Hunky Dory Cory

Our pal Cory Doctorow’s novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom has just won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. Congrats, Cory!

Cory writes on his e-list:
The Locus Award is based on a popular poll of readers of the trade mag, a larger group than even the Hugo voters, making it the largest beauty contest in the field. I couldn’t be any happier: thanks everyone! Hope to see you at the World Science Fiction Convention in Boston, where the award will be presented.

Archos Announces Pocket DVR

Today Archos unvelied its latest multimedia wondertoy, the Archos Pocket Video Recorder AV400. The company claims that this is the first portable DVR of its kind, which also includes audio jukebox, photo and data storage. Models will offer from 20-gigabyte to 100-gigabyte hard disk capacity, removable battery for extended life (20-gigabyte version), one-time set-up, TV Cradle, an external speaker for music and video playback without headphones, and a built-in Compact Flash reader for transferring photos directly from digital cameras. 20GB and 80GB models will roll out first and be priced at $549.95 and $799.95, respectively. Full tech specs follow…

Superboy Found!

Reading like something out of the origin issue of a Marvel comic, the NY Times is reporting that scientists have discovered a young boy with an amazing genetic abnormality that gives him super strength. The abnormality is a double absence of the gene for producing the chemical myostatin, and had previously been found in mice and cattle, but never in humans before. While the long-term health effects are unknown, right now the 4 year-old boy is lifting more than my girlfriend does when she lifts weights. The discovery of course means that there are possibilities for treating other people with muscle-wasting diseases, but more importantly it raises the prospect that we’ll all be able to genmod ourselves to Schwarzeneger-like phyisiques in the not-to-distant future.

Media Classes for the Happy Mutant

Here’s a series classes in NYC for the summer months that we can get behind – much better than macrame:

June 23, 2004 – Workshop #1

Micro-Radio Workshop with Neurotransmitter: This workshop brings together techniques, ideas, and histories of micro-radio technologies. The workshop consists of the following building mini-FM transmitters from both kits and everyday scrap materials, playing and creating experimental broadcasts and discussion of micro-radio and DIY broadcast methods.

July 7, 2004 – Workshop #2

Build your own microphones with Mike Rosenthal.: This workshop will teach how to make easy and affordable contact and binaural microphones.

Registration fee is $25 general public, $20 for Eyebeam members. Check out all the cool stuff and classes at Eyebeam.

They also have a class on blogging coming up in July, and who knows, we may just go. It’s not like we’ve ever taken any classes in it, so it might be useful…

FAA To License First Official Civilian Space Port Today

BoingBoing‘s got a running blog on the launch of SpaceShipOne, which is set to launch June 21. As part of the process, I suppose because the bureaucrats have to stick there nose in everything, the FAA is apparently going to officially license the site as the first officia spaceport. For some reason, this news sort of shook me — it brought flashbacks of my pre-teen years when I would read sci-fi until my eyes went all jiggly, thinking of a day when spaceports would be a reality…and that day seems to have finally arrived! Welcome to the future! Where do we board?

Napster, Audible Give Away Free MP3 Players

It looks like Napster has decided to burn through another round of angel financing with a giveaway of a bunch of Rio MP3 players, including the 128 meg Chiba that made our holiday gift guide, and the highly-rated 1.5 meg HD Nitrus. The Nitrus will cost an extra $80 on top of the $120/year Napster subscription, but the Chiba is free, as in beer. Napster, incidently, is one of the worst DRM-restricted music services around: music you download is never really yours, since you can only access it while you continue to pay the subscription price. And they don’t even let you burn it to CD, instead recommending that “for less than $10” you can get a really long cable to connect your PC to your home stereo. So, to sum up, nice MP3 player but not worth getting Naptered for.

In related news, Audible is giving away an MP3 player with their service too — the Muvo that we panned more than a year ago. I hate to say I told you so, but I did predict these things would end up on the scrap heap pretty quickly. And if you’re even thinking about taking advantage of this deal, dont: there is no worse product for audio books than the Muvo. Audible’s a great service, but if you can afford their fees you ought to just buy a nice player with a higher capacity and an LCD.

Oops – the picture I used for the Chiba is actually the picture of the Rio Cali, which is the same internally, but has a slightly different design. This is the Chiba.

Joystiq: The Joy of Gaming Blog

Peter Rojas of Engadget fame is continuing to develop his own little blogging empire by expanding into a video game blogging site called Joystiq. We already like it a lot better than Blogging Baby, which we’re pretty sure violates child labor laws.

Will Write For GMail Account…?

We’ll admit we sorta stole this idea from Engadget — we’re going to give away a couple free invites to GMail… but we’re going to have a little contest first.

You have from now (right now! go!) until COB Friday to submit a review of any piece of technology purchased (stolen, borrowed, or just run through its paces extensively in the store) within the last month. Something you think would be of interest to our community of BS-hatin’ readers. The top two entries (the Grand Prize For Technology Review Writing Winner and the Loser Who Came Closest To Winning) will be published next week and given invites to GMail directly from me. Non-winning submissions may be published at the discretion of the editorial staff. Read more for all the legal yada yada.

Limited Edition Scion: “The Orangest Car Ever”

I don’t know why this caught my eye — or why I thought it would appeal to anyone, but this incredibly orange car just drove by and it looked so unusual I had to know more.

The Scion Xb Release Series 1.0 is very orange. It has a vibrant “hot lava” paint job, orange interior accents, orange LED lighting, and orange engine accents as well. It also comes with some extras like a spoiler (orange) and a 6-CD (possibly with MP3 playback) changer with color-changing display (orange is one of the colors, I’m sure). There are only 2100 being made, and each comes with a numbered badge. Price is an extra $1000 above standard Xb prices, which start around $14k.

While I’m undecided about the aesthetics about the Scions, I have to admit this one tugs at me a bit. Maybe it’s the fact that orange is the color of my alma mater, maybe it’s the fancy tech inside, or maybe it’s just that it looks like someone took a cardboard box to MTV’s Pimp My Ride and came out the other side with a really cool, very orange, cardboard box. Whatever it is, for today, I want one more than a Mini MC40, though not quite as much as I want a Mini-mech.

Firefox .9 Released

For those veterens of the browser wars of ’97 still clinging to hope, Mozilla’s Firefox .9 has been released. Although I’m getting somewhat repetitive, I must sing the praises for this free browser that blocks pop-ups, is faster, more stable and secure, and more customizable than IE.