Bell Labs Announces Communication Technology Breakthrough

Posted by ted @ 1:39 am, April 1st, 2014

Bell Laboratories announced today an amazing new breakthrough in hands-free texting technology.


Product team leader Mr. A. Bell explained, “we saw that people were getting more and more frustrated trying to communicate through the tiny keyboards on their phone, so we stepped up to do something about it.”

Their breakthrough new product allows users to simply speak into a handheld device to send a message to another user. The advanced digital technology behind the scenes then converts their voice into electrical impulses which are sent to the receiving users device and then almost magically transformed back into audible speech. This wonderful new “speech-to-text-to-speech” technology also provides an incredible live two-way simultaneous communication experience. You will now be able to talk over each other, interrupt each other or even finish each others sentences in ways never before possible with old fashioned texting.

While freeing users from the confines of the tiny keyboard is amazing in it’s own right, they went one step further. Bell explains, “While we were reinventing handheld communication technology we saw the opportunity to also tackle one of the most common complaints of today’s phone users, battery life”.

They have developed a unique solution to this age old problem plaguing phone users. They use an advanced flexible strip of conductive metals, or “wire”, to continuously provide an uninterrupted supply of electrical power directly into the handheld device.

Using this breakthrough combination of technologies allows users to now speak directly in to a handheld device and communicate to a friend a long distance away, and continue that conversation for as long as they like. Teenagers are already scrambling to have the devices installed right in their own bedroom for endless late night conversations.

“It is so simple!”, one anonymous teen user gushed, “All I have to do is enter a 7 digit number and I am immediately connected to my BFF” . Another tech-savvy teen commented on the performance of the new system, “It has amazingly low latency with almost no lag at all and I have so far never experienced a single dropped connection! The audio quality is like I have never heard before and the possibilities for gaming are intriguing since the hand free system can be used while simultaneously holding a console game controller.”

Bell has high hopes for the future of his technology. “We can only begin to imagine the effects this breakthrough will have on modern society and businesses.”

Born in a Digital World

Posted by ted @ 11:00 am, April 26th, 2011

Over at the (rather fascinating) blog The Technium they talk about what it means to grow up in a digital world. It is fascinating to witness how young children not only take to advanced technology so naturally, but also take it for granted as a basic and obvious part of the world around us. They illustrate the point with 3 humorous anecdotes. The highlight of my favorite one is :

One day he printed out a high resolution image on photo paper and left it on the coffee table. He noticed his toddler come up to up and try to unpinch the photo to make it larger, like you do on an iPad. She tried it a few times, without success, and looked over to him and said “broken.”


Find the rest at Born Digital


UPDATE: Over at the Kids.Woot blog Jason Toon responds. He wonders if maybe it is not such a good idea for very young children to have interact with these virtual environments so much when they are still struggling to understand the physical reality around them.

What happens to the human mind when, during the most crucial period in its cognitive and motor development, it encounters technologies like the iPad? We have no idea. I hate to pee in the virtual punchbowl, but it seems wise to at least consider the possibilities now. iPad-type devices are still only used by a relatively tiny number of people. If introducing children to iPads at an early age can harm their development, that’s a lesson we’d hate to learn after the devices have become as ubiquitous as TV.

Are iPads Good For Kids?

Amazing Japanese Giant Shopping / Poetry Site

Posted by ted @ 9:48 am, October 18th, 2010

The other day the daily email from included an ad for a Japanese Shopping site called Rakuten – “Now Shipping to the USA” – so I decided to check it out. It is apparently one of the biggest shopping sites in Japan, almost like a Japanese, but with a heavy bent towards kitsch. Unfortunately, unlike the amazing Japanese Gadget site which offers free shipping to the USA, the shipping to the USA from Rakuten looks pretty cost prohibitive right now, but the poorly translated product descriptions are wonderfully entertaining and worth a look.

Some are just the somewhat cliche awkward English translations (sometimes referred to as “Engrish”), like the text on this wonderful Asimo Costume which I wish I could afford to buy:

Robottoasobo costume
Product Description ?
The newest robot costume design.
ASIMO ASIMO can also be used for imitation.

* The one who is not compatible.
* Please read the instructions available.
To 180cm tall. Adult
Urethane, leather, polyurethane, PVC, use film
* After use, I highly recommend I use deodorant.
* You can not wash.
The set includes ?
Mind, body parts back, hands, gloves, feet

Some others though enter into a whole different realm of surreal beauty, like product haiku’s or love poems.

The title on the product page for a basic iPod sock is
“Like a rice cake! Whoops stretched Gyu cover Pitatto”

Check out this wonderful description / poetry:

ipod while carrying in a bag, against various things,
Imperceptibly that I’ve hurt for?
At that time, it is useful to have a cover too.

mochi is made up of a soft knit fabric has stretch.
Pita Innovation cover stretches Gyu ?.
ipod protection against scratches and shock.

The body, so that a snug fit,
Unchanged in size but covered.
When carrying, I am happy that the bulky!

And, ipod besides the variety of usage.
Compact and vulnerable part of the LCD cover and even cell phones.
Inorganic electronic devices, is surrounded knit, friendly atmosphere.
Watch and removed, ? also soaking in the small items into

The perfect gift item!
Packages like the sweets, there is impact
Some people were gifts will surely surprised me.

In all color 8color!
Bibittokara a bright strawberries.
I hesitate because there are a lot of tea!
Ipod usual, but by changing the color of the cover, it becomes a different color.
ipod will not hesitate to get a new one but not,
If you cover, you can enjoy lots of color.

Even with friends and lovers and matching different colors good!
Oke covered in it,
“Which one do it, she’ll not know!”
No more of them.
I may use both the mood of the day!

In addition, ipod or mobile phone, and each item
Once you have a different color cover,
Obviously useful even when removed from the bag!

Does introduce one color.
Your favorites, please find it.

“Even with friends and lovers and matching different colors good!”  yes,  indeed.

With over 17 million products in their catalog, it could keep you amused for a long time.

iMount iPod on my iBike?

Posted by ted @ 3:00 pm, September 11th, 2008

I like to use my iPod nano to listen to fiction podcasts (like Escapepod!) when I go on longer bike rides for excercise. (I tend to not use it on short in town transportation rides). I first used it in my pocket, but that was awkward. Now I am trying out a Nike armband holder that works pretty well as long as I just let it play, but making changes or selecting something new to listen to is real hard since I can’t see the display.  I am wondering if this new iBikeConsole would be a good option? It claims to be “not just another iPod bike mount” and features a weather proof case and grip mounted wireless control pads to allow you operate your iPod without moving your hands. The most interesting feature listed is “Converts your Nano screen into a Cycle Computer display”. I am not sure how this works, but it looks like there is cycle computer electronics in the mount since they also say it will hold your ride information even when you remove the iPod. I guess it just uses the iPod for a display, like the Nike running gizmo, but it still is a pretty cool idea.  Priced at $76 on their web site it is not not more than a good cycle computer, but I am still not  going to rush out to order one just yet, since I already have a good computer. It does merit watching though to see if they raise the features or lower the price.

iBikeConsole product page (warning: main page attacks you with awful flash music and graphics display. Why do web designers make their pages so hostile to visitors?)

Pilot View gives you in plane view from RC planes

Posted by ted @ 3:01 pm, May 10th, 2008

I know people have been hacking together small video transmitter systems into RC planes for years now, but here is a prepackaged system that puts together all the parts and pieces you need into one nice bundle. It has a small color camera with integrated transmitter, video receiver and video goggles with light blocking screen around the edge. At $549 it is not cheap, but could be loads of fun, especially if you fly over any dramatic scenery. Seems like a good thing for a RC club or group to buy and share. One of the most excited parts is the soon to be available options for a OSD (On Screen Display) module which adds things like  altitude, heading, speed and direction to home to your display. An even fancier “DragonOSD” will add a scrolling compass and autopilot functions. There will even be a pan/tilt unit available which will allow you to look around in different directions. That should provide a much greater flying experience by allowing you to look out the side to keep the horizon in view during high banking turns.

Heck, one of these would even be fun on RC cars and boats too!


Little Drummer Bot

Posted by ted @ 12:19 pm, March 24th, 2008


I love this little drumming robot called “Yellow Drum Machine”. I like reading about little “carpet rover” robots, and have done some experimenting with Lego Mindstorms in navigation and obstacle avoidance, but once you have created a little bot that can wander around and avoid things the next obvious question is “now what?” This creative individual answered that by making his bot not just avoid obstacles, but instead drum on them. It finds a suitable surface and plays a little riff with its two front drum sticks while recording what it hears. It then it plays back the riff in a loop and drums along adding in a little floor stick in the rear. Very creative idea. I can imagine a group of these communicating with some swarm behavior programming to find drummable surfaces and make music together. Watch the video and tap along….

Why? Well.. I was sitting thinking what I should do for my next robot, what it should do.. Listening to music.. making a rythm with some robot-parts.. Thought; “Hey, I will make a robot that drives around and plays on stuff”

Get more video and some good technical details at:
Yellow Drum Machine

The World’s Fastest Pumpkin Carver

Posted by ted @ 6:15 pm, October 13th, 2007


Over at they have lots of examples of fantastic pumpkin carving, but I am particularly fond of the “World’s Fastest Pumpkin Carver” video. This guy welded up a set up blades shaped like a classic jack-o-lantern face and attached them to a long pipe handle. With one swing at a pumpkin he produces a basic jack-o-lantern (or a smashed pumpkin when it goes wrong.) Nice.


Ice Cream is not a food, it is a drug

Posted by ted @ 7:30 pm, September 11th, 2007

In his book, Fit Or Fat, Covert Bailey suggests a diet low in fat for overall health, but excludes ice cream from his lists of foods to avoid because he considers it a drug instead of a food. As someone with a rather high daily intake of ice cream, I could not agree more. He offered the example of how ice cream could be used to “cure” a child after a bump or bruise, and indeed I do seem to remember my parents administering an ice cream cone to me when, as a small child, my fingers were accidentally shut in a car door (causing more shock and fear than actual injury).

Apparently Demitrios Kargotis has taken this theory one step further with his Mr Whippy machine which doles out servings of frozen custard in serving sizes controlled by the amount of misery it detects in a voice stress analysis.


I wonder if it would give me a nice big serving because I am so unhappy about not having had any ice cream for the last 2 hours?

As I always say, “Every meal deserves a dessert doesn’t it? Well, breakfast is a meal!
and, “Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!”

whew, I better go for a bike ride and burn some calories….

From [We make money not art] via [Boing Boing]

TV Lamps

Posted by ted @ 4:29 pm, July 20th, 2007

Today while browsing the very fun and informative retro pop culture site Duck Soup Retro I discovered the world of TV Lamps. Apparently when TV’s started getting popular in homes in the 50’s there was concern that watching TV in a dark room would cause eye damage, so the TV lamp was born. These decorative lamps were made to sit on top of the TV to provide some ambient light in the room (long before the Phillips Ambilight TV) and came in a wide variety of styles. These were probably purchased for their decorative value as much as for health concerns. The cool one at Duck Soup includes a painted mountain scene behind what appears to be a small fish tank. Upon some further searching I found which includes more historical information and many photographs of a wide variety of TV lamps.

Wall climbing robots

Posted by ted @ 11:31 am, June 29th, 2007


These wall climbing robots look really cool. I could see how they could be really useful for building inspection or surveillance, although the suction fan seems quite loud in the videos so I don’t know how sneaky you could be with one. They have underwater versions too that I guess could be good at inspecting ship hulls.

See videos and read more [via Engadget]

I for one welcome our new wall climbing overlords

Air conditioned bed

Posted by ted @ 11:24 am, June 29th, 2007

ac bed

This looks like it could be a comfortable alternative in hot weather, I wonder how quiet it is? They also have a shirt with built in fan.

Read more [via Engadget]