The 404 679: Where we delivereth thy podcast episodeth (podcast)

Summer is officially over and no one is happier with the sun's absence more than The 404 Podcast. Fall also happens to be the ideal season for Renaissance faires, and this weekend I checked out Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park up by the Cloisters.

Unfortunately, I didn't see anyone in a centaur costume, but I did witness a "real" jousting tournament, not to mention a falconer and Black Wolf the Dragon Master himself, from the Triumph the Insult Comic Dog segment at the Clone Wars premiere.

Tune in to the first half of today's episode to hear the rest and click the slideshow below for photographic evidence of my nerddom.

Switching gears to the only tech story in the rundown, Toshiba introduces the Regza 12GL1, the first line of 3DTVs that don't require a set of cheesy glasses. The 20-inch flat-panel display provides "nine different perspectives of each single 2D frame," which are then "superimposed...to create a three-dimension impression of the image."

Don't worry, we're totally confused by that quote as well, but we also think it's really funny that you have to sit 3 feet away to get the 3D effect. The Toshiba 20GL1 will be for sale in Japan later this year for $2,900, so now might be a good time to take out that second mortgage.

Enjoy the show!

Episode 679 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more

Can cell phones cause tinnitus?

Links from Wednesday's episode of Loaded:

Panasonic announces new 3D plasma TVs with glasses that come in kid sizesRumor has it that two new Droid phones are on their way to Verizon within the next monthBorders launches Borders Textbook Marketplace to buy and sell used textbooks for all grades Playboy launches a site that actually is safe for workA new study shows a link between cell phone use and tinnitusThe Pileus umbrella lets you go surfing in the rain...surfing the Net that is

And on keys...

Links from Thursday morning's episode of Loaded:

Rock Band 3 will feature keyboards when it launches this holiday season so brush up on your 80s tunes! Logitech launches a new line of HD Webcams with Logitech Vid HD, the company's own video calling program.AT&T has suffered a security breach and 114,000 iPad 3G users' email addresses have been exposed.Panasonic shows off a 152-inch 3DTV.

World's largest 3D TV

Links from Wednesday morning's episode of Loaded:

LG shows off an 84-inch 3D TV

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says no color touchscreen Kindle is on the horizon

The next version of Rock Band may have keyboards

TiVo comes to Best Buy Insignia TVs

Tune in to Wednesday afternoon's episode of Loaded for an update on the new Facebook privacy settings

3D TV: A proposal on behalf of the stereo-blind

3D TV effects are wasted on a portion of the population, about 4 percent to 10 percent of us. When shown 3D content, some people in this group see double or blurry images, or suffer from eyestrain or headaches that makes the content unenjoyable, to say the least.

If you're in this group, as I am, there is a solution: You can turn off the 3D feature on your TV, and watch the content "flat." If it's a movie you're interested in, find a theater that's showing it in the cheaper non-3D version. Nvidia'… Read more

The 404 560: Where Uncle Sam traps Jeff in a dutch oven (podcast)

The IRS gods must have tuned in to yesterday's episode and heard Jeff complaining about the tax system, because he woke up this morning to a very lofty charge from his bank to the tune of $600 owed to the state of New Jersey. We're all doing our best to cheer him up, but it doesn't help that the Devils lost game one of the Eastern Conference quarters to the Arkansas Fliers last night.

On the other hand, if Natali Del Conte Thursdays on The 404 aren't enough to cheer him up, all hope might be lost for our beloved Haterader. The first story on the table is about Amanda Flowers, a woman in the U.K. who's blaming the Wii Fit for an injury that's left with her a rare affliction called "persistent sexual arousal syndrome." Seriously, it's a real thing, not an ironic joke made up by the writers of "Grey's Anatomy." Flowers claims that a fall from her Wii Fit balance board damaged a nerve in her "lady garden" and made her into a nympho, which begs the question: where's the CNET office in the U.K.?

A recent study in Time Magazine shows that spanking leads to aggressive behavior as an adult, but one clever clown in the U.K. is offering alternative disciplinary action. For a small fee, you can hire Dominic Deville to dress up in a horrifying clown costume and stalk your misbehaving kid for a week!

Deville will send "chilling text messages," make prank calls, and set traps warning of an impending attack before the entire operation culminates in a cake to the face. Did we mention the service is supposed to be in celebration of a child's birthday? If the young child manages to "avoid the hit," they are given the cake as a present. Yes, it's all fun and games until your kid grows up to be a serial clown killer.

It's no surprise that 3D TVs are making big waves in 2010, but Natali and her n00b in beta might have more to worry about than those silly glasses. A disclaimer on the Samsung 3D LEDTV site dictates important safety information that warns children, teenagers, pregnant woman, elderly, the sleep-deprived, and alcoholics about the health issues associated with viewing in 3D.

A laundry list of symptoms could potentially occur after long periods of time, including altered vision (duh), nausea, convulsions, cramps, confusion, and more. In fact, we're starting to notice an alarming parallel between those side effects and the ones in those Extenze commercials, and we're praying ED isn't one of them. Click that play button down yonder, and enjoy the show!

EPISODE 559 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more

TV industry turns blind eye to non-3D viewers

When it comes to 3D television, I don't see it. Literally. The technology that's supposed to convince me that a 3D image exists when I look at a 2D screen doesn't work for me. Nor does it work for a small but significant percentage of the population--4 percent to 10 percent, depending on which expert you ask. Millions of people like me are being left behind by content and hardware companies as they move to 3D.

I don't mean to complain. It's not the end of the world. Flat-viewers, like me, can watch 2D versions of 3D content. I saw "Avatar" in the non-3D version. As a bonus, the theater was nearly empty--the 3D showing down the hall was more crowded. Plus, we didn't have to wear those dorky glasses.

Of course, we are social beings, and not being able to view 3D means that group or family outings to 3D showings are awkward for the flat viewers, who may have to sit through a showing that will cause headaches or just look bad to them. But the flat-viewer's experience with 3D imagery can vary. While I find viewing 3D imagery uncomfortable, Daniel Terdiman, another person at CNET who can't see 3D, saw the 3D version of Avatar and wore the 3D glasses. It looked fine to him, just not 3D.

Manufacturers are mute At CES this year, the trend toward 3D in home television sets was unmissable, but there was no mention by the manufacturers of how this move would affect flat viewers. I was curious how the hardware companies, which fight for every point of market share jealously, could cavalierly ignore the large number of us who won't like this new direction. It's a lot of market. How are they planning to deal with losing it?

Read more

3D means new rules for directors

The rise of 3D technology for movies and television will force a change in how directors tell stories.

Say good-bye to gut-wrenching drops off cliffs and swoops through asteroid fields to call attention to 3D effects. Be prepared for directors to use slower pans, less cutting, and more deliberate camera moves to blend the technology into the story. These new 3D movies may look boring in 2D, but they'll end up feeling more engaging when seen in three dimensions.

"Unfortunately, the history of 3D is bad 3D," says Sandy Climan, CEO of 3ality, a company that makes, as he calls it, "end-to-end technologies from image capture to processing" for three-dimensional entertainment. The technology hasn't been up to snuff until recently, he says. He claims his company's tech is leagues better, naturally. But the art hasn't advanced, either, and no amount of technology can fix that. Directors need new rules.

I talked with Climan about the changes coming to cinematography and television in the move to 3D, as well as to Didier Debons and Isabelle de Montagu, CEO and business development manager of 3DTV Solutions, which makes 3D video recording products, and Tuyen Pham, CEO of A-volute, a 3D audio encoding company. The short takeaway: if you're in the video or entertainment business, forget what you know about directing and editing. 3D changes everything.

Think 3D is a gimmick and that professional cinematographers and television directors don't take it seriously? Financials, Climan says, dispute this. 3D films in 3D theaters gross two to five times what the 2D versions of those films do. Commercials in 3D yield better recall rates. And it's not just the novelty factor, Climan says. If so, the trend would have faded. Grosses for 3D films are growing.

"The family movie business has largely moved to 3D," Climan continues, pointing to films like "Journey to the Center of the Earth," "Coraline," and "Up"--the last two having being taken far more seriously than standard 3D matinee fare. On the grownup front, Climan says that for sports and concerts, there's nothing like the 3D movie or TV experience. The upcoming James Cameron film, "Avatar" is a 3D production and is expected to be a watershed for mainstream 3D entertainment.

For now, the growth of 3D looks inevitable. The next step for the medium, after family films and fantastic blockbusters, is for 3D to move into independent and artisan films. Climan thinks the technology is becoming straightforward enough to make that likely.

Read more