» Gadgets

PJM Lifestyle

Your Face Could Be Your Password

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 - by James Jay Carafano

The Day is Coming When Your Body Will be Your Mobile Device

By James Jay Carafano

Passwords are stupid security. Jimmy Kimmel proved it.

Corporate America is frustrated with how dumb we are.  They are busy looking for other ways for you to prove that you are you-before you start using their stuff.

The most unique identifier we have is us.

American Express is looking at facial recognition.  They are busy “trying to figure out how to capture and authenticate face images accurately and quickly on a mobile device, given that facial recognition has a potential to be more secure than usernames and passwords.”

PayPal wants to be even more intrusive—and gross. How about ingesting an authenticator and carrying it in your stomach?

As these systems proliferate they blur the line between us and our machines.  And what privacy do we have left when corporations take up space in our intestines?

Read bullet | Comments »

WATCH: Passover, Rube Goldberg Style

Friday, April 3rd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Need a way to explain Passover to a kinesthetic learner or future engineer? Check out this video from Israel and you’ll be saying, “L’shana haba b’Technion!”

Chag Peseach Sameach!

Read bullet | Comments »

The Rise of the Robot Employee

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun


President Obama’s new initiative is a higher minimum wage, and if he is successful the result will not be higher-paid employees heading off to work every day. Instead their jobs will be filled by an entirely new sort of worker: Robots.

Robots, unlike humans, don’t require pay or sick time or vacations. If they break they’re thrown out and recycled. Robots are expensive, but the threat of a higher minimum wage is now making a robotic worker more cost-effective than hiring a real person.

Across Japan the noodle-making chefs are now made of metal, and when you order a Big Mac at a MacDonald’s in Europe you do it by touch screen. A company called Momentum Machines in southern California has developed a robot that cranks out 400 perfectly-prepared burgers every hour. (Note: Robots do not sneeze. Ever. Think about that for a bit.)

Where is this going? Are we heading for a future where slinky femme fatale robots plot the destruction of mankind while wearing the perfect red dress?


Read bullet | 33 Comments »

2 Turtle Doves: A Gift Guide for the Tech-Savvy

Monday, December 23rd, 2013 - by Becky Graebner

Today is Monday, December 23, 2013.  If we were having a literal countdown of the “Twelve days of Christmas” song, we would receive “two turtle doves” today.

There are only two days until Christmas!

Here is a gift guide for the people on your list who love electronics and gadgets.


Bose:  QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

The best way to hear your music—without any interference.

HDMX: Classic Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

Connect this handy speaker to your Bluetooth-enabled device whenever you want to listen to music–at home, at work, and even on the beach!


Canon: Canon PowerShot A2500 16 MP Digital Camera

This camera’s 2.7-in LCD screen makes photo and video review/playback clear and easy.

GoPro: GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition

A tough, waterproof camera that allows even the most active owners to document their adventures.

Gadgets for the Car:

Belkin: 2-Port Car Charger with Lightning to USB Cable for iPhone 5/5S/iPod touch/iPod nano/iPad/iPad mini

This charger fits into any car power outlet and will charge two devices at once.

Garmin: Garmin Nüvi

Never get lost again.


Leapfrog: LeapPad2 Power Learning Tablet

Over 800+ games, videos, and eBooks that are appropriate for kids.



OtterBox: Commuter Series Case for Samsung Galaxy S III

A durable case that will keep your S3 safe!





NIX Digital: 8 in Hi-Res Digital Photo Frame with Motion Sensor

All your photos in one place.

Read bullet | Comments »

Why You Should Give Yourself A Cable-Free Life For Christmas: Go Roku

Sunday, October 27th, 2013 - by Rhonda Robinson


For most of our adult lives, television at the Robinson household consisted of a large antenna in the attic. We jokingly called it “farm vision.” Then we did what all old people do when their children are grown–we moved into town. I really enjoyed the luxury of cable–that is for about two years. Then I started to feel a bit cheated.

This past year forced us to reevaluate almost every aspect of our lives: our health, our lifestyle and our spending habits. When assessing the cost of cable, and the value it brings–cutting it was a no-brainer.

However, my husband and I both have favorite programs we enjoy. I’m not going to lie, as an information-junkie, my withdrawals from news and commentary hit fairly hard.

We’ve had AppleTV, and enjoyed streaming Netflix and routinely mirrored videos or live streaming church services or breaking news. But it really doesn’t offer a whole lot more than what’s on your computer or iPad.

Enter Roku.

Pronounced Row-Koo. If you’re considering Apple TV as an alternative to cable or DVD rentals checkout Roku first.

Roku is a little black device about the size of the palm of your hand and it streams Internet “channels” to your television. Roku comes loaded with access to over 1000 channels.

It’s a mixed bag of hundreds of free content and paid subscriptions. The best part about it, is you can add the channels you want and you’re not forced to weed through hundreds of channels to get to the couple you prefer. You can get Netflix, Hulu Plus, VUDU, Amazon Instant Video, PBS, The Blaze and Fox News. There are no fees connected with the device itself after the initial purchase. You will have to have wi-fi of course, as it is a streaming device.

Roku currently offers four different devices starting at $49.99. You can add a few bells and whistles at a time.

Currently, we have a yearly subscription to Amazon Prime, and are in the process of comparing Redbox (which offers four DVDs and unlimited streaming for $8.00 monthly) and Netflix. The subscriptions or combination you choose all depend on your viewing habits.

We have enjoyed the ability to watch entire seasons of television shows, watching episodes back to back without commercial interruption. Who cares if they are last year’s season–I’m no longer subjected to ED commercials or dating sites no matter how late we stay up.

You now have several options.

Read bullet | 15 Comments »

The Future Just Got Closer

Saturday, October 26th, 2013 - by Stephen Green


What to get to go with your 3D printer? A 3D laser scanner, of course.


Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

Read bullet | Comments »

How To Hang Pegboard To Finally Get Your Garage Organized

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 - by Builder Bob
Hanging Pegboard

Hanging Pegboard

After moving to my new place, I had access to a great studio space. It had cabinets, shelves, and a large counter top work surface. But after my first few projects digging tools out of cabinets, tool cases, and packed boxes I decided it was time to organize my work space more efficiently. Adding Pegboard to your work shop, garage, or garden shed is a cost effective way to organize all your material. It makes your tools easy to find, close at hand, and up out of the way of your work surface.

Special mention to my wonderful co worker Miss Carol Ann for some helpful tips and advice before I started this project.

Materials needed:


Pegboard Sheets, 1×3’s or pegboard spacers, High Gloss paint and rollers


Drill, Stud Finder, laser level and torpedo level, tape measure, straight edge, and a pencil


2-1/2” and 1-½” wood screws, flat or finish washers


Pegboard hooks, holders, bins, and lock downs. .

  1. The first step is to determine the dimensions and use of your project. Peg board comes in 2 flavors, you can use ⅛” hole board for small areas to hang hand tools, or larger ¼” hole board to cover an entire garage wall and hang heavier lawn equipment, folding chairs, etc. You will want to place your pegboard at a height and location that is easy to access but clear of your horizontal working space. Using your tape measure, laser level, straight edge and pencil mark the outline of where your board will be.

  2. You need about a ½” of space between the pegboard and the wall so the hooks have room to lock in place. There are two methods for spacing. I chose to use lengths of 1×3’s attached to the wall studs to act as a frame, however the lumber will block the peg holes behind it and limit your hanging options. The first step is to find the wall studs using a stud finder then mark the center line using your straight edge. I found my stud spacing to be 16” so after finding the first two studs you can make short work of the rest. Once located you can start hanging your framing using the longer 2 ½” wood screws. After inserting the first screw part way put your bubble level on top to ensure your frame stays straight while securing the rest of the screws.  I alternated full length board with half length  on each stud to maximize the peg holes available, you can also build a full box frame for the most stability but you will lose peg spaces. At this point I painted the wood frame to help hide it once the board is hung.

    • The other method of hanging involves using plastic spacers to offset the pegboard. This frees up a considerable number of pegs available but will require at least two people to accomplish.  While one person holds the pegboard in the position you want it, the other can mark the holes where the spacers will be. If not anchoring to the studs you can place hollow wall anchors to hold the screws. A trick to use is once you have your locations marked and wall anchors installed, use a small dab of superglue to attach the spacer to the wall and let them dry. This will save pinched fingers in the next step. Make sure your spacers are level at this point because you will not be able to adjust them later on.

Read bullet | Comments »

Hiring the Homeless to Stand in Line for iPhones? Genius!

Monday, September 23rd, 2013 - by Walter Hudson


“That is just wrong,” posted one commenter in response to a story out of Los Angeles which raises vital questions about the morality of the market. From Ubergizmo:

A businessman in L.A. took scalping to a whole new level, when he picked up about 100 homeless people from Skid Row in Los Angeles. He promised to pay them if they waited overnight in the line outside Apple’s retail store in Pasadena, California. Since Apple allows customers to purchase no more than two units, he would have had 200 iPhones, all while paying each hired hand $40 for the trouble.

The operation did not proceed as planned. When the employees within the iPhone store heard what was happening, they refused to sell to the hired buyers. The scalper then refused to pay those who were unable to deliver iPhones to him. That upset the homeless crowd and aroused a disturbance which prompted police to escort the scalper away for his own protection.

Heads shake and fingers wag in reaction to this scheme. This scalper exploited homeless people, the story goes, proving himself to be a jerk at best and perhaps even a criminal.

The incident evokes a similar story involving Trader Joe’s. A guy from Canada drove down through California to buy inventory from the grocer which he then resold back home (where no Trader Joe’s stores exist). We used to call that an import business. Like Apple, when Trader Joe’s discovered his operation, they refused to do business with him. Yet it’s not entirely clear why, because he was helping them get their product to a market they have not otherwise reached.

Likewise, in the Apple case, the iPhone scalper was providing a value to all parties concerned. Obviously, the homeless people were getting income they otherwise would not have. Apple was moving its inventory. And the scalper’s end-customers had access to a rare and desirable product without having to wait in line. Whom did this hurt exactly? How was anyone’s access to trade unjustly restricted? There is no right to purchase a product at a particular price under particular circumstances. That’s why the police rightly deemed this a “business issue” and not a crime.

It may be tempting to scoff at the scalper’s refusal to pay those who were unable to purchase phones. Then again, we may safely presume that the agreement was for orders fulfilled, not attempted.

Read bullet | 17 Comments »

Will Virtual Reality Make Privacy Obsolete?

Thursday, July 18th, 2013 - by Walter Hudson

YouTube Preview Image

As a child, I wanted to be a pilot when I grew up. My dad worked for a major airline as a mechanic and I spent a fair amount of time in and around aircraft as a result.

Dad was also a big computer nerd who always had the latest and greatest personal computer in the house. Those two interests combined in the form of flight simulators. The first I can recall was Chuck Yeager’s Advanced Flight Simulator on the Commodore 64, a program which used simple geometry and rows of lights on the ground as reference points to indicate that you were moving. Later came Microsoft Flight Simulator in its various and progressive forms, raising the bar of realism and fidelity with each new version.

Having recently built a new computing rig, I have a renewed interest in flight simulation after many years away from it. I’m currently deliberating between the purchase of Microsoft Flight Simulator X, the most recent yet dated entry in that franchise, or the more contemporary X-Plane 10.

One of the truly amazing selling points of the latter is its immersive recreation of the entire planet. X-Plane 10 utilizes terrain and scenery auto-generation built atop data obtained from OpenStreetMap to simulate your town – and every other one on Earth – with amazing fidelity. In one video demonstrating the technology, the lead developer boasts that the road system proves adequately detailed to serve as a driving simulator. Indeed, YouTube videos showing a virtual drive down X-Plane 10’s streets prove reminiscent of any given trip through any given suburb, complete with picket fences and SUVs.

YouTube Preview ImageYouTube Preview Image

Read bullet | Comments »

My Secret Method For Getting Rid of That Cat Smell

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt
Writing fiction and being owned by cats seem to be related forms of madness.

Writing fiction and being owned by cats seem to be related forms of madness.  Here is Hemingway with his sons and cats.

Glenn Reynolds recently linked Althouse reporting on an interview with Patti Smith. The interviewer said the house smelled of cats, and every surface was covered in plastic. This led me to getting lost in the comments with people making all sorts of suggestions, the most prominent of which was “get rid of the cats.”

As someone similarly afflicted and unable to take that step because I take my Chinese Obligations seriously, I thought I’d write this for anyone having similar issues.

So, this is “What I saw at the cat-pee wars — or how to deal with your cats marking territory when you don’t want to get rid of the little monsters.”  (Without having to cover your entire house in plastic, which is apparently Patti Smith’s solution.)

Besides being a writer, I am a (crazy) cat lady. The two often go together, and the field, particularly science fiction and fantasy, is full of crazy cat ladies and gentlemen.

I’d like to place the blame for this on Robert A. Heinlein who not only was owned by several cats, but who also wrote about cats and thereby instilled an early love for the critters along with a love for futuristic fiction. However, truth be told, if you expand it to the field of all fiction writers, the fault for the cat mania would be Hemingway’s and his polydactyl and avowedly freely-spraying cats.

Needless to say if you are having a problem with your cats scent marking or peeing out of place, the very first thing to do – if you haven’t – is to have the males neutered.

My male indoor cats have always been neutered at a relatively early age.  Notwithstanding which, we have had marking problems with both the old firm – i.e. our first batch of cats — Pixel, Randy, Petronius and DT and the new firm – the new batch of four (my husband won’t let me have more than four at one time) – Miranda, Euclid, D’Artagnan and Havelock.

In both cases, the marking seemed to originate in a rivalry between two alpha male cats, to whom neutering did not seem to make much difference.

With our first batch of cats, the culprits were Pixel – a marmalade boy who looked like the perfect stuffed animal, and who, in fact, was too smart for his own good – and Petronius, big and black and probably part Bombay.

Read bullet | Comments »

PlayStation 4: The Good, the Bad, and the Mysterious

Thursday, February 21st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

On Wednesday Sony announced its next-gen gaming console, the PlayStation 4. Sony expects the new console to be available by the Christmas season of this year and is being coy about the price. When the PS3 arrived, it carried a hefty price tag of about $600, scaring some gamers off for a few months. Rumors are the new console will come in at around $450, but that’s just a rumor at this point. That’s one of the mysteries surrounding the new box. More about the other mystery later in the article.

The PS4 will not just be another console with beefier hardware. It will have that, with powerful new graphics processors capable of taking the visuals to another level of realism, while not presenting a quantum leap over the current hardware. But it will truly be a next-gen console in the sense that it comes with capabilities that up to now have mainly been available on game streaming sites like OnLive (which I reviewed, here). In fact, the PS4 may kill off the ailing OnLive service.

That’s because the PS4 is a social gaming console right out of the box. One of OnLive’s chief fun features is its ability to allow gamers to watch and interact with other gamers without being in the game themselves. Gamers can spectate in the Arena, picking up tips and tricks, jeering and cheering and generally checking out games before either buying them or downloading demos. The PS4 allows spectating and, with a push of a button on its new controller, sharing and uploading action clips. Some games currently allow this, but the new hardware makes sharing a universal feature. It also allows demos to be played the instant a gamer chooses them, putting it on par with one of the other great OnLive features. Along with that will come features that already exist, such as Amazon Video, Netflix and Hulu apps and Plex serving that turn the PS into a full home entertainment system. PS3 users can also already control their consoles when surfing YouTube via iPhones and iPods. Expect Sony to build on that capability as well.

The PS4 also builds on a feature currently found on the PS3 and the Wii U, remote play. Currently PS3 can be controlled via a handheld PSVita, while the Wii U can act as a server, with game play actually taking place on the screen in the controller. So it doesn’t really need a TV screen. The PS4 allows games hosted on its hardware to be played on the PSVita. So like the Wii U, the PS4 can free up your TV while still delivering the top level gaming experience.

The PS4 controller, the Dualshock 4, also builds on the current competition, adding Move capabilities, the aforementioned social gaming capabilities, and a new touchpad in the middle.

So, there’s the controller. But where’s the actual PS4? In its entire demo Wednesday, they never showed the PlayStation 4 itself. That has sparked a debate:

There are two rather polarized angles being tossed about this week as the Sony show (or no-show) of the PlayStation 4 was let loose. One side says it’s terrible that Sony made a 2+ hour presentation for the PlayStation 4 without actually showing the hardware, relying instead on the controller and a variety of promises from software developers to do all the talking. The other side says awesome! We know the PlayStation 4 is coming now, and we’ve got confirmation from some of the biggest-name developers that they’re on board, so we’re happy!

My own take is that Sony wants a second bite at the buzz apple, so they’re withholding images of the console for a later date, maybe E3 in June or SIGGRAPH in August. If they do that, they get to have another big moment, and may announce the price along with giving us a look at the beast. Sony usually goes the route of making their consoles dark and artistic (or odd, in the case of the PS3s that look like bbq grills). I would expect something smaller and sleeker than the PS3.

The bottom line is that we now have concrete specs on the next-gen system, a catalog of major titles that it will debut with including new material from heavyweights like Blizzard and its own in-house Killzone and InFAMOUS series, and solid information about the new things it will be able to do. And the things it won’t do, which brings me to the “bad” part of this article. Sony says that as things stand now, backward compatibility is not built into the PS4. Gamers will not be able to play legacy games on the new system, which may impact some of this year’s bigger releases like the Tomb Raider reboot. They say they’re working on it. They may be setting up to sell multiple forms of the PS4, some that will include backward compatibility for a price, and some that don’t. Backward compatibility can be gotten around via streaming games, but that requires hefty bandwidth that most American households still don’t have, or via downloads, which will take up valuable hard drive space and may create other issues. We’ll see. But the failure to provide backward compatibility from the get-go is an ominous sign that Sony may be looking to roll out their new box at one stated price, which is not the actual price gamers will end up paying if they want to keep playing their old Call of Duty titles on their shiny new systems.



Read bullet | 5 Comments »

Look! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane…

Saturday, February 9th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Today I’m at the Dallas Sci-Fi Expo (which is actually taking place in Irving). Kevin Sorbo and Morena Baccarin will be here today and tomorrow, along with stars from Back to the Future, Battlestar Galactica, Tron, comic book artists, and of course, just about every superhero and villain imaginable.

Let’s walk the exhibition floor and see who turns up.


They rule.

I don’t know what they’re selling, but they had a lot of buyers.

Even a Sith.

Read bullet | Comments »

Trigger Point Therapy for Relieving Computer Pain

Monday, January 7th, 2013 - by Helen Smith

I am always in pursuit of something to relieve my neck and shoulder pain from the hours I spend at the computer (yeah, I could just stay off but then how would I fill the empty days without my vice?). Anyway, my husband, Glenn, ordered this trigger point foam roller called The Grid. I already have a regular foam roller but it is large and has lost its shape. I decided to give the new foam roller a try this week and it has been a positive experience so far.

The Grid boasts using trigger therapy to treat soreness and relieve pain:

Trigger points are tiny knots that develop in a muscle when it’s injured or overworked, and are commonly a cause of most joint point. They’ve been known to lead to headaches, neck and jaw pain, lower back pain, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Based on the discoveries of Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons, in which they found the causal relationship between chronic pain and its source, myofascial trigger point therapy is used to relieve muscular pain through stretching and applied pressure to trigger points. Trigger point therapy, such as that achieved using Trigger Point Performance products, can relieve muscular aches and pains in association with these areas. It can also assist with the redevelopment of muscles and restoration of motion to joints.

The foam roller comes with a very easy to use instruction pull-out that shows you basic exercises with correct form. I went through the set and it hits every muscle group. I’m already back at the computer and feeling better. If you have computer pain or just general tightness from sitting, this little device seems to be a good one. It’s also small and easy to take on trips, to the gym or the office. Of course, staying off the computer and moving around is probably a better solution to neck pain but not likely to happen for me.


Related on Self-Improvement at PJ Lifestyle:

7 New Year’s Resolutions I Invite Others to Steal

13 Weeks: Week Nine — In Which We See Results

Read bullet | Comments »

TV Be Gone

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012 - by Helen Smith

Have you noticed that everywhere you go now there is a blaring television with the most disturbing news blasting in your ears? I have, and it’s getting really tiresome. I can understand that a sports bar or pub would have a TV for sports or something (though with the PC stuff some of the sportscasters spout on ESPN etc., I sometimes think I am watching the news), but why at every regular restaurant or even just in a store or doctor’s office do I continually have to watch the mayhem and anxiety-producing news that I am going out to escape? Apparently I’m not alone, as others around the web have noticed the trend in recent years. For example, a writer in South Carolina states:

One of my favorite lunch spots in Anderson has a giant flat-screen in the dining room. I hate it, but I love their pizza. So I keep going there. The television is always tuned to a 24-hour news channel. And the volume is loud. So while we diners polish off our pepperoni, we get to hear about a body being unearthed from a serial killer’s basement in Iowa. Or we’re treated to footage of wildfire consuming houses in California. I tell you: It’s not good for the digestion.

A website called the Eater had this to say about TVs in restaurants:

There are a few different ways to consider the TV dilemma, of course, and the first question is: why are restaurants doing this? According to The Dallas Morning News, this trend is brought to you courtesy of “the wired generation,” i.e. young people: “This is a very, very visual demographic…If they’re not watching TV, [they] are on their iPhones.” The goal, then, is to keep your eyes up and moving around the restaurant. Despite the terribly flattering picture this paints of today’s youth, it does make some sense from the point of view of the restaurateur.

And it’s not just restaurants, it’s doctor’s offices, stores, planes, and everywhere the public goes. Even my gym is inundated with TVs that show one catastrophe after the next. I thought people were watching less TV, but maybe this is at home where they have the choice. Or are people just turning to other gadgets and devices to give them something to do constantly? Is it too much to ask just to be able to sit quietly, ride the treadmill without the mayhem, or just read or stare into space in a public place? Apparently so. I often think about getting one of those TV-B-Gone remote controls that allow me to turn those darn things off. They give me a headache.

Am I the only person left in America who doesn’t want a running negative news report everywhere I go?

Read bullet | Comments »

Sitting is Bad/Standing is Good? So What?

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 - by Helen Smith

I read the article in the New York Times entitled “Taking a Stand for Office Ergonomics” (thanks to the reader who sent it to me):

But a closer look at the accumulating research on sitting reveals something more intriguing, and disturbing: the health hazards of sitting for long stretches are significant even for people who are quite active when they’re not sitting down. That point was reiterated recently in two studies, published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine and in Diabetologia, a journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Suppose you stick to a five-times-a-week gym regimen, as I do, and have put in a lifetime of hard cardio exercise, and have a resting heart rate that’s a significant fraction below the norm. That doesn’t inoculate you, apparently, from the perils of sitting.

The research comes more from observing the health results of people’s behavior than from discovering the biological and genetic triggers that may be associated with extended sitting. Still, scientists have determined that after an hour or more of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat in the body declines by as much as 90 percent. Extended sitting, they add, slows the body’s metabolism of glucose and lowers the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol in the blood. Those are risk factors toward developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

“The science is still evolving, but we believe that sitting is harmful in itself,” says Dr. Toni Yancey, a professor of health services at the University of California, Los Angeles.

It seems like everything we do these days is harmful. I’m just waiting for the government to demand that all offices come equipped with something like this FitDesk. Don’t get me wrong. I actually have this FitDesk and use it occasionally but you can bet that contrarian that I am, if someone told me to use it, I might just stop. Sitting might be bad for you, but so is a constant barrage of negativity from the media telling you that everything you do is somehow bad for you and then using the information to implement policies that restrict people’s individual choices.

Read bullet | Comments »

Will the New Kindle Fire HD Be an Improvement?

Friday, September 7th, 2012 - by Helen Smith

I just saw on Amazon that the new Kindle Fire HD will be  available as soon as next week. What caught my eye about the new Kindle was this:

Reduced Screen Glare
Most tablet displays are made up of two pieces of glass – an LCD on the bottom and a touch sensor on the top, separated by an air gap. With an air gap, light reflects off of every surface as it passes through from the front, creating multiple distracting reflections that reduce display contrast. Kindle Fire HD solves this air gap problem by laminating the touch sensor and the LCD together into a single layer of glass, creating a display that’s easy to view, even in overhead light.

One of my pet peeves with the Kindle has been the glare that often causes eye strain, at least for me. For that reason, I don’t use the Kindle as much as I would like, though we have several. I am hoping that this new one solves that problem. I look forward to trying it out.

Read bullet | Comments »

In the Future, Will Sexbots Replace Real Women?

Thursday, July 19th, 2012 - by Helen Smith

Gigolo Jane and Gigolo Joe from A.I.

Chateau Heartiste (AKA Roissy) has a provocative post called “Porn Is A Portent Of Sexbotopia” that I read with interest:

Sexbots. The very word sends chills down the spines of low sexual market value women. They fear competition or, worse, replacement….

Sexbots that can simulate real women are still one silicone foot in the fantasy world, but the tech is rapidly progressing. Whoever said necessity is the mother of invention was wrong; the male sex drive is the mother of invention. (Though, I suppose you could argue that satisfying the male sex drive IS necessity.) So, for now, the agog crowd can rest easy that no major sexbot invasion is about to storm our shores….

What sexbots will do is widen the already growing chasm between the sexes, until only the fittest of the fit — and fitness is whatever gets one’s genes to the next generation, whether beneficial to civilization or not — can successfully leap across it to woo a human companion in the way that our genetic overlord intended.

When I was researching for my forthcoming book, I found (with the help of Vox Day) that the 80/20 rule really applied. Twenty percent of the alpha males were getting about 80% of the women. Those men who have more trouble getting women turn to porn and seem to ignore or be oblivious to women. I wonder how sexbots will further change the landscape?

What do you think? Will sexbots be an asset or libility to men in the future? What about to society? These are the important questions.


Cross-Posted from Dr. Helen

And see more visions of the future at PJ Lifestyle: 

The Future of Computers: Goodbye Mouse and Keyboard, Hello Leap Motion

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think vs. X-Events: The Collapse of Everything

X-Events that Can Collapse the World as You Know It

The 5 Most Fantastic Technical Advances Coming in Our Future ofAbundance

What Will Humanity Look Like in 2045? [2 Videos]

Updated: related today at PJ Lifestyle: 

Fred Willard Arrested By LAPD Vice Squad At Adult Movie Theater

Read bullet | Comments »

You Can’t Touch This

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 - by Stephen Green
YouTube Preview Image

One of the big selling points of Microsoft’s Surface tablet is that it will run the full Office suite natively. Ars Technica‘s Peter Bright got to take the beta version out for a test drive and discovered — no pun intended — only the surface functions have been touch-optimized:

And… that’s about it, the full extent of the finger support that Microsoft has added to Office 2013. If it doesn’t sound like much, there’s a good reason for that: it isn’t. For stylus users, the company says that accuracy has been improved, particularly in OneNote, but using the software with fingers is problematic.

“Problematic” might be putting it gently, after reading all of Bright’s article. Now this is only a beta version, but MS has promised that Surface and Office will ship in October. That’s not a very long time to rid three or four major, legacy applications of dozens of menus of touch-unfriendly drop-downs and radio buttons and all the rest.

Worse would be to release it as-is, with a promise to “fix” the problems later. Just ask RIM, which shipped it’s PlayBook without even a simple email app — and never recovered.

Anyway, it all makes sense to me now why Microsoft has pushed Surface as the tablet with a keyboard. I wrote last month right after the big reveal that readers should

look at how Microsoft has introduced its tablet: With a keyboard. They aren’t saying, “We’ve built a great tablet.” They’re saying, “We’ve built a tablet with a great keyboard.” It’s a tablet that’s trying really hard to be a laptop when it grows up.

Turns out, you’re going to need that keyboard — and its built-in laptop-like touchpad — if you really want to take advantage of Office. I concluded then that the Surface is “confusing product from a company which seems confused by what a tablet is supposed to do,” and one month later there doesn’t seem to be any reason to conclude anything different.

Tablets aren’t laptops. People use them differently, even when they’re performing the same tasks as on a mouse-and-keyboard computer. Apple understood this, and re-wrote (and re-imagined) their iWork and iLife suites from the ground up for iOS. Even the iPhone and iPad versions have major differences between them, since the iPad’s big screen opens up whole new possibilities which just won’t work on the iPhone.

But Steve Ballmer wants “Windows everywhere,” dammit, and he’s going to keep pounding square pegs into round holes right up until he blows yet another emerging computing market.

Read bullet | Comments »

The Fit Desk

Sunday, July 15th, 2012 - by Helen Smith

My husband Glenn got a FitDesk that lets you exercise while working on your laptop. We finally got around to putting it together (well, he did, sadly, I watched, handed out tools and cleaned up). Anyway, I have had a great deal of hand and back pain from all the time I spend at the computer and thought this would be a great way to change up my routine. It turns out I was correct to think so.

The pedals are smooth and fluid — you just adjust resistance with the knob. It tracks distance, time, and calories. There are elastic bands to hold your laptop in place.

It’s easy to ride and it’s easy to blog or surf from a laptop while you’re on it. I can see how spending just 20 or 30 minutes at a time on this several times a week would help you lose weight and improve your fitness. Will I stick with it? Stay tuned.

Read bullet | Comments »

The Future of Computers: Goodbye Mouse and Keyboard, Hello Leap Motion

Sunday, July 15th, 2012 - by Dave Swindle

“The Most Important New Technology Since the Smart Phone Arrives December 2012″ from MIT’s Technology Review:

By now, many of us are aware of the Leap Motion, a small, $70 gesture control system that simply plugs into any computer and, apparently, just works. If you’ve seen the gesture interfaces in Minority Report, you know what it does. More importantly, if you’re familiar with the touch modality — and at this point, most of us are — the interface is entirely intuitive. It’s touch, except it happens in the space in front of the screen, so you don’t have to cover your window into your tech with all those unsightly smudges.

To understand how subtly revolutionary Leap will be, watch the video below, shot by the folks at The Verge, where you’ll also find more juicy details on the device’s specs and inner workings.

Unlike a touchscreen interface, with the Leap, there’s no friction. That sounds trivial, but it isn’t. It’s the difference between attempting to conduct a symphony with a wand and attempting to conduct the same symphony by sketching out what the orchestra should do next via chalk on a blackboard.

Plus, Leap operates in three dimensions rather than two. Forget pinch-to-zoom; imagine “push to scroll,” rotating your flattened hand to control the orientation of an object with a full six degrees of freedom, or using both hands at once to control either end of a bezier surface you’re casually sculpting as part of an object you’ll be sending to your 3D printer.

The future looks bright and exciting.

YouTube Preview Image

Read bullet | Comments »

On Atari’s 40th Birthday: The 10 Greatest Atari 2600 Games

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

On June 27, 1972, Atari Inc. was incorporated in the state of California. That makes today the 40th birthday of the company that pioneered coin-op gaming, and six years later Atari would unleash the Video Computer System, later renamed the 2600.

YouTube Preview Image


YouTube Preview Image

The console gaming industry was for all intents and purposes born with the Video Computer System, and home entertainment would never be the same. The console with the one-button joystick and the game cartridge changed everything and introduced some great interactive entertainment along the way. Here are my Top 10 Atari 2600 Games.

10. Realsports Football. Atari’s first football game was horrible. It was barely football at all. But with Realsports Football, Atari tried and mostly succeeded in creating a decent football sim. You only had a Pop Warner size team, but the players looked pretty good and you could do most of the things you could do in the real sports world: Breakaway runs, first downs, passes, interceptions, punts and so forth. The AI was pretty stupid, and before long every player had figured out how to blow it off the field 99-0. But Realsports Football and the other Realsports games foreshadowed the massive Madden, MLB, NBA and FIFA simulation franchises that dominate today.

YouTube Preview Image

9. Missile Command. Defend Cities. ‘Nuff said.

YouTube Preview Image

8. Star Raiders. This game required a pad separate from the joystick to control all the various functions of your space ship. It was way ahead of its time for its complexity and replayability.

YouTube Preview Image

Read bullet | Comments »

Will Microsoft Surface Complete Me?

Thursday, June 21st, 2012 - by Tania Gail

Microsoft Surface – circa 2008 – minus the creepy looking guy:

Source: flickr.com via Tania on Pinterest


Monday night Microsoft unveiled an updated version of Surface – Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets. On the surface (pardon the pun) it looks promising. I’ve hesitated to jump on the iPad bandwagon because I want a tablet that can replace my laptop – in my view the iPad is simply a larger version of the iPod Touch. I’ve held close to the vision of a mobile tablet that is powerful enough to allow me to create content, while catching a movie on Netflix,  or downloading interesting apps.

Below is Microsoft’s Surface keynote address by Steve Ballmer. The video runs about 45 minutes but well worth the time to get an idea of the capabilities of this new tablet.

YouTube Preview Image

Interesting to note that pricing and a date when the product goes on sale were not mentioned. While this keynote is a sexy advertisement for the Surface tablet, I will be keeping a close eye on new details of this tablet as they emerge.

Will the new Microsoft tablet complete my vision?  Time will tell and if it does, you will be reading my hands-on review here.

See Vodkapundit’s thoughts at PJ Lifestyle here: Preview: The Microsoft Surface Tablet

Read bullet | Comments »

Preview: The Microsoft Surface Tablet

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 - by Stephen Green

IBM once built the world’s best portable keyboard. Its official name was “TrackWrite,” but everybody called it “the butterfly” because of the way it spread its wings when you opened the computer. John Karidis designed it for the ThinkPad 701 back in 1995, and watch this baby in action.

YouTube Preview Image

It’s so well engineered, that there are still butterflies in perfect working condition, even though the last one was produced in 1996. That’s right: although the 701 was IBM’s best-selling laptop, the butterfly keyboard was abandoned after only one year. TrackWrite was a wonderful indulgence for a laptop with a 10-inch screen, but the very next year after it was introduced, 12-inch screens became the new norm — and bigger screens allowed for a full-sized keyboard without any fancy engineering.

Just like a real butterfly, the TrackWrite was beautiful but short-lived.

That’s the first thing I thought of when I watched Microsoft introduce its new Surface tablet computers last night: A gorgeous keyboard without a market. Microsoft has designed what is undoubtedly the best portable keyboard ever… for a touch tablet. In fact, if you go to Microsoft’s promo page, this is the very first image you’re presented with.

That’s how MS wants to introduce you to their new tablet — a tiny little screen with a great big keyboard. Scroll down the page a bit, and Microsoft reminds you that “some activities call for a keyboard.” The description continues:

Surface comes with an integrated Kickstand and a revolutionary, 3mm thin, pressure sensitive cover that doubles as a fully functioning keyboard and trackpad. Your Touch Cover connects to your Surface with a single magnetic click. Now you can chat with friends and respond to emails comfortably.

It’s really a very nifty piece of kit, and it’s included for free. Apple charges you a less-than-nifty $69 for their wireless keyboard, and it doesn’t attach to anything at all, not even with magnets. But you have to wonder if Apple doesn’t still have the right approach.

Read bullet | Comments »

Will the Xbox 360 Be Banned in America?

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 - by Walter Hudson

Master Chief is set to join the ranks of American unemployed.

It could be game over for Microsoft’s popular Xbox 360 video game console in the United States. Fresh off announcing 67 million consoles sold since its product launch seven years ago, Microsoft faces the prospect of a sales ban which could hit later this year.

The trouble began in April when Washington judge David Shaw ruled against Microsoft in a patent-infringement suit filed by Motorola Mobility. The complaint alleged that Microsoft was unjustly profiting from video decoding and Wi-Fi technology belonging to the plaintiff and utilized in the Xbox 360 console. The same judge recently recommended that the sale of Xbox 360 consoles be banned in the United States. The next stage is a ruling by the International Trade Commission expected in August. After that, the final decision to ban sales could rest with President Barack Obama.

The story is consequential on multiple fronts. There is the obvious potential to upend the American console market just in time for the holiday sales season. There is the political question of whether the president would risk upsetting one of his core constituencies, young people, by banning one of their favorite toys just prior to Election Day. More fundamentally, there is the moral issue of whether such a ban is proper.

In its defense, Microsoft argues that a sales ban in the U.S. would adversely affect consumers. IGN senior editor Daemon Hatfield quips:

Judge Shaw suggested Nintendo and Sony could handle any extra demand, so I’m not sure the good judge understands how video games work.

In fact, whether consumers would be inconvenienced by a sales ban is irrelevant to both the law and the moral principles which inform it. Protection of intellectual property rights through the enforcement of patent, trademark, and copyright is both just and demonstrably beneficial to individuals trading in a free market.

Despite assertions to the contrary by many academics and pundits claiming to be libertarian, intellectual property law is not a statist intrusion. As masterfully explained by George Mason University School of Law professor Adam Mossoff, in a lecture viewable here, the claim to intellectual property is the root of all property rights. As with tangible property, convenience is not an excuse for trespass.

Complimenting the morality of why patents are proper, the practical outcome of intellectual property law is better products and services for consumers who voluntarily trade with producers. Indeed, it is ironic that Microsoft would cite consumer convenience as an excuse for patent-infringement when they go to such lengths to protect their own intellectual property.

The Xbox 360, like so many products on the market, is an amalgam of patented technology. Some of those patents are owned by Microsoft. Many others are licensed from other patent holders. Those licenses are negotiated to maximize profit for each party involved in the console’s production. Without any one of them, the final product would not be possible in its given form. If Motorola’s intellectual property is part of the Xbox 360, then they are entitled to compensation for its commercial use.

Read bullet | Comments »