Festival Essentials: Gadgets to make your life that little bit easier

This is a guest post by Mark Dye Fresh from shaking our thang in the sun at Glastonbury we thought it would only be fair to share with you some of the gadgets that made the whole festival experience…

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Gerald LynchFestival Essentials: Gadgets to make your life that little bit easier

Brain-wave reading headphones from Toshiba may let you play games with mind control

In the deepest, darkest laboratories of Toshiba HQ, teams of developers have been secretly working on brain-wave reading mind control headphones, and they plan to use them to TAKE OVER THE WORLD! Well, not really, obviously. But they do plan…

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Gerald LynchBrain-wave reading headphones from Toshiba may let you play games with mind control

Amazon launches e-book buying and reading app for iPhones

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Today, Amazon plans to release an application for the iPhone that’ll allow users to buy and download eBooks, outside of its homegrown Kindle ecosystem. The application will be able to be downloaded free of charge, and will also keep track of your page across both a Kindle and an iPhone, so no more wondering where you left off.

There’s competition in the market, from the likes of Indigo Books and Shortcovers, and Google recently launched a free mobile product too. When asked about whether the app might cannibalise Kindle sales, Amazon VP Ian Freed says he’s “not at all concerned”, saying that it’s actually likely to help, presumably because the Kindle offers a better eBook expeirnece.

Unfortunately for the moment, the application isn’t available outside the US, presumably for licensing reasons. We’ll keep a close eye and let you know when you can get it on these shores.

(via Wall St Journal)

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Duncan GeereAmazon launches e-book buying and reading app for iPhones

OPINION: Internet scams are clever… or I am really stupid.

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If you’re reading a tech blog then chances are that you think you’re pretty tech-savvy – you know your way around the internet, you can tell your lolcats from your RSS feeds, and you’ve probably become a bit complacent with your security-conscious mind.

“I don’t need anti-virus software, I’ll just be careful… I’d never fall for an internet phishing scam, I can spot a bogus deal from a mile off”, you’re smugly thinking right now, perhaps knowingly stroking your chin as you do so.

Unfortunately, this was my line of thinking until about two and a half hours ago when I discovered that I’ve unwittingly fell victim to an internet scam

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James O'MalleyOPINION: Internet scams are clever… or I am really stupid.

Robots become self-aware, but think that they're rats, so we're okay for now

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Scientists at the University of Reading have got a step closer to creating Cybermen – human brains inside a robot – after putting together a small robot that uses rat neurones to control itself.

The scientists have managed to grow around 300,000 rat neurones artificially in the lab by starting off with the brain of a rat faetus. These neurones have gone on to make connections with each other and work in much the same way a regular rat brain does, using electrical impulses to make the brain “do stuff”. The neurons are connected to a regular microchip, where they can be stimulated and the results analysed to see what happens. For example, they’ve built a robot on wheels with an ultrasound sensor, to spot when it is approaching a wall. I guess it’s like giving a rat the Bat-power of echo-location. Maybe.

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James O'MalleyRobots become self-aware, but think that they're rats, so we're okay for now

Opinion: Amazon's Kindle won't make E-Books popular but how hard can it be?

Jon_smal.gifJonathan Weinberg writes…

I don’t read as much as I used to, one look at the amount of books in my house is enough evidence to tell that story. Not that I don’t have many, oh no, I’ve got shelves full of novels and non-fiction. It’s just most of them are bought on a whim, and then a few pages in swapped for something else or put down to play the Xbox 360 or check out the telly.

Children too aren’t reading as much as they should. In fact, David Cameron, the Tory leader, is about to announce plans to try and get every
youngster up to speed with their reading by the age of six. It’s a massive failure in any education system when kids can’t pick out enough words to enjoy a story without it being spoken to them…

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Jonathan WeinbergOpinion: Amazon's Kindle won't make E-Books popular but how hard can it be?