Items: Robot fish and zombie worms, and other tech toys

This set is somewhat miscellaneous, but a lot of it has to do with cool toys: hardware, software, and other.

  • Aquatic zombie worms discovered.
  • Robot fish! To eat the zombie worms, maybe? (Actually, it's more specific than just a generic robot fish: it's a robo-carp. I didn't get the pun for a while.)
  • MakingMusic, an online musical-instrument encyclopedia. You can download it for OS X, or you can explore it online (in any operating system) using Flash. Complete with sound samples for all instruments.
  • gOffice: a web office suite. "Type right in your browser, no downloads needed, nothing to buy--it's free."
  • Stevey rants about his ideal content management system and why it's not possible. (Written while he was an Amazon employee.) I don't entirely agree with him, but I thought it was an interesting article. (Side note, not remotely relevant to the topic: he uses the phrase "irreducible complexity" a couple of times, a phrase that subsequently became strongly associated with Michael Behe's version of Intelligent Design.)
  • Toogle automatically transforms the results of a Google image search into a text-based rendering.
  • "Google Will Eat Itself."
  • Natural voices demo from AT&T. Some of the voices are pretty good; you probably wouldn't confuse them with a real person yet, but the intonation is impressively natural on some of them. I particularly like Mike and Audrey.
  • Hybrid motorcycle!
  • Photo of "Unscheduled Rapid Disassembly" of a rocket, also known as a land shark. Relatedly, don't park your car near a rocket test site.
  • Enigma Blues, or why Germany REALLY lost the war: a tech support call transcript.
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk lets you sign up to perform simple online tasks that some company wants done (and that computers aren't suited to do), and get paid for it. It's like being able to hire your own zombie army! Or something. I'm getting punchy.
  • I was thinking about buying a new PowerBook, but rumor has it that the first Intel-based PowerBook will be available before May of 2006. According to the rumor, it'll be at least 20% thinner than current PBs, and will have a tiny iSight video camera built into the case for use with video chat.

4 Responses to “Items: Robot fish and zombie worms, and other tech toys”

  1. David Moles

    But once GWEI has control, what will they do? Do they have big plans?

  2. David Moles

    On PowerBooks, the latest rumor is that the first Intel machines will be introduced at the January MacWorld.

    I’m thinking I might try to get a refurbished final-generation PowerPC Powerbook (with the new higher-resolution screen), myself, as soon as they’re discontinued. I figure Apple’s 1.0 releases are always a little shaky, and I’m skeptical about running things like Photoshop in emulation, so putting off the upgrade for a bit seems reasonable. Don’t let me stop you, though.

  3. Jed

    Nice “Bob the Angry Flower” strip—thanks for the link!

    Re PowerBooks: I have a feeling that all of the “Intel Macs to be released much sooner than expected” articles are based mostly on the “extensive checks in the supply chain” report by UBS analyst Ben Reitzes. A lot of other people have jumped on the bandwagon and are now making the same prediction, but I’m not sure whether any of them have any actual information other than what Reitzes said.

    You’re absolutely right that 1.0 releases (whether from Apple or not) are usually a little shaky. And with 1.0 software releases, you can expect an update to come along pretty quickly; with 1.0 hardware releases, you’re stuck with it for as long as you have the machine.

    You’re also right that emulation will slow things down. I’ve currently got an 800MHz PB, about three and a half years old, so it’s possible that even under emulation, things will be zippier for me on an Intel PB. But I’m not sure I want to count on that.

    The detailed Daring Fireball review of the latest model of PB makes it sound pretty good. (Though a lot of the review is basically just talking about how cool the PB looks, and (a) I’ve already got a PB that looks roughly that cool, and (b) I actually was never a big fan of the look of the Ti/Al PBs in the first place.) I would be especially pleased with higher screen resolution.

    I’m a little concerned about the keyboard; I think it may’ve been you who pointed out a while ago that the TiBook keyboard is approximately the best keyboard ever, while (e.g.) the late-2004 AlBook keyboard is only so-so. On the other hand, the latest model may be better (I should go try one out), and I have no reason to think that an InBook keyboard would be any better.

    Hmm. So if the InBook comes out in, say, late February, and there’s a revision six months later, that means if I hold off now I have to wait ten months for a hypothetical product that I don’t know anything about (and that may result in slower applications).

    On the other hand, it’s not like I really need a new computer; my old one still does everything I want it to….

    Waffle waffle.

  4. David Moles

    Yeah, that was me with the keyboard complaints. Plus they look like they’ve been painted with cheap glitter paint.

    Even if do you end up getting a 1.0 InBook, I still admire your ability to not randomly replace your machine every year or two for no good reason, btw.


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