BBC BLOGS - See Also
« Previous | Main | Next »

Tech Brief

Post categories:

Mark Ward | 14:18 UK time, Monday, 9 August 2010

School busesOn Tech Brief today: Frash on a phone, a bus goes whoosh and cash goes bang.

• All those iPhone owners keen to get Flash working on their handset can now rest easier. Well, a little. Renowned coding whizz Comex (he of the Jailbreakme tool) has managed to get the alpha version of Flash, called Frash, working on an unlocked iPhone 4.

"... once Frash is installed the iPhone user is able to tap on (reasonably basic) Flash animations in a web page to see them rendered in all their animated glory. Most of those embedded animations are advertisements of course, so you might be happier missing them. But enabling Flash is, for many people, about choice rather than utility, not to mention shutting up all the whining from those people who don't have an iPhone."

• Gaming has a vocabulary all its own. FTW, gib, frag and noob are neologisms that owe their currency, in part, to games and gaming. Microsoft's Kinect for the Xbox 360 might be about to add a visual element to this if a patent filed by the Redmond behemoth is to be believed. It details how Kinect could keep a deaf gamer in touch with friends by translating gestures - even some of the more game-specific terms.

"[W]hen the user kills another user's character, that victorious, though speechless, user would be able to tell the other user that he had been 'PWNED'."
"In another embodiment, a user may be able to speak or make the facial motions corresponding to speaking words. The system may then parse those facial motions to determine the user's intended words and process them according to the context under which they were inputted to the system."

• School may be out for summer but the work of Paul Stender may make some children wish they were back in uniform. Mr Stender has added a jet to the humble school bus. From a Phantom jet fighter no less. It can do the school run in a trice as it can reach speeds in excess of 360mph. Why did he do it?

"I built the bus for two reasons. The first is to entertain people because, come on, it's a jet bus. The second, is to keep kids off drugs. Jets are hot, drugs are not."

• Games are full of random destruction and explosions that amuse the child in all of us. In serious online space sim Eve an explosion can be costly. Very costly. In Eve cash can be converted to game time in the form of objects known as Plex. Steal a Plex and you get game time for free. So when space pirates scanned a trading vessel passing through their sector found it was transporting 74 Plex it was too good a chance to miss. They homed in, unleashed the pew-pew lasers and blew it to bits. Plex and all.

"At current prices, the 74 PLEX destroyed would have sold for a total of over 22 billion ISK, or they could have fueled an EVE subscription for six years and two months. The huge cache of licenses represented approximately $1,295 US worth of game time that someone purchased."

• Robots. Soulless, metal creations that understand nothing of human life and emotion. Until now. European robot Nao is among the world's first to be able to develop and then display emotions.

"Nao can also work out where his human companions are looking, follow their gaze and memorise different people's faces. Using a neural network brain, he can remember interactions with different people. This understanding, plus some basic rules of what is good and bad for him learned from exploring his environment, allows Nao to indicate whether he is happy, sad or frightened with what is going on around him."

If you want to suggest links or stories for Tech Brief, you can send them to @bbctechbrief on Twitter, tag them bbctechbrief on Delicious or e-mail them to

Links in full

Bill Ray | The Register | Flash finally finagled onto iPhone
Brian Warmoth | MTV Multiplayer | Kinect Patent Reveals Sign Language Capabilities, Ability To Understand 'PWNED'
Chris Matyszczyk | Technically Incorrect | The school bus that goes 367 mph
Brendan Drain | Massively | EVE player destroys over $1000 worth of game time
Alok Jha | The Guardian | First robot able to develop and show emotions is unveiled

More from this blog...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.