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Monday, July 26, 2010

Pirates 4's Comic Con Teaser Trailer Leaks Online

By Josh Tyler:

Yesterday we told you about Captain Jack Sparrow’s rather strange Comic Con cameo where he told the assembled San Diego audience to expect all manner of oddities in the next Pirates of the Caribbean. It seems that cameo was actually more a Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides teaser trailer, in which Jack sat up on a screen, rambled endlessly about his next adventure, and then promised everyone watching Bloody Marys.

That teaser video, the first ever teaser for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, has now leaked its way online. It’s unclear whether Disney actually wants anyone to see it, so the embedded video below may or may not vanish at any time.

Update! Three cheers for Disney. They're on board with releasing it and they've just made a high-res version available. Check that out below.

The Top 100 Free Apps for Your Phone 2010

By: Staff

Whether you're toting an iPhone, Droid, BlackBerry, or Palm Pre, it's the apps that make your smartphone brilliant. And the app scene is booming. The iPhone still leads the app race, with more than 225,000 apps, but developers are churning out apps for other platforms as well. Google's Android Market now has over 60,000 apps. Palm's App Catalog for the Pre and Pixi has risen from hundreds to more than 2,000 apps during the past several months alone. And there are thousands of apps for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian phones.

Six months ago, when we did our first "Top 100 Free Mobile Apps for Your Phone" story, our focus was clearly on the iPhone. The same holds true this time around, though we did rejigger the number of apps we cover for each of the other smartphone platforms.

While the iPhone isn't the number-one smartphone platform in America (that's BlackBerry), iPhone owners download more apps than owners of competing devices. We boosted our Android selection to 30 apps to reflect the huge number of Android-powered phones hitting the marketplace right now. Verizon and Sprint, especially, have been enthusiastic about Android, offering Google's OS as their hottest smartphone platform right now.

Palm's webOS now gets its own list of 10 free apps, as Palm phones are now available on Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and AT&T, and HP has said it's going to "double down" on the Palm system. The Symbian operating system gets a list of five free apps: Nokia's smartphones have barely hung on in the U.S. market.

The losers in this roundup are RIM's BlackBerrys and Microsoft's Windows Mobile phones. There are millions of BlackBerrys in the U.S., but our readership statistics have shown that BlackBerry owners are less interested in reading about apps than users of other platforms. That may be because RIM's App World is still difficult to use, and BlackBerry owners can find it difficult to figure out where to download their favorite apps.

Microsoft's Windows Mobile is in a chrysalis right now, as it transforms into Windows Phone 7 later this year. Microsoft shifted most developers' interest away from Windows Mobile 6.5. But because there are still millions of Windows Mobile 6.5 phones in consumers' hands, we're giving you five great free apps for that platform.

Given the thousands of great free apps out there, we know that our list can't possibly be comprehensive. If you know of some, jump over to the appropriate platform page and add your suggestion to the Comments area.

The Top 40 Free iPhone Apps
The Top 30 Free Google Android Apps
The Top 10 Free BlackBerry Apps
The Top 10 Free Palm webOS Apps
The Top 5 Free Symbian Apps
The Top 5 Free Windows Phone Apps

Sascha Segan, Gregg Binder, Sean Ludwig, and Jamie Lendino contributed to this report.

The Khan Shatyr World’s Biggest Tent in Astana!

by Andrew Michler

Foster + Partners, Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center, Astana kazakstan, Astana Entertainment Center, Astana Architecture, Kazakhstan architecturephotos by Karim Yergaliyev

Developed by Foster + Partners to be a center piece for the new capital city of Astana, Kazakhstan, the project had to withstand the extreme temperature swings of the elevated and arid region. Although the outside temperature varies from -35 degrees to +35 degrees Celsius, the interior maintains a hospitable 15-30 degrees. To prevent condensation in the winter, three translucent layers of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene fabric or EFTE act to channel warm air. In the summer, cooler air displaces the hot air vented from the top. The transparency and scale of the tent stands out in the skyline like a beacon, changing colors at night and streaming in natural light during the day.

Foster + Partners, Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center, Astana kazakstan, Astana Entertainment Center, Astana Architecture, Kazakhstan architecture

A center tripod column supports a cable system web, which in turn supports the skin. The building shelters a park and various entertainment venues for the people of Kazakhstan, including events facilities, a shopping mall, a movie complex, an elevated water park, and multiple eateries. The Khan Shatyr Center provides a powerful symbol for a country that is breaking from its isolation to join an increasingly interconnected world.

+ Foster + Partners

photos by Karim Yergaliyev

Last Kodachrome roll processed in Parsons

Parsons Sun

PARSONS — Freelance photojournalist Steve McCurry, whose work has graced the pages of National Geographic, laid 36 slides representing the last frames of Kodachrome film on the light board sitting on a counter in Dwayne's Photo Service in Parsons.

He placed a lupe - a magnifier that makes it easier to view film - over one frame and took a closer look at the film.

McCurry told Dwayne's vice president Grant Steinle how he had chosen to shoot the last roll of Kodachrome produced by Eastman Kodak by capturing images around New York.

"Then we went to India, where I photographed a tribe that is actually on the verge of extinction. It's actually disappearing, the same way as Kodachrome," he told Steinle.

Kodak announced last year that it would retire Kodachrome, a brand name of color reversal film it had manufactured since 1935. McCurry, well-known for his 1984 photograph of Sharbat Gula, or the "Afghan Girl," published on the cover of National Geographic magazine, requested from Kodak to shoot the last roll of 36 frames it manufactured.

National Geographic has closely documented the journey of the final roll of Kodachrome manufactured, down to its being processed. Dwayne's is only photo lab left in the world to handle Kodachrome processing, so National Geographic Television producer Yvonne Russo and National Geographic magazine senior video producer Hans Weise found themselves in Parsons Monday, along with McCurry, with the final roll of the iconic film of the 20th century.

As a professional freelance photographer, McCurry has used Kodachrome film for 35 years.

"It's definitely the end of an era," he said of Kodachrome. "It has such a wonderful color palette ... a poetic look, not particularly garish or cartoonish, but wonderful, true colors that were vibrant, but true to what you were shooting."

There are definite advantages to digital photography by comparison to film, McCurry said.

"You have the ability to view, edit and monitor what we are doing as we go. We can evaluate the light and composition and the design instantly. And we can shoot in extremely low light, which was impossible with film."

Regardless, digital photography is simply not the same.

"I like having something to hold in my hand," McCurry said. "With digital photography, it's just a hard drive. With Kodachrome, the film is real. You can touch it, put it in a drawer, and come back to it later. It's tangible. It's an object. With digital, the pictures only exist in a hard drive, in a memory chip."

A photographer since 1974, and photojournalist for National Geographic for 30 years, Kodachrome has been a part of McCurry's professional career.

Russo said they documented McCurry shooting the final roll of film in New York, then traveling to Bombay, India and Rajasthan, India, then back to New York, shooting along the way several iconic personalities of the world of filmmaking.

McCurry said he spent about two months shooting the images, which also included some scenic photos, as well as serendipitous moments on the streets of New York.

"And I actually shot the last three frames here in Parsons," McCurry said.

As Kodachrome is no longer manufactured, Steinle said that on Dec. 10 Dwayne's Photo will end its processing of Kodachrome.

"All this is going to be discarded," McCurry said of the processing equipment for Kodachrome, " ... so it's just a piece of history. It's nostalgic. It's kind of sad. I have about 800,000 Kodachrome images in my lab and these will be the last."

If National Geographic does a spread on the journey of this final roll of Kodachrome, McCurry said it will likely come out in the spring 2011 and will consist of only four to six images selected from the roll.

However, Weise said, "The entire 36 frames shot will be sent to the Eastman House in Rochester, New York, where Kodak is based, and live there."

Looking through the lupe at each slide image, McCurry viewed his pictures of Robert De Niro, the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Station, the tribe in India, the actors, actresses and models in India and the other images of life he had captured.

Among the images shot was one self-portrait of McCurry in New York. Symbolic of the yellow and red packaging of Kodak film, McCurry chose a Yellow Cab to pose by. He called Steinle to have a look through the lupe at the cab's license plate. On it were the letters PKR 36.

Steinle laughed, not believing his eyes.

"If I hadn't seen this come off the processor myself, I would have sworn you had photoshopped that," Steinle said, explaining how PKR 36 is representative of Professional Kodak 36 film.

As the two men stood talking of the end of an era in film manufacturing and processing that affects them both, McCurry presented Steinle with a proposal.

Rather than paying Dwayne's Photo in cash for the processing of the film, McCurry offered to cut Steinle a deal. In exchange for the processing, McCurry offered to create a special print of one of the slides and have it framed and mounted with a letter of authenticity included and send it to Steinle.

It was a deal Steinle accepted eagerly.

Russo said the National Geographic special covering the last roll of Kodachrome manufactured will likely air sometime in spring 2011.

How to make a Daft Punk helmet in 17 months

volpin | July 17, 2010

For more info on the build and process, check out my blog:

This video chronicles my odyssey with replicating the iconic gold Daft Punk helmet worn by Guy Manuel de Homem-Christo. Over the process, I took hundreds of pictures, mostly because my crummy digital camera I shoot with has a bum autofocus. What you see are the collection of all of these images, and a little hint of video as well.

Programming for the helmet code was done by James Moss.
Chroming work courtesy of Creations n' Chrome
Custom PCBs printed by (designed by me)
Visor vacuum-forming performed by Mike Iverson
Some video and photography courtesy of Emily Krix


Panasonic's consumer-grade 3D camcorder leaks out, the HDC-SDT750

We'd heard Panasonic was planning a more affordable stereoscopic 3D camcorder, but it looks like we won't have to wait until a mysterious July 28th Tokyo unveiling to find out for sure -- it's called the HDC-SDT750, and Panny's advertising it as the "World's first 3D Shooting Camcorder." Leaks at all the seams of the company's website afforded us the above picture, and the surprising revelation that the product may not be a brand-new camcorder, but rather an existing high-end 3MOS model (we'd guess the HDC-HS700) with a "3D conversion lens" attached. If the yet-to-be-activated product page's source code can be believed, the SDT750 will shoot in 1080p AVCHD at 60fps, feature Panny's proprietary Hybrid O.I.S. image stabilization technology, and come in a lovely shade of Henry Ford black. That's all we have for now (save a second tiny picture after the break) but rest assured we'll be keeping tabs on this one.

Update: Looks as if even more images and purported specifications have leaked out ahead of the official reveal.

[Thanks, John]

Creep Kiss Facepaint!

Darth Vader Calls About His iPhone 4

ruliarch | July 22, 2010

Yes, I've owned all four incarnations of the iPhone and loved them all - but we all know they've lacked in the actual "phone" department.

Created by Russell Arch
All Voices by Lisa Arch and Russell Arch

Pilot survives fiery fighter jet crash in Alberta


link to gallery: Pilot survives fiery fighter jet crash in Alberta

CF-18 crash in Lethbridge, July 23. Pilot Capt. Brian Bews ejected the plane and survived the crash.

CF-18 crash in Lethbridge, July 23. Pilot Capt. Brian Bews ejected the plane and survived the crash.

Photograph by: Courtesy, Copyright 2010 Kurt's Kustom Photography

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A CF-18 fighter jet crashed while conducting an air-show practice flight at an Alberta airport Friday, but the pilot was able to safely eject before it exploded on impact.

Capt. Brian Bews was piloting the CF-18 Hornet, which was set to perform at the Alberta International AirShow this weekend, when the crash occurred at Lethbridge County Airport just after noon.

Capt. Holly Brown, a spokeswoman for 1 Canadian Air Division, said Bews is a demonstration pilot for that specific aircraft, noting his vast experience.

“Capt. Bews, like any of our F-18 pilots, is highly trained, highly skilled and highly capable,” Brown said. “It’s a long journey to become an F-18 pilot, and our demo pilots are exceptionally proven. It’s an honour to be selected as a demo pilot.

“Unfortunately today, something happened. He was going through his practice sessions and something happened. He had to eject and the aircraft impacted the airfield.”

The pilot was about 30 metres from the ground when he ejected, and could be seen coming to rest just outside the ball of flame that erupted when the aircraft collided with the ground.

RCMP said Bews was brought to hospital and his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

“We’re just really thankful that he’s OK,” Brown said, who would not provide details on his condition, citing the Privacy Act.

It’s not clear whether the plane ran into trouble during mid-air manoeuvres, or on takeoff or landing, but Brown said the Department of National Defence’s Flight Safety Team is investigating.

Private pilot Nathaniel Lockheart was watching the practice runs when he noticed something was wrong.

"He came in right over us, probably only 100 to 200 feet high,” he said. “It looked like he lost power out of his right engine. Only one afterburner was on and it was burning red hot.

"He looked very close to stalling. I knew what was going to happen: he wasn’t going to make it out of this one."

After Bews ejected, it appeared he was dangerously close the massive fireball. The chute didn’t appear to open fully and Lockheart ran to help.

"It looked like he was in the fire,” he said. “We jumped the barbed wire fence to see if we could help.”

Luckily, Lockheart watched as the pilot stood up and gathered his crumpled parachute.

"That’s one of my favourite airplanes and to actually see one crash is just unreal,” Lockheart said.

Kurtis Koop spent the morning watching the fighter jet as he worked outside framing a house with friends.

"I was watching the thing all morning. We were all in awe," said Koop.

But then, he watched as the tail end of the plane swung low, and the aircraft dipped behind a hill.

"Then I saw the smoke come up. It was a straight stack of black smoke, thick. I said, ‘No, he couldn’t have crashed.’”

“He looked like he was in complete control the whole time. The next thing I know, it’s up in flames. I can’t believe I saw it.”

Officials from the Department of Transportation are also working on the investigation.

Brown would not speculate on a timeline as to when crash details would be released.

“Some investigations take longer than others, but the bottom line is the investigation will take as long as it needs so we can properly examine the incident and take whatever actions are necessary,” Brown said.

Canada’s fleet of CF-18 Hornet fighter jets will continue to fly despite the crash.

“This is an isolated incident with one aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Midas Vogan, commanding officer of the 419 Moose Squadron based in Cold Lake.

Bews, who is originally from Eatonia, Sask., is described on the DND’s website as being a motorcycle enthusiast, with more than 1,400 flight hours logged since his military career began in 1999. Some 1,200 of those hours have been logged on the CF-18 Hornet.

His piloting career started in 1995 in Okotoks, Alta., when he earned his private pilot’s licence.

The pilot’s aunt, Lenora Bews, said he loved flying from the time he was in his mid-teens.

She said he would often fly over Eatonia, southwest of Saskatoon, whenever he came by for a visit to the family farm.

“Flying was always in his blood,” Lenora Bews said. “Some young kids get an idea of what they want to do and they don’t think of anything but that.

“He wasn’t interested in farming like his older brothers, so he’s lucky he got into that. (The crash) is unfortunate, but it’s fortunate he wasn’t killed.”

After some uncertainty as to the fate of this weekend’s air show, Robb Engen, president of air show association, said the event will proceed as scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

Engen said the decision was made after organizers met with Department of National Defence officials.

With files from Calgary Herald, Regina Leader-Post and Global News

U.S. Declares iPhone Jailbreaking Legal, Over Apple’s Objections

Federal regulators lifted a cloud of uncertainty when they announced it was lawful to hack or “jailbreak” an iPhone, declaring Monday there was “no basis for copyright law to assist Apple in protecting its restrictive business model.”

Jailbreaking is hacking the phone’s OS to allow consumers to run any app on the phone they choose, including applications not authorized by Apple.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation asked regulators 19 months ago to add jailbreaking to a list of explicit exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions.

At stake for Apple is the very closed business model the company has enjoyed since 2007, when the iPhone debuted. Apple says it’s unlawful to jailbreak, (.pdf) but has not taken legal action against the millions who have jailbroken their phones and used the underground app store Cydia.

Apple maintains that its closed marketplace is what made the success of the iPhone possible, and sold more than three billion apps. Apple also told regulators that the nation’s cellphone networks could suffer “potentially catastrophic” cyberattacks by iPhone-wielding hackers at home and abroad (.pdf) if iPhone owners are permitted to legally jailbreak their shiny wireless devices.

Every three years, the Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office entertain proposed exemptions to the DMCA, passed in 1998. The act forbids circumventing encryption technology to copy or modify copyrighted works. In this instance, Apple claimed the DMCA protects the encryption built into the bootloader that starts up the iPhone OS operating system.

But the Copyright Office concluded that, “while a copyright owner might try to restrict the programs that can be run on a particular operating system, copyright law is not the vehicle for imposition of such restrictions.”

Monday’s decision, (.pdf) which applies to all mobile phones, does not require Apple or other handset makers to allow jailbreaking. Instead it makes it lawful to circumvent controls designed to block jailbreaking.

In an April security bulletin, Apple said “Unauthorized modification of iPhone OS has been a major source of instability, disruption of services, and other issues.”

The EFF contended that the iPhone’s embedded protection system was implemented by Apple as a business decision to prevent competition and is unrelated to copyright interests.

Jailbreaking, the EFF maintained, constitutes fair use of the firmware tied to the operating system.

Regulators agreed, declaring Monday that “the activity of an iPhone owner who modifies his or her iPhone’s firmware/operating system in order to make it interoperable with an application that Apple has not approved, but that the iPhone owner wishes to run on the iPhone, fits comfortably within the four corners of fair use.”

Apple told regulators that modifying the iPhone operating system leads to the creation of an infringing derivative work that is protected by copyright law. The Cupertino-based computer maker also claimed that the license on the operating system forbids software modification.

Apple was not immediately prepared to comment.

Here is a how-to and legal primer on the issue.

Photo: Patrick H. Lauke

Hear six new Daft Punk pieces from Tron Legacy

After months of fakes, real music from Daft Punk’s upcoming Tron Legacy soundtrack is now available to hear.

You can hear six appropriately epic-sounding instrumentals over at the movie’s official site, and then in extended form at Seattle radio station The End, who earlier this week dropped previews of the new Arcade Fire album.

There’s also a new trailer for Tron Legacy below. The film is out on December 17.

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iControlPad - iPhone Game Pad Case

CP Design's iPhone Game Pad prototype does Donkey Kong Country right (video)
With the iControlPad seemingly slipping further and further from reality, iPhone gamers with an affinity for buttons have fewer reasons to get out of bed in the morning and face the world. If that's you then it's time to wake up, Sunshine, because the iPhone Game Pad is here to bring a little light to your life. It's a somewhat chubby slip-on case that, as of now, works only with the original model iPhone. (There's a 3G/3GS model to come.) On the face it offers four primary control buttons plus a D-pad, what appears to be Select and Start buttons, plus a pair of shoulder buttons atop. This combination should make it perfect for emulation hounds or any 'ol heathen who values tactility over design purity. As of now it's just a prototype, but if you have the resources to bring this thing to production the folks at CP Design who crafted it would surely love to hear from you.

sourceCP Design