TextMate Becomes Open Source

My favourite Mac-OS-X text editor just became Open Source. Developer Allan Odgaard announced this in a blog post. The sources of version 2 of TextMate that are still considered Alpha are now available on Github.

The choice of license is GPL 3 for now.  Anything related to the code base, including contributions, can be discussed at the textmate-dev list or #textmate on freenode.net.

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A New 10″ Tablet

If you look at the new 10″ Samsung Galaxy Note tablet one could almost think that Samsung’s shure it’s gonna loose against Apple in the fight about tablet design features. Samsungs new one definitely doesn’t look like an Apple device anymore. It’s available in Europe starting on the 8th of August and in the US one week later.

It comes with a pen, a micro SD slot, Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich), a back facing 5 Megapixel and a front facing 1.9 Megapixel  camera. All powered by a QuadCore processor with 2GB RAM. The 10.1″ touchscreen features 1280×800 pixels.

It’s available with WLAN, HSPA+ (for the 3G-Version), Bluetooth and GPS. A infrared Transmitter, in  combination with Samsungs Smart-Remote-App, allows to use it as a universal remote for your Stereo or TV.

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Coding for Kinect

If you want to get started with coding for the Kinect and tend to use Microsofts API instead of OpenNi, I highly recommend to have a look at Microsofts Channel 9 – Coding4Fun articles on the Kinect. Lots of practical examples with source code and technical background info there. For all the Webdudes out there they even have examples for a Kinect WebSocket Server: WebSocketing the Kinect with Kinection; Kinect, HTML5, WebSockets and Canvas.

Not all examples have been updated to use the current Kinect for Windows SDK that established a new interface for the Kinect access. So check the dependencies if you want to build one.

Also worth a look is the Kinect for Windows blog.

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Microsoft Skydrive Uploader Tool

German IT Magazine c’t developed a tool for managing a Microsoft SkyDrive. SkyDrive gives you 25GB of cloud storage for free but it comes only with a browsers based upload interface. The c’t uploader tool fixes this problem. It allows to upload files via Drag n’ Drop encrypts them if you want and  is also accessible from the commandline.

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Zen Table – Drawing In Sand

The Zen Table is basically a plotter integrated into a coffee table. Instead of drawing with ink, it pulls a steel ball held by a magnet through a sand like material. Much like an automated Etch A Sketch.

The project was financed on Kickstarter and now sells in different sizes from 500$ to 5000$.

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Finally An Alternative For Gaffa Tape

Whatever you like to call it Gaffa, Gaffer or Duct Tape as we all know it fixes every problem. A theory proven in several Mythbusters specials on the famous unbeatable sticky tape.

But finally there might be some competition on the horizon. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts came up with a reusable sticky tape that is inspired by a geckos toes. A hand-sized patche of the material clings to smooth glass even while holding 300 kilograms of weight.

This is much more than any other reversible adhesive can hold, they say. The pads can be peeled off and reused over 100 times. Such materials could be used to attach TVs to a wall, make robots that scuttle up walls and windows, and hold together computer and car parts.

[ via technoloyreview.com ]

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A Touch Screen with Texture

Touch screens are ubiquitous today. But a common complaint is that the smooth surface just doesn’t feel as good to use as a physical keypad. While some touch-screen devices use mechanical vibrations to enhance users’ experiences of virtual keypads, the approach isn’t widely used, mainly because mechanical vibrations are difficult to implement well, and they often make the entire device buzz in your hand, instead of just a particular spot on the screen.

Now, engineers from three different groups are proposing a type of tactile feedback that they believe will be more popular than mechanical buzzing. Called electrovibration, the technique uses electrical charges to simulate the feeling of localized vibration and friction, providing touch-screen textures that are impossible to simulate using mechanical actuators.

Their touch panel is made of transparent electrodes on a glass plate coated with an insulating layer. By applying a periodic voltage to the electrodes via connections used for sensing a finger’s position on the screen, the researchers were able to effectively induce a charge in a finger dragged along the surface. By changing the amplitude and frequency of the applied voltage, the surface can be made to feel as though it is bumpy, rough, sticky, or vibrating. The major difference is the specially designed control circuit that produces the sensations.

A Finnish company called Senseg has implemented electrovibration in touch screens and closed deals with three companies to incorporate the technology into products.

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