Vint Cerf Plugs His Plucky Space Web Protocol Into Android

Google evangelist Vint Cerf, who many people think of as one of the fathers of the Internet, has his eyes on some interesting Earth-based applications that can work with his long-standing interplanetary extensions of the Net. He announced at the Open Mobile Summit this morning a software stack that sits on top of the open-source Android operating system that could strengthen wireless network communications through his DTN (Delay Tolerant Netorking) Interplanetary Net protocol.
Cerf has been working with NASA since 1998 to develop DTN as a way to overcome limitations in the TCP/IP protocol when fast, one-to-one communications aren’t possible, especially over long distances. NASA has already show DTN to be effective for communications between Earth-based networks and outposts in deep space.  Can the protocol greatly increase the coverage and service reliability of our mobile networks and devices? Read More about Vint Cerf Plugs His Plucky Space Web Protocol Into Android

Weekly App Store Picks: October 31, 2009

As another week passes, the seams of Apple’s App Store have been stretched even further with a deluge of new releases. Digging through the latest apps, I’ve selected four fresh picks for you to check out.

It’s Halloween and so my top pick for this week is Alive 4-ever, a top-down zombie shooter with plenty of guts and gore to go around. I’ve also been checking out TowerMadness Zero, NASA and WordPress 2.

Alive 4-ever ($1.79)

appicon_alive_4everAs it’s Halloween, I thought that at least one of my top picks this week should be themed for the occasion. Despite the clumsy sounding name, Alive 4-Ever is a surprisingly polished top-down shooter. The plot is simple and disgustingly cliché: for whatever reason, a zombie apocalypse happens, you take to the streets to rescue other survivors.

The game takes its inspiration from some of the best zombie titles out there, including Resident Evil and Left 4 Dead. There’s a battalion’s worth of weaponry on offer, including zombie-slaying classics like the AK-47. Plus, if you’re after more firepower you’re able to purchase bigger, stronger, faster guns in the shop after each level.

There’s also a Bluetooth multiplayer mode, allowing you to jump into the action with three other friends. Alongside guns, zombies and survivors, the game throws in experience points too. Completing a stage earns experience points, these precious points go towards upgrading your character. In effect, you’re able to become the ultimate undead-destroying warrior.
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App Review: The Void — Where No iPhone Has Gone Before

title=The Void

An epic RPG has arrived on the iPhone, featuring battles, leveling up, upgradeable weapons and online features. Forget goblins and warlocks though, The Void takes the adventure to the final frontier.

The gaming section of the App Store has been subject to a serious cute overdose as of late, with Rolando, Topple and even Zombieville USA leading the colorful pack. Now it’s time for everything to get a little darker — a little more Star Wars Episode II — with the release of The Void.
Beaming down to the App Store, The Void is an RPG that aims to blend traditional leveling up with Asteroid-esque space combat. Read More about App Review: The Void — Where No iPhone Has Gone Before

Relocating Web Worker? Here’s What You Need to Consider

I’m not a big fan of moving, but I tend to do it a lot. Once a year is a rare treat, and generally it’s much more frequent than that.
Since I’m preparing for a move once again, and I’ve actually become much more aware of what it is I do and do not like about the places I’ve called my home office in the past, I thought I’d share a few tips for what to look for if you’re searching for a better space to work.

Turkey Preparation, Space Coffee: NTV Station Today

On the one hand, this video from CollectSpace demonstrating how an astronaut can drink from a cup while in space, is a really cool display of the principles of surface tension and fuel tank design. On the other hand, how much money was spent developing a space cup when juice boxes do the same job anywhere?

And are you planning on cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving this year? Have you got your turkey strategy in place yet? No worries if you haven’t, because today Craig Rubens has collated a slew of turkey preparation ideas from the depths of online video. Check out what makes a great cooking video, and get some ideas for Thursday’s feast, at NewTeeVee Station.

Creating Your Own Web Working Space

A web worker’s office is her most important tool.  Arranging it should be given more care and importance than setting up one’s LinkedIn profile.  In my four years of web work, I can’t say that I’ve achieved the perfect office yet, but I already know what I have to do to get there.  If I could, I would go back in time to implement the following things so I could get a better start with my home office setup.

Spend time looking for a great chair. One thing we have in common with office-bound workers is the need for a good chair.  Without it, we’re prone to back aches and hours of working in pain or discomfort.

Alternatively, some people prefer to sit on uncomfortable chairs or even work standing up.  Having uncomfortable seating sometimes forces people to work faster and more efficiently.  But if you prefer a more contemplative style of working, you should focus on looking for a comfortable chair.

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xslimmer.jpg Hard disk space can be extremely valuable, especially for notebook owners. I find myself constantly auditing the contents of my disk, usually with tools like GrandPerspective and WhatSize to find the gremlins that are munching on my available space. Of course my Applications folder always pops up as the biggest offender, but there’s nothing I can do about the whopping 4 GB required for stuff like Final Cut Studio 2, right? I mean, every line of code under the hood of Motion is being used isn’t it?
Apparently not. A little app called Xslimmer claims to free up wasted disk space by removing unnecessary code from Universal Binaries that doesn’t fit with your machine’s architecture. It will also remove unneeded languages from various apps (Adium, for example, has over 20 languages according to Xslimmer’s site) to help slim them down and recover your disk space.

How it Works

Xslimmer’s interface is extremely straightforward. You simply drag applications onto Xslimmer and in analyzes each one to see if it can be slimmed. If the app can be slimmed, Xslimmer will display the current size of the app and it’s estimated “slimmed” size. Some applications cannot be slimmed because there is no extra code or languages, or its on Xslimmer’s blacklist (which, as the name implies, are applications that are not allowed to be slimmed for various reasons). For example, most of CS3 sits on the blacklist:
You can add apps one by one or use the “Genie” to scan your entire disk for potentially fat binaries. When you’re ready, click the “Slim!” button and you’ll be prompted with a warning to back up your applications. You can choose to have Xslimmer save backups somewhere locally, so that you can make sure all applications run as expected after slimming and restore them if needed. Restoring is a simple process – just click the “History” button, and click the restore icon in the history dialog.

The Skinny

I was able to save 2.5 GB from 95 applications in less than ten minutes (though I won’t see my real disk savings until I nuke my backups). That beats the heck out of the 100mb or so that it would take me hours to free up by sifting through all my documents that might be scattered across my machine. Even better, your apps will run the same or even faster than they did before slimming (though there are potentially applications that will not run after the slimming process – good thing the backups seem to be sound).
Overall, Xslimmer is extremely intuitive and kind of fun to use, especially when you see some of the notable savings:
Automator: 28.7mb to 2.95mb
Calculator: 13.4mb to 1.59mb
Disk Utility: 32.7mb to 3.88mb
DVD Player: 42.7mb to 6.48mb
iTunes: 129mb to 31.4mb
Preview: 70.1mb to 9.71mb
At $11.95, Xslimmer is a steal. My only real gripe is that you can’t slim Adobe CS3 apps, but I think that’s something to take up with Adobe and not Xslimmer. You can try a demo and save up to 50mb, if you wanna take it for a test drive before you drop the cash. I would strongly suggest that you make sure that all your apps run as expected after slimming though. I haven’t experienced any issues yet, but better safe than sorry.

Friday poll – choose one: integrated WiFi or WWAN

Free polls from
If you could only choose one integrated radio for your mobile computer, which would it be?
WiFi   WWAN (EV-DO or HSDPA)   

I mentioned this yesterday, but the more I think about it, the more I think a poll might be in order. When I had my UMPC cracked open yesterday for some RAM swaps, I was looking at the PCI Express mini slot that holds the wireless chipset. I know that some EV-DO and HSDPA modems use the same PCI Express mini factor and was thinking about which would be more important to me: integrated WiFi or integrated WWAN? Everyone’s needs are different of course, but when I’m out and about, I’m usually not at or near a WiFi hotspot, so I’ll be voting for WWAN. I could live with a smallish USB dongle for WiFi at home if I needed to; having lower bandwidth speeds but increasing connection availability by magnitudes is more appealing to me personally.

Have at it in the voting for a few days and we’ll report back what the mobile consensus was!