Archive for February 19th, 2012

MinION USB stick decodes DNA in a matter of seconds

Posted by Ry on Feb 19 2012 | Technology

If you happen to be "special," then this $900 USB device is just about the worst thing ever. The aptly named MINion serves its masters by interrogating the cells of living organisms and rooting out their genetic secrets. We won't pretend to know exactly how it works, but it starts by pulling a strand of DNA through a razor-like nanotube that unzips the double helix. The nucleotide bases are then electrocuted one by one until they give up their code. The resulting sequence is stored like a ticker-tape readout, for the whole world to see. The MinION can complete its task in seconds and, unlike most other DNA sequencers, it's portable and simply plugs into a laptop. Luckily, it has so far only been shown to work on very short genomes, like those belonging viruses and bacteria, so for now you're probably safe.

MinION USB stick decodes DNA in a matter of seconds originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 20 Feb 2012 00:52:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How would you change Sony’s Vaio F?

Posted by Ry on Feb 19 2012 | Technology

How would you change Sony's Vaio F?
Let's say you bought Sony's VAIO F Series laptop at the end of last year. Would it be a stretch to say you liked how cheap it was and that games played well as long as you dialed down those display settings? Were you not too impressed by the battery life or that touch button on the trackpad? Well, at least you agree with our review of the "desktop replacement" device. But we'd like to know more, dear friends: what gremlins have you uncovered in the numerous hours logged using this unit? What are the nice surprises? If Kaz Hirai was reading this intently waiting for your opinion, what would you tell him you'd like to change?

How would you change Sony's Vaio F? originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 19 Feb 2012 22:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Inhabitat’s Week in Green: ‘Plantscraper’ vertical farm, new wave energy and a battery-powered iPhone case

Posted by Ry on Feb 19 2012 | Technology

Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.

Groundbreaking green architecture burst into life in Sweden this week as Inhabitat reported that Plantagon began construction on the world's first 'Plantscraper' vertical farm. We also marveled at artist Yayoi Kusama's dazzling Infinity Mirror Room, which shines with the reflections of thousands of LEDs, and we shared the bubbly modular AMPS living wall system. Meanwhile, the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program announced that HWKN's bright blue spiky sea-urchin shaped pavilion will be popping up this summer, PinkCloud.DK unveiled plans to transform oil refineries into giant energy positive communities and the UK granted planning commission for its first amphibious house.

We also showcased several amazing applications for LEGO bricks this week: a NYC apartment renovated with 20,000 plastic bricks, a gigantic LEGO-inspired church in the Netherlands and a remarkable fully articulated prosthetic LEGO arm. Speaking of next-gen prosthetics, this week Israeli scientists demoed a real-life "Star Trek" VISOR that enables the blind to see, and Nike took the wraps off a prosthetic running sole for amputee triathlete Sarah Reinertsen.

This also marked a heated week for energy news as solar power heavyweight Sunpower sued Solarcity over stolen data, and Aquamarine Power geared up to connect its new wave energy generator to the UK's national grid. We also got ready for rough days ahead with the waterproof, armageddon-ready, solar-charged, battery-powered iPhone case, and we got things cooking with Biolite's brilliant new camping stove, which converts waste heat into electricity for USB gadgets. Last but not least, we were wowed by several amazing new applications for discarded tech: Sean Avery's astounding animal sculptures made from shattered CDs and Paola Mirai's elegant jewelry fashioned out of discarded computer circuits.

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Inhabitat's Week in Green: 'Plantscraper' vertical farm, new wave energy and a battery-powered iPhone case originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 19 Feb 2012 20:30:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dye a White Macbook [Weekend Project]

Posted by Ry on Feb 19 2012 | Uncategorized

Sure, most of the projects we have here save you money or help you organize your life, but sometimes we do things for fun, like giving instructions on how to use clothing dye to change your white Macbook to something more colorful. More »


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Posted by Ry on Feb 19 2012 | Uncategorized

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Refresh Roundup: week of February 13th, 2012

Posted by Ry on Feb 19 2012 | Technology

week of February 13th, 2012
Your smartphone and / or tablet is just begging for an update. From time to time, these mobile devices are blessed with maintenance refreshes, bug fixes, custom ROMs and anything in between, and so many of them are floating around that it's easy for a sizable chunk to get lost in the mix. To make sure they don't escape without notice, we've gathered every possible update, hack, and other miscellaneous tomfoolery we could find during the last week and crammed them into one convenient roundup. If you find something available for your device, please give us a shout at tips at engadget dawt com and let us know. Enjoy!

Continue reading Refresh Roundup: week of February 13th, 2012

Refresh Roundup: week of February 13th, 2012 originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 19 Feb 2012 19:50:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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VLC 2.0 now available, offering faster decoding, a refreshed UI and experimental Blu-ray support

Posted by Ry on Feb 19 2012 | Technology

The release candidate version slipped out a few days ago, but those waiting for the final release will be glad to know that version 2.0 of the open source VLC media player is now officially available for download. It's being dubbed a "major" release of the software, and with good reason. In addition to some UI changes (a big change in the case of the Mac version), VLC 2.0 also brings with it faster decoding on multi-core processors, GPUs, and mobile hardware, and the ability to open yet more file formats, including a number HD formats used by professional users. Also making its debut is support for Blu-ray playback, although it's being dubbed an "experimental" feature at this time. It also promises to fix "several hundred" bugs. Naturally, it remains completely free as ever -- hit the source link below to download it for the platform of your choice.

VLC 2.0 now available, offering faster decoding, a refreshed UI and experimental Blu-ray support originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 19 Feb 2012 19:16:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sandbag Fitness Helps You Achieve Resistance Training Goals on a Tight Budget [Video]

Posted by Ry on Feb 19 2012 | Uncategorized

Want to do weight training, but can't afford a gym membership at the moment? Exercise weblog Sandbag Fitness provides daily workout routines, video guides, and more using nothing more than sandbags. More »


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"Can Anyone Recommend a Truly Better Alternative to iTunes for Apple Devices? [Ask The Commenters Roundup]

Posted by Ry on Feb 19 2012 | Uncategorized

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Switched On: Think form factors, not PCs

Posted by Ry on Feb 19 2012 | Technology

Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.


The iPad, launched in 2010, kicked off the post-PC era. The combination of a multitouch display and keyboard-less design enabled mobile computing in a way not done before. On the other hand, maybe the IBM Simon, launched in 1992, kicked off the post-PC era. Widely considered to be the first smartphone, it enabled mobile computing in a way that was not done before. Then again, maybe the Osborne I, launched in 1981, marked the beginning of the post-PC era. After all, it was widely considered to be the first portable computer, enabling mobile computing in a way that was not done before.

Continue reading Switched On: Think form factors, not PCs

Switched On: Think form factors, not PCs originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 19 Feb 2012 18:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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