Zazzle Shop

Screen printing

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Microsoft shows off new controller, with transforming D-pad

The D-pad on the existing 360 controllers is, to put it mildly, utter garbage. If you want to play any games relying on precise movements, such as fighting games, buying a third-party controller is a requirement. Microsoft hopes it has this problem licked, however, and is releasing a controller with a new, updated D-pad on November 9. The catch? You won't be able to buy the controller alone; you'll need to grab the Play and Charge Kit to get it, and the final cost will be $64.99.

Here is the controller, complete with transforming D-pad.

Major Nelson will be giving away a few of these controllers at PAX this Sunday, and we'll be bugging Microsoft for one to report on how much better the D-pad works in this new design. Once thing we do know, it certainly can't be worse.

The Keg ‘n’ Casket

BY H.L. Parker

mcbride's pub

According The Providence Journal the City of Providence Board of Licenses has heard a proposal for a new pub in the Wayland Square area,

. . . the proprietors of Monahan Drabble & Sherman Funeral Home propose to open a pub in an old garage space attached to their business at Wayland and Waterman avenues.

The license board began a public hearing on the application last week and then tabled the request temporarily while the proprietors, brothers Mark E. Russell and Robert Russell, both of Country Club Drive, Warwick, consult with Stephen Lewinstein, who has extensive real estate investments in the vicinity.

The plan is for a 60-seat eatery to be called McBride’s Pub, complete with an outdoor patio where the cars now park. They’ll need a bouncer with a velvet rope — people are already dying to get in. (More pix after the jump.)

wayland avenue side

wayland avenue

monahan drabble & sherman

Perfect Plant? 7 Great Uses For Industrial Hemp

by: Matthew McDermott

industrial hemp field photo


Not to overly play into the stereotype of the TreeHugger moniker, but today is 4/20 so a quick review of all the great uses for industrial hemp--you know, that non-psychoactive relative of marijuana that for myriad moronic reasons is more or less illegal* to cultivate in the United States but not work with and sell--seemed apropos. From clothing, to food, to fuel, to a whole host of consumer and building products, not to mention helping in cleaning up soil pollution, it's only slightly hyperbole to call hemp a wonder crop:

hemp knitting photo
photo: Janet via flickr.

1. Clothing

Hemp's been used for textiles since time immemorial--samples of hemp fabric in China date back to 8,000 BC--though it has certainly had a renaissance of late. Shedding the slightly rough and tough image it once had hemp has broken into the realms of high fashion, has been mixed with silk for lingerie, as well as being applied to more obvious applications where it's durability is used to best advantage: Providing material for shoes, jeans, and other tough sport clothing.

hemp ale photo
photo: Sarah McD via flickr.

2. Food & Beverages

About one third of hemp seed's weight comes from hemp oil, which is both edible but highly nutritious, containing essential fatty acids. The whole seed is about 25% protein, and is a a good source of calcium and iron, as well as having more omega-3 than walnuts--all of which point to hemp's potential for food and as a dietary supplement. But hemp also can be put to good use in iced tea and brewed into beer, fermented into wine, and distilled into other alcoholic beverages. Oh, and there's hemp milk too.

3. Paper

Hemp has been used for paper for at least 2,000 years, even though today hemp paper accounts for about only 0.05% of world paper production. Even though hemp is a far more quickly renewable and sustainable source of pulp for paper, because of the small number and relatively old age of processing equipment for hemp paper, help pulp ends up being several times more expensive than wood pulp.

4. Building Supplies

Of all the uses for hemp, even if you only have a cursory knowledge of the subject you're probably away of hemp fabric, clothing and paper, but here's one that's an eye-opener: Hemp provides all sorts of good building materials. You can make it into insulation as companies in the Netherlands and fiberboard and pressboard, and even be used to make 'hempcrete', a stronger, lighter, and more environmentally friendly version of concrete.

hemp ford car photo

5. Plastics

Hemp is also a viable feedstock for plastics production. Indeed Ford famously produced a prototype car made out of hemp & soy plastic in the early 1940s. Though it never went into production, with undue influence from chemical giant DuPont playing at least a part, as the photo above, of Henry Ford taking an axe to the car to prove its durability, shows hemp plastic can be strong stuff. More recently hemp has been made into shower curtain liners, CD & DVD cases, and all sorts of other products.

6. Fuel

Yes, you can make biofuel from hemp! Like pretty much any vegetable oil you can take hemp oil and process it into biodiesel. You still have all the concerns about conversion of land that could be used for food production into land used to fuel vehicles, but the biodiesel process is certainly solid. As cellulosic ethanol technology becomes more commercial viable--something seemingly just over the horizon for a couple of years now--there's no reason why you couldn't utilize hemp stalks or other leftovers as a feedstock. Considering all that, it stands to reason that hemp could also be utilized to make liquid fuels that are chemically identical to petroleum-based gasoline or diesel as well. But since the US doesn't want anyone cultivating hemp, the potential of hemp for fuel remains untapped.

hemp photo
photo: Martin Abegglen via flickr.

7. Chemical Cleanup

One of the most intriguing uses for hemp is in cleaning up soil contamination. In the late 1990s industrial hemp was tested at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine to help heal the soil. Because of its fast rate of growing each season, up to 250-400 plants per square meter each up to 15 feet tall, hemp shows goof potential in cleaning up land contaminated with fly ash, sewage sludge, or other heavy metals--though hemp's use in phytoremediation on any scale is in its infancy.


On to that asterisk above: As Vote Hemp points out, it's technically not illegal to grow industrial hemp in the United States, it's just that you need a permit from the DEA and they're not eager to give them out.
Growing hemp is kind of like driving, you can't drive without a license and you can't grow hemp without a permit. The difference is that it is almost impossible to get a permit from DEA to grow hemp.

New Apple TV: $99, Netflix streaming, $0.99 TV rentals


Apple TV

The second-generation Apple TV.

(Credit: Apple)

After a flurry of last-minute rumors, Apple announced its completely revamped Apple TV at its keynote Wednesday, featuring a much smaller design, 99-cent TV rentals from ABC and Fox, and Netflix streaming capabilities. The new Apple TV will come out in late September and will cost $99, which is a large decrease from the current $230 price of the old Apple TV.

The new design is about a quarter the size of the original Apple TV, and its connectivity has been stripped to just four ports: HDMI, optical digital audio output, Ethernet, and power. There's also built-in Wi-Fi, so you won't need to drag an Ethernet cord into the living room. Unlike the old model, the new Apple TV doesn't have onboard storage, instead it streams all content either directing from the Internet or other devices on your home network. The capability to switch from watching a video on your iPad to your Apple TV was shown during the keynote, but as of now it's unclear what content--iTunes rentals, YouTube, and so on--you can use with that functionality. Apple is also including an updated aluminum remote control.

The 99-cent TV rentals, even for HD content, from Disney and Fox represent a significant break from current online TV streaming prices. Services such as iTunes and Amazon Video on Demand currently offer you the capability to purchase TV episodes for $2 ($3 for HD episodes) and don't have rental options. While the selection of TV shows is limited to just ABC and Fox for now, the availability of cheap TV rentals that can be watched on your Apple TV, iPhone or iPad, is an attractive package, especially for those looking to ditch their monthly cable subscription. Apple also announced that they're doing away with the capability to purchase movies, moving to a rental-only pricing plan for movies on the Apple TV as well.

The Apple TV's Netflix interface.

The Apple TV's Netflix interface.

(Credit: Apple)

The addition of Netflix streaming is also a big change for Apple TV, which was previously limited to iTunes and YouTube streaming video content. Apple TV has lagged behind its competitors with Netflix streaming capabilities, as it's widely available on Blu-ray players, game consoles, HDTVs and set-top boxes like the Roku Digital Video Player. Even other Apple products, including both the iPad and iPhone, have been capable of streaming Netflix before the Apple TV.

New iPods abound—including multitouch nano—at Apple event

Apple held its annual fall media event Wednesday. During the event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled a new line of iPods, as has become tradition, including a new shuffle, a multitouch-enabled nano, and an A4-powered, FaceTime-compatible iPod touch. The company also revealed details of iOS 4.1 for iPhone and iPod touch, as well as iOS 4.2 for iPad.

iOS updates

Jobs kicked off the event by announcing iOS 4.1. The update addresses a number of bugs that have affected the proximity sensor of the iPhone 4, as well as issues connecting some Bluetooth devices. Jobs said that the update speeds up iOS 4 running on the iPhone 3G, which suffered from sluggish performance for many users.

The update also brings a few new features for iOS 4-compatible devices. Apple added a high dynamic range option to the camera app, which helps address inherent tonal range limitations in the tiny image sensors used in mobile devices. In typical Apple fashion, there's nothing to tweak or adjust; just tap the HDR button in Camera to turn it on. When taking an image, three exposures will automatically be taken and combined to reveal more detail in shadow and highlight areas.

iOS 4.1 also brings the official launch of Apple's Game Center. Game Center is a built-in, systemwide social network for games. Like OpenFeint and Plus+ before it, it offers a centralized place to view achievements and compare scores with other users. It also includes a system to challenge other players in head-to-head competitions.

iOS 4.1 will be a free update made available to all iOS 4 users next week.

Jobs then gave a sneak peek of iOS 4.2, slated for release in November. This version will be the first version of iOS 4.x for the iPad, and will bring all the features that iPhone and iPod touch users have been using since June, as well as the new features of 4.1. It will also bring a couple of long-requested features to the iPad: wireless printing capabilities and AirPlay—wireless streaming of audio, video, and photos.


After discussing iOS, Jobs moved on to new iPod hardware. First up was a new iPod shuffle. Changing the controversial design of the third-generation shuffle, which removed the physical controls from the device itself, the fourth generation device brings back those original button controls. The new device looks like a smaller second-gen shuffle. Like the third-gen, though, it still has VoiceOver control.

The new iPod shuffle comes in five colors with a 2GB capacity, and sells for $49.

Jobs then unveiled a radically different iPod nano. The company removed the famous click-wheel that has practically defined the iPod since the very first version. Instead, the tiny device is now dominated by a multitouch-enabled screen.

The hardware itself resembles what might happen if an iPod touch and an iPod shuffle made a baby. Like the shuffle, it has an aluminum case and a clip along with hardware buttons for volume and hold buttons.

The screen features iOS-like icons for all the available features, such as playing music or videos, and makes use of multitouch. One feature uses a two-finger rotate to change the orientation of the screen, useful for when the device is clipped in an awkward orientation.

The new seventh-generation iPod nano comes in seven different colors, including a Product (RED) version. The 8GB model is $149, and a 16GB version goes for $179.

Jobs bragged that the iPod touch outsells portable Nintendo and Sony gaming devices combined, making it the most popular portable gaming device in the world. To "make it even better," said Jobs, Apple made it thinner than the previous version. Despite shaving off size and weight, it also comes equipped with the same high-resolution Retina Display that debuted in the iPhone 4, the same A4 processor in the iPad and iPhone, the gyroscope motion control, and a front-facing camera for FaceTime chatting.

The new iPods are all available next week, though preorders begin today.

iOS 4.1 and iOS 4.2 On the Way: HDR, Game Center and iPad Support

At Apple’s special event today, the company announced its next two iOS releases: iOS 4.1 and iOS 4.2.

Apple will be releasing iOS 4.1 next week as a free update for the iPhone and iPod touch, fixing some bugs and adding new features like HDR photos, Game Center, TV show rentals and the ability to upload HD video over Wi-Fi.

For original iPhone 3G owners, you’ll be excited to learn that the performance bugs that made using iOS 4 on those devices, well, unfun, have been fixed. For iPhone 4 owners, Apple promises that the proximity sensor issues are now fixed, meaning I will no longer accidentally call my mom while on a conference call or send a text message of gibberish to a friend (true story).

Apple is also introducing the ability to take HDR photographs in iOS 4.1, a feature that photo fans should really enjoy. Game Center will also be formally launching and if the demo from the Epic Games guys was anything to go by, it’s going to be a lot of fun.

iOS 4.2

In November, the iOS family will finally be unified on the same version of iOS with the release of iOS 4.2 (also a free update via iTunes). This will introduce all of the iOS 4 features to the iPad, including multi-tasking, Game Center, folders and threaded e-mail. iOS 4.2 will also include wireless printing, a feature my mother is going to love.

iTunes 10 Features New Logo And Social Media Sharing Service, Ping

by John Biggs

Like Siamese twins, the iPod and iTunes go hand-in-hand. This week’s iPod update, then brought a whole new version of iTunes, v10, with a new logo and a few new features.

The new icon abandons the old CD imagery and replaces it with a bulbous double-clef note in a blue circle. The features include music clean-up – select five or so songs from the same album and it automatically finds art and titles – and there is a new discovery feature with social aspects called Ping.

Ping allows you to share with your friends what you’re listening to and even share information on concerts and events. It includes a custom “Top 10″ list and artists and listeners each have “profiles” that consist of interesting news and selections from that user’s library. It is true social music discovery.

Profiles can be public or private and you can limit access to a certain “circle of friends.” Ping is available now to all iTunes users and allows for multiple forms of sharing including image and link posting.

Brazilian MP candidate pledges a strip club in every town


It's an unusual campaign pledge: a strip club in every town. That, however, is what Adriely Fatal, a stripper and "erotic actress" from north-eastern Brazil, is promising voters as she hits the campaign trail in search of a place in parliament. With general elections taking place in October, four adult entertainers are preparing to battle it out for a seat in Ceara state's local assembly, aiming to rock the political establishment by forming a powerful "sex lobby" within government.

Leading Ceara's campanha erótica is 23-year-old Fatal, who also promises to focus on hospitals and education and is campaigning outside the local football stadium, where she dances on an open-backed truck dressed in skin-tight shorts. "My campaign is different to the others. I'm using sensuality to attract votes – I'm trying to attract young people and men," Fatal, a former stripper in Boate Tropical, one of the state capital Fortaleza's most popular erotic clubs, said.

"I campaign outside football stadiums, in squares and bars, in car garages, on the beach. I'm going to concentrate on healthcare and on showing people that just because I use tight clothes it doesn't mean that I can't do a proper job," added Fatal, a member of the Christian Workers party, who also counts waiters and taxi drivers among her support base and cites the leftist presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff as one of her political idols. Fatal, whose real name is Maria Isabel Gomes Cardoso, claims that the latest opinion polls show she already has around 10,000 votes in the bag.

If she can increase that to 12,000, her campaign manager, who was inspired by the Hungarian porn star La Cicciolina, elected to Italy's parliament in 1987, believes Fatal will soon become Fatal MP. Fatal is joined on the campaign trail by the Democrats party candidate Maria Adelina Nascimento, AKA Katia Heffner. Named after Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy, she runs a popular swingers club in Fortaleza. Another adult entertainer, nicknamed Deborah Soft, is running for office with the slogan "Vote with pleasure".

New Skateboard Design: The Strongest and Lightest In The Market

The deck lowers the center of gravity which provides better riding and ease of movement. Each model is priced differently and the prizes range from EUR138 to EUR410, and one article even mentions $350.

rolls skate board main

The Woody 97 and Woody 85 both come with Randall Trucks 180mm; The Woody 97 sports 97mm ABEC11 Flywheels and the Woody 85 sports 85mm Seismic Speed Vents in Clear Blue. The dropped standing position of the beech deck also offers additional stability. The clever arch and concave designs provide a comfy match for any rider’s foot, minimizing the pains and cramps while maximizing control and movement, even when wearing shoes designed for barefooting. Even though the deck may be slightly smaller than with other boards, the “dropped” deck has superior flexing properties specifically manufactured to soak up the impact. Your feet will really love you for this. All of these factors make the Woody perfect for skating long distances. When you order, each board can be made to your specific requirements, so be sure to mention additional weight to ensure the flex would be perfect for you.

rolls skateboard one

rolls skate board two

The Sportster – the unbeaten board of world records in long distance skateboarding since 2003 – has a similar design, although a tad less curvy. It’s fitted with a carbon deck either with a black, red, or beige surface. The underside is Carbon/Aramid. Just like the Woody, it sports Randall Trucks (alternatively get Holey) and ABEC11 97mm Flywheels. The lower dropped deck comes in handy with pushing, pedal, and foot breaking. As mentioned before, the low standing platform is not only an energy saver, but also controls speed. A superb feature in the Sportster is the highest stiffness around the longitudinal axis for guaranteed precision steering. The Carbon board will literally last you a lifetime as carbon does not “fatigue” – a common problem with wooden boards; making it the strongest and lightest longboard, at a mere 3.4 kg. The Aramid on the underside also ensures obstacles in the road won’t catch you unaware.

rolls skate board two

You can be sure that with a Woody or Sportster Rolls Rolls Skateboard, the whole experience will be just as the site promised: skating on a cushion of air. You would never want to walk again… If these designs made you grab for your checkbook in an hysteric fashion, you would most certainly also enjoy reading FlowBoards Reinvent SkateBoarding and How To Build A Self-Balancing Segway Skateboard.

Via: Cool Material

DIY Zipper-Case Earbuds Are the Ultimate Tangle-Free Headphone Solution

At this point, we've all found our favorite headphone-wrapping method, and even if yours works, I can promise you it's not as clever or inventive as DIYer Papydom's earbud zipper case.


Papydom details how he combined a long zipper (in his case, from a clothing cover, but nearly any long enough zipper should do), head earbuds, and a little bit of sewing know-how to create this extremely clever earbud zipper case. The video above says it all. Head over to DIY site Instructables for the full walkthrough. And someone get this brilliant man a job doing this always.

Wii Balance Board-controlled robot a hit with toddlers in Ithaca

Wii Balance Board-controlled robot a hit with toddlers in Ithaca (video)

How could we resist a story involving robot-powered babies? The Ithaca College Tots on Bots project aims to mobilize infants with physical disabilities by setting them atop a "mobile robot" equipped with a Wii Balance Board to let the young operator steer by leaning -- which, it turns out, works pretty well. Additionally, the vehicle uses sonar to avoid nasty crashes and a remote control that an adult can use to take control. Further study has to be made before any long term developmental benefits can be ascertained, but in the meantime it does look like a lot of fun. See it in action after the break.

See The World's Tallest Teenager

By: Allie Townsend

Meet Elisany Silva, who at 6'9'', is the world's tallest teenager.

The 14-year-old Brazilian teen who is so tall, she was kicked out of school because she had trouble fitting into the school bus. A news report tells Elisany's story and talks a medical specialist who speculates that the teen has a rare disease called "gigantismo" – a condition that causes the brain to over produce growth hormones. Elisany tells the camera of her wish to be a model, which at her height, would maker her the tallest model in the world.

(via Buzzfeed)