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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Invisible Cloaks Are Possible?

Invisible Jacket

Looks like being invisible is something that can come true! Being invisible is not restricted to magicians like Harry Potter! There are actually scientists that are currently building a cloak of invisibility.

The theoretical breakthrough is made possible by novel substances called metamaterials.

Invented six years ago, the man-made materials are embedded with networks of exceptionally tiny metal wires and loops.

The structures refract, or bend, different types of electromagnetic radiation—such as radar, microwaves, or visible light—in ways natural substances can't.

Leonhardt and John Pendry of the Imperial College London independently reported their work in this week's issue of Science. Specially-designed "metamaterials" built on semiconductor chips, they report, can be tuned to divert approaching electromagnetic radiation in another direction.

"[Metamaterials] have the power to control light in an unprecedented way," said Sir John Pendry, a theoretical physicist at England's Imperial College London.

"They can actually keep it out of a volume of space, but they can do so without you noticing that there's been a local disturbance in the light."

As for the photograph above, it was part of a demonstration of pudding camouflage technology at Tokyo University sponsored by JELL-O® back in 2003. It is the brainchild of chef Susumu Tachi who is in the early stage of research he hopes will eventually make pudding virtually transparent.

The photograph was taken through a viewfinder that uses a combination of moving images taken behind the pudding to give a transparent effect.

It's hoped the technology will be useful for surgeons frustrated with pudding and surgical tools that can block their view of operations and pilots who wish cockpit floors were transparent pudding for landings.

Read Also:
Cloaking Technology Coming — We’ll See (Real Tech News)
New Materials Bring Invisibility a Step Closer (Discovery Channel)
Invisibility Cloaks Possible, Study Says (National Geographic)
Japanese chef invents 'invisibility cloak' (Ananova)

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

In 2026: Cars That Can't Crash (Link)

In 2026: Cars That Can't Crash

So many people during the UAE short history have died in car accidents. Car crashes is the leading cause of death in this country and many other countries including the United States. One way that most accidents could be prevented: with cars that predict a coming collision—and take action to stop it.

In an article published in Popular Science, the key to the crash-free future is vehicle-to-vehicle communication, or V2V. Some advances that would make V2V possible are already on the way. Increasingly sophisticated GPS will soon allow you to pinpoint your vehicle’s precise location at any given moment, and stability-control systems that track your car’s speed and direction are even now feeding such information to onboard computers. The primary remaining challenge is finding the means to communicate that data to cars in your projected path.

General Motors has demonstrated a dedicated short-range communications (DSRC)-equipped Cadillac CTS that stops itself to avoid accidents. Its enhanced stability-control system predicts where it’s headed—like, into the rear end of another DSRC car stopped in the middle of the road—and prompts the onboard computer to apply the brakes without any input from the driver!

In another approach, Tomiji Sugimoto and his team at Honda R&D are working on a human-machine interface that will keep drivers in the loop. Head-up displays are a no-brainer. But Honda is also developing what’s called haptic feedback, such as shaking steering wheels and pedals that vibrate. “We’re talking about a system that acts like a backseat driver,” Sugimoto says.

What a better world we would live in if we could reduce the huge number of daily deaths caused by car accidents. Such researches and technolofies should be encouraged and supported globally. I hope the UAE will be one of those leading countries to support and to experiment .

Read Also:
In 2026 You'll Own a Car That Can't Crash (Popular Science)
GM Develops Vehicles with a Sixth Sense (October, 24 2005) (GM News)

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

$100 Laptop Pictures Unveiled (Link)

$100 Laptop

Available in fetching orange and yellow, or shades of blue and green, here's the $100 laptop, which was unveiled at the Seven Countries Task Force Meeting yesterday. Almost immediately, pictures of the machine hit the net.

Nicholas Negroponte heads up the One Laptop Per Child organization which hopes to get massive orders from third world governments in order to put the devices into production. The idea is to provide every child in some developing countries with one of the machines.

What a great idea and what a nobel aim. I hope that the UAE will move faster in buying and distributing the cheap laptops to all kids. I think the next important step will be to cover the whole country with a free Wi-Fi network so everybody can get access to the internet anywhere and anytime.

According to OLPC website, the proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, with a dual-mode display—both a full-color, transmissive DVD mode, and a second display option that is black and white reflective and sunlight-readable at 3× the resolution. The laptop will have a 500MHz processor and 128MB of DRAM, with 500MB of Flash memory; it will not have a hard disk, but it will have four USB ports. The laptops will have wireless broadband that, among other things, allows them to work as a mesh network; each laptop will be able to talk to its nearest neighbors, creating an ad hoc, local area network. The laptops will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data.

To see if the new laptop will be available in your country soon, take a look at this map.

Read Also:
First pictures of the $100 laptop (The Register)
MIT’s $100 Laptop Photos (Gizmodo)
Working OLPC prototype gets its close-up (Engadget)

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Microsoft Said To Develop U3/Ceedo -Like Flash Disk Drive Platform (Link)

Microsoft vs. U3 & Ceedo

Microsoft is said to have partnered with the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) on the development of an U3-like flash disk platform, according to industry sources. The available platform is said to be available in June at the earliest, the sources noted.

Read Also:
Microsoft Working with USB-IF on U3/Ceedo Killer? (Everything USB)
U3: Turn Any PC Into Your Own Protected Workspace (Fahad Inc.)
Ceedo: Working Environment For Your USB Flash Drive (Fahad Inc.)

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

The .XXX Registry Strikes Back Against US Government!

.XXX Domain

ICM Registry, the company behind the unsuccessful bid for a .xxx domain for internet pornography, is to take the United States government to court over the issue.

Earlier this month, ICM's proposals were voted down by ICANN, the American-based body that controls the allocation of internet domain names. Opposition to the proposal centred largely on its effective creation of an online red-light zone.

The company claims that ICANN, which has a mandate to operate independently, was subjected to undue pressure from Washington over the issue.

Stuart Lawley, the head of ICM Registry, told Times Online that this information will provide the "extra evidence that provides the irrefutable proof" that the US Government intervened in the issue to prevent .xxx going ahead.

Like I was hoping ... the war is not over yet and there is still hope around :)

Read Also:
.xxx registry sues US government (The Register)
Backer of .xxx adult domain tries again (ZDNet)
Battle over .xxx porn domains to go to court (Times Online)

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

UAE Changes Weekend Days To Friday & Saturday Starting September

Dubai View

It was announced officially today! Following the direction of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the ministry cabinet decided to change the weekend starting September from Thursday & Friday to Friday & Saturday in all ministries, institutions, government departments, government and private schools.

What do you think about this decision? Do you like the new weekend days? You can read the responses from the blog I published in the UAE community blog ...

Read Also:
UAE's Weekend Changes To Friday & Saturday Starting September (UAE Community Blog)
Emirates changes days of weekend (BBC News)
Have your say: UAE Weekend (Gulf News)
UAE cabinet amends weekly holidays from September 1 (Khaleej Times)
WAM Article (Arabic)

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

3D Sudoku Cube: When 2D Sudoku Is Not Challenging Anymore (Link)

3D Sudoku Cube

Sudoku + Rubik cube = 3D Sudoku Cube

The aim of the game is to rearrange a scrambled cube so that each face shows digits 1 to 9. 3D Sudoku Cube requires good spatial reasoning and mental imagery (right brain) combined with strong nonverbal logic (left brain), as well as good fine motor control and enduring patience. This 3D Sudoku Cube gives your mind a peaceful yet challenging exercise and you will soon get addicted to it.

So do you wanna kill your brain?

Read Also:
3D Sudoku Cube (Toys.Brando.com.hk)
Kill Your Brain with the 3D Sudoku Cube (I4U News)

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Sony PlayStation 3 Finally Priced & Scheduled For Release (Link)

Sony PlayStation 3
Sony's PlayStation 3 gaming console attracts attention
at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.


Finally! Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) announced Monday May 8th at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles that it would launch PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3) in “Clear Black” in North America on November 17, 2006, as part of a worldwide simultaneous launch.

The new PlayStation 3 will be equipped with Blu-ray and Pre-Installed HDD. The unit price in the United States is US $499 (20GB HDD) and US $599 (60GB HDD).

But is $599 too much? Sony executives have insisted the PS3's pricing is appropriate, given all its high-tech innards. "I think that price and value have always been two different things," said Phil Harrison, president of Sony Computer Entertainment's Worldwide Studios.

Read Also:
PlayStation®3 Launches On November 17, 2006 In North America (PlayStation Press Release)
Sony raises eyebrows with PlayStation 3 price (The Seattle Times)
Sony defends PlayStation 3 models (BBC)

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

ICANN Rejects .XXX Sponsored Top Level Domain Agreement (Link)



ICANN's Board of Directors voted against a proposed agreement for a .XXX. Sponsored Top Level Domain (sTLD). The application was proposed by the ICM Registry.

The application has received much public comment and detailed discussion by the ICANN Board. Reflecting the diversity of views this application has generated, the Board discussion at yesterday's meeting focused on the criteria for the sTLD, especially for sponsorship, and the terms of the contract proposed by ICM, including compliance issues related to key terms associated with public policy concerns.

ICM had requested that the ICANN Board vote on the proposed contract at this meeting. ICANN's Board voted 9 to 5 against the proposed agreement.

So I guess this is the end of a long battle. Too bad that it had to end this way. It would have been great if all porn web sites (or at least most of them) are forced to purchase (.xxx) domains. This would have made it much much easier in controlling porn sites and who view them.

Read Also:
The Return of .XXX Domain Proposal (Fahad Inc.)
Global Opposition to the Creation of ".xxx" Domain Name for Porno Sites! (Fahad Inc.)

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RevoPower: Reinventing The Wheel Literally (Link)

RevoPower

What a clever idea and a power capability to add to your bicycle to help you to continue "moving" in case you're tired or you don't want to pedal anymore!

All you have to do is simply slide a canister of gasoline into your water-bottle holder, clip a throttle to your handlebars, and swap your front wheel for the Wheel, designed by Denver-based RevoPower.

The Wheel’s hub holds a 23cc, two-stroke internal combustion engine and a superthin gear train; less than three inches thick, it all fits between the prongs of your bike’s front fork. Start pedaling and squeeze the throttle, and the engine kicks in, rotating the wheel around its fixed axle and boosting your power. Let the throttle go, and you can keep pedaling as usual.

Good advice from (Popular Science) website, just remember two things: Bring your driver’s license (the engine may trigger regulations in some states), and don’t drink from the water bottle.

Revpower Wheel Specs
Size: 26 in.
Weight: 15 lbs.
Speed: 20 mph
Power: 1.1 horsepower
Efficiency: 200 mpg
Price: $400; available in early 2007

Read Also:
Pedaling is So 2005 (Popular Science)
The Wheel turns your bike into a moped (Engadget)

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wudu Washer: Islamic Pre-Prayer Ablution System (Link)

Wudu Washer System

An automated Wudu (ablution) system that promises Muslims a time-efficient performance before each prayer has won qualified approval from scholars in the UAE.

The Auto Wudu Washer, developed by a Malaysian and endorsed by the Islamic Council of Qatar and Islamic Council of New South Wales, claims to be the world's first automatic pre-prayer washing and drying system.

"It has inbuilt washing units for ear, face, hands and foot, which allows a person to perform all functions without water spillage," said Anthony Gomez, chairman of AACE Worldwide and developer of the system, which was displayed in Dubai last month.

Is this a good idea or a bad one? Well, personally ... I would prefer the manual way for a better wudu and also to save water & possibly electricity. On the other hand, I might change my mind if I try this system ...

Read Also:
Auto Wudu Washers (PDF) (AACE)
Now, a device for pre-prayer wash (Gulf News)
Gulf News Article Scanned

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

TDK Develops 200GB Recordable Blu-Ray Disc With 6 Layers (Link)

TDK Blu-Ray Discs Roadmap

TDK confirmed last month its plan to develop a Blu-ray disc with a storage capacity of 200GB. According to a subscription-only report on Japanese-language site (Tech-on!), the 200GB BD contains six data-storage layers. Each layer has a capacity of 33.3GB.

Last year in May, TDK showed it's 100GB BD prototype and it's expected to come to market next year, though with 50GB BD-R and BD-RE discs not yet shipping.

Read Also:
Bringing The Future Into The Present (TDK)
TDK Prototypes 200 GB Recordable Blu-ray Disc with Six Layers (Tech-On!)
TDK cracks 200GB Blu-ray Disc problem (Reg Hardware)
TDK working on 200GB Blu-ray disc (Tech Digest)
TDK develops 200GB recordable Blu-Ray disc with six layers (Newlaunches.com)

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

What The Hub! A Million Dirham Home Page? (Link)

The Hub

The idea of The Million Dollar Home Page was the first of its kind and it received alot of publicity. Alex Tew, 21 year old student, from England came up with the Million Dollar Home Page ... he did it to pay for his university tuition. He even put the last 1,000 pixels for sale on eBay (click here) and he received $38,000 instead of the regular price ($1,000)!

Now that the Million Dollar Home Page campaign in over, many people are copying the same idea for the sake of making money. It is about time a person from UAE would "borrow" this idea. I admit, it is much more creative than fooling people to send SMS messages to vote for a singer or to vote for the best reciter of the Holy Quran.

What do you think about idea of advertising? The Hub generated (AED 27,200) so far for selling only 2.8% of the available space so far. The Hub is donating 5% of the sold pixels to charity.

Read Also:
The Hub
The Million Dollar Home Page

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Hitachi Maxell Develops 940GB SVOD Cartridge (Link)

Hitachi Maxell 940GB SVOD Cartridge
940 GB capacity cartridge accommodating 100 prototype discs

April 19th 2006, Hitachi Maxell has announced the development of an optical storage technology "stacked volumetric optical discs (SVOD)" that can boost per-volume capacity by using a film-type disc medium with a thickness of 92 μm.

Based on the new technology, the company has succeeded in the development of a high-capacity optical storage system having 940 GB by accommodating 100 newly developed discs in a dedicated cartridge (thickness: 6.5 cm; width: 13.3 cm; depth: 16.1 cm).

Hitachi Maxell 94GB SVOD Disc
94GB thin optical disc including two 92 μm thick discs bonded with each other

The company plans to commercialize SVOD as early as the beginning of 2007. The target price is set at ¥40,000 (US $351.66) or lower for a cartridge holding 100 discs. Although the system is mainly targeted for commercial use, Norio Ota, Fellow and Chief Engineer of Hitachi Maxell commented; "It is possible that the product will be provided for consumer use, too." The technology can also be applied to the next-generation optical disc that utilizes a blue-violet laser. In that case, the capacity that can be achieved by using a cartridge with 100 discs reaches 3 to 5 TB.

Read Also:
Hitachi Maxell Press Release (Japanese)
Hitachi Maxell Press Release (Google Translated)
Hitachi Maxell Develops New Optical Storage Technology Enabling Approx. 1 TB Capacity with 6.5 cm thick Cartridge (Tech-On!)
Hitachi Maxell 1TB SVOD optical disc cart (Engadget)
Thinnest DVD Discs with terabyte-level storage (Preview Gadgets)

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Sony Begins Shipping 25GB Blu-Ray Recordable Discs (Link)

Sony 25GB Blu-Ray (Write Once) Disc

Today Friday May 5th 2006, Sony Electronics has begun shipping its 25GB single layer Blu-ray Disc™ recording media with AccuCORE™ technology. In addition, a dual layer 50GB capacity disc is set to debut in June. Sony is the second after TDK who was the first to start shipping 25GB Blu-Ray discs.

Sony’s AccuCORE technology, which was first integrated into recordable DVD media over a year ago, has been re-engineered for Blu-ray Discs to deliver enhanced reliability and durability. Its major benefits include:
  • Scratch Guard - hard coating that resists scratches, dust and static
  • Archival Reliability - special material design that prevents data and image corruption and deterioration to ensure quality playback
  • Stable Writing - a uniform and precise cover layer that reduces fluctuation as the disc spins
  • Temperature Durability – a high-precision disc structure helps prevent warping during severe changes in temperature and humidity.
The BD-R (write-once) 25GB and BD-RE (rewritable) 25GB recording media have suggested retail prices of $20 and $25, respectively. The soon to come BD-R 50GB and BD-RE 50GB recording media will have suggested retail prices of $48 and $60, respectively.

Read Also:
Sony Delivers HD Quality With Blu-Ray Disc Media (Sony Press Release)
Sony ships 25GB Blu-ray recordables; 50GB to come in June (Engadget)

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Das Keyboard II: Blank Keyboard With Mechanical Gold-Plated Key Switches (Link)



Daniel Guermeur, founder of Metadot Corporation, an open source software company, has invented Das Keyboard. Why? He felt the only way to improve his typing was to stop looking at the keys thus having a blank keyboard would be the ultimate answer.

Each key od Das Keyboard II is supported on top of a mechanical, gold-plated switch, which, when typed on, creates a very clicky sounding keyboard, much like an old IBM Model M keyboard. This type of high-end tactile feedback may be comfortable, but the noise may be a nuisance to you or those around you.

The Das Keyboard is also unique in that it has five weight categories for different keys that require different amount of pressure to press depending on the finger that accesses that key. For instance, the force at which we press the Spacebar is much greater than the force we use to press the Q key. Five categories of key pressure range from 35 grams to 80 grams, with the Q requiring 35g and the Spacebar requiring 80g.

These high-end keys are built to withstand up to 50 million keystrokes, compared with 10 to 15 million keystrokes for standard membrane keys, according to Metadot, the company that manufactures the Das Keyboard.

Metadot claims that your typing speed will improve up to 100% within a few short weeks. Das Keyboard is a USB keyboard, compatible with Windows, MacOS X and Linux. Das Keyboard has a Windows menu key that also works under Linux.

"Das keyboard doubled my typing speed and makes me way more productive. I probably save dozens of minutes per day. Just imagine how much more productivity and free time I get in a year!", said Daniel Guermeur.


Read Also:
DAS Keyboard II Review (Extreme Tech)
Das Keyboard II with blank keys reviewed (Engadget)

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Arabian Linux v0.6 (Link)

Arabian Linux 0.6

Thanks to Marwan, I just found out about this! I've always wanted to try a linux based OS that supports the Arabic language ... but finally my dream came true :)

Arabian Linux also known as arl is a bootable CD with a compilation of GNU/Linux software, full support for Arabic/English languages and automatic hardware detection. It's the first arabic live-distro using KDE as the default GUI, the first to have the arabic language enabled in consoles, pre-compiled ready-for-use softmodem drivers and the first to have its own control panel system in both languages (arabic/english). Arabian is recommended for beginners (using arabic language or not).

It's downloadable from this website as an ISO image. It's not necessary to install anything on a harddisk but you still can install it on your harddisk and run Arabian directly from your box.

Arabian Linux is developed by (Muslim Adel Abu Taha) from Jordan.

Read Also:
Arabia Linux Releases
Download Arabian Linux v0.6
Arabian Linux v0.6 Image Gallery

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bawadi: $27 Billion Arabian Las Vegas In Dubai (Link)

Dubai's Bawadi Project

Monday May 1st 2006, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has unveiled the Bawadi hospitality project in Dubai - a AED 100 billion ($27 billion) hospitality and tourism development which will see the construction of the world's largest hotel.

It said the Bawadi project outside Dubai city will have about 35 hotels & more than 29,000 hotel rooms, including the 6,500-room "Asia Asia" hotel which it said would be the largest in the world, and was expected to accommodate more than 3 million tourists by 2016. The hotels will line up in a 10 km strip.

Described as the “brightest spot on the planet” and “out of this world and out of this century” in its marketing, Bawadi will include more than 1,500 restaurants, streams of retail outlets and an air-conditioned sky train to transport people across the hotel and amusement strip.

Themed hotels and resorts depicting Hollywood-Bollywood, Europe, America, Africa, Persia, Amazonian and the Wild Wild West will be built along with many others in the multi-tiered resort complex.

"The (reason) for this is the fact that tourism plays a very large role in Dubai's economy," said Saeed al-Muntafiq, chief executive of Tatweer, the Dubai government-owned developer of the project. "We need to expand our capacity to accommodate tourists." He said that Dubai would need an additional 70,000 to 80,000 hotel rooms to achieve its target of 10 million visitors a year over.

Dubai's Bawadi Project

“This is the largest concentration of hotels in one location in the world,” proclaimed Saeed Al Muntafiq, chief executive officer of Tatweer, the Dubai Holding company developing the project, which will span 139 million square feet over a 10km stretch, when it is complete in 2016.

The first phase of the project, which includes the Asia Asia hotel, will be operational by 2010.

Read Also:
Dubai plans $27 billion hotel and resort complex (Reuters)
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed launches leading hospitality investment project (AME Info)
Tatweer to develop AED 100 billion Bawadi project (Zawya)
DUBAI: Al Bawadi (A 27 billion dollar hospitality project) (SkyscraperCity Forums)
Dubai's Bawadi Project (Luxist)

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