Animals have had a rough time of it, when it comes to scientific exploration. Look no further than Laika, the first animal to orbit Earth, soon to become a the first animal to die in orbit, not too long after achieving that earlier distinction. The dwarf hamsters that occupy Hampture seem to be considerably happier in their own scientific explorations than the Soviet mutt, at the moment. Bob Averill brought the project to our attention last week on our visit to Portland, Oregon. According to the official blog, the project is an attempt to "learn firsthand what is involved in designing and constructing a complete underwater habitat capable of sustaining complex organisms." It also may well be a gateway to sending the hamsternauts into space via Skystation Mk1. Averill is also looking to turn Hampture into a salable product, though Kickstarter, for one, has apparently balked at the idea. In the meantime, you can check out a streaming feed of the habitat after the break and read up on the making of the project in the source links below.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
We've all seen those "OMG! Don't make us pay for Facebook" fake petitions, but App.net and The Social Network raise questions about how our social services raise their moolah. Tencent's Sophia Ong has revealed that it's in the unique position of having users happy to pay for services that we take for granted. While signups for QZone (Facebook equivalent) is free, users have to use QBs, the site's virtual currency, to buy and clothe their avatars. While 1 QB = 1 yuan ($0.16), there are 30 million paying customers on the site -- meaning that the company can count on around $50 million in monthly payments. It's not stopping there either, sensing a slowdown in the local economy, the company has an eye on opening up its eCommerce platform to ensure it can continue to rake in the cash.
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Just add email@example.com to your GTalk buddies, and you can start firing off questions. Lifehacker suggests that the same types of queries supported by Google SMS will work, though we didn't have any luck getting a response out of the Guru with phrases like "score detroit red wings" or "sushi R3N 1Y1."
Still, Guru does answer a good variety of questions and it works right within your favorite IM app. It's well worth adding to your friend list, especially for getting answers on the go on your mobile device of choice.
The five new views provide fresh and interesting ways to explore your favorite Blogger blogs. The Mosaic view, for example, creates a wall of thumbnails -- click one, and it zooms to fill the screen; click it again and it minimizes. Flipcard is similar to Mosaic, but not quite as eclectic. Sidebar, Timeslide and Snapshot round off the new views, with each one obviously targeted at different types of content, from photo blogs, to text-only philosophy blogs, and everything in between.
For now, you have to visit a Blogger blog and add /view to the URL to enable the new Dynamic Views. If you own a Blogger blog, you can disable the new views -- and really, why weren't they disabled by default?
If feedback is positive -- which we're sure it will be -- these Dynamic Views will soon be enabled by default. You'll also be able to edit the views in much the same way as current Blogger templates.
Do you happen to be David Beckham or Toyota? Well, congratulations -- you now have a Google+ vanity URL. The rest of us looking for the football star or car manufacturer need only type "google.com/+davidbeckham" or "google.com/+toyota" to reach those respective pages, enabling easy access to that must-see picture in front of a private jet, or a vehicle recall notice. Sadly, you're probably not eligible for a custom shortcut of your own -- here's the word from Google:
At first, we're introducing custom URLs to a limited number of verified profiles and pages. But over time we plan to offer custom URLs to many more brands and individuals, so please stay tuned!
So, for now, you better get comfy with "plus.google.com/108326689306432447266," or whatever the good Goog has granted.
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CrackBerry also warns against installing the leaked BBM 6 app. There's no guarantee this app hasn't been tampered with, and BlackBerry devices are becoming a more common target for cybercriminals.
A couple weeks back we saw the Motorola Droid 4 in the midst of it's soak test procedure for Ice Cream Sandwich, and today it appears that the update is pushing, at least for a few. Officially, the support page lists the update as "coming soon", but we've gotten a report or two that it's already inbound. We'll go over the changes in a bit, but it's worth mentioning that the build of Blur (or not Blur) has been updated to the same version we saw in the RAZR's Ice Cream Sandwich update. We like it when things get refined, so we're not complaining, but if you get a bit lost with the new look and feel hit the forums for some help. Moving on to the details --
- Device is enabled for Global Roaming.
- Integration of new version of Backup Assistant Plus.
- Mobile IM has been removed.
- Color for Facebook application is preloaded.
- Enhanced Customer Support with Verizon Remote Diagnostics.
- Improved Stability and connectivity with Email.
- Successfully download and save ringtones.
- Mobile Hotspot – Improved connectivity.
- Reduced device resets and power cycling.
- Camera quality has been improved for better pictures.
- Improved My Gallery performance.
- Voice Mail Notification shows the correct of unread messages.
- Updated Mobile Hotspots Icon.
- Visual Voice Mail shortcut on home screen changed to a standard voicemail shortcut.
- Clear Contact pictures are displayed for phonebook contacts.
The version number is now 6.16.217.XT894.Verizon.en.US, and the update checks in at about in at 360MB. We're not sure how widespread the rollout is just yet, but to check if you have it ready and waiting hit the settings and look in About phone > system update. When you see it, be sure to sound off and let folks know how it went for you. Hit the source link below for the full details as well as detailed update instructions.
Source: Verizon Support. Thanks, TimR!
Elephant Quest is one platformer that managed to prove me completely wrong. Yes, you do run and jump around, and you also shoot at stuff. But the game has much, much more going for it.
Basically, as you run, jump and shoot, you gain experience points and level up. Hitting Space brings you into an interface where you can convert your experience points into Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Dexterity points. Once you've "specialized" your points, you then get to pick what exact skills you'd like to enhance in each field. For example, you could use your dexterity to enhance your weapons or increase your swiftness.
The game is played in a huge maze; you go through rooms using doors, and there's a large map. As the name implies, there are quests you can take, too. For example, one quest had me searching all over the place for ten balloons.
The bottom line is that this is a surprisingly deep game that just might ensnare you for a good bit longer than you intended to play. Beware!
Monday, August 13, 2012
If you don't have Android 2.3 -- or don't want to root your phone to install the leaked Music app -- take a look through our gallery, and then read on for our initial hands-on impressions.