GeekSpeak for 2011-03-26

Past Future Rain and FireFox 4

Laurel, Lindsey, Lyle and Luckow offer their opinions about the week-in-geek-news.

Make your Own iPad and Tablet Stylus

A stylus for the iPad or any other tablet can be made from anything conductive, including foam, metal, and skin.  This means it is actually quite easy to make a simple stylus if you use your imagination.  However, the folks at Rainy Day Projects have taken things to another level, by making a brush-style stylus that could be used to paint or draw on a tablet.

They have made a brush out of the copper strands from a power cord, holding it all in place with nothing more than an old Bic pen.  While this design is far from perfect, apparently it is too soft to scratch the surface and it does produce some really lovely effects.  I can imagine a digital artist with a whole collection of DIY stylus, using different widths of copper and different materials altogether for ultimate control.

Totally Awesome Space Colonies

TOTALLY AWESOME SPACE COLONIES

In the 1970s, NASA’s Ames Research Center gathered artists and tasked them with designing space colonies able to accomodate 10,000 people. High resolution versions are available at NASA’a Space Settlements page.

350 000$ For A Domain Name

How much can you pay for a domain name? Registering a new domain name for one year costs just a couple of dollars. Even a registration for 10 years can cost less than $100. So buying a domain name for $350,000 may seem more than just a little over the top for some.

Yet that was the amount paid for the domain Color.com. The sale was facilitated by GoDaddy in December 2010. At the time, the buyer was unclear. Details have been slowly emerging that this was just part of an elaborate strategy heralding the entry of an ambitious start up pushing the frontiers of social networking and smart phone use.

PhotoSwap

Looking at something worth taking a picture of ? Use PhotoSwap and send your picture immediately to another randomly-selected PhotoSwap user. In exchange you’ll get his.

You can reply to each picture you receive with … another picture of course! And engage in a real photo-based conversation.

Each picture taken has one and only one recipient. Be surprised by a unique glimpse into someone else’s life !

Rainy Day Projects : DIY iPad Brush

A few review requests have come across our desks recently regarding iPad styli. We have ignored them, mostly because the whole idea of a stylus is pretty silly when the iPad, unlike a Wacom tablet, has no ability to detect pressure. In our opinion, without that key parameter, replacing the finger with a stylus makes little sense. Still, companies press on and offer up styli and brushes (Pogo Sketch, Griffin Stylus, Nomad Brush) for the iPad. After seeing the video of the Nomad Brush in action, we became a bit more intriqued with the potential of such an instrument, even with the lack pressure-sensitivity.

Facebook Bullying Prevention Tool

Late last week, Facebook unveiled a tool that makes it easy for you to report when you are being bullied.

Google has started testing Google Music internally

Google employees have begun testing Google Music internally. This would suggest the much anticipated service is nearly ready to launch, according to music industry sources cited by CNET.

Firefox 4 downloads hit 7 million

Firefox 4 released on March 22. 7 million copies downloaded in the first 24 hours.
See real-time download stats at http://glow.mozilla.org/.
This is almost triple the 2.4 million copies of IE 9 downloaded the first day. On Wednesday, the Firefox team tweeted “the IE team just sent us a congratulatory cake for #fx4.” IE also sent cakes for Firefox 2 and 3.

Cyborgs are among us…and it’s awesome!

Paralyzed woman unable to move or speak after suffering a stroke.
Brown University researchers implanted a “BrainGate” brand neural implant in 2005 that can read the electronic signals in her brain.
Using the implant, she could control a mouse cursor on a computer screen using only her thoughts.
In the study, she performed two “point-and-click” tasks each day by thinking about moving the cursor with her hand. In both tasks she averaged greater than 90 percent accuracy.

Beyond Mobile: A Computer the Size of a Grain of Sand

Considered a corollary of Moore’s Law, Bell’s Law leaps from transistors on chips to computers, describing not how their components increase, but rather how they shrink. Bell’s Law holds that a new class of smaller, cheaper computers comes along roughly every 10 years. The arrival of smartphones conformed to the law, and the next step — millimeter-scale computers — is already being realized.

Privacy Blocker app for Android spoofs personal data

Basically what the app does is scans all the applications you have installed. It identifies what data the apps are requesting about your phone and sending. It then will “fix” the privacy issue by replacing that data inside the app with hard coded (bogus) data. So if an app is sending your phone number back to a server, Privacy Blocker will hard code your number as “55544433333”. You also have the option to override the default values and make it anything you want.


! ZIP Files

Laurel suggests [7-ZIP|http://www.7-zip.org/] as a zip compress and uncompress utility.

! Multiple Firefox Profiles

Run two Firefox profiles [simultaneously|http://lifehacker.com/#!231646/geek-to-live—manage-multiple-firefox-profiles]. Good for running a clean Firefox for testing, and your real Firefox profile.

! TabMixPlus

Choose which Firefox profile to [restore|https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tab-mix-plus/]. Great if your last session had too many tabs.