The fastest RC cars in the world

Friday, August 11, 2006

Best time to buy an airplane ticket

From The Consumerist:

Tip #1

Know what a good price is. keeps over 2 years of historical fare information that allows you to quickly see where the current market prices fall. If they are at or near an all time low then this is the perfect time to buy.

Tip #2

Check the price volatility of your city pair. If the prices are bouncing around by $100 or more a few times a month or more, make sure you buy on a down swing. shows a 30 day history bar chart so you can quickly check volatility.

Tip #3

Know when the best time to buy was LAST year. shows a 1 year history graph where you can easily see what happened historically. That doesn't mean it will happen this year but it is part of a "savvy" air travel shoppers arsenal.

Tip #4

Know the price trend for your city pair. If the prices are trending up because of airline increases related to fuel or heavy demand and there is short supply it still may be a good time to buy even if the price is not near an all time low.

Tip #5

Sign up for an email early alert system like ours at that tells you exactly when prices have significantly changed. When seats are limited the people that are first to know have first crack.

Tip #6

Last minute is useful for those with flexibility and daring. There are occasions in certain city pairs where a last minute purchase can be a super deal. These are great for those with ultimate flexibility and who can pick up and go at a moments notice. These are daring for those that are planning to attend a family reunion…

Tip #7

The business and leisure price break point is normally 14 days advance purchase (sometimes 21). As all business travelers know you are not likely to get a good price inside of 14 days.

Most people stumble upon a good deal. The volume of air travel shopping queries each minute is staggering and some of those queries hit the jackpot. You don't have to happen upon a good deal.

When you have quickly and easily researched all aspects of your purchase and click the "do it" button with the confidence that you are making the most informed decision.

Rick Seaney

Backlit Keyboard: Saitek Eclipse II Keyboard

From Extremetech:

Final Thoughts

Keyboards are so utilitarian that it sometimes seems ridiculous to get excited over one because of its appearance. Well, we have to say that we like the Eclipse a whole lot, not only because of its stylish design and backlit keys, but also because of its sturdy feel and comfortable keys. The Eclipse II scores top marks in both form and function.

The Eclipse won't embarrass your desktop, but enhance it instead. We would have preferred a straight edged design so that it can be docked against certain peripherals, however, but most of us don't have to worry about that.

The Eclipse is offered for $69.99. That's pretty pricy for a keyboard, but the Eclipse may very well be worth it. Call us crazy for recommending it, but its tough material and cool look are something that blows other keyboards out of the water. You can't go wrong either. If you get tired of looking at its backlit keys, you can easily turn it off and still have a strong and comfortable keyboard to work with.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang Shelby GT, and Lincoln MKS will all see production

From Automobilemag:
Chevrolet is finally done prolonging the inevitable. The Camaro concept we’ve all been drooling over for the past eight was confirmed as a production model during an announcement on August 10, 2006. The car will go on sale in early 2009, and is promised to be "almost identical" to the concept. A slap in the Ford Mustang's face, the Camaro will feature independent rear suspension. No other details were announced, but with this car, the only detail we wanted was the "yes."

Meanwhile, Detroit has a few other reasons to get excited this week. At a conference in Traverse City, Michigan, Ford gave two products the green light. The first is the Ford Shelby GT, shown here in white. This mean, 325-horsepower pony car is meant to fill the gap between the regular Mustang GT and the 500-horsepower, supercharged, Shelby GT500. While it is, in ever other way, a retail version of the Shelby GT-H Hertz rental car, the GT will be available with a 6-speed manual transmission. The rental version is offered only with an automatic for the sake of Hertz’s clutch supply. It will go on sale in January.

Ford also announced that the Lincoln MKS flagship will go on sale in 2008. The car was previewed by a concept of the same name at the 2008 Detroit auto show, and will replace the prehistoric Town Car. No specific powertrain or pricing details were made, but Ford promises that the MKS will be “packed with more technology and features than any Lincoln before it,” including the company’s new capless fuel-filler technology.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

HD DVD for the Xbox 360

From Cnet:
The new hardware is expected to be offered to consumers in time for the holidays. An HD DVD drive built for the Xbox 360 sits atop the game console. Microsoft isn't saying how much it will charge for the external drive, which is scheduled to go on sale during the holiday season. Microsoft's HD DVD drive for the Xbox could be one of the least expensive HD DVD players on the market, according to Collins. Unlike DVDs, HD DVDs allow users to watch two video clips simultaneously.

TV ads dropping in relevance

From ArsTechnica:
A research report from consulting firm McKinsey says that TV advertising isn't as important as it once was, and is destined to go deeper into irrelevance with each passing year. The report, released to the company's major clients this week, largely blames changing consumer habits for the rather stunning drop in advertising efficiency it reports.

So what will it take to reverse this sea change in the advertising market? Well for one, it may not be reversible at all. TV as we know it seems to be fading into obscurity, albeit very slowly. The rise of DVRs and video-on-demand only serves to accelerate that shift in consumer expectations. Soon, we'll all be addicted to the "anything, anywhere, anytime" model of entertainment delivery, and time-shifting ads into oblivion.

The next step might be to pull us in with interactive features—my cable company already lets me vote in Last Comic Standing using my remote, and is slated to start an interactive channel powered by ReacTV technology sometime this month. I'd be surprised if this isn't merely the first baby step into a much more interactive TV-viewing experience in years to come.

Online advertising experts might be able to help out, as well. Google is bent on powering TV ads in the future, and Yahoo can't be many steps behind. The TV advertising market is worth nearly $70 billion today, and that will likely never drop to zero—as long as you're willing to adjust your definition of "television."

AMD not eliminating ATI brand, reports false

From ArsTechnica:
AMD is now responding to the story, saying "AMD has no plans to drop the ATi brand name or ATi's product brands. The ATi name will live on at AMD as our leading consumer brand, and so will the Radeon brand and other ATi product brands. AMD's executive management knows very well the power and value of branding, and ATi's branding is some of the most valued in the global technology industry."

The ATI brand isn't going anywhere.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ford to Build Shelby GT-H for Retail Sale

Automotive News reports Ford will sell a version of the Shelby GT-H Mustang Rent-a-Racer at dealerships, confirming a longstanding rumor that's been exchanged among sauced journos since the rental was unveiled at the New York auto show last April. According to the paper, FoMoCo prez Mark Fields will outline the plan at this week's automotive management seminars in Traverse City, where GM's Rick Wagoner will announce the coming Camaro. The 325-hp horse will be a 2007 model, dubbed Shelby GT, available in white or black with silver stripes -- unlike the gold-on-black livery of the Hertz cars -- and will be finished at Carroll Shelby's Las Vegas shop, with volume in the few-thousand range, according to a source from Ford. The new model will be the subject of the next installment of Ford's "Bold Moves" documentary -- playing itself, natch. Ford execs also told dealers the company was building production versions of its Fairlane and Lincoln MKS concepts in 2008.

Hammer's H2X-40 Shotgun-Turret System

HAMMER H2X-40 Turret System

Video: Make water drops stand still, slow down, reverse.

It all started when my friend Jesse told me that if you get a strobe light fast enough, you can make it look like dripping water is going in slow motion or even backwards. This phenomenon happens because strobe lights can 'capture' an instant in time and allow your eyes to see it as lasting longer than an instant.

So if the strobe light captures consecutive instants of time just out of sync with a periodic occurrence such as dripping water from a faucet, it can appear that the drops are moving slowly or even backwards.

Monday, August 07, 2006

GeForce 7950GX2 in Quad-SLI not that great

From Toms Hardware:
GeForce 7950GX2 in Quad-SLI leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths. The cost is great and the results are less than desired, whether you buy from a system builder or do it yourself with these new beta drivers. The results show that two graphics processors in a single GeForce 7950X2 can beat the four of Quad.

For now, Quad-SLI in your system is a status symbol. When a single Radeon X1900XTX or GeForce 7900GTX does as well as each did in the tests, we think Quad is a little too immature, at least for the time being. Perhaps Nvidia was too hasty getting this to market before the kinks could be worked out. ATI seems poised to launch another card shortly, and this foreknowledge casts doubts on what Quad can do. Only time will tell what will happen to Quad SLI, but right now, what I see does not make me feel that I need to have it.

AMD to drop ATi brand

From PcPro:
Chip guru AMD has announced that it's going to drop the ATi brand name following its takeover of the Canadian graphics underdog.

AOL Releases Search Logs from 500,000 Users

The data includes all searches from those users for a three month period this year, as well as whether they clicked on a result, what that result was and where it appeared on the result page. It’s a 439 MB compressed download, expanded to just over 2 gigs.

The utter stupidity of this is staggering. AOL has released very private data about its users without their permission. While the AOL username has been changed to a random ID number, the abilitiy to analyze all searches by a single user will often lead people to easily determine who the user is, and what they are up to. The data includes personal names, addresses, social security numbers and everything else someone might type into a search box.

The most serious problem is the fact that many people often search on their own name, or those of their friends and family, to see what information is available about them on the net. Combine these ego searches with porn queries and you have a serious embarrassment. Combine them with “buy ecstasy” and you have evidence of a crime. Combine it with an address, social security number, etc., and you have an identity theft waiting to happen. The possibilities are endless.

F-22 Raptor is go for launch

Fort Worth Star Telegram 08/06/2006
Author: Dave Montgomery
Copyright 2006

MARIETTA, Ga. -- The Government Accountability Office calls it a "case study" in cost overruns and schedule delays. But to the workers who make it and the pilots who fly it, the F-22 Raptor is more than ready to make its debut as a war fighter, although lawmakers continue to skirmish over its $130 million price tag.

Here at a cavernous plant not far from downtown Atlanta, Lockheed Martin workers churn out two Raptors a month along an assembly line stretching nearly half a mile. Model 083 will nose its way out by mid-August, joining a steadily expanding Raptor fleet now spread across four bases.

The Air Force envisions at least seven squadrons of 18 to 20 Raptors and has taken possession of 76 fighters. Future squadrons will be based at Elmendorf near Anchorage and Hickam in Hawaii to bolster U.S. security in the Pacific against potential threats from China and North Korea.

"We're ready now," said Lt. Col. Wade "Troll" Tolliver, commander of an F-22 squadron at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. "If the call and flag went up today, they could call us tomorrow, and we could deploy to anywhere in the world."

Built by Lockheed Martin and Boeing, the stealthy twin-engine warplane is widely portrayed as the hottest fighter in the world. It can "super-cruise" at one and a half times the speed of sound without gas-guzzling afterburners, reach a top speed of 1,500 mph and sniff out enemy airplanes long before being detected.

The Air Force considers it a top priority along with Lockheed's F-35 Lightning II, which is still in development. It hopes to acquire at least 381 Raptors -- far more than the current production cap of 183. Under the Pentagon's plans, production will end in 2011, but congressional supporters, echoing the wishes of the Air Force brass, hope to keep the assembly line open for at least a few more years.

The $65 billion Raptor program is also a mainstay for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, headquartered in west Fort Worth. More than 1,600 workers in Fort Worth build the midfuselage while Boeing workers in Seattle build the tail and rear section. The aircraft is assembled at Lockheed Martin's Marietta plant, where more than 2,000 are assigned to the F-22.

Since its inception in 1986, the Raptor has been plagued by design problems, delays and cost overruns, forcing the government to steadily shrink the planned purchase, originally projected at more than 700 models. Developmental costs increased 109 percent over a 19-year period, according to a report last month by the Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigating arm.

"The program has been a case study in cost increases and schedule inefficiency in major weapon system acquisitions," said David Walker, the U.S. comptroller general, who heads the office.

Walker testified last month at a Senate subcommittee hearing headed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who is critical of the F-22's rising costs. McCain and Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner, R-Va., oppose a plan that would fund the F-22 on a multiyear basis, saying it would limit year-by-year scrutiny of the program.

"It's always been behind schedule and over cost," McCain told the Star-Telegram last week, "but we always hope for the best."

The funding battle escalated after disclosures that the head of a think tank that projected a $225 million savings from multiyear funding serves on the board of an F-22 subcontractor. Retired Adm. Dennis Blair, president of the Institute for Defense Analyses, denied doing anything improper and said he had no direct involvement in the study.

Both the House and Senate have endorsed multiyear funding, but the issue can resurface when congressinal negotiators meet next month to resolve differences over defense spending.

Although the warplane has been a perpetual target of budget hawks and government watchdog groups, the Raptor has substantial support in Congress -- in part because hundreds of suppliers and contractors for the program are located in all but a handful of states.

Now, as the F-22 takes its place as the newcomer in an otherwise aging fleet of Air Force fighters, its boosters hope to close the door on the aircraft's troubled past.

"The F-22 program is not about looking back; it's about looking forward and at what the future holds," said Lockheed F-22 spokesman Joe Quimby, predicting that the F-22 "will be relevant for 40 years."

Initially planned as a super-hot dogfighter to replace the F-15, the Raptor has since been modified to attack targets on the ground as well as confront aircraft. There has also been talk of a two-seat bomber as the Pentagon moves toward developing a new long-range bomber by 2018.

The Air Force plans to assign two squadrons at Elmendorf and another at Hickam as part of a Pacific strategy to counter China's growing military buildup. The first of 36 planes destined for Elmendorf will begin arriving next summer, Gen. Paul Hester, commander of the U.S. Air Force in the Pacific, told reporters last week.

"What they want to do with the plane is to try to encourage the Chinese to continue to think about being an economic partner with America and not just think about being a military competitor," said John Pike, director of, a military research Web site.

Pike said that it is unlikely that the Air Force would dispatch F-22s to Iraq, where F-15s and F-16s are used to attack ground targets.

Its central mission, he said, would be to take out enemy air forces and demonstrate its "kick-down-the-door capability" on the first day of the conflict.

Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va., said potential adversaries are now buying warplanes superior to the U.S.'s F-16s and F-15s.

China is increasingly manufacturing its own version of Russia's Sukoi fighters.

In addition to confronting a threat from the air, F-22s have also been equipped with sophisticated software and sensors and can be used to take out surface-to-air missile sites that have sprung up in hostile countries around the globe.

Tolliver, who commands the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley, said F-22s performed in their first major war games in June, traveling 3,200 miles from Virginia to participate in Exercise Northern Edge in Alaska. Within a week, he said, Raptors scored 144 kills and sustained no losses.

"Every day, this jet just gets better and better," he said. "The more we fly it, the more we learn."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Google, MTV ink ad-backed video deal

From ZDnet:
Viacom's MTV Networks has agreed to distribute clips from its cable networks over Google's advertising network, in a test of what could become a new economic model for Web-based video delivery, the companies said Sunday.

The project, a year in the making, marks the first time Google will distribute ad-supported videos across its AdSense network from a major programming provider. The ad-supported video distribution project will begin testing later in August.

Shows including Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants" and MTV's "Laguna Beach" would be offered to Web sites who are in Google's AdSense network, supported by advertising. Web site owners can embed an MTV-branded video box directly on their Web sites, which will feature ads sold by MTV's sales force.

Every lock is uselss

More info in PDF.