Add this to the long list of iNoun products

Well… sort of. In browsing my daily hot sheets, I came across this little article in Engadget (which, like this article, is a re-hash of this article) about the iPod Suit. Designed for the young, hip, exec that needs to wow the boardroom with his newfangled widgit that cost a lot and really serves no purpose other than showing his or her generational chasm from traditional business attire. However, this does mark the first time I can remember the iNoun product wave attempting a swing into the executive fashion market.

“As if your ipod is THAT inaccessable in a suit?” R.Randall Fransen, heterosexual designer, quipped. He goes on (and I paraphrase), “But if your iPod is buried in a bag I can see a need, of course.”

I give them “E” for effort, “A” for style but “F” for iNoun product awesomeness.

I think nonfamous should have another cat. for iNoun products…

Addictive Google game improves image search

Try the new Google Image Labeler. It’s a little tool Google has put together to get you to label images, and help improve their image search. But they’ve done two very clever things: firstly, you have to label the image at the same time as a randomly-selected partner, and only if both you and your partner select the same label will it count. Secondly, they’ve made it into a game, so that the pair that scores the most matching labels appears on a leaderboard. Also, after the game you can check what labels your partner gave by hovering over the thumbnails. It’s interesting to see what other people make of the same image, and the game weirdly addictive. Give it a go.

Web 2.0 Is What, Now? What? Huh?

I have a confession to make, Nonfamousi, and I hope you will not think less of me for it. Here goes…

I have no idea what Web 2.0 is.

There, I’ve said it. Whew.

Look, I’m not a total techno-illiterate. I have a WordPress blog and I use the Performancing Plug-in for Firefox to do my authoring. I use – and love – Flickr. I participate in blogging community sites like this one and BlogHer. I do almost all of my blog reading via RSS. I use Technorati tagging. I know what MySpace and Del.icio.us and Digg are and I know what a lens is. I had a 43Things account for a while, I’ve made a podcast and listened to others. All that technology name dropping aside, I still have no idea what Web 2.0 is.

I tried to read the O’Reilly presentation and the Wikipedia entry about Web 2.0, but I’m also reading Dickens right now and there’s only so much wading through complex language that a person can be expected to do in their free time.

I’m beginning to suspect that Web 2.0 isn’t a real thing. It’s a label that some academic type applied to the social networking phenomenon that’s becoming part of the technology mainstream. “Look, people are talking to each other and sharing ideas via user editable technology! We gotta call that something!” There are whole conferences devoted to Web 2.0. There are papers and marketing initiatives and there are jobs for strategists that will asssist companies with their Web 2.0 plan.

But I do not know what Web 2.0 is.

Does anyone remember when XML was the silver bullet? I remember it very well because XML’s ascendency was followed by a large packet of papers announcing that my stock options had been cancelled and were officially worthless, thank you very much. I’m only mildly bitter about that, but I did learn a thing or two.

Like, one should find out what the technology really is before hitching their wagon to what’s supposed to be the next rising star. So I turn to you, Nonfamousi. Can anyone tell me what Web 2.0 is? My future probably doesn’t depend on my knowing the answer to this question, but I won’t know that until I know what Web 2.0 is.

I Shall Drunk Dial No More

First, let me start by saying I have 2 really bad drunk habits (aside from being drunk). 1 is drunk emailing and the other is drunk dialing. We’ve all done it. We aren’t proud of it and most people that are the recipient of them have probably uttered, “We’ve all done it” in attempts to console. Nonetheless, the embarrassment from making said call still stings. If only there was a way to eliminate the chance of Drunk Dialing and not have to delete potential victims out of my phone…

AH-HA! This morning on my way to work NPR‘s Morning Edition had a little blurb about a mobile phone that could stop this embarassment.

“You blow into a spot and, if you’ve had too much to drink, the phone displays a weaving car hitting traffic cones. It will then prevent you from dialing pre-specified numbers that could cause embarrassment.

That is exactly what I need. I do some more digging to find this article on Engadget and another on MobileMag. I guess this is old news except that they will be available in the US very soon. Thanks to LG, I shall Drunk Dial No More.

Moto H605 Bluetooth headset

In an effort to get back to my tech roots, I’ve decided to write a review of one of my latest toys… the Motorola H605 Universal Bluetooth Headset.

SPECS

  • 10 hours talk time
  • 200 hours standby
  • 19g
  • Behind-the-ear headset design
  • Microphone mute
  • Pairs with 8 devices max
  • auto power save feature
  • $45 on Newegg

REVIEW

When I first saw the package, I was a little surprised at how big the device actually was. The picture on the right is pretty close to life size. The blister pack took very little effort to get open (which is rare these days) and no scissors or knife.
The headset was very light indeed and very Borg looking when on. I can’t tell if that’s real leather or pleather but it’s soft to the touch and has a little padding to it.

PRO: Charging port is USB 2.0 just like a RAZR, which is nice if you have a RAZR or any other device that runs USB 2.0. I only need one cable to recharge all my devices (as long as it’s not all at the same time).

CON: It takes a lot of effort to actually get it on your ear but when it’s on it AIN’T coming off (I tried rockin out to some Everclear to knock it off but to no avail).

PRO: While it’s on I barely notice and after a while I forget it’s there.  My Ray-Ban’s are still wearable but note that they have a really thin wire frame. Those of you with thick ass frames (like D&G or Versace sunglasses) will be uncomfortable.
PRO: First test was pairing it with both my V3 and my V330. Pairing was very simple and only took a couple of seconds.

CON: I may be able to pair with up to 8 devices, but I can’t use them both at the same time! Damn! Not a super big deal but since I have to carry 2 phones, it would’ve been nice. The other thing is it changes your profile… so instead of hearing my favorite Homestarrunner ring, I hear a standard ringing because It can’t play MP3’s…

PRO: Distance test exceeded my expectations… I was able to get about 45 ft. away from my V3 before my call recipent said I was breaking up. That’s much better than the advertised 30 ft.

PRO: The earbud pivots and swivels to get maximum ear placement. This is nice cause it blocks out external noise and increases hearability. Sound quality and volume on the call was awesome. I could hear w/o any problem in the office, in the car and at home (this is a big deal to me since I have hearing problems). The call recipients all had no problems hearing me from the car or the server room which makes me think it may have a background noise filter.

CON: When on your ear, the buttons are really hard to find.
PRO: Lots of functionality with the buttons: mute, call reject, answer second call, redial, join 3-way (the phone type that is), and if you have voice tags assigned, you can use your voice to call.

CONCLUSION

Having owned a few Bluetooth headsets in my day I can safely recommend this one to everyone.  None of the above cons are deal breakers… and I have really enjoyed using Motorola’s first behind-the-ear headset.

And you’ll live happily, and contextually, ever after.

I don’t know what happened to Slashdot the past few hours but all the posts headers look like they’ve been written by 14 y/o girls.  Nevermind they started with “OMG!” or even better, “OMG! OMG!! OMG!!!”, when I actually read what they were giddy about, I myself gave a little chuckle and remembered what day it was.  The after reading about the monkey flinging poo with his robotic arm, I came across a post leading me to Google Romance and the Google Romance Tour.  Take time to read the USER B captions for the pictures.  This is much more funny than the other Aprils Fools Pranks they’ve done in the past.  I’ve never been more excited about finding love than the prospect of letting Google get involved.  Here is an excerpt:

“We’re constantly working to improve the quality of your Contextual Dating results.  If you encounter inaccurate, disappointing or otherwise cosmically unfair romantic results that you’d like to bring to our attention, please submit a report here.”

Click on that link and you’ll get a special 404.

Easily amused I guess…  Happy April Fool’s Fools.

Getting online to Nintendo DS WiFi with Airport Express

The Nintendo DS, my current favourite game console (and much to Jay’s chagrin, time-suck) has a great online service called NintendoWiFi. It’s free, and there are some great games you can play online, like Mario Kart DS, and a wierd but oddly addictive game called Animal Crossing: Wild World.

Unfortunately for me, though, their WiFi service isn’t completely compatible with the wireless router we have at home. a D-Link DI-524 (type A). Although Nintendo’s support site says the router isn’t supported, I got it to work by downgrading the transmit rate of the router to 2Mbps using the online configuration tool (on the Advanced / Performance screen). But that slows down our regular web browsing, so I had to reconfigure the router every time I wanted to play a game, which was a pain.

But something I discovered recently is that Apple’s Airport Express solves this problem for me. We have an Airport Express, and on my recent trip to New York I took it along. I figured I could plug it into the fixed ethernet in the hotel room, and then have wifi available so I could comfortably work on my laptop anywhere in the room. It worked like a dream. As a great side effect, I also noticed that I can use it to play NintendoWiFi games with my DS (which of course I bring on every business trip). I just had to configure the DS to connect to the access point created by the Airport Express.

This solves my router problem at home, too. Now, when I’m at home, I just connect the Airport Express to one of the cable outputs from the DLink router using a short ethernet cable. That means we have two access points: I just configure the DS connect to the Airport Express instead of the DLink router, and continue to use the DLink router at full speed for regular web activity. If you’re having trouble getting online with the DS this might work for you too. The Airport Express is kinda pricey though — especially compared to Nintendo’s USB-based access point — but if you don’t want to have a desktop PC running every time you play your DS online, or if you just want an Airport Express for travelling, it might be a good solution.

Bodies: The Exhibition

While I was walking around New York last week I saw several posters for Bodies: The Exhibition, showing at the South Street Seaport. The poster shows a man in The Thinker’s pose … but it’s actually a cadaver with the skin removed and the brain exposed. Some colleagues I was walking with had heard of, but not seen the show. Apparently, a technique called “plastinization” is applied to real human cadavers, replacing all the water in the body with silicone, which preserves bone, flesh, and even nerves in a life-like state. It sounded intriguing to me, so I went to check it out. Despite reports of long lines and the cold weather, I headed down on Saturday morning. Luckily at that time I could walk right up and buy my ticket ($29.50 including audio tour) and enter the exhibition. When I exited a couple of hours later there were long lines waiting to get in, so I’m glad I went early.

Despite a slight but continuous sense of nausea brought on by the sight of all the dead bodies, this was a fascinating exhibit. For some reason, I had the idea that this was an art exhibition, but it’s really more a science exhibit on the topic of human anatomy. The show is divided into several sections: muscles and skeleton, circulatory system, digestive system, etc. and the dissections in each section serve to illustrate a certain system in the human body. Many of the dissections inventive in the way that they show the behaviour of certain muscle groups or organs, and the information shown with the exhibits gives clear and informative explanations.

The audio tour was a bit of a waste though, as it doesn’t really give any information that isn’t shown on the printed posters by the exhibits. There are “kids versions” of the audio explanations though. I only listened to the kid version of the “reproductive organs” exhibit description which basically boiled down to: “don’t giggle, we all have reproductive organs; this is a penis and it makes sperm; sex is a serious subject — ask your parents about it”. If that’s anything to go by (and it’s not a representative sample I’m sure), the kid’s audio tour isn’t worthwhile either.

Two of the sections were particularly fascinating. One section is all about the circulatory system. A process is used to fill all the veins and arteries of a body (or section of a body) with a bright red plastic, and then the flesh and bone is dissolved away. What’s left is a perfect 3-D representation of the circulatory system, suspended in liquid and displayed in a glass case. It’s amazingly creepy to see this ghostly image of an entire body in red filaments. The legs and arms and head are all there, but only in outline created by the underlying blood vessels. Some parts of the body like the legs and brain are densely represented due to the greater blood supply, while the stomach and is just a faint image. Very cool and unusual.

The other interesting section — behind a large warning sign asking visitors to ask themselves if they really want to see it before entering — is on embryology. A sequence of embyos and fetuses (all preserved using the same plastination technique) vividly demonstrated the miracle of nature that is human development. The warning sign also mentions that all of the embryos and fetuses died of natural causes, and in fact some of the deaths were due to disease or deformity, like spina bifida or conjoined twins.

All in all, a very intersting exhibit if you want to know more about how the human body is put together and how it all works. It’s an amazing machine. But skip the audio tour.

Without a net

Now, recreational fishing isn’t a topic we cover much here on Nonfamous, but this video is too incredible to let pass by. It shows some Brazilian fishermen, out in a dinghy at night, where the fish are literally jumping into the boat. It gets to the stage where the fisherman has to protect his face from the flying fish. It almost seems like the fish have a strategy of having so many of them jump into the boat that it will be swamped! It’s unbelievable, but I checked with snopes and it seems legit.