Friday, November 28, 2014

Windows 10 features to be fully revealed in Microsoft's January demo

Are you giddy to finally get to see Microsoft's latest version of Windows, big number 10? Well, then you may be excited to find out that the first official, full reveal of consumer features and all the new things we can hope to expect will be coming around in January. Mark your calendars, techies -- Apple-bags and Linux nuts need not apply!

What will we be seeing with the big Microsoft unveiling in the coming months? One of the biggest features that has been catching the attentions of news sites all over the world is the fancy new Continuum touch input interface, which certainly promises to change the way we're used to using PCs. The future isn't looking too good for keyboard and mouse hardwares, in my opinion. If you got stock in Razr, cash out while you can!

The new Windows 10 will now also seamlessly mesh with the Xbox One, as we saw in announcement of Xbox Music coming together with Microsoft OneDrive cloud hosting ware. While 8.1 users are pining for free upgrades (or at least free downgrades to 7), Windows 10 promises to be make a splash. Keep your eyes peeled for the launch date sometime in mid 2015.

NASA hires people to lay in bed 70 days straight for $18k

A patient hosted in a NASA study room
If you want to earn a quick buck, there may be no better way to do it than to literally lay down and do nothing. Think I'm kidding? Then you'll be surprised to know NASA will fork up just under $200 a day to see you, well, lay in bed. So long as you don't stand up, you will be fulfilling the payment criteria! Of course, this is all easier said than done, and laying down for 70 days has got to be a god awful way to spend your time -- but at least participants will still be able to use the internet!

So why is NASA interested in all this doing nothing anyways? Well, the fact of the matter is that your body isn't really doing nothing; all the while, it's working away at adapting to your physical needs and environment, which in this case is 'not much' and 'in a bed.' When you get back up after such a stint, your body is not quite the same as one that has been getting constant motion for the same duration.

This mimics the durations of rest astronauts will be getting, and that is valuable information for NASA scientists. When an astronaut reaches a planet, they will need to be able to perform certain tasks like lifting and moving heavy objects, operating machinery, etc. That's why NASA asks participants to perform duplicate tasks during their recovery phase from the test. NASA gains valuable knowledge, and people get paid. Everyone wins!

Interested in putting your name in? Here's the application.

Retro adventure game 'Space Age' app for iPhone and iPad -- worth the $4

Space Age iPhone and iPad adventure game app
Space Age game play
If you are looking for a neat little app to download to your iPhone or iPad, you can't go wrong with the new Space Age game. It's a little sci-fi space adventure, where you colonize a planet in retro, old-school pixel style. You mine for resources, you meet intelligent alien natives on the planet, and you even have some trippy out-of-this-world experiences where you stumble through your past and your future.

If it sounds like a complicated cloud of ideas, it's because it is. Despite being a quaint little pixel game that tried to stay true to the simplistic adventures of the past, it shines through as a real gem with well-designed written all over it. All this from an app you can download for four bucks made by three guys. My judgment: totally worth it.

Video of Space Age trailer and game play below:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Google Chromecast gets new host of partners: Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, more

If you are smart enough to buy one of Google's Chromecast devices, then you'll probably be excited to hear that Google has partnered up with some big names in the entertainment industry to bring you even more content than before. With the Chromecast dongle plugged into your television, you can stream Comedy Central, TuneIn Radio, Sesame Street Go, and Nickelodeon -- whenever you want! Best part is, that's not all you can stream, either. Load up your cloud storage or personal hard drive, and open it in Chrome, then stream it via Chromecast. Boom!

The price for a Chromecast is a sweet $35, which is much more manageable a cost than television subscription services and all that. Though Chromecast is not as versatile as cable or TV and movie streaming yet, it is well on its path to surpassing them. Even in the worst-case scenario, it can still stream your Chrome window, so you can watch bootleg copies via Chromecast!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Streamed cloud computing -- the future of the PC?

Streamed cloud computing: nvidia
The trouble with personal computers has always been that when you make it personal, you will inevitably be stripping it down to the cheapest parts -- that is just the laws of economics in action. The relatively cheap computers can never be on par with those marked up several thousands of bucks... for now, that is.

Clever groups have been working on a solution to this hardware issue: streamed cloud computing. Of course, we can already access some software, files, data, etc., on remote devices thanks to the cloud already, but that's not the brilliant part here. The hardware will essentially be a server-end issue, meaning your computer only has to do a fraction of the work (i.e., the streaming).

This could allow for significantly cheaper and smaller devices than the ones we are used to today, as well as allowing for advanced software to run on relatively primitive, fundamental, or basic computers like membranes and films. Think of the future, where you can play World of Warcraft on your shirt, or Photoshop doodle all over a wall. Maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself, but the applications are endless!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Moleskine Smart Notebook lets you draw on paper and upload it to the cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud connected Moleskine Smart Notebook
Woah dude, it's like, a tablet, man -- except it's PAPER. ຈل͜ຈ
Moleskine is trying to make headway in the digital art game by offering a new "smart notebook" that allows you to draw on real paper, just like any other sketchbook, and then instantaneously upload it to the cloud via Adobe Creative Cloud. The notebook comes designed with four dots that essentially form a grid on the page in which to draw, and that is what is uploaded to the Moleskine iOS companion app.

Sounds like a bit of a convoluted idea, sure -- who wants to pay for a notebook that does exactly what any old notebook and scanner can do? Since smartphone camera technology is improving so quickly, a smartphone camera could do the job, even. It's not like iPhone cameras are suffering that badly (cue droidsters).

That's not the point for some artists, though. Considering the price is just over $30 for a notebook that can accurately upload your hand-drawn images to the cloud, with little to no wait time, it's not a bad deal. I mean, I pay that much for going out to eat sometimes! My only beef is that it won't be released in time for the holidays.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Want to build a high-powered t-shirt cannon? Then KinectKannon is for you

KinectKannon t-shirt cannon
I have come for John Connor.
Yeah, maybe it doesn't sound like much: a t-shirt cannon. Whoopdy-doo, it can shoot t-shirts at people, yaaaaay.

Well, maybe that is its only function, but that doesn't mean it can't do a lot of other really neat things as well. For starters, let's talk about the power this sucker's packin'. High PSI CO2 tanks are used to power the shot, so that means it could probably blow a body part off if handled incorrectly -- but for some reason, that just makes it seem even cooler.

The madness doesn't stop there. The cannon can track your movements, which means that no matter where you try to run, it will find you. Doesn't even matter if you flick the light switch on it, because it can see in the dark, too. Yup, it has the advantage over puny, feeble humans even in pitch black darkness.

How does it do all this? Using the Kinect, of course! Yup, that little video game accessory is starting to look a lot more like a DIY tool. Speaking of DIY, you can build an awesome t-shirt cannon yourself, thanks to Microsoft's Steven Edouard and his open source code. I would advise, though, that you think a bit about what it will entail, safety-wise, and whether or not you're up to the challenge.

Always be safe, kids! [/afterschoolspecial]