Tiny, tiny mobo

I’m having serious delusions about this being the next base for my Home Entertainment Server. Included on the tiny 17*17 cm motherboard are VGA, LAN, Firewire, USB, video out and some version have the fanless VIA Eden processor at 500Mhz. Just add a harddrive, some memory, a powersupply and your kooky case du jour, and entertainment would supposedly occur. Tricky bit is, if you want the fanless version, the mobo might not pack enough punch to play DVD movies smoothly. Link: VIA EPIA mainboard

It’s a Retro-Futurific Christmas

I was wondering when someone was going to get around to doing this. Telestar Electronics, owners of the Predicta trademark, has started re-releasing all of those amazingly Jetsonian Predicta televisions from the 1940s and ’50s. They look like the originals on the outside, but inside, they have state-of-the-art electronics, color screens (natch), and they can tune in 181+ channels. Unfortunately, they come at a price that only Mr. Cogsley could afford (between US$1100-$3300, depending on model).

[Via boingboing.net]

“Pringles Can Antenna” Goes Commercial

Cool. Check this out. Some enterprising fellows are selling the popular Wi-Fi antennas that geeks have been building out of Pringles can. At only US$20, this ain’t a bad deal if you don’t feel like taking the DIY route, but still want to extend your Wi-Fi range. They even take PayPal.

[Thanks to boingboing]

Comdex Report

Peter Judson and our pals over at Neoseeker have a nice Comdex piece. Since no one from Street Tech Labs made it to the show, we’ll have to make pretend that’s our report.

PPC Warchalking Tool

Boingo , a company that provides internet access over WiFi networks in places like airports and hotels, has developed “sniffing” software for the Pocket PC operating system. Previously Pocket PC users often had to know the SSID and other information about available networks before logging on, but with the Boingo software, sniffing for networks is free and easy. Not only does it find commercial Boingo networks, it also finds free and corporate networks as well. Warchalking just got a whole lot easier.

Ultimate Entertainment PC from Alien

Alienware‘s got a new computer that looks absolutely to-die-for. The Alienware Navigator is a computer designed for living-room entertainment rather than office work; running the Microsoft XP Media OS, the Navigator sports a P4 2.53 GHz chip with 512 meg of RAM, 80 gig HD, universal memory card reader, TV tuner card, optical audio out, NVIDIA eForce4 Ti 4200 w/64MB, CD-RW/DVD combo drive and remote control. The higher end Navigator Pro adds DVD-RW, a slightly faster chip and 120 gig HD. Both come housed in an enclosure just 7.4″ x 7.88″ x 11.82″ in ubercool Alienware black. Price is $1700 or $2000 for the Pro.

My wife, the rock star

My wife, Pam Bricker, and her band Thievery Corporation performed on KCRW in LA yestersday morning. The webcast is available here. Pam’s singing the 2nd and 3rd and the last tune. Pappa’s so proud.

Kamen’s Day in the Sun

The FDA has approved a Johnson and Johnson wheelchair based on inventor Dean Kamen’s design — the iBOT is a wheelchair that can both climb stairs and stand upright, allowing much greater mobility for the wheelchair-bound. It’s available only by prescription, and costs about $30,000.

In other Kamen news, the overhyped Segway scooter is now on sale from Amazon for $5000, with a $500 non-refundable deposit. Not due for delivery until March though, so you won’t find one in your x-mas stocking.

“1984” Two Decades Off?

I knew that the ’80s were back in a big way, but who knew that 1984 (in the Orwellian sense) would be among the “retro” trends. “Total Information Awareness,” people, Big Brother by any other name, is HERE, or will be soon. Chris Matthews, on Jay Leno last night, said (giggling): “When you go to the video store to rent a film, you better make sure that it’s a film you’d show your grandmother.” What’s shockingly un-American about this picture? I’m ashamed and horrified for my country — and for all those freakin’ couch potatoes who don’t vote, don’t raise their voices, are more interested in who The Bachelor’s gonna pick than who’s gutting their civil liberties. Time to shore up the ol’ crypto.

Here’s a quote from a John Gilmore piece on the subject (via bOINGbOING):

The US government’s moves to impose totalitarian control in the last year (secret trials, enemies lists, massive domestic surveillance) are what some of the more paranoid among us have been expecting for years. I was particularly amused by last week’s comments from the Administration that it’ll be too hard to retrain the moral FBI agents who are so careful of our civil rights — so we’ll need a new domestic-spying agency that will have no compunctions about violating our civil rights and wasting our money by spying on innocent people…

Now’s a great time to deploy good working encryption, everywhere you can. Next month or next year may be too late. And even honest ISPs, banks, airlines (hah), etc, may be forced by law or by secret pressure to act as government spies. Make your security work end-to-end.

Palm on Your Wrist

A new Palm OS device has just been announced — no, I’m not talking about the Zire or the Tungsten, I’m talking about the Fossil Wrist PDA with Palm OS. It has basically the same functionalilty as a Palm V, with full 16-shade grayscale 160×160 res touch-screen, 33MHz processor, 2 megs of RAM, Infrared port, USB sync, rechargable batteries (4 days of use) and the smallest stylus you’ve ever seen built right in to the watchband. It runs all programs for Palm OS4.1 or earier, so it’s possible to do full spreadsheet and wordprocessing on it. Not only that, but it should even be compatible with the PocketTop infrared PDA keyboard. Amazing. Price is unknown, but I’ll predict $200 retail. Click “Read More” for bigger pic.