Facebook and Google Launch URL Shorteners

Google slider

Services like Bit.ly and Tinyurl are extremely popular for shortening long links — so popular that Facebook and Google have launched their own versions. Facebook’s Fb.me and Google URL Shortener are vying to become the king of the…uh…shorties.

With millions of links served up by Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and plain old email, this should be one extremely competitive race. Even though these two new services are starting (relatively) small, the incumbents should be afraid…very afraid.

Get Your Avatar Books, Action Figures, and T-Shirts!

James Cameron’s Avatar is going to conquer the universe this week. While I’m still not sold on the movie, there’s no denying that this thing is going to be huge. You’re all aware of the movie and the videogames by Ubi Soft, but here are some other Avatar products you might not be aware of.

Avatar…the Books!

If you want to prep for the movie then you ought to consider curling up with Avatar: An Activist Survival Guide and The Art of Avatar: James Cameron’s Epic Adventure. The former offers more information on the unique world of Pandora. The latter features all sorts of images from the flick. Again, Cameron totally lost me during his three-hour soliloquy at E3 2009, but the visuals in this movie are amazing, so I’m actually kind of interested in the art book.

Avatar book

Avatar…the Action Figures!

Any sci-fi movie worth a damn has action figures, but Avatar takes it a step further by implementing some interesting web-cam connectivity. Here’s the official word and a photo:

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Today’s Poll: What’s Your Real Life D&D Alignment?

Dungeons and Dragons Alignment

In keeping with the role-playing theme of Coffee Talk #43, I wanted to see which Dungeons & Dragons alignment describes you best. Make a choice and if you have time, elaborate in the comments section. I’m going to have to give my answer some thought….

[poll id=”14″]

Pandora Open Source Handheld Gaming System Video

Pandora open source handheld 2

Michael Weston has uploaded a video of the Pandora handheld gaming system, which combines an open-source OS with a powerful ARM Cortex A-8 CPU and a PowerVR SGX GPU. While it’s not going to put a dent in Nintendo’s market share, it’s an interesting look at the potential future of handheld gaming. Pandora is a potent portable that also lets you tackle basic computing needs. Check out the video after the break!

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NES Controller + Mountain Dew = Soap?!?

NES controller soap

Cooler than anything I’ve ever seen at Lush (and I love Lush) is DigitalSoaps’ NES controller-shaped soap. I’ve already filed it under “completely awesome”. It’s not just the retro-console coolness of this soap. The fact that it’s scented with Mountain Dew fragrance oil gives this soap major bonus points…mostly because I’m astounded that there’s such a thing as Mountain Dew fragrance oil.

Source via Gizmodo

Toshiba Cell Processor TV Available This Week

Toshiba Cell TV

Toshiba has been promising a Cell-based television for years and it’s finally set to deliver this week (in Japan) with the Cell Regza 55X1. Some people forget that the Cell processor is the product of a nefarious triumvirate joint venture between Sony, IBM, and Toshiba. While Sony uses Cell as the heart of its PlayStation 3 console and IBM has all sorts of Cell-based supercomputers, Toshiba hasn’t had anything to show for its investment. That changes on Thursday.

Here are some bullet points from Toshiba’s press release illustrating what Cell does for the 55X1:

  • CELL Platform Super Resolution Technology that builds on Toshiba’s current super resolution technology to offer unmatched picture quality.
  • Self-congruency, a dedicated process that improves image quality at the edge of the picture.
  • Enhanced color and brightness balance that improves picture color and definition.
  • LED backlight control system. In the CELL REGZA, the display is divided into 512 distinct areas, each with individually controlled lighting. Luminance is pushed to an industry high of 1250cd/m2, 2.5 times the level of typical TVs, and the dynamic contrast ratio is an astonishing 5,000,000:1.

In other words, this television will look better than yours. The Cell Regza 55X1 will be available in Japan this Thursday for around $11,000.

Scooter + Roller Luggage = Airport Lawsuit Waiting to Happen

Trolley Scooter

Micro Mobility’s scooter luggage seems like a good idea on paper. It combines carry-on luggage with a scooter that can help you zip through the airport. In reality, I think it’s a horrendous idea. I can easily picture a college fraternity kid knocking down an old lady at an airport or an old man overestimating his scooting prowess, throwing out a hip. While there are things this product can potentially help, I think its capacity for evil is much greater.

Then again, this thing might be useful at E3. I can store press kits in the luggage and perform hit-and-runs on company mascots I despise. Hmmm….


Vodka in a Pill?!?

Grey Goose vodka

I’m hoping this is a joke, but The Times of India has reported that a Russian scientist had discovered a way for vodka to be produced in capsule form. The site noted:

Russian professor Evgeny Moskalev of Saint Petersburg Technological University has evolved a technique that allows turning alcohol into powder and packing it in pills. The new technique can solidify any kind of alcohol, including whisky, cognac, wine and beer.

As a fan of vodka (and really any quality alcohol), I find this disturbing. I can see a bunch of idiots on spring break popping pills of booze instead of learning to appreciate smooth vodka, bourbon, whiskey, rum, etc. I would hate to see my beloved Grey Goose reduce to a capsule — totally kills the point of savoring each sip. (And yes, I know there are plenty of vodkas better than GG, but it’s really easy to find.)

Like I said at the top, I hope this is just a joke.


Google Reveals More Details on Chrome OS

Google has unveiled details on its upcoming Chrome operating system. This open-source, lightweight OS relies heavily on the Internet for functionality and is being designed for netbooks. Its narrow focus eliminates a lot of the headaches involved with a traditional operating system, but also limits its capabilities. A post on Google’s blog revealed:

It’s all about the web. All apps are web apps. The entire experience takes place within the browser and there are no conventional desktop applications. This means users do not have to deal with installing, managing and updating programs.

Second, because all apps live within the browser, there are significant benefits to security. Unlike traditional operating systems, Chrome OS doesn’t trust the applications you run. Each app is contained within a security sandbox making it harder for malware and viruses to infect your computer.

The concept behind Chrome OS sounds great and I could totally work with it. The bad news for Google is that there are a lot of people that can’t work with a cloud OS. The bad news for tech geeks like me is that Chrome OS won’t be out until “this time next year”.

Also, the guy narrating the video is a nob, but he’s not nearly as bad as the toolbox that Square Enix hired for its Final Fantasy XIII video. Anyway, let me know what you think of Chrome OS. Is it something you could use? Would you buy a Chrome OS netbook?