In today's Remainders: progress. Sort of. Openmoko's WikiReader takes baby steps towards usability; a new sculpture series offers busts of the Darth Vader that could've been; an MSNBC slideshow sheds light on the photographic pursuits of ISS astronauts, and more.
We first saw Openmoko's single-purpose WikiReader back in October, and we weren't exactly blown away with what it had to offer. (What it has to offer, by the way, is Wikipedia on a tiny monochrome screen). Well, Openmoko announced an update for the stubborn little device that makes the onscreen keyboard easier to use and gives it better support for math equations in science-y articles. Hmmm. Those don't sound like very exciting updates to me, but what the update lacks in thrills is made up for in the promotional material: the photo to the left shows someone using a WikiReader to read up on the Donner Party while taking a stroll through the wilderness. Yikes. People who received a WikiReader from their clueless Aunt can download the update now or buy it on two SD cards for $29. [Engadget]
Digital sculptors at eFX have brought Vader's original look to life with Ralph McQuarrie Signature Edition Darth Vader Concept Helmets. Based on McQuarrie's original sketches for the Dark Lord, the three-piece helmet shows the Vader we know and love with a bigger, angrier mouth and a frowny-face brow. This most essential piece of Sith gear, in its early form, not only kept Darth Vader alive but also made sure everyone who came across him knew he was one baaaad mamajama. But fans haven't been scared away by Vader's sinister look: despite the $900 price tag, the limited run of 250 has already sold out. [Technabob]
N900, Meet 95
Here's a partial list of things we've seen running on / working with the Nokia N900: a Sixaxis Playstation controller, Firefox Mobile 1.0, Maemo and Android dual-boot, Starcraft, and DukeNukem 3D. Here's what we can add to that list: Windows 95. Its definitely a worthy addition to the N900's stable of geek party tricks, but you have to wonder when people are going to start putting the N900's power to use for something a little more...I don't know...useful? [MobileCrunch]
Every site on the internet you go to these days has some item about those Tweetin' and TwitPic'n astronauts. And for good reason: the pictures they've been beaming back to Earth have themselves been breathtaking and have also served to give us a more immediate connection with those members of our species who happen to be hurtling around the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour. This fascinating slideshow from MSNBC goes behind the scenes to give us some more information about the photography going on up in space. This bit, illuminating some of the astronauts' favorite subject matter, is particularly cool:
Some crew members, according to Evans, are fascinated by aurora – the nighttime lights in the skies that occur when oxygen and nitrogen atoms are bombarded by charged solar particles, "and spend a good deal of time learning how to take photographs of the aurora that are meaningful."
Really far out stuff. [MSNBC]