Sunday, June 29, 2008

Toilets in Japan

Although the Japanese energy consumption per person is about half of what one person uses in the United States, toilets in Japan use up energy like no tomorrow. Apparently, these Japanese toilets are able to warm and wash your bottom, take away odors with built-in fans, and play relaxation music. The higher-end toilets are able to sense when a person walks in or out of the room so that it can lift or lower their lids accordingly and develop a "memory" that predicts the "bathroom schedules" of everyone in the house.

These luxuries (can I call them luxuries...?) cost up to $4000 and use more energy than dryers and dishwashers! I know that I don't even use a dishwasher that often because of the high energy consumption, but think about how many times you go to the bathroom in a day. And then multiply that by the number of people in your family. I just thought that this was very interesting.. :)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Facebank: One of a Kind Piggy Bank

What more amazing gadgets will the Japanese come up with next? Piggy Banks we have now are "cute" and "pretty" in every imaginable way. Then you'll meet Facebank, a one of a kind piggy bank designed in Japan.

There are sensors in Facebank's eyes that detect your movements so it knows when you want to put a coin inside. Then it triggers the not-so-silent motors in its mouth so that it can "digest" the coin. Cool... but very creepy...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Crime Spree Inspired by Grand Theft Auto

The six teenagers that went on a crime-spree in Garden City, New York admit that they did it because they were inspired by Grand Theft Auto. If you don't know, Grand Theft Auto is a popular video game where the player takes on the role of a criminal that is free to wander around the city. There are missions to complete, such as robberies, assassinations, and other crimes.

Armed with crowbars and baseball bats, the teenagers stole cigarettes from a from a driver, mugged of man of his cash, and ran around smashing cars. When they were apprehended, the police spokesman said that they admitted being inspired by Grand Theft Auto.

Oh wow, and to think I just put down GTA to read news articles on the web. Sure, it's an awesome game, but to think that a video game would inspire someone to actually emulate it in real life? I wonder how the court's going to handle this one.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

iPod: Overrated?

The answer to the question is, yes, iPods are, in fact, very overrated. This is coming from a person who owns one too. When do you not see a person walking down the street or on the bus with a pair of white Apple stock earbuds in their ears? These white earbuds have become one of the symbols of society - you see them so often that you just want to buy another type of mp3 or switch out your headphones atleast. Don't you get that feeling? When you buy something that's worth well over $270, you would atleast expect the device to come with a decent pair of earbuds right? Well no. Sadly for all you audiophiles out there, you would have to dish out more money to buy a pair of decent earphones.

Due to Apple's successful marketing campaign, most people don't place iPods in the mp3 category anymore. They always ask, "should I get an iPod or a mp3 player?". Even Future Shop, which is a major retailer of electronics in Canada, have the category "iPods and Mp3 Players" on their website. This just shows how ridiculously popular these things have become.

The main attraction (well the thing that attracted me to buy one) is the simplicity of the whole thing. It has a nice, sleek, and clean feeling to it when you browse through your music collection via the clickwheel. That's it. There's nothing else nice to say about it Oh, maybe besides the fact that right now, it's one of the biggest portable music devices you can get: around 160GB. Unless you're one of those people who have a ton of music, it's just not worth it, trust me. I have a 80GB Classic sitting at home with about 50GB of free space. The 20GB I used up consists mostly of videos that I'll never watch. Should've bought a nano.. :(

Honestly, when my iPod breaks, I'm never going to buy another one ever again. Perhaps, I'll be investing into something like the Samsung P2!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Earphones and the Sennheiser CX300

As we all know, earphones play an important part of our everyday routines - especially if we listen to music. The Sennheiser CX300's are one of the most recommended earphones for people with a low budget. They come in a variety of different colors - Silver, White, Pink, and Black (my favorite, personally!) with an asymmetrical wire design.

Nowadays, prices of earphones vary between as low as $2.00 to as high as $300.00! That is quite the gap, but I assure you that there is a noticeable difference between the earphones on the higher end of the spectrum, versus the $2.00 ones you find online. Heck, I even found a huge difference between the $50.00 Sennheiser CX300's and my cheap earphones imported from China (The currency I'm using is CAD, by the way!).

Now onto the Sennheiser CX300. As I've stated before, they're one of the most recommended earphones on the internet today. Trust me, search around and you're bound to find atleast one person on each website that has these or would recommend these! But why are they recommended so much? It's mainly because the quality you get versus the price you pay. Retailers, such as Future Shop and Best Buy (for you Canadians), sell these earphones at approximately $100.00 a pair! However, if you opt to online shopping, you'll be able to find authentic pairs for around $50.00 shipped! Fake versions don't work as well, the quality isn't the same, and they'll probably break down on you in a couple of months.

With real Sennheiser CX300's, you get a year's warranty and 3 different, hmm, rubber silicon pieces that go inside your ear. Make sure you find the best fitting one (I use the smallest ones!) pair in order to get the best sound because then they'll be able to seal properly. These aren't noise-isolating, as in the headphones transmit waves to counter the incoming noise. They just do a really, and I mean REALLY, nice job of sealing the sound inside your ears! But still, when I'm typing on the keyboard with these things in my ears and my iPod at the lowest volume, I can't hear myself typing at all!

The bass is great. Maybe I just haven't tried any of the really expensive earphones yet, not that I'm in any position to buy them *tear*... but with these I'm able to hear sounds in the background that I've never heard before with my other earphones! Personally, it feels like a mini surround system in your ears! So if you listen to music and you still own those lower-end skullcandies (no matter how nice they look!) or cheap earbuds, it's time to break out that wallet and get yourself one of these! Remember, try to avoid ebay and third party amazon sellers! Yes, I'm promoting these like everyone else. So sue me :D

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Man Attempts to Trade Drugs for PSP

PSP's are pretty popular today in the world, but I never knew they were that popular! Here's a 22-year old man, Steven Priddey, who attempted to steal a PSP in Worchester, England. Priddey claims that he made a deal with the store employee, Richard Shurmer; he would give Shurmer cannabis in exchange for a PSP. However, Shurmer denied it, and stated that he saw the man sticking the said PSP down his pants on the security cameras.

However, when questioned, Shurmer admitted he had made drug deals with Priddey on several occasions, but had never agreed to exchange drugs for a PSP. Priddey was found guilty eventually because the shop employee had no right to give away items the store was selling! Apparently, Priddey's lawyer claims that the drugs have affected his ability to think clearly and make decisions.

So, instead of paying around $170 US for a PSP, he ended up with 12 months of probation service and a fine of around $800 US! It's pretty interesting how some people's work, even if they are on drugs!

Top 3 Programming Languages for Beginners

A lot of people who are interested in programming ask, "what is the easiest beginner-friendly language out there?". There are many great languages out there with their own levels of difficulty, but I would personally recommend Java, Python and Ruby. They're powerful languages that don't turn off a student or beginner with complex code. They teach the student important concepts which can be applied to other languages as well!
  1. Python is an object-orientated language that was designed as an introduction to structured programming. It encourages the basic programming principles such as indentation and proper syntax. The syntax is clean compared to other popular beginner languages such a Java. Clean code is easier to read, write and understand. As a bonus, Python is open-source, freely distributed and teaches students many concepts that exist in other popular languages.

  1. Ruby is another object-orientated language that is similar to Python. It's helpful and encourages many students to experiment with it. It's flexible and a powerful tool for beginners.

  1. Java is an object-orientated language that is taught in some schools. The basic concepts in Java are simple and easy to learn, even if you've never seen a programming language before. Java is one of the many languages taught in entry-level programming courses in high school. It features a great introduction of the basic concepts for students, making it an easier transition into those higher-level languages.

Personally, I started learning in Java and it's been a great experience trying out new languages. Don't be afraid to try out new things!