine not having to worry about needing to recharge?

In a quote to Physorg.com, Bhaskaran describes how integrated piezoelectrics “could be integrated into running shoes to charge mobile phones, enable laptops to be powered through typing or even used to convert blood pressure into a power source for pacemakers.” The group has also hinted at this combined technology being cooked into a touch screen, which would allow our taps and swipes to produce energy for a battery. I’m sure many of you smartphone addicts would keep your devices’ batteries at 100 percent if that were the case.

Bhaskaran believes the key to accelerating this technology into the mainstream lies in thin-film coating (combined with piezoelectric nanomaterials), which solves the existing riddle of making this technology cost-effective for mass production. However, challenges remain. Finding a way to strengthen the energy generated by piezoelectric materials, while keeping cost and size down, is still on the drawing board.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20073022-1/researchers-getting-closer-to-everlasting-battery/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

Nokia introduces N9 smartphone

AllThingsD

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said that he has increasing confidence the company will ship its first Windows Phones this year, though significant volumes won’t come until next year.

“We have shifted our organization,” Elop said, speaking at the Nokia Connections event in Singapore. The event was also broadcast over the Internet. “We have a new strategy and we are focused on delivering results.”

Elop’s comments come three weeks after the company warned that sales and earnings would fall well short of expectations. As he noted when he spoke at our D9 conference earlier this month, Elop noted that the company already has working Nokia devices running a test build of the next version of Windows Phone software.

Nokia announced back in February that Windows Phone, rather than Symbian or MeeGo, would be the company’s main smartphone strategy going forward.

But, given that Nokia is counting on Symbian-based phones to account for nearly all of the company’s smartphone business this year and significant revenue for next year as well, the company spent some time talking about where it is headed on that operating system as well. The company showed its Symbian Anna software running on a current Nokia N8 handset and featuring a number of updates to the software, including improved browsing and brighter icons.

The new software will start shipping on new hardware next month, while existing Symbian phone owners will be able to add the new software in August.

The company plans to introduce as many as 10 new Symbian devices over the next year, Elop said, with plans to offer support and software upgrades through 2016.

Mary McDowell, who heads the unit that focuses on basic mobile phones, also talked about strides the company is making in that part of the business, announcing the company’s third dual-SIM card phone in as many months. The phone, C2-03, is a touchscreen slider phone that has one SIM on the inside and a second slot on the side of the device to easily swap out additional SIM cards. The device will also be the first to bring mapping capabilities to the company’s series 40 phones. Unlike with most smartphones, the maps are loaded onto the phone and the positioning can be done without a data plan.

“We may be late to this party, but we are in full swing now,” McDowell said.

Nokia also introduced the N9, an all touch-screen smartphone based on MeeGo, a mobile version of Linux that had once been Nokia’s platform of the future. Although it is moving away from MeeGo for smartphones, the company had said it would release a single MeeGo phone and also maintain experimental development work on the platform.

“With the N9 we wanted to design a better way to use the phone,” said Nokia Senior VP of Design Marko Ahtisaari.

The phone, with its curved screen, is designed to be easily used in one hand, Ahtisaari said. Users can easily swipe between a notification window, a start screen and a window with open applications.

Although it uses a separate operating system from Nokia’s past Symbian and future Windows Phone devices, the N9 is capable of running applications for QT, an environment that has shipped on more than 100 million devices.

The N9 boasts high-definition video capture and an 8-megapixel still camera that boasts a wide aperture for taking photos in low light. The phone’s body is machined out of a single piece of polycarbonate, a material that the company says offers the best antenna.

“Unlike some competitor products you don’t need to hold it a special way to make reliable phone calls,” Ahtisaari said. The phone will come in black, cyan and magenta.

The device uses near-field communications (NFC) technology to allow the N9 to be paired with Bluetooth speakers or a headset just by touching the device to the accessory in question.

“We’re going to be launching the N9 later this year,” Elop said, but said that pricing and other details will come later.

Story Copyright (c) 2011 AllThingsD. All rights reserved.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-20072816-94/nokia-introduces-n9-smartphone/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

The 404 843: Where we got the band back together (podcast)


(Credit:
Today I Found Out)

After a week of trips back and forth from L.A., all three of us are back together again, and I’m personally glad to be back because somebody has to step up and defend Los Angeles!

After sticking up for the West Coast, we’re also talking about a dating Web site for beautiful people getting hacked, KFC’s latest monstrosity, and five fake sounds in tech to make stupid people feel better.

Plus we review some of the latest movies in theaters now, including Green Lantern, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Super 8!

The 404 Digest for Episode 843

Episode 843

Listen now:

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Article source: http://www.cnet.com/8301-13952_1-20072667-81/the-404-843-where-we-got-the-band-back-together-podcast/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave

New Mac Pros, Minis due this summer

Apple is getting ready to unveil new Mac Pros and Mac Minis with more Intel hardware inside, sources tell my colleague Brian Tong.

The new computers will be powered by Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor architecture and will ship by the beginning of August, the sources say. The gadgets will also feature Thunderbolt data ports, Intel’s high-speed connector technology, and Mac OS X Lion, the source said.

It’s unknown whether cosmetic changes are in the works, and no other information about specifications or configurations was available.

The update would be in keeping with changes Apple made its line of iMacs in May, when it added Intel’s second-generation quad-core Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs (former code-named Sandy Bridge) as well as Thunderbolt data ports. They also match updates Apple made to the MacBook Pro line earlier this year.

Thunderbolt debuted with the updated MacBook Pros and offers a new, bidirectional data port designed to simplify external device connections to laptop and desktop computers. The standard supports both data and video throughput simultaneously with the appropriate connectors.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-20072462-37/new-mac-pros-minis-due-this-summer/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave