Ice Orb Levitating Speaker

Ducks freaked out by Ice Orb #gadget #toys #geek #music

A photo posted by Leonid Mamchenkov (@mamchenkov) on

I’ve got a slightly delayed birthday present today, from a good friend of mine.  Ice Orb levitating speaker is a Bluetooth speaker with a twist.  It comes with a base, which, when switched on, makes the speaker levitate over it.  It just hangs in the air, no strings attached.  Or a USB cable attached, if you want to charge it.  Coupled with a few blue LEDs, it makes quite an impression.  The future is here, ladies and gentlemen.  We live in the world of science fiction.

Here’s the video of this thing in action:

International Electrotechnical Commission : World Plugs

International Electrotechnical Commission has a very handy (especially before travelling to a foreign country) list of different plugs (a total of 14 at the time of this writing), mapped to countries of the world.  So if you don’t have one of these:

adaptor

make sure you check the list before you fly out.  And while on the topic of this great variety, IEC also explains why there are so many and if this annoyance will ever be sold:

The IEC issued its International Standard for a universal plug in the 1970s; so far it has been adopted by Brazil and South Africa. It is unlikely that there will be a run on the standard in the near future. Literally hundreds of millions of plugs and sockets have been installed and who would convince a country to invest now in changing its whole infrastructure?

Most likely the future will lie with solutions such as the USB plug or possibly a multi-plug that can accommodate many different plugs, or even new technologies such as LVDC (low voltage direct current) or wireless charging mechanisms.

Nexus 10 is here

After what must have been the fastest delivery in the history of online shopping, my brand new shiny Google Nexus 10 has arrived. It’s black in color, packing 32 gigs of storage, very fast, and with a beautiful screen.

The wait is finally over.

So far I have only managed to update it to the Android 4.4.2, install and configure all the apps I use, download and watch an episode of the Vikings, and login to every single social network.  It is too early to say much yet, but so far I’m loving it. Colors, performance and the battery life seem to be perfect. 

The power of the keyboard

Lifehacker covers an experiment which tried to compare the speed of different input methods.  As you might have guessed, full-size keyboard wins.

Nobody should ever doubt the power of the full-size keyboard (+ touch-typing).  It’s faster than pen and paper, and thus is faster than anything that imitates pen and paper.  It’s faster than downsized keyboard (QWERTY smartphones and iPhones).  It’s even faster than speaking into a speech-to-text application.  And more accurate as well.  And that will remain for some time to come – until brain-to-computer interfaces will go mainstream.

Android – open source mobile platform

Engadget covers Adroid – Google’s open source mobile platform.  With pictures and videos.  I was very impressed and interested after the first video.  By the second one I almost had a nervous breakdown – it’s so cool.

There were plenty of talks about gPhone lately.  People were speculating how cool the device would be, and how it will line up with Apple’s iPhone, and things like that.  Once again Google was above the expectations.  Instead of just another device with some nifty features, it delivered a whole new world.  Hardware, SDK, documentation, and application stack… They even appeal to developers to start playing with the platform (instead of jumping around like a crazy monkey they allocated $10,000,000 USD to reward developers of the most innovative applications).

The system seems to be sweet on every level.  There is plenty of hardware power.  Optional 3D acceleration.  Touch screens.  GPS.  And more.  The operating system is Linux based.  The core things are implemented in C and C++, which gives it this extra bit of robustness.  The upper level is very much Java oriented, which, if I want it or not, is a very popular and powerful programming language used by many developers.  With this, I suspect, the quantity and quality of applications will blossom.

The system is built with expansion in mind.  It’s pluggable on every level, and although complex and with many components, is pretty easy to understand conceptually.

With Android being released and hardware catching up, I believe we are entering a new age of computing.  Mobile devices and networks will be the primary commercial development focus for the next few years.  And, although being far from the mobile industry, I am very very exciting for these times to come.  Even if just a user…