Cancelled Soap Operas “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” Gain a New Life in Cyberspace

all my children canceledThis one’s for you, Mom Winking smile

In a soap opera-like twist, those long running midday dramas you thought were dead (Dramatic Music) …are still alive! The unoriginally named The Online Network in conjunction with ProspectPark announced in a press release that the both All My Children (1970-2011) and One Life to Live (1968-2012) will resume crafting stories of incestuous love triangles and improbable murder mysteries starting February 2013. After production ramps up, new episodes will be made available every weekday on Hulu, Hulu Plus, and iTunes.

"We are pleased to confirm that Prospect Park is reviving the beloved soap operas, All My Children and One Life To Live as the anchor programs on The Online Network (TOLN). Today we are also pleased to confirm that Prospect Park has: 1) signed guild agreements with both SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and the DGA (Directors Guild of America); 2) entered into a consulting agreement with Agnes Nixon the creator of All My Children and One Life to Live guaranteeing her active involvement; 3) hired Foz McDermott (coordinating producer Heroes) as TOLN's head of production, Jennifer Pepperman (Director, One Life to Live) as Executive Producer on One Life to Live, and Ginger Smith (Producer, All My Children) as Executive Producer on All My Children; and 4) arranged the necessary financing to begin production in February on both All My Children and One Life To Live.

We thank the loyal audience and new generation of fans of both shows who have demonstrated that passion and exciting story lines are not just reserved for traditional television. Their enduring support encouraged us to move forward each and every day. We look forward to sharing more details including our launch air date and additional specifics in the coming weeks.”

While the production crew is onboard, there has been no word on casting. Fans are encouraged to sign up for the latest information at the mysteriously spartan www.TheOnlineNetwork.com.

Behind the Blog SE: Oh Yes, There Will be Spammers

spam driveZe spam… She just won’t stop!

Boy do I have a whole lot of lemons to contend with by allowing folks to post anonymous comments. Please allow me to pour you a tall glass of lemonade and have a brief chuckle over the absolutely insane stuff that dominates my mailbox every morning. These are actual, unmodified comments. Only the links have been removed to protect anyone dumb enough to click them.

This first one comes from part one of our massive four part gamer gift guide from 2011. Also note that this was just posted yesterday.

“Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice at the same time as you
amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a weblog web site?
The account aided me a appropriate deal. I had been a

little bit familiar of this your broadcast provided shiny

transparent concept

Feel free to visit my web page: (redacted spammer link)”

Ah, if only I could be so inspired as to create a shiny transparent concept every day!

Dare Ye Slide To Unlock This Russian Monument to Steve Jobs

The St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics unveiled this super-sized iPhone replica in Russia this month to honor Steve Jobs, the man who revolutionized computing twice: Once for our homes and again for our pocket. The monument's screen shows a timeline of Jobs' accomplishments as well as the history of Apple Computers. On the back of the monument is a QR code that will take users to an online tribute to the beloved inventor and CEO.

Source: RIA NOVOSTI

Linux Powered Hunting Rifle Makes Anyone a Perfect Shot

Texas based TrackingPoint revealed their innovation poised to change the world of marksmen everywhere at CES this year: The XactSystem line of computerized firearms. Featuring a video scope and running on the Linux operating system, the XactSystem functions similarly to the HUD system in modern fighter jets. Not your traditional point-n-shoot, TrackingPoint's rifles require the user to identify the intended target using a mark button on the weapon. This displays a 'lock on' style marker over the intended target. The shooter then presses and holds the trigger down. This creates an additional indicator on the scope's video display showing where the gun in pointed. Line up the the two aiming indicators and the weapon fires automatically while accounting for distance, lead, temperature, bullet drop, and more. TrackingPoint's system in effective out to a whopping 1,200 yards.

NASA To Join ESA To Study The Dark Side Of The Universe | Out Of This World Weekly

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Euclid mission is designed for launch in 2020 to study some of the least understood aspects of our universe.  Dark Energy and Dark Matter comprise 95% of the universe that we live in, yet very little is known about either one of these things.  Dark Energy makes of about 70% of the universe and is thought to be the major reason that all space everywhere is pushing all the rest of the space away from it, causing an expanding universe.  Dark Matter,  totaling about 25% of the universe is thought to be key to understanding why galaxies form and move the way that they do and how galaxy clusters plus even larger filaments formed after the big bang are able to keep their formations.  Now NASA wants to join in on this mission to explore the universe by contributing about 20 special detectors that are to be used on the Euclid satellite.  NASA will also be adding 40 new members to the Euclid team in addition to the 14 scientists already supporting the mission by developing instruments, managing operations and going over the collected data. 

Military Grade Non-Lethal Weaponry | Weekend Watchlist

Green-LasersBecause killing your enemy is SOOO 20th century! Crowd control and civilian pacification have always been big problems for peacekeeping forces. Too little force and you'll be overrun. Too much force and you’ve just created a mob of martyrs or international incident. So what’s a modern military to do? Build new weapons to stop, but not drop, the opposition! We’re not talking old school rubber bullets and beanbags here. We’re talking state of the art, sci-fi class weaponry that can stop fools at the push of a button. Come with us now as Weekend Watchlist takes a gander at the latest advances in non-lethal weaponry, some of which are already deployed for use in the world today.

Let’s start out with a weapon that really stinks. The vortex ring gun fires compressed doughnuts of air at the target. Since messing up someone’s hair isn’t very likely to stop a crazed killer, the air blasts are infused with a chemical incapacity agent such as tear gas, pepper spray or malodorant. vortex ring guns are in development in all sizes ranging from hand carried rifles to vehicle mounted fart cannons.

An additional benefit of vortex ring weapons research is that it may prove useful for firefighters of the future to clear smoke choked hallways.

1980s Dungeons and Dragons Books Return in Digital Form

Current stewards of DnD, Wizards of the Coast, have announced that the "first of many waves of classic content" have been released at DNDClassics.com, a joint venture with DriveThruRPG. Announced at GenCon last year, Wizards has been hard at work scanning all those vintage role playing tomes into convenient, space saving PDF files for preservation and resale.

A look at the top 5 sellers in the first few days of release is exactly what you'd expect. Old fogeys fond of plastic polyhedrals should brace themselves for a warm wave of nostalgia!

D&D Basic Set Rulebook (yep, the one from the 1981 red box)
T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil
B2 The Keep on the Borderlands
G1-3 Against the Giants
D3 Vault of the Drow

All of these old fiends and more are available for about $5 to $10 at DND Classics.com

Microsoft Research Center Robbed of Apple iPads

From Read Write Mobile:

xbox28“Seriously, this must hurt. Someone raided Microsoft's Silicon Valley Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., and stole five iPads, but left all the Microsoft stuff just sitting there. This happened over the Christmas break. Not a big deal, as these things go. The iPads were worth about $3,000 in total. But still, not a great publicity coup. The news showed up first in a local Palo Alto paper, The Daily Post, after Microsoft reported the theft to police. (They might be wishing they hadn't done that.) Some people thought it might be a hoax, but apparently it's true. Wow.”

Original Pirate Bay Server Becomes Museum Display

tpb-server2It has been nearly ten years since file sharing site The Pirate Bay debuted on the Internet. In that decade the legendary site has played host for millions of users sharing files ranging from leaked corporate documents to mainstream movies to music from indie artists seeking an audience. Utilizing the BitTorrent protocol, it allows anyone to share anything on any connection without the need for expensive infrastructure and bandwidth. It has sparked debate on the nature and reach of copyright holders and turned file sharing into a cultural and political phenomenon. It has changed the very nature of entertainment by showing media companies that the public was ready to adopt the Internet as a means of content delivery, whether they liked it or not. It has brought every culture in the world to every individual in the world. Love it or loathe it, it is impossible not to consider The Pirate Bay, still amongst the top 100 most visited web sites globally, one of the most important and fascinating phenomenons of the early 21st century.

Today, The Pirate Bay is kept afloat by 17 virtual systems simulated in data centers around the world. However, in September of 2003, long before anyone would dream of what the humble little site would represent, The Pirate Bay connected We The Online People via one mini-tower stuffed under a bed. Today that original PC had been indoctrinated into The Computer Museum in Link√∂ping, Sweden where it will reside on permanent display as part of the museum’s 50 Years of File Sharing display. This original hardware that powered The Pirate Bay for its first two years remains intact but for the side case’s metal side panel, now replaced with a transparent one allowing visitors to see inside. The new panel bears the familiar Pirate Bay logo and the following message:

“Stockholm, in the year of 2004. In the home of Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, at his parent’s place, this ordinary computer is running day and night. With a special software and a standard broadband connection this machine was the beginning for one of the most loved, hated and debated phenomena in modern time – the file-sharing site The Pirate Bay.”

“In less than ten years The Pirate Bay has become a contemporary historical phenomenon, due to its distinguished position in the file-sharing debate. The discussions that have sprung from this simple computer server concerns serious subjects as freedom of speech, global democracy and of course the sole existence of copyright.”

“Support groups and political parties have gathered around the now well-known banner of The Pirate Bay. Together they stand in the center of a cultural revolution. A revolution that begun in a dark grey metal box under a bed.”

Source: TorrentFreak

Twitter Controlled Cockroach is So Very Wrong

Think Java’s got bugs? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

TwitterRoach1_Ransom_610x322

Meet Twitter Roach, an evolution of the RoboRoach concept that adds an Arduino processor and WiFi antenna to allow you favorite creepy-crawly to take orders from random folks via Twitter messages. Strapping a tiny, techy backpack onto the roach, the system allows one order from the @TweetRoach account every thirty seconds to boss the bug around using hashtag commands such as "#TweetRoachLeft" and #TweetRoachRight". Upon receiving the order, the system “stimulates” the insect’s antennae to trick it into moving.

This bizarre project was created by Brittany Ransom and displayed at the Life, In Some Form art exhibition hosted by The Chicago Artists Coalition. Ransom justifies the project to CNet as science stating "At what point does its intelligence and ability take over? How much does it take before we are all desensitized to overstimulation? As we, as human beings, grow more cyborgian and interconnected through social media, this project helps us participate in discovering the answer."

New Inflatable Addition For I.S.S. | Out Of This World Weekly

Bigelow Aerospace has signed an agreement with NASA to launch an add on to the International Space Station.  This additional segment for the space station, known as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), will be about 13 feet long and 10.5 feet in diameter allowing for additional space for astronauts to utilize.  This additional segment will cost only $17.8 million, which is extremely low in comparison to the hundreds of millions of dollars that other I.S.S. segments cost.  While this particular segment is being launched primarily for testing and proving this technology to be rated for human usage, Bigelow Aerospace has launched several other inflatable habitats in the past.  While these segments were not attached to the I.S.S., they all did successfully prove the technology of usable inflatable space structures. 

Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 | Weekend Watchlist

samsung-ces-2013-oled-television-0This year’s CES has come and gone leaving us with dreams of the new definition of ‘state of the art’. Join us as we wander the virtual show floor of this gadget filled wonderland from the flu-free safety of your favorite web browser as we dream of the technological doo-dads that may be coming your way in the next year.

Before we get on to the goodies sure to be making your credit cards scream for mercy in the coming years, let’s get a lay of the land. Here’s CNet’s Brian Tong with a walkthrough of both the show and the tech needed to live stream this event to the world.

This Star Wars Tauntaun Snow Sculpture Won’t Keep Anyone Warm

It’s getting’ cold out there! Perfect time to go play in the snow! Lemme tell ya, no one plays in the snow quite like Miguel Valenzuela. Check out his amazing recreation of a tauntaun from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

For step-by-step directions on creating your own frozen fantasy mount check out Miguel’s Makermig blog.


 

This Robot Pukes in the Name of Science

vomiting larryIn order to better study the spread of noroviruses (AKA the winter vomiting bug), researchers at the British Health and Safety Laboratory a proud (?) to present Vomiting Larry, a robot that gets sick in the name of science.

Noroviruses cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and a loss of taste. Knowing that, I guess we’re lucky Larry only vomits. Anywho, the virus itself is spread through aerosolization, meaning it’s airborne. Larry is used to study the spread of aerosolization during vomiting without forcing people to puke on cue.

So, what has Larry taught us? It turns out that infected individuals praying to the porcelain god spray the norovirus a whopping 9.8 feet! With only about 20 particles of the creeping crud required to infect someone, we now have a good idea that you don’t want to be within ten feet of anyone throwing up. Which… um… I think we kinda already knew. Science!

Installation Disk? Windows Key? Nokia Windows Phone Error Confounds All

Johnny Ruokokoski was playing around with re-flashing the firmware on his Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone when he came across a most unexpected error message.

windows phone recovery error

Yup, Johnny had managed to bugger up the NT kernel on his phone. Any tinkerer of Windows machines in familiar with this unfortunate happenstance. The kicker was the stock error message still buried in the phone OS from its days running on PCs. Appreciating the irony Johnny Tweeted this picture of the error. When another Twitter user forwarded the image to Windows Phone Support they promptly responded but declined to help as modifying your phone’s firmware immediately puts you in the 'Warrantee Voided’ category. Johnny responded with “and I didn't expect any support. but thanks for fast feedback, it shows how good WP support is, I like it :)”

Source: The Next Web

Growing Up Otaku Game of the Year 2012: PlanetSide 2

GOTY trophyI've seen things you people would t believe. Armored columns on fire at the foot of The Crown. I've seen Skyguard glitter in the night. All these moments... Without paying a dime!

Even with the bizarre cavalcade of game releases for 2012 that featured everything from a retelling of Apocalypse Now in Dubai to a barely interactive adventure game about the zombie-ridden end of the world, if you had told me I'd be even considering a multiplayer shooter for GUO's Game of the Year I would have laughed in your face. Tell me that the game supported thousands of simultaneous players and I'd have had you institutionalized. Then convince me that the game was free for everyone to download from Sony... Well, them's fightin' words. Yet, somehow, here we are.

PlanetSide 2 from Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) is truly a wonder to behold. While the core concept of of players donning various class-based kits and armored vehicles to wage virtual war across the land and sky will be familiar to anyone who's ever dabbled in a Battlefield game, the sheer scale of PlanetSide's engagements has only rarely been attempted (WWII Online, anyone?) and certainly never achieved with such striking results. 

PlanetSide2 2012-12-18 23-11-06-08

Galactic Positioning System | Out Of This World Weekly

We are all familiar with using the Global Positioning System (GPS) to get us to our location safely, whether we are in a plane, boat, train, or car.  This system also provides information for agriculture, environmental, public safety, recreation, and mapping applications.  GPS satellites in orbit make this possible by sending specific signals that allow a receiver to triangulate our position.  Ironically, even though the satellites are in space, GPS does not work in space outside of Earth’s orbit and never was intended to as the satellites point their signal at the Earth.  A similar system is used where radio signals are sent from different points on Earth out into space so that we can direct robotic spacecraft to their destination safely.  The bad part about this system is that the farther from Earth the spacecraft is, the less precision that can be achieved.  The farthest spacecraft that we have, the Voyager probes, are only known at an approximate location within several square miles.  If we are ever to venture out further than our solar system then we are going to need a better system because our current system simply will not work around other stars. 

Living the High Life Onboard the International Space Station | Weekend Watchlist

Living on a space station orbiting our blue marble of a home is easily one of the top dreams of technophiles and science fiction junkies alike. But what’s it really like? Well, how do you feel about sleeping upside-down and not sitting for six months? In this edition of the Weekend Watchlist we check in on the current living conditions within the orbiting modern marvel we know as the ISS.

Before we begin watching this weekend, we’re going to start off listening. You should have some sense of how hard it can be to live on the Space Station. It isn’t difficult to appreciate the complications of going to the bathroom in zero gravity, but have you considered living with the noise of all the equipment required to simply survive in this truly out of this world environment? Colonel Chris Hadfield made this recording of the ever present white noise generated by the millions of systems running 24/7 onboard the station. This recording was made in the US lab section of the ISS.

Open Season for Hackers Thanks to Java

JavaThe U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued an advisory late Thursday warning of an vulnerability in the Java 7 development kit and runtime environment  that could allow outside users to bypass a local system’s security. Here’s Brandon with his take on the topic.

Well our favorite annoying program, Java, is now dangerous to use. There is a bug in the latest version that allows hackers to easily hack into your computer by using Java. No more Pogo or random simulators or free mini games for a while. Word of advice, disable Java or bye bye credit card. But on the bright side... ahhh…  Well, this is normal. It will get fixed soon XD

The New Year’s Fireworks You Missed

2012 new years solar flareOn December 31st of 2012 while you were gazing up at burning gunpowder and bemoaning the loss of Zima, a much more spectacular light show was taking place at the center of our solar system.The picture on the right comes to us courtesy of NASA’s Image of the Day Gallery and shows off 2012’s New Year’s solar eruption.

Magnetic upheaval within the sun gave rise to this spectacular display as superheated plasma was spewed 160,000 miles into space. That’s roughly twenty times the diameter of Earth! The plasma launched by this “minor” (at least in terms of cosmic scale) eruption was dragged back onto the sun soon after, having been unable to overcome the giant fireball’s gravity. Crews of nearby spacecraft were not reported to have exclaimed “That’s a-spicy meatball!”

Snap Together Your Own Robots! LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Unveiled

legoeducationev3robotSomewhere amongst the giant TVs and piles of Android tablets LEGO created a DIY sensation with the unveiling of the newest edition of their robotics building kit, LEGO Mindstorms.

This third edition of Mindstorms features a number of improvements over its seven year-old second generation NXT papa. The Linux powered EV3 version of Mindstorm’s “Intelligent Brick” features an ARM9 processor, 16MB of flash memory, 64MB of RAM, and an SD card slot. Kids of all ages will be able to communicate and program their creations via USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and even iOS and Android devices using a free app. The brain brick is adorned with a black and white LCD, control d-pad, and four of LEGO’s own connectors for the included sensors and motors. Somewhere inside is even a speaker for creating suitably threating robot noises.

Speaking of sensors and motors, the base Mindstorms EV3 package will include three servo motors, two touch sensors, and an infrared sensor capable of detecting different colors and judging distance.

LEGO Mindsorms EV3 is expected to ship in the second half of 2013 as a giant 400+ brick set for $350. The overthrow of humanity is expected to follow shortly thereafter. Check out more at LEGO’s education site.

Star Trek Online Season 7: New Romulus Had a Story? One Giant Leap Backwards for MMO Kind

STO new romulusWhen Star Trek Online launched it’s “Season 7” content update featuring New Romulus, I checked it out. After about an hour of wandering the new alien planet and performing a tedious series of six quests featuring objectives composed of nothing more than ‘click 25 things and come back”, I clicked out, never to return. It was while getting back in to STO several weeks later during their winter event I felt compelled to try the New Romulus stuff one more time. Yup, still just more ‘pick this, scan that’. Beam me up, Scotty.

Much to my surprise, I stumbled upon a whole new chapter in STO’s ongoing story revolving around the devastated Romulan people and the shadowy machinations of their secret police force, the Tal Shiar, buried in the interface used to equip my ship and crew. How did I miss all this new content? Twice? I’m such a dunce. let me explain how straightforward it is to get to:

Remember that series of six ‘fetch 25 things’ quests? Those earn you Romulan Marks (Not to be confused with Fleet Marks, Omega Marks, or any of the other dozen or so currencies now gracing Star Trek Online’s ludicrously cluttered metagame). Once you’ve racked up a few dozen of these Romulan Marks, you are expected to turn to the all-new fourth tab of your equipment and skills screen. Ya know, as opposed to the Mission screen you use to get all the other missions. There you must select a sub-tab for the Romulan stuff and assign “projects” to one of three available slots, complete with dire pop-up warnings that anything you do on this byzantine, instruction-less screen can NEVER be undone. Once your project is assigned, you must then manually load your Romulan Marks, along with three other wads of currency or items, into the project. Filling up these for requirements kicks off a twenty hour timer before the project is completed. You’ll need to remember to return to this buried interface because STO new saw fit to inform you when it completed and you need to click yet another button to finally and actually finish the project. Because in the 25th century computers never actually finish anything until you tell them to, I guess. This gives you Romulan Repulation. Not Marks, just Reputation. Thankfully, these seem to file themselves in the right spot. Got it? Good. Because you need to repeat the whole process again and again and until you score enough Romulan Reputation to gain a Romulan Reputation Tier. Or rather, until you have the opportunity to gain a Tier. First you have to assign, fill, and wait through an upgrade project that can ONLY be assigned to your third project slot. Gaining a Romulan Reputation Tier is explained as granting your captain a new ability and store unlocks, but not missions. Surprisingly, it does, in fact, quietly insert a mission somewhere into your voluminous quest log (already cluttered with with half-complete tutorials and reoccurring daily missions) pointing you to the next chapter of the story.

I know! It’s so obvious! How could I ever have missed it?

Using Trash To Protect Astronauts | Out Of This World Weekly

Every year on the International Space Station, tons of trash are sent back to Earth in cargo capsules which burn up upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.  Nobody really knows what else to do with all that garbage.  There isn’t enough room on the inside of the station to store it and they can’t just jettison it into orbit, where it could become dangerous to other spacecraft due to the high velocity.  It is one thing getting hit by a plastic water bottle being thrown at you and something entirely different when it is traveling at 17,000 mph.  Since most of the supplies are sent up in lightweight plastic wrapping which is also ideal as radiation shielding, researchers are evaluating how well recycled trash can protect astronauts from radiation danger.  To do so, they are compacting and heating the trash so that it melts, yet isn’t incinerated, into small tiles.  Theoretically, these tiles could line the outside or inside of a spacecraft at key locations as to provide better radiation shielding.  

Behind the Blog: January 1, 2013–The I Don’t Feel Like Writing Edition

Behind-Blog-button-2_thumbSooooo… I’ve been taking a little time off for the holiday week and didn’t get a jump of B-the-B like I usually do. Seeing as how I usually chip away at this monster over the course of a week and I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve, I don’t think I’m gonna waddle on over to Mr. Grindstone and do the usual giant list o’ linky now. Let’s just have a nice cup of tea and hit some of the highlights from December, a month made for slacking.

Traffic is recovering after our beating at the hands of Google last month despite impressions from the search engine giant remaining low. We even had a strange spike on Christmas. Who says people only browse the web from work! The Top 5 from December looks just like it did for November.

About the only real incident in our wordy world of whimsy was the cancelation of Twitchy Tuesday. Each episode of our live streaming experiment continued to pull fewer and fewer eyeballs both on YouTube and here at GUO. By the time we produced our AirMech episode, probably our best and biggest, we were pulling a whopping four (yes, 4) views. While all of us were pretty jazzed at how Twitchy Tuesday was shaping up, it really was a bit of a technical chore to get stuff working with different software every week without springing for dedicated capture system. The Tuesday schedule also turned out to be a bad day to work around personal lives. These issues combined with my failing to engage even our regular readers made pulling the plug, at least for now, a no brainer.

As for the ol’ homestead, we’re still plugging along. In a year full of drama and tragedy, the holidays passed nearly without incident. Nearly. We’ve got an oak tree in the back that’s kinda falling apart that’s causing some emergency financial recombobuation at a time of the year that isn’t exactly known for being finance friendly. On the upside, where else but Florida can you plan on throwing steaks on the grill for Christmas dinner!

Well, that’s about it from me. If you find yourself missing that big list of stuff from the past month, I invite you to direct your gaze to the bottom of the sidebar on the right. Or just click this link. Here’s hoping you continue to hang with us for yet another year as we explore the great geeky world of technology and Internet ‘culture’. We love you!

Thanks for reading! And have the hippest and happiest of New Years!