Tech and geek culture headlines

Is this the funniest thing from SNL in, like, forever?

I record SNL each week, and they pretty much stack up unwatched until the wife erases the folder.

Why?  Because the show has become woefully unfunny.  If there is ever anything worth watching it is almost exclusively involving Kate McKinnon, Justin Timberlake  or  – it’s a pre-recorded bit.

Certainly the time and thought that goes into creating these shorts provides a level of freedom and polish the live sketches so very lack.

This weekend with Martin Freeman as the host, maybe the very best short they’ve ever done was shown.  The Hobbit + The Office = great.

While I wasn’t looking, drone photography got very cool

I’ve had a passing fascination with the idea you could buy a quad copter for a few hundred buck and fly it around your hood.  In fact, in the last year the many posts of people creating really compelling videos of landmarks and events from above.  With sweeping shots of buildings and monuments from perspectives you’ve never seen from previously.  It’s all really neat.

This weekend I was at a local hobby shop and when I pulled into the parking lot everyones face was gawking skyward.  I realized what they were looking at was a drone and it’s camera.  The operator, a store clerk, was using a standard two toggle control with his Galaxy 5S mounted on it.  The drone had a ball shaped camera underneath and was sending live video back to the phone, while also recording full 1080p/60fps.  The control over the drone was stunning.  It was a windy day and the drone moved about as if it was still outside.  He could send the thing far enough away that I would lose site of it in the sky and he pointed out that all he had to do was press a button and via GPS the unit would simply return back to his location.  Sure enough it came zooming back into view, slowed down and landed near us.

That package, the Blade QX3 350, sells for less that $1000.  That’s a lot of money, but considering the technology, that sure seems a good price.

Doing some digging now it seems there is a growing list of drones that will fly and shoot video while following you automatically.  Meant for those extreme sports guys, who all love to video their fun, now can do it alone.  The Hexo+ and AirDog are small drones that connect to the user via a tracking device and simply take flight and follow your movements, actions and spills all while shooting full HD video.

Now, I realize I’m really late to this party, but I assume that many are.  I’m told every six month a bigger (or smaller), badder more versatile drone hits the market and in short time, what is possible is going to be very much like having a robot pet follow you wherever you go.

Maybe I do watch a lot of videos online

The Verge posted this and I really enjoyed it.

Don’t want to spoil the twist, the interesting spin on a midwestern father/son in the 60’s after a UFO crashes into their field.

I think the kid actor is really great.  It appears to be a couple of years old and won several awards.  Enjoy.

 

Mad Max promises proper destruction

George Miller has created a new, proper, Mad Max movie and it arrives in 2015.

Watch the trailer and you will see what the old pro is capable of creating, even after all these years.

Funny, I’ve been lamenting the onslaught of “destruction porn” run of movies in the last few years.  Especially those based around comic book characters (how many times do we save the Earth?), but here, the full on spectacle of hopeless mayhem and utter lack of concern for human life is something to look forward to.  If only because it looks so beautifully choreographed.

Put 7:46 of your time to good use

I’m not one to sit and watch a batch of videos online.  But every once in a while I come across something that I think is really clever, different and worth watching.

This is a great example of that.  A sci-fi short called “Time Trap” by Michael Shanks.  It’s got a low-fi vibe, but one particularly interesting hi-fi time travel concept and I think you’ll enjoy.

Worst ever video game gets a documentary

Somewhere on this site I’ve discussed the history of “ET: The Extra Terrestrial” video game.  It’s the most awful gaming experience you’ll ever have, well at least it was.

Today playing the game is a blast back into the past and its failures in game design are viewed with whimsy and reminiscence.

Earlier this year a major event took place to find the untold numbers of the actual game cartridges that were buried in a New Mexico dump back in the early ’80’s.  Yes, that is a true story as we now know, and there’s a documentary coming out this fall to prove it.  Below is the trailer released at Comic-Con last week.

ICanReadStoopidFastYa’llAndNowYouCanToo

I don’t think I’m capable of “speed reading”, but after finding out about this upcoming technology and idea – I have to say I think I’m ready to Spritz.

Spritz is a technology and idea based on making it easier for the brain in ingest what its reading by effectively “streaming” words into the brain visually rather than the typical manner of the eye scanning back and forth across a page.  In Spritz, the eye focuses on a fixed spot and the words are flashed in sequence at an alarming rate of speed.  At first you think, “I can’t keep up with that”, but after a second you realize not only are you easily reading at 330 words per minute, but you’re fully comprehending what you’re reading.  Then suddenly almost like a game, ready to ramp up the pace and then reading at 500wpm or more.

Ironically, I’ve been really excited about the new Luc Besson movie, “Lucy”.  Yes, that is the ultra-violent Scarlett Johansson summer movie whose premise is she’s a drug mule, the drugs she’s carrying end up turning her into some sort of superhuman capable of 100% usage of her greymatter… Anyway, in the website promo for the movie, they’ve added in the Spritz technology to give an idea of what Lucy is capable of and what you’re capable of.  It’s a really cool marriage of technology and entertainment.

You can add an extension to your Chrome browser so when you visit a site, a click of a button takes the content and displays it in a pop-up window where you can control the speed, font and other options.  Additionally, there are some reader apps with Spritz built into it, but obviously having it as an option in a Kindle or other mainstream reader app, would be ideal.

Personally, I found myself – after just a few minutes of goofing around with it – reading at 600wmp+.  Sometimes having to slow it down or speed up depending on what the topic was.  But even at 450wpm, I’ve already blazed far past what I can do via a typical reading of a page.

Below are some examples.  Just focus on the letter in red, and just let the words dump into your visual cortex (I don’t even know if that’s a legit thing) and almost instantly you’ll realize you’re reading & comprehending at a good click… Then look at the next example and before you know it 500wpm doesn’t seem all that impossible…

Here’s 250wpm

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, now try 350:

 

 

 

 

 

And, here’s 500wpm

 

 

 

 

 

 

pics via Huffinton Post

Custom, molded earbuds for $200?

Yesterday a new and very interesting business launched its app and with it brings custom, molded earbuds to the masses.

NRML app shotNormal is the brainchild of Nikki Kaufman and she’s using state of the art 3D printing to create in-ear, customs buds created for your specific ear.  Not just one for both left and right, but a custom bud for each.  She’s attempting this using a very well designed app (iOS/Android) which has the user take a photo of each of their ears, picks from some custom options, pay and in a few days have them delivered.

While I question just how well this level of customization will actually fit, since the whole idea of molded earbuds is to create a completed sealed environment, allowing for both outside noise isolation, but also a vastly improved audio quality of what is being listened to.  We will certainly get expert and general use reviews quickly as custom molded earbuds historically start at $500, ramp way up from there and that doesn’t even begin to go into the hassle (and mess) of the audiologist appointment needed to obtain a pair.

It also should be noted Normal has created maybe the single most bizarre, and even disturbing, video to promote its new product.  Featuring a backwards walking narrator, sets that feel like a mix of Wes Anderson and Eli Roth and an actually moment where a naked, duct tape restrained earbud creating wizard delicately smells his finger after performing a “Wet Willy”, well… just watch it, really, it’s almost too fantastic for its own good.

 

 

GeekOut Update

For the time being I will be limiting my updates to twitter.  Please follow me @thegeekout and on Facebook

I will be posting headlines and news to both of those several times a day.

At some point I hope to get the site back running, but there is a larger project in the works that involves it that I have to sort out first.

thanks for reading and being beautiful…

CES 2013 in Review

pebble-watch Its over and gone.  But are we the better for it?  The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show no longer is the place for the dramatic reveal of a gadget or gizmo that will change your life forever.

Since Apple, Google, Microsoft have all left to hold their own media gobbling events on their own terms, and E3 is where we will most likely finally get details on new gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft in June – the modern day CES is more for the independent, little guys… That and TV makers.

Yes, TV’s.  That industry has a problem.  They’ve gotten just about everyone to buy a flat panel of some sort in the last five years, and now they need new customers.  So, they’ve ginned up all sorts of new features like 3D and smart apps that are supposed to make you want another, newer TV.  This year they added “Ultra HD” or “4K”, and even some new form factors but higher resolutions are only so good to the average consumer if the sets are affordable (which they are not yet) and if the content available is also at those some resolutions (which it pretty much isn’t).

What was interesting was the release of a few new handheld gaming devices.  The Razor’s Edge, a tablet running Windows 8 and brings full PC gaming experience to the tablet format along with some accessories to add to the experience.  Interesting idea and won “Best of CES” from different media outlets.  Nvidia also surprised people with the introduction of their own handheld device “Project Shield” which looks like an Xbox controller with a screen attached.

Smartwatches also were in high supply, with the near release of the long promised Pebble watch, which you connect via Bluetooth to your handheld device, the idea of not having to remove your phone from your pocket to do certain functions and get information is all the rage.  In fact, the idea of connection pretty much anything to your Android or iPhone is about as fever pitch as it can be.  From home security, to health monitoring, you can pretty much run your life from that phone of yours.

Sort thru the links below and get a sense of what happened.