After ten years of development, Denmark’s Vestergaard Frandsen Group has unveiled the LifeStraw, a small tube capable of purifying drinking water powered by the suction of the user. The straw costs only $2 USD to manufacture and can provide safe drinking water for one person for up to a year. Because of the product’s avoidance of any need for electricity, the promise of mass-production for third-world or otherwise safe-water-deprived nations is enormous. In the hands of capable relief organizations and compassionate donors, the LifeStraw could make huge strides in reducing the number of people around the world who die of water-born diseases, which now stands at 6,000 a day.
Read More | Gizmag
Four schools in the UK will play host to a £300,000 joint research venture between gaming company EA and an IT research firm NESTA Futurelab. The study will investigate the viability of video games as an educational tool. While the project is still in the phase of choosing which games will be used, the team has already made it clear that it hopes to see students improve in skills such as “problem-solving, resilience, persistence and collaboration.” They should add to that list “turtle-bouncing, princess-rescuing, and leveling-up.”
Read More | Computing
This is a nifty little application for smartphone users. Photo Contacts PRO allows you to manage your pictures on your phone, and integrate them to your contacts. You can have a full screen photo pop up when you receive a call, or click on a photo to initiate a call. You can download a demo version on the site or purchase it for $26.95. Upgrade customers get a discount for a total of 14.95.
Recently Gear Live commented on the lack of good camera phones in the US - a situation that might be on the mend soon enough. The brand new Sharp 903SH 3.2MP Camera phone with 2x optical zoom and high quality glass is about to hit stores in the UK. Pocket Lint gave it very favorable reviews and liked the multimedia capabilities that the 903SH made possible using the included MiniSD card. Hopefully this is the start of a good trend that will eventually spell the end of the the stand along consumer camera.
The recent rave of Windows virus infections from Zotob paints a chilling picture about the virus life-cycle. Mere days after the security weakness in the popular Microsoft operating system was discovered and a patch was made available, the Zotob worm was unleashed infecting computers at record speed. In the past the cycle between an exploit being published and viruses being written to take advantage of them had been years or even months - does this new shortened life-span (also seen in recent viruses like Slammer and Sobig) indicate that eventually exploits will be widely abused even before operating system developers have a chance to react? It sounds like it might be a good time to start looking at alternatives to the Microsoft operating system such as Apples OS X or various Linux distributions. Although even they too may some day be plagued with viruses at least for now they secure by todays standards.
Read More | Physorg
Several upscale hotel companies are beginning to use the growing interest in gaming to round out their list of featured room amenities. Marriot International is pointing toward the rising numbers of guest traveling with their game consoles as a factor in the company’s installation of new hi-definition televisions in rooms across the county. Radisson and Country Inns & Suites hotels are looking into the viability of offering internet gaming to their guests. Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, California, even goes as far as to offer their guests free use of PS2s and PSPs, along with a dedicated “game butler” to give tips and technical support. While these amenities may continue to elude the more run-of-the-mill hotel chains that we normally stay in, this development does reflect the continued cultural shift toward viewing gaming as a valid source of mainstream entertainment. I’m just hoping that it will let them finally stop advertising “Free HBO and Phone.”
Read More | The Wall Street Journal
This week, The Final Cut takes a closer look at two of this weekends great releases- Red Eye, with Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy, and The 40 Year Old Virgin with Steve Carell and Catherine Keener. Also out this Friday are Valiant, an animated film about a pigeon set during World War II, and Supercross, a story about two brothers who take a motocross championship by storm after the death of their father. Check out The Final Cut’s recommendations after the jump, and as always, if you’ve seen one of this weekends releases feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section.
Looks like Fossil’s line of PDA watches are going the way of the Tapwave. After several years of delays, underexposure, and just plain having a product that nobody wanted, “reliable sources” have told BargainPDA that Fossil is exiting the wrist-born PDA market. The Fossil watches came in several different wristband styles and featured either the Palm OS with 8MB of memory or a version of MSN Direct. While the idea of a wristwatch connected to organizational info may hold some promise, Fossil consistently struggled with the actual execution of the product and price-point. So, for those of you actually wearing one of these things, the unimaginable just happened – it just became even lamer.
Read More | BargainPDA
The real-world usefulness of QR codes, the more powerful successor to bar codes, will be put to the test next week in a Japanese theme park. The park will use QR codes to track and assist children who get separated from their groups. Each child will have a personalized code attached to them, which can be scanned by park personnel and will contain an e-mail address that, once notified, will send a message via SMS to the parent, notifying them of their child’s whereabouts.
Read More | Ubiks
There is always room for cheap gadgets like the iPorter in my home. The iPorter xSD hooks on to a keychain, and holds 3 digital memory cards. It contains an anti-static additive in the plastic to minimize shock risk to the card and prevent dust collection. It can hold SD, xD, MMC, and Memory Stick Duo flash memory. The best part, though, is the price - just $9.95 USD for a package of two.
Read More | ePorter