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Friday, October 14, 2011

World’s deepest pool, complete with underwater cave (18 Photos)


This is Nemo, one helluva' diving pool in Brussels, Belgium. The pool has multiple flat-bottom levels. The first is at 16 feet, the next at 32 feet. The bottom of the pool funnels into a large circular pit that bottoms out around 110 feet. If your sport, you can take a detour into the diving caves. Perhaps the best part is the water is kept at a sublime 86 degrees at all times.

Lane Stadium + Enter Sandman = Win

lane stadium
An incredible scene unfolded at Lane Stadium on Saturday during the final seconds of Virginia Tech’s 38-35 victory over Miami, as the fans worked themselves up into a frenzy when Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” began to play on the stadium speakers during a Hurricanes timeout with five seconds remaining, and once again when the final whistle blew moments later.

Although Lane Stadium somehow didn’t make our list of the “13 Best Places to Watch College Football,” this video suddenly has me thinking that it not only should have made that list, but it could have easily been number one.

Here is a look at the wild scene inside Lane Stadium on Saturday.

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak First in Line for the iPhone 4S


Steve Wozniak
We’re quite sure that Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, could make a phone call and get an iPhone 4S well before it hits the stores. However, he hasn’t done that. Instead, he’s first in line in front of the Apple Store in Los Gatos, California, waiting for his iPhone 4S.
“The long wait begins. I’m first in line. The guy ahead was on the wrong side and he’s pissed,” tweeted Wozniak as he took his place in front of the store.

Wozniak is known for showing up in lines for new Apple products; he was in line for the iPhone 3GS back in 2009, and again for the iPhone 4 in 2010.

This year, he managed to get first place in line (usually, the crowd insists that he goes up front), and he’s killing time by chatting with other Apple fans and signing their iPhones.

Although he could get the latest versions of Apple products in an easier way, Wozniak claims he likes to stand in line at new product launches. “I want to get mine along with the millions of other fans,” he said to CNN.
[via Twitter, CNN]

5 Siri-like apps for iPhone 4, iPod, and iPad

Siri for iPhone 3GS (ish)

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One of the biggest puzzlers surrounding the release of iOS 5 is the iPhone 4S’s exclusive ability to use Siri, the voice-controlled virtual assistant. At first we had assumed that Siri requires special hardware — the A5 processor and oodles of RAM, perhaps — but it turns out that the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 are virtually identical. Then there’s the fact that Siri, the standalone app that Apple acquired earlier this year, worked just fine on every iOS device, including the iPhone 3GS and 4, and iPod touch. Still, Apple undoubtedly has its reasons, and who are we to question a higher power?

Fortunately, thanks to a thing called the App Store, there are a few Siri alternatives that you can install. By virtue of being apps, rather baked into the OS like Siri, these alternatives won’t be quite as smooth or fast as Apple’s new wunderkind — but they should be more than capable of sending an email or text while driving, or looking up directions while on the move.

Vlingo voice control for iOSVlingo (Free)

By far the closest comparison to Siri is Vlingo, an app that has its own voice-recognition engine, a powerful cloud-based back end, and almost all of Siri’s functionality, including booking restaurants. The two caveats are that it can’t set reminders (though a new release might fix that), and unlike its Android brother there doesn’t seem to be a voice-activated mode for hands-free in-car mode.

As an added bonus, there’s also a Vlingo app for just about every platform under the sun, including BlackBerry and Nokia phones, and even Windows; but not Mac, unfortunately.

Google Search (Free)

You probably already have it installed, but the Google Search app for iOS includes the same Voice Search feature found on Android devices. As the name suggests, the app only lets you search using your voice, and there’s absolutely no integration with any other services — but it’s a nice stopgap until Safari innately supports voice searching. Just like mobile website, the Google Search app uses your location data to make sure that the results it returns are contextual, too.

Dragon Go for iOSDragon Go! (Free)

Here’s a fun one: Siri herself doesn’t actually manage voice recognition — a module provided by Nuance does that, and then hands your utterances along to Siri once it’s worked out what you’re trying to say. Dragon Go is made by Nuance, and thus it is just as accurate as Siri… but it’s no where near as polished or full-featured.

Dragon Go is basically a voice interface to a bunch of web services, including Wolfram Alpha, Google, Yelp, Google Maps, and so on. It also interfaces with Pandora, Spotify, and Netflix if they’re installed. There’s also Dragon Diction, which is all about dictating messages or longer notes. You can then send your voice-recognized musing via email, Twitter, Facebook, or SMS.

Built-in Voice Control (Free)

If you want to make (almost) hands-free calls in the car, iOS’s built-in Voice Control is your best bet: press and hold the Home button (or the equivalent on your headset), you’ll hear a beep, and then speak your command. If you want to call someone, say “call” or “dial” followed by their name or number, or you can even initiate a FaceTime connection by saying “FaceTime” and then a name and location (iPhone, home, and so on).

Built-in Voice Control can manipulate your music playback, too (but only the iPod app). Use “play” followed by the name of a song, album, playlist or artist — and you can also “what” and “who” to find out what song/artist is currently playing, or “genius” to have your iDevice pick a new, similar song for you.

Voice Camera ProVoice Camera Pro ($1.99)

Finally we have the only non-free app on the list: Voice Camera Pro, which does exactly what you think, plus a little bit more. First, you can say “camera” to turn the camera on and “shoot” to take a photo, but you can also say “double,” “triple,” and “quad” to take a series of sequential photos.

You can’t avoid the fact that you have to launch the app before you can use it, though — this isn’t going to let you whip your phone out and magically take photos from the lock screen by shouting “TAKE A PHOTO!” Also, it doesn’t seem to have the ability to shoot video, which seems a little weak for an app that costs money.

Throwable 36-camera ball takes perfect panorama photos

Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera
Jonas Pfeil, a student from the Technical University of Berlin has created a rugged, grapefruit-sized ball that has 36 fixed-focus, 2-megapixel digital camera sensors built in. The user simply throws the ball into the air and photos are simultaneously taken with all 36 cameras to create a full, spherical (360-degree?) panorama of the surrounding scene.
The basic premise for the project is that taking panoramic images using a conventional still camera is a bore: you either need special hardware and software, like the GigaPan system, or you have to painstakingly shoot the photos and arrange them yourself when you get back home. The Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera (it doesn’t seem to have a nickname) automatically takes 36 photos when it’s at the highest point of its trajectory, and it comes with a panoramic image viewer that displays the images as a pannable, zoomable sphere that you can move around; a lot like Google Street View.

The ball itself is made with a 3D printer, and the innards (which includes 36 STM VS6724 CMOS camera sensors, an accelerometer, and two microcontrollers to control the cameras) are adequately padded, so presumably it doesn’t matter if you suck at throwing and catching. You can see from the video below that the ball is too big (but not too heavy) for single-handed use — but considering this is the work of a master’s degree student, it’s safe to assume that the same hardware could be miniaturized into something like a tennis ball. It seems like every camera has independent exposure control, too, which in this case isn’t necessarily a good thing; notice how some fragments of the panoramas are different colors.

Throwable ball panorama photo
Still, the Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera – which will be demonstrated at SIGGRAPH Asia 2011 in December — is an utterly fantastic idea and you can imagine how it could revolutionize everything from holiday snaps, to wedding photos, to playful photos of children at play. There’s also the added bonus that if you’re alone, the photo will always have your grinning, supplicating mug at the bottom — and if you’ve ever traveled alone, you’ll know how hard it can be to take a good self-portrait in a busy location. Imagine what it would be like if you combined the panoramic ball with the Israeli “grenade launcher” hostile-environment camera system, too…

There’s no word on when the ball might come to market, but the first words on the project’s website are “PATENT PENDING,” so presumably Jonas at least has the intention of licensing the design. Excitingly, the ball’s components are very cheap; it could have a retail price of under $100.

Read more at Jonas Pfeil’s website

Explosions in the Sky - Watch a Pro Draw a Digital Poster in 4 Minutes!

Explosions in the Sky - Poster Process from DKNG Studios on Vimeo.

Foursquare Takes Quick Advantage of Apple’s iOS 5

Location-based services have not quite conquered the world in the way it seemed they might a year or two ago. Their thunder has been stolen partly by established networks such as Facebook and Twitter, but also not everybody wants to tell the world where they are.

In response, Foursquare has launched its version 4.0 with a new feature called “Radar,” which takes advantage of the improved push functionality of iOS 5. If activated by the user, Radar alerts users of people, things or places they might want to visit near where they happen to be at the time.

It will, for instance, notify them if they are close to a location that three or more of their contacts have checked into. It will also tell them if they are near a place on a list they follow. And the information will be pushed to users even if the app is not actually switched on at the time.
But Wired has a feeling of deja vu:
Sound familiar? It is. After Facebook’s 2010 launch of its “Places” feature – which offers many features similar to Foursquare’s service, including check-ins — it seemed as if Dennis Crowley’s small 80-man startup was all but dead in the water. Similarly, Facebook’s “Deals” program offers a location-based deal notification service much like Foursquare’s daily-deals program, created in partnership with LivingSocial.
“We weathered that storm,” said Holger Luedorf, Foursquare VP of mobile and international, in an interview, noting that Facebook recently shuttered its deals program while Foursquare’s remains strong. “Honestly, we’ve recently announced over 1 billion check-ins, with a user base of over 10 million people. That’s already huge, but we’re focused on growing even more and not spending time worrying about our competitors,” Luedorf said.
Foursquare also says it is working on an Android version of Radar.

Get Free 50 GB of Storage for Life on Box.Net—IF You’re an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch User

iOS: Now through December 2, cloud storage provider is giving away free 50 GB accounts you can use forever. The account is good on your PC too, but to get the 50 GB upgrade, you'll need to download and sign in or register from the iPhone or iPad app.

Basically anyone who uses a Box Personal account on an iOS device will get this upgraded free storage space (increased from the usual 5GB of free space usually doled out). According to's blog post introducing the offer, you'll also get an increased file size upload limit of 100MB instead of 25MB.
It's unfortunate that Android and other mobile users aren't getting this same love, but one of the comments on the blog post suggest a "fix" (we haven't tested this yet):
Download itunes. Make an account. Go to apple store. Download the app on the device. Create account get 50GB space. Go to the phone's settings and scroll down to Store. Click on logout so it logs you out of your itunes account. Also remember to delete the App off the phone.
You have 50 days from now to grab your 50GB of free space. What do you think? Will you be using for your cloud storage now?

Box for iPad and iPhone | iTunes App Store via Fat Wallet

Van Damme Friday - Expendables 2