Flickr photo bike

Lifehacker’s [Gina Trapani] has one of Flickr’s photo bikes and wrote up how it works. As you ride, the bike automatically takes photographs, geotags them, and uploads them to Flickr. The handlebar unit contains a Nokia N95 cellphone. The rear is a solar powered charging unit. It has a custom python script that starts the photo taking sequence when it detects the bike is in motion using the phone’s accelerometer.

Most of the engineering seems to be for usability’s sake. We’re guessing they probably wanted to disguise that they’re bolting a $600 cellphone to a bike as well. Out of the box the Nokia N95 already does almost everything required. It has a 5 megapixel camera with an interval timer that can vary from 10 seconds to 30 minutes. It supports Flickr uploading, but with software like ShoZu you can streamline the geotagging and make all uploads automatic. Just build a solid mount for your N95 and you’ve pretty much got it, and when you park your bike you can take the phone with you.

Best Firefox 3 extensions


We generally try to limit the number of extensions we install for security, performance, and because we use a lot of different systems. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of interesting addons out there and Mozilla has recently announced the winners of their Extend Firefox 3 Contest. Lifehacker has a full rundown of each of the winners. Nothing really stands out in our eyes (although we might try Last.fm’s toolbar).

The three extensions we always end up installing are Firebug, Greasemonkey, and Flashblock. What are yours?

Streaming Netflix to the Xbox 360


We were just as excited as anyone when we heard about Roku’s Linux based Netflix Player, but not being ones to spend money on hardware, even $99, we’d much rather use something that’s laying around that’s not living up to its full potential. Lifehacker has a guide for using vmcNetflix to stream Watch Instantly movies to the Xbox 360. vmcNetflix is a Media Center plugin. When the 360 was originally released, you could only get Media Center by buying a new PC, now it’s included with Vista, meaning people might actually use it.

Speed testing the latest web browsers


With the imminent release of Firefox 3 and Opera 9.5 being finalized this week, Lifehacker decided it was a good time to run the browsers head to head to see which was the fastest and least resource intensive. The testing system was a 2GHz 2GB Vista machine. The timing system used wasn’t directly hooked to the browser, so tests were repeated multiple times to improve accuracy. The cold start winner was Opera, but most browsers opened in about a second if they had been run recently. Safari did well loading content in multiple tabs at the same time, probably due to its short render times for JavaScript and CSS. The final test was memory usage; we’re sure many people will be happy to know that Firefox 3 RC3 only used 66% of the RAM required by the other three browsers.

Data recovery tools


In your zeal to delete your data, you may have accidentally deleted files that you wanted to keep. Lifehacker has posted this handy list of data recovery tools to help you get those files back.

As you may know, whenever you delete a file, the only thing that changes is the file system. The data of the deleted file is still on the hard drive, but the file system sees the space containing the file as “blank” writable space. Data recovery software typically looks into the directory where the file was stored and scans it, finding any files not listed in the file system.

The program you choose for this task will not only be determined by your OS, but also by the specifics of your recovery needs. Do you need to recover a single file? Many files? A whole hard drive? An unbootable drive? A really scratched optical disk? Specialized tools for all of these needs are available, and this article will help you find the right program for yours.

How-To: Expand your camera with CHDK

As anyone who has lusted over the technical specifications for Canon’s new Digital Rebel XSi knows, the capabilities of the average point and shoot camera are severely limited. Using the CHDK firmware hack, the features of Canon point and shoot cameras can be significantly expanded, allowing for ultra-high speed photography, very long exposures, time lapse photography, and RAW capture. This How-To provides a guide to our experiences using the CHDK firmware, and shows just how easy it is to get more out of a point and shoot than ever thought possible.

[Read more...]

XBMC for your Mac


XBMC (formerly Xbox Media Center) has always been a popular choice for retiring an original Xbox. Maybe people install it for lack of something better to do or maybe it’s the pride in having better media support than the 360. The XBMC team has found another device that has a pretty weak television experience, the Mac. Lifehacker took the latest XBMC for OSX beta build for a run now that it supports remote controls. It seems like a much more functional than Apple’s built in Front Row. There are a few things that don’t quite work yet, which you can find in the FAQ. We’re definitely going to try this on our old Mac mini… once we upgrade it to Leopard, which is an unfortunate caveat that might prevent people from running XBMC on legacy hardware. There is no Apple TV support planned because of limited horsepower and the hacking hurdles that might be required. If you’re interested in repurposing your old Xbox with XBMC, check out Lifehacker’s install guide.

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