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Archive for May, 2005

Who doesn’t love physics?

One of the great things about the recent PC game Half Life 2 was it’s amazing physics engine, which made object collisions and interactions much more realistic. One of the other nice things about it is the map editor which allows players to design their own levels. Combine the two in an entirely useless but amazingly cool way and what do you have? Falling dominoes in Half-Life. Enjoy!

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The New Consoles: My Take

So the dust has finally settled on E3, now seems like a good time to take a step back and see what all the fuss was about. As expected, all three next-gen consoles were unveiled (to some extent) during the preshow, and I think there were more than a few surprises. First, the good stuff:

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Announcing the PSP 2!

OK, maybe not. But a bunch of Japanese hackers have put an old Famicom console into what looks like a plastic lunchbox, together with an LCD screen and battery pack. Super cool retro-handheld gaming!

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Pet Shop Boys – Miracles

( Music )

I have a confession. I’ve been in the closet all these years and now it’s time to come out. Yes, I am a Pet Shop Boys fan. It’s not something I’m proud of, but there it is.

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So…much…music…

( Music )

The Tofu Hut is a cool blog covering obscure, indy, old, rare or otherwise non-mainstream music. They’ve just published a list of hundreds of other music related blogs, categorized by genre. There’s a nice (but fairly small) set in there of electronica/dance sites, it’s worth checking out. Note: This isn’t about piracy – you won’t find anything commercial to download, but there’s a lot of fun mashups and unpublished stuff.

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Faith Based Telephony

( Issues )

OK, so I know I promised not to post about politics or religon, but this has to do with telephony so it’s vaguely gadget related. Plus, it’s too funny not to post. United American Technologies (a self-proclaimed “Christian-based phone carrier”) have been trying to sell their services to the public with some interesting claims, specifically that they are the only telco which doesn’t support gay marriage and child porn. Wonkette has the full (hilarious) story. They also have some recordings of the UAT salespeople here.

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Broadcast Flag is History!

( Gadgets and Issues )

Fantastic news from Boing-Boing and the EFF: The Broadcast Flag has been ruled illegal.

For those who haven’t been following this story – the FCC had made a ruling that by the end of this year all digital TV equipment (i.e. your HDTV, Cable Box, Tivo, etc) must allow the broadcaster to prevent you recording the material you watch. In other words, the networks could, whenever they like, stop you being able to record this week’s Alias because you’re going to be out that night. Under their ruling it would be illegal to sell any recorder which ignored this flag, or any device to try and defeat it.

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Greatest Picnic Accessory Ever

( Gadgets )

Now this is something I need: a carry case for cupcakes. If, like me, you’re a fan of New York’s Magnolia Bakery, you’ll understand how hard it is to carry those things around without them turning into a big gooey mess. Their website seems to be taking a beating right now (the word is out!) but hopefully soon we’ll be able to order some!

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Markus Schulz – Miami ’05

( Music )

Markus Schulz is the rising star de jour of the trance scene in Europe right now. He’s gone from unknown buddy of Armin, to renowned remixer and producer to superstar DJ in what seems like just a couple of years. I first saw him live in Ibiza last year, opening for Armin at the Armada night at Amnesia, he was great and from then I knew we’d be hearing more from him. Last year he released Coldharbour Sessions which, whilst pretty good, never made it to the top of my list. There were plenty of great tracks there, but it wasn’t consistent enough. Having headlined at the recent Winter Music Conference in Miami, he has just released another CD based on those sets, simply named Miami ’05.

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3D Printer From Meccano and Glue

( Gadgets )

My step father is an engineering lecturer and I remember the first time he told me about 3D printers a number of years ago. Using various techniques these things can produce accurate solid objects from a 3D model produced on a computer using CAD software. The ones he told me about use lasers firing into a tank of special liquid which hardens when illuminated in a specific way. These things are very expensive (as you can imagine) and so aren’t available to many people who would probably find them useful (or just fun). Now someone has made one for the masses. It’s built from Meccano and uses a hot glue gun to form the object. Amazing! There’s a photo on the linked site, I’d love to see some shots of the “printed” objects.

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