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Archive for the ‘Tech News’ Category

Google introduces Transit Layer to Maps

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on January 15, 2009

Montreal is currently the only Canadian city avialable with a Transit Layer

Montreal is currently the only Canadian city avialable with a Transit Layer

Many of you have probably used Google maps over the years and found it’s geographically correct maps pretty handy.  Well they just got a bit handier, especially for those who ride public transit.

Google Maps has added a Transit layer to it’s mapping system that allows users to view transit routes super-imposed over the previously mentioned geographically accurate maps.  The service is available for 50 + cities currently, but Google being Google, I’m sure they’ll add more.

Users and writers across the Internet are saying that while the maps are awesome and neat to look at, they’re a bit more complicated than most Transit maps (which are simplified representations of the transit system). The better you are with maps the more comfortable you’ll be with the new Google feature.

Don’t dispair though!  If you use Google’s Transit site you can have it plan your trip, snag your accompanying maps from Google Maps and be set!

Frankly I think this will be a good add on for Google, though I suspect it won’t be that highly used a feature until more maps are available.  For a full list of cities and links to view thier transit maps visit the Google Maps team blog.  What would really make this feature is full integration with Google Transit.

I’m waiting for a cost effective GPS device that does this same thing.  Input your destination, it picks your starting point and gets you on the right busses etc, alerting you a stop ahead of when you get off that your stop is coming up, AND can be programed to avoid certain routes (if one is blocked for example).

A girl can dream, but maybe it’s something for you to get on Google 😉


Posted in Digital Culture, H/S Reviews, Hardware/Software, Interaction, Tech News, Web News, Web reviews, Websites | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

μTorrent for OS X FINALLY released!

Posted by Rod Leland on November 26, 2008


Just about everyone nowadays is using the Bittorrent protocol for filesharing.  Whether it be to distribute nightly builds of a Linux distro legally, or to “accidentally” obtain software or movies, Bittorrent is arguably the most popular way to share files online.  Client software is an important part of the Bittorrent experience and now one of the best clients out there has finally been released for Mac.  The μTorrent team (well, guy) has taken three years to code the Intel only Beta, but its here, and its awesome.  Download Here:


Posted in Buzz, Digital Culture, Tech News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Please cue Miss Wray

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on November 26, 2008

There isn't a can of bug spray big enough...

The spider rises up like something out of the glory day of Sci-Fi movies

THIS IS NOT A MOVIE STILL!  This is not related to any movie in anyway.  This is a giant walking mechanical spider built by French artists and engineers La Machine, for fun and science!  Hurray for Science!  Thirty hard working men and women built and modeled this mechanical marvel on a real spider and set it loose (with a properly trained and snappily dressed team of 18 to run it) on Liverpool, England.

Sadly, I’ve come across this info too late (thanks Daily Planet) and sadly we cannot all hop aboard the next flight to England to see this marvel.  “La Princesse”, as the spider has been dubbed, roamed around Lime Street Station in Liverpool for five days in September as part of cultural celebrations.  I know, I know, it’s old news but it’s SO COOL.

Here the lower tier full of operators can be seen above the crowd

18 crew members view the crowd from above

Ok, so how is this related to tech?  COME ONE!  Can you IMAGINE the engineering that went in to this thing!  It walks on 8 spindly little legs OVER the crowds without hurting a SOUL!  I’m sorry if I’m gushing, but having engineers and computer science majors for friends has left me with an appreciation for this stuff.

Think about it, this is composed of the same parts that move cranes and bulldozers, lifts garage doors and Zamboni squeegee bits.  That’s like the Mythbusters cobbling a car out of Meccano!  Can you imagine seeing that machine rolling around the streets of San Francisco?  Actually… that sounds like a wicked idea… I think I’m gonna go e-mail that in to M5, but I digress.  The point is, this is an amazing fushion of technical science and art, and I would love to know more about how this beauty was built.

Also, as an explanation of the title for this piece: Fay Wray was the original movie scream queen, and a fellow Albertan.  You probably know her best as the blond in the original King Kong who screams bloody horor as she’s dragged away by the ape.

I’ll stop ranting and raving at you now, and I appologize for the overzelous post but this is the kind of madness-meets-art-meets-science-project thing we need to see more of to really get people interested in funding and paying attention to the Science and Engineering community.

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THEMES (omg!) for Gmail

Posted by Rod Leland on November 19, 2008

Google has just started rolling out a new feature in Gmail Labs that adds Theme support to gmail.  Many add-ons and plugins have added this feature previously and now google themselves have stepped up. For so, so, so many people who use gmail in the browser as an online web-app this is great news.  Hopefully Google will add a feature that allows user-submitted themes as well.  The rollout has already started but google tends to roll things out slowly to balance server load and detect bugs early on.  Check for the Themes tab under settings and if you dont have the setting yet, It should drop soon.   Some Samples Via Google:

Posted in Buzz, Digital Culture, Geekdom, Tech News, Websites | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Is Blizzard Ready For This Expansion?

Posted by Susan on November 12, 2008

Ok! I am totally frusterated!

The World of Warcraft Expansion: Wrath of the Lich King, is less than 24 hours away, and everyone is stoked and totally excited about its launch – however, today blizzard has had all the servers down ALL DAY!

The reason? Something wrong with the in-game mail system. Personally, I am a little skeptical. Many forum pages have individuals claiming that they have already purchased their copy of the expansion, and I wonder if maybe, this was blizzard’s attempt to keep those individuals from playing before the rest of us get to.

I think that is one of the biggest thing about this expansion, it is not suppose to be revealed until tomorrow at midnight – well tonight at midnight. But to hear that individuals in the states have already received their copies….and purchased at a 7-11? Its frustrating considering I pre-ordered my copy months ago.

7-11 purchased game

7-11 purchased game

It seems the Blizzard is trying to make up for the problems associated with the Expansion – not only for the massive delays in the latest patch, to which gameplay was stopped for a day, but also for todays disruption. People have noticed that there are 3 free days of gameplay added to their accounts, and today, free epic gear was made available to individuals from in-game vendors. However, it is not clear if the gear is a bug in the game or something of a peace token from Blizzard – who knows that there were a lot of very irratated gamers today. The forums online exploded, so much so that Blizzard actually shut down their forum page – most likely due to the massive influx of individuals wanting to vent their frusterations about not being able to play – again for the second time this month.

With all these glitches before the Expansion it makes me wonder – how prepared is Blizzard for this expansion? And what further problems can we expect once everyone has it? There are already whispers from the beta testers that there are loading problems with the expansion – I guess I will find out tomorrow.

Posted in Buzz, MMORPGs, Tech News, Video Games | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »