Tap Tap Revenge Metallica For The iPhone

Tap Tap Revenge Metallica For The iPhone

Tap Tap Revenge Metallica

So I went to the Metallica concert the other night here in Toronto (it’s my 15th time seeing them live. Yes, if you are asking, I am a fan!) and decided that maybe I was having an early mid-life crisis and wanted to walk down the path of my early life as a dedicated hardcore Metallica fan. As a dedicated fan I scoured the band’s website to catch up on the happenings with the metal legends and stumbled upon their iPhone app, TapTap Revenge: Metallica.

Tapulous, the company famous for it’s addictive line of TapTap games has worked with the band to release a Metallica themed version of it’s TapTap Revenge games aptly called: TapTap Revenge: Metallica. The dedicated version of the game allows users to poke through 10 tracks of some of the bands most famous songs like “Enter Sandman” and “One”.

The game gives you the option to play in a fast-paced arcade mode where you are challenged with bombs and other objects. Career Mode allows you to work your way through the track list and there is even a Bluetooth battle mode that allows you to challenge other players via Bluetooth.

I’ll be honest, if your not a hardcore Metallica fan you might not enjoy this, but if you consider yourself a member of the Metal Militia then what are you waiting for? It’s only $4.99, it’s worth it if not for the music alone.

[Link to TapTap Revenge: Metallica]

tech.nocr.atTap Tap Revenge Metallica For The iPhone originally appeared on tech.nocr.at on 2009/10/29.

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Soccer Hero

Soccer Hero

Soccer Hero

Nothing like having a bunch of friends come over and play some Guitar Hero, especially when beer is also at play. Is especially better when you come up with some creative ways to play your favorite rhythm game.

These guys have the right idea. By using an Arduino and some piezo sensors they have managed to rig together a game of guitar hero that’s played with soccer balls. Unfortunately there isn’t too much info available on the project, but connecting piezo sensors to an Arduino is pretty easy. Check out the video below for all the action.

tech.nocr.atSoccer Hero originally appeared on tech.nocr.at on 2009/10/25.

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Phaser Boasts 300mW Laser

Phaser Boasts 300mW Laser

Ray Gun

Since you can’t walk into to your favorite weapons store and pick up a phaser just yet, hacker Luke decided to build his own. He picked up a toy phaser from Amazon for about $20 ripped out the internals only choosing to reuse the trigger, top switch and battery pack.

The phaser contains two laser diodes which were pulled from a 6x BD-R burner. I sure hope that the burner was broken since purchasing a unit just for the sake of pulling the diodes out to put in a toy gun is very expensive. The two diodes are mounted on a swiveling carriage which can be turned 180 degrees to switch between the diodes. A boost driver is used to bump up the 3v that the batteries provide to 7v to drive the diodes.

Although you won’t be killing Kingons with this unit it does make one cool looking toy. Remember, don’t go firing it in peoples eyes, that will hurt. Check out the video after the break.

tech.nocr.atPhaser Boasts 300mW Laser originally appeared on tech.nocr.at on 2009/10/26.

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DIY: Tesla “Spooky Spirit” Radio

DIY: Tesla “Spooky Spirit” Radio

Spirit Radio

A crafty Instructables user has written up a how-to on creating Tesla’s Spirit Radio, it even creeped out Tesla himself. The Spirit Radio uses a simple crystal radio circuit that us connected to a line-in jack of a computer to generate spooky sounds from all kinds of electromagnetic sources.

“My first observations positively terrified me as there was present in them something mysterious, not to say supernatural, and I was alone in my laboratory at night.” – Nikola Tesla 1901

“The sounds I am listening to every night at first appear to be human voices conversing back and forth in a language I cannot understand. I find it difficult to imagine that I am actually hearing real voices from people not of this planet. There must be a more simple explanation that has so far eluded me.” – Nikola Tesla 1918

Check out the video and decide for yourself if it’s science or supernatural. Halloween is around the corner, this will make an awesome party toy.

[Link to Spirt Radio How-To]

tech.nocr.atDIY: Tesla “Spooky Spirit” Radio originally appeared on tech.nocr.at on 2009/10/27.

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Quickdev16: SNES Developers Cart

Quickdev16: SNES Developers Cart

Quickdev16

If you are a true hardcore 16bit gaming geek and have always wanted to whip up your own homebrew games then you might be interested in the Quickdev 16. The unit is a cartridge for the Super Nintendo system that comes with everything you will need to develop for the platform, including the Atmel AVR Atmega644 with boot loader, USB connection for putting your code on the cart, 16 megs of SRAM, and an RS232 converter for a debug terminal. It’s available for Windows, Linux and the Mac.

Homebrew for the SNES was quite rare back in the hay day of the system so if you think that spending all your time coding for the same system 20 years later will bring you anything more than some geek cred then you are sadly mistaken. On the other hand, if your a hardcore emulator playing monkey, then whipping up your own game for the SNES platform might be fun!. For $120 I’m not sure if the cost justifies all that fun.

[Link to Quickdev16]

tech.nocr.atQuickdev16: SNES Developers Cart originally appeared on tech.nocr.at on 2009/10/27.

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iPhone App To Crack Combination Locks

iPhone App To Crack Combination Locks

Lock Genie

Earlier this month we talked about how easy it was to hack a Master Lock (you know, one of those locks we all got in high school) by using some basic math. Well, someone has decided to write an iPhone app that will help you in your endeavor to remember the combination to your old gym or high school lock.

LockGenie is an app that helps you store and recover forgotten or lost combination lock passwords. It doesn’t actually hack the lock for you, but does all of the math for you and presents you with 100 possible combinations that will work on your lock. Now I know that 100 combinations sounds like a lot, but it’s far better than the millions of possible passwords a standard Master Lock has.

You can pick it up in the iTunes app store for $1.99. I know that sounds steep for a single purpose app, but if you have one or two combo locks laying around and you can’t remember their passwords it’s cheaper than replacing them.

[Link to LockGenie]

tech.nocr.atiPhone App To Crack Combination Locks originally appeared on tech.nocr.at on 2009/10/25.

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In Case You Missed It: Week 42 Round Up

In Case You Missed It: Week 42 Round Up

tech.nocr.atIn Case You Missed It: Week 42 Round Up originally appeared on tech.nocr.at on 2009/10/25.

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Sucker Alert: Wattgate 381 “Audio Grade” Socket

Sucker Alert: Wattgate 381 “Audio Grade” Socket

Wattgate 381

Wow, there really is a sucker born every minute, but is there anyone out there stupid enough to spend $147 on a so called “Audio Grade” electrical socket?

The Wattgate 381 and claims to bring you crystal clean sound. I’m no electrician but doesn’t the quality of your sound actually come from the components inside your amplifier? WTF does electricity flow have to do with it? It’s not like this is some surge suppressor that cleans your power and makes sure that you don’t have power fluctuation. It’s a freaking socket.

I’m sure this will go perfectly with the $400 Monster Cable you bought and that $500 Denon Ethernet Cable.

If your stupid enough to buy one, you can pick it up here

tech.nocr.atSucker Alert: Wattgate 381 “Audio Grade” Socket originally appeared on tech.nocr.at on 2009/10/25.

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Sparkcentral Picks Up $4.5 Million To Build Its Vision Of Social Customer Service

2013-10-07_11h24_12

TwitSpark announced today that it has raised a $4.5 million Series A round of funding, and changed its name to Sparkcentral. The company’s vision is the integration of social customer service into the mass-scale call centers that large corporations staff with phones, people who answer phones, and angry calls.

Sparkcentral’s focus on enterprise-level clients sets it slightly apart from companies, such as Sprout Social, which cater to outfits that want to publish material, and handle complaints. Sparkcentral wants to focus more narrowly on the customer service needs of large firms.

The company is originally from Belgium, but is now ensconced in the Bay Area. Its new $4.5 million round was led by Sigma West’s Bob Spinner, who put in around $3.5 million. The rest was fill-in from prior angels and other investors. Including its seed round, Sparkcentral has now raised $5.625 million.

Sparkcentral — then TwitSpark — launched its product in September of 2012. In its first year, the company signed up 35 customers, who pay a minimum of around $10,000 per year. Selling to large companies involves long sales cycles, Sparkcentral CEO and founder Davy Kestens tells TechCrunch, noting that they have closed a deal in as little as six weeks, but that the average contract takes longer to settle.

The company has rapidly ramped up its team size since closing its Series A lead investor roughly six weeks ago, growing from six to 16 people in the time period. With its fresh money, Sparkcentral does intend to expand its sales staff slightly (past its recent hiring, of course), but has more of the funds earmarked for marketing efforts and feature expansion.

Sparkcentral wants more customers like Delta, who have large staffs monitoring social channels. Any brand of sufficient size has to play both offense and defense online, monitoring and managing complaints, as well as reaching out to current and potential customers. Sparkcentral wants to answer the first part.

The question the company must answer is simple: Can it grow its customer base quickly enough, and protect its margins while doing so, by providing a social customer service option to large companies. Or, put another way, is there enough market demand for its tailored solution; do companies that have large call centers – the larger the company, the more conservative it is, usually, and always technologically – have the appetite to bake social into their normal customer service operations at scale.

If not, Sparkcentral’s core premise is off, and its cost structure won’t work. That it is has accrued 35 customers in a year can be viewed as initial market validation, but it will be the acceleration of that number that is far more interesting over the next 24 months, after which the company will presumably be hunting for new capital.

Regarding its product, the company expects to have its API completed by the end of the year.

The ROI of social media has always been somewhat dicey to calculate. In the case of Sparkcentral, either it lowers the call volume that companies deal with, or it doesn’t.

Top Image Credit: Geoff Stearns

Amazon Web Services Launches CloudHSM, A Dedicated Hardware Security Appliance For Managing Cryptographic Keys

amazon-web-services

Amazon just announced the launch of CloudHSM, a new service that provides Amazon Web Services users who need to meet corporate, contractual and regulatory compliance requirements for data security a way to do so by using a dedicated Hardware Security Module (the ‘HSM’ in CloudHSM) within the Amazon cloud. Until now, Amazon argues, the only option for many companies that use its cloud services was to store their most sensitive data – or the encryption keys to it – in their own on-premise data centers. This, of course, made it hard for these companies to fully migrate their applications to the cloud.

The new service, Amazon writes, can be used to support “a variety of use cases and applications, such as database encryption, Digital Rights Management (DRM), and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) including authentication and authorization, document signing, and transaction processing.” The actual appliances are Luna SA modules from SafeNet, Inc.

The new CloudHSM service uses Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and the appliances are provisioned inside the user’s VPC with an IP address the user specifies. The service, Amazon says, provides businesses with secure key storage and protects these keys with “tamper-resistant HSM appliances that are designed to comply with international (Common Criteria EAL4+) and U.S. Government (NIST FIPS 140-2) regulatory standards for cryptographic modules.”

Because the HSMs are located close to the user’s EC2 cloud computing instances, network latency should be very low.

All of this, however, doesn’t come cheap. The upfront cost to provision a CloudHSM is $5,000 and the hourly cost are $1.88 per hour, which comes out to $1,373 on average per month. For businesses that need this kind of security, that’s probably a small price to pay, but this is clearly not a service that’s geared toward startups that just want to ensure their encryption keys and data are stored safely. The HSM client software can load balance requests across two or more CloudHSMs, though Amazon notes that it can take “several weeks” to provision more than two HSMs.

Google Expands Its Safe Browsing Service To Warn More Users And Webmasters Of Malware

mp2xy337QU Earlier this week, Google announced that it has expanded its Safe Browsing service, which prevents users from going to known malware sites. Chrome, for example, now shows you a warning before you visit a site that harbors known malware (instead of just popping up a warning when you are about to download it). Similarly, Google Search will now pop up a warning when you’re about to go to… Read More