Archive | September 2012

Angry Birds sequel Bad Piggies hogs top spot among iOS apps

Those Bad Piggies may not be so bad if they can soar to the top of the iOS charts in just a few hours.

Released from its pen earlier today for iOS and Android, the Angry Birds sequel is the most-downloaded paid app among both iPhone and iPad users.

A brand-new game rarely hits the top spot in Apple’s App Store so quickly. But being the latest installment in the hot Angry Birds lineup gives Bad Piggies a strong leg (or hoof) up. Game maker Rovio has gotten a lot of mileage out of Angry Birds, but the company also knows it needs to shake up the franchise to keep it from molting.

Bad Piggies offers a twist on the simple birds-versus-pigs scenario. The new game places you on the side of the pigs to help them crack the eggs of the angry birds. Instead of the usual gameplay, Bad Piggies challenges you with a series of puzzles in which you build devices to move the pigs to each destination.

Rovio has packaged the pigs in two flavors — a standard edition for smartphones and an HD one for tablets.

The iPhone and iPod Touch version costs 99 cents, while the iPad version will set you back $2.99. Both Android versions are free from Google Play, apparently thanks to a specialGoogle promotion celebrating 25 billion downloads in less than four years.

Bad Piggies has guzzled up positive reviews so far, earning a 4.5-star rating from iOS users and a 5-start rating from Android folks.

Rovio took its first stab at a new game in July called Amazing Alex. Similar in some ways to Bad Piggies, Alex challenges you with puzzles to move objects around the screen. Amazing Alex also climbed its way to the top of the iOS charts not long after its debut.

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31 Strange & Unusual McDonald’s Around The Globe

McDonalds single-handidly feed 68,000,000 people on the planet. Across 119 countries. Every. Single. Day.

Now there’s certainly a lot of controversy around eating at McDonalds, from how they source their produce, to the health impacts of eating it – but one thing that you can say about McDonald’s with absolutely certainty, is that wherever you are in the world, the taste of the Big Mac is universal.

It’s pivotal to their worldwide success, whichever McDonald’s you visit, wherever you are in the world – it will always taste the same. Don’t ask about the processes with which they have to go through to achieve that – but it’s a fact nonetheless. That universal taste, the familiarity and predictability is a key ingredient into explaining their phenomenal success.

But the one thing (in fact the only thing) that isn’t predictable about McDonald’s is the designs and locations of their restaurants. We look at some of the most unusual outlets around the globe, you’ll not find any common link between any of them, save for the name.

You can view more here via the official Flickr community.

Do let us know which is your favourite by leaving a comment below.

1. Art Deco McDonald’s in Clifton Hill, Victoria, Australia

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

2. McDonald’s in Time Square, New York City

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

3. McDonald’s at Galleria Vittoria Emanuele in Milan, Italy

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

4. White Colonial Mansion McDonald’s in Hyde Park, New York

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

5. Exotic McDonald’s in Yangshuo, China

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

6. McDonald’s Airplane in Taupo, New Zealand

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

7. World’s Biggest McDonald’s Olympic Park in London, England

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

8. McDonald’s on Piac utca in Debrecen, Hungary

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

9. McDonald’s in Higashiomi, Shiga, Japan

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

10. McDonald’s on the Las Vegas Strip, Nevada, USA

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

11. Colonial McDonald’s in Independence, Ohio

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

12. McDonald’s in Paris, France

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

13. McDonald’s in Porto, Portugal

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

14. Sand Lake Road McDonald’s in Orlando, Florida, USA

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

15. McDonald’s on the Water in Aswan, Egypt

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

16. McDonald’s River Boat on the Mississippi River, St. Louis, MO

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

17. Retro McDonald’s in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, USA

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

18. McDonald’s in Ohrid, Macedonia

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

19. McDonald’s in Downtown Hangzhou, China

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

20. McDonald’s in Hameln, Lower Saxony, Germany

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

21. McDonald’s Drive Thru in Ulsan, South Korea

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

22. McDonald’s in Freeport, Maine, USA

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

23. Cast Iron McDonald’s on Canal Street, New York City, USA

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

24. McDonald’s Barnhouse in Yellowstone, Montana, USA

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

25. McDonald’s in Tbilisi, Georgia

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

26. McDonald’s on Eastern Long Island, USA

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

27. McDonald’s in Bray Town Hall, Ireland

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

28. McDonald’s in Lindau, Germany

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

29. McDonald’s in Chinatown, New York City, USA

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

30. McDonald’s in Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

31. McDonald’s on Spanish Broadway (Gran Via) in Madrid, Spain

Unusual Locations Of McDonalds Restuarants Around The World

The Death Scene to End All Death Scenes

It doesn’t get more awesomely bad than this, Neatoramanauts. You’re watching the final scene of a 1974 Turkish film called Kareteci Kiz (Karate Girl), about a girl who becomes a cop to get revenge on the guys who killed her father and husband. My favorite part is the bit where he turns around and has no wounds on his back, then she shoots once and he suddenly has two bullet holes in his back. From one bullet. While screaming in monotone. This is just so bad, but I admit that I’ve watched it five times already.

Tokyoflash Kisai Logo Watch: It’s Binary Time

Well I have to say that the blue version of Tokyoflash’s new Kisai Logo watch looks pretty fetching. I think that the best part is the binary time display, which looks really cool yet cryptic.

As a bonus, the Tokyoflash Kisai Logo watch is very easy to read in its normal mode. A block indicates the hour and there are some funky numbers in the middle that represent the minutes. It’s pretty straightforward. You can toggle on the binary time display and then, watch out, because it will take anyone time to figure out how it works.

kisai logo binary

The watch features an always-on LCD that you don’t have to activate with a button, which is a very nice feature since it can get annoying with these kinds of watches. It uses a standard battery, so no USB recharging for this watch.

The body is stainless steel and it has an acetate strap. The Kisai Logo is available in black, white or blue, with a matching strap and display – and retails for $139 (USD).

tokyoflash kisai logo watch

tokyoflash kisai logo watch black

Martian rocks reveal that rover is driving through dried-up stream bed

The Mars Rover has detected the first on-the-ground evidence of an ancient streambed. If there was water, could Mars have supported life? NBC’s Tom Costello reports

A close look at pebble-filled layers of rock has convinced scientists that NASA’s Curiosity rover is driving through a dried-up stream bed on Mars where water flowed vigorously billions of years ago. They say it’s the kind of place that just might have supported life when the planet was young.

“This is a rock that was formed in the presence of water,” Caltech’s John Grotzinger, project scientist for the $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory mission, said today during a televised news conference at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

The evidence is in the shape, size and composition of the rocks that Curiosity came across at multiple sites during its landing on Aug. 5. Conglomerate rocks, consisting of pebbles cemented together within layers of sediment, were seen at three sites:

  • Goulburn, a bedrock formation that was exposed by the blast from Curiosity’s descent.
  • Link, a rock outcrop that was seen once Curiosity headed out from the landing site.
  • Hottah, an uplifted slab of craggy rock that was given a visual inspection two weeks ago.

Hottah in particular showed clear evidence of rounded pebbles that were too big to be smoothed by the action of the wind. Some of the rocks are as big as golf balls. The best explanation for the gravelly pebbles was that they were eroded by the vigorous flow of water, said Curiosity science team member Rebecca Williams, a senior scientist at the Arizona-based Planetary Science Institute.

The Hottah slab, which measures 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) thick, looks as if “somebody came along the surface of Mars with a jackhammer and lifted up a sidewalk that you might see in downtown LA, sort of like in a construction site,” Grotzinger said.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

A closeup view of the “Hottah” rock outcrop shows the characteristic pebbly rock that is associated with the action of a flowing stream. Broken surfaces of the outcrop have rounded, gravel clasts, such as the one circled in white, which is about 1.2 inches (3 centimeters) across. The rock formation was named after Hottah Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

The Planetary Science Institute’s Rebecca Williams describes new images from Mars.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / PSI

This set of images compares the Link outcrop of rocks on Mars (left) with similar rocks seen on Earth (right). The image of Link, obtained by NASA’s Curiosity rover, shows rounded gravel fragments, or clasts, up to a couple of inches (few centimeters) wide, within the rock outcrop. In accordance with the Mars mission’s tradition, Link takes its name from a rock formation in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

The evidence from the ground meshes well with the evidence from orbit indicating that Curiosity is near an 11-mile-wide (18-kilometer-wide) fan of material that may have washed down a channel in ancient times, when Mars was warmer and wetter, according to William Dietrich, a planetary scientist at the University of California at Berkeley.

“These stones … are very, very revealing to us about the process,” Dietrich said. Some previous research has suggested that water flowed on Mars only for brief periods, separated by long, cold, dry spells. That scenario might not have provided enough time for life to get a foothold on the Red Planet in ancient times. But Dietrich said the patterning of the channels within the fan suggested that water streamed through the area for well beyond a thousand-year time scale.

“We can step away from the idea that there was a single burst of water … that built it all in a day,” he told reporters.

Based on the size of the gravel seen by Curiosity, Dietrich estimated that the water moved at a speed of about 3 feet (1 meter) per second, at a depth somewhere between ankle and hip deep.

“Plenty of papers have been written about channels on Mars with many different hypotheses about the flows in them,” Dietrich said in a NASA news release. “This is the first time we’re actually seeing water-transported gravel on Mars. This is a transition from speculation about the size of streambed material to direct observation of it.”

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Univ. of Ariz.

This image shows the topography, with shading added, around the area where NASA’s Curiosity rover landed. Higher elevations are colored in red, with cooler colors indicating transitions downslope to lower elevations. The map highlights an alluvial fan of material, apparently issuing from a channel named Peace Vallis. The black oval indicates the targeted landing area for the rover known as the “landing ellipse,” and the cross shows where the rover actually landed.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / UC-Berkeley

This image shows a dry streambed on an alluvial fan in Chile’s Atacama Desert, revealing the typical patchy, heterogeneous mixture of grain sizes deposited together. On Mars, Curiosity has seen two rock outcrops close to its Bradbury Landing site that also record a mixture of sand and pebbles transported by water. Scientists say the mixture was probably deposited along an ancient streambed.

So far, the scientists’ conclusions are based exclusively on visual observations by Curiosity’s high-resolution Mastcam imager. Further imagery, along with chemical readings from other instruments on the rover, will likely be used to fill out the story of the ancient stream bed, Grotzinger said.

The main goal of Curiosity’s two-year primary mission is to assess how habitable Mars was in ancient times. That’s why mission managers chose 96-mile-wide (154-kilometer-wide) Gale Crater as Curiosity’s landing site. It has that alluvial fan, which appears to issue forth from a channel that has now officially been designated Peace Vallis. It also has a 3-mile-high (5-kilometer-high) mountain, known as Aeolis Mons or Mount Sharp, which could preserve billions of years’ worth of Mars’ geological record.

Grotzinger noted that the three requirements for habitability typically listed by astrobiologists are the presence of liquid water, the availability of an energy source (such as sunlight) and the presence of carbon-based compounds that can be used as the building blocks of life.

“Now we’ve got a hall pass for the water examination,” Grotzinger joked.

Theoretically, a long-flowing stream could be a habitable environment. “It is not our top choice as an environment for preservation of organics, though,” Grotzinger said in NASA’s news release. “We’re still going to Mount Sharp, but this is insurance that we have already found our first potentially habitable environment.”

Even if the rover’s instruments detect the right kinds of carbon compounds, that would not serve as confirmation of ancient life on Mars. That would “have to wait for another mission,” Grotzinger said.

P0rn Specific Search Engine Scours Only .XXX Sites

The company behind .xxx domains has just launched a search engine (search.xxx) to scour the 21,000,000+ pages of tits and wieners contained in .xxx websites. It’s supposed to streamline the process of finding just the right (read: very, VERY wrong) kind of stuff you’re looking for. Personally, I still use AskJeeves, but that’s just me and he’s my loyal manservant and promised to never divulge any my secrets. “Puppet p0rn.” *backhanding* DAMMIT, JEEVES. You’re sleeping in the cellar tonight.

Stuart Lawley, the CEO of the group which operates the .xxx domain says the search engine is all about porn:
“It’s porn, only porn, all porn. There’s as much porn there as anyone would need, I’d imagine.”

Lawley says the search engine wil protect user privacy so your weird fetish searches don’t pop up in everyday, innocuous searching and wants the search engine to be clean, fast and to the point. In his words, the porn search engine will “have no ads, no videos, nothing on the search engine itself”, so that people can take their time and not worry about being bombarded with camgirl ads in finding their source material.

LOL @ “There’s as much porn there as anyone would need, I’d imagine.” Oh Stuart, what little you know. My roommate starts collecting porn from the moment he wakes up and doesn’t stop until long after I’ve gone to bed. He’ll NEVER have enough. He’ll also never have a girlfriend. “Porn addict?” No, just really f***ing ugly.

Thanks to Ritz, who searches for p0rn the old fashioned way: with Alta Vista. Alta Vista! You’re not gonna find anything but old people doing it!

 

How to Get Paid for iTunes Tweets

Savvy use of the iTunes affiliate program means you can turn your music tweets into cash.

For those who haven’t noticed, the web version of Twitter includes an embedded iTunes app, of sorts. Tweeting an iTunes album link creates a “view album” option, which appears near the retweet and favorite buttons at the bottom of a tweet, if you’re looking at it on Twitter.com.

If you (or your band or business or whatever) tweet links to music, your followers can easily stream previews of the songs straight from the page, and click on the iTunes button to buy it.

Apple has an affiliate program for iTunes that lets you earn commissions by posting links to not only the music, but also the apps in iTunes. If someone clicks your link and purchases that content within 72 hours, you will earn a 4 percent to 5 percent commission on “all qualifying revenue generated by affiliate coded links.”

Twitter itself has taken advantage of Apple’s affiliate program by adding affiliate ID to links to the iTunes music and apps — but only in the preview pane pictured to below, and only when people click through from Twitter.com.

Screengrab: Evolver.fm

That means that you, your band, your brand or whatever, can, just like Twitter, get paid by tweeting links to iTunes stuff. Maybe it’s not the best way to get rich fast, but all those cents will eventually add up, and your tweets about that new album you have on repeat, or that app you can’t stop using, could end up making you some real money. Besides, if you make music that’s for sale on iTunes, you’ll get 40 cents per sale instead of the usual 35.

First, join Apple’s Affiliate Program. Then simply tweet links to iTunes stuff using your affiliate ID (Apple explains how to do this), using whatever you normally use to tweet (in other words, you don’t have to use the web version). Established artists can promote friends’ albums or express their personal musical tastes, while up-and-comers could make a little extra cash from their promotions.

There is a slight catch: If your followers access your tweets on Twitter.com and use the iTunes preview pane rather than the link in the body of your tweet, their purchase will pay Twitter instead of you.

This could also be interesting for fans, because anyone can sign up for the affiliate program, becoming part of a de facto street team, getting paid to promote stuff on Twitter. Normally, devoted fans promote their favorite bands even without getting paid — but if you’re doing it anyway, why not sign up to be an affiliate? You could stand to earn a few extra bucks from your next tweet.

Doctor Who Dalek Projector Alarm Clock In Stock

Hot off the truck in the Nerd Approved Shop—the Doctor Who Dalek Projector Alarm Clock!

The iconic Dalek from Doctor Who will get you going to start your day! Sleep, wake up, and exterminate with this 8 1/4-inch tall Doctor Who Dalek Alarm Clock. It projects the time digitally and shouts “Exterminate!” to get you out of bed. That ought to do it!

Buddhist Statue Retrieved by Nazis is Actually From Space, Says Scientists

Prepare for the conspiracy theories, because here’s today’s most improbable story: Scientists have confirmed that a Buddhist statue, known as the “iron man,” obtained by Nazis from Tibet is actually from space. Specifically, the thing was likely made from a massive chunk of the Chinga meteorite that deposited itself across the border of Russia and Mongolia somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago.

Nature explains that those carving the thing likely knew what material they were using:

Given the extreme hardness of the meteorite — “basically an inappropriate material for producing sculptures” the paper notes — the artist or artists who created it may have known their material was special, the researchers say. [Elmar] Buchner suggests that it could have been produced by the 11th century Bon culture, but the exact origin and age of the statue — as opposed to the meteorite it is made from — is still unknown.

It was in the late 1930s that the Nazis supposedly stumbled across the relic, and brought it back because it happened to have a swastika in the middle. They might have somehow supposed it was from out of this world, though that’s only speculation. What we do know is that they apparently had good taste.

Growing Its Influence, Klout Gets Strategic Investment From Microsoft — And Serious Bing Integration

Klout hasn’t just defied influential tech pundits, its social reputation scorecard has won them over. Now the sometimes-controversial startup is aiming at search. The startup has just signed a strategic investment and partnership with Microsoft that, on top of new funding, will create a product and business relationship with the Bing team.

You’ll begin seeing Klout scores — the combined measure of a person’s influence across Twitter, Facebook and other social networks — show up in the search engine today. The initial implementation will show Klout scores for friends in the “People Who Know” section of the right-hand column, alongside other third parties already in there, including Twitter and Quora. Search for a hot topic like “Facebook advertising”, you’ll see people with socially-proven expertise showing up. Mouse over an expert’s name, and their Klout score will appear, along with their Klout-determined areas of expertise.

Meanwhile, search data in Bing will now begin contributing to Klout rankings.

For now, experts will get a boost in Klout whenever they show up in “People Who Know” for queries. But raw search data will also become part of the mix. ”Let’s say you write an article,” Klout chief executive Joe Fernandez explains, “and that article appears when somebody does a search, then the user clicks through. We’ll associate that click with your [Klout] name.”

Klout users who have Wikipedia entries associated with their accounts will also get Klout boosts for the number of times that those entries show up and get clicked on in search results.

For Microsoft, this is another move to define itself as the “open search platform” — a term that Bing corporate vice president Derrick Connell used repeatedly during my briefing call today. As with the Facebook, Twitter, Quora and even Google+ integrations, Klout helps position Microsoft as the more open and socially-attuned alternative to Google’s still-dominant search product.

The deal today isn’t exclusive for either party, both sides confirmed with me, so maybe we’ll see Klout start becoming a factor in Google rankings. But so far the search giant has appeared more focused on using Google+ data to power social relevance in rankings.

Klout, meanwhile, gets traffic and brand marketing from yet another big name, and money (both funding and revenue). I don’t have the exact terms, but this type of relationship reminds me of Microsoft’s now-legendary strategic investment/partnership with Facebook back in 2007.

Speaking of Facebook, founder Mark Zuckerberg has recently started talking about expanding his company’s own efforts in search. But both Bing and Klout use Facebook as a core way for determining relevancy in their services (you’ll even have to sign in with Facebook to get access to the Klout integration). I have to wonder if there’s any friction emerging here between the companies? Anyway, for now, this looks like a mutually beneficial win for all parties versus their shared enemy.

Klout measures influence based on the ability to drive action across the social web. Any person can connect their social network accounts and Klout will generate a score on a scale of 1-100 that represents their ability to engage other people and inspire social actions. Klout enables everyone to gain insights that help them better understand how they influence others. Klout also provides people with opportunities to shape and be recognized for their influence.