I want, I want, I want!

Alright, you like racing but don’t have sponsors?  Does going fast get your blood going but your local constabulary has you on speed dial?  Will your mom not let you borrow the car?

Have no fear, the world of racing sims is here.  Home PCs and video game consoles are now up to snuff and can provide you with an in-home experience to rival that of your favorite arcade.  If, however, you are not satisfied with simply keeping up with the joneses and want to spray them with tire chum and leave them in your turbulence, pay attention, I’ve got the setup for you.

Gran Turismo 4 with a force feedback steering wheel?  Kid stuff.

Microsim Racebase with three 17” LCD monitors?  Go big or go home.

If you really want to go the full nine yards you need the Hexatech™ Racing Simulator.

The Hexatech™ experience is as close to a true race experience as you can get: Feel the real G-forces, battle the accurate force feedback steering and exact car dynamics.  All placed in a multiplayer arena.


Yep, this bad boy is a motion platform with a full 6 degrees of freedom.  There is enough articulation and power in the Hexatech to generate over 2 G’s of acceleration.  A Corvette with a good suspension setup and sticky tires can exceed 1 G on a good day (I’ll tell you for sure, that’s a ton of fun), so there’s no doubt that if you hook yourself into this racing sim you’re going to feel like you’re really there.  Combine the F1-like g-forces with 3 23” LCDs, THX surround sound and a bunch of other cool acronyms and you’ve got guaranteed adrenaline. Heck, if it can impress Jan Lammers it’ll be fine with me.

Are they allowed to do that?  Sure, FCS cut their teeth by making motion simulators for aircraft.  Spun off from Dutch aircraft company, Fokker, FCS has a ton of experience building high-end motion simulators.  Having the military as your customer tends to give you license to generate some really, really cool stuff.

And now for the bad news: you either need to fly to Six Flags in Holland or pony up $227,000 per station.  If, however, you have the bucks and roughly 8000 square feet of floor space you and 19 of your closest friends can get together for some real(ish) hard-core racing.  You are 100% less likely to die… you may, however, puke.
Check out FCS’s Hexatech site and be sure to watch the video.


Wendy’s Chili is People

Okay, this is just nasty.

Woman Finds Human Finger In Her Chili
Health Officials Confirm Discovery

Mar. 23 (ABC7) — Customers at a San Jose fast food restaurant became ill after seeing a foreign object in their chili and health officials have confirmed what that object was: a human finger. Now, a full-scale investigation is underway.


Want to curb your fast food cravings?  Read the whole story at KGO’s web site.

Hardware Reference Sites Useful

S’bout time

I’ve been jealous of my coworkers in Redmond for a while because the Seattle-area has a very cool system for monitoring traffic status.  It now seems that the bay area may finally be catching up. now appears to have real-time traffic reporting for the south bay (read: Silicon Valley).  I honestly don’t know when they started reporting in real time as last time I looked for real-time traffic in the south bay was a year or so ago. offers traffic for a number of metro areas like New York, LA and San Francisco.  If your city is not explicitly listed, don’t despair, look for the closest metro area.  For example, San Jose is grouped in with San Francisco. 


Where’s the beef? gets some of its funding from ads but it is also a marketing tool for Mobility Technologies to help drive adoption of its telematics technologies (you can sign up for news from them on their products when you register for your free access).  Mobility’s travel data program gets federal funding (at $2M for specific metro areas) but they do end up sharing their profits with the government.  Mobility focuses on 3 markets: reselling data to broadcasters, selling real-time equipment to large agencies and finally telematics equipment to consumers.

Mobility‘s Traffic Pulse Networks® are automated systems for radio and tv broadcasters.  The material on their site reads like the brochures you might find on the desk of a tv or radio sales manager.  In short, buy our service and you’ll make money hand-over-fist.

The solutions Mobility sells to businesses and government (and potentially consumers with deep pockets) are focused on delivering the same type of information you get from the web page but in a customizable form.  I could see UPS buying into this type of service to get a leg up on FedEx.

The really cool bit for me is Mobility‘s telematics.  This is where we should have been ages ago, having real time traffic in our cars that link into the GPS navigation to intelligently route us around bad spots.  It’s not explicitly stated on their site but the 2005 Acura RL has technology from Mobility which links GPS with XM-transmitted traffic data.  Dare I say it?  That’s so boss.  Now, if I could only get the service in something a little more sporty.

Sources: Mobility’s web site, and the clever people who keep posting confidential Mobility business presentations in locations where Google can index them.

Gear Hardware TV

Thank the tech gods

I know I could be considered a complete MS lackey (something about MS paying me has a bit of an influence in that) but I must confess… I really love my TiVo (both of them).  I purchased the first TiVo on my wife‘s insistence and never regretted it.  It is simple to use and packed with great features.  I also have a Windows Media Center and love the features of it as well (check out this post by Ed Bott for an superb comparison of the two devices) but was too cheap to buy a new PC and moved it away from the TV (hmm… keep using my 500MHz Celeron or steal the 3.2 GHz MCE form the living room no one is using?).


My fondness for the TiVo, I’ll admit, is partially an over-inflated wish for fair play.  TiVo was the first break the ground for the DVR/PVR market only to see their share of the market slowly be nibbled away by competition and cable/satellite providers offering cheaper (and arguably poorer) solutions.  When Engadget started their TiVo deathwatch my heart sank.  It’s so funny how we love to root for the underdog.


Thankfully Comcast and TiVo have worked out a partnership deal which will have TiVo writing the software for Comcast’s PVR boxes.  This great news will mean I won’t have to worry about replacing my TiVo boxes any time in the immediate future (and the stock market agreed, if only mildly).


Long live TiVo (but please go buy a Windows Media Center PC… it helps put food on my table :)).

Hotmail Microsoft Tech

A history of Hotmail on Wikipedia

Omar pointed out today that Wikipedia has a good article on Hotmail.  Lots of interesting facts including the origin of the service’s name, “Hotmail”.

From Bengt, the original Hotmail logo:


Hotmail Overseen

Hotmail PMs work too hard

Aditya and Omar only made it 10ft from the conference room before they felt the need to start working again… they worked a bit then walked the next 10ft to their offices.


No, I don’t know how Aditya keeps the laptop there… I suspect the legs of his jeans are covered with rosin.

Overseen Weird

Top Secret Stuff

I was at a special Microsoft campus recently and had the distinct privilege of being allowed into the top secret research wing.  The most interesting work being done at this facility is Microsoft Research’s ultra-secret experimentation with worm holes.

If anyone asks, you didn’t hear it from me.


The building name has been blurred out, of course, for security reasons (click for larger version).

Hotmail Weird

I pity the fool!

Headline from the Onion:

Gmail User Pities Hotmail User

A quote:

“I feel so bad for you, needing to squeeze into 250 MB of storage space,”

I love it! laughing.gif  Read the full story.

Gear Weird

Pure security genius

Hey computer industry writers… you want to get geeks interested in your tech article?  Incorporate espionage into your gadget review.   Throwing in a reference to 007 or some other, handsome, non-geek-like, gadget-swinging spy is like rubbing bacon grease on dog treats, it’s really not necessary… but it really gets the dog excited and is a whole lot of fun to watch (there’s nothing more entertaining than nerd drool).

The latest thing that caught my eye was in an eWEEK Labs write up by Cameron Sturdevant of a new Mobile Edge bag:

Bluetooth Bunker Protects Devices
Taking a page from a spy novel, Mobile Edge offers stylish computer carriers with a Wireless Security Shield Pocket.

Gasp!  Spy novels?!?  Tell me more.

Taking a page from a spy novel, Mobile Edge offers stylish computer carriers with a Wireless Security Shield Pocket—made of radio-blocking material that forms a physical firewall between mobile devices and hackers or virus-infected Bluetooth devices—big enough to accommodate a PDA and a small cell phone handset.

My testing at eWEEK Labs proved that no radio signals penetrated the pocket, thus protecting my Bluetooth-enabled devices from possible viral infection just by being in close proximity to a compromised wireless device.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “My cell phone is small and portable… if I’m going out for the evening I don’t want to carry a briefcase just to protect my valuable cell phone.  There’s no way I’m going to show up on the red carpet at the Oscars carrying a huge bag!”

No worries.  Aditya and I are starting a new business based around our new, hacker-proof shield for your cell phone.  Our “Bluetooth bullet-proof vest” is small enough to fit in your pocket yet packed with enough radio-wave-blocking technology to keep out even the most advanced hackers.  Your new cell phone will be snuggled in, safely protected from all radio signals, ensuring your phone will never get a virus from another infected device.  As an added bonus our new product will also protect you from all the cancer-causing radio waves emitted by your cell phone.  Even if you don’t have a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone the health benefits of the “vest” are worth the investment.  Imagine the feeling of security that will wash over you, knowing that both you and your device are now totally protected from harmful cell phone RF.

Want to be one of the next generation of tech gazillionaires?  Get in on the ground floor with our new company!  Angel investors may submit proof of fiscal liquidity directly (no checks or credit cards please, just send cash in small, unmarked bills).


A moment of silence


Jef Raskin
1944 – 2005