Watch another creative goal celebration from the players of Icelandic football club, Stjarnan. This time, the "human toilet".
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Watch another creative goal celebration from the players of Icelandic football club, Stjarnan. This time, the "human toilet".
Show full PR textLEAVE THE CAR, TAKE THE CONCIERGE WITH YOU: MERCEDES-BENZ LAUNCHES NEW VERSION OF mbrace MOBILE APPLICATION
Mercedes Continues to Innovate with New Convenience and Location-Based Services
MONTVALE, Sept. 2, 2010 – As consumers increasingly turn to mobile devices to manage their lives from wherever they are, Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) has introduced an upgraded version of its mbrace telematics platform that connects the in-car navigation system in its vehicles with drivers' iPhones. Developed by its partner Hughes Telematics, Inc. (HTI), the new mbrace Mobile Application version 2.0 allows Mercedes-Benz customers to take their mbrace services with them when they leave their vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is the first manufacturer to extend connected services in this way.
The mbrace Mobile Application version 2.0 builds on the automotive industry's first fully integrated smartphone application which was launched by Mercedes-Benz and HTI in November 2009. That application allows customers to use their phones to unlock their vehicles, locate their vehicles in crowded parking lots, and find nearby or preferred dealers among other services. Version 2.0 includes all of those features and also allows customers to seamlessly access Mercedes-Benz Concierge services while away from the vehicle. The concierge can access the caller's location information to deliver relevant entertainment recommendations, restaurant locations, directions, traffic updates and more. Requested destination information can then be sent directly from the concierge to an in-vehicle navigation system.
The new application also allows users to save multiple accounts in the log-in screen and assign nicknames, making it simple and quick to access multiple mbrace accounts from one device.
"Version 2.0 of the mbrace Mobile Application takes the convenience and connectivity of mbrace further than ever before, allowing customers to access connected services anywhere, anytime," said Sascha Simon, who heads up advanced product planning for MBUSA. "Imagine you're away from your car talking on your iPhone to Mercedes-Benz Concierge. The agent can provide you with a great restaurant suggestion and simultaneously send the destination both to your iPhone and into your car. That's what makes the system so great: the flexible architecture allows us to continually add new features as mobile technology evolves, keeping us on the cutting edge of innovation and connected services for our customers. This latest mobile application is a perfect example of that, and we will continue to add more features and connectivity on an ongoing basis."
In addition to the new mobile concierge service, Roadside Assistance on the iPhone also has been enhanced with the mbrace Mobile Application version 2.0 so that when a call is initiated, the customer's location information is transmitted to the Mercedes-Benz Roadside Assistance Center, allowing for more efficient and accurate service in the time of need. In instances when the vehicle may not be accessible, may not have power, or is in an unknown location, the mobile application allows Mercedes-Benz to help their customers by pinpointing exactly where to send assistance.
As the first automaker to offer a mobile application truly integrated with the vehicle, MBUSA continues to be an industry leader in bringing new connected technology to market. For customers on-the-go, the mbrace Mobile Application provides simple and seamless connectivity to the ever-expanding set of Mercedes-Benz mbrace services.
"Mercedes-Benz mbrace was designed as a platform for continuous innovation," said Erik Goldman, president, HTI. "The release of mbrace Mobile Application version 2.0 extends new services beyond the vehicle, giving Mercedes-Benz customers the freedom to seamlessly enjoy personalized service even when they're not in the driver's seat. We look forward to working with Mercedes to continue expansion of the mbrace Mobile Application service and feature set, enabling enhanced connectivity and interaction between the mobile device and vehicle."
Photo by Jaymi Heimbuch
The University of Notre Dame is taking the use of e-readers in classrooms seriously, embarking on a one year study of how the devices integrate into classrooms. The first course to have students use an iPad instead of any text books is Project Management, a class with 40 students that will not only use the iPad as a book, but will also be encouraged to use it for everything else in daily life and report back their impressions (hmmm, could that possibly have been at Apple's request?). Apple is making a big push to turn iPads into the next big thing in education. The company wants to corner the market for electronic readers in schools, and has been discussing getting text books into digital format for some time now with major text book publishers. This new test run with Notre Dame could have big consequences for how speedily the device replaces paper books in schools.
The move isn't without competition. The Kindle has been touted as the solution for textbooks in schools for a couple years, though when it had a test run at Princeton, the students were less than impressed, wanting something easier to interact with instead. And Barnes & Noble, while not yet getting close to the classroom with their e-readers, has started angling for students to use e-books for their studies.
Tuaw reports that while the iPad is more than just an e-reader, allowing students to do a lot more with not just the ebook but with searching for articles and other information as well, the Notre Dame course professor, Corey Angst, wants to make clear that the iPad is part of a bigger kit of resources for students. No one device has come close to being a catch-all for students, but Apple is hoping to inch closer to the iPad being one tool that can't be left out of any classroom.
Whether or not the use of e-readers in classrooms makes a difference on the environmental footprint of scholastic is yet to be seen. While thousands of paper books can fit into one device, reducing the number of trees sacrificed to the printing industry, the embodied energy of electronics, let alone their e-waste at end of life, creates a massive footprint for the devices. Which will end up having the smaller footprint in the long run depends on many factors, including how thoroughly students use e-readers as opposed to books. It'll still be years until we know which is "better" and until then, we're using the earth's resources from both sides -- trees and water for books, and raw materials, electricity and recycling energy for e-readers.
TreeHugger has shown many ways to hide the bed; most are designed to gain more space. But the Red Nest by Paul Coudamay doesn't; the bed is still there taking up space, but is hidden by the sliding bookcase. Why do it?
The designer is quoted in Mocoloco:
"The bookshelf is a mobile block that controls the opening of the bed. Its U-shape covers the bed and shapes the room by closing the dressing area, the bed or the working space. The mobile system provides a closed sheltered bed as required by the client without completely shutting the space."
Sliding the bookshelf to enclose the bed on three sides will add to acoustic and visual privacy, almost acting like a canopy bed. Opening it up will facilitate making the bed. In noisy urban cores of cities, it is an interesting solution to a big problem; Books are a great sound absorber.
Given the amount of Stonehenge replicas springing up around the world, one can safely say there is a Stonehenge craze — and some of the best are made from reused or reclaimed materials!
Image: Steven Tyrone
Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument made of massive standing stones in the heart of England, has inspired many an artist. For decades, people have been making their own reconstructions of the ancient site of worship, with whatever materials are at hand.
The craze, however, hit a new pace in the summer of 1986, when Stonehenge became a world heritage site and was fenced off. Since then, various ‘Henges have cropped up all around the world, their spirit unbroken — and some of the greatest take the druid’s credo as their own, reusing and recycling materials to create truly green creations.
Image: Alun Salt
Though perhaps not spectacular sounding, Foamhenge probably comes the closest to recreating the real thing, because foam, if painted and cut to the right size, can emulate almost any material. Grey-colored foam does in fact look surprisingly like the real rock. This full-size replica of Stonehenge is located in Natural Bridge, VA.
Image: Ben Schumin
Creator Mark Cline of Enchanted Castle Studio made it entirely out of Styrofoam, even opting to include the Altar Stone behind the Great Trilithon — a construction still debated by historians.
Image via coasterimage
In a similar vein is Phonehenge, a performance area made from red British-style phone booths. The installation is part of Hard Rock Park, a 140-acre rock ‘n’ roll theme park located in Myrtle Beach, SC, now called Freestyle Music Park. After a grand opening on April 15, 2008, the park has remained closed since the 2009 season. If only they’d move Phonehenge off site and let us admire it year round!
Image: Jim Rosebery
Fridgehenge in Santa Fe, NM, is made up of dozens of unwanted white fridges that have been arranged in a circle. The lower ones have since been decorated with graffiti, making Fridgehenge a true contemporary counterpart of the ancient mystic place.
Image via zoneofthefree
Tankhenge was built by guerilla art group Mutoid Waste in Berlin in 1992. Just three years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, its location, close to the Reichstag, was more than symbolic. Decommissioned German tanks were painted bright colors and then stacked one on top of another to form Stonehenge’s trademark arches. Speaking about the project at the time, the artists said, “If you want the stones, you can keep them… We’ll build our own!” And thus the worldwide motto of ‘Henges was born: “Mutate and Survive.”
3. Banksy’s Port-a-potty-henge
Image: Mark Crossfield
Who but guerilla artist Banksy would dare erect a mock Stonehenge so close to the real thing, in the Sacred Space field of the Glastonbury Music Festival? To top it off, he chose reclaimed chemical toilets as his medium. Ingenious, no doubt, and we’re wondering if the energy field created might help one’s bowel movements. If so, this discovery might have gastroenterologists flocking from all over the world…
There was a special purpose behind this rendition of Stonehenge carved out of snow: a group of amateur archaeoastronomical and physiological scientists, calling themselves the Michigan DRUIDS, built Snowhenge last winter to understand some of the site’s ancient mysteries. According to some historians, Vikings, Phoenicians, Egyptians and the lost tribe of Israel may all have been in Michigan at one point. As anthropological remains suggest — especially a stone circle similar to the one in Stonehenge, found on Lake Michigan’s Beaver Island in 1985 — any one of these ancient groups could have built and left monuments in Michigan.
Image via Snowhenge
Snowhenge is a one-third scale replica of Stonehenge and was built at the MacKay-Jaycees Family Park in Grand Rapids, MI, where it will stay frozen year round. Each of Snowhenge’s pillars is 6.5 feet tall, and all are perfectly aligned, according to astronomical markers, forming a circle 30 feet in diameter. All in all, nearly 1,000 cubic feet of packed snow was used.
Image: Kevin Saff
Carhenge in Alliance, NE, is made up of 38 vintage cars that were rusting on local farms and dumps until creator Jim Reinders and a crew of 35 helpers recycled them to build a memorial to his father, who had once owned the farm on which Carhenge now towers.
Photographer Kevin Saff overheard the following conversation about Reinders: “The thing is, the guy is basically nuts… he wanted me to help him do it, but he wanted to do it the traditional way, with mead and all that.” Carhenge was dedicated on the summer solstice day of 1987 and, though locals still have mixed feelings about the installation, it draws 80,000 visitors from all over the world every year — which is comparable to the real thing!
All this creativity is an inspiration for creating new versions of Stonehenges. There are many materials yet unused — glass, straw, wool, matches. Is anyone listening? We’ll keep our eyes open for new versions.
Philip Warren spent the past 62 years faithfully recreating an armada of 432 Royal Navy warships out of matchsticks and wooden matchboxes. Over the last six decades, he has painstakingly crafted every naval warship afloat, in service or to have come in since the second World War.
79-year-old Philip, a retired company director from Blandford, Dorset, England, began creating his first ship in 1948 when he was just 17. He uses a razor blade, tweezers and sandpaper to carve the matches and boxes before piecing them together using PVA and balsa wood glue. In total he has utilized more than 650,000 to create his incredibly detailed 1:300 scale models.
Very impressive, sir. If it weren't for professional sports and video games, we'd probably be in a basement gluing stuff together, too. Keep reading for a closer peek at some of Philip's work.
There are some things that you just long for irrationally in a sort of trade-your-next-10-years-of-Christmas-presents sort of way, and this new 3D Cinema 21:9 Platinum HDTV from Philips is one of those things. We just got a few too-brief minutes alone with the 58-inch set, where it proved itself quite an excellent 3D display -- it's hard to differentiate exact 3D quality without another display nearby for reference, but we didn't see any issues or worry points with the image quality offhand. With shutter glasses on the image remained bright and saturated with little ghosting, and while opinions may vary on Ambilight, we absolutely love it in action, particularly with this letterbox-destroying aspect ratio.
So, how many Christmases do we have to fork over to get Philips to ship this dang thing to the US?
NEW YORK — OMG, it's like one of those freaky Mayan calendar things or something.
But, yes, it's true: Thursday Sept. 2, 2010, is being celebrated as "90210 Day." It's the one day this century that the date will line up perfectly with the famous California zip code.
For fans of the 1990s teen drama "Beverly Hills, 90210," this is an occasion for celebration in nostalgia for a show widely regarded as cheesy, but nevertheless beloved.
"Beverly Hills, 90210," aired from 1990-2000 and followed a group of teenagers in wealthy SoCal families. Its main characters – Brandon Walsh (Jason Priestley), Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) and Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) – became enmeshed in increasingly outlandish soap opera plots.
The event Thursday isn't inspiring any parades, but the CW network has altered its schedule. It changed things around to make sure an episode of the current incarnation of the show, simply "90210," will air.
A group on Facebook formed last year is calling it "International Beverly Hills 90210 Day." Celebrations have been organized in places such as the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles, which will screen old episodes. The town of Beverly Hills, itself, is throwing a party hosted by Larry King.
Sports and pop culture writer Bill Simmons, known as "the Sportsguy" on ESPN.com where he writes, is hosting a podcast devoted to "Beverly Hills, 90210." Last week in his podcast, "The B.S. Report," Simmons announced that he will hold a special Thursday and give out "90210 Awards" such as "biggest plot stretch ever."
"We're diving so deep into this," he said. "It's almost like we're performing surgery on the show."
The columnist did, though, say that after the Thursday podcast he would retire references to the show in his writing – which are frequent."The show premiered 20 years ago; it's heyday was 15 years ago. I don't want to be that guy who's referencing things that happened 38 years ago," Simmons said.
"Much like when (Michael) Jordan walked away from basketball and Jim Brown walked away from football, I'm walking away from `90210.'"
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)
BERLIN--When Samsung debuted its Galaxy Tab on Wednesday, it made a bold claim: the device is at least as good as today's dominant tablet, Apple's iPad.
"Honestly, I don't see anything [about the Galaxy Tab] that is weaker than the iPad," W.P. Wong, head of Samsung Mobile's product planning team, said at a press conference here at the IFA electronics show.
And in several ways, he said, the Galaxy Tab is stronger. It permits both picture-taking and video chat with front- and back-mounted cameras. Its weight of 380 grams (0.8 pounds) is considerably less than the iPad, which weighs 680 grams (1.5 pounds) without 3G and 730g (1.6 pounds) with it.
"In terms of the weight, you may not think it's a significant factor, but we think through consumer research that weight is very critical to enjoy the user experience," Hong said.
The product itself will begin shipping in late September or early October in European markets, but Samsung is already trying to raise expectations about as high as they'll go.
"The Galaxy Tab will change our lives," Samsung Mobile President J.K. Shin said. "It is a true paradigm-shifter."
Samsung certainly has abundant experience with consumer electronics, including the fact that it makes the memory, display, and processor used in the Galaxy Tab. But it'll be tough taking on the iPad.
"Apple's iPad is unlikely to face a viable competitor until 2011, allowing the company to maintain a dominant share in the tablet market at least through 2012," research firm iSuppli said in August.
But Android's success on smartphones that compete with the iPhone has revealed that it's possible to at least compete effectively against Apple, if not hurt the company in its iOS device domain.
Android, though it lags iOS devices in gaming titles, does have a wide range of applications. Samsung pointed out that the Galaxy Tab will run Adobe Systems' Flash Player 10.1, which opens the doors to more games available over the Web.
But Apple has often won out against rivals with a stronger list of individual features. It's not clear yet if the Galaxy Tab or a host of other tablets based on Android, WebOS, or Windows 7 will be able to match the iPad's overall experience.
"Apple's complete integration of hardware, software, operating system and applications is a major piece of what makes the device a standout," said iSuppli analyst Rhoda Alexander.
Regarding battery life, the Galaxy Tab looks at least competitive, though Samsung didn't call it out specifically as an advantage. The device will be able to play high-definition video for at least 7 hours on a single charge and perform less strenuous tasks for much more than 10, said Thomas Richter, head of Samsung's product portfolio for the European telecommunications division. Apple says the iPad can last 10 hours running a combination of video, Web surfing, and book reading; reviewers were generally impressed by its longevity.
The Galaxy Tab will include Android 2.2, called Froyo, but will be upgradable to 3.0, called Gingerbread, Hong said.Read the full article at CNET
By Kenneth MaxwellFrom: http://blogs.wsj.com/
Nobutoshi Kihara might be forgiven for getting a little kick out research firm BCN Inc.’s latest monthly survey on sales of portable audio players in Japan (in Japanese).
Back in 1978, the now-retired Sony Corp. engineer who came up with the original cassette Walkman as a device to allow then Sony co-chairman Akio Morita to listen to opera during lengthy flights back and forth across the Pacific. More than 30 years on, sales of the MP3-playing version of the Walkman topped Apple Inc.’s ubiquitous iPod here in August for the first time since BCN began compiling the survey in November 2001. The Walkman had a 47.8% market share, the iPod 44%, BCN reckons.
The Walkman boost comes just after Sony unveiled a new digital music service that will allow consumers to stream millions of songs over the Internet to their devices. The survey results may bring a brief sense of respite to Sony. The company’s loss of dominance in portable music players — the very category they created — is often cited as a sign of the company’s decline in delivering must-have products for the digital age.
But before Sony fans get too excited at the prospect of iPod users deserting Apple in favor of the Walkman, there’s some devil in the detail of the BCN survey. The firm says that many iPod users have been buying iPhones instead, listening to their tunes that way. Also, some have been delaying iPod purchases pending the release of new models.
Sure enough, Apple guru Steve Jobs Wednesday launched a revamp of the company’s lineup of iPods — incorporating many of the features that have made the iPhone a roaring success, including cameras, high-quality displays and the ability to video chat on some models.
But while it seems likely that the sleek Apple machine will reclaim top spot in BCN’s rankings pretty soon, there’s a burning question for JRT’s hipster readers: which has fonder memories for you, your first Walkman, or your first iPod?