Shootsac is the camera bag you wear while walking around and shooting, after you set down your main camera bag because that one’s too heavy. Shootsac is a three-pocket neoprene black portfolio bag for lenses and flashes, with a black flap cover and three smaller pockets for phones, water bottles, or memory cards. Because the company is run by women who’ve seen too many black camera bags, the black cover flaps can be replaced with patterned flaps such as the one above. The three main pockets are deep enough to hold lenses as long as a 70-200mm f/2.8, as well as flashes, or a camera body (no lens attached). Because the neoprene is clingy, it’s important to give big lenses a good shove to make sure they slide down and seat properly. Most photographers will find the Shootsac lets them swap among two or even three lenses without carrying around a lot of weight. The Shootsac bag by itself weighs just 7 ounces.Shootsac’s pricing suggests the core audience comprises professionals, photo enthusiasts, and photographers willing to pay a bit more for style. The bag with black flap and shoulder strip is $179 direct and the nearly two-dozen covers run $15 to $49.
Mowing the lawn can be a pain. Not too many people look forward to going outside in the sun and pushing a lawnmower around their yard for hours making sure the grass is even and trimmed. Well, thanks to Husqvarna, now you can sit on the porch or stay inside where it’s nice and air conditioned, and send a robot to do the work for you. All you have to do is keep an eye on the little guy on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad and guide him around your lawn. The Husqvarna 260 ACX lawn mower comes with GPS on-board, and with the My Automower app for iOS, you can watch your lawn mower’s position on a Google Map as the little bot moves around your lawn. You can program a path for the mower, or control it live in real-time. You can even run quick diagnostics on the mower and check its overall health and status. The 260 ACX can mow 1.4 acres before needing to recharge, and when it’s out of juice it’ll head back to base to plug itself in. If something gets in its way or it stops for some reason, the mower will even text you to let you know it’s encountered a problem. It’s clearly not going to replace a riding mower for that guy who seems to cut his lawn every weekend, but if you’d rather sit on the porch and sip lemonade while the bot does the hard work, the 260 ACX is the lawn mower for you.AdChoices广告
It’s not exactly a secret that the Android Market has had a few problems with Trojanized applications. Cybercriminals typically find a popular app, modify it to include their malicious payload, and then re-upload it to the market where it poses innocuously as the original. Once a confused user downloads the infected app, his or her Android device is ready to share all sorts of juicy details with the Trojan’s creator — including text messages, call and contact information, and even complete audio recordings of phone calls.That last bit is a brand new twist, discovered by Computer Associates security researchers. The new Trojan appears to be a variant of the Golddream.A Trojan but has evolved beyond its original capabilities. Golddream could already store and transmit basic information about an infected user’s calls, like the caller’s number and start and stop time. With this “update,” the Trojan can now record the full call audio to an Android phone’s microSD expansion card (assuming one is installed, of course). Once recorded, the audio files can be uploaded to a remote server.Why bother recording call audio? For starters, it could make for a deadly one-two punch when paired with a spear phishing attack. It’s also an incredibly devious way to harvest answers to the verification questions your bank or credit card company requests when you call in. Sure, it’d be a pain to sift through all the recorded calls a Trojan like this uploaded (if it enjoyed any kind of success), but calls to financial institutions could be easily weeded out using their phone numbers.The moral of the story: read carefully before installing apps on an Android device and — especially if you’re someone who tries out dozens of apps every week — install a good antimalware app.More at CA and Network World
In 1958 it was famously written that no one on Earth knew how to build a pencil. Each of the jobs — the mining of the graphite, the felling of the trees, the chemistry involved in the lacquer, the forming of the rubber eraser, and so on — were so specialized that no single person was capable of doing the whole job. It’s a revelation that is just as mind-blowing today as it was 53 years ago. Thomas Thwaites attempted to do something very similar to building that pencil, except his quest was to single-handedly build a toaster. Yes, rather than buy a £3.99 (about $6.20) toaster, Thwaites spent 250x as much money and traveled thousands of miles to build his own.A garden-variety toaster apparently has over 400 parts and all sorts of different materials, including iron, copper, mica, and nickel. Before even starting to build the toaster, Thwaites visited abandoned mines in the UK (where commercial mining for those materials no longer takes place) in order to find them. Below you can see Thwaites mining, molding plastic, and doing other inordinately difficult things, in order to get progressively closer to building his toaster.Thwaites did originally attempt to make his toaster using pre-industrial means, which made everything even harder, but eventually he relaxed that restriction in order to make the project just a bit more feasible. Of course building a device that chars bread wasn’t really the point. A project like this says a lot about our industrialized world and the scale of production needed to make a relatively simple device. As it turns out, making a million toasters might not be particularly difficult, but making just one is almost impossible.Learn more about The Toaster Project: Or A Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch. It will be released in November 2011 and is available for pre-order both in the UK, through Amazon, and in the US, through the Princeton Architectural Press.Watch Thwaites TED talk, or scroll to the bottom to look a the final result… via coudal
It doesn’t take a self-help author to see that Android and iOS users tend to be different breeds. Anyone who has read blogs devoted to either platform has seen it. Hardcore Android fans tend to measure devices more on technical specs and the ability to customize. Apple loyalists, on the other hand, lean towards enjoying a smooth, ready-made experience. You could even say that Android attracts objective thinking, and iOS attracts subjective thinking. Android is more math and science, iOS is more art and humanities. We’re generalizing here, but you’ve probably seen more than enough evidence of it to understand the point.Are there exceptions left and right? You bet. Is one way better than the other? Only you can decide that for yourself (you probably already have).But just look at the criticisms you typically hear from Android users about Apple products. They often point out features that Android has quietly had for some time — only to have Apple later make worldwide headlines for introducing their own version. From the perspective of objective facts and figures, the amount of attention Apple receives seems ridiculous. Hence, the Apple resentment we see so often.Apple fans’ dismissals of Android, on the other hand, are often based more on the kind of experience it all adds up to. “Who cares whether specs and features are a little greater if I find it more enjoyable to use them on an iPhone? Why does it matter if Android did it bigger, if Apple did it in a way that’s more fun, attractive, and cohesive?”Of course many fans from both camps were disappointed that we didn’t see an iPhone 5 with a radical new design and some flashy hardware features. But that’s where the similarities end in reactions to the iPhone 4S.A5 processorI read many an Android blog laughing at the hub-bub that Apple made over the A5 processor in the new iPhone. There are already lots of Android phones that have dual-core chips, like the LTE-equipped Droid Bionic, so they saw the A5 as lots of hype over something that’s already been done, many times over. “Now a quad-core phone, that would be something special.”To an Apple fan, their retort to this is something along the lines of “who gives a hoot if Android phones also have dual-core chips? This is an improved version of the experience I know and love.” The Android side isn’t impressed because the A5 doesn’t top the numbers (measured in cores and GHz) that we have already seen for months. For the Apple side, it’s more like a favorite movie that just got restored and remastered.SiriProbably the most noteworthy feature of the iPhone 4S is the Siri personal assistant. Or, rather, if you’re an Apple fan, it’s a personal assistant. If you’re an Android fan, it’s a voice recognition API connecting to servers and a variety of applications and databases to make those iOS users think they have Rosie from the Jetsons.Android fans have made the point that their platform has had Voice Actions for a while now. Any Android phone will let you use speech to search Google, initiate a phone call, navigate to a specific restaurant, or listen to a song. It can achieve many of the same end results as Siri, no doubt.To a typical Apple fan, though, Siri will be a conversation with an assistant. “Learning voice commands is for nerds,” they might say. “Just give me a conversation.”Android Voice Actions can get you from point A to point B. Siri is a personal assistant.Being an expert vs. going on a rideMaybe another way to sum up these differences is that Android fans like to be experts, and Apple fans like to go for a ride.Android can definitely be more complicated than iOS, and I think the hardcore fans like it that way. Rooting your phone, flashing a custom ROM with a new kernel, even learning Voice Actions — they all require a process of research, learning, and, finally, expertise (all of which often takes place in XDA-Developers’ forums). Rocket science? No way. But it has enough of a learning curve that you feel like you’ve accomplished something by mastering it.iOS is focused on simplicity. Apple doesn’t want you to worry about customizing your phone, beyond changing the wallpaper. That’s their job. You just get to play in the garden that they built. It’s a tailored experience that requires little more than a childlike sense of discovery. Yes, you can jailbreak your phone and install apps that Apple doesn’t want on it, but that’s pretty far from the point.Different languagesNow, does this mean that all Apple users are technically illiterate Kool-Aid drinkers, or that every Android fan is too hung up on nerdy stuff to enjoy the ride? I don’t see it that way. What it does mean is that each team tends to speak its own language. With many exceptions, Android’s language is full of numbers, stats, and procedures, while iOS’ speaks of journeys, sensations, and adventures.Is one right? Is the other wrong? Maybe your answer to that says more about you than it does about the subject.
Update: Activision has intervened and may have players banned.Modern Warfare 3‘s street date has been broken, and a few lucky customers on the east coast are already getting their game on.Some gamers have been afraid to dig into the game’s multiplayer for fear of being banned from Xbox Live due to a “prerelease title play” violation. Such bans have been issued in the past when Microsoft-published releases including Gears of War 2 and Halo: Reach were leaked and pirated online prior to the release date.However, Microsoft policy director Stephen Toulouse has stated that those who bought the game at retail, even early, are safe. “If your copy is legit and obtained legitly, have fun,” wrote Toulouse in an official tweet on Thursday afternoon.In fact, the safety of retail copies is consistent with previous policy. In the aftermath of the Reach leak, Toulouse stated that “legit store bought copy runs no risk of ban,” and that those users who were permabanned were actually banned for piracy or unauthorized access to review copies, not for early access to the retail game. “We have ways of knowing [the difference],” he added.Some shipments of MW3 arrived at Kmart stores with instructions included to sell the copies immediately. Whether this was intentional or a mistake remains unclear. It appears that the chain has temporarily stopped selling the game, but not before some lucky customers in cities including Miami and New York got home with their copies.Other players have taken to profiteering instead and are selling copies on eBay and Craigslist for prices upwards of $200.Read more at 1UP
Game developer CD Projekt is a company everyone should appreciate even if you’ve never sat down and played one of their games. There are two reasons for this. The first is the fact they are anti-DRM and try to avoid using it at all costs. Secondly, they are the company behind Good Old Games, which has been serving us classic games DRM-free for a over 4 years now.CD Projekt’s most well-known gaming series is The Witcher, and CEO Marcin Iwinski has just given an interview where he reveals sales and piracy figures for The Witcher 2.Legitimate sales have exceeded 1 million copies, which is a great achievement. But the game has also been pirated roughly 4.5 million times, based on looking at torrent site stats and doing the math. In reality that figure is probably much higher.Unlike other companies working in the games industry, and in particular big name publishers, CD Projekt isn’t talking up DRM as a solution to those pirate copies. In fact, Iwinski thinks a 1 to 5 ratio between legitimate and pirated copies isn’t actually that bad.CD Projekt’s answer to piracy is just to offer more value to the legitimate gamer with additional content you can’t download such as collectible, physical items. When asked why other games use DRM, Iwinski explains it’s just a “I will cover my ass” solution that doesn’t work. Publishers don’t care and won’t listen to reason as long as the numbers add up.Read more at PC Gamer, via EDGEMatthew’s OpinionI have always had a strong opinion that DRM is totally the wrong solution for games, but now we have proof that game sales work without it. Selling a million copies of a game more than pays for its production and goes a long way towards keeping a studio open and working on the next titles. Those 4.5 million illegal copies can’t really be counted, as the people downloading them wouldn’t have bought the game. They are simply not lost sales. GOG is also proof no DRM works with 6 million legitimate game sales in 4 years.The argument that DRM stops copying is pretty ludicrous when you see many of the games carrying it available to download the week of launch. In most cases DRM just ends up being a downside of purchasing a legitimate copy, as you have to deal with it installing and running on your system.The state of DRM is pretty dire. It doesn’t stop illegal downloads, it increasingly requires a constant Internet connection, the game you bought has limited installs, and if the server the publisher uses to check a game is legal goes offline, your game becomes unplayable.CD Projekt does not use DRM, they are selling millions of games, and their future looks bright. Maybe it’s time for a long overdue rethink on DRM across the games industry.
Just a few weeks ago we noted that the beta boards of the Raspberry Pi $25 PC had been produced and that they were undergoing testing. If everything went well with testing then the Raspberry Pi project would kick into full production and an initial run of boards would be produced which would in turn be sold off to schools, universities, businesses, consumers, and anyone else who might want a credit card-sized $25 PC. And the fully-functional beta boards? Ten of them would be auctioned off, with all the proceeds being reinvested in the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Everything has proceeded as planned and the auction have started to hit eBay.The auctions clearly state that 100% of the proceeds will go to the Raspberry Pi Foundation. RasPi is a registered charity, in full accordance of British law, so even if the seller is the one that gets to keep the money (which is a bit counter-intuitive) every bidder can feel good about where their money is goings. And there is quite a bit of money to feel good about. So far the first auction to end — beta board 10 of 10 — is currently at an incredible 1750 GBP ($2712.73) with over five days left on the auction. The other three boards that are available — 9, 8, and 7 — are currently at 930 GBP, 670 GBP, and 565 GBP respectively. All of the beta boards for sale at this point are Model B, which is technically the $35 version of the Raspberry Pi. It is just like the Model A in most respects, but has twice the memory (256MB vs 128MB), an extra USB slot (making for two total), and has built-in ethernet. It consumes 3.5W instead of the Model A’s 2.5W but that is a minor factor for most applications. Auction winners will get the beta board, a certificate of authenticity, a USB power supply, and an SD card preloaded with an operating system.The beta boards have two minor differences from the final production unit. One is a tiny “hand modification” that was made to address an issues with the PCB design and the other is the use of an larger-than-normal SD slot connector. The SD slot works, but the connector’s frame is just bigger than it ultimately will be. And why get a $25 PC (well, $35 PC in this case) for something like 50 times the price it will be shortly? Some people will just want to support the foundation, while businesses might bid so that they can get their Raspberry Pi board as quickly as possible, thus getting the jump on their competition. Bid on the boards at eBay, via RasPi
The relationship between Apple and Samsung must at best be very tense. With Apple getting a court to agree that Samsung has been copying its designs, and then issuing a billion dollar payout, it’s easy to see why. But Apple isn’t just stopping at suing Samsung, it’s also reducing orders with the South Korean company.According to “an industry source” who wished to remain nameless, the first batch of iPhone 5 smartphones Apple ships won’t use memory (NAND or DRAM) supplied by Samsung. Samsung easily has the capacity, but Apple has instead decided to use three other manufacturers to meet demand. Those companies being Elpida Memory, SK Hynix, and Toshiba.It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that this is a retaliation on the part of Apple, but that seems unlikely. Apple is just ensuring it has multiple suppliers in case something goes wrong and manufacturing slows down or stops at one of them. Apparently Samsung is still on the supplier list, but just not near enough to the top to get an iPhone 5 memory order. And Samsung isn’t going to mind as it means more memory to use in its popular handsets and tablets.You do have to wonder, though, if Apple hadn’t taken issue with Samsung’s devices would it have been first on the list for memory supplier?Both companies are in the business of making money, and if Apple needs a part Samsung can reliably supply cheaper than anyone else, they will source those parts from Samsung. And vice versa, Samsung isn’t going to stop advertising its manufacturing abilities and trying to get Apple contracts.Read more at Reuters
It’s not uncommon to hear of a smartphone referred to as a tiny computer. Every day these machines grow more powerful, and the software that powers them adapts to allow users to treat them like computers. Motorola and Ubuntu have both supported variations of the same idea in the past, where you connect your smartphone to a keyboard and a monitor and the phone becomes a desktop OS. Motorola may have abandoned their WebTop OS and the hardware that supported it, but Ubuntu is keeping the dream alive.The idea that your phone would straddle the mobile world and the desktop world is exciting. It sets a unique mindset for enterprise workstations that simultaneously decreases cost and dramatically decrease the number of supported devices for any system admin. Ubuntu is clearly looking to attract that group as their primary market, but it also doesn’t hurt to try and get the general consumer excited about it first.This video that demonstrates what a great world it would be if our entire computing existence was on one piece of equipment. The only problem now is that Ubuntu doesn’t actually have a product to deliver yet.If you follow the video to its home, you land at the Ubuntu for Android website. The animated characters from the video are replaced with a much more professional looking example of an smartphone running what appears to be a variant of Android 2.3 and Ubuntu on the screen next to it. It’s made abundantly clear that multi-core phones can handle this with no problems. The only thing they need now are manufacturers willing to help make this a reality.The “Get in touch” button at the top and bottom of the page link you to a contact form for handset manufacturers and network operators to reach out and collaborate with the Ubuntu team.Ubuntu for Android remains a really cool idea, but not one that is likely to manifest anytime soon as something users will be able to take advantage of. There’s a lot of unanswered questions about Canonical’s approach to Ubuntu for Android, particularly why the company seems uninterested in working with the ROM developer community that currently has millions of active users. Until there are supported devices, Ubuntu for Android will remain a really cool sounding pipe dream.