Monday, January 4, 2010

iPhone app heats device for warm hands

This just seems like iPhone abuse. The Pocket Heater app puts stress on the phone's processor and battery to literally heat the device and apparently warm your hands. Very novel, but not practical. Read more about it in this Mashable article:
http://mashable.com/2010/01/04/pocket-heater-iphone/

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody FTW!

The Muppets perform Bohemian Rhapsody in true Muppet fashion in glorious HD on Youtube! Check it out.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Fun with video clips

Here are some fun video clips to kick off your weekend.

This is a movie clip song mash-up. Kinda hard to explain really, so just watch it.



And to be cute, here's Nom Nom Kitty!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Two buzzworthy new iPhone apps trend on Twitter

Two new iPhone apps came out recently and they are garnering much attention, but both for very different reasons. Let's start with Viper's car system control app.

Viper is a car security system company that has developed an iPhone app to work with their system. The app itself is free, but to have a compatible system installed in your car will set you back about $500. If you already have a Viper car system, then it will only cost you about $300. But, you can do some pretty nifty things with it, like start your car remotely... from anywhere in the world (as long as you have cell service or wifi connection)! This video shows off the app features. Personally, I think a key fob might be faster and more ideal, but hey, if you have an iPhone and the money to spend on a car security system, then why not?



Next up, Pepsi came out with a controversial app that has pissed off all types of women. 24 types, to be exact. To promote their AMP energy drink, they developed the AMP UP Before You Score app. Guys can download this app and basically use it as a researching tool to pick up 24 different types of women. You choose the type of woman you are interested in, then browse pickup lines, nearby locations of interest (like local tattoo parlors), and even what kind of artist the woman might be into. After successfully "scoring" with a woman, you can add details to a brag list, which can be shared on social networks for your friends to see. Sweet, dude! So next time you go out with your popped collar and aviator shades with your friends who wear bandanas that match their shoes, use this app to more efficiently hit on chicks, bra.



This app is kind of funny, even if it's targeted at womanizing scumbags. For example, if you choose a "Married" woman, the options under that menu will bring up a map of local motels. Choose "Nerdy" and you can find out where the comic book shops are in town. My favorite joke is under "Rebound" where you can find the closest ice cream parlors. I would expect this from Axe body spray, but from Pepsi? What the hell were their advertising team thinking?!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Microsoft gives you free antivirus

In a rather philanthropic gesture, Microsoft this week released a free antivirus program available to Windows users. It's called Security Essentials v1.0, yet another contender in the free-antivirus genre. You can read an indepth Cnet article here, but basically what you should know is this: It's just antivirus so you will need other programs for spyware and firewall, it updates automatically in the background, it collects program and file activity data from your computer to submit to the microsoft knowledge base in order to fight suspicious-acting files, and it won't ask you to upgrade to a paid version. Naturally, it only works for a Genuine copy of Windows, so pirates are SOL.

You can get the download here.

I think I'll put this program on not-so-important computers, like my laptop and media center computer. For my main computer I'll want more protection.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My date with a spambot

The other night I was talking to a friend on Yahoo Messenger. I usually avoid Y!M because the spambots ruthlessly attack me with pathetic IM phishing chats. My preferred method of chat is AIM or Gchat, but I digress.

An interesting IM popped up from an unknown screenname, and it seemed like and honest "hello." I replied back curious to find out who it was. I've had a Yahoo screenname since I was 16, so how can I remember who all has my screenname. I saw in the chat window the other person was typing and I received a response back. I engaged this person in conversation and it was too real to be a bot, so I went along with it trying to figure out who this person was.

Then things got out of hand. One thing led to another, and before I knew it the other person sent me a link to a website wanting me to view her webcam. I should've known not to click any random link, especially one that started with "tinyurl.com", but I was feeling confident in my computer security and curiosity got the best of me. Luckily the link only took me to a flashy phishing page that didn't infect my computer right away. There was a fake flash animation of a "live" webcam with some random female, and there was a form asking for information so that I could access this user's webcam.

I closed the window and faked an answer to the person like "I don't have Flash installed," but the person just kept going, saying "don't worry about entering a credit card, it's just for age verification." Even after I said "look, I'm gay", the spambot replied "I'll see you in a little bit, I'm going to slip into something more comfortable. . ." Aaaaaand blocked.

I have to give this spambot props. It actually engaged me in a well thought out conversation and was very much a Siren. I knew spambots were bad on Yahoo Messenger, but I didn't know they could be that bad. This whole scenario reminded me of this comic from XKCD. So from now on, to be my friend I'm gonna have to ask you to pass a CAPTCHA test.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Learn new skills using the Internet!

Remember that scene in The Matrix where Neo and Trinity are on the rooftop and they want to steal the helicopter? Trinity phones in a request to their operator to download into her brain the ability to fly the helicopter. How cool would that be?

You can do that (in a way) with the Internet! Now that Youtube has made uploading amatuer videos ridiculously easy and popular, there are all kinds of instructional videos out there that can teach you a new skill you've been curious about.

Youtube is the obvious source to find just about anything, from hacking your Xbox to learning how to iron your shirt properly. But there are more refined instructional video sites out there! Howcast.com is a great site to find instructional videos that are clear, concise, and will probably give you more information than you thought you needed. One time I was hiking a wooded trail with my friend Tara, and we were curious what poison ivy looked like. I pulled out my iPhone and found a video on Howcast that told us exactly what to look for. The team at Howcast create many professional videos themselves, but their user community submit homemade videos as well.



If you feel that you are more of an inventor or innovator, then instructables.com is for you! The community there consists of very imaginative people. There aren't too many videos for the instructions, but there are step by step guides that can be downloaded in PDF format. You can start a free account to keep track of your favorites and even submit your own instructable! You can learn how to sew your own Where The Wild Things Are hat or build an arcade cabinet or even (my favorite) build a computer housed in a classic NES case.

There are other great sites out there for whatever your hobby may be. Some of my favorite sites are:
Life Hacker
How-to Geek
Have paper, will travel

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Tweeted Comcast and I liked it

Did you know you can use Twitter to receive customer service? Try a search for companies whose service you use. It can turn out to be a powerful service tool for you. This is my success story:

Recently my combined cable and internet service has been pretty lousy. The cable box wouldn't display any channel (just a "please wait" message) and my internet speed test results were surprisingly pathetic. Being a paranoid geek, I tweeted a comment wondering aloud if Comcast was throttling my connection. I made sure to include an "@" reply to a customer service account that I found from a quick search.

Within minutes, I received a response from a Comcast customer service representative denouncing my suspicion and offering his help. A few brief replies and some direct messages later, he looked up my account and connection strength. Here is a direct quote that I found most interesting: "As you probably know I have reviewed things for a lot of people. I have never seen signals so poor as yours. Not sure how you are online." I knew my situation was bad, but I didn't know it was this bad.

The rep quickly set me up to be helped by a lead tech. Within 24 hours I received a call to set an appointment for the tech to come over. Nerd rage pays off on the internet!

P.S. After my initial Twitter conversation with the rep, the following morning I got the attention of another rep who offered to help! I kindly thanked him and let him know I was already taken care of. It was a great start to my day!

Go ahead, give it a try. These companies would love to hear your gripe!
@comcastcares
@netflixhelps
@xboxsupport
@shareatt
@VZWsupport
@AppleSupportRSS

To find more, try www.wefollow.com or www.twibs.com

As a side note, I found out that Microsoft seems to LOVE Twitter. They have quite a few accounts for the various projects

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Use Speech-to-Text IM'ing on your iPhone with IM+


It's things like this that make you wonder if we are getting out of control with this whole texting thing. Sure, it's fun to text and IM'ing your friends is a good time, but I've heard the gripe more than once: "Ugh, I wish I could talk and the iPhone would text for me." The iPhone already has that app. Yeah, it's called the "Phone."

But I digress. The iPhone app IM+, which lets you access all kinds of IM services from one program, has come out with a speech-to-text feature. Now, don't get carried away, it has the same flaws as any other speech-to-text program out there. But, on top of that, it seems to take some time to process your speech before it translates it into text. It's even slower if your are using the 3G network and now WiFi. The app costs $9.99 in the app store, and the speech-to-text feature is $0.99 per month. Would you pay $12 a month for an app that types what you're saying to your friend who probably is also speech-to-texting you? I think I'll stick with my phone app and my landscape keyboard. Check out this video:

Monday, August 31, 2009

Disney buys Marvel


Breaking news from Twitter. Disney is on track to acquire Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion. I'm apprehensive to see what this means for my favorite childhood super heroes. Will the Spiderman movies become even more sucky, or maybe Pixar will take over and make it completely computer animated. Will Wolverine's vicious character traits get nerfed? What about the next X-Men Origins films for Rogue and Magneto? Sigh, at least Superman is safe... for now....

Here are some of my favorite tweets on the topic:

@Owtlaw If Hannah Montana has a guest appearance on the X Men, I'll feel my childhood was betrayed.

@majornelson The Disney/Marvel news will make for interesting negotiations when Universal Theme Park Orlando needs to renew their Marvel licensing deal.

@Owtlaw Oh wait! Rogue from the X Men can't show her stuff on True Blood any more! Disney will make her life dissapear!

@thinkgeek The Supercalafragalisticexpialadocious Four, Peter Pan Parker, Ironmouse, Snow White & the Silver Surfers #frankenmarveldisney