My thoughts on the Apple iPad

It’s the long awaited tablet from Apple, the iPad. I figured it would be called the ‘iSlate’ or the ‘iTablet’ but I guess that’s why I don’t get paid to predict such things. So, this being a tech blog I figured I should say a few things about it. Why not, other people do on their blogs…

Apple iPad - Photo from AppleIt’s the long awaited tablet from Apple, the iPad. I figured it would be called the ‘iSlate’ or the ‘iTablet’ but I guess that’s why I don’t get paid to predict such things. So, this being a tech blog I figured I should say a few things about it. Why not, other people do on their blogs.

First, I doubt that iPad will be merged with the Mac laptop line. I can see them eliminating the low end laptop but only if sales started to fall for those units. Maybe the Air will be retired because of the iPad, not sure. I’d have to see the sales numbers on the laptops to make any further observations on that.
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FUTUREPICTURE: Light Field Camera Project

Multi camera madness to be sure…

So, what does this thing do? The primary function of this array is to capture the Light Field, a four-dimensional function that is capable of describing all rays in a scene. Surrounding you, now, and always, is a reverberating volume of light. Just as sound echoes around a room in complex ways, bouncing from every surface, so does light, creating a structured volume. Traditional, single-lens cameras project this three dimensional world of reflected light onto a two dimensional sensor, tossing out the 3D information in the process, and capturing only a faint, sheared sliver of the actual light field. By taking many captures at slightly shifted locations, it is possible to capture a crude representation of the light field. The number of slices determines the resolution of capture; our 12 captures at 7cm separation is a bare minimum. What can you do with a light field? The lowest hanging fruit is computational refocusing. By computational refocusing, we mean focusing the image AFTER it is captured.


Air Powered Microprocessor

Air powered CPU
I seriously doubt that you will be playing Super Mario Brothers on this any time soon but it would be fantastic for a self operating chemical analysis machine.

Each pneumatic valve is operated by changing the air pressure in a small chamber below the air channel, separated from the circuit by a flexible impermeable membrane. When the lower chamber is filled with air the membrane pushes upwards and closes the valve, preventing the binary signal flowing across one of the processor’s junctions.
Sucking out the air from the chamber reopens the valve by forcing the membrane downwards, letting the signal move across the junction.The two researchers used the valve-controlled channels to produce a variety of logic gates, flip-flops and shift registers, which they linked together to create a working 8-bit microprocessor. That means that the longest discrete pieces of data it can handle are eight binary digits long, like the processors used in 1980s consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System.

New microprocessor runs on thin air

Elektor USA

3-USA-IssuesSoon versions of the British electronics enthusiast magazine will be hitting American book store shelves.

Elektor Electronics is a British magazine that aims to inspire people to master electronics at any level by presenting construction projects and spotting developments in electronics and information technology. Every issue is packed with innovative articles, simple and complex construction projects, news, reviews, columns, and more.

I’m looking forward to reading it, hard to find good electronics projects magazines these days.

Elektor USA

Now You’re Cooking With … USB?

Cooking with USB power Remembering that your typical USB port delivers 2.5 W doing anything other than lighting up a novelty hub or a clever little tree is about all you can do. Not quite. A clever fellow in Japan set out to prove this wrong. By using six five port USB expansion cards he has upped the thermal output from a wimpy 2.5 W to a respectable 75W! Oh yes, you can see where this is going. This looks like this is his second attempt at computer assisted gastronomy, he tried to cook an egg before. This time he succeeded in frying some beef rib meat (Sukiyaki anyone?) Good thing he has improved his design so we can all follow in his footsteps and … er, well we can imagine that we will follow in his footsteps, and be cooking a tasty dinner while leveling up in WoW.

(Japanese version translated by the never sleeping giants at Google)

How to Hack Humans, Epilepsy Sufferers Targeted

Not that I think that doing this with the intent to harm people is very nice at all, I have to admit that figuring out what in essence causes a ‘BSoD‘ in humans is impressive. Reminds me of ICE in the William Gibson books.

This incident is quite possibly the first computer attack to inflict physical harm on the victims: hackers uploaded a flashing computer animation to an epilepsy support forum to trigger epileptic attacks!

RyAnne Fultz, a 33-year-old woman who suffers from pattern-sensitive epilepsy, says she clicked on a forum post with a legitimate-sounding title on Sunday. Her browser window resized to fill her screen, which was then taken over by a pattern of squares rapidly flashing in different colors.

Fultz says she "locked up."

"I don’t fall over and convulse, but it hurts," says Fultz, an IT worker in Coeur d’Alene, Ohio. "I was on the phone when it happened, and I couldn’t move and couldn’t speak."

After about 10 seconds, Fultz’s 11-year-old son came over and drew her gaze away from the computer, then killed the browser process, she says.

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