Opera 11.10 Updates Speed Dial and Opera Turbo: Barracuda Browser goes live

Trak Lord | Software & Apps | Apr 12, 2011 11:38 AM CDT
Opera 11.10 Updates Speed Dial and Opera Turbo: Barracuda Browser goes live |

Norway's Opera Software is following up on their recent mobile success by rolling out upgrades for their desktop browser that take two of their most popular features, Opera Turbo and Speed Dial, and make them better. VP of Desktop Products, Jan Standal, ntoed:

Opera 11.10, codenamed "Barracuda", can boost browsing speeds by up to four times its previous capabilities by reducing the size of webpages before he user loads them, using Opera Turbo.

The Opera Turbo feature is crucial for anyone who travels or just has a slow Internet connection. By reducing the size of the page, we can make browsing so much faster. So whether you're at a crowded Starbucks in San Francisco or are using a 3G modem in Sri Lanka, Opera Turbo can give you a better browsing experience.

Another upgraded feature, Speed Dial, grants the user now unlimited number of pages to "dial", making it easier to get to the pages that you always want to see, no matter where you are. Speed Dial brings with it other customization features, like layout customizations and improved zoom functions.

Opera also offers now seamless plug-in installation that downloads necessary plug-ins in the background of your web experience, and is available in 50 languages, including Tagalog. Here's their new promotional video demonstrating some of the new stuff Opera can do:

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Antec launches KUHLER H2O 920 liquid CPU cooler

Anthony Garreffa | Cases, Cooling & PSU | Apr 12, 2011 7:00 AM CDT

Antec are releasing something special for their 25th anniversary (btw, congrats Antec!) by releasing the Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 maximum-performance CPU cooler. Antec developed the KÜHLER H2O 920 in conjunction with Asetek, who are an industry-leading supplier of OEM liquid cooling systems for computers. The KÜHLER H2O 920 is an advancement on the popular KÜHLER H2O 620 with several upgrades that allow it to deliver better cooling results to your CPU.

The KÜHLER H2O 920 features a double-thick radiator with two 120mm fans as well as an interactive fan control in the form of Asetek's ChillControl software. The KÜHLER H2O 920 has some seriously great features and with it being only the second liquid-cooler from Antec, I'm quite excited to see what the future holds for Antec.

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Facial Recognition & Directed Advertising Demo: IDF Beijing 2011

Nicole Scott | Displays & Projectors | Apr 12, 2011 6:42 AM CDT

Intel put on a series of demo's at Day 0 of IDF Beijing 2011 showing off various ways that camera recognition, both facial and gesture, could be applied to everyday life.

The first demo controlled an avatar by mapping the human face to cause the avatar to animate on-screen characters to precisely replicate mimic facial expressions and head movement. The second demo has been making the rounds but we still love it since the idea of having in on our home TV excites since it would make looking at photo's a more interactive experience. One can control and navigate the user interface with the wave of a hand as well as zoom and rotate.

It is like having a Kinect, but all you need is a webcam! The big one that I thought was the best of the bunch was facial recognition to deliver directed personal advertising. That's right, your TV will watch you figure out how many males and females are in the room, whether they are young or old and even detect if they are happy or sad. Based on this information they will then service an appropriate targeted ad. Creepy, just a little.

Facial Recognition & Directed Advertising Demo: IDF Beijing 2011 |

The final demo takes that creep factor to the next level as your TV will identify you personally, and then it will suggest shows for you based on your viewing habits. The technology will continue to watch you to see if you are enjoying the program and even note if you are looking away from the screen.

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Peter Jackson is shooting "The Hobbit" at 48fps, the movie industry gets a glimmer of hope for quality changes

Anthony Garreffa | TV, Movies & Home Theatre | Apr 11, 2011 8:48 PM CDT

The man of many Lord of the Ring fans wet dreams, Peter Jackson, is currently shooting The Hobbit and has taken some time out of his busy schedule to update the official Facebook account with some info on The Hobbit. He posted some production photos and an article explaining why he has decided to shoot the two-part Lord of the Rings prequel at 48 frames per second. He even took time to address critics of the move to 48fps:

Peter Jackson is shooting

Film purists will criticize the lack of blur and strobing artifacts, but all of our crew-many of whom are film purists-are now converts. You get used to this new look very quickly and it becomes a much more lifelike and comfortable viewing experience. It's similar to the moment when vinyl records were supplanted by digital CDs. There's no doubt in my mind that we're heading towards movies being shot and projected at higher frame rates. Warner Bros. have been very supportive, and allowed us to start shooting THE HOBBIT at 48 fps, despite there never having been a wide release feature film filmed at this higher frame rate. We are hopeful that there will be enough theaters capable of projecting 48 fps by the time The Hobbit comes out where we can seriously explore that possibility with Warner Bros.

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Maine School District Gives Every Kindergardener An iPad 2

Trak Lord | Mobile Devices | Apr 11, 2011 8:17 PM CDT
Maine School District Gives Every Kindergardener An iPad 2 |

That headline is as unbelievable as it sounds. But seriously, a public school district in Auburn, Maine in the cold, culturally and technologically barren state of Maine from which I hail, is giving all 285 students of its Kindergarten class a brand new iPad 2. Tell me that doesn't make you feel better as a parent if your child is a spring baby. Damn. Like, 3G enabled and everything? Do these kids even have iTunes accounts? What happens if they drop like 3k on Smurfberries?

Evidently Auburn school district, frankly, does not give a damn as they voted to budget $200,000 on the iPad 2 initiative, including insurance, cover, educational software and technical training. And the kindergarten teachers get them too. Eventually, the program plans to be expanded to include all six elementary schools in the district (right now it's just at Washburn Elementary). The idea was proposed by kindergarten teachers that noticed how useful the original iPad became in helping children having trouble with the alphabet.

Exsqueeze me? They haven't legalized marijuana in Maine while I've been gone have they? They're having trouble with the alphabet so you buy them a @#%ing $499 device? When I was a kid we had anthropomorphized Letters that taught us with VHS TAPES how to, you know, use them. WTF is going on in Maine? I mean, I know we had a lot of "failing" public schools guys, but maybe that has to do with drug use, poverty, lack of motivation, mundane higher...

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Google Unveils GoogleADay Trivia Game

Trak Lord | Gaming | Apr 11, 2011 7:18 PM CDT
Google Unveils GoogleADay Trivia Game |

Today was a big day for Google. Almost $170 million in solar power and a new Google-based trivia game all in 24 hours. Google announced today that they'll be implementing a new trivia game that encourages rather than prohibits the Googling of answers. It seems relatively redundant to have questions for which a player can just type a few words into a search engine, but Google is specifically crafting cryptic and difficult questions that will teach Google users how to better use their search engine. What about when people just post the answers online? Google has even refined their algorithm to exclude those types of sites from the results so as to not spoil the game for the rest of us.

You can start playing now by going to and checking out the first question. Questions will be posted daily, and will also be located conveniently above the New York Times Crossword puzzle each day.

This is an insanely clever way to get people to use their site. I would say it's evil (which it is), but I love trivia...

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Google Invests $168 Million In Tower Of (Solar) Power

Trak Lord | Business, Financial & Legal | Apr 11, 2011 6:01 PM CDT
Google Invests $168 Million In Tower Of (Solar) Power |

Silicon Valley's favorite search engine giant just dropped a whopping $168 million in a new solar energy plant in California's Mojave Desert designed and developed by BrightSource Energy. Google is counting on BrightSource's Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) to generate 392 MegaWatts (gross) of minty-fresh clean solar energy. In a blog post today, Google wrote:

That's the equivalent of taking more than 90,000 cars off the road over the lifetime of the plant, projected to be more than 25 years.

Which would be no small contribution to our nation's energy qualms, something Google is clearly dedicated to aiding as the tech firm has now invested more than $250 million in the future of clean, renewable energy. Google is investing in the proven technology of "Power Towers", which use fields of mirrors (heliostats) to focus solar rays onto a receiver placed on top of a large tower (seen above in the photo). According to the post, the first use of the technology was the fabled existence of Archimedes' heat ray that used a similar system to focus solar energy to burn the sails...

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Aurasma AR Browser Makes Waves, Virtual Objects Appear On Print

Trak Lord | Software & Apps | Apr 11, 2011 1:54 PM CDT
Aurasma AR Browser Makes Waves, Virtual Objects Appear On Print 185

European software company Autonomy has announced their upcoming augmented reality iPhone application, dubbed Aurasma. The application uses a form of Autonomy's already existing IDOL pattern recognition software to scan what appears to be print images of all types with the end goal of automatically inserting a related video of some sort. Aurasma seems to have been conceived as a competitor to Google's already available Google Googles visual search application that allows the user to search their environment by snapping pictures of it. Autonomy's founder, Michael Lynch, told the New York Times:

We have been convinced for a long time that the idea of typing keywords into a search box is a byproduct and not an end. If you're truly going to interact between the physical world and the virtual world you're not going to do that sitting in your bedroom at the keyboard.

Aurasma AR Browser Makes Waves, Virtual Objects Appear On Print 186

Aurasma will evidently be available sometime next month, debuting as part of an AR advertisement tie-in with an as-yet unnamed upcoming film. Lynch also reportedly mentioned the availability of a development platform which, like Aurasma, will be available for free download.

We're dubious as to the "AR" aspect of this application so far- if "all" that Aurasma is doing (and it's nothing to sneeze at) is loading up videos for pre-loaded images in a database, what reality is it augmented? How different is this from a QR code....

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Optus launches femtocell trial, boosts 3G network with your home internet connection

Anthony Garreffa | Networking | Apr 10, 2011 9:58 PM CDT

Optus has today launched the commercial pilot of femtocell technology which is designed to boost its 3G network coverage and speed with the customer's own fixed-line broadband service at home. Dubbed "Optus 3G Home Zone", the product uses technology built by Alcatel-Lucent, plugs into a fixed internet connection and allows 3G devices like mobiles, tablets and mobile broadband devices to utilise the network to make calls or access the internet within a 30-metre radius.

Optus launches femtocell trial, boosts 3G network with your home internet connection |

Optus is trialling the technology in multiple cities; Sydney, Brisbane, Wollongong and the Gold Coast. Optus consumer marketing director Gavin Williams has said:

We believe femtocells are an important way of enhancing the customer experience of the Optus Open Network by acting as a wireless gateway into the home or office. The Optus 3G Home Zone will not only personalise the quality of mobile coverage in the home but has the potential to deliver relevant service benefits such as applications for social networking, entertainment and business.

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MIT Labs Develops Kinect-Based Teleconference Interface

Trak Lord | Science, Space, Health & Robotics | Apr 8, 2011 3:59 PM CDT
MIT Labs Develops Kinect-Based Teleconference Interface |

Lining Yao, Anthony DeVincenzi, Ramesh Raskar, and Hiroshi Ishii from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab have developed a prototypal teleconference interface demonstration using Microsoft's Kinect sensor array.

Featured in their demo video, Lining (Lizzie) and Anthony (Tony) show off some of the features they managed to successfully implement. In their interactive interface, speakers will be given time-bubbles that pop up over their respective heads, tracking the length of time that each is speaking. Amazingly, the clock stops as soon as the person stops speaking, meaning the program is recognizing voices individually. A cool feature (that may need a bit of tweaking, but cool nonetheless) they also included is the automation of focus- when a person is speaking, the focus of the camera changes, ensuring that everything but the speaker is blurry. This wasn't as successfully implemented as the time-tracker, but a very interesting idea, especially for someone like me with rampant ADD.

Speaking of ADD, I have many problems when it comes to not answering or responding to portable phone vibrations, so this next feature made me sigh in relief that someone was actually working on it. The MIT team developed a way that a person in a teleconference can actually freeze an image of themselves, for instance sitting at a table with a rapt...

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