The day is fast approaching when a holodeck in our living room may not be so far-fetched. First shown at CeBIT 2008, the Fitness@home virtual training system (PDF) is a first step toward a simulated reality facility, though we can hear Star Trek fans snorting at its baby steps. Still, this brainchild of Berlin's Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Architecture and Software Technology (FIRST) is the closest we've seen in conjuring up some virtual-reality wizardry to place you anywhere you fancy: Mt. Everest, if you plan to do some serious StairMaster climbing, National Geographic-style; the Beijing Olympics, if … Read more
Want to learn the secrets to creating beautiful HDR photographs? xTrain, a provider of online video training courses has announced a new high dynamic range (HDR) Mastery online video course by Photoshop expert Ben Willmore. HDR is the process of taking a sequence of exposures, allowing you to lighten the underexposed areas and darken the overexposed areas of a digital image to better simulate what the human eye would actually see.
The online course shows learners step-by-step the best practices of creating HDR photos. Students learn how to best choose subjects for HDR, such as watching for movement and clouds, … Read more
Anyone who saw Craver Brian Cooley's video of this bizarre vehicle at last year's Geneva Auto Show will notice that something is conspicuously absent from the photo above: There are no training wheels. The reason that the "MonoTracer" needs those is that it has only two wheels--something else that may not be entirely clear at an initial glance.
Though it may look like an anorexic car, this futuristic vehicle from Germany's Peraves is an enclosed motorcycle that is supposedly far more aerodynamic than its naked counterparts. Even so, when it's taking sharp corners on … Read more
I'm a happy owner of a Nintendo DS and one of my favorite games for it is Brain Age, which lets you do a variety of small puzzles and arithmetic to hone your mental fitness. If you don't feel like shelling out $130 for Nintendo's hardware, there's Lumosity from Lumos Labs, a Web service that offers a similar multitude of small mental exercises that run right in your browser and are actually really fun.
Lumosity comes with nearly a dozen "games" to play, with each one working out a different aspect of your mental … Read more
On the train in Japan, "green" does not refer to the environment. Nor to the color of money, as the extreme amounts necessary to buy "green" tickets there are colored in the generally neutral tones of 10,000 yen bills. Soon there will be "super-green" to take even more of your hard-earned gray.
East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) will introduce super-first class cars on a new extension to its bullet train routes in 2010. The luxuries, according to the Japanese paper Mainichi Shimbun, are to exceed the already comfy-looking green cars on the … Read more
Vacationing in Japan this week I accidentally rode on the world's first diesel-electric hybrid train in commercial service: The Kiha E200 running on the East Japan Railway's Koumi Line. Aside from being a new train, introduced in 2007, it seemed like any other, but the photographers camped out for a shot along the mountainous route told otherwise.
The train is a working prototype in use since July 2007 with the aim of gathering data for eventual mass production. Like a hybrid car, the diesel-powered engine is used during acceleration and the electric motor kicks in to maintain speed … Read more
The way things are going, someone might eventually try to cram a supercomputer into a Nintendo DS. Just as we were discussing a project to develop a synthesizer for the handheld, a new product comes along to teach Japanese calligraphy on it.
Bimoji Training (translation: Beautiful Letter Training) is being touted as a game, but we know better: It'll probably be co-opted by educators because it emphasizes teacher feedback. We just hope that the touch screen's sensitivity is up to par, lest it be an exercise in frustration (remember Palm's Graffiti?)
No matter how it works, though, … Read more
The past few weeks my youngest daughter has been in full potty training mode. While some experts (read: Dr. Phil) suggest having the trainee call their favorite superhero, having done this a few times we have Lily call someone much more reliable:
Greta, my third child.
Greta seems to be a natural caregiver (and busybody) who has taken a keen interest in helping her younger sister to be potty trained. We've accentuated this desire by offering chocolate chips to Lily and Greta. When Lily has no desire to visit the restroom (which is often), Greta has an insatiable appetite for chocolate. She convinces Lily to "go potty" and everyone is happy.
More and more frequently Lily goes on her own, but Greta still demands payment. At first I resisted (something in me doesn't like the idea of someone getting something for nothing), but then I let it slide as it reminded me of a lesson I had learned in the past two years about compensating salespeople.
How so?… Read more
Finally, there's a use for all the empty wine jugs that have been piling up in the basement.
The Sangria Surround Sound System from Carlo Rossi features jugs that once contained the Iberian nectar, according to Gearfuse, but presumably the speakers could be made from our brands as well. The 4.5-liter jugs are elevated by stands of neon tubes and rings that are sure to add the touch of class required for your next formal affair.
We've just witnessed a potentially disturbing marriage of basic street crime and the instant worldwide audience provided by video sharing and social networking sites such as YouTube and MySpace.
Criminals have often recorded their exploits for fun, but the ease of online sharing means that almost everyone can now witness assorted muggings, fights, and robberies from the safety of a laptop screen. At the same time, crimes posted to the Web get instant attention from law enforcement and the press, essentially acting as online wanted posters for the perpetrators. A perfect example is a recent subway attack video first … Read more