Momenta: The Microsoft parasite-like computer that attaches to your neck

Momenta, one of the finalists in Microsoft’s 2007-08 Next-Gen PC design competition, is a personal computer that attaches to your neck and records what it considers as “the most memorable moments of your life”. The device works by monitoring your heart rate, and as soon as it detects some kind of excitement in your day, it start to record the moment in an active buffer, Cloverfield-style. Here are a few additional pictures of the thing, for your viewing pleasure.

The competition also features a lot of other interesting entries. I invite you to check them all out.

[Via Gizmodo]

Play detective with Channel 4’s Bow Street Runner

By Mark O’Neill

The British TV channel “Channel 4” has brought out on their website an online detective role-playing game called “Bow Street Runner” which invites you to solve a murder in 18th century London.

Named after the group which were the predecessors to the modern day London police force, this free game is remarkably entertaining, even for me.   Normally I am bored with PC games but this one managed to keep my complete and undivided attention the whole way through.

Using your computer mouse, you can lift pieces of evidence out of people’s pockets, search areas for clues and interrogate witnesses (you can choose between being polite and being nasty).     Also using the mouse, you can stitch up wounds to a dying victim (you only have two minutes though to clean the wound and stitch her up!) and you can also pick the lock of a suspect’s desk drawer :


When you have enough evidence, you can then go before the magistrate and present your evidence.   He can either accept your case and issue an arrest warrant, or laugh you out of his office.    I was personally laughed out of the office with my “flimsy case”!

The game is not complete yet.  Channel 4 has only posted Episode 1.  The other episodes are apparently coming soon and you can leave your email address to be notified when the next one is ready.

The only downsides are that you can’t pause the game if you need to, you can’t go back to previous scenes to re-check something and you can’t save the game to continue playing it later.  But hey it’s free and entertaining – who can argue with that?

Linutop: Tiny computing at its best

Tiny computers come in handy pretty often. Whether you need a beefed-up firewall/router or a cool way to store and access your media remotely, a small linux-based computer is the perfect solution.

The palm-sized Linutop 2 sports a 500MHz AMD CPU coupled with 512 megs of ram and 1GB of flash-based storage. Four USB ports and an ethernet jack are also featured. The specs make it perfect for running the Linux distro of your choice combined with some server software. Based on the number of available ports, external storage should be no problem.

Just looking at the size of this thing, all sorts of ideas come to mind as to how it can be implemented. A car-puter or backpack PC are just a few of the things I’d like to see. With a miniscule power consuption of just 8 watts, the device could be easily powered by batteries.

The Linutop 2 is available as of right now with a questionable $410 sticker. For that price you can easily afford an Eee PC or super-low-end Acer laptop.

Linutop 2 [LinuxDevices]

Free 2 Day Oracle DBA course

For those of you interested in learning more about the Oracle database system, we have a free 2 day course available for you in our IT resource center.

In this course you will find detailed information on the tasks outlined in the chapters of the Oracle 2 Day DBA manual, including step-by-step instructions.

List of Lessons

  • Introduction (No additional materials complement this chapter)
  • Installing Oracle and Building the Database
  • Getting Started with Oracle Enterprise Manager
  • Configuring the Network Environment
  • Managing the Oracle Instance
  • Managing Database Storage Structures
  • Administering Users and Security
  • Managing Schema Objects
  • Performing Backup and Recovery
  • Monitoring and Tuning the Database
  • Managing Oracle Software

Note: The OBE lessons in this series can be performed on either Windows or Linux.

This course comes directly from Oracle, so you don’t have to fear for your privacy. You can sign up for this course right here.

Our portal also offers numerous other free IT publications, whitepapers, courses and downloads. Check it out!

Hi-Can fidelity canopy is the ultimate geek bed

Hi-Can fidelity canopy

A geek dream come true, the Hi-Can fidelity canopy is a bed / home entertainment hybrid that will let you listen to music, surf the web, watch movies and play games, all in the comfort of your own bed. Designed by Italian designer Edoardo Carlino, the Hi-Can is truly an object of beauty that will complement any rich geek’s bedroom quite nicely. No word yet on pricing or availability. Additional pictures and video after the jump.

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Spying or safety measure? TimeSnapper does both.

If you have children who browse the Internet daily, I’m sure you impose some type of restrictions upon their computer usage. Kids are very good at ending up in places they should not be and excel at installing spyware and viruses on your beloved system.

As parents, it is our obligation to monitor their activities on the Web, and even if we can’t look at everything they do all the time, we should at least check their browsing history once in a while. Having a resident program take a few screenshots periodically might also be a good idea, and that’s why you will want to take a look at TimeSnapper, a small application that automatically captures (at customizable intervals) screenshots of what is displayed on your computer’s screen.

Here are a few of its features:

  • Screenshot intervals are completely customizable
  • JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, EMF and WMF formats are supported
  • Customizable screenshot resolution
  • Archive mode allows you to keep pictures for a certain number of days or set a maximum space allowance

When you are done capturing what your kids (or spouse!) was doing on the Web, the software lets you play back all screenshots taken in chronological order.

All in all, TimeSnapper is a very useful little tool that could be used for good or for bad, so use it judiciously. Also, don’t forget that the application’s icon sits in the taskbar’s tray, so you might want to hide it if you’re dealing with someone who knows his way around Windows.

FPS Vest: Want to know what it’s like to get shot?

The FPS Vest

People spend thousands of dollars when it comes to getting the most out of their PC games, but at the end of the day they’re still staring at a screen; completely out of touch with what is actually going on in the 3D environment of their favorite First Person Shooter.

The FPS Vest from TN games hopes to change that by creating a more realistic gaming experience wherein the wearer can actually feel events such as the impact of a bullet or the recoil of a large gun. This innovative peripheral uses small air “bladders” which quickly inflate to create a sensation based on what is happening in-game. A total of eight bladders can apparently simulate entry and exit wounds. It clocks in at a hefty $170 and isn’t supported by many games as of yet; TN Games is making their code widely available so that game developers can easily take advantage of its functionality

The system consists of a USB vest combined with a small air compressor used to inflate the pouches. As of right now only the vest is available however, they expect to have a full suit of force feedback gear shortly.

Check out the included video and try to ignore the annoying chick asking all the questions.

[Via TechEBlog]

Five sci-fi scenarios that will come true

By Mark O’Neill

An interesting little article has cropped up on PC World about “five sci-fi scenarios that will eventually become true”.   They are :

The most intriguing one in my opinion has to be the holodeck.   With programs such as Second Life becoming more and more advanced, the possibility of a fully-fledged holodeck can’t be that far off.

The biometric stuff is already partly with us to a certain extent with the biometric passport.    But according to the article, “in a few years, we’ll be using fingerprint, voice, iris, or retinal scans to log on to Web sites and make purchases.”   Is it just me or does this sound downright scary?   I’d much rather just stick to typing in a password.

Geek Lair: Accessorize your setup – Part 2

After procrastinating for the past few weeks I guess it’s time to let you guys in on the latest installment of Geek Lair. Today I’m going to take a look at –and review!– some cool stuff which will increase productivity and snazz up your desk. Some of the great items in my last feature might have been somewhat unattainable to myself and most of the people who read this site however, if you’ve got a few thousand to throw into a chair, be my guest.

This time we’re going to look at the more affordable devices which will really make a difference when it comes to pimping out your computer setup.

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