Unless you’re one of the few who have been raised on a Mac since the diaper days, you’ve dealt with buying a new PC and all the software that it comes pre-loaded with (well, unless you’ve bought a high-end workstation from HP or similar companies, those I’ve found to be thankfully free of that junk!). The software shipped on consumer PCs is sometimes helpful, but more often than not, just slows down your computer and becomes an annoyance with pesky popups asking you to upgrade. With the arrival of the Microsoft Store comes ‘Microsoft Signature‘, a fancy way of saying they’ll sell you a computer the way they originally intended. Just the OS, none of the garbage. Well not quite…it does include Zune software, Microsoft Live Essentials, and other software that Microsoft wanted to ship you. So in that respect it’s a lot like what a third-party computer company would sell. However, I do think you’re better off…I’ve seen a lot of crap come from those third party computer companies and dealt with plenty more that wanted to install itself when I’d upgrade my computer. It’s more in line with what Apple does, they provide software that is typically better integrated than third party solutions. Check it out here.
Using image and pattern recognition, Aurasma’s new 3D augmented reality platform helps expand the possibilities for AR…you don’t need special targets or predefined images to be recognized, in theory it could work with any object. Pretty cool, check out the video below.
You’ll be seeing me write a lot about augmented reality (AR) on this website. This is partly because it’s an emerging technology with massive potential, but also because I see it as a possible solution to our consumption problem as a species. If you can modify the data between the light being transmitted off an object, and that received by the brain, it opens up some fascinating possibilities. No longer would we need to build and purchase new TVs, for example, we’d just need a flat wall (or nothing at all!). Etc. It’s going to be a wild ride. For now, the user interface is confined to mobile phones, but the display technologies are advancing fast (contact lenses with embedded LEDs; transparent eye glasses that can overlay an image onto your field of view, etc). Watch this space for more.
Energy storage and consumption is the bane of any new technology, especially portable ones. Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University have accomplished something that I find quite incredible…tapping into a living organism’s biological energy system, and converting that to electricity which can then be used by human technology that has been added to the organism. A true step closer to a living cyborg. Awesome. Ok, so it’s really more suitable to invertebrates at this point, but it still has incredible potential. It also brings back memories of that scene in the Fifth Element, where a cockroach is equipped with a microphone, transmitter, and remote control, to enable Zorg’s men to eavesdrop on the President (the image here). Read more about it over at Gizmag.
I found an empty arcade game cabinet on Craigslist for $20, so that’s kick-started my MAME system build. Starting out with a fan-less Shuttle XS35 system, with a 16GB compact flash card for storage. Installing an OS onto a barebones system can be tough without an optical drive, but I cobbled together a functional (but slow) external drive setup using an old IDE drive and external hard drive enclosure. Did I mention it’s slow? Well no matter, it’s just for the OS install, then everything will be done over the network. Stay tuned here for updates as the build progresses.