Tag Archive: inventions


The controversial V-22 Osprey, the Marine Corps’ hybrid helicopter/airplane just got its first taste of combat… and performed well.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

Cufflinks designed to mimic the pulsating glow of a Mac “breathing” in sleep mode.

The iCufflinks are available here for $128.00.  The Open Source hardware design and source code available here.

There’s a market in Israel for “Kosher” cell phones, which purposefully lack features like text messaging, etc., among the haredi / ultra-Orthodox communities.  (See, e.g., this for details)

However, the IDF and others are trying to ensure that these phones can receive emergency messages.  They want to be sure that these messages, and only these messages get through.

(Oh, and it doesn’t mention whether or not these Kosher phones turn themselves off or refuse phone calls on the Sabbath.  I’d be interested to know that.)

Netflix has recently passed two major milestones.  First is that Netflix use is causing a reduction in illicit file sharing.  Second is that Netflix is actually sending out fewer discs than in the past.  These are both the result of the same phenomenon.

Netflix is great, but more than that…  Netflix is: Better Than Free

Netflix, at less than $10 a month, is cheap enough that everyone can get an account inexpensively, but has HD-quality streaming video that streams instantly.  It might not be 100% perfect, but it’s great.  The quality isn’t quite as good as a non-streaming option, such as an HD broadcast or blu-ray discs, but it’s better and faster than other streaming options, like YouTube, etc.

Not only great, but cheap, easy, fast, doesn’t take up room on your hard drive, and is completely legal.  It’s no surprise that it’s taking a larger share of bandwidth and pushing out illegal traffic and its own DVD/blu-ray delivery business.

I found this post of Megan McArdle’s particularly amusing.  All about how much easier and faster it is to cook these days, but how much less of it we do.

She also gives a mention to the “dudeification” of the kitchen (as coined by Helen Rosner of Saveur, who I know from the ol’ college debate days).

I’m guilty of this as a proud owner of a Big Steel Keg grill.  As a city dweller, I keep mine at my parents’ place and have to go out there to play with it.  I do love it though—I’m ready for summer.

(hat tip: FuturePundit)

Square allows small businesses and individuals to collect credit card payments.  It works by using a small hardware dongle that connects to the headphone jack of a mobile device.  The card is then swiped through the device and payments can be collected on the spot.  It works on iPhone, iPad, and Android phones.  Customers sign the device and a receipt is e-mailed to customer.

Square charges 2.75% of every transaction, but there are no monthly or additional fees.  They are now processing more than $1,000,000 in transactions a day.

Some Links:

Square Home Page: https://squareup.com/

http://mashable.com/tag/square/

http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/03/square-ipad/

http://gigaom.com/apple/square-goes-mainstream-with-apple-store-availability/

https://twitter.com/#!/Square

Dropbox

The hottest cloud computing application right now is DropboxDropbox stores your selected files “in the cloud,” or (more accurately) on its servers.  More than that, Dropbox can be used to sync files across computers.  It comes with 2 GB of free storage and there are upgrades available.  It’s a pretty useful tool.

I use it with 1Password to sync my password database across devices and to back up some important files.  Lifehacker has published a number of articles including how to Use Dropbox for More Than Just File Syncing and How to Use Dropbox as a Killer Collaborative Work Tool.

(Oh, and if you use my referral link, you and I will both get an additional 250 MB of storage free)

Its increased popularity has increased its scrutiny, and there have been security problems discovered.  Agile, the makers of 1Password, have posted their opinions here.

Dropbox has 25 million users so far, and GigaOM predicts that it’s just the start.

More info at: dAlH2Orean

(hat tip: Engadget)

Open Source Biology

Open Source Biology?  Stephen Friend is trying just that.  Friend is applying Open Source philosophy to the biological sciences in order to speed up pharmaceutical development.

Why would these corporations and universities participate?  How is it in their interests?

My thoughts: it’s about the time value of money.  By speeding up the process of drug development, even if the parties get smaller pieces of the pie, they still come out ahead.  One challenge would be to determine appropriate percentages for each group.

A second challenge would be how to ensure intellectual property protection.  There may be a patent law 102(b) bar with the disclosures coming so much earlier in the process.  Two quick potential solutions: 1) Keep the technology closed within the network (so there’s no public disclosure) and 2) File more patents and file earlier in the processes.   Or the parties could accept the disclosure of the earlier products if the final products are sufficiently valuable and more quickly developed.

(via Slashdot)

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