Welcome to IRL, an ongoing feature where we talk about the gadgets, apps and toys we’re using in real life and take a second look at products that already got the formal review treatment.
This week’s edition of IRL is geekier than usual because really, only the nerdiest of you would be reading a tech site when you could be pretending to be Irish. On tap (har!) we have James and Andy talking about their favorite ways to charge gadgets on the go, while Darren, a man after serious photographers’ hearts, tells what happened when he took his beloved D3S in to have the sensor cleaned.
Need something to sate that Windows 8-lust Microsoft stirred up with its Consumer Preview? Then take a gander at this in-development vehicle control app shown off at the company’s Redmond campus as part of this year’s Worldwide Public Safety Symposium. Developed by Modularis, an outfit known for their enterprise, federal and OEM automation solutions, the Metro-style application turns its host slate into a virtual controller, granting users remote access to door locks, sirens, lights, as well as the ability to pull cloud-based data — courtesy of Windows Azure — from multiple cars to determine GPS location. And, as you’ll see in the video after the break, it also has the unintended and wholly amusing benefit of freaking out innocent passers-by.
Yeah, streaming Skyrim on a Tegra 3-powered Ice Cream Sandwich tablet is nice and all, but what about folks who want a more immersive experience with their beloved time sink? One tech-savvy gamer took matters into his own hands — conjuring a bit of electronics alchemy by throwing together Sony’s HMZ-T1 head-mounted display with a Kinect sensor, a TrackIR5 for head tracking and voice recognition software. The result is an experience that allows any wannabe adventurer to press onward into Tamriel’s frozen north by marching in place while imbibing in a true, head-mounted first-person perspective. Admittedly, stomping around and flailing one’s arms may lack the elegance and playability of The Gadget Show’s $650,000 Battlefield 3 simulator, but at $1500, it’s a homegrown virtual reality experience that’s actually within reach. Now go forth and explore the video after the break.
Co-founder of TiVo and CTO Jim Barton has long outlasted our deathwatch, but his time as an executive at the DVR maker quietly came to an end this week according to documents filed with the SEC. CEO Tom Rogers thanked Jim for his “commitment to innovation” in a statement, and the filing indicates he will stick around as a $25,000 per month consultant in “patent matters and litigation” among other things — nice work if you can get it — until March 15, 2015, but his reason for stepping down is unspecified. As Multichannel News notes, Barton was working with fellow co-founder Mike Ramsay (who left in 2007) at Silicon Graphics on a project for Time Warner when they had the idea for the DVR and eventually founded TiVo in 1997. That early movement may not have resulted in dominance over pay-Tv provided DVRs, but some favorable legal settlements and successful partnerships like its deal with Virgin Media mean he’s leaving the company with its prospects looking a bit better than they did back in the dark days of ’05.
The US Navy announced a new robotics research facility this week located within the existing Naval Research Laboratory’s main site in Washington D.C. The Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research, or LASR, was created to support NRL research in “robotics and autonomous systems of interest to the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Department of Defense,” wrote LASR director Alan C. Shultz, mentioning that a familiar sounding autonomous firefighting robot would be among the lab’s projects. The new facility is kitted out with a litany of realistic environmental simulation bays, allowing NRL scientists to pit their research against the elements with ease. Researchers will also have access to machine shops stocked with 3D printers and other goodies, a power and energy lab, a sensor lab and what Shultz calls the “world’s largest space for real-time motion capture.” Sounds great, at least as long as the research projects never get ahold of a certain Navy-funded AI report. Check out Shultz’ official statement at the White House blog link below.
The preliminary decision already determined that, in this case, Motorola Mobility hadn’t violated any of Apple’s patents with its Droid series, and now a final review has affirmed those initial findings. While this might not be a massive turn up for the books, it does close the doors on at least one big name patent dispute. That said, Apple can appeal to the Federal Circuit, and given that it has done before, it’s likely the iPad maker will do so here. But, for now at least, it’s cork popping time over in Libertyville.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/17/itc-rules-against-apple/
It’s no secret Wacom has a firm grasp on what it takes to make great graphic input devices. Fresh off of its introduction of the Inkling last Fall, the outfit recently unveiled the latest member of its high-end pen tablet line, the Intous5 touch. Essentially, Wacom took what made the Intuos4 a great addition to any designer or illustrator’s workflow and refined it, with this latest iteration sporting a new rubber-coated shell. It also implements touch gestures — much like those on the fresh Bamboo models — which can be customized to speed up tasks you need to be complete on the regular, preferably without the aid of a mouse.
Sure, a new matte black suit and the ability to navigate Adobe Creative Suite without a pen seem impressive at first glance, but is the new model worth investing northward of $229? Are you better off sticking with the Intuos4 you splurged on a while back? Let’s see.
Gallery: Wacom Intuos5 touch
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/17/wacom-intuos5-touch-review/
Pioneer has been dishing out its line of digital DJ tools for long enough that you’d hope it knows what the spinners want, and these days it seems that’s remixing tools. The RMX1000 is a new effects based unit, that looks like an evolution of the firm’s EFX range. It still cooks up those chops, rolls, and reverbs, but also has a companion “Remixbox” software, as well as studio-friendly VST / AU functionality. The software lets you overwrite the default set-up with one of your own, and there’s an SD card slot so you can leave yours at home, but still bring your settings to the club. Word is that pro DJ settings will be available for download, so nosey DJs can see how James Zabiela likes his high-pass filters. The effects themselves come in four flavors: Scene, Isolator, Release and X-Pad. Connectivity-wise it’s rocking a pair of RCA and 1 / 4-inch plugs for both in-and out-put, and there’s USB for the computer / MIDI hook-up. It’s set to land in June with a $1000 price tag, but in the meantime if you want to see if it’ll be worth your savings, hit-up the video after the break, or click the PR for the full specs.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/17/pioneer-launches-rmx1000/
Are we shocked to see an untethered iOS 5.1 jailbreak for the new iPad? Not so much. Are we surprised to see it arrive so quick? Hell, yes. The iPad 2′s untethered jailbreak took an eternity, whereas this new tunnel seems to have been dug during one fleeting Friday night. The hacker to thank is i0n1c, aka Stefan Esser — a man who moves so fast his YouTube clip reportedly had 28 likes before it had even finished uploading. Just leap that final fence, Stefan, by releasing your jailbreak to the public, and we shall re-christen you bi0n1c. (Unless you want to keep your current handle, which would also be fine.)
Still rockin’ one of those (cargo) pocket-sized GoFlex streaming drives we showed you a while back? Marvelous. According to Gear Diary, Seagate’s given the site intel saying it’s getting ready to roll out a Satellite firmware refresh on the 19th of this month. Allegedly, the update will boost the limit on the number of devices that can be connected simultaneously, making the jump from three to eight, as well as promising to double your battery life in the process. The company says the updated firmware will come gratis to all “original devices” (hear that Androids?), while all new GoFlex drives are expected to ship with it on board. And now, you know.