Friday, April 29, 2011

Alleged PSN Hackers Claim To Have Stolen Over 2 Million Credit Cards

So we all know that the PlayStation Network has been hacked and PlayStation loyalists have been unable to play their beloved games for over a week now.

We also know that these hackers had access to pretty much all of our information should we have provided to Sony at any time. However, Sony claimed that credit card information was encrypted and it was highly unlikely that it was stolen as well.

We all know that was probably a lie. If the hackers managed to do enough damage to keep the network down for over a week, then something big has happened.

Reported by NY Times, some security researchers have uncovered some chatter on underground websites and message boards that state that the hackers made away with just over 2 million credit card numbers, security codes and all.

The researchers also uncovered a few hints suggesting that the hackers intended on selling the database for 100k and allegedly even tried to sell it back to Sony. (which would be a poor choice on their behalf)

At any rate, this could all be a few internet pranksters making up stories about the hackers true intentions and accomplishments. But I'm willing to bet they made off with data more valuable than your name and address.

On the bright side, Sony has stated that they are looking into ways to pay back their users for their cooperation and patients.

1. Do you use PSN?
2. Are you worried about this?
3. Xbox or PS3 (no flamewarzzzz)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Super Lazer In Production - Creates More Power Than All Of Civilization

 Firstly, I would like to apologize for lacking in the post section for the last week. My whole world became engulfed by my University finals weeks. It's nearly over though!

At any rate, here's the story:

The European Commission has given the go ahead on funding from the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania for three "ultrafast" laser laboratories in each respective country providing funding.

The project between the three countries is called the Extreme Light Infrastructure Project(click the name for their website, pretty interesting). Each of the three countries will contribute about $400 million to the project.

The Extreme Light Infrastructure Project plans to create many new powerful lasers, the first of which will fire at 10 petawatts, thats 8.9 petawatts more than the worlds current most powerful laser.

If you aren't sure what a petawatt is or how powerful it is lets put it in perspective. The power that the Earth receives from the Sun totals around 174 petawatts.

So what about the super laser they plan to create? Well...they are projected to have a firing rate of 200 petawatts. That's more powerful than the Sun.

I don't know what they plan on doing with a laser this powerful but apparently will could advance science and medicine quite a bit.

On a side note, the project coordinator Gerard Mourou says that he hopes it will be enough to "trigger the breakdown of the vacuum, the fabric of space-time itself."


1. What do you think of this?
2. Space travel? Black holes? Worm holes? What could be the outcome?
3. Iced Tea or Lemonade?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New HP TouchPad May Automatically Download Songs You May Like

 To be honest, I haven't really been that interested in Hewlett Packard's upcoming tablet, the TouchPad, until now.

This tablet has a 9.7 inch screen, runs webOS and has a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon tucked inside of it. It honestly isn't really anything too astounding and really isn't even that eye-catching.

However, according to the guys over at PreCentral, HP plans to incorporated a cloud-esque music syncing algorithm that caches the type of music you like to listen to and will automatically download more music that it thinks you would enjoy.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this yet. I don't know if I'd want my tablet independently downloading music for me. What if I don't like it? What if my tablet offends me? What if my tablet downloads music IT likes? What if it starts to steal money from me to feed its music downloading addiction? What if we can't be friends anymore?

All joking aside, I'm willing the bet that this feature will probably just download and recommend snippets of songs that you may like before downloading them or something like that.

Pretty interesting concept.

1. What do you guys think?
2. Would you mind your tablet downloading music for you?
3. Are you interested in the TouchPad?
4. Would you ever eat canned Spam?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

NASA's Shuttles Could Fly Again!

I know I wasn't the only one devastated when I learned that NASA's space program would be discontinued with their last mission later this year.

I was heart broken. As a kid I visited the NASA visitor center countless times, I even wanted to become an astronaut. I still am heart broken that NASA's shuttles are scheduled for discontinuation.

However, the shuttles do have a slight chance to see the outside of our atmosphere again.

According to, United Space Alliance (USA) wants to fly two shuttles (Atlantis and Endeavour) commercially after building new fuel tanks for them.

Apparently NASA is working on some new orbital spacecraft, but those won't be seen for some time. USA's vice president Dan Brandenstein (who is a former NASA astronaut) told that they wanted to keep the space program running while NASA worked on those new spacecraft and came up with the idea for two commercial flights a year.

Wait, what? Commercial?
Yes, commercial. Apparently USA wants to fund their two flights a year with money they will receive from investors and customers who want to fly into space.

Another motive for this would be to alleviate NASA's reliance on Russia for trips to and from the International Space Station.

Hmmm, I wonder if they took the idea of commercial space flight from Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic campaign. He's set to start training astronauts for that here shortly. (be sure to check out the Virgin Galactic site, there are some pictures up of their new space shuttles and they look...insane!)

I wonder how much a trip into orbit would cost.

1. What do you think of commercial space flight?
2. Do you think a market war between NASA and Virgin Galactic will erupt?
3. Do you think USA took the idea from Virgin Galactic? (it is a great concept)
4. Would you like to step foot on the moon?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

New Idea: Off-Topic Saturdays


(Don't mind the code above, it's just a technorati claim code. Nothing to see here. Move on down for the actual post.)

Okay, so as my wonderful followers know, my blog usually stays focused on World and Technology news.

However, I often find other interesting things I would like to share with you all but they just don't fit the focus of my blog.

So I decided I might try to take one day out of the week(Saturday) to spotlight something other than world and tech news that has caught my interest and would probably catch yours too.

Enter: Off-Topic Saturdays.

So, what do you guys think?

1. Would this be something you'd be interested in?
2. or should I just stick with world and technology news?

Also, lets try it out with something simple for the test run.

This website is one that I frequent when I need to overload on cute.

Good Morning Kitten !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Click it for instant cute overload.

It delivers you a daily dose of cute kittens. Every. Single. Day.

Alright, usually the "Off-Topic Saturday" will be more in depth about something interesting I found on the World Wide frontier.

So let me know what you think.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Scientists Plan To Program Computers With Regret; Google Funds Research

Seems pretty accurate, am I right?
Every human being is programmed with an emotion called regret and the ability of hindsight, which is directly related to regret.

By definition, regret is a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.
And, hindsight is the ability to understand, after something has happened, what should have been done or what caused the event.

You came upon a bear while hiking in the forest, instead of walking away from the bear you pull out a leash and try to harness the beast. The bear then tears your face off before chewing your limbs to pieces. Somehow you make it out alive, but while you're sitting in the hospital bed you think of how stupid you were and what you could have done to prevent the unfavorable outcome.

That is, you regret the decision to flank the bear and use hindsight to reflect on what should have been done.

These two emotions are very powerful and allow us to learn from our mistakes, meaning we have a better understanding of what could happen should a similar occurrence present itself in the future. In a way, we can predict what the outcome will be by using past experience and regret.


Well how about this?

Google is putting in the funding for a team of researchers and scientists at
Tel Aviv University who believe they can program computers to regret and use hindsight.

Wait, what?

Yeah, you read that right. These researchers plan to program regret and hindsight right into your computer. Now of course they won't be able to feel the emotion, but they can use such a tool in a way very similar to human use.

This means that computers will be able to learn from mistakes and prevent them in the future. By teaching a computer to learn regret, the computer can then learn to predict and evaluate all possible outcomes before they actually execute something. Once a mistake occurs on the computers watch, the computer will then denote that mistake as regret, use hindsight to review a more favorable outcome, then make sure it doesn't happen the next time around.

Can you say "Hello, real life terminator"?

I, for one, think that this is an incredible idea! However, I can't suppress that looming image of Skynet in the back of my mind.

1. What do you think of all this? Good idea, bad idea?
2. Do you think artificial intelligence will ever become smart enough to take over the world?
3. Do you like the Terminator movies?
4. Pancakes or Waffles?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Water: How The World Is Taking Advantage

Since you're on the internet reading this blog post, odds are you live in a developed country. Odds also favor that you rarely, if ever, think about your personal water consumption let alone your countries water consumption.

Many people believe that the world has an unlimited supply of water, clean and ready for the taking at their very need. However, this is not the case. Water is a natural resource just like any other on our planet, and our planet can and will run out of water supply sometime in the future.

How? You may ask. I can't possibly use enough water, nor can others, to cause a world shortage of water.

Well, that's where you're wrong.
In a class of mine today, my professor was talking about this very issue and mentioned an author by the name of Charles Fishman. He wrote a book called "The Big Thirst" in which he examines the future of water, a natural resource that we can no longer take for granted.

Interested, I started looking up some facts about water and everyday consumption. This is what I've found:

Prepare to be stunned:

-Every day people in developed countries like America use 99 gallons of water per person for daily activities like cooking, washing dishes and clothes, cleaning, etc.
-However, coal, nuclear and natural gas plants use nearly 250 gallons of water per day per person to generate our daily electric usage.
-1 out of every 6 gallons of water that is cleaned and treated for consumption is leaked back into the ground before it even reaches our homes.
-A single golf course can use over 600 million gallons of water a year.

Here's a doozie:
-Computer chip factories use a countless amount of "Super Pure Water" just to clean off those chips used in the making of a countless amount of electronics. "Super Pure Water" is water that has been purified 12 steps past reverse osmosis to obtain an ultra pure, organism and chemical free water. Which means that it requires more electricity to purify, so more water to run those electric plants.

This is a fun one:
-NASA and other space programs pour hundreds of thousands of gallons of water onto the launch pad just before a shuttle takes off. This is used as a sound dampener. Without it, the noise the shuttle generates when taking off would bounce off the launch pad and disintegrate the shuttle before it even left the ground. 

Pretty crazy stuff, huh?

According to the author mentioned above and countless other intellectuals, our generation or the generation of our children could very well be faced with a world wide shortage of clean, drinkable water.

1. Did you have any idea that you used that much water daily?
2. How far off do you think a world wide water crisis is?
3. Are you concerned for the future of our planet?
4. Power Rangers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Or both?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Incredible Rap Remix of Rebecca Blacks Friday

Alright, so I already had a post lined up and written for today, but I found this video and decided to bump that post over to tomorrow because it's so awesome. You know I think something is awesome when I go completely off topic.

This is an incredible rap remake of Rebecca Blacks hit song "Friday".

This kid has a lot of talent and I would definitely like to see more like this from him.

At any rate, check the video out:

They go by the name Sex Ray Vision. Look them up, subscribe to them, make them famous.

Okay, its not really a remix, but rather a remake. Insane.

I'm waiting for this video to explode, bets on when it goes viral?
I say within the next few weeks.

Also, I think he looks like an Asian Harry Potter when he's at the mic.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Acer Tablet Costs $50 Less Than Ipad: But Is It Worth It?

Alright, so Acer came out with the all new Iconia Tab A500 priced at $449.99, which is 50 whole big ones less than the lowest priced iPad 2 at $500. 

The question is: 
 Is it worth the $50 dollar savings?

With all of the new wanna be iPad killers hitting the market, it's hard to tell if the tablet you're looking at really does stack up against the big daddy of them all. So far, most of the competitors have been...lackluster. 

However, the new Iconia, which is set to be released later this month, brings big promises. (but haven't we heard them all before?)

Lets do a quick comparison of specs between the two.

First up:
The Iconia Tab A500 by Acer
Well this sleek thing looks quite alright in my opinion. Do a quick Google Search and you'll find yourself looking at more stunning pictures. This one will do for now.

Display: 10 Inch LCD Capacitive Touch Screen
CPU:      NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core 1GHz processor, 1GB Ram
OS:         Android 3.0 Honeycomb
Storage:  16GB micro with expandable memory of 32GB
Camera:  Still at 5MP and a secondary at 2MP, video recording capabilities.
Battery:  Up to 8 hours
Weight:  1.6 lbs
Some other features include a HDMI port, 1080p video playback, and Dolby Mobile Surround Sound.

Second up:
Apple's 16GB iPad 2
Display:   9.7 Inch LED Display
CPU:       1GHz Dual-core A5, 512MB RAM
OS:          iOS 4.3
Storage:  16GB
Camera:  Back record 720p HD and has a front-facing VGA camera.
Data:       3G
Battery:  Up to 10 hours
Weight:  1.3 lbs

Other features: Can do backflips.


Alright, so what stuck out to me the most was the fact that the Acer tablet only runs on 2G speeds. That probably won't fly with many, but I'm sure others will only use it where they can get wifi anyways.

Secondly, the Acer seems to have better RAM, more storage and better camera.

So from the looks of things, the Acer just might be worth the bargain despite its network speed. However, coming from my own experience with Android tablets, they just don't seem to perform correctly no matter the specs. But it's equipped with Honeycomb, which could be a gamechanger for me.

At any rate, I would wait until the reviews come pouring in after the release before planning to buy one. It looks promising and most definitely better than any Android tablet yet. 

You'll either see "Acer Flop" or "Acer iPad Killer" headlines after the release.

Man, that 2G speed thing is still killing me though.

1. Do you own any sort of tablet? What kind? Do you like it?
2. Would you buy one of these new Acer tablets?
3. Do you prefer iOS to Android or vice versa?
4. Coke or Pepsi?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Funerals Of The Future: Webcams and Woolen Coffins

 Get buried, son.

Traditionally, most of us typically don't think about the end of our lives until, well, the end of our lives. Often times, the deceased have no say in how their funeral is held aside from a few small requests like clothing, open or closed coffin, etc.

After we pass, we don't usually have control over details like who's invited to the funeral, where we're buried, or what kind of coffin we're buried in. Usually that is all organized by the people we leave behind.

Well, now those people have a few more options to consider.

I was reading my local newspaper a few days ago and stumbled across an article about a funeral that was broadcast via webcam to friends and family that couldn't make it to the real deal.

At first I was shocked, how disrespectful right? Well then I thought about it more, and it's actually a pretty damn good idea. In this day and age, we can live far from our loved ones. What if you were from Europe and moved to America, then dropped dead? You couldn't expect that all of your friends and family bought last minute international plane tickets to attend your funeral. So why not let them be there in spirit by letting them watch via Skype?

On another related note, I was browsing through an online magazine I frequently read and stumbled across something even more interesting.

A company in Britain, which provides wool for many different products including the headliners in Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles, came up with a brilliant idea. Woolen coffins. (image above)

These coffins are eco-friendly and are quite sturdy. At first I thought it was a joke, but apparently the idea is spreading like wild-fire and the company has reported that it is currently their top selling product.

Pretty odd, huh?

1. How would you feel about having your funeral shown on webcam?
2. How would you feel about being buried in a woolen coffin?
3. Do you like Beetle Juice?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Smartphone Apps May Be Violoating Your Privacy

 Alright, lets face it. How many smartphone users actually read the user agreement when downloading a new app to their phone? I know I don't and Android usually spells it out for me in black and white right before I hit "allow".

As I said before, when using an Android device to download new apps, the phone alerts you of permissions that you are granting the app to have.(I'm not sure how the iPhone or other devices go about telling you this information, but I'm sure they do.) Many times these permissions include access to GPS, phone records, contacts list, etc. But why does an app need to access all of that? According to the app, it's essential to the performance of the application. However, most of the time it's not.

In the last couple of months, many apps have been undergoing investigations to clarify what their true intentions are.

So far, one major app has been thrown into the spotlight. That app is the ever so popular music streaming app, Pandora. Many of us have probably used Pandora online and were excited when it was turned into a smartphone app. I sure was, and I used it everyday.

What exactly is this app, and possibly many others, being charged with? Well if you guessed they may be selling your information to advertising companies, then you're right.

Pandora, and probably a ton of other apps, provide these agencies with your name, birthday, gender, IP address, GPS information, and postal code. This pretty much means that they can trace where you go, where you live, who you visit, what stores you like, where you work, etc. Which is pretty powerful information to advertisers.


Man, I was really into Pandora too. Looks like that apps getting deleted now.

1. Do you ever read app user agreements?
2. Does this surprise you?
3. Do you even care?
4. Nutella and toast?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Richard Branson And Google Set Out To Chart The Depths

While reading through a fellow bloggers post, YouTube TV, I came to the conclusion that Google is indeed changing the world in many ways. As you can read in Profusely's post about Google's new endeavor, YouTube TV, they are stepping their worldly presence up a notch.

I decided to see what else Google is diving into and came up with this:

What you see in the picture above is the Virgin Oceanic. It's a deep-water submarine owned by billionaire Richard Branson (the guy who founded Virgin Records, Virgin Galactic and much more. Click the link for his wiki page, he's a pretty interesting guy).

So it looks pretty futuristic, but in all honesty, there is nothing really interesting about some billionaires toy submarine, right?


Branson has just finalized plans to explore the oceans deepest trenches with that bad boy. Before the end of the year he plans to make his first descent into the Mariana Trench, which could swallow Mount Everest whole and is the deepest place on Earth.

What's even more interesting is that Google is teaming up with him and will receive topographical data that has never before been seen. They plan to add these findings to Google Earth, allowing users to explore these trenches from their very own homes.

Sounds pretty boss doesn't it?
I wonder what he's going to discover down there.
It has to be awesome.

See a video teaser of the project after the page break. It's pretty intense.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Texting From Desktop via Wifi or USB: Multitasking Triumph

Imagine being a complete master of multitasking. You have your tabbed browsing, bluetooth headset(well maybe not), and anything else that allows you to do a millions things at once. You're in the zone; doing homework, playing COD, surfing the web, writing a book, riding a bear, and then...beep beep, you get a text message and everything comes to a screeching halt so you can look away from your desktop to answer the text.

Well fear that no longer!

Texdro is an app that allows you to connect your Android device and computer wirelessly.
On your phone you get a simple app that allows you to turn the feature on and off. On your desktop you get a contacts list and a whole list of settings allowing you to change notifications, etc.

Now, I'm sure many of you already have seen, have, use, or have used apps that allow you to text through your phone from your desktop. I'm also sure that many have not even thought of the idea. So this is to those of you who are looking to take your multitasking skills to a whole 'notha level.

App can be found at The app is free but the developer also offers a paid version with more features.

Also, tried as I might I could not find a similar app that works for the iPhone. Sorry guys. :(

1. Any of you use this heavenly app?
2. Do you know of any others like it?
3. Would you like to see more app reviews? (both Android and iPhone)
4. Have you ever met a leprechaun?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Are News Headlines Becoming Too Misleading?

It seems to me that nowadays more and more news agencies and reporters are pumping up their stories with headlines that are either biased or subjective. More likely than not, you'll be drawn in by an interested headline, read or watch the story and then realize that the headline was only slightly connected with the story.

I've seen many of these interesting yet misleading headlines in the past few days, but one stuck out to me for more reasons than one.

This story was posted to the "HealthLand" portion of the Times website.
In the times Twitter feed the article link is preceded by an eye-catching and even heart-wrenching line:

"Did veganism contribute to the death of this baby?"

However, once you get to the actual article the story is then titled:
Did Homeopathic Medicine, Breast-Feeding and Veganism Kill a Baby?
(the actual article can be found by following the title link)

Now what first bugged me about this variation in article titles is the imminent difference in immediacy between the two.

The first uses "THIS baby" and the second uses "A baby". Which one would you feel more inclined to read? The one that seems more personal right? Coincidentally, it was used as the bait in a twitter feed.

What bugged me second about this misleading title was the fact that the article provided NO PROOF that the baby's death was attributed to any of the three things accused: Veganism, Homeopathic Medicine, or Breast-Feeding.

Instead the article summed up a big fat case of child-neglect. The attribution of death should be rightfully placed with the parents.

This is one thing that will forever get on my nerves.
Anyone else feel this way?

1. What do you think about misleading links?
2. How often do you find that a news article isn't what you think it is?
3. How about some examples you've seen in the last few days?
4. Sandwiches with or without pickles?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April Fools' Joke "Gmail Motion" Comes To Life

So I'm sure many of you caught wind of Google's April Fools Day Joke, Gmail Motion. I'm also quite sure many of you probably wish it was a reality. I mean come on, it looks quite silly, but who wouldn't want to mess around in the office with something like that?

Though I wish it were real, I still knew it was a hoax while watching the introduction video to Gmail Motion. I don't know how I did, but it probably had to do with the fact that it was April 1st and everything must be questioned on that day. On a side note, the video also looked quite satirical and that raised some flags for me as well.

Anyways! For those of you who were disappointed that this wasn't a reality(myself included), you have no need to be disappointed any longer!

After the guys from Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) at the University of Southern California saw the video they sprung into action. Using a Kinect, the team recorded the gestures used in Google's prank video and wrote a code that actually works.

Check the Kinect hack in action here:
Click for ICT's Gmail Motion video

If you haven't seen the original from Google:
Click for Google's April Fools' prank: Gmail Motion

And if you think you can handle putting together something yourself,
get the ICT code here.

I know Gmail Motion is silly and would never catch on because it simply isn't practical, but I love the fact that we live in a world where people can turn some crazy ideas into reality.

What do you guys think?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blackberry Playbook Not Playing By The Rules?

Not many of us have been anticipating the release of the Playbook, Blackberry's new tablet. I guarantee it won't even make a dent in iPad sales. I'm sure most of you didn't even know it is set to be released in a couple of weeks. I'm not even going to post the specs and details of it, because I know most of you just aren't that interested.

WHAT IS INTERESTING though, is the fact that Blackberry is opening up their device to Android apps.

Developers will have to work with Research In Motion(RIM) in porting the apps to work on the Playbook. It seems that because RIM slowly lost its power to the iPhone and Android phones, they are trying to make up for lost ground instead of wasting time further developing the Blackberry App World.

That just sounds silly right? They're trying to get ahead of the game by blending into their competition. Sounds to me like RIM lacks a little confidence in their own devices.

However, on the other hand, this could be a GREAT marketing strategy. For those Android users who were on the edge (which probably aren't many) about buying a Playbook may now be more inclined to buy one. But I'm sure that all Android apps won't be available because ultimately, it is up to the developer to port it.

Follower Opinions:
1.What do you guys think about all of this cross app blending and such?
2. Do you think it's a good marketing strategy?
3. Are you interested in a Playbook?
4. Do you like chicken noodle soup?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Top 100 Toys: 1920s Through 2000s

I was recently browsing through Time Magazine's website and came across an article that really brought me back to my childhood. The article is titled All-Time 100 Greatest Toys and covers toys from every decade from the last century starting in the 1920s. You can find the original article by following the title link.

I've chosen my favorite toy from each decade and will share them with you in this blog post. While I wasn't alive when the majority of these toys were released, I still played with some form of them when I was a kid.

Prepare for nostalgia blast off....5....4....3...2....1

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sunk Cost Fallacy: How Companies Sell Using Your Emotions

 haha get it? Sunk Cost. Yeeaaahhh.

What is "sunk cost" and the "sunk cost fallacy" exactly?

Well, literally a sunk cost is an expense that has already been made and cannot be recovered.

Basically money you spend that you cannot get back.

The sunk cost fallacy is basically a play on your emotions. You pay for something you either didn't want in the first place or found out after the purchase that you didn't want it after all, but still use the service simply because you paid for it. You feel you are emotionally tied to the purchase because you paid for it and feel the money would go to waste if the service goes unused.

Lets say you spent $90 on a non-refundable ticket to a concert only to find out shortly after that everyone who goes to the concert gets punched in the face upon entering the venue. However, despite the imminent fist-to-face you still attend because you feel emotional about the thought of wasted money.

While this fallacy is usually at fault of the customer, some companies actually abuse this technique to drive sales.

Farmville has to be one of the most prevalent. Everyone knows that game is horrible, yet they have millions of daily players! Why? Because the people who are already playing feel that have invested to much money and time into the game to stop now. Simple, yet horrifically affective.

World of Warcraft may have a similar affect on some of its users. Yes, you. The kid who spends his life savings on WOW to finally get that epic mount. You're being shafted. Unless you actually enjoy it, which you probably do.

Crazy concept, but it's the world we live in.

Can you think of an example of the sunk cost fallacy? Tell me below!

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