Virtual Wall concept protects pedestrians, livens up crosswalks

via Engadget by Darren Murph on 4/22/08

Let’s face it — pedestrians are already running amok in major city crosswalks; it’s not like we really need to help them hold up the line of traffic any longer while their light is red, is it? All pent up aggression aside, Hanyoung Lee’s brilliant Virtual Wall concept could certainly assist the non-hardened tourists cross from one side to another without fear of being flattened. Essentially, the light-formed barrier would keep cars and Earthlings separated while individuals are cleared to walk, and while we aren’t sure if bumping into said obstacle would cause tire deflation, engine stall or any other totally tough consequences, we can’t imagine it being too effective (or fun, in a devilish way) otherwise.

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Gold-plated MacBook Air breaks Steve Jobs’ heart

Gold-plated MacBook Air breaks Steve Jobs’ heart

via Engadget by Donald Melanson on 4/22/08

We’ve already seen the MacBook Air bathed in gold and crystals, but it seems that people just can’t leave well enough alone, with the folks at Computer Choppers (no strangers to gilded Macs) only the latest to spare no expense in taking the laptop to heights of tackiness that no one from Cupertino would ever dare dream of. That includes 24kt gold plating over the entire laptop and, in a final stake through El Jobso’s heart, an Apple logo ensconced in multi-colored sapphires — not to mention a polished gold SuperDrive to go along with it. If your eyes can take it, you can find a few more pics in the gallery below.

IC Friday: Intel’s 80386 DX

IC Friday: Intel’s 80386 DX

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Today, we are presented with the venerable i386 processor which kicked off the 32bit era for the x86 architecture. This one happens to have a math-coprocessor on board as well.

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Nokia Drops Two New XpressMusic Phones; 5220 and 5320

via The Boy Genius Report by Zach Epstein on 4/22/08

Nokia held a virtual press event this morning during which two new handsets were announced. Both fall into Nokia’s “XpressMusic” line (where the S60 Touch-wielding 5800 will end up) and are affordable options scheduled to become available in Q3 of this year. In our opinion the most important part of today’s announcement was that once again, Nokia announced both European and US versions of each handset… At the same time! The 5320 even packs 3G / HSDPA (AT&T bands, sorry T-Mobile guys). Let’s check the specs:

5220 XpressMusic

  • S40 OS
  • Two versions, 850/1800/1900 MHz, the other 900/1800/1900 MHz
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • 240 x 320 pixel display, 256K colors
  • FM radio and A2DP stereo bluetooth
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • microSDHC support
  • 1020 mAh battery with a reported 24 hours of music playback on a single charge

5320 XpressMusic

  • S60 OS (S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2)
  • Two versions each quad-band GSM, one with 850/2100 MHz 3G / HSPDA and the other with 900/2100 MHz 3G / HSDPA
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • 240 x 320 pixel display with 16M colors
  • FM radio and A2DP stereo bluetooth
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • microSDHC support
  • 890 mAh battery with a reported 24 hours of music playback on a single charge

Odd that the 5320 is an S60 device with an 890 mAh battery and yet the claimed battery life for music playback is the same as the 5220, an S40 handset with a 1020 mAh battery. Oh well, only time will tell. Of note, the 5320 is the first Nokia handset to feature “Say and Play” technology, which is just like the Microsoft Sync option found in a bunch American cars these days. It’s exactly what you think it would be: Speak an artist or song name and the music player will play it. Pretty cool actually. The 5220 will run you about $250 (€160) once it’s released and the 5320 should be around $400 (€250). Both devices are competitively priced and we could definitely see a carrier picking up either one, although the 5220 is probably the more likely candidate here in the US (T-Mobile?).

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When GPS Leads You Astray. . .

via geeksugar — Geek is chic. by geeksugar on 4/20/08

Is it just me, or are the amounts of GPS horror stories increasing? Who can forget the man who drove his truck into a cherry tree, or the woman whose GPS led her directly into a river?! Crazy but all true!

Well here’s another one for you (it looks serious, but thankfully there weren’t any major injuries). According to the Seattle PI, a driver of a bus carrying a girls softball team hit this 9-foot bridge when a GPS navigation system routed him the wrong way. And yes, the driver just so happened to miss the ginormous yellow clearance sign on the side of the bridge (the bus measured 11-foot, 8-inches high).

GPS units have certainly got me lost a few times, but – knock on wood – I haven’t had any accidents because of them! Have you?

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Geek Tip: Prevent Web Blindness by Increasing Font Size

via geeksugar — Geek is chic. by geeksugar on 4/21/08

Inevitably, there will come a day when even while your glasses are on, or your contacts are in, you’ll be squinting to see the small print on your monitor. Is it old age? Too far from your monitor? Who knows, but there is a keyboard shortcut solution to keep you from looking like you just took a whiff of something totally rotten.

You can increase the font size on your web pages just by hitting ctrl + on PC’s, and command + on Mac’s. Very simple, very discreet, and no more straining to get closer to your screen. Plus, it’s just as easy to get text back to normal by hitting either ctrl – or command – . Oh, and after you’re done surfing in comfort, make an appointment to get your eyes checked. . . . squinting doesn’t look cute on anyone!

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Skype to launch unlimited international calling plan

via Download Squad by Brad Linder on 4/21/08
Skype unlimited plans

Have friends, relatives, or business contacts located in faraway lands? Internet telephony company Skype is launching its first plan that lets you make unlimited international PC to telephone calls, assuming you’re calling a landline in one of 34 countries covered by the plan.

Most of Europe is covered, as well as the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.The $9.95/month plan doesn’t cover calls to cellphones in all areas, but you can call mobile phones in the US, Canada, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Or you can just convince everybody you know to install Skype on their computers and mobile phones so you can make Skype to Skype calls for free.

[via AP]