Make your own tree-branch iPod dock

Chris over at says he noticed one item pop up on lots of lists of his fellow design and DIY bloggers: the Enchanted Woods iPhone Dock from Anthropologie. He describes it as "a fun nature-meets-technology way to stand and display your iPod or iPhone."

While he thought it was "awesome," at nearly $100, it seemed like a lot to pay for something that didn't have "speakers, a clock, or even a way to plug it into the wall." But more importantly, because it was 100 percent wood and didn't "… Read more

Is Wi-Fi killing trees? Maybe. Maybe not

Wi-Fi may not be a tree killer after all.

Or it might be.

In any case, recent headlines about a connection between Wi-Fi signals and an increase in tree sickness were apparently not the place to look for an answer.

According to a story in The Wall Street Journal, Dutch researchers have called into question data that prompted the widespread reports that Wi-Fi signals were to blame for a jump in poor-health indicators among urban trees in the Netherlands and perhaps elsewhere.

The people behind an investigation in the Dutch city of Alphen aan den Rijn say that numbers involved … Read more

Porsche thanks 1 million Facebook fans

If Facebook were a country, it would be the third most populated in the world (behind China and India). Of its 5 billion users, 1 million have become "fans" of Porsche. Now, Porsche says, these fans are in for a treat.

To celebrate the landmark number of Facebook fans, Porsche is letting those fans include their names on a special model that will be on display at the Porsche Museum Stuttgart, Germany. Fans have until December 31, 2010, to opt in on the offer. The car, with all the names, will be shown in February 2011.

"Although … Read more

Wi-Fi is killing trees, study finds

Enjoying reading the latest technology news and reviews here on Crave? Hope you're pleased with yourself, because you may be killing a tree. Researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands have discovered the sad news that Wi-Fi makes trees sick.

The tree-loving folks of Dutch city Alphen aan den Rijn commissioned the study, whose results have not yet been published, after finding abnormalities on trees that couldn't be explained by known viral or bacterial infections.

Over the last five years, the study found that all deciduous trees in the Western world are affected by radiation from mobile-phone networks … Read more

Does Wi-Fi hate trees?

Links from Monday's episode of Loaded:

Amazon now lets you gift Kindle books

Groupon launches Grouponicus, a daily holiday deal site

PayPal wants you to charge your PayPal account with the touch of a button on your TV remote

Steve Jobs and Apple may be working directly with News Corp. to launch The Daily, an iPad-only reader application

New research shows that Wi-FI may be harmful to trees

Facebook blocks certain links in its new messaging system

Amazon lets you shop for shoes by shape with new improved graphics

Variables editor

Environmental variables are Windows elements that specify basic system properties and control how various programs behave. They're stored in the Registry, and modifying them changes how the system or a particular program behaves. Experienced users can tweak their systems by modifying environmental variables, and Windows offers several methods, including the temporary Set command and the Registry Editor. We tried out Rapid Environmental Editor, or Rapid EE, from RapidPDF. It's a free tool that adds some sophistication, features, and ease of use to the process by replacing the cumbersome Windows dialog with a full-featured interface.

Before we ran Rapid … Read more

Producer Jon Landau introduces 'Avatar' on Blu-ray

Jon Landau, executive producer of James Cameron's phenomenally successful film Avatar and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, recently hosted a press day introducing the April 22 release of Avatar on Blu-ray--participating in one-on-one interviews with selected members of the press, as well as roundtable discussions. Although, there wasn't much in the way of food, they did have a bar where the Avatar blue martini was the house special. The following is a snippet of the roundtable conversation as well as discussions I had with James Finn of Twentieth Century Fox.

Q: Do you think 3D is here to stay, and should everything be made in 3D? Landau: Moving forward, Jim (James Cameron) wants to do everything in 3D. Had digital 3D been available a dozen or so years ago when he shot Titanic, he'd have used it, but he didn't have it at the time. And now that we have the technology we intend to do Titanic in 3D. It will take one year to 18 months and Jim will be involved in it. We see in 3D everyday--we've always seen in 3D, we just never knew how to (theatrically) capture it until now.

And should everything be made in 3D? Depends. Remaking classics, we'll use Citizen Kane for example, I would not support that because Orson Wells isn't here. Now if you want to go and do ET and have Steven [Spielberg] involved in it. I think that would be great. I think if you want to do Star Wars and I think George [Lucas] is interested in doing it. Lord of the Rings... Again, to have someone come in and interpret what [the director] wants, I think that's where we get into trouble. It becomes exploitative and not creative. Right now the desire to make movies in 3D must come from the filmmaker and not the studios.

What can we expect to find on the Blu-ray release of Avatar on the 22? Landau:The way we've approached this initial release is all about the quality of the presentation. So there is no additional content on the disc. There are no trailers, no commercials, and no director's commentary because that takes away from the bit-rate that you can apply to the movie. We went with very simplistic menus again because [to elaborate on the menu] meant you have to do nine different versions and you have to do it in French, in Spanish, and do all this different branching. It [would have taken] up enough space that you'd have lost something off of the picture quality. Jim Cameron spent a week with our color timer, who did the movie doing a special color grading for the home entertainment release. Normally, the quote-encoding process takes two weeks. We spent five weeks doing it. We had people involved from Lightstorm throughout, where we made sure everything was right. We think the quality that we are going to present on the Blu-ray is pretty remarkable.

So this is just the movie with no frills. How much of the Blu-ray disc are you using then for the movie? Landau: Well, I wouldn't say "no frills" [chuckles]... We are actually using 100 percent of the disc.… Read more

Supramap helps track pathogens as they evolve

Collecting the genomic sequences of various strains of the influenza A virus, as well as the coronavirus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, has helped in the fight against outbreaks around the globe in recent years.

Using genetics, geography, and phylogenetic trees to map how different strains of pathogens evolve and mutate helps researchers predict hot spots where diseases are most likely to reemerge.

Today, the hope is that Supramap, a Web-based application that operates on parallel programming on computing systems at the Ohio Supercomputer Center and Ohio State University, will better enable researchers to map the spread of disease … Read more

File fanatic

After months--or years--of use, our computers often become cluttered with unnecessary files that take up valuable hard drive space and negatively affect system performance. We know that we need to perform file maintenance, but that's a task that easier said than done. TreeSize Personal is an easy way to see exactly what's taking up space on your computer and figure out how to deal with it.

The program's interface is a little cluttered at first glance, but it's fairly easy to figure out. The main features are organized in tabs that allow users to view the … Read more

Error-prone genealogy program

Osk is a mediocre genealogy program that allows users to create basic family trees. Although it works, its lack of features and some functional problems left us unimpressed.

The program's interface is basic and intuitive enough, allowing users to add people and associate them with other family members. There's plenty of room to add information about each person, including video, images, and sound. However, when it came time to actually view the family tree, we were not impressed with the results. Although the program offers four formats for family trees, they ranged from confusing to downright nonsensical. There … Read more