Free Cycle, Reuse Stuff
GeekSpeak Podcast for 2008-12-06
Free Cycle is a national non-profit which promotes the re-use of stuff by giving it away. Do you have something at your place that you don’t need, but someone else might want? Well try out FreeCycle, and off your stuff to people in your community.
Science Fiction’s biggest fan, Forrest J Ackerman, died on Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 92. Ackerman was widely credited with coining the term sci-fi.
The first NFL game broadcast to theaters live in 3-D fumbled, then recovered Thursday night.
Two satellite glitches blacked out the broadcast to theaters in Boston, New York and Los Angeles in the first half of the game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers.
And on a few occasions, a quick camera movement or a refocusing — and one ill-advised dissolve — had viewers pulling off their polarized lenses.
But the Los Angeles audience was mostly forgiving, in awe of a spectacle that had depth and in some instances gave the feeling of being on the field, especially for the opening coin toss.
The launch of the massive roving robot with a rock-zapping laser was pushed back Thursday from next year until 2011, adding $400 million to the price tag. Mars exploration chief Doug McCuistion says more than 10 different problems, all solvable with time, forced the postponement.
New ways of squeezing out greater efficiency from solar photovoltaic cells are emerging from computer simulations and lab tests conducted by a team of physicists and engineers at MIT. Using computer modeling and a variety of advanced chip-manufacturing techniques, they have applied an antireflection coating to the front, and a novel combination of multi-layered reflective coatings and a tightly spaced array of lines — called a diffraction grating — to the backs of ultrathin silicon films to boost the cells’ output by as much as 50 percent.
The aptly-named LifeStraw is an invention that could become one of the greatest life-savers in history. It is a 25 cm long, 29 mm diameter, plastic pipe filter and costs just a few dollars. There are several products of this sort.
Google is the most powerful brand in the world, according to research and consulting firm Millward Brown. Google took the top spot with a brand value of $66.4 billion, followed by General Electric ($61.9 billion), Microsoft ($54.9 billion), Coca-Cola ($44.1 billion), China Mobile ($41.2 billion), Marlboro/Altria ($39.2 billion), Wal-Mart ($36.9 billion), Citigroup ($33.7 billion), IBM ($33.6 billion), and Toyota ($33.4 billion).
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“It’s rare in human history that a billionth of anything has been shipped by one company,” said Logitech’s general manager Rory Dooley.
Only 10 days after the game’s launch date, already half a million people had downloaded the game. During the months after that, another million people obtained a copy of the game via BitTorrent. According to our estimates, Spore was downloaded 1.7 million times since early September, a record breaking figure for a game. Check out this story on the Top 10 Most Pirated Games of 2008.
In an Onion-worthy move, the USPTO has decided that IBM inventors deserve a patent for splitting a restaurant bill. Ending an 8+ year battle with the USPTO, self-anointed patent system savior IBM got a less-than-impressed USPTO Examiner’s final rejection overruled in June and snagged US Patent No. 7,457,767 Tuesday for its Pay at the Table System.
In the U.S. print ads, Apple reports that 300 million apps have been downloaded and confirms that the App Store now carries over 10,000 applications. The App Store crossed over the 10,000 app point on Wednesday and the current App count is 10,353 apps according to AppShopper.
Baird analysts sent out a research note last week telling customers that Intel will delay its Havendale CPU+GPU processor by one quarter into 2010, while average CPU pricing for both AMD and Intel is showing sharp drops for 2008.
NASA says that Phoenix last communicated with the Mars Odyssey orbiter on November 2. Controllers tried on November 29 to raise Phoenix one final time. The advancing Martian winter is depriving the lander of the solar energy it needs to maintain working power levels. NASA says that there is a remote chance that Phoenix could survive the -150 degree Martian winter and will try in the Martian springtime to re-establish contact with the lander.
This Firefox browser add-on offered users a download link to pirated copies of products that can normally be found in the Amazon online store.
When the add-on is installed, it integrates a new “download 4 free” button into the Amazon product page when the same article is also available via The Pirate Bay. It works for CDs, DVDs, games, books and basically all products that can be converted to a digital format.
[kerri.jpg|Kerri Hallbeck has moderated the Santa Cruz chapter of Free Cycle for the last two years.]