GeekSpeak for 2011-01-22

Going Tech Potty at Solar Speeds

Geeks Ben, Al, Alex, Lindsey, and Miles take your calls and cover the Week in Geek: Solar Car Speed record, the first [HDR|High Dynamic Range] video camera, the new iPoo Android tablet, and astrology word clouds.

The iPoo Android Tablet | gizchina.com

When the Nintendo Wii was finally unveiled with it’s hilarious name I really thought there would be no device to ever top the Wii from the top of toilet themed comedy charts.
Looks like I was wrong! Enter the iPoo!

Sony Toylet - Sony Toylet urinal game to rival Sega

We know that Sega has turned the public urinal into a gaming machine, and isn’t it weird that Sony is jumping aboard this potential new niche as well? The company’s Toylet include Mannekin Pis that will calculate the velocity and volume of the urine in order to “translate” that data into workable in-game solutions, where among them include Graffiti Eraser that is actually an image eliminator while The North Wind and Her will require the direction of your piss to lift a woman’s dress. This technology is currently seeing action in metro stations, and depending on its popularity, it might soon see action in other public places. Apart from that, bring your USB flash drive with you everywhere you go now since you can store your top score. We wonder when will female toilets get something similar…

The iPoo is not a toilet bowl

We all know that ever since Apple introduced the iPod, many different manufacturers came up with names that began with the letter “i” for their products and even their own brand names. Naturally most of these copy cat devices weren’t the most impressive consumer electronics and some did all right (iRiver anyone?) but one thing remains – companies who aren’t Apple still like to use the “i” in names and some of them are outright ridiculous. Case in point? This Android tablet from China called the iPoo. Coming in a nice elegant form factor, it makes you wonder why its manufacturer chose such a name for the device. It certainly doesn’t look like poo- maybe it’s what’s underneath the hood. The iPoo packs a 600MHz processor, 256MB of RAM, 2GB of internal storage (expandable with SD cards) and a 7″ resistive touchscreen (800 × 480), a built in front facing camera, 2 mini USB ports and runs on Android 2.2. Maybe that’s what the company thought of its capabilities. If so, then why bother releasing it in the first place? Next to the Motorola XOOM it sure feels like poo though. Head here for more pictures.

Stupid USB Gadget

Nothing could be more annoying

Solar car speed record smashed

There’s a new world record for the fastest solar-powered land vehicle: 88km/h (54.68mph) over one kilometre, using about the same power as a toaster (1050 watts).
The vehicle is called Sunswift IVY. It was built from scratch in 2009 by students from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. They managed to convert 98% of power from solar panels into kinetic energy. The project took 18 months to complete and cost $280,000 plus goods provided by sponsors.

Horror scoped

The wonderful website Information is Beautiful does terrific work taking interesting data and turning into easy-to-grasp information. They recently turned their attention to astrology — guess why — and did something truly cool: made a word cloud of the most commonly used terms in horoscopes. The sample was pretty big, comprising 22,000 horoscopes taken from Yahoo (which itself got them from astrology.com). Here’s what they found:

Moonrise from Space

As the ISS races around the Earth at 8 km/sec (5 miles/sec), it sees up to 18 sunrises and sunsets each day, and the same number of moonrises and moonsets. Check out these pictures!

But what’s with the squished Moon? Here’s a closeup of the Moon in the three pictures, and an explanation

75 Percent of AOL subscribers don't need it

In his big New Yorker profile on AOL this week, Ken Auletta explained that 80% of the company’s profits STILL come from AOL’s subscription business. Even though 75% of those people have another ISP and are only keeping it because they think they need it to keep their AOL email – but they don’t.

Unsecured IP cameras accessible to everyone

In the last couple of decades, we have become so accustomed to the idea that the public portion of our everyday life is watched and recorded – in stores, on the street, in institutions – that we often don’t even notice the cameras anymore. Some of us don’t mind the practice, others are unnerved by it, but whether you are part of the first or the second group, it is good to be aware of the consequences that unsecured surveillance systems can lead to.

World's first full HDR video system sees like the human eye

Anyone who regularly uses a video camera will know that the devices do not see the world the way we do. The human visual system can perceive a scene that contains both bright highlights and dark shadows, yet is able to process that information in such a way that it can simultaneously expose for both lighting extremes – up to a point, at least. Video cameras, however, have just one f-stop to work with at any one time, and so must make compromises. Now, however, researchers from the UK’s University of Warwick claim to have the solution to such problems, in the form of the world’s first full High Dynamic Range (HDR) video system.