This Amazing Lego Instant Camera Even Pops Out Lego Polaroids

This Amazing Lego Instant Camera Even Pops Out Lego Polaroids


We couldn’t be happier that Lego master Chris McVeigh—aka Power Pig—is continuing to use his formidable skills to create brick versions of iconic cameras. Following up on his Leica M9-P he brings us this gorgeous Lego version of the Polaroid Land Camera 1000.

And going above and beyond the call of duty, McVeigh even made this Polaroid semi-functional with a small Lego photo that can be ejected from the front-loading slot. If real Polaroids were this adorable, they might still be around. [Chris McVeigh via The Brothers Brick]

Source: Gizmodo.

Vermont Telephone Company’s gigabit internet service is live, half the price of Google Fiber

Remember how Google Fiber‘s recent announcement for planned service in Austin by 2014 spurred immediate competition from AT&T? It’s safe to say telcos in other areas have taken note about the gigabit speeds and roughly $70 montly pricing, too. According to a Wall Street Journal Digits blog post, Vermont Telephone Company is now offering gigabit-speed service to some of its customers for the crazy low stand-alone price of $35 bucks a month. To keep things in perspective, WSJ notes that roughly 600 folks are subscribed (out of VTel’s total base of about 17.5K) and that the company is essentially going to be analyzing whether the current pricing will remain for the long-term. With Google Fiber to continuing to expand, it’s certainly promising to see how superspeed internet is trickling across the US — and how easy it’s been looking on the wallet.

Source: engadget.

Bruce Lawson’s personal site  : Save bandwidth with webP – soon with fallback!

A long time ago, “responsive” didn’t mean “resize your browser window repeatedly while fellow designers orgasm until they resemble a moleskin atop a puddle”. It simply meant “Reacting quickly and positively”, meaning that the page loaded fast and you could interact with it immediately.

One way to do this is to reduce the weight of the page by serving images that have a smaller file-size, thereby consuming less bandwidth and taking less time to download a page. In the last year, web pages download approximately the same number of images, but their total size has increased from about 600K to 812K, making images about 60% of the total page size.

One way to reduce this amount is to encode images in a new(ish) format called webP. It’s developed by Google and is basically a still version of their webM video codec. Google says

WebP is a new image format that provides lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. WebP lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs. WebP lossy images are 25-34% smaller in size compared to JPEG images at equivalent SSIM index. WebP supports lossless transparency (also known as alpha channel) with just 22% additional bytes. Transparency is also supported with lossy compression and typically provides 3x smaller file sizes compared to PNG when lossy compression is acceptable for the red/green/blue color channels.

Opera uses it precisely for this compression; it’s used in Opera Turbo, which can be enabled in Opera desktop, Opera Mobile and the Chromium-based Yandex browser. This transcodes images on-the-fly to webP before squirting them down the wire and, on slower connections, it’s still faster.

In tests, Yoav Weiss reported that “Using WebP would increase the savings to 61% of image data”.

WebP is currently supported only in Opera (Presto), Google Chrome, Yandex and Android Browser on Ice Cream Sandwich, which makes it difficult to deploy on the Web. new confidence about technologies in the VP8 video codec on which it’s based might make them feel better about it?)

However, there’s some handy new CSS coming to the rescue soon (when browser vendors implement it). We’ve long been able to specify CSS background images using background-image: url(foo.png);, but now say hello to CSS Image Values and Replaced Content Module Level 4′s Image Fallbacks, which uses this syntax:

background-image: image("wavy.webp", "wavy.png", "wavy.gif");

(Note image rather than url before the list of images.)

The spec says “Multiple ‘image -srcs’ can be given separated by commas, in which case the function represents the first image that’s not an invalid image.”

Simply: go through the list of images and grab the first you can use. If it 404s, continue going through the list until you find one you can use. Note that this isn’t supported anywhere yet, but I hope to see it soon.

Read more @ Bruce Lawson’s personal site.

Tell your Members of Congress How New Internet Taxes Will Impact You

The big internet tax is upon us. Nobody likes to pay taxes but this one in particular will do more harm than good we believe. eBay, PayPal and StubHub have come together to push back and we support them in their efforts.

Here is some of the information:

On March 22, the U.S. Congress supported legislation that could fast-track future passage of an Internet sales tax bill. Unfortunately, the debate did not highlight the impact of this proposal on consumers like you who shop with small businesses online to get great choices and value.

An Internet Sales Tax bill could greatly reduce selection and competitive prices by putting new tax burdens on small businesses. The bills proposed require very small businesses that use the Internet to collect sales taxes from out-of-state customers, increasing their cost of doing business and reducing their ability to compete with giant retail chains.


We hope that you will supports this effort as well and if you want to do so go to the Internet Taxes Alert – Step 1.

Jimmy McMillan “Rent Is Too Damn High” Anthem – YouTube

Rent Is Too Damn High

Amazingly Jimmy McMillan is back with his message. This time it’s not just to have a little fun. He is taking his message and will try to make it heard a little louder. His goal? Mayor of New York. Yes he will be in the race and below is his anthem and promotion video.

To find out more about Jimmy McMillan, his message and his race for mayor, check out the website Jimmy McMillan “Rent Is Too Damn High” Anthem.<

Reflection in PHP | Nettuts+

Reflection is generally defined as a program’s ability to inspect itself and modify its logic at execution time. In less technical terms, reflection is asking an object to tell you about its properties and methods, and altering those members (even private ones). In this lesson, we’ll dig into how this is accomplished, and when it might prove useful.


A Little History

At the dawn of the age of programming, there was the assembly language. A program written in assembly resides on physical registers inside the computer. Its composition, methods and values could be inspected at any time by reading the registers. Even more, you could alter the program while it was running by simply modifying those registers. It required some intimate knowledge about the running program, but it was inherently reflective.

As higher-level programming languages (like C) came along, this reflectivity faded and disappeared. It was later re-introduced with object-oriented programming.

Today, most programming languages can use reflection. Statically typed languages, such as Java, have little to no problems with reflection. What I find interesting, however, is that any dynamically-typed language (like PHP or Ruby) is heavily based on reflection. Without the concept of reflection, duck-typing would most likely be impossible to implement. When you send one object to another (a parameter, for example), the receiving object has no way of knowing the structure and type of that object. All it can do is use reflection to identify the methods that can and cannot be called on the received object.

Read the full article @ Nettuts+.

Aereo brings its streaming TV & cloud DVR service to Boston on May 15 | VentureBeat

Aereo

Despite continued legal attacks by television networks, controversial streaming TV startup Aereo will bring its service to Boston starting May 15, the company announced today.

Aereo offers streams of over-the-air broadcasts from channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and PBS and makes them available on PCs and smart devices for $8 or $12 a month. It has installed many dime-sized antennas in New York City and other areas that receive broadcast transmissions and then pushes those transmissions to customers via the web. It also offers a cloud-based DVR so you can watch shows on your schedule.

The company recently won a major court victory against TV networks that meant the service could continue running. In response to that ruling, executives from News Corp. and CBS casually threatened to turn their broadcast networks into cable channels so Aereo’s re-transmissions could be stopped. (However, that seems unlikely.)

Even with the push-back from big media players, the company intends to keep expanding. After Boston, it has plans to hit other big cities by the end of the year.

People in the Boston area who have pre-registered for Aereo will get an invitation to join on May 15. Anyone else who wants the service can join after May 30. Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia and several of his employees are actually Boston natives, so making the service available in that market is especially meaningful to the company.

“Consumers deserve more choice and flexibility in how they experience television and Aereo provides them a high-quality, rationally-priced alternative,” Kanojia said in a statement. “This is an exciting step forward for the company. Today’s announcement is even more meaningful and special for our more than 60 employees who call the Boston area home, including me. I’m proud of our team and what we’ve accomplished in such a short period of time.”

New York City-based Aereo has raised $63 million to date from investors including IAC, Highland Capital Partners, First Round Capital, and High Line Venture Partners.

Read more at VentureBeat

Nest Energy Services link home cooling to utilities’ cloud data

As clever as the Nest Learning Thermostat can be, its intelligence only extends as far as the front door: it hasn’t really been aware of how neighbors or the seasons affect our power bills. Nest Labs is improving that connection to the outside world through Nest Energy Services, a new program that links its device to the collective, cloud-based knowledge of utility companies. When owners are with an Energy Services-aware provider, the thermostat will know when to brace for an energy “rush hour” and automatically limit its cooling during peak (read: expensive) periods. It also gives a heads-up for seasonal discounts that fine-tune the temperature schedule over the course of a few weeks. Unlike previous utility-guided approaches, Nest users can always retake control if they genuinely can’t stand the heat.

Only Austin Energy, Green Mountain Energy, Reliant and Southern California Edison have lined up for the synced climate control so far, although Nest is sweetening the deal by expanding utility-based discounts for the thermostat itself. Customers of National Grid can get an immediate $100 rebate through Nest, while those who sign up with Reliant can still receive their thermostats for free with certain plans. The deals are calculated tradeoffs for companies likely to recoup their investment down the road, but they could represent big wins for homeowners still jittery about paying up front to save money later.

Read more @ engadget.

BeagleBone Black packs 1GHz ARM CPU, 512MB RAM for just $45 (video)

BeagleBone Black packs 1GHz ARM CPU, 512MB RAM for just $45 (video)

The BeagleBone might be just the piece of kit for the DIY set itching to boot Linux in 10 seconds, but the freshly unveiled BeagleBone Black packs an even greater punch — and the same speedy start times — at just half the price of its predecessor. The $45 credit card-sized package totes a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 3D graphics accelerator, a pair of PRU 32-bit RISC CPUs, 2GB of built-in storage, a microSD slot and 512MB of RAM. Connectivity-wise, the canine-themed board carries support for USB, Ethernet, micro-HDMI and two 46 pin headers. Those pining for hardware flexibility can make use of the platform’s existing “cape” hardware add-ons. Though it ships from Texas Instruments with Angstrom Linux on board, it’s also tuned to support Android and Ubuntu, and arrives pre-loaded with the Cloud9 IDE. BeagleBone Black is already up for grabs in limited quantities, but it’s expected to ship en masse by the end of May. Hit the second source link to start ordering, or head past the break for a video tour of the pint-sized computer.

Read more @ engadget.

The world’s fastest human computer has died aged 83 | News | Geek.com

Shakuntala-devi-625-590x330

Shakuntala Devi, known as the Human Computer, has died at the age of 83 following respiratory and then heart and kidney problems in a Bangalore hospital.

Her title of Human Computer was well earned as she was a child prodigy with phenomenal math skills. Shakuntala’s father noticed her math skills at age three when she could very easily memorize numbers to beat the card tricks she was shown. As her father was a trapeze artist in the circus, he had his daughter impressing the crowds with her super human calculations by age six, but it wasn’t until adulthood her gift was really demonstrated.

In 1977 she beat a computer at calculating the cube root of 188,132,517. Even more impressive is when she was asked for the 23rd root of 201 digit number. It took her 50 seconds to answer correctly, while a UNIVAC 1108 computer took 70 seconds to check she was right. I’m sure today’s computers would easily beat her, though.

Not surprisingly, Shakuntala also holds a Guinness World Record. In 1980 she was tasked with multiplying two 13-digit numbers randomly picked by members of the Computer Department of Imperial College, London. Those numbers were 7,686,369,774,870 and 2,465,099,745,779. She delivered the correct answer in just 28 seconds. She was also capable of telling you the day for any date in the last century almost instantly.

According to DC Shivdev, a trustee for the Shakuntala Devi Educational Foundation Public Trust, Shakuntala had clear and simple techniques she used to perform such math feats. She has written several booksthat try to help children with math and numbers, but her techniques have apparently yet to be used in education.

Source: Geek.com.