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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Apple Tablet News


Frantic Steve Jobs Stays Up All Night Designing Apple Tablet


CUPERTINO, CA—Claiming that he completely forgot about the much-hyped electronic device until the last minute, a frantic Steve Jobs reportedly stayed up all night Tuesday in a desperate effort to design Apple's new tablet computer. "Come on, Steve, just think—think, dammit—you're running out of time," the exhausted CEO said as he glued nine separate iPhones to the back of a plastic cafeteria tray. "Okay, yeah, this will work. This will definitely work. Just need to write 'tablet' on this little strip of masking tape here and I'm golden. Oh, come on, you piece of shit! Just stick already!" Middle-of-the-night sources reported that Jobs then began work on double-spacing his Keynote presentation and increasing the font size to make it appear longer.


Sorry for the commercial in the video below.  Apple introduces laptop with no keyboard:


Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard
"Virtually unbreakable unless dropped or hit."


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Suki's Mid-week Links

STARS ASKED TO MOVE JETS TO VAN NUYS
A Congressional candidate in Los Angeles is asking celebrities to plant their carbon footprint somewhere besides Santa Monica Airport.

UK Police Plan To Use Military-Style Spy Drones

"According to documents obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act, the UK police plan on deploying unmanned drones in the UK to 'revolutionize policing' and extend domestic 'surveillance, monitoring and evidence gathering,' which will be used in 'the routine work of the police, border authorities and other government agencies.' 





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Monday, January 25, 2010

Suki's Afternoon Links: Haggis, 747-8, NASA, New Space Suit, other stuff

FAA WANTS 747-8 HACK PROOFED


Boeing's latest 747, the 747-8, has new computer systems that "may allow the exploitation of network security vulnerabilities resulting in intentional or unintentional destruction, disruption, degradation, or exploitation" of critical systems, according to the FAA. In short, the FAA is making sure that Boeing addresses the possibility that the jets, which can be configured to hold 400 passengers, could be hacked.
It looks like a collaboration between Yves Rossy and the Martin Jetpack, with a little Buzz Lightyear thrown in, but NASA says its Puffin "personal flying suit" could someday whisk its occupant from a standing start to 30,000 feet on 60 horsepower of battery power. The device uses two rotors to vertically lift and then propel the occupant at speeds up to 120 knots. The concept was unveiled at a meeting of the American Helicopter Society Jan. 20 by Mark D. Moore, an aerospace engineer at NASA's Langley Research Center. Before you start making room in the garage, however, there's a serious side to the whimsical device that will keep it in military hands, at least for now. 

The Great Haggis vs. Sushi Debate (Haggis to be decriminalized in USA)

Many proud Scotsman celebrate the birthday of the great Scottish poet Robert Burns—January 25, as it happens—with dish of haggis. This is because Burns created the world's foremost, and perhaps only, instance compelling pro-haggis verse. But true haggis imports from Scotland have been illegal in the United States (a tragedy Ilamented in these pages many Burns Nights ago), for the last 21 years thanks to ungrounded fears about mad cow disease transmission.
But this week the World Organization for Animal Health ruled sheep's lungs do not convey a variant of the disease, and the U.S. is expected to reopen the haggis floodgates shortly. (Don't think too hard about the phrase "haggis floodgates.")


NASA's Next Space Suit

If NASA returns to the moon in 2020 as planned, astronauts will step out in a brand-new space suit. It will give them new mobility and flexibility on the lunar surface while still protecting them from its harsh environment. The suit will also be able to sustain life for up to 150 hours and will even be equipped with a computer that links directly back to Earth.


The new design will also let astronauts work outside of the International Space Station (ISS) and will be suitable for trips to Mars, as outlined in NASA's program for exploration, called Constellation. "The current suits just cannot do everything we need them to do," saysTerry Hill, the Constellation space suit engineering project manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "We have a completely new design, something that has never been done before."

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Free-fall Sound Barrier Attempt

At SlashdotSkydiver To Break Sound Barrier During Free-Fall

An interesting read (linked in the article) is the work Air Force Captain Kittinger did over 50 years ago in high altitude ballooning and free-fall.  It also answers a lot of the questions asked in comments.  He got up to 614 MPH in his experiments.

The sounds like similar technology will be used in the new attempt.


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Suki's Week in Geek

Some of the top geek stories of the week:

95% of all email is SPAM, up from 94% in earlier reports.


China slams Secretary of State Clinton's call for a more open internet.
Reason coverage here.  Related Atlas Shrugs item here.

Backyard Astronomy gets a boost. Plus, a 15 yr. old discovers a pulsar.


Another Violet Wand HERF gun for the cops to stop cars remotely.  Isn't this "new" every five years or so?

Brain scans to identify Post Traumatic Stress Disorder sufferers.











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Friday, January 22, 2010

Obama Deploys Earthquake Weapon

Update: 5.9 earthquake in Virginia, August 23rd, 2011. Did Obama deploy his earthquake weapon again to smash the part of Virginia that does not vote for him?  Stay tuned!

Straight out of Conspiracy Theory (thank you for taking me Daddy!), Chavez spokesperson accuses Obama of zapping Haiti with the secret Earthquake Weapon!  Was the Space Shuttle orbiting then?
Citing an alleged report from Russia's Northern Fleet, the Venezuelan strongman's state mouthpiece ViVe TV shot out a press release saying the 7.0 magnitude Haiti quake was caused by a U.S. test of an experimental shockwave system that can also create "weather anomalies to cause floods, droughts and hurricanes."
The station's Web site added that the U.S. government's HAARP program, an atmospheric research facility in Alaska (and frequent subject of conspiracy theories), was also to blame for a Jan. 9 quake in Eureka, Calif., and may have been behind the 7.8-magnitude quake in China that killed nearly 90,000 people in 2008.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

FBI got 2,000 phone records with fake terrorism emergencies


The Federal Bureau of Investigation used false terrorism emergencies to illegally collect more than 2,000 phone records between 2002 and 2006. A series of e-mails and memos obtained by The Washington Post details how FBI officials violated their own procedures and strained their communication analysis unit with non-urgent requests. In many instances, approval was granted after records had been collected to justify the FBIâ(TM)s actions.
Later this month, the Justice Department is expected to issue a report that will find the FBI violated regulations many times with its terrorism-related phone record requests. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III did not now about the problems until late 2006 or early 2007 when they were brought to light by an inspector general investigation, reports the Associated Press.
The memos do not reveal whose phone records were collected by the FBI, but Bureau officials say that nearly all instances were related to terrorism cases. They added that agents were working under the stress of trying to stop potential terror attacks and did not intentionally violate the law.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Another step towards gogs

This sounds promising:

Aliph has just unveiled the Jawbone Icon, which promises to be the company's most sophisticated Bluetooth headset yet. We've had a chance to really put the headset through its paces for the past week, and we have to say it absolutely delivers. Not only does it look and sound great, it offers more flexibility than any other Bluetooth headset due to an industry-first software platform.


It's called MyTalk, and the Jawbone Icon has what Aliph says is an operating system on a chip. This lets Aliph do some really interesting things with this headset. For example, when you pair the Jawbone Icon with the Apple iPhone, you'll see a visual battery meter of the Icon right next to the iPhone's own battery meter on the upper right corner. This way you can easily check on the Jawbone Icon's battery status. While this may strike some people as a small thing, we think it's pretty cool.
The big news with MyTalk, however, is that you can plug the Jawbone Icon into your computer and customize it with a variety of Audio and Dial "apps." Simply log on to the mytalk.jawbone.com Web site (which will be live shortly), plug in the headset via a USB cable, and the Website will automatically detect it. You can then customize it with a variety of Audio apps, which are essentially voice profiles of different personalities.
There are six different voice personalities--The Ace, the Hero, the Thinker, the Bombshell, the Rogue, and the Catch--plus a default that comes with the headset. The voices range from a deep male baritone to that of a sultry female. You can also have it in French, German, or Spanish. The different voice profiles are used for spoken alerts on the headset that announce things like incoming caller ID and the headset's battery status.
As for the Dial apps, they are essentially speed dial numbers you can map to the Talk button on the headset. Some of the Dial apps include Voice Dial; Directory Assistance; 1800Free411; Jott (a service that lets you dictate notes, reminders, and more); and Dial2Do; which is similar to Jott. Though calling these personalization options "apps" is a bit of a stretch, we really have to commend Aliph on the intuitive interface of the MyTalk Web site. Perhaps the best thing about the MyTalk software platform is that Aliph can easily send out firmware updates this way.


If they had clear LED displays, these things would be really close to what is described as gogs in the Suki Series.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Unobtainium Explained, along with those floating mountains

Script treatment via Naviblue

Basics: Unobtainium the mineral retains its "joke" name from earlier days.  It is a naturally occurring room temperature superconducting mineral.

The floating mountains are rich in unobtainium and float above areas of intense magnetic fields.

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Slashdotted

Yea!  Story submission accepted!


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Avatar puzzle: Feathers

After seeing Avatar once it took me a few days to find a real puzzle.

I didn't notice any creatures on Pandora that had feathers.  Maybe I missed it, but I poked around the internet a bit and did not find any Pandoran creatures with feathers.

So, where do the Na'vi get the feather fletching for their arrows and feather decorations for their clothes?

I looked in the Pandorapedia and on The Google too.  No luck yet.


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Friday, January 15, 2010

Thoughts on Neytiri, in Avatar

I really did not want to put this in my Avatar review, so I will park it over here, since it is more book stuff than movie stuff.  This did not start as being such a detailed comparison between Neytiri from the movie Avatar and Suki, the character in the books I helped with. The books were my first project like that and I really got into it. I just saw Avatar yesterday and it made a big impression on me. Feel good impressions on different levels. I guess this is just personal observations I am sharing with anybody who wants to read them.


Neytiri is the Princess who falls in love with Jake, and he with her, in Avatar. For some reason I was thinking the character Suki, that I helped develop, was more similar to her than an objective look reveals. I am certainly not trying to compare John's or my work to James Cameron's work either! After thinking about it, some things were comforting that we seemed to get so many things right in our stories. Comforting in the sense that the things we worked on had the right elements for a complete story. John pointed out that the similarities were just the basic elements required for a romance for modern audiences.


I guess I was thrown by Neytiri being an expert archer, like Suki. Once my science brain came back on and my aw-how-romantic brain took a rest I was all "duh, she lives in the FOREST! She better be good with a bow and a knife too!" Suki is just a great archer as a hobby, but her great marksmanship comes in handy late. So, they are both archers by accident. Both characters have mastered their environments, but they are completely different environments. Suki is a city girl, for sure and Neytiri is all country. But I can't help but think that either character could be dropped into the environment of the other and the reader/viewer would believe them mastering their new surroundings.


They both have a serious side that can be lethal and a sweet side, like most anybody. But they are revealed in the opposite order.


Part of Neytiri's status in her world is from birth. She is the Chief's daughter and daughter to the spiritual leader of the tribe/nation too. Suki is a self-made woman. Her mother was not successful in business until Suki was out of the nest and in college under scholarships, fellowships, stipends and eventually her own Intellectual Property portfolio with licensing deals for her ideas. It wasn't because of her mother's social status, nor that of her late father.


A small thing they appear to share, even after examination, is they are both loners of sorts. It is more obvious with Neytiri, who is part of a tribal culture but she seems to be the only one in the tribe who goes off by herself. Everybody else in the tribe does things as a group. That is very appealing to a women like me and something that drew me to both characters as I got to know them. The independent woman.


The other huge thing was how Neytiri protects Jake, saves his life several times, protects him with her body when he is helpless or unconscious. Suki does similar for John, especially in Suki III: Never Let Us End, but the big difference is Neytiri was going to kill Jake when she first saw him. Suki wanted to get to know John and wanted to keep him as soon as she met him. The quality of the female character protecting her guy is a pretty powerful thing in romances. Have seen it often in movies and I am sure it is in the books my friends read. It works like magic on me and it seems to impress the guys too and it is common in reality, when a girl really likes her guy.


Both characters do teach their men a thing or two. Don't we always? Neytiri has to teach Jake everything. Suki has an easier time with John. John (the book character) is impressive to Suki right away and only builds on that. Suki's problem is getting John to notice her romantically. Neytiri has the opposite problem. Jake does not impress her in the slightest but he is interested in her right away. Only a sign from God (Eywa) stops her from killing his avatar as an intruder, another time when she is out by herself. She saves him from the wild beasts right after that, but only out of her spiritual belief, not out of like or affection. LATER, she starts protecting him when he becomes her responsibility and even later, when he is her guy, she protects him out of love. Suki is ready to save John, with lethal force if needed, on their second date, while he is standing up for her against a rude young man in a restaurant.


Like I said at the beginning, these are my thoughts 24 hours after seeing one of the greatest movies I have ever seen and Neytiri is one of the greatest characters ever. None of us who worked on the books knew anything about Avatar before the Suki series was published either. The paperback with all four books was available in November, 2009 and Suki I was published on Amazon Kindle in May, 2009.


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Thursday, January 14, 2010

LG Display to develop its 19-inch flexible electronic-paper screen

One step closer to the 2030's world of Suki: LG Display to develop its 19-inch flexible electronic-paper screen
SEOUL, Korea (AVING) --  LG Display has developed the world's largest flexible electronic-paper screen measuring 25cm by 40cm, which translates into a 19-inch screen size.
With 0.3mm thickness and 130g weight, it utilizes a metal foil instead of a traditional glass to make itself both flexible and durable. Boasting a high-contrast ratio, it only requires power when the screen is refreshed so the e-paper device features a long battery life.
According to the company, they plan to begin mass production of an 11.5-inch flexible electronic paper screen in the first half of this year via Skiff.


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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

US DOJ: Kindle in classroom hurts blind students

US DOJ: Kindle in classroom hurts blind students

This is so DAMN STUPID!  Trust me, neither John, nor Sarah, nor I write about a world this stupid in the future!  (right you two?)

This makes as much sense as taking books away from sighted students because the blind students have braille, speech to text (INCLUDED IN THE KINDLE!) and who knows what else.

Here is a taste from the link at the top:

Three U.S. universities will stop promoting the use of Amazon.com's Kindle DX e-book reader in classrooms after complaints that the device doesn't give blind students equal access to information.
Settlements with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Pace University in New York City and Reed College in Portland, Oregon, were announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice. The National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind had complained that use of the Kindle devices discriminates against students with vision problems.
The complaints about the Kindle were based on the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.
The three universities were among six schools participating in an Amazon.com pilot program testing the use of the Kindle DX in classrooms. On Monday, a fourth participating school, Arizona State University, also reached a settlement with the DOJ and the two organizations representing the blind.
Three other schools announced in late 2009 they will not deploy Kindle in classrooms.
The Kindle DX has the capability to convert text to synthesized speech, but the device does not include text-to-speech functionality for its menu and navigational controls, the DOJ said in a press release. Some reviewers and users of the device's text-to-speech software have also said the speech is difficult to listen to and the conversion can be inaccurate.

On second though, in the 2030s future world of Suki and John, this might be the case in DC and other similar places, but NOT in Virginia!

;)

Bonus update: Slashdot coverage here.


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Fueled by Coke


ZDNet has the scoop:

Cylindrical Nokia phone powered by Coca-Cola


It’s finally here: a soda-powered mobile phone! Sarcasm aside, someone has really developed this.
What was probably just a laughed-off concept before is now a reality: Chinese developer Daizi Zheng has designed a Nokia cylindrical cell phone that is fueled by soft drinks, but especially by Coca-Cola. (I wonder if that partnership was planned, or they’re just going to be getting some free publicity off all this.)

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Google goes Libertarian on China: Threatens exit for intrusions

From the NYT: Google, Citing Attack, Threatens to Exit China

BEIJING — Google said Tuesday that it would stop cooperating with Chinese Internet censorship and consider shutting down its operations in the country altogether, citing assaults from hackers on its computer systems and China’s attempts to “limit free speech on the Web.”


Kudlow Report Video Here


China is accused of hacking the accounts of Chinese dissidents and other unauthorized server intrusions.

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