Monday, February 27, 2006

Mobile tracking devices on trial


BBC NEWS | Programmes | Click | Mobile tracking devices on trial: "Your mobile phone is a beacon - a radio transmitter in a box. Therefore it is possible to trace the signal and work out where it is.

There are now several web companies which will track your friends' and family's phones for you, so you always know where they are.

But just how safe is it to make location details available online?

There are several reasons why you may want to track someone. You may be a company wanting to keep tabs on employees during work hours, or a parent wanting to check up on a child's whereabouts.

These sorts of tracking services, now available in the UK, get information from the network about which cell your phone is currently in, and, for a small fee, display the location on an online map.

As well as checking where a certain phone is right now, you can run scheduled lookups, or snail trails, to record the phone's movements throughout the day, and produce a report for you to peruse at your leisure.

Obviously you cannot just enter any mobile phone number and expect to track someone.

First of all you need to prove your identity, via a credit card, and then, crucially, the owner of the phone in question needs to consent to being tracked.

The owner is sent a text message telling them about the tracking request, to which they must reply. "

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Asus dreams up modular PC of the future


Asus dreams up modular PC of the future | Reg Hardware: "Asus has shelved plans to develop the PC of the future - literally. The Taiwanese vendor's Green PC concept computer, shown to Reg Hardware this week, is just that: a shelf. And some clever wireless connectivity and non-contact inductive power source.

asus green pc concept system

Asus' design breaks the computer down into a series of interchangeable modules. It imagines the machine's hard drives, optical units, memory, processor, graphics engine, network interface, Wireless USB adaptor and so on, shipping as a mix of square full-size boxes and half-size units. To build a Green PC, you just stack as many of these as you need on the shelf-like base unit.

The idea is that all the modules communicate wirelessly to discover what capabilities each can offer, and then start exchanging data. The units draw power from the base through induction.

asus green pc concept system

Markus Wierzoch of the company's Asus Design division admitted the concept doesn't yet exist as a working prototype, but he maintained that if technology evolves the way the company expects it to, building such a machine will be feasible in the future. That said, he didn't provide a date when Asus expects that point to be reached.

It's all a bit science fictional, of course, but inductive power transfer is a reality and has been used to re-charge notebooks and other devices wirelessly. A high-frequency oscillating electromagnetic field in the base generates a current in a receiver built into each component unit. It's broadly the same way a power transformer works, with a primary coil generating a current in a secondary coil, the difference between the number of loops in each coil governing the change in voltage.

The wireless connectivity is possible through something like ultrawideband (UWB), but Asus will have to wait for data transfer rates to get significantly faster before wireless technology can be used to, say, send information back and forth between the CPU and memory.

Of course, there's no reason why, in the near term, the units might not connect physically to the base unit through built in power and data connectors.


Asus also showed us a concept notebook which uses many of the modules that might be included in the shelf system. Standardised form factors would ensure your hard drive could be pulled from one and slotted into the other, for example. It could even double-up as an MP3 player, the company suggested.

It also said it foresees a time when new modules - perhaps even ones acquired on a lease rather than bought outright - will be delivered within half an hour of the order going through, rather like pizzas are delivered today.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

NYC balks at skyscraper escape pods


NYC balks at skyscraper escape pods - Engadget: "It's been almost four-and-a-half years since the tragedy of September 11th, and yet the city whose two greatest structures were toppled has done very little to address safety in existing skyscrapers, and has even denied building permits to an Israeli company looking to test their innovative escape pod system in Manhattan. Escape Rescue Systems, spurred by the ineffective building evacuation methods as demonstrated on 9/11, invented an apparatus wherein a roof-mounted crane lowers five collapsed pods down one face of the structure to await the arrival of emergency personnel. Once firefighters arrive on scene, the stacked pods are expanded one-by-one and climb back up the side of the building, rescuers in tow, to pick up folks evaculating through windows in 150-person waves (5 pods x 30 people/pod- for a video demo, follow the 'Read' link). Even after successful trial runs in Tel Aviv, NYC's Office of Emergency Management claimed that the system has too many faults--possible confusion by rescuers and chaos by evacuees, spreading fire due to open windows, and risk to pod passengers of being burned on descent--to warrant a permit. Company CEO Jonathan Shimshoni admits that the city's concerns have merit, but argues that the only way to address them and make some progress on this largely-ignored problem is to initiate a pilot program and work out"

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Family abducted before £25m raid


BBC NEWS | UK | England | Kent | Family abducted before £25m raid: "More than £25m in cash has been stolen from a depot in Kent after its security manager and his family were kidnapped by armed robbers posing as police.

The raid was carried out in the early hours of Wednesday at Securitas, in Vale Road, Tonbridge, by at least six men who tied up 15 staff members.

The manager was abducted after being pulled over in his car by what he thought was an unmarked police vehicle.

The Bank of England confirmed the scale of the raid - one of Europe's biggest.

A Securitas spokesman said 'a substantial amount of money running into millions of pounds' had been taken.

He said the exact figure would only be known once a complete audit of the site had been carried out.


This was clearly a robbery that was planned in detail over time
Det Supt Paul Gladstone

The kidnapping of the manager took place at about 1830 GMT on Tuesday.

He was in his silver Nissan Almera on the northbound carriageway of the A249, just past the Three Squirrels public house near Stockbury, when he was pulled over by what he believed was a police vehicle.

He was spoken to by a passenger wearing a high visibility jacket and a police-style hat.

hinking they were genuine police officers, he got into the kidnappers' vehicle where he was handcuffed.

At the same time, the man's wife and young son were taken from their home in Herne Bay after two men claiming to be police officers said he had been involved in an accident.

The depot manager was transferred to a white van, tied up at gunpoint, and then driven to another location where he was told to co-operate or his family would be in danger.

At about 0100 GMT on Wednesday, he was taken by car to the Securitas depot and the raid was carried out.

The balaclava-clad robbers, some of whom had handguns, left at about 0215 GMT.

The staff who had been tied up managed to raise the alarm about an hour later - police officers found them with the manager and his family.

They were all shocked but unhurt and police said they were now recovering from the ordeal.

Securitas spokesman Tony Benson said: "Members of our staff have had inflicted on them the most terrible and traumatic experience.

"The fact that no-one has been physically injured should not mask the brutality of this crime and we are all committed to working with the police to catch those responsible and see justice brought to bear."


Det Supt Paul Gladstone said: "This was a traumatic ordeal for the manager and his family and for all of the staff.

"This was clearly a robbery that was planned in detail over time.

"A very substantial sum of money running into millions of pounds has been stolen and we are determined to bring the robbers to justice."

Police are appealing for information from anyone who may have seen the manager's silver Nissan, or a Volvo or similar vehicle meeting up with a white van.

They also want to trace a 7.5 tonne truck which was used in the robbery itself.

In December 2004 a £26.4m raid at the Northern Bank's Belfast headquarters became the biggest cash heist in UK history.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

It's good to talk… to your car


It's good to talk… to your car - What Car?: "
Nearly half of Britain's motorists regularly talk to their cars, while over a third believe that their cars have feelings.

In a survey of 2000 motorists carried out for the British International Motor Show, 47% admitted to chatting with their cars, giving them words of encouragement and even talking about their personal problems with their cars.

The survey also found that women are more likely to give a name to their car than men. In fact, one in five women prefer to give their car a pet name and not their partner.

Drivers in the South West worry the most about their car's feelings, while Scottish drivers are the least talkative to their cars, where only one in four chat to their motors.

Kirsty Adams, the motor show's organiser said: 'We know that we Brits are passionate about their cars and it is great to see that the bond is so deep.'

The British International Motor Show takes place at London's ExCel from July 20-30. Visit www.britishmotorshow.co.uk for more details."

• 47% of motorists regularly talk to their cars
• 48% of women give their cars names
• Drivers in the South West most talkative

Google denies China licensing claims


PC Pro: News: Google denies China licensing claims: "Google has denied claims by a Chinese newspaper that it does not have the necessary licence to operate inside the country.

The Beijing News said the Google.cn does not have the ICP licence that is a prerequisite for running an Internet service in China. The claim was repeated by the China Business Times.

'Under China's policy framework for the Internet, Google.cn is clearly unlawful,' it said (via Reuters)

Google insisted that the reports are inaccurate. It said that like most other international companies including Yahoo! and eBay it had secured its licence through a partnership with a Chinese firm.

'Google has the required licence to operate the Google.cn service in China,' it said in an email statement.

Chinese authorities said that they were aware of the claims but declined to comment prior to the release of an statement later this week.

Under Chinese laws, foreign Internet companies cannot operate directly but must do so through a local company, which then pays the foreign firm for 'technical support'.

Google has been widely and heavily criticised for acceding to Chinese censorship demands in return for permission to operate in the world's most populous country.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Brokeback Mountain blitzes BAFTAs


Full list of BAFTA winners: "Gay cowboy movie 'Brokeback Mountain' rode off with four BAFTAs last night (19.02.06).

The film won Best Film and Best Adapted Screenplay, while Ang Lee was awarded Best Director, and Jake Gyllenhaal was named Best Supporting Actor.
Lee said: 'I didn't have a specific message. I wasn't trying to push any political issues. We are dealing here with love.

An astonished Gyllenhaal gushed when he collected his prize: 'Who would have thought this would happen.'

'It moved me like no other love story I have ever seen.'

The film was the big success story of the night, despite stiff competition from other Best Film nominees 'Capote', British thriller 'The Constant Gardener', racial drama 'Crash' and George Clooney's 'Good Night, and Good Luck'.

Elsewhere, 'Capote' star Philip Seymour Hoffman walked away with the Best Actor BAFTA for his portrayal of American writer Truman Capote, while Best Actress went to Reese Witherspoon for her role in the Johnny Cash biopic 'Walk The Line'.

It was hoped that critically acclaimed British films 'The Constant Gardener' and 'Pride And Prejudice' would walk away with a number of accolades, but they had to settle for just one each.

Meanwhile, another British film - the big screen claymation adventure 'Wallace And Gromit: The Curse Of The Were Rabbit' - broke out of the anima"

Monday, February 20, 2006

Oyster cards' unexpected function today


Independent Online Edition > Transport: "Oyster cards, the 'smart' little blue thing in London commuters' wallets that enable them to travel at will around the capital, have another, unexpected function. They could also be a one-way ticket to the divorce courts.

For the cards, introduced by the London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, in 2003, don't only let you on to public transport - they also record your every journey. And, private detectives and lawyers report, that is information the suspicious are accessing to track their partner's movements.

And they are increasingly finding that the night she said she was working late in the City, she was actually hopping off the Northern line at Morden, staying there for some hours, before returning to town at 11.17pm. Or when he said he was playing football on Hackney Marshes his informative little Oyster card reveals that he was really catching a bus in Parsons Green."

The use of the cards is the latest weapon in the growing high-tech arsenal of tools used by suspicious partners. A telltale sign such as lipstick on the collar has been replaced by technological snooping such as placing a tracking device on a mobile phone.

Several internet sites now offer mobile phone tracking as a service to worried parents keen to know the whereabouts of their child. But private investigators said spouses who suspect that their partner is cheating are increasingly using mobile phone tracking sites.

Although an SMS message is sent to the mobile that is being tracked confirming the process, if this is deleted before the "target" sees it he or she has no way of knowing they are being followed.

Peter Heims, spokesman for the Association of British Investigators, said technology was transforming the private detective industry.

World’s longest laser invented by Aston University


World’s longest laser invented: "Academics at Aston University in Birmingham, UK have invented the world’s longest laser. They have transformed an optical fibre 75 kilometres long into the laser, which the team hopes will improve long distance transmissions across the World.

The new laser is special because it can transmit light signals over such a long distance without any loss of power, so the signal that is being sent barely deteriorates. When normal telephone conversations or data sent over the internet are converted to light in order to travel through standard optical fibres the signals lose around 5 per cent of their power for every kilometre that they travel. The signals then have to be amplified to ensure that they reach their destination. But any time the signals get amplified, the background noise gets amplified too, until it gets so high the signals can not be understood anymore."

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Richard Lee's new girl friend?

FF:"Richard Lee's new girl friend? She is British & HK mix - Rachel(羅 愛 欣), Richard Lee drove her to work on Valentine's Day, hows sweet~"

How they met?
知 情 人 士 透 露 : 「 Rachel 因 為 做 債 G 分 析 員 , 好 多 時 都 要 夜 晚 十 點 幾 先 收 工 , 42 樓 返 工's Rachel 有 幾 次 放 工 lift 撞 到 小 小 超 , 最 初 小 小 超 以 為 Rachel 唔 識 講 廣 東 話 , 有 次 就 用 英 文 問 佢 『 你 都 好 遲 放 工 喎 ? 』 點 知 Rachel 竟 然 用 廣 東 話 答 佢 『 你 都 好 遲 gel ! 』 , 令 小 小 超 留 下 好 深 刻 ga 印 象 , 之 後 咪 開 始 追 求 佢 law! 」

Friday, February 17, 2006

Bright Feet


Bright Feet - Home: "Now you can easily move handsfree around a darkened house reducing the risk of tripping over objects or running into doors, furniture or anything not easily seen in the dark.

Brightfeet? Lighted Slippers are nightlights for your feet. They are ideal for night time trips to the bathroom, kitchen, kid’s room or anywhere in your house! Power outage? Use Brightfeet? to locate candles, flashlights and other emergency lighting sources.

Comfortable and convenient, Brightfeet Lighted Slippers make the perfect gift for any occasion!

Copyright Boston Ideas, LLC 2005
Patent Pending"

pee-tree by Joanita Herrenknecht


pee-tree by Joanita Herrenknecht: "Today most men tend to swiftly ?go to the corner“ performing their small business, especially in the city. Many men avoid going to the public toilets due to the unpleasant atmosphere, which usually is dark and quite smelly. Because on wildlife hunting-ground men ambitiously love to find an adequate tree for their short basic needs and because in our modern age they tend to substitute these through the ?corners? of our cities, the thought – to bring back the pee-trees – is virtually obtruded. Thus the armoatic malpractice is corrected and a hygenic alternative is provided:

The ?Pee-tree? urinal has the abstracted form and the dimensions of a tree. It’s bright ceramic white is a strong signal and is to be seen from far – making it accessible when in urgent need. The trunk offers a perfect place for messaging, e.g. the common ?I was here? or ?done that? statements, which we all know from Club-toilets. To avoid the odour, the urine is directly flushed down to the underground sewage canal."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

DS web browser and TV tuner announced -


DS web browser and TV tuner announced - Joystiq: "In a press conference scheduled to take place in Japan today, Nintendo announced that a non-firmware web-browser add-on from Opera and a 1Seg Digital TV Tuner add-on will be arriving for the DS in Japan. There's no word yet on bringing these add-ons to the West, though Reggie's hinted at it already.

The Opera software will release in June for roughly $32. Additional items of note include a May Japanese release date for New Super Mario Brothers (helloooo, import), a budget price for Tetris DS, the announcement of several games like Calligraphy Training DS and a cooking title, footage shown from Children of Mana and Xenosaga Episode 1-2, and 'brief talk' concerning games such as Super Robot Wars, Dynasty Warriors, and Winning Eleven Nine (with the latter two titles getting Wi-Fi support).

More photos are available at the DS Advanced page linked via the image above (and the Read link below), as well as from the story on ITmedia and Watch Impress. A brief PR summary on Bloomberg has also been released, but a meaty DS Conference talk with slides (most likely from Satoru Iwata) has been provided on the Japanese Nintendo site here."

Smoking ban in all pubs and clubs


BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | Smoking ban in all pubs and clubs: "MPs have voted by a huge margin to ban smoking from all pubs and private members' clubs in England.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said the change, expected to take effect in summer 2007, would 'save thousands of people's lives'.

Ministers gave a free vote amid fears Labour MPs could rebel against plans to exempt clubs and pubs not serving food.

The Commons decided by a margin of 200 to impose a ban on smoking in all enclosed public spaces."

Sunday, February 12, 2006

'Sexercise' yourself into shape


BBC NEWS | Health | 'Sexercise' yourself into shape: "The NHS has some new advice for people struggling to schedule a fitness routine into their daily lives - a workout between the sheets.

According to the NHS Direct website, 'sexercise' can lower the risk of heart attacks and helps people live longer.

Endorphins released during orgasm stimulate immune system cells, which also helps target illnesses like cancer, as well as wrinkles, it states.

Sexual health experts said such claims could not be scientifically proven.

'It's good to see the NHS are promoting sexual wellbeing,' Dr Melissa Sayer told the Guardian newspaper.

'Yes, there is evidence that sex has benefits for mental wellbeing, but to say there is a link with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer is taking the argument too far.'

NHS Direct, however, told the paper the content was 'backed by science and clinical evidence' and 'isn't just a bit of fun'."

Adventure Quest RPG - FREE RPG Game


Adventure Quest RPG: "A massive battle with the Undead is happening right now! If you win, the new Paladin Class will be released."

< Play NOW >

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Bitter love for Japanese Valentine’s


News.3Yen.com - News on Japan - Japanese News: "Bitter love for Japanese Valentine’s: that is, Japanese women are required to give chocolates to men for Japanese Valentine’s Day—men don’t give anything.
Poor Japanese women age from 14 to 40 must give their bosses, male colleagues, boyfriends and teachers on February 14th as part of their social duty. That “obligation chocolate is called giri-choco (義理チョコ) which comes from the words giri (obligation) and choco,, (チョコ) the shortened Japanese word for chocolate.

<- There a picture of an employee of Frantz Kobe Sweets showing off the “keys to her heart,'. It’s a perfert example of the opposite of giri-choco called honmei-choco—the real thing chocolate (for love)"

Eason Chan: My Best Era (3CD + Bonus Karaoke DVD) DVD


Eason Chan: My Best Era (3CD + Bonus Karaoke DVD) DVD - YesAsia.com: "Eason Chan remains his status as one of the most popular new generation Canto-pop stars, which was underlined by his phenomenal harvest of numerous music awards in the close of 2005. At the moment he is preparing to kick-off his 2006 Get a Life tour and his brand-new Life Continues album is also due to arrive in the music stores soon. As for those who would like to warm up for Eason's up-coming tour, there's probably no better way than with his 3-CD hit recollection release My Best Era. It includes such memorable tunes like Shall We Talk, 'For Alice' (CD 2 - Track 7), 'Too Few Heartbreaks' (CD 3 - Track 10), and Lonely Christmas among other memorable favorites. What's more, this special edition comes with a bonus DVD that gives all Eason lovers the chance to chant along with their idol as it offers Karaoke subtitles. All things considered, this all-in-one Eason spectacular is sure to keep collectors all over the globe cheering for more!"

SnagIt8 Screen Capture


SnagIt Screen Capture, Camtasia Studio Screen Recorder, Morae Usability Software from TechSmith: "Using SnagIt, you can select and capture anything on your screen and share it with others to visually clarify difficult concepts, create clearer documentation, and give your presentations a professional, dynamic look."

< Download >

Nintendo unveils wireless demos and voice chat for DS


Nintendo unveils wireless demos and voice chat for DS - Engadget: "Been a pretty solid couple of weeks for news for Nintendo and their DS, which will apparently soon get access to some sweet new features to take advantage of its built in WiFi. Beginning in late March DS owners will be able to pick up game demos, trailers, and content for their DS by coming within proximity of DS kiosks installed in Best Buys and GameStops the nation over (downloaded content gets erased the next time the console is shut down), and fans of Metroid Prime: Hunters will also be getting in-game voice chat for battles on Nintendo's multiplayer network. Now if only Nintendo of America would give us a freaking date for the launch of their DS Lite, which they're obviously to help pimp by introducing these services."

Enter the I-Cat, I-Dog Pup, and black/pink I-Dog


Enter the I-Cat, I-Dog Pup, and black/pink I-Dog - Engadget: "Feline fanciers need fret no more about their ability to get an I-pet in the animalia family of their choice, today Tiger Electronics announced the I-Cat, probably in occasion of the American International Toy Fair going down. We know the I-Cat and its newly announced friends -- including the I-Pup (which sits in front of speakers instead of getting line-in), black and pink I-Dogs, and I-Dog Chill set -- may be slightly more palatable to the American toy audience than the I-Fish, but we have to admit that we were a little bummed when the little guppy wasn't announced. Expect kitty and puppy this fall for $30 and $15, respectively, and the new I-Dog colors this spring for $30."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Racing in London


FF:"Racing in London, yeh.. not only Birmingham, OutRun2 SP in London now, Yo~"

Dell/Google may do $1 billion bundling deal


Dell/Google may do $1 billion bundling deal - Engadget: "It's hardly news that Dell has been bundling Google software with PCs, or that the default home page for browsers shipped on some Dell PCs is a co-branded version of Google. Now, however, the two companies are reportedly about to get chummy in an even bigger way. According to reports, Google is hoping to get its software, including the Google Toolbar and Google Desktop Search, preinstalled on up to 100 million Dell PCs, and may be willing to pay as much as a billion dollars for the privilege. Given Google's previous denials about the possibility of rolling out a G-PC, this might be as close as you're going to get to that Google-branded box you've been dreaming about (and, yes, it'll be running Windows, rather than Goobuntu)."

About Gmail - its good to chat


About Gmail: "Check out the latest buzz: our new Gmail chat features. It's rolling out to all Gmail accounts within the next few weeks."

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Lunar new year in London


Hot Udon: "Chinese laterns were switched on by London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Chinese pop star Li Yuchun on Oxford St. to kick off over 100 events across London to celebrate Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dog."

Red Underware


Hot Udon: "A pair of Chinese New Year-themed underwear with the phrase “Wishing you prosperity” emblazoned in Chinese is displayed at a mall in Kuala Lumpur."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Goobuntu: coming soon to a desktop near you?


Engadget: "The rumor mill continues to crank out stories about the Google PC and the Windows-challenging OS it will run. And now that phantom operating system actually has a name: Goobuntu. According to reports, Google has already developed the OS, based on Ubuntu Linux and the Gnome desktop, and may be close to rolling it out. Of course, Goobuntu may actually be just for internal use; Google has in the past admitted to using an internally developed OS for its servers. However, it could be the next step in Google's quest for desktop hegemony. We just hope it runs Google Earth and Picasa, or we're not interested."