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Get BUGged

Buglabs_600 Bug Labs has just released the pricing for their initial release of BUG modules. As an added incentive, the “first wave” of customers will receive a BUG Early Adopters Discount:

  • BUGbase $349 ($299 w/discount)
  • LCD module $119 ($99 w/discount)
  • GPS module $99 ($79 w/discount)
  • Camera module $79 ($69 w/discount)
  • Motion detector / Accelerometer $59 ($49 w/discount)

So jump, don’t walk, to the BUG store and get in line to order your modules beginning January 21. Then you’ll be fully prepared to enter the PopSci Build-a-BUG Challenge.—Dave Prochnow

(Image: Bug Labs)

OK, Google This

Wikia_search Are you tired of the fee-sponsored “links” choking your Google search results pages? Return to those halcyon days of the original Google, when only clean, clear search results filled your monitor. Enter Wikia Search. Wikia Search is the brainchild of Wikipedia co-founder, Jimmy Wales. Fueled with startup capital from Amazon.com, Wikia Search builds its returned links from a mixed software + human approach, much like the “trusted network” concept espoused by Wikipedia. Think Google meets Yahoo! Answer meets Wikipedia meets Ask.com all bundled under one roof. Don’t throw Google out with the bath water just yet, however. Wales intends to turn Wikia Search into a revenue-yielding site as soon as he can conceive of an ad-driven business model. So much for the “good ol’ days.” Go ahead and give the “alpha” Wikia Search site a try and then post your observations in our comments section.—Dave Prochnow

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Xo Don’t think that you’ll be seeing Intel MPUs inside any OLPC XO laptops anytime soon. In a nutshell, the turbulent marriage between the AMD-driven world educational organization and Intel-driven world chip dominator is over. Intel has lost its seat on the OLPC board and won’t be lending a helping hand towards designing an Intel XO, either. In a statement issued by OLPC founder, Nicholas Negroponte, there are claims of competitive sales of the Intel Classmate PC distracting world buyers and general “trash talking” generated by the Intel sales force at undermining XO leverage in PC-purchasing nations, like Peru.

On a more positive note, OLPC claimed that the “Give One, Get One” sales program had generated over $35 million in sales. That’s a pretty good way to rebound from a failed relationship.—Dave Prochnow

(Image: OLPC)

Briefly Noted: Add 3G to an Eee PC


JKKMobile is expanding his bag of Eee PC tricks. The newest addition to his repertoire is grafting a 3G modem complete with SIM card inside his ASUS Eee PC. Both video and a set of sorta step-by-step images will help guide you through the process. Have you hacked your Eee PC, yet? If so, please post your project in our comments section.—Dave Prochnow

(Image: jkkmobile.blogspot.com)

Happy Easter (Eggs), Kindle

Kindle_gps Just what every Kindle owner needs, a fistful of Easter Eggs for activating Google Maps GPS CDMA, a screenshot grabber, clock, fonts list, picture viewer, Minesweeper game, and diagnostic commands. All of these wonderful gifts thanks to the exacting reverse engineering efforts of Igor Skochinsky. The basic process for enabling one of these Easter eggs follows this type of scenario:

  • Inside the browser
  • Press Alt + 1 (one)
  • Google Maps will now display your current location
  • Press Alt + 2 for a display of the nearest gas stations
  • Press Alt + 3 for a display of the nearest restaurants

Skochinsky has thoroughly documented his efforts at unearthing all of the Kindle’s secrets in his Reversing Everything Blog. Watch our site in the future as we explore more Kindle hacks.—Dave Prochnow

(Image: Interface.Puhala.com)

Peruvian Children Get Wired

Xo After six months of operation, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) “XO” laptop has logged its first major success story: Peru. Kids love ‘em, administrators love ‘em, parents love ‘em and Nicholas Negroponte is ecstatic. Loaded with approximately 100 copyright-free books (are you listening Amazon.com?), the XO has become exactly the empowering tool that Negroponte predicted. This success story is not without its minor hiccups, however. Although targeted for 9,000 Peruvian elementary, only about 4,000 of these schools have Internet access. Nonetheless, OLPC is working with Peru to surmount this obstacle.—Dave Prochnow

(Image: laptopgiving.org)

The 2-Day Laptop Battery

Batteries The headline couldn’t be more attractive—“A Laptop 40-Hour Battery?” Alas, all this is just speculation raised from some juiced theoretical prototypes at the moment. Regardless, in the ScienceNOW article by Robert Service, a research team, lead by Yi Cui, a materials scientist at Stanford University, is cited as developing a battery anode from nanowire strands of silicon which can hold a charge up to 10 times longer than conventional carbon anodes. What’s holding this technology back from reaching your laptop’s battery? Designing a cathode that is equally able to hold a charge that is 10 times greater than current technology. Let’s just hope that these new 10x batteries don’t produce 10x-sized laptop fires.—Dave Prochnow

Join the Robotic Football League

Lineup Are you ready for some football? Robot football, that is. Well, let these bots do the gridiron game for you. Join the Robotic Football League (RFL). Founded in Westminister, Colorado by Active Innovations, this new sport brings teams of robots to a competitive field for some football. These aren’t just any kludged together robots, either. The players in this league are derived from the AI-O1 robot built by Active Innovations. Featuring wireless communications, a PIC microcontroller, and built-in voice, the AI-01 can be configured as a passer, receiver, and blocker. The $119 robot can also be hacked into a “dream player” with a $19.95 RFL USB to AI Adapter from SparkFun Electronics. Designed for 2-bot, 3-bot, and 6-bot rosters, the RFL could be coming to an open 8-x16-foot floor or HobbyTown USA near you.—Dave Prochnow

(Image: Active Innovations)

They're Here, err, There

41ziuv0hezl For you last minute shoppers, Amazon.com is now showing the ASUS Eee PC 4G-Galaxy Black as “in stock.” The list price is, well, list price: $399.99. You will have to hustle, though and select One-Day Shipping to have it delivered by December 24.—Dave Prochnow

(Image: Amazon.com)

New PSP System Software

Psp_front When I wrote my book on the PSP, one thing I learned was to keep System Software version 1.5 permanently installed on my handheld entertainment device. No upgrades for me. If, on the other hand, your PSP lacks this vintage system software, then you might want to upgrade to the new version 3.80. Released on December 18, 2007, the two most noteworthy features that version 3.80 gives your PSP are the inclusion of Internet Radio and a newly revised theme package (oddly-named, version If you can live without these “extras” and your PSP has System Software version 1.5, then you should forgo the upgrade and continue to enjoy the pleasures of homebrew gaming or Mac OS 7 via Basilisk II.—Dave Prochnow

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