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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Salvador Dali Taking His Anteater for a Walk

Surrealist Salvador Dalí is best known for his twisted sense of reality and striking paintings. However I had no idea he was an anteater fan as well.


Curb Your Enthusiasm Dealing With The Midrift: Season 7 Episode 6

Larry and Jerry fuss over who is going to tell their assistant to wear clothes to cover up her unflattering midrift. Naturally, Larry lands the job which only results in her resigning. Larry then discovers the assistant's mother has suicidal tendencies and is forced to persuade her to return to the job. Final scene before the credits roll is PRICELESS!

Google Maps Navigation: A Free, Ass-Kicking, Turn-by-Turn Mobile App

Google's free turn-by-turn navigation for Maps is the news this morning, and even in Beta, they got a lot right. It has Google tech, like Street View and satellite imagery, and even voice-powered search. Here's what you need to know.

What's getting it: It's Android OS 2.0 only for now. And will be available when devices like that ship. (Google demo'd the app to us on a Droid, FWIW.) Other platform support will be announced "by carriers and phone makers" when they're ready, but Google implied they are working closely with Apple now on it.
How you tell it where to go: Addresses are input by either text or voice (using the same tech as in the iPhone's Google mobile app). But the app can take things like business names and restaurant types as well as soft queries like "that museum that has the King Tut exhibit" and return a list of suggested locations
Traffic handling: The traffic data, as on Google Maps, is driven by multiple sources. Typically, this means data could be from local road authority services like the Bay Area's Caltrans department's highway cameras and services like Inrix, but also from cellphones using Google Maps.
Price: It's free, and there are no ads. There's nothing like it in Apple's App Store that's less than $25 bucks a year.
Turn-by-turn voice: There's only one English-speaking voice at the moment, but it does to text-to-speech, reading street names out loud.
Does it work offline? Sort of. Maps cache along your intended route, so even if your connection dies along the way the route will still show you what you need to see, and text-to-speech voice synthesis of street names still works, too.
Maps that never age: Like most cloud map services, you'll never need to update your map data, but you have to download route maps every time you head out (so you need cell service at the starting point).
Unique views: It has satellite view, which is super cool for context on the street, but also, it has Street View. When you're supposed to turn, Street View images come up, overlaid with arrows. Same thing happens at your final destination. Since Street View images have metadata on direction faced and position, Google Maps Navigation intelligently draws the arrows where you're supposed to go. Sort of.
Traffic UI: The traffic icon is simple—green, yellow and red according to flow of traffic, with your time of arrival next to the symbol. If you click on the traffic icon, the map zooms out to show congestion points along your route.
Multi-destination routing? There's no way to setup multiple stops to help you plan a day's drive to many locations. But you can search for locations (gas, eateries) along your route, and those results will show up on the map as long as they're within a radius that moves long your path. You can also pre-determine your stops, and quickly queue up the next when you reach each destination.
Navigate to point on map: You can tell it to navigate to a location by spotting it on a map and holding your finger down on that point.
OS integration: You can bookmark locations as icons on your Android phone's home page.
Layers? The data on the map, like traffic, satellite view and points of interest, are called layers. Google said it would be easy for them to add more layers, so its ostensibly possible to add things like Google Latitude support, and other neat tricks. Maybe they'll open up an API for it.
Different UIs for different usage cases: There's a landscape and portrait mode, as well as a big-icon UI for dashboard usage.
My fears on zero pricing, for the long term: If Google sells this in the App Store for zero dollars, those millions of bucks Apple makes off of GPS app sales will likely disappear. It's not for us to worry about until there's no more GPS competition except Google, and we're dependent on their pace of progress, but no competition is a bad thing. And it's a little strange that Google's search money is going to pay for a free map app that is competitive with stuff that costs $100 a year from full-time GPS makers like TomTom. Unfair is the word that comes to mind. But I can't say I don't want this app.

A visual tour of Google Maps Navigation:

A Walkthrough of Google Maps Navigation

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Hackintosh a Dell Mini 10v Into the Ultimate Snow Leopard Netbook

Here's the pitch: a 10-inch, almost-pocketable computer running Snow Leopard, the latest, greatest version of OS X. It costs just $300. Sound good? Here's how to make your own.

Why You Should Do This

Last time we threw together a guide like this, things were different. Snow Leopard was but a glint in Steve Jobs' eye, and in terms of hardware, the Mini 9 was the best thing going—it was pretty much the only netbook you could guarantee would work perfectly. Not to mention the hackintosh process was much, much more complicated. And riskier! And yet, despite all this, it was easy to recommend loading a Mini up with OS X, because to put it bluntly, the results were fantastic.

But the Mini 9 was a bit too small for regular use, and even if it's still pretty easy to buy one, it's not officially part of Dell's product line anymore. Fast forward to now: the Mini 10v is a (quite similar) replacement for the 9, with a slightly larger screen, 160GB HDD standard, and 1GB or RAM. Most importantly, the keyboard is a bit larger, and the price is wonderfully low: $300 for a netbook that's completely ready for hackintoshing. Or to put it another way, the 10v is a $300 Apple netbook.

And it isn't just the hardware that's changed, it's the software. Snow Leopard is fast—faster than 10.5—and its new interface features, like Dock Expose, make using OS X on a netbook even easier. Finder is faster, Quicktime has a new interface. It's a pretty big upgrade from Leopard, is what I'm trying to say.

And installation tools have grown up too. Netbook hackintoshing used to be an all-day process, with external optical drives, Terminal commands, and numerous terrifying driver tweaks. Today, there are simple software utilities to take care of all this for you. So let's recap: Since 2008, the hardware has gotten cheaper and better, OS X more mature, and the installation process much simpler. Oh yeah, and Snow Leopard retail costs $30. (Though strict moralists should note that this is intended to be an upgrade.) There's never been a better time to hackintosh—not by a long shot.

That said, one thing hasn't changed. TERMINAL > SUDO REWRITE DISCLAIMER:

Even though we're using a standard retail-purchased copy of OS X, the disclaimer: Apple does not like Hackintoshing. It violates the OS X EULA, and probably won't make the Dell folks too happy either, should you need to return your hacked Mini 9 for service. So, as always, proceed at your own risk.

And of course, this tutorial messes with some pretty core components of your netbook, which means there's a real, if small, risk of brickage. Proceed at your own risk, again. Anyway.

What You'll Need

Dell Mini 10v. The stock version, at $300, works perfectly. [Note: I'm getting a lot of questions about this, so just to be clear: This has to be a 10v, not a regular Mini 10. Lots of netbooks can be hackintoshed, but the Mini 10 has an incompatible graphics card/chipset. Sorry!]

• BIOS version lower than A06 (A05, A04, A03 all work fine)

Downgrade instructions are available here, though they require a Windows PC for creating a bootable DOS flash drive. There are a lot of scary acronyms here, but don't worry—it's no more than a few minutes of work.

• Retail copy of OS X 10.6 (NOT an OEM copy that comes with a new Mac). An ISO will do fine here too, but discs are just $30, you cheapskate. Upgrades to 10.6.1 should be applied after the fact.

• An 8GB (or larger) USB flash drive, the faster the better. External HDDs will work too.

• A Mac with a working optical drive, for preparing your flash drive

Netbook BootMaker (a free Mac application)

Preparing Your Flash Drive

The 10v doesn't have an optical drive, and it's a pain in the ass to have to go find one, burn a new disc, and do things the old-fashioned way. Installing from a USB flash drive is much, much easier. So that's the method we'll be running with.

1. Insert your flash drive and OS X Retail install disk into your computer

2. Open Disk Utility (searching in Spotlight is the easiest way to find this)

3. Select your flash drive from the list on the left. Make sure to select the drive itself, not any partitions you may have written to it before.

4. In the right panel, select the "Partition" screen.

5. From the dropdown menu, select "1 Partition," then click "Options" below the partition map.

6. Select "Master Boot Record." This will ensure that your Mini 10v can boot from your flash drive. Select a name for your partition—doesn't really matter what—and apply your changes. Keep in mind this will delete anything you have on your flash drive right now, so back it up if need be.

7. Once this is done, move from the "Partition" screen to the "Restore" screen in Disk Utility

8. For your Restore Source, select (by dragging) the OS X install disk from the left panel. Make sure this is the item called something to the effect of "Mac OS Install DVD," not "Optiarc DVD" or some other hardware title. For the destination, drag your newly-prepared partition over. Click restore.

This will take at least an hour, so go have sandwich or something. Or even better, skip ahead make sure your Mini 10v is ready for the install, as outlined in the next section.

Ok, once that slog is done, it's time to let Netbook BootMaker do its magic. And let me be clear: it is magic. What this utility will do is install a special bootloader on your flash drive, which allows your netbook to begin an OS X install. It also throws in a few driver tweaks, to make sure your 10v, y'know, work.

9. Running BootMaker is easy—just open the app, select your OS X partition on your newly-minted flash drive, and tell it to GO GO GO.

Aaaaand that's it! You're ready to start hackintoshing.

Installing OS X

First, you're going to need to do some light prep on your 10v.

10. Jump into the BIOS, since we're going to need to check on a few things. You can do this by restarting the 10v, and hitting F2 as the Dell logo first shows up.

11. Double-check to see if you have the right BIOS. As long as it's lower than A06, you're fine. If not, refer back to the "What You'll Need" section.

12. With the arrow keys, cycle over to the "Advanced" screen, where you'll see a list of options. USB BIOS Legacy support should be enabled, as should Bluetooth.

13. Now cycle over to the Boot screen. This is where you tell your 10v which drive to start from. During normal use, this will be the hard drive where your OS is installed. Since we're installing an OS today, though, you're going to want to select "USB Storage," and move it to the top by pressing the F6 key.

14. Once you're done, press F10 to save and exit. If you're ready to dive straight into the install, make sure you have your prepped USB drive plugged in and ready to go.

15. Plug your computer in, if it's not already. You don't want your netbook to die halfway though—this will only lead to sadness.

Next time you boot with your flash drive plugged in, you should see this screen. Don't be alarmed by the spinning pinwheel; just leave it for a few minutes. Your computer is thinking.

16. HAHA, BEHOLD! This screen here, it's awfully Apple-y! But you're not done yet. Let the install complete, following the regular prompts as you go. When it asks you where to install OS X, select and clear the entire HDD of your device. This will delete everything, so make sure you have your stuff backed up.

After about an hour, you're done. Seriously—that's it. Your first boot will take longer than normal, and your desktop may freeze for minutes at a time. Give it some time to figure everything out. Within about 10 minutes, your desktop should be ready to go.

Odds and Ends

By and large, your install should work out of the box. Sleep, shutdown/startup, sound, keyboard shortcuts, battery indicators, and anything else you can think of should be present and at attention, barring one glaring flaw: the trackpad. It's kinda shitty, and makes dragging-and-dropping nearly impossible. Here's what you need to do:

17. Go here, and download the attached trackpad driver.

18. Open Finder on your 10v, and press CMD+Shift+G (on this keyboard, that's Alt+Shift+G.) In the box that comes up, typed "/Extra" and press enter.
This will bring you to a hidden folder. Copy the .kext file you've download into the Mini10vExt folder, making sure to back up the one you're replacing.
19. Run the app in the "Extra" directory called UpdateExtra, which will alert OS X to the new drivers. Restart your computer.

Now you should be able to click and drag—the cursor should jump when your second finger makes contact. You should see, as you could before, a panel in the OS X preferences where you can adjust trackpad settings. Play with them as you like—two finger scrolling is great, and makes the 10v feel more like a genuine Apple netbook.

The only other issue you're likely to run into is the occasional too-tall settings screen. Here's an obscenely clever virtual screen resolution workaround for that.

So There You Go

You've got yourself a fully-functioning, beautifully small Snow Leopard netbook, which'll do 90% of what a 13-inch MacBook can, at 70% the size and about 25% of the cost. Mine's close to perfect: With an extended battery, I'm pushing 7 hours of battery life with Wi-Fi, which makes my MacBook pro look like a LOSER. And tiny extra bit of size over the Mini 9 means the keyboard is just large enough to work on, meaning this thing isn't just a toy—it's a decent investment. This from a guy with banana fingers.

Performance is acceptable, meaning you can run regular apps like iTunes, Firefox—and even Photoshop in a bind. It's not noticeably slow during normal use, though it'll choke on higher-res Flash video (no YouTube HD, but SD works fine). As with any netbook, this pretty much can't be your main machine. But it's a brilliant extra portable machine, for toilet browsing, travel, class notes and the like.

Anyway, buckets of thanks to the MyDellMini forums, especially users MechDrew (site here) and Bmcclure937. Without their guides, I wouldn't have been able to write this one. And of course, a hat tip to Adam Pash, who was already elbow-deep in Snow Leopard hackintoshing when we were all still too afraid. See his fantastic guide to building the build your own desktop hackintosh here. UPDATE: And I'd be remiss not to mention Meklort, the main developer of the NetbookInstaller suite, which does most of the heavy lifting here. —Thanks, Brian!

So that's about it! Please add in your experiences in the comments-your feedback is a huge benefit to our Saturday guides. Good luck with your own Hackintoshing, and have a great weekend!

Send an email to John Herrman, the author of this post, at

The Best Google Logo Ever

google logo

10 Naughty Pumpkin Pics


There’s nothing that says ‘Happy Halloween’ better then a jack-0-lantern spreading his ass cheeks so that we can enjoy the sight of his candle lit cornhole. Here are 10 examples of people who gave their pumpkins a rated R dash of flavor.

Bonus! 2 Pumpkins, 1 Cup


Fat People Riding Scooters: A Gallery

By Brotha Jonze


If there was ever a sign that you are giving up on life, it’s not that you’re so morbidly obese that you are 38 and you scoot around on the same type of scooter my 84 year-old grandfather turned to after his cane gave way to a walker – his walker ultimately not enough support for his degenerating body.

At 82 he turned to a scooter, and only because a doctor recommended it after his arthritis became so bad that after a day on his feet, his knees would swell up the size of a cantaloupe – or in morbidly obese terms – the size of a small order of fries.

But still, the fact that your fat ass sits on one of these vehicles instead of walking through Wal-Mart is not the sign that you gave up on life, no. The real sign you gave up on life is that you’re sitting on a scooter in the drive-thru line at the local KFC – the same fast food joint that put you in your scooter in the first place.

Ricky Gervais would agree with me, and as always, is more articulate than I am which he makes apparent in this excellent video.





Click here for the whole article and Gallery

Extreme cheek piercings at religious vegetarian festival in Phuket, Thailand

Click here for the full gallery....

Michael Jackson Secretly Remade Thriller, And You Can See It In 3D!

Michael Jackson Secretly Remade Thriller, And You Can See It In 3D!

Michael Jackson’s concert documentary This Is It will arrive in theaters next week and it contains more than a few surprises. We talked with the film’s director Kenny Ortega and choreographer/associate producer Travis Payne today, and they revealed that before Jackson died, they filmed brand new versions of Michael’s most well known and iconic music videos for inclusion with the concert. In particular, if you buy a ticket for Michael Jackson’s This Is It you’ll also see, for the first time ever, brand new, re-imagined music videos for “Thriller”, “Man in the Mirror”, and “Earth Song”.

The intention was to use the new videos as transitions into the performed versions of the songs, transitions that are a long way from the original. Payne promises that the new "Thriller" is nothing like the boy on the date with the girl, while at the same time, "We didn't touch what we considered the sacred inside of it." And while the new version of "Thriller" and the other songs will be screened with This Is It in plain old 2D next week, that's not how they were intended to be seen, and that might not be the last we see of them either.

Ortega also revealed that there may be a 3D re-release of Michael Jackson’s This Is it later on, including the revamped music videos that were originally to be broadcast during the concerts in 3D. "Later down the line there may be an opportunity for us to do some special 3D package," Ortega hinted. But that's not nearly as elaborate as how the videos were originally intended to be shown. The plan was to have the audience members don 3D glasses in the middle of the concert, but it was going to be much more than just 3D screens in the corner. As Payne explained it to me, "We had 3D and also frontal elements and overhead elements that actually created a 4D environment that the audience was sitting it." Jackson, Payne and the rest of the team scoured the country to find a technology company large enough to build the screen they wanted, and in the process, they started to build the largest 3D LED screen in the world.

Of course, we won't get to see that screen. But Payne believes that re-releasing This Is It in 3D is actually the ideal way to see the footage, given Jackson's lifelong interest in 3D technology. "Michael would want the entire experience in 3D, and we will try out best to facilitate his wishes. He made it clear that that was the new frontier."

Stanford builds robotic Audi for racing, robotic Volkswagen for parking

You can make a robotic car, and you can make a robotic car -- and it looks like Stanford is leading the charge on the no compromises approach with its new driverless Audi TTS. That, of course, is only the latest in a long line of robotic cars from the folks at Stanford, and it looks like it's also by far their most ambitious, as it's going above and beyond the usual DARPA challenges in the hope of breaking a few records and winning a few races. In fact, the car apparently already holds the "unofficial" speed record for an automous car at 130 miles per hour and, in the long term, Stanford hopes that it'll be able to complete the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which stretches some twenty kilometers and includes no less than 156 turns. To balance all that adreneline, the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory at Stanford has also developed a new VW Passat "valet system" that may not win any races, but can sure do some mean parallel parking. Videos of both after the break, more details a few hands-off impressions courtesy of BotJunkie at the links below.

Read - BotJunkie, "Stanford's New Robotic Audi TTS Knows How To Drift, Will Tackle Pikes Peak Next Year"
Read - BotJunkie, "VAIL Demonstrates Autonomous Valet Parking System"

You Always Wanted Pictures Shot Straight Into Your Retinas, Right?

"Retina display technology" sounds frightening if you think about it for more than a second. Brother's upcoming specs beam 800x600 images refreshed at 60hz directly onto your retina, so that they appear, transparently, about a meter in front of you.

They're coming out next year, though they haven't set a price. Separate, NEC's planning a pair of similar shades, except that they'd translate foreign languages in real time, with subtitles hovering in front of you, like you're watching a movie of your life. Which is how I feel a bunch of the time anyway. [Register, FarEastGizmos via Popular Science via Engadget]