Tata Nano Car - Cheapest Car in the World

"The Tata Nano is a city car manufactured by Tata Motors. Made and sold in India, the Nano is the cheapest car in the world today. Before it went on sale a price of INR1 lakh (US$1,800), was widely touted. Since its 2009 debut, the price has increased, and, while the Nano remains the lowest cost four-wheeled passenger vehicle in India, it's significantly more expensive than a motorcycle, a popular means of cheap transport in the country."


A Year Late, Another Apology

Well I'm still behind on here, LOL I don't think anyone reads my blog anyways, so it's probably okay :-P Anyways for my own sanity I'm going to keep going with what I've been doing and maybe this year it'll be caught up!

- Amby


Sprtie Ice

My best friend Jeff's favourite flavour of Sprite, sadly it's not sold anymore... it was delicious according to him. I've tasted it at the Coca-Cola plant and I have to beg to differ but I'm glad he likes it. 

"Sprite Ice was the first flavor extension for Coke's Sprite brand soft drink. It has a hint of mint, which Coca-Cola says gives it "maximum refreshment". Sprite Ice first became available in Canada and Belgium in 2003. It is packaged in clear blue-capped plastic bottles with blue and silver graphics. It is also available in 12-can packages."

*According to the Coca-Cola site it's still available in Australia, India, Indonesia, Mariana Islands, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Singapore. (http://www.virtualvender.coca-cola.com/ft/index.jsp?brand_id=283)


Sorry to my readers...

Well it looks like Bloggers spam bots have deemed my blog spam... this makes me sad. I don't know how to fix it and I keep hitting the button to send them a note verifying my blog but as of yet no one has replied and I still have the message that my blog may be taken down in 20 days. So I'm going to try to get the posts from last year caught up and throw up the ones from this year... sorry if this gets really fractured in the meantime, I'll try to keep it in some sembalance of order but just fyi the posts from Nov 6 2007 til now may be disjointed. I'll erase this when I'm all caught up and have them in order and post a new post saying I'm caught up. :-)

Thanks guys!



Not this one:


1  [lev-ee]  Show IPA noun, verb, lev·eed,lev·ee·ing.
an embankment designed to prevent the flooding of a river.
Geology natural levee.
Agriculture one of the small continuous ridges surroundingfields that are to be irrigated.
History/Historical a landing place for ships; quay."

but this one:
A Canadian tradition on New Years Day:

"Today, levées are the receptions (usually, but not necessarily, on New Year's Day) held by the governor general, the lieutenant governors of the provinces, the military and others, to mark the start of another year and to provide an opportunity for the public to pay their respects.
Most levées may be attended by any citizen, including children.[2][3] Attending the lieutenant governor's levée is an annual ritual for some families.
Today the levée has evolved from the earlier, more boisterous party into a more sedate and informal one. It is an occasion to call upon representatives of the monarch, military and municipal governments and to exchange New Year's greetings and best wishes for the new year, to renew old acquaintances and to meet new friends. It is also an opportunity to reflect upon the events of the past year and to welcome the opportunities of the New Year."


Old Printers, Scanners and Hard Drives Used to Perform Radiohead's 'Nude'

Old Printers, Scanners and Hard Drives Used to Perform Radiohead's 'Nude'

Most people just create amusing videos to fit their favorite songs, but James Houston went one step further and synchronized a bunch of obsolete gadget noises to recreate Radiohead's "Nude." A Sinclair ZX Spectrum 8-bit PC was used for rhythm and lead guitars, an HP Scanjet 3c was used for bass guitar, an Epson LX-81 Dot Matrix Printer was used for drums, and an array of hard drives were used as bad speakers to distort and reproduce vocals and effects.
This song came about as a call for remixes by Radiohead for "Nude." Houston notes that most of the entries were lame, and he wanted to do something a little different that fit in the theme/alternate song title offered (Bad Ideas: Don't Get Any). And he also came up with this video, which has an awesome retro, Daft Punk-ish Human After All vibe.
It's entirely possible this was all made on a computer or keyboard, but I'll take it in good faith it was made as the creator claims. And I'd say this isn't just a little different, it's way different and damn spectacular. [Youtube] (Thanks, John )



Gmail Gets 13 Experimental New Features Tonight

An interesting article:

Gmail Gets 13 Experimental New Features Tonight

Note: This was originally posted on Thursday evening, June 5th. Several users already have these features enabled in their account.
Starting at 6PM Pacific Time tonight, Google will start rolling out Gmail Labs, an experimental area of new Gmail features that will be familiar and very welcome to users of the Better Gmail Firefox extension. Once your Gmail account is Labs-enabled, you'll get a Labs tab in the Settings area of your account where you can enable 13 new experimental Gmail features, including signature tweaks, mouse gestures, keyboard shortcuts, and even a game. After the jump, get an exclusive sneak preview at the new Gmail Labs experimental features, with screenshots.
First, let's get right to the good stuff. Take a gander at the 13 new experimental features Gmail Labs adds:

Better Gmail and Better Gmail 2 users will be familiar (and hopefully very happy) with Fixed Font, Signature Tweaks, Custom Keyboard Shortcuts, and Hide Unread Counts. Google says it will start its user rollout in about an hour or so, which will continue over a span of the next few days or weeks. I've just gotten my account enabled here at the Google campus, so as I play with each feature, I'll add more screenshots to this post.
Update: Here are some more details and screenshots of the Gmail Labs features in action.


Now you can flag, star, and otherwise mark messages using up to 12 different colored and shaped icons. When you enable Superstars, you get a new section in the General settings area, which looks like this.

Click on the star button on a message repeatedly to cycle through all the Superstar choices. Looks like Superstars is more a visual indicator than anything; you can't search by all the messages superstarred the check, for example.

Quick Links

quicklinks.pngBasically a souped-up version of the Gmail Saved Searches Greasemonkey user script, Quick Links adds a module to the Gmail sidebar where you can store links to searches, views, and even individual messages. Go to the view you want—like all messages that have PDF file attachments using the has:attachment PDF Gmail search—then click "Add Quick Link" to save what's essentially a Gmail view or message bookmark there.

Email Addict

The Email Addict feature adds a "Take a Break" link to the top of your Gmail inbox, that looks like this:
When you click it, you get 14 minutes off from dealing with email:


Ok people, Snakey is a straight-up time-waster, meant to give you something to do while you're procrastinating responding to email. The Snakey developer told me that he originally put it together for users to play while they waited for their inbox to load, but then thought it would be better to not make users wait at all—and give them the choice to play. As you can see from the screenshot, I suck (my high score is only 30 after 3 games!) and I hear that it's not easy to break 150 (but I'm sure you will try.)

Custom Keyboard Shortcuts

http://lifehacker.com/assets/resources/2008/06/customkeymapping-thumb.png Just as you'd expect from the name, the custom keyboard shortcuts feature lets you map Gmail actions to the keys of your choice. While this isn't quite as cool as Gmail Macros, it's nice for folks who want to archive their messages via keyboard, but have something against the Y key (for example.) Click on the thumbnail on the right to pop up the full list of available key mappings and actions.

Random Signature

Add a random quote to your email pulled from an RSS feed by enabling Random Signature. By default, Random Signature uses a feed from BrainyQuote.com, but you can set it to the feed of your choice in the signature settings.

The Gmail team announced the new Gmail Labs at a press event at the Googleplex today which I attended with several other tech bloggers and reporters. After the announcement, Keith Coleman (the Gmail product manager who we interviewed a few months back), took us on a tour of the Gmail "pod" or workspace.
http://lifehacker.com/assets/resources/2008/06/featurewishlistwhiteboard1-thumb.jpgThe best part? On a whiteboard where developers got to brainstorm feature ideas, they had taped a printout of Lifehacker readers' Gmail features wishlist. Not kidding. Click on the thumbnail to check it out. When I get home tonight, I will post photographic evidence.

You can read more about the press event with the Gmail team at the Googleplex today over at Techcrunch.
Update: Google's put up the Gmail Labs Help page, which links to the Gmail Labs Google Group.


Five Reasons Why Aliens Will Make Contact with the Japanese First

A great article:

"Five Reasons Why Aliens Will Make Contact with the Japanese First

Welcome back to MangoBot, a biweekly column about Asian futurism by TokyoMango blogger Lisa Katayama. I've been thinking about extraterrestrials a lot this week. Do they exist? How will we know? Who will they call if they decide to make contact with us, and through what medium? First off, nobody knows if extraterrestrials really exist. Organizations like SETI are banking on the high possibility that they do, but to date there is no concrete evidence to prove or disprove this. For the purposes of contemplation, though, let's just assume they do. If aliens decide to make contact with Earthlings, they'll probably want to contact the Japanese using prime numbers and laser pulses. Call me biased (I was born and raised in Japan), but I think there is a really good possibility that this will be the case (and so does the guy who writes alien messages for SETI). And I don't just think this because I spent my childhood watching reenactments of UFO sightings on Japanese TV while eating fried noodles out of a giant UFO-shaped bowl aptly named "UFO Yakisoba."

Here are five reasons why aliens might reach out to humankind via the islands of Japan first:
1. The Japanese are ready to greet them. Part of Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba's national security strategy includes musings about how we'd respond to an alien attack under a pacifist constitution. Late last year, he told the press:
If they descended, saying 'People on Earth, let's make friends,' it would not be considered an unjust attack on our country. And there is another issue of how can we convey our intentions if we don't understand what they are saying. We should consider various possibilities.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura has also stated his firm belief that extraterrestrials do exist. The Japanese government has detailed official guidelines on what to do if we do indeed come in contact with extraterrestrials.

You could make the counterargument that the Japanese government's heightened fear of alien attacks may deter extraterrestrials from landing there, I actually think that aliens will feel more at ease knowing that the Japanese are at least aware of and ready for their arrival. What's the fun in arriving at a party where nobody knows who you are?
2. We emailed them. In 1983, Japanese astronomers sent a radio message to Altair—a solar system 16 light years away—with 13 binary-encoded images 71 by 71 pixels each showing some basic facts about us, like where our planet is located, what humans look like, the structure of DNA, and the basic chemistry of life on earth. If someone on Altair had received this message, then we can expect a reply as early as 2015.

"When constructing a message to extraterrestrials, it's important that we make it a message that represents the diversity of human cultures," says Douglas Vakoch, Director of Interstellar Message Composition at SETI. "It makes sense to start with science because ET doesn't speak English or Japanese or Swahili, but I'm going to be very disappointed if the only thing we hear from ET is that 2+2=4. I want to know what they think is important in their world."

Messages sent to aliens—including the 1983 Japanese one—are written in prime numbers because it's a concept that intelligent species universally understand. A similar message was sent in 1974 from the world's largest radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, but this one was sent to a cluster of stars 25,000 light years away. We won't be hearing back from those aliens for a while. But the Altair-bound message holds promise to return within our lifetimes.
3. Japan has one of the only observatories that is actively seeking optical frequencies from outer space. Most observatories search only for radio frequencies. Even after Nobel Prize-winning physicist Charles Townes suggested looking for brief laser pulses for alien detection in the sixties, people ruled it out because it was too expensive and energy-consuming. Nishiharima is the only place that's currently scanning the skies for nanosecond-level pulses in the air waves. "I think it's very reasonable that the first detection of life beyond earth could happen in Japan," says Vakoch. "Brief pulses are like morse code. You can send an enormous amount of information very quickly. If someone could text message ET, it'll be Nishiharima. That assumes, of course, that we can decode what they were trying to say."

4. Japan will soon have AIs that match alien intelligence. Aliens are supposedly infinitely more advanced and brainy than humans are, so the most likely scenario is that, when they get here, they'll want to talk to AIs. Since the Japanese have already figured out how to navigate virtual worlds with brain power and have robots assisting humans in everyday life, it would surprise nobody if aliens showed up there first.
5. North Korea knows things the rest of us don't. North Korea is rumored to have recently released a statement claiming that their nuclear reactor has the dual capability of communicating wirelessly with alien species up to 1,000 light years away in real time. Of course, we can't believe everything that the North Korean government says, but seriously, I wouldn't be surprised at all if they were already communicating with other planets. If that's the case, it should be relatively easy for Japan, a neighboring country, to intercept their signals with laser pulses and let the world know definitively what Kim Jong Il has known for decades—that there is life beyond Earth.

Images: LabyrinthX via Flickr, Darren Hester via Flickr, Sankei, and Nishiharima Astronomical Observatory"