Flying Fortress Lego blimp lords over us with a Mindstorms-based iron fist (video)

Flying Fortress Lego blimp lords over us with a Mindstormsbased iron fist video

Most Lego Mindstorms constructions have never slipped the surly bonds of Earth. The Flying Fortress Lego Blimp from Tyler Westmoreland and Chris Shepard won’t be similarly held down, however. Courtesy of two NXTBee wireless adapters, Tyler and Chris can fly the Mindstorms NXT-driven airship using a remote control and adjustable propellers. There’s no secret tricks involved, as everything is an off-the-shelf part that anyone can find, including the 55-inch helium balloons. We have proof: Tyler has shared the source code for both the blimp and the controller, so anyone with the resources can recreate the Flying Fortress for themselves. While the thought of homemade drone blimps looming overhead is slightly disconcerting, we’ll steel our resolve when it means that most any enterprising builder can take Lego airborne.

[Thanks, @frankiebit]

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Source: Dexter Industries



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Magnetic Spirit shelving system creates practical, adaptable art

The Magnetic Spirit shelving system - art installation or usable furniture?

The Magnetic Spirit shelving system is a concept design from Benoît Bayol and Christophe Bricard. Lying somewhere between carpentry and Cubism, it uses a patented magnetic fixing system to allow the creation of different layouts – and to change the layout at will depending on your mood at any given time.
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Section: Around The Home

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Annotate any Screen with Floating Draw

Floating Draw for Android

Do you often find yourself taking screenshots on your Android device? Have you ever wished you could easily draw on your Android screen in any app, and then take screenshots of that? While you can achieve the same by taking a screenshot first and then editing it using any of the countless photo editors available for Android, that adds a cumbersome additional step to the mix. Furthermore, if you need to add the exact same annotations over multiple screenshots, you’ll likely have to repeat the steps for each. XDA Forum Member ejezisek comes to the rescue with a handy app that simplifies it all for you.

Floating Draw is a small Android app that provides you with basic on-screen drawing tools that work anywhere in Android, regardless of what screen you’re on. Be it the home screen, the app drawer or any app’s screen, you can draw freehand, straight lines, and basic geometric shapes with this tool, and then save the resulting image(s). The app offers a bunch of colors to choose from, a paint bucket tool to fill the shapes you’ve drawn, and also an eraser to undo those strokes you made by mistake.

Not satisfied with the results at all? Simply hit the clear button and start over. Need to move to another screen? Hit the back button so that only the tiny pencil icon shows in the bottom-left corner, and navigate across the OS and between apps freely just the way you would normally. You can always get back to drawing mode by hitting the pencil icon again.

More information can be found in the forum thread.

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BlackBerry Z10 vs. Galaxy S3

We compare the specs (and intangibles) of the BlackBerry Z10 and Samsung Galaxy S3

Great companies evolve. In 2007, Apple redefined the smartphone with the release of the iPhone. Google then responded quickly with the iPhone-inspired Android OS. But BlackBerry (known then as Research in Motion) stood still. Six years later, the company is finally embracing keyboardless, multitouch handsets. Does the new BlackBerry Z10 stand a chance against Samsung’s record-breaking Galaxy S III? Let’s see how their specs – and harder-to-define intangibles – compare…
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Section: Mobile Technology

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CP+ 2013 wrap-up: brochure models, Japanese dancers and point-and-shoots aplenty

CP 2013 wrapup brochure models, Japanese dancers and pointandshoots aplenty

Despite an unfortunate lack of product introductions, largely due to the recent influx of new models at Photokina, there was plenty of excitement on the floor at Japan’s annual CP+ trade show. The promise of new point-and-shoots brought us out to Yokohama, but non-stop manufacturer-sponsored entertainment at the exhibition hall, most often not in any way related to the devices on display, kept us coming back.

At Nikon’s booth, Japanese dancers clad in a variety of “urban” dress, remained in constant motion in an effort to demonstrate the autofocus abilities of the company’s latest 1 Series cameras. At dozens of other stands, models, often surrounded by groups of attendees, held camera brochures in an array of different poses. And, at Casio, female presenters spoke of the company’s “speed revolution” in front of dozens of amateur photographers, each clicking away as if under a looming deadline. All in all, this relatively small exhibition is an experience not to be missed. So, even if you weren’t able to visit this year, you can join us inside Pacifico Yokohama in the video after the break.

Gallery: CP+ 2013 wrap-up

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Google backs French digital publishing innovation initiative with €60 million incentive

Libert, Egalit, Payday Google backs French digital publishing innovation initiative with 60 million incentive

Google’s long had a contentious relationship with France. But it seems the Mountain View-based company has come up with a way to squash that problem: by throwing money at it. Taking to the company’s official blog today, Chairman Eric Schmidt announced the creation of a €60 million Digital Publishing Innovation Fund, in cooperation with French prez François Hollande, that will help “stimulate innovation and increase revenues” for the country’s publishing houses. And in a move that’s in no way self-serving as a gesture of goodwill, Google’s also pledging to partner with those publishers to help monetize their digital offerings using AdSense. In the search giant’s defense, it had begun to work more closely with La France back in 2011, even going so far as to create a cultural center in Paris; a city it once described as “one of Europe’s fastest-growing Internet economies.” So, okay, maybe there’s more to this investment than beefing up the bottom line. Now, if only Google could talk to Hollande about the hashtag

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Source: Official Google Blog



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ESA tests prospect of 3D printing Moon bases with lunar soil

ESA tests prospect of 3D printing Moon bases with lunar soil

Building a base on the Moon poses a rather large logistics problem when all the construction material has to make a 238,900-mile journey. The European Space Agency has proposed packing light: it’s teaming with Foster + Partners to test the possibility of 3D printing not just the tools, but whole lunar buildings. The current method would bind powder in layers to create hollow, cellular building blocks that are both sturdy and relatively light. With an improved D-Shape printer from Monolite, the ESA believes it could finish a whole structure inside of a week — if only we could finish most Earth-bound homes so quickly. There’s no word on the likelihood of any spacefarers using the technique, but it’s easy to see the value of leaving more room for the supplies that really matter.

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Via: CNET

Source: ESA



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Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 speaker can weather the rain, weather the snow, weather the storm

Bowers & Wilkin

We appreciate any product that lets us not only openly reference Lamb, but also blast that band’s tracks in our backyard. Which is what Bowers & Wilkins weatherproof AM-1 (Architectural Monitor) was built to do: blare out the tunes no matter the weather while retaining a subdued, stylish look. The rustproof speaker, which comes in black or white, is made for easy mounting, can rotate 110-degrees from either landscape or portrait orientation and, according to the company’s claims, should provide better sound when positioned high up (thanks to an inverted drive unit). Of course, you don’t have to fasten this fella to your outdoor veranda — it’ll also be right at home from inside your… home, bar or even that meticulously maintained secret cellar. Look for the AM-1 to hit retail for 0 sometime next month, but buyer beware, you’ll have to supply the trip hop tuneage yourself.

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HTC M4 and G2 Smartphones Leak, Could Surface at MWC 2013

Aside from the HTC M7, there’s not exactly a rush of new HTC phones to be excited about for MWC 2013. And even the M7 is coming earlier than that, with a launch event scheduled for February 19th. Today it seems that we should prepare for two more smartphones made by HTC: the M4 and G2. Courtesy of the usual big leakster @evleaks we get some inside info on the handset.

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The HTC M4 seems related to the M7, if we judge by the name. This model packs a 4.3 inch 720p screen, a dual core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor and 2 GB of RAM, as well as 16 GB of storage. There’s also a 1700 mAh battery, 1.6 megapixel front camera and a 13 megapixel back shooter. So, basically this is an M7 that drops the Full HD screen for a HD one and the 32 GB storage for 16 GB. The M4 will have LTE support and run Android 4.2 with HTC Sense 5.0 on top.

Another decrease compared to the M7 is the front cam resolution, that drops from 2MP to 1.6 megapixels. Moving on to the HTC G2, this phone is a more budget model, with a 3.5 inch HVGA display, 1 GHz Cortex ARM CPU and 512 MB of RAM. There’s also 4 GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, 1400 mAh battery and Android ICS. The G2 will have a 5 MP back camera and it’s probable that we’ll see this models unveiled ahead of MWC for a head start.

Twitter warns of a concerted hacking attempt, says 250,000 might be affected

Twitter warns of concerted hacking attempt, says 250,000 might be affected

Now would be a good time to refresh your Twitter password. The social network has revealed that there was at least one attack on its servers this week that may have collected email addresses, passwords (thankfully encrypted) and session tokens for about 250,000 users. The real risk to users is unknown, but Twitter raises our eyebrows when it suggests that this was more than just a casual scripting hack: it claims the intrusion attempt was “extremely sophisticated,” and that other firms might have been subject to a similar breach. You’ll know that you were immediately affected only if you see Twitter send a notice of a forced password reset, like what you see pictured above. We’d be cautious, all the same — when such attempts seemingly increase in frequency by the day, it’s not a bad idea to stay on guard.

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Source: Twitter



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BlackBerry 10 Features: BlackBerry Calendar Demo