I stumbled onto this thanks to my colleague Jenny, who posted it for Geek.com, and sure enough, it’s as beautiful as she describes. The video is actually a time-lapse shot over the course of a year by astrophotographer Daniel Lopez on the island of Tenerife.
Tenerife is far enough away from major cities and light pollution that at night you can see the band of the Milky Way in the sky, along with a wealth of stars in the sky that many North Americans have never seen in their lives. It also doesn’t hurt that the island is well over 2,000 meters above sea level, making it a great place to do some astronomy if you have an observatory, telescope, or even a good camera. And a good camera is definitely what Lopez has.
Both videos were shot in Teide National Park in Tenerife, the largest and most populous of the seven Canary Islands where Lopez lives. The video is the first in a series from Lopez in which he’ll try to capture the beauty of each island. Tenerife is a World Heritage Site and is home to the third largest volcano in the world, El Teide.
Someday I’ll get a chance to visit. In the interim, I’ll settle for the video. Hit play, full-screen, and watch:
Over at Google I/O last week, one of the interesting but under-reported items on the event floor was the Meta Watch from FOSSIL. The folks over at This Is My Next managed to play with it a bit, and in an age where people are generally shedding wristwatches entirely in favor of phones (which all have clocks on them anyway,) the Meta Watch wants to do something a little differently.
What if, for example, you could check your SMS messages, read them, see how many e-mails you had unread, and more, as well as the time, date, and weather? If your watch were more of a companion device, paired with your smartphone, would a watch be a more attractive device?
That’s FOSSIL’s goal. The two models of Meta Watch pair with your Android phone to deliver relevant information to the watch face, while your watch stays on your wrist and your phone stays in your pocket, away from prying eyes or thieving hands.
Here’s a video of the watch in action, thanks to This Is My Next:
When I heard this story, I was more saddened than anything else. Frankly, there’s no love lost between Facebook and I – I don’t find the service quite the panacea communications platform that so many other people do, but I do have some love for Google, and think that they have some of the smartest people working on the coolest technology that can actually improve our lives of any tech company (and I don’t just say that because I almost joined them.)
Facebook, on the other hand, is the epitome of a tech company and brand that lives, breathes, and exists to make as much money off of the backs of their users while consistently keeping them controlled, monitored, managed, and herded. Facebook lives to eat their data and all of their personal information and then sell it to the highest bidder under the guise of keeping people “connected” and “in touch” with the ones they care about.
I’m not saying Google doesn’t do similar things, or want to eat our data and sell it all as well – but at least they offer something back in exchange, even if you don’t think it’s a fair trade.
All that aside, when I heard the news that Facebook had hired a PR firm to start releasing media advisories and spreading FUD about Google, I was pretty livid. They could have done the same thing and called it avertising or marketing, and that would have been fine in a way – at least they would have been above board. Instead, Facebook went undercover, using a PR firm as their front, with instructions not to divulge their connections. That’s just underhanded.
Like I said on Twitter, I don’t know what’s funnier, the fact that Google’s the good guy here, or the fact that Facebook is actually pretending it gives a damn about privacy.
I’m a big fan of Danny Choo and the way he’s managed to let nothing stop him from making his passion his life and career, and one of the things he does regularly is work on a televison show called Culture Japan. On a recent episode, he went over to the development company called Kayac to meet with developer Makoto Hara, who said he’d always wanted to fly through cyberspace the way characters in the Ghost in the Shell universe do.
Well, with the help of the Microsoft Kinect, now they were able to! Using the motion sensitive controls of the Kinect and some programming knowhow, they managed to build a game that looks, behaves, and plays like it’s straight out of the Ghost in The Shell universe. Check out the video:
It’s really incredible, and something special to behold. I just wish I had something like this somewhere near me where I could try it and play with it. Danny has tons more photos available at his blog – check em out!
TwitPic, one of the most popular image hosting services that many users use alongside Twitter, recently changed its terms of service in probably the most horrible way possible: they now have rights to use and re-use the photos that you upload.
That’s right – if you’re out at a bar snapping photos of your friends and your drinks, you might presume that you have some control over the photos and how they’re used because you took them, right? Not if you upload them to TwitPic.
If you’ve noticed some of your friends veering away from the service, this would be why. It’s a bigger shame because TwitPic is one of the image hosting services supported officially by Twitter, which means you’re able to see images from TwitPic in-line at the Twitter web site and in the official clients, not to mention most of the unofficial and third-party ones.
Sadly, a number of TwitPic users have to find a new home if they want to retain ownership and legal right over the content they upload – assuming it’s not already copyrighted by someone else, that is. Here’s the scoop from an article over at ReadWriteWeb:
“To clarify our ToS regarding ownership, you the user retain all copyrights to your photos and videos, it’s your content,” Noah Everett, founder of TwitPic, wrote on the company’s blog. “Our terms state by uploading content to Twitpic you allow us to distribute that content on twitpic.com and our affiliated partners. This is standard among most user-generated content sites (including Twitter). If you delete a photo or video from Twitpic, that content is no longer viewable.”
So to be clear, you don’t give them ownership or complete rights over the content, but you do give them the right to use or re-use the content as they see fit. Which for most people, are enough rights removed that they’ve moved on to another service.
The folks at PC Mag sat down and got busy thinking about what some of their biggest pet peeves around technology were. Horrible autocorrect? Check. People trying to multi-touch all over your laptop or desktop display? Check. People who want to borrow your phone because it’s different than theirs and they need to compare? Definitely.
This slideshow is one that’s worth clicking through, if for no other reason than the hilarious photos involved like the ones above. They’re fantastic to see, and you’ll agree with every single one, without doubt.
I actually have a bottle opener attached to my wallet (you never know when you’ll need one) but if I didn’t, I’d consider this: a CTRL+O bottle opener, straight from the folks at Art Lebdev, known world-wide for awesomely geeky designs like the famous (or infamous) Optimus Maximus Keyboard.
The opener is available for purchase direct from the design house for about $18, but I’m sure they’ll hook up with a retailer like ThinkGeek anytime now to get it stocked and sold on American shores. Still, it’s small and thin enough that you could keep it in your wallet or pocket if you wanted to, and it’s a perfect way to always have an opener on-hand when your officemates decide to crack open a brew.
Ladies and Gentlemen, your moment of zen.
Original is at the link below. I had no idea they were both such cigar fans!
Everyone’s been talking about this story today, but I think it’s an incredible one. In what’s clearly the biggest purchase or acquisition the company has ever made, Microsoft has weighed in and purchased Skype outright for $8.5 billion. That’s a lot of dough.
Microsoft is buying Skype from Silver Lake, the investment firm which has had a majority interest in Skype for a while now, since eBay spun it off after acquiring it and not knowing what to do with it. Now, what the future has in store for Skype is anyone’s guess, but we’ll see how it all turns out for the company: it’s going to be interesting to see what Microsoft decided to do with Skype.
A lot of people have already predicted that Microsoft will simply shut Skype down and absorb its technology into its own communication and VoIP products, leaving nothing behind. According to Microsoft, they have no such plans. From PC Mag:
Microsoft said the deal will increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications across its products, while expanding Skype’s reach. Skype will be available on Microsoft products like Xbox, Kinect, and Windows Phone, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live, and more.
Microsoft said it will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.
“Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement. “Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world.”
When the deal is complete, Skype will be a new business division within Microsoft. Skype CEO Tony Bates will become president of the Microsoft Skype division, reporting to Ballmer.
If that’s the case, we’ll still see Skype in the future, and people will still be able to use the service. However, as one clever Twitter user put it, I wonder if they’ll make us all sign in with our old Hotmail/Live IDs that none of us remember the passwords to anymore.
Now here’s a project that I think I could take on – not because I need another computer, but mostly because I could use having a gaming PC that doesn’t take up as much space as my current tower does. The beauty of this rig is that it’s up to date and can play pretty much anything popular today, and has enough horsepower to play some of the biggest titles planned for release this year.
If you’re thinking about updating your gaming rig and you want a solution that doesn’t take up a world of space, take a look at this how-to guide. The slideshow walks you through every step of the process.