First time accepted submitter Benedick writes "I have a four year old desktop and a three year old notebook. Why haven't I upgraded to a new machine? Because they still work great. PC sales aren't declining because of Windows 8. They are declining because our PCs are so good, they last a lot longer. Will Oremus of Slate explains it better than I can."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
lkcl writes "Rhombus Tech and QiMod have working samples of the first EOMA-68 CPU Card, featuring 1GByte of RAM, an A10 processor and stand-alone (USB-OTG-powered with HDMI output) operation. Upgrades will include the new Dual-Core ARM Cortex A7, the pin-compatible A20. This is the first CPU Card in the EOMA-68 range: there are others in the pipeline (A31, iMX6, jz4760 and a recent discovery of the Realtek RTD1186 is also being investigated). The first product in the EOMA-68 family, also nearing a critical phase in its development, will be the KDE Flying Squirrel, a 7-in, user-upgradeable tablet featuring the KDE Plasma Active operating system. Laptops, desktops, game consoles, user-upgradeable LCD monitors and other products are to follow. And every CPU that goes into the products will be pre-vetted for full GPL compliance, with software releases even before the product goes out the door. That's what we've promised to do: to provide Free Software developers with the opportunity to be involved with mass-volume product development every step of the way. We're also on the look-out for an FSF-Endorseable processor which also meets mass-volume criteria, which is proving... challenging."
cylonlover writes "Just over a week ago Gizmag reported that Philips' 22 W LED light bulb, designed as a like-for-like replacement of a 100-W incandescent light bulb, was the first LED bulb of its type to receive the stamp of approval from Energy Star. But looking at the Energy Star requirements reported by Philips in its press release, it seemed a little strange that Philips' product is the only one to have been certified – given that products long on the market appear, at face value, to meet those requirements. Since then, Gizmag has spoken to LED light bulb makers Switch Lighting and other industry players to find out why they're apparently playing catch-up."
An anonymous reader writes "A Jolla Sailfish OS engineer has ported Wayland to run on Android GPU drivers. The implementation uses libhybis with the Android driver so that the rest of the operating system can be a conventional glibc-based Linux operating system, such as Mer / Sailfish OS. The code is to be LGPL licensed. The reported reasoning for making Wayland support Android GPU drivers was difficulty in ODM vendors not wishing to offer driver support for platforms aside from Android."
bdking writes "Google says it plans to ship its Google Glass Explorer Edition by the end of April to developers and consumers who paid $1,500 to test the computer-enabled eyewear, with vague plans for a general release (at a lower price) by year's end. But what will you really be able to do with Google Glass, beyond having information presented before your eyes? Even investors who are set to spend millions funding apps development for Google Glass have no clue. Is Google Glass being overhyped as a 'transformational' device?" I bet every real estate agent in the world would like one of these hooked up to a database of houses for sale, so they could instantly scan all the relevant information.
hypnosec writes "The open-source Radeon Gallium3D OpenCL stack has been modified to support Bitcoin mining through the use of mining application 'bfgminer.' To mine Bitcoins using the open source GPU driver, one must use Tom Stellard's non-stock branches of Mesa, LLVM and libclc OpenCL library. Further, bfgminer must be patched as well. Once the patches are applied and modified code of the stack is used, users will be able to mine Bitcoins using the Radeon HD 5000 and Radeon HD 6000 graphics cards; however the cards have to be pre-HD6900 Cayman in case of the HD 6000 series."
An anonymous reader writes "EE Times examines whether Samsung could be about to control the equipment output of Apple by putting the Cupertino company on a rationed supply of NAND flash as the non-volatile memory goes into short supply in 2013. The analysis argues that Apple may need to put down billions of dollars of cash to fund a guaranteed NAND flash supply plan, something that Samsung did in the middle of the last decade."
MojoKid writes "Intel recently revealed a number of details regarding future Atom and Xeon processors and proposed server rack-level enhancements to improve efficiency and ease upgrades. The company will soon refresh its Xeon and Atom processor lines with new products manufactured using Intel's 22nm process node, which offer improved performance per watt characteristics and expanded feature sets. In total, Intel revealed details of three new low-power, Atom-branded SoCs for the data center, all coming in 2013. Intel is also updating the Xeon E3, E5, and E7 product lines. The Atom processor family will see new SoCs based on designs codenamed Briarwood, Avoton, and Rangeley, while the more powerful Xeons will be updated with Haswell, Ivy Bridge EP, and Ivy Bridge EX-based designs. Xeon E3s will leverage the increased graphics performance of Haswell to improve performance in multimedia-related workloads, like HD video transcodes. OHaswell-based Xeon E3 processors will also offer improved performance per watt over existing Sandy and Ivy Bridge-based designs and Intel will offer Xeon E3 processors with TDPs as low as 13 watts, approximately 25% lower than the prior generation."
yl-roller writes "IDC says Windows 8 is partly to blame for PC sales suffering the largest percentage drop ever. 'As if that news wasn't' troubling enough, it appears that a pivotal makeover of Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows operating system seems to have done more harm than good since the software was released last October.' According to a ZDNet article, IDC originally expected a drop, but only half the size."
kkleiner writes "Liquid Robotics first generation of wave gliders have successfully navigated from the U.S. to Australia, surviving numerous hurricanes. Now, the next generation of autonomous robots have been outfitted with thrusters that supplement the wave-energy harvesting technology that they use to move. They also are equipped with a weather station and sensors to collect even more data on the ocean. Currently, over 100 missions are in operation around the world."
concealment sends this quote from the NY Times: "Today’s chips are made on large wafers that hold hundreds of fingernail-sized dies, each with the same electronic circuit. The wafers are cut into individual dies and packaged separately, only to be reassembled on printed circuit boards, which may each hold dozens or hundreds of chips. PARC researchers have a very different model in mind. ... they have designed a laser-printer-like machine that will precisely place tens or even hundreds of thousands of chiplets, each no larger than a grain of sand, on a surface in exactly the right location and in the right orientation. The chiplets can be both microprocessors and computer memory as well as the other circuits needed to create complete computers. They can also be analog devices known as microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, that perform tasks like sensing heat, pressure or motion. The new manufacturing system the PARC researchers envision could be used to build custom computers one at a time, or as part of a 3-D printing system that makes smart objects with computing woven right into them."
angry tapir writes "New research (PDF) from an Australian university argues that increased carbon emissions from powering data centers aren't the biggest environmental threat from the growth of cloud computing. Instead, the problem is the Wi-Fi and cellular networks increasingly used to access cloud services. By 2015, the energy used to run data centers will be a 'drop in the ocean' compared to the energy used to power wireless access to services. By 2015 the energy consumption associated with 'wireless cloud' will reach 43 terawatt-hours, compared to 9.2 terawatt-hours in 2012 (an increase in carbon footprint from 6 megatons of CO_2 in 2012, up to 30 megatons of CO_2 in 2015). Data centers will comprise only 9 per cent on this increased energy consumption, compared to up to 90 per cent for wireless access."
New submitter linatux writes "HP has announced their 'Moonshot 1500 server' — up to 1,800 servers per 47U rack are supported. The tech certainly seems to be an advance on what is currently available — will it be enough to revive HP's server fleet?" From Phoronix: "Moonshot began with Calxeda-based ARM SoCs, but in the end HP settled for Intel Atom processors. Released today were HP's Moonshot system based on the Intel Atom S1200. Hewlett-Packard claims that their Moonshot System uses 89% less energy, 80% less space, 77% less cost, and 97% less complexity than traditional servers."
hooligun writes "The next-gen Thunderbolt tech (code-named Falcon Ridge) enables 4K video file transfer and display simultaneously in addition to running at 20 Gbps. It will be backward-compatible with previous-gen Thunderbolt cables and connectors, and production is set to ramp up in 2014. An on-stage demo with fresh-off-the-press silicon showed the new Thunderbolt running 1,200 Mbps, which is certainly a step up from what's currently on the market."
coondoggie writes "When it comes to having robotic surgeons slicing around inside your brain, heart or other important body organ, surgeons and patients need to know that a software or hardware glitch isn't going to ruin their day. That's why a new technique developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory that promises to reliably detect software bugs and verify the software safety of surgical robots could be a significant development."
New submitter krid4 writes "Question from a blind friend: 'My ears replace my eyes. However, when it comes to the very moment of starting, or the change of tempi, my start will always come too late. Neither tuning in with the voices around me, nor listening to the moment of their breathing-in helps to solve this problem. Fancy that it might be possible to produce tactile pressure or even lines at the top of my right hand, head or body. Even pulses would do, because what finally counts is the moment of the 'beat' produced by the choirmasters baton.' What simple, possibly DIY solutions are possible? It would help many blind chorus singers."
Ars Technica takes a close look at the crowd-funded Pebble smartwatch. The reviewer had to put up with repeated delays in production as a Kickstarter backer, but seems happy with the watch and optimistic about the future of third-party apps; an SDK is due later this month. "It currently ships with three default watch faces, as well as 12 others that you can load onto the watch with the companion app (free on iOS and Android). By far my favorite custom watch face is 'Fuzzy Time,' which rounds the current time to the nearest 5-minute interval and translates that number to what you might say if your friend asked you the time. While seemingly trivial, I love this rough approximation of time. Rarely do I need to know that it's 5:13:23pm, but seeing that it's 'quarter after five' is awesome."
Rinisari writes "Since striking out on my own nearly a decade ago, I've been collecting bills and important documents in a briefcase and small filing box. Since buying a house more than a year ago, the amount of paper that I receive and need to keep has increased to deluge amounts and is overflowing what space I want to dedicate. I would like to scan everything, and only retain the papers for things that don't require the original copies. I'd archive the scans in my heavily backed up NAS. What free and/or open source software is out there that can handle this task of document management? Being able to scan to PDF and associate a date and series of labels to a document would be great, as well as some other metadata such as bill amount. My target OS is OS X, but Linux and Windows would be OK."
hypnosec writes "Developer units of Android based gaming console on-a-stick GameStick have already been shipped but, the units meant for early Kickstarter backers have been delayed by two months and will now ship by late June, PlayJam has revealed. The reason, according to PlayJam, is that the consoles would require stronger tooling as compared to silicon based moulds of the dev consoles, which would be finished sometime by June 10. Further, because of the sheer increase in the number of units, PlayJam has said that it won't be able to afford the air freight and will be going for sea freight instead, which will delay the shipments to June."
dartttt writes "Dell has launched a new Ubuntu gaming desktop (first ever?) . Alienware customers can now choose either Windows or Ubuntu when buying a new X51. Ubuntu option is initially available to U.S. customers only and the price starts from $599." Also in Ubuntu news: Canonical announced on Friday the final beta release of Ubuntu 13.04, aka Raring Ringtail (the main release, as well as the growing flock of other *buntus).
DeviceGuru writes "After four years of development, Micromagic Systems has finally completed the Mantis Hexapod Walking Machine (YouTube video), claimed to be the world's largest all-terrain operational hexapod robot. The device stands nearly three meters tall, weighs just under two tons, and is controlled by a PC/104 module stack running embedded Linux."
Trailrunner7 writes "Source code and a private signing key for firmware manufactured by a popular PC hardware maker American Megatrends Inc. (AMI) have been found on an open FTP server hosted in Taiwan. Researcher Brandan Wilson found the company's data hosted on an unnamed vendor's FTP server. Among the vendor's internal emails, system images, high-resolution PCB images and private Excel spreadsheets was the source code for different versions of AMI firmware, code that was current as of February 2012, along with the private signing key for the Ivy Bridge firmware architecture. AMI builds the AMIBIOS BIOS firmware based on the UEFI specification for PC and server motherboards built by AMI and other manufacturers. The company started out as a motherboard maker, and also built storage controllers and remote management cards found in many Dell and HP computers. 'The worst case is the creation of a persistent, Trojanized update that would allow remote access to the system at the lowest possible level,' researcher Adam Caudill said. 'Another possibility would be the creation of an update that would render the system unbootable, requiring replacement of the mainboard.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Virginia Tech say they've had a genuine breakthrough in alternative energy production that could shake up the world's energy structure. Specifically, they've hit on a way to derive large amounts of hydrogen from any plant source. The method uses renewable natural resources, releases almost no greenhouse gasses, and needs no costly or heavy metals. The key is using xylose, the most abundant simple plant sugar, to produce a large quantity of hydrogen that previously was attainable only in theory."
alphadogg writes "A mobile app under development can filter phone calls and reroute them directly to voicemail by reading brain waves, cutting the need for users to press buttons on the smartphone screen. The app, called Good Times, is the brainchild of Ruggero Scorcioni, CEO and founder of Brainyno, who presented the technology at the AT&T Innovation Showcase in New York, where some of the company's top research projects were highlighted. The app analyzes brainwaves as a phone call comes in, and depending on a person's mental state, reroutes a call. Information about brain waves is collected by a headset and sent to the smartphone via a Bluetooth connection, after which the app uses algorithms to analyze the status of a brain." Of course, the user has to be wearing a headset to detect the brainwaves. The software's creator hopes such detection can someday be integrated into devices like Google Glass.
An anonymous reader writes "Linux developers are now working on open-source 3D support for NVIDIA's Tegra in cooperation with NVIDIA and months after the company published open-source 2D driver code. There are early patches for the Linux kernel along with a Gallium3D driver. The Tegra Gallium3D driver isn't too far along yet but is enough to run Wayland with Weston."
First time accepted submitter Patch86 writes "The team behind the Android-based OUYA games console have announced last week that they have begun shipping their first consoles. As the console originated as a Kickstarter project the first consoles will be shipped to backers; the console is due to be released for general sale for the 4th of June with a $99 price tag. As the BBC notes, this is the first of a series of major new entrants into the games console market, with others on the horizon including fellow Kickstarter Android project Gamestick, Nvidia's CES surprise Project Shield, and of course Valve's 'Steambox.'"
cylonlover writes with this tantalizing excerpt from GizMag "Israel-based company Phinergy claims to have developed metal-air battery technology that promises to end the range anxiety associated with electric vehicles. The company's battery currently consists of 50 aluminum plates, each providing energy for around 20 miles (32 km) of driving. This adds up to a total potential range of 1,000 miles (1,609 km), with stops required only every couple of hundred miles to refill the system with water."
Lucas123 writes "Both Viking and Micron plan to ship cards that combine DRAM and NAND flash on a standard DDR3 DIMM. The cards will have twice as much NAND flash as volatile memory. For example, the non-volatile DIMMs will come in capacities ranging from 4GB of DRAM to 16GB and 8GB of flash to 32GB of flash. Micron also sees its NVDIMM card being used as a storage tier, as cache for RAID systems, system check pointing, full system persistence, data logging, de-duplication and fast access to metadata. Without providing specifics, Viking said the NVDIMM cards will cost roughly a few hundred dollars each, more than a standard DDR3 DIMM module but still inexpensive enough for server and storage admins to consider for boosting application performance."
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft on Wednesday released SkyDrive 3.0 for iOS out of the blue. Last time the app was in the news, Apple was stopping Microsoft from pushing out an update in the App Store because the company doesn't pay a 30 percent cut of the subscription revenue it generates. Now we've learned how Microsoft managed to update its iOS app today. 'We worked with Apple to create a solution that benefited our mutual customers,' a Microsoft spokesperson told TNW. 'The SkyDrive app for iOS is slightly different than other SkyDrive apps in that people interested in buying additional storage will do so via the web versus in the app.' Does this set a precedent for an iOS version of Microsoft Office?"
crookedvulture writes "Seagate announced its third-generation hybrid drives last month, revealing a full family of notebook and desktop drives that combine mechanical platters with solid-state storage. These so-called SSHDs are Seagate's first to be capable of caching write requests in addition to reads, and the mobile variants are already selling online. Unfortunately, a closer look at the Laptop Thin SSHD reveals some problems with Seagate's new design. While the integrated flash cache reduces OS and application load times by 30-45%, overall performance appears to be held back by its 5,400-RPM mechanical component. Seagate's last-gen Momentus XT hybrid spins its platters at 7,200-RPM, and it's faster than the new SSHD in a wide range of tests. The upcoming desktop SSHDs will also have 7,200-RPM spindle speeds, so they may prove more appealing than the mobile models."
anavictoriasaavedra writes "Adafruit Industries just posted the first episode in a new educational series aimed at teaching kids about electronics. The episode is entitled 'A is for Ampere' and teaches the basic theory behind electrical current. The subject seems like a common one for A-to-Z themed electrical tutorials. And yes, that's Collin Cunnigham as André-Marie Ampère."
dcblogs writes "PC manufacturers may try to corral Chromebook, much like Netbooks, by setting frustratingly low hardware expectations. The systems being released from HP, Acer, Lenovo and Samsung are being built around retro Celeron processors and mostly 2 GB of RAM. By doing so, they are targeting schools and semi-impulse buyers and may be discouraging corporate buyers from considering the system. Google's Pixel is the counter-force, but at a price of $1,299 for the Wi-Fi system, reviewers, while gushing about hardware, believe it's too much, too soon. The Chromebook is a threat to everything, especially PC makers, as its apps improve. Compare Tweetdeck's HTML5 version with its native app. Can you tell the difference? It might be a year or two before Adobe delivers Web-only versions of its products, but if it doesn't it will be surrendering larger portions of its mindshare to users of Pixlr, Pixel Mixer, PicMonkey and many other interesting and increasingly capable tools."
KindMind writes "To probably no one's surprise, wiping a smartphone by standard methods doesn't get all the data erased. From an article at Wired: 'Problem is, even if you do everything right, there can still be lots of personal data left behind. Simply restoring a phone to its factory settings won't completely clear it of data. Even if you use the built-in tools to wipe it, when you go to sell your phone on Craigslist you may be selling all sorts of things along with it that are far more valuable — your name, birth date, Social Security number and home address, for example. ... [On a wiped iPhone 3G, mobile forensics specialist Lee Reiber] found a large amount of deleted personal data that he recovered because it had not been overwritten. He was able to find hundreds of phone numbers from a contacts database. Worse, he found a list of nearly every Wi-Fi and cellular access point the phone had ever come across — 68,390 Wi-Fi points and 61,202 cell sites. (This was the same location data tracking that landed Apple in a privacy flap a few years ago, and caused it to change its collection methods.) Even if the phone had never connected to any of the Wi-Fi access points, iOS was still logging them, and Reiber was able to grab them and piece together a trail of where the phone had been turned on.'"
Lucas123 writes "The three largest memory makers announced the final specifications for three-dimensional DRAM, which is aimed at increasing performance for networking and high performance computing markets. Micron, Samsung and Hynix are leading the technology development efforts backed by the Hybrid Memory Cube Consortium (HMC). The Hybrid Memory Cube will stack multiple volatile memory dies on top of a DRAM controller. The result is a DRAM chip that has an aggregate bandwidth of 160GB/s, 15 times more throughput as standard DRAMs, while also reducing power by 70%. 'Basically, the beauty of it is that it gets rid of all the issues that were keeping DDR3 and DDR4 from going as fast as they could,' said Jim Handy, director of research firm Objective Analysis. The first versions of the Hybrid Memory Cube, due out in the second half of 2013, will deliver 2GB and 4GB of memory."
MTorrice writes "NASA researchers have compared nuclear power to fossil fuel energy sources in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution-related deaths. Using nuclear power in place of coal and gas power has prevented some 1.8 million deaths globally over the past four decades and could save millions of more lives in coming decades, concludes their study. The pair also found that nuclear energy prevents emissions of huge quantities of greenhouse gases. These estimates help make the case that policymakers should continue to rely on and expand nuclear power in place of fossil fuels to mitigate climate change, the authors say."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Tech journalist Milo Yiannopoulos asks the question lurking in everyone's mind about Google Glass. 'It's an audacious product for a company no one trusts to behave responsibly with our data: a pair of glasses that can monitor and record the world around you,' he writes. 'But if Glass becomes as ubiquitous as the iPhone, are we truly to believe that Google will not attempt to abuse that remarkable power?' With each new eyebrow-raising court judgment and federal fine levied against Google, he adds, 'it becomes ever more clear that this is a company hell-bent on innovating first and asking questions later, if ever. And its vision, shared with other California technology companies, is of corporate America redefining societal privacy norms in the service of advertising companies and their clients.' He feels that Google will eventually end up in some sort of court battle over Google Glass and privacy. Do you agree? Does Google Glass deserve extra scrutiny before it hits the market?"
An anonymous reader writes "In preparation for the "Steam Box" game console that will make necessary their own Linux-based software platform, Valve developers have started publishing Debian packages for their platform which looks like their first-generation operating system will be derived from Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS. So far the packages being published include a new "Plymouth" boot splash screen as the operating system loads, a Steam desktop wallpaper, auto-updating system scripts, and experimental NVIDIA Linux graphics drivers."
harrymcc writes "Over at TIME.com, we've published David Greelish's interview with Alan Kay, the famously quotable visionary whose Dynabook proposal has provided much of the inspiration for advances in mobile computing for over 40 years now. Kay talks about his work, laments that the computer has failed to live up to its potential as an educational tool, and says that the iPad betrays the vision that he and others created at Xerox PARC and elsewhere in the 1970s."
MojoKid writes "Every year, AMD and NVIDIA re-brand their GPU product lines, regardless of whether the underlying hardware has changed. This annual maneuver is a sop to OEMs, who like yearly refreshes and higher numbers. The big introduction NVIDIA is making this year is what it calls GPU Boost 2.0. When NVIDIA launched the GTX Titan in February, it discussed a new iteration of GPU Boost technology that measured GPU temperature rather than estimating TDP. This new approach gave NVIDIA finer-grained control over clock speeds and thermal thresholds, thereby allowing for better dynamic overclocking. That technology is coming to the GeForce 700M mobile family. In notebooks, GPU Boost 2.0 is a combination of thermal and application monitoring. GPU Boost 2.0 is designed to reflect an important fact of 3D gaming — no two applications use the same amount of power. The variance can be significant, even within the same game. It's therefore possible for the GPU to adjust clocks dynamically in order to maximize frame rates. Put the two together, and NVIDIA believes it can substantially improve FPS speeds without compromising thermals or electrical safe operating margins."
MikeChino writes "Researchers at Germany's Doppelbock University just opened the door to the future of rapid prototyping technology by developing the world's first 3D-printed 3D printer. Dubbed the Ecophage, the duplicitous device is capable of using readily available materials to create copies of itself – albeit at a slightly smaller scale. Best of all, it's outfitted with a built-in material re-processor that can convert virtually any carbon-based substance into filament for 3d-printing."
hypnosec writes "Easter has brought some good news for Raspberry Pi fans in the US as the $25 Model A of the credit card sized computer is now available in the United States. Texas based Allied Electronics is the first local retailer selling the Raspberry Pi in the U.S. and has been selling the Pi through its online store. (There were companies selling the Raspberry Pi over eBay to U.S. users for a higher price tag earlier.) The Model A has sold out completely and as of this writing there is zero availability."
An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica's Peter Bright reports on a Netware 3.12 server that has been decommissioned after over 16 years of continuous operation. The plug was pulled when noise from the server's hard drives become intolerable. From the article: 'It's September 23, 1996. It's a Monday. The Macarena is pumping out of the office radio, mid-way through its 14 week run at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, doing little to improve the usual Monday gloom...Sixteen and a half years later, INTEL's hard disks—a pair of full height 5.25 inch 800 MB Quantum SCSI devices—are making some disconcerting noises from their bearings, and you're tired of the complaints. It's time to turn off the old warhorse.'"
bugnuts writes "Nearly all modern DSLRs use a Bayer filter to determine colors, which filters red, two greens, and a blue for each block of 4 pixels. As a result of the filtering, the pixels don't receive all the light and the pixel values must be multiplied by predetermined values (which also multiplies the noise) to normalize the differences. Panasonic developed a novel method of 'filtering' which splits the light so the photons are not absorbed, but redirected to the appropriate pixel. As a result, about twice the light reaches the sensor and almost no light is lost. Instead of RGGB, each block of 4 pixels receives Cyan, White + Red, White + Blue, and Yellow, and the RGB values can be interpolated."
RougeFemme writes "As part of a research project to develop low-cost artificial hands, DARPA has developed a two-hand robot that can almost change a tire. Research has mastered grasping objects with robotic hands; the next objective is to manipulate the objects once grasped. Research also continues on a neural interface, a direct link between a robotic arm and the human brain. The ultimate goal of the research project is to develop prostethics and robotic arms for wider use, by reducing cost and improving dexterity and machine vision."
mpthompson writes "Via RoboticsTrends' newsletter, RTS Lab in Tehran is developing Pars, which is an aerial rescue robot quadcopter designed to save potential drowning victims. The ship-based quadcopter responds instantly when alerted to potential victims in the ocean, locating them with thermal imaging sensors, and dispensing life preservers directly over them. The current prototype carries one life preserver, but they are working on a new model to carry three life preserver rings. Future models may dispense up to 15 self-inflating rings. A launching platform for use on ships has been designed, but more intriguing is an idea for a remote stand-alone launching platform. It's good to see innovative robot tech coming from a country that is not normally well covered in Western media."
Earthquake Retrofit writes "The Register reports that 'Facebook has sent out invitations to an event at its Menlo Park headquarters next week that many believe will see the launch of a new, Facebook-branded smartphone...' I have lately become disillusioned with Google having so much power over my phone and the usual privacy concerns, so this announcement means I now have a choice. Oh, wait..."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft might want a piece of the mini-tablet market. The company has lowered the minimum screen resolution for Windows 8 tablets, from 1,366 x 768 pixels to 1024 x 768 pixels. "This doesn't imply that we're encouraging partners to regularly use a lower screen resolution," it wrote in an accompanying newsletter. "We understand that partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful." As pointed out by ZDNet's Ed Bott—cited by other publications as the journalist who first noticed the altered guidelines—that lowered resolution "would allow manufacturers to introduce devices that are in line with the resolutions of the iPad Mini (1024 x 768) and the Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7 (both 1280 x 800)." Whatever the contours of the smaller-tablet market, it's certainly popular enough to tantalize any potential competitor. But if Microsoft plunges in, it will face the same challenges that confronted it in the larger-tablet arena: lots of solid competitors, and not a whole lot of time to make a winning impression. There are also not-inconsiderable hardware challenges to overcome, including processor selection and engineering for optimal battery life."
Electrons may not weigh anything, but it takes some heavy lifting, both literal and figurative, to point them in the right direction. Reader terrancem writes with this excerpt: "Energy efficiency gains are failing to keep pace with the Internet's rapid rate of expansion, says a new paper published in the journal Science. Noting that the world's data centers already consume 270 terawatt hours and Internet traffic volume is doubling every three years, Diego Reforgiato Recupero of the University of Catania argues for prioritizing energy efficiency in the design of devices, networks, data centers, and software development. Recupero highlights two approaches for improving efficiency: smart standby and dynamic frequency scaling or CPU throttling."
ceview writes "Researchers at Sheffield Centre for Robotics have demonstrated that a swarm of 40 robots can carry out simple fetching and carrying tasks. This is done by grouping around an object and working together to push it across a surface. They believe that this could provide opportunities for us mere humans to harness such power to do all sorts of things like safety — what like catching falling workers perhaps? Youtube action here."